Penny Palace

Penny Palace

Friday, December 18, 2020

Story Time: Double Blessing

Remember the
 Ice Cream Social Night from five weeks ago (Friday the 13th)?  Tonight Doc and I met with the family again.  This time to deliver their “double blessings”  (See Pocket Cash Story posted on Dec 5th).  We told the kids we were coming over to share a Christmas Story with them. 

What an incredible 30 minutes of Pure JOY!!!!   When Doc and I rang the doorbell at the Hohl house, we could hear the four youngest children (the Littlies) jumping up and down in anticipation.


I started by asking what the kids remembered about our previous night together.  They remembered making the Thankfulness Cards, the little Thankfulness tree which the Elves picked out for them, eating ice cream and the Giving Game.


That was the perfect lead-in for the Pocket Cash Story.  Instead of just telling the kids about what happened, Doc and I acted out the story.  Doc was the voice of God.  I played the roles of Tina (Penny Finders shirt on) and Mary (when wearing black apron with pockets).  All ten of us were laughing ourselves silly as I tried to switch back and forth to pay both roles.   The kids liked when I “sassed back” to God or got “inspiration” while talking to God in the shower.


The skit concluded with the Lesson “The More You Give, the More You are Blessed”.


The concept became more real as I counted out the money to each child.  The child who donated $5 to sponsor a rabbit received her $5 back PLUS another $5.  The children who donated $20  (40% of their $50 allotment), received their $20 back PLUS $20 more!  WOW.  That left an impression.


The Hohl Family

Additional JOY:  This afternoon the oldest boy, Ty, submitted an on-line application for Azusa Pacific University (APU).  Within an hour, a counselor had called to say Ty had been accepted!  So tonight also became a Celebration of that Good News!


Playing a Beat for Us

As Doc and I were packing up to leave, the two youngest boys hopped up saying “You gave us a Gift, so we want to Gift You back!  We want to Play a Beat for You!”  They proceeded to create an original piece of music for us while one of the little girls danced across the room.



Talk about JOY Being Contagious!  WOW!!!!




P.S.  If any of you like Cinnamon Rolls …. Louis and Lakiesha own Sweet Dough Café.  They offer over 100 flavors of gourmet Cinnamon Roles.


Saturday, December 5, 2020

Pocket Cash

Recently my friend M.V. was at our house.  She asked what had been happening since I last saw her. 

I was running late and did not have time to chat.   The ‘Nudging’ said to tell M.V. about the Ice Cream Social.  (See story from Friday, November 13th).   I argued back, “I am in a hurry”.  It didn’t matter to The Nudging.  “Take Time and share the story”.  So I told M.V. about the activities at the Ice Cream Social.  She seemed very interested in the Giving Game.

Summary:  A family with six children came over for ice cream and an evening of Thankfulness.  Each child was given $50 to play the Giving Game.  First step: at least $5 (10%) of their “earnings” had to be given to help others.   (Charity/Tithing)  They were able to choose from photos off a Poster Board ($25 for chickens, $16 for soccer balls $21 for a bed bug net, etc.)  They each chose gifts for international children.


I walked away to take a quick shower.  By now I was running REALLY late.  Before I could leave the room, M.V. insisted I come back and talk to her.  Uhhh, “No. I am already late!”  She insisted again.  She did not request that I talk to her, she demanded it!


M.V. explained to me…  I found some dollars in my apron pocket and have been asking God what I am supposed to do with it.  I have been instructed to give it to those children you just told me about.  Also, please take my wages from today and give that to them as well.


Keep in mind that M.V. is NOT well-to-do.  She cleans houses.  She has lost many of her clients this year due to COVID restrictions and does not have “excess”.  I told her SHE needed those dollars to pay her bills.  She argued that she was “instructed” to give these dollars as a gift to some children.

I went off and took my shower.  While the water was running, I was asking for guidance as to HOW best to forward her gift.  Should I mail a check to the family or what?  The answer was to “take it to the kids – and DOUBLE what they lovingly gave in the Giving Game.  Show them how when they are generous, it will come back to them.”


I got out of the shower excited to ask M.V. what she thought about the “Double Back” idea.  She said while I was in the shower, she heard the word “DOUBLE” in her mind.  COINcidence?? 


M.V. asked how many kids were in the family.  I told her 4 boys and 2 girls.  Her eyes widened as she said, “THAT is how many kids were in my family!  We did not have much at Christmas time when we came to the U.S.  How great that I can give these kids something for THEIR Christmas.”     COINcidence or what?


What a Great Lesson for the kids (and for the rest of us as well).  Give and Ye Shall Receive.


Right now the whole family is in a 14 day COVID quarantine.  (A co-worker of the mom tested positive, so they are being cautious).  I can’t wait to see them all again, share this story, and give them their “Return on Investment”.  

Sunday, November 29, 2020

New Tools / Taking Action

 Tools for working on household projects are analogous to tools to work on our lives.  Buying the tools is the easy part.  (We each have been given unique tools/talents).  However, it is one thing to own the tools, it’s another thing to know how to use them.  Today Doc and I continued working on the repair of our wood fence which was damaged in the recent windstorm.  I used a regular bit instead of an impact bit to put in the first screw.  I did not know the difference.  Ruined that bit on the very first usage!

I would contend that over the centuries numerous books have been written to serve as “instruction manuals” for us to study and employ in our daily lives.  Reading those helpful manuals hopefully will help us avoid too many “screw ups” and make our jobs easier.  But even after reading the instruction books, we need to Take Action! 


Getting motivated to actually do something with our tools (talents) takes effort.   Very much like a piece of exercise equipment.  It’s one thing to have it inside your house, another thing to know how to use it (for more than hanging laundry on it) and then there is the difficult part – getting motivated to actually use it on a regular basis.


How gratifying to see such progress when we use the tools (skills/talents) which each of us have been given to make things better for people around us.



This month Home Depot has been having a tool sale.  Doc was like a kid in a candy shop when he saw all the displays.  He wanted the circular saw, the drill, the impact driver, the chain saw ….  Doc said since it was my birthday, I REALLY NEEDED some tools.   LOL.  See the scrapbook page I made to tell the story.


I know of women who would prefer the $$ be spent on jewelry, shoes, clothing, etc.  As for me, I’ll take the tools!  No-Brainer!


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Building with LOVE

Doc asked what I wanted to do today for my birthday.  I said I wanted to finish our Front Yard Display.  The latest theme is “Constructing a New Normal”.  

As we conclude 2020, it’s a time to reflect on the desired aspects of our New Year.  A few features might include:  Joy, Trust, Faith, Hope and LOVE.


Doc and I had put up most of the display a few weeks ago.  Then the hurricane-force winds hit.  Who knows where some of those pieces are by now?  I had to order some new signs and re-build.  



The Sad News:  It was heartbreaking to watch three magnificent trees toppling over.  Plus they crushed the wood fence we had just rebuilt and finished the prior day!  The Good News: The blown over trees and damaged fence sure added “reality” to the Construction Themed display.  





Food for Thought:  What features would YOU like to see in your 2021 “New Normal”?  What will YOU Create?





Friday, November 13, 2020

Ice Cream Social

 Tonight was fantastic!

Activities such as these were the intent/objective when building the Penny Palace.


Six kids (ranging from 4-17)  were here along with mom and dad.  A few hours of fun, joy, learning.  Topics included: Charity, Being Thankful, Investing, Ice Cream, Elves, Solar Cars, Aussie Flora and Fauna, Math, and so much more!


Before leaving, the kids were each asked what they liked most or what they learned this evening.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Each of them had been given $50 cash, yet none of them mentioned the money as one of their top 3 things!!!!  That, in itself was eye opening for everyone at the table -- money is not really what is important.  Important was giving, being grateful, etc.


I am still high on the "Good Vibrations".  This was one more event adding JOY value to the Penny Palace.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Alta Loma Dreaming

This morning Doc and I were working out in the yard.  A vehicle with two passengers flipped a U-Turn and stopped in front of our mailbox.   My honest first thought?  "God. I don't really want to chitchat this morning.  I have one hour of Doc's time out here.  Please don't drag me into something right now....  Can I ignore this?"  The answer came back:  "No".

The two ladies gave me a thumbs up and shouted out the car window. "We agree!  Love your display! We just HAD to turn around and tell you that!"

Of course, I dropped my tools to go talk to them.  Mother and Daughter.  Daughter studying at UC Davis saying she periodically drives through this neighborhood and dreams of having a home similar to this in a neighborhood such as this.  Mom is giving facial expressions like "Yeah Right".

I told them how our son used to drive through this neighborhood saying he wanted to live in this area some day.  He encouraged Doc and me to think about building our dream house in this neighborhood as well.  We did.  Our thoughts -- IMPOSSIBLE!  WAY BEYOND our capabilities!  Most of you know the story .... the Penny Palace exists.  With Divine Assistance, the PENNY PALACE stands as a shining tribute to Manifesting, Prayers, COINcidences, the Laws of Attraction, etc.

This morning was an unexpected encounter of mutual JOY and inspiration.  EVERY day and EVERY Encounter provide opportunities to learn and share.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Iguana Surgeon

Iggy is the ceramic yard Iguana at the GARDEN of HOPE.  He welcomes people at the front door there.  He was severely injured in what we believe to be an unprovoked attack by a weed whacker.

For weeks I had been seeking solutions as to how to repair Iggy's Face!  A Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon was Needed.  Where do you go for someone with such skills?  Google search results were not at all helpful.

My solution of using a paper mask is in COVID fashion right now, but it was not going to withstand the watering and elements long-term.

I had pretty much given up hope in finding a solution to this problem.  I left it in the hands of the Universe.

Lesson:  Don’t give up Hope.  A solution exists!

Doc and I were hauling wheelbarrow loads of rocks from across the street to our house.  A neighbor Sarah walked past.  She stopped to chat.  She is an Expressive Arts Educator!  
Was it really COINcidence that Sarah should be walking past at the precise time Doc and I were out in the street?   I told her about Iggy and then sent her a photo.  She said she would order some material and when it arrived, she would do her best to reconstruct Iggy’s face.

Today Surgeon Sarah Delivered Iggy

Look at Iggy Now!

 What are the odds of MANIFESTING a cosmetic surgeon for an Iguana?  The Law of Attraction in Action!!!

Do YOU have a challenging situation? 
Where will YOU turn for YOUR answers?  Google?  Wikipedia? Other?


Sunday, May 10, 2020


Our world has been turned totally upside down with this COVID-19 virus. Many of us had a multitude of plans which have now been drastically altered.

Doc and I had planned to be on a 24-Day Walkabout in Australia at this time.  Instead, due to COVID-19, we are Walking About our local area!

We (I) made a list of 24 Action Items to do instead of being in Australia.  (There are now over 80 items on that list).  We are working daily on those items and sure getting a lot done around the house and yard.  Thank goodness the home improvement stores are still open.   

Of course we are disappointed that we are not Down Under having fun with our friends. Rather than lamenting our situation, every day we are having fun with some “INSTEAD Ofs.”

Here are 12 of our INSTEAD OFs:

1)  Instead of enjoying a glass of wine on “The Rocks” ** overlooking Sydney Harbour, we enjoyed a glass of wine on the rocks overlooking our back yard!

**The Rocks is a historic laneway community in the shadow of Sydney Harbour Bridge. 

Wine on the Rocks 

2)  Instead of lounging near a pool at a hotel, we enjoyed lounging on the sofa at home.

The dogs are sure loving this “Shelter at Home” stuff.


3)  Instead of enjoying a picnic lunch in a lovely park with Aussie Meat Pies and Eucalyptus Trees, we enjoyed burgers from a fast-food place in the rain in an asphalt parking lot with Palm Trees.


4)  Instead of being pampered with exotic facials at some ritzy salon, we sewed and wore custom facemasks.

5)  Instead of the Mighty Murray River flowing past our hotel room, we have the Shelton Stream flowing past our patio.  After several years of intermittent-operation, we finally conducted the repairs and have it flowing again.  Such joy!


6)  Instead of trying out new Aussie eateries or pubs, we tried out new frozen meals from the grocery store.  This frozen Wonton Soup is pretty tasty.   Plus it is cheaper than going out to dinner, there is no preparation work, it only takes five minutes to heat, and there are zero dinner dishes to wash (except for the spoons).


7)  Instead of viewing brush in the Outback, we were viewing local snow capped mountains.

8)  Instead of rotating around the Eye in Melbourne, we rotated the hose reel we helped install for a friend.

Rotating the Reel

9)  Instead of enjoying fabulous Australian botanical gardens and parks, we spent days “flat out”.  We cleared rocks, prepared the soil, and planted flowers in this HUGE area of our back yard!   LOL

Creating Our Own Garden

10)  Instead of sleeping in unique and Down Under hotels, we slept in the Aussie guest room of our home.

The Aussie Guest Room

11)  Instead of appreciating famous paintings on the walls of art galleries, we created our own paintings – the concrete on our driveway and the walkway to our front door.

Concrete Staining
12)  Instead of writing dozens of postcards from the passenger seat of a hire car, I wrote dozens of postcards at our dining table.   Pros – Postage mailed in US is only 35¢ versus $3.20 per card if mailed from Australia!  LOL

Postcards, Postcards, Postcards 


CONCLUSION:  When life doesn’t go quite as planned, LOOK FOR THE INSTEAD OFs.  Sometimes they can be pretty amazing (as well as humorous).

Monday, April 13, 2020

Stay at Home Humor

Sharing a Silly Moment with you as we begin another Week of Shelter at Home.  I read this and thought it was cute.  EnJOY!

Be careful because people are going crazy from being in lock down! Actually I've just been talking about this with the microwave and toaster while drinking coffee and we all agreed that things are getting bad. I didn't mention anything to the washing machine as she puts a different spin on everything. Certainly not to the fridge as he is acting cold and distant. In the end, the iron straightened me out as she said everything will be fine, no situation is too pressing. The vacuum was very unsympathetic... told me to just suck it up, but the fan was more optimistic and hoped it would all soon blow over! The toilet looked a bit flushed when I asked its opinion and didn’t say anything but the door knob told me to get a grip. The front door said I was unhinged and so the curtains told me to ........yes, you guessed it .....pull myself together

Monday, January 27, 2020

Personal Shoppers

WOW!  It has been nearly one YEAR (3 February 2019) since I wrote the last “Tale from the Penny Palace”.  That is really difficult to believe.  Almost EVERY day there is a “miracle” or “lesson to be learned”.  Miracles are all around us.  Here is a recent example ….

Last Friday night Doc was hollering from the kitchen.  I thought he was yelling “Blood, blood!”  I ran to find water flowing through the kitchen.  He was yelling “Flood, flood!”  The song “Surfing USA” came to mind, but it was not funny at the time.

The ice maker on our freezer had once again malfunctioned. After shutting off the water, Doc and I got out towels and the wet/dry vacuum to clean up the mess.  The fridge was only 16+ years old and was working just fine – except for that ice maker.  We had already replaced it once, replaced the door handle, the other handle was cracked, and the rubber gaskets around the doors were cracked and had slipped out of place.  Perhaps it was time for a new fridge.

I went on line to search for a new fridge.  Criteria:  White, Bottom Freezer, at least 20 cf, reasonably priced and no fancy add ons!  The search resulted in only 1-2 models in each of the major appliance stores!  

At our first stop the sales rep said, "You want WHITE???  I only sell MAYBE one of those a month!"  Default is Stainless Steel, then black.  If you want white it will take 3-4 weeks and cost extra!  WHAT?!?!?  You’ve gotta be kidding, right?

Next Doc and I went to Sears.  We found a model which was acceptable.  "You want WHITE?  Sorry, at this time it is not available in white."  White is evidently no longer in fashion.  I don't want fashion!  I want a basic, inexpensive, cold box with no frills!

I was growing frustrated so I asked for some Divine guidance in this decision.  “Dear God, I am ready to give up, Please Help, Thanks”.

The sales rep said, "We could get this model in Bisque."  Bisque?!?!  You're kidding!  I’ve never seen a fridge in Bisque (Crème).  My kitchen sink, cabinets, tiles, etc. are all in cremes and such.  The old white fridge didn't blend well, but it was better than black or stainless.  Bisque should be just perfect!

Doc was skeptical about getting the Bisque color, but I felt "led" to get it.
AND ... we could get it in 2 days AND for $100 LESS than the white model!

The fridge arrived today.  The color blends in REALLY well!  (Doc even had to admit that).

Today’s Lesson: Do you need a specialty item?  Call upon your DIVINE Personal Shoppers. They are likely to surprise you with their findings.