Rebecca Duvall

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I Prayed For That?

Walking to the towerEarlier this year I wrote about exercise and my lack of it. I talked about the days I use to walk almost everyday for an hour and a half per day. While I walked I either worshiped God while listening to music or talked to Him through prayer. Soon after this post I realized I missed this time with God. Even though I spent most mornings alone with God I missed being out walking with Him. That’s when I started praying for time in my day to get back to walking like I used to.

Several months ago my oldest daughter, Ashley, started walking with a friend. They like to walk up to ‘the tower’, which is an area with many wonderful walking trails close to home. One morning Ashley’s friend was unable to go walking, so I was asked to take her place. I thought it would be nice to go walking with her since we don’t get a lot of alone time these days. I was also looking forward to the pleasant trails. I had walked up to the tower before and enjoyed the scenery.

As we were getting ready, my daughter announced she would drive. Of course I had to ask why. She said she didn’t like being the passenger. After trying to convince her that I should drive, and failing, I finally gave in and said she could. I have to say it’s a little weird having my daughter drive. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a wonderful driver. I had been driving her around for so many years its just kind of weird having her drive me around now.Steep path to the tower

We arrived at the park with all the trails, but on the opposite side from where I had walked before. Ashley said she had been walking up to the tower from there and told me to follow. So follow I did. The first part was nice. The trail was clear and the scenery was beautiful. Then, not to long after starting, the path started going up. I don’t mean slightly up either. Each stretch of the path was steeper than the previous. I was having a hard time keeping the conversation going because I was busy huffing and puffing. I had to keep stopping to catch my breath. My heart was pounding and my legs felt like noodles. What in the world had I gotten myself into? Getting back down was even harder. I’m sure I looked odd sidestepping my way down the paths.

As we were headed home, my daughter said we should walk that path every week and asked what day worked for me. She wanted me to do this again?! On purpose?! I asked her if we could walk a different path and she said “no, I like that path”. So reluctantly I agreed to walk the path again. I was looking forward to spending time with my daughter, but not to walking up the steep path again.

For a couple of weeks we walked once a week. Then before I knew it we were walking several times a week. On the mornings I wasn’t available to walk my daughter would ask me to walk later that night after dinner. I have to tell you, she doesn’t take no for an answer either. I have no idea where she gets that from. 😉

The last time we were heading back from walking, I was thanking God for the special time He had carved out for us to spend together. At that moment, God reminded me that it’s what I had prayed for. I had prayed for time in my day to get back to walking. I laughed. You see, when I prayed for the time to get out and walk again, I pictured myself walking around our neighborhood on the flat sidewalks. Not going up steep terrain having to catch my breath every few minutes.

Back then, when I walked alone with God, I needed it. It was hard for me to focus on God with the distractions of life all around me. So walking helped me listen to what God had for me. Now things are different. I now know God is with me always and I can call upon Him and/or chat with Him at any moment. I’ve found that the more I do this the easier it is to hear His voice and feel His prompting. I’m more aware of the Holy Spirit working in my life.View from the tower

So yes, I did pray to go walking again and God did answer my prayer. He answered it so beautifully. I would never have imagined I would be walking with Ashley, not only spending quality time with her, but also working out. Both things I desperately wanted and needed.

“the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” ~Romans 8:26

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the Holy Spirit which intercedes on our behalf when we don’t realized what we need to pray for. Lord, I pray for the courage to act when prompted by the Holy Spirit, Amen

 

Biblical Approach To Health

Christine AndrewI had the pleasure of meeting Christine Andrews 10 years ago at Callison Elementary School.  She was a third grade teacher and I was a parent.  I volunteered to help hand out snacks to the students each morning prior to taking their end of year state tests.  Christine helped me understand which snacks best provided the energy children needed to fuel their minds, not their bodies.  I was excited to hear she put her passion with health and scripture together in a book to help us understand the importance of taking care of our bodies.  I asked her to share how this all came about, as well as give us insight into her book.

My desire to write about health

For 25 years as an elementary school teacher I taught hundreds of 7-9 year olds how to write.  I never thought of myself as a writer and as a young student I struggled with writing.   I loved to bring out the best in students in their writing, and loved the whole process of transforming a draft into publication.  After my retirement and subsequent new profession in the holistic health care field, I get asked lots of questions.  The internet is an easy avenue for discovering new information, but it can be deceptive and the majority of people have a difficult time deciphering truth from myth through the myriad of web information.  Writing about health affords an avenue in which to answer common and unique questions backed by scientific and clinical sources while bringing the truth about health.    Writing broadens peoples’ knowledge about the importance of eating the right foods and how this can affect their health.

How did God Guide Me?

About four years into my health and nutrition practice I felt a calling to write my first book.  If began after a meeting with my nutrition mentor and some notes that he had written up for Christians and their health.  After studying these notes and through much prayer and encouragement from my nutrition mentor, I began to dig deeper into scripture and scientific articles to find out what the Bible had to say about health, disease, emotions, and natural remedies of that time.  God, the master nutritionist of all time and the creator of nature defined very clearly what  to eat and drink. The Bible has always been our source of information for everything we need including fundamental principles for how to approach health.  The more I delved into this topical study, the more excited I became to share this wealth of knowledge with others.  After reading a quote from John MacArthur, although timid and nervous, I knew God was revealing to me to pursue penning my first book.   “An uncompromising life is characterized by an unashamed boldness that calls us to an uncommon standard.  Allow God to do with your life as He pleases, that He might broaden your influence and glorify Himself.”

Synopsis of my bookFood Isn't What It Used To Be

Food Isn’t What It Used to Be: A Biblical Approach to Health by Christine Andrew.  From four thousand years ago and earlier to current times, food has taken a dramatic transformation.  The consequences of this change are taking a drastic toll on our health.  The reader will learn what God’s word reveals about food, beverages, our health, and what responsibility we have in caring for the bodies with which He has entrusted us.   Compounding the effects of poor food quality with the magnitude of onslaughts from toxins, is there any hope?  This book will indulge the reader with guidelines for healthy food and beverage selections, as well as remedies aligned with God’s word giving renewed hope.

To find out more about Christine, please check out her website at www.christineandrew-cnc.com.  Her book, Food Isn’t What It Used To Be: A Biblical Approach to Health, is available for purchase from Amazon or WestBow Press.  If you’re in Northern California and would like to stop by her office to purchase a signed copy of her book or chat with her, you can at 348 Cernon St, Suite A, Vacaville, CA.

Second Chances

By Robert Duvall

second-chance sign cloudsMost of us have had second chances. In relationships, friendships, jobs and the list goes on. I have had so many second chances that I really can’t remember them all. But I do remember all the details of the most significant second chances of my life. First was when my wife forgave me for being unfaithful in our marriage. Second was the grace, mercy and the miracle of healing that God gave me.

For most of my life I have been blessed with good health. When you’re young you really don’t think about stuff like good health. You think more about material items you have acquired, status at work and so on. Working in Emergency Services for 20+ years was really hard on my body.

It all caught up to me in July of 2008. I was working 24 hours shifts, same as Firefighters, as a Deputy Coroner. On my shifts, it seemed that I never got any real sleep and was up most of the 24 hour shift. I was also supervising a county-wide DUI grant on my days off. My wife will tell you that I was working every day, and she was right.

I had a busy 24 hour shift and when I got home at 11 am and I didn’t feel well. I should heart-with-bandaidhave gone to bed then but I was restless and had some chest pain and sweating. I blew it off and told Rebecca that I was fine. I was up the entire night and when she woke up the next morning she told me I looked awful. She called the hospital and gave them my symptoms. She was told to take me to the hospital right away. I knew she was right.  I went even though I argued with her the entire 30 minute drive. When we got into an exam room and the tests came back, I was told I had had a heart attack.

I was in the hospital less than a week and back to full duty in 30 days. About a month later I was at home reading my son a bedtime story when all of a sudden my heart start racing. I began to sweat uncontrollably and couldn’t catch my breath. I called 911 and when the Paramedics arrived and got me hooked up to the heart monitor, the medic said,”Oh SH**.” I was rushed to the  hospital, lights and sirens. My heart was going over 260 beats a minute.  I spent another couple of days in a hospital.

It was during these events that the doctors told me I had become diabetic, had extremely high blood pressure and there were signs of damage to my kidneys. Over the next 2 years I would suffer near fatal Pancreatitis, have a stroke and eventually go into complete kidney failure. I had to medically retire from a career I loved. By the end of 2011 I started dialysis and literally had to live one day at a time. I opened my heart to God and came to grips with the possibility that my life was coming to an end. God told me that he had more work for me to do on earth, not as a cop, something else.

Romas 8 28In June of 2012 I had open heart surgery. We then found out that my wife was a perfect match for a kidney transplant and in October of 2012, we both went into surgery. She gave me a kidney, saving my life. It was through the grace of God that I had all these second chances. I now serve as a Law Enforcement Chaplain for several Law Enforcement agencies and I know that God saved me so that I could serve others. God is GREAT!!!!

My Prayer for us today ~ Lord I thank you for loving us unconditionally. I pray we see the good in each day that can only come from You, Amen.

Giving the Gift of Life

This Wednesday, October 23rd, Robert and I will be celebrating our Anniversary.  Not our wedding anniversary, that was last week.  Remember?  We’ll be celebrating the 1 year anniversary of our Kidney surgeries.  I had my left Kidney removed and given to Robert.

heart beatIn 2008 Robert was told his Kidneys were failing.  He was unable to have a biopsy done to find out why because he was also having heart problems.  The doctors decided it was more important to stabilize the heart before figuring out the kidney.  They would monitor his kidneys through regular visits to see a Nephrologist (Kidney Dr) and medications.  Robert’s kidneys slowly deteriorated over the next few years.

By the end of 2011 Robert’s kidney numbers were getting bad and he was getting very sick.  A biopsy was finally done.  It was confirmed, the heart and his unexplainable high blood pressure had caused the kidneys to fail.  Before Christmas that year, Robert was put on Dialysis.

I had heard about Dialysis but never knew anyone who needed it.  I remember Robert telling me they took the blood out of the body, cleaned it with a special machine and then put it back.  Robert received Dialysis a few times while at the hospital, but I wasn’t usually there when they did it because they tried to keep the room ‘germ free’ while doing it.  I had no clue how hard it would be on his body.  After each session he would usually sleep for a full day.  Dialysis was 3 or 4 times a week for 4-5 hours each time.dialysis pic

The first time I took Robert to the Dialysis clinic was surreal.  There were a few rows of recliner like chairs for the patients.  I remember the room being very cold and the nurses/doctors wearing masks and gloves.  Each patient brought a blanket and pillow to stay warm and comfortable as possible, considering the circumstances.  Robert said the Dialysis process made him very cold on the inside.  Dialysis reminds me a lot of the Chemo my mom went through when she had Breast Cancer.

2 puzzle piecesI look back now and can’t believe how selfish I was not to be tested to see if I was a kidney match sooner.  God knew how stubborn I was going to be and how to get my attention.  Thankfully God took care of Robert while he straightened me out!

It is so amazing what doctors and surgeons can do today.  Unfortunately, they can’t do it all.  They need the help of a Kidney donor.  I was recently reading the stats about Kidney transplants on the Living Kidney Donors Network and National Kidney Registry websites.  Did you know there are currently about 80,000 people on the Kidney Donor list?  That is crazy! What’s even crazier is they typically wait 5 years for a deceased kidney donor and about 4500 of them die while waiting.

I know it sounds insane to donate a kidney to someone if you don’t have to, but you can dramatically change someone’s life.  I have to ask, wouldn’t you hope for someone to do it for you or a loved one?   I’m not telling you to go out and get tested.  I am asking you to pray about it.  Talk to your friends and family about it.  Help get the word out about being a live donor.

A donor who receives a kidney from a deceased donor extends their life about 15 years.  A donor who receives a kidney from a live donor extends their life about 25 years.  The recipient of the kidney is less likely to reject the kidney from a live donor.

Not everyone can be a donor, but everyone can help spread the word about the need for live kidney donors.  Maybe you can make a cash donation to one of the kidney organizations.  You could even contact your local Dialysis center to see how you can help them and their patients.  Please check out the websites listed below and see how you can help change a life.

My prayer for us today ~ Lord, I thank you for the special gifting you give doctors and nurses. I pray you reveal to us how we may help those physically in need, Amen

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