Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Hurricane Sandy.
The weathermen called it the perfect storm.
Looks to me to be a complete disaster.

Today I intended to post a few pictures of pretty fall leaves.
After the storm, it seemed so trivial. I was feeling guilty.

Then I realized it's not trivial.
It's my life.

Instead of feeling guilty, I choose to feel thankful.
Thankful for the beauty around me.
Thankful my family is safe.
Thankful I have a warm, dry house.
Thankful for clean water.
Thankful for the everyday things we so often take for granted.

I am thankful for humanity's ability to care for one another.
If you're looking for a way to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy, the American Red Cross has a big banner across their home page asking for donations.

My heart goes out to those affected by the storm.
I pray there are no more lives lost.
I pray the healing will begin immediately.

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Little Pumpkins...

... carved their pumpkins!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I have added a button to the top of the right hand column of my blog. Do you see it? It's a word counter. A NaNoWriMo word counter.

NaNoWriMo - (from their website) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30.

I have attempted this competition for three years now, always throwing in the towel fairly early. I felt guilty for taking the time, my inner critic talked me out of it, it was too hard. A few of the reasons for my past failures. This year, I am determined to win! I am telling family. I am telling friends. Now I am telling you. The more people that know, the more real it will be, the more I will feel held accountable.

This is Lennon. He loves our printer. He waits patiently for pages to print and is beyond thrilled when they arrive. I am going to tape this picture above my printer so he can hold me accountable (as much as a cat can).

A friend sent me this picture. She cannot be here to breathe down my neck. She wants this for me. Bad. She knows how important it is to me. I will hang this picture by my computer. It is to remind me she's watching, holding me accountable. 

If you pop in throughout the month of November, keep an eye on the word counter. See how I'm progressing. Feel free to cheer me on! If I slip, give me a little poke, but please be gentle!

Have you struggled with a self-challenge in the past?
What tricks and/or tools did you use to overcome?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fun Little Story by Yours Truly

(This story has two endings. Decide which one you like better. Go with it.)

Joe spent his entire life listening to the angel on his right shoulder and the devil on his left. It was exhausting as they had very different voices and each tried to affect his reaction to life in different ways. The devil pointed out all the bad in the world, taught him negative self-talk and showed him how to wallow in misery. The angel, on the other hand, tried to enlighten Joe to all the gifts bestowed upon him and wanted to teach him that even hard times provided gifts of knowledge and growth if you just knew how to see them right.

Joe's life has not been an easy one. He has seen more than his share of heartbreak and hard times. There were plenty of good times as well, but the difficulties seemed to outweigh them. With so much negativity to work through, Joe had the feeling the devil was taking the upper hand in influencing his thoughts.

One day, at the end of his rope, Joe threw his arms up grasping fists full of hair on either side of his head, and begged the angel for help. "Please! Angel! I cannot take any more of the devil's negativity! His voice is so strong and loud and angry! I hear you singing praise. I hear you whispering loving words of encouragement and positivity. I hear you pointing out the good in everything, yet the devil's persistent anger is reaching a deafening level! Please! I beg of you! Help me beat this devil back!"

Ending #1 - With such a desperate plea for help upon him, the angel acted instantly, hopping over to the devil's shoulder and beat the devil senseless. Joe was thrilled! The angel won!
"I knew you had my back!" cried Joe.
Battered and shaken, the devil could hardly believed what just occurred. After a few shaky minutes he stood up, composed himself, regained his sinister look and said to the angel, "Welcome to the dark side!"
Joe then realized that the angel's quick response to his plea of battle had not saved him at all. His angel had fallen.

Ending #2 - The angel heard Joe's plea and wanted to help but he knew the best thing to do was to take his time and respond appropriately. After some head scratching and halo buffing he had an idea.
"Hey devil!" the angel hollered to get his attention. "I'm starting to understand how badly you want to win Joe over so you can make him miserable forever. I would also love to have Joe to myself to fill his mind with goodness. Well guess what? I just discovered the key to winning!"
"Oh yeah?" the devil hollered back venomously. "What is it?"
"Come over here and I'll tell you!" teased the angel.
Never one to turn down an instigation, the devil hopped over to the shoulder occupied by the angel.
"So what's your bright idea little winged man?" the devil teased.
"There's only one way to win." the angel whispered. "You need some of this."
The angel filled his heart with radiant love and blew the devil a kiss. The devil was not prepared to accept such a gift, lost his footing and fell to his death from Joe's shoulder. It appears love was the answer.

~ Lynn Retzlaff

(changed #2 ending slightly as comments were gently suggesting. thank you for your comments!)

Friday, October 19, 2012


I love a good surprise.
Good as in happy!
Not good as in "I got you real good!"

Yesterday there was a wonderful surprise waiting outside as my son was heading out for the bus.

Mother Nature
She's the best!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Cranial Purge

I recently discovered Elizabeth Berg. I am transported every time I open the pages of her books. How is it possible I haven't discovered her sooner?  I just finished "The Year of Pleasures". It is a touching book about love, loss, friendship and self-discovery.

I took pause at a passage about death.

"I thought of the priest who'd told me that many religions hold that it is easier to be closely connected to people we love after death than before."

It really had me thinking.

Have you ever lost someone you deeply love? When you think about them now, do you remember all the good times? The love you felt? Their funny ways, gentle words, generosity? Are there memories of less than pleasant times? Do you have to dig for them or are they just below the surface? When they arrive, do you brush past the unpleasant, excusing it for being in the way, and run straight to the good, spending your reminiscence rolling in love, elation and happiness? I know I do.

I think of my grandmother often. She is no longer 1000 miles away. A phone is no longer necessary to reach her. Now I simply open my heart and ask for guidance, look to the memories and pull out her wisdom.

Perhaps that is not always the case. When we truly love someone who has been hurtful and hard, the memories are not all butterfly wings whispering in our ears. Perhaps there is pain in remembering. Perhaps there are questions left unanswered that beg from the corner to be released.

Even then, is it not easier to see the possibilities of why they were the way they were? Is it not easier to talk to them in spirit than it was in the flesh, whether seeking answers, releasing anger, or working toward forgiveness?

I'm not exactly sure where I'm going with this post. It is most definitely a cranial purge. A pondering dumped onto the page as it works its way around the folds of my brain.

I am going to keep the quote nearby for a bit. To keep me thinking. To remind me to hold my loved ones close to my heart here in the flesh, creating connections strong enough to be felt beyond any space time continuum.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Live for the Moment

I need neither future nor past, but to learn to take today not too fast.  ~Jeb Dickerson

“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of.”
~ Benjamin Franklin 

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”  ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

“Leave the problems of God to God and karma to karma. Today you're here and nothing you do will change that. Today you are alive and here and honored and blessed with good fortune. Look at this sunset, it's beautiful, neh? This sunset exists. Tomorrow does not exist. There is only now. Please look. It is so beautiful and it will never happen ever again, never, not this sunset, never in all infinity. Lose yourself in it, make yourself one with nature and do not worry about karma, yours, mine, or that of the village.”  ~ James Clavell 

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Slice of Life

A Slice of My Life

This is what life looked like.
On that day.
At that time.

Sitting in my van waiting for my son during soccer practice.
Been sick. Couldn't find the tissue box.
TP will do.
Book bag on the floor full of library books to return.
Smaller bag on seat with journal and current read ready to go.
My phone, used tissue, green tea in my favorite mug.
Oh yeah. And reading glasses as it appears my eyes are aging.

This is a slice of my life.

As Is
Not Staged
No Apologies
Real Life

I don't think we see enough of this on the internet.
I know I don't.
I see pretty images.
I see edited photos.
I see staged shots.

While lovely to look at, they tend to make real life seem inferior after a while.
I wander around the web looking for inspiration and leave feeling like something is lacking.

I wanna see real life relatable shots for a change! 
Even if it's just for one blog thread.
What does your real life look like?
C'mon! Indulge me!

Love your life as is!
Every slice!
Share with me!

(I would love to learn how to do one of those 'add your link here' things. For now, please share a link to your every day pic(s) in the comment section. I double dog dare you!) 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

List it Tuesday 10/9/12

Today I am tagging along with a prompt from Artsyville. What fun! A "list it Tuesday"! Today's list topic is  "I am a sucker for..."

Here is my list!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Special Day

special day
time away
children play

air was chill
all was still
nature's will
got my fill

football game
sure was lame
just the same
wouldn't change

fire warm
in his arms
free from harm
night of charm

happy and fed
all was said
tucked in bed
sleepy head

another year new
change of view
magic grew
wish came true

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I Lost My Groove

I can't believe I lost my blog groove! I've looked everywhere! One simple hiatus followed by a trip to Florida and it is gone, gone, gone. I guess I'll have to fake it to make it. Come up with a new groove. Head in a new direction. Play around. 

In order to get the ball rolling, I am starting off with a post of random "stuff" (I love random)...

stingrays at the aquarium in Tampa

lovely little flowers at Saddlebrook Resort

palm with ferns growing on it - cool!

cypress trees (always wondered what they looked like - here are the bottoms!)

tootsie meets gator

I picked up a book at the library a few days ago.
by Randel Plowman
It's fun, colorful and easy to read. It's also full of good information!
For instance, the author shares some great online resources for downloadable images to use in your art. Some are completely copyright free, others supply notes and restrictions on how the images may be used. I can't wait to check them out!

Library of Congress Image Database (has notes on restrictions & copyright use)
Library of Congress' Flickr Photostream (no known copyright restrictions)
Reusable Art (copyright free in the US)
Karen's Whimsy (free images courtesy of the author)
Public Domain Pictures (royalty-free stock photos)

Here are a few I have been enjoying lately.
David O'Keefe has so much fun and whimsy in his paintings, one cannot help but spread a smile across one's face while indulging in his art.
Chasing the Moon - an up and coming jewelry artist who just happens to be holding a give-a-way!
Jenni Horne whom I have been a fan of for many years now. She paints, she makes jewelry, she teaches art to young children, she inspires! I just love her whimsical style and her cheery use of color. I always feel good after spending time in her space.
I love her even more now that she has introduced me to these delicious paints! I must get my hands on some. Pronto!

Alrighty. Enough random time wasting. Back to work for me. Now... where did I put that 'to-do' list anyway... (shuffle shuffle shuffle).

Hey you! You still here? Well bless your heart for staying through to the end. I want you to know how much I truly appreciate you, my dear reader. I truly, truly do. Thank you for making me feel even a wee bit worthy of your time. What a precious gift you have given me. Thank you!
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