When Foundation Is Shaken

"We turn to God for help when our foundations are shaking, only to learn that it is God who is shaking them." 

- Charles G. West

the huge belly of the biggest among the planes ready to drop fire retardant

The window panes vibrated loudly and the house shook briefly for a few seconds. My son and I were keeping an eye on a ravaging inferno up on the hills as we breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing his dad/my husband arriving on the driveway. The biggest firefighting airplane hovered so low among tiled rooftops that shook everything on its path as it aimed and positioned itself to target the tallest blaze. There were also numerous smaller planes and altogether, were in unison as if they were dancing, making a pass one after another, to  try to douse the hot and dangerous flames. With the strong, gusty winds constantly blowing, my son and I knew better... Those planes were also dancing with death.

We kept calm as we held hands together and asked for help from the Greatest Firefighter. We knew His help was needed for the scant resources battling numerous fires at the same time in different places. The fire wasn't threatening our place but my son led me to gather the important things we should pack in case there would be an order to evacuate. The forceful breathing of the atmosphere was unpredictable to which direction it would blow next. The fire got smaller after an airdrop, only to grow twice bigger when fanned by gusty winds.

The house shook again. I saw a neighbor ran out to the backyard and with fear on her face, scouted for what caused the shaking in her house. She took her hose and started wetting the house and around it.

After four hours, with the planes hovering nonstop,  the thick, black smoke slowly became whitish and lessened in volume. The owners of those visible houses on top of the hills must be relieved to see they were spared from the fiery beast so close to them. Those firefighters, whether the ones maneuvering the planes or the ones on the ground did an exemplary job.

What is shaking your foundation? Illness? Loss of jobs? Imminent divorce? Death knocking at your life's door? Addiction to illegal substances?

What are you holding on to that is worth saving? Or do those things have a hold on you?


"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." - John 15:4-7 (ESV)

It was a nice break from hotter days these past, few weeks. My family and I hopped into the car and with an unplanned destination chose to have egg rolls and Pho soup from a distant, favorite Vietnamese restaurant.

“Let’s go!” we all cried in unison and changed our mind about skipping the morning agreement of fruit picking in yet, an unexplored area nearby. 

November is my favorite month because I know the weather starts to cool off. I am also reminded that “persimmons” are due to be enjoyed this time. We don’t know that there is a persimmon picking farm nearby.

The winding, 2-lane roads offered majestic views of ranches with horses freely roaming, a creek filled with water that my husband thought it was a lake at first, and a well-controlled green houses prompted me to take a pic as I gazed at those neat rows of plants or vegetables. Not forgetting the views of the mountain from up ahead, hills with green vegetation and even a stone quarry it seemed.
some free roaming horses

My son parked his car and immediately, my husband was offered some buckets of his choosing and he got 3 pruners. Many trees of persimmons met us and they were only a few steps away from where the buckets, pruners, and caretakers were. 
rows of Persimmon trees

It was exciting to see many fruits. But we didn’t know, the harvest season started even as earlier as October. Many fruits were a little higher and perhaps, the fruits on the lower branches were already picked. Still…We were all excited and wished we knew even then. Yet, grateful we found this place and how cheap! Nothing could beat 60 cents per pound because out in the markets, I would get those persimmons for 99 cents a pound or worse a dollar something more. I left the task of reaching for the fruits attached on higher branches to my son and my husband. They were known as “Fuyu persimmons” and oh, so sweet! Crispy like apples. That was how I wanted them, not the other kind called “Hachiya” which was more mushy like and you had to wait for it to be ripe before it could be enjoyed. Fuyu for me was the best!

“It’s enough, you guys!” I yelled when I saw the bucket was filled halfway. 
freshly-picked Fuyu persimmons

“Only one more,” my husband replied with an excited tone of voice.

“Watch out!” my husband warned at one point. “There are rotting ones that fell on the ground. Don’t step on them.”

We took a few pictures, saw many more other trees we could no longer approach! And a tall mountain in the distance.

By the time my husband carried the green bucket back to that center, it weighed 14 pounds. That was a lot of fruit for only 8 dollars something. 

I got to share some with my friend and my husband with a co-worker who he always worked with daily. There were still lots left in our kitchen counter. 
Done for the day!

“It’s open until December, they said,” my husband told me and my son.

The three of us, grinning ear to ear, agreeing in silence that we would definitely go back. 

Deep inside, we knew…

Not only they are cheap, sweet and not that far to go to. There is nothing sweeter than the three of us creating that memory, being reminded to always “look up” not just to reach the fruits but to remember where the good things in life come from. Instilling the truth in our hearts that our lives can either produce good fruits as Christians if we are abiding by God’s Word or dropping like those rotten ones if we stray away from Jesus.

Helping Each Other

How true that the words can either bring healing or wound someone so deep! 

I was just doing the usual…The desire to help my friend who was in need. God comforted me many times and that comfort and compassion were the reasons that always drove me to extend to those in need. I called my friend in the hospital caring for her mother who got hurt. I could see her needs. I could feel her heartaches. I could sense her losses. I even cried her tears!

Concerned that she lacked sleep and needed to go home to take a shower and do some things at home, I wanted to offer to drive her home even if I lived miles away and her house was closer to the hospital.

From one corner of the room, some loud words echoed…

“Why is she coming here?”

I heard my friend talked to that person who spoke those words and I knew she must cover the mouthpiece of the phone for the rest came blurred to my end. It was her brother-in-law.
Such a devastating barrage of assault that had nothing but ill will and wrong judgments! Someone’s nose always sticking to people’s business and assuming that he knew what was up and that he was always right! I knew his real feelings toward me anyway from the moment I met him. Except it took many years out of his own mouth for the words to finally flow from his heart.

And I couldn’t tell you how painful such words penetrated my heart and soul knowing that I had nothing but the best intentions for my friend who faced many storms for many years. Such a proud, angry, malicious, insane, and most of all, ignorant I thought despite his own bragging of his own accomplishments.

He apologized. Except I told my friend I felt it wasn’t sincere. Because she made him apologize to me. And defensive right away as I started saying that I understood where he was coming from. To me, why apologize if you were already saying I was wrong for misinterpreting what he said?

God commands to forgive. It’s not easy. Especially knowing how this man is towards me and most of all, towards my friend. But I did. Except it’s not easy to forget. If there is one thing I know of, God is pleased when we bear each other’s burdens, especially with our own brothers and sisters in Christ’s family. My friend told me much later that he even said I was not her family. How true in man’s wisdom! But from God’s? 

Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2 (NLT)

If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion--how can God's love be in that person? – 1 John 3:17 (NLT)

What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. – James 2:14-17 (NLT)

So…by God’s grace, may we know more things of God so that in return,  we may all learn to help each other in this difficult journey we are all in…

White Coat Syndrome

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:4-7 (ESV)

“Only in your office is my BP always high,” I uttered as my doctor walked into the room where I was waiting for my blood pressure follow up. Nowadays, it is a part of regimen to have the blood pressure be checked by the primary physician every 4 months if a person is on hypertension medications. 

He smiled and was always quick to ask if I still have a good supply of my medications. I had been going to see him for so many years now. He just wanted to make sure that I was not having any new symptoms. He knew my BP readings at home had been normal and even if stressed out, a slight elevation was not of a concern.

There was a syndrome called “White Coat Hypertension” where a person’s BP reading is high in a clinic or a medical setting when usually normal at home. It earned its name since a medical professional usually wears a “white coat”. Except…in my case, I wasn’t…I have known my doctor and his staff for many years. I knew I was stressed out going to his office as many reckless drivers crossed my path on my way to his office.

But even if the blood pressure is high only in doctor’s offices, one shouldn’t take such elevations lightly because it may be an indication of something going on in a person’s body. Hypertension is known as a “silent killer” because sometimes, a person may not feel any ill effects but a devastating result like heart problems or strokes may occur.

So…I thanked them…Wished them a good day. Told them I would see them in 4 months…

Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus' appearance was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them. – Mark 9:2,3 (NLT)

I am grateful… I know that it is good to step away from home (world) and consult the doctor with the white coat (Jesus). Not even every 4 months. Each day matters. Because sometimes, we get anxious and worried for the things of this world and that’s when we remember to call on Jesus… Only to realize it’s always best to be with Him and such troubles go away. After all, the fight is always about mind over matter.

Do you know your BP readings?

Teach Me

“Teach me your ways, O LORD, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you.” – Psalm 86:11 (NLT)

Perhaps, the better amount of rainfall this past year has helped some of our fruit trees to flourish. I noticed the plum tree has given more fruits this time. I love the crispy flesh and some being sweet while the others are a little tart if, unfortunately, are plucked early from the tiny, jutted out branches. Despite the numerous flowers that fell few months ago, snatched by gusty, late afternoon winds, my family and I are happy and are grateful to be able to enjoy them this time. And share with friends.

I still wish sometimes that my late mother has taught me how to cook. She often would tell me to go upstairs and to start doing my homework. I knew better then that she wasn’t teaching me “laziness” nor “spoiling her only girl”. She was a good cook who had a hard task of creating savory recipes, while balancing the budget among six of her children. Some left overs were re-purposed but as expected, no little mouths ever complained. Plates were empty. The only argument was who would wash the plates...

ready to bake
Back to the present time…I don’t think I can eat all of the plums. I want to make something. But don’t know where to start. 

Thanks for the internet nowadays. Type a word and within an instant, there are few sites to explore. Recipes to be experimented.

 I noticed the “Plum Crisp” that came out first. My heart chose! 

“That’s it!” So, while it was a sweltering heat going on outside the house, I tried to make the concoction, tweaking the recipe a bit, because I liked vanilla and cinnamon with baked products. 

No hard decision when it came with the sugar. I drastically cut the amount knowing that the plums were sweet already and that…even before I envisioned the baked plum crisp, I drooled with the thought of putting vanilla ice cream on top!

After a few minutes, the sweet aroma that filled the kitchen reached my son's sense of smell upstairs, as he was checking his submitted project online. He ran downstairs and joined me to dig and scoop some "plum crisp" even though the plums on the bottom were still bubbling. "Who's got the time to wait???" 

plum crisp anyone?

The cold vanilla bean ice cream on top was a great contrast to the hot fruit. Delicious! It was a perfect ending after our salad for lunch. 

And I thought about my mother again...That there was a good reason for her not to teach me how to cook. She wanted me to finish my education so I could pursue what God truly had gifted me with. She didn't want me to take the path she was in. She wanted me to discover my own. She didn't teach me how to cook. But she taught me the most important gift from her heart. To discover and finish what God had instilled in me. She sacrificed so I could have a better education. The greatest gift she could share with me. Cooking could be learned. But nothing could ever beat wisdom...

I will continue to search thousands of recipes day after day. But I know my heart was given "faith" first. Then, wisdom. From God... His ways and truth shared and handed down to me. By my loving mother. 

"Drink water! Go and finish your project!" I hollered to my son. I am...Sounding like my mother...

I am...desiring to be like Jesus... I am..."I Am..."

Teach me Your ways, Oh Lord...

Learning To Trust and Slow Down

I have no idea my family and I would be talking a lot about “traffic” several years after settling in this beautiful, quiet area where we live in. Many houses are built and along with that, as expected, many people are attracted to move here.

I am grateful now for the Google maps as they help me and my family navigate the back roads we have not known or taken before. But true enough, at least, we arrive at our destinations in one piece.

We know better now… To go grocery shopping when most people are at work or their children at school. To stay at home than go out on weekends when everyone seems to be in a caravan, one car joining after another to an already congested traffic on major freeways. Lots of accidents are in the headlines daily. It does feel like a major battle when I am out on the road, hoping, praying for God’s protection that I make it. Back and forth. No matter how careful I am, many are careless out there and are always tempted to break the laws just so they can get ahead of others.

Growing up, I shared Proverbs 3:5,6 with my son. I believe that when each day starts, trusting in the Lord is very important before we make decisions, whether it concerns simple or major decision-making. He has memorized it among the other life-giving verses we meditate on.

With this dilemma on the road, this verse helps me a lot and reminds me the importance of depending on Him no matter where I go, no matter what I do. When I feel that I need to take the back roads instead of taking a risk on busy, major roads, I always realize that not only do I enjoy the peace and quiet but also I am able to see new things that I never know exist along those back roads before. The process of reaching intended places takes longer at times, but in reality, in being able to slow down, I have lower and even "zero" risk of being injured.

It has been going on for a year or two now that I take the back roads on and off.

How I learn each time I slow down! That in my life, God slows me down sometimes in order for me to realize that aside from the importance of trusting in Him always, the right things seem to have a chance to catch up with my life’s journey.

I see this also with my son. With frustration in his goal to become a Graphic Designer few months ago, God has shown him ways that His alternative is better (Of course!) than what is being required from most schools. He is pursuing this in a different way, yet he feels free instead of being pressured, and in reality, will make him be able to finish on the right track than before.

I see this with my husband. His initiated early, daily prayer between us before he goes to work and with our son, joining hands again each night, thankful because the three of us are all witnesses to God’s constant protection, guidance, provision, discernment and most of all, His love.

So, I’ll end this post this way:

“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.” – Proverbs 3:5,6 (NLT)

From Pinterest

Rain Or Sunshine

              You go before me and follow me.
        You place your hand of blessing on my head.
                      Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
      too great for me to understand!” – Psalm 139:5-6 (NLT)

My family decided to leave despite the forecast of a heavy storm. We needed to haul the remaining little things we left in the apartment where my son stayed. With a few days remaining to vacate the place, we wanted to get done with everything even before the deadline to be out of his unit would come.

I made sure we had a good breakfast as the trip was a little far. Even farther if all the heavy volumes of vehicles got on the same road. I accidentally left the alarm set when I would wake up and prepare my husband’s lunch for work. So, I got up early and decided to make lunch, anticipating that we would not have enough time to pick up anything “to go” and in case, we wanted to keep not delaying the packing up process.

light rain fell

The rain came down lightly and for some reason, the traffic was busy but hardly stopped like the usual “snail-like” movement we knew. My husband was following my son’s car as I rode with my son who volunteered to drive, instead of me driving my car. I felt comfortable that he was watching us from behind. With many careless drivers around, it was minus one concern of worrying who was behind my son’s car.

Are you okay?” I asked my son who quickly replied, “Yes, Mom,” as he tried to focus his attention on the road ahead. I noticed my husband maintaining his distance from behind. I called him on his cell phone if he was okay. That was just how we are. Always asking each other if we were okay, whether it was smooth sailing in our daily lives or if there were bumps on the roads. 
my husband's car behind my son's

“Did you guys notice something?” I asked when we arrived at the place.

“Thank You, Lord,” were the first answer by two men.

It started raining when we arrived and quickly, we finished cleaning the place and wrapping the remaining things. We enjoyed a good lunch. And we met a mild downpour on our way home before the rain became harder when we got home.

a hearty lunch for "joyful" movers

We were grateful. My son knew. No matter what weather, it would be okay.

Knowing that Someone is faithful with His promises of being there, leading, following and making sure we are “okay”. Not just okay. But “to remain joyful” whether the days bring rain or sunshine.

                                                             PRAYER FOR JOY

Lord, I'm not always thankful enough that I'm a Christian. When I stop to think of all the blessings that come to me because I believe in You, I can only say that Your love for me is the greatest thing that has happened to me. Make me properly thankful for Your love and let me never fail to be happy about it. Help me to find real joy in worshiping You. And only You. Help me to sing the truths of the wonderful hymns with my heart as well as my lips. What I hear with my ears, send them down deep into my heart. Let the joy of belonging to Jesus show itself in my words and actions and make me a blessing, not only to my family and friends, but to anyone who will cross my path. Help me to share my joy of salvation with others. So many people are discouraged and disappointed over both little and large matters. Help me to say and do the right thing at the right time. Thank You Lord for Your love, grace, and mercy. Thank You for going before and behind us. Thank You that Your promises are true and because of You, we have this imperishable hope whether we have sunny or rainy days in our lives. We love You Lord. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

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].