no words...


While my personal New Year started 22 days ago, yesterday makes it official. Fall is here. It felt like it in the morning as I headed out. Crisp, cool, perfect cocoa weather. Grab a sweater to go with those shorts and flip flops. Makes you want to paint the world orange, red and many shades of brown.

It is the also the only time of year that I love color photos. It is the only theme of photos that I don't believe always look better in black and white. It is still a bit early even though the pumpkin patches will officially open this weekend. I see multiple visits in the next month, some just because.

It is also the only kind of landscape photos that give me that make my heart race. There is so much emotion in fall that is makes its own Story. A Story of what was and what is to come.

Going take a week off and soak in all that I can. The crisp, the cold, and the summer days yet to come. There is such a feeling of anticipation, with a heart full of gratitude - I want to savor it, simmer in it and come out, refreshed.

See you in a week. May Fall come bounding into your world anad may you be better for the experience...


Glee - Music; minstrelsy; entertainment

Reece figured out how to take off his shirt by himself. at Home Depot.
over and over, with wild, gleeful, head-turning giggling
/Making Tracks

While waiting for some creative thing to write, that obviously was not forthcoming and watching Glee which is creatively, happy - I turned to the internet for something of casual interest, something that would make sense.

From Twitter, I went to Matt Logelin's blog. Haven't visited there in a long time and spent some time, catching up. Matt lost his wife Liz, 28 hours after the birth of their first child, Madeleine. Maddy is headed for her 2nd birthday and it seems they have made their way through their grief, as much as one can. There was list of widow/widowers blogs and I spent the next hour, reading their Stories.

Stories of moving on and being stuck. Some that are still made and don't understand why. Most of these people were thrust into being one instead of two, in an instant and at a young age. Over the years, I have on a regular basis made lists of things that I can no longer experience. Not normal things, more on the strange side. Being a young widow is one of them. I have great respect for each of their Stories. Great respect.

When I read about Reece and his gleeful giggling, I knew all of these things together, meant something. While I still am not at all sure of exactly what, I think it has more to do with the idea of glee and grief, no matter what Season of life it comes to you. That there is a time of darkness that eventually gives way to feelings that the darkness promised were dead and gone with hope of ever showing their faces again. I think I learned a lesson tonight for Down The Road. For each of us, the promise is the same. No matter what, He has promised to never leave us or forsake us. That is good enough for me...

straight shooters...

I love this commercial on so many levels. Truth, sarcasm and the true frustration we all often feel.

All kidding aside, If you have someone in your life who will be honest with you, you have been giving quite a gift. Not someone to make your choices but one who will speak the truth to you and then, let you decide. In a perfect world, all friends would give this gift to each other but this is, once again, not a perfect world. If one has a few friends who they share this kind of relationship with, they are lucky indeed.

The flip side is doing the same for someone else. None of us have all the answers but being honest, especially in women's relationships is more rare than we would like to think. Whether we don't want to hurt some one's feelings, avoid confrontation at all costs or just don't want to get involved, sometimes it is our duty to lay it all out. Not to make judgements but in love and honesty, point in a different direction. Not with a know it all spirit, but with one who is willing to say the things that need to be said and then, let the decisions fall where they may.

Being a straight shooter isn't about shooting up the town and making a lot of noise. It's is about being kind in spirit and tough with words. It is about being involved in a loving, yet strong way. It's the right thing to do, no matter what side you are on...

saying thank you...

We teach it to our kids at the same time we are trying to explain potty training. Saying thank you has been a big part of my grandkids education and their parents should be very proud - they are the most well-mannered kids I know. We all want our kids to be thankful for who and what they have in their lives so they don't turn out to be spoiled brats. May sound harsh, there is nothing like learning about gratitude early in life.

Wish thankfulness was a default setting on the human hard drive but sadly, it is not. We get all caught up on what is not going right, how unfair life is and where we need to be that we are not thankful for what is right in front of us. None of us is exempt, no one.

I worked on this little layout and plan to keep it near. I don't think I have said a heartfelt thank since Wednesday when the sinus headache dug in for an extended visit. Pain isn't an excuse but it does make it more difficult to get one's bearings. Waiting for fall and longing for something of meaning to take photos of, brings me to a frustration level between Severe and High.

I am thoroughly convinced that the more time we spend being grateful, the more our lives will make sense. There is a direct correlation between being thankful and not needing/wanting more. Being grateful affects our money, time and the way we see the world.

I was not raised in a home where the thank you's were obvious. I don't remember saying them or having them being said to me, but I do remember being hit for not saying it when an unspoken rule to express the sentiment was not observed, usually when we were in someone else's home.

It doesn't come natural, it never will but with a little practice, it quickly becomes obvious how important two little words can be...


My school has egg water...Miss M

That was her explanation the other day for bringing her own bottle of water to school. I totally get this.

We are having the same problem at home. Some days are fine but most others, the water from our kitchen faucet taste like egg water. Even in cooking, the pasta takes on the icky taste. Broke down last week and bought a water filter for the kitchen. Life is too short to eat egg water pasta and drink hot egg water cocoa!

We all have multiple filters that we use to see life everyday. We make value judgements before and after the filter adjustments. They are usually different in nature although still smack of some familiarity.

People, place and things - I made judgements in all three categories last week. Some were recognized for the egg water they are. Sometimes, you just have to suck it up and figure out you better just use the filter because it is what it is. Understanding that we all don't start start at the same place. Carrying around those childhood filters and early adult filters, not sure we ever discard them but fairly sure, we might consider it.

Miss M didn't know about egg water before kindergarten and all waters will know be judged by that one discovery. Life changing in a heartbeat. Still adding to my plethora of filters daily, I hope they are wise and healthy choices. After all, that is wear I am hanging my hat...


As the week starts to come to an end, my mind is racing. With nothing in particular yet everything in general.

Random thoughts that resemble Twitter's 140 character theme.

you are not living a balanced life if you have to buy 2 seats on an airplane.

do you want to spend your life begging God to do what you want him to do?

is happy a adjective or a verb?

It occurred to me last night after book club that my idea of reading has changed so much in the last couple of years. I went from reading books to blogs and now my attention span has atrophied. I want my Stories short and sweet. I have to hang in there with a book where the Story has to develop. No instant gratification so book club is even more of a stretch than every before.

one doesn't know it all at 19, no matter what the mouth may say.

The third member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, is awesome.

having DH home for the week is good practice for retirement

Happy Weekend! May your brain be aware that whatever the heart sends up, is worth listening too. Everything else needs to be checked out...

the pilot and the passenger...

Within each of us is a pilot and a passenger. Sometimes we are in the cockpit and sometimes, we are just enjoying the view. Like with most things, there are times one is in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Sometimes, it is by choice. We decide that we are more capable of making the drive than someone else. And sometimes, that assumption which we make even more choices based on, it totally in accurate. Sometimes, we are comfortable always being the passenger and that has it's own potential danger.

So how do we know when to be the pilot and when to be the passenger? If we had the answer to that every addiction, bad outcome would be gone and ultimately make life would be perfect. The best we can do if to be aware everyday of where we are sitting. What is the view and decide if we are there for our own comfort, for the right reasons or if we need to switch places. regardless of our level of comfort. It is a daily human exercise. Pack your bags for today, off we go...

everything is a mask...

Heard that during a chat last weekend at my favorite digital scrapbooking place. A mask in digital scrapbooking is something you fill in. With a photo, a piece of patterned paper or a single element to highlight a page. A page that yo are creating to save a memory. Everything is a mask, quickly I saw it as a truth for my everyday life.

Some days, I think I have a pretty good hold on being transparent, as much as any human can be. We all have our places where no one is invited and if invaded, we will fight like crazy to keep people out. Whether healthy or not, I am mostly aware and happy to share what I can about what I have learned. We can learn so much from each other if we are Real but not sure our human default, unless actively pursuing change, has much of a chance.

In Real Life, masks make us feel good about ourselves. We never stop to consider how it looks to the outside world. Just like in scrapbooking - if it is not done right, a mask looks terrible. It is so obviously wrong - either off center or missing the mark completely. Does nothing for a digital page or a life.

Using a mask in scrapbooking is one of my favorite ways to romanticize a layout. It softens the edges and hides part of whatever product you use in the mask. The results, again if done right, are gorgeous. Almost always, very artsy. Something you might put on a canvas in your living room, something you would be very proud of. Just like Real Life, there is a time and a place for everything including masks. Use them wisely...


Are you pouting about something that isn’t happening in your life, thinking God will feel sorry for you? Well, God doesn’t feel sorry for you. Have you been hurt by a Christian and are using it as an excuse to walk away from God? God knows it’s just an excuse, and He knows you know the difference between Him and that nitwit.Donald Miller.

After a week of listening to this Florida pastor talk about burning the Koran on 9/11, this spoke volumes to me. The main thought running running through my head is, think one person can't make a difference? Think again.

By the time I got to nitwit, I had gathered my bearings and was up and running again. Jones and his 15 member church managed to get the attention of garner the attention of most every major political player, including the president. His daughter says he need mental help, I tend to agree.

It almost makes throwing out the baby with the bath water seem like a plausible option. For a second, then after you get your bearings back, you see that if it works for yin, it can also work for yang. All those times we imagined that we can't make a difference, remember this Moment.

all it takes is willingness, not talent.

you are at your best when you feel at your least. Pliable, workable, available

now matter how it feels, it is never a good idea
to throw the baby out with the bathwater, never.

There will always be nitwits. Blame it on Adam and Eve. Hold on to the baby, forever...

nine year later...

I can't believe what I am seeing... man from his apartment filming a block away for the WTC September 11, 2001/

It has been my default to watch the Today show account of 9/11 for the last nine years. To watch that morning through the eyes of Matt Lauer, Katie Couric and Tom Brokaw. To watch their astonishment as they start to understand what I already know. Thinking it was first an accident but after the second plane hit, knowing something was not right, having no idea how this Story would unfold and change the world as they know it.

This year, I missed it and thought, too bad, it had become somewhat of a tradition. I sat down about 630PM and as I flipped through channels, came across the History Channel and their perspective. Their Story was a compilation of many photographers who were on the streets of New York that morning, filming assignments and living their lives. From a block away to several miles away, this extraordinary footage of people from the streets, their homes - any and everywhere. It was Something I will not soon forget. The battalion of 19 firemen as they marched off to the 2nd tower after the first had already fallen, who would never return. People in the streets with their mouths wide open and others running for their lives. IT was a different face to 911 and as I watched, I thought again of what is going on 9 years later.

We are a different people now. More cynical and less forgiving. Gage asked his dad today if the war was over - he wasn't aware of the date and I thought that rather interesting. He didn't ask about a particular war and as his dad told him no, he let it go. He wouldn't be born until 3 years after 911, not sure what his generation's 911 will be. The thought actually frightens me.

Like the Kennedy assassination for my generation, we will never forget where we were nor what we were doing. That is how it is with we humans,we couldn't forget if we wanted too and for most of us, we don't want too. Nine years later, life goes on for those left behind but I can't help but think of those who have loss their lives since 911 trying to keep us all safe. 911 didn't end on September 11, 2001 - it is still happening today. RIP.

the selling of one's self...

Have been mulling this over for a few weeks and today I took the plunge. After much internal debate with the Powers That Be, the proposal was submitted - now, for the wait.

I created a job position, wrote up the trial proposal and submitted it for review. It has nothing to do with being creative but goes back to my working days roots. After I hit the send button, I realized once again, it is not about the outcome but it is, all about the Journey.

The work place has changed in the 12 years I have been gone but the reality is, I am more comfortable in this world. I have a few more years under my belt and I understand how in business, like in life - we all just want to be heard.
A customer wants to a point person, someone they can depend on for the duration of a business relationship. They want to be able to understand clearly and they want to ask questions. My proposal was a 60 day trial period. There has to be value for the one who will be signing my paycheck. There will have to be a significant value to them to continue and after the trial period, they will know. Just like I would know if I was in their shoes.

However this turns out, I am good. It is nice to know that the old brain still works and in some ways, works better than than it did 12 years ago. Good proposal? Would I hire myself? In a New York minute, just saying...

john 316

It dawned on me last night that God can be as real as you want him to be. God doesn't change, we do. When we decide we want more of Him, we see more of Him, experience more of him and start to understand that the little old world around us, is bigger than we think...always.

A few weeks before school started, I started thinking about my plan to pray for Keaton, Gage and Morgan and going back to school. Each one was starting on a new journey and quite frankly, wanted them to be not just covered but saturated in in prayer. Not just for safety or that they make friends or the get good grades but much, much more.

I wanted them to be joyful every day.
I wanted them to take the God they each knew, with them everyday
I wanted them to grow, change, laugh and love every day.

We are now into our third week of school and there have been a few bumps. Someone stole Keaton's Percy Jackson book when he put it down in the restroom and he had to replace it with his own money. We talked about it - kids take things that aren't theirs. Big people do too. Some lessons are never learned by some people. All in all, everyone is doing fine and the four of us, just keep doing what we are doing.

Everyone knows John 316. I don't remember but I imagine I ever heard parts of it when I was a kid and because of that familiarity, sometimes we just tune it out. Before last week, that is where I was. It kept coming back to me and I keep shoving it back. It actually became a bit irritating, until I started paying attention. I replaced a few words and the prayer seem to come alive to me. It has been over a week, and everytime I pray it - it is like there is new breath around me.

For You so loved Keaton, that you gave your only son and if he believes, he will have eternal life...

I prayed it for each one of the kids. Then their mom and dad, then their grandpa, then their other grandma and grandpa.... I prayed it for everyone I knew and some I didn't. As I was praying it this morning, I was close to tears. God is personal, as personal as you want him to be. You can wrap your arms around him, crawl up in his lap and let it rip - he can take it all. You won't ever get all the answers you want, this side of heaven. When you start to take him personal, you will stop caring about getting the answers and start learning to live with the questions. The Serenity prayer will make sense...God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him. Forever in the next. Amen.

I love the Big Picture prayers. It always brings perspective. We don't know what is coming for each of us. No one is given upfront vision or upfront courage, It is about vision and courage, in the Moment. It is about being up close and personal. It is about today...


It has been a quiet weekend. Didn't do anything big, much chilling was on the agenda, leading up to the Boise State, Virginia Tech game last night. Just like Coach Pete said, Just one game at a time.

Even left the computer off 90% of the weekend. That was not the plan, it just evolved. I wonder sometimes if I am overly involved with all things computer and the truth is I could be, but it is also true that how we get our information these days has changed forever. I found myself thinking about what I was missing, and thought about it less and less as the weekend worn on.

Woke up this morning, still in a happy football fog and realized I am more technology-healthy than I would have guessed. It was a good lesson, one I want to keep repeating to check my internet-temperature.

All rested up, ready to go. Just like Coach Pete said, just one game at a time...

stage four...

Our house burned down last night. Barely made it out alive. Homeless, possession-less. But we're all safe & together. Still richly blessed. IvoryHut via Twitter.

Early this morning, I heard that Michael Douglas has Stage 4 throat cancer. It had been announced a while back that he was battling cancer but not the stage 4 kind. Later on in the morning, I read IvoryHut's tweet and read the rest of her Story on her blog ( A wonderful Story of possessions, both physical and family. Her Stage 4, came in an instant.

We all cringe when we hear a stage 4 diagnosis. It is the universal sign for the end is near and it is fatal. While we associate it with disease, imagine we each have had stage 4 Moments in our lives, and will again.. Sometimes we will get a warning shot and sometimes, not. I think of those even today who will have their own stage 4 moments. Some who will lose their battle with a disease, or a phone call that will change their lives forever. I think IvoryHut's perspective is even at stage 4, we have a choice. A choice to be grateful, a choice to keep going. In spite of the finality of a stage 4 moment, we can lift ourselves up for a glimpse of the Bigger Picture. That is my hope for Michael Douglas, IvoryHut, me and you...