Windows 7.
Got the opportunity to buy a upgrade this summer and I jumped on it. Vista and I have had our problems and I was more than ready to move on but the idea of upgrading and not getting myself in over my head bothered me ever since I pulled the trigger and told Best Buy to send a copy my way.
The UPS man brought it on Monday and it sat on the dining room table until I got the guts to to give it a shot. Everything was backed up, just in case and my experience has been that just in case is usually the default.

I put in the disk and pushed, Let's Go! My first issue was to uninstall my security software. Done, moving on - then I had to dump iTunes and reinstall later. Ok, iTunes backed up, downloaded a few tunes yesterday - didn't want to lose my 2 bucks worth of new music.

Then, there was the message that the new operating system did not have a email program and would support the one I had. After some searching, I downloaded the Mail program from Windows Live and it sucked in all my information. Big bullet dodged and onward and upward. The rest of the install went pretty smooth and to my surprise, I lost nothing and everything looked good. Later in the afternoon, I would find that the Flash Player was not compatible with the 64 bit system and had to revert back to the 32 bit (if you need help, let me know) and now I am ready to go.

I remember the days when there was no Google, no support and DH and I spent days trying to figure this computer thing out. I was pretty sure this would be the case but I was wrong. My old experience has been replaced by my new experience.

I like the idea of a less than perfect experience being replaced by a better experience. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities. What else am I missing? I need to explore other avenues in my life where a replacement is not only needed, but probably is right there for the asking.

None of us share the same Journey, only the path. I have not been in your shoes nor you in mine. On those rare occasions that we do share an experience, the results can be completely different, in some cases, polar opposites.

By sharing our Journeys, we share similarities that can be converted for our particular path. If you decide to upgrade to Windows 7, I hope your experience is similar to mine. If not, buy a new computer with 7 already installed. Walk your path...

side effects...

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Isaac Newton.

We have all heard it and experienced it. I think side effects is a good analogy of action fall out. Get a bunch of people dressed alike, take their pictures and there is bound to be trouble!

Medicine - you either get better or worse.
Choices - it may go well or really, really bad.
Love - you take the chance, that your heart may be broken.

The quote alone, would make a normal person assume that doing any action - is not worth it. The idea of Something going wrong on its own with no action on my part brings enough anxiety without me adding to it. We aren't crazy about side effects. If you have ever had one, you will not soon forget it.

I marvel at these commercials for meds where the side effects are way worse than what the possible benefits are. Who in their mind would sign up for that?

Yesterday I discovered that the blond streaks I have been enjoying in my hair are grey hairs that when colored with an ash brown dye, look fabulous. A good side effect. Do you ever think of SE as a positive? Not me - chemotherapy is what usually comes to mind. Love it when a lesson learned is not what I expect. It tells me there is much more to learn...and unlearn. Everything is not as it seems and there are many more surprises to come. I just need to be ready and if I forget, all I need to do is look in the mirror...

where the streets have no name...

So it's about 945PM last night and I check into Twitter to see what is happening and what do my wandering eyes catch but U2 about to go live in concert on YouTube at the Rose Bowl. There would be no early nighty night for me.

Starting at 10PM and going on for over 2 hours, it was the most spiritual Moment of the week. There is Something about them that goes where no music dares to and when they started belting out, Amazing Grace - I lost it.

Think of it. Where The Streets Have No Name - sounds like heaven to me.
Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, is the anthem of my life.

I don't care how much you love Jesus, or trust Him or believe in Him - this side of heaven, we are not complete. It will not make sense, we will not find what we are looking for. The answers jsut won't come no matter how hard we try. No time to lay it all out and try to make sense of us to satisfy our need to know and that is ok. Maybe better than ok. Don't waste time trying to solve the unsolvable.

Still haven't found what I'm looking for... and I think when I do, the streets will have no name...

There's no place like home...

Ruby slippers - there not just for wishing, they look darn good too. Girls are about looking good while boys believe it is all about superheros. While they would seem to be miles apart I think they lead to the same journey. One that will carry us from place to place. One that gives us the lives we have because of the choices.

Regardless of that journey, on of the paths lead each of us home. Home, the place we rest, recharge and hang until its is time to go out and love the world again. It is where we think our deepest thoughts, veg out in the front of the TV and make the best frappuccinos ever. It is not about how many bedrooms and bathrooms we have, it is about making it a safe, inviting place for those who live there. It is making the best of what you have and appreciating it. Now, imagine not having a home.

In my town of over 80,000 there are 500 homeless kids in the school district.Last year, there were 149. There is also a new classification of families - car families. The truth is this is unfamiliar territory. Imagine trying to care about school when you have no place to live and not sure if you are going to eat. It makes me cringe and it makes me think about how I spend my money. The whole flu thing has been making me crazy last week. I am on Facebook and Twitter while there are people all around who have no way to tweet and if they did, what would they say? I am hungry, cold and have no where to study.

There's no place like home - Dorothy was right, she was oh so right...

fairy tale...

Once upon a time...This is exactly how I saw it in my mind. We had been waiting for a break in the weather and schedules to make it happen but last Thursday, it all came together.

We took 2 vans and packed it a bunch of props to make what we saw in our minds, come true in the forest. Miss M could not have been a more willing model. She was even more accommodating than Teddy. She had 2 shooters and did her best to give us, what we ask for.

Because Miss M and I also had a sleepover on Thursday, editing would have to come later. While popa and Miss M played, I got a peek at what was in teh camera and felt confident, that all was right with the world. I worked on some yesterday and already have one framed.

This is what childhood should look like. Like a fairy tale. Not devoid of chores and responsibilities but to have the ability to play, laugh and play. There is another set of pictures where Teddy has been replaced...by me. I knew it would have to be. Years from now, I hope Miss M looks at these pictures and see the love that surrounds her. The play that we all encouraged for her. May she know that the love her nana has for her is deep and wide. Smart enough to know that life isn't about fairy tales and that Sometime, it will be very hard but if she can keep herself open to the fairy tales when they come her way and enjoy them - she will be ahead of many of us...and they all lived happily ever after.


I was checking out the goods at Grandma Sue's garage sale this summer and came across this old suitcase. I thought it was cool and then I saw the initials - RJZ. I knew GSue's dad was Robert Zander so I asked it this was her dad's and it was. I grabbed it up. I couldn't let anyone else buy it. I needed to keep it for the kids, they have a strange attachment to this man they have never met but discuss quite a bit.

When Keaton was younger, he talked about him all the time. It was a bit eery - like the two of them were conversing. Keaton talked about him like he lived across the street. He died many years ago - of a heart attack while camping. My daughter never met him but the Stories have kept him alive to all of us.

So, I paid my $2 and brought the suitcase home. I am keeping it for the kids - not sure that they will be thrilled but don't want to miss the chance to keep this piece of their Story for them. His wife Gigi, is a delight to all of us. She has been in declining health but still, every time you see her, she is so glad to see you even if she doesn't recognize you. She misses her man and will be with him soon. We don't have any luggage of hers but we have had her around and many memories that will last forever.

If Morgan had been a boy, I suggested Zander as the name of choice. I think I had a pretty good chance of that happening and still thought it would be good when we found out she was a girl but it was not to be. We semi kid that if there were anymore Smith babies (which no one anticipates), we know it would be twin boys and then the race for name #2 would be on. That and a lot of other things.

We used RJZ suitcase for Miss H's photoshoot last week. Probably should use it in one of the kids shoot this weekend but not sure that if fits the theme. Maybe it seems strange that I would be the one preserving family history for another but I really feel, it is my lot. My grandkids have a rich and colorful family history on both sides. From Spain to Costa Rica, there are many, many Stories that merged and now have become, their Story. I hope to leave them a suitcase of memories so they can add to it and pass the suitcase on...

buy one...

get two free... Really? I am no brain surgeon but this doesn't sound right and as we all know, if it doesn't make sense, it isn't true but,

This is a real ad for a men's clothes store. Do I really think I am going to get 2 items of clothing for free, just by paying for 1. Which begs the next logical thought, how MUCH does that 1 thing cost? Maybe they are the dumbest retailers in the world, maybe they will be going out of business after this current promotion - now that, makes sense.

Pioneer Woman's current contest is on her cooking tab and it is a very nice Cuisinart food processor. I am the 28,062 person to leave my comment and I must say, I am feeling pretty good about my chances. Here is something that makes sense, someone has to win and it might as well be me. I feel much better about myself believing I may win a food processor than if I believed that buying 1, getting 2 free was a good deal. As the TV commercial says, Common sense isn't very common. Amen brother and at the end of the day, believe what you will - and remember you will be making choices based on those beliefs. Rarely do you get something for nothing, watch your back and be real. In the long run, the Road is littered with many distraction, pick carefully...

Jones Soda Co...

Last week I submitted a few photos to the Jones Soda gallery. A couple of Miss H and one of Miss M. Received a email last night that the staff picked Miss M's fall photo to be passed to judges for publication. How fun is that? My girl could be on Jones Soda bottles across the country.

Being out there in public is a scary place. There is a reason you have to ok people on Facebook to be your friend. I have been approached by two strangers and have denied them both. Would rather hurt feelings than be sorry. No brainer for me.

They say to put a watermark on all your photos that you post on the internet. Last year there was a woman who had stolen several people's photos off their blogs and put them on her own. They all confronted her and she FINALLY took them down, no consequences other than shame and that was lost on her.

I picked that photo on purpose, there will be plenty of time for her to meet her public face to face when she gets a bit older. I did submit Gage's picture to the Costco contest and it is a face shot but he is laughing as he throws his head back and his eyes are closed. It could be any blond, gorgeous boy!

I will be ordering my yearly Christmas case of Jones Soda with the kid's picture on them soon. Thinking about the bright blue this year and I always have their faces but it is only for us. When they grow up, they will each have memories of being our rock stars and that should be enough for anyone. To know you are loved enough to have your face put on a bottle of pop. Now that is love...


You know the feeling...

That feeling that comes from being wildly and insanely happy in a home run Moment. Instinctively we know that Lady Luck is just that luck and more than likely, there was hours and hours of practice to get that shot. That million to one shot that actually happens the way we see it in our dreams but never expect to see, when we are awake.

Even as I watched Dude Perfect, I am rooting and cheering for them. We take on each other's jubilation as our own and find ourselves jumping up and down, screaming in front of the TV when a football team makes an unbelievable play. It is a feeling that the world isn't as bad as we thought and that there just might be some hope for the future. It's called living on the Mountain Top and while we know that we can't stay there, many of us would pay just about any price to do just that. Most of life is lived in the Valley Below, where excitement seems to be a hit or miss deal.

Love these guys, they made me holler in a way that made DH come into my office to see what all the shouting was about. Now that, is something...


and joy.
That is what comes to my mind immediately. Then, mashed potatoes and homemade chocolate pudding.

Comfort (Wiktionary)
a contentment, or ease
a consolation, something relieving suffering or worry
a cause of relief or satisfaction.

We all receive comfort from many common areas then we branch out, go our own way and fine tune what brings us the comfort we so desperately seek. We seek comfort in the good and bad times, in want or in plenty and we seek it often.

As my thoughts about comfort would indicate, comfort to me is about the good things. The things that bring happiness and good will but I think there is a dark side to comfort. One, most of us would rather not think about.

My experience tells me there is a kind of comfort where rational thinking flies out the window. It is a place where bad feels good because it is better than the unknown. A place where comfort hugs itself to the ground and won't let go. Where the idea that this false comfort, it better than seeking out true comfort. I know that feeling and I know how real it feels.

We hear Story after Story about kids begging to go back to dysfunctional homes. Wives going back to homes where they are physically assaulted - men too. Hard to believe there could be contentment, ease or comfort in those kinds of situations but there is and we humans continue, like the songs says, Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places.

If it doesn't make sense, it's not true... Good old Judge Judy. If we could use that philosophy in our lives more often, how would it change what we believe? what we do? How we act and respond?

I am a lucky woman. I have a better handle on comfort now. It looks like cozy slippers and hot chocolate. I am not longer willing to invest in false comfort - life is too short and the stakes are too big...

having fun...

Did you have fun today? Yesterday or the day before that? Since I am experiencing delayed childhood syndrome, I try to have some kind of fun everyday and if I can't actively find some, I make my own.

I tell myself my favorite joke which always brings a smile yet I can't repeat here. I do a stand up routine for DH when he gets home and if I can make him laugh, my work is done. I often get in trouble along with the kids and am shushed or worse. I don't see any of it changing soon. To those whom it may concern, you just better hope it doesn't get any worse!

Child likeness is necessary for creativity. I didn't know that I had a creative bone in my body until I embraced the child likeness. Had I not missed a few steps in the beginning, I am not sure there would have been any creativity discovery in my life.

Many boo hoo the art of play. They are wrong. Everyone needs a bit of play and to not understand that is to miss a Big Lesson. The first time I saw Tom Hanks dance on the big floor piano in Big, I was stunned. Was there such a thing and how fast can I get there. I have looked for the elusive piano ever since - looks like a road trip to me. Forget the museums and churches - I've got bigger fish to fry...

online community...

There are so many good thought patterns going on out there. It is community in a way that no matter how good ours are - they are just that...ours...singular...one. When you find community in thought, you can take a shortcut to being a better person. None of the greatest ideas in the world will do you any good if you never take them from your head to your heart. Knowledge is like food sitting on a shelve in the pantry. Pretty useless unless you eat it. These three short from my blog community spoke to me yesterday. I have never met Seth and Danielle but would love too. We are very simpatico, Miss Trisha, on the other hand - I have known since, well forever. Now based in Pennsylvania, I live vicariously with her and looking at the world through a 20 year old's eyes.
You can't believe what you can learn in community. Your Story mingles with theirs and the outcome can be outstanding. Thank you guys.

Make a Decision - Seth Godin
It doesn't have to be a wise decision or a perfect one. Just make one.

In fact, make several. Make more decisions could be your three word mantra.

No decision is a decision as well, the decision not to decide. Not deciding is usually the wrong decision. If you are the go-to person, the one who can decide, you'll make more of a difference. It doesn't matter so much that you're right, it matters that you decided.

Of course it's risky and painful. That's why it's a rare and valuable skill.

Sunday - 6 year med
I know this guy who had a heart transplant a few years ago. Now he rides a motorcycle and refuses to wear a helmet. He says that motorcycle accidents lead to organ donors, and that's the only reason he's gotten to live this long.

I think that is really stupid and lovely all at once.

Lord beer me strength - yesterday's awakenings

you've heard the story

you know how it goes

once upon a garden we were lovers with no clothes

fresh from the soil

we were beautiful and true

in control of our emotions till we ate the poison fruit

and now it's hard to be a decent human being

and this is why we struggle to do things on our own and walk our dogs without making eye contact with our neighbors. because we really do crave to be in relationship and community with one another, it's how were created, it's a desire that comes from our basic humanity. but because of our broken choices, we are left with this severed relationship to everything around us - especially with each other.

so community becomes a restoration of the true and beautiful picture that God first laid out for us. we are embracing the purity of ourselves by being in community with one another.

the familiar...

As you can always count on there being a pumpkin patch in your future during the fall season, there are other things were the familiar often stand alone.

Gage and I had been out shopping a few weeks ago - one of the things we both like is old books. We were checking out them out at the Grace Place, and he started asking questions about the hymnals. He handed me a red Nazarene one and said, Did you use to to use these at your old church? When I answered yes, he had to own it.

I understand why. In his short 7 years, he has only known 2 churches and both use continually changing music on overhead screens. The Church of the last 15 years has seen music that changes with the season, with the year, with the whim of the music director. Many churches are this way and this has been his experience. He needed more and I get it.

As I read through the first pages of that familiar songbook, the words of the old songs came rushing back. I admit, I longed for a Nazarene sing a long. Something happens when choices are limited. Most of the time we think of that as a bad thing but sometimes, not so. In fact sometimes, it feels awfully good...

the 12 disciples...

It has been a cold, windy stay-inside type of weekend. Off and on for the last two days, I have immersed myself back in the West Wing series. I am guessing we will not see TV like this again - there is Something about it that speaks to me on a very emotional level. Politics, religion, sarcasm and great thinking - what is not to love? On a very basic level, watching these Stories gave me back some of the perspective that I had lost last week. I am now back on track, thanks to President Bartlet, Toby, Josh, CJ, Sam and Mrs Landingham. These people, this fictional people I know like my own family.

During one of the scene, President Bartlet was talking to a serious, committed christian leader. He turned to the man who had been trying to explain his undying love to Jesus and asked the man, Who are the 12 disciples of Christ? The man hesitated and then named the 12. All of them. Seemed like a pretty fair question and as for me, I fell short, way short.

Shouldn't one who claims to be a follower or Jesus Christ be able to name his inner circle? Wouldn't you think that would be pretty basic material? I can honestly say, I don't remember a lesson where the names of those disciples ever came up. We have all seen the Last Supper either in photos or live performance. Most of us, followers or not - have heard of Judas. Growing up, I heard his name daily. I didn't know who he was but I knew if someone was mad, his name would be coming up pretty quick.

So, I Googled them, put them in alphabetical order and am working on memorizing them. Maybe it's not a big deal but to me it is. This is something I should know. Not for bragging rights or to be spiritual superior but because for me, it is the right thing to do. I am not there yet. I have always had a bad memory and it ain't getting any better but I am working on it. Those who Jesus chose to mentor, they need a place in my heart.

James, brother of John
James, the less

Paul replaced Peter
Mattias replaced Judas


between A Bird in the Hand is worth more than two in the Bush and Easy come, Easy go... is where most of life is lived out,

Inbetween having your internal security system in hyperdrive to mostly comatose is where you want to shoot for. A nice balance, living time for the crazies and the unexpected.

I remember thinking and feeling, I couldn't wait to grow up. In my defense, I had good reason to imagine life could only get better. I didn't give one iota of thought to gaining weight or getting wrinkles. Mainly it was about getting a fast car and well, driving fast - with the music turned up loud. How could I ever have imagined an IPod or the internet. Now that, would have been seriously cool to know back then.

Our lives, ying and yang. We do tend to favor one camp over another. There are times when safety and security are the guardians of our life cruise and other times, when we throw caution to the wind. Neither is good or bad or better than the other. It is jsut the way we roll depending on our life experience but however you roll, it is always good to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and see how the other halof lives. Try it, you'll like it...

the sun on your face...

Hard to imagine being anywhere else.
The sun on your face,
your mind, in the Moment.
Captured forever,
yet just the beginning.

If we can learn to dream,
we can go beyond where we think.
We can dream of what could be,
and still live with, what is.

To feel the sun on your face,
is to know you are able to do more,
than you imagine. More than can be understood.
It is to know that one is loved...beyond measure...

the future...

There is more about God that we don't understand than we do understand...

The future always seems so elusive, so foreign. Not only do you have no idea what is going to happen minute to minute but most attempts at trying to predict the future, see us come up short. We all have plans and dreams - if nothing comes between us and those plans, we head off with a bit of confidence that we are in some kind of self fulfilled future.

Try as I may, this concept of a future laptop isn't how I envisioned it. While very cool, most of my ideas of the future revolve around what I learned on from George, Jane, Judy, Elroy and Astro Jetson. It worked for me many years ago and still seems viable now. I hope to see a Jetsons proto type car before I die. There is a lot of air space that we are not using. Maybe those 65 and older could use the ground and the rest, could take to the air. The thing is we really have no idea what life will look like in 5 or 20 years from now. All we really do is speculate.

For those who believe that Jesus is who He says He is, the future is something that is not much of a mystery. It has pretty much been laid out. Not all the details but the basic premise. We all know that however we got here and whatever lives we have lived, it ends the same for everyone of us. Everyone of us. It is the one thing we all share, no one is exempt. No one will walk away, we will all die. Don't know about you but that is a sobering thought. I know it, I can compehend it but when I stop and really think about it, there is a overwhelming sense of uneasiness that I imagine, will always be.

What does the future look like? Where will technology takes us? The future, what does it hold? While I am not sure about much, I am putting all my eggs in one basket. Right or wrong, I have made my choice and plan to stand by it...

the power within...

From my perspective, Pick A Number Between 1-10, is one of the biggest power plays there is. Make no mistake, we all want/have/crave power Somewhere in our lives. Not the kind that will save the world or make us all hold hands but the kind that we can control, completely and thoroughly.

It is not the prettiest side of human nature to witness or be a unwilling partner to. Back to the whole pick a number thing, think about it. You set up the parameter, rules and you get to choose the outcome. It is kind of like getting to vote on your own raise, or getting to pick the interest rate on your mortgage.

There are as many way to mishandle power as there are humans beings. We can screw up everything with little help from anyone but again, there was one only one generation between the Garden and murder and plenty of blame to go around for everyone.

As per Wikipedia, power is defined as the ability to effect change or exert control over either people or things. We have all witnessed the misuse of power over the last year on Wall Street, by Bernie Madoff and hundreds of banks. The news that a young girl taken by a stranger at age 11 and kept for 18 years, and fathering 2 children with her, leaves us with a sense that people, have no ability to handle power in a humane way or in a good way. Power has been taken on many fronts, to a new level. One that can have us watching the breakup of a family on TV as entertainment or even worse, using the wrong criteria to pick role models.

Use your power carefully. With your family, friends and kids. With those who cross your path and those who have your back. Better yet, give it up. Give it up to Someone who can put it to better use. As a people, our track record isn't much to brag about...


This last week has had a running theme. I didn't get that when I had a nightmare the other night and although it didn't make sense because I am not black, I couldn't go back to sleep and had a unrealistic fear settle over me. It is the first time I can remember ever yelling inside during a God-talk.

FEAR NOT, I yelled. I will not be afraid, you can't make me. I am claiming my Fear Not for the day and it covers everything. A couple more shoutouts and it was over. Morning came, fear gone...for now.

We all spend so much of our time fearing everything from soup to nuts. We even imagine things to fear. Things out of the ordinary, things that don't make sense but like the nightmare, have a hold over us. For me, I think it is time to be proactive and use my Fear Not, first thing in the morning. Start my day with the joy of thankfulness and the hope that fear does not have to rule the day.

We have many legitimate things to be fearful of. We live in unsettling times where our lives can be changed in a Moment. Last week, a co-worker of many years lost his grandson in a car accident and our old landlord's lost their grown son in a motorcycle accident. People are losing their jobs, their homes, their marriages. So, When Not If, is a daily concern. A concern that is valid, scary and real. Where do we go from here? How do we start our days if this fear thing is not a figment of our imaginations but alive and well?

That is the great thing, you get to pick. We each get to choose - and I am choosing to not repeat the week I have just had. If I have to shout FEAR NOT everyday until I buy it, I will. I want to be open and honest and that means embracing it all....


Fall came fast this week. Very fast.
The cold came rushing in and out came the socks and the long sleeve shirts
and the hot cocoa.

It was also the first official Fall break from school and we had ourselves a few sleepovers. It is our custom to take everybody separately so we get some one on one time. The boys could not be more different as to what they like to do or where they like to eat.

Poppa and I thought it was strange on Wednesday when Gage picked Blimpie"s over Texas Road House, He LOVES TRH and poppa's mouth was watering for a nice steak. I must say, he did a fine job of covering up his disappointment and eating a deli sandwich instead. It was only yesterday while spending time with Keaton, that we found out that Gage's decision was based on a toy that he saw on tv that was suppose to be in the kids' Blimpie meal. Keaton said he wouldn't be doing his dinner the Blimpie way, it was mexican food for him - all the way.

We also love hearing the Stories that the kids share. The kind that start out, we are only suppose to tell this to family, and well, you are our family, It only gets better as they get older. I so love this part.

It is four am and I can't sleep. I watch their little heads and pray for the people they are becoming. I think about all the falls we have had and all the ones to come. I think about going to the pumpkin patch next weekend and the baby pumpkin treats I want to make. Even the discovery that your grandsons could be playing dinner music on the piano at Costco or any lounge in town is a satisfying feeling. I can think of no way better to start the week. A boy, some hot chocolate and the crisp feel in the air. A little Jesus in the morning to put it all into perspective and giving being thankful, a great workout...