Friday, July 30, 2010

When the lights go down in the City...

and the sun shines on the Bay...

During our marathon drive over the bridges and through the foothills of the north Bay Area last week we came across one quirky and fun little community that, by all accounts, is silently screaming for the Murray family to make it their home. :)

A local artist there makes these fun sculptures that adorn many a lawn in the town. This one, of course, was my fave...

As one resident we spoke to put it, "There is a lot of 'free-thinking' going on's pretty much anything goes." Groovy.

But seriously, how could I NOT fall in love with this place? I wanna be there, in that city, ohohoh...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What a Lovely Day!

I love it when the most random shot turns out so unexpectedly pretty straight out of the camera (and I use the term "camera" VERY loosely, since this was shot out of the car window with Bill's BlackBerry!)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Book Review: SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME by Ron Hall & Denver Moore

SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME by Ron Hall & Denver Moore ~

When international art dealer, Ron Hall, was “forced” by his wife, Deborah, into a friendship with a surly, homeless man named Denver, he half-heartedly complied. It was in the midst of the fight for Miss Debbie’s life that Hall began to realize what a gift that friendship would be for him. Denver Moore has lived a life that many in America wouldn’t believe could have survived the Emancipation Proclamation here in the United States, least of all well into the twentieth century. Still, despite his profound poverty and lack of education, he provides an unmatched wisdom to Hall that is truly life-changing.

We, the lucky readers, get both the insight of Denver’s wisdom and the benefit of being carried along as their two, very opposite, stories weave together into one through the common thread of Deborah Hall and, in the simplest terms, the power of unconditional love. I am drawn to personal stories and this is one I am thankful to have found. The telling of the story is shared by the two authors, each in his own words, which adds emotional involvement -- I spent portions of the book in awe of the life that Denver endured, portions in contemplation of the revelations being made, and in certain portions I couldn’t stop the tears. This is definitely worth the time to read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Birthday Fun for Me and a New Library Bag for Katie!

After the running around was done on my birthday, Bill and the kids settled in for some Daddy and Me time while I got to play with my sewing machine for a bit. Yippee!!!

Some time ago I had sewn a random bunch of squares together and had no earthly idea what it was going to become when I finished it.

Bill and I had discussed earlier in the week a shirt that he was no longer willing to wear (seems the white stripes had become a bit too pink for his liking) so, instead of tossing it, I cut it up!

After sewing the pieces together just slightly differently than they were originally oriented a lovely liner was created!

And a new library bag was born!

I got to play, and Katie is thrilled to have a fun, new, library bag to carry the gazillion books we take out from the library every week. She doesn't even mind that the stitching isn't always exactly straight or that the technique isn't exactly refined. She loves it and that makes it just PERFECT!

Is This Thing On?

PHOTO CREDIT: Athena's Pix (pretty busy)

Pssst....This is my 300th POST!!!!

That said, I feel like this should be some kind of celebration but instead it's more like a, "what am I really doing here?" kinda post instead. It has been brewing for awhile but I guess I'll just take this 300th post opportunity put it out here so I can be done with it and get over my "but it's supposed to be an adoption blog" thing.

This blog started, as most of you know, as an adoption blog to record the craziness that was our adoption process. And when it started I read mostly adoption blogs, if truth be told. That said, if you've been paying any attention at all over the last few months you'll be quick to point out that - hello? - the adoption is over. Mari is home (thank you, God! We are blessed!!!) and she is ours forever. And my blogging (and blog reading) has expanded, quite naturally given my propensity for tangents, to a much wider range of topics.

Over the last couple of years I have blogged mostly about Bill and the kids. The family is the clear favorite point of my 299 posts-to-date, but I've also covered gardening (at which I am dreadful, but I like it), cooking (I am making strides toward improvement, I think), sewing (fun, fun, fun but not much talent there, yet, either), book reviews (I love to read, but do you read the reviews?), and all kinds of other things sprinkled in here and there. I even started a couple of other blogs for coupons/savings (still all over that one in life, but there are so many better savings blogs than my pitiful one that I killed it) and learning Spanish before we went to Colombia (that quickly reached el fin). My photographs? Pitiful; but boy are there some beautiful photography blogs out there.

One things for sure: the blog's got as much of a problem with A.D.D. as the blogger, but we'll just keep at it and see what posts may come! Do you have suggestions? Questions? The floor is yours...let's hear it.

~*~ Yay, 300! ~*~

Saturday, July 17, 2010



My 35 *FAVORITE* Dates ~
[but starting this list at "zero" ;)]

0. July 17, 1975
1. July 17, 1976
2. July 17, 1977
3. July 17, 1978
4. July 17, 1979
5. July 17, 1980
6. July 17, 1981
7. July 17, 1982
8. July 17, 1983
9. July 17, 1984
10. July 17, 1985
11. July 17, 1986
12. July 17, 1987
13. July 17, 1988
14. July 17, 1989
15. July 17, 1990
16. July 17, 1991
17. July 17, 1992
18. July 17, 1993
19. July 17, 1994
20. July 17, 1995
21. July 17, 1996
22. July 17, 1997
23. July 17, 1998
24. July 17, 1999
25. July 17, 2000
26. July 17, 2001
27. July 17, 2002
28. July 17, 2003
29. July 17, 2004
30. July 17, 2005
31. July 17, 2006
32. July 17, 2007
33. July 17, 2008
34. July 17, 2009
35. ~*~July 17, 2010 ~ HAPPY 35th BIRTHDAY TO ME!~*~

Friday, July 16, 2010

This One Was Pretty Easy!

PHOTO CREDIT: marissabracke

35 Things That Make Me Happy~

1. My kids
2. My Bill
3. whole fam damily. :)
4. Rainstorms
5. Temperatures in the low- to mid- 70s
6. The smell of patchouli
7. Crazy, funky socks
8. Drawing full-on schematics (to scale) to rearrange furniture/redecorate a room
9. Iced coffee by my bed in the morning
10. Reading
11. The color ORANGE
12. The library
13. Blogs
14. VW busses (I will have one someday...)
15. Nice people
16. Finding a bargain!
17. My Mona Lisa beaded curtain
18. Sunflowers
19. Writing (and Blogging!)
20. Sleeping in
21. Candle light
22. Daydreaming
23. Camping
24. Playing with my sewing machine
25. Diet Mt. Dew
26. Pretty things (I could spend days on Etsy…)
27. Dark chocolate M&Ms
28. Saving more than I spend at the grocery
29. Watching documentaries
30. Cherry Lime Ades
31. Trying to take pretty pictures
32. Hugs and kisses from my kiddos
33. Traveling
34. Watching fireworks
35. Jesus loves me!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Everyone Needs a Little Ray of Sunshine Sometimes...

PHOTO CREDIT: rachdian

35 Reminders ~

1. I sought advice and cooperation from all those around me, but not permission. ~ Muhammad Ali

2. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

3. One of the greatest injustices you can do to a child with a disability is not require them to live up to their full potential, and make ability based excuses. ~ Dr. Phil

4. Whoever controls the media, controls the mind. ~ Jim Morrison

5. Faith isn't the ability to believe long and far into the misty future... It's simply taking God at His word and taking the next step. ~ Joni Eareckson Tada

6. Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. ~ George Bernard Shaw

7. Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome. ~Samuel Johnson

8. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them. ~ Henry David Thoreau

9. Entrust your works to the LORD, and your plans will succeed. ~ Proverbs 16:3

10. Most things I worry about never happen anyway. ~ Tom Petty

11. To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first. ~ Shakespeare

12. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

13. Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us. ~ Thomas Paine

14. Stealing someone else's words frequently spares the embarrassment of eating your own. ~ Peter Anderson

15. When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us. ~ Helen Keller

16. Even a fool, if he keeps silent, is considered wise; if he closes his lips, intelligent. Proverbs 17:28

17. There is more to life than increasing its speed. ~ Mahatma Ghandi

18. Insist on yourself. Never imitate. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

19. Destiny is not a matter of chance; but a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, It is a thing to be acheived. ~ William Jennings Bryan

20. Either attempt it not, or succeed. ~ Ovid

21. Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? ~ Matthew 6:27

22. Feeling screwed up in a screwed up place, in a screwed up time, does not mean that you are screwed up. ~ “Mark Hunter” (Pump Up The Volume)

23. Two are better than one […] If the one falls, the other will lift up his companion. Woe to the solitary man! For if he should fall, he has no one to lift him up. ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

24. We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams. ~ Willy Wonka

25. Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. ~ Ferris Bueller

26. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

27. “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” ~John Lennon (Beautiful Boy)

28. Everyone is a star and deserves a chance to shine. ~ Marilyn Monroe

29. Begin to weave and God will give you the thread. ~ German Proverb

30. I'm one of those regular weird people. ~ Janis Joplin

31. Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught. ~J. C. Watts

32. Do not give heed to every word that is spoken lest you hear your servant speaking ill of you, for you know in your heart that you have many times spoken ill of others. ~ Ecclesiastes 7:21-22

33. The royal road to a man’s heart is to talk to him about the things he treasures most. ~ Dale Carnegie

34. Conquer the devils with a little thing called love! ~ Bob Marley

And if all else fails...

35. Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did *was* wrong. But we think you're crazy to make an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us... In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain...and an athlete...and a basket case... a princess... and a criminal….Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

And Now You Know Why I Can't Go Near iTunes...

PHOTO CREDIT: 1Happysnapper

I guess it's my W-I-D-E musical tastes, or something, that made this 35 the toughest. It was incredibly difficult to limit myself with this list and, even after giving myself restrictive guidelines (such as, "only one selection per artist" because, you know, some of these have SEVERAL songs that should be here and a couple could populate the entire list of 35 all by themselves), I finally had to resort to blindly deleting whatever fell after the Number 35 slot and just going with whatever was left. So here it is...

35 Tunes to Make Me Smile ~

1. Beautiful Boy – John Lennon
2. Family Tradition – Hank Williams Jr.
3. Wild Mountain Honey – Steve Miller Band
4. (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding
5. 867-5309/Jenny – Tommy Tutone
6. Hey Jealousy - Gin Blossoms
7. Your Love – The Outfield
8. We Be Burnin’ – Sean Paul
9. Shiny Happy People – R.E.M.
10. I’m Just a Girl – No Doubt
11. Creep – Radiohead
12. Painted Desert Serenade – Joshua Kadison
13. Plush – Stone Temple Pilots
14. What I Got – Sublime
15. Black – Pearl Jam
16. Talk of the Town – Jack Johnson
17. Love Street – The Doors
18. Ignition – tobyMac
19. Power of Two – Indigo Girls
20. Gold Rush Brides – 10,000 Maniacs
21. Set Adrift on Memory Bliss - PM dawn
22. Bells Ring – Mazzy Star
23. Love Song – The Cure
24. New Year’s Day – U2
25. Kiss – Prince
26. Daniel – Elton John
27. Bitch – Meredith Brooks
28. Aeroplane – Red Hot Chili Peppers
29. Sunday Morning – Maroon 5
30. Someday – Sugar Ray
31. No Rain - Blind Melon
32. She – Harry Connick Jr.
33. A Kiss to Build a Dream On – Louis Armstrong
34. Jack Straw – The Grateful Dead
35. Last Dance with Mary Jane – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I *HEART* Reading!

PHOTO CREDIT: Lin Pernille Photography

I love to read and there is certainly enough material out there to choose from! Poetry, plays, fiction, non-fiction --today's 35 has it all. But please don't expect it to be overly intellectual or even form any kind of cohesive list. These are just the ones that came to mind when I started listing the...

35 Things I've Enjoyed Reading~

1. The Giving Tree ~ Shel Silverstein
2. Shameless Exploitation in Pursuit of the Common Good ~ Paul Newman and A.E. Hotchner
3. The Bible
4. Candide ~
5. Streams in the Desert ~ LB Cowman
6. Metamorphosis~ Kafka
7. Fahrenheit 451 ~ Ray Bradbury
8. The Screwtape Letters ~ C.S. Lewis
9. The Cricket in Times Square ~ George Selden
10. To Kill a Mockingbird ~ Harper Lee
11. Roadmap to Holland ~ Jennifer Graf Groneberg
12. Songs of Innocence and Experience ~ William Blake
The quote on my dining room wall: “Every day holds a possibility of a Miracle”
14. Don Quixote ~
15. Mother Earth News
16. One Hundred Years of Solitude ~ Gabriel Garcia Marquez
17. Big Sur ~ Jack Kerouac
18. Great Expectations ~ Charles Dickens
19. Blogs (…lots and lots and LOTS of blogs!)
20. Ryan White: My Own Story ~ Ryan White, with Ann Marie Cunningham
21. The Massacre at Fall Creek ~ Jessamyn West
22. Bridge to Terabithia ~ Katherine Paterson
23. Twilight
[series] ~ Stephanie Meyer
24. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl ~ Anne Frank
25. The Glass Menagerie ~ Tennessee Williams
26. The Tell-Tale Heart ~ Edgar Allen Poe
27. Harry Potter
[series] ~ J.K. Rowling
28. Tuesdays with Morrie ~ Mitch Albom
29. Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, An American Slave ~ Fredrick Douglass
30. It ~ Stephen King
31. Eat, Pray, Love ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
32. A Raisin in the Sun ~ Lorraine Hansberry
33. A Modest Proposal ~ Jonathan Swift
34. Flowers for Algernon ~ Daniel Keyes
And right now I am really enjoying Same Kind of Different as Me ~ Ron Hall and Denver Moore

Monday, July 12, 2010

Let's Go to the Movies!

PHOTO CREDIT: pedrosimoes7

As with yesterday’s list, this is in no particular order and certainly isn’t all-encompassing. It’s just a random list of movies I’ve enjoyed watching.

35 Flicks ~

1. Gone with the Wind
2. An Officer and a Gentleman
3. My Fair Lady
4. The Princess Bride
5. The Passion of the Christ
6. Breakfast at Tiffany’s
7. Gleaming the Cube (I know…)
8. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
9. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
10. Riding the Bus with my Sister
11. The Fifth Element
12. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
13. Les Miserables
14. Into the Wild
15. Hackers
16. Martian Child
17. Willie Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
18. The Breakfast Club
19. Pulp Fiction
20. Finding Forrester
21. Pete’s Dragon
22. Mary Poppins
23. Patch Adams
24. A Beautiful Mind
25. Dream a Little Dream
26. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
27. Heathers
28. Silkwood
29. Eddie and the Cruisers
30. The Importance of Being Earnest
31. Tombstone
32. Mask (the one from 1985…not The Mask with Jim Carrey!)
33. The Matrix
34. Goonies
35. The Sound of Music

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Been Around the World...or at least the Western Hemisphere.


Quick confession: You wanna know something? It may be just a little crazy (*ahem* I may have been accused of being bitten by the crazy bug a time or two) but I can't help but think of Lisa Stansfield every single time I type, say or even think the words "been around the world..." and I will now be left with the "All Around the World" earwig for DAYS!

Anyway, without further ado...


1. Pendleton, IN
2. Chicago, IL
3. St. Louis, MO
4. Lexington, KY
5. Pigeon Forge, TN
6. Enterprise, AL
7. Isle of Palms, SC
8. Little Rock, AR
9. El Paso, TX
10. Las Cruces, NM
11. Las Vegas, NV
12. Sacramento, CA
13. Portland, OR
14. Seattle, WA
15. Palm Beach Gardens, FL
16. New York, NY
17. Boston, MA
18. York, ME
19. Anchorage, AK (+ Denali National Park!)
20. Burlington, VT
21. Winter Park, CO
22. Thomaston, CT
23. Coeur d’Alene, ID
24. Detroit, MI
25. Hickory, NC
26. Mason, OH
27. Savannah, GA
28. Washington, D.C.
29. Freeport, Bahamas
30. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
31. Cancun, Mexico
32. Cali, Colombia (where the rest of my heart was waiting for me!)
33. St. Croix, USVI
34. Petit Valley, Trinidad
35. …and frequently lost in my own little world!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

He's BACK!!!

Kyle's Own Personal Summer Vacation~

As usual, Kyle got to spend a couple of weeks with Papaw and Grandma in St. Croix this summer. I think if you'd ask him he'd tell you that the best (if not the only good) thing about Papaw working in the islands these last few years is the few weeks in the summer that Kyle gets to spend with them all by himself.

Then again, this year he may tell you it's that, while he was soaking up a couple short weeks of "Only Child-dom" (and all the revelry that entails) and playing with his Cruzan friends, he got to use some seriously manly tools!

We're talking about a PLASMA CUTTER...

that thing throws some major sparkage!!

Then they brought out the MIG WELDER and let him at the aluminum!

Good thing Grandma and Papaw made him keep up with his running or it would have been way too much fun and games to ever get him back home!