Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tallowood's 50th Anniversary

Tallowood Baptist Church was chartered as a church on February 18, 1962.  We celebrated the 50th anniversary of that momentous day on Sunday, February 19, 2012.  It was an incredible day of remembering, thanksgiving, worship, and fellowship.  So many people from out of town were able to be there which made it even more special.  There was a reunion choir and orchestra, a special anthem “To Thy Name Give Praise” commissioned for Tallowood’s 50th Anniversary, former pastors and ministers of music who participated in the worship services, and previous staff members who shared the day.   

 Between services, they unveiled a slab of marble with the names of the charter members engraved on it.  Then they had a brunch and time to visit with friends in the gym.  It was fascinating to see the exhibits of historical memorabilia, along with the displays of mission involvement at Tallowood. 

 The Director of Properties had taken the cross from the original chapel, polished it, and made a stand for permanent display. 

On Saturday night, Larry and I had dinner with friends, some who are still at Tallowood as well as several that came from out of town for the weekend.  When we came home, I had a phone message from Donna at Celltex.  Dr. Ra, the stem cell doctor, was in town from Seoul, South Korea, and wanted to worship with us on Sunday.  There were 9 of the team that came.  Five of the lab technicians were with them.  I had seen one of the women working in the lab at the ribbon cutting, but had never met any of them.  Donna explained that they did not know me by name but by my patient number.  When I told them my number, they smiled and nodded their heads.  It was extra special to be able to express my thanks to them.  What an incredible day of worship!

Larry, Debbie, and Dr. Ra
Lab technicians, Debbie, and Dr. Ra

On the way home, I wondered what it would be like if we came to worship every Sunday as excited, joyful, thankful, and prepared as we did on this anniversary morning.  I know God would like that.

Psalm 118:24
This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 122:1
I rejoiced with those who said to me,
     “Let us go to the house of the LORD

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Valentine's Day Memories

Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to express love.  One of my earliest memories of that time of year is making valentines for family and friends.  Those hours were full of paper, scissors, crayons, and lots of paste.  I am amazed that Mom made time to help us do that, since she had five children. 

When I started school, we either made or bought valentines to give to our classmates.  Going to the store to purchase the cards was a big event.  You had to look at each kind to choose which ones would be the best.  Once you were home, you had to decide which person would receive which particular card and then carefully write their name and sign yours on the card.  Another important part of the celebration was decorating a box to collect your cards.  Those traditions were repeated when our sons were in school.

Mom always made each holiday special.  She usually made the four girls something to wear and had treats for us to help celebrate the occasion.  Dad was in on the celebrating as well.  When we were moving Mom to her new home, we found a little card that comes with a bouquet of flowers that she had saved.  Dad had written it to her one Valentine’s Day.  It is now framed and in her room.

Chocolate hearts with our names written on them

Micki and her heart treat

When I was in second grade, it snowed in Pasadena/Houston on Valentine’s Day!  That is the first time I ever remember seeing or playing in snow.  When Dad came home from work, he helped us make things with the snow and have a snowball fight.

On this February 14th, my Bible reading was Matthew 27.  The verses tell the events of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion.  What an amazing reminder of the ultimate expression and gift of love.  And that love is meant to be celebrated and shared every day of the year!

I John 3:1
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

I John 4:9-10
9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Romans 8:38-39
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Joy of Blessings

“Joy isn’t the natural response to blessings - joy is what comes from acknowledging them.”
Lost December by Richard Paul Evans

On February 3rd, I had my last scheduled stem cell infusion…at least for now.  That makes five infusions with 1 billion new stem cells!  Celltex will bank my cells for life, in case I would benefit from another infusion in the future. 

What an incredible joyful journey of blessings!
·          God’s provision, presence, peace, and gift of hope during this process
·         Larry’s continual love, support, time, and encouragement
·          Family and friends who have shared the journey, encouraged and prayed
·          A doctor who obediently built a lab in South Korea because God asked him to
·         Dr. Ra expressing at the “Ribbon Cutting” and “Celebration Banquet” that God receives all the glory for the stem cell process because he is the one who created our cells
·         A doctor in Houston who had stem cell treatment in Seoul, South Korea and Japan, was healed, and was willing to pave the way for the same process to be offered in Houston
·         A company and lab that were built in Houston, like the one in Seoul, to offer stem cell treatmentss – the only one of its kind in North America
·         Celltex personnel who have become friends, not just people working in an office
·         Lab technicians who have studied and prepared for tedious work
·         Doctors and nurses who are willing to venture into a new option for healing
·         A doctor who patiently worked at inserting the IV at each treatment – since my veins are small and roll, it was a challenge
·         Meeting people who are also having treatments – some I had talked with by phone because their relatives or friends wanted them to know about the option of stem cells, some I had even prayed for, but had never met
·         Larry and I being able to share about God’s love and provision
·         A diet and exercise program that are helping in the process
·         Experiencing healing and progress along the way…improved balance, bladder control, repairing of skin, strengthening of muscles and endurance
So for now we’ll continue to trust God for His perfect will.  And the joy is even sweeter because we know that He is the giver and provider of those blessings.

Romans 12:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Best Offering

It didn’t take long to realize that God was going to teach me a lot through our children…and He continues to do so.

When the boys were young, we pretty much had a Saturday morning routine.  After chores were completed and the Sunday School lesson was read, it was time for the weekly allowance and getting their offering envelopes ready for church.  The year that Brad and Chad were in kindergarten, they earned 50 cents each week.  They would either bring a nickel or five pennies to put in their envelope.  About halfway through the year, Chad brought two pennies and said that was his offering.  I explained that he needed to bring me a nickel or five pennies, not just two pennies.  He was not pleased, but finally went and brought three more pennies.

The next Saturday, Chad again brought only two pennies and said that was all he would give.  I remember telling him that it was important enough to me that he give the “right” offering that he wouldn’t get his allowance until he was willing to do so.  That was OK with him because he “still had more money in his bank”.  Not letting the situation go, I finally asked him why he would not give the five cents.  He burst into tears and said, “Jesus said two pennies was the best offering.”  You see, in Sunday School, he had heard the story of the widow’s offering.

Mark 12:41-44
41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.
 43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

Since Jesus said that two pennies was the best offering, that is what he wanted to give.  After talking more about the story and why Jesus said that, he went to his room and brought back more than five cents.  His motive was to give Jesus the best.  And the best offering always involves the heart.  Lesson learned… and remembered.

2 Corinthians 9:7
Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Health Update:  I had my 5th infusion today and am now the recipient of a total of 1 billion new stem cells.  While I was having my treatment, we were able to visit with three other people who were there to meet with the doctor and make preparations to begin the process.  Since this may be my last treatment, one of the doctors asked Larry for his business card so he can call Larry when he needs him to pray specifically for him.  Whenever Larry drives by their office, on his way to make hospital visits, he always prays for the doctors, Celltex, and the patients who will be receiving treatments.  We’ll definitely be going back to visit from time to time.  What an incredible experience this has been.  God is so good and has blessed us both abundantly during these days.  And now we gratefully wait and see and rejoice.