It was so many years ago.  It was summer and we were traveling through Utah with the old Saints Alive School bus and a bunch of young Christian volunteers, witnessing in the streets and teaching in Churches and public venues throughout Utah. We were in the [then] small town of Moab.

I was there to meet with the late Keith Greene, wonderful Christian singer and head of Last Days Ministries.  Keith had recently published the “Catholic Chronicles” and we were talking about doing a series called “Th Mormon Manuscript.”

Keith died in a plane crash before we got the project off the ground, but I eventually finished it. Both are available at Saints Alive. Keith was a beloved man of God who led so many thousands to profound new lives in Christ.

While in Moab, I was speaking in a small public venue and just before we began the meeting three bearded men came in with their polygamous wives. I marveled at the pioneer clothes, the hair styles, and the color coordination of the wife groups

They were very attentive to my message and at the end of the meeting, one of the men came up and asked me if he gave his life to Jesus, what would he do with his 8 wives.

I told him that he would keep his first wife and provide for and love his other wives as sisters, but those other benefits would have to cease.  He quietly stood there for some time, visibly shaken and finally told me, “I can’t.”

Around the same time, an older man I knew a while I worked at The Boeing Co. stopped by to visit me. He told me that he was a close childhood friend of the LDS Prophet, Spencer W. Kimball.

He said that he went to Salt Lake and visited his childhood friend at the church headquarters and shared the simple Gospel with him.  He boldly offered to pray with him and asked if he would receive the real Christ in his life. The Prophet shed tears and whispered, “I can’t.”

Now, let’s jump ahead some years to a face-off with the LDS leaders in Tonga. We had gone to the LDS headquarters on my arrival in Tonga and called the LDS leaders to repentance.

I stated that there were two kinds of spiritual leaders, Those who were righteous and led their people to spiritual life in Christ and the unrighteous, who led their people to spiritual death. I said they were unrighteous leaders and I called them to repentance.  

Issy Taukolo, our local leader, spoke to the Tongan head of the Church in their native language, asked him to come to Christ and the man teared up, sobbing. Then he said, In Tongan, “I can’t.”  Issy asked him why. He replied, “They own me.”

I have lost count of the Mormons to whom I have witnessed Christ and asked them to come to the real Christ, only to hear those same exact words, “I can’t.” It’s well in the hundreds who have repeated those two words, often with tears streaming down their faces.

Those specific words are the evidence of demonic control, and the trigger is the witness of the true Jesus.  This is a spiritual battle, and it must be fought in that realm. Logic and truth have no power to break through the “I Can’t.”

But on Ephesians, Chapter Six, you can find that your spiritual weapons are there and ready to use.

Ed Decker


Rejecting Condemnation

Ed Decker


For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world;

but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:17)

Much of human heartbreak stems from feelings of condemnation. People feel inadequate, insecure, and unloved. Often these feelings run contrary to what they know to be true. They may know they are loved, for example, but feel they are not.

Psychiatrists and counselors spend countless hours trying to get their patients to overcome feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. They devise new theories and therapies and, while their efforts sometimes bear remarkable fruit, these practitioners admit no magic cure exists, and they confess that their work is strenuous and taxing.

Of course depression, feelings of guilt, and fear are often deep-rooted. Sometimes they are physically generated and require medication and persistent counseling. Psychoses and neuroses are real diseases that don’t respond to simple solutions. Outside of a miracle, no magic wand will cure such illnesses.

Having said all that, however, far too many people–people who are not severely emotionally ill–suffer emotional stress. Born again Christians are no exception. Our churches are filled with people who hurt badly and often find little relief. Counseling is a primary and worthy function of the Church, but a function that strains pastors and Christian workers, diverting them from other tasks–evangelism, for example.

I have pastored, counseled, and taught in the Body of Christ for more than 45 years. In my opinion many of the emotional battles Christians fight are unnecessary. Often Christians simply knuckle under to condemnation–condemnation they should never have received in the first place.

Where does condemnation come from? 

One of the first things Christians learn is that condemnation does not come from God. Before we were born again, we often thought God “was punishing us” when we faced difficulty in our lives. Even after conversion we sometimes givve way to the temptation to believe that. But very soon, mature Christians (correctly) convince us that God is not angry with us.

He only acts lovingly towards us: 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)

If we find a home in any part of the healthy Body of Christ we slowly realize that Christ took our guilt and condemnation upon himself. We realize we have been declared “not guilty.”

But though we know the grace of God intellectually–or even if we experience it, holding on to it is another matter. At times, we cannot seem to hold on to the knowledge that our unrighteousness is covered by Christ’s righteousness. We feel guilty, unlovely, fearful, frustrated, and rejected.

It is as though we have come to see our salvation in two parts: We are indeed saved and heaven bound because of Christ; but we must walk in painful dissatisfaction because we are still carnal.

In a sense that is true. It is certainly true that sin causes guilt and guilt causes worries and fears. But if we mistakenly believe that we cannot have peace and happiness until we rid ourselves of sin, we miss the whole point of the Gospel.

While it is true that outward holiness is not optional for a Christian, we do not have to wait until we have overcome our sinful nature in order to dwell in full peace and forgiveness. In fact, focussing on our sinfulness will only make things worse!

Sources of condemnation 

God identifies “the accuser of the brethren” as Satan. (Rev. 12:10) However condemnation is delivered to us through spouses, coworkers, friends, and even perfect strangers. Sometimes the criticism is ugly and overt; sometimes we read it in a glance.

Make no mistake, condemnation, like a missile, flies relentlessly toward us. Sometimes it is malicious, sometimes benign, but always deadly. We cannot prevent the missiles from coming our way. But we can learn to refuse to accept their delivery!

By far the most consistent attack comes from within. We are our own worst enemies. Thoughts arise within us to condemn us. We must learn to reject those as well. This is job number one! We must unfailingly send those thoughts to the cross and cover them with the blood of Christ.

A lesson I learned from a friend. 

Back when I was first saved in 1975, I came under a lot of good teaching about “the righteousness of the believer.” At some point I woke up to the sound doctrinal revelation that–in God’s eyes–I was as righteous as I would ever be. You see, righteousness is not a part-time thing.

There are only two kinds of people in the world, righteous and unrighteous. According to God’s word, all of man’s attempts to be self-righteous amount to nothing:

But we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isa 64:6)

I came to understand that my righteousness before God was imputed. Paul the Apostle said it this way (actually he quoted King David):

Blessed [are] they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. (Romans 4:7)

And Isaiah wrote:

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness…(Is. 61.10)

All of this came home to me one day during a conversation with a young pastor, a man who has since become one of my dearest friends. He was under unjustified accusation from some of his parishioners. As we talked about the situation, I watched as something boldly rose up within him and he said, almost in anger, “I will not receive condemnation!”

 He did not say this in a way to defend himself or the charges against him. It mattered not at that moment whether his accusers were right or wrong. What mattered was that condemnation was aimed at him and he–because he understood who he was in Christ–also knew that it was as wrong to receive condemnation as it was to give it!

Since the day I saw that drama played out on the face and in the voice of my friend, I have often heard myself say (even when no one was around me) “I will not receive condemnation!”

What I am not saying

I’m not talking about listening to legitimate criticism. I’m talking about being a sponge that absorbs ungodly condemnation.

How to refuse condemnation: 

In order to stand firmly against condemnation, we should remember four things:

  1. I belong to God and He is the vinedresser (John 15:1) 
  2.  God never comes to me with condemnation, only loving invitation to change. 
  3. It is as sinful to receive condemnation as it is to give it. 

  4. The accuser of the brethren is relentless in his attempt to bring us down and he will use anyone who is unwise enough to be a conduit for his condemnation

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from Condemnation and death unto life. (John 5:24)

It is time to read Ephesians, Chapter 6 Again and apply it to our lives.

Put all the Full Armor of God

The Full Armor of God  Ephesians, Chapter Six

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should

For more information


Saints alive

PO Box 1347

Issaquah WA


To Hell With Dell

I had to call tech support this week regarding my Dell laptop that has been acting strange. Some lady came on the line and told me I had to press One to speak to someone in English. I quickly checked my phone number to be sure I was calling from America, but finally pressed One because my Spanish and Pakistani skills are less than adequate. I had to fight the urge to press 8.

After 25 minutes of going through a series of recorded directions and options, I finally reached a live person, a lady who obviously did not press One for English. After 10 more minutes of a catastrophic language barrier disaster, she finally put someone else on the line whose minimum level of English could almost be understood through her heavy accent.

Before I explained my problem, she advised me that my call was being recorded for quality assurance purposes.

I advised her that I had been recording the call from the moment I first spoke to the lady who spoke no English and would continue to record the call with her for my own quality assurance purposes.

She told me that I was not authorized to record the call. I asked her who authorized her to record my call, since I certainly did not authorize it. She raised her voice to a new level of authority and demanded that I stop recording the call.

I asked to speak to her supervisor, She responded that she WAS the supervisor and the call would be immediately terminated unless I stopped recording it.  

I paused for a moment, trying to decide if I wanted to fight to the death with this woman or get the problem resolved.  I figured getting the thing fixed was a higher priority than driving this lady nuts. “OK,” I sighed, “I stopped recording the call. Now Can we get to the problem?”

After taking all my basic information, she then asked for my Password. 

“What password,” I asked?

“Your Technical support Password,” she said.

“I don’t have one, never had one, don’t want one,” I snarled.  “I just want to you to help me with a simple technical problem, now, today, here, while I am on the phone, not recording you.”

She was now in full control.  “Sir, I cannot help you unless you have a technical support password.”

“Will you please give me one,” I begged, feeling a sob working its way up my throat.

“I am not authorized, sir. You have to go on-line to our website and get it there. Thank you for choosing Dell Computer for all your friendly computer needs”

 Dial Tone!

I took a short break, banged my head on the Dell laptop several times and then logged on to the Dell website.  Well, I tried to log on.  It seems I needed a Password to log in, [that I did not have] so that I could get a technical support password for use with that group and another password to pay my bill on line and another to register a complaint.

I turned off the computer and went in to watch Bill O’Reilly. Surely, that would calm me down.

Tomorrow I will drive to the Apple Store and get a MAC.

What I really find frustrating, is that I have to dial One to talk in fractured English to someone in Pakistan about a product I bought in Palm Desert, California, USA that was manufactured in China.


Sweating the Small Stuff

I’m not sure who said, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”  I know some PHD wrote a book or two about it. Usually, I can’t do a thing about the big stuff and wasting my time and energy sweating about the big stuff gets me nothing but indigestion. My wife handles all the big stuff, anyway. It’s the small stuff that keeps my interest.

I wonder where our daily newspaper gets its rubber bands.  When my paper is ‘rubber-banded’ in one, it is always dirty. Do they buy them that way from a used rubber-band place or are they using so much ink that just putting one on gets it all dirty?

I personally like the ones the Post Office uses. They are wider, thicker, and almost always new and clean. I use them around the house for all sorts of things.  I put the newspaper ones in the trash container before I even get back in the house.

I have never figured out why anyone would enjoy using toilet tissue mounted with the leading sheet under the roll. It makes no sense at all. When the leading sheet is over the top, it is easy to get at. No groping around under the roll, usually mounted in an awkward, hard to reach spot, anyway.

When I’m out at someone else’s home or at a restaurant, I feel compelled to correct any roll that is improperly mounted. It is just something that would nag at me the entire time I am there if I didn’t do that.  I do not tell other people [oops] about that little quirk.  Don’t they know that the patent for TP has the roll going over the top?

I also find myself often taking a paper towel and wiping down the sink splashes in restaurant and airport restrooms. I just do not understand how some people can be so thoughtless of others.

I don’t like the way some people load dishwashers. When we have guests for dinner, the ladies want to help clean up and I’ve gotten so I wish I could tell them not to.  I know better, though.

There are ways to load a dishwasher and ways not to.  I must wait until they leave and reload it. There is a system and I doing it right, you know. Gotten so I do most of the cleanup lately.

I always wonder of the bread they put on my table at a restaurant includes the bread from an earlier table that someone else didn’t eat.

I wonder about doctors who make me sit for an hour and a half in the waiting room with sick people ever had to do that themselves.

I read the obituaries every day. I’m Ok if most of the people listed are older than me, but I have a bad day when most are younger. I have come to realize that at my age, most are. Now I have more descendants now than I have friends. They’re going faster than I like. 

Planning ahead, a few years ago, I asked one friend to speak at my funeral.  When he died and I spoke at his funeral, I asked another friend there to take his spot at my farewell. He reluctantly agreed and then died the next year. I asked another friend who had been at both funerals if he would speak at mine and he vigorously shook his head and screamed, “not on your life!”  I thought that it was an odd statement, considering the subject.

I finally resolved the issue by recording my own farewell message, including my special rendition of a few Jimmy Durante songs. The big question is how can I be sure the kids will actually play it

Now I keep my pre-paid cremation card in my wallet, just in case my dentist kills me the next time he does one of those deep cleaning jobs on me.   

My wife said, “Ed, stop worrying about this. Just slow down, you will last longer. And Ed, be nicer to the kids. They will be choosing our rest home.” 

It annoys me that the lights in my area are the most unsynchronized lights in Washington. I am convinced that they are designed to force stop me at every single intersection, even when there is no cross traffic.

There must be a hidden device on my car that some sadistic traffic controller has placed there, just hoping I drive out.  I think he sits there, watching me on his traffic computer and then with cackling joy, pops the red-light button at every light I approach.  

Well, the laugh is on them. My son took the cars keys away from me after my seizures came back. They will not have me to persecute any longer. I finally get the last laugh!

I have yet to figure out how a golf ball that I hit straight down the fairway can suddenly pick up speed and veer off at a sharp angle, usually ending up hitting a roof of a house where the occupant is standing in the yard.  Never a vacant house, where I can quietly sneak by.

I have tried to trick the ball and compensate by aiming at a house, but then it goes exactly where I aimed it. It is demonic.

Sometimes, a little article on an off page in the newspaper stays with me for days. I wake up in the middle of the night, sweating over it.  Here are two that had me awake at 3 AM this morning.

Just the other day, I read that the Governor, out of his compassion and in a cost savings effort, was planning on releasing 6,000 inmates from the state prisons.

In another article, cleverly hidden in a different section of the paper, it was announced that the state would be stopping its parole monitoring of low-level offenders after their release.

This is being done, to reduce the number of parolees returning to prison for violating their parole, because if they aren’t monitoring the parolees, the state will not know if they are violating the terms of their parole.

Does anyone but me, and most of the owners of convenience stores throughout the state feel like these are really, bad ideas?


Where have all the Bibles gone?

Bibles are forbidden in schools, all government facilities, military bases and academies; forbidden in some of the countries we defend with the lives of our soldiers. Most courtrooms keep a copy for ‘swearing in” people to testify they will tell the truth, while all now let the witness affirm they will tell the truth, without swearing on this unpopular book.

Most churches put the scripture references on big screens and few people tote their bibles there any more. Employees have been told to remove it from their work places and kids have been sent home for reading it at school during free choice reading times.

Are we losing the Bible to Political correctness? Or are we going to stand firm on its use and power? Where is your bible?

We are subject to a government doing everything in its power to remove the Holy Bible from public life and use. Yet, this act flies in the face of historical evidence of its importance to American life and liberty.

Did You Know That:

Congress formed the American Bible Society. Immediately after creating the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress voted to purchase and import 20,000 copies of scripture for the people of this nation.

Patrick Henry, who is called the firebrand of the American Revolution, is still remembered for his words,

“Give me liberty or give me death.” But in current textbooks the context of these words is deleted. Here is what he actually said: “An appeal to arms and the God of hosts is all that is left us. But we shall not fight our battle alone. There is a just God that presides over the destinies of nations. The battle sir, is not to the strong alone. Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death.”

These sentences have been erased from our textbooks. Was Patrick Henry a Christian? You be the judge. The following year, 1776, he wrote this:

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great Nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here.”

Consider these words that Thomas Jefferson wrote on the front of his well-worn Bible:

“I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our Creator. ”

He was also the chairman of the American Bible Society, which he considered his highest and most important role.

On July 4, 1821, President Adams said,

“The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”

There is more. In 1782, the United States Congress voted this resolution:

“The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.”

William Holmes McGuffey was the author of the McGuffey Reader, which was used for over 100 years in our public schools with over 125 million copies sold until it was stopped in 1963. President Lincoln called him the “Schoolmaster of the Nation.” Listen to these words of Mr. McGuffey:

“The Christian religion is the religion of our country. From it are derived our notions on the character of God, on the great moral Governor of the universe. On its doctrines are founded the peculiarities of our free institutions. From no source has the author drawn more conspicuously than from the sacred Scriptures. For all these extracts from the Bible I make no apology.”

Of the first 108 universities founded in America, 106 were distinctly Christian, including the first, Harvard University, chartered in 1636. In the original Harvard Student Handbook, rule number 1 was that students seeking entrance must know Latin and Greek so that they could study the scriptures:

“Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, John 17:3; and therefore to lay Jesus Christ as the only foundation for our children to follow the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.”

Yale historian Harry S. Stout’s wrote an article in Christian History magazine titled, “Christianity and the American Revolution”. Here is what he said about America at the time of the Revolution.

“Over the span of the colonial era, American ministers delivered approximately 8 million sermons, each lasting one to one-and-a-half hours. The average 70-year-old colonial churchgoer would have listened to some 7,000 sermons in his or her lifetime, totaling nearly 10,000 hours of concentrated listening. This is the number of classroom hours it would take to receive ten separate undergraduate degrees in a modern university, without ever repeating the same course!

Events were perceived not from the mundane, human vantage point but from God’s. The vast majority of colonists were Reformed or Calvinist, to whom things were not as they might appear at ground level: all events, no matter how mundane or seemingly random, were parts of a larger pattern of meaning, part of God’s providential design.

The outlines of this pattern were contained in Scripture and interpreted by discerning pastors. – [Today] taxation and representation are political and constitutional issues, having nothing to do with religion. But to eighteenth-century ears, attuned to lifetimes of preaching, the issues were inevitably religious as well.”

Times have changed, the world is different from those days, yet we all have the same hopes and desires, the love of God, family and the freedoms that such a spiritually based birth gave us here in America.

Yes, we are a great nation, but it was earned by the sweat and toil and prayers of men and women like these. Let’s not forget this!


When You’re Smiling

One of my sons called last night to tell me that the steelhead run is the best in over 30 years, and we should go out my favorite hole and pick up a few. But my mind didn’t focus on the great fishing I have experienced in years past, but on the long climb down a steep hill to my particular spot and the aching that would go along while standing in a cold river for a few hours and the pain of climbing back up that rocky hillside. No fish is worth it anymore.

I was brushing my teeth this morning and took a second look at the guy in the mirror, and I was shocked at what I now see there. My golden years are turning into molding years, more rust than gold. My blonde hair is now pure white. Those wrinkles are not scars of battle but ruts of old age and perhaps smiling too much.

I can no longer do many of the activities that I used to enjoy. I now judge any outing on how far I must walk, how many stairs are involved, and where I can find the closest bathroom. I find that I have made a lot of decisions over the last few years based on what I can’t do rather than what I can do. I can’t ski as I used to ski, and I can’t run the way I ran as a youth. I cannot get on the back of a horse even with the help of a ladder, let alone run it through some jumps. I wouldn’t even try.

Who am I kidding here? I can’t hear or see like I did when I was just 80! I can’t hear or see the way I did 50 years ago. I can’t hike up the mountain trails the way I did a few years ago, and I never go out for a late meal anymore. My dining out now revolves around early bird specials or two-for-one dinners. We hurry home, so we don’t miss Wheel of Fortune.

I now plan on going home even before I get wherever I’m going. I can find something nice to say to everyone I encounter. I can listen with an intent ear, and even when a hurting friend talks so low that I can’t hear the words, I can nod and share the hurt I see.

Having said all that, my mouth still works, and I can smile at everyone I run into as I roam about through each day.

I know we are usually in too much of a hurry to get where we are going to make eye contact and say a few kind words to the checkers and baggers at the grocery store or the waitress and busboy at the restaurant or that neighbor standing in their driveway. Maybe you could have introduced yourself or that stranger who came to your church last Sunday.

But I promise you that if you do that one simple thing, your life will change for the good, and the gold will begin to bust out through the rust.

Let me share just one small example from so many hundreds of such occasions. Last Thanksgiving, we went to a wonderful restaurant for dinner. On the way out I took a slight detour and stopped at the kitchen, and thanked the cook staff for the delicious meal they provided. I received a lot of high fives. And a lot of smiles. After we left the restaurant, the manager caught up with us to thank me for taking the time to bless the cook staff. He said that with the hundreds of tables they were serving that day, I was the only patron who took the time to do that. It was a small thing but impacted people who were working hard and just needed a kind word.

I pray each morning that I have an abundance of what I call “people gifts” so that I can give them away in loving all my neighbors as myself, bringing kindness and love to those I meet who need it. And I assume they all need it.

Try it the next time you run those errands that take you around the neighborhood. It will bless you and those whose paths you cross. Then watch out. When you walk into a place, the people will already be already smiling.


Anna Decker’s Last Christmas

Anna Decker’s Last Christmas We lived on a beautiful mountain River in the Pacific Northwest for many years, and nothing could be more beautiful than a snowy Christmas among the towering cedars. It was something like a miracle to be watching the snowfall around us as the kids ran amok through the backyard, rolling in the soft, powdery snow.

My mom stood by my side and sighed. “Once I was a little orphan girl who cried herself to sleep every night because my mother and father and sister died, and God wouldn’t take me. I had no one. Now, look at me.” It was impressive. She was among almost forty of her offspring, spanning five generations. I gave her a big hug and held her frail body in my arms for a long, long while. She had tears in her eyes when I finally loosened my grip and let her breathe.

Mom had set fire to the small condo where she had lived with dad for 20 years. She insisted on staying there, alone for ten more years since his death, but the fire had ended that, and she was now living in an adult care home.

After the accident, we brought mom to our home and moved her into the first-floor guest suite. The third morning I found her waiting in the kitchen, in her full dress and coat, with gloves on. She was wearing one of her many hats. “A parent is not supposed to live with her children. Now take me to that place you showed me the other day,” she said. I did.

Today was our family Christmas gathering. Wheeling her in from the deck, I stomped the snow from off my shoes and worked our way into the family room, fighting hugs from everyone, finally settling in front of the fireplace, with its massive river rock wall. I covered her in a throw blanket, and we waited for the call to the annual Christmas meal.

The meal itself was a marvel, having been prepared and served by a dozen strong-willed wives, daughters, and granddaughters, with a few husbands who were there for the grunt work. Laughter filled the whole house throughout the meal and when we finally made our way into the living room, past the 15-foot Christmas tree that filled the front entry, all eyes were on the massive pile of Christmas gifts filling the center of the room.

I settled her in the wheelchair next to me in a corner area where she wouldn’t be trampled but could be in the middle of the action. The kids all hugged and mobbed her until she was half-buried in wrapping paper. Then someone stuck a package bow on her sweater and she was soon covered with them. She was so frail, but she squealed and laughed with every bow.

Tears streamed from her face, and she quietly reached over and squeezed my hand, grinning like a child. I will never forget that precious look when her eyes met mine.

Carol and I tried to get her to stay overnight, but she would have none of that. It had turned dark by the time I wheeled her to the car and pulled out into that snowy night, the heavily falling snow dancing in the headlights. It was like a winter wonderland as I drove down the winding country road along the river. I treasure that time alone in the car with her when I drove her back to the care center.

She placed her hand on the top of mine and smiled at me the whole way. There was not talking much. We just held hands and connected deep inside in our hearts. Mom passed away just a few weeks before her ninetieth birthday a few months later.

I was just minutes behind her going to Heaven. Anna Decker still had that smile on her face. I sat there with her for a long while and felt the peace that surrounded her. It was that same peace that filled the car on that last drive home on Christmas day.

We held a memorial service at the town’s Senior Center, where she had been the receptionist and Sunshine Lady for 16 years. We placed a few dozens of her famous hats around the room, and the ladies who knew and loved her were all smiles as they left with one of Anna’s ladies’ hats perched on their heads.

I was a momma’s boy from start to finish, but of all our special times together; I will never forget my mother’s last Christmas.


Getting Old Isn’t for Sissies

Getting Old isn’t for Sissies!

Ed Decker


I was at the market the other day and was peering into my I-phone trying to see what was next on my list when a young man chuckled as he walked by me said, “Getting old must really suck.” He was already down the aisle before I could get my cane out and whack him a good one.  

The truth is I think getting old can be the best part of life. At least it is for me.  At my advanced age, I don’t have to do things that are good for my career anymore. I have long ago forgotten the things that I should be worrying about.  The memory thing is both good and bad.   I can forget why I walked into a room, but I clearly remember something I did in high school.  But, sometimes the whole memory system gets a bit foggy,

Just the other day I was reading an eBook and thought, “Why am I reading about a lady Sherriff in Arizona? What happened to the CIA agent tracking that serial killer in Florida?”

I mentioned this mystery to my wife, and she asked me what app I was using. I said I was in my Kindle app.  She asked me to click over to my library app, where I store books from the public library.,,

I did, and there was my CIA agent. Somehow, I managed to get two-thirds through two books at the same time; just depending on which ‘app’ I clicked.  The thing is, I never realized it, but I just settled in with either book without a blink.,

This eBook thing is very neat. I went from a whole library wall of books down to about 12 favorites. I found that by the time I finished the last book, I couldn’t remember the first one and would happily start all over again.  Now I don’t remember where the ten books are.

This is coming from a fanatical bibliophile. The concept of borrowing a book from a library instead of buying it was a foreign concept to me for most of my life. Let me share a little story about my library before I forget.

A few years back, before we began the downsizing of our lives, I had an awesome Louis L’Amour collection.  My wife suggested that I sell them before we moved out of the ‘big’ house.  Reluctantly, I went on eBay where I had been buying and selling rare books for a few years.

I went through some of the back channels and while I was checking out prices, I found a leather-bound collection of about 120 of his leatherette books that a lady had put up for bid.  There were only a few days left on her posting, and no one else had bid.   I guess I forgot why I was on eBay.  On a sudden urge that only another book fiend could understand, I bid $50.

Two weeks later, the UPS man dropped off 5 cases of Louie’s books. Fortunately, my wife was not at home.  I hid them in the garage and slowly began the slow process of placing them on the shelves, one or two at a time, replacing the books I already owned. They went into the boxes in the garage. I would deal with them later, I thought.   

That worked fine for the first dozen or so, but soon the wall had taken on a different look. Kind of a leather section.  We were watching TV. She looked over at that section of the bookcases and slowly got up and walked over. She slid one of my new treasures out and turned it over in her hands.  She looked at me and then at the book.  “Is there something you need to tell me?”

We have moved to a smaller home now, and they still fill up an entire bookcase and more. Life is good in the slow lane. I still have the same wife, too.


The Marvelous Umbilical Cord

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How could it have ever Evolved?

I was sitting in a doctor’s waiting room a few months ago and was reading the only magazine available there, one all about mothers and babies. With a choice of skimming through the magazine or staring at my feet, I chose the magazine.

One article was about the umbilical cord. It said something about there being over a hundred separate functions that this marvelous cord performed during the length of a pregnancy.

Any birth required all of the functions to perform properly. Just as I got to that point, I was called into the examination room and went on with my visit and the day.

Fast forward to yesterday, as I sat in traffic, watching a small group of preschoolers, holding onto a long rope, following one teacher and being followed by another. I guess they were sort of herding them down the street from a nearby park.

As I thought on the wonderfulness of young, adventurous children, my mind went back to that magazine and I mused that children such as those I was watching and all my kids, grandkids and great-grandkids could have never ‘evolved’ into such marvelous creatures.

The umbilical cord makes such an evolutionary process absolutely impossible.

Think about it.

The very first placental human child could never be born without all of the hundred plus functions up and working from day one. It couldn’t happen.

The Evolutionary theory of eons of trial and error could never produce a single birth any more than eons of swirling gases could end up as breathable air capable of sustaining life on earth.

Let’s take a look at the Umbilical Cord.

 I have pulled these paragraphs from several web sites

What does the umbilical cord do?

“The umbilical cord in placental mammals connects a baby in the womb to its mother. It runs from an opening in the baby’s stomach (the umbilicus) to the placenta in the womb. The average cord is about 50cm (20 inches) long. In the placenta, oxygen and food from the mother’s bloodstream pass into her baby’s bloodstream and are carried to the baby along the umbilical cord.

Blood circulates through vessels in the cord, which consists of:

>one vein that carries blood rich in oxygen and nutrients from you to your baby

>two arteries that return deoxygenated blood and waste products, such as carbon dioxide, from your baby back to the placenta

>These blood vessels are enclosed and protected by a sticky substance called Wharton’s jelly, which itself is covered by a layer of membrane called the amnion.

Towards the end of a pregnancy, the placenta passes antibodies through the umbilical cord from mother to baby, giving it immunity from infections for about three months after birth.

However, it only passes on antibodies that its mother already has. http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/2299.aspx?CategoryID=54&SubCategoryID=128

“Then, what are the functions of the umbilical cord? Mainly, it has three different functions. The first function is that it is able to serve the fetus a blood source. It is very important since the fetus is not able to breathe. It does not have either a set of functioning lungs or an oxygen source. Also, it serves the fetus oxygen through the blood to serve the life of the fetus.

The second main function of the umbilical cord is that it is to serve the fetus a nutrients source such as proteins, calories, and fats as well. In addition, it is also able to serve the nutrients and also vitamins.

The last function of this cord is that it is able to transfer the deoxygenated and waste products away out of the fetus. It transfers those substances to the maternal circulation in which they can be processed and then excreted.

Then, what are the features that umbilical cord has? Basically, it is made of a substance which is known as Wharton’s Jelly, connective tissue or skin. It carries some features such as one vein which has two arteries and oxygenated blood. The vein of the umbilical goes along the way to the liver of the fetus.

Here, it splits become two parts. One part of this vein is to supply the blood to the hepatic poral vein. It works to supply the blood to the liver. The other one is called a the ductus venosus. It supplies the blood to the whole human body of up 80%. It allows vital nutrients such as oxygen to flow all over the fetus.” Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4825538

Another amazing thing about the umbilical cord. When the newborn takes that first breath, the whole thing reverses turns the whole job over to the baby.

Back to my first premise:

The first and all following placental embryos, no matter how well into evolution they could ever be, could never have survived to full term and birth, without ALL the above things working perfectly.

It just could not. Never. Ever.