Janice Boekhoff

Survival Instincts: How can you survive being trapped in the desert?

In my novel Crevice, one of my characters spends seven days trapped in the mountainous desert near Phoenix, Arizona. That’s a long time to go without food and water in a dry climate. Garrick Hearst (the main character’s brother) walks off a cliff due to a lapse in his own judgment. First, he was climbing up a mountain in conditions so foggy he crevice_kindle_covercouldn’t see much of anything ahead of him. And second, he was distracted by a girl. Two big mistakes in a row, and suddenly you’re falling off a cliff. Does he make it out alive (you’ll have to read the book to find out)?

More importantly, how would you survive if you ever found yourself in the same situation?

Although I enjoy putting my characters into uncomfortable positions, I hope you understand I’m not making light of these types of accidents at all. Accidents in the wilderness happen to real people, and some of them have died as a result.

Often a person will die in the initial fall, but if God spares you, and you find yourself trapped halfway down a mountain, what should you do?

It can take only a few days in arid climates to die of dehydration, although some healthy young people have gone more than a week. To die from lack of food happens much slower, more than two weeks, sometimes over a month, depending on overall health and body weight.

Obviously, water is your biggest concern.

If you find yourself trapped in a desert, here are some basic survival skills:

  • If you’re with your car, stay there, put the hood up to signal distress and wait for help.
  • If you’re deep into the desert and there’s no one around, look for ways to get to civilization. Your best bet to survive is to help yourself.
  • If you can’t get out (or down the mountain), put out bright-colored clothing as a flag to signal you need help.
    Barrel Cactus

    Barrel Cactus

  • Search for water-bearing plants within your reach. Drinking water from cacti can be a good idea—if you pick the right one. The giant Saguarro cactus is poisonous, but the Barrel cactus has a drinkable milky sap.
  • Take advantage of any short-lived storms by putting out a piece of clothing (preferably waterproof like a windbreaker) to collect the momentary rainfall. Pour the water (or squeeze it out) into a water bottle.
  • Improvise a shade screen using clothing. If possible, sit above the ground, which can be up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the air temperature.
  • Food will not be your biggest problem for at least a week, so don’t even worry about it. After a few days, your body won’t feel hunger any more. In fact, ingesting food adds to your body’s water needs to digest the food. The biggest concern is finding enough water to keep your brain and other organs from the effects of dehydration.

I won’t give away which technique(s) Garrick uses in the book or whether he makes it out alive. I hope you’ll read Crevice to experience his ordeal with him, and to discover how his sister, Elery, searches for him by hunting for the Lost Dutchman gold mine.

To pre-order the e-book of Crevice before the price goes up, click here.

For more tips see, 26 Tips for Surviving in the Desert (http://www.desertusa.com/desert-activity/desert-survival-tips.html).

7 Things I Learned at Disney World

Disney 2016 at Castle

1.   The surface of the sun has got nothing on Orlando. Seriously, I had sweat running down the back of my legs because my bootie was sweating.

2.   Older ladies or men (no discrimination here) in rented scooters navigating through huge crowds is a recipe for disaster. About a dozen times, I narrowly avoided becoming road kill due to these elderly drag racers.

Zach in Disney t-shirt

As a dinosaur fan, I love this!

3.   If Disney puts it on a T-shirt, someone will buy it—like this little beauty I bought for my son.









4.   My children hover too much. They kept stepping on the back of my sandals, causing the Velcro to fly open (painful, yes) and me to literally walk out of my shoes. My mantra became: DO NOT walk behind mom!

5.   The best way to take the fight out of my feisty kids is to dehydrate them, stick them on the surface of the sun (see #1) and force them to walk 20,000 steps per day (thank you fit bit for tracking our torture). They did all of this with surprisingly little complaining for the promise of a 3-minute ride every hour—amazing!

Riley fighting DV at Disney

You get him, baby girl!

6.   Watching your kids in Jedi robes on-stage fighting Darth Vader is truly the BEST thing EVER!! 








7.   Walt Disney had it right. Life is so full of responsibility—work, school, cooking, cleaning. We all need to remember how to play, dream and imagine more. It’s good for the soul (at Disney, though, not so good on the bank account).

When was the last time you went to Disney? How was your experience? Tell me what your plans are for the summer to play and relax? 

Happy Birthday Jesus!!


For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

John 3:16-17

What we celebrate at Christmas is that YOU came!

You cared enough to put feet on Your spiritual legs and step on the broken dirt of this world.


Certainly not because of anything wonderful we ever did.

No, You came to rescue us. You came to meet us where we are so we could leave this Earth and be with You forever. You first met us here … and here You are still meeting us.

In some way every day, You touch our lives. Through the Holy Spirit. Through Your words in the Bible. Through the ordinary occurrences we like to call coincidences. It’s all You.

In a manger, as a frail baby boy, You came long ago … but You’ve never left us.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!


Photo Credit: ID 35255299 © Ninetteluz | Dreamstime.com

Mary Did You Know?


While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son she wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:6-7

One of my favorite Christmas songs is “Mary, Did You Know?” A song about Jesus’s mother and whether she could tell that her sleeping baby boy was God. I think I love this song so much because I can put myself in Mary’s shoes, imagining the mysterious plan God might have for my baby.

I always want to know God’s plan for the future, especially when it comes to my kids.

I’m sure Mary knew God had a special plan for Jesus. And I’m just hazarding a guess here, but God probably didn’t let her in on the ending because Mary wouldn’t have approved. It would have been too much.

Some people feel the same way about Jesus’s life and death. It is too much.

Too many rules. Too much faith required. Too many miracles to believe.

Like spiritual ostriches, they bury their heads in the sand.

But we all believe in some ‘ordinary’ miracles. A living, breathing, complex human being, composed of cells, and chemical reactions, and electricity is a true miracle. And yet, here we stand.

Jesus is all about the miraculous. And He is all about us.

On the other side of history, we don’t have to guess, as Mary did, what God’s plans were for Jesus. His miracles, His life, and His death are recorded in the Bible to give us examples, to teach us how to live, and to remind us that God is into the miraculous.

Jesus isn’t too much—He is everything!

Dear Lord, when I’m convinced it’s all too much to believe, give me a glimpse of You. Remind me that my existence is a miracle, as well as the everlasting life You promise. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Photo Credit: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/60532802@N07/6439494853″>The Newborn King 45</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

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