Dear 62,

You are officially, now here. Unofficially, you and I have been trading spit for a few months. Jumping through all the SS hoops but maybe more importantly, getting ready mentally. It is hard to wrap my brain around the fact that there are more years behind me than in front of me. You are much better than your cousin, 60 was. She was a killer and would not even meet me halfway. Her way or the highway ,was how she put it.

You are a kinder, gentler soul. You are making the day a bit brighter. Dare I say I have learned a few things, or maybe just decided they were true or worth looking into. God is more of who he says he is, I can see more and more of His touch. His promise isn't to make all the bad go away, but walk with him. Coming to Him later in life, I somehow picked up the idea that he would take care of it all the Bad Stuff and by that I mean, make it go away. Silly girl, he never promised that. I was following the wrong trail, going down the rabbit hole.

Look forward to my year with you. You are a swell gal, starting today - it is you and me, Girl...Love zalaine


She read this from a little piece of yellow pad paper. She had come across her Path and she just wanted to share.

The Story of every Christian is the story of a powerful intervention by a gracious God.
The Christian Story is not a Story of moral self-improvement or mental discipline or the cultivation of religious habits or tasks.
We are not saved by the quality of our character or the purity of our devotion or the frequency of our confession or the diligence grace of our charity.
No, we were dead. And God made us alive...

I asked if I could keep the piece of paper. Not only strong words but it was written in her all too familiar handwriting. I have read several time a day since I got it, and it reminds me each time, that I am loved. Period...

Hardwired, we all come with Something. Whether the color of your eyes, or the texture of your hair - there are some things about us that do not change with experience or environment.
The rest is up for grabs. The rest is the hard part. The rest will be with you for all your days. This side of Heaven, we will struggle, cry, scream, deny, and we will be changed. Sometime of our own choosing, and sometime, not. We get to choose two we react, we get to choose if want to continue on. Gratitude brings that small voice who would have one give up, say no. I am going no further. Gratitude forces us to look at the Big Picture. It is a picture filled with hope, and love, and even more. Look around today for yours, it is there for the asking. It is worth it, and then some...

Life in the fast lane...

This year, it feels like I am being dragged by the skin of my teeth. There seems to be a big push to get to Christmas, it feels like it has been going on since October. Not a fan.

I am still in my fall mode, the colors are at the end of their season yet I got this gem today. The sun was shining and felt warm on my back as I shot up to the sky. The yellow, blue and red Moment was there for the taking and I most certainly did. Christmas has been on the retail shelves, right along Halloween and Thanksgiving, to where I almost don't notice it. It is already in full bloom. We are now shopping on Thanksgiving Day, no time to digest our turkey. They say that Black Friday may be a thing of the past. The cashier at Walmart told me when she asked her mom about Thanksgiving plans she told her, she was going shopping so they are doing their own thing. Sad, isn't it?

I don't like being shoved and pushed.
I don't like being told when and where.
I can't imagine tripping over Thanksgiving to get to Christmas.
Not now, not ever...

Thankfulness journey 2013...

Part of learning to be available and fluid, is you never know where it is going to lead you. I had an idea of what I wanted my 30 days of Thankfulness to look like this year, but we have gone completely off my chartered course.

This year, I am no posting my daily thoughts on what I am thankful for one any particular day. This year, I am keeping it close to the vest. Not sure why, but some years are like that. This one is leading me to take photos and to study them. Several had brought me to my knees. The detail, the single focus seem to be the theme. To see what I see, and not always looking to what is ahead. It is all about the photos this year and if you know me, I really am not much of a landscape photographer. I prefer people, people doing things and not looking at me. The whole street photo thing but this year, the leaves and the buds, are speaking to me. I am going to go with the flow, travel down its highway with all the dips, turns and wherever it takes me. I have the time, I have the ability and I am, the least bit curious...

creative traffic jam...

The location that we chose to take DD and her friend's family photos needed a traffic light, last Sunday. Touted by the weather liars as the last nice day this year, and since, having had two more, we all ran out with clients and family, to get the deed done. It seemed no matter where you stood, someday else's face was in your photo. At times, I was back to back, with another photographer. More than a few shots, have extra people in them.

This artist and her friend were there at the beginning but them I lost track of them. I imagine they might have been a bit more irritated with all of us and were just looking for some peace and quiet to do their thing. They were in a prime location, by the water and maybe, they felt the pressure. We, creative types are a bit fickle. When want what we want, when we want it. Maybe you don't have to be creative to feel that way, perhaps it is common to all of us. We tried to be polite, and stay out of other's photos. One gal set up shop and had clients, coming and going. The rest of us, just winged it.

We would later move to another location. This time, we had to share the space with fishermen. We never saw any actual people until the end so the only obstacles was shooting around vehicles. I think we got what we needed. After a couple of hours, we were ready for ice cream. Creative or not, you got to know when to fold em...

if you just smile...

Smile though your heart is breaking
Smile even though it's aching
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile...

Most of us can only handle one thing at a time. We are a single focused people and when we have to multi focus, we tend to get frustrated and sometimes, find ourselves in trouble.
You can't tell from this picture if it was taking out in the beautiful Idaho wilderness or in a row of trees in a subdivision. This is how we see.
The One who made us, sees it all. The subdivision ( yes it was in a subdivision), the city, the town, the country and past. We see a little portion and base the many decisions we make everyday on that myopic view.
We weren't meant to see it all.
We were meant to trust in Something bigger than ourselves.
Enjoy your view, and trust in Him...


No longer in Upward basketball, no more prayers before a game. No more everybody play nice, this is Big Boy basketball and he is ready. Twice the practice time and games last much longer. The civility is gone and just like Real Life, it is time to step up.

Boy, they play rougher. Kids are bigger and now, there is a real score. Somebody wins and somebody loses, just like Real Life.

He loves it. He is fast. He knows that some of the kids are bigger but he most certainly understands that fast can overcome, tall. There were harder hits, the rules make for tougher ball. Us moms cringe with every boo boo, the men don't even blink an eye.

The only kid on either team with long hair, he is easy to spot but hard to keep track of. He is growing up. Heading for 12 but is much, more mature for his age. He is our light, he brings sports to all of our attention and he is ready to go so we are going to hold on and go with him. This boy, has grabbed all of our hearts and run away with them.

When someone had thrown the ball out of bounds, he marched up to the ref right before us and said, I traveled. No whistle was blown, no one knew except him. The ref thanked him for his honesty and there were a few parents around us that caught on too. One big burly day, said that was cool. Their reaction tells me that this doesn't happen a lot. I am sure it doesn't but they haven't met Gage and in about 8 games, it will be obvious to all that this is some kind of kid. Is there a place for him in Real Life basketball, you better believe it. Watch out, here he comes!...

Thankful for the things that didn't happen...

Sometimes, I am thankful for the things that didn't happen in my life. Often I thank God that I was not a young widow, trying to raise a child on my own. Things that can no longer happen, life's bullets dodged. I will never experience the pain of having a still born child, that will never be asked of me. As the years go by, the list gets longer and longer. I have been given the life I have and as the years go by, I understand more and more, I wouldn't trade with anyone else in the world...

Thankful 2013...

I loved doing the Thankful journey for the month of November last year, that I am doing it again. Before things get cray, cray and retailers have visions of my dollar signs and how to get them, dancing in their heads, I want to remember to be more thankful. I want gratitude to flow as easily from my brain. to be aware of every Moment.

Will be keeping a digital journal, filled with photos of fall, as many as I can get, mixed with the Stories that come my way. They are both already, stating to stack up. Found this new place to shoot family photos and the light could not be more magical that it was this weekend. We are playing Beat The Clock, trying to get my SIL's shed built before the snow flies and it started flying on Sunday. The boys also had an hour less of daylight as we left Daylight Savings Time. It is crunch time, indeed.

Going to shake it up a bit this year. Being thankful is about understand that not only what you have but maybe, what you don't have. We tend to put everything we think in one of two categories, good or bad and we leave them there. The truth is, they can go back and forth. I know, coming from Miss Black and White, that sounds unauthentic. Sometimes, we learn what not to do and there can be extreme gratefulness in that lesson. I seem to understand and comprehend better but learning the pitfalls, and changing course. The tendency to be grateful for only the good, seems a bit short sighted and I am going to be open to exploring that this year.

This was Friday's entry,

Chocolate comes from cocoa,
which is a tree.

That makes it a plant.

Chocolate is salad.

It is day four and I am learning every day. Where each thankfulness morsel will come from, and will I catch them all. Probably not but I am good with the knowledge that I will get what I see. All I have to do is keep my eyes open...


A comedian on Bob and Tom yesterday talked about something that will ring true for most of us. To paraphrase, You do something that is good for you but then you take it too far and run it into the ground, and it turns horribly bad for you..

Does the animal world do this too or are we special? Most of us could take something, anything good and turn it into one the biggest disasters, ever. Heard about a new web site yesterday where you post selfies from funerals you attend. There was a teenage boy who selfied himself with his dead grandmother in her casket in the background. Didn't see the caption but it is not too far of a stretch to imagine there was something about granny photobombing his selfie.

YOLO. You only live once. We act like this a lot. We make purchases, decide relationships and live in the YOLO world. Not specific to any gender, or generation, nothing seems to be lefted undone. Nothing.

Had to laugh last night. DH called while we were out trick or treating last night and talked to my SIL. After telling Papa that nobody needed anything from the store, SIL told her to be safe and make good choices. It is Something that is stressed at their house and I think should be mandatory in every household.

Make good choices, YOLO...