For starters, IÕve been without a cell phone since the big 4th. I donÕt know if it was leaving it my car in the heat or what but it suddenly went kerflooey on me as I was driving home from church and trying to call my mother.

Verizon kindly sent me a new phone for free and I just received it via FedEx today. My apologies if you tried to leave me a voicemail, etc. I lost all my stored numbers and now, as I try to program the new phone (without the aid of Wifi since I donÕt have a connection at my new place) the prompts are telling me my number since 2007 isnÕt ŌrecognizedĶ and theyÕre sorry but IÕll have to call customer service—something I canÕt do without a phone!!!!

*****

This was a sobering post-holiday week for me in general. Our high-rise apartment buildingÕs central air conditioning system broke down on the 4th and wasnÕt fixed until Tuesday around 11, almost the exact same minute I had to call paramedics to rush to the hospital an 89-year-old resident with COPD who was struggling to breathe in the stifling heat and humidity.

She is still at St. Francis and itÕs hard to say now what her future holds.  We all went to visit her today and learned a lot of tests are still being run. SheÕs got three IV hookups.

In the meantime, her old tabby Lamb Chop just wonÕt quit crying as he sits alone in her bedroom, not knowing where his mommyÕs gone or when or if sheÕll be back. I come in once a day to give him his mini can of Fancy Feast grilled seafood variety. The fear is he might get lost if I let him roam the halls, etc.

Looking through this widely beloved residentÕs files for needed healthcare info, I was impressed how well she looked on her last state I.D. photo taken in 2000. She still had a full head of hair and it was nice and wavy. The card said she was 5Õ9ÕÕ and weighed 120.

 From all IÕve ever been told by others, she was a very striking beauty in her younger days. She had a wild and varied career in which she was everything from a semi driver and truckstop cook to a switchboard operator and fancy hotel clerk.

*****

Just last week I learned that another friend in the building has just been diagnosed with prostate cancer and itÕs at Stage 4. In giving me this news he reminded me that prostate cancer as a rule is incurable.

Of course, as many of us Shorewood folks are learning as the days go by, Keith Blades finally passed on the 4th after his long, valiant struggle against CrohnÕs Disease. He will be remembered best for his classic among classics, Satan and His Plan of Evil. This book opened the skies for me when I first read it nearly a decade ago. I understood the intricacies of the Battle like never before.

In fact, BladesÕ book rates in the top three of my recommended reading list. The other two books, chosen mostly for how deeply theyÕve influenced me as a journalist anxious to expose The Lie, are C.R. StamÕs The Controversy and Gail RiplingerÕs New Age Bible Versions. A close fourth is R. Dawson BarlowÕs The Apostasy of the Christian Church.

*****

In honor of KeithÕs life work as an indefatigable teacher, mentor and soldier for Christ, here is just one brilliant passage from his book chocked full of them:

ŌBy keeping Ôthe mystery of ChristÕ a Ômystery,Õ or secret, God made it so that the Ôprinces of this worldÕ didnÕt know about His plan for providing for the making of a Ônew creationÕ through the death of Christ. They neither did, nor could, figure it out . . .

ŌTo take them in their own craftiness required them to do the work that would bring about their own complete destruction. In their pride and lack of true wisdom and genius they did it, and are now shown to be anything but wise. By crucifying the Lord they sealed their doom.

ŌNot only did God provide for IsraelÕs redemption through that death, (assuring His capacity to repossess the earthÕs dominion), but through the cross of Christ He has also provided for the making of a new creation, one new man, by which He will repossess the heavenly places as well . . .

ŌGod in great shrewdness kept it a secret, and Satan never even thought of it. In all his wisdom it never even dawned on him . . . What (Satan and his princes) thought in their own minds would be their greatest achievement in their contention with God, and the ultimate demonstration of their own intelligence and wisdom, proved to be, by the mere keeping of a secret, the bringing about of their utter defeat. And again, this they brought about by the work of their own hands.Ķ

(EditorÕs note: I promise to have my article on manna done by tomorrow, so come back  yÕall, hear!)