bathrooms and Krispy Kreme...

One of my favorite wedding pictures is one with the bride and her barefoot bridesmaids in a bathroom. Someone said, I never would have thought to take wedding photos in a bathroom. Only a bridesmaid who apparently sees outside the box could see the possiblilites in taking that shot and I was more than game.

After I did this layout today, I remembered the bathroom comment and thought about all the places I have yanked out my camera to get the shot. Krispy Kreme is such a happy,natural place -like Disney World for your taste buds. The look on Keaton's more than content face is about as good as it gets.

Someone will always want the face forward, nice smile picture. Always but the photoworld is changing. The photography business has changed. The kind of pictures we take has changed. Every 3rd mom is packing some pretty serious camera heat these days and she is not afraid to use it. Trash the dress is growing by leaps and bounds. People are taking all kinds of shots in all kinds of places. The possibilities are endless.

That same thinking, that possibilities are endless, can't help but spill over into Real Life. In the last six months with these rampant thoughts of what could be, I am seeing things I could never have seen before. Isn't that what life is about? Growing and changing, hopefully for the good. Learning new things and realizing there is a whole lot you don't know.

I am excited. I know it sounds silly. I can't wait to see what is next. Maybe it is hope being resurrected in me. I guess I haven't been very hopeful lately. Too much of my DNA clashing with CNN.

I need to take more pictures in bathrooms. I need to see the endless possiblities and I need to remember that it isn't what I don't know that will get me in trouble but rather, what I think I do know...

safe and secure ...

So I am swimming in pictures and Brandi calls, she and the kids are on their way over. I need to step away from the computer for a while and to spend the afternoon with my babies, makes it that much more sweeter. We have lunch and head out for our new shopping mall and decide to park the car at Target and walk - stopping wherever we want.
The kids have a lot of energy today and as we are leaving Target, I decide I better hit the restroom. No one else need to go so they go outside andwait for me. When I come out, I see them sitting in the red Target circle and tell them, I have to get their picture.
"See Mom, I told you", Keaton says. He knows me. He knows because he has been around me and I have done the same thing a hundred times. Just like when I grab Gage and give him a huge hug and ask him, You know what? and he answers, I know - you love me.
Because I have gotten my camera out of my purse hundreds of times to take a picture of the all three kids for my 3Smiths album, they know. Because I have told them, You know what? I Love you, hundreds of times - they know it. It is not something that they dwell on - it is a natural part of their life. They know it each and every day.
I sometimes wonder if I take God for granted. I don't think I do. I think His Love has become a natural part of my everyday and I am safe and secure in that Love. God has shown me Himself, hundreds and hundreds of times. When Something Bad happens, I don't think, God is mad at me - what did I do wrong? I think, Jesus, hold me. We are creatures of habit with short memories, however, we are capable of living in that vast Love of His and knowing that we are safe and secure...

walk a mile in my shoes...

I am in the middle of editing over 800 wedding photos. Needed a break and this picture just makes me happy. One should not have 800 pictures but we wanted to get it all and I think we did...and then some.
My shoe wardrobe includes Birkenstock, flip flops and crocs. When I knew I had this wedding, Brandi said I needed some wedding shoes and lent me a pair of hers. Cute little strappy things with a small heel. Very small heel. When I got dressed for the wedding, I got my dress on and grabbed my cute little sandal - thingey and off I went.
Now, I haven't worn anything with any kind of heel in a very long time. Throughout the wedding, my feet would remind me of that. Apparently it was a warning - a warning that I didn't heed until it was too late. As the bride and groom drove off to start their new life, I told my feet we were close to being done. It wasn't soon enough.
Got home and as I sat down, I couldn't feel my feet. Soon there was pain from the bottom of my feet to my waist. Sharp pains were shooting up my legs and I was a unhappy camper. As I sat there wishing the pain to go away - I thought about the walking in each others shoes deal and realized that will I could describe the pain to someone, they would really be able to understand if they had never wore shoes that they shouldn't have. I thought about all the times that I thought someone should do or that. As the pain continued, I decided to retire from figuring out how everyone else should be walking and just take care of myself. Good plan - can't wait to start it.
My legs are back to normal - now it is my sore hindend from sitting in a computer chair too long. Gilda Radner was right, It's always something. Better get back to my pictures - they won't sort and filter themselves...

going to the chapel and we're...going to get married

Dear Israel and Charissa,
Tomorrow is your wedding day. Not just the day you have been planning these last few months, you two have been preparing for this your whole lives. First, it was the little boy in Kindergarten who thought you are the cutest thing, ever. Then it was the little girl who played on your baseball team who can knock the ball out of the park, and you are so in awe of her.
Junior high comes and you think he is the most gorgeous thing you have ever seen. You see her in the midst of her friends and wish you could talk to her alone. You make it to high school with your hearts in one piece and think how silly you were in 8th grade - high school is where your soul mate will be found.
There are a select few that do find soul mates in this most unusual of places but most do not. It is a different world for you two. The internet, My Space, text messaging - a bit more difficult but it has been good to you. You found each other and soon, your life together will start.
Marriage will be the hardest thing you ever do. It will be easy at times and at times, it will be unbearably difficult. When you look at your wedding photos and watch the video, it will certainly bring up feelings of warm fuzzies but warm fuzzies are short-term gratification. Try to remember that Jesus was sitting in a chair that morning. He watched as you exchange vows to cherish, love and take care of each other - for better or worse, richer or poorer. When the hard times come, take them to Him. Remember, He was there and is always, always willing to listen.
It is going to be a beautiful day. Israel, from the first time you see your bride on your wedding day and Miss Charissa, when you stand before the mirror, ready to meet your groom - the memories of all your childhood WhoamIgoingtomarry questions, will be answered. The road to a new chapter will began for you. Blessings, and all my love...zalaine.

the power of me...

David Letterman makes 40 million a year, Jay Leno - 23 million. Dave makes more because CBS had to woo him from NBC. Katie Couric makes more than Brian Williams and Charlie Gibson, even though she has the least viewership. Oprah makes 423 million a year - imagine that. Chad and Steve who started You Tube less than 2 years ago - sold it a while back to Goggle for 1.6 billion dollars. Pretty good investment for 2 years work.

It is pretty obvious that most of these people could have worked for 45 minutes and retired to a desert island, living the life of luxury and never work another day their entire life but it must not be about money. How many million do you need? How many billion do you need? That tells me that they are working for another reason. If not money, then what? What would make a person continue? The only thing that makes sense is the power of me...

You don't have to make millions to to be absorbed in the power of yourself but it is a little more difficult. I was raised by folks who had no financial means but still had an air about themselves. They truly believed they were better than most folks. Sometimes I think that arrogance kept them going when it would have been easier to give up. It was kinda of like, we could if we wanted to...but we don't want to. That same power that saved them emotionally, hurt them terribly, spiritually.

I spend a fair amount of time trying to balance having too much or too little self esteem. If one is off balance in either direction, trouble soon follows. I want to feel that God has Something for me if I open the door for Him and that I am teachable, willing and grateful. I also want to be aware that if I won't do something, there is someone that will. I am not indispensible nor the one and only. I am a part of His Plan and He loves me. If I can accept that and live my life with that conviction, the power of me, can become less. I know it will always be a process and I won't always make the right choice.

One of my favorite photography quotes is from Diane Arbus, I really believe there are some things which nobody would see unless I photographed them. We are each here to tell a Story. The only power that any Story should hold is Jesus. It is His Story told thru our lives. Because we are all different, our Stories will all be different but will all be going in the same direction.

Most of the time, I am very well aware that this blog is not mine. Once in a while, I forget. I love the photos, the layouts and the Stories and can't wait to share. This ER journey has always been about me learning to live in the moment - if I stop showing up for class - the journey is over. For now, I will continue to tell My Story and do my mighty best to keep the power of me, to a minimum...

no room 4 faith...

Caught the trailor several times and have been mildly intrigued over Holly Hunter's new show, Saving Grace. It started last night with an MA rating - mature audience, didn't know there was such a thing for TV. I am not recommending the show, there was a few sex scenes that were way over the top but I understand why they were added.

Holly's character Grace is a rough, mean, lack of all things good kind of gal. She is cop who sees the worst of the worst. She cusses like a sailor and is sleeping with her married partner. She is living a hard and dangerous life. I couldn't helping thinking of her as a prodigal daughter. We hear the Story of the prodigal son but not many of the details. Adding the visual to the Story - seeing and experiencing the depths of a out of control life, gave me a new perspective of the prodigal son.
Grace comes to a crossroads in her life when she kills a man with her car. As she is giving him CPR and realizes he is already dead, she calls out for God ....and Earl shows up. Earl is a good old boy, tobacco-chewing angel, complete with wings. He tells her that God sent him and if she asks, she will get another chance, a chance to redo the evening. The rest of the show Grace is trying to figure out if she is crazy...or not. Earl shows up whenever and wherever he wants. At one of their meetings, she is angry and lashes out at Earl with all the Why questions in her life. The same questions we all ask.
Why was I molested by a priest?
Why was my sister killed in the Oklahoma bombing?
Why do all these bad things happen?
And Earl, being the good angel that he is, looks at her and says, " I can give you all the answers but if I give you the answers, there would be no room for faith".
I sat and stared at the TV. For me, this one liner brought me to my provebial knee. I had asked my own Grace questions for as long as I can remember. So, what if this Jesus thing is all about faith? Room for faith, is this what it is all about. Earl is right, if we had all the answers, faith wouldn't exist. How would that change our relationship with Him? Is faith more important than answers? Maybe I have been barking up the wrong tree...
I have packed that sentence around with me all day. I know, it is just TV. The wild ride with Grace will be ongoing. I admit, I can't wait to see what happens next week. Just like me, Grace's journey will be one step forward and three steps back. I didn't live a life like Grace but I was raised by those who were Grace incarnate- maybe that is the draw for me, feels like home. Until then, I am gonna have a little talk with Jesus and see about a faith tune-up...

life artist...

Got my mail and the new CK scrapbook magazine was in the box. I flipped thru the pages over lunch and stopped when I got to Ali Edwards's, Life Art section. Unlike those quizzes in mags that always try to help you identify a personality trait or figure out what your love color is, this one caught my eye...

A life artist is someone who does one of the following:

takes photos
creates altered books
writes a blog.

Four for four - I kept reading. She went on to explain that Life Art is about attitude - ideas that make life easier, richer and better. Life Artists go with the flow, celebrate something every day, cherish the little stuff and tell their Stories. They also understand they must enjoy the Process, not make things more complicated than they need to be and find their voice.

Now I can add Life Artist to my growing resume which already includes Domestic Goddess and Nana Extraordinarie. I am not boasting by the use of the word Extraordinarie which the dictionary defines as, a special purpose. As far as the DG, no exaggeration is needed - I am ALL that and a bag of chips.

Titles mean very little to me but if I can learn more about myself, I will accept it. Life Artist - it just doesn't sound anal enough. Maybe that is the point. I am in love with the art of Story Telling. Whether by word, or photo or scrapbook page - the ability to tell a Story in an instant, with a moment and evoke a tear or a smile - is the greatest joy I can imagine. I think that is why I am drawn to Jesus and His parables. I read them over and over and devour them. While they are tough to accept, they give us such a Real picture of our lives and what to expect. I guess that would make Jesus the ultimate Life Artist and if it is good enough for Him, it is good enough for me...

a good day...

Brandi called Saturday night and said Gage was having Big Time eye issues. Gooey green stuff in the corners and he was asking for meds to make the hurting stop. It was late, almost 9PM, and not much anyone could do. I couldn't believe it - Friday was the Chad and Brandi's 10th wedding anniversary so I had spent the night with the kids and never saw anything wrong with his eye. We had a wedding reception to go to in the afternoon so after cinnamon rolls for breakfast and pizza for lunch, we started getting ready. The boys are pretty easy, Miss M takes a bit more time - she has so much hair now, it takes a little longer. You would think with me wearing pigtails or ponytails 7 days a week, I would be better at it - yet, that would not be the case.
Mommy and daddy came home early - they didn't think it was fair that I had the three kids by myself to take to a social event. I know Keaton was disappointed - he was looking forward to cake and like his nana, we don't miss many opportunities that are cake-related. They went their way and I went to the reception by myself. I remember standing on the big wrap around porch at Brandi and Chad's wedding, thinking where we would all be 10 years from now and which of my friend's kids wedding would I be going to. It didn't come in the order that I expected. The reception this weekend and the wedding coming up this weekend - they all went thru my mind on the porch on that night. Doesn't seem like 10 years ago - how did it go so fast?
Well, Mr One Eye woke up today and only had a slit to see out of. Dr D and Mrs D were too kind, we followed them to their office and they fixed him up. Because he was such a good boy and did everything that Dr D asked, we left to have a celebration snack at Sonic. He had brought his army stuff so we ordered our snack and laid out our army stuff right their at Sonic and had a great time. As we are playing, Gage looks at me and say, This is a Good Day!
Can't argue with that kind of logic. If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would be spending a Sunday morning at Sonic , playing army and having a Hot Fudge sundae plus a Diet Coke with the greatest 4 yr old in the world, I would have said, That will be a Good Day!


Our tree died literally over night. All the way to the top in an instant. Some kind of bug they tell me. It took exactly 22 minutes and $150 dollars to go from the first picture to the last. As I watched the evergreen drama unfold, it occured to me that the tree process is one we could learn from.

When we need to prune, to cut away the dead leaves - those things in our lives that have broken us, hurt us and need to go - it is a process. We don't cut a tree down and leave the stump. Like the tree, maybe we need to flex one direction, then the other and then back again. There is Something about being flexible that helps us in the letting go process. After the tree is down, the stump - with a little help from a proverbial ax, the entire tree, root system and all - is gone.

I was cruising ITunes this afternoon and the first comment on Chris Rice's, Come To Jesus, was from Miss A.

Usually, I'm not into christian music. Ok, I'm never into religious music. Seriously, I'm a lesbian and who doesn't attend church. I know some might find that offensive but just listen to this next part. Although I don't live my life according to the way some feel I should, I do believe in God. I more so believe in God after listening to this album....I don't know if I would be here right now if it wasn't for this album.... Bending, stretching and being flexible. All a part of the process.

The front yard looks a little empty. It will for a while. The nursery said not to plant anything until early September - it is too hot now. Whatever the replacement is, it will never be the same again. Another part of the Big Picture and that constant change thing. Wish it was that obvious in my life - a brown tree in the middle of a green yard. Maybe it is and I am choosing not to look. I hope my flexability starts at the front door and that when it is my time to prune - I will remember this lesson.


This is the field that we stood in to take pictures of the EM house. I already knew these - Outstanding is his field shots would need to be a part of the day and Keaton obliged me. Vast amounts of land that make your heart just yearn for more. There is Something about being in places where there is ... less. It really makes outstanding simple, as it should be.

I have had many outstanding moments this week and most of them I never would noticed a few years ago. It has taking time and effort to find the outstanding that surrounds me. And although it was great fun following EM around, if I had to chose between all the photos I took of the event or of this sweet boy being outstanding, there is no contest. I always thought the outstanding had to be Big. Fireworks and TV time. It has been a process for me to find that it is just the opposite.

Outstanding - the dictionary definds it as standing out. It takes time and value to see that outstanding, at its best, is vibrant and simple. A beautiful flower, a child's face and kind word from a friend. It really doesn't take much. It really doesn't - to be outstanding. Look around, I bet it has been around you all week. Look, even the otters get it...


When we first got there the band was in full swing, so we grabbed our little share of concrete and joined the fun. Kids, young and old took to the stage and it was contagious. It started to occur to me that we should join in the celebration. There are some photos of Miss Mel and me dancing to Glory Train in someone's camera. It was a time of freedom and being part of this one-in-a-lifetime community. I can't tell you how much fun it was and I laughed like I haven't in a long time.

This has been a great week for me. I have lived vicariously thru this whole event. It is the kind of community that I crave. It has been Grace in action to me. People are nicer, like they are at Christmas. You can't help but be. All the bad stuff that we are bombared with daily in the news takes its toll. I needed this breath of fresh air to remind me that it is not all bad.

The dancing - for a brief moment, I was a kid again. Whatever it looked like, however bad - I danced with complete joy. The cares of the world were nowhere near me. I was untouchable.

Funny, the places you find refreshment. I would have thought with the weather we have been having that water would be my best friend but what I didn't know until last night was that I needed to do a little dance...

Bus Driver, Move that bus!

It was 99 degrees last night and we got in line about 715PM to ride the bus out to the Middleton Extreme Makeover house. Our nice tour lady explained that Ty had gone to Corvalles, Oregon and that the other designers had gone to take pictures of the Idaho sign near Ontario and would pick up Ty and bring him back to the site. They said he got there as we were all shuttled back to the high school, the end of the spectator train so the crew could kick it into high gear.

It really was fun. There is a lot of nothing on TV and this little program makes you feel good about what we can do when we act as a community. The shuttle bus was filled from people from all walks of life. The kids were hot but loved the adventure. The reveal will be on Wednesday between 1-3PM, 5 PM at the latest. Most other families go on vacation while their houses are being built but these guys went to a children's hospital to find out more about their 4 children's rare conditions. It is truly a labor of love and seeing people at their finest. I have never seen so many volunteers in my life. The show will air Oct 14 and we will get to see the Big Picture.

Tomorrow night is the Hoedown with all proceeds to help the family with medical costs. Cameras in tow, we are ready to party!!!

I can have whatever I want...

After church we had decided to go see the Ty and the Extreme Makeover house in Middleton. As we sat in church and thought about it being his only day off in a long time - I realized he would probably rather go to the new Harley Davidson store. When I asked him which he would rather do, he laughed ...and we wound up at the HD store.

This man rode a motercycle when I met him and wants to again. All these years, I would never let him. I am now finally at the point and as I have told him, a man should be able to pick the way he is going to go ( just kidding). We did a little more than just look. Before you know it, we had filled out a credit ap and they were finance shopping.

For those of you like me, who didn't understand that a motorcycle is considered a luxury item, it has a higher interest rate than most everything else - 13.99% and after you add all the doo dads that you need to protect this bike, you could make a house payment. An hour and 1/2 later, we are sitting in the sales manager's office going over options. My first option was to point out that you could get a home equity loan for half the interest. The sales manager said that was a great option but having a HD loan would improve our credit score. We sat and listened to all he had to say but I knew the final choice would be DH. I had already explained to him that he would have to delay his retirement to pay for said bike and have to find a way to come with $1000 to cover tax, license, windshield and helmet but I still knew he would have to make the final decision.

He still had to visit his dad so we told them we needed a few minutes to think it over and headed out the door. He had already made his decision but needed time for his brain to catch up to his heart. He just couldn't do it. Not to us or our finances or to his retirement. We talked more about it after his visit and he said, I can have anything I want if I am willing to pay for it. For him, the cost today, was too high.

He will have a motorcycle again someday. Probably not a new one but something that he will like. We all have those same decisions to make everyday. We all have to stare at that financial sheet and decide if we can afford the payments to whatever It is for us. I am still glad I gave up my Ty day. A friend and I had planned on going tomorrow but I have a sick little boy and I wouldn't give up trying to get him well for all the Extreme Makeovers in the world. We can all have whatever we want, if we are willing to pay for it. You just have to decide what you can afford...

the Armor...

I am usually not one to review any given week but find myself taking a big look back. I have been so busy just trying to march on, organize and not get freaked out. The weather has been over 100 degrees all week and the Big Picture has been pushed to the background quite a bit this week.
One of my favorite times of the day is about 7 AM when DH leaves for work and I lay in my comfy bed and let my mind wander. Whatever, whoever comes to mind. It is a time of praise and prayer. A time of thanksgiving and awe. It is a time that I truly cherish. It seems the Big Picture is clearer on those days - something like putting on the Armor.
I wished I had remembered putting on the Armor a few times this week. I used to have a 4x6 card on my bathroom mirror that would remind me to do just that - may have to do that again. I think we were given those instructions for a reason - and in today's world, I need all the help I can get. One of the things my dad use to say about religion is that it was for the weak - for those who needed a crutch and there was no place for cripples in our family. We were better than that.
Seems so sad and long ago, now. So much to unlearn, on so many levels. I once heard someone say that Christianity was more about unlearning that learning. For me it seems to be a little of both and when I have a week such as this one, weakness that seems like a negative is really a positive in disguise for I am on top of my game when I am down on my knees.
So thank you, Week! You have driven me closer to where I need to be, where I want to be and you can believe that I won't be leaving the house unprepared next week...

ding, ding, ding.

Karate, lunch, chill time, some school shopping and to end the day, a half hour of swim lessons. That is a lot to cram into one day. I felt like we were at VBS and had to rush to each station, finish the current activity before the bell rings and we need to be off to the next thing.

I find myself on autopilot more ofter than I care to admit. Not because of a lack of interest in what I am doing but I think Sometimes, it is God's way of shaking me up. Here I am on month 9 of my 2007 Picture Of The Day and I still don't remember on many days, until the end of the day, that I need a picture. I admit that by this time I expected it to be more or less routine. Ding, ding, ding - not happening.

I need alot of ding, ding, ding everyday and you know what, I am fine with that. I have passed the age where I have to know, do or expect everything. Most of us are already planning what we are going to do next week. Next Thursday, I have an appointment to have my dead tree cut down and I am already thinking about Christmas. Maybe it is like defraging your computer - the ding, ding, ding gets us back where we need to be.

I have my POTD for today, at the end of the day. As I sat at swim lessons last night, I saw Gage come to life when his swim teacher spent a little one-on-one time on the noodle with him. He is the same way with his preschool teacher. Ding, ding, ding - BIG TIME.

This may not do much for you - it might be just for me but I will fall asleep to the sound of ding, ding, ding in my ear as God wraps His arms around me. What a way to end the day...

what's going on...

I had two big meetings at the VA today concerning DH's father. The first one was went pretty much as I expected. He is going downhill mentally pretty fast and becoming increasingly more inapproperiate. His file was filled with numerous purple slips. Purple slips represent bad behavior and by the looks of his stack, he has been working overtime. They told me what medicines they have him on and are hopefully, they will see a more modest temperment in him soon. When I left the room, I was handed a bill for $600 by the social worker and told that my FIL was responsible for the loss of his roommate's lower dentures. I had received a phone call several weeks ago, told of the situation and that they would be checking into it - and today, just handed the bill.
I had a secondary financial meeting and after that, decided to contact the head of the Social Services to get a little more information. From the info I had received -WHY it was FIL'S fault was a little fuzzy. I asked her if anyone had seen him with the dentures in his hands. It's easy to say "we think he did it" but in this country, you are innocent until proven guilty. My second question is if he was seen handling the dentures, why didn't they take them away from him? The cost of his care includes taking care of him, physically and mentally. I sensed in her voice a feeling of being less than sure of their position. We are waiting for the adminstrator to make the final call but my defense stays the same, prove that he did it.
When I got home, there was Breaking News that our Homeland Secretary Michael Chertoff expressed that a extreme terror threat to the US this summer was iminent. They went on to say that he had no intelligence to back it up but was going with a gut feeling. Ahhh ...WHAT! Perhaps he helped with my FIL's investigation, the same logic seems to be used more frequently in our current culture than one might have thought.
A little common sense goes a long away and I sure could have used some today. After a long day, sometimes you think it is you and Sometimes it is but today, not so much me. Even yesterday when Keaton wanted his picture taken with the Simpsons, makes more sense that most of today did. As Miss Scarlett would say, Tomorrow is another day... and I for one, can hardly wait!


you could ask God the answer to any question - what would it be?

Why do I have to wake up with these kind of thoughts? At times it makes me somewhat crazy, so I just think more until it goes away or starts to make sense. Here's the kicker - it was in the second part of this thought that the sense made an appearance...

Part 2 - and if He did answer THAT question - how would it change your thoughts, decisions , choices, values -basically, your life?

I don't have any burning questions I want answers too and I couldn't think of anything that would change the way I think about God. I can't imagine Him explaining why bad things happen to good people. The flaw would be not in His explanation but in my ability to comprehend said explanation.

But I am human - there has to be Something that I want to know. Something that would make me rethink my evil ways, bad habits and mean-spirited words. Maybe it is like Jack Nicholson said, You can't handle the Truth.

God doesn't give the answers, He gives us what we need to find our own answers. It is pretty obvious this is no cookie cutter God. He is as diverse in His answers to us as we are to each other. Maybe you feel differently and you have a few things you would love some clarity on. I hope you get it and I really hope, it changes your life. That those answers push you into a different place and that you are never the same again.

Whether the answers come or not, we will live the questions everyday of our lives. I for one, am good with that. There is just no if in me - call me crazy, believe me- it fits...

rockin girl bloggers...

I received a great honor over the weekend. I was selected by Miss Cheryl as one of her 5 rockin girl bloggers. Her description and praise of ER was so over the top, I am humbled by her blog love and her wonderful friendship.

The idea is to pay it forward and I am to pick my favorite five. I think about blogging alot. Writing ER and reading on average 60 blogs a day have changed my life. Changed the way I do business. You already know my reading habits have changed. I haven't read anything in months - don't even cruise the book section at Costco any more. No curosity what so ever. It has bothered me but I have decided to rest in where I am and nto worry.

I guess I am staying within the rules for my five picks - they are all girls and they certainly have rocked my world. Made me think and have challenged me. Maybe that is the attraction of blogging. A book is really a one way street. Here it is - thanks for the $12.99 . That must be the reason that book clubs are so popular - you need to talk to someone about it. With blogging, there is interaction and even an emotional tie. I can't imagine the rest of my life without it.

Currently there are 57 blogs I check in on daily. Two of them are run by men so they don't count but I love them. One is a new church plant in Kent, Ohio and the other is Trash The Dress which is growing by leaps and bounds. FABulous creative, photographers who work with willing brides. FABulous creative pastors sharing the Word with willing souls. It all is related, isn't it?

Here are my girls and all for so many different reasons. Miss Cheryl, you KNOW you are on the List but I will pick 5 others...

Gina the CraftTeaLady ( have followed Gina's journey for almost a year. She lost her grown son in a skateboard accident last year. The good and the bad, she has shared it all and God has given her a gift, one she didn't see coming.
Jessica( - my favorite photographer. Her photos bring a zest to life and it is pure joy to live vicariously through her photos.
Anna( - It started with her photographs of Alaska - breathtaking. She is a digital scrapbook designer, a mommy and wife. She shares the good and the bad. What a gal!
Heather( for the faint of heart - her language might scare you away but her Stories of living have made me laugh out loud and cry big tears. My rockin girls are all over the board but life is all over the board - I'm just following suit.
Last, and none of these were in any particular order - is Heather "I Have What?".(, Heather is in the middle of the fight of her life - Cancer is the ringmaster of her circus. She doesn't post often - the last post was done by her husband and the news was good. I look forward to hearing from her again.

Each of these ladies have had an incredible impact on my life and I wouldn't have found any of them without this blogging thing. Rocking blogging girls, thanks for everything...

hot town - summer in the city...

Our Fourth of July was FABulous. It was also hotter then we could have imagined. Today the temperature is suppose to hit 107 and on Saturday at Keaton's big birthday bash, we will be outside at the state park in similiar weather conditions. I see alot of water in our very near future - just hope we can keep the cake from melting!

There is a very real rhythm to summer. It is a more lazy, mellow time when we are more likely than not - to go more with the flow. I think heat makes us give up sooner. It is just not worth the energy to analyze everything - we have to spend lots of time trying to keep cool. The cooking is easier, some nights everybody is too hot to eat and ice cream seems a perfect dinner. Dirt on children doesn't seem a big problem, we'll wash it all off at the end of the day - go for it!

The forecast for next week looks like more of the same. I am pretty sure I can't tell 104 from 99. There is a weather threshold where my body can't get any hotter.
I should try to remind myself of those winter days where my bone chill seems 50 below. Too bad we can't bottle that and pull it out as needed.

I am going to try and enjoy the more mellow me while she is around. I am certainly going to enjoy the ice cream dinners and I am going to celebrate Keaton's 8th birthday and party like it was 1999...

fast forward...

I am always talking in the past tense - today I am in the future tense. No matter how you plan on celebrating the 4th of July, there will be reminders of our country anywhere you go. The flags, the parades, BBQ and the red, white and blue. Whatever you don't like about our country and we all have something we would like to see done better, it is still the greatest country in the world. Tommorrow, take some time to be grateful for our freedom and pray for those who are serving to protect those freedoms. When you watch fireworks tomorrow night, remember all that is good about who we can be when we try. Our compassion for each other and those around the world. When you hear the words, Land of the free and the home of the brave - pray for America. She would surely appreciate it. Taking a few days off - see you on Friday. Happy 4th of July!

10 years ago...

Watched a Concert for Diana last night. On the tenth anniversary of her death and what would have been her 46th birthday, princes William and Harry wanted to give their mother the best present ever. They put together some of her favorites - Duran, Duran and Elton John along with others to raise monies for her favorite charities and theirs.

I remember that August night when the news reported she had first been hurt in a car crash and later pronounced dead. It didn't seem real. This was pre-911 when when we were a more innocent people and thought we lived in a safer world.

The month before my girl had got married in what still today is the most fun wedding I have ever been to. The most beautiful site with the greatest food and music - we partied the night away. They will celebrate their milestone anniversary next month - doesn't seem like it has been that long ago. Hard to believe Keaton, Gage and Morgan weren't here yet - they would have LOVED the party.

Ten years ago in December was when I was downsized from my job of 25 years. While I didn't miss the work, I was not sure how we could make it financially. It is funny now - but not then. I look back over the last ten years and marvel how life has changed, personally and in the Big Picture. What I thought was going to happen, didn't and what I never could have imagined, did.

I wonder what Princess Diana would think if she were alive today. I know she would have been proud of her sons and the men they have become under the most difficult of circumstances. I wonder what the next 10 years will bring expecially those never could imagined moments. Time will tell.

The summer of 2007 seems to be racing by for me. It is already July and a 1/3 of summer is gone. It gives so much more value to living in the Moment and to be grateful for those moments. Whether 10 years or 3 months, a lifetime of memories can be lived and loved, it is just a matter of perception...