Lenten Faith: Embracing Fairy Tales

It feels a bit like a fairy tale but we don’t yet know who will get their happy ending. Not everyone in fairy tales gets their happy ending. There is evil lurking in the woods and when we least expect him he can leap out and catch us, teeth bared, drooling for his next meal, struggling to hold us, keep us terrified and afraid to fight back against what appears to be a hopeless battle.

He comes at any time.

To all of us.

His name is FEAR.

Yet, we still walk in the woods. We find God there among the trees and flowers, among the moss covered rocks and pine strewn floors. Among the wildlife. Under sunny skies hidden by a canopy of green or glimpses of stormy clouds.

Among the darkness.

The stars barely visible remain unseen reflections of the light that never leaves us despite its absence to our unseeing eyes.

The Light of the world remains. The God who is present in the woods, present in the darkness, the Living Light, the Spirit that hovers and covers, weeps mourns, loves and listens. Never absent.

God IS






I am scared. Anyone who isn’t hasn’t yet read the fairy tale. The Wolf is waiting and he could be anywhere. I worry about my husband, my children, my grandchildren, my friends. I don’t want to lose anyone I love. I’m not ready to go. The wolf preys mostly on those who can’t run as quickly, who are more vulnerable, but he’s partial to none. Young doctors and nurses have been eaten and maimed, those who work in the darkness providing a lamp for the rest of us.

I’m really terrified about the economy. The poor getting poorer. My husband I without any savings or retirement, hoping some day for a bit more rest to become a chapter in the ending of our fairy tale, or a home we’re secure in. For a whole society who lives paycheck to paycheck and have or are losing paychecks, this is beyond scary.

I’ve responded to many large scale natural and man-made disasters. I hate the Wolf. I’ve responded to many places he has wreaked havoc. I’ve heard the stories and comforted thousands. I would rather not hear even one more story of death, see any more extreme poverty.

But I will. Willingly.

With open hands and open heart.

Because the Wolf will. Passionately. With teeth bared.

I will because the Light always exposes the Fear. The glimmer is the advent of the glare. The Wolf prefers the dark and cover of night where Fear remains strong and unchallenged.

A path is always provided. Sometimes around the bend, out of sight.

Just beyond the NOW.

Still waters that rest our souls. We are called to be human. To see humanity. To know somewhere through the next thicket are others far worse off than we are, struggling to survive, struggling to find a crumb, struggling to breathe.

Sometimes we are simply powerless. Like Christ on the cross we must walk the path of wisdom and then willingly surrender to what will be.

Some will be caught by the Wolf. Some will remain free of his grasp. Some will be rescued by others willing to lay down their lives. The Light of the Woods remains, the stars continue to shine, and we are swept up beside still waters that whisper “when you’re afraid, trust Me (Ps. 56:3)

A pandemic during Lent. The pain of suffering, the darkness of death, the quiet of alone-ness, the cessation of group worship, the unstable economy, the losses of life as we know it, the fear of what is, what will be. The emotions that Jesus experienced during his life, his Lent, his Garden, his personal crucidemic. He lived out the evil desperate fairy tale ending revealing how to embrace the power of his healing and love.

Compassionate Love made new.

Sometimes we are simply powerless. Like Christ on the cross we must walk the path of wisdom, do what we can to alleviate the suffering of others and ourselves and willingly surrender to being fully human and fully alive.

That is our fairy tale ending.

Just Me Going to Nepal

The plan is to travel to Nepal on Thursday May 21st. The tickets need to be booked today. I go with great trepidation – as I always do. I also go with conviction to help hurting people, as I always do.

I can’t not go. 

I am told we will be airlifted by helicopter to the hospital that is treating the most recent earthquake victims. Wow. That’s a new one for me!

We almost experienced a helicopter with Samaritan’s Purse in Haiti in 2010, but then they decided not send Dave and I during the restlessness of the elections. We were compelled to go, so he and I went on our own, aiding and training over 250 pastors and leaders, and the “international arm” of Compassionate Reach was born. (Actually Hesed Hope at that time.)

We may be “trekking in” to remote areas as well. At 56 and out of shape, that is REALLY intimidating! Bring snacks in case we don’t have food for a day or so. Hmm, I have my emergency supplies.

We haven’t had the finances for David  to travel with me since then. I miss my partner. He brings a sense of safety when there is none. He calms me when I am worried. He is my support as I support others.

People love to say God doesn’t “call the equipped, he equips the called,” but I am not so sure I agree with that. If I wasn’t equipped both with some limited medical/ childbirth training, and especially as a chaplain with a background in pscyh and trauma, I wouldn’t find much of a reason to go. Even with that training, I always feel far from “equipped” to step into total destruction and overwhelming pain.

Nepal 1

I do however feel called. God always shows up on behalf of suffering. His creation. 

The losses in my life, and in particular the loss of a child in traumatic circumstances have given me empathy. Empathy is found in 2 Cor. 1:3-5, 

 All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too. (Emphasis mine)

The majority of Nepalese is Hindu and I read they are skeptical of Christians. I don’t go with an agenda to “convert” it’s not my style, nor do I think it was Jesus style either. People are skittish; they are traumatized and emotionally and cognitively impaired. They NEED practical help.

They need LOVE. 

My only agenda is to love on people with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, who makes the love of God in Christ known to humanity. I will bandage wounds, help laboring women, and facilitate the healing of some hearts.

I go to love God’s creation and maybe they will wonder about the light shining in me, revealing my Hope. 

Jesus is so gentle and loving with hurting people – we see that time and again in the Christian scriptures. He was “moved with compassion” and healed “all who were sick.” That is what made his love known throughout. This is what the Kingdom of God ‘with us” is all about.

The Good Samaritan is a stark reminder that all of the “religion” in the world is worthless without love in action.

NEPAL Children

I need funds to go – and I am quickly running out of time. I need some new ministry partners.

Will you consider becoming one? 

I work 100% volunteer  – with a burning passion to help. No middle man in this ministry, no fear of your donation not going directly towards relief.

Please consider making a tax deductible donation through http://www.compassoinatereach.org

I also started a Go Fund Me. When I reach $500 it will be in their search engine. Not before. You can donate there as well.

I don’t usually ask for financial partners, but without you, I can’t do what I do. 

Thank you for partnering with me for Nepal!


You can follow me on Facebook or Twitter. i will do my best to keep updates, and will surely send one out when I get back.

If you are medically trained or a trauma chaplain and would like to join a team in the future, we can make that happen. Maybe you are empty-nesters wondering what to do to help – we can train you for that too. 

The Face of Jesus in the Philippines; Holy Love

As we enter into the weekend, please consider how selfless servants in developing countries spend their Holy Week, and may we learn from them as we read the words of Filipino volunteer, Bryan Mattilano,

Holy 5” Compassionate Reach International , together with my family and the Barangay [Village] Health Workers (BHW), initiated feeding operations in our barangay beginning] Holy Thursday.

As Christ dined with His apostles to initiate the Eucharist, we may also share His Body and Blood as we serve the least of our brethren with compassion, especially those who are victims of calamities.”

Holy Week11

Thursday: Supper of Salvation

Day 1 “There were 192 identified malnourished children in the barangay, and 163 of them participated in the feeding program. All the children were weighed and the height was measured. The MUAC strip (Mid Upper Arm Circumference) was also used to determine how malnourished each child is.

Holy 2

The menu was composed of rice, chicken adobo, egg, vegetables, and hot milk.

Holy 3

The Barangay Health Workers (BHW) identified each of the malnourished children in every purok (sections of the barangay), getting the weight, height and the MUAC measurements, for the locations of the feeding, and follow-up home visitations.

Holy 6

From 163 respondents, 103 of them (63%) are already at risk for becoming malnourished, while 38 children (23%), were identified as malnourished. Only 22 children, (less than 13%) were in normal ranges for nutritional adequacy.

Holy 1This malnutrition is due to scarcity of resources: sufficient food, water, sanitation, and hygiene, brought about by the devastation of Super-typhoon Yolanda, in November of 2014.

San Jose, Dulag, Philippines

San Jose, Dulag, Philippines 1/2014

The super-typhoon also destroyed the local crops, rerouted water sources, killed coconut trees, and negatively affected the landscape and other resources in this fishing and farming community.


The feeding operation was just on time with the Holy Thursday as Christ dines with His apostles to initiate the Eucharist.

Holy Week 9

May we also share His Body and Blood as we serve the least of our brethren with compassion, especially those who are victims of calamities.

Holy 4

More than anybody who are most vulnerable are the children…. ” 

Holy Week 10

PLEASE NOTE:   Filipino volunteer Bryan Mattilano, is a professor at the University in Tacloban.

Bryan grew up in San Jose, and his parents and family still reside in the village (barangay). San Jose is a 40 minute commute by jeepney or other public transportation from Tacloban. This work of great love and compassion, is done by Bryan, his family, and other volunteers, without pay, and during their “vacation” times.

Bryan, Chp Jamie 1

Bryan and Chp. Jamie – January of 2014, providing trauma support for the local population, and trauma training for the teachers of the elementary school.

Please consider becoming a sponsor of the feeding initiative in San Jose so we can continue to help rebuild lives, while caring for the least of these.

Compassionate Reach is a volunteer organization.  100% of donations go towards helping the poor, needy, and traumatized victims of disasters.

For more information email:  jamie@compassionatereach.org  and go to our website.

Thank you on behalf of San Jose and the volunteers of Compassionate Reach International. 

Contact us to find out how you can train as trauma chaplains, and/ or volunteer for mission outreach and disaster response, with Compassionate Reach International.

If You Give a Homeschool Mom a Cookie

IMG_6257…she is going to want some Irish Breakfast Tea to go with it.  When she makes the tea, she will think about where it was  imported from and research the geography. While researching about Ireland, she will get sidetracked to tell the children about St. Patrick… St. Patrick will make her think about the Irish Potato Famine, leading to pondering cooking some traditional Irish dishes…

But one day she will be retiring from her lifelong career as a homeschool mom and will need someplace to channel all of that energy…

…Especially when her children range in age from 15 to 35 and homeschooling and mothering has been her life. Especially when she starts having yard sales to get rid of all of the extra homeschool curriculum. Especially when the educational toys and games and science kits, and microscopes all are placed into the hands of a younger homeschool mom with kids at her knees. Especially knowing how many years of long hours and overtime a devoted husband and father worked to provide all of those homeschool needs.

We have had thousands of books – thousands. We still have a gazillion.

give a homeschool mom…Especially knowing that the children are now in the hands of God – twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, as adults. Some of them even have their own children to fret over – ten grandchildren now read many of the books I once read to children who were snuggled up next to me.

My adult life…

It’s all I’ve ever known,

and sacrificed for.

button bay fam picture

It’s always a bit of a shocker to me when people assume because we have always been a single income family we were well off. Quite the contrary – we always did and gave out of our need, not our abundance.

Only because I happen to be married to the most self-less man I have ever known. Hands down. He has never spent more than $2,000 on a car for himself, and he drives them into the ground. I have never known him to shop for clothes for himself in 33 years, and he only buys new shoes when I drag him.

IMG_6261His adult life…

It’s all he’s ever known,

and sacrificed for.

maine family photo

Adding to our already large family by international adoption. He drove a 900 dollar car then, Sam is our $24 carrot kid.  Cars or kids. Dave is selfless.

sam wiht panda

Over the years a number of people have come to visit, and ended up staying a while. They found “Papa” Grubb to be accommodating, and our home a place that welcomed those in need of place to find some love and hope.

CHRISTMAS USEToday he sold the last of his farm equipment – some electric fencing and miscellaneous tools. It’s only seven years ago that we bought our first cows, and five years ago we added the sheep.

It was our dream, some day, semi-retirement property. My father had helped us buy it. He planned to move in with us.  A gentleman’s farm where we could feed our children, and eventually make a small profit to supplement the little retirement we would get from a failing IBM. Thanks to my fathers generosity combined with David’s selflessness, I had a horse of my own for the first time in forty years, the girls had ponies. We had finally achieved the life we had always dreamed of, even if most of the kids were in their teens by then. Dave still drove old cars. My father died three days before he moved up.

Curve ball 3Then IBM began the layoffs and life changed for us – starting over – again -like so many others who have been hit by a failing economy. No more retirement – we used that to feed the kids and farm animals.


No social security for me – I never worked long enough outside the home. I was too busy with volunteer work, 4-H, ministry…

It’s a different life we are leading now – empty nest – empty barn – empty pockets – and sometimes, broken hearts.

Broken but never empty.

Our hearts are somewhat broken with a brokenness I don’t regret, but they are also very full. Full of love. Full of children, full of grandchildren. We have so much to be thankful for. We have so many rich blessings.

With brokenness comes an appreciation for life, love, and God that cannot be attained any other way.

My hope sometimes falters as I channel all that homeschool energy and love into trying to build a ministry to help others who are in pain – locally, in Haiti, in the Philippines, in India – wherever I have been asked to go.

It’s such a big task and it is out there. 

It is not in here with my children snuggled next to me.


It’s a bit scary out there teaching, speaking, training, and deploying to foreign countries to help others.

IMG_9791It’s really scary doing it without Dave.

Courage is not the absence of fear, courage is stepping out to do the things you are most afraid of but the most needful.

It is me at God’s knee – a child again – with no choice but to trust walking along a new path. A path that has been carved out by many years of testing, accepting, changing, and trusting. A path that calls me to follow my Father as His adopted child and let him hold me. A path that lets go of the years I have held my own children. A path that learns goodbyes are never forever,

and forever is eternal.

SAM First homeA new future.

If you show a homeschool Mom where there is suffering, she is going to end up a Missionary Chaplain. As a Chaplain, she is going to want to an airline ticket to go to where the suffering is. To get there, she will need to buy an airline ticket. Needing an airline ticket will inspire her to sell her homeschool things. Selling her homeschool things will remind her that everthing comes with a price.

Thinking of the price will remind of Jesus and how great His love for us is.

His love will remind her that it’s time to put away the cookies; true and lasting joy comes when we carry the cross.


ATTENTION former homeschool moms.

There is still a place for you as a caregiver to your community, your church, or the nations. Contact me if you’d like to learn more.


God is Here – 2

IMG_9416The view out of my front door is one of devastation, and poverty –  love and hope. I look through the children’s playground, from the San Jose Elementary School turned Mercy In Action, maternal health care/ birthing/ medical clinic, to broken walls, debris, roofless, tarp covered, plywood, homes, and coconut trees that have been snapped in half by the wind, and now line the beach.

As I am writing this, a mother just came in with her young son as he seizes for the second time that day. He had already been seen this morning, by the group of German doctors  from the NGO, NAVIS, who also serve here twice a week.  The nurses and EMT’s are doing the best they can to help this child, knowing there is often little they can do that hasn’t already been done. They will bring some measure of comfort as well as practical help, all done in the name of the One who loves the child most.

I am writing now with my T-Shirt covering my nose as the burning trash out back has

San Jose, Dulag, Philippines

San Jose, Dulag, Philippines

aggravated some serious upper respiratory issues I sometimes have, and I feel very ill.  I am praying that God will keep me healthy to serve – as serve I must. That is what I am here for.

I have to find my feet (or God’s feet) – I am going to cook and organize, sweep, and listen – help where needed, and wait for God to open the doors.  I want to support Mercy in Action staff first – as I know some of them are here for weeks already and it doesn’t take long to get weary in a disaster zone.  As I teach the ones I train in compassion ministry  – a Chaplains first calling is to serve  – a ministry of presence takes on many forms.  Though I have yet to speak with more than a few of the local people, Vic has shown me around and shared the many needs, to validate what I knew before coming into this disaster zone – there is no short of traumatic needs here.  “Whom shall I send. Lord send me.”  May the cry of my heart be to the glory of Jesus. I love serving as a chaplain.

They Call Me Lola, God’s Plan for the Philippines

photo (3)They range in ages from yet to be born (early February),  to ten and a half. At the time my oldest daughter and son-in-law was expecting their first child, I was a young forty-four and not feeling old enough to be a, “Grand-ma,” or, “Nana,” or any other array of old sounding names. After all, our youngest son was only four years old – I was still a MOM!

But Lola, well that sounded OK. Lola is the Filipino name for grandmother. (Lolo is the name for grandfathers, but we went with Papa.)  Kristen and Matt had been missionaries to the Philippines for a short while with Mercy in Action, the organization I am partnering with on this deployment. Ethan was born in New Mexico where they were both working stateside for Mercy in Action, training midwives for international missions. There were quite a few years of Filipino influence when the first grandchild was due.

One of the things I have learned about missions and trauma care in particular is God uses common ground for opening doors and bonding. I am sure I will take a few extra pictures of my grandchildren on my phone, as well as in a small picture book for when the time comes that God uses “Lola” to open the doors of the heart. In Haiti, I was warmed to see God use the death of Micaiah as a connection with many of the older women. Even before the earthquake, the loss of children was keenly felt in their country; after the earthquake I doubt there was a mothers heart in Port au Prince and surrounding areas that was not torn on behalf of their own child, or a niece, nephew, neighbors child…

Like Rachael weeping for her children…

This trip was planned before my first grandchild was born, without my knowledge or even the notion that I would become a trauma chaplain; for chaplaincy and trauma care had not yet been fully born in my heart, but God knew. God planted Lola in my heart and in my life as a path to the Philippines, and I go in faith knowing that His plans are always perfect.

But the plans of the Lord stand firm for ever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.  Ps.33:11

Lovers of Samaritans or Lovers of the Law

He spoke to her. He drank water from the same cup. He taught her.

Jesus was at the well with the Samaritan woman teaching her in gentle ways about who he was, telling her all of secrets of her life so she proclaimed him a prophet. He broke Jewish custom and defiled himself by speaking with – opening her eyes to the Messiah. 

“A woman from Samaria came to get some water. Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give me a drink?’  
                                                                                                                                        John 4:7
This may seem like a simple question but Jesus was a Jew, and the Jews had a long history of animosity towards Samaritans, who rejected all of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) except the Pentateuch. More importantly this Samaritan was a WOMAN.  In Jesus time law and custom did not allow Jewish men to speak to women in public.By speaking and teaching the woman, Jesus showed He was more concerned with humanity, with love, with His message, than with doctrines, rules, or laws.
The Samaritan woman said to Him, “You are a Jew. I am a Samaritan woman. How can You ask me for a drink?”

Jesus answered her, “You do not know what God’s gift is. And you do not know Who is asking you for a drink. If you did, you would have asked Him. He would have given you living water.” – John 4:9-10
This is by far one of my favorite stories in the bible for it shows how clearly Jesus believes in the equality of His message for ALL mankind, and the equality of woman. Last night we began watching, The Gospel of John (with an awesome Ian Cussick playing Jesus) and when it came to Jesus speaking to the woman at the well, I cried. I was so moved to think how much love and compassion Jesus showed during His ministry on earth. Only to the religions leaders did he get frustrated or angry.
Women may be under the curse from Adam and Eve, but Jesus came to free us from bondage to love and serve Himself and others. We have all – male and female been set free to serve the weak, base, and despised, across genders, religions, cultures or customs – we are called to. 
Who are you serving? 

Here We Go Again

I have made many attempts at creating a blog, but none of them seemed to get off the ground. I decided it is because I “specialize” my blogs too much, and as an person who now (and probably always) has worn a variety of hats, I need to redirect my thought processes toward something that encompasses the whole instead of the part.

I also decided that if I focus on expressing myself off of Face book, then those of you who actually want to see an article of debate, thought provoking post, theological musing, or something just ridiculous, can more easily choose to be here.

So, for those of you who actually care to read the [often] theological musings of a mom turned missionary; here I am. For those of you who stumbled upon this blog accidentally, maybe you will join me, or maybe you will run; for those of you who actually continue to faithfully follow the pondering and happenings of my large and active family, and the ministry of Hesed Hope, thank you for caring. May God bless you.

Why Mom turned Missionary?

One definition of the word missionary:One who attempts to convert or persuade others to a particular program, doctrine, or set of principles, a propagandist.

It is our goal to, “convert or persuade others” to a program of discipleship that includes ministering to others as the literal Hands and Feet of Jesus. To learn how to effectively minister to others who are in distress – your neighbor, co-worker, sibling, friend, or, in more extreme cases, hurrican Katrina, 9/11, or Haitian survivor, or family member.

However, it is our primary goal to persuade the body of Christ to become the literal Hands and Feet and see themselves as missionaries of Jesus along side us. Oswald Chambers expresses my heart below:
A missionary is someone sent by Jesus Christ just as He was sent by God. The great controlling factor is not the needs of the people, but the command of Jesus. The source of our inspiration in our service to God is behind us, not ahead of us. The tendency today is to put the inspiration out in front- to sweep everything together in front of us and make it conform to our definition of success. But in the New Testament the inspiration is put behind us, and is the Lord Jesus Himself. The goal is to be true to Him- to carry out His plans.

Personal attachment to the Lord Jesus and to His perspective is one thing that must not be overlooked. In missionary work the great danger is that God’s call will be replaced by the needs of the people, to the point that human sympathy for those needs will absolutely overwhelm the meaning of being sent by Jesus. The needs are so enormous, and the conditions so difficult, that every power of the mind falters and fails. We tend to forget that the one great reason underneath all missionary work is not primarily the elevation of the people, their education, nor their needs, but is first and foremost the command of Jesus Christ- “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” (Matthew 28:19)

When looking back on the lives of men and women of God, the tendency is to say, “What wonderfully keen and intelligent wisdom they had, and how perfectly they understood all that God wanted!” But the keen and intelligent mind behind them was the mind of God, not human wisdom at all. We give credit to human wisdom when we should give credit to the divine guidance of God being exhibited through childlike people who were “foolish” enough to trust God’s wisdom and His supernatural equipment.

So, please come along side us, pray for us, train with us, support us, as we “foolishly” trust God for His wisdom and supernatural strength.

In His Service,