Friday, December 19, 2008

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

What a bitter sweet time to be taking care of my mom through this journey. I'm learning so much what it means to be perfected through suffering and trials. Heaven is so much more real to me...just a breath away. Right now my mom is not coherent, she sleeps most of the time and we can barely rouse her long enough to eat the few bites that she will take. The hospice nurse came yesterday and said that was to be expected as part of the progression of the cancer. He estimates that we are in my mom's last several days (2 weeks at the most).

Despite the lack of sleep, nerves on edge, and long days, there have been many sweet and precious moments that I am going to cherish for the rest of my life. I'd like to share a couple.

When my uncle was over at the house the other day, he was singing some songs to my mom. All of the sudden, she started singing with him, Amazing Grace. She had the words all mixed up, but she was singing at the top of her lungs. Both my dad and I went running into the bedroom because we couldn't believe it unless we saw it with our own eyes. My mom's voice was still beautiful--it brought tears to my dad's eyes.

At another point a few days ago when my mom was a little more coherent, we asked her how she felt thinking about heaven. She said, "Jesus will be beautiful and I will have a new body for snowing." :)

Well today, it's snowing here and it is absolutely beautiful. It will be a white Christmas for me and my family. I'll see if I can post a few pictures tomorrow. Thanks for all of your prayers.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Being a Living Testimony

"It behooves us, therefore, not only for our own sakes, but also for the sake of the Kingdom of God and the glory of the Christ in Whom we believe, to represent him and His cause, His message and His power in such a way that men and women, far from being antagonized, will be drawn and attracted as they observe us, whatever our circumstances or condition. We must so live that they will be compelled to say: Would to God I could be like that, would to God I could live in this world and go through this world as that person does. Obviously, if we are cast down ourselves we are never going to be able to funtion in that way."

"Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance." (Psalm 42:5)

We need to know our weaknesses, our personalities, and our tendencies so that we can stop and say to our soul, WHY ARE YOU DOWNCAST? HOPE IN GOD!

Friday, November 28, 2008

This totally encouraged me today! Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

A beautiful face--under a black mask! (William Secker, "The Consistent Christian" 1660)

"What! Shall we receive good at the hand of God--and shall we not receive evil?"
Job 2:10
The consistent Christian speak well of God--whatever evil he receives from God. To bless God for mercies--is the way to increase them; to bless God for miseries--is the way to remove them. Did not the possession of riches sometimes draw away our hearts--then the loss of them would not break our hearts!
"The Lord gives--and the Lord takes away; blessed be the Name of the Lord." Job 1:21.
God gives before He takes--and He takes only what He gives! The hour-glass of outward happiness soon runs out! Today Job is the richest man in all the east; tomorrow Job is the poorest man in all the world. Yet his heart was like a fruitful paradise--when his estate was like a barren wilderness! Though God burnt up his houses--yet his palace (his heart) was left standing. Outward mercies are like the tide--which ebbs as well as flows. They are like the sky--which sometimes is clear, and at another time clouded. They are like a budding flower--which opens on a warm day, and shuts on a cold day. If God bless us in taking--as well as in giving; let us bless Him for taking--as well as for giving. That is a choice artist--who can play well upon a broken instrument. To be impatient with our affliction--and patient with our corruption; is to be angry with the medicine which heals us--and in love with the poison which kills us! Beloved, it is sometimes a mercy to us--that God removes outward mercies from us! He never wounds a saint to kill him--but to heal him! God does but take that out of your hands--which would thrust Him out of your heart! Too many think that God is cutting down the whole tree--when He is but lopping off its wasteful branches. They imagine that He is demolishing the superstructure, when He is only laying a right foundation. Poor souls, He is not nipping the flowers--but plucking up the weeds! He is not laying your land fallow--but ploughing the field! God's Providence has a beautiful face--under a black mask! God has the fairest ends--in the foulest ways! The sheep may be dipped in water to wash it--when there is no design in the Good Shepherd to drown it!Christian reader, you may read the marks of a kind Father--in the severe stripes of His children. Every twig of His black rod of affliction--is but to draw His lovely image upon you!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

On the Lighter Side

Sorry For the Inconvenience
-World Magazine, November 2008

Even British burglars have manners—sort of. Days after frightening a 91-year-old woman during a home invasion, the burglar sent an apology note along with a bouquet of flowers to her Halifax home, about 200 miles north of London. In the note, the robber explained he believed the residence to be empty when he broke in around 4 a.m. on Oct. 9. Police said the perpetrator left the home empty-handed, but have asked him to come forward with his identity, not just a floral arrangement.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

On the Road Again

So the last few days have been rough for my mom, she's been in a lot of pain. Up until now, the pain medication seemed to be doing the trick, but it looks like it's time to up the dose or do something differently. She just doesn't want the dosage to be so high that she's sleeping all the time.

The strange part is, even though my mom sounds the same when I talk to her on the phone, the cancer continues to ravage her body. She's lost a lot of weight and guesses that she is under 100 lbs. at this point.

I'm ashamed to admit that when I pray, there is a hint of doubt that God will do a miracle and heal her. I know He is able, and I know He can intervene at any moment and remove all traces of any cancer cells in her body. But I also know he may use the cancer as a means to take her to glory. May I bless Him either way!

I'll be going out to Connecticut on Friday and I'll be there for Thanksgiving. I'll be gone ten days and I come back December 1. Then I'll work for a couple of weeks and head back east again on December 22 for Christmas and return January 4.

My sister and her husband, Caleb will be coming out from Uganda--so we will all be together for Thanksgiving. We are so thankful for this time we will all have together. And I'm looking forward to spending the holidays with my family and enjoying every minute we have together.

Thanks for all of your prayers!

Friday, November 07, 2008


Psalm 40:1-5
"I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet up on a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth--praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and will trust in the Lord. Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust, and does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside lies. Many, O Lord my God, are your wonderful works which you have done; and your thoughts which are toward us can not be recounted to You in order; if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered."

This passage was such an encouragement to me today. The Lord knows my heart and He hears my cries. He's not against me...but rather His thoughts toward me are countless! He establishes my feet on firm ground. I pray that many will see my faith and hear the new song the Lord has put in my heart so that they will come to believe .

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A Letter From My Friend Megan and A Testimony to Me, I Pray to Respond the Same Way

This is a letter from my friend Megan who lost her mother on Sunday. Since both of our mom's have cancer and have been going through similar things, Megan and I have been emailing, texting, calling, and doing our best to encourage each other through this time. Please be praying for her and her family.

“Watching and waiting our whole life through
For the moment when we arrive in glory
We’ll be standing before His emerald throne
Oh what a day it will be
All tears are gone and suffering ceased
Perfect new life, no earthly strife
For we finish the race, run to His embrace
Oh what a day that will be
When we’ve arrived, stunned and surprised,

all things resolved in the blink of an eye
No more distractions, no sin left to fight
The first glimpse of Jesus and faith becomes sight”

My mom’s faith has now become sight. At one o’clock this morning, she arrived home! Dad, Jordan, Nao, and I were able to be by her side as she took her last breath. We are joyful that she is no longer suffering and that she finished her race with excellence. Though no words can express how much we miss her, we find peace and joy knowing that she is where she always longed to be (and indeed, was created to be) before her heavenly Father… praising and glorifying His name!!

Praise the Lord for His grace to us, particularly in this time. It has and continues to be more than sufficient to meet our needs and comfort our hearts. We know that mom’s ultimate desire was for her family and friends to know the joy, satisfaction, peace, blessing, and contentment she knew – which came only from knowing Jesus as her Lord and Savior! Praise the Lord that her life was a testimony and reflection of God’s amazing grace!

We thank you for your love, support, and prayers.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Gift for Spelling Reverie

A Writer's Reveire

There is much I do not know
Much about, so
The axiom, write what you know,
Leaves me with a small scope;
As I cannot go wide,
I shall try to go deep,
And high, to the earth I can excavate,
The heavens writely rate,
Until words empty pen
And I have reason to write again.

-Elizabeth Knussman

*This poem was given to me by an encouraging friend at work today!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


2 Corinthians 4:8
"We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed... For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

Do I believe this? Do I trust God's Word as true and infallible? Do I believe it with a heart confidence that will lay down my life on the stakes that it is true? Yes! My heart shouts a resounding, yes! Then I must bear up under trials in victory and not merely hang on by a thread. The Holy Spirit within me is infinately powerful--in Him I can do all things. He sets and fixes my mind on the truth. God's glory is my ultimate goal, before my comfort, before my happiness. If suffering will in some way bring God glory and cause me (and others) to come before our King with thanksgiving, then so be it. If suffering will produce in me eternal riches that far outweigh any blessings afforded on this earth, then so be it! If trials will renew my spirit, despite what they do to me physically or emotionally, then so be it. And may the Lord grant me mercy to endure and a renewed mind to think biblically in the midst of it all.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How To Die With Grace

I can't imagine what it's like to know you have a limited amount of time before you die. In some ways, I'd almost rather not know. But I also thinks it's a great blessing to be able to prepare, plan, say good bye, and get your heart and mind ready to meet your Savior.

I often wonder, if faced with the same prognosis as my mom, how would I react? Would I laugh? Cry? Would I be scared? Angry? Would I have regrets?

I know one thing is for sure. I want to die with grace. And I want my mom to die with grace. What does that mean? What does it look like to "die with grace?" It means composure. It means joy. Transparency. It means dependance on God, and faith, and confidence, and courage. It means being a testimony of Christ, even in the face of the unknown (experientially speaking). It means being selfless and bold. It means clinging to Christ in a way that's unimaginable, and being joyful in it! It means feeling lonely at times, but believing with a heart confidence that God is consistent in His character and His word, and that He will deal with me personally only in ways that are consistent with His good character.

I'm praying, and hope you'll join me in praying that my mom will die with grace and not only my mom, but that all of us--you, me--that we will all be cultivating the character now that is necessary when the time comes for us to die with grace too.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Be Faithful Unto Death

I told my best friend today, "I feel like I've been banged, and battered, and hammered every which way lately, but hopefully I will come out a more shining and beautiful reflection of Christ." And that is truly my prayer.

"Your life is short--and our duties are many. Yet your assistance great--and your reward sure. Therefore, faint not--hold on and hold up, in ways of holiness, and heaven shall make amends for all! 'Be faithful until death--and I will give you the crown of life!'"
-Revelation 2:10

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Wisdom from a Modern-Day Grace Gem

"It is your hand that has afflicted us for your glory. To teach us and those around us that you are God, and worthy of worship and praise. Don't let us waste this cancer. Help me to have the mind of Christ. Who, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross . Help me to have joy in my suffering, joy in my humiliation. Please give me joy in weakness and in shame."
-Andrew Mark

"It's okay to have anxieties and cares, but we need to continually cast them on Jesus. Trying not to have anxiety or cares isn't godly. Having those anxieties and then casting them upon Jesus is godly. That's what the Bible calls me to do."
-Bob (Grace Mark's Brother)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Who Is This Christ?

Oh, how the Lord knows just what we need, and what I needed was a weekend in Frazier Park focusing on the person and character of Christ. My Bible study spent a couple of hours writing down characteristics of Christ (with Scripture references) and when we reached #104, we decided it was time for bed, but surely we could have kept going for an infinite amount of time and still not have exhausted the majesty of Christ. When I sat back and looked at the poster-sized stick-it notes on the wall with those 104 truths about Christ this was my response:

This list is really just the beginning. We can't even start to scratch the surface of all that God is, and in specific CHRIST, not even mentioning the Father and the Holy Spirit. What an overwhelming and humbling exercise. It really helps to put things in perspective. When I'm tempted to think about my trials or the circumstances in my life that I want to change, I simply glance at this list and I'm in awe of all that my Savior is and it makes me cry out, "who am I that You should know my name?" Are my petty problems too big for this great God? Do I feel alone? How can I when I have a Great High Priest who sympathizes with my weakness and who knows precisely what I'm going through. I'm thankful for Christ, that He died for me. This God, this Christ, that is so powerful, I can't fully comprehend--He died for me. And he lives in me right now. He is the provider and source of the power I need to live for Him each day. He purchased me on Calvary and then He drew me to the cross through His irresistible grace. He took my place, atoned for my sins. And now, seated at God's right hand, He acts as my mediator, and He intercedes for me when I pray. And he's preparing a place for me where I will be eternally in His presence, reigning as a coheir with Him! What wondrous love is this? What can I do to repay Him? Nothing. I can't. But I will offer up my life as a living sacrifice, and as an act of reasonable service to Him. He is my life, my all in all, and Colossians 2:10 says He completes me. How foolish of me to crave any other thing, or to desire any other when He ALONE can fill my cup to overflowing and satisfy my soul!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Don't Judge a Sem Student By His Tie

Yesterday I received an email from a friend. The email was a message about modesty. It highlighted the fact that God looks at the heart and man looks at the outward appearance--a good and sobering reminder. Then I received an email that I get daily called Grace Gems--little bits of wisdom from puritan writers, etc. The topic? God looks at the heart, man looks at the outside. Wow, what reinforcement of what I had just read. But I'm not done! I went to high school staff meeting last night where Austin Ducan proceeded to challenge the staff. Do not get caught up in outward works because God sees the heart, and we only see the outside.

Austin related a story that I'll share because it encouraged me greatly. In one of his seminary classes, a student stood up for his turn to preach. Now this particular student was not polished to say the least. His notes were crumbly, his glasses and tie crooked, his shirt unironed and untucked. Austin was expecting a good nap. But what happened next shocked Austin and the rest of the class. This seminary student proceeded to give the most riveting sermon those men had ever heard!

Why do we fall into this trap so easily? Why do we judge people by what we see on the outside? Don't get me wrong, I know our outward actions are a great indication of the state of our heart and we can't forget that. But Lord help me if I neglect those who don't don't mesh with my personality, or who don't have polished social skills, or if I discount a sem student because of his crooked tie.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I Spoke With Spurgeon Today and This is What He Had to Say:

"Now the cruel hand of death comes among my friends and family, and leaves me like a sparrow on the house-top alone, or mourning in the wilderness--but then not one of all the numerous inhabitants shall so much as say, "I am sick," because they are an assembly of sinless ones.

Now I am crawling along the road of life in company with fellow-worms, who dwell in cottages of clay, and are crushed before the moth--but then, dignified with His divine likeness, I shall dwell with the Ancient of days, and enjoy the dearest and most intimate communion with Jehovah and the Lamb forever!"

Friday, September 12, 2008

Something I Read Sent Sparks Flying

My friend asked me how I was doing and my honest answer was, "I'm a little discouraged." Then I read this:

"'The heart is active, not passive,' That changes everything. I was accustomed to thinking of discouragement as something that happens to a person. But on closer examination of discouragement in my existential experience, I have been taken aback by how volitional or "active" it is. To go around saying, 'I am discouraged,' as if it's a saddle someone strapped to your back while you kicked and screamed against it, is akin to Aaron's version of how he made the golden calf: 'So they gave me [the gold], and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf' (Exodus 32:24). Um, no.

I have noticed that I actually choose discouragement. Sounds nuts, but a quiet little heart transaction takes place to some point (typically, in my case very early in the game) in which I say to myself, 'I don't want to fight this thing. I'm going to just give in to it.'"

Well, I want to fight. And I won't give in to it. I am choosing not to be discouraged. God's Word holds so much encouragement--really. Lately, each time I read, the Lord speaks directly to my situation and to my heart and I'm so uplifted. And the wonderful friends the Lord has given me are a constant source of joy and grace in my life. How can I possibly be discouraged?

Why should I feel discouraged,
why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely,
and long for heav’n and home,
When Jesus is my portion?
My constant Friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me.

Friday, September 05, 2008

On My Way

I made it to Connecticut. But not without another funny plane story. As I was sitting waiting to board, I was entertained by a large group of gals. From what I could gather, they were some sort of sports team, maybe basketball. When one of the ladies walked by me, I finally got up the nerve and asked, "are you some sort of sports team?" She looked at me and very sweetly answered, "yes, we are the Chicago Sky the WNBA team." Was I embarrassed, yes. But it was fun to sit on the plane with the entire women's team!

Today was a great day. My mom, dad, and I got to Skype with my sister and Caleb and we got to see baby Nicholas, the little child they are hoping to adopt. He is so precious. My sister said he never cries! He is so cute--he's always smiling. I had a good time catching up with my mom and helping her do things she has difficulty doing. I cooked homemade facaccia bread pizza. Today was already a precious time and I'm looking forward to the rest of my week here.

Please pray for my dad. I know he is working so hard and taking such good care of my mom. I'm glad to be here to help ease the load a little. But I know he could use the prayers. He is an amazing man, but he does get tired! Pray the Lord will sustain Him and that his love for my mom will only grow.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Don't Waste Her Cancer

A few years ago, John Piper was diagnosed with cancer and he wrote an article called, "Don't Waste Your Cancer." That's the inspiration for the title of this particular blog entry.

Recently my mom's cancer has become active, and not just active but aggressive--it has metastasized to her liver. Most doctors will not even treat cancer that has spread through the liver, they will simply tell their patient to go home, get things in order, and prepare to die. My mom's doctor told her she has 7-9 months to do just that. Not news that anyone wants to get--not me, or my dad, or my sister, and certainly not my mom.

Many of you have been praying for my mom for years now as she has battled several rounds of cancer. God has been faithful, and no matter what happens to my mom this time, God will remain faithful. God's Word has been my strength and comfort at this time. Each time I open it, a treasure of encouragement and hope cheers me. I am finding sweet fellowship and communion with my Savior at this time and although it is hard, the hardest thing I've ever faced in my life, God is providing grace sufficient at exactly the time I need it.

I am determined not to waste my mom's cancer. I want to shine Christ and to be a reflection of Him through this and I pray the same for my mom. I pray that she will be a beacon of light to any unsaved around her and that she will remain faithful, trusting, and joyful until the day she sees her Savior--whenever that may be.

We are looking for an aggressive doctor who will be willing to try to treat my mom. We are ready for whatever the Lord has, but still don't think we need to just give up. My mom is a fighter. She is the strongest woman I know. Lately she been in excruciating pain because the bone in her hip is deteriorating. She hasn't been able to walk for the last few days. Please pray we will find a solution for this besides just giving her addictive painkillers.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Spurgeon Reads My Mind

From, Morning and Evening
-Psalm 31:5

Though Thou slay me I will trust,
Praise Thou even from the dust,
Prove, and tell it as I prove,
Thine unutterable love.
Thou may chasten and correct,
But Thou never can neglect;
Since the ransom price is paid,
On Thy love my hope is stayed.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Everybody Want to Go to Heaven But Nobody Want to Go Now

Last night on my drive home I was listening to the radio (yes, country again) and a new song has the lyrics, "everybody want to go to heaven but nobody want to go now." Now, I'm not one to get my theology from country music, but there is something very profound in that statement. And there's truth in it.

As believers we talk about how wonderful heaven will be, and how we can't wait to get there. But nobody wants to go there NOW! We hold on to earth so tightly--even the good things--friends, family, work and we don't want to give it up. There is so much we want to do before we "go." We talk about heaven, and we're afraid of death! But death is the vessel the Lord has chosen as the catapult into the heaven we so long for.

I'm starting to see death as a beautiful thing, not as the scary and unknown. Dear beloved brethren, may we all long for heaven and long for it NOW!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Date With Dad

My dad came along to my friend's wedding in Sacramento. He didn't come for the entire time, but I had him all to myself for 2 days, so I got to spend a little time with him. My dad is a wonderful man and I love him very much. I've always known he is great, but my high opinion of him has only increased over the past several years as time passes and I've gotten to know him deeper. I appreciate him, respect him, and cherish him.
Here are 10 things I love about my papa:
1. He is a VERY hard worker.
2. He loves his wife, my mom, :) sacrificially.
3. He is always smiling, and has one of the best smiles ever!
4. He deals with trials like a saint. Nothing seems to shake him.
5. He listens faithfully to talk radio.
6. He is humble.
7. He lets me control the T.V. clicker, well, most of the time.
8. He is gentle.
9. No matter where he goes, everyone just LOVES my dad.
10. He always answers his phone, "pops, here," when I call.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Get Away

Do you ever feel like you have to just get away? That's kind of how I feel right now. And funny thing, I am "getting away" this weekend. My friend Donnette is getting married on Friday (8/8/08). I've known her since preschool and we did gymnastics together for a while too. While we haven't stayed in touch as much as I would have liked, Donnette has always been a special person in my life. I'm excited to see her (it's been years). And I'll be flying to Sacramento for the wedding.

It's funny, before I left for Israel I was thinking about her and trying to figure out how to get in touch with her again. And when I got home, I had a letter from Donnette asking me to be part of her wedding! Talk about God's providence. As far as I know, Donnette is not a believer and so I'm praying this weekend will give me the chance to have gospel-paving conversations, and even if I'm not able to directly share the gospel at this point, I pray that my being part of this special time will open the way for future conversations and opportunities. Please pray for me if you think of it. I'll post pictures when I get back for sure!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Curve Ball

I've seen close friends and even family endure some major trials. And I thank the Lord for each one as it draws us to Him in dependence. It's easy to look back on trials, see how God worked, and then learn to give thanks. But I don't want to be thankful after the fact, I want to rejoice in the midst of whatever the Lord brings my way.

I'm scared. In the last couple of weeks, the cancer in my mom's back has done damage to her nerve and she is in a lot of pain. She's doing acupuncture, which has helped, but I still worry about her health, and wonder how much longer I will have with her. Often, I can't understand why God chooses to work the way He does and I want to ask, WHY? But then, praise God, my mind takes over and the truth of what I know comes flooding in. The question is not why. When Job was in the midst of his trials, God never told him why. God simply reminded Job of his place in comparison to God by recalling God's wondrous character and power to create and sustain. And Job fell on his face and cried out for mercy.

I won't ask why. Instead, I will choose to bless His name for His holy, gracious, kind, loving, merciful, wise character. And I will trust that infinite wisdom in my life and in my family, and in the lives of my friends.

Job 38:1
"Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, 'who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me! Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid it's cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who enclosed the sea with doors when, bursting forth, it went out from the womb; when I made a cloud its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and I placed boundaries on it and set a bolt and doors, and I said, 'Thus far you shall come, but no farther; and here shall your proud waves stop'?

(It goes should read the rest, it's so encouraging.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Something in the Water

Many of my friends, coworkers, and acquaintances are expecting! And I am overwhelmed to watch God at work in each specific instance.
One friend and past co-worker, Stephanie Wahler Sanderson, had her baby girl Suzie, about 2 months early. Bleeding in Suzie's brain has caused some possible damage and Suzie is currently in the hospital with both Steph (mom) and Kyle (dad) by her side. I am praying fervently for all three of them.

My dear friend and coworker, Lola, has had a difficult pregnancy and was put on bed rest early on. Lola is due in late August, but it appears little Emma is eager to meet the world and will most likely arrive before her due date.

Another close friend and coworker, Chela, also recently found out that she is expecting. Her due date is March 18, 2009. I can't wait to find out whether she is having a girl or boy! It's been fun to see her each day at work praising God through the fun side-effects of being pregnant.

The list could go on. There are several more expecting couples with their own unique stories. But the point is, through it all, the easy, fun and exciting times and through the difficult, scary, and nightmarish times, my friends have all shown a deep faith in their Savior, Jesus Christ, and a rich understanding of the doctrine of God's sovereignty. I am so thankful for each one of them and rejoice and mourn with them as is fitting. I am learning the deep comfort that comes from understanding God's sovereignty in my own life and I rest my future and that of my friends and their little ones in the hands of my good and gracious God.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

God's Message to Me Today

The Full Ocean of Never-Failing Delight and Satisfaction
John Fawcett, "Christ Precious"

"Yes, He is very precious to you who believe!" 1 Peter 2:7

"O blessed Jesus, Your love is wonderful! It is the admiration, joy and song of glorified saints. The experimental sense of Your love on earth--sweetens the bitterness of life, and disarms death of all its terrors! It was love which moved You to bow the heavens, to come down and sojourn on earth, to humble Yourself, to take on you the form of a servant, and become obedient onto death, even the death of the cross! You pitied me in my lost estate. You sought and found me--when I sought You not. You spoke peace to me in the day of my distress, when the clouds of guilt and darkness hung heavy on my soul--and I was brought to the borders of despair. You have--borne with all my weakness, corrected my mistakes, restored me from my wanderings, and healed my backslidings. May Your loving-kindness be ever before my eyes--to induce me to walk in your truth. May Your love be the daily theme of my meditations, and the constant joy of my heart! When I am favored with the light of Your countenance, and the comfortable sense of Your love--my soul is filled and satisfied. All the glittering glories of this world, are then darkened, and turned into deformity! They are but broken cisterns--but you are the fountain of living waters! The streams of creature enjoyments, are shallow and deceitful as a brook--but You are the full ocean of never-failing delight and satisfaction! To Your love I must ascribe my whole salvation; and through all the ages of a blissful eternity--I shall proclaim the wonders of redeeming love, and tell to listening angels what Your love has done for my soul. Unto You who loved us, and washed us from our sins in Your own blood, and made us kings and priests to God--to You be glory and dominion forever and ever! Amen."

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Encouragement When I Need It Most

Valley of Vision
-A Puritan Prayer
“Thou hast done for me all things well, hast remembered, distinguished, indulged me. All my desires have not been gratified, but Thy love denied them to me when fulfillment of my wishes would have proved my ruin or injury. My trials have been fewer than my sins, and when I have kissed the rod, it has fallen from Thy hands. Thou hast often wiped away my tears, restored peace to my mourning heart, chastened me for my profit. All Thy work for me is perfect, and I praise Thee.”

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Israel, Rapid-Fire Recap

The Missionary Conference went extremely well. I worked with 2 other teammates in the 3 to 5-year-old class. We each taught 2 lessons. I taught about Jesus calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee and I did my best to explain the difference between true repentance and Judas sorrow as we studied the story of Peter denying Christ.

As you can imagine, 8-hour days can be hard for the little ones. But they did extremely well. We went swimming and to the park, played with toys, had singing time, reading time, snack time, teaching time, craft time, and video time.
My personal favorite part of the day was nap time J. Some of the fun crafts were boats, finger puppets, bookmarks, thumbprint animals, and an “I Love Israel” banner with their little handprints on it!

I got to know a couple of our dear missionaries a little better, which was a blessing. And it was an encouragement to hear parents say their kids were talking about what they learned during lesson time!

When the conference was over, most of the team stayed for a 2-day, rapid-fire tour of Jerusalem and the surrounding area. It was an amazing adventure. We saw the Mt. of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Jerusalem replica, the Western Wall, the Rock of the Dome, the Holocaust Museum, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, the Pool of Siloam, The Spring of En Gedi, Qumran, Masada, the Dead Sea and I’m sure I’m forgetting more.

The biggest lesson I learned was how REAL our God is. Seeing the land of Israel is like having a firsthand encounter with our Lord’s humility and His faithfulness. Only God would chose such a place as the center of His earthly ministry. Only God would chose such a humble people as His chosen nation. Only God! No human could conjure it up and no man would dream it. I stand in awe of our great God!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I'm home! Sorry I wasn't able to update more. Thank you all of those who prayed for me and kept up with my blog! I got really sick and my last couple of days in Israel were difficult, but still great. I was still able to hang in there. But the last night I got a bad headache, so bad I got dizzy and fell down when I tried to get up and I was having delusions while I was sleeping. I also got a really bad bloody nose. I also threw-up on the plane. Ha! Ha! Sorry for all the terrible details. Anyways...God is so good and I am so glad to be home. I will make a long post with pictures and fill you all in on my trip. I wish everyone could have been there with is such a dramatic experience. Our God is is an awesome God...King of Kings and Lord of Lords! I'd love to write more...but I'm getting dizzy, sitting here, so I should go lay down. Love to you all.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Another Update

I've been a lot of things this week.
I've been a teacher, a pillow, snack lady, cookie lady, a horsey, a piggy-back ride giver, a "nurse," a discipliner, a line-keeper, a singing leader, a bathroom moniter, a nose wiper, a tushy wiper, a block and plato player, a 2 minute showerer, a roommate, a teammate, a tourist, a gaurder of stuff, a water giver, a baby-sitter, a friend, a listener, I've been HOT, happy, sad, busy, tired, exhausted, excited, peppy, everything you can possibly imagine.

Israel is great. The missionaries and their kids are doing extremely well. And I am blesssed to be here. I wish I could explain everything that I've experienced in these few short days, but I can't wait to catch up with you and all and show you pictures and explain everything to you when I get home. That's about all I can write for's after midnight and I need to get to bed! Hope this is coherent.
Much love.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Made It and Made the News

Hey everyone. It's a blessing to be able to make this post and let you all know what's been happening the past fews day. I am here in Israel. We made it! But we've had a few adventures along the way. Before even leaving LAX we had a man removed from our flight. He had cursed out another passenger so they asked him to leave the plane. When he refused, they had security come and remove him and his wife--when the security gaurd touched his wife, the man started screaming and jumping at the officer. It was quite an ordeal. It even made the 6 o clock news. Other than that the trip was uneventful, we even got all our luggage and got to see the orthodox people saying their prayers--a very cultural experience.

Yesterday we finished out set up and greeted missionaries and even got to hear Isreali music (and dancing). We had a blast. It is a blessing to be here and to see all the missionaries. We are thankful for the rest we had yesterday and today because the craziness will start tomorrow with the kids. So please pray.

I wish I could say more, there is so much to describe and to say, but time will not allow. God is good and I can't wait to tell you all I am already learning.

Sabot Shalom!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Palm Springs and Israel :)

I can't believe the time has come. It seemed so far away, and now it's here! Two years ago when I heard the next missionary conference was set to be in Israel, I only dreamed of the chance to go. It feels like it's been two months, but now two years later, here I am just days from my departure. With so much happening and so much to be done before I leave, I didn't think the day would come. I leave on Wednesday, June 18. My sister and her husband Caleb leave for Uganda just one week after me! It's almost unreal.

Please pray for me, the next few days will be very busy. Tomorrow I will take a group of graduating high school girls to Palm Springs for the weekend as as part of the Resolved Conference. Then I will work on Monday and Tuesday of next week and fight airport traffic on Wednesday morning--final destination--Tel Aviv!

I praise God for this chance to go to Israel. I am so privileged, humbled, and honored to be part of this team that will do our best to serve our missionaries who are all over the globe.

I know this weekend at Resolved is going to be refreshing, encouraging, challenging, and help to set my heart and mind right even before I leave for my STM trip. I can't wait to give you all a full report when I get back of how God worked over there and also what he did in my life over the few weeks I'm away.

I will try to be on email periodically, so feel free to contact me, I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, June 06, 2008

A Cure For Discouragement

This is such a common song, but I've never before looked at the words in this way. And when I did, it was a great encouragement to my weary soul!

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heav’n and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Top 5

I have to do this because a bunch of my friends did. :)

5 Things I can't Live Without Under $5
1. Lip gloss
2. Trader Joe's bbq chicken pizza
3. Q-tips
4. Dental floss
5. Lotion

5 Favorite Movies
1. Princess Bride
2. Goonies
3. Girls Just Want to Have Fun
4. Clue
5. Summer Magic

5 Songs I Could Listen to Over and Over Again
1. Blessed Be the Name of the Lord
2. Before the Throne of God Above
3. Valley of Vision
4. Our Song
5. My Girl

5 People Who Have Influenced Me in a Positive Way
1. Alair (my sister)
2. Kim Maxwell (my discipler in jr. high)
3. Ryan Glenn (my former gymnastics coach)
4. Rick Holland (my former pastor)
5. Sandi Luciano (my best friend)

5 Items in My Purse at All Times
1. Wallet
2. Keys
3. Mini Bible
4. Sunglasses
5. Mini day planner

5 Events That Have Changed My Life Forever
1. My salvation
2. My mom's cancer
3. Quitting gymnastics
4. Spending 6 months in London
5. Missions trips
6. First relationship
7. Highschool staff
8. Sister's marriage
*Sorry I had to do more than 5 :)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ursa Major

This past weekend I was in Big Bear with my Bible study, Compelled. Our speaker was Jack Hughes, and he preached on Christian liberties. I was so encouraged by spending time with some dear friends and fellow believers. And my walk was challenged as I remembered that everything I do needs to fall under the umbrella of putting others before myself. Even the way I use my liberties must be done through the eyes of loving and preferring other people with the gospel as my goal--the gospel to save those who don't know Jesus Christ, and to help those who do to excel still more! I was also reminded that I must know why I have the convictions I have, not simply because my church or my family did things a certain way, but because I have studied God's Word and developed convictions out of the desire to be obedient to Scripture. What a blessed time!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tears of Joy and Tears of Sadness

I just read the blog of Emily Chapman (Steven Curtis Chapman's daughter). A close-up picture of her with a pretend shocked look on her face hinted at her excitement. And the story she shared below confirmed the news. She got engaged only a few days earlier. Then I heard the news that the five-year-old adopted Chapman daughter, Maria, was killed when her brother Will did not see her, and hit her while he was backing out of the driveway in an SUV.

And I thought to myself, life is like that. It has ups and downs and sometimes both at the same time. But one thing that does not change is the person of Jesus Christ who has sovereign power over all of those ups and downs. He gives and He takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Hebrews 7:24
“O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

It’s humbling to see what a wretched sinner I am. Pride, self-sufficiency, and lack of trust, are but a few of my gross deficiencies. What a repulsive, dark, and festering place are the recesses of my heart. I could easily wallow in the abomination of my flesh and become a helpless, useless, mess.

Hebrews 7:25
“I thank God––through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

But praise God, He has enabled me to experience glimpses of victory over the flesh here on earth and eventually perfect freedom from sin in the life to come. He has forgiven me and washed me––though my sins are like scarlet, He has made me white as snow. Jesus, thank you!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A Funny Childhood Memory (Inspired by Jen's Funny Childhood Memory)

I was about 6 years old. My dad had just spanked me (which I am sure I very much deserved). I walked into the room and up to my father. I pulled down my pants and pointed to a red mark (the remains of the spanking). And I said to him, "look what you did! I hope you're happy!"

I think I deserved another spanking.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


We were not created to be alone. In fact, when the Lord saw Adam functioning alone, he said, "it is NOT GOOD." That was the only time in creation the Lord ever declared something NOT GOOD. But then when God gave Adam a helper suitable for him, He said, "it is VERY GOOD!"

I've heard that truth many times before and thought, "well okay, that's nice." But lately I've been so encouraged and so thankful for the body of Christ and how it functions because we are not created to walk through the trials of this life alone. We are to come alongside one another, comfort one another, mourn and rejoice with one another, and pray for one another.

So many requests have been sent my way lately:

-friends who recently had a miscarriage and lost their baby.

-a friend who recently lost her grandma to sickness, then lost her aunt to an "accidental" fire, and then found out the fire wasn't an accident. It was set by her uncle who is now in jail.

-a lady who recently nearly died in childbirth and is caring for a very sick baby. She fell off a horse and is now in a coma.

-a couple who almost lost their baby. Their baby stopped breathing, and the dad was able to resuscitate her, but she is currently in NICU for tests to find out what is wrong.

-a husband and wife who must decide if the husband should have surgery on his throat with the possibility of surviving cancer. The surgery would mean he could never eat or talk again, he would breathe from a whole in his neck. But the surgery will not guarantee anything.

Makes my "problems" seem very small. I am increasingly and abundantly thankful for dear friends in Christ who love me and serve me and help me know that I am not alone. Whether that means a phone call, a long walk, a late-night talk, whatever it is, I praise God for the dear friends He's put in my life!

Monday, April 21, 2008


Things in life happen that are just unfair. Either, I've been, hurt, misunderstood, misinterpreted, mistaken, mistreated, the list goes on and on. But the lesson I am learning becomes more and more clear--Christ is all I need. My sufficiency is in Him alone. Only He can satisfy. The concepts and principles are not new to me, but I am experiencing them in a way that is more real to me than ever before. I am so dependant on Him for all things. So instead of fighting against the trials the Lord places in my life, I resolve with all my might, to embrace and enjoy them like a precious gift from a loving Father.

There's this great song from Sovereign Grace Ministries that I've been listening to, and it says this:

When You lead me to the valley of vision
I can see You in the heights
And though my humbling wouldn’t be my decision
It’s here Your glory shines so bright
So let me learn that the cross precedes the crown
To be low is to be high
That the valley’s where You make me more like Christ

Let me find Your grace in the valley
Let me find Your life in my death
Let me find Your joy in my sorrow
Your wealth in my need
That You’re near with every breath
In the valley

In the daytime there are stars in the heavens
But they only shine at night
And the deeper that I go into darkness
The more I see their radiant light
So let me learn that my losses are my gain
To be broken is to heal
That the valley’s where Your power is revealed

Monday, April 14, 2008

How I Feel Today

"I was getting coffee last week, and I heard a little girl ask her mom if she could get a 'decapitated cup 'o chino.'"
- My friend J.M.

Monday, April 07, 2008

On Relationships

Lady Astor: "Winston, If I were married to you I'd put poison in your coffee."

Sir Winston Churchill: "Nancy, if you were my wife, I'd drink it."

Monday, March 31, 2008


J.C. Philpot once said, "it is good and gracious for God to disappoint our plans." It doesn't feel that way when our hopes are disappointed our are expectations are crushed. But I know this wise, godly, man was right. And I have to remind myself each day that God's plan is better than my own.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Services for Jeanne Clutterham:

Saturday, March 29, 2008
11 am
Grace Community Church
13248 Roscoe Blvd., Sun Valley, California 91352

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Like a Wave

A Noble Saint is in Heaven

Dear Friends,

With profoundly mixed emotions, I'm writing to tell you that our beloved sister in Christ, Jeanne Clutterham, is now in heaven. With her family at her bedside, the Lord took Jeanne peacefully at around 4:30 this afternoon.

God graced our lives deeply with Jeanne's love, joy, faithfulness, and courage throughout her noble fight with cancer. The hope of heaven is sweeter today than it was yesterday knowing that Jeanne is in the presence of Christ; our earthly lives will feel the loss until we ourselves are in heaven. We thank God for Jeanne's life and that He has now fulfilled His purposes for her which He prepared before the foundation of the world.

The family is working on arrangements for a memorial service, and we'll be sure to pass those details along to you as soon as we receive them. For now, please pray for Jeanne's equally noble husband, Bill, who stood beside her with such remarkable tenderness and compassion through the years. Also, remember Jeanne's children, Sarah, Rebekah, Joshua, and Matthew, and her dear parents, Bob and Jane Rankin. Their loss is very real and will be felt deeply.

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints" (Psalm 116:15).

Love in Christ,

Don Green

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Rejoicing With Affectionate Memories

I am joyfully celebrating the homegoing of my friend Greg Dominguez. Greg was an example to me in several areas--his humble service, his disciplined study of the Word, and his passion for prayer. After a long and difficult battle with brain cancer, Greg’s faith was turned to sight and his hope of glory made a reality on Friday March 14, 2008.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Human Body is Amazing

I'm flabbergasted at how the Lord has created the human body with the capability of doing some amazing things. I watched a T.V. show on the Discovery Channel about the body's ability to survive in extreme situations and I stood in awe at God's creative power. Not just His creative power, but the artistic, masterful, detailed, and complex care with which He crafted the human body.

Check out this website to see what amazed me:

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Chortle, Shepherds', and other Miscellaneous Thoughts

My feelings today can be summed up in a line from Lewis Carrol's famous poem, The Jabberwocky:
"O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!' He chortled in his joy."

Today at work the building is bustling with activity because it is the week of our annual Shepherds' Conference at church. The reason we are busy here is because people are curious about John's ministry and want to see the Grace to You building for themselves. It's fun to have lots of people poking their heads in and out of my office and to see the smiling faces of people eager and happy to be here. I really do praise the Lord that I am at a church that is equipped, gifted, and blessed enough to train up men and to encourage weary pastors that need support, motivation, and a recharge (even if it is just for 5 days) .

I'm depressed that I was in Boston on super Tuesday for my aunt's funeral and was not able to vote in the primaries. :(

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I Cry Out!

I recently found out that my friend's mother passed away unexpectedly. And this is all I can say:

There are so many things I don't understand. But I'm slowly realizing that's okay. It's precisely my inability to understand that drives me to my Savior, that forces me to trust in Him and Him alone. My good intentions mean nothing. My ability to help means nothing. God will do whatever with whomever he chooses and I can't question His infinite wisdom. Even beyond that, God loves me and His care is so tender for me. He is not an unfeeling dictator, and every painful circumstance I face or witness is a loving nudge from Him to make me more like Christ. I throw my hands up and cry out, "God, I don't understand!" But I trust. I trust your wisdom, your promises, and your goodness. I will stand strong with my eyes firmly fixed on Him. I will press on.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Truths That Have Become Very Real to Me in the Past Week

- God controls every detail of my life.
(Proverbs 16:9)

- The Holy Spirit is the great comforter.
(John 14:27)

- I need not explain myself. I should be quiet as Christ was before His persecutors.
(Isaiah 53:7)

- Mary did not justify herself. She waited on God and she pondered things in her heart. I should do the same.
(Luke 2:19)

- Submission is not easy.
(1 Peter 2:13-15)

- I can't please everyone and shouldn't even try. I need only concern myself with pleasing God.
(Matthew 10:28)

- God is my sufficiency.
(Psalm 73:26)

- God's forgiveness is lavish.
(Micah 7:18-19)

- Truly trusting God is the key to everything.
(Proverbs 3:5)

- Always think the best about people in every circumstance.
(1 Corinthians 13:7)

Friday, February 08, 2008

I'm Learning...

I've learned so much about myself in the past couple of days, it's overwhelming! God is so good to grow us and stretch us even when it is extremely painful at times.

“Unlike the people-pleaser, who worries himself sick when he senses that he may have displeased someone by his words (or actions), the person who pleases God knows how to dismiss such anxiety with the assurance that he has, in fact said (or done) that which pleases God. Now it’s not that the God-pleaser never wonders whether he could have said things better, or that he never ponders a more biblical course of action than the one he took, or that he doesn’t listen to valid criticism and ask for forgiveness when he knows that he has sinned in the process of trying to please God, but if he knows that he hasn’t sinned, he does not worry or fret about the consequences of his actions. He trust God to use what he has said or done for His glory, and he knows that God is causing all things to work together for his own good.”
-Lou Priolo
Pleasing People

Friday, February 01, 2008


Hey friends! Thank you for all of you that have been praying for me and my family. As you know from my last post, my aunt has been very sick with cancer and was getting worse very quickly. Many of you have been praying for her. Well, yesterday evening my aunt went to be with the Lord. I thank God that she had a saving relationship with Jesus Christ and is with her Savior in heaven.

I will be going to the funeral which is in Massachusetts. I will fly out on Sunday morning and come home on Wednesday. Please continue praying for my cousins Liz and Justin and my uncle Paul who does not know the Lord. Pray for my uncle's salvation and also that I would be a help and comfort to my cousins and the rest of the family while I am there.

God gives and God takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord. I praise God that through this trial His name is being glorified and I trust He is accomplishing His perfect will in my life and in the lives of my family members.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Dear friends, please join in praying for my aunt, Laurene. She is extremely sick with cancer. The cancer has spread all over her body and she is so weak she can hardly move. They don't expect her to live more than a few days. My aunt knows the Lord, but she is leaving behind two children, Justin (15 years old) and Liz (13 years old). They profess Christ, but they are still young, so it's hard to know. Also, my uncle Paul professes Christ, but shows no fruit and he is extremely angry at God right now for his wife's illness. My mom is back in Plymouth, Massachusetts right now to be with her family and to help her sister as much as possible in these final days. Please pray that God would grant my aunt a faithful testimony until the last moment and that any unsaved family might come to know the Lord through this. Also pray for my young cousins, that God would grant them a supernatural strength to endure this trial and pray that my mom will herself remain healthy and that she will show the love of Christ to her family. Thank you for bearing this burden with me.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

So Close, Yet So Far Away

This is old news, but today is the first day I could bring myself to discuss such a painful subject. Since the moment it happened, I've been ignoring, avoiding, and suppressing my feelings. Sunday was a hard day--a day I wish I could make disappear with the tilt of my head and the blink of my eye. If I could choose one day to erase, to vanish like a soft word into a gentle wind, Sunday would be it.

There is no point in avoiding it any longer. I have to say it! The Dallas Cowboys lost to the New York Giants 17-21. It's painful even to verbalize it. But there, I did it. The Cowboys are by far the better team, but a combination of bad decisions, bad plays, bad refs, and a bad day for our quarterback, the Cowboys couldn't pull out the win they needed.

This means that the Giants will play the Packers and whoever wins that game will most likely play the Patriots in the Superbowl. Unless by some crazy turn of events the Patriots lose this weekend to the Chargers, which is VERY unlikely.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Vacation from Vacation

It seems life can change overnight. You blink and everything is different. The last few weeks have been a clear evidence and reminder to me that God is completely in control of everything. There is no part of my life that God is not actively a part of. God orchestrates and plans everything to the smallest detail. And I'm learning to trust Him more and more. Not just say I trust because it's the right thing to say, but to REALLY, truly trust Him. His ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts. He directs my steps even though I make plans. And a good friend reminded me that when we trust and wait on Him, He will do abundantly more than we could ever ask or think. I see God at work. He is active and alive.