Monday, January 2, 2012

Old Things Pass Away Behold, New Things Come

Sandra Peterson of Sarasota County Fire and Rescue with Rachael at Venice Fire Station 52 on 1/1/2012.  Thanks also to Keith Peterson, Mike Kern, Scott Bertrand, Rich Nichols, Rob Rigananti all from either Sarasota Stations 21 and Venice 52 and Donny Daubert of Sarasota County Sheriffs Department.  You guys were used to save Rachael's life!  THANK YOU!!  There were many more of you servants there that night a year ago and we do not know your names.  We would love to, please pass them along to burtandnancy(at)

First off – Tonight, January 2nd,  Rachael said she wanted to thank all the paramedics that helped revive her.  It took us some time to figure out what she was saying but that is it.  So once again, for Rachael, thank you for saving her life.

It has been a year!

Friday night, I shared with Rachael all the details of the accident.  It was the first time that she was putting things together.  She had a few questions, wanted to know if I had been injured and if I was ok dealing with it.  She spent a lot of time thinking about it over the past few days.  John was by on Saturday and Rachael was noticeably deep in thought at times, when John asked her what she was thinking about, she said "the accident".  She has no memory of that night or of the wonderful day she had with us on 1/1/11.

Keep in mind that it takes patience to understand what Rachael is saying.  We are getting pretty good at it and the Lord has answered many prayers for us to be able to understand what she is saying.  The longer the sentence, the longer it takes.  Sunday she gave us her longest sentence so far.  Remembering that I had told her how Nancy had performed CPR on her, Rachael thanked Nancy this morning out of the blue by saying "thank you for saving my life."

She is keeping her legs apart more as they have been pretty tightly closed most of the time.  She is also able to respond better to her speech therapy as she is clearly speaking 'mom' and a fairly good 'me'.  She is learning each day and continues to work hard.  Most of all, she is so joyful.  She frequently wakes up laughing!

Last night Nancy and I went over the blessings from this terrible event.  We were with Rachael, reminding ourselves of the opportunities that have been given to share Christ with so many.  We talked of those who have considered their walk because of this trial and of those that responded in faith born works in meals and donations.  We told Rachael how God was continually being glorified in all of this.  Then Nancy asked Rachael  if it was worth it.  Was it worth the pain and inability to talk and move correctly?  Is it worth all that she has gone through?  She said, loud and clear with a jerk of all that moves in her to punctuate it clearly and delivered with a great grin, "YES!"


Nancy, Rachael, Daniel, Hanna and I would like to thank the people listed below.  Now I know that we have missed some.  There was a lot of activity going on in 2011!  Please do not take offense if you were missed or be saddened by it.  We created this list by revisiting the events of the past year.  Specific donors and gift givers are not listed as there are too many.  Let it be known that every muffin, every meal, every gas card, every Publix card, every gift card of any kind, every call, every visit, any donation, large or small and most of all ANY PRAYER did absolutely help get us through this time so far.

Our gratitude goes out to:

Pastor Bob Wulfing and his wife Barb for countless hours, prayer, support and Biblical Gudiance.  Thank you Bob for being here moments after the accident and all points aft and fore.  Brianna Wulfing –You are a great friend to Hanna and came over when the going was weird.

We have been blessed with 2 great pastors  and their wives in our time the other being Pastor Don and Lynette Haskins of Calvary Chapel Christian Fellowship in Sarasota.
To the churches of Manasota (sounds so Revelation like!)

  • Calvary Chapel of Venice, Florida

  • Calvary Chapel Christian Fellowship

  • Calvary Chapel of Sarasota

  • Refuge - Calvary Chapel of Bradenton

Thank you for your generosity and prayers!

WOLBI – Word Of Life Bible Institute
Though many people here in Venice/Sarasota were impacted by the sudden news, many close friends of Rachael at Word of Life were struck and saddened.  The school is located in Hudson Florida, about 2.5 hours drive away.  We had several visits from her friends that made for great worship when they visited and the prayers in NY and in Florida were so appreciated.  Thank you Tom Phillips for your uplifting visit and Becca Robinson for your counsel to Rachael, your friendship and visits.  WOLBI holds a special place in our hearts and is one of the best kept secrets in Florida!  Thank you for the prayer vigils thank you for the love.

  • Ian Lawless for his help in fronting for us at the waiting room at ICU during the first week.

  • Calvary Chapel Pastors and friends that showed up at midnight last year for prayer during a critical moment for Rachael.

  • Big D (Denise) for the song ‘Why Should I Worry’

  • Dr Arents who looked at two weary parents astonished and confused at what was being said and repeated his words as a simple matter of fact saying “yes, she is breathing on her own.”

  • The staff at Venice Regional ICU - thanks for letting us make her bed a church and for your great care!

  • Dr. Anchetta – Neurologist

  • Dr. Rodman’s office

  • HealthSouth Hospital

  • Marcus Braz, CEO Healthsouth Rehab for a personal approach and visiting Rachael on several occasions.

  • · For the staff at Healthsouth Hospital Thanks for letting us make a room a church!

Calvary Chapel School

  • An incredible family - Unfathomable flexibility, grace, prayer and support!  We love you so much!

  • The 2010-2011 3rd Grade Class - You kids hold a very special place in my heart.  Each of you.  We talked about trials and why they happen, we talked about Grace and why it had to happen and what it is (Romans 7 Dawg!) Your cards, your prayers your love!

  • The 2010-2011 K5 Class - Thank you for your prayers, cards and love.  Mrs. Wizeman cherishes each of you!  Thank you Mrs. Lightner!  You are on the frontline!

  • There is a plaque in heaven hanging on a pretty tall mansion and on it is written "Coach"

  • To all the kids at Calvary Chapel School.  You kids are so important to us!  Your prayers helped and continue to do so.  Your genuine concern and your love is a large part of our lives.  Thank you Christine Sullivan for being the communication central during those weird and loathsome early days.  Thanks for ‘lovetorachael’!

  • Pastor Cameron and Carol McGough - For your constant prayer, encouragement and constant prayer and constant prayer and constant prayer...

  • The families!  Wow the families.  I am afraid to mention any for fear of missing others.  So please take no offense but you guys were such a support beyond measure!  Thank you Mrs. Brink and friends for a wonderful send off on the last day of school!

  • Nick Sommer for prayer circles with the kids in the morning and being there for a very tough morning.

  • Faith Beachemp – Thank you for the worship!


Friends New and Old

  • Glenn and Claudia Albert for being there at the start and for Glenn helping to mod the house and provide the incredibly helpful lift!

  • Kristen Thostenson for juicing and delivering carrot juice to keep Rachael strong while on her tube fed diet at the Hospital. Chris Thosteson for worship in the room, rides and friendship.

  • Deb White for frontline jumping in helping us at the house, hanging with Rachael to give Nancy a break and a lot of other blessings!

  • Mandy Yoder for passion, compassion, video, support and a great night out for Nancy and I!

  • All those who brought meals!  It was a huge blessing to have meals prepared.

  • Milt and Harriet Seiler for teaching Rachael, being her friends and coordinating meals at Calvary Chapel Venice.

  • Tom and Darryl Weaver – You gave us hope and continue to encourage us!
    Nadine and George – We love your love!

  • Steve and Liz Rinehardt for the benefit!

  • Jan Roth – for help around the house – BIG help!

  • Eddie Aguliara – For Worship and Friendship and gentle correction!

  • Vicki Sauder – Thanks for your support to Nancy, the great deal on the van and your testimony with Steve.

  • Dr. Emese Simon.  She saw potential when we saw futility, though we continued to pray, she was used to give us hope and proved to be correct!

  • Rachael's friends Caitlyn and Crystal for consistent words that bless us so!  Check them out under Encouraging Words


  • Diane Miller, Nancy's sister for coming by the hospital regularly after work to see Rachael after we had gone home for the night.

  • Carol Miller, Nancy's sister for Friday, it's Friday! Almost all her Friday nights she has and continues to give to Rachael.

  • Mary Miller Nancy's sister (she has 8 siblings!) for her participation in Rachael's care, major fund raising, research, and keeping us focused. For flying down to Florida almost monthly, traveling with Nancy to Hyperbaric treatments in Palm Harbor and for "Monkey Powder with caldesine. For stocking us up on staples, redoing the bathroom and loads of cleaning and mich more (sic).

  • Samantha, Sierra, Alex Miller

  • Jose – For Food, joy, love and taking great care of Joy!

  • Alan Miller – You came through Big, thanks for getting the funds for the Van together!


Wow - You were our second home!

  • Valerie!

  • John Hepler! (That is Helper spelled sorta side ways)

  • Ivan!

  • Kathy!

  • The incredible therapy team - Bill and Susan and the rest!

  • Sunilda – From the moment we met you it was obviously ordained!  Thanks you for your supportive words and cards, thank you for your sisterhood to Nancy, thank you for the most excellent dog any 9 year old could have!  You are truly a woman of the word!

Last but not least we all need to thank our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  For all he does in us and continues to do and what He did for us.

Thank you to all of you that make up the body of Christ!

but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,
16       from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Eph 4:15–16). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.



Yvonne said...

Wow! How many people and prayers it takes to help one when they need it. Thank You God for all that you provided Rachael and her family at this time and will provide in the future and for all the lost souls saved due to this. Thank You for our strength along with Yours that we get to help when and where needed. AMEN!!!

Caitlyn said...

Reading this was such a blessing. Rachael, I'm so so glad that you feel it's all been worth it. I got really choked up reading that. Gosh, I can't put my thoughts into words right now. Love you and I'm so glad you're doing well!

crystal said...

i love you rachael!!!!!

Faith said...

You guys are awesome! Thank you for walking out your faith in the midst of difficulties in a way that shows how powerful our Lord and Savior is. HWV(Hinkle/Wiseman Version) Phil. 1:12-14 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to our family has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole Venice, Sarasota, Bradenton area and to everyone else that we are in this trial for Christ. Because of this, most of the brothers and sisters in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. Thank You Team Rachel. We love you all.

Susan Runge said...

Hi Rachael! I saw John yesterday and he gave me an update on all of your amazing accomplishments. I am SO proud of you!!! I miss seeing that beautiful smile of yours!! Keep up the great work! Sending big hugs your way ! :)

Carol Chia said...

I love this! That sounds just like Rachael to say that it was all worth it. She looks great in that picture, I am so glad that she is coming along so well. Tell her that if she needs any tutoring then I'll try my best! ;) I miss our sessions at WOLBI.
I'll be praying for all of you!