final days of 2013...

Does one even have to ask how Christmas went?

Grandchildren can get grandfathers to do things wives never could. There may or may not be photos of me in a mask but so far, Gage does not have a FB or Instagram account and I am relatively safe. Pops, on the other hand, was not so lucky.

This year, I have became aware of the Christmastide. It is defined as a Christian festival observed from December 24, Christmas Eve, to January 5, the eve of Epiphany. I always knew I loved this time. A quiet time. People are, Out Of The Office, and not coming back for a good long while. Even those who are working, seem to be in a fog. This year is the first year that Apple has does it's 12 days of gifts for in the US. Today it was a Justin Timberlake download, fabulous for me. It is funny the things that come your way, sometimes over and over in new and different ways. I am joyful for this new celebration, even without Apple's contribution.

Going to walk through these days with my head up and heart open. Let 2013 show me what out and then I will make friends with 2014. No need to rush, we have all the time in the world. See you next year and enjoy these last few days. May God bless us all...

last candle, Love...

There is not a more universal relationship than Love. While we each have shared and have common knowledge of Love, to define it is impossible. Whether from God, each other, nature, creativity, or any other possible venue, we know yet Sometimes, don't have a clue.

From where to find it, to how to keep it. It is in music, in a flower and most definitely, in an ice cream cone. It may come in the form of a hug, physical or emotional. It can come in an instant and be gone, in the same amount of time.

We always look for it yet miss, many an opportunity. We are champions of love, yet believe it is elusive to us. It is in everything, yet untangible. We are hopeless romantics and while we may stumble and fumble, we continue to look for it because when we find it, we are in utter bliss.

May God's Love cover you this Christmas Season. May his peace flow over you again and again. May you know bliss, extraordinaire.

The giving tree...

Pray for Anthony, said the tag that was handed to me by my girl. We were at the Christmas Giving tree at her church, where you pick an item to gift someone for Christmas. Her husband had seen it, gave it to her and she handed it directly to me. Is this for me?, I asked. Yes, she said.

Pray for Anthony was the Christmas request. Nothing else. No toy, lotion, bathrobe or book. Just pray. I know why my girl gave it to me, who has more time than I? Not many.

Then, I took a glance at the tree. About a foot from the top, no other tags around it and seeming to have a halo-like glow, was my ornament. Cleaning supplies, it said. There is was all by itself, no completion what so ever. In the midst of Target gift cards, and tires was this one. This was the last week to take an ornament, yet this one was still there. Not the most exciting gift to give but for whatever reason, it seemed to be waiting.

I now have a Christmas bag, filled with cleaners, cloths and sponges, ready to go. oh, and a bucket. Everybody needs a bucket.

Merry Christmas F#2, may your days be merry and bright this year...

Dear Affordable Care Act,

Thank you for your interest in me. After multiple attempts, I gave up trying to contact you. In the first month, I was told by a professional that I could fill out a 160 page written application and that after further review, you would process it. I decided that was 1 week of my life that I couldn't get back and I exited.

Two months later, I tried again. This time with a navigator. She was all of 12 or 13, barely out of high school, high energy and we whipped through that application like no one's business. In the end, it seemed like I might be one step closer to not being homeless if I broke a leg. I was overjoyed. When I got home, I realized I had forgotten to add in some new income and I went back into my now-completed cases and tried to change edit my Life Change, like little Miss Tech had showed me. The error message I got said to check back next month to make a change. This didn't seem right so I decided to call in the Big Guns and get a live operator to help me. She told me I would have to delete that application, that no changes could be made and start a new one. She walked me through the deletion process. It didn't work. Neither did it work when she tried to delete it, or her supervisor. Finally, they told me to just start a new application and when Blue Cross called to finalize the paperwork, to tell them no. I was told that lots of people have four or five open apps, it would be fine.

So 45 minutes later, new application is done and the changes made, time to look at my options. To keep me from paying a $95 or 1%, which ever is most, it was going to cost me $2613 dollars to avoid the penalty tax. On top of that it would cost me $5513 before you would consider paying any submitted bills. The good news is that after paying $11,313 for the year, I would have met my maximum out of pocket copay.

I am sorry, ACA. I can't afford your less than generous offer. No way in hell.

It does worry me that there is a completed application out there Somewhere with my name on it but one thing I know for sure. With no credit card information and my 3 digit code, That baby is going anywhere. Sincerely, Zalaine

Third week of Advent, Joy...

Joy, a feeling of extreme happiness or cheerfulness, especially related to the acquisition or expectation of something good.

So, by definition, one doesn't have to have said item/feeling/guarantee but only a thought, or expectation of said, joy bringer. The difference between happy and joy, is bigger than it would seem at first glance. Joy is always, happy is temporary. Happy is an emotion, joy is a process. Learning the difference between the two, changes who we are, at our very core.

I Peter 5:10 says, And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. Those words bring joy to one who is able to receive them.

For 28 Christmas's, Jesus was not, the Reason For The Season. He was nowhere to be found. I was more than fine with that. Santa was my rock, my source of happiness and he did a mighty fine job. I might have described it as joy but in the true sense, it wasn't the love or gifts of Santa that brought joy. In the 34 Christmas's after that, Santa was still there but it was the first time I recognized the difference between happy and joy. I had a hard time separating the two and incorporating them both into my life but with years comes the experience of understanding you don't have to figure everything out. Just be.

It is joy that makes it possible.
It is the joy that keeps us hanging on.
It is quite simply, the promise of Christmas...

Sandy Hook...

Already a mental image comes into your head. I remember I felt physically ill when I realized the scope of Sandy Hook and Newtown. While I will not pretend to have an idea whatsoever, of what these parents and families have gone through, I can ache with them.

They want no ceremony tomorrow. They have asked residents to put a single candle in the window. While many will be trying to make up for having a week less to Christmas shop, these people, will never have that issue in the lives, ever again. So we and the media will respect their wishes. A candle in the window and a hope for us. For the world around us, for what is to come. There have been 172 children, under 12, killed by gunfire since Sandy Hook.


I am not sure we can do a better job of protecting our children, over 50% of those 172, were killed by someone they knew. Will this ever change with or without legislation, has yet to be seen.

Sandy Hook, we stand with you tomorrow. I pray for you and what you have had to bear and the empty chairs and years ahead of you. We will light our candles and think of you. May God our himself over all of you, more than you can handle. Covering each and every one of your hurts that this side of heaven, will be your legacy. Bless your all...


I am not ready for snow and I am most certainly not ready for -10 weather.

Look at the calendar, two more weeks before winter starts. Can't you read????

It really hasn't got anything to do with the calendar, deep down I know that but is feels so wrong. We all sing, I Am Dreaming of a White Christmas but I mean, for that day. Change is a cruel yet part of the design, master. I need to see that change is necessary, like Coach Pete talked about today. I don't exactly know why but when I heard he was leaving Boise State, I was sick to my stomach. AS it became real, I still find myself, up in arms with my emotions.

But he is right. Whether we like it or not. Maybe instead of fighting change, I might try to see the good that may come out of it. Whether for Boise State and all of us that bleed blue or the snow, time to embrace the daily Big and little changes that come our way. Made myself go out in 9 degree weather and take pictures of the snow, right from my driveway. Didn't even put a coat on and I got a shot of this guy. At the end of fall, comes Old Man Winter. He asks no permission and offers no apologies. I would do well to take a few lessons...

The second week of Advent...

has to do with Preparation.

Women spend most of their lives, preparing for one thing after another. Mostly, we have it down to a fine science. We know what we need to do for our families and spend many hours, sometimes many, many hours, getting ready. We may not get it all done, but we will die trying.

The preparation of Advent is about opening your heart, making yourself vulnerable to the real meaning of Christmas. That kind of prep takes more of us. Our time, our efforts, and our ability to Color Outside the Lines. It is about allowing the spirit of the season to take hold of your heart and make you new.

I am on a Buy/Sell/trade site. One girl posted tonight that her cousin who has four children, had her heater go out and needed help. The fire department said to get a hold of her landlord, make him pay for a motel for her and her kids. They tried, he would not answer the phone. It is past 10 pm and the temperature is headed for very low temps. Many posts later, a woman volunteered her H&A husband to come out, see if he could fix what the firemen said was broken and worry about billing later. She has a new baby and starts a new job tomorrow. With any lucky, she will have heat soon.

There are many different ways to be prepared. Sometimes, it means you are ready to go, on a moments notice. Sometimes it means, you are willing to take a chance. Whatever this Advent season looks like to you and however you are prepared, may the One who made you...bless you.

Hope, the first week of Advent.
Hope is what keeps us, pressing on. Hope shines even in the dark. As long as we have a sense of hope, nothing can touch us. We need hope just like we need air to breathe. Never, ever give up. We can get push down, shaken to our core, bent and bruised but hope should never elude us as long as we live and breathe. Wherever your hope is today, take it up a notch. Put it up with your Christmas decorations. Looks at it often and remember what it means. To try once more, to give of yourself, to put one foot in front on the other, that is hope and that is what it looks like. No heroes, just those who refuse to give up. You are that strong, it is in all of us, Go find and claim yours