Formerly "Neil Stone Updates"

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

For Mrs. Edwards and Students

I didn't know anyone was still reading this blog, but I should have. When we were new to the TBI world, we searched the internet for everything we could find about real people who were experiencing what we were. We found blogs that described the ICU ordeals and the rehab struggles. We could relate to the survivors and their families and felt comforted in that, but we always wanted to know "where are they now." I'm sorry we dropped the ball for those who found Neil's blog and want to know how he's doing. So, thank you to Mrs. Edwards who asked for more.

Let me fill you in. One of our biggest concerns for Neil has been how to fill his days with meaningful activities and interactions. We have found a wonderful community where we live. We are actively involved in the local Brain Injury Support Group that meets once a month. In addition, Neil benefits from services provided through our county's disability board. We are especially grateful for the HASCI (head and spinal cord injury) drop in group.  If you click on the link you'll find a cool video where Neil speaks briefly.

Neil is still working part time at an assisted living facility. This has been monumental in his life. We would all love to see him working more hours, but for now this is enough. We get feedback all the time from the staff and the residents' families that Neil is loved and appreciated there. Follow this link for evidence:

January Employee of the Month

Neil also has a good spiritual community with his church families. He attends the family congregation that Scott and I attend each Sunday in the morning. In the afternoon he goes to church with a congregation specifically provided for young single adults. They have conferences, dances, bonfires, and other opportunities for wholesome social experiences. They have been very welcoming to Neil and understanding of his circumstances.

In June of this year, Neil began having seizures. Even though he is almost nine years out from his car accident, the doctors feel this is related to the original brain injury. It has been a battle over the past several months to figure out the correct medications. Of course we need to end the seizures,  but we've found that the medications that work affect his memory and cognitive function. We continue to hope and pray that we will find the right formula and that Neil will adapt to the new treatments.

The picture at the top of this post shows Neil with his djembe. As he has always done, Neil finds new hobbies, interests, books, and shows to be passionate about. His library fills the walls of his bedroom. Currently, we are finding audio books to listen to as we drive back and forth from his various activities and responsibilities. And of course, Neil loves to talk. We spend lots of time in conversation. He is still quite a remarkable young man.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Excuse Me, Your Art is Showing

This is where Neil and I have been spending a great deal of time lately.

In January we started taking art classes and now we both have a passion for painting and drawing. And guess what--we're starting to develop some skills! This past weekend Younts Center in Fountain Inn sponsored an art show and gave us a chance to see our work all framed up and hanging on the walls of the building.

Neil's works are at the top left and the bottom right.

The eagle painting is based on a piece by Romero Britto. His tree in the woods was inspired by the art of Hayao Miyazaki.

I'm posing with my painting of my hometown, Ojai, California.

And here I am with a drawing of my cat, Jemima.

This is Neil's interpretation of a colorful painting by Dr. Suess.

Another Dr. Suess inspired work

Next month, Neil will be showing his art all over again at another show sponsored by our TBI support group. It's June 2nd if you want to come!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Gigante pela própria natureza

​Brasil is pretty.  We went fishing on P-Day.  Or rather, some of us went fishing, and Elder Barbos fed worms to the fish.

​We went and visited a family of Indians from Manaus.  They taught us how to fish using bamboo poles.  We ate fried piranha (head, scales, fins, everything.  Sooooo good).  They also taught us how to make sugar cane juice, a common thing to buy on the street.  They taught us all the steps, from going to the sugar cane jungle, pulling the cane, stripping the leaves, cleaning, and pressing.  Super fun, super delicious.

This week was awesome.  Lots of great lessons, lots of good food, slightly more bearable weather, cool new people, helpful members.  It was great.  I loved getting letters from you guys, especially my cousins.  To answer your questions:  No I´m not in Rio, but I did see a Cristo Redentor in a city called São Pedro.  Lots of cities have smaller ones.

And it all culminated in a super cool saturday night:

​From the left:  Me, Elder Dehnike, João, Milena, Adrieine, Davi, and Reinaldo.  I baptized Milena, Reinaldo baptized Davi, and Elder Dehnike baptized John.  Super awesome.  The water was freezing but it was worth it.  

Transfers came this morning, Elder Dehnike and I stayed for 6 more weeks.  Not many changes this time around, only 2 new missionaries came.

 The mission is good.  Helping people is tiring and frustrating sometimes but its always worth it.
Don´t give up, só batize peixe

Love you guys,
Elder Stone

​Mmmmmmmm, Piranha

Saturday, November 22, 2014


The long awaited visa

"The heavens are open!" Or so wrote Eric after a really big rain storm in a drought stricken area of Brazil. He has been in the country for four months now and is speaking Portuguese, eating rice and beans, and drinking guaraná like a native. Yes, I'm exaggerating here, but he really is embracing the culture and loving the people.

A baptism his first week in Piracicaba

We look forward to Mondays each week because that is the day he emails home. His letters are upbeat and full of cultural tidbits and wonder at his new environment.

He shares his frustrations, but with an attitude of humility and hope. And he includes some spiritual insights and faith building experiences.

Campinas Temple
I'm so glad he has made the choice to go, and to immerse himself in the work of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and serving the people.

Fun times with a companion

As much as I miss him, I am so proud of him!

And I can't wait until Christmas Day when we get to actually speak with him!

You can write to him at the address on the sidebar to the left.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Grandma Club

Oh, those silly old ladies, bragging about their grandkids! You know what I mean. Well, yessiree--I'm one of them!

Welcome to the world, Baby Hugo!
Hugo Stone
May 29
And here's the moment Emerson first held his little brother:
(Best video ever!)


Love this bunch!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ready, Set...

Getting used to a new do.

Eric is home from BYU. We are now in intense preparation mode to get him ready for Brazil. Yes, he is going to Brazil. Eric has been called to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for two years. He will learn Portuguese and serve the people of Piracicaba.

Before I tell you how pleased, excited and terrified I am, let me just say, this paper work and red tape is crazy! We just sent his fingerprints and forms in to the FBI for a criminal background check. I have sent away for certified copies of important documents. We have had tons of forms notarized. We are now waiting for his passport to arrive so we can get that copied and notarized. Then all those notarized forms have to go to the State Department for authentication. All of this before we can even apply for the VISA.

Then of course there's the wisdom teeth extraction, vaccinations for yellow fever, typhoid, etc. and all the health checks. And we've got lots of shopping to do for the proper missionary gear and whatnot. All you missionary parents know what I'm talking about. We're just one of thousands of missionary families going through this frantic preparation phase.

Maybe it's helping me not dwell on the actual sending-off of my baby to parts unknown (to me, anyway). Pretty sure I'm going to fall apart then, so I need to keep sane now. Wish me luck.

Oh yes, and I'm pleased, excited, and terrified... like I said.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Working 9 to 5

Neil's been volunteering at an assisted living center for several months, but a few weeks ago he was officially hired as a part-time activities assistant. He works a full shift for either one or two days each week. He loves it and is good at what he does. He's been assigned to the memory care unit. Some of his activities are:

Leading the residents in stretching and chair exercises.
Reading to them.
Playing games with them. (Balloon Ball is a favorite!)
Asking trivia questions.
Coloring pages.

Sounds like fun, eh?

Bravo to the kind and caring staff at the Springs for entrusting Neil with this position and for giving him the chance to work!