Sunday, August 31, 2014

My Auntie

On Friday, August 29, my cousin ZonZon texted me to let me know her mom went to the hospital the night before. She was nauseous and just didn't feel well. Aida said she kept wanting to take her, but Dara kept saying no. By Friday afternoon, the doctors had resuscitated her 14 times. The family finally said that was enough. (I found out from Wayneen later that they can break ribs doing that, and Dara was a tiny woman.) Zon was told that they were going to pull the plug, so she stepped out of the room to call me. She said I was the first person she called because she knew I went through this with my mom. I couldn't believe Dara was going the same way Mom did.

By Saturday morning though, she texted me again, this time asking me to call her. Monet arrived in town and called Zon to tell her, "She's still here! She's fighting!" It was unbelievable. She was amazing everyone around her. She made it all night with just an IV to keep her hydrated. Zon simply passed on to us the information she was given, and who knew after being resuscitated 14 times that her heart would still keep marching on! She felt bad for giving us news that didn't actually happen, but it was totally understandable.

I didn't sleep well, so I just got up before six and went to my lappy. There was an email from Aida, short and to the point. "Hi cyndicot, my mother passed at 0553.  Please tell alan and dad .  Thank you for all the prayers. Love you all." It broke my heart to think of my dear cousins' depth of sorrow, grief, and unexpected loss.

I kne

w her chances were slim, but I had let myself be so hopeful. Tears poured out, and I felt my heart breaking all over again, as if it was my mom all over again. I think it hit me so hard because she was the closest thing I had to her. They were friends from childhood, and for Dara to marry Mom's brother was too good to be true. She was one of THE sweetest, gentlest souls I have ever known. Her laugh, her delicious food, her overwhelming desire to be worthy of belonging to God, giving me the BEST cousins who are more like sisters, and the precious memories I have of her from childhood all came together and punched me in the throat. To lose that caliber of character and personality colored the world harsher and colder, and thoughts and imaginings of Heaven took over my thoughts.

I'll grieve this out on a keyboard whenever I need to process, and I'll try to be grateful for her life instead of focusing on her absence. We will never hear her voice again in this life, eat her wonderful food, or hug her slim, little body, but the greater tragedy would be to never have known her. There will be that One Fine Day though when all that matters is Jesus, and we will gather around Him in wonder, gratitude, and humility. And I wouldn't be surprised if she whips up some Shanghai lumpia for Him. Mmmm...

I love you, Dara.  Kalaguran daka.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

VBS 2014

* So it all started innocently enough with a picture of this serious conversation about two Bibles and their origin. I talk with my hands, so here's one of them in the air, quite usual.

Then our crazy pastor (in that funny, delightful way) proceeded to continue in that vein. He was fairly insistent (in that 'nice uncle' kind of way), so I relented. He said the church secretary is served well when people are afraid of her. No big deal. I guess.




 So now there are these pictures of me being threatening, scolding, and at least suspicious.

Here, the tables are turned, and now it's his wife who's the bad guy. I do have to add, however, that it's not because he didn't try. She just would not give up the knife, so he had to be resigned with this compromise. He thought it would be especially funny because of my shirt.

First time doing VBS at this church.  It was a great opportunity to put names to faces and learn who goes with whom. It is so true that everyone has a story. I met three people whose biographies I would love to read. Yes, VBS is all about the kids meeting Jesus, and we had two in our group who did just that *party in Heaven*! I can't help but want to meet these people though who are going to be our church family. Its fearless leader and his wife are wonderful, and we love them already. Pretty good for a week's effort.


*       The gal in the middle does missions. We share Asianness and has a fascinating life story. Biography #1.

**     The young woman who did crafts, sweet, talented, and fluent in sign language. Biography #2.

***   The leader I assisted. Loving, engaging, and invested. Biography #3.

**** Heavy lifting/moving helper. Musically gifted and able to teach with a nonstop sense of humor. He would probably be a great read too, come to think of it.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Much-Loved Quote

I read this years ago, and I considered its meaning for the longest time and not just once. I have found that people often react negatively to this quote, which was a head-scratcher for me after I processed it.

A fragile self-image due to abuse or being misunderstood and maligned can fog the message. I understand that people in survival mode may be too close to the misery in the first part to be able to receive the second, so to you, I give you all the grace in the skies.

We come to God with absolutely nothing to offer Him except empty hands to be filled by Him and a yielded heart that is willing for His anything.  He is Hand-Filler. He is Missions Director. He is Child-Guider, Singer, Dancer, Perfect Gift-Giver, and Lover Extraordinaire. I want my expectations, plans, and desires to be His expectations, plans, and desires. When they're not, my heart cry is for Him to change my want-to's. I am willing to be made willing. It is poverty of self and childlike powerlessness that will allow me to fully appreciate the endless riches and resources of Heaven.

May Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Let the music resume. ♫

Monday, May 19, 2014

Highlights and Afterthoughts

What did u get out of the conference?

That's what my dear friend asked me in an email after the Beth Moore conference. I had just finished entering my notes into a Word document, so the timing was perfect. This was my response. I wrote way more than I ever intended, but then, I usually do.

​It was keyed around Matt 25:14-30, the parable of the talents.
  1. To him who has much will more be given.
  2. Our common definition of "talent" is the natural endowments of a person. That’s exactly what talents are NOT in this parable.​ They are spiritual endowments entrusted to us by the Master. They belong to Him, and He will bring increase through us.
  3. We’re this fabulous blend of dust and Spirit!
  4. “Our talents are the Big Mac. Our abilities are just the fries.” ~Travis Cottrell (worship leader)
  5. Talent + Faith = Increase
  6. Tell Him, “Be something in me that I can’t be!”
  7. We’re in a talent competition in this world (like American Idol). We’re twirling batons—instead of passing them on!
  8. Applause is addictive—once you get it, you want it again. You can want applause, but it’s sin, and it stinks and bears rotten fruit. It’s about ego.
  9. There is no way around the danger, but there IS a Way through it.
  10. Ask God to show off so big for someone who needs Him and has never encountered Him, and flabbergast her!
  11. She shared how at a call for healing one time, she went forward even though there wasn't anything wrong with her that she knew of. She started feeling guilty when they laid hands on her and started praying. she went up because she thought, "Whatever He's giving, I'm asking for! I want some!"
  12. RISK.  That was the word He gave her for this conference. Don't bury your talent in the dirt. Don't hide it. Let it out, let Him have you without boundary, and let Him blow you away with what He'll do with it through you.
The worship was wonderful. "Never Once" and "Victor's Crown" were my favorites. There was another one, but I can't remember the lyrics. My favorite on the worship team was this big black gal who was beautiful in every way. Her fierce but gentle passion for Jesus came out in her voice, face, hands, and dance. You would've loved her too.

I went with my friend Tracy and three of her friends I never met before. They were kind, fun, deep, and real. She has her own Ya-Yas...  One of them lives kitty corner from Mae! She has cancer in her organs and is struggling with not just that, but melancholy, worry, and being strong for her family. She'll turn 50 in July and wants to make it to the birth of her grandchild. I wanted to cry every time I looked at her. I wanted to hold her and inject Jesus into her. I want her healed. I want to trust that He knows what He's doing, but my heart does that puppy head tilt thing. She's sad, and I'm sad with her. This is real life, not a movie, and there's no soundtrack, and I can't find the spoilers. My toe is absolutely nothing. This is a thing. Maybe I should've asked for prayer for her instead of me. I do want my fruit to be a fabulous blend of dust and Spirit...

Thank you for asking and thank you for listening. You're here with me right now, and your hand is around my shoulders. You come alongside me, listen, ask questions, tell me some truth, then make me laugh despite the tears. I love you so much. And I like you a lot too.

xo, ~c.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

If I Only Had a Left

Sometimes I wish I was left-handed. Most of the left-handed people I know are wonderfully creative in at least one area. I seem to believe that if I was naturally left-handed, I would be the best kind of left-hander. I would:
  • have a lovely singing voice
  • beautiful handwriting
  • make my hair be cute on even humid days
  • dance like a ribbon on a breeze
  • take stunning photos
  • arrange my home in quite an aesthetically pleasing fashion
  • remember personal preferences for people in ways that make them know they are special
  • pull off sweats as pretty
  • move gracefully
  • know naturally what colors, patterns, and structures look great together
  • whip up something deluxe on short notice with what's left in the fridge 
  • notice things right-handers usually miss (to help, not to criticize)
  • create A1 pictures in several media
  • write captivating poetry
  • see the beauty in every person
There is obviously some overlap into what right-handers would do, but this is what my left-handed self would look like. I actually have no idea if the things on this list are more often found in lefties, but I do realize that the most important bullet point is the last one. Whether Jesus wrote in the dust with His left or right hand, He saw the beauty in that woman, just as He sees the beauty in each of us. And that's the part of my brain I want to be dominant.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Magnet Magic

At a sleepover at Glenice's this weekend, I got to be the first to try a magnetic pulser a friend had loaned to her. It's supposed to be great for inflammation. Set the wand over the boo boo, switch it on, and wait 20 minutes. I've tried alternative treatments before, and I'm a natural skeptic. At best, I've seen only very slight benefits.

This time was different. I nailed my shin on a metal panel two weeks ago, and it raised a painful lump that would sometimes wake me up at night. Glenice felt it before I laid the wand on it, and she was as amazed as I was when I found afterward that the lump was about 90 percent diminished, and the pain was completely gone!

Rosie tried it next on her head because she had a headache, one that's plagued her for a month. Even before the 20 minutes were over, she announced that her headache was gone! She was so happy!

I tried it a second time, this turn on my left hip. I've been going to PT for almost a year because of back and hip pain resulting from a car accident in November 2012. I was so surprised that it worked again! The pain was reduced by about 75 percent. That all happened on Friday. It's Sunday morning, and I still feel good. This is the best I've felt physically in over a year.

Now I want one. They're about $400, but when I consider what it'd save in medical expenses, it'd pay for itself multiplied times over with just a few treatments. Just added it to my wish list!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I'm not so sure I like this idea very much.

Kev broke the news to me that Ron Kinley passed away during the night. His children posted the announcement on Facebook, and there were miles of condolences. What a great man. He was a Pillar, a man whose devotion to God and His Kingdom was every bit as great as that of the Bible ancients.

Ron and Kay were tremendous godly influences in our lives. We housesat for them shortly after we were married and were treated to a beautiful old South Hill home very close to an acres-wide park. Kay left for Boston to stay with their oldest daughter who'd just had a baby. Self-employed, Ron would make long weekends to fly there to be together. One evening toward the close of our sitting job, Ron came home and asked what smelled so good. He joined us in the kitchen where I showed him the Filipino dish I'd made for supper. He'd already eaten, and in his typical dry humor, said, "It's great that you showed me you can cook just when you're leaving."

They were spiritual parents to so many, involving themselves in the youth, college, and young married groups at church, and we were grateful members of the latter. Kay arrived home the day before we were to leave. Our room was on the second floor near theirs, and when we heard their continued murmured conversation, we got up and walked to their doorway.

We ended up discussing spiritual warfare and freeing people of demonic possession. I was 21 and didn't come from a background where those things were talked about, much less acted on. I marveled as I listened in wonder to stories about the victories they'd participated in as one soul after another was freed from the torturous, hideous bondage of the demon world. I could not wrap my mind around their boldness and courage to be involved in such dreadful battle. Finally, I asked, "Why aren't you afraid when you're doing something like that?" As if they'd answered that question a hundred times, Kay replied immediately and matter-of-factly, "Because we know that He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world," and Ron finished, "Greater and more powerful than anything or anyone at any time ever." I will never forget that declaration and the unflinching, undivided belief with which they made it. It was a life foundation for them that went soul deep, rooted in who they knew their God to be--THE Lord, THE King, THE Almighty.

Ron was intelligent, wise, kind, generous, and talented. He always made me laugh. It was fitting for him to take a role in the church play one year as Ananias, the guy God sends to heal Saul, ultimate terminator of Christians. It was a musical, and in response to God's directive, sings this line, "I-I'm not so sure I like this idea very much!" He sang it in such a boisterous-meets-W-C-Fields kind of way, and it was hilarious. To this day, that line pops up in my head when I have to do something I'd rather not.

I would rather not have to say goodbye to such a great, godly man. Death stinks, and I don't like the idea of it very much. But I know it is defeated, and I trust God's wisdom and plan as I thank Him for the gift of having had this wonderful saint in our lives.

Kev and I hold Ron and Kay in highest esteem, and we will never forget their impact, model, and standard. That stellar degree of integrity, both personal and professional, is a rare and precious treasure in this world. He leaves behind a remarkable legacy, a testimony to what God can do with a heart fully humble, trusting, and yielded. We breathe prayers over Kay and her family as we toast Ron, a man after God's own heart, feasting now in the Presence of purest Love and Life. Shalom.