Gage has been obsessed with Hummers lately. It occured to me last Friday that I needed to take him to a car dealer and let him hang out with one. The same thought came to mind several times on Saturday. By Sunday, as we all played in the backyard, the Gage Hummer date was on my ToDoSoon list. I woke up Monday morning and that was all I could think about so when Brandi called I asked if I could pick Gage up from school and keep him for the afternoon.

I was suppose to mow the lawn and get some housework done but I couldn't focus on any of those chores so I packed up and headed for Gage's school. He had no idea where we were going so after a healthy lunch at Blimpie's ( his idea and I got a hearty, No Thank You to the offer of a cookie), we were off to the local Hummer dealership. We have one of those giant auto malls and the Hummers have their own showroom. I told the receptionist that I needed a salesman. Gage and I waited, cruised the Hummer reading material and in a short few, Travis came out to meet us.

I told Travis we were looking for a progressive salesman - one who would understand that Sometimes the payoff is in the future. I explained that we were there to see and feel a Hummer up close. He took us out and asked us which one we wanted to see - the blue one was the one Gage had picked before we went in. He got to sit in the driver's seat then the backseat and he climbed in the very back to check it out. After examining the inside of his beloved car, he was satisfied. He was good to go - he shook Travis's hand, said thank you and we were off. While we were there, he wanted to check out a Herbie ( a Volkswagon ) and again, we explained to yet another salesman what out intent for the day was. He happily obliged and Gage got to sit in the driver's seat of yet another Big Boy car.

We continued the party at Walmart, picked up a Hummer Monster Truck and a few other things and headed home. We played outside for the rest of the afternoon, had dinner and met up with mommy.

I may never know Why the persistence of taking him now. I know I could have ignored it, finished my housework, mowed the lawn and taken him later but I do know that Sometimes you have to do what you hear. If you are going to Listen then you better be ready to respond. The reason doesn't have to be earth-shattering. Maybe Gage needed some only-child time but I needed to do this and do this, I did. I had a ball with him. We laughed and laughed - a little funky date that he will probably never remember but I'll bet you, I will nver forget it...


From everything I have read, those of us whose primary female caregivers were nuts, suffer in many ways rendering us a bit odd. Because of my situation, I turned to the males in my family for love and comfort and didn't see that their kind of crazy until it was too late. In those early years, the men were the lesser of two evils so I grew up with a distorted view of life and later, would need therapy for that.
That being said, I would find a man and marry him. In some ways, he was the opposite of every man I had known up. I didn't realize how crazy the men in my life were until I met DH. My point of reference had always been the men in my life. I like men - I distrusted women. Men good - women bad. That took ALOT more therapy to work thru but I am think I am thru the worst of it.

Don't worry - I am not after your men. One of the points of this is to say, if I ever find myself
a widow, there will be no more men for me. At this point in my life, I have a bittersweet relationship with the male species and I think it best to keep it that way. I can't tell you how difficult it was to see God portrayed as a spiritual father. I had a hard time swallowing that one. It has taken many years to seperate the two in my head. If God had been portrayed as a woman, we wouldn't be here right now. I could never have walked thru that door.

Funny how healing comes. The first half of my life was a horrific nightmare and the second half sent a great husband, a wonderful son-in-law and two of the finest grandsons ever. I have met some fine men along the way. I didn't know that not all men take a pair of underwear in a paper bag with them on a date in case they get lucky. My point of reference has shifted and God is working on me. It will take the rest of my life to process what I know and not until I see Jesus, will it be over.

In the meantime, I will continue and move on. There is nothing quite like hear a bunch of men laugh. It still just makes me smile and while I think sometimes I would be more comfortable at a Men's Retreat than a Ladies Retreat, I need to mingle with my own kind. Women - I understand them more now but that is a whole other post...

trash the dress...

A few weeks ago as I was blog surfing, I found this site on a photographers site - trash the I had to check it out - and have not been able to get it out of my head every since.

There is a movement by brides to have a photo shoot after their wedding and trash their wedding dresses. Beautiful, ornate dresses wind up in dirt, sand and the very worse - water. There are so cool From Here To Eternity beach love scenes. I am fascinated by the whole theory.

What is more precious to a bride than her wedding dress? To have the Trash the dress philosophy is to be free. It is to be able to not only think outside the box but to delight in it. I hold on to so much - what else could I trash?

My wedding dress was bought by my stepmother a few years before I got married for her wedding. I was on a tight budget and a white dress, well, lets just say that ship had already sailed. This dress was fine - it was green and I could live with that. After the wedding, I put it in a plastic bag and there it stayed until a few days ago.

I was under no illusion that my child or anybody I knew would ever want to wear the dress yet I have carried it around for almost 36 years. After spending a few weeks reading TTD, I decided it was time for me to do the same. The only problem is, it didn't quite fit. I could get it on and it fit everywhere but it wouldn't zip up to the top. My shoulders have apparently kept growing. No beach love scenes for me, I would have to improvise. My DH took the picture for me and here we are. The dress is now ready for the trash and I have this beautiful icon to remind me.

I feel so free. It wasn't like the dress was taking up room in my closet. It is hard to describe but I feel like this is just the beginning of a process. I do not know where this is headed but I am going gladly. God willingly, there will be more TTD moments and I can't hardly wait...


On all four sides - no escape. Everywhere you turn, it is there...

Being surrounded is relative. If you are an escaped prisoner - not a good outcome for you. Maybe surrounded is not a good example. Trying to think if I feel that to be surrounded is a plus or minus. When I did this layout last night, it was the only word I considered. These kids are surrounded by love. We follow them around everytime they move. Their perception of us is one similiar to a fan club. They think we are there just for them. To play or hand out snacks - always on guard for any potential trouble or boo boo's.

That is exactly how I want them to feel. I want them to think because of the love that surrounds them, they are free. Free from worrying about if they are going to eat or have a bed to sleep in. Free to explore and see the world without fear. We can't protect them from everything but we sure can give them our best. For the best, we give them to Jesus.

We surround them with all we have but never shield them from Him. They are His - He has given them to us to love, teach and cherish. We love them in our way, He is His. Between the two of us, they can lose...


It is a quote from Ansel Adams...sometimes I get places just when God is ready to have someone click the shutter. These days, that really speaks to me. In the Bigger Picture, I am aware that it goes well beyond the click of a shutter.
A week doesn't go by that I don't wonder why I wasn't born 50 years earlier or later. I wonder why I wasn't born in Russia or France or China. A peasant woman of little means in a country I can't even pronounce or worker in fields surrounded by goats, pigs and sheep. Why for this time, am I here? Why me?
Whatever my lot in life has been and will continue to be, I would like to think that if the situation arises, I would always be available to trigger that shutter button. I can tell you from experience that has not always been the case. Sometimes deliberate, sometimes unintentional but there have been times that I just walked away. The thought is unconscious but it goes something like this - let someone do it.
I don't think God lets an opportunity go - He just lets the next person go for it. I need to be willing to set aside my own agenda so I can click that shutter and if I get to do that, the photo that I will walk away with, could change my life. I can shoot 50 pictures and walk away with only one or two but those are as gold. I am here and it is now and I don't want to miss a thing...

it takes 2...

When we are by ourselves, the conversation is one-sided and certainly biased unless there are mulitple personalities involved. We can justify anything and the talking back is held to a minimum. All opinions seem to make sense in this light and criticism abounds.
When you add another person to your own personal dynamic - everything changes. There is an outside force that may agree with you but be complete foreign. Sometimes you seem to be in sync with this foreign being and sometimes, there are clashes that make Fourth of July fireworks look like little sparklers.
Whether the relationship is romantic in nature or more of a parental-type of love, there is a give and take dimension that seperates us from the animals. Where friendship is the theme, sharing this life with care and concern is at the center of the relationship. There are times that the combination of two people is toxic. There is the opposite of Love At First Sight, more like Dislike At First Sight. Just as chemistry attracts people to each other, I think that same chemistry can repel two people for no apparent reason.
Snap judgements have proven me wrong about people and it has gone both ways. I remember thinking this one woman would be fABulous to know - I was wrong. It didn't take me very long to realize that we would never be friends. Interesting that some people look better from a distance that up close. I have had to eat crow a few times after meeting a person and realizing that I was completely wrong about them.
Whatever your experience with One-on-One is, it is the most fascinating relationship that we will ever experience. Whether staring into your baby's eyes for the first time or meeting someone at a party that in an instant feels like you have known forever, it is the everyday theme of our lives. I don't know who I will spend time with tomorrow but I know there will be a exchange with a another person. Whatever form it takes, I hope I walk away a better person for having had the experience. It really is the whole reason God put us here and I am anxious to
have another shot at it...

time out...

We can't always be good... That being said, we can choose how to get in trouble, sometimes. He knew that pushing his little sister down would definitely get him in trouble, if he got caught. He is a bright kid - did he think his daddy wasn't going to ask him if he did it? Did he think everyone would assume that Miss M started crying for no good reason?

There wasn't Time Out when my daughter was little. I am not sure but it reminds me of the days when kids at school would wear the dunce hat.

dunce cap. 1. a tall-cone shaped hat formerly worn by slow or lazy students as a punishment. Also called a fool's cap.

So I am guessing that Time Out is somewhat along those lines without the head decoration. I would imagine that purpose of today's version is punishment plus you get the opportunity to think about what you did and be justifiably, very, very sorry.

Every generation has to find it's way. I like it better than spanking and my gk's seem to come out of it fine. Will save therapy money for something else. Maybe we should try this for Big People and the plus side would be, Big People could put themselves in Time Out. When you feel yourself losing it, you go straight to the corner until the bad feeling pass and you can play nice again.

Sometimes, we choose to take the Road that is going to lead to trouble. We know it and we do it anyway. We have made the value judgement that it is worth whatever punishment is going to come our way. We are mentally prepared and ready to go. Next time I feel that feeling, I am going to try putting myself in Time Out. Full blown, I am going to stand in the corner, face the wall and stand there until I learn my lesson. Might even offer up a little prayer while I am there. How about a catch phrase? Time Out - not just for kids anymore...


After a week like we have had, it was good to end it on a high note. We played the first ballgame of the season last night and my boy did pretty well. There is Something about watching these kids give it their all. Baseball is Real Life, at its finest.
It is one of their first tastes of competition. It is a time of learning that Sometimes you will be tagged at base and be out. Sometimes referees will make bad calls. Sometimes sliding into home with all your might - isn't enough. Sometimes you will know that feeling that comes from hitting it out of the park and you land on top of a mountain. You won't hit every ball pitched to you and Sometimes, you will strike out but it is the game that we continue to play... and love.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next while, we will be rooting our boy at every turn. There will be nights that the magic is just there and the nights that doing his best isn't good enough for him. He will learn endurance and teamwork. Each step will be a building block and disappointment is part of that process but just as we Big people experience the same, Jesus is there to catch us and help us when we fall - we will be there for Keaton with a Great Job, buddy.
Doesn't get more American than apple pie and baseball. With all that has gone on this week, what a great way to remember what a great country we live in and that there is always Someone there to cheer us matter what.


Freedom has many different faces. A picture of George W Bush at the VA hospital reminded me of my freedom yesterday. The flags of the different branches of service had the same effect. Freedom is Something that we Americans take very seriously. Whether you agree with our current war or not, I would dare say - we all support our troops. Those who put their lives on the line everyday so we can enjoy our freedom. Freedom is the backbone, it is the common denominator that holds us together. As we have all experienced this week, with that freedom - comes a heavy cost.

I walked back on the campus this morning to take more photos of the art exhibit. No one gave me a second look as I climbed the stairs with my backpack in hand. No one questioned what I was doing as I got my camera and snapped away. To have these kinds of freedom, there has to be a price, a big price to pay.

We put alot of time and effort into making sure our freedoms are not in jeopardy of being taking away or even lessened. The true lessons of this week is that true freedom doesn't come from more gun control or more laws. True freedom comes from within.

As my mind has been bombared with the news this week, I find myself waiting, for the other shoe to drop - for the next tragedy, and there will be one. The freedom I need to concentrate on, is in Jesus.

I need to look to Him.

I have to look to Him

There is no place else to look.

The Story of this week just gets more and more bizarre. At times it is more than one can comprehend and try to cope with. I feel my spirit unable to soar - unable to get off the ground. That comes from mistakeningly trying to draw on the freedom of my adopted home instead of my Real Home.

As this thought is going thru my head, I can almost begin to feel myself lift off the ground. In true Freedom, there is real pain and sorrow but it is not forever. It is not paralyzing nor is it fatal. I can not put my faith, I will not put my faith in Something that will not sustain. Whatever freedoms we have as a country, just can not compare to Freedom in Christ.

Whatever happens in war, whether on our land or lands far away, the freedom that will sustain us is one that is available to each of us. We have the freedom to choose. We live in this great country that has given us these freedoms and we need the Freedom that Christ gives to survive them...


A friend of mine asked me to take pics last night of her son and his girlfriend's art exhibits. They will be graduating from college in a few weeks and this really is graduation for them.
His are filled with philosophy and spirtual concepts - hers, ran as fluid and had a floral quality without the flowers, I am not much of an art lover and most everything has to be explained to me but since I got to watch this boy grow up, it was a pleasure to see how he turned out. Hus head is screwed on straight and I think he is going to be just fine. Art is certainly his forte and Miss S can paint for me anytime.
Art is not only Something to hang on the wall. Art is the outpouring of who we are and what we believe. Most of us will never have a gallery showing. Carefully hung pieces of work, each with a little spotlight. No guest book to sign or an explanation of our work. Most of our art, people will have to see on the run. They will have to sniff the air as we go by, to catch our scent. Most of what we want to say will never get said. Alot of what we didn't mean to say is what they will walk away with and never forget.
Life is a gallery just not so controllable. It is messy and the lighting is usually pretty poor. The floor is littered with life debris and the door is more like a revolving door with muddy handprints
than a nice, heavy gallery door.
I am glad these kids got this opportunity before they get out there in the Real World. They will always have this show to look back on and bask in the Moment. Soon, it will be paying bills and figuring out what to do next. These galleries will be where some of their first grown up choices come from.
Best of luck, Z and S. Best Wishes on Real Life - can't wait to see your art in 10 years...

this day...

will mark another notch in our nation's violence history. Columbine, which changed our thinking of school violence forever will mark its 8th anniversary April 20. The first school shooting happened August 1966 where Charles Whitman killed 16 from a tower before police killed him. As I write this, 33 are reported dead including the gunman. The count is changing constantly. As I listened throughout the day, it started at one dead, jumped to 20 and has steadily risen as the day progressed.

While we are horrified at the details and want to know why, we may never know. This is the single largest event of gun violence in our country and I dare say, not the last. No matter what we learn in the days to come, it will never make sense. The news keeps talking about, let the healing process began. I don't believe that is possible this side of heaven.

As I watched today's events unfold, I was struck again with the notion of how to explain it in the light of what I believe. If someone as prepared as this shooter wants to massacre people, we can talk and debate all we want but we will never stop them. There is nothing we could have done faster or better - no way we could have prevented it. That leaves us with trying to figure out what we believe when it does happen. What is our faith telling us, where is our faith leading us and how is our faith going to carry us.

That all sounds very spiritual - if it isn't your child or spouse. I can not imagine the pain of those parents and families who lost a loved one at VA Tech today. They will have to live with this for the rest of their lives. Every anniversary - they now belong to a club they never wanted to join. For the rest of us, we can only hold them up in prayer. Our faith will carry them. Lately, I have been praying for my grandbabies grandbabies. For those I will never meet, those I will never lay eyes on. When these events happen, I use my faith in the same way. for people I will never meet, people I will never lay eyes on. I don't have too. God knows and I am not interested in spending time asking why. For me, that is a waste of time and energy. I will know why Someday - for today, I just need to lift those up and let go.

Everytime we have one of this days - a day that will mark another day that we will never forget. One that reminds us that life is not easy and that Mayberry is only a TV show. One that builds the case that we are living in a dangerous world. One we can explain or stop. The only thing we have control over is our faith which will lead us Home...

7 days to a better me...

Princess duty is over but the lessons continue. Our week was FABulous. I gave up everything I thought I knew about life and decided to let Miss M show me the Way. So much of what a 2 year old thinks is important, we all have forgotten long ago. To get back to that place takes effort and patience.

Her words for the week, were many - her themes, few.

Show nana, show (sure nana, sure) in her best Southern accent would be used with much gusto when she wanted to do whatever it was and she wanted to do it REALLY BAD. Wanting it to seems like my idea and that she was just going along to make me happy, seemed the best option to her. She did want to do most everything by herself or at least try, then she would reluctantly let me help her. All week long, I couldn't help but see our relationship much the same as I see my relationship with God.

Because of DH's job schedule, it was basically the two of us for most of the week. It was my face she stroked as we sang Jesus Loves Me when she went to bed and my face that helped her greet the new day. We shared all our meals and had many, many talks throughout the day. The thing about 2 year olds is they know what is important in the moment. Everything else isn't even on the radar. Even reading, Dora and the Pig Pirates 20 times in a row had meaning although other than character building, I am not sure what. I have very few heroes but the mommy who can read a Story over and over and make it sound just as exciting as the first time is at the top of my list. Jobs, degrees and other accomplishments pale in comparsion. Anybody can do that but the art of being a parent - now that takes a real hero.

After 7 days of apprenticeship, I am back to everyday life. I take with me, lessons learned. I hope to be a better person. I think I understand my relationship with Christ a little better. I now know that when you sing Jesus Loves Me, when you get to the He is strong part, you sing it just a little louder...and you sing it over and over until you fall asleep. Not bad theology if you ask me...

no greater Love...

No matter what week it is - to see the Story of the Greatest Love that we will ever know is Something you can't forget. You can't run or hide - you have to make a choice. Either it is real to you or it isn't. Easter is something that we will all face - either now or later.

The camel seemed to enjoy his popularity during the show and the 2 lambs made their presence known as they walked the aisles. The kids did a FABulous job waving the palm leaves and the soldiers were ever on guard.

No way to walk away without questioning what you believe. Keaton had a few questions after and we talked a little bit about his concerns. He wondered how Jesus could get to heaven and get thru all the smoke when He rose. Good question - not sure I had an equally good answer. It will be interesting to see what he thinks as he processes. I don' t think I have heard the last of his questions.

My mind is full of the most improbable Story of a most probable God. Whatever happens on Sunday, my Easter was last night. There truly is no greater Love, no truer Story and most of all, no other God. I have lived without Him and I never want to live there again.

To see is to believe

To walk in grace is to believe

To love is to believe.

Happy Easter to you all. May you be filled with the Love that only He can give. May your peace be deep and your worries shallow....

PS. I am on princess duty next week as the DisneyWorld gang leave Easter morning so I will be back on April 16. Have a FABulous zalaine.

the simple life...

Found myself with an interesting crowd last night. It was one of those ladies parties but instead of being at a home, it was at a local home decor store. Dirt cheap prices. This place is only open 1 day a week and I've been told, if you aren't there when they open at 10am, you are already too late. My SIL's boss was the hostess and she said she had invited about 40 people and I gonna guess those 40 brought 40 more. Best Ladies party I have ever been to - no games, ackward conversation with the person next to you and no shipping to pay.
It is interesting what people buy. I find my taste changing from antiques to more Pottery Barnish and this type of decor doesn't really fit me. Tall wooden candlesticks, the Pig Chef menu board and the different round balls made of natural fibers that set in bowls on your dining room table. My daughter cleaned up - not only did she find some great deals, she found her birthday gift from me. Her birthday is just 2 months away and I would much rather get her something she really likes so it was a win-win for us.
Alot of these women were working outside the home women - ah, I remember those days. Self medicating with shopping. Justifying purchases by whatever means. I remember them well. Did it all the time and they reminded me of how much I don't miss it. They mingled and shopped and shopped and mingled. We were one of the first ones to leave.
I got home with my little purchase and walked in so thankful that I don't have to get up in the morning and see these nice ladies again. Sharing last night with them was a great reminder of all things simple and I intend to keep them that way...

love at first sight...

My mind is filled with aperture and shutter speed. I haven't attempted to learn anything something since I brought my first computer home. There wasn't tech support in those days. Total trial and error with alot of silent and not so silent cursing. Being self-taught takes alot of time and energy. It takes patience and for me, going over and over the information until it becomes almost, second nature. I want this photography thing to flow within me. I want to not have to think about what setting I need to take a picture of a flower. I want to instinctively set the camera to take pictures of the kids in the pool and then directly to take a close up of the birthday cake.

I read on someone's blog about the photographer high. I have experienced it several times. The thing about digital is that you don't know until you get home and download your pictures, what you really have. You go thru 80 or so pictures and then you see it. It isn't the one you thought it would be. The one you thought would be a keeper was blurry but this one, this was worth it all. It will be the one you obsess over for the new few days, until the next one comes along. You will re-color it, crop it and throw everything you have at it...then you will pick one and it will be the one that will represent the entire body of work that you put into it.

Photography is not much different than spirituality to me. I want prayer to be second nature. I want to hide His words in my heart so they are ever present. A Jesus high is a beautiful thing and just like other highs, was never meant to be a constant. Allowing Him to take me places with no guarantees and every once in a while, getting to be privy to who He is. Whether by a person, or a view... the lyrics of a song or an unexpected encounter.

So today I learned the f/11 is the best setting for a portrait , that a white shower curtain makes a great backdrop when you are shooting a short depth of field and that to sharpen a people photo in Photoshop, using the Unsharp Mask setting- Amount 150%, Radiant 1 and Threshold 10. What I learned about God today is that He is always there, that love is more than a feeling and (thanks Ms. D) it may be Friday but Sunday is coming...

ms grumpy pants...

DH left for work a little after midnite and I climbed into the hard, smelly bed. I thought the bed smelled funny the first night but how could that be? The salesman remembered to tell me that the bed would be rock-hard for 60 days but forgot to tell me that the bed had an odor that would dissipate in 2 weeks. If you are thinking about a Temper-Pedic bed, remember this - no one would buy this bed if you had the odor/hard information upfront.
So I finally get up at 6am and try to get some housework done before DH comes home to sleep. I need to call the trash people because they left a recycling bin last week and I need more info. Admittedly, I am not into recycling. I saw Al Gore's, An Inconvenient Truth, and I get it but still wonder what one person can really do. The trash people tell me that while recycling is voluntary, paying for it is not. I will be charged- no way out. This puts me in a rather bad mood and I have to decide whether to go to a pre-planned morning visit with a few friends and grace them with my less than sparkling self.
I am still ranting and raving when I get there and put my humorous spin on it. We spend a few minutes doing girl talk but when I leave I am still steaming. On the way home, I pass a church and the reader board catches my eye, Too blessed to be stressed. Again, I get it but can't get my emotions to catch up to my brain.
After some lunch and a nap, I head for Sonic. Sonic always makes me feel better and it did for a while. I got home and realized I could continue to be mad or I could decide to stop. Then I realized, I could have stopped - hours ago but chose not too. Today was obviously a 2 steps back day.
There is a great lesson in there for me. I always have a choice. I can change my mind at any time and life isn't really that bad. I have no control over my utilitities, my bed will not stink in 2 weeks and in 2 months, I will be able to sleep like a baby. I truly am too blessed to be stressed and smart enough, to do something about it...

back to the future...

Spring break is but a memory and the Real World beckons me back. While the weather continues to make me happy - the everydayness of life reminds me - there is work to be done. This is the last week before the big Disney trip so all those loose ends need to be tied up. There is karate testing for both boys and an Easter egg hunt. The invitations for Morgan's birthday need to go out as her party is the day after everybody's gets back. Must breathe and take it one task at a time.

Spent a few hours yesterday watching Discovery Channel's, Planet Earth. There is nothing quite like getting out of your head, to clear your mind. Not usually one to watch the whale/elephant channel, I have been capivated by what I can barely comprehend. Technology is changing what is possible to capture on camera and even as I watched it, I was reminded of what is possible.

I couldn't help thinking about God and how He put this all together. Even in the animal world or especially, life is not fair . The one who runs the fastest, gets dinner instead of being dinner. All animal babies don't grow up and die old. Momma penguins will fight over an orphaned baby and kill it rather than let one of them keep it. Maybe there are more similarities between our worlds than what I thought.

The Dr Suess quote reminds me of why I am who I am. I don't know why I wasn't born in another country, in another time.

What I know is that I am here now.
My time is now.
This is where I was meant to be.

There is no one alive who is more me than me. I have everything I need to be me. If I need something, it will come. All I have to do is be. Today and me, what else does a girl need?