On April 5th my grandma joined my grandpa in heaven. This was heart-wrenching and merciful. Painful and relieving. Sad and joyful. Bittersweet.

Just a few weeks prior, my grandma had fallen and hit her head which landed her in the hospital. This was the beginning of test after test, each one revealing more bad news. After much pain and suffering, all she longed for was to go home. The Lord heard her prayer and answered. She is free.

I was thankful for the chance to fly to Las Vegas for the funeral service. I was even more thankful that my four other siblings were able to be there as well. The five of us hadn’t been together in four years and coordinating all of our schedules is always an obstacle. We were able to spend a total of 18 hours together and we made the most of it.

What a gift it was to be with all my cousins who I became reacquainted with at my grandma’s 80th birthday party last year and support my mom in such a difficult time. An unexpected gift was learning new things about my grandma through different people who shared at her service. Mary Coyle was a woman who had seen a lot, lived through much, loved red lipstick, and spent her last years praying for others. I’m grateful her suffering is over.

Grandpa, Grandma and me. 1977

All the ladies wearing red lipstick, in honor of Grandma


I have always loved looking at pictures. Back in my day (a phrase I never thought I’d use) I took a lot of pictures with a device that you couldn’t talk to people with or look up random facts on something called the internet. It was called a camera. This device contained something called film. Let me explain, for you young folks.

I got my first camera in junior high and took it with me on a trip to Disneyland with my show choir. As a side note, show choir was awesome. We were awesome because we didn’t have to sing those boring old choral arrangements, but jazzy numbers like “Puttin’ on the Ritz” and even the occasional pop song one might hear on the radio. We were also awesome because we had dance moves. Yep, jazz hands included. We were cool long before Glee came along.

Anyway…back to the camera. I took pictures on that trip of things that only our nerdy cool choir would appreciate. When I returned home I carefully pulled the used film out of my camera and waited anxiously for my parents to drive me to the drugstore where I could fill out the envelope, pop my film inside, and then wait. I waited for at least five days, which seemed like an eternity, to view all the crazy photos of my friends and me.

Anyone remember this? Remember when you had to choose wisely which shots to take so as not to waste your film? And then there was the pain-staking decision of whether or not to get doubles, because some of those pics would be too good to only have one copy.

Then someone came up with…get ready for it…one hour photo. This was a real game changer which brought about another tough decision. Is my lack of impatience so great that I am willing to fork over the extra cash so I can rip open that envelope and check out my photography skills? What will I do to kill time for that hour? Lord knows there were no portable devices to stare at, or Angry Birds to play.

These were the tough decisions we had to face back in 1986. That began my love of taking pictures. I won’t say photography because I see that as an art form. And what I do with a camera is definitely not art.. Although, with Instagram I am a bit of an artist.

I have three huge Rubbermaid containers filled with photo albums. I still love getting those out and looking at them. My kids will never know what it’s like to have to wait a week to see if you got a good shot in front of Disneyland, or if you were able to fit everyone in the frame. Now we have instant results. We can snap a hundred photos until we get the one we like. We can delete the ones that make us look pregnant, or like we have three chins. We don’t have to suffer the disappoint of paying to get film developed only to find out half the pictures were too dark to make out any faces.

We have it pretty easy in the photo department these days. I’m grateful. It is a little sad though, when your four-year-old hands you your phone and says, “Can you take a picture of me in this dress? You HAVE to put it on Instagram.” Yikes.

My first camera…kidding. It looked more like this…

I was a few years behind in the camera department.
PS. Michael Landon’s hair is fantastic.

Show Choir. Hot pink bowtie and cummerbund. I’m into it. 

Ghosts, tattles, and Easter

Something peculiar is going on around these parts. I find strategically placed socks stuffed down in the couch, books thrown on the floor, wadded up tissues strewn about the house, and at least 23 pairs of shoes spread out between the kitchen, living room, and TV room. There has got to be some ghosts who creep out in middle of the night/day/whenever, once no one is looking, and have their own party, trash the house, then vanish before they can be seen. This must be the case because not one person (under the age of 13) will take responsibility for all the crap I find laying around. I don’t know how these ghosts pull it off with out being seen, but it sure couldn’t be any of my four sweet-faced-perfectly-innocent children.

Pointing the finger, tattling, shifting blame. That’s what we’re all about here and it’s not pretty. I suppose it’s our nature to blame others and not want to take responsibility. Sin nature, to be exact. Let’s face it, from a kid’s perspective, it’s much more fun to get someone else in trouble rather than take the punishment yourself.

I speak from experience, being a first born-people pleaser who hates being wrong. I have done plenty of blaming. I even once made up a story about my brother breaking a pencil in half for no good reason at all when he had, in fact, accidentally kneeled on it and broke it. Why in the world would I do that? I begged him to take the punishment, which he vehemently refused. It didn’t end well, for me anyway. I’m a jerk sometimes.

On Easter morning Judah and Josie were sitting at the counter eating breakfast. Somehow (I know this will shock you) a fight broke out. Judah did something or said something which caused Josie to punch him. I only saw the punch. Judah, who has become quite the actor, looked at me in disbelief as his jaw dropped. Then, shaking his head he said something amazing.

“I can’t believe Josie already sinned on the actual day that Jesus rose from the dead.”

The nerve of her.

The rest of Easter was filled with fantastic food, family and friends, Easter egg hunts for young and old, and a little bit more sinning.

This went pretty well, although I should have specified shoes were included.

The kids are ready for the hunt
My sister picked out a cute Easter basket for Mila. Josie gets whatever bag Pa and Grandma have in the closet. I gave up on Easter baskets.


Grown up Easter egg hunt. Listening closely for the 7th step. I lost.
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