Tuesday, May 31, 2011



Whether the weather be fine,
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Or whether the weather be hot,
We'll weather the weather
Whatever the weather
Whether we like it or not.


"The air is like a butterfly
With frail blue wings.
The happy earth looks at the sky
And sings."
- Joyce Kilmer, Spring


I think tulips teach us to live in the moment.


The last week of school here.
Last day for Emma to be home.
The 29th anniversary of our son Patrick's birth.

My how things come and go so quickly here.....

Encourage one another.


Monday, May 30, 2011


one dollar hot fudge sundaes
sweet potoato fries
a chance moment of sun and bokeh





Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

team rubicon blog

Happy Memorial Day to one and all!!

Encourage one another,

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011



Shooting into the setting sun makes your auto focus go wonky and it won't always work.
So I shot on manual.



Did I say something funny?


Are you mocking me?

music from college.
hard to find.

I must have listened to this song a gazillion times.
It's good to hear it again.


Have a beautiful Friday.

Encourage one another,

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I am the biggest loser.

That's right.

All my reality favorites lost.

I'm not bothered at all. As my favorite Idol contestant was booted off, I had more free time....hahaha.
I really didn't need to watch. I actually found it painful to watch Scotty sing.
As I told you before, Josh Tuner, yes. Scotty, no.

BUT, he was the most delightful winner I ever saw!
I love how he sang while he hugged his family and each of the contestants.
I love how Lauren kisskisskissed his cheek at the very end.

That last four minutes were magic.

And well....I fast forwared thru most of the show and was ready to run and hide when the boys did their group number....because in general the group numbers are hideous,
but then most of the pieces were good (I fast forwarded thru Jacob) and then Tom Jones came out and he was burnt to a crisp,
but I LOVED seeing that old dude!

That was cool.

The clips of the contestants goofing on one another were extremely funny and I enjoyed those, too.

Bono brought cred and Steven Tyler brought it with that final scream.

Seems I missed Casey singing with Jack Black, but I just found that clip and it was entertaining.
How can a song called Fat Bottomed Girls NOT be entertaining?


So I many not ever be right (wrong with Idol, DWTS and The Amazing Race) but at least I get to be the biggest loser.

I'm learning to be humble, day after day, in many different ways. (this being one of the less painful ways ;o)


Hey! I just read an interview of the gloriously talented photographer Sheye Rosemeyer over on Becky's blog!
It is fantastic and beautiful and I want you to go and read it!!! I know you will be blessed by it.

Wonderful interview Becky!!

Our dear friend Becky interviews the stunning Sheye Rosemeyer

Okay! enjoy that....

Love you guys!!
Thanks for hanging out with me.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I have precisely 17 minutes to write this blog.
At that time the timer will sound and the monkey bread will be finished.
Then I have to get it ready to take to the final 'bible' study of the year hosted by my friend Jean.
I love her. Have I told you that. Jean is my friend Amy's mom. Their family has deep roots in Madison and because they are so hospitable and caring and generous, everyone knows them.
(I love Amy too....she has helped me with Katie numerous times and she is super fun to be with.)

But unlike Oprah....no one bows down to Jean and worships her.
Jean would hate that.

She is a quiet person with a ready laugh, who loves and helps every day of her life.

She will be 80 this year.

I want to be like her. She is my hero.


A pretty flower for Jean and Amy and Sister Theresa and for all of the quiet workers out there.
Your influence is great.
Your grace and humility are beautiful.

God Bless you all.

Encourage one another,

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Emma is home and she teaches me so much.

Yesterday at Luke house (local food kitchen) I was assigned to a different task.
I like my task of scooping up the meat loaf and putting it on the plate.
In fact, it's the only job I have done in three years. I like it.

But things were different and yesterday I was told to serve the tables.
This came with lots of new jobs and more interaction with the 'hungry customers.'

It was extremely slow because of gun fire in the area and a standoff.
This kept people away which always makes me sad.

I overheard talk about getting shot and from a man saying he was shot at but never hit.
He was told he was blessed by the man who had been shot.

I mentioned this to Emma and that is the table she wanted to go and sit at.

So part of the experience at Luke house is sitting down to eat with the hungry customers.
We want them to know that they are welcome and we are happy to see them and eat with them and share a meal with them.

Both Emma and I had slight drama at our tables and when I mentioned it to her she said,

"That's what happens when you make friends and enter into relationships. Dishing up food does not get as messy."

So like the man in About a Boy, entering into relationships is messy and it IS easier to stand alone sometimes.

But I have to tell you, I got a hug from a man with dreadlocks and no teeth and very dirty hands,
and it was lovely.

Encourage one another,

Monday, May 23, 2011


This picture makes me feel thankful.

Katie has her new Tom's. Free. Replacement.
Emma is home and I can see her in the background.
We are up at the capitol with the workshop. It is not raining.
We are laughing and learning and looking for the light.

I like the green bits on the ground and the shapes of the balusters and Katie's graceful arms.


This picture made me happy because I love beautiful skies and clouds,
and then I saw toes, like footprint toes.

Can you see them?


This picture makes me giggle...because behind the beautiful flowers is a building I could not shoot straight if my life depended on it ;o)

Wishing you beauty and laughter and a thankful heart this week...

I'm off to a good start, hope you are too.

Encourage one another,

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Fresh sidewalk chalk.
It's a wonderful thing.

I wonder how long this peaceful, colorful, creative pursuit will continue?


We are still here
We are not gone away
just yet.

The sun glows
the child smiles
we will love it
while it lasts.

Encourage one another,

Friday, May 20, 2011

Where O Where is my camera?

Oh! Yes. I left it in the bathroom.

I like to look thru my just taken pictures when I'm in the bathroom.
Do I need to tag or flag my camera now?
Is that gross?


Wasn't it clever the way I focused on the cuff of Katie's shirt?
I'll be sure to teach that at the workshop tomorrow!!

I watched the very, very end of Idol last night to see who was going to get voted off.
You have never seen a more shocked contestant in your life, dare I say she was...disgusted by the choice of Lauren and
not herself?

Drama to the max. And then Haley grabbed that microphone and showed em all!
She sang that odd rendition of Bennie and the Jets like she was Ertha Kitt.

She worked the crowd like a 40 year old. Such poise, such talent, such disdain.
Did anyone else see it? (the disdain)

But it is precisely because she is poised like a 40 year old and because she sings weird jazz music that she is not in the finale.
She will have a fine career at the Pottawatomie Casino or somewhere in New Orleans...they like jazz there, right?

The contestants went back to their hometowns and Scotty cried and cried over and over...and even tho I can't stand to watch him sing...the teeny boppers adore him and his Alfred E. Newman looks.

How can I even imagine to know what a teenage girl would like?
Teen age girls like teen age boys.

I remember wondering what anyone saw in Leonardo DiCaprio during the whole Titanic craze. A friend of mine said, we didn't see it because we were women who were attracted to men. He was a boy.

Interesting, no?

So that's what I got from five minutes of watching Idol.

I will watch the last five minutes next week to see who wins because there will be confetti and tears and drama...

By the way, I liked Lauren from the first but I think she is super green.

Oh. One more thing. 90 million votes.

That says something.
I'll leave it to the deep thinkers to think about what that exactly says.

As for today;

I'll be spending the day cleaning and cooking and making the home nice for the workshop!
Hey! I'm also going to get a rental car this time so we can all travel together.
Big time. :o)

I'm feeling less nervous this time. The women coming seem lovely and I know I will met with love and enthusiasm...

It's a very good thing!

Happy Friday!

Encourage one another,

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I read this essay on Holly's blog. (thank you Holly)

I loved it and wished I could write like this...

The writer is from Chicago and continues to write for the Trib.
I am now her Facebook friend.
Social media is so great.


Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most
interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable,
politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

~Mary Schmich
of the Chicago Tribune
June 1, 1997


Encourage one another,

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


When I knew all of the kids would be in town thru Monday,
I wondered what we should do on Sunday.

Go to Wrigley came to mind. We love sports. I'm not sure the boys have ever been to Wrigley.
One must go to Wrigley and see the friendly confines, once, don't you think?

So I bought tickets.
Very expensive to buy tickets for seven people.
The least expensive seats were bleacher seats.

You would be shocked how much they were. I was shocked.
Everyone was shocked.

And then.

It rained and it rained for forty daysies, daysies.
Drove those animals nearly crazy, crazy.

I bought CTA passes for everyone, I joined the Cubs twitter feed so I would know if there were any issues with the
game and rain....

And then.



Oh. My. Stinkin. Heck.

So we got dressed in our finest weather gear and walked to the red line.
We were going to see the outside of Wrigley, even if we couldn't see the inside of Wrigley Field.

And gee, it's tiny.
It's super dooper tiny.



Poncho Pals.


Melinda went for the Jackie O/Ukraine look.



So we looked at the outside of the stadium.

And then, a bewildered Giants fan walked up to me holding his tickets out.

Me, in my lavender jacket and rain bonnet, and he said, "Aren't the windows open? How am I going to get my money back? I'm from California. How am I going to turn these in?"

I tried to help the poor man out, but we all knew he was out of luck. He gambled and lost...just like us.

But this provided my family with a new reason to laugh.

Of all the people wandering and hanging out at Wrigley,
this man thought I was the one, the 50 year old lady in a rain bonnet, the one who would have all the answers.

We happen to think this was hysterical.


We rode the red line and then the brown line and went out to lunch at Lou Malnatis on Wells.
They are famous for their pizza. It was warm there and the food was very good.

So that was our Cubbies adventure.

The make up game is June 28th. It's a Tuesday.
With my luck, it will be raining.

Encourage one another,

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


After the beautiful commencement, which according to my nephew, counted as church for the week, we went to
eat at Nookies. Nookies is a nearby restaurant that Emma likes a lot.
I called months ahead to reserve a room if possible.
That was not possible.
Reservations were not possible either but I was to call a few days before the graduation to see if they could save
a few tables for us anyway.
Then I was asked to call 1 1/2 hours before we would come in.

Just imagine me watching my phone during the commencement...waiting for the exact moment to go out in the hallway to call.

There was a break in the action and off I went.

"16 people for 12:30 please." I said.

"We will try to get you in around then." Bob said.

(I'm pretty good at this kind of logistical planning but I find it super stressful.)

I came back into the church and they were singing Great is Thy Faithfulness and the tears started.

So we all exited the extrememly crowded church halls and met in front of Moody Bible Church.
I snapped a few pictues and we all made our way in the windy wind to Nookies.
We walked into Nookies about 12:15, the restaurant was full and loads of people were waiting. Our tables were ready at exactly 12:30. I wanted to kiss Bob on the cheek. But I didn't.

We talked and ate and hung around until about 2:30. It was really a nice little get together. I think. I hope.

Many thanks to Nookies and for our dear family for making the day extra special for Emma.

And speaking of family. I must tell you about Asher. Not only is that little boy the most beautiful happy child,
he is so good. Oh I know, you are not supposed to say a child is good. His behavior is good. Oh! whatev!


But I'm telling you, he had plenty of reason to be miserable and to be crying. Most babies would be miserable and crying.
Traveling for ten hours. Staying up way too late. Sitting thru a commencement without a peep.

Seriously. What nine month old does this?

Asher kept up with us and our crazy sheenanagians the whole weekend...without one meltdown. It was astonishing.

We were walking around in the freezing rain for hours and he did not peep.
He wasn't crazy about the pink poncho but he still smiles a sweet smile at me.
And that's the thing about Asher. He is the happiest boy. Smile. Big Grin. A shake of his head. And another big smile.


You are the Amazing Asher Boucher and we love you so very much.
And you know what? we would have loved you even if you had a melt down, but you didn't and I think you are ahmazing!

Keep doing what you are doing Matthew and Melinda cause you are doing something very right!

This could have been a weekend of sitting in the hotel room. Most of the family was ill prepared for
rain and 45 degrees. But we decided to just go for it and meandered around Chicago.

At Barneys, I saw a display of the cutest umbrellas in the world.
They cost $130.

We bought an Aztec inspired umbrella for $16.00 at Urban Outfitters. It was small and turned inside out in the wind in 48 seconds.
Patrick and Matthew found rust colored hats for 4.99. They bought three.

These were the community hats. Most everyone wore them at some point over the next 24 hours.

Except me.

I bought a rain bonnet. Cause I was prepared.
Yes. A rain bonnet. I am the girl who never wears a hat. Ever.

I bought a rain bonnet because I wanted to make my family laugh.
And I wore it with wild abandon.
Anything for a laugh.

Emma may have a picture of this...I don't think I will ask her for it.

So yes. We tried to make the best of things and I know we will always remember
the hideous weather and how much fun we had in spite of it!


Da Cubs game.

Encourage one another,

Monday, May 16, 2011

Graduation Weekend.
Moody Bible Institute
Chicago Rainforest.
May 13-15


Walking to the commencement on Saturday morning was chilly and exciting.
All of the logistics of being in the city added to my stress.
Emma was calm, like she always is, and ready to go!

Emma graduated with high honors and without debt.
Both wonderful achievements. Emma worked her way thru college and trusted God.
Even the summer she could not 'buy' a job...she made it work.
She has learned to rely on God and to work super hard.

What a girl!



Emma, the graduate.

and some boy...who also graduated.

We sat in the darkest spot of the church. Wasn't that clever of me?
We needed a whole row of seats and I grabbed the first row that was on the side where Emma would walk.
I tried not to freak out that we were so far back and in the dark.
In retrospect, I wish we had been closer. sniff*sniff.

We were so blessed to have family come to the graduation. Patrick's brother and his wife and their son came down from Madison as did Patrick's sister Annie and her family. They adore Emma and have always been so supportive.


Thank you for being a part of Emma's special day! We love you all!


Very very much!


I told Emma to do something....
There is a little ham hiding in that quiet and gentle soul.


Matthew and Melinda and Asher came from Omaha to celebrate with us!


Patrick flew in all the way from California!

You know my heart was so full of joy to have all of us together in Chicago.

Thank you all for being there...for loving Emma...for everything!!!

(okay. now I'm crying.)

~photo by Darrell Stroud bil... Thank you :o)

More later about the sweet baby Asher, Patrick's amazing race adventure to get to Chicago,
the Poncho Pals, umbrellas for $130 and hats for 4.99, da cubs game, bonehead things I say,
and tips on packing for the weather.

Encourage one another,

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Our blog friend Amy from Italy said good bye to her daddy this week.
Amy has been here with the most perfect scriptures and words of love for me and my family
thru our painful year...please say a prayer for her and her family as they learn to live without the
physical pressence of her dad. She knows he is in heaven and is comforted by the fact that he is with Jesus and reunited with her mom.

Please pray for our friend, Amy.

And a dear blog friend of mine, Sarah @ Spruce Hill Farm died last night after a brave and hard fight with cancer.
She was a mom with young children and a fine husband. She was too young to die.
She was positive and fun and loved her beautiful life.

Please pray for her family. May they find comfort in their memories of her and the promise of heaven.

As I went to bed with tears and sadness I read this passage from An Ordinary Woman's Extraordinary Faith by Patricia St. John;

Since that first, long-ago grasp of Isaiah 43:1, I had never doubted that I belonged to the Lord, and this is no way negated that experience. To receive is simply a further step to belonging. It just confirmed what was once said by a well-known children's evangelist, "A little child needs a little child's Savior. A growing child needs a growing child's Savior." Over and over in each stage of our growth He reveals himself in the very way that we need him.

This grown woman needs a grown woman's Savior.

A Savior who knows about love and loss and pain and overcoming.
I am thankful that Jesus is that kind of Savior.

I would be mush without Him.


Life is in the details.

It is fleeting and beautiful and full of wonder and pain.

Learn God's truth, be grateful, take notice,
and pass it on.

Encourage one another,

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Toms is a very good thing.
It is a shoe company that donates a pair of shoes to a person in need for every pair that they sell.

This pair was only bought less than three months ago.

Katie spent her own money. $68.00 with the tax and shipping.

They have holes in the toes already.


I was informed on the phone that Toms is having issues with the fabric on these sparkly shoes. I was told to send a picture and information to TOMS. I have not heard back. I hope I hear back. I hope they make it right.

Other people with TOMS shoes find their shoes lasting for years.

I'll let you know how this is resolved.
Hoping for the best and a new pair of shoes.



This is Angie's dog, Dublin.
Am I seeing things or does his nose look like a heart?


Shooting dog tip.

This picture was shot at 2.5 and I am pretty close to Dublin, as you can see.
Because dogs (like this) have long faces it would have been better if I put my aperture at 4.0 or something around there.
The depth of field is too small with the aperture at 2.5
This makes for a nice blurry background..but also makes Dublin partially out of focus.

Depends on what you are going for.
But remember, if you want all of the dog's face in focus pick a bigger number on your aperture.



This is my friend Jessica's daughter. I was warned that she would NOT look at the camera.
And she did not.

Until I spotted a tattoo on her arm. I asked about her 'play' tattoo and she told me it was real.
I asked her if she would like to see my tattoo.

OH MY! Did she look up quick.


It was so warm out yesterday that Katie put on her swimsuit and dashed thru the sprinkler!

She wished she had a friend to play with...
But that is an old and tired story.

She is off at school now and even gets to stay for art club today. Hopefully that will fill her
social cup.

I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.
Martha Washington (1732 - 1802)

Encourage one another,

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

So I went looking for my pictures of Switzerland. And I found some other pictures.

Susan, from the comments lives in Switzerland and I thought I would share some of the pictures with her...and remind myself of the cities we visited. My friend Brenda and I backpacked around Switzerland and Austria in 1978 (we took a quick trip to Florence Italy also). To tell the truth we were inspired to go after watching The Sound of Music.

I can remember we went to Lucerne, Geneva, Zermat, Bern, and my favorite place with a waterfall which I can't remember but I am sure is written on the back of the picture. We went to Salzburg, Austria and took the Sound of Music tour. We stayed in youth hostels and had Eurail passes. We carried every thing on our backs. It was fun.

I love to go a wandering along the mountain path
and as I go I love to sing
my knapsack on my back.

Valer-ah hahahahaha....

(do you know that song?)

But back to what I found.

A big box with pictures from the late 80's and the early 90's.

The pictures are mostly very bad quality. I am not kidding. It was so hard with film.
You had no control. You had no idea what you were going to get.
This, coupled with the lack of effort made for super poor picture quality.

Sometimes I tried to compose well...but have mercy...mostly I was just snapping away without any thought.

And that's okay. I mean what cha gonna do now. I will be happy to have the memories.

Here are some good memories and the best of the bunch (picture quality wise)


Sue and Jeffery.

No control over the light. But at least it is nice and close and Sue's expression is sweet.

Jim Peck's. Minocqua.


Janice and Janet. Marinette.

Flash pic. Adorable nonetheless.

Janice, I lost my smile. But I got it back.
I think you will get your smile back too.


Matthew. Marinette.

I always loved this picture.
Now that I am more thoughtful about my picture making....I can see the qualities in this
that I look for now.

And just forgot about how adorable Matthew looks in the Burley!!! CUTE!


Matthew has lost his smile too...but it is creeping back into his life...he can't help it when he is holding Asher.


Good heavens. He is adorable. I think he is going to throw sand on me.

Washington Island. 1987


Cindy, Brandon and Steven.Menominee Mich.

Same box. Cute pic. Very baggy shirts were in.


So the moral to the story is:

1. take pictures
2. think first
3. forgive yourself.
4. print your pictures
5. share your pictures

Encourage one another,