Author: Nancy W. Boyer

Death and Life

Creativity Over-rides Depression after Loss

I remember the time that I looked out a window and the world seemed “ugly”.  This was when I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was going to have to pick up my three small children and leave an abusive situation.   It was not an easy decision, but it had to be made….for my sake and for theirs.

When one loses someone through death, divorce, or even a strong relationship within a family or without…there is a time of mourning.   Sometimes it includes depression and time to find a new beginning.  Fortunately for me, I found a new purpose in life. After 33 years of a second marriage, I am grateful each day that I was blessed in such a wonderful way.  Each day can bring a sadness that we least expect.  Dealing with it is like climbing a high mountain…or swimming against rough waves.  With faith and love, it can be done.

Creativity has also been one of my outlets…whether art, photography, music, decorating or writing.  When I saw this video below, I felt it was something I needed to share it with my readers.  Perhaps what Kirsty Mitchell, from England, found after the  death of  someone she loved will speak to you also.   My advice is to stick with this…even if the first few scenes seem a bit strange…stretch your understanding. It is a beautiful story.

The Wonderland Series Video

ANCIENT MANUSCRIPTS in peril as Christians flee homes in Iraq

In Iraq, Christians are fleeing for their lives. The ancient manuscripts are also in peril.  

Phillip Jenkins writes:  “The fall of Christian Mosul loomed in the beginning of the 20th century. Kurdish raids and bandit attacks repeatedly hit the monasteries and devastated their libraries. During World War I, the Ottoman Turks inflicted on local Christians the same attempted genocide they directed against the Armenians. By the 1920s, the once transcontinental Church of the East was reduced to about 40,000 survivors in the Mosul area…. The population included Assyrians, Catholic Chaldeans, Syrian Orthodox, and Orthodox Arabs, who hoped to benefit from the state secularism promised by Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath regime. If their ancient glories were long past, they hoped to remain unmolested in the land of the prophet Jonah and of the great patriarchs and abbots.The Ba’ath regime was shaken by the 1991 Gulf War and then overthrown in the 2003 invasion led by the United States, which brought Islamist resistance to the fore. The ISIS campaign will presumably spell the end of a Christian presence. We often read of the birth and growth of churches, very rarely of their deaths. In Mosul, however, we may be seeing the end of an astounding example of Christian continuity that lasted nearly two millennial.”


First, we learn some facts about on of the great monasteries of the area…St. Matthews.  

St. Matthews, Mosul, Iraq

St. Matthews Monastery, Iraq

History of St. Matthews:   “Located north of Mosul, St. Matthew’s Monastery—commonly known as Dayr Sheikh Matti—is perhaps the most ancient religious institution in Iraq. Although the Syriac life story of St. Matthew was published together with that of St. Behnam by Paul Bedjan in 1891, and translated into Arabic by Elias Behnam, this present account is more extensive and informative. It includes in-depth physical and spiritual descriptions of the monastery as an outstanding institution which played a significant role in the history of the Syrian Orthodox Church of the East. Mar Ignatius Jacob III offers insight into the monastery’s learned superiors, metropolitans and magnificent library. The monastery was a Seat of the Maphrianate of the East rivaling that of Takrit as a center of Syriac Christianity. The Patriarch laments adversities brought upon the monastery by the marauding Kurds who attacked it, killing monks and looting belongings including the monastery’s invaluable manuscripts. Not until the nineteenth century did some metropolitans retrieve it from the Kurds. Still, the attacks continued. In modern times, as monasticism has declined, the monastery has become more an attraction for summer vacationers than a place of retreat. Today St. Matthew’s Monastery remains a monumental Christian historical legacy revered by both Christians and Muslims of Iraq and neighboring countries. It is also held with great reverence by Western scholars since the most famous thirteenth-century Syrian writer, Bar Hebraeus, was buried there. ”  by Ignatius Yacoub III    Book available      

St Matthews Mosul Iraq.2

 60 minutes has given us an amazing view of what is happening there today.

CLICK TO WATCH VIDEO  (enlarge picture for best viewing)

60 Minutes PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS interview of Christians from St. Matthews.

The World at a Cross Roads…a Historic Speech or Prophetic?

Some are calling the speech made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a historic call to the freedom-loving countries of the world to wake up and see that there is a cross roads facing the world today.

Mr.Netanyahu was warmly welcomed with many standing ovations during his speech to the joint session of Congress.  This, being in spite of the fact, the President and Vice President of the United States refused to attend the speech…as did others within the democratic party. This fact alone may have looked to the Iranians as a “spit in the eye”to the Israeli Prime Minister. Most believe that the President of the United States does not have to agree with all that another leader thinks is the best route to peace. However,would it not be appropriate to the  dignity of the office of the President to show respect to another democratic leader and listen to his views? The American people also require an open forum for knowledge…and who is better to know about the Middle East than those who live there?

All this was happening as the Secretary of State was in Switzerland negotiating with the Iranians, who said a loud “NO” to time limits on their move to have nuclear capabilities. It is hoped that the Iranian people also saw the enthusiasm of the listening audience to Mr. Netanyahu’s speech…unless blocked by the government.

Fact by fact, Mr. Netenyahu laid out the reasons that the particular deal being worked on by this administration with Iran will never work. Israel is keenly aware that Iran has plans to “wipe them off the face of the earth” and the “Great Satan”, as the United States is called, would be next.

Below is this “historic” speech…or perhaps prophetic. It is shown in its entirety. (If not interested in the people arriving…slide forward to the speech.)

How would you fair…if war was in your backyard? Letter by eye witness in Ukraine

Exactly what would you do, if your community was on fire and destroyed from an invasion?   What would you do if the young people were not there to help you as an older person?   What about your grandmother or grandfather living some distance from you whose home is also in the middle of a war?  What about your lovely pets?   If you had no food, would you turn them out because there was nothing to feed them?   Terrible questions to consider.  Now, consider some of these pictures about the people of Ukraine, who had their own country separated from Russia after the collapse of the former Soviet Union:

Elderly woman watches a group of Pro-Russians storm office

Elderly woman watches a group of Pro-Russians storm office

Ukrainian woman cries as she is alone after a friend leaves war area on a bus.

Ukrainian woman cries as she is alone after a friend leaves war area on a bus.

Woman holding a baby also waits for a bus to take her away from her home to a safer area.

Woman holding a baby also waits for a bus to take her away from her home to a safer area.



Woman cannot live here any longer.

She  cannot live here any longer.

Nothing much left of this house after the Pro-Russian Separatist took care of it.

Nothing much left of this house after the Pro-Russian Separatist took care of it.

Priest and Old Woman

Priest and Old Woman view the dead in sorrow

Ukraine Volunteers are blessed before having to battle the Pro-Russian Separatist.

Ukraine Volunteers are blessed before having to battle the Pro-Russian Separatist.

Stray dog tries to get food from the elderly.

Stray dog tries to get food from the elderly.

Having spent time teaching in Donetsk, Ukraine, I am regularly updated with the REAL  story of what is happening to the people who are enduring the Russian separatists and living with what continues to go on there

So many elderly, sick and homeless have so much pain.   Even the college where I taught has been taken over by the soldiers. This was a lovely campus….thriving and vibrant.  Over the years, the curriculum had been made relevant to the people.  Oxford University in England, had some influence to the development.  I was there to teach English to a number of eager students. No longer do college students have a place to learn. Faculty, staff and families no longer have  a place to live and work for the good of Ukrainian youth.  Even former faculty children’s elementary classrooms has become a place for target practice as some of the Separatists posted on You Tube recently.

Ukrainian Emigrants to the U.S.A: Those of us who had the opportunity to travel in Russia and Eastern Europe, after the cold war was over, believed that things were changing for the better.  Some people from Russia and the Ukraine may have seen the handwriting on the wall.  Here in the USA, many Ukrainians have immigrated and settled off the Gulf Coast of south Florida.  They have built beautiful traditional  Russian style churches and they are thriving.  Even the public schools  in that area look for teacher who may be  bi-lingual in the Russian or Ukrainian languages.  This Ukrainian community  are hard-working people who have brought many skills with them to this country.   Many are strong in their Christian faith.

A little history:  After the collapse of the old Soviet Union,  many Russians around the Moscow area became rich people. There was a dark side to these new ways because the  old ways never really went away.  This can be confirmed by the “little man” or average person whose businesses were often under the threat of “mafia like tactics”.  This type of influence also came over the border into independent Ukraine.     Tactics of  poisoning, assassination attempts or burning  down the businesses of people who may speak out or are seen as the  opposition has long been a part of the Russian history. ( A most publicized and controversial  example was the 2004 poisoning attempt on Ukraine Presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko )

Ukraine  President  2008 Viktor Yushchenko seen before and after poisoning

Ukraine President 2008 Viktor Yushchenko seen before and after poisoning

What does the future hold?   Will Russia continue the march to the south and into other countries, like Ukraine, that once were part of the old Soviet empire?    Is this the ultimate goal of the Russian Leaders?  Either the people of Russia  today will see that their own freedoms are at risk and will rise up….or they will succumb to the old ways.  The Ukrainians are not the only ones in danger.  Even this week, the thousands of people pouring out on the streets of Moscow in protest of the assassination of Boris Nemtsov,  may be thinking that they have had enough of war with Ukraine, intimidation  and strong-arm tactics as well as assassinations from whatever source.

Thousands protest over Moscow Assassination  Feb 2015

Thousands protest over Moscow Assassination
Feb 2015

The war in Ukraine has not only devastated the lives of the Ukrainians, but hundreds of others throughout the world.  When Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine,10 Britons  192 Dutch, 28 Australians, 44 Malaysians and 1 U.S. citizen died…including children.

Pro Russian Separatist watches as OSCE tries to gather information on the crash.

Pro Russian Separatist watches as OSCE tries to gather information on the crash.

Regardless of all that is going on, the people are suffering…whether in Ukraine or other parts of the world.  (We must not forget the religious cleansing of Christians going on in the middle east.)    Perhaps the world is mad!

The letter  below was sent to me from Ukraine.  The names have been removed for the security of the person writing.   THIS IS THE REAL STORY of the people left behind and their need for care as well as a way to get away from the fighting.   I remember the beautiful, little town of Donetsk.  The town square,  as it used to be, is no more with men playing chess and artists selling their paintings.  Donetsk now has a ruined airport,  collapsed buildings and  devastated homes.


Dear Friends,

Greetings. First of all, thank you very much for your prayerful support.Our evacuation mission was blessed and finished successfully. XXXX,his grand-mother and mother are in safe place in our home town, XXXX. The trip was a bit more than 2000 km back and forth, to a town not far from the war zone. Two volunteers agreed to bring [XXXX’S family] to XXXX through XXXX,  which was under non-systematic shelling. The Lord kept them all the way and provided so that they were allowed through several block posts.  The day before, hundreds of people were [sent] back to Donetsk and other cities by Ukrainian soldiers with no explanation. But the Lord had mercy on this poor family.   My father and I came back very impressed and sick from what we saw and heard…Hundreds of thousands… Can you imagine?     Hundreds and hundreds of thousands feel that they have no past and no future, because they lost their houses, jobs,belongings, many lost their relatives who were either killed, or died because of hunger or diseases in air-raid shelters… So much pain and suffering… Many dogs were [cast out] by their owners because of a lack of food. They are slowly dying [from] hunger as well–hardly [able to walk] or [stand] on their feet. Some people still try to share their food with them…After we returned from XXXX [Region], I could not concentrate on my work for two days… I felt awful and sick that I cannot help all these many people. And that so many people feel indifferent in Ukraine towards refugees… Yes, I know all these theological dogmas that we should be driven by calling, and not by the needs of people…But when you look in the eyes of dozens of people, which reflect hopelessness and despair, you feel sick… you get sick… because you [can only] take one family and leave… With the help of some of you this mission became possible. This family is now safe. However it will take months before they recover physically, emotionally, spiritually. They react very nervously [at] every loud sound, which reminds them of shelling. I witnessed this yesterday and today when XXXX and I came to visit them and brought them some food. But this is just one family. One of hundreds of thousands… And at such moments I realize deeper and deeper the consequences of what had happened in the Garden of Eden – the consequence of the right to define yourself–the essence of what is good and what is evil for you personally and [for] your neighbor….



1) Pray for peace and an end to the fighting.
2) Remember all those left behind and those traumatized by warfare.
3) Pray for all Ukrainians who bring aid (food, medicine, financial help) to
people suffering in the war zone.
4) Pray that people will be open because of this crisis to seek God in their

70 YEARS….Lilly Jacob Zemanovic and the Auschwitz Album….Schindler’s List

This week the world has been remembering 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz.  It is hard to believe even this many years later the atrocities done there to so many people. Yet, it was a reality that must never be forgotten.

A few years ago, I took  Student Ambassadors  to Eastern Europe. We saw first hand the museum of Auschwitz with the thousands of eyeglasses, shoes, luggage, and the gas chambers.  I saw the tiny areas where prisoners had to stand for hours as punishment, with no way to sit or lay down.    Near these spots were messages scratched on the walls.   I saw a cross that is now covered with plastic to protect it.    One of my students  brought an arm-full of flowers to lay at the wall where so many had been executed.

 Even as late as 2011, the news reported that the President of  Iran  still  refuses to believe that the millions of  Jews, Christians, homosexuals,  political enemies of the Nazi regime, and others  went to their death in the consecration camps of Europe.

   The Prime Minister of Israel had to  stand once again to  tell the United Nations and the world that “Yes, Israel is a Jewish state”  and has the right to exist.  Even this week, our own President is refusing to see Israel’s Prime Minister when he comes to address our Congress and the peoples of the world. He will most likely emphasize what could lay in store once again unless we bind together to not allow these horrors… whether through nuclear annihilation or through the old method of  gas chambers.

  Question:  When will this persecution end…or will it?

Now, in 2015, my husband is taking a group of people to a Holy Land pilgrimage of Jerusalem.  Some ask, “Why would you go there when there is so much unrest in the Middle East?”   It’s simple….to walk the footsteps of our Savior, Jesus Christ…the Jew who gave himself for our salvation and to be the Messiah of all people including the Jews.

While in Jerusalem, the group will go to the memorial garden at Yad Vashem,  This is the remembrance of all  non-Jews  (Righteous Gentiles) who risked everything to hide Jewish neighbors and friends from deportation.   Oskar Schindler (see movie trailer below on Schindler’s List) and others  are named there.   These non-Jews are among the more than 21,000 who by 2006 have been recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations.   One of these was Father Pierre-Marie Benoit of France.   His monastary was busy all the time with people trying to flee certain death.  His printing presses ran full steam putting out new Baptism Certificates and false Christian names for Jews to be able to survive.   In 1966, he was honored on the Walk of the Righteous.      (To read more….Tribute to Father Benoit)     Christians and some Muslim people helped  hide the Jews.  This is not widely known.   The Christian group going on this pilgrimage will see the memorial stone for Oscar Schindler, a German businessman, who saved so many.  Today there are more than 7,000 descendants of the Schindler-Jews living in US and Europe, many in Israel. Before the Second World War, the Jewish population of Poland was 3.5 million. Today there are fewer than  3,000 and 4,000 left.

Holocaust Survivor Lilly Jacob

This is the picture of  Lilly Jacob Zelmanovic Meier, who died in 1999 in Miami, Florida.     When the troops arrived to rescue the survivors,  she found  pictures that are now known as the Auschwitz Album.   It is now in Yad Vashem in Israel.

This is Lilly’s story.  (Taken from the introduction of the “Auschwitz Album” shown below.

“18-year-old Lilly Jacob was deported with her family, and most of the Jews of Hungary, in the spring of 1944. On the ramp at Auschwitz she was brutally separated from her parents and younger brothers; she never saw any of them again. She was lucky and survived; yet, she was not always convinced of the blessing of having survived totally alone, bereft of family, friends and her world.

Unlike all the other survivors, she was granted a small miracle. On the day of her liberation, in the Dora concentration camp hundreds of miles from Auschwitz, she found in the deserted SS barracks a photo album. It contained, among others, pictures of her family and friends as they arrived on the ramp and unknowingly awaited their death. It was a unique tie to what once had been, could never return, and could never be rebuilt.    

It was also, as we now know, the only photographic evidence of Jews arriving in Auschwitz or any other death camp.  

After the war Lilly found and married Max Zelmanovic, a prewar acquaintance. Selling glass-plate prints of the album to the Jewish Museum in Prague enabled the couple and their first-born daughter, Esther, to immigrate to the United States. They settled in Miami and raised a family, yet the album continued to be central to their lives. Survivors spread the word of a unique album in the possession of a waitress in Miami, and they made their way across the country to seek her out, and to hope against hope that their lost family, like hers, might be engraved on its prints. Not a week would go by but Lilly would bring home strangers who were not strangers, and they would pour over the pictures and weep.

Rarely, someone would identify a family member, and Lilly would give them the snapshot. Since most of the Jews had been murdered, leaving no living trace, most of the photos remained unclaimed.  

In 1980 Serge Klarsfeld convinced Lilly  that the album should be safeguarded at Yad Vashem. She came to Jerusalem, showed it to Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and donated it to Yad Vashem, where it resides to this day and is treasured for the future.” 

If we turn our eyes away to things that are unjust, we definitely will repeat history. 


The music written for Schindler’s List  always brings tears to my eyes as I sit down to play it on the piano.  It certainly must have been inspired through the talents of John Williams.  Please listen for this music as you view the trailer on the movie, Schindler’s List below.  Turn up sound.


There is no hiding the facts…so get real in 2015!

Well, it’s that time again.  People begin to make New Year’s resolutions and the “lose weight” companies come out in droves!   Maybe it is also a time to get real.  Exactly how do I look to others?   What am I doing to myself if:

  • I’m a little overweight…progressively overweight…or very overweight?
  • My blood pressure is on the border line…medium high…very high?
  • My legs feel like they have too much to carry…my feet hurt…my hips and back hurt?

We won’t go on…but you get the picture!     Oh, speaking of pictures.  The internet is full of them that may tell the story better than I can.   Of course, one knows that if you put it out there to be photographed, in today’s media age…there is no hiding!

Here are a few to give us a good start.

men playing chess fat person fat people2

Men, Women, Children…and don’t forget the animals. We thought we would not show any children because they are not all together responsible for their overweight.  It is the parents, of course, who give the food, sets the boundaries, and set the examples.

fat dogThis poor little dog was probably fed from the table or begged for food constantly. His face shows his misery.  Have we had enough?

I can hear the reader saying now, “But…I don’t look like that!”   Neither did these people at one point in their lives.

We often hear of how things “creep” up on us.  Nothing can be truer than the condition that many Americans find themselves these days.

woman with weightsAs for me, I won’t ever look like this woman nor do I want to…but looks aren’t everything.   Health is!   So get out the tape and decide what you need to do to make 2015 a Happy and Healthy New Year.  fat man with tape


AFTER POST FOOTNOTE: Upon posting this blog, Stephen Liddell, one of my readers, wrote me a comment which I would like to share. It may be helpful to those wanting a change.  I  am posting my reply to him that may be of some interest to you about losing 25 lbs while in Mongolia.

Comment from Stepehen:
With all respects to those in the photos, I would be ashamed to go out looking like that. For the last 3 Christmas periods I have started by New Year diet 2 weeks early, in mid-late December.

It might sound like a crazy idea especially in the UK where Christmas and New Year is a week long event and myself with a birthday in the middle but really it is the perfect time. Nowhere does the message of Christmas encourage over indulgence. This time of year is already a blessing for its religious message, cultural and childhood traditions… time off work, good shows on the TV etc.

I don’t need the extra happiness of too much good food. Maybe in February when it is still dark and snowy that is the time for chocolate. Perhaps in July when the weather is hot and it seems a good idea to have some ice-creams. Not Christmas though.

Starting an eating plan in December is easier too, it means you’re already in the groove for new year resolutions and you’ve missed out on one of the heavier eating periods of the year. A double bonus!

Last January I started a ‘no sugar diet’

which i have stuck to do this day.

I did not do much else. As much as I don’t like pigging out, I am definitely not one for the gym or having muscles but rather the old fashion ideas of heating home-cooked wholesome food and doing lots of walking. I was happily surprised that I had lost one or two sizes more by November.

It’s never too late to start and during my 30’s probably lost around 3-4 stone and that has stayed off or reduced further in the last year or two and I haven’t spent a penny on fancy foods or sports equipment and clothing. My 40-42 inch clothes are long since replaced by the 32 or even 30 inch waist on a good day.

I hope someone will write back in 2016 to tell of their good news too!”

My reply to Stephen:

Thanks, Stephen    I’d like to share one of my experiences (and I need to lose about 30 lbs to be at my best).  When I was in Mongolia teaching English, I lost 25 lbs because the food was unfamiliar and while there I did not have any sweets (for 2 months)…as you mentioned about sugar.   When I returned to the States, my first bite of chocolate was like I had eaten  the  entire contents of a  sugar bowl.  It was awful, but of course, I readjusted myself to the love of chocolate….but this definitely tells one something about certain foods.”    Nancy at Boyer Writes

Thanksgiving and the lowly sweet potato

sweet-potatos-in-gardenIt’s orange…and odd shaped. Not the world’s most beautiful vegetable, but one may be surprised at the good it does in this world of violence and discontent.   One report spoke of a third world country where children were going blind.  After the families switched from growing white potatoes to the sweet potatoes, the children’s eyes greatly improved. World Vision shows sweet potato story






World Vision is a Christian organization that has helped people find hope, health, and a lively hood.   Click here to read the inspirational stories of World Vision

sweet-potatoes2Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamins A, B6,  vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin D, Iron, magnesium potassium, natural sugar.   If you know what all these vitamins help in a healthy you…then you are probably thinking about the heart, skin, immune system, and much more.

In our previous blog, we talked about relaxation and it is our wish at Boyer Writes that you are feeling rested and “full-filled” as you enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner with friends or family.  As you gather around the table, take a moment to give each person there a chance to say the things of which they are most thankful.  Even if a person is not considered religious, they usually have something to share because everyone knows at least one thing that is a blessing in life.

Just in case you want to add sweet potatoes to your meal, here is a special recipe for you and exactly how to make it.  HAPPY THANKSGIVING.

Click to see video….Ahhhhh the gourmet classic sweet potato


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