December 9, 2009


I lost my mother in 2000. October 5, 2000. I wanted everyone to remember that date. To call me and commiserate. They did not. I learned that people just don't remember what does not hurt them personally.

I have never really gotten over losing her. I don't cry often. But my heart aches for her. I want to hear her voice. Part of my solice was my mother in law.

Bebop. Mother of twelve. Grandmother of sixty. YES, sixty. I lost count how many regular granchildren and how many great grandchildren. Does it really matter?

More, what matters is they all want to be with her. If they drive home from college, she is on the top five most important stops.

She prays. She laughs. She cooks. She bakes. She tells cute jokes. She listens. She listens. And she loves, loves, loves, loves all her family. She has been our matriarch, our rock, our gatherer, our joy, our strength.

We just found out the severe pain that has reduced her to tears for three months is cancer in her spine. The doctors give her six months. She is 81 1/2. Otherwise so healthy.

She walks, takes vitamins, eats healthy, gets her rest, works, loves and gives. She prays, plays and is totally amazing. WHY WHY WHY????????

It is sad, sad, so very sad news we all face. She has taught me so much. Like the most important thing in life is having babies and LOVING them. Being present in the moment, being WITH them.

Because of her, I have seven godchildren. I would have stopped at one (Ally), if it had not been for her. But she showed me that a woman can deeply love many children. So, I have seven-

Ally, 14

Billy, 10
Debbie, 7

Abigail, 6
Isabella, 4
Laura Sophia, 3

Nicholas, 5 months

And, I have two grand children, Sheraya, nearly 14 and Lana, 8. I await children from my daughter Eliana. And I don't know what technical relationship I will have with Benjamin, the son of my assistant and dear friend.

I pray that who Bebop is will morph through me so that all these children will know a love that will bolster them through all the hours of their lives.

I LOVE YOU BEBOP, Elizabetta, Grande Dame of La Bella Leonessi.

October 5, 2009

Color Dilema

Dot told me my color was faded out and I needed some depth. First photo on left.

I agreed. So I did my color. In a hurry, as usual. I don't quite get why I won't ask for help. The center photo is after I applied a root formula, an ends formula and had Dot put in some foils that went way too light, so then I did a golden glaze over the whole "mess". Actually, in the center photo, it looks good. That night, at Bonefish with Dot and Hub and TT, I did think I was happening.

However, the next day, as I was out running errands, I saw everyone look at my color and quickly look away. Yeah, it was hideous. Grabby ends with odd tones, way too dark at temples. All that does not show in thephoto taken in the gentle lighting of candles.

We had an event that night, so I tied up those grabby ends and had a martini (or five) and forgot about it.

But yesterday, I had to face it. I returned to the salon and refoiled my hair. Did a little trick called a "soap cap" on the ends and degrabbed them. It's not a good photo, for a couple of reasons. Poor lighting and I was sick. Why? I broke out in hives after I did my color. I had bleach bubbles all over my neck and arms bc I was doing the shampoo myself. (Hint- have a STYLIST do your color!!!) So, in this pic, I am still swollen and pale.

For now, I am reasonably happy with my hair. I realized I am NOT a brunette at heart. Oi.
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September 17, 2009

I am back

I have been gone for a long time.

I got busy. Busy with family, my godchildren, work, and friends. You can't fault me, right?

The mother of my two god-children was reunited with her husband and they had a baby in July. I am so happy to have him in my arms.

In the last year, I began a sorority. Not in the crazy college way, but a sisterhood of likeminded women, from the age of 24 to 64. There are nine of us. We are committed to each other through our committment to the Lord. Bound to loyalty and being a place of safety.

It has been an amazing year. Kept me too busy to be out here. Not because I did not care about any of you, but simply busy.

We have done a lot of work on our house. Now I am starting to love the outside the way I love the inside!

My daughter and I have gone gluten free. Big change. She is an amazing cook. But more, her baked goods are out of this world. And all gluten free. I am encouraging her to begin a baking blog. When she gets it up, I will let you all know about it!

I hope each of you are doing well. I have missed you. Spend a lot of time on FaceBook. But no place like Blogspot.

Love n hugs,

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December 13, 2008

I completed something!

Dot ran her marathon.

I actually completed a class.
The self-portrait is my final project for Drawing One class at PJC.

She had made mention a couple years ago about how I start ideas/projects/ambitions and then talk myself out of them. I hate it when she is right about my weaknesses and failings. She most likely would not like me to list out hers, either.

I have wanted to draw and paint for years. I started about 18 months ago. I stopped listening to my negative, devilish voices and had an epiphany that if God gives us the desires of our hearts, then I should trust He would supply the talent.

The doors have opened ever since. Art Party Girl has been incredible, opening up her home and sharing her talent over and over. Gardenia has been another patient teacher and encourager. And Dot and TT have been consistant cheerleaders as I have nailed painting after painting up in our gallery/dining room.

Taking Drawing One was a huge step of faith. I had to overcome that fear of walking into a world of strangers - the college scene. I will never forget the first day, trembling inside as I stammered my way into a class of silent 18 and 19 year olds, scurrying around to find a seat and surfing on my CrackBerry to cover my intense insecurity.

I thought Teach was from another planet- one of granola and great art and no use for a preening middle-aged hairstylist. Judge not. Will I ever learn?!

Who would know that slowly Teach and I would begin sharing. First words, then hearts. She and I had more in common than a dozen of my clients put together. She is a deep and caring and intensely talented woman. She did not wield a sword and cut me with the cruel critisizm I feared.

She is honest, but kindly so. Vulnerable with dignity. Giving, with boundaries. The day she asked me to join her in sidewalk art, I was giddy with joy. I could learn so much from her. And she has a great sense of humor.

Okay, back to Dot's assessments of me. I have FINISHED the class!! The only classes I missed were because I was out of town for our family Thanksgiving trip and attending Dot's marathon. I did not wimp out, withdraw, or withhold. I did every assignment and gave it my all. My all was not the top of the chart of the talent of the class, but it was all that I had.

And somehow, miraculously, Teach has offered to mentor me, one-on-one in portraits next semester, in exchange for my hair services! OMG!!!! Can you believe THAT?? The desire of my heart has come true. I am really going to be taught how to paint faces! And the crazy thing is, we are going to paint together in my gallery!!!!

I feel like the brat of all spoiled brats. I get to learn, in my own home, the very thing that I love.

I will let you know my class grade!

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December 6, 2008


Dot started when she turned 29 thinking of all the things she said she was gonna do "someday" and decided she wanted "someday" to come before she turned 30.

She began taking French classes at our local Junior College. And she determined she wanted to get into shape.

She began working out at the YMCA daily. She got very bored walking on the treadmill and wondered what it would be like to run. A perky song came on her iPod and she thought she would try to run one song.

One day, several songs in a row inspired running and she looked down to discover for the first time in her life, she had run a full mile!

That was the beginning.

November 30, she completed the Space Coast Marathon at Cocoa Beach, Florida with her father, husband, sister, neices, mama and Isabella all cheering her on.

I am in awe of her accomplishment. And a bit green. (Drat my weakened back !!) She had her share of setbacks. A knee injury. Lots of economic issues. But she kept on. And on.

I worry about her body. I have too many friends that were runners in their youth that have horrible knee and feet problems. I hope she tapers to body-friendly distances.

I can understand why she wanted to complete a marathon. Just like why she wanted to walk on fire. Does a body and soul good to know an overcomer is in there.
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November 23, 2008


A relative of mine just started Frugal and Happy blog . Reading her posts made me think back to when I got my Isabella.

My heart was breaking because I had to give Dot back her cat and TT and I would have no pets to complete our home. Life is too serious without the diversion of pets and children whose daily dailies of feeding, pottying, bathing, playing, teaching and snuggling bring so many moments of silly joy.

I had to take into account our allergies and that TT is not going to take anyone for a run around the neighborhood for exercise! My search for the perfect pet was soon narrowed to Bichons, Poodles or ShihTzus.

I wanted a teeny dog, a little baby that I could easily scoop up without straining my back, a traveling companion. I spent a lot of time on the internet, searching for her.

My friends, who knew I had had several failed relationships with dogs, thought I had lost my mind! I secretly did too! I faced that I had gotten past dogs for the wrong reasons.

Good thing all this started two years ago before the financial world was collapsing! Isabella was crazy expensive. Then she needed the $1000 eye surgery within one month. And there were several expensive follow up appointments.

She was so tiny it was sobering. Remember she weighed only one pound and two ounces the day we brought her home. I looked up to the Lord who had made her and vowed to nurture her and care for her as I never had any other dog. I made her needs mine, instead of the other way around. I wanted to assure her, every moment that she was in a safe place of love.

The result? As I write, she is asleep in my lap. She loves me and TT and is an absolute joy. She understands nearly everything I say to her. Of course, she does not always listen!! She is two years old, so that means she is a forteen year old! Hahaha!!

I would eat beans and crackers so that she would have her food, if neccessary. In other people's minds, I suppose she was a huge waste of money. But, to TT and I, we don't even remember writing the check!

October 23, 2008


A devoted loving husband,
a daughter that has loved me through it all
and her dear husband.
I am blessed.
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God-daughter's birthday

What can I say, I just love them. They are my heart. I can only go about three days without seeing them.
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I saw Dot online, reading my blog today. I came home from work and read back a few months.

I go through fits and jerks about writing. I saw again what a record of my life this blog has been. Kind of lets me get my true feelings out there in a non-threatening way.

I have been very concerned for the future of our nation. I think we have extremely turbulent times ahead. Like none my generation has ever seen. My husband said it best, "I feel like a frog in a pot of water that is coming to a boil."

Then the words of my priest come to mind, "Sometimes we have to compromise our expectations so we can get happy with our reality." I have read the end of the Book. We are not without hope or help. This place called Earth is not our final destination. We pass through this part of our journey, to come to Christ and to be carried to Paradise, with Him.

There, we will finally be free of all the guile, lies and hatred that sin and sin's effects have sludged over this world. He will rule, King of Kings, with purity and holiness. We will never wonder if His words are truthful, if He is really looking out for us, if we will be safe and protected.

Many pilgrims have gone before us and suffered loss of dreams and loss of life. But they are with Him, as we will be.

I have stopped the fight. I will pray until the election is over for the Holy Spirit to guide the hearts of everyone who votes to vote for culture of life. But I had to stop hanging on every word in the news and emails. It was sapping my energy.

I still need to work. I need to have cheerful topics of conversation with my clients. I need to seek the joy of each day.

I started walking 3.3 miles (in 50 minutes) outside about four to five days a week. It is helping to whittle my middle!! And it gives me a lot of energy.

I am loving my Drawing One class and will be taking a painting class on Saturday mornings. Plus, I am working through the book, "Drawing on the Right Side of Your Brain".

I am having fun planning the holidays with our two girls and two granddaughters. And with the god-children family, there are countless birthdays and other reasons to celebrate!

So, there is a catch up. I will try to be more regular of a blogger!

Hello, my long lost blogger friends!

September 6, 2008

My Assistant

"Stop Hattigrace, I can't take it anymore!! I QUIT!!!!"

I found this this photo of my assistant and decided I had to write a post about her. I haven't a clue why she was hiding her beautiful face from my curious camera, so I just made up that silly caption.

Many years ago, Dot told me my health insurance was having an assistant. When I thought in terms of preserving my health, the weekly paycheck to my assistant became a reasonable business expense.

A is my third assistant. I really did not know how to function with one past heaving glorious sighs of relief over not having to further damage my back shampooing. I am sure I made plenty of detrimental errors with my first two.

A had told me, when she was the salon receptionist, that if she ever attended cosmetology school she would want to assist me. Hmmm, that was a first. After an amazing string of events, there she was, nervously awaiting my first client of the week to shampoo.

Uh, I forgot how LONG it takes new people to shampoo! I count on about five minutes, and she was futzing around for about ten. I hadn't factored that into my schedule! We made it through the first awkward days that became less strained with each week. Though to an outsider her job might appear simple, OMG, it is NOT!

The endless details of information, knowledge, intuitiveness, diplomacy, timing, and skill to effectively assist are staggering. She is a fast and eager learner. She understood my idea of three minutes (two minutes and forty-five seconds)! She rarely sat down, talked on her cell phone or got to work late.

The one area that was the most difficult was her timidity and shyness. I began Assertiveness 101 with her! I never forced her to make any calls she was uncomfortable with. I told her what needed to be said and gave her the option of me doing it instead of her. Courageously, she would take a deep breath and with a white face and shaking hands, make the call.

She discovered that people respond well to direct, honest communication delivered with a sincere desire to serve their needs. I run a tight ship. I am rarely late. If I am, it is very disconcerting to me as I loathe to disrespect people's time. That is what I give and that is what I expect from my clients.

I once complimented a client for her consistent promptness and she said, "It's because we are all afraid of you Hattigrace!!" I'm not mean. I just expect women to keep their commitments. A learned it was okay to tell people that. They appreciate it.

Well, good things can backfire. One day, I asked A if she would split a sandwich with me from one of our favorite lunch providers. "No, I want a whole one", she stated as she walked down the hall. I turned to my client and said, "Did you hear that? A year ago, she would have let me have my way!!!" We joke that I overdid Assertiveness Training!
One of the most fun things we do is talking about our evil twin sisters. Hers is Agatha and mine is Helga. Whenever we are not behaving up to par, we will chide our evil twin for causing us trouble. When our hours are long and we are tired we will look at each other and say, "That's it! We don't like our boss anymore. She works us too hard. WE QUIT!" Our clients will say, "Who is your boss?" and we say, "Helga and Agatha!" We both have found a great release in being able to humorously let off a little steam!
We are both so humungously grateful for being so busy. Our goal is to never say no to anyone and to trust that somehow, by God's great grace, that it will all work out and every body's needs will be met. And usually, it does!

We have been together for three years now. That is unheard of. I never dreamed (I am pinching myself) I would have the pleasure of her company for this long. I know all good things have to come to an end so I live gratefully and don't worry about when she has to move on. God will take care of me and my business.

I love so many things about her. She is honest, true blue and faithful as the day is long. Hardworking, rarely complains, sincere, insightful, non-intrusive, calming, humorous, intuitive, organized, cheerful, ASSERTIVE!, quick-witted, respectful, teachable, loving, empathetic, adaptable, flexible, inventive, kind, tenderhearted. . . She undergirds me with all these virtues. We have a wonderful friendship.

All the above is punctuated with her finest treasure and that is her love for the Lord Jesus Christ. I know she prays for me, for TT, for Dot n hub, for Jade and girls. We have the three-fold cord of friendship, work and faith. And you know those cords are not easily broken. How deeply I have been blessed.

I love you A.
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August 31, 2008

Waiting for Gustav

God-son's birthday was this weekend. He had three celebrations. Family dinner Wednesday night. Friend and family party at our house 3:00 Saturday. And church friends today at lunch.

It is a restless, tenative time waiting for hurricanes, even though not in the direct path. We know rough weather is ahead. All the churning highs and lows and rain and wind can be full of surprises. Look at Fay. She was very unpredictable.

TT and I have gassed up, bought bottled water, canned food, citronella and wicks for our torches (in case we lose power and have a lot of porch time!)batteries and the lot. Our house is clean, clothes laundered. Oooooh, I just remembered I need to bathe Isabella! We are READY! Because Gustav is not thundering to our doorstep directly, we don't need to board up.

What to do while we wait? God-childrens auntee, S, called and said, "Hub, daughter and I are going to the beach. Meet us there!" It was so much fun. God-children and their parents came, too. We had lovely family time skipping ahead of the tide in the balmy wind.

Gustav seems to have calmed a bit. At least he is not the raging 150 mph beast that he was on Saturday. May God answer the millions of prayers for mercy and continue to calm him to a puff of smoke by the time he reaches land in the morning.

My heart extends to New Orleans and all those temporarily displaced by his threats.
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August 21, 2008

Twenty-Fourth Anniversery

After Dot's big birthday bash, TT n I simply had a fabby dinner out at Bonefish to celebrate our 24th Anniversery.

I texted our girls, "24 yrs ago rt now, we were all getting ready 2 walk down the isle 2gether. Thankful 4 th grace of God 2 hold, 2 keep n 2 heal. We love u so."

One responded, "Now don't go making me cry! That's not fair! (143)" and the other, "LOL! U guys r just as sweet as the day u me!"

We are so happy. We have each other. We have our Lord Jesus and are at home in the Catholic Church. We have our two beloved daughters, one wonderful son-in-law and two precious granddaughters. We have our god children and their entire family as close friends. We have rekindled fellowship with DayBreak and Gee. I have my art. We have dear Isabella. And we both have our siblings/families. I have a fabulous career that nurtures my soul and provides our needs. We are at peace with each other. There was a lot to celebrate on Monday nite, August 18!!

(And my hair is g*r*o*w*i*n*g longer!!!)

So TT had the filet, I had the BangBang Shrimp and four martinis!!


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August 11, 2008

Dot's Three Ohhh Birthday!

At 12:02 a.m. August 8, 2008, I get a text from Dot.
"Dang, 30 feels wierd. . ."
She really was not 30 yet, because she was born 12:29 a.m. We talked until she was 30 and 15 minutes. That meant a lot to me to get to share that milestone moment with her. Hmmm, it really feels wierd that my baby is 30. Eeeeek!

We began her party Friday with a surprise lunch! Jade flew in earlier than Dot knew and Assistant and Friend took off from work. It was relaxing and fun, just the five of us, nibbling, sipping and giggling!

Saturday, Jade and I went into work mode, cranking out the requested food items, picking up flowers and doing the million other things on our list. We work well together. Assistant and Friend prepared other parts of the night's menu, brought ice and beverage parts. Though a lot of work in all, it really came together peacefully.

I did Jade's hair with a wave iron. Turned out gorgeous! I had braided Dot's hair the night before her birthday, so it had two days to dry into her lovely waves. Those two styles were as close as we were willing to get to the scrunched perms of the Eighties!

My tribute to that decade was the banana clip I found on Ebay and my very heavy blush! Funny.

Dot arrived on the back of Hubby's motorcycle in one short, hot litttle black dress! She would later take me in the back and safety pin mine about six inches shorter!

We had a wall of her childhood photos and an 80's memorabilia book, 80's music and a slap bracelet from Assistant to help us all time travel!

Son-in-Law masterminded an art station with acrylic paints and a huge canvas so we could all literally leave a handprint for her birthday. It turned into quite a piece of abstract art. He also installed the disco ball and other fabulous lighting.

The best part of the weekend was being together as family and close friends, celebrating the grace of God in life and in His restoring love.

PS The parents of my god-children are in the process of reconciling. It is a beautiful thing. He is a godly man who is going through a beautiful reformation. God pours out His grace on the humble. What people miss in thinking they don't need Him and are so good on their own. Seeing them happily together was the exclamation point on the night.

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July 11, 2008


We had a fabulous family time. The Fourth of July party was a rip-roaring success. We drove to Lakeland to attend the Florida Outpouring Revival with almost the whole family. I got to paint a little bit with DayBreak.

It really worked for me to fly there. My back was a lot happier for not being in the car a total of sixteen hours.

What did you all do for the Fourth?
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July 2, 2008

July 4th

We are heading out tomorrow with Dot, dog and a sad heart because Dot's husband cannot come with us to Orlando to stay with Jade n visit with Daybreak.

I am full of expectancy that God has a plan for this trip, bigger than we can know. I am so grateful for how He has healed our family.

Big news. . . my friend and I have had two really great talks and I feel we are well on our way into a new road in our journey. So glad, cause I always loved her.

Have a Happy Fourth, y'all!!

June 22, 2008


The true power behind love.

The Ramp Hamilton Alabama - Drama Vida Extrema Podcast


The Lord's Generation

DayBreak, Jade and I are going through something awesome together. "If one can put a thousand to flight, two can put ten thousand to flight and a triple braided cord is not easily broken." Our prayer cord is producing a fire in each of our hearts for the Lord. . .

June 21, 2008


I know this is really vain, but I actually like this photo of me! I love hats and this was a very happy night. TT n I went out to a beach balcony piano bar for the evening with Mom of GodChildren n her Boyfriend. We had a very fun time.

Then came home to a long conversation with DayBreak. All beyond good!

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June 14, 2008

forgiveness, part two

Very interesting responses to my previous post.

I had a choice. To bow up and get offended at their critisisms of me, or to get the Father's perspective.

I know, deep in my knower that people that critisize, get offended, hold grudges, act poorly are themselves wounded and hurting and not real secure with their person and purpose in life.

Whole, secure people are compelled to give mercy, compassion, to uplift and nurture those around them. For me, it is a minute by minute journey. Sometimes I act out of that adult and whole part of me and other times I spew out of the wounded and childish part of me.

Jesus gave us the example when the scripture says the whole community would come out to hear Him and He would look at the multitude, have compassion and heal them ALL. I believe in that multitude was every sin in the spectrum. But He saw the cause of the sin, the abused or neglected or bullied child who did not process life correctly and became an abuser, etc.

The enemy of our soul, the Devil, is always there to accuse us, condemn us, judge us, make us feel hopeless. When we want to see ourselves as worthless, hopeless, degenerate failures, that voice is not our own, not God's, but the enemy who has come to steal, to kill and to destroy (us).

TT and I were in a miserable mess twelve years ago. We moved here because our marriage was dead and we hated each other. Loved each other, too. You know what a fine line that is. While Revival brought us back into a closer relationship with Jesus, it was the teachings of an older woman who brought healing to our broken hearts. It did not happen fast. Kind of like trying to restore someone who had been dragged behind a car for a mile or two.

But month by month, we listened to her Healing Solutions and she would put her hand on our heart and pray for the healing oil and wine of the Lord to heal all our broken places. And bit by bit, we experienced His mercy and forgiveness and healing power.

Once I experienced His compassion for me, it was much easier to look at others with His compassion. And to finally STOP judging.

I also learned boundaries. I learned that it was not judgemental to say no to behaviors others might want to inflict on me. For example, not partaking in gossip by listening to them. Not being manipulated or pushed around. That is was okay to require respect and courtesy for my time, my talent, my resources, etc.

Do I think last Saturday's conversation was entirely "fair" or "right"? Heck, no. I do not agree with their belief that it is okay to tell other people why they are mad at me and not tell me. Likewise it is not right for them to gripe to me about their problems with others. It is not right to hold anger and suspect against me for something that happened two years ago!! And turns out, it was not rightly percieved anyway.

But, am I okay with it? Yes. I know they are deeply wounded. I will choose compassion. And take each day as it comes. Truth is, I love them. So, what does love do. . .

. . . 1 Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues
of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

God, help me.

June 8, 2008


Hmmmmmmmmm. . . I was taken by surprise at god-daughter's Ballet Recital celebration dinner when my friend who I had the falling out with wanted to talk.

We did. Until about midnight. Went from restaurant over to their house. All four of us. Sometimes five.

I learned a lot. I had moved on. God has been giving me a lot of gifts. Refreshed friendship with my Katrina friend and started attending her Bible Study every third week. That has been rich.

He gave me back DayBreak, a friend from way back who used to work for me at Orlando salon. We had paths to travel, but our roads converged. We both are goofy, kinda like a honeymoon. We talk about once a week or less. Our phone date today was two hours, forty one minutes and fifteen seconds!! That was rich, too.

Then there is a client who invited me into her Bunco group and I see them once a month. In August, they all come here!! What fun.

Gardenia and I have been getting to spend some time together at paint parties and now we are trying to coordinate a foursome dinner. I am so happy to be seeing her more. (but so much LESS of her. OMGosh, she looks divine!!)

Painting has led me to begin turning our big front room into a gallery. I love sitting in there, looking at my primitive and kind of juvenile paintings. I keep wondering what my work will look like a year from now and in five years!

My biggest blessing is my healed family. We have BOTH our daughters, our granddaughters and one son-in-law. And our dear god-children and my very precious friend, their mama.

My life is full. Happy. Relatively peaceful. I continue to seek to grow in grace in my relationship with the Lord. To uplift and encourage and be kind.

I look for the good and try to overlook the difficult. And I don't want to have the negatives be the focus of any relationship.

I am happy to have her back in my life. I never stopped loving her. I don't trust that what I say/do gets rightly interpreted. Which will keep me on guard. That's okay.

Last night was what she/they don't like about me. Honestly, I had to agree with them. I don't like everything about me either! It was a new start. I am hopeful.

He is my source of all good things.

Hence, I am okay with it all.

May 25, 2008

Losing Hilda

May 20, 2007, my daughter married the man of her dreams. He is her gold, her diamond, her platinum, her star, just the best guy in the world.
With him, she gained the mother-in-law of her dreams, too. Very sadly, Hilda Katherine passed from here to Eternity, 7:30p.m. May 20, 2008.
She had been ill with diabetes for quite some time. She was wonderful about watching her diet and exercising. But she was struck with some sort of virus and after at least six weeks of heavy medication, her liver failed.
She spent about two weeks in the hospital before she slipped from this world to the next.
Saturday she was buried under bright skies, a gentle breeze and to a symphony of birds and crickets merrily chirping. Her two youngest granddaughters sobs spoke to her loving legacy.
Her family showed remarkable composure and dignity, with only an occasional quivering chin and moistened eyes. Her three sons and a very lonely husband of nearly fifty years straightened their shoulders and strode into this next passage of life without their matriarch.
Our hearts go out to all of them.

May 10, 2008


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We had the best time! Left Friday at 6 am. First flight for Assistant. They tried three times to let the landing gear down while they circled and circled and circled! Oi. Thank God, the third time was the charm. Dot talked Assistant through it very calmly.
I kept trying to remember the whole Act of Contrition! Decided, "Jesus have mercy and forgive me" was enough. Fear can be so cleansing! lol
We arrived at LaGuardia about noon. Were picked up by the best transport service ever. We gratefully inhaled the bottles of Smart Water in the Escalade.
We stayed at Milford Plaza on 8th and 43rd (ish). Around the corner was the Minskoff Theatre where we would see LION KING Saturday night. Across the street was Carmines. We ate there Friday night after getting our hair done at the Minardi Salon on 61st and Madison Ave.
Talking to Carmine Minardi was one of the highlights of the trip for me. He really is a southern gentleman in a northern body. I would love to work at his friendly and highly professional salon. His staff is amazing. We only got a glimpse of the famous Beth Minardi as she dashed through the salon between appointments. She is truly one of the great hair colorists of our time. I hopefully will get to mentor under her within the next year. She does a one on one mentorship, Tues through Fri.
After getting our hair done, we went to Mass at St Patrick's Cathedral. It is is beautiful, majestic. The Mass was very simple. Honestly, I miss my own parish. Haven't been for three weeks with my travels. I was touched that all three of the girls attended Mass with me.
After, we zoomed over to H and M for some crazed shopping. I say that because it is so packed and forget a fitting room! I bought a great jacket that Jade found for me, two scarves and a bracelet and earrings. It was getting cold, so the jacket was comforting!
Carmine's was a blast. We shared a bottle of admittedly wonderful wine. I tend to just order house to save money. Dot insisted on this French wine. Ah, she was right. Of course we made friends with a couple tables of people around us. Hence the foursome photo (with Jade holding the treasured bottle)!
Saturday was shopping day. Breakfast at the Brooklyn Diner, back to St Patrick's gift shop, and stopped into Sax. Dot tried on the most woohoo hat ever. Darn that it was $500!! We drooled over the shoes on the eighth floor, then on to Canal Street so Assistant could experience buying PURSES!! We had many fun adventures. Jade got one purse, I found four, Assistant bought two and Dot never could find the purfect match.
With a start, Jade announced it was 6:00. We flew on the subway back to our rooms to prepare for the theatre. Even though many are going more and more casual, we wanted to honor all that talent and production by dressing to the nines! That we did. And the usher thanked us for looking so glammy!
We were seated in the center of the first row in the balcony. With no one to ask, we began taking our own picture! We snapped about four when the Camera Nazi stomped over to us and screeched for us to HALT or she would shoot!!! We did not know it was a federal offence, punishable by death, to take our own photo. It was rather funny.
LION KING is a must see. We were a mountain of goose-bumps.
Sunday we went to Westway Diner for breakfast. We then split to attend the Beth and Carmine Minardi BEAUTY FOCUS class and Dot went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Our class was extremely inspiring both in technique and in professionalism. We learned that much of what we have been practicing has truly been hitting the mark, but definitely had the barre raised.
My direction of attempting a luxury atmosphere and service is where the industry is heading. They predict that only the low budget and the high end salons will survive and thrive during this rocky economy. I learned after Hurricane Ivan that women really need the salon to have some sense of normalcy.
Sunday night we journeyed on the subway to Chinatown, then walked to Little Italy (what an abrupt change in atmosphere) to dine at La Mela. By far, it was the best experience of the trip. La Mela is a very small restaurant with very personal service. The atmosphere is calm and homey in the Italian sense. The chemistry between the four of us was perfect. We all shared our hearts and left feeling deeply bonded.
We took a cab home and set our clocks for 4:00 am. The alarm went off way too early for our bodies, but we had committed to being in the studio audience of Good Morning America. We staggered to slap on some glamour and made our way through the very cold and rainy morning to stand in line outside GMA til 6:15.
Lovely time to forget my umbrella. So here I am, a relatively accomplished stylist, about to be on national TV with frizzily, frazzily unkempt looking hair! Maybe that is why the cameras cut me from every shot! Sam Champion, the weatherman, was so friendly. He came over and spoke to all of us.
I could hardly see him, because I was still dizzy from my close encounter with Patrick Demsey, who had ambled over about eight feet in front of me, to stop, look straight into my eyes and say, "Hi."
I gulped and hope something intelligible came out of my mouth. Assistant attested to every client this week that "he singled Hattigrace out, only speaking to her!!". Patrick Demsey kindly posed with many for photos. I, of course, never regained my composure to request a photo, not to mention my pride over how wretched my hair looked!
After GMA, we were asked to be guests on the show GMA Now, an internet show. We hopped into the biggest elevator I have ever seen, walked into the green room to be briefed on our part in the Laughter Yoga piece (!!!). While waiting I looked up to see Brooke Parkhurst walk in with a red Kentucky Derby hat on! How small is this world that I would run into the sister of my friend and client in a NYC TV studio?!!
After our TV debut, we did a bit of shopping for gifts, ate lunch, packed up our room and began, sadly enough, to leave the City.
TT had texted me "Watch out NYC, the real Fantastic Four have arrived!" It was a fantastic trip.

April 24, 2008


Our god-children capture my heart! Five years old, doing my make-up! She had so much fun!
And here is the after! Well, the lipstick ran over just a little! We had all watched American Idol together. God-son is here-after going to be called Simon Jr, because he makes the most astute observations.

"David Cook sang (Music of the Night) the song really good, but he didn't look like he was having fun." Eight years old and he GETS it!!

Tomorrow morning, at 6:05, I leave with Dot and Assistant to meet Jade in Memphis and we fly into LaGuardia at noon!! We are so excited to have a New York City weekend together!

Assistant, Jade and I are attending the Beth and Carmine Minardi BEAUTY FOCUS class Sunday. It will be a fabulous boost to our carreers as hairstylists.

Saturday night, we all see LION KING. Friday afternoon we are all getting a shampoo and style at the Minardi Salon. After, we are attending Mass at St Patricks. The rest of the time will be a bargain/shopathon!

We began planning this January 9. Our fun time is finally here!!! TT and Isabella will be on their own. But judging by the refridgerator, I think a bit of partying is going down while Mama's away!!!!
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April 14, 2008

How He Loves Us - Kim Walker / Jesus Culture

Oprah got offended when she thought her minister said God was jealous "of her", not understanding He is jealous FOR her. And for all of us.

April 13, 2008

American Idol Shout to The Lord Reprise

Dot n I sang this hundreds of times when we were in choir together. (We were in soprano section!) It is beautiful.

April 3, 2008

Dont Drink The Kool-Aid: Oprah, Obama and The Occult

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction.
Matthew 7:13

Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
John 14:6

March 30, 2008


TT n I are happy! Can you tell? We had the funnest night out at a restaurant on the beach, listening to some new friends play guitar and sing. Went with godchildren's mom (she is such a great friend to us) and a friend of hers. We just had fun!

I haven't been much of a blogger these days. Busy with family, friends, cooking, and now, doing some more rearranging in the dining room and keeping room. Bought three Paul Jackson watercolor prints. Am all excited about getting some ART on our walls!

TT found out today that a sister and a nephew are coming back to the Catholic Church. Remember he is the eldest of twelve. One sibling died an infant. They were raised Catholic, but after their father died, they all had experiences with Jesus outside of the Church and all became Protestant. Their father was a convert in his early twenties. Coming back to the Catholic Church is a powerful way for them all to honor him. He was a fabulous man.

I deleted the post I wrote about my aching heart over the split up with the 'friend' that turned out to not be a friend at all. I have prayed a lot so that my heart would not be judging and hardened. I was concerned my post was a bit whiny. Yech.

I had spent time with her and her family almost exclusively, to the neglect of some other friends. It has been fun and heartwarming to see the Lord open doors of relationships all around me. I shan't be alone!!

I have been reading the Bible pretty regularily and His word keeps my heart tender and pliable. I hate it when I get arrogant and self-assured. Right now, I am in a wonderful place of security in my relationship with Him, just feeling like He is so near and tenderly watching over us.

The picture says it all!
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March 17, 2008

St. Patrick's Day

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ within me,
Christ below me,
Christ above me,
Christ at my right,
Christ at my left,
Christ in lying down,
Christ in sitting,
Christ in rising up,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

---St. Patrick of Ireland

February 25, 2008

Glammy Jammie Oscar's Party

We watched many movies.

We sent out invitations.

We shopped for months for just the right jammies!

We cooked for hours, preparing the best foods!

And finally, the (second annual )Glammy Jammie Oscar Party began!

Smoked Salmon Pizza (cream cheese, capers and dill)
Meat Roll-ups stuffed with Herbed Goat Cheese wrapped around Feta stuffed Olives
Focaccia with Rosemary and Grapes
Rotel Cheese Dip with Frito Scoops
Veggie Tray with Fancy Ranch Dip
Pineapple, Gala Apple and Seedless Green Grape tray with Honey Cinnamon Yogurt Dip
Wheat-free Crackers and Sundried Tomato Hummus
White and Dark Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
Mini Cherry Cheesecakes
Star Punch (Fuzzy Navels with Star Fruit!)

Jade and I worked together very well in kitchen. Her dots helped a lot, too. Assistant made the Focaccia and Dot made the Meat Roll-ups. The food was beautiful and delish!

I suppose the most touching part of the night for me was Marion Colliard's acceptance speech for winning Best Actress as Edith Pief in La Vie en Rose. TT, Dot and I loved that movie (remember our affection for Paris) and were taken with her humility and joy.

Jade, friend and dots have been here since Thursday nite. We have enjoyed every second. This morning it was hard to say goodbye, but knowing we will be together in NYC in six weeks eases the pain of separation.

Next goal. . . working off the extra winter pounds and poufs around our middles!
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February 20, 2008


Life is simple now that I have learned how to live happy .

I came home from work tonight and Kalena and I made "brinner". (that is breakfast for dinner) We all watched American Idol together. Brinner on the couch. The kids were doing acrobatics in between asking, "Miss H, did you like her, do you think she will get voted off, are you gonna vote for her?"

Little D not only ate everything on her plate, but she went back for seconds! OMG, that was a record worthy of Olympic coverage! She was so proud of herself. She came and whispered in my ear something, and I said, "I love you, too, D." She said, "No, I said I love my EGGS!!"

After eating, little D got out my brushes and combs and barrettes and proceeded to coif her mother's hair and mine!

In between, both Dot and Jade and Assistant were texting me their Idol opinions! And god-son continued asking me if I was gonna vote for the Rocker Nurse!

At the end of the show, Dot texted me to tell me to get outside to see the lunar eclipse. Sure enough, the moon looked blood-red. It looked apocolyptic.

Then Jade called to talk about when she would arrive tomorrow nite. OMG, how exciting that she and the girls will be here for our Glammy Jammy Oscars Party!

Cheese Omlette, Heart-shaped Waffles, Bacon, American Idol, two god-children, a very good friend, a new hair-do, kids eating their entire meal, texts and calls from grown daughters and a lunar eclipse. . . what a very happy night!

Does living get any better?!

February 16, 2008

Forty Twelve!

It was one of my happiest birthdays ever! I told TT that I have never had a birthday with so few material things AND so much love.

Everyone is rather tight (eeeeek) on money right now. So, I asked for dirt for my garden! I am planting an herb garden on March 20. Last weekend, we emptied out the 25' x 2' planter and lined it with weed matt and rocks for good drainage. I want this Miracle Gro Organic Garden Mix dirt that is $7.77 for a two cubic foot bag! It will take about fifteen bags to fill my planter!

So, everyone gave me dirt! And I am thrilled!

Dot, Assistant, Kalina and mom-of-squishy-baby came over with lovely foods for brunch and mimosas. Dot should go into catering (and modeling and makeup and dancing. . . she is just so gifted and beautiful).

In the midst of it all, I got to talk to KE, my best friend from high school and exchange texts with daughter Jade. I later got to talk to her and we excitedly made plans for her visit next weekend with her girls and her good friend (so the gift continues, I will get to see her and my grand-dots!!!) Son-in-luv came over later in the evening and was a walking birthday card. What a beautiful thing to have him sit and tell us just how much he loves our daughter and how much he loves us and loves spending time with us.

After eating and opening cards and gift cards for dirt, somehow we got into my storage stuff and got out a couple of my mom's square dance dresses. Only Dot and Kalina have the 24 inch waists to fit into her tiny clothing. Dot even busted out Mother's petticoats!

Our home was filled with love, laughter, children playing, food, friends and family. It was a lovely, sunshiney, sparkly day. Inside and outside!
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February 13, 2008

Just Plain Happy

I thank God for my priest telling me the way out of depression was to compromise my expectations and get HAPPY with my reality.

It resonated with me how much of my life I have spent miserable over what would later ammount to nothing. I have always been a "make a mountain out of a molehill" kind of person. Oi.

When I decided to get happy, nothing much had changed. Funny, the changes came later.

God gave me the amazing grace to forgive a huge debt. As I held the debtor ransom, my heart was in bondage. I was playing Christmas music from our old church, Brownsville and the Spirit of God swept my heart and I knew the way out of the torment. . . forgive it and let it go. I was free as soon as I said, "Yes, Lord, I release and forgive."

Soon after that, TT, Dot and Hub would go to Orlando and stay with Jade and the children. Gloriously, I was given back my heart-daughter. Dot is my blood daugher. My beloved firstborn.

When I was in my first marriage, I told him I wanted us to pray for the Lord to bring us an older girl to adopt so Dot would have an older sister. He thought I was nuts. Really, I did too.

We divorced two years later. And along comes TT, my knight in shining armor. And Jade. I cut her hair one afternoon. And fell in love with her. God had prepared my heart for her two years before. That is why I call her my heart daughter. She helped TT and I get together. She started calling me "mom" before her father and I even married.

Dot came to me and said, "Mommy, I want Jade for my sister and TT for my daddy."

There was alot of love among us. Why it fell apart is history. How it came back together is a miracle. I can't forget that it happened AFTER I forgave the big debt. Like forgiving was the token for the richness of a healed family.

I love Jade. Deeply. Dot and I are twins in many areas. But in many, we are opposite. And that's where Jade and I are alike. I feel like my heart has warm honey flowing over it. I have both my girls. I need them both. Dot tried to fill the gap and be all for me. She couldn't. I will never forget that she tried.

When she and Jade got reconnected, I told Dot, "Now I can die in peace, knowing you won't be alone, you have your sister." She said, "I thought about that."

I am in no hurry!!

I have had a broken heart over not having more children. I decided to believe God would fill my life. Now I have many! Two twelve year old god-daughters, an eight year old god-son, a five year old god-daughter and a twelve year old and six year old granddaughter!!! My arms are rarely empty and my heart stays full of joy.

Every day I go to work to a full schedule of fabulous clients/friends. Work is a JOY! How is it legal to have so much FUN earning a living?

My husband is a loving, caring, kind man who makes the best spaghetti in the world and who keeps me sane in the mornings when I can't decide what to wear and need my lunch packed. He loves me, through and through.

I have decided why waste today worrying about tomorrow? "For I have been young and I have been old, but I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their seed begging for bread," says the psalmist.

Life is seasonal. I spent a decade in lonely agony and disappointment. How I pictured my life and how it has been are worlds apart. TT and I lost the excessive riches of this world. But we have gained the better. We share a magnificent faith, a deeply loving family and dear friends. Like I heard at Thanksgiving, "Thank You for friends that are like family and family that are friends." It is so wonderful to be in this happy place.

Tomorrow is Valentines. Thank You Lord for how You have poured out Your care and love into my life.

February 4, 2008


This was one reason I got the TV for TT. He loves watching football with his best friend. BF LOVES NewYork Giants, so we had the SuperBowl party!!

I made Black Bean Chunky Beef Chili, mini hamburgers (Sliders), oven roasted french fries, Jade's Macaroni and Cheese. We had sour cream, chopped dill pickles and salsa to top the chili. Friends brought Hot Wings, Deviled Eggs, Veggie Tray, Individual CheeseCakes, Cookies, Chips n Guacamole. . . I may be leaving something out. It was a FEAST!!

Had leftovers tonight! That's a nice reward.

While this picture looks pretty quiet, we had a rip-roaring fun time. And wasn't that an exciting game?!!

Don't tell me people never change. I was screaming right along with them at the final touchdown!!

I am a convert. Gotta go study up on the Gators for next season!!

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February 2, 2008


I just wanted to see if it really does look longer! Once every decade, I stupidly cut off all my hair. This has been the least traumatic for me. Not so insecure as I once was. Better styling tools now.

Read the book HOW NOT TO LOOK OLD, at the suggestion of Beth Minardi, the hair color guru I will be studying under in a year. That book confirmed what I knew. Too short (or too long, for that matter) is O.L. (old lady!!)

I have instructed all my clients that I need their first comment to be, "My goodness, Hattigrace, your hair has really grown fast!!" I take Biotin daily to help it along!

You know I stopped smoking cigarettes September 23rd-ish. Have not had ONE!! Getting through January was a big deal. That was when I caved last year. But New Year's Eve and my friend's birthday, I had a cigar!! No inhaling, so I thought I was fine.

Then, I noticed I was craving cigs more. TT reminded me how the mouth absorbs nicotene. Hmmmm, I forgot about that. I was only thinking about my lungs and not inhaling. So, this is most likely that last cigar I will have. Didn't really enjoy it that much anyway.

Well, this is a deep and thought-provoking post!!!
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January 13, 2008


While Jade and I were sitting on the couch New Year's Day, she asked about my continuing education.

"I went to New York three years ago, London and Paris two years ago, didn't go anywhere last year because of the moving expense into the new Studio, but I am looking for something to attend in New York for '08."

"Hey, if you go to New York, call me, I'll go with you!"

Was I hearing right? OMG, what a THRILL!

Being Hattigrace, I was on the computer the next day, searching. I knew the class I wanted to attend.

It just came together beautifully. Long story short, Dot, Jade, Assistant and I are heading to New York for the Beth and Carmine Minardi BEAUTY FOCUS class in April! We have our airfare purchased, our lovely room reserved, class tickets bought and tickets to see The Lion King!!

I have not seen a show in NYC. I am over the moon with excitement! We are also trying for Good Morning America tickets. A and I watch it every day. You know, Diane and Robin are our best friends!!!

From now til April I cannot spend a dime on anything. Oi, between TT's TV and the rest of Christmas and now this. . . breath, breath, we only live once, right? As Dot says, "I have never regretted a trip I have taken or even thought about the expense of it once I came back."

I feel so blessed, taking a special trip with my two daughters and my dear friend and business partner.

A true circle of life.
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January 6, 2008

HAPPY New Year

That's what it is. The very happiest new year we have ever had. Ever.

As much as I talk/write, I don't tell all. Some things stay deep in my heart. Mostly the aches that no one can heal. I try to focus on all the good stuff. Leave the sad stuff to the only One that can help.

TT has a daughter. She was 17 when I married him. I was 28. You guessed it. . . I blew it on about every count. I had come out of a very bad marriage. Basically I wanted everything my way. Oi, what a wake of wreckage behind me.

She had enough. I don't blame her. Much of the time, I really didn't like me either.

So, we have walked separately for a little over a decade. I stopped talking. Just prayed. Every Sunday, "God, please help me be who I need to be and heal our family." TT prayed the same.

I don't exactly know how it all changed or why. That really doesn't matter.

But gloriously, she is back. With her two girls. TT's granddaughters. And she graciously has introduced me to them as, "This is my Mom Hattigrace. . . your grandma!" They are beautiful like her. Smart and full of humor and deeply caring. And they call me "gramma"!!!

I have died and gone to Heaven.
Dot and Hubby have the New Year's Eve party every year. She said, "Jade is coming to our party." So, we all brought in 2008 together. It was a happy, happy night. The best part was the next day when Jade and I got about eight hours together to just talk and talk and talk and talk. Her sweet girls were with us and would give delicious hugs every now and then.
I told Dot, "You are my only Dot. And she is my only Jade. One can never replace the other. You are both number one."

To be truthful, I have had a hole in my heart for a decade. Jade has this fabulous gift of being able to laugh at herself. While deeply empathetic, she is equally lighthearted. She loves to talk. She loves to text. She loves to hug. She loves to listen. She brings sonshine into any room.

Can you imagine being in the room with both Dots? It is one very happy, fun place!

I have slept soundly all night long since December 31. I feel complete again. My family is whole. I feel whole.

Now, I just need to find our family jet so we can all see each other every weekend!

Meanwhile, I guess we will have to keep texting.
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