Christian Author

Death and Life

Choosing to die…that another may LIVE

Dying that another may live is the greatest gift that anyone can give or receive.  This is what our Lord Jesus Christ did for us. His sacrifice for the sins of the world…and for every person is hard to put in words.  Maybe we can understand it better if we put it in a different context.  We hear so much today about the rights of a woman to have an abortion…if she so desires.  It is especially stressed by some, that an abortion would be acceptable if the health of the woman was at risk.  Some women know that risk and are willing to take it that her child might live.   Let me share a true story of one such woman.

Liz Joice and her husband, Max, found out they will have a child after thinking they will not be able to do so.  The mother refuses a test and treatment that may harm the fetus. She loses her own life in this choice, but gives the gift of life to her child and to her husband and family.  Having made this comparison to the greatest sacrifice of our Lord  to  that of a mother and a child, here are some details as told to the news media about Elizabeth Joice and her baby, Lily.

Liz and Baby Lily

Liz and Baby Lily

Cancer survivor Elizabeth Joice was told the chemotherapy that helped her beat sarcoma in 2010 would also leave her infertile, so when she and husband, Max, got the news that she was in fact pregnant, he said, “It very much felt like a miracle,” he tells CNN.

The happy news, however, was short-lived. Just a month into her pregnancy, Joice’s cancer returned, and though surgeons removed tumors from her back, there was no way of knowing how far the cancer had spread without a full-body MRI scan. But the dyes used in the scan could harm the baby, meaning she’d need to end the pregnancy before undergoing the procedure.

Joice opted to continue with her pregnancy but began having trouble breathing in her third trimester; an X-ray revealed tumors in her lungs.  Jan. 23 brought both joy and devastation.   Joice had a baby girl, Lily, via C-section, but “there were tons of tumors…” her doctor tells ABC News. “It had spread all over her abdomen.”

Tumors were also found in Joice’s heart and pelvis. She died six weeks later, on March 9.  Still, her doctor remembers the first time she saw Joice hold her baby. “The joy on her face was just incredible,” she says.

“She said, ‘This is worth itI would do it all again to have this child.'” 

Lily Joice

Lily Joice

Elizabeth Joice died to save her child, Lily Joice.   Jesus died to give us life…and to give it abundantly.  “No greater love has any man (or woman) than to lay down his (or her) life for another.   (as paraphrased from John 15:13)

Common Decency……

Common decency is the requirement of accepted or respectable behavior expected of human beings.   The head of EVERY nation should be demanding that Mr. Putin show common decency toward the families of those who died in the terrorist attack over Ukraine.

MR. PUTIN, RELEASE THOSE BODIES TO THEIR HOME NATIONS AND FAMILIES.  Leave Ukraine and go home to rebuild your nation’s reputation….or are you the same as your predecessors?

Update as of July 23, 2014:    Finally, some of the remains that were found in the crash site in Ukraine have made their way home.   However, even today, the pro-Russian separatists shot down more aircraft.  Mr. Putin has still not ask for the military to stop the fighting.  Because the site was so badly decimated , the critical evidence and probably still some of the remains are yet to accounted for.


UNANSWERED…the WHY of uncontrollable events

Tom McGuinness

Tom McGuinness Pilot on American Flight #11

Steve Scheibner

Steve Scheibner

The video I am going to share with you  is one that speaks of the unanswerable questions of life and death. One pilot lived; one pilot died. I agree with this video about 99%.   Steve Scheibner’s life was changed forever…his goals in life were intensified because he should have been in a certain place at a certain time and was not.   Another pilot, Tom McGuinness, was brutally murdered because he was fulfilling his duty as the pilot for the day.

One cannot understand why these unanswerable things happen.  There are no answers to the ones who were spared on 9-11  and those who were in the midst of it all and died.   Certainly there were those who called in sick to work; missed a bus or train; had another event that kept them away.  There were also those who went to work and did exactly what they were supposed to be doing on that terrible day…9-11.

The 1% that I do not agree with is that God…in anyway…thought it should be the last day of another’s life.   God only received the pilots/crews/(listed below) and passengers into His arms. 

Flight Attendants:
Barbara “Bobbie” Arestegui
Jeffrey Collman
Sara Low
Karen Ann Martin
Kathy Nicosia
Betty Ong
Jean Roger
Dianne Bullis Snyder 
Madeline Amy Sweeney

Captain John Ogonowski
First Officer Tom McGuinness

The terrorist were the ones who decided to kill those scheduled on American Flight#11, as well as thousands of others who died in the Towers.  They and they alone were the cause of this tragedy.

So often, we as Christians, say “God took them because He wanted (him/her) to be with Him”. I have even heard people say, “God needed another angel in heaven.”    That is just not God.   He is all loving and caring.  He does not bring evil upon those who are the target of someone’s distorted thoughts and evil plans.   He simply receives them unto Himself.

Having said this, I do not believe that the pilot on this video meant any harmful thoughts about God’s will on Tom McGuinness,  the American Airlines #11 pilot…for he honors him throughout the video.    One would ask, “What about Tom’s life?   Did he not have goals and desires?”   Of course he did. He is, for certain, greatly missed by those who loved him.

Nevertheless, the video is inspirational even if it does not answer the unanswerable.  Uncontrollable events simply carry us along with them.    Thank you, Steve,  for sharing your story with us.

Transparency…just forget about it!

We want to know that what we are told by our elected government officials is the truth and nothing but the truth.  However, the fact is that any transparency that we require from our government or any other government on earth is probably never going to happen.  Those in power are more concerned about their reputations or their political careers than the welfare or opinion of the people they represent.   In democratic societies, those who run for office know what the people want….and transparency is a promise that most will make but not keep.  If this is what we expect, we are probably being naive or simply hopeful.   I believe we can just forget that promised transparency will ever happen.

If we have a catastrophe of any kind, whether it is the result of something beyond our control (as natural disasters of floods, landslides, earth-quake etc.), and our man-made equipment or construction explodes or melts-down, we can be certain that we will not hear the truth…perhaps not even close to the truth…for public opinion is a powerful thing that most leaders do not want to confront.

Results of tsunami after earthquake  in Japan

Results of tsunami after earthquake in Japan

Take as an example, the melt-down of the nuclear reactors in Japan after the great earthquake and tsunami  hit that country, killing approximately 16,000 people; destroying 130,000 homes at a cost of 210 billion dollars.  The fall-out from this disaster polluted the waters moving out from Japan toward the U.S.A  and everyplace in between.   The air-pollution also spread out over the globe.   Food was contaminated.  The people were not told soon enough about the terrible dangers.

Nuclear plant  melt-down

Nuclear plant melt-down


Radiation Fallout

Radiation and contamination fall-out

Bags of contaminated radio-active materials

Bags of contaminated radio-active materials

Tanks of contaminated water

Tanks of contaminated water

Health risks for years to come. Baby being checked for leaked radiation.

Health risks for years to come. Baby being checked for leaked radiation.

Why was there not transparency from the Japanese government about the risks to those who survived and the continued leakage of radio-active elements from holding tanks?   The culture of “saving face” may have had a great deal to do with it.

Below is a video explaining this serious problem, which continues until today.   The Japanese are not the only ones with a transparency problem.   We can be certain that many other things that have effected us and will effect  us in the future is hidden away by those who would not give us the truth…until it is too late.   Pessimistic?  Yes…one would say so.   Who then can we trust to act…or speak on our behalf…and the people world-wide?    My mother did a wonderful needle point that she hung on her wall.   It may sum up that question:  ” LIFE IS FRAGILE, HANDLE WITH PRAYER”…as it may be our only option.

War is Hell…and the soldier asks “Who will love me?”

War is hell…anyway one looks at it. For every soldier that has fought, there has been the thought in the back of the mind…”Will I ever get out of this situation? Will I die here…and will my life have counted for something?” They listen to their commanders; do their duty; feel fear and sadness…and hope and pray for the best.

Yes in all the wars, some have turned their backs on country and comrades.. running away from a situation…with only their tortured thoughts to live with for the rest of their lives. Others can be proud that they faced each obstacle whenever and from wherever it came.   They marched into the unknown to rescue their own.  They faced the enemy not knowing if it would be their last day.   Many gave their all and we must not forget them.

As the 4th of July is approaching, we think of liberty and what it means.

Every now and then I find an old movie that is worth watching.   This was the case when I turned to  Born on the 4th of July  starring a young  Tom Cruise.  It is a violent movie with nudity and the worst of language, but a gripping reality of the Vietnam War and all that the young men went through, especially after they came  home.  Cruise stretches his acting ability to the limit in this dramatization of  a patriotic young man who loses it all in the horrors of battle.  It is a  realistic look at what  the families go through in coping with the aftermath of the veteran’s home-coming.

Movie “Born on the 4th of July”

A line in the film  that stood out to me was when this  young Marine cried to his father about his condition, asking ” Who will love me?” 

Not unlike the young men coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan, he felt he was half a man because he was now paralyzed from the waist down  with no hope of walking or having a family.  War  is raw…crude…and real.

It is hopeful that our military, who stayed the course and did their duty,  will have the proper home-coming.  Vividly portrayed,  the Vietnam vet continued to deteriorate emotionally with flash backs.  To add to the insults, the crowds spit on them and jeered at them, even during the 4th of July parades.  Politics had changed in the U.S. about the war even while the men were away fighting.

Many of these men signed up to fight communism before it took over the world.  They bled for what they thought was the enemy to our country’s future.    Torn apart, physically and emotionally, there seemed to be no future.   The Vietnam vet often  turned to drugs and alcohol for relief.    Broken in spirit, the question  remains,  “Who is going to love me?”

For anyone facing a devastating situation, there is only One who gives that unconditional love.

” For God so loved the World that He gave His only Son  that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

 This film reminds me that if I see  an older man with long hair,  somewhat shabby … in a wheelchair…or walking the streets with the homeless, it may be a Marine who once served proudly.  They came back to an embittered country and never got over it.   Other Vietnam vets returned to live productive lives, but never received the thanks due to them until more recently.

  Living with a tortured mind is a difficult thing. One evening, when my children were young, my front door flew open and a man yelled in the door, ” Is Charlie here?!”  He slammed the door and disappeared into the night.   He did not seem to see that we were sitting there.      I am sure that this man, who was living out a previous  war… thousands of miles away at another time.    (“Charlie” originates from the abbreviation VC for “Vietcong.” In the NATO phonetic alphabet, used in radio transmissions, the words for V and C are “Victor” and “Charlie”.   Victor Charlie for the Vietcong was soon shortened to Charlie.)

Our sons and daughters have given much in all the wars that America has fought.  Who will love them and care for them in their time of healing and need for excellent care?   It is a simple question that needs answering. Another question is “Who in military command and the U.S. government will be honest and as well as loving and comforting to the families of those who were flown home for their funerals?”  Often the family simply wants to know how their son or daughter died and was everything done possible to save them?  It is the least that can be given to them in their grief.


Mama Knows Best!

When you were born, you had a mother.  She may have been a good mother who gave you the attention and love that you needed.  For some, unfortunately, mothers do not always fit that description.  A child has to fend for his/herself and try to make some sense of life.

For those who had mothers who said too many times:

  • Be home on time
  • Call me to let me know exactly where you are and who you are with
  • Eat your vegetables
  • Wash behind your ears and brush your teeth
  • Calm down
  • and much more

I am sure some of you paid no attention to this advice, but went your own way…or paid part-time attention to these words of wisdom.  However, as we grow older, we realize that mother often was right about many things, whether we believed it or not at the time.  She may have saved us from some problems…accidents…and more.

Recently, I saw a video which proves without a doubt that “Mama knows Best”.   Even an animal knows when her little one is in danger….and will go to great lengths to save it from the dangers  of the world… especially those made by man.

Thank you to Ricky Forbes who photographed this in the Kootenay National Park in British Columbia

A Fascination with Birds….from USA to Mongolia


Florida Bald Eagle by N.Boyer

Florida Bald Eagle by N.Boyer

The walls of my home have enlarged photographs of the birds native to my area in Florida.  There is the Osprey, the Cranes, the Hawks, and most recently a Florida Bald Eagle shown here sitting quietly in my neighbor’s  pine tree.

When I was fortunate enough to be teaching English in Mongolia, I heard of the Golden Eagles that were used for hunting.  I did not see any in action on either of my trips, but a friend of mine sent an article about an amazing 13-year-old girl who is now joining the young boys and men who hunt with eagles in Mongolia.   I found this fascinating as this young girl, who now has a laptop and knows how to email,  also knows how to scale the mountains through the snow and hunt with her eagle.

William Kremer of BBC Magazine wrote this about her:

“Most children, Asher Svidensky says, are a little intimidated by golden eagles. Kazakh boys in western Mongolia start learning how to use the huge birds to hunt for foxes and hares at the age of 13, when the eagles sit heavily on their undeveloped arms. Svidensky, a photographer and travel writer, shot five boys learning the skill as well as the girl, Ashol-Pan. “To see her with the eagle was amazing,” he recalls. “She was a lot more comfortable with it, a lot more powerful with it and a lot more at ease with it.”

The Kazakhs of the Altai mountain range in western Mongolia are the only people who hunt with golden eagles, and today there are around 400 practicing falconers. Ashol-Pan, the daughter of a particularly celebrated hunter, may well be the country’s only apprentice huntress…”

Mongolia has a yearly Eagle Festival when the hunters bring their eagles and show what they can do. I am certain that this young lady will be a part of the all male group very soon.  Here are a few of the other pictures photographed by Asher Sydensky.

Mongolian Bahak BirgenIrka Bolen

Enjoy the video below on the history of the Eagle Hunters of Mongolia


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