27 July 2009

A quote.

“We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It's one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it's another to think that yours is the only path.”
-Paulo Coelho

I love that quote. I am not really sure why, because I have lots of problems and/or thoughts about it.

1. Everyone judges. It is human nature. I am sure (and, this is totally a judgement call) even Mother Theresa judged at some point in her life. We can gently remind ourselves not to, or internally ask ourselves, "What would Jesus do?" But, alas, we are not divine. We are sinners, and sinners, well, they sin. Repeatedly, even.

2. Yes, everyone does carry their on pain. We all know this. But, more often than not, we get too wrapped up in our own stuff to really care about someone else's. I am lucky enough to count certain individuals as my dear friends, who, in fact, have the amazing capacity to NOT do this to a large degree. They are very empathetic, and compassionate to boot. But, I can't help but wonder why or how. Particularly, because some of them have a lot going on with their own load. Maybe it is just a subconscious way for them to deflect from all of their own garbage. I don't think this makes them any less sincere, I'm just saying that no one does something for nothing. Even if it's just to get a warm fuzzy feeling. See?

3. A second thought on the whole 'cross to bear' thing is this...Is it just me, or is their a stark difference between pain we inflict onto ourselves by a series of ill-made decisions and a lack of learning a darned thing from the mistakes that we have made along the way and things that bring us pain through no fault of our own, things that are out of our earthly control and left to God to sort out? Here's where my empathy usually ends for someone. Mistakes, which we ALL make, are wonderful little opportunities for us to learn and grow from. Take them for what they are and use them to your advantage. Think of them as a small gift from above. If you think you've been dealt a raw deal, think of ways that you can change it and make it better. Even if you have to hide a few cards under the table. Change your attitude and perspective on things. So many times we have the power to do this and just don't! All we do is b**ch and moan and whine until we move onto the next thing. Free will is a powerful tool, if used properly!

4. Next, we come to the whole righteousness dilemma. I am, unfortunately, a VERY self-righteous person. I try not to be. But here's the deal, what I'm doing seems to work. So, I tend to project my 'way' onto others. I am a pretty intelligent and educated person. I KNOW that my way isn't the only way, but (and, this is a big but) if you see someone in a constant state of crisis, and no matter what they try to do, nothing seems to be falling into place, they make the same mistakes over and over, they self-pity enormously, they blame others to a fault, and still can't snap it together, how can I not feel righteous. Another sin, I know! But, seriously?! I am not preachy. I tend to harbor my opinions to myself, outside of the cyber world, unless I am asked something directly, and then, I feel I owe it to you to give an honest answer. And, sometimes, honesty hurts. I personally know this to be true. But, when you dust yourself off from the blow of truth, aren't you glad to have gotten it? Above all else, this is what I want my friends and family to count on me for. Honesty. What I'm circumventing here is, that I think my honesty and pride (yet, another sin) sometimes gives me a self-righteous rap.

Well, that's all I'm going to say on the subject.

But, I really do love that quote, and I REALLY do try to remind myself of that often.

Believe it or not...


23 July 2009

dreamin' in color.

So, today is the color portion of our family photo tour. I warn you...I posted a lot. A-lotta-lot! I mean, who I am kidding? I don't have favorites. They are all my favorite. All 61 of them! Just suck it up and enjoy them for what they are; a representation of all that is good in this world, all that is (or SHOULD be) solid, all that oozes happiness. Children, family, gracious people, our humility, God's light in our eyes, love. The good stuff!

Good night!

22 July 2009

holy beautifulness!

I suppose you can all tell from the new header that we received our pictures yesterday. You know, the ones a ranted on and on about forEVER, here, here, here, and here. Anyway, I didn't think that something so digitally amazing , could be any better in person, but they are. I am going to post some of my favorites: 1. because I can and 2. because I just don't tire of looking at them. My mind is already reeling with Christmas card ideas, crafts, and a picture arrangement going down the stairs into the basement. What fun!

So, after posting what I did, I have made an executive decision...today will be black & white favorites and tomorrow will be color favorites. Sound fair? Good! I mean, it's not my fault we are GREAT subjects, or is it Laura that is the GREAT photographer? Hopefully, you will all think it is a bit of both. ;)

'Til then...

21 July 2009

2 trumps 7.

those two ladies, below,

have mastered taking 7 kids,

all ages 8 and under (8, almost 7, 6 1/2, almost 5, 4 1/2, 2, and 1 1/2),

to the pool.

that's right.

those two beautiful mommas

had complete control.

those two wonder women said,

"sit in the chairs for a picture."

and, they did.

they actually did!

it was as if they were hypnotized, yesterday.

they were all so good!

who needs those stinky daddies?

well, for the pool anyway. ;)

it was a GREAT day!

16 July 2009

Ted Sparkle.

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

-author unknown

We love and miss you, Teddy.

You will forever be in our hearts.

Ted 'Teddy' Sparkle Colonel Brandon 'Chow-Chow' Grebe

February 1997-July 2009


15 July 2009

D. R. A. M. A.

As much as I detest any unnecessary drama in my life, I undoubtedly, and seemingly, sadistically am drawn to it, like a moth to a flame. I let it invade me. Like an infectious disease, nipping away at the few strong, healthy cells I have left. And, then it just takes over. Just like that it rears its viral head and wins.

I don't make drama...it finds me. It seeks me out. And, in drama's defense, it must not be hard. Do I have an 'X' on my back? I am on some super-secret 'How to find drama' map? Is my sanity the prize for a drama sweepstakes? For the love of Cheez-its!

Here's the strangest thing; when the big 'd' decides it's done with me, it's done. Simple as that. No sign of its intrusion, no evidence of its untimely welcome. Nothin'. Those are peaceful times. Times when I focus on enjoying all of the small bits. The kids' smiles, a foot rub from Big Jake, a visit with my folks, or the pool with my sis. This is what I should be able to relish in at ALL times, not just when my head is free and clear.

Then, without warning, it's back. It waits until my strength has returned, until I am wrapped in the safety of the mundane, the quiet of the normal.

I am the kind of person that, under normal circumstances, resigns myself to the cordial, neutral amity that even those who don't always see eye to eye can share in a mutually mature exchange. In other words, I am completely okay with not 'meshing' with someone. We all weren't made to be compatible, that's life. But, can't we all just exist? Together? Of course there will be people that leave a sour taste in my mouth, but I don't hate anyone, and most likely, never will. But, with some rational thinking, and an ounce of perspective (seriously, click on it, because I am pretty sure some of us have forgotten what it is), I can exist, on some civilized level with just about anyone.

And, I now, I want to eat my soup and soft pretzel!

Thanks for lending an ear!

14 July 2009


We're baaaaaaaa-ack! In less than 48 hours, I feel like my batteries are back to full charge. It has been a long time coming. I certainly don't feel like I deserve a weekend away any more than anyone else, but it sure was delightful. Our friends are hilarious. The food was good (the olive cheese bread from 'The Pioneer Woman' was fantastic). The downtime was plentiful. Such a marvelous time.

But, I will (un)shamefully admit, that by the time we hit Six Flags on 44 (a landmark about 20 minutes away from home), I started to get butterflies. I was crawling outta my skin to see the kids. When we pulled in the driveway, Rosie came barrelling out of the front door in her underpants in the pouring rain just to give my a hug. Swoon! It was just the homecoming I needed.

Getting away is great, but it's the coming home is soooo much better!


09 July 2009

A trip...sans kids.

Tomorrow...we are going HERE:

It is a milestone trip to be sure. Jake and I have not been without all of our kids in over 5 years. The thing is...I, typically, have no reason to be away from them. The occasional date night, yes. Days on end, no. So, it's about time for some good, old fashioned, adult debauchery. We will be going with several other couples. There will be lots of food, lots of sun (hopefully), lots of mommy type cocktails, and LOTS of laughs. I am certain my sides will be split in two, and in need of a heating pad by the time we trudge home on Sunday. I will be sure and take plenty of pictures, and share them with you all soon. All I can say is, I sure hope I don't miss my babies by Saturday morning!

See ya Monday!

08 July 2009

Some fun links.

Sorry, my posting has been lacking these days, but summer takes it out of me.
I promise more good stuff to come.
Till then...

07 July 2009

Make new friends, but keep the old.

photo circa 2000
Is there anything nicer than catching up with old friends? I don't know about you, but I benefit from surrounding myself with strong women. The ladies in the picture above were very important people in my life, years ago, from college. We were all communication disorder/speech & language majors. Between clinic, classes, and "recreational" activities, we were together a lot. A LOT! But, inevitably, life happens. Careers, marriages, babies. Fast forward almost 10 years later, and enter the fabulous, social-networking prowess of Facebook, and you have 3 old friends chowing on Mexican cuisine and talking as though they've never been apart. It was magic I tell ya, pure magic. Magic to catch up with these great girls. Magic on an ordinary Monday evening. I can't wait until next month, girls!

Here's to ole pals!

06 July 2009

City mouse plays country mouse.

Hope you all had a great 4th!

03 July 2009

happy 4th!


Be safe!

01 July 2009

green deliciousness.

Pistachio ice cream...how I love thee?
With your beautiful green creaminess.
Your sweet, unique flavor.
In a cone, in a bowl, with a little honey.
No matter.
You rock my world.
Unfortunately, my love,
you make my butt AND my gut
for better or worse,
you're the only ice cream for me.

Ice cream + summer=heaven on earth