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On October 10, my brother went to the hospital suffering from severe pain in his abdomen.  The medical staff diagnosed him with Severe Acute Pancreatitis.  Early Sabbath morning, my mom called me with the news that my brother was critically ill.

Thanks to the help of a close friend, I was able to book a flight home using his personal air miles.  Timing was crucial.  When I arrived at the ICU where my brother was being cared for, I was greeted by a doctor who informed me immediately that my brother was critically ill and that according to medical tests used to measure his condition, Juan faced a 100% chance of death.

Immediately, I was able to visit with my brother, speak to him about his walk with God, and hear what was on his heart.  Other members of our immediate family also spoke with him.  These moments have come to be some of our most cherished memories with him — moments that we will treasure for the rest of our lives.  Moments that will surely carry us through difficult times ahead.

The doctors of the Riverside County Regional Medical Center cared for my brother with diligent humanitarian care.  Dr. Benjamin Tabibian was his first attending physician and aggressively took steps to keep my brother alive.  My brother took small steps forward, but the journey ahead of him was very long.  And many times, forward progress was offset by challenging declines.

Although surgery was determined to be the last resort, the time came for Juan to undergo surgery in order to keep him alive.  His internal body pressure had become dangerously high.  At this point in Juan’s condition, it was uncertain that he would survive the procedure.  But he did.  With the pressure released from his abdomen, his lungs began to slowly work on their own.

Thanks to the thoughtful care of Dr. Walter Klein, a pulmonary specialist, Juan began to make slow, but steady progress.

The doctors were not the only ones providing the best kind of care for my brother.  Many nurses attended Juan, giving him dialysis, graciously caring for him, and cheering him on.

Every day that Juan lived during his severe illness was itself a miracle.

The time came when Juan’s progress was steady and sure.  Although a long road was expected for Juan’s recovery, he seemed to be coming out of the most critical stages of his illness.  His kidneys began to work, his blood pressure held its own, and he was beginning to respond after months of sedation.

However, in the last moments of last week, he took a turn for the worse.  Perhaps, due to an infection, Juan’s Pancreatitis returned and within a few days, ended my brother’s life.

On December 14, 2014 at 12:18 local time, my brother ended his battle with this vicious illness.

My brother did not lose the battle.  The Bible gives the assurance that death is a defeated foe.  If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even those whom also sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him (I Thessalonians 4:14).

My brother’s life ended with a fight to the very end.  Dr. Aaron DePew and others did everything humanly possible to keep him alive and together with Juan wrestled with all of their might towards this end.  But Juan’s body needed rest.  Rest from the struggles, pain, and sin in this life.  Rest from sickness and disease.  And although Juan’s life has come to an end, in the eyes of God, he is only asleep.  “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them…and thus we shall always be with the Lord” (I Thessalonians 4:18).

We are assured of the blessed hope and soon return of Jesus Christ when “death is swallowed up in victory” and God’s children will declare with Him: “O Death, where is your sting?  O Death, where is your victory?” (I Corinthians 15:54-55).  The promise of God is certain and true: “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

In the meantime, we hold on to the words of Jesus Christ when He overheard the sorrowful news of the death of a young woman.  To the remaining father and to Juan’s loved ones the words of comfort and hope are: “Don’t be afraid, only believe” (Mark 5:36).  Don’t be afraid because even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death we can fear no evil — for He is with us.

God never promised a life without death and sorrow.  Instead he promised freedom from the fear that makes these experiences too hard to bear.  He promises that the valley of death is a valley that we pass through, not dwell in.  And he promises that He will be with us.

So I take comfort in the thought that God is with us.  The Emmanuel remembered during the Christmas season is the same God with us in times of death and loss.

I have lost my only brother.  But God gave His only Son.  The love of God is incredible!

My brother’s life was one of constant giving.  He was intuitively attuned to other people’s suffering because he deeply understood pain.  For 34 years of my life, I was a beneficiary of his constant selflessness.  And I am forever grateful for him.  He is my hero.

My brother has taught me that:
A life is never lost when it has been lived for others.

I will see him again.



I don’t do as much as I should for Judy.  She never misses an important day, anniversary, special moment.  She plans ahead with incredible detail for weeks and months in advance when people are coming over or when we are hosting a special event. 

When it comes to family, she’s even more meticulous in her preparation.

I knew that when our tenth-year anniversary rolled around, I wanted to do something special.  It had to be more meaningful than spending a lot of money to show how much I appreciate her and all that she’s done for our relationship.

At first, the plan I had was to take a trip to Tahiti–where we had our honeymoon and fell in love all over again.  I saved up years of air miles to ensure free tickets.  However, in the fall of last year, we were surprised to find out that another baby boy was joining the Ramos Family!  Unfortunately, to our dismay, we lost him.

We were devastated and this proved to be one of the most difficult journeys we’ve traveled together.  But God is faithful.

Already committed to staying in the US during our anniversary, I had to plan something different for the girl who has been the biggest blessing in my life.  Since we’d been married for 10 years, I decided on preparing 10 meaningful moments together.  Here are a few of them (the rest are none of your business):

Torino was voted as the 2014 Detroit restaurant of the year by the Detroit Free Press.  Calling them ahead of time, they agreed to prepare a nine-course vegetarian meal for me and my special date while Auntie Kimmy took care of the boys for the evening.

I think that Judy gets prettier with each passing year

The meal included a non-alcoholic beverage service.  The whole experience was great and the food bordered between delicious and sometimes, incredible.

The staff made the night extra special by providing a menu for us that wished us a happy anniversary.  Their customer service was very good!

After enjoying a great meal, we drove to Judy’s old stomping grounds — the home where she grew up.  We drove through her neighborhood and checked out places where she played and made a lot of childhood memories.

I arranged a special bouquet of flowers for her — the three lilies symbolizing Manu, Micah, and Ty. Lilies are biblical flowers and I think they are the most beautiful flowers ever.

The next day was the day of our actual anniversary — 7/11.  Since we’ve been married for 10 years, I thought it’d be great to renew our vows.  What better place to recommit our lives to each other than Grace Orchard — our home.

In our backyard, we have a lovely little gazebo that I thought was perfect for this kind of event.  So the boys and I planned out a service together.  Manu was my best man and Micah and Ty walked their mom down the aisle.

Renewing our vows

For the ceremony, the boys got new dress gear from Gap.

They were able to serve as witnesses to their parents’ commitment to each other.  Following the wedding ceremony, we all participated in a wedding reception.  The highlights of our reception included a wedding cake from Meijer, fruit-by-the-foot favors from Judy, chocolate, and old pictures and items from our wedding ten years back.

We looked at old pictures and letters and told the boys stories of way back.  Their constant giggles were a strong indication of how much they enjoyed listening to them.

They came prepared to be guests of honor, bringing loads of gifts.  Each gift was more valuable.  First they gave us an envelop full of pennies.  By the end, they gave us their treasured 2-dollar bills!

The last ten years have brought many experiences.  To have a partner that genuinely loves and accepts me for who I am even though they are thoroughly aware of my weaknesses and insufficiencies is as incredible as grace itself.  The one person who has every reason not to love  me is also my best friend — what a thought.  It reminds me of Someone else — a Person she points me to and teaches me about every day of our lives together.  Thanks, Judy!


Squash three ways: pickled, blossoms, and in a special foam sauce.
Frozen apricot salad with pea sauce frozen in liquid nitrogen.
Sou Vide Asparagus with chocolate (mole-type) sauce and butter which was turned into a powder using lecithin.
One of my favorite dishes: Sou Vide tomatoes with eggplant and english peas. Incredible.
Best tasting tofu — originally this dish was fish but they exchanged it with tofu in the veggie menu. Their best — wish they made more of this for us!
Potatoes and turnips. Forgot what the green sauce was but it was very deep and complex. Great balance.
Melon and Cucumber sorbet. Refreshing.
Modern strawberry shortcake — basically.
Housemade chocolate and caramel with sea salt.


Reading 1 Corinthians 13 for us.
At Grace Orchard. Wedding 2.0
If I don’t teach em how, who will?
They love their mamma


Mexican Theme Fiesta








A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
Proverbs 22:1

Today is historic for the Ramos Family.  Our two oldest boys started their first day of school.  Prior to this, they were homeschool students at the Ramos School for boys under the leadership of the world’s best teacher–their mom.  Homeschooling is something that Judy and I agreed on early in our relationship.  Both of us have a background and tremendous interest in education and spent many hours talking about the philosophy we would take when the time came to grow our family.  When we first began to contemplate the topic, homeschooling was not as popular or common as it seems to be today.  It took time for us to explore the pros and cons of each educational approach: homeschooling, Adventist Education, high-ranking public schools.

In the end, the value that society places on knowledge pressures many parents towards imbalance and an unscriptural approach to learning.  Homeschooling places huge demands on the teaching parent that make real education a tremendous challenge.  Additionally, in the homeschool environment, fear always lingers regarding the child’s social development and the parent’s qualifications to do a job that others are professionally trained and qualified to do.

Fortunately, in our experience, the boys had the privilege of learning from a highly intelligent and well-equipped teacher known to them as their mom.

Even in moments when Judy may have doubted herself, I was always fully convinced that the best educator in the lives of our boys was, has been, and always will be their first and best teacher–their mother.  No one in this world has captured their hearts more than she has.  No one else has thought about, wrestled with, and even obsessed over their development more than their mother.

I am eternally thankful for the investment that Judy has made in the lives of our boys.  Some call her a stay-at-home mom.  I call her an artist who works, not with clay or paint to create pots or paintings.  She’s an artist of a different kind.  She is one who shapes, works, presses, molds, and fashions life and character.  And in shaping the lives of these young boys, she has literally shaped the course of world history.  For, whatever positive impact they make–large or small–it will be because one brilliant mother who could have been anything she wanted be and done everything she wanted to do, decided to take on the world’s most difficult job.

We owe so much to our teachers.  We owe so much to our parents.  We owe everything we’ve got to the parents who make the education of their children their top priority and in their homes impart more than just knowledge, but wisdom instead.

As Manu and Micah move on to the next phase of their educational experience, I am thankful that Judy emptied herself to fully prepare them for what’s ahead.  Our prayer as parents is that God’s grace will make up where our many deficiencies have interfered with His plans in their lives.  Manu & Micah, as you meet achievement and success, my prayer is that you’ll forever remember this: wisdom — the right use of knowledge and ability is true power and more valuable than everything else combined (Prov. 22:1).

Even now, put your fingerprints all over God’s great world as your mother has placed her prints all over your lives!