Dead Sea Conspiracy Book Review

Book review for Jerry Jenkins latest book: “Dead Sea Conspiracy” 4 Stars

This is book two of Jerry Jenkins new series Dead Sea Chronicles. “Dead Sea Conspiracy” and book one (“Dead Sea Rising”) go back and forth between ancient and current timeframes.

My opinion is you should read book one, “Dead Sea Rising (DSR),” before reading “Dead Sea Conspiracy (DSC)” because it clarifies characters and storyline in both timeframes (ancient and current).

DSC is fast paced and rich with details about archaeology, although it is written in such a way it will be easy and enjoyable to follow along. At the end of book one (DSR) the timeframe bounce was a mystery, but will be clarified in this book. This book has mystery, intrigue, and you will find it difficult to put this book down.

My 4 star rating versus 5 stars is due to plausibility questions I had about a murder, a suicide, and technology hampering. Also, I admired the strength of the character Dr. Nicole Berman in book one but felt that fell short in this book.

That being said, these books are both enjoyable reads, and I recommend them.

Note: I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I provide an honest review – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Matthew 19:1-2

Thy Word:

“When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went down to the region of Judea east of the Jordan River. Large crowds followed him there, and he healed their sick.” Matthew 19:1-2 NLT

My Thoughts:

Jesus just gave us that profound lesson on forgiveness ( then he leaves Galilee to go to the region of Judea east of the Jordan River.

This was gritty traveling. They were on foot and the journey took multiple days, while sleeping under the stars. There were no public restrooms, no fast-food restaurants, or B&B’s. Yet crowds followed Him and most* embraced and relished his teachings. While on the journey Jesus mercifully healed their sick.

“At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them.” Luke 4:40 NIV

*Even though Jesus had followers on this journey there were men in the crowds who didn’t embrace his teachings. There were religious leaders and spies listening to His every word. However, their goal was not to gain understanding or healing, they were looking for ways to trick and trap Jesus to reduce His popularity and make Him look bad to the crowds.

In this blog we are going to ignore these troublemakers for now and focus on those who were following Jesus for answers and healing.

I am a follower of Jesus who is constantly looking for direction, seeking answers, and I want to trust Jesus with everything. (Shoot, I also want to freely mingle in crowds again without Covid worries! 🙄)

I want to hear all the blessings and teachings even when they cause me to squirm because I want to change for the better. I want His words and promises to permeate my soul while my faith and trust stay intact and strong especially in challenging times. I want to be fearless and follow Jesus wherever He takes me even when I can’t see where the road is leading me.

But I’ve been struggling, and I feel lost. What I want and what I am doing do not match up.

These past two years have challenged me physically, mentally, and spiritually. I have lost my ‘normal’ routines, I’ve had to deal with death, cancer invaded my husband’s body, and the added isolation, while necessary, has been brutal. There have been times where it feels like I am deep in the valley while Jesus is high and out of my reach.

However, what God says is He never leaves us, no matter what we “feel” is happening as we follow Him:

“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT

He also says:

“Surely goodness and mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life. Psalms 23:6a AMP (highlights made by me)

God knows I’m scattered right now so He hems me in, surrounding me in His love. No matter which direction I turn, I will land directly into His loving arms once I take a step.

He also knows my heart and despite my discombobulation, He knows that I love Him. Therefore, He has closed the gap by encircling me in His presence, in goodness, mercy, and love.

I. Love. That. I need that!

During these tough times God warns us:

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.” Proverbs 4:23, 25-27 NLT

He also keeps the path lit with His words even in the darkness:

“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” Psalms 119:105 NLT

God doesn’t say “stop it” or “be a big girl, Cecilia,” He says while I am walking through this valley, He is with me, but He also warns me to stay on my guard because:

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 NLT

On those days or moments when I am struggling through the muck and mire in this valley, Jesus isn’t the only one hanging around. Evil wants to keep me in the valley and fill my thoughts with doubts, fears, and highlight my weaknesses.

But God, reminds me to lift my head above the noise so I can hear Him, and to keep walking forward and follow Him. This is critical because my feelings are irrelevant and unreliable and can trick me into falling for the lies of the evil one. However, God has never been more relevant, present, or trustworthy, especially in my times of need!

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NLT

Come to me Jesus gently calls. He never forces Himself on us, but just like those who freely followed Him, who received healing from heavy burdens, they were finally able to rest. Now that’s a compelling promise, wouldn’t you say?

“Avail yourself of every spiritual strength and blessing. Heaven knows, we need the help. God is here to give it.” Max Lucado “Begin Again”


Prayer: Father God, oh how I love You! Thank you for the Bible that leads us through everything we face in life through your Word. I pray we all make the commitment to follow You, find Christian friends and mentors, and get ourselves in a Bible believing and teaching church to guide us on the journey. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Matthew 18:21-35

Thy Word:

Parable of the Unforgiving Debtor

Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”

“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!

“Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt.

“But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.

“But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.

“When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.

“That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.” Matthew 18:21-35 NLT


My Thoughts:  

Lord, please guide my words and let me communicate your truth and love and add nothing that will bring harm to anyone who is struggling with forgiveness. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Photo by on

One of my favorite sayings goes something like this: Forgiveness is a choice and it’s a gift we give to ourselves. We forgive not because they deserve it, but because we deserve it. (credit unknown)

STOP! Before you close this blog thinking it’s another wasted effort on the benefit of forgiveness, please let me explain something about forgiveness:

When we forgive:

  1. we do not forfeit the pain, the hurt, or pretend it didn’t happen, nor do we have to give our trust back to an individual.
  2. we must remember forgiveness is not association. In other words, we do not have to reconcile a relationship when we forgive, especially if the offender is an abuser or a repeat offender.
  3. we can leave first and forgive next. Sometimes we must stay away for safety.
  4. we should not delay forgiveness until an offender’s behavior changes, because changes may never happen. If that is your situation, see #3.
  5. even if an abuser repents or stops their injurious behavior, it may be sensible to use caution around them and/or choose not to associate with that person. This is especially true if reconciliation could endanger you or a family member if there is a relapse.

Sometimes the only solution in a dangerous situation is to leave first, then work on healing and forgiveness when you are safe.

A personal example and a clear warning: As a child (7 years old), my mother chose to leave my father, an abusive alcoholic, as it was clear he had no intentions of changing his behavior. Eventually we were finally safe when she fled, but we did not get professional help so we could all learn to heal through forgiveness.

“Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” Hebrews 12:15 NLT

Skipping that step caused damage to my heart and negatively impacted my life. Like the servant in the parable, I was a tortured prisoner…, tortured by myself, my own fears, and bitterness. Eventually, I did choose forgiveness and my heart healed but not until I was 44 years old. Horrible truth. I pray if you and your family are in a comparable situation you learn and embrace forgiveness by attending a good Bible believing and teaching church and by seeking the help of a sound Christian Counselor.


Today I am picking up where I left off writing from the book of Matthew. Naturally, the Lord gave me a tough topic but I’m relying heavily on Him to guide me. If there are errors, they are mine and not the Lord’s.

The verses we read today seem like two different stories, but they are not. It’s one story and it is all about choosing to forgive…, or not.

When we look at Peter’s question to Jesus in our opening verse, we see he might have developed an issue with someone about forgiveness. In fact, he has already pre-determined the number of times we should offer forgiveness (seven times), which might have coincided with the number of times Peter had already forgiven that person!

But Jesus takes Peter (and us) by surprise and not only rebukes Peter’s answer but tells him he is to forgive multiple times. My Bible commentary suggest that Jesus was implying our forgiveness should be endless.

Then Jesus launches into a parable.

So, what is a parable?

Definition – usually a short fictitious story that illustrates a moral attitude or a religious principle; provides an instructive example or lesson.

Jesus talks about a king who decided to audit his financial accounts. He notices he has one servant who owed him large sums of money and he demands repayment. The servant tells the king he has no way to pay the debt, so the king orders the servant, his family, and all assets sold to settle the account.

The servant, stricken with fear, begs for more time to repay the debt. His plea must have been heart rendering, because the king takes pity on the servant and instead of giving him more time to repay, he does something amazing; he forgives his enormous debt. WOW!

Immediately leaving the king’s presence, the servant does not collapse to his knees in relief and shout hallelujah’s telling everyone about the king’s magnificent mercy. Instead, he does just the opposite and is cruel to another man who is indebted to him.

We receive no explanation why the servant does this, however, we learn when the king hears about the servant’s cruelty, he immediately retracted his gift, threw him in prison, with instructions to torture the servant until his enormous debt was paid in full.

Finally, Jesus ends the parable with a warning to Peter that this (imprisonment and torture) is what will happen to him should he choose to withhold forgiveness. Then Jesus adds to the warning: it must be true forgiveness from the heart.

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 NLT

As I stated earlier, I struggled with forgiveness from the time we escaped from our abusive situation, until I was 44 years old. My heart was ridiculously hard where my father was concerned. My justification for my anger and unforgiveness was the long-term impact his poor behavior had on our family. I openly hated him and took a hard stance to never forgive him for what we endured.

Let me be candid about that choice: that decision didn’t harm him, he went merrily along with his life, but it made a mess of mine! It created a deep and wide chasm of anger, bitterness, and serious trust issues. My commitment to that decision was so strong, I carried it way past my father’s death (he died when I was in my early twenties). I put myself in prison and tortured myself waiting for an amendment that never came from him when he was alive and certainly wasn’t going to happen after he died.

Then one day Jesus extended an unbelievable and very personal act of mercy to me through a pastor’s message. He said:

If you are listening to me today and you are the victim of abuse by a parent, I have a special message for you:

I am so sorry.

I fell to pieces, y’all. Until that very moment, I didn’t realize the amendment I was seeking was an apology. Suddenly, the chains around my heart broke free and I became a free woman with those four words. The healing process began, and the self-torture ended.

Jesus knew I was seeking something I couldn’t even put into words, so He handed me that gift because he knew the depths of my heart. That day, I surrendered my heart and my hurt to Jesus. When I did that (not just spoken words but a surrender from my heart) He took my unforgiveness, my past, present, and future sins and forgave my enormous debt. What I received that day was something much better than anything my own biological father could have ever given me.

You may be thinking, “So why do horrible things happen to good people?” The answer is as hard as it is easy; free will. God gave us an enormous and powerful gift; He gave us free will to make our own choices and decisions. Sometimes we make the right choices; however, sometimes we make bad choices and when we do, we hurt others. (We are all guilty.)

While it may be tempting to take revenge, there is no healing in revenge, only more pain and suffering. God tells us:

“Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.” Romans 12:19 NLT 

My father lived recklessly for years, but eventually he died a terrible and painful death from the effects of cirrhosis of the liver at the age of forty-nine. However, it wasn’t his death that brought me peace, it was forgiving him.

Truth Bomb: When I refused to forgive him; I kept the offense alive and repeated his behavior of hate, and I hurt innocent victims.

Forgiveness is something you must choose to do, whether you feel like it or not. When I finally realized what I was doing to myself and others, my choice to forgive my father was not a “once and done” thing. I had to choose to forgive him multiple times, but you know what happened? Eventually, my feelings got in line with my choice, and I can say I finally truly forgave my father, from my heart, for what he did to me and my family.

A big lesson I learned from my own personal experience is that I am not without sin or in need of forgiveness—from God and others. No, I didn’t abuse anyone physically, but I can cut you down at the knees with my words. I speak this truth in shame. I have had to apologize for my own bad choices more than once. But just like that king in our parable, Jesus had mercy on me, because He wanted to forgive my huge debts (sins).

“Create in me a clean heart, O God.” Psalm 51:10a

When I shed the past pain and my sins to Jesus, the Lord went right to work on my heart!

“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” Ezekiel 36:26 NLT

Make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you [Cecilia], so you must forgive others.”

I have one last word of repeat advice to parents who have escaped an abusive situation: get Christian professional help for yourself and your child(ren) because leaving is not enough! You must address the abuse for the health and well-being of yourself, and your child(ren). Had my mother known to do this, it would have been a blessing for her, me, and my siblings. We would not have grown up with so many misunderstandings, bitterness, and pain. A Christian counselor would have used the Word of God to heal our internal and unseen wounds.

Remember, forgiveness doesn’t happen overnight, so give yourself grace on the journey, but don’t give up (seventy times sevenMatthew 18:22).

As a reminder, your past cannot change, but you can change yourself with the help of Jesus.

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” Ephesians 2:8

To be unforgiving is a dangerous choice to make because Jesus says:

“But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:15 NLT

Is that a burden you think you can carry alone?


Closing Prayer: Jesus, thank You for never giving up on me despite my hardened heart. Thank You for never stop whispering to me even when I wouldn’t listen. Thank You when I finally was so exhausted from the battle, I truly listened to Your words, and they captured my heart. Thank You for loving me, Jesus, even when I was the most unlovable. Your love and mercy continue to astound me every day. In the name of Jesus, I thank You for Your mercies, and I also pray I gave justice to Your words today. Amen.

Cancer Update and My Word for 2022

Thy word:

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

“Instead, let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the Lord.” Lamentations 3:40 NLT

“So here’s what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t. The heart regulates the hands.” 2 Corinthians 8:10-12 MSG

My Thoughts:


December 2021

I am very tardy about giving an update on my husband’s cancer. Thank you for your patience.

Short answer: Danny’s last chemo was 11/12/2021 and he had a CT scan soon afterwards. The scan was clear, and his blood work was good, not perfect, but good. We cried tears of joy and praised the LORD. He needed that good news and a break from chemo, and frankly, so did I. We absolutely cherished our end of year holidays.

Clouds: The one thing I’ve learned about cancer is it often has ‘clouds’ which prevent clear answers to questions. For instance, throughout the chemo process there was a cancer marker from the blood tests that was consistently higher—rather than lower—after each treatment. That marker often implies that cancer is still lurking/spreading somewhere. Although comforted by the knowledge this marker for colon cancer can become skewed with treatment, it is still unsettling. Our hearts were hoping to get clear results that ‘he is 100% healed’ with no clouds to unsettle us.

Faith and Trust: Instead, the Lord asked us to continue to lean into Him with our faith and trust as we wait for repeat and additional testing this spring. With the wonderful blessings we have had on this journey, I’d like to say we responded with a confident, “Certainly LORD! No problem!” 😬 Really, it is mostly true, but there have been times when we have had conversations about the “what if” scenario. In the end, we made the decision to stand in God’s truth and not wallow in fear. We are moving forward in confidence that he has full healing and making plans for our future!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6



Since 2015 each year I pray for a word from the Lord to guide my new year. I don’t usually ask until I’m ready for an answer because (so far) He gives the word to me right away. I can’t say I’m always pleased with the choices. However, the words I have received—although challenging—have all been appropriate, life applicable, and a blessing.

For instance, last year my word was ‘steadfast’ and the primary verse that I clung to (among others) was:

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” Psalms 112:7 NIV

This word and verse have been more than applicable for a year that included cancer. Our blessing and promise for the year 2021 lie in this verse, in Proverbs 3:5-6, and in Deuteronomy 31:8. ❤️

For 2022 I received an odd word. Odd because no matter what version of the Bible I researched there were no supporting verses because that word is not in the Bible. Therefore, I decided it wasn’t my word and kept praying, yet my heart kept turning back to this word:


I am familiar with this word as I received five instructions from a wise Bible teacher years ago to use as a guide for making sound decisions. In fact, I’ve used these steps for guidance multiple times:

  1. What does the Bible say about it?
  2. What would be the wise thing to do?
  3. What does my conscience say about it?
  4. What are my personal desires?
  5. Am I ready to redirect at any time?


The dictionary also had insightful things to say about this word, but I liked this one:

Redirect – to change the course or direction of (something); turn back.

Again, I didn’t find verses that specifically used the word ‘redirect,’ but I chose these two as being most applicable when I accepted redirect as my word for 2022:

“Instead, let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the Lord.” Lamentations 3:40 NLT

“So here’s what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t. The heart regulates the hands. 2 Corinthians 8:10-12 MSG

(Underlining of words in these verses was mine.)

I didn’t exactly turn away from the Lord, but I did turn my back on a calling last year. Is it possible the Lord is asking me to examine myself and turn back (redirect my actions) to what He called me to do?

Is He asking me to redirect my thinking and stop worrying about what I can’t do and instead focus on what I can do?

The last words in verse 10 of 2 Corinthians say, “The heart regulates the hands.” My heart belongs to Jesus, and my hands used to write, guided by my heart. Is He asking me to redirect my heart and hands from writing things that had good intentions (keeping up with tasks during our difficult season) to the right intentions (to return to writing what He called me to write)?

Finally, twice He says “finish.” This speaks volumes and I must ask myself, am I arrogant enough to ignore this redirection to stop what I’m doing and finish what He called me to do?

Although tough questions, I can certainly use them to redirect my new year.

Additionally, as a friend reminded me: 365 New Mercies!

Before I wrap this up, I’d like to give you my answers to the five questions I mentioned earlier:

  • What does the Bible say about it? – “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 NLT
  • What would be the wise thing to do? – Be obedient! “But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22 NLT
  • What does my conscience say about it? – Turn back! Partial obedience is full disobedience!
  • What are my personal desires? – To finish what I started and to know God’s pleasure. “Well done my good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:23 NLT
  • Am I ready to redirect at any time? – Yes, but I need you, Lord. “Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer; answer me, for I need your help” [to redirect.] Psalms 86:1 NLT


My Prayer: Father God, I continue to ask full healing for Danny and guidance in this new year for both of us. Protect us from all viruses when we venture outside our home. For all upcoming medical procedures and appointments, we ask for wisdom, guidance, and compassion from all medical professionals and their staff. Lastly Lord, I ask You to firmly redirect my thoughts and actions from good intentions to the right intentions, all the way to the finish line. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.


Covid and Cancer

Thy Word:

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NLT

My Thoughts:

Definition of weary: (1) Exhausted in strength, endurance, vigor, freshness

(2) having one’s patience, tolerance, or pleasure exhausted

I am weary. That weariness has been the culmination of multiple things and has prompted me to isolate and stop doing things I normally love. One of those things I’ve stopped is writing. I haven’t written a blog in a while, and I’ve also stopped writing my book “*Broken Ten” (okay, I may have been fighting that last one for a long time!). So, what do I do instead? I created lists and man do I have a LOT of lists!

Working from lists is a habit I developed in my corporate years to control projects, however, I continued to utilize this habit after I retired. It was one way for me to gain a sense of self-accomplishment when I no longer had performance reviews.

I am also easily distracted (squirrel!), and a list keeps me on task. During the worst times of 2020 I created a whole set of ‘Pandemic Project’ lists to not only get some things done, but to bring in laughter! (Pandemic Projects was a fancy name for a ‘Honey-Do Lists!’)

However, I also use lists as a coping mechanism when life seems out of control around me. I focus on the things I can control, and yes, I do like to be in control. Admittedly this is not always an attractive trait, especially when things are out of my control, and I have been faced with multiple things that have fallen into that category: 

  1. Covid pandemic and isolation
  1. Death of my aunt
  2. Family members got Covid
  3. Death of my little adopted dog
  4. My husband diagnosed with cancer

Let me unpack these things for you; to start with I had never even heard the word “pandemic” (or Covid) before March 2020! Those words brought nationwide insanity and panic grocery shopping. This was a double whammy for me because I wasn’t just shopping for myself, but for my elderly Aunt! Thank goodness for a family support structure that helped with the latter!

Still, this deadly virus changed everyone, including me, and left our nation in a divided and contentious state. From ridiculous (toilet paper shortage) to devastating (the loss of loved ones), we have all been impacted.

I pray we not only regain our health from this virus, but we return to being sane citizens of the UNITED States of America!

Just to make things even more challenging my aunt entered the hospital 6/26/2020—not from Covid, but an age-related health issue and dementia. It wasn’t a typical stay like we expected, but rather a convoluted two months of care and rehab that ended with her passing in September 2020. The Pandemic played an ugly role in her care because of the family’s inability to visit her in person.

I was her caregiver, then I quickly moved to her Power of Attorney, and ultimately the Executor of her estate. Unless you have been a caregiver, I don’t think you can fully understand the magnitude of what it does to your own physical and mental well-being. Throw in the pandemic and other people you don’t know making decisions you should be making as a family, and it is complete heartache.

Please understand, I am not blaming any medical personnel for what happened during those two months! They were just as upside down as we were as a family. Suddenly the relief they naturally gained from family standing in the gap to help with patients, was ripped away from them too! They were overworked and understaffed. 

Probably the best and worst thing that happened with my aunt was she passed away in her sleep. It was admittedly the best way for a person to go (and that was her prayer), but it was sudden and unexpected for us left behind!

My Aunt Billye

While I was in the big middle of planning her burial (again, the Pandemic made things horrible here too), I received a call that Covid had struck our family. The details are not my story to tell but it was a terrifying time for everyone. Before that family member recovered, another loved one got Covid.  If you have any doubts this virus is real and has devastating side effects, let me assure you it is real and horrible. We are extremely blessed we didn’t lose anyone to this horrible virus.

By this time, I was so frazzled I decided to adopt a little dog in October 2020. I had dreams she was going to be my ten-pound bundle of joy, go with me everywhere, and be a comfort to my jagged heart. Unbeknownst to everyone involved, she had a serious underlying health issue that manifested itself as aggressive behavior outside of her normal environment. One day after a very difficult walk with her, I said to my husband, “I am not sure she is right in the head.” Little did I know that comment was going to come back to bite me. The short and shocking bottom line: She had a brain tumor and in April 2021 she went to heaven.

Miss Zoey Bella

However, perhaps the worst thing of all happened in March of 2021: my husband was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer. What followed was surgery and several months of test after test to look for cancer genetic markers and cancer lurking in other organs. Based on those results, a determination for the best treatment would be made. I am happy and relieved to say all the test results were a big NEGATIVE for genetic markers and other cancers! Praising the LORD!! The final tally: He ‘just’ has colon cancer (did I JUST say ‘just’? Yes, I did!).

Next step: chemo for six months every other week and this week we start treatment number two. If everything goes well, he will be finished in time for Christmas.

The love of my life

So yeah, I’m weary and tired of all the crazy that has been happening in our lives! But God never promised living in this world was going to be easy! In fact, He said:

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” John 16:33b NIV

Things happening around me might not look or be like what I want but I’m not the only one having difficulties! Plus, He has been before me every step of the journey:

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

This verse has been a huge help and something that I pray frequently at night (replacing the word ‘you’ for the word ‘me’). But the verse that has given me the most comfort when I have been or am the most upset:

“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.” Romans 8:26 NLT

There were times through these trials that I didn’t know what to ask in prayer and the best I could offer were tears. Lots and lots of tears. But I knew that the Holy Spirit, that lives in me, turned every tear into a word that He personally communicated to God on my behalf.

How. Great. Is. That?  Oh God! How gracious you are!

“You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.”

Psalms 139:5 NLT

“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!” Psalms 139:6 NLT

I don’t understand a lot about what has happened and what else could possibly happen, but I do understand this: God is good, and He is faithful, and the best part? He will use every thing that has happened towards good.

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 NLT

My Prayer: Father God, I may never fully understand where You are going here in this world, but what a sweet blessing I can clearly see where You have been, and I know You are always with me. Amen, amen, amen.

(*Broken Ten-is a fiction book I’m writing. Loosely it is about my life and a quick summary about it is: “A woman painstakingly fashions an orderly life to hide her broken past. Now she stood at a crossroads where God was asking her to reveal those secrets that could unravel her life but give hope to a group of hopeless women.”)

PS: A lot has changed about WordPress since I last wrote a blog. No pictures this time, but I will figure it out hopefully!

Zucchini Soup

Zucchini…, it’s in abundance inTexas in the fall! I found this recipe on one of my favorite websites and make it every year. If you are entertaining, this makes a great little pre-meal soup. We are not that fancy, so I add roasted chicken to the soup and we have it as our main meal. Enjoy!

Zucchini Soup from


1/2 of an onion quartered

2 cloves of garlic

3 medium zucchini, skin on, cut into chunks

32 oz reduced sodium chicken broth

2 TBLS sour cream

Salt and black pepper to taste

Grated Parmesan cheese, if desired for topping


Combine chicken broth, onion garlic, and zucchini in a large pot over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and purée with an immersion blender, add the sour cream and purée again until smooth.


If you’d like to use this as a main meal add: Roasted chicken breasts cut into bite size chunks

After you purée the soup, add the chicken and return to low heat until the chicken is heated through.

No Tears In Heaven

I cried again and no one was more surprised than me. I thought I had cried all the tears I was going to cry and had moved on to ‘practicality mode.’ 

Today’s task was simple; move her final belongings from the care facility to storage—items I had carefully chosen so she would feel at home. Items I hoped would bring familiarity and would break through the cruel web of dementia. 

Because of Covid restrictions all her items were packed by someone else. I just had to call the movers when the packing was complete and ready to go. I was pleased to see the same crew arrive that had moved her in less than a month ago.

As they were loading the truck, the lead man said, “What happened, she didn’t like it here?” 

My husband quietly responded, “She passed.” 

That is when it happened; my tears started flowing. 

The movers were dumbfounded. I knew exactly how they felt because I felt the same when I got the news. Sweet but awkward words tumbled out of their mouths and then a bustle of activity ensued to break eye contact with my raw grief. 

It did not take long to load the truck, and off we went to storage. It was my job to hand carry her favorite bedside lamp and unlock the storage unit so I could put the lamp in a safe place before the movers unloaded the remaining items. I hopped on the elevator and gently set the lamp on the floor at her unit to unlock and lift the big overhead door. 

Once I ensured it was securely open, with no chance of rolling back down, I picked up the lamp and began to spy out the safest little cubby inside to protect the fragile little lamp. I found a place very quickly and carefully placed it back out of the way so it would have no contact with the incoming furniture and boxes. 

From start to finish, it took an hour to complete the job. I took one last look inside the unit and felt those tears threatening to fall a second time, so I gently closed and locked the door, on over 60 years of her life. 

My Aunt would have been so happy with the mover’s tidy organization and care of her things. She would have laughed at the eight garment racks lining either side of the storage room filled with her clothes. I thought my idea to do that was so clever because it would have allowed me to easily retrieve alternate clothing for her. 

Eight garment racks? I suddenly realize I was her caregiver for eight years. Hmmmm. Just like the garments on those racks, some were relaxing and fun, however, some were dark and uncomfortable. 

What I love the most is we no longer must watch her suffer with a broken mind and body, because both are now perfect. She no longer must worry about anything! But best of all, she is with JESUS! 

Rest In Peace, Aunt Billye.

Matthew 5:4

As the number of days before me, begin to slide away with each rising of the sun, I can’t help but ask myself have I lived my life well since I surrendered my heart to Jesus? When my last day arrives, it will not be the accumulation of things that will give me everlasting richness and life-no they will stay behind where moths and rust will destroy-my relationship with Jesus is all that matters. I have forgiveness from all of my sins and stupidity, I have peace in the darkest of days, and this place on earth is just my temporary home. When I face my last day here, I know I will have regrets for all the things where I did it wrong, but I will rejoice in the one thing I did right: surrender my life to Jesus. I hope I will be known by my love for Him, and I hope I use my gifts to share that love, even though it may be clumsy and awkward. Amen.