Monday, December 20, 2010

Update on the Chamorro Family (cont. from blog posting on 6/17).

Monday, December 20th, 2010 7:33 AM


Ruben had an appointment with Dr. Lopez last Wed. She was very pleased with his progress. After examining him and talking for awhile she leaned very close to him, looking directly into his eyes and said "Ruben you are a Christmas miracle!!". What an amazing Christmas gift to the whole family. Praise God for his goodness.

Ruben with his dog "Batman" 

1-He has not had a transfusion for over 2 months. His red and white blood counts are near a low normal range and his platelets are low but holding their own. All good news.

2-She is taking him off of the drug that helps his bone marrow work at making blood. So how he adapts to that adjustment will be another indicator of how he is doing.

3-He will have another bone marrow biopsy done on Dec. 27th.

Ruben in "pool therapy" this past summer

4-Looking over the past year she said he has experienced almost every kind of a set back there is except for a stroke. This is partially due to his age but he has fought back and recovered each time and that is because of the great condition his body was in when all of this started.

5-She was able to give him a flu shot. This was never possible before.

6-She plans to reduce his meds he is taking, a little at a time.

7-Dr's Lopez and Hashimi both feel that the pain he keeps having is from his bone marrow working to make blood. Hopefully this will subside soon.

8-The Exjade drug he is taking to reduce the iron in his blood is being cut in half.

9-She is referring him to the Pain Mangagement clinic at Cedars. They will do a review of all of his medication and try to help him with his pain.

10-The one specific prayer request that Melody has is, they are applying for a different insurance that would be better for Ruben's situation. Pray that he will be accepted.

Ruben with his brothers at Thanksgiving

I think that about covers it. Thank you for praying. God is at work and your prayers do matter. Also pray for Melody and Durrell as they continue as caregivers.

Merry Christmas to everyone from the Chamorro family. God bless you each and everyone.

Thank you to Melody's Mom, Joanie,  for this update. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Innkeeper’s Out Building

Imagine for a minute...What if Christ came in our lifetime?   

Highway 15 passed through a sparsely populated outpost between Barstow and Baker; a truck stop in which I was the proprietor. The desert winds scoured this place like maggots on a carcass and tonight they howled as if evil himself devised the choreography. The trucks come and go but most of the drivers sleep in their cabs. The gift shop and diner are managed by my ex-wife, Frannie. We do our best to stay out of each other’s way. Tonight, my rooms are packed full as well as the lot, so I flip on the “No Vacancy” sign. I wonder, “why the traffic all of a sudden?”

The morning comes and I rise before the sun to the steady hum of the big rigs. I had this nagging chore to take care of before the end of the year in order to be re-insured on this place, and today was the day to tackle that out-building. I had been neglecting this little building as of late and now I was forced to face it.  ...seems it was a good place to put stuff I wasn’t quiet sure what to do with. The roof needed some repairing too.   I hiked up to the top of the small knoll and over to this strange little “oasis” of pepper trees and palms planted around the small shack. I had forgotten that once this was a large sheep ranch and this particular building was the only original left standing since before the 19th century. As I walked inside, I saw the sheep shearer’s equipment still hanging on the wall like museum pieces in the sheep stalls. The light filtered in through the roof as I looked up and saw all the holes in need of repair. Something white flashed before my eyes, a cooing dove swiftly flew from the rafters past me and out the door. Gazing at the boxes and other discarded rubble; I definitely knew this was a fire hazard. The Fire Marshall would not sign off on my fire policy until this situation was confronted. After several hours, some even on my hands and knees, I finished the task, and then grabbed my tool belt to head for the roof.

While on the roof, I loosened the belt (from where I used to notch it), reached into the worn leather and found something odd. It was the bulletin from Temple, probably from the last time I had attended. “That was a strange place for this to be, I thought.” I opened it up and read the reading from that day. It was from the 5th chapter of the book of Micah in the Holy Scriptures.

2But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Although I hadn’t kept up a good repo ire with God and all that spiritual stuff, I stopped and thought for a minute, “If ever this world needed a Messiah, the time was surely now.” There was a reason I had isolated myself out here. Corruption, greed, and perversion had not just taken this country, but the whole world. Many Believers were mercilessly persecuted. There were very few gatherings of worshippers in any public arena. Only one small place locally I knew of,  a small remnant  of the faithful had relocated. They called themselves “The Hope” and they were lead by a very charismatic man named John Baptiste. Building a nice little town not too far from here, they seemed to be destined to continue God’s calling on their lives. There were rumors that our little truck stop might soon be annexed into this town they called Bethlehem. More than likely, it was probably some scheme to collect more tax money.

The “No Vacancy” signed still glared red in the window as I began to close shop that night. I was so tired from working hard that day, repairing the out-building shed. The bell suddenly clanged at the reception desk and I returned to see who needed my attention. There they stood, a young couple looking bedraggled and anxious as if dropped by the howling wind itself.

“No Vacancy”, I said shaking my head at the same time in case they were foreigners. Then I saw her belly as she groaned in obvious pain of impending birth. The wind was singing tonight and I looked up outside and saw the magnificent starry night and the out-building I had cleaned up that day, mysteriously illuminated by this same sky.

Quickly, I called Frannie, awakening her to my own distress. We made the couple comfortable as we could in the sheep shearer’s shed. Frannie stayed and assisted the young woman whose name was Mary. Frannie had been a nurse when we first met. Mary gave birth to a beautiful, healthy boy that night, in all places, my newly cleaned up sheep shearer’s shed.

In the next few weeks the truck driver’s continued to come, but not for Frannie’s famous chicken-fried steak. They drove to see and to honor this baby, born in the sheep shearer’s shed. They were made aware of this special event the night it happened by their network of CB radios. They were told that this child was special, that this was the Messiah.

Frannie and I grew closer again; forgiveness seemed suddenly the right thing---the only thing to do. We now knew we were part of something orchestrated, something miraculous. Was this really the Messiah? The Promised One? We believed, finding reconciliation and a new purpose.

Standing at my desk, I opened the mail, reading my renewed Fire Insurance Policy. The wind blew open the door and that same white dove flew into my office, perching on top of the wedding picture I once again displayed of Frannie and I. Yes, I was a True Believer.”

By the way, the name of my little business out here on the outskirts of Bethlehem?




In this busy Christmas season, please take the time yourself to ponder the miracle that is Christmas.  Christ came in the form of man to repair your relationship with the Father.  He refuels us everyday with His Word and gives us the gift of His Holy Spirit  to be our Helper.   We can rest in His Promises that we  are forgiven and Eternity with Him awaits. 

Romans 8

Life Through the Spirit

1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What in the "Dickens" is Going On?

The Carpenter worked for two partners, Scrooge and Grinch, Inc. for the last eighteen  years or so. It seems their names were not always as descriptive of a particular character trait as now, but as the country goes the business, (or is it the other way around?)  For months now,  it seemed that Scrooge and Grinch were not seeing eye to eye on the nuances of running a business in a bad economy. The usual things began to take place like other businesses across the country.  Layoffs happened, benefits disappeared.  Gas prices went up but gas allowances were nullified.   Jobs were farther and farther away.   Business phones were now personal phones as well.  Health Insurance also became a necessary personal expense burdened by only the employee.  The carpenter remained loyal and thankful he was working at all. Without a raise in ten years, he watched as his pay dropped $2.00hr. His "sacrifice" was noted as hopefully temporary.  The Carpenter and His family relied on God to provide for their needs.  Although the struggle was always there, they knew they were learning and waiting and receiving grace upon grace at every turn.  Scrooge and Grinch though,  continued their bickering.  It seemed they needed a Mediator as well, someone who would bring a greater wisdom. Bah! Humbug...things continued to escalate. 

The carpenter continued his hard work despite  the loss of his Apprentice son to layoff.  He holds  the memory of his oldest son Tiny Tim, in his damaged heart. He  listens to praise music as he labors and travels the long and busy roads back to his humble home. The carpenter's wife waits,  after her day of student assisting at school. The carpenter's  arthritic knees carry him up and down stairs.  Favoring his knees, he feels the ache in his hips when he is at home.  He smiles as he prepares his latest recipes, relaxing and enjoying his hobby of cooking.  

The carpenter finally gets an opportunity to make some extra money.  He is placed on an important job.  The month of Thanks rolls around and the holidays will soon be here.  The temperature dips far below what should be at this time of year.  The house grows cold as the furnace will not kick on.  Payday has arrived on Friday as usual, yet there is a funny feeling floating around.  "No paycheck today",  the word finally came down. Be patient, maybe by Monday..."

Monday came and went, and so did the following Friday.  Two weeks now without payroll being met.  

Seems Scrooge and Grinch are not communicating at all.  Scrooge seems to be in charge, the check signer...Scrooge even shows up at the job to make sure everyone is working...

The carpenter is working, believing, hoping. The carpenter's wife is praying yet feeling discouraged and sad.  
                                          God begins to send angels. 

                                           The gas tank is filled
                                           The phone is back on. 
                                           The electric bill is paid.

The carpenter's wife finally breaks down and cries a heartfelt cry to God to bring her out of her doubt  and give her peace through this trial.  She knows this is not something they caused.  She knows God will walk them through this.  Her anxiety is given over.  She waits for delivery.  She goes about her business.

While tutoring her student in their home, the carpenter's wife and her student  begin to go over the DMV test he had previously failed.  The first question was about traffic. A sign was given with a drawing and a choice about what the sign meant.  The student had missed this question, so the carpenter's wife described and drew her own picture of a car waiting to yield.         

 Later that evening, God had blessed her with an invitation to hear a well-known speaker and author at a local church.  While listening to Elizabeth George speak, she heard a word; a word she had used just a few hours earlier.  The word was YIELD.  

The "Spirit from Trials Past" had visited her, right there at her dining room table while tutoring her student, yet she did not recognize it.  Yield.  Let the enemy and his schemes go by, wait until it's safe.  Do not merge into danger and let your Joy be rear ended.  Wait patiently on God. She had experienced this exact thing so many other,  even harder times in her life.  Here again, the speaker was reiterating this same idea; "Yield to God, Consent to His will, Get into the Center of His Joy." "The Spirit of Trials Present" was making His appearance and Joy began to rise in the Carpenter's wife's soul  as she listened and heard her Lord begin to give her that Peace she had prayed for. She is  reminded of a verse from the book of James:  

James 5:7  Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.

Arriving home that evening and meditating on what God had confirmed to her, she opened her e-mail to find a message from a friend.  He had said that he had sent her something and was concerned if it had arrived.  Although it was quite late, she went to her mailbox to retrieve the mail.  Sitting down, she opened the card he had sent along with a generous gift.  God was providing.  She looked at the card and had to laugh until tears of joy came streaming out.  Her favorite character, Snoopy, rides in a car through traffic.  The "Spirit of Trials Future" visits her in the quiet chair in front of her computer.                                                 

Jeremiah 17:7-8 

 7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
   whose confidence is in him.
8 They will be like a tree planted by the water
   that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
   its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
   and never fails to bear fruit.”

Once again...Hang on, wait,  Yield...

Scrooge and Grinch may be tearing apart and savaging the leftovers of the turkey carcass, but we will choose to make soup.  For now, we will wait and pray and hope in the Lord that honesty and integrity will win out and many will enjoy the fruits of their labor for the Christmas Holidays.  We pray for Scrooge and Grinch, that they too will find a miracle this Christmas and yield their hearts to the Great Mediator.  

For now my friends, May the Spirit of Trials past give you a remembrance of God's loving care, may the Spirit of Trials present bring much encouragement to you and may the Spirit of Trials Future fill you with Wisdom from all three. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Poetic Look at the 2010 NephCure Walk, Inland Empire Style

It rained as predicted, early morn.

Rain arrived in darkness,
The tears from Heaven's morn.
A stream of thought reminds me, 
Today we walk for our first born.

Timmy, age 15 ( in relapse this pic.)  

Tim with Corey;  he is very swollen  from kidney disease here.  
Tim in a happier time with his beloved truck. 

My life mimics the weather, 

Well, I needed a rhyme here,  and it's true! 
As drench gives way to drizzle.
Savor the smells of nourishment,
Sweet bacon on grill to sizzle.


A new    neighbor, a kid 'round the corner;
To hang with the Brother, new friend.
I wouldn't put your food here if I were you...
In our days of walking for kidneys,
And others, the day we will spend. 

Ted, Chris Hardwick, (Ted's BFF from High school) and James...Tim and Corey's BFF. 

Loma Linda Med. Center as seen
from the freeway. 

Road travels light as we pass
The place where miracles are born.
A community of caring and sharing; 
On the radio, a song of a storm. 

Tim's FSGS was
 diagnosed here. 

"Jesus, Bring the Rain" Mercy Me 
The Sun now is brightly shining.
The rain now is gone, puddles...purpose.
"If that's what it takes to praise you..."
It's your Grace that's been showered on us.

Dr. Sahney, Tim's Pediatric Nephrologist, Loma Linda. 
Years have gone by since I've seen her,
The Doc who took care of my child.
Bittersweet, the story I'm sharing,
Told with a tear and a smile. 

Showing up on a path that we stride,
A golf ball, hidden in the sand. 
Telling me son, you're near, with approval,
Proud of all we have planned.  

So, this gift is a cause for us all,
To be charitable and help find a cure.
For kidneys help us clean-up,
The things that leave us impure. 

Hazel Treviso, received a transplant 5 years ago!  

Vicky Ford and family, her youngest with FSGS 

Melanie Hunter and family 

In triumph and victory we finish,
To relax and to share our same plight. 
New families with small ones and worries,
But with Hope in NephCure's Big Fight! 

Jessica, James, Chris, Ted, Eric, Coleene and Corey. 

Thank You to everyone who donated for the walk. The fund-raising effort will continue through December 31st, so if you haven't yet, link on to my page to make an easy donation.

Enjoy some more pictures from our special day:

Yucaipa Regional Park

Setting out to Walk for a Cure 
Dr. Sahney and others, "moving to the music"

Catherine Lepone, our walk coordinator with Dr. Sahney

The Treviso Family, Hazel doing great, playing sports and loved by her team! 

This was a walk...not a race!  

Mom with daughter, hoping for a cure. 
The weather was not fowl!  
Ethan year he will be walking!  
The Walk was about 2 miles, a figure 8 around the lake and a hill.

Team "Kidney Care's" ...Bumblebee mascot

Thank you God for this opportunity to see new horizons in my life. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Story of Inspiration within an Aspiring Writer's Group.

Have you ever "signed on" to a commitment with just the'd give it a try and see what happens?  Starting in Spring of 2009, the writing group I co-lead with my partner and friend Linda B. was just that; Linda  had an inspiration, a challenge within her soul,  and she asked me to partner with her to form a writing group at our mutual home church, Chino Valley Community.  This is our story, a story of  RESTORATION, PURPOSE, STEADFASTNESS, STRENGTH, UNITY, VICTORY, MIRACLES and DESTINY brought forth in a tangible publication, "Christmas Inspirations."  

First, let me tell you a little about my friend, Linda.  A transplanted midwesterner, Linda attended San Diego State Univ, graduating summa cum laude with her degree in journalism in 1993.  It is there she met Gary, her husband.   Linda would go on to work as an Intern/Researcher for San Diego Home Garden and Lifestyles magazine where she continued to hone her skills as both a writer and editor.  After graduation she was promoted to Copy Editor/Proofreader.  She also had the opportunity to write the film column, special events, and restaurant reviews.

It was in 1979 when things took a turn for her.  Diagnosed with a intestinal condition called "Chronic Idiopathic Intestinal Pseudo-obstruction,  "I spent the next seven  years on total Parentral Nutrition and an additional three years on hydration therapy," writes Linda in our on-line quickie interview.  In layman's terms, she could not eat as others and her physical health  was very compromised. After gaining some stability, Linda suffered two major setbacks in which she came close to losing her life, once in 1995/96 and again after moving to Chino in 2000, a major setback in  2007/08.  Even though I had never met Linda; I was praying for her .  We shared a mutual friend, Cathy.   It is in this last block of time that I would hear her name through this  friend, a special person in both our lives,  who was ministering to both of us. I met Linda when she started coming to my small group.  By then, I was beginning to explore my own writing possibilities, expressing my grief (after loosing our son in Feb. of 2007)  and comfort from God in journaling and writing devotionals and stories for  I was only sharing with a few "safe" friends.  Linda had buried her idea of becoming a writer again, discouraged for many years with her illness,  God continued to bring miracles of survival to her life and she knew God was telling her, through many encouragements from our friend Cathy, that she had more of "her story" to tell, that God had a plan for her.  (Do you see God at work here?)  

Not long after our son passed away, we moved.  I quickly learned that my new friend Linda, her husband Gary and beloved dog, Kindu,  were neighbors.  One day, Linda approached me with a  crazy idea.  "Would you like to start a writing group with me at the church?"  

"A writing group?  Who would join?...most people like Bible Study on Wed. nights...

Yep, those were my thoughts...not really negative, not wholly positive...just well, OK...we will give this a try.  If anything, we will have put forth the effort to try something different.  So, Linda and I, with the blessing of our ministry director, Jan, added "Aspiring Writer's Forum" to the calendar of Chino Valley Comm. Church. on Wed. evenings.  August  2009, the table went up for Fall class sign-ups.  We were to meet in our church library, and Linda and I started to plan class outlines and writing exercises and purchase journals. To our amazement (and why are we so amazed at what God does...after all, He is God!), we had several sign-ups.  We would start each class after prayer with a thought provoking "journal question."  Usually this question had something to do with the previous Sunday's sermon.  Everyone journaled, and then we shared...well not every one at first...but as more became vulnerable and began to share...the unity and trust began. This is how the walls came down...the ground work began...the dirt sifted and the Trust framed up in a new restorative process through the lives of those special people who took the risk and signed on.  Each will tell you of their own reluctance to be in a class as this.  Each will tell you of the weeks each kept walking back in, amazed at what God was doing amongst us, each will tell you of the Joy this class has brought to their lives. Chino Valley Community Church's Aspiring Writer's Forum had a greater purpose than we could have ever imagined in those first few weeks.   

We wrote and self published a book in nine months!  The DNA of nine aspiring writers created a booklet of Advent Stories, one for each day of December, culminating in THE Christmas Story as told in Luke 2.  Christmas Inspirations began as a "Kingdom Assignment" : a challenge from our pulpit, to take something little,  whether it be money,  talent or just sheer will and GROW it for God's Glory and to serve others. (  After all classes took a break for the summer, we continued on, learning all we could about telling powerful stories, editing, --humbleness, graphics, art --and personal taste, about copyrights and public domain,  disappointments and new opportunities, about pagination, collating and book binding.  Through all this we prayed, and we kept evil far away.  

On Saturday, Oct. 16th, we came together for our final effort to bind this work of Love together--500 books.  Bringing the two binding machines to Irene's' house was someone else very important in this effort,  Mark, Cathy's husband. He  is a supervisor at a large industrial printing company.  While their company could not print our books for us, we decided the best way was to print on our copier at church in off hours, (with their blessing,  but not free).  Mark also helped us with a discount on paper.  Towards the end of summer, Mark had a very serious accident at work, nearly losing his hand. Without going into detail here, Mark never wavered on his effort to help us see our project to the end, despite his traumatic hand injury.  

"Christmas Inspirations" is now available for purchase.  The proceeds are designated for scholarships to  benefit children in our area to attend summer camp; this "Kingdom Assignment" now reaping the profit.  In these difficult economical times, we can see the multiplication of a "few loaves of bread  and some fish" and God's provision.  We are thankful and blessed.  Enjoy now the pictures of this effort and please, don't hesitate to purchase your own copy.  

P.S.  This September's sign-ups saw all original writers return plus we have added some new "rookies" to the mix. We  moved to a bigger classroom, the excitement looms  and although we are not ready to take on another project right now, we continue to encourage each other in our writing goals and inspire each other to their "writing destiny." 
working this summer at my house
Carl, the serious one, Rose, the college English prof and Irene, a world-wide missionary
Linda, our fearless leader, Gary, her sidekick husband, myself, and Kaela, are Hawaiian princess
Kaela and Barb, putting the back and front covers together.  

Carl,  our mid-term edition to our group, always inspiring!  
Mark, despite his mangled hand, working the hole punch machine.  
front cover and back cover, artwork by me!  

The "Double Wire O's" and the machine that "Binds"  Thank you L.G. for your effort here.  

This is L.G.  He is a new member this year and anxious to learn how to express himself in writing in English,  He is from China.  We had a lot of fun with idioms in the English language while working that afternoon.  

Linda, my partner and friend.  
Thank you Irene for your great hospitality and always positive attitude and wisdom.  
Cathy, responsible for bringing Linda and I together, Linda and Irene
Gary, carefully counting and packaging our books when complete.  

A Season of Harvest for both of us!  
Barb, our graphics expert.
Forty in each box, ready to sell  

Our group: new member L.G., Gary and Carl
Kaela, Rose, Julie, Linda, Barb, Coleene, supportive friends, Cathy and  Mark, missing member,  Sarah.  
Jesus says:  "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matt. 11:28  ( NLT)

A Rooster Leads A Chorus, A Baby In The Womb Leaps For Joy,  Tears Reflect a Blessed Life, A Camel Is Missing In Action, Mice Create Music...Read These Stories And More in "Christmas Inspirations", An Advent Compilation Of Chino Valley Community Church's Aspiring Writer's Forum