Hello 2011...

Looking forward to a New Year with loads of possiblilties for you and me...

Merry Christmas...

Some much running around in my head tonight. Of Christmas 2010 and memories of Christmas past. What a wonderful time of remembering experiences that have been the pleasure to be mine.

I have thought a lot about you guys lately. I wish a wonderful season of Christmas Love with hopes of a New Year filled with much anticipation. Wherever you find yourself this year, may you choose joy and may it spill out to all areas of your life. Christmas Day only last 24 hours, then it is back to Real Life and all that it brings.

I love you all so, Merry Christmas. See you January 2! love zalaine.

my Christmas Carol...

In the last 24 hours, I have lived my own version of Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. Looking back, maybe there has been a real resemblance between Ebenezer Scrooge and myself. Not for any particular reason, the season's greetings haven't seemed to sink in the way I would want. Everything just seemed a bit off, a slant that I would not choose but found myself embracing.

It started with the written word. It came in the form of correspondence but as I read it, I knew the writer who weaved a beautiful Story, didn't realize that is was the first of what would come. I went over the words again and again and with tears and amazement, took the words to heart.

The morning brought the next stanza of the Carol with a package that I thought would never come. A necklace charm that had been ordered 6 months and after many, many emails, FB post and Twitter tweets - I had giving up. No responses ever sent back. I even resorted to asking for a refund but got nothing but silence. Today it arrived with a second charm and an apology. Out of the blue. The front of the charm had the word, joy printed on it. That pretty much explains how I was feeling.

Heading down the road a few minutes later, Joy to the World came on the radio and the tears started flowing. I put together the three events and realized Somebody was trying to get through to me.

Happy is involuntary and it is fleeting. It is like trying to live a whole lifetime of marriage on the Mountain-top of honeymoon Love. Joy, on the other hand, is a choice. You must make the choose to be joyful and you might have to do it many times a day. Joyful can be lived out even when you find yourself down in the Valley, if you are willing.

I feel like I was given these three joy-themed experiences for a reason. As I sit here, these random events may not seem to anyone else to be connected and that really is the point, it was for me, at this time and it makes perfect sense.

May you find your joy this Christmas season and as Tiny Tim said, God bless us, every one!

Noah and Lisa...

Was reading Lisa's Story last night and took notice of her son's Story and learned how she was instrumental in bringing Noah's Law to fruition. This young mother felt so passionately about getting a law made in her son's name that would protect mother and child in domestic abuse sitations even though it was too late for her and Noah. I googled Noah's Law and this is their Story.

She was 16 years old and nine months pregnant when a masked man broke into her home and "kicked, beat, and stomped on her," the Idaho Statesman reported. Rushed to the hospital, doctors quickly delivered Smith's son, but Noah had sustained fatal injuries in the attack. The bill, Noah's Law "recognizes that there are two victims -- the mother and her child -- when a pregnant woman is assaulted or killed, and her unborn child is harmed or killed as a result

This was Lisa's Story...

Lisa Janea Smith, 25, died as a result of a house fire at her home in Las Vegas, Nev., on Monday, Dec.13, 2010. Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 21, at the Friend's Church, 301 Randolph Ave. in Melba. Services will be conducted by her uncle Keith Moore. Internment will follow at the Melba Cemetery.

In her short 25 years, she must have lived a lifetime. She did the work that will help many families for years to come. She went on to Real Estate school and had a three year old daughter. Her funeral is today and her uncle will conduct the services.

According to the Idaho Statesman, Smith said after he was born, that she put a diaper on Noah, combed his hair, and swaddled him in a blanket. "In my baby's whole life," she told the senators, "I spent 20 minutes with him."

She will not be spending Christmas with her daughter, her mother, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles but I have to think that beyond their tears, she and Noah will be together this Christmas. Not just for 20 minutes but for as long as they like... Merry Christmas Noah and Lisa!

looking ahead...

Just starting to think past the holidays. To be thankful for 2010 and with faith, look forward to the new year. While resolutions aren't my thing, the new year does give one pause to decide to add or subtract to what I am doing now. What is working, what is not working. Clean slate to make a few changes...

TV. While it may sound shallow, I think food and TV are related in genre. When I have too much fast food and fast TV, I don't feel so well the next day. Some new shows coming up in January, one is My Special Addiction. The promo shows 3 women, each dealing with a strange disorder. One eats toilet paper, one - laundry detergent and one has to sleep with her hair dryer. Where are the men? At home, doing their thing with their mouths shut!

Daydreaming. I call it that for lack of a better description but I need to spend more time, just thinking. I know this always gets me in trouble but it alos opens up things to pray about, things that I need to change and things I have to add. Where did this post come from? From this kind of time.

The Living in the Moment path is not my default and there is a constant state of learning which I am more than happy to keep following. There is always Something new to learn or to rework. I started the year wanting out of Facebook, now I feel completely differently. We have to progress or we regress.

Retirement. We are headed into DH final year and lots of decisions and choices need to be made. We already know he will need surgery this summer and we wnat to be prepared as much as we can for his Dec 31, 2011 date. It will be a year of focus, and hopefully, we can start 2012 with great expectations.

With Christmas, I can put 2010 into photobooks that will always remind us where we were and what we were doing because we really do, forget so fast...


Isn't it interesting how the culture of any current generation takes an age old Story and puts it in a way that they can identify with?

The Story doesn't seem to chance. The change comes in the presentation. Stories are told in many different ways. Commercials on TV are just mini Stories. They are hindered but time frames but that makes it vital that they get to the point of getting you to buy whatever it is they are trying to sell. In any Story, there is Something the author is trying to sell. Whether a tangible product or a concept, there is a point to every Story. If there isn't a point, it isn't a Story. Whether you buy or get it, isn't the point but in the best of Stories, you know exactly where to go and what to do when you get there. A good Story will leave you in a pool of emotion, good or bad. Sometimes you get a feeling of uneasiness or profound sadness. Others, put you over the moon. The two main Stories of Christmas may bring both emotions to the forefront and every year, we go through the same feelings.

I grew up on the Story of Santa and could not imagine a better Story. Every Christmas Eve, my sister and I would go to bed at 230 in the afternoon and try to sleep until morning. It was a time of being thrilled to death and the hopes of two little girls who knew the Story better than any other.

Later on, the Story of a baby in the manger would come into being for me and it seemed like such an opposite one from Santa, Rudolph and North Pole one. Not quite as sparkly and definitely a downer. It was tough to have these two co-habitate my brain. One seemed so predicated on being good and getting my heart's desire. The other, seemed distant, sad and didn't involve gifts for me.

We have come a long way and in the 2010, it is the year of Facebook. If FB Nation was a country, it would be the third largest in the world. How do you tell a Story and reach millions of people? Sounds like a win-win to me...

natural light...

This is the last shopping weekend before Christmas and you know what that means. If you choose to go out among the masses, expect everything to take at least twice as long. Twice as long to get where you want to be, twice as long to go potty, get something to eat or wait in line. I firmly believe that it is each of our responsibility to expect and anticipate delays and to be kind to one another in the midst of the hurry up mentality that will be in endless quantities.

Imagine yourself being bathed in natural light. Your soul being replenished by the familiar Christmas carols that will surround you. Be as kind to yourself as you are to others. Listen to the Hallelujah Chorus before you leave the house, maybe even a few times. Grab a snack and remember to breathe. Enjoy being with each other, make a friend as you stand in line.

If there is only one left, let the other person have it - you can find Something else. Treat yourself to your favorite beverage at some time during the day and put a little Something in a red kettle. Bask in all the Season has to offer, bath yourself in the lights of the Season and behave in the spirit of all that the Season is about. Have a great weekend...


The scientific explanation for chills is that the emotions evoked by beautiful or meaningful music stimulate the part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which controls primal drives such as hunger, sex and rage and also involuntary responses like blushing and goosebumps. When the song soars, your body can't help but shiver.MSNBC

We are a complex kind of people. We are not all Lovers Of All Things Guacamole. The smell of gasoline doesn't make everyone happy and for some, songs are not music to our ears.

If I could wish one thing for everyone, it would be that each have a deep love for music. That music, anytime of year would touch them deeply. Then, I would buy each and every one a set of Bose headphones so you could plug in and hear the music with no outside distractions every once in a while.

For me, music takes the anxiety down from 100 to 1. It bring tears to my eyes in an instant. Memories, good and bad come flooding back in seconds. I can soar like an eagle and the world becomes crystal clear in a heartbeat. The pity party is over, all unwanted guests are gone. The world becomes a nicer place and I could, in theory, give everyone a big hug.

Of all the senses - touch, smell, hear, taste and see, we all have those that we tend to pay attention to more. The ones that bring passion to our lives. At Christmas time, I believe they are all on heightened alert. Everything seems so alive and vibrant, one of many reasons that January is hard for most of us. Our taste buds are screaming for more, our ears are looking for something to listen to, we are craving the familiar smells of December, the Christmas textures have long been put away and the visuals of the season are gone and winter white is all that is left.

As we go through these last few days before Christmas, take it all in. Let yourself be in the Moment with each of your senses. Practice not depending on your eyes and let the others have a chance to describe what they see. Then, and this is the good part - take all that practice and your senses into January and see what you can find. You might have to take a big leap of faith, but there will be Something to discover. I am excited about seeing January in a different light and this maybe one way to chase those winter blues away. Worth a try, can't wait to see how it turns out...

blind but now I see...

After the Thanksgiving flu finally wore off, 10 days had pasted without spending one minute on my exercise bike. Quite honestly, I had gotten un-use to it and when the new week came around, I was trying to talk myself out of starting again. There were a few irrational thoughts that were shoving each other trying to get their crazy proposal why we should shelve any and all exercise, to the head of the line. While they were duking it out, I got ready and before they knew what hit them, we were rocking and rolling.

The bike runs on batteries or rather, the electronics run on batteries. Speed, calories, time. It was immediately evident that today's exercise would not rely on speed, calorie and timeless. The bike still worked fine - checked the clock on the wall and off we went. Decided not having batteries wasn't a deal breaker. Forgot to buy batteries on Monday, so Tuesday - same thing. By the time I got to Friday, I realized there would be no batteries - ever again. Not because I am cheap but because I realized how much time I focused on the electronics instead of why I was really doing this. This is week two and the way I exercise now is a complete 360. I go as fast as I can and i have no idea how fast that is. Not having to regulate because of the numbers on the screen, I can concentrate on going as fast as I can on any given day. I am riding blind and I love it.

Another place in my life where less is more. It makes me wonder where else this realization might be useful. There is a difference between sticking your head in the sand to not see and when the opposite works for you. Life, sometimes it just makes me crazy and Sometimes, it makes me so happy...


I am playing with light these days. Inspired by Tara Whitney and Shannon Lieth, I couldn't quite bring myself to take pictures in the kitchen of my dishes but I most certainly see what they see. I had to start in the living room. The red pillows to be exact.

Aperture is the place most of us get a little giddy. The idea is to have a part of your photo in complete focus and another part, in total obscurity. The choice is ours, which is which. As I took these, you can see - depending on where I focused, either the pillows of the table top was the single focus. It immediately reminded me of life. Depending on what one's sees, that will be their focal point. You could absolutely miss a complete BIG Something and a bunch of little somethings.

It amazes me that the same photo can look so different. I bought the pillows for the rows of texture. I love to feel them and look at them. In the photo where they are not the focus, you can't see any of that wonderful texture. They just look like red, plain pillows.

Kids, it may not seem like a big deal but the more days I get to play with this seeing, focus, light thing - I think it is a bigger deal than we have given it credit for and the older one gets, the bigger a deal it becomes.DH and i went out shooting the same barn, birds and trees yet our photos are so different. We each went where out eyes lead us and never looked back. He is into shadows and with me, it is all about the emotion.There is alot to be said about walking in the other guy's shoes to get a different perspective and you put them all together and maybe, just maybe you will see for miles and miles and miles...


Went out to play with our cameras today and right off the bat, the birds were on the wire. Usually they are in smaller number and very skittish but we went around and tried to get them head on. It worked and I am a very happy girl!

Ran around town, doing a few errands and then out for some more winter shots. Came back into town and needed some fuel badly. DH got out and while he pumped gas, I sang Christmas carols along on the radio. He comes back in a few and gives me that, you missed it look. Apparently I did. our car was pointed in the opposite direction which would explain how I miss the shoplifter that had run away from store employees across the street only to be tackled by the two young gas station employees.

The kid was smiling, he had made it across the busy street and away for the four guys that were chasing him and knew they were being held up by two lanes of traffic. What he didn't see coming was the two attendants. When he did notice them, he loudly proclaimed, Oh Sh*t! They grabbed him and finally the store guys were able to cross and take them back to wait for the police. DH gets back in the car and I am able to get a few shots of the young perpetrator being led back to the store.
I saw the store guys waving and thanking the gas guys. we gave the gas guys a thumbs up as we drove off.

Been thinking about seeing and how much I miss. I sang through this whole ordeal, not a clue that had the kid decided to come my way and open my door, the outcome could have been not so great. Just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it isn't happening. This thought has been going through my mind all weekend - never truer than today.

We see what we want to see.
We choose to not see at times.
And Sometimes, we miss it all together.

Had our little thief seen the Whole Picture, maybe he would have gotten away with it. Run a different direction, or maybe have brought a getaway car, but his language says it all. He thought he saw all he needed to see. He was wrong. What am I missing? Where do I need to look? What is it going to cost me if I miss it?


I love the idea that God uses all medium and artists. He is not restrained, no matter what we think. All art comes from Him whether the artist acknowledges it or not. No one rides for free. It rains on the just and unjust,that is often a bitter pill to swallow whether it comes to loss, talent, happiness, art and a whole lot of other things.

Imagine that He has great affection for graffiti artists. Their moving gallerie on trains allow them to infamous for seconds at a arms down railroad crossing. Still working on a book of photos of graffiti-covered railroad cars. The talent on these less than legal canvases blows me away. Thinking that they work under very undesirable conditions, not only at night but at times, they must have to work quickly. Very few luxuries available to these artists.

Here I sit in a warm room, with plenty of digital power to keep me company and all the time in the world to think. Neither way is better than the other, we all compliment each other. We revolve around Him, not the other way around. The Christmas season is all about revolving too. You get to choose - can it be all about Santa? Yes it can, I spent the 26 years of my life and it is completely possible and very satisfying. When the Impossible Medium of a Unbelieveable Story crossed my Journey, I was blown away. I keep going back to the one dimension of the way we are able to think and the umfathomable dimension that He has. We couldn't understand it if God started selling it at Hallmark. The Medium of the Master, makes it, Oh Holy Night, indeed...


Take a deep breathe, often.
Just zone out for a few minutes.
Thank God, without apology for whatever you think you have short-changed Him about, for today.

I have been where you are. Those days that going 90 MPH seems pretty slow. And I know, there will be more to come, soon. Enjoy the cold, enjoy the lights, enjoy the music, enjoy the madness, enjoy those that have been sent to cross your path. Enjoy the hustle and bustle and put Something in the red pot everytime you walk in a store because you can.

When this is all over in a few weeks, what will you want to remember? What will be the most important thing that you can capture from Christmas 2010? It will the memories, is always is. It will be the times we spent with each other. Whatever that looks like to you. There is no right or wrong way to do it

This year, Keaton's Christmas concert is the only music/play/party that the family has. The church doesn't have a children's Christmas program and the school has banned all Christmas parties. I have my own not-very-nice-opinions about both of these but that is for a later post... Got to say that hearing the 6th grade band play, We Wish You A Merry Christmas and the Jazz band perform, Baby, It's Cold Outside was great fun and I made a point, to take it all it.

It is a delicate Dance we do starting the week after Thanksgiving and marching right up to Christmas Day but with a little Common Sense in our back pocket to pull out at any Moment, I think not only is it doable but can be great fun. Remember to breathe and enjoy your Moment...

6th grade

Since my 6th grade choir concert at Ethel M Evans Elementary School where I learned to sing Oh Come All Ye Faithful in Latin, the words remain burned in my mind. It was probably 10 or so years ago that I decided that from now on whenever I heard OCAYF at being sung, I would sing it in my native Latin. So, when shopping the other night at Fred Meyer's when the familiar song came bursting thru loud and clear, I joined in quietly with the bell ringers. The words, fresh in my memory lay there for the taking.

This concert happened over 50 years ago and still fresh in my mind. We often hear that children are resilient, and of all the memories I have banked, these words have taken hold and just won't let go. Just this week, I heard Coach Pete say his players bounced back faster after their fatal loss to Nevada than the coaches did. Bless the little child and sing on people, sing on...

Adeste Fideles
Laeti triumphantes
Venite, venite in Bethlehem
Natum videte
Regem angelorum
Venite adoremus
Venite adoremus
Venite adoremus, Dominum
Cantet nunc io
Chorus angelorum
Cantet nunc aula caelestium

papa dude...

Papa Dude is quite the guy. Motorcycle man, a member of the USPS with a few more years to go. For as long as I can remember he took charge of many cruises. He would put on a little presentation and invite you along. No detail was spared, he had thought of everything. He is just one of those kind of men, who knows what he likes and is willing to put it all on the line.

He did the same thing when he became a grandfather. He put a lot of thought into what he wanted his grandson to call him when J started talking so he decided on Papa Dude. When I heard his grandma tell him to move down a seat, because Papa Dude wanted him too, I rememberedhim telling us this Story. Toward the end of the service, J got tired, snuggled up to his Papa and laid his head against the man in whom he knows he is loved. Unconditionally and often. When we feel love and happy, not much else can shake us. To know where the Love is isn't difficult - we go to where we have experienced that security, over and over and over again.

Not a bad day for a Sunday. Wish we could all have a Papa Dude in our lives. Somewhere we felt safe and loved. Somewhere we could land when we were tired and just needed a rest...Oh yeah, we do. All we have to do is ask...


Make no mistake, there is a romance to Christmas...

From Wikionary. romance (plural romances)

1.An intimate relationship. a love affair.
2.A strong obsession or attachment for something or someone.
3.Love which is pure or beautiful.

If that is not a perfect definition of the Christmas season, I don't know what is. been trying to wrap my head around this obsession that one way or another, consumes most of our waking Moments for at least a month every year. From music to food, gifts to postage, parties to decorating, and a lot of falalala-ing in between. We are enamoured, seduced and swayed by everything we come in contact with.

And on top of everything else, we tend to be nicer. We share more, give more, care more. Courteous, polite, more forgiving, we turn in to people we don't even recognize in the mirror. If that doesn't describe someone in the throngs of romance, I can't imagine what else it could be.

While the opportunity does come along to lose ourselves during the Season, we can decide when and where. We are not so feeble that we can't control it at least some of the time, same as with romance. The problem is we usually don't - because we don't want to. We like the feeling of the romance and have little desire to make it go away, even if there is a Cost. We are willing to pay it and I don't mean just financially. Just one more present, he would love it or she needs it - This is the Love language dialogue that goes on in my head. It would make them so happy. A round of Norman Rockwell for everyone, is my motto.

Even the baby Jesus can put us over the top on the feeling scale. It is a Story that is hard to take casually. You are all in and it is an incredible Story. One that deserves our whole hearts, without all the romance...

snow day...

The week after Thanksgiving and we have our first Snow Day in two years. I love the almost surprise of such a day. The news told us last night to expect up to 10 inches but we never believe them until we see it for ourselves and by 4am, it was one time the weather-liars hit it right on the head. Keaton called giggling says his mom wanted to know if I wanted to meet them at Costco for lunch. I told him if he had a sleigh to come pick me up. About 5 to 6 inches in my driveway so we kept in contact all day but phone and photos. Not perfect but I got to talk to each one of them and got their take on the day.

Being snowed in isn't the worst thing. Gives you an excuse to do all kinds of things you wouldn't normally get to do. Unexpected time is fun and hopefully when it happens, we take advantage of letting ourselves be kids again. It dawned on me today that maybe if we could be more childlike during the Christmas season, we would enjoy it more. Instead of running around trying to buy gifts for everyone we know, maybe we could delight in the season. What if it was that simple? Wow, if I could feel like a kid every Christmas that I have left, I would be a happy girl!

Thinking that being snowed in might be a mighty good thing, mighty good indeed...