Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday, just like her mother

The other afternoon, Cheyenne and I were sitting in the living room. And by "sitting in the living room" I mean that we were spooning on the couch. (I admit.) She heard something I didn't hear, a falling leaf, perhaps, or the fibers shifting in a cotton ball, and she suddenly jumped up and off the couch, gathered her feet and ran up the stairs.

Not two minutes later, she returned. She sat just beneath the bottom stair and she looked right at me, pride in her eyes and my stuffed Winnie the Poor in her mouth.

I keep a stuffed Winnie the Pooh on my bed. I do so because Winnie the Pooh was a character my mother and I shared, a character she introduced to me, one of honesty and humility, of trust and love, and one I carried in my heart from that childhood day on. This particular Winnie the Pooh that Cheyenne carried in her mouth was the Winnie the Pooh I got for my mother, to comfort her while she was leaving us, to comfort her as he comforted me. With that in mind, I gasped when I saw Cheyenne's mouthful.

Cheyenne looked at me for small moment. She then tossed Winnie the Pooh on the floor, chased the bounce, caught it, and then jumped up onto the couch and settled down.

I'm not sure I ever loved the girl more.

Sharon 012

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The truth

It's the character that's the strongest, that God gives the most challenges to.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Check it out!

One of my dear friends, one of the group of us who is putting together the fundraiser for the Martin Stevens Family, well, she is a genius. She has called and emailed every connection she has, plus plenty of people that she doesn't know, and she has almost single-handedly pulled together the items for auction. We've each been able to get some items, but she's hit a home run while we just made it to first or second. (Whoa, I think that is the first sports analogy I've ever used.) She's creative, that one, and determined. You definitely want her on your team if you ever need to plan an event such as ours.

We have several other items that are on their way but right now, this is the list of what we have in hand. If you live in Houston, please attend our event. Follow the "An Evening of Cause" blue heart link to the right for details.

Below is a list of the auction items we currently have:

For the Sports Fan:

4 Club Level tickets with Parking Pass to the Astros v. the Florida Marlins Tuesday, August 18, 2009

4 Tickets to see the Astros v. the Atlanta Braves on Thursday, September 10, 2009

Jersey signed and framed by Houston Rocket, Yao Ming. (Note: this will be a live auction item)

Basketball signed by Houston Rocket, Tracy McGrady. (Note: this will be a live auction item)

Football signed by Eli Manning. (Note: this will be a live auction item)

Hosted round of golf for three on the River Oaks Golf Course with club cocktails following the round (Note: this will be a live auction item).

For the Family:

Kemah Boardwalk Family Four Pack including all day ride passes, skill game passes, roller coaster passes and admission to the 4-D Sponge Bob movie.

Capture your precious memories with photos by Houston photographer Evin Thayer. Sitting fee and cost of one 5x7 is free.

Start a tradition by purchasing then handing down this beautiful quilt made by Martin Steven’s aunt.

Paula's Quilt

Frame this 8 x 10 quilt or display it in the home. Made by Patty Henry, Boise, ID.

8 x 10 Patty Henry Quilt

This wall hanging or table topper is from a collection of fabrics by Paula Nadelstern who is known for her wonderful kaleidoscope quilts. She presently has a one woman show at the Folk Art Museum in New York City. (The first woman ever to have a one person show). This is her new line of fabrics called "Nuance. " The piece is 40 by 40 inches was made to highlight the beautiful design and colors (Note: this will be a live auction item)

Live Auction Quilt

For the Art Lover:

Houston native, Sam Caldwell, best known for his work with Ducks Unlimited and Coastal Conservation Association brings coastal scenes of waterfowl and game fish to life in his watercolors. Now you can own a signed print by this fabulous artist.


Script from the movie “Philadelphia” signed by Denzel Washington, Antonio Banderas, Tom Hanks and Mary Steinbergen.

Framed print by renowned painter Terry Redlin, one of the country’s most widely collected painters of wildlife and Americana.

For Her:

Say you love her with flowers. Take home a beautiful arrangement the night of the event then contact Becky Mosier to arrange for a custom floral arrangement at a later date.

Sit back, relax and enjoy a 60 minute personalized facial at Persona Day Spa.

Four pairs of earrings and bracelet from Shrem's Gems. Jewelry is hand made and includes Swaroski crystals, fresh water pearls and turqoise.

Pink Set Turquoise Earrings Silver Earrings Copper Earrings

Hand made glass pendant from Holly's Folly Glass.

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For Kicks:

“Bitch Basket” by NPR commentator and author Hollis Gillespie. Includes signed copies of all of Hollis’ books, a coffee mug, t-shirt, sly swatter, pink flamingo, Slim Jim and a Moon Pie.

For Couples or Friends:

Enjoy a day in Austin while obtaining a Concealed Handgun License. Classes are for two people but must be taken in Austin.

Take Two. Spend two nights at the Hilton Medical Center. Breakfast included.

For All:

Cyclone Anaya’s gift basket. Including bottle of tequila, two golf shirts, custom shaker, and gift certificates.

Steak night for 25 at Beer Island. Gather the carnivores for a night out.

Take the manpower out of vacuuming with the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner.

Beef it’s what’s for dinner! Cross bred calf processed and ready to fill your freezer (Note: this will be a live auction item).

So, what do you think? Looks good, that's what I think.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Showing the Obvious

I want to share with you a piece of my world. I want to give you this gift, this view, this Texas sky. This is how I see the world, with beauty in blue and white. This view is my Lord, my inspiration. It doesn't always knock you over with its volume and enormity, but it is always there. Trust me, it is.

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Absence excuse slip

For the last several days, I've been blissfully disconnected and unplugged. I spent my time at this cabin, the family cabin off the Colorado River.

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And in this little cabin, I spent my time with both my nieces and my nephew and a whole lot of dogs. We haven't been together since Christmas. The difference between Christmas and the last several days is that over Christmas we were in the cold and snowy mountains of New Mexico and this time we were in the warm and sunny sunshine in Matagorda. We were at the pool, at the beach and in the river. We were eating hotdogs and cake and playing Scrabble. We were on walks and at a party one of the neighbor's hosted. The girls and the boy were in a constant state of laughter, and I was in a constant state of love.

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The dogs were in a constant state of play.

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Every morning and evening, I stepped outside and gazed at the giant Sycamore tree behind the cabin. I not sure why exactly, but whenever I am near this tree, I am reminded to count my blessings. This tree towers over the others and whenever I stop to listen to the breeze run through its leaves, I am completely at peace.

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It was four days of bliss.

Now that I'm back though, it's time to get back to work. I'm returning focus to our fundraising event. Update here tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Come closer

Hey you. How are you? Come closer to me, would you please? I want to touch you, I want to put my hand in your hair while I'm whispering in your ear. I know I saw you just the other day and I know I spoke with you a week ago. And you, we texted each other just last night, didn't we?

I need your help. And I need yours as well. And you too. Please help me help my friend. Please come to the fundraiser on July 11th. And if you can't come to the party, if you could possibly donate to our cause, even a little bit... even a dollar would make a difference.

I know I'm a pain in the back side but I also know what you and I can do together. I've seen it, I've seen the difference we can make in the lives of others. And I love knowing that together we can join our voices and create something positive and wonderful, something that helps someone who so desperately needs our help.

Let's do it again. Please? Give me your hand. Shall we dance?

I cannot do this without you - I never could.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

For the dogs

Last Friday, my friend and I and our two dogs and another friend's dog took off to the family cabin for the weekend. It was a weekend for the dogs, a weekend of the river and the beach, of chewing sticks and chasing balls. It was the kind of weekend that I love because I enjoy watching the dogs be dogs in wide open spaces and water and I enjoy being able to provide that for them. When Monday morning rolled around, Cheyenne was so happily wiped out that when I began our normal morning routine of, before getting out of bed, asking her, Do you want to go to the park?, she just looked at me through her half-opened eyes, groaned, and closed her eyes, choosing instead to ignore her Mom who should be able to know that she's sleeping, okay, SLEEPING and does NOT want to go to the park, okay? Geez!

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Calling all angels

I need to ask you a favor. Specifically, I am asking you for your help.

Recently I wrote about attending a memorial service in Temple, Texas. That service was for my friend's brother-in-law. In a few short weeks, he went from being on a family vacation in San Diego and complaining of back pain to being diagnosed with Stage IV Sarcoma and hospitalized. And his health and life rapidly deteriorated until the Cancer robbed him of his life on May 31st. He was only 38 years old. Mourning their husband and father are his wife and two young daughters, ages nine and five.

Martin had insurance. But even at 80% coverage, his widow is facing a mountain of debt from the six-week stay in the hospital, the doctors, the tests, the treatments.

Last Friday, we took my friend out to dinner to celebrate her birthday that had passed by barely noticed as the day was the day following Martin passing. During dinner, we listened to her concerns about her sister and what was she going to do with all this debt while suddenly being a single income family. A light bulb went off. We should have a fundraiser for her. Every person at that table jumped in and ideas were flying through the air so fast that the bev nap I was taking notes on quickly ran out of space. We picked a location and a date, we split tasks, and we each walked away from that night with two things: a commitment to the idea and a list of items to do.

One week later, what we have is Friends of the Martin Stevens Family: An Evening of Cause.

The evening is Saturday, July 11th, at the Hilton Medical Center Hotel here in Houston. If you live in Houston or the surrounding area, I hope to see you at this event. We'll have live music, a live auction, a silent auction, food and bar. One hundred percent of the proceeds go to Martin's family.

I've created a website to update you on details and the growing list of auction items. There is a link to that site at the top right side of this site. Donations can also be made through the PayPal button on the website.

Please, won't you donate or attend the event?

Also, please pass the site link to your friends and ask them to send to their friends. I'm asking for the power of friendship to be backed by the power of the internet so that, together, we can make a difference in the lives of this family. I know that, together, we can do it.

Thank you.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Strange days indeed

It's 4:00 in the morning and I've been wide awake since 3:00 when I got out of bed completely sure that it was 7:00 and let Cheyenne out, fed her, looked for the non-existent paper in my driveway, made the coffee, drank a cup of coffee and then noticed the darkness out my windows, looked at the clock and slapped myself on the forehead.

Four in the morning is an odd hour to be awake but also a beautiful hour. The world is quiet, the neighborhood dark, the everything around me in a lull waiting, just waiting for the dawn. The hour is like a secret, like a smile on the face of a sleeping loved one.

I feel as if I'm spying, spying on dawn, on a budding flower, a forming pearl, a sentence about to be completed. I feel as if this is the perfect hour, with nothing to do and no one to call.

The fan whirs above my head, the candle glows, the laptop screen glows, the clock ticks. The clock ticks! I don't know the last time I tuned in to the sound of the kitchen clock.

For now, for these waking moment, my world is perfect. It's as if I've awakened to come downstairs and see that Santa Claus has arrived and for a few moments, I take in the beauty of magic discovered. My heart has opened up to the delight of the unexpected scene before me.

It makes me all sorts of excited to go back to sleep and curl up to my dreams, dreams in which I have happiness written all over my body.

Oh, and isn't creativity wonderful? Excellent use of bokeh.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My questions for the day

Skimming the top of my mind, here's what's there:

Why does CNN make its lead story about Sotomayor's broken foot when there was a massive explosion and building collapse during work hours at ConAgra?

Why is Tom Dooley included twice (two versions) in the Library of Congress' 25 Recordings for the Ages?

Why did the answer ECASH to the clue Web money escape me in yesterday's crossword puzzle?

Why did my neighbors bother to repaint their house and replace the shutters and yet continue to allow their yard to be an overgrown and littered jungle?

Why did the company I used to work for charge a client event to my personal credit card six weeks after I was laid off and why didn't I review my bills in detail until this past Sunday?

Why has no one invented self-making beds or self-folding laundry?

Lastly, what purpose does Kathy Lee Gifford serve?

Monday, June 08, 2009


This weekend was about getting things done. Some tasks were fun, like helping my nephew hang curtains and frame photos, and rearranging some photos on the walls of my own house, and others were not fun at all, like paying all my bills and filing medical insurance claims. The beauty of the latter, however, is that all the paperwork and envelopes and receipts that were threatening to take over the surface space of my life are now neatly filed away and out of sight. I like it when things are neatly filed away and out of sight. I also like the rearranged photos.

June Misc 002

Sunday evening, I tackled some weeds in my new garden and the garden was so pretty that instead of finishing the job at hand, I went inside and got my camera. The plants have survived the shock of their new ground and have settled in and spread out, growing and blooming along the way. I'm delighted with the progress.

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The local bees and butterflies are delighted with the progress as well. Cheyenne, on the other hand, could care less because she just noticed a cat across the street, a cat that has the very nerve to exist.

June Misc 018

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Sing me home

This week I made three CDs for two friends. Two of the CDs were for the memorial service and reception for my friend's brother in law. The other was for a friend who unexpectedly found his heart in his hand, returned to sender.

I put my heart and soul into all three of those CDs. Finding the songs and recording them in the exact order that I felt appropriate, that was a labor of love. The music was important to me because the people are important to me. I believe in music. I believe that music is a gift from God and I find that it can lead me, heal me, hurt me, send a message to me, make me understand, make me angry, make me cry, make me love, and ultimately, give me hope.

I wish I had musical talents but I do not. I do, however, have an ear for music. All kinds of music. I find so much happiness, a honey pot of happiness, in the music I've discovered.

But... oh, bless my heart for the sad music that I've listened to lately. It has been a challenge to keep my emotions at bay, to keep my own mood, my own emotional well being, while searching through a lifetime of songs to find a handful of songs to help my two friends, a handful that would answer their needs.

I've listened to nothing else for the past three days but the three CDs I made.

I want to share with you the one song that bubbles up, the one that speaks so beautifully, so loudly, so purely. I've never told anyone this before but this song is the one song I return to over and over again, whether I'm happy or sad, whether my heart is full or empty. Whether I am celebrating life and love or reeling from a broken heart, this song is the one song I pull out of my pocket. It reminds me to rejoice.

I think this is the perfect song. And Kenny Loggins' magical voice makes it all the more so. I don't even know what celebrate me home means but I do know it's poetry and I do know that I smile when I hear the words because whatever it means, it feels damn good when I hear it, so good that I can't help but smile.

Home for the holidays,
I believe I've missed each and every face,
Come on and play my music,
Let's turn on every love light in the place

It's time I found myself,
Totally surrounded in your circles
Whoa, my friends

Please, celebrate me home,
Give me a number,
please, celebrate me home
Give me one more song
That I'll always remember,
and I can recall,
whenever I find myself too all alone,
I can sing me home.

Uneasy highway,
Traveling where the Westerly winds can fly,
Somebody tried to tell me,
But the man forgot to tell me why,

I gotta count on being gone,
Come on home, come on daddy,
Be what you want from me,
I'm this strong,
I'll be weak

Please, celebrate me home,
Give me a number,
please, celebrate me home
Play me one more song,
That I'll always remember,
I can recall,
whenever I find myself too all alone,
I can make believe I've never gone
I can sing me home.

Please, celebrate me home,
Give me a number,
please, celebrate me home
Play me one more song,
that I'll...

Celebrate, celebrate
Celebrate, celebrate
Celebrate, celebrate
Celebrate me home

Please, celebrate me home,
Please, celebrate me home,
Well I'm finally here,
But I'm bound to roam,
Come on celebrate me home

Well I'm finally here,
But I'm bound to roam,
Come on celebrate me home
Well I'm finally here,
But I'm bound to roam,
Come on celebrate me home

Check it out for yourself and let me know how it makes you feel.

I heart Texas

Driving three hours through Texas on Tuesday and back on Wednesday, I got to see many miles and small towns that are exactly what I love about Texas. I love small-town churches and VFW dance halls, hand-painted signs, old motels with peeling paint and seeing the one restaurant that has a full parking lot at the dinner hour. I love walking into convenience stores and overhearing local conversation, How's your Mom doin', sweetie? and, What college are you headin' off to? I love the small stores and giant farm and feed operations. I love seeing the Dairy Queens. And I love the rows and rows of planted fields of cotton and corn. I love the Cotton Festivals and Watermelon Thump Festivals and all the other weekend festivals announced on banners attached to lines overhead and stretching across the road.

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I love seeing the small churches and signs like this one, which has a lot to say in relatively few words.

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I don't love taking pictures from a car moving 70 miles an hour with a manual focus lens, but what's a girl to do when she packed the wrong lens but still wants to take pictures? I'll tell you what she does, she ends up deleting a lot of out-of-focus pictures.

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I also don't love my feet but this is how I rode most of the way home yesterday so it's inevitable that I would make them the subject of at least one photo since they were not moving and it was easy to focus on them. Oh gosh, I really don't like my feet. Please try to ignore them and would you get a load of that sky?

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Just look at that blue sky. I just love a blue sky spread far and wide and dotted with white cottony clouds.

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I just love this great state of Texas. I love its people and I love its colors, its rivers and lakes and fields. I love its boots and its music and I love driving its roads beneath the blue, blue skies above.

Monday, June 01, 2009

The things of today

I'm sitting on my couch listening to Il Divo's version of Amazing Grace. Next will be Debussy's Clair du Lune, then Sarah Brightman's Ave Maria, and Trio Argentino's performance of Shubert-Faure's Trio in E-Flat for Piano, Violin and Cello.

Not my usual music but these songs are on one of two CDs I made yesterday for Wednesday's memorial service and reception for my friend's brother-in-law. The music is so completely soothing and though I selected each song and put them together for a somber event, I find that the notes lift my heart, comfort me like warm grass beneath my bare feet. I hope that the family will be able to find some comfort as well.

I put myself through an intense cardio session at the gym this morning, delivered a birthday present and walked Cheyenne through the neighborhood. I've submitted my resume for a job, and I've printed a photo for a friend.

Later today, I'll pack an overnight bag, my camera, some CDs. I'll drive to a friend's house and ride with her to Temple, TX, to have a late dinner with my friend's family after they attend the viewing. Tomorrow, we'll attend the memorial service and reception, and then return home.

In my garden, a young rose blooms new beside a rose that has faded and dropped all but one petal. I think to myself that there is no better or more beautiful symbol of life and death for me to see today.