Welcome To Jerry's Haven &Tell Talks. We are so happy you have joined us. We will be sending out a newsletter once a week and touch on different subjects as well as including some links, poetry, and all around Christian Fun. If there is anything that you would like to see please do let us know. We welcome any and all comments. 

When I met Cindy, she seemed like any one of us women dropping our children off at school: thirty-something, a wife and a mother of two with a minivan, a dog, a house in the suburbs—a middle-class woman living a middle-class life. But things aren’t always the way they seem.

Shortly after I met Cindy I found out she had leukemia. Her appearance gave no hint, nor did her attitude reflect it. If it weren’t for the fact that she was listed with the National Bone Marrow Registry, I wouldn’t have believed it.

While days for the rest of us passed with relative normalcy—kids with stuffy noses, trips to the vet, grocery and dry cleaners—Cindy continued with business as usual too—except that her young life was slipping away as each day passed without word of a donor match. She went to the market, drove carpool, baked cookies for her youngest daughter’s preschool and cheered as she watched her seven-year-old daughter perform gymnastics. She even went on daily, one-hour power walks with her friends, met us gals for the occasional lunch and managed to laugh during our many silly get-togethers. When I think back on it now, I marvel at her strength. Cindy set an example for all of us.

The only time I can remember her broaching the subject of her illness is when one of her young daughters asked Cindy if she was really dying, or whether it was just a bad dream.

Those were the hardest days, when she thought about her children. She was a mother and wife first, and a cancer patient a distant second.

Overcoming the odds was Cindy’s specialty: one match out of 20,000 possible donors was located in a few months. The donor had passed the initial screening and follow-up tests; all systems were go. Cindy’s husband could breathe again, her children had fewer nightmares and her family and friends rejoiced.

But this was real life, not a medical television drama.

After seven months of indecision, the donor backed out. It was as simple and as devastating as that. (The names of all donors are confidential until a year after the transplant.)

The agonizing awareness of the odds in finding another matching donor was almost too much to bear. As much as Cindy tried to hide it, the strain was beginning to show in her beautiful eyes. Her laugh, when it came, was no longer as easy or as deep. Days now seemed like weeks, and we all knew that time was the enemy, and the enemy was closing in.

Lightning rarely strikes twice in the same spot, but in Woodland Hills, California, one winter afternoon, a second miracle appeared in the form of a telephone call. Another donor had been found. And because of what had happened the first time, the registry had waited to make sure this donor was committed.

Most angels are easily identifiable, given away by their gossamer wings and opaque halos. But sometimes they live here on Earth—even disguised as a twenty-eight-year-old married mother of a two-year-old daughter from New Hampshire. Although Cindy didn’t know anything about her donor—her angel—she received a note as she waited in her hospital room for the gift of bone marrow from this perfect stranger.

It said simply:

“I know this marrow will help you. My mother will be watching over you, Patty.”

Patty was released the next day after the bone marrow aspiration. Cindy had a six-week hospital stay. After a fever and an additional week in the hospital to remedy that, as well as some drug modifications, the first year of Cindy’s recovery went well. The doctors explained that the biggest hurdle was the first hundred days; after that, if the disease stayed in remission for one year, the prognosis would improve significantly.

At first, her friends handled Cindy like fragile crystal. We networked on the telephone, confirming with each other that she seemed to be getting stronger, looking better, acting like herself again. But before long, as we were swept into the business of our own daily lives, Cindy’s illness faded into history.

Then, exactly one year to the day after Cindy’s transplant, that harbinger of life-altering news—the telephone—rang again. Cindy’s husband answered the call and handed her the phone.

“It’s your sister,” he said.

When Cindy put the receiver to her ear, the voice on the other end was not familiar to her. “This isn’t my sister,” Cindy mouthed to Hal.

“Oh yes it is,” insisted her husband, his voice trembling.

Then she realized it was Patty.

Tears ran down Cindy’s cheeks; on the other end, Patty was crying, too. They spent an hour on the phone, swapping information through the telephone lines back and forth between New Hampshire and California. Cindy learned that Patty had lost her mother to cancer, and although she couldn’t help her mother, she was determined to help someone else. She had originally registered as a donor with the City of Hope to help a little boy. She called every two weeks to inquire about the status of her compatibility with him. Ultimately, she discovered she was not a match for the boy, but she was for a woman in California: a wife and mother named Cindy.

Patty had recently given birth to another daughter—but she had waited to get pregnant until she was able to donate her marrow to someone in need. Cindy described her battles with the life-threatening disease and how she eventually emerged victorious due to Patty’s generous and loving act. They made plans to meet the following month.

Cindy and her family flew to Boston, then drove to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Patty arrived at their hotel with her tiny daughter. When the door opened the two women fell into each other’s arms like the long-lost sisters they had now become. Between tears and laughter, these two women, once strangers, who now shared identical bone marrow, forged a permanent friendship and bond.

Five months later, Patty and her family made the trip to California to meet Cindy’s family and friends, who all wanted a chance to personally thank the woman who saved Cindy’s life. They met at a local restaurant—a modest setting for the thirty people who gathered to celebrate the kindness of strangers and to renew their trust in the goodness of people.

When Patty was introduced, some guests raised glasses and some broke out in applause; others wept openly as they beheld the face of an earthbound angel and everyday saint.

Every year, on October 14—the anniversary of Cindy’s transplant—Cindy places a call to Patty and says the same heartfelt words: “Thanks for another year, angel.” Eight priceless years of memories and cherished time have come and gone since the paths of these two remarkable women crossed: a story of love, character and courage. A gift of healing and hope.

(c) 2000 from Chicken Soup to Inspire the Body and Soul

Haven On Earth

Devotional Readings

Pet Care

Public Agenda

Lego Portfolio

Brenda's, Hymns to Him Music Ministries

I Ask God

Real Life


Two church members were going door to door, and knocked on the door of a
woman who was not happy to see them. She told them in no uncertain terms
that she did not want to hear their message, and slammed the door in their

To her surprise, however, the door did not close and, in fact, bounced
back open. She tried again, really put her back into it, and slammed the
door again with the same result -- the door bounced back open.

Convinced these rude young people were sticking their foot in the door,
she reared back to give it a slam that would teach them a lesson, when one
of them said, "Ma'am, before you do that again you need to move your cat."

Speedy Ziti with Zesty Chicken

1 lb Ziti or Mostaccioli OR other medium pasta shape, uncooked
12 oz Chopped, cooked chicken
2 ts Butter or margarine
1 md Onion; chopped
1 tb Dijon mustard
2 tb All-purpose flour
2 c Low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 c Lemon juice
10 oz Frozen peas defrosted and drained
1/4 c Fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, warm the butter or margarine over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the Dijon mustard and flour. Very gradually whisk in the chicken broth. Bring the broth to a boil and stir in the lemon juice, peas and parsley.

When pasta is done, drain it well. Toss pasta and cooked chicken with sauce, season with salt and pepper and serve.

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