Sunday, November 30, 2008


My family and I arrived home from our annual pilgrimage to Wintergreen Resort for the Thanksgiving holiday just a bit melancholy.  This trip was so much more restful and reflective than our previous jaunts have been.  Maybe because we knew this may be our last journey up the mountain.  Life has been changing so quickly for us that we've begun to hold onto small moments like these to savor and enjoy before they evaporate and disappear.

Maybe I'm a touch melancholy today.  

A little sad that our mountain trip came to a close.  

So, I thought I'd share some of the intricacies that made this trip so sweet.  


***   ***   ***
Sleeping boys.

Non-electronic family competition that produced lots of laughter and fun.

Reminders so I will not lean on my own understanding but acknowledge God in all my ways so that he will direct my path.

A craft that I could participate in that didn't require a glue gun.

A fabulous read about 13 women in their 50's who were looking for something more in their life and found it by establishing community with each other via a diamond necklace.  I laid the book down inspired to put more effort into establishing relationships and grabbing friends to join me in serving others for the betterment of our community.

Time to adore my Mr. Smart Guy (previous dog despiser turned mini schnauzer lover) who took the boys on their first walk in the snow.

Having Theatre Dude with us!

Hair disasters that have ended with something I could live with.  By the way, it was not my hairdresser's fault but more my own lack of product knowledge and use.  Who knew? Mmmph!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thoughtful Tuesday

"The great discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind."
- William James 

Monday, November 24, 2008

Getting Ready for Winter

It was a day outside  
to fight against the wind and cold.
To be enveloped 
in layers of clothes and gloved hands.
To rake leaves
mow the lawn
and prune branches.
We stood there
taking in the result.
The yard was now ready to hunker down for winter.

***   ***   ***

My work outside acted as a therapy of sorts as I let my mind drift to my spiritual landscape. I acknowledged the many different climate changes that are occurring and frontal boundaries that are blowing their way in and around my definition of a normal life and status quo. 

I am left to ponder ...

Do I have enough faith to hunker down for the season I just entered?

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Penny Found

There are those blogs that capture your attention quickly and move you to take a moment to revel in the creativity of not only the author, but those who leave comments.  

I stumbled across a blog just like that.  It's unique and fun and provides this aspiring writer with many ideas.  

Check out Pictures, Poetry & Prose.  I think you might like it!

Enjoy the post I left yesterday on that very blog...


He stooped down to pick up the lone coin from the concrete sidewalk. Most people were too busy to notice that it had landed on the ground, let alone stop to pick it up. 

But, he wasn't so busy. Not anymore. He had the time to take a slower pace now and allow the details of life to infiltrate his being.

He surveyed the coin that rested in his gloved hand, fighting back the wind as he noted the dings, scratches and rubbed surfaces that a hard life can produce. He smiled. Much like him, the coin was well worn.

He moved the coin closer to his face so that he could eye the date imprinted on it.

Ahh, he nodded. 1972. Now that was a good year!

He gingerly placed the coin in his pocket and began to walk again. The same route he took almost every day. As he passed that house, he remembered years ago when he bounded up the steps with a tiny ring in his pocket where the lone coin now lay. That was the day he asked for her hand in marriage. And, she said yes.

Ahh, he nodded. 1972. Now that was a good year!

He didn't linger for long at that house on this trip. He needed to get back home. Back to her. She needed him now more than ever. The doctor said it would only be a few more days. 

He hurried now because he couldn't wait to tell her the story. He knew she would marvel at how he found the lost coin and the significance of finding the one imprinted with the year they got married.

He walked in the house, shed his outer garments and made his way to her bedside. As she slept, he laid the coin on her nightstand and whispered, "Pennies aren't just for wishes and 1972 wasn't the only year I loved you. With this penny, I wish you peace, my love. Sleep well and dream of 1972."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Can You Even This Out? (revisited)

I had pondered my hairstyle for some time and then one day decided I needed something fresh. I wanted to toss my classic shoulder-length locks for something fun and more modern.  A little edgier and sexier, perhaps. I chose a famous Meg Ryan look and decided my hair would probably fall into the cut naturally without too much effort.  

I headed to my hairdresser of six years, armed with the photo in tow of how I wanted to be transformed, and we embarked on a discussion of the look.  Yes, I was assured, the cut would be fantastic for my hair type and it would give me a more current, fashionable look.  

Scissors in hand, she went to work. She kept my back to the mirror the whole time so that I wouldn't grab a sneak peek at her work...the move that I'm known for in the salon.  As she went about snipping and razoring, I anticipated the reflection of the new and improved me and could hardly contain myself.  I was ready for the change.

Finally, she finished and I had endured the  3 hour process:  condition treatment, highlights, cut. She wheeled me around slowly so that I could face the mirror and ooh and aaahh over the new me.  

Instead, I let out a small yelp as I brought my hand over my mouth to squelch any more noise from coming out.

Horrified.  Aghast.  

Somehow I managed to collect myself in an instant so that I wouldn't garner any more attention.  I needed to get out of there fast before I broke down crying and/or started yelling at my stylist for the disaster that now sat atop my head.

I can't remember the exact words or gestures that I used past that point but I made my way to the car ultra fast and slumped into my seat.  I turned on the ignition, fastened my seat belt in a blur of angst and looked in the rear view mirror to make sure it was true.  My hair really was not the edgy cut that I anticipated but was a semi-half-mullet throwback from the '80s.  My mood neared frantic frenzy as I made my way home in a fit of tears.

***   ***   ***   ***   

It's been almost a week since that day and many times I have debated cutting it shorter.  I have played the scenario in my head; perhaps even walking into another salon to ask, "Can You Even This Out?"

But, for fear of a repeat performance, I have chosen not to.  

Grow, hair, grow.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thoughtful Tuesday

"Do you choose change?  Do you choose health? Do you choose happiness?  Do you choose strength?  Do you choose that?  Do it now.

You can tell me that you choose not to.  You can tell me that you choose to quit. That you choose to be less than what you are or what God intended you to be but don't tell me that you can't do it."

 - Jillian Michaels on The Biggest Loser

Monday, November 17, 2008


Toss.  Turn.  Toss again. 


Toss.  Turn.  Toss again.

***   ***   ***   *** 

Most decisions aren't this hard.

Chocolate anyone?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Letter

The letter, unassuming yet somehow alarming, came in the mail yesterday. I stared at the return address that was clearly imprinted on the upper right hand corner of the envelope but I didn't want to open it.

Delayed by the uncertainty of the contents, minutes passed before I had built up the courage to unveil its contents.  I convinced myself that it was probably nothing.  A new fundraising effort or an anticipated change to one of the events.

I calmed down.  Of course, that was all that was in there! tear... unfold...

"The purpose of this letter is to inform you of the requirements for graduation and to review with you the following information regarding your student's current status."

Ahem, what??

"Our records indicate that your student is planning to graduate in 2010 with an Advanced Studies Diploma."

Now, wait just a minute.  He doesn't graduate until....

"Oh, my gosh," I screamed out loud and it echoed and reverberated in my empty house.  Heat quickly rose to my cheeks while my heart started thumping somewhere in the vicinity of my ears.

In shock, I slid down to the floor.  

Is it really true that my baby has started the exit process out of high school? 


Friday, November 14, 2008

Intelligent Design

Every now and again Mr. Smart Guy reels me in to an adventure of learning that I didn't anticipate but that allows me to expand my intellectual horizon beyond what I would normally choose.  Last week was definitely one of those times.  He came home from the local bookstore with a new find that had him beaming from ear to ear.  

"I bought a really great movie for us to watch after dinner.  I think you'll like it because I've heard really good things about it."

(please stop to note: Mr. Smart Guy enjoys movies.  Any genre, any movie, even poorly done movies that most people deem ridiculous.  He loves movies.)

I glanced at my friend, who was over for dinner, trying to apologize with my eyes via the kind of look that conveys, "Oh, no!  This might get super ugly.  Feel free to run out the door if you want to, but wait, on second thought, run now!"

We made our way through dinner but it was obvious Mr. Smart Guy was tearing through his food and sprinting to finish his plate off so we could get to the movie.  The doorbell rang and it was another one of our friends.  Mr. Smart Guy invited him over to watch it, too.

(please stop to note:  this duo is known for their conspiracy theory extravaganzas that last until the wee hours of the morning.)

Now, my senses picked up on something.  I ventured to find out more.

"Are you sure this is a movie, movie? One with a story and everything?" I asked hesitantly.

Mr. Smart Guy was at the dvd player inserting the golden cd as he shook his head up and down vigorously affirming that it truly was a movie.  Everyone claimed their spot in the living room to get comfy in, the house lights went down and the opening credits rolled.  

It caught me off guard.  

I wasn't aware that the scientific community no longer embraced or allowed discussions of Intelligent Design as a possible option to explain our earthly existence. I was shocked that pro Intelligent Design scientists have suffered and are suffering devastating career repercussions for their choice.  Their choice to believe that the earth and everything in it was created by an Intelligent Designer.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Sighed

I stepped into his closet.
Each piece of clothing draped on hangers spaced evenly apart.
I could almost see him standing here, choosing what to wear.

And, I sighed.

I grabbed his shirt.
A sweatshirt made of soft fabric,  just like his touch, in his favorite color grey.
I hid my face in the folds of it and could almost smell his cologne.

And, I sighed.

I put his shirt on.
I could almost sense him smiling at my good choice.
I made my way out of the closet and towards our bed.

And, I sighed.

I climbed under the covers.
I laid on his side so that I could put my head where his had been.
I could almost feel him wrapping his arms around me.

And, I sighed.

I closed my eyes.
I wanted to lay there until he came home again.
I could almost feel the time passing by more quickly.

And, I sighed.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thoughtful Tuesday

Duty, Honor, Country.  Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.
- Douglas MacArthur

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Road

I took the road.   One that most times, regrettably, I have drifted from one end of the asphalt to the other without much thought.

But, today was different.

I reminisced and took in all of the the details with each dip, turn and stretch of well worn road.

It is much, much different now.

The road has undergone dramatic change:  intersections closed off and redirected, new traffic lights installed that loom overhead with lights that blink incessantly, businesses torn down and demolished, new businesses birthed to stand towering in the backdrop of the scenery just past the erected advertising sign.

I got to the end of the road.

Reminded that there is a time to tear down and a time to build.  

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Two to Tango

 Enjoying what just might be the last few days of a warm fall season.

Seeing one who needed rescue from the depth of leaves.  

Feeding hungry boys.

Having two to tango is a little tiring.
(but oh, so worth it!)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Can You Even This Out?

I watched him go off by himself and start to get really upset.  Normally a content little guy, I became somewhat startled by his behavior.   I left my seat to investigate his angst and as I got closer to him, the scent of mint grew stronger and stronger.  Perplexed by the smell, I wanted to find out where it was coming from but I needed to tend to him first.  He was obviously in distress and needed me so the scent dilemma would have to take a backseat to the situation at hand.

I bent down and scooped him up into my arms as I cooed and stroked his hair in an attempt to settle him down.  And, as he was beginning to relax a little bit, 

I saw it. 

The cause of the problem.  
And, it was a really, really big problem.  

He allowed me to poke around a bit to assess the damage.  

It was a big wad of still-wrapped but now chewed piece of peppermint gum that had sprawled across Copernicus' beard and under his lip.  

The damage was widespread and immense.  

There was only one solution.  I needed the scissors.  I started to work with less than Edward Scissorshand style dexterity and managed to cut the affected area free from the gum.  

I took a look at him:  lopsided, half bearded, half shaven.  A mess, really.

It was reminiscent of being seven or eight years old when a little girl wields scissors to her head for a brand new do.  Her mom, upon discovery of the hair mishap, looks at her to decide the next step.  She chooses and carts her daughter off to the hairdresser asking, "Can you even this out?"

In the same manner, I looked at Copernicus and then carted him off to the groomer asking, "Can you even this out?"

Here he is sporting his brand new, non-bearded look.  Not quite the distinguished schnauzer-man of days gone by. 

Silly dog, gum is for kids. ;)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Couple

A man and his wife casually walked up to the voting line at their precinct this morning.  He was strikingly handsome and slightly subdued as he drank from his Starbucks cup.  His wife, on the other hand, excitedly pulled on the cuff of his sleeve as she tugged him towards the end of the line.  

"We're here!  We're here,"  she exclaimed

He grinned at her with that kind of grin that flows out of enormous love and he softly said, "I know, honey.  We're here."

She anxiously fidgeted, almost jumping up and down in the spot where she stood.  Her eyes shone brightly  with anticipation as her speech got faster and faster.  Finally, as though not being able to withstand the emotional swell any longer,  she leaned into her husband's chest and burst forth into a quiet, almost hushed song.  It was a Lee Greenwood song.

"I'm proud to be an American.
Where at least I know I know I 'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died
And gave the right to me."

He grabbed her by the shoulders and said, "I love you, you nut."  She just grinned and whispered back, "I love you too" and then turned her attention back to the head of the line.  They were inching their way up to the front.  They talked about their date that morning as they passed the time together.  Their date to go vote in an election.  They recounted their years together by each of their trips to the voting booths.   

And, then it was the man's turn.  The electoral officer asked for his name and identification and his physical address.  As he provided the requested items, his wife became even more visibly excited. The officer handed the man a blank ballot and pointed him towards the voting booth.   He paused briefly, glanced back at his wife and winked at her, then made his way to the designated spot.  

The woman stepped up to the table and joyfully thanked the electoral officers for their service and volunteer time.  She then proceeded to give them her name, identification and physical address.  And, as she did so, tears began to well up in her eyes.

She knows the personal cost exchanged for the freedom of democracy. 

She served in the United States Navy for 13 years. 

She took the ballot handed to her and gripped it with all her might.  That paper was her vote, her voice.  She stepped into the voting booth.

The man voted and then stood past the line of booths as he waited for her to finish.  She stepped out of the booth and  saw him out of the corner of her eye as she fed her ballot into the counter.  

She took a few steps toward him with a really wide smile proclaiming, " I am number 989."

He shook his head, took her by the hand and led her to the volunteer standing by the door.  The volunteer handed her a sticker first, then her husband.

The sticker read,  I Voted.

The man took his wife's hand and said appreciatively, "We voted."

The couple started to make their way to the parking lot.  The woman leaned into the man once again.  This time, a small tear trailed out of the corner of her eye.

In a quiet tone meant only for her and her husband, the rest of the song began.

"And, I'll proudly stand up
Next to them and defend her still today.
Cuz there ain't no doubt I love this land.
God bless the USA."

So, if you were standing in line to vote and perhaps got distracted by this woman, I will tell you a secret.

It was me.  

Monday, November 3, 2008

Virginia: Red or Blue

The campaigns are pushing hard in these last few hours to get their messages out.  Focus is narrowing in on the swing states; the states that might just make a difference for either candidate.  In the mix of all the craziness sits my sweet state of Virginia which lies in an unprecedented spot. 

Both parties have been crawling from Richmond to Newport News in hopes of swinging the state to their favor.  And, because of this, there's been some pretty interesting expressions from passionate Americans.

Make sure your expression is to vote in this election.

Enjoy the freedom to have a voice in our country.

... just go vote.