Visiting an older blog and reblogging. About this time last year, we were in Goa, India. What a lovely place. Did you know the remains of St. Francis Xavier are there. Gotta love Goa, India.
By John Ed Mathison
Director of John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries¹
Riccardo Russo is a motorcycle racer in Europe. He recently was competing in the Italian championship race. Coming to the end of the race, he was the leader. He was ready to win.
The problem was that he started celebrating his “win” a lap too early. He began fist pumping
View original post 485 more words
Got some great new awards. Yay! Thanks friends!
Author Lada Ray has the coolest site with fantastic photos. She has given me the Reader’s Appreciation Award:
The rules for this award are: Post seven interesting things about yourself, Nominate 5 people who in turn will post on their page the award with the link to the giver, Let them know about the nomination. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.
Instead of seven things about myself, here’s seven of my favorite savings, which should tell something about me.
1. Leap and the net will appear. John Burroughs.
2. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
3. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. From the Desiderata. I’ve always loved this entire poem.
4. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4:13
5. Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10 (In any anxious moment, this one always speaks to me.)
6. I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. – Thomas Edison
7. There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle. – Albert Einstein
And I nominate these wonderful bloggers. Check out their blogs.
1. Glenda Mills is truly one of my favorite bloggers. She has the most inspirational, beautiful blog. Check it out and it will be your fav, too. http://glendamills.com/
2. Rosalie Skinner, fantasy author, also has a great site
3. And the coolest kid in town has the coolest blog around. Check out funny guy, Rick Bylina’s blog.
4. Find some inspiration over at Gracie Hills blog.
5. And some more over at Ada Brownell’s Blog
Thanks Lada Ray, for this award. Check out her fascinating blog with uplifting and educating content as well as fabulous photos.
The next award, The Thought Provoking Award…
…was given by Gracie over at Gracie’s Quest. Her blog is truly thought provoking and inspirational. It is an honor to receive this nomination. Thank you Gracie. Here’s the link to her blog.
Here are the award rules (slightly paraphrased):1. Post the award on your blog. 2. Thank the one who nominated you and link back to their blog. 3. Nominate 7-12 other bloggers you admire and enjoy! 4. Share 7 things about yourself. 5. Inform each person that you have nominated them.
Ok, I’m going to do something different for this award. I’ll nominate photography blogs that are thought provoking and inspirational. Then, I’m going to share seven of my own photographs that I hope are thought provoking and awe-inspiring.
1. http://apixelatedlife.org/ Steven White has an outstanding blog featuring his photos and his inspirational thoughts. He’s a new blogger, so please support him
Here’s the seven photos I promised. Just amateur stuff, from cool places I’ve visited:
1. Our Lady of Walsingham, Walsingham, England
2. Isle of Iona, Scotland
3. Rosemead, California. Now tell me that this photo below isn’t thought provoking. It’s the picture of a water stain. Pots watered by a priest friend of ours who is the director of a novitiate where we stayed. I took this photo and can testify that it is purely a water stain and not painted. What do you see?
5. Goa, India
6. Big Horn Mountains, Wyoming
7. Somewhere in Kansas
And Gracie also nominated me for the Super Sweet Blogger Award. Thanks Gracie. Arnel at http://allthingsboys.wordpress.com/ also nominated me for this same award. Check out both of these super sweet blogs.
Rules for this award include: Thank the super sweet blogger who made the nomination, Nominate a baker’s dozen of other bloggers (below…), and answer five questions:
- Cookie or cake? Cookie – snickerdoodle
- Chocolate or Vanilla? Both
- What is your favourite sweet treat? Crème Brule
- When do you crave sweet things the most? Equally all the time, except when I’m sleeping.
- If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be? Um…Sweetie-Pie.
And for the sweetness award, I nominate this baker’s dozen of super-sweet blogs:
And last but not least, Lizzie Joy also nominated me for two awards, Very Inspiring Blogger Award and Thought Provoking Blog Award. Thanks Lizzie Joy. She has a beautiful travel photo blog. I mentioned it above and nominated her back for the Thought Provoking Award because her blog is really fantastic.
In honor of International Day of Peace, I’m so thrilled to introduce one of my favorite authors: From Nuremberg, Germany, Edith Parzefall! Her latest novel STRAYS OF RIO is released today. Today, Edith is here to guest blog about her time in Rio de Janeiro, the setting of her latest release, STRAYS OF RIO! Welcome Edith!
Today, on the International Day of Peace, my novel Strays of Rio is published. The thriller genre I chose for Strays of Rio made it difficult to show much of the kind, fun-loving, life-embracing and caring nature of Brazilians.
Now I want to thank the wonderful people, who watched out and cared for me and my companion. A stall owner on the beach ran after us when I accidentally paid double the price for our food and walked away. A man on the street made sure we got on the right bus. A boy chased us down when my friend forgot her shoes in the sand of a beach restaurant. He didn’t even wait long enough for us to give him some money.
When I booked a Rio city tour in advance, the lady who organized it asked where to pick us up. I gave her the name and address of the hostel. A few days later she sent me an e-mail telling me she’d taken a detour on her way to work to check out the place, but the hostel looked abandoned. I tried to call them to no avail. My e-mails went unanswered.
Just in time, we were able to book a lovely quaint hotel in Bairro Peixoto. If this lady hadn’t cared so much, we’d have ended up hauling our suitcases through Rio de Janeiro in search of accommodation. This might have provided some interesting experiences for the novel, but one shouldn’t be too greedy. Come to think of it, Cariocas would likely have immediately taken the two lost gringas under their protective wings.
People never tried to rip us off, quite the contrary. They cared for our well-being and safety. At the hotel, my friend lost fifty Reais in the lounge area of the small lobby. Five minutes after we’d retreated to our room, the concierge called because he’d found the bills on the sofa where we’d been sitting.
As it turned out, the most striking experience for me was how amazingly helpful Brazilians are and how happy to talk to interested strangers, particularly our guide, who took us through favela Rocinha, with the approval of the local drug gang. He showed us the community school and introduced us to the headmistress and an American living and teaching English in the favela. Thank you all!
I hope the International Day of Peace will not only bring me joy over the
release of Strays of Rio, but create cease-fires all over the world and foster
sustainable peace on many levels. My heart and mind are in Rio de Janeiro
today, where the war over drugs and power still rages.
US link to purchase STRAYS OF RIO
I thought this Virtual Blog Book Tour was appropriate today, given recent events. My friend, Vicky was on life support ten days ago and survived, by the grace of God, a massive heart/liver/lung failure, defeating all odds. She walked out of the hospital yesterday, all organs miraculously normal. Doctor’s are baffled and have no answers, except one doctor who said, “God gave her a heart transplant.”
Today on my blog, Author Elizabeth Chalker, one who is also fighting to defeat her physical illness, shares about her new book, HANGING ON. Please check out her book and interview below, and please offer prayers for her full recovery.
Virtual Book Tour for Elizabeth Chalker
About the Book
Foreword by Pastor Charles Carrin and Dr. Corey Cameron
You—one person—an individual, can literally change this whole world with love. By focusing on love, making a choice to love, feeding all that is positive, good, and of the light with exuberance and abundance instead of feeding the negative and evil things of the darkness. You can literally change the world and yourself. One relationship–one interaction–one decision at a time.
If you are experiencing the dark night of the soul in affliction year after year, it will present you, as it has me, with opportunities not found in most other life circumstances.
This is a life story of being in the fire, where I currently remain, where my heart for the Lord has become increasingly insatiable. A deepened intimacy has developed and continues to grow even through this very moment, and will continue beyond. As you read, this is my hope and prayer for you as well.
About The Author
Elizabeth Chalker is still in the furnace of life’s’ calamities and fighting the good fight of faith and endurance, keeping her eyes on the prize of heaven. Before serious, physical illness devastated her body, Elizabeth was on the fast track as a successful psychologist and addictions specialist, working with violent juvenile offenders and their families, near completion of her third graduate degree. Her life is a testimony of faith that is steadfast and remains no matter the seemingly dark, unjust, and treacherous circumstances of life. She resides in Lighthouse Point, Florida. Elizabeth continues to minister to those in need and aspires to show God’s glory through every breath she takes.
This is a real life story of being in the fire, where I currently remain, where my heart for the Lord has become increasingly insatiable. A deepened intimacy has developed and continues to grow even through this very moment, and will continue beyond. As you read, this is my hope and prayer for you as well. ~ Elizabeth
Q: What motivated you to begin writing?
A: I began writing as a catharsis to everyday life. Also, as an avenue to share raw insights, emotion, and to inspire and encourage others.
Q: What is your favorite genre to write? Why?
A: My favorite genre to write is non-fiction. I believe there is more than enough to share about real life, our raw human expressions and dealings, events that happen in life, ponderings of our hearts and minds, to fill volumes without the necessity of fantasy. Our authentic lives hold many and continuous unfolding stories that we each want to share, and that we desire to have heard. When we share from an altruistic place, we make ourselves more vulnerable and hence, relatable to others. Such is an opportunity to connect with each other and share in all of the stories life affords.
My personal favorite subject in non-fiction is of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. He is my compass in life and my core. From this place, I exist and all of life is staged upon this foundation. Fiction has its place of course; I personally have the drive to write non-fiction.
Q: How have other jobs and life experiences influenced your writing?
A: Other jobs and life experiences have largely influenced my writing. Currently, I am in the challenge of a life-time in enduring and persevering through serious physical illness that has no cure in the natural and is potentially fatal, yet causes a very slow, agonizing death rather than a relatively quick demise.
Before becoming debilitated to the point of being mostly bed-ridden, I worked as a Psychologist in the fields of Forensic and Sports psychology. My work was with violent juvenile offenders and their families. Additionally, I worked with athletes helping them hone their skills and on and off the playing fields. [I helped] them to raise their confidence and play whatever sport it was, with passion rather than intensity, a life skill as well.
Working in both arenas afforded me the opportunity to see diverse aspects of society and opened my eyes to the deep need we all have to be loved, to be understood, to be cared about. No matter the population, whether gifted athletes or youth who lived in battlefields and committed violent crimes as a means to survive…the core need of each is the same.
Nevertheless, writing with different lenses; the lenses of talented athletes or that of sitting in a court room testifying on behalf of a teenager who has never known the love of another human… inspiration and self-analysis presents in profoundly deep measure.
Having serious physical disease with no cure, no answers and no means to receive necessary medical treatment, has deepened my relationship with God and the intimacy in relationship. Such has poured out and into my other relationships and given me a deeper compassion for individuals. Living with these diseases, where I am not able to simply think them away or ‘push through’ as if they did not exist, has truly humbled me and deepened my character as a person, all of which is reflected in my writing and influences the perspective I have on the world around me.
Q: What is the aim of Hanging On by the Scratch Marks My Nails Left Behind (Raw Faith)?
A: I have several aims of my book. One is to inspire individuals to self-examine and find their core; to realize that we are all children of God and therefore, one in Him. We tend to see as if from under a quilt as it is being made, where all that is seen is a bunch of haphazard threads from our view. God’s view is from above where everything comes together and forms a beautiful and complete picture. Another aim is to encourage individuals to seek love and extend love.
One of the most important aims of the book is to strengthen anyone who reads it, to cause him/her to embrace all of who he/she is, the parts we deem ‘dark’ and unacceptable as well as the parts we see as praiseworthy and pleasant.
Most importantly, my hope is that the reader will embrace intimacy with God and realize that raw expression of heart, no matter how unacceptable to the world, is honorable in the eyes of God and welcomed.
We live in a world where appearances are most important and true character; integrity, honesty, ethics, service…are balked at and mocked in exchange for superficial ‘wealth’ that only breeds hate and egocentricity. I pray that the God inspired messages in my book will lend ‘permission’ to the readers to step up within themselves and fully own all of who they are and share such with others, while also serving as a soft cushion for others to share.
Q: What was your experience like with your publisher?
A: I had a wonderful experience with my publisher. [They were] very helpful, patient, generous, humble, with expertise and leadership for guidance.
Q: Where do you look for inspiration when you are struggling?
A: Mainly I look to God. I see Him everywhere; through nature, other people, and the trials/triumphs of life.
Q: What are some activities that you are involved in aside from writing?
A: Currently I am fighting for my life and doing all I can to promote my book in order to have some income for life-saving medical treatment. Due to severe limitations from physical illness, I am not able to participate in much of life. Nevertheless, I do all I can and push to do more. Encouraging others and giving to my loved ones in all the ways I am able…sharing my relationship with Christ wherever I can…to God be the glory.
Book Website: www.elizabethchalker.org
Connect with Elizabeth:
http://www.publichealthalert.org/pdf/2010/2010_06.pdf (this is a link to Public Health Alert medical paper, the issue has some of my story, photos, and a letter to President Obama). I am happy to send a hard copy of this issue too?
For Book Ordering:
If you haven’t, you must read the two previous posts, Part 1: The Destination and Part 2: The Destination, Update and Prayer, to grasp my friend Vicky’s situation. She was on life support. Dying. Doctors and other medical staff reported she could not possibly survive the removal of the ventilator. Massive multi-organ failure. Heart. Lungs. Liver.
Vicky did not die when the tube was pulled out, a little over a week ago. She opened her eyes and said she wanted to live. The ethics committee took over. She was given care to keep her alive, but the word “futile” was repeated often. With the heart damage, it just wasn’t medically possible for her to survive much longer.
The medical staff insisted that the best hope was for Vicky to be transferred to hospice. Her heart would give out soon. She had 5% Ejection Fraction. Non-functioning liver. Lungs had been full of fluid.
Then something happened over the next few days. Improvements in her condition. Not expected. But still, she was labeled as “terminal.” The heart was the main problem. It could not sustain her much longer.
Yesterday, we were in the room with Vicky when the nurse came in with the results of the heart sonogram: “Her heart is normal.”
We were all shocked, elated, in tears!
One doctor declared, “God gave her a heart transplant.” There appears to be no medical reason that this can happen. We are told her heart could not repair itself. A doctor said, “We did nothing medically for her.”
Her liver is also normal. Her lungs are normal.
The medical staff keeps poring over her file. They can’t explain it. I can. A miracle! Vicky is doing well and will be released from the hospital, hopefully in the next few days. Thank you GOD! Thank you Jesus! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you all who prayed for Vicky!!!! You have been a part of a MIRACLE! Surely her destination is Heaven; but not yet.
Yesterday, I posted about my friend Vicky, who is miraculously surviving a massive coronary and organ shut down. She is still with us, but confused and agitated at times, her nurse reports. She still doesn’t always remember where she is and what has happened to her, often thinking she’s on a bus or in a strange house, wondering when she’s going to reach her destination. I really appreciate your prayers and support in the comments section. They comforted me and made me realize that I didn’t include a prayer of my own in yesterday’s post.
…knowing, when two or three gather in His name (even across the internet), He is there. Please pray with me:
Father, be with Vicky now…mortal arms often failed to hold her up when she was weak…and this fragile, gentle soul sometimes stumbled and fell. Jesus, wrap your Heavenly arms around Vicky now, as she once hugged and assured the tsunami orphans in India…
…shower Vicky with Your Mercy and Grace. Lord, heal her broken soul, her wounded heart, and restore her to complete fullness and wellness. As I can not sit at Vicky’s bedside today, please let your holy angels be her visitors. Please send Mother Mary, whom she loves, to sit with her and comfort her through her pain and confusion. Lord, don’t allow her to stray on the mountainside, alone and confused. O Good Shepherd, call to her, bind her wounds, heal her, and bring her to green pastures. Thank you Lord.
Troubles and trials often betray us
Causing the weary body to stray
But we shall walk beside the still waters
With the Good Shepherd leading the way
Those who have strayed were sought by the master
He who once gave his life for the sheep
Out on the mountain still he is searching
Bringing them in forever to keep
Going up home to live in green pastures
Where we shall live and die nevermore
Even the Lord will be in that number
When we shall reach that heavenly shore…
(Ferdinand Ortega – Green Pastures).
Below, Vicky in India with us in 2004, giving a Certificate of Deposit to an orphan that will help this child with college or marriage costs in a couple of years.
Our friend, Vicky, tells my husband and I she’s on a bus, traveling. She wants to get to her final destination, only she’s not sure where the bus is headed.
On Wednesday, Vicky went on life support following a massive cardiac arrest incident and multiple organ failure. Vicky has no family, no living will. On Thursday, the medical staff made a decision to stop life support. The tube was removed and the doctors concurred that she could not survive. After several hours, extremely dehydrated but alive, Vicky opened her eyes and said, “I want to live!”
With those words, the atmosphere in the ICU changed. Bright lights. Busy staff. Medical procedures.
Vicky needs a new heart, but she’s not a candidate, given her damaged and failing organs. No one can explain why she’s alive. But she is. Vicky has a brilliant mind, even now. She’s a deep thinker, even now. She’s an educated, vibrant, witty woman, who can crack a joke, even now.
But Vicky also cries often. She has a sensitive heart, maybe too sensitive. Her wounds, going back to her childhood, are deep and like open sores that she shows to us from her hospital bed in the ICU.
She’s the same Vicky we’ve known, but the ammonia build-up in her liver causes her confusion. She thinks she’s on a bus, or perhaps a train, she says. But she feels as if she’s traveling. “What’s happened to me?” She often asks, especially after waking. “Where am I?” Where are we going?”
When the tsunami hit South India, in 2004, Vicky was instrumental in our church’s major fundraising event. Vicky came along with my husband and I to India. Together, we walked through devastated remote villages and shed tears on beaches that had become cemeteries dotted with coconut sapling gravestones. Vicky hugged children, prayed for the wounded and was a trooper through horrendous conditions.
Now, Vicky hugs us and says she loves us. She jokes, smiles, chats, and contemplates on her past, and often cries, touching the sandalwood rosary around her neck that she purchased during our mission trip to India in 2004.
Please pray for Vicky. I’m not sure why shy can’t get off the bus she thinks she’s on and why she can’t reach her final destination. I wish and pray she could survive and be the full and complete person God meant her to be. I want her to live. The medical staff says she has zero chance of recovery. She has the will to live, but so do many others who still die. God is a factor in why she is surviving. We can’t get anywhere on our own. There is more going on, spiritually, in this situation than I can wrap my mind around.
I just don’t want Vicky to remain stuck on this bus going nowhere, sad and confused.
Tonight she told us she wants to go home, but she says she’s stuck in a bizarre situation, in a house with three girls who say they are nurses, but she knows it’s not so. She says her house needs to be cleaned and she’s really worried about that mess.
Please pray for Vicky. Pray to God that she can find peace and healing so that she can reach her final destination. Pray for God’s mercy for Vicky, for God’s Grace and for Jesus to take her where she needs to be.
I am human. I am frail. I am sad. I am not the driver of this bus.