Remembering Staci Clubine – A few Snapshots
WHATS IN THIS BLOG:
• I spent a morning with Staci.
• Staci heard the audible voice of God.
• The memorial service.
• The white feathers.
Staci was my step-daughter. I have known her for 30 years. She passed away last Sunday on April 1 – Easter Sunday — which was resurrection day.
I SPENT A MORNING WITH STACI before her fourth brain operation to remove cancerous tumors. A delightful time with a gracious lady. Drove her down to Bartlesville for a blood test. At Vintage restaurant we shared lunch. Three of her close high-school friends dropped by after lunch: Lisa, Robin, and Jaci, and I watched the four girls bubble and sparkle in their conversation. Their love for each other spilled over onto me.
After lunch, Staci told me she was using her FitBit to count her steps each day. “How many steps yesterday?” I asked.
“17,000,” she replied, and her eyes twinkled.
I was dumbfounded. “Wait….that’s an awfully big number. Mary Ann tells me she gets 7,000 on her best day. What on earth were you doing yesterday?”
“Well I fed the chickens and ducks and the rabbits. Then did the washing, vacuumed the living room, and prepared lunch. After lunch I took a nap, then pottered in the garden, before cooking dinner.”
I rubbed my earlobe. “Are you sure it was 17,000 steps?”
“Yep, from midnite to midnite.” Her eyes twinkled again.
“Did you do anything else during the day?”
“Hmm. Wait….. I did ride my horse later in the afternoon.”
I had a vision of Staci cantering her horse through the brown-grass fields, past the black cattle and the oil well that looked like a giant grasshopper.
I smiled. “I think your FitBit was counting all the steps that your four-legged horse was taking.”
She smiled her terrific smile. “Really? I never thought of that.” And she winked.
Staci, you never admitted you were pulling my leg – but I think you knew it the whole time, and you just wanted to play me.
HEARING THE AUDIBLE VOICE OF GOD. Staci wrote me this remarkable story, which you can read in full (click HERE). In Independence Kansas, a nursing home was being closed by the state. Staci was called to assess some residents of the home, to see if some could be transferred into an alternative nursing home which was owned by Staci and her mom.
When they arrived for the assessment it became a tearful scene. Some of the residents were crying. “Please take me to your nursing home. I don’t want to move out of town”. Family members were crying. “Please take my mom or my dad”. Staci and Pam, who worked for Staci, were crying. “How are we able to choose?”
Staci had always told God that she didn’t have enough faith herself. “If You are going to speak to me, I need to be able to hear You,” she would say. As Staci and Pam were leaving the building, still crying, Staci heard in a loud voice, Take Care of My People. Staci and Pam stopped and looked at each other. Staci said “Did you hear that?” Pam confirmed the voice through tears, “He said Take Care of My People”.
The two women freaked out. First, that they both had heard God speak. But second, because they had only 5 beds in their nursing home, while there were 18 residents who needed to be transferred. However – on the very next day the nursing home that was to be closed was put up for sale. Staci and her mom were eventually able to purchase the home, which allowed the residents to stay right where they were. Take Care of My People. Staci did that — always.
THE MEMORIAL SERVICE WAS BEAUTIFUL. The First Presbyterian church in Independence, Kansas, was completely full, perhaps the largest service ever. About 300 attended. Two songs were sung by Jeanie Clubine – haunting but beautiful. Staci’s friends from high-school, Lisa and Robin, spoke of Staci with touches of humor, but emphasized Staci’s attitude of love and caring toward others. And it was always love in action – practical application.
Following this were talks by Morgan and Darby, niece and nephew of Staci. They told how they had been raised by Staci and Jim when their own father died. With tears and humor, they told of Staci’s ineffable love toward them in their struggle to survive and live again.
After all these talks it was clear that Staci’s life was the epitome of loving action.
The pastor, John Wilson, spoke briefly about faith and works and that faith without works is dead, from the book of James. Staci didn’t talk about her faith a lot – she just lived it. Jesus did a lot of preaching, yes, but what shines through the Bible stories is his loving actions in helping the poor and the marginalized — like the prostitute, like the mother whose only son was being carried by in a coffin, like the beggar who was blind, and like the woman ill with a 12-year hemorrhage.
Staci seemed to walk through this world a bit like Jesus did, with a heart of compassion and a willingness to engage people who needed help. She was never judgmental, but always helping someone to hope. Hers is an inspiring legacy for us who study and pray a lot, but find it harder to help other people who are not like us….people who live down the street a ways or on the other side of town.
AN INTERVENTION. Several years ago, a young man was deep into drugs, so deep his body was failing and he was became thinner by the day. He and his family had tried everything, to no effect. Staci organized an intervention, when the family confronted the young man. As a result, the young man went again to rehab, and recovered, and is now married with a steady job. I am convinced he would have died without Staci’s intervention.
THE WHITE FEATHERS.
The day after the funeral, Staci’s mom Mary Ann discovered a white feather on her living room lounge, right where Staci sat the last time she visited her mom’s home. Two days after the funeral, Staci’s sister Kim found a white feather in the back seat of her van. Now a white feather is a symbol: First, a reminder to keep the faith. Second, that angels are all around supporting us. Third, to reassure us that Staci is safe and happy in Heaven.
How else could a white feather get onto a living room couch or onto the back seat of a van, both within two days of Staci’s death?
Since that time, two more white feathers have been found by family members. Staci’s sister Lisa found one on the floor in the bathroom. Kelby who is Staci’s niece, found one by the clothes dryer.
THANK YOU. Many, many people have prayed for and supported Staci during her four-year struggle with cancer. Staci was, and her family are, immensely grateful for all your loving, caring concern.
Staci’s husband Jim carried an enormous load on his back but was well-supported by son Bryan and wife Emily who did a lot of heavy lifting too. I believe Mary Ann would have given her life for Staci. Sisters Kim and Lisa spent tons of support time with Staci, in person or by phone. Lisa stayed away from her work and income in Dallas for a month to assist Staci at the end.
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What an absolutely lovely tribute to a beautiful step-daughter. The memorial service helped all of us know Staci just a bit better. We got there 30 minutes early and we were in the next to the last row. No telling how many were unable to get into the service for I know the balcony was packed, too. That is the most gorgeous sanctuary I have ever seen and it was fitting for a send off for a beautiful woman. MA has not told us about the white feathers, so thank you for sharing that.
Ian, thank you for sharing some of “your” Staci. I am sorry she lost the battle she fought so hard for. I hope you find some measure of comfort in writing about her life and how well she lived it, knowing her pain is over and she is with our Lord.
What a fitting memorial to Staci. We should all work of taking care in all walks of life. It is WJWD and I am so proud to have known and loved Staci all of her life and to know that she sits at the right of God as he praises her good work. Love, Jody Crane Kawulok
Correction to second sentence of my post….”We should all work to take care of people in all walks of life.”
What a beautiful blog you have written to honor Staci. She would have said after reading this (that is my Popper he is the best). I started crying at the beginning and I can’t quit. Thank you for writing this blog. It is wonderful.
Thank you Ian, for a very thoughtful and loving tribute to your wonderful step-daughter, and a very special daughter of God our Heavenly Father. I know you and her family and her friends will always miss Staci, but each of you will have beautiful memories of her. I have been touched by this blog post, and by the times you and I have talked of Staci and her goodness. Julie and I have learned to love Staci over these past two years by hearing of her compassion for others, and of her own struggles. We feel of your grief and will keep you and Staci’s family in our prayers. Assurance of the resurrection and the reuniting of families and loved ones are our bright hope for the eternities; which was paid for, and guaranteed by our Savior Jesus Christ.
Beautiful Ian. As I read your blog, pictures of Staci’s big smile and loving heart came to mind. She was beautiful in every way. She always put others first. It was a blessing to see the love family and friends expressed in caring for her these past moths. And love the stories about the white feathers. How sweet and encouraging. I’m not very good expressing myself, but I want to say I love Staci and the family so much. Ian, you have been amazing too.
So beautifully written! Thank you so very much
Ian, Thank you for sharing this heart-warming testimony. The words you wrote about her speak volumes: “Staci didn’t talk about her faith a lot – she just lived it.”
This is such a beautiful tribute to Staci, Ian. She is probably blushing at all the kind things you said about her.
I am so happy that I finally had my own “white feather” moment yesterday. I wanted a sign from Staci that everything was going to be alright. I was actually getting quite frustrated because I kept looking and looking for my white feather instead of letting it just happen on its own. I spoke to Staci yesterday afternoon in the car and said, “Staci, I need a sign that you’re okay. I want to know everything is alright and that you are here with me”. About an hour later, I got an email that I had been accepted into Nursing School. She knew how bad I wanted to be a nurse and it was she who inspired me to go into the field. I wish that she could’ve been here to receive the big news but I believe in her own way, she was.
Oh my. How beautiful–how eloquent! And I didn’t even know Staci, but now I wish I had. I know Mary Ann, and my heart hurts for her–and now for you, Ian, and an apparently vast number of friends. I live across the street from the church that had Staci’s service. My tiny role was to provide a bit more parking in my driveway. 🙂 Now I wish I had been able to do much, much more. Thank you for this amazing tribute to Staci, which will have ripple effects in the spread of faith and hope in the power of God and Christian faith.
Thanks for sharing more about your amazing step-daughter, Staci. I wish I had had the opportunity to meet her.
Interestingly, last Friday (the 6th of April), I found a white feather on the floor of my family room that was about 3 inches long! I asked my wife, Linda, if she knew where this was from and she said that perhaps it was from our cleaning lady’s feather duster. However, I think her feather duster is brown. I can’t ever remember seeing a feather like this as long as I’ve lived in Oklahoma either.
We are sorry to hear of your loss, Ian. May you find comfort in the knowledge of the love and grace of our Lord and in the resurrection that he has won for us. Julian and Jane