Friday, August 31, 2007


You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.- -- Eleanor Roosevelt

This week has been a very hectic, busy one. Our insurance - State Farm - has deemed there has been sufficient time for the house repairs and they will not pay any further hotel expense. (Although we have not been in hotel this entire time since May 10. We had four weeks in a motorhome.) I understand the insurance company feeling this way, but it really isn't fair. At the end of January, our county was declared a disaster by the governor due to the freeze. When we had our catastrophe, we called many contractors and they were too busy to help us because the freeze caused all contractors to be overloaded. Furthermore, our insurance company has written us several times stating, "Do not begin work until your contractor's bid has been reviewed by your agent." The insurance did not accept the contractor's bid until July 31, as you already know from the post I made that day. Although the contractor had stated it would be a three week job, it doesn't mean he was waiting by the phone for the bid to be accepted and running the minute they called. He is an excellent contractor and is also in high demand. By the way, our contractor is Joe Banuelos of Banuelos Construction of Hanford. He is an excellent contractor and has been very kind and generous to us. Joe has been ready and willing to work, but our insurance monies are being held by our mortgage lender. They have had our money for a month and have yet to release any funds. (They sent the checks back once asking us to endorse them and they were already endorsed. That's the kind of stupidity we have been dealing with.) I will scream their name - COUNTRYWIDE HOME LOANS. PLEASE DO NOT GET YOUR MORTGAGE FINANCE THROUGH COUNTRYWIDE. If they treat everyone the way they have treated us, it's no wonder they have been in the news about to go belly up. Everything was smooth when we needed a lender but we have found out through our insurance agent and experience, they are the most difficult to deal with during a catastrophe. No matter who we talk to in their offices, no one knows anything about dealing with such situations with the exception of Dee from the Santa Maria office. We finally spoke with a manager from Dee's office and she promised we would have money by noon today. I will have to see it to believe it. We have never had one late payment in 12 years and you would think they would treat us better. Can you believe they made us sign a paper stating we want the insurance monies to go to the repairs of our house instead of our principle balance??? DUH!!! Do I hear anyone screaming a good attorney's phone number? Most lenders stamp the checks and hand them back to you for immediate use. Our contractor is at a stand still waiting for money and a mortgage lender inspector to come, and I have been furiously trying to clean plaster dust from the upstairs bedrooms so that we can at least sleep in clean beds and, if we accidentally drop a piece of clothing on the floor, it will not turn white with dust. We will be moving back to the house tomorrow. This will be really interesting trying to dress five year old Bryn in the mornings and keep her from stepping or falling on carpet tack strip that is all through the house. More seriously, Blake has chronic sinusitis and asthma and I hope I can get enough dust out that he can breathe. We thought we would be able to use an industrial vacuum when the house was completely empty of furniture. It will be interesting for five people to share one toilet and shower when they are used to three, and keep the exposed wood floor from getting too wet from so many showers in the one bathroom. Fortunately, Trout's Floor Covering of Visalia will go ahead and place the order for the carpet and tile believing that payment is on the way. As soon as the carpet and tile are in the warehouse, we will get a big U-Haul and move our furniture into it. Then, the painter will come and paint the house in two days followed by the tile layers. As soon as the tile is down, the toilets will be set and the carpet installed. Just maybe we will see a conclusion within three weeks. This I promise - if my kids get sick or hurt because of this, I will most definitely contact an attorney because mama bear will be really upset. I feel guilty venting all this frustration to you, but hopefully you will forgive me. In the meantime, at the top of this post, I have a left a quote for your to review. Have you ever looked fear in the face? Tell me your story.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Role Model

Children need models rather than critics.- -- Joseph Joubert

This quote really grabbed me. I have heard a few speakers who publicly criticized young people and voiced their "concern" about the church of tomorrow. Such criticism raises my blood pressure and I am immediately angered. If they feel so strongly that the church is in danger, maybe they need to review what kind of example they are giving. Personally, I am more than confident that the future church is in good hands. First, I believe in our young people. Second, the word of God clearly states the church is triumphant. Regardless of critical, negative people, the church will always stand because God's church cannot be destroyed. Can I encourage you to let a young person know you are proud of them? Let your walk with God be a happy, positive one that sets a good example.
P.S. The snapshot is of Jane holding Bryn. Jane has definitely been one of the most influential people in my life and an excellent Christian example. When I was just two years old, she was my Sunday School teacher and she still teaches me life lessons when I need them.

House Update # ?

Carpet and tile have been selected, the fallen ceilings are now restored and textured, the bathroom floors are scheduled to be repaired this week, and the painter will be here by the end of the week. Hip-hip-hooray! There really is a light beginning to shine at the end of this tunnel. After nearly four months, we will almost be sad to leave the Holiday Inn with their kind staff, tasty cinnamon rolls, and fresh cookies each evening. Even so, I can hardly wait to sleep in my bed again. Light a candle, cross your fingers, say a prayer............we need the mortgage company to release the funds to the contractor so we can hurry this work along.
P.S. I would show you some "improved" pictures, but I cannot find the battery charger for my camera. I have a feeling it fell into a box that was being packed and put away.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Gorgeous And Perfect

My eyes were mesmerized at church Sunday while I watched my friends new baby sleep. What is it about a sleeping child that causes us to stare so intensely we nearly stop breathing? Thinking back to when each of my children were born, I remember sitting quietly, staring at the baby, and wondering how did I help make this beautiful creature. Bryce was born with olive complexion, dark peach fuzz hair, and weighing in over nine pounds. He was gorgeous and perfect. Nearly 11 years later, Blake was born - barely eight pounds, a complexion that was white as milk, and a barely there orange fuzz for hair. He looked like someone had brushed his head with orange blush and, he was gorgeous and perfect. Following five years later, was Bryn-Anika. So very tiny, petite, pale, barely there fuzz, and perfect pink lips. Of course, she was gorgeous and perfect. Although I enjoyed every gurgle, sigh, and small noise, it was those quiet, sleeping moments when they were cradled in my arms that I felt so awestruck. It seemed as if I could just look at the sleeping child for an eternity. What causes this magical feeling? I'm not quite sure, but it is gorgeous and perfect.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Best Medicine?

Can you hear me singing the jingle, "I don't wanna grow up, I'm a Toys R Us kid...." (smile, and give your face a rest) It would be a really boring world if we couldn't laugh. Scripture says laughter is like a medicine that helps us. Do you laugh frequently? Does it make you feel better?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Helps Or Hindrances

Trials, temptations, disappointments -- all these are helps instead of hindrances, if one uses them rightly. They not only test the fibre of a character, but strengthen it. Every conquered temptation represents a new fund of moral energy. Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before.- James Buckham

When I read this quote, I immediately wanted to write about it and share it. I saved it to my drafts thinking I would get around to writing my thoughts, but a month later I still have not written anything. Maybe I should leave it alone or toss it out to you and see what you think about it. Are trials, temptations, disappointments helps or hindrances?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Tents, Trailers, And Big RV's

I find it interesting to look at the various RV's at camp because it speaks of the diversity of the crowd. From $59 tents to million dollar rigs, everyone enjoys each other's company and no prejudice is felt. Personally, I think this is a reason camp is so enjoyable. Everyone is just happy to be there, regardless of their or their neighbors accommodations. Have you ever been to a place such as this and think about how wonderful it is to have people "dwelling" together in harmony? What can we do to bring this feeling into our everyday life?
Here's some pics for you to enjoy.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

2nd Place

Thank you to the many friends that voted for Bryce. He entered the North American Talent Search which was held at the Bobcat Areana in Charlotte, North Carolina this year, and he was chosen to be one of five male finalists. This competition is sponsored by the Pentecostal Music Association. Bryce gave an outstanding performance on Wednesday evening, August 8. This is a special date to our family. It was my father's birthday, and it is also the anniversary of my first date with Brian which was 32 years ago this year. On Friday evening, the 10th, the results of the competition were revealed. Bryce was 2nd place. He feels very happy about this accomplishment because he has never performed on the east coast and did not expect to receive enough votes to place. The exposure has already gained him several bookings. Unfortunately, I do not have any photos of this event. I was waiting to make this post thinking I might find something on another website that I could cut and paste. If you visit, they are supposed to post a report about youth congress. Also,, should have video clips of the contestants when they update their site. Feel free to visit these sites. Please pray for God to direct Bryce's steps as he carves a path in music ministry.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Summer Fun At Camp

Did you think I had ran away to be gone forever?!?!? I have so much to talk about, that if I try and tell it all, it would be too much.

First - camp was just wonderful. The first week, there were young kids (7 years old to 14) running around everywhere enjoying sports, choir, crafts, church, and just chillin'. In the meantime, Brian was busy supervising the tent set-up crew. I have included pictures of the big tent, which is used for the services. Also, there is a connecting tent that serves as the foyer, and the tent with windows is the hospitality tent. It starts on a large parcel of bare ground and transforms into a sanctuary. To say it is a huge task would be an understatement. The three main poles are nearly five stories high. Once the tents are erected, several crews add the extras. Sound, lights, seating, banners, and decorations. Beautiful flower arrangements help camoflauge the many poles. When the second week arrived, everything was set and ready to accommodate the 3,000 plus crowd. The grounds were full of RV's and tents, and excitement was in the air. While most of the kids played outside, the adults were in the tent for daily Bible studies under the tutelage of Dr. Fred Foster. During the evening, the toys were put away and the children went to Kids Church while the adults went to the big tent to enjoy the evening services filled with music and outstanding inspirational messages given by Ronnie Mullings and Scott Graham. Thursday and Friday evenings also featured the WAY Choir and WAY Quartet. They were absolutely outstanding. At the end of the second week, it was time to tear down and youth began to arrive for the 15-25 year old camp.
When we finally arrived back home, we were swamped with "catch-up" work. We had to empty and clean the RV, return it to its place, and start moving more things from our house. Tomorrow, work will begin to restore the house to its livable condition. YEAH!!! I think I see a light at the end of this very long tunnel. More tomorrow.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Hi, Everyone!

To all my blogger friends - It seems like years since I have had time to read, post, and enjoy the world of blogging. We are back "home" and will have full internet access tomorrow. I have so much news to share so check back tomorrow. I have missed reading your blogs and plan to spend tomorrow evening catching up.

Edited - very late Monday night/Tuesday morn
Oops! I ask for forgiveness. I wasn't able to get to my computer until very late this evening (Monday) and I will have to catch up tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Vote For Bryce!

We are still at camp and enjoying this wonderful cool, coastal weather. I haven't had time to make any long posts, but I hope to very soon. This is just a quick note to let you know Bryce will be singing in a talent competition in Charlotte, NC tomorrow night (Wednesday) at Youth Congress. If you would like to CAST A VOTE for him, send a text message to 71946 and type in the body MALE 4. There is a $0.99 charge for each text. You can send a text message beginning at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday) until 7:30 p.m. Friday. This is the local time for Charlotte. If you are in California, you can begin voting at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow until 4:30 p.m. Friday. He will be competing with four other male vocalists and the first place winner will receive a CD recording. Please pass this message along to any people you know who love Bryce.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Shopping At Camp Meeting

One of the fun parts of Camp Meeting, is shopping in the exhibit hall. I couldn't resist buying this hat for Bryn and letting her wear it. This was a snapshot with my cell phone just before she went to kids church. Sorry this post is short, but I will tell you more later. The hat was created by Rene Wilbanks. Isn't it a hoot?!