Monday, November 7, 2011

This Morning...

This morning I breathed in the cool breeze of fall. Still dark outside, the quietness of the street greeted me with freedom. A sense lacking claustrophobia, the openness of the sky, twinkling lights above. Stars. Huge and awesome, up there, were put in the expansion of the Solar System, in a neighborhood of nothing, offering little answers, and still filled with hopeful planets. You put them there so that I may wonder, look, take in the awesome and unexplainable of what You are. You said to him, 'I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky' (Genesis 26:4). Oh, how lovely that You made it all just to be able to bring us an understanding of all that You do in our lives. A simple comparison of what we might be capable of, to a massive something of the unknown. Stars.

Leaving for work this morning. Who would have thought that walking outside of my front door would bring such deep thoughts to mind? This is how He works. He brings such meaning to the ordinary. To the routine mundane that is already so known, and still overlooked. To a few steps, ten feet to my car. Lugging two bags. One with the breathing treatment I must precept all day long, the other, my book bag that has become so important in my life. Carrying my Bible, journal and two more books. Filled with enriching words to help me grow internally so that I may express externally. Why does walking out to my car at four in the morning catalyst such thoughts? If it were me four years ago, I'd be hurrying. I would not have stopped to 'take in' the cool breeze. I would not have looked up to the sky, to fill my lungs with the awesomeness He is. I would have been grossly irritated with the two heavy bags, maybe it might of been just one bag. Not the book bag. Just the one with the treatment box. Maybe feelings of disgust would have overwhelmed me with anger at the thought of carrying such an item. Something to remind me of the sickness I'm plagued with. Maybe my thoughts would have been concentrated on the selfishness of ME. I'm tired. I'm sleepy. I want to jump back into bed and not have to work. I'm disabled... but I need to do this, or that. What is the purpose of my life. I'm miserable.

Oh, how I've grown. The happiness I thought I wanted turned into JOY. Joy, a goal in my being from the moment I began life. Something that kept pushing forward, don't give up. A simple yet grueling task to achieve but a feeling? But, I've learned that happiness is nothing but a FEELING, a temporary one at best. But JOY, joy is an internal life-giving organ. Something that breathes, and lives within me, nourished by my beating heart and soul. My body a temple, a home, to a God that provides constant nourishment of JOY. How could I have lived without this?

So, a simple walk outside, in the cold, transformed the rest of my day into thankfulness. For the small, and the big. The less-important to the most important. You.

You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever.
~Psalm 16:11

Life As Lizzy

Sunday, October 9, 2011


October 2011, hmm, there was a point in my life, not too long ago, where I didn't think I'd be here for this date. The 3rd year anniversary of being diagnosed with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. Wow, so much has happened. I feel like a new woman!

Remember I cried about being scared that I might not get to see L
wearing a little back pack and heading out for school?

Here she is with her little back pack. First day of Pre School...

Remember when I cried out to God begging Him to let me see my son go to Kindergarten?

This one really makes me laugh because Lord knows I NEVER saw myself doing this...

Here is a picture of him while we home school...

Welcome to Kindergarten J!!!

...Remember that pity party I threw because I thought I wouldn't get to see L wearing a Ballerina Tutu for Dance Class?

Here she is in this year's first Dance Recital...

I cried the whole five minutes that her little dance routine lasted!

Last year, I avoided Beach outings. Even though it's a favorite on my summer-to-do-list. Especially with the kids. It was just too hard for me to carry everything over the sand. Not to mention to keep my two little ones by my side. I ran out of breath so quick, I just couldn't do it.

Here's a picture of one of our many beach outings...

Then the Lord told me...

"But if you remain in Me and My Words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!" ~John 15:7

This year I went in for another dreaded Cardiac Catheterization. I was not looking forward to it but it had to be done. I have also been referred to a Pulmonary Specialist in Hollywood because my doctor wants feedback on my progress. Huh? I think that I'm doing so well, he doesn't know what to think. Haha! So I literally have a 'team' of doctors I see on a regular basis, not because I'm so sick I need more expertise, but because I'm so well that they need to understand.

The catheterization went as smooth as a baby's bottom...

I was so nervous, knowing what to expect, that previous 'heart-attack-on-the-O.R.-table-feeling' was NOT fun.

As I walked into the Cardiology Department to check in, my heart began to sink into my stomach. I let the lady know I was checking in for a Cath. Ugh! I felt so small, all over again. The thirty-three years of life I've had felt like it had only been ten, the belittlement of having to offer up my life with palms up to some strange surgeons and nurses seemed childlike. "I'm an adult", I thought. "I have a life. Friends, work, family, kids for goodness sakes! I don't want to wear that demeaning hospital gown!"

The nerves had set in. I hardly even listened to her response while checking in. "I'm going to be butt-naked in the O.R." was my thought. Forgotten were the mass of people that I knew were praying for me, fervently praying for peace. Peace? This is NOT peaceful, at all. Nothing about preparing to be naked in an Operating Room, poked into with a scalpel, groin area prepped, hospital gown, IV's, bedpans?, was peaceful. But here I was, all one-hundred and twenty-something pounds of me (you need not know the specifics here), to give up the only thing I actually have control over to these... people. Really, Lord? Humiliating.

A nurse steps into my tunnel vision view and she is smaller than small, Asian, pretty gal but my quick judgmental mind began its frugal task of over-analyzing her. On my minds' richter scale my nerves have sky-rocketed and physically landed in the pit of my innards. Please don't take my blood pressure right now because you will probably fall flat on your back once you see the numbers.

"Hello, Miss B.", perky little smile she has. "Lets get your weight. Stand here on the scale." Yes, I know this robotic routine, I have it down. "My name is Shalom, How are you today?"

Wait, wha? Shalom? I do a double take on her badge. 'S H A L O M' it reads. Peace in Hebrew. Right then, I feel the warm embrace of the familiar One. The One that has never left me. The One that was there during my desperate cries, during all my pity parties, while I 'took in' special moments of thanksgiving that most people might not even recognize in their lives. Peace felt like a flood of refreshing water engulfing me from head to toe. Peace came and suddenly those pesky nerves were miles away from me. I felt like I was physically glowing, radiating this awesome, majestic word called peace. My smile returned to me. That smile that has for years been my own. The one that makes people feel comforted and understood. I was smiling back at my Father because, this body? This body that I have control over? The one thing that I refuse to lose control over? It's not mine. It's His. Every ounce of it, yes, even these darned lungs that are giving me such trouble. They are His. He put them there, like this, made them just for me. Because He knew, before I even existed what He would accomplish through them. He was letting me feel peace and sent me this simple giddy nurse to tell me that. How sweet He is.

From then on, everything was peaceful. Two weeks later, I met with my pulmonary specialist and even his response was peaceful. "It is amazing to see how well you're doing. This is not my personal medication of choice. Most people that are on this medication are really sick. You, on the other hand, are doing great. Your heart output is great! The numbers are good and I don't see a need to add any other medications to your therapy. It's interesting to see how much you're doing in your daily life with work, household, kids, home schooling, and still you're feeling so well."

But I know,

I'm not interested.

I'm in awe.

In awe of all the things He has accomplished with this little ole me person. I really am favored by the One true God. He really is as close as I think. So close that His embrace is constantly felt. I am not alone. I pray that you too, will feel His embrace. I pray that you will give up your body, your children, your career, your friends, your life and let Him be in control. There is no greater fear, I know, than to let it all go, with palms up, to surrender. But I also know that there is no greater feeling of love, than to feel the peace of His majestic embrace.


Life As Lizzy.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Removing The Fake Out of Me

Yesterday we celebrated my husband's birthday and in all the joyous celebrating, I had completely forgotten about the email I had sent long ago. After being diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension, and being told that my life might be over in two years, I went into panic mode. So I found an email service online that allows you to send someone an email into the future by choosing a specific date for it to be delivered. Well, thinking I wouldn't be here, I wrote out a long email and had it delivered to Hector on his 2011 June birthday. It was sad. I talked about things I hoped for him, to be happy, to find someone else, blah, blah, blah. Just like the movies.

He came to me yesterday, and asked what that was all about.

"And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” ~Matthew 14:31

It is amazing for me to see the transformation that this disease has had on me. I am truly a different person. What I thought was good, was not. What I thought was confidence, was fear. What I thought were good goals, was simply pride in my heart. Whom I thought were friends, were passersby. What I thought was success, was money in a sack full of holes. I was so wrong, so lost and had so little.

This disease really took the fake out of me. Like I have said before, my smiles are purposeful. My walk is intentional, my goals are driven, my speech is growing and my life is worth it. I have realized what is truly important in my life. I don't need to impress anyone, people don't need to like me -But they do. The funny thing is, that now that I am not out to impress anyone, people like me more than ever! Those fiery trials have really put my faith on test. The fakeness has gone and the realness has come. I have been refined, molded, stretched, grown. Oh, I realize now how much time was waisted!!! I could kick myself for not living fully before! I have challenged myself to be a more productive person. I have analyzed where my priorities lie. And you know, they lie in loving

29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. 30And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’[a] 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] No other commandment is greater than these.” ~Mark 12:29-31

Now, all I want to accomplish is a legacy of love. I want those around me to know what it's like to be loved. I want them to see the love of Christ in me. I want people to know that they're not alone. Friends, people, clicks, school, degrees, fashion, cars, houses, clubs, even spouses,

"Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." ~Job 1: 21 NKJV
Nothing is forever. What truly matters, is your forever. Where are YOU? I urge you to seek out the One true Love, the One truth that only God can bring. I have developed such an intimate relationship with God. It's all about me and Him now. My loyalty does not lie with people of this world. My loyalty lies only with God.

And now, as I sit here, I realize that God is a God of promises. Now that I have stepped out of the prideful 'it's all about me' kinda-life, and stepped into a 'it's all about YOU God' kinda-life, I am healthier than ever before. It is a true miracle. He has cushioned my walk. Every scary hospitalization I've gone through has been accompanied by a beautiful shelter of peace. He has made things so easy for me. Expensive meds? He gave me benefits. You'll need Oxygen tubes on you 24/7? Last year the Oxygen company came and picked up their tanks, I am off O2 completely. Can't do cleaning? He provided. Can't work? He gave me strength. Can't walk long distances? He gave me a Handi-Cap Placard. Can't take your kids to Disneyland because you'll need a wheelchair? I have an annual pass, take them all the time and walk the entire park.
Need bloodwork every month? I have a lab less than one mile from me, no wait times. Can't cook dinner after a Right Heart Catheterization procedure? He provided women from church, friends, to bring me meals everyday for three weeks. Flat iron too heavy to style your hair? He provided a light-weight flat iron. Meds not working? He provided a NEW medication that has completely taken away ALL Pulmonary Hypertension symptoms. I have overcome all odds. I am not another statistic. I am thriving like never before.

What more do you need to know? God is faithful.

Life as Lizzy.

A picture of me and the kids at one of our many Disneyland days.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tail between my Legs

“What sorrow awaits my rebellious children,”
says the Lord.
“You make plans that are contrary to mine.
You make alliances not directed by my Spirit,
thus piling up your sins.

all who trust in him will be ashamed.
He will not help you.
Instead, he will disgrace you.”

Isaiah 30:1,5

Been there, done that. Trusting in man, rather than trusting (and surrendering to) ONLY God. Friends, there is no one else that deserves your complete trust other than God himself. Today as I read my devotional [Beth Moore, Looking UP], she highlighted these verses in the book of Isaiah. The words resounded in my mind, a 'I told you so' from God came through my reading. There was a time in my life where I didn't know how to consult God for my pending plans. The results were usually disastrous. It was the blind leading the blind.

Honestly though, I didn't see that they were disastrous until I starting researching God, learning the truth, I realized I had been wrong. I was just like the Israelites in the book of Isaiah, that trusted in Egypt (who had once held them as slaves), they turned their faces from the one true God that had delivered them. They decided that their 'idea' was better than God's. How many times did I put my trust in man, rather than come to God for advice through prayer. I don't want to 'make plans that are contrary' to His because I know that all they lead to are piles and piles of mistakes in my life. I trusted in man more than in God, and all it lead to was me learning the hard way that I would eventually come running back to God, with my tail between my legs, ashamed and disgraced.

Friday, February 18, 2011

When the bad seems bad, it's really for the good.

Psalm 121

I look up to the mountains-
does my help come from there?
2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!
3 He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber.
4 Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.
5 The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
6 The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night.
7 The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.
8 The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.

No matter how bad we think things are, there is always hope. Sometimes we might be caught up in a pit of frustration and think there is no way out. But God ALWAYS sends hope. As in the story of Joseph, he was dropped into a pit by his own brothers, left to starve and die a slow ugly death. All because of envy. You might think there is no hope after this, right? Who's gonna save him now? Nobody can hear him scream or cry for help. The only ones that hear his desperate cries are his accusers. But God has a better plan. He sent some unexpected travelers on their way to Egypt to 'rescue' him. Really all he saw at the time was that now he wasn't gonna starve to death, he would be sold into slavery, by his own brothers too! You tell me, does THAT sound any better? But the Lord had a plan for him, as He does for you and me. His future would hold a miserable life in slavery. Sometimes God uses what we think is horrible and miserable and turns it into good. Years passed, and Joseph became one of the highest and most pronounced people in Egypt, holding a very prominent position next to the Pharaoh. Years too, might also pass before you are able to see how God will work into good what you're currently going through. Don't worry, no matter how horrible your life might seem right now, look to God. He has a plan for YOU! Stay strong and seek HIM with all you've got, He WILL deliver you.

To me, and others, a disease like mine seems like one of the most horrible things to go through. Almost three years have passed since being diagnosed and I still get little hints from God every now and then letting me know He is at work. I know He will deliver me. This horrible time in my life, really isn't horrible at all. In light of what God will do with it, I see it as nothing but a HUGE blessing. After all, its brought me so much good. Many good people now surround me and my life's experiences have blossomed like never before.

Life as Lizzy.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Disneyland Encounter

Today my husband surprised the kids and I with a quick trip to Disneyland! Yay! I can hear my kids saying, "Yay, Disneelant!!". Their quick jump for joy and over-achieving smiles are like a bed of roses, soft and comforting with a hint of beautiful aromas tickling my nose unto a grateful smile to my Lord. After all, He has made it all possible. I remember the few occasions when my parents took us to Disneyland as kids. Usually as a birthday outing. We'd share a churro between the four of us. Lunch? Consisted of ham and cheese sandwiches with soggy white wonder bread, packed away in my mom's over-crowded purse. Ahhh, those were the days! I appreciated it so much though. And now, here I am, with year passes for my kids and I. We're able to visit Disneyland whenever and how many times a year we want. Plus, we get to eat a FULL meal at the park restaurants AND buy souvenirs!!! Now that is awesome. Yes, people I live vicariously through my kids! But please don't get me wrong, I am NOT one to spoil them. H and I definitely are making it a strong point to teach them to be grateful for every single thing, in this case their toys or Disneyland park visits, that we're able to give them. Granted, they're only 3 and 5 years old. They know that we do not reward bad behavior and most certainly there are consequences for it.

Okay, back to my Disneyland trip today. As we were walking into The Disney Californian Hotel on our way to our favorite restaurant, we bumped into my Pulmonologist. It was certainly a nice surprise to see him there with his wife and three triplet girls. -I've been thinking about his courteous demeanor ever since.

I am so grateful to my Lord for taking such good care of me. He put this wonderful doctor at my disposal. You'll understand why I am so appreciative of this doctor once you learn that he has jumped through so many hoops to get me the exceptional care and medicine I have the pleasure to receive every month. There are many things to list but for the sake of privacy, I will only say, it's A LOT. More than I would've ever imagined.

"God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us."
~Ephesians 3:20

Last December, we had H's cousin and his wife and daughters stay with us from Mexico. Gosh, I gotta say what a blessing it was to have them here for a week. Their honest and humble spirit was just the refresher we needed at that particular time in our lives. At one instance, she asked me about the disease and I went on and on about the struggles I am faced with...calling it, as I had become accustomed to describe as 'my disease'. The last night, we prayed in front of a beautiful fire in our living room. The presence of the Holy Spirit was definitely in the room that night and that is when she brought word to me. I was told by the Holy Spirit that I needed to stop calling it MY disease. I needed to rebuke it every time it came up in conversation and declare life to my being. My life was not in ownership of this disease or vise versa, God was the only owner of my life and with Him as the owner, I can to declare my life a glory to His name and a living sacrifice for Christ.

I know that the Lord is going to use this struggle in my life for so much good. God has entrusted suffering to me because there is much good that He will bring out of this. I love Him so much and yearn for Him everyday. My spiritual hunger is growing and with it, knowledge and growth is what my spirit is slowly and patiently receiving.

"We know that all things work together for good to those who love God,
to those who are called according to His purpose."
~Romans 8:28 NKJV

Life as Lizzy

The Happiest Place on Earth

The Happiest Place on Earth

Peaceful Hawaii

Peaceful Hawaii