A Phoenix Burning

The Family

Pssst…Want to Hear Something Exciting?

Zan and I….

wait for it!!!

Are going….



DISNEY CRUISE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


there’s more!!

We are going…

WITHOUT THE KIDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know!!!!  CRAZY, right?!?!?!

We have never ever left them for more than a night before.  In nearly 17 years we have been parents, we have never taken a vacation, even a mini one, without them.  This is a three nighter, and I feel like I’m leaving them for weeks.

I will let you in on a little secret….

I am excited, and nervous in equal measure.  I’m so conflicted.

One minute I am giddy with anticipation:

Sleeping in!

Blue beach waters!

An uninterrupted three days with my husband!

No schedules!

No responsibilities!!

And the next minute, I am nauseous with reservations:

I am going to MISS them!

They will miss US!

What if someone gets sick while we are gone?

What if someone gets hurt while we are gone?

What if my boy wakes up with nightmares and I’m not there to comfort him?

What if my girls need help with their math homework and only Daddy can help?

What if they’re lonesome and sad?

What if our flights get delayed on our way home, extending our time away?

I won’t even mention the unmentionable scary worries.

BUT…there’s that saying on my bathroom mirror:  Let your Faith be bigger than your Fear.

So we are going for it.  Doing something out of our comfort zone for US.

And after their initial, “HOW COULD YOU?!?!?!” reactions, the kids are actually supportive and happy for us.

I guess we’ve done something right.

“If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.” -Jim Rohn





Here’s To New Beginnings!



The theme of last year was “TRANSITIONS.”

The kids are growing so fast…The Boy is a first grader now, loving Legos, video games, baseball, and books. “Little” Girl is a seventh grader, a talented musician and a budding Thespian, a texting fiend and learning how to apply makeup.  (Yikes!) “Big” Girl has transitioned into a Young Lady.  She is learning to drive, exploring her independence, and testing her wings to prepare for the flight from the nest.  My kids are healthy and strong, funny and kind, smart and thoughtful, and exasperating at times! But what a wonderful year for them, and for us. 🙂

My husband has seen his job wind down to a close in 2013.  He worked as Director of IT, and celebrated his 17th Anniversary with the company on December 23rd, knowing that December 31st would be his last day.  The company will be closing in 2014.  He is unemployed at the moment, but will be doing consulting work for the time being.  We are blessed to have a severance package to lean on temporarily, so we are not panicking yet and he is looking forward to starting fresh with new opportunities…transitions galore!

In 2013, things took a drastic turn for me when I was elected to my district’s Board of Education.  It woke the teacher in me from it’s six year sleep, and I decided to go back to school to work on my Certificate of Advanced Study in Administration.  I stepped foot into a college classroom as a student for the first time in 16 years and loved it! Three credits down, 27 to go for my Building Leadership Degree, 8 additional if I want to pursue my District Leadership Degree. Time will tell.  The family has adjusted very well to having Mommy out of the house a bit more often in the evenings to attend various meetings and functions, and Mommy has adjusted very well to being out of the house a bit more!

Highlights of the year included a trip to Disney World in April.  We spent our vacation on property for the first time in a decade, and enjoyed every single minute of it!  I would say it was my favorite Disney trip in our family’s history.  We also took a trip to Plymouth, Massachusetts for a few days to see friends who own a beach cottage in Duxbury.  Such fun!!  And we took a local camping trip with three other families in August and had a blast!  We hated for it to end and can’t wait to do it again this August.  And I can’t fail to mention Zan’s purchase of a beautiful clearwater blue ’67 Mustang in pristine condition. 🙂

We had some family losses last year with the death of my Memiere and my Uncle, whose losses were felt sorely over the holidays.  However, softening those losses, was the sweet face of my new niece who was born on October 9th!  Our family is so blessed!

And finally, I have this saying written on a mirror in my bathroom, and it’s daily reminder has been an inspiration to me and has caused an internal transition to my Soul:

“Let your Faith be bigger than your Fear.”

May 2014 bless you all with goodness and light.

To Everything There is a Season…

My Memiere is transitioning from this life to the next.

It is a long, slow, painful process, not just for her, but for all of us who love her.

She has not been well for months, years really.  We have expected this before, but each time she has been on the brink of crossing over, she has clawed her way back to the land of the living.  This time is different.  Her body simply cannot go on.  She is in Stage “6” Renal failure….which isn’t even a stage.  Stage 5 is the last stage according to the books, yet somehow she has defied the definitions.  But now, she is transitioning.  She has one foot here and one foot there…the “space in between.”  Not quite here anymore, but not quite there, in and out of lucidity, unable to communicate effectively.  She is aware, and yet not.  It is difficult to explain.  At times she looks at you, at times she looks through you and I wish I could see what she see when she does.  It is as though she is looking beyond the “here” into the “there.”  It’s as though if I reached out to where she is looking, I might be able to touch my Pepiere, the one I hope she’s seeing.

I will miss her excruciatingly when she goes, and yet I hope her passing comes sooner than later.  Watching her suffer is much worse than watching her fly free of this body that has turned traitor.

I unexpectedly came across this today.  I shared it long ago, and somehow I think it was “placed” in front of me just when I needed to see it.

Ben Franklin Quote from Book

Good Morning Sue!

Turns out, someone is still checking this blog daily, just waiting for a new post! And to think, I figured my presence here wouldn’t be missed! *waves to Sue*

Obviously, I took a little break. As I told my friend, so much has been going on, just in the simple everyday unfolding of life, that for awhile, I found myself sitting down to write, and not knowing where to start. Then so much was happening, but I wasn’t prepared to share it all. When you have to think too hard about *what* to write, then you begin to think *if* you should write, you sort of stop writing altogether. So that’s where I’ve been!

So let’s see…January and February in review, the highlights:

On a worrisome note, Zan’s job is a constant question mark, as his company has experienced lost revenue steadily. People have been leaving in droves, making us feel like he is on the Titanic, wondering if there will be a lifeboat left for him if it sinks into the deep. We take it day by day, and trust that we will be fine no matter what happens, but the unsteadiness under our feet leaves us a bit unsettled.

On a high note, we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary in January! We kept it simple with our annual overnight stay in Saratoga Springs, back where it all began. This milestone has given us the opportunity to look back with pride on the life we have built together, and we are thankful for the many blessings that have been given us along the way, most importantly our three healthy, happy, fun, and exhasperating children! My dear husband also gifted me with a beautiful diamond ring to celebrate! It is shaped like a snowflake and I cherish it. (I believe I see his lifelong wish for a Mustang coming true in his future.) 😉

In other news, my sister is expecting her third child in September!! This gives the family much to look forward to, and my dear Mother much to worry about! Neither of her daughters have a great track record in the area of “easy pregnancies,” so of course my Mom won’t rest easy until this sixth grandchild is in her arms with her smiling exhausted daughter by her side. 🙂

Surprisingly, (or not so surprisingly!) we jumped back into the home improvement realm with a little weekend project recently. We tore out a section of cabinets, patched and painted the exposed wall, and relocated another “moveable” cabinet, in order to make room in my kitchen for a new refrigerator. This beautiful thing has 32 cubic feet of space and makes up to 12 pounds of ice a day. I am in love!

IMG_4830We still haven’t put all the finishing touches on the addition (painting the bedroom window frames and adding curtains, another coat of paint on my new doors) but expect spring (if it ever gets here!) will be the time for that. We got a *little* burnt out on projects after the build, so it has been nice to take a pause and just enjoy living in the new space.

On another negative note, my dear husband fell and hurt himself about four weeks ago. He came home from working in the City one night, and as he walked into the bedroom said, “I’m alright, but I had a little accident at work.” A very large (about 2in. x 1 1/2 in.) chunk of skin was taken out of the middle of his forehead, and he looked at me with dried blood still on his face (lovely)…we joked after that it looked like he had grown a third eye. *teehee* After a visit to the ER, and minor surgery in the Plastic Surgeon’s office the next day, my husband is all put back together and healing very well from the ordeal. However, I have a few more gray hairs to show for it. 😉

Back to the happy stuff! We are leaving for Disney on Thursday!!!!! WHOOPWHOOP!!! After a very busy few months (Big Girl preparing for the Spring Musical, and Little Girl [who is not so little anymore] playing basketball all season and preparing for various Viola concerts) we are all looking forward to getting away! Me? I am most excited to feel the warmth of the Sun on my face and shoulders! I swear I haven’t been warmed all the way through since November. To prepare for our trip, I bit the bullet and bought a new point-and-shoot camera, a Sony Cybershot. It will take some getting used to, but I wanted something light to carry around in the parks. This is my first trip to Disney since the Fibro diagnosis and the back issues, so I figured lugging my D90 everywhere would be counterproductive. I really like this little camera…a sample shot:

2013 02 08_7723Lastly (for now,) I am embarking on a new adventure. After thinking about it for five or so years, I have finally decided to run for a position on our local Board of Education. I miss teaching (I left five years ago!) but am not prepared to return to work full time. I think this is one valuable way I can be involved in the educational process at this point in my life. The prospect is a bit intimidating, yet very exciting. 🙂 We shall see where it all leads me, and if I get elected or not. If it is meant to be, it will be.

Still managing my health well. Long naps once every few weeks, weekly chiropractor visits, daily tea, no wheat, caffeine free, acupuncture as needed…it is a full time job to stay on my feet and be at my best, but worth it! 🙂

“My Life is Not My Own!”

A dear friend, in a moment of frustration facing some very real challenges, said this to me the other day.  And I was ready to chime right in, “Neither is mine!!”  This phrase has come to me again and again over the past several days, for example, when I’m trying to have a moment of privacy to use the bathroom and Mister is knocking for some urgent plea that can’t wait (in a five year old’s life, everything is urgent…to quote Dustin Hoffman’s Captain Hook: “WANT WANT WANT MINE MINE MINE NOW NOW NOW!!!”)

(Speaking of Captain Hook, have you seen the new beeeyooooteeeeful Captain Hook from Once Upon a Hottie Time…?)

What’d I tell ya? eh, eh?

Anyway.  *sigh*

OK, wait…what was I saying???

Oh, yes!!!  In the words of Captain Hook, “WANT WANT WANT MINE MINE MINE NOW NOW NOW!!!” This is the world of a five year old, and those of you who have ever lived with one of these creatures knows that your life is certainly not “your own” as long as this creature is near you.

Add in another child clamboring for attention and warm fuzzies, and a teenager who is beginning the necessary task of exercising her still fragile wings, and there isn’t a moment in which to think about your own life, let alone have one.  Something always needs doing, someone else’s needs are always above your own, and it is easy to fall into the pitiful refrain,  “My life is not my own!!!!!”

And yet….I have begun to think, is anyone’s?  My life IS my own because this is how I have chosen to spend it.  Maybe I didn’t realize I was signing up for a lifetime of servitude when I chose to raise a family, but I DID know it would mean my immediate wants and needs would take a back seat.

Think of the soldiers…their life is not their own.

Think of good parents…their life is not truly their own.

Think of the elderly in the nursing home…their life is not their own.

Think of the ill…their life is certainly not their own.

Think of those caring for aging parents, handicapped children, disabled spouses…not their own, not their own, not their own.

How dare I allow myself even one moment of “poor me?”

My life is not my own…and I am blessed that it isn’t.  For if it was truly “my own” it would be empty, lonely, meaningless.

Today, I thank God for the children who need me, the husband who keeps me, the house that needs constant care, and the ability to know the difference between sacrifice and fulfillment.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” -Albert Einstein  (Click)

This Summer Vacation is a Full Time Job

And I’m not complaining! 🙂

Each day looks similar to the one before:

Be up and moving, showered (if the shower is able to be used—a hit and miss proposition) and dressed, cars out of the driveway, doors unlocked, lights on, Mister out of his underoos and into clothes, and coffee brewing by 7:15 am…a number of guys start showing up…1, 3, 5, 7…we never know. Load the cooler, serve up coffee to the ones who drink it (only a couple…the rest prefer to take their caffeine in a can.) Touch base, answer questions, ask others. The day proceeds…cleaning construction dust, taking care of laundry, trying not to be in the way, keeping Legos out of the doorway so no one kills themselves, trips to Lowes for paint, lights, paint, mirrors, paint, paint, paint, and more paint. Trying to fit in fun with the kids in between playing referee…(THAT job is getting old.) Answer more questions, running errands to the store, chiropractor appointments, volleyball camp, basketball camps, viola lessons, piano lessons, gymnastics…seeing the teenager off on various adventures, laboring over every single solitary decision I make as she begins the painful process of learning to fly on her own. More refereeing, more questions, more paint, and lots more dusting and vacuuming. Cooking (not so much) husband traveling (quite a lot.) Guys leave around 4:00, house is quiet, evening settles in to a regular routine…except a new one that involves only one toilet, one sink (the kitchen one) and one shower that may or may not be operational on any given day…finding showers to use elsewhere (a trip next door or a trip to Mom and Dad’s?? Who have we inconvenienced the least in the past few days??) Collapsing into bed at 8:00 to keep the Fibro in check…Mister getting up in the night? Maybe, maybe not. Too tired to even dream…and it all begins again the next morning.

Gotta tell you, we are having a GREAT summer in spite of all the chaos!

Our annual vacation to Ocean City, New Jersey two weeks ago with my parents and sister’s family was a wonderful break from all things stressful and we couldn’t have enjoyed it more.  I even managed to get up to see a few sunrises!  The first was by far the most beautiful of the week.  All alone on the beach, with my coffee in one hand and my camera in the other, taking peace and renewal from the sea and sun.

Evenings have become our favorite time…we return to the beach after a family dinner and enjoy the sunset and the quiet.  On one particular evening we were treated to a rainbow out over the ocean.  That’s something you don’t get to see everyday!

Another brilliant sunrise, this one taken from the front window of our beach house:


And yet another sunrise, this one shared with my two daughters…precious moments to remember.

More to tell and a lot more photos to share, but One Fine Summer is in desperate need of an update, so I’m going to hop on over there for a bit.  I will be back with more from our vacation soon.  (Of course “soon” is a relative term.) 🙂

One Week

Guess where we are this week! 🙂





See you when we get back!