And provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:3 NIV

Friday, May 16, 2014

Good-bye Mom

Mom passed away at 2:53 this morning, May 16, 2014.  She died on month and two days after Dad.  She was the most beautiful woman I have ever known.  She was strong, an inspiration, and Christlike spiritual mentor to all of us kids.  I loved her more than one can say.

I was privileged to sit with her this week while she shut down after suffering a massive stroke on Mother's Day.  My brothers Tom, Steve, and Jim were all with me as we stayed with Mom through her ordeal.  We grew closer and promised to meet Mom and Dad on that resurrection morning.

I will be posting some pictures and stories about Mom when I can pull it together.  That may take awhile.  Thank you to all the family and friends for prayers and support.


As I sit here beside the bed holding Moms hand I am listening to her breathing. She is beginning to rattle as her lungs fill with fluid. It shouldn't be much longer now. She suffered a stroke on Mother' Day. It was severe enough that she would not recover. My brothers and I gathered together in a room close to Mom's ICUS and prayed as we made the decision to remove all life support. We wept.

The Doctor put her on an IV drip with morphine to "put her in a euphoric resting sleep".  And so she sleeps. Her rhythmic breathing is slightly labored. She has oxygen. Each one is taking turns holding her hand, there is no response.

I returned three weeks ago from Dads Memorial. It seems too much to lose Mom now. I was hoping to have time to do things with her but it is not to be.

As my brothers and I gathered around Mom to pray we all promised her to give our lives to Christ. She wanted us all to be in the kingdom and prayed for each one of us every day. Now we pray to release her to The Lord.

We face what is put in front of us. Sometimes it seems like too much. But god knows our frame. He knows what we can endure. I must trust Him. There is nothing else I can do.

While I sit beside her I think back to the time I was here before Dad died. Tom and Mom took me to Santa Barbara airport. I turn back to her after saying goodbye and wrapped my arms around her. " I don't want to leave!" Then I snapped a selfie of us. It was the last picture I would get of us together with her well.

I prayed for a miracle recovery. I'm sure so many in my position do the same.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Heaven in Your Heart

In our church there is the sweetest 3 year old.  Actually I have had the privilege of watching her grow since she was 3 months old.  Her name is Meredith.  Usually there is a smile on her face.  She is a toe-headed Blondie with hair going every which way.  That doesn't distract from the fact that she is adorably cute.
What makes Meredith special is that she absolutely loves to hug people.  Our Pastor wrote a song called "Love Your Neighbor."  Each week when Pastor Jim gets up to do the Praise Service Meredith is sure to get her request in to sing her favorite song.  There is a spot in the song where we all go around hugging each other and Meredith is the first one off her seat to start the process.
Whenever she sees me she say, "I need to give you your hug Grammy Sue!" I swoop her off her feet and she delivers the warmest and best hug ever.  I have to say it is very healing! She did the same to our Pastor when he returned from a trip.  He went up to preach and she ran right up on stage and gave him his hug.  He returned the favor right there and then.
One Sabbath she was downcast.  I asked her what was wrong and she said, "I don't have any hugs to give!"  I said, "That's okay. I have one for you and you can give me one when you find your hugs again."  She allowed me to hug her but she was on the verge of tears.  She must not have felt good that day.  I chuckled at her sadness about not having any hugs left to give. However that condition didn't last long.  The following Sabbath she was back to her normal self doling out hugs.
A few weeks ago I noticed Meredith sitting on the lap of one of our older church members, Josephine.  Josephine is a dear lady who lived alone at the foot of Mt. Blanca.  She was Polish and spoke with a  accent even though she had lived here for years. She made tasty perogies.  When we went to her home to visit her yard was filled with flowers and there was always food cooking on the stove.
Life had been hard for Josephine but it had made her strong.  She loved the Lord with all her heart.  Once I asked if she would help a church member who needed regular house cleaning and she took on the job wholeheartedly. Josie (an affectionate name the church member called her) became fast friends with the member and remained so for many years.  Her service for the Lord was well rewarded with this loving friendship.
I don't know how it started that Meredith began to sit on Josie's lap during church but when I noticed it I was amazed at how comfortable the two felt with each other. It touched my heart to see joy on Josie's face to be receiving such unconditional faith and trust from one so small. I remember thinking that this is what heaven on earth must be like. Pure contentment!
Two weeks ago I got word that Josie had a heart attack.  Silly woman drove herself to the hospital.  She told me at one time that she didn't like going to doctors.  She felt good and she didn't see a need to go unless there was something seriously wrong.  It came as a big surprise that she had a heart attack.  While finding out what went wrong the doctors found advanced stage 4 cancer in her abdomen.  She was dead one week later.
Meredith keenly feels the loss of her friend.  In her prayers she prayed, "Please come back and get Mia Josephine and take her to heaven so we can be together again." How quickly love binds us together and we feel the loss of it when it is suddenly gone.
I think God sent Meredith to our church family. She is living God's love that seems to keep us in proper perspective.
This is what Meredith teaches me: Love with all your heart! Give hugs freely.  Touch each other in tender compassion.  Hug with sincerity.  This is healing.....this is the touch of God. As Meredith says, "When you have Jesus in your heart it's like having heaven in your heart too!"
1 John 4:7  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Whose Punishment Is It?

My Mom bought a piano when we lived in the Arroyo Grande house.  She liked to play and also have us kids learn to play. It's a beautiful AcroSonic upright piano.  Now I have to tell you that my folks always took very good care of the things they purchased and still have many things that were bought years ago and they are in pristine condition.  

One day as I sat at the piano I started picking at the decal that said AcroSonic just above middle C.  Not even thinking I continue to fiddle with it until a large part of it was gone.  Suddenly I woke up and realized that I was going to be in big trouble.

I also need to tell you that Dad had the eyes of an Eagle and super sonar sensitivity to the things he owned.  Almost as soon as he walked in the door from work he said, "Who scratched the S off the piano!" Like most young kids around the age of 10 I didn't want to experience the garage. So I blamed it on the first person that came to mind because I thought he would be too young to spank!  My baby brother Jim!

I have an older brother Tom and two younger brothers, Steve and Jim. My two other brothers knew they didn't do it and I didn't often lie to my Dad so they assumed I was telling the truth.  Jim protested in the strongest way a three year old could but it was to no avail.  

Instead of going into the garage my Dad chose to spank Jim right there in front of us.  Poor Jimmy!  My initial triumph at fooling Dad began to sour my stomach.  It became all knotted and I started feeling ill.  Jim was then sent to his room. I went to mine saying I wasn't feeling well.

I laid on my bed and began to cry. I prayed.  "God, I know what I did was wrong.  I know I need to go tell Dad the truth.  You need to make me strong enough because I know I am going to get an even worse spanking for making Jimmy suffer for what I did!"  After I dried my tears I gathered up all the braveness I could muster....which wasn't much but enough.... and went into see Dad.

"Dad, Jimmy didn't do that to the piano, I did." I said softly with down cast eyes.  "I'm ready to take my punishment."

I waited.  Dad looked at me and saw how I was suffering, and believe me, I was suffering!  It would have been better to take the initial spanking and get it over with.  Then he surprised me. "It seems you have suffered enough.  However, you need to go make things right with Jimmy."

I threw myself into Dad's arms and said, "I'm so sorry Dad.  I promise never to do this again!"  He gave me a warm hug and then I went to face my little brother.  Being so little he was ready and willing to forgive me and gave me a warm hug too.  

Repentance is difficult, but the forgiveness I received was very freeing.  My soul, instead of being burdened and heavy, was now free to rejoice.  I never blamed anyone for something I did again.

I am reminded how Jesus took my punishment for me.  I read Isaiah 53 with different eyes now.  Christ took on all the sins of the world and died of a broken heart.  I am one who helped break it.  However, Christ was victorious over sin and made it possible for me to have forgiveness and participate in the freedom and joy of the heavenly kingdom.

I walked into the living room of my folks home in Santa Maria today.  There against the wall is the AcroSonic piano.  The S is still gone along with parts of other letters.  It is a reminder of what Dad taught me.  I'm looking forward to seeing him again on the resurrection day and thanking him for being such a good Dad!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Life Sketch of Paul Nazario

Senior picture at AUC.

Paul Nazario was born on June 22, 1922 to Andres and Susana Nazario in Puerto Rico. He was the third of 9 children. Dr. Dunscomb, who delivered Dad, encouraged Andres to bring his family to the US, so when Dad was a young child the family migrated and settled in Melrose Mass.

Dad graduated from Melrose High School in 1940.  In the fall of that year he enrolled in Atlantic Union College but six months later he was drafted into the Navy.  Because of his terrible seasickness he asked to be put in another branch of the service.  Dad was honorably discharged from the Navy and three days later drafted into the Army where he served as a Medic in France.

After Dad’s tour of duty was completed he went back to AUC to complete his BA degree.  While there he met Anne Elizabeth Ferris, a beautiful young nursing student, and decided he’d better keep her.  They were married September 11, 1949. Thomas Paul was born 1 year later. 

After Dad’s graduation he moved his new family to California in a one-wheeled trailer.  That is an interesting story.  Needless to say the trailer didn’t make it to Loma Linda CA but they did. Dad enrolled in the Physical Therapy program at LLU. In 1953 Dad graduated from Physical Therapy and Susanne Louise was born.  Dad decided to switch careers on the advice of a beloved teacher so he entered the second class at the new School of Dentistry at LLU. 

Stephen John was born in 1957. Not sure how that happened as Mom worked nights while Dad studied and went to school during the day. In 1958 Dad graduated and moved his family to Arroyo Grande and set up practice in the old theater building on Broadway in Santa Maria.  James Edward was born in 1960, (the last of the most beautiful children born to any one. Well, until the grandchildren started showing up.)

Dad eventually moved his office to Chapel Street where he practiced his Dentistry until he retired.

In 1967 Dad and Mom built their home in Lake Marie, just outside of Santa Maria. It has been their home for the past 47 years.  Here Dad enjoyed golfing, traveling, riding his bike, photography, baseball (and other sports),crafting fine furniture, and working in the yard.  He loved his home and family along with being a big support to the Arroyo Grande Junior Academy and church and Loma Linda School of Dentistry.  He built the steeple for the church that still stands today.

Dad retired in 1987.  He did a lot of traveling with Mom in and out of the country. There are photo albums full of their adventures with their friends or family.  As the years rolled by Dad preferred staying home more and spent a lot of time in his “orchard”.  He shared his bounty with anyone who would take it.  He often took boxes of fruit down to the Salvation Army or Food Center or to give away at church. 
Dad suffered from terrific pain in his knees, probably from being a catcher on his baseball team in high school and in the army.  This slowed him down in the later years, but if asked how he was feeling he would always say, “I feel fine!”  We are seriously considering having that statement engraved on his Urn! He rarely complained about his physical being.
Dad was also very patriotic. He loved listening to the Mormon Tabernacle choir sing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “God Bless America”.  He would tear up as he listened to them. He loved his country and we were very appreciative for his service.

On March 14, 2014 Dad passed away peacefully at the Gentle Care Home. He had the chance to see each of his children and some grandchildren and share a special time with them in the few weeks and months preceding his death. We feel blessed to have had him as our Dad and he will be missed greatly.  But we know that we will be reunited at the resurrection.  So - until then, rest in peace Dad.  We love you.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Being Seasick Can Save You!

My Dad was inducted into the Navy during WWII.  He lasted 72 hours!  Yup! Three days! When he talked with the commanding officer Dad told him that he shouldn't be in the Navy - he just got way too seasick! So Dad was honorably discharged and redrafted into the Army.  Still, that didn't save Dad.  When it was time for him to be shipped out they meant exactly that- shipped - on a ship
On the way to France, where he was to serve as a Physical Therapist Medic, he was definitely seasick and spent much of his time hanging over the railing.  Once on dry land he was able to do his job as a physical therapist for the recovering wounded. He also went shopping and was able to procure some parachute silk for his Mom who loved to sew.  He also got her some French perfume.  He placed his gifts in a trunk or duffel and stored it under his bed in a cabin he shared with several other soldiers.  The rest of the money he earned while in the Army he sent home to his parents for safe keeping.
When the war was over and Dad was sent home honorably discharged he had to return by, you guessed it, a ship.  Many cruise ships were used to transport troops back and forth.  Dad was on one of those ships.  You can guess where he spent most of his time.  While Dad was cruising the railing there was a terrific jolt.  In the night the cruise ship hit an iceberg. It tore a hole in the side of the ship right were Dad's room was and his precious gifts went into the sea.
Fortunately the ship was able to contain the flood of water and the ship limped into port.  I guess one could say that being seasick saved Dad's life.  I don't think anyone was hurt either.  I'm sure Dad's folks kept him and his brother, Andy, and sister, Mary, in prayer as they served their country.  God granted their prayer and all three returned home safe and sound.
I want to thank them for their service to our country to keep us free from tyranny and oppression.  We have enjoyed many years of freedom.  Unfortunately the new generation doesn't seem to care as much about those precious freedoms that cost so much American and Ally blood to protect. I am grateful for those who do get it and are willing to continue to serve this country's freedoms.  May God continually bless those who sacrifice for us!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Naughty Little Rider

It took a lot but after much begging Dad bought a couple of horses.  I had wanted horses since I could remember and it was great being able to have Lady, a quarter horse, and Jiggers, the pony.  My brothers and I spent many hours riding, going to neighborhood shows, and being cowboys. It was fun and I thought I was a good rider.
One Sabbath on the way back from church I saw at the football field across from our house a group of people who were taking turns riding a Pinto Pony.  I had always wanted to ride a Pinto. I thought they were pretty. I asked Mom if I could go over after lunch and ride the horse.  She said no.  Of course I couldn’t accept no for an answer.
“Why! I asked a bit upset.
“The Bible tells us in the fourth commandment that we are to let our animals rest along with us on the Sabbath.  You will have to wait until another day.” She explained.
Of course, in my mind, this commandment didn’t apply to rides at the football field and I made the decision that I was going to ride that horse! After lunch, I put on my jeans and boots and slipped out the back door. I went down the side road, crossed over the main road, and headed to the football field.
I stood in line and watched with pleasure as the horse was led up and down on the field with each rider.  Finally, my turn came.  A lady boosted me up and I settled into the saddle.  It didn’t feel quite right and my feet were not securely in the stirrups.  I ignored the ill fitting saddle. I could ride in it because I was a good rider! I would just hang on to the saddle horn if I felt like falling.
It was great! The lady leading the horse saw that I could ride and let me take the reins.  She made me walk the horse though.  I asked her if we could trot.  She hesitated, asked me if I knew what I was doing, and of course, I said, “I’m a good rider because I ride my own horse every day.
“Well, okay.  But be careful!” She allowed.
I kicked the sides of the Pinto and we were off.  I hung on but began to lose my grip on the horn.  I couldn’t hold the reins and the horn at the same time and my feet came free of the stirrups.  This horse was also a different size horse and I wasn’t used to the way he trotted plus I couldn’t anticipate his moves. I began to slip from the saddle. As the ground came up to meet my face I remember thinking that I was in BIG trouble.  Then everything went black.
The next thing I saw was Dad looking at me and saying, “Susie, can you hear me? Do you hurt anywhere?”
Of course I hurt, not just on the outside but in my heart as well.  I tried to get up and when I leaned on my arm a sharp pain shot through it. Dad bent down, picked me up, and carried me all the way home.  I cried from the pain and hurt. He examined my arm for any break and realized it was just a bad sprain.
Susie Nazario
“I’m sorry for disobeying Mom.  Are you going to punish me?” I asked
“No. You have been punished enough for one day.  You do need to tell Mom you’re sorry though.” He said while carefully putting a sling on my sprained arm. 
After telling Mom I was sorry for disobeying (and I really was!) I fell asleep on Dad’s lap.  I’m sure I slept a lot that night as I woke up in the morning in my own bed.  That day I learned it doesn’t really pay to disobey. There is another commandment I learned to respect and that is to “Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother”. They know what is best.  If I had obeyed, I would not have had to live with a sprained arm for several weeks which took me out of the riding circuit for awhile.