My life has been over-cluttered, not just with the things I’ve collected that are scattered about my house (although that’s certainly an issue), but with too many distractions and influences that aren’t really adding to my quality of life. It’s time I do something about it.

No, I’m not about to do some mass Facebook unfriending, but there will be some. If you are reading this, you aren’t likely to be on the chopping block, particularly if we interact on a regular basis. Quite honestly, that paring down process has already begun, but I seriously doubt those that have been cut have noticed.

I’m simplifying my feedreader. I just don’t have the time or inclination to read each and every blog currently listed there. I find more and more often that I am hitting the mark as read button anyway. Again, those that will be removed aren’t likely to notice as I probably haven’t been interacting with them already.

And yeah, stuff. I have books that I haven’t gotten around to reading that I probably never will. I have half-finished projects that I should really be honest about and pass on. I have too many “things that may come in handy someday.” So many, in fact, that if someday ever came, I’d never find them.

I want my house to a place where I can welcome my friends. I can’t do that today. And I want my relationships to be real and interactive. I have no need for drama and gossip in my life. It doesn’t enrich my life or make me a better person.

Why should I even tell you this? I don’t know. Few, if any, of you will even be affected. If I suddenly vanish from your friends list and you miss me, message me. I probably cut you off by mistake. That is not my intent.

My intent is a refocus on what is really important. I saw so many people who I really care about this weekend, most of whom had fallen out of touch. I met their children that I didn’t even know existed. I saw the devastation on the other side of my city where people lost their homes and all their stuff. Nobody cared about the stuff. They were just glad to be alright and able to be together.

I want more of that and less clutter. I want to shoot more, both firearms and photographs. And I want to share it all with the people who really matter. People that are a real part of my life, both online and off.

Am I going to stop blogging? Fat chance, you aren’t getting rid of me that easily! Hopefully, I’ll blog more. I want the conversation. The real conversations rather than the drive by kind. And hey! We’ve made some tasty food that I need to share with you all.

She Has Overcome


10296634_765089633525106_5060874179762599544_nI have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

That’s the verse printed on the inside of this bracelet. It’s been on my wrist almost constantly for the last year. I took that picture April 30th of 2014. It’s in support of Amy. I’ve told you about Amy.

Early this morning, she ran out of tomorrows. She is cancer free now, and she has overcome this world. And this world is a colder, darker place today.

She leaves behind a devoted husband, 2 young girls, two siblings, her mother, father, and countless friends whose lives she enriched.



Her daughters brought her this flower. I understand she held it until the end.


You were truly a gift from God. A light that shone too brightly for this world. I am blessed to have been a part of your life and heartbroken that your role in mine has come to an end. I know, my tears will dry and I will be left with only the blessing, but today is not that day.

Claim your crown and your new body. Rest in the peace you so richly deserve.

An Open Letter

But not from me.

As for the fear, I will face that head on. I will not allow the victim mentality to win.

You see, living in fear is a choice. You can choose to tremble in the dark, or you can choose to face it head on. Also, making the decision to equip yourself with a lethal weapon does not come from a place of hate. Sometimes you even pray for the bad guys. Go read the whole thing.

Recognizing a Stroke FAST

I was a latch-key kid back in the seventh and eighth grade, my parents each working long hours to support our lifestyle. I’d catch the bus after school and come home to an empty house, which I had to myself for the next two to four hours. This was before the days of the internet and even though we had cable with every channel, that got pretty old pretty quickly.

So I did what any enterprising adolescent with entirely too much time on her hands does, I started getting off at the wrong bus stop. Specifically, the stop that was four stops after my own that just so happened to be a close friend’s stop. Her mom was a stay-at-home mom that always had something delicious to share although her dad worked, he worked odd hours and always enjoyed entertaining us when he was around. And he was a riot. You never knew what might happen next. I remember mentioning that the sugar cookies were rather mundane and so he laid them out directly on the kitchen counter and covered them in chocolate syrup. It was a mess! I couldn’t believe it.

One Sunday morning as the family was getting ready for church, he wasn’t feeling well and sent them on without him. Those were the last words he ever spoke to his family. They returned from the morning services to find him collapsed in the bathroom. They called the ambulance, and I got a frantic call from my friend.

We spent hours in that hospital waiting room. Doctor after somber faced doctor passing through with updates. He’d had a stroke. A big one. And he was gone. Just like that.

I stayed with my friend. Ate the seemingly never-ending casseroles that arrived that she couldn’t work up the appetite to eat. We were in the eighth grade. No one should lose their dad in the eighth grade.

Could that story have ended differently? Maybe, maybe not. Medical technology and knowledge has come a long way since then. Early intervention makes the biggest difference in the outcome for a stroke victim. But you can’t call in the pros unless you know what to look for. That’s where FAST comes in.

Graphic Provided by the American Recall Center
Graphic Provided by the American Recall Center

F-Face Drooping
A-Arm Weakness
S-Speech Difficulty
T-Time to Call 911

The American Recall Center reached out to me* to share this information as we are getting into the holidays. Hopefully, we will all be getting together with our families and friends that we may not see the rest of the year. This can be a wonderful time, but it can also be a stressful time. Stokes spike around this time of year and knowing the signs could make all the difference.

*The American Recall Center asked. They did not compensate me for this post in any way. I agreed that the information was important. Please visit the Xarelto page for information regarding some negative side effects.

Teasing Death

Met this guy the other day.


Evyl stood his ground


The TeenBot sized him up. Besides, there was a bear in a sombrero there for back-up.


Me? I did the only logical thing.


What? How would you react to meeting death in a gift shop? I knew he wasn’t there for me. When death comes for me, it’ll be random, hilarious, and earn me the lifetime achievement spot on the rubber knife award.

A Study in Hats

So what happens when the EvylEmpyre goes on a field trip?






Needs a hotdog


Surely the silliness couldn’t be generational


My goodness!


So There’s This Book

It’s about a dog, but not just about a dog.

Really, it’s about life. And how dogs wriggle their way in and out and make a house a home. They are the children that never grow up. Never decide that their parents are totally lame. Never strike out on their own. They give us their lives. Every single day. They give us every ounce of devotion and quirk. And they give us this in far too little time. We need more years than they do to express our love and devotion.

And more than that again. Buy the book. You’ll understand. That link helps support this blog.

If you aren’t convinced, go read the archives over and Brigid’s place and buy it straight from her. I’m proud to call her a friend.

Sunday, Puppy Sunday

Yeah, totally stealing Phlegmfatale‘s schtick, but who could possibly resist that face?


Besides, this was the divine Ms. Phlegmmy’s couch. I can prove it. Here’s Heidi chillin’ with one of the regular Sunday, Puppy Sunday Stars, the one-and-only Praline


There exists a picture of all the dogs of the house, but since I’m obviously getting “the look” from the Alpha Dog Himself, I think I best keep that one to myself.