Merry Christmas and Welcome 2012!


Am really feeling the need to embrace 2012. Had a nudge last week that I would be putting my Story in book form this year. No idea what it will look like but for my family, at the very least, it needs to be done.

Looking forward to DH's retirement in July. Big life changes but living through turning 60 this year, has prepared me for More. We are both looking forward to being able to go when we want, where we want. I have had that priveldge for the last 14 years, I am here so show him the Way.

I have been going through photos, getting ready for next year. I make 4 books through Blurb every year. This year, I added another. Street photography has changed my life and don't see that that trend is going away. 2011 was a year of learning, growing, anticipating and stretching. What will 2012 bring? None of us know but hopefully, the year we just came through, will help us make a smooth transistion. One can never be fully prepared. I believe we don't get everything we need, until we need it. Can you practice for what is to come? I have tried but can't say I am prepared. Every day convinces me, I was never meant to be...

Merry Christmas to you and yours. May your days will merry and bright. Wishing you the very best for a wonderful new year. See you Jan 2. XO zalaine

comfort and joy...


With the exception of one game-change maybe gift swap, which in the end, didn't happen - I am done shopping.

I have officially entered the Comfort and Joy part of Christmas. What ever happens, happens. Whatever I have forget, we don't need. At this point, there is nothing that could be added to Christmas that would significantly, add and change the day.

We have enough food.
We have enough gifts.
We have enough comfort and joy.

It is time to start, unwind and realize that what we have is all we need. That the time we spend together is precious and better than any gift one could receive. It is time to start living in the Moment because as fast as it came, it will be gone.

I have had more than my fair share of comfort and joy this year. Some of it purposeful and some of it, completely unexpected. I loved all of it. Looking forward to the next few days and more comfort and joy. Take it, for yourself. Whatever it looks like in your life, grab it and hold on tight. There are so many paths, pick one and keep your eyes open. Comfort and joy are there for the taking, but you have to do your part...

over the top...


The countdown has begun. In a week, it will all be over except for the overflow. The reality of January and whatever that looks like in your neck of the woods. Even though we have not had one day of snow, we know that at some point, it will be here.

But that won't get us through the next 5 or 6 days. If your gift shopping is done, you may have wrapping to do or worst, a few trips to the grocery store for whatever you need to get you through said days. These are the days you will feel the push the most. Why? We have lived over the top for the last month. Everything is bigger this time of year. The hype is starting to get to us. We have decked the halls, painted the walls and baked our little hearts out. We have eaten too many cookies, been dazzled by too many lights and we don't know how to stop. The music, the books the movies, overload that we can't begin to fight.

I have glowing lights in my front room, 24 hours a day and I am thinking, I LOVE IT! I could keep these lights up all year but the truth is living on the mountain top wasn't meant to be our default. If we keep it up, we will flame out. If we were smart, we would find pockets of time in the next few days to reassure ourselves that every year, this is our time. To be a kid again. To enjoy the lights, the sounds, the smells and to find the way to strike a balance.

Finding myself enjoying the holidays in the simple things more than in years past. In the little things, not getting caught up in what to do next or if there is enough butter in the refrigerator. There is. It will be fine...

learning...


Last Sunday before Christmas. Last time to get that Christmas feeling. My OverMy Head class had none of that today, yet I think it was my favorite week yet.

I love Professor Tim. A scientist by trade, with his heart and head fully involved, it is not a walk of straight lines. Today, I didn't understand about 25% of the words he used. Another 25% of his talk, was way over my head but I have come to learn, no matter who the speaker - you don't have to get it all. You may have to go back and look some things up on your own but having to understand every premise or theory, is not part of the Grand Plan.

Yet today, the last Sunday before Christmas with no Silent Night or Come All Ye Faithful being sung in the back ground, he gave me the greatest gift he could and it went like this...

You can't weigh a chicken with a yardstick.

Greater words have never been spoken. He didn't just say it once, he said it several times. On some level, he gets it and gets it big. He will go back to his college professor job and higher thinking tomorrow but for today, he should be so proud of himself. Faith is based on prior accounts, it is built upon the past. Hope is based on the future, on things to come. Together with us in the middle, we stand on truth. The triangle of Love.

But the simple truth of Christmas is you can't weigh a chicken with a yardstick. It doesn't work. It never has. The Story stands alone, take it or leave it. An improbable way to save the world, yet it did. We are living proof. We are not Home yet. It is frightening to live here, Sometimes. Ask Mary and Joseph, imagine they will have quite a Story to tell Someday, I for one - can't hardly wait...

miracles...


Witness to a Christmas miracle this weekend, besides making me grin from ear to ear, just affirmed what this year has taught me. For Miss The Glass Is Half Empty, this mind set of utterly knowing that anything can change, in a heartbeat.

Not based on any particular miracle which would explain this, it seemed to come out of nowhere. I remember thinking, Where is this coming from? The year has not diluted my new found belief in any way. While I know in my heart and head, that trials will come - the miracles I speak of of those who seem to come out of nowhere. There are not life-changing, death defying miracles but the little ones. The one you never saw coming.

To see one at Christmas time may be a bit more magical because we are all feeling like a woman who is 38 weeks pregnant, full and anxious. Adreniline is pumping and with every time, Oh Come Let Us Adore Him, crosses our path, we are almost in tears.

You never know where or from what direction, oen is headed your way. Our only job is to catch them, and love them. And, thank the One who sent it...

where your treasure is...


I have lots of photos in every room of my house. Lots.

Every photo that has gotten wall space is done in black and white. All but the kids room, nothing but color in that room.

I will probably never have one of the photos made into a canvas, I change photos out too often. No sense in spending lots of money on a print because more than likely, it will be replaced soon. The first few times I replaced a photo with the a new one, I had the hardest time throwing the last favorite away. Finally decide that it would be good for family history to layer the photos, behind the frame. Someday, there will be a treasure tove of Photos of Old, with the newest - front and center.

16 x 20 is my choice of size these days.Tonight's new batch added a new layer to one frame and a new frame that will start its own legacy. This one hangs in the kids room, the other - a black and white collage of the 3 Smith's of 2011, stands against the wall in our family room.

Treasures all over the house, hidden yet waiting to be rediscovered and reloved. Someday, all things will be new again, never so much as with those things we keep close to our hearts...

hostage...


Our favorite football team is switching to a different conference in 2013. They had just moved to a new one, this year. It was reported that if they made a move after only one year, - there would be a 21 million dollar penalty for not finishing out their 2 year contract.

21 million dollars. Makes the buyout programs that come with our cell phones sound downright, puny. No other place in life other than cell phones and cable, is this early penalty thing done. Costco, you pay an annual fee and you get to shop. Their service and quality stands alone. You want to renew your membership every year. They have quality products and don't need to hold us hostage for 24 months to keep us.

Thinking that the electronics markets need to follow the Costco way. Make a product and conduct yourself in a super manner and people will flock to you...and stay. We humans are a lot of things and given the right circumstances, loyalty is one of them. Would hate to be a part of anything that held people hostage. Whose product/idea was so poorly formed and executed, that they would bring themselves to try and mandate, loyalty. Imagine telling someone you would be their friend for 2 years and if they decided to unfriend you before the end of those 2 years, there would be a prorated penalty. Makes you laugh but the logic is one we live with everyday.

Hoping that Someday, this practice will be obsolete. Not just because it is insane but because, they no longer feel that their product is inferior and that holding people hostage is their only option...

Santa...


Whatever your sense of who Santa is and how he fits into your life, it is tough to ignore him.

There have been times in my life when he was worth, everything. My sister and I use to go to bed early Christmas Eve, talking 2 in the afternoon, and trying to sleep until Christmas morning. That's commitment.

Even after all these years of knowing the real meaning of Christmas, he is still special to me. There is Something strangely comforting about someone dressed in a big, red costume - breaking into your home, dropping a bag of presents, eating the snacks and obviously, cleaning up after himself that never makes you think, that is creepy.

Usually, one who has a hard time seperating the Real from the not so real Christmas Story but this year is different. Whether caroling or shopping or being bombared by retail elves, there is no war inside of me. I am trying ot enjoy every song, light, decoration or internet Christmas home tours. The twinkling light that DH HAD to have, which in itself is a gift, remind me that there is a bit of a child in all of us.

Keaton knows about Santa and Gage is cynical enough to get it but Miss M is still in full Santa mode. The cool thing is even when you grow up, Christmas can be a magical time, if you try. With less than 2 weeks to go, I am all in. No time to waste. Christmas 2011, I love ya...

merry and bright...


There is nothing that puts me more in a holiday mood that a child and Christmas music and if that kid has my blood flowing through his veins, even more so.

Last week it was Keaton, this week at church, will be Gage and Morgan's turn. If you listen really close, I swear you can hear angels singing. I truly believe that they were there at every Christmas concert I sang in as a kid even though I didn't know angels existed. I imagine God in the background, smiling.

Warm and fuzzy, just the way All Things Christmas should be. But, we all know that Christmas is not merry and bright for every child. Not every child will have a fan club show up for every activity, Christmas-related or not. Not every child will have a full belly from Thanksgiving to Christmas and if they do, it may be macaroni and cheese, if they are lucky. Those Salvation Army pots will be gone the morning after Christmas but guess what? People still get hungry in January.

This just hit me while talking to a friend today. I tcaem to me that I am emailing my pastor friend and suggesting working out the logisitics of keeping a red Salvation Army pot, next to our giving box, year around.

We don't pass a plate at our church. That was one of our founding ideas and we haven't changed it in 16 years. Thinking a red pot might be just the thing to keep our minds on Things Bigger Than Us. Is there a reason we shouldn't be merry and bright all year? Can't think of one...

joy to the world...


We all know the bibical Story of Christmas, whether we believe it or not. As a kid, it seemed as unlikely a Story as the whole idea of God. It never stayed on my radar for long but it was ingrained in every holiday I have ever had.

The truth is, we don't know that Jesus was born on December 25. We don't know if it was ice cold or swealtering hot. The basics are what we have and everything else is just speculation.

I am good with the speculation. The Story itself, seems like such an improbable tale. An unmarried girl and a man who takes her as his wife, anyway. No place to stay and having to give birth in a small, covered shelter in the midst of barn animals.

The Story of the shephards and their travel to see the new baby, seems highly unlikely yet I see it as truth. The Story stands by itself, any speculation on my part would add nothing to the conversation. I accept it as it stands.

Let my mind go free with this page tonight. Kept adding and tweeking until there was nothing more to add. In art, all is subjective. It doesn't change the truth. Does it add to it? Perhaps. Art could be explained as the marriage of what we know with what we don't know. Art imitating life, a truer statement may not be said...

your turn...


Earlier this year, Papa and I bought tickets to take Keaton to the Idaho Shakespeace Festival. Shortly after that, we bought Miss M a bicycle. We tried all summer to find somewhere to take Gage but each time, we came up short.

He never said a word about his turn. Never. A few weeks ago, we asked mommy and daddy if a bike would be a good idea. His was busted and he was to get Keaton's hand me down bike that also was in need of much repair. When you are the middle child, you get lost...Alot. Very rarely do they expect it will be any different. Maybe that is why Gage never brought it up.

so 20 days before Christmas, on a cold morning - we got shopping. He didn't understand we were going to buy a bike today. He seemed completely in awe that it was winter and so close to Christmas and we were buying Something Big.

After much discussion, we left and he decided to look elsewhere. Then we got out to the car and he changed his mind. We went back in to the store and he choose the one that had been on his radar because of its cool factor. We got it out, he took it out for a spin and the rest is history.

Sometimes, it is just your turn. Out of the blue, usually. Completely unexpected and with a sense of not being worthy, we need to just accept it and move on. We all need a turn. A turn that is just ours. It is not selfish nor is it wrong. It just is...

Watch and learn...


The whole DidYouSeeTheGarageDoorGoDown is getting worse and worse. This has nothing to do with age, we have done this, forever. We have individually and collectively returned to the Mothership many, many times. I can not remember the garage door, not being down.

A year or so ago, I came up with a new plan. Seemingly, it would end our personal dilemia. It is not about knowing that the garage door is down it is about remembering, watching it go down. To mark the memory of closing the door and remembering said closing. That did work for a while but as conversations with each other, loud music and generally not paying attention kicked in, we were in trouble, yet again.

We left the house for church, got half way there and the words just came spilling out.

Do you remember watching the garage door go down?
No, but I am pretty sure it did.
How sure are you? 50, 75 or 90 percent?
Pretty, that is how sure I am.


We went with pretty and forgot about it a few minutes later, obviously secure in our pretty mindset. On the way home, I said, That is it. From now on, I will make myself take a picture of the downed door. No more wondering or turning around. I have had it!


So this morning when I left the house, out came the camera. All the way to the cable office, I smiled knowing that I had proof in my purse that burglars and thieves might as well go elsewhere, this is no Place to mess with...

Vivian Maier...


It has been a little over a year ago since the photos of Vivian Maier were uncovered, right after her death. She had boxes of undeveloped film and a huge undertaking was under way to develop and publish them. Her book was up for pre-order back in April and it arrived at my doorstep on Friday. I am a ahhappy girl.

You see, I was instantly smitten with Ms Maier's street photography and my personal life has changed dramatically in the last year. I found my calling, I knew intuitively that street photography was to be my course. Looking back, I had already started down the Path but didn't realize where I was headed. When I look back over my street photos, all together, keeping each other company, I am giddy. Have always loved black and white photography. I have even done my digi layouts in black and white. For me, it became crystal clear and I have not looked back.

Not only has my photography changed but Something I can't prove but wholehearted believe, is that when you are talking photos of strangers, you start to have a special affinity for them. I look at the photos of those I have captured and find myself, thinking about them. What do their lives look like? What are they now? The very older woman, sitting at the Apple desk, tryin got find pictures for her book. The street preacher who has one person's attention. Those at Flyimg M, who drift in and out.

It would appear that Miss V didn't want her photos made public. She was a nayy and took to the Big City on her days off and shot all these wonderful photos that she never intended to share. She must have assumed, they never would be. I for one, am glad that they are able to be enjoyed and studied. Thank you Miss V, whether or not you agree, you have taught us much. Be good with that and welcome the thanks. We all share this Journey. None of us live in a vacuum. In the end, you have given us a great gift. Smile and say thank you...

oh come let us Adore him...


A dear friend had to take an emergency trip to do a very unChristmas like task, a funeral. Not a funeral that was expected nor easy to accept. She has been in my thoughts constantly since she left, we have texted a few times and during this day of driving. I had to stop the car and text her. Right, then, right now.


I was going down the street, looking for some place to pull over. Pulled into this little shopping mall, parked my car, heading toward the sun, got out my phone and got out the words that had haunted me for the last 3 miles. It went Something like this,

Oh Come let us Adore Him is not just for Christmas. It is for today, tommorrow and all the Days after that.

Sometimes you just need to hear what you need to hear.
Sometimes you just need to know that you are loved by someone, far away.
Sometimes you just need to pull over and do what you are suppose to do.

Do what you need when you need to do it. Learn to listen, practice paying attention and act, when it is time...

magical thinking...


We all do it, Some more than others. Some stay and live there, forever. Not childish thinking, which at times may be confused with MT but is really the way our brains grow and learn. Magical thinking says if I think it, it will happen or go away. Perhaps a nice way of saying, you live in denial. Never a Place to linger, but somewhere we have all gone, at one time or another. The part of the brain that allows us to believe in Santa, way after we are old enough to have bumped into the terrible truth. Yesterday, there was no magical thinking to be found, anywhere. Not even a little bit.

Headed to Costco...but needed to make a stop at this little gift shop on the way. Cute little wreaths, and wall decals and other things. Thought I would just pop in and see what they had for Christmas. As I pulled up to the front door, something looked odd. There was a man, followed by a woman, carryin gboxes to their truck. It was soon very obvious that the buliding was empty and that they weren't even waiting until after Christmas, to shut their doors. I backed out of my parking space, wondering how long they held on before there was no choice left.

Still heading toward Costco, I stopped at Target to look around. Ran into a friend who got sent home from work before noon, because there was no work. We visited a little and she explained how her husband got a stable job but had to take a huge cut in pay. I walked away, feeling her pain.

Costco is now in site. I do my business and head home. When I pull onto my street, I notice the cleaning truck at the renter's house across the street from mine. Even in less than desirable weather, these guys had constant yard sales. Every couple of weeks, right as rain. I always thought, they had to do it to make rent. The empty house reinforces that belief.

Hard to come home and sing, Deck The Halls, knowing that for some, it is going to be tough. There was no magical thinking that would make any of these situations, less complicated but it certainly made me stop and think. Life in the Real world is not fun, but is there any other way to live?

sisters...


Didn't plan to take family photos at Walmart today, it just happened. I literally almost ran into her. Who does that?

People think we look a lot alike and we do. When we are both the same weight, even more so but she had a pituitary tumor many years ago and try as she may, losing weight goes against everything her body is capable of doing.

We are nothing alike. Not now, not ever. Even in high school, I LOVED Motown, she hearted Donovan (They call me Mellow Yellow, quite righteously). We even had a somekind of stripe down the middle of our shared bedroom, neither was to cross over into enemy territory, no matter what.

What we do share is a history of the past. You might think that we would have shared memories but our remembrances are as far apart as our interest. What we remember is also different. We both have large gaps where memories are missing and that is fine with us. It was a childhood we would agree, no one should go through. We have seen and experienced things that have affected us our entire lives and always will. We are quirky and best, more like a bit odd, if we are being honest. Mostly, we are survivors. Once told that most people who experience a childhood like ours, do not survive.

Here is living proof. Right here at Walmart. We have defied the odds and are still standing. One thing we would agree on, only by the grace of God have we come so far. Different as we may be, sisters, we will always be...

breakfast...


It is my favorite meal to eat out.

I would never eat these foods at a resturant for breakfast but find them highly suitable, if not perfect, for breakfast at home.

chocolate cake,
mixed nuts,
spaghetti.

The one common food(?) that is most desired with or without food for breakfast is Diet Coke. There is no hour too early or late for Diet Coke. If you are a smart person, you will catch on quickly that Someone has a huge problem, but I digress...

I have never treated Breakfast with the respect it deserves. It is a well known fact, eat anything you want for breakfast and you are assured to burn off said calories by the end of the day. I have had some strange food and portions using that little bit of knowledge. I once shared a whole cake with a friend at work... Later, we would both join Weight Watchers because it was obvious, there was a huge problem. The tip off, us and two forks.

Whether biscuits and gravy at CrackerBarrel or the Special at the locl diner, there is just Something about breakfast that whispers in your ear, It is going to be alright.

When you walk into a place like this, that has put this much effort into decorating, you can only hope they put the same effort into the pancakes. And, they did...

shadow and light...

What profits a man if he gains the whole world, yet loses his soul?


The first segment of 60 Minutes dealt with the homeless, in particular, kids. Living in cars, little food to share. These folks are not career homeless. They are casualties of loss they never saw coming. Jobs lost, unemployment that ran dry As I watched and felt my heart breaking, the news was reporting record Black Friday sales. The idea of starting earlier, opening doors before the Thanksgiving table was cleared was being hailed a hero before the weekend cash registers had all been counted.

Life has always been unfair. There has always been those who have much and those who have nothing. Salvation Army has been ringing their bells as long as I can remember yet the Stories of the homeless, never seem to slow down. As a society, we are rather immune and harden by those who have abused our desire to do good works.Just today, we passed no less than 10 homeless peole with cardboard signs. It has just been this year that I heard a one of the locals who has chosen this as his profession. Cities are advising that we give money to a local homeless shelter that can distribute them as the panhandling seems to have gotten out of control.

I don't know the answer for me, much less for you. Around here they say the food banks are empty and with over 100 percent increase from last year. Those who donated last year, are in need themselves this year. Maybe it comes down to what comes your way on any given day. When you see a need with your eyes, do something. The woman in front of you at the store doesn't have enough money to but everything she has in her cart. Buying someone a tank of gas. Playing secret santa for a neighbor with a Walmart gift card. You might know someone. Your kids might know someone. Just need to keep our eyes and ears open and the floodgates of possibilities will open none of us are not able to do something don't wait until you can give big. Give big now and don't define big to yourself as when I win the lottery, big.

Think outside of the box, refine big to yourself or get rid of it all together. Just make a difference in Someone's life. Big comes from our hearts, not our wallets...

Now, it begins...


The last four days have been a blur.We lamented on Thanksgiving how crazy it was that we could eat outside at the picnic table. Cold but doable. After many games of movie/book/tv charades, we called it a night...at least for a few hours.

The news has reported that the early onset of Black friday was a hit for both shoppers and retailers and is here to stay. The young ones, who don't usually partake of BF came at 10PM and the rest made their usual 4PM appearance. Looks like change is here to stay...Now, it begins.

Like it or not, it is on. 25 days of shopping for Something. Gifts, decorations, food. Your life is not your own for the next 31 days. You are officially in Holiday mode.

It is a fact. One that if you can get it into your head, will make this the best holiday season ever. Over the last few years, I have cut my gift list down to just my kids and grandkids. I love my friends dearly but would rather spend time over holiday coffee and some good convo, then add to the the Stuff of Their World.

For me, the lines are not so blurred between Santa and Jesus, this year. It is getting harder and harder to find Jesus in the world while He hasn't changed a bit. He is always there for the asking. This year for the first time in a long, long time, the kids have a Christmas program at their church. I am giddy. Nothing like a little kid singing, dressed to their nine, the Love of Christmas. Reminds me, must relive the magic that is All About The Herdsman. The epic Story of the world meeting Jesus. When you are hungry and the church is giving away free food, you go. I so get that. If you have never read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson, I suggest you do yourself a favor and read it this year. As Gage would say, it would be an Epic Failure, not too.

Got 2 things off my list on BF but mainly got to shop with throngs of people who for the most part were extremely nice. The teen boys who parked their fannies on the couches to rest and then peed in the huge fake flower pots, not so much...

It is close. I can feel my fifties, slipping away. I don't know why this birthday has hit me so hard but am attempting to go through it, not find a way around it.

There is so much to be thankful for. Some people never make it, this far. I have been blessed with family and friends, with love and laughter and there is no reason to think, that will change. On the threshold of another adventure. Old is as old does, relax and keep swinging.

A friend gave me this sign for my birthday and a higher tribute could not be given, Thank you Miss R.

she was authentic in every way and they loved that about her.

Plan to live the Moment and enjoy all the Moments that will continue to come my way. How could one not be thankful? While my body gives away its true age, inside, there is a different Party going on. Now I know why you see so many old people in convertibles. It is so true.

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you. May the giving of thanks, laughter and love, come your way this year. If sadness is your lot this year, may Something bring joy to your heart, Somewhere along the way. See you Monday. Love and peace, zalaine.

those around us...


Being an introvert is not a badge of honor. Those of us who are a part of this club, know we have to work twice as hard as the extrovert - just so people don't think we are mad at them. It is part of one's personality that while can't be change, can be controlled.

This time of year, we find ourselves in situations and Places where there are many, many people. Strangely enough, I LOVE being in public with them. Don't have to think of Something to say, like at a party but can strike up a convo in a rather, safe to me, enviroment.

Ran into a long time, seldom see friend today. We tend to run into each other at Walmart on a semi-regular basis. We have history so the talk is easy and always fun. We got a bit deeper today, and I couldn't help myself -I hugged her, Big Time. Not a casual hugger but when I do, I hug Big. She shared a bit of her life that just overwhelmed me and I was so proud of her I wanted to burst. Last time we met, we dicussed 60th birthdays. I want a quiet one and she wants to invite everyone she knows. I can't wait for April!

Thanksgiving are on their way and my excitement level couldn't be higher. Always need to check if my introvertness is getting in the way of What Could Be. At least I know, that to recharge - we of that particular persuasion, need to back off for alone time. I can do that, just like my iPad, then hit the road again.

Random Citizens, can wait to see you this week! Rested and ready to go. Bring it 2011, I am ready. Will try to keep hugging to a mininum, I promise...

From my vantage point, the Light was so coming across his path. Almost 99% sure, he didn't notice and if he did, it was in the form of being irritated.

He was totally unaware of his surroundings, including me. He got up a few times and made a few rounds all over the coffee shop. Don't know if he needed to be around people or what his deal was. He was very intent the whole time he was there, no smiles.

I am no different than him. I imagine that I miss the Light many, many times. Obviously, we each think we know when we are being shined on but I would bet, the rest of the time we miss it by at least, 50%.

Finally, my favorite week is here. Short work week and BIG in Real Life. After a month of living in the thankfulness that only November can bring, I hope it hangs around for the next month. December brings enough issues of its own, would be nice to have some November left, to offset it.

They are right...There is Always Something to be thankful for. I don't have to dig deep, not very deep at all but others do. If you are one, do the work. Get out of your head. I have been where you are and I can tell you, it can be better. Maybe not this Thanksgiving, or Christmas or even today but if you seek it, you will find it. Happy Hunting...

drinking the Kool-Aid...

Drinking the Kool-Aid,
To become a firm believer in something; to accept an argument or philosophy whole-heartedly.

Older folks will remember this from Jonestown and the terrible loss of life. These days, it seems to refer to anything that you totally believe in. My personal Kool-Aid, is pretty apparent.

Reading one of my favorite authors, Sarah Vowell now and her upbringing and religious history are just the opposite of mine. She was raised in a gospel-beliving home and later, became an atheist and I did the atheist thing first, later on - found Jesus.

It reminded me in my higher thinking class on Sunday, that growing up, there was no doubt in my mind that my father was right. All had been proved and I was good to go for the rest of my life. When Jesus came in with this less that believable Story, proof was the essense of what I needed to even begin to change my thinking.

After all these years, the whole Story of Jesus has not been proved to me. Not once Story, but it has been validated in a million ways. One of the christian arguments is always, well, you don't know how a car works but you trust every morning when you get in, it starts immediately. That particular Kool-Aid never spoke to me and in my quest for proof, didn't get me very far down the road.

So, one Kool-Aid was proven to me and the other was found valid yet I chose the one that makes little sense, can't be proven and gets you no reward card when you sign up? Call it what you want but for me, it makes all the sense in the world...

at the end of the day...


When all the drama of the day has hopefully, been moved to a Another Place and Time, what is Real, seems to be easier to spot.

With the what if's and thanks for dodging another bullet, the Realness of life comes and everything looks a little less harsh with the light of day, behind you.

We each have different ways of unwinding and processing any given day's events. Most days, I make the transistion at a pretty quick pace but not always. Some days, I don't get there at all. Those are the sleepless nights orwhere sleep is not to be had except in few minute increments. I understand it intellectually but emotionally, I am stuck at a two year old level.

When perspective starts to make it's way back to my mind, I think about how little I really need to feel good about the day. A Story from my girl about something the kids did, hubby making me laugh. I have said it before, the hum of the dryer and dishwasher put me in the best of moods.

The sooner that Real comes into my world, the better person I am and that is worth it all. Every bit of it...

saving...


If I were to believe this sign, it would make incredible sense to do all my Christmas shopping here. In this town, in this store. They must have done all the leg work, compared all the costs so, this must be it. This is the place to come, this is the place to save.

Only problem is, this is a grocery store and while their prices are very good - if saving were my goal, most everyone on my Christmas shopping list would be sorely disappointed.

Had an encounter with an couple of extreme couponers the other day. Disclaimer - if you are an extreme couponer, and I mean extreme not just a casual or dedicated cutter of coupons but one of those who has $30,000 of inventory in the basement and spends 40 hours a week with pre shopping trips to scout for more, there maybe unresolved issues in your life that need attention.

I needed a tube of toothpaste. Just one. I hadn't noticed what was in their carts but as I looked at the toothpaste shelf and noticed my brand and a few other were all gone, I said Something out loud about, where did all the toothpaste go? I turned to look in these ladies carts and between them both, found out where all the toothpaste had gone. They sheeply put a few back, I grabbed my one and left.

It is good to save, guys. It is a responsible, good thing to make your money go as far as it can go. Most of us will hit more than a few stores in the next month and be looking to save, to grab a few deals to make a few smiles. Saving, like most everything in life can go too far. Over the edge and out the emotional door like a railroad car, out of control. Is is worth it to wrestle a sweater from another shopper over the saving of a few bucks? There was a time when, I thought it was. No more...

holding hands...


Remember Robert Fulgrum's, Everything I Needed To Know I Learned In Kindergarden?


Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Flush.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.


They were wise words for Kindergarden and for those who have been together for many years. Somethings, never change...

right now...


November is in full swing and my personal thanksgiving is in the very forethought of most every thought, running through my mind. It is easy to focus on what is not right/sane/fair and much tougher to keep one's eye on the prize, right in front of you. To be thankful for what you already have. What you are enjoying, this very Moment.

Next week is my favorite week of the year. It is a short week, full of anticipation of turkey and the start of the Christmas season. It usually includes at some point, my birthday and anniversary. It is a packed week with lots of wonderful emotions. I just love it!. See how easy it is to be Somewhere else?

This week I will focus on what I already have, what is right in front of my today. Will spend the afternoon taking my girl to a birthday party and then, getting to hear all about it on the way home. DH and I will get to spend the day together. God willing, I will have a warm home to come back too. Food in the refrigerator, a blanket and furry slippers, just waiting to be cuddled.

I am thankful I can see this now. I hope I can see it everyday this week. And then, next week too. Humbly aware that I am missing more than I am seeing but will have to live with the understanding that being human means accepting ourselves, flaws and all. I am thankful for the idea that I can get another chance everyday, to live it to the fullest and never are we more aware than when I am thankful...

generation gap..


Most everything but not all I read is all done on my iPad. Still get a paper copy of Time from a two year old subscription but will let that die a natural death. This week's issue was enlighten and along with my favorite book right now, a great find. Here are the generations defined.

The Millennial Generation - 18-30
Generation X - 31 -46
Boomers - 47-65
The Silent Gereration - 66-83

Have wanted to be a Boomer for as long as I can remember. I remember the 50 and 60's well and we seemed so cool. Rock and roll, Woodstock - what was not to Love?

These days, I find myself identifying more with the Millennial crowd. Techonlogy has me on the edge of my seat, almost minutely. I don't want to miss a minute of it. I am stunned and thrilled with Something I read about, most every day.

But Sometimes, you are drawn back. My new favorite book these days, didn't have an ereader version so I had to buy the hardcover but it was so worth it.

Goodnight iPad by Ann Droyd. (if it sounds familiar ib is because Ms Droyd also wrote, Goodnight Moon.)

...And a Blackberry ringing with Eminem singing. And a new Facebook friend and texts with no end...

Sometimes, kicking it Old School is way worth it...

Family time for the rest of the week. Back on Sunday, live the Moment...

beautiful day...


Every once in a while, I get smacked in the head and for a brief Moment, I truly get it. Understand that it takes more than a gentle tap, most days.

We spent the morning, playing checkers and enjoying each other's company. Add in drinks and treats and you quickly see how little it takes to find yourself in a good place.

It is not what we think we need or what we think it is important to know, in any given day - to give us what we really need. We need to pay attention more and shut up/stop thinking, more. Instead of sharing what we know, we need to be students twice as much as we are teachers.

We are each given to be in both camps in Life. Students and teachers and when we mix them up at the wrong times, like most other things we mix up at the wrong times - it is disasterous because we make choices based on those errors of judegement. It is like being a perpetual teenager, always having answers without having ever heard the question.

I grabbed my camera because I needed this perspective. Knew instantly, it was part of my training and I didn't want to miss this lesson. Boys and men, while they are still somewhat of a mystery - they certainly made it a beautiful day for me.

nobody rides for free...



There is a cost, other than Burger Den, associated with trying to get family photos. It took me a while to hear him, because I was not listening.

No error on his part, I was just not hearing him. It is true what they say, nobody rides for free. Like it or not, we live this truth everyday in many ways. There is Compromise, which can be a bitter pill to swallow. The truth is compromise is a win-win for everyone but it is never acknowledged as such because everyone is busy, licking their collective wounds. With the upcoming holidays, Miss Compromise is as busy as she can be.

Scratch my back and I'll scratch yours,
is another long and winding road. Gage was fully aware without knowing it. Nana, on the other hand, had forgotten - hence the Madonna, Strike A Pose session, began. Could have been easier if I had caught on sooner. Some days, it just takes a child and a bit of time, to get it right.

proof vs validate...



proof,

An effort, process, or operation designed to establish or discover a fact or truth.  
The degree of evidence which convinces the mind of any truth or fact, and produces belief.
The quality or state of having been proved or tried.


validate,

Well grounded or justifiable, pertinent.
Acceptable, proper or correct.
An argument whose conclusion is always true whenever its premises are true.

At first glance, they seem quite similiar. Subtle differences but in essence, a similiar message. Not sure I would have ever saw that if I hadn't been in over my head in the new class. Been living with being overwhelmed this week and must admit, it is growing on me. For one who always, always would choose to know the Plan in advance, the not knowing and even the gasping for emotional awareness, has not been as hard as one may imagine.

Not one to need proof from God. Maybe because I had an experience with Him once and we settled it right there and then. He was willing to stay as long as it took but Sometimes I am a fast learner and I need no more. Maybe I am in the minority as I usually am, but I am not a why me? person. When you start your life in the worst possible way, there is little you don't expect to go right. I may be a good whiner but never at God. There is a difference. I have said many times, the first 20 years were pure hell, the next chapter made up for it but even I know, it can't go on forever. When all hell breaks loose, I'll be ready. I can't be ready now but he will give me what I need, when I need it. Is that proof or validation? All I know is that we each need to do what we need to do and we need to do it with our hearts wide open. Not much to ask in the scheme of things...

fear...



Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear." - Mark Twain

It occurred to me yesterday that some of us...ok, me - may have a worst case scenario switch. With a bit more thought, it also occurred to me that this switch has to be manually reset, every day.

It can't be set as a default without some pretty intense computer programming knowledge which frankly, we...ok, me - don't have. We get up every morning and purposefully, turn on the switch. That allows the thoughts and feelings to take over and run the show.

There is a fine line between being Real and being in denial. I walk on the Real side, a bit too often. Even before I brush my teeth and eat breakfast, I make sure the Switch is On. It is an unconscious act that triggers real acts. Emotions that play on those thoughts.

Something for us...ok, me to think about. The bible mentions fear 365 times. One for every day of the year. Don't think that is an accident. Time to turn the lights off, close the door and do Something new...

wow...



We all — in the end — die in medias res. In the middle of a story. Of many stories. Mona Simpson.

Mona has touched on something to ponder. At the passing of almost everyone in our life's sphere, they died too soon. We apply a sort of seniority list. If a baby dies, we are all heart broken at what could have been. A teen, just starting an adult life. A young dad who leaves little children behind. A woman whose greatest wish in life was to live to see her first grandchild. The couple looking forward to their golden anniversary.

If we understand that no matter what age we are when we pass, we are in the middle of a Story - it seems a bit more tolerable. Some, we to get to read more Chapters than others but never are all tied up in a neat little package, ready for delivery. The final chapter is written, anytime.

A wonderful epilogue of her famous brother's life, Mona Simpson and Steve Jobs found each other, later in life but it would appear, they had plenty of opportunity to make up for lost time.

Steve Job's last words are sticking to me like white on rice, can't get them out of my mind. This complicated man's last words, have me on the edge of my seat.

Steve’s final words, hours earlier, were monosyllables, repeated three times.

Before embarking, he’d looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them.

Steve’s final words were:

OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW
.

overwhelmed...



DH and I went to new to us class this morning. Heard the teacher preach so we had a taste of what it might be like and quite frankly, I knew I would be in over my head. The teacher is a college prof and the class is aimed at the academia world. Big words, big thoughts, huge ideas. Some went right over my head, I will admit but I was overwhelmed, in a good way. A wonderful way.

Took notes like crazy and my mind was on fire. Learned a long time ago, I need to be challenged to keep from going crazy. Haven't been in that Place in a while so this might be exactly where I need to be for a Season.

We all need to stretch and grow. If we aren't and we stay stagnant for too long, we are less likely to keep moving. It is a good thing to be in over our heads, to learn new things, and continue to learn. I had to pay attention the whole time, little time for wandering mind syndrome today. My notebook looks completely different today. Also, not a bad thing.

I need to research the definitions of prove and validate. I need to consider how much of my life is lived in the personal verses in the facts. It is good to remember that I can't explain it all and that when I am in over my head, that isn't drowning that I feel. It is just the feeling of thinking in a different way.

A certain thirst in life makes you go Places you never could imagine. We all need a push Sometimes, in a different direction. Happy I got to go down that road Today...

7th grade boys...



Until now, the only thing I knew about 7th grade boys was through a 7th grade girl's eye. Not all together a negative, that would be done by 7th grade girls leaving an indelible mark on my middle school memory, they were for the most part, normal until they got outside and then they would go crazy. Now I know, boys need recess and lots of it to get all boy energy out.

These days, 7th grade boys are around again. Mine is the best in the world and he is in some pretty good company. These guys are polite, cool and joy to be around. Adolescence is tough, middle school may be the worse. You have feelings you just don't know what to do with. Anger, the beginnings of puberty - thoughts you have never had in your life along with feelings you are desperately trying to control. It will get better in a few years, you wish you could tell them and have them believe you. You still won't understand girls, get use to that now but everything else will start to fall in place. The alpha male will be channeled in a whole new direction with a whole new set of problems. This part of your life, will last the rest of your days.

I know that it is as natural as rain for boys to grow up and start to separate from adults. It is part of the Process. I cherish every Moment you share with me. Learning to stand down but always ready if you need anything. If you need any advice about girls, I will try to explain but no promises...

overwhelmed...



What does it take to get the emotional wind knocked out of you? Not one to be overwhelmed by nature as often as I would like, is hard to admit. Feel like it is a lack of appreciation for the One who made it, whom I am overwhelming grateful for.

This place does it for me. A friend found it a couple of years ago. WE have taken senior, tea party and family shots in this area. This day it would just be DH and I. After a ride in the country and a stop at one of the local wineries to take some photos of hills, valleys and grapes, we went home the long way to check out the woods.

The water is high but there are some fabulous photos to be had in a few, small places. The light is unbelievable. I could have stood there all day. To catch a few shots with that light, has carried me for a few days now. It is a feeling of being totally overwhelmed. It scares and delights me...

think differently...



Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do...Steve Jobs

Some are lifelong members of this club. Some try to join but figure out, really fast, they are not cut out for it. Some would think that belonging to this club, was about the worse thing one could hope to achieve.

To think different and acknowledge it, is the beginning of acceptance and the end of beating oneself up. Whatever end of the spectrum you find yourself, embrace it and see where it leads. You might be happily surprised...

follow the light...



You just slip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan
You don't need to be coy, Roy
Just get yourself free

Hop on the bus, Gus
You don't need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee
and get yourself free
...Paul Simon.

At any given time, we are looking to untangle ourselves from a person, place or thing. A thought, a philosophy or a fear. It might be because of a addictive behavior, it may be low self esteem or it maybe that we don't think we deserve, better.

Whatever demon you are facing, get yourself free today. Whatever that looks like to you. You have been dogpaddling for way too long. Sing the song and head for the light...

pink glove dance...




If it is October, it is Pink Glove Dance Month.

A few years ago, it started with one video and now, two years later the PGD explosion of fun and pink. People have given their time and talents to make something that is not fun, into a celebration. Spend some time on You Tube and watch some of the entries. They will make you smile, tap your feet and probably be singing before it is all over.

There is no better way to say you care, than to dance. Thanks to everyone for making these videos, a wonderful memory of those Near and Far...

melting ice...



Time is like thin ice. Our days are spent living like ants in a mound, collecting our substance to survive the winter; to retire in comfortable plaid pants, blue socks, and golf shoes. All the while, the ice is melting, thin and slick. We don’t notice it until struck with tragedy. We or a friend are mangled in a car wreck, and we reflect on how fragile the whole thing isDonald Miller.

I don't get to say the Pledge of Allegiance much anymore. When you get older, it doesn't play a part in many of the activities we frequent. I look forward to the grand's sports because I know that every time, we start the same way. More often, we are still on the field when the next set of games start and I get to say it again. It is not just saying it but noticing those around me at mostly, their very best. Hats come off and for a few Moments, we are all on the same page. I can only imagine the multitude of thought going through the minds of those whose hand on their hearts may be there to hold in pain. Some know the cost of freedom because they have paid a greater price.

Melting ice. What does it look like in your life? Are you aware of it?

The ice is melting, thin and slick...

Truly hope you have a fabulous day...

nothing but the truth...



It is Something that takes years of experience, working in the background until is is a part of you. The only thing you know is that when you smell it, you instantly know what it is. It is not the scent of one who casually drinks but one who had made alcohol a career. I never know where to expect it and it has shown up at some pretty unlikely places on some pretty unlikely people.

From one in the clergy in a church setting to a family barbeque. You smell it first. Then, you see who it belongs too. It is a skill that no one would ever ask for. It will change you each time, you get a whiff of it and your view of the one to whom it is attached. It will not be a good feeling. There may be a sense of gloom, knowing what it took to someone to get to this place. This is not the beginning, this is much closer to the end.

In the case of the One who has hung his star on Jesus, he has admitted to battling alcohol addiction to the present day. It happened more than 10 years ago in a college chapel setting. It was the last night of a 3 night lecture series. I had heard him speak a few times before and was completely enamored with this man of faith. Lecture was over, I had brought my copy of his favorite book and while not one to care about having an author signature, decided to go for it. He was all by himself as I walked up to him, sitting at the table, looking out toward the window. I smelled it before I was within 3 feet of him. He had no idea. I couldn't speak so I just opened my book and he signed it. No expression, no words. The smell had solidified for both of us. I walked away, stunned. He looked back at the window.

In what will be his last book, he now admits what I already knew. The side of heaven, there are things in our lives that are fluid. Good and bad.

I am not measured by the good I do but by the grace I accept...BManning.

The truth, nothing but the truth...

if loving you is wrong, I don't want to be right...



There are two reasons to look so forward to going to the pumpkin patch - taking pictures of my wonderful family in a beautiful fall setting... and these mini donuts. It was Day 4 of my sugar purge and I honestly totally forgot. I had several of these babies in my mouth when my girl asked me what's up. Like to say I didn't partake of anymore but that would not be the honest truth. Would make for a great Story, one of being brave and honorable. Again, not in the cards.

Almost made the same mistake the following morning, Day 5. Miss M asked me what kind of muffin I wanted - chocolate or poppy seed? Did she even have to ask? I will take chocolate even when that is not one of the choices. Dip in in chocolate chips and get back to me. Not remembering is not as much as sign of senility as it is lack of commitment to said purge.

As I saw thinking about this this morning, all the diets I have been on. Most of them, very successful. Diets are not the problem. You could lose weight eating only Subway sandwiches, like Jared did. I am convinced that 95% of all diets work just like 95% of all people who lose weight, regain it back. The sense of accomplishment is coming from the wrong place and that is why we fail.

So this is what I am thinking now. Day 6. Giving up the 21 day get Sugar out of my body diet. Giving it up today. If I want it, I am going to eat it. If I want a frozen yogurt when I make my Costco run, so be it. I am not on a diet, never will be again. deal with it.

I am saying it here and now, I will never diet again and here is why. If I am interested in being healthy, then I won't eat that yogurt. If I am interested in being with my kids and grandkids, I will watch what I eat. When I get the losing weight thing out of my head and eat differently not for weight loss, or fitting into insertSIZEhere jeans but because I want to hang out a big longer, when my motivation changes, then and only then, will I be successful on an ongoing basis.

This is not going to be an easy thing to do. To change my perception. With each bite, I have to ask why. I have to be honest with myself and tell the truth. From this day forward, I am choosing to take each bite for the health of it. If I choose to stuff M&M's in my face, I am choosing to climb off the wagon for reasons less honorable than a jean size.

There must be a Reason why my 60th birthday is on Black Friday. Quite honestly, one would hope that by this age, most demons would be under some kind of control. I can tell you, that is not the case. They are here forever. How you deal with them is up to you. I don't know how well this new thought process is going to work but I am going to see if I am barking up the right tree. Always the student...

Thank you Mr C...



It has been a while, perhaps Mother's Day since I have been at church.

Not mad about anything. With DH surgery, then ER visit,then the discovery that I love listening to PJ sermons, late in the night. When it is quiet and dark. It seems to be the perfect time to settle in and listen, really listen. The introvert in me doesn't miss the human interaction although I understand the power of being together.

This midnight ritual is my new normal. I knew Something would have to encourage me to get out of my rut. I was in church this morning and it is all because of Bill.

Watched Bill Cunningham New York on Netflix last week. A fascinating documentary about this fashion street photographer that has his won way of doing things and is mostly, revered by everyone. Certainly, the fashion community adores him and at 80 Something, he still photographs and writes for the New York Times.

At the end of the film, they start to ask some personal questions about love and relationships. While admitting that everyone has needs, he eludes the question they are asking him. I think he answers, with no answer. He goes on to say, he goes to church every week. Not something you expected to hear.

Every Sunday

He was raised that way even though he admitted that he spent most of his time, studying woman's hats. Even though, he no longer has to, his parents are long gone but he does, nonetheless.

Every Sunday

I went this morning to find what he is seeing.
I went to church this morning because of Bill.
Thank you Mr C, for your eye. Because of what you see, you encouraged me, to look harder and try to find more...

Not sure I found it this morning, but I will keep looking...

the pumpkin patch...



So, after you have hit the petting zoo, rode a pony, eaten those toDIEfor mini donuts, the biggest deal of the day is finding the perfect pumpkin. The one that says, This is me in all my fall glory.

First you decide where to get off the long hay wagon. You don't want to get off at the first stop because that is where everyone gets off and the pumpkin selection is not at it's best. There are some very nice ones but this is the easiest place to look and you want to be more forward thinking.

Down The Road, you see the perfect jump off stop. How do you know? You spot a white pumpkin, then you see a gourd or two. There is no fixed plan other that to wander around, in no particular pattern, searching for just the right one. Sometimes you think you have found it, but you really haven't. You delay gratification for a bit longer, knowing that deep down inside, it is not time, just yet.

And then, there it is. There is no second guessing, This is the One. Even as you haul it back to the designated home pumpkin base, you never look back. You carry it back onto the hay wagon to be dropped off at the scales. You proudly look on with a bit of spring in your step as the pumpkin attendant weighs your glorious find.

It is yours and yours alone, to carry to the car. From there, this short term relationship is forged and for the next few weeks, you are the best of buds. Ah, nice to know Some Things never change...

day 61...




Fall is finally here, the 90 degree days are gone and leaving a long sleeved Something in the car, because you never know when you might need it. This Saturday is the last day of football for Gage. Except for the weather, I could watch him for forever. This was his first year playing football and no one loves football, more than this kid. He will have to live vicariously calling Kellen Moore's plays for now, and when the BSU football season is over, he will turn to Madden 2 through 12 on the TV, just like he did all summer.

Season
1.A part of a year when something particular happens.

There are also seasons of life, clothes, food. Potato salad doesn't taste the same in winter. A sweater in August would make one feel very uncomfortable. Look at your life - see how it follows the seasons. The more years we have, the more we understand.

Imagine that, smiling, singing and snapping my fingers on Day 61. I really listened to the words to Love is Strange this time, and it suddenly dawned on me that it is natural to want to love, and be loved again, one day. As the song goes "after you've had it, you're in an awful fix". It may seem crazy to even entertain the idea of loving anyone but him again so early in the grief process, but I realized two things at that moment in the shower.

For one, I'll always be grieving for Mikey. I will never be okay with him dying. This is not how our story was supposed to end. We were supposed to grow old together, see our babies off to college and celebrate our silver wedding anniversary.

But he is gone. This is one variable I can't change or control. I must simply accept that it is, and remember that the moments of sadness are unpredictable. There is no handbook for grief, and no two grieving experiences are alike. It is virgin territory for everyone that embarks on this path. So long as I remember that the sad moments often come out of nowhere, and sometimes with a vengeance, then I can keep an open mind about the future.

Then I also realized if a song about love could make me smile uncontrollably, and get me dancing in the shower, then there is hope for my heart. It is meant to love, and have that love returned, again one day.

So, yes, love is strange. And wonderful. And heartbreaking. But without it, life just isn't worth living.

I choose life.


Jennie lost her husband quite unexpectedly now, 65 days ago. She is a food blogger whose words now are intermiggled with this season of her life that she never saw coming. For Jennie and her girls (injenniekitchen.com), this Season is one they wish they never had to experience. Day 61 gives me hope. For Jennie, for all of us...

Whatever the Season looks like you to you now, whether a Season of Song or a Season of Grief - remember it won't last forever. Jump in the leaves if you can and if not, anticpate the days you will be able to again...

the victim card...




Let's be real here. We have all, at one time or another,insert offense here, played the victim card. Will go out on a limb and further pronounce, it might not be our finest moment. Seems like when we get me focused, we always seem to take, a few emotional steps, backwards.

We all have pity parties. Whenever we feel like, woe is me. Either self-inflicted or feeling like we have been wronged. Once we start down that slippery slope. most of us are doomed to at the very least, a few minutes of self-indulgence. Complete with verbal volleyball on the hows and whys. We feel it like we were a six year old, again.

Sometimes, accompanied with a huge pile of snacks. Other times we are too crazed to eat and tantrums and tears are the place we find ourselves. We want someone to carry us, no longer able to face life, on our own two feet.

One would hope, the older you get - the better you get. That the parties are farther and farther apart because you understand the nature of being a victim. You give yourself and others, less and less opportunity to sting your heart. Only cry over Something once, then never again. You may cry over many things but once experienced, cry only once. Learn and grow.

On a 21 day semi-sugar cleanse that I saw on Pinterest. From today until Halloween. This is day 1 and it is not going well. Seeing a party in my future but refuse to have it on the first day, but when I do, will pull out the card and the sugar-free treats, and one time, will let it fly...

grab and go...



It's the middle of the night, you wake up and the fire alarm is going off, this time it isn't the battery. You realize you have a few Moments to get yourself out the door, to safety.

Let's suppose, everyone is out and you have a few minutes to gather some things from the house, what are you going grab?

I imagine we have all had this conversation with ourselves and maybe even have devised some kind of plan but with all of that set aside, what would you really look to save? Used to think I would grab all my photo albums, now I know it would be better to grab the external hard drive with all my photos on it. Always knew that trying to grab my desktop tower would be unrealistic so, my revised plan would be to grab my iPad.

I have never been in a fire and imagine that those who have, could bring better expertise to this table, but perhaps, it may be a good thing to update our mental plan. We can now go to the cloud with our memories and that would free us up and give us time, to grab Something else. Maybe a prepacked suitcase with favorites collected when time was not an issue.

Wouldn't be a bad idea to use the same kind of planning for the things that go on in our head. Not sure I am prepared for that conversation, what stays - what goes. The older I get, the more I see that as a Real Possiblity, but if I do have a choice, I hope I choose well...

defend...




We really don't think too much about those who defend our country, until it hits close to home. Those who give their lives so we can continue to enjoy all the freedoms we have come to think of as, our due. A few weeks ago, this soldier from our town, paid the ultimate sacrifice and someone doesn't want us to forget that. Thank you, Mr Dyas.

We defend our spouses, our children. We defend our choices, great and small. Defending is an honorable human quality. It shows that we are loyal, and we care.

Defend - to ward off, to repel, to prevent, to keep, to prohibit, to forbid, to guard.

Associated with humans by humans, for humans. When it comes to God, perhaps defending is not only not appropriate but maybe, very inappropriate.

God doesn't need us defending him, he can speak for himself. He wants our Love, not our protection. When we start to defend him, we are bringing him down to a human level. If you want to honor him, be thankful for what you have. If you want to help him, let him into your life. Leave the defending to those we honor for honor's sake, for those who in this life, are making the ultimate sacrifices. Defend them hard and fierce. God can take a punch and is fully capable of taking care of himself, do him a favor and let him do his thing...

the apple of His eye...




What is Apple, after all?" Jobs mused to Time. "Apple is about people who think 'outside the box

The day after Steve Jobs announced that when it was time to step down, he would, there was a photo of him that showing why. Looking like the shell of a man, he even was in June at his last Apple appearance, you could tell, his days were few. Every morning, with that photo in the back of my mind - I would scour the news. Yesterday was no different. After a coffee date, I cruised a few Places and then, started doing other things. A few hours later when DH got home and asked if I knew, I immediately knew what he was talking about.

I sat stunned for a while, this man had single-handedly invented the way I was made to hear music. A song library of my choosing, adding to it every week. His talent was beyond anything I had ever witnessed. You add Pixar to the mix, and I am pass, wow. A bit later, when I had composed myself, I couldn't help but thinking about Steve meeting Jesus. I have a feeling when Steve came to the realization where this wonderful outside the box mentality came from, he was a changed man. With the Apple days behind him, he can now just be himself. Edison, Ford and Jobs - imagine that roundtable

RIP Steve Jobs, thank you...

lighthouse...



My basic nature is not one of a lighthouse. I like to help, even over help and...I am good at it.

There is quite a bit wrong with that one sentence. even I can see that. Even if we are good at Something, doesn't mean we should do it, each and every time. While it comes in handy, it can also be one's undoing.

Using it wisely is a life long battle. Do I want to feel good about myself at the cost of doing harm, maybe even irreparable harm?? It is not only possible, but deep down or eventually, we know it.

Think of the lighthouse. It is an absurd thought to think of a lighthouse, chasing some down. We know it is not possible, and really stupid...yet, we seem to think, it is for us. True, we are not made of thousands of pounds of wood and rock and a lighthouse that moves is impossible to fathom because even somethings are. I want to be a lighthouse, a real one. One that doesn't move, that is my dream.

spending...




1950 -- household budget/Per Time magazine

Food 22%
Housing 13%
Clothing 10%
Health care 3%
Financial/Ins 3%

2010

Food 7%
Housing 18%
Clothing 3%
Health Care 16%
Financial/Ins 8%

Naturally, we would expect that life changes. It seems that things are changing faster now than ever before. What happened between 1950 and 2000 is nothing compared to 2011 to now, would be my guess.

Have read a few things about life being better in the 1950's. fAmilies could take vacations, grownups were working 40 hour weeks and most everyone owned a home. You expected to stay with one company for your years and retire in a comfortable manner.

That would not be the expectations of a 30something person today. They are told to expect at least 13 job changes in their lifetime. As you can see from the chart above, right after housing, their biggest expense will be health care. Never saw that coming.

One of the up sides is technology. We have had 3 sleepover in the last three weeks and they all end up, the same way. Just before bedtime, we call mommy and daddy and siblings on the iPad and say, Goodnight. Even the dog gets in on the action. It is a wonderful time of laughter, I love you's and goodnights. Some things change for the better, think I will focus on those...