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T-Minus 2 Hours

18 April 2018

Hi guys.

It has been an age since I last posted but the health is extremely unpredictable and the lows have been tremendous and very annoying. Constant doctor visits are equally draining. But all that to say that I am fast approaching my 34th birthday tomorrow (2 hours away). I would say that usually birthdays are fun and something to look forward to but this one is a tough one to wrap my head around. I found my first white hair a couple days ago and start seeing wrinkles in my skin and my face looks so tired and blah. And what about the fact that I am almost 34 without a husband let alone a romantic partner and no children on the horizon? Sure I couldn't take care of a child even if I had one a the moment but it'd still be nice. Ah well. It truly is all about God's timing and apparently that is not right now...

It is hard not to look back on the good old times when I was healthy, felt beautiful and off to London for a new and exciting opportunity and start of a fresh chapter of my life.
with A @ my goodbye party.
And what about my wonderful time studying in some of the most historic and fascinating museums I have ever been privileged to visit? And making lifelong friendships with N and M? Who would think two of my dearest friends would be Colombian and Russian?

with N at my 30th birthday bash in London.
with M at my 30th birthday bash in London.
And what about the incredible 30th birthday party H+K hosted for me in California in 2014? Still have great memories of the evening. Feeling glamorous and beautiful and loved.
with my BFF at my 30th birthday party in CA.

with M+M at my 30th Birthday Bash in CA.
I truly am blessed because my core friends have never wavered and are always just a phone call or text away. And since 2014 I have been able to even celebrate with A, L, and my BFF at different times over tea and scones or drinks. I truly am blessed. I guess the difficult thing is to see others move on with their lives while it seems I have stuck in the quick sand.

A few prayer requests/wishes for my birthday:
  • I am praying my disability case is approved so that I can get Medicare.
  • that my hands become pain free so that I can type and finish school and be able to journal and etcetera.
  • that my body is healed if it is the Lord's will but boy would it be nice to finally figure out what is wrong.
  • that I do get the chance to meet Mr. Right, particularly if he looks like the long lost brother of Jude Law and Tom Hiddleston. HAHA.
Praises from 2017-2018:
  • Hastings Alyosha (2/4/17)... so so blessed to have my beautiful boy in my life. What a blessing he is!
  • No surgeries necessary in 2017.
  • Able to have my disability hearing. Hoping and praying it produces positive results.
  • Able to start walking with a cane on good days.
  • Fun outings with friends and family to Dodgers, whale watching, the circus, the theatre, etc.
  • I am alive!
And lastly, if you feel inclined I would be honored if you would make a donation to Geanco Foundation in honor of my birthday. Love that Facebook has birthday fundraisers that take the focus off us and puts it on good deeds and these great non profits.

Until next time!
Joy x

A to Z: Saying Goodbye...

05 April 2018

Sadly I just don't have the energy to do the A to Z Challenge this year with the pneumonia, difficulty with my breathing, fatigue, blah blah blah... Hopefully next year I will start up again. :)

In the meantime I just returned from the hospital where I had my Pulmonary Function Test... Results tomorrow at the doc's! xx

A to Z: Claudia

03 April 2018

Happy Tuesday. Today let's talk about CLAUDIA, a not well known women of the Bible. Her only mention is 2 Timothy 4:21 -
Make every effort to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, also Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brethren.
Some might suggest that this is the wife of Pilate as named in the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus. (Trivia: in the Gospels, Pilate's wife is never named.) However, there is no evidence that this Claudia is at all related to Pilate. Perhaps instead she is connected to Pudens or Linus? Theories have been floated around but there is no serious proof or evidence.

What is worth mentioning is that she is one of the few women that St. Paul mentions in his greetings.

A to Z: Bathsheba

02 April 2018

Happy Easter Monday. I hope you all had a great holiday weekend with family and loved ones. This might be a bit late but today's A to Z Challenge post is about... Bathsheba, who is probably best known for having an affair with King David while still married to Uriah the Hittite.

Old Testament:
Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king’s house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house. The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, “I am pregnant.” 2 Samuel 11 NASB
Aside from the aforementioned passage in the Old Testament, it is to be noted that Bathsheba is one of the few women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in 1 Chronicles 3:5.
These were born to him in Jerusalem: Shimea, Shobab, Nathan and Solomon, four, by Bath-shua the daughter of Ammiel.


Bathsheba After the Bath by Jan Steen
Bathsheba is most commonly portrayed in artwork in a state of undress at her bath. Mention Bathsheba at Her Bath and you'll likely think of Rembrandt and Veronese. Part of the Getty Museum collection in Los Angeles (not on display) is the oil painting Bathsheba After the Bath by Dutch painter Jan Steen.

See how Bathsheba is looking directly at the artist/viewer while her maidens and domestic dog attend to her. Is she seducing us? Is her character perceived by society as one of seductress?

Until tomorrow...

A to Z: Asenath

01 April 2018

Happy Easter! He is Risen! Today I am excited to start my 3rd A to Z Challenge.

The theme being Women of the Bible let us begin with Asenath (Hebrew: אָסְנַת‬) the Egyptian wife of Joseph mentioned in the 41st chapter of Genesis. Asenath is in fact a common first name for Israeli women.

Not much is known about Asenath in the Bible except that she is the daughter of the priestess Potipherah, was given to Joseph in marriage by Pharaoh, and bore Joseph his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.

She might only be mentioned in two verses but there is great significance in those two verses. First, she is the daughter of a priestess, was hand picked by Pharaoh, and given to Joseph as a wife so that he would be socially accepted as a member of Egyptian society.  Second, she is the mother of two important monarchs, Manasseh and Ephraim, who were the heads of two Israelite Tribes. Her importance is even noted by Rembrandt in his painting Jacob Blessing the Children of Joseph.

Jacob Blessing the Children of Joseph. Rembrandt. 1656.
Book of Genesis:
45 And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphenath-paneah. And he gave him in marriage Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On. So Joseph went out over the land of Egypt. 50 Before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph. Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore them to him.

Films For Easter: Messiah Rocks!

25 March 2018

Happy Palm Sunday! Today's film recommendation is actually a professionally filmed music concert.
Some of you might think that Handel's Messiah was written about the Christmas story but that would only be 1/2 true. In fact a great portion of the oratorio features the Easter story too. Jason Howland and Dani Davis adapted the classic oratorio with a contemporary and understandable libretto and incorporated a rock band.
I understand that this may not be everyone's cup of tea but for those who want to add something different to their music collection may I highly suggest Handel's Messiah Rocks! that can be found on CD, mp3 (& Apple Music streaming) and a special PBS DVD featuring the Boston Pops Orchestra.
Happy Passion Week!

Films for Easter: Miracle Maker

20 March 2018

Hi friends! Another ER trip but thankfully I am home and ready to share a quick post. In readiness for Easter (1 April 2018) I wanted to share a few of my favorite Easter films worth watching these next few weeks:

#2 - Miracle Maker (Amazon Prime/DVD)

If you've followed my blog for a while you've probably heard me rave on and on about Ralph Fiennes and the fabulous Anglo-Russian claymation/animation feature length film, Miracle Maker.

The stop motion artwork is EXCELLENT with great facial features and scenic detail.
The vocal cast starring Ralph Fiennes as Jesus and Rebecca Callard as Jarius' daughter is top notch delivering realistic emotion and passion. For instance, two of my favorite moments in the film are when Jesus sobs over John the Baptist (not a common scene in many Biblical films) and sighs audibly when the Pharisees call him out of the crowd to ask another loaded question. And lets not even mention the time when Satan (in one of the few hand drawn animated cartoons) tempts Jesus to run away from the Garden of Gethsemane -- goosies!!

The scariest scene involves a demonically possessed Mary Magdalene whom Jesus saves. Again, expect goosies!!
This likely is one of the best depictions of Jesus as Son of Man. There's no "preaching" nor "thumping of the Bible" which means this is a fabulous choice to show your friends and family this Easter season. Instead of focusing on one gospel the story weaves stories from all gospels in addition to creating vignettes showing Jesus' humanity such as laughing over lunch with Lazarus and the disciples over simple day to day topics. And how often do you see Jesus in films laughing and smiling? In this gorgeous retelling Jesus is full of mirth and humor and depth. He is the Son of God sent to die for our sins but he is also still 100% man and that comes through in this great feature film.
So please do yourself a favor and watch Miracle Maker this Easter Season. You won't regret it.

DirectorsDerek Hayes and Stanislav Sokolov


Films for Easter: Lion of Judah

17 March 2018

Hi friends! Sorry its been a day and an age since I was last online but things have been a bit hectic and scary lately with a hospital stay last week and other health issues. But in readiness for Easter (1 April 2018) I wanted to share a few of my favorite Easter films worth watching these next few weeks:

#1 - Lion of Judah (Amazon Prime/DVD)
Lion of Judah is a 3D Computer Animated Christian comedy-drama starring Georgina Cordova as the voice of Judah, a young and impressionable lamb, who meets a barn yard of mismatched animals including Sandi PattyAnupam KherMichael Madsenand Ernest Borgnine, who had previously witnessed the humble birth of the Savior in Once Upon A Stable. On a journey to Jerusalem they meet up with a down on his luck and depressed donkey, Scott Eastwood. And together this mismatched group of animals participate in the Passion Week up through Easter morning.

This is an excellent choice for the children in your family and/or Sunday School. Due to the topic, there are a few scary scenes although nothing is actually shown. This is a movie safe to be shown for all ages.

And yes this is also a great film to watch as adults. My friend A and I watched the film a couple times and both of us experienced GOOSIES thanks to the gorgeous scenes between Jesus (Bruce Marchiano) and Scott Eastwood's depressed Jack and later with the jubilant Georgina Cordova's Judah. Goosies, I repeat. The love and compassion we see in the character of Jesus and the hope and transformation we see in the animals is mesmerizing!

Rating: PG for mild thematic elements
Director: Deryck Broom & Roger Hawkins
Written by: Brent Dawes
Running Time: 87 Minutes

Where to Watch:
Amazon Prime Video (free)
Amazon ($9.99) - Combo DVD of Once Upon A Stable and Lion of Judah.

GIVEAWAY: The Harlem Globetrotters “Amazing Feats of Basketball” 2018 World Tour

29 January 2018

It's time --- The Harlem Globetrotters are coming back to So Cal on 17 Feb and making stops in Anaheim, L.A., Santa Barbara, Ontario and Victorville!! For those of you who are not familiar with the group, their one-of-a-kind show is unrivaled in the world of family entertainment with incredible ball handling, hilarious comedy and loads of fan interaction, including a post-game autograph signing. This is wholesome family entertainment for all! So grab your tix now and for $7 off your tickets at any venue you can use the PROMO CODE "CALI" on Ticketmaster.
  •        Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario:  Feb. 17, at 2 p.m., and 7 p.m.
  •        Honda Center in Anaheim Feb. 18 at 2 p.m., and Feb. 24 at 1 p.m., and 7 p.m.
  •        UCSB Events Cetner in Santa Barbara Feb. 22 at 7p.m.
  •        STAPLES Center in Los Angeles Feb. 25, at 2p.m.

2017 Tour. Photo by Brett Meister.
And some exciting news for my lovely readers... I have 4 vouchers (thanks to Lisa Carey Public Relations) to see the Harlem Globetrotters at the Anaheim Honda Center on either 18 Feb or 24 Feb! All you have to do is enter my Rafflecopter giveaway starting 30 January. I will be picking a lucky winning family or group of friends on 7 February! The winner will receive 4 vouchers that can be exchanged for tickets ($27-29 value approximately) at the Honda Center box office.

Can't wait to crown one lucky family or group of friends the lucky winners of these vouchers!

And yes... there are ACCESSIBLE SEATS at the Honda Center!!
Honda Center provides wheelchair-accessible and companion seating on each level of the arena, including the floor when the event offers floor seats. Guests who require wheelchair-accessible and companion seating are encouraged to purchase wheelchair-accessible tickets as soon as possible. Honda Center reserves the right to take appropriate legal action against guests who fraudulently obtain wheelchair and companion seats. Requests by guests with a disability who have tickets to non-wheelchair-accessible seats to relocate to wheelchair-accessible seating locations will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis and subject to availability. Event-day relocations to wheelchair-accessible seats are not guaranteed. 


Motown: A Jukebox Musical with Sass and Rhythm!

12 January 2018

Motown, the U.S. non-equity national tour, is currently in town for the weekend (Jan 11-14 2018) bringing musical joy to its Southern California audience with its jam-packed jukebox musical (over 50 hit numbers such as "ABC" and "Stop in the Name of Love").
Unfortunately the opening night (11 Jan) was marred by a fire alarm unexplainably going off just before the grand finale but hopefully all other performances will run smoothly. The joys and pitfalls of live theater. ⌣ But that is not going to ruin my memories of the great night out. Aside from hearing the amazing hit numbers live, the audience on 11 January were treated to fantastic foot work choreographed by Brian Harlan Brooks and many from the 'older' generations were able to laugh and clap aloud to moments that skipped over my 33 year old head (whoops, hehe) such as Rob McCaffrey's top notch Ed Sullivan interpretation that was the cause for many chortles and laughs from the audience. And dare I not mention all the incredible vocalists in the cast with hardly a weak note among them. 
Chase Phillips as Michael Jackson. Photo by Joan Marcus.
If one had to pick out the weakest performance it would also have be one of the audience's favorites -- Chase Phillips (who rotates with Kai Calhoun) playing the roles of Young Berry Gordy/Stevie Wonder/Michael Jackson. His turn as a young Michael Jackson sees him on stage with the other Jackson 5 singing and dancing to memorable numbers such as "ABC". Unfortunately midway through his second number he did get winded and lost some steam but man did the audience love the kid. He is so full of energy and excitement and charisma. How can you not adore him?
Trenyce and Kenneth Mosley. Photo by Michael Pool.
But it is the show's 2 stars who will have you coming back for more and more. Being that this is a jukebox musical, the storyline tends to be limited and weak to make room for the infectious dancing and singing. However leading man Kenneth Mosley who stars as Berry Gordy is able to keep the rhythm flowing and prevents the show from dragging during the mini vignettes highlighting his personal life and highs and lows with Motown Records. He also knows how to tug at the heartstrings with his warming rendition of "To Be Loved" in the First Act.
Trenyce as Diana Ross. Photo by Michael Pool.
Trenyce in American Idol. Photo Credit: American Idol.
And even though the ensemble is filled to the brim with incredible vocalists such as Justin Reynolds (Smokey Robinson) and Matt Manuel (Marvin Gaye) the show ultimately belongs to leading lady and American Idol alumni, Trenyce, as Diana Ross.

Trenyce seamlessly takes Diana Ross from a young high school senior full of sass and spunk to a big time singer dealing with a business-personal relationship with Gordy to an unhappy superstar who sees no future with her lover. [Interestingly the show does not touch on the fact Diana Ross was 2 months pregnant with Gordy's daughter when she married her first husband Silberstein.] And the way she is able to connect with the audience at the top of the Second Act was brilliant. Trenyce is a talent that saw a too brief career on American Idol Season 2 and hopefully will no longer be hidden in the background after she takes the country by storm with her sensational performance as Diana Ross. This is one lady who deserves a big break and could easily carry this role in an equity production.

While the mediocre scenic design by David Korins (high praise to Projection Designer Daniel Brodie for making the most of the space) and minuscule "orchestra" under the baton of Conductor/Keyboard 1 Matthew Croft scream non-equity tour, the sensational casting by Wojcik and Seay Casting and the gorgeous costume design by Emilio Sosa all but makes up for it. And a big thank you to Director Charles Randolph-Wright for his delicate and appropriate approach to the social context surrounding Motown (JFK, Martin Luther King Jr., Martin Gaye, etc.) using Kenneth Mosley's calm presence as Gordy as a voice of reason in a time of hostile.

So do yourself a favor... turn off the television, stop reading the depressing news and get a ticket to see the enchanting and thoroughly entertaining Motown the Musical! You'll be clapping along, shaking your head with laughter and humming a tune or two on the way out...

Current Location: Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza
Prices: $34-89 + fees
Parking: $8 Cash Only
Age Appropriateness: 13+ (adult language)
Accessible: YES! Read my review of the TOCAP's accessibility here.

Mudslides Close 101 Freeway!

10 January 2018

Hi Loves. Sorry it has been ages since the last post but I caught the nasty flu/virus that has been going around. Finally back on the up and up and making up all those doctor appointments I had to cancel the last couple weeks, woot woot.

101 Fwy. Photo by Greg Villeneuve.
In local news... 

I am sure you've heard of the horrific mud flooding in Montecito (Santa Barbara) yesterday morning. The 101 Freeway has been closed between Santa Barbara and Ventura and 13+ are dead. Horrific.

Prayers and best wishes with all families and friends and survivors.

Thanks to Island Packers commuters do have an option to get to and from Ventura and Santa Barbara for the duration of the 101 freeway closure.
Dad and I onboard Island Explorer.
For specific details including fare prices and contact information, visit their website here.

We have yet to hear if Motown the Musical (non-equity national tour) will be able to move from their last theater in Santa Barbara to Thousand Oaks (scheduled dates 1/11-1/14) due to the 101 Freeway closure so 

Update (4:20pm PST): The Motown tour will be going the long way around to Thousand Oaks and should be ready to perform on 1/11 as planned!

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