for one of us ,,,

Todd Smtih "I Surrender All" from Matthew Singleton on Vimeo.

Todd was at Cross Point a few weeks ago and sang an unbelievable, heart felt rendition of “I Surrender All”. Today as Todd and Angie drive to be with Nicole, they find themselves needing to surrender it all once again. from Without

Maybe this is just for me - maybe it is for you. I just know it is for Someone today... love zalaine.

360 ...

After reading Angie's post about her nephew yesterday, I had to step back and take a few minutes to be quiet. Feeling a little like I had been blindsighted, I gathered myself, and just sat in silence. No prayers, just a time to just be. Later when I composed myself, I went back to the duties of the day and marched ahead.

Later, I was checking in with Matt to see how he and Madeliene were doing and remembered about his stranger withtheline thru it and friend sentence that he uses. So many people have responded to he and Madeleine's Story with packages of gifts and love and he uses the stranger/friend analog which I am utterly captivated by.

Isn't that the way we see people? In the last few weeks, we have been replacing all our appliances and having our air ducts cleaned so I have had a steady supply of delivery and furnace cleaning men coming and going. Maybe because they spent lots of their time being around women, most have been comfortable talking about everything under the sun. We have talked about single dads raising kids, the level pay of utilities and how much better food taste when it is homemade. You can't help but go from stranger - friend in less than 60 seconds.

It is too great of an analog to let it stop there. Where else in my life could this have practical application?

reject - accept
bind - loose
essential - unnecessary
me - you

We each have Something to share with each other. Each of our ways is different. While we may not have experienced the same paths, we most certainly can walk next to each other, listening really, really well or offering a shoulder to cry on. Matt is slowly finding his Way and I can't compare my Way to his but I can learn from him. I already have...

Look around...

This quote hit me up side the head today. It fits me to a T. It takes my passionate thought process and my glass-is-half empty personality and encourages me to look around. Look for what you can't see and go in that direction.

Look around for Something old with new eyes. Look at what is bugging you and see an opportunity to make a change, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. Expand my anal thinking and look around for a new way. I can't always be right and everything else can't always be wrong. There is a blend of truth in both of us and it is my job to find it.

Neighbor M has turned into the best neighbor we have ever had. In the true sense of being a neighbor, he is aware that it is not easier to live by him and has given us permission to set him straight. He tried to help us lift a stove into the truck the other night but we already had it. If I couldn't have done it, I would have asked Neighbor to help and he would have, gladly. If you met Neighbor, you would probably not see him as I do - probably would NEVER pick him out as Neighbor Of A Lifetime. It didn't start out that way but in doing a little looking around, it has come to be a fact. That lesson alone, has been worth it all and makes me want to look around and see what else I might be missing. I don't want to miss a thing, I want it all and am willing to keep changing and growing to find it...

PS. Just checked AudreyCaroline's blog to see how Angie was doing and there is unimaginable news. Todd's little nephew Luke, born in March 2008 has followed his cousin to heaven.
I can't describe what I am feeling right now but the post stands. I am looking around as we speak...

too much...

SANDPOINT, Idaho - A Sandpoint man whose family received a house from the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" television program is putting it up for sale.

Eric Hebert said maintaining the home is too expensive and time-consuming as he raises his late sister's 11-year-old twins, Keely and Tyler.

"It's a little too much for the three of us," he said.

Hebert is worried that community members who helped build his home in November 2006 will think he is selling it to make a profit.

"I'm doing it not to lose money," he said. "I just hope people understand the reality of it."

Hebert is single, works full-time in construction and spends most evenings taking the kids to baseball and soccer practice. He said wants to enjoy his time with his niece and nephew, whose mother, Francine Hebert, died in 2004 of a heart attack at age 37.

Maintaining the 3,600-square-foot home is expensive, he added. Since moving in, Hebert said, his bills have tripled.

Sullivan Homes co-owner Lori Sullivan said she understands Hebert's plight. Sullivan Homes was the primary contractor on the project. A number of other contractors from Bonner County and the Spokane area also helped, along with hundreds of local volunteers.

"It's too bad it's a burden for him," Sullivan said. "We're sad for Eric."

Hebert said he would not trade the "Extreme Makeover" experience for anything. He believes it has changed his life and the children's for the better, citing their opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., meet many caring people in the community and own the home.

But he said he doubts he will ever again live in such a nice home.

The house and the one-acre property it sits on are listed for sale for $529,000. Hebert also owns another two acres adjacent to the home and has listed that property for $160,000.

Hebert said he loves the home's layout and its private location, but after six months of thinking about what to do, he said he had to be realistic.

The home includes three bedrooms, three and a half baths, a bonus room, an office, and a master bedroom with access to a deck that includes a fireplace and hot tub.

Two large windows in the two-story great room overlook a tree farm. The floors are covered with hardwood and slate.

Hebert worried about how the the kids would react, but said they understand his decision.

Hebert is unsure what he will do once the home sells. He may stay in the area, because he has a lot of friends and some family here. He may also move to Montana.

"One thing at a time," he said.

Hebert moved from Montana to Sandpoint to care for the children when it appeared they would otherwise end up in the foster-care system. He moved them out of a rundown trailer and into a "berm house," described as a daylight basement with a roof. In the "Extreme Makeover" program, the berm house was demolished and replaced in a week with a large, two-story house.

Believe me, I am preaching to the choir here. As much as I have always loved EM, I could not help but think at every episode - why don't you build 3 or 4 smaller houses? Why does it have to be so BIG, to be good?. People who find themselves in these situations don't have the financial equipment to clean up long after the EM crowd is gone. How much is too much? Why do we give/do/think in excess believing we are doing a Good Thing? Does it always have to be Over The Top? Are we upset when people can't/won't/chose not to, play along. Helping can be a little thing or a big thing, it all depends on your view. Eric, may your Journey be long filled with lots of love and your days, overflowing with joy. Good luck in Montana!


Move over Baby Boomers - here come the Millennials...

Over 80 million strong - born between 1980 and 1995, they are here, they are all about themselves and they are not going to change, we are going to have to adapt.And, don't forget the praise.

This generation is all abut me and they are all winners.They were raised by doting parents and their work ethic is friends and fun first, employers - you can take this job and shove it. Having seen how their parents invested themselves, giving all they had to the Job - these guys will have no part of it. They are tech savvy, major multi-taskers, only take yes for an answer, are amazingly clever and their number one priority - they come first. They are praise hounds, all about collecting trophies for anything they do and live in a world where narcissism is not a bad thing. And don't forget the praise.

The theorists blame Mr Rogers, where they learned they were special. 60% of college grads move home and think it is a very good thing. They think it is their right to not grow up before thirty, ie - to be responsible for bills and such hence their creed that no one over thirty is to be trusted. And, don't forget the praise.

If you are an employer, you must hire consultants to train you. You must learn how to motivate this teenage babysitting pool to be productive. They were not prepared for Real Life and must be coached instead of bossed. They expect a confetti parade just for showing up to the job. They are incorrigible. And don't forget the praise.

This is the future. We have taught them well and now, they are teaching us. One of the things they are seeing in the corporate sector is that mommies are becoming involved in their kids professional lives, when things do go so well. We saw this last week at DH job when a 24 year old who was on the job for less than 8 weeks due to excessive tardiness let his mommy write a scathing letter of itiseveryoneelsesfaultbutmyboy to the CEO of the company. He didn't get his job back but there were repercussions that tickled down. And, don't forget the praise.

Millennials - now I can put a name to the faces I have seen. Shaking my head, no realizing that they are here to stay and it will be us who must change. It all makes sense now. Maybe it's not all bad - job first has never yielded a good return. Too many have put work in front of family life. I have got to believe that we can learn something from the M's. I promise to be harsh with you and try to see it from your standpoint. I hope we can be friends and I REALLY promise, not to forget the praise!

You and me...

Within the first 10 seconds of the funeral, I knew I was in trouble. When the worship team that had once been my once-a-week staple started singing, the tears started to flow. Made it through that then we were warned to hold on, strap on our seat belts and prepare for quite a ride.

It was not your typical memorial service and that is what I expected. What I didn't expect was how my emotions took over and refused to let up. I saw people I hadn't seen in years and wanted to stay for the reception afterwards but we needed to get Keaton and get to baseball. It was Reds against Parents night and popa was going to be playing. It was tough to switch from funeral mode to baseball mode so I enjoyed watching my boys play ball and put off thinking about the Big Picture for the day.

In the last few days, I have had a chance to absorb what I have been feeling. I realized that the tears were tears of joy for what had been. It was a wonderful time in my life and I had much vested in that church experience. When you get the warm fuzzies, you usually only see the good stuff and tend to neglect what was not so great. I realized that since that experience, I have protected myself in a way I didn't realize until a few days ago. Even being a part of starting a new church and being wildly successful, in the eyes of church plants - I held back. I never wanted to experience that pain again. It has been said that only christians shoot their own armies and that is so very true. That being said, I have made my share of mistakes and the more days I have behind me, the clearer the plank in my own eye becomes.

When I first walked into the curch that afternoon, I couldn't helpe but think about the Chapman's and how within a few days would find themselves in a sanctuary such as this. I thought about all the people who would help them say goodbye and I thought about their boy. I was so encouraged to read that at one point 2000 people stood and applauded as his brother said, "I haven't always been a good brother," one of the Chapman boys said. "Just like my dad helped Maria, I hope I help my brother. … (God) healed Maria in a way we don't like, but he's going to heal (my brother) in a way we're going to like."

So at the end of the day, all we have is Christ. It is about the two of us. Our everyday life together. Warm fuzzies be dammed - it is personal, it is constant and it is more real than I could ever have imagined. Even with all the fall out from that church experience, I wouldn't trade it for the world. Another notch in the Belt of Life.

Move On
Come Back
Or Not...

You and me. Life is good. Keep Walking...

a child of God...

If you know anything about Steven Curtis Chapman and his family, you know about Love. Every concert of his that I have ever been too, revolves around his family. His wife and kids are everything to him...

Yesterday, they lost Maria,, their 5 year old daughter. She was run over by their teenage son in the driveway of their home. Something that is impossible to fathom. They have some dark days ahead of them so please remember them in your prayers - their family website will give you an idea of the Love this family shares.

As I was getting ready for the day this morning, they were heavy on my mind. I was also thinking ahead to the funeral I was going to this afternoon. Some might say that Pastor Orv had some good 67 years here but that is not the measure of a child of God. Maria just celebrated her 5th birthday 10 days ago - in our humanness we would all agree, her time should have been longer.

This is my point - even as we have traveled Down This Road with Angie and Audrey Caroline, with Pastor Orv and now Maria, there has to be some kind of celebration on some level that these precious children of God are now with Him. This isn't an either/or situation. You can mourn freely, cry out to God and still, in the deepest depths of who you are, know that being a child of God is the true gift.

I pray for Maria's brother. May he also accept that he is a child of God and forgive himself. A burden for anyone to carry but for a teenager, a tough road to journey through. May his family give him grace and support him through their own grief. May they heal together and be stronger than before.

I will take the Chapman family with me today as I celebrate with the Halley family. We are a part of each other, we grieve together, we pray together and we celebrate together. We are children of the Living God...


My town wants to build a new one. They have been desperately begging everyone they possibly can to make it happen. Looks like they finally got their way. 1.645 million is what it is going to cost, so far.

I am not anti-library. One of my best memories of childhood is the summer spent reading book after book after book. Nancy Drew, to be more specific. It was a glorious time of being safe and cool. To read about Nancy's adventures with her cousin Beth and her boyfriend whowantednothingbuttoloveher Ned, were like manna to me. It was one of the most memorable times of my life.

That was also almost 50 years ago.
Before computers.
Before instant access right from your home, to any information you could imagine.
Before the internet and Netflix and Costco and you know, Netflix for books, is right around the corner.

Most everyone I know has a computer. Most families have multiples. I only know one family who does not currently have internet access and am pretty sure they would not consider using the library, they are My Space kind of people, young and hip. The library, as we know it now, is a dinosaur - the need that it served, is no longer there. It can't be resurrected - its time is now gone. Let's say, conservatively that 20% of people still use the library and that is a big if, let's build a 20% library.

A 20% library would still be able to have Story Hour for kids - that is the most important function of a library, in my humble opinion. Teach them the love of books and they will go find them. We live in a different world. Sometimes it is difficult to let go but it certainly is time to start making decisions based on reality not emotions. Our library just finished a battle whether 2 sex books should be IN the library. Someone brought a lawsuit about whether The Joy of Gay Sex should be accessible to everyone and the library gave in and put it on the top shelf. Problem solved...except for sneaky Eddie, who is having his own issues, moving a chair where needed for added height.

I need to get on that Netflix thing for books - that could be a winner. I'm sorry Library. Thank you for all the great memories - I hope there is still a Miss Susie or Miss Mary to read Stories to the kids. Give them the love of reading to take with them and you will have done your job proudly. It takes a big library to see The Big Picture - hope you are up for the challenge...

PS. I sent a copy of today's post to Mayor Tom today. I hope it gives him some direction in his own thinking, not for Nampa but for himself because that is all each of us really has.


This theme of being flexible has been with me for a few weeks now. I have started to recognize not only its benefits but seeing myself being pulled in that direction. Flexible is not a word that I or anyone who knows me might associate with my bad self. I kind of like the idea that I might flex and not break, be bent completely over and be able to bounce back to my original self.

We are experiencing a week where we are having to be flexible. We are in the middle of a unfair, caught off guard, humbling experience that is hitting us in the emotional and physical wallet. We will survive but we will never be the same. Hoping to not become completely cynical, we have trying to laugh about it, learn what needs to be learned and go about our business. Life is unfair, that is one lesson we are well aware of and in a strange way, gives us peace through this ordeal.

A friend called this morning and told me a Story she heard this weekend at the Beth Moore Ladies getaway. Texas ( could just as easy have been Idaho) A women was having some furniture delivered to her home, apparently she had cleaned, in anticipation of this new furniture so when the delivery men came, she asked them to take off their shoes - they refused, she pulled out a gun and is now in jail.

I get her point. What was so unreasonable about her request. Maybe the gun was only used to encourage them to see it her way. I had to laugh and in the process, I discovered I was filled with joy. I read this morning that joy is internal and happiness is external so inspite of wanting to hurt a few people, I am giddy that joy is so close to my surface. It tells me that my flexable days are in full swing and hopefully, will make a semi-permanent home. In the meantime, I am pulling up my Big Girl panties and encourage DH to do the same (you know what I mean).

Whatever else the Day brings, what an great thing to know that you can ebb and flow to its beat. What else does one really need to know? There is great peace in that thought for me today. That is all I needed to hear...


There is some 83 years that seperate Gigi and Miss M. Gigi has seen things that Miss M could never imagine and visa versa. Gigi had some medical issues almost 6 years ago so while there isn't much conversation that goes on between them, all they really need to do is love on each other, every once in a while.

I remember being 19 and mad. Here I am 56, and still mad - all though generally, it is more passion driven-than that angry feeling of my youth. A wise friend once told me she thinks our true nature comes out the older we get. We have talked about trophy grandparents - those who would rather show you their grandparent resume than tell you about their active involvement. That could be said for almost every area of our lives. Then you have the opposite end, where it is all about the Doing. How do you strike a balance?

Can you strike a balance when you are young? My experience tells me know but I dont' know if that is universally correct. One of the things I look forward to everyday is learning Something. Something that will make the lives of me and everyone around me, better. That would never have been Something I would have considered in my 20's or 30's and would only have been vaguely aware, feeling a gentle stirring in my 40's.

I wish I could ask Gigi about a lot of things. My family is all gone, no one to ask. If I could I would ask her - What life lessons helped you the most? What hurt the most? What would you change, good and bad - if you could do it all over again? Where are the traps? Where are the joys?

While I may not have anyone to get answers for myself, I know the questions that I can pass down. I would imagine that they might wonder about the same things I wonder about. I am convinced that some things can only come with age and with that age, comes the responsibility to share your perspective as honestly as you can. No christmas card theology, just a balance of truth and perception.

So I will take up where Gigi left off. I hope whatever I can answer will be of value to you guys. Ask away - I will tell you as honestly as I can and you will have to decide what to keep and what to throw away. Keep in mind that Someday it will be your turn to share. The true circle of life...

the Times of your lives...

Long after my gkids other grandma forgives us for having a surprise 60th birthday party for her this weekend - she will have this wonderful memory to keep her company. All else (we hope) will fade and this day will be remembered for simply being what it is - a day that celebrated her with girlfriends and grandkids. How could anyone stay mad at those cute little faces?

It gets tougher and tougher to remember most everything, the older you get. It is just a Fact. You can do little things to strenghen your memory but age takes it toll for each of us, eventually.

I went to church this morning. I admit, it has been awhile. I have a church book that I take with me to write and doodle in. For me, church is a wonderful place to be creative. I always start with the month and date, just in case I need that info for later. I opened my book and glanced at the last entry.

Jan something 2008
like less than the 10th

Must have been having a GOOD DAY. Sounds like Crazy Connie was taking over. The next paragraph was about faith being like a trampoline. Faith must be allowed to flex, grow, shrink and stretch. Godd stuff - maybe the day was getting better.

The last journal entry was about Gage and his watercolor painting experience a few days before. Apparently he was more interested in changing the color of the paint water than the paper he was painting on. It says he was trying to change the water by adding paint with his brush, to the water. Side note says, this was about seeing life from a different angle. Not bad preaching for a Sunday.

Today, I knew what the month and date was and recorded that in my church book. I jotted down a few thoughts but nothing profound. Maybe I think better when I am obvious to life around me. See Grandma Sue, you never know where Wonderful may come from, even in the most likely of places...


Had my Tomato Bisque soup at the Brick yesterday and couldn't resist snapping a few photos. Every time I go there, I have to get my camera out. There is nothing new but I still feel the Need.

I realize that ER has a repetition feel to it. While it seems random to me - ER, from my perspective, is meant to be a growing experience - learning to be in the Moment, is much to my protests - repetitive in nature. Just today, I realized that it is because much of life is repetitive. It also occurred to me that we are not very good at learning the First Time.

If we were...If we learned the First Time - Every time, what would our lives look like? I imagine it would look pretty much like what The Garden looked like before the The Big Incident. Don't spend much time there because, most of the time, I am convinced I would have made better choices than THOSE involved. Wow, no ego issues there. What were they thinking? Don't go there, God said. What part of Don't go there is so difficult to understand?

Pick Me! Pick Me!... I would absolutely have done what God said. you do now?
Why is it that now, I have to learn lessons over and over again?
Why is the First Time not working for me now in everyday Real Life?

It always looks easier from our side of the fence. Hindsight is a wonderful thing until it blurs your view. Do I wish the AE Dream Team had made a better choice? After the last few weeks of Real Life, you bet your backside I do.

So I won't apologize for the repetition of ER on everyday life. I hope it doesn't bother you and that it makes some kind of sense. As for AE, that may be a lifelong forgiveness process. It is getting easier but dang, just to daydream for a minute - how FABulous would that have been?

footballs and bows...

I am most comfortable, living outside of the box. Thinking, doing and growing. Growing up thinking that every one's life was pretty much like mine, I had a warped sense of what the world was really like. Having to unlearn and re-learn has been the theme of most of my life - maybe I am not as unusual from most of you as I think.

That is pretty much how we all go about deciding the everyday things of our lives. With such diverse experiences, no wonder we are attracted to those who have had similiar experiences or have similar outlooks but it doesn't explain why Sometimes, we are attracted to those who we have absolutely nothing in common with. It is the football and bow theory that fits perfectly in the out of the box theory.

Had Miss M not had brothers, would she be drawn to football? As much of a girly-girl as she is, I would bet not. However she does and she wants to play and do it with bows in her hair. I have no idea about football - I like to listen to it as background noise. I do, however, know about bows. If you want to live outside the box, you will be uncomfortable, often and maybe, take you places you could ever imagine going.

Everytime you take a step outside the box, it gets easier. Baby steps - be uncomfortable and be grateful...


Ever look back on a day and see a theme? The weaving of people, events, sights and sounds that all weave a specific thread. Today was my day.

Started the day with a lively, spirited discussion with one of God's wild childs. She knows she is wild, not sure she would own up to the God part but she is sure on her way, whether she knows it or not. We discussed politics, addiction and religion. People who make bad choices in spite of knowing better. Since this is only the second time we have met, I was thoroughly enjoying myself and didn't want our conversation to end. We could not be more different except for our strong opinions. She was ranting and raving about people making bad choices and she blurts out, You know what the answer is? It God. This is no card carrying God person - I'm not sure she wasn't surprised about her firm answer.

Unphotographable - Later on as DD and I pulled into my subdivision, we noticed the several families playing at the park. There was even a family there who were having a picnic on a blanket at the playground. Why this was bothersome is that their cars were parked right in front of the This Area Has Been Sprayed - Stay Off The Grass Sign. They had to of seen the sign - there was no way they could have missed it. DD and I whipped around and went back to take a picture of the sign with people in the background. We both knew this was one photo, we didn't want to miss. Unfortunately, two city employees beat us to it. They pick up the sign and were talking to the seemingly clueless people.

After having the conversations with Miss S about people making bad choices, I had a few more contestants to add to the list. Why do we, when we have plenty of warning, continue to participate in risky - sometimes downright fatal - paths. Is addiction a choice we actually have control over and we have chosen to address as uncontrollable? That is The Wild Child's theory, even for herself. She may have Something there.

For the rest of my afternoon, the whole choice thing kept running thru my mind. There is a situation running thru my mind now that I am trying to get my head around. It is making me look back and check out the perspective, and forward, to what I believe now. Choices I made years ago that with time, I would not make again.

I love it when a day comes together. Yesterday a friend and I were talking about getting older and being more flexible. With an anal personality, for many years there was no flexibility in my world but with age, I am becoming more and more flexible. That is a great discovery and I gave myself an Atta - Girl. Never too late to love yourself...

scratching my head...

I have scratched my head more than once the last few days, trying to make sense of situations around me that I am aware of. Some new, some old - I am looking for a common thread as I use my imaginary clothes pins to pin them on to an imaginary clothes line, hung above my head and stretching out so far, I can't see the end.

As my grandson said yesterday, I WANT to see the Big Picture. There is Something I am not getting. Whether people issues or natural disasters - most of us, I would imagine - could say the same about the life they are living. Times are hard, people are hurting. No more so than in times past but I didn't live in those times. Reading about them is not the same. Only when you experience it can you get that Big Picture view that will keep you going.

As I look at my clothes line and go down the line, it is amazing how much of life we are surround by. I even put the good stuff up because this life isn't one-sided. As I see all the photos,good and bad - it strengths my resolve. It gives me hope that I can be a better person, if I will just pay attention.

As we played in the backyard yesterday afternoon, Neighbor peeked his head over the fence and asked if his music was too loud as it it most days. DH said, yeh, a little and Neighbor went in and turned it down. I can truly say, as far as neighbors go - he is the best we have ever had. While we are on opposite sides of most everything, he brings a true respect to the table. Another photo to hand up. Who knew???


It is not everyday, no less Mother's Day that you get to dedicate your own grandchild. PJ dedicates babies all the time but today was special. His first grandbaby, 12 days old. There were lots of family crowded around the altar, all vowing to help raise baby E to love the Lord. I have no doubt that everyone will pitch in and that PJ will lead the pack.

I have had 3 pastors in my spiritual time - PJ is #3. It averages out to about 12 years per pastor which is pretty darn close to how it has played out. Yesterday I got word that my #2 pastor had passed away on Friday. It was not painless and the family had great expectations that a healing would happen. It did but not the kind they were looking for. Pastors are not exempt from human emotions or are given any special equipment to deal with their own losses. My thoughts have been with the family all weekend - what a difficult Mother's Day for the wife and family left behind.

Pastor #1, like #2 and #3 is still going even after several heart attacks. While someone might not see the similarities between the three, I think there are many. They are all strong men who love their Jesus. They have all shared their faith passionately and have been great examples of living out loud.None of them is perfect - far from it but I can't hold that against them. They will have to answer for their own lives, good and bad - just like you and me. I have no intentions of breaking in Pastor #4. I have been lucky and don't wish to press my luck. Looking forward to watching this little boy teach his granddad a thing or two. Might make for some interesting preaching, Down The Road...

Mother's Day...

If you were not raised by Harriet Nelson or June Cleaver, there may be some less than wonderful Mother's Day that you have experienced. It has taken me many years to get pass most of the negatives that haunt this day for me. Not unlike those who have had moderately fair experiences with their mothers, I have no reference point and have learned as I grew up with first, my girl and then my grandchildren.

This Mother's Day, I will start by taking pictures at Mr E's dedication. The hard part is that the pastor is also the grandfather. First time grandpa too. We have know Mr E's mommy since she was a little girl so I am thinking, there will be a lot of tears. Ok, don't want to start thinking about it now.

Earlier this week I found Matt's blog and it has set the tone this year for the whole Mother's Day thing. Not your typical mother, this will also be his first. Not sure how he and Madeline are choosing to celebrate - they may even forget what day it is and pray for Monday to hurry up. Seven weeks ago, Matt and Liz gave birth to precious little M after a somewhat difficult, pregnancy. The day after Madeline's birth as a nurse and Matt were preparing to wheel Liz to the NICU to see their baby, Liz said she was feeling lightheaded and passed out. She suffered a fatal brain embolism and never regained consciousness. He became a father and a widower in a few short hours.

Wherever you find yourself this Mother's Day, enjoy it. There will never be another Mother's Day 2008. Next year's will be different, maybe better - maybe worse. You might find yourself in Matt's shoes. Someplace you never could have imagine or you could find yourself in Mr E's shoes - he will be making some parents and grandparents very proud. Happy Mother's Day to you all...

Explaining Blogger comments...

I needed to do this for the blog that I maintain for Gage's preschool. Parents reported that they couldn't comment so put up a little tutorial - thought I would bring it here.

Under the Choose an Identity column (on the right side of the page, under the actual comment section) and you have given four options. If you have a Google/Blogger account, you can log in under that account name. Same idea for Open ID concerning other blog accounts,(Typepad, etc. for those of you who do not have any blog accounts you will need to choose the Name/URL option. Just type in your name - don't worry about the URL, type your comment and hit the Publish Your Comment button. If you want to remain anonymous, use that option but fair warning - that is the one scary and mean people use. This will work on all Blogger blogs that allow public comments. Hope that helps you and now hopefully, our parents will leave more comments about our school...

Choose an identity

Name/URL Name


While many may disagree, there is a writer in each of us. Just as we all breathe and put our pants on one leg at a time, writing is Something we all have in common because we all have Stories to tell.

Ok, so we may not all be Hemingways or Grishams but no one can tell our Stories like we can because we are the ones who have lived through them. Many chose to have ghost writers tell their Story but with a little effort, we can do it ourselves and personally, I would always rather hear a Story firsthand.

Ali Edwards is having a great blog series this week on words and photos.

Overall, what do I want to say?

I want my stories to be real. Real to me means that I leave a part of myself within each story. I want to leave evidence of my existence in the words I chose.
I want some stories to be long and complete. I want other stories to be quick - maybe just a few words to complement a photo that really needs few words to communicate a message.
I want to tell stories that celebrate our everyday life as well as stories that deal with our challenges.
I want to grow as a writer. I know that writing helps me know myself better.
I don't want to be bound by fears of misspellings, grammatical errors, etc. I just want to tell my stories.
I want my stories to show that I was paying attention to my life.

Writing helps us to know ourselves better. I know firsthand how true that is. You don't have to have a public blog to write, there are many different avenues to explore. I was never good at a writing in a journal, hard as I tried. Even the very act of typing out the words relaxes me most days. The information and joy that you will share with your family because you share your words will be invaluale. Not only to read what your perceptions, dreams, expectations are but maybe to see themselves because of you.

It doesn't have to be Something you have to do everyday although it will take some effort of your part. I carry a little notebook but as often as not, I call home and leave myself messages of thoughts I want to remember later. After I leave a message, I also leave myself a little Love. A word of encouragement from a familiar voice - somedays, that is all a girl needs...


To connect with another person is a journey that we each take everyday. Part of that journey is easy, like when you meet someone and have instant simpatico. Sometimes we are thrown into situations where we meet people we most certainly would never have crossed paths with..and sometimes, it takes effort to connect. It takes action on our part, maybe more than we are willing to take on.

I try to be very concious when I am out and about about connecting with people. I think it is my Big Picture duty. I am not always successful. My mind is racing a hundred miles a minute in our MustHaveDoNow culture and sometimes, I plain forget.

It is probably the most important thing we do everyday yet it gets the least attention. Since being bit by the photography bug, I see how important it really is. To take time to share a moment, whether friend or stranger, means to stop being in our little worlds and being in theirs for a while. If we really work at it, then we are together in our world. For me, this is huge and gives me an avenue to stretch myself. To grow and be beyond myself. To be available to someone else, even for a short time, is the greatest gift we can give and we can give it over and over and over, again...

adrenaline ...

Most of us have experienced the rush of adrenaline. Those times we have crazy strength or feel a natural high that you can't come down from. For a few seconds, we are super-human. Nothing can touch us. We are Sparticus...

My sister's body doesn't make adrenaline. After her pitituary tumor surgeries and radiation therapy, that is one of the life long side effects she carries with her every day. She has to take medication because we humans need adrenaline. It also protects us from harm by alerting us to danger. Those times when you are called on to do things you could never imagine doing, that is adrenaline.

Now that I can recognize when it is happening, it unmistakeably like riding a big wave. I ride it all the way in - looking around at everything. I can't imagine how that feels to my sister to never experience that feeling. We are all given challenges, I guess if you learn to make do - life is a whole lot easier. Adrenaline junkie, I think not. Now that would be a wave, I could do without...

rule of thirds...

It all makes sense now.
Seems like not so much of a mystery now.
But when Part 3 comes first, it kind of throws you.

I was driving to baseball Saturday morning and the Holy Spirit gave it to me hard and fast. The difficult part was that it was so specific and the fast part, well when you are driving - the less distraction, the better. I didn't really argue the point as much as, Do I have to do this now?. Just as it came - now was the answer. I did what I was told to do and continued on to Keaton's game.

After the team warmed up, the coach called them all in, told them to take a knee and proceeded to give them instruction.

No questions, only instructions - is what he told the sea of red shirt boys. No questions only instruction...HMMM, isn't that just where I had come from? That was Part 2 of this 3 piece puzzle as I would soon find out.

This morning, I went with DD and family to their new church. I see why they like it there. Besides the shorter drive, their 65ish year old pastor is who their old pastor will be in 20 years. A portly grey haired gentleman that you would not give a second glance to in his jeans and orange plaid shirt. As he started to preach from Exodus 17, his words, I soon realized was Part 1 of the puzzle I had been given. He talked about the God, Power and Prayer of Agreement. He talked of being very specific when you are given someone/something to pray for. To pray the same prayer, over and over and to find someone to share this purpose with. The purpose of Matt 18:9 Whatsoever two or three of you agreement upon on earth will be done in heaven.

The pieces instantly fell together. Part 3 HAD to come first. Later, the other 2 parts would validate the puzzle. Never underestimate God's ability to be more specific than you could ever imagine. Even though Part 3 didn't make sense, I knew there was Something going on, my part was to do what I had been told and I was good with never knowing why. To get in on knowing why is like icing on the cake. He makes it look so easy. I am so thankful for this experience. I have learning that precision is doable and maybe the best lesson we could ever learn...

the unexpected...

As mommy was leaving for her class, Miss M and I had finalized our plans for a manicure. It would be her treat to me. Mommy said use a paper plate but, Don't worry - all the colors go on clear...Apparently they did not try the red one.

When mommy got home, I showed her Miss M fine work so I am guessing that the red pplish will disappear soon. On the other hand - excuse the pun, I will be wearing mine proudly. I was offered nail polish remover but I declined. I think there is a good lesson that I don't want to forget.

Not completely unlike the Plan B theory, the unexpected is not something you can plan for in any way but a global way. You can be utterly convinced of Something and be proven wrong, in a heartbeat. However well-intentioned we may be about any given situation, we need to always make room for the unexpected. There are no sure things. Answers, recipes, choices - always need a little wiggle room...Always.

And just maybe, the unexpected isn't always bad. My mails may not be the most beautiful to some but they were painted on with much love by my 3 yearold granddaughter. My flesh and blood. After our beauty treatment, we were playing with her American Girl dolls when her pretend phone rang and she talked to her pretend mommy.

Hi, just hanging out with Nana...

All that and a manicure. Hanging with my girl. I would say I am a pretty lucky nana...heavy on the pretty, at least that is how I feel...