An Encounter with The Holy Spirit

Sunday, July 5, 2015 We (my mom, my daughter and myself) were driving back from Pismo Beach to the Bay Area after celebrating my youngest son’s 23rd birthday. I was sick with a very bad cold and asthma but we must drive back for my daughter, Isabella's, summer ballet intensive. About an hour through the drive, I started feeling very sleepy to a point of needing to literally hold my eyes to keep them from closing. My mom was already in deep sleep while my daughter, Isabella, was trying to stay awake to keep me from falling asleep. 
I told Isabella: “I think I need to stop and maybe sleep for a bit for safety purposes.” and she couldn’t agree more even though she wanted to get home as early as we can so she can rest for the next day’s ballet intensive.  
“Yes, mom I think you should. I can see your eyes closing”
Then questions started flooding my thoughts: “where will I stop? will it be safe to just stop anywhere and sleep? I don’t know what to do!” and just as I said “Help me God!”, it was as if I got transported to a place where I went into hyper sleep and woke up so refreshed as if a ball of fire entered my stomach, warmed me, and gave me a burst of energy. I actually “felt” it (this warm ball) physically entering my stomach! and all this happened in like a matter of seconds!  I was filled with energy the rest of the 3-hour drive despite bad traffic which is quite unusual for me. I call it my physical encounter with The Holy Spirit. I always feel the presence of God through the eyes of faith but nothing like this has ever happened to me before. At least not in a “physical” sense.

Rewind about a week before:
Our church pastor came over our house to borrow a bread maker for use in her sermon. We had a short fellowship and I opened up to her that I have trouble grasping the “person” of the Holy Spirit. Not that I do not believe but I just have a hard time comprehending the third “person” of the Trinity. She said she has a book that she could lend me that might help. So after church service that Sunday she handed me this book called “The Shack” by Wm Paul Young.

Fast Forward about a week after:
My best friend, Cecile, who lives close to me but who was in New York at the time, called asking if I could pass by her house to pick up her mail and a package that was scheduled to come that day since no one was home. We haven’t talked for a while so we had “catch up” conversation. I told her about my encounter with the Holy Spirit and I started to her about the book that my Pastor lent me but before I could even say the title of the book she exclaimed: “It’s not The Shack is it?” “Oh my! yes it is!” I exclaimed back. “Why?!” And what she told me next gave us both chilling goosebumps. The package that I was to pick up contained the very same book that she had actually ordered for me! It’s one of her favorite books and she said she felt some type of “leading” to gift me my own copy! Coincidence? I certainly believe not. Ok I’m going to stop here and let you form your own thoughts. May your own reflections and meditations be guided by the amazing presence of The Holy Spirit.

And as if all that were not enough, all the programs that i would happen to watch, read, and listen to after this whole encounter, were all pertaining to and centering on the awesome power and presence of The Holy Spirit.

Ballet San Jose
October 2014
Photo By: Scott Belding

Precious Prayer from my Backseat Angel

submitted for St. Paul UMC newsletter
originally written March 2007

...pray for each other so that you may be healed.
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
-James 5:16 -

My usual chauffeuring schedule back in 2007 included taking our third son, Ian, to his high school around 7:30A.M. while I left Isabella at home with our eldest son, Phil, who did not normally leave for school until later in the day.  As soon as I got home from taking Ian, I prepared Isabella for school and then I took her around 8:30A.M.  But on Thursdays, during the spring quarter of 2007, Phil left for school before 8A.M. requiring that Isabella come with me when I took Ian to school.  Then we returned home to prepare before I drove her to school.  Isabella used to get a little car sick this early in the morning.  When we got home on this particular Thursday, she said: "I don't feel very well, Mommy."  I paused and said: "Let me pray over you."  And I prayed a brief prayer of healing for her.  Shortly after my prayer she said: "Mommy I'm feeling so much better.  Thanks for the prayer."  So off we went to school.

I went about my day and met with my new friend, Tessie, who came with me to my 9:30A.M, dance class.  Then we had a blessed fellowship over coffee.  Not long after that, it was time for me to pick Ian up from "minimum day".  Then Phil arrived home after his first class, since his next class was not until 3pm.  We had a wonderful mother/son bonding time over lunch at Yanagi Sushi.  Then I cleaned the house for a bit, and before I knew it, it was time to pick Isabella up from school.  Time certainly flew especially my day had been fun and fruitful thus far.

During our drive from school to home, Isabella and I normally talked about her day while we enjoyed the beautiful view of Pismo Beach.  Many times the awesome view made us pause in silence allowing us to absorb and savor the beauty of nature.  In our short moment of silence, I inadvertently uttered out loud to myself: "I'm not feeling very well."  Isabella's precious voice from the backseat: "You just need prayer, Mommy, and you'll feel much better.  Let me prayer: Dear God, please let my Mommy feel better, she's the most wonderful Mommy.  In Jesus' name I pray. Amen."

Needless to say, I felt heavenly after my precious backseat angel's prayer.

My soul, overpowered with a sense of spiritual ecstasy,
seemed to have soared to heaven
to give an ever so tight embrace
to the One who makes all things possible
for bestowing heavenly moments such as this
for His unfathomable sovereignty, goodness, and mercy.

Battlefield of the Mind and Prayer

(submitted for St. Paul UMC February 2013 Newsletter)

Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer is our small group's first study for the year 2013. Though I've read the book in bits and pieces, and even had the privilege of attending Joyce Meyer's live teaching on the topic last September, I'm still excited to learn more and re-learn or be reminded of ways we can fight the “battle” in our mind. I believe that we all need constant reminders that we are in a daily spiritual battle but we have weapons that we can use against our enemy, one of which is prayer.

Ever since I came to know Christ, I am very joyful and thankful to declare that my life has taken the path of joy and peace. But that is not to say that I don't have moments when negative thinking gets the best of me. But through prayer and the study of His Word, I am able to snap out of my negative thinking quicker and quicker as I get to know Christ more and more.

As Joyce Meyer often says, I may not be where I need to be, but thank God I'm not where I used to be. I believe that this is a wonderful affirmation to remember as we begin the new year. With that said, I thought I'd write down three major changes or transformations Christ has done in my life.

  1. I am not as easily offended. If I do get offended, by the grace of God, I am able to somehow quickly move past the offense, remembering Christ's words: “forgive them for they know not what they do”.
  2. I am less judgmental. The cross made me realize that ALL have fallen short of the glory of God. We all have our own weaknesses and struggles and only God can change other people, not us.
  3. Prayer has become a major part of my daily life. Sometimes I think prayer is just all I could do in moments when I can't really do anything. But the truth is, prayer is the best thing we could do especially in those moments. Prior to my personal relationship with Christ, I wouldn't think of prayer as my first response. If anything, it was my last resort. And let alone praying for other people! But these days, I am happy to say that I even learned, and now enjoy, praying even for strangers.

I have learned to use any and all available “empty” time. In our study of Battlefield of the Mind, I learned that we have to consciously choose what we think about. Otherwise the enemy will fill our passive minds with negative stuff. “Empty” time for me is while waiting, cleaning, or sometimes driving. My daughter, Isabella, is the one who actually showed me that I could pray for strangers while driving, when one commute day to ballet she pointed out a car pulled to the side of the road and said out loud: “I hope that person is ok.” Ever since then, we offer a quick prayer whenever we see someone pulled to the side of the road.

As for free time while waiting for Isabella's ballet class to end, I have learned to observe and look for any prayer need. Sometimes it's someone trying to parallel park on a busy street. I pray for both the one trying to park and patience for the one waiting. Sometimes it's a parent having a hard time with a misbehaving child. Other times it's a motorist getting a citation, or worse, getting towed. The list can go on and on. And before I know it, Isabella's class is over. I have found that praying is the best way to make use of my empty time and the best way to fill my thoughts with good stuff thereby coming out victorious in my own “battlefield of the mind”.

Our Christmas Home 2012

A Blessed Christmas from our home to yours....

Welcome to our 2012 Merry Christmas home Tour. Come on in!

Our Christmas decor would not be complete without our nativity scene greeting our dear guests and reminding us all of the reason for the season

I love decorating especially for the holidays.  It's a way for me to prepare not just our home but also my heart for the celebrant of the season....for the One Who "stepped out of heaven onto earth, in order that we might one day step out of earth into heaven".  The One Who left us peace...'not as the world gives' (John 14:27) but the kind of peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7), so that it may be for us, heaven (in the here and now) all the way to heaven.  

Our homes should be a place of comfort and refuge; and so I like to create an atmosphere that reflects simplicity, peace, and serenity, that my heart might be prepared to celebrate the birth of Christ, The Immanuel (God with us), and also the birth of our middle son, Immanuel.

View of our Living Room from upstairs

and of course, every year since Isabella's involvement with SFBallet Nutcracker production (since 2009), our Nutcrackers and ballerina ornaments come out to grace the top of our piano joined by our taekwondo ornaments (representing our 3 sons)

Dining/Living Room

Family Room

I hope you enjoyed our Merry Christmas home tour this year.
Blessed Christmas from our family to yours.
Our end-of-year family letter is available here


It's Nutcracker Time at the War Memorial Opera House!

Here is Isabella's schedule for 2012.  She will be one of the 4 dragonflies in Act 2 this year.
for tickets go to:

Date                     Time       
12/8    Saturday      2 PM, 7 PM
12/11  Tuesday       7 PM
12/13  Thursday      7 PM
12/15  Saturday      2 PM, 7 PM
12/18  Tuesday       7 PM
12/19  Wednesday  7 PM
12/21  Friday          2 PM, 7 PM
12/23  Sunday        2 PM, 7 PM
12/24  Monday       11 AM
12/27  Thursday      2 PM, 7 PM
12/28  Friday          7 PM

Here are some photos (by Erik Tomasson) of Isabella as a butterfly from last year's production