'Be anxious for nothing..." ~Philippians 4:6

Monday, March 19, 2018


I've been a very happy Shutterfly customer ever since I ordered my first color print in the late 90's. 
I've always loved coffee table books, and years ago I wondered if I could make my own using jpeg files of my paintings, drawings and digital art. (Who said the site was strictly for reprinting family photos?)
I've been pleased with the printing quality of the products I've purchased, and my art files have been safely archived on the site (in chronological order) just as the company promised. I don't know where a lot of the original art has gone to, but I'm glad to have the files.

 Shutterfly has also been a part of my caregiver journey.
A frequent piece of advice I always got from other caregivers was not just to dust off or find a creative outlet, but to make time for it. There has always been something relaxing about designing photobooks, particularly at the end of a hectic day--even if I don't purchase them.  I must admit, rarely can I design a book and limit myself to the standard 20 pages. The 12x12 books that I prefer could be a bit pricey if not for coupons and promo codes!

I'd been photographing my late father for a little over a decade, as well as keeping a journal. I decided to combine the photos and poetry in a photobook. My favorite photobook style is called "Modern Black". It provides a perfect background for the images and the 12 or 14pt., white Avant garde demi book typeface I always seem to choose.  
Several months ago, I designed and ordered a single 8x8 book. (Yes. I made use of a promo code I received in the mail as well as the free shipping offer.)

Yesterday, I designed two 10x10 books: one, an updated version of the 8x8 book of photographs and poetry (I like the text templates. They make it easy to copy and paste from Word documents.), and the other of selected art I've created over a period of 20 years. I thought I'd just view the books online via the Shutterfly slideshow. I added so many pages the total exceeded $200.00. I have difficulty leaving out images I like and many simply look better alone on a page or in a spread. Before I knew it, one book had 100 pages, and the other had108.

There's always some kind of deal offered on the Shutterfly website, facebook, twitter, or retailmenot.com. If you download the Shutterfly app for your smartphone, you'll find there are give-a-ways each month. I was happy to learn yesterday that by using the code MOREPAGES the 88 extra pages in my books were free! In addition to that deep discount, I used the code FORTY4U at checkout and got an additional 40% deducted from the total cost. A book that would have cost me $233.91 plus shipping, was only $40.98. 
I don't know how long the offer will last, so I didn't sleep on it. 
If you like making photobooks, (and can't manage to stick to 20 pages like me) you shouldn't either...: )


Thursday, March 15, 2018


Someone had a bright idea
To which they said, “Get outta here!”
Why do some seem to still believe
The best is not what the young need?
Why should they fear the very space
Where education should take place?

In leaders they find no ally
So to the streets they take their cry
Don’t get it twisted, they mean business
Matters not that they are young
They’ll tolerate nor contemplate
The barrel of a teacher’s gun

What was the payoff for the choice
To have a condescending voice?
Who pocketed the tainted cash
But didn’t think there’d be backlash?
And why expect consent and peace
Ignoring what they all believe
Then punish them for being bold;
Refusing to do what they’re told
Refusing to be put upon
As paid voices drone on and on?

This generation isn’t us
We weren’t allowed to make a fuss
We had to be good and polite
And keep our true thoughts out of sight
Just sit in silence, bow and smile;
Force ire and shame to reconcile
Not making waves was one more way
To make sure we would all be safe
By day-- sing, tap dance, shuffle, kneel
By night-- scream how we really feel
The years of words I could not say
Caused my pride for those kids today

The response to a cunning ruse
The answer to a shady deal
A sure way to know how they feel
Go--try to con them if you choose
Ignore them on the evening news
Perhaps, until the right one’s hurt
Demands, the children must assert

These days, the young ones use their minds
They challenge power all the time
Especially when power’s weak
And can’t abide the truth they speak
They can’t be bought; their eyes do see
When elders lack integrity
Think you’ll fool them, if you choose
It’s their respect you’ll surely lose
VRW © 2018

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


My mother was not a fan of closing doors to hide disarray. She was a fan of a clean room. If what was behind the door was tidy, there was no need to feel shame or embarrassment; no need to have to hurry and straighten up to avoid judgment, or be exposed as a slob, because there was nothing to hide. There was no stuffing things into closets, drawers, or under beds just to get it out of sight. If the door was closed, however, it was because privacy was needed. You were dressing; getting ready; you weren't "decent". Access required knocking, and under those circumstances, boundaries were respected. Access was granted once again when you were presentable, and then, the door remained open. She always said, "Never leave looking better than where you came from". 

Some doors, however had to be closed. The refrigerator and freezer doors couldn't remain open. Access was timed. You couldn't just stand there and scan the contents indefinitely. You'd hear, "Decide what you want and close the door!" There were perishables behind those doors that needed a certain temperature to be preserved. Leaving the door open was a hazard. 

The screen door couldn't remain open. No matter how many times we went in and out, we had to make sure that door closed behind us. It's purpose was to allow fresh air to come in--not flies, birds or stray cats or dogs. Allowing a fly to come in made work for you. It was an interruption of whatever you had been doing. You had to find the swatter or newspaper--or something. Flies are slimy, contaminating, annoying creatures that destroyed the enjoyment of a good meal. You knew that because you'd had experience. Flies had to go...or die...but if you hadn't left that door open, it wouldn't have gotten in in the first place.

The car door had to be closed. A warning light would appear if a door was ajar. A draft would be felt. You'd hear the flapping of a belt that had been caught in the door. Although the vehicle could operate if a door was open, it simply wasn't a safe thing to do. A door suddenly swinging open was an accident waiting to happen. It didn't just affect the passenger sitting next to it, but the driver, other passengers and any other vehicles and their occupants that happened to be nearby.

Leaving doors open meant easy access, and although an open door is desired in some cases, it's problematic in others. Once you learn where issues, breaches, and dangers lie, monitoring doors becomes vital. The door to your hearing, sight, self-worth; the door to your heart and mind need not swing open all willy-nilly. Everything and everyone doesn't need or deserve access, particularly if they (or it) have proven to be purveyors of drama, trouble, strife, or disease.

Sometimes, closing metaphorical doors has been erroneously likened to the inability or unwillingness to forgive. It's a tactic and philosophy of the manipulative, opportunistic, and cunning. You can actually be quite forgiving without being gullible. You know what entered when you relaxed your discernment, were careless, or naive before. So, you learn the lessons you need to, and become more diligent about what gains access in the future. You are mindful of what you allow.
Some doors not only need closing, they need to be sealed...barricaded...and surrounded by a moat...with a dragon...the fire-breathing variety.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018


All those wishes to start over
I lay aside today
If I changed even one thing
Who says that I would be okay?
Who says things would be better
If I went back to square one?
Who says I won’t be frowning--drowning
When the day is done?

I just have to be more grateful
For the way that things turned out
And trust that the great God I know
Knows what my life's all about
And that he’s guiding my steps and
Planning every lesson taught
So I go to my mind and
Kick out those doubtful thoughts I thought

That discouragement that caused me
To fear and feel alone
I should know by now—shame if I don’t
My life is not my own
No need to seek a reward or appreciation, so
I put one foot in front of the other
And will myself to go
And I won’t fear what’s outside
                                  I have not one regret                                  
I wanna see how things play out
'Cause it’s not over yet

I won’t turn back
I won’t give up
I won’t quit
I won’t sit down
In spite of everything that’s happened
No, I won’t turn around

It’s really all been worth it
And I see more signs today
That I’m safe and I’m secure--
Stronger, smarter now
I’m safe

VRW ©2018


"...the people became impatient because of the journey." ~Numbers 21:4b

"It's a painful thing to be doubted; your integrity disrespected...Have you ever been working hard to please somebody that's never satisfied? No matter what you do, it's never enough? They look past everything you did and find something wrong?...Sometimes, when people disrespect your best effort it makes you angry..."~T.D. Jakes

"There is an old saying that one shouldn't try to defend oneself against slander; your enemies won't believe you anyway, and your friends don't need to hear your defense." ~Nicholas DiFonzo

“Respect has gone out of style…It’s good to have respect. It’s good to have honor…I don’t talk to God just any kind of way. I don’t talk to old folk just any kind of way…Honor doesn’t mean that I always agree with you. It’s doesn’t mean that you’re perfect. It doesn’t mean that you’re always right. It just means I’m respecting what I’m becoming…I respect age ‘cause I’m aging…" ~T.D. Jakes

"It’s nearly impossible to harbor evil thoughts or to backbite against someone we are praying for." ~Frank Myrland

"…I bet you at least 50% of the troubles you have gone through in your life have come as a result of things that have come out of your mouth.  When are we gonna learn that once you say something, you can’t take it back? When are we gonna learn to shut our mouths? The power of life and death is in the tongue…I want that to sink in…We’re killing our marriages with our mouth; we’re killing our children with our mouth; we kill our ministries with our mouth; we kill our careers with our mouth; we lose our jobs with our mouth, we fall out with people that God sent in our lives to bless us-- with our mouth; God opens doors that we close with our mouth…the first thing that we’ve gotta learn to do is shut up…You have been snared with the words of your mouth. If you would shut your mouth, the devil wouldn’t have anything to work with!…Why do we bark everybody away, and then cry because they’re gone? You’re killing yourself. Shut your mouth!….If your mouth got you in trouble, it’s gonna take your mouth to get you out…Don’t let your mouth get so arrogant that you can’t change…If you’re bold enough that you just got to keep it real, well, keep it real when you’re wrong Keeping it real don’t work just ‘cause you flip out on me. Keeping it real is when you flip out on yourself and say, “I have been running my mouth, and I am sorry…" ~T.D. Jakes

"So what do you do when a friend or respected colleague asks you for private information she knows you possess? It’s a perfect opportunity to speak your truth: “Asking me for that information puts me in an awkward position, as you’re someone I respect and care about. Yet, sharing this information makes me uncomfortable, as I need to keep my word to keep it confidential. I hope you respect that if you asked me to keep something private, I would honor your request as well.” Your ability to protect confidential information increases the trust others place in you..." ~Colette Carlson

"…You’ve got to be a big person to be a leader. See, because if you’re not careful, you’ll get bitter over what they did to you, and then when it’s time to pray for them you’ll be saying, “Bite ‘em again, Lord!…get his other foot!...I hope he bites you in your eye...!"...’cause you’re human.  Just because you’re right, doesn’t give you the right to be evil…You’ve got to open your heart, and open your spirit and pray for the very person who tried to sabotage your life…You’ve been bitten, but you’ve not been beaten…Get that out of your head…God’s got something for you to do…Let Hell know you’re alive! Let the devil know you’re alive!...The very thing that bit you, is the very thing that God is going to use to heal you…Your ministry is made out of your misery…God will take the thing that was working against you and use it to work for you to the point that you will say, “It was good that I was afflicted…It was good that I went through that test…The only thing that He needs from you is that you change your outlook…God’s going to use that thing that bit you to bless you…If you’ve been bitten, you oughta get happy...You’re gonna get it done, because you’re back to looking at HIM...”~T.D. Jakes

"Think before you speak. Before you repeat something you’ve heard about another person, think: Does this really do any good for me to spread this information, or am I just trying to be in the know? Is the information even true? Could I be hurting someone by telling this, even if it’s true? 
If the person you are talking to is not part of the problem, or part of the solution, there’s no need to tell them anything." ~Dawson McAllister


Monday, March 5, 2018


Happy 59th Wedding Anniversary Mom and Dad. Rest in Peace.
Love you.


"...There are certain things that are only revealed to those who serve. It's amazing. You're stronger than you think you are, but the strength doesn't come until you're serving; while you're doing it; while you're giving it...Things that you thought you couldn't take--you could take it; things that you thought would break you, don't break you; things you thought you couldn't put up with, you can put up with it, but you never find out what you've got-- you never know how gifted you are 'til you serve.
You never know what you can do 'til somebody needs you; you never know what's down inside of you until a situation calls on it...You never know it ‘til you serve, so all of you who come and watch? You miss the power of what happens when you serve. When you serve, sometimes, God will fix your situation, just for your service..."
~T.D. Jakes