Thursday, December 6, 2007

Snow Day

At 6am we still had a two hour delay. Ahhh, I snuggled back under the comforter and back into a warm, fluffy, blissful sleep. At 7am I checked again and schools were closed. We had before us an official snow day! By 8:30 the Tribe was fed and we were out the door. Kids, cats, dogs, we all joined in.

It was a day for kids to totally immerse themselves in the joy and purity of freshly fallen snow and childhood. It was a day for parents and grandparents to revel in the joy of family. It was just a totally awesome, amazing, blessed day.

Grandma's Teddy Dog above, the Tribe below:

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Marching Mouse

In her first parade with the school band Mouse marched, and played and marched some more. It sounded great and she didn't fall down, over the kid in front of her or throw up. I think I would have done all three. Way to go Mouse!

♥x♥x Tinkerbell - Who said ♥x♥x

Another sent to me with a "look Mommy, it's you and your song". I guess though the eyes of my kids I can be 10 feet tall. Thanks guys.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Where do I go now??

Each day seems to fly past even faster than the one before. I know I posted a few times this month but I've only vague recollections of what I wrote. Mom has been sick, in the hospital and is now home. My dearest Gyps is engaged to her prince charming and all her dreams are coming true. Christmas is just around the corner and I'm still trying to figure out what street I'm on.

Despite all the chaos Thanksgiving was truly a day to give thanks for all the blessings of this past year. The dishes are done, turkey is gone and the kids back in school. I guess it's time to find a street sign and determine where I go next.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

William Tell Mom Sayings

The Mouse comes in and tells me I just have to see this... "It sounds exactly like you". I listened, she is so right it's scary. Thanks Mouse!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Keeping the Past Alive

In the fall I ran the fields, climbed the trees and played in the barns. The fruit trees, figs, wild plumbs, apples, persimmons, grapes, pomegranates, quince, pears, black berries and walnuts. A bounty to be shared by all. Wood was cut for winter fires and the sound of saws and ax permeated the crisp cool air.

Winter in the hay loft and rain on the tin roof. Wet and cold and mud. Fire glow from the stove on the ceiling. The smell of Grandma cooking bacon and coffee in the morning on the wood cook stove. Story after story of hard work, battles fought, cattle drives, love, death, joy and sadness. Dinner at the big oak table when all the adults talked about the work done that day and what need doin' tomorrow.

Spring time brought baby calves with big brown eyes, sweet white faces and noses just made to meep, and new baby kittens in the wood shed. Blankets of wild flowers covered the fields and meadows. The new leaves on the trees made arches and canopies over the road that led to enchanted glades where fairies played. My brother and I played cowboys and Indians, knights in armor, gold prospectors and hunted for caves to use as forts at the base of the cliffs. Dreaming of the past was easy because there it was, so close, almost alive.

Summers were brutally hot. Riding fence lines, turning the water in the fields, moving sprinkler pipe, dodging rattlers and dust, everywhere dust. At night we fell asleep to the sounds of rainbirds in the fields, cowbells and mamma cows lowing to their calves. Summer meant watermelons on Thursday afternoons, Ice cream and RC Cola.

It was in early June, the day before my birthday, when they found Grandpa asleep under a walnut tree. His old straw hat pulled down over his face, just taking a rest before supper. Only this time he didn't wake up. The ranch and his dream of it died with him but no one would admit it. They moved on, working cattle, fixing fence, cleaning the ditch and growing kiwis.

Grandma moved to town and new people were brought in to "take care of things". I grew up and moved away. The fabric began to tear, history to fade.

For 25 years they have been holding on. My uncles, my mom, desperately trying stitch together the decaying fabric of a life long gone. The sheds and barns are piles of rubble. The fences down and fields dried and brown. The battle with the blackberries lost. No pasture means no cows, no horses.

Now it's gone, nothing more to be done. The land is safe in the ownership of a government agency. The artifacts destroyed or stolen over the years. The sounds of dogs barking when some one drives down the road. Hoof beats and hollering as cattle are moved past. Squeaking gate hinges and the smell of hay, leather, irrigated fields and cow pies are all just memories.

This started as a short listing of my memories of my Grandfather's California cattle ranch. It has been in my mothers family for I believe five or six generations. This past week it was sold. As my thoughts turned into words on the page I realized my short list of memories has taken on a life of its own. Memories fade over time and lie like the buildings and fences, the land and the people, they are lost. But words can carry on eternal. Written stories can stitch together the failing fabric of our past and create a legacy of remembrance for generations forward.

My children will never see the old wood cook stove, the HUGE fire place with the iron cooking arms that was built out of quarts from the fields around the house, the barns, cattle shoots and roping pens, the paths I rode or the creeks I swam in. Their eyes will never see but they will know the stories, feel the joy and the heart ache that comes from being part of a family that settled a land, loved it and became one with it.

Mamma, for you I promise all that is left now will NOT be lost. It can't be taken, sold or stolen. It will live on forever.

Autunm Sky Fire - Sunrise

To my Newest Reader

02:00 in the morning, really it's 03:00 but we set the clocks back last night, I am awake just enough that I can't get my mind to shut off. A million and one things spin through my head and my first response is hot tea and to write. I wander down to the computer and am greeted my six new mail messages, all comments on my posts.

As I start to read my head clears a little and a bolt of lightning smacks me between they eyes. My newest reader has held a special spot in my life for thirteen years. She fills the world with joy and lightens a room with her contagious smile. The day she was born my world changed forever. I became an aunt, my brother a dad, my parents became grandparents and the world would never be the same. The sun was a little brighter and the world was just a nice place to be.

In the years to follow my brother and his wife would increase the worlds population by two more. Like their older sister they are amazing little bundles of joy, inquiry, wonder and love. Of all the good things my little brother has done these guys are by far his best work.

Thanks for reading Tay and thanks for the courage to comment. You have always been a strong little girl, full of wisdom beyond your years. Now I see you are growing into a power house of a young woman. Don't be afraid to play hard, love big and strive for greatness. If along the way you stumble, and you will, it's okay. You have a family that loves you to pick you up, brush you off and send you back in for the next round. If you do fall and it hurts we are here to hold you. I love you!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Re: Introspection (Fighting Back)

After posting to my blog I venture out to the ones I have been so negligent in reading the past few weeks. I read though Introspection posted by my dearest Gyps. I am cut to the core by her words and feel moved to comment. But, as the comment progresses I see that it's just not enough to share my thought about her post with her... it needs to go further.

How many little girls desperately need to hear "You are amazing, wonderus, strong beyond your belief. You deserve to be safe. Hold my hands, let's go into the darkness and find..." what ever fear they need to face.

The world is full of "little girls" of all ages that have been beaten and broken by sticks, knives, fists, guns and worst of all words. They live their lives in a shadowed land never seeing the vibrancy and colors of life as it's meant to be. They are haunted by the evil that permeates their lives and may very well survive only as the shell of person they could be.

My mom, my husband, my friends, even my kids wonder why I love to fight. Why a kind hearted woman that cries over Kodak commercials would find joy in learning to use strength, skill and a wooden sword to pound on a fence post, a punching bag, a tree, or a heavily armored person?

As women we are taught to love and nurture and when things hurt us we take the blow and don't let anyone see the bruise. My world is full of children that have been broken by people that claim to love them. I look at their scars, let my heart feel their pain, but I'm not allowed to fight back. I hear about the women, girls, sold into slavery, little girls that have their bodies mutilated or are murdered for their families honor but can do nothing to help and only little to bring about change.

So, I fight just to be able to fight. In a safe, contained environment I can let the anger boil over, allow the rage to blast out. When I get a bruise I am proud of it. It hurt and I survived and don't have to be ashamed because I got it fighting back. The fence, the tree, my opponent can be anything from the system, the governments, the abusers or those that would turn a deaf to the screams.

Words are powerful. People, even just one can bring about change but sometimes it just feels good to swing hard and let it connect! Then take a hand and head into the darkness!

Finding Balance

Somewhere along the way I got tangled up in armor, swords, medieval garb, a new pony for grandma and the tribe and a few dozen other things. The more I had to write about the less time I had to write. Now, a month later I find myself with a new tabard of black and red, new armor (new to me anyway), a sword and shield to practice with and a new pony at the Bower.

October was a month jam packed with goodies and joy. Here I am on the first of November wanting to just sit and read the news paper. A few hours maybe and then on to the next project.

Balance is taking a few minutes for a hot soak and to let the Advil permeate the blood stream and take the edge off the bruises before I go looking for the next adventure! Look out November, Tink in on the move!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Is it Autumn YET?

The top 5 ways to tell it's autumn (at least at my house):

#5 - five permission slips for field trips to the pumpkin patch come home from school in the same week.

#4 - The pie pans call out from the cabinet... "take us out, use us".

#3 - My husband hauls up the crates with snow suites, hats, gloves and boots. I get to find gear that fits everyone, boots that are for a left and a right foot and then find a place to keep it out of the way until needed. **we are talking 7 snow suites, 14 boots, 14 gloves, 7 hats and that's just for the kids.

#2 - My fingers begin to itch and tingle telling me that I need to park my butt and work on stitching projects.

#1 - The critters start duking it out to determine who gets to sit on my lap and who just gets to sit against me. Man I love Autumn!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Clouds Birth of the Beat

This is my dad's perspective on clouds. Thanks for sharing Daddy!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Bee Tree

"The Bee Song"

Bees, Bees, Bees, Bees

Buzzin' in bushes, buzzin' in trees

Buzzin' around, wherever they please

There's nothing so sweet, There's nothing so sweet,

There's nothing so sweet as a honey bee. Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

author unknown

Sweet Surrender

I am the parent, the adult and there I was ranting and raving like a loon. I wanted to have a big ole' fat tantrum, kick and scream and yell bad mean words. My anger welled up and I wanted to lash out. It seems that no matter how organized I am there are some mornings that we just can't get it together. Like a spoiled apple once one goes the rest are right behind. Yesterday was one of those mornings.

Once the kids were at school and I was on the road to the Bower the pain and frustration hit with the force of a freight train. I questioned my calling, my life, my God. Was this really His plan? What would make me think that I could help these children? On and on I went berating myself, beating myself up, questioning my path and my faith.

I pulled up at the Bower, cut the engine and stepped out of the truck. As I did a weight fell from my shoulders and I was able to take a deep breath for the first time all morning. I grabbed a halter and headed for the pasture. Beauty and an overwhelming feeling of peace surrounded me as I made my way thought the fields.

I found my mare grazing in a wooded area with dappled sunlight sprinkling down on her. As I neared her she looked up at me with her soft brown eyes and walked toward me. When I was close she reached her nose out and leaned her head against me. As I rested my head on hers the last few dregs of pain and frustration drained away. I rested against my beautiful grey girl and just breathed. Her name, Angel's Gift, is really a description rather than a title. Thank you Gyps, my sister, my angel.

John Denver sings in his song "Sweet Surrender" (one of my many favorites)

And I dont know what the future is holdin in store

I dont know where Im goin, Im not sure where Ive been

Theres a spirit that guides me, a light that shines for me

My life is worth the livin, I dont need to see the end

Sweet, sweet surrender

With my best friend in the round pen doing what she does so well, my beautiful "gift" trotting gracefully around me, the multitude of gifts from God assaulting my senses and a peace in my heart that comes from walking through the storm and seeing the rainbow on the other side. How could I do anything but surrender and know it's all in His hands.

Enjoy the moment, step forward in faith and know that if you stumble there is always an Angel to catch you and God to heal the wounds.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

"Just Like You" a poem written by a foster dad

This peom was written by a very good friend who is a foster dad. He and and wife are amazing people who have a special way of seeing into the heart of a child... especially a hurting child. The world needs more people like them. Hurting children need more people like them.

Just like you

I hurt, I cry, I don't know why,
Just ripped out of all I knew,
You want me to act like you?

My mommy was wrong,
My daddy doesn't care,
You want me to act like you?

You don't understand,
They did what they could,
You want me to act like you?

You're not my mom,
You're not my dad,
You want me to act like you?

I am okay,
Now leave me alone,
I don't want to be like you.

I was doing fine,
I can take care of myself,
I don't want to be like you.

I don't want to hug,
Don't hold my hand,
I don't want to be like you.

Just take me back,
You don't understand,
I don't want to be like you.

Don't leave me alone,
Don't put me behind,
I just want to be like you.

Just hold me close,
Please hold me tight,
I just want to be like you.

It's just not fair,
My parents just didn't care,
I just want to be like you.

Please don't give up,
You're all that I've got,
I just want to be like you.

By:Jamie Holben (foster dad)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Swordsmanship 101

"Of all the people you will fight your biggest competitor is going to be yourself. Strive to improve each time you go out on the field. The Knight that has been training for twelve years may defeat you with the first blow. Learn from him and next time it may take him two blows to take you out. Don't try to do and what the person next to you is doing. Work to improve yourself, compete against yourself and you are winning".

Powerful words from the kind Knight that so patiently fielded my questions, explained how to make a sword, hold a shield, showed me stances and strikes. Powerful words that realized later are applicable in all aspects of life. (When I get his name next Sunday I will sure to update this as he deserves full credit for this post).

This evening I stood beside Mouse in Karate practicing kata over and over again. Sweat ran down our faces and the sleeves of our gee stuck to our arms making the movements that much more difficult. We were struggling to get our stances right, our strikes correct, wrists straight, fist tight, heels on the floor, pivot on the balls of the feet, stay low, use hips for power, and the best of all... remember to breath. As frustration filled me and my body was saying "you will never get this right" I could hear Sensei's voice in my head asking "have you done it a thousand times yet, ten thousand?". Again we went through the moves, then again and again.

On the way home from class the kind Knight's words came back to me. Tomorrow I will do kata again and tomorrow I will do better. I will remember more, I will be stronger and wiser than I was today. I WILL defeat my greatest enemy, the part of me that wants to give up, to walk away, that tells me "you can't do it, whats the use in even trying".

For sure good Sir Knight, chivalry lives on!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Promise of the Arches

It was nearly 5:30 pm when Gyps and I arrived at the trail head that would take us to one of waterfalls we hoped to see on our Wild Women's Weekend. We knew that dark was about 7:30 and the falls were only a mile or so in. Plenty of time to get in, take the photos we wanted and jet back out before dark. Hurriedly we grabbed water bottles, cameras, tripods and headed down the trail.

The trail was amazing, the hike was spirit filled and uplifting. The 32 point buck (okay, maybe he was only a 12 pointer), was awe inspiring.

All along the way we found natural arches over the trail. To me it felt as if they were showing us the path to something extra special. Calling out, "follow us, we have something amazing to share with you", and as the waterfall was still ahead we were inclined to follow.

The hike in was all down hill and the impending darkness hurried our steps. We found the stream as it cascaded over a small rock face making a beautiful little fall. It was cool and shady, "wonderful waterfall lighting" Gyps said. She was quickly absorbed in angles and lighting and the special magic that makes her photos so spectacular. While at the same time, I tried to figure out how to get a camera mounted on a tripod and not loose the whole thing in the stream.

It was only a short time later I realized that the sun was gone and it was time to head back if we wanted reach the trail head before total darkness set it. Since every Gypsy step is the equivalent to two Tink steps I started out and Gyps promised to follow and catch up a few minutes later. I packed up my gear, headed out of our little hollow and back to the main trail.

As I clamored up to the trail I happened to look to my left, down the trail and deeper into the canyon. Just down the path was another arch. The best one yet I thought, very oriental and it called to me. I headed down the trail to get a picture.

As I snapped the photo I realized I was hearing water falling ahead of me somewhere. I moved further down the trail and through the arch. The sound was clear and distinct, the sirens song of cascading water.

I ran back to the hollow and called to Gyps. Leaving most of our gear on the trail we followed the sound a few hundred feet until we found the source of the song that called up the trail to us.

There before us, wrapped in the shadows of evening was a three teired rock face being caressed and wrapped in a loving embrace of the mountain stream.

True to their word the arched let us to the bounty we were intended to find on this days adventure.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Answered Prayer

For a mother there is nothing worse than seeing your child in pain and being able to do nothing to help him. As a mother I would say that a child suffering from chronic pain would be pure torture. My dear friend and heart sister Dar suffers this torture daily as her elementary school age son Jackson, suffers from a debilitating hip disease that leaves him in constant, sever pain. He can not run or play or even sleep without being in pain. Even with pain medication he wakes at night crying out and there is little she can do to to ease his suffering. He has lived with this pain most of his life and the doctors are amazed that he can even walk.

Early in the summer the deterioration of his hip joints became so sever Jackson's case had to be referred to John Hopkins Hospital in Maryland. The Doctors there said that little more could be done to help him except for major hip surgery. This surgery is not only dangerous and painful but involves a very long recovery time. Jackson wouldn't be back in school with his classmates until near Christmas.

For the entire summer Dar and her family had carry the burden that Autumn would bring even more pain and suffering upon their son. They are a family strong in faith and they didn't carry the burden alone. They handed it over to their Heavenly Father and trusted their son to His Divine care. At the same time family and friends have banded together to form a massive prayer chain lifting Jackson and his family up to the Lord. Today I received this email from Dar:

Hi everyone,
First and foremost...Praise God!! We had a great report today at Johns Hopkins!! As most of you know Jackson was secheduled for major hip surgery on Oct 12th with a tremendous recovery in store for him. Today we went for his pre-op and they did one more x-ray of his hips...and the new x-ray showed a lot of new bone growth in his hips that they didn't expect to happen. With the new bone growth being so significant the doctor has recommended we watch and wait at this time. Thanks to everyone for their prayers and support, please continue to lift Jackson up in prayer for continued progress. The doctor has "insisted" that Jackson take it easy on his hips and legs and do limited
activity to give his new bone time to get strong. We will keep you all updated!!! love, Mike and Dar

Psalm 103 (1-4)
1 Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits- 3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,


When wild women get together and rejoice in nature even waterfalls sparkle!
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True Magic

I watch the black belts practice judo throws and see the strength and power that comes from technique rather than tremendous strength.

I watch Gyps with a horse and see her listen and understand as it speaks to her.

I watch my children grow, I see them becoming more unique and independent and I long for the magic, the technique, the whisper that will allow me understand them. To hear their thoughts by looking into their eyes, to feel their pain and joy with a simple touch.

A soft voice speaks to me, it says if you want to hear, take the time to really listen, if you want to feel, take the time to hug, to hold and to just be with them.

A deep sigh is followed by a prayer of thanks.

Never Give Up!

"Think of the frog with its legs hanging out of the stork's mouth and with its hand around the stork's throat. NEVER GIVE UP!" ~ Unknown

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Siege of Glengary - Part I

Bright sun shone down glaring and hot. The sent of leather, steel and sweat permeated the air as the knights passed the pavilion where we sat refreshed with cool drinks and shaded from the mid-day sun. The the ground trembled as the valiant warriors charged towards their foe, swords, shields and armored bodies smashing together in a grand crescendo. As the battle wound down water barers were called in. Beautiful ladies as elegantly and brightly adorned as butterflies bore cool refreshment to the men in arms.

The Tribe's first SCA event was a day that will not soon be forgotten. The sights, the smells, the feast, oh the feast, the kind hearts and new friends. It was with a sad hearts that we had to leave before the drumming and dancing could begin. The Tribe was worn to the point of pure exhaustion. Little eyes, red and glassy and could barely stay open. Belts had been cast off. Hay and dust covered tunics and dresses were piled to be washed. Filthy little sleepyheads piled into beds to tired to shower.

The Tribe is restless now. Counting the days until they get to start weapons training and then to the next event.

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The Siege of Glengary Part II

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The Siege of Glengary - Part III

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Saturday chosen for dojo cleaning was warm but carried the distinct crispness that comes in September. Many students had come the weekend before so I was able to have the morning with Sensei Barbara and Sensei Brett to myself.

We kicked things off with Mr. Barry's amazing coffee and conversation. Then, we went to work. Sensei Barbara and I started on the floor while Sensei Brett scrubbed sky lights. On the floor on our hands and knees we worked side by side, student and teacher. I got to hear about Barbara's trip to the orient during the summer and her broad sword training in China. We swept, washed and weeded. Sometimes talking sometimes silent, (yes I can pull of silence for a few minutes). Before I knew it I had to leave to get lunch on the table for the Tribe.

It was a wonderful morning. I left with a feeling of accomplishment, ownership and wrapped in the fleeing of closeness and friendship that comes from working as a team.

Blue Heron Dojo is a place of peace and tranquility. It is a place of learning and growth for the mind, body and spirit. My thanks to Sensei Barbara for creating such a place and for sharing it with all of us.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Falls, Rolls and Throws

Thursday night karate class was falls, rolls and throws followed by sparing.

A little bit battered, little bit sore and totally pumped up I think, man I love this stuff. My next thought is ohhhh, I can't wait to show Gyps!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Three Cheers for Saddles and Smiles

Last month at the county fair Gyps introduced me to Miss Margaret who heads up Saddles and Smiles, a therapeutic riding program for children with special needs. I had been told my numerous people what a great program it was and what a blessing it was to the children that participated. Tonight was the September meeting so Grandma and I decided to take the tribe and check it out for ourselves.

It was more than I had heard, more than I could have dreamed. The smiles of the children out shown the fire of the setting sun. Everyone was friendly and helpful. Miss Margaret was wonderful and made us feel so welcome. When we started the sun was setting and it was getting dark, the air was crisp and cool but the mood was warm and welcoming.

All of the tribe that wanted to ride got to... even the littlest. The ones that I actually signed up for the program did amazing. All the way home and long after I heard about the little black pony, Socks. Nathan rode Mississippi and has a new friend in the broad backed little haflinger. After we got home and everyone was headed off to bed Nathan came bouncing in to tell me goodnight. His smile was still firmly affixed to his little face and I can honestly say he was glowing. He got to wear his new helmet and sit up so big, he was so proud. Too see him this happy brought tears to my eyes. A door was opened in him and the others. I can't wait to see where it leads.

Kudos to Miss Margaret and all those that make this program possible. If the world had more like them it would be a much warmer, kinder and better place. And to the ponies, you little dudes rock!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Post WWW

Wow, I can't believe WWW, (wild women's week) is already over. What an amazing adventure!

So much to write about, think about, so many great memories. Now it's time to dive into the laundry, homework, doctor appointments, bills, vet visits and all the things that make home a home.

As I drive to the vet's office with the cat and my 'shotgum rider' I look at the mountains with longing. It would be so nice to just stop and start to climb. After five days of hiking it just seemed like the thing to do. I refocused on the road ahead knowing as wonderful as it would be it just wouldn't be the same. After this trip I don't think anything will be the same again! After a week with the twin sister of my heart, her sweetie and my prince charming in one of God's most beautiful settings how could it? My heart sings, It was give wings and how I have to decide where to fly to next.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Journey

It took two days, numerous computer crashes and more than a few headaches to get my video of the Tribe postable and posted. After fearing for the life of my hard drive I had to wonder what drove me to have to get it done? Why is it so important for me to share the Tribe with the rest of the world?

Mulling this over as I head home from at hot afternoon of pony pedicures I realize that they, the Tribe, are the answer to many prayers, they are why I get up in the morning, they keep me young at heart and they keep me dreaming, striving and growing.

I never planned on a big family. To be really honest after my first child I said that was it, there would be no more. The Lord had other plans for me and I am so greatful now that He did.

Adoption and foster care have been the biggest rollercoaster ride of my life. If give a choice I quickly take pain of child birth over being told I may have to send a child that I love with every ounce of my being away to people that nearly killed him before he was two months old. So many times I had to tell myselfy "they aren't mine, they are yours Lord. You created them, you know the plan I am just here to do your work. But please give me the strength to do it".

He has given me the strength plus so much more. The blessings and joy I get from my kids can't be counted. It is so far beyond anything that I deserve. I am so blessed in so many ways and I see now that my drive to post this part of the journey was so that I could share these blessings and all the miracles that came with them with everyone else.

My Kids, My Life


So much to do, so many things that need to get done before I leave for the "Wild Women" retreat. I have it all planned out in my mind, just how much I can procrastinate and what has to be done by when. Then, the schedule changes. It's not serious, no children's appointments or anything like that, but in my over loaded, distracted mind it creates chaos.

I was working so hard at not having any expectations about the tip, only to realize I set myself before it even began. Deep breath, regroup, let it go and start over.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Trees Alive

The trees were alive,
Black wraiths among the leaves,
The sky went dark,
Morning silence shattered by screeches, screams and the beating of wings
The starlings were on the move

Reading vs Posting

The Mouse reads! She reads and she reads. She tells me all about her books, what she loves and what she hates. "Great" I respond, "post on it".

There she goes again, nose in a book. No posting, just reading!

Post Mouse, Post!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Only a few days until departure. Only a few hours down the road, but for me a life time away.

I think about a week with no getting drinks of water at three in the morning or waking up with a little face only inches from mine telling me "mommy, I'm scared. Can I sleep in the middle?". No never ending sock basket or dogs barking when the neighbors walk by, a squirrel goes up a tree or the wind blows.

Ahhh, it sounds like heaven but I'm scared to death. As much as I grumble about the non stop laundry, dishes, cooking for an army and breaking up fights, it's my life, my world, it's secure and safe. I always have a hug waiting for me, someone to paint watercolors with and an "I love you mommy" is only a head pat and squeeze away.

The idea of heading out of the driveway and down the road with no one riding "shotgum" looms before me. No one to sing too or with, no one jabbering away about hay and John Deere tractors, dump trucks or Chinese good. Eleven years ago I faced the unknown of being a parent. Now I face the unknown of being with just me.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Hamster Dance - Pirates of the Caribbean (Piramsters)

BJ had to share his favorite video, rock on BJ!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Road Trip

A gift from my aunt, a week at her time share in the Shennandoah Valley. What to do with a week??

What started as just a thought, "hey you want to come hang out in a beautiful place for a few days?" has taken creativity to a new level.

The end result will be beautiful. I can just feel it!

"Yes Tink, I believe that is rain"

I count on Gyps to keep me on the straight and narrow. I am fully confident that with her I will never accidentally wander into the realms of boredom, commonplace or any other strange places others perceive as reality. She grounds me and keeps me focused on the the critical issues of life such as what a real elephant's ear should look like and staying in tune with your power tools. I still wonder how I ever survived all these years without her??

I love ya sister!

Happy 5th Birthday Nathaniel!

Growing up Despite the Weeds

I'm a mom! There is just something in me that wants to care for, fuss over and nurture what ever I think needs mothering. Mostly it children and critters, sometimes it's family and even friends that despite being all grown up, I mother anyway and, since they love me they put up with it.

The mom in me wants to shield and protect those that I love. I want to wrap them in bubble wrap and lock them in a padded room. But healthy children, animals, friendships and even plants need space and freedom. Mistakes, bumps and bruises are part of life. They are the tools that build character, teach wisdom and build confidence.

Last fall I got a new rose for my rose garden called "Freedom". I worked the soil and carefully planted the little guy. He grew leaves and even had a bloom. This spring I made sure all the weeds were cleared, put out rose food, mulched and weeded some more. As summer came on freedom began to grow strong and bushy. Then, the Japanese beetles found him, the dry spell hit and the heat and gnats kept me from fussing after my roses as I should have. Freedom's leaves were chewed and the last blossom was eaten by bugs and weeds took over the rose bed despite the mulch and weed barrier I'd put down the year before. I promised myself that as soon as I could make the time I would go give him the TLC I was sure he needed.

Last night after a wonderful evening of girl time and ponies I wandered over the the rose bed to see how much work it was going to take to revive my sick flowers. Imagine my surprise when despite the lack of fussing, spraying, coddling and attention I found Freedom had grown above the weeds, strong and straight. He was green and leafy and even better Freedom bloomed.

As much as I think bubble wrap is a good idea I guess I was shown that stepping back, letting go and letting God is truly the best way.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Late Night

It's late, way to late for school age children to be up but, there is lightning flashing and thunder booming. Tiger dog hides under the desk laying across my feet and beside him is BJ, hanging on my leg. The cats are as close as they can get while still maintaining the appearance of being independent. Bower's in my lap, Bart is in the basket on my desk, Mo curls up on the printer and August paces the floor, glaring at the dog. Little Farm Boy huddles next to me, wide eyed each time the sky lights up.

I can't type and it's getting hard to breath. Ah well, it's not good to have the PC on during an electrical storm. I pry kids and critters off and with my menagerie in tow I head to bed.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

So Gyps advise me that since we are related and she is the Most Noble and Honourable Gypsy the Splendid of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch I too must have a peculiar aristocratic title. So, I did the research and low-n-behold there it was:
My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Baroness Tink the Spurious of Lardle Midhoop
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

I feel so special!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Just Keep Swimming

Hip-hip-hooray, it's back to school day.

It's a day of firsts at our house. Nathan starts kindergarten, Mouse starts middle school, it's Layla's first year at the main High School campus and BJ's first year home with just mom.

With just 10 minutes until we leave for the first bus run I think back on the summer and all the great times, what a blast! It's a cross roads kinda day. I know Gyps would tell me something profound about not looking back, moving forward... "just keep swimming, just keep swimming".

Final call for flight 1, all passengers should be on board and prepared for departure, final call!

And the journey goes on!

Friday, August 24, 2007


Summertime elegantly clothed in her tapestry of rich greens dotted with the shining colors or flowers and birds begins to grow restless. It's time for her to move on and leave her realm to her sister Autumn.

The sisters draw close to each other knowing that soon one will have to move on. The mornings are crisp with Autumn's breath as she begs her sister to stay just a little longer. Summer weeps and sometimes rages with the thought of leaving, and despite the forces pulling her away she clings to her sister for as long as possible.

Soon Summer will move on and Autumn will rule alone. In her pain she will send the brightly colored birds to warmer climes, drain the green from the leaves, redressing them in crimsons and golds. Then, she will see her brother Winter approach and together they decorate the world in frost and chase animals into warm burrows and nests.

On and on it goes, through wars and famine, birth and joy. A world beyond our understanding or even imagination, forever moving, always in transition.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Girls Just Want to Play Dress-up

What is it about wandering through fabric stores looking at all the colors and textures that can set a girl's heart a glow. The idea you can take a plane piece of something and make it into something you can wear. Something that can tell people something about who you are and what you like, even what your mood is for that day.

"Creativity in textiles" Gyps said. That must be where all the creative juices have gone. What fun it has been!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A Time to Post

For days now I have tried to find the time, make the time to sit and let my thoughts flow from mind to keyboard. I fall asleep with words wandering through my head, thoughts spinning and spiraling but finding no release. I actually dream I have posted and that Gyps has left some wonderful, amusing comment that I laugh about over and over. I wake up to find I can't remember what I was in my mind when sleep came nor what I posted about in my dream. I sadly remember that Gyps is gone for a few more days and that there will be no comments or jokes no one else could understand until she gets back... sigh.

So, here I sit, with a million and one things rushing around in my brain and now the time to let them out but the door is closed. Maybe I need more sleep, or less sleep or more spicy food... yea that will help. Spicy food always gets things moving! Maybe I just need my missing twin to come home so that the wellspring of creativity can freely flow again. Maybe I just need to try again tomorrow.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Shades of Orange

Death in The Storm

The 'bee tree' has been a sentinel standing in our front yard since our house was built. It was one of the trees left on the property when the excavator put in the building site. Before we cleared the land it stood in the middle of the last set of dense woods in this area. Our home sits at the base of School House Ridge, site of a small battle during the civil war. We have often wondered if Confederate soldiers bivouacked on this land as they prepared for battle? Was the tree here then? If it could talk what stories would it tell?

We knew the bee tree was old, very old. It was one of the largest trees on the property. It was adorned it beautiful shelf fungus which indicated it was sick and probably would have to come down eventually but, it was way out in the front yard and leaning away from all structures. It was called the 'bee tree' because of the hollow in the lower trunk that was inhabited by wild honey bees every year. In the spring I would work the flower bed around it's base but, once the bees arrived it was left alone until fall.

Last night's storm witnessed the death of our aged sentinel. Around midnight as the wind howled and the thunder pounded we heard a loud crack followed by a crash. It was too dark to see into the yard and the house was fine. We assumed lightning, maybe a branch had broken in the wind. We returned to sleep. By the light of morning we found the shattered corps that was once our beautiful tree lying broken and smashed on the front lawn. The trunk broke off about 15 feet up and it fell towards the house. Had it come up from the roots the corner of the house would be gone. Branches still rest in the tops of neighboring trees. The shattered trunk has to be cut up and hauled away and the chunks of torn earth will have be to filled and reseeded with grass.

To most folks it was just an old tree, sick and rotting that needed to come down before someone got hurt. To the birds, squirrels and bees it was home. To me it was like an old friend, strong and powerful and always there. It had stood through heat and cold, storms and droughts, peace and war. But death being a part of life had to come, and so it has. Good bye old friend.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Dinner with the Tribe is never quiet or dull. Last night it was BJ and corn.

A neighbor brought us some home grown corn from his parents farm. The Tribe spent a good portion of the afternoon shucking and cleaning the silk and buggies from the golden ears. BJ couldn't wait until it was ready to eat and sat out at the patio table bouncing up and down in anticipation.

Once the dinner plates had made it to the table he insisted he wanted a bowl for his corn. Trying to prevent a melt down and not seeing what it could hurt I gave in and took him a bowl. He promptly took the hot corn, put it in the bowl and got up to stand in front of the fan we keep on the patio to help with the evening heat and bugs. When I asked him what he was doing with the corn he looked at me as if I were totally stupid and told me that the corn was hot and blowing took too long, so he would use the fan to cool it off. Geee, did I feel dumb!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mice and Mom

Yesterday Mom and I decided to venture off on a quest for fabric and notions and pretty fun things. We skated out the door just steps ahead of BJ who had broken away from his dad and was making a mad dash for my leg. Thank goodness for kid proof door knob covers. I don't remember the last time my mom and I went out without a kid in tow. It was a great afternoon and we headed home with a candy bar for lunch and bags of glittery, shiny, silky things.

On the way home I pulled into a gas station to fill up. On the far side of pumps were two 18 - 20 something-ish men, I use the term men very lightly, in a beat up Honda sedan. The passenger door was open and the guy was swearing loud enough to make a sailor in the midst of a class five hurricane blush. He had a fairly large boa or python draped around his neck and a small white box in his hand. It took me a second to realize what the commotion was about. It seems that the guys had stopped at a pet store to get white mice to feed to the snake and the mice were getting out of the box. The guy set the box up side down on the pavement next to the car while he went into the gas station to get a bag to put the box in. The box was on the ground less than a minute before the driver came over to pick it up. He held is hand over the top to prevent the mice from escaping. A minute later his foul mouthed buddy returned with his snake and a bag and they drove away.

Back in the car mom asked what the fuss was. I told her about the snake guy and his mice and that I was sorely tempted to run over and kick the box under the car so the mice could have escaped. I am sure it would have been a really ugly scene, maybe even come to blows or a call to the police but, it sure would have been funny.

Mom in all her wisdom explained that it would have been kind of amusing but the pavement was hot there was no where for the little guys to go. She said that freeing them in a place like that would have caused them to suffer worse that if they were fed to the snake. She also pointed out to make it really funny I should have walked over the the driver, asked to see his cute little mice and then opened the box in the car with a ditsy giggle and an "oops, sorry", let them loose in the Honda. Picturing the snake guy's face with those mice running loose in the car had me in stitches half way home. I hope some day I am as wise and cleaver as her!

Monday, July 16, 2007

All in a Days Work

Music and motivational speakers on tape in the morning, coffee and a brisk cool shower, exercise, all of the ways I tried to get myself moving. Ways to get the mind and body focused and working towards completing something or in my case, starting something.

Todd and I sat out on the porch last evening and talked about all the things we would like to get done, the things we have to get done and the things we would do if a long lost relative left us a bunch of money. It was an amazing list, a wonderful list, an exhausting list. We both went to bed hoping the elves had heard the conversation and would come put in the walk ways, weed the front flowers and garden, seal the deck, build a new shed in the back yard and fix up the 84 Monte Carlo that he has wanted to restore for years.

When I rolled out of bed this morning I had every intention of taking on the world and getting a whole bunch done. I got a shower, my coffee and then the phone rang. I made breakfast while still on the phone, did the dishes, changed a diaper, got kids dressed and assigned morning chores. After two loads of laundry, getting floors vacuumed, feeding the cats, cleaning the laundry room I got three kids off for a visit with their bio-mom. Next came the rounding up of library books and a visit to the library and produce stand. I was home by 11:00 made PB&J for the remaining munchkins and headed for my office.

Now, here I sit thinking that another day is nearly gone and none of my projects are done or even started yet. Do I need to organize better, multi-task better, prioritize better? Maybe if I could grow a few extra arms or if Gyps would get on the ball and have some hours added to the day (she keeps saying she'll get to that). Then I think, who am I to complain? I have a Tribe of healthy kids, an awesome family, the best friends in the world and I get to leave all this house work fun to Todd tomorrow so I can play (oh, I mean work) with Gyps at the farm for a few hours. It will all be here when I get back, the weeds, paint, kids, dreams and plans. Maybe I'll get to it and maybe I'll just play Go-Fish with the Tribe.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mmmm, Salsa

Maybe it's growing up in the Sacramento valley of California but nothing says summer to me like fresh salsa. Layla and I made a HUGE batch last night and it was wonderful. So good infact I had to brag about it. Bragging about food means.... sharing the food or at least the way to make it. So, little sister.... here it is. Enjoy!

Tink's Amazing, Wonderful Salsa

4 large vine ripened tomatoes
1 large green bell pepper
1 jalapeño pepper
¼ cup fresh cilantro
½ yellow onion
Ground black pepper
Minced garlic (optional)

Dice tomato, peppers, onion and cilantro and put in a large bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and garlic if desired and stir well. Let sit for 15 to 30 minutes then taste.

Add more salt if necessary, more bell pepper if you want more crunch, more jalapeño if you need more heat. Grab a bag of tortilla chips, a large glass of iced tea or sangria and call me to come visit!

The Visit

So many emotions mingle together. Relief leads the pack but, it's closely followed by a nervous excitement. It's all okay, it's going to be okay and, well, maybe even fun. There will be ups and downs, hills not mountains I hope. There will be good days and bad days and things may get rocky sometimes but, I know in my heart it will all be okay.

She and are I are very different but, we do have some things in common. We both love to talk, tell stories and laugh. She is very funny and she has a good heart. She loves children even if she parents so much differently than I do.

How hard this must be for her. The feelings she has to over come, the anger and jealousy. I can't imagine what it would be to watch others raise your children. Four different homes, four different families with different ideals, values and boundaries. She has come so far, learned so much. Still, this has to be so difficult and so painful.

We greeted each other with a hug. Gypsy has the right idea about hugs. Then, we moved to sit at the kitchen table. The kitchen is my haven. I feel it's the heart of a home, not a house maybe, but certainly of a home. We sat, we talked and we laughed. I told her about the kids visit to the mountains. What they are doing there and the new friends they have made. She told me about the visits she had with the other the other children and their new families. Soon, the children's worker arrived but the conversation stayed about the same.

The visit lasted nearly two hours. The little ones watched a movie in their oldest sister's room with her supervising. I know it made her happy to know both her moms were below her talking and learning to trust each other. She came down to make sandwiches for lunch as the worker and her mom were preparing to leave. She gave hugs, chatted for a few minutes and said good bye. They will see each other again in a week. She seems content.

Hikes in the autumn to see the leaves turn, cookie baking in the winter and visits to the park in spring. So much to look forward to, a new member of the family. Like the children grew in my heart so too is their mother. The woman that gave them life and then loved them so desperately she chose to give them a family that she could not. I am grateful to her, in awe of what it must have taken to make the choice she did. The greatest gift she could, the gift of sacrifice that only comes from true and unconditional love.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Meeting of Minds, Meeting of Hearts

There is a get-together at my house today. It will be an interesting event. A meeting of minds and hearts that could impact the lives of many people. My family, my children, other falmilies and their children. The effects of this meeting will be both immediate and long term. So much is at stake.

Over the duration of my journey there have been many difficult choices to make. So much that can impact the lives of so many. Government leaders, corporate leaders, teachers and judges make choices everyday that have the potential to impact thousands. I do not posses the kind of power that will impact the masses. But, how I respond to, react to, and treat the biological mother of my soon to be adopted children will impact how they see me, how they view the world. All the lessons in kindness, forgiveness, respect and trust will be put to the test.

We don't have to agree on everything. We won't agree on a lot of things. We do have so much in common. Children, we have children in common. We both love them. We both want what is best for them. We will both fly into a righteous rage when we feel they are in danger and we both have that right.

She gave birth to them. They have grown in my heart. They call us both "mom". They love us both and they look to us to guide them as they grow. They will always know her, she will always be part of their lives. This makes her part of my life, part of our family. A family bound by love rather than blood.

Each word will be measured, each response weighed, body language and expressions evaluated. Time is short, the players in this life drama will arrive soon. The path is getting narrow and soon it will branch off. I will have to choose and my choice will dictate the direction of the next leg of the journey.

Tribal Art

Mouse is at Camp, JL and the Princess at the cabin with Grandma and Grandpa. The Tribe is now only four strong. Not that four of this tribe can't do some serious damage if left alone for a second or two. Bj's favorite is to finger paint on the play room rug with pudding. He prefers the tast of vanilla but the chocolate is so much more vivid on the light rug. A few sprinkles of red kool-aid from a sippy-cup adds a nice contrast. There is nothing I love more than tribal art!

Monday, July 2, 2007

I Want Bewwies

I am not sure how it is that kids find you and NEEEEDDDD you at the exact moment you most long for piece and quiet. It seems that not matter where I am or what I am doing if it's "me" time my really short shadow appears and whines, cries or kicks me in the shin until I give in give him some attention.

Last weekend my shadow found the wild black raspberries growing around the cabin. It mattered little to him that I had just sat down, put my feet up and opened my book. He wanted me to get him the "bewwies" NOW! No pretzel or crackers would do, it had to be bewwies.

Ok, fine, bewwies it is... I put down the book, put on some shoes and mumbled and grumbled as I trudged over the hill, hoping to avoid snakes and poison ivy on the way.

As is the way with small shadows, the reward is always worth the effort. "Oh, tank you" and a kiss in both cheeks just for a hand full of bewwies.