ISAIAH 61:1-4

ISAIAH 61:1-4

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me and has anointed me to
Preach the good news to the poor. .
Bind up the brokenhearted,
Proclaim freedom for the captives,
Proclaim release from darkness for the prisoners,
Comfort all who mourn
Provide for those who grieve in Zion to bestow on them
The oil of gladness for mourning
And a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness

Monday, September 25, 2006

Calm before the storm

The weekend was lovely, in spite of the storms and rain. We managed to avoid the storm clouds Saturday least for the picnic at a friend's house. Saturday was a lovely evening, a pleasant gathering with good friends.


Then on Sunday, the girls and I spent time at the park. Bright sunlight sparkled on the water, although in the shade a cool breeze produced a bit of a chill. Still, it was a gorgeous day. We visited the ducks, geese, buffalo and deer at the park.

I need to remember these sunshiny moments in the midst of a stormy weekend as I approach the beginning of Chemo this week -- my own personal storm.

"God, make me conscious of those moments, hours and days of sunshine as I face my Nemesis beginning this week." (I'll give more chemotherapy details later.)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tales from the O R

Tales from the OR

This lovely little gadget (shown in the circle) is now embedded in my chest. It will serve to facilitate chemotherapy in that the medicine-bearing needle will be inserted into that little circle inside the triangle and thereby head straight to my veins. It will avoid the searching for a vein in my arm every time I have chemo. It's such a cute little thing, you'd thing it would be seen, but alas, it resides under my skin. All that can be seen is a little bump near my clavicle. It's a bit sore, but the major discomfort is the feeling that I have a straw up my neck . . . which, in essence, I do. That white wire goes up the neck through my vein to guide the medicine to the right spot. Ah the wonders of modern medicine.

This surgery was a bit different though. I was awake during the procedure, woozy, but awake. Since this little gadget is the latest in the line of medi-ports, the company rep was also in the operating room. So while the doctor is installing this lovely little gadget in my flesh, they're discussing how this one is different from the previous model. Nothing like being awake while you're the guinea pig. :) The major difference is that this one will take the contrast for the CeCt if it had been installed last Tuesday, I wouldn't have had to wear the IV needle on my arm for most of the day!

I also got my instructions for care and use of the port at the same time the recovery room nurses received their in-service on the new devise. Uhmmm...nothing like being first.

Obviously, I'm feeling better today. Yesterday afternoon and evening I was not so cheerful. I came home too tired to even bother to eat some soup. I just slept most of the afternoon. Then I had a headache which turned into migraine for the evening and night. I took my migraine medicine at 5 am this morning and now feel much better. They gave me a script for Darvosett, which I didn't even fill. That stuff gives me hallucinations. I have to be in such pain that tripping is better than the pain (even in the 60's I wasn't into tripping) I just took Tylenol and Aleve for pain, which was fine for the soreness in the insertion site, but didn't do anything for the plastic-straw-up-the-neck feeling that jabbed me every time I moved, and it didn't begin to touch the Migraine.

But that was yesterday. Today I made it to breakfast, actually ate real food...then had homemade, fresh from the apple orchard, apple pie that Bradley made for dessert. (I know, but I'm sick. I'm allowed to have dessert for breakfast.)

My hemoglobin count is still too low...I HAVE to remember to take the iron tablets they gave me! That's the problem with going from healthy-as-a-horse to this semi-invalid state in one month. I have trouble remembering to take meds; I've had to make a list of Doctors and phone numbers in order to remember those; And I can't say how many times I've had to call and check on times of appointments...I'm trying to keep it all in my calendar now. They asked me the date of my last blood test and I had to say .... duh .... the other day at Dr. Y's office. Maybe about the time I get the knack of being ill, I'll be well again and can just forget it all!!!

Hurray for forgetfulness...I'm going to be very God-like and throw this entire episode into the Sea of Forgetfulness. One day soon!!

For forgetting.

Pastor Phylis

Monday, September 18, 2006

(Just for FUN!)"Bridging the Gap"

A friend sent me another picture of BTG, a bit bigger. I still can't be certain which one is me. I remember being on the left side, near the back. I won't name all the others I recognize like: Jeannie Harmon, Todd & Nikki, Debbie, VG, Kevin, (Rodney I know you're there, but I can't find you either!), Becky, and Emma. Of course, the Rev. Dan and Linda Willis and others too numerous to mention. (Or with heads too small to recognize!)

Have a great day! Pull out a picture of friends from 15 years's guaranteed to make you smile!

Pastor Phylis

Sunday, September 17, 2006

"Stop for a Moment"
(Yeah! The pic and CD are from 1993 -- I was singing with the choir at that point. I first learned "Stop for a Moment" here.)

We sang this song in worship this morning. I've always liked it . . . never more than now. Faith is such an interesting phenomena! While I have my moments, I've never been more sure of the hand of God in my life. At the same time, I've never been less sure of what He is really doing. Although my brain just won't concoct scenarios of how this time of illness will bring Glory to Him and bring good for my life, I'm still very certain that this is His hand.

My entire life, I've been able to "imagine" success, to imagine how things will work out for good. Most of the time my little daydreams are just that, daydreams, and no more. This time I cannot explain to you why this had happened, how God will use this to edify me and His Kingdom, or what the outcome will be. But I am very certain that God will do exactly that.

Stop for a Moment

He's there for you, to see you through
Come what may, hold on;
It's just your turn; to face your test.
Go through with faith ; For my God knows what's best.
He told you not to worry; he told you not to fret
Though the tears fall from your eyes
And your questions yet raise "Why?"
You feel your faith won't grow; Your troubles just won't go
You get discouraged.

Stop for a moment
Please just be still.
You are an heir of His will.
If you mean what you say,
and you pray in Jesus' Name
The prayer that you pray,
the answer's on the way.

(Song by Dan Willis)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The following is interview with Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life whose wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. My niece sent this, and I thought it would be appropriate to share. (I don't have the date or the occasion. If I find either, I'll add the info later.)

Photo: Shop window in Zihuatenejo, Mexico (Phylis Huerta)

"People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a
nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were made to last
forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.

One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my
body-- but not the end of me.

I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend
trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress

God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in
eternity. We were made by God and for God, and until you figure
that out, life isn't going to make sense.

Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're
just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one.

The reason for this is that God is more interested in your
character than your comfort.

God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in
making your life happy.

We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal
of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the
toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.

I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a
dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't
believe that anymore.

Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind
of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have
something good and something bad in your life.

No matter how good things are in your life, there is always
something bad that needs to be worked on.

And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always
something good you can thank God for.

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems.
If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness,
"which is my problem, my issues, my pain."

But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus
off yourself and onto God and others.

We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of
thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy
for her.

It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened
her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given
her a t estimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.

You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.
Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For
instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15
million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.

It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal
with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for
your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.

So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money,
notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that
helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.

First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our
lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases.

Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary
from the church.

Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The
Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care
for the sick, and educate the next generation.

Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years
since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was
liberating to be able to serve God for free.

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions?

Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism?

Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say,
God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You
more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to
fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I
do. That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.

Happy moments, PRAISE GOD. Difficult moments, SEEK GOD. Quiet
moments, WORSHIP GOD. Painful moments, TRUST GOD. Every moment,

And I'll keep working at praising God in everything. During all the examining and poking and proding and waiting, I'll keep trusting God.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ready for Adventure


Always ready for adventure! That's a 6-year old's attitude that I must really adopt. (more later)

September 14...Today I needed that sense of adventure! Tests. Tests. And More tests. Echocardiogram, Ct scans of everything, literally everything, bone scans of my entire skeleton. So I drank banana flavored chalk, took intrevenous radiation for the bone scan, plus whatever that contrast stuff (berrium??) is they put in for the Ct scans. Probably if I go outdoors tonight, I'll glow in the moonlight. Now there's an adventure: take a walk in the moonlight just to see if I really do glow in the dark.

I'm not sure what happened to my positive attitude -- I think it has escaped with the radiation! Surgery is scheduled for Tuesday to install the mediport -- I told the surgeon that I wanted WiFi with it. He just laughed.

I'm headache-y tonight -- probably from all the chemicals in my I shall go drink lots of water to flush it all out and then spend all night trotting to the potty!!! Hee Hee. Just can't keep it positive tonight. God forgive me!

I also met some wonderful people today. Particularly the lady who did the ultrasound for the echo-gram, was empathic and helpful. Honestly, from the registrar to the X-ray technician, everyone was wonderful. They must have a hard time staying positive -- seeing anxious or sick people all day everyday. When the doctors order says R/O metastasis, It can't be terribly pleasant looking at film or reports that will forever change a person's life. Okay, enough already!

I know what is positive...the beautiful 6 year old in the pic above is my lovely Granddaughter. Now there is a positive thought!!

God thank you for family and friends who are supportive and helpful!


P.S. The reports won't be read and to the doctor until Wednesday. I'll make an appointment to see him on Thursday or Friday. So, no answers until next week. My bones may be wonderfully strong...or not!

Sunday, September 10, 2006


I laugh every time I look at this photo. There is nothing in the world like a team of four-year olds getting last minute instructions for anything. In this case, they're about to play their very first game of soccer. I love the poses and attitudes. There's the laughing child, the one with his hands over his ears, the one with arms crossed looking elsewhere, a couple of them pulling on t-shirts. Each appears to be in his/her own little world and not at all "with it" on the team or paying the least attention to the coach.

But I wonder if it isn't a metaphor for us. God has us together with a task he'd like performed and we are off, lost in our own personal world. Right now, it's such an easy thing for me to become self-absorbed, inattentive to anything or anyone else. I must remember, even with the "special circumstances" under which I am currently working, I am still part of a team, part of a church, part of a family, part of a ministry and I must remember that, remember to attend to what is happening to others. Even if this is a difficult time in my life, it isn't all about me!

Of course, it makes me laugh more that my own little wanderer has grown up and is now working at being a good parent. As a part of that, he is coaching my granddaughter's first soccer team. Yes, that's Brad working to get the cooperation of a group of four year olds. 

It does make a parent smile to see their offspring being parents!!

Pastor Phylis

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Personal Fragments

Personal Fragments
(I couldn't find the title of this painting by I named it!)
From a sermon on Tuesday night:   "One night a father was relaxing with his newspaper after a long day at the office. His son, who wanted to play, kept on pestering him. Finally, fed up, the father ripped out a picture of the globe that was in the paper and tore it into a hundred tiny pieces. ‘Here son, go ahead and try to put this back together.’ he said, hoping that this would keep the little boy busy long enough for him to finish reading the paper. To his amazement, his son returned after only one minute with the globe perfectly back together. When the startled faster asked how he achieved this feat, the son smiled gently and replied ‘Dad on the other side of the globe there was a picture of a person and once I got the person together, the world was okay.’" 

Isn't it so true, if I'm together the world is okay. When I'm bothered, anxious, fearful, angry, resentful or otherwise encumbered, the world seems askew. I notice all the wrong things in everything and everyone. But if I'm together, the world is okay. Unlike the little boy in the story, I need the father's help even to get the person together. However, I find that concentrating on the person (me) and my relationship with Christ, that togetherness comes straight from His hand. The Maker can take all those little pieces and put them back together again.

"God help me to remember that I don't have to solve the problems of the world. I need only to yield this one little life to your hands and the world is okay."

Pastor Phylis

Monday, September 4, 2006

"Pray more for them"
Prayer Warriors Needed

I was just responding the an email from a friend who said we "want you to know that we are prepared to go to war for you." As I was responding to Sarah, I experienced one of those "aha" moments. I began thinking about the aspects of this disease that frighten me: living under the dread that it could return or migrate to another part of my body; undergoing chemotherapy; losing the right breast as well as the left; losing my hair.

But then God began to whisper to me, repeating my own words "I am blessed." I have comfort; I have a marvelous support system (all of you who "comment", email, write, or call; my family; my church). And I have the support of a terrific husband who seems to know just when to be serious and when to join me in a laugh, or provide the humor to lighten a moment.

I am blessed; I have experienced the intimate presence of God in other dark places, and therefore, I know He ALWAYS is there on the darkest of days. I understand Jehova Shama; His presence will never leave me. I've learned to know Jehova Rapha who IS the provision. I am blessed.

We've tried to prepare my little Granddaughters for the things that may happen to me -- the "owwie" so they have to be careful on my left side; the possibility of hair loss after I begin Chemo. Yesterday, the little one (4 years old) saw me take a pain pill and asked with all the innocence of her babyhood, "Grandma, is that the medicine that will make your hair fall out?"

With my heart in my throat, I answered, "No, baby. I won't take that medicine for a couple of weeks more."

It struck me today, this disease has to come straight from the pits of hell for it strikes at the heart of femininity, and then the cure delivers the final blow. Yes, Sarah, I could use some prayer warriors...and so can every other woman who is so afflicted

In the last three weeks since my diagnosis has been confirmed and announced to co-workers, friends and family, I have had countless people say "my friend's mom has the same diagnosis" or "my friend's sister just had a mastectomy" or "my co-worker is in the hospital now" or "my wife has breast cancer too".

Pray for those who have to suffer and do not have the comfort of knowing just who Jesus is, those who do not have the knowledge of Jehova Shama, those who do not have a solid support system. Pray more for them!
Yes, Sarah, go to the throne for me, but pray more for them!

To all prayer warriors out there:  Pray for me!  But pray more for them! 

Pastor Phylis

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Trust in the Lord

Here we are in 1974.
It was General Conference, way too late for the boys to be up and are they objecting. But at this stage in my life I was sooooo sure of the path!
(Now, I'm only sure that that is one really big hairdo)

Trust in the Lord
Proverbs 3:5,6
One of the notable things about God: He is consistent. He also keeps repeating things until we "get" them. The sermon this morning contained the scripture from Jeremiah 29:11 that I have repeated in the blog several times in the last couple of weeks (and have received in various ways from various sources not at all connected with one another, except through the anointing of God) and also the Proverb referenced above: "Trust in the Lord with all of thine heart and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct thy path." I'm getting it -- loud and clear -- He is directing my path! He has plans for me and they are for good, to prosper me and not for my destruction.

I've written in several past blogs about the Call of God and described ways in which God has called and I have answered. I haven't written about the times when I know he has called and, like Adam and Eve, I have hidden from His presence. But now there's a new element to His Call on my life: it's inevitable, impossible not to answer. It's a call to His Presence, a call to follow Him through darkness, a call to approach His throne when I must feel my way there. A Call that will lead through the thick cloud of pain and illness; a call that will require a fight for life itself. But as long as I recognize this era, too, as a Call from God, I can face it with fortitude and the knowledge that He Himself leads the way.

I think again...What do people do when they do not know God? I am blessed!

Pastor Phylis

Saturday, September 2, 2006


For those of you who check this for an update on my condition: I'm healing well from surgery although on Wednesday the drainage line fell out, so the wound had to be bandaged tightly to prevent swelling. However, I went back to the surgeon yesterday and all is well: no swelling. It appears my body has adjusted adequately. And those 150 cc's of gook that my body was expelling down that drain have ceased or are being absorbed. Yuck!

The surgeon believes that he was able to get all of the cancer. However, since it had spread to the lymph nodes, chemotherapy is standard protocol. There is the possibility that some cancer cells have escaped the surgeon's knife and may be lurking in some dark corner of my anatomy waiting for the opportunity to reproduce and create more trouble! Therefore, in another week or so, we'll begin the process of poisoning my system to be sure that none of the malignant cells survive. (Doesn't that sound archaic? Kind of like the dark age!) Ah! The miracles of modern science! However, the oncologist assures us that chemotherapy has, indeed, come a long way in the last ten years and that he will be able to specifically target the kind of cancer cells that I had. (And hopefully have no more). For that, additional pathological test were order to test for receptors, etc in the cancer cells.

Seeing the oncologist: That's a downer; kind of like the upper of seeing the gynecologist for the first time when you're pregnant: it makes it all very real. Chemotherapy will start as soon as my system has recuperated from surgery. Next week I see all three doctors again before any chemo is prescribed: and must have another round of blood tests, EKG, and other system checks to be sure I'm up to the chemo. Jehovah Shama!!

Pastor Phylis

"I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for."
- Jeremiah 29:11

This was now the third time Jesus appeared to His disciples after He was raised from the dead. - John 21:14

William Wallace was a Scotsman who sought freedom from a tyrannical king of England in the 1200s. He initially took up this cause in retaliation for his own personal family losses. His cause grew among the people, and it became an insurrection against England. Wallace entreated Robert the Bruce, the future king of Scotland. However, Bruce betrayed Wallace in return for lands from the king of England. Wallace was turned over to the king of England to be tortured to death for crimes against England. Bruce realized his betrayal against Wallace and his own country. This remorse led to real repentance and a return to his commitment to the people of Scotland. He finally took ownership of the mission to free Scotland from England. He led the people of Scotland into subsequent battles against England and freed them. Wallace's defeat ultimately led to victory through Bruce. It took the lives of many, including Wallace, for victory to be accomplished. [James Mackay, William Wallace, Brave Heart (Edinburgh, Scotland: Mainstream Publishing, 1995).]

So often defeat is what is required before victory can be won. Jesus said that unless the seed dies and goes into the ground it cannot bring forth fruit (see Jn. 12:24). The death of a vision is often required before the fulfillment can really take place. Have you failed at something in your life? Have you not seen the vision fulfilled you thought you were given? The vision may yet happen.

The disciples thought they suffered their greatest defeat when Jesus died on the cross. However, this defeat became the greatest victory on earth. Christ's death gave liberty. Forgiveness came to all men. New life came forth-new strength for the disciples. Resurrection and new life came as a result of a "defeat."

"There are triumphant defeats that rival victories" (Montaigne, French philosopher).