Merry Christmas...

I got my final purchase earlier this week and now, I am a happy girl. Can I just say that 9 days from order to delivery - I LOVE Jones Soda Company. I am not positive but imagine that Santa and the elves could not have done it quicker!

Woke up today to a snow covered scene - nothing like Denver but for us, enought to cause problems for last minute shopping. I was going to watch the kids today as mommy and daddy finished their shopping. That will still happen but after everyone gets dug out. Not what we planned, like life usually goes the way we planned?

I can hear sirens going by on the main road now. I pray it is just a fender bender, nothing more serious. It is a silly thing to think - that the world could just come to a Bad Things Happening halt for a few days as we open presents, sing songs and celebrate the birth of Jesus. Life was not that way for Mary and Joseph. They hit the ground running with the birth of their son. Life was not easy for them or their baby or those around them. His birth brought consequences. Other mothers would soon lose their sons because of Jesus. As the preacher put it, They would give their lives for him before He was able to give His life for them.

For each of you, I wish the most wonderful of holidays. May these days bring a sleigh full of smiles to your face and warm fuzzies to your heart. May the love of your families overwhelm you - in a good way. I want to take lots of pictures to make memories for the kids. I still remember the year that Steve's dad played Santa. They heard bells outside and there he was. It wasn't until years later when Brandi was looking back at the pictures of that Christmas that she realized who Santa was - she was genuinely surprised but there was the proof,, right in the picture. My other favorite picture is my sister and I with our Christmas stash in the front yard with the church in the background. It was the church that my father hated and the church that bought our house the same day it went up for sale. Little did I know that years later, a church would come back into my life - this time, in a more positive way.

Merry Christmas, my friends. May your days be merry and bright. Have a wonderful holiday zalaine.

PS. will be back January 2. Until then, don't let what you know - get in the way of what you can learn...

winding down...

We had another successful night of testing and even Miss Ava seemed to enjoy herself. The boys are now camo-ready and will start with the helmets and pads in January. Oh GREAT, give them a legit reason to beat each other up - didn't know that was part of karate either.

With one more activity out of the way and only 5 days to go - we start the countdown. My DH schedule changed yesterday so he is home until noon today and then will go to work. I was suppose to have the kids today while mommy and daddy went shopping but that changed to tomorrow. The most difficult thing is merging these two schedules. Hubby has to sleep so I have to watch the kids at their house and that is hard because mommy and daddy need to get everything wrapped while the kids are gone. We will figure it out - we always do.

These last few days are overwhelming to all of us. Checking our lists, making changes in plans, remembering what we forgot - all the last minute details that we think we can't do without. The reality is while those things are all well and good, what we will all remember is the Love. I am not saying that the chocolate fountain on Christmas Eve won't be a big hit but what we will all walk away with is a sense of being loved. As I walk thru these last few days, uppermost in my mind is the love I have shared with those close to me. Perhaps no other time of year, with all the sparkles and music, are we reminded of what we already have. It is not under the tree, waiting to be unwrapped - it is here and now.

For some, there will be someone missing from the festivities this year. There will be an emptyness, a void and it will take a little bit more effort but it doesn't change the reality of what we still have, the here and now. As I walk thru the next few days, I want to purposefully enjoy what is going on around me and let the voice of the Small Stuff, evaporate and never make it to my ear. Just want to feel the Love...

honesty ...

In the midst of the hustle and bustle that comes with the week before Christmas, we have two nights of karate testing. I had no experience with karate before this and was a bit skeptical but must admit, I learn something everytime I go. Last night, as group after group tested, the re-occuring theme was honesty.

Honesty - Be honest all your life - honesty.

There isn't a time of year that this isn't relevant and maybe more so, in the here and now. No matter what your upbringing, we have all had some exposure to the concept of being honest. Of course, we always have a choice and a portion of our population who know better, will decide against it. That will always be so - our only option is to make it not so - in our lives.

The honesty that is floating around in my mind today is not our honesty to others but to ourselves. For me, that kind of honesty is tougher. It certainly is more painful in the short run. Whether you are coming to terms with a relationship or personal limitations, it takes guts to do Down That Road. My perception is that if we exercised that kind of honesty more, we would have less trouble in the long run. My heart is really with women and this time of year.

Being honest with yourself, this time of year is a act of courage. Whether from internal or external expectations, we are pulled from every direction possible and some that are impossible. We won't be able to rest for quite a few days and then hopefully, we will be satisfied enough to take a break. Keaton tests tonight and I am so looking forward to it. It takes my mind off what else I waiting for me to do, if only for an hour. I will hear the honesty message again and I hope it sticks...


All the pictures of Gage's first Christmas program are like this one. This has the most of his face showing, the others have bits and pieces. While I was struggling to take his picture, he was struggling to be seen by us. I could see the look of frustration in his eyes, he had seen Keaton's programs before and knew what to expect - and this wasn't it. We would always have him sit on our lap and we would point out where Keaton was and sing and clap and take his picture. I felt the look on Gage's face. I struggled at the kids being lined up four and five deep. Parents all around us felt the same frustration. This was the Day of all days, this was about their kids.

Just like Gage and nana, we all struggle to see and be seen. We don't need to be in the front row but we do have a need to be recognized by Someone who loves us. Find someone who didn't have that need met and you will find one who isn't firing on all cylinders.

The struggle to see is one that takes time and effort. While it will always be a struggle, it does not come naturally as does the struggle to be seen. One, we are desperate to get while the other is one we, hope to grow and gain someday.

Strug-gle (strug/al)
1. to contend vigorously with an adversary
2. to make strenuous effort
3. to make one's way with great effort.

Struggle is in all areas of our lives. We don't always struggle in the same ways, about the same things. Circumstances, personalties and environment all play a role in how it plays out in our lives. When we do struggle in common, bonds are formed. We are able to help and comfort one another. We don't feel all alone and that allows us to continue to make our way with great effort.

Gage's picture has become an icon to me over the last few days. The holidays have their own built in struggles whether money, memories or overload and they won't just go away, come January. Wherever we are each struggling today, Someone is sharing it with us - and as we continue to make our way with great effort, we are not alone ...

twas the week before Christmas...

and my list is growing long...

Saturday night, our annual Christmas Tree Lights tour was on. We found the house that plays music and the lights follow suit. With the Trans Siberian Orchestra playing thru the radio, we all felt like little kids - we oowed and awed. The boys and I sat in the back and played the Movie Game. The idea is to give hints about a movie while everyone guess. When it came my turn, I picked Happy Feet. I told them it was a Story about a mom and a dad who had a baby boy that was different that everybody else - Gage screams out, BABY JESUS!. Not what I had in mind but he was oh, so right.

This may be the Week that feels the most overwhelming of all. The presents have been wrapped for the most part. There is no more time to order off the internet to ensure a delivery before Christmas and the hard part of coordinating, begins and is usually left to the woman.

For all our many faults, women are good at detail. It is left to us to make sure we are where we need to be, when we need to be with what - we are suppose to have. We call the shots - from how long we are staying to visit with Aunt Mary to what he is bring to his work Christmas party. I personally can vouch for this one - I got an email Friday from him explaining what was need in the way of food and he left it up to me. Said I could make what I wanted to. He did decide on his own that he didn't want to particpate in the $10 gift exchange. Still not clear if that was to help me out or because he just wasn't interested. Either way, I am good with it.

We have 2 nights this week that the boys test for their next karate belts - what is the karate teacher thinking? I know he has a wife, several kids and a new baby but I can't help but thinking that she ok'd it and whatever she was doing those nights, she didn't need him for. There are 2 Christmas parties this week and the kids are staying with nana on Thursday while mommy and daddy finish shopping. That will be my fun day - I want to make cookies and play music and keep Morgan out of the tree. All the while I have to balance this with hubby crazy schedule. While we like him to attend our events, the bigger deal is letting him sleep, day or night, when he needs to. This week, his schedule is double wacky.

I will pray for each of you this week as you go thru your own particular brand of overwhelmingness. I will carry the pastor's words about the angel talking about the peace that will come when the baby Jesus comes. Look around, are you feeling overwhelmed with peace right about now. Peace is not about our circumstances, it is about our relationship with God and if I have to remind myself about that every minute of these days, I will. His peace, the world can not offer, it can not emulate and it can not sustain it - His Peace, He gives to you, this very day...

christmas cards...

I love getting christmas cards...except from realtors I have never used and my insurance company. I do not need the reminder tht I pay insurance on my house and car twice a year and am terrified to use them for fear of rising premiums.

My family never sent them and I followed suit when I got to be the decision maker. Back then, the photo christmas card was not around. The cards I recieve fall into a few different catagories. Right about now, about 85% are photo cards. A visual greeting with wishes for a great holiday and a picture of a family or kids. Another 10% is by the tradional card with a handwritten signature, no picture. The other 5% are the crafty ones. Newsletters with photos and great Stories by people who were blessed in a creative way.

My friend and I had this discussion the other day. What is the purpose of a Christmas card ?( for these purposes - including all formats of holiday correspondence) Is it to inform or entertain? Is this the right venue to be brutally honest about the year you and yours have had? Or is it about knowing that someone thinks enough about you to spend time and money to send you a greeting. I am not sure we came to any concrete conclusions but I have been pondering this for a few days and this is it for me.

You thought enough of me to send holiday greetings.
In one form or another, you are wishing me, the holiest of holidays
We are sharing the greatest Story ever told, together.

One girl who never sent cards decided she would this year. She wanted people to know that they were still alive. I was instantly blessed in a creative way and inspired by a old Monty Python line, We're not quite dead yet, which I thought rivaled anything that Hallmark could come up with. Short, simple and to the point....

real or pretend...

It was his first Christmas program. Preschool at the church where he went every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They had practiced during school yesterday but he thought it was the Real Deal. Later at home, he was excited to go to school at night with his family.

Mr Last Guy On The Right was quite the performer last night. Jingle Bell Rock was my particular favorite. They rang their bells with much gusto - it was FABulous. Each class did a few numbers and the whole production was a joy for the audience. Miss Shelli and Miss Brandi did a wonderful job. We had conferenced in the ladies room before the performance and I got to weigh in on their costume choice - I chose the Santa hat over the elf hat - it just had their names written all over it. Little did I know that the program would end with Santa!

So after end of the program, Here comes Santa down the isle, Ho, Ho, Ho-ing all the way down to the stage. Most of the kids flocked to him but some like Gage, were not too sure. Gage is firm in declaring to all of us that it is not the REAL SANTA - rather it is someone's dad. He would know because he had his picture taken last weekend with the REAL SANTA, at the mall. He was ready to go. Miss Brandi told us to check out his letter to Santa on the way out. The letter was Pure Gage - I love this kid...

His mommy told him not to share his expert knowledge of Santa Claus too loud. When the kids are young, we start with the Story of Santa. A pretty unbelievable Story at that. Later on, we add the Story of the Easter Bunny. Again, a highly improbable tale of a bunny who doesn't have a sleigh or elves- to carry around all the goodies that they find in their Easter baskets. The Tooth Fairy story should be the scariest - this one comes in your room. There isn't a kid alive who shouldn't have been scared to death by a fairy with a hand, reaching under your pillow - money or not.

Then we tell them about Jesus... and as the realness of Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy come to life, " Oh, they were pretend - Jesus, the Story that makes no more sense than the others - He's Real." I don't know how we could make it better. I just pray that in the end, the Jesus that I know, makes Himself real to them. Some people have a hard time all their lives knowing real from pretend, I truly feel for them. Life is tough enough without believing in Something that isn't real. Putting all your proverbial eggs in the wrong basket. Life is real and pretending it isn't, makes it harder.

The church program is this Sunday. With one under his belt and hopefully, his brother by his side, Gage may get use to this performing stuff. As for real or pretend, its get no more real that this...


Starwall - Big Stuff...Yesterday was Keaton's big day. Each second-grader gets to showcase themselves. They display pictures that tell the Story of who they are. They share their dreams as well as their fears. Keaton explained about his family, soccer, karate and his love for all things Pokeman. He also brought the leather strap with bells that fell off Santa's sleigh that he found in his yard last Christmas morning. After his presentation, the class got to ask questions and give compliments. Not surprisingly, about 99% of all the questions were about the bells. There was one question asking why he liked Pokeman so much and he did get a compliment from Evan about his pictures and neat handwriting but it really was all about the bells.

"Did you see anything else?"

"Where did you find it?"

"Is it plastic?"

The Keaton display will be up for a week and I can guarantee you if the bells aren't strapped down, they will have a new home. After all the questions had been asked and all the compliments given, the teacher gave us an opportunity to say something about him. Tough audience - as his mommy spoke first, I pondered what I would say. Could have gone in any direction but I went the XBOX route. I told the kids how he rocked at Spiderman and was way better than his poppa. He also had to toot his own horn. He said he was nice, was a good friend and liked to help people. He is all those things and more. Wish I knew more like him, big and little people.

We should all have a Starwall a few times in our lives. Not to show off or boast but mainly to hear what we are thinking. Sometimes I learn a lot more about myself when I listen to what I say. There is nothing wrong with re-grouping - stepping back to see what your fears and dreams are. They change, you know. Sometimes they change and we aren't even aware. A Starwall would fix that.

I learned alot in second grade today. About life, sharing with others and even phonics. At lunch, I told Keaton I might have to go back to second-grade. The kid sitting across from me said I would have to shrink to do that. I told him if I came into his class now, I had a car and could drive all the second-graders around. He just looked at me and changed his tune. 2 cool 4 school...

Christmas money...

In my newspaper on the Business page, the bankruptcies are right next to the gal who writes about money. She has all kinds of advice about saving, spending and keeping money. If only those people could have been reading her column, maybe it would have helped.

My family was notorius for having money issues. One uncle showed up on my wedding day looking to borrow some money. He forgot he had received an invitation to the wedding. My family also had numerous financial troubles - some were legit but most were poor planning and worst judgement. Our Christmas's were always bankrolled by the good people of Benefical Finance. Christmas had a debt problem, all its own.

There is no other time of year that we spend it more. We may or may not be prepared to do so. For the last ten years or so, I have had a Christmas fund. It sits in its own little envelope waiting for that first hit. I think it was in October that we found a Little Tykes kitchen for Miss M on sale and my Christmas money was ready to go. The money is gone now and my shopping is done - turned out well.

All that being said, I am going shopping with my friend tomorrow - I can GUARANTEE you I will not come home empty handed. I can almost guarantee you that when I go pick up Brandi's Christmas cards at Walmart in a few minutes, I will not come home without the 30 inch Superman that is half-price. Why? I will tell you why.

Christmas is intoxicating. It takes over whatever good sense we have tried to learn and cultivate. The lights, the music, the deals are too much for us. The moment you drive away from your house, it starts. The neighbors you never speak to are waving as they are decking their halls. House after house, especially at night, is a feast for the eyes and all our inner children come out to play. You get to the store and there is a bellringer collecting for those who can't. One year, every time I went in a store - I put something in the kettle. My theory was if I could spend money, here and now - I could share, here and now. I plan to do this again next year with my gkids. We are never to old to learn to share. My point is, to fight off the magical fumes of Christmas is almost impossible. I wish it wasn't so. January comes too quickly and so do the bills. So will the unexpected - the washing machine breaks down, a trip to the doctor or new tires for the car.

The moeny lady's column today was about a couple who bought nothing for a year. Theyplanned ahead and bought all the food stuff, gas and everything else they needed and didn't shop for the rest of the year. Interesting experiment - they paid off all their debt but their mortgage. Wonder how much we could save if we stayed away from Best Buy alone!!!

I hope your Christmas money is doing just fine and I hope you are enjoying these days. It is a time filled with so much, wish we could bottle it and keep it all year...


As a kid living in a atheist world, Christmas was All about decking the halls. While decorating done by the Dictator, my sister and I were able to enjoy it afterwards. One year there was an elaborate candy house complete with a pond and skater. We were not allowed to help of touch but looking was allowed. Christmas was a time of wonderment and to this day, the Christmas of my childhood carries with it delightful memories.

The Christmas of my 26th year was my first one with Jesus. I treated His Story pretty much as an addendum to the Christmas of my childhood. Christmas after Christmas, He became more and more of my Christmas. The music, what's important and and how I view Christmas has changed over the years but with that growth has come, confusion. I thought I had it worked out -the expectations of merging the two Christmases but I was wrong.

For the last couple of years, our kids Christmas program at church has includes a dance number. In between waiting for the Wise Men to show up, we have Irish cloggers, all wearing the same red, curly wigs. This has just added to my confusion. I don't know how to incorporate this with the Baby Jesus or Santa, for that matter. Don't get me wrong, if Miss M was in a red, curly wig dancing her heart out, I would be the loudest clapper ever but what is the Message we are trying to get across?

For me, it is like trying to live 2 seperate lives for a month every year. The Santa part of Christmas speaks to the kid in me which is a significant part of who I am. To now share that with Keaton, Gage and Miss M, is something I never dreamed would happen.

Maybe, I am worrying about nothing.
Maybe it's time to let my expectations go and see if the confusion clears.
Maybe the time is here to let my Christmas confusion...RIP.

Wednesday night is Gage's first Christmas program. His teacher, Miss Brandi, told his mommy get a good seat and get ready. Apparently part of the program is Freestyle. At karate on Friday night, I think I was privy to a preview of what to expect. I don't want to give away the Secret but there may be some superhero moves involved. Maybe this will help my confusion. If you think about it, the Story of birth of Jesus points to the greatest superhero ever and as for Santa, he makes Spiderman look dull...


There is not one of us who doesn't think, actually believe and act upon the notion, that we have control over a good deal of our lives. That impression directly affects how we do our day to day business and lures us into a sense of security. We act like control is our constant.

Con-stant (kon'stent), not changing, continuing without pause, recurrent, continual, persistent, certain, steadfast.

That definition sure doesn't resemble the control in my life. From the little to the BIG things in my life, The idea that any control I may percieve having has any certainty to it, is laughable when put up to the z light. I can see that now but in the midst of any given situation, my perception that I save the day, seems quite plausible.

When I treat that control as a constant, I start to move into dangerous territory. When I start to believe that if I just pull my big girl panties up a little higher - I could save the world - I have already lost. The theory of control is only balanced when I use Jesus as my constant. When I see my control for what it really is, now, that's real control...

I have had some great conversations this week, The theme of each of these has been the overwhelming knowledge that we are not in control. They have each shared the common thread of understanding that truth. Our control is in how we react, in how we choose to move on. The control is about the constantness of Christ.

Not much of a planet person. How can you take that stuff seriously when you name planets after Disney characters? However I can see the Big Picture more clearly when I can imagine my little z planet revolving around the Constantness of Christ. I am constantly on the move and He is steadfast. If I choose to go out on my own, use my own control - I am just circling in the dark, aimlessly. As Dr Phil would say, and how's that working for you?

I won't always remember.

I will fail again.

I will snatch up that control and truly believe I can change the world and that's ok. I will remember my Constant eventually. The One who truly has the control. The One greater that myself. The One who truly is steadfast. The One who is constant, incarnate...Happy Friday, love zalaine.

cry your little eyes out...

I am not much of one to cry. I get tears well up in my eyes every once in a while but those full blown waaaaaa cries are far and few apart for me. Even the things that bring tears to other people's eyes don't seem to faze me. Mine seem to run a different path.

There doesn't seem to be a recipe but if I am hit in the right spot, the tears are lickety split there like ugly on an ape.

I always tear up on Baby Story at the moment that the baby is born.
I can be driving down the road and a song will blur me up in no time.
Reading a blog has brought me to my tear-stained tears.

The full-blown cry. The Real Deal. By the time, I do cry - it is an all out nasty thing to see. because I go so long in-between, the tears are filled with much emotion. The sobs that come out of my mouth evend scare me. I catch my breath between sobs just before the next wave comes. I wish it were different.

I wish I could cry more often
I wish crying felt more natural
I really wish there was more balance in my emotions.

I don't know if that is possible. By the time you get to be an adult, is crying a learned behavior that we could change with some work? Cry more - sob less. Let those feelings out in a more orderly fashion and save the Big Cry for the emergencies of life. Don't have much of a problem using those same tear ducts when I am happy - they all come from the same place, don't they?

Wish I felt a good cry coming on. Maybe the little black cloud wouldn't hang around as often if those emotions could find their way out and be at home. Something to think about while I am waiting...

letter of the law...

Dh came home for a few hours for a little dinner and nap and ran back to work. He was suppose to only be gone until midnite but midnite came and went so I called him to see what the deal was.

"Go to bed, I am going to be here all night", he tells me.

He knows good and well that I will not be able to sleep and will spend a few more hours at my computer until I feel my little eyes trying to stay awake. I finished another layout and then decided it was legal to do tomorrow's blog. Blogger was on the fritz so I had to wait while the engineer worked out the kinks. I hate it when I have to be out of the house early in the morning and I can't post until later in the day. Throws my whole schedule off but if its after midnite, I am free to go there.

It is the same thing with this POTD experiment. Taking a photo everyday is tougher than I thought. There are days I could add 10 pictures but there are more days that I come up empty-handed. My nature resembles, no... it does, follow the letter of the law. If I decided to do something, it has to been done in a certain way. It is not about anyone else - it's about what I have to have for myself. It is what I can live with.

There were 2 jolly ladies behind me in line at Walmart yesterday. They decided after seeing my Godiva Dark Belgian Chocolate ice cream that they were coming home with me. I told them that was fine but we would have to get out of line and get more. They were the sweetest things - they had just stopped to get some things before visiting a sick friend. I left wishing we Could have shared that ice cream.

There are parts of me that as random as can be. I can only hope that the dicotomy of my nature balances out the person that I am. There are times I wish I could flip-flop how I do business. Maybe someday, I will be able to.

At the rate I am going, I will just be going to bed when I would have been posting to er but I am good with that. Sometimes, my days and nights are mixed up. What does that do to my letter of the law theory? Hopefully it will allow me to see that flexability is a good thing and to make more, I need to use it more. Hope you had a great night, see you tomorrow...

family feud...

I am not much of a game show watcher except for my strange attraction to Deal Or No Deal. I just never cared for them except for The Dating Game when I was a teenage. Now I need Family Feud to eat my lunch by. Remember that game show from way back when? Richard Dawson was the host forever then Rickard "Al" Karn and now Elaine's old boss from Seinfeld, John O'Hurley. Its on at 1130 - so if I am home, lunch and the Feud go together just fine.

I am not proud of this - first of all, it is where families go and clap for each other every other second. Secondly, if any five people in one family could make a trip to the studio without killing each other, that in itself should be cause to win some sort of prize. The thing is the top prize after a half hour of non-stop clapping for your family is only $20, 000. The Banker on DOND will give you that in the first few minutes just to go home. These people go ballastic when they win $750 !

My biggest problem with the game are the contestants' trying to pick the right answers versus remembering it is about what 100 assorted people think. This is not about right or wrong, this is about perpective. You have to listen to what the announcer is saying about the group that is being asked the questions and - think like they do.

100 women surveyed - What is a man's favorite way to spend an afternoon?

Even the males contestants' have to put themselves in those 100 womens' shoes. After being asked the question and before their time runs out, sometimes you can see them racking their brains for an answer. Sometimes, the answers are horrible, terrible and stupid but they still get that cheerleader family clap - bet that changes out in the car.

My point and I promise I am getting to it, is we run on perspective, Every action we take everyday is based on our perception. It doesn't and most often, isn't right but that doesn't change how we do business. What 100 people think isn't important if we aren't playing Family Feud. What is important to understand where you are coming from and why or better yet, why someone else thinks the way they do. As we walk through this holiday season, our world may not look like everyone elses. The Christmas season may bring different responses depending on what someone's year has been like.

I have been blessed this year. We are all well, have plenty of food to eat and look forward to opening presents in a few weeks. I can think of a few families that will not fare as well. If I am able to be of service to them, I would gladly help. I 'm not talking about taking a tag off a tree and making their Christmas look like mine so I can feel good about what I am doing. I am talking about meeting them where they are... right where they are... and just being and listening with them. For just a moment, making my perception, their perception. Now that, would be quite quite a thing...

60 years and still going strong...

I saw the announcement for her 60th wedding anniversary in the paper last Sunday. I haven't seen her in almost 10 years. We worked together for so long. Worked with her two girls and her DIL too. I knew I had to go...

We were working together one night- there was some sort of potluck going on and one of us had brought a cake. A cake too good to share with those who wouldn't appreciate its goodness so we did what any normal thinking women would - we each got a fork and finished off the cake by ourselves. We didn't eat much at the potluck and decided to go to Weight Watchers, a decision that changed both of our lives.

With some people, you pick up where you left off whenver you see them. It is that way with her. I walked through the door and she got tears in her eyes and she grabbed me and hugged me hard. She just kept hugging me - she couldn't believe I was there. She lived on a farm for most of her married life, moving to town just a few years ago. Seems to have made a good transition to having close by neighbors. A few minutes later, she came to find me again and just stared at me. Her house was full of people, family and friends but maybe it was one whom she never expected to see that got her attention.

I grabbed my little piece of cake and sat in the rocking chair by the photo display. She did it herself and as she was talking to someone doing some admiring, Aren't they the cutest kids? And they are all grandparents now. I think it was a hard concept for her to really wrap her brain around even though she is one of the best people in the world. She has no religious tendencies but her God-given sense of goodness, could fool you into thinking otherwise.

I mingled around trying to find someone I knew and I found her DIL. A few minutes later, here she comes again with another big hug. I hugged her back. She tells me, Come over and work on my computer all day. She still has tears in her eyes, she just want to see me again.

I plan on going back before Christmas. I won't work on her computer but will give her my undivided attention. She made me feel like the prodigal daughter - her Love was so strong. It was her anniversary but I took home the Prize...

to do list...

Starting tomorrow, there are 4 weekends to get my Christmas shopping done. Yesterday we went out and I was semi-hopeful to pick up a couple of things I knew I needed. Both are already sold out. I have cruised almost every Walmart looking for a case for Gage's MP3 player and we finally found it at so one of my items is on way...

My to do list isn't very long. I don't have a large family. Don't have to buy gifts for co-workers anymore but the intensity of what I am shopping for is still there - whether buying for a few or many and that is where I could and sometimes do, lose focus.

I shot this pic of Gage modeling a ladies scarf at Old Navy yesterday. We really did have a great time. He is always up for anything fun so while Miss M is trying valiantly to escape from the stroller, we are goofing around trying to make a little happy time. The camera has always made Gage happy and I have learned to see the world a little different through him...and the lens.

We hit Target and Costco and then we ready to head home. The kids fell asleep on the way home so I guess, we just wore them out. In turn, they wore me out. They wore out that part of me that makes me a to do list maniac. As I got home and downloaded my pics, all I saw was the FABulous time we had. All I will remember is this silly pic of Gage not that I couldn't find a single copy of Fairie Tale Theater for my sister. Today, my perception of my to do list looks a little different and I dare say, will throughout the next four weeks.

To Do List -

Remember Yesterday
Be in the moment

And even after the holidays, my to do list will begin this way. While other things will be added, this will be the headliner. I end my first month of the year long POTD ( picture of the day) project with Gage and his scarf. Not a bad way to end...