Wednesday, August 10, 2011


....BE-CAUSE, I haven't been sleeping well. This is normally not a problem for me and we think now that we've fixed the glitch in meds that was causing me to dream wildly and wake suddenly.

So anyway, when I lie awake there I figure God probably wants me to pray for people since I'm just laying there not able to sleep.  So this particular night I did.  I prayed for a lot of people but also myself.  Not only for physical healing but for spiritual sanctification (which is an ongoing process).  After that time with God I tried to sleep again but to no avail. So I read.

I'm reading this book and it probably isn't great to be reading about all the food, but I can't keep myself away from books about food.  I'm a natural foodie and my husband is too. But what I noticed as I read, was that I kept being reminded by certain things in the book about my friends and family.  So every time that would happen I would pray for them because I felt a tug at my heart to do so. God wanted me to keep praying.

"Many return dazzled by the casual Spanish approach to eating: dinner at midnight, the standup snacks at crowded tapas bars, the whole concept of the poteo- the multisop bar and food crawl from casual eatery to casual eatery, grazing for what's good, cherry-picking the best at each place ("a little bit, often") before moving on to the next place, and the next."  This made me think of Casey and Alicia, how we used to have a "dinner club" and we'd try various restaurants and rate them in our little book way back when in college.  How much they enjoy food like us and how they would be THE people we would choose to go on a Spain eating-adventure with someday when I'm well.  So I prayed for them.  They are going to be missionaries in Mexico.  There is much to pray about for our dear friends as they prepare to go.

"It is no coincidence that so many chefs have been visiting Spain lately, only to return with an altered worldview."  My friends the Pidals just moved to Spain to be missionaries there.  They've got two boys my own daughters' ages.  My heart prayed for them and the challenges and the good things that are happening for them there.

"Where poorer  nations have a tradition of cooking well because they have to, we have choices. It is always better to make the most of what's available, to cook well."  This reminded me of my friend Andrea who buckled down and made sure her family was eating right.  With allergies abounding in their house, she knew it was time to make a change and start using her time to get her family healthy.  She researched and researched and experimented and experimented and now she has a sort of routine.  But this means she spends most of her time preparing fresh food and food that will nourish her kids' bodies.  It's something I'd love to do someday when my energy will allow - because, believe me, it takes energy to do that kind of work for your home.  So I prayed for her.  Sometimes you might not know exactly why someone would need prayer but you pray for them anyway when they come to mind.

"If, as in the case of Kobe beef......"  That's all I needed to read to spark memories from my trips to Japan and to bring to mind the faithful church in Osaka where I was privileged to be able to serve alongside a few times in college.  And I think of the Okadas especially and Okada Sensei who really lives out the the call to be a light to the world and his heart and hard work to reach unreached people in Japan.  And for his wife Marcia who supports him and raises their sweet children. I pray often for their whole family and for the church there.

"Don't get me wrong. I like free-range; it's almost always better tasting.  Wild salmon is better than farmed salmon, and yes, the farmed stuff is a threat to overall quality."  When I lived in Montreal, QC for a brief period of time before I got married, I was staying with my Aunt and Uncle.  My then fiance (now husband) flew up from New York and stayed the weekend in their home.  It was the first time they met him and I had so much pride and hoped they would think as highly of him as I did.  We sat down to dinner--some salmon that my Aunt had made because she knew Matt liked salmon and she knew this meal was going to be a blessing to him because of the day-after-day not so bad, but not so good gruel he was used to eating at his military school.  We prayed, began to eat, and started talking about salmon and my shining fiance says as he takes a bite, "Isn't Pacific salmon supposed to be better than Atlantic salmon?  I like the taste of Pacific salmon SOOOOOOO much better."  While chewing on his bite, my aunt said, "Oh.  Well, this is ATLANTIC salmon."  Matt tripped over his words trying to say that he thought the salmon my Aunt had cooked was really tasty and he thought it WAS Pacific salmon and he was so sorry that he might have offended her.  We all had a good laugh over it but he has always lived with this sense that my Aunt must have felt SO bad about it.  If I mention the story to him to this day he hangs his head in embarrassment.  But anyway, it reminded me of my Aunt and Uncle and cousins and I prayed for them.

"That one can create a pocket of calm, casual, yet sophisticated pleasure, of culinary excellence smack in the middle of --yet comfortably removed from--the carnage and ugliness below.  I found, I think, my perfect metaphor, had my final Vegas epiphany on my last day in town, as I hurtled face-down at accelerating speed toward the surface of the earth, free-falling from two miles above the desert, a Flying Elvis strapped to my back." The Van Tuyl family.  Such good friends and Jeff was the one who turned me on to Anthony Bourdain....his SHOW, though, not his books.  So as I'm reading the above I think "Jeff would love this book. I've got to tell him about it." I spent a lot of time with Jeff and Carrie and watched as their family grew.  They watched me go through a long-distance relationship with my boyfriend (now husband) and gave great advice as I'd have the normal ups and downs of navigating something as tough as dating someone who lives all the way across the country. We all shared the same taste in movies and tv shows and would pass along names of shows or movies we thought each other would love.  We still do to this day.  They watched us get married;  Jeff performed the ceremony.  We've moved apart (state wise) but have still managed to keep up through telephone and even occasional visits when we lived within 3 hours of each other.  Such a sweet family and one that I pray for often.  As Jeff recovers from leukemia and as Carrie faithfully tends to her children, I just see so much faith and trusting and know that doesn't come from nowhere. It comes from God and it comes from our prayers.  So I prayed.

"'I was jacked up on some hideous sugar high from those Twinkies.  And the Oreos!  They deep-fry Oreos here, Bourdain!  I was helpless under their influence.'" Now this one, this one came just as quickly as all the other ones that made me want to pray for people but it wasn't because of some attached memory I have of a sugar high associated with them.  It was the "deep fried Oreos" phrase.  It reminded me of the Puyallup Fair in Washington State.  How when we lived there, they had a deep fried station that actually did deep fry Oreos and Twinkies.  
We have wonderful friends in Washington.  And I knew who I thought of at that moment in Washington.  Our friends the Pattersons.  They have precious children all around the ages of my girls and Georgie just LOVES them.  She still can't stop talking about them even though we don't live there anymore.  We still Skype with them and send letters.  And Ruth and Jeff were such an encouragement to us when we lived there and had such an understanding heart about my disease.  They said we could think of them as family and never feel bad asking for help or babysitting.  It's nice when a friend who ISN'T sick, truly understands what you need as a 'but-you-don't-look-sick' sicky.  I knew exactly what to pray for.  
They were AT THAT MOMENT, in Ethiopia.  They are in the final stages of adopting their son from there and they were going to MEET him face to face.  I prayed that it would go well and that their court appointment would run smoothly and for every other part of visiting and navigating a new country.  Ruth and I prayed for a miracle that would allow her and Jeff to be able to go to their court date in the beg. of August.  All things were pointing to an October court date.  With two weeks to go before the August court would close, she called me full of joy and said that it WAS a miracle and that God had made it possible for them to leave in two weeks and get one of the last court dates in August in Ethiopia before they closed until October.  We praised God together!

---OTHER WA. FRIENDS: Then a tag-along to that prayer was made for my friends Gill and Tyler who also live in Washington.  Thinking about Ethiopia made me think about the fun times we had when they would take us to Ethiopian food restaurants and how GOOD that food is and how I want to go again with them someday if we ever get to go back and visit or if we ever move their permanently.  Gill is one of my best friends and has always kept me in prayer and so selflessly helped with my girls as I started Lyme treatment.  She even came out for an extended visit just to help me with the girls when she knew I'd be on meds that would make me sluggish.  We send cards, letters, email and text ALL the time.  Good friends keep in touch even if there is distance between them. I prayed for God's provision in their lives and for hope and trust in the plans God has for them.  Everybody needs that prayer, don't you think?

There were more - Adrienne and her family, Ora and her waiting on test results, Julie and Matt who are expecting their first baby, the Armstrongs who are separated for 2 months because of the military, the Barber family, my friend from college Cece, my sister-in-law Melody and Spencer, Alyson, and other Lymies who need prayers right now......I could go on and on but I imagine my regular readers are quite bored by now, so I'm sorry.

I guess the point of this post is to say, when you're up in the middle of the night because your sleep meds don't work and you are in pain or misery just lying there in the dark, use the time productively.  Even though you're laying there, you can still bless others.  Start praying for people and pray for yourself and your spouse and your kids.  It's time not wasted and beats staring at a darkened ceiling focused only on the pains shooting up your legs or your racing heart or nausea.


  1. This was such a great post! Thank you for praying for me, Haj. I love you.

  2. Love your thoughts about cooking, prayer, friendships, etc. Glad to hear you are spending your sleeplessness wisely. Sounds like you're making lemonade with your lemons.

  3. You wrote this on Wednesday, August 10th. Does this mean the sleepless night happened on Tuesday night? If so, it's even more amazing. I'll have to tell you the full story someday, but in a nutshell: I was convinced (because of a strange, automated call I get from my doctor's office that evening) that I had gestational diabetes, and got myself so worked up on Tuesday night to the point that I was not sure I would be able to sleep (there was a panic attack and lots of tears). Somehow I did finally get to sleep. I called my doctor's office and found out that there was a mix-up and my test results were normal. Like a said, the whole story is better. It's just amazing to me to think that you were praying for me while I was dealing with all that uncertainty.

  4. I am so glad I could pray for you when you were having a tough night!