~Speaking from my heart~

My dad’s trial is set to begin September 13th.  It is unfortunate I will not be there.  The decision was difficult for me to make.  There are several factors that played into my decision.  Fortunately my sister and my step mother will be there to represent my dad.  I never thought I wouldn’t be there, but when it came down to it, I just could not go.

We had the choice to either accept a plea agreement, or go to trial. It was explained that these jury members are often liberal in their decision-making process and that they believe in rehabilitation. Armed with this knowledge my family opted for trial. They want  my dad’s story to be told out loud and to real people.  They want the people in the community to decide what is a fair and just punishment.  I fully support this decision.    

I have the best memories of  my dad.  Thoughts cross my mind and I want to pick up the phone, or email him. I really want to talk to him. 

Losing a family member to something that is preventable is a tragedy. Drunk driving is  preventable, it is much more preventable than cancer and heart disease.  If you drink, do not drive.  I do not condemn anyone for drinking.   I don’t hate the man who killed my father.  He simply did not choose correctly. When faced with the choice to pull over or stop he choose to run.  That choice affects the rest of his life and the rest of my life.   He came to our country to live as an American, twice.  He wanted freedom and opportunity. His wife lost a husband.  His choice destroyed all  he hoped for.  He will spend a portion of his life behind bars and possibly be returned to the country from which he fled all because of one bad choice. Over the past year I have thought about what losing of my dad means to me and I have to think about what this man has lost.  No one wins.

All I am left with is the fact that this did not have to happen and sadly can’t go back and change time. 

My dad had years of life experience.  He had knowledge, understanding. He had foresight and he understood the idea of sacrifice for the greater good. He will be proud of his family for telling his story. If one person hears his story and decides they will not drink and drive then his life and death will have a positive impact.   This is important to my dad.

Change begins with desire and it begins with one person.  My dad continues to live through his story.  His story must be told, many times, over and over.  His earthly life has ended but his legacy is far from over.  Good things can come from tragedy. His memory demands it and it’s up to us, his family, to see that it happens.

It begins with a choice,  do not drink and drive.  These words have never been more important to me.  They should be important to you.

To sum up all that is my father he is gentle, kind, empathetic, encouraging, stubborn and always learning. He is a big kid at heart who loved his family, dogs, and his hobbies.  He always believed good would come and he wants you to believe that too.

Yes, telling his story is important, it always will be.


~Your in the arms of an angel~

Angel by Sara McLachlan 

Today is not the same without my dad.   Emma and I recently traveled to Nashville to participate in a walk for MADD, to remember my dad.  It was  a good way to reflect on my dad and join others in remembering their loved ones.  

I know my dad was in the arms of an angel when he was taken. I know he is in a good place. I know one day I won’t feel so sad.   I wish I could have called him today to tell him Happy Father’s Day and you should get your card tomorrow.. I am a really bad procrastinater, just like he was.  We kind of laugh about it, but it’s true.  I just wish I had one more chance.

~The story of my sand dollar~

~This is a picture of a picture taken by my father of Flagler Beach circa 1980’s, perhaps 1990’s? (For my sister.)

As a family we spent a part of each summer in Flagler Beach.  This beach has always remained the same from the first time we visited until the last.  It is just as you see in the picture above. Vast miles of flat sand, unending views of blue waves, and sea gulls dotting the landscape.  Of course there were people on the beach, the fishermen, families, walkers, and sunbathers.

One summer I was determined to find a sand dollar. I wanted one so badly. My grandmother had many  around her home that she had found on her many walks. Each night after we would go for a walk on the beach. One night my sister found a seahorse. It was so little and perfectly formed.  I was happy for her, but even more determined  to find a  sand dollar.

As we made our way  across the street, my family was a little ahead of me  and I was going through the gate I had a vision. I saw a beautiful round white sand dollar nestled in the sand.  The sand surrounding the sand dollar was damp and still wet from the tide, lying alone on the beach.

As we walked and walked I stayed ahead of the group and I kept my eyes down.  We passed through and played in the  little tide pools. As I walked out of one I saw it, my perfectly beautiful sand dollar. I just screamed, “I found my sand dollar!!”

My vision was the truth and I believed it before it even became a reality. I will never forget that night, that walk on the beach of my childhood.  I have never had another vision so clear and real as that one.  This weekend  I was given this picture my father took many years ago and it brings back so many memories.  I still miss my dad so much, and I am thankful for my memories.   I know one day soon I will get back to my beach.

~This is not my photo of my sand dollar. I think my mother has it in her curio cabinet, but this is just what it looked like. Pretty right??

~Lordy, Lordy, I can’t be 40~

Dear God, I am 40.

I am not really believing it.  I am OK with being 40, the alternative is well, you know..

~40 Things about me you might not know~

1. I believe in God.

2. I am a true Pisces, I am a dreamer.

3. I love the water, I want to move to the beach, and soon!

4. I am a Registered Nurse.

5. I work at the jail.. (I know).

6. I am not scared to work at the jail.  It is often sad, but also humorous.

7. I love to see people’s faces when I say I work at the jail.

8. I wanted 3 children, but I only have 2.

9. I am really short, 5’0 on a good day.

10. In my heart I am a hippie.

11. I am conservative when it comes to my family..

12. I used to be wild when I was younger.

13.  I taught myself to quilt, crochet and knit (my grandma tried to teach me, but I didn’t really get it at first.)

14. I love to read.

15. I wish I had more  time to read.

16. I love Spring.

17. I love Fall more.

18. I can’t stand Winter.

19. I like hate to be cold.

20. I don’t like to excercise, but I feel really good afterwards. (don’t we all?)

21.  I love being a wife.

22. I love being a Mom.

23.  I wish I could have one more baby, but I know I am too old. Darn it.

24. I love old houses, LOVE!

25. I want to move to Fiji.

26. I want to go to France where my grandmother grew up.

27. I want my house to be picture perfect, but it is not.  I am not the best housekeeper.

28. I worked in ICU for 14 years and by the time I left, I was having panic attacks.

29. My brother died from sudden cardiac death, he was 29. I still miss him like crazy.

30. My dad was recently killed by a drunk driver and I am still really mad and sad. I miss him like crazy also.

31. I miss my dad today. He always emailed me on my birthday. I always emailed him back the same thing each year.  Hi Dad, thank you for the Birthday wishes.   I am sad today…

32. I love red wine and my favorite ice cream is mint chocolate chip (the green one.)

33. I get bored really easily, I always need to have something going on..  I blame it on the adrenaline rush from being a nurse– I guess..?

34. Sleeping is one of my favorite activities, cooking is another.

35. I love to garden, but not in the middle of summer.

36. I buy most all of my clothes from the thrift store.  If you need it, you will find it if you look hard enough.. I used to be embarrassed to shop at them.   That is funny to me now.

37. I used to spend money like there was no tomorrow.  Now I am super frugal and proud of it.

38. I love animals. 3 dogs, 2 cats.  These animals are so spoiled. They are all rescue, except for  one dog that showed up on our porch, half dead.  We were going to find her a home, but then I buckled. She is the most spoiled.  She is a pit bull named Olivia.

39. My husband wants to come back in the next life as my dog. Weirdo!

40. My favorite place to be is home.

If you made it to the bottom of this list you will see I am super boring!  I have no idea why I always felt sad on my Birthday, but I can say this year is different. It really is. I am not sad, not today. I am truly grateful for all the love I have in my life.  It has just filled me up, more than I could have ever expected.  I am truly thankful.

~I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught. ~Georgia O’Keefe

~I have been so quiet….

I have been in a quiet mood.   Partly because I am starting to feel the holiday pressure.. perhaps, but..

I have also had some really sad days thinking about my dad.  When these sad day’s come, I feel sadness so  deeply -it goes all the way to my core.  It is exhausting honestly.  I know that time will makes things better but right now I do not have time on my side…

 But to every sad feeling  I believe there is a “lightness” or a happiness waiting for you…

I have been  noticing  the light of these autumn days.  I have felt very connected to this light and surprisingly I have captured some shots of it…

I have always enjoyed the changing seasons.   This year even more so.  Especially when I began to notice this autumnal light.  I felt drawn to to it in a way I have never felt before and I have been wondering what it is means to me, what is it telling me, or where it is taking me…

to a new day, a new path, a new place – I am not exactly sure but I really feel it.

I believe “the light”or happiness will always win out over the sadness you just have to wait and be patient .. to every sad feeling and sad thought – there is a happiness  waiting to be found.   It just takes time..

I have a lot of things that I feel like I need to work out, hence the quote from Georgia O’Keefe it just seems to fit my mood today…

~ Dinner ideas and thoughts of many quilts ~

“There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on 
the feelings, as now in October.” 
–  Nathaniel Hawthorne


I am loving this October!! We are on a two week fall break which so far has been lovely even though the grey and drizzle.   Fall is my most favorite of seasons.  Soup is always on my mind and yesterday was no different. I made a vegetable soup that was awesome!  If anyone is interested I can write more about it, but just know that is a powerhouse of goodness!



I am always in search of dinner ideas.. you know it is hard to come up with something good every single night..

I have made this pizza before  and it is easy and really good.  Last night I made another one and I basically used leftover baked chicken, basil from the garden, olive oil and cheese along with a mix of whole wheat and white flour.


So easy and so delicious, even Miss Picky Pants ate it!

I am working on my Scraps to Treasure project. I am slowly working on it.   The project was due October 1st.  Needless to say I have been delayed in a horrible horrible way. It is slow going at times but I am hoping to get into a groove very soon.

I have been commissioned  for a baby quilt by my cousin. She reports that she has really enjoyed her Sand and Sea quilt that I made for her baby Elio, (he is gorgeous!) so much that she would like me to make one just like it from  these fabrics!  Aren’t they cute?? Yay!! I am so happy to do this…!!

I am contemplating trying to put together a quilt for a Silent Auction for my daughter’s school… however I am so undecided on ideas. I am a little unsure if anyone would be interested in such a thing.  I am kind of leaning towards an all solid Kona cotton quilt if I decided to do it, but I am still thinking on this idea.  I also don’t have much time….

Also,  Jade from Craft Hope has project 5, and this is a really good one!  This project not only helps little children, but also children that are here close to us all.  I am excited about this one!

I have lots more to chat about but it will have to wait. I hope your day is blessed!

~ a vision shared~


I recieved this email from my sister tonight, I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing with you…

i was in bed, trying to go to sleep for the night.  just as i was drifting off, i saw dad with robert.  they were both laughing and smiling.  dad had a big grin on his face….and when have you ever really seen him smile that big?  robert looked so happy too.  it surprised me so much that i bolted upright wide awake and i lost the dream. it was such a brief image because i woke up as soon as i saw them.  i wasn’t sure if it was really real or if it was something my mind made up because i wanted to see it.  all i know is that when i woke up, i looked at the clock and it was 10:15pm on monday night.  somehow it made me feel better, even if maybe it wasn’t real, it was real enough to me…..


Monday  night was 3 weeks, he died close to 10:15pm. Unbelievable.

Now I am crying because I feel happiness and a sense of hope that he is happy and at peace with his son.


He is a Christian and  I know he is in Heaven, I do know all of that, but the earthly me has just been so very worried.. I feel like I have just been waiting to really know.. thank you A.  Really really thank you !

   ~these 2 little friends have been with me for 2 days now.. they really are friends, one looks out while the other drinks.  Then they fly just as high and as fast as they can. I know migration is well under way but I have really enjoyed their visit…

~Welcome Autumn Equinox~

I am welcoming Autumn with arms wide open. I worked on this sweater back in July knowing of course that Autumn will once again arrive. I can’t wait.

I am still so sad about my father, the pain is there but it is a litle deeper inside rather than bubbling over and out..  It is 3 weeks today. 


But the sweater, I fell in love this pattern I had some lovely Blue Sky cotton on hand I can’t remember exactly what I did different to make this more sweater- like. Helpful I know, but all it lacked was a button. I finally got it sewn on.  Now I need just one more to finish it, but I am going to go ahead and call it done.  I wore it today and it was comfy.

    ~can you see the fall leaf button????

Welcome Autumn!
Now once it cools down, I will be soup making and fall veggie roasting ~ can’t wait!!

“If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.” ~ Malcom X

Please consider joining my group on facebook Justice for Robert Joel Benn-Stop Drunk Driving Now.

I know this will not bring my dad back. I know that.
I just can not allow my dad’s memory to be forgotten. I can not allow him to wiped off this earth without fighting for him. He would want justice, I want justice.

If any good can come from my father’s death, it would be that we as a society will not tolerate senseless killings.   Why would a 3 time convicted DWI individual ever be allowed back behind the wheel? Why would he be able to get his license back. How many chances does one get to kill?  When is enough enough?
This facebook group is created to keep track of  my father’s case and investigation and to give a voice to a victim who can not speak for himself.  Thank you.

Resolve and thou art free. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

papa and the girls   ~August 8, 2009 (my sister’s baby shower)


Today brings the task of laying my father to rest.  This will be a very hard day for my family and I, but we know this must be done.   I do not think I will fully believe what has happened until I see my father.

Such a hard day.  We must be strong and  remain resolved to see this process through.  I know we will find comfort from each other.  As much as I want to turn and run the other way I know I can not.

Peace be unto you and all who you meet and please especially upon my family and all those who knew and loved my dad.