only seconds and feet

I am one of those people that believe all things happen for a reason. I may not ever really know why they happen, but I have faith that things are as they should be. I’m not claiming I believe without question, which happens…..I’m human after all. I just know when I look at the big picture, lessons learned and blessings come in all shapes and sizes.

Last week my daughter was leaving for a three month internship to Brazil, and we made our way to the airport. Upon arrival, in front of her terminal, I felt lucky, since it was in the middle of the day, shortly before Chicago rush hour began. I thought it was perfect timing, and should make it home without delay.

As we both hopped out of the vehicle and unloaded the luggage, we wanted to take a quick selfie together to capture the moment. Two months earlier we did the same thing when she left for her Canadian adventure. However, this time she went all the way to the curb instead of standing behind the vehicle. I questioned her, but followed the extra feet toward the curb; we smiled and clicked.

Before we had the chance to react, we heard a loud roar, screeching and a BIG BANG! We were both so shocked at what just happened. A car slammed into the back of our SUV and managed to get wedged under the rear end of the vehicle; all within seconds and feet from where we just stood. Standing in disbelief I realized I needed to stay calm for my daughter, as we were both nervous of her long trip ahead. I assured her everything would be OK, and she needed to get inside to make her flight.

The second she entered the building I went into a silent panic, as I couldn’t think. The woman driving was pulled out of the car and being attended to. My car that had been facing east was now facing north, and I wasn’t sure it was drivable. I couldn’t think of what I should be doing, so I ran over and turned the engine off. Within a few minutes the police, fire department, ambulance and tow truck arrived, and were looking for the owner of the empty vehicle……me. Their main concern was the other driver, and the impending traffic jam. The police officer finally wanted to talk to me, not to get the story, but to get my information as quick as possible. They wanted the mess cleaned up pronto. At one point one of the fireman suggested I move my car. “Ummm……there is a car underneath my vehicle, preventing me from moving it.”

They separated the two vehicles, took away the woman in the ambulance, put my spare tire in the back of my SUV, handed me the police report, and told me I could head out. “Wait, you’re telling me my car is OK to drive? What’s that hanging down near the tire, connected by wires?” One of the men looked underneath and said I was good to go. Everyone involved wanted the matter cleaned up as soon as possible. OK…..I jumped in, started it up, and slowly pulled forward, then headed into the busy airport traffic.

As soon as my daughter was through security and safely to her gate, she called to make sure I was OK. I told her the remaining story and mentioned I didn’t need what just happened. Without hesitation she said, “Mom, that was such a blessing, she could have hit us!” Oh my gosh, she was right. That was a HUGE blessing! How could I not see it?


If we had taken the picture near the car, we would have been pinned underneath. Even though God’s blessing was worth only seconds and feet in time and distance, it was worth a lifetime to us. May he continue to bless our lives and yours as well. God is good.




I am a hopeless romantic at heart, and adore a good love story. I was able to be part of the incredible journey my niece and her recently married, husband Broc shared with their families over the last two years. Their romance blossomed quickly, and both knew they were meant to be together. Although they lived many miles from most of their tribe, they wanted to include everyone in their love story.

We got word that Chanel would be bringing her new boyfriend, Broc, home for dinner. Upon arrival he was polite, friendly and had an impressive handshake (an important quality in our family). He treated Chanel like she was the most important person in his life, and like her, we fell in love with this man too. Once dinner was over, he quickly got up and started helping my Mom in the kitchen; which won her and my Dad over in an instant. He had captured Chanel’s heart, and now he had captured ours.

Once they became engaged Chanel and Broc started planning the day they would become one. They decided on California, the place they called home. Even though it wasn’t a destination wedding for them, for most attending it would be. They had every single detail planned with great care. For many of us, it would be the first time meeting each other.

imageOur first night in Trinidad, Chanel and Broc had invited everyone over for dinner and cocktails. It was a chance for the families to meet. We greeted each other with open arms and soon blended our lives together. Both our families expanded that night. They were warm, and inviting as he had been, and they loved Chanel as much as we loved him. Prayers of love and gratitude were offered and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

As the next days unfolded, we all were able to witness the beautiful love story first hand. From swimming in a river, picking flowers for the wedding, hiking in a canyon, walking in the redwoods and yoga, lovingly led by Broc’s Mom. We were a family…..connected by love.

The day of the wedding arrived, it was an outdoor affair nestled high along the oceanside cliffs; the views were stunning. As the ceremony got underway there was so much joy that filled the space. A small intimate affair of the people they loved. They each wrote vows, and sometimes their words were hard to hear over the barking of the seals on the rocks below, protruding from the ocean….HA. It made the event even more special. My favorite part of the ceremony, hands down, was when Chanel was finished with her two, handwritten pages of vows and wasn’t quite sure how to segway and said, “The End.” We all laughed……I love that girl.image

I can honestly say, it was the most beautiful wedding I have ever been a part of, not just because it was my niece, but because of beautiful love story, and the blending of families. #californiacliffsideaffair #colormecrider #criderwedding



She kinda stole my heart

My brother and sister-in-law were blessed to have the first grand baby in the family. This tiny, beautiful, baby girl was given the name, Chanel Alexandra; it suited her to a tee. She looked like a precious baby doll, and everyone instantly fell in love with her, including me.image

Because I lived close by, I was fortunate to see my niece on a regular basis. Before I knew it she was a regular little lady at my house, or me at hers. It seemed I would have her on Saturday nights, then bring her to church Sunday morning. This little cherub had my heartstrings in her hand.

By the time she was in preschool she was calling me by my family nickname Buzzy, rather than Auntie (I’ll save the nickname story for another time…..Ha). Chanel always seemed drawn to me, but the real turning point came one evening when I was at her house babysitting. At bedtime, I laid down with her in her big girl bed. I read stories, sang songs and we both fell fast asleep. Once my brother and sister-in-law arrived, I made my way back home. I’ll never forget my brother telling me the next day, that Chanel had woken up in the middle of the night only to discover I wasn’t in her bed. She cried and yelled for me……”WHERE’S MY BUZZY…..WHERE’S MY BUZZY?” I knew then, she had my heart as tight as I had hers.

Chanel always had an adventurous spirit and wasn’t afraid to dream big…..I mean really big. She would get something in her mind and the next thing we knew, she would make it happen…..somehow. As a teen, she never really had many boyfriends, and I never quite understood, until one day it hit me. This girl had always been drop dead gorgeous, both inside and out. She was kind, humble, and didn’t realize her own beauty. My theory was most boys either thought she was taken, or were too intimidated by her charm. What they didn’t know was just how special her heart was on the inside. I knew it would take someone special to win her heart….you’ll meet him soon.

imageChanel and I will always have a special bond. Our eyes light up when we see or talk to each other. She lives in California now, and don’t get to see each other as often as we would like. No matter how much time as past, we pick up right where we left off. I knew early on Chanel was something special, and from the moment I laid eyes on her……she kinda stole my heart.


PS…..tell someone special in your life how much they mean to you.

#colormecrider #cliffsideaffair

California Dreamin’

Spending time along the coast of California with my family, was a dream come true. It was a chance to spend time together, creating memories and having fun. Amazingly enough, my siblings plus my Mom and Dad were able to make the trip. One of my brother’s daughter, lives and planned her wedding in northern California.

Organizing the trip was tedious work, and my sister volunteered for the role…..ALLELUIA! She researched, talked to friends, took recommendations, discovered her own, and came up with our itinerary. She planned everything from our flights, lodging, restaurants, and tours, God bless her tenacity.

Part of her plan was renting homes in two different locations. They would serve as our home base as we headed out on daily adventures. Our first home was based in Santa Rosa, and was the perfect size for our small group. It had recently been remodeled, so everything was working and in good condition; it was quaint and charming. We were hoping to get as lucky in our next location.

More family would be joining us on the second leg of the trip, so the house needed to be significantly larger to accommodate our needs. It had the right number of bedrooms, but was shy a bathroom or two. Heading north to Trinidad, the weather was chillier since it was nestled along the beautiful coastline. While we were driving to the house, we got news the dishwasher had just broken, and unfortunately the parts wouldn’t arrive until close to our departure…..ugh.

Upon arrival of our new digs, the hill was extremely bumpy, narrow, and steep (total understatement). Each time our big “rig” rental SUV would spin it’s wheels getting in and out of the driveway. We rolled in a bit earlier than expected, and the property manager hadn’t yet turned on the heat….brrrr.

imageThe location was set amongst redwood trees to one side, and oceanside cliffs to the other. We didn’t have much time to settle in before we had to leave for a pre-wedding event. As we unloaded our luggage and groceries, we were unable to open the freezer. It was jammed shut. Next, my Dad announces we may want to see something. He had glanced at the guest book in the entryway and thought we may want to take a look. Another family had left earlier that day, and wanted the next renters to know, they had a great first couple days then all came down with an illness, that was highly contagious……WHAT?

We all immediately felt uneasy and sick………I quickly called my brother, still on his way, to pick up cleaning products to wipe the place down. Oh, and also, could they have the property manager come and turn the heat on, as we flew out the door. While we were away, the property manager came over to inspect the heat and realized it wasn’t working in part of the house. So she jiggled the thermostat in a move that appeared she knew what she was doing, and quickly left. By the time the rest of us arrived back home, it was still cold and we realized she had no idea what she was doing. A follow-up phone call resulted in her dropping off two space heaters on the porch, and swiftly made her leave.

About half of the downstairs area was run by this particular thermostat and happened to include my bedroom as well. I was the lucky recipient of one of the two space heaters. I plugged that bad boy in, and there was a pop and all the lights/power went out on our side of the house……FOR THE LOVE OF! Reviewing the house rules we read where the fuse box was located……somewhere outside along an unclear portion of the house. In an attempt to locate the box, with the guys already tucked in bed; my sister, sister-in-law, and I were rummaging around outside, in the pitch dark night, in uncharted territory. We quickly high-tailed it out of there, and wore extra layers to bed that night.

The next day, the only new snafu we encountered was a long, yellow, snail-worm type bug, crawling out of the heater vent in the bathroom. It was a banana slug. Ok being outdoors, but completely creepy indoors. imageDespite all the issues we had with the house, it turned out to be just fine, even though the heat or dishwasher never worked. It brought us several laughs along the way, and I am happy to report, no one got whatever germs were lurking on the day we arrived.

Our trip will not be long forgotten, and I’ll be California Dreamin’ of the imperfectly, perfect family adventure. I can’t wait to see where we end up next.


#colormecrider #cliffsideaffair #criderwedding

Je Fini

Recently I had the opportunity to visit California with my family; my niece was getting married and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. A few days prior to the ceremony, a handful planned to fly in early to enjoy California’s beautiful wine country.

First stop was Pride Mountain Vineyards. The drive alone was spectacular, hills and valleys around every curve. Upon arrival we were greeted by our host, Paul, and within a short time handed each person a glass of wine, then started the tour. There was a couple celebrating their first wedding anniversary, and a woman celebrating her birthday.image

The grounds were breathtaking, and the caves matched the same beauty, but with a rustic flair. Paul told of the history, and the characteristics of each wine. He also let us taste right from the barrel, and because of a question I asked, decided to take us further into the cave for another barrel tasting, something more complex and bold. The entire group appreciated Paul’s attention to detail. We laughed and joked as if we previously knew each other….wine tastings will do that….HA!

Paul was not offended if people didn’t like the wine, and pour buckets were provided throughout the cave. My Mom, on the other hand, would use my or my sister’s glass as her pour bucket, when she didn’t like a wine. Paul and my Mom were becoming fast friends, and by the end of the tour she had announced they were starting to grow on her, referring to the wine. Paul kidded around and mocked her by saying she was starting to grow on him, too. We all laughed. The tour went on much longer than scheduled, and Paul decided since there was an anniversary and a birthday celebration, he would wave all tour fees…..that Paul, what a guy!

After lunch we headed to our second winery, and even though the grounds were pretty, and the wine was good, the tour guide was focused on selling wine. Once again, my Mom used our glasses as her pour bucket. By the end of the day, she had her fill of wine and announced she was done with wineries. That’s a problem since we had two more scheduled for the next day. We told her to rest up, and she’d be good to go in the morning.

Morning came and again she announced she was done with wineries, but we had already paid for the tour. We assured her she didn’t have to drink the wine, she could just come along for the beauty of the land. Iron Horse was the first stop of the day. The road was narrow, dusty, tree lined, and set well off the beaten path. We parked right up against rows of ripening fruit. They were within arms reach and we decided to taste the red grapes. There were plump, ripe, sweet, and very delicious.image

Once we got up the hill, we were greeted by Carl, our host for the day. His men were harvesting green grapes for chardonnay. He grabbed a bunch for us to taste, they were equally sweet and delicious. He popped open the first bottle of wine, and to our pleasant surprise learned the vineyard produced nothing by sparkling wines. This was right up my Mom’s alley. I turned to look and she is enjoying her first glass of the day. As we toured the grounds and facility, it was on a much smaller scale than the wineries from the day before. His knowledge and passion equaled Pauls, as he opened another bottle. By this time my Mom put her glass down and officially announced, “Je Fini!” She walked away admiring the view while talking with my Dad. Carl opened another bottle and the next thing I notice is my Mom taking her glass back from Carl as he pours her a taste. She finishes and once again announces, “Je Fini!” This happens one more time, as she grabs another taste from Carl of a new sparkling wine, finishes and announces, “Je Fini!” She also decided she needed a cracker, but Carl didn’t have any. He did however, confess she could have the bread from his sandwich. She then asked if he had any cheese…….he did, and believe it or not, pulled a small little wheel of brie from his lunch that his son made, and offered it to her. She took it and couldn’t have been more delighted.image

Je Fini means I’m finished in French….haha. Well, actually it’s Je Suis Fini, but she shortened it for the day. By this time, you can imagine Carl’s amusement, along with everyone in the group. They loved my Mom. My Dad, and sister’s husband Steve, stood back and watched the three of us drink more bubbly. I’m pretty sure they enjoyed the show. By the time the tour was over all three of us chimed in and announced, “Je Fini!” We took our leave, headed to lunch, and enjoyed the little wheel of brie. Next stop, Bella Caves!