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
All posts/composed songs copyright by RCUBEs.