What is a miracle? It is when the impossible happens.

It’s when doctors have given up on a sick child and for no scientific reason, that child gets well.

It’s when you’re down to your last dollar, have piles of bills to be paid, and a check arrives in the mail from some unknown source.

It’s when a hurricane comes through a town and your house is left standing with desolation all around it.

It’s when a child is born and you can’t believe how exquisitely miniature this new life appears.

It’s when you’ve prayed for a specific purpose and that prayer is answered.

It’s when there is no earthly reason something wonderful has happened.

Miracles take place everyday. Sometimes they’re very subtle and quiet, sweeping in like a touch on the face. Other times, it’s very evident and public. It doesn’t matter who you are, miracles can happen to anyone.

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A Mysterious Voice
In March 2015, Lynn Jennifer Groesbeck, 25, lost control of her car and landed in the icy Spanish Fork River in Utah.

Fourteen hours later, first responders found her 18-month-old daughter, Lily, in her car seat hanging upside down just above frigid river water.

Prior to finding Lily, both police officers and firefighters report that they heard an adult voice yell "Help me!" from inside the car.

They discovered that the voice could not have come from the young mother, who likely died from the impact.

The rescuers still can’t explain the voice or how the girl survived hanging upside-down for 14 hours in freezing temperatures without being dressed for the cold.

The Gold Band
We’ve all heard that married people live longer. But for one man, marriage literally saved his life.

Donnie Register was working the cash register at his store located in the Antique Market in Jackson, Miss., when two men walked in and held him at gunpoint and demanded money.

A shot was fired at Register's head as he threw up his hands. Remarkably, his wedding ring deflected the bullet. Pieces of the bullet lodged into his neck and fingers, but none of his injuries were fatal.

Register, who has been married for 38 years, doesn’t chalk it up to luck. He believes his marriage saved his life.

"I knew being married was a good thing," he said. "I just didn't know it was that good."

His wife gives God all the credit, and says this story is a good reminder that men should always wear their wedding rings.

Midnight
Hello Friends, my name is Vernon. This story is about me and my wife, Elsie, and our four-legged family member, Midnight, a beautiful black Cat.

It all started about two weeks before Halloween. Elsie and I had just come back from our annual trip to Crabtree's Pumpkin Patch, where we go and pick our Jack O'Lanterns. We are ole' timers, Elsie and I, but we are still kids at heart. That's what keeps us young.

We had a fantastic day, Elsie and I. We got up early, and got great round, ripe and robust pumpkins ....right off of the vine.

On the way home, we even stopped at "Irving's", a cafe that has THE best Pumpkin pie in town. Ah yes....a fresh piece of pumpkin pie, right out of the oven, along with a piping hot cup of apple cider, with a cinnamon stick slowly melting in it. Does life get any better?

It does, as Elsie and I were about to find out....

You see...when we got home from our day full of picking pumpkins and indulging in pumpkin pie and apple cider, we were getting out of our old rusting car,....we were looking to quickly get in the house to get away from the chill that we caught from the cool Autumn winds, when all of a sudden, we saw a black Cat slowly coming up to us..........Elsie was the first to notice him: "Oooh, look Vernon.......a beautiful black Cat!".

I took one look and replied: "Awww, he is beautiful indeed, Elsie!". Elsie and I, like I said, are old timers. We have no use for silly superstitions. To think that some humans would see a black Cat and actually think that they will be unlucky. Ha Ha! How ridiculous! As if the color of a cat's hair determines whether someone is lucky or unlucky! I suppose that I should be careful not to step on a crack, in order to protect my Mother from breaking her back! Ha Ha! Let me tell you something, friends, I have stepped on crack after crack and not once has my Mom had any problems with her back. In fact, before she went to paradise, she remarked at how well her body had held up all those years.

So much for nonsensical superstitions! And the one about black cats is even more absurd than the one about your mother's back! Elsie and I knew better than to believe foolish urban legends. We knew the truth: We had just been graced by the presence of a precious living soul, and whether his fur is black, white, orange, or any other color, makes no difference, as far as "being lucky or unlucky" goes!

We saw our new four-legged friend for who he was: A fellow child of God, deserving of the same love, caring, respect, and dignity as the rest of us.

We saw that our new friend (We named him "Midnight" because of his beautiful black fur) was hungry and thirsty. Elsie and I both had the impression that the poor soul had not eaten for a day or two.

As luck would have it, we had just purchased some cans and a bag of cat food at the local grocery store.
So, Elsie and I took a can of cat food, and gave it to our new friend, Midnight. Midnight ate as if he was in the best restaurant in town!

After finishing his meal, Midnight then came to both Elsie and I, and took turns meowing a heartfelt thank you to us both for the great meal. He waited for us to pet him, and to rub his chin for him. We quickly became attached to Midnight. He strolled right inside. After a little while of sniffing around, and going from room to room to see his new home, Midnight jumped onto a chair that had a blanket on it, and curled himself up into a ball. He took a deep breath as if to say: "Ahhhhhh, no more cold nights, no more bone-chilling winds...this is the life!"

Elsie and I both had tears in our eyes, seeing Midnight so happy and so comfortable. I tried to hide my tears from Elsie, but she always manages to see them, no matter how well I try to hide them! Elsie walked over to me, gave me a hug and whispered into my ear, so as not to interrupt the best catnap that Midnight had probably ever enjoyed: "Don't cry Vernon, He's ok now. He's safe now. We have a new member of the family. It's a boy!"

I couldn't help but laugh, and I shed sweet tears of happiness. As the days went by, Midnight returned our kindness a million times over (Cats and dogs always do!) offering us unconditional love that just amazed us. Who knew that so much love existed inside such a small, cute and cuddly cat! Ah, but the soul is limitless and it is from the soul, where the seeds of love are sown. Cats and dogs seem to master unconditional love, and the souls of us humans could do well to watch and learn from the souls of cats and dogs!

Elsie and I believe in Angels.....only, instead of wings, we say that God's Angels come to us on four legs!

Midnight would often have Elsie and I laughing at the many different positions he could come up with, when it came to lying next to the warm fireplace.

Little did we know, however, that the cozy fireplace would soon place our very lives in danger!

One night, Elsie and I had some friends over, for our annual Halloween storytelling night. We always had so much fun. We all enjoyed the gathering with our friends.....we enjoyed it a little too much! We couldn't believe that it was already 12 A.M. (Midnight). Our friends hurried to their cars.

They all drove away, happily, yet tiredly waving. Elsie and I could barely raise our arms to wave back.....we seniors aren't used to staying up late, you know!

Elsie and I then made sure that Midnight's food and water bowls were full.

Then, Elsie and I slowly walked to our bedroom, and we both fell asleep as soon as our heads hit our pillows.

Then it happened!!

Midnight came running into the room at full speed, leaping onto the bed and waking us both up. Elsie said "Not now, Midnight. We're tired......we'll play in the morning".

Midnight meowed incessantly. Elsie and I both lied there, half asleep and half thinking to ourselves: "Something is wrong. Midnight never acted like this before".

Midnight wouldn't stop meowing, and walking onto our chests, as if he was trying to tell us something. So, I sat up, and Midnight, as if to lead me out of the bed, jumped on the floor and looked back at me, as if to say "Come on, I have something important to show you!" So, I got up and as I got close to Midnight he started leading the way, out to the hall and into the living room. I thought I had saw a flash of light reflecting against the walls, but I wasn't sure.

Then, Midnight and I reached the living room and Midnight stopped and looked at me, and waited for my reaction. "Oh No!" I screamed....Elsie and I had forgotten to extinguish the fireplace after the party! We were so tired, we forgot all about it! Now, the living room rug was on fire. Apparently a little piece of wood from the fireplace had trickled onto the floor, lighting the living room rug ablaze!

The look of pure fear in Midnight's eyes broke my heart on one hand, yet amazed me on the other hand: Despite the panic that Midnight felt, He didn't abandon us....he stayed with us and alerted us, thereby protecting us and frankly, saving our lives!

I yelled to Elsie: "Fire, fire.

I picked up Midnight, and Elsie joined us soon after, and we ran out of the house. I told Elsie to go over to Mrs. Billingsley's, next door and have her call the Fire Dept.
The fire chief let us know that the fire was contained......other than the living room rug being ruined, no other damage had been done. The fire chief asked us: "Did you know that the batteries in your fire alarms needed to be replaced? You are lucky to be alive. You must have an angel watching over you tonight."

Elsie and I looked down at Midnight.

I mean, if it wasn't for that sweet BLACK CAT, Elsie and I would have died!! So, our black cat, Midnight, did indeed bring us plenty of good luck.

And so, the superstition that tells us that black cats are bad luck, went back into the nothingness from which it came! Cats, whether black, white, or otherwise, all bring good luck, because anytime you bring a beautiful loving cat into your home and make them a member of the family, your life will be much better because of it!

A Miracle On Buffalo Pass
On a recent bluebird afternoon, we caught up with Dave, a local pilot and a part-time Wood River Valley resident. Because he loves to travel—dividing his time between Sun Valley and Gig Harbor, Washington—we were lucky enough to catch him. His remarkable story, which took place almost 40 years ago, is one we will never forget.
The year is 1978. The month, December. Rocky Mountain Airways Flight 217 crashes near Steamboat Springs. Dave is one of the first responders to the scene.

But before we dive into his story, let’s start from the beginning. Originally from Minneapolis, Dave grew up an avid ski jumper. Following his snow-filled passion, he moved to Colorado to attend the University of Denver. While in college, skiing became his lifeline. Fortunately, he traveled to world-renowned slopes with his college ski team—Steamboat Springs, Sun Valley, and Jackson Hole among them. When the time came to plant his roots, he ultimately chose Steamboat. The area’s breathtaking views and incredible ski jumping facilities had him hooked.

Dave wore many hats during his years in Steamboat—he started the famous Ore House restaurant, helped develop a subdivision, managed the FBO at the airport (and built many hangars there), ran an air ambulance and air charter service, and served on the city council. He also traveled frequently to Sun Valley; he spent his time visiting and skiing with life-long friends.
Back in Steamboat, while he was developing a subdivision north of the city, he purchased a snowcat—mostly because the road to the subdivision wasn’t quite finished. He didn’t know it then, but this snowcat proved valuable in many respects. It allowed him to pioneer snowcat skiing with his buddies on Buffalo Pass, and ultimately, enabled him to play a critical role in the rescue of Flight 217.

When he first heard about the crash, Dave was working at his restaurant in Steamboat. He’ll never forget as the news flashed across the television screen. In a gut-wrenching, compulsory moment, he left Ore House and walked into the sheriff’s office. He knew, without a doubt in his mind, that he could help. He told the deputies about his snowcat and explained where the crash might be. However, its precise location was uncertain. At the time, conflicting signals were making it difficult to pinpoint the plane’s whereabouts. But, a power line transmitter over Buffalo Pass had gone down at roughly the same time as the crash. To Dave, that was no coincidence.

With their grace, Dave left the sheriff’s office and headed toward Walden. But, he took a wrong turn in the dark. He began moving swiftly to the east side of the Buffalo Pass, instead. However, he continued to listen to his intuition, letting it guide him across the treacherous landscape. On the way, he stumbled upon two other civilian searchers who had radios and direction-finding tools. Together, they maneuvered to the top of the pass, where they anxiously encountered nearly 100 mph winds. In addition to the winds, the downed power line transmitter made their search extremely challenging

After nearly two-and-a-half hours of fruitless searching, the two civilians were ready to give up. But, Dave followed his gut. He drove his snowcat toward the power lines, up to the top of the dangerous, snow-covered ridge. As they approached, their directional tool began blaring loudly. They knew they were close. Minutes later, Dave heard someone call out “over here!” They drove another 500 feet before they saw anything. But, there it was—the plane, still somewhat intact, and a group of hopeful passengers.

According to Dave, the crash went something like this: one of the wingtips clipped the power line on the ridge, and the plane went down in a timber-lined area, losing both wings in the crash. Once Dave and the other two searchers assessed the scene, they radioed down their location. Unfortunately, though, the other snowcats weren’t able to see Dave’s tracks due to the falling and drifting snow. So, Dave left behind a few sleeping bags and loaded up the five least-injured passengers. As they headed down the mountain, he left tracks for the other snowcats. They then followed his new tracks back to the plane, and the rescue efforts commenced in earnest. For Dave, the “Miracle on Buffalo Pass” changed his life.

Rescuing People From Danger

Animals sometimes carry out dramatic rescues of people in dangerous situations, miraculously sensing human needs and jumping in without fear to help.

When a great white shark attacked surfer Todd Endris in the Pacific Ocean and suddenly mauled his back and right leg, an entire pod of bottlenose dolphins formed a protective ring around Endris so he could make it to the shore for first aid that ended up saving his life.

The Lineham family of Birmingham, England may have perished in a house fire if it hadn’t been for the efforts of their cat -- appropriately named Sooty -- to alert them to danger. Sooty scratched at the family’s bedroom doors until they woke up.

Then they were all able to escape the fire before smoke could overcome them.

When a 3-year-old boy accidentally fell into the gorilla enclosure at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo and became unconscious, a female gorilla named Binti Jua picked him up and held him gently close to her to protect him from being injured by other gorillas until zookeepers could rescue him.

Helping People Heal From Emotional Trauma

Animals may also help people who have gone through emotional trauma make miraculous recoveries, by giving those people unconditional love and encouraging them to regain hope and confidence.

A pit bull dog named Cheyenne saved former U.S. Air Force security guard David Sharpe’s life, he tells people. Sharpe, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression after tours of duty in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, had placed a gun inside his mouth and was ready to commit suicide by pulling the trigger when he felt Cheyenne lick his ear. He opened his eyes and stared into his pet’s loving face for a while, and then decided to live because her unconditional love gave him hope. Since then, Sharpe founded an organization called P2V (Pets to Vets), which matches military service members and first-responder rescue workers with shelter animals that can give them the help they need to heal from emotional wounds.

Donna Spadoni struggled with anxiety and depression after she lost her job during a short-term disability leave for back surgeries. But when she adopted Josie, a standard poodle who was trained as a companion animal by the Delta Society, Donna regained a positive outlook on life.

Josie’s humorous antics made Donna laugh, and her friendship gave her fresh hope to deal with the stress in her life.

A ranch called The Gentle Barn matches children who have been abused with animals like cows, pigs, goats, dogs, cats, llamas, and horses who have also suffered abuse, so they can build healing bonds with each other. Jackie Wagner's friendship with Zoe, a formerly abused horse, has helped Jackie heal the emotional wounds that her abusive late father had inflicted on her.

Helping People Deal With Physical Illness or Injury

Animals also can miraculously improve the quality of life for people who are disabled or recovering from a physical illness or injury. Many organizations train animals to perform a wide variety of helpful tasks for people with special physical needs.

After Ned Sullivan was paralyzed in a car accident, his family got a Capuchin monkey named Kasey from an organization called Helping Hands, Inc.

Kasey does everything from flipping the pages of books and magazines Ned reads to getting Ned a drink with a straw and positioning it near his mouth when he’s thirsty.

Frances Maldonado was concerned about having to depend on her family members too much to get around after a disease caused her to lose most of her vision. But when she got a trained Labrador retriever named Orrin from Guide Dogs for the Blind, she rejoiced that she was able to travel without constantly having to rely on rides from others. Orrin helps Frances safely navigate as she walks, and even makes it possible for her to manage bus trips.

Riding horses at Rainbow Center 4-H Therapeutic Riding Center helps brothers David and Joshua Cibula strengthen their muscles that have become weakened by cerebral palsy, which makes it possible for the boys to control their muscles better during all of their everyday tasks. The horses that the Cibulas and other disabled children ride have been trained to respond gently when the children are struggling and work patiently to help the children learn new physical skills.

Reflex Actions

On March 25, 2010, Kate Ogg gave birth to twins Jamie and Emily just 27 weeks into her pregnancy. Although Emily survived the birthing process, Jamie was born in distress and was not breathing. Doctors spent 20 minutes trying to resuscitate Jamie, but were unable to do so. They told Kate and her husband David that Jamie had died. Nurses placed Jamie's unmoving body onto his mother's chest so she could say her goodbyes.

As Kate and David thought they were extending a farewell to their deceased child, a remarkable thing occurred – after about five minutes or so, Jamie began moving. Nonetheless, the doctor present informed his parents such movements were simply reflex actions and were not indicative of life.

Kate and David asked to spend an extra minute or two with the child they believed was on his way out of the world. Those few minutes turned into two hours, and something even more remarkable than Jamie's previous movements took place – the supposedly dead child opened his eyes.

At this point, the couple started to question if Jaime was dead after all but were still told by the hospital that what they were seeing were simply reflex actions. Eventually, they had to resort to a little white lie to get the doctor to come back. They told him they had come to terms with the baby's death.

Once inside the room, the doctor was in disbelief when he arrived back at the bedside. "He got a stethoscope, listened to Jamie's chest and just kept shaking his head. He said, 'I don't believe it, I don't believe it.'"

Jamie was indeed alive. Doctors believe the warmth of Kate's body and the stimulation that the baby may have received from hearing her heartbeat made all the difference between life and death.

Jamie and his sister Emily are now happy, healthy five years olds. The little boy has not encountered one medical problem in the five years since his birth.

Against All Odds

22-month-old Gardell Martin was playing outside with his brothers near his parents home in Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania in March 2015 when he went missing. His mother Rose did a quick search of the property before realizing her young son had likely fallen into a creek on their property, which was swollen because of melting snow. She called 911 while her two teenage daughters began walking downstream in a frantic search for the toddler.

Gardell was found by a neighbor, a quarter-mile away, unconscious and caught up in a tree branch, with water gushing around him.

An ambulance crew arrived moments later, found no pulse and began CPR. Resuscitation would continue, unbroken, for 101 minutes — in the ambulance, at a community hospital, aboard a medical helicopter and, finally, in the emergency room of Janet Weis, the pediatric wing of Geisinger Medical Centre, where a team of some 30 doctors and nurses sprang into action.

The little boy's body temperature was 77 degrees when he arrived, more than 20 degrees below normal (normal is 98.6). Gardell's profound hypothermia worked to his advantage, dramatically slowing his metabolism and giving his organs “some degree of protection from cardiac arrest." Armed with that knowledge, doctors continued CPR while slowly warming his body. At around 82 degrees, they detected a pulse.

Against all odds, his heart had restarted.

Little Gardell regained consciousness — and his brain function was normal, stunning doctors. Dr. Maffei, head of the pediatric wing, says he has never encountered such a recovery in his 23 years as a doctor.


The Earth Around You

Look at the mountains, the valleys, the trees, flowers, rivers and streams. The beauty, alone is awe-inspiring. If you think about what part each earthly element plays, you realize that each is miraculous.

The mountains provide protection from passing storms; the trees and flowers produce oxygen for us to breathe; the rivers provide much-needed water for all living creatures. These are just a few of the miracles found in the earth, and there are millions.

Miracles happen around us all the time — even on an everyday basis. All we need to do is open our eyes, minds and hearts to see them.

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