Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Are WE Proud


A week ago today, Andrea received her first ever award for academic achievement.  Rob< Lupe, Kayla and I were privileged to watch as children with 3.0 or better GPA were recognized.  Those with over a 3.5 also made honor roll.  Andrea's GPA is 3.0.

The award came as a surprise to all of us because she is in special education and working much below grade level.  The blessing for her and for us is this: she's doing great at her level and we are so proud of her.

Our other two girls are also doing well.  Kayla's grades have improved tremendously with a couple of A's in the mix.  Her GPA was just below that required for recognition.  We see a tremendous effort from her and we are very proud.  Lupe is also meeting the goals of her special education program.  She loves school, her teacher and her classmates. 

I don't think we could be any prouder of our girls.  The Lord has certainly blessed us all.

I pray that you will rest well this evening and have a blessed day tomorrow.


Monday, May 29, 2006

One last Memorial Day offering



                         ROBERT PEREZ


The sights and sounds I carry

In my mind, my heart and soul,

When our country called her sons

To a far and distant war


Neither banners nor flags we carried,

Nor victory was ours at all.

Only bitter thoughts of helplessness

As we watched our comrades fall.


I boarded a C-130

With an M-16 on my back

Remembering my mother’s face,

When she said, son please do come back.


Returning back, a broken man

With a guilty heart and a bloodied hand,

With broken dreams and so much more

Becoming one of the living casualties of that dirty Asian war.



A day off and a day out

We all took the day off today and went to the beach.  I bought myself a bathing suit on Saturday just in case.  I've been plotting and planning to start swimming at the local pool.  I thought perhaps if I actually bought a suit I might follow through.  I can't do most types of exercise but swimming might just be something I can do that won't cause pain.

The girls were so excited about going to the beach today.  I felt really bad last night and almost went to the emergency room.  I have been coughing so much now for three months and even with asthma medicine and pills for the cough, it doesn't stop.  Yesterdays bout was horrible.  I started to cough at 5 am and literally never stopped.  By the time we called the doctor, I was weak and ready to pass out.  The doctor on call asked about my medications and told me that my blood pressure medication was causing the cough and to stop taking it.  I tried to tell my regular doctor that my meds said to tell him if I got a cough like that.  He said it wasn't from them and to try other stuff.  I pray that the on-call doctor was right.  If so, I should stop coughing in a few days.  Then I will have to get a different medication. 

Robert and the girls laid hands on me and prayed for me as I shook and cried.  When the cough medicine started to take effect, they gave me a cool bath to relax me.  It took a while, but I was eventually able to sleep.  This morning, though still weak, I was ready to give the kids their day at the beach.

It was really cool.  We took flag plates, flags, toys and chairs.  Rob got me an umbrella, but the wind was too strong for it.  Planes from local small airports did some fly-bys.  Rob was able to name each type of plane as it passed.  Most were old WWII warplanes that had been lovingly cared for. 

Andrea and Kayla were in the water right away.  They took new boogie boards and gave it a shot.  Andrea did better at body surfing.  Lupe had the right idea.  She strapped a boogie board to her ankle, placed the board at waters' edge and waited for the ride to come to her.  It was great.

We had sandwiches, chips and watermelon. I let the girls go back in the water after eating and they suffered no ill effects.  We took #50 sunblock and the only white chick there got burned anyway.  The rest of them just look browner and more beautiful. 

The Lord gave me such grace today to be able to be a "fun mom" instead of deathly ill.  Of my own power, I could not have made it to the beach or played a little ball with the girls.  God's love is so powerful as to be healing me as I write. 

I am so pleased to have a wonderful memory of this day and to have celebrated with my family.  May you all be as blessed today as I am.

In His Love, Joy and Service,


Sent to Me in an e-mail - - -

I received this as a forward in an e-mail.  I do hope you are as touched by it as I have been.  Be blessed today, Penny
 Ann Margret


<?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = ST1 />Vietnam 1966

Richard, (my husband), never really talked a lot about his time in Vietnam other than he had been shot by a sniper. However, he had a rather grainy, 8 x 10 black and white photo he had taken at a USO show of Ann Margret with Bob Hope in the background that was one of his treasures.

A few years ago, Ann Margret was doing a book signing at a local bookstore. Richard wanted to see if he could get her to sign the treasured photo so he arrived at the bookstore at 12 o'clock for the 7:30 signing.

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When I got there after work, the line went all the way around the bookstore, circled the parking lot and disappeared behind a parking garage. Before her appearance, bookstore employees announced that she would sign only her book and no memorabilia would be permitted.

Richard was disappointed, but wanted to show her the photo and let her know how much those shows meant to lonely GI's so far from home. Ann Margret came out looking as beautiful as ever and, as second in line, it was soon Richard's turn.

He presented the book for her signature and then took out the photo. When he did, there were many shouts from the employees that she would not sign it. Richard said, "I understand. I just wanted her to see it."

She took one look at the photo, tears welled up in her eyes and she said, "This is one of my gentlemen from Viet Nam and I most certainly will sign his photo. I know what these men did for their country and I always have time for 'my gentlemen.'"

With that, she pulled Richard across the table and planted a big kiss on him. She then made quite a to-do about the bravery of the young men she met over the years, how much she admired them, and how much she appreciated them There weren't too many dry eyes among those close enough to hear. She then posed for pictures and acted as if he were the only one there.

Later at dinner, Richard was very quiet. When I asked if he'd like to talk about it, my big strong husband broke down in tears. "That's the first time anyone ever thanked me for my time in the Army," he said.

That night was a turning point for him. He walked a little straighter and, for the first time in years, was proud to have been a Vet. I'll never forget Ann Margret for her graciousness and how much that small act of kindness meant to my husband.

I now make it a point to say "Thank you" to every person I come across who served in our Armed Forces. Freedom does not come cheap and I am grateful for all those who have served their country.

If you'd like to pass on this story, feel free to do so. Perhaps it will help others to become aware of how important it is to acknowledge the contribution our service people make.

Don't be too busy today...
Share this inspiring message with friends and family.

On behalf of those who DO appreciate all that you did for us, thank you to each of you who receive this message who have served or are serving our country in the armed services or any other service.

Sunday, May 28, 2006




Dear Lord, you took the time to see those who fought and fell

and when they came to you, you said "you've done well"

Servicemen and women too, are listening for that phrase

I, for one, my precious Lord, will ever give them praise.


Thank you Father for giving them the courage to fight

And bring our wonderful freedoms to light.

In Jesus name I pray, Amen

Friday, May 26, 2006

Remember them . . . .


What does this long weekend mean to you?  3 days to party or travel?  A backyard barbecue?  Time to get that project finished?  These are great things for a long weekend.  It's also nice if your workplace pays for holidays. 

I am married to a veteran and also the mom of a veteran.


Each of these very special men fought bravely to keep our country free.  They saw men killed, their comrades in arms and the enemy.  Their hearts and minds are forever changed.  My husband lost his daughter to brain cancer - supposedly because of his exposure to Agent Orange.  What a load of guilt he has had to carry all these years!  How people ridiculed him for going to Vietnam. They treated him like scum and called him a baby killer. No wonder so many of our veterans suffer emotional illnesses. My son was exposed to chemical weapons in Kuwait and has suffered long-term damage to his body.  These two are the "lucky" ones.  They have survived.  Many others were not so lucky.

Our freedom as U.S. citizens is a hard-fought freedom.  That fight is ongoing in many countries around the world.  Our men and women are standing guard to keep our borders safe. They are willing to die so that we can be free.

Along with our parties, trips, projects and paid holidays, we need to take the time this weekend to think about our freedom and the men and women who so valiantly protect it. We need to thank a veteran and pray for the families of those lost in the service of our country. Make a list of our wonderful freedomsand thank our service men and women for the job they are doing. 

Having spent 15 years in a 3rd world country, I know how precious those freedoms are.  I know of a man in Mexico who has been jailed for about 12 years without being formally charged. It is known to an entire community that he is not guilty of the crime in question. He will likely live out his life in that jail because his family is poor. 

If you were born here in the United States, you were


because a soldier of the U.S Armed Services died for that freedom.  Bless them all, past, present and future.  We owe them a lot.

Enjoy your weekend - be blessed in the Lord.



Saturday, May 20, 2006

Learning new things


This just looks so inviting and spring-like.  We actually have a small arbor over our front gate, but nothing quite so lovely.  Ours has Passion Flowers:


and Star Jasmine.  The Jasmine smell heavenly and the Passion Flower looks heavenly. This is the time of year for both to bloom.  I really take great pleasure in that little white gate and its arched flowers.  I dreamed much of my life of having a white fence around my house and this is just the icing on the cake.

I haven't been online too much the last few days because I have been sick.  That cold or flu that's going around has come to my house.  My voice is gone and I have been coughing like crazy.  I'm achy all over and today I think I have a fever.  I had to come to work anyway.  Thank goodness its slow today.  I think everyone is attending the Strawberry Festival nearby.  I bought strawberries and cherries yesterday and gorged myself.  At least it was fruit and not chocolate.  After today, I have 4 days off to get well.

It's beautiful and sunny here today.  I see summer on its way.  Tomorrow we may have up to an inch of rain as the rainy season tries to squeeze one more good storm out before summer.  The girls are also looking forward to summer.  Andrea and Kayla will go to summer camp with church and quite possibly youth camp after that.  I believe Lupe may attend summer school. 

I have very funny news to share about Dufus and Sunny.  Dufus


has been my boy ever since we came back from Mexico.  He is so attached to me that he won't let others near me when he is on my shoulder.  Then we got Rufus, renamed him Sunny after Dufus took a romantic interest in him and all was looking good.  The other morning Rob came in and said he had a surprise for me.  He said, "Sunny is Sonny and Dufus is a girl!!"  He then explained to me in graphic detail what he had seen.  Sooo . . . we are going to have to get a nest box soon.  Ya learn something new every day. 

Be blessed in the Lord today


Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Series of Fortunate Events

I do hope you enjoy a stroll through the pictures here.  This is a small sampling of the children I've had a chance to "mother" over the years.  I have a CD full pictures from the ministry, but can't put my hands on it at the moment.  Of course you will notice that the first 3 pics are of my girls now, and in the other 12 is a younger pic of Andrea before we left Mexico.

It has been an eventful Mother's Day here in the Perez household.  I got to sleep in until 7 am.  The kids were champing at the bit to surprise me with their presents for me.  Before we started, Andrea and Kayla sang a song for me.  Then we prayed, ending with the 100th Psalm and another song.  There were cards from each of the girls with a small box of chocolates from each and a musical jewelry box from them as a trio.  It was so nice.  Then a beautiful card from Rob.  The next gift was a new sewing machine.  I have never had a sewing machine that didn't belong to someone else first, so this was a big deal for me.  Now I just have to learn how to use it.  There was also a cool floor scrubber on which Rob had written, "Don't worry, honey, I'll help you use it!"  Sweet man.  He'll be the one to use it as a Mother's Day reminder. 

I woke up coughing and sputtering and with a very achy back, but there was no way I was going to miss church.  I wasn't disappointed.  One of our musicians got up and sang a song dedicated to his grandmother, now gone on ahead, who helped to see that her children and granchildren and more came to Christ. I cried like a little baby, missing my mom and so glad the Lord had waited for me through scandalous years.  The sermon was great as well.

After church, we headed out to the next town away so Kayla could put flowers on her mother's niche.  We started down the freeway, only to feel a bumping that we couldn't define.  A man in a small car sped up to our right hand side and motioned that we had a problem.  Waving our thanks to him we pulled off to the right only to find a good-sized bolt and washer embedded in the tire.  We got off the freeway and headed for Sears.  There we bought two tires and an alignment for the car. 

While the work was being done, we went to a local deli/restaurant for lunch.  The food was wonderful and we all left full, if not thrilled at the events so far.  We looked across the street to see the car finished way ahead of schedule, so we went back to pay and get back on the road.

The cemetary was so crowded!  Cars were moving at a snail's pace around the circuitous route used to get to the different sections.  Angie's ashes were in a crypt, way on top.  We had to use a pole to lower the little vase down to our level, spilling water on the way.  Kayla lovingly put her flowers in the vase and it was time to get them back to the top again, spilling more water and half of the flowers this time.  Kayla went looking for more water and came back with her step-dad who rescued us and put the vase back as if he'd been doing it all his life.  It was hard for Kayla to leave the spot, but we finally got in the car to come home.

Driving down the freeway, we heard a terrible noise from the car (oh, ugh!) and headed back to Sears to find out what it might be.  It never happened before they changed the tires.  They test-drove it while we waited, put it up on the rack, drove it again and came back to tell us we probably need to have the transmission checked by the dealer (I don't think so!) or a good transmission shop, because they don't do that.

As I said it's been an evenful day.  We got home around 5 pm and I came straight to my bed to get well-deserved Mother's Day rest.  I will bask in the memory of all my children:  Robert, Heather, John, Andrea, Kayla, Lupe and the myriad children from Mexico who claimed my heart and soul while I was there.

I pray that my daughter and daughters-in-law have been blessed by their children this day.  Each child we love is such a rich privilege.  I am indeed fortunate to have been blessed time and time again by that love.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms out there.  Be blessed in the Lord today.

Saturday, May 13, 2006



It's a pretty little scene in my welcome tag, don't you think?  Did you take a good look at the fence?  It has little barbs on it.  Those barbs are like certain times in our life.

Today I'm feeling a little down.  Mother's Day is tomorrow.  I am pleased that my husband and girls are going to make a fuss over it but at the same time I have a sadness in my heart.  I miss my mom.  I'd give anything for her to see the life we have now, my new family and the menagerie.

Holidays are a tough time for many of us.  Maybe something awful happened on a particular holiday or we miss someone so much it hurts.  Perhaps our mothers or fathers weren't kind, were drunks, abusive or addicts.  Perhaps someone we trusted hurt us on or around a given holiday.  These are the barbs in our lives.  It's not easy to let these things go, but we can.

The Lord says in (Mat 11:28) Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

I don't think he's talking about the burdens of our workday here, but the burdens of our lives.  We carry resentment, anger and bitterness as if it were our cross.  I know I have done so.  I had such hatred for a person at one time, the best I could do was wish him dead.  I carried that around for 7 years.  Each time I would hear his name, I would feel sick and get angry all over again.  It was miserable for me.  Of course, he didn't care.  He didn't even know how I felt.

One day, while working with another woman on a problem she had been carrying around, I heard words come out of her mouth that opened my eyes.  She was deeply harmed by someone she once loved.  She had forgiven that person.  HOW?  I dared ask.  "Well," she said, "I did nothing wrong here.  Why should I allow him to hurt me over and over again?"  I felt like I had been run over by a steam roller! 

Later that evening, I crawled into my husband's arms and prayed.  I cried until I was as limp as a wet noodle.  The Lord had the answer all the time and I was ignoring it.  I let that hurt go, for giving the man who had caused it.  I was as free as I could have been.

It's harder for us to let our grief and sadness go.  We may feel guilty for enjoying ourselves when we should be sad.  Know this:  the Lord doesn't want us to be sad.  He knows we will be from time to time, but he wants us to know His joy in the midst of our sadness.  I know that we can.  I've experienced that joy in times of my greatest grief.

This day, I will be praying for those of you (and myself) who are troubled by the holiday.  With His blessing upon us, I believe we can all enjoy the day tomorrow.

Love, hugs and blessings,  Penny



Thursday, May 11, 2006

Mother's Day 2006


The last time I spoke to my mom, I had been up from Mexico to visit her and to attend my sister's 40th anniversary party.  Mom had been diagnosed with cancer about 3 or 4 months before.  There were unable to do chemotherapy, but did some radiation to see if they could help her out. 

My sister wanted to try anything and everything.  I was willing to let mom have quality of life rather than quantity.  None of my sisters believed this would kill her very soon. 

Anyway, I walked into the room at the nursing home where she had been sent after breaking her hip and having surgery.  She didn't heal at all well.  I'd seen her several times over the few days we were there.  Each time was devastating for me because Mom could no longer talk and appeared to be in a great deal of pain.  This morning, a Monday, I wanted to see her before I went back to Mexico.  My sister had told me that she was going to take Mom to Arizona with her.  I hugged Mom oh, so carefully and told her that I would not be able to come again before she was moved to Arizona.  While I was speaking, a strong hand reached out and pressed into my abdomen 3 times.  I looked up.  Mom's face was so peaceful and she appeared to be out of pain.  He blue eyes bored into my brown ones.  "You're going home instead, aren't you Mom?" I asked.  She nodded her assent and smiled at me. 

"Okay, Mom.  I'll look for you when I get there."  She smiled again, holding my hand tightly for a few moments.  I left and never saw her again.  She was gone by Friday. 

My mom never looked more beautiful than she did that day.  She had surrendered her broken body to Jesus who heals us all and was ready to meet him face to face.  As much as it still grieves me to speak or write of this, I know I will see her again.  She will be whole and transformed into such beauty that I cannot imagine. 

This time of year is hard for me because I miss my mom fiercely.  I was the youngest of 4 girls and years younger than the other three.  Mom and I were bonded together in a very special way.  All and any disagreements and differences that we had through my rebellious years had passed away long before my mother died.  I'm sure it was the same for my sisters.

I pray this Mother's Day weekend that you spend time with your mom if it's possible, that you remember the good times with her, no matter how few and if she's living, tell her you love her, even if you are carrying around some resentment.  You will never regret bringing sunshine into her life.

Be blessed in the Lord today, Penny


Thursday, May 4, 2006

A language of Love


Val of There Is a Season has a game each week that she calls "Wordplay"  I really enjoy it and usually just answer in her comment section, but this time she has asked if we speak a foreign language, how we learned, etc.  I have a story to tell.

In 1987, I went back to school for the first time since 1977 when I completed my counseling certification.  I took some basics and Spanish as my language.  My teacher that first semester was a man who was born in Mexico City.  As he wove tales of the poverty he came from, he spoke the most wonderful Spanish, rrrrr's rolling off his tongue and a little lilt at the end of each sentence.  I loved to hear him talk.  I tried very hard to mimic his sounds and repeat the words he said.  Out of my mouth came not the music of a romance language, but the discord of acid rock.  Alas, I was not very good at my studies.

We moved to San Diego where we would be closer to Mexico and his retirement there. I signed up at a new school and into a new Spanish class.  I fared better in this class because we were going to our trailer in Mexico every couple of weeks.  I heard the language in practice. The problem was . .  . after we were home a few days, my ability to speak Spanish was nil again.

Next two semesters, our Spanish teacher was a Rumanian woman with a Master's degree in linguistics from a university in Spain.  She was an interesting woman and had many tales to tell and helped us to learn the endless conjugations.  She also explained the ins and outs of the Spanish language.  It was fascinating.  I learned to read, write and understand (for the most part) this delicious language.  I could speak a few key phrases and when necessary, to ad to my vocabulary with the dictionary.  I passed the course with flying colors.

In 1989, we moved full-time to Mexico and began to get involved.  I heard the languageall around me and understood some but not all.  They talked so fast!!  I prayed to God to help me learn.  I wanted more than anything else to communicate.

This is the story:  God answered my prayer!  In no time at all, what I could read on paper came alive in my mind and I began to speak the language like a native.  Yes, I still had words I did not know, but God was right there with me.  He was preparing me for the journey we would take with the children in Mexico.  The nuances I had seen in my first teacher came to me as if I had always had them. Along with the language, I began to understand the culture and became embedded in it while the Lord used me there.

I speak Spanish fluently, can translate while someone speaks and can read and translate as well.  This is a gift from God.  My desire to learn became His passion for me.  Without a thought, he opened my mind and heart and gave me this precious, beautiful language as a part of who I was then and who I have become today.  I am so grateful to Him for His  promises.

I have also been given a special prayer language just for His pleasure.  I am thankful for all the languages I speak.  It's because He who began it all has only one language . . . the language of love.

Be blessed in Him this day . . .




Indeed it is a good morning.  For the first time in days, the sun is shining.  I bought new sunglasses and haven't had a chance to use them yet.  So much for "sunny" Southern California. 

Yesterday I pampered myself.  I went to the nail salon and had a spa pedicure and had my toenails painted bright red.  The other girl in the shop did my manicure.  She loved my nails.  Just in the last few months, my nails have grown tremendously.  I had a French manicure with pink underneath.  They look so cool.  The massage chair was just what I needed.  I felt like a new woman.

It's been a very stressful week so far.  There was a problem at school that we had to address and another family member is having a very rough time right now.  I ended up working for a few hours on Monday because of computer problems and am looking forward to having to work on that computer again today.

Our praise and prayer this morning were good.  We sang a song I wrote and had sweet fellowship with our Lord.  Kayla cried during prayer.  It's getting close to Mother's Day and she's thinking about her mom.  She's not alone. This is the time of year I miss my mom the most, too.  Fortunately, time has allowed me more peace and I am not a little girl. 

It's a good time to look into the blessings in our lives.  Stressful times often have the ability to make us look at the down side of life.  We have so much to be grateful for.  Unlike many in this area, we have a home to live in, plenty of food and beds to sleep in.  We have love and laughter here.  And all of this supplied by our wonderful Creator.  He never promised we would be without strife, in fact the Bible tells us to welcome it.  I wish I could follow that, but at least I have enough experience to know that the rough times always pass. 

In the caras I drive, I listen to praise songs and pray my personal prayers.  I also intercede for my friends.  It's a very peaceful time for me.  I take the prayer list from Sisters in Christ and those who have mentioned a need and pray.  It feels so good.  I know that there are others interceding for us as well.  Prayer gives me freedom from my burdens, especially the burden of my own thoughts. 

I pray that you will have a wonderful day today. 


Monday, May 1, 2006

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast . . .


What a nice admonition this is from a cute little girl!  How often I walk by the wonders in my life as if they weren't there.  I forget to see the love of Christ, my family and friends, the antics of our beloved animals. I take it all for granted while the workaday world takes me away.

Today, Rob and I went out for breakfast.  Our plans were to deliver the last bit of information for the guardianship of the girls, buy him a new fishing rod and do some shopping.  It was a time for the two of us.  We really need this special time together with three active girls in the house.  Yet here it came as we approached the restaurant:  a call from work.  The computer was worse than before.

She said I didn't have to come in, but if I thought I might, to call Jess and he would tell me what I should do.  Rob and I talked about it at breakfast and decided I should go in.  I did just get a hefty raise and they needed my skills.  I called Jess (he used to be my pastor) and he told me what probably needed to be done.  I told them I needed a couple of hours and I would be in.

We bought the coolest fishing pole!  I just hope Rob takes time to use it.  He's needing a break.  I got new work shoes and sleeping bags for the kids as well.  We dropped the papers off and I took Rob home.  I went to work.

I only worked about 3 hours, but felt I had worked six or seven.  "Nerd-work" is tough on your brain.  Good thing I love my job.  The girls were disappointed that I wasn't home when they arrived, but took it well.  Today was a special day for them.

After I got home and rested a few minutes, we all piled in the car and headed for the Tae-Kwon-Do school.  One of the elders of our church is the master there and we had decided the girls needed to learn respect and discipline.  Until we start getting support for the new girls, we will pay a cut rate for their lessons.  The Lord continues to provide for us. 

Kayla and Andrea got their uniforms and started class.  Lupe stood behind the counter and copied every action.  It was so cute!  She tired quickly and ended up drawing in the office.  While the other two trained, we went to get sandwiches for supper. 

These simple acts were our day.  Devoid at times, of tenderness and respect, each of us drifted into our own world, worries and cares.  It is not until prayer time that we assemble in love, sing praises to our Creator and pray together.  It's not too late to stop and smell the flowers.  The day can start over in a heartbeat, even at bedtime and we can put our worries at the foot of the cross and offer love and affection to one another.

The girls are asleep now.  I think I will go offer my affection to the priest of the house.  It was supposed to be our day after all.

Be blessed in Him tonite.  You are all well-loved.