Z is for…

…Zee End

ZYeah, I know it’s kinda cheating to say that, but I did it last year too, and I didn’t get smacked by the Blogging from A to Z people, so since I’m completely gobsmacked exhausted, I’m sticking with it.

Because, yeah, here we are at “Z” end of the April blogging challenge. There were times I didn’t think I’d make it. Times I’d wrack my brain and worry I wouldn’t have a single thing to write about, and even tho I was late some days (which made my deadline-loving self twitch), I still wrote something for every letter. Maybe not anything good, but still. Wrote. Something.

For the Z topic, Kyle suggested I write about “Zingiberaceous”, but since I can’t pronounce it and don’t really care about it (sorry, Kyle), I suggest that you go read the first three pages of a free preview on Scribd. (By the way, it has to do with medicinal plants, if you just can’t bother to click the link.)

Kyle also suggested “Zanzibar” which is one of my very favorite words to say. (If you say it with enough vim and vigor, it sounds like a curse word. But it’s not! Ha!)

I am thinking (but may not be remembering correctly; after all, I’m working on fumes of fumes, as I said in my “Y” post, which I just now finished writing and published) that Brandi suggested these topics: “Zoos. Zydeco. Zebras. Zithromax.”  Andrew suggested I write about how English stupid, but I think we all know that. (And again, tired.)

I don’t know if it was suggested or not, but I will mention one more great Z word: Zoolander, my very favorite-of-all-time stupid-funny movie. The original movie came out in 2001 (ohmygarshIamOld), but this March, the stars of the movie, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, crashed Paris Fashion Week to announce a sequel. It will be released next February.

So, there you have it. Zee End.



But of course, not really, cuz I’m gonna keep blogging. I’m sure y’all want to learn more about what goes on in the crazy brain of mine, yes? (Just say yes.)

Posted in #AtoZchallenge2015, movies, writing | 4 Comments

Y is for…


YAll of us have these things we want desperately, that we yearn for. And of course, those yearnings change as we get older. Or not.

For instance, a yearning I have had since high school was to own a 1965 Fire Engine Red Mustang Convertible with White Top. I even had a chance to own one, but I passed it up. (A decision I totally regret.)

Yearnings that stay the same throughout our lives include the desire for love, warmth, food and comfort – tho we may not call some of them ‘yearnings’ until we don’t get them.

The yearning for love of course gets super-great when our hormones start rushing around in puberty, and we tend to think we’re worthless if we don’t have a million boyfriends. (And by ‘we’, of course I mean ‘me’. Ahem.) (Which I now know is silly. I mean, the couple of boyfriends I had back then weren’t even worth my time of day.)

Right now, I’m yearning, desperately, for sleep, and to get well. (Not getting enough sleep makes you crazy. Trust me on this. I’m running on the fumes of fumes right now, so if this post makes zero sense, that’s why.)

Other than following doctor’s orders, I’m torn: do I give up and trust the universe, or do I keep fighting?  I’m not sure.

Only I discern—
Infinite passion, and the pain
Of finite hearts that yearn.
~ Robert Browning

I launched my gofundme campaign, “Help me find *health* again“, two days ago, and I am ever so grateful for everyone who has donated and shared my story. I am blessed by your generosity. (Even if the vast majority of y’all have donated “anonymously”, as if you don’t want people to know ya love me. Ha!)

Posted in #AtoZchallenge2015, age, dreams, wishes | Leave a comment

X is for…


XWe all know what x-rays are, right? Sure we do, just like we know what electricity is. (We really don’t.)

As (probably) mentioned, I had to get x-rays of my back recently because it’s hurting me so {bad word} {bad word} much, so I decided that x-rays should be my topic for X. Cuz, why not? I mean, they are really quite cool, if you think about it! They can see right through our skin to our bones underneath.

For funsies, I consulted my 1921 edition of Collier’s New Encyclopedia, and under “X-Ray”, it directed me to see “Roentgen Rays”. So I returned book 10 to the shelf and pulled out book 8 (“Resp to Soviet”), and winding my way to page 90, found that x-rays were discovered by German scientist William Conrad Von Roentgen in November of 1895.

The encyclopedia doesn’t say much about Roentgen, except that he was born in 1845, was a professor, and received the Noble Prize for physics in 1901. A quick google search tells me he died in 1923 at age 77, and that he did not patent his discovery, as he wanted mankind as as whole to benefit. (Isn’t that nice?!?!?)

My encyclopedia says a lot more about his discovery, including the fact that he is the one who dubbed them “x-rays”.  The entry also explains: “it was possible by means of … cathode rays … to obtain ‘shadows’ of objects … and to produce an impress of these ‘shadows’ on photographic plates.”

It adds: “Besides obtaining radiographs of the bones of the living human hand, Professor Roentgen radiographed a compass card completely inclosed in a metallic box. … The Roentgen rays pass very freely through the various tissues and fluids of the body, but are obstructed by the bones; hence it is possible to take a perfect shadow-picture … of the bones of a living person.”

The best quote, tho is: “The full physiological effects of the X-rays are not yet clearly understood. Experiments show that long exposure to the rays causes acute maladies of the skin and also baldness.”

Of course, now we know a lot more about what x-rays do to our tissues, but they remain an invaluable tool in the diagnoses of various diseases.

For instance, I told you about my pal Andrew F. Butters, whose daughter was diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis in March 2014, and whose journey they detail on the family blog. The most amazing thing is this x-ray (the ‘shadows’) of her back, before and after:


I mean, without x-rays, they’d never have known the extent of the curve in her back!

In comparison, here’s the x-ray of my back, which is (obviously) not as severe, but which (apparently) shows scoliosis and arthritis:


No wonder I feel like I’m shrinking!

And finally, for a bit of x-ray humor, here is one of my grandmother’s hip. The surgeon was surprised to see her extra “growth”. :)

grandmother's hip

FYI, if you’re really a geek/ nerd, you can actually visit Roentgen’s lab in in Würzburg, Germany, which contains an exhibition of historical instruments, machines and documents.

Posted in #AtoZchallenge2015, health, history | Leave a comment

W is for…


WWhat in the heck is “widdershins”, you’re probably asking? Well, according to the book of the same name by Charles de Lint (my other Very Favorite Author), “to walk ‘widdershins’ is to walk counterclockwise or backward around something. It’s a classic pathway into the fairy realm. It’s also the way people often back slowly into the relationships that matter, the real ones that make for a life.

So why did I pick widdershins as my topic for W? Because, although the other topics suggested to me were all good possibilities (“writing, whimpering, whines, worries, Wondering. Wandering. Wonderful. Willful. Water. Waste. Waffle House.”), this one struck me when I came in my studio just now to lay on the floor and stretch my back (because, ow, it’s hurting. again/still).

I looked up, and the book Widdershins was looking back at me.

And, as I am wont to do, I looked up the word origin on dictionary.com, and it is thus:

1510s, chiefly Scottish, originally “contrary to the course of the sun or a clock” (movement in this direction considered unlucky), probably from Middle Low German weddersinnes, literally “against the way” (i.e. “in the opposite direction”), from widersinnen “to go against,” from wider “against” (see with ) + sinnen “to travel, go,” from Old High German sinnen, related to sind “journey”.

And as I read the etymology and re-read the meaning per de Lint (and said it a few times, because it’s a really fun word to say), it occurred to me that, well, I myself am in a time of widdershins. All my life, as long as I can remember, I’ve been and wanted to be a writer. Yet, I spent 20 years in a marketing career which sucked my soul dry (sometimes. not always) and silenced my muse (because I was too tired to pay her any mind), and now, my illnesses are bringing me low and I can’t do that work full time. Even tho I am very good at it, and I do want to work, I literally cannot.

But despite the pain and the insomnia and the suffering I’ve been going through lately, I took on this writing challenge (though I was still debating, right up to the last minute), to write every day for the month of April. I may have gotten behind on some days I just didn’t have the energy, and I may not have written the best posts ever written in the history of blogs, but by golly, I wrote.

I guess the universe is sending me backwards into a relationship that matters to me, more than anything: my relationship with words and stories and sharing and helping. I guess I’m widdershinning.  #AMWRITING


(PS: I’m part Scottish and part German. Coincidence?)

Posted in #AtoZchallenge2015, author, books, dreams, fear, illness, inspiration, learning, making a difference, the universe, writing | 2 Comments

V is for…


VMy dear Brandi suggested “Vision” for my “V” word (along with “Value. Vibrance. Vagabond. Vivid.”; “Volcano” and “Vengeance” were also suggested, but I forget by who. Sorry, dear readers!).

And vision just seemed perfect, because, well, I’ve had vision problems, which I’m sure comes as a shock </sarcasm> to my readers.

It also seemed like the perfect topic because I wrote a note about it on my Facebook page a while ago, and I figured I could just grab it and tweak it a little and be done, and move on to “W”. Also, Brandi herself has had vision problems all her life with misaligned eyes, which were corrected this January via surgery… and I figured I could grab a few quotes off the blog she and her husband had written, and again, move on to “W”.

Unfortunately, my note is hot mess of horrid writing (and woefully out of date), and Brandi’s blog page has disappeared into the ether… But thankfully, I can tell you that her surgery worked and she has straight eyes now! Woo-hoo!

As for me, I had pretty good vision until I was about 12 years old. Then it went all to crap. (And not in a pretty handbasket, either.) So I wore those hideous huge glasses until high school (hey! It was the style in the 80s!) (and NO I’m not sharing a picture!) until I got contacts. And… unfortunately, I have a very rare condition in my eyeballs, whose name I can never remember, but essentially, I am allergic to protein in my eyes. That caused my contacts to cover up with a film that sorta looked like what cataracts look like, which made my eyes water so it looked like I was crying all the time. Thanks to that, I had to get gas permeable contacts. Which worked fine until…. they didn’t. My poor eye doctor tried everything to get that darn condition under control, but never could.

In 2002, I was lucky enough to be able to afford LASIK surgery. (Woolfson Eye Institute is totally the BEST.) And lawdamercy I would pay for it a thousand times over. My eyes were so bad (-6.75) that I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. And Dr. Woolfson told me the surgery might not work. But it did! – right after the surgery I could see! ‘Twas amazing!

My right eye was – and has remained – good, but my left eye has been a bit of a pain. I had two additional LASIK surgeries on it to correct astigmatism that was causing horrible headaches (not good when you’re already prone to migraines).

By 2009, my left eye had degenerated due to the normal aging process and the fact that it is weak. Unfortunately they couldn’t do lasik again because my cornea was too thin. They did a bunch of tests, including a pretty severe type of dilation (cycloplegic), which meant my eyes stayed dilated for about 48 hours. (Very attractive, I assure you.)

But everything was stable, so that January 09 they did the surgery known as Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK). Which I do not, in any way, shape or form, ever recommend. Cuz it hurt. A LOT. Recovery time was weeks and months. AND I got a fun side-effect that is essentially double-vision in my left eye (but it’s got a fancy scientific name, which of course I can’t remember that either). (I think they called it “ghosting”, i.e., seeing two of the same thing.) (And yes, I still have this, but since my right eye is dominant, and I’ve had years to get used to it, I never really notice anymore.)

That October, I went to the surgeon’s, and my eye had healed properly; there were no medical issues; my prescription had improved and was better than before the surgery, but I hadn’t really noticed because it had been incremental improvements.

My right eye was perfectly symmetrical all the way around, giving me 20/15 vision.

My left eye – not so much. Basically, I had an astigmatism of .75. Most astigmatisms are straight up and down vertically, or straight side to side horizontally. Mine is diagonal, which is what is causing the double vision/ghosting. And it’s not true double vision – I just see a lighter ghost behind the actual thing. (Most noticeable while reading).

In July 2010, I went back for another checkup, and my right eye was still 20/15, but I had developed a slight astigmatism, while the left eye was 20/25, worse astigmatism, still diagonal. My eye had passed the threshold where I could do the surgery again, but no guarantee of any better results, so I decided not to bother.

In September 2012, I went back to the surgeon for another check up, and guess what? There’d been very little change. My right eye was developing a bit of far-sightedness, but my left eye was EXACTLY THE SAME as two years ago. Same exact numbers. The doctor said that’s pretty much unheard of.

And now, in 2015, I have glasses… cuz well, I’m 43, and that’s around the age the eyeballs start to degenerate. Luckily, I don’t need to wear them all the time, or that often.

So, that’s my vision. Probably not the story you were expecting to read, but there ya go. And aren’t my eyeball terrain pics cool? So colorful and fun!

And a final note: I’m swallowing my pride and my tears, and I’ve created a gofundme account to help pay for my medical expenses as I detailed in my D is for Damaged post. If you are so inclined, you can donate via the green widget on the right, or go directly to the page. (FYI, anonymous donations are accepted, if you don’t want the world to know.) If you can’t donate, sharing the page is very welcome too. In any event, thank you to everyone who has supported me with your kind words and those who have donated thus far.

Posted in #AtoZchallenge2015, age, childhood, learning, memory | 2 Comments

U is for…



If you’re ugly, I am ugly too
In your eyes the sky’s a different blue
If you could see yourself like others do
You’d wish you were as beautiful as you
And I wish I was a camera sometimes
So I could take your picture with my mind
Put it in a frame for you to see
How beautiful you really are to me
Ugly, ugly
All of us just feel like that some days
Ain’t no rainbow in the sky, when you feel U.G.L.Y.
And that’s ugly, yeah yeah yeah
Ugly, ugly
All of us just feel like that some days
Ain’t no rainbow in the sky, when you feel U.G.L.Y.
And that’s ugly, ugly
All of us just feel like that some days
Ain’t no cure that you can buy
When you feel U.G.L.Y.
And that’s ugly
So if you’re ugly, I’m ugly too
If you’re a nut, then I must be a screw
If you could see yourself the way I do
You’d wish you were as beautiful as you, yeah
I wish I was as beautiful as you
Writer(s): Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Jon Bon Jovi, Eric M. Bazilian
Destination Anywhere” (1997)
Copyright: Bon Jovi Publishing, Polygram Int. Publishing Inc., Human Boy Music, Hst Publishing Ltd., Rouge Booze Inc.


I was joking around with Gareth Young about what my “U” topic should be, and he gave me a list. The very first word on it was “Ugly”. And it made me immediately think of this song by Jon Bon Jovi, from the album “Destination Anywhere“, which I played over and over and over and over (so of course I know all the words). (Which, I should note: song lyrics are just poems set to music.)

Of course what resonated with me – then and now – is how many of us think we are ugly, when we are anything but. We compare ourselves to the ‘highlight reel’ of others – their best side as shown on social media and in person – and to completely falsified and ‘perfect’ images of people in the media. When probably, without makeup and lighting and photoshop and hairdressers and probably a whole bunch of other people, those supposedly “perfect” people look worse than you do on your worst day.

And the word itself, is, well, ugly. The hard ‘guh’ sound doesn’t help anything, for sure. Yet, it seems to have more power than, say, the words ‘pretty’ or ‘beautiful’. We believe “ugly” over “pretty”, any day.

For instance, my very first boyfriend (using the term extremely l o s e l y) broke up with me because he said I was ugly. Or that his friends said I was ugly. Or something like that. The word “ugly” was definitely used in relation to yours truly.

And in another instance, a good friend of mine remembers her aunt snapping at her “go wash your ugly face”. And even tho this friend is quite beautiful, the word “ugly” stuck to her, so that she can’t quite ever believe she’s pretty (and sadly, neither can I).  And chances are, that aunt just meant her face was dirty and needed to be washed, not that she looked ugly.

The dictionary.com definition of the word is pretty heart-wrenching, too:

  1. very unattractive or unpleasant to look at; offensive to the sense of beauty; displeasing in appearance
  2. disagreeable; unpleasant; objectionable
  3. morally revolting

No wonder my friend and I were both so affected by being told that!

Amazingly, there is a woman who has embraced the moniker and hasn’t let it get her down (at least, not permanently). Lizzie Velasquez “weighs just around 60 pounds and is blind in one eye due to a rare and unnamed syndrome that doesn’t allow her to gain weight” (yahoo.com). As a teen, she was called the “World’s Ugliest Woman” on a YouTube video, and bullied incessantly. Instead of curling in a ball and crying herself to death, she “used that video to become an anti-bullying activist and motivational speaker”, and is the subject of a documentary, A Brave Heart. And I just love the tagline: “Bullying Stories are Famous for Having Victims, Not Heroes.”

So banish the word “ugly” from your vocabulary. You may feel like it some days, as Jon sings so eloquently, but you ain’t. You’re beautiful. And so am I.

Posted in #AtoZchallenge2015, childhood, depression, inspiration, music, the dark places, writing | 2 Comments

T is for…


TThat’s right: the word the. And not because I couldn’t think of another topic. Of course not. (Ha ha ha) But actually because it occurred to me that ‘the’ is an incredibly useful – and terribly under-appreciated word.

Think about it: how many books have ‘The’ in the title? Would The Fault in Our Stars (a best-seller on numerous lists in 2014) be as striking as just Fault in Our Stars? What about The Goldfinch as just Goldfinch. Would it have won the Pulitzer Prize without the ‘The’?

Imagine me writing an entire blog post without using the word ‘the’. Pretty difficult, huh?

Even Dr. Seuss, when challenged by his publisher to write a book with only 50 words, was allowed to use ‘the’. (The book was Green Eggs and Ham, if you’re wondering.)

So, what is ‘the’? According to dictionary.com, it’s a definite article, which means it specifies something, such as a proper noun, a title, or a specific chair in the living room, for instance.

Did you know that ‘the’ can also be used as an adverb? It sure can!

As for the word origin of, erm, ‘the’ – it is far more complex than you might have guessed, but mainly comes from Old English, as well as Sanskrit, Greek, Irish, and Gaelic. And, get this: “Old English used 10 different words for ‘the’, but did not distinguish ‘the’ from ‘that’” (sez dictionary.com).

Just for fun, I checked out ‘the’ in the quotes side of dictionary.com, and it only came back with 200 results, none of which are actually about ‘the’. Interesting.

My long-awaited (by me anyway) novel (see “E” post for an Excerpt) has ‘The’ in the title. I can’t imagine it any other way. (And no, I’m not sharing what it is. Call me superstitious, but I wouldn’t want my title to get stolen.)

So, there you have, erm, ‘the’ (not it).

T is also thank you for everyone who has cheered me on during this challenge (and oh, what a challenge it has been for me), and read my ramblings, and shared them, and provided nice feedback. All three of you are THE BEST.

Posted in #AtoZchallenge2015, books, humor, writing | 4 Comments

S is for…

…Stigma Fighters

SAt about eight years old, a little girl starts being sexually molested by her older brother. Her parents don’t notice that the formerly happy, vibrant child turns sullen, quiet.

Another little girl is sexually molested for over two years by a neighbor, a well-respected man in the community.

A roommate’s boyfriend repeatedly rapes a girl in her room, and when confronted, the roommate kicks the victim out, making her essentially homeless.

A little boy is thrown out of the house by his father. Into the snow. In the dead of winter. Hours pass before he is let back inside.

A teenager repeatedly runs away from home, but is brought back by the police. They never ask why she runs away, never ask about the abuse that perpetuates it.

A three-year old child is sexually molested by her 15-year-old female babysitter.

A man pulls a gun on his wife and infant daughter. Another time, he throws his wife outside in the yard. She’s only wearing a thin nightgown. Later, when she finally is able to leave him, he won’t let her retrieve their daughter’s clothing or toys. For three years. Not until she gets a judge’s order.

A mom and her two daughters always live in fear of angering daddy. And there’s no telling what will set him off. When he’s angry, he breaks things. Beats his small children and their mother. The one daughter learns to hide. She tries to become invisible. She tries to forget.

I wish I could tell you that all of these stories are made up. That they didn’t really happen. But they did. To people I know.

The first girl finally forgive her brother, and he died. She suffers from a variety of mental illnesses and is under constant psychiatric care. She never told her parents, not wanting to hurt them. Today, she holds a director position in a well-known company.

The second girl finally told her mother, and the man was put in jail. The mother started a non-profit to fight against child abuse, and that girl today tells her story as a way to shine a light on what can happen.

The rape victim finally told her story to the world. She’s a writer, jewelry maker, all-around great gal. Who still, sometimes, blames herself for what happened. The rapist was never punished.

The little boy? My father. At 54 years old, he was finally diagnosed with bi-polar, went through electroshock therapy, and is currently in a home, a broken, broken man.

The teenager is now in her 60s and is a wonderful artist and person. But she still struggles with depression and anger. A few years ago, she was suicidal, but thankfully checked herself into a hospital and got help.

The three-year old immediately told her dad. Because of what I’ve been through, I was able to talk to the dad and listen and give ideas. Thanks to my encouragement, he and his wife put their daughter and her sister on a witness stand, and, thanks to their testimony, the babysitter was charged with a crime. Both children are growing up to be giving, wonderful girls.

The woman who lost all her belongings? Well, she’s recovered – in a way. She and her daughter have a lovely home and have replaced all the lost and retrieved things with even better things. But she suffers from depression and anxiety. She cries all the time, but hides it, to protect her daughter, who thankfully doesn’t suffer as her mother does. She’s a well-adjusted teenager. And the man who abused them? He continues to make their lives hell, as best he can. And he’s never been charged with a crime.

The last story? That’s mine.

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time (specifically “D” for this year’s #AtoZChallenge2015), or if you know me personally, you know that I suffer from a variety of ailments, both physical and mental. But I’m no longer invisible. And I tell my story, by golly. I tell it. To shine a light on the darkness. To maybe stop it happening to anyone else.

The mental issues are sometimes the hardest for me to handle. After all, they don’t make a lick of sense. Why am I depressed when I have what is, by all accounts, a wonderful life? Why am I crying when I literally have nothing to cry about, but I do anyway? I’m an accomplished, talented person with a master’s degree and 20 years of marketing experience and five years of teaching experience at the college level, yet I mentally hurt. Most of the time. And there’s always that nagging voice in my head that tells me I’m worthless. That I don’t deserve to live. That I don’t deserve my friends or my husband or my house or my talent or… anything at all.

Because I suffer from depression and anxiety and PTSD and occasional panic attacks and a little bit of OCD. All invisible illnesses, all pretty much misunderstood… because if you’ve never suffered from any of them, they make absolutely no sense to you. They literally do not exist.

And that’s where Stigma Fighters comes in, an organization dedicated to spreading awareness about mental health issues in high schools and colleges around the United States.

In February 2014, Sarah Fader wrote an article for The Huffington Post about living with panic disorder and depression, then started the site and serves as CEO. On the about page of StigmaFighters.com, she states “I wrote it because I wanted to show the world that there are people living with mental illness who are not just homeless or institutionalized. There are those of us who are living within the confines of society. … I’m using my forum to raise awareness for people (like me) who are seemingly ‘normal’ but actually fighting hard to survive.”

Allie Burke, Executive Board Director, is a paranoid (schizophrenic) who is also an author, editor, and mental health advocate who writes for Psychology Today.

Part of spreading awareness about mental health issues is the stories that are told on the StigmaFighters.com blog, with topics covering:

  • Anorexia
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar
  • Brave People
  • Delusions
  • Depression
  • Eating
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Hallucinations
  • Manic
  • Mood
  • Nightmares
  • OCD
  • Panic
  • Phobia
  • Psychotic
  • PTSD
  • Schizoaffective
  • Schizophrenia
  • Suicide
  • Trauma
  • Weight

These are all clearly very very difficult topics to read about. There’s a STIGMA attached to mental illness in our country. It’s like you have a moral failing if you can’t get out of bed for three days because you just… can’t. (And yes, that was me. Right before I finally got help.) And there’s a stigma to asking for help. Although many insurance companies do cover mental health, many of them do not. And many providers no longer accept insurance because of the stringent requirements of the insurance companies (and often, lack of payment for services).

Not only are these topics difficult to read, they were likely incredibly difficult to write about. (Note, my story isn’t on there. Yet. I’ve started a piece, and stopped. And looked at it again, and stopped. Someday, I’ll conquer my fear and write it and submit it.)

So, I urge you, as a fellow human being, to read some of these stories. READ AND BEAR WITNESS to these very human, very true, very raw stories. And applaud the bravery of the people who were willing to bare their souls and their pain and the possible backlash for telling their truth, their stories.

Bear witness, and remember:



Posted in #AtoZchallenge2015, abuse, artist, author, childhood, community, dancing, depression, dreams, family, fear, giving to others, health, history, illness, inspiration, learning, making a difference, mental illness, shining a light, the dark places, writershelpingwriters | 4 Comments

R is for…


RMy darling hubs has what is affectionately known as “itchy feet”. That means he likes to go traveling around. And of course, I go with him. (Usually.)

It was especially fun to go roadtripping when we lived in Arkansas. We already lived 12 miles outside the closest town, so it was easy to go a-wandering and discover some new place within a couple hours’ drive. And it’s amazing what a little change of perspective can do for your soul.

For instance, last year after the death of my dear one (detailed in “G is for Grief” for #AtoZChallenge2014), hubs took me down to Macon, Georgia. And we had no idea til we got there, but that weekend happened to be the Cherry Blossom Festival, which is a HUGE deal down there. It was pretty amazing to stumble into a parade! And I love taking photos, so that was super-fun too. Plus, who knew that the cherry blossom trees had been “discovered” in the backyard of a Macon-ite in 1949, and then it grew (pun intended) into an international festival!


One of my very favorite places on God’s Green Earth is Terra Studios, located in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It is the home of the original Bluebird of Happiness, and is truly a wonderland of art. It’s bursting to the brim with all kinds of interesting creatures. (And, an aside: I made my first-ever snow angel there.) (Yup, that’s my angel and my head in the bottom pic.)


Hubs has also taken me to Pennsylvania and Jersey – in the dead of winter, which this Florida girl did not appreciate, but it was kinda neat seeing an ice lake on one day and waves breaking on the Jersey shore the next. Plus, lighthouses. We LOVE lighthouses!


We’ve also been to various cities in California, Kansas, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Arizona, and of course all over our beloved Georgia… And each time we’ve learned a bit about the place’s history, we’ve bought postcards, and we’ve come home enriched. (Wow, that sounds cheesy, but it’s true.)


FYI, there’s a neat website called roadtrippers.com that has all kinds of stories and neat ideas for your next roadtrip. As soon as I can sit in a car for longer than 30 minutes without severe pain, we’re picking one of those places and heading out! (And yes, I’ll have my camera to add to the pile of photos I’ve taken.)

Where’s your favorite place to Roadtrip?

Posted in #AtoZchallenge2015, community, guilty pleasures, happiness, history, photography | 16 Comments

Q is for…


QI like quotes. A lot. One might even say I collect them. So here are some that I find inspiring (most links go to Amazon):

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” ~ Anne Frank. She lived such a short life, but she made it count.

“All we truly know when we wake up in the morning is that we have the day in front of us to live.” ~ Ruth McGinnis (June 20, 1957 – October 06, 2009), author & musician, writing during her fight with ovarian cancer. I knew Ruth personally, and found her very wonderful. I can’t believe she’s been gone so long.

“Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson. I find it hilarious that his author photo on Amazon is of the U.S. three-cent stamp!

“If you just look at all that already exists in your life, all that you already have: unlimited air to breathe, ample lighting to see, music to hear, books to read, stars to dream by, trees to gaze at, floors to dance on, friends to cavort with, enemies to befriend, strangers to meet, woods to walk through, beaches to comb, rocks to scale, rains to cleanse you, rivers to float you, animals to comfort you, you do have to admit, there’s more of it than you could ever, ever, ever spend. But try anyway.” ~ TUT

“This is the truth: We have worth whether or not we feel we do. We can hope for comfort even when we feel wretched. We are worthy of love, and our feelings don’t change that.” ~ Elise Stephens. Elise is an author friend of mine. Her blog posts always inspire me, even if they make me sad.

What are your favorite quotes?

Posted in #AtoZchallenge2015, quotes | 4 Comments