Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Getting to Know Tina's Terrific Team! JoJo!

Today's post is the first in a series which will appear very sporadically from now until the A-Z Challenge starts April 1, 2013. STILL don't know what that is? TAB. ABOVE. Go see.

Today's team member is JoJo of Tahoma Beadworks and Photography. We met during last year's challenge and have been buddies ever since. She picked the “answer 10 of these questions” option for her feature.

You may have noticed the co-hosts doing this very same thing at the A-ZBlog. I stole the idea for here. But that's OK. I wrote some of the questions, and compiled some of the questions, and then used the list Shannon had compiled, even though it was my assigned job that she'd volunteered to “help” with – she did 99% of the work!! I have not only great team members, but great co-hosts. So after you visit JoJo at her place, hit Shannon at The Warrior Muse and tell her she's fantastic, from me.

Ok, so here's JoJo, and picture of her and her fiancee.

1.  When I need to get away from it all, I head to the beach to walk, beach comb for pretty rocks & glass and listen to the waves.  

2.  Being with my fiance', friends and doing crafts makes my life worth living.

3.  A movie that exceeded my expectations was 'Easy A'.  It's become one of my fave movies ever.

4.  Biggest frustration in blogging is CAPTCHA.  Hate it.  Don't use it.  Turn on comment moderation if you don't want spam or just delete it.  I've stopped commenting and/or following blogs that continue to use it unless they are good friends of mine.

5.  Fave childhood memory would be of spending time at Spring Hill Beach, in E. Sandwich, where my dad had a cottage.

6.   A book that didn't meet my expectations was Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood.  Hated that book.  

7.  I hail from East Sandwich, MA on Cape Cod but couldn't wait to get out.  I moved to San Francisco in 1989 when I was 24, then moved to Washington State in 1999.  I moved back to the Cape Cod area in 2011 to be with the love of my life, a fellow Sandwich 'townie'.  He tracked me down on Facebook in early 2011 and confessed having had a huge crush on me in high school, that I was always at the back of his mind, he'd tried to find me a few times over the years and that he still loved me.  I fell for him immediately.

8.  Last Halloween costume I wore was in 1986 when I went to a party dressed as a Christmas tree.

9.  I would have a fully staffed sailing ship/yacht and I'd name it 'Ship of Fools' after a Grateful Dead song.

10.  I'm not sure that I have a 'thing', per se, but I do fancy myself as an artist and photographer.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Jenocide Rides The Text Train To the Station

It's time you met Jenocide. We've been friends since we were both pregnant with our now almost 16 year-old sons and have weathered many a storm together. This has all been long distance, because she had the nerve to move across the country after we'd only been friends about a year. I have forgiven...just not forgotten.

Jenocide is not, shy, not afraid of conflict, even if it comes to severe conflict. She kinda relishes in being a bad-ass. I haven't written about her before, because she's a very private person...but enough is enough...time to meet her. I decided the best way to “get her feet wet” on my blog was to throw her in the deep end of the pool...and she wouldn't have it any other way.

So here's what's actually a typical TRUE story of the kind of conflicts she finds herself in.

Warning...this story contains a lot of “colorful metaphors.” To quote Spock in Star Trek IV, “During this time period, lots of colorful metaphors were used in communication.” Translation = bad words. Since I try to keep my blog pretty much PG, I will substitute and try to convey the depth of the word choices without offending anyone. Wish me luck.

Do you use craigslist? We do a lot, and have never had anything remotely like this happen. Jenocide and husband were in the process of buying a car for their soon to be new driver, and had made complicated arrangements through craigslist with a man named Art to drive 2 ½ hours one way, take the car to a mechanic to have it inspected, but were pretty sure they were coming home with the car. They hadn't gotten the VIN as the mechanic had requested, even after several attempts, but were proceeding anyway. As they are pulling out of the driveway, Jenocide texts them to say they're on their way.

We're on our way“

I can't do this. I get 20 calls a day on this flippin' car”

Are you kidding me? You realize we're coming to buy this car. At least you had the decency to tell me before we drove all the FLIPPIN' way there. What's wrong with you people?”

This Art's wife. I don't have time for this BS with my schedule or your BS inspection so bring the mechanic to us you (derogatory name for a female)”

You really think I'm going to drive two hours and pay for a car I can't test drive or inspect? Flip you and you're POS probably stolen vehicle. Good luck selling it to one of those 20 people. Don't contact me again.”

FU. You said you were buying the car, so come here and buy it or we'll find you and make you really pay.”

It was at this point Jenocide thought, wow, this has escalated insanely quickly to something really ugly, but I kinda feel like riding this text train all the way to the station. So she decides to bait her.

You do realize your husband texted me your address last night, right? You realize I can find YOU and you have no idea who I am or how to find ME? So bring your trash a** on down here. In fact, I look forward to it.”

FU. I've sold 20 cars on craigslist and you're the only idiot who wanted an inspection and all this BS. You're a stupid (more derogatory terms for female, cringeworthy). You may not buy this car now. I've decided not to sell it to you. “

You're still coming here to find me, right? Because I've got to be honest, I'm looking forward to it. I've set aside my whole day to wait for you.”

FU. We'll meet you (at a middle point) and you can buy the car only now it's $300 more.”

Ma'am, here's my counter come find me, and I'll give you the money, and you can keep your POS car. How'd that be? What time should I expect you?”

Apparently Art's wife was now done conversing.

As it turns out, this was providence. They found a MUCH nicer, much newer, better quality car IN TOWN and bought that. And she's still waiting to hear back from Art's wife ;-)

It's plain to see that she's a character. I AVOID conflict. She relishes it. I find her stories quite entertaining, and if I were in some back alley and in trouble, I wouldn't need a superhero of any kind, just Jenocide.

Do you have you craigslist experience? Do you enjoy a good knock-down text war with an insane stranger? Would you like to borrow my superhero?


Friday, February 22, 2013

CassaStorm by Alex J. Cavanaugh Cover Reveal!

One of the first books I bought for my Kindle was Alex's CassaStar, the first in his trilogy. He writes the same genre I do (space opera) and we have a lot of common interests, so it was a no-brainer to support my buddy, read a good book, and help him advertise it. (This is one of the advantages we've talked about that happen when you join big blog-hops and meet new people – and wouldn't you know – we've got one coming up!  Hit the tab above to learn more about the upcoming A-Z Challenge in April and then join us!  Resistance is futile...) His sequel is called CassaFire and was even more heart-stoppingly exciting than the first one...don't worry, you have time to read them both before the third one comes out because...

Today we are having what's called a “cover reveal” party. Alex's Ninja Army, and others willing to join the fun for a good cause, are all posting about his latest book, revealing for the first time what the cover will look like, and the blurb about the book. So here you go!  

CassaStorm by Alex J. Cavanaugh

A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, his only struggles are occasional rogue pirate raids and endless government bureaucracies. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, shaking Bassan to the core and threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could be on its way back. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

Release date: September 17, 2013
Science Fiction - Space Opera/Adventure
Print ISBN 9781939844002
E-book ISBN 9781939844019

 Haven't read the first two in the trilogy? Those are links in the first paragraph taking you right to them.  You're welcome.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Introducing Tina's Terrific Team!

Good morning all!
Today I'm THRILLED to introduce to you: Tina's Terrific Team!

My team of helpers, administrative assistants, basically capable of leaping tall buildings in a single bound, while maintaining their own blogs in the A-Z Challenge AND taking whatever I throw at them in order to free me up to visit more participant are...drumroll...

AJ Lauer of  Naturally Sweet

                     I Like it On the Table      

Jolie Du Pre of Precious Monsters

PV Ariel, aka Philip of philipscom

Now I command you to go visit their blogs and congratulate them on being chosen, and follow them, because they are terrific, entertaining bloggers...oh wait. I can't boss my readers around...just my Terrific Team.

Let's try this. I'd be really honored if you'd take the time to visit these folks who are going to be giving so much time and effort to making The Challenge run smoothly. I know I'll be a better co-host with their help.

We all need a little help from time to time, right? I'm grateful I've got these wonderful folks as friends and helpers.

Speaking of wonderful, helpful folks, The amazing digital artist Jeremy “Retro-Z”, co-host, is just awesome and designed their special badge.  Pay him a visit, too.  He does freelance digital if you need something...he's you're guy!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Interviewed! and a Bonus! Embarrassing Story du Jour

Good morning! I'm a being interviewed today at Curiosity Quills with Nicole of The Madlab Post!  I'm very excited to be asked, and especially with Nicole.  You remember her from the Monday Movie Meme I used to do, you know, on Mondays.

Before you head over there though, which I would so much appreciate, here's another one of my embarrassing/funny/Tina-is-such-a-klutz story to entertain you before you go...

I have to get a tetanus shot today because The Transporter cleaned his room, which of course I'm not against. AT ALL. ((The cleaning, not the tetanus, in case you were wondering.)  I might have mentioned that for a while (like four years...) he's been doing the typical teenage boy thing where all the clothes are on the floor and only he knows which are clean and which are we finally got him dressers he likes. He worked all day and his room is now neat. However, he was tired while doing the dishes, and broke a wine glass into smithereens. Best break ever. I usually break them into maybe three pieces, but we're talking big strapping teen boy who looks like a man and has man hands and that thing was SHATTERED.

Mom, will you get me a dustpan?”

Of course. He's been sweeping and dusting and wiping and cleaning and organizing AND put the broom and dust pan back. Here's where the klutzy part comes, but you know how I like a good build-up...

In the garage, all our gardening tools have holes drilled into the top of the handle and hang on hooks. The dustpan is supposed to be clipped to the broom. It is not. I start looking around on the floor for it, but some of these tools hang very close to the ground. Like the pitch fork for example. Can you see it coming? Pitch fork comes off wall, lands on my forearm, producing a stab wound that The Engineer has to bring a ROLL of paper towels to get me to a sink. It bleeds a long time. I never, ever do medical stuff in an off-hand sissy way. When I hurt myself, I do it RIGHT. Like OYT (Our Youngest Teen) says, I'm a medical apocalypse. Pretty good quote.

So here I am today with neosporin, a huge 2x4 band-aid, a very, very sore arm where the offending instrument of torture bruised my bone, facing a tetanus shot.

I was hoping to NOT have to get one. Kindly asked lovely office manager, with whom I've become good friends with my twice a week since August visits ;-) when my last one was. “We don't have any on record for you.” Yikes. I've been with the same practice 21 years...

Feel free to laugh. If you'd like more embarrassing stories, I have a search box, and there are lots of them. Start with the word "embarrassing" or "doctor" or some such appropriate word...

Have you ever hurt yourself in such a stupid way? Do you have a pitchfork? Have you ever wanted to use said pitchfork for a purpose it was not intended, say to threaten a child? Strike that. I'd never do such a thing...after all, he did clean his room.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Monday Morning Musings, erm...Late Afternoon Thoughts...

Many of my favorite bloggers do a “Monday Morning Musings” style of post. Thought I'd give it a try since I have a lot on my mind...

I like special characters. Spent my life as a musician – so today you get music notes. I'm also playing with fonts since my favorite Papyrus is not available on my PC, like it was on my beloved Mac, even though I'm still using OpenOffice. Is there someone who can explain that?? So I guess you could say I'm looking for my new “signature” font. I've had mixed reactions to the Segoe Print I've been using, but people, this is MY blog. You might have to deal with it...but then again, I do want you to be able READ what I write. I've visited a lot of blogs that are black with white letters, but I REALLY have to love your blog to do keep reading it in that eye-sore state.

People in my family say funny things. I'm going to relay two conversations, you get to guess who I'm having them with. I like games. Don't worry, the answers will be at the bottomw.

♪ “But MoooM, I've done that a jugabagillion times already!”
Me:  "Just exactly how many times is that?"  (We mathematicians like to be precise)
"Duh!  It's the number right before google-plex."  Sigh.  That's what you get when you cross an engineer and a math nerd.  Weird, but funny kids. But which one? If you've been reading me even for a while, this is an easy one.

"I'd like to lower that blind and close it."
I'm by the blind, he's across the room, I'm feeling like a smart-ass so I say:
"Would you like me to do it?"
"I would like to do it vicariously through you.  You are the vicar."
I will admit I was not expecting that punchline...

Not as easy as that first one, right?

Tomorrow I'm the honored guest, along with Nicole Ayers of The Madlab Post (another one of the co-hosts of the A-Z Challenge), at CuriosityQuills. I'll put the exact link up tomorrow once the hostess sends it to me. Meanwhile, if you have free time, you can go visit that main page I've linked to, and see what the blog is all about.

Wednesday I'll be announcing Tina Terrific Team of Assistants. We've joked among ourselves (the co-hosts and the assistants) about them being our “minions”. Just so you know, it's a compliment, and it's from the cartoon “Despicable Me” and we thought it was funny. No actual minions were meant to be harmed in this joke.

The amazing digital artist Jeremy “Retro-Z”, co-host, is just awesome and designed their special badge which will debut on Wednesday in my sidebar, at the top, right under the A-Z badge. But be warned, this is only for my team, you may not cheat and take it even if you're like The Transporter and can make computer magic (which I can't – had to reboot three times this morning to enjoy the internet The Engineer had been enjoying for quite some time already...) I can't wait to tell you who they are.

I meant to post this morning, but the kids were home and as often happens when that's day morphed from my agenda to theirs...

I'll leave you with this quote from a good buddy of mine with seven kids, ages of married down to elementary:

“Live a life that doesn't require justification.”


Convo #1 about numbers:  OYT "Our Youngest Teen" formerly known as YellowBoy.  I'm not too fond of OYT as a nickname...but I promised I'd let him choose his own nickname the next time.

Convo #2 about the blinds:  The Engineer.

Friday, February 15, 2013

About Me: More Stuff You Might Find Interesting


Name: Tina Downey
Blogs: Lifeis Good
Publications: Until They Have Faces, an anthology of stories of the homeless, a fundraising coffee table book
Other Places to Find Me: Twitter: still can't believe I did it...@TinaLifeisGood. I don't do other social media, it's just too much to keep up with. I'd rather write...


1. "Where do you hail from?"
I'm a first generation immigrant, born in Sweden. In 1974 when I was almost nine, we moved to America for “just a year”. We lived in Silver Spring, MD. However, for my senior year of high school, The Swede got a big promotion and we moved to Colorado. Well, he dragged me kicking and screaming across the country is more like it... I shouldn't have wasted that energy, though. Colorado is my dream home. I love almost everything about this state except the hot summers. The smallish community (formerly farming, now high tech silicon valley stuff everywhere) with the magnificent view of the foothills and Longs Peak/Mt. Meeker is a wonderful place to raise children. They're living my childhood in Sweden – go knock on a door and see who's free. Or what happens more often, there's the knock on OUR door. We're THAT house where everyone gathers and I love that.

2. Would you ever join a team that was headed off to colonize Mars?
Yes, I actually would. I'm a die-hard sci-fi fan, and The Engineer is an inventor, and dreams of doing this. So how could I say no. It's a pretty safe “yes” though...I can sound like the supportive, adventurous wife, but with little risk of ever leaving my beloved Colorado. There are parts of this adventure that DO appeal to ME too though: the whole fresh start thing...and space travel...

3. "Who is your favorite fictional character and why?"
I should probably pick some Jane Austen or Mark Twain or other “classy classic” character, but I like Eve Dallas of JD Robb's futuristic cop series. She's my exact opposite, so that's probably why. When I need a break, I splurge $7.99 and buy the next book in the 35+ book series. I think I'm seven behind...good mind candy, and since I'm hypoglycemic and can't eat REAL candy, it's my justification.

4. "If you were a contestant on the CBS show "Amazing Race" and could pick ANY movie character to be your partner, who would it be and why?"
James Bond. Let's be more clear, Daniel Craig's James Bond. C'mon, who else could do ANYTHING they'd throw at us? I love this race. It is amazing (haha) to see places and cultures I might never, ever see. I don't have much time for TV anymore, and we don't have cable (got data plans for smart phones instead, something had to go...) so I haven't seen it in a while. I'm confident he could “carry” me, and I love martinis, too. We'd both be seeking the same thing at the end of the day.

5. What's your biggest frustration in blogging?
Not enough time. I'm a schedule woman, so I try hard to carve out my time for it, but I'm also a wife, a mom, a volunteer teacher, and there are only so many hours in a day. Setting priorities is hard, but it's life.

6. "Have you ever wanted to be a rock star?"
No, but I wish I could sing on key. What I REALLY want is to be a best-selling author...sigh.

7. You're house in on fire, assuming your kids, pets, and other living things are safe, what do you grab as you head out the door?
My mom has made me some amazing Creative Memories photo albums, and I've made some myself, waaaay before the blogging bug infected me permanently. I'd grab those. Two of them are the boys' baby books. Of course, they're not done. The Transporter is 6 months old, and OYT has ONE picture affixed in it, the rest lying loose on the pages...some day...

8. "Where do you go to "Get away from it all"?
We go camping in our 1968 Forester camping trailer. The Engineer has redone all the systems, so it's still peddling along despite its need of another new paint job. We pull it with our prison van. Not kidding. The van still has the outline of the “Colorado Department of Corrections” logo that adorned both front doors. It seats twelve and then has a huge cargo area behind it. Nothing like having two teenage boys separated in the car by an entire bench seat...We prefer state and national forest parks with bigger sites, no hook-ups, and more privacy. The only thing I don't like about camping is pulling out of the site and heading home...I could seriously be a campground host.  I think. I've got enough bossy in me to do the job...

Thanks for making it this far. We're supposed to do 10 questions, but I'm so far over the word limit you get 8. I promise to be more brief during the challenge, but it's hard to get to know someone in a few words. Especially a wordy, talky person such

I'll be writing about “Adventures in America” - what it was like my first year as a Swedish immigrant. Last year's #atozchallenge I taught a word or two of Swedish a day, included a picture and a childhood memory. I'm thinking this will be similar, but you won't be learning a foreign language...hope to see you then!

~Tina, and yes, Life really is Good, even when it sucks, because I'm breathing WELL

P.S This is a repeat of a post that is over at the A-Z Blog, where we're doing a series of "get to know your co-hosts."  But I know some of my nearest and dearest only get my posts by email, so I put it here for you. You know who you are and I love you, my sweet Valentines.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Meet SMK: Sister Mary Katherine

It's high time you met SMK, aka Sister Mary Katherine. Go back one post if you want the background info. This woman is amazing, and I have a ton of stories to tell, but I'll start with some basics that will give you a good picture.

SMK knows how to throw a party. She does it ALL the time, despite having a house full of day care kiddos all day. She'll host our wine club
at the end of a long day, knowing she has to get up at the butt-crack of dawn to receive those kids early. She's a great cook, and will always whip up something really special for those occasions, even when those of us who have more time bring take-out or stuff to throw in the oven. She takes the time to make us feel special. Crusted ahi tuna, anyone?

She also throws a damn good direct-sales party. You know, Pampered Chef, Longaberger, Tastefully Simple, Party Lite, Lia Sophia name it, she'll host it. What makes her parties like this a don't miss (because c'mon, we'd usually rather miss them...and this is coming from Tina who sold Longaberger nine years and Mary Kay three...) is the unique gift she gives each of us as the party starts.

When it's time for introductions and the customary consultants, “And please tell us how you know SMK when you introduce yourself,” she'll do it HER way. We have that in common. Do it OUR way. After all, it's the right way, isn't it?

She climbs up on her big hearth and will go around the room, introducing each guest and saying something she loves about that person. (By the way, she loves me because there's ALWAYS wine at my house. Usually in a box, but nonetheless she can always find a glass or two. Damn, I still feel bad about when I was boxless one night...hate to disappoint...) Starting the party this way produces a lot of laughter and ice-breaking and is the perfect way to make your guests feel special.

The best party of the year though is The Seafood Boil. She comes from a big family, and at the end of the summer they all invite their friends to this combined family amazing feast. Tables are covered in paper, tents are set up, big pots of seafood and all the sides are thrown onto the table and people step up and dive in. What could be better? The night approaches slowly, the little kids play on the playground, the big kids play soccer, or they play with the little kids (a highlight if you're a little kid and it's been fun watching OYT (see previous post for who that is) graduate from grateful little kid to big kid whom the littles adore.)

This year I couldn't go. Broke my heart. Too sick. She said she'd save me some. She didn't just do that though. She invited me to her house full-o-kids during their nap-time and set it all out JUST like if I'd been at the party. “The seafood boil is not a solitary event. You're coming HERE.” So I feasted, and tried not to cry in gratitude and joy as I enjoyed my mussels, shrimp, clams, crab, crawfish, corn on the cob, fingerling potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, crusty french bread, plenty of butter for dipping, and let's not leave out the octopus “uglies” (which are really tasty and there's usually plenty because of seafood wimps) and wine, which she also set out for me.

Wouldn't you want your own SMK? I'm glad I have mine. Thanks for the feast, and all the love you show with all your efforts for your friends.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Nickname Tab Updates!

Hey Wonderful Readers, longtime and new (thank you!) followers:

I thought that since both my boys wanted new nicknames I'd better update the tab.  Of course I have a hidden agenda as well - for the new followers who might not know the people in my world, this is a SUBTLE  hint to read the tab above to get to know me and my family better.

Here are the new ones, for those who've already read the tab, which I renamed, because people were thinking that they could put their own nickname in there and it would translate it...which is a really cool idea, but no.  That's not what it's for.
The Transporter: formerly known as Jake, our almost 16 year-old who has his precious permit. I'm a princess-cup-holder now! He drives me everywhere at the drop of a hat, and always wants to stop by our favorite coffee drive-through. Of course, we drive ANCIENT cars, none of which have cup-holders. Yes, they do exist – cars with no cup-holders. Except me. He says I'm an excellent cup holder. He's an excellent driver, and I'm so grateful. I'm driving phobic since the car accident in 2007 which totaled my car. Life is Good.

OYT: Stands for Our Youngest Teen, and formerly known as YellowBoy, who now at 13 thinks the YB makes him sound “baby-ish” and so he picked this nickname instead. He's excelling in school, but has inherited his mother's extreme medical worst case scenario situation so it's been tough going lately with concussion, closed head injury, neck injury, and a never-ending sinus infection. Told you this was an update. I plan on doing them more than once a year.

Now to introduce a new blog resident. I've wanted to write about her for a long time, but with my procrastination, never got to asking her if it was OK, and if she wanted a nickname, or her real name or “don't you DARE write about me”...but I should have known. She's all for it. We have similar you'll see as I write more about

SMK. Stands for“Sister Mary Katherine”. Don't laugh. She's nowhere near a nun, though her mother called her that as a child HOPING it might influence her. Instead she's an in-home daycare provider (bless her heart – I don't know how ya'll who do it, do it...) and lives across the street. Over the 12 years we've been in this house, she and I have gone from neighbors to acquaintances to friends to dear friends. I'm truly blessed to have her in my life. A post all about her is coming up soon. I did write a poem about's the link if you're interested

If you'd like to get to know the other people in my life who have agreed to be on my blog from time to time, check out the nickname tab above. I'll alert you when I make changes.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Calling for Volunteers

Wanna help us out? We're seeking minions to help do some of the behind the scenes grunt work with us. You'd get a special badge emailed to you so that no non-minion could have one. Perhaps you object to the word minion. Of course, we'd never call you that in public. It would be a secret between the team and you priceless minions. You'd get the prestigious title of “volunteer administrative assistants” in public.  (You'd be listed as an assistant on the A-Z Blog and that would probably bring you more traffic.)

Are you game? Here's how it works. Each team member wants their own number of volunteers, and will choose their volunteers in their own way. No, even though it sounds like it, it's not a popularity contest. 

What it really boils down to is what we've been trying to show bloggers about this challenge, and about blogging itself. It's a community and friend building activity.  For example, I have a lot of blogger buddies I know well and trust. I know they'd follow the guidelines, I know they'd follow through. I know who to pick if they volunteer.  Consider it a perk of being an active part of the blogging and A-Z community.

So! If you want to be a minion/volunteer/list checker, etc. Here's what you do. Leave a comment saying you volunteer.   We'll let you know by private email who we've picked, and then once all is settled, we'll put your names up as minions, I mean volunteers!

Questions? Stick 'em in your comments.

~ Tina

P.S We left out most of the details on purpose...but if you go check the comment chain at the A-Z Blog for today's (identical)'ll get a lot of your questions answered,

Monday, February 4, 2013

Forgiveness: Red Balloon Day

This post, unlike what I told you I was planning to write on Sunday night, is NOT random. It happened in the last two days and it's huge. I've been wanting to write about “Red Balloon Day” for a long time, THAT idea is in my jotbook, but to actually celebrate THE most needed red balloon of my life, is even bigger. I'm thinking you need some context.

about a lonely little boy who is followed around the city by a red balloon. It becomes his friend, they have adventures, and in the glorious end to the movie, I see a lot of symbolism.

More context: Back in the late 80s before the was the internet everywhere, there were some ways to connect online, so friends of mine and I participated in a forum abbreviated RATS. We all watched “As the World Turns.” In fact, I watched ATWT for 17 years but have since reformed...not that it was easy. It was like leaving a blogging community ~ friends made online that I never would have met before and we didn't just discuss the show because c'mon, it was a SOAP, but we got way into real life, too.

So speaking of real life. There was a a participant who was going through some tough times, and we were all encouraging him to forgive and just let it go. I suggested calling it, “Red Balloon Day” and he actually knew what movie I was talking about so we declared a day, and we all “let our balloons” ceremoniously into the air, letting go of past hurts, bad relationships, bad habits, you name it. We had quite the celebration and bonding encouraging each other over this.

I've known for quite a while that there was a grudge, a non-forgiveness I'd been holding onto for a long time. 3 years. But you might have noticed I'm a bit stubborn, and no amount of good Christian friends preaching forgiveness was going to deter me from my grudge. I'm not usually like that – stubborn yes, unforgiving, no.

Then a dear friend posted the parable of the unforgiving servant (found in Matthew 18:35) on her fb page...and stirred my thoughts.

You might recall it's Matthew I'm teaching on Thursdays this it's yesterday morning that I come to that passage...and it clicks. Forgive. FORGIVE. We have been forgiven much, forgive others. And bawling my eyes out, I sent my balloon, with the company name, and the name of my former boss, up into the air for my own unexpected Red Balloon Day. It feels good.

~ Tina

P.S For the full story of why this was necessary, you could read “Abrupt U-Turn”

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Life is Crazy, but still Good: Contentment Update

In one of my jotbooks I have a list of future, totally random blog topics for nights like tonight where the day has been SO chaotic, as was yesterday, that I JUST HAVE TO WRITE SOMETHING. So I've picked a topic from there. I have words itching to get out of me...and I have the need to be by myself, at my beloved laptop, drinking my evening wine, and chilling. Not running around like some sort of crazed cab driver, though not sure you can call it that when you're the passenger and have your Transporter (that's Jake's new nickname – will have to update tab above) who has his shiny new permit and all of a sudden lots of places to go, AND does the driving. He's a very good driver.

Nonetheless, I'm in the car and not at home, I'm at the auto-parts store because my car died on one of two main thoroughfares thru town, or the boys are spending their hard-earned money from today's manual labor assignments (which means pigs might fly and you might ice-skate in Hades...but The Engineer, who tore his rotator cuff, is ACTUALLY NOT DOING MANUAL LABOR) and if they don't spend it SOON it will evaporate, so of course they want McDonald's.

However, that's not what I was going to write about...that was my intro, but at 220 words, and my continued quest for brevity, I'll do this instead.

Contentment update.
  • I'm not on bed rest
  • I can breathe
  • I'm having a Superbowl Party even though my beloved Broncos won't be there
  • My family is starting to have some semblance of normalcy as I heal.
  • I'm having a BLAST meeting new bloggers as I wander the list checking out the participants.
  • I am getting to write right now, even though it's the next morning...
  • My Amazing Aunt Risky is coming for a visit in less than a week and taking the boys snowboarding ON THE WEEKEND that The Engineer and I are doing a (very unusual for us) romantic getaway. Talk about good timing, completely unpredicted or planned. We were just going to leave them home, since it's not an overnight thing, but this is oh so much better.

What are you content about? Do you get that itch to write? Is it your favorite escape from stress? Are you joining the challenge? If so, hit the tab above, then READ THE ENTIRE POST that is linked to it BEFORE you sign up. And do sign-up. It will change you blog forever, in the best way possible.