YouTube search

It would be very easy to sit around and watch the tribute to my mom on YouTube all day. 
and cry all day and night... . 
but I know she would not want that. 
So instead of typing her name on YouTube I searched her all time favorite
and found this. and immediately started smiling.. .
yes, tears still falling
but happiness filled my heart. 



God is in the public schools

there have been so many opportunities recently to talk about God at school
.. .within certain parameters that is.
[ i'm @ a public school ] : but i try to not let that hold me back.
Yesterday a child told me "there is no God".
You know I couldn't leave THAT go!?!? ?

this young man whom I do adore, is learning Hebrew afterschool. ..
but apparently doesn't believe that God exists.
Well, he's now teaching me Hebrew on the side.
I asked if he could share with me some words to use when I pray. I'm gonna break him down... .
the Spirit works in miraculous ways we don't understand, right?

If my mom taught me anything, it was to tell people about Jesus.
anywhere. anyone. any way.
I remember hearing stories about her when she worked at my first school of employment
_where she got very close to the "edge" : separation of church and state, that is.
and now I've become her.

So when we received an email from our principal sharing this YouTube video
.. . and "OK'ing" it for the students,
I tossed them all on the reading rug and pressed play.
They loved it _ of COURSE!
We're replaying it tomorrow.
Along with a read.aloud, The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey.
One of my mom's favorites.
A story of love, redemption and restoration.


dear mom,

the christmas lights don't seem to shine as bright this year. you made them sparkle.
you made us all sparkle.

i miss you. more and more every day. ..

Music Playlist at MixPod.com


angels singing on repeat

for the last few years, i took pleasure in teasing my mom with this Christmas song. 
playing it again: and then again.  
maybe just ONE more time. 
Ohhhhh. she laughed and loved it. and then I'd put it on again.
Play it on repeat and smile with my mom.

She's one of those Angels singing.. . on tune now. 
[mom, you're smirking: i know you are]
.perfect pitch. 

the signs keep coming.. .

my mom continues to remind me.. .
an email from my sister today


we're made alive in You.

Yesterday I was folding laundry.. and looking for the perfect spot for my mom's robe.. . 
Sorting through her drawers, I stumbled upon a little travel jewelry case full of her most recent fancies. 
Hidden among some old and new jewels, I found a golden locket that I recognized. Calla Lilies covering the front.
But it was the first time I had the chance to see inside of it.
Not a picture of my sister and I. nope, not her husband. not even her grandchildren.
i'm smiling typing this. it's sO my mom. ahhhhh_ i miss her so much.

but what I saw made me smile, made my heart fill with happiness. 
burst its seams with happiness.

It was a picture of Jesus. you could see the edges she must have cut out from a card or a bookmark. beard and all. 

She keeps sending me signs that she's good. Beyond good.. that she's happy. that she is healthy.

The day before she passed she told me she would be watching over me, "just like my mother did"... .
no doubt she is this very moment.

heard this today and the words spoke to me ... from her..

"we're made alive in You. we run to Your Throne. where we belong." 


mom's email chain

Can't even begin to explain or sort through my thoughts and emotions of the last two weeks with the passing of my mom.  Even as I type that I want to go back and hit BACK SPACE... DELETE>>>... .

I found this email today that she received about a week before her last days [-and then responded back to her friend]... . it made me smile. I know she certainly is smiling now. and endlessly praising .. as hard as it is for all of us stuck here without her. 

I'm leaving it in original form... so go ahead and scroll.

From: llanastasio@--------------
To: jeostrong@------------
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2010 15:44:15 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Re: Fwd: Beautiful explanation of death

Thanks for sending me this. I love you 
----- Original Message -----
From: jeostrong@---------------
Date: Sunday, November 14, 2010 10:40 am
Subject: Fwd: Beautiful explanation of death

> A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to
> Leave the examination room and said,
> 'Doctor, I am afraid to die.
> Tell me what lies on the other side.'
> Very quietly, the doctor said, 'I don't know.'
> 'You don't know? You're, a Christian man,
> and don't know what's on the other side?'
> The doctor was holding the handle of the door;
> On the other side came a sound of scratching and whining,
> And as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room
> And leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.
> Turning to the patient, the doctor said,
> 'Did you notice my dog?
> He's never been in this room before.
> He didn't know what was inside.
> He knew nothing except that his master was here,
> And when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.
> I know little of what is on the other side of death,
> But I do know one thing...
> I know my Master is there and that is enough.'

> May today there be peace within you.
> May you trust God that you are exactly
> Where you are meant to be.
> I believe that friends are quiet angels
> Who lift us to our feet when our wings 
> Have trouble remembering how to fly.


can't get enough.

there's Something about this song.. .
LOVE it.
makes me want to move to some distant foreign land and just live in a dream fantasy world. ..
2:03.. .

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

i think it's time to put myself to bed..
and get back to reality. unfortunately.



Following the King in the Land of Shiny Things from stickyJesus on Vimeo.

Visit Sticky Jesus by clicking ->HERE <- .  Make the pledge and become a Digital Scribe.

"__________- am a Digital Scribe™. I join millions of Christ followers around the world born to such a time as this. This is our time; a time when every nation, every tongue, every age, every race, and every denomination of faith—and unfaith—is instantly connected.
As a Digital Scribe™, I publically answer “yes,” to Christ’s invitation to “Come, follow me.” I am a networker, connector, servant, activist, and passionate minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I will speak, write, post, tweet, and blog the message of eternity and add buzz to the stickiest story ever told. I will change the game in my online community in His name, for His fame."


that's what the promise is for

the only way to find your life _ is to lay your life down. 

we bear the light of the Son of Man. 
so there's nothing left to fear. . 
cause he promised not to leave
and His Promises are true

in the face of all this chaos baby, i can dance with you
so let's go dancing in the minefields
let's go sailing in the storms
... .and kicking down the doors. 
this is harder than you dreamed 
but that's what the promise is for. 


Writing Workshop Theology

I found myself today during Writing Workshop asking questions that seemed more theological than anything else.

Some of my students were struggling with expanding their characters, after an in.depth lesson on internal and external character traits.

: even with use of a photo [and some funny stories] of this little guy
_ my nephew Aidan, whom they quickly fell in love with.
[also the little love nugget in the Lilies header]

Some questions followed after the lesson.."I don't know what else to write about my character. I don't know what he would do in this situation?  and my response...

"Isn't it the Creator of the character, who knows him/her the best one to figure it out?"

I, then had to step it down a notch, [teaching in a public school] before I spoke any further.
Aren't your parents .. .the ones who made you - the people who know your in.s and out.s best?
The way you act? Your TRUE motivations behind your behavior? whether it be sneaky or for the good of others? 

The lesson ended. And as a whole, the group had a concrete understanding of today's objective. Job done. But it is in moments like that when I feel as if a hand is reaching down from heaven or whispering in my ear. Messages just for me.

I found as I asked that first question a bold peace came over me _ Isn't it the Creator of all _ the Creator of little ole me who knows me the best. BEsT of anyone. the best of my family. the best of my very small group of friends. He knows my heart. He can see right into my core. my dirty, dusty corners and love me just the same.

It's funny how a simple writing task can bring me right back to where my mind should always be. thinking about my Maker.
How he knows all there is to know about me.
AND my story_
and where it's taking me next.



guess you really did it this time_
left yourself in your warpath?
lost your balance on a tight rope?
lost your mind trying to get it back?
wasn't it easier in your lunchbox days?
always a bigger bed to crawl into
wasn't it beautiful when you believed in everything?
and everyone believed in you? 
... .
who you are is not where you've been.. ..
who you are is not what you did. 
today is never too late to be brand new

wasn't it easier in your firefly catching days?
when everything out of reach, someone bigger brought down to you 
... .before the Monsters caught up to you. 

:We've been RE.made:

You are more than the choices that you've made. 
Your are more than the sum of your past mistakes. 
You are MORE than the problems you create. You've been REMADE. 

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: 
Be reconciled to God.
:2 Corinthians:


love me.

heard this on the way to work today. 
walked into the office all red.eyed.

it's beyond beautiful. 
i would suggest hitting play and then minimizing the window to JUST hear the lyrics. 
Sometimes I find the videos distracting. 

hope you enjoy it as much as i do: 

surely hit my heart. 


be a p.ART of

1. A Million Little Pictures
a cross.country photo exhibition
sign up by March 31st - 2011

A Million Little Pictures from Shane Zucker on Vimeo.



"We all carry excess baggage with us everyday: keys to forgotten locks, expired chewing gum, intimidating balls of lint. These freeloading objects take our pockets, purses, and bags for granted, weighing us down and holding us back.
The International Association for Empty Pockets is a worldwide movement dedicated to the end of pocket clutter. Contributions to the Pockets Project will form a communal burial ground for the detritus of everyday life – and mark a new era of freedom for your pants.
Our pockets are overflowing. The time to empty is now!
All contributions are welcome. 
Simply sign the Empty Pockets Pledge.. .  and mail your objects to us, or jumpstart your efforts with an Empty Pockets Kit.

Please note that items sent to the project will not be returned but instead turned into a giant art installation.


Both projects are sponsored by the ART HOUSE CO.OP 


"Art House projects are a way to inspire artists to create artwork – whether they are professional artists or just starting out. All of our projects are open to everyone. Find some projects that interest you, sign up, and get creative. Most projects have an exhibition at our home base in Brooklyn, NY. Everyone who participates and sends back their work are included in the exhibitions." 

joe was sloppy :and i Loved him even more.

enjoy this photo montage of my dinner tonight.
be jealous:
veRy jealous
no, it's not manwich. are you kidding, me?!?!

it's a joe done the RIGHT way.
.. .the Jersey way. Yeah. that's a CAPiTAL J. 

from start to finish.
plate clean.
belly full.

: happy friday night.
thank you, Pascarella brothers.

because .. .

. ..in Jersey.


garage sale chic

just Facebook 'liked' this shirt from Ruche. 
one of my favorite online shops. [not that I have ever officially purchased anything from there] .. 
my Sister has gifted me several Ruche items, luckily, but .. 
my wallet has never shopped there. 
my credit card debt will  finally be paid off in several months. 

countdown to which a real party should be planned. 
this was a serious BALANCE. 
due in part to clothes like this.. .among other things.  

but this is a topic for another time. . .. 

isn't it funny how this shirt is SOOOooooo old lady-ish... and yet i'm all over it?!? 
imagine it with a leather skirt? 
: a chunky crystal necklace - maybe, even a cute knit hat to top it all off. . 
Funny how everything old is new again. All vintage things are so attractive .. to me at least. 
I'm finding that the things my eyes cling to are actually kind of ugly themselves - until I have fun 'funking' them up.

Do you find yourself doing this? or am I alone in this search for unmatchable 'garage sale chic' items?

mr. chan

some thoughts from francis chan:: :
if you haven't read Crazy Love - it's a book you need to get your hands on.
i blogged about it quite a bit ago  _ but uncovered him again today. 
his book is life changing.

i love to listen to him speak:  the stories -  his perspective.
one of my next "to reads" on my bookshelf is his newer book: Forgotten God.



one of the million reasons i love:

didn't realize, but i'm thinking.. . she's now married to the talented greg laswell.

this is one the cutest things i've seen in a while / just look how he looks @ her.


crushing on.. .

Handbag Elephant
'Svenskt Tenn bags are loved from Stockholm to New York, to Shanghai and home again. Estrid Ericson designed the Elephant pattern and Svenskt Tenn designed the form.'
Item no. GA11066
1,400 SEK
how do i get my hands on this bag... or 1,400 SEK? .. .that would be $213.40 [thanks to google conversions]

design in my eye

i stumbled upon the 'Best Part' design blog a few days ago and since then my mind has been spinning with ideas of these two posts. 

i mean SERIOUSLY?! Lace Fencing... . 

then this reclaimed furniture.. 
love how the mismatched ends up matching 
and looking so perfectly lovely together. 


:these little things made me happy today.

1. found this video from a trip to my sister's a while back. 
uploaded it. 
already watched it five times.
silly how absolutely. out of this world. happy this makes me... 
or is it? 
i guess it's sillier when you think about what else makes people happy. 
i'd rather have my big sister right here, Right now.

2. there's something about kina
love her lyrics. her voice. . . all of the above. 


you said, "be careful, it's delicate
things can just crumble apart."
but it's not the same for me
it's not the same for me

so i kept treading so carelessly
thin lines that splintered my ground
but i closed my eyes to them
i closed my eyes to them

how did you know that i couldn't be what everyone wanted me to be
and how did you know that i wouldn't see when everything falls away from me
when everything falls away from me

one day i woke in the rubble
knee-deep in damage i'd done
and i was ashamed of it
how did it come to this?

how did you know that i couldn't be what everyone wanted me to be
and how did you know that i wouldn't see when everything falls away from me
when everything falls away from me

how did you know that i couldn't be what everyone wanted me to be
and how did you know that i wouldn't see when everything falls away from me
when everything falls away from me
when everything falls away from me


:: :klimt

one of my favorite Klimt works

utter peace
rest in her soul
:rest for her body:


mom cell: prayers and love needed

Mama's Losin' It
#4) In an effort to spread awareness, share your (or someone you know/love) breast cancer story

i haven't ever told the whole story of my mom's sixteen .. . seventeen year battle with breast cancer. 

I've mentioned it here or there _ in one post or two.

There are very few people in my life who i will 'openly' speak to about this. and when i say 'openly' - i mean allowing myself to let it all go - turning into babbling brook of tears and snot by the end of the conversation. i usually request a change of topic because I can't bear to talk about it anymore.

: it's one of the spots in my heart that won't ever close up. that scar that won't heal. even if tonight she fully recovered.

I wasn't planning on writing about this when I saw Mama Kat's prompt.
actually I didn't want to write about it. 

My heart didn't want to write about it.

and then  _ about a half hour ago i just got phone call from my mom. She's back in the hospital again. Third.. fourth time in the last few months. She just started chemo again two weeks ago. and we're all hoping that it will shrink the new cancer that has grown after the radiation she had last year. but she still can't breathe. even with the constant oxygen at home.

I don't know exactly what to write. or what to say. I guess it's like when i talk about it.
it's just raw emotions. i wish i could fix everything and make her better. heal her. 

enable her to walk a flight of stairs without gasping for air. 
or blow out her birthday candles without being frustrated at her lack of air.

but i can't.
all i can do is be with her. 

love her.
and pray for her.

if you know her, please do the same. she needs double _ triple _ quadruple _ 

endless doses 
of all this.


but if not, I'll trust You

i love it when you stumble upon a song where the artist has read your mind.
: knit your thoughts into lyrics.
heard this monday.
should have pulled over.
it was worship time in the car. hard to keep my hands on the wheel.
thank you, Kerrie Roberts for finding the right words.


it's Your Love that's keeping me.

:: : a simple prayer for every minute, hour, day of my life.

This weekend, had the chance to see Gungor live. If you haven't heard about them, do yourself a favor and check out their website.. . and then their music on iTunes.


slow your breath down

Every year when my students return, I ask them to create a goal for the year.

Last September, I decided to join in the journey with them and created
a list of things 
I hoped to accomplish for
the 2009-2010 year.

When school started back up a week ago, I had a phrase rolling around my mind. 
I've been in the same mindset I was at the end of the year... . 
and beginning school in  September was not the easiest.

I kept thinking .. . in all areas.. 
i need to BE PRESENT.
_when i am with my students. my friends. my parents.
my mind needs to be there.
instead of thinking about the past, or the FUTURE, focusing on the NOW.

forgetting my worries for the next five years. 
not being careless  .. but. . 
enjoying the PRESENT.
or at least.. being THANKFUL for the PRESENT. 

I spent the last few weeks void of facebook, twitter, Blogger. 
These are PRESENT zappers. wasters. Killers.. . 
and to honest _ it was quite refreshing.
I may not have been entirely PRESENT every moment though...  . 
This is a 2010- 2011 goal. and it takes A LOT of practice


I'll give you more than years
Your burdens couldn't win or lose a thing

If you leave
I'll still be close to you. 

I'll take you back a thousand times again
I'll take you as my own.

I would sing you songs of innocence.
Til the rays of gold and honey
cover you.