Monday, December 25, 2006

Shy & Steve's Year 2006 in Review

Beautiful sunset, driving home one day

We say this every year, but "This year went by so fast!" The Lord has been so faithful and so good to us. It certainly has been one best and challenging years so far. Best because June 25, 2006 we were MARRIED!! Challenging and awful because March 3, 2006 our brother Lance Andrew Salagubang Luna past away.

"They Shall Be One"
This was somewhat the theme of our wedding!! Yay we're married! I can't say enough that it truly was the best wedding I've ever been to (Ok I'm biased, but others did tell us that!). The Lord was just in everything. Our family and friends really pulled together to make Steve & me so happy. The day went by at a good pace, it didn't just fly by. And we both soaked in every moment. It may have been hot & humid, but I didn't care - I was about to marry the love of my life, my best friend, my protector, and my everything.
The hardest part of that day was knowing that Andrew wasn't there with us. His presence was strongly missed especially as we had a moment of silience, as I put the red rose, and as my parents lit the candle in his memory. I know many people were touched. Andrew deserved to be remembered in that way. Another hard part was knowing that we would be leaving our parents' homes. I know that they loved us so much and we did also - they were the precious people that brought us into this world and sacrificed unselfishly for us. I'm sure there were mixed feelings for all of us. But Mom & Dad, we LOVE you and are so thankful for you.
Walking down that aisle was amazing. A few more moments and I would be called Mrs. Lauren-Shylene Toscano!!! Then Steve started to cry, Shy started to cry - oh it was a big mess! heehee but the day was for us. There was so much emotion - we had gone through so many trials and blessings in our relationship. I remember holding his hands and looking into his eyes during the service and thinking, "This is it! I'm finally marrying the man I love!"
The homily was perfect from Pastor Isaac and the vows were WOW! Such deep and loving words were shared that made EvEryOnE cry! So we blend the sand, have the prayer, exchange the roses, yadayadayada and the KISS! and then we were pronounced, "Pastor (preacher of righteousness! heehee) and Mrs. Steve & Shylene Toscano!!" Yay! Thank you again to all of you who attended, who supported us, who prayed for our relationship, and who encouraged us each step of the way.

Married life has been such a great blessing. (no little stevens or little shylenes on the way yet, but
YeS we do wish to have children sometime in the future). We thank the Lord for guiding our relationship and allowing us to work together as a team, have open communication, and strenthen & support each other.

25 December 2006 = Six Month Wedding Anniversary!!!

For those in current & future relationships please consider this quote:
"Let those who are contemplating marriage weigh every sentiment and watch every development of chracter in the one with whom they think to unite their life destiny. Let every step toward a marriage allieance be characerized by modesty, simplicty, sincerity, and an earnest purpose to please and honor God. Marriage affects the afterlife both in this world and in the world to come. A sincere Christian will amke no plans that God cannot approve.
The Ministry of Healing 359

"The warmth of true friendship and the love that binds the hearts
of husband and wife are a foretaste of heaven.

God has ordained that there should be perfect love and perfect harmony
between those who enter into the marriage relation.

Let bride and bridegroom in the presence of the heavenly universe
pledge themselves to love on another as God has ordained they should.--
In Heavenly Places 202

Us on the 2nd biggest yacht in Marina Del Ray (Essence's parents)

Misters at Victoria Gardens

This year the text in 1 Corinthians 10:13 (especially starting in March) really stuck out to Shy- "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (KJV)
I remember asking Steve, Gomez, & my friends (the night we found out) that is 1 Corinthians 10:13 the reason why my dear & only brother had to die. I learned that it is NEVER God's will for His children to die or even suffer and grieve. God's will is for us to live and for us to be saved. God allowed this tragedy to happen, but it wasn't His will. I still have my moments of reminiscing about Andrew. It hurts so much. I know it pains my parents' hearts as well. There are times that I sob - and my husband is there to comfort me. (I'm so lucky to have such a loving and supportive husband!!)
Andrew's 1 year is coming up. It'll be on Sabbath. We want to have a church service and invite Andrew's friends. We keep praying for them - praying that their souls may be won for Christ - that they may live a life of service and love for our Lord. Oh how I long to see Andrew again! - to see him smile & laugh, to make that noise that just bugs some people, to see him become a dentist to "make people smile," to see our family together, to see him be an uncle. I know that the Lord did everything He could to save my brother's soul. My parents, Steve, and I have the hope and confidence that we will soon (and very soon) be reunited with Andrew.

MIP mission trip
We also have a newsletter that we'll post very soon.

Making our first home together homey

Love having our parents visit:
Our lovely parents have visted/slept over a few times since moving into the condo. We miss them terribly and wish we can see them more often - so it's a nice treat to drive out there or have them come over. It's nice that during these holidays we can spend quality time with them. Love you dear parents of ours! Oh and through Shy's parents we got to eat mangosteen here in the US! - but they were frozen... Steve says that it's about 50% of the taste, but at least now Shy's actually tried it. We're hoping we can it though in the Philippines where everyone says it tastes so heavenly! =)

Friends coming over: We've enjoyed having our family and friends come and visit us - either for ministry meetings, prayer, Bible studies, or just to hang out. Of course we always feed everyone!!

Ecuadorian food:
Steve had made really good food that his dad used to make when Steve was growing up. This is the first time he's tried it since becoming vegan. We made potato pancakes (mashed potatoes filled with vegan mozarella cheese, then fried), lentils (with blended up yummy veges as the sauce), papas con salsa (potato chunks with a savory peanut sauce. Sorry no pics for now, but it was so yummy!

Desserts! - Shy started making vegan cheesecake again. It's been awhile since I've made it, but it's been a blessing sharing it with others and giving out the recipe. So many people say it's even better than real cheesecake! I think it's quite yummy! Many of our family/friends say they don't know what to eat when they become vegetarian/vegan - we like to cook/bake for them allowing them to taste & see the good foods they can eat/make.
Steve & Shy also became apple pie connoisseurs (somewhat) - around October we were trying any vegan apple pie we saw. Our friend Chad even made us his own apple pie. May we suggest that apple pie is best warm and with a scoop of vanilla soy ice cream. Our favorite apple pie is found in Sam's Club. We tried it first in March, but we can't buy it since we're not members there, only Costco (although) there's is yummy also!.
Vegan Cheesecake Recipe
“Cheese” cake
1 ½ whole containers of Tofutti “Better Than Cream Cheese”
(low on fat compared to regular cream cheese)
⅓ c. – evaporated cane juice sugar
Egg Replacer – equivalent of 2 eggs (follow directions on box)
1 ½ tsp – lemon juice
½ tsp – pure vanilla extract (non alcohol)

Graham cracker crust
1 ¼ c. graham cracker crumbs
⅓ c. margarine = melted
(Earth Balance is non-hydrogenated and does not contain whey or casein which are milk proteins)

Preheat oven to 350ºF
Mix all crust ingredients and form into the bottom of an 8 inch pie pan
Bake for 2 minutes and let cool
Mix all “cheese” cake ingredients and pour into crust
Reduce heat to 275ºF
Bake for 20-25 minutes
Fruit topping
Any variety of fruits (strawberries, kiwis, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, etc…)
- blend a few strawberries and pour over "cheese" cake
- top with favorite fruits
- sprinkle some evaporated cane juice sugar (as desired)

The ingredients can be bought at Trader Joes (i.e. tofutti cream cheese, evaporated cane juice sugar, vanilla extract (non alcohol) and Clarks or Loma Linda Market (i.e. graham crackers, egg replacer, fruits, Earth balance – non hydrogenated margarine)


Guitar & piano: We invested in a new guitar & piano (although we are using Andrew's Taylor also). We want to practice these instruments especially in preparation for future little Stevens & little Shylenes!

Songs Shy can play: Colossians 3, James 1, Revelation 21, the beginning of "My First Vision", and 1 Chronicles 29 like really sssloooowwww. Songs Steve can play: a lot more than shy!! Is perfecting 1 Chronicles 29)Fontana SDA: Steve is currently the associate Pastor at our new home church. It's a blessed small church in Fontana, CA. Right now we'll be having prayer meetings on Wednesdays, we have a Bible study every Friday night at 7:15 pm. We're currently presenting Bible characters and for the last month we've been going over the lives of the disciples. Shy presented Andrew and Steve presented Thomas and Judas Iscariot. What's amazing about oging over Bible characters is that we apply who they were to us living today. Many times Bible studies goes over events in the Bible, but it is amazing to study the characters. We'll be finishing off the year with Peter on Dec 29 during our all-night prayer meeting.
This past year at Fontana SDA we also had 2 revival efforts in April and this past Oct-Nov. This last one was entitled: "Contending for the Faith" where Pastor Williams and Steve presented the Investigative Judgment and the Spirit of Prophecy.
Along with Bible studies during Sabbath we have godly "movie" nights on Saturday evenings. Our latest series was Hells Bells - uncovering the history of music and its dangers. We have a great church at FSDA and many visitors each week. Please continue to pray our church.
Networking with different youth, young adult, proffessionals - different churches/ministries.
Bible Studies: Shy's been studying with Sheryl Tuazon since this past September. The studies have been a blessing. We've gone over the Sabbath, Spirit of Prophecy, and baptism. And praise be to God we got to witness Sheryl & Will get baptized on Dec. 2, 2006. What a wonderful day that was!
Steve currently is studying with a group every Sabbath afternoon on the subject of music. Come and see if you too are interested. The group definitely shows a strong interest on what the Bible and SOP have to say concerning music and worship. Topics that are covered: Is music moral or amoral? What role does music have in our worship? What are the principles of music and how do we apply them today? Anything you think of and we're probably covering it!
NICU: Shy is still working the the cute, tiny, and sometimes very sick babies at LLUMC. It's been hard, but a growing experience. My co-workers are all very helpful. My patient lists range from queit lists, to fussy babies, to critical babies - the SCs have been assigning me to some challenging lists that allow me to grow as a nurse and improve my skills and critical thinking. Such diagnoses I have worked with are: PPHN, Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, gastroschesis, Coarctation, TGA, 24-27 weekers, etc. I ask for your prayers that I can represent our Heavenly Father even at work, to my co-workers and my patients' families.
Steve @ School: While working at Fontana SDA church Steve is continuing his M.A. in Teaching and M.A. in Religion. He'll be done with the M.A. in Teaching June 2007, the Religion one will be June 2008. He's worked very hard juggling church, school, and married life. There were many papers & projects and lots of driving between his 3 student teaching/observation experiences. Shy was able to sit in a teaching class and one religion class. The religiong class was quite interesting as it discussed God and His relationship with the world. The teacher promoted open theism - where the future is open-ended (and not predetermined) and is decided upon the decisions of man with God working with them - but God does not know the future or the decisions that will be made. The Bible however, (as well as the traditional teaching of SDA's) does teach of a God that does know the future - the countless prophecies are proof of that. God does work with the human race AND gives them free choice AND He does know the future. AMEN!

Proverbs & Psalms

Books reading:
They Were There by Herbert Douglas
Acts of the Apostles by Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets by EGW

My First Vision
I want to go to Heaven and pick a never fading flower,
From the moutain overlooking the temple of my God.
I want to go to Heaven, where all is light and glory.
Oh I long to be with Jesus, O I long to be with God.
Sometimes I think I can stay here no longer.
I feel very lonely here, for I've seen a better land.
Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
Then would I fly away, and be at rest.
I want to go to Heaven, I want to hear the voice of Jesus.
'You have washed your robes in my blood, stood stiffly for my truth.'
And when I get to Heaven, I'll cast my crown at Jesus' feet.
I want to praise His name forever, He has done so much for me.
Sometimes I think I can stay here no longer.
I feel very lonely here, for I've seen a better land.
Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
Then would I fly away, and be at rest.