when death knocks on your door…


When the responsibility of turning off life support for my young son was placed upon me, it was obviously the hardest decision I have ever had to make.  Questions like, “But what if….”.

I’m not even going to entertain all the questions here, because as parents, I’m sure you can only begin to imagine the pain.

During those 37 minutes of agony for us all, God was already scooping up my 15 1/2 year old angel and holding him, all the while comforting me, as we kissed him for the last time.  His older brother and I lay in the bed next to him, and his protective dad stood close by, watching for any sign of distress.  He had assured me that if Clay had shown any signs of suffering,  he would demand they intubate him again.  So, he stood with clenched fists and tears streaming down his face as we waited for the certain to happen.

We whispered to him, reminding him we how much we loved him, and then Jesus quietly took him home.

We were never alone.  The spirit of Jesus was everywhere in that small hospital room.  It wasn’t ugly, it wasn’t loud….it was actually sweet.  Yes, we were devastated and immediately wondered what to do next, but the spirit of God kept us moving……kept us breathing…….and never left our side.

In the next few hours, we drove to a funeral home we picked out and made all the necessary arrangements.  Jesus was with us.

Next we went to the cemetery and found the most perfect gravesite under a beautiful tree.  Jesus was with us.

He never left our side and He hasn’t left me since.  When I am hurting, he is there.  I can look to His Word and find comfort in the scriptures.  I am reminded of the pain that He suffered on the cross, and I know He understands.

Yes, I cry a lot.  Yes, I miss him dearly.  But knowing at this precise moment, his crippled little body is whole, helps me put my own selfish desires aside and leap for joy!  Hallelujah!  I WILL see him again!

1 Corinthians 15:55  “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”

Are you feeling alone?  Have you placed your trust in our gracious Lord?  He wants to stand with you.  He wants to comfort you and He will uphold you with his righteous right hand.

Here are some steps to inviting Jesus into your life.  His grace is free and He is faithful and true!

First, realize you are a sinner (Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”)

Second, recognize Jesus died on the cross for all our sins (John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”)

Third, repent.  Confess you are a sinner and need His grace. (“Acts 17:30 “God commands all people everywhere to repent)

Fourth, receive Jesus into your life!  (Rev. 3:20, “Behold I stand at the door and kock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in.”)

Pray this prayer with me, “God, I know I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness.  I believe that You died for my sins.  I want to turn from my sins and invite you into my heart and into my life.  I want to trust You as Savior and follow you as Lord.  In Christ’s name, Amen.”

If you have prayed this prayer and truly asked God into your heart, then God has forgiven you and adopted you into His family!  Death has no power over you anymore! “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” You have a place reserved in heaven to live for eternity!

A quote from Billy Graham’s book, Death and the Life After, “I’m not afraid to die, for I know the joys of heaven are waiting.  My greatest desire is to live today in anticipation of tomorrow and be ready to be welcomed into His home for all eternity.  Will you be making the journey with me?”

Black seed … curing it all except death? Let’s look…

Black seeds So there it is.  The cure all. 

What is it?  This little seed is not new to the Mediterranean or the Middle East.  Nigella sative, is not only a food but also a valued traditional medicine that has been used to treat many different ailments for thousands of years.

The black seed is a herbaceous plant although has no relation to the kitchen herb, cumin. It has been said to have a slight peppery flavor and is great sprinkled on breads and cheese.   Black seed is tiny and hairy and about 3mm in length, coming from the fennel flower plant of the buttercup family.


How does it work?  Black seed can help with:

  • Digestive problems including intestinal gas and diarrhea
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Cough
  • Bronchitis
  • Flu
  • Congestion
  • High blood pressure
  • Immune System booster
  • Cancer prevention
  • Birth control
  • Menstrual disorders
  • Increasing breast milk flow
  • Achy joints
  • Headache
  • Skin conditions
  • Parasitic worms

How can I use it?  There are several ways to use black seed:

  • Eat black seeds plain
  • Eat a teaspoon of black seed mixed with honey
  • Boil black seed with water.  Strain and drink
  • Heat black seed and warm milk until it begins to boil.  Remove from heat.  Cool, then drink
  • Grind black seed and swallow it with water and milk
  • Sprinkle on bread and pastries
  • Burn black seed with bukhoor (incense) for a pleasant scent

Any precautions?  Black seed, when used in small quantities, such as a flavoring for foods, appears to be safe for most people, however can cause allergic rashes when applied to the skin.  Not much is known about the safety of black seed during breast-feeding and for pregnant women, it can cause the uterus to stop or slow down contractions.

Always consult your physician before trying any new supplement. 




to my darling child…

Letter from a Mother to her child:

“My dear child, the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through.

If when we talk, I repeat the same thing a thousand times, don’t interrupt to say: “You said the same thing a minute ago”… Just listen, please. Try to remember the times when you were little and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep.

When I don’t want to take a bath, don’t be mad  and don’t embarrass me.  Remember when I had to run after you making excuses and trying to get you to take a shower when you were just a little one?

When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology, give me the time to learn and don’t look at me that way…remember, honey, I patiently taught you how to do many things like eating appropriately, getting dressed, combing your hair and dealing with life’s issues every day…

The day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through.  If I occasionaly lose track of what we’re talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I can’t, don’t be nervous, impatient or arrogant.

Just know in your heart that the most important thing for me is to be with you. And when my old, tired legs don’t let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand the same way that I offered mine to you when you first walked.

When those days come, don’t feel sad… just be with me, and understand me while I get to the end of my life with love. I’ll cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared.

With a big smile and the huge love I’ve always had for you, I just want to say, I love you… my darling child. ”

coping during the holidays…

Bright lights, shiny tinsel, beautiful carols being sung… tis the season.  Tis the season for celebrating the birth of Jesus.  The season of extending a helping hand to those less fortunate than ourselves.  But for many, it’s the season that seems to shine a large spotlight on the empty chair at the dining table and the empty place in our hearts.

Death at any time is hard enough, but when the holidays approach, the realities begin to set in and the pain gets stronger.  Maybe it’s a favorite christmas carol, or perhaps a certain ‘smell’, or even a family tradition that is now awkward since that special someone is gone.  I hear you.  It is so wearisome.  Here are a few ideas to help you cope when the spirit starts to sag..

1.  pray…we should always start with prayer.  This is when we come to our Father and tell Him how much we hurt and how much we miss our loved one.  Tell Him!!  He knows our hurts and He wants to comfort us with His love and mercy.  Allow Him to love on you.  Sit quietly and feel His presence.

2.  allow yourself to do less…you are NOT a super hero.  You do NOT have to be the one that does it all.  Give yourself more downtime and really reflect on the reason for the season.  Christmas will not end if you don’t bake 4 dozen cookies, wrap all the presents and decorate your front yard.  Get some help and allow yourself to rest.

3.  volunteer…sometimes when we focus on others we tend to take our eyes off ourselves.  There are so many ways to volunteer during the holidays (and other times of the year too!) where we can help those that are less fortunate than us.  What about a local nursing home?  Inquire with the manager and find out if there are patients there without family and see if they might like a little christmas cheer!  You do not have to spend a lot of money.  Most people would love to just spend time with a friend that has taken time to care.

4.  surround yourself with friends/family…grieving at christmas is a time when YOU choose who you want to surround yourself with.  Don’t put yourself in a position where you are surrounded by negative or draining people.  This is where you make the call.

5.  give yourself permission to grieve…sometimes its just good to cry.  Some people like to keep busy and keep their emotions in check.  Others like to sit and reflect on the memories of their loved one.  Everyone is different and you should decide to give yourself some time to weep…Don’t hold back the tears because it is all a part of a process.  But remember in the weeping that God is sufficient and His grace is sufficient.

There are always going to be very unexpected moments of sorrow.  From a flashback of a ‘christmas past’ to a song playing in a busy mall.  There is no predicting the course that it will take or how long it will last.  And even though it may subside for a while, it will never fully go away.  I wish I could say that it does…..but we can go to our heavenly Father and ask Him to bring to our minds His word, and the truth of His presence.  He will hear your cry and slowly replace your sorrow with His joy.

You are not alone!  God loves you and wants you to have His peace.  I’m not just saying things that might work.  This has worked for me since I lost my little sweetheart seven years ago.  And now with his birthday coming up this Friday…well, I can say that I get a little weepy around Christmas.  And of course it’s only been 2 years since we lost Jimmy’s mother at Thanksgiving…and her birthday is Christmas Day.

But we can rejoice.  Even in all the sadness and sorrow, I CHOOSE to remember that a Savior was born to take away our sins and make an eternal home for us in heaven.  I CHOOSE to remember my children that are still here and need my love.  I am so very blessed and so are you.  Look around you and count your blessings.  You might be surprised!!  MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIENDS!!  (and always know that you can write me and I will pray for you!! It’s a privilege!) 


Is there anything that could break your heart more than seeing a disabled person cry?  I don’t mean, shedding a few tears.  I mean a deep, sorrowful wail.

This happened yesterday when Jimmy and I took his father and little sister, Alicia for a drive into Jackson Hole.  It was an absolutely stunning day with a nice cool breeze and lots of gorgeous scenery.  During the drive, I received a phone call from a sweet friend in California.  Her daughter is gravely ill and Alicia heard parts of the conversation and became very quiet.  Once the call had ended, she very quietly said, “She is dying.”  We all turned and said, “What?”  She repeated her words and then began to cry.  At first we tried to console her, telling her that her friend would be alright, then we moved onto distraction.  Neither attempts were successful.  We just let her weep.

Only two years have passed since her mother had a massive heart attack and passed away.  Mary Alice was the main person that cared for Alicia for 38 years.  Not to say that Jimmy’s father, or the other siblings didn’t help; but Mary Alice knew her every need and cared for them with such grace.  She made sure that Alicia had exceptional manners and that she knew how to perfectly groom herself.  She saw to it that Alicia was dressed appropriately and never drew more attention to herself than necessary.  She made sure that she was fed properly and lacked for nothing.  She was irreplaceable.

So when Big Jim (Jimmy’s father) and Mary Alice came to Phoenix to visit and stay overnight, we were in a state of total shock when she collapsed at the Scottsdale Marriott, and died within minutes.  We had breakfast with them that morning at their hotel, and were to meet up again at two o’clock.  As we waited for them to meet us over at the Biltmore Shopping Center, Jimmy got the call from his father.

“Your mother has collapsed.”  Those were the words that stopped my husband in his tracks.  As I watched his face,  I could tell that something horrific had happened.  I listened to Jimmy tell his father that we would be there soon and he hung up and told me that,  ‘she didn’t feel well and they were taking her to the hospital’.  As we hurried to the car, I did the typical wife thing and started asking a million questions.  “Where are they?  How did she collapse?  Do they think it was serious?”  Every question was met with an “I don’t know.”

As we approached the Marriott, the ambulance was no where in sight, but the Fire Chief that had been called was escorting Big Jim from the hotel.  We didn’t even have a chance to get out of the truck when the Chief told my husband, that he would drive Jimmy’s dad to the hospital.  We followed the Fire Chief’s truck to the hospital and I told Jimmy that I would get out and go get information.  I must have ran because I was able to get to the emergency room before anyone else.  As I asked the attending nurse for information on my mother-in-law, she quickly called someone over and they asked if we would mind going into a private room.  This was my dose of deja-vu.

As it turned out, Mary Alice had passed away on the floor of the Marriott hotel.  The paramedics and doctors were doing all they could to revive her, but to no avail.  She was gone.

“Oh, dear God!  What do we tell Alicia?”  Big Jim, Jimmy and I, all cried as we asked this question over and over, waiting for someone to answer.

Alicia has the mind of a small child and can’t comprehend most things that we take for granted. She doesn’t understand time and we were certain that she wouldn’t understand death.  Her mother was her world and.. she.  was.  gone.

I called my brother-in-law, Nick and spoke to his wife, who is an anesthesiologist in Tucson and shared the horrible, horrible news.  They in turn, called their sister, Kathy, who was attending to Alicia.  I don’t know how they explained this devastating news to her, but she came to the hospital and had to go see her.

“Do we let her see her mother?”  We all had our own opinions, yet Alicia won this one (as she wins most arguments)  We all walked into the room where her mothers body lay, and agonized as Alicia held her hand and wailed.  There were no words to offer her that would help matters.  So we all cried with her as she spoke in her own broken language to her mothers shell, telling her that she loved her very much.

This all came back yesterday as she heard a phone call from the backseat of a vehicle.  The feelings flooded back and she had to let them go.  So, again, we sat and cried with her….waiting for tears to cease flowing.

God was with her in the backseat, just as He was with her in that hospital room.  He held her close and told her He loved her.  I believe it.  Her crying stopped almost as abruptly as it had started and she became calm and contented  before telling her brother that she wanted, “a hamburger for breakfast.”

Then tension in that vehicle was so dense until she made that statement and it was as if all her troubles had disappeared and she was onto the next subject.  Food.

God is good.  He holds us when we are hurting.  He is the Comforter and He loves us all so very much.

So………today we are going to have hamburgers for breakfast.  It’s just how we are going to roll …. today.  And tomorrow we will deal with tomorrow.  And the next day after that……and the next day after that…

FOOTNOTE:  The picture was taken last year on Christmas Day, which is Mary Alice’s birthday, and we celebrated both Christmas and her birthday on the beach in Mazatlan.

in memoriam…

With all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, it is worth reflecting on the death of a very important person, which almost went unnoticed last week.   Larry LaPrise, the man who wrote “The Hokey Pokey”, died peacefully at age 93.   The most traumatic part for his family was getting him into the coffin.  They put his left leg in.  And then the trouble started.


“And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people.  God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be nore more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” ~ Revelation 21:3-4 (italics mine)