Wednesday, May 30, 2007

2007 Jr. King & Queen Pageant

First, I apologize for telling you I would be bragging again on Monday and we are already at Wednesday. My doctor recently made a change in my meds and my heart sort of rebelled. Suffice it to say, today is better than the past couple days. On to the bragging - - - Sunday night was the Jr. King and Queen Pageant at our church. Bryn was first runner-up and Blake won King. This is an annual fund-raiser to sponsor a national program, Save Our Children, and other projects within our church. A total of 16 children participated this year, and they raised over $3700 in less than ten weeks. Each child met the goal of $100 that rewards them with an out-of-town trip, and those that raise over $200 receive additional prizes. This year's queen, Daria, raised over $800. The out-of-town trip will be to a performance of Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus. During the pageant, each "princess" is announced, escorted down the center aisle, and the princes raise swords in the air as each princess passes. When they reach the stage, they turn and curtsy to the audience before taking their place. After the the queen is announced, the princes file to the front and are individually presented to the crowd. Of course, this royal court enjoys every moment of the spotlight. After each child had been announced and awards given, Blake and Bryn sang. They were followed by a song from the queen and her mother. It was a wonderful event. Of course, I take photos of each child and give their parents copies of all the pictures. This was Bryn's 3rd time to participate in this pageant. She has always placed, and now she is wanting to be queen. Who knows what will happen next year?! The competition is always stiff.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Student of the Month

As promised, here is more bragging. We were back at the school for an awards ceremony the day after the talent show, and Bryn was selected as student of the month. A medal was put around her neck, she was given an achievement certificate, a gold anchor pin, and received gift cards for Elephant Bar Restaurant and another local cafe. The picture is of Bryn and her teacher. This teacher deserves credit for giving Bryn an excellent educational foundation. Like her brother, I believe Bryn will be an accelerated student. She is at the top of her class and.......I am so proud of her. End of bragging for today, but I will have more tomorrow. Here's a clue. Tonight was our Jr. Royal Pageant.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Talent Show Winners

About a month ago, Bryn came home from school with a talent show try-out form and she said, "Mom, I need to borrow one of your trax." She was going to be in the school talent show! The trax she wanted was a little too difficult for her, but I found another one of the same song and she was all set. She decided she wanted Blake to sing with her and they made it through the try-out round singing "What A Wonderful World." After several practices, the big day finally arrived. Yesterday, they had to perform at 8:30 in the morning to the k-2nd grade classes and immediately following performed to the 3rd-5th grade classes. Then, at 6:30 last night, they performed for the parents and friends. The competition was stiff. There were several soloists, various dance groups, and instrumentalists. I must admit, I was impressed with the amount of talent in this elementary school. The judges were a disc jockey, local business man, a school official, and an anchor from a local TV station. I am hoping that my husband can edit his video and allow me to post Bryn and Blake's performance. They were so cute! Bryn sang the first verse, Blake sang the second verse, and they joined for the chorus. During the interlude, Blake twirled Bryn around and they tossed flowers into the audience. When the talent show concluded, the awards were presented - - - YEAH! Bryn and Blake were first place. She has been floating on clouds since. Well, enough bragging for today, but I will have more to brag about tomorrow. :)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A - Z

Ronda tagged me and I am not sure if I will keep this going - - -but here's my take.

“A to Z Meme”
A - Available or Single? Single? Can't even remember those days!

B - Best Friend - Do I have to pick? Brian first, then...Debbie, Charla, Karry,.........
C- Cake or Pie. Not fair! I want both.
D- Drink of Choice. Water
E- Essential Item. Debit Card.
F- Favorite Color.
G- Gummi Bears or Worms. YUCK! Neither!
H- Hometown. Delano, CA
I- Indulgence. If I can't have Belgian chocolate, than I will take Godiva
white chocolate with hazelnut
J- January or February. Definitely February. January is the stressful, tax junk month and close the year - hate it!
K- Kids. 3 gorgeous children.

L- Life is incomplete without… God
M- Marriage Date. September 14
N- Number of Siblings?
One much older sister! :)
O- Oranges or Apples? Choose again! I want both and a banana, too!
P- Phobias/Fears. I thought I had overcame them all, but I sure do hate mice, spiders, lizards,...

Q- Favorite Quote. "Pain is inevitable, misery is optional."
R- Reasons to smile. You stated this plural and there just isn't enough space to tell it all, but God, my husband and kids give me plenty of smiles. In fact, I love the song called "Smile."

S- Season(ing).Season - Can't cook without garlic and I love spring.
T- Tag Three. Do I have to?

U- Unknown Fact About Me. Can't tell you because then it would be known.
V- Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animals. Not totally vegetarian, but I am somewhat lenient with the cows and pigs never have to worry.
W- Worst Habit.
Judging people upon first impression.
X- X-rays or Ultrasounds.
Oh, please! There can't be anyone who would like either of these!
Y - Your favorite food. How about restaurant? Benihana and P.F. Chang's. My husband has figured out how to make all the things I love at Benihana including their ginger sauce. AWESOME!
Z- Zodiac.
What!?! I don't play with the devil.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fear or Courage; Weak or Strong

Hard things are put in our way, not to stop us, but to call out our courage and strength.- Anonymous

The above quote must have been meant for me! LOL Things have been difficult lately, but I hope I can persevere and show I have courage and strength. I have never thought of myself as strong and courageous, but hard circumstances do reveal a person's character. Working with people for many years, I have realized a person's outlook on life truly determines how well they handle misfortune. What do you think? Do difficult situations make you or break you? Not necessarily you personally, but people you know. What trait is most common in the face of hardship - fear or courage, weakness or strength?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Laughter - The Best Medicine

Gentlemen, why don't you laugh? With the fearful strain that is upon me night and day, if I did not laugh, I should die.- Abraham Lincoln

Let's see, where do I begin?! I guess I will heed Abraham Lincoln's quote. I may as well laugh because tears will not help! Friday, ServiceMaster declared the house was dry after nine days of 22 de-humidifiers and fans. They removed all the fans, and said we can move back in. NOT! We are still in hotel. I decided to first begin packing Blake's room. He has two bookcases that are about seven feet tall and as wide as a queen size bed. They were full of books and model cars. He also has a desk (that once belonged to my Grandmother) and it has seven drawers that were all full. Coloring books, markers, pens, crayons, school workbooks, audio stories, etc. I worked all Friday afternoon and into the evening. Saturday, I did more of the same. All told, I have packed 38 boxes just in Blake's room. These boxes are a conglomeration of books, toys, shoes, some clothes, blankets, stuffed toys, etc. It is absolutely ridiculous how much stuff this ten year old possesses. Of course, much of this was handed down from his big brother. When we woke this morning to get ready for church, my husband and I looked like really old people trying to hobble our way and get dressed. Carrying boxes up and down the stairs has definitely given us a good work-out. Tomorrow, I will begin packing my bedroom. LOL ROTF LOL I am trying to overdose with the best medicine. LOL (The snapshot is Bryn & Blake on Mother's Day.)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Bryce's 21st Birthday/Mother's Day

This has been a very busy week! Not only did we have to deal with the house, but we also had our district business conference. That entailed some work for me. I had to emcee the ministers wives day and sing during the ladies spotlight service. Thankfully, the conference was near enough to where we live that we could drive back and forth each day. I have been meaning to post some pictures from Mother's Day and I hope you enjoy them. Since we could not have the official party at our house for Bryce's 21st birthday, we made reservations for dinner at Urricchio's Trattoria. There we celebrated Mother's Day and Bryce's birthday. The first pic is Bryce and my Mom. She will be 82 this year and check out how blue her eyes are! The next snapshot is me and my first-born, then there is a pic of my sister Paula and her husband Mike. Next, is Paula and her daughter Sara. Bryce enjoyed the day so much he was about to fall asleep in his Sand Dabs! Then, a pic of me with my honey and three wonderful children. It was a great day.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Real Dolly

Enough bad news! So, here's something to make you smile. This is the newest baby in our congregation. Her name is Devanae and Mother's Day was her second Sunday at church. She is the first child for her mother and I don't think her mommy ever puts her down. (smile) Her mommy is having the time of her life with her very own real dolly! Her daddy and I have been dear friends since our births. She is the third child for her dad who is now 47 years old. He told me this little angel is so much fun and he feels so relaxed he can truly enjoy her. I told him he can now understand what Brian and I mean when we say, "We're having our own grand kids." LOL

Monday, May 14, 2007

Update About The House

Today Service-Master returned and we thought they would be taking all the fans out of the house. We were wrong. They took about two-thirds of the fans, but we still have some areas that are 20% wet - and that is after four days of fans and de-humidifiers. Service-Master believes the remaining 20% will be dry by Wednesday afternoon. Once all the fans are out, we will begin packing the upstairs and taking all our things to storage. Hopefully, we will return to our house this coming week-end, but it will be difficult to live there. My fridge and stove are pulled away from the walls, and there isn't any place to sit in the house. Our beds are piled high with everything pulled out of the closets and items that were in the wet areas. The picture is Bryce's bed! And, no - it doesn't normally look like this. So they take the fans out - - can you imagine how much work it will be to pack up enough things to even get to our beds?!?!?!? Bryce and Blake have severe allergies and are asthmatic so we will have to clean a lot of dust before they can return home. Downstairs has so much dust in the air, that my eyes hurt every time I go to the house. Well, tomorrow morning the adjuster will come and we will find out just how fast everything is going to come together. Our insurance has been very accommodating and hopefully the adjuster will have a generous spirit. (smile) More to come.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


21 years ago today after years of fertility treatments I felt my first labor pains and, after nearly 24 hours, no pain medicine, no food, not even a sip of water, and a crushed tailbone, my 9 pound 2 1/2 ounce first-born child who was turned posterior came into the world with the assistance of a really good doctor using forceps. During this time of labor, we had some very dangerous moments and I felt death. It was an incredible experience that remains so vivid in my mind it seems like yesterday. Thankfully, God guided the doctor, and my life and the life of my son were spared. We named him Bryce Anthony and he was beautiful. However, because of the extensive damage I suffered during childbirth, I don't recall many of the "first" things. I was not released for work for six months and I survived on pain pills for eight years. Finally, I got enough nerve to go the doctor, had reconstructive surgery, and was able to live without daily pain medicine. At the end of 1995, I had a positive pregnancy test and fear gripped me. Shortly after the test, I was experiencing extreme pain and was rushed to hospital. There, I was given a pediatric dose of Demoral and it knocked me out for more than eight hours. A remember the doctor coming in and telling me I had to have surgery because of a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. This doctor saved my life and corrected some things that were contributing to the infertility I had been experiencing. After losing this pregnancy, I felt depressed but it wasn't too much longer and I was expecting. In 1997, Blake Austin was delivered via cesarean section. YEAH!!! That was a piece of cake after what I had experienced 10 1/2 years earlier. This son was gorgeous, too. His head looked as if it had been dusted with orange blush and his skin was milky white. Two weeks later, we went to church together. Then in 2001, at the age of 41, here came (via cesarean section again) the grand finale - the princess - the girl who also had red hair and milky white skin, and we named her Bryn-Anika. Motherhood - it has its share of pain, but I believe I can honestly say, the joy far exceeds the pain. I'm sure the mom's who read this can share many of their experiences, too. Feel free to write your story in the comment box. My children are now 21, 10 and five years old, and being their Mommy has been the greatest experience of my life. I want them to be the best, I want to give them the best, and wish everything wonderful for them. Reality is they will have pain in their life and someday they can write their story. As much as I would like to block any hurt in their life, I can't. I just hope that I can live such a positive example of perseverance in front of them, that they will know how to best handle the hurts that come their way. To all mothers, I wish you a blessed and happy Mother's Day.
The pictures are my three last month, Bryn at her first church service with Grandma, Bryn at her second service with me.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Some of the damage...

One of 22 blowers helping dry my house.
One of the large blowers.

This is the part of ceiling that fell on my computer.

Above is part of my kitchen ceiling.
Well, this is just a little bit of the damage, but I am sure this gives you a picture of just what we are facing. Believe it or not, there really was a ceiling there two days ago and there was carpet on those stairs, too.

Say A Prayer for Me

You all know I do not like being a bearer of bad news or guilty of whining, but I have had a rough day and just wish you all would say a prayer for me. Thursday, I spent the day cleaning house, setting the dining room table, and preparing for a happy occasion. Bryce will be 21 years old on Mother's Day and I wanted to have a party for him Saturday night. When he was a little boy, I would ask him each year what he wanted for his birthday and his response would always be to have his friends over to play. Now that he is 21, not much has changed. This year, he requested his Dad to grill Halibut, have everyone sit around the pool and enjoy the sound of the waterfall, and afterwards have all his friends play a game of basketball. I was feeling quite excited while preparing this event, and then, "Oh, NOOOOOO!!" When my husband put his feet on the floor at 6 a.m. this morning, his toes felt wet, mushy carpet. Apparently, one of the kids had used the restroom (upstairs) before bed, clogged the toilet, and the toilet continued to run. By morning, our entire house was flooded. The ceiling in the kitchen, dining room, pantry, laundry room, and the garage had caved in and we had about 4 inches of water downstairs. The first portion of ceiling to fall was immediately above my computer which was open and wet. Our entire house now requires replaced flooring upstairs and downstairs. Even my closet was soaked. To say it is a mess, is putting it mildly. ServiceMaster brought over 40 boxes to help move things out of the house. I have no idea where to find anything! Needless to say, the birthday bash must be put on hold. My nerves are frazzled, my legs are shaking, and I am utterly exhausted. Please say a prayer for me and our household. If I don't have much to post for the next few days, I am sure you will understand. I love you, my blogging friends.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Don't Take Yourself Too Seriously

The most important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative, and the second disastrous.- Margot Fonteyn

How many times have we seen people who took themselves so seriously and yet their work was disastrous? In my years of working with people, I have found the people who take themselves too seriously are usually difficult to work with and their jobs aren't even mediocre. Usually, this type does not take instruction and think they can always do everything on their own. I guess this calls for an examination of ourselves to determine what we take seriously. My job requires excellence and I must seriously work to the best of my ability. Yet, I realize someone else can always replace me. Guess that's why I better laugh at myself rather than create disaster

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Thought of the Day

The world is moved not only by the mighty shoves of the heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.- Helen Keller

When you feel your work is too small to be effective, remember our cumulative effort moves the world. Little becomes much when God is in it. Give love, speak peace, and let the world see Jesus in you. Have a blessed, effective day.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Highly Favored Ladies Conference

Highly Favored is an annual ladies conference held in Tulare, California. This meeting is the vision of Stephany Parkey, Abundant Life Center pastor's wife. Living so close to ALC I can say with assurance that Stephany, in spite of adversity and criticism, is a women after God's heart. I count it an honor to call her my friend. This year's theme was "Becoming" and one of the guest speakers was Janice Sjostrand, Ed.D., of Newark, Ohio. Dr. Sjostrand has served as instructor at both the secondary and university level and holds degrees in Spanish and Educational Administration and Supervision from the University of Arkansas. She has spoken and performed in a variety of venues from opening for Ray Charles in Little Rock, to singing for the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., as well as multiple conferences throughout the United States, Australia, Asia, and Europe. She performed for both President Clinton's inaugurations and his mother's funeral. In her liner notes, Barbra Streissand credits Janice's performance of "Holy Ground" at Mrs. Kelley's funeral for the inspiration for her CD "Higher Ground." Dr. Sjostrand wrote the song "Alabaster Box" which was recorded by CeCe Winans and was awarded the 2001 Dove Award. On the opening night of Highly Favored, Dr. Sjostrand spoke about "Becoming Powerful." She used many thoughts from the story of Esther and how she "became" - from maid to queen. Her message was lengthy, but everyone set on the edge of their seats clinging to each word. It seemed as though each sentence she spoke was powerful. I cannot possibly give you the entire message, but she did make three points about becoming powerful like Esther. 1. preparation 2. separation 3. purification. The following morning, Dr. Sjostrand ministered through song for nearly 45 minutes. She never paused during this time and progressed from one song to another. She turned the keyboard into a Latin acoustic guitar. If you are familiar with Norah Jones, I would say Dr. Sjostrand was similar. Beautiful, lilting, tender. It was a beautiful time in the presence of God. Friday evening, She gave a sequel to the story of Esther and taught us the appropriate way to get the king's attention. Never nag, whine, or cry, but when he sees you and bids you come, love him and serve him. Then, when the appropriate moment comes tell him everything and don't lie. Another point was how many hundreds worked/served in the palace. The men served out of desire for power, but Esther served out of love. The king loved that one, and she was his "refreshing." He didn't want to speak of powers and principalities when he was with her. He wanted intimacy and love. Without seeming redundant, I will again say her every sentence was powerful. You owe it to yourself to hear her speak. I am sure CD's could be ordered through ALC. Other guest speakers were Diane Mendoza of Stockton, California, and Beth Parkey Dillon of Winchester, Virginia. They were both inspiring and thought provoking. I want to give you a couple of quotes from Stephany Parkey. First - Look where you are going, because you are going where you are looking. Second - Sometimes we operate out of fear of people and not fear of God. I have only skimmed the surface of this wonderful conference. It was great from beginning to end. The praise team was awesome, special singing blessed, and the dramatic sign team, Holy Hands, was anointed. The grand finale was a lovely lunch Saturday afternoon. Another time I wished you were here to enjoy it with me. (I believe the above picture is from a CD cover of Janice Sjostrand.)

Friday, May 4, 2007

A Little Trivia

A bit of trivia for you -
At three minutes and four seconds after 2 AM on the 6th of May (tomorrow night) this year, the time and date will be 02:03:04 05/06/07.
This will never happen again! Cool, huh?

Last night I attended the Highly Favored Women's Conference in Tulare, California and am returning today to sing. Dr. Janice Sjostrand and Beth Dillon are the featured speakers. Dr. Sjostrand spoke on Becoming Powerful and gave an incredible presentation from the book of Esther. I am anxious to hear her again tonight. This is an annual conference and it is one of my favorite conferences to attend. Wish you were here! I'll post more later.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


I find that it is not the circumstances in which we are placed, but the spirit in which we face them, that constitutes our comfort.- Elizabeth T. King

The above quote caused me to think of those recovering at Virginia Tech. A recent article spoke of how eager and determined the injured students were to make a quick recovery. Although many found themselves in a tragic circumstance, they have chosen a positive spirit to face this situation. Many times I have quoted, "Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional." When my husband and I have taken youth groups on international trips, we always tell them we only have one rule - NO WHINING. If you are unhappy with a circumstance you cannot change, don't whine. Whining only makes you more miserable and all those around you. As my husband often states, "Life is tough, and then you die." Regardless of your status, race, gender or creed, pain happens. May as well smile awhile, give your face a rest, and make the best of your situation. (The snapshot is of a girl in our church who was on a silly photo scavenger hunt. Hope it made you smile.) This post makes me want to start singing Nat King Cole's song -

Smile though your heart is aching;
Smile even though it's breaking.
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by.
If you smile through your fear and sorrow,
Smile and maybe tomorrow,
You'll see the sun come shining through for you
Light up your face with gladness,
Hide every trace of sadness.
Although a tear may be ever so near,
That's the time you must keep on trying,
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile,
If you just smile.