Waiting on God was worth it….

Oh my goodness, it’s been two months since I was on here! I am still in school at De Anza College getting my Accounting certificate. I am in my second of four quarters, well God-willing I will be able to finish in a year.

It’s been 19 months since I donated 60% of my liver to a friend’s husband and I still have pain daily in my incision – of course, it’s something that you can never plan for! I was supposed to be without pain after 3-4 months. My pain specialist told me last month, “I don’t want to bring you down Michelle, but this may be your ‘new normal!'” Sigh!!! I am doing all to trust God, knowing He must have a good plan in store despite the pain.

I have been out of work since October 20, 2015 except for a little work here and there. I had received short-term disability for exactly a year but Social Security and Unemployment both decided that I do not qualify for their funds because I am “employable with limitations”.  Between that and school, it was extremely hard to find work. It was really starting to get hard to live financially without a job when I sent my resume to my school counselors and teacher.

Finally on Wednesday, May 3, my OTI (Occupational Training Institute) counselor at De Anza contacted me to ask if I would like to interview for an accounting internship on Stevens Creek in Cupertino. I was excited because I could ride the bus if I needed to, so I said yes to the interview.

In my last post, “Encouraged to write another Psalm“, I posted a video of eleven cars God provided for me from June of 2015 to March 20 of 2017 while I did not own a car of my own. By the time of my interview, I was driving car number 12 that God had provided but I had been taking the bus to class when no car was available to me.

When I “Google-mapped” where the interview was, I found out that it was not on Stevens Creek and it was not in Cupertino! Instead I found out that it was on Bascom in Campbell which was not going to be an easy bus ride! In fact, it would take me over an hour and a half each way – possibly more! Ugh!

I went to the interview anyway since I had a car to get to it. It is in an area that is very familiar to me. The lady I interviewed with was pretty awesome. I think we laughed more than anything during the 45 (ish) minutes that I was there. She told me that she usually isn’t so forth-coming but said that she really wanted to hire me but needed to talk to the owner – I’d be getting my job offer by 5pm that day – if she got her way.

Ok! A job, an accounting internship, with a decent pay and hours that would be worked around schooling was most-likely going to be offered to me. On the drive home, I was scared! I cried out to God, “LORD, I don’t know if I can handle riding the bus to work, working 5-6 hours, then riding the bus home or to school! I have pain as it is…will it increase with that much more activity and sitting?” At that point, I could see something in my heart and life that I had not seen before. “LORD, please forgive me of the fear I have had inside of me. Please forgive me for not looking for a car as I should have because I have been so afraid that I would get another lemon! Please forgive me. Thank You so much for providing the 12 cars despite the fear I have had. LORD, will You please bring me a car?”

Within about 15 minutes of getting home (about 30 minutes of praying that prayer), my housemate sent me a text saying that she had sent out information about me needing a car to a group that she is connected with AND a friend of hers had a car for sale in my price range….did I want to see the car???

I got God-bumps all over my body! I had forgotten that my housemate and I talked that morning about what would happen if I got a job across town. She also knew that it would probably be too much on me to try to take the bus, so she posted my need.

I started texting with her friend trying to say I could come to her, but she insisted on bringing the car to me. At the same time, I received an offer email from the lady I had interviewed with. I called her to let her know I have a disability. When she answered the phone, she sounded depressed. I asked her what was wrong. She told me that no one called her when she offered a job, they always respond to her email – she thought that I would not be taking the job. I said, “no, I am excited about the job – I want the job!” She cheered up immediately then asked why I called. I let her know of the pain that I have and let her know that I would need a sit to stand desk or something compatible to that. She had no problem with that request, so I got the job!

And, on Sunday after church, my housemate’s friend brought the car to me….Let me rephrase it….GOD BROUGHT THE CAR TO ME!

IMG_20170507_194926

I knew immediately when I saw the silver car drive up that I was supposed to buy it. I got into the car to test drive it and the owner, sitting in the passenger seat opened the glove box to show me the paperwork. Everything was clean and orderly! She was very impressed with my knowledge of cars as I opened the hood to check everything out, turned the wheels to check the axle and struts, and looked under it as best as I could. It had not been steam cleaned, it was just 14 years of dust – no liquid spills or leaks, new struts, good tires…it was the best looking car I have seen since I started looking for one in May of 2015! And it was an excellent price! Yes, I knew it was from God.

I’m not going to tell you that all has been easy since then. In fact, I was not able to get the car for several days, I had to go to Department of Motor Vehicles twice because I didn’t have enough money to pay the taxes the first time (but praise God the car was already smogged and registered only weeks before so I didn’t have to pay for either of those!), I have had higher pain levels (ranging between 5-6 sometimes) because my standing work station hasn’t been put in yet, and I won’t get paid until June 15th!

But, waiting on God for a job and car has been worth it…Actually, I can say waiting on Him for housing has been worth it too! My housemate has been a very special blessing to me.

And today I learned again that waiting on God for finances is worth the wait too! I was not sure how to pay for my storage unit so I have been waiting on God for direction. Today I felt I was supposed to go to my Chase credit card which meant I would need to pay $100 for it to be enough credit available to pay the rent. When I got on-line, I found out that I had over 10,000 points on my card which meant that I had $101+ change to credit to my account! I couldn’t imagine why I had the points, but I was praising God for the unexpected money to pay for the storage shed. Turns out that two of my friends took up the invitation to get themselves a Chase card with $50 for them and $50 for me! So cool! Thank you whoever it was that helped me out! If anyone reading this wants to get yourself a Chase card with $50 for you and $50 for me, let me know…hee hee! I still have half a month til I get paid!  But I know God will provide! Maybe I’ll even have another story about what He will do.

On With the New….

Wow, it’s been a month since I have written a blog!  I have much happen, so I am surprised I have not written! Oh well…

I was going to Nova Job Center throughout the spring and summer of 2016 but for some reason my badge was no longer valid which meant that I had to reapply for their services. I believe that it was a “God-thing”, because when I re-applied, I was able to qualify for job training. When I applied the first time, I would not have qualified because I was receiving short-term disability, but they also did not have any funding available when I first applied.

I went through the orientation training and then I went to a class that talked about the process to receive a training grant. After that, I met with a job councilor who told me that I could probably get a three or six month training program. So, I did all my homework. I looked back at all the work I have done through my years of work to see if there was something I really enjoyed doing. I decided that I enjoyed bookkeeping using Quickbooks and Quicken. I researched positions with different titles, position requirements, salaries, benefits, etc. I listed each and made graphs, I interviewed three ladies in my network or from people connected to my network who were either bookkeepers or non-tax accountants, I printed my master job and schooling resume and more.

Then I took all of that to a training councilor who first wanted to know why I was not working. I told her that I had quit my job and two days later donated 60% of my liver to my friend’s husband. She clapped her hands and smiled as she told me that she wondered why I was in the system with priority status to receive training funds. I was told I had priority status, but I was under the impression that it was because I was reapplying for their services.

After going through all of my “homework”, she told me that it is rare for someone to come in with everything completed. Majority of the people have to go back to her several times before she can make a decision about job training. She marked “APPROVED” on my paperwork and then proceeded to ask me if I wanted a nine-month training or a twelve-month training. I was dumbfounded for a moment before she explained that she was not approving me for a three or six month bookkeeping training but instead she was approving me for a nine or twelve month accounting certificate!

She explained both of the options to me and I made the decision that I would like to go to De Anza College in Cupertino for a twelve month accounting certificate.  I was told that I would have quite a bit of stuff in order to be able to start in January but the plan was that I would sign my grant contract on January 3rd and start school on January 9th.

On the 20th of December, I got a call that my contract was ready to sign and that I needed to go to Nova to sign it before the Christmas break. I went in that day to sign. While I was there, my councilor suggested that I contact my doctor and ask for a temporary handicap placard for the car since the campus was big.

The next day on December 21, I went to De Anza to do all my paperwork. While I was there, my training councilor encouraged me to have my doctor approve for me to get a handicap placard. So I did all my paperwork as well as contacting my doctor to find out what he thought. Since he agreed, I sent paperwork to him to be signed and sent back to me to take to Department of Motor Vehicles.

Well, all seemed to be going well. Then, on Christmas day, the car (Number 10) that I was borrowing from friends was stolen. It was recovered last night but had drugs and other things in it that have caused the owners concern for my safety, so they will no longer be loaning the car to me.

The other thing that is happening is that the classes that I hoped to get are not available now and I have not received the email from De Anza to register. So, it seems like there is something keeping me from moving forward!

It’s interesting, my friend Amy sent me a text that said, “Wow, you are such a person of faith and yet the LORD tests you down to the wire. His glory always prevails, but it’s so much at once!”

It is easy to think that if we take a step of faith that things should be easy. But that is not the case. Think of Abraham, the father of the faith. God gave him a promise that he would have a son. He was already 75 years old when God made that promise to him. Then he would have to wait 25 years before Isaac was born. AND then God tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice the son of his promise. But Abraham got up and took Isaac to the place that God told him to go, he tied Isaac to the altar and had the knife in his hand raised to sacrifice his son of promise…AND then only did the angel of God speak and the ram was provided in Isaac’s place. (You can read the story of Abraham in Genesis, Chapter 22 for the story of him being asked to sacrifice his son.)

I am not being asked to sacrifice anything. I already sacrificed 60% of my liver and a year worth of wages! But walking in faith isn’t always easy. The one thing that makes walking in faith a little easier is that God doesn’t change. He is the one who told me back in June of 2015, “I love you, I have a plan, and I am in control!” He hasn’t changed. He still loves me, He still have a plan for me (Jeremiah 29:11), and He is still in control! Nothing has changed.

So, I want to encourage you. If you are in a place where circumstances are hard, where nothing seems to be going right and even then good things seem to be made hard, don’t be discouraged. Trust God that He is more powerful than the enemy. Trust God that He loves you. Trust God that He has a great plan for you. Trust God that He is and will always be on His throne. Keep your eyes on Him because He will make a way where there seems to be no way! (Read Isaiah 43:1-3).

This is the end….

 

Ok, so you are probably wondering why I put a funny cheese commercial at the beginning of this blog post.  Well, it’s kind of long story. So, my short-term disability ran out on October 21, 2016. I thought I was going to be getting a fantastic job, but not quite sure if I was ready to be working full-time with lots of travel. Turns out, they did not feel I had enough experience in an area and not enough knowledge in another area. So I didn’t get the job.

I should note that prior to my short-term disability running out, I applied for Social Security Disability, which takes about 3 months to be approved or denied.

Back to not getting the job. I’m not sure who I spoke to, but was told to file for unemployment because I did not get the job but no longer on short-term disability. I was accepted for unemployment benefits right away, but I had to go through a screening call to make sure I qualify. Well, I got the call, which was not an easy one! The woman wanted to know if I was disabled or employable. I tried to explain that I am employable with limitations. She would not accept my answer. “You are either disabled or employable, Ms Wilson, you can’t be both!” She wanted a note from my doctor saying I was employable without limitations. I felt I was between a rock and a hard place. I won’t tell you that I didn’t cry. I did!

Almost immediately, the Message version of Isaiah 43:1-4 came to my mind.

When You’re Between a Rock and a Hard Place

43 1-4 But now, God’s Message,
    the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,
    the One who got you started, Israel:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    it won’t be a dead-end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
    The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
    all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
    That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
    trade the creation just for you.

Also, a song started in my heart:

When you’re up against a struggle that shatters all your dreams
And your hopes have been cruelly crushed by Satan’s manifested schemes
And you feel the urge within you to submit to earthly fears
Don’t let the faith you’re standing in, seem to disappear

Praise the Lord, He can work through those who praise Him
Praise the Lord, for our God inhabits praise
Praise the Lord, for the chains that seems to bind you
Serve only to remind you that they drop powerless behind you
When you praise Him

I felt comforted by God. I know He loves me, He has a plan and He is in control. Later in the day I ended up at a Job Center for a class. Ironically my badge had expired even though I was doing things to keep it active, so I had to meet with a counselor for a new badge. I met with a lady who is a Sister-in-Christ and she told me that she could not tell me what to do but to trust God to show me what was the best thing to do. She explained that with me being “employable with limitations” that I would qualify for job training (which I was not eligible of getting before because I didn’t qualify and because they didn’t have funding) and possibly help from Department of Rehabilitation (which I also had applied for).

I had pretty much decided that I would not worry about losing unemployment thinking I might get Social Security Disability. However, I called UCSF to talk to them about what they thought I should do. No one contacted me back in time to do anything about unemployment, so when the letter of denial for unemployment came, I was not surprised at all.

This morning, I was looking at my bookshelf and opened a devotional book I have not read yet. There was a challenge on the page I turned to, so I read it since I like challenges. It read:

“Challenge: Today make the LORD your dwelling place. Let Him be the one that delivers you from your enemies. As you talk and pray to God, ask Him to show you the best way to handle a current crisis. Like He did with David, He will deliver you. May God bless you.”

I decided to verbally acknowledge the LORD as my dwelling place to at least take part of the challenge. I started to pray, “God, I don’t have a current crisis that I know of….” Immediately I thought “you won’t receive Social Security Disability.” I knew that it was the LORD and not the enemy. And as crazy as it may seem, I heard the mailman drop the mail in the box right then. Sure enough to His word, I received a letter from Social Security that I do not qualify for Social Security Disability because according to my doctor at UCSF I am “employable with limitations”.

I could not believe it! Well I could, but I couldn’t. The same thing that disqualified me from receiving unemployment was also disqualifying me from receiving Social Security Disability! Wow! That is just unbelievable!

No Bible verses came to mind. No songs of hope sprang up in my heart. Just the enemy telling me that I thought I was at the end before but now I was at the end. “There’s no hope for Michelle…she will not be able to get the training she thought she would be able to get since she won’t have any form of income from State or Government!”

Then a song arose but not one from God. “This is the end, beautiful friend, This is the end, my only friend, the end. Of our elaborate plans, the end.”

I was sure that I have seen a video of a mouse in a trap with this same music playing. You think, “poor mouse!” It truly looks like the end for the poor critter. And that is what it feels like for me right now. But the mouse ate strong cheese and as a result was able to “bench press” the bar that had snapped to take life from its body to the tune of Eye of the Tiger! Hee hee! My God is much stronger than the strongest cheese! He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.  He is my dwelling place and He will deliver me from my enemies.

I love when I can laugh at Satan. He may think that I am at the end, “But my God shall supply all my need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19). I laugh at Satan, not because I know God’s plan or how provision will come in, but because I know God is faithful!

Tonight when I talked to my housemate about my day, she told me, “I want you to know, you will not be kicked out of my house if you can not come up with rent! Just know that, ok?” I am already praising God for the blessing of the beautiful home I am living in as well as the generosity my housemate has already shown me. Now I praise God all the more for an assurance of housing in a time of uncertainty with my finances. God is already showing Himself faithful!  Praise God not only is He my dwelling place, but He has provided a dwelling place!

Christmas Baking Already! Yes!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…..well, I usually don’t think that way about this time of the year, but this year I do!  A friend of mine got a Kitchen Aide at a fraction of the price and decided to invite some ladies over to her place to make Christmas cookies the first weekend of November. At first I thought it was crazy, but then I really got into it.

So I decided to make some of my own since I am trying real hard to be on a lower-carb and no processed sugar diet. Also, I figured out that I can make the cookies in stages, so it is not so hard on my body.

Another friend and I have looked for Bob’s Red Mill low-carb mix in most the local stores but it is nowhere to be found. I also looked on-line for different ideas for low-carb flour. Almond flour is awfully dense and most everything tastes almond-like. I was going to add some soy or whey protein powder since I heard that was good too. Then I went to a local Asian store to see if they had any kind of low-carb flour and I found yam flour which is more of a starch. I wanted to see what would happen when I mixed Almond Flour (Trader Joe’s), soy protien powder and the yam flour…the result??? A low-carb “flour” mixture that tastes almost like white flour and it has a very similar texture to flour too so I can use it one to one! Yay!

The other challenge was that I didn’t just want to look on-line for low-carb, no processed sugar recipes because I have a few recipes from some of the clients I had when I was a senior caregiver, so I decided to just see what would happen if I made some changes.  The results???? Yummy cookies! Yay!

img_20161112_215642550

Here are some recipes. I hope you all enjoy them!

LP’s Pfeffernusse Cookies (low-carb, processed sugar-free)

  • 1/2 C Molasses
  • 1/4 C Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 C Butter (can also just use 1/2 C butter or 1/2 C Coconut Oil)
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2 t Anise Extract (I used 1 t Anise Extract and 1 t ground Star Anise)
  • 4 Cups Low-carb flour mixture
  • 1/4 C Stevia (or other processed sugar substitute)
  • 1/2 C Raw unprocessed brown sugar (or other processed brown sugar substitute)
  • 1 1/2 t ground Cardamom
  • 1 t Garam Masala (she recalled this over ground nutmeg but she might have been thinking of Lebkuchen???)
  • 1/2 t ground Cloves
  • 1/2 – 1 t ground Ginger (I like Ginger so I use more)
  • 2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 t white Pepper (they are pepper cookies…just not the same without it!)
  • a dash of salt
  • 1 1/2 t baking soda

Mix together the wet ingredients (I like to just use a whisk). In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Combine the ingredients from both bowls and stir until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll the dough into small meatball sized balls. Place on a cookie sheet about an inch apart. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes. (Some people dust these with powdered sugar but I think they are sweet enough as is.)

AR’s Twice-Baked Italian Cookies (Biscotti)

  • 1 C Stevia or sugar substitute
  • 1 C Olive Oil
  • 4 T Anise Seed (I reduced this and added some ground Star Anise – it makes it extreme if you taste the dough, but finished product is delicious!)
  • 4 T Anise Extract or Anise flavored Liquor (Annisette or other)
  • 3 T Bourbon Vanilla or Bourbon (or 1 T Vanilla & 2 T Water) I added some Almond Extract
  • 2 C coarsely chopped Almonds
  • 6 Large Eggs
  • 5 1/2 C Low-Carb flour mixture (1 used 4 C LC Flour mix and 1 1/2 C Almond meal but then ended up having a lot of oil coming off when baked so I will probably reduce this down in the future.)
  • 1 T baking powder

Mix first 5 ingredients, beat in eggs. Combined flour mixture and baking powder. Combine all the ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

On lightly floured board, shape cookie dough with your hands to form flat loaves that are 1/2″ thick, 2″ wide and as long as the cookie sheet. Place no more than 2 loaves per sheet parallel and well apart. Bake 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to touch. The cut loaves at an angle to form slices that are about 1/2″ wide. Lay slices on cut side close together on the cookie sheet and return to oven for 15-20 minutes or until lightly toasted. Cool on wire racks.

My client used olive oil and not butter and it really tastes better that way.

I do have other cookie recipes, but I am tired tonight so I will add those another time. You’ll just have to check back another time. Please leave me comments if you try making these cookies. I’d love to know what others think.

Challenge: What recipe(s) would you like to see low-carb and processed sugar-free??? How would you change it? Please share your ideas with me!

 

 

 

The enemy’s Hand has been overturned!

I don’t usually read prophecies but for a few weeks have been getting daily email from Spirit Fuel. Today I just read the title and it spoke to me, “The Enemy’s Hand Has Been Overturned!” I read what Edie Bayer had to say and it was different from what is in my head. She talked about soil being turned-over or tilled with seeds already planted and coming to fruition.

For me, the title spoke to me much differently. You see, before I donated part of my liver to Lupe, I felt like I was in a card game with the enemy. I needed to ante-up but had nothing else to put in so that I could win except for God. I was going to have to find housing in what seemed an impossible way. (You can read that blog here!)

The prophecy talked about it being in past tense – it has been done. The enemy’s hand has been overturned and he did not win! I realized that I have not written about what God has done. I was in temporary housing with my Step-Mom – it was not meant to be lived in, but we made it through. Then God blessed me through people in/through my church who paid for a temporary apartment for me ($3000 a month for a month) then another 15 days there through another church and family member of Lupe. I did go back to the temporary housing for 21 days.

I had given everything I had and more to be able to donate….it seemed like the enemy would prevail in the “card game” in regards to my housing. But his hand was overturned by God’s winning hand!

You see, God moved me right when it seemed like all was lost, when it seemed like I had made a huge mistake and would look like a fool…God moved!

I don’t live in my own place, but I have a nice sized room with a gorgeous view and beautiful curtains. I have a garden to play in and all of my plants have a place. My cat Bebe is here with me. I am spoiled twice a month with housekeepers coming in to clean the floors, bathrooms and kitchen. I have a housemate who encourages me and prays for me. I am in a safe neighborhood close to the police department and walking distance to restaurants and stores. I am able to have guests over for Bible study, games, meals, etc. All in my price range.

I am still not sure what going forward will look like. I am in between funding ending for short-term disability and Social Security Disability accepting me. I have applied for unemployment because I am able to work – with limitations. It seems like another impossible situation. But you know what??? I already have the victory! The card game has been won and God is the winner. I look forward to writing about what the journey will reveal! I hope you will join me!

Just being myself

One year I worked for a non-profit agency that had yearly fundraisers. The year I worked for them, they decided they wanted to hire a clown to be at the fundraising event. But they were unable to find one. I let my boss know that I was willing to be a clown at the event because I had my own costume and make-up….at one time, I even had my clown face registered with a clown registry! (Yes, crazy enough, clown faces can be registered!)  My boss was delighted, so the day of the event, I got to work early enough to put on my make-up and costume.  However, as I finished putting white on my face, I would notice that my skin would start to show through. I thought maybe the oils in my skin were causing the white to come off, so I used some powder and then applied more white. I would get finished with one side only to have the white come off the other side again. Well, I was running out of time, so I prayed God would help me (I wasn’t sure what else to do!).  As clear as day I heard in my heart, “I no longer want you to wear a mask. This is who you used to be but I have made you brand new!” At that point I stopped trying to get my skin fully covered and only a few people asked if I had issues with my makeup.

I was a bit stunned at what I thought I had heard God say since a clown isn’t a bad thing! (Well at that time, this year I have seen how the enemy can use a clown for evil.) But after the event, I prayed about it some more and decided that I would give my clown costumes and make-up away. The hard part is that I wanted to take part in my church’s Harvest Festival and I was encouraged to dress up.  I had no clue what to do…so I prayed and felt like the answer was to just be myself.

What does that look like? Well, the first year, I was trying to get a baking business going, so I wore my apron and chef hat. One year I had the idea of wearing my cap and gown from when I graduated from community college. Another year I wore my cap and gown from when I graduated from university. There might have been other similar “costumes” but I can’t recall what they were.

I was running out of ideas. Who am I???

Well, I really like to pray, so I thought it would be interesting to try to make a prayer closet for me to wear. And I finally got the opportunity to do that when a neighbor down the street from me got a new appliance several days before the harvest fest.

I boldly asked if I could have their box and they willingly gave it to me.10661949_10154717845475109_7018001576398974231_o I drew up some plans and found some 10668940_10154717845130109_8583389040875711864_osuspenders I could use to hold it on my shoulders and the church had some white paper that I could use to cover the box. As the project came along, I decided that I would make it a prayer booth instead of a prayer closet. On one side of the box, I added a pocket for prayer cards and pens. On the other side, I added a place for people to put the prayer cards and on the back of the booth I put in large letters, “Need Prayer? Ask me to pray for you!”

Harvest Fest 2014
Harvest Fest 2014

Right away, I was told that the costume was of poor character but I did not let it phase me. Within minutes, children were walking up to me and asking me for prayer. You see, the front had a little “table” where people could write down their prayer requests, but unknowingly, I had made my prayer booth just right for kids to lean in to talk with me as long as I got down on my knees. T0 my surprise, children of all nationalities were asking me for prayer. One child begged his mother to let him talk to me. Her reply, “but we don’t believe in their ‘god’!” The little boy didn’t care. He wanted prayer! It was a very special night for me for sure!

I wrote on my Facebook wall after the Harvest Fest was over: “It was so fun and rewarding to walk around dressed as a prayer booth for Trinity’s Harvest Fest. Please pray for the little boy pictured with me. He asked for a healthy brain and eyes. His mother said he has brain disease. So many children came to me for prayer…one even ‘tithed’ a piece of her candy for my prayers for her mommy to get well.”

Last year I was still in the hospital from the donation surgery (Trinity didn’t have a Harvest Fest anyway) so I didn’t need to come up with a “costume”.img_20161028_163232926 This year I had no idea what part of me I should portray. As I asked my housemate her thoughts, Bebe climbed up on my shoulder. She said, “You can be Bebe’s Mama!” So I went to the dollar store to look for a stuffed cat to attach to my shoulder only they didn’t have any. I did find an Army Hat and remembered that I had a bunch of plastic toy Army Men and Army signs from the War Room party I had during the summer. So I decided to go as a Soldier in Jesus’ Army by putting the sign on my back and taping the toy soldiers on my clothes. Little by little my “men” were falling off…guess the battle was pretty tough! I don’t have any pictures of my “costume” but it really wasn’t much to see in comparison to my prayer booth.

I have no clue what part of me I will portray next year. Maybe my readers need to write and give me some ideas (0:

Challenge: What would your “costume” or “costumes” be if you were to portray who you are??? Please leave your comments.

The God of 10 cars (and more)

In early 2015, my Mom offered $6000 towards a new to me vehicle, not to fix current vehicle or to have the cash but for her to wire the money to a dealer.

My car at the time was a 1999 Volkswagen Passat. I had bought it with 4 miles on it in June of 1998. It had been a good car to me for just shy of 17 years and I was having a hard time letting it go. But it needed a new catalytic converter and emissions work if it were to pass smog. It also started having other issues too, it seemed things were just falling apart on it. And someone crashed into my front bumper leaving it dented. Ugh! Ok, I know I needed a newer vehicle. Something more reliable.

I had a friend refer me to her friend who worked in a car dealership. He was looking for a specific car for me but when it didn’t come in and nothing in my price-range came up, he searched the internet for me which led me to a car in Fremont which sold right as I was arriving to the dealership. They found a 2004 Toyota Corolla CE with 118,620 miles on it on the back of the lot. The engine looked real clean, new hoses & belts. I am not sure why I bought the car other than the fact that my registration on my Passat was due but not able to smog so felt rushed. I bought the 04 Toyota Corolla.

Less than 23 hours after picking up the car, I went on a “God date” (out for dinner by myself where I can journal or just spend time praying or in God’s word). Almost immediately as I picked up the menu, I felt God speak in my spirit, “I love you, I have a plan and I am in control!

Less than an hour later, the engine light came on. I called dealership and was told they could do nothing because I did not buy a warranty. I took it to my mechanic. After $1449.98 and four trips to my mechanic, I found out the engine needed to be overhauled or replaced. After contacting Better Business Bureau, the dealership finally contacted me to say they would check out the car. At one point they offered to replace the engine with a used engine with similar miles but I no longer trusted them and finally after two of my friends went with me to talk to a manager, my money was returned to me. (Many say this is a miracle in itself). I was still out $1449.98 for the work my mechanic did on the car! )0:

But God had told me, “I love you, I have a plan and I am in control!” And boy has it been a plan that I would never have been able to dream up or even fathom (this is one of my favorite words, “fathom”!)

My friend Becky from church took me to drop off the car originally for the dealership to check out. I had to leave the car for several days, so she allowed me to use her car “whitey (1)”.

Becky needed her car back but her husband would willingly ride his bike to work and allow me to use his car “Greenie (2)” After a few weeks, Becky let me know they needed their car back.

By this time, I had my money back, but was having a hard time finding a decent car in the price range I had money for ($6000-$1449.98). I asked on Facebook if any of my friends had a car I could use for a week or so while I shopped for a vehicle. One of our church Elder’s and his wife were going out-of-town for a week so I used her van(3).

Still no luck finding a car to buy at that point. My friend Lisa was working for Shuddle while it was still in business and was using a brand new car of theirs so she was able to loan me her car (4) for about a week and a half.

Then, my friend Scott was going to Nicaragua for three months. I asked him to pray about me using his car and God said “yes,” so he allowed me to use his car (5). When I got his car, I pretty much stopped looking for a car to buy because I knew I would possibly be donating part of my liver soon and was expected to not be able to drive for 6 weeks to two months. I thought that I could look for a car after surgery. It turns out that I had Scott’s car for two month and three weeks and he came back one week after my surgery.

Then life was a bit crazy! I was not strong enough to drive for much longer than expected and with high pain levels and medication, my doctor would not approve for me to drive for over five months. After seeing a pain specialist, I was given some medicated cream that gave me the relief needed to be able to drive. Within two weeks of getting the cream I was feeling up to driving when Scott went out of the country for fourteen days and left his car (5 – 2nd time) with me. I picked him up at the airport on a Saturday night and the following Monday, my friend Maggie was going out-of-town for two weeks and allowed me to use her vehicle (6) while she was away.

However, while she was away, I got a skin rash that I could not get under control that turned out being from the pain cream, so by the time Maggie got back into town, the pain levels had increased so much that I was again no longer approved to drive, but I didn’t have a car available to me, so it didn’t matter.

By the time my new meds started working two weeks later, the next car came available to me. This car came from my housemate’s friends from church who I still have yet to meet. They went to Europe for about a month and left their keys here for me to use their Subaru (7) while they were gone (definitely Acts 2:44-45 in today’s context!). I shared about this on Facebook and got a call from a lady who had been my private client while I was caregiving – a sister in Christ who had become a friend (in person and on Facebook). She saw the post and God convicted her that she had a vehicle that needed to be used but was sitting in her garage.

After my month was up with car number seven, I picked up my friend’s Cadillac (8). Now the interesting thing is that it needed some work done on it. I knew I would be having a procedure done and would not be able to drive for a couple of days, however, I ended up being prescribed a new medication that made me very dizzy and unable to drive. Well, the car was in the shop the full length of time that I would be on the new medication (about a week and a half) then my doctor put me back on my original medication because my body was not tolerating the new medication.

It wasn’t long after I got the Cadillac (8) back, when Scott was going to be going out of the country again for several months and asked me to use his car while he was away. Scott’s car (5 – 3rd time). He was not sure when he would return, so I was not surprised to get a day’s notice that he would be back. I was not sure whose car I would use next. However, my housemate’s “daughter” went out of the country for three weeks and left her car (9) at the house.

When she returned, I really had no idea whose car I would use. I really thought I was going to finally have to buy a car. I started looking on-line, but I have not found any decent cars (meaning newer than my Passat with fewer miles and fewer mechanical issues). I considered buying a new one and taking out a loan, but my Mom said she did not want me buying a car with a loan while I am still on disability.

I asked another friend for a ride to church for Bible study. When she was taking me back home, she asked if I wanted to use her second car. I thought she had already sold it. Yep, God provided car number 10 for me to borrow for a few weeks.

I am one week away from the one year mark of donating 60% of my liver and my short-term disability will end next Friday. The day I got the tenth car, I was having quite a bit of anxiety about not knowing where money to live would come from since I did not have any job interviews and Social Security had not approved for long-term disability. I was sharing about my anxiety with my housemate. She asked me, “You mean you are afraid that the God of 10 cars won’t provide?”

Well, if you put it that way, no! I know that the God of 10 cars will provide. After all, He told me, “I love you, I have a plan and I am in control!

Not only did God provide 10 different cars for me to use during this time, but He also fashioned it so that I would not have a car when I was not able to drive. He knows me all too well! I would have been tempted to drive if I would have bought a car but instead He provided cars only when I was able to drive.

I look forward to seeing what He will do next!

Just a little update…car number 10 ended up being stolen Christmas day then wrecked. But interestingly, my housemate was out of town for Christmas, so her car became car number 11. I used Scott’s car (5) again several times and then I used a fancy blue Chevy Volt (car number 12) until a few days before the car GOD brought me came about. Check out the video I made. Waiting on GOD is worth it. He had a plan I would have never fathomed.