Friday, February 25, 2011

What Is In A Prayer........

I visited my brother a couple of days ago before the cold icy weather hit our area. He was doing well and felt encouraged by his new doctor. It turns out that the new doctor wants to wait a couple of more weeks before determining the need for surgery on the 4 broken places of his collar bone. I did some research last night on the web to clarify answers for questions we have had concerning the whole situation. I never realized what an interesting bone it is to heal and how rarely surgeries are performed. So here I am learning more medical information and feeling with even greater awe at the amazing ways God made our bodies.

While visiting, my brother and I got on the subject of God and prayer. We began discussing miracles that I had witnessed recently and then our own hindrances in prayer. As we talked, I felt a rise in my emotions as waves of panic and fear set into me.
Maybe you too can relate to the feelings that hit me. Or maybe you are confused with the why and how I could have such a quandary over a simple conversation.  Let me explain.

As we sat there talking I became acutely aware that I had not prayed for my brother. Sure, I had prayed with him over the phone when he first fell but that was different.  I wanted to pray for his healing and not just his emotional peace but I hadn't. Praying for someone is a vulnerable and transparent way to share heart and display value of one another. I have always been open with my brother and we have carried a close relationship our whole lives. I wanted to give him that part of my love that shines through prayer...but something was holding me back.

A comment was made in our conversation that according to 1 Corinthians 12 the gift of being able heal others is only given to certain people. I said no and explained that it is something that we can all do. When we have a relationship with God we have the complete Holy Spirit in us and a "now" connection to heaven. It is a matter of faith and belief. Jesus talks in the Bible about the faith of the mustard seed and that we can do so much more if only we believe. I suggested that hearing and seeing stories of people being healed when they go to certain places is because of a heightened level of expectation that raises more faith and belief. Sure, some people are able to bring healing to people quickly but it is not necessarily because they are "chosen" and more because their faith and belief leaves no room for doubt in their mind. 

That thought challenged me even more as in a time span that seemed to go on forever I battled the thought provoking shame that wanted to cripple me. "Tisk tisk....shame on you. How little you are that you dare not share what you SAY you believe in with someone you know feels the same way. You SAY you love your little brother and you have prided yourself in always protecting him. Now we see the truth. You aren't even strong enough to do this one thing."

Oh my goodness how the satan loves to get in our heads and twist things around so we are incapacitated. God is the author of love not shame.

Despite my own self doubt, I could not help but ask myself the heart burning questions at hand, "What is the lie I am believing right now and what is the truth I need to see?"  My mind raced through the things that I know and the things I have seen.

Am I making up what I want to believe?
No, I have seen blind people see, deaf people hear, crippled people become straight and broken hearted find hope.

Did I worry that my brother would think me a nut for believing in prayer?
No, he believes the same. And even if he didn't I have often found myself in position of discussing God's love with complete strangers.

Did I feel less than because I prayed for Daddy to be healed and he then died from his cancer?
No, God heals in different ways and for Daddy it was the many layers of his emotional heart that received the healing.

Have I ever been a part of someone being healed?
Yes, my mother-in-law was healed just by us praying over the phone with over a thousand miles between us.

Have other people I know personally been healed?
Pippin was healed. Last week a guy I know had his multi-fractured foot miraculously healed. A friend's chronic sinus infection, another friend's severe milk allergy, another friend's slipped disc and so many more. I was even healed from severe complete laryngitis by the simple prayer of a child.

Then a new thought crept into my mind. What if I pray and the bones don't go back together? Then I would be responsible for lifting his hope and then dashing it to the ground.
But the truth is that it is my responsibility to walk out my faith and belief. It is God's responsibility to know the will and timing of everything that happens.

I couldn't take it any longer and I just had to pray. The things that I know to be true out weighed the fears holding me captive and I had to press through. I didn't say anything grand for God does not care about big words or descriptive spinning sonnets. God only cares about seeing our hearts. Nothing drastic happened after we prayed together but I felt that we had both gained ground in what we shared with each other and in our relationship with God.

I wanted to stay longer after that but had to get out the door and drive through the 45 minutes of traffic that separates our neighborhoods. So we hugged and promised to check with each other over the phone that night.
A few hours later he called me to say, "Sister thank you so much for praying and sharing with me today. After you left I was so encouraged. It was the first time since my fall that I felt I could do anything with my arm. I got down on the floor and played for a bit with my daughter and our golden retriever. It felt so good to remember what it is like to do some things for myself instead of being so dependent and scared. Thank you."

Daddy God, I thank You for being such an encourager, for giving me a brother that encourages me to say 'why not'. Thank You for being the truth that shines through and resonates in my heart even when I am scared of my own self. Thank You for never giving up on me as I stumble along. And thank You that You always listen, always hear, always love and always give just what we need.

(post note: published on

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Izabell Is Here......

 Meet baby Izabell Rea
 on her first morning in the world.
Born February 22, 2011
She weighs 9lbs. 6oz. and is 21" long.

We are planning a trip in May to visit. 
Sure wish we could go see them and meet her sooner.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

All Sorts of News......

I was trying to wait for a proper picture before posting this but just can't wait any longer. Our newest grand baby was born today. Both mom and baby Isabelle are doing well and oh so healthy. Bless her heart, Mom had been holding back labor for about a month and a half. But now Isabelle is here and all the waiting is a distant memory. Once I get a picture that doesn't contain hospital stuff everywhere I will post for all to see.


My brother also saw his doctor and the news is not good. Instead of the 4 breaks healing on their own, his collar bone is much worse than when it first broke. Tomorrow morning he will see a surgeon and will hopefully be on the book schedule by the end of the day for a surgery date. He is frustrated but is trying hard to look at the positive side of things. I just don't understand why surgery wasn't the plan in the beginning and he was sent home with only tape around his shoulder for stability.


I have to confess that I am really enjoying this time of being alone. It is so funny how things come full swing. I remember it wasn't so very long ago that I was scared to have any time alone. Now I am relishing in it. Of course I love having all my girls around. I love the giggles and humorous conspiring over various situations as we all mesh together in personality and love. I love giggling with my little Angel-girl and remembering what it is like to look at the world through the eyes of untainted innocence.

But having time alone these past few weeks while my brother is laid up honestly has been really nice as well. Today, Icca was at work, Puddin' at school, Pippin in Seattle for a couple of days and hubby at work. The house was mine for a full day. I was able to do whatever I wanted for as long as I wanted and I really liked it. I played my music and worked on computer stuff without interruption and without fear of making bothersome noises. I completed all of my tasks and errands and still had time to put my feet up and re-charge my brain.

I am not complaining. Each day and season is valid and important all on its own. I just wanted to take a minute and acknowledge that I recognize the differences.


Speaking of differences, I was thinking today about how reaching out to others makes such a difference in the lives of everyone involved. As Puddin' and I were driving home from school today, a hand reached out from the driver's window of the school bus in front of us and frantically waved a big hello for us to see. It took us a second to realize it was Puddin' old bus driver.

He is a sweet older guy with a tough attitude but always made sure my girl was safe during the 2 years she rode his bus. If I was stuck in traffic and not waiting in my car when he pulled up to the bus stop, he would figure out dawdling reasons for Puddin' to wait in the bus until I got there so she wouldn't be alone. I was always so appreciative of that because it was a scary part of the neighborhood where she was let off.  A few times I made cookies for him and every now and again slipped him a thank you card just for being kind.

It has been well over a year since he was her bus driver and something like a million other kids have passed through his care. But he remembered us today and picked us out of a crowd of cars on the street (and me with a new car to boot).
It really made me think about actions and attitude. I knew back when I made those cookies and wrote those cards that I was doing something to bless and honor him. That was my purpose. But those small gestures must have not been so very small to him. You just never know how much change you can affect in some one's life until you reach out and try.


The other thing I had on my mind tonight while doing the dishes was Daddy.
I have gotten to where I can now look at the pictures of him around the house and smile for real. I can hug little Conguito and not feel remorse that Daddy can't see his antics. I can talk about spending almost a year in Texas caring for him without my voice changing or thoughts wandering. Occasionally I get a whisper of grief in my thoughts that says shame on me for being able to move on so soon. But that is so not true. I am able to move on and be happy because I know all that God did for us that whole time and I know without doubt that I will see him again

But tonight, for some reason as I was doing dishes, all of a sudden I was back in the room after he took his last breath, looking at him and holding him.....but not quite being able to see him and feel him. I was startled to find that I couldn't remember or see all of the details like I once did. I know that time heals hearts and I know that those images are not the ones I choose to dwell on anyway. But I have to think just a little bit harder about his laugh, his voice, his smile.

I don't really know what I think about that just yet.

Have a peaceful night of sleep and a blessed week.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Gift of Memories......

Yesterday my brother and I along with our spouses, surprised our parents with a special gift for their 25th anniversary. They have been our support and encouragement through so much over the years and a shinning example of how marriage works.  We thought long and hard about what to do to honor them and wanted more that a fleeting gift that would get old and dusty. We chose the kind of gift that lasts and shines even more with time....the gift of memories.  We honored them with a special 2 hour lunch cruise downtown aboard the Portland Spirit.

It was an amazing day and the weather was perfect. We didn't tell them what we were doing before hand so they made great sport out of trying to figure out what the itinerary of the day was. My mom sized me up in my clothing to try and guess if we were going for a hike or touring the waterfalls in the area while my husband teased that we were driving to Seattle for lunch.

Going inside the ship made them feel so special. Seeing the tables full of crystal settings brought tears to their eyes. Realising that the boat would be actually moving instead of docked while we ate made the tears overflow with humble honor and overwhelming joy.

You can't see in this picture but my brother's left arm is in a sling and his shoulder is all taped up for stability.
He did well on the trip. It was his first real outing since he broke his collar bone a couple of weeks ago. He was bound and determined not to miss this special occasion. And after all the tension he and my sister-in-law have had with his recuperating these past few weeks, they enjoyed getting out. When their special song came on they danced and romanced one another with smiles and giggles.
You can't see in this picture but his left arm is in a sling and his shoulder is all taped up for stability.

My hubby and I had a good time relaxing as well. We were so grateful and doubly blessed that the weather was so perfect for our excursion.

The food was all gourmet and amazing. Our appetizers were jumbo prawns with the chef's special cocktail sauce. My sister-in-law also ordered some sauteed mushrooms but I was so enjoying the food and company I forgot to take a picture of it.

Our main course was just as spectacular. Most at our table ordered Herb Crusted Beef Shoulder platter. My brother ordered  Baked Salmon Fillet and I had Tortellini Provincial.  All platters came with yummy steamed veggies and spaghetti squash.

 Does dessert really need an explanation? giggle giggle..... We picked plates of chocolate chocolate gourmet chocolate cake, raspberry cheesecake and Bailey's Irish cream cheesecake. The Bailey's was mine.
(It definitely didn't go with my new eating plan but I enjoyed it and slept away the effects later in the day with no consequences.)

 The whole day was an amazing experience and we were so pleased to be able to treat and honor our parents with special memories of love.


 And on a completely different venue of memories for the weekend......
regarding the inheritance money I received recently that sent me in a quandary.
With a small portion of it I chose to buy a brand new washer and dryer. That may seem silly to some but let me tell you how it makes me smile. In our 21 years of marriage and raising of so many kids, we have always traded in used for used and taken the appliances others have cast off as they upgrade. They have all been blessings that served their purpose for the time needed...and our pocketbook. But they have all had their cute quirks as well that we have dealt with. They crash and bang around with imbalance and we had to choose certain times to wash because of the noise factor. Imagine the machines making their jubilee sounds so hubby turns up the tv which makes everyone talk more loud in their conversations, music practice gets more intense, phone conversations hide in the corners because of sound and not secrets.....

This is what I bought and had delivered on Friday. You can't imagine how excited I am and I want to wash everything in the house because of the efficient way this set makes everything clean. These machines are so quiet!  And in a way, every time I walk by my laundry room, I feel that it is a blessing from Daddy that makes my days easier.

The girls are all teasing me like crazy because I made up a check sheet for how to use this sparkling team. My reasoning for being so structured is that we have always had these old fashioned dials where you choose water level and temperature and type of clothing. These machines are so new and different. They are digital and do it all for you. It is foreign and scary to do the first load for fear of pressing wrong buttons.  And goodness.....though it sounds logical.....don't try to open the door of the front loader in motion to put in that forgotten article of clothing.

Thank you for reading along and sharing in the blessings of my weekend.
 I pray for you to feel God's blessings and encouragement this week as you pursue the fact that you have a purposeful destiny and are loved with a mighty never ending love.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Weekend....

"God my eyes are closed but I am really nervous."
"Why are you nervous?"
"What if You don't give me anything?"
"Awe Sweetheart. Shhhhh....It's going to be okay."

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Weekend of Things.....

 Saturday we attended a beautiful and tender wedding of some friends. I made this serving set as a present for them and wrapped them in a set of kitchen towels. My hope is that they are used in every day family dinners to spruce things up and make them feel special.

We had a crazy busy long weekend but it was full of fun and encouragement and new friendships. We had a big conference at church over the weekend and we hosted a 2 of the 19 guest speakers in our home. I will have to write about it later when I can gather my thoughts more.


In other news, last week my husband came home with news that had shaken him up pretty good from our doctor. He had gone in for a basic exam and came home with a medication for stage 2 hypertension. His blood pressure was through the roof. It really shook up his world and made him re-evaluate how he does things. We have been going through the house discussing his eating choices and how to adjust to a low sodium lifestyle. Because he is a runner, the exercise part of lifestyle changes is not too hard for him. His goal is to simply be more consistent.

Another thing he has opted to do of his own free will and desire (without any prodding from me) is to keep a daily blog journal of his health progress as he fights his blood pressure and prepares for the big Hood-2-Coast run in August. When you have opportunity to visit him, the encouragement would really make him smile.

It is so cute how he is loving blogging too.  Always in the past he would support me with my writing but pace around about me "always" being on the computer. Now he is calling me during the day and saying things about what he wants to write when he gets home from work.  He is learning quickly that it is quite an addictive habit.


 And then there was my first cello lesson. Goodness, 45 minutes goes by fast. I am having fun with practice and finding the feel for my positioning. I have been thinking about a name for my cello and I want to thank you for your suggestions. It has been good.  I didn't set out to think this way but the name of the woman I bought it from keeps coming to my mind. Her name is Carlotta. Whenever I think of the name Carlotta I envision a beautiful woman who has a flair for creativity and passion while pushing the barrier between what is normal and individually on the edge. For some reason that keeps speaking to me.....maybe because my goal is to use my cello in free unrestricted worship to God.

Okay, it is so very late and my eyes are fighting sleep desperately.
Be blessed and know without a doubt that you are loved with the amazing love of God that never ends.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Music Is a Heavenly Sound....

This is my new cello!
I am so excited!

I bought it yesterday from a previous owner. I know it is not a high end super fancy one but I feel confident that she gave me a nice instrument for a fair price. I used a small portion of my inheritance and I feel that Daddy is smiling his excitement.

Oh my.....I just got this flash image of him dancing in heaven with that beautiful heavenly sound everywhere and I can be here making a reflection of that sound............

I begin my lessons with an instructor tomorrow but I couldn't wait that long. I jumped online this morning and found a "lessons 101" website to play around with. It is filled with all sorts of music theory which is great because sight reading has always been a downfall for me.

Aaahhhhhh!!!!! I am so excited!
But I must give attention to some other things today as well.
I had offered to head up a fundraiser for Puddin's advanced choir. They are touring in the spring to Disneyland (rough right?) and need to cover expenses. Today is the day to pick up products and disperse them to customers.  Also we have a conference going on at church this weekend and I am helping to organize host homes for the 18 out of state guest speakers coming.

How can I do everything? I am almost done with it so it is okay. 
Sadly, my brother had a bicycle accident over the weekend and broke his collar bone in 4 places. Consequently, my sister-in-law is off work caring for him and I miss out on having my Angel-girl to chatter with. That gives me a lot of time in the day to do what needs to be done.

How is my brother? He is doing really well. The doctor has his shoulder taped up and says there possibly won't be a need for surgery.  I went to see him yesterday and he really looks good. The swelling is down and I didn't see any discoloration or bruising. God was definitely with him. He didn't have a helmet on when he fell going downhill but there isn't a single scratch on him.

My brother just texted me and asked if I am going to name my cello. He says it is too beautiful an instrument to be called "it".  He is right. I was just pondering that same thought.  Hmmmm.....what to call it.....

"A rose by any other name....."

Blessings to you today!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Celebrating Birthday and Love.....

Yesterday we hosted a surprise birthday party for my Nana. She is now 85 years young. Doesn't she look amazing? My parents told her they were taking her out for the day but needed to stop at my house and deliver something. Delivering her as the guest honor was the real motive and she was so surprised at the houseful of people greeting her.

Family and friends socialized over the buffet table and told stories while laughing and snapping pictures. It was a good day and I think everyone was blessed at being able to get together.

It was also an opportunity for Icca Chou to meet more of my family and get settled into being a part of our family with all the fun and craziness we offer.  I introduced her to extended cousins as one of my heart adopted daughters that lives with us and everyone welcomed her with open arms.  

Later one of my cousins pulled me aside and wanted to know more of her personal history and if her parents are around at all. I tried to be tactful and gracious in answering the question because I didn't think it really mattered and it is not my story to tell.  Icca Chou supported herself through high school and graduated. Now she works 40 hours a week and goes to college full time and we have the privilege of having her in our home as an every day blessing while she works towards achieving her goals.

But before I could think of anything to really say my cousin continued with, "I ask because I see something so special about her. She watches everything you do and the look in her eyes is filled with admiration and love for you. She has been looking around at everyone here at the party and it is like she is drinking it all in with happiness. I am so overwhelmed with feeling the fact that she so completely loves you and is proud of you and looks at you like a mom. I just wanna have a camera so I can freeze her look in my heart because it touches me so deeply."
I was absolutely blown away and it made me want to cry right then and there.

I love each one that comes through our door. So long ago when Hubby and I were starting our family my heart was full for so many children to love and cherish. It never occurred to me that my heart desires would be fulfilled by way of all the friends that our girls bring through the doors. We were just teasing this afternoon with someone about Pippin and Puddin' always inviting others over all the time or when they fill all the seats of my car with extras to go along with whatever adventure we are embarking. Then the girls will pull me aside and say, "Mom they need you to love on them." or "They need Mom advice."  

Most kids bring home stray pets. Mine bring home extra kids to love on. And I love every second of speaking into their lives and encouraging them into walking in their destinies.   

Thank You God for your love to share and your eyes to see.
I pray that you have a fantastically blessed day filled with God's goodness.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

In My Head and On My Heart.....

  I have had this experience sitting in my head and on my heart for a little over a week now and haven't been able to figure out quite how to write about it. I still am not really sure but I want to journal it before it gets all fuzzy.

God speaks to us in different ways. He uses his audible voice, our conscience, scripture, the people and things around us and even things that we casually brush off as coincidence.  Many times He will use a combination of things to get our attention and speak to us; not that He has to do it that way but mostly because we tend to not pay attention unless it becomes repetitive.  Sometimes the things God tells is to help us through a present issue and sometimes it is to help us understand something in the past or future.

 I am prefacing was all of that because I have recently found myself in a place of hearing His nudging of direction and have needed Him to tell me over and over again in different ways to finally let it seep into my heart.
While I will share my thoughts and desires transparently here in my cyber journal, I will rarely discuss my circling thoughts out loud to those around me. It is not that I don't want to share. It is just that it takes so long to find the right words to express what I am thinking.  So when someone(s) come to me and says, "God wants me to tell you something", I know it is not from any personal thing they conjured up from their personal thoughts.

It all started at my church 2 weeks ago. I went feeling great and happy to be there.  I was greeting different people and enjoying my social time before service started when one specific person came up to hug me. It wasn't a friend hug that I received. I mean, it was a friend hug in the sense that she is a dear friend to me. But it was so much more than a "Good morning and glad to see you" type of hug. Instantly I felt God all around me and it was as if my feet were off the ground and He held me. The flood of emotion was unexpected like a beautiful song as I drifted in the embrace that was everything in a few short seconds.

As service started, I tried to wrap my brain around what happened but at the same time didn't care. I wanted to enjoy it for what it was without analyzing it to pieces. Sometimes during our worship part of service I simply sing along with the music. Sometimes I smile and clap or move ever so slightly to the beat of the song. More and more though, I find myself in the back of the room with huge flag banners in my hands moving in time with the music. It feels as if my flags are dancing an amazing ballet with the Holy Spirit in the air and I get lost in it all. That is what I chose to do that day.

As I was spinning and flying, I felt a tap on my shoulder from another dear friend. She said, "God wants me to tell you something and it is important that you know now before worship is finished today.  He wants you to know that you are entering a new season, a season you have never experienced before. Your time with Him, your worship with Him, your intimacy with Him is all going to change and become even deeper. From this very moment you are changed and different.  Deeper, deeper, deeper, deeper........"

As I finished worship I dwelt on God's goodness and thought about seasons, being with my dad, everything being so different and the thoughts I have had on just how my life is different and changed so much over the last couple of years. I thought about my new goals and wondered what ones I had yet to even dream up much less the ones I have in my heart that I haven't walked through.

After service I decided to go to our art ministry just to see what would happen. I had never really given that ministry much thought before but felt very drawn to it that day. Here is what happened.

The person doing my art simply held my hands and prayed for God to show her something that He wanted to share with me that day. She kept her eyes closed for a minute and then looked at me and said, "oh wow. This is good. I need to get this all on paper so I don't forget any of it."  Below is what she drew. It scanned into my computer very light but I will explain.

She drew a fast moving river with a raft in the middle of it. I am in the raft (the top smiley face on the left) and it is full of other people.The raft itself bears no significance except to show that I am with others in the middle of the flow and not merely a spectator on the side left behind. She said it would be easy for me to feel that with everything of this last year I could feel as though I have missed out on so many things but God is not letting me miss a thing. 

You can't see from this scan but there is a waterfall ahead and my smiley face is looking towards it with joy and expectation. She said that while at times I am perplexed as to my future, I have no fear of whatever will happen next and I have expectation for it to happen. 


Like I said, I had never paid attention to that kind of prayer art before. I found it very interesting and touching. There is no denying that there is similarity with each experience I had that morning.
After I wiped back the tears off my face I got to thinking more about what it all means and where do I go from here.

I keep thinking about my desire in learning to play cello. How many times I have said this is not the season because my hands are full with Angel-girl. But really? Is it impossible to do right now?  Does that word spoken over me that my worship and time with God is different and changed from that moment forward mean that I can now magically play the cello  or that I will become so fanciful and perfect at it?  No.  But maybe it is referring to the destiny that we all have in us that doesn't happen by us just sitting around.

It took a very long time for me to write and explain all of that out and I still am not quite sure what it all means 100% or even what my plan is. But maybe I should look into pricing lessons and what it would take to get a cello in my home.

This journey that we are all on is never dull for sure.

God bless you today with the knowledge and comfort of knowing just how amazing and important you truly are.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Now Is It Final?.....

If I keep staring at the computer screen will it make things any easier?

I received my inheritance money today.
The amount doesn't matter in the least to me except for the feeling of respect and gratitude in how my father worked with the sheer purpose of leaving something behind for the six of us children.
That thought didn't hit me though as I sat in the car holding the envelope tonight. My only thought was that it is so final.

It is not that having or not having that check would make anything different. Daddy is in heaven and I have a heart filled with memories from the last year with him that I treasure more than anything money can buy. For some reason though, holding that check makes things seem so much more final than they did before.....not that it wasn't all final before. 
It is confusing.
It is a feeling and feelings are rarely orderly.

I feel a huge responsibility in what to do with it. I am scared to cash it, scared I will make decisions in spending and investing that I will wish I didn't do later on.

Wisdom, Father God how I am seeking your wisdom.