Wednesday, March 29, 2006

"He's Been Here All the Time"


I've been trying for some time to get this picture scanned, resized and framed so I could share it with you.

I only knew Angie for about a year, but my heart was touched the first time I saw her.  She looked very much like one of the moms we were involved with in Mexico.  Her brother shared her incredible story with us.  She had become terribly ill and they found out she needed a liver transplant.  She was at UCLA, her health dwindling to nothing as members of the family and church prayed in earnest for her to receive the liver and get a second chance at life.  The miracle happened at the last possible moment and Angie's life began anew.  She was able to go home to her two children; a sister named Lupe that she had been caring for since their parents died and her daughter Kayla. 

Week after week, Angie was faithful to bring her children to church.  Our relationship grew and we grew to love not only Angie and her brother, but the girls as well.  I gave her my phone number and asked for hers so we could stay in touch during the week.  I also told her to call on me for anything she needed.

Angie had it pretty rough.  She got better for a while, then seemed to be relapsing somehow.  She was losing weight and she missed church a few times.  After I talked with her brother, I learned she was having trouble with the new liver.  My prayers went out to her and to the girls.  She moved into a condominium with the girls and got them started in school.  She worked very hard to keep things going.  She had to go into the hospital a couple of times.

In January, Angie called me and said she needed to go to the hospital again.  She asked if Rob and I would take care of the girls.  Without hesitation, we said yes.  She had hoped to be in the hospital just a few days, but after just 4 days, she needed to be transferred to UCLA again.  When we spoke on thephone, she said to me, "Please take good care of my girls . . ."  We never spoke again.  Upon transfer, she was placed on life support.

Family and friends went to visit her.  She couldn't speak, but could write a simple note.  A call went out for another liver and a kidney to save her life once again.  She slipped further and further away.  While she could still communicate, her brother asked her what she was feeling.  She wrote, "Peace"

He asked, "What is God telling you?"

                     "He's been here all the time."   

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

This and That


In a house full of pre-teen girls (often with PMS) I often get something like this happening.  It might end with " uh, well, uh - oh never mind" but a little frustrating all the same.  There seems to be a turf war of sorts happening here.  Kayla and Andrea each want the most attention and also want to be the "boss".  We keep telling them that the bosses here are "us", but they pay us no mind. One gets hostile and stamps her feet, the other whines about how poorly she's being treated. On it goes.  I guess God thought I needed lessons on teen interaction.  I sure hope He helps with the homework.  On the whole,it's both difficult and wonderful to have them here. If we survive this, we can survive anything.


On another note, my son John has had some wonderful news.  His book, Old Man's War has been nominated for the prestigious Hugo Award!  He was also nominated for a Campbell Award as best new writer.  This is a very big deal in the science fiction world.  If you've a mind to, go on over and congratulate him.  If you haven't read the book, check Amazon for a great price. Now you have heard the "proud mommy rant".

I've cut my time at work to 3 days a week. It's really nice to have 3 weekdays at home with my family after working for a year.  Rob is happy to have me home, especially now that I've mostly recovered from my injuries after the fall. 

Oh! Wait! I have something to tell you!  We got a different car!  I haven't taken her picture yet, so I will tell you about her.  She's a metallic red (WHOSE favorite color?), 4-door, 4WD 1998 Ford Explorer with all the toys.  I am so tickled!  Rob hasn't even driven it yet.  He wants to give me time to get used to it.  As soon as I get a picture I'll post it.  Cool, huh?  New teeth, new car.  We have just had our socks blessed off. 

Off to get some rest before work tomorrow.  Keep praying and praising, it will bring joy into your life.




Sunday, March 19, 2006



Somewhere, one of my sisters has a brown-shaded picture of my grandmother when she was 13.  This picture is different, but reminded of that picture and how beautiful my grandmother was.  No wonder my grandfather fell head over heals in love with her.   She was not a truly affectionate woman, but loved us all very much.  She had red hair, cut fairly short by the time she enters my first memory.  When we would go to visit as kids, my grandmother - we called her Boosie - would sit at the piano and play music while my best friend Becky and I marched around the living room with maracas in our hands.  It was pure joy.

The home they had was a beautiful colonial with a huge front porch, columns and a veranda across the full front upstairs. The grounds were beautiful.  They lived there from around 1925 until I was about 12 years old.  My mom and her sister grew up there.  Everything was grand.  A grand piano in the living room did not diminish its size.  The dining room was incredible.  There was a basement full of wonders for a young girl to explore.  A wooden swing on ropes hung from an enormous tree in the back yard.  I loved it.

My favorite time was to spend the night with Boosie and Dearie. I would sleep in the great big (to me) double bed that was my mother's as she grew up.  My grandfather always tucked me in and gave me a sweet kiss good night.  In the middle of the night, he would come get me up to go to the bathroom.  Mostly, I noticed the small black and white hexagonal tiles on the floor.  The seat was always chillingly cold. I lay in bed listening to the ticking of the grandmother clock hung on the wall in the stairwell.  It was comforting for me.  One day I'd like to have one just like it.  It was the only thing in the house called grandmother.

 She never wanted to be called grandma or grandmother.  A solution came when a neighbor child could not say her name - Ruth or Ruthie - and said Boosie instead.  It stuck.  Since my grandparents always called each other dearie, my grandfather became Dearie.

My grandmother was a proud woman.  She had been the daughter of the mayor of her hometown.  Her mother died when she was young so as she reached her teens, she became the hostess at political functions for her father.  It must have been a very grown-up thing to do.  She always insisted that we speak proper English, correcting us as we spoke.  She insisted that education was the only way.  Many years later, when I was about 21, she found out that I was a smoker.  I remember to this day what she said:  "Oh Penny!  You smoke?  I had so hoped one of you girls would be nice."  I felt shamed to the core. 

This woman was an amazing influence in my life.  As she got older and sicker and the money ran out, she had to go into a nursing home.  She never lost her dignity.  She hated the nursing home, but insisted on being clean, her room neat and having proper nightwear in case she had a visitor.  Her death broke my mother's heart.

As I search the Internet for my family's history, I remember her with a soft warm feeling in my heart.  Along with my mother, my grandparents helped to bring Christ into my life.

Blessings to you all this Sunday,


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Go take a look


I'll update on my home and family next time.  Just now I want to introduce you all to a new journal.  It's very close to my heart because it is written by my sister in Christ, Arlene.  Arlene and her husband Jon became the directors of the ministry we served in Mexico.  They had their own ministry going - daycare for indigents.  We asked them to pray about taking our place at LTLCC and after prayer and consideration, they accepted, bringing their daycare ministry with them.  What a blessing they are!  We love them so much and encouraged Arlene to start a journal to keep those that love the ministry up to date and meet new people as well.

Please click on the link above or this one:

I am proud to have my sister Arlene journaling about the act ivies in the ministry that is a part of my heart and soul. It would be great if you would stop by and give her as warm a J-Land welcome as you gave me.




Monday, March 13, 2006

I'm really here . . .


Hi friends . . .

I have wanted to make an entry, but had a bad fall last Wednesday.  I caught my heel on the edge of a step and did a very UN-gracious dive into a trash can, bouncing back to the ground.  I scraped my knee, bruised my leg and had deep bruising to my left ribs and shoulder.  The doctor took me off work for a few days and I've been in bed since then.  Yesterday was the first day I was able to get out of bed without Rob's help.

Poor Rob!  My "days off" turned into days of caring for me, putting up with the girls and helping Andrea celebrate her 12th birthday.  He has helped me bathe, go potty and even has brought my food to me in bed.  I was up for a while this morning and got exhausted.  I need to go back to work.  We'll see today if I can drive or not.

The Lord has been good to us in spite of my injuries.  The bills are paid and we were able to give Andrea a proper birthday with an ice cream cake, some gifts here and a shopping spree to get some new clothes.  She was thrilled.  They also have today off of school, so they had a friend over night and all the girls slept in the living room watching videos.

Tomorrow will be Andrea's first full day of school.  She has been going to classes just in the afternoon, but since the arrival of the other two girls, we have relented and let her go full time with them, even though all three have different programs.

So this is where it stands:  I'm still hurting a lot and am spending more time in bed than out of it.  Rob is helping me and he wants me to take a ride to the store with him so I can get out.  He's right.  If I don't get started, I freeze to this spot in the bed.  Many thanks to those of you who wrote to me of your concern.  I surely feel loved.

This community of writers is the best around.  We can support each other without ever having met face to face.  Cool deal.