Piece Of Heaven This New Year

“That’s not good…” the Physician Assistant examining me uttered as he was evaluating me by asking me about my past neck injury, few days ago. “You may lose your job…” he added.

The constant shortage with the nursing staffing especially on the PM shift had prompted our highest supervisor to make some changes with the nurses’ schedule. But the ones to be affected most were our staff, the night shift nurses. He made everyone worked 12 hours per shift. It was not something new to some who had been working it already. The big change would affect me.

I had been working part-time, only 8 hours per night. I had injured my neck long time ago when I worked at the hospital as an Orthopedic Nurse. I recalled, I even hurt it twice. The second time aggravating the pain, as I tried to help a confused patient who was about to fall and caught her head at the right time. My neck had not been the same. It’s constant. But I could still do things.

As the changes were supposed to take effect on January 15, my doctor gave me his note allowing me to only work 8 hours per day to prevent my neck pain from getting worse or even worst. My supervisor complied except I had to go through this process of being evaluated from our Employee Wellness Center.

He walked in. He didn’t assess my neck. All he said were disappointing. I knew he was trying to be helpful at times. But most of the time, it sounded like he was discouraging me. I wasn’t sure if he knew what he could say or not say. But God was my sole witness that day.

“You’re lucky you got away with it for so long,” he stated regarding myself working part time for 6-7 years now.

“What do you mean lucky?” I rebutted. “That was approved by my supervisors.”

“Well, did you tell us that you had a permanent disability when you were hired? That’s not good if you didn’t. You may lose your job!” he ended our hour long encounter.

“Have a good day,” was all I told him.

I cried when I got home. To my supervisor who was patiently working with the schedule changes for me as she tried to keep me on only 8-hour per day schedule. I felt discouraged. I felt the proper evaluation was not done. It was more of someone else’s opinion instead of evaluating my condition and honoring my doctor’s request. But I wasn’t afraid. I just wondered how many other people suffering he hurt more by talking this way to these already injured individuals. Not only physically but as they also went through lots of emotional pain as they dealt with their physical inabilities to perform the same tasks they used to do. Like me…

And I cried to the One Who is always there for me. As I listened to His Word, this is exactly what He said that morning when I got up after a day full of frustrations and being belittled:

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” [John 16:33;NLT]

There will always be trials. They come from different situations. They can be caused by other people. The severity varies. And He constantly reminds me…”You have peace in Me. Because I already claimed the victory for you.”

As the New Year comes, I know it will be another 365 days of uncertainties, of varying trials to come my way. Those are inevitable. But I want the change not to come from those. I don't want to make any resolutions that I can't keep. I want the change to happen within myself. That I am reminded constantly that I can be stable despite the instability I will face. That I have joy despite the chaos. I want to feel more secure and more calm. That I won’t be afraid. Because no matter how many changes come my way, I have that “unstable, immovable, unbreakable piece of heaven”…Living in me.

[Addendum: Please pray for God's guidance, protection and  discernment for me. People cannot discriminate if you have any disability. Do not let anyone put you down if you have any type of disability. God loves you for who you are. He knows what you are going through. And His promise never..NEVER...fails. That He will always be there with you going through all these trials. I am not afraid. I know what actions to take. Because of Jesus. "I can do all things through Him, the One Who gives me the strength that I need." Glory be to God. Happy New Year to all of you and may you be reminded of the STABLE ROCK you're standing on amidst all these instability. God bless.]

Use The Heart Not The Eyes

My son knows my answer very well by now whenever he is looking for something.

“Where’s the  maple syrup?”

“Use your……”

Eyes mom,” he smiled.

Having breakfasts together always before going to school, I love making breakfasts for both of us [my hubby leaves early for work]. I would make him omelet, pancakes, sometimes as plain as scrambled eggs with toasts.

“Where’s the ketchup mom?”

“Use your….”

Eyes!” he replied.

“Not your…”

Mouth…”he shyly uttered.

The other day, when my husband was making the stuffed fish, he asked, “Where’s the onion?”

“Use your…”

Eyes,” my son answered loudly to make his daddy hear it and both giggled.

But in our spiritual state, we don’t see God through our eyes. We see God through our hearts.  It is also through our hearts that the Lord sees. God doesn’t look at us the way we look at each other. We look at appearances but they don’t reveal what is inside of us. They don’t show what our true inner values are.

God alone sees the conditions of our hearts. He has been reaching out to us through the doors of our hearts for so long.

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” – Revelation 3:20 [NIV]

We are all always looking for something. But we are looking at the wrong places, finding the wrong things that fulfill what we want, what we need. Drugs… Fancy cars… Money…Lust and sexual immorality… Jesus words are simple…If anyone admits him in his heart, he receives Him as a friend.  

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." - 2 Corinthians 4:18 [NIV]

"And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love." - Ephesians 3:17 [LAB]

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." - Jeremiah 29:13 [NIV]

May the eyes of our hearts be opened wide this year for Him. Happy New Year to all of you and may God bless you...

I Am A Crook...I Mean A Cook...

This year, I don’t even feel like baking anything. I used to enjoy baking Pistachio Cream Cheese Fingers, a recipe my friend had shared with me years ago. Two things hinder me: my family and I are trying to eat healthier and secondly, the time that I would spend baking, I would rather spend with my hubby and child or whoever will drop by for a visit. Christmas shouldn’t be a burden. It should be a meaningful celebration of remembering what our good God had done to restore our relationship with Him through Jesus. It should be about restoring wounded relationships, destroying walls and building bridges instead. It is not easy. Easier said than done. But when you believe in what He can do for you and I, then we can. Because of His grace.

Right now, I am enjoying the nice glow of sunrise, a welcoming break from all those rainy days. Though I’m thankful for the rain He gave! Sipping a cup of coffee, I think about you all in prayers. May you have a wonderful Christmas, returning to the Lord and then, sharing warm memories with your loved ones. May your new year be a complete start of having a closer walk with the Lord. I am not perfect myself. But I know that His faithful love and mercy always awaits for anyone’s return. Always welcomes anyone. Always accepts. Always forgives.

My hubby volunteered to cook stuffed bangus or milkfish. It is a kind of fish you can buy from Asian markets. We bought the boneless and he will mix the flesh with veggies like carrots, peas, garbanzo beans and seasonings and stuffed it right back. I had attempted to make some pickled green papaya few days ago and I thought this would go great with the stuffed milkfish. I had also put them in jars and gave them as gifts. He will also make some “menudo”made from diced beef with veggies and we’ll just eat them with either rice or bread. We opted for the bread so we passed by a nearby bakery and got some rolls.

For dinner, I thought of making some “pansit” well known Asian noodles. Opting for healthier version, I’ll just use chicken and will try to give some to one of my neighbors, whose wife has not been feeling well for quite some time now. 

I am a CROOK….I mean a COOK sometimes. So, if you’re willing to try this recipe, here it is…But I try to cut down on salty stuff so I use low sodium chicken broth. I also don’t like to use pork but it’s your preference, I’ll include it anyway. The rice vermicelli noodles, you can get them from Asian markets or Asian aisles from your grocery stores [I hope].
Photo Credit

Pancit Guisado [Sauteed Rice Noodle]:

14-16oz. rice vermicelli noodles
I cup boiled chicken breast, flaked
1 cup shrimp, shelled
1 cup boiled pork meat, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon vegetable oil [I use olive oil]
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium sized onion, sliced
1-1/2 cup fresh green beans, sliced thin diagonally
1/3 of a whole cabbage, sliced thinly
2 carrots, thinly sliced into 2-inch strips
3 stalks celery, sliced thin diagonally
3-4 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon slices

Soak the noodles in water until soft. Drain and set aside. In a non-stick pan over medium heat, sauté garlic in oil until lightly browned. Add onion. Stir for 1 minute. Add the chicken meat, shrimp, pork, green beans, cabbage, carrots, celery and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5-8 minutes until vegetables are crisp-tender. Remove and set aside.

In the same pan, add the chicken stock. I use a little bit of low sodium soy sauce [approximately 3-4 tablespoon or adjust to taste]. Let boil and add noodles. Simmer in medium heat until liquid is absorbed and noodles are cooked. Gently stir in 2/3 of the vegetable mixture taking care not to mash the noodles. Transfer  to a serving platter and top with the rest of the vegetable mixture. Serve with lemon wedges. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year To All of You! May God bless you and protect you and give your heart's desires according to His will. Love to all of you, my friends...Thank you for your friendships, love, sweet thoughts, prayers and encouragement. May we remain a blessing to each other, to help us all endure and finish this journey we are all in. Safely. Completely. 

Through Labor Pains He Will Come...Again...

“Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
Brothers, pray for us. Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

Some of you had been touched, sad about the mother I described who was in active labor from my last post. Sad because of the imminent loss of her child who was about to be born, as the mother had to stay in the jail after the child's birth. Would your perspective change if I tell you now, that her crime was torture? It wasn’t clear to me if she starved just one or 3 of the total number of her children, prior to this 4th child to be delivered.

After we cleaned up everything and she was sent to the hospital, my co-workers and I were trying to find some sense out of all of this pregnancy. We had a big question brought up.

“Why conceive and bring another child if she was not capable of loving her previous children?”

I was not sure if she had drug habits that would make her mental reasoning affected. Perhaps, she had an underlying mental illness, not diagnosed yet. There could be a lot of reasons. But the bottom line is….it was her children who suffered the most. They were born yet despised.

Love….the basis of life…Without it, life seems to have no meaning. Love…Which is the greatest attribute of our One and Only God. Love…came down from heaven…Born of a woman. Who lived among us and suffered the most. Jesus…Who suffered through his trials and tortures and died by crucifixion. He had a horrible physical suffering. And spiritual suffering. [2 Corinthians 5:21 ~ “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”] The torture Jesus had to endure just depicted how hateful and full of rage sinful men were toward a holy God.

Jesus was born yet some of us still don’t believe what he had done. Jesus came to tell us about a Father's love. Yet, he was despised by men. Because of our sins, we are not fully capable of loving and believing in the Creator Who came and gave Himself to pay the ultimate price for our sins. So we may live…

Romans 5:8 ~ “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

By birth he came and like a “thief in the night”, Jesus will come again. Destruction will come suddenly like the labor pains of a pregnant woman. [1 Thessalonians 5:2-4 ~ “for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.”]

We all adore that face on the manger. But there will come a time that there’s a side of Jesus that we will not like to see:

Active Labor

"Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and he will be called Immanuel [meaning God is with us]." ~ Matthew 1:23, Isaiah 7:14

I was starting to become short of breath after dashing right behind another nurse who was running a little faster than I could. Holding the big kit that had a big basin and other materials we possibly needed, our loud footsteps and the set of keys in my right pocket made noises that filled the entire long corridor, leading to one of the units for female inmates. We just received a call that a pregnant inmate was in pain and looked like she was in labor. The charge nurse already knew who it was even before they mentioned the name, as medical staff had been keeping track of those who were in their later term of pregnancy.

We saw her crying, forgetting to breathe at times as the deputy tried to console her and comfort her. We had her get up on our exam table in a small clinic and as the other nurse signaled that she felt the baby's head starting to come out, I immediately called for an ambulance over the radio to the charge nurse. Soon enough, the rest of nurses and other higher ranking custody staff came in and were standing by to help us out. The interventions were quick. The adrenaline was being felt all over that tiny room. As I started the paperworks, some of the nurses were encouraging her and helping her remember her breathing. The contractions seemed to be narrowing in between and the more tears she shed as they did.

There was something about delivering a baby that brought both excitement and joy. Despite the setting, we seemed to have forgotten the dark place and the vision of heavy metal bars beyond the glass window of the clinic. Everyone was excited, awaiting the birth of a special gift that was about to come. The ambulance arrived. More blood gushed out. But she was able to be transported to the nearest hospital. The baby did not arrive in the prison which in a way, everyone was thankful for. Because being born in the jail was not a desirable place at all.

But thousands of years ago, a unique birth happened in Bethlehem. It was already prophesied years before. Conceived by the Spirit. Born in an undesirable place: in a stable. Heaven's Greatest Gift to mankind: JESUS...Who came as a suffering servant but will come again as King and Judge. The true meaning of Christmas...

Do you see Jesus as a baby in the manger or is He the Lord of your life? Have you accepted heaven's gift of love into your heart?

Friends, Merry Christmas to all of you and may you be filled with His richest spiritual blessings come 2011...I'm on and off blogging. Thank you for your love, prayers and friendships. God bless.

Jehovah Jireh

2 Peter 3:18 ~ "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen." [emphasis is mine]

A coworker called me as soon as she got off work to tell me about some drastic changes with our schedule at work, including mine. I had been working part- time, not more than 8 hours per night for so many years now. I couldn't work more than 8 hours because of my neck injury in 1997 and that, I had been working weekend nights, to help out my husband and child during the weekdays that both of them are busy with work and school.

I was saddened to hear that the new acting supervisor had changed my schedule to work 12 hours some nights and 2 weekdays, he assigned me. I knew it would happen because our PM shift was really having trouble keeping a good number of nurses to work. Unfortunately, the night crew has to make changes. But I understood why he had to do that.

My initial reaction was feeling injustice for the night shift but when I started praying and giving it to the Lord, calm enveloped me. He reminded me that anything that happens has a purpose. My prayer for what I thought I needed changed to "what do you want for me to do Oh Lord?"

Friends, please pray for me. That even if I make my requests to only be able to work 8 hours to prevent my neck pain and blood pressure from going higher, and to be able to either keep my weekend nights or at least, be able to go home early on weekdays they assigned me to work, may it be the Lord's will to be done. Pray that He will give me discernment regarding this matter.

The rest of the day, nothing bothered me anymore. Because when I remind myself every time of His true promises, I know that nothing will go wrong. I know that He is truly in control. That if He is asking me to make changes, I don't want to miss doing something for Him, instead of what I want. The reason why....the thought of "if" Mary did not become obedient, I couldn't imagine the consequences of her actions. For she conceived the "Son of God", the "Savior of the world."

When plans go awry...sicknesses disrupt the health...finances on the verge of being empty...no matter what the cause, what's important is the truth that His faithful love abides. He makes His grace perfect through those weaknesses. Our Greatest Provider is all we need! Glory be to God forever!

Father God, I lift up all of your children. No matter how much we differ with our walks in this life's journey, this world will always challenge our faith in You. Help us to know more and more of Jesus so we can discern which are the things of the world and which are from You. Help us to draw nearer to You, Oh Lord. Thank You for Your grace, love,mercy and all of Your provisions. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

The Bleeding Finger

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ ~ Matthew 25:37-40

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"Hey Rcubes! What do you think about this man's..." The LVN was barely finished with her question when the unit deputy from the back of the Clinic brought out the inmate again. His 3rd finger of the left hand, previously treated by the LVN asking me a question, started bleeding again and a few drops of blood were visible on the trail he left behind. 

I opened one of the exam rooms immediately and thought of applying a tourniquet right away even before assessing the wound. 2 LVN's came rushing to help me prepare some gauzes and other things I needed. It felt like we were doing an emergency surgery. And I was the one leading this procedure.

"Lord, help me and guide me..." I softly prayed.

Trying to be calm, I motioned the inmate and had him sit on a chair close to a table where it was already prepared with materials I needed. Explaining everything as my hands started working, I made a make-shift tourniquet out of one of the "stockinette dressings" [a tubular kind of dressing] and made a knot close to the base of his finger.

"Just keep your hand higher," I instructed. After loosening, tightening for several minutes, the bleeding finally stopped and I cleaned the small wound and put special tape that will hold the small laceration together. Applying pressure still, I applied a small dab of antibiotic and covered it with a gauze and some type of pressure tape.

When I got done, I had him get up and wash his hands smeared with his dried up blood. Having an ordinary conversation as if he wasn't even an inmate, he thanked me and uttered a "Good night." The whole night passed by and he never complained. So, the bleeding must have stopped completely by then.

"Thank You Lord," I uttered myself as I thanked the LVN's who came to my rescue immediately without being told.

"You help us, too Rcubes. That's okay," they replied with a smile.

Just one of ordinary moments we do as medical staff inside the prison. This is a dark and evil place where a lot of unexpected things occur. Riots may burst any second. Inmates may fall and sustain different kinds of injuries. Some suicidal ones intentionally hurt themselves.

The first time I started working here and had gone a tremendous change from being an Orthopedic Nurse to a Correctional Nurse, I thought, "God, why are You putting so much pressure on me?"

As I slowly became involved with seeing and treating these inmates, the answer came clearly through those encounters. If I want to be a faithful and obedient disciple for Him, I don't have an option to neglect helping out these inmates, who are both physically sick , much more with their spiritual conditions.

Yes, thousands of them behind bars are making my heart bleed each day that I am there to work. And my heart bleeds as God does put pressure on it, not to make it stop bleeding, but to continue to spill the compassion, kindness, mercy, love and grace He poured into my heart.

Yes, Lord Jesus, May I always be compassionate and merciful like You. Thank You for Your love, grace and mercy on me! There is none like You, Oh Lord, full of love, mercy, and grace. I love You Lord.






Regrets Or No Regrets

Proverbs 3:5-6
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.” [NLT]

Thousands of pairs of feet had walked in day after day, weeks after weeks, months after months that turned to even many years, into this thick-walled prison. Crimes differed. From minor offenses to the heaviest sort. Driving under the influence. Rape. Battery. Robbery. Resisting arrest. Murder…

It was all one reason after all why these inmates ended up in this dark place. Wrong choices. They had made wrong decisions that ultimately put them behind these metal bars.

We all face an unseen war daily. And it starts from within ourselves. We all face that road where we have to make decisions. Sometimes, we know the consequences. Most of the time, we’re unsure and willingly take risks anyway. Until we succeed or lose. But the question is….”Did we make a wise choice?”

Wisdom that comes from God is truly much higher than what we know. Through His Word, by the Spirit, His providence and God’s people, we all can benefit when we choose to seek counsel from Him and His people. His way helps us avoid those roads that lead to destruction! It’s better to walk uncomfortably now in that narrow path than be walking on a wide one and ending up with so much regrets!

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." ~Psalm 119:105

I Want To Be Like Jesus

"Love does no wrong to anyone, so love satisfies all of God's requirements." ~ Romans 13:10

I was trying not to be blinded by my teary eyes as I steadied my gaze on the road, covered with darkness.

"How could she say that to me?" I thought to myself.

My friend had a lot on her plate. I usually visit her to help out in anyway I could. To be there if she needed to vent out about the ills from her work and other pressures dragging her, some continuing to wound her heart.

Her silence in the car as we were running errands stabbed my heart.

"What's wrong?" I queried to break the ice.

"Nothing's wrong!" she replied with a sure tone. More silence ensued.

Going back to their house, that was when she blew up and accused me that I always assumed things when she wasn't talking.

I found myself raising my voice and told her I couldn't read her mind so maybe that was why I always assumed because she treated me with silence.

But she retorted that she always was complaining to me that she chose to do so. Though I never complained I got tired of hearing her problems, even if they were told over and over.

She accused me of not even asking how she felt because she had a lot of things in her mind. I didn't. Because I was nursing my own wounds. I was recalling my dad's death anniversary that day and my mom's today. I didn't even dare tell her knowing she was going through a lot. That I didn't think of my own misery as important as hers. But she didn't know that.

I tried not to answer anymore knowing that in anger, I might have answered words that I didn't want to regret later. She didn't like my silence then. So, I chose to go home and sped away which drove her more mad.

I didn't like feeling that way. Angry and the situation not resolved. I knew this would come to pass. But later on, the more it hurt me. Knowing how precious each day is. And to spend day to day with either family or loved ones and friends having a wall in between is just not a good situation to see everyday.

Then I saw Christ's hands...through the wet blurriness soaking my pillow...Those precious hands healed. Did miracles. Blessed little ones. Washed disciples' feet. Spread out to be nailed. Not only to pay for humanity's sins. But to remind His followers to "stop thinking the way this world thinks...which is being selfish." His hands spread out to intersect the "I" part of the cross.

Living my life is not about "me". It's truly all about Jesus.

No matter who hurt you, no matter who is right, who is wrong, Jesus is demanding us, as believers, to always pay back with love. We are permanently in debt to Christ for the love He has given us. And the only way to repay Him is by loving others in return. May we use our hands like Him, to serve others because a strong faith with lack of work is a way of not doing Christ's work.

"Lord, I want to be like You. Forgive me for the times that I forget Who I represent in this dark world. Help me Lord to show my love for You by helping me forgive others easily and loving them the way You do. Father, I want to be like Jesus...In His Holy Name. Amen."

Moving The Mountain

I'm linking this post with "In Other Words Tuesday". Please join us at “In Other Words Tuesday” hosted by sister Debbie, where she brought up a great topic about prayer and faith. May you be encouraged and your mustard size faith grow even more! Thank you sister Debbie…

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2 cotton balls, each secured with a piece of clear tape marked 2 spots on the inmate’s right arm. I was aiming for my 3rd attempt to get the needed blood specimen for his lab work.

“You have good veins. For some reason, they roll and they are not giving me the blood,” I sighed. It was not easy for him to be sitting on the plastic chair, as he kept adjusting his right arm, for the veins to be visible for me as I applied the tourniquet. His hands were held together by the metal handcuff, as the unit deputy stood guard by the small Clinic’s door.

He was in for robbery and some other crimes. His face marked with scattered pimples, a kind of breakout resulting from drug habits and familiar to the medical staff. His bilateral arms were colorfully adorned with different kinds of tattoos which even made spotting the veins harder, obscured by the permanent ink.

This was a crucial time for me. Trying not to make this inmate angry with the multiple needle sticks. I needed to make this final blood draw. I needed it to make him remain calm. I needed the specimen because the doctor ordered it for the result to be “stat” [as soon as possible].

Time stood still as I applied the tourniquet once more on his right arm. Asking him to keep pretending his right hand was squeezing a ball, some of the veins became more prominent. I tried not to get excited knowing his veins were tricky. As I opened a small packet of alcohol wipe and rubbed the area I chose, he moved his position and loudly uttered:

“Ma’am, you’re doing okay. You got my veins and sorry if they are not cooperating,” he stated, as he tried to roll his arm to make the area I chose to be more accessible.

“Lord, help me,” I prayed in my mind…”You can get this. Not me….”

The small needle went through a distended vein. A slow flow of red blood returned into the tubing toward a tiny vial marked blue and started collecting. I breathed a sigh of relief.

“I told you. You’ll get it!” he added.

As I marked the vial with his name and my initials, he got up and I thanked him and wished him a great day. I felt the victory that came upon getting that tiny sample. But I knew it wasn’t my technique that made it possible to get that specimen. It was the inmate’s faith on me despite the exhausting process at the beginning for both of us. His faith and trust made the difference for that final stick and my silent prayer filled with faith knowing that He could hear me. Anytime. Anywhere.

“Faith does move mountain.” But the mountain should not be our trials, but Jesus… Jesus mentioned about how faith as small as a mustard seed can move a mountain. Nothing will be impossible to tell the mountain move from here to there as long as we have even this mustard size faith. It seems like the mustard seed faith can accomplish a great feat if we know where to place that faith.

I always place my prayers with faith on God Who is full of compassion, love, grace, and mercy, knowing that through His Mountain, Jesus Christ, can stir Him and make Him intervene in any situation. God’s Mountain always encourages me and gives me the hope, strength, comfort, protection and guidance I need as I walk in different dark valleys. The valleys are the places where my faith grows and where many prayers are constantly being uttered. It’s obvious that when I pray, my fears wane, my worries disappear, or my life’s storms are being calmed down. Prayers laden with faith do change things but the first to change is me. Deep inside…Where doubts do not exist. Where bumps on the road I’m walking on are seen not as hindrances but opportunities for more growth. In times of adversity, faith keeps me strong and helps me be unmoved. No matter what circumstances surround me, faith brings me an inner joy and peace. Because now I know, the Mountain is always there, looking down on me, giving me hope, as It sees me with my own struggles in the valleys. For without hope there is no faith…

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“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.” ~ Hebrews 12:22-28 [emphasis mine]...

When Prayers Are Answered With His Questions

"Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: "Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me." ~ Job 38:1-3

I sort of dread going to work tomorrow. Not that I am not grateful for this job, but just maybe tired of it. Tired of the same problems. Tired of the same scenarios like gossiping, seeing lazy workers, and even dealing with inmates who fake their illnesses. Do you go through times like that? Perhaps, the once extraordinary becomes a rut.

The Internet service had been down a while ago. A blessing in disguise. As I resorted to reading His Word. And praying. Knowing that He’s got the best plan for our future, still…I didn’t feel like going to work tomorrow.

Funny how sometimes we try to ask the Lord and He answers with questions, too.Kind of like when He asked Job with rapid succession, showing His infinite wisdom against Job's limited knowledge. It led to Job's repentance, who admitted his inability to answer God and that, he humbly acknowledged God's ability to do everything.

“Why don’t you want to go there tomorrow?”  I could hear Him asking me that way.

I knew He knew the answer. For He could see everything. But the hard part was the answer from me. I didn’t know what to say. Except deep inside, I knew He wanted me to be there. To bring His light to the dark prison. To see the beauty despite the ugly things. To remain positive not be negative. To make a difference as His ambassador and not go with the things of this world. That is….if I’m willing to listen and obey.

If you’re going through a tough time and your hearts’ desires are not being answered, but rather with more questions, may this video [a little long but worth it] inspire you as the Lord led me to this:

His Favor Lasts Forever

"Diseases of the soul are more dangerous and more numerous than those of the body." ~Cicero

Photo Credit

Back in October, I was hesitant to get the flu shot when it came to our work. Being sensitive to allergens, I was not sure if I would be okay despite knowing the virus had been killed in the vaccine. But realizing I have a family to go home to, I didn't want them to get any flu or H1N1 if ever I would be exposed as I was considered among the high-risk groups.

2 weeks later, I started not feeling well. Attributing it to the Santa Ana weather we had been experiencing, I just didn't feel good. Sans the symptoms of flu like coughing or fever, I was just fatigued and the gland on the right side of my neck hurt and I started having ear pain and right jaw pain. I did go to Urgent Care and the 3-day course antibiotics didn't help much later.

Back to the primary doctor I went and he was cautious to put me on a week long antibiotics. I still didn't feel good and this past weekend, I almost went to ER as I felt that pain on the right side got worse. But being so tired from this weekend's work, I ended up succumbing back to sleep and fell asleep uttering my petition, believing in His healing.

The following day, which was yesterday, Tuesday, I was a new person! I still believed that I must have reacted to the vaccine as viral illnesses typically last for weeks. And antibodies usually start developing [nurses out there, please correct me if I'm wrong!] 2 weeks after a shot of vaccine is given. I figured that was the time it took when I felt ill since getting the flu shot.

Why am I blogging about this you might ask? It's because the good effects of the vaccine still is something to look forward to, despite the discomfort one may or may not have. The resistance will last for a long time which still made it worth for me to get that shot!

This morning, God showed me Psalm 30. He reminded me that like that shot, God's anger can be uncomfortable for us because He warns us to turn away from sins. He wants us to know and accept His love and forgiveness so that we can feel the eternal effects His love and grace brings. He wants us to know that His love is much greater than His anger against sins. "Thank You Lord for Your healing, physically and spiritually!"

"O Lord my God, I cried out to you for help, and you restored my health." ~ Psalm 30:2

"Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones!
Praise his holy name.
His anger lasts for a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime!
Weeping may go on all night,
but joy comes with the morning." ~ Psalm 30:4,5

True Courage

     "Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.'" ~ Mary Ann Radmacher 

Trying not to drop 2 bags of ice, one on each of my hand, I walked toward the unit close to the Clinic to deliver it to an inmate needing the ice for a lab procedure called 24 hour urine. He would collect his urine in a special bottle previously given and it needed to be iced so that bacteria wouldn't grow.

Hoping that the Custody Specialist [the person controlling the opening and closing of all doors in a unit] would see me since I was having difficulty buzzing the bell, I stood in front of the small glass window. There he was, the silhouette of a tall man, an inmate worker dressed up in blue, saw me instead. He flung his right hand holding a mop in the air, as the left hand with a piece of rag also alternately tried to draw the CS's attention. Through the soft glow of yellow light, I saw him pointing at me. I sensed the calmness inside, signifying the end of "chow time" or breakfast of inmates.

He waited for me at the second door that led to the different segments of the unit, ready to open the door. After that, he took one of the ice bags from my hand and cheerfully asked me if I wanted him to hold the other bag, too.

"It's okay, I got it. You have helped me so much already. Thank you," I uttered.

"You're welcome, Ma'am."

After calling the inmate who needed those ice, this inmate worker opened the door again for me. I ignored the fact that the usual friendly conversation that was discouraged in this environment as my feeling of gratitude for this kindness displayed, overwhelmed me.

"Start of shift?"

"Yes, Ma'am. I'm about to clean the G room."

"How long are you gonna' be working?"

"8 hours."

"Well, I hope the day will be okay knowing the day shift usually is busier than the night. Take care and thank you so much for all the help you had given me."

"Have a nice day, Ma'am. That was nothing," he replied as he gave me a smile.

A short conversation that meant a lot. He was thankful for the way he was acknowledged. But he didn't know. I was more thankful for his behavior. That it was true. There was still a good thing out of the bad. That everyone deserved a chance. For them to try to make a change. He just showed me. His willingness to change. His effort to become a good person, away from the person he was once who made wrong decisions that put him inside the prison. He just shown me true courage.

The way God believed in me and never gave up on me. To show courage. Courage that is not measured by the tallest mountain we climb. Nor the widest expanse of seas we sail on. Nor the highest altitude we have flown. But the courage to say "I'm sorry for my sins" and then, making that right decision to make a change. Which is to do the right thing.

"From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."
~Matthew 4:17

You Are The One Who Answers Our Prayers

"Hey Rcubes, called you again to let you know that I changed the schedule and you got Christmas Eve off and I'll just come in instead.. So you can enjoy your time with your family..."Click...

That was the final message from one of my supervisors in regards with the schedule requests for the holidays.

The feeling of being mistreated in my heart seethed, prior to those few messages left in my blinking answering machine. But that final message brought sadness instead.

I was the first one months ago to request for the Christmas Eve off. Until this supervisor approached me and wanted to give our hearts and sacrifice for the newer nurses who have little kids than us. I agreed. Without thinking.

Because the heart of gratitude and tasting the Lord's kindness always overwhelms us in situations that are needing that extension of a loving Hand, of a merciful Heart, or His everlasting kindness.

Except I didn't know...That everyone wanted to be off for Christmas Eve. Including this supervisor. The schedule came out amidst the anticipation of those eager to be off on their chosen holidays. Not everyone was happy. Someone complained. That prompted this supervisor to call me at my home. To make me aware of the changes. And that....certain nurses were off and her,  and I would be the one working then for Christmas Eve. Silently, I prayed while conversing with her. I didn't want to be disrespectful for feeling so wronged. I didn't want to do anything coming from my own strength because I felt like I didn't have enough and my body and mind was just drained off of its functions as I heard the news.

There are so many injustices in this world. It's nothing new. But it was a comfort to have His Word to remind us that we have hope in a time of discouragement. We have God  Whom we can trust and wait patiently for Him to act. That we have God's faithfulness, justice, and love which are opposite with the sinful hearts of humanity.

"Lord, what do I do? I feel so wronged. But I know You know it. And I trust in You more than anything. Please talk to me. I need to hear from You Lord," my heart was crying out.

"It's okay C...I'll just work on Christmas Eve if there is no other way to make it work out for my request," I softly uttered as I ended the conversation with a "Thank you." She must sensed my sadness.

But my spiritual conversation has not ended. This was the line that was always open. I opened the Bible and this was what He told me: [from 1 Peter 2:18-21]

"You who are slaves must accept the authority of your masters. Do whatever they tell you - not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are harsh. For God is pleased with you when, for the sake of your conscience, you patiently endure unfair treatment. Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing right and are patient beneath the blows, God is pleased with you. This suffering is all part of what God has called you to. Christ, Who suffered for you, is your example. Follow in his steps."

As I was reading those precious Word, my phone rang twice, 5 minutes in between. And the last one was that final message letting me know that I would be off and she would be working instead. What caused a change of heart? Deep inside, I knew she had conviction, too. Knowing she is also His child. She might be the supervisor but she had a Higher One she must answer to. She knew she was always off on all the holidays.

But her message made me sad. Because I knew she was also a good mother needing that day off. To be with her family. I started praying for her, for the Lord to bless her and that she would still find someone to work for her. There is nothing impossible with our Lord.

Because I knew...We were both lost sheep before. And both of us have turned to One Shepherd, the Guardian of our souls. It was not about who would be off, who would be working anymore. We both could look at the situation through His eyes. We both have His victory. And I know we both have feeling of gratitude because we have this precious job, one of His provisions. And we both serve a mighty God, Who leads all of us out of any despair.

God does answer prayers...Whatever response, it is not because that is what we want but because He knows that's what's best for us. To give our hearts a chance to purge those things that do not need to take its space. Things that are not glorifying God. Yes, He answers even through those periods when He seem so far away. His silence does not mean He is not listening...What would be hard for Him not to give when He gave His One and Only Son to be the sacrifice for humanity? We just can't help but "thank Him!"

"May he grant your heart's desire and fulfill all your plans. May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory, flying banners to honor our God. May the Lord answer all your prayers."
- Psalm 20:4-5

Thanksgiving Reflection

2 nurses are leaving. 1, in fact, already left. You would think, "Who, in the earth would do that?" when we know that we are all facing a tough economic times. Where job is very scarce and those that still have it, are still uncertain of its stability. I'm not saying that they're not thankful for what they have, but I know that the reason is not job-related. Not the kind of work we do. But it's the people they work with. Personalities clash. Ideas differ. Compromise not known. Pride fueled by self-expertise and power collide. The other: complaints of her "SOS" messages seemed to be ignored. Needing an extra hand with tasks that are becoming too much for just one nurse was her simple 9-1-1 message. She got burned out. Left with only one choice, she opted to put in her resignation.

This is reality. Changes in this world abound. And we have no control, whether we admit it or not.

This Thanksgiving, I am going to remain thankful. And in every day that comes. Because "hope" was paid for long time ago by the greatest sacrifice. No matter what changes occur, I know I have chosen to follow Jesus, Who does not change.

As I sample the turkey, mashed potato and whatever else will be on my plate, I want this to take me back to those times, where people realized that all the blessings they received were given by God. Those who had gone first and met a lot of obstacles on their paths, only to realize that they were not truly alone and had divine guidance, protection, provision and other blessings.

Remembering God's faithful love, then I pray for "pride" from people's hearts to crumble. For personalities to unite despite the differences. For ideas to be embraced and respected to avoid confrontations. For compromises to be known that all disputes are settled.

I pray for people to realize God's greatest blessing to humanity: "to have the privilege of being born again because of what Jesus had done." This is a priceless inheritance. Pure. Undefiled. Beyond the reach of change and decay. This is my greatest encouragement in times of trouble. Amidst the constant and unpredictable changes in my journey. That no matter what step I take, I live with this wonderful expectation of eternal life.

Giving thanks to God...It is just the right thing to do...Thank You God! Thank You Jesus!

I Want To Thank You

"Shout with joy to the Lord, O earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture." ~ Psalm 100:1-3

She demanded to be seen for severe nausea and vomiting at the wee hours of Sunday morning.

“I did put a sick call request!” she complained as I started applying the blood pressure cuff on her left arm.

“How long ago?”

“Just yesterday. But I put in 2 requests already!” she whined.

“Ma’am, you have to understand. There are 3,000 something inmates here. Out of that number, many are requesting to be seen for different issues, like you.”

“I know,” she mumbled under her breath.

“You just need to be patient. Sometimes, the people screening the inmates’ requests, have to put those urgent conditions,” I explained.

Everything was normal despite the complaint of severe nausea and vomiting all day, prior to her arrival in the Infirmary’s waiting area. I motioned for her to go back to the same spot and just try to relax. She didn’t know. I was just observing her. I didn’t see her throw up not even once. I saw her got up many times, trying to scan who the people were inside the Clinic. She must have seen how busy the Nursing staff was. She glanced back at the tv monitor up on the wall, when she saw me looking at her.

A few hours had gone by. She started becoming fidgety and uncomfortable. The fingers previously rubbing her abdomen became intertwined with each other and moved restlessly.

“Nurse! Nurse!” she yelled.

“How may I help you?” I asked as I approached the big glass partition window.

“I’m sorry. I’m okay now. I think I’ll just go back to my unit. Thank you for giving me those pink pills for my tummy. They worked,” she uttered.

I signed her yellow pass and reminded her to be patient. That she could still put a sick call request whenever she didn’t feel well. The demands she had when she first walked in vanished into thin air. As her shadow disappeared, I knew she wouldn’t be back for a while. She discovered it wouldn’t be easy to get what she wanted every time. She found out that no matter how much she whined, she still needed to be patient and needed to learn how to endure every passing moment. That it wouldn’t be easy to lie when it came to medical symptoms. That she couldn’t go anywhere despite the fact that she was able to go out of her tiny cell, the reality was that she was still inside the prison even if she had found a temporary few hours of freedom being in the Clinic. I saw her frustrated eyes replaced with a grateful look. She was thankful to be out of the Clinic as she couldn’t stand being monitored anymore by the Nursing staff, especially with my watchful eyes. Yes, I let her go. Not because she demanded but because there was truly no intervention needed. I made her aware that she was not sick after all. And that was one thing to be grateful for. There were a lot of sicker inmates than her.

I forget, too, sometimes that there are lots to be thankful for...But when we realize that God created us because He loves each of us, we, in turn, can’t help but give to others, as God gave to us. Out of the millions of people, we may all differ in our characteristics or traits from one another, but we are all the same when it comes to Him calling us to love Him first, then, love others. Our good God deserves all our thanks and praise.

Oh Lord, You alone are worthy to be worshiped. Help me to always joyfully come into Your presence. May I remember to always thank You and praise You whatever circumstances I am in. For You are awesome and Your unfailing love endures forever. May my life be a sweet offering to You Oh Lord. Thank You for Your love, mercy and grace. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Happy Thanksgiving friends and may God bless you all.

Daily Talk

"You must crave pure spiritual milk so that you can grow into the fullness of your salvation. Cry out for this nourishment as a baby cries for milk, now that you have had a taste of the Lord's kindness."
~ 1 Peter 2:2-3

What better time to talk with my son but every morning as we sit down and have breakfast together before him, going to school?

This morning was one of those ordinary moments. Digging his fork into the toasted flesh of his hot hashbrown, I took a sip of caffeine from my red mug and took a breath.

"Kristian, I just want you to know, that as you have more independence and learn more things, you are more than welcome to speak with me and daddy if you encounter any problems. You can approach us anytime if you need help. Or if you just want to talk."

"I know, mom," he replied as he savored the potato.

"And in any thing that you plan, please remember to pray about it and always include the Lord with your plans," I added.

"Yes, mom," he smiled as he reached for his glass of milk and was careful not to leave a white mustache.

"I love you, mom" he uttered. He got up and gave me a hug. That's a daily occurrence among us, him and I, and his daddy.

"I love you very much, Kristian," I replied.

Life is rushed. Evident with time, like sand slipping through our fingers. Evident with the years that had gone by and the once small toddler I helped was becoming more independent and grown up.

I am grateful. Everyday. To be reminded by my Father Whose Word echoes each and every morning as we feast together. Just Him and I. The reminder and assurance of His faithful love that He wants me etched in my heart. That I can approach Him anytime, anywhere when I encounter some trials, be they small or big. Or simply, just to talk.

Because each day is a reminder of how fleeting this life is. And what a waste to spend each day not choosing to hear His Word. Continuing to live sinful lives. Sins that block people's visions of God. For sins and God do not mix. He is a Holy God.

I treasure this everyday talk with my son as I treasure my daily talk with my Father. Ordinary moments? No! I don't think so anymore. As I ponder and realize that as a citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem that is to come, this fellowship with the Holy Spirit enables us to experience the Father's faithful and unfathomable love. Through Jesus, I am able to approach His throne of grace. Anytime. Anywhere. And that's what He wants. Because of Jesus, He turned my ordinary life into an extraordinary one!

For Abba Father is not only a disciplining kind of Parent but also a lifetime Coach Who pushes us to our limits and wants us to live our lives disciplined. There are times I will fail. I have limitations. But because of Christ, He is the One Who will help me get through and accomplish my total victory. It is His strength, not mine that helps me win. It is His Word that guides my path as I grow more mature. It is Him Who gave me the true meaning of independence, apart from this world's beliefs and systems.

For that, I am a blessed child of God, And I am forever indebted to Christ. And I love Him. But you know what? He loved me first!

I Am Blessed [Rachel Lampa]

Verse 1:

I may never climb a mountain so I can see the world from there
I may never ride the waves and taste the salty ocean air
Or build a bridge, that would last a hundred years
But no matter where the road leads
One thing is always clear


I am blessed, I am blessed
From when I rise up in the morning
Til I lay my head to rest
I feel You near me
You soothe me when I'm weary
Oh Lord, for all the worst and all the best
I am blessed

Verse 2:

All along the road less traveled, I have crawled and I have run
I have wandered through the wind and rain until I found the sun
The watching eyes asked me why, I walked this narrow way
I will gladly give the reason
For the hope I have today


You've given me joy
You've given me love
You give me strength when I want to give up
You came from Heaven to rescue my soul
This is the reason I know
I know

I have linked this post with Spiritual Sundays. Please head on over  there if you want to soak in His Word and love, emitted by fellow brothers and sisters. This is a warm place to visit, hosted by sisters Charlotte and Ginger.

This Is How You Know Me

"When I think of the wisdom and scope of God's plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth." - Ephesians 3:14

I haven't gone to work for almost 2 weeks, so nothing exciting yet that I could share with you from the prison. This morning, as I was praying, I asked the Lord, "How do people know You Lord?"

Images of pyramids, tower of Babel, tall churches, and rich possessions flooded my mind.
Tower of Babel

And this was what I heard:

"For so many years, people have been striving to build those, thinking they can reach Me by doing so. Or if they have accepted Me, have used the talents I have given them and become successful, they think that's how it works to have a relationship with Me."

"Look down, not up, My child. That is how you know Me. Look to the ground. Look at the bottom of your heart."

After dropping off my child at school, I was so anxious to know more. The intensity of this truth growing wild, ready to explode like a volcano. The reality of what the Lord said. So opposite and so high from man's wisdom, yet so simple...

"Look down..."

"Bow down..."

"Stay humble..."

"Know humility..."

"That's how you know Me..

Farmers must know that. As they grow things from the ground. The hard labor it takes for them to grow their crops. They need to be patient. They need to be strong. They must learn to trust and lean on God more as the seasons abruptly change, affecting the outcomes of their harvest. That they must be thankful no matter what the outcome of their harvest is. Learning to rely on God, strengthening their character through all the trials they go through from seeing their fields of grains or whatever crops they are growing...

I remember my grandmother's story about the rice, the staple food in Asian nations. That whenever the rice is coming out, growing up, and when the grains are becoming heavy, as they reach a higher height, the grains tend to fall over...
Rice grains bowing low to ground

"Stay humble," that's what she told me.

Humbleness...Marked by meekness...A modesty in behavior, attitude and spirit...Not arrogant. Not proud...It is humility...

Joshua found himself bowing down to the Lord when he did not consult God and relied on his army's strength to defeat the small city of Ai. Instead, he lost. They tore their clothing and threw dust on their heads as they mourned before God. Like Joshua and his men, we should humble ourselves before God so we can hear His words. We should turn to God for His direction and help, not only when our lives fall apart, but much more when we are doing well in our lives.

How about Saul? Whose popularity made him proud and arrogant while David remained humble?

The tower of Babel? People built this tower as monument to their own greatness, something to be seen in the world, not to honor God. This may never be done again. But it is still possible that there is a hidden monument in our lives. Things that call achievements to ourselves, not to God. They may not be wrong to have them but when they replace God as number One in our hearts, then that's when it becomes wrong.

And Paul? The most influential among the apostles yet was deeply humble. Because he knew that his power and transformation came from God, not his own doing.

"Lord, I want to know You but how can I humble myself?"

"How can I learn humility?"

Humble people know...They live their lives knowing Christ, realizing their sinfulness and understand their limitations. They also recognize that their talents and gifts or strengths come from God and are willing to use them as Christ leads.

Knowing humility is having a life completely surrendered to Christ's Lordship. It's bowing down in front of Him. It's emptying one's heart so that it can be filled by His love.

"For the proud will be humbled, but the humble will be honored." - Luke 14:11

"Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing, he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal's death on a cross. Because of this, God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." - Philippians 2:5-11

"For dust you are and to dust you will return." -Genesis 3:19 [emphasis mine]...

Seek You...But You Found Me First

 "Never cease striving until you have seen God face to face." ~ Oliver Cowdery

"You need a filling," the dentist added before I shoved open the dental office's front door after my regular check up this morning.

I sort of expected that now, getting used to this routine.

What is there in our lives that don't have anything missing?

From physical things to spiritual, it seems that there is always "something" missing.

Before I discovered this less-traveled path "off the beaten trek", I was missing a lot of things. I was walking in darkness for so long that I was missing the true light that could guide me. I was pursuing different roads, finding meanings into my life, that I was missing that only road that offers eternal purpose. All those roads were tiring and meaningless.

I was seeking for something or someone to fulfill that void in my heart.

The truth is, it is only the Lord Jesus Christ Who can fulfill those voids in all of our hearts. Living a life fulfilling God's plan for you and I is the only way to have true meaning in our lives. When we draw nearer to God, He doesn't empower us so we can have all we want to have and all that we want to be. He empowers us so we can have what He wants for our lives.

This was a song I wrote on February 2, 2006, "Seek You...But You Found Me First..."

I was walking for so long in the darkness
'Til a light shone on me
The road I traveled became clear
I knew right there my destiny

I want to seek and find You, Oh Lord
Draw me near to You, I will be strong
I want to seek and find You, my God
Hold me closer...into Your arms

My heart's one desire
Is for You to mold me and make me new
Fan the flame and my hunger for You
So I can talk and walk like You do

I want to seek and find You, Oh Lord
Draw me near to You, to Your Word
I want to seek and find You, my God
Give You thanks and praise...with all my heart

[Seek You....but You found me first...oh my God...]

If you are tired pursuing those things that do not fulfill any void in your life...If you hear Him calling you to return to Him and repent for your sins...If you have taken all the known roads in your life that seem to be going nowhere....Don't turn your back....He is seeking another "lost sheep..."  Because He loves you. Because He doesn't want any one to go to hell. Don't seek those things that do not last....God bless and may you have an open heart and mind as you are reading this now. 

The Lone Cypress Tree

"We live by faith, not by sight." ~ 2 Corinthians 5:7

I woke up this morning, feeling better from the symptoms of sinus pressure and right ear pain. I ended up going to the Urgent Care yesterday and the doctor told me that it was a good thing I did because my right ear was starting to get red, that was why I was feeling pain on my right jaw, close to the ear. He said he could tell my allergy was bad just by looking at my eyes. He gave me a nasal spray and a 3-day course antibiotic. Which I took immediately as soon as I got them on my hands.

With faith, I asked the Lord to bless those medications and at the same time, thanked Him for all His provisions and bringing in His children who love to intercede right away.

Thank you to all of you for your encouragement and for immediately folding your hands together and bending your knees to lift me up to His throne of grace.
This morning, for some reason, I started going through these old photos as I opened the cabinet on top of the computer monitor and saw this picture I took from one of my family's vacation in Central California:

The verse caught my eye right away! And the truth to it just penetrated my heart!

"If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all." ~ Isaiah 7:9

And the picture brought me back to that day when the Lone Cypress Tree had my jaw almost dropped to the ground in awe because of its beauty. It was by itself on that huge piece of rock, overlooking the ocean with unpredictable, strong currents sometimes. The thought it evoked of how it continue to thrive despite the roots being so far from the water and had to thread through those pieces of rock. Yet, for so many years, it was gazed at by millions of visitors that made the place famous.

And how true it is, that in our lives, if we remain standing on the Rock, living by faith will make us fare better than by fulfilling rituals or rules. Because God commanded believers to live by faith not by sight! As we do so, this challenges us to grow more in faith and to live in obedience to God each day. And as we face many unpredictable currents of trials, it is only by standing firm on this Rock that will make us weather any storm.

"For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith."
~ 1 John 5:4 [NLT]

"But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind."
~ James 1:6 [NLT]

No Matter...

The Santa Ana winds these past days must have bothered my sinus allergy and so, for the past days, I have not been feeling well. No fever [thank God!], no other symptoms except just pressure on my sinuses, which could be annoying and tiring.

As I try to rest now, downing more fluids to ease the stuffed up sinuses, taking more pills of organic sinus pills which thankfully help, and begging my husband and son to get some soup [like something spicy which I usually can’t tolerate] for lunch, and constant prayers, I am not worse, yet still not completely feeling normal.

I want to get my guitar from the wall where it’s hanging yet, do not seem to have the energy to sing and worship. To worship when you’re not feeling your best, is a tough thing to do. And how true it is when we are going through trials as my heart has been heavy for so many loved ones, and friends I have met here in this blog land, that are going through tough times…

Don Moen is one of great worship leaders who discovered that while trying to compose a song. Here’s what he wrote in his blog:

“I wrote the title song for I Will Sing in my car and my first reaction was, “I don’t know where that came from, but I’ll never put it on a Hosanna! Music album!" I had spent the day at one of Alabama’s gulf coast beaches, about an hour south of Integrity’s studios in Mobile, hoping to write songs for the upcoming album.

I didn't feel anything the entire day. It was one of those times when you wonder where God is. I was driving back home, feeling frustrated, and I said, “Lord, You seem so far away, a million miles or more it feels today.” It just popped out. Then I got another line: “And though I haven’t lost my faith, I must confess right now that it’s hard for me to pray.” The words kept coming, and I wrote the entire song right there in my car, but I didn’t like it. I thought, “What a waste! I need songs for the album; I don’t need this!”
I promptly filed the song away, thinking I’d never use it. Not long after, Integrity’s staff was stunned by the news that the ten-year-old daughter of David C. Reilly, a graphic artist who has designed album covers for Integrity Music for more than a decade, was killed in a car accident.

I remembered the song I had scribbled on a paper, so I recorded it on a CD and sent it to David with a note: “I know you’re going to have days when you feel like, 'Where in the world is God?' but I want to encourage you to sing. Don’t give up.”

The reality is that everyone goes through days when we feel God is far away. There’s a phoniness in Christian circles that says you don’t admit that. But look at Psalm 109. How could David, the sweet psalmist of Israel who said, 'I will bless the Lord at all times,' write these angry words? Because he was honest before the Lord, and that’s what God wants in our worship, too. He knows already, so I want to work on being honest, transparent with the Father, who delights in our hearts.”
- Don

It’s impossible. To have a smooth journey. We all go through rough times. We have different paths we are walking on, but I pray that all these paths lead to the only Road that promises hope and life.

Here's a song I had written back on June 19, 2003, when my family and I were going through tough times at different locations of this world. God reminded me that no matter how hard or hopeless our situations may seem, Jesus said from John 16:33 - "I have told you all these so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows but take heart because I have overcome the world." I'm grateful that we are not alone as we have Someone Who is faithful and true to His promises going through all these tough times with any of us.

Come And Seek The Lord

No matter how tough the trials that come your way
No matter how much they break your heart today
Fill your heart instead with joy
Knowing Jesus is there for us all


Come and seek the Lord [3x]
For He had overcome the world

No matter how much pain or suffering
No matter how heavy the burden they bring
Trust in the Lord it will be okay
For He will show us the way

[Repeat Chorus]...

It is tough to worship during difficult times...But it is possible to still be thankful. To still be singing or dancing because we have His peace amidst the chaos of life. May you like Don Moen's song "I Will Sing" and may it minister to your heart. God bless you all friends.

"Since we are his children, we will possess the blessings he keeps for his people, and we will also possess with Christ what God has kept for him; for if we share in Christ's suffering, we will also share His glory." ~ Romans 8:17

How Do I Honor The Veteran/Soldier?

"In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved." ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

Out of the stillness of the short respite my husband and I both had prior to retiring to bed last night, the silence was broken as I popped a question to my husband, who used to be in the Navy and had served in the Persian Gulf War [August 2, 1990-February 28, 1991].

"How do you feel, as a Veteran, every time we celebrate Independence Day or now, this coming holiday, Veteran's Day?"

Not seeing his glance as I was sitting on the recliner, hidden from his sight that was concentrating on the glowing monitor, I heard a short stammer...Perhaps, he started to wonder why after so many years, I had asked that specific question.

I didn't know the reason either. Except that I knew I wanted to know the soldiers' perspectives. We know what they all go through. We know what their families go through. All the sacrifices both have to make. I know...Because I've been there...Except that's what I know. I wanted to know how it felt coming from a soldier. From a veteran. Whom do I have but my own husband when this thought came to mind?

How do they feel when here I am, enjoying each beautiful day, calm and sipping my Starbucks favorite drinks while they are out in a foreign land, staying alert, with anxiety in different levels, anticipating to defend and preserve their own lives against those unwanted or unexpected attacks from the enemies? Have they even thought of taking a drop of water to quench those thirsts and soothe their parched lips?

What are the thoughts in their minds, as I rest in my favorite recliner, watching tv programs, as they are huddled close, deep in those foxholes their own hands must have dug, yet do not offer a permanent safety?

What goes on in their hearts as I enjoy this personal liberty wherever I go in this land, in which they are trying to protect from oppressors?

Or how their hearts must be breaking as they think of their separated and loved ones far away from them as I enjoy my time with my family?

And how they must endure to be dressed in those heavy camouflage battle gear yet here I am whining whether it's too hot or too cold?

And yes, here I am looking good, holding my Bible, as they go out there, with rifles and ammo's on their hands, with fingers ready to fire if enemies appear?

"Sad....", my husband answered.

"Sad?" I repeated to make him explain and satisfy my growing hunger to search for more answers.

"Yeah...Sad...'Coz many lives have been lost every time," he softly uttered.

"So, you're against the war?"

"I didn't say that. If it's necessary to defend, we have to do that....But I'm sad that many lives, sometimes, are being lost and some are unnecessary losses," he replied with a sad tone and there, I decided I had been answered enough. That my search for an answer was over.

I got the point dearest husband. I got it! That we have to fight for this freedom if necessary. We know the risks of losing lives but we must to protect this precious liberty. Because freedom is not free. Oh yes....It even happened long time ago. Even before we were all born. As it was planned. That Jesus would come to die. To give us freedom. And many are being persecuted also because of our faith in Him. But we must stand confident in the truth that God has shared with us, believers. No matter what circumstances around us. No matter what others say. We know the TRUTH....

Veteran's Day is coming up. And every year, it will be celebrated. Like July 4th. And every time, lives are being risked and lost. How do I honor them? These veterans and soldiers? All of them? I had spent a couple of hours searching for tribute videos but now I know, no amount of tribute videos will show how much I want to honor them.

"Thank you," I softly uttered to my husband and I wasn't sure if he heard me as he went back to typing something on the keyboard.

I know I can start by saying a simple "Thank you!"...And I can go on further by including them in my prayers...Not only on these holidays...But in each day that is to come.
All posts/composed songs copyright by RCUBEs.


The Attacker (5/15/09)

The sun was just peeking from the Eastern skies. Ephesians 6:12 [37 kb]

Out in the prison’s yard, some huge Sheriff’s buses were illuminated by the soft glow coming from the lights all over from the tall lamp posts. Their engines were turned on, warming up, before the buses would take the inmates to the different courts where they would have their trials.

Orange-uniformed men were lined up in pairs, joined together with handcuffs and chained, forming a long line. They already had their breakfast and had their morning medications prior to going to courts. Some were fidgeting, as they waited to board those buses.

All of a sudden, all hell broke loose! Two men were engaged in a fight, using weapons they made secretly for a while. Deputies called for help on the radio, both for custody back-up and medical staff, as well.

When the air was cleared and the other inmates were secured, one man was down on the floor. He sustained multiple gashes but two of them were deep. One cut was vertically etched from his left ear going down to the jaw line. The other dangerous cut was horizontal on his left neck, close to the jugular vein. Pool of blood dripped all over the floor. Holding his bleeding neck, he was pointing at the other inmate few feet away, being guarded by the other deputies.

The other man being accused was not hurt. There were no lacerations nor any other signs of trauma. He was obviously very agitated as he was being questioned by those deputies, while the medical staff started treating the other man on the floor. They cleaned the wounds and controlled the bleeding. That man was sent to the nearby hospital.

When the investigation was finalized, it turned out to be that the “downed man who was accusing the other inmate” was the attacker and the other one who didn’t have injury was the one attacked. The deputies found out that it was the second attempt to attack the unhurt man. Both attacks on him failed. He was well-prepared after the first attempt on him, that when the second attempt was done, he was able to defend himself and ended up injuring his attacker severely.

[Source: NLT Bible ]:

We also have an “accuser of the brethren.” Satan and his army of demons are the enemies of God and of everything good.

“Because God’s children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death.” –Hebrews 2:14

Because of what Jesus had done [dying on the cross], we, who live in constant fear of death shouldn’t be afraid anymore. Jesus had freed us from that fear so we can live for Him. When we belong to God, we know that death is only the portal that leads into “eternal life”. [“Thank You Lord!].

Paul warned us, too that we also battle against the evil forces of Satan, who is a vicious fighter. But to be able to withstand their attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor. We face an army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church. When we believe in Christ, they become our enemies. They will try any device to turn us away from the Lord.

Fear not! For God has provided His supernatural power to defeat Satan and his army, through His Holy Spirit within us. So, arm yourselves with God’s armor.

Let us be strong in the Lord's mighty power. Let's put on His whole armor to resist the enemy's attacks: put on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that we are well-prepared. We will need faith in every battle as our shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed by Satan and his army. Let us put on salvation as our helmet, not forgetting the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Let's pray at all times, on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must stay alert and be persistent in our prayers for all Christians everywhere. [Ephesians 6:10-18].