Friday, January 31, 2014


Grief is when you're little, and
Mom ties your scarf too tight
You're out in the cold, choking, but
can't come in, ever again

Grief is when the whole world
Suddenly turns black and white
Colorhues shades of grey

Grief is a hole, so
             N      S
          O     E    U
             R      O

You wonder if there's
anything left,
the outline
of where your heart 
used to be

Grief also surprises you,
sneaks attacks,
just when you think that
maybe today
I can hold it together
For just this moment

You can't,
because the hurt
so big, will never
heal enough
to “make it all ok”.

In loving memory of him. Forever in my heart.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Meet Tina's Terrific Team For The #atozchallenge 2014

 Please welcome this year's Tina's Terrific Team!

Here's a little sound bite about each of them so you can begin to get to know them. I'd ask a favor of you this week, though. Please go visit them and say “hi” and “Best of luck, I hear Tina is really bossy.”

Andrea was an amazing minion last year and has graciously agreed to subject herself to my impossible demands for a second year. I'm thrilled to have this spunky gal back. She blogs at Maybe It's Just Me which it's absolutely not. She reads my mind and is “you better not be trying to swallow right now” hysterical. Her angsty 80's music theme was a big hit last year. Can't wait to see what she's got for us this year!

Hilary Melton-Butcher is a tireless worker is returning for more tireless behind the scenes work. Her energy so well spent results in a beautiful blog about history and travel and tradition, and it's always a treat to read her Positive letters...inspirational stories... That kind of work ethic translates well into her role here. She's also a dear friend, and we've made the connections strong despite an ocean between us.

jenn griffin joins the team for the first time! Boy, she has no idea what she's gotten herself into, but she will soon. She blogs at QUIRKY PICKINGS where she's brutally honest, and amazingly adept with the turn of a phrase. Or in her own words, “smart. serious. snarky.” Her blogging name is“criticalcrass.” She hates capital letters...but will talk to you anyway :-) I adore her.  All that snark hides one of the kindest hearts I've met.

Jo has been reading my blog almost from the very beginning five years ago, and is just a delightful friend to have. We have a lot in common, and I'm thrilled she'll be mine this year as she is a veteran minion (and we mean that in the kindest, most movie-reference sort of way, by the way). I poached her from a non-returning co-host. She writes Jo on Food, My Travels, and a Scent of Chocolate from the heart, plus there's always a fabulously tempting recipe at the end. 

JoJo is another brave soul, back for a second year. We've become close through not just blogging but also facebook where we banter a lot. She's the queen of the craft project, which you'll see plenty of at Tahoma Beadworks and Photography. She an amazing photographer, too. She's funny, honest, and a great friend. 

Kate is another piece of fresh meat, I mean new team member who will soon know the meaning of late night blogging work. We met during last year's Challenge and have been blogging buddies ever since. Her blog, Another Clean Slate, is fun, varied, and always 100% honest. The positive attitude and grateful heart of this spunky chick from Boston will be a huge asset to our team.


It's not too late to become a minion for another co-host. Some of our new ones (and we have four newbies this year) don't know as many candidates, so please, if you're at all interested in working behind the scenes, go to Blogging from A to Z April Challenge  and volunteer.  That blog (which you should follow if you're participating) has all the details.

Thanks SO MUCH ladies for being brave and stepping behind the scenes off's an eye-opener, and the cast parties are always great!


P.S If you're not a Challenge participant, we'd still love your support and we made a special badge for you.

Monday, January 27, 2014

#atozchallenge Sign-Ups Are Officially Open! Meet Your Co-Hosts Too!

Please read and follow the sign-up instructions outlined below so you sign onto the list correctly!   

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out , the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.

We recommend short posts, turn off Word Verification, and visit five blogs (or more) a day beginning with the one after yours on the list.

To streamline legitimate blogs from advertisement blogs, the Co-Hosts will be visiting each blog on this list throughout the Challenge. Blogs on the list showing no activity once the Challenge starts will be removed.

There are categories for those looking for like-minded blogs. Select ONE category code and enter it after your blog’s title/name. The code applies to your blog, not your theme for the Challenge and is purely optional. However, if your blog has adult content, you MUST mark it (AC) or it will be removed from the list. Codes are as follows:

2. BOOKS: (BO)
3. FILM: (FM)
6. CRAFT: (CR)
7. ART: (AR)
8. MUSIC: (MU)
14. GAMING: (GA)
19. HUMOR: (HU)
20. TRAVEL: (TR)

Be sure to grab the badge and display it in your sidebar so we know you are participating and link to the 
A to Z Blog.  

For more information we recommend you follow the A to Z Challenge Blog and the hosts:

Arlee Bird @ Tossing it Out 
Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh 
Tina @ Life is Good
Damyanti@ Amlokiblogs 
Jeremy @ Being Retro 
Nicole Ayers - The Madlab Post 

We also have a Facebook page, 
email address is,
and the Twitter hashtag is #AtoZChallenge.

Sign up below and join us for a month of alphabet fun!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Big Thanks To My Readers

I want to thank all of you who prayed, sent your thoughts and good wishes and did what your faith (or not) calls for in a situation like this.  Your personal emails touched me and brought me much comfort. This is truly a supporting community and I thank you for making it that way.

Home feels so good.  I know I was needed where I was, but it was a difficult time - one of the most difficult times of my life.  So much grief, so many ways of expressing it.  So many personalities, so much conflict.  I will unfortunately not be writing about any of it at the request of those involved.

I just wanted to send you this quick note to wrap up the blogging part of the crisis we went through because tomorrow it's off to the races full speed, and what I'm talking about today wouldn't be appropriate tomorrow, nor is what happens tomorrow appropriate to talk about here.  Yes, that's cryptic.  Sorry.

Just come back tomorrow, as early as you can, and you'll instantly know what season has begun.

With much love and gratitude to all of you wonderful folks,

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Good News

I'm still on hiatus, but wanted to let you know she survived, against all odds.  Praise God!  Thanks for your prayers, thoughts, and love.


Sunday, January 12, 2014


Hello Friends,
Due to a sudden death in the family, Life is Good will be on hiatus.  I don't know how long I will be out of town.  Please pray for the other family member still in critical condition.  Please pray for us all as we deal with the grief and stress of this situation.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Check Your Lug Nuts, Trust Me

We drive Volvos. Old Volvos. You can get them for what ONE car payment would be if you shop carefully. For example, The Transporter's car, a 1991 red, stick, sedan (exactly what he wanted) cost $20 more than OYT's hobby grade RC truck.

However, old Volvos do need maintenance. No problem. The Engineer has been working on cars since he was 15. The Transporter has inherited the love of and aptitude for this, from both sides of the family. You might recall that The Swede worked for Volvo, and is an expert mechanic. The Transporter got that gene from my Dad! (Not from me, it skipped a generation.) Between the three of them, “we” (I sometimes bring them paper towels) can do just about anything.

My car, a 1994 wagon, 940 model, which was their most luxurious version, is the newest in our fleet. As in year of manufacture, I mean. She started to make a strange noise which The Transporter was the first to notice. I try to pay attention, but I wasn't this time. The noise got louder. I told The Engineer. He said he'd look at it. You know how busy he is. Another week went by.

That noise is really getting bad, honey. Will you check it out? I think it's my brakes and so does Jake.”

Before he had time to do that though, I was on my way to a store I detest but needed a gift card for a birthday party and OYT's friend's mother had suggested this store. It has weird people...

I was driving on a 65 mph highway, and the noise was now just ridiculously loud. I pulled into the turn lane for the store, and at a reasonable speed, turned right. 

You all know vectors, right? (Math in everyday life, Andrew Leon of StrangePegs!) Car traveling east, then car traveling south, wheel goes? Into the landscaping at a 45 degree angle. THE WHEEL FELL OFF MY CAR. I'm turning the corner, clunk I'm stopped in my tracks (well, not immediately, but I sure left some tracks) watching my wheel roll off into the parking lot's bushes and trees. It does stop. Eventually.

So apparently the noise was the lug nuts loosening, causing the wheel to wobble, causing more loosening, louder noise, until that one last nut said, “I'm outta here. I'm sick of holding this thing on all by myself!”

What do I do? What any girl who just lost her WHEEL would do. I call The Engineer. He says, oops, guess I should have paid closer attention, call a tow truck, see you tonight. How do I respond? Total nervous breakdown. I'm seeing that wheel coming off while I was still on that highway, causing a major pile up, me stopping dead causing me to be rear ended causing a chain reaction and it's all one big, huge mess and I'm in the hospital with something broken. I have a good imagination. It's writer thing...

Oh, do you want me to come help you?”
He comes to the rescue. I'm calm enough to go buy gift card. He's sane enough to send me home in his car and wait for the tow truck.

She's still sitting in the driveway. All the parts have finally arrived, but we're having trouble finding snow tires. You know, not for full price...

Can you beat that with a car story? I'd love to have you try.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

IWSG: I Sold My First Story!

I have exciting news this month. Sorry for the repeat for my awesome regular readers, but I really want those who are new to Life is Good to know this. Persistent blogging and making real connections in the blogging community is valuable. I sold my first story!

Yes, I have already published my first story, in 2012. You can read about that here on the April A-Z Challenge blog. However, in MY vocabulary, here's how I define my writing path:

  • WRITER: A person whose passion is writing, must find an outlet for that passion, and writes whenever possible
  • AUTHOR, STEP 1: A person who has his or her work published (in whatever format – it's out there for the public to consume) and IT isn't on their own blog, if they have one
  • AUTHOR STEP 2: A person who has received monetary compensation for publication

That's the step I'm on! I haven't defined the rest of the steps. I'm a pantser with this as well. However, I feel that I've made another leap towards my ultimate goal (which may have more steps to it than I think) of publishing a novel.

This is how I ended up published for money. I've made friends with the awesome Andrew Leon of Strange Pegs
(you must read his blog, it's so good, so varied, and always sparks discussion in the comments.) Through Andrew's comments, I met another amusing blogger, Briane Pagel, who has a lot of blogs. I started to read and make friends with him.

Briane decided, and these are his words, “to start a publishing empire”, and began soliciting stories for his online magazine called “lit”. I submitted mine for consideration, and get this. HE LIKED IT. Those were his words: I like it. 

You know how wonderful it is to hear those words, and not from your mom (I love you mom!) or a relative or friend who is pretty much obligated to praise you, but from someone STARTING A PUBLISHING EMPIRE and wants to give you cash moneys for your story!

So here's my story, if you care to read it. He labeled it eerie speculative fiction. I was just thinking creepy Twilight Zone, but I guess that's not a real genre...

So my point? Make friends out there. Of course, if you'd like to join Briane's publishing empire, directions for submitting stories (and almost ridiculously meticulous legal stuff is outlined at length, but then again, he IS a lawyer, so what do you expect) in tabs at the magazine. Lit. It's where it's at. It's where I sold my first story!


Alex “Ninja Captain” Cavanaugh  is our leader for this wonderful, supportive group. Don't forget we even have our own website now.  Be sure to check it out if you haven't already, and "like" our facebook page, too. I'm so impressed with what these talented folks are doing to promote this group! Encouragement month long is now just a click away! 

Monday, January 6, 2014

I'd Rather You Break Up With Me via Text Than at The Mall

Except it was 1981 and cell phones were still a bit away.

His name (not really) was Jim Kirk, and he was my first real boyfriend, as in I kissed him. I kissed him a lot. He was a terrible kisser, but of course I didn't know that, not having had much of that experience before.

I liked him because his name sounded Swedish (um, that would be the real name) and he looked Swedish, and he liked me. It was kinda nice to be liked. I was very used to being the sorta picked on nerdy girl with the glasses, the math, the band, the GT classes.

Don't take me wrong, I really enjoyed middle school, but that was because of Project Expand (the GT thing) and the life-long friends I made. Like Smooshie. You can read about her in my last A-Z Challenge post from last year.

We'd been dating about three months when I got what I call my sinking feeling about a guy. I was to experience this many more times, but this was my first, so it took me a while to recognize it and act. I think it takes me three months to get to know a boyfriend, and then comes that feeling, and it's on to the next. I was a serial dater.

So it's Christmas, and we've gotten to my absolute favorite part which is when my Amazing Aunt Risky and my uncle and Grandma Vivian are at our house for present opening. Sacred time. Fun rituals. FAMILY time.

There's a knock at the door. Jim has dressed up in a suit (but the stupid crew cut he got still looks stupid and he was wearing a pink shirt and pink tie and man was I done with him) to come over to see me for Christmas, for a surprise. I tell him it's not a good time, it's family time, and I'll see him later.

The Swede, the one with the manners, invites him in, welcomes him warmly, introduces him to everyone who welcome him warmly and wink at me. (And I swear Aunt Risky agreed with me about the pink shirt and tie, though we never discussed it.)

I hold back the tears, and proceed to pretend to enjoy my ruined Christmas tradition. He leaves soon after wards. I get a lecture (well-deserved) from The Swede about my manners. I sulk.

Three days later I break my left wrist (that would be my now “good” wrist, the one that isn't fused.) I'm in horrid pain, my cast is too tight because they just slapped it on me in the ER, temporarily, until I could see my orthopedic specialist (yes, I had my own, remember the broken hip?) who would assess the situation. He was on vacation.

Jim invites me to THE MALL which is about ½ hour away. I've been wanting to go there for a long time. I consider the pain. I consider the mall. I consider that I no longer even like Jim. I go to the mall. (I am no longer a shopper – perhaps this was the beginning.)

We've been there 5 minutes when he breaks up with me on the escalator. “You're just not mature enough for a boyfriend.” Probably quite accurate. But why drag me out on this long outing, when I'm in hideous pain, and break up at the beginning? Was it to torture me? I was relieved to be rid of him, but man, I was mad about the dragging me away from my propped up arm and my good book.

I wish he'd had a cell phone and just texted me, “I'm breaking up with you.” I think that would have suited me just fine.

Do you have an interesting break-up story?


Friday, January 3, 2014

The Battle of the Budget

A big thank you to all of you who went to “lit” and read and commented on my story. I appreciate your time and your feedback! I will be a little slow in return visits. Life is Good but Insanely Busy right now.


How do you do your budget? Do you use software? Do you do it the old-fashioned way on paper? Are you somewhere in between and use a spreadsheet? The Engineer and I are in the agonizing process of making our budget for 2014. So far, we're both alive, and talking to each other and had a wonderful, belated “30th Anniversary of our fist date” dinner last night. However, I feel like I've been doing nothing but budget stuff for two weeks.

Of course that's not true. There have been plenty of other activities, you know, last week being what it was, plus we had two other major events.  It just feels like it's been parties, grocery store, food for parties, or BUDGET.

We are terrible at following through on our budget.  We've taken the highly recommend Financial Peace University class TWICE (were small discussion group leaders the second time) and have tried over the years to follow Dave Ramsey's principles of naming each dollar before it comes in, and not spending more dollars than you have.

No, you can't have that dollar for Home Depot. It says groceries on it!”

We have been...sporadic and not very successful, especially as of late. So back to the drawing board. The difference this time is that The Engineer has been beside me every step of the way. As a mathematician and former office manager who did accounts payable, account receivable, and payroll, along with our family's taxes, I've usually been the one tasked with the...onerous task. However, having him beside me, seeing in black and white (and of course RED) what we're really up against with some of our recent challenges has been SO GOOD.

I've of course “shown my work” before, but he's been pretty much Chevy Chase at the Grand Canyon about it, and then wondered where all the money was at the end of the month. No more. He's fully awake and aware and together we are trying to come up with a solution to what seems impossible to balance.

I'm asking seriously here, how do you handle the budget in your family? Any advice is welcome. Or maybe you have so much money that it doesn't matter where it goes, there's always more. I've dreamed of one day being there. I'd buy a big sailboat...


I know this isn't in English, couldn't find one...but the point is he glances at it for .8 nanoseconds...

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Contentment: My Word for the Year (yes, again...)

This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

This is also the year which the LORD has made. I'm going to focus on contentment as my word for the year. It was my word last year too. I did a horrible job. Therefore, I've given my self a “redo” of the assignment to see if I can get a better grade.

Have you chosen a word to focus on this year? Many people, not just bloggers, are doing this. You can go back to “A Word to Savor”, from 2010, the first year I did this, for links to hints and encouragement and a thorough explanation.  (You can also see how much my blogging has improved since then.  Actually cracked me up to see how far I've come...)