Face-to-Face with a Mama Bear

She hoped to see a bear while on their family vacation in Gatlinburg. About to go into town, Annette sat in the car and waited for the others to join her when she heard a strange sound. She never dreamed of the encounter she would have….

If you encounter a bear, “Hold your ground and make yourself look big—open your coat up, throw your arms up above your head—and shout and scream; a lot of times, they’re as spooked as you are,” says Tony Nester, an expert on bear survival. But what if the bear is a mother protecting her cubs?

Are Bears the Most Protective Animal Mother?

Mama bears can be the most fierce and protective of any animal when it comes to her babies. It is a widely accepted belief that the most dangerous place to be is between a mother bear and her cub. So what kept this mama bear from attack?

Family Vacation in a Gaitlinburg Cabin

Annette and David Duncan rallied their family together for a vacation in Gaitlinburg, TN. Quite a feat, when you consider there could be sixteen people. Fourteen of the family managed to come. The cabin was perfect for their children and grandchildren to vacation together.

The Duncan Family – courtesy of Annette Duncan

A few days before the incident, Dave and Annette came upstairs from their room and found all of the children and grandchildren singing “Amazing Grace.” Two of their children told them the Lord had revealed through dreams and pictures that their family was under spiritual attack that week. Together, the children decided to pray protection over our family, the cabin, and the grounds. Then they began to sing praise.

Prayed to See a Bear

Picture courtesy of Annette Duncan

Most everyone had left for town one day. Annette waited with her daughter in the car for the others to join them; her granddaughter was asleep in the backseat. Annette said she had been praying to see a bear while at the cabin, and then she heard a strange sound. She got out to see what it was.

“It wasn’t unusual for someone in our large family wanting to be funny or annoying, so I hopped out and went over to the fence, about ten feet from the car, to see where the strange noise came from,” said Annette on her Facebook feed. As she leaned over the fence, she realized the sound might be the cry of a baby bear.

The Abrupt Encounter

Suddenly she felt something nudge her from behind. It didn’t feel like one of the grandchildren running to greet her, or a person bumping into her. Besides, most of the family were already in town. Confused, she turned around and found herself face-to-face with a huge mother bear. Now she was pinned between the fence and a mama bear with a crying cub on the other side. Annette said she was terrified, but tried to remain calm and act submissive.

Her first thoughts were to scream, yell, wave – like all the ‘experts’ say to do, but she sensed this was not the way to react in this situation. She says, “The Holy Spirit helped me to stay calm while giving me wisdom. I kept repeating the name of Jesus over and over in my mind.”

The mama bear sniffed, snorted, and punched Annette with her nose for about a minute. “Finally she apparently decided I was not a threat and ambled off to retrieve her cub. I ran to the car and told my daughter to stay there. I’m very grateful my granddaughter did not wake up and scream and that no one else came out of the house,” she said. One person commented on Facebook that the bear must have sensed Annette was also a fierce mama with lots of cubs to handle.

Mama Bear and four cubs outside the cabin – picture courtesy of Annette Duncan / Facebook

Mama Bear returned a few minutes later with her four cubs. After they left, the shaken but grateful and relieved woman went inside to tell her husband. She found him on the other side of the cabin looking out the window. “Look, Annette,” he said, “there are the bears you wanted to see.”

Her Bible devotions for that morning included this verse from Psalm 121:7-8. “Clearly, God answered in a powerful way,” said  Annette Duncan.

He can do the same for you!

Does God not know the steps we take each day? His mighty Hand protects, comforts, and leads. He worked His miracle for Annette that August day in the woods. Grateful and amazed, Mrs. Duncan said she was done praying to see a bear.

Annette Duncan

Annette Duncan is an Assistant Professor of English at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. She lives with her husband, David in Franklin, WI. Follow her writings at https://annetteduncan.blogspot.com This story along with the pictures have been approved by Annette Duncan.

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Kept Alive – Onboard the Spirit…

After finishing a final round of radiation treatment for cancer, Jerry Drouillard boarded a plane for Orlando, FL. Worn out from the treatment, he decided to settle into his aisle seat and take a nap during the flight. It almost became his last.

He boarded the SPIRIT flight in Detroit; the Spirit almost transported him to the beyond. With the plane still on the tarmac, Drouillard suffered a massive heart attack.

Jeff, a passenger on the flight, had finished his CPR classes only three weeks earlier. He sensed there was something was wrong with the man and rose to help. Signaling the flight attendant to help him, neither one could find a pulse. They believed the man had died.

Staying Alive…

“You don’t normally hear someone call for 911 on a plane,” said Nurse Sue who was sitting a couple of rows back. The excitement got her attention and she hurried to offer her help. Katie, a cardiac care nurse who also sat nearby jumped in too. As medical professionals, they both realized Drouillard could be in his last moments. They put oxygen on him and Katie immediately started CPR while Sue sang “Staying Alive” to help keep the rhythm of CPR until the ambulance arrived.

Jerry now had a pulse but it was very weak. Still unresponsive, the “Spirit team” got the plane’s defibrillator and administered it.

The paramedics then rushed him to the hospital where he had a quintuple bypass. Jerry says he doesn’t remember anything that happened on the plane. He’s just happy everyone pitched in and helped keep him alive. “Don’t clap for me,” he said when meeting his ‘Spirit team.’ “All I did was survive.”

“Don’t clap for me, all I did was survive,” said Jerry Drouillard.

A Team of Strangers

Three professionals ‘just happened’ to be seated around this man – a man who just finished his CPR training, a nurse, and a cardiac care nurse. With team spirit, they along with the flight attendant worked together to keep this man alive another day.

Ironic? Coincidence? Or a miracle? Jerry believes it was a miracle.

I choose to believe that too.

This is a real miracle. The people were all there, and I’m so happy for this. Everything fell into place and I give the glory to God. Here I am.” Jerry Drouillard

This true-life story inspired me to write a fictional story. You may read it here.

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Fear in the Fog

It happened on a recent business trip – the day I stepped into eternity.

It was only a quick flight to Orlando and back – nothing stressful. I had forgotten my talk with the doctor, until I had that dream again last night. You know the kind…where you clench your teeth, muscles taut, cold sweats. You gasp for air, shaking, while your heart tries to beat its way out of your chest.  That kind of a dream. Places were different each time, but the scenes are always the same. You’re blinded by a fog that shrouds everything. Fear grips you and your skin prickles, cold and clammy. Yeah. That kind of dream that terrifies you of the unknown. The horrifying nightmares have plagued my mind since my last medical appointment.

Last night I was on one of those one-person swinging footbridges suspended high above a supposed chasm. Dense fog obscured whatever was below or ahead. With calculated steps, I inched forward, urging my trembling body another foot. The planks were rotten, some broken, some missing; the rope frayed. I stumbled, reaching amiss for a foothold. The moment before plunging into the abyss below, an unseen presence enveloped me.  I awoke with a start, gasping for breath, shivering and wet.

That’s how this day trip began. Shaking the premonition, I boarded the plane. I’d had no symptoms for eight months now, but the dream still unnerved me. I recalled that hot day last August, stunned at the bleak prognosis given. Only three to six months? I had driven home in a fog, barely able to see the road through misty eyes. Fear gripped my soul.

Finding my seat on the plane, I pondered the dream. Silly, perhaps, but I had to work it through. The bridge in the fog had to have an end. Although obscured, it had to go somewhere. Just because I couldn’t see the other side didn’t mean it didn’t exist. Take one step at a time, I admonished myself. Although unsteady and unsure, I must move forward. The thought eased the stabbing jolts in my chest. Deep breaths. This will not get the best of me. Even if I have to take baby steps, I promised myself to keep moving and trust the unseen presence.

Feeling drowsy, I decided to nap during the flight. It would make the time go quicker. Soon I found myself again on the wobbly bridge, straddling rope-strung boards. Going back was not an option. ‘Move ahead,’ the voice invoked. Thick haze made vision impossible. Something touched my neck, but I saw nothing. Shivers racked my body; my heart raced. Another step. Wavering, I reached to grab the rope, but it gave way. Something hard slammed into my chest. I wanted to scream but could not.

A strange invisible warmth grabbed my hand and wrapped itself around me – leading me onward. Just breathe, I encouraged myself. The fog began to lift, and my steps became more stable. The Presence gave me assurance: I will reach the other side.

The end of the bridge opened into dazzling brilliance as sunlight pierced the misty vale. It was beautiful beyond description. As I stepped across the threshold, I turned to view the terrifying footbridge now behind me. A sign read: DECEPTION PASS – WATCH YOUR STEP.

I choked as breath returned. I blinked with white light blinding my eyes. Was I dead?

“Welcome back. You gave us quite a scare.” The doctor waved his penlight in my eyes.

“Where am I?”

“You’re at Detroit Medical,” he replied, “lucky to be alive.”

“I sat behind you on the plane,” a woman standing beside the bed said. “I’m a nurse.”

“You had no pulse when I felt your neck,” said another man standing by my bedside. “I’m Jeff. I suspected a heart attack right away when you slumped over. It’s crazy. I just finished CPR training. We started pumping your chest, but there was no response. You were dead for ten minutes. We thought we’d lost you. The flight attendant grabbed the defibrillator and Katie, the cardiac nurse who sat across the aisle from you, brought you back.”

“I held your hand until your heart began beating again,” said Sue the nurse.

“Thank you,” I whispered.  My eyes brimmed. “I was surrounded by angels.”

I smiled in amazing realization. My dreams finally made sense. DECEPTION PASS, the sign said. Those fog of fears will no longer cripple or deceive me because I’m no longer afraid to die. Death is only a bridge, and when my time comes, I will do it with bravery and confidence. I will make it to the other side.

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Rescued at Sea by an Amen

The waves were rough on that May day in 2019 when Eric Wagner and his friends decided to bring their 53-foot yacht from Delray Beach, Florida to their New Jersey home. The engines roared at 13 knots in order to maintain control over choppy waters. Winds blowing at 15-20 knots made navigating an adventure.

Over two miles out to sea, Eric, the captain of the boat, thought he heard a desperate scream for help. Impossible. Over the wind, the waves, and the roar of the engines? They searched the choppy waters and close to 200 yards behind them, a small arm seemed to be flailing over the swells. They turned the boat around but kept losing sight of it. Was it their imagination? They decided to check anyway.

Tyler Smith & Heather Brown

On student skip day at Christ’s Church Academy in Jacksonville, Florida, two 17-year-olds decided to go for a swim in the ocean near St. Augustine. Both student-athletes, they never thought about a riptide that could pull them out to sea. But when they could no longer see land, they began to get worried.

“We tread water, and then floated, then swam. But our legs were becoming tired and cramped,” said Tyler. No matter which way they swam, it seemed they kept going farther out to sea. They had been in the water over two hours.

Tyler began to pray for God to help them. He would be their only chance for survival. “If You really have a plan for us, then bring someone to save us,” Tyler told WJAX.

After they’d said amen to their prayer, a ‘big, really nice boat appeared, almost out of nowhere.’ They had seen a couple of other boats in the distance, but the swells were too large for the boats to see them. This one was closer than the other two, and their hopes for rescue became a reality. Heather found a stick floating close to her and began to wave it at the boat. That’s when they saw the name on the big boat coming to save them — AMEN.

Even during the rescue, Wagner recalls the waves were rough enough to rock the boat, making it difficult to rescue the teenagers. The men had to dodge unsecured sliding items and keep their balance but were finally able to pull the two teens onboard. Tyler and Heather were cold, exhausted, and pale – but alive.

“I truly believe it was divine intervention. It had nothing to do with me,” Wagner said. “I was just put there at the right place at the right time and I did the same thing anyone else would have done – pulled them aboard. There were too many coincidences, in my opinion, for this to be a coincidence.” Eric Wagner/Facebook

Wagner said the rescue strengthened his faith. He plans to restore his boat and thought about changing its name – but not anymore. “It will stay the “AMEN” forever,” he said.

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No Heartbeat for 60 Minutes

Without a heartbeat for more than 60 minutes, the doctor was about to call time of death for 14-year-old John Smith. Then something happened.

When 14-year-old John Smith fell through an icy lake near St. Charles, Missouri, he had been submerged for 15 minutes. It took 10-20 minutes to remove him from the water. He had no pulse. He was not breathing. “In all reality, he was dead then,” said one emergency worker.

John said he doesn’t remember much, but did remember saying, “Call 911. I don’t want to die,” and calling out to God for help. One of the boys was able to pull himself out. The other was rescued by emergency teams.

A Big Mistake

Lake Sainte Louis – Near St. Louis, MO

John Smith along with two friends were hanging out, celebrating after a basketball win on an unusually warm 50-degree day January 19, 2015. But deciding to walk across frozen Lake Sainte Louis was a big mistake. The warmth caused the frozen lake to start melting. When the ice cracked, the three friends plunged into the 40-degree water.
This amazing story of faith will be released as a movie –  “Breakthrough” –  April 2019. See trailer below

Grim News

His mother, Joyce Smith, got the grim news when the hospital called. They had done everything they could do. John had been without oxygen for nearly an hour. The doctor was ready to give up hope and decided to call in his mother to say goodbye. He told her she could talk to him if she wished.

His mother said, “When I walked into the room, I didn’t realize they were about to call time of death,” she recalled. His feet were cold and grey. Adopted from Guatemala, she wasn’t ready to give up her son, but the nurse said he was gone. She went to his bedside, sat down beside him. She recalled the Bible verse from Romans 8:11. She began to began to pray out loud in desperation, “Come Holy Spirit. Please, give me back my son.”

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies…” 

Romans 8:11 – King James Version

God Jump-Started His Heart

See full testimony here: https://youtu.be/Q4HG4vNw8VQ

And then, something miraculous happened.

The team performed CPR and life support on John for 27 minutes with no success. The nurse told John’s mother, ‘The minute you prayed, something moved up John’s body with such force, it pushed me back — and suddenly, I got a pulse.’ The medical team was stunned and shaken. One of the members wrote a paper to express his feelings. He exclaimed, “The Holy Spirit jump-started his heart again at the request of a praying mom.”

The firefighters who came to rescue John “just happened” to practice ice rescues the week before. They almost gave up until one rescuer said he heard a voice telling him to ‘Go back.’ Dr. Sutterer, the specialist who “just happened” to be on duty at the hospital that day, has a daughter in the same eighth-grade class as John. He said he’d never seen anyone survive after being without a pulse for more than 25 minutes.

“The Holy Spirit jump-started his heart at the request of a praying mom.”

Do Your Best; God Will Do the Rest

John walking out of the hospital with Pastor Jason Noble – YouTube capture https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVkI6o51dCM

After her son’s pulse returned, the doctors warned her he would probably be a vegetable. Spending that much time underwater, and without oxygen, brain damage was probable. Even though the frigid water can help shut the body down, the doctor admitted the boy was dead for 45 minutes. Joyce said she knew they had the best doctor available and told him, “Do your best. God will do the rest.”

She refused to believe her son would be any less than fully recovered. She believed God would bring him all the way back to her. People from her church, the Christian school he attended, and many others prayed for his recovery.

Complete Bonafide Miracle

Two days later, John woke up and began communicating with those around him. Seven days after waking, John went off the ventilator, and 16 days later, he walked out of the hospital. His rapid recovery defied every expert, every case history, and every scientific prediction.

There have not been any side effects from the accident, and he has done many interviews and testimonies on television and around the country.
Dr. John Garrett, who oversaw John’s recovery admitted, “This is a bonafide miracle.”

When there’s nothing else we can do – that’s when God takes over.”

Pastor Jason Noble
BREAKTHROUGH will be released this April 2019

John’s story has been written into a book,  The Impossible, by his mother, Joyce Smith. It will come out in film, Breakthrough, this Easter 2019.

In John Smith’s words – “Take every day as a gift from God. Cherish every moment. Make the most of every day.”

I believe in modern day miracles – do you?

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Pushed Over the Mountain

We had been visiting my sister in Great Falls, Montana. To go back home to South Dakota, we had to travel through the snow-covered Rockies. The day we left, it was snowing and visibility was close to zero. Ice hid beneath the snow-covered roads.

Danger Ahead

Rounding a curve on the mountain, Dad saw a huge semi jackknifed in the turn ahead blocking all traffic. Several cars had already stopped ahead of us. We slowed down and stopped slowly. Dad pulled the car to the side of the road. We sat and watched as this semi driver labored to get his truck straightened out. People tried to flag the oncoming cars to warn them to slow down and stop.


Another semi-tractor trailer rounded the corner, paying no attention to those who tried to give a warning about the truck ahead. Going downhill going too fast, the ice and snowy road was unforgiving to the big truck’s brakes. By the time he saw the jack-knifed truck ahead, it was too late.


His high-powered brakes screeched and he began to jack-knife too. I watched as if in a dream as the big trailer headed directly for our car. The truck hit our car once, then twice, then three times. Each time, it pushed our car a little farther over the edge. Mother started to scream. Dad braced himself on the wheel. There was no time to think about getting out. We were already targeted to go over the cliff. No one was buckled in. There were no seatbelts in cars in the late 50s.

This picture is from an I-80 crash in Wyoming in 2015 involving over 30 trucks and 10 cars. Miraculously, there were no fatalities, dangerous spills or fires in this horrendous crash. https://youtu.be/BmpFbc56GBU
-Source: YouTube capture.

As an eight-year-old, I didn’t understand what falling off the mountain meant. I remember sitting in the backseat, unafraid. Maybe I thought it would be like a rollercoaster ride.

Prayed for God’s Help

I remember asking God to take care of us. Mother was screaming for Jesus to help us. Miraculously, the truck came to a stop. Our front tire was close to going over the edge, but we hadn’t gone over the precipice. No one was hurt, and neither was our car. Although shaken up, we were fine and thankful to God. Somehow, we managed to get out. Someone offered to take my mother and me to the closest town to get a tow truck. Dad stayed with the car and waited in the cold.

Finally, we were off the mountain and on our way again – with an experience never to forget about God’s protection. That day, I believe God heard the prayers of a little girl who believed.


This is a true story that happened to the writer at age eight.

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The Miracle of Creation

What do a baseball and a pound of butter have in common? They both weigh one pound.

Now, consider a baby weighing a little more than one pound. Slightly big enough to fit in a man’s hand.

Miracle Micro-Preemie Born

Micro-preemie Emma Ryan weighed one pound two ounces when she was born at 27 weeks gestation. She was only a little over ten inches long. Her mother called it a true miracle.

“Our tiny Micro preemie born three months early (27 weeks) at only 500 grams (1 lbs 2 oz) is a true Miracle! ”

Why a Miracle?

Full-Term birth is 39-40 weeks gestation according to the American College of Obstetricians. Early birth is considered 37-38 weeks, or between the eighth and ninth month. The baby completes full development in the last four to five weeks in the womb.

The Baby’s Growth in Weeks 35-40

Between weeks 35-40 in the third trimester – the baby’s lungs finish developing. Eyes open and close and respond to light; toenails start to grow. The baby can be about the weight of 3-4 lbs. sugar. In week 33, they can swallow, yawn and begins to practice breathing. The baby’s brain controls the body temperature. By week 35, the skin is no longer translucent, more fat cells have formed to keep the baby warm outside the womb. They may now weigh as much as 5 lbs. of potatoes. In week 36, the baby develops sleep patterns and fingernails reach the ends of the fingers. Bones and muscles are ready for the outside by week 37. The lungs are ready to breathe and cry by week 39. The baby’s brain signals it’s time to start moving into the birth canal – ready to meet the world! See a step-by-step growth chart here.

Did you know? Late-term abortion is allowed in the United States up to 36 weeks in some states

Six or seven months into the pregnancy, babies are perfectly formed and have the necessary means of survival. Baby Emma and many other preemies have proved it so. They yawn, suck their thumb, smile, play with their feet, and much more – proven by 3D imagery.

God Knows Each One

When two lives joined together to create a new little being, any birth is a wonderful miracle from God. He declares He knows us even before we were conceived and as we’re being formed in the womb. God knows every thought and every anxious moment. He sees when you rise and when you rest. God cares about every moment of your life from the moment you’re conceived until the day you die.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I
praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
  (Psalm 139:13-17 NIV)

Don’t Worry About the Future

“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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV)

As we head into this New Year, why worry? God sees where you are, and HE CARES about you. When you place yourself God’s hands, He takes care of the rest. He gives an unexplainable peace in your heart and rest for your soul. You only need to ask.

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