We all have them and mostly, we can tell you a Story that goes with each one. Rich in detail, we are proud of the slings and arrows of Outrageous fortune and will gladly all kinds of insight.

Here is a head that has many Stories to tell but perhaps because the scars are visible only on the external, it may appear not as interesting as a personal wounds. This helmet may have saved more than one, trips to the local emergency room. He is hard on life, the idea of serious injury is left to us, who do enough worrying for all of us.


Your iPhone/Pad/Pod carries around your music history. There is much to learned about someone from their music, tons. The same can be said about your library. That is the reason that I have the ZD Memorial Library. If anyone wants to know about me, spend a few moments crusing through the five bookshelves and you will have a pretty good picture of who I am by who I have read.

The same can now be said of your Google history. What you are thinking, what is going on in your everyday life, it is all on Google. More accurate than a checkbook register, it can account for whatever was going through your mind, at any given time. Here is mine for the last few days.

bose mobile speaker
tallbone pain exercises
the yummy life blog
pool sofa float
plant based diet
container gardening
facebook ipo
reel theater

Does that not give you information that you would never have known otherwise? Thinking we may want to document this somehow. Never one to do anything the conventional way, what better way to give someone, the full monty - so to speak. Forget, this is the Real Deal...


We live in the boonies, or at least what use to be. DH's aunt tells us that her and her first husband's dairy, is where our house stands now. The cemetary less than a 1/2 mile is living proof to that. Surrounded by houses and one of three high schools, I imagine the city planners never thought that we would all share this cozy space together.

Maybe we have never been home at 11AM on Memorial Day in the last 14 years. This year, as I headed to town, the streets, in both directions, were wall to wall cars. A celebration of those who fought and gave their lives for our country, stood at attention, listening intently.

I have never attended a Memorial Day service. My father and grandfather were veterans but the holiday was always celebrated with picnics. I can remeber thinking as a kid that Memorial Day was for all people who had died, I was an adult before I learned differently. I hope the next generation doesn't forget and will take the responsibility to continue to honor because of people like Marine Sgt. William Stacey.

He was on his fourth deployment when he was kileed by a homemade bomb in Afghanistan earlier this year. He had written a letter to his family that was to be read in the event of his death. It was read during a Memorial Day service in Afghanistan yesterday by Marine General John Allen.

My death did not change the world, it may be tough for you to justify its meaning at all. But there is a greater meaning to it.

Perhaps I did not change the world. Perhaps there is still injustice in the world. But there will be a child who will live because men left the security they enjoyed in the home country to come to his. And this child will learn in the news schools that have been built. He will walk his streets not worried about whether or not his leader's henchman are going to come and kidnap him. He will grow into a fine young man who will pursue every opportunity his heart could desire. He will have the gift of freedom, which I have enjoyed for so long.

If my life buys the safety of a child who will one day change the world, that I know it was all worth it.

Semper Fidelis means always faithful,. Always faithful to God, Country and Corps. Always faithful to the principles and beliefs that guided me into the service. And on that day in October when I placed my hand on a bible and swore to defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, I meant it. Marine
Sgt. William Stacey.

From his mouth to God's ear...

pomp and circumstance...

Maybe we need to attend a graduation every year, whether we know someone or not. It is good for the soul to be refreshed with the reminder that some have reached a milestone in their lives and are starting on a new path. As humans, we all need that reminder, that a a few bars of Pomp and Circumstance. Everytime I hear that song, I remember myself on the night.

Fresh, full of hope for new beginnings. A sense of accomplishment, a job well done and now, out into my forever Life. After graduation night and an all nighter at Disneyland, the glare of that job well done, started to dim and the idea of a Real job, became louder than loud. My father was starting over with a new family, and I was kicked out of the nest. Little did I know that in four months, my mother would be dead by her own hand. What a way to start one's new forever.

We all know it turned out fine, better than fine. There would be many, many twists and turns but in the end, it was all good.

My Commentment Speech to Miss Zalaine Daniels, Class of 1969, Pacifica High School, Garden Grove, California.

The Real World is out there waiting for you, I know you are thrilled with your new found freedom but it will be tough. Job, college, where to live - all seem pretty glamorous choices and you, my friend, will have to make them all. Some things will be out of your control. Respond the best you can at the age you are. Look forward to making better choices everyday, as your life experiences change you. You will make mistakes, count on it, just don't make the same ones, twice.

I am rooting for you my friend, I have got your back. Now, go get em...

day 37...

About all I can focus on these days is how in 37 days, my life is making a big shift. Maybe the biggest ever. Isn't the chnage that is in front of you, always the biggest one?

Believe me, I am in full control of my multiple,mental personalities and to think that it will be all fun and games in 37 days, is not what I am thinking. There will be adjustments to be made. Compromise will become necessary 24/7 with no 8-5, days a week, breaks.

Maybe the idea of fun comes because I have an almost 15 year, head start on him. I have learned how to have fun and the experience has been the best thing, ever. Yes, two months after retirement, I found out I was going to nana and because of his work schedule, he has lived vicarously through me. No, we talk about taking day trips with the kids or just heading over at 10pm on a warm, summer night to go to Sonic for a Coke.

There will be head butting days.
There will be days, we will just have to stay out of each other's way.
Nothing can, always be fun.

That is the thing about fun. It comes and it goes but if you can see it, in the Moment...what a gift that is. I am planning on many, many fun days. Ready or not, here we come...


As an child and a grownup, I have had many pets. Mostly dogs, there is nothing quite like a dog to feel mighty loved. I understand there was a pekingese in the house when I was brought home from the hospital that needed some coaxing and some watching because of her one person attactment to my mother but sounded like, she finally came around.

Growing up, we had Gypsy. A type of heeler was her heritage and we had her for a bit but she magically disappeared. Later, we would learn that everytime my father was in the yard with us, she would bite him. Seems like we had her a long time, but like most things in childhood, they always look bigger and seem longer and you remember better than they really were.

Dogs are probably man's best friend. There is just Something. Fond memories of Ling Ling, Malcolm, Murphy and Miss Sadie. These days, we are pet free. Not because we don't want pets but these days as DH said last week, a dog is a luxury. He is spot on. If you have a pet, you better have a pet 401K. My sister has spent thousands of dollars on vet bills for her cat/cats, over the years. They don't have children so I get that. Before the kids got Banjo, they would suggest almost everytime we saw them, that we get a dog. Finally I told them, I can spend money on you or a dog, not both...There was no dog talk after that.

Everytime I see Banjo, it is like being loved by a four grandchild. I have to stop, pick him up, love on him before he can calm down. As I walk up to the house, I can hear him barking like crazy, knowing that soon he will be jumping around my ankles, looking for some Love.

Some big Love for all the animals that have come across my journey. You guys all taught me something with your love and devotion. Thank you, and for Banjo, thanks for all the love these days - poppa and I heart you too!


The calendar doesn't say summer. Not for a long while but the air outside does. It doesn't take much heat to allow one to think that a little bit of Beach Boys music is in order and watermelon goes on the menu while spaghetti goes back in the vault.

Raised in Southern California, the line between seasons is a bit blurry. Never seeing snow until I was 18, was a big deal. Still is. That is why summer here is Something to so look forward to. Sometimes we ease in into it, like this year and sometimes, boom - it is here one day and doesn't leave until late fall. We finished with soccer last weekend and the car is filled with coats, blankets, an umbrella and sunscreen. Never knowing what to expect, we were prepared for any and all things.

When the warm of the sun, spreads across your face, there is nothing quite like it. Laying on your back on a colorful blanket, looking up at the sky, seems like the most natural thing ever and just like riding a bike, you never forget how. The flip flops have been out for quite a while and no matter what the weather, have made a stand that no matter what, they are here to stay. Nothing quite like sitting in a warm car with a cold drink, jus ttaking in the sun. Nothing. So summer 2012, go ahead, whatever your agenda is for this year, we are ready. No longer in fight and flight mode, we are here no matter what you decide to do, we are here for the long haul.

It is suppose to start raining early in the week and probably ruin our chances of a Memorial Day trip to Sumpter, Oregon. It would not be the first time. We have taken the chance, made the 2 1/2 hour drive, got out of the car and right back in, to drive the 2 1/2 hours back. A memorable trip for all the wrong reasons. Looks like we will have to make the next one on June 30th. That is 40 days from now. How do I know? Retirement is the June 29th and the summer of 2012 will offically start for us. Summrt lovin, indeed.

your precious self...

Sometimes you’re not blocked, you’re empty. Anne Lamott.

While my camera is never far, my digital scrapping seems to have gone by the wayside. A combination of style change and not knowing what to do with that. It is about product and when you are not using anyone's product, you are left, galleryless. With Facebook and trying to keep up in the galleries of my digi family, I feel wiped out. Like I can't take type another Like, that too much time and brain power is needed that I can seem to muster.

Maybe it is because in 42 days, life changes. With retirement for DH, my life changes too. It is summer and all that comes with that glorious season. Being able to take off to go fishing, or grab the grandbabies to frolic and picnic, I find time is yanking me in two directions.

Maybe Anne is right, it is not about trying to find my mojo but I am empty, right now. I never thought of it like that. Always have discussions on the scrapping boards about where did inspiration go and how does one find it? What if it is not to be found? What if it is just a waiting game?

At least I can put a face to what I have been feeling. When a photo with a word of explanation is all that makes me happy, time to pay attention and stop trying to make excuses. It is what it is. Go with the flow, whatever it may look like and don't worry. That may very well be true...


I have not always been a big believer in miracles. If anything, life experiences had proved, to the contrary. There have been Moments of clarity where where a miracle could not be denied. Getting married, having my baby, then grand babies but the idea of a these being a miracle always came in hindsight during one of Those Moments.

It has probably been the last 10 years that miracles have become the norm in my life. Now, I see miracles as they happen, I recognize them. They are not always the Big Moments, where lives are saved or changed. They come slowly and quietly. Even bigger than the miracles themselves is the idea that not only are they possible, but part of the Big Plan. They come unexpectedly and you have to be ready for them. They may come in a face, a conversation or even an app.

The game of Yahtzee is my current teacher. I have done it many times. Last play, last roll - I am losing and here it comes. A perfect roll where everything is comes together. Yesterday was one of those days. There is was, when I needed it most. I smiled big, not because I had won but because it just showed me again, anything is possible. Maybe it will, maybe it won't but it is possible. I was reminded of that again a few plays later, when the same thing happened to my opponent, Flavius. I would rather lose to the wonderfully, beautiful Mai or the marvelously wise, Sensei. Flavius is always telling me to, Relax. When it happens to Mai or Sensei, I am so happy for them, Flavius, not so much. When that changes, we will have a real miracle on our hands...


Stubborn - refusing to move or change one's opinion.

To be of stubborn stock, makes one destined to live a life that is way harder than it need be. To be immovable, to hunker down and refuse, to be like a donkey, is nothing to be proud of. Making a more difficult life by being unflexible sounds like something that no one would embrace yet... you would be wrong. Being of semi-sound mind and body, I will readily admitted that I am a member of this club. I may even be the treasurer or secretary. Ok, maybe vice-president but never, ever...ok, I could be president. I come from a long line of difficult people and am sure, have passed the torch to a few more.

Stubborn...I would never wish it on my worst enemy.

I learned first hand last week how, once again, being stubborn not only didn't pay off but cost me about 6 weeks of time. Once I gave in, the answer was very simple, the results were lighting fast and once again, I stand, shaking my head, wondering what I was thinking. That might just be the point, I wasn't. Would like to think I will remember this lesson, Down The Road but am smart enough to know, I will have to learn it again and again but that is the value of being stubborn. We never take the Road Most Traveled....No, we have to take our own road and because of that - it will always be a bit, rocky...

right between the eyes...

I am a Expect The Best, Preparded For The Worst kind of girl. I know I have at least a 50/50% chance of things going ok with a better than 20% chance of it going, splendidly but my eye is always, always - on the bottom line.

I go through any given day, praying for people I will never meet, for situations that will never happen, yet live in a world where change is constant and inevitable. So yesterday, I am minding my own business and I find a book Gage has written. He has drawn illustations to Louis Armstrong's song, What a Wonderful World.

I stopped. I needed to see the world through his eyes. I needed this before I could take another step.

Every once in a while, life becomes crystal clear...


One of the last things Dr Tim talked about in class before his summer hiatus was the idea of being transparent. That instead of WWJD or trying to be like Jesus, that we become more and more transparent and let God show through us. It is the perfect picture of what our lives should look like. Easy to say, hard to do.

Not growing up in the Church Universal, I was instantly sucked into the idea that Doing was the way to making God happy. The more I did, the happier He would be. I was good at it, really good. When Doing is your goal, all you have to do is produce, over and over again. Over the years and after much unlearning, I no longer see many things as I once did. No longer is the church, complete with building, people, events and schedules my ideal of what God's church looks like....Whereever 2 or 3 are gathered, that is my idea of church now. Whereever and whoever, no group singing or handshaking required.

The art of being transparent will be a Journey we will travel, everyday of our lives. To risk what you think you need to do, to be still long enough to let Him shine through, goes against our need to do. There will always be Places To Do, where a word, gesture in the form of a little Love will be the right thing. When we stop getting our jollies from doing, when we stop patting ourselves on the back for the great work we are doing, when we are ok with being used instead of using, we may be on the right track. We can do many things that are good and wonderful, for the wrong reasons. Whether to make ourselves feel better or bigger. Whether we think we know what Jesus is like and spend our lives, imitating Him or we are willing to let ourselves fade into the background, taking no thought of reward or warm fuzzies. It will always be our choice, always...

Mother's Day...

I totally disagree with one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott about Mother's Day. She feels the same way about Valentine's Day.

It celebrates the great lie about women: That those with children are more important than those without.

This time, I really think she missed the point. If she wants to debate Hallmark and's involvement in the retail push of Mother's Day, then I would wholeheartedly, agree. We spend billion of dollars every year, trying to prove our love. While it is a wonderful thing to get a card from your grown daughter and grandchildren, written with their very own little hands, it is not about the physical proofs.

It is also not about being better. There are plenty of people who can and do have children, that shouldn't. Being part of this particular club is hit or miss. If you follow this line of thinking, I should be crushed every Martin Luther King's Day, or Father's Day. We can not be in everything. Some clubs we are a part of, and some we are not. While we experience, participate and spread ourselves, many different lies, these holidays are not about being bette3r or worse.

Every one of us came into this world with a mother, whether you know, have met, hate or loved her. It is a universal experience we all share. The details of each experience however, vary wildly. If there is a lie told, it has to be about not being honest about the loving concept of motherhood. It is not all about flowers and love. For some of us, it is about terror and fear. This was our first human connection. It is where we learn to trust, to feel love. If this didn't happen, Mother's Day will never be a Day of Feeling Important. Never.

We had a great day. Lunch and then, off to feed the geese at the park. Little things that mean the world and the importance of being greatful, that is what it is important...


While mainly I consider myself a convertible-type person, my life journey has contained multiple vehicle types. At different times, different terrian, it is not a straight away path. There are bumps, those pesky speed bumps meant to slow you down. We have to have them because most of us have to be reminded to slow down. Over and over and over again.

Mother's Day is another one of those paths where we may have to change vehicles, often. As our kids grow, we have to keep peddling to keep up. Knowing which way to go is tough if you aren't able to keep up. Sometimes, we need a Hummer. We need to be able to keep up, no matter how much a gallon it is costing us. Sometimes,we can afford to slow down and enjoy the view with the darlins.

Whether you are a mother or have/had one, we all share this universal maternal experience. This is our first experience with a human when we are born, and our life-long journeys are defined by this one experience. Where ever you find yourself today, try to see the Big Picture. Bask in the love of a good mother or be better than was done to you. Get on your bicycle and keep on peddling, knowing you are the best woman you can be...


It is hard to un-know things. Guard your innocence. Donald Miller.

How many times as adults, do we protect ourselves? We spend a huge amount of time protecting our kids, gradnkids, friends and just about anyone else you comes across our path. We act like we are invincible, like we don't need innocence protection because, we have already, seen it all.

The older I get, the less sure I am about that.

Wikipedia describes innocence as, a term used to indicate a lack of guilt, with respect to any kind of crime, sin, or wrongdoing.

Learning is a good thing. We should be students, every day of our lives. But what do we need to learn and what do we not need to learn? Are we learning the wrong things? Every bit of knowledge we take in, isn't the truth. Where and how do we protect ourselves? Can I still be innocent at my age and what does that look like.

Makes me hope I haven't seen it all.
Makes me understand that un-knowing gets harder, the older you get.
Makes me understand, learning isn't just about taking it all in...


At any given Moment, we are on the verge of a new discovery. New to us but not to the world. Many have already discovered it, we are just late to the party.

How did we miss it?
Where has this been all my life?
Why did no one tell me?

It can be anything, from soup to nuts. A few weeks ago, my girl mentioned that these particular corn chips were the best, just like Chapala. Since I love Chapala's chips, I took her up on her offer to sample them. I have not looked back and Juanita's Chips are now a staple in my pantry. They are light, crisp and salty. The perfect chip. When picking up a few more bags last weekend, I shared this new found knowledge with the cashier at Walmsrt. She said she has heard that before but had not tried them yet.. Hope she tries them soon, she is most certainly, missing out.

Gage is having this same experience with UA. It is a line of clothing that has an appeal with outdoorsy people. DH has used it for years in the winter. Climbing around on railroad cars during the winter is nightmare and even more so in the middle of the night. Those days are now gone but the UA is still looks great and is going strong.

Gage doesn't ask for much so when he asked repeatedly this weekend to go on an Under Armour shopping trip, his mom obliged. We hit Sports Authority Sunday afternoon and hit the mother lode of UA items. He now has a collection of shirts, shorts, socks and sandals. He let it be known if we find UA underwear and a hat, he was vertainly open to having those too. Just like the chips, you can't have too much of this new and marvelous thing.

His birthday is toward the end of August. It will be interesting to see if he wants a winter warerobe of UA. Will not buy ahead, I learned my lesson for good. It is hard to tell but the one thing that is for certain, there will be many, many photos this summer of Gage in his favorite. It will always be known as the Summer of UA and Juanita's Chips. That is just the way it is...

there's an app for that...

What if God had his own App store where everything was free? What apps would be on your iBrain device?

Here's is a few of mine.

Is the Garage Door closed? This might be up in front. This would change my life if I didn't feel the need to go around the block and make sure the garage door was closed. It would save much time. A lot of time.

Why am I Considering Making This Choice that I Know isn't a Good One? You have mulled it over in your mind. You know it is not the right thing to do, are not ready to let go. You are fully aware of the consequences but are still trying to find a way to justify it.

12 cookies won't kill me. This app might help you understand, the incorrectness in that thought process.

I have a million more. How great would it be to just cruise around for the app you need, at any given Moment? At the hospital and need some assistance, there is an app for that. The thing is, maybe we already have everything we need to to make the tough decisions, accept the heartbreak and know what step to take next. There will always be a Way that looks greener but if you already have what you need, maybe greener isn't the way to go. There is an app, I could get into...

living the gray...

The truth is, most of life is lived in the gray. While we each have our black and white issues and they range in degree,and swing wildly from person to pserson. Shaped by family history and personal experience, we all still have huge blocks of life that have no absolute answers. We have to continue to shift, squirm and fake it until we make it.

With no manual to help led the way, we take the information we do have,and mix it with a healthy dose of what we think. The power to be fluid is an absolute essential. There is a Time to be precise, a time to be black and white. That may look different to each of us and even shift within our own lives but that is only about 25% of our lives. The rest is in that gray area, where we do the best we can because we are not afraid to think outside the box, to be out of our own, comfort zones. It is scary and crazy and at any given time, you can't be positive if you are right or wrong but that is part of the journey. Living the gray in the Real World, takes courage and commitment. I have seen many of you do it and I take heart, that I am able to follow suit...

a long, long time ago...

I have thought about this photo all week. Took me a while to find it but there it was, in the Hummer folder in 2006. Gage was three and had an unnatural Love for Hummers. So one day, I packed him up and headed to the Hummer dealer. I took this while I looked for a salesman. I needed someone that would understand that while there would be no sale from us that day, this was an awesome opportunity to throw a little car love our way.

After explaining that a Real Love for Hummers had brought us here, what we were asking was to let a little boy, climb around the car of his dreams and that, he got to do. He was told to pick out any one he wanted. How do you pick from 20 Hummers? Finally, the yellow one won him over and he crawled over every inch of that motor vehicle. He wasn't rushed and when he had enough of the new car smell, we were off for ice cream.

That was 6 years ago. When I asked him the other day what he was listening to on his Nano, he told me what his latest fav was. Every time I see K, G or Miss M, I always ask about what is going on in their heads. Music, apps, sports, fingernail polish. We still take these field trips. Keaton is all about the City. He loves the feel of urban life. Gage is my football guy. We had an in depth convo about the NFL Draft this week. I researched it before our talk and he was quite impressed that he didn't have to explain very much to me. As for Miss M, she is into much of what the brothers, as she calls them, are. She loves their music and can keep up with them, step by step. She knows the song lyrics as well as they do but still likes her girl things.

When I look back at this photo, it reminds me of what is important. To honor the little things, to make time for what seems would be impossible. It also reminds me, that listening may be one of the most important things we can do for each other. Sorry dude, they don't make Hummers any more but wait until I introduce you to a Porsche 911. We would look so cool in that on your 21st birthday! I can hardly wait...

following rules...

Some of us are better at it than others. Whether it is Somewhere you excel or not, the truth is - we all need rules.

We, the human race, you and me, all of us. We need some kind of guide, we have proven over and over and over again,left to our own devices, it is not a pretty picture.

Even with rules, because of where we each believe the spectrum of the authority of rules lie, we still have big problems. As a society, there are many reasons that even with rules, we fail. Why are these common sense lessons, not capable of being applied to each of us? From big to little, from minor to major with a bit of common sense throwm in for good measure.

If it isn't yours, don't take it.
Stop before the light is red.
Park between the lines in a parking lot.

Even this duck has better sense than some humans. Do the best you can with what you have. Make a good choice, at least more often than not...

david and Goliath...

From Max Lucado, Facing Your Giants...

Skinny, scrawy david
Bulky, brutish Goliath.

The toothpick verses the tornado.
The minibike attacking the eighteen-wheeler.
The toy poodle taking on the rottweiller.

Your Giant doesn't carry a sword or a shield, he brandishes blades of unemployment, abandonment, sexual abouse or depression.
Your Giant doesn't parade up and down the hills of Elah, he prances thorough your office, your bedroom, your classroom. He brings bills, you can't pay, grades, you can't make, people, you can't please, whiskey(insert favorite vice here), you can't resist....a past, you can't shake and a future, you can't face

Where is your focus? That is where your battle is. Is it time to change the focus to what you have, to what you believe? To be grateful for what you are and to know you are so much better than cowering in the corner, waiting for the Giant to take you out? Time to fight back - will it change the outcome? Maybe not, but it will change your journey...