Doing a little spring cleaning last week and came across a birthday calendar book that I had made in 1994. On the back cover was my theme for the year, Black and White, Living in a Grey World.

As the title implies, there was a definite feeling of being set apart. What it doesn't say is the feeling of desperation. I don't have the greatest of memory recall but what I do remember, I can step into that memory and feel the same emotions I felt at that time. Maybe I am in the minority, I don't know but this feeling of being a fish out of water with no hope in sight and quickly sinking is how I felt.

Could that really have been 14 years ago? While I still would classify myself in the B&W category, there is no longer accompanied by any kind of desperation. I have actually somewhat enjoyed dabbling in the Grey World. I have stretched my black and white self and have immersed myself in the this NewToMe world with great results. I think the best part is the creative process that I never imagined I had. Would have bet you many dollars that I didn't have a creative bone in my body. I am finally learning that is the B&W talking.

Being able to recall those angry feelings and also recognizing that they are no longer in residence, was a great personal discovery. We aren't always able to look back and see thru the anger and I still have ISSUES but this one, not so much.

Hopefully, it won't take 14 years to work thru each issue - I've got art to make...

Bring the rain...

If you have ever had the experience of being pregnant and carrying a child, you already know alot about Audrey Caroline. You know exactly what her mommy is talking about - the movement, the hiccups. Where your shared experience with Angie stops, is a place no woman could possibly imagine, until you have been there.

Angie has been sharing Audrey's story and her family's struggles as they await the arrival of their daughter and sister. Take some time to read Audrey's story as Angie chronicles the journey she, Todd and the girls have been living.

Her Carry You entry has been with me all weekend. Recently having had my own funeral home experience, I know of the part of which she speaks but to make arrangements for a baby that is kicking inside of you is overwhelmingly, more than I could handle. Tears streamed down my face as I read down her post and when I was finished, I just sat here, stunned.

I am going to a baby shower later this afternoon. I will be taking Angie and Audrey with me. They are never far from my mind. Just like Jesus is never far from Angie's mind. Audrey's birthday will be April 14, her mommy is scheduled for a c-section. I will wait, heavy with prayers for a safe delivery for Audrey and fast recovery for Angie.

Angie was right. God could see fit to go against all the doctor's opinions. It is so possible but she will accept that Audrey has a new home waiting for her. As I enter the happy halls of Mr E's baby shower today, I also carry Miss A and her family. None of know what lies ahead even if we have been given a life's heads up. Do yourself a favor and read Audrey's Story, Bring the rain...


Had a very nice conversation today with a person I haven't seen in a while. We caught up on grandchildren and life in general. When we got ready to go our own ways, she said, Hope you have a great Easter!.

I know what she meant and I have said it before myself but if you think about - why would followers of Jesus really say that to one another? Over 2000 years ago, Easter was made good for us, forever. So when we say that to someone, are we wishing them great success at the church egg hunt or that the ham and pototoes doesn't burn?

I don't see the Salvation Army pails out at the grocery store, trying to ensure that everyone has a good Easter. No signs of food drives or collecting chocolate bunnies for the less fortunate. I am as guilty as the next guy, my office is filled with Easter baskets and presents for my family. I couldn't imagine it being any other way but I want to honor Easter for what it is.

We celebrate what has already been done, once and forever. Every Easter is a good Easter. The details of our lives on Easter Sunday, have no bearing on the goodness of the day. Nothing that can happen will change the essence of the day. It is what is is and we are able to celebrate, however we see fit - what we couldn't do for ourselves.

So, I am not going to wish you a Happy Easter. Have whatever kind of Easter you want but remember what has been done for you and thank Him in your own way.

Spring break is next week so I am going to take some time off. See you in a week...love zalaine


Memoir (mem'war) - record of events based on a person's personal observations.So many things in our lives are about them. Stories, books, movies - and we enjoy living vicariously thru someone else's as much as our own. Maybe that is why when we connect with an author, speaker or even a comedian - it feels so familiar.

I found the 6 word memoir blog yesterday and as a scrapbooker, it was intriguing. I thought it would be tough but a few came to mind pretty quickly.

My life makes sense to me.
Age can make you young again.
I practice being a widow, daily.

Each of us is a walking museum. If people could roam our halls, they would see things they never could have imagined existed. I think we might even be a bit surpised by a few of the exhibits.

Thanks to those who share their Stories. It helps us to know that we aren't the only ones. It gives us hope and takes our faith to a whole new level. It truly is a gift of love...


It had been almost 3000 miles so I found myself back at the shop, getting the oil changed in the van. I always sit in the same chair - a high back Mission Rocker and I always have my Sonic Diet Coke with cherry. I always take pictures - not sure why. How exciting can be and how much could it really have changed since I was there last?

Some of the things we do again and again are mundane. As if on auto pilot, we tend to veg out during these times. I admit, I found it difficult to find anything Spectactular on the way to my car task. After settling in, I spent my 30 minutes basically, looking out the window. After a while, I realized that just the simple task of being, gave me a sense of well-being and I walked away better than I walked in.

These are not BIG THINGS but little things. Both of these have their place in our lives. I tend to focus more on the Big Ones but in truth, it is the little ones that affect my everyday mental health.

I need tires so I will be going back on Thursday to have them mounted. At first, I fought going to the car place TWICE in one week but I quickly recovered and am now looking forward to it. Stop at Sonic, take a few pictures and have some time to think. Again...

a 5th wheel...

Last Friday in the middle of a freak sleet storm, I went to my first yard sale of the year. My real estate friend and her husband had been planning this for a few years. The real estate market, well - you know, so they sold the house, and were getting rid of anything that won't fit in a 5th wheel RV. They do have a cabin, not sure of its size but because this has fascinated me all weekend - I called an RV dealer today and asked for the square footage of the biggest 5th wheel they sell. I told him ti was research - no buyer here, ever. He told me the Deluxe model has 320 sq ft of living space and another 240 sq ft of outside space. Not sure how much these things cost but it is not cheap. Then you have to have a huge $70,000 truck to haul this thing around in. Add in $4 TO $5 gas and you've got yourself, well...the freedom of the road.

They seem so content. I told her, give it a while. I think she will want a more permanent home. Maybe not - hard to put myself in their shoes. It is not about material things entirely for me - it's also about the closed in space. My father spent most days daydreaming about living off the land his family owned in Michigan. It never made sense to me - you have what 6 or 7 decent weather months but he was so optimistic that if life went to youknowwhere, he would be fine.

Maybe it was living under that happy yet crazy cloud. I wish them the very best in their retirement. I hope the open road is everything and more they hoped for. May they meet many wonderful people, see fabulous sights and if she ever needs it, my bathroom is her bathroom...


It was around 1230 AM when the last one went down. Keaton, Morgan and Poppa all fell asleep pretty fast and it was just Gage and me, trying. After an 1 hour and 1/2 of trying, I finally put him, his pillow and blanket on my lap and rocked him to sleep in less than 30 seconds. I put him on the floor bed we had made for everybody, woke Poppa up, sent him to his bed and laid on the couch, watching over my brood.

We had a good night. Keaton beat me at Wii bowling several times. Gage and Poppa had Xbox going and Miss M was my shadow. She helped me make dinner, putting tater - totters on the cookie sheet and setting the table. Saturday was reserved to go see Horton Hears A Who and checking out the new Crayola center at the craft store but for this very early moment, I watched them as they slept.

I thought about each one and their big personalities. I could myself in each one. They all have a piece of me in them and I could pick it out pretty quick. Their faces had the sweetness that only comes in the middle of the night. While they slept on, I wondered about all the sleepovers we have had and would have to come. I wondered about what they would be when they grew up. Would they still have those big personalities? Would they still love the things they love now? What would they remember?

As I thought about all those things, I couldn't help but be overwhelmed by the greatness of these little people who have the same blood as me, flowing thru their veins. It may be called a sleepover and that may be an oxymoron but I wouldn't change having this time with them - for anything in the world...


During part of our time together yesterday, Miss M and I played Hide and Seek. After hiding under the computer desk and in the pantry, she changed her strategy. While I was counting and peeking, she ran into her room. I grabbed my camera expecting to find her in her closet but there she was- hiding in her bed. I must admit, because of the colors she was wearing, she did blend in. She was so proud of herself for hiding from nana.

We all hide from Something and some of the things that we are hiding from, we spend a life time running away from. My perspective tells me that at some unknown moment, we might consider coming to a dead stop and look back. Maybe there is no longer anything to hide from. The running has become suck a habit, we are no doing it for no good reason. We could stop running and nothing would follow or worse yet, catch up to us.

Our hiding methods are also about as sophicated as Miss M, no matter how good of a job we think we are doing. Ask the soon-to-be ex mayor of New York. Martha and the Vandellas got it right many years ago. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. I tmight be good for each of us to remember that, every once in while...

Plan B...

DD and I were discussing a life lesson the other day and she started talking about making sure she had a plan B in place. I could not have been prouder. She truly is her mother's daughter.

Plan B - usually perceived as less than perfect. I can remember being a new believer and being told that God had a wonderful plan for my life and as long as I chose this plan which was never explained fully as to how to recognize it - I would pretty much lead a idyllic life. My perception was everything would go pretty smooth unless I did not make the right choice and had to accept Plan B. I was terrified of choosing Plan B. Then I remember...

Plan B - That was where I had come from. I never thought any of these would be mine to claim:

Get married
Have a child
Believe in God.

I had already lived a whole life in Plan B and it had gone pretty well. It took a while to shake this theology. Jesus has a plan for each of us. He loves us, and no matter which Plan He has for me - I am good with it. I figure if I walk with Him, take His Hand and hold on, that is a good enough plan for me...


It is one of our emotions that we are usually unsure of. I think of it as a warning that goes off in our ear whether it involves friend or foe. Sometimes we are not given a second chance to react - now or never. To do good or to obey the still, small voice that we all hear, from time to time - we hold back and sometimes travel down the river of No Return. Sometimes, if it has to do with a purchase, we have no wiggle room. Either a 3-day remorseful purchase return or 14 days to see if it is a good fit.

I think we can develop and refine the hesitant factor, to our advantage. Nothing is 100% sure but we can learn over time that when we hesitate, it is for the right reasons. I hope so. Being who I am, I don't hesitate much but when I do...I am aware that I need to be paying attention. That may be the best I can ever hope for...


It is not a word I like very much. Sounds so AARP-like but the benefits that can come with it make it worth it - at least until I can figure out Something better.

As I sat at the Brick today, waiting for my friend, I wanted to capture the light that was streaming in the window. Not only the best Tomato Bisque I have ever had but it has such a calming effect on me. I could live there. I may have to paint my house these calming colors because I got to say, this feels like home.

My wise friend once told me she thinks that as we age, the Real us becomes more apparent. There has to be an upside to aging so the ability to see more clearly, be more honest with yourself and others - also has a calming effect.

Last Thursday when I went out to get the mail, there was a handwritten letter with familiar handwriting. I took a second look, turned it over looking for a return address - there was none and knew exactly what it was. When DH's mom dies almost 6 years ago, we received the same handwritten letter the morning of her funeral. It contained 2 leaflet's, 2 folded up sheets of paper and 2 single notebook size papers, one of then entitled, Liars.

Because of the handwriting on several of the sheets and because of the median age of those who read the newspaper, it appears to be someone who is older rather than younger. He reads the obituaries and singles out a certain religion and sends hate mail. Plain and simple. A coward with no return address. I thought we had dodged his ugly bullet this time - this time it took almost 3 weeks. I was beginning to think he had a change of heart or died but alas, that was not the case. I had even mentioned it at the funeral home and said I was reluctant to put our names in the newspaper because quite frankly, I didn't want my family to go through that again but I didn't and he did.

After I opened it up, I couldn't help but think about that poor woman who lost her husband and three sons last year and how she must have felt when she got her letter. We are not of the religion that he hates but I can tell you that if that is the way you treat people in Christ's name, I want no part of it.

This time, I was somewhat prepared - the last time I was blind-sided. I need to pray for him but find myself resisting and more just wanting to smack him. Hopefully, I will not find myself in the same boat as this man. I hope as the years go by, my passion is joy and affects everyone around me. I wish that for Mr Coward. May Someday he RIP....

Happy Birthday...

Miss M has a few friends having birthday tomorrow. Her Real-life friend Mr E will be three and her Real yet far away friends, the Gosselin kids who will be four tomorrow, all six of them.

Miss M loves the babies - I think it is her favorite show, Jon and Kate Plus 8. Alexis, Aidan, Leah, Collin, Hannah and Joel.

So you guys, Happy Birthday - have a wonderful day! May it be a day of fun, joy and birthday cake...so you can do this Someday. This is for you...

PS. Because I can't read, I am wishing the Gosselin kids HB two months early. March/May - same sentiment only a bit earlier...


The face of addiction has been a part of me even before I knew what it was. Had a great discussion about it the other day and after, felt the need to contemplate a bit more. Not an expert by any means, except to my own experience - I realize that if addiction is not part of your DNA or experience, you might be hard-pressed to try and figure out why anyone would give up the good parts of their lives to their addiction of choice. Rented a movie, Things We Lost In The Fire, yesterday afternoon and it really solidified what had been going thru my mind the last few days. It is a powerful film, tough to watch but can give you a better understanding of the power of addiction.

One of the questions that came up in the addiction conversations was Why. Why would you chose it over a wife, kids and everything? Obviously when it concerns drugs - it seems obvious. How about the less obvious or acceptable ones? Food, money, work, internet or (insert addiction of your choice here). In my humble opinion, if you understand on any level, the nature of addiction, Why would anyone pick anything BUT the addiction? To pick the addiction over the good stuff seems like a no-brainier to me. Not saying it is right just logical. There is a reason for all the A's meeting and a reason you have to go forever, not just for a while. You can't look at the addiction and say, you or them. You will never win the Battle. It has to be a unseen value to others, that is only visible to you. That can be where the new path starts.

It has made me look at the plank in my own eye. We all have issues and our motives for doing or not doing things. I look back to where I was successful in one area and try to apply that principle to whatever issue I am trying to work on. It is a life long process. There is no arrival date . So, what is the good news? Baby Steps...sounds too simple but when you are able, Down The Road, to look back - you will see the Process and you will see that it worked. Too bad I didn't have a Princess Doctor years ago, it might have saved me a bunch of time...


It dawned on me this week that the word, "lie" is in the middle of believe. I don't know why this struck me as somewhat odd. It still has me somewhat confused but I can't get away from thinking it must mean Something. Or not.

The thing I keep coming back too is that if you believe in Something, there is a Lie that is going to try to fight you. Is that possible? If you think about it, until you are interested in believing Something, there would be no reason for a Lie to care. It would be a waste of it's time.

I don't know - maybe I am stretching too far. The old adage, If you don't for something - you will fall for anything is a pretty accurate condition of human nature. We each fight our demons. Food, money and a whole lot more. It always goes back to value and as a culture, we seems to have new issues everyday.

I will not look at believe without seeing the lie within it and that may very well be all I am suppose to do. If I care enough to believe, I better keep my eyes open...

the bigger, the better...

I have watched that little video clip of Brennan Manning several times a day since I posted it. It has become my daily ritual for now. I start and end my day with his words flowing through my brain.

I am utterly convinced that he is correct about us accepting God's unwavering Love that will be the salvation of each of us and not the works that we try so desperately to keep up with. What I can't stop thinking about is the idea that God is only as big as I see Him.

If you have been around me for more than 2 minutes, you know I have no desire to travel anywhere but Disneyworld. None, zip, nada. I didn't realize that I may be the only one in that club until a few weeks ago, talking to some ladies who were discussing spending some quality time in Hawaii. Don't care - can't make me. Maybe I am the odd man out. I have wondered if my vision of Him might be bigger if I did see more of the world He has made. After these last few days, I am convinced that seeing more of the world, wouldn't make a damn bit of difference. Strong language but totally appropriate for what I am talking about. For me, how I see Him is in my everyday life. I want to make Him bigger everyday. At the end of the day, I want to tell Him, It was a good day and You shine like no one else can.

My world changes when I allow Him to make it bigger. I am going to purposefully grow my world in Him bigger every day from now on. God doesn't change - He just lovingly waits for me and I can't help but believe that as my view of Him gets bigger, the better it will be for me.


I have been trying to get DH to see the new 3D U2 movie for a week so when we had a small window Saturday morning, we took it. As it turned out, his job decided they needed him earlier but he knew that after spending $17.50, there was no getting me to go home so they waited for us.

In ter sek' shan - a place where two or more roads meet: junction.

The thing about U2 is that it reminds us of a very happy intersection of our lives. I do believe that many, many things intersect with each of our worlds and we are never quite the same. That is how I felt while watching U2 with my 3-D glasses, just as happy as I could be. Their music is amazing but I couldn't help thinking about the days when DD was little and we had friends that were family and we enjoyed this music together. Sometimes the intersections come from people, music, sometimes from words that go straight to our heart bypassing our brains - not giving it a chance to run away. I think some intersections hold deadly crashes - we have to stop and regroup. The loss of person, job or dream, can also intersect our worlds and change our course, our plans and our lives.

Thank God we don't need 3-D glasses to see what we need to see. While it certainly adds entertainment value, we need to be free and see clearly to move on. When our road meets another, we are set to travel a different path. Whether friend or foe, our lives are never the same. Whether my next intersections comes from, I hope I have learned to be more flexible and be ready to go...

The Lanyard...

Billy Collins has done for poetry what Ben and Jerry's did for ice cream - took it up a notch and made it very palatable. His humor and non-poetry like manner made me take another look at whatIthoughtIwouldnevercareabout. The Lanyard, is a perfect example of the love of God in a collection of words all jumbled together. I love this - made me laugh and cry...

The Lanyard by Billy Collins

The other day as I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room
bouncing from typewriter to piano
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
I found myself in the "L" section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word, Lanyard.
No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one more suddenly into the past.
A past where I sat at a workbench
at a camp by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid thin plastic strips into a lanyard.
A gift for my mother.
I had never seen anyone use a lanyard.
Or wear one, if that’s what you did with them.
But that did not keep me from crossing strand over strand
again and again until I had made a boxy, red and white lanyard for my mother.
She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips,
set cold facecloths on my forehead
then led me out into the airy light
and taught me to walk and swim and I in turn presented her with a lanyard.
"Here are thousands of meals" she said,
"and here is clothing and a good education."
"And here is your lanyard," I replied,
"which I made with a little help from a counselor."
"Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth and two clear eyes to read the world." she whispered.
"And here," I said, "is the lanyard I made at camp."
"And here," I wish to say to her now,
"is a smaller gift. Not the archaic truth,
that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took the two-toned lanyard from my hands,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless worthless thing I wove out of boredom
would be enough to make us even."


is a long, long, long time. So many things can happen between Hello and The End. Most of them, we have no control over. We learn to live with what we are given. When we do have an opportunity to make a choice, the consequences present us with the same option, we learn to live with what we are given.

I often wish I cold live in the Hundred Acre Wood world. It is certainly a more friendly place although they do have their own disagreements with each other. They live in a world where jobs, school and TV would be unheard of, a real Bother. There are no news crews or fast food joints. They certainly live in simpler, less geek friendly homes. In fact, most of their homes are quite sparse.

Rabbit has his garden, Pooh, his pots of honey while Piglet is quite the philosopher. Roo is the only one who has a mom and Kanga keeps him in his place. In our world, Tigger would be prescribed some kind of medication and as for Eeyore, there is not quite like him. They go all out for birthday's and are never far from an adventure. They seem to lack for nothing, I am not sure that they would be so impressed with our world. I can't see it holding my value for them.

Though they have disagreements, it appears that friendship is a forever deal. They may fight and squabble but at the end of the day, it is all about forever. I know we can live there, can't even visit every once in a while but we can while in our world, watch and learn from them. Friends forever, possible, if the planets line up just right. Seriously, I hope we can imitate them - how cool would that be?