Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trick or Treat? (Careful What You Wish For!)

Just wanted to share a bit more of our Halloween adventures with you this evening.  It sure all goes by fast once darkness falls...  As in most good things, I suppose.

We had friends over for pizza before the big event.  A sure way of getting the kids to eat SOMETHING before the candy took over.  The girls dressed up, each with their own plans.  Amanda is at the age of course when she wishes to go with friends instead of us.. ::pout::  Mailee and her friend went door to door through our complex with us moms following closely behind.  There were HUNDREDS of kids of all ages, and many adults dressed up as well.  I must admit, I wasn't feeling the urge to dress up this year.  Last year I went in my robe and slippers... We have people from all over town come here and park alongside the grass.  One thing I've never seen before that really impressed me this year was that there were also police officers patrolling the complex by foot.  That made me feel a little more secure about letting my older daughter go off with friends on their own.

Amanda stayed home for a bit with her dad and passed out some candy before going out and getting her fill.  What was probably the sweetest thing I saw all day was that when she returned home, and trick or treaters still knocked fiercely upon our door, she kindly gave out her own candy without thinking twice.  It had to have been close to half her bag.  Not Mailee... She was happy as a pig in doo doo, busily embracing her own sugary loot, as I shared in the previous entry.... ;o)

We weren't allowed to dress up at school.  I can't say was surprised at the announcement.  Holiday celebrations can be a bit tricky (pardon the pun.) with this age group.  With any age group, actually.  There are many families who do not celebrate Halloween for religious or personal reasons.  Of course, we honor all other holidays the best we can, and we DID celebrate in a quiet way.  A mom from our class came in at the end of the day and played Halloween and Harry Potter songs on the violin.  She played beautifully, and it was a real treat for the entire class.

Wishing you the best of treats, today and always!

Halloween Bliss

Need I say more?





Monday, October 30, 2006

Monday Photo Shoot: PUMPKINS!

           Mailee's                  and              Amanda's


                         "Anybody got a tissue?"

                          "Muuu wahahahahaha............"


The Giving Tree

Just taking a moment to introduce a new journal in our midst.  It was created by Angie, a very caring person who has a vision.  One of hope and peace for someone ~ anyone ~ who perhaps has very little.  The Giving Tree is a place where you, or anyone you know who may be in need of anything, can go for help.  Please check it out...  





Sunday, October 29, 2006

Strength and Resolve


Another entry from me to thee...  From the mouth of a silly 'ole bear,
"it's been a rather blustery day today".  I love it, I must admit, but I feel for the hundreds who have lost power in our area in the last day or so.  Yesterday rains pounded down relentlessly, leaving the trees almost bare and the roads slippery, causing many accidents.  I drove through about two feet of water last night along our road.  A very strange sensation to be driving along and then feel like your tires have just been pulled out from under you.  Now the rain has stopped but the wind is as fierce as can be.  My daughter awoke in the night and thought it was aliens...  I haven't heard the roar of winds such as these in a long time.

I spent much of the day relaxing.  Reading and writing between loads of laundry.  The girls carved their pumpkins this evening and I will post some photos of the great masterpieces another time.  The seeds are currently roasting in the oven... mmmm...  my favorite part of pumpkin carving!

Thank you for the many thoughtful comments concerning my previous entry.  I do believe that the time has come to stop.  To stop spending so much time trying to convince myself to live life and just DO IT.  I plan to focus on the good things.  The beautiful aspects of my life.  Not on the confusing, hurtful and seemingly endless battles I have previously chosen to dwell on.  I know it is within my power to move beyond what is pain and rise above the shadows of my soul.  There is light and brilliance in life that I have yet to find.  And the happiness I do have, right here in front of me is what I must cling to.  It simply has to be enough.  For now.

I need to show my girls what it means to have strength and resolve.  They will need it someday, perhaps more than I.  I plan to be the one to show them that it is within themselves, as I know it is within me.  I have many people in my life who love me and care about me.  I am extremely fortunate for this, and for the ability to recognize it.  Many don't, and walk around in a complete and constant haze.  Not me. 

Okay, that's enough profound thoughts for now.  I hope you're all enjoying your weekend!  It goes by WAY too fast.




Saturday, October 28, 2006

The "Present"

How easy it can become, to wrap ourselves up in the why's, what if's and when's of life.  So easy to dwell in sadness and drown ourselves in tears.  Screaming internally, and yet all the while smiling at the world.  What a complete and utter waste.  Of time.  Of life...

Don't we all feel some degree of sadness?  And don't we all feel some degree of happiness?  Is that not what this is all about here?  Okay, so life is far from perfect.  So things are different then I thought they'd be at this point in my life.  Do I not have all I need?  Maybe...  Perhaps not, but there is time for that later ~ isn't there?  Who knows if tomorrow will come?  Do I risk losing everything in order to obtain one thing?  If I wait, will it be too late for ME? 

  I have been neglecting my journal, on purpose.  Not in the sense that I haven't been writing... I often only post once a week or so anyway.  But by neglecting it, I mean I haven't been "reflecting" about things the way I need to.  I've been so concerned about hiding my thoughts so that they don't give my heart permission to feel.  And all this time, I've been feeling it all so very deeply from within, and not allowing it to flow out naturally, that it scares me to think of what the future could possibly hold if I was to let it.  What is "it", you might ask?  It is many things:  Fear.  Desire.  Need.  Guilt.  Confusion.

I am so tired of wasting time.  So ready to live life to the fullest.  The problem is knowing how.  The key is recognizing when the right time is.  Could it be now?  Today is a gift... am I throwing this gift away by not living life the way I should?  Yes, I think I am.  Do I have the courage to move forward?  Is it wrong for me to want to?  Am I truly as selfish as I feel when I allow myself to contemplate a new and different path? 

I called this journal "Reflections" for a reason.  During a time when I felt lost and chunks of my heart were scattered about, I knew that I needed an outlet.  A place to give voice to the thoughts in my head.  A place to share those thoughts with others and learn from those shared thoughts and experiences.  I have learned much from having this journal.  I have met amazing people who have touched my life and my heart.  I need to allow myself to come here, to settle in it's existence and to reveal the pleasant and not so pleasant pieces of me.  Without fear. 

Today is a gift.  Hold it tightly and enjoy it's beauty. 

Oh yeah, and don't forget to smile.... and mean it.


Friday, October 20, 2006

Before moving on, I want to thank you all for your prayers.  I only ask that your prayers be with the family and closest friends of Janelle.  While I would consider her a friend and sister in my heart and among our church family, I should've/could've been closer with her than I was, and her family needs your prayers more than I do.  I'm sorry I didn't give a lot of details... I wasn't completely comfortable that I had "blogged" about it in the first place, since this is someone else's family, but I wanted to follow through with letting you all know what the outcome was, no matter how tragic...THANK YOU ALL so much for all your condolences.

I hope you all have a pleasant weekend... I know I'm looking forward to mine.  Needing a little R and R time here...  Amanda's been home sick for four days.  I really hope I'm not coming down with the same bug.  Glad I had my flu shot, just hoping it does the job.  I'm hoping to take the girls to see Flicka, which I've been waiting since summer to see.  Even the reviews gave me tingles!  Must bring tissues!! 

Hugs to you all...


Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Tragic Ending

I have been putting off writing this entry...

I prayed that I would be able to report to you all of a happy conclusion to the search for a lost friend.  Sadly, that entry will never come.

Janelle was and will always be, an angel in our midst.  She gave so much of herself to others, and will always be remembered as a generous spirit, willing to go the extra mile for anyone in need of absolutely anything.  Especially anyone in need of a friend, a shoulder or an attentive ear.  She was dear to many and will be missed by all who knew her.

Thank you, for all of your prayers, wishes and concerns.  It is all still very overwhelming as to how and why this happened, but what is more important is keeping her memory alive and I smile at all the memories I have of this warm, fun loving friend. 

Hold tightly to those you love.  Live each day as if tomorrow will never come.  We all take life for granted sometimes, that is only human nature.  Let's just try to remember how precious life is and appreciate all that we are blessed with, even as we long for more from it. 

Rest in loving peace, Janelle. 


Tuesday, October 17, 2006


This amazing piece was found at the following journal:



"A time comes in your life when you finally get it ...when, in the midst of all your fears and insanity, you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out ENOUGH!!! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down  after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and begin to look at the world through
new eyes.

This is your awakening. You realize it's time to stop hoping
and waiting for something to change...or for happiness, safety and
security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that you are neither Prince Charming or Cinderella and that in the real world there aren't always fairy tale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin with you...and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are...and that's OK. They are entitled to their own views and opinions. And you learn the importance of loving and championing yourself...and in the process a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval.

You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn't do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that people don't always say what they mean or mean what they say and that not everyone will always be there for you and that it's not always about you. So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself...and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties...and in the process a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness. You realize that much of the way you view yourself, and the world around you, is as a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into your psyche. And you begin to sift through all the junk you've been fed
about how you should behave, how you should look, how much you should weigh, what you should wear, what you should do for a living, how much money you should make, what you should drive, how and where you should live, who you should marry, the importance of having and raising children, and what you owe your parents, family, and friends.

You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for. You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you've outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with...and in the process you learn to go with your instincts. You learn that it is truly in giving that we receive. And that there is power and glory in creating and contributing and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a "consumer" looking for your next fix.

You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the
outdated ideals of a bygone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life. You learn that you don't know everything, it's not your job to save the world and that you can't teach a pig to sing. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake. Then you learn about love. How to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving and when to walk away.

You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. And you learn that alone does not mean lonely.
You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK...and that it is your right to want things and to ask for the things you want...and that sometimes it is necessary to make demands.

You come to the realization that you deserveto be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity and respect and you won't settle for less. And you learn that your body really is your temple. And
you begin tocare for it and treat it with respect. You begin to eat a
balanced diet, drink more water, and take more time to exercise. You learn that being tired fuels doubt, fear, and uncertainty and so you take more time to rest. And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul. So you take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn that, for the most part, you get in life what you believe you deserve...and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen is different from working toward making it happen.

More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance. You also learn that no one can do it all alone...and that it's OK to risk asking for help. You learn the only thing you must truly fear is the greatest robber baron of all: FEAR itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears because you know that whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your own terms. And you learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom.

You learn that life isn't always fair, you don't always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes bad things happen to
unsuspecting, good people. On these occasions you learn not to
personalize things. You learn that God isn't punishing you or failing to answer your prayers. It's just life happening. And you learn to deal with evil in its most primal state - the ego.

You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you. You learn to admit when you are wrong and
to build bridges instead of walls. You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower. Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never, ever settle for less than your heart's desire. And you hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind. And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.

Finally, with courage in your heart and God by your side you take a stand, you take a deep breath
and you begin to design the life you want to live as best you can."

author unknown... but thanked profusely.


Monday, October 16, 2006

Monday Photo Shoot


Book Tagged

I've been tagged by Angela to post an exerpt from the book I am currently reading.  Needing something fun to do, I am happy to oblige!


If you'd like to play along for fun, here are the rules:

1. Grab the nearest book. If you are currently reading something, that'll be fine too.

2. Open the book to page 123.

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the text of the next 4 sentences on your Blog along with these instructions.

5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet I know that is what you were thinking!

6. Tag 5 people


Book:  Harvesting the Heart  By (who else?) Jodi Picoult.  (yes, I'm STILL reading this, but I'm ALMOST done!)

"Nicholas had been having nightmares again.  They weren't the ones he'd had when he was in medical school, but they were every bit as disturbing, and Nicholas believed they stemmed from the same source, that old fear of failure.  He was being chased through a heavy, wet rain forest whose ivy vines dripped blood.  He could feel his lungs near bursting; he pulled his legs high from the spongy ground."


Sunday, October 15, 2006



I found out a few days ago that a friend of mine from church has been missing since Monday night.  It's obviously very worrisome, given the weather and the time that has gone by.  I don't imagine there will be a very good outcome, but of course I am praying for one and hoping that perhaps she has simply gone off for a few days by herself.  This just doesn't seem likely, since she had last spoken with her daughter on Monday night and they have a good relationship.  Janelle wouldn't just leave.  I've volunteered to help out with the search, and will (hopefully) temporarily be taking her place on the missions committee, which was/is always a big part of who she is and I felt honored that I would be asked to carry this on for her while she's gone.  She always gave to others her time and her heart.  It was she who came out to "save" me when I floated out alone in the water too long.  Remember "the zone" entry?! That whole day we visited, long into the evening.  We played beach ball with all the kids and she even spent time taking my kids out to play the games during the BBQ so that I could relax.  I remember thinking how thoughtful and caring she always is.  She helps build Habitat For Humanity houses in the area.  She is ALWAYS looking out for others.  And now she is lost.  She is alone.  I pray that she knows that God is with her.  May she feel His comforting arms around her.  I pray that she comes home soon.

Friday, October 13, 2006


It's been a long week, but full of smiles regardless.  Mailee got her cast of today.  She is so excited she won't stop jumping around.  Every word that comes out of her cute little mouth is shouted with glee!  After the removal of final cast number three today, we went to the gift shop and she picked out a stuffed Dashound, and we shared a hot fudge sundae as a special treat to celebrate.  This girl lives for her stuffed animals.  Her sister never cared for them at all.  I'm often amazed at how the two of them are so much alike in some ways and yet so very different in others.  And then they are both exactly like me.  Strange how that works.  At least they're lucky enough to look like their father.

Amanda is going to her first school dance tonight.  I'm so excited for her.  I'm a little disappointed because she is going straight from school to a friend's house and riding to the dance with her and a couple other girls.  The unselfish me is thrilled for her, that she has so many wonderful friends and is busy and thriving in junior high.  The selfish me is wishing I could be the one to bring her there and see her walk in.  I know that probably sounds ridiculous.  My baby is growing up.  Scary.  Exciting.  Amazing.  I guess to me it's like missing the first step.  I have never wanted to miss a thing.  And quite honestly there isn't much I have missed.  So I guess I'm spoiled to some extent!  At least I get to pick her up afterwards, and hopefully she will open up and tell me all about it. 

I can't believe there is a chance for snow this weekend.  Perhaps not here in town, but up north more likely.  I'm hoping the sun will shine brightly and that I will have a chance to get out and take some more foliage pictures up in the hills and mountains.  If it DOES snow it will certainly wreak havoc on the leaves, and yet it would be so beautiful as well.  Not sure I'd want to be in Buffalo, NY right now with two feet of snow in some areas.  We aren't even prepared for something like that yet.  I know the girls both need new snow boots.  Everything else is still in storage.  Shouldn't it be?  My goodness.

Still looking forward to that first snowfall, though....





Monday, October 9, 2006

Monday Photo Shoot

Foliage 2006





Saturday, October 7, 2006

Harvesting the Heart

I haven't been around much lately...  There's been so much going on in my life and in my heart, and it's been difficult to decide what or what not to share.  Sometimes I'm simply torn about what should remain private and how much I should open up to the world.  I haven't felt extremely creative lately.  Not in my writing, at least, and I'm still not really feeling it, but I DO want to continue writing in this journal, and remain actively involved in the lives of my online friends.  I don't want anyone thinking something bad is going on, when really things are just busy and sometimes complicated.  There are happy moments, with smiles and warmth.  There have also been frightening moments and doubts about the future, both my own and that of some of my family members.  What I can say though, without the slightest of doubt, is that today I am smiling.  While the air is cool and brisk, the sun is warm and inviting.  There is an abundance of love all around me in everything that is real, and well, and alive.  The colors of Autumn are bright and peaceful reminders of all that is beautiful and so often taken for granted.  I am thankful for so much, and blessed by God in so many incredible, yet quiet ways.  I pray for the strength to always see that ~ not just right now.  Not just for today, or tomorrow, or even next week ~  but for always.

I hope you will all take a moment to enjoy the Full Harvest moon tonight, and that you will also be inspired to feel all that is good and bright in your lives.  While Autumn often signifies an end, it also dares us to dream.  It asks us to wait.  It gives us hope and anticipation for the coming season of glittering white.  That chill in the air is a gentle reminder to cling tightly to those we hold dear, and find warmth in unexpected places.

Happy Autumn to you all!



Found the following in Lisa's journal: "Please Don't Take Life for Granted."    A beautiful reminder I just HAD to pass on..  Thanks Lisa! 

Please check it out:



Sunday, October 1, 2006