I am a Branch

This past weekend at Southeast Christian Church, Kyle Idleman spoke on John 15:5.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

You can watch the whole thing here- Be the Branch.

I know that when they planned this session, it wasn’t going to be about the events of this week-but Kyle tied it all together wonderfully.  We need to have compassion and sacrificial love for people.  ALL People.

Social media was buzzing with loads of messages, some positive, some grossly divisive.  As if you are not able to support those who serve and protect AND those marginalized at the same time.  My heart was breaking.

Brené Brown posted this on facebook and instagram-

I woke up this morning looking for someone to blame. Someone to hate. Someone who I could make the single target of my fear about the officers killed in Dallas and what happened to Alton Sterling and  Philando Castile. It was such a desperate feeling to want to discharge the uncertainty and scarcity. Then it dawned on me that this is the exact drive that fueled what’s happening right now.

Instead of feeling hurt we act out our hurt. Rather than acknowledging our pain, we inflict it on others. Neither hate nor blame will lead to the justice and peace that we all want – it will only move us further apart. But we can’t forget that hate and blame are seductive. Anger is easier than grief. Blame is easier than real accountability.  When we choose instant relief in the form of rage, we’re in many ways choosing permanent grief for the world.

Anger is easier than grief.
Blame is easier….
So true.  Trying to find single targets of our fear is a breeding ground for the unrest, anger and pain all around us.

I can’t begin to KNOW what it feels like to be subject to systematic racism.  But, I can try to understand.  I can allow my heart to be broken on their behalf and reach out in love and compassion to search for solutions and change.

This message is all around me this week.

My family is doing a bible study by Jefferson Bethke and this weeks video talked of what happens when we choose something other than God to Idolize.  When we think that Republicans are going to cure all this countries ills, Democrats become the demon.  When we root our identity in legalistic or fundamentalist thought, the opposite of that becomes the enemy.  It can happen with sports teams, it can happen with ANYTHING.

When we are focused on God and rooted in him, SIN is the enemy.  NOT people.

As Christians,we are called to LOVE God and LOVE People.

Friday morning, I went to work broken.  I couldn’t open my mouth with out weeping.  I was thinking about how the black community felt, how the policemen and their families felt, all the pain, YEARS of pain.  Anger boiling over, down the streets and I just wept.

One of my coworkers told me to get over it.  Feeling that way wasn’t going to do anyone any good.  I believed her-for a moment.

Until Sunday morning hearing the words in church-“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

As long as I am rooted in Christ, I can be strong AND compassionate.  I can have empathy AND enact change.  I can feel and not be afraid.

I am a branch.

A Gentle Reminder

Images are powerful things.

As I posted yesterday:
A virtual rendering of the weight I have lost.

2016-04-25 20_59_00-Model My Diet _ Virtual Weight Loss Simulator and Motivation Tool _ Women

On the left – January 2015 on the right is me this week (and also January 2016).

2016-04-25 21_00_40-Model My Diet _ Virtual Weight Loss Simulator and Motivation Tool _ Women

On the left is today.  On the right, my “goal” size.

2016-04-25 20_59_59-Model My Diet _ Virtual Weight Loss Simulator and Motivation Tool _ Women

And this-a rendering from the start to the goal.  I am so glad I didn’t do this one first.  It is pretty overwhelming. But, I am also inspired by it.  I don’t have many pictures of me at the size on the right because the 118lb bitch in my head thought that the 135 lb me was a cow.  So, the 118 lb me wouldn’t allow pictures to be taken.

Have I ever mentioned that the 118 me was a real bitch?
Also that 118 lb was pretty unhealthy and borderline alcoholic, but-details…

I guess I need to start taking more pictures of this journey, don’t I?

Take that my formerly mean to self girl!
{Traveling Mercies}




Traveling Mercies

I have been a weight watcher member for about 16 months (this round) and in the past 12 I have been fighting with the same 5 pounds.  Gain 2 lose 2.5, lose 1, gain 4, lose 2…Up and down, over and over.  I was ok with that because I was NOT going UP week after week, I just wasn’t going down.

The past 2 months however, have been a slow and constant creep.  I have felt it but I wasn’t sure what to do about it.  I was trying to figure out if it was the usual suspects- Family stress, work stress-boredom eating.  WHAT?

I have been on the verge of quitting, but I know that as soon as I do the 26 lbs I have kept off this far will find me fast.  Past experience an all.

Today, as I pulled in the dentist office for the 4th procedure in as many months, it hit me.  The right side of my mouth has been a frickin train wreck. I switched dentists because I felt like the one I had wasn’t listening to my concerns and HELLO-that was confirmed when I had 4 cavities and the need for a root canal (which apparently could have helped me out at anytime in the past 15 or so years).


I haven’t given up on myself.  I have not slipped back into old patterns.  I have been eating what I could eat while I was dealing with all of this stuff.  Carrots and cucumbers and salads where you have to rip and tear your food-not so easy.

This afternoon as I left the dentist with a numb face I decided that Tomorrow is a new day.  New teeth (well filled and repaired ones) and a new Start on the plan.  I already feel better, that last filling was apparently causing me issues that I was not aware.  I am not going to go buggs bunny yet, but I know in the next day or two, I can and then-I am tackling this plateau with a vengeance.

So, I am asking for traveling mercies for the emotional trip. {christianes dictionary}{urban dictonary}

Today on WWConnect someone posted a link to Model My Diet.  I forgot
that awesomeness existed so I played a bit.  I put in where I started
and where I am now:
2016-04-25 20_59_00-Model My Diet _ Virtual Weight Loss Simulator and Motivation Tool _ Women
Pretty good reminder of the road I have traveled thus far.


Earworm: Diana Ross

I just realized it has been over 6 months since I posted.

I have no excuse.
Things brewing.
Life Changing.
Cue music.


Today at this moment I have been convicted. (Still in the church parking lot actually)

Last year I unfriended soooo many people on Facebook-because I was having a colossal shift in my world view. I needed the freedom to say what I was thinking and feeling with out offending or receiving judgement.

Looks like I was hiding my light.

  So very thankful that I went back to SECCOC with my sister and her family a few weeks ago.

I have had a love/hate relationship with the church for decades. In my 20’s, I had friends who were hurt deeply by this church.

In my 30’s I was a member of a church that was jealous of the success (I can’t even talk about how wrong this is) of Southeast.

I started going to the OC campus 2 years ago-I needed a worship experience like I get when I am in Nashville at Crosspoint. (As much as this sounds like I want to be entertained- that isn’t it).

I stopped going to SECC because I had one or two theological itches that really bugged me.  The week that I went back with my sister’s family Kyle Idleman said something to the effect of “if you agree with everything your church teaches, there is a problem.”

Of course he was right and I needed to hear it.
That series was called The Outsiders.   Basically, confirming my long held belief that it doesn’t matter WHAT the government  or society does as people of God and followers of Christ, it is OUR job to speak truth in love AND LOVE.

That series stirred something in my heart.
And now we are tackling isms.  Tearing Down Walls is what it is called and today was on Racism.

So, this brings me to the “convicted” part…
Way back up at the top I said I unfriended LOADS of people.
I didn’t want the confrontation.
I didn’t want want to be bold and uphold what is holy.
I don’t need to be right.
I don’t need to be loved.
I need to do what Jesus needs done.

And it scares the shit out of me.

I think I am to old for this…

(a 500 word post)

I made it almost 24 days in a row until the world spun out of control. Nothing life altering happened, but several small family emergencies took precedence last week.

I lost my focus.
I didn’t post here, I didn’t work on another project.
I kept up with my day job at a bare minimum.

Over the weekend I worked my first craft/art show since the man child was 7 or 8. I quit when he started playing soccer-that occupied all of our free time for the next 10 years. I loved it, I used that time to develop photography skills instead of creating polymer clay items for sale. But I missed that level of creating.

I didn’t miss clay so much because it is a plastic polymer and I wasn’t willing to cure it in the same oven we ate dinner out of. I had to let it go. It was hard because I was good at what I created. I never realized HOW good, until this weekend.

Granted Friday night was slow until around 7:30 PM and people were there to eat more than shop, but I did see people buying, the lady next to us sold a crapton of her repurposed coffee bags.

Saturday it started raining at 11:30. Not a little misty sprinkle that had been going on since we got there at 9. No this rain, was a street flooding, our boxes are getting soaked standing water rain. We cut and ran. I looked at the forecast, I knew it was going to rain like that for at least 2 hours. And there was potential for severe weather.

Screw it.

I have a full time job and that wasn’t it. I couldn’t afford to take a few days off this week to recover if I got a cold from sitting in that weather.

My friend and I also decided that we weren’t going to do outdoor shows again…not cut out for it. When you do a show inside, you don’t really have to depend on the weather…if it is raining out, people will COME INSIDE TO SHOP…same with if it is cold…the only thing where this matters if it is snowing 3 feet.

As we packed up the last box and ran a block to our car I heard someone ask the lady next door “why aren’t you packing up?” She replied, “We aren’t allowed.”

Well rats.

I don’t know…I suppose people who do that as a full time job have paid for insurance to cover the cost of lost and damaged items from keeping their booth open-I don’t. I suppose her fear was that she would not be asked back to the show.

From my experience of not one sale, that won’t hurt me so bad-right now my friend and I are out over $300 preparing for an outdoor show…not to mention all the money I spent on the food trucks.

I don’t know if it is that I am not cut out for doing shows outside or if I am just too old.

More kitty

(a 500 word post)

I had planned on penning a post about the cats under the house that my son rescued when he was 10.  That was going to be my make up post last night for being behind yesterday,

That didn’t happen.

Heck, today almost didn’t happen either.  Right now, I am home alone.  Well, home-human alone.  The boy is at work and the spouselet is having dinner with a friend.  I can finally breathe for a minute.

Somedays, it is really hard for me to function in a house full of men and dogs (and now cats).

I feel bad for my big old dogs, they are being fed and that is about it.  I have not meant to ignore them but the kittens need so much more attention than an 11 and 13 year old dog.

Let’s make this post an update about the baby kitties.

Right now, they are in my bathroom.  We have moved them in there because there isn’t a place for then to get stuck or hide where we can’t reach them…no carpet to get their claws stuck and if they miss the litter box, easily cleaned.

They are eating replacement milk and a bit of cat food mixed in (with a hand held mixer) at one meal a day.  Two of them are using the litter box on their own for bowel movements, but still need a little help in the urination department.

They must be closer to 5 weeks than we thought because they are playing with each other like crazy.  Today we introduced crinkly and fluffy toys for them to bat around.

They are developing nicknames so that when we are handing them off to each other we can say which one we mean with out saying, the gray and white one or the black one or the white one or the blackk and white one…it just takes to long.

so, we have Michael Jackson McCartney (Michael for short)…I say Michael McCartney because of ebony and ivory, sunny says Michael Jackson and sings that black and white song of his.  Yes, it is the black and white cat.

Then there is Earl Gray (sunny calls him something else, but I don’t remember what)…the most advanced cat and the gray and white one.

The back cat, is the runt-there really isn’t a name for him/her yet either…

The last one-has the best name, either toupe or mohawk.  He is white except for a little gray patch on the top of his head.  when he plays with his siblings, his hair stands on end so it looks like a mohawk and when he isn’t just a plan ole wig.  He is the second most advanced.

I am not sure why I am referring to them all as male-we have no idea what they are…I guess we shouldn’t get to attached to names until we know what their parts are and if the vet clears them as healthy.

Oh, and I am allergic

(a 500 word post)


I didn’t write yesterday. I didn’t mean for the day to get away from me, but it did. Part of it was TGIF! I am not sure why this week was so tiring, but all I wanted to do was watch Mad Men with the spouselet until I couldn’t see straight.

We were moving along quite nicely on that plan with the 20 year old came home at midnight and asked me to come to the downstairs bathroom, ne needed to show me something.

I knew what it was going to be before I got out of my bedroom.

Something alive.
Something furry.
Something that was going to need A LOT of care.
Something I did not want to deal with.

And then he opened the door, and in a big cardboard box lined with a pink fluffy blanket where the four smallest (non-weaned) kittens. Not that I have ever seen because when he was about 9 there were kittens under our house. (Another story, for another day).

He and his girlfriend had researched. They knew that these little babies probably still needed to have help with learning to eliminate waste. (I am not describing it here, go look it up if you don’t know). They need to be fed every FOUR HOURS with a bottle. They have already found homes for 3 of them and he swears he is keeping the little white one. They are taking them to a vet today to get checked out.

I am concerned that they are not healthy. Mama cats don’t leave babies unless they are sick or she is dead. Either way, they were wild cats, milling about on the side of the road (that is how they found them).

Oh and I am allergic.

I always try to pretend that my inability to breathe after handling a cat has NOTHING to do with then and everything to do with some other histamine force in nature. So, being impaired by cat dander didn’t stop me from picking them up and holding them…getting their allergy funk ALL OVER ME (and my shirt). I did wash my hands after dealing with them, but I slept in the shirt they were all lovey on.

I woke up with a sore throat and itchy eyes.

I told the kids they can’t stay at our house, those precious babies were perfect snack size for two 55 pound dogs. Those kittens are smaller and slower than squirrels that my dogs “played with” until they stopped moving.

And I have a plan. An animal reduction plan. My dogs are 11 and 13. Winding down their time on this rock. Scooting toward the rainbow bridge. I do not want to start this cycle over with a cat (that could live to be 20).

AND, I am allergic.

This morning, first thing, the girlfriend was back at my house with a box lined with a pink fluffy blanket and four kittens. Her family won’t let them stay at their house either.

They are NOT staying with me.
And, I am allergic.

Sylvia and my design star

(a 500 word post)

I saw a quote this morning that reminded me of one of my old design instructors. She was an instructor and freelance designer and she was one of the most inspiring instructors. She has an impressive portfolio including being a designer for the Kentucky Governor’s mansion. I have not seen her in almost 20 years but, think of her often.

Most of the time, when I see bad or super trendy design.

She is the reason that I cannot look through an issue of HGTV and have gone back to House Beautiful and Architectural Digest.

She is the reason I have watched Everything But the House for months on end bidding on Walnut, Drop Leaf Tables.

She is also the reason I begged my mother for her Century Furniture Chinese lacquer and inlaid desk (with matching chair) when my mom was re-doing her living room.

Over the past decades, I didn’t realize how often she had crossed my mind until I read the following had to rip it out of the magazine, I think I might send it to her…

This morning I was thumbing through my House Beautiful and I came across an article about an apartment in Manhattan with rich orange plaster walls. Under the title “The Forever Home” it reads:

Designer Justine Cushing has held on to the same uptown Manhattan apartment for decades, and it’s never warranted a reinvention, only an occasional refresh, why? She got it right the first time.

I cannot tell you how many times Sylvia would say the same thing to us. She would tell us how much people SHOULD spend on their home furnishings (a certain percentage of the cost of their home) and as 19 and 20 year old women we would gasp.
Who could afford that???

And she would smile and say, if you do it right the first time, they won’t need to do it again.

And she is right.

If you take shortcuts and do it the quick way or load your house up with Ikea, it will work for THAT point in time, but it won’t be there for your children and grandchildren.

She always said buy heirloom pieces to pass on to your children.

Sometimes I test her statement by picking up old issues of ID or another high end interior design magazine and browse the pages. More often than not, the issues are dated by the technology or photography, not the principles and theories of design.

I also see proof of her powerful statement when I go into some estate sales of homes that have not been updated in decades (the condition of the carpeting and need of fresh paint) yet, people are carrying out the homes furnishings by the truck load.

This doesn’t happen every time, I have also been to sales where the furnishings were bought for the style of the time. Anyone remember wagon wheel furniture?

The spouselet calls this person, the version of myself that has very strong opinions about Design and home furnishings his “Design Star”. It originated after we used to watch the HGTV show. I have opinions.

I have an art/photography star.
There is also the stationary star (the version of me that has a thing for pens and paper).
I know there are more of them-every time I have a strong opinion, it gets dubbed a “star”.

Today, you have met my Design Star.
The Spouselet thinks she is about 8 years old, but she was born in 1989 sitting in Miss Sylvia’s class, learning how to do it right.

Moving a huge chunk off my plate.

(a 500 word post)

I am getting pretty excited, this is day 20 of 500 words a day. Some days I know I could have written more and some days it was really hard to knock out a post. Today, is a bit of another celebration post.

For the past few months I have been working on a project for my “day” job. I have been creating a company book talking about what we offer, the areas we serve and what we do. The first round was so wordy that my Brother in law and I decided that we needed to cut the crap and get down to bare bones, if someone has questions about a service or program, this leaves the conversation open for them to talk to their sales associate.

The management team had seen part of the first wordy version. They had no idea the radical changed that were made.

That was what I had to present today.

I learned Adobe InDesign for this project. I know a bit of Photoshop, I use Lightroom almost weekly so I thought “why the heck not”.

Holy Hell that was a learning curve.

But, it was so fun.

It is one of the things that I love about my job-I can create a marketing piece or we can shop it out. 15 years ago, I did the company website, I loved learning HTML. I had to give over and hire a company when technology go to the point of incorporating live listing data. The only thing I regret about hiring a company-my programming knowledge has come to a screeching halt.

Luckily for me, there are apps and programs that will do most of what I need done these days on a personal level and when there isn’t (or I can’t afford it) in walks my awesome spouselet.

Today was the big meeting.

I printed copies of the almost compete book, there are still a few pages that need additional data and images. I had one for every manager and a “master” correction copy for them to make notes of what they needed updated (proofed) to pass around. Having the master prevented me from thumbing through 10 copies for changes. Besides, I wanted them to have it.

They loved it. Outside of “can you change this word” or “add this program” there was nothing but love.   Working for family can be hard. Working for family when you have other non-family principals can be even more interesting.

This was a huge win on so many levels for me. I felt like Sally Field. I also realize that this post sounds like I am 20 years old instead of 46. Daddy approval is strong with this one.

But as a creative. As an artist.

The layout-MINE.
The photography (ALL the photography minus corporate logos and two banner’s created with corporate stock photography) MINE.

The words-MINE.

I did have input and guidance from a few people in the office, but this baby, for the most part, ALL MINE and it was well received.

Man, I love outside validation.

Oh and I lost another .4 lb.

So, how was your Wednesday?