Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sterling's Party Rules

So, we had a Halloween party last night. Whew! It was fun and my daughter and her good friends did a great job setting it up. We had nachos and chili dogs along with all kinds of candy and goodies.
I had a parent call and ask if there was going to be an adult overseeing the party. She was also wondering if there was going to be alcohol served. No, there were no drinks or drugs! There were 3 or 4 couples that were really wanting to makeout though...We all had to tell them that we want everyone to have a good time, but we weren't going to have any of that this evening. It is sad to realize that these young ones are having sex. Ugh. It is hard to think of your future when you are that young and that the decisions you make now may follow you for the rest of your life.
The music was loud and the dancing was great. There are some talented kids. I put together a food relay race that was a hit. What I do is wrap up various foods in tin foil and the teams send up one member to unwrap and eat the food and then on down the line. We did the boy against the girls and the boys won :D
I have to thank Victor who stayed in practically the whole evening. He is really good with young ones and a good watcher. Since we had everyone from 'soup to nuts', and that is right up his alley, I thank God for him!
Here are Sterlings Rules for the Halloween Party:(yes, she sent these out to all her invitees)
1) No one dies
2)No one gets pregnant
3)No drugs or alcohol
Yep, good times in the 'hood.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Feast of Tabernacles San Antonio, TX

This is part of my beautiful family. We are waiting for the Night to Honor Israel to start at Cornerstone Church in San Antonio.

What a time we had. This is the first time we took Simon and Sterling. It was fun introducing them to everyone. We have such great friends that work with Christians United for Israel. Many of them also travel and to get us all together is a feat to be sure!

On this NTHI Elie Weisel was the keynote speaker. He is a great voice speaking out against hatred and racism. I don't have his quote exactly right, but he said "Racism is about humiliation. I stand against humiliation no matter who is about." I am so glad I got to hear him. I've never heard a Nobel Peace Prize winner before.

CUFI gave away 9 million dollars to various Israeli charities that night. We gave $500k to Elie's foundation. His foundation had invested all of their money with Madoff and it all was lost...

During this celebration there are rides, booths, food, music and fireworks. It is a great time for the San Antonio community. Every year we HAVE to eat a big 'ol smoked turkey leg-mmmm. The meat is so tender and delish :D

Well, I came home with a cold. It isn't that bad, but my thinking is disjointed and fuzzy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Pleasant Enough Day, Until...

Well, here I am riding my very nice cruiser bike on a beautiful Autumn day. I like to ride through the Fab 40's neighborhood and, right now, it is especially nice with all of the leaves changing.

As I head back home I take 39th St. to get back into my neighborhood. I pass the light rail station and go through the tunnel. Up ahead a man is walking toward me on the sidewalk. He steps from the walkway into the street and into my pathway. He doesn't look at me. He is looking at the houses across the street. As I approach, I notice that he is reaching into his pocket and he takes out a knife. He unfolds it and it turns out to be a serrated hunting knife. I suddenly have the thought that this man is going to take a swipe at me as I ride by!

It all happens in seconds. I speed up and go around the guy, leaving as much room as I can. He never takes a swipe, but as I get a few yards a way, I turn around and he is looking right at me.

When I get home I call the police. I give them a description and my number. I decide that since I need to walk my dog later and this is the route I take, I should try to find this guy and tell the police where he is. I am going to jump into my car and take a look myself.

As I am heading out, I get a call from the police. They say they have picked up a suspect and want me to ID him. I go to where they have detained the guy-yep, it is him. Then they show me the knife-yep, it is the weapon. I get a feeling that the man is a parolee and no stranger to the police.

Well, I am glad that no harm came to me or anyone else. I had to tell Victor who is out of town right now and he was NOT happy. He called a bunch of people so that they would check on me and had a nice visit with Aladrian. Everything is good. I don't feel fearful or anything like that. I actually walked Bradley and all was well.

I know that God is watching over me and feel great confidence in that knowledge. I do feel that these things happen because the spirits know that we stand with Israel and her people. It is a battle in the heavens. Nothing can touch one of His own without His explicit permission.
I have a hope and a future.

Btw, the man was a white male 5'10", balding with sparse dark, close-cropped hair. Slim, muscular build. He had a black, flame tattoo on his shoulder.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Blessed are the Peacemakers

I like Victor's new job. Sometimes I get to go with him on his travels. This weekend was a trip to Arvada, CO to visit Faith Bible Chapel. We've known George and Cheryl Morrison for a few years now through CUFI. They are wonderful pastors and have a huge church of over 6,000. Victor spoke at their new church plant pasored by Gary and Joanna Beasley.

There were two services there and it was their first Israel Awareness day as a new church. Later in the evening was the Night to Honor Israel at the big church. We enjoyed getting to know the Beasley's and found we knew a few people in common. They used to live in S Lake Tahoe.

The two sevices were great and Victor sold a case of books. One of the Morrison's daughter's friends said she finally 'got it' in understandng Israel after Victor's message that morning. Good stuff.

The third service was held at the big church and was their spanish speaking service. Adan and Marta Aguirre pastor that one. Victor used a translator and the message was overwhelmingly received. I don't know what it is, but in the Spanish churches have such an affinity for Israel. It is always so encouraging! The church has people from 24 countries represented. Adan said that there are language differences and even some offensive words depending on where you are from, yet the people realize that they have to go with it because they are in America and the differing words from the many countries represented are not all bad in this new context.

Pastor Hagee was the keynote speaker for the NTHI. Before the evening began, I got to tell him 'Thank you for hiring Victor!" He gave me a hug and said that it was the best decision they've made-I love it!

Things have been great since Victor has become the East Coast Director for Christians United for Israel. There are many talented and amazing state and city directors working all along in that part of our nation. I'm proud that he is smoothing things over for some folks where there have been some 'iron sharpening iron' moments. There is room in this great field of work and cooperation and understanding will go a long way. It is exciting to imagine what is up ahead. Can't wait to see :D

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Love These Connections

Being a woman of faith, I love to see the many puzzle pieces of life come together in amazing ways. It happens all of the time and, I'm sure that I only see a very little of it.

While in Iowa at the Night to Honor Israel, there was a woman speaker from Israel who represented Israel's welcoming department for Ethiopian Jews who make 'aliyah'. The woman, Shirah, explained how they help the newcomers acclimate to their new life. After all, they come from a land that is centuries behind Israel and the learning curve is HUGE. (I'm always intrigued by these stories and amazed at the Hand of God and His promise of gathering His own from the North, South, East and West)

The next day at the airport heading back to Sacramento, we saw Shirah again. She was kind of impressed that I remembered her name because we actually hadn't met the night before. I just remembered her name from the introduction to her speech.

We got to talking and I told her that a year and a half before, me and Victor had been invited to a home gathering of Kennesset members who were visiting California. They had been all over and even got to meet the Governor. At this meeting, a man named Shlomo Mullah spoke of how he walked from Ethiopia to Israel with his friends when they were 15 yrs old. It was quite a hair-raising expedition, as you can imagine. Well, Shirah says "Shlomo is one of my very best friends!" It was soo cool! I love that. Right then we connected and it was such a neat moment. I want to say 'small world', but I know that it really is a BIG world.

As I think of the meeting with Shlomo, I remember the question I asked him after he spoke. I said "When you came to Israel and the rabbis from your village in Ethiopia came to Israel--And your rabbis met the Israeli rabbis, did they find any differences in their faith or practices?" He looked at me and said "Well, no. Everything was the same except we didn't know about Purim (because they were exiled by Babylon before Esther's story) and we sacrifice a lamb during Passover."

To me this is so significant in the mending of fences between Christians and Jews. We Christians owe such a debt to the People of God! If they hadn't faithfully protected the Word, We'd still be under the tyrany of all kinds of crazy beliefs. I, myself, would be soo miserable. They gave me my precious Messiah-thank you!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

In His Corner.

Sunday we took the grandkids to the Pumpkin Farm. Beautiful weather and just a great day overall.
Bradley is our dog. We've had him for 3 years and he is one of the best dogs ever!
So, with Samuel, Ella and Bradley, Victor has got a really good fan-base. These three are totally devoted to him and it is very sweet. We all could use unwavering love, couldn't we?

Monday, October 12, 2009

One of those 'why's?'

There is something I've been thinking of lately. It is something that has an answer, I just don't know it fully. I know that greater minds than mine maybe have this figured out-I am stumped.

Remember recently when Jaycee Lee Dugard was found? She is the young woman who was kidnapped from S Lake Tahoe in 1991. She was found to be living with her captors, a woman and a man. The man had a long history of being a rapist. The woman was his sick accomplice.

Jaycee had grown up in a horrific situation to be sure. Actually having two kids from this evil man.

I'm so glad she was found. She is reunited with her family and can begin healing-and, hopefully getting normalized.

Here is the hard part for me: I am a huge believer in prayer. I've had so many prayers and hopes answered. Why, then, did it take so long for Jaycee to be found? I'm sure that many of God's people were praying for her, but WHY?

Oh, I know that this is a sensitive subject. I know that He has His reasons. We 'see through a glass darkly' and all.

Is it like the 'Chaos Theory' where scientists found that even in chaos, there is an order?

I hope this isn't too simplistic...

I'm not even sure I like how I've gotten this subject down in this blog...

Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Healing at Center of Praise

I have to say that I truly LOVE the home church that we attend. It has been such a sweet surprise.
In the fall of 2002 me and Victor blew out of the church we helped pastor. It was really a tough change at first, but right away the Lord led us on such an amazing path. As far as finding a church, we didn't have very much luck. Don't get me wrong, there are lots of good churches filled with good people. It is just that we kept feeling restless. Victor more so than I. I kept hoping, but doubting, that there was a good place to make our permanent 'home'.

Let me go back to when we blew out of our former church. As were were getting signs that we should leave, we went on a cruise down to Mexico. The church thought that if we got some rest, we would come around to their way of thinking. That didn't happen. What DID happen was that the Lord started speaking to us about our future.

Victor met some brothers on the cruise ship. They were having a small retreat to relax and to connect with the Lord. I saw that they were filled with joy and I wished and longed to be in their frame of mind. We got invited to their meeting and decided to go. They welcomed us - which made me cry- and they loved us too. The speaker started talking about trials in life. *Tears*
He brought up the story of Joseph *more tears* As he kept speaking, I knew that God was trying to encourage us. This brother didn't know that we had been talking a lot about Joseph and we knew that it was no coincidence what this man was sharing.

After that get-together, Victor told me that he felt like the Lord was telling him that we were going to be involved in the black community. I certainly had the 'amen' too, but we didn't know that it would entail being part of such a great church community - the Center of Praise.

The wonderful part of this has been the healing of Victor's health. He really took a 'hit' with all of the stress during our trial. The doctors thought he had Lou Gehrig's disease or prostate cancer or, even MS. It was so stressful and I was really in denial. Thankfully he had none of those things. He was still very much in pain and it was really tough.

Since going to COP, starting on and off since last fall, he has almost completely been healed! I truly thank God for the victory :D

We are now members and are involved and serve too. The old has passed away. It is new and fresh. I know that no church is perfect. I know that I probably have theological differences on some issues, yet this is home.

Yeah, God!!

Just an aside, the music is soooo good and we get to sing in the choir. When churches have bad music, it is hard for me to enter into worship. I know, I know, we need to bring from our hearts praise no matter what. I am a spoiled baby in that respect. I admit it. I realize also that it is all subjective, but still...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Our Very Own Neighborhood Crackhouse

These are some of my neighbors. We went over to the house to check out what is going on with the clean-up. Well, we are disappointed that NOTHING is happening. It was fun hanging out and talking though. The kids were eating popsicles and the parents were talking. I like the light-sabers :D

Conversation between parent and young child:

Parent: Stay out front, I don't want you to go into the backyard because there are needles that can make you very sick and other things that are bad.

Young child: Is there quicksand?

Parent: I don't know. Might be...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Band of Mothers

Last night we had a Neighborhood Watch meeting in our Teen Center. I was so glad that neighbors came-even our Pakistani neighbors who usually try to avoid calling the police. We had 3 police officers come and talk about the goings on around here. They were very positive and they are seeing good things happen all of the time.

There are 4 of us who have formed what I call 'The Band of Mothers'. We are the ones who have been concerned about the state our street was in for about 9 months or so. You see we just got rid of a crack, pimp and prostitution house (all rolled into one) that was 4 houses down from mine.

It all started when a bunch of people moved into a rental house. The people would hang out on the porch and talk to their friends and such. We would walk by and say 'Hi' and they seemed friendly enough. Then, we started realizing that the women who lived there were always on the lookout for drivers going by and then one of the ladies waved at my husband. That was her mistake.

My husband, being the kind and forthright man that he is, went to talk to the guys. He told them that if he was wrong he would apologize, but it seemed that there are things going on at this particular house that will not work on this street. At first the guys tried denying it, but in the end they did admit it. My husband once again, told them that it wasn't going to work.

One day the police were called to a house that is across the street from the crack-house. A woman there has a grown daughter who is on drugs and this young woman yells and screams at her mom with such wrath and venom. It is really unbelievable how crazed this daughter gets. Well, the mom got afraid and called the police. I didn't know this at first and me and my husband went to ask the police if they were there for the crack-house. We did kind of use large hand,arm,pointing motions toward the bad house. We let the police know what was going on and then let it be because they were already busy.

Next day, one of the men, an older fellow, comes to our door. My 15 year old daughter is the only one home at the time. Well, Mr Weaver, crack-house spokesman, said he was upset with us that we called the police on them all. Thankfully, Mr Weaver realized that he shouldn't get too upset with our daughter, but I was still mad. The gall!

Fast forward to the day after the Nat'l Night Out in August. We had a great get-together with tons of neighbors and talked about starting Neighborhood Watch the night before. After the party a HUGE fight broke out down the block. This never happens and it was certainly crazy after such a great Nat'l Night Out party. Anyways, I happen to see two cop cars parked across the street. I decided to be the nosy neighbor and ask them if everything was okay and if they had heard about the big fight the night before. They said everything was okay and , no, they hadn't heard about the fight.

I then proceed to talk about our very own crack-house and right away Mr Weaver comes yelling down the street protesting that I'm talking to the police about him and his house. Boy, he was mad! I raised my voice right back at him and while he was protesting his innocence I was speaking very loudly about the "Pimping, Drugs and the Prostitution GOING ON!" Neighbors came out and watched the spectacle. So, Mr Weaver and I went toe to toe while the woman officer held up her arms to keep us separated. (this was funny to me later, like did she think I would hit him?!)

Well, I was glad that we tangled a bit because I think it showed that crack-house that I wasn't intimidated by them. They needed to fear ME. Even though I told Mr Weaver, he still kept thinking that it was just our family that was calling the police on them. The whole street was calling on them and I thank God for such diligent neighbors. In the end the cops came and busted them. A couple of people were already on parole too. The house is going into forclosure because the owners didn't want to pay for all of the code violations and the raw sewage problem in the basement-Ewww. The city attorney also filed a suit against the owners-Yeah!

A win for the Band of Mothers for sure :D
I did hear about other goings-on, but I'll save that for another posting.
Never a dull moment in the 'hood.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Wondering if I should go there

Today was first Sunday at Center of Praise. That means that the whole choir sings--3 services in the morning and the evening Communion. It is quite the workout in more ways than one. Today in service we sang a song called Our Father by Fred Hammond. I tell ya that ever since I've joined COP I keep getting struck in the heart by these songs about fathers.

I didn't get to grow up with my dad and now that I'm an adult, I still don't really know him. I feel that there is peace between us, I just don't have a relationship with him.

A month ago my mom got really mad at me and disowned me. I was sad about it, but I admit, I'm somewhat relieved. Our relationship is always tense.

All this to say that I essentially don't have parents that love and care for me. When we sing those songs at church about a loving father, it is half comforting and half sad.

I know God is good and He has been really good to me. Todays songs are meant to remind everyone how loving a God He is. I know that's true!

Yadda, yadda, yadda...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Our time in Iowa

Well, my husband and I were off in Iowa. I really liked it. I wish I could have seen more of it. You know, the Field of Dreams or something. Oh well...we were too busy!

The folks that hosted us, Tom and Kate are wonderful. They are tireless Christians who are really into helping people. Kate is a pray-er and told us of some really neat answers she has seen.
At their home prayer meeting this morning, they prayed for our whole family-what a blessing.

Tom is a relationship builder. He has gotten the Christians and Jews together and this is no easy feat. He is so gracious and passionate for Israel and it's people. And stands strong against anti-semitism.

The Night to Honor Israel was a great evening. Victor's message was the WHOLE package. It felt like a journey and I think it will inspire people to put 'actions to faith'. He sold a few books too.

We ate a LATE dinner and a pastor friend spoke about his life and ministry. Boy! It was bringing back memories-not all good either. One of the things he shared is when someone preaches a message about forgiveness, he and his wife look at each other and say "I wonder how long the line will be this time." Yep, they will most assuredly have a few people who want to 'forgive' them after church is over...Oh! I have really bad memories about such foolishness.

I don't have the 'ticket' for that life anymore.
I just want to be a plain-old sister who is helpful and loves the Lord.
So, we are back home now in Sacramento. Bushed.