We moved this past week from a rental on Copper street to a rental on Topaz. We are thankful to be in this new house which is bigger, has a yard and is very close to the school.

tying our freezer onto the back of the jeepney used for the

It's amazing what all you can fit into a jeepney. We made
7 trips with the jeepney loaded to get items from our old
house to the new one!
We had lots of help - Danny, the jeepney driver; Erick, Daydong, Kurt, Ben, Ben's friend Jadon, Mikayla, Kirsten,
Arlene, Daisy, Allie, James, myself.
So thankful for all the helping hands.
Moving is tiring and stressful whether its a big move overseas or
a local move to a different residence.

A big blessing is the piano in this rental. I haven't had a real
piano in all the years we've lived here and it's been an enjoyment
to play again. I've missed not having a real piano. I'm so
thankful for this blessing.

Our dog, Bear, loves not being on a leash all the time anymore.
At our other rental, since we were in a compound we had to
keep him on a leash.

Minerals in His Kingdom

We are, in Filipino terminology, transferring balay (house) soon.

Our current rental home is on Copper Street and we will be moving to Topaz Street.
As I thought about these elements and minerals I found my thoughts wandering to God's word and how He uses elements and minerals to decorate priests robes and the new Heaven and new Earth. (see Exodus 28:17, 39:10, Revelation 21).

I started wondering about the properties of copper and topaz and if there was any correlation between those and my own spiritual life.

Copper is both an element and a mineral. It's found in oxidized zones of copper deposits; in hydrothermal veins; in cavities of basalt that have been in contact with hydrothermal solutions; and as pore fillings and replacements in conglomerates that have been in contact with hydrothermal solutions.

It was probably one of the early metals worked by ancient people. Nuggets of copper could be found in streams and its properties allowed it to be easily worked without requiring a processing step. Copper coins were common. Jesus refers to the copper coins in the story of the widow (see Mark 12:42).

As I pondered how easy copper is to work with I thought of my own spiritual life. Am I a vessel willing to be worked for my Father's Kingdom? Am I a humble clay willing to be molded into His likeness? (Isaiah 64:8)

Copper is easily stretched, molded and shaped. Am I a willing vessel in my Father's hands to be molded into His likeness? (Romans 9:21, Hebrews 12, 1 Peter 2:21)

Copper is resistant to corrosion. Corrosion is the gradual destruction of a metal. Am I staying vibrant in my walk with Christ? Am I guilty of losing my first love (see Revelations 2:4) Do I bear patiently and endure for His name's sake (see Revelations 2:1-3) Do I stay humble, willing to be led in His way (see James 4:5-10)

Copper conducts heat and electricity efficiently.

Am I allowing His light to shine through me? Jesus in the light of the world (see John 8). Am I freely sharing His light with others in this sin-darkened world? (see Matthew 5:16).

Light does not get hidden under a basket. Matthew 5: 15 - 16 says "Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket,
but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the
same way, let your light shine before others, so that they
may see your good works and give glory to your Father who
is in heaven."

God yearns jealously over the spirit that He has made to dwell in us. And He gives grace. He opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. We are to submit ourselves to Him. We are to resist the devil (corrosion). We are to draw near to Abba and He will draw near to us. (based on James 5)

"Topaz is a very hard mineral. It is used for the standard hardness of eight in the Mohs Hardness Scale. Some minerals of great hardness can be broken rather easily. Topaz has a perfect basal cleavage making it vulnerable to breakage. This cleavage makes topaz a somewhat fragile gemstone...."(

And isn't that how we should be?
Strong in the Lord (see Ephesians 6:10), yet humble and malleable in Him? (see 2 Chronicles 34:27, James 4:10, Psalm 18:27, 25:9.)

God adorns the new Heaven and New Earth with jewels. He has made us in His likeness.
Let's not become corroded in our faith. Let us constantly shine His light in a sin-darkened world, conduct His love to others, stay humble and malleable in Him, stay strong in Him, knowing that He is our strength.

It is not flesh and blood we wrestle with but spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore we should take up His full armour, His word, walk in His grace, bless those who curse us, be a lamb as Jesus was, ever entrusting our souls to Him who never slumbers or sleeps.

My pondering about minerals and jewels led me to recognize that while silver, gold, copper, topaz, and other minerals have value, what God really desires is for us to humbly seek Him
and walk in His wisdom.

Job 28 tells us "Surely there is a mine for silver, and a place for gold that they refine. Iron is taken out of the earth,
and copper is smelted from the ore. Man puts an end to
darkness and searches out to the farthest limit the ore in gloom and deep darkness.

He opens shafts in a valley away from where anyone lives;
...Man puts his hand to the flinty rock and overturns mountains by the roots. He cuts out channels in the rocks, and his eye sees every precious thing. He dams up the streams so that
they do not trickle, and the thing that is hidden he brings out
to light.
But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place
of understanding? Man does not know its worth, and it is
not found in the land of the living....It cannot be bought for
gold, and silver cannot be weighed as its price. It cannot
be valued in the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx or sapphire....The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it
,....From where, then, does wisdom come?....
*God understands the way to it,*
and he knows its place.....And He said to man,
'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to
turn away from evil is understanding.'"

Proverbs 3: 13 - 17 tell us "Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her
is better than gain from silver
and her profit better than gold. She is more precious
than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.

Be a conduit of His love....
"...let your light shine before others, so that they may
see your good works and give glory to your Father who is
in heaven." Matthew 5:16


James and Cormac

James' friend, Cormac, moved away this past week. They've been friends for a couple years now. Here are some photos of the two sharing good times together.

Celebrating Friendship

Some of my friends are moving away and we had a photo shoot.
This is one of our sillier photos!

Jerard - the Third year since his death

Jerard, my visitor from heaven, went to be with Jesus May 18, 2012, when he was 4 1/2 years old.

I am so thankful he came. I'm so thankful he was in my life.
Not a day goes by I don't think of him and thank God for Jerard.

As Twila Paris says in the song she wrote, the song that was my theme song in my head during the years of having Jerard, the song we played at his funeral....
I'm so glad you came, I'm so glad you came...

As part of my own healing from his loss and in honoring what his life meant to me, I've written a book about lessons learned from him. Anybody know a good editor to help me with editing it to a publishable form?

I miss my little guy and I am so thankful he came.

Complete lyrics and eulogogy I gave at his funeral

I tend to think in songs.
Early on in the care of Jerard this song by Twila Paris became a background theme song in my head for our Jerard.
A visitor from Heaven
If only for a while
A gift of love to be returned
We think of you and smile

Jerard had a great laugh. A wonderful smile. His smile and laugh could brighten up my day so well.

A visitor from Heaven
Accompanied by grace
Reminding of a better love
And of a better place

Jerard's life has reminded me of a better love...the deep, deep, love of my Saviour.
Jerard could be messy. I changed diapers on him all his life. He drooled. He liked to bite and pinch.
He'd throw up, get sick, be messy....and isn't that how each of us are? A mess? And yet Jesus continues to love each of us just as we are, no matter what mess we are in.

With aching hearts and empty arms
We send you with a name
It hurts so much to let you go
But we're so glad you came
We're so glad you came

I am so thankful Jerard came. I have no regrets having taken him in and walking him through his life these past four years. He is my son, even if the legal paperwork was not completed. His name is Jerard Gonzales Symanzik.

A visitor from Heaven
If only for a day
We thank Him for the time He gave
And now it's time to say
We trust you to the Father's love
And to His tender care
Held in the everlasting arms
And we're so glad you're there
We're so glad you're there

My arms ache to hold him again. To bathe and feed him, to dress him, rock him, love on him....but I know he is so much happier in heaven and I rejoice for him being there and look forward to seeing him again some day.

With breaking hearts and open hands
We send you with a name
It hurts so much to let you go
But we're so glad you came
We're so glad you came

Jerard has been precious to me.
Jesus made him just the way he was just as Jesus made me and my other children the way we are.
Jerard's special needs have been irons of fire Christ has used to mold me more into His likeness.
Jerard's blindness taught me to see the depth of love Christ has for me and for each of His children.
Jerard's weakness helped me discover more deeply the truth in God's word that when I am weak, He is strong.
Jerard's inability to balance taught me the need to lean into my Saviour more.
I loved the way Jerard just seemed to melt into me when I'd hold him.
It was a perfect reminder to me of my own need to lean into my Saviour, resting ever in His arms no matter what storm is raging around me.

I thank God for Jerard.

The road these past four plus years has been hard
I do not regret the road we've traveled with Jerard
It's been a road full of mercy
a road leading me closer to my FATHER's love

And all I know is that all is grace
And my FATHER knew what He was doing when He created Jerard,
When He brought him to our family.
I rest in HIS loving arms
Thanking HIM for HIS gift,
Thanking Him for Jerard.