52 | Always Looking Up

September 4, 2008
Thursday, 5:00 p.m.
Letter #52: Always Looking Up


Dear Family,

Greetings! Can you say with me, “I am richly blessed!” If not, then you need to stop looking down, at your circumstances, and look up, at all that God has made and given for us to enjoy! Walking back from dinner, John pointed out the sliver of moon clearly visible in the bright afternoon sky. The weather warm, with the perfect California breeze, felt beautiful on my face.

“Good eye!” I complimented John on his observation skills, being that the moon made up less than a tiny fraction of what was available to notice in our field of vision.

“Yes,” he responded. “I’m always looking up. There are no walls in the sky.”

Wow. What a simple, yet profound metaphor for how all of life should be viewed! So, I’m just curious—do you find yourself looking at the restrictive walls of debt, sickness, relationship trouble, and job issues, or do you look up, thanking God that as vast as the sky is, so vast is His love and care for you! With God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26), and the moon is God’s faithful witness in the sky (Psalm 89:37) of His commitment to fulfill His plans for His people. So, look up!

I’m having a fantastic week! My sweet mother visited me on Saturday, and I confessed a bunch of things I’d kept hidden from her—ahh! A clear conscience!

My good friend, Jim Romig, held services on Sunday, so I was blessed to play the piano for the first time in a month. My sister, Katie, visited me on Monday—taking advantage of “holiday visiting” with a surprise Labor Day blessing.

I went to Medical on Tuesday as a follow-up to my colonoscopy. Due to the amazing efficiencies in the correctional system, I waited 3 hours to have the nurse read out loud to me the following words from my clean colonoscopy exam: “No follow-up needed.” Hey, thanks!

Yesterday, I was able to make a couple phone calls to my dad, and today I played football on the yard, leading my team to victory with the most catches (no fumbles or misses!), the most “tackles” (2-hand touch), and most touchdowns. (Yes, more than two people were playing, Brian.)

The biggest blessing of today came this afternoon, however. I was called to the “package” area. The big battery charger (re-charges all battery sizes) that you’d sent me in my last quarterly package wasn’t given to me; I was told it needed to be “approved” by our B-Yard Captain, so I wrote him a letter requesting his approval. Two months later, the package officer, Godinez, reluctantly gave it to me today! Praise the Lord! Thank you for contributing to my package! I’m finally able to charge the batteries.  🙂

I also talked with the chaplain today, whom I happened to see coming out of the chapel, newly returned from vacation. He hasn’t heard from Harvest Bible University yet, regarding the status of my fall courses—please pray.  🙂  I’m really anxious to get started—I can’t wait! I know it will be good for me, as it should push me and challenge me to study my beliefs.

I’m very excited about a surprise blessing God gave me just this afternoon. A guy, dressed in the all-white coveralls of a newly arrived inmate still on “orientation” status, called out my name from where he was waiting to be seen at Medical. Oh, my gosh! It was Mike Guerra, the strongest Christian I knew at Delano! Mike is who I turned the Bible Study ministry over to when I left, and he continued to carry on what I’d started, giving communion to the guys in their cells (he, too, was a porter) and providing writing supplies and a Bible to new arrivals.

I’ve been praying for Mike since leaving Delano and have kept up with him through letters, forwarded by my family.  🙂  I couldn’t talk to him more than to set a meeting date for next Wednesday (he’ll be off of orientation) at the light pole outside my building, where daily Bible Studies are held from 11 a.m.–1 p.m. God is good to send us reinforcements, just when a couple of great Christian brothers, Danny and Brian, will be leaving for Arizona. I’m excited!

So, you can see I have much to be grateful for! Thank you for your prayers for me! Thank you for your letters! Thank you for supporting me.

I am grateful for such close family and friends, and I’m grateful for the great big God we serve. May He be everything you need today!




Side Note:
It was my cellie’s, Lorenzo’s, birthday Friday. He turned 55. I surprised him by decorating the cell with “streamers” while he was out for 15 minutes. I chose white streamers to symbolize new life. And because we don’t have any blue toilet paper.

He said it was by far the best birthday he’d ever had in prison—17 years. I even bought cupcakes from the prison store and gave him a hug. He was really touched. Aww …  🙂