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

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Just Thinkin' 'bout things

Deuteronomy 33:25
"As your days, so shall your strength be."
This scripture has always been a comfort to me.
It's a blessing given to the tribe of Asher,
but also a promise from God to be applied to my life.
He gives me sufficient strength for each day.
No matter what!

Yesterday was an interesting day. I managed to mess up on my disability paperwork here at the last minute and had to go see my doctors for re-certification. The questions made me start thinking about this past year and my state of health. Funny. The human psyche likes to forget unpleasantness and goes to great lengths to do so. that I'm feeling so much better than before, sometimes I think I'm really back where I started.

When I had to write it all down on paper, I had to focus on the deficits. The thing that worries me most about going back to work is the cognitive glitches I still have. If I didn't know it were chemo-effects, I'd be headed for the neurologist to see if I had early onset Alzheimers. I still can't multi-task. One thing at a time is all I can manage. At one point, I couldn't put a meal together (cooking requires simple multi-tasking); I can do that now, not as efficiently as before, but I can do it. I still haven't figured out how I can teach a class of 30 14-year-olds and not multi-task. My memory is "iffy" at best. I've always been a certifiable "space cadet", but it's serious now. I also have difficulty focusing on a complicated task. Hmmm. Is teaching complicated? When I mentioned the cognitive concerns to my doctor, he just commented that chemotherapy is very hard on the body. Normal function is supposed to return -- but he didn't say when. Then there's still the hand and foot neuropathy. Most of the time it's just a nuisance, but when I have to climb to the third floor quickly several times a day, and be on my feet all day every day, it's bound to flare up. Oh well. We shall see.

I was thinking that the class I'm taking next week (for four consecutive days) would be a good test of how I'll function in the classroom. But in reality taking a class is much easier than teaching one. But I will see if I can actually function for four full days without the stress of teaching.

I thought I did really well on vacation. For the most part I was my usual self. On the 1 hour hike, I was much slower than usual. I didn't go to the top--which was very difficult for me to accept that I had to stop before getting there! (Thanks Tom for staying with me all the way!) And there were lots of slow days with the girls, swimming and such. Even so, when I got home, I managed to get through a normal Sunday. Then for the next three days, I did very little. I did get pictures posted, but that was about it.

So....I'm going to be very happy to get back to school. I'll be even happier if I'm doing reasonably well after the first 6 weeks. (Report card time is always the most difficult)!! I'll just have to trust the Lord for that strength for each day!

Thanks for your prayers!

Pastor Phylis

Monday, July 23, 2007

Deal or No Deal
by Pastor Bob Huerta

Bob's sermon yesterday morning:

And the temptations of (a) Do it yourself (self-sufficiency),
(b) Take the easy way (accept counterfeits),
(c) Failure to believe until you SEE it on your own terms
(Making God serve us),

Was it....Deal, or No Deal?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bob, Teklemarian, Maria, Phylis

Facing Life's Difficulties
Tuberous Sclerosis Complex

I met three amazing people these past two weeks. The first was a friend in Phoenix whose son has *tuberous sclerosis complex, with the resultant developmental delay, retardation and autism. As a psychologist, a teacher and a pastor, I have observed many parents interact with disabled children. Never have I seen a parent use the level of understanding, tenderness and care with which this single mother interacts with her son. (Name omitted since I haven't asked permission.) She regards her son as a gift from God given in order to teach her about life. I learned much from observing her! (*Information about this condition is given below.)

The next two people are a couple from Ethiopia: Teklemarian and his wife, Maria. I first heard this story more than twenty years ago at a Conference in Louisiana at which Princess Sofia from Ethiopia spoke. Teklemarian was a pastor at a time when the church was being rigorously persecuted. Armed soldiers came to them demanding that he desist preaching the Gospel of Christ, and that he renounce his faith or face imprisonment. He refused. They then threatened his family. Again he refused. Then a soldier snatched their infant daughter from the arms of Maria and killed her in front of them. Steadfastly, they refused to renounce Christ. Teklemarian was imprisoned; his wife was left with their baby to bury and other children to care for. (And some days I think I've had a rough two years!) To this day, I weep at the retelling of this story. Maria, however, listened with serenity, having made peace with that portion of her life long ago. Her demeanor gives new meaning to the word serenity!

However, Ethiopia had a sweeping revival. Today millions of believers experience freedom in worship due to the sacrifices of people like Teklemarian, Maria and Princess Sophia who also was imprisoned at that time.

Understanding that choosing the path of faith does not always mean an easy road is central to maintaining faith in the face of adversity.

My prayer is that in reading these stories you are encouraged through whatever difficulty you may be facing. Meeting these people was an inspiration to me. Thank you Teklemarian, Maria and my newfound friend.

Blessings to you and yours
Pastor Phylis

*Info from:

*What is tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC)?
Tuberous sclerosis complex is a genetic condition characterized by lesions of the skin and central nervous system, tumor growth and seizures. The disease affects some people severely, while others are so mildly affected that it often goes undiagnosed. Some people with tuberous sclerosis experience developmental delay, mental retardation and autism. However, there are also many people with tuberous sclerosis living independent, healthy lives who are enjoying challenging professions such as doctors, lawyers, educators and researchers.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

From the Huerta Family Reunion
in beautiful
Bayard, New Mexico
alt. 5,862 ft

Monday, July 9, 2007

A final goodbye

July 4th

I said "Adieu" to my friend on the 4th of July and have been in a funk ever since. I think M1 said what was on my mind, "Grandma, will we ever see Teresa again?"

I responded, "Probably, in a year or two." But I do wonder.

Prior to this visit, we were in Ecuador for a visit in 1995. Before that, we left Ecuador in May, 1979. This was her first time in the U.S. So...not a good track record for frequency of visits. But it doesn't have to stay that way!

Not so surprisingly her leaving reminded me of other losses. For the first time this summer, I had the urge to go visit Victor's grave.

Goodbye's are like that!

Pastor Phylis