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07_08_09.JPGTomorrow is the last full day of my vacation with Son #2 and #3.  

I knew this vacation would be "different" .... since it was our first one without Jim.  But I really had no clue as to how very different it would be.

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The Family We Choose

07_07_09.jpgThey (whoever they are) say that friends are the family we choose....

This opening was written by our Tuesday girl, Ms. Michelle Dippel...then a new job, a recent move, her little guy's ninth birthday, and a holiday weekend happened...and she could use a little help from a friend, so you'll hear from me (the other Michele) once again this week! I promise you will get a new writer tomorrow ;)

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On My Own Two Feet

07_06_09.jpgBefore Phil died I never questioned my ability to stand on my own two feet. Being in a relationship was something I loved, but I didn't believe that living life as a pair was mandatory for achieving happiness. My husband was my partner and my friend, but we were definitely two individuals with our own opinions and preferences...that didn't always line up. Then the world shifted, Phil died, and I was inexplicably unstable on my previously solid two feet.

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Why Me?

07_05_09.JPGI will admit that I have uttered the phrase, "Why me?" on more than one occasion. I could follow that with the similar, "What did I do to deserve this?" or "Why is THAT person still alive while Phil is dead?" and a few others that are equally ugly. But the land of the ugly is where I resided for quite a while, and sometimes a place I still visit. The infuriating thing is that no matter how many times I have asked myself, God, or my closest friends these questions; I never get an answer that I find acceptable.

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Happy 4th of July!

07_04_09.jpgToday marks another holiday that truly puts into perspective just all that our husbands fought, loved and died for.

I will not lie....Veteran's Day, Memorial Day and 4th of July used to be holidays that seemed to melt together. Besides separate months, fireworks and parades, I truly never felt to full capacity what each really stood for and meant to me.

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Death by Sunburn??

07_03_09.jpgMy (rather new) significant other is a geologist. A few months ago, he left (Martha’s Vineyard) for the desert West of Palm Springs CA to do field work. He called me each day, either before he left to do field work in the desert, or after he returned. All was well. I was, and am, bonkers over him. I enjoyed our telephone connection. We were a new couple so the phone calls were a daily surprise and not an expectation. Or so I thought.

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Perspective ....

07_01_09.JPG..... is in the eye of the beholder, is it not?

This picture was from our last vacation.  The last day of our last vacation to be exact.  In June of 2007.  Six months before Jim died.

It was a "different" vacation for us.  A different perspective.  Only half of our children were able to go.  The three girls were working that summer and could not go.  So although it was a "family" vacation ..... it was different.

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Thus begun our Dance

07_01_09_1.JPGIt was a clear, sunny morning on July 2nd, 2005, not an ugly cloud in the sky. I got ready in a room with the women most pronounced in my life at that time. I was escorted by the 8 beautiful women of my bridal party through the hotel and across the country club in California. I stopped briefly at the white fence behind the gorgeous gazebo before taking my place at my father's side. I wanted to take a peek at what awaited under the arched flowers... the sight made my heart race! ....There he waited... for me. At 11am I stood before my best friend, the man I went to for advice, comfort and love. I couldn't tell you what our Pastor spoke of that morning. I can only remember David's hand embracing mine and his eyes- the most pure shade of blue seemed to burn straight into my soul. I remember thinking "Finally... Finally..." It was on that day David took my hand, placed a ring on my finger, and made me his bride. Thus begun our dance.

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Chchchanges....

I'm meeting the moving company today to inventory my house and take the next step in the move from Houston back to Austin. It's a big and quick change for us, and I've been forced to think a lot about life planning and what my intentions are both personally and professionally.

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What I Believe In

06_29_09.JPGBefore Phil died I could have easily created a long list of my personal beliefs. This list would have included ideas about both the tangible and the intangible; broad concepts and specific ideals; God and mortal beings. There would probably even have been a mention of death and eternity...but only in the abstract because my beliefs about death were untested until August 31, 2005.

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