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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