Sunday, December 31, 2006

It Happened So Fast...

After a relaxing holiday at home, it was time to hit the road to visit family through New Year's day. I had devised the best plan to surprise my sister who was stopping over at my Dad and stepmom's house in Navarre, Florida on her way home from Mississippi. She had been sad that she wouldn't see me during the holidays so I began plotting. I would rent a car last Tuesday (12/26) and Daniel and I would drive down to Florida and suprise her with gifts (and ourselves) in tow! Well, that did end up happening but the surprise didn't take place in happened at 75mph on I-85 South between Auburn and Montgomery, AL when Daniel and I were involved in a bad car accident.

I had rented a Chevy malibu--a small/intermediate size car-- since I was only using it the one day and planned to turn it in the next morning. Daniel was in the back strapped into his seat watching a movie and I was listening to my iPod (my new love) and singing in pure contentment. The sun was shining, it was a cool, breezy winter day outside and I was on a top-secret mission to make my sister very happy. To say I was content would be an understatement.

Then I reached back to check Daniel's movie-- which was actually right beside me since the passenger seat was pushed all the way forward--and my left tires swerved over onto the "rumble" strips on the left shoulder. Realizing this, I corrected but the car responded much quicker than my Expedition does and I began to fishtail at 70-75 mph. The back of the car swerved left, then right, then my left side crashed into the guardrail causing us to spin around no less than 4 times before slamming head on into a concrete bridge support. The front of the car was ripped off and had apparently been thrown through the air and landed on the opposite side of the interstate outside the guardrails.

It all happened so fast and, after the first hit, the airbag exploded in my face filling the car with smoke as we spun. The only thought swirling through my head was "Daniel is with me and this is how we are going to die." When the car came to a stop facing the wrong way in the fast lane I tried to get out but had to kick the driver-side door open before running around to check on Daniel. His eyes were the size of saucers and he wasn't making a sound but, wehn I opened his door, he started screaming "am I dead, Mommy? Is this Heaven?" Those words sent me into hysterics, which made him cry harder, so I had to compose myself to keep him calm.

Onlookers stopped to help, fire engines, ambulance and police arrived and suddenly, we were in a swirl of flashing lights and people with gloves on taking personal information and asking questions about how it all happened. Strangers comforted my son as I tried to dial my husband's number and battle with Avis employees on the phone who were, let's say, less than concerned about our well-being. For a moment, everything went silent and appeared to be in slow motion. The lights, the gawking passerby, the strangers who had become angels and the car that had once held two highly contented a crumpled mass with headlights dangling freely like a monster's eyeballs in a scary cartoon. It all became a little much and I sat down in the median and wept. It was more than sadness about the wrecked car or the spoiled surprise or the madness that surrounded me. I wept at the very thought of what could have been the outcome. How did we not hit any other cars? How did we not tumble end over end as we spun out of control at such at a high speed? How did we come out of the wreck with only cuts and bruises? The enormity of the "free pass" we received hit me at that moment. In a flash, our lives could have ended but they hadn't. The sheer miracle of it was enough to take my breath away.

We did get to surprise my sister as she detoured to come to pick me up at the scene. Ripped Christmas gifts in tow, we headed down to Florida as scheduled...just a little delayed and a little more battered than we had planned.

There are many things I learned on the side of the interstate that day. I learned that there is nothing important enough to distract you when driving and that spilled juices or movies skipping will have to wait from now on...I learned that college rivalries don't matter when a person who is wearing a sweatshirt from your arch rival school is holding and comforting your son. But, most importantly, I learned that, in the blink of an eye, life can be forever changed. My son and I are blessed to be here today and I take my awareness of that fact into this new year.........

Friday, December 22, 2006

Parenting Tip #5,642

If you discover that, unbeknowst to you, your already "spirited" four-year old son has been scarfing down chocolate-covered coffee beans at a friend's Christmas party, be prepared for behavior that closely resembles a drunk man on speed.

Lawd help me.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ima Gonna Pump You Up

Went to the doctor today for arm pain and hand numbness. As suspected, I have torn a muscle in my upper right arm which cannot be repaired. It should be fine and heal within 4 - 6 weeks so mostly it's just a bothersome pain right now. But, as I was researching muscle tears on Google, I came across this fella (see right). Is it just me or is that photo disturbing on many levels?

But, as for my hand pain, here's the diagnosis:

No big deal except I have to wear a splint that makes me look like a pro bowler at night. Woo hoo. Love is in the air...........

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I love Christmas.

For me, the promise of the holiday and all of the sentimentality and religious significance that this season holds is one of the reasons I look forward to December the whole year through. Hanging lighted garlands from the balconies, coming home each night down a street with houses decked in festive lights and the way the air feels as the excitement of Christmas morning draws closer. My son's ability to discuss the story of the Nativity and the sweet songs he sings about Jesus' birth lend a much-needed reminder of why we celebrate in the first place.

But, as I was reminded today, the most meaningful and exciting time of year can also be one of the most painful for those who may have fallen on hard times financially or, even more painful, lost a loved one--causing bittersweet emotions of sorrow, longing... A woman for whom our small group at church had been praying passed away today. At the young age of 45, she was already a grandmother four times over and was the glue that held her family together. Last month, her life was normal and I'm sure she was planning what to buy her grandchildren for Christmas. Today, she passed away around 3pm of complications from a cancer that spread rapidly through her body. How could she go down hill so fast...and, right here at Christmas...leaving behind a stunned network of family and friends for whom this holiday has taken a tragic turn.

I also found out that a 2 1/2 year old girl also passed away this weekend. Suffering since birth by an unkind disease that left her disabled, this angel is no longer in pain but has left behind a gaping hole of sadness in the hearts of those who knew and loved her. Likewise, I have been guilty of breaking down while decorating the tree or hearing a particular Beach Boys tune and wishing my mother were here so badly that I thought my heart would burst.

But, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the good things that God is doing in the lives around me. A close friend of mine got "the call" they had been waiting on and will be heading to Utah in February to adopt a baby boy when he's born. My heart swelled with excitement as I shared with her the joy of this special kind of "pregnancy"... and, as we wrap a special gift to present to her parents as an announcement, I smile as I think what a special Christmas memory this will be for their family. Then there's the picture of my niece as she grasped an ornament in her tiny little hands...or my son parading around the house in his Santa costume declaring that he's about to hand out the "!" (ala Polar Express)

For many, this truly is the "most wonderful time of the year..." but, let us not forget those that may be a little sad and brokenhearted as well. May God comfort them and tuck in their hearts a peace that only He can give...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

My Favorite Prayer

May today there be peace within.
May you trust God
That you are exactly
Where you are meant to be.

May you not forget
The infinite possibilities
That are born of faith.
May you use those gifts
That you have received,
And pass on the love
That has been given to you.

May you be content knowing
You are a child of God...
Let this presence settle
Into your bones,
And allow your soul
The freedom to
Praise ...

It is there for each and every one of us.
--St. Theresa's Prayer

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Like Rain...

Blessings pour down
Like rain
Drops of mercy

I am grateful.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Lingual Laughs

After waking up this morning, Daniel and I headed down to gaze at the Christmas tree. The season is flying by so fast, I don't want to blink and it's time to take down our decorations. So, we went down to the living room, snuggled under a blanket and sang Christmas songs.

It was then Daniel insisted on singing a couple of the sings he'll be singing for his Christmas pagent next week (a true rite of passage for parenthood I assure you). Two that he shared go something like this:

"Oh, come wet us adorn him, oh come wet us adorn him, oh come wet us adorn him, Chri-ist, the Lord..."

and, my personal favorite...

"Feliz Mommy-Dot, Feliz Mommy-Dot, Feliz Mommy-Dot...prospero ano felizi-dot.."

Did I correct him?

Not on your life.

Monday, December 04, 2006

In a Perfect World

...there would be no children without homes. But, there are. And, there are families like us who desire to build our family through adoption. Then, why is the process so arduous?

When we arrived at Daniel's orphanage in February 2004, there were over 100 kids who needed families. Many of these children clung to our pantlegs saying "mama" and "papa." I can't explain how heartbreaking it was. There were so many children we would have loved to bring home... but the process was so expensive that it made it impossible for us to do two at one time. And, now that we are looking to adopt a second child, we are once again facing those same challenges.

Why must it be this way for families who have no other option to become parents? This time around, we are going the domestic route and are waiting for a birthmother to choose us from a group of profiles. I must admit, this is not much easier. It may cost a little less but, now that our profile has been submitted, it is simply a waiting game.

But, knowing the gift that God gave us in the form of our son Daniel, makes the wait a little easier. We waited a long time for him and he fits our family like a glove. It may be a case of nurture vs. nature, but I marvel each day at how easy it is to forget that I did not give birth to this child. He is a walking, talking combination of Keith and I. Yes, I wish the process weren't so frustratingly long...but, I do know it is well worth it in the end.

So, we wait.............

Friday, December 01, 2006

Savage Morn

The dark grey sky paints a perfect backdrop
For the razor thin branches
As they are tossed back and forth
A steady wind gust barking orders at them
"Left! right! left! right!"

Leftover leaves are pasted on my window pane
Clinging to the glass as a last bastion of hope
Before drifting downward to join the others
Blanketing the ground like a fine Oriental rug
Woven from strands of dark brown and burnt orange hues

The sun is just starting to rise
Illuminating this blustery, savage morn
As the temperature drops, Mother Nature inquires
"Isn't this what you wanted?," she asks.
"Did you not complain about a sunny/71 yesterday?," she continues.

"Yes, Mother Nature," I reply. "Indeed I did."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving 2006

The turkey is roasting all buttery and brown
A blanket of leaves now carpets the ground
The casseroles are waiting for their turn to bake
Juggling these long will they take?

The TV is blaring while our feast is made
Bands marching in step in the Macy's parade
Like a well-oiled machine, everyone's doing their part
For at 7:00am the cooking did start

Desserts waiting patiently for someone to taste
An hour has gone by, the turkey we'll baste
Must go set the table, the time's drawing near
How blessed I do feel to have my family here...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Basic Instructions

"Winter" as we know it has kicked into full gear over the past couple days. Today, the high today is forecast to be 49 degrees accompanied by a cold rain. Just north of here, there is a danger of flooding when the Etowah River rises above crest. Therefore, when I logged onto there was a FLOOD WARNING alert for our area. What made me chuckle was the last line. Now this folks is what we call your most basic of emergency instructions:


Do not drown? Is that a command or merely a suggestion? Did I really need to be reminded NOT to drown?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Eva Performs--Autumn Leaves

"I miss you...most of darling, when autumn leaves start to fall... "

Eva Cassidy ranks right there at the top of my favorite singer/songwriters. She lost her battle to cancer in 1996 at 33 years old so the precious few albums she left behind will have to quench my love for her music.

This song happens to combine two of my favorite things...Eva's heavenly voice and lyrics about my favorite season... autumn.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Boy's Prayer: November 14

The scene: Daniel's bedside, Daniel kneeling, hands clasped, flanked on either side by me and Keith

Just when I thought his little prayers had given all they could, this was his prayer tonight. Keith nor I could contain our grins and our chuckles (which I immediately tried to play off as a cough!)

"Dear God,
Thank you for living in my heart.
I just ask you to be with all the people
that are with you up there, God.
And be with all the people here in jail
who have to eat broccoli and pineapple.
And, God...Christmas time is coming
and I want to thank you God for being
my best present. And please give presents to
other people that don't have any, God.
And thank you for washing my sins away.
And please help the blind men to see
oh, and the blind girls, too.
When I think of Christmas, God,
I think of you.
Thank you for sending Jesus to
die on the "cwoss" for our sins.
I love you, God. Hope you live in a lot
of other people's hearts, too.

Oh, to have the unjaded, innocent heart of a child again.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Blue Balloon

"I must have a scrap of paper in here somewhere," I thought to myself as I dug into my purse outside the appliance store yesterday.

Our son had been so patient...riding lawnmowers pretending to cut the grass, "cooking" us dinner on one of the many ovens we were considering and turning every knob in sight. Watching him pass the time in the Sears appliance outlet took me back many years to my own trips to Sears with my parents.

The scent was always unmistakable. We usually entered through the hardware department and immediately the smell of new appliances and plastic toolboxes would overwhelm my young senses. To me, it was a wonderland and I'm sure to a four-year-old boy it is even more so. I recalled the rows of neatly arranged socket sets adorned with red bows for the holidays, shiny red tool cases on wheels and the rubbery scent of bicycle tires suspended from racks in the ceiling. As my folks would talk over a potential purchase, my sister and I would play "house" and each pick an appliance for our new abode. I must tell you, watching my son engage himself in that same pretend world was heartwarming.

For my son's good behavior, and to ward off the onset of boredom, the salesperson presented Daniel with a shiny blue balloon. He proudly wore it around his wrist for the rest of the afternoon until it was time to leave. Now,I knew this balloon had a short life to live if it were to go home with us. So, I devised a plan. I began to scrounge around for a scrap of paper and a marker. I then proposed that we send the balloon on a journey up to heaven with a message to Grammy (my Mom). His face beamed at the idea and, although I knew it to be a fantasy, I was kind of excited myself.

Paper and pen in hand, I wrote a note that read, "To My Grammy With Love," and then he personally signed his name. We tied the note to the balloon and, on the count of three, 1---2---3... he released the blue balloon up into the air. A gust of wind swooshed it higher and higher as the clouds of an impending storm moved in. Daniel and I watched the balloon until it became nothing more than a tiny dot in the sky and was gone. Surprisingly, not another word was spoken about the balloon.
That is, until bedtime.

Just when I thought he had drifted off to sleep, Daniel rolled over and said (in his sweetest, almost asleep voice) "Do you think Grammy liked her balloon, Mommy?"

My eyes welled up with tears.

"Yes, sweet boy," I replied. "I'm sure she did."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Preschool President

OK, I had my fill this season of political smear ads...but this one--for a preschool presidential race in Iowa--made me chuckle:

I especially love the "Please Do Not Eat This Ballot" phrase on the voting ticket.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Inspire Me

My mind teeters
On the edge of composition
Rocking ever so gently

Back and forth
Back and forth

Like a tiny pebble
On the moss-covered bank of a stream
Needing only the slightest nudge
To knock me into the creative waters
That are passing by before me.....

Saturday, November 04, 2006


poets can build
galaxies from pebbles
and breathe the word of life
into brief glances...

--excerpted from "elaborate signings" by kenneth carroll


God whispers to us in our pleasures
Speaks in our conscious
But shouts in our pains
It is His megaphone
To rouse a deaf world

--C.S. Lewis

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Random Thoughts: November 3, 06

~~We had a bye-bye tooth ceremony last night. Daniel named his tooth "Joe" and thanked him for living in his mouth for 4 years...[laugh]

~~It's amazing what you can accomplish if you dedicate 15 solid minutes to one task.

~~The peachy-orangey-red maple trees in our neighborhood have produced the most brilliant fall color I have ever seen.

~~It's kind of bittersweet planning a meeting in Hawaii that you won't be attending.

~~What a nice evening last night...curling up with hubby and son to watch Polar Express with a cup of hot chocolate...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Day is Done

Today has been one of those days. One of those days that you're glad is over--even after acknowledging the fact that every day is precious. But, today has been anything but precious.

I woke up with a sore throat and a case of what I'm sure is PMS. (for any guys reading knew the "chick talk" would make its way in here sooner or later, didn't you?!) Anyway, I wasn't feeling 100% as I drove Daniel to school.

"Be nice to your friends, don't take their toys, listen to your teacher and you'll be a good boyyyy" I sang cheerily as we rounded the circular drive into his school. He happily sang along and I showed him the shiny quarter that would be placed in his "Quarter Jar" if he was on the "green light" when I picked him up.

Each day, as I turn the corner to pick Daniel up, I face the long hallway that seems to keep getting longer as I a scene straight out of Poltergeist. At the end awaits his teacher cocked and ready to tell me the latest offense on my son's record. Well, today as I waited outside with all the other mothers, the principal opens the door and, in front of all the other waiting Moms announces "Daniel was in my office today for saying a bad word." Thank you. Thanks for all but using a bullhorn to showcase my son's bad behavior. Sigh.....

As I head down the HOD (or Hall of Dread as I like to refer to it) I learn that my son used the "h-e-double-hockey-stick word while going into chapel of all places. My child inherited my timing for sure!

Then, to add the cherry to my already crappy-day sundae, I am told that his front tooth is loose because he collided with a classmate.

Long story short...a dentist visit and a few X-rays later, I receive the news: his front tooth must be removed and will not grow back for another 3 or so years. THREE YEARS??????

So...needless to say, I'm turning it in. I wanted to share the loveliness of this day on my blog because I tend to write about the flowery, ooey, gooey part of parenthood and avoid writing about the challenges.

Well, there you go. I'm sure there will be a sweet moment soon that will balance things out a little. But, for now, I'm off to bed.

After all, tomorrow is another day!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Project ADD

I have Project ADD.

Project ADD can be defined as "the inability to complete a home improvement project without beginning another which then prolongs the destruction of ones home thereby creating marital tension."

Wouldn't it be nice if, at some point, my home were just fine as is. No tile to lay down, no 1984 wallpaper in need of replacing, no hole in the wall where a toilet paper holder used to be?

Now, before you jump on me, I'm all about the theory of contentment. I do understand that I'm blessed far beyond belief with the home that I have. BUT...that doesn't stop the inner "Pottery Barn" in me from imagining what could be. Sigh......

During a recent tiling endeavor, my husband heard the familiar sound of wallpaper being ripped off a wall in a really cool, longggggggggg piece. OK, so I added the last part-- all he heard was the sound of another project commencing. Like the famous phrase "Gentlemen, start your engines..." the sound of wallpaper coming down signaled the beginning. The beginning of a new project while my poor hubby was up to his eyeballs in grout.

Oh yeah, Project ADD is in full swing.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Wishful Thinking

We returned from our brief trip hoping to walk in and find that the tile fairy had paid us a visit and finished our kitchen floor while we were away...

no such luck.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

(click image to enlarge)


Every night, I try to whisper some sort of little something in my son's ear to reaffirm how proud I am of him. Tonight, while his little boy breaths were heading the way of deep sleep, I whispered, "I love you, Daniel. I am so proud of the boy that you are."

As I turned to tip-toe out of his room, a sleepy little voice echoed, "I love you, too. And I am so proud of the grown-up that you are."

Let me tell ya, that's all the validation I need.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Life on October 23

Good Things:

~~Fall color blanketing the north Georgia mountains

~~8-layer chocolate cake made by Michelle's grandma

~~Comfortable laughter among friends tonight

Not-So-Good Things:

~~47 degrees and windy at a pumpkin patch field trip

~~My kitchen table and stove in the middle of my living room
(kitchen floor tiling project)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Don't Want To Forget

My son,

I don't want to forget riding with the windows down today and the breeze coming in as reddish, orange-tinted leaves whipped up in swirly patterns as we drove along. I don't want to forget the perfectly blue sky and the sweet sound of your four-year old voice singing "Daniel my bruh-der, you are older than me...will you still feel the pain...of the scars that won't heal...Daniel my bruhder...Daniel my bruhder...." Your favorite song sung over and over in a small voice that will, all too soon, correctly pronounce the word "brother" and it will break my heart.

I don't want to forget the four year old you. You are stubborn, funny, excitable, clever, frustrating and sweet.

I never want to forget these things.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Pretzel-Shaped Balloon Hat

I sooooo want to be laughing while I wear a pretzel-shaped balloon hat at this age. I absolutely love this photo.

(Photo was taken at the Annual Wichita Assisted Living Senior Olympics--Witchita, Kansas)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Ready to Go

A friend of ours recently lost both of his parents in a tragic airplane crash last week here in Atlanta. The small aircraft was bound for St. Simon's Island and contained Ron's folks as well as another couple who the plane belonged to.

Attending the funeral Sunday was tough because, not only did it conjour up the memories of my own experience of losing a parent, but it once again confirmed to me just how fragile life really is. But, one remark made as a part of the eulogy by Ron's brother really stuck with me.

Ron's mother had really dreaded riding in such a small aircraft; in fact, she had initially resisted going on the trip because of this hesitation. Finally, she gave in and commented, "you know, when it's my time to go, then it's my time to go..."

She then added, "we're packed up, prayed up and ready to go..."

There can be no greater source of comfort than to know that a loved one is assured of what will happen to them after this much-too-short-and-unpredictable life. Hugs and prayers to the entire Byrne family during this tough time........

Friday, October 13, 2006

A Trip to the Dentist

Dentists offices just aren't what they used to be. I remember cold, sterile offices where the only sign that they had younger patients was the basket of stickers on the counter. Boy have times changed.

Daniel's first-ever dentist appointment took place in an office where every square inch of the inside was painted in murals with 3-D animals and trees. The waiting room had TVs in every corner with movies playing and a wall full of video games to occupy nervous patients. The X-Ray process almost did him in but Daniel relaxed and actually turned out to be an excellent patient. He was curious about all the instruments and enjoyed watching Cat in the Hat during his treatment. dentist visit of mine has ever been quite so enjoyable.

After a thorough cleaning and exam, the wonderful news was delivered...NO CAVITIES! Great teeth! Whew!!!! I heaved a huge sigh of relief. Several friends of mine have shared the dental problems some of their children have had due to the lack of milk and over-abundance of tea that our kids had in their early years in Russia. I was fully expecting to meet the same fate. When the news of "no cavities" came back, I realized my lucky child did not inherit my teeth. Another reason to celebrate! :-)

Treatment and exam complete, Daniel used the tokens he got from the dentist in the toy machines on the way out. He also received a goody bag with a T-shirt, toothbrush, floss and a certificate for free tokens at Chuck E. Cheese. My next dentist appointment is Oct. 26...I'll have to suggest a nice Bath 'n Body goody bag for my visit. For some reason, I don't see that happening?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Trip to the Fair

He couldn't wait.

Each time we'd pass by our local fairgrounds, now laden with large mechanical beasts with flashing eyes and ponies going round in circles, Daniel's eyes would grow wide and he would inevitably ask, "can we go, Mom, huh, can we go there, huh, huh???"

I was finally able to say "yes" and what an evening it was. As we were headed back to the car afterwards, Keith exclaimed, "that was the most enjoyable evening we have had in a very long time." Indeed it was.

The air was crisp (there I go again with that word) and the predictable combination of smells confirmed we were at the fair. The warm, home baked aroma of funnel cakes, the smell in the air of wood burning and grills cooking up juicy sausages and sauteed onions, and the unmistakable scent of apples both candied and carameled.

The noises were familiar, too...the whirring of cotton candy machines whipping up fluffy bags to hang on a clothesline for the pickin', the gruffy voices of carnival workers enticing passerby to try to win a larger-than-life stuffed animal, and the screams of the frightened riders on a thriller called the Cyclone. Leave it to me to hear those screams and be drawn to that ride like a moth to flame.

Offering up my four tickets, I hopped aboard the Cyclone just as the fuschia-colored harnesses were being lowered in place. The metal floor then dropped out from below us and the most terror-filled 5 minutes of my life ensued. We began to spin around and rock back and forth and suddenly we are being tossed in the air like a used tissue. My heart began an odd palpatation as I watched the cars on the street below from an unnatural upside-down and twisted angle. The thought of death actually passed through my mind several times. I was actually PET-tri-fied. As I exited the ride to find my guys waiting for me, I felt my steps swagger as I tried in vain to flatten my wind-tossed coif. Whew. Don't think I could do that again.

The three of us strolled through the exhibits and Keith and I beamed as we watched Daniel, with a face bathed in pure delight, ride in circles on a sparkly green motorcycle. We shared a bag of cotton candy and paid a visit to the old-fashioned doctor and dentist as well as made a stop at the petting zoo.

Capping off the evening, Keith (aka. Mr. Not So Fond of Heights) watched as Daniel and I took a spin on a brightly colored ferris wheel. Initially scared, Daniel tucked his head into my side and sat as still as I've ever seen him. But, as the ride continued, his death grip on my arm gently subsided and he would wave at Daddy each time we came around. It was a wonderful way to end the evening and bid farewell to this year's fair.

If nothing else, it cemented the fact that fall is in full swing for me. What better way to spend a Thursday evening than with the two loves of my life, fingers sticky from cotton candy, ambling along taking in the sights and smells that reminded me so much of my own childhood?

It was more than just a trip to the fair. We made a memory last night.

Isn't that what life is all about?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


I love fall.

Even the word "autumn" makes me feel good. And, when someone uses the word "autumnal" to describe something that is associated with this season it just rolls off the tongue smoothly...."au-toom-nuhl".... deep colors of burnt orange, rust and golds appearing in little spurts throughout my neighborhood... luscious purple and plum colored mums bursting open and the comforting smell of burning leaves and fireplaces getting their first trial run before the temperatures start to drop.

In a recent conversation with my friend Cindy, we discussed words we liked (or, really, I discussed words I liked or didn't like and she mostly laughed at the oddness of my obsession with words). For example, I always associate the word "crisp" with fall. Crisp air, crisp apples, apple crisp...why does it always come back to food? :-)

On beautiful autumn days, the sun slants through the trees at just the right angle to create a stunning pattern on our lawn. The air is perfect and the leaves are falling as I pick the spot on which I'll lay back and survey the branches rustling in the breeze. For this and other reasons, I am simply in a better mood in the fall. It's not too hot, it's not too cold and the holiday trifecta of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas is on its way. I can dream about the wonderful ideas that I will most likely never implement while not feeling any pressure to decorate or have the house in order for holiday company.

What else do I love about this season? Football games and the accompanying beat of a drumline... long sleeve shirts with a pair of shorts... trips to the pumpkin patch...

I love this time of year.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

My Faraway Friend

Our paths have crossed
A number of times
But never face to face
A friendship has blossomed
As we've shared ups and downs
After adopting from the same place

We've spent countless hours
Listening and counseling
And laughing away the tears
A bond that will no doubt
Continue to strengthen
As our friendship grows through the years

It's moved past adoption
Into parenthood and careers
And our daily routines and such
I cannot convey
How much it has meant
For the two of us to stay in touch

It's amazing to realize
That you know me so well
And you champion me on to great things
I hope that you know
I'll be there for you
No matter what craziness life brings...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Ah, Escape to Adulthood

You know, when I was growing up, I vividly remember our family spending time with other families and how I always longed to be an adult...sitting around the table talking and laughing...telling stories and having a great time. As kids, we always played with the other children or, if there were no children, we'd find ways of entertaining ourselves. To me, it seemed as if I would never be a "grown up" but, as I think back to those days, I now realize that my Mom was the age I am now. I guess that's why our escape with two other couples this past weekend was so special. Three days of quality friendship time spent in the mountains just as the leaves are beginning to blaze with fall color...I can assure you it was time well spent.

Knowing that our child was in good hands with his grandparents, we jumped in a couple vehicles with our close friends Cindy and Ronnie and headed north. Part of the fun was the ride up there as we paired off by gender and Cindy and I had a blast riding up together. We chatted, sang harmony to our favorite songs and talked about a wide array of topics ranging from parenthood to careers and marriage. The guys were just ahead of us which made it that much more fun. Once we met up with our other friends Wendi and Chris, the three couples carefully balanced hanging out with alone time as we went shopping, played games at a "race car" theme park and waged a fierce battle of the sexes during the DVD trivia game Scene It. We hooted and carried on like teenagers and definitely felt a sense of renewed couplehood.

In fact, Cindy made a comment that confirmed the mood of the weekend: "it reminded me of why we fell in love in the first place."

Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Headed to the Mountains

We're off later today for a couples getaway near Gatlinburg, children! I am so excited to get away with friends and to be in the mountains this time of year. Pictures and highlights when we return!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Beyond Comprehension

I've always been an outer space junkie...not of the Star Trek or sci-fi bent... but more a general fascination with planets, stars and the like. I came across this and the enormity of just how small our planet is. This is a picture taken by Voyager 1 in 1990 as it sailed away from Earth, more than 4 billion miles in the distance. It captured the rays of the sun at very close range. In one of those sun rays, the camera caught an image of the a tiny speck (shown with the arrow).

On October 13, 1994, the famous astronomer Carl Sagan commented on these photos during one of his lectures:

"We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam. "

There are times when all the "small stuff" of life seems to pile up and take on a life of its own. Relationships, careers and even which tile to pick for a kitchen floor can all seem like life-altering
decisions. But, when we take a moment to comprehend just how small our world is in the scope of the universe...and just how tiny we are in the scope of the Earth...then those everyday things don't seem so big after all.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Night Sounds

At 3:45 this morning, I was awakened by my ever-present hacking cough. Because I could not go back to sleep, I wrapped a blanket around myself and padded down the hard wood stairs to the living room. The window in this room must have been open a bit because I could hear the familiar chirp of crickets beckoning me to come outside.

I opened the door to the deck and the dark stillness immediately enveloped me. I stood there for a moment before settling into one of the patio chairs to enjoy a free concert by my new nighttime friends.

I always though that those pre-recorded "night sounds" on alarm clocks were annoying because the continual loop was so repetitive that I could always anticipate the number of times a cricket would chirp before the frog would chime in...but last night was exactly the same. The frogs in the dark creek bed below would lead off and the then the chirp of the crickets would cry out in harmony three times....chirppppppp, chirrrppppppppp, chirrrrppppppppp and then a long unidentified buzzzzzzzzzzz before the frog would lend his throaty croak again.

With no lights to be found and knowing my guys were tucked snuggly into their beds, I thought it would feel lonely in this thick, black solitude. Instead, my companions and I carried on quite a conversation as I would contribute an occasional cough to their chorus.

Feeling drowsy and relaxed, I soon stepped inside, curled up on the couch and let the soothing serenade of the night creatures lull me to sleep......

Saturday, September 30, 2006

My Little Boy and I

Parallel personalities
A shared sense of humor
And love for excitement and such

The moodiness, too
And the need for acceptance
And to feel other's loving touch

He may have been born
Half way cross the world
But there's certainly no way to deny

That we couldn't be more similar
And God sure knew what he was doing
When he matched my little boy and I....

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Different Day, A Different Bed

Well, this is my 5th different place to sleep in the last bed, my inlaws, the Dallas Marriott due to a cancelled flight, the Emily Morgan in San Antonio for 3 nights, my friend Cindy's sofa sleeper and now my Dad's house...tomorrow I head home. Never have I been so ready for the comforts of home.

More tomorrow.................

Friday, September 22, 2006

A Sweet Ritual

I know I've chronicled the ups and downs of parenthood. Sure, there have been times I've been at a loss as to which path to take... but the rewards of parenthood appear often and sweeten those times that are not quite as pleasant. Tonight was one of the sweet times.

I've shared with you previous bedtime prayers by Daniel. But, each time we pray, his words seem more mature and heartfelt. Here's the scene:

(I go in to kiss him goodnight/tuck him in)

"Mommy, will you say your prayers with me?"

"Sure," I answer.

"Ladies first," he replies.

( I pray and thank God for Daniel being on the "green light" at school, etc.)

"OK, my turn...God, I just want to thank you God for being so wonderful and for sending your Son to die for me. God, please give Mommy...wait, where are you going again, Mommy?"

"San Antonio, " I answered.

"Please give Mommy a safe trip to San Antonio and bring her back safely to me and Daddy...and please remember to forgive us where we've failed you, God. We love you and hope you give us a good night's sleep. Amen."

After telling him that was one of the best prayers I had heard, he asked me to sing him a song that my grandmother would sing me. I obliged.

"Delta Dawn, what's that flower you have on...could it be a faded rose from days gone by?"

"Now, what about a song Grammy would sing to you when you were little like me?"

(I begin) "Take me home, country the place...I belong, West Virginia, mountain mama, take me home, country roads..."

"More Mommy...what else would she sing?"

"Amazing sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me..... I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind, but now I see......." Each verse, I sang just a little slower and a little softer...

Just then, I noticed his hands that were so tightly woven through my arm had relaxed and my beautiful son had drifted off to sleep to the sound of my voice.

A sweet ritual indeed.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

An Old Friend

The first days of fall are, without question, my favorite time of the year.

This afternoon consisted of a crisp 75 degrees, sunshine peeking through tree branches and a light breeze. With only 38% humidity in the air, I couldn't help but go outside and play with my husband and child as the daylight hours dwindled down. Daniel and I took to the creekbed once again and, along with our golden retriever, went exploring as Keith cut the front yard. The temperature was perfect and it was as if the air itself was breathing a sigh of relief at this seasonal transition.

I'm ready for autumn and all the comforts of my childhood that it brings. In fact, each time this season rolls around, it's like being reacquainted with a dear old friend.

I can't wait for pumkin patches to pop up and for the smell of burning leaves in the air...caramel apples rolled in crushed peanuts and rows of purple and gold mums adorning the entrances of landscape nurseries around town. Hay bales and falling leaves and brisk mornings to awaken the senses... high school and college football games with the pulsating sounds of drum lines... Halloween preparations and discussions of holiday plans...

Fall is a time of renewal for me--the time of year when I feel most alive...when swirling leaves dance around as if inviting me to join in...

With another steamy Georgia summer behind me, I am grateful to bid farewell to sweltering hot, sticky days and wrap my arms around the greatest season of all.

Welcome back, my friend...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Recipe for a Good Husband

1 cup each:

sense of humor

Blend together in equal parts and add
your own amount of love. (Don't go light on
the love...)

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Rest of the Story...

...Daniel (my son) attends pre-school at a local church and is subject to the "red light, yellow light, green light" system in order to get into the ever-coveted "Treasure Box" at the end of each week.

If I have heard the words "Treasure Box" once since school began, I must have heard it a million. My child is so utterly focused on gaining access to this pint-sized "promised land" that he nearly went overboard trying to stay on the green light so he could get a sticker each day. You see, one sticker for each day of the week and you are Treasure-Box Bound!

The first week...a hard-fought sticker every day. Treasure Box. Much happiness for a blonde-haired little guy.

Second week...a sticker Monday. A sticker Tuesday. A sticker Wednesday. Then, the important day rolls around. My son and I do the usual mini-pep rally on the way to school. "You can do it!" "You've done so well!" In fact, the last words he said as I walked out the door after dropping him off..."I'm gonna get that sticker, Mommy!" Woo-hooooooooo Go, Daniel, Go!

Not so much.

I enter the building and turn the corner to make the longgggg walk down the hallway. Miss Jennifer, his teacher, meets me at the door. (not a good sign) "Well, we were on the red light today and made a trip to the principal's office."

"Why?!," I asked, knowing that his Treasure Box hopes had been dashed. "He and another little boy got to pushing and ended up in a fight."

Suddenly, Daniel came around the corner...Superman backpack huggin his shoulders and a face so downtrodden you couldn't help but feel sorry for him. As we walked down the hall, I held his hand as he softly said, "Mommy, I was on the red light today. I'm sorry...."

We stopped for a potty break before leaving and, in one of the stalls, I asked him gently what had happened. As he was explaining, he asked if I was mad at him. I told him that I was not mad, but it made me sad to think how hard he had worked to get into the Treasure Box and now he wouldn't be able to. Just then, he start sobbing and fell into my arms. It was not a whiny was full-on tears of grief. I scooped him up and we sat there in the bathroom stall as he let his emotions go. He then looked up with giant crocodile tears and said "I am so sad that I can't get in the Treasure Box." We then talked about consequences and how he could start over "fresh" next week and that seemed to lift his spirits a little.

The reason this was a poignant moment for me is simple: I was able to be a source of comfort for him. I know I kiss boo-boo's and feed him and clothe him and read to him...all normal Mommy-type things. But this was the first time I ever truly felt like he was depending on me to help him through a rough time. It was pretty special.

When he spoke with his Dad on the phone later, Keith asked Daniel if he had cried when the other kids were able to get their prizes. He softly replied, "no, I didn't cry until I was with Mommy."

I think my son and I both learned a lesson that day. He learned that, no matter how hard you work for something, you can throw it all away by making a bad choice...and I learned not to be so quick to get mad at his wrong decisions and, instead, to use them as a time for comfort and trust-building.

It sure does feel good knowing he considers me a safe place....

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Mr. Sandman......

has paid me a visit. As I sat down to blog tonight (of course, it is 11:42pm), I realized I could not even keep my eyes open long enough to finish a sentence. I do want to share with you a special something that happened between Daniel and I today...

I promise to share in the a.m.....................goodnight...............

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A Day Like Today--09.13.2006

started the day
bowl of cereal in my hand
dining room window open
as a steady rain pours
its much-needed moisture
on the grass and flowers
in our yard
sweet, sweet cleansing rain

take Daniel to school
rows of cars file in
under the careful gaze
of orange-vest clad ladies
one wrong move
and they sweep in to correct
I gingerly traverse the lot
carefully following the arrows

Lunch with a new friend
The "getting to know you" stuff
stories from the past
hopes for the future
issues of the present
Laughter abounds as a
feeling of comfort sets in

Work, work, work
Get ready for that meeting
San Antonio is
Just a couple weeks away
Attendee rosters and menus
Litter my desk
As final preparations are made

Dinner with friends
at our favorite Mexican joint
Mmmm, guacamole
Yummy tacos
And laughter for days
Laid back and relaxing
Good company, good food

Visit with my sister-in-law
Staying with us tonight
As her home stands empty, boxed up
Making the big move
An exciting opportunity
Oh how we'll miss
Having them here

The clock reads 10:40pm
My eyelids are droopy
Computer keys start to blur
Time to turn in...
Tomorrow is coming
A new day
Is just a few hours away

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Our (Other) King in Heaven

My son sure has been talking about Heaven a lot lately.

This morning, on the way to school, we were chatting and he popped out with the following comment:

"Mommy, Elvis was the King of Rock 'n Roll and he died because he was tired of singing and he went up to Heaven to be with Grammy. Right Mommy, right?"

My feeble attempt at a response: "Well, um, yes I guess he did go up there if he had asked Jesus to live in his heart."

Daniel's quick reply: "Yeah, well, he lives up there and I'll get to go live with Elvis in Heaven some day, too. Right, Mommy?"

Me: "Yes, someday, I hope we will all be there, baby."

Daniel: "Yep, we'll all be there together. Me, and Grammy and Elvis and Jesus."

If only for 3 seconds I could get into that little head and figure out how his brain works.


The Red Lobster Tree

I noticed it standing there
ever so quietly
the tree in the parking lot of the Red Lobster

I commented on its presence
its perfect form

a simple sign of nature’s existence
in a sea of asphalt
no tire swing hangs
in its embrace
the occasional toothpick
tossed at its feet

my companions think it funny
that I make note of this tree
in the parking lot of Red Lobster
they wager I will write a poem about it

they win

Saturday, September 09, 2006

My Shadow

My shadow follows me everywhere
A constant companion is he
I'm never alone
And the funny thing is
He looks a lot like me!

One day the sun hid behind a cloud
And I searched everywhere
But every time
I turned around
My shadow was not there

Then suddenly the cloud did move
And the sun shone as bright as can be
It was magic, I tell ya
Cause when I turned around
My shadow had returned to me!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Glimpse of Heaven

Light beams escape
emerging from tips
of billowy clouds

a brilliant display
reserved only for my eyes
on this solitary road

a momentary answer
to the question I pose
about what heaven must look like

"Here you go," replied God
my eyes are drawn upward and
I am stunned by the majesty
* * *
(this photo was taken between Montgomery
and Selma, AL along Highway 80)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

First Day

(click on picture for a larger, clearer image...)

Daniel had a good first day and seemed to have a lot of fun
at his new preschool. He was even on the
"green light" and
got a sticker on his chart. 3 more this week and he gets to
go into the coveted "Treaure Box!" Oooohhhhhhh! :-)

Monday, September 04, 2006


During our recent visit to the cemetery, my four year old son Daniel gazed at me ernestly with his big brown eyes and inquired, "if I die and go to Heaven will there be lots of toys for me to play with, Mommy?"

Yep. This is one of those times I knew that I, the one who usually has a quick comeback, would be speechless.

"When you get to Heaven, you won't even need any ol' toys. It will be so wonderful and beautiful..." I said as my voice trailed off to a whisper.

"But Heaven is where I get to play with all my favorite toys and be with my Grammy, right Mommy? Right?"

"Yes, sweet boy," I replied as a tear slowly rolled down my cheek. "That sure sounds like Heaven to me."

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Just a Glance

for so much glory as the world offers
one must ponder why so many
settle for just a glance
when there is so much more
than a glance can afford...

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Styrofoam Cross

Tonight I discovered that I have thoroughly underestimated the power of comedic relief.

A few entries ago, I described the situation with my mother's grave and how she always said she would be in a better place so the actual grave site was not THAT significant. Well, for whatever reason, I feel a surge of emotion each time I visit that cemetery. Maybe it's the way she loved those big, draping oaks dripping in moss...maybe it's the silence, the peace and the light tinkling of the wind chime dangling from a branch above her grave. I just feel closer to her there.

This evening, we stopped by there and Keith took Daniel to look around the cemetery as I sat down and "talked" to Mom. As weird as it sounds (but those of you that know me know that I'm no surprise) I even sang her favorite song. Tears began to well up in my eyes until I could contain them no more. Suddenly, I was sobbing. That is until I spotted my four year old son.

There he was. Strutting behind my husband as he walked toward me across the lawn. Just then, I noticed what he was carrying. He was toting a styrofoam cross studded with white silk flowers. Keith looked around, did a double take and said "Daniel! Where did you get that?!" To which Daniel replied, "Over there. They had a bunch so I got it to put it on somebody's grave that didn't have any flowers."

I was speechless. Then, a burst of laughter spewed forth at the sight of my son with this cross half his size. I told him to come over (after returning the cross to its rightful owner) and I gave him a long hug. I thanked him for being so thoughtful but explained how we can't take things that aren't ours...even if it's for a good reason. The innocent action of a young boy brought a smile to my face and, although it made me wish even more that his "Grammy" was there to see it, the mood was lightened substantially.

So, as I get ready to turn in tonight, I thank heaven for little boys, styrofoam crosses and good intentions. Without them, my life just wouldn't be the same.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Thrill of the Game...

The feeling in the air is palpable, electric.

As summer draws to a close, the anticipation of college football fans everywhere is evident. Game day supplies are gathered and tailgating plans are made as the days til the season opener slowly tick off the calendar. In stadiums across the country, tens of thousands of people gather...donning brilliant colors to display their team loyalty. Crisp white lines are painted on neatly manicured plots of green grass and uniforms hang neatly in locker rooms not yet broken in with chants of victory or the sad faces of defeat. Concession stands prepare for the onslaught of fans as bands take to the field for their warm-up numbers.

In our case, we will be spending many a Saturday in Bryant Denny stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama rooting on the Alabama Crimson Tide. Decked out in crimson, my husband, my son and I will take our usual seats and, along with a few close friends we've made through the years, will get ready for that much anticipated moment when the opening video is played on the Jumbo-Tron for the first time. Footage of legendary Bama moments mixed with images of Bear Bryant and his famous "I ain't never been nothin but a winner" speech lead into current scenes of Coach Shula before the announcer proudly proclaims "Ladies and gentlemen... THIS is Alabama Football!" as the crowd goes wild.

OK, so I'll admit it, I am a crier. I cry at movies, sappy commercials, etc... but this feeling is different. It's the feeling of elation as another autumn rolls around and football season gets in to gear. It's the feeling that you're a part of something bigger than yourself. It's the lump in my throat that rises when the opening notes of the Bama fight song are played. It's hotdogs, too tight seating, pom poms, fight songs and's Big Al, the Denny Chimes and jerseyed young men clad in crimson and white. Also, it's the joy of knowing that we're back for another year of ups and downs, spending time with friends and, cheering on a college football program steeped in tradition.

It's finally here. The greatest time of the year...a season of hope, anticipation, rivalry and fellowship.

THIS, my friends is what Alabama football is all about.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Boy's Prayer~~August 30

"Dear God,
Please be with me for a good night's sleep.
Thank you for giving me a beautiful Mommy
and for keeping me and Mommy and Daddy safe.
Thank you for all my blessings God. And, please let
us go to Wal-Mart tomorrow to see if they have their
police costumes out yet. Amen."

Look Out Hollywood..... we come!

Keith and I have given into the acting bug that's been biting us all these, we agreed to star in this video since it was written about us and how we fell in love...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Crab and Shrimp Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Aioli

(click on photo for larger view)

Serves 4 for Main Course or Makes 12 Appetizers

I fixed these for dinner tonight and served them on a bed of spinach sauteed with garlic. As good as they were tonight, I cannot wait to serve them as an appetizer! The aioli is the perfect compliment to the crisp, buttery crust of the cakes. Delicious!

1 large egg
8 ounces cooked crab (I used canned--it was great!)
8 ounces cooked small shrimp, chopped
3 green onions (including some tops), chopped
1 cup crushed saltine crackers (approx. 26)
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. dry mustard
1 T. butter or margarine
1 T. vegetable oil
Roasted red Pepper Aioli (see recipe below)

Beat egg in a mixing bowl. Add remianing ingredients , except butter and oil, and mix thoroughly. Shape mixture into 8 cakes about 1/2 in. thick. (If serving as appetizer, makes 12 small cakes)

In a large frying pan, melt half the butter with half the oil over medium heat. Fry 4 cakes until lightly browned, approx. 4 minutes on each side. Remove to a warmed plate and add remaining butter and oil and fry the remaining cakes.

Serve immediately with the Roasted Red Pepper Aioli.

Roasted Red Pepper Aioli Recipe:
1 roasted red bell pepper, chopped (I used jar brand--just as good!)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 t. red wine vinegar
1/4 t. salt
1 cup light mayonnaise

Summer's End

sea oats sway
in a salty wind
the air is cooler
toward summer's end

a brilliant dark blue
coats the surface of the sea
peaceful solitude
just the waves and me

the sea oat
my companion

sits with me this day
silently waving
as the tide slips away. . .

Saturday, August 26, 2006


What a joy, my precious boy...

Life on August 26th

Good Things:

~~A nice healthy lunch with my sis-in-law

~~Getting sound back on my computer

~~View of the North GA mountains from downtown Dahlonega

Not-So-Good Things:

~~Cell phone shows signs of "water damage"-must replace

Friday, August 25, 2006


Comfortable and familiar
Like a well-worn sweater
My friend
My partner in crime

Laughter abounds
And smiles rarely fade
My friend
My amusing companion

In the happy and the sad times
I am safe to be me
With you, my friend
My very best friend

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Back in the Saddle...or Court in This Case

Back and forth the little yellow ball sailed across the net.

After such a long time, it felt good to be holding a tennis racquet in my hand...its cushiony black grip felt comfortable, familiar even, as I hit my first shot toward my friend Cassie. The humidity was thick and, within 10 minutes or so, we were both drenched. Although I had just showered before she picked me up, it didn't bother me a bit. It was exercise and it felt good.

I have missed the rhythm of the game. I played tennis in college and it paid my way through two years of school. But, after that, life got complicated and there was no one to force me to do drills or to stay in shape or to even just get out there and hit a few balls. I've played occasionally since then, but last night did something to reignited that spark of competitiveness and focus that I haven't had in a while.

I may have lost the set 6 - 3 but I gained a lot more.

I can't wait to get out there again.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


A friend of mine who had been trying to conceive for years once told me that she wasn't ready to adopt because she hadn't given up "hope."

Given up hope?

As I walked away, I batted around her comment in my head and found it quite ironic. To me, the very definition of the word adoption is hope. Hope for a child who has no family. Hope for a family that has no child. Hope for a love that will grow beyond the boundaries of bloodline and birthright-- and even nations in some cases.

Just to be safe, I looked up the definition of the word hope in the dictionary. It read, “something that is wished for or desired.” This could not more accurately define the dream that we had to become parents. More than anything, I dreamt of holding a child in my arms and rocking them to sleep. I wished for a child that would come to me with a “boo boo” and ask me for a bandage. I longed to hear a child utter “mama” for the first time and realize that they were speaking to me. These are the things I desired and not being able to become pregnant did not deter me from fulfilling these dreams. The process of adoption gave me the hope I needed to pursue another path to parenthood.

I do not fault other families for trying different methods to become pregnant. We once used fertility drugs to try to conceive but were unsuccessful. As a woman, I fully understand the desire to give birth to a child. But, what I experienced as an adoptive parent was extraordinary. Instead of feeling a kick in my tummy, my heart fluttered with the anticipation of seeing my son’s face for the first time. I have often explained to my son that I did not carry him in my body for nine months; instead, I have carried him in my heart for as long as I can remember.

Initially, I took offense at my friend’s remark. I thought, “how dare she insinuate that adoption was a last resort for us?” But my view softened as I remembered the days of charting my monthly cycle and buying pregnancy tests in bulk. I had walked in her shoes once. But that was before I realized the blessing and the miracle of being able to adopt a child into our family. That was before I walked into an orphanage one snowy day and looked into a pair of chocolate brown eyes and saw all of my hopes and dreams reflected there.

Hope is a little word with big meaning. It is the desire for a family that once stirred in the heart of a little boy in an orphanage far, far away. It is the intense longing that once lived in the heart of a couple that wanted more than anything to parent a child. And “hope” is the force that brought those individuals into a tiny room halfway across the world and made them a family.

You see, by adopting I did not give up hope. Instead, I embraced it and my journey to parenthood is now complete.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Fluffy Mackerel Pudding

"Once upon a time the world was young and the words "mackerel" and "pudding" existed far, far away from one another. One day, that all changed. And then, whoever was responsible somehow thought the word fluffy would help."

I had seen these a few years ago and laughed as hard today as I did then. You might have seen these going around on email, but they absoluetly crack me up. They are Weight Watchers recipe cards from 1974 and, yes, most of them are utterly disgusting.

Here's the link...enjoy!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Who Am I (Red Apples)

I am a leader
I am a follower
I am a companion of fireflies
Flickering in the dark stillness
Outside my door

I am the wild child
I am a follower of rules
I am an organizer
Infatuated with colored folders
And labels on which to write

I love red apples
And the smell of rain
And mums outside Wal-Mart
On a crisp fall day

I am........... me.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Wonderful Weekend

It all started with Daniel going to stay with my brother-in-law and sister-in law last night.

First, Keith and I had a scrumptious dinner at the Embers Grill...shrimp stuffed with crab meat (him) and chicken stuffed with sauteed arugula, roasted red peppers and prosciutto drizzled in a gorgonzola cheese sauce (me)... one of the best dinners we've had in a restaurant in a very long time. Then, we attended Married Life Live-- an event for couples that our church puts on. Music, conversation and a great message made for a fun evening. Then, we took our temporarily-childless selves to the movies to see World Trade Center...a moving film.

Today, Keith and Daniel spent some "guy time" together while I got a massage for ONE AND A HALF hours! I have never had a massage for that I'm hooked! I laid there in sheer bliss and the massage therapist took a lot more time than usual--especially on my feet and hands. I was purring like a kitten. Then, I spent time with my friends at a yard sale across the street while the kids played. Tonight...we go out to dinner and see a play tonight at the local playhouse with our friends Melissa and Jimmy.

The time away from Daniel last night was good for both of us...he screamed "Mommy!" as he lept into my arms when we picked him up. Quiet dinner, movie, massage or not... that warm reception made every moment we spent away from him worth it (even though we pouted alot of the time because we missed him so much!)

I'm telling you-- I wish every weekend were this relaxing!

Friday, August 18, 2006

What I'm Listening To~~ August 18th

  • One ~~Mary J. Blige/ U2
  • Turn Me On ~~Norah Jones
  • Purple Rain ~~Prince
  • Live Like You Were Dyin ~~Tim McGraw
  • Breathe (2am) ~~Anna Nalick

Death Row Update

I am pleased to report that the flora 'n fauna along my front sidewalk are thriving. With a little help from some recent rain and my reinstated late night watering habits, they are alive and far.

Now, if only my golden retriever could traverse that area without her back paw yanking a plant out of the ground...such is the fragile life of a flower in the Death Zone.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Who Am I (Pens and Paper)

I am a lover of pens
and blank sheets of paper
begging for my attention
I am an office supply junkie
a list maker
one that finds beauty
in the patterns of light
cast on my floor
on a sunny afternoon
I am the talker
I am the listener
I am the broken
I am the comforter
I am...

The Hardest Battle

to be nobody but yourself
in a world that is doing its best
night and day
to make you everybody else
means to fight the hardest battle
which any human being can fight
never stop fighting

~~e.e. cummings

Monday, August 14, 2006

Barren Earth

I imposed the death sentence today.

I did this by planting 36 marigolds, 18 begonias and 10 fall mums in the strip of barren earth that runs alongs my front sidewalk. I like to refer to this area as the "Death Zone."

Earlier this season, I planted 144 impatiens in bright blooms of white and fuschia. That was before the water restrictions imposed on our county. I tried my best to keep them watered during the "non-penalty" hours but it was very difficult. You must really have a heart for gardening to water manually between the hours of midnight and 6:00am on a Monday or Wednesday. My need for sleep soon outweighed my desire to have a healthy garden. Thus, the impatiens withered away. My garden was sad, pitiful even.

Tired of the wasteland that lay outside my front door, I ventured to Lowe's and stocked up on a variety of annuals to brighten this area once again. I moved my trays to the sidewalk and took out my trusty garden spade to begin the tedious process of digging the holes. The blazing sun simmered on my brow as beads of sweat rippled across my temples. My knees caked with dirt, I crouched down to delve into the awaiting soil. Soil? No such luck. My spade hit the rock hard earth with a "thud" and as I dug even deeper, the sharp scraping sound of metal against rock ended my hopes of a nice, relaxing horticultural encounter.

Pieces of granite-like rock emerged as I forcefully struck the soil hoping to find a soft spot. The solid red dirt was packed so firmly it was as if every particle had agreed in some underground union meeting to lock arms and not let the big, bad woman with the sharp shiny thing in her hand through. I cursed the ground, I cursed Mother nature and most of all...I cursed my need to have flowers in the midst of one of the hottest, driest summers on record.

But, my determination was stronger than my urge to throw in the towel. Soon, I got into a groove and the flowers were in the ground. In my own twisted little way, I apologized to each one as I inserted their tendril-like root systems into each unwelcoming slot. "I promise to keep you watered," I whispered, covering the edges with the extranneous clay/soil mixture.

I can't imagine living in an area where the dirt is black as soot and easy to dig into. That must make for a rewarding gardening experience. As for me, I shall continue my plight for a nice garden at all costs. Mother Nature and I may go a few rounds in the process, but I won't let that stand in my way.

For those of you keeping score at home:

Katie: 1
Rocks and Hard-as-Heck Clay: O

Stay Tuned....

A Grave Thought

I'm headed to Selma, Alabama for a couple nights and one thing I'm anxious to do is go by and visit my Mom's grave.

One thing my Mom always said about visiting a cemetery is that "our loved ones are not there, they are in a much better place." Sometimes I felt that she said that because we didn't live close to where her parents are buried and it made her feel better about not "tending to" their graves herself. Now as I've grown older, I understand what she meant.

It was extremely difficult for me to leave Mom's grave the day of the funeral. After everyone had said their goodbyes and wished us well, the biggest hurdle in my adjustment to her death came that evening. It was a cold, dark night in March 2003 and the rain was coming down in sheets. As irrational as it may seem, it took every thing in my power not to race out to the cemetery because I felt like Mom was out there alone "in the rain." Yes, it sounds a little crazy even as I type it, but it truly was one of the hardest nights of my life.

The dilemma that hit my sister and I afterwards was the upkeep of her grave. It is a beautiful location where the branches of old live oak branches bend down creating canopies of shade and a feeling of peacefulness. But, neither of us live there now and we cannot expect our Dad to make a weekly trip out there to pull weeds. So, we rely on the cemetery staff to make sure it looks OK.

I'm sure I'll venture out there today when I get to town and I'll probably have to pull a few weeds and dust away some old grass clippings. Mom would probably shake her head as to why I even bother. I do it out of respect for her memory. Maybe I do it just to be able to "care" for her even though she's no longer here. But mostly, I do it so I can take a moment to sit under that big oak tree, listen to the windchime hanging from its branch and talk to Mom about what's been going on in my life. I know she's always with me in my heart, but there is something about reading the epitaph etched into her headstone that makes me feel better. It says "Go Ye Now in Peace...." and as I start the car and slowly drive away, that's exactly what I do.....

Friday, August 11, 2006

What I'm Listening To ~~August 11th

  • "Would You Go With Me" ~~ Josh Turner
  • "Your Man" ~~ Josh Turner
  • "Reason to Believe" ~~ Dashboard Confessional
  • "Crazy" ~~ Gnarls Barkley
  • "Does Your Mother Know" ~~ ABBA
  • "A Song for You" ~~Donny Hathaway

The Gift of Life

While we have the gift of life,
it seems to me the only real tragedy
is to allow part of us to die--
whether it is our spirit,
our creativity,
or our glorious uniqueness.

Gilda Radner

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Written Word

I once came across some postcards from the early 1900's, the faded ink holding on for dear's bluish-purple tint barely visible on the slightly orange stain of century-old paper. The words scribed from one friend to another were nothing short of eloquent as they recounted a certain flower growing in their garden and a party they were planning to attend that evening.

What I wouldn't give to have lived in the days when "snail mail" (as we now refer to it) was the expected form of written communication. I'm as grateful as the next person for the efficiency and convenience of email. In fact, my ability to share this online journal was not even possible when I was in college; but, I do long to open my mailbox and discover handwritten treasures from friends or family...

In the land of email and instant messaging in which I now reside, we have developed all sorts of acronyms and symbols to make communicating that much quicker. My friend Melissa and I often sign off our instant messages with "ttyl" (talk to you later) and I frequently rely on the acronym "LOL" to convey when I find something humorous in my high-tech conversations.

But the letters of yesteryear were much more formal and gracious in nature. In stead of "ttyl", one would close with a phrase like "with fondest thoughts of you I remain..." I guess I could go the acronym route with that one and type "WFTOYIR" but it's not quite as catchy.

I do love to write so I'm guessing a lot of my friends who don't share my passion will not join my crusade to revive the art of handwritten letters. But, I won't let that deter me from practicing the art myself. You never know...the next time you look in your mailbox, you may be surprised to find a handwritten letter from yours truly. :-)


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I Choose Us

A quote from one of my favorite movies, "The Family Man," involves Tea Leoni telling her fiance (Nicholas Cage) "I choose us..." to try and persuade him not to go on a yearlong internship in London. It was a profound statement/plea declaring that she didn't care what kind of jobs they had or what kind of money they made...she chose their relationship over anything else.

Don't we have to do this every day that we're married? Perhaps our daily choices aren't quite as time-sensitive as deciding whether or not to board a flight; but, nonetheless, we still make choices every day that can impact one of the most important relationships in our life. Sometimes it's hard to "choose us" when work beckons or friends compete for our time. I am so guilty of not always making the wise choice in this area. Always known as a "people pleaser," I find it hard to say "no" because I am always so sure that I can do it it all in; thereby making everyone happy. It doesn't always work out that way.

So, when the pressures build and the rigor of life demands much of our's important that we continually look at our spouses and declare that we do indeed "choose us." It doesn't mean that we don't spend time with friends or family...or put in a few extra hours at our jobs...what it means is always making sure that our significant other knows that their needs are as important as our own. Without this balance, the effects can be felt in all of the other important relationships in our lives...especially the one with our children. In order for me to be an effective and balanced parent, I need to be sure that I am focusing on my marriage to their father just as much as my relationship with them.

So, I hope my hubby knows that I didn't just "choose us" 12 years ago...I try to do it each and every day. It will always be the best choice I ever made.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Bassinet

The room was cozy and was decorated with a couple couches and wing chairs--all anchored by a simple oriental-style rug. A ficus tree or two dotted the room making the feeling of this space surprisingly homey. Then I spotted it. Tucked over in the corner next to the window was a white bassinet complete with a snow white skirt as if dressing for its first cotillion.

I guess the purpose of the bassinet was lost on me at first. I just assumed..."OK, so we're at an adoption agency...maybe there are times when clients need the use of a bassinet." It wasn't until the midst of our discussion when our case worker pointed out that we were sitting in the room where placement occurs that it dawned on me. THAT was the very bassinet where we would meet our child for the first time. The weight of the revelation was breathtaking. She continued, "after you meet the birthparent in our upper conference room, you and Keith will be brought in this room to meet your child for the first time."

Wow. Suddenly, the bassinet took on an entirely different persona for me. It wasn't just a white contraption that families kept their child in during a meeting. No, this particular bassinet was more angel than furniture. It was a comforter of children about to discover the joy of a new family. It was a place of transfer...the transferring of hopes and dreams from one human to another. But, most important, it was a temporary place for my soon-to-be child to feel safe until I take him or her into my heart and home forever.

As we exited the room, I glanced over my shoulder at the white bassinet in the corner. "Goodbye, for now..." I whispered and then reluctantly turned to walk away.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

My Curious Child

We played a theological game of 20-questions on the way home from the mall tonight. My 4-year old was grilling us on Heaven--where it is...who's there...when do we go...

In our best attempt, we explained how people get to go to Heaven and that most people go there after living a nice, long life. His response:

"oh, so you go to Heaven when you're really, really old and have nothing to do anymore?"

I could not think of a way to I just grinned and hugged him tight. Bless the brutal honesty of the 4-year old mind. It sure does keep life interesting.......

Friday, August 04, 2006

Brown Eyes

ah, the depths
of your brown eyes
if it is possible
to get lost
in someone's eyes
then I am in need
of rescue
my sweet boy

pools of milk chocolate
surrounded by mile-long lashes
gazing up at me
pleading for a popsicle
or one piece of gum

my eyes are blue
your dad's eyes are blue
so it goes beyond mere beauty
your eyes are exotic to me
I could not love you more

Is NASA in the Yellow Pages?

A good friend of mine is going to medical school to become a doctor. Nothing earth-shattering about that, right? Only, she is raising 6 children --one which she adopted shortly after we got Daniel.

This is remarkable to me. Through years of raising 5 kids (now starting again with a sixth), she has managed to go to school for her undergrad degree and is now doing her medical preceptorship by shadowing doctors to learn the tricks of the trade. In three years, she will begin medical school to complete this long voyage.

It made me think. Even at 35 years old, I sometimes feel like I've dug my feet in the sand--defined who I am and there's no going back. Sure I like to write and would love to someday be published...but to me, a market so consumed with tell-alls and fiction and cookbooks barely has enough room for a book of poetry from some unknown author. (I know, I's a defeatist attitude) But, it made me think.......

I have always wanted to be an astronaut. What I wouldn't give to zoom through the stratosphere only to burst into orbit to experience a bird's eye view of Earth.

Anyone have the number to NASA?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Fostering Frustration

We inquired about a little girl in Indiana that is available for adoption. When I spoke with the caseworker, she said that the foster family hadn't decided if they want to adopt a child or not so they were just trying to keep her as a foster child in their home as long as possible.

Why in the world would they want to keep her from finding a loving home that will commit to being her family for the rest of her life?

Sometimes systems like this designed to "protect" children baffle me. How could it possibly be in her best interest to remain in limbo?

Monday, July 31, 2006


Floating, drifting
at the night sky
its velvety deep blue
layered with
thin lavender clouds

the water supporting me
floats silently
and like me
soaks in the view
of the night sky above

one star pierces the darkness
a solitary diamond
in a sea of indigo
the ripples in the water
exquisite aquamarine
and varying shades of
silky turquoise

I am alone

I float
I think
I pray
I dream

seclusion. . .

**author's note: this is my 100th blog entry! If you are the first person to read this, congratulations! You have won absolutely nothing...well, except my gratitude for you stopping by!!! :-)

The Old Man

The old man
sat at the next table
hunched over
tattered John Deere cap
pulled down low
over his eyes

what is his story
I wondered
his tan hands
showed signs of wear
his posture appeared
slightly defeated

did he love once
only to lose her
after years of illness?
does he have children
that gather at Christmas
or do they simply
send pictures
once a year

he ate slowly
with no care for time
an occassional glance
in our direction
a slight smile
a friendly nod

for some reason
I want to know his story
his favorite memories
tales of love and loss
for his warm eyes
betray his cold exterior
they beg for conversation

I consider saying "hello"
but alas, our food arrives
a moment later
I glance over to the next table
and the old man is gone...

Friday, July 28, 2006

Mama Mia

Just got in from seeing the Broadway Musical "Mama Mia"--it was fantastic! Keith and I had great seats in the balcony and laughed throughout the show (a far cry from our unfortunate CATS experience last time--blech!) By the end of the show, the performers came out for an encore and the entire theatre was on their feet dancing to "Dancing Queen" and "Mama Mia" of the highlights of my recent memory is watching my husband grinning from ear-to-ear and clapping along at the end.

Gas to get to downtown: $20.00
Babysitter for entire evening: $40.00
Falling even deeper in love with your husband: PRICELESS.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Great Lyrics--#1

Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic" ...contains one of my favorite lyrics of all time:

"..and I wanna rock your gypsy soul........"

Wait, it doesn't quite read like it sounds. It sounded a lot better this morning as I was driving around curvy roads with the window down belting at the top of my lungs:

"...and IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII wanna rock YOUR GYP-sy so-oullllllll.... just like way back in the days of ol-old....and together we will flow....innnnnnnnnnnnn-to the mystic..."

Yeah, much better. :-)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


2 AM and I'm still awake writing a song
If I get it all down on paper
It's no longer inside of me
Threatening the life it belongs to

And I feel like I'm naked
In front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary

Screaming out loud
And I know that you'll use them
However you want to

Cause you can't jump the track
We're like cars on a cable
And life's like an hourglass
Glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button
So cradle your head in your hands

And breathe... just breathe...

--lyrics to Breathe / by Anna Nalick