On March 9, 2004 I awoke at 2:00 a.m. paralyzed on my right side and unable to speak. I had suffered what is known as a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) or mini-stroke. Since that day, my life has changed greatly and I have some very special people to thank. I hope I can remember all of the people I need to thank who have helped me through these most interesting, exciting and sometimes frustrating days. I'm going to try my best!

First and foremost, it is the Grace of God through His Son, Jesus Christ, and the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life that enables me to be here to tell this story. I wish for all of you the peace, love and joy I have found in Him.

To my best friend, partner for life and long-suffering husband, Jim Austin, I cannot put into adequate words the gratitude I feel for the love,thesupport, the patience and the sense of humor he has shown throughout all of this past year. It's been a dramatic change for the better in both our lives! Thank you for your willingness tostick with me in "sickness and in health"....umm.....or is that "out ofcigarettesand in health" and forthrowing out those last four packs for me!

To our *favorite* daughter, "Doctor" Bonnie, who knew what was best for all the kitties during this time and who did it for us! You also found the best and most appropriate cards of encouragement and joy that either of us had ever seen! Thank you also for our Circle of Friends bracelets. We will wear them and keep me smoke-free forever!

To Doctor James R. MacDonald MD, of Vanderbilt Medical Group in Franklin, Tennesse, I owe my most sincere and heartfelt thanks. He accomplished the impossible! On March 20, 2004, I smoked my very LAST cigarette. Without Doctor MacDonald's advice, counsel and wisdom, I would never have turned my life around as much as I have since that morning in March. Yes, it's true, pigs can fly! My friend, Mary Newton is well aware of it and is looking down on me smiling that crooked little smile of hers, thanks to you, Doc!

To my "big sister", Gradie. . .well. . .what can I say, sis? You've held my hand every step of the way and that's a long reach from the *Hart* of Kentucky to the heart of Middle Tennessee! God Bless you for being with me every single day through thick, thin and those tearful phone calls when I wanted to finally become that "axe murderer" we both knew lived somewhere deep in each other's souls! ::lol::

To Claire Srouji CFNP, of Vanderbilt Health Services,who tried with all her heart and soul to accomplish this remarkable feat for the last ten years. Bless your heart, I wish I could tell you that I did it for you after all those kind and caring lectures. Knowing you, I think you're grateful that whatever happened, I'm through with cigarettes forever! The next time we see each other, I will still give you a huge hug and some of the credit.

To Vera who told me about a very good book if you're trying to quit smoking. It is "Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking" I had already quit when the book arrived, but it certainly helped to read it and realize that I had now joined the ranks of the non-smokers of the world. This link is for you, Anna, and I'm thinking of you when I look at my bracelet! ::grin::

More thanks go to the following people (listed in no particular order) for their prayers, well wishes, cards, encouragement or just for being suchspecial friends in other ways:

Reverend Nan Zoller;
Reverend Jack Gilbert;
Don Ladd;
Dr Jim Clardy;
Libby Carey;
Reverend Bryan Brooks;
"Mother" Betty Alexander;
Jack Allison;
Joe Williams;
Reverend Jerry Mayo;
Reverend Gayle Watson;
Freddie Brown;
Reverend Thomas DeRamus;
Reverend Al Lyon;
Dr Anne Stanland DVM,
Dr Cathy Coulter DVM,
Dr Allan Holladay DVM and the entire staff of Brentwood Veterinary Clinic;
Lions DIstrict 12-I PDG Thom Wilson;
Brentwood Lions Club,
Past District Governor Lynn Wilhoite;
Smyrna Lions Club,
andMultiple District 12's Council of Governors;
The Eagleville Tennessee EMS station
and two very special paramedics. . .Leslie Cook and Tim Snoddy

(yep, when folks out here call at 2 o'clock in the morning, they really do need ya!);
Connie Jaudon
and the members of Cafe PSP for their love and support;
the "Morning Manure Gang"
::grin:: Connie, Gail, Gina, Gradie, Jan, and Liz ;-)
and all of you at *Pixels and Pics*!

May you all be blessed by wonderful friends such as yourselves for the rest of your lives!

Click on the ruby slippers to continue as usual!

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