Things are not always what they seem…

“Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many; the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden…”

Take a look at this picture. I took it last year during a beautiful red sunset. It’s my daughter Sydney sitting on a bench at the park.

But, take a closer look.

This is the original photograph.

What you see in the first picture is a copy of the digital file, printed, and put in a frame sitting on the table next to the couch. The difference is quite intriguing. The sky is richer in the copy.

See, the printed one on the table catches a light from our scentsy lamp. The light reflects right on the sunset.

We noticed it one day and found it quite profound……….and beautiful.

The Summer of Hot

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Today will mark the 39th day of temperatures soaring to over 100-degrees in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Thirty-nine days of melt everything-in-your car searing heat. Thirty-nine days of risking serious burn putting on your seat belt. Thirty-nine days of hovering in front of an AC unit, just to survive. Thirty-nine days of crispy brown grass and dead – way dead – plants.

Thirty-nine days.

And that’s not even the record. The record in 1980 is listed as forty-two 100+ days in a row.

Which we will beat – according to forecasters – on Friday.

It’s not just the record number of 100+ days in a row, we are, also, breaking temp records each day. Record low at night, record high during the day.

Today, as usual, we could break a record high. The record is 106. Temp today? 107

Two things I can assure you.

One, it’s not a dry heat.

Two, there hasn’t been a drop of rain either (oh, there are urban legends of rain, and/or mirages of rain), it’s not real. If you have seen rain, you risked outside exposure one too many times.

There is a small – obviously sick – part of me that looks forward to the new blazing summer record.

Hey, we got this far! Might as well make history.

Unless something crazy happens, we definitely will.

Now more people can understand why we have tinted windows in our cars and swimming pools on every corner.

These are not optional, they are required.

I hope wherever you are…..you are cool. In Texas, we are just HOT.

Happy Summer!

Just write! Just post! Just try it!

Just when you think WordPress has done it all – well – they introduce distraction-free writing.

A screen of words on white. An empty vessel lighting the way for all font-happy WordPress writers to fill, the best way they know how, by typing.

Enter Full Screen mode.

The reason behind this genius-mode? Well, I assume it is for people like me who just don’t have the concentration they used to (totally blaming social media).

I always plan on writing, but I get too busy doing other things. I see an email pop up, a Facebook notification, or a Twitter message. I’ll be honest. I can’t help myself. I have to click! I have to see! I have to find out what’s going on. It’s just too easy to navigate away and get lost by way of interaction.

I have tried to write during my lunch hour (seems like my only free time), but it never works out. The reason? I was on an old version of Internet Explorer which had buggy WordPress issues. I couldn’t type anything without my screen mode moving to the top. Luckily, they posted about that too and now I’m on a newer, wiser version of internet surfing. Not sure if you are? Try Browse Happy to find out. It made me happy for sure!

Posting about this new feature does not do it justice. DO try it for yourself. I am super ADD on anything techy. I love technology and new formats, but get a little overwhelmed. I usually give up before I get it going (at least once or twice). So, for me, this is good. In the end – fewer distractions. This change has cleared the playground for me. I can now write.

Just write.

No tweaking of my settings, or wandering my eye to categories. No more pondering of my stats via drop down. No more checking for comments, or spam. No more gazing at the widget, links, or general setting tabs. Nope, none of that. I even applied the Full Browser toggle to end the email, Facebook, and Twitter interruptions ( F11 on windows or command+shift+F on Mac).

And since I am blonde? schooled in Oklahoma? allergy fuzzy, it took me a few tries to figure this out (and I didn’t get distracted). And because I like you, and I LOVE WordPress, I have created a very special tutorial for others – ahem – like me.

Full Screen Mode

From your post just click on the full-screen mode.

Title

Enter your title and write. It’s that simple.

Distraction Free Writing

Ta Da! Distraction-free writing at it’s best. Thank-you WordPress.

I actually got a post done today. And? I have MANY more to complete……..newborn photo shoot, wildlife photos, stepping on a snake, and a picnic vintage photo session.

Good stuff…coming soon. So please, come back, I won’t distract you…….for long (ha!).

*****All thanks go to the WordPress Blog post Just Write. Are you a subscriber? If not, why? You might be missing out on some cool WordPress information. That’s why I do. Technology, it will leave you behind if you don’t keep up.

Fractured Moments

A frantic voice calling hello on a voice mail; scared, and hurt. A stranger telling you from your husband’s phone that they were in an accident. They. The family. My family. Two little girls – my stepdaughters, my husband, and………my teenage daughter? Was she with them?

I can’t understand him. This stranger. This man with my husband’s phone. I start to panic. How will I know where they are, or what happened? I hear a hospital name. THAT I do know.

Shaking……..Shocked……..Shocking……..I leave. I don’t know what I’ll find, but I head to the hospital.

I text my daughter. TM: Were you with them?

She is always with them, but she had told me she might go to a friend’s house. Did she?

There was no reply.

They weren’t at the hospital. There are no ambulances in dock. No sirens. Nothing.

The silence is deafening. The unknown – terrifying – pressing and pressing its steely claws of fear.

My phone rings and it’s my husband’s name, but it’s not him. It is a paramedic telling me my two step-daughters are being transported to the children’s hospital in downtown. My husband, and sixteen-year old daughter to the hospital across the street from the children. This? Made it very real.

I left the wrong hospital. I still didn’t know if they were okay or not, but I knew it was very serious.

My husband’s brother is with me. He is calm. I feed off his calm. I need calm, because I so badly want to fall apart. But I can’t. Not now. Maybe? Not ever.

I use the phone. Shaking hands dial the number. I call the mom of my four, and seven-year old step daughters. I call her to tell her…….both of her children are on the way to a children’s hospital by ambulance.

And I don’t know. I don’t know anything.

It is the most helpless feeling in the world. I hear her pain, her panic, her raw emotion. I wish I could help her, comfort her, but I am numb.

I have to pick which hospital I go to. I have to choose a room, and a person. I can’t see all four. I can’t know all at once.

I need to pray……. but I can’t remember how to pray. I want to cry……..but I can’t remember to do that either.

All I can do is repeat the phrase going through my mind. I trust you, Lord. I trust you. I know you will keep my family safe. I know you won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I trust you, Lord. I do.

In the ER, in a tiny room off the red line. I see my daughter’s gray-blue eyes. They are just above the rim of her neck brace. She has blood streaks all over legs. A spot of dried blood on her forehead and in her ear. She cradles her right hand covered in a bloody gauze. But she is awake. She is aware. She knows I’m here.

I want to cry, but I can’t. They are taking her off the back board.

My husband is around the corner. I find him. I see blood. So much blood. He is in a neck brace too. They are cutting his clothes off. But I see his clear blue eyes. I hear him talk. I bend my face over him. I am here.

Tears well, but they do not fall.

The paramedics tell me the little girls are at the ER and in rooms. Sydney tells me they were okay when she was with them, just scared, but not hurt (I hope).

I try to make sense of what happened and how. I ask questions.

I hear different versions from traumatized accounts.

I try to piece it together. The back drivers side tire struck by a turning truck. The Jeep rolled and landed upright. Pieces all around.

I head across the street. I have to see the little girls. My husband, their dad, on a stretcher in the ER needs me to see the little girls. My eyes spot the littlest one first. She is so scared. I can see it in her lower lip quiver. I ask her if she can speak and she nods. She takes a deep breath and says, “Yes, I can.” Using her brave voice with no quiver. Breaks my heart. I touch her silky hair. Her little voice so small trying to be so big.

The oldest step-daughter, Molly, smiles when she sees me. Her smile is all I see beneath the hulking neck brace. I see all her teeth in her bright grin. I almost lose it.

These precious babies…….so brave……so scared………but alive and breathing. I hug them. I kiss them. I tell them I love them. Oh, how much I love them!

I witness…. a miracle.

My family survives a very tragic, and scary ordeal.

Six hours after their arrival, I drive Jason and Sydney home. The little girls released long before to their mother who hugged me when I saw her, because God knows we needed all the hugs we could get.

It was over. They would heal. Emotionally and physically, but they were all still with us by the grace of God. His hand on them. His protection over them. I trust you, Lord. I do.

I visit the wrecker service lot. I see the Jeep. I feel the impact of what my family went through. I finally cry.


2008 JEEP Wrangler rolled.


Point of impact, back tire wheel.


Thick metal chunks were found through the entire car.


The spot where my sixteen-year old sat. Passenger side front.


She was eating an ice cream cone…with sprinkles.


The crushed windshield from the roll.


My step-daughter Bridget always holds this phone and plays music on it. She was holding it when the accident happened.

My step-daughters visit the day after the accident. They look amazing, and more beautiful than ever.


The littlest.


The biggest.

Their faces are so happy. So full of life. So overwhelmingly gorgeous.

We try out the new booster seats for my car. Ones that have the high-back like they had in Dad’s Jeep. But this time…they have a protective head rest too.


New high-back booster with head rest.


The youngest in the car ready to head home.


The new car seats are pink. Of course….

These fractured moments bring me clarity. They breathe new appreciation for our most precious cargo – family. My Sydney survived a horrific accident in the front of a badly crushed vehicle. I will never forget the moment I saw her side of the vehicle. My husband got to hold his children again and tell them he loved them after losing sight of them at the scene and not knowing for many hours how they were and not seeing them for more than 24 hours. I get to appreciate life in a whole new way.

One second. One moment……can change everything.

I know many of you prayed from Facebook. I can’t thank you enough. I believe God heard our cries.

I trust you, Lord. I do.