Sunday, May 29, 2016

For Memorial Day - "Live this day - A Birthday Book of questions & reflections" - by Penny Andersen on November 25, 2014.

"Live this day - A Birthday Book of questions & reflections of Penny Sue Andersen on 11/25/2014".





Editors note: **Please note that everything is written as she wrote it - grammatically and as she punctuated. This is Penny's gift to her friends, family, strangers she never met, and the world (and especially to a little one just born after Penny passed - Meira Penny Zurawski - who now has a guardian angel - her grandmother "Penny".) **

Question - "What is the best gift you've ever been given?"

  • Friendship: The unconditional love of my friends, mostly my best friend Michelle, and my best friend in Christ.
  • My 2 children: Both gifts from God.

  • My Husband: My true love.

  • My life: I have been blessed with God's healing many times:
    • 2 fevers of 108 degrees (1992 & 1993)
    • Being shot in the arm (2001)
    • Bladder cancer (2012)
    • Septic shock (2012)

  • My sisters & brothers in Christ:
  • Fox Valley Church - is my church home & my family. I've never been loved in my life like they love me. Pastor Tom & Pastor Adam have given me the education to understand and apply God's scripture into my life. My small group ladies! Brad Payne, Gail Blair, Linda Halka, Jeff Madsen, & Donna Nardulli also walked with me in my journey in growing in love with Jesus, & learning how to follow Jesus.
  • God's Promise:  John 3:16
    • For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son. Whoever believes in me shall not perish, but have ever lasting life.
  • Too many gifts to have a favorite.
Question - "What was the biggest surprise you've encountered this year?"
  • Being told that I was Cancer free in June, 2014 and again Sept 26, 2014.


Question - "What makes life fun for you?"
  • My small groups! We all have so much fun when we have socials or go on trips together, or just going out to lunch or shopping together.
  • I love spending time with my girlfriends from school. Our birthdays, social occasions, , going to the movies.

  • My Dogs - Love my girls.

  • The times I have alone with my children are very special to me, I keep those moments close to my heart.
Question - "What would be a perfect day look like,  from morning to night?"
  • Waking up next to my husband rubbing my back. Talking while in bed. Him making me breakfast (he hasn't done that in a long time). The going antique shopping with him and my son - maybe even Sondra too! A nice lunch in a cute cafe, seeing a Movie. Then a date night with my husband - out dancing, maybe some darts, a drink or two - then home for private time in our bedroom - Real love making with lots of passion. Falling asleep in his arms. Yeah this would be so nice.  Editors note: **A last comment has been redacted as it is too private to share on a blog** ;-)
  • Would also be nice if he stopped at a flower shop and actually bought me some nice flowers - like at spare of a moment. He's NEVER done that. Editors note: **He actually did, on the first anniversary.... but he'll let that one slide.** ;-)
  • Or a second perfect day would be waking up watching my husband go to work, kissing me goodbye. He comes home early to surprise me with flowers and plane tickets to the tropics for a week or maybe to take us all to Walt Disney. Ha ha... only in my dreams!! =) Editors note: **We actually had started to plan on that tropical vacation AND going to Walt Disney world this autumn (for our 25th wedding anniversary - when it became clear our financial situation was going to improve). Our last week was spent starting that planning (and she was so incredibly excited). She was even secretly planning on flying me to see our daughter and grandchildren in Phoenix (and coordinating this with Brandie). Alas, that was not to be as Brandie and Kaden came to Penny's funeral instead.**

Question - "How would you describe yourself?"
  • Sweet, giving, easy going, flirtatious at times, romantic, stationary, not good with change. A country bumkin', fun, spontaneous, crafty, homemaker, loving, forgiving, but most of all I love unconditionally. I'm sensitive, get along with most anyone, I'm active, can't sit very long. I love Jesus, believe in family traditions, value family, respect my friends. I can be crabby, I'm an introvert most of the time. Love making oothers happy, I try to be there for you in times of need. Don't like asking for help, but learning too. I like to do things myself, my way. I expect to be treated the way I treat you. I'm considerate to others, I would starve so my family can eat. I love my pets, they are like children to me.    
  • I'm compassionate, and have been told I have a "minx" in me - but at the end of the day I will always love you - no matter how good or bad things are.



  • I always try to smile, to be positive, to trust God and when I'm really down in the dumps - God is my salvation - my best friend - I pray, I talk to God, I ask Him for help and healing and guidance. And always thank Him for all of his blessings. my favorite thing I love about every day is the Artist God is - not a day goes by I don't notice his canvas - the trees, flowers, birds, clouds, rail, snow, sun - especially the sunsets, and the wind in my hair.



Question - "What is your heart's desire at this very moment?"
  • To feel loved, to feel good about myself, to have security again.

Question - "What dream have you had since childhood?"
  • I remember wanting everything "Barbie" had. The big house, the convertible, a pool, lots of kids, especially 10 kids!! Haha... The perfect man - "Ken", lots of money so we can go on vacations, a boat, the RV, and a dog.
  • In High School I wanted to be a children's cerebral palsy therapist after a very good book I read.
  • Then when I met my first boyfriend Michael Rice, I wanted to get married & have 10 kids. LOL!!! What was I thinkin'?
  • I also wanted my Mom & Dad to get back together again. =( 
Question - "What are you obsessed with right now?"
  • What I look like, my weight.
  • And organization in my home.

Question - "What do you consider to be your defining personality traits?"
  • Giving
  • Compassionate
  • Sensitive
  • Loving

Question - "What are you most grateful for?"
  • Being alive.
  • Being a Christian.
  • Family.
  • Friends.

Question - "Where is your sanctuary"?:
  • With Jesus.
  • On a beach.
  • or in a Craft Store. =)




Question - "What do you look for in a friend?"
  • Loyalty
  • Trust
  • Dependability.
  • Unconditional Love.
  • Honesty.

Question - "What do you love about yourself?"
  • I love that God gave me a loving heart, that I am kind and giving, that I am forgiving, and that I get along with almost anyone.

Question - "What is your personal motto?"
  • Treat others the way you expect to be treated.
Question - "What would you tell your younger self?"
  • Trust Jesus!
  • Don't have sex until marriage.
  • Respect yourself, - (Self Respect).
  • Don't try so hard to please others, I matter too!!
  • Tell if anyone touches you on your private places.
  • Don't worry about what people think - in 20 years they won't even remember you!!
  • You're pretty and you don't need to be like the other girls!
  • Beauty is what's inside, the outside is just a "book cover".
  • You can achieve it if you really want it, never give up.

Question - "What would you tell the person you'll be one year from today?"
  • Because you had faith, and believed in yourself is why you achieved your goals!!
  • You made a decision - you followed thru.
  • I'm proud of you! =)
  • Editors note: **Her goal was to beat Cancer. She did. She made it a point in her last year of life that she needed to make decisions and then follow through. She did that and SO much more. I'm VERY proud of her!!!** =)
Question - "What is the best advice you were ever given?"
  • Trust Jesus.

Question - "What do you want to spend more time doing?"
  • Following Jesus.
  • Getting to Know God.
  • Self improvement.
Question - "What will you do differently this year?"
  • Take care of myself.
  • Eat better nutrition.
  • Concentrate on my health.
  • Lose weight!
  • Let go of fear!
  • Follow through!
Question - "What motivates you?"
  • Being surrounded by positive people, those who encourage me.
  • Knowing I have Security.
  • Being loved.
Question - "What makes you feel deeply alive?"
  • The sunshine
  • The beach
  • Spending time with my children
  • A day without pain
  • Being told "I love you".

Question - "What memory would you like to relive?"
  • The day I met Steinar. he was like out of the movie "The Notebook". We met our eyes, & "WHAM"! He took me on a ferris wheel, the zipper, the rocker - took me & Michelle to DQ in his Limo, then walked me to my car, asked me on a date & kissed me on the cheek. I felt swept off my feet.
  • Editors note: **Yes folks, there IS a romantic side to me. I also took her to a Jewelery Store and literally said "Pick One, whatever one you want" and she picked out a large rock/set - before it was ever in the movie Sweet Home Alabama.  So she adored those 2 movies after that (and there wasn't a month that she didn't sit me down to watch them with her).** ;-)

Question - "What are you beginning to discover?"
  • That I've allowed myself to spiral down and allowed myself to be manipulated.
  • That I don't need to hide behind food. That is what is hurting me.
Question - "What have you always known, deep down?"
  • That my dad is selfish & self centered. He's all about him. That I'll never get his approval.
  • Also that my husband never really loved me. He tolerates me.
  • Editors note: **The second one was personally VERY hard for me to read. I pray that this has been resolved as she knows my inner thoughts now. My dreams are full of our conversations and interactions. I truly let her down if she felt that way deep down inside (because there wasn't a day I didn't tell her that I loved her either by action or saying it or interacting with her by touch). This is the one thing that will haunt me for the rest of my days.** =(
Question - "What inspires you?"
  • My son inspires me.

  • He is a wonderful young man. He always smiles no matter the kind of day he has and no matter how he's feeling. He is always positive, and tries his best. He never lets anyone get him down. he loves his family and friends unconditionally.
  • He never complains. When Travis does anything, he does it "All in".He stands up for what he believes in. I'm so proud of him. he is my Sunshine. =)
Question - "Whom do you admire?"
  • I admire my son. he puts so much effort into everything he does. If he is sick or hurt, he keeps going and never complains. With all of his limitations and struggles, he is strong and doesn't give up. He is always positive. Always thinks of others. Is there for you in a heart beat. Travis is very compassionate. Not afraid of what people think!! =)  He's a big ball of Sunshine! He is an old fashion soul, loves unconditionally. He is a blessing, my angel from God.

Question - "What do you want to be better at?"
  • Evangelism, reaching out to people who don't know Jesus.
  • Loving myself.
  • Follow through.
Question - "What's worth taking a risk for?"
  • Family.
Question - "How do you want people to remember you?"
  • Loving, unconditional, giving, encouraging, hard working, faithful to God. A good Mom, wife, friend. Someone you can count on, fun to be with.

Editors note: **Penny Sue Andersen passed away on February 6th, 2016 from a Heart Attack (in her sleep) around 10:30 pm. She had been fighting Bladder Cancer for just a week shy of 4 years (and was considered Cancer Free in December of 2015 after major surgery in June of 2015 at the Cancer Treatment Center of America in Zion, IL). We were married for 24 years (and were going to be celebrating our 25th silver wedding anniversary on 9/11/2016). Alas, it was God's turn to help her through her struggles and she went with him knowing with her every being that she would be with God always (through Jesus) and would be meeting up with all of her loved ones - especially with her little Brandon. It is now my duty as her husband to keep her voice alive in this world. If I come across more journal entries that we think will help inspire others, we will publish it. No embellishment or creative writing of what she may have meant - but her exact words structured as she wrote them. She was a VERY smart woman (and she LOVED God). Who am I to stand in the way of her words? **  Steinar Andersen - 5.29/2016 (Penny's widow).