Thursday, October 26, 2006

In God's Eyes

****Warning....Long Post....
Sometimes I can be a marshmallow heart, this story brought the tears to my eyes.  Hope you enjoy...


by Candace Carteen, Portland, Oregon

By the time I was ten, I was totally ashamed of my father. All my
friends called him names: Quasi-Moto, hunchback, monster, little
Frankenstein, the crooked little man with the crooked little cane.
At first it hurt when they called him those things, but soon I
found myself agreeing with them. He was ugly, and I knew it!

My father was born with something called parastremmatic dwarfism.
The disease made him stop growing when he was about thirteen and
caused his body to twist and turn into a grotesque shape. It wasn't
too bad when he was a kid. I saw pictures of him when he was about
my age. He was a little short but quite good-looking. Even when he
met my mother and married her when he was nineteen, he still looked
pretty normal. He was still short and walked with a slight limp,
but he was able to do just about anything. Mother said, "He even
used to be a great dancer."

Soon after my birth, things started getting worse. Another genetic
disorder took over, and his left foot started turning out, almost
backward. His head and neck shifted over to the right; his neck
became rigid and he had to look over his left shoulder a bit. His
right arm curled in and up, and his index finger almost touched his
elbow. His spine warped to look something like a big, old roller
coaster and it caused his torso to lie sideways instead of straight
up and down like a normal person. His walk became slow, awkward,
and deliberate. He had to almost drag his left foot as he used his
deformed right arm to balance his gait.

I hated to be seen with him. Everyone stared. They seemed to pity
me. I knew he must have done something really bad to have God hate
him that much.

By the time I was seventeen, I was blaming all my problems on my
father. I didn't have the right boyfriends because of him. I didn't
drive the right car because of him. I wasn't pretty enough because
of him. I didn't have the right jobs because of him. I wasn't happy
because of him.

Anything that was wrong with me, or my life, was because of him. If
my father had been good-looking like Jane's father, or successful
like Paul's father, or worldly like Terry's father, I would be
perfect! I knew that for sure.

The night of my senior prom came, and Father had to place one more
nail in my coffin; he had volunteered to be one of the chaperones
at the dance. My heart just sank when he told me. I stormed into my
room, slammed the door, threw myself on the bed, and cried.
"Three more weeks and I'll be out of here!" I screamed into my
pillow. "Three more weeks and I will have graduated and be moving
away to college." I sat up and took a deep breath. "God, please
make my father go away and leave me alone. He keeps sticking his
big nose in everything I do. Just make him disappear, so that I can
have a good time at the dance."

I got dressed, my date picked me up, and we went to the prom.
Father followed in his car behind us. When we arrived, Father
seemed to vanish into the pink chiffon drapes that hung everywhere
in the auditorium. I thanked God that He had heard my prayer. At
least now I could have some fun.

Midway through the dance, Father came out from behind the drapes
and decided to embarrass me again. He started dancing with my
girlfriends. One by one, he took their hand and led them to the
dance floor. He then clumsily moved them in circles as the band
played. Now I tried to vanish into the drapes.

After Jane had danced with him, she headed my way.
Oh, no! I thought. She's going to tell me he stomped on her foot or

"Grace," she called, "you have the greatest father."

My face fell. "What?"

She smiled at me and grabbed my shoulders. "Your father's just the
best. He's funny, kind, and always finds the time to be where you
need him. I wish my father was more like that."

For one of the first times in my life, I couldn't talk. Her words
confused me.

"What do you mean?" I asked her.

Jane looked at me really strangely. "What do you mean, what do I
mean? Your father's wonderful. I remember when we were kids, and
I'd sleep over at your house. He'd always come into your room, sit
down in the chair between the twin beds, and read us a book. I'm
not sure my father can even read," she sighed, and then smiled.
"Thanks for sharing him."

Then, Jane ran off to dance with her boyfriend.

I stood there in silence.

A few minutes later, Paul came to stand beside me.

"He's sure having a lot of fun."

"What? Who? Who is having a lot of fun?" I asked.

"Your father. He's having a ball."

"Yeah. I guess." I didn't know what else to say.

"You know, he's always been there," Paul said. "I remember when you
and I were on the mixed-doubles soccer team. He tried out as the
coach, but he couldn't run up and down the field, remember? So they
picked Jackie's father instead. That didn't stop him. He showed up
for every game and did whatever needed to be done. He was the
team's biggest fan. I think he's the reason we won so many games.
Without him, it just would have been Jackie's father running up and
down the field yelling at us. Your father made it fun. I wish my
father had been able to show up to at least one of our games. He
was always too busy."

Paul's girlfriend came out of the restroom, and he went to her
side, leaving me once again speechless.

My boyfriend came back with two glasses of punch and handed me one.

"Well, what do you think of my father?" I asked out of the blue.

Terry looked surprised. "I like him. I always have."

"Then why did you call him names when we were kids?"

"I don't know. Because he was different, and I was a dumb kid."

"When did you stop calling him names?" I asked, trying to search my
own memory.

Terry didn't even have to think about the answer. "The day he sat
down with me outside by the pool and held me while I cried about my
mother and father's divorce. No one else would let me talk about
it. I was hurting inside, and he could feel it. He cried with me
that day. I thought you knew."

I looked at Terry and a tear rolled down my cheek as long-forgotten
memories started cascading into my consciousness.

When I was three, my puppy got killed by another dog, and my father
was there to hold me and teach me what happens when the pets we
love die. When I was five, my father took me to my first day of
school. I was so scared. So was he. We cried and held each other
that first day. The next day he became teacher's helper. When I was
eight, I just couldn't do math. Father sat down with me night after
night, and we worked on math problems until math became easy for
me. When I was ten, my father bought me a brand-new bike. When it
was stolen, because I didn't lock it up like I was taught to do, my
father gave me jobs to do around the house so I could make enough
money to purchase another one. When I was thirteen and my first
love broke up with me, my father was there to yell at, to blame,
and to cry with. When I was fifteen and I got to be in the honor
society, my father was there to see me get the accolade. Now, when
I was seventeen, he put up with me no matter how nasty I became or
how high my hormones raged.

As I looked at my father dancing gaily with my friends, a big
toothy grin on his face, I suddenly saw him differently. The
handicaps weren't his, they were mine! I had spent a great deal of
my life hating the man who loved me. I had hated the exterior that
I saw, and I had ignored the interior that contained his God-given
heart. I suddenly felt very ashamed.

I asked Terry to take me home, too overcome with feelings to

On graduation day, at my Christian high school, my name was called,
and I stood behind the podium as the valedictorian of my class. As
I looked out over the people in the audience, my gaze rested on my
father in the front row sitting next to my mother. He sat there, in
his one and only, specially made suit, holding my mother's hand and

Overcome with emotions, my prepared speech was to become a landmark
in my life.

"Today I stand here as an honor student, able to graduate with a
4.0 average. Yes, I was in the honor society for three years and
was elected class president for the last two years. I led our
school to championship in the debate club, and yes, I even won a
full scholarship to Kenton State University so that I can continue
to study physics and someday become a college professor.

"What I'm here to tell you today, fellow graduates, is that I
didn't do it alone. God was there, and I had a whole bunch of
friends, teachers, and counselors who helped. Up until three weeks
ago, I thought they were the only ones I would be thanking this
evening. If I had thanked just them, I would have been leaving out
the most important person in my life. My father."

I looked down at my father and at the look of complete shock that
covered his face.

I stepped out from behind the podium and motioned for my father to
join me onstage. He made his way slowly, awkwardly, and
deliberately. He had to drag his left foot up the stairs as he used
his deformed right arm to balance his gait. As he stood next to me
at the podium, I took his small, crippled hand in mine and held it

"Sometimes we only see the silhouette of the people around us," I
said. "For years I was as shallow as the silhouettes I saw. For
almost my entire life, I saw my father as someone to make fun of,
someone to blame, and someone to be ashamed of. He wasn't perfect,
like the fathers my friends had.

"Well, fellow graduates, what I found out three weeks ago is that
while I was envying my friends' fathers, my friends were envying
mine. That realization hit me hard and made me look at who I was
and what I had become. I was brought up to pray to God and hold
high principles for others and myself. What I've done most of my
life is read between the lines of the Good Book so I could justify
my hatred."

Then, I turned to look my father in the face.

"Father, I owe you a big apology. I based my love for you on what I
saw and not what I felt. I forgot to look at the one part of you
that meant the most, the big, big heart God gave you. As I move out
of high school and into life, I want you to know I could not have
had a better father. You were always there for me, and no matter
how badly I hurt you, you still showed up. Thank you!"

I took off my mortar board and placed it on his head, moving the
tassel just so.

"You are the reason I am standing here today. You deserve this
honor, not me."

And as the audience applauded and cried with us, I felt God's light
shining down upon me as I embraced my father more warmly than I
ever had before, tears unashamedly falling down both our faces.

For the first time, I saw my father through God's eyes, and I felt
honored to be seen with him.

From the book:
God Allows U Turns: True Stories of Hope and Healing by Allison Bottke (Editor), Cheryll Hutchings


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Jogger's Hematuria

Sounds pretty scary doesn't it?  Wait til you hear what it is!  Hematuria, is blood in the urine. When you go to the restroom and find blood, it is enough to scare anyone to go see the doctor! Oftentimes, the blood in the urine is a result of a Urinary tract infection, or more seriously, kidney stones, and sometimes even indicative of cancer.  In a few rarer cases, it is caused by running or jogging with an empty bladder.  The walls of the empty bladder smack together and small blood vessels break inside the bladder leading to the shocking sight when using the restroom.  The answer? Drink water!  Fill your bladder so that the walls won't smack together, they will be cushioned by the water and therefore no bleeding.

As I learned about this, I thought of those who complain, or even those that quit serving God.  I have often seen the very real pain they are experiencing is due to the fact that they are empty on the inside.  They have no grace and no God to cushion the jarring experiences of life.  The walls of their empty soul smack together and they ask why?  Why does life hurt so much?  

There are others, who though they go through catastrophes, come out victorious.  Their hearts are filled with God and His grace and they are cushioned through each hardship.

Is life hurting?  

John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Harvesting Buko

Buko is the name for a young coconut. 

If you are from America, and like me, your idea of coconut is the brown fuzzy ball with the milk on the inside, but Buko is the younger version.  While in this young stage, it is harvested, and cut open to drain the Buko juice out, and to scrape slivers of the still soft coconut meat to be added to the drink.  There are many who sell the Buko juice on the sidewalks, or the whole Bukos, like this:

We are blessed to have four coconut trees outside of our church, and an owner that has made a deal with one brother that he can harvest all he wants, just give him half.  Today, was harvest time.  The brother in turn, brought 4 bukos to my house.  I pulled out the bolo, and started hacking away at a smaller one, but to my surprise, it was full of juice and we quickly poured it into a pitcher.  We then turned to the largest one thinking it will fill the rest of the pitcher, but again, to my surprise, when we opened it, it contained only a small amount of juice.  It made me think about people, how often they look so big on the outside, but they have so little on the inside, and those who appear small, have much to offer.

Like the little girl who was buying the cotton candy.  The vendor said: "Are you sure you can eat all of this, you are such a little girl?"  She replied "I'm bigger on the inside, than I am on the outside!"

May it be so in our souls.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


We went visiting today and our first stop was a lady who is a midwife.  Apung Ganingding (sp?) is a jolly lady who cackled as she told us stories while sitting on the floor of her bamboo rest house.  Her daughter has thirteen children, (Or 12 and pregnant with number 13) that sufficiently impressed us, but there was more to come.  At one of our next stops down a dirt road they told us about Daisy.  In the Philippines, they use both Tagalog numbers and Spanish numbers.  Their spelling for seventeen is "disisiyete" and the first part sounds like Daisy.  That is why they named the young girl Daisy, she was the seventeenth child of the family!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Hospital Food

I believe we were the only Americans in the hospital while our son was being born.  One of those
days, when meal time came, the tender stomach of my wife faced this:
When the nurse came in and sensed our....errr....lack of appetite, she told the cooks we were supposed to get American food, and so the chicken began...Then one morning for breakfast, a hamburger was delivered, my wife isn't always fond of certain burgers, but it sure was good that day, even for breakfast!

Hospital of many idols....

Altar full of idols...Black Nazarene, Mary, Santo Nino...etc.

I don't know who this is, evil looking fella, I call him evilman.

Of course the statue of Jesus

Big belly Buddha

Dee Hwa Liong is the name of the hospital William was born.  Anthony Dee, from what I 
understand, was the one who immigrated to the Philippines from China and became rich here.  
He was kidnapped and held for ransom years ago and then killed.  We had the privilege to meet
his grandson, Timmy, and he shared that his father was a Catholic-Buddhist.  Perhaps this 
explains why there are so many idols in the hospital. 

Couple more Will pics

Me and my son....
Caught him smiling!
Doing his favorite thing.

The Rest of the Story

Ok, now that my wife and son are both home, happy and healthy, I can share some of
 the other things that happened during our hospital stay.  I purposed not to until all was well because I didn't want to worry anyone unduly. The hospital was great for Filipino standards.  It is a private hospital, and the Doctors and nurses seemed professional and capable.  The building itself, well that is a little different.  It is a half finished complex, replete with concrete pillars having rebar jutting from them.  The rooms were spacious and had a steel door that one visitor said reminded him of a prison cell. Perhaps there is a locking mechanism to keep you from escaping til you pay your bill!

Now that I have lived in the tropics, I am not as squeamish with the constant presence of bugs, and since we couldn't do too much about it, we shared the room with lots of ants, though they didn't offer to pay their part!  The ICU, also had bugs, and though it is to be a place of life, I confess to murdering the crawling critters.  

The machines they had seemed to be relatively new and  worked great, though when I read the directions written on the side of one machine, and noticed the grammatical errors, I could only hope their technical skills in building the machine, were better than their English skills in writing the directions.

I am extremely happy to announce they have excellent generators!  This I know, because in the midst of my son's ICU stay, there was a Typhoon!!!  The power was knocked out, but almost immediately the generators kicked in!  Hurray!  Kinda scary as the water was blowing in through the windows onto the ICU floor and towels were posted as guards against the incoming flood.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

They Changed Our Names!!!

The Filipino law states that a child born here can be given a first name, but the child's middle name will be the mother's maiden name. Since we had already picked William Drew as the first and middle name, and since our son was not going to be given Filipino citizenship, I balked when they told me this. The kind lady at the records dept. offered to let me go to the government office and plead my case, I did, and lost. I called the embassy and they explained that though he would become William Drew Greathouse Devonshire (William Drew being a two part first name) when they made the American birth certificate they would drop the Greathouse. So, when I returned to the hospital, I agreed to go along with this. When they called me to sign the birth certificate, I was shocked to find out that they had changed all of our names! I was now David Charles Yanssens Devonshire and my wife was now Christine Penelope Bryant Greathouse. I explained that though that was the custom and law here, that in America it wasn't and those are not our names. She didn't seem to understand my complaint, and after a fruitless discussion, I let it go. Hmmm...I came here to hopefully help change some lives, and got my name changed! Maybe I should have wrestled with the records dept. lady til the breaking of the day and gotten a better name....Gen 32:24-28

My Friend Roger

I met Roger while I was standing in line at an ATM machine.  He rode up on a bicycle and I 
commentted that it was a nice bike.  We talked and I discovered he is from Washington D.C.
and has been in the Philippines for 7 years.  He is used to, and sometimes frustrated with,
the normal operating procedures here in the Philippines.  We went to visit him at his house,
and while we were waiting he drove up on his motorcycle.  He explained, "Yea,  I was driving
around  and the police pulled me over for not wearing my  helmet, I had to buy them soft drinks." He said it in a resigned way, that is just how it is.  The police have to get their softdrinks somehow!
The corruption and graft is rampant, and in this case, humorous.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Guess or Guest?

We have a friend who is in charge of the guards here in our subdivision.  He has been attending 
church with us and so one morning when we saw him we pulled over and began to talk.  He 
shared how that often they don't receive their whole salary, the office may be a month behind
paying them.  We started to ask about the dues and fees which we pay and asked why they have
not paid them since we sure pay the office our monthly fees and even the fees for the sticker that
is posted on your windshield to let you in the gate.  He shared that there are many people who buy
counterfeit stickers.  The real ones may cost 300 or 400 pesos but they can buy a counterfeit 
one for about 50 pesos.  I asked how he was able to tell if it was a counterfeit.  He said there were
many who had bought guest stickers but they were all spelled "Guess" He would tell them, this
is not a guest sticker, this is a pair of jeans!

Will Pics

Well the first  bath took place with mom worrying about the water being too hot and dad about it being too cold, and I, well I was just worried!
Here  I am finally tubeless!  My little smile can show!

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Tomorrow (Tuesday) should be the big day! Lord willing, William will come home. Yesterday they took out the feeding tube and he is no longer connected to any machines or tubes, eats like a normal baby, with a bottle, and is in the bassinet. They say he likes to be carried around, but a white baby is a novelty to them, only the second one they have dealt with, and I think they like to carry him. I heard one say "Cute na Cute!" (Doubling the word means VERY to them, and I have to agree!)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Brutal Reality

Hospitals in the Philippines operate a little differently than in the United States.  When you
are admitted, you must place a large deposit to show that you can cover the costs.  If there is
medicine to buy that the hospital doesn't have (sent in from another hospital or similar) you must pay for it then.  Then when you are ready to leave, you have to pay in full, there is no billing in the future, you can not use a credit or debit card or write a check, it must be in cash!! They will give you a receipt to show the nurses and then to the guard at the door. (Up til this time I thought the guard was there to keep us safe, but now I realize he was there to keep us from leaving without paying our bill!) and then you may leave.

What if you don't have the money???

There is a baby that has been in the hospital several months now.  It is a healthy baby. It was
born premature, but when they brought the baby in, they were able to help it recover to full
health.  The only problem was, they didn't have the money to pay the bill.  The baby doesn't
leave the hospital, until his bill is paid for!  The sad thing is the mother has never visited her
baby, and the father only visits when the nurses call.  The nurses are the ones donating the food
and the diapers for the baby.

It is difficult for us to come up with a larger than expected bill, but I thank God that I have
access to avenues to get the money, I can only imagine what it is like to not be able to get
your baby out, and I can only imagine what it is like to be the baby whose mother doesn't
seem to care for it.

I thank God I have a heavenly Father that cares...

More about Will

I know I have delayed in updating you about our son.  The situation was slow in changing, and is 
still.  Today they removed the oxygen hood and are using only a funnel that directs oxygen to 
his face and at a lower rate, all in preparing him to be able to breathe room air.  He is a little 
yellow and so is back under the lights to get more of a tan.... The heartbreaking news we got
today is that we won't be able to take him home this weekend.  Maybe next week.  This is 
difficult for us.  We want him to be healthy and be able to take him home and we want to be able
to hold him.  I hope that none of you are praying that God gives me patience. (The bible says that
"Tribulation worketh patience" Rom 5.3)

He is moving quite a bit and has a good sucking reflex which he hasn't yet been able to put to use.
They feed him through a tube that places the milk directly into his belly.

The doctor reminded me the other day, that he wasn't even supposed to be born til the 9th 
through the 16th of October.   Yes that is true, but it still doesn't make it any easier to watch
your boy laying inside an incubator and then to have to drive home without him. 

What must it have been like to send your son into the world knowing he would suffer an
awful death and to go to hell to pay for the sins of a guilty world...

Thank you God and Thank you Jesus.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Update

The good news is Sis. Devonshire is out of the hospital and was able to attend the services this weekend. The presence of the Lord was precious to us and we are thankful for His grace. William is moving quite a bit, crying (a good sign) but took a small step backwards, his breathing was very fast and he was having mild retractions, so they had to go back to the nasal CPAP (I think it stands for Constant Positive Air Pressure) basically oxygen/air mixture blown into his nostrils. The ups and downs of his recovery can be heart wrenching. We think we are close to him being well, but then there is a delay. God is in control and we trust Him that all will be fine. I enclose a picture of our Super Doctor working on our Super Son. This is Dr. Gregorio M. Leonardo, a neonatalogist and the one overseeing our son's care. He gave our son the Filipino name of Gregorio! He is a really nice guy. He worked in New York and Detroit before returning to the Philippines. Keep up the good work Doc!