Daily Archives: October 11, 2010

The Blessing of Anastasha Kalil – Part 15 – Day of Life 235

Many of us have been following, week by week, the life of Anastasha. She is unborn, but carries the  terminal diagnosis of anencephaly. She continues to grow and prosper in her mom’s womb, but the end of her pregnancy and, barring a miracle, the end of her life. Here’s the latest update from her fahter, family physician Craig DeLisi”

We’ve decided on a middle name for our littlest princess. Kalil (Kah-LEEL) is a Hebrew name that means “complete”.

We’ve known of and liked this name for over a decade, but it seemed fitting to go with Anastasha (Greek name for “resurrection”) since she will be made “complete” at the “resurrection.”

Since our last email, we’ve been blessed to have some special events for our daughter.

The first one was an evening of prayer and worship with some friends locally. It was very sweet and intimate time for us to cry out to the Lord for strength and mercy.

We were very blessed by the love of the Body of Christ, manifested by our dear friends who attended. Most of the women who attended have lost children themselves, including one who gave birth do a daughter with anencephaly just over one year ago.

The second event we attended was a baby shower last week given by some very special young women.

“Living Alternatives” is a home for young women who have a crisis pregnancy and have decided to carry their child instead of having an abortion. These brave young women have followed our story and wanted to do something tangible to bless us, so they invited Tonya and I down to their home near Tyler, TX.

We were so blessed to meet them and share our story with them. They showered us with gifts, as well as with love and prayer. We were indeed very blessed and so thankful that they each have chosen to give their child a chance at life.

Tonya is 35 weeks pregnant now. We had Caius at 35 weeks and 5 days gestation. So based on our history, we assume Anastasha is coming soon. Especially since Tonya has been contracting very regularly, but hasn’t gone into labor yet.

Anastasha is doing well, growing and active in the womb. She is head down, engaged and ready to come out and meet us. We both assume she’ll be born within the next 2 weeks.

As it gets closer, it is clearly a bittersweet time. There is increasing joy and excitement in our hearts for the time to meet her and be with her. But there is sadness not knowing how long we’ll have with her. We know that however long it is, whether minutes or years, it won’t seem like long enough.

As our journey nears its pinnacle, we are learning by necessity to trust more in our Heavenly Father.

Tonya and I were talking today about the fact that in this life we struggle much LESS with trusting God with the “big” things – life, death, illness, jobs, etc. But where we really struggle is in trusting Him in the “little” details.

We are both control freaks (what a mirage that is!), and like to know the details before they happen. Even with Anastasha’s life, we ultimately trust Him in “what” He decides. But the “how” is stressful to us.

  • Will she be born alive?
  • How long will we have?
  • What will we do with the kids during labor?
  • Who will come visit and when?

None of these are big details in the grand scheme, but the cumulative effect is to cause us angst. And this is mostly because of our disbelief and lack of trust, which is sin.

Would you please pray for us that we would TRUST more? And, here are some other things that we would really appreciate prayer for in the coming days:

  • Against anxiety/fear,
  • Preparation for our children’s’ hearts for what lies ahead,
  • For a healthy ending for Tonya’s body for this pregnancy (and for the contractions to settle down until it is really labor time),
  • That we can hold Anastasha in our arms while she is still alive,

Many of you might be wondering if we are resigned to the fact that Anastasha will die. I can say truthfully that I have been praying more earnestly for Anastasha’s miraculous healing more in the last 2 weeks then probably I have cumulatively the rest of the pregnancy.

Do we believe God CAN heal her? Oh yes, with ALL our heart we do.

Do we believe with certainty that He WILL? No, we don’t because we don’t presume to know His specific will and plan in this situation.

But we do have HOPE. However, our hope is not in a specific outcome (in this case, her healing), but our “hope is in His unfailing love.” (Psalm 33:18).

As much as we desire her earthly healing, it is secondary to our desire that Jesus Christ would be glorified and magnified in Anastasha’s life … by whatever means.

That is the prayer we have for all of our children, and we know it is a dangerous prayer. He may be most glorified by her miraculous healing and long life to show the world His power and mercy. Or He may be most glorified in her short life and death to show the world His great love and her great worth despite her frailty and brevity. We don’t know, but we do trust Him … deeply.

Thank you for your prayer and support. We need it now more than ever.

Craig and Tonya for the DeLisi crew

18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
19 to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.
20 We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
22 May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.
But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, 

on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,

to deliver them from death

and keep them alive in famine.

We wait in hope for the LORD;

he is our help and our shield.

In him our hearts rejoice,

for we trust in his holy name.

May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,

even as we put our hope in you.

Psalm 33:18-22

PS. When Anastasha is born, Tonya and I know that some of you may want to show us love in the form of flowers or gifts. And we are thankful for that. But we would be SO GREATLY BLESSED if you would consider instead making a donation to the orphanage and school that I have visited in Sudan several times.

Harvesters Reaching the Nations is an awesome ministry of which I am honored to serve on the Board of Trustees (click here to watch an endorsement by Franklin Graham).

To give, you can go to here and put Anastasha’s name at the bottom where it says “in honor of”.

The money you give will be used not just to bless us, but to advance God’s kingdom in Sudan by caring for and blessing some very precious children.

Here’s the entire series of amazing stories:

    Taking a Spiritual Inventory of Your Healthcare Professional

    Take a Spiritual Inventory
    Finding a doctor and other health care team members who share your spiritual foundation and practices may be crucial for you—and thankfully it’s fairly simple. You can use a spiritual inventory.
    Doctors are increasingly using spiritual inventories in their care of patients. In fact, when I make presentations at medical centers, medical schools, and professional meetings, the question I most often hear is, How can doctors take useful spiritual inventories of their patients?
    In the same way a doctor can inquire about a patient’s spiritual beliefs, a patient should feel free to ask about how a doctor’s spiritual beliefs and prac- tices relate to his or her medical care. A winning health care provider should be perfectly willing to let you know where he or she stands on these issues. Furthermore, when it comes to alternative or complementary care providers, these questions can be critical, because some have been known to use their therapy to actively recruit unsuspecting patients into spiritual belief systems I think are highly unhealthy.
    Here are a few questions you could ask at your interview of the prospec- tive health care provider—or during your first official appointment. I’m sure you could come up with some of your own to add. I’m aware that most people probably won’t follow my suggestion to ask a provider all the follow- ing questions—especially at a first meeting. However, if your spirituality is very important to you, and if you want a provider who shares your beliefs, then each question might by useful for you to discuss with your physician at some point.
    1. Are you willing to consider my spiritual preferences as you care for me?
    2. Are you open to discussion of the religious or spiritual implications of my health care?
    3. Are you willing to work with my spiritual mentors (pastor, priest, rabbi, elder) and other members of my health care team (family, friends, mentor, support group) in providing me with the best pos- sible health care?
    4. Are you willing to pray with me—or for me—if I feel the need for prayer?
    For those who are working to inflate and balance their spiritual wheel, asking questions 1, 2, 3, and 4 is perfectly reasonable—and, I would expect, acceptable to most physicians and providers. Some might consider the fol- lowing questions 5 through 9 to be too personal and intimate to ask of a total stranger. So if you’re not there—no problem.
    0310262798_hlthpers_int 11/2/04 12:18 PM Page 251
    Team Up with Winning Health Care Providers 251
    5. What does spirituality mean to you? How much is religion (and God) a source of strength and comfort for you?
    6. Have you ever had an experience that convinced you that God or a higher power exists?
    7. How strongly religious or spiritually oriented do you consider your- self to be?
    8. Do you pray? If so, how frequently? 9. Do you attend religious worship times? If so, how often do you gen-
    erally attend?
    Even if you decide that asking these questions in an interview style is not comfortable, you may want to look for opportunities to talk informally dur- ing a visit. But at least consider asking the first four questions. Frankly dis- cussing this can strengthen all four of your health wheels, as well as your trust relationship with your health care provider.

    This post is excerpted from my book, 10 Essentials of Happy, Healthy People: Becoming and staying highly healthy:

    10 E's

    Finding a doctor and other health care team members who share your spiritual foundation and practices may be crucial for you—and thankfully it’s fairly simple. You can use a spiritual inventory.

    Doctors are increasingly using spiritual inventories in their care of patients. In fact, when I make presentations at medical centers, medical schools, and professional meetings, the question I most often hear is, “How can doctors take useful spiritual inventories of their patients?”

    In the same way a doctor can inquire about a patient’s spiritual beliefs, a patient should feel free to ask about how a doctor’s spiritual beliefs and practices relate to his or her medical care.

    A winning health care provider should be perfectly willing to let you know where he or she stands on these issues.

    Furthermore, when it comes to alternative or complementary care providers, these questions can be critical, because some have been known to use their therapy to actively recruit unsuspecting patients into spiritual belief systems I think are highly unhealthy. (You can read more about this in my best-selling book: Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook).

    Here are a few questions you could ask at your interview of the prospective health care provider—or during your first official appointment. I’m sure you could come up with some of your own to add.

    I’m aware that most people probably won’t follow my suggestion to ask a provider all the following questions—especially at a first meeting. However, if your spirituality is very important to you, and if you want a provider who shares your beliefs, then each question might by useful for you to discuss with your physician at some point.

    1. Are you willing to consider my spiritual preferences as you care for me?
    2. Are you open to discussion of the religious or spiritual implications of my health care?
    3. Are you willing to work with my spiritual mentors (pastor, priest, rabbi, elder) and other members of my health care team (family, friends, mentor, support group) in providing me with the best possible health care?
    4. Are you willing to pray with me—or for me—if I feel the need for prayer?

    For those who are working to inflate and balance their spiritual wheel, asking questions 1, 2, 3, and 4 is perfectly reasonable—and, I would expect, acceptable to most physicians and providers. Some might consider the following questions to be too personal and intimate to ask of a total stranger. So if you’re not there—no problem.

    1. What does spirituality mean to you? How much is religion (and God) a source of strength and comfort for you?
    2. Have you ever had an experience that convinced you that God or a higher power exists?
    3. How strongly religious or spiritually oriented do you consider yourself to be?
    4. Do you pray? If so, how frequently?
    5. Do you attend religious worship times? If so, how often do you generally attend?

    Even if you decide that asking these questions in an interview style is not comfortable, you may want to look for opportunities to talk informally during a visit. But at least consider asking the first four questions.

    Frankly discussing this can strengthen all four of your health wheels, as well as your trust relationship with your health care provider.

    Religious Doctors Less Likely to Kill Patients With Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide

    In my newest health book, 10 Essentials of Happy, Healthy People: Becoming and staying highly healthy, I discuss the importance of understanding your doctors spiritual belief system. In another post, I discuss how to find out more about your doctor’s spirituality. But, now comes a shocking study supporting my recommendation.

    The report comes from London, England, and is reported by LifeNews.com:

    Patients worried about becoming a victim of euthanasia should ensure they find a doctor who holds strong religious views. That’s because a new study out of Great Britain finds physicians who are atheist or agnostic are twice as likely to make decisions taking the lives of terminally ill patients.

    Dr. Clive Seale, a professor at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, conducted a random mail survey of more than 8,500 doctors. Almost 4,000 responded and more than 3,000 described the death of a patient.

    Seale found doctors, many of whom care for elderly patients or are neurologists, who describe themselves as “extremely” or “very nonreligious” were twice as likely to report that the care for their last terminally ill patient included euthanasia practices such as deep sedation.

    He found religious doctors were also less likely to keep patients in continuous deep sedation or to support legislation allowing assisted suicide.

    “There was a strong link between specialty and reporting decisions that were expected or partly intended to hasten the end of a sick patient’s life,” Medical News Today reported on the study. “Hospital specialists were nearly 10 times more likely to report such decisions than palliative care doctors.”

    According to an AP report, Seale wrote that “nonreligious doctors should confess their predilections to their patients,” so they know they could become victims.

    “If I were a patient facing end of life care, I would want to know what my doctor’s views were on religious matters – whether they are non-religious or religious and whether the doctor felt that would influence them in the kinds of decisions they were looking at,” Seale said.

    Ann McPherson, of the pro-euthanasia group Dignity in Dying, condemned religious doctors.

    “Whilst entitled to their beliefs,” she said, doctors “should not let them come in the way of providing patient centered care at the end of life.”

    Dave Andrusko, editor of the National Right to Life Committee’s newspaper, responded, saying that, to euthanasia backers, “‘patient-centered’ always means a preferential option for death. By contrast the doctors who described themselves as very or extremely religious were in no hurry to expedite their patients’ deaths.”

    “McPherson implied that these physicians might easily be hampered in addressing matters of pain control. A more charitable (and far more likely) expectation is that these physicians–since they are also not promoters of euthanasia–would know that proper pain management is the single best line of defense against the assisted suicide set,” he said.

    Andrusko noted how news outlets treated the results differently in their reporting.

    “It’s often very interesting (and illustrative) to see how different publications headline the same story,” he said.

    Andrusko noted the British publication “The Guardian,” used the headline “Atheist doctors ‘more likely to hasten death” while the Los Angeles Times used “Religious views influence treatment offered by doctors” and the British “Medical News Today,” had “Doctors’ Religious Faith Influences End Of Life Care.”

    Britain’s National Council for Palliative Care paid for the study and it was published in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

    Is Black Rice the New Superfood?

    According to ancient Chinese legend, black rice was so rare, tasty, and nutritious that only the emperors were allowed to eat it. Times have changed. Although black rice is still relatively rare, researchers are trying to bring its distinctive flavor and mix of antioxidants to the masses—or at least to a grocery store near you.

    If you’ve never heard of black rice, much less seen it, the dark-hued grain is now available at supermarkets such as Whole Foods and appears to be gaining a foothold in kitchens and restaurants in the U.S. Here are more details from Health.com:

    Like brown rice, black rice is full of antioxidant-rich bran, which is found in the outer layer that gets removed during the milling process to make white rice. But only black-rice bran contains the antioxidants known as anthocyanins, purple and reddish pigments—also found in blueberries, grapes, and acai—that have been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer, improvements in memory, and other health benefits.

    One spoonful of black-rice bran—or 10 spoonfuls of cooked black rice—contains the same amount of anthocyanin as a spoonful of fresh blueberries, according to a new study presented today at the American Chemical Society, in Boston.

    “I think the black-rice bran has an advantage over blueberries, because blueberries still contain a high level of sugar,” says the lead researcher, Zhimin Xu, PhD, an associate professor at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, in Baton Rouge.

    Black rice isn’t currently grown on a commercial scale in the U.S., but Xu hopes that his research will spur farmers in the Southeast to start growing it.

    The combination of antioxidants found in black rice packs a one-two punch that could make it a particularly good food for your health.

    Some antioxidants in black (and brown) rice are fat-soluble, while anthocyanins are water-soluble and can therefore reach different areas of the body, says Joe Vinson, PhD, a professor of chemistry at the University of Scranton, in Pennsylvania.

    Black rice is still a niche product, but its popularity seems to be growing.

    “I have to order it [from our supplier] a lot more often than I used to, that’s for sure,” says Linda Barry, the manager of Barry Farm Foods, a food distributor in Wapakoneta, Ohio, that began carrying black rice about three years ago.

    Lotus Foods—which first introduced black rice to the U.S. market in 1995—has seen steadily increasing sales as well, says Caryl Levine, the co-owner of the El Cerrito, Calif.-based company.

    Levine has been a believer ever since she tried her first bowl of steaming black rice in China. “I loved the taste and texture, and the color,” she says. “You get this up-front nutty taste, and almost a hint of fruit or floral at the finish. It’s very complex.”

    The taste won’t win everyone over. The notoriously finicky American palate may be the biggest obstacle facing black rice, says Marisa Moore, RD, a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

    Some of her clients still find it “a challenge to incorporate brown rice [in their diets], because it is a different flavor and is chewier,” Moore says—and black rice is even chewier and more intense than brown rice. (To address this problem, Xu and his colleagues are developing a patented process to make black rice fluffier and less coarse.)

    Because the health benefits of black rice lie in the bran, it’s important to choose whole-grain varieties when shopping. As with brown rice, Moore suggests, you should look for “whole black rice” at the top of the ingredients list.

    There are other ways of using the rice besides eating it straight. Levine makes homemade black-rice bran powder by putting the dried kernels in a coffee grinder. A dusting of the powder on fish or in pancakes adds a nice flavor boost, she says.

    Use enough of it, and the powder will add a distinctive purplish hue. In fact, if black-rice cultivation grows in scale, powder from the rice bran could be used as a healthful food coloring in sodas and other products, Xu says.

    Even if black rice becomes a staple on your dinner table, you should still make room in your diet for fruits like blueberries, cranberries, and raisins, Moore says. Blueberries and black rice “have different offerings,” she points out. “With the blueberries, you get an additional amount of vitamin C.”