what do you believe...

You will never know how much you believe something until it is a matter of life and death. C.S Lewis

If you believe in Something, most of us will take that belief, pretty far out there. We will defend it, protect it and if done in an unhealthly way, lie about it.

There are obviously degrees, of beliefs. Some we believe until it has been proven to us, that it can not possibly be true. Some beliefs, when it concerns our families, we deny and refuse to see what it really is, even when it is right in front of you.

One can believe and still be honest. It isn't easy but it can be done. Our beliefs are formed from childhood, experience and environment. Some we carry to the grave, others move and shift. I could tell you at least 5 things that I have changed my mind about in the last couple of years. I could also say that being able to reverse a belief is part of being fluid which is Something I practice purposefully, every day. I believe in it, that feriously. With the same fierceness, I can also say that some of life's beliefs have roots that need to grow and some that need to be dug out. Trying to figure out which is which, is a life long Journey.

If you are or have ever been in a life and death situation, you know what it is like. This is where the Rubber meets the Road. Sink or swim, what you believe is where you live. Every choice is based on that belief. Every decision comes from that core belief. Good luck...


tethering - connecting one to another.

Found myself heartsick this morning, reading an email from one who needed a big hug. I can't get to her, she can't get to me. We share the Love of God, we both know He is here, no matter what but Sometimes, we all need to see/feel, Jesus with skin.

When someone feel helpless, when their faith has been crushed,and their hearts bruised, those of us who stand with them have the ability to stand in the gap. I immediately tethered her to me and I reached out, praising God for His Love. I have been where she is at and don't wish it upon my greatest enemy.

Fatih most certainly, waves and faints. The winds and sometimes, the tornadoes of life bend us until we think we can take no more. We are beaten down, branches on the ground. The scene is horrific. What we can't see is the roots. The roots, below the ground whose job it is to dig deep, to provide solid strength for when the winds come.

Invisible to the naked eye, we forget about the roots, who thrive in darkness and work around the clock, to steady the tree. When the winds come, and they always do, to each of us, we battle and it seems we are fighting a losing battle.

Hang on, your roots run deep
Hang on, it is not over.
Hang on, I know things don't look very good right now, but don't worry because I'm going to be alright...

you saw what?

I have always said that 5 miles in any direction of where I live, you can find an adventure. As we were going through the back roads, this tepee with its full field to do tepee-things magically, appeared. The house sits back from the road, overshadowed by the obvious meeting place.

A few miles down the road and you will find a plastic deer sitting on a front porch. Someone with a sense of humor or crazy nut job. I am not brave enough to walk up to the front door to ask. Some Stories should not be told.

I have plenty of those too. When a conversation was headed for a shareathon a while ago, I turned to DH and told him it was late enough and we were not drunk enough to tell The Story. He understood perfectly but I can imagine, sitting around the fire at Camp Tepee, with a little bit of liquid refreshment and the right crowd, and the Story being told. That I can imagine. We all have them, and we should all keep them to ourselves, mostly...

won't back down...

With Gage being sick last week, just waited for the next shoe to drop and that happened this morning. Miss M was up and was down for most of the day. Banjo came in to lend moral support, or just add more nap to his already-napful day.

In between naps and the fade periods, we talked. She had some questions about a project that she is putting together and I filled in the blanks as well as I could. Her task is for someone else. You can tell by the questions she asked that she has put much thought into her project. I most certainly donated to this worthy cause and when she can, she plans on soliting funds from her brothers too. I don't think she will need to be on Kickstarter to fund her idea. I think when those close to her, hear her plan, she may have more funds than what she needs.

When we see a reason. and make a plan, no isn't part of the equation. We expect some bumbs and bruises along the way but expect that and move on, as if the plan had a mind of its own. We rarely look back or fret. It is just a matter of time, before it all comes together.

We counted out her funds and she has $31.90 to date. She also showed me what she is thinking and it is swell. Better than swell, can't imagine what that might be but I can tell it is. It is a wonderful idea, built on prayers she has been thinking and saying out loud. Her questions today were not about money but on the technical side. Would said recipient be able to have something considering she is in a restrictive environment? Not exactly knowing the answer to her question, we decided that if she could not, then she could later. That seemed to take care of her concerns so moving forward on the Plan.

Looks like someone is going to have to stay home a second day and we will get to iron out more details tomorrow and I will be bring another donation. I just love it when a plan comes together!...

love the one you're with...

...the decision on how we choose to live this one short, precious life. The decision to stop hitting the snooze button. The willingness not to be good at things right away, to be clueless but committed; to make more messes and mistakes in the interest of living with spaciousness and a sense of presence; to find out who we truly are, who we were born to be, and to learn to love that screwed up, disappointing, heartbreakingly dear self of ours. Anne Lamott.

Does it seem to you that this whole willingness stuff, starts with ourselves?

It the reason we are stuck, does it start at our emotional front door?

Am I my best friend or my worst enemy?

I am finally at an age where I trust myself enough to do Something and if it turns out to the be the wrong decision, or a course correction needs to be made, I know I can do it. No more self condemnation or second guessing the first choice. If I have to say, I am sorry, please forgive me - I can and will. Old enough to know what I can live with and what I can't live with. My choices are not based on senority or favortism, they are based on what needs to be done, in the Moment.

I have come to an understanding about myself, I am just alright. Not perfect but kind, flexible and willing to help. Am I perfect? Far from it but I can live with that. When it counts, I hope to be the best I can be. That is all I can expect, and that, I can live with...

the bottom line...

Gage's class learned this poem and recite it every day at school. Not a bad way for any of us to start our day...


FACE IT, Nobody owes you a living
What you achieve or fail to achieve in your lifetime,
is directly related to what you do,
Or fail to do.
No one chooses his parents or childhood,
but you can choose your own direction.
Everyone has problems and obstacles to overcome,
but that, too, is relative to each individual.

You can change anything in your life,
if you want it badly enough.
Excuses are for losers:
Those who take responsibility for their actions
are the real winners in life.
Winners meet life’s challenges head on
knowing there are no guarantees,
and give it all they’ve got,
And never think it’s too late or too early to begin.
Time plays no favorites
and will pass whether you act or not.

Dare to dream and take risks…
If you aren’t willing to work for your goals,
don’t expect others to.



Not a big beauty person. Yesterday I spent $20 on a haircut and eyebrow treatment. The eyebrow ting cost 2 dollars more than the haircut. I am extremely happy with both. A little bit of hair color from Walmart and I am good for a long time.

Those women on House Hunters who choose a new home based on the size of their wardrobe, I do not understand. I have about 10 pair of shoes of which 99% are black. If you would look inside my closet, you would find black shirts and jeans. The shirts would be short-sleeved or long sleeved, depending on the season. Attempts have been made to alter my appearance, and they have all failed miserably. I have on occasion for Miss M wore pink, sorry if you missed it.

While my hubby will not go broke with my beauty and clothes leanings, he most certainly may with my electronics fixation. Now there is a reason to make sure, one has the best floor plan, one that will fit all and future electronics needs.

I still do not own an iPhone. I am with the only carrier that has decide to revolt. My iPad has convinced me that the iPhone is the perfect product but you better by the extended warranty. The iPad Mini is scheduled to be released next month, and I am all ears. This is where I shine.

Fashion Week, you have no hold on me. The perfect purse will be an life long quest but for now, we are good. You got to love a woman whose $9 haircut made her giddy. Beauty most certainly is in the eye of the beholder...


With in a six hour period, the circumstances that appeared in my Today, took me from potentially leaving for California as fast as I could, to getting a haircut and hugging my babies, very tightly.

You never know what any given day will bring, all you can do is be ready. Ready to shift, ready to let your plans, go. There is much flexability built into retirement but one must still be quick to pack, and leave on a Moment's notice.

For one who has no gypsy blood, it might take a bit more effort but I am learning. Walked into one of those quicky hair cut places and with the day's events still burning in my brain, shared the details with a couple stranger, even asked for her prayers, not knowing if she prayed or not. It didn't matter, we were two people who shared a few brief Moments and agreed to share with each other. Would this exchange have happened with the details? I have no idea, hope we don't have to have something Big before we interact with each other. That would be a true shame.

What will tomorrow bring? I don't have a clue but after a day like today, you can bet your bottom dollar - I am more prepared than I was yesterday...

never, ever give up...

I needed to see this sign today.

None of us have super powers. It is human to need to be reminded, that until it is over, there is hope. In the face of everything we see, feel, touch and know - those superpowers are self imposed, not given.

Our lives revolve in circles. The Stories that come our way, the people that we touch -all come into our world and become a part of our Story. There are several circles insdie my life right now, that need to heed the sign's advice. It is not about noting ever bad happening to us of those we love. It is about lving through those difficult times. It is about learning not to avoid the pitfalls of the Journey but how to go through them. It is about being brave and not cowardly, running away when it gets tough. It is about being there, no matter what.

Thanks Sign, not only for the words but the reminder that I am human...

ready to go...

It all started with a text at 914am.

Keaton, Whats Up?

As he would say later in the day, you've got to be bored to text your nana on saturday morning.

No offense, he would quickly add. None taken, and I meant it.

Through about a dozen text, it would seem that all three kids were available for a quick lunch. That is usually not the case, they are older now. Gage had two birthday parties to go to this weekend, Keaton has mowing duties and Miss M, has girl stuff. Luckily for me, all three were free for a bit so off we went.

Now that they are older, the choices are more difficult. Even choosing somewhere for lunch was not an easy process. Trying to find somewhere we could talk, Gage asked for no fast food, Mexican and Chinese were still fresh in their minds but we finally came to a meeting of the minds for FuddRuckers. For those of you who don't a FR close, it is a hamburger place where you get to pick your HB accessories, bottomless fries and the coolest soda fountain. It looks like some thing the Jetson family would get their Coke from. 12 kinds of Mello Yellow and 7 kinds of Caffeine Free Diet Coke, a first in my book.

We had a great lunch and got Gage back home in time to get ready for his party. Settled into watching the BSU game and picked him up a few hours later. First thing he asked was, What is the score? Was on the phone with Poppa and got to give him him an immediate update. He went to a birthday party for his friend when he would rather be home watcing the game. He made the time. He was ready to go, just like I was when there was a change of plan. Be flexible, be ready to go, always...

No, maybe, yes...

Fun Run. Isn't that an oxymoron? Would I ever run in a with a group of people who are in different genres of running, or not running at all, for no less, a season?

No, never, minus a gazillion. Whatever the lowest response is, that is where I come in on that question...but all of life is not lived in the Never. I know, finally I get it.

No, maybe, yes...

While I mostly run hot and cold, black and white, and even, yes and no - there is a Place for, No, Maybe, Yes.

It is usually not a single event for me. There are few times I have said no to something and then in my mind thought, maybe and even fewer times, yes. However, it has happened.

Rarely do I second guess my gut feeling which is always my first response. 80% of the time, I am good with whatever that choice was. It was made in the Moment and is always the way I would choose even 300 days Down The Road. Not always the right one but the one I can live with. The times I have gone into NMY mood immediately was for the wrong reason even if it made someone else happy. The times I changed my vote, after some deliberation, from No to Maybe to Yes, were choices that started with a no but were worth a shot at a do-over. Rarely have they been the wrong choice, even if it wasn't what I wanted to do. if it didn't hurt anyone, and might help someone, it was worth it.

Is this a good way to live? Don't know, it is the only way I know. Is it getter than living in a NMY constant state? I think so. Not every choice need that kind of scrutiny. Some need more, some less. Most of our problems come when we get those two camps mixed up. All hell breaks lose, for everyone.

I had to make a NMY choice today. I did not get the frozen yogurt at Costco. The choice was make over a bit of time. starting before I left for Costco and decided 2 hours later when I walked out with a Diet Coke instead. Baby Steps...

point made...

A while back, I talked about how Miss Sweet Tooth was no where to be found. She had disappeared, a feeling that I never experienced before and seemed to be a blessing in disguise. After weeks after she left, her brother, Mr I Will Never, Ever Have to Eat Another Bite, appeared, Again, this seemed like a dream, come true.

It would turn into a nightmare. I would lose 30 pounds in 6 weeks. I would wake up feeling way past full, not able to even drink 4 ounces of water, let alone, eat. What I always wished would happen, did, yet I was still not happy. Truth be told, I was petrified. Not sure how I would stop this runaway train, a colonoscopy an dmed change, turned everything around.

That experience will never be lost on me. Be careful for what you wish for, you just may get it.

How many other things have I wished for and thank God, were not given? We think we know it all, we think we know best. The If Only's that take over and try to soothe the aches of our minds. Now, Miss ST and her brother are back, stronger than ever but I see them in a new light. I am thankful for them. Not because they are familiar or predictable. I have new respect for them. We are making a new path together, on my part, there is no more wishing they would go away and never come back. I am trying to work with them, explain why their way may not be the best way. I am asking for their help and Sometimes, I am just telling them, no...


Most of us don't make our living on being able to solely on multitasking. This gentleman is the expection.

We all multitask at some time, on some level. It is built into the human condition. Some do it better than others, I would dare say that women do it not only better than men but have a broader range of being able to do tasks that are completely unrelated to each other. It is part of the Woman gene pool.

On the other hand, because men live more with easily with their emotions, and can seperate the important from the essential, perhaps with a bit more broad approach, they come in handy also.

I am sure I have offend both men and women with the two paragraphs above. Whilte there are always exceptions to every rule, generalities are what I am describing now.

All that to say this, learn what your strengths are. Don't worry if you can't keep up with your SIL or if your friend's house is always, always neat and tidy and she has kids too. You have been given what you need to start, and then along the Journey, you ask for more. If you run ahead, trying to do in all on your own, you may run into trouble. Baby Steps, if you understand that you can never run ahead and get an extra grip, or whatever you are looking for, then when the Bad Things come, you understand the concept of asking for more. We humans were never meant to store up tasks, emotions and dare I say, most anything. Look at a child, they live in the Moment. We lose that skill as we grow up. We need to be reminded every day. There are Times and Places for thinking about the Big Picture, for today all we need is for this very Moment and while it might seem that surely, we have enough to get through this day, I think that would be thinking that might not hold water.

Today, I am doing ok. DH has a temporary, part time job with long hours. The first few days, I wanted him to quit and stay home with me. I had gotten use to him being here. Monday, I need some new skills because what I was doing, was not working. New skills asked for and thought process changed. Will get through this couple of months and get on with retirement. Funny, how we can unlearn what we would have sworn was ingrained...


Anyone who was 10 years old on 911 will always remember where they were and what they were doing that fateful day. For Frank Culbertson, it is especailly true.

The only American not on earth on 911, was Frank Culbertson. He was with 2 Russian Astronauts at the international Space Station. This is how his recollection of that unforgettable day.

I had just finished a number of tasks this morning, the most time-consuming being the physical exams of all crew members. In a private conversation following that, the flight surgeon told me they were having a very bad day on the ground. I had no idea...

He described the situation to me as best he knew it at ~0900 CDT. I was flabbergasted, then horrified. My first thought was that this wasn't a real conversation, that I was still listening to one of my Tom Clancy tapes. It just didn't seem possible on this scale in our country. I couldn't even imagine the particulars, even before the news of further destruction began coming in.

Vladimir came over pretty quickly, sensing that something very serious was being discussed. I waved Michael into the module as well. They were also amazed and stunned. After we signed off, I tried to explain to Vladimir and Michael as best I could the potential magnitude of this act of terror in downtown Manhattan and at the Pentagon. They clearly understood and were very sympathetic.

I glanced at the World Map on the computer to see where over the world we were and noticed that we were coming southeast out of Canada and would be passing over New England in a few minutes. I zipped around the station until I found a window that would give me a view of NYC and grabbed the nearest camera. It happened to be a video camera, and I was looking south from the window of Michael's cabin.

The smoke seemed to have an odd bloom to it at the base of the column that was streaming south of the city. After reading one of the news articles we just received, I believe we were looking at NY around the time of, or shortly after, the collapse of the second tower.

As he signed off, Culbertson reflected, "I miss all of you very much."


in 12 days, it will official be fall. Every warm day after that should remind us of why some of us love it so.

It never occurs to me that winter is on its way, that is one of the lovely side effects of fall. I am lost in the color, the breeze and the smells of fall that cold, and snow are on its way may be in the back of my mind but never affect the euphoria, that is fall.

Time for hay rides at Linder Farms. picture of the kids in the pumpkin patch, hot cocoa, slippers, reading in front of the fireplace, chili and feeling the wind in your face. When you walk outside, the hot dry air that comes roarin gat you is replaced by wind and falling leaves.

There are few things in life that affect us the way weather does. Those who love winter have very little in common with those of us who would prefer to hibernate for the entire season. I love that there is a Place of each of us. We don't have to agree, or participate but there is a lot to be said for encouragement and respect. Winter People, I love you.

non profit...

DH and I were talking the other day about if things we would like to do if we had means and he said he thinking Non-profit insurance.

I loved his idea. I'm thinking cars, houses - later on, I would find out he meant, medical insurance.

Whether a church, business or even personal finances, your base drives what you do. It is about money. If money is not an issue, the rules of the game can be different. If you don't need to generate an income, how would your model change?

We all need to make money to do what we need to do but after that, whatever that looks like to each of us, what have we sacrificed in mind, body and spirit. If money is not the motivator, what would our personal model look like. If we could think outside the box with no concern for our well-being tied to it, what would our lives looks like? How would they affect others? Could and would we do more for each other?

If we were not so busy chasing our own tails, worring about how we are going to pay for this and that, how would that change the world? The truth is money is a short term and long term motivater. It is a constant in each of our worlds. Are we better people when it is not part of Something we are involved in? Can we look at our lives and see what ratio we live in profit and nonprofit? What ratio should it be? Should it be lopsided? Should we forget about winning the lottery and and do small things?

I love talking photos and when I got my first DSLR, is was about taking photos of my grandkids. Then the thought occured to me, I could make money taking photos of other peoples kids,and gks. The whole process changed, and I had to look at it from a business stand point. After a while, my focus changed. Was I willing to be available on a Saturday afternoon at 430PM when that was the only time a customer could get the whole family together? For me, that price was too high to pay. I went back to taking photos when and where I wanted to. With that change, also came a change in focus. Anytime you add or subtract the issue of money, the focus changes. It has to, and we must each decide on many different levels, where we want to focus. I admit, I would rather live in the non profit world all the time but that is not reasonsable but what is reasonable it understanding that we have a choice and that we exercise that choice. Make it your own...


Headphones saved me as a child.

It would be high school before I would discover them but I digress. The summer of my beginning descent into junior high, would bring chicken pox. It also brought music via a transistor radio. My life would never be the same. That summer, with nothing to do but scratch, introduced me to a lifelong love of the All Things, Rock and Roll. Later, when the headphones were brought into the mix, I had found my utopia. Johnny Mathis, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, the hours spent by myself with the music took me out of the unthinkable and into the wonderland.

Have been a fan every since. Years ago, I spent $100 on a set of Bose headphones. They are still my go to headphones today. Must admit, I have a small collection. I carry Apple buds, for the kids (they hurt my ears!) and a black pair of SkullCandy's for me. There are some sort of earpieces in most every room, you never know when you might need them. For Ted Talks on the iPad, they are fabulous. Garrison Keillor on Saturday afternoons, you will never miss a joke. Solitary Moments that allow me to come out and share.

DH and I have listened to a few high end sets of phones and might splurge Someday. Not sure if headphones are a introvert sort of thing, I hope not. There is just Something about the focus or a song, a talk - Something personal and refreshing. Something that soothes the soul and allows one to catch up with life and put it in perspective. Used them last night for a Ted Talk and the creative juices were flowing afterwards. Sometimes, it is the smallest of things that give us the biggest return...

the internet...

We have two Papa Steve's in our family. One, I promised would not be on the internet with a potato between his knees. To the other one, I made no such promise.

The internet is a wonderful and scary place. It seems like one has to take a lot in, then decide what to keep and what not to keep. In theory, we would get better and better at this but there is also an element that keeps giving us, less and less of the of what we need.

Still it is out there, here are a few of the Places that I have been hanging out at lately.

Snapstagram - great little site that will take photos off Instagram and sends you a roll of 12 prints for $6. I know, I know, I don't have a smart phone either but you can still upload your nice, from your computer photos and have them printed in a square format. Have done 2 rolls and I am hooked.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee - Thursday nights are CCGC night around here. We gather around the iPad and watch Jerry Seinfeld and guest talk about...nothing while riding around in a cool car and having coffee at the local coffee shop. I would love to do this in Real Life and I look forward to every Thursday night.

Storyline - Have been waiting for Don Miller's new book to come out, tomorrow is the day. I firmly believe that each of us has a Story to tell and that we each should tell ours. Don't compare your Story to someone else's. It's not interesting enough, it is too plain - your family needs to hear your Story, no matter what because they will see themselves because they are a part of you. Going to see about maybe putting a little study group together and encouraging each other to see the validity in telling our, own Stories.

As with everything, there is a good and bad side. The internet has changed our lives, the iPad is now, a part of our lives. Knowing how to balance it is the hard work and one, we will must do. It is a new Day, a new way to do things, a new way to think. Throw in a bit of laughter, not a bad way to live...

women and crowns...

I have not been shy about my feelings about women. My first experience was a bad one and lasted until almost my 17th birthday. Little did I understand that it would be still affect me for many years and therapy would be needed to come to terms with it.

In my late 20's, with the advent of going to church, I began to be open to women-type things. Retreats, lunches and other church lady stuff. Never quite comfortable until at a women's retreat, one who would become a dear friend of mine, told me to gear down 10 years ( women who were 10 years younger than me). That advice has proved to be invaluable, through the years. Totally, changed my life.

Except for one, all my girlfriends have come through church. They have filled in the blanks I have missed over the years. Having to play catch up was not Something I saw coming but when you miss a whole chapter in your life, that is Something you have to remedy.

So here I am, barely into my 60's and finding that there are still lessons are, to be learned.

It is alright to be a girl.
It is alright to be a princess.
It is very good to be Queen, of your family.

To me, the lesson is clear. Not only are you the one to whom will defend and fight for your family, you are not one to be messed with. I always thought the crown sent a message of not being serious by it just may be the opposite and that is Something I certainly agree we. Mess with my family, and you will have me and the crown, to answer too. Enter at your own risk...

Smith Summer Olymipcs...

Spent yesterday at the most fun party! Aunt Bebe had us all join in in Carry A Pototo Between Your Legs And Drop It In The Bucket. There was also the Hula Hoop, two at a time so we could each show off your talent, or lack of. It was a wonderful day of family fun and the neighbors, two doors down, ending the night with a live band and there were some smooth moves going on in our yard.

It was such a joy to share this time with kids and Big Kids. Our world doesn't come by it naturally. Aunt Bebe loves her iPad as much as I do but she understands the idea of community, on a greater level. Even the dog, joined in on the fun and as usual, we are told, it will take her several days to recuperate from having the cousins over. but she wouldn't have it any other way.

Some by blood, some by marriage, we are family. We share the joys and the pain. There is laughter, galore. 280 photos later, one can relive the day. The smiles on the the kid's faces, the yummy food, the Stories sharing - Naked in the Northwest. What a day! Thank you, Aunt Bebe, we could not have had a better time!