June Reflections


June is a difficult month to navigate.  It’s a month of great sorrow and rich joy.  It’s a time of remembering the people who’ve died over the years this month — my grandpa, Beth, a significant mentor, my dear friend, Amy, who died last June 19th, and my son, Baby Long Beach, who died nine years ago, a stillborn.

In contrast, it’s also a month of celebrating many anniversaries — my brother, Bryce and his wife, Shannon, my brother and sister-in-law, Tony and Sara, Auntie Chris and Uncle Don made 50 years this year!, and my own wedding, 18 years ago to my best friend and confidante, Dennis.

Added to this month was the grief of saying good-bye as my dear, dear friend and maid of honor packed her house to move back to her hometown of Sacramento.  I’m not sure I even know how to process that one.  Luckily, I have two more weeks with her at the end of July when she returns from vacation.

It’s like this, June requires an emotional flexibility I’m not sure I possess.  On some level, I’d rather pull the covers over my head or put my head in the sand or walk straight through it without passing Go, without allowing anything to stop my forward progress until July 1st arrives.  However, to do so, to escape, would remove me from touching good.  Escaping doesn’t just eliminate the hard or negative feelings, it also removes the good and the joyful.  When we escape, we don’t have the luxury of choosing what we’re escaping from.  Instead, we numb it all.

So, I make it through June with friend gatherings of remembrances, with prayers from myself and others, with journaling, with celebrating dinners, with confessions…to God, to others, and with sharing — entering into my emotions knowing that whatever they are – hard or easy, I’m not alone.  And I know that when I’m not alone, I can face whatever this life brings my way — in celebration or in pain.  I’m deeply grateful for my friends.  And for how deeply I feel my gratitude, I’m grateful for June.  “She” reminds me every year that my life would be severely lacking without them.

Photo Review:

The month started off with a trip to Julian with our friends, The Ekeys.  Here Eden, lil e, Zinnie and Mek remind us to stay cool while hiking through alpine meadows at 80 degrees.

IMG_4440The next weekend was spent in Laguna Beach — rough I know!  Eden found the perfect reading spot for the afternoon. IMG_4469 We happened to be at the beach when 1,000 of Tuna Crabs migrated up from Mexico.  I read in the news these wouldn’t die; they merely needed to wait until the tide came in to catch a ride once more.  IMG_4481While visiting my parents in Washington during the last part of June, we met this adorable puppy and her 10 siblings.IMG_4622 I honed my shooting skills.  Hoping to bring me home some venison this fall.  IMG_4634Also while in Washington, we hiked and fished one of our favorite lakes, Tiffany.  We made out with our next day’s lunch, Eastern Brooke trout. IMG_4652Quotes Worth Chewing On:

“What deadens us most to God’s presence within, I think, is the inner dialogue that we are engaged in within ourselves, the endless chatter of human thought.  I suspect that there is nothing more crucial to true spiritual comfort than being able from time to time to stop that chatter, including the chatter of spoken prayer.”  Frederick Buechner, Telling Secrets

“Silence helps us drop beneath the superficiality of our mental constructs to that place of the heart that is deeper in its reality than anything the mind can capture or express in words.  It is a place of longing and desire and reaching for that which we do not yet have.  In this wordless place the whole of our person turns itself toward God and waits to be addressed by God.  This kind of prayer is standing in the presence of God with the mind in the heart; that is, at the point of our being where there are no divisions or distinctions and where we are totally one.  There God’s spirit dwells and there the great encounter takes place.  There heart speaks to heart, because there we stand before the face of the Lord, all-seeing within us.”  — Ruth Haley Barton, Invitation to Solitude and Silence

“Jesus dismantled our notion of identity as solely tied to a group, social status, or role.  When He commanded us to love our enemy, He invited us into serious self-reflection about how we perceive our meaning and purpose in this world.  The Incarnation represents the ultimate example of crossing and collapsing boundaries.  Jesus crossed over into the natural world to form a bridge between Creator and created.  He calls us to do the same with those we might consider strangers or enemies, because we were once strangers ourselves.  This is not just to a call to those who identify themselves as Christian activists — it is a call to all who call themselves Christ followers…..The Gospel is offensive.  Not just because it calls people to a higher moral standard or challenges a secular worldview.  The Gospel offends because it confronts fortified structures of power and privilege.  It threatens those who receive societal benefit for belonging to a particular group and trims the cultural hedges of a domesticated suburban life.  The Gospel contests national, religious, and social identity.  It demands that we cross over the dividing wall of hostility to reconcile with those who might threaten our way of life and to call the stranger a “native among us.” — Robert Welsh in an untitled article written for Azusa Pacific University’s Alumni magazine adapted from Welsh, R. & Alexander, P. (2012). Exemplars of Godly Justice.  Peacemaking and justice-seeking in dangerous contexts.  PentecoStudies: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Research on the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, 11, 67-86.

“There’s a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.” — Steven Wright in The Best Joke Book (period): Hundreds of the Funniest, Silliest, Most Ridiculous Jokes Ever by William Donohue

IMG_4700The following three poems are from What Love Comes to: New and Selected Poems by Ruth Stone —


I must be serious, the widow thinks,
I must face reality.
This isn’t a temporary separation.
(Perhaps the widow’s must is expectation.)
Actually the widow thinks he may be
in another country in disguise –
that one day he will come back.
He was only fooling.
That was someone else that they buried.


The widow is told by a great seer
that fifty-two is a magic number.
She consults the muse.
“We must get into a higher gear,”
the muse whispers. “We must shift
out of this phase.”
“Just one more about shoes,”
the widow begs.
The muse shakes her head.
“No. We must get back to the real thing.
The blood and meat of the world.”
The muse took the widow in her arms.
“Now say it with me,” the muse said.
“Once and for all…he is forever dead.”


The human animal has turned a corner.
We no longer recognize one another.
I am the old species
but I must not weep. If I weep for myself
I am twice discarded.
“Don’t week,” says the old brain,
“listen – I have it all on video
at half the price.”

Songs on Repeat Mode:

I Shall Not Want by Audrey Assad

Counting on Love by Matt McAndrew

Hot Gates by Mumford and Sons

House Party by Sam Hunt

Break Up in a Small Town by Sam Hunt

Girl Crush by Little Big Town

Round and Round by 3 Doors Down

Books on My Nightstand:

The Best Joke Book (period): Hundreds of the Funniest, Silliest, Most Ridiculous Jokes Ever by William Donohue

Thirsty by Mary Oliver

An Invitation to Silence and Solitude by Ruth Haley Barton

The Best American Short Stores 2013 Edited by Elizabeth Strout

May Reflections

May is considered my bridge to summer where late nights don’t feel so late.  This year it was filled with fun and not-so-fun.  Not-so-fun in that we are all ready for school to be out, yet it’s not.  So we must still do homework, piano, guitar and have early bedtimes.  Fun because we had a socially active calendar.  Highlights were: dancing our feet sore at an 80s Prom hosted by our good friends, The Reams; hosting a TOMORROWLAND party because our good friend, Jeff Jensen, helped write and produce it; and attending one of the last Graces’ meeting with our dear friend, Shannon, who will be moving to Sacramento in two months.  It is a time of grieving as she’s the second member, of our 5 woman group, to leave in two years.  We lost our first member to brain cancer last June 19th.  We’ve been meeting for almost 16 years.

Photo Review:

Lovin’ Spring Flowers

IMG_1704Not quite as enjoyable but nonetheless important — 11 hours at the Hunter’s Safety Course…getting ready for hunting near Jackson Hole this September.IMG_1711 An amazing night — 80s Prom at the ReamsIMG_1720With it staying light later — this month brought with it a number of evening walks IMG_1740 IMG_1752 Watching TOMORROWLAND, co-written by our good friend, Jeff Jensen, with 50 of our friends.  If you haven’t, go!IMG_1755Tomorrowland Party!!! IMG_1767 IMG_1768 IMG_1779 IMG_1780Succulents in Bloom! IMG_1821A love anytime, though doesn’t help with my swimsuit preparation :(. IMG_1835May was a big gymnastics month for us. IMG_4237Quotes Worth Remembering:

“We read because we are looking to see what others are thinking, feeling, seeing; how they are acting out their frustrations, their happiness, their addictions; we see what we can learn.  How do people manage marriage and loss and illness and sex and parenting?  How do they do all this?  Often, the emotions that fill our inner lives are too large to make sense of; chaos and irrationality jump around inside us.  To enter the form of a story is to calm down, or excite ourselves, within a controlled space.”  Elizabeth Strout, The Best American Short Stores 2013

“I think this summer was also the period when I first struck on the idea of ambition, that I could be something in particular, rather than just myself in general.” p. 53, Michael Byers, In The Best American Short Stores 2013

“Love isn’t in the actual grab and heft of body when he comes out of school and runs into my arms, crying with glee.  No.  Love is the moment just as he comes out of the schoolhouse door, standing amid his friends, and searches for my eyes.  Love is in the second he sees me, and I see him, dressed in one of his outrageous outfits, bright startling coats, weird hats, drooping strange pants…” pg. 117 by David Means, The Best American Short Stores 2013

IMG_1652“Many children threaten at times to run away from home — this is the only thing that keeps many parents going.”  — Phyllis Diller, In The Best Joke Book (period)

Ted’s grandmother pulls him aside at his eighth birthday party and hands the boy a five-dollar bill.  “Here, this is a little something extra from Grandma.  But not a word of this to your brothers and sisters.”

The boy looks at the bill and responds, “If you want me to stay quiet, it’s going to cost you a lot more.”  — The Best Joke Book (period)

Songs on Repeat Mode:

Counting on Love by Matt McAndrew

Dream by Imagine Dragons

Believe by Mumford and Sons

Chains by Nick Jonas

At the Cross (Love Ran Red) by Chris Tomlin

The Hurt & The Healer by MercyMe

Books on My Nightstand:

The Best Joke Book (period): Hundreds of the Funniest, Silliest, Most Ridiculous Jokes Ever by William Donohue

What Love Comes to: New and Selected Poems by Ruth Stone

An Invitation to Silence and Solitude by Ruth Haley Barton

The Best American Short Stores 2013 Edited by Elizabeth Strout

Until next month…Blessings as you roll into summer!

Vegas, Baby, the Second Time


We spent part of our Christmas break in Vegas.  I definitely had a bit of trepidation before going…Vegas may have lots of kids’ attractions, but it isn’t exactly kid “eye-friendly” if you know what I mean.  Thankfully, it was one of the coldest weeks on record so we saw no one inappropriately dressed!  Divine intervention?  Perhaps, it definitely answered my prayers surrounding inappropriate flyers or attire but regardless, of divine or not, it definitely worked to keep all the body parts that should remain hidden in public, hidden in public.  Even the showgirls on the strip posing for photographs were wearing fur coats!  This mama bear was extremely happy!

I’ve gotten several requests to take you, the reader, through our kid-friendly vacay so here it is.


Day 1 — before we hit Las Vegas:  Hoover Dam and the Mike O’Callaghan and Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge

Hoover Dam We walked on the bridge…definitely felt a bit tingling, not for those afraid of heights.  This bridge is massive.  Then, we toured the dam informally in the museum/visitors center.  Since we were there at peak visitation, the wait was too long for us for their generator tours and such.     IMG_3681

Every day — Dennis cooked us a great breakfast in the room that lasted until mid-afternoon so we not only saved money, but saved calories for those who need saving.

Day 2:  Dennis and I bought the 3 for $57 deal (which was a choice of 6 different options).  First stop, Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat.  This place was fabulous for us.  Highlight — Lion roaring at us when were were only two arm lengths away.  You can see where my love is…no dolphin pictures (though they were cool) but here are some highlights from our visit.

Even though lions and large cats are nocturnal, many of the animals were active with the exception of the white tiger.

IMG_3694Aren’t these 9 month old cubs, fabulous?  There was a trainer in the cage playing ball with them.  I will say, the posters have them much smaller so lil e was greatly disappointed and said, these were the same as adult cats.  No amount of “look at how big their paws are, they still need to grow” changed his perspective.  IMG_3739 IMG_3753Shadow the Black Panther — the only name I noticed. Shadow the Black LeopardSome play?!  Again, we were super, super close and these lions roared at us.  We loved it! IMG_3787Since Dennis’ breakfast aren’t supernatural, we needed food mid-afternoon.  There is no better place to break bread, then Serendipity 3 at Caesar’s Palace.  A missed picture opportunity — their desserts.  You MUST, MUST save room.  R.I.D.I.C.U.L.O.U.S.   Serendipity 3Following lunch, we went into Caesar’s Palace for a free showing of the Fall of Atlantis.  An 11 minute show in front of a very cool aquarium.  Now this show, lil e loved, being in pictures like the one above, not so much) IMG_3838 IMG_3839Then we called it a day and watched FOOTBALL back at the room!  (Just so I’m not redundant, we watched football every night back at the room!)

Day 3:  Adventuredome all day (part of our package of 3 for $57) and Cirque Du Soleil

IMG_3843 IMG_3849 IMG_3868 IMG_3870Me after the roller coaster ride where even my part is confused.  Here, I’m imagining anything other than puking.  I went to the car and laid down for an hour Laser tag was my next ride choice.  IMG_3875 Frog Hopper…lil e went on it about 10 times.IMG_3898Cique Du Soleil Show.  We got a great family 4 pack deal and saw yet another fabulous show by them.  I’ve seen 3 of their shows and have never been disappointed. IMG_3916 IMG_3930 IMG_3932Day 4: Exploring the Strip — getting our daily walk on in

At the Cosmo — my next car…

IMG_3936The Bellagio is spectacular this time of year with their flower displays.  These polar bears are made of carnations.    IMG_3940These log cabins are made of chocolate logs, mini wheat roof, and variety of candy canes.  They took two people 4 weeks to make.IMG_3958IMG_3941This is the world’s largest chocolate fountain.  Forget Disneyland.  THIS is the happiest place on earth — Jean Phillipe PatisserieIMG_3983IMG_3984 And here are two examples of what made our stomachs and taste buds happy indeed. IMG_3979IMG_3978 This was New Year’s Eve, which we celebrated in our room after watching a Nathan Burton comedy show at Planet Hollywood AND the free rainstorm show (worth missing).  We all stayed up and enjoyed the fireworks coming up from Planet Hollywood.  Kids weren’t into going out in the freezing weather to catch the fireworks from anywhere else so we obliged, after all they were spectacular to us!

IMG_4002 IMG_3999Day 5 – Sleep in and spend the day watching football with good friends who happen to live in Summerlin (outskirts of Vegas).

Day 6 — Shark Reef in Mandalay Bay — FABULOUS (the last part of our 3 for $57)

WAIT — This isn’t a shark!!  Who said there would be something bigger and better?  A DRAGON!  He looks like he wants to eat me.

IMG_4007We love the Long Beach Aquarium but Shark Reef has a SIC shark reef.  There are a half dozen or so different kinds and it goes over and under you in parts, plus the mere size of the green sawfish combined with the teeth of the sand tiger shark makes it intimidating and almost scary — which is what it’s about really.IMG_4035 Now, this was a spectacular surprise, our nocturnal friend here was awake.  I stayed here while the rest of the family finished the exhibit about ten minutes just watching this beautiful Pacific Ocean Octopus.  This one is four years old, which is old age for an octopus.  In order to get food, it must solve puzzles, open boxes, etc. because Octopus’ are incredibly smart and in captivity, they still need to work for their food.  They are also little Houdinis so their tank is the only one that actually has a lock on it!  IMG_4036 IMG_4042 Love Lion Fish.IMG_4050 Day 7: Day Trip to Red Rock Canyon and Red Rock Casino

We started the day with a buffet, actually the only one of the trip.  Before touring the beautiful hotel in the Red Rock Casino.  We’ve already determined we’re staying here next time.  They have a 60 lane bowling alley, a Kid’s Klub, and an arcade.  Also, should we want to gamble, they even have some smoke-free slots.  A real treat in Vegas.

Here is the beautiful lobby chandelier.IMG_4064 A view from the $3000 a night room we will be getting next time.  (Or not) IMG_4065Our second choice suite — $750 a night IMG_4068 My favorite part of Red Rock Canyon besides the red rock itself were the tortoise crossing signs. (Which sadly I failed to get a picture of)IMG_4080 IMG_4102 IMG_4103 Temperatures were a bit chilly — froze the waterfall.  IMG_4174 We did see some wild burros which were too far away to get pictures of but other than that, all the animals were probably around a big bonfire trying to stay warm.

And that’s our trip to Vegas!  We had a blast, which delivered nothing in the way of personality change (see lil e) but delivered laughter and goodness to our souls.

And in the words of lil e, “When I get to play technology, then I sleep better,” the drive was a piece of cake thanks to Tablets and motion sickness armbands.


My Weekend in Sin City

It’s been 15 years since I’ve been to Sin City and I confess when I left, I had no desire to return.  Smoke-filled casinos, R-rated fliers scattered on sidewalks, scantily clad women, and an environment of gluttony and excess were the memories I didn’t feel like I needed to make again.  Fast forward to last year, when we drove thru on our way to Idaho, the significant changes visible from the freeway piqued my interest and my “never to return” turned in to “maybe return.”  Fast forward even farther to this summer when Cirque Du Soleil ended their shows in LA before I saw it (sadly) and evenings were filled with family poker tournaments and Vegas seemed like a logical and easy choice to celebrate “My Man’s” birthday.

I’m a huge fan of Cirque Du Soleil.  I love the performers’ fierceness, athletic prowess and sometimes just downright stupidity (at least for a scaredy-cat like me).  So it was on the top of my list to convince My Man, aka Dennis, he wanted to see a show. (Birthday weekend = it’s all about me, all the time).  Convincing became a reality when Phil, a high school best friend, now Las Vegas resident, got us tickets at 50% off.  Saturday night, we hit the MGM Grand, a bit on the running side because getting to things on the strip take longer than expected.  Not to mention, we were on a tight schedule having eaten dinner with Phil and his wife, Angela, at the BEST Mexican restaurant I’ve ever eaten at located right next to a Gentleman’s club, which is a story probably best left untold on this blog, called El Dorado Cantina.  Seriously, I could write an entire blog on the flan (but I’ll spare you), which was by far the most incredible tasting dessert I’ve ever tasted, which is his mother’s recipe straight from Mexico City.  I know because the chef told us directly.  When he visited our table.  And left his card.  And paid for our flan.  On the house.  Just because.

We saw KA.  Good show with an amazing stage.  And the strength (and again the stupidity) of some of the performers…Indescribable.  This picture shows you nothing of what I’ve just written, only proves I actually went inside.


This picture shows you but you can’t see it.  Unless you are an owl.


I did have one minor issue.  You can imagine my surprise when the dragon never showed up on stage.  After all, he was there to greet us when we went in.


This story would be incomplete if I didn’t go off about the Vegas band scene. Let me say I love Imagine Dragons.  And I love them enough to have looked up their story to know they were from Vegas and had gotten a lot of playing time at local venues.  This made me curious about the music scene since I saw none of that when I was there 15 years ago.  Well we stayed by the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (notice I didn’t say IN) and knew immediately the scene at our hotel and casino was lame (for us) so we wandered over there to see what was there.  We were not disappointed.  We got to lose our money while we listened to the most incredible cover band whose name I cannot remember for the life of me but it started with Ghost and ended with ? and they opened for the Last Internationale, a band who played for Letterman earlier that week.  (Sadly we were too old to stay awake until they played at 11:30 pm.)  At any rate, this band was talented, funny, and played such a wide range of music, (Luke Bryant, U2, Imagine Dragons, and mainstream pop) that all my loved music genres were satisfied.  It was definitely a weekend highlight.

I have to say, Vegas won me over.  Now, I’m not saying I will be going every month or even every year, but it truly felt like a getaway.  Now maybe shacking up in a Motel 6 down the street would’ve felt like a getaway because we didn’t have kids, I’m open that sans kids anywhere is AMAZING.  But seriously, I’m sold.  And I think I’m sold because I’m willing to learn a few things about myself.

1.  While walking the strip, feeling Amish with personal fashion choices isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

2.  Privacy is where you look.

3.  A budget for gambling erases all guilt of wasted wages — too bad we didn’t have one.

4.  “Breathe easier” ventilation system doesn’t make breathing, easier.

5.  My willpower can only handle one all you can eat buffet a day.

6.  Working out in the morning erases all other sins committed that day.  (I’m sure it’s a proverb – either that or a direct message from God Himself to my psyche.)

7.  What happens in Vegas, leaves with everyone who came to Vegas.

8.  Drunk doesn’t look good on anybody.  No matter how cute an undrunk self looks.

9.  Hershey’s chocolate still buys cocoa beans from farms which use child labor even though they sell super cute t-shirts (probably also made in China with child labor.)

10.  Driving home from Vegas on a Sunday is made much easier with a killer playlist and headphones (while My Man worked.), especially when a thunder storm hits with flash floods and winds that topple a trailer and truck on both sides of the freeway closing one lane down.


Good-bye, Vegas.  For Now.  Until December.  Bringing My Kids.  With Blindfolds so we can return to El Dorado Cantina.  With snow gear so we can head to the mountains.  After we check out the white lions.  The Adventuredome.  The Ferris Wheel.  The Aquarium.  The Light Show (watched with side shields on fake glasses — children sizes).  The Fountains.  The Gardens.  All while discussing “privacy is where you look” and “downsides of escapism/ gluttony/ and living irresponsibly (not that I’m to judge what any of those things are and if any of those things actually take place in Vegas.)  This post to be continued.  In January.  After I return from above mentioned Vegas.  Hopefully with fondness.  And with pictures of sharks and white lions.


Skills and Trash Talk

I can’t help it, I’m obnoxiously competitive.  It’s like I have some genetic impulses, which “rise to the occasion” when I smell the possibility of winning some THING.  The winning for pride’s sake thing is a bit beyond me.  I want GOODS.  Last year at this time, I won an iPad3 from a fitness company, EPIC, in their “transformation challenge” where you had to lose body fat, gain strength and gain quickness.  While, I never smack-talked any of the gals I was competing against (I do have some self-control), I just couldn’t help chanting phrases to the guys like, “I’m going to win, I’m going to win” while doing handstand push-ups or sprinting up Signal Hill.  I was THRILLED to win the iPad but sad to end the smack talking.  The every day gym environment is not a smack talking one and please, it gets obnoxious!

With that said, I did find one flower in the desert, one gem in the rocks – all metaphorically speaking of course.  The past week at workout, I was blessed with a impromptu foot quickness, agility challenge by one of the coaches, which I won (of course!).  I couldn’t help but scream with delight, “you’re falling behind, come on, come on!”  How obnoxious, I know.  It’s like it’s not even me in my head.  Words and thoughts just pop out without filter.  I feel no self-consciousness.  There is no “put yourself in their shoes” pauses before I speak.  Out it rolls, whatever verbal jousts I can throw.  You will be happy to know I’ve yet to smack talk my children. I’m well aware they’ll need too many therapy sessions for other things, why add another thing to the mix.

I also don’t gloat.  And maybe this is a prideful post or maybe it’s a post that I’m sharing my strengths since I’ve been willing to share vulnerabilities.  Trash talking isn’t something I put on my resume but believe me, I’D LOVE TOO!!!!  I can be that good.  When I played basketball in Venice Beach on Saturdays during my college years, I found myself in several situations where men really wanted to hit me.  While we all know words can hurt, I quickly learned words can lead to fights in a basketball game, especially if I’m giving the person “a clinic” during the game.  (Remember, I don’t gloat.)  So, in that environment, I sadly turned off the smack talking lest my male friends fail to rescue me one more time for an “in your face type of guy.”  Now, I can be a good sport.  I played college basketball and I DID NOT smack talk the other team.  I let my skills do the talking.  Maybe that’s why I couldn’t help it in so many other situations, I WANTED to be one of those smack talkers but loved sweet talking the referrees more (and they as a rule do not like smack talkers.)  Lastly I’d like to point out, I’m a good sport, except if you are smack talking me and winning, then I’ll be pointing out this and that character trait that makes you a loser.  I’m kidding!  Well, except when I’m getting beat by my husband….

You may be wondering if this post is a trip down memory lane, a confession about my character impulse control problems, or about something more important that I’ve yet to mention.  I won’t keep you waiting for long.  This post is about MARCH MADNESS!!!!  March Madness is the most thrilling, adrenaline rushing, smack talking event OF THE YEAR.  It’s like all my pent up smack-talking impulses get saved for this epic event…the road to the finals!  Not everyone loves my gifts of smack-talking, I’ve gotten kicked out of pools because I’m too obnoxious (that, and I won, by a lot, against a bunch of guys, that’s a story for another time).  After that, I decided only my extended family can really appreciate my brilliance in smack talking so I’ve subjected blessed them with my presence.

Here are a couple of samplings from over the years,

“So the only exciting race in this bracket is to see if Brian can upstage me and Bryce by beating us by one and two points….I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep tonight worrying about being upstaged by such a pathetic loser.  Did I mention I was doing an envy talk tomorrow?  Offer still stands if you need those notes….if not because of me, then because of the brilliantly minded man I married who is claiming to be “at one” with God in his picks, fulfilling God’s calling in his life. 

Anyone want to visit us soon?”

And then another…

Oh please, I have to let you all win sometimes or you wouldn’t play with me
ever again.  I heard all the complaints from the first year and knew I had
to give you all a chance.  Example, beating Brian in basketball when my
right hand was in a cast and he had use of both hands, well his self esteem
has never recovered.  I’ve learned from this experience.

That’s why I didn’t stay true to the Pac-10 and see Arizona through and UCLA
out of the first round, then there was the pick of Wisconsin, well of course
this was a dead give away that I was trying to let someone else win.  But
this is getting boring…just search your heart and you know that what I’m
saying is true.

This best, most intelligent, etc. bit — you know who that is, think oldest
girl in the competition.

I’m almost crying over the thought that the tournament is ending.  I’ve felt
closer to all of you right now than all year long.

If you believe this, then you probably believe that Bryce actually made his
picks from something other than admiration for uniform colors and cute

Your loving, most inspiring, sister, daughter, and wife”

Anyone want me in their bracket pool?  Find some friends, or at least people who start out at friends, and join.  It’s a blast.  No money necessary.