Friday, September 30, 2005

Car Problems

We are a few hours from home at our annual missions conference/camp meeting.  We had to pass through the area of the L.A. fires.  Mop-up operations have started since the fires are bout 25% contained.  All the residents have been able to go home again.  I brought the camera to try to get a couple of shots, but haven't had time to look at them yet.

We got off the freeway near the San Bernardino mountains to continue on our trip.  Ther was a detour and we lost our way.  I got a little (?) tense and picked on Rob.  We went the wrong way and when we hit the intersection, he couldn't stop the car.  We were way past the crosswalk when we finally stopped.  Of course, I figured it was his driving and he said it was the brakes.  We drove the next 20 - 25 miles very gingerly.  The brakes were indeed very squishy.  It was a little scary.

We got to our hotel and asked directions to a brake shop that was reputable.  They gave us direction to an area where there were several repair shops.  We went to Midas and got the brakes looked at.  The master cylinder is out.  Ka-put!  No good.  That's what we get for driving an older car - these things just wear out.  I won't tell you how much it's going to cost, but this is going to be a very expensive weekend.  We'll probably be going on a diet this month.

We can praise the Lord that we have the money in the bank, there are people here willing to take us from the hotel to camp meeting and back and they serve 3 meals at the camp meeting! 

Will try to update and get pictures in after we get back from the meeting tonight.  If not, we'll be on sometime tomorrow afternoon.  I miss my home connection.  I forgot my favorite pillow.  I miss the dog . . .the birds . . .well, I don't miss work.

Be blessed,

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Beauty from the Ashes

I wish I'd had my camera with me for the drive to and from work today.  This morning, the sky over the ocean was a pinkish-purple-gray, billowing from behind the hills to the south of us.  Los Angeles county is on fire!  The color was spectauclar but unsettling.  All the way to work I could see the shifting colors and feel the heat of the day starting early.

Yesterday, when the fires started, the temperature at my work was 102 degrees.  Even nestled where we are, we could see smoke drifting our way from the fires some 30 miles south-east of us.  The Santa Ana winds kicked up all day long.

It cooled through the night, but the fires raged on.  I got the fnatastic sky-view on the way to work.  By the time I arrived, the heat was blistering around the blacktop and buildings of the storage place.  I was sweating quickly between the time I left my car and got the front door open.  Heck of a time for fires.  It's already hot enough and the smokey covering keeps the heat in.  I had to step back out to get the cart and felt a bit of nausea as the wave of temperature hit me.  I was sluggish all day.  Thank God the Santa Anas didn't kick up again. 

We watched the TV news most of the day and saw the fires up close and personal.  Million dollar homes were threatened, but the firefighters worked tirelessly to save them.  So far only one home and some out-buildings have been lost in the 17,000 acre fires.  Many people have been evacuated and the freeways are jammed up.  Of course, L.A. freeways are always pretty terrible.

On the ride home from work, I listened to radio news.  I always wear my sunglasses because I drive home to the setting sun.  This evening, with the sun sinking in the sky, the colors were more orange-grey-red, with a HUGE red ball of sun partially obscured by clouds and smoke.  That's when I felt like hitting myself for not bringing my camera along today.  It was incredibly beautiful!  Even in a disaster, there is beauty around.

I am totally in awe that from the ashes comes such loveliness.  That's God for you. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Patrick's New Tuesday Two

Patrick's started a Tuesday meme.  Two questions, answer only one.  I chose B:

Do you feel your present age now?  In other words, do you feel that you are younger, older or right at your actual age emotionally and physically, and why?

This is the lesser of two evils.  Physically, I feel much older than my physical age of 56.  I've had a lot of illness the last year or so that has gotten me down.  Emotionally, however, I am still surprised when I pass a mirror and don't see the young girl who lives inside me.  My mind is active, playful and ready to go even if the body can't keep up.

What Book of the Bible Are You?

I got this from Charley, who got it from somebody else.  To take the quiz, go to

It's pretty complementary, but on the whole it's also pretty much like me . . ."there but for the grace of God . . ."

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Better Late than Never

Can you believe this?  I missed my journal birthday!  True I wasn't feeling well, but I've thought about it and planned and thought about what I would say when From Here to There reached her first birthday.  Yes, of course my journal is female.  Last time I looked, I was female, too.  Men don't think like us.

I wrote my first journal entry on September 16, 2004.  It was John's weekend assignment and he asked what song we played at our wedding reception.  Here's my answer.  Since then, I've added a couple more journals.  One is autobiographical and the other spiritual.  Truth is, they are all about me and my relationship with life.

Wow, Journal, you've served me well!  and this week I found out that Kelly picked my name as one of her blogs for Editor of the Week.  Cool, huh? I never get picked for anything.  I've made a lot of friends here in J-Land in the last year.  If I were to try to name them all, I'd miss one and feel terrible.  So suffice it to say that I love you all. 

I really love having this journal.  It's a release for my frustrated writing talents and for my thoughts.  I'm pretty good verbally, but have always been better at the written word.  I started typing out stories at about the age of six on my mother's old portable Smith-Corona. I am always writing something down on this computer.  I thought a 100 gig hard drive would be great and I'll bet I've used up more than half of it already.

I think it's great that AOL has set up J-Land for us to play with and share our thoughts.  I'm grateful to my son for introducing me to you.  I sure hope the second year of this journal will be as great as the first has been.

Be blessed,





I've been so self-absorbed this week I didn't realize what day it was.  As many of you know, I had surgery on Thursday to remove a lump I found above my right breast.  As far as the doctor can tell, it was a benign lump so everything is okay.  I'm relieved, to say the least.  I wasn't all that worried, but the mind still plays tricks on you when you least expect it. 

The surgery hurt more than I expected.  I figured I could be back doing everything on Friday.  Wrong!  I wanted to go back to work on Saturday, but opted for another day at home.  My co-worker wasn't too happy, but I didn't figure I'd be at my best on pain drugs.  Tomorrow I'll go back to work. 

Tomorrow is a very special day for me . . .and until just a few minutes ago, I forgot.  Just don't tell Rob I forgot.  He'll never let me live it down.  It was four years ago tomorrow that we got married.  I could relive that day in my mind a bazillion times and it wouldn't get old.  I still get that little tingly feeling in my stomach when he smiles that special smile at me.

I know, I know.  I should feel that way after only 4 years!  But let me tell you, we've been through 20 years worth of experiences in these 4 years.  And really . . .I've been married so often that you'd think butterflies would be a thing of the past for me.  You'd be wrong. 

I think when God picks the right person for you, whether it's from the start or after a few tries, the butterflies and tinglies will last forever.  Our hearts weren't slammed up against each other with that HUGE thrill like I felt when I was a teenager, rather wound together like a vine, twisting and turning and making adjustments for age and wisdom and mistakes.  That vine reaches up toward God with a kind of love that I can't explain, but God can.  He knew what he was doing when He knit us together as a family.  We'vehad to take our life experiences and weave them into the structure of our life together to make a perfect whole.  There's nothing about me he doesn't know or I wouldn't tell him.  Like Popeye, I am what I am.  Likewise, I know Rob better than anyone else alive does.  We fit together like hand and glove.

You know, I thought after being widowed a few years ago that I'd had enough love to last a lifetime.  I had a good life serving the Lord and it just couldn't get any better than that.  Never second-guess your Father in heaven!  He had more love to fill my heart and my arms.  I am so grateful that He loves me enough to send a treasured second family into my life. 

Blended, we are.  We were mixed together in God's blender and if I do say so myself, we came out mighty tasty.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Happy Heather Day


Tomorrow is my daughter Heather's birthday.  I'll leave it up to her to tell you how old she is, but suffice it to say she's not a baby anymore. 

Heather was born on a Friday night at 10:26 pm.  It was an easy labor and delivery and a tiny, pink, beautiful little girl slid from my body into this world.  I wasn't much more than a little girl myself, but I was deliriously happy.  Somehow I knew she would be a girl and my husband and I named her Heather Lynn.  Her dimples showed up right away and in the nursery at less than an hour old, my precocious little girl kicked off her blanket and rolled to her side.

I thought she was the most beautiful baby in the world.  I told my mom that I couldn't have more children because I knew I wouldn't love them as much as I loved that baby.  My mom said there was enough love in our hearts to love as many children as God wanted us to have.

Heather was a pretty normal kid for growing up in a broken, re-broken and broken again home. I'd like to say our relationship was perfect, but it wasn't.  Gotta take the blame for a lot of that. I can't change what's past, but we have a wonderful relationship today.


Heather lives in the mountains of Northern California.  It's been more than 2 years since I've been able to hug her or hold her and I miss her.  Fortunately, she has internet and a phone, so we are in almost daily contact.  She has 5 great kids.  Through all her struggles and there have been many, she has never given up on those children.  She's stronger than most women will ever hope to be.

I'm going to miss her day tomorrow because I am having surgery, but all the same I will be with her in spirit.  Below is a picture of Heather, her boyfriend Jason and 3 of her 5 kids.  If she had a journal, I'd send you all off to wish her a happy birthday. 


Monday, September 19, 2005

Monday Morning Question

Krissy asks this morning about books.  If we wrote one, what would it be about?

I have at least two in mind.  The first, of course, would be about my experiences in Mexico with the children.  I have more than 5 years worth of weekly letters to refer to and just need to coordinate it all. 

The next book will be a helper to those considering missionary work.  It's not easy and often missionaries are unprepared for what they need.

Also, I would like to publish a collection of essays and short stories.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Long-since Tagged!

Dear Laura, forgive me for not playing sooner.


I want to do before I die:

1.  Finish what I started.
2.  Hear the trumpet sound
3.  See my grandchildren and children all together in one place
4.  Celbrate 25 years of marriage to Rob
5.  Have a book pulished (and write it, too!)
6.  See the Grand Canyon
7.  Make a difference

I can do:

1. Pray with the best of them
2. Teach a child with love
3. Preach a sermon
4. Cook a great meal
5. Write a story
6. Speak, read and translate Spanish
7. Submit

I can't do:

1. Save a soul
2. Carry a tune in a basket
3. Undo the past
4. Play a musical instrument
5. Climb a tree or take a run
6. Have a baby
7. Touch my toes

Attract me to the opposite sex:

1. Relationship to God
2. Tenderness
3. Sense of Humor
4. Willingness
5. Lips and mouth shape
6. Backside (you ever glance at Joe Montana?)
7. Eyes

I often say:

1. I love you
2. I didn't make that mess!
3. I can't believe you did that?
4. Give me a break
5. This is how it goes
6. You and whose army?
7. If you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything (my personal favorite)

Celebrity crushes:

1. Howdy Doody ( this dates me)
2. Elvis (at 6)
3. Richard Chamberlain
4. Any one of the Beatles
5. Omar Sharif
6. Alan Alda
7. My grandfather - he put the star on Mar Casa and was the star of my youth

I know I was supposed to pick 7 people to do this, but I've waited solong you've all done it.  I had a little fun figuring out my answers, but tried to be truthful, at least.  Have a blessed Sunday, everyone. 

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Saturday Six

To take this weekly quiz, click here

1. When is the last time you took a vacation and went basically nowhere?  I can't even remember . . .Was it as relaxing as previous vacations where you have actually planned a trip?  Since I don't remember

2. Take this
quiz:  Which historical lunatic are you? You are Charles VI of France - looney and beloved

Jaymi:   What is your favorite book from childhood and why? The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck - I must have read it 10 times and loved the characters.

4. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #65 from Hannah:  What book character do you most identify with and why?  Catherine from the Belle Catherine series of historical novels.  She had great opportunity and great despair.

Holly:  What do you think is an appropriate gift to a party?   Depending on the party, fresh homemade bread or cookies.  I don't drink, so wouldn't offer wine. What do you consider a quality Christmas gift from an acquaintance to a party or get together, a friend, and a GREAT friend? At a get-together, I'd bring some kind of finger-food to share, a fancy cake or dessert.  For a friend, I would give a book or CD and for a great friend, something more personal, made by me or made for them.

Judi:  If you had to make a choice for the rest of your life between food and sex, which would you choose, provided the following conditions: If you chose sex, you would never feel hungry, but just wouldn't be able to enjoy a nice meal or the tastes of good food or drink; if you chose food, you would no longer have the physical intimacy and pleasure, but you still wouldn't feel deprived of it.  In other words, whichever one you choose to give up will be a series of pleasures you'll never be able to experience firsthand again.  Oh, that's a toughie - I love both!  Hey, you've seen my picture, I can live off the fat of the land - gimme SEX

Friday, September 16, 2005

I'm Really Here


This guy looks like I feel!  I just have no energy.  I have been off the computer most of the time for the last few days.  When I sign on to AOL, there are bazillions of e-mails and alerts for me to read.  I read most of them, but don't feel up to responding.  Don't really know what's up, although the lab must have a gallon of my blood, etc.  They even did an EKG.  Some of this is preparation for the surgery I am going to have next Thursday.  I'm having a lumpectomy to remove that little thing I found above my right breast.

I left work early yesterday and played hookey today.   I finally ate some food today, too.  Most food really smells yucky though.  Rob is my champion, checking to see what I need and fluffing my pillows.  Aaaawwww!  Isn't he great?  I'll try to go to work again tomorrow.

Please forgive me for not commenting in your journals.  I'm here, really I am, but even typing is too much like work.  I love to read your words and have come to care for you all so very much. 

I pray that blessings fill your days,

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Follow the Leaders

I haven't felt much like writing for a few days.  Been tummy sick or something - I've lost 16 lbs in 5 days.  I'm drinking plenty of water and eating soft stuff like hot cereal, so I guess I am surviving fairly well.  Just too tired to read your journals and make comments.  I'll "ketchup" soon, I promise.

I saw this morning that Charley at Courage had made a quiz for himself, although for some reason, I couldn't get into it.  Then I read Krissy's journal, and she said she got it from Judith, so I took her quiz and got a terrible score - 50% - sorry Krissy.  I thought I knew more about you.

So anyhow, I decided to follow the leaders and made my own quiz.  Run on over there, see how you do and then make one of your own.  It's interesting.

Here's the link:

Have a good day, my friends.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Will we forget? NO!

Four years ago today, I was in Mexico taking the children to school.  There were 7 of them in the car and as usual, they were noisy.  I had an American news station on the radio, and I heard something that frightened me.  I asked the kids to be quiet and turned up the news.  They continued their banter.  Frightened, I yelled, "SHUT UP!!" in English.  They got it.  I listened and cried. 

My country was under attack.  When I got back home, I called Rob.  Weren't married yet and he was staying with my friend until the special day.  Then I glued myself to the television.  All I got were the Spanish channels.  I watched in horror as the events unfolded.  When I went to pick up Rob for the day, I got to watch in English for a while because my friend has American cable.

There is no more powerless feeling than to watch that kind of destuction from a foreign country.  They were talking about closing the borders.

No, like millions of others, I will not forget.  I won't ever forget how much I love my country and how proud I am to be an American.

There is another disaster facing Americans now and most are showing the same kind of compassion they showed on 9-11.  There's probably more to come. We are better prepared for each one.  We learn by our mistakes and our wonderful American arrogance.  We think it won't happen to us.  When it does, we are shocked.  But we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and go forward.  That is our resiliance in the face of disaster. 

No, we won't forget.  Take time today to bless and pray for those who have been affected by 9-11 and Katrina.  They deserve our best.

Thursday, September 8, 2005

I can't believe it's already Thurday afternoon and I haven't posted a thing since Sunday!   I owe Laura the 7 things - she tagged me a couple of days ago.  I have lots to say, and haven't said a thing.

On Monday, my laptop gave out because there was something wrong with the power cord.  I can't believe how depressing that can be.  I must be waaay too addicted.  I used Rob's computer, but without my regular stuff, it just wasn't the same.  Then I decided to cook a great dinner for us for the holiday and sliced off part of my finger.  I won't go into how gory it was, but Andrea was worried I might die from the loss of blood.  Poor kid.  She's a real trooper, though and handed me all the stuff to clean and bandage the wound without puking once.  Rob just kept saying , "Oh, my poor baby!"  I wouldn't milk that one, would I?  Hee hee.  I'm off dish duty and knife duty for a few days and typing is laborious to say the least.

I worked Tuesday, but had a doctor's appointment yesterday.  I found a small lump above my right breast and the regular doctor sent me to the skin doctor who sent me to see the surgeon.  He thinks it should come out, but it's not an office procedure.  So I am waiting for insurance approval for a same day surgery.  I really don't think it's anything, but best to have it taken care of while it's small.

I'm back to work today and tomorrow and have a blessed Saturday off for the first time in forever, it seems.  I don't know how I'll treat myself.  Probably I will rest.  It's my favorite activity these days, right after the computer.  But the laptop fits right up on the bed with me.

I've had good news from a couple of friends lately that makes my spirit perk up quite a bit.  I'm always glad to hear good tidings.  Also, my sister-inlaw and niece in Louisiana have checked in and they are fine.  Praise God for that. 

Next up:  The 7 things . . . don't say I didn't warn you!

Blessings, Penny

Sunday, September 4, 2005


From Patrick's Place, here are the Sunday Seven:

Here, in alphabetical order, are The Seven Deadly Sins

Anger is manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury. It is also known as Wrath.

Envy is the desire for others' traits, status, abilities, or situation.

Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires.

Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain, ignoring the realm of the spiritual. It is also called Avarice or Covetousness.

Lust is an inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body.

Pride is excessive belief in one's own abilities, that interferes with the individual's recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. Pride is also known as Vanity.

Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work.

Rank the seven sins in the order that you most often commit them, one being the sin you're usually most guilty of, seven being the sin you're usually least guilty of.

1. Anger - Irish temper, I guess

2. Gluttony

3.  Envy

4. Pride

5. Sloth

6. Greed

7.  Lust

This was a tough list for me to make.  I spend my life as a Christian trying to avoid these things.  The tough part?  Telling myself the truth.  Yes, they are still in my life to some greater or lesser degree.  Darn.  Now you go play. 

Saturday, September 3, 2005

Patrick's Saturday Six

As usual, I got this from Patrick's Place.  I was going to answer earlier in the day, but have been incredibly busy at work for the 3rd day in a row!

1. What is the price of gas at your regular station?  Have you made any changes to holiday plans because of gas prices? Last night when I looked at our regular station, the price was $3.19 a gallon.  I never thought I'd pay it, but I am.  We weren't going anywhere for the holiday anyway, but I guess if I'd made the plans, I'd go.

2. Some people feel that the song that was #1 when they were born somehow helps shape their life.  Which song was #1 when you were born, according to this site.  Do you think it relates to your life at all?  Well, I was born before the started making the #1 charts, so I had to use the one from my 18th birthday.  Ironically its I'm a Believer by the Monkees.  Of course they aren't talking the same kind of believin', but yes, it definitely relates to my life.

3. Take this quiz:  Which child does it say you are?  Is it correct about your birth order? I giggled on this one - it says I'm the 2nd born - I'm the 4th and the baby.  Guess growing up changes things.

4. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #61 from De:  What animal do you equate your spirit with and why?  (This site may be helpful.)  Truth is, I don't equate my spirit with an animal, though I am an animal lover.  I really love dogs.  They give unconditional love.

5. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #62 from PsychfunIf you had to describe your personality as a nut (as in the eatable kind) what nut would you be and why? I guess a walnut - I'm pale, round and wrinkly :)

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #63 from Chris:   Who knows the "real" you better - - your real world friends or your Jland readers? They probably know me equally as well.  I don't shy away from telling on myself.  Currently, I communicate more with people online than in person.  I've always been a kind of "wyswyg"
person even if you couldn't physically see me.



And this was yesterday!  Can't believe that we've had two such busy and stressful days at work.  My job is the epitome of no-stress jobs.  I mean it.  Most of the time, my work is finished an hour after I get in and the rest of the day is time to read and compute.  Well, a few customers come in, but it's so laid back.

I won't go into it all.  It won't make sense to you anyway.  I came home Thursday and wanted nothing more than to have an immediate relationship with my jammies and pillow.  Last night, I came in ready for the same and Rob reminded me that it was our first cell group meeting.  I couldn't miss that.  And I'm glad I didn't.  It's amazing how a time of prayer will refresh a tired body and mind.

This morning I'm going to work again.  Today is my "Friday" this week.  I'm grateful for my job.  We can have some of the things we want because of it.  I told them I had not had a job in 18 years and they laughed and asked what I called being a missionary to children in Mexico. 

"That," I said, "was the most exhausting and rewarding pleasure of my life.  Definitely not a job, but a privilege." 

For today, I am a working mom and wife, proud American and happy to be all of those things.

Be blessed today.

Friday, September 2, 2005

What to do?

I woke up this morning and rolled over in my warm bed, pulled covers over my head and snuggled up to my husband. 

Thank you, Lord.

My dog came into my room and nuzzled my face.

Thank you, Lord.

There is food in the refrigerator, a toilet that flushes, running hot and cold water.

Thank you, Lord.

In a little while, I will get into my car and go to work.  Yesterday I had enough money to pay $3.09 a gallon for gas.

Thank you, Lord.

Will I ever forget again how grateful I am to have what I need and many things I want?  I wish I could say "No"  but I am so very human.

This morning, I watched as a young reporter cried with relief to know that a couple he had been trapped with in New Orleans got out safely.  It brought tears to my eyes as well.  We'll never be the same again.  Are we up to the challenge to make our world a bit better?  How will we respond to the need? 

I'm going to get on my knees and thank God again and again.  I will plead for mercy for those affected and pray to remember how I feel this day when I am going to complain yet one more time about life's small injustices.

What will you do?