Deuce and a half…..

19621068_10209605447468710_9081413583903760447_oI am going to share a story, a life that was shared by one of my daughter’s coworkers.  Now, I am going to try my best to stay unbiased.  I know this story did not hit the national news, it has no real sensationalism to it.   Maybe, just maybe, if more stories like this did make national news a bigger picture would come to light.

This happened on a base in Texas, after the Florida School Shooting.  A mother struggling with depression, made worse by post-pardom, chooses inpatient care.  Her husband, not too long out of rehab for his own demons knows that the stress of his wife’s inpatient care and the care of a 3 year old daughter could at this point send him seeking answers in the bottom of the bottle again.  The two decide to entrust  the sister and brother-in-law, with the help of the grandparents of this precious little girl.  Both parents acknowledge and sought help for their issues and had family to support them.

The child’s Aunt is retired military, wounded in battle, and working a civilian job.  The Uncle is still currently enlisted, having just returned from overseas.  He still works on base and they use base daycare for their niece.  He is a medic.

Here is the point another enlisted man comes into play.  He is driving a deuce and a half truck at 70 miles per hour when he collided with the vehicle driven by the Uncle with the child in her carseat.  The Uncle suffers 12 broken ribs and a broken collarbone, the child’s carseat failed and she suffered broken ribs and a fractured skull.

My daughter’s coworker returned to work yesterday, she is the precious girls Aunt, the sister to the child’s mother, and the wife to the uncle driving the car.  Sadly, the little girl succumbed to her injuries, her mother committed suicide, her father is on suicide watch.  The uncle is battling with survivors guilt, he feels as a medic he should have done more to help the child.  A family devastated and why?

Back to the driver of the deuce and a half.  Enlisted, driving 70 miles per hour while running from the MPs.  During the investigation, it is brought to light that he was on his way to drive the deuce and a half through the pediatric ward.  Searching his housing, they find many desecrated animals and more proof of his intentions.

Now his weapon of choice was a deuce and a half truck, not any form of fire arm.  I fear it isn’t the person’s choice of the weapon they use but it is instead the mind and heart of the person.

Jewelry off

It is a rare thing for me to take these two pieces of jewelry off.  The ring is my dad’s wedding band that lives on my left thumb and the cross was given to my mother on her deathbed by her sisters, the gold chain was a gift from my mother in law.

These people have blessed my life beyond measure, have taught me many life lessons, and filled my heart to overflowing with a great love.  As I stood there looking down on the bathroom counter, I was moved to tears.

You see there is a tiny chain of gold and a ring, representing the circle of life.  A love never ending and quite unbroken.  The tiny cross laying against the marble counter, reminding me of faith, hope, and believing in the unknown that each day brings, solid in those beliefs like the marble it lays upon.  Each piece given to me out of love by family, blood or choice.  Reminds me that family is just that, love.  It doesn’t matter how they became family, by blood, by marriage, or by choice each one of them bless our lives in such an amazing way.  Life is a chain of events, links of memories, as precious as the gold that creates them.


Laughter from above.

Moved to Austin in July 2015, I can’t say it has been all I dreamed, thought, or even hope it would be but there have been some upsides.  I guess the most surprising is in my physical self.  Dad told me once to quit worrying about my weight, there would come a time my metabolism would change.  I remember laughing and telling him that wasn’t how metabolism worked.  I told him the older you get the wider you got, thus the middle-aged spread.  He laughed.  

September 2015.    Topping the scales at nearly 400 pounds.

August 2017.  Topping the scales at just above 200.

The kids still laugh when I come home with new clothes that I have to return because they try to fall off, I still look at some place I have to squeeze through and think, “too big to fit” but could actually walk through it without squeezing.

Okay Daddy, that laughter I hear from above can stop, you were right.  Even out metabolism is abnormal.  

The Garden Fade

There is a garden on the patio,  it struggled all summer to stay alive.  Planted where it didn’t belong but fighting for life it some how lived.  Producing very little, all energy put into existing.  Now, as fall begins in hours, the leaves are brown and stained.  Still struggling to be alive, struggling to be beautiful and productive, with every passing day she dies.  Is she really rooted some place wrong?  Is it she has wasted all her energy?  Is it the season has run it’s course and her time is over?


As the morning light begins, my heart yearns to fill a lens.

To find a place in nature there, to capture the beauty unaware.

To seek and find a place to roam

To let the wind rush through my hair, and across deep waters just a stare.

As the sun begins to rise, I want to fill my heart and not my eyes.

To capture the day one frame at a time leaving only the stress in nature behind.


Work in progress

I left the hospital the other day to find real food.  Stubbs bbq was about 3 blocks from the hospital and I have wanted to check it out ever since we moved to Austin.  I can remember going to Stubbs in Lubbock when Mr. Stubblefield was still alive and running the restaurant.   I learned to love this man.  From the tour of the kitchen, to sitting in the booth with him talking about cooking, or just enjoying listening to Joe Ely.  I have dear memories of Mr. Stubb.  

I found a parking spot in the employee parking lot and risked being towed as I headed off to find the front door. (About a block down the street)  The smell wafting through the air was true and beautiful Texas mesquite smoked bbq.  

I really don’t like bars, but as I stepped into the cool darkness of Stubbs, it was like being home.  The young bartender met me with a smile as I asked if they did carryout.  He said sure, grabbed a menu and seated me at the closest table.  For once, I was comfortable.  Comfortable in my own skin, in a bar, and most of all comfortable with the decisions looming before me.

Food in hand,  I walked back down the street to the pick-up.  (Grateful of not being towed.)  I walked by this car and a giggle escaped from deep inside somewhere.  At first my thought was, this city’s motto is “Keeping Austin Weird”  and wondered how that could be so easy.  The only glass is the front windshield, the rust holes are large, and what is up with that purplish color and new white stripes?!?  I giggled.   

As I got into the truck, I knew I had to take some pics of this ‘work in progress.  It dawns on me that this old car and I had so much in common.  This is a 68/69 Dodge Dart, we are close to the same age.  Life has not always been kind but I am sure this car has also seen some wonderful, happy times too.  She has been abused also but she runs well.  Now, even though she looks pretty rough, someone loves her enough to start working on her.  That gives me hope.

This crappy little old Dart, sitting in an employee parking lot touched my soul.  It was as if the Creator said pay attention.   Listen to me and I will help fix you too, you are a work in progress.

We are all a work in progress.  A rough, torn up shell that if we choose can be something better.  So many things have come to light in the past week as we were stuck in the hospital.  I am still trying to process it all, but I know it’s time to pit this old car back on the road.


Walking down the street, just a block or so from the River walk, a window captured my eye.  A single chandelier hung in the big plate glass windows on either side of an antique, wooden, glass filled door.  The room beyond was devoid of customers, only three employees dressed in black pants and white button down shirts.  The floor was still the tiny octagon shaped tiles in a multitude of colors that someone had brought back to a high shine from years and years of wear.  Years of cowboy boots and spiked heals scraping across the floor, of a heavy push broom and an old wringer mop picking up the Texas dirt.  The old wooden counter had been turned into a bar, the stain reapplied and varnished to a high gloss to shine under the chandeliers and shaded lamps.  Above the lights, the old tin ceiling tiles had been saved, the ones that were salvageable and the ones that were not, replaced with new in a random pattern.  Tables and chairs now dotted the floor where I imagined clothing racks or shelves with boots or shoes once stood.  
I let my imagination take me wandering as we walked on down the street.  Sitting at the shiny bar, dressed in a sexy black dress with patent leather heels on.  My diamonds sparkling in the dim light of the chandeliers.   Live music filling the air as I watch a small group of people dancing on the tile floor.  Drinks being served by the young men in black pants and white button down shirts.



Through the lens

A moment





A memory

To one set

Of eyes.

A glimpse by the shooter

Looking out,

A glimpse into a soul

By those looking 


Through the lens

A moment


Light in the darkness

Most people put a candle in the window this time of year, but do you know the origin?  The single lighted candle was put  in the window, often lit by the fire from the fireplace.  The fireplace was the source of warmth, of light, and the gathering place for family.  The candle was to invite others to share in this love.  During the Civil War, the candle was an invitation to soldiers to share in warmth, love, food, and shelter.

Through this holiday season, instead of a candle, I am lighting this oil lamp.  It lives on my patio table so it is seen from the street and sidewalk.  I  am lighting it every night to send the love of my heart and the warmth of my home out to others.  To the men and women protecting our country, the friends, family, and passing strangers, to the lost souls needing to know they are loved, and in memory of those that live on in my heart.  May the love of this season shine upon you and yours!  love you and blessings always.

Love and friendships

Once, when I was just a kid, I met a young couple just starting out.  High school sweethearts, but as I would later learn they were the epitome of soul mates.  Two souls that literally found their mate early in life.  Was life perfect?  No, but they always made the best out of it.  I don’t really remember how or even why they let me hang out with them, but let me tell you I was the one blessed.

Early on, I guess I was nine or ten, I thought these were the most beautiful people on the planet.  Lyndi was tiny, with long hair.  She has the most infectious laugh and a quirky sense of humor.  Ronnie had a dark complexion and the most amazing eyes I ever saw.  I would watch Lyndi brush her hair, put it in clips or a pony, then take the brush to what usually looked like a rag mop on my head.  Ever so gently she attacked each tangle until they were all gone.  Ronnie would come home and sit to tell us of his day before I would rush out the door headed home.  I loved to hear him talk, even as an adult there was a soothing, loving quality about his voice.  There was always a hug and love from them both before I went out the door…. always . 

I have so many beautiful memories of these two.  Bowling, the lake, and the movies, births, deaths,tragedies and successes.  Holding each of the kids, Dustin when he was tiny as Lyndi and I sat watching the junior high boys practice football.  He sat so quiet in my lap until he started giggling…..  diaper change time.  Yes, since I was holding him I had to change him.  Heather was about 9 when she got to meet Kristen for the first time.  She took her by the hand and I knew as long as she was with Heather she was fine.  Heather, from a tiny girl was going to mother the world, juse like her mom.  I walked up the aisle at my wedding praying we wouldn’t meet Ronda.  I was so worried about Lyndi, she was hugely pregnant with Ronda.  It would have been a blessing to meet the fireball of this trio that day, but all the little old folks might have freaked . Ronda has always been the wildlife of her parents so precious though.

Ronnie and Lyndi taught me so much through the years, to love family and friends regardless, to laugh and love through the good and the bad, to seek out beauty no matter how minuscule, and to hug often.  

Yes, I am so blessed.  I know without a doubt that Lyndi met Ronnie and Braxton on Friday with open arms and that she and Ronnie are blanketing the kids with so much love as the grieve this tragic loss.  

There are beautiful, perfect  angels in heaven today, there is an unfillable silence on this big blue marble.  I know so many hearts shattered Friday, mine included.