Posts Tagged ‘miracle’

“Tell Your Mother That I Love Her”

June 5, 2014

elderly-man-alzheimers-illustration
This incredible story from Rachel Namoi Remen‘s book, Kitchen Table Wisdom, is eerily reminiscent of my own experience with my father near the end of his struggle with Alzheimer’s. While my experience wasn’t as chilling, it was just as real.

There is no medical explanation for the story below. So how did it happen? Only God knows.




kitchen-table-wisdomFor the last ten years of his life, Tim’s father had Alzheimer’s disease. Despite the devoted care of Tim’s mother, he had slowly deteriorated until he had become a sort of walking vegetable. He was unable to speak and was fed, clothed, and cared for as if he were a very young child. As Tim and his brother grew older, they would stay with their father for brief periods of time while their mother took care of the needs of the household. One Sunday, while she was out doing the shopping, the boys, then fifteen and seventeen, watched football as their father sat nearby in a chair. Suddenly, he slumped forward and fell to the floor. Both sons realized immediately that something was terribly wrong. His color was gray and his breath uneven and rasping. Frightened, Tim’s older brother told him to call 911. Before he could respond, a voice he had not heard in ten years, a voice he could barely remember, interrupted: “Don’t (more…)

Brad and Heidi Stokes—Love, Lupus and Liver Transplants

February 5, 2013
Heidi and Brad Stokes

Heidi and Brad Stokes


Heidi and Brad Stokes
are alive and well, and that in itself is a miracle given all they’ve been through. Heidi and Brad are friends of mine, and I interviewed Heidi about their epic journey from death’s door back to health and happiness. Here, in Heidi’s own words, interspersed with actual journal entries from their CaringBridge journal, is their incredible, inspiring story.



THE SAGA OF HEIDI AND BRAD STOKES
by Heidi Stokes

When I was seventeen, I was diagnosed with lupus and told I wouldn’t make it past twenty-one. At twenty-six, my husband, Brad, was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), a fatal and untreatable liver disease. Doctors said there was no hope for either of us.

Brad and I are now fifty-two years old, with a son, Christian, who has an auto-immune disease of his own, type 1 diabetes. People often can’t get past the illnesses to see how rich and beautiful our lives are. Not long ago, when we were all very sick and lying around in our PJs, Brad mentioned how comforting and wonderful it was just to be home with each other. Our bodies are completely dysfunctional but our family isn’t.

The three of us have defied death more times than I care to remember, but we’re still here, loving life and each other. There’s just something about staring into the maw of death that makes you appreciate the miracle of life. And when it comes to our health, we don’t just believe in miracles, we depend on them.

Brad had his first liver transplant at thirty-five, soon after transplantation for his condition had become viable. At forty-three, his blood work told us that the PSC was reasserting itself; but it’s a slow-progressing disease and we didn’t panic. Four years later, he had surgery for kidney cancer, but it wasn’t virulent and didn’t require chemo. Still, it was a painful, difficult surgery. He lost a lot of weight and muscle tone, and never got any of it back because his weakened liver couldn’t process food well enough to nourish him.

Brad’s decline picked up speed over the next three years, most of which he has no memory of. He was perpetually fatigued, couldn’t keep any food down, and exhibited signs of dementia because of excess ammonia in his brain. Worst of all was the merciless nonstop itching over his entire body. Brad told me that his fantasy was to get run over by a street sweeper; he didn’t want to cure the disease, he just wanted to be scratched! So Christian and I went to the mall and got him a little Lego street sweeper, which he kept on the table by the side of his bed.

As the months flew by, Brad grew weaker, and Christian and I felt powerless to help. Mentally, emotionally, and physically, Brad was beyond the reach of comfort. His only hope was a second liver transplant, but he had deteriorated so much—he was six feet tall and 116 pounds—that I doubted he had the strength to withstand another surgery, much less a demanding and painful recovery process.

By August of 2009, Brad was barely alive. I sensed it was the beginning of the end when he started hemorrhaging in the middle of the night, throwing up blood. PSC can smolder for years, but when it hits a tipping point you can be in big trouble very quickly. I helped Brad into the car and headed for Abbott Northwestern Hospital in downtown Minneapolis. But Brad being Brad, he refused to throw up in the bucket I had brought for him. Instead, I kept on having to pull over on the side of the road. There’s a fine line between preserving your dignity and “Get your butt in the car, we’re going!”


The efforts to control Brad’s internal bleeding have so far been unsuccessful. He has been given numerous units of blood in order to raise his hemoglobin and to all around make him feel better. The doctors are prepping him for surgery to finally stop the bleeding. This procedure is quite risky, but the doctors are confident.
Heidi’s CaringBridge journal entry, 8/08/09


Surgery the next morning stopped the bleeding, but rerouting the blood away from Brad’s liver put his kidneys in duress, raised the ammonia levels in his blood, and caused him to spike a fever. All his doctors advised against transporting him to the Mayo Clinic ninety minutes away, but I (more…)

ATM: A Tree-mendous Miracle!

July 2, 2012

This story by John Cassidy of Centereach, New York, is a perfect example of an unexplainable glitch suddenly making sense. I’ve experienced a number of similar technical mishaps that made no sense whatsoever . . . until suddenly they did. My experiences may not have been life and death, but the reasons were just as stark and obvious. This story appeared in the July 2012 issue of  Guideposts.

A DRIVE-THROUGH MIRACLE
A seemingly uncooperative bank machine turns out to be an angelic ATM

The bank I frequent has a drive-through ATM, which is convenient because it saves me from having to get out and wait in a long teller line inside.

For years, I’ve followed the same routine: I pull up to the machine, make my deposits or withdrawals, then drive over and park in a spot about 50 feet away, underneath a big old stately shade tree, while I tuck my money in my wallet and put away my receipts. Quick and easy.

One windy summer morning I had a lot of errands to run and was low on cash. So I drove over to my bank, waited patiently behind another car, then pulled up to the ATM. I put the car in park and slipped my card into the slot as usual. But the machine immediately spat it back out. “Cannot (more…)

Back from the Brink

May 27, 2012






My friend Judy, who shared the story of her friend Rosa’s miraculous healing in an earlier post, has more such stories of divine intervention. This short but powerful story about her friend’s husband’s brush with death offers further evidence of the infinite power of prayer.






BACK FROM THE BRINK

I answered my cell phone one afternoon to hear the voice of my friend Krista sobbing, “Jeff’s just had a heart attack, and they’ve rushed him to the hospital.” Her husband, a top CEO in Seattle, had been in good health. “Please pray for him!” she cried uncontrollably. “I’m really scared.”

This humble, kind man had mentored and guided so many over the years and had helped hundreds of homeless and hopeless people find jobs. I loved him like a brother and Krista like a sister. After she and I had prayed together over the phone, I sat in meditation and asked God to watch over Jeff and bless him. With the loving confidence of a child asking her mother for something she knows is attainable, and with the unwavering conviction that God had complete control over this man’s life, I immersed myself in prayer.

Suddenly, a strong, intuitive feeling told me that Jeff was going to die on the operating table. From the depths of my soul, I silently beseeched God, “NO, NO, NO—don’t take him! Keep this man alive! He has too much to live for. He is not ready to go!” WIthout warning, my intensity and urgency vanished, giving way to serenity and peace.

At the point between the eyebrows, the center of God consciousness, I inwardly saw a (more…)

One Prayer Away from a Miracle

April 30, 2012

In a recent Sunday service at the Self-Realization Fellowship temple in Encinitas, the minister read this letter from Judy, a member of the congregation. Her story was so moving it brought tears to my eyes. After the service, I asked Judy if I could share her story here. It is a powerful reminder of a truth we must always hold on to:

Never lose hope. You may be one prayer away from a miracle.



THE TOUCH OF THE MASTER’S HAND

Rosa said of Paramahansa Yogananda: "That's him. He came to bring me back."

Rosa is a twenty-nine year-old Catholic, Hispanic teacher who had just finished her Master’s Degree in Education and had started teaching in the inner city of L.A. She was devoted to her five-month-old little girl, Maria, who was always laughing and giggling.

Her family and I were close, so late one night when I received a phone call saying that Rosa had just had a sudden heart attack I was stunned. She had been rushed to the hospital, and on the surgical table her heart had stopped four times. Though the doctors had revived her, she remained in a coma—on life-support systems and kidney dialysis as she awaited open heart surgery and a liver transplant. One hundred family and friends were crowded into the L.A. emergency room. Her parents slept nightly by her bedside, refusing to leave. As she wavered between life and death, her right hand turned gangrene, and her white blood cell count spiked to 48,000, indicating a major, life-threatening infection.

She had been unconscious for a week when I walked into her ICU room and stood at her bedside. Her sister, Ella, had begged me to “just come and pray,” so I made the two-and-a-half hour trip to Rosa’s side. Though I’d been a nurse for thirty years, I’d never (more…)

Ibrahim Jaffe and the Healing Doves

March 3, 2012
Dr. Ibrahim Jaffe

Dr. Ibrahim Jaffe






I enjoyed interviewing Dr. Ibrahim Jaffe, founder of the University of Spiritual Healing & Sufism, for my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything. Here is an excerpt from his incredible story, which took place during his first year of residency at the University of Illinois Medical School.






She continued to spiral downward until she reached a point where we knew she only had a few days left. Her vital signs were out of control. Her pulse, which should have been about 80, was 150. Her respirations, which should have been around 12, were up around 40 to 50. Her temperature was hypothermic, around 94 to 96. And her blood pressure, which normally should have been at 120/80, was down to 50 over zero, barely enough to sustain life.

As she neared death, three Orthodox rabbis who had been regularly visiting her decided to consult with a head rabbi in Jerusalem. The head rabbi found a passage in the Talmud that said that the way to heal yellow hepatitis is to clean the feathers around a dove’s sexual orifice, and then place the dove over the belly button of the person with hepatitis. The passage said that if the dove dies, it means it’s absorbing the disease, and to continue to put doves over the belly button until they stop dying. At that point, the disease has been absorbed and the person may be healed.

One of the rabbis asked the chief of medicine whether he would allow doves to be brought into the ICU so that the girl could potentially be healed. The chief of medicine, who was also Jewish and who was very sad about losing this young girl, agreed. So the rabbis went around to pet stores and soon came in with a giant cage filled with (more…)

What a Gift! What a Miracle!

September 9, 2011

The next time you sit down with a loved one, challenge yourself to appreciate them like never before. Here’s how.

Imagine that earlier in the day you got the news that your loved one had passed away suddenly. If that had actually happened, you would have given all you owned to sit with them like you’re sitting with them right now—to hold (more…)

Brad Stokes’ Triumphant Return to Life

March 29, 2011

Heidi and Brad Stokes

I’m reading the CaringBridge journal of Heidi Stokes, a good friend of mine. The pain and suffering that Brad, her husband, endured while he was waiting for his second liver transplant is unfathomable to me. But he refused to give up and leave his family with nothing but memories of him. So he fought. And he suffered. And he won. It’s been close to two years since his transplant and he’s doing great.

Click here to read a magazine article about the inspiring Stokes family.

Click here to read an update I posted after Brad’s second liver transplant.

Here is an incredible and inspiring CaringBridge post Brad wrote on September 18, 2010. The fact that Brad is alive today is a testament to what Heidi wrote in an earlier post: “We don’t just believe in miracles, we depend on them!”

Just got back from three days at Mayo – my one year evaluation. Mostly good news: liver function – normal, blood pressure – 115/75, cholesterol (total) – 109, bone density – getting better (was osteoporotic, now osteopenic), hemoglobin – 11.9 (for years I hovered at 8.5 – 9.5), ECG – normal, ultrasound (all abdominal organs) – normal and unchanged, kidneys – …….kidneys?…….hello?…KIDNEYS?!… Well, they’re angry. They are mad about the anti-rejection drugs. They are protesting, but so far their actions are non-aggressive. A lot of grumbling (Creatine = 1.9, renal clearance=30), but so far, no dangerous uprising. Some liver transplant patients end up getting kidney transplants. I’m not there, but I can see the danger signs. We may reduce my anti-rejection drugs in 6 months, but obviously that carries the risk of liver rejection. It’s a delicate balance, but I’m not worried. There is much discussion and drug trials going on looking at alternate drugs and modified therapies to deal with this. I’ve been extremely fortunate that medical science has always been just slightly ahead of my need for it. When I was originally diagnosed with liver disease in the 80s, it was a fatal (more…)

Two Boys, a Pair of Skates, and a Christmas Miracle

December 25, 2010

This story about a Christmas Day miracle sounded too good to be true when I heard a minister relate it last Sunday. I Googled it and found that it was written by a woman named Elizabeth English. The story was originally printed in Guideposts magazine sometime in the 1950s and reprinted in the 1989 book New Guideposts Christmas Treasury and the 2000 book, Christmas in My Heart, Volume 9. Given that stamp of authority, I choose to believe it happened. After all, Christmastime is a magical season and, well, believing in stories like this makes it that much more magical!



WAITING . . . WAITING FOR CHRISTMAS

Herman and I finally locked our store and dragged ourselves home to South Caldwell Street. It was 11:00 p.m., Christmas Eve of 1949. We were dog-tired.

Ours was one of those big, old general appliance stores that sold everything from refrigerators and toasters and record players to bicycles and dollhouses and games. We’d sold almost all our toys; and all the layaways, except one package, had been picked up.

Usually Herman and I kept the store open until everything had been picked up. We knew we wouldn’t have awakened very happy on Christmas morning knowing that some little child’s gift was back on the layaway shelf. But the person who had put a dollar down on that package never appeared.

Early Christmas morning our 12-year-old son, Tom, and Herman and I were out by the tree opening up gifts. But I’ll tell you there was something very humdrum about this Christmas. Tom was growing up; he hadn’t wanted any toys—just clothes and games. I missed his childish exuberance of past years.

As soon as breakfast was over, Tom left to visit his friend next door. And Herman disappeared into the bedroom, mumbling, “I’m going back to sleep. There’s nothing left to stay up for anyway.”

So there I was, alone, doing the dishes and feeling very letdown. It was nearly 9:00, and sleet mixed with snow cut the air outside. The wind rattled our windows, and I felt grateful for the warmth of the apartment. Sure glad I don’t have to go out on a day like today, I thought to myself, picking up the wrappings and ribbons strewn around the living room.

And then it began. Something I’d never experienced before. A strange, (more…)

The Keys to a Miracle

February 25, 2010

I imagine there must be a rational explanation for this story by Cheryl Pietromonaco of Bellevue, Washington . . . but I can’t imagine what that would be. I love stories like this that defy the imagination. It was printed in the March 2010 issue of Guideposts.


One thing troubled me about my husband: He didn’t believe in God.

“Believe what you like,” he said, “but there isn’t someone up there making miracles happen.” I prayed hard for him to come around. That would definitely take a miracle.

One winter we took a vacation in the Montana mountains. His brother owned a cabin there and lent us his Jeep—“You’ll need the four-wheel drive,” he said. He handed us a large key ring, indicating the key for the Jeep and the one for the cabin.

We arrived late in the afternoon. I was awed by the isolation, the delicate, powdery snow frosting everything in sight and the utter silence. We dropped our bags, took off our coats and my husband tossed the keys onto the kitchen table. They landed with a metallic clank.

I needed a drink, but there was no running water. “Let’s grab a bucket; we’ll get some water from the creek,” my husband said. We left the door (more…)

Dr. Ibrahim Jaffe Sails Into a Miracle

November 6, 2009
robert-ibrahim-jaffe

Dr. Ibrahim Jaffe

I was pleased to interview Dr. Ibrahim Jaffe for my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything. Ibrahim, a licensed medical doctor, clairvoyant, healer and spiritual teacher, co-founded what is now the University of Spiritual Healing & Sufism. He told me two stories. I could only fit one story in the book but I am pleased to print the second one here.

I spend a lot of time sailing. In 1995, I sailed from St. Martin over to the island of Saba, four or five hours south of St. Martin. We got caught in a fairly bad storm. There were ten-foot waves on the ocean, twenty to thirty knot winds, which in sailing is a lot. You like to sail at around eight to ten knots. When you get up to thirty, you’re really getting kicked around out there. We were sailing into the wind and it got pretty nasty.

After thirty minutes, my wife and both kids started throwing up

(more…)

Wayne Dyer’s St. Francis of Assisi Miracle Healing

February 22, 2009
dyer-wayne

Wayne Dyer







Wayne Dyer told me a wonderful story when I interviewed him for my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything. Here is an excerpt from that story:











We then visited a castle in San Damiano just outside of Assisi—the home of the convent St. Francis had set up for St. Clare, the first female admitted into the Franciscan order. Our plan was to walk up to the third level to see the place where St. Clare had died. A young man named John Graybill was the first one up the stairs and I was right behind him. John was twenty-two years old and weighed nearly two hundred pounds with his leg braces on, which he wore because, as he said, his body—not he—had muscular dystrophy. When we got up eight or nine steps, the staircase started to narrow and John realized to his dismay that he couldn’t go any further—he couldn’t extend his legs to the left or to the right, which is the only way he could manage to climb a flight of stairs. He turned to me and said, “I don’t know what I’m going to do. I can’t go back down the steps because of all the people in line and I can’t go up because I can’t move my legs.” I immediately said, “Why don’t you get on my back and I’ll carry you?”

But I had forgotten a couple of things—I forgot that I was sixty years old, and I also forgot that I had serious ligament and cartilage damage in my knees that required surgery. (more…)

Answering the Skeptics

August 7, 2008

Some readers of my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, have expressed skepticism about the veracity of a few stories that feature cool metaphysical “miracles.” They usually reference the stories by Caroline Myss and Wayne Dyer.

Skepticism is healthy as long as you also keep an open mind. Unfortunately, many people refuse to acknowledge the possibility that their belief system isn’t perfect and complete. Consequently, they interpret events in ways that fit their preconceived notions and dismiss any evidence to the contrary, no matter how compelling that evidence may be. As C. W. Leadbeater said:

It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive.

(more…)

A Fourth of July to Remember!

August 2, 2008

fireworksIt was the Fourth of July. I was home alone. Work had prevented me from joining my wife, Kate, and daughter, Erin, on our traditional trip to northern Minnesota. We rarely missed a Fourth of July celebration in Kate’s hometown.

Early that afternoon, I laid down on the bed to close my eyes and mentally sketch out the rest of my day. Two minutes later, I heard Kate’s voice cheerfully calling out, “Hi, Phil!” Her greeting was loud and clear, as if she were standing right in front of me. The kicker was, I heard her voice inside my head.

(more…)