Sunday, January 30, 2011


This is Phurba. He is 24 and has been in the US since November 1. Since he was 8, he has had seizures and, after reaching here, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Some days he's just dull and blank; other days he smiles a lot. And, when I'm around, he has begun to grab my hands and smile at me big time. I've grown to adore him.

On Wednesday he is supposed to be admitted to Creighton University Hospital and put on various medications for a few days and then will have surgery. His brain tumor will be removed. They anticipate that the surgery will be successful.

HOWEVER, according to the physicians, he will be an infant when he wakes up. No languages, not recognize family or faces, back to nothing. Even now, he doesn't speak much and doesn't easily come to know people, and certainly doesn't know how to deal with the terrible cold in our country -- the jacket and scarf and gloves were being worn in his house -- but to see him smile at me always makes my heart just jump for joy.

Just wanted to share about this upcoming serious event. Nice to know so many of you "out there" that I can't simply email or call. [BTW, they have changed his surgery dates several times already, but this one seems to be very much in place. If anything changes, I'll let you know. And I'll definitely let you know the results. I'm hoping to be at the hospital with the family during the surgery.]


Not exactly the day I anticipated. I received the call at about 12:40 PM that Mom had just died. Very little sorrow in my heart; mostly 99.9% rejoicing. And could fill lots of extra fun and funny pieces in at this moment; will do it in the next couple days instead.


on Friday, early afternoon, a 34-yr old man was killed while driving his car as someone drove past him and just buried his car in bullets. This man, Tony, was married and had 4 kids, the oldest 17, the youngest, Twin girls, 4. Made no sense... a number of witnesses, but no one arrested at this point.

The First Responders met today at the murder site. It was COLD -- about 10 degrees -- and we started at 2:00 with about 5 of us.... but the others came and came and came again. We ended up with around 30 people. Tony's family came about 2:30, and we circled them and prayed over them for several minutes. One teenage boy, a friend of Tony's son, cried and sobbed so intensely he almost collapsed and was held up by family and friends and prayers.

So, the reality of death was very strong for that stretch of time -- I had to leave after about 50 minutes as my body was beginning to ache too much from the cold -- and others were still there encouraging family members.

MY Mother's death... in one sense, it is no big deal. She's with the Lord, she was 90-1/2 years old on Friday, and my family was not surprised or shocked or unable to just bless her Going off to Heaven.

But... she wasn't shot while driving down the street, didn't leave 4 young kids and a young spouse behind, didn't have family and friends standing around, hoping to have enough money to bury her, hoping to be able to feed and provide life-needs for so many others.

That's what gives me the right perspective.

[If you think of it, pray for Tony's dear family. So much love, so much grief and sorrow poured forth.]

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I'd probably be heading towards bed at this time of night... my recent months of fatigue have kept me adjusting my days very carefully --- one reason I don't spend much time on the I-net reading other blog posts, even though I care very much for the "posters." However, this evening I spent time on the phone and my heart is both heavy and rejoicing...

Mom fell early last week, broke her pelvis in two places, so couldn't walk. She turned 90 in July. I knew this, at the best, would be pretty serious. My sisters, nieces, and various others have been hanging with her since then. This evening I finally had a long call with my sister, Kristan, and she gave me the present results. Mom has serious pneumonia in both lungs. They are keeping her on oxygen and meds... both keeping her resting and beginning to sleep a lot. That's good.

Well, among other things she, this forever tough and crotchety lady, has begun to wink occasionally and smile and say she's going to heaven. Nothing makes me happier to hear. I just asked Kristan to give her a hug and whisper in her ear that Joanne's looking forward to seeing her in heaven.

When I last saw her in Tacoma, August 14th, when leaving for my long drive home, I pointed my index finger strongly in her face -- and she's still about 5'10" or 5'11" [she started at 6'2"] and about 3 inches taller than me ... and I said, "I will see you in heaven!" And she looked at me with a questioning face and I repeated that statement just as firmly.

The joy to me is that... whether she makes it for 2 more hours or days or weeks... or strangely, even longer... I will see her in heaven. I can hardly wait.

[I know this isn't as organized as it could be, but my brain is fuzzy and flying... so just put up with it. Also, you might gain a lot of understanding of our family background by looking at the link.]

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


FOR WALKIN'." Remember the Jane Fonda "boots" song in 1966? [OK, I can see most of you rolling your eyes and saying, "WHAT???" -- Well, it's an "age" thing, if nothing else.]

My boots were also made for walkin'. Just not th
e same way that Jane Fonda was promoting... aimed at "walkin'" over a man... but walkin' up through the neighborhood, sluffing and fluffing my way through the street and up the alley and around the apartments to help the refugees as needed.

This is entirely different from the last 7 years when I've had these boots, which were a HUGE bargain. [ One of those "God" shopping blessings... on sale, marked down from $180 to $30, and fit me like they had been made perfectly, just for me.] Over the past years I've worn them several times during the cold winter stretches, but never "sluffing and fluffing" through the piles of snow needed now to reach my new dear ones.

And they are also being used as a "walkin'" weapon to serve the Lord in prayer walking this location and battling the spiritual enemy, foot by foot, to bring the Lord's light and love over the large apartment complex.

[When the weather changes I'll be "sandal sluffing", but it will still be one serious walk-time.]

Now, gotta go... need to head up the street to ESL with the Burmese.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Oh, how I wish I had a photo of Eh, mentioned later. But, it just didn't happen. I may pop it in some other time, as she is in the ESL class I help with. But, overall, we simply don't know when and how God is going to both use us, and bless us. Here's what I wrote in an email to Susie, as a BTW sort of comment. SHE encouraged me to drop it out in the world.
OH, I did have one miraculous experience today. I was asked to take a Karen [Burmese] lady to Urgent care clinic. She has been here 1-1/2 years but doesn't speak English very well at all, so I was really concerned about how we could get the symptoms described, etc. We'd been in the office for a few minutes, and I was trying to fill out the office forms for her, and we were struggling our way through them -- and just laughing a lot to keep the frustration level at zero.

Suddenly, a small family came in. It was obvious that the toddler had a fever as his cheeks were rosy and his eyes a bit glazed. Eh and the other lady looked at each other and greeted happily and talked a bit -- in Karen, not English.

When I had a chance to talk to her, because Eh said the friend knew English, it turned out that this new lady has been in our area for 6 years, came with the first Burmese group, and her job is an interpreter.

How amazing! She was able to interpret for the nurse, the P.A., and everything was described and explained from both sides. [Sorry to be so blunt, but the final diagnosis was bleeding hemorrhoids caused by constipation since her little one was born 4 months ago. Now how could I have possibly dug my way through that with no interpretation?] And the other gal, whose name I never learned, just popped back and forth between the room where her husband and little boy were and where Eh and I were. God provided such a gracious and kind gift. When I left there with Eh to drive her home, which is not far from my home, I rejoiced all the way, because of the kindness of the Lord in helping in this intimate and intense way.
Another miraculous part: The interpreter and her family live about 1/2 mile from the Urgent Care center I chose. There were other options, even suggested by others, but I decided this was the one that was most practical for us. If I hadn't made that choice/decision, the interpreter wouldn't have been available. [Unless God provided another miracle, of course...but, still this whole experience was amazing. I'm still grinning when I think of it.]

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I was spiffing my bedroom and shifting the various knick knacks around, and suddenly sat and smiled at this one, thoroughly enjoying this lovely symbol of God's care for my grandkids... and for me.

See, back in July, 2004, this dream plunged into my life, so to speak, in a very strong and real way.

I was in a submarine-style setting. I "knew" I needed to get down to a hatch to open it and save my grandchildren from danger. I was flooded with a sense of urgency and "responsibility" -- a very deep and intense side of my personality, as nearly all my family and friends know. The way to the hatch was down a series of circular stairways and I was grabbing the side posts and swinging down from one level to the next, landing on the small metal deck between them. Just as I was to reach the hatch, it opened and 6 huge, strong-armed angelic "beings" came up through it, each with a lamb across its shoulders, holding them firmly. I was a bit taken aback, but stopped in my tracks. The dream ended.

At the time, I had 5 grandkids and 1 on the way, due in about 7 months-- he will be 6 years old in February.

My birthday was about that time and my daughter gave me this gift... and hadn't heard about the dream. It couldn't have been more perfect.

Over these years, I have used it as a reminder that God is bigger and stronger than I am!!! And He loves my grandkids and kids more than I do!!! And He knows [IS] the future [DUH!] which is, of course, far beyond my ability to guesstimate what is coming down the path.

So, that's the message I give to myself every time I view this lovely, face-less lady holding the lamb. I never, ever want to be without her.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I've mentioned in the past that I am involved in a ministry called First Responders.

Today we met again, and it was one of the most difficult situations ever.

It's a first-time murder incident in our state. A 17-year old young man, a senior, shot the assistant principal, then the principal, and shot at 2 others -- a maintenance man and a nurse he saw down the corridor when he was leaving, not hitting them. He also came very near the security guard who was trying to stay out of the way, aimed the gun directly at the guard, and, amazingly, did not pull the trigger.

The young man committed suicide shortly after leaving the school. The SWAT team had found him, and as they approached his car, he shot himself.

The assistant principal died a few hours later. The reason he shot her? Yesterday morning she suspended him for 19 days because he had vandalized the football field with his car during the vacation. This was the first school day after the Christmas break.

The gun was his dad's -- he is a detective in the Omaha Police Dept. There's no clear understanding of why this young man became so insanely furious that he went back to the school two or three hours after his suspension and signed in to see Dr. Kasper, went into her office, and shot her. When the principal went in to see what was going on, he was shot. He's in serious condition. [Dr. Kasper's son is a science teacher at the school, near the office where she was shot. How heartbreaking is that?]

Memorial moments have been taking place on the campus many times since yesterday. Two large churches also held meetings last night ... the principal is an active member in one of the largest evangelical churches in Omaha.

Our group met at the high school late today to pray. Maybe 50 people from a variety of churches and Christian organizations came. Some students and their parents showed up a bit later and were willing to enter the circle, be prayed over and blessed. It was an amazing moment of ministry.

But, of course, as always occurs, a sad moment.

Another sad bit. When I arrived home, I saw that today there was another murder. This is number 3 since New Years Day... none commonly gang connected, none making any real sense -- the 1sts one was a crazy domestic situation, the man shooting his wife in their car on the entrance ramp to the Interstate. He also shot himself, but hasn't died. The 2nd one was this student situation. The one today was at a gas station, but not usual "convenience store robbery" that is pretty common most places. All of these had different motivations, all located in areas that are usually considered safe. I wonder if any of this is why I felt that "flinty" face on New Years Eve...

So, we will be meeting at that other site tomorrow to pray again. Need to see this change... and that's what the prayers are for.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


OK, I know it's no longer Burma, but Myanmar doesn't roll off the tongue for the title as easily...

[This photo was taken at a church in NYC when I was there in July, 2009. The church was dedicated and family-connected to Adoniram Judson, a pioneer missionary to Burma from 1812 to 1850. The church's foundation stones represent Burmese writing. AND after seeing theirs up the street on signs and their ESL homework, I will say it's very accurate.]
You should get a laugh out of this.
I was listening to a tape this morning for the first time, which I was supposed to listen to when it was handed to me, September 10, 2007, in Seattle while being prayed over by my spiritual authorities out there, Fr. John and his wife, Holly. [OOPS! I'm usually not so sloppy or disobedient when the Lord lays something on me to listen to... blew it that time.]

The speaker, a woman connected to AGLOW, shared about prayer walking in many nations and as I listened I buzzed inside and thought... "I've wanted to do that for soooo long...and I'm HERE, in the U.S., in Om-a-ha." [And, yes, as some of you know, I have prayer walked in Uganda, U.K., Costa Rica, Morocco, Canada.... but, that hardly breaks the surface of my desires.]

And then the Lord bopped me on my head.

Of course!!

I have become involved with the Bhutanese refugees that live in the apartment complex up the street from us ... and in the past several months have also met their family/friends in other parts of town, Dave and I recognizable by about 100 of them. [They only know me as "Jo...n" -- my name is hard to pronounce for most of them-- or "Granma" or "Mom".
I struggle a lot more with their names and pronunciations and am not so good at keeping faces and names in place; after 7 months, I am at the 20-30 person name-range with them.]

I also have become part of an ESL class -- and intend to increase my class times to three times a week. The classes meet in that complex and are Burmese Karen tribal members, and very slowly I'm becoming acquainted with them. The problem is that although many of the Bhutanese, especially young-ish ones, speak British English, because of their British-oriented schools in the refugee camp in Nepal, almost none of the Karens speak any English because they were in a refugee camp in Thailand -- and they struggle big time with our phonics/ sounds.

SO, the Lord nailed me with... I can just walk 1-1/2 blocks to the complex, and then walk through all the buildings-- about a dozen-- both front and back entrances when possible, walk up and down the stairs, [which can also be obstacle courses, with bikes, bags, and piles of shoes!] and pray-- and reach out as often as possible. Gives me exercise -- which in the middle of winter I really need -- and takes me through two nations that have been on my heart for years -- and are now in my back yard -- or, more accurately, my side yard. And I will meet more and more of them face to face.

I'm so excited, I can hardly wait to get up there today!!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Had a lovely morning at church. When the worship music ended, which I thoroughly enjoyed, my pastor began a sermon series on prayer and it dug so deeply into my heart, with his love and compassion and encouragement, that I began to be reminded of yesterday.

While wandering around the house on New Years Day, I was invaded by a sense of intensity, a feeling that the core of my life -- maybe all our lives (?) ... is headed for overwhelming seriosity.

While listening to Pastor Don share the importance of prayer and how Jesus spent whole nights speaking to His Father, just as yesterday, my face became flinty ... intense. [BTW, the "Flinty" post is a bit lengthy, but spiritually informative and oriented.]

Do I know what's headed down our paths? No. ccc Do I know what the intensity is about? No. c But, do I know that when that hits, I need to be focused on the Lord -- and stay that way? ccc Absolutely, big time YES!!

So, just wanted to share. I'm not "resolution"-oriented. However, my desire is that I hope I will stay focused on my Father and His Son and not allow myself to become side-tracked by life's everyday interferences and interruptions.