Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bryn's Blog

Bryn has decided to try her hand at blogging. If you have the time, feel free to visit her at

I hope you all have a great New Year's Eve. I will be at church at midnight and I plan on having a great time.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What Was She Thinking?

Walking through a shop at Knott's Berry Farm, Bryn paused to look at a doll and I couldn't resist snapping a picture. She was softly fingering the red curls of the doll and had a small smile on her face. I wonder what was she thinking? There was a vast selection of dolls, but she only stopped to look at this doll. Did she feel drawn to the doll because its curls matched hers, was she wishing her curls were that smooth, did she just want to take the doll home with her? I wonder.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Random Pictures

Even dogs have "bad pic" days - LOL
The week before Christmas Sunday, we had another baby dedication. They are always so precious.
Karry & Bryn acting like they were going to attack Blake's gingerbread house.
Bryce visited Blake's Sunday School class and couldn't resist making a gingerbread house, too.

Bryn and Sheldon walking down a street at Knott's Berry Farm. Each year, Knott's Berry Farm has a Fire & Law month. Because Brian is a Kern County Sheriff Chaplain, we were able to get in free to Knott's Berry Farm and our kids were only $15. Sheldon tagged along with us.
Part of the Camp Snoopy Ice Show. This show was approximately 45 minutes and it was worth the entire day. In fact, we went twice.
Bryn, Blake & Sheldon with the stunt cowboy cast.
Blake ready to get on a roller coaster.
Bryn loved the manger scene at Knott's Berry Farm.
Bryn picking up her friend Katelyn.
Bryn and Frosty.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

My Town Is Just Right

As I left my house early on Christmas Eve, the above picture is the view I saw as I drove down the road. Snow had fallen in the mountains the night before and, when we see the foothills clearly, rain will soon come to our town. For all of the negative comments my little town receives, it actually has many positive points. We can see the beautiful foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, we are only an hour and half drive from the snow, two hours from the beach, two and half hours from Los Angeles, four hours from San Francisco, and the cost of living in our town is the probably the most economical in our state. In my little town, I can drive to the grocery store, purchase the item I forgot to complete dinner, and be back to my house in 10 minutes. My children attend a California Distinguished School and my oldest son can drive to the state university in 40 minutes. It makes me think of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. "This bed is too hard, this bed is too soft, this bed is just right..." Good and bad, I love my little town and it is "just right."

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Continues

I realize it is the day after Christmas, but I just found this youtube link. Myles Young is a recording artist and songwriter. I sang a duet with him a few years ago on one of his WestCoast projects. In my opinion, this California Christmas song should be used at Disney California.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas From Sparkles

Sparkles is ready to open her presents and is all dressed in her Santa dress.
Have a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Few Christmas Sunday Family Pics

Blake, Bryce, & Bryn-Anika
Blake matching his big brother Bryce
Bryn-Anika, my princess
Blake, Bryce, & Bryn-Anika
Brian and I
Wishing you and yours a

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Sunday Part II

A few of the candlelights
Jonathan Contreras playing "Carol of the Bells"
Daria Espinoza making her debut singing, "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"
Blake singing "White Christmas"
Alize Galban, Bryn, & Monique Perez peforming "I'm Gonna Wrap Up Myself for Christmas"
Pastor Brian Allard reading a story to the captive audience
Bryn was completely captivated listening to the story

Have I told you I LOVE CHRISTMAS TIME?!?!? Yesterday was a beautiful day at our church as we celebrated the birth of Christ. Let me tell you about it and share a few photos.
The morning service featured the children. We had representation from every class and age group. There were poems read, songs sung, the kids choir sang several songs, an instrumental performance on the piano by a young girl, and then a story. The stage was set up with a small couch & chair, flowers, lights, etc. Blake and Bryn were on the couch and they asked their dad some questions about Christmas. He responded by reading the Christmas story. It ended with prayer and everyone received a Christmas sack. It was a beautiful service.
A candlight Christmas concert was the feature for the evening service. I think we had nearly 100 candles lit. They covered the top of the piano, sound speakers, and other pieces of furniture. It was beautiful! There were numerous solos, two piano instrumentals, a trumpet instrumental, a sing-a-long, The grand finale was visiting with friends while we were served hot chocolate and cookies. Did I mention that I LOVE Christmas???

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Sunday! Celebrate Jesus!

Today, we celebrate the birth of our King. Now don't get me wrong - we celebrate Jesus everyday but today is a special birthday party. Our morning service is featuring our children and the evening service will be a candlelight Christmas concert. Many years (50 something) ago, my dad started the tradition of giving a Christmas sack to each person in attendance on Christmas Sunday. Last night our family prepared the sacks filling each with an apple, orange, corn nuts, rice krispies, chocolate filled gold coins, candy canes, and several other pieces of candy. I'm hoping to get several pictures that I can later share with you.

Have a nice day with Jesus.

Friday, December 19, 2008


People will forget what you said.

People will forget what you did.

But people will never forget how you made them feel.

- unknown

This holiday season, find a way to spread a little love everyday.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fervent Convictions

The height of your accomplishments will equal the depth of your convictions.
- William F. Scolavino
Much like common sense, convictions seem to be nearing extinction yet, convictions are what give us the driving force to pursue our beliefs, establish our path, and determine our accomplishments or lack thereof. To cast away strong convictions, weakens one's platform. Maintain your acceptable standard and pursue higher principles.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Worth of Man

The true worth of a man is to be measured by the objects he pursues.
- Marcus Aurelius

Monday, December 15, 2008


Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is a beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is life, fight for it!
- Mother Teresa

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Too Busy?

Luke 10:31 - Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. (NKJV)

In the book, The Tipping Point, it tells of two Princeton University psychologists that conducted a study based on the story of the Good Samaritan. A group of Seminary students was asked to prepare a talk on a "biblical theme and then walk over to a nearby building to present it." With one part of the students, the experimenter would look at his watch and say, "Oh, you're late. They were expecting you a few minutes ago. You'd better get moving." He then told the remaining students, " It will be a few minutes before they're ready for you, but you might as well head over now." All of the students ran into a man on the ground, coughing and groaning, as they walked to their destination. The question was: " Who would stop to help the man?" Of the students that were told they "were late", only 10% stopped and of the students that were told they "were early" 63% stopped to help. Surely, all of these students would say that they were compassionate, but when given the choice to be helpful or be "late", 90% of the students had their helping-hands-hindered by schedules and appointments that they would not change, even in the face of one who was suffering. In fact, one student walked right over the man, as he rushed to give his presentation.

We are often amazed at the responses of the Priest and Levite in the story of the Good Samaritan, but what about your response when you see a "need" that needs to be met? How many times have you told someone that you would pray for their need and never got around to it? Are you too busy with things you think are too important for you to change your priorities for - to help those around you, especially those that may not have bones that are broken, but hearts that are?

We are admonished in Galatians 6:2, to "Carry each other's burdens... " Christ on earth always stopped. He stopped by a well to visit with a woman, He stopped to allow His feet to be washed with tears, He stopped when the "road-side" cries for mercy reached His ears, He stopped when His virtue flowed. As Christ is your example, you must be ready to stop and not "walk over" your God-directed moments to help others. Because the only time you should look down on someone - is when you're lifting them up.

It says in Proverbs 12:25, "Worry is a heavy burden, but a kind word always brings cheer." (CEV) So take the time and make the call; mail the card; send the email; or pay a visit.

Because, if you're too busy to help those in need -- than you're too busy.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Don't Save It All For Christmas Day

This song, released in December 2000, was written by Celine Dion and Ric Wake and performed by Celine. Numerous other artists have since performed the song including Clay Aiken, Avalon, Fantasia & Ruben Studdard, and many others. I am posting this song as a sequel to yesterday's post.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Something You Can Afford To Give

Nothing is ever lost by courtesy.
It is the cheapest of pleasures, costs nothing, and conveys much.
- Erastus Wiman
The best gifts in the world are not affected by a tight budget. Show courtesy, give love, smile, sing a song, laugh, extend a hand.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Praise Report and Prayer Request

Pictured above is Mrs. Ledesma, first grade teacher for Morningside, a California Distinguished School. She was Bryn's teacher last year and, I believe, it was only her second year as a full-time teacher. She is an impressive rookie, teaching with skills of a well-seasoned instructor. Of course, Bryn absolutely loved her. Recently, Mrs. Ledesma was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. We were all devastated with the news. She asked my husband to come to her class to talk with him, requested he pray for her, and wondered if he would sub for her while she was on medical leave. He prayed for her right there in her classroom and agreed to take care of her class. Within days of the diagnosis, Mrs. Ledesma was unable to use her arms due to a tumor pressing on several nerves. She had surgery this past Friday and the doctor said the surgery went well. They removed a lymph gland which was adhesed to to the parathyroid and, according to the doctor, the cancer was contained and all removed. We went to visit her Sunday afternoon and it was quite emotional. When she saw Bryn walk through the door, Mrs. Ledesma begin to cry and with barely a whisper of voice she was saying, "Thank you, thank you..." Bryn leaned over the bed to hug her, we all prayed, and cried. Bryce had never met Mrs. Ledesma but he said he couldn't stop the tears. I want to offer praise to God for a successful surgery and I want to request my blogger friends to join me in prayer for Priscilla Ledesma. She is still having difficulty moving one arm and faces further treatment. Thank you in advance for your prayers of faith.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I was tagged by Sis. Hopper and I will respond only because she is such a sweet person I can't say no to her.

RULE ONE: Grab one of the books closest to me, go to page 56, type the fifth line and the next two to five lines that follow.
RULE TWO: Pick five people who love books (I think) and who could receive the Bookworm award with honor.

"But if the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past, and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept him in, but that he hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death." Exodus 21:29

Does this mean you better keep your animals in your own yard? LOL

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Work And Do Your Best

Being forced to work, and forced to do your best, will breed in you temperance and self-control, diligence and strength of will, cheerfulness and content, and a hundred virtues which the idle never know.
- Charles Kingsley
Remember, an idle mind is the devil's workshop.

Monday, December 8, 2008

2008 Christmas Banquet

Saturday night was our Annual Christmas Banquet. We repeated last year's hit and had another table decorating contest. Below are pictures of a few of the tables. We also divided the attendees into groups and assigned them a Christmas song. They were given three minutes to arrange their song and then each group performed to many hoots and hollering. The group assigned to sing "Jingle Bells," started off singing, "We hear, we hear, jingle bells..." (To the tune of "We will, we will rock you...) They then progressed into the traditional "Jingle Bells." Another group gave a motion filled rendition of "Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer." One of the groups had several members of our Spanish congregation and they sang "Feliz Navidad," with a staccato ending of "Cha-Cha-Cha." Unfortunately, I was busy emceeing and didn't get any snapshots of the groups and I am kicking myself for not getting pictures of the tables the kids decorated. We had a very young girl play the flute and Blake played a song on the saxophone with Bryn singing along. One of my favorite moments was Bryce singing "I'll Be Home For Christmas." I have never heard him sing this before and it was a gorgeous performance. Prizes were given, memories shared, and my husband, Pastor Brian Allard closed the night with a beautiful prayer and everyone joined in to sing "Silent Night." It was a great, fun-filled night with our wonderful church family.

A Winter Wonderland.

Snowflakes great and small.

A Beary Merry Christmas.

This table was simple yet elegant. It featured deep red antique glass dishes.

It takes a village to have a banquet. LOL

A Christmas Safari. Four of our senior ladies joined resources to create this festive table set for 10 guests. They won 2nd Place. Several of the people at this table wore animal print clothes accented with red. It was too cute!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Happy Birthday, Amber

Today, I want to wish my niece, Amber (pictured above with her husband Charlie), a Happy Birthday. She was the first grandchild on her maternal side of the family and was instantly the star of the family. Full of ambition, she went to college and soon met her husband-to-be, Charlie. They married in 1997 and for most of their married time, Amber has been a stay at home mom to their children, Clay, Brooklyn, and Terri-Renae. (Thanks to Charlie's excellent job with the railroad.) I don't get to see Amber often but she is never far from my heart. If she reads this, I want her to know: You were the cutest, bald-headed baby, you were born to dance, I can still hear you singing when you were just two years old, no one can play Uno like you and Bryce, you were a gorgeous teenager, are a beautiful lady, you have become a woman who will tackle any challenge, I'm proud to be your aunt, and I love you dearly.
(For a more recent photo of Amber, view my older post dated November 19, 2008. )

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Bail Bondsman Who Can't Post Bail

The below article was in the Bakersfield Californian and I thought it was horribly sad. This man should have known better. Now sitting in a jail cell, the bail bondsman cannot afford his own bail.

BY JORGE BARRIENTOS, Californian staff writer, Thursday, Dec 4 2008 12:20 PM

The Bakersfield bondsman accused of tricking and coercing clients into giving up property that had been put up for bail has about four to six month to live, his doctor confirmed Thursday. Joaquin Cruz has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and has trouble affording all the prescription medication. He was recently arrested on suspicion of 13 felonies in connection with defrauding clients of his bail bonds business.
Joaquin Gracilazo Cruz, 65, has pancreatic cancer that in recent weeks has started growing rapidly, Dr. Ravi Patel said.
“His cancer is aggressive, and his life span is short,” Patel said.
Cruz and his wife, Eduvina Diana Chacon, 57, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Kern County court. They are accused of fraudulently getting titles to clients' vehicles, houses and other property to sell, or for their personal use. Together they are are charged with 19 felonies.
Losses total nearly $300,000, according to the California Department of Insurance.

Upon sentencing, a judge could take a person’s health into consideration for the sentence.
In the meantime, Cruz sits in Lerdo jail because he does not have money to post bail, Revelo said. If he comes up with money, a restriction says he must prove the bail money was obtained legally.

Entire article here:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thank You, God, For Friends

Last Saturday, we took the day off to visit with our friends, Pastor Mark Pryor, his lovely wife Debbie and their sweet son, Sheldon. My kids were counting down the minutes until they could spend the day with Sheldon. We took them to a nice park in Orange County and soon realized we had three little monkeys jumping on the bed - no, wait - on the playground. LOL There is nothing quite like being with friends. By late afternoon, the wind had picked up and it was getting cool so we went to a nearby mall and I treated the kids to cinnamon pretzel sticks. We then went to Chick-fil-A and wrapped up the evening chatting at Mark and Debbie's home. True friends are a blessing. Have you ever noticed it is comfortable with true friends even when you're silent? That is what Mark and Debbie are to Brian and I - true friends. We can laugh at dumb antics, cry on each other's shoulder, fight over a game of Scrabble, sit in peaceful silence sipping sweet tea, and know our friendship is safe. Remember today, to thank God for the gift of friends.

The three monkeys
Blake, the Nordstrom Mannequin

Great Deeds Or Good Deeds?

Remember that if the opportunities for great deeds should never come,
the opportunities for good deeds are renewed day by day.
The thing for us to long for is the goodness, not the glory.
- F.W. Faber

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Quote For The Season

Blessed are those who can give without remembering
and take without forgetting.
- Elizabeth Bibesco

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Borrowed From Linda's Blog

When truth no longer means everything,
it no longer means anything.
- M. E. Burr