Sunday, October 28, 2018

"One Heart At a Time"-a candid look at what makes Radio Show Host Delilah who she is

Welcome Back Readers,

I'll be honest I haven't felt quite like myself the last few weeks. Although I've been rolling along trying my best to work on the blog and YouTube videos, my heart hasn't been really in it. Still, news of Delilah's new book and podcast gave me something to do and post about. As I've said in previous posts, I've been listening to her radio show for as long as I can remember on and off throughout the years. Except for her faith (which she shares candidly on the air to anyone she feels led to), I didn't know much about her. Sure, I knew she had a nonprofit foundation to help feed and provide for the needy in underdeveloped countries. But because I read her new book "One Heart at a time" I feel like I know her more like a friend. Let me preface this review by saying, I'm only halfway through the book but I just had to share what I've been touched by so far.
  1. Delilah is a famous radio show host, yes, but she is also just a human with a broken heart- as with her radio show, Delilah is open and candid about her life and difficulty. In the very first chapter, she tackles the most recent tragedy that broke her heart- Zack's suicide. I admit this was a difficult chapter for me to read and listen to because I'm always used to hearing her positive attitude and spirit. But that's the truth, people are broken in this world and that's why they need to hear about the love of God.
  2. Delilah always seems to know what to say to her listeners. Reading and listening to her show, I'm always amazed how she knows exactly what to say to her audience. She is not afraid to share the gospel and how she feels about any subject. As she puts it, she has "the gift of gab"
  3. Delilah believes in Jesus and follows wherever he calls her. It's amazing to see how God works in other people's lives. Sometimes there as miraculous as receiving a email from a complete stranger that leads you to learn more about the difficulties in Liberia. That led to the greater purpose in her life- Point Hope
  4. Delilah believes prayer is vital in this life- her stories of praying for miracles as a child touched my heart; in the prayer chapter she also points out that God has the ability and often does meet us where we are in life, we just need to pray. Are you doubting? That's okay. It's even normal. Ask him to show you his presence in a very unique way to you and I'm sure he will. But you must keep your heart open.
  5. She is changing people's lives "one heart at a time". In her book, Delilah explains how she developed Point Hope with the express purpose of giving the homeless a hand up to restart their life. Over time, she realized they just had come to rely on that daily as their meal. It was then that she realized you have to get to know the person to really impact change.. Even with my blog and YouTube ministry, I sometimes feel like I'm not doing enough. I am not making a difference. But as my dad puts it, "God is watching you and is very proud of you!" If I'm being honest, a lot of the times I don't feel that way; I don't see the impact. Not only that, having a disability has a tendency to get me down these days. I don't know why. I can't explain it.
In short, Delilah has been through a lot in her life; but she has chosen to use her circumstances to share God's love through actions, foundations, and kind words on a daily basis.I can only hope to make the kind of difference she has. God bless!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Radio show host Delilah's philosophy: Touching "One Heart at a time"

Dear readers,
 
I'm not sure whether I've ever mentioned the Delilah show on Wash FM on here before or not. But I'm going to again if I haven't. I've been listening to her show on and off for as long as I can remember; as a matter of fact, I rekindled my love for the show soon after I got my first Amazon Echo and I realized I could listen to her on I Heart Radio whenever I wanted. This woman is special in too many ways to count- not only does she have the unique ability to listen to someone's story on the radio and pick out a song to match, but she also has a heart for children with special needs and those that aren't easily adopted. After taking a hiatus to deal with a personal loss, she is back to inspire people with her story, music, and podcast. Her new book entitled "One Heart At a Time gives a more in-depth and personal look into her life and her philosophy of reaching one person at a time.

She also has a new podcast entitled "Conversations With Delilah" where she invites friends and authors to have a open and authentic conversation about their books and life in general. Within each conversation, she hopes audiences take away something- a little piece of hope and inspiration for the future. In her most recent podcast with Rory Feek, the two share how you don't really learn to get over a loss, you just move on knowing that they are always with you.

For more information about Delilah, please go to:







Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Encouragement: GOD FRIENDED ME Official First Look Trailer HD

 Dear readers,
Ten years after this season finale of Touched By An Angel, CBS brings back feel good television with the introduction of "God Friended Me". In this series, Brandon Michael Hall stars as a struggling PK trying to find the meaning of life on his own and making his opinions known on a podcast. That is until "God" sends him a friend request on Facebook. At first, Miles considered it as some type of practical joke but after persistent friend request,  he finally relents. From then on, God suggests possible "friend" suggestions to add his circle. The first being Cara Bloom, a journalist with writer's block. Once the to meet, they have but one goal- to find out the person or thing behind these requests real the truth once and for all. Still along in the process, he is given people to come in contact with and help in some way. During the process, his attitudes begin to change and he is determined to use this podcast to open the lines of communication for his audience. At first glance, this series seems like it's making fun of the faith but I tend to disagree. This series reiterates the fact that we are all connected and in need of something. It's our job as Christians to see the need and meet it. After all, we are God's representatives and who knows we may be the one connection to God the person has. God uses us whether we want them to or not. God can use anything to reach anyone if he wants! "God Friended Me" airs Sundays at 8 PM

For more information about this series, please go to:

https://www.cbs.com/shows/god-friended-me/cast/

https://www.facebook.com/pg/GodFriendedMeCBS/about/?ref=page_internal


Friday, October 5, 2018

The Angels of Concordia -Guest Post by Debbie's Dad

The Angels of Concordia
Guest Thoughts by Debbie’s Dad

The Bible clearly speaks of angels, the created beings that carry out missions for the LORD on earth. Few have seen angels, but many are recorded in Scripture. In both the Hebrew and Greek, the words that we translate as angels have the meaning messenger - a messenger from God.

Angels In the Old Testament

In Genesis 18 Abraham conversed with men (angels) that accompanied the LORD. At the peak of Israel’s’ kingdom, the Psalms recorded the practical theology of trusting the Lord and described the angel of the LORD as a protector (34:7). Other Psalms described how angels are given charge to watch over us (91:11) even as they praise the Lord (103:20). 

As the nation of Israel divided and finally fell, the prophets provided more insight into the work of angels. The prophets saw angels as “Seraphim” (Isaiah 6:2) and “cherubim” (Ezekiel 10:1-3). Daniel, while in captivity in Babylon, actually named two angels who came to help him: Gabriel and Michael (9:20-27 and 10:13, respectively).   Similarly, a man, identified as an angel came to help Zechariah understand the visions he was seeing (cf. Zech. 1: 7-9).

The Angels and the Messiah

After a long period of silence from God, the people returned to a devastated and conquered the land. The most well-known messenger is the angel Gabriel who informed Mary that she would give birth to Israel’s Messiah – “the king of Jacob’s people forever” (Luke 1: 26-38).  It was an angel that announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds outside of Bethlehem (Luke 2:8-15), then angels warned Joseph to flee to Egypt and then to return when Herod had died and the danger had passed (Matt. 2:13-15 and 19-21). Angels ministered to Jesus at the beginning of His ministry (Mark 1:13) and rolled away the stone after his resurrection, remaining at the tomb to greet His followers (Matt. 28:1-2 and John 20:12). Jesus acknowledged the role of angels (e.g. Matt 22:30; 13:39; 25:31) as serving Him. Angles similarly ministered to the apostles in their ministry opening prison doors (Acts 5 and 12), providing ministry guidance (Acts 8:26 and 10:1-7) and encouragement in perilous times (Acts 27:23-25).

In all of these cases, the angels appeared as people, sent from God to give messages: to warn,  to explain, to encourage, and to protect.

My Angelic Encounter

Back in the period 2003-2006 when Debbie attended Concordia University in Ann Arbor, I actually saw some angels at work: warning, explaining, encouraging and protecting!

Before you declare me a heretic, let me explain. Debbie was accepted to Concordia in the fall semester of 2003 after 2 years of hard work at Washtenaw Community College. She was able to transfer 51 credits and began as a sophomore. On paper, all was well academically. But physically, it seemed a mission impossible for her to live on campus and succeed as a student. Being quadriplegic, she needed caregivers to get here up in the morning and then put her to bed at night; that could work. But how could she make it through the day? – For three years!  The Concordia staff was terrific, charting her path to classes and then walking with my wife and me across every path on campus to make sure they could be traversed by a wheelchair. Every ramp and every door threshold was checked.  Out toilet seat was tested on the David Dorm toilet.

But the daytime routine was the killer- ominous, overwhelming effectively impossible.  How could Debbie …
  • There Be fed at breakfast, lunch, and dinner??
  • Handle loading and unloading her backpack/travel to and from classes throughout the day?
  • Open and close the pages of her books/take notes in classes to help her keep up?
  • Study at night, turn pages in books/ practice foreign language, look at note card, etc.?
Indeed it was not possible ... but when my wife, Debbie and I explored the David Dorm where she might live, angels appeared.  Appearing as friendly college girls, they came alongside and asked us what we were doing. We explained and like angels do, they warned us of things we had not thought about, explained how others could help Debbie through the day, and encouraged us that it would work.  And soon, they assembled an entire army of the most wonderful young women we could imagine. The army grew and grew and they spent the next 3 years encouraging and protecting Debbie – enabling her to complete her degree. 

A few of "Angels" of Concordia with Debbie in 2006

Being and Angel to Others

Sure I know these young women were not the heavenly being like the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles saw, but they sure behaved as if they were sent by the LORD. They played the role of angels, providing us the message that what seemed impossible, was made possible by their sacrifice of time and energy to be Debbie’s hands and feet.  To me, they will always be angelic. And they set a wonderful example for me to follow. They glorified God by their Christ-like lives …

Encourage the people who are afraid. Help those who are weak. Be patient with every person. 1 Thessalonians 5:14b (ICB)
Debbie earned her BA degree in January 2007, enabled by that platoon of wonderful young women in David Dorm and across campus. Many of them still keep in touch with Debbie online, pray for her and, as angels always do, encourage her from afar.   May the Lord send to each of us someone to whom we may serve as an angel, just like that.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Unbroken: Path to Redemption- Debbie's Review

Welcome Back Readers~

 About two weeks ago I had the opportunity to watch Unbroken: Path To Redemption. This sequel continues where the predecessor left off telling the story of rescued war hero Louis  Zamperini. Louis (played by Samuel Hunt) struggles to adjust to his civilian status while he is still haunted by dreams of his time in captivity. Capitalizing on his popularity, his superiors ask Lewis to start campaigning for War Bonds; he agrees with hesitation. His post-traumatic stress disorder continues leading him to drink; his superiors notice a change and insist he takes a mandatory vacation in Florida. This is where he Cynthia (Merritt Patterson)-his future wife. Over the next two weeks, the two of them fall in love and decide to get married. Zamperini looks for a job to support his family (and new baby) with no success; in the meantime, he grapples with even deeper questions. Why did he survive while his friends died??

These questions further intensified his PSTD, bringing back memories of him being the lone survivor in a boat questioning God. Committed to the marriage, Cynthia is determined to help her husband find some kind of passion in life again; for that reason, she decides to get him up and running again so he can participate in the upcoming Olympics. On a bet with his brother, Zamperini tries to run a mile in under seven minutes; tragically, he re-injures himself forever damaging his chances on the Olympics. There goes another dream down the tubes. What does God have against me-taking away everything I love, he thinks.

This anger leads him to drink on a daily basis until one day Cynthia threatens divorce; fearing she would leave him, he continues his drinking in secret. Meanwhile, his wife continues to go to church and seeks the advice of a friendly apartment neighbor. The neighbor advises, “Sometimes God uses our difficulties to prepare us for something bigger and greater in our lives.” Encouraged she starts to attend one of Billy Graham’s crusades and her life is changed forever. With prayerful consideration, she renews her commitment to the marriage and continues to urge her husband to join her and hear Billy Graham (played by Will Graham-Billy Graham’s grandson). Louis attends the revival for several nights but isn’t attached until Billy prays for someone who is drowning and in need of help. Louis gets up to leave but he is stopped when Billy interrupts his service by yelling “don’t go” seemingly talking to him if he were the only person in the room. From there, he goes home to empty all of his bottles and finally goes an entire night without any night terrors.

(Note: I may have missed a few plot lines here and there. In fact, I know I did.. As I forgot to mention the very beginning of the movie takes place years later when Louis is standing in front of the prison where he Was during the war by his captors; this time he has come to meet with the prisoners there (the ones that had previously captive) in particular, he is looking for the bird-not to kill him as he previously wished before God changed his heart on that fateful day but to forgive him and show him a little bit of God’s grace

In general, I was not expecting the movie to be as intense as it was. I know writers wanted the audience to feel as Louis had-experiencing his PTSD episodes right alongside him as I did. But I believe this is what made his transformation from a prisoner of war/alcoholic to a Christian even more remarkable.. This movie shows how intensely soldiers may suffer from PTSD when returning home from war. They sacrifice themselves to protect our freedoms-the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion just to name a few...

But even more than that, it shows us Christians how quickly our identities can become preoccupied with something we do rather than who we are in Christ. Now, I know you’re saying, “But Lewis wasn’t a Christian at first..” While that’s true, we are all human susceptible to the same insecurities as everyone else; we want to be able to support ourselves and not have to rely on others. On the contrary, Jesus teaches the exact opposite-that are identity should be found in Christ and nothing else.

For more information on this amazing sequel, please go to







Thursday, September 6, 2018

Born This Way: Season Finale September 5 | A&E

Dear readers,

On the season finale of Born This Way, the gang celebrated the long-awaited wedding Angel and Christina. Over the last few seasons, I have seen so much growth in her as an individual as well as a couple. They each have taken classes in order to learn the necessary skills of housekeeping and cooking. Their story gives me more hope for my future in terms of my love life -although it is squarely in God's timing and hands. If it can happen for her, it can happen to me too!

But Christina is not the only one becoming more independent, they all are in different ways. For example, Rachel and Megan moved in together briefly, Jon is persistent about learning to drive a car and so much more.

One reason I think everyone enjoys this show is that it is relatable not only to the general audience but to those with disabilities as well. I can relate to this show because I understand how hard it is to keep your independence; yet, it shows the internal struggle between mother and daughter of letting your child go and leaving the nest. I've seen the struggles between Meg and her mother and understood them so well.

In looking at YouTube, I realize I am not the only one who was disappointed with how the season played out over four weeks. I mean eight episodes- two episodes per week .. You have got to be kidding me... Being disabled, I for one know there has got to be a lot of new material they didn't use for the show. But that's my rant. Hopefully, that leaves more material for next season! Fingers crossed. Anyway, at least they have a new one-hour special coming up highlighting what it's like to be deaf. It's entitled deaf out loud and airs next Wednesday at 8 PM. If you missed this season finale, it still can be found on A&E on-demand or on fire TV

Good luck Angel and Christina! I am rooting for you and can't wait to see what happens in future episodes

Friday, August 31, 2018

My Experiences Aboard the Ruby Princess and in Alaska!

Dear Readers,

First off, let me begin this post by saying how happy I am to be back on dry land. No matter how much fun I had with my extended family and parents celebrating their 50th anniversary nothing compares to the feeling of being back at home knowing that your wheelchair arrived in one piece. Those that have traveled on airplanes will no what I'm saying - especially once I show pictures of how my wheelchair arrived in Seattle. But let me start from the beginning.

After months of planning my mother had finally settled on taking the seven of us (brother and sister-in-law family included) to Alaska for their 50th anniversary. Congratulations again to mom and dad. I can only hope to have the kind of relationship you guys have - one of faith and commitment - that has lasted this long. In the beginning, we debated on taking my new wheelchair, concerned that it would get damaged in transport. You see I've traveled by plane several times before and have seen how they tried to carry my other wheelchair to the conveyor belt. Yes, they've actually done that. So you can imagine our concern about damaging the head control. But still, I was determined to be somewhat independent during this trip. So my dad took every precaution- learning how to dismantle the head control and joystick before handing it over to the airlines to board. He even attached a box with the parts on the wheelchair so they wouldn't get lost in transport on our way to Seattle. Despite our preparations, this is how the wheelchair arrived.

Don't get me wrong, everything turned out wonderful and we were able to fix it when we arrived in Seattle where we were to board the next day; I'm just letting giving people a realistic view of what can and often does happen to wheelchairs at the airport. The airline we used were very patient and apologetic as they stood watching my brother and dad put it back together again. It's just that people using wheelchairs should be ready for anything after traveling by airplane. Once we collected our luggage from baggage claim, we were about to head to the hotel for the night when we were met by a Princess representative. We explained we were supposed to get a transport from the airport to the dock to go aboard ship tomorrow; she took our information and made the transportation even easier for us arranging transportation from the airport to our hotel that day as well as arranging transport from the hotel to the dock the very next day- eliminating one less trip for our numerous bags.

Onboard, mom had reserved two suites for us - one accessible one for us and one regular for my brother and sister-in-law as well as my nieces. They both were pretty much identical except for the amount of closet space (I assume the lack of closet room in the other suite was used to accommodate and make extra room in our suite. Sorry guys!) and the accessible bathroom  Otherwise, we both had a balcony. I was surprised by this because I would've thought they would be afraid of possible accidents. But no, there was a little ramp inside the door that came out every time the balcony door was open. Granted I made sure that my parents watched me every time I went over it just in case  (see the pictures below)


Although the suites were accessible, I still had a lot of difficulties getting around the ship. This is for two major reasons.
  1. The hallways
  2. The elevators

In most cases, the hallways are narrow to the suites not leaving much space for a wheelchair let alone other people to walk by. In terms of the elevators, I have two complaints. First, it is difficult to get on one.  Now I realize that this is probably because Princess cruises are larger and have room for more passengers, but that still doesn't account for the quickly closing doors. After all, elevators are primarily for those who are unable to walk up and down stairs. Right? I was fortunate to have someone with me at all times to make sure my chair did not get caught in the doors. But there were some very close calls at times.

Despite the difficulties, I had a marvelous time going around the ship and out to the ports. The first evening everyone and I went to go see a musical production called "Magic To Do" in the Princess Theater. Exclusively for Princess cruises, this musical featured a compilation of songs from Stephen Schwartz. Some of these included Pippin, Godspell and many more. We also made quick friends with Ashley, Monica, George, and Joe. Their family and ours developed a deep connection when they realized I also had CP like their daughter, Ashley.  (If that weren't enough for coincidences, they too had purchased a wheelchair controlled by a head- array.) Since Ashley is only 15, they were happy to see the possibilities ahead for their daughter...

On our first day at sea, the family met for breakfast as my nieces geared up for their time in their age-appropriate activities. Since they weren't allowed around the ship on their own, Elizabeth and Rebecca and I ventured out to get ice cream on our own several times. This was really exciting for me since it allowed me to practice my driving and see how helpful my nieces might be in the future. Elizabeth and Rebekah are really growing up right before my eyes.

On our first port of call (Juneau, Alaska) we disembarked with hopes of taking the tramway overlooking the mountains. But that was not meant to be as passengers who booked the excursion were stuck on the mountain do to the tram not working and they were unable to find a way down until hours later.. Fortunately, Monica and Joe were able to enjoy the view before it broke down; unfortunately,, though, we had to stand in line and wait for a refund. Even so, we made the best out of a situation by meeting and talking to a real Alaskan born Indian from a tribe (I believe it was he was one of the only Alaskan Cliniko Indians in Alaska). I also got my very first Alaskan souvenir from the trip.

On Tuesday we arrived in Skagway Alaska (our second port of call), where we prepared to board the   White Pass and Yukon Railway. This is a four- hour train ride into the mountains via the White Pass. While Ashley and I enjoyed the view from the car, our parents were free to watch from the open platform between the two cars. Locally, I was able to raise myself up to look out through the windows and see more of the views. At the top of the mountains, we briefly passed through Canada (we didn't need our passports though) and later always down. See some of the pictures below.



Wednesday was relaxing day on board as we moved through Glacier Bay National Park. Park Rangers climbed aboard in the early morning hours to answer any questions the passengers may have had; I even got my picture taken with one of them. Below is a picture of my family and I took at the Margerie Glacier.



We embarked on our third port of call on Thursday in Ketchikan Alaska. While my nieces were interested in seeing if there were any seals in the river, I found myself occupied shopping. It was in Ketchikan where I found my final souvenir for Alaska a purple necklace which I paid for myself. When we boarded the Ruby Princess cruise ship once more, we found a surprise at our door- an exclusive invitation for all seven of us to dine at the Share restaurant- an exclusive restaurant of six-course creations by a famous cook.

Friday was my parents 50th anniversary as well as our final day at sea. We spent the morning drinking coffee on our balcony while trying to see if we could spot any whales at the same time. Our friend, Monica brought over some wine she brought from California to celebrate and we had a girls time. For once, I actually enjoyed the sweet wine (which I later found out was Stella Rose.).

 Since my brother and sister-in-law were out on excursions with Elizabeth and Rebekah, we celebrated my parent's anniversary just the three of us in our usual dining room. It was neat because the waiters actually sang happy anniversary (song sang to the tune of "Happy Birthday") and videotaped the whole thing. Later we disembarked with Ashley's family and explored Victoria, British Columbia, Canada together. All in all, it was an amazing cruise with wonderful weather and amazing memories--full of amazing memories and brand-new friendships. Someone told us that this was the best weather they've had out of the 21 cruises. Most of the passengers were unable to view the glaciers because of the fog or rainy weather, but we had a wonderful clear view. 


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