Sunday, October 30, 2005


            DID YOU VOTE??


                                             (didya vote for me?)

The time is almost up!  Your friends are counting on you to make the VIVI's the hottest thing this year.  I got to meet all kinds of new journals!  My alerts are now overflowing.  I love it! 

                                  I voted!

Now listen to mama and get over to the VIVI Awards Journal and do your creative duty.  That's all I have to say on the matter.

                                        (goin' out to by a red dress - writing my acceptance speech)

Saturday, October 29, 2005



This is exactly how I feel this morning, except it would be a major effort to pull my left arm over my head like that.  I'm still in pain, didn't sleep well and I'm cranky as he**. 

I had to get up and translate something that I put off all week until tomorrow because today's the day.  Andrea had to be at the church at 8 am to go out with the youth to pass out fliers inviting both kids and adult to our harvest festival.  Rob - he with the gargantuan toothache, had to take her.  There's no way I can drive like this.  Rob is no better off than I am pain-wise.  The root is exposed on his molar and he's ready to trade the pain of extraction for the pain he's having.

I painted myself into a corner and I have to go to work today no matter what.  We have been making some rent adjustments into the computer and my "trainer" told me to delete something that we had done previously because the letters had already gone out.  WRONG!  I had to put them all back in - only when I did it, I made a mistake and now I have to go fix it before the rents take effect on Monday.  It was a stupid mistake and I wish I could blame it on somebody else, but I can't.  Poor Rob is going to take me to work and then go look for a dentist to remove his tooth.  What a day!  If it's not better by afternoon, I guess I will have to let my pride go and go into the doctor.  I hate going to the doctor.  I hate complaining.  I hate hurting.  I hate fibromyalgia.  Oh, man!  I'm complaining.  I hate doing that.

I hope you all have a great day.  Thanks, Lisa for all the great tags you send.  Keeps me busy and entertains my journal when I'm so cranky.

Be blessed in the Lord today,  Penny


Friday, October 28, 2005

It's for the Birds


So you all know we have Dufus, right?  He's the terribly spoiled Sun Conure I inherited from our friend Hank when we moved into this house.  He was mine, anyway, as far as he was concerned.  He wanted to be with me every moment of the day.  He grooms me, gets up with me in the night and even tries to feed me.  I am his special person.  I love him with all my heart.  He got a little jealous when Sammy the Greyhound moved in, but he kept his place as King of the roost and Sammy steers clear of him.  On occasion, he will let Sammy come close to me to be petted.  Good birdie!

A few weeks ago, Hank found a little ring-necked dove at his shop.  It had a band on its leg and was very tame.  Hank took it home, put it in a cage and proceeded to look for its owner.  No one surfaced.  He asked a friend who has doves if he wanted it.  He thought it was a nice bird, but said it was too noisy.  This from the man who now has a Nanday Conure (can we say screech, brutha?)!  So . . . Scooter now lives with us.  His cage is on the hearth and he coos so beautifully!  I love to hear him cooo and the make a noise that sounds like "hoo-waa" when he's done cooing. Rather than noisy, I find his noises peaceful and relaxing.  Cool birdie.

It turns out that Scooter has other birdie friends.  The little sparrows or chickadees that come to steal the dog food have now begun to come inside to visit Scooter.  They eat bits of seed that he has scattered near his cage and seem to be having conversations with him while doing it.  Yesterday when we came home from our mega-shopping trip, there were two little birdies still in the house . . .we'll just call them Mortimer and George.  Cute little things, they come in and out of our house like they own the place.  Rob decided we should buy a huge bag of seed so they would have food outside too. 

NOW . . .Pam, whose husband works at Hank's shop, has a friend that has a white dove she can't keep.  Would we take it?  It already has a cage .  . . (can we say birdbrain?) I said yes.  Rob said yes.  Andrea grinned.  My hopes of ever getting a cat are totally dashed.

I'm happy.

Unfortunately, I slept wrong last night and can't move my head to the side.  There is pain in my shoulder and I can't lift my left arm up.  Thank God I have the day off.  I never would have made it at work today.  The girls are disappointed because I promised to cut their bangs and take them thrift shopping for skirts.  The hair can wait.  Rob is dropping them off with cash in hand and money to take the bus back home.  I'm sorry girls.  They will probably have a great time.

Well, before I take meds to stop the pain, let me remind you all to go vote for the VIVI's.  There's so much talent out there - they all deserve an award! 

Blessings to you all,    Penny

Wednesday, October 26, 2005



This is my "Halloween" entry.  The little guy above is about as close as I get to celebrating the day.  We just don't do it in our house.

When I was a little girl, we waited impatiently for Halloween to come.  My mom usually made my costumes for me.  We didn't have enough money to buy them at the store.  Our masks were these little black eye covers with a rubber band.  We walked for hours seeking treats from our neighbors.  There was a man who gave out ice cream bars every year.  Home baked cookies, popcorn balls and other yummy home-made stuff.  It seemed a special time for kids.

While my children were growing up, strange things began to happen around this time of year.  Not only were there more older kids out and about, but people's houses got egged or tp'd or some other stunt equally as frustrating to the receiver.  And the news started telling us to have our kids' candies x-rayed before we let them eat them.  Halloween began to be a scary time and kids were dying.  Maybe it happened when I was a kid, but I don't remember.

Some years ago, I began to hear that some churches were discouraging the celebration of Halloween.  I thought they might be getting too involved in a "harmless" children's holiday.  Still, they began to have harvest celebrations and parties for their youth instead.  Didn't seem to bother the kids all that much.  And a lot of the scary costumes disappeared from their lives. 

After I moved to Mexico, I saw some of the celebrations that come at the end of October/first of November.  They celebrate the Day of the Dead.  It kind of gave me the creeps seeing them build an alter, cut tissue paper snowflakes and put their dead relative's favorite food and drink on the altar next to his or her picture.  The theory was that the dead would come back and consume those items. I get that it is a cultural thing, but . . .yuck. 

SoI began to study these times in earnest. I searched the internet, read secular articles and Christian ones alike.  I looked at the celebrations of Halloween and Day of the Dead from my Christian viewpoint and found them more than a little off the path I was following.  In fact, there is more satanic activity this time of year than any other.  Some really creepy stuff is still happening out there.  We haven't wiped out the evil celebrations of old with our commercialism of the holiday.

I decided to leave Halloween out of my life.  We had a Christian home for children there in Mexico and we wanted to offer our best for them.  The kids were loved and well cared for and didn't miss a thing.  When they reached secondary school, we stopped keeping them home on the days that the Day of the Dead was studied.  By that age, they could understand that though we didn't agree with the custom, it was a part of their cultural heritage.  We still did not allow them to attend Halloween celebrations.

This Halloween day, Rob, Andrea and I will join members of our church at a harvest celebration.  The church is inviting neighborhood kids to join in and have fun.  We will do some translating for those who don't speak English.  I'm looking forward to it.  I'm going to wear my best smile for my costume.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Today's the Day

This is the day the voting starts for the VIVI Awards.  I spent hours and hours reading your journals.  You guys are so cool!  I don't know who will win.  I had such a hard time picking

just one journal on some categories.  There is so much talent here in J-Land!  We are blessed to have a chance to give honor to our peers. 

Truth is, I still feel like the new kid on the block although my journal is more than a year old.  I have learned so much from all of you.  You have all week to read and vote for the journals of your choice. Now, do I care if you vote for me?  Well, of course I do!  I do have an ego after all, but just being nominated is such an honor for me.  I put the logo in my me-space with pride. 

For those of you were nominated,


Be blessed today,

Monday, October 24, 2005

Once a Geek . . .


I know I'm a geek, c'mon guys, aren't some of you geeks as well?  Aren't most of your friends in here somewhere?  I got this graphic this morning and even though it's not a woman, I identify with it so much I just had to use it.  If that guy had a toothless smile, boobs and more hair, he would be me.

I spend more time than I could ever have imagined with this machine in front of me.  Before AOL-J, I was just a nerd, writing, playing games and nearly always on the 'puter.  Then I joined the fun in J-Land.  Soon I was participating in weekly assignments from several directions and making comments in journals.  From those journals, I began to chat with some of my new friends by IM and phone.  I am a real homebody, so I was thrilled to make new friends.

So here I am this morning with my laptop, the bird and my first cup of coffee.  My fmily is trained.  Mama gets to open up AOL and see what her friends are doing before she talks much.  Yes, they perpetuate my geekiness because they love me.  That's pretty cool, huh?  Dufus seems to like the 'puter as well.  He sits patiently on my shoulder while I play Pogo in the evenings. 

I've met new friends thru CarnivAOL, where people submit their fovorite postings for others to read for the first time or once again.  I sent a couple myself.  It's really cool.  I'm going to send again soon. 

And just recently, J-Land is doing VIVI awards!  People in J-Land are recognizing their own!  So many great journals have been nominated, I can't believe it.  Of course, several of my friends have gotten nominations and I feel so happy for them.  I knew who they were, but now, everyone will know how neat their journals are.  I was surprised by my own nomination and am grateful to my friends who nominated me.  Here's the rub:  I have been reading journals I've never heard of before since the nominations came out.  I can't just read one entry, I have to read several.  Some are so good that I want to put them on alerts.  Also, I feel the need to congratulate you all on your nominations.  Whew! I've been so busy I'm neglecting my friends.  Sorry friends.  I do love you all, but I have been soooo busy!  I'll be back in a few days.

Now, since it's my day off, Rob has offered to take us out to breakfast.  I can't pass that up.  I'm more than just a computer geek, really I am.  I also have to eat sometimes.

Love y'all


Sunday, October 23, 2005

Saturday with the Angels


Up early in the morning, eyes practically glued shut and my most beloved is saying, “Hurry up, honey, let's go!” I want coffee and a nap. My body doesn't agree that it's morning. My hair is sticking up all over the place and won't comb down. He sits me in front of the laptop with coffee. I stare at the 'puter, but can't figure out what to do next. I'm still sleeping, for cryin' out loud! Why, oh why did I promise to go to the air show with them? What happened to sleeping in on your day off? UGH.

I pour myself into my clothes, grab a jacket, the laptop, my purse and the camera. We lock up the house and get into old Betsy. She's a pretty comfortable one as cars go. Nice big leather seats that are adjustable, 4 doors and as old as she is, she hums a tune as she rides along. We stop to get cash to blow at the air show. Then DH decides we should stop for breakfast. Yay! I can do breakfast. They have more coffee at the restaurant. I need caffeine to function.

The sky is overcast. I wonder if the planes will even fly? Rob is so excited that I don't care if they don't fly. We're going to the show. The Blue Angels will be the hit of the day. We fount Pt. Mugu Naval Air Station without many problems. All we had to do was follow the cars to the entrance. It seems everyone in SoCal is here. Thank goodness for the handicapped placard. We can park fairly close. I wish we had a wheel chair for times like this.

I got the camera ready as we enter the airfield. We are walking on the tarmac. Everywhere you look are aircraft. The first thing we see is a C-130. Rob used to work on those. Camera clicking, I take pictures of birds and Rob and Andrea. We see and F-4 Phantom, remade into a civilian bird. Rob talks to the young man. He worked on those in Vietnam. There are fighter jets, helicopters, radar planes and way out on the tarmac are the Blue Angels. Wow! They are lined up perfectly with numbers on their tails. They deep blue with yellow trim. It's exciting to see them up this close. There is a party atmosphere on the base. Rides and expensive food and drinks are available.

We see a type of bungee jumper off to one side. For a“mere” $8 you can hook a belt around your waist and thighs and jump and spin to your heart's content. We sprung for Andrea to do it. Rob said he would pay double or more if I would do it! I don't think so! Can you imagine my big behind squished into those things? EEEEEWWWW! Don't even try to imagine. It would be gross to say the least.

We stop to see the police, highway patrol, sheriff and fire department exhibits and Andrea climbs around inside a fire truck. He smile is so beautiful. I have taken tons of pictures. She may end up being a model one day – she's so photogenic. Rob tries to con me into a picture. I let him take one. I don't like having my picture taken.

Finally, we sit on the weeds near the fence that keeps watchers off the runway. There are planes in the air. First we see a man doing acrobatics on a bi-plane. It was so cool. Even overcast skies couldn't ruin the fun. Next came a series of planes doing tricks, barrel rolls, flying upside down and suddenly: BOOM!!! There is a fireball and smoke. I must have jumped a foot in the air. It was amazing and I missed the shot. What a bummer. We enjoyed as the entertainment continued. I snapped what I could, but overcast skies made the shots very bland and gray. And then again . . . KABOOOOM!! This time it was a whole row of fireballs. I had the camera at the ready and got the shot. Next thing I see on the display - - disc error! I can't believe it. All my shots are in the nether lands. Somehow I'm going to try to rescue them when I get home. I am bummed. Andrea and I wandered off to get a disposable camera to get a few shots. I may end up scanning the stuff from the program. The silly camera was so expensive, but we were right in the middle of it all.

We managed to ease our way up to the fence just in time to hear the announcement that the crew chiefs were on their way to prepare the jets for take-off. Six vans headed across the field and backed up in formation behind the jets. There are three men assigned to each plane. So spiffy! The tops open up and there is a collective sigh as the men begin their preparations. People are coming closer to the fence. We are right up front. We can hear the huge noise of a jet about to take off. Rob says, “It's a C-130 taking off.” The Blue Angels have a C-130 they call Fat Albert that brings their supplies to the air shows. “Watch this!” Robert says. “They are going to do a short runway take-off. They have jets on the side for boosters.” Sure enough, the blue and yellow behemoth rolls down the runway and takes straight off into the air! Wow! That's all I can say. There was blue flame shooting out the side of the plane. After a bit, they come back down again and a crew member comes up through the top with an American Flag. The crowd cheers and applauds. This is wonderful!

We are still waiting for the birds to take off. It was supposed to go at 2:00 pm. The pilots are up front and ready, but it's not happening. The ceiling has dropped to 750 feet – too dangerous for these men to do specialty stunt flying. It's disappointing, but we have seen so much cool stuff that the trip here was worth it. Even getting up early was worth it. I sure hope some of my pictures turn out.

Friday, October 21, 2005

I'm a Secret!

Can you believe I got a nomination for the Vivi's???  I'm one of the ones nominated for Best-Kept Secret Journal.  Wow!  Thank you!!  Someone had enough confidence to run my name up the flag-pole.  Will someone run off and tell my son? He'll be so proud!  I'd do it, but you know it's not nice for mama to brag.

I am going to have a ball the next few days reading the journals of the nominees.  There are a lot of names I recognize, but some new to me as well.  I totally love J-Land!  This is the most "connected" I've ever felt.  There's always something to read and someone's life to discover. 

Man!  This is so cool!  Somebody out there loves me. 

                 THANK YOU!!!

One in a Million

 Can you believe I'm actually going to have the whole weekend off?  In truth, I get 3 days.  I don't know how this worked, but I'm goin' for it.  I am pooped!

Two days this week were tied up in the auction of delinquent accounts.  In one way, it's kind of fun to see what's in there and wonder how much it will sell for.  We anticipate for months what might be stored there.  We had one guy we called "Elvis".  He said he had very expensive items there he did not want to lose.  Alas, he never showed up to pay his bill and it went on the auction block Wednesday.  We were all curious to know . . . let's just say this:  one man's junk is another man's treasure. 

It's also sad to see people's personal items treated as nothing more than "stuff" to sell off.  It may not mean much to you or me, but it may be memories to them.  Usually, the purchasers give us what appears to be personal items like family photos, etc.  But one wonders about the keepsakes stored inside and the feeling of loss the owners may have when they find their things are truly gone.

We had 3 times as many people pay off their bills as lose them to auction.  I made phone calls, wrote nice little notes and attached them to letters asking for payment.  I celebrated with those who managed to get here at the last moment and pay off their debt.  Some have had it and will move their things out of storage so they won't ever get so far behind again.  Others will bank on the phone calls and reminders and pay their rent plus late fees again in several months. 

At any rate, it has been a stressful week.  Andrea went this morning for long-awaited testing to see what kind of help she needs in school.  As many of you know, we tried 3 times last year to get the testing done because we were very worried about her ability to learn. Last year we felt like they were just trying to get us to put her in school with them and looking down on us for home schooling her. This school year, I insisted on further testing so I would know how to help her.

Poor Andrea! She tries so hard, but cannot remember what we have taught her or what she has read. She is so talented in many areas that we have been expecting a lot from her. She is perfectly bi-lingual and can translate conversations while they are going on. That is a special skill that not too many people have. She also has wonderful people skills. Most everyone who meets her likes her right away. She just has this crummy memory. Anyway, the psychologist met with us and with her this morning. After meeting him, I came to work and Rob went home to wait for the call to pick her up.

We have some answers now. I feel a little sad, well, a lot sad. No one wants their child to be learning disabled. Andrea is considerably below average. I kind of expected this. We have worked so hard to make a very tiny amount of progress with her. I held out hope that it was language-associated, but it really is not. There may be a component of that, but for the most part, her premature birth and months of starvation have taken their toll on her ability to learn. The psychologist says they will do a bit more testing and come up with a plan we can all live with. She will finally get the help she needs. Hopefully that will end the terrible frustration that she has. It's not fair, really. We have such high hopes for our children and when a stranger to us comes along to tell us that she's not quite up to snuff, it hurts.

Here's the deal. I can't tell you how many times in my life I've had to look at things a different way to make sense of them, but it's worked out every time. We have to keep on praying for her and work diligently with her and she will help us have a new pair of glasses where she is concerned. We will be able to see clearly soon.

Andrea is a true blessing to our lives. She is sensitive, caring and for the most part obedient. Like all children, she can be a stinker at times, but there is no other child we would love as much. She's one in a million.

I hope you and all the blessings in your life have a wonderful weekend.  We are going to the air show tomorrow.  Pictures to follow.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

October's Artsy Essay

I've decided to try my hand again at Judith Heartsong's Artsy Essay Contest.  This time we have been asked to tell a secret or a desire or something we want you to know about us.  This is mine:

                            I MISS MY SMILE

 I miss my smile. The earliest pictures I've seen of myself always show me smiling. Chubby little cheeks, bright eyes and contagion at the corners of my mouth. Look out! It's catching! Smile!!!

You did, didn't you? I know. I smiled too. I remember my smile. It was one of my trademarks most of my life.

My grandmother paid to fill my smile with metal to make it more attractive. I brushed and flossed and did all I could to keep it beautiful. Even while I was a gangly, gawky youth, I had a winning smile. It was the thing about me that I liked best. Until my middle teens, I had no figure, unruly hair and knocked knees. I could smile. I got my way with that smile. The boys must have seen something there. I surely didn't.

As I stroll through the box of pictures of my youth, my teens, my adult life, I see many changes in me. I remember good times and tough times. The smile was always there. I smiled through tragedy, a few weddings and right into sobriety. I used that beautiful smile to get ahead in the world. From minimum wage to salaried positions and right into public relations. When my smile wavered, I went to the dentist for repairs. I was proud of that smile and wanted it to stay in place.

My great smile gave me confidence. My lips aren't perfect, kind of thin if you ask me. My eyes are on the small side, too. Something happens when I smile. My face lights up, my eyes sparkle and little crinkly lines form on my face. I think there is joy in that smile.  In fact I know it!  I feel the joy.

I still smile a lot. There's potential in my smile, but most of my teeth have gone away. Fifteen years in a third world country has taken its toll. Genetics also play a part in that. My mother lost her teeth by the time she was 21. My sisters have lost theirs as well, many years ago. I'm the only one with teeth left. Well, at least a few. I had another one removed last week. My front uppers are beginning to be reminiscent of Bucky Beaver. There are only 3 right up front now. I'm embarrassed sometimes to smile fully. I'm able, but often unwilling. I miss it. I'm a little sad. I want my smile back.

It's no secret now. I have shared my hurt with you. After the dentist removed the last tooth, I cried real tears of pain. The pain was in my heart. Again my precious smile is damaged. Costs are prohibitive. They have been for some time. Nobody loves me any less. And I know God loves me just as I am, but just thinking of the loss brings tears to my eyes.

I have just one more secret to share. It is one that brings tears of joy to my face and to my heart. This morning my boss said the company will help me pay to fix my smile. I had to run to the bathroom so I could cry. I was too embarrassed to do that in front of him. It may take a little time, but I'm going to have my smile back the way it was.

I can't wait to share it with the world.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Tuesday Two from Patrick


Describe the last time you felt as though you were being discriminated against.  Looking back at it now, do you think you really were being discriminated against?


Do you think that we are automatically prejudiced against certain people, regardless of our upbringing?  Why or why not?

Choose A or B, (indicate which question you're answering!) then either answer the question in a comment or answer it in your journal and include the link in a comment.  (To be considered "first to play," a link must be to the specific entry in which you answered the question.)

Remember: choose one or the other...not both!

Although I have answers for both questions, I have chosen A.  It seems odd that I, a WASP, would have felt predujice in my lifetime, but I have on more than one occasion.  Oddly enough, the last time was while living in Mexico.  The prejudice was not from Mexican nationals, rather from Americans who lived around me there.  I was running a home for children there and my neighbors were angry because I didn't give it up when I became widowed.  My Christianity made them nervous and they began to criticize me and the children's home.  They filed a suit in the local courts to try to force me to quit.  When Idid not quit, the comment was made, " . . .and you call yourself a Christian!" 

Yes, I really believe that I was being discriminated against in this situation.  When you choose a lifestyle unlike that of your neighbors, they are likely to be uncomfortable around you.  They spent agreat deal of time and effort to assasinate my character with the American community at large.  In the end, they were unsuccessful in their attempts, but made my life miserable for a while.

Ready to play?  Drop by Patrick's Place and answer the question!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Rainy Days and Mondays


Today is a day when this harvest-time wagon seems to be fitting.  Autmn has arrived here at last with cooler weather and rain.  I awakened about 2 am to lightening and thunder.  Lit up the whole room.  Nevertheless on my day off, I still had to go to the doctor, the social security office and the store.  Now home, I still need to do laundry.

Andrea and I were supposed to have a girls' day out, but the pouring rain has put the ka-bosh on that, so we are going to run with the back-up plqn:  watch Robots on DVD, pig out on TV snaks and take bubble baths later.  All in all, it's the kind of day I prefer.  Especially the bubble bath part.

Tomorrow and Wednesday are early days for me at work.  We are coming to auction time.  The people who didn't pay their bills for a long time will lose the things they have in storage.  It's a shame, really, because often there's a lot of personal stuff in there that no one else will care about.  We work really long days for those two days, but I am getting a 3-day weekend next week.  I'm really excited about that.

If those of you who pray will pray for my young friend Angelica, I would appreciate it.  She had a liver transplant about 18 months ago and something is wrong now.  She's losing weight and her belly is swollen again.  She's headed for UCLA Medical Center tomorrow for more testing.  She has an 11 year-old daughter and is caring for her downs syndrome sister who is 12 years old.  Thank you in advance for your prayers.

Well, I am off to watch movies with my little one.  Be blessed today my friends.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

We're making progress . . .


I thought having Sunday and Monday of was the best thing in the world.  Lately, I've been working six days a week.  It gets old in a hurry.  Monday we had a great time together.  I had a toothache, but figured it would go away like it always did before.  WRONG!  By 3 pm, I was ready to chuck it all.  Rob took me to the pharmacy to get a toothache kit and I stopped by the dental office to see about having the tooth extracted. 

I guess I spent too many years out of the country.  The dental office is one of those "clinic" type offices with a bunch of dentists and a lady who checks your credit.  In Mexico, you pay $20 for an extraction and $25 if it's a really rough extraction.  So you can imagine my shock when she told me they charge a minimum of $150 to remove a tooth!  That price was with their insurance.  I wavered about scheduling the appointment for this afternoon.  She told me I had better call for the appointment, because they would charge me $100 if I cancelled.  I held my tears until I got to the car.  I don't know if I was angry, embarrassed or humiliated.  We came home and I popped a couple of pain pills and started looking in the phone book.  I came upon a name I recognized from where I work.  I called and they gave me the approximate price and an appointment for 9 am yesterday morning.  They were so nice!  The dentist told me that it was possible to save my tooth, but I couldn't afford the root canal.  As hard as the tooth was to remove, they didn't charge me any extra.  He suggested I fill the prescription because the amount of pain with extraction is increased by the amount of pressure used to get the job done.  Boy!  Was he right.  I was nauseated most of the day.  I worked about 6 hours, then Elaine asked if I wanted to go home.  I must have been awfully gray looking.  A good night's rest and I am much better today. 

As you know, we have been hassling with the schoold district to get testing for Andrea.  We had a meeting on August 30th which seemed very successful.  They told me that they would have a plan for her within 50 days.  We waited for a little while, then began to call to find out what was going on.  We got shuffled here and there.  Today, we finally got hold of someone!  


Andrea's teacher/advisor called me at work to tell me that they had sent her paperwork to the school psychologist at a different school.  He wants to see Andrea on the 21st at 8:30 in the morning. 


Then the psychologist called me at work.  He sounds wonderful.  He apologized for not contacting me sooner.  He had just received Andrea's paperwork.  The student study team kept the paperwork for nearly thirty days before mailing it to him.  He said he would stop at nothing to see that Andrea gets the help she needs.  I felt like crying, I was so happy.  His final words to me were this:  "I believe in the saying 'Save one child and you save the world.' We'll get the help she needs."  I can hardly wait to meet this man!  I have been desperate to find help for my baby.  She's so frustrated trying to learn.  Maybe now we can find out how to help her.   Yahoo!!  We're on the move!

Be blessed tonite, my friends.



Monday, October 10, 2005

This is Autumn in My Town

We live a couple of miles from the ocean in southern California.  We are not near the popular beaches; most of them are south of here.  Ours is a quiet town with a diversity of peoples and life experiences.

Autumn in Southern California coastal areas is pretty much like winter, summer and spring.  Things change slightly.  Temperatures come down a bit, but otherwise.  There's not much seasonal change.  I don't miss all of that because I've never lived where there were real seasons.

Once, many years ago, I was in Tennessee in October and drove up to see my sister in Missouri.  It rained for the whole drive, but I didn't care.  The leaves and colors were fantastic!  We just don't get that here.  We have to go to the craft store to get such things to decorate our harvest homes.

We had a nice morning out.  Andrea got a trip to the local mission and learned about a time in our state when Franciscan Fathers travelled the state setting up missions.  They are so old and lovely and the visit reminded me of so many visits to the missions with my mom when I was young.  It's a part of California history.

I love California. I know all of the "down" sides. It's overinflated.  "Normal" people can't afford to buy a home here.  Gas is too expensive.  It's crowded.  We have earthquakes.  I know.  We have it all.  There are places here where seasons abound.  My daughter Heather lives in one of those places.  She's in the mountains way north of here.  She loves the snow and the seasons.  It works for her.  Personally I don't do well in the cold.  I like warm and sunny days.  That's the promise of Southern California for the most part.  We do get rain and cold, but it doesn't last like in other parts of the country.  Expensive or not, I love my home state.

This entry is for Krissy who asked for anything autumn.  Enjoy a peek at my state.  I know each place has beauty.  I just can't think right now of a place I would rather live. 

Be blessed today, Penny

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Until we write again . . .

I got this in my inbox this afternoon, and it made me think of all of you.  You are my extended family and you mean so much to me.

Dear God,
I'm writing to say I'm sorry
For being angry yesterday
When you seemed to ignore my prayer
And things didn't go my way

First, my car broke down
I was very late for work
But I missed that awful accident
Was that your handiwork?

I found a house I loved
But others got there first
I was angry, then relieved
When I heard the pipes had burst!

Yesterday, I found the perfect dress
But the color was too pale
Today, I found the dress in red
Would you believe, it was on sale!

I know you're watching over me
And I'm feeling truly blessed
For no matter what I pray for
You always know what's best!

I have this circle of E-mail friends,
Who mean the world to me;
Some days I "send" and "send,"
At other times, I let them be.

I am so blessed to have these friends,
With whom I've grown so close;
So this little poem I dedicate to them,
Because tome they are the "Most"!

When I see each name download,
And view the message they've sent;
I know they've thought of me that day,

And "well wishes" were their intent.

So to you, my friends, I would like to say,
Thank you for being a part;
Of all my daily contacts,
This comes right from my heart.

God bless you all is my prayer today,
I'm honored to call you "friend";
I pray the Lord will keep you safe

Until we write again...

It had the cutest graphics, but they got lost somewhere.  Be blessed, my friends. 

Good Sunday Morning

I don't know how Sunday got here so fast!  It seems like we just left camp meeting and here it is Sunday again.  Andrea has gone off  to Sunday School and we are home getting ready for church.  I miss our home church when we aren't there. 

More disasters this week.  A huge earthquake in Pakistan/India and another earthquake coming on the heels of a hurricane in San Salvadore.  Wow!  The world needs prayer now.  The Lord says in His word:

2 Chron 7:14 "If My people, who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

We can do that for the rest of the world.  We can stand in the gap for them and ask God to step in and heal the land.  In fact, we need to do that.  As we pray, the Lord hears and our intercession means a lot to him.  We pray for our friends and loved ones, but when people are far away, or worshipping in another way, we tend to forget to pray for them.  They need our prayer desperately.  We may not be able to go to them, but we can ask the Lord to place Christians in their paths.  We can pray for their safety.  We can truly seek His face.  That's what it's all about. 

I have a list of people and places I pray for every day.  It's important to me to do so.  The Lord has already heard those prayers most of the time, but He wants to hear from me.  My prayers are a sweet perfume unto Him and they never leave His presence.  When I sing, He doesn't hear my discord, He hears me praising Him.  I sing a lot.  I'm sure people watching me drive down the road singing must think I'm crazy or into rock and roll.  I'm rockin' all right!  Rockin' in the joy of the Lord.

This is the day Christians have set aside for Him.  I will rest in Him today and praise His name.

Be blessed this day,

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

My Day in Pictures

I really have a hard time climbing out of the bed in the morning.  It seems the pillows are just right, the covers more soothing than the night before and my eyes just want "five more minutes" before focusing on the day's tasks.  I'm not even sure that I'm so sleepy, just so comfortable as I drift from sleepy to wakefulness.

Rob takes my laptop to the front room and puts coffee next to it.  The bird comes to my shoulder, the dog puts his head in my lap.  I put on my glasses.  It's best if we don't talk right away.  I'm just not coherent yet. 

After I'm human, I get Andrea's school work and we take time for lesson planning and assignments for the day.  Andrea doesn't like this time.  She feels pressured to do things she's not confident of.  She will think of 50 things she has to do first.  I'm not that easy or gullible.  I take a shower in the morning.  It's good for waking up. 

This morning, I put up a pot of mixed beans.  Couldn't find a ham hock, so I used a piece of salt pork to flavor it.  I dropped a jalapeno pepper in for taste and gave Rob instructions on simmering.

Somewhere about this time, I look at the clock and panic.  Time has slipped away from me once again and I need to go.  Rob is in the driveway checking oil, etc.  Then he looks down the road and tells me when it is safe to back out and get on the road.  I took some pictures of the road I take each day. I pray and sing while I drive to work every day.  It's a time that I can talk to the Lord and intercede for friends and loved ones.  In the car, the phone never rings, the dog doesn't bark and I only need to be aware of traffic.  Since my commute is later than heavy traffic, it's a pretty easy trip.  17 miles later, I turn off the freeway into the little town of Santa Paula.

I work in a storage facility in the office.  Most of the time it's just two of us - Elaine, the manager and me.  Sometimes Jess comes and works a couple of days, giving us much-needed time off.  For the most part, I do office work and Elaine does maintenance around the yard.  Units need to be cleaned, light bulb changed, gardening attended to. She's more of the outdoors type and I'm a computer nerd.  We make a good team.  Of course, she knows everything about both the office and maintenance.  She's been here 15 years. 

On arrival, I turn on the computer and printer, run the mail through the machine, grab the deposit and go back out the door.  First stop is the post office, then off to the bank.  When I finish at the bank, if there's time before the place opens, I grab a coffee to take back with me. 

The day is nothing extraordinary.  I take payments, show and rent units, send nastygrams to delinquent accounts and make and take phone calls.  A lot of times its very quiet.  Then I can read or work on my personal stuff on the computer - even play Pogo if the mood strikes.  I keep the computer on so Andrea can IM me if she needs school help.  We close up at 6 after chasing out the last stragglers.  The dog goes out into the yard and the timer shuts the electric gate.  We pull the exterior gates closed, lock them and the day is done.  Then it's back onto the freeway for the ride home.

Rob is always standing out front or in the carport when I arrive.  He must have radar.  Usually, Dufus is on his shoulder.  I know it's silly, but I get little butterflies in my stomach when I see him standing there.  I'm so glad God put us together.  Andrea comes out to roll my 'puter bag into the house.  I usually go through the back door so the dog won't knock me down.  They let him in after I sit on the couch.

Tonight, Andrea served up the dinner I put in the pot this morning.  Fresh French bread from the bakery and those beans were delicious.  Me?  I was ready for bed when I got up this morning!  My sweetheart even made up the bed for me.  I'm ready to say my prayers and call it a night.

It's a pretty ordinary day, but it's all mine.  I wouldn't change it for all the tea in China.  Good sleep, great family, faith in God and heavenly blessings are all wrapped up in each of my ordinary days.

Be blessed tonight,




Happy Wednesday, everyone!  The Santa Ana winds have come again and the wind is blowing hard here where I work.  The door blows open, calendar leaps off the wall, blinds quiver and the door closes again.  Not to be outdone, the wind changes directions and blows over the bathroom wastebasket, slamming the door.  I have at least a pound (I never exaggerate) of grit in each eye.  YUCK!

To beat all, I woke up with a stuffy nose and scratchy throat.  I think it's allergies related to the winds.  That's my story and you're stuck with it.  I started a photo journal of my day at work today and will probably post the pictures tomorrow.

My co-worker is taking a few days vacation time, so I am the sole office worker this week.  That has its ups and downs.  It gets awfully quiet around here. Elaine and I talk together when she is here.  She's been gone a lot, but came bursting through the door today sick as a dog.  Poor gal!  What a terrible way to spend vacation.  Her stomach is giving her fits and she's so weak.  I'm praying for her.  It's about all I can do.  I offered to drive her to the doctor, but she wants to wait until morning. 

Did you guys all see the wonderful multi-pics of my granddaughter Athena?  If not, stop by John's blog and take a look.  I love them!  I need that program!  It would be so awesome to be able to manipulate my pictures like that.  And of course, you all know how beautiful my children and grandchildren are with out and changes to the pictures. 

When I look at my kids, their kids and the rest of my family, I see how truly blessed I am in this life.  We don't all agree on everything, but we love each other and are supportive of one another.  What more could you ask of life?  Material stuff?  Yes, but without my God and my family, it's all dust.  Lucky girl!  Yep, blessed.


Tuesday, October 4, 2005


I am so tired I can't see straight.  The pure joy of being in the presence of the Lord in such a manner as we were last weekend has taken its toll this week.  I'm sleeping well, but am physically drained.  Was it worth it?  YOU BET IT WAS!!  I'd do it again tomorrow.

A few updates for you.  Before heading out to Camp Meeting, I went to the doctor for a post-surgery check up.  As expected, the tumor was benign.  I felt that it was all along, but a few times my head ran away with me and I worried.  Praise God that it was just a little thing!

The repairs to our car last weekend cost half my monthly paycheck for September.  Ouch!  I'm grateful that I have a job, else we might have had to abandon the car and take a train home.  The place that worked on the car gave an estimate on Friday, telling us that repairs would take about 3 - 4 hours.  We went back Saturday afternoon and waited for about 3 hours while they fixed more stuff and replaced old lines with new.  We could see the dollar scale tipping, but we were at their mercy.  Over 24 hours after we took the car to them, the job was finally finished.  I closed my eyes and prayed as I gingerly slid my debit card out of its sleeve.  When she told me the amount, it was the same as the estimate they had given the day before.  They didn't charge for several extra hours labor or the new lines they had to put in!  Not all miracles are health-related, folks.  If you are ever in San Bernardino and need help with your car, let me know.  I know just where to send you!

I want to thank all of you for your lovely comments and e-mails recently.  They have meant a lot to me.  I never realized when I stepped into J-Land that my family would become so huge.  I have relatives all over the world now.  It will be a tough go for me to make my choices for VIVI awards.  I wish I had 100 screen names so I could nominate all of you.  I wasn't able to get on the computer at work today and I had nearly 200 e-mails when I logged on tonite.  Most of them were from my alerts.  Can't scale them down, I might miss something.  And then I read the comments in your journals and go to visit others and Oh My Goodness, I add more!  Maybe that's why I'm so exhausted.


Be blessed tonight,


The Tuesday Two

Got this from Patrick's Place this morning.  It's tough to pick which question to answer. I picked "A"


Do you think that sex before marriage is ever acceptable?


If your kids should ask your thoughts on premarital sex, would you feed the need to "fudge" your answer so they wouldn't find out that you didn't follow your own advice?

As fun as premarital sex might be, I don't think it's ever acceptable.  This has nothing to do with disease or fear of unwanted pregnancy though those things are part of it.  My Christian values step in, but even that isn't the reason. My opinion has to do with expectation and hope.

Being abstinent isn't easy.  Sex is fun.  TV, radio, billboards and nearly everything tout it as the best thing since sliced bread.  Others will say that you must try on a pair of shoes before you buy them, so why not.  Here's my why:

There will never, ever be another first time with your mate.  It's something so special and touching that the wait is worth it.  I believe you cheat yourself when you choose to give up the wedding night surprises.  Sure, the two of you will have to learn about each other and grow in that area,but you have a lifetime together to take that trip of discovery. 

Be blessed today,

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Sunday, Blessed Sunday

The pictures are from last night.  To top off Africa night, Pastor Robert and Pastor Reed asked Daniel to come up front.  On the last campaign in Uganda, they used a tent for the meetings.  It was just right until it rained.  There were so many people crammed inside that as the speaker would back up to make a point, his backside would pop out the over-crowded tent and get soaked with icy water.  Daniel began to pray for a larger tent.  As it turned out.  a woman 8,000 miles away had a tent!  She didn't know Daniel, but wanted to sell her 350-person tent.  The pastors told her about Daniel's ministry and offered to buy it for him.  She was so touched by the story that she donated the tent, the generator and chairs for the tent!  Daniel was so moved that he fell to his knees in thanks.  I don't believe there was a dry eye in the church.

Because the need for these tents for crusades is great, somehow though the grace and greatness of God, two more tents have been found.  One will go to the other ministry in Uganda and the other to the Philippines.  I can't even explain the joy that we all felt!  This was before we even had the preaching!

Pastor Jack talked to us about our preparedness to serve the Lord.  He went to the book of Esther and talked about how she prepared herself for the king.  He paralleled that preparedness with what we must do ourselves to prepare to meet our King, Jesus.  As he spoke, there was excitement in the room as we began to see that we must be prepared at all times because we never know when the King will place us in service to Him.  It was an awesome message and one I was thrilled to have been there to hear.  We ended that service by praising the Lord again in song.  The Spirit in the room was palpable and as before, no one seemed to want to leave the room.

You would think that Sunday morning service would be anti-climactic to 4 days of intense missions conference/revival.  You'd think wrong. There was much sharing of joy, a tremendous time of prayer and not 1 or 2, but 3 offerings.  the first offering was taken for our head pastors, the second for Hurricane Relief and the third was the regular tithes and offerings for the host church.  With joy in his voice, Pastor reed announced that this group had collected not $2,000 each night for the missions, but $5,000each night.  In addition to that, money was raised as well for special projects.  Before the offerings were taken this morning, these 50 people and a few of their contacts raised more than $20,000 for the ministries in the Philippines, Mexcio and Uganda in just 4 days!  The Lord continues to work miracles with this group of people.  I believe because I have seen what they can do, but I am in awe of the sacrifice they are willing to make for those in the trenches.

The music this morning was awesome!  We sang until we cried for joy.  We touched one another and prayed, then sang again.  Finally, Pastor Reed's closing message.  The theme of the meeting was "Breaking New Ground"  The talks were fantastic.  This morning, we were encouraged to do as in Ezekiel and let the four winds blow in our lives, cleansing us, convicting us, preparing us for Him and blessing us.  We closed in prayer, again reluctant to leave the presence of the Almighty and step back into our lives. 

Conviction and joy can live in the same sentence when you see that although we can be sullied by the world around us, we are still the precious children of the Father. I feel refreshed in the joy of the Lord.  I am convicted that I need to be more attentive to my relationship with Him.  I am ready again to do whatever that takes.  Without Him, I am lost.  There is true freedom in being a bond-servant to Christ. 

I could have stayed there several days more and let myself be wrapped in the love of those wonderful holy rollers.  It would have been like a preview of heaven.  But the Lord wants us to be ready in season and out and I can't be of service to him if I don't step away from the building. 

Be blessed tonight,

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Africa Day ROCKS!!!!

What a morning!!  Today is Africa Day at Camp Meeting.  Daniel and Margaret came from Kumpalla, Uganda and Patrick came from Mityana, Uganda.  At their ministries, they reach the masses who want to know the Lord.  Each ministry has an orphanage with a combined total of over 1,000 children.  In addition, they have schools, a medical clinic, a farm and a community center.  They work tirelessly to serve the Lord.

And can they MOVE! They all started singing and dancing before we had a chance to get to our seats.  And it's not this pick up your hymnal and turn to page . . . they just rock.  Ministers who had travelled to Uganda shared their experiences there and praised the work going on.  Pastor Robert told of a tiny old lady who had tumors all over and came up for prayer.  Next night, she came in to the meeting to show off her healing.  She was moving and dancing as if she'd never been sick a day in her 90 years.  Pastor decided to humor her and dance a little too, but she hooked her spindly finger in his belt loop and took him for a turn!  Soon he was yelling, "Stop the music!  I can't take it anymore!"  The other pastors in attendance just laughed till they cried.  The tears were joy for the healing and the laughter was joy as well.  Wouldn't it be grand if we could feel that joy every moment of every day?

Then Patrick and Daniel gave messages of hope from Uganda.  The preachings were so encouraging to those of us who either can't go or are no longer in the field.  We were told we could "GO" on our knees, praying for those who have stepped out in faith.  We can "GO" with our money as it reaches out to strengthen those who are in the trenches, and we can "GO" on a missions trip.  We need to support our missionaries in faith.  They are doing the work of the Lord.  Did you know that the world spends nearly $4 billion dollars a year on bubble gum?  If we could tap 1% of that money for the Lord . . .WOW!

Tonight the pastors will step up to the plate again before the preaching.  They will ask us to dig deeply into our pockets and give an offering as big as we gave Thursday for the Philippines (they bought a FARM!) and for Mexico last night.  And those same 50 people will do as well or better tonight.  Isn't that a miracle?  50 people, more or less, ordinary at that, will dig into their need tonight to raise money to help others a world away.  What would happen if everyone we knew gave a dollar a week for a year to a specific mission?  Think they might be better equipped to pay their bills?  They're paying them on faith right now.  I know.  I've been there.

I am so tired that I'm punchy, but I'm ready to go back for more.  I'm ready to rock again for Uganda and to dig into my pocket to support and to come back to the hotel too late and too tired once again.  I am filled with the joy of the Lord!  Praise His Holy Name.

I Love that "Old-Time Religion"!

We fianlly made it to Camp Meeting last evening.  Good Samaritans picked us up at our hotel (in the worst part of town!) and shuttled us to the meeting.  Each day, we celebrate a country covered by Zion Ministries.  Yesterday was Mexico Day.  we missed the morning talks by the ministers from Mexico, but were happy to arrive in time to break bread with our fellow servants and have time for prayer before the main preaching.

After the meal, we joined the group for prayer.  It was good to be with these people, so many of whom we only get to see once a year at Camp Meeting.  A travelling preacher/evangelist was leading the prayer time.  For the most part, prayer was for healing.  I thought of friends of mine who so desperately need the Lord's touch and prayed for them as well.  Out of the blue, Brother Robert called me up for prayer.  He said the Lord wanted to touch me.  As he prayed, he said he knew that I had suffered for many years and the Lord wanted to heal me so that I might be more able to serve Him and His kingdom.  I had never told this brother of my health problems.  I really don't like to talk about them that much.  I felt weak in the knees as he prayed, but I knew there was a change happening in me.  Then the brother called Rob to join him.  Rob had a hardness in his heart about something I can't share here because it's not mine to share.  When the prayer was over, the rock was gone!  Rob has totally let go of something he has held since we married.  I saw the fruit of this in his actions the rest of the evening.

Folks, let me tell you, there's nothing better than a room full of holy rollers believing for the healing, whether it be spiritual or physical.  Shouts of "Halleluja!"  "Yes, Lord!" and many more were heard as people near and far were prayed for.

The wonderful ladies got up to sing and praise the Lord.  Their songs were rich and melodious as the brought us to our feet to praise with them.  Then a wonderful man with a banjo got up to sing.  The best, however, was the poem written by a woman who can't speak well and who has been wheelchair bound for many years. She's believing the Lord for a miracle. Her husband read the poem and brought tears to our eyes.  I do believe in miracles.

After watching this group of less than 50 people collect more than $2,000 to aid the ministries in Mexico, we had a short time of worship and the preaching for the evening.  Our pastor preached about receiving a fresh annointing from the Lord each day.  He encouraged us not to live on past annointing, but to seek the Lord daily for a new and fresh annointing.  He was compelled to preach these words.  He's had another topic altogether prepared and he put it aside to tell us what the Lord wants from us.  I can't relate the annointing that was in the room - you just had to be there - but I will tell you this:  I want more!

I know that not everyone can handle old-school pentecostal revivals.  I couldn't when I was younger.  I never knew a time when I didn't love the Lord.  I went to church, read the Word, studied to know more.  I made my own decision for the Lord when I was 13.  I was happy in the Lord.  When I moved to Mexico, I was happy to go to Bible Study and a non-denominational church that I loved.  Then something happend to me.  I began to look for more.  I wanted something that I had not experienced yet.  Some years ago, I found this group of men and women.  My friend said it might seem a bit radical and nearly apologized before we got to the retreat.  I couldn't get enough.  It's just what I was seeking.  The Lord gives us each what we need from Him. 

By the end of the evening, we were all wrung out like dishrags.  The joy in the room was palpable and the language of love was all around. It ws very late, but no one seemed to want to leave.  The presence of the Holy Spirit was enveloping us.  One by one, we headed out . . . many of us showing up at the same coffee shop for a bite to eat.  Praise the Lord!

Today is Africa day.  Two missionaries from Uganda will share what's going on and their needs.  Again tonite, there will be special prayer, praise, offering and preaching.  I can hardly wait for the Good Samaritan to pick us up this morning.  I'm ready for a fresh annointing.

However you worship, I pray the Lord will annoint you today with His Spirit and His love.  Blessings to you all,