Deanne Has A Blog!

Feb. 19, 2018

“Life’s a learn as you go.”

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching, love like you’ll never be hurt, sing like there’s nobody listening and live like it’s heaven on earth.” William W. Purkey

I’m not exactly sure who William W. Purkey was or is, but he has the right idea here about dancing and singing. Ya gotta do those things to please yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re good at it or not, if it pleases you, do it! My husband and best friend, John, used to allow me one dance a year. Needless to say, dancing was not part of his Baptist upbringing so he never really could relax and enjoy it. Once in a while, though, we would be at a wedding and he would dance with me for a few minutes. I really liked it.

The last few years, an event has been occurring at schools all over the Nation: The Daddy-Daughter Dance. Last week our Texas girls, Jessie and Emily escorted their Daddy, the ever-patient Christopher, to their Daddy-Daughter Dance and, as you can see by the pictures, a fine time was had by all.

Also this last week I got to see pictures of my delightful neighbor, Craig, with his three daughters, Violet, Fay and Avery, dressed and ready for the D-D Dance. Also pictured was Craig and Lisa’s youngest daughter, Charlotte Helen, who is not yet in school and who collapsed into a major meltdown when she realized that everyone was going out with Daddy but her.

All these pictures have filled my heart with joy and caused me to laugh. Thinking about it, the first Daddy-Daughter Dances I ever heard of were when Jessie and Emily’s mother, Crissy, went to them at Alverno High School with her Daddy some years ago. They were both beautiful and I treasure the pictures and the memories. But this is about Jessie and Emily and their Dadddy-Daughter Dance!.

The Misses Emily and Jessie had a big night out last week.

Wally W. Watkins Elementary School, The pride of Wylie, Texas,

Where the Misses E and J, are the stars of second and fourth grade,

Was totally redone, redecorated, transformed,

Into a magical place, where memories were made.

The Misses E and J and their Daddy

Were dressed up to the nines,

They both were fluffed and buffed, and he,

Could not have looked more handsome.

The smiles on all their faces,

Were happy and sweet…and then some!

The Misses E & J and their Daddy enjoyed all the refreshments,

Hawaiian punch and cookies,

Chocolate chip and Oreos,

Have another two or three,

“No, no thank you, girls, that’s quite enough for me!”

Miss Emily spent the evening racing ‘round with friends,

While Miss Jessie and her Daddy talked and laughed till almost eight.

No, they didn’t dance a single dance,

Not a foxtrot or a waltz.

But they finally got into the photo booth,

Which you can see was quite a blast!

The Misses E and J and their Daddy, made memories last week.

They looked so lovely and he looked just grand,

Nothing they did was thought out or planned,

An evening together, dressed up, that’s all,

But the Misses Emily and Jessie, and their Daddy, who is their Prince,

Loved every single minute at the Wally W. Watkins Elementary ball.



Jan. 6, 2018

“Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone; you’ll never walk alone.” Rodgers & Hammerstein

I’m sure you recognize this wonderful piece of music from the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, Carousel, which debuted in 1945 and is still being performed here and there around the world. This song is sung by Nettie, who runs the local seafood restaurant. Her friend, Julie, a factory worker, married the incredibly handsome and totally wrong for her carnival barker, Billy Bigelow. Julie has told Billy she is expecting, and he, in a misguided effort to provide for his soon-to-be baby, engages in a robbery and is shot to death.

Julie weeps over his body and sobs to Nettie, “He’s dead! Nettie, what am I gonna do?” Nettie replies that she’ll come stay with her, she’ll keep going and then sings, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” This song reduces everyone in the audience to tears and is truly one of the greatest lyrics ever. Sung at many high school graduations, by the way.

When I wrote this blog piece a year ago, I had no idea that I, too, would be in that same position as Julie, sobbing to my family that my beloved John was gone and what am I gonna do! Well, life does somehow go on and three months later, I’ve found that though there’s not a minute I don’t miss him, I’ve managed to keep going, through many tears, which is pretty much what Julie did, too.

There’s a concept going around, brought to my attention by Michelle Griep, successful author and blogger. Look her up, check out all her books and be amazed. Anyway, the concept is to pick one word to be your New Year’s resolution or mission statement for the year. There was even a book a few years back: My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen. This is so cool as you can immediately dump those high-minded and probably impossible resolutions like reading all the great books in one year. Seriously? Have you ever looked at the list of Greatest Books? Here’s the first few:

1 . Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes.

2 . In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust.

3 . Ulysses by James Joyce.

4 . The Odyssey by Homer.

5 . War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.

6 . Moby Dick by Herman Melville.

7 . The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.

8 . Hamlet by William Shakespeare.

I repeat, Seriously?? There are some of you out there who have read these, but most of us are happy with a new Stuart Woods or James Patterson thriller, or maybe a new John Grisham. Here’s one I’d really like to read:  “Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant To Be,” by Rachel Hollis.

There’s always lose ten pounds, donate all the clothes that don’t fit and have butter stains on the front to the Salvation Army and on and on.

The word I picked last year is: HOPE!

And I’m going to pick it again this year. I’m going to lean heavily on HOPE to help me make wise decisions about my future. I’m HOPING for a number of children I know who have medical problems: Brooklyn, Caleb N., Jake and our own Jessie. I’m HOPING that this year will bring what they all need in the way of healing.

So much has been written about HOPE:

“HOPE is the little voice you hear whisper “maybe” when it seems the entire world is shouting “no!”

“H.O.P.E. – Hold On, Pain Ends”

“The only difference between those who threw in the towel and quit and those who used their energy to rebuild and kept it going is found in the word...HOPE.”

“Once you choose HOPE, anything is possible.” Christopher Reeves

“Where there is HOPE, there is faith. Where there is faith, miracles happen.”

This picture is of hot air balloons floating over the Arizona desert that our Texas family and I saw just a week ago. There is such HOPE in seeing these gaily colored balloons lifting up and up and up.

So that’s my word again for the year, HOPE. I’m hoping you’ll pick one that will work for you. My beloved John, now seeing so many who have gone before us, and most especially his Lord, would like this.... HOPE!

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a HOPE.” Jer. 29:11



Dec. 6, 2017

“Walking alone is not difficult...

but when we walked a mile with someone...

then coming back alone is...difficult.”

How is it possible,

How can it be,

That a lifetime of, “we,”

Overnight became, “me?”

Fifty years it was “ours,”

Which I thought was just fine,

Our children, our house, our car and our dog,

Our problems, our rough times,

Overnight became, “mine.”

The good times, the laughter, the hugs,

They were “ours.’

Now the silence, the silence,

The silence is “mine.”

So many sunny days in so many sunny places,

Beaches in Maui, in Mexico and Greece,

Champagne in plastic cups,

Unshelled peanuts, cheese and kisses,

All those good times were “ours.”

Now I wonder what I’ll do with all the things that were his,

His collection of hats, his favorite pink shirt,

The nuts and bolts and Lord knows what he’s got,

Down there in the basement, I just know it’s a lot.

Mostly I wonder what I’ll do with the rest of my life.

What about the music that was such a big part of his life?

Ceiling to floor, wall upon wall, CD’s and vinyl,

The music he loved, that his audience loved,

Thousands of radio programs, so many great songs.

Now I’m on a plane home from Texas, in a middle seat alone.

Last July it was “us,”

Sharing red wine and stale pretzels.

We laughed and we talked and planned the week to come.

And now, forevermore, it will be...just “me.”

There is no more “us.”

The winds of the last couple of days reminded me of the really horrendous windstorm that visited Southern California six years ago. We were without power for days on end, huddled in front of our gas log fire and burning candles for light, reading by flashlight and eating everything out. No power, No coffee! John figured out a way to rig up an old dial telephone, charge our phones and make my curling iron work so I wouldn’t look exactly like Broomhilda. Trees were uprooted all over town, huge trees hundreds of years old, tossed about like tinker toys. We live close to the Los Angeles County Arboretum, where 400 magnificent trees were blown over and ripped out of the ground. The Arboretum, in their wisdom, offered this rare, unique wood to artists who worked in wood and asked them to express through their art what was in the grain and hearts of these trees.

This piece, “Weeping Man” by artist Gonzalo Algarate, was carved from Eucalyptus globulus – Tasmanian Bluegum. I saw this work at the “Force of Nature II” Arboretum art showing last week and it pretty much expressed how I have felt since my beloved John took up residence in heaven last October 9th. The anatomy of this man and his posture are tremendously moving. This is a deeply moving work.

Learning how to be alone isn’t easy, but I’m doing it. I even decorated a little for Christmas and bought a bunch of Poinsettias from Trader Joe’s and put them around. Little by little, I’m doing the things one has to do and I know I’ll see him again one day. I’m grateful for family, who support me and love me, take me places, and pat me when I cry. I keep his pictures around me, I love that crooked smile.

I’ve quoted this poem by Annie Johnson Flint before and it’s never been more true for me...


God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
many a burden, many a care.

God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain rocky and steep,
Never a river turbid and deep

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love


Oct. 20, 2017

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

That, friends and neighbors, was the life verse and conduct code of my best friend, my walking buddy, my oatmeal cookie aficionado, my Dancing With The Stars critique partner and the one and only love of my life, John Davis. John left us Monday morning, October 9th at about 6:30 a.m. as a result of complications of pneumonia coupled with a virulent lung infection that none of us can figure out how on earth he encountered such a thing.

Some years ago when our oldest grandson, Michael, was born, I took our Texas daughter, Crissy, who was then 8 years old, with me and we flew to Connecticut where our daughter, Leah, was living...small side trip here... we loved seeing pictures of pregnant Leah scraping snow off her windshield while wearing sandals. You can take the girl out of California but you can’t take the California out of the girl! Anyway, I wrote John a note and told him then, “You are the other half of my heart.” That never changed. We have been married 50 years as of last April 1st and while I am walking and talking and doing all the things that one has to do at this sort of time, I am doing it with half of my heart. So many people, hundreds actually and that’s not exaggerating, have sent me notes on Facebook and other places telling me how John changed their lives and loved them unconditionally. He was, literally, the kindest, dearest person I’ve ever known.

John did things like taking my hand, looking deep into my eyes, when I was in my late 30’s and saying, “It’s really important to me that you floss!” “Fine,” I said, “I’ll floss.” Now it’s habitual. He did the same thing to our daughter, Patti, made her promise she’d floss for a year. John was a gentle soul who loved serving breakfast to the homeless of Pasadena at Church in the Park with Pasadena First Church of the Nazarene. He was in charge of grits and of telling people how happy he was to see them and just generally being a sweet and loving guy.

One of the happiest times of his life, mine too, was when we taught the young singles Sunday school class at church. We started with four girls who were in their early twenties and eventually we had over 30 young people. The Jabez Group. How we loved them and how they loved him. Many marriages and babies have come out of that group of young singles. They speak of him and the advice he gave, always solid, always loving.

John was born in the California Hospital in Los Angeles on June 16, 1933. His parents, Jay and Leila, supported him in whatever he needed to do, including drilling holes in the walls to rewire certain areas to work the way he thought they should. Of course, he also let me paint our kitchen bright orange and yellow and our bathroom bright yellow and green without complaining. He attended USC where he received his Bachelor of Engineering degree in 1955 and his Master’s in Engineering in 1959. He loved the radio business and did technical work for so many stations. In fact, he loved radio so much that we built and owned our own radio station, KROR-FM, The Mighty Roar of the Desert from 1988-1994. We always referred to our radio years as, “The Best of Times and The Worst of Times!” He also hosted folk music radio programs starting in the 1950’s on the first FM station in Los Angeles, KCBH-FM and later on KPFK-FM, “Heartfelt Music.” This song, “My Baby’s Gone,” he played so many times came to me when I knew he was gone:

“Hold back the rushing minutes, make the wind lie still.

Don’t let the moonlight shine across the lonely hill.

Dry all the raindrops, and hold back the sun.

My world has ended, my baby’s gone”

John loved Sierra Madre. When we were about to get married in 1967, there was no question about where we’d live. Sierra Madre...where you see deer wandering in the street, where people are friendly, where we found the house of our dreams, a 100 year old beauty on 2/3 of an acre where we raised our children, Leah, Patti, John and Crissy. Where we’ve had hundreds of parties, barbequed tons of hamburgers and hot dogs, sat around the pool with so many friends and laughed and talked.

When we knew that John’s days were coming to an end, that’s what we did, the family – which has grown to be quite a few wonderful people, 13 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren - and I, we sat and stood around his bed and laughed and talked and told stories, and prayed and wept and hugged and so many people came in and read the 23rd Psalm: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me...” John loved God with all his heart and soul and prayed frequently to be a better disciple for Him.

Walking Sierra Madre will not be nearly as much fun without my walking buddy to talk to and laugh with and admire the gardens all over town with, but I will do my best as that’s what he would want. He’s dancing with the angels! And has heard the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter now into the joy of your Master!”




Oct. 4, 2017

“I’ll miss you most of all, Scarecrow!”

L. Frank Baum  The Wizard of Oz

Being a connoisseur of scarecrows, when I came across this lovely couple, I had to stop and take their picture for posterity. Now I ask you, are these guys not incredible!!

It’s officially Fall and persimmons are appearing here, there, and everywhere and I, being a persimmon lover, want to share my persimmon story with you, dear friends and neighbors..

Some years ago, my Dad lived on four acres of lime trees in Valley Center, a community up in the hills between Temecula and San Diego. As Valley Center is not far from the Mexican border, my Dad always had plenty of guys who were looking for work to help him with the trees. He would practice his Spanish with them, give them food, spend time talking to them about their lives in the country they had just left and what they hoped to find in America. My Dad loved to talk to people, any kind of people. Many of these guys who wandered into his yard were from Guatemala, which is a very long way from the border. They told tales of murder, desperate hunger, desperadoes waiting to rob these migrants and were beyond grateful for a few sandwiches and a bottle of water. But I digress...we were talking about persimmons.

While he still lived in Valley Center, before his wife passed away and he moved to Ajijic, Mexico himself, he had an extremely prolific Hachiya persimmon tree. I would go down for the day to visit them and he would give me a big bag of persimmons. I would send some to my cousin, Cindy, eat a lot of them and occasionally make persimmon cookies. I’m still mad that he sold that lovely home and moved to Mexico. He’s been in heaven for a while now, but I treasure the memories of those days in Valley Center, Dad’s persimmons, and the delicious champagne we occasionally sampled together.

At one time a persimmon tree grew down in the lower reaches of our yard.  It sat down there doing its job for years and then one day, apparently tired of life, it broke in two. What a disappointment, as the fruit was delicious and I had finally learned how to do something with them, other than just wait greedily for them to ripen and devour them.

Fortunately, it was overlooked.  No one was in a hurry to tear it away from the last shred of stump the tree was still clinging to.  For a while, I forgot about it and then one morning walked down to look at it, and discovered there was more fruit than I could count!  Hard and pale orange, but they would ripen beautifully by November. Persimmon cookies!

One windstorm too many separated the tenuous coupling between branch and root and that was that  Some years later I planted a persimmon down there in the lower region, a Fuyu. I have never had even one persimmon from that tree. It’s really in a bad spot, forced to fend for itself as far as water and sunlight are concerned. If it ever bears anything, the squirrels get to them first.

It struck me that the broken persimmon is a picture of what God could do with our lives if we would let Him have his way.  If we could cling to Him, as the persimmon clung, tenaciously, to its roots, God would fill us with his grace, his spirit, and we, too, would provide a harvest of good fruit; love and peace, patience and self-control, joy… oh yes! a huge crop of joy, regardless of circumstances. Right now I am clinging like never before as John, my best friend, husband and oatmeal cookie lover has been in the hospital for a week now with pneumonia and severely compromised lungs. The doctors are planning to remove his breathing tube today to see if he can breathe on his own. If you have a minute, breathe a prayer for him. That’s what we do in the family of God, we pray for each other.

Now that our persimmon tree is gone, and Dad and his persimmon tree are no longer within my reach, I look longingly at the few persimmon trees in our area and consider introducing myself to their owners, somewhat like Oliver Twist, “Please sir, could I have some more?”

Persimmon Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup persimmon pulp (Hachiya persimmons, not Fuyu)

2 cups flour

½ tsp. cinnamon (I like cinnamon so my tsp. tends to be heaping)

½ tsp. ground cloves

½ tsp. nutmeg

½ tsp. salt

½ cup butter (softened)

1 cup sugar

1 egg

You can also add a cup of chopped nuts, raisins, chocolate chips or some of all three.

Puree persimmon pulp in blender. If you cut the top off the persimmon and squeeze the ripe fruit over the blender, it will spill right out. Then dissolve the soda into the pulp.  It will become very thick, like pudding.

Blend together flour, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt.

Stir in dry ingredients, persimmon-soda mixture and raisins/nuts/chocolate chips.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto well-greased cookie sheets.

Bake at 350 10-12 minutes.  Makes 5-6 dozen.  These freeze well.

Drop a dozen in a Ziploc bag and give them to someone you love, or someone who needs to be loved. Or hide them in your freezer and eat them all yourself one rainy day (I use that term laughingly as Southern Californians get a spoonful of rain infrequently) in February.

“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion.

For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.” Psalm 133

It is said that this precious oil is oil of persimmon. God bless you, every one!