Tuesday, March 25, 2014


I have bad eyes. 
I mean the color blue is great. It's just that my eyes don't see well.
Thanks to the genes passed on by my dad.
I was in 7th grade when I first needed glasses. That and braces and the start of zits. Not such a pretty sight.

I vividly remember one time when I wished I could really see without my glasses. I was double para-sailing with my oldest daughter and I was the one who pulled the ropes whether we went left or right. But I couldn't see and Kristi would have to yell at me, "Go left Mom" or "Go right". Not to mention that I did not get to see the vastness of Lake Tahoe that we were para-sailing over.

One year I had had enough. I decided I wanted to wake up on my next birthday and be able to see the clock on the other side of the bed. So I made an appointment at the Laser surgery clinic. I was so excited and hopeful. 
To my utter dismay, I found out that the only part of my body that was too thin, was my cornea. I remember this doctor telling me that he thought he might still be able to work it out.
Ummm NO thank you. He told me that the risk of going blind was one of the side effects. So for years I have worn my glasses or contacts to see.
As you get older, your eyes change and your vision makes it a necessity sometime in your 40's that you need glasses for reading.
For me, it was not a big deal at all. My eye doctor just changed my contacts so that one was for distance and the other for reading.
And this year, I found out that having surgery for  thyroid cancer can also change your vision. Fortunately my daytime vision improved and my night time vision worsened.
Whatever, my eyes just don't see that well.

My ears on the other hand seem to be just fine. I can hear well-sometimes too well. And I still remember the time, also in 7th grade, when ice cubes numbed my ear, and my sister pierced my ears with a needle going through my ear into a wine bottle cork. Still have the same holes-all these years later.

Even with my eyesight being not the best, I have been extremely blessed to see some amazingly beautiful things around the world. 
But I also have seen some ugly things. Some in person, some on the TV. 
I remember watching with horror as the second plane went into the World Trade Center Tower. I remember seeing the Challenger explode. I remember the atrocities of Vietnam and watching on tv riots erupt in Los Angeles and Chicago. I have seen pictures of children starving all over the world that break my heart. Sometimes, I wish I could not have seen some things.

And I have heard some amazing and wonderful things with my ears.
From my husband whispering that he loves me for over 39 years.
For hearing the sounds of the waves breaking at shore.
For hearing my children's first cry, their first laugh, their first word. I will not forget that.
The melodies in songs, the beat of music can move me to laughter or tears, but can also make me sing like no one is listening.
Then I have heard some terrible things with my ears. 
Gossip, rumors, ugly words spoken and heard.
Things that make me shudder. Things I wish I had never said or never heard.

I'm sure you have had similar experiences with your eyes and ears as well.
This morning I was reading in the book of Isiah in the Old Testament and read the following:

I am staggered by what I hear, I am bewildered by what I see. My heart falters, fear makes me tremble. (Isiah21:3b)

Good to know I am not the only one to be baffled by what I have seen and heard.

Yesterday and probably today, much was written about World Vision in the news. World Vision is a Christian relief organization that has been around for over 50 years. Their chief aim and goal is to alleviate suffering and poverty in the world. Yesterday, they decided that they would hire Gay Christian married people. This has caused an outroar among Christians in America.
If you want, you can read Rich Stearns, the president of World Vision's words here

Whether or not you agree with gay marriage, whether or not you are a christian, everyone has an opinion on this subject. Today I read a great blog by a guy who just asked some questions.

But this reminded me of something I read also in Isiah this morning. This time it comes from chapter 11

"He will not judge by what He sees with his eyes, or decide by what He hears with his ears, but with righteousness, He will judge the needy, with justice, He will give decisions for the poor of the earth." Isiah 12:3-4.

So I have seen with my eyes the ugly words that have been spoken and have heard people's views on this and am basically disgusted with how we as followers of Christ have responded.
Today in the above verses, I again realized, in these often controversial topics, how I respond, what I say needs to come after I have gone to God about this. My response is based on what I hear God telling me, not others.
So whether we agree or disagree, may we all remember that the Creator of us all, is the only ONE to judge. His opinion is the ONLY one that counts. And He does not decide by what He sees, or by what He hears, but by what is TRUTH. And GOD is the author of all TRUTH.

Friday, March 21, 2014


Six months have passed.
Six months now since I had two surgeries within six days for Medullary Thyroid Cancer.
Six months to heal, to begin again.
Six months to contemplate the gift of life, the fraility of life.
Six months to be grateful to be alive.
Six months to appreciate things I had taken for granted.
Six more months with my family.
Six more months with my friends.
Six months to keep on going.
Six months to know God's presence in ways I had not known before.
Six months to experience the kindnesses and thoughtfulness of so many people.
Six months to really love others.
Six grateful months.

I have realized again how precious life is. Especially since there have been "home goings" of some dear loved ones.
Home goings is my new word for when someone dies.
Death is so final, gives no hope.
But home going means I will see them again. On the other side of life on earth.

I've had ups and downs these past six months, but I am grateful for the opportunity to keep living; for as long as God allows.
And the main thing I have learned in these past six months is : I don't want to waste whatever time I have left on this earth. 
I want to make a difference in lives. 
I want to be used by God for His purposes.
I want to remember daily that life is not about me, but about Him.
I want to share the love, the hope, the grace of God with whoever I encounter.
I want to serve Him with reckless abandon.
I want to love like Jesus.

I am so appreciative of these past six months and more than grateful to be alive.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Life can be a challenge: Hiking Quicksilver

Once upon a time, oh maybe about 17 years ago, I was in the midst of a profound depression. This time of deep sadness and melancholy had never surfaced in my life before.
I was acutely aware that I was not functioning well; meaning I could no longer fake that things were OK, that I was OK.
I took a leave of absence from my work-because I could hardly work without breaking down- and set out to get help.

During my intense counseling (did I mention that it was 3 times a week for 6 weeks, and then twice a week for 4 weeks and then weekly for months?) my wise therapist gave me 4 things I needed to do daily and one thing I had to do weekly.
The weekly "thing" was the easiest to figure out. I was to go somewhere I liked every week. Meaning: "Hello beach at Santa Cruz!"  This was highly therapeutic. I could not recommend anything more.

My daily list was a challenge at first.
I had to 1) make time for God everyday. 2) exercise daily. 3) find a hobby to do daily. 4) do something I enjoyed daily.
So this hiatus from my normal life happened in the springtime.
That year I had the MOST amazing flowers I had ever had. I nurtured my front and back yard with great care. I had revelations of how we grow as people as I watched these small plants blossom and then produce gorgeous flowers. I diligently watered and weeded and clipped back extra growth and became proud of the best garden I ever had.

From my father, I had gained a lifelong love of books. Reading became the one thing I did everyday. I read romance novels, historical fiction, biographies and some self help books. Reading has always been an enormous way for me to escape into a land I might never consider and learn things that would increase my knowledge.

Having time with God everyday was not too hard to accomplish. Only because I knew how much I needed Him. That no one could understand me like the LORD. And even though  I didn't "feel" Him much of the time, I knew He was with me.

It was the exercise routine that was at first baffling. I had a membership to a gym, but truthfully that was the last place I wanted to be because I knew too many people there. I didn't want to answer their questions of how was I, or why I was not working today. As I thought about what I needed to do, I realized that there was a wonderful park not far from my daughter's middle school that I could walk in. And it served dual purpose: I had to drive the carpool, why not volunteer to drive in the mornings and get my exercise as well.

First of all, I had just "heard" of Quicksilver. I had never actually hiked it.
This park is an amazing trail of paths up and down the side of a mountain.
Maybe from this picture you can see how you climb up the mountain. It looks easy enough. Oh how looks are deceiving!
I would begin the hike and soon I would be huffing away and thinking, "when am I getting to the top? how much farther can it be?". But then I would look up and see that I had a long way to go.
Often, I would think, I will never make this. And then to my surprise, there would be a level spot where as you kept walking, you could catch your breath and get ready for the next areas to climb. To get to the top, there was 3 different level areas where one can get a break to encourage yourself that you could make it. 
Eventually, I would make it and this is what I would behold: 
An absolutely stunning un-obstructed view of San Jose.
I would stand for a few moments and take in the beauty of the moment. And then I would make the descent down.

As I reminisced about this hike yesterday with one of my future daughter-in-laws, I was reminded of how often hiking this trail was like my life. Especially at this time of my deep depression.
I was on  road that seemed un-ending, without any possibility of reprieve. I didn't see a way to escape the hardness of what I was going thru.
Then all of a sudden, on the flat parts, I could catch my breath. Kind of like my life; I would have moments of laughter and normalcy and feel a bit like myself again. Without notice, the sadness and despondancy would come upon me again, and the road ahead was daunting. How would I make it?

Isn't that like life? Something happens and completely side-swipes us. We have no idea how we will go on. At times, we feel like we don't want to go on. There seems to be "no way out".
We have to plug along-when we don't want to at all. 
We are given no alternative. Whatever has happened cannot be erased. We didn't choose this. Whether it be a bout with mental illness like I had, or a life-threatening disease, or we lose our jobs, or even lose our way, or we lose someone who we dearly love. 
We are not given the choice in this, it has just happened and somehow, someway, we need to figure out how to navigate through this our new life.

Eventually, we figure it out.
We figure out how to live through this, even tho we never wanted to. We have moments of happiness, moments of fun. And then we wonder why or feel guilty that we feel like living again.
When my mother died, I cried everyday for four and a half months. One day I didn't cry, and I actually felt guilty-like I had quit missing her. Which I never had, but something allowed me to smile and see that life does go on.

It was like that with the situation that caused my depression.
The situation that had brought it about had not changed. Maybe I was tired of having my life hijacked by this deep sadness, but one day, I decided it was time to go back to work; time to start enjoying some things.

It was at the beach one day, that I realized again how much I loved the ocean. The vastness of it, the beauty of it. The sun was shining, I felt relaxed and realized that I had the choice to make to keep going on. It was a bit like seeing the beauty of the entire city of San Jose from the top of Quicksilver. Although the trip down the side of the mountain ( or maybe more likely steep hills) was so much easier that the ascent, there were some rough patches that I had to be careful with. But the experience of actually completing the hike everyday, made me realize that I did have tenacity to endure hard things.
Some people jog or run this trail everyday. I had challenges just walking it. That too, is like life. Some people coast easily thru the trials and challenges that they are dealt, while others have a hard time just getting out of bed to face a new day.
That does not make one person better than the other.
It just shows that we each have different capacities in how we cope.

My hope and earnest prayer is that no matter what, no matter how long it takes, that we each choose to endure and eventually see the beauty of life again.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Trying to figure out Lent

Yesterday marked the beginning of the Lenten Season. Typically known as the 40 days before Easter, but they never count Sundays, so theoretically Lent is 46 days long.

Lent is the time before Easter.
The time that prepares our hearts and our minds for all that the Savior of all mankind did: He was beaten, suffered, spat upon, and died for us. Died for everything wrong we ever did or will do in the future. The crazy thing is that its not just what I did wrong or what you have done, He did it for every human being that has been on the surface of this earth since time began, and until time on earth is finished. This is just a mind boggling thought. Because, how many billions and billions, maybe even trillions of us have lived?

Lent is a time for us to reflect. For some it is a time to give up something-to remember that Christ gave up His life for us.
OK, how does me giving up candy as a kid, or ice cream, or all sweets, or alcohol or Facebook or Pinterest as an adult, even begin to compare to what Jesus did for me, and for you? It doesn't. I can't possibly even begin to compare.

For some of us, we want to give away or give more of ourselves to others. Whether it means giving away things we don't need that others do, or giving more of our time to some worthwhile endeavor.

Other people fast and deny themselves food, which probably signifies identifying themselves with Jesus fasting for 40 days and nights in the wilderness. When we "fast" for these reasons, when we are hungry-
 we are to remind ourselves to turn to Jesus, to dwell on Him. Having fasted at various times, I agree there is so much validity to this practice. It has kept my mind in tune to God, and have frequently turned to Him during my times of fasting.

There is much to be said of the benefits of trying to "do something" during the Lenten season.

This year, I am determined to do more.
To do more time with Jesus. To seek Him in ways that maybe I haven't before. I don't know what that looks like, but what I do know is that I hunger for more of HIM. I want to look more like Jesus at the end of this season of Lent.

I want to celebrate on Easter HIS RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD. I want to be much more in love with Jesus than I am today. I will seek Him diligently. I will look for Him in the little things, in people I come into contact with. I will ask Jesus to reveal more of Himself to me. I desire for Jesus to change me, so that I will resemble Him more and more each day.

So as I try and figure out this Lent thing, I just want to know more of Him, love Christ more deeply and be obedient to His leading in every area of my life.

What do you do during Lent?