Fa la la la la...

Still haven't found my Christmas mojo. I tell myself I am trying too hard - just let it come naturally, in its own way and time.

We had a digi scrap last night at the local coffee house but it was really a front to celebrate my bday again. A FABulous chocolate birthday cake and a CROWN made me feel pretty special. We spent the evening playing and just visiting. One of the gals designed and finished her Christmas card. Her photo was a beach scene and the ornaments she used were just perfect for her design. We have been struggling on a design for the gks Christmas card. My daughter had a great idea of taking it in their Christmas jammies - that has great possiblilties but I'll bet we will match the boys to Miss M's stunning Christmas dress. That seems to be our default.

It used to be called tradition - I think default would be the new term. When it comes to holidays, there is almost a plan, maybe even an expectation of what the holiday should look like or be like. Like knowing your que in a play.

Stand on your mark ...then go when it is time. There have been times when I was ready for Christmas in September. I carried the Christmas spirit everywhere I went for 2 extra months feeling the high of Christmas. The high of Christmas?

Make no mistake - Christmas comes with it own brand of high. Ask anyone who has had a loss this year whether job, loss of a loved one or just hard times - Christmas exaggerates those feelings and makes the loss that much more difficult. Those four or five weeks of Christmas expectations have to be accomodated-maybe in a reduced way but accomodated never the less.

Here's the deal... our default with Christmas is about the stuff. It is about getting, buying, doing, more getting, more buying and more doing. Those are all things Ireally enjoy but putting all my high in that basket, won't get us any closer to where Iwant to be.

Mine will come from the Christmas program when Keaton and Gage will sing songs the songs of Joy, Peace and the baby in the manger. Mine will also come from Yesterday.

As I sit here writing this, I remember this photo from last Christmas morning. All the presents had been open and breakfast was on its way. While everyone else was in the throes of Christmas morning toy passion, quietly, Keaton grabbed a pen and piece of paper , headed for the kitchen table and started writing. I was at the stove cooking sausages and asked him who he was writing to. It was a thank you note to santa for all the things he had been given just a few minutes before. In that instant, I felt the high of Christmas. I pass this picture in my living room a hundred times a day. Its high always present, no matter what the season.

I have a new tradition, default if you will. This will be a part of all the rest of all my Christmases. I can't imagine that God doesn't smile when he sees gratitude in his children. I think I just found my Christmas mojo - it was right in front of me the whole time...

What a strange way to save the world...

As I head full speed into the 2006 Christmas season, I feel like I am still standing at the starting line, looking around - not sure what to think or where to go. My Christmas theme of I Believe In Yesterday is about the only thing that feels like home.

What I do know about this yesterday thing is that I have put all my eggs in one basket. To me, it is the perspective of what Jesus did for me some 2000 years ago and not what is being reported today on CNN. I have to look back to go forward.

So the thoughts that are going thru my mind have had a lot to do with Mary the last few days. Everything we do from now until Dec 25 is because a teenage girl said yes. We will never really know what she was thinking - wish she had kept a journal. Maybe it would have read something like this... From Evelyn Bence's, Mary's Journal.

"What have I done to deserve this?
Blessed among women. Chosen.
My womb will bear...the promise...the king.
I believe the man I saw, the words I heard."

Mary would conceive a child without being with a man. What society would that play favorably in? This is swimming uphill without a paddle. It would not only change her world but her fiancee too. This was not his child. Mary was the one who received the visit - Joseph had to hear about it second-hand. How would that play with your man?

" I've had gotten a good man from the Lord.
Yesterday I was grateful for merely a husband and right to be. Today how can I be so fickle - to mourn the wedding celebration I have been planning for so long? Since memory was born. Since I first smelled the fragrance of Cousin Leah's bridal joy."

Mary's Story will lead us to a manger which will lead us to a cross. It's all about Yesterday. If Mary had only had Paul McCartney's lyrics on her rockPOD, it might have proved soothing.

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they're here to stay
Oh, I believe in Yesterday...

Maybe not.
Maybe it was just the faith of a teenage girl, ready to do what was asked
Maybe she didn't give the consequences a thought...or maybe she did and said yes anyway.

" I was spared no pain but is seemed of little consequence once the breath filled his lungs.
And then near dawn, shepherds at the door, visited by heavenly being, one, then a skyfull, announcing our news: the Anointed One, born, wrapped and in a manger. Rejoice. Praise the Most High"

Thank you Mary for showing us the way of faith. A faith that can be if we are willing. Whatever we are asked to do - can be done. Not wrapped up nice and neat with a bow. Christmas is Easter's, Yesterday. Yesterday never stands alone...

The Herdsmans...

" They were just so all-around awful you could hardly believe they were real. Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude Ollie and Gladys - six skinny, stringy-haired kids all alike except for being different sizes and having different black-and-blue places where they had clonked each other."

If you have read Beverly Cleary's masterpiece, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, you would recognize the Herdsman ANYWHERE. This is one of my time fave books ever, right up there with Walter, The Farting Dog - but that is for another holiday so when I found them living next door to my grandkids, I felt both excited and a sense of dread. It would be a long time before there would be any sort of interaction between the kids but this fall - it happened.

M, aka Imogene is now in second grade with Keaton. One of his friends comes home with him several times a week while his mommy is working and somehow, it felt right to TRY letting the kids play together. Now before all this took place - Imogene had been over, lots. Lots and lots and lots of door ringing.

"Can Keaton play? She did this forever, never taking no for an answer. I guess it finally paid off. I can only imagine she saw this as a victory of sorts.

"As far as anyone could tell, Imognene was just like the rest of the Herdsman. She never learned anything either, except dirty words and secrets about everybody".

One day Keaton tells me, I know what a child molester is! There had been issues in their community but in my heart, I knew who had shared this tidbit with him - Imogene.

Soon, her older sister and brother were coming over too. I was about as nervous as a - well, I was very nervous - still am. At Halloween, I saw how they operated as a team and they could wipe out a bowl of halloween goodies in no time. You just get a sense being around them.

They are worldly - way pass my grandkids. The first time I met Imogene, I felt like I was meeting a rival on my level. She still gives me that feeling everytime I am around her.

My favorite Story happened a few weeks ago. The kids are feeling quite comfy now, and ask for snacks all the time. They will send in Keaton and Gage to do asking but the original thought is coming from Imogene and Ollie.

That day, my daughter hears Imogene yelling, "Hey , can we get some snacks out here!"

In true herdsman style, I knew we had arrived. To their credit, they are nice to the boys and that is why they get to come over. Their family life is as a true Herdsmans and their survivor skills come as a result of that - that , I can so identify with.

" But as far as I'm concerned, Mary is always going to look a lot like Imogene Herdman - sort of nervous and bewildered, but ready to clobber anyone who lays a hand on her baby. And the Wise Men are always going to be Leroy and his brothers, bearing ham."

The Story of the birth of Jesus hasn't never been told so eloquently as this one. It is a Story about who we are and what we are willing to believe. I always knew it had to be a real Story. One thing I have always wanted to do is to see this done on the Big Screen - we can do it now, I found the Herdsmans...

no importance whatsoever versus essential...

What a great weekend! The fab four sure did deliver - from the warm comfort zone of a great Thanksgiving to the milestone of yet another bday and anniversary, we had it all. Black Friday was the day that tested me the most. Showed up at Best Buy at 4AM, an hour before they opened to a line that snaked around the whole building and then some. We stood in line for about 15 minutes until we heard that EVERYTHING was gone. We got back in the car and were home before the doors opened. Disappointed, I took a little nap before heading back to get Brandi and the boys for more shopping. We had a great rest of the day - I was just along for the fun and was not disappointed.

Dh came to pick me up and still wanted to go back to Best Buy. I was still a little mad at them but not TOO mad. So we walk in at 535PM and one of the items I wanted, a digital picture frame, was just sitting there on a shelf. Nobody knew why they had one - by rights, they could have sold it many times over but there it was, waiting for me. As I shared my find with one of the clerks, he said he had in in THAT line. He got there at 4PM Thanksgiving Day and was number 6 in line. I started not to feel so mad anymore. There was NO WAY I would have giving up my Thanksgiving time to wait in line for anything...Perspective started to come back and my mind stared to clear.

Earlier in the day, we saw this nicely dressed older woman holding her Shop At Kmart sign in one hand and waving to all of us with her other. Kmart is about 6 or 7 miles from where she was walking about but at busy intersection with a great mall. I couldn't imagine why she would be doing it and I felt bad for her. I wondered if she felt desperate or was embarrassed. I hoped at least one person made the trek to Kmart because of her although if I was a betting woman - I would doubt it. How did we get to this point? Both of us in our own ways looking for a little perspective.

Today is Cyber Monday - it is suppose to be the biggest on line shopping day of the year. When you're a digi scrapper, Everyday is a potential cyber day but I get the idea. I have changed my philosopy of Black Friday - there will be no more shopping for specific items, no getting up at 300am to be the 2500 person in line and no expectations. Will be leaving those at home but what I will take with me is the idea of a fun day with family and the start of the holiday season. More about hearing the Salvation Army bell ringing and less about what is in my bag as I rush pass the red kettle to my overflowing car...God bless us, each one...

the Fab 4...

This is my favorite week of the year and Wednesday is my favorite day of this week. For the 25 years that I worked, I always had Wednesday off to get ready for Thanksgiving. For many years, Thankgiving was at my house and I did most of the cooking. Since the kids got married and the grandbabies came along, our holiday is now shared at the other grandma's house. It is a wonderful time - they have an extended family and we are treated just like we were one of them. It is a great day of food & fun...I look forward to it every year.

Thanksgiving, Black Friday, My 55th birthday and my 35th wedding anniversary. Four days of celebration - each with their own significance. After stuffing ourselves with turkey and pumpkin pie, we need to go home and sleep fast so we can be at Best Buy by 5am on Friday. Later in the day, I will pick up Brandi and the kids and we will head out for more shopping. Saturday, on my official pension bday, we are taking everybody to see the Festival of Trees with the real-life storybook characters and themed Christmas trees. Someone asked me what we were going to do for our anniversary on Sunday. We both think we are so lucky to have someone to share an anniversary with that the doing is in the having. Dh has to work Sunday evening so our fabulous four days will wind down and life will get back to normal.

The next few weeks will be a blur. It will be a time of rejoicing, celebration and sometimes, dread. The mixture of bright-eyed wonder and the didIbuycreamcheeseforthecelery?moments that keep our brains from shutting down at night. Whether I have been naughty or nice is secondary to doIhaveenoughwrappingpaper?

I am going to keep my I Believe in Yesterday close.

I am going to embrace the parts of Christmas that nourish me.

I am going to remember that because of a teenage girl saying yes, I believe.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friend. May you and yours share a time of laughter, a time to be together and a time to be greatful, see you Monday...love zalaine.

sir Paul...

DH and I love the Beatles. Maybe it is Paul that we love. We picked up his The Space Within Us concert at Costco Saturday and looked forward to getting home and having us a Pennylane hoedown. Beyond the music, this is great study of our culture and values. Where else could you see Billy Joel, Jack Nicholson and Bill Clinton in one place on the same emotional page? Bono, John Cusack and Clint Black. Wrap your head around James Taylor and Tony Bennett being in the audience jamming to the beat. In between concert footage, there are explanations from professors and politicians trying to explain the over 40 years of sir Paul's influence on us. I was amazed by the younger people who knew every word of his songs. He transcends generations and continents. There is footage of 3 generations of families dancing, crying and grooving to the beat. He is an icon not only to my generation but my grandkids - that is quite a legacy.

We walked into church Sunday morning to a flurry of activity. For the first time in over 10 years the set up crew forgot to - set up. There were 3 pastors that had been putting up almost 500 chairs and when we walked in 15 minutes before the service is suppose to start, they were still hustling to get the last 50 chairs in place. While they scurried about, I grabbed my camera to get the shot. They finished in plenty of time and no one was the wiser and I knew I had my first sir Paul layout. For me, it is the perfect marriage of the visual and the written - words that have stayed with me for 40 years to the visuals of today. I plan to scrap sir Paul's lyrics as the photos come.

The idea began to grow as the service progressed and as I doodled in my journal with song lyrics running thru my head, my Christmas theme became clear. I Believe in Yesterday.

The Jesus of my Yesterday is the reason I am where I am today.
What happened over 2000 years ago is why I stand where I do today.
I believe in yesterday and that is why I stand where I do today.

I have a few more days of my personal Thanksgiving season - Christmas is knocking hard on my door, hard and fast. I want to spend these last few days wrapped in gratitude and content in spirit. I love this Thanksgiving week. It is short week, kids are out of school and our minds are on turkey and mashed pototoes. All is good with the world and we want to enjoy the last hurrah of autumn before Black Friday. I have pockets of time to just be because we all know that, tomorrow may rain but I'll follow the Son...


To get most of the places I need to - I have to cross a set of railroad tracks. Soon we will have a overpass and a new way to play beat the train but for now, the train and part of my town are usually at odds. My DH tells me that there is a 15 minute time limit that the train can block a railroad crossing but I'm not sure I believe him. And, if there is, who are you going to call, the train police? So, over the years, I have trained myself to adjust.

Last Sunday, I was first in line waiting for what turned out to be a 8 minute train - so with my music cranked I started my usual train graffiti watching. While I don't condone tagging on things that don't belong to you, I have got to say I can't help but feel that some of the graffiti is pretty cool. This morning, I was in for a real treat.

Never give up - in a child's curvise handwriting with a stickperson's face and a stickperson's gun held to the head. Wonder if anyone else has ever seen this and if it changed their life. the other one I noticed was, SOBER, written in big bubble letters. I thinking, there is a Story I would sure like to know. I can only draw my own conclusions and those make me smile.

As I'm watching this, Mc Hammer's U Can't Touch This, is playing in the background. I imagine that is is pretty much how God told the devil to back off in Job. My thoughts are racing thru my head and the music is pounding my ears, In short order, the train is gone and I was free to go.

By the time I reached the church's parking lot, I felt like I had already been. Everything that I would hear at church today would run thru the graffiti filter and be seen in new way. A Road Less Taken, less popular but maybe - just maybe, another piece of the Puzzle.

So here I am today. There is something new to learn. I want to be kicking on all cylinders - I don't want to miss a moment of life's graffiti whether on a train, in the eyes of a stranger or the lyrics of a song. Never Give up - sober words for everyday...


While this may look like our Christmas 2006 Christmas Card, it really was yesterday's bday celebration of one of our own and someone said, "Hey, let's grab the Christmas hats that are for sale in the gift shop AND ask the clerk to take our picture!" Each lady picked out their own so you get a taste of our diverse personalities. I was going for The Christmas Story look...

I had a great day of women. I ran into the Birthday Girl at the grand opening of our town's Old Navy. Ran a couple doors down to Target and ran into another of my girl homies. Although there is almost 20 years difference in our age, we are way more alike than not. We talked about how uncomfortable we are with women our own age and I told her about the greatest advice I had been giving about girlfriends from another good friend years ago - Gear down 10 years. That little bit of advice changed my life. Homy Girl thought 20 years would be a better fit and in our cases, she is absolutely right. Birthday Girl called Homy Girl while we were talking so I met up with her again. I left with a big grin on my face, thanking God for these great women.

Homy Girl had told me about these earphones at Ross so I ran to the other side of town to see if they still had any. I was standing in line behind a woman close to my age. She had a very formal angel statue and here I am with my full size headset for my Ipod. I grinned again - it just confirmed what I already knew. The lady and I chatted about credit card fraud out to our cars and went our merry ways. I can just about guarantee that she wouldn't need nor understand the need for the earphones and if I was a betting woman - might think that an Ipod was a organic vegetable.

I got all my shopping done and headed for the Birthday Party. For a couple hours, we talked about everything under the sun. We all know each other and picked up conversations where we had left off. We ate, laughed and scheduled our next digi scrap nite. As I got into my car to head home, I felt a saturation of Love. I learned some things, got loved and it wasn't even my birthday! The power of a girlfriend is a powerful thing, I am a lucky girl...

day and night - part 2...

It was 430PM when we walked in thru the entrance for the consession workers the other night. Like when you go to vote, they had to check our names off the list for the school we were working for that night. As we walked around the center to get to our booth, they were in the middle of a sound check. The music was cool and I thought about all those empty seat that would be filled and rocking in just a few. I was so concious of the quiet now, that would soon, no longer be. I did a mental sweep of the room and said a little prayer for each seat and whoever would be occupying them in a bit.

Later on, when we had our break and did another walk through - there was the crowd that I had thought about almost 6 hours earlier. They were the happiest crowd I had ever seen. They were on their feet, waving and clapping - total contentment of the moment. It felt like a sauna in there but for most of them, they had waited a lifetime and weren't leaving now. Nothing could get them out of their seats, nothing.

Tuesday was a great day - my girl, Bianca Ryan came out with my Song, And I'm Telling You I'm not Going. Ever since I heard her sing this, I knew it was The Song. It will direct me for the rest of my life.

And I'm telling you
I'm not going
You're the best friend
I'll ever known
There is no way I could ever go
There is no way I am living without you

You see, there is a world of difference between an empty concert hall with empty seats and a place where the seats are full and people are lined up all along the wall. It is like the difference between having and not having God in your life. It's visual I will not soon forget. I have lived both ways and I know what I want and how to get it. Do yourself a favor and listen to the 30 second clip on ITunes - better yet, treat yourself to a 99 cent piece of iconic melody that will make your spirit s0ar.

I'm not living without you
I don't wanted to be free
I'm staying, I'm Staying, I'm STAYING
and You're going to Love me...

day and night...

You can't imagine how happy you can be to work at a concession stand while The Stones are singing Jumping Jack Flash in the background or counting the cash drawer to Honky Tonk Woman.

What a night! I could not have had a better time if I had bought a gazillion dollar ticket. In fact, I wouldn't have missed the opportunity to see their happy faces for anything. There were several times during the night that because I couldn't have a camera, I took visual pics that will stay on my brain's harddrive forever. One couple were dressed to the nines in their RS gear complete with flashing red lips and fancy hat gear. There were a stunning visual to an incredible event. I haven't seen that much gray and tie dye in long time. Maybe it was the advanced age of the crowd but they were an enthusiatic, happy and ready to party crowd.

After five hours of seeing hundreds of people, I saw no one I knew. People came from everywhere. One man had just flown in from New York, just for the concert. One of the little gals at the concession stand knew people flying in from Virginia. We worked our tails off making sure these guys had adequate refreshments but we walked away with a different kind of happy.

For a while, it looked like the concert may not happen. Mick Jagger had been having throat issues and then last Saturday, his father passed away. Our stop was one of the last ones but I wonder how you make yourself keep going and especially for Nampa, Idaho.

I was happy all evening for this crowd. They were ready to rock and roll and when the Stones hit the stage at 920PM, it almost brought tears to my eyes because you could feel their excitement. I didn't need to see what I could feel.

Sometimes, just listening is enough.
Sometimes, just listening is way more than enough.
Sometimes, just listening is better.

As we walked around on our break, we got pretty close to the side of the stage. I could see Jagger's face and that was all I needed. I got to hear the whole concert as I happily worked. I think I am concession stand material. I learned something from this crowd. Sometimes you just can't help but be happy...This morning, their Stories are still going thru my head. Life is good.

nursing home gift drive...

It's that time of year again and actually one of my favorites. You now that Thanksgiving, Black Friday and much More is just around the corner when the nursing homes start to post Christmas wish list in the local paper. I have followed these list for years as a study of sorts. There are usually 3 or 4 lists from assorted homes in our area and there never appears to be any lack of those who answer the call. Yes, Christmas is about the kids but as one who is getting closer and closer to this nursing home age, this speaks to me.

These list read like a virtual history of someone's life. You can tell alot by just listening to what you read about each one. They are described with a number, a m/f status, sizes if needed and a few things on their Wish List. I can only imagine what it must be like when they are interviewing the Ladies and Gentleman trying to get this vital information. There is little modesty here - they have to give exact sizes or the gift wouldn't be of any use to them. This is the generation that protects its privacy above all else. Their finances are off limits, even to the children and there is a general distrust with this generation - they have see too much and it is diffcult for them to catch up. Wait till the Baby Boomers hit the homes - WiFi in every room, IPods on every nite stand and peace, baby...

Starting with Mr 39. Electric razor, CD's Hank Williams Jr and Johnny Cash. Now there is a real man. I have gotta to find him a woman. Maybe Miss 10. She wants a cd head set and a red and black dress, size 22. Can't you just see these two on the dining room dance floor at the end of the day, dancing cheek to cheek with Johnny Cash singing quietly in the background thru the cd player.

I am also on the look out for Mr 42. He is desiring Shorts-szL, a tie and a case of Pepsi. Am thinking he may do well with Miss 104 - all she wants is Chocolate candy and a food basket. Together, they could have a great little feast.

A lot of ladies ask for perfume, some things never change. Sweat pants are a popular item as are warm lap blankets. Slippers, lotion and electric razors round the top ten requests. There are 113 people on this particular list, 86 are women, leaving 27 men to find their way through this girl maze. I bet they do just fine.

I say a prayer for each one. For where they are now. They are now at their final physical location on this earthly journey. They bring a lifetime of memories and experiences with them. I would like to know Miss 18's Story. Any women who is brave enough to ask for a 42C sports bra and stretch cotton pants 26/28, has a Story to tell.

This is one of my Thanksgiving traditions. I so look forward to it. May Mr and Miss 1-113 be blessed this year and may all their Christmas wishes come true...

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall...

Humpty Dumpty had a great Fall
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty
together again.

Had My Dumpty been anything other than an egg, what would his life have looked like?
Would he have gone on to be Somebody with importance?
Apparently he had some kind of connection with the King - his men tried to save him.
I can't imagine that the king's men and horses just happen to be going by when Humpty fell!
In the pictures I have seen, he wasn't dressed like someone representing a king.
In fact, he looked a little silly in that suit.
And if he was so fragile, why was he sitting on a wall so high off the ground?

The reality is Humpty's Story sounds a little like mine.
Like me, while I may not be an egg, I am fragile.
And like Humpty, I am surrounded by the King's men and horses.
I have and continue to things that seem as troubling as sitting high up on walls.

Things that can hurt me.
Things that will hurt me.
Things that even the king's men can't help me with.

Its a children's Story, one we all know. Whether is because we have heard it a million times or lived it once, it is familiar. We all run to things familiar. The safe, comfortable place to land within ourselves. I wish the Story had turned out better for Mr Humpty, but his Story gives me hope, that it will turn out different for me...

one on one...

It was a dark and rainy day. School was out for parent-teacher conferences and we needed to get out. We grabbed the boys and Miss M and headed for the mall. It was their idea to go but we didn't get to the Disney store or Mrs Field's fast enough so as we were passing thru Dillard's, Gage gave the drama queen performance of his life and then, Keaton. I laughed and grabbed my camera while mommy was horrified. Miss M was safely strapped in her stroller or she would have been right in the middle of them.

The mall outing was a success and we finally made our way to everywhere we wanted to go and a few more. It was time to head home. Later that evening, Keaton would get his first report card of the year and hear his teacher's comments via his mommy and daddy. I will hear this morning how it went but I already have a good idea of what she thinks - we've talked and she loves him.

Quite a change from last year when he had the worstteacherinthehistoryoftheworldever. He has taken some time for him to feel worthy again. This new teacher knows what he went through and has given him what he needed to build back some confidence. He loves his teacher this year and is not the same kid. That is what one on one does for you.

Whether big person or small, we all thrive on, one on one attention. There is something about that smallness of community that we grow and develop. It doesn't have to be an on-going relationship. For the last nine years, since I have been home, most of my time has been learning to be in the moment. Being aware and learning to focus has brought me many encounters that I would never have seen before. Some have been lasting and some, very fleeting. DH and I were talking about this the other day and I told him if it ended today, I would still be the luckiest girl ever to have experienced what I have. You don't have to be a teacher or a people lover, you just have to be available.

I love Mrs C for what she has done for Keaton. I love to see Keaton spread that love to others like he does. Whatever comes our way today, may be be able to show that Love, one on one...

religion and politics...

It used to be a big no - no to talk about these two in the same arena. It is apparent these days - that ship has sailed. The country made a big shift this week and if you can believe the powers of the airwaves, it was more about voting against something than for something. Two years ago, the red states showed up ready, dressed for battle. This year, it appears that either the reds changed their minds or the blues did the dressing up during these mid-term elections. The days of the old school way of seperating religion and politics appears to be dead and no more so than tuesday's election night.

In Harold Ford's Jr concession speech Tuesday night, he kindly thanked all those who had helped him. His humble way made you think the country had really lost out on a chance to have this man represent us in a place where it really counts. As he continued his speech, he treaded into territory that I have not seen debated to death on any network news show. Or at all. He started talking about how Eph 6-12 had been a part of his everyday campaign, This is not a love everybody kind of scripture and one certainly you would not expect to hear in a concession speech.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

My impression was not that he was bitter about the lost - it was a tight race. These piece of His Word has gotten me through many a situation where explanation was not to be found. The explanation was in the Word.

Times that didn't make any sense.
Times that did make sense
Times when I forgot about the Big Picture...

I am not a political person but I am a Big Picture watcher. There is no agenda that I would ever march with but I am a people watcher. My personal opinion is that you have to give up too much to hold public office. Time, values and mold yourself to a Bigger Picture. One that someone might have to wrestle with. One that may cost you more than a 4 year job.

Whether Harold Ford Jr. will be leading Tennessee for the next four years has been settled. What is yet to be determined is whether he understands, he is already a winner in a greater arena. He understands what is important, He has seen the Big Picture and no amount of votes can cloud that vision. For each of us, the question is the same. There are things that we will never see or understand or can explain. Anyone who can comprehend that, is a winner in my book...


It's almost midnight but my day is just starting. DH just left for a late shift and I have had my nap. Yesterday was a long day and the election returns are keeping me company. Our country made a big shift tonight. For so many different reasons, you would be hard pressed to pick just one. In my state, the local news reported at 10PM that there were still people in line waiting to vote and it would be midnight before everyone would be given the opportunity to exercise their right to do so.

I walked into my voting precinct and saw a friend of my daughter's that teaches school there. She told me to come visit when I finished so I stopped by her classroom on my way out and we had a pretty heavy, promptu conversation. She is dealing with her mom whose dementia is exploding and has to be dealt with. She didn't think she would find herself in this position ...yet. We talked, she shed a few tears and it was moment that was meant to be. I don't think it had much to do with voting - sometimes there is More.

My personal Thanksgiving starts the morning after Halloween and last until midnight Thanksgiving Day. I take these few weeks to look back over the year and be in those moments with a heart of gratitude. It's about getting grounded before heading into the crazyness of Christmas - I don't want to forget what is important.

Today, it was about living in country where you are free to exercise your right to vote without fear. To live in this great country with those who think like you do and those who don't. People will come and go, policies will come and go - it is the cycle of life. Politics have no effect on God. They never have. He works thru kings and paupers, friend and foe and blue and red states.

My Thankgiving continues. It is state of mind that I so look forward to every year. The colors of autumn, the crispness in the air and thankfulness that seems a little clearer for these few short weeks are more that enough for me to be still and know...

nana's house...

We moved here almost 7 years ago. The house we were living in was big and the yard was bigger. One thing we aren't is yard people. When we put the house up for sale in September, little did I know that by the time we actually moved late January, I would be a nana in seven months.

This is the only house my gkids have known. This is the house we have baked cookies, made crafts, opened presents, had sleepovers and sing karoake. It is a little house but the kids don't care. They have their own room. They come in the house most every Sunday after church and head for their room while I get lunch ready. Keaton and Gage have taught Miss M the ropes and even at 19 months, she knows what is what. We take turnings setting next to each other at lunch. Depending on whether poppa is there, usually one of the boys sits by each of us and Miss M who just graduated to sitting at the table - out of the cursed high chair, happily eating, chatting and trying to figure out what we are going to do after lunch.

These are precious times. The memories that have been made here are strong and rooted. When we talk about about moving, closer to the kids, Gage has a stinky fit. He hate change and the idea of us moving even closer to him doesn't have a chance to sink in because he has his superhero boxers all twisted up in a knot, thinking about the change. These kids feel the Love that surrounds them as soon as they walk up the step to nana's house and when that door opens and the hugs come, they accept the lavish attention they know is coming before heading off to play.

This is a glimpse of what I feel in the presence of God.
This is the way I can best usher my gkids toward the Love of God.
This is how I learn to share Him with others.

There is always change involved with God. God doesn't change but we do. As we learn to trust Him more, we change from the inside out. Our lives start to look different and we start to act differently. Those around us may or may not see the change or they may or may not recognize it.

The kids know Love when they come to nana. Nana knows Love when she comes God. It is the trickling down effect that knows no end...where it stops, nobody know...

Lottery - winning Big Time...

If you live in my state and you win more than $700 you can't pick up your winnings at the local store where you purchased your ticket - you need to present in person at the state lottery commission. Here's the deal - the lottery commission is tied to the Department of Health and Welfare and the State Tax Commission - so if you owe either back child support or state tax, you are in for a rude awakening. Not only will those back payments be taken out before you receive any monies but if you owe more than you have won - you still have to pay taxes on the newfound wealth of yours. It could cost you Big Time to win the lotto...

This information could not make me happier. The superhero in me sports a big grin just thinking about it. In a world where fairness seems to be elusive at times, this little bit of information reminds me, it is still about the little things. It also reminds me that those same rules apply to me too.

Unfairness is a fact of life. It is a part of life. There are always going to be people prettier, skinnier, smarter, funnier, wealthier and more creative than me. There are also going to be people uglier, fatter, dumber, poorer and less creative than me.

So What?

How does that apply to me?
How does that affect what I do?
How does that affect how I act?

My hope is that I keep pressing on. To understand life as it has been given to me. To weave into my life, a general sense that fairness or the lack of, is a normal part of life's process and that I can choose to be happy with myself, no matter what. Not when I lose 20 pounds or have more money in savings or am nicer than my neighbor. To learn to be content with myself no matter what Tom, Dick or Harry are doing. I truly believe if we could accept ourselves with more compassion, it would play out in our everyday lives. Learning to be happy with my self, now that would be winning the Big Time...

the faith of pain...

Early summer. I started having back pain. First a little, later a lot. It had radiated up and down and was at times, unbearable. After three months of pain, I finally broke down and went to the doctor.

I don't go to the doctor - haven't been in five years. Have been to the quick care twice for strep throat but in and out, just there for that prescription pad. This was different. This was pain I couldn't out run.

That is the relationship that physical pain and I have. I try to out run it until It finally gives up and goes away. May not be the most productive system but works for us. I had myself convinced, really convinced, that I was a goner. When I finally mustered up the guts to make the appointment, I had somewhat come to terms with what I had to face. Mind you, this was all self-diagnoised.

The nice doctor said - "You are spend too much time in your computer chair. Ice the area and take Advil - come back in a month if its isn't gone". See, even he was giving me some extra time to prepare for my clear end. The pain did not get better over the next 5 weeks and I was forced to go back. I came prepared, just give it to me straight, doc - I almost chickened out a few hours before I went to my appointment but went I did.

He poked around and was able to make me jump directly straight up. He thinks it is the same problem, just needs to be addressed more aggresively. I ask if he is pretty sure it was nothing else - he is pretty sure. " Take these pills for 7 days, you should have some relief after 3 or 4 days". A nice way of letting me down easy. That was 3 pills ago. Last night, I slept all night - the pain was almost gone, gone enough that the nightly ice pack was not to be.

As I woke up this morning, I realized that I had not made use of my 365 Do Not Fear's that are available to me. My prayers were honest and mainly about walking thru, being able to endure and thankful. I prayed for the pain but forgot about the fear. I operated on my faith of pain and allowed the fear to blind my way. Pain is a great motivator. We all have a different tolerance of pain and maybe fear too. On some kind of sliding scale, we are motivated by the One who yells the loudest.

It has been a experience that I will come to cherish.

I am not proud of how I acted or reacted.
I am not proud of what I forgot I already knew
I am not proud of wasting so much time.

And yet, I am so thankful for another lesson learned.
I am so thankful that I can pick myself up and keep walking
And I am especially thankful, for my God staying with me. What a lucky girl I truly am...


If music is part of your DNA, on the first note, you are hooked. Music is the epitome of Instant Gratification. Even if I am on hold waiting for a customer service rep, if the music is right - they can just take their sweet time. Music can lift your mood, bring a time instantly to mind and give you hope, that your memory has not completely left you. A song can transport you back to a time that your brain could never access by itself. I have long given up memorization but bring on a Beatles song from 1965 and I can sing every verse by heart.

I have my own personal hymnal. You won't find the usual hymns associated with a bound spiritual book. On the inside cover the first song is the one going on in my life, now. It is a revolving page, ready to be switched out in a moment's notice. For a long time now, it has been, Bianca Ryan's, And I Tell You, I'm Not Going. She has a CD coming out in a little more than a week and I am all over it. The rest of my hymnal are songs that don't know they are about the Trinity. Most were written as human love songs with their real meanings never realized. Bridge Over Troubled Water is the ultimate God love song as is Christina Aguilera's Pray. This collection of songs that I have complied over the years has been my saving grace when no sermon could. They have collectively shown my the love of the Trinity when nothing else was getting thru. Last Sunday the preacher explained that in the Hebrew language, three means - the fullness of testimony. Long before I had gkids, three has been my favorite number. I always pick three when I am watching Deal Or No Deal. There is just something about three. The great thing about the Trinity is that is was never meant to be explained. It is a mystery that was never meant to be solved. G Tersteezen said, " A comprehended God is no God at all". Music is a great reminder to the mind of what life is all about.

Somewhere Over The Rainbow reminds me of heaven. Mike and Sulley from Monsters Inc remind me that " I Wouldn't Have Nothing If I Didn't Have You". Paul McCartney's, We Can Work It Out and Buzz and Woody's, You've Got A Friend In Me, echoes the same sentiment. As I cruise thru my ITunes, the library is rich with songs that have meant so much to me at different times of my life.

That has been passed to my gkids. They have a great appreciation of Elvis. Last year I bought the boys Mr Presley's Christmas album and you would have thought I gave a them a lifetime pass to McDonalds. Right now, Gage and I are on a medley of tunes that we sing in the car and pretty much, everywhere we go which includes Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. When Miss M was a baby, she would stop crying when the boys would break into singing TTLS. They mainly did it out of self-preservation and needed very little encouragement to spontanously break into song. Now she sings it along with us. Our favorite song right now, is Keaton's school song. Gage will be so on top of things by the time he gets to kindergarten. We sing it everywhere - stores, restaurants and other places where we are usually told to hush by mommy.

Go CJ, you are the best
Go Appaloosa's, above all the rest
We are the Teal and Black and White.
And we will fight with all our might.

The other day I had one of my Itunes mixs in the car and the Mommas and the Poppas came on and Keaton pipes up, "Hey, that's my kind of music". Maybe it starts as a love for music Later they can choose the songs that will lead them to the Three In One, the fullness of testimony. After all the kids have taught me, I owe them more than I could ever repay but I will give it a try. Go Go Go!


It was about a month ago that it came to mind to do a picture of the day for a year. Where it came from, I haven't a clue but November 1 seemed to be a good starting date and here we are. A friend of mine is going to join me and it will be fun to exchange deep spiritual thoughts next year as to what we learned from this exercise. Going into it, I am expecting not to have an answer until I am looking back. My immdediate goal is to be less ana, and lower my expectations. It is just a picture - there are going to be 365 of them. They are not going to all be Pulitzer Prize winners and some will look out of place as I do my looking back. Right now I am expecting to learn to see more and expect less. I am betting that the experience will be nothing like I imagine. Today, I am ready to go.

I am already changing my rules by using this as my first photo. Taking a few hours before the Nov 1 kick off. It reflects a little bit of my own understanding. If you know Gage, most everything takes lots of thought before making a decision even which sucker to choose. Oficer Gage had a FABulous evening and he is well on his way to a career in law enforcement. He thinks through situations and doesn't react. I feel safe knowing I am protected by one of the finest.

We had a great time at the church's Halloween party, Games, cotton candy, throwing Cool Whip at the pastor - what was not to love? The boys filled their bags with candy and finally, it was time to head home. Miss M was a little overwhelmed by the whole thing and one of us carried her around most of the night.We all left feeling like we had done it all.

Already on to tomorrow picture, I am expecting it will take 60-90 days before it becomes natural and not inmyface thinking. I am looking forward to the experience as a whole. I am excited about what I am going to learn and I am going to learn. What I learn is not up to me - my only responsibility is to see and learn. I'm ready to go...