Sunday, October 8, 2017

BUSHWHACKED!

"So be truly glad!   There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.  These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world." I Peter 1:6-8 NLT
One afternoon, earlier this year, I again found myself in the ER.
 I was ambushed by a plethora of symptoms.  Expecting the worst, we had again summoned the paramedics.  Although not exhibiting any classic symptoms of my previous heart attack, I was very concerned as I had never experienced these specific symptoms mimicking one.  Wisdom admonished me to get some answers.

Expecting the worst, I awaited results of several tests.  My anxiousness subsided as no one appeared to be excited about my condition and the heart monitor revealed no significant heart activity to get excited about.

I left the ER that day with the reality that I had entered into a new dimension of life.  My stressful past times had caught up with  me, leaving me with gifts in the form of panic and anxiety attacks.
The landscape of my life is now dotted with  random episodes, another dimension, to all my disappointing ailments in life.

"If I can’t turn around and encourage those behind me, what good is my journey?"

These frequent ambushes, of terrifying, painful, and extremely exhausting moments, have produced an awesome outcome in that they have eased me into another element of trust in God, a renewed sense of His presence in each now time, and more compassion toward those who suffer such episodes.

A "This Is It" Season

I have found that focusing on God’s present and past presence, rehearsing Scripture portions, concentrating on thoughts of gratefulness, spending time with joyful friends, and reliving past joys help ease episodes.

How richly I have experienced God's presence!  The design and intent of custom trials for me has stretched my faith.

Isaiah 41:10New King James Version (NKJV)

10 Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

LEAVE IT THERE Click here 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

SO YOU ENJOY MUSIC?

My Mother at the old pump organ
Oh, so you enjoy music?
Yeah, I like music.
Do you play?
Yeah, I play music.  I am musically challenged.
Never could make sense of the latticework decorated with large ants.   A chord?, A scale?  What you say, a chord can be broken?  And if you put those two thingies together, it makes the shape of a heart.  The only thing that made sense to me at the time, were the words, and listening to my mother play.
I'd rather be teaching...Taught my first VBS when I was 13 or 14 with the help of my sister.  She inherited most of the music genes.  We are standing in front of one of the pump organs.  Looks like I had been giving an object lesson in this photo.

The only hymn, I ever learned to play was Wonderful Words of Life on the old pump organ, our only key board of that time. I have long forgotten how to play it but vividly recall the refrain to that hymn in both Spanish and English.

 Sing them over again to me,
wonderful words of life;
let me more of their beauty see,
wonderful words of life;
words of life and beauty,
teach me faith and duty:

 
Refrain:
Beautiful words, wonderful words,
wonderful words of life;
Beautiful words, wonderful words,
wonderful words of life.

 
¡Qué bellas son! ¡Qué bellas son!
Bellas palabras de vida
¡Qué bellas son! ¡Qué bellas son!
Bellas palabras de vida

A more promising musician

One day, as my mother attempted to give me another unbearable music lesson, that pump organ was wheezing and squeaking more than usual.
Upon further investigation, to our surprise, a mother mouse had made it her home for her and her babies.
It was not unusual to often see those critters  scurrying around.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

WHAT DO YOU VALUE?: A BRUSH WITH DEATH

 After calling 911, five very good looking paramedics soon crowded my small cluttered bedroom.  Within a few minutes of being hooked up to the monitor, it was evident that something horrible was transpiring in side.
What began as a little discomfort as I was trying to make myself comfortable for the night, soon intensified without any pain.
My Maker has a grand design and intention for me that is not yet complete.

I had, had an uneventful day and looked forward to all the children we were expecting in the nursery that Wednesday night.   The atmosphere was electric with every one buzzing around with last minute preparations for the 2014 Shepherds Conference to begin.  Everyone was anticipating another years conference and emotions were running high.
As providence would have it, no children showed up to my room and we closed it down and I was allowed to go home.
The discomfort intensified accompanied by pain by the time I was loaded into the ambulance.
My Maker was in process of His grand design and intentions for me that night.  It felt like I was going into labor and I had difficulty breathing by the time they hooked me up to every imaginable thing and popping aspirin and nitroglycerin into my mouth as the pain escalated.
Bar Coded
Our ETA was 6 minutes, I heard the driver as he communicated with the ER at the hospital.  With sirens blaring, at around mid-night, it felt like we hit every pothole and bump in the street.

Upon my arrival, I was swiftly met by a prepared team of techies,nurses,Drs, etc. who disconnected me from the ambulance equipment and hooked me up to various other machines.
 By then the pain had so intensified, morphine was added to my IV.  A peace and calm immediately engulfed me, thanking the Lord, and not quite realizing until later that it was the effects of the morphine,I laugh at myself at the thought as any anxiety left, my first experience with the drug.

God vs. Drug

I fought the thought that my peace and calm had not come from God but the drug, yet I sensed God's presence throughout the night.

With in about 15 min. a cardiologist and his team had assembled in the cardio lab. waiting for me to be wheeled in for the angiogram and a stent placed.  The procedure lasted 1 hr. and 1/2.  They found that my artery was 100% blocked.   I was told that I came at just the right time and to the right place as Valley Pres. had excellent cardio care.
By 2:30am, I was resting comfortably in the ICU with no damage to the heart.
TWO WEEKS LATER: So exhausted, I was just making it from bench to bench to rest on an outing to the Getty Center with one of my daughters


The hospital team was amazed at how swiftly things progressed and kept asking me how I knew when to call 911 as most people wait for other symptoms to even call. 
2 weeks later
  I just knew that something was not right and that intensity kept mounting with a sense of doom although, I did not recognize it as serious until, I arrived at the hospital.


Lest toxic thoughts get the better of me, this experience left me with a heightened sense of awareness of how fragile life is and to value what is really important and filter out what is not.
With my Sandpaper Twin



  It changed my perspective.  It shocked me into considering the more significant aspects of life.  It prepared me for the shock at the time of my son’s death several months later.
I have read the Scriptures with many different pairs of glasses but Scriptures have never changed.

It triggered an avalanche of thoughts, emotions, and introspection.
It left me with an increased ability to live in the present. As much as I wanted to live in the past and the future, the now time is all I have.
A sense of deep gratitude for everything over took me as I de-cluttered the meaning of my life, a strong sense of purpose overwhelmed my thoughts as I continued to study the Scriptures.

“Life is 10 percent what you make it
and 90 percent how you take it.”
― Irving Berlin

  My fervor and commitment to the Scriptures intensified.
I began to sense a sharp decreased interest in material possessions as spiritual life became more central as well as learning to live with my limitations as a result of residual affects of aging and health.  The struggle to live within these limitations as I live in now time are a constant frustration as overwhelming strength fails.


I draw comfort from the fact that, I am in today right now, and draw my strength from God today.


Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isa.41:10


For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 2 Cor.12:10

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

 2 Cor.12:9


 But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it.  2 Tim.4:17


Saturday, September 9, 2017

A WEEK END TO REMEMBER


The wild flowers in full bloom along the boardwalk 

Everyone needs a week end away! 

A week or a week end away was one of my ultimate desires.
I was about to embark on one of my most exciting week ends in a long time.  I was beside myself with anticipation at the very thought.
Fresh air & beautiful view

This would be no ordinary get away.  It was a special girls get away created by a dear friend.  Sometimes we all need a break from the every day of life that so appears to burden us no matter the reasons.
drift wood, cliffs


Wild Flowers draped over the cliff

We had been talking about this for a year but waiting for the special day to arrive seemed only a dream at the beginning.
One day a special invitation arrived. I opened it with trembling hands. It was accompanied by a video of our intended destination.

 

 I opened it to discover the beauty of our not so secret place to enjoy.   With vivid imagination, the vision of the Mission Impossible resounded in my head:
  "Good morning, Mr. Phelps.  Your mission Jim should you decide to accept it... "  Yes, Yes, and Yes, hope this CD will not self-destruct as I watch it again and take in the beauty of the spot we would be going to.
"As always, should you or any of your I.M. Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions.  This disc will self-destruct in 10 sec.  Good luck Jim."
Early morning casting shadows

So as the time drew near to actually implement my Mission to make it possible to go, made planning relentless.

 Arranging a week end off was no small task.  I was exhausted by the time I left to collapse in the back seat of my ride to enjoy the trip up to Cambria.
Flowers and shops

  Those routines that provide the structure to the day and provide assurance that everything that needs to be done gets done, are not easily explained to someone who does not do them on a daily basis and can hardly order his own life. 
It was enough to throw it all in the wind which I partially did.  Today you get hamburgers at Burger King, tomorrow get pizza, and if there is pizza left more pizza and there is Panda Express.  Past experiences have left all planned menus out the window.  My care giver for the week end is cooking challenged
  To write down instructions.   
 To have this week end off, I needed to cast out of my mind the endless possibilities for problems to arise etc.  I was not confident in leaving my father with my husband as his care giver.  My natural, lazy tendencies were telling me to abandon it all as I encourage myself to go for it.
 One thing popped into my mind when thinking about how good the week end was. It was planned far enough in advance to allow for the scheduling needed so that it could actually happen.
Goofing off with friends

It was helpful to make a commitment to that week end and to make the commitment to another person so that the motivation to follow through would be there.
Shopping in the quaint little shops

  It surprised me that I was ambivalent
 about going as the day approached.  I was apprehensive about being away for the week end.  Yet the wild side of me was giddy with the anticipation of just walking, shopping, and talking and being encouraged with these friends.
A colorful bunch of Get A Way Friends

What made this the ultimate get away for me was, that I did not have to plan it, I did not have to think for someone else, I did not have to cook, I did not have to drive, and there was no cell service at the hotel, and I had never been to Cambria before.
That the week end went well encouraged me to do it again some time in the future.  It took lots of planning, but it was worth the effort.
 Each of us ladies shared intimate details of our lives and faith journeys.
It’s amazing the new things you can learn about women you might have known about for quite a while!
Treasure from the beach

No morning was complete without a stroll down Moonstone Beach and the boardwalk.  The view was breathtaking.  I spent time searching for  moonstones and watching the sea lions basking in the sun.
Early morning walk on the boardwalk overlooking Moonstone Beach
This breathtaking beach offers quite an experience.

A tree arches over Moonstone Beach Boardwalk
It was a very relaxing getaway and blessing to be around other Ladies who have the same spiritual goals.

So thankful to God who delights in showering us with His love and using these other ladies to encourage me.


 








Tuesday, September 5, 2017

EVER HAVE THOSE NEVER ENOUGH's"?

THE NEVER ENOUGH  docked (Ventura Harbor,rjs)
“I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it - but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.”~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it - but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/o/oliverwend386387.html?src=t_port
I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it - but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/o/oliverwend386387.html?src=t_port
I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it - but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/o/oliverwend386387.html?src=t_port
I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it - but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/o/oliverwend386387.html?src=t_port
I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it - but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/o/oliverwend386387.html?src=t_port
I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it - but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/o/oliverwend386387.html?src=t_port
“We rest here while we can, but we hear the ocean calling in our dreams,
And we know by the morning, the wind will fill our sails to test the seams.
The calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore,
For ships are safe in harbor, but…..”  ~Michael Lille


Is it true that life is filled with NEVER ENOUGH?  Am I dissatisfied by my NEVER ENOUGH's?  Or is it enough?
 Do my NEVER ENOUGH's in life lead to disappointments because I  hold onto my limited future or now moments that have not arrived and may never
arrive according to our perceived anticipations.  I look forward with anticipation to respite events and then  leave with a dissatisfaction because it was just NOT ENOUGH to satisfy my exhausted body and mind.
Ventura Harbor ~2016

The desire for longer away times grows more intense with time.  That is what it's like for a care giver left with a desire to extend those times, a breeding ground for ingratitude or a greater appreciation for the times God has allowed, whether it is a micro short,short or long time.
Respite at the beach

The challenge for me is to direct my focus and dissatisfaction away from THE NEVER ENOUGH's, like never enough time, never enough money, never enough energy, never enough respite times, never enough sleep,never enough help,things done, never enough....
Perhaps we are burdened by NEVER ENOUGH's in other aspects of life? 
 Dissatisfaction with NEVER ENOUGH'S can blind one to GIVEN ENOUGH's we already have and should be grateful for for those God has allotted to us.
 
   "Exodus 18:17-21 What you’re doing is not good, Moses’ father-in-law said to him. You will certainly wear out both yourself and these people who are with you, because the task is too heavy for you. You can’t do it alone. Now listen to me; I will give you some advice, and God be with you. You be the one to represent the people before God and bring their cases to Him. Instruct them about the statutes and laws, and teach them the way to live and what they must o. But you should select from all the people able men, God-fearing, trustworthy, and hating bribes. Place them over the people as commanders of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens."
 
I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it - but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/o/oliverwend386387.html?src=t_port

Saturday, September 2, 2017

GRANDMA FROGGER'S BACK! video

Good morning my little Froglets and Frogsters.  I am back.  I am posting from Phoebe Frogger's studio in the bedroom.
I thought I might encourage all you Froglets and Frogsters to make it a CLEAN IT UP DAY or a KEEP IT CLEAN DAY.  Mommies need your help.  Even Grandmas have a hard time keeping it clean days.
video
I know some of you have already started school, and that is good.  Others will be starting soon or in time coming.
 Did you know all of us are in school?  Even grandmas.  It is called the School Of Life because we are always learning something.
Sometimes we learn good things and sometimes we learn bad things.  Sometimes our days do not go as planned.  We may not like the way things went for that day but because God is Sovereign, we know that he is in control.



Bad things can happen to us like someone calling us names.  Sad things happen and that is OK because we always have Jesus with us. 
He knows all these things and that is why it is called The School Of Life or The School Of Hard knocks.  We learn more about God when we have to go through hard times.

Recently most of you got a backpack Bible with a little surprise for your birthday's in it.  Lily will be getting one on her third birthday in December.
I hope and pray that it will not stay in your backpack but that you will learn to read it and obey it's principles.
Principles are those rules or places in the Bible that tell us to obey.

If you make the Bible, a most important thing in your life and take God's Word with you everywhere, it will give you comfort and encouragement when you get old like me. 

Yes, we all get old and sometimes getting old is tough.  Our bones ache, we can't see or hear well, and sometimes our minds don't work as well as it used to.  We forget things, however, many things we don't forget are some of the things we learned when we were young like you, like memorizing Bible verses and learning, really,really,really old songs from long ago times that even your Great Great Grandparents may have sung.
It is very important to treasure Bible verses and store them in your mind so you find comfort in much older time.
 So here is the thing:  Ask Mum to choose a Bible verse for you to memorize.  Get on FaceTime or Whatsapp, recite it to Grandma and she will send you a reward for the effort.  Deal?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

LESS LIKELY TO FALL APART

"When I look around me, I have got so much to thank God for.  I have so much to praise Him for.  When I think of what he has done and where he has brought me from..."  Lyrics to a song come to mind.

 My very first Bible, given to me some sixty years ago was a Spanish King James Version Bible, although I did not take its truths seriously til later in life, it became my constant companion through out life.
Ready for Sunday church service with my first Bible

  Not that particular one as I do not have any recollection as to what became of it. It was later replaced by an English one.  It was a required book as part of my Christian education through out the years.  I struggled through out the years to memorize certain portions, joined in the excitement of sword drills, and was admonished and shown the error of my ways in my childish mind.  I loved the Day of The Bible celebrations each year in Mexico.DAY OF THE BIBLE CLICK HERE  The very first verse, I memorized was John 3:16, in Spanish. 
John 3:16 (Spanish)

"Porque de tal manera amo Dios al mundo, que ha dado a su Hijo unigenito, para que todo aquel que en el cree, no se pierda, mas tenga vida eterna."
In time, I learned the preciousness and unperishableness of that book. 
God's Word had become a large part of my life very early.
I had an insatiable hunger to learn more about that book that had become such a comfort to me as I moved around from place to place.
I now have seven,  the top three are my to go Bibles, the others for studying
  As life was so transient during those earlier years, I found comfort in knowing that, that book would always say the same thing no matter where I found myself, in joyful times or times of disparity and discouragement. 

1973

The desire to learn more about this book led me to attend Multnomah School of The Bible in Portland Oregon (Multnomah University)
Their advertisement caught my eye, "If its Bible you want Then you want Multnomah."  I will never forget how those years molded me and life's lessons were valuable in laying the foundation for the present time I find myself in.   I will never forget my studies in Romans with Dr. John Mitchell.DR. MITCHELL BIOGRAPHY
  Many times he would ask us students a question and we with blank looks or cat got our tongues stared at him in silence to which he in a distinct Scottish brogue would say, “Don’t you folks ever read your Bibles?”  We loved his classes because he never gave tests, yet we learned so much.

  He had an amazing ability to quote Scripture from memory.   
Although, God had been working in my life long before attending Multnomah, I look back on that season as the beginning of heart transformation, learning about God and about myself. It was the beginning of a more intense journey,  the emergence of a slow and painful journey of embracing God's plan for me, a journey I'm still walking.
 
STILL WALKING IN THE LIGHT OF HIS WORD
My top four go to Bibles,  the most used MacArthur Study Bible and Inductive Bible, two in Super Giant Print

In 2005, a good friend encouraged me to inductive studies and gave me this Bible.

Chapter Themes from Psalms
Prof. David Needham was another powerful influence on my life during my time at Multnomah.
I remember him as a very gentle and kind man.  He would tenderly ask "Do you know who you are?" and explain our birthright as Christians. 
His very small office was off to the side of the hall, I had to take to get to my dorm room.  His classes were more like a devotional time and he had such passion for imparting God's love.  He invited us to drop by anytime just to talk, although I never took him up on the offer, I was in such awe of his wisdom.

Each year since 1998, I make periodic reviews of my primary goals in my spiritual life and write the date I read those goals, making a commitment to my self to pursue and cultivate right desires.  Watching these play out in my life have made a considerable difference.
Since 11-7-1998 I have attempted to make these my primary goals
LIFE VERSE~MARRIED LIFE VERSE~A project still in process
Pamela Reeves, another Multnomah professor, had a great influence in encouraging me to write about life, herself, being an author of many books.  In the pyschology type class, she taught, I remember her asking us to choose an animal, we would like to be and why we would like to be it and write about it.
 One of those years, for a semester, I was taking journalism, even writing an article for the school newspaper.  I did not pursue journalism at that time as it took too much "thinking time".  I was pursuing a major in Christian Education with a minor in Missions at the time.
My interest in writing only came about in more recent times as there are many down times while care giving.

  Miss Reeves was a phenomenal, classy lady, and her classes were always full and hard to get into.  She encouraged us ladies to be ladies.  She was dean of women at the time I was there.  Once a month, she would gather us ladies for a talk while the men had a talk with the Dean of Men.

The dress code for most of those years for us ladies, were dresses and skirts.