shining forth

I love these guys, evey week they do whatever I suggest. And sometimes they even think it's fun. Until the 5th take. Then they are over it. And I understand.


Silent Auction

In honor of the Stephanie and Christian (and per Gabby's suggestion) I am holding a silent auction today. Here is how it works.

1) I offer up 1 hour of photography work for you or a friend or whatever you want me to photograph (your family, or if you live outside of AZ think of a theme I could photograph for you that could be art work for your walls (kids into cars, trees, color scheme? bright fruit for your kitchen?). Think of it like ebay- you can keep bidding if you get outbit.
2) You name a price- but that winning price just gets donated to the recovery fund by clicking on the button on my sidebar to pay on-line into the recovery fund.

3) Winner gets a cd of all photos in color and black /white.

If I was more crafty I would make something that I could mail out. But this is all I've got to offer up. I wish I could do more! Bid closes at midnight on Sunday (AZ time).
p.s. I can even take pictures of strangers for you, that's always fun. Look at this cute pair- who dresses this way for a day at the museum? I love them. And their coordinated brass buttons.


I will never forget the first day I really tried to think about The Mormon Doctrine possibly being real. The possibility that it really might be important, something really big and huge and maybe just maybe it was something I might possibly believe. Just maybe. Kind of. Could be.

I was secretly meeting with missionaries so I could outline exactly what I didn't agree with and then maybe my Mormon boyfriend would let me break up with him. It would be this logical and well planned conversation so we could agree to disagree. I had a plan. He didn't know it. I went to an aunt's house during the whole top secret project. My heart was hard, very hard to the information. But I had questions. I had doubts. I had issues.

So back to that day, when things started to maybe possibly kind of make sense to me in a logical and deeply spiritual way. My Toyota rolled to a stop under a red light at an intersection. I suddenly wanted time to freeze every person so I could share what I was thinking about. Tell everyone that HEY! This might be something- come with me let's go I have something important I am learning! I remember watching every car pass so quickly and thought of every single person in every single car and how everyone is moving so fast in the world to get to one place or another and didn't they all want to just stop and listen to me?! This would be so much more important than wherever they would be heading to. Dinner could wait. This is eternal, this is forever. This is your salvation. It's really a big deal. someone. stop. listen. i think it could be real. i think it. might. be. right. possibly the only really right one. maybe. i am pretty sure. hold my hand and let's talk about it- everyone!

And then the light turned green. And life kept going and I really started to think of nothing else but this religion, this doctrine that was making a whole lot of sense and then the bible was actually easy to read for once. And interesting- it was all so very interesting to me.

I tested and pushed and doubted and folded my arms like a stubborn little girl unwilling to take medicine. And so I finally dropped to my knees and let my heart open for an opportunity to know for reals on that Tuesday morning before starting my day. I finally let myself try it and wanted to know and really asked out loud and really listened. And then I just knew. The way you know a steak is good. A friend is honest. A person it trustworthy. It's just something that comes to you completely full without question- it just is. And no matter what someone else tells you about that steak you ate, everything about who you are knows it was good. You just know it. On your own. There was no conference call. There was no list of things to look for, it's just peaceful. Like the final piece in that 47,365,763 part jigsaw you worked on all summer, it's a feeling that can't be explained properly with any combination of letters.

So when you have an awesome steak, don't you tell everyone you know about it? Don't you get on the phone in the car on the way home and tell everyone to go there? And eat it? And trust you on this one the steak is GREAT. Or if you find that steak place on your own and many people you know had been there but didn't tell you about it, you kind of wonder why.

I wondered why I didn't hear about this before. Most of the people I knew all around me knew a lot about this faith, but didn't talk to me about it. And that made me mad. Pissed. Betrayed.

And that wasn't fair of me to feel that way. It's not an easy thing to do, share something you hold so dear to your heart. It's not easy to feel invasive in others' lives and push religion into their ears when they may not have interest. It might not even be the right time for their ears to hear it.

I now know how it feels to come and go from that steakhouse and not tell people about it the way I want to. The way I could. What am I afraid of? It's not me that would be rejected, although the idea of Him being snubbed does concern me. But I never want to give the illusion this steakhouse is exclusive. And the best part, someone else already paid the bill. Who wouldn't want some?


of blowing

The Automatic Automatic is a thumbs up. Not sure how I feel about the repeat name, sort of annoying. Mike and the Automatics might have been better, or something a little clever or funny. They could have reworked the name thing a little more.
Regardless, the sound is there. Happy beats, good vocals, British. What else could you ask for?
The video for Monster is sort of lame, although I did laugh out loud at the sasquach dancing and shaking its booty. It sort of made me want to be a sasquach. Just for a little while.

Okay, I admit 100% Suburban Legends is taking the shape and form of a boy band. But I honestly felt more impressed than I thought I would at their sound. I like the bit of horns worked into Infectious. And although the choreography is chee-Z, I have to give it to the lead singer (top middle)- that boy has moves and can carry the spotlight well. If they simmer down the others dancing around him and chill on the forced mohawks this video might have been alright. Well, not really. The ending fight scene ruined it for me.
I dunno, I guess I am just giving the lead singer an honorable mention. And the horn blowers.


mobster baby

I love this kid so much. This new trick is one of my favorites at the moment.


I didn't spend much time nor effort trying to do baby signs with my first child. By age two there were some speech delays and the grunting and whining and lack of overall ability to comunicate was driving us both insane. He essentially caught up in speech on his own without needed assistance for some reason (?).

Enter child 2 and I have decided to make a better effort for the sanity of both of us to try at least some very basic signs. Even if I sort of make them up along the way, the purpose is for us to have a way of communicating.


The way we do 'milk' is a open and close of the fist over and over. Somehow Evan decided holding it above his head when he does it works best. My favorite part of how he does it is just like in this photo- he has this mean look on his face like he is going to get seriously PISSED if the milk isn't forthcoming NOW. Each time he does it I chuckle to myself because he actually looks like an Italian Mobster with his hand summoning me to come near as the knuckles are always facing me and the fingers don't really curl into a fist like I show him. I always get a dialouge in my head of what he could be saying with a thick New York accent:

hey you. over there c'mere. come on over. let me tell you about my uncle vinny. and what he's gonna do to you if you don't get the 'job' done. first.......(looks side to side) he's gonna break your knee caps. then........he's gonna pull out your fingernails. you don't wanna know what vinny's gonna do next if this job doesn't get done.....got it?


meekness and wisdom

I have been thinking a lot this week about my role as a mother. It's evolved, really, each day and year and keeps changing. The roles I have taking care of people, a home, the food to plan and stock the shelves and fridge with, the toiletries, the schedules, the emotional and developmental needs of the kids, the director of fun, the financial spender/ budget tracker, the director of safety, the nurse on occasion, the chef, the spiritual beacon, the friendly neighbor, the researcher, the peace keeper, the mother bear. I can't begin to count the number of hats I keep collecting. It's so interesting to me how it is this huge responsibilty to you don't ever really comprehend or know a ton about until you are doing it. You don't really go through a series of classes to learn how to do it. But it's the most important thing I will do on this earth. Waaaaaaaaay more important than statistics. And I took that class two times.

Initially, in 2004, I was slightly resentful how much was changing in my life compared to my husband's. A few weeks after the baby was born, his daily life was pretty much exactly the same. He woke up, took his morning shower, probably changed a diaper if the baby was awake, then went to work on the same train reading the same magazines and wearing the same work clothing. So much of my life turned upside down and seemed impossibly different and tiring and overwhelming. Although the pressure to provide for the family and make correct decisions at work will weigh heavy on his shoulders in a way I will never know, it seemed so unfair to me how 'easy' he got off with his role compared to mine.

I missed the days at work when I was feeling like I would burst, I could shut my office door, put the phone on forward, push away the keyboard and collect my thoughts. Get organized without interruption. Or even better, pretty much any time I needed to I could get up and leave the building for some fresh air or at the very least take a walk to the vending machine and grab a snack and take the long way back to my office. There is no vending machine break as a mom, there is no putting the kids' needs on hold. At least not during many of the moments I need and want it the most.

As time has gone by and I get the hang of this job, even when more is added to my plate and things change and I figure things out, I have come to respect and appreciate that it is my role for a reason. And Mike's role is his for a reason. We were given talents and natural inherent gifts to help us do this. Do I think Mike would have thought to be in the blazing sun yesterday combing the dirt for rusty construction nails? Maybe, if I asked him. He might not have thought of it himself. Would I have thought to lead that conference call and choose the business wording he used to land his company that great contract? Maybe, if someone told me what to say and how to say it. I might not have gotten that contract by myself. My job is to dig for nails this week, his is to be smart and logical with the right people. If we could trade when either of us needs a break from these tasks, we both would in a heartbeat. But we can't.

So my resentment has changed a bit into the realization of what it is for each of us- these jobs of ours. A knowledge that we each just needs to be understood and appreciated for our work, that it's as important as the cream cheese frosting on carrot cake. For both of us. And we have done so much better at that over the past year. That the hours he isn't here aren't supposted to be filled with frustration over what I am doing compared to what he is doing. Just that we each have hard days and we can lean on each other verbally during those days for support and comfort and love. It sounds logical and in some personality combinations perhaps that isn't so much of a learning as it has been for us. Me, actually. What I need and how he can provide that from afar.

And most weeks go pretty well, however, some weeks I could use an overall attitude adjustment. It's normally a week with far less sleep and outlandish behavior from one of the short people in the house.


So some nights when I close up the house and get settled for bed I think through the things I could have done better. Too many moments this week when my voice was too harsh and my frustration and weariness got the best of me. And I think of this young mother who will be waiting so long to recover (I believe in miracles) and will wait so eagerly to hold and touch and see her little children again. And how badly I wish she was at her home wrestling her kids into the bedtime routine like most mothers get to do each night. How I really have learned much over the past 4 years, but wow I have so much improving and learning yet to go.

And I also thought about those people who say they open the scriptures and turn immediately to a page they needed to read right then and how I roll my eyes internally. Until this week when I opened to read this below in James 3:3. It was a firm reminder to me of the importance of not losing it, not letting my frustration get the better of me. That my kids are too important. And how confusing to them for me to raise my voice one moment in strong scold too harshly and then kneel for family prayer moments later.

By governing the tongue we gain perfection—Heavenly wisdom is pure, peaceable, and full of mercy.

(11) Doth a fountain send forth sweet water and bitter?

(17) But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. (18) And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

******you can read the whole scripture here*****



The boys like watching the guys working on the yard.
Our trees arrived just now!!!!! I can't wait to see the color they share in December. And the weather that will accompany the changing leaves. I think I want to hold a fall festivities parade in my back yard for Zane and his friends and pretend we live in a place like NY where things change. I will throw a pile of pumpkins in one corner, put together some temporary apple trees for apple picking and somehow work in a hay ride and scatter brightly colored maple leaves all over the grass. Let's see....how else can we pretend fall exists in AZ?

Next I just have to paint my walls green and ceilings blue like the amazing trees and California sky we left behind and then some of my favorites of everything will be in one place.

In other news. It's always a good idea to keep the novelty key taped to the novelty handcuffs so when your son puts them on himself from a random unpacked box you can get him out of them easily. Wedding gag gift we got 1999. Do ask, we've had loads of fun with them!
Zane? Not so much fun. Those are going back into the grown-up toy vault.


My favorite travel trick when staying in a hotel is to answer the wake-up call with a foreign accent saying 'housekeeping' in hopes to confuse. But it never does. Sometimes it's an automated process and it's just a maching making calls, not a person. But I still say it anyway because I think it's funny to imagine the call playing out on the other end of the phone the way I planned.


I love this tree, Chinese Pistache, we are hoping to track down 3 to line up against the wall for the back yard. My favorite part is that it turns really bright red or yellow or orange in the fall, so we can have a little piece of seasonal change each year.

Who knew ceiling fans could actually look good?

[not my photos]


i wish they all could be california girls

I have never been good at goodbyes. Is anyone, really? Some people might actually try, but I don't even bother. I pretend in my mind there will be another day we'll hang out so let's just build a dam in front of the part of my brain that wants to tell me it's time to get sad about it and then keep moving like nothing is really going to change.

That's kind of how I have become with saying goodbye each time we move. I smile and in my mind pretend the next day/ week/ month will be the same. My head is so crammed with the stress of logistical details I don't hear the words the other people are saying. The 'I am going to miss you' is background noise and then I think for a moment what could they possible miss about me? There's nothing different in their lives with me gone, anyway, so I take it with a grain of salt. Ya? Whatever, I have to go and pack this box.

Although there are a few times a chord is struck and emotions are allowable. Once we left Brooklyn and a woman gave me an incredibly thoughtful goodbye card. I didn't know her well, but when she decided to get baptized I was there as a member of the relief society presidency to be a supporting friend. It was such a treat to share with her my personal feeling and experience deciding to join a religion on my own as an adult- something so personal I don't discuss with many people in my life. I knew she would hear it and understand, appreciate the sentiments. They would be treated kindly in her ears. I remember sharing with her that moment before she was baptized as we stood in the bathroom and thinking about that feeling I had and seeing it on her face. Being sure what you are commiting to and its correctness, but not fully aware of how hugely important and what an impact it will make on the rest of your life. Completely certain, yet uncertain what to do next and what is all this culture jargon? Anyway- I was glad she was not alone that moment, because sometimes it's a lonely feeling to be going through a change like that even if you are in a room filled with the entire population of the earth. I wondered if my presence was welcomed or if she wanted to be alone. Sometimes I talk too much and I hoped I wasn't ruining her moment.

Several weeks later we moved to Westchester, New York. On my last Sunday she handed me a pretty card with trees on the front, a peaceful scenery that immediately reminded me of that day with her. The inside was her handwriting and as I read it in the car on my way home, I felt deeply what I should feel for every person I say goodbye to. Many (most) I will not see again on this earth, a handful will be in touch with emails/ blogs/ or Christmas cards, and even less in person or the phone. I would never see her again and that meant something enough for her to take a moment and tell me that it will be wonderful to see me when we meet again in the afterlife. And all I had for her was a pleasant smile and a wave as we walked out of that old stale church building for the last time. I didn't stop to think enough about it or let her know what a special experience it was to hang out with her during one of the most imporant decisions she will make in her life. I would miss seeing her each week even if my brain would try to deny me that feeling, it was there.


The day before we left California I went to bring Margie flowers and say goodbye. She had just gotten back from the hospital with gall bladder problems and another surgery was scheduled. I had no idea. As her caretaker led me back to her room, I was fighting the miss. I saw her weak and tired body under her white sheets and worried who would visit with her and listen to her stories when I left. Not just a checkmark for the monthly visit, but who would love her like I do once I go? Again, head full of stress for tasks still undone at home and a long road trip to prepare for, I pushed the emotion away. Something in me brought me to my knees at her bedside to pray with her. I begged for her body to be well and for her to be comforted. I left her house for the last time, careful to drive around the wheelchair ramp at the curb. Although the pain of leaving a friend I will never see again was sharp, I knew with my complete being that The Lord is watching out for her and she would be alright. What that means is His will and when it's her time to go, I know it will be peacefully. I had no idea the first time I went to meet her that she would be one of the hardest people to say goodbye to. What a hole has been left in my heart. I miss my friend terribly.


wednesday morning

Each time I pulled out of my neighborhood- from the very first day- I admired the tall corn stalks greeting me. Each turn I made past them I smiled and promised I would be by with my camera to visit with them. To make a proper introduction and study them up close.

I thought about where I would park. Which days would be best, but how I could strap the kids into the stroller and firgure out the logistics easily. I wondered which angle would be best, how I could convey that beauty I saw every day by turning the lens this way and that.

One morning I finally had enough of procrastinating and made myself vow to take a trip across the street and make time that day to do something enjoyable for myself I had been putting off- my long awaited photoshoot with corn. I decided after Evan's morning nap we would make our way over no matter how hot it would be outside.

Running a morning errand, I pulled to the same corner and found the corn completely gone. All of it. Every single piece. It was a flat piece of dirt land as far as the eye could see. My friends, they are all gone and getting ready to be packaged and sent to stores. I didn't get to say goodbye, or hello. I have to wait a really long time to get that kind of photo opportunity again on my corner. I spent too much time thinking about it instead of just doing it.

So yesterday when I got out the morning cereal and noticed these amazing clouds I remembered my corn lesson. I took the baby by the hand and we went immediately out front in our pajamas and captured a beautiful morning. Who knows when we will get to see one like that again.

Carpe Diem, baby.

(p.s. a beautiful morning in AZ means the sun is blocked from clouds and you can be barefoot on the concrete)


synthetic fiber

Sarah over at Que Sera Sera posted of a conversation she had with her friends about things that creep them out, which led to a fabulous entry in her blog titled Heebie Jeebies (12/7/07). I have thought about that post ever since and laugh often in my head about the guy who commented with one word:


That's it. That's all he wrote. I want to know more! Is it the look of it? The color? The texture? The sound when it breaks? The sound when you stack them? The decorative suns hanging on outdoor walls? Jeez how this guy would LOVE Arizona. People here pretty much drink out of terracotta cups and drive terracotta cars. It's UN_avoidable. What would happen if he came to visit someone and just didn't know this about Arizona? Would it be like chewing on metal gum for him to drive around and see so much all in one place? Or would it be so bad he would have to leave the state entirely and never return? Or is it just a little cringe of a feeling he could easily ignore and discuss only when conversation came to a lull at a social gathering? Or does it make him sweat and embarrass him that there is this uncontrollable dry heaving episode that comes over him when pretty plants are lined up a walkway nestled in treacherous TERRACOTTA. Would he have to turn around and leave, or does he have to repeat in his mind self help chants he devised to overcome the distain just to get to the front door? I love it. I just want to know more.

I want to know things like this about my friends so I can play pranks on them. "Hey Joe- can you do me a favor and grab the ice bucket out of the freezer while I go flip the burgers. Oh, yeah, it's just that brown clay pot in there filled with ice......." {snickering ensues from a few weak links in the room- I would be one of them}.


I adore this topic, here are some other things that creep people out from her comments section that totally crack me up. Hands down= best comments thread I have ever read so go to her site and read the whole post it's good fun. I had to share the wealth (my added notes are in italics):

soft bread

touching lunch meat


the wooden Mr. Rogers puppets (think King Friday)

Comic Sans

people slurping

armpit hair (but what about the scent?)

sound of pulling stockings/tights over dry calloused feet

wet paper

cigarette butts floating in toliets

wool on teeth

Andie MacDowell (listed by many)

pictures of skin rash

jingling change in a pocket

gelatinous air fresheners

people clipping their fingernails (I HATED when people did this on the subway- sick)

touching performance fleece

crumbs on my bare feet (this is mine)

spider web or single strands of hair on my skin (this is also mine)

digital people (this is also mine- think polar express, toy story, etc)

biting down on a metal fork

detailed fossils

those round thumbtacks

people with small teeth

The chewing. And the sucking. On the popsicle stick. (my friend Anna hates this one too!!!)


p.s. Sarah Brown just got a book published that will be for sale this month so go buy it because she is hi-larious.


7.27.08 8:31pm

This was taken out front of our first home the first night got here for good (in our grass! in front of our first tree). We were all so sweaty and tired and deliriously happy. I think the series of photos I took that night, albeit few, are my favorite from my entire collection.

Although that session with pink sheets, a cat and my porcelain dolls I did in the 80s was pretty awesome......


nick + nora

It's not often something at Target with stop me in my tracks and give me reason to pause. I try to blow through that place before one of my two timebombs blast. But Nick and Nora has changed that. My sister got these (below) for Zane in winter and they are the softest jammies any of us have ever had in this family. They have held their color and texture through a million washes and would probably last 10 kids if I dared such a number. And super bonus- Zane looked and felt like the president of the yaght club in them= so cozy and important. Not necessarily a priority for jammies, but an unexpected perk nontheless.

So they did all that right and then happen to bust these out recently:


of me and the arab man

Yeah, so Arizona, huh? What's it like?

Um, I pretty much smell like the hairy armpit of a large sweaty man from the moment I leave the house until I hit the sheets. I feel like I should give a warning to the people I come into contact with in public.

Oh, actually, you might want to stand in that other line to check out. Her, over there in the other line= roses. Me? Armpit. Just a heads up (with a head tilt, and pleasant grin).

Oh you mean we need to sit together in this cubicle to discuss the gym membership? Two inches apart? It really might be best if we sit in seperate cubicles and talk over the wall. You see all those men in the corner lifting iron? They might be more pleasing an odor than myself right now. Just trying to be fair and honest. No? Alrighty then..... proceed.

You would think I could easily blend in Home Depot, what with the 462273837 visits we make to this sacred space that is filled with sweaty people. And all the manly men building and sweating and painting and stinking. Nope. That man who just walked past us, probably just BUILT a whole house in the middle of the afternoon (roughly 109 degrees), no odor. ME= armpit.

Then I remembered when I took a martial arts class and someone smelled worse than this. The dude I always had to partner with cos no one else would be his partner (come to think of it no one would be mine either?!). He was an Arab man of about 6 foot and rather wide in stature. He reeked of curry and spoiled milk. To mask the odor when he lifted his arms for striking/ throwing/ etc I would work at freezing my facial muscles to resist the natural expression of OMG it wanted to make. I came up with a solution: douse myself in sun-ripened raspberry body mist and when he would lift an arm, I could tip my head down into my pocket of fresh, sweet smelling raspberry cleavage like a sanctuary of air inside my gi. I couldn't remove his odor, but I could redirect my nose to avoid direct contact. It worked like a charm.

Once again I am feeling the need for the body spray. Only this time it's to save me from myself.