social security...

Most of you are probably not on a regular newsletter basis with the Social Security people. I am. Every quarter, they send me a overview of what I will get in benefits should I live that long and I say live that long because one of their options is to delay taking benefits until age 70. Seems like a long shot to me.

If I jump at the first benefit age, 62 - I will get $800/month. If I wait until full retirement age (which as of this newsletter is 66), I will get $1060/month. Do I wait four more years for $260 more? I think not.

The final option is at 70 and for waiting until the bitter end, they are going to give me a whopping $1400/month. They are optimistic - I am pragmatic.

The good news is that I have earned enough credits to qualify for Medicare at age 65. Didn't know there were credits involved. What happens if you haven't earned enough credits - what are you eligible for? Anything?

My daughter is trying to talk me into getting a dog. They say that potential burglars will not even try to break in if they hear a dog barking. Doesn't matter how big, the barking is enough to scare them away.

I knew this was coming after a Saturday phone call that started with an excited little boy and the immortal words, You have a granddog! After shopping for dog food and finding out the cost of pet medical insurance, a pet is definitely out for us. Thinking about recording my granddog, Banjo barking and playing that from the CD every night to deter anyone who is even thinking about trying to make their way in. My screaming would also be a great deterrent.

I have five more years before I have to make up my mind about the Social Security benefit but will get to help DH who will be 62 next July make that choice soon. Of course with his motorcycle insurance, he may have to wait a while. In any case, looks like we can afford a dog or a motorcycle, not both...


We had a sleepover last week as kind of a last hurrah before school starts today. As I always do when we have these sleepovers, I couldn't sleep and watched their angelic faces as they slept, Keaton was closest to me and I just started praying for him as he starts 5th grade. My thoughts quickly took a turn and I found myself thinking about his grandchildren.

It was during a baptism of the son of good friends of ours that I got the idea to pray for the generations ahead of us. It had never occurred to me before. Praying for those I will probably or most likely, will ever know. It is a wonderful experience and as I pray for the spouses of my grandkids, I am thrilled as well. But last Thursday night wasn't about spouses. I could see Keaton kissing the heads of him grandchildren. I could see him quietly, teaching them to ride a bike or watching them at the park. I told his grandkids that they would be in the best hands and would have all the Love they could ever need. This boy to whom being kind is second nature. He can't help himself. He helps his sister and always offers hugs. He will give up (insert most anything here) for Morgan and Gage. If there isn't enough, he always offers to give up his portion. That is just him.

In the darkness of night, I told Story after Story to these wonderful little people that I will never get to hug but I still feel so close to. Secretly, I know how having him in their life will give them the courage to be the same to their families. It really is a privledge to think beyond what I can see to what may be. As I watched that sleeping face, I realize he is growing up quickly and all I can do is ride the Journey with him. If that isn't good stuff, don't know what is...


After attending a funeral of a friend Friday, then attending the wake and funeral of Ted Kennedy that night and next day, today I can truthfully say, I have been saturated in the Love of Christ. I am totally and completely filled to the brim.

Funerals do that to me. There is a part of me that no matter what church or who gives the eulogy, I walk away with a sense of being alive. I am a new person for a few days, basking in what i have received.

The wake of Ted Kennedy was like the most rick dessert you have ever tasted. Story after Story of those he had touched. We laughed and cried, I felt like I had known him. No pretenses, healthy bi-partisanship and memories of a tragic life lived out with honor and yet no pretense of perfection. At the end after the most joyous rendition of Just a Closer Walk With Thee, sung like I have never heard by the Boston Community Church, I was flying high. Then at the end, when they started singng When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, you would have thought I was Irish, through and through. I sang my little heart out and meant every word.

This is the entiery of John Culver's speech - Well, well worth your time. To be honored by those who loved you whether they agreed or bitterly disagreed with you, is a wonderful thing. There is nothing greater than to be honored in humor. Nothing.

After a night of this kind of wonderful, was the religious part of the final farewell. The casket drapped by a beautiful cream-colored cloth was touched and kissed frequently by family and friends alike. It was a time that you couldn't help but feel the Love of Christ. It was almost magical to know that Someday it will be you or someone you love and you will go through what this family had to. It was just 2 weeks ago that they buried Ted's sister, Maria Schriver's mother. This family is tight, that fact was written on every minute of this public display.

I walked away wanting to be a part of the Kennedy family but knowing that I am the daughter of the King. I see this kinship with cousins, and family and imagine grand times but it was not mine to be a Kennedy. The King had something else for this daughter, something that was for her alone. The saturation this weekend is gift enough...

My bologna ...

has a first name,
It's O S C A R

My bologna
has a second name,
It's M A Y E R.

OHHHHHH...I love to eat it
and if you ask me why, I'll say...
cause Oscar Mayer has a way with b o l o g n a.

Nothing like spending time with the one you love. I remember seeing the Weinermobile when I was about Gage's age. It seemed much bigger. Someone else noticed it too. It big - like school bus big. The one we saw last week was about the size of a 10966 Cadillac but being able to follow the Weinermobile on any given day is present enough. Lots of pictures and a OC whistle are all I needed to make me happy. Guess I am good for another 50 years but it sure was fun to go back for one day. Great fun, indeed...


1963. Three days before my 12th birthday, President John Kennedy was assassinated, It was the Sept 11 experience of my generation. We forever have the imprint of the president waving from that convertible one moment, and hearing he was dead a few moments later. Less than 5 years later, Bobby Kennedy was killed after leaving a podium after giving a speech. After that, the family I associated withe the mere whisper of the word tragedy, was the Kennedy's.

At 36 years old, this is the legacy that Edward Moore Kennedy was left with. That and a lot of nieces and nephews to be daddy to. Weddings where he would walk his nieces down the aisle instead of their fathers and burying nephews because it was his to do. I remember thinking if I was him, I would work at Kmart and keep my head down. That would not be the end of tragic moments for this family - far from it. And Teddy would not live out his life without more than his fair share of issues but he would leave his mark as no other Kennedy man would be allowed to. More than 40 years served in the Senate as one who not only could get things done but was known for his ability to reach both side of the isle. He has a long fuse, colleagues say and didn't keep score. You might imagine with his family history, revenge, self pity and justification would be his theme. Seems it was just the opposite.

I knew 2 weeks ago when he didn't show up for his sister's funeral that he was not well. The youngest of the Kennedy children and the only boy to live a full life, the torch is now passed to the next generation of Kennedy's who themselves have bore much sorrow. Their legacy also mixed with tragedy, is one that we could all learn from.

They are a strong clan - family first. They have lived out their grief in private and kept their rehab to themselves. Focusing on Special Olympics and the Peace Corps and many, many more ventures, them have done what we all should do. Leave more than we take. They have taught us how to hang our heads high when there seemed no reason too. Tragedy is a part of each of our Stories, some more and some less. The rain falls on the just and unjust. It's not about what happens to you but how you handle it.

I admit when I think of Ted Kennedy, I think of Chappaquiddick. What really happened is between him and God now. His tragic life is now done. It is an end of an era for those of us who have lived these tragedies with this family. The legacy of the Kennedy tragedies ends with us. From now on and for this generation, everything will be seen from the 911 point of reference - the grassy knoll stops here. RIP Ted Kennedy...

necessary losses...

This week, I have friends who have watched their kids leave for college and I have friends who are watching their kids start their last year of high school this year. I still remember this time of my life in vivid detail, probably always will.

When DD was a senior, we had a delightful exchange student. We did have a good year and it ended with her parents coming for graduation and then a tearful goodbye. DD left to find herself and our other girl left and I found myself in an unfamiliar place with a unfamiliar future and few resources.

Somehow in the midst of trying to figure out what to do next, I ran across Judith Viorst, Necessary Losses. I was 39 years old and was starting to feel the effects of Empty Nest Syndrome. My entire life had revolved around taking care of Somebody and I knew nothing else. I have a job but I had long abandoned the value of it being anymore than a paycheck. The subtitle of NL was, The Loves, Illusions, Dependencies and Impossible Expectations That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Grow.. For me, I had to look back to move forward. It took a while but it has been a turning point in my life, and I have not looked back since.

Losses are necessary, not only in the life changing moments of our life but perhaps, in the everyday. If we agree that growing up is a life long process, then it just makes sense that there will be many losses. Some we have control over and most, we do not. A dear friend of mine has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and has elected not to pursue treatment. She wants to join her daughter in heaven and as of last Saturday, her daughter is there - waiting. I understand that thought process. I have long said, if my babies are in heaven, I am on my way. You guys take care of those left behind - I will go with the one taken too soon. It is not natural in our minds for a child to die before its parents. I think about Robert Manwill's father every day. Robert was not the only child this father had lost. He has a four year old boy killed by his first wife and now to lose another child at the hands of its mother is unthinkable to me. Few of us will suffer like this man has. Those are losses we can't imagine until they happen to us.

So that leaves us with the losses we can imagine, Those that are necessary for us to grow and to let those around us grow.

When we think of loss, we think of the loss through death of the people we love. But loss is far more encompassing theme in our life. For we lose not only through death, but also by leaving and being left, by changing and letting go and moving on. And our losses include not only our separations and departures from those we love, but our conscious and unconscious losses of romantic dreams, impossible expectations, illusions of freedom and power, illusions of safety - and the loss of our own younger self...

It is a pivotal time in our lives. A time that we can move forward or not. Your life will never been the same, no matter how hard you try. Keaton will be in junior high next year. I can already see the winds shifting. He is leaving babyhood behind and heading toward manhood. I want to help him him get there. I already pray for the woman he will spend his life with. I love praying for the generations that I will never meet but I know will be. It is a wild experience where the unknown becomes the familiar and since I have so much time on my hands... might as well put is to good use.

No matter where you find yourself today, you have some necessary losses to face. They may be small, naked to the human eye but you know they are there. Your heart might be breaking and you know the losses are necessary but can't go there today. That's ok, just aim in the direction and as you grow, you will will know.

Max and Ruby...

I am watching Max and Ruby.
It is a cartoon.
I am trying to find a sense of calm and non thinking.

It is only early Monday morning but my blood is already boiling over. The mayor of a local town wnats to raises taxes on his town of 5500 people so they can think BIG and pay 5 million for a piece of land to become a golf course and another million to build a municipal swimming pool in another town. He warns that his town needs to Look Ahead and Think Forward which, from many different previous experiences means, WE ARE GOING TO SPEND YOUR MONEY.

If you have been to this town, you wonder if these 5500 people would agree that they need a golf course. Their Big Success cousin who is a stone's throw away, seems to be the model that the mayor is shooting to be like. I don't know what employment and foreclosesures look like in this little town but can't imagine that they are wayyyy better than everyone else around them.

I will admit, I come from a long line of Big Thinkers. Zig Ziglar's Dare to Be Great programwas a big deal at my house. My bio family was the epitome of thinking big and in the meantime, we went hungry on more than one occasion. Whenever I hear this theme, the hair on the back of my neck stands up and I am on high alert hence the need to watch Max and Ruby. Sometimes the realness of a cartoon can give you some-needed perspective. I needed that today. Really bad.

We need to leap when it is uncomfortable. We need to reach and stretch and grow, when it is uncomfortable. How we do that and do it right is and always will be a process for each of us. Not only in the direction of physical but more importantly, the spiritual. It is essential that we move when we should whether we understand or not but it is always in the direction of being better. Being better so we can be even better which means becoming less. When you think about it, it really does make sense for us to be more when we want less or want much, much more because of the less.

Feeling better now - a bit calmer and refocused. Whatever else crosses my path today, I think I am good. Can't tell that I did my 100 Things I am thankful for today. I was fully thankful at 4am but lost that in the next 6 hours - back on track, I am feeling hopeful and more importantly, thankful...

Happy BDay Gage...

There are lots and lots of Gage's birthday pictures. The first batch was taken on his real birthday which was Thursday. Then a bit of a break on Friday until the family party on Saturday. I could have shown you pictures of him blowing out the candles on his Star Trek/Tiki cake or playing in the water of just hangin out but this is the picture that tells the Gage Story.

He didn't want us to sing the HB song. The real one, the one we all sing to each other on many occasions. He wanted sung to one of his favorite songs which we could do. Thanks to RockBand, another of his favorites is Pat Benatar's, Hit Me With Your Best Shot. I did work on trying to make that come true but to no avail. We should have just played Pat's song and sung the HB song as loud as we could and called it good. Will remember that for his next birthday. One of his other favorite music pieces right now is Rich Mullins, Awesome God. Imagine trying to teach that to the whole family.

Nothing quite explains Gage quite like this photo. He's got Game, literally. Notice he is playing his new Ghostbuster DS game (thank you nana) on a pink DS. He didn't care for one minute that is was pink. It was the only DS around. Had there been options, he might have decided against the pink but in this Moment, pink might as well have been blue. He wanted to move hsi party right along to the gift-opening part and was quite patient in attempts to get there quickly. He was not diappointed. I think he got everything he asked for, a bit more. Gage being seven is unlike most others being seven. He is a smart kid, He is a thinker. We have had and I expect to have many more deep conversations about God and how He works. Gage loved the Old Man (John McCann) and didn't take Obama's win in stride. He sees black and white. He doesn't like the concept of unfairness. That is one I can't wait for us to get into.

He makes me think. About what I believe and why I believe it. Sometimes, he makes life seem so simple. So cut and dry, makes me wish I had of thought of it. In a week, he will be headed for first grade. I am praying for his teacher. He/She better have their stuff together. I imagine they have had few kids like this boy and if they are up for a challenge, they may just learn something - like I have. Believe me, it is so well worth the time. You will never be the same again...

multi task...

Karen Russell has a gorgeous scrap room. It is stunningly beautiful but she loses me with the need to have a desk treadmill.

I am all for multi tasking or in English for DH - doing more than one thing at a time. It comes naturally for me. Maybe it is because I am a woman. We seem to have some kind of second nature for a few things and this one is our specialty. Even though I know this, I also know as with most things, there is a downside.

There is a reason that lawmakers are looking at no cell phones or texting while driving. Just like the little girl who hit us a few weeks ago. She came out of her car, texting away. You will never convince me that she wasn't texting when she hit us. As good as we girls are, even we can't text, apply makeup, dial a phone or eat yogurt AND drive. Obviously we don't believe it and hence, laws must be made.

The trick is to know when to and when not to. If we could master just that knowing and put it to use in every area of our lives, we would be on Easy Street. A recipe for perfect results every time. Imagine that.

But, that isn't going to happen and the sooner we realize that, the better. Multi task all you want - go ahead but learn when to hold em and when to fold em. Hold your head up high, if they laugh - sounds like a personal problem to me...


You could live next door to me. The grass is dead but the price is great. My neighbor lost her house and it is in foreclosure. She moved to the same town as DD and as she works at Walmart, I will be seeing her quite a bit, more than when she lived next door to me.

Her loss is your gain. For $79,000, you could get 1230 square feet. Three bedrooms, 2baths. Nice patio, shed and two car garage. The lawn will come back...or not, but at that price, it is a steal. Did I mention, you would also get to live next door to me?

At first, that may not seem like a positive but let's review the perks!

photos of your family/kids/seniors,
most always have sugar, eggs and Diet Coke,
and when you go on vacation, I will pick up your mail.

Perhaps not a comprehensive or most desirable neighbor list but really, what do you really want in a neighbor? I heard a bunch of commotion in the back yard from the neighbor on the other side and wondered if Neighbor Mike was back from his extended California stay...and he is. You can always tell when Neighbor Mike is around.

Sounds like a great real estate opportunity to me. Now, if you want grass, the house across the street from this one is also for sale. No foreclosure, those neighbors have already bought a house in Arizona but after more than a few months of being for sale, still nothing. It is a bit smaller - I have been in all these houses. As DH always says, She makes friends wherever she goes. That is a good thing - living next door to me would be plus - maybe I should get ahold of the realtor and share that selling point with him. If you go 3 houses more down ffom Neighbor # 2, there is another house for sale. Cute but after being at a yard sale there, it would cost quite a bit to get the smoke smell out. One of my cardinal rules, it not to buy anything from a yard sale where smokers live because it has been my experience that you can't get the smell out and if you are not a smoker, well it is just not worth it.

There are 3 other houses for sale on my street. Counting both sides of the street there are 22-24 houses. I can't remember ever having this many houses for sale or empty at the same time but we haven't been in times like these for a long time. When I saw my old neighbor at Walmart, she asked me if the house had sold. She felt bad about the yard. She said she thought she would be at her job forever and never, ever thought she would lose her house and have to move in with her daughter and granddaugher. She didn't see it coming.

So here we are. If you don't want to live right next door, you have options but what's not to love? I promise I will never invite you to a Tupperware party or try to sell you, Avon products. I'll visit when I mow the lawn or see you as we come and go or if you knock on my door - that's it, you have my word.

On second thought...maybe you should stay where you are at. Maybe we make better friends if we don't live next door. There were people over there looking it over. They were in the back yard and spent a good amount of time there. Maybe it is already sold and not available. Maybe I have new neighbors and DON'T KNOW IT yet. If they think the house it great, wait until they meet me. Lord, please help them!

1st day of school...

In 2 weeks the boys will start school but today it is all about MissM. Comparing boys to girls, on the first day of school is like trying to compare apples to pine cones. She marched right up to the door and never looked back - even had Keaton carry her backpack in and found her way. The boys had a much harder time. There were tears and much agony. Not with Miss M. It was like she was born for this Moment. We had to go drown our sorrows at Krispy Kreme.

A few hours later when we picked her up, with a bit of prompting, she recalled all the details and kindly answered all our many questions. She got her favorite teacher and made some friends. She is the most social of the family. She makes an effort to say hello and introduce herself, She is way ahead of her brothers and her four plus years. We talked about it later and how important and a bit difficult it is to put yourself forward and make friends. Some people never learn it. She didn't get it from - I am not good at marching up to someone, grabbing their hand and introducing myself. Being able to do this at this young age, will get her far.

I still think that on this barely past the middle of August day, it is no time to start school. It is still about those lazy, hazy,crazy days of summer. Those days of soda and pretzels and beer or whatever. School has no business starting until after Labor Day weekend and anything taught before that will have to be forgotten before Halloween, rendering it useless. There, you have been warned - take no prisoners!

In 2 weeks Gage will start first grade and be gone all day. Not sure any of us will be able to cope - I miss him already and Keaton will enter into his last year of elementary school and be in junior high next year. Can't go there today - not strong enough.

Or maybe I am. Maybe if I follow Miss M's lead. We have the same blood coursing through our veins, maybe just that reminder - that I come from strong stock, will give me comfort and reassure me that like those before me, that just because it feels bad - it isn't necessarily so...


Vintage - ven/tij having an enduring appeal; high-quality, classic (such as video or computer games from the 1980s and early 1990s, or old magazines, etc.)
(attributively) of a motor car built between the years 1919 and 1930. Wikionary.

Hubby stopped at a vintage motorcycle show on the way to work on Saturday. His expectation was to see bikes built in the 40 and 50's - what he saw was 1970 bikes. Looking like vintage is in the eye of the beholder. It never would occur to me that 1970 bikes and perhaps, furniture and maybe even people might be considered vintage. Then again, what do you consider as older - vintage or antique? Antique sounds old and vintage sounds cool, to me. I would rather be thought of as vintage than an antique.

For some unknown reason, Gage ask me when he is 21, would I be able to drink Margaritas with him. I told him, I wouldn't miss it - he broke into a big grin. He doesn't care if I am an antique or vintage. After jumping on the trampoline today, I think cool about covers his perception of me right now, will see if that holds.

Prefer cool to vintage.
Prefer vintage to antique.
Prefer antique to dead.

Just a matter of perspective...

like a complete unknown...

Like a Rolling Stone...Bob Dylan.

Rock legend Bob Dylan was treated like a complete unknown by police in a New Jersey shore community when a resident called to report someone wandering around the neighborhood.

Dylan was in Long Branch, about a two-hour drive south of New York City, on July 23 as part of a tour with Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp that was to play at a baseball stadium in nearby Lakewood.

A 24-year-old police officer apparently was unaware of who Dylan is and asked him for identification, Long Branch business administrator Howard Woolley said Friday.

“I don’t think she was familiar with his entire body of work,” Woolley said.

The incident began at 5 p.m. when a resident said a man was wandering around a low-income, predominantly minority neighborhood several blocks from the oceanfront looking at houses.

The police officer drove up to Dylan, who was wearing a blue jacket, and asked him his name. According to Woolley, the following exchange ensued:

“What is your name, sir?” the officer asked.

“Bob Dylan,” Dylan said.

“OK, what are you doing here?” the officer asked.

“I’m on tour,” the singer replied.

A second officer, also in his 20s, responded to assist the first officer. He, too, apparently was unfamiliar with Dylan, Woolley said.

The officers asked Dylan for identification. The singer of such classics as “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Blowin’ in the Wind” said that he didn’t have any ID with him, that he was just walking around looking at houses to pass some time before that night’s show.

The officers asked Dylan, 68, to accompany them back to the Ocean Place Resort and Spa, where the performers were staying. Once there, tour staff vouched for Dylan.

The officers thanked him for his cooperation.AP

40 years ago, it was Day 2 of Woodstock. I was still in my sunburn - couldn't get dressed phase and after the moon landing in July, I can't say that I gave it much thought. I don't anybody did - in hindsight is where its history began. There was no coverage on MSNBC or You Tube. Not tweets or updates. New York was a world away and it never, ever crossed my mind to go but after, when the Stories started pouring in -who wished they hadn't been there. It was the start of Something Big in music and I think, changed the world. Woodstock has become bigger in hindsight - can't imagine anyone knowing that 40 years later, it would still be remembered. Bob Dylam - not so much. The times, they are a changing...


I have expressed my love of icons. Those that have pointed me in the right direction. Whether in word, or physical shape or a real live person - I try desperately to remember who I am.

One thing I do is to use lower case when writing my name. Obviously one can't when using a credit card but in most of my email doings, lower case. It isn't about being a snob, it is for me. A reminder that I am small and He is big. Notice all my I's, are capitalized here? The irony is not lost on me. Maybe it should be. There is comfort in at least one aspect of my life, I get it and if only for a short period every day, I still get it.

From the day my DD got married, over 12 years ago, I vowed that when talking to my SIL about my girl, I would always refer to her as, his wife. It was a reminder to me that she was a married woman now and though she would always, always be my little girl, that she was his wife first. Now she is my gbabies mommy and if you don't think it hasn't been hard to tell the kids yes when she has said no... but she is their mom and I respect her wishes. I admit there has been some brow beating but I have caved when she was serious. She is raising her kids in the way they should go and I want to help her as much as I can.

Lately, I thought I was suppose to wear a bracelet. Got the idea from the boys - something their church did. Those twine ones that eventually wear away. So I thought I might find one at a yard sale. Jewelry is not my thing - if I wear it, it means Something to me. However I found this little sweet one that immediately caught my eye and with a 50 cents price tag, this was it. Got it on Friday morning and by Saturday afternoon, realized it was gone. I searched the car, house but to no avail -it is gone. I am in limbo now about the bracelet. If it is meant to be, it will hound me - if not, it will just fade away. That is pretty much the way I roll. For now, my wrist is bare.

It is not always the big things that make us remember. It is the simple everyday things and I need a lot of reminding. I started the morning with the 100 thank yous to Jesus. I have a lot to be thankful for - stuff I didn't realize until today. The last few days have been a bit anxious as Keaton went with camping with a friend's family. We will all be waiting for him this afternoon when he comes home. A sort of welcoming party. He will be glad to see us. He is ten but his heart is bigger than any I know and although I am sure he had lots of fun, he missed his family and we missed his more than he will ever know. He asked if we would pray for him? Oh yeah Baby and more. Don't need a bracelet for that and by the time I do, my praying days will be gone...


In conversation today with DD, we discussed the issue of confrontation, We both know people on either side of the spectrum. Those who would rather perish than confront and those to whom confronting is almost second-nature.

Just in case there was any question, the 2nd category is more in line with my nature. Perhaps because of life experiences, I feel that the value of confronting/saying no/whatever else - is worth it. There have been consequences and they have been big ones. Lost relationships - there is a price to pay. My perception is that those whose have decided that it is better to live with keeping it all inside - pay a price also. They still may be everyone buddy while it killing them in many different ways.

In a healthy life, there is a time to confront and a time to let it go. The biggest obstacle is knowing when and the consequences for not being able to know which is which most of the time, can be costly. It is a life long process and I can only hope we get better at it.

I want to be somewhere between doormat and bully.
I want to confront when it is the right thing to do.
I want the fear of confrontation to be the least of my worries.

I won't always get it right. The whole failure thing but with prayer and practice, I can't help but strive for better results. If I confront and I am wrong, I can make restitution. If I don't confront and later understand that I should have, will probably get another shot at it. When you don't confront, it seems to come back - again and again. Not always fun but a necessary part of Growing Up which I am desperately trying to do...


My idea of what failure looks like has changed over the years. That was a surprise I didn't see coming and I didn't expect failure to ever have an upside. WE are better people when we acknowledge that failure can be a learning tool and not just another self esteemer tearer downer. Not so much about not being able to do something as much as to find a way that does work. Our default is wallow in self pity with the perception that our idea was was not the right idea.

It is normal to think that but a waste of time if you leave your thought there. If you don't dust off your ego and keep going. These days, I almost thrive in failure. I no longer see if as the enemy but as one step closer because now I know what doesn't work - lets you move on to find something that does.

When failure takes us down, it is as if we live in a bubble. Isolated, alone and unable to see the Big Picture and preparing to be stagnant. When failure is allowed to thrive, you are able to dust yourself off and move on. What a concept, wish I could have learned it sooner.

Whether cooking, money management, parenting or jsut being a decent human being - we each have room for improvement. We never arrive and failure just helps point the way Home...

bucket list...


A friend and I were talking about bucket lists the other day. I don't care for them... I mean, I REALLY don't' care for them. Ok...I think they are stupid. Love Jack Nicholson but in Real Life, they are only a fun to-do/all about me list. I think having a list under minds what you have accomplished. If you want to do something fun, own up to it but a whole list of me-demands - is that really where one wants to go? Even if you do have evangelizing in Ethiopia on your list, it is still about being mostly self serving

If there is any value to any kind of bucket list, it would be a daily one. Did everyone I talk today, have my whole ear? Did those I love, feel it in some way? Was I thankful for what I already have? The preacher talked about wanting a new computer really bad but decided instead of praying for a new one, he ought to pray that the old one lasts longer. I understand. Me too. My real problem with the bucket list is the idea of checking something off - the only things you can check off on a list are tangible. The things that are the most important are intangible. YOu can'at give thanks once, and call it good.

Better yet, how about an unbucket list. If the bucket list idea appeals to you, how about checking off all the things you can do without? Things you no longer need, to get through this life. Letting go of what you have learned, you would never have to possess to live another day. Things you recognize that no longer have value.

My Unbucket List:

arguing to make a point
having to have all the answers
root beer
ever eating out at (insert bad restaurant) again
greatest hits of the Monkees.

The preacher also talked about a friend of his who started his day every morning with 100 thank yous to Jesus. Thank you for my wife, family and kids. Thank you for my TV and chair. If he ran out of things to be thankful for he, just like H, started saying, Thank you Jesus - over and over, all the way to 100. Sounds like my kind of list...

mercy me...

Can't sleep. Officers left to notify families of their loss. My heart aches. Girl driving is 35 wks pregnant. Both are stable.
about 7 hours ago from Tweetie

Car just hit our tour bus. We are ok, but 2 of the 3 in the car did not make it. The one that did is pregnant. Please start praying.
about 10 hours ago from Tweetie

Woke up to this tweet from Bart Mallard from the Mercy Me band. They had a gig at the Old Glory Amphitheatre - Six Flags St. Louis Eureka, MO Saturday night but in the early morning hours, there was a crash. The pregnant woman has lost her baby and is in critical condition.

The skeptical part of the christian community would always ask, how could God let a group of those trying to preach his Word get killed in a car accident? It was like it was assumed that special protection was a moral right to be granted without asking. It immediately hit me that this was what they were talking about but someone was killed. It wasn't about special protection but about hitting a big bus. Don't know the size of the car but betting it was no Hummer.

So jumping ahead and assuming that MM had no liability or fault, how do they live with this? Could they ever not think about this crash every time they sing, I Can Only Imagine. Could anything ever be more real? How would it change their lives?

Two other tragedies unfolded before us this week. The Billy Mays family got word yesterday cocaine contributed to his death. Following Young Bill Mayes on Twitter and was heart broken for him as it tried to live out his grief and shock in front of the whole world. His last tweet of the day read;

True or not, nothing has changed.

The other case involves alcohol and marijuana found to be the cause of a July 26 car crash. Daniel Schuler — the tragic Long Island dad whose wife, Diane, killed herself, their daughter, their three nieces and three adults in a horrific wrong-way collision on the Taconic State Parkway near New York City The husband is being very specific that it is not possible that his wife drank and smoked pot but the evidence is making his denial harder by the hour.

Sometimes you have to look dead on and accept what you can't believe. What doesn't seem possible or even, probable. Those times when life is overwhelming and you can't find the answers you are desperate for.

In s strange twist of events, we were in a car accident Saturday afternoon. We are fine, a bit sore and our car will need repairs. A 19 year old girl, in her own words, I just turned away for a moment slammed in the back of us as we were stopped for a red light. She was driving her sister's car and still unclear if there is any insurance - will find out Monday. As we waited for her mom to walk over, I tried to calm her down a bit. It was her first accident so the tears were flowing. I told her it could have been much worse and told her my first accident Story which is great Story in itself and I did get a little smile from her. Offered to go pick up her mom (didn't know how far she had to walk from) but they declined the offer. I told her she would never forget this and for a few days, would drive like a 90 year old woman. She received 2 citations and the immediate wrath of her mother and will experience the delayed wrath of her sister when she returns from vacation.

It's not about what happens to you, its about what you do about it. We have to stop comparing ourselves to each other. Your journey is yours alone. Do justice, love mercy and walk humble with your God.

you can run with with big dogs,
you can fly with the eagles
you can jump through all the hoops,
from your ladder to the top
when it all comes down, it all comes down to the Walk
...Steven Curtis Chapman


He will have the best dad ever. Promise. Pastor Ryan talking about his new son, Finn...

It use to be parents took good care of their kids. When a child went missing, you didn't even think about anything but stranger danger, These days, are different, In the last 12 days, the community at large has lived out our own nightmare. Having followed child abductions all over the country - this time, it is our turn. It started out with a missing boy, Robert Manwill. We were all horrified and hoped he had just wandered off and got lost. With in a few days when he wasn't found, we started to panic. The the details of a violent family made everyone not want to but have to - look at those closest to him. The who gave him birth, those who were suppose to protect him.

We also learned that his real father had lost another child, another son. His first wife had stabbed that child to death. How does one person live through having 2 children murdered? When the dental records yesterday matched Robert's, the 2300 volunteers that turned out last Friday to scour the community to help in the search and the rest of us, had heavy hearts when a child's body was found on Monday afternoon, we all knew it was him.

We live in a time when this is common place. What we think is sacred ground, isn't What we think is safe, isn't. I came from one of those kind of homes. I also swore, like Pastor Ryan, to protect my child. I now promise to protect my grandchildren. You do your best. Parenting is hard work. It is constant and yes, it is draining but you always, always, always do the very best you can. Doing your best is not negotiable and while there is a sliding scale - the basics are pretty simple and if you aren't capable of that - give them to someone who will.

It has been a sad week. The media coverage is everywhere and it seems strange to turn on CNN or MSNBC and see the Story that is now ours. The police spokesman has stated thoroughly that this was not an abduction and definitively, a homicide. There will be no more daily briefings, no more communtity involvement. The next time we hear from police it will be because an arrest warrant has been issued and a suspect is in custody.

We all wear alot of different hats these days, parenting is just one of them but it is the most important. It is not easy work. Raising kids is tough. It is not about always saying yes nor always saying no. It is our jobs to protect our kids. Try protecting your kids from the news these days. A whole generation of kids live with the news of the day and what does it say when the news that a parent has killed their own child becomes common place? Time to kick up parenting a notch...


I use Mapquest for many things. What did we ever do without it? It's free, doesn't need a yearly update and couldn't be easier.

Now if we could have a Mapquest for life. Punch in where you are and where you want to be and bingo - the answer would be there. All the details at your fingertips, ready to go. Imagine trying to make a difficult decision and having an immediate answer. Just read on Twitter where Paula Abdul isn't coming back to American Idol - sounds like she has been in conflict for a while. Imagine how handy this would have been for her today. A teen could map out his/her future in a heartbeat and retirement would be a whole lot easier to figure out.

The options would be endless and pain-free. I can't imagine life ever being, pain-free. It is hard, confusing and scary. It is also wonderful, crazy and oh, so fun. The music alone was worth the Journey. The food and being around the dinner table, talking and sharing also, makes life well worth it.

If I could have Mapquest my life, it wouldn't have looked anything like it does. It wouldn't have been as good as it is. Good and Bad, you just can't plug in a beginning and ending and not experience the middle. It is in the Middle, we grow and change and learn and become better, smarter and wiser.

16.99 miles. That was interesting. I can't get there in 26 minutes, it has taken over 2 hours in the winter - Mapquest makes no adjustment for weather and love just like life...


One of my weaknesses and there are many, is the storing desire to protect. When I am restless, like now - it is worse. No particular reason for the restlessness. Maybe the heat or watching our community search for a missing boy for the last 10 days (looks like he was found this afternoon - waiting for coroner to ID) but to me, it feels like something is up.

On any given day, my need to protect is on high alert. Intellectually, I know I have no control but the desire to do so is overwhelming. Anything from physical protection to protection from self-inflicted choices, I am there in full mental superhero gear, ready to take over.

As you can imagine, it has not always turned out well for them or me. There is a fine line knowing when protection is needed or if your instinct to save is getting in the way of a Bigger Lesson to learn. Everything is not a oncoming train where immediate action is required. My trouble is that it all looks like a train wreck to me and that anything short of sprinting into action feels, irresponsible.

Will I always feel this way? Probably. It is part of who I am from the experiences I had. When the heat is up and it feels even more intense, I will have to decide when to tone it down...or not. In my more rational moments, I kid with God about a co-protection collaboration. He lets me vent and then gently reminds me, it's not about me. I have no super powers, He didn't see fit to give them to me and furthermore, I need to leave my own ideas, at the door.

My job is to obey not protect. There is probably a reason you never see protection on a spiritual gifts test. Weaknesses, we all have them but have got to believe that they can be used for good. As all good superheroes know, always use your power for good...


I think I have worn lipstick maybe 5 times in my life. Can't tell you what the occasion but it wasn't my wedding or childbirth. In was in my early teens and it didn't last very long. While I understand that women have been wearing lipstick for thousands of years and its importance is not lost of me, I can't STAND the feel of it.

It is another texture issue with me. It is the same issue with makeup. I can't stand to feel it. Just sitting there, on top of my skin. Separate but trying desperately to fit in. I have the same relationship with paint. Have been considering painting my kitchen cabinets black but want the wood to show through so I would really only consider stripping them down and staining them black. I want the wood to show through. I want the stain to become a part of the cabinet not just sit on top. Just like the cabinets, the idea of staining my lips appeals to me. The stain becomes a part of me.

While the boys go fishing on Wednesday, Miss M, mommy and me will hit the mall in search of the elusive lipstain and give it a try. They might even make a sale - love being a girl but it has to fit. Like everything else, it has to have value. Remembering those high heels years..and the hot pants, what was I thinking? Maybe that is why the idea of a tattoo is alluring. It becomes a part of you - not something that will rub off or fade. It is the Real Deal. Explains alot...

Beer Summit...

Something about this picture brings me some kind of satisfaction. It seems like the Prez would have more important things to do than facilitate a warm, fuzzy time between a cop and a college professor. Maybe not. Maybe it is about the little things and you got to start somewhere. Maybe PO has been listening to Micheal Jackson's, Man In The Mirror and took it to heart.

I'm start with the man in the mirror,
I'm asking to change his ways,
and no message could have been any clearer,
if you want to make the world a better place,
take a look in the mirror and make that change

A little thing, maybe but we are made of little things. The big things come and go but the little things are with us every day, every moment.

Here's the breakdown:
Bud Light - Prez Obama
Sam Adams Light - for the professor
Blue Moon - The Law
and last but certainly not least, Buckler, a non-alcoholic beer for Joe Biden.

Something for everyone, just the way it should be...