YOU’RE THE INK IN MY PEN
A pen is an instrument used to express thoughts on paper. But it is the ink that makes it possible to preserve those reflections for centuries. The pen is a structure and during the writing process is not consumed or changed. However, the ink’s sole purpose is to pour itself out and leave its lifeline on the paper. A good analogy can be illustrated in the conversation the pig held with the hen about commitment. Their master, the farmer, enjoyed his breakfasts and the hen would willingly oblige by providing eggs, but for the pig, he was not too eager, for it meant a total life commitment to provide the bacon.
In our marriage, Julia shared my love for music. I loved creating music but I was not endowed with a voice that was pleasant or could stay on key. Fortunately, Julia had a beautiful voice with a creative mind filled with inspirational thoughts. She, however, did not have the same intensity for creating music and left on her own would have never written any songs. Her love for me was the reason she willingly got involved in our music. We played in bands in our early years of marriage and developed a “Jingle” company producing melodic commercials. However, when we discovered Jesus, our interest in music changed to worshipping the Lord. We spent the next thirty years writing 125+ Christian songs dedicated to praising God or encouraging his people.
Two years ago, Julia was diagnosed with stage four cancer without any hope of remission. During the following eight months, I fervently prayed believing God would heal Julia, but unfortunately for me, it was not God’s will. A short while before Julia received her promotion, I shared lyrics for a song which I had written for her. Two and a half years later, I have completed her song and am hoping God will preserve it, so that Julia, one day, will be able to know how much I yet love her.
I called the song, “You’re the Ink in My Pen,” as Julia was the creativity in our music. She poured out her heart to the Lord in her lyrics and singing. I basically, created the musical beds while Julia wrote the lyrics, melodies and sang the tunes. However, just as a pen is inoperative without ink, I needed Julia, in order to express my thoughts to God. This song acknowledges the truth that Julia was the ink in my pen and hopefully in the next life, our pen will be filled with “rivers of living water” and Julia and I can continue to worship God as one, in eternity.
Here are the lyrics for my song. I used old vocal clips from Julia to include her in the song. Her nickname was “Tang” and mine was “Streeter.”
YOU’RE THE INK IN MY PEN
Tang YOU WORKED SO HARD MADE A HOME
YOU WORKED SO HARD MADE A HOME
SHOWED US THE WAY
Streeter YOU’RE MY JULIE, BUT YOUR NAME IS JULIA
Tang ALL THOSE MEMORIES WILL STAY
Streeter I SPIED YOUR PHOTO ON THE WALL
HELD CAPTIVE TO THE BEAUTY I SAW
EYES OF BLUE, LIPS FRESH LIKE MOUNTAIN DEW
YOU CONSUMED MY HEART WITH AWE
YET I THOUGHT TOO LOFTY A GOAL FOR A BOY LIKE ME
BUT THE STARS ALIGNED, AND YOU STILLED MY SEA
LIKE TWO PART HARMONY PLAYED ON A SINGLE TRACK
NOW TO GOD, I PRAISE AND GIVE GLORY
YOU’RE THE INK IN MY PEN
MY LOVER, CONFIDANT AND FRIEND
A MOTHER DIVINE, A WIFE SO FINE
THE BALM THAT HEALS MY WOUNDS
JULIA, I LOVE YOU
WHEN MY HEART BEGAN TO POUND
YOU CRADDLED ME IN FEATHER DOWN
YOU BORE MY WOES AND SHED MY LOWS
CHANGED MY SORRY BLUES TO A JOYFUL SOUND
BUT WHEN TROUBLE INVADED YOUR STREET
YOU ENDURED AND FACED HER HEAT
WHAT A PRECIOUS PEARL, A SELFLESS GIRL
YOUR WINE, IT AGED SO SWEET
Tang I’M A LUCKY GIRL WITH A FAMILY FULL OF LOVE
AND IT WILL ONLY GROW WITH EVERY CUDDLE AND HUG
YOU MADE MY LITTLE WORLD A WARMER, BRIGHTER PLACE
AND I’M SO GLAD TO SEE EACH HAPPY SMILING FACE
Streeter GOD IS YOUR MOST TRUSTED FRIEND
HOW BLESSED, I TRULY AM
WHAT A WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL PARTNER YOU ARE
AND I THANK GOD, YOU’RE THE BEST BY FAR
GOD, YOU GAVE ME THE BEST BY FAR
BY FAR THE BEST, YOU GAVE ME,
THANK YOU, LORD, FOR MY JULIE
ALL PRAISE AND GLORY TO THE GOD I LOVE
Tang THE GUARDIAN OF OUR HEARTS
FINAL UPDATE JULIA: Friday June 17, 2016.
Julia went to be with Jesus peacefully this afternoon. Thank you everyone for your love and your prayers. She wanted to be cremated and have her ashes tossed in the Okanagan Lake, but not till next summer when all the family could get together and celebrate her life. I would like to replay this video that Julia and I made last fall.
Thursday May 19, 2016
It’s been almost a month since I last updated Julia’s situation because there has not been much to share. She is still in hospice enduring trial after trial such as liver pain, nausea, jaundice, cold sores, sore throat, constipation, and lack of an appetite because most food do not taste like Julia remembers. For example, she had porridge for breakfast but could not eat it, as she said it tasted like pickles.
What truly amazes me is her cheerful disposition. She endures pain and nausea and painful needles hourly but never complains. She is so thoughtful when visitors come, trying to keep awake, so she won’t hurt their feelings. We had a great day on Monday, as Rachael, Yari, her Mom, Joseph and myself fasted that day so we could pray with Julia that night through facetime. She had a real up time during the prayer time, and even called Rose Mary and Rick in the Sault, to thank them for all their faithful praying for her.
Rachael left on Wednesday, to fly back to her husband in Florida, after spending six months taking care of Julia, while Ju Ju has been here three times since October and will be flying back to her husband and children in Sweden next month. She has been on leave from teaching since April. Joseph and Yari have only been out once, since they just moved into a new home outside New York while Joseph was able to secure an optician position, five minutes from their new home and within a month has received a promotion. So we are proud of all three of our children and how God is using them in our trial. This is what God taught me this morning.
TRUE PEACE Mk 44:35-41
Jesus is peacefully sleeping on a cushion while a violent storm terrifies his disciples. This reminds me of His words in Mt 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Jesus could rest in the midst of a storm because his faith was strong in the Father. I need to trust Jesus in our trial. Worry, fear and their likes are not of God. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Php 4:6,7)
There is not a better definition of true peace than this description of the violent storm raging while Jesus sleeps at the back of the boat on a cushion. God has been good to me, as He has provided me with hope to continue to trust Him, despite what I see by sight, I walk by faith that God will heal Julia. Keep praying with me.
Song: Oh How We Should Love
Thursday April 21, 2016
Julia is doing better this week. She described her condition like this. When you have the flu you know your body is not right, but this week I feel my body is feeling more like its old self, normal. In the last few weeks, she had been having a very difficult time breathing, especially trying to take deep breaths, so we had to turn up her oxygen intake to keep her comfortable, but this week she said her breathing is improving.
Today is my 66th birthday and at 11:30 I’ll be taking Julia to the hairdresser’s, she’s quite excited, it’s a woman’s thing.
For the last few days I have been having pain around my heart so I went to the pharmacy last night to take my blood pressure. The systolic number was 159. I tried it again and it read 155, whereas 140+ is high blood pressure, and I have always had above average results so I tried another drug store believing their machine was not working properly. This time, both number were high 155 and 94. So I praised God while I retried it one more time and my numbers were normal 130 and 89. I think stress is my problem so I have to give it to Jesus and trust him that He will work all things out for our good. Let him do the same for you! I’m going to make today the best birthday ever!
Song: Sweet Love
Sunday April 10, 2016
Julia has now been in hospice for almost a month. There has not been much change since I last wrote; however the pain and nausea medications have escalated. She has been experiencing more difficulty breathing and she is more reliant on her oxygen. We sit in the sun in the garden for a half hour each day so Julia can get her vitamin D. Nightly, I sleep on the couch in her room to keep her company and the family is constantly with her during the day. Rachael does a nightly protocol and Ju Ju is here but cannot see Julia as she has had a bad cold for the last two weeks.
My faith has been much encouraged by listening to the George Mueller story. He was a young playboy, liar and thief in the 1800’s in Germany. He spent much time going to schools studying the Bible but never believing or living it. When he finally did believe that the Bible was true, he ended up in England and his goal was to encourage the faith of Christians by believing God does answer our prayers. To prove this, he decided to start an orphanage without ever asking anyone for money, only by praying to God. The results were that he raised (in today’s Canadian money terms) $165 million without ever asking a single person to contribute money. He cared for over 10,000 orphans in his life. There were many super natural answers to prayer for example, on one well-documented occasion, they gave thanks for breakfast when all the children were sitting at the table, even though there was nothing to eat in the house. As they finished praying, the baker knocked on the door with sufficient fresh bread to feed everyone, and the milkman gave them plenty of fresh milk because his cart broke down in front of the orphanage.
I thank God for this encouragement as it has strengthened me to continue to walk by faith and not by sight. Please continue to believe your prayers are helping Julia, for we truly believe they are! Just because you can’t see the sun on a cloudy day doesn’t mean it isn’t shining. Get in an airplane and rise above the clouds and you will see the sun in all its glory!
Song: Son Shine
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Julia has been in hospice for over a week and to keep her comfortable, they have been increasing the pain and nausea medication. I have been sleeping there to keep her company and we still are believing God is going to take away her cancer.
I will plead my case to God for fifteen more years for my wife Julia.
#1 The day before Julia was diagnosed with stage four cancer she read Isaiah 38 that told the story of God telling Hezekiah to get his house in order because he was going to die. Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and pleaded with God. God was merciful and gave Hezekiah fifteen more years.
“The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.
It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. Isa 55:10,11
In the past God has used similar means to lavish his grace and mercy on us:
A. Before quitting my teaching job in Ontario with the Catholic school board to move to BC, we spent a day fasting at Mackinaw Island. The verse God gave us was:
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, (British Columbia) even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Ps 139:9,10
A few weeks later when Julia was going to get baptized in the waters of Lake Superior, most of our church friends were trying to discourage us from moving without having a job waiting for me in BC, but one elderly prayer lady stood up and said that God had given her this passage for george and Julia—it was Psalm 139. There are 66 books in the Bible and hundreds of chapters yet the passage she shared was the exact one God had given us!
B. After seven lean years of semi-employment I had an opportunity to secure a permanent teaching job at CREW for at risk teenagers. They were having difficulty fulfilling the position because the qualifications were a BC teaching certificate, counseling experience and mill experience. I had all three, as I had worked in the Hammond mill for a year, counseled at Burden Bearers for a year and had my BC teaching certificate. I was given a week at the school mill to prove I could mange this position. I was told that on Friday I would know one way or the other if I would be given the job. The mill worker hired by the school board to run the mill operation was very temperamental and did not want to spend much time teaching me mill skills. On Friday, he told me to take the forklift that was not working properly and pick up the students’ bundles of cedar shakes. I almost ran into the building causing the mill worker to get upset with me and at the end of the day, his hand gestures to the teacher who was going to let me know if I had the job, were disgustingly negative. I was not told if I had the job as was promised. When I came home I began to cry for letting my family down. Julia phoned the teacher in charge but his wife said that he was golfing for the evening.
On Sunday, we went to church but almost left after we had discovered that our regular pastor was away and that the music leader, who we thought was very arrogant, would be giving the message. However, we stayed and to our surprise we felt God had given us a message through this music leader. He read the following verses: Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance (end of seven years of semi-employment) the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians (financial problems) you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Ex 14:13,14
We went home rejoicing believing the impossible, that the school board would still hire me despite my poor performance. The next morning, at exactly 9 AM, the phone rang and the man hiring, told me that I had the position!
C. After raising $4,000 in the “Gulu Walk” in Vancouver to help the Ugandan orphans, I prayed to God to show me where He wanted me to send future money I would raise for the child soldier orphans. About a month later, I went to Willingdon Church in Burnaby to listen to one of my favorite speakers, John McArthur who pastored in California, but tonight was the guest speaker. I arrived fifteen minutes early, but soon realized the place was packed and once inside found all seats were taken or saved. My last chance was to go to the front of the church but I had little hope of securing a seat. When I was nearly at the front I spotted one space at the end of the pew and asked the lady next to the spot if anyone was sitting there. She said yes, you are! After sitting down, I entered into conversation with her and told her of my keen interest in the Ugandan child soldier orphans. She then nudged her husband sitting next to her and told him to talk to me. He had just come back from Uganda where he had been helping at a very large school in northern Uganda run by Irene Gleeson (another fantastic story to learn about but I don’t have the time right now). He told me she was the real deal and any money I raised would be worthwhile spent helping these child soldier orphans get an education and a future career. She was a Christian that had given up her life in Australia to help these orphans. Over the next years, we sent all our fundraised money to Irene for her 8,000 students. Rachael, my daughter even stayed with Irene for a week at one of her five schools. She died in 2013 receiving the order of Australia and a special mention from the president of Uganda for her loyal service to their country.
D. After retiring, we had prayed about moving to Sweden to help our daughter Ju Ju and her husband Henrik with their three young boys. We were not sure how this would work out since Ju Ju and Henrik owned a nine apartment building but no one was moving, in the near future. Ju Ju thought of asking one of them, to move out, with compensation for it, so that her mom and dad could live in the same building.
The same day we sold our home, Ju Ju phoned us to tell us that the couple living in the very next apartment gave their notice and would be moving (a wonderful surprise). That was confirmation for us that God did want us in Sweden. To make it more perfect, Henrik cut out a wall between the apartments to put a door so that we would not even have to go outside our apartment to see our grandchildren, we could just open that door and we were right in Ju Ju’s apartment.
#2 Adam was alone and God said it was not good for man to be alone so God created Eve to be his wife. Gen 2:18
God created me and He knows it is not good for me to be alone, Julia has been the greatest helper in every adventure I have been involved in, without her I would have lived a very sorry, empty life! She has encouraged me many times when I was depressed, which allowed me to find the strength to do the best job I could.
#3 God wrote this in the Bible:
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecc 4:9-12
Our three strands are Julia, myself and God. I am praying these strands will not be broken for another fifteen years.
#4 Jesus told a parable that reads as follows:
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Lord I believe and have faith in every word that is written in your Holy Bible. You tell me in this parable to keep asking day and night and that you will not keep putting off my request. In fact, I ask all my friends to keep asking you for Julia’s cancer to disappear and to add fifteen more years to her life.
I have stated my case and confidently leave this decision in the hands of the Almighty Judge of this universe to do what He sees best. To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
Tuesday March 8, 2016
It has been a challenging couple of weeks for all of our family. Ju Ju flew back to Sweden and is sick in bed with the flu (this type lasts for 3-4 weeks). Julia’s brother Michael still has it. It’s been with him for almost a month. I caught the flu for the second time only this time, it wasn’t so forgiving. What has made things worse is that Julia’s other brother Henry went on holidays with his family to Mexico and left me in charge of running the strata (225 apartments) in which I had a few emergency crises’ that could have turned out disastrously, but as usual God had mercy on me and saved me each time.
However, things got worse for Julia. She spotted blood in her urine but because of the strong painkillers did not realize that she had a bladder infection. On top of that she had flu symptoms but only nausea, not a cough in her throat or lungs. So she decided to stop taking her painkillers for a day so she could try to treat her infection. By Friday afternoon she was in extreme pain and re-started the painkillers but they did not help. She told me she loved me and said she didn’t think she could make it through the day. There was no position that gave her relief, but God answered our prayer as one of the nurses from Palliative care called and asked Julia if she would like her to come over and give her an injection directly into her body. Julia was very thankful and within an half hour the injection began to take the edge off her pain. Carrie, the nurse also arranged for antibiotics for her bladder infection. The only concern we have is that this drug can cause the racing of the heart if taken too close in time with nausea drugs. So we have to set the clock for six in the morning to take her antibiotic then wait four hours before she can get her painkiller and nausea pills. We need to do the same at six in the evening and wait till ten before she can go to bed with another dose of painkillers and nausea pills.
It just seems like this week became the perfect storm but through it all we clung to God and were very encouraged by the story we heard about Alexander Solzhenitsyn. He was a literary giant and dissident in Russia whom the KGB had placed in a prison camp doing hard labor, and he was not allowed to communicate with others. He got so depressed and not seeing a way out, thought of ending his life but knew that his faith would not allow him to do that. But then his mind became twisted and he came up with the idea of trying to escape and being killed by one of the Russian guards. He found the day he was going to do it, while the guards gave the prisoners a few moments to rest under a tree. He was ready to spring up when another prisoner stood in front of Alexander and looked him in the eyes with compassion and with a little twig in his hand drew the sign of a cross in the dirt then walked away. Alexander said he knew that was a message from God and what he was going to do was wrong. Three days later he was released and became a free man. The point of this story for us was to wait on God, be patient, for his timing is never too early or too late but right on time. Please continue to pray for Julia as we are still in the midst of the storm. Her body perhaps is being destroyed but her spirit is soaring in the heavenlies!
Saturday February 20, 2016
Julia has stabilized but is on painkillers to get her through her day. By sight, our situation looks bleak, as you can feel the tumors in Julia’s liver, on her back, but we still have faith that God is going to do a miracle. Julia has total peace in her circumstances and is taking one day at a time. She has a desire to return to Sweden to be with her grandchildren, so Ju Ju is going to inquire of the government of Sweden, if they will allow Julia to be covered medically. We have been told in the past, that we would have to live in Sweden for a year before any health benefits would be allowed, so by sight their answer will be no, but we feel with God all things are possible and He can change hearts to make this become a reality, if it is his will that we are to go back to Sweden. We have been strengthened by God’s Word and by our many friends and family who have reached out to us in prayer or by visits. It was such a powerful time to have all three of our children together praying for their Mom. It made me feel that we have done a good job raising our children, as they have showed us how much they love us and appreciate our guidance. Our family is far from living on easy street, as each one has circumstances they are dealing with, as is everyone alive today. I have found that trusting God with your circumstances is the most prudent way to live this life with all of its ups and downs. So though we were disheartened with Julia’s setback, we move forward knowing that God can do more than anything we can ask or imagine.
P.S. God just did a little miracle. I wanted to post this blog but my laptop did not have the password on it and my regular computer was in the shop getting fixed since Monday. So I told God I would be patient and whenever I got my computer back I would then post this blog. I literally just closed my laptop and my cell phone rang and it was the computer store calling me that my computer was fixed and I could pick it up right away. Now that was a lightning answer to my dilemma, and I thank God for doing more than I could imagine and so quickly.
Song: I Will Wait
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Julia’s health had been going downhill the past week. She had trouble swallowing her pills and had been very uncomfortable. Joseph got violently ill with the flu and then Rachael experienced the same. I thought that Julia’s discomfort might be from the flu bug but unfortunately it wasn’t. She had a terrible night with a severe headache, pain in her chest that would not go away. We had had an encouraging talk about all the things God had done in our past and how He always seemed to give us a sign right before blessing us, but as the day went on, Julia became more and more uncomfortable, to the point where she asked me to take her to the hospital. But she could not move off the couch so I had to call the ambulance. At this point, the pain was shooting up her right shoulder and chest and she was having difficulty breathing without severe pain. At the hospital they gave her Gravol and painkillers. After doing tests they told us that the cancer had greatly spread throughout her lungs and that she had four blood clots. The news was devastating to me. I was numb! All my hopes were shattered. Julia took the news calmly and told me she was not afraid to die but said she was sorry for all the trouble she had caused me. I told her she hadn’t caused any trouble, that I was the most fortunate man to have spent 42 years with the most wonderful person in the world and I was so sorry that I did not have the power to change her circumstances. We had truly become one over the years and the Bible describes this union with a word that means glued together like two sheets of paper. If you try to pull them apart you tear the two to pieces. That’s exactly how I am feeling.
I left the hospital at about 8 PM and went home to tell Rachael and Joseph the results. Ju Ju phoned shortly after, after hearing the news from Yariela. After talking to the kids I told them I had to go to bed. Rachael came in my room and from 10 PM to 5 AM we poured out our hearts to God. We prayed, we petitioned the Lord, we worshiped him, we listened to 50 of Julia’s praise songs and we talked. I told God that if I had misrepresented him by believing He was going to give Julia fifteen more years, I was sorry for misleading people. We pleaded with God that if He was now going to heal Julia after all hope was gone, to give us a sign, just like he gave to Hezekiah and if there was no sign then I would know I was wrong. I am going to go to the hospital this morning, not knowing what I will find, but I thank God for all the wonderful blessings he has given Julia and I. I always remind myself that He is the Potter and I am the clay.
I was grieved to hear why the nurses were slow to help Julia, as a five month old baby had just died minutes before, and the parents were traumatized. The doctors were trying to calm them down. My heart breaks for their tragedy that they will have to live through. I prayed that God would comfort them and hoped that they had faith to sustain them through the coming dark days. I am 65 years old and understand life even less now. The only sure thing I know is that God is good and merciful and desires none to perish, but all to come to him. Please pray for my family. Love george.
Friday, January 29, 2016
We just had my sister Jean and brother-in-law Jack come to visit us for ten days from the Sault. Jack has a rare blood disease and Julia wanted to make him as comfortable as possible, so she gave them our bedroom to enjoy the marvelous view of Okanagan Lake and the spaciousness of the room. Jeannie was so helpful, as she did all the cooking and cleaning and we had a wonderful time together, but Julia had a setback as she tried to eat more solid food, such as meat that resulted in her liver reacting negatively and overdid things by trying to be too hospitable when she should have been resting.
This downward spiral put fear into my thinking about our future, so I turned to God for my strength and was encouraged by the thought: faith is believing God in spite of appearances. I reminded myself of God’s leading throughout this trying journey. After being diagnosed with terminal cancer God brought Rachael back to us, to help Julia get off her thirty-year dependency to chemical (legal) drugs. She established a nutritious diet and a sensible protocol. Then while Julia was inquiring about a RIFF machine that fights the cancer, she discovered a chelation center run by Dr. Whittel, a German medical doctor that turned to naturopathic methods when his parents had terminal cancer. His discoveries prolonged his parents’ lives and actually healed himself, later when he developed cancer. His clinic was right in Penticton, about five minutes from our apartment. These vitamin C treatments have helped Julia increase her oxygen levels and her energy levels. They actually kill cancer cells when you can build the dosages up to 50 mg (Julia is at 35 mg presently). Then Dr. Whittle, who is of retirement age, took some vacation time in January. Knowing the severity of Julia’s condition, he contacted another naturopathic doctor in Summerland, fifteen minutes from Penticton, to oversee Julia while he was on holidays. We discovered that Dr. Bentham was a Christian and a very young, but super knowledgeable doctor. He told Julia that he has a patient that went down to New Mexico to visit three scientists researching the effects of alpha lipoic acid, that have had great results in stopping cancer from growing. When she returned to Summerland, this scientist contacted Dr. Bentham and explained to him how to continue her treatment. Dr. Bentham gave Julia this special mixture of organic substances with a medical drug that aids in restraining cancer cells. This led to Julia’s greatest gains until she switched her diet. As Julia spiraled downward, God then encouraged us when Dr. Bentham e-mailed us, to let us know that the intravenous portion of this protocol had arrived from Germany and Julia could begin this stage.
We went yesterday, for Julia’s first treatment and this morning she said she felt much stronger and much less pain in her lungs. We go again today for another session hoping this is the next step that God is using in Julia’s road to recovery from cancer. Please pray this will prove true.
Tomorrow, I leave for the lower mainland to pick up Yariela, Joseph and David at the Vancouver airport. They are coming for a few weeks to see Julia, while Ju Ju is planning to arrive on the 14th of February. Joseph and David will still be here until the 16th of February, so it will be the first time in a long time that all of our three children will be together. God is good!
Thursday, January 14, 2016.
Today was an UP day, Julia and I spent the whole day shopping and she did it without her oxygen. At one point, when she checked her oxygen levels it read 97%, better than mine at 94%. She even had more energy than me, as I had to tell her I needed to get home to eat supper because we had missed our lunch because of the shopping. Of course, Julia was buying a new spring wardrobe, since she had loss so much weight due to the cancer, making a shopping day a necessity. She stood outside the car, each time we stopped somewhere, to just let the sun heat up her face and breathe in the cool fresh air. It’s been quite a while since Julia has been out of our apartment, other than traveling to her chelation treatments. It was so nice to see her enjoying the simple things in life, as we ended our day with our regular Thursday night prayer time, thanking God for such a wonderful day. He has given us a terrific week, being encouraged by two good friends. Darlene, from the Sault, sent us a card with a beautiful letter and a poem called “What Cancer Cannot Do.” Julia was overcome with tears and could not finish reading the poem. I tried and got choked up too. It took us some time to actually get through it. Here’s what it said: Cancer cannot cripple Love, it cannot shatter Hope, it cannot corrode Faith, it cannot destroy Peace, it cannot kill Friendships, it cannot suppress Memories, it cannot silence Courage, it cannot invade the Soul, it cannot steal Eternal Life, it cannot conquer the Spirit.
Our other friend Nicole, from Maple Ridge, sent us a care package that was supposed to arrive for Christmas but because we switched apartments was sent back. She mailed it again and we received it two days ago. Another tearful moment, when Julia discovered two pairs of knitted woolen slippers, just what she needed as her old faithful ones were full of holes from constant washing, and with cold feet all of the time, making it uncomfortable for her, as regular socks would cut off her circulation. But what made us cry was when we read that Nicole’s boys’ great, great aunt had knitted them and she too has been fighting cancer. It’s truly the simple pleasures in life that bring us true joy!
Song: Simple Pleasures
Saturday, January 2, 2016
Julia started a new protocol a few days ago called the Budwig protocol, named after the female German doctor who developed it. She has had much success with this protocol in fighting cancer. Part of her diet consists of organic cottage cheese mixed with flax seed and flax seed oil. This mixture changes the cell membrane so that it can absorb oxygen better into the cells. Cancer cannot grow in an oxygenated environment. It also adds electrons to the body giving your immune system extra resources to kill the cancer. Julia has been on oxygen 24/7 for the last month. This morning she got up after an eight hour sleep, the most she has had in a long time and then was able to take the oxygen off for more than one hour with levels in the low 90’s which is acceptable for normal living. Along with this she has been participating in chelation therapy where she receives vitamin C intravenously three times a week. We are really hopeful with these new treatments. Please continue to pray for wisdom for us to discern what is helpful for Julia’s recovery and that she will continue to see positive results in her whole-hearted effect to be restored to health.
We have had a New Year’s Eve tradition of bringing the New Year in with praise and prayer with our prayer group in Maple Ridge (Ed Roy) and once with Rachael’s bible study group in Florida. Well, this year, Julia was only able to stay up for a short while but Rachael and I continued and brought in the New Year with our Lord.
We remembered all of our friends and family who have had a difficult 2015 and pray for a better 2016. Mike and Susan, in the loss of his mother to cancer, Rose and Rick, with the loss of her mother, Joanne’s cousin Billy with cancer, my brother Frank with his battle with liver cancer, my sister Shirley with her struggle with breast cancer, my brother-in-law Jack with his blood disorder and weight loss. Since Julia was diagnosed with terminal cancer, it has given us empathy for others that are battling difficult trials and drives us to pray for the physical and spiritual healing of all our friends and family.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Ro 12:12
Song: My Morning Prayer
Saturday, December 19, 2015.
For the last month Julia has been having trouble getting enough oxygen to her lungs as it has been around 88% (below 90% is bad) resulting in much coughing. But God answered that prayer by having Palliative Care bring a $3,000 oxygen machine to our apartment to use for free, as long as we need it. It was donated by a family that had purchased it and eventually lost their loved one, so they donated it to Palliative Care for others to use. This has stopped much of her coughing and has given her more energy and peaceful sleeps as her oxygen levels are normal at 97% – 98% whenever she uses this machine.
Rachael and Julia have also started a chelation therapy procedure in Penticton with an experienced MD who is involved in naturopathic methods. They both had a blood test last week that showed Rachael’s liver enzymes worse than Julia’s. Rachael has been struggling for the past three years with an undiagnosed disease that gives her much pain in her liver and gall bladder. Last week they had their first session of concentrated vitamin C fed intravenously. They both felt great after that session with much energy. The next day they had a hydrogen peroxide session (which inhibits growth of anaerobic organisms and oxidizes biological wastes making it easier on the kidneys and liver) which did not go well for Julia. She is still weak but is looking forward to Monday when they go again. The Vitamin C sessions have had great results for cancer patients killing cancer cells once you are able to build up to high doses. We are also looking at Radio Frequency therapy which also attacks and kills cancer cells. This has been an educational time for Julia as she sifts through all the information out on the internet about healing cancer. Many things we have tried have worked well and others have not but we press on with confidence that God is guiding us to the right doctors and procedures that will eventually cure her cancer.
It’s been a blessing to have friends call and visit us and encourage us with their prayers. Please pray for both Rachael and Julia to overcome their physical battles. We recognize that this race is not a sprint but a marathon and having God as our coach gives us confidence that this race is going to end in victory.
Song: Fly (they will soar on wings like eagles Isa 40:29,31)
Thursday December 10, 2015
Our good friends, Tom and Cheryl Howard, ex 1976 Canadian Olympians came to visit our family to encourage Julia. We had a wonderful time in prayer and Bible study. One of the thoughts that Cheryl shared really impacted me. She said our purpose in life is to enjoy God and to magnify Him in all we do. I think I had forgotten to enjoy God through our present trial and it was a good reminder that there is much to enjoy that God has created and what He has allowed for us to discover. We are all learning more about cancer and how wonderfully our bodies have been created. Using God’s natural creations can help a damaged body full of cancer heal itself. Julia had the worse two nights of this sickness this week, where we were up all night, as she experienced terrible liver pain and finally through exhaustion fell asleep. We appreciate everyone’s continual prayers, as this low point turned around with the coming of Tom and Cheryl. We also discovered a natural herbal tea called Essiac that helps to heal cancer by boosting the immune system. Since Julia started taking this liquid she has had less coughing and is regaining some strength. It is a constant struggle to discern what helps and what causes her problems. We had given her probiotics to help detox her body but her liver was not strong enough to dump the toxins and that is what caused the two bad nights of pain. But in the midst of this, God has been strengthening our faith and mostly my patience, which I am still in need of more remedial lessons. I was frustrated that God had not answered my pleas to relieve Julia’s pain. Helplessly, I told God that I knew His ways are much higher than mine so I would continue to trust him even though I did not understand his silence. This morning God gave me the answer in a sermon by Tim Keller who mentioned that Jesus has also experienced the same, as every person that endures suffering. He reminded me of Jesus’ words to his Father, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me”? Now, if Jesus felt God’s absence, then He knows how I feel and I should understand that this silence, in no way means that the Father was disinterested in delivering Jesus or me from our trial. It only meant that there was greater glory down the road. How many of Jesus’ followers, experiencing His death at Calvary, walked home that day without hope. All they really needed to do was to hold on to their faith until Sunday and then they would have rejoiced in Jesus’ resurrection. So, we in our trial, and you in whatever your trial is, need to be patient and wait on the Lord to accomplish the purpose He has for our trials to bring us true joy and victory.
Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them. Ps 126:5,6
Song: You Still Love Me
Thursday, December 3, 2015.
Having terminal cancer can be easy for individuals to lose heart and give up all hope. The physical body constantly reminds you that it is not functioning properly and will power weakens as the battle drags on. Julia has been battling this cancer for almost two months and now is experiencing terrible nightmares. Her only comfort comes from her faith in God’s Word. Today we read, not to lose heart though outwardly we are wasting away because inwardly we are being renewed day by day. God is saying that our inner man can dominate our outer man and we can experience peace by believing God’s truths. The Bible goes on to tell us that our trials are only light and momentary in respect to the eternal glory they are producing in us and that this future glory by far outweighs our present troubles. The Bible’s prescription for victory over our circumstances is to fix our eyes not on what is seen (the physical cancer) but what is unseen (God and his eternal plan and promises). For what is seen is temporary (our short life on this earth is like a drop of water compared to the drops in the vast oceans), but what is unseen is eternal (the spiritual world, God, heaven and eternity).
Here are the highlights that our prayer time produced this morning:
george- I can’t control what comes at me but with Christ I can control what comes out of me!
Rachael- I am so encouraged and overwhelmed by the story of Darlene Rose a World War II missionary, prisoner of war, who had remarkable faith even when the Japanese were about to execute her.
Julia- this was her prayer as I try to recall the essence of it.
There is beauty in the darkness Lord, if I allow your light to shine upon it. There are pretty flowers in this valley that we walk through together . I am tired and my body is broken but even in this valley I put my trust in You.
We plan to have weekly Thursday evening prayer times from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm to worship God, discuss his Word and draw near to him. Please remember Julia in prayer, whenever you pray to God.
Song: Then the Angels Sang
Julia wrote this song two Christmas’ ago. It’s a beautiful song that worships God for the birth of Jesus.
Saturday, November 28, 2015.
Tomorrow will be Julia’s 65th birthday. We’ve been married 41 years, been through many valleys and mountaintop experiences but the one thing that has sustained us throughout it all, has been our relationship with God. This latest trial has been by far, the most challenging one to battle. Fighting cancer is like running marathons daily, without having a day off to rest or be refreshed. The protocol begins early in the day and ends late at night. The setbacks are the most difficult to deal with because you have just made progress and then find yourself tumbling back down the hill only to have to get up and try to regain the ground you have just lost. The only way we are able to continue is to look to God for our hope and encouragement. Thankfully, He has sent us many good friends and family to cheer us on when times get weary and all of our strength is gone. Four years ago, Julia wrote this song called “It’s You That We Adore”. It’s about us finding each other and within six months being married, having some of our family members question how long our marriage would last. Despite my selfishness and self-centeredness, Julia hung in and loved me, even though I did not love her the way a husband should love his wife. In fact, when Julia became a Christian, I gave her the ultimatum, either stop associating with those crazy Christians (John and Linda Bachmann) or I am going to leave you! But what happened next was the opposite. We received a phone call from British Columbia (we were living in the Sault at this point in time) telling us Julia’s dad had just been in a serious car accident and was not expected to live much longer. He had just become a Christian himself, and Julia was excited to share the good news with Dad that she had just embraced Jesus too. This would be an opportunity to heal some painful memories of their past because of her dad’s drinking problems. The next two weeks I found myself alone and depressed wanting Julia back but understanding her dad was in critical condition. Then God did the unexpected. He got Linda Bachmann to call me on the phone, telling me she had baked an apple pie for me and could her husband John bring it over. I was so depressed that I welcomed the thought of talking to someone, even though I disliked these extreme religious people (I think they convicted me of my lack of righteousness). While talking to Linda on the phone and with John in person, I had shared how lonely I felt and in need of having Julia back to help me take care of our two children. To my surprise they told me that the Bible teaches that a wife should be submissive to her husband and that Julia wanted to please God and would obey his Word. I did not believe this was possible, but the next morning I called Julia on the phone and asked her if she could come home since her family was all there to help her dad recover and that our family needed her more at home. To my amazement, she said she would catch the next plane home. When I picked her up at the airport I told her that I now believed that the Word of God was true and that I wanted to serve God with all my being. This was the beginning of my transformation and a wonderful relationship with my wife and God. Ecclesiastes speaks about a three stranded cord is not quickly broken. Julia, me and God make up those three strands and our love for each other and God has grown ever since that conversation with Julia on the phone.
I am not bragging when I say that I have the most wonderful wife in the whole world. She has always put me and our children ahead of her own needs, always been there to help me in every venture that I was involved in. She is the most diplomatic person I know and you all know this part is true: everybody loves to be with her because she is such a good friend, a good listener and a real encourager. In our family, we all fight for “Mom time”. Fortunately, I learned to share my wife and allow others to enjoy her company. She is kind and thoughtful and very discerning and intelligent. She is a great mother, wife, song writer, singer, painter, novel writer, interior decorator, counselor and a very interesting person to talk with. I’ve been so blessed by God to have such a wife and we are so like-minded that we are truly one in thought. Even in her present sickness, she worries more about me and Rachael than herself. She loves all her grand kids, they are her true joy, you can see the sparkle spread across her face when they are mentioned or she is in their midst. I thank God for tomorrow, Julia’s 65th birthday and the blessing it is to be married to a women who truly loves the Lord and encourages her husband to do likewise. The thought of spending fifteen more years together with this loving partner is truly a reason to praise God for his amazing plan for our lives!
Song: It’s You That We Adore
Friday November 20, 2015
Richard, the lung therapist, came to our apartment yesterday to assess Julia lungs. He said they were receiving adequate oxygen and there was no need for purchasing additional oxygen. Julia had been out for the afternoon with Karin, our sister-in-law, doing some Christmas shopping and when Richard arrived Julia was quite exhausted and her breathing was filled with constant coughing. Richard believed that this was irritation caused from the cancer and his only solution was to use inhalers (chemicals). Julia explained to Richard that one side effect of inhalers for her, was a racing heart that she experienced in Sweden and told him she would have to find a naturopathic method to help with her coughing. She got to share with Richard, God’s promise of fifteen extra years to live but I don’t think Richard has the same faith as Julia and by sight you would have to agree that this would be highly unlikely as Julia had trouble even communicating without coughing. Her last words to Richard, as he was leaving were people are going to be surprised when God heals me completely from this stage four cancer. I guess Richard probably didn’t want to destroy Julia’s hope and just smiled at her. I have to agree that walking by sight, no one in their right mind would say that Julia is overcoming this cancer, however, we are told by God that we, as Christians, walk by faith and not by sight, so we are standing on God’s word to Julia that He has granted her fifteen more years.
This morning, during our bible study time we read the story of Jesus asking Peter to put out into the deep and let down the nets for a catch. Peter, a fisherman by trade tells Jesus that they had worked hard all night and hadn’t caught anything. These fishermen were professionals, they knew how to catch fish, their livelihood depended upon it. But Peter tells Jesus because you say so, I will let down the nets. He did not believe that he would catch anything, but wanted to be obedient to Jesus, regardless of his beliefs. When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. When Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ feet and truly realized who he was associated with, the Son of God. Jesus told the fishermen from now on you will catch men.
I related this story to our talk with Richard last evening. Richard has been seeing dying people for the past thirty years, he knows his clientele very well just like Peter knew fishing. He doesn’t believe Julia will be healed but Julia was obedient just like Peter and shared by faith what God will do. We are praying that when Julia is healed, Richard will respond the way Peter responded, truly seeing Jesus as the Son of God. We want God to use us in our circumstances to be fishers of men, not for our sake but for Jesus’ glory, for He died on a cross for the WHOLE WORLD and He desires that no one perishes, but for ALL to come to know his wonderful love that He wants to lavish on each person He has created.
Continue to pray that God will give us wisdom of how to treat Julia’s lungs. Rachael has begun a protocol of rubbing castor oil on her lungs with heat from a heating pad and a humidifier in the room to try to help Julia’s lungs to be less irritated. In the meantime, we are enjoying the journey God has us on despite the set backs that we experience. Next week, we will be celebrating Julia’s 65th birthday and are grateful to God for the time He has given us to share our lives with each other and by faith we are looking forward to spending the next fifteen years fishing for men!
Song: Fish or Cut Bait
Saturday November 14, 2015
This week was another week filled with blessings from God. A few mornings ago, Julia was sitting looking out our 14th floor window at the lake. She was observing the activities of the ducks spread out in the water. All of a sudden a group of sea gulls flew overhead and at this instance the ducks all gathered closely together in a small huddle. After pondering what she had witnessed, Julia commented to me: ducks are a lot like humans, when times are good they venture further from the group but at the first sign of trouble they come together to protect each other. She then added I have been so blessed by my friends and family who have dropped everything to come and visit me in my present condition. This seemed to be a foreshadowing that would happen once again.
Our goods friends from the Sault, Rick and Rosemary, had just gone through their own trial as Rose’s mother had just past away leaving Rose and her family grieving her lost. Their four boys decided to come together to try to ease their parent’s pain. They all contributed in paying for an all expense paid trip to a resort in Mexico. But before going to Mexico they booked a four-day stay in Kelowna so Rick and Rose could come and see Julia and I. We were so touched by the boys’ thoughtfulness. The visit was not only uplifting and encouraging to Julia and I, but Rick, who is a fantastic carpenter, built Julia a professional heat lamp table so she could take her daily treatment with five permanent heat lamps, rather than the one makeshift lamp I had made, held up by a broom and a pillow on the bed. Julia has had jaw pain for the last two years and had undergone two root canals to drain the infection but the pain remained until she started the heat lamp treatment and miraculously her infection disappeared. We are hoping with the five heat lamps that her liver, lungs and other vital organs will also respond to this treatment.
Meanwhile Rosemary and Rachael took over the kitchen area providing wonderful meals and a spotless kitchen. We had a wonderful time in prayer before they headed back to Kelowna on Saturday to catch their plane for Mexico.
In the meantime I received a call from Bruce McDonald and my sister Jeannie. They both were blessings to me and both said they would try to make it to Penticton to see us. Julia commented to me that she did not think we had so many friends and family who truly cared about us. In Isaiah 61:3 God says that He will give his people a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
Julia had only one setback this week where she tried to eat salad and her body could not handle the digesting of solid food and she ended throwing up and sending her liver into spasms. This new road God has us on, has never been travelled before, so we hope to learn from our mistakes, what is good for Julia and what is not, and the time to advance forward and the time to remain and to hear God’s wisdom whenever a decision has to be made. Keep praying for us as we are encouraged by what is God is doing in Julia’s body.
Song: Best Friend
Monday November 9, 2015
Julia has been experiencing shortness of breath and liver pain for the last while. I took her to the walk in clinic Saturday afternoon to try to get her some oxygen to help with her breathing problem, but it had closed at 1 PM and would not be open till Monday. We could have gone to Emergency but that would have been a long ordeal and much pain before receiving the oxygen. Palliative Care will be coming this week and they will arrange for the oxygen so Julia decided to try to bear the uncomfortable feeling of not getting enough air until then.
Meanwhile, God has done some miracles. It reminded me of the verses God gave Julia about Hezekiah and the fifteen extra years God had granted him. To show Hezekiah God had truly heard his prayer, He told the prophet Isaiah to ask Hezekiah if he wanted the sun to go forward or backwards ten steps to confirm that God would truly give him fifteen extra years to live. Hezekiah chose the more difficult sign and God fulfilled it. God has been doing this same type of thing for Julia.
On Friday morning, during our prayer time with God, Julia asked me if it was possible to move to our new apartment before December 1, as she felt the clutter and tightness of our present apartment (having so many visitors, our grand kids using the second bedroom, not having the dishwasher working, as the main board will not available until mid December, and the like), while the new apartment was so spacious and bright. I asked her if it would be all right to move in during the middle of the month since we will be paying for two apartments for half a month. She was very grateful for this compromise and seemed to let that peace override her physical pain. Later that evening, we got a bigger surprise. Julia’s brother Henry had done an evening of trouble shooting computer problems (at the home of the owners of our new apartment). He finally restored their computer to working order. The owner is a doctor, and his wife needed this urgent information as soon as possible. After the computer was restored, she was so grateful to Henry that she told him that Julia could move in the apartment tomorrow and would not have to pay anything for the month of November.
WOW! As a man, I gave my best to get Julia what she wanted but God outdid me by far. To top it off, we decided we would keep the first apartment until the end of December (our son Joseph and his family will be coming for Christmas, and some of our friends plan to visit us before the new year). When Liz, Julia’s sister heard about our decision to keep the first apartment until the end of December, she told Julia that she was going to pay for that apartment’s rent for December. What a God we serve! He gives us more than we can ask or imagine. These little miracles have given Julia strength, to do her part in following Rachael’s cancer protocol. It is intense and very difficult, especially when your physical strength is at a minimum. So keep praying that these miracles God has done will continue to help Julia overcome the cancer as she does her part in God’s plan for her life. Since being drugged on morphine in the hospital two weeks ago, Julia is completely off pain killers and all medications and doing much better each day.
Song: You Are Magnificent
BEHIND the SCENES
I had a dream last night. I’ve been having similar ones all week long. In these dreams, I’ve been away from school for some reason and when I return to work (this one I was teaching at a place similar to CREW: at risk students, with maybe three or four other teachers) things are different. While I was away the teachers had gotten together and had changed my teaching subjects. I no longer would be teaching Math but English. I confronted the young teacher, who had made these changes to benefit himself. I tried to reason with him, telling him that I had no experience teaching English and this would be a disservice to the students and since it was the middle of the school year, there was no way I could get prepared. He didn’t care and the other teachers supported him. In my frustration I told them that I would go to the superintendent and present my case to him. They laughed at me and told me that it would not change anything. I was depressed when I woke up from my dream.
My interpretation of the dream is this: I find myself in the middle of a life crisis, with Julia being told she has terminal cancer. I don’t have the skills to help her overcome this illness so I ask the doctors if they can help me but they say it is the way it is, so accept it! I think this is unfair so I tell them I will take my case to God and see what He says about our circumstances. The doctors don’t believe God will do anything for me so they just laugh at me and discount my efforts.
I know Satan wants to steal my faith in God and make me become discouraged and walk away from him. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. Jn 10:10
The Bible also tells me: For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us (george and Julia) to the glory of God. 2 Co 1:20
God has given us the promise that Julia will have fifteen more years to serve him and I will not be overcome with Satan’s schemes to discourage me. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them (spirit of the antichrist v3), because the one who is in you (Holy Spirit) is greater than the one who is in the world (Satan). 1 Jn 4:4
Thursday, November 5, 2015.
The last few days have been a series of valleys and mountains. A few nights ago, Julia was having severe breathing problems and could not seem to get enough oxygen into her lungs thus keeping her from falling asleep. Rachael, then put some garlic in her ears and to our amazement the breathing totally cleared up within a short time allowing Julia to have a good night’s sleep.
A real blessing was having Julia’s family come to visit her. Liz, Julia’s sister has come from Parry Sound to spend Christmas with us, while Michael, Julia’s brother came down from Maple Ridge for four days to be with his sister. Yesterday, we had a professional photographer come from Kelowna to take family pictures. It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for outdoor shots and we had a great time with our extended family. Evenings at Henry and Karin’s have been wonderfully enjoyable as each sibling has shared fond and embarrassing memories of their childhood days.
A few interesting twists have happened over the last few days. Henry, Julia’s brother, is the strata manager for the 225 apartment complex that we are living in. One of his employees, Linda, has gone to Thailand for a six week holiday forcing Henry to find a replacement for her. The lady that was scheduled to come for an interview, cancelled, saying she’ll re-schedule for the following week. Henry, then had this brilliant idea to ask his brother-in-law george (me) to fill in the three days a week permanent job. Julia thought it was a great idea, getting me out of the apartment for a little bit and making some money to help pay for our rent. The other issue was that our present apartment is only available until the spring, as the owners will be moving back in the summer. So we looked into buying an apartment in Penticton but came away disappointed with the potential possibilities. Then, Julia after praying came up with a great solution. There was an apartment on the fourteenth floor, which is also furnished with a fantastic view of the entire Okanagan Lake that we had previously an interest in renting, but because of the higher rent cost declined. However, with my part time job, we could now afford this apartment and are able to lease it for one year and an option for a second year. This is a wonderful answer to our prayers as we have felt we needed something more permanent where we did not have to leave at any predicted time. It also is so cheerful and spacey that I feel this will benefit Julia in her battle with cancer. The protocol she goes through daily, requires much discipline and consumes most of her day. This apartment should make things a little brighter.
The latest incident happened last night. Julia had another night of breathing problems (she has caught a cold). This time the garlic did not work and she lay on the couch at three in the morning. I rubbed her feet for a couple of hours, prayed every prayer I could think of to try to get God to correct her lung problem to no avail. So then I changed my prayer focus to asking God to give Julia spiritual strength to walk by faith and not by sight, to overcome this condition and get some needed sleep. She was more concerned about me and told me if I didn’t go back to bed, she would go back to the bedroom and lie down, even if it made it harder for her to breathe. I told her I couldn’t leave her alone facing this crisis, but she reminded me that she wasn’t alone, that God was there. I couldn’t argue with that, even I would choose God over any human person. So I went to lie down but continued to prayer that God would give her some rest. I woke up at 7:30 AM and as I tip toed into the living room I noticed Julia was fast asleep. She woke up a few minutes later and we talked about future strategies to help her with her breathing problems. We ask all of our friends to pray that God will give us the right strategy for Julia at this point in time. We are confident that God is going to heal Julia from her cancer but during this trial we want to always walk by faith and not by sight. This is the verse God has lately impressed on my heart:
Therefore we do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen (the physical realm), but on what is unseen (the spiritual realm).
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Co 4:16-18
P.S. We just spent 40 minutes talking with Mary-Lynne and Dave Ross. An encouraging call making us all feel loved and valued.
Song: No More Tears
Friday, October 30, 2015.
It has been fifteen days since we learned of Julia’s terminal cancer and from that numbing day the Lord has strengthened us in spirit and vision. In spirit, we are developing a grateful heart seeing the good in each day and every circumstance. For example, I am sitting this morning in the A & W restaurant in Summerland, waiting for our Volvo to pass a safety inspection. It will be another two hours before the ordered parts arrive and then I can return home to greet the appliance repair man who is going to fix our dishwasher. This free time at the A & W has allowed me to pray and write this blog. The broken dishwasher has allowed me to wash dishes by hand making me very appreciative for the invention of dishwashers. Our time in Sweden has taught me patience as nothing gets fixed immediately there (3 pm: I just found out that the dishwasher needs a new main board $400 so it will probably be a week or so before the owner decides what he wants to do; in the meantime more hand washing = more thanksgiving). From Julia’s perspective these types of delays are inconsequential compared to her waiting two hours to receive pain medication for horrifying liver pain.
Julia and I are also so grateful to God for the compassion Rachael has for her mother and wisdom and skill to know how to heal Julia’s body. Julia is feeling a little better every day. Today, she had her first solid food in ten days: an organic baked potato. She also has made a decision to go off all pain killers and medications. I would ask you all to pray for success in this, as there is a risk Julia could develop more blood clots because she has stopped the $45 a day blood thinner needle to replace with natural cayenne pepper and ginger to thin her blood. The reason for this is not because of the cost of the medication, for God has wonderfully covered all medical costs through Palliative Care, including a free wheel chair that we use to take Julia for walks by the lake. Julia feels her body can better heal itself without man-made chemicals irritating her damaged liver.
Our other daughter Ju Ju and son-in-law Henrik have also offered to purchase an apartment in our present complex for us to live in since our present apartment contract will expire in March. However, we feel God will provide something before then, but it thrilled our hearts to see the love commitment our children have toward us.
Our third child, Joseph and his wife Yariela also plan to come and see us in December but for now we talk and pray on skype and also get to see David our youngest grandchild.
In the area of vision, we feel by being positive and thankful in all of our circumstances we can help others overcome their trials. We have found talking to God throughout the day, having bible studies and having a grateful heart is a winning recipe for any problem one is experiencing. Our final weapon against hopelessness and depression is praise music exalting God for his goodness in all his decisions in our lives. Join with us in participating in Julia’s praise song, it will put joy in your heart: Come Celebrate
Tuesday, October 27, 2015.
Julia was released from the hospital Sunday afternoon which was a pleasant surprise as we were told the doctor would not be in until Monday. During the evening, we watched some videos on cancer to prepare for our cancer strategy. We had planned to look for a naturopathic coach who could help Rachael administer the protocol to Julia. Rachael has done a fantastic job gleaning from many sources aids that help Julia in the physical realm. On Monday, Rachael contacted a lady in Australia, who has done much research in this area. We were able to talk to her in person. Although she did not take on patients to coach them, she answered many of our questions and directed us to her new book that has the latest new discoveries in naturopathic healing. She also told us to e-mail her with any questions or difficulties that we were experiencing about protocol.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Mt 6:33,34
This is the verse God has been putting on my heart for Julia. There are many things we can focus on and can become overwhelmed with, but God gives us what we need, when we need it, not before. We were driving back from Kelowna last night to Summerland, to drop off my car that needs fixing. It was evening time and the rain was very heavy. Rachael and I drove in our car, behind Veronica, Ju Ju and Alfred. We could hardly see anything as my new wipers were not installed properly (I put them on) and were doing a very poor job at letting me see the road ahead. Rachael commented that is the way it is with God. He only gives you enough light to see in front of you, not around the bend. Because of Veronica’s tail lights, we were able to make it safely to the garage. We ask you to pray with us that God will continue to give us what we need today and let tomorrow take care of itself.
Song: Faith Outloud
Friday October 23, 2015
The last two days have been days of severe physical challenges for Julia. On Thursday afternoon we were back at Emergency as she was experiencing terrible liver pain. It took about two hours before she was able to receive pain killers. When the nurse asked Julia how bad the pain was on a scale from 1-10 Julia responded 20. Later she added giving birth to three babies was not even in this pain league. The pain and nausea lessened but kept coming back despite the medication so Julia was admitted for the night.
In the morning, the pain was finally under control, however the nausea continued each time Julia tried to sip down water. I thanked God that the pain was finally manageable. It is such a hopeless position to be in, watching your spouse suffer and not being able to do anything to help her. Later on a social worker for Palliative Care visited Julia and documents were signed to accept her into their program where they will take care of all the medical costs. The blood thinners had cost us over $500 for one week of shots. Julia later told me that she had seen on the document that her doctor had downgraded the expectant life time from 6-12 months to a maximum of six months. Receiving this news actually brought a smile to Julia’s face. She said she was now excited to get past the six month mark so she could start telling people that God was sustaining her by His grace and that each new month would give God more glory. Please continue to pray that Julia and I can continue to keep a faithful outlook for by sight our situation is beyond hopelessness but by faith we know that ALL things are possible with God.
Since last Thursday when her cancer was discovered, Julia has had five opportunities to share her faith with people, mostly her nurses and doctors. These caregivers have been the most kind and compassionate servants that we have ever encountered. We pray that her testimony can allow the Holy Spirit to move in their lives. It is pretty amazing that my goal since retirement has been to try to impact others for Christ, little did I realize that it would be through our own pain and trials that God would give us opportunities.
Julia’s Song: All of My Days
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Rachael our daughter, arrived on Sunday from Maui, making Julia and I feel blessed and grateful. She has two years of nursing school but also has acquired a wealth of knowledge in the holistic healing and naturopathic medicine field. After returning from Africa in 2013 (helping me and two other teachers take a group of high school kids on a compassionate trip which led to the opening of Marah Christian Elementary School, 200+ students from the poorest of the poor) Rachael has been struggling with many different types of ailments which her medical doctors have not been able to diagnose the root causes or cure so Rachael resorted to treating herself through naturopathic methods. She has improved immensely, but still has not been completely healed. She started Julia on a detoxing protocol. Julia has been experiencing much nausea and liver pain and has not been able to sleep through the nights because of her pain. Her new diet and detoxing seems to have helped in a positive sense. We pray throughout our day focusing on our gratefulness and thankfulness for God’s little blessings each day. We have bible studies and listen to Christian music (my favorite are Julia’s praise songs that she has written for the Lord). Please continue to pray that God will give Rachael the wisdom to help ease Julia’s pain and restore her health.
Today God did a wonderful miracle for our family. Ju Ju, our oldest daughter and her three young boys have flown from Sweden to see us on Thursday. They stopped in New York to see Joseph, our son and Yariela our daughter-in-law. They are to fly to Kelowna tomorrow, but when Julia checked to confirm their tickets, she realized that she had made a terrible mistake and our daughter’s ticket was in her maiden name. It looked completely hopeless for a time (no changes allowed, if less than 24 hours before the flight leaves) but God sent us two angels who blessed us and solved the problem which had seemed to have no solution. God’s miracle didn’t end there. The final angel named Barb prayed with my wife and blessed her more than she will ever know. This reminded me of the verse found in Ro 8:28 and we know that in all things (even the bad ones) God works for the good of those who love him. What started out as a very stressful mistake turned into thanksgiving to our heavenly Father. Here’s one of Julia’s praise songs: Give Thanks
Saturday, October 17, 2015.
Julia and I arrived in Penticton, BC on Friday October 2, 2015 from our home in Sweden to pursue her latest health problems. She was in the process of testing (waiting for a call for a cat scan) when she began experiencing breathing problems, not being able to take normal breaths without severe pain. She believed it was a blood clot, as she has had many in the past. Just the day before, Julia had mentioned to me, that she had just randomly opened her Bible (she does this a lot) and started reading Isaiah 38. Here Isaiah tells Hezekiah to put his house in order because God says he is going to die. She continued reading to find out that Hezekiah wept and prayed, reminding God of his past devotion to the Lord. God’s response was to add 15 years to his life. Julia laughs and says to me, I’ll take the 15 years. So, the very next day, we find ourselves at the emergency center. To our shock, the bad news was that she not only had two blot clots, but the cat scan revealed many spots on her lungs, nymph glands and liver. She was kept overnight to reduce the blood clots and in the morning I was able to take her home. The cancer specialist that morning told us there was no treatment for Julia as the cancer had spread throughout and seemed very aggressive as a previous cat scan in Sweden only showed a spot on the liver (he gave Julia 6-12 months to live).
We were both in disbelief. After telling our children and family members, we felt their pain and hopelessness. I was feeling so bad for Julia that I had chest pains that night and thought I was going to faint. We both ended up taking one of the doctor’s sleeping pills.
The next morning, while having our daily Bible study, we both agreed that God had given us this foreknowledge to help us cope with our up and coming trial. God was reminding us that He would be faithful and would give Julia 15 more years to live.
God had used Bible verses in the past to confirm to us His will. When we decided that I would quit my Catholic teaching position in Sault Ste. Marie after becoming Christians, we had earlier gone to Mackinaw Island to fast and pray and God impressed Psalm 139:9 on our hearts (if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me). We took that the far side of the sea was BC since the Sault was quite east of BC. A few days later, Julia was going to be baptised in Lake Superior at a camp of one of our church congregation’s members. Most of our church friends thought we were quite naive to quit my teaching job without a future job in BC, but one elderly prayer warrior Jean Helberg stood up and said that God had put a Bible passage on her heart for us. You guessed it, she read Psalm 139, now that’s confirmation. When we arrived in Maple Ridge, the second day there, I had an interview for a job at Hammond mill who would be hiring six workers, they had over 600 applications. My interview didn’t go over too well as my resume contained only Christian supporters. The man hiring, did not like Christians as he said “they don’t follow orders”. To make a long story short, Julia had sung at a little chapel in Ruskin when we visited BC a few years earlier and to our surprise the pastor, Jim Paelzar was a General foreman at the mill. His wife had called Julia’s mom and when she found out that I had applied for the job and was told I was not fit because I was a Christian she told Jim. He went in to talk with the man who had interviewed me and was told that I WOULD be hired. I was one of six, who got the job.
After being out of full time work for six years after quitting a teaching position at a Christian school, God gave me an opportunity to apply to teach at CREW in Maple Ridge. It was for at risk kids who worked at a cedar ridge cap mill one day a week. Because of my mill experience at Hammond and one year counseling experience with Gordon Hardy at Burden Bearers, I had an interview for the job. I was told, if I worked out well at the mill I had the job. I trained all week at the mill but on Friday I was told to drive the fork lift and pick up the bundles the students had made. The fork lift gears were broken and I almost ran into the side of the building. The worker there was disgusted with me. I was told I would know Friday evening if I had the job, one way or another. No phone call. I knew I had blown it and came home crying to Julia that I had lost the job that would have given our family financial security. Sunday, we went to church and Pastor Ed was not there so Barry the music leader did the preaching. I wasn’t too thrilled at this news and told Julia maybe we should just go home. We did stay and during Barry’s sermon he read Ex 14:13,14 and we both knew God had spoken to us and had given me the teaching job (Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still). Next morning at 9 AM I received a phone call saying I had the job.
So Julia and I are believing God has spoken to us and will do a mighty miracle and heal her body of all cancer. However, we have the same attitude as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Dan 3:16-18) our God can save us from the fire but even if He doesn’t we will not serve your gods! You can be like Hur and Aaron, who held up Moses arms (Ex 17:8-13) in order to win the battle. If you want to prayer for Julia, you can go to this blog morningdevotions.se that I will update on a regular basis. I’m sure we will have our ups and downs and your prayers will be a sweet comfort to us during our trial. With Christ’s love I thank you all for your friendship and prayers.
george and Julia
P.S. I cannot believe the peace Julia has. She has strengthened my faith. I am such a fortunate husband to have a wife that loves God and trusts him with all her being!