Summer Resolutions

I refuse to make New Year’s resolutions in January because chances are, I will never keep them. They just seem so ominous and unrealistic, usually involving a transformation in lifestyle and habits. January 1st seems like such a random day, to me. Yes, the calendar year changes, but in actuality nothing is significantly altered, other than the fact that we have partied for a month and a half throughout the various holidays, and probably gained 15 pounds in the process. Hence all the diet and exercise resolutions that Weight Watchers and Gold’s Gym take advantage of 😉

But today is different. Today marks the beginning of my summer schedule, which means I’m not working the same type or amount of hours as during the school year. Instead, I will be compacting all my private lessons into two days a week for the months of June and July. Therefore, I am looking forward to having two months of, well, a bunch of free time, and I want to use it well! So here are my resolutions for my summer:

  1. I will prioritize spending time with my family. I will have fun with Gabriel (I anticipate lots of trips to the pool), have plenty of picnics, go to the lake, play games, and have meaningful conversation with every member of my beautiful, loved family.
  2. I will clean and de-clutter my house. I’ll start with closets. I foresee many trips to the donation drop-off at Goodwill. I will, hopefully, tackle drawers and cupboards, and who knows, maybe even the laundry room!
  3. I will deep-clean my house. Once.
  4. I will cook more. My family will definitely appreciate that.
  5. I will take more time to write and compose.
  6. I will start and finish a book to help me grow spiritually.
  7. I will start and finish a book to read for fun.
  8. I will spend more time with friends, which will not be hard, considering I have barely done that lately.
  9. I will venture out more. I will take time to go places around this beautiful city and state, see new sites, and learn more about this culture and history.
  10. I will NOT stress if I don’t achieve the previous 9 nine things I’ve set out to do. Instead, I will be happy if I accomplish 50% of it and satisfied if I reach 75%.

I shall write a follow-up post at the end of the summer with actual, tangible actualization of my resolutions. How’s that for accountability? 😉

These are pictures of my summers during the past two years of our life in VA. I have very good memories attached to every single one of these:

Summer 2013 in DC

2 years ago at Sunday Park

2 summers ago at Sunday Park

Goofing off with this goof

Summer 2013 at Yorktown

Summer 2013 at Yorktown

Gabriel at the pool in Brandermill

Gabriel at the pool in Brandermill

2 summers ago at Jamestown with my brother and his beautiful family <3

2 summers ago at Jamestown with my brother and his beautiful family ❤

With Geneva and Daniel at a Flying Squirrels game. Best fireworks in town.

With Geneva and Daniel at a Flying Squirrels game. Best fireworks in town.

Last year in DC

Last year in DC

2 summers ago at Sunday Park

Last summer at Sunday Park

2 days ago on a date with my beautiful mother to the VMFA

2 days ago on a date with my beautiful mother to the VMFA

Things I am Horribly Afraid of

I must confess I am afraid. I am pretty sure I am not the only one out there suffering from fear. After all, it is a human emotion, a normal reaction to danger or pain. I just don’t like it. What’s worst, when I give in to it, my reactions and behaviors become detrimental to myself and those around me. Here are the things that make me most afraid:

  • My kids’ future. I fear they might not be safe, especially, but not exclusively, my autistic son. I fear they will go through painful circumstances. I fear they might make bad choices. How could they not? They are human, right? Thoughts of them not following God wholeheartedly can make me shake in my boots.
  • My own future. I fear getting old. I’ve said this before, but confessing it has not quite made it better. At least not yet. I keep working through this fear in hopes I will feel peace about it one day. Maybe when I’m old, I’ll feel peace about being old. But now, I do way too much worrying over it.
  • Loneliness. I guess it goes hand in hand with being old. Not sure why I associate them automatically. I just do.
  • Not being loved. This is not a fear I’m always aware of, but I’ve been discovering that there are many things I do and say because I am afraid I won’t be loved or accepted. Even when I know that I know that I am loved, I default to an unreasonable fear of losing it.
  • Failure. I am afraid of discovering that I may have failed at something, especially the really important things: failure in parenting; failure in marriage; failure in friendships; or as a daughter, sister, aunt.
  • Drowning. I know, I know, this is a little morbid. But hey, I’m posting about the things I am afraid of, and this is definitely one of them. Throughout my many years of driving multiple little ones in the backseat, strapped to car seats, I avoided driving near water, at all cost. Living in Miami, Florida, that was not an easy task. There are canals everywhere! Yet, I chose alternative routes whenever possible. I think I read one too many stories of cars plunging into water. The thought of that happening to me and my children haunted me in dreams for years.
  • Cockroaches. How did I live in So. Florida for almost 30 years, around mammoth roaches called Palmetto Bugs? Just the name gives me goosebumps. They are the most hideous creatures on earth, at least in my very limited knowledge of earth! I am irrationally afraid of them. They cannot really hurt me, and needless to say, they are immensely smaller than I am. My husband kills them in one swoop. But me? No, I run like a pathetic, scared, little girl.

Fear is not an evil or sinful emotion. If it were not for fear, we would not stay away from dangerous or destructive situations. God created us in his image, and I believe emotions are part of that image. In fact, I believe Jesus experienced fear while living on earth, but instead of giving in to fear and responding negatively to his circumstances, he acted in faith and trust, even in his worst moments. It is recorded that as the day of his death drew near, he went up to the mountain and desperately cried out to God. He sweat drops of blood and demonstrated tremendous anguish at the thought of what he knew very well would happen. Jesus felt fear. But he knew how to handle that fear. The danger and pain he would face were absolutely real. But he received comfort in his knowledge of the truth and by delving into prayer with every ounce of strength he had.

So here is what I’m preaching to myself. Here are the truths I need to remember in order to respond to fear in ways that are not destructive to myself or others. I do not want to be controlled by fear. Instead, I want to reflect faith in God through my anxiety, doubt, and even my disbelief. My fear can most certainly result in glory and honor to him. So remember, my heart, these words:

  • I am not alone. “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26). When I feel afraid, I have a helper, the perfect helper, who will remind me to trust God and encourage me with his Word. So in time of fear, PRAY, and you will receive his help! “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself interceded for us through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26). Even when I don’t have the sense to pray or the words to voice, He rescues me!
  • God always remembers me, and my children too. “But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children” (Psalm 103:17). 
  • I am more loved and accepted than I can fathom. Despite possible loneliness, failure, or disappointment, there is one whose love and delight will never be removed from me. I can draw joy and satisfaction from knowing that “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17)
  • Any suffering on earth pales in comparison with glorious things to come. “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)
  • Any suffering on earth has a good purpose, therefore there is no need to be afraid. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). 
  • Love drives away fear. If I truly remember that his love for me is stronger than anything that can happen to me, no matter how disastrous, then I will be able to experience peace instead of fear. This peace is supernatural and I cannot fabricate it outside of God’s realm. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18). “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27)

Just as true as it is that I can live in fear, it is true that God can and will meet me at my place of need every single time! I may not always remember him, and I may not always believe his promises for me, but my hope is that I continue to grow in my trust and faith in him. I have come a long way already! I have more confidence than I did a few years ago. I have more hope than before. I have experienced victory over fears that consumed me! So in today’s blog post, I purpose to remind myself of the things God has already taught me. I am certain He will continue encouraging me and helping me overcome my fears. I must admit, I’m not sure I will ever be comfortable around roaches ;), but if I can trust him with the huge things, I think I will survive a bug once and again.

Random Reflections in the Month of May

  1. I like sun. I like sun more than I have ever liked it before. Perhaps because winter felt long this year. I’m so grateful for beautiful Spring days, amazing temperature, green leaves, and flowers. Despite allergies, I still love this time of year. Hooray for short sleeves, skirts, and flip flops 🙂
  2. It feels good being 47. I feel experienced enough to handle things I couldn’t have handled in my 20’s, yet strong and young enough to keep up with my kids. Heck, I might be stronger than some of them ::cough:: Elise ::cough::
  3. I am still learning how to be a teacher. Just when I think I am really good, I realize there is so much I’m still learning!! Maybe by the time I’m in my 60’s and ready to retire, I will be one amazing educator!
  4. I’m thinking more in English than I ever have. I need to do more interpreting at church so I keep up with my native language. I still do math in Spanish. But other than that, I’m actually forgetting words here and there. Not good!! Gotta keep up. Gotta keep up. Gotta keep up.
  5. I’m tired of having back pain. In fact, more than tired, I’m scared. If I’m hurting this bad now, what will I feel like in 10 or 20 years?
  6. It has never been harder to parent my son, Gabriel. The difficulty does not come from the level of care he needs. In fact, the energy it takes to care for him now pales in comparison to his younger years. However, it is very hard to see him feeling so bad. He is still closing his eyes. He is still not communicating much. He has better days than others, but most days are hard. I wish so badly that he would express what he feels. If I could change anything in this world, it would be this. I have enough faith to stand it, one day at a time. But sometimes I fear I won’t make it to the next day.
  7. Starting tomorrow, I wrap up my CWorks classes with 4 great showcases (at least I hope they’re great), and in 2 weeks, my private students are having a recital. I genuinely like my job. I feel very grateful for that. I love and appreciate my students and I just have tons of fun with them. How many people can say they love their job this much? I consider myself very blessed 🙂
  8. I am memorizing Colossians 3. You should try it. It’s simply an amazing chapter.
  9. I went to the doctor last week, and he said my iron is high, reserves full, and my red blood cells healthy. Yay!
  10. My life is happy. My life is hard. My like is difficult. My life is good.

To the unmarried, Christian teenage girl who is pregnant:

I am proud of you.

Despite glances, gossip, and open criticism, you have chosen life.

Some have looked down on you for not terminating your pregnancy, making the assumption that the choice of birthing a child at such a young age will result in nothing but failure for you and for your child. Others have felt scandalized and even doubted that your faith in God is living and well, and have treated you as if your pregnancy made you unworthy of God’s love and grace.

You have felt ashamed as you have disobeyed the Word of God, which you have desired to follow throughout your life, and now your lack of judgement is worn on the outside, for all to see.

Yet, you have not chosen the “easy” way. You have wisely understood that despite your weaknesses, mistakes, and sinfulness, you have received a gift from God: the gift of life. You have decided that this life is more important than your social standing and reputation. You have put your life on hold and have made sacrifices and changes in order to carry and nurture this baby.

If you decide to parent this baby, you may give up your old dreams and replace them with new ones; you will live for another person and adjust your direction in life. It will be costly. If you chose to bless another family with the life of your child, by choosing adoption, you will suffer separation, yet you will be content in knowing your child will be well loved and cared for. It will also be costly. No matter the choice, you have willingly signed up for a very difficult task, and you have put the life of your baby over yours, and have shown tremendous maturity and displayed the heart of God for each one of his children.

I am proud of you.

So stand tall and rejoice in your choice. Do not let anyone bring you down. Life is a gift from God. Always. You inspire me to be brave and courageous.

I pray for God to fill you with his spirit, so you can obey him always, persevere in suffering, repent when needed, forgive when called for, pray constantly, and trust him in all circumstances.

Cancer

This morning I went to the infusion center to get iron pumped into my blood. Being at the cancer center was sobering. While in the waiting room, I picked up a book called Lilly Oncology on Canvas: Expressions of a Cancer Journey. This book highlights selections from the 2012 Art Competition and Exhibition. I love art (can’t draw or paint to save my life but I can appreciate it when I see it), so I went through every page during my 45 minute stay.

Lilly Oncology on Canvas

I thought of my dear friends who have lost loved ones to cancer. I thought of those I know, some closer than others, who are currently fighting the battle. I thought of relatives and friends of cancer patients who suffer alongside them. My heart ached. I prayed. I read the stories behind these works of art created by either cancer patients and their loved ones or caregivers. There were heart wrenching stories of death and suffering. There were also many stories of victory over cancer, new life, hope, and gratitude.

I noticed a common thread from cancer survivors: a new-found appreciation for life. I read words such as “celebration”, “thankfulness”, and “newness”. I read stories of holding family closer, listening more, not taking things or people for granted, treasuring every moment, and feeling happiness in the smaller things. As horrible as cancer is, people who go through it can often find a new way to see the world around them. What a gift. What a horrible, awesome gift.

As I write this, I pray and hope that my cancer-ridden friends find complete remission and healing, as well as supernatural strength to endure and conquer. I pray they will be filled with faith and hope, and come out on the other side, knowing God better, understanding life more fully, and appreciating every moment. I also pray for myself and my loved ones – the ones who are cancer free – My hope is that we also live as if life is a gift, because it is, and that we are able to celebrate it and enjoy it, because we just never know what the future has in store. Life is precious and should not be taken for granted. May we not waste a day, but find purpose and fulfillment in living, until God takes us home.

What I Didn’t Know About Snow Until I Moved to Virginia

Things I never knew, and liked, about snow until I moved to Virginia:

  • Snow swirls. Unlike rain which falls straight down, snow is light and dances as it makes its way to the ground. It’s quite mesmerizing, actually.
  • It’s loose and fluffy, but at the same time, it sticks together and packs itself up. It disintegrates in your hand, but it can easily be compacted into a ball. If the surface on which it falls is cold enough, it will stick to it, no matter what the incline is. It is beautiful to wake up to white roofs and tree branches, yet easy enough to brush it off your car (of course, this is without ice, which is a whole different story).
Back porch

Back porch

My front yard, this morning.

My front yard, this morning.

  • I’m happy we only get snow a few times a year in central VA. Snow is pretty when it’s fresh off the sky. Yet, it can turn ugly while it sits there for days, making everything more cold and more wet than you want it to be. So, again, glad it doesn’t happen that much where I live, because I can see how it would be really easy to get tired of it. I’m grateful it is few and far between; it’s enjoyable and sporadic enough to maintain its magic.

Undisturbed, fluffy blanket

  • Perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects of falling snow is how silent it is. I’m used to rain storms, with loud drops of water coupled with roaring thunder. But snow is simply quiet. Everything is quiet. Animals are quiet. Traffic quiets. The world seems to stop and sit still. Waiting. Watching. It’s captivating. There is truly nothing like it.

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

  • Snow reflects light, like crazy! Nights full of snow are absolutely gorgeous. The slightest hint of light drives away darkness. During the day, if it’s sunny, the reflected light is almost blinding. It gives me hope, remembering that in the cold and in the dark, God can, and often does, send heavenly provision that brightens life.
  • Snow days (at least in Central VA) = mandatory rest days :). Schools close and businesses often do the same. Since my husband works on a school schedule, if the local community college closes, his job closes as well. So yay for family time on snow days! Snow days = playing outside, bonding with the kids, reading, blogging, and board games.
  • OK, OK, I will include one thing which I don’t like about snow. It’s messy. It gets on your shoes which eventually gets into your house or your car, wetting everything. And if there happens to be salt on the floor (which happens outside of business and stores to prevent slipping), that stuff will stick to your shoes and stain your floors. Yup. I really dislike that aspect of snow. But considering it’s an occasional nuisance, it’s not so bad, after all.
3 layers of socks before venturing out

3 layers of socks before venturing out

Snow selfie, of course 😉

Daniel tried to go out driving but got stuck on our street 😛

My handsome men (minus one)

Stephano, the snowdude

My baby and I with Stephano ❤

Elise graduated from high school. I graduated from homeschooling.

Two days ago we officially celebrated Elise’s high school graduation. It was a lovely afternoon with lovely friends and lots of sappy moments. It was a time to express our love and support of Elise, and very sweet and encouraging words were spoken.

It was also the end of an era, for me personally. I have completely finished homeschooling my children. It’s hard for me to believe that this was my life for 20 years! I am so very grateful for the honor and privilege I’ve had to educate my kids at home. It hasn’t all been good. Not all fun. But it has been worth it, a blessing, and something I would do all over again if given the chance.

But enough of that. I spent a couple of days putting together a video of pictures of Elise. It’s a long, 24 minute video, which I don’t expect anyone to watch. I put it here because I want to keep it in my page. I will watch it many times because I find meaning and memories in each one of those pictures (but seriously, I don’t expect anyone else to put themselves through 24 minutes worth of adorable pictures ;))

So with tears of gratitude, I give God the honor and glory for his goodness and mercy in our lives. Despite the difficulties and challenges, He has demonstrated his faithfulness day after day. Soli Deo Gloria.

The Twelve Months of 14K

On the first month of 14K my true love gave to me, a house full of fun-loving teens

     

On the second month of 14K my true love gave to me, lots and lots of snow

And a house full of fun-loving teens

   

On the third month of 14K my true love gave to me, great BBQ-ing

Lots and lots of snow,

And a house full of fun-loving teens

On the fourth month of 14K my true love gave to me, reservoir canoeing

Great BBQ-ing

Lots and lots of snow

And a house full of fun-loving teens

 On the fifth month of 14K my true love gave to me, Charlotte and her pig

Reservoir canoeing

Great BBQ-ing

Lots and lots of snow

And a house full of fun-loving teens

     

On the sixth month of 14K my true love gave to me, road trips and recitals

Charlotte and her pig

Reservoir canoeing

Great BBQ-ing

Lots and lots of snow

And a house full of fun-loving teens

On the seventh month of 14K my true love gave to me, hot Miami sun

Road trips and recitals

Charlotte and her pig

Reservoir canoeing

Great BBQ-ing

Lots and lots of snow

And a house full of fun-loving teens

    

On the eighth month of 14K my true love gave to me, photo shoots and birthdays

Hot Miami sun

Road trips and recitals

Charlotte and her pig

Reservoir canoeing

Great BBQ-ing

Lots and lots of snow

And a house full of fun-loving teens

     

On the ninth month of 14K my true love gave to me, Tom Sawyer rehearsals

Photo shoots and birthdays

Hot Miami Sun

Road trips and recitals

Charlotte and her pig

Reservoir canoeing

Great BBQ-ing

Lots and lots of snow

And a house full of fun-loving teens

On the tenth month of 14K my true love gave to me, bonding time with fam’ly

Tom Sawyer rehearsals

Photo shoots and birthdays

Hot Miami Sun

Road trips and recitals

Charlotte and her pig

Reservoir canoeing

Great BBQ-ing

Lots and lots of snow

And a house full of fun-loving teens

     

     

On the eleventh month of 14K my true love gave to me, a surprise engagement

Bonding time with fam’ly

Tom Sawyer rehearsals

Photo shoots and birthdays

Hot Miami Sun

Road trips and recitals

Charlotte and her pig

Reservoir canoeing

Great BBQ-ing

Lots and lots of snow

And a house full of fun-loving teens

On the twelfth month of 14K my true love gave to me, wonderful children

A surprise engagement

Bonding time with fam’ly

Tom Sawyer rehearsals

Photo shoots and birthdays

Hot Miami Sun

Road trips and recitals

Charlotte and her pig

Reservoir canoeing

Great BBQ-ing

Lots and lots of snow

And a house full of fun-loving teens

In loving memory of my fun-loving uncle, “Tio Aris” (1950-2014)

You will never be forgotten

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: A Perfect Description of the Past Week

This week has been some week. Seriously, a week of extremes, in circumstances, emotional reactions, and spiritual responses; a week of utter failures and amazing victories. Care to know what happened? Here it goes!

THE BAD

How about we call it, a series of unfortunate events, too many to list. Among others:

  • While the family was out enjoying Christmas activities last Sunday evening, the adorable, cuddly Bosco (the pony-sized puppy which has been living in our house the past two weeks) managed to wreak havoc by plentifully peeing on our rug, eating massive amounts of chocolate cake which in turn produced profuse diarrhea, and drinking out of the toilet bowl (I’ll spare you the details). Two days ago, I came home to chewed up carpet, because, what is more fun to a puppy than tearing up the carpet, of course.
  • On Monday, while getting ready to go out and do some last minute grocery shopping before Christmas, and while trying to maintain enough self-control to not kill the adorable, cuddly Bosco, I heard the loud crying of my oldest daughter who had twisted her ankle outside and was now not able to walk from pain, resulting in a trip to the emergency room. (This run-on sentence describes the run-on emotional toil on my already overflowing cup). Oh, and, get this, while preparing to rush Lizette to the hospital, the puppy bolted out of the house, happily galloping at the speed of sound, while all the kids (except the injured one) ran after him like mad people all over the neighborhood, to the amusement of our neighbors. At the hospital we discovered Lizette had injured ligaments and would then begin a period (which has not ended) of immobilization of the leg, as well as the use of crutches. I do not recommend crutches in a split level home….
  • My original plan was to have a peaceful Tuesday: I would take time to prepare and organize my music, as I was leading the choir for our church and we would have our dress rehearsal that evening. I would also begin my preparations for our Christmas Eve dinner, cooking some, wrapping gifts, and cleaning the house. But then life happened and my Tuesday looked nothing like I had pictured it. It was rainy and cold, and I was out purchasing pain killers, doing the shopping I had not gotten done the previous day, and dealing with relational and emotional, family issues. So I panicked. Yes, I totally panicked. And what do I do when I panic? I pass it on to the husband and the kids, of course. But more on that on the “UGLY” chapter… (how’s that for a transition?)

THE UGLY

Here’s where it gets really good. You see, ugly is so ugly. As I was saying, panic, and worry, combined with perfectionism and pride, make the ideal recipe to, well, let’s say, kill the Christmas spirit. It began on Tuesday as I started anticipating I would not be ready for Christmas Eve. I transferred this pressure to my family (oh, and did I mention that my lovely, future daughter-in-law has been visiting us and watching me in “action” this whole week?). I wish I could blame my hormonal changes. But even though hormones can (and probably do) accentuate my emotional responses, they are not to blame for the sin that so reigned in my heart, putting my family in great distress. After my initial mini-fit on Tuesday, I told myself I would have a good, peaceful day on Wednesday. I got up that morning with a new resolve to be positive and stable. Ha! My “good” attitude lasted for most of the day, until BOOM, I completely lost it! I’m talking hyperventilation, anger, frustration, and worst of all, blaming and shaming. My family had been nothing but helpful and cooperative all day. But the enemy of my soul knew where to get me. A comment. A look. A tone. An unfinished task. A feeling of being out of control. Fear of failure. Pride. You name it!

And so just as our family was leaving the house to go to church, where I would lead the choir in the entire service of Lessons and Carols, in “joyful” celebration of the birth of our savior, I was acting more like a dog with rabies than a daughter of God. I arrived at church in distress and in tears. I then proceeded to lay guilt on my sweet daughter, who had been so loving towards me all day. The choir assembled in the appropriate room at the previously assigned time, ready for their warm-up. I did not show up on time, but walked in 10 minutes late, still red-eyed, as I barely composed myself to lead them in a short warm-up. My incredible sinful attitude was being displayed for all to see, and I needed to get a grip within the next 12 minutes.

THE GOOD

Praise the Lord, the good outweighs the bad and the ugly! The only reason it outweighs it, is because the good comes, not from me, but from God himself. He is perfectly good, and kind enough to shower his children with goodness, not once or twice, but always.

  • Grace: I am a recipient of it. Everyone who saw me at church on Christmas Eve knew I was not well. But every single one of them smiled, said a helpful word, and encouraged me. There wasn’t a single complaint, even if well deserved, but even as I walked in late, I was greeted by happy, forgiving faces and patient hearts.
  • Forgiveness: Boy, did I have to ask for it! Sitting at the table on Christmas Day I asked my family to forgive me, and was blessed by their immediate willingness to do so, without reservation.
  • Rescue: I don’t know how I led the choir on Christmas Eve. Honestly, my mind was only present half of the time. But the service was not about me. It was about Jesus and the goodness and love He displayed so openly by leaving his rightful place in heaven to become a human being. So God took care of it. He enabled the choir to sing their hearts out, he helped me to not be lost or make mistakes, and in the end, He received the attention and the glory, the way it was meant to be.
  • Love and friendship: Despite the disaster earlier in the day, our Christmas Eve dinner was lovely. Our family was happy to share this time with wonderful friends. The food was amazingly delicious. The caroling around the piano was uplifting and sweet, and the joy of God was evident. He had compassion for me and gave me what my heart so deeply desired, even though I did not deserve it.
  • Prayer: Our need has been greater, so prayer has increased. The ability to pray is a gift from God. Because Jesus was born in a manger and grew up to become the sacrifice for our sins, our Passover Lamb, we now have full access to him! We pray and he listens! It’s quite amazing. Not only has our family prayed more, but I have been specifically touched and encouraged by Lizette’s prayers. You see, she has gone years without praying… or believing in God. But God has begun a great work of inward transformation in her. At every turn this week, Lizette was the first to say, “Let’s pray”. No amount of bad or ugly can outweigh the joy of hearing her words and seeing her heart being poured out to God in faith and trust. Isn’t God good and merciful?

Today has been quiet, happy, and peaceful. Bosco is still alive and, somehow, still here (It’s a Christmas miracle). We are learning to keep him away from food and toilet bowls. This morning Lizette, Geneva, and I prayed and laid hands on him so that God would help him as well ;). We are eating delicious left-overs and Lizette’s pain is not as intense any more.

Elise and Bosco. Cute, right?

Elise and Bosco. Cute, right?

With my 3 daughters on Lizette's birthday, last Friday

With my 3 daughters on Lizette’s birthday, last Friday

Gabriel: Answered Prayers!

Back in June, I wrote a desperate request for prayer for Gabriel (In Need of Prayer). Then again, in August (Prayers for Gabriel).

It’s been a couple of years of seeing Gabriel decline, and for close to a year, he has struggled with his eyes, closing them almost 100% of the time, walking around like a blind man, fighting “Iritis”. We have done all sorts of tests on him and have found no cause for the recurring issue. It has been incredibly frustrating. We have also started Gabriel on psych medication for the first time. The process has been long and emotionally taxing.

But today I’m writing with more hope and better expectations, for the following reasons:

  1. Gabriel has been fully opening his eyes for almost 2 weeks! He hasn’t gotten car sick (a side effect of car rides with closed eyes), he is not running into people, and he has been drawing and writing more, just like he used to. This is so encouraging! It is so fantastic to see his beautiful, blue eyes, which have been in hiding for so long!

  2. He seems happier, overall. This means his eyes are probably not hurting and his mood is normalizing again. This also means that the psych meds are probably helping him. Again, encouraging signs for my heart!

  3. He has been approved in a program where I can hire people to work with him at home. I can choose the workers myself and design a program specifically for him! I am currently (and urgently) looking for workers… so message me if you are local and interested 😉

So for all of you who have prayed for Gabriel, THANK YOU! I’m not sure if the Iritis will return or not. I really hope it doesn’t. So I ask you to continue to lift him up in prayer. Please ask the Lord to send us the right people to work with him as well, and to design the program that works best for him.

I am so grateful for all of you. The Lord is attentive to the prayers of his people.

About a month ago, Gabriel posing for the camera with his eyes closed

About a month ago, Gabriel posing for the camera with his eyes closed