Monday, May 23, 2005

Monday Morning Question

Krissy asks how we met our spouse..  I met Rob when I when I wasn't looking.  I was widowed and had decided I was through with married life.  I just wanted to live out my life serving God in Mexico.  I came up to Ventura for camp meeting and Rob was here from the San Francisco area.  I noticed him, of course, but since I wasn't looking, I didn't think anything of it.

Apparently, Rob saw me, too!  He told his pastor, "Look, pastor!  I like her."  His pastor said, "Foget it Robert . . .she's waay out of your league."

He was there every camp meeting.  We talked, he helped me load up things to take back to Mexico.  I thanked him for his help.  My friend said to me, "Penny, he likes you."  My reply?  "Get outta here!  What would a guy like that see in me?" 

We had a leaders retreat in late winter and Rob was there.  It was snowy outside and we were pretty much inside.  He followed me around and talked to me alot.  The spark was lit.  We were the only singles there and everyone was teasing us.  I blushed!  I never blushed before.  I spent a lot of time asking God what he was doing to me.  Then, as he was leaving, Rob gave me a little kiss and it was all over.

He says he had been following me around but that I treated him like an orphan puppy dog!  That's all changed now!  I treat him like he treats me - with love!

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Saturday Six on Sunday . . .

1. What is the last product orservice you tried just because you saw a commercial that impressed oramused you about the product?  Did you like the product or serviceafter you tried it?  Went to Quizno's after we saw the baby that says, "When my molars grow in, I'm all over this.  Grrooowl"  Truth be said, the sandwich was pretty good.

2. How old is the oldest photograph in your home?  Are you in it? The oldest photograph in our home is that of my grandfather's grandmother - I'll venture to guess it's more than 150 years old . . .nope - I'm not in it.

3. What is the most supernatural event you have experienced?  Didyou feel there was a specific reason that it happened to you? Bout 10 years ago, I had a dream that so impressed me, I shared it with other people.  It was about a place and a gathering of people.  5 years ago, I found myself in that place and gathering with those people.  Down to the color of the buildings, it was the same.  Why did this happen to me?  I won't hazard a guess, but it felt like a small gift from God.

4. Do you usually consider the glass half-empty or half-full? Always half-full.  And there's more where that came from.

5. What part or parts of your body do you shave regularly?  None

6. What day is typically your busiest of the week?  What day areyou usually the happiest?  What day are you usually the saddest? Usually Tuesday is the busiest because we turn in Andrea's schoolwork on Wednesday.  I have to get the log all filled out and ready to go, plus make sure all her papers are corrected.  I'm happiest on Sunday and probably saddest on Monday.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Worth Waiting For

We did it!  We spent the first night in our new home last night.  It was wonderful!  Hank hasn't finished all of the work yet, but our bedrooms and the living room look good, the bathroom in functional and the kitchen too, once we get Hank's tool out of there.

It was really strange waking up there this morning.  I woke up fully refreshed at 5:00 am - I never do that anymore.  There was just a little gray light streaming in the window and it was so pleasant.  Last night, while we were watching TV together, I got this warm-all-over feeling and looked around at our things.  My grandmother's book-case, our computers, a hearth and my family.  My eyes filled with water and I guess I was grinning because Rob said, "What, honey?"  It just feels so darn good. 

I loved the years in Mexico.  I wouldn't change a thing.  I had the chance of a lifetime to be a mom to hundreds of kids, be a nurse, deliver a baby and leave a legacy.  It was a sweet, sweet life.  But for the last years, I never had privacy.  I never slept through the night.  My honeymoon was shared with a houseful of children.  No complaints; it's just the way it was. 

But now, our little family has its first real home together.  We don't have to share anymore with friends or other children.  It's just us.  I am so grateful to God for that tiny little house.  We've waited a long time.

It was worth the wait.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


We are finally beginning the move into our new home!  Although everything is not finished, we will be sleeping here tonight.  And . . . ta-da!  I am using my laptop on our wireless connection!!!!  This is so coo - no more big clunky 'puter in our bedroom!  This will be the first time in 8 years I haven't shared my bedroom with my office - as I write this, the office stuff is just waiting for me to return and get it going again.

We have wireless phe hooked to our 'puters, hard-wired and wireless network - I am soooo jazzed.  I wish I were more of a techie, but for now, I'm happy as can be.  Lots of stuff to do today, but had to check in and let you know what's up.  \

Happy "hump day" to all

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Say a Little Prayer

While I drive to work, I often pray or talk to God.  It's a good time to do it.  No real interruptions if traffic is quiet.  And I can talk out loud or sing or do whatever.  I try to do it every day.

While Saturday is not my normal work day, I am at work today because the weekend guy is on a fishing trip.  I hope he brings fish to share.  I didn't get a day off this week because the training schedule from headquarters interfered with my schedule and guess who won.

So as I was driving to work today, I began to pray for my children and grandchildren and other family and friends.  I was just talking to God - thanking Him for waiting for me while I was out there in my foolishness and asking Him to wait for those I love as well.  Then I just started to cry as I thought about it all.  I wondered if my mom cried over us as she prayed.  She probably did.  At least over me. 

Then I remembered what I had been told:  the pure fragrance of my mother's prayers didn't stop pleasing the Father when she died.  He knows no time.  It's all the same to him and it's said that our prayers and praises are a sweet fragrance unto His nostrils.  That made me cry even more.  It wasn't a sad cry at all.  It was joy.  I know that what I pray today will be ever-present with the Lord.  I never have to give up hope that my prayers will be answered.  He's always listening to them.  How about that?  My voice is as familiar to him as it could be.  He's hearing every prayer I ever prayed. And He's going to answer. 

That's wonderful!  God will answer every prayer.  I know . . . he answered my mom's prayers for me.  And He's answered countless of my prayers as well. 

Praises Be!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Weekend Assignment

I had to think about this a while, because I had several teachers that made my education more important.  I loved Mrs. Phillips, my second grade teacher, because she treated me like I was special.  But she's not the one that had the most influence on me.  It was my 9th grad English teacher that really made learning come alive for me.

In January, I was on retreat and met a girl who went to the same school as I and we talked about this teacher.  She even mentioned her name, which I have since place somewhere in the forgotten reaches of my memory bank.  I was always a reader, a writer, a poet, before I came into her class, but she brought something else to my love of the written word:  Shakespeare.  Iambic pentameter.  Wow!  She made it come alive.  We read A Midsummer Night's Dream.  We did something else, too - she had us memorize and play at least two parts from Romeo and Juliet.  She told us they always chose adults to play those parts because they didn't think young people could get the correct tempo for Shakespeare.  She said they were wrong, and spent nearly a year teaching us how to appreciate the true art form of Shakespeare's writing.  I still love it today.  I don't find it tedious or boring,  Just musical in the way it's written.  I'd love to give her better credit here, but the years have taken a toll on my memory and it seems too much has slipped out the gray hairs.

My second favorite subject when I was young?  MATH.  I loved math.  I loved how numbers worked together. It stayed that way until I hit college in my late 30's  - then I hated math!  Algebra was not my strong suit.  History, especially that of the United States and South America, became my second love.  Hated it when I was a kid - love it now.  Go figure.

Have a good weekend, all.  Stop by for a visit when you can.  The coffee pot's always on . . .



The Assignment "Before" the Weekend Assignment

I was reading the weekend assignment and I'm going to do it, really I am.  I do have a favorite teacher and I know what I liked second best.

But first . . . I remember well John's 6th grade class having their business, working and selling and finally producing a memorable play.  I was a working mom at the time and didn't get to attend every special event at school. I did, however, attend the play the Mr. Johnson's class put on.

It was wonderful!  John was great as the Artful Dodger.  What makes this memory more exciting is that just as we found pictures the other day, we found pictures of John I didn't even remember having - one of them on stage with Fagan.  I just had to share this with you! 

In case you're wondering, John is the one leaning on the cane. The kids did what I would call a professional job with this play.  Never had I then or since seen such young kids put on such a show.  Accordingly, the proud mama speaks up!

So that said . . .here it is.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Today is my son John's birthday.  I wanted to share with you here because you all know and love him.  I do hope this entry won't embarrass him too much.

He was born after 3 days of arduous labor.  They wouldn't let me go home to labor because his sister had been born so quickly and also because we lived nearly an hour from the hospital.  It wasn't an easy labor and delivery - he weighed 8 lbs!  We didn't have ultrasound and the like back then, so it was always a guessing game, but I knew he was a boy. 

This picture was taken in 1971.  By this time I was a single mom and paid one of those door-to-door photographers to take pictures of us.  Later on, I'll share the others. Today, John is in the spotlight.

I hope you all run over to his journal at By the Way and wish him the best.  I'll be doing that - after all, no matter how old he is, he's still my kid.

Happy Birthday, John, I love you.  Mom


Sunday, May 8, 2005

End of Mother's Day and all's well

It was a wonderful Mother's Day for me.  At 6 am, Rob and Andrea serenaded me with "Las MaƱanitas".  I had a hard time opening my eyes.  They had gifts:  a beautiful azealia plant for my new yard, a salt/pepper set picked specially for me by Andrea, two wonderful cards and my own tool belt with some cool tools in it!  I was so thrilled that I kissed them both and went back to sleep.

We went to church and had a lovely Mother's Day service.  All the moms went forward for prayer and it was wonderful.  Young people thanked the Lord for their moms and moms were thanking Him for their children.  There was a lot of joy and quite a few tears.  I missed my mom.  I praise the Lord for her.

After church, we went off to buy the new television we've talked about.  It's pretty nice - a 32" screen.  Rob was trying to tell me it was my gift, but I know him . . .it'll be HIS when football season comes.  It's a family gift and a good one.

We came home and I took a nap. They let me take a nap!  When Hank and his girlfriend got back, they cooked a steak dinner for us . . . for me.  It was a wonderful end to a really nice day. 

I've been reading journals this evening.  Your mother's stories, the love you have for your moms, and how your children love their moms.  Some of the stories are touching, some funny.  All are tributes to these wonderful women.

I've met a lot of troubled moms over the years.  There were times when I was the troubled mom.  While I was in Mexico, I got to be the mom to kids whose moms were troubled.  I held and loved and cared for a bunch of kids.  The most gratifying thing of all was when their moms finally got it together and could take their babies home.  This is what it's all about.  Moms are special, but not perfect.  Some moms have to learn the hard way how to love their children and some moms never get the chance.

I want to give tribute here to the moms who never bore children, but raised them just the same.  You know who you are . . .you adopted, fostered, cared.  You gave of yourself when you were needed and you loved as much and as deeply as if those children were born of your womb.  I know they were born in your heart.  Bless you!

In Mexico, Mother's Day is always May 10th.  The kids prepare something special at school and they spread it out so the kindergarten and the primary and the secondary kids all get a chance to have their Mother's Day celebration.  And of course the churches have a celebration.  It can last all week long.  I always felt very special at that time of year.  The first year after my mom died, though, it was horrible for me.  I missed her so much and I just wanted to be left alone to grieve.  I had 14 kids at the time and they all wanted me to be at their celebrations.  By the end of the week, I was so depressed I wanted to hide out for a month!  It was pretty grim.  It got better, but Mother's Day is still a bittersweet time for me.  I know where my mama is and I know I will see her again, but I miss her. 

On this day of praise for motherhood, I just don't want to forget what a wonderful gift that mothers are.  It's a gift to be a mom, to have a mom and to know a mom.

So . . .J-Land moms and moms everywhere . . .three cheers for you and God bless you all.

Saturday, May 7, 2005

Darwin Awards

My friend Ruth forwarded this to me and I just couldn't resist sharing - I imagine some of them have or will, go into Scalzi's Book of the Dumb.

Yes, it's that magical time of the year again when the Darwin Awards are bestowed, honoring the least Evolved among us. Here then, are the glorious winners.

1. When his 38-caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a holdup in Long Beach, California, would be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked.....

And now, the honorable mentions:

2. The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat cutting machine and, after a little hopping around, submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company, suspecting negligence, sent out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine and lost a finger The chef's claim was approved.

3. A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his Vehicle to find a woman had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her.

4. After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitableand prone to bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn't discovered for 3 days.

5. An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious head wounds received from an oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was hit.

6. A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer..$15. (If someone points a gun at you and gives you money, is a crime committed?)

8. Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he'd just throw a cinderblock through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinderblock and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinderblock bounced back and hit the would-be thiefon the head, knocking him unconscious. The liquor store window was made of Plexiglas. The whole event was caught on videotape.

9. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, "Yes, officer, that's her. That's the lady I stole the purse from."

10. The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at 5 a.m., flashed a gun, and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away.


11. When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrivedat the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his siphon hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, saying that it was the best laugh he'd ever had.

Back to the Weekend Assignment - Moms

Yesteray, Rob found some pictures I had stored away.  There are many from the 1800's - all of my mother's family line.  This is a little of her history.

As John probably told you in a journal at some time or other, my grandfather's name is Booth and we are related to the terrible man who shot Lincoln.  Unlike his predecessor, my grandfather was a man full of love and intelligence - he loved my grandmother with a passion that can only be shown by re-printing one (well, two) of his love poems here:

Sunday, August 11, 1940

Good Morning!  Sweetheart, may there be

Naught but joy today for thee.

May each thought and impulse too

Bring fulfillment sweet to you

Of Every good you may require,

To satisfy all you desire.

Great love, as much as you could seek,

I send you for the coming week.

Such Love, God given, is our right,

I kiss you, Sweetheart Mine,


February 13th, 1938 (her birthday)

Each time I see a wondrous flower

A beautiful plant so rare,

I know, in all its beauty

It is not half so fair

As you, dear one, whom God has given

To brighten every day

A little glimpse to me of Heaven

To help me on my way.


So you see, friends, love is part of our history - no wonder our family is full of love!  John, If you are reading this, this is more of your family - enjoy!

Friday, May 6, 2005

Weekend Assignment #58 Mom

The picture is my mom, my son John and me on the day John married Krissy.  It's probably not the best picture, but one that shows 3 generations.  My mom passed away nearly 8 years ago, and I surely miss her.  I tease about looking like her, but I'm very proud to be her daughter.  She raised 4 of us pretty much on her own.  My father left before I was born.  She swallowed her pride and let her parents help until I started school, then went to work.  She never complained that she was lonely or hated to work.  She gave everything she was to her daughters.  She never remarried.  I always thought it was selfless of her to stay single, but it must have been terribly hard for her.  I surely didn't do that! 

As we honor our mothers this weekend, I will be honoring the memory of the most wonderful woman in the world.  Don't get me wrong, she wasn't perfect. While all of us were still at home, she often had to shout 2 or 3 names before she got the one she wanted.  She smoked most of her life, drank sometimes and slept on the couch with the TV on.  I guess that's where I got that bad habit.

The good side was this:  I never asked a question that she didn't answer truthfully.  Even about sex when I became curious.  She wasn't graphic, but always answered in a way that I could understand.  When my friends' parents were avoiding the questions, they would come to me and ask me to ask my mom.  I never told her that her answers were going out to half the teen crowd.

She did funny things, like getting lost on purpose, making fun of herself before others could and thinking up silly games for us to play.  She was laughed a lot and taught us a few "naughty poems" to share when we were old enough.

I could never hope to be the woman that my mom was, but it is she that helped me see how important it was for me to be the mom I am.  I made a few gazillion mistakes along the way, but I'm happy and proud to now be a mom, grandma and great-grandma to a bunch of great young people.

And yep, when I was young, I did have an uncanny resemblance to Janis Joplin.  We won't mention the singing part. John already did that.

While I'm here, I want to wish a very happy Mother's Day to my daughter, Heather, my daughters'in-law, Krissy and Michaela and to Dixie, who I love as if she were my true daughter.  You guys are doinga wonderful job and I'm proud of you.

To the rest of you moms out there:  Keep up the good work!  You've got the most important job in the world.

And Mom . . .I miss you more than I can say. 

Thursday, May 5, 2005

Our Taxes at Work

I'm not being facetious here.  This really is why we pay taxes.  Or at least some of them.  When we heard that truck hit the palm tree across the street, I made my very first call ever to 911.  They answered quickly, got the information and sent fire, rescue, ambulance and highway patrol rolling.

After changing from my jammies, I went out to see what was going on.  The woman stretched across the seat was in serious trouble.  Six or seven people were milling around her and I yeled at them not to move her.  Her boyfriend had run across the street to relieve himself and was just hobbling back when I approached the driver door.  He staret to scream her name and grab at her and I asked someone to keep him back.  He kept crying, "I'm sorry," to her.  He was hurt as well, but not seriously. I thought he might be under the influence of something, but it could have been shock as well.  The girl was flailing her arms around and moving her head.  I put my hands on either side of her head and told her to lie still, that help was on the way.  Her forhead was dented in above the left eye and bleeding.  It looked like she had broken bone pushed in there.  A man came with a dripping washcloth and wanted to put it on her, but I discouraged him . . .the washcloth was wet, but didn't appear all that clean.  Next he went to the man and talked in his ear.

"I got rid of it," he said.  I had my suspicions, but was more concerned that people not crowd the injured woman.  She was losing consciousness.  As the fireman drove up, I backed away and told the witness to hang around to talk to authorities.  Then I went back across the street for my camera.  I took a lot more pictures than these, but privacy issues prevent me from sharing them here.

As it turns out, these pictures will be used in the police investigation of the accident.  Apparently, when the man ran to the bathroom, he left some items there that could spell problems for him.  The police have picked that up and I've made a disc of pictures for them.  I will also need to give a statement to the lead officer when there is time.

Mostly, I am concerned for the young woman.  She's in pretty bad shape.  I hope the police will be able to tell me if she is alright.  I don't know about you, but these kinds of things always get to me.  After the emergency was incapable hands, I felt like crying. It hurt inside for me to look into that girl's eyes and see a vacancy there.  It hurt to know that he was probably travelling too fast on wet streets.  It hurt to know that they were probably not wearing seat belts.  I know I'm not responsible, but I feel responsible to tell people what happened and to ask that they slow down and have enough care for each other to not drive under the influence. 

I'd like to say thanks to all the firefighters, police officers, paramedics, ambulance attendants and 911 operators out there.  I'll gladly pay my taxes.  You just stay on the job!

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Blessed Baby Girl

I'm sure Andrea will hate me for adding this to my journal, but there's no better way to see how far she's come.  In this picture, the only thing fat about her was her bloated little belly.  This was a few days after we took her into our home.  She weighed just 5 pounds.

To me, she looked beautiful.  When friends came to visit, they often cried to see her like this.  It took a little while to add weight to her.  We had to find formula that she could tolerate.  Mostly, she needed to be held close,

She's come a long way!  I think the Lord has something special in mind for her.  What do you think?

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Look Who's Talking Now

Though I can't seem to locate the first pictures I have of Andrea,  I wanted to share these with you.  In most of the early pictures, she looks like a normal, happy baby.  And she was.  Except for one thing.  he first time we saw her, she weighed just 5 pounds and she was 7 months old.

She came to the clinic where I was volunteering and I wanted to cry when I saw her frail little body.  Though I spoke Spanish, I asked the doctor to tell the mom that I would take her home and try to help her.  He told me I was crazy, that she was going to die!  I asked him to tell her and he did.  I've probably told you this before, but it's so important to who she is.

You see, I was already a mom.  In fact I was a grandma as well.  I knew the love a mom has for her children.  Her mom loved her enough to let me take her that day.  I wasn't thinking of keeping her.  I just wanted to help her get well and get home. 

She grew so quickly once we found something her little tummy could tolerate and we stopped the puking.  She grew on me as well.  We celebrated evey milestone.  At 1 year and 2 weeks, we sent her home - only to get her back sick and hungry a couple weeks later.

It was then that her mama asked us to adopt her.  We happily agreed and started the paperwork.  Andrea was happy, we were happy, her mom was happy.

Things changed a few months later.  Loaded, her mom came to the mission and ripped her out of my arms.  She wanted her baby back.  I cried as if she'd died.  I had never known the pain of losing a child.  It was the worst I could imagine. 

We got to see her about 5 times over the next two years.  She seemed to have grown well enough.  Started walking at about 2 years old.  Though it broke my heart, I encouraged her mom to take good care of her.  I prayed for their well-being.

I had more loss.  My husband and mother died in the space of 36 hours.  I was in shock and despair, but held on to the faith I had in God.  I let my life go on. Then the people in town started to tell me that my "baby" was in an orphanage and I should go get her.  All I could think was that I couldn't handle the loss if her mom took her away again.  I called the orphanage, but never followed up.

Then her mom came to me and asked me to go get her.  She was loaded to the gills and I told her I would have to pray about it.  I agonized over it all.  I asked the Lord to direct me.  A few days later, the mom found me again.  She wasn't so loaded and begged me again to take her child.  She said she would leave town if it made me more comfortable. 

The rest is history.  I went to the authorities and claimed my little girl.  I still had signed papers from her mom.  I was the logical choice.  After 3 short weeks, I took her from the orphanage and took her home with me. 

It took 5 1/2 years for Mexico to finish the adoption.  It took nearly 2 more years for us to get paperwork to bring her to the U.S.  Now we are a family.  Rob, Andrea and I have made our life together.  Would I do it again?  Adopt another?  If that's what the Lord put on our hearts, yes.  But I think just now, it's important that we just raise this little girl and do His will.  We're not too old - look at Abraham and Sarah - just want to do the best for our wonderful daughter.

Isn't she wonderful?