Thursday, August 15, 2013

Not Afraid of Death...Just Dying

Lately I find myself reflecting on death and dying.  Isn’t that a morbid way to start a blog post?

The last couple of months I’ve been in contact with a number of people who are dealing with the end stages of a terminal illness. 

I’ve come to the realization that I’m not afraid of death…just dying.

Let me clarify.  The dying process I’ve seen in people over the last few months is a painful process of bone degeneration resulting in fractures and infection. 

Another woman suffers from metastasizing lung cancer, now devouring multiple vital organs throughout her body. 

One blessing in the midst of these situations is the care and dedication of the Palliative Care hospital staff who work diligently to bring dignity, pain relief, and comfort to individuals in their final days.

Aside from the selflessness of the hospital staff none of this paints a pretty picture. 

Truth be told, I harbor a secret dread of cancer.  My mother succumbed to lymphoma at the age of 48.  We’re shaped by our past experiences and it’s hard to get that one out of my frame of reference.

Did you know 68% of the population indicates a fear of death?  To explain why I’m not part of those statistics let me share a story…

My grandmother was 92-years-old when she died.  She was unresponsive in the hospital when I went to visit her.  While I stood holding her hand, her breathing gradually became more and more shallow.  Panic slammed through me as I realized she was slipping away in front of me.

My brain screamed in protest, “I can’t handle this!”

Before I could think or feel or react in any other way a presence filled the room.  I’ve tried other times  to verbalize what I experienced,  but I’m afraid words come up short.

Panic melted away as an overwhelming sense of peace descended.  I was filled with a joy that I’ve never felt before or since.  The best I can do is to call it close to euphoria.  Peacefulness filled the room and I knew this was good and right.

I don’t know what happened in the hospital room that day.  I don’t know who was there with me as my grandmother danced with the angels…God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit… all of the above.  But I think, for an instant, I may have caught a glimpse of the glory of God.

“…I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, God’s home is now among his people!  He will live with them, and they will be his people.  God himself will be with them.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.  All these things are gone forever…’”  Revelation 21:3-4 (NLT)

The process of dying still scares me, but death?   Death is new life.

Are you afraid of death or dying?  Share your thoughts by clicking on “comments” below.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Haunted By The Past

Are you haunted by a past you wish you could forget?

Ashamed about something you’ve done and can’t undo? 

Wondering if you’re a terrible person; afraid people will “disown” you if they find out about your “secret”?

This might come as a surprise to you, but you’re not alone!  People everywhere mentally flog themselves for mistakes they’ve made; wishing they could go back in time and re-write history.

Image courtesy of Michal Marcol
What secret haunts you?
  • An affair
  • Abortion
  • Pornography
  • Addiction
  • Teen pregnancy
  • A promiscuous past
  • Stealing
  • Lousy parenting

Go ahead, name the shackle that binds you as a slave to guilt, shame, and anxiety.

Now read Jeremiah 31:18-20

“I have heard Israel saying, ‘You disciplined me severely, like a calf that needs training for the yoke.  Turn me again to you and restore me, for you alone are the Lord my God.  I turned away from God, but then I was sorry.  I kicked myself for my stupidity!  I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days.  Is not Israel still my son, my darling child?’ says the Lord.  ‘I often have to punish him, but I still love him.  That’s why I long for him and surely will have mercy on him.’”  (NLT)

Been there.  I’ve kicked myself many times for my stupidity, and there are a number of things in my past for which I’ve carried the heavy burdens of shame and guilt.

But this scripture tells you, regardless of your past, you’re still God’s “darling child” and He loves you and longs for you to return to Him so He can shower His mercy on you.

It’s easy to feel like you’re the only person in the world struggling with the secret you bear.  It’s easy to convince yourself you’re a horrible person. 
But, I guarantee, you’re neither of these things.  There are other people out there hiding behind smiling masks, carrying similar fears.

I speak from personal experience.   Staying loaded down with guilt and shame is no way to live.  We’re meant to live in freedom, not slavery. 
Image courtesy of photostock

Finding that freedom is what birthed this ministry, “Living Day By Day In God’s Grace”.  Having found the freedom grace offers, I never want to go back to bondage!

Bring your secret to God, confess it, and accept the mercy He longs to give.

What part of your past do you need to bring to God today?

Friday, August 2, 2013

A Plethora of Pie

It's summer and that means fruit season.  Fresh strawberries, rhubarb, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, apricots, plums...the taste buds quiver in anticipation of juicy, sweet, fruity treats.

And guess what!  Fruit season heralds the arrival of PIE season!  Sure, you can make pie from frozen fruit, but there's no better pie than one that comes from plump, juicy, fresh fruit.

So here you have it...a plethora of pie!  Strawberry/rhubarb, blueberry, and peach/blueberry.  Use the basic pie crust, and just pick your favourite fruity filling.

Here's the never fail pastry recipe I included a little while ago with the pecan pie recipe.

Never Fail Pastry

- Use the full recipe and freeze the rest.

5 cups flour
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 cups Tenderflake or Crisco lard (shortening)
1 beaten egg
1 tbsp. vinegar

Mix flour, salt, and baking powder together.  Cut the lard into the flour mixture until crumbly.  (HINT - if you have a Kitchenaide it makes easy work of this step, then you can hand mix the rest)

Beat the egg in a glass measuring cup, add the vinegar, then add enough cold water to make 3/4 cup of liquid.

Add the liquid mixture to the flour crumb mixture and mix by hand - knead a couple of times on a hard surface to completely mix.

NOTE:  If you want to 1/2 this recipe use the whole egg and just half of the other liquid ingredients.

Now pick your favourite filling from the recipes below, or better yet, make a pie a week for the next three weeks!  :) 


2 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped
2 cups strawberries, halved
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Line an ungreased pie plate with pastry.  Mix dry ingredients together; add rhubarb and strawberries.  Mix well and place in uncooked pie shell.  Cover with the top crust.  Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake about 50 minutes longer.


4 cups blueberries
2 tbsp. flour
2/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. butter

Combine blueberries, flour, white sugar, salt, and lemon juice.  Stir together and let stand for 10 minutes.  Line a pie plate with pastry.  Pour in blueberries, sprinkle with brown sugar and dot with butter.  Cover with top crust.  Bake 35 - 45 minutes at 425 degrees.


2 tbsp. lemon juice
3 cups peeled, pitted, sliced peaches (for step by step instructions on peeling peaches go to
1 cup blueberries
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp. quick cooking tapioca
1/2 tsp. salt

Put peaches and blueberries in a bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice.  Mix sugar, salt, and tapioca in a separate bowl.  Toss lightly with fruit.  Let stand 15 minutes.  Turn into pastry and cover with top crust.  Bake 45 to 50 minutes at 425 degrees.