Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Jaws of Life Used to Save Woman Trapped In Car

That woman, happens to be one of my kids. Well, I say one of my kids. Here's the story. In the 70's I was a Sunday School bus captain. We would take our bus to "The Gardens" and pick up children for Sunday School. One of these children was named Nikki. I think she was only three years old when she started riding the bus. Angel would be an appropriate word for her. She was so sweet. Nikki never stopped riding the bus. When she became a teenager, she volunteered to work the route which she did until she was married. After high school, Nikki was accepted into a nursing program and became a registered nurse. She married an aspiring young preacher and they now have two darling daughters. Yesterday morning, as she was on her way home from work, she hit a patch of dirt where the road narrowed and her Toyota Sequoia went airborn up a berm and flipped end over end four times. The responding officers listed the accident as major with moderate to major injuries. Below is a link to a very short video clip and news report. (after clicking on this link, click on "video high" next to the picture of the ambulance)
A woman flips her vehicle Tuesday morning forcing county fire to use the jaws of life to save her life.According to Bakersfield Police the crash happened just after 8 am on Brimhall Road before Jewetta Ave in West Bakersfield.The driver was heading west when for an unknown reason she veered off the road, hit an embankment and flipped.She was taken to an area hospital with moderate injuries.

As Paul Harvey would say, here's the rest of the story. When she arrived at the truama center, she had a full body X-Ray and CT scan. All results are negative. No broken bones. She has swelling on the top of her head and jokes she looks like Eyore. Although very stiff and sore, I believe you will agree she is a miracle. Especially if you are able to view the video and see her damaged vehicle. "Jaws of Life" saved her? I greatly appreciate the firemen who used their equipment to extract her from the crashed vehicle, but I believe it was the "Hands of Life" that saved her. Thank you, Jesus.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Request for PK Questions

This post requires participation. I have given consideration to something and wonder if anyone would be willing to submit questions about, for, or concerning PK's. It could be something you want to know, wonder "why," or you think a PK might want to ask. I will try to answer (based on my experience) these questions individually over a period of time. Questions can be left in a comment which will first come to my e-mail. If you don't want the question posted, please say so and feel free to leave the question anonymously.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Good Looking is 11

Eleven years ago yesterday, I was wondering if the effects of a spinal were ever going to wear off, why the nurse would say, "You ought to feel your toes by now," beginning to feel scared because it was another 10 hours before I did feel my toes, and marveling at how different this baby boy was from the first. You see, the first baby boy looked as if he had a summer tan and the second baby boy was white as milk. Not only did this one have milky skin, it looked as if someone had rubbed orange blush on his head and above his eyes. is some peach fuzz there and..........I'll be............ it is going to be a redhead! That gorgeous, eight pound baby, is nearly as tall as me, now has a "mop" of red hair, and is a real sweetheart. I call him Good Looking but his birth certificate says his name is Blake Austin. Other words used to describe this child of mine, would be - brilliant, tender, compassionate, extreme, helpful, gifted, independent, precocious, curious, energetic. He is now an honor roll student in the 5th grade GATE class for accelerated students. He loves talking, soccer, basketball, talking, Playstation, Nintendo DS, talking, singing, biking, and did I mention talking? When I say talking, I mean conversation. At just two years of age, he was staying with his grandma and she asked him what he wanted to do. His response was, "Talk." When asked what he wanted to talk about his response was, "Ummm, aminals." Yes, he said it scrambled - am-in-nals. He particularly likes conversing with adults. We had a lady in our congregation who always held conversations with him. He cried when she moved away because he wouldn't have her to talk to anymore. With the exception of last year, he has requested spaghetti every year for his birthday dinner. Spaghetti it was, along with green beans, Italian salad, garlic bread, iced tea, and delicious chocolate cake. The family was here, presents were opened, and I am so blessed to have such a wonderful son.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Happiness Is A Choice

A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with his hair fashionably coifed and shaved perfectly, moved to a nursing home today. His wife of 70 years recently passed away, and his failing health made the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready. As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window. "I love it," he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy. "Mr. Jones, you haven't seen the room; just wait." "That doesn't have anything to do with it," he replied. "Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged .. it's how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. "It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away just for this time in my life. Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you've put in.
Let's deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories! Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing." Remember the five simple rules to be happy: 1. Free your heart from hatred. 2. Free your mind from worries. 3. Live simply. 4. Give more. 5. Expect less.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Red Velvet Cake Recipe

Shortly following Christmas, I posted about my husband's famous Red Velvet Cakes. The response was so great that I decided to post the recipe. Maybe you will want to try it out for Valentine's Day. He claims you cannot substitute any item because it will not taste right nor turn out right. Follow the directions and enjoy!

Brian's Red Velvet Cake
1/2 cup shortening
1 & 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. cocoa
2 (1 oz.) bottles of red food coloring
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp salt
2 & 1/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. vinegar

Cream shortening, sugar, and eggs. Well! Mix cocoa and food coloring. Add to creamed mixture. Sift flour three times. (yes, Brian sifts it 3 times) Alternately add flour and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla. Mix vinegar and soda. Add to creamed mixture. Bake at 350. Grease and flour pans (three 9 inch cake tins). Bake 25 minutes.

Red Cake Frosting
2 cubes of Imperial margarine (He insist on Imperial)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 heaping Tbsp. flour
1 cup milk

Cream Imperial margarine, sugar, and vanilla for 5 minutes with electric mixer. Mix milk and flour then cook over medium heat stirring constantly with a whisk until thickened. Set it aside until it is completely cool. After it is cool, add to creamed mixture. Mix well. (Like thick whipping cream) Set in fridge to chill for about 30 minutes. Mix again and then frost the cake. The secret to this frosting is enough patience to mix it long enough. Longer mixing makes better frosting.

Monday, January 21, 2008

And Yet Another Introduction

A young couple who is friends of ours, Josh and Candace, is expecting their first child. They have started a blog and posted pics from their recent ultra-sound. Josh is a teacher, minister, and recording artist and Candace works in banking. Bryn was a flower girl in their wedding and she thought Candace was a REAL princess. The wedding was similar to a fairytale and beautiful. If you want to check out their blog, here is the link.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Anointing Fall On Me

Talent will take you to places where anointing isn't permitted.
Anointing will take you places talent isn't needed.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I don't know who wrote the above quote, but it caught my attention. The past few days my mind has been in a whirl about PK's. I think I could write a different account every day for a month about PK's, but I think I will give you a break. As a singer I think talent is very important and should be developed to one's best ability but, there are times the anointing takes over. When that happens, your talent reaches places it hasn't been before. I have also been in places where the talent was great but lacked something. Was it the anointing? Give me your thoughts about the above quote.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Blessed, But Not A Bed of Roses

My last post received an overwhelming amount of response and I thought I would continue this post along the same line. The previous post was not meant to seek sympathy, but rather bring an awareness to the life of a PK. In fact, I was speaking of past events. As you already know, I grew up a PK and have my own PK's now. I wouldn't trade my life as a pastor's wife, but I will admit the thought has crossed my mind, "My kids did not choose this life." However, that is a lame thought because no child chooses the home in which they will grow up. Even so, PK's face unique situations. Rather than collect my thoughts, I am going to scratch the surface and speak randomly about things PK's face and why.

  • PK's and their families become strongly connected to the people in their congregation. They consider everyone as family even to the point of calling each other "brother" and "sister." They worship, laugh, cry, eat, and play together. On the occasion a member decides to leave or cause division in the congregation, it is sad because the PK has made an emotional and spiritual connection with this person.
  • PK's lives are often lonely even though their lives are busy. This is due to a several reasons. Some young people do not live their lives according to the instruction of the pastor and so they exclude the PK in any of their activities because they are afraid the PK will tell his/her dad what they did. (Most PK's would never tell because they are starved for the friendship and fellowship.) Loneliness can also be caused from not getting to "bear your heart" with your friends. All conversations are approached with caution.
  • PK's schedules are often interrupted. A planned trip to the beach may get cancelled because someone had a serious accident and dad now has to go to the hospital. The phone sometimes rings in the middle of the night and dad leaves to help someone. Just when you think you are smooth sailing, one phone call can change the entire day or week.
  • PK's are considered examples for the other kids of the church and, spoken sarcastically, "God forbid the PK does something wrong." I have never expected my kids to be examples and will not tell them they need to be one. Rather, I tell them they need to behave in a certain manner because that is what God would have them do. We do right because it is the right thing to do. In so doing, the PK will be a good example.
  • PK's sometimes struggle because others misjudge them or are jealous of them. Sometimes the struggle is knowing "Bro. Holy" is a hypocrite. This is a big reason why many PK's lose out with God because they become disillusioned. It is also another reason why I have taught my kids there ARE hypocrites and there ARE Christians. Don't worry about the hypocrites. God will take care of them.
  • PK's just "know" what is going on. Their parents can shelter them, never tell them what is happening in the church, but they will "know." They are keenly aware to what is happening. More than mom or dad will ever know.

Now don't shoot me because I have been real. There are many blessings to being a PK but sometimes one big problem can rock their boat to the point of giving up. I had a PK respond to the previous post stating, "... just knowing that you were a PK and survived with words to help others helps me. Thanks for your blogs and esp. this one." Because of that response, I want to make a statement to PK's.

PK, being a survivor depends upon how much fight you have deep inside and how real God is to you. You must know you believe what you believe not because of your parents. Read the Bible and understand it for yourself. If there are things you don't understand, ask your parents or your presbyter, or your district superintendent or a minister you respect. Don't seek counsel from other young people. On the roughest day, remind yourself that God is on your side and you can fight your way through the bad day. When you face a hypocrite, remind yourself there ARE some Christians. When youth exclude you, pray that God will change them or remove them. That sounds rough, but it works. Sometimes God changed them and they apologized to me. Other times, God moved the "thorn in my side." God said He wouldn't put more on you than you can bear. When you have an unbearable day, remind God of His promise to you. I have told God, "You said You wouldn't put more on me than I can bear and I can't take this junk." He heard me and He helped me. If all else fails, remember that Sis. Jana Allard said, "You can do it!" I believe in you.

The good definitely out-weighs the bad, but the bad days are soooo heavy because we are soooo emotionally and spiritually connected. I think all of us would readily admit we wouldn't change our lives of ministry, but we should be honest enough to admit there are days, even if they are few, we feel whipped, lonely, and beat up. BUT.........I can do all things through Christ.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

When PK's Ask Difficult Questions

PK, also known as preacher's kid, face unique situations in life which are sometimes stressful and sometimes privileged. Stress from not having your parents when you want them, troubled and jealous people, and a fluctuating schedule. Privileges range from first in the potluck line or traveling to faraway places for events and experiencing new countries, cities, cultures and friends. This was the only life I knew and the life my children know. Most often, PK's are keenly aware of happenings and people which provokes the PK to ask questions which can be difficult to answer. When I was a child, there were many occasions church members would come to our house to seek counsel and my sister and I would be sent to our rooms so our parents could discuss confidentially with the saint. My sister and I would not hear the conversations, but it was easy to determine if the meeting was pleasant or not. No matter how hard our parents tried, their body language would give them away. If you couldn't quite figure it out then, you just waited until the next service and watched the people they counseled. Now my husband has made it a practice to counsel with people at his church office but my children, like my sister and I, know if the meeting was glad or sad. My husband is great at masking his feelings, but somehow these kids "just know." Then comes the questions - "Why did it take so long?" "Do those people love you, Dad?" "Why did Mr. NoName look mad and why was Mrs. NoName crying?" The questions can be endless. Now if you are a minister and minister's wife like my husband and I, you never repeat any part of a counseling session to your children and you try your best to shield them from any negative feelings. Even so, PK's sense so much. As much as a pastor tries to keep all counseling sessions during "normal" hours at his office, the fact is people work and they want to speak to the pastor at their convenience. This means late night meetings, lunch time, dinner time, and the occasional middle-of-the-night phone calls. PK's can feel as though they are being robbed of their parents time and must be convinced that mom or dad is helping someone. This can bring more questions because sometimes dad's counsel is refused and the member decides to walk a different path. That's when the question is asked, "Where is Bro. Whoever?" The most difficult is when Bro. Whoever was someone who had made himself very close to the pastor and his family. The PK then wonders why Bro. Whoever stopped loving them. Pastors try very hard not to play favorites, but there are always parishioners who make themselves available for any service to the pastor and make themselves close. The pastor does not favor this person over another member, but because of the strong love and support this member gives the pastor it endears them to the pastor and his family. When you have an "endeared" member walk away, the sting is intense. Several years ago, there was a young girl who desired to play the piano so much. She didn't have any family members in our church and she became very close to our family. I drove her, my son, and niece to piano lessons every week which was always followed with dinner and ice cream. I loved this girl as if she were my own. Suddenly, a young man entered her life and persuaded her she did not need God. Away she went, but not before calling and asking, "Would anybody want my Bible because I don't need it anymore?" Ouch! Hurt! I cried for days sure my heart would break until I received a song in the mail titled "Comforter" that brough peace to my soul. My son was devastated and asked, "Why?" Another occasion, my husband had been in a lengthy counseling session with another "endeared" one and our children were waiting for the session to end so our family could go to dinner. Finally, it was over. We all got in the car and headed to the restaurant. The short drive to eat was quiet. We parked and began to walk to the door of the restaurant when our young son slipped next to his dad and quietly asked, "Dad, did you lose them?" That time, the question was too difficult for me. I cried knowing that before long we would be hearing, "Dad, how come she doesn't love us anymore?" I tried to hold the tears back. They wouldn't stop. When PK's ask difficult questions, mom or dad can do their best to mask feelings, but sometimes our humanity takes over and we cry.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Praise Report

On the 29th of December I requested prayer for my good friend Alex who is a career military man. He recently had back surgery and was facing another surgery. Walking was difficult and the pain was intense. After prayer, he underwent some further testing and the report is "No surgery." He is doing much better and is being sent to some training for a couple months then he will return to his ship. God is good - - - - -ALL the time! Thank you, Jesus, and thank you, friends, for praying!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Honest Prayer

Our international church headquarters, UPCI, has an annual program that kicks off the New Year with 30 days of prayer and fasting. This past Wednesday night, we had prayer instead of the usual Bible study. Just when I thought I was going to get some good snapshots, the camera battery died after only three pics. Anyway, back to the story. The service began with a praise chorus and a spirit of worship moved into the sanctuary. Following the song, we began to pray collectively. There was a time of prayer for the youth, single adults, and married couples praying for each other. At one point, several of the small children went to the platform and sat on the choir steps waiting for the children's minister to pray for them. Some of the young boys huddled in prayer and little girls joined hands in prayer. They were all so sincere in their prayer and I wanted to share the few pics I was able to get. Although the children touched my heart, it was another part of the service that really got to me. During our time of prayer, my husband said he has always wanted our church to be an honest church. If we are struggling or feeling weak, don't hide it with an "I'm okay." Be honest enough to admit I am going through a rough time. My husband then asked, "If you are willing to disclose you have had a rough time praying or a season of struggle, please come to the front and we will have the ministry team pray for you." The first person to step forward was an elderly man that has been a saint for decades. As a child, I used to spend Sunday afternoons playing with my dear friend who is the daughter of this gentle, sweet man. Now some people were surprised to think this man could in any way be weak because they view him as a pillar in the congregation, yet he wanted a fresh touch from the Lord. As the ministry team prayed for him, he began to worship and you could literally see the joy of Jesus sweep over him. It was so beautiful and so touching. Of course, this began a flood of people hungering for a fresh touch. I somehow believe God used this man's honesty to encourage everyone. I know I was deeply moved. My heart was overwhelmed to see so many tears on faces from the very young to the old. We concluded with the old chorus that goes like this -
Jesus is the sweetest name I know,
and He's just the same as His lovely name,
that's the reason why I love him so,
for Jesus is the sweetest name I know.
I hope you have a blessed time when you attend your next church service.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Too Weird

A Corpse, a Check, a Bizarre NYC Crime


(AP) A police detective leads David Dalaia, 65, from the Midtown North police precinct, Wednesday, Jan. 09, 2008
NEW YORK (AP) - Detective Travis Rapp has seen his share of corpses, but this was new: two men wheeling a rigid, pale body down a Manhattan street in a red office chair, drawing a crowd of suspicious onlookers. Looking out the window of the restaurant where he was having lunch, Rapp initially assumed "it was a mannequin or a dummy," he said. "I thought it was a joke, honestly." A closer inspection showed that it wasn't. The man was dead, and two of his friends had hauled his corpse to a store to cash his $355 Social Security check, police said. They were arrested before they could get the money. The bedraggled suspects, David J. Dalaia and James O'Hare, were scheduled to appear in court Wednesday night. Police said the men, both 65, were petty criminals with long histories of heroin addiction and arrests dating to the 1960s.

The trouble began Tuesday when Dalaia and O'Hare tried to cash Virgilio Cintron's check at a store in Hell's Kitchen on their own, police said. The man at the counter told them that Cintron had to be present to cash the check, so they went back to his apartment, which one of the suspects shared with the dead man. Cintron was apparently undressed when he died, sometime within the previous 24 hours. Police said Dalaia and O'Hare proceeded to dress him in a faded T-shirt, pants they could only get up part way, and a pair of Velcro sneakers. They threw a coat over his waist to conceal what the pants couldn't cover, police said. They then put him on the office chair and wheeled the corpse over to the check-cashing store. The men left Cintron's body outside, went inside and tried to cash his check, authorities said. The store's clerk, who knew Cintron, asked the men where he was, and O'Hare told the clerk they would go and get him. At about the same time, Rapp spotted the men and confronted them as they were trying to haul the body into the store. He said that even after he identified himself as a police officer, O'Hare told him, "I have to get my friend in here. I have to cash his check."
He ordered the men to back away from the victim. They feigned surprise when paramedics declared him dead, Rapp said. "When they said, 'Your friend is dead,' they said, 'Oh my God, he's gone?'" The scene played out on a busy Manhattan street as several people watched.
"I saw this guy sitting in this chair with his head back. He looked very dead," said Victor Rodriguez, 38, who was working at a nearby restaurant when he saw the commotion outside. "He looked very sick. His eyes were closed. He wasn't moving."
Little is known about Cintron, 66, who apparently died of natural causes. An autopsy proved inconclusive, the medical examiner's office said, and his body hadn't been positively identified as of Wednesday afternoon. Relatives told police that he had recently been hospitalized for Parkinson's disease. Police said his rap sheet was long, with arrests for burglary, assault and drugs. Locals said that Cintron and O'Hare often frequented a food pantry down the street.
A telephone number listed for Cintron at the apartment he shared with O'Hare went unanswered. Police said they didn't have an address for Dalaia or attorney information for him or O'Hare. Regardless of what happens to the defendants, they can take solace in the fact that they fooled one onlooker with the dead man disguise. "He went in regular clothes. I didn't even know he was dead. I thought he was alive," said Gerit Ahemed, a clerk at a nearby deli.

Another Introduction

A brilliant girl named Chandra, who was born and raised in our church, has started blogging. Let me give an ad for her new blog. Just reading her profile is worth the visit. She has such a great sense of humor. Chandra and Bryce attended Sunday School together and eventually ended up at the same university. She just graduated Magna Cum Laude and is as stylish and fun as she is brainy.

Monday, January 7, 2008

May I Introduce You...

A question I am often asked, "Where did your kids get that red hair?" Being the ornery person I am, sometimes I give a sassy response such as, "We paid a lot of money to adopt these two from Ireland," or "You ought to see the mail man," but the reality is it is in the genes, the DNA. My husband is quick to take the credit because his grandmother, mother, aunt, and uncle had red hair. Not wanting to feel left out, I quickly add the "red" is on both sides of the family. My sister has a gorgeous, red head. I figured it was time you all met my niece. Her name is Sara, she lives next door to my mom, and she is currently a student at Bakersfield College. I'll let you be the judge, but my non-prejudice opinion is - she is beautiful. Her hair is just a slight shade darker than Blake's. Of course, Blake thinks she is the greatest cousin in the whole world. For those that thought I had another daughter, sorry - she belongs to my sister but I'd be more than happy to claim her.

Pics are: top-Sara the model, with her favorite singer Tim Spell, wrestling with Bryce, with her friends Keith-Jessica-Sara-Bryce, Blake & Sara, silly Bryn & Sara, with her friend Jessica.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


It has been one year and 11 days since I made my first post to the blogging world. This morning my counter rolled past 30,000 hits! Amazing! I want to say thank you to everyone who offered comments, provoked thought, gave words of encouragement, and loaned your shoulder to cry on. You have made blogging a great pleasure for me. Thanks again.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Commercial Break

My dear husband had a short lived blog life which I think was due to such a heavy schedule and some criticism. With a little nudging, he is back into the blog world. Feel free to visit him at
I just typed the title for this post, and now my brain is whirling. We all need breaks but what about commercials? Combining these two words is nearly an oxymoron! There is, however, an importance in commercial breaks. This year, our congregation is striving for growth. We need to take a break, engage in commerce (witnessing) to yield or make a profit (winning a soul). Maybe typing that title was a nudge from God telling me to take a commercial break.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

My Prayer for You This Year

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee,
and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee,
and give thee peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


The past few years, we have had the pleasure of the company of Mark, Debbie, and Sheldon Pryor at Christmas time. Sheldon is younger than Blake, older than Bryn and at the age where there is a tug-of-war between playing with the older boy instead of the young girl with cooties. Being the very sweet boy Sheldon is, he always takes some time to play with Bryn. This year she got a beautician costume and he got a cowboy costume. You'd think they would get paid the big bucks for being so cute. I couldn't resist posting the pic.
EDIT: 11:30 PM I have added a link on the right to Janiver Brown's blog. She is in need of healing. If you would, please leave of word of encouragement for her.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


New Year's Eve is always like a huge party at our church. We begin service at 8 p.m. and have many songs, speakers, testimonies from each decade, and break around 10 p.m. for refreshments. After about 30 - 35 minutes of overdosing on sweets, we return to the sanctuary for more singing, testimonies, various speakers and continue until after midnight. The mood is always joyful and the variety is like having a combination pizza. This year we were blessed to have Keith Smith, tenor of freeWAY, as a guest soloist. I must admit, however, my favorite singer this year was Blake. He sang "You Are Mine." Some of the lyrics are, "...You are a breath of fresh air, warm sunshine on my skin, a song in my head playing over again, You are beautiful, and You are mine, You bring laughter to sad days, love in so many ways, a dance to my feet, a song in my heart, a shoulder to cry on when my world falls apart........You are beautiful and You are mine." Bryce just might have competition because Blake is turning into a great singer at only 10 years old. I hope 2008 brings you love, happiness and bountiful blessings from above. Here's a few thoughts to consider for 2008.
Expect great in 2008
Don't be late in 2008
Don't segregate in 2008
Have no hate in 2008
To the lost give God bait, in 2008
Make God your date in 2008
For the singles - get a date in 2008 LOL
Is heaven your fate in 2008?
Stay inside the gate in 2008
Encourage/love/win your mate in 2008
Will you rate in 2008
Put a steak on my plate in 2008 (my mom said this one)
For His return I wait in 2008