Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hope in Hard Times!

I don't know about you, but I need hope in these hard times. All of us are going through our own definition of hard times. In my current season of transition it's been hard. But I'm not going to lose hope!

I'm finalizing a book proposal entitled Hope in Hard Times. I am excited to share my stories with you as I help you build the foundation of hope in your life.

Today I had to follow my own advice. I needed some hope. So I remembered that the foundation of hope in my life is strong. God has been faithful. He has put his fingerprints on every story in my life and brought me hope.

He's even brought me hope when I've been in despair. In the times when I've really messed up and acted against His will for my life, He still gives me hope for tomorrow. God is a hope-giver. I needed to remember that today. I pray you'll hang on to God's hope too.

Some days I wonder if I am I really called to write life changing books. Yes! I'm sure. For so many years I've sensed that call from the Lord. But doubt crept into my heart today as I edited the chapters of this book. Am I good enough? Will anyone want to read my book? Will I change lives? Yes! and Amen! Because God will be at my side.

I have hope in my heart that God will really make a way for the things I desire to happen in my life. He has been faithful in my past. He will be faithful in my future.

So tonight I'm hanging on to the hope in hard times. I'm excited to get this proposal sent off to an agent who requested it. Please pray with me that we'll be able to find a publisher to help me change the lives of my readers.

God Bless Your Heart. Stay cool in our 100 degree Seattle weather! HOT! I'd better go get my writing done!

Friday, July 17, 2009

As The Deer

The other day my friend Violet sent an email with one of her amazing works of art attached. It was a beautiful picture of a deer drinking from a brook. Some of the words to Marty Nystrom's popular song "As the Deer" were included on the painting. I loved it.

Psalm 42 is one of my favorite Psalms and this song was written as a result of how God touched Marty with this Psalm. I love to tell the story of how this song then touched my life. Little did I know that a few years after this happened, Marty and his wife Jeanne would become our best friends. I'm so thankful for the way God brings us friends.

In April of 1995, I was on the song team at a Walk to Emmaus retreat, playing my guitar and singing with the group. I am definitely NOT a soloist so I was perfectly happy to sing melody and occasionally add some harmony. Our song team leader (also named Marty) asked if I'd be willing to sing a solo since all the other song team members were sharing a song.

I told her "Absolutely not. I can't sing like any of you. I'm fine simply singing background vocals and playing my guitar." During one of our rehearsals she suggested I learn the song "As the Deer". Although it was a very popular song sung in churches all over the world, I had never memorized the words or really even paid attention to them.

I found the melody to be right in my vocal pitch range and I felt I could pull it off. I made the other song team members promise they would coach me and help me do my best at the retreat. So they marked the music with places for me to breathe and helped tap out a good rhythm so I didn't sing too fast.

On the day I was to sing the solo we rehearsed in the huge sanctuary of the Methodist church where the retreat was held. I sounded so much better than I had when I practiced in my home. The piano echoed and bounced off the stained glass windows and the soft strum of our guitars added a beautiful sound. It truly felt like we were in heaven in the atmosphere of this beautiful place. Our plan was that I would sing this song later in the afternoon during our healing service.

God had a different plan. The next event after our rehearsal was a talk given by one of the pastors and it was held in the "talk room". This was where all the retreat attendees sat in groups at round tables and listened to most of the talks. Before each talk the song team always played the songs requested by the speaker.

As we tuned our guitars we realized the requested song was "As the Deer". Our song team leader looked at me and said "Gigi, you're on!"

Panic struck. My music sheet with breathing and cadence notes scribbled all over it were in the sanctuary on my music stand. That room made me sound like a song bird. This stuffy room with poor acoustics made me sound like the rookie singer that I was. My heart was pounding so hard it was all I could hear in my ears.

I turned and said, "Please, I can't do this." She smiled and said "God will help you, just sing." Marty began playing and there was nothing else I could do but sing. My voice cracked and I was very nervous. I got through the first verse.

"As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after You
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship you."

Everyone joined in at this part and it sounded like a hundred angel choir. There were harmonies coming from the other women that blended together in a beautiful melody.
You alone are my strength, my shield
To you alone will my spirit yield
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship You
At this point I was overwhelmed with the presence of God. I looked at the banner representing this particular retreat. It had a cross with a beautiful jeweled crown laying on the arm of the cross. It read "Our God is an Awesome God".

As we started to sing the next verse I looked at the cross and the crown and I was overwhelmed with tears of understanding.

You're my friend, and You are my brother
Even though You are a King
I love You more than any other
So much more than anything."

I realized that Jesus was the King of Kings and his Crown of Glory was laid down for me on that cross. You are my brother.....even though you are a king. I love you more than any other. So much more than anything.

By then I was crying so hard I couldn't sing any more. The other women carried on to complete the song.

Then as our song leader Marty played the piano, we all praised and worshipped the King. All of us were overwhelmed by the sense of God's presence. We were thirsty for His presence and Marty Nystrom's song escorted us to that place. After about fifteen minutes we prayed and the pastor began his talk.

Marty - Thank you! God has gifted you with song writing and book writing and we are all forever thankful. Check out Marty's book at It's called "Don't Mess with Moses." Marty has written hundreds of songs too. Check out his music at

Violet - Thank you for the reminder of the fact that Jesus is as close as a brother - even though He is a King. Check out Violet's blog at There you'll find her using the amazing gifts God has given her.

I am ever so thankful for the friends God has graced into my life.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Summer Fun

Today is July 11th. I can't believe it. Someone told me that if you walk in to a 7-11 Store at 7-11 on July 11th you get a free Slurpee. I don't really like Slurpee so I'm not even sure I care. But maybe you could try it?

Kanale and Megan Rhoden will remember this day for the rest of their lives. They got married today in a beautiful ceremony at St. Catherine's Church in Seattle. Megan looked beautiful in her beaded flowing gown. Her hair was pulled up behind a crown with a veil tucked under her curls. The beautiful red roses in her bouquet created a nice contrast. Kana wore a black tux and looked very handsome. Liam was adorable in his little vest. Congratulations Kana and Megan!

It was nice to see Zane and Kelsey today. They zipped in for the wedding. They are spending the evening sailing with Tom and Dana and then they'll leave early tomorrow morning. They have been married one month tomorrow. This summer is flying by already!

Our 4th of July was lots of fun at Georgetown Lake where we participated in the annual 4th of July parade. This year my family created a theme "You can take the kid out of Anaconda but you'll never take Anaconda out of the kid". My sister Kathy and brother-in-law Denny created a big stack and had it smoking by using dry ice. Kathy dressed as Sister "Can't StandYa". Denny came as Bill Hill - former Parks and Rec director. Denny was the hit of the parade. Judy came as The Kennedy Commons. Marilyn was an Anaconda bar fly.

Since my family headed to Montana as a last minute decision, we were not prepared for the parade so Steve and I wore signs that read. "P-burg guy looking for Anaconda girl." Mine of course read "Anaconda girl looking for P-burg guy." Our son Gabe wore a sign on his wheelchair that read "P-burg guy found Anaconda girl." Not very creative but it worked.

The full moon over Georgetown Lake was amazing as dark clouds hid it for awhile during our fireworks show. Then it slowly poked out and sent light across the water. The rockets red glare of the fireworks sparkled in the sky. As the smoke cleared the big dipper was shining brightly above our heads. Everyone was snuggled around the camp fire because the Montana summer evening air was cool. I love Montana in the summer!

This will be a very busy summer. I hope to get much writing done. In early August Gabe and I will be in Santa Rosa California at Canine Companions to pick up his guide dog. We are very excited. We are looking for a new van for the trip. I'm still in sticker shock as we contemplate the cost of this vehicle. Why does wheelchair accessible equipment have to cost so much? And it isn't covered by insurance! We're looking at over $130,000 if Gabe wants to be able to drive this van. We'll have to wait for that. In the mean time we'll get the standard wheelchair access van and that alone will cost over $50,000. Yikers. Donations anyone?

I know God will provide. I trust it will all work out. It always has. We are blessed. We are privileged to live in America where they make vans like this so we can easily transport Gabe's chair. We are blessed to be able to provide him with a wheelchair. So many are not so fortunate.

This is why we started Gabriel's Foundation of HOPE. Check out our website at We are not able to use these funds to buy Gabe a van because he is our son, but the donations we receive are used to by OTHERS what they need because of their disability. You can donate on line so that we can help others. I think it's a great cause.

Enough said on this 7-11 day. Have a fun summer.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mobile blog post. Gabe needs me! I knew it. Although he is moved out he just called and needs help with grocery shopping. So over to UW I gladly go! I love it