I was traveling with the radio on and day. (Music is definitely one of my love languages – which is where my heart led me as I listened with a different set of ears to a new meaning of this song). Foreigner began singing “I’ve gotta take a little time, time to think things over“. (open link after reading blog; think about the song in reflection of what I’ve mentioned. I’d LOVE to hear your response! (side note: 93Million+ views of this song -crazy)!

As many times as I have listened to this song, that day I heard it as if the Holy Spirit was talking to me. Line by line in this song. My heart began to sing. Then resonated through my voice, in the car (alone – thankfully! :-)).

Sweet bird, taking time to stop. ©Photos By Design 2020

The idea that Foreigner sang the song, reminded me that we are indeed, foreigners in this land/on this earth. This is NOT our destination. Romans 12 tells us that we aren’t to be conformed to this world but to renew our mind to what God tells us on how to live. Like the sweet bird perched on the porch, relaxed, only for a moment, I imagine she was ready to recalculate what her next flight might be.

We too can pause. Reflect. Change. Recalculate our life. What does love mean? Who is God, and what is he doing in me right now?

This world, it is not our destination. It’s temporary. In the midst of a cray cray whirlwind of hostility, new virus, shut downs, loss of jobs, people in hospitals alone, funerals wrapped up tighter than a drum- that we can’t say our final farewell to the people we care about, and SO much more. I am GLAD this world is not the only thing to live for.

Does that twist your emotions? Put a zing in your brain?

Think about it. We are not guaranteed a long life. My husband was 37 when he suddenly died. I know many who died in their 50’s. Our destination needs some planning. some thought. Is heaven yours? It could be. Keep reading.

Getting back to the song. Thinking things over. He says I better think things over. Read between the lines.

I say …..no! Read the Scriptures (I’ll attach links to some appropriate scriptures in this story). When we read the Bible we have so so so soooooo much that God tells us. ALL things pertaining to the crazy world – and God offers instruction for ALL OF IT.

This mountain, I must climb“. (maybe this reminds you of The Sound of Music – climb every mountain… ?? Okay.. getting back on track! lol. But God says, lay down in green pastures. Even though we do have mountain tops to climb, we know that the valley is just over that difficult time. Rest. It’s imperative .

“It feels like the world is on my shoulders“. Phew. How many times have I carried that weight. But no more. I learned years ago… I can’t fix all things. You can’t either. We can do our best to help, guide, teach and share. Then we pray. Let God and the Holy Spirit do the WORK and carry whatever weight you bear. Let it go. Let God do the hard thing.

Love shines. Yes it does. Don’t you feel so much better, brighter and valued when people you love are around? God’s the same. Even better! His love never fails. “I want you to show me”. Oh, listening to this lyric, I changed it to: LORD, I WANT YOU TO SHOW ME. Show me YOUR Love Lord. The perfect love that casts out fear, pain, hurt and negative doubt.

Oh, there is nothing that can hide God’s love from us. Allow him to show you HIS pure amazing wonderful love. It gets rid of all things unhappy. ALL THINGS. Simply TRUST and BELIEVE!

We all want to know what love is. God is the only way. He is true and never leaves us. Even to those who seem to be unlovable… he loves them WAY BIG !!!

I’ve traveled so far to change this lonely life“…. do you ever feel that way? Oh, each verse in this song is like the Bible – precept upon precept… line upon line. Filled with HOPE that God gives. Truth. Light. Freedom. Say YES YES YES!!!!

“I want to know what Love is… I want YOU Lord to show me. It may take a little time.. but there’s nowhere left to hide. Love has finally found me“.

If you are reading this today, please know, God loves you so much. He searches for you, and patiently waits for you to run to HIM. Offer your life to him. Ask him to live in you. Ask him to forgive you for running from him. Accept Jesus if you have not yet, as your Savior. Oh, how he loves you so. there is SUCH freedom in Jesus.

As we just celebrated the wonder of Easter, it’s a beautiful way to end the month with this Foreigner song, on wanting to know true love. TRUE LOVE. God – he is our Maker. He knows you. He wants you in eternity – Heaven – oh, it’s gonna be so beautiful to live there one day. It can be your destination too.

I’m confident, I will see you on the other side one day. Rejoice. And thank you, Foreigner, for singing this song. Reminding me of God’s faithful and pure love.

I’m attaching a list of scriptures you can journal, write out in a notebook, as you walk this journey of LOVE.

Enjoy this Journal page…. let me know how this has blessed your life by leaving a comment!

I want to know what Love IS… Scripture journaling

Florida beach, family,

Family Gatherings can bring a host of feelings when it comes to spending time together. We never asked to be born into the family we have. It just happens. God chooses us to be right smack in the middle of love, mercy, joy, and fun, or …… in reality, we are in the midst of dysfunctional cray-zay! A whole host of angry, jealousy, hurt, pain,  and suffering people who show up for dinner to present an unbalanced diet of raw emotions. Hurt people, hurt people. The cycle continues. Sometimes, people act aloof or pretentious, ignoring the pain – not sure which way is worse…. the silence of ignoring the elephant in the room or being open and unbalanced.

What’s a person to do? Ah, life. Choices. Love anyway. Real love – not faking it kind of love. Getting real and ooze that love, at all times.

During my childhood, and into my 20’s, I was hopeful that the “ugly”  issues that arose would resolve; people would choose love over hurt, pain, and misunderstandings; peaceful communication would win out every time…. but as years moved on, I began to lose hope in humanity as a whole. People seem to enjoy the choice of acting in hostility and insecurity, which often times continued without altering viewpoints and meeting halfway.  thought: If a person continues to lash out, they must enjoy the pain, otherwise, wouldn’t they just STOP the madness?

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So many moments with a broken heart, saddened by what I consider lack of integrity. Loss of real love and forgiveness.  The personal agenda, whether purposed or innocently subjected,  wouldn’t it be best to offer a peaceful moment to reconcile.  — God wants desires that we take our troubles to the foot of Jesus. Let him help us overcome ALL obstacles so we can live in peace with each other

Maturity, and letting go of pride are monumental in moving out from the muck and feelings of being out of control, and into the joy and peace that God gifts to us.

When my children were   2, 4 and 6 years old, life was moving forward. We had had our share of struggles, as all couples do, (life is never a bed of flowers; cactus comes up to surprise ya every now and then), but we worked through all things that came our way. Overall, things were well, our kids were healthy and strong, we were working and life was moving forward.

One morning, fairly early, about 8 am,  my husband, at work already, and there was a knock at the front door. I was still in my PJ’s, if I remember correctly, my kids may have had a day off and possibly been still asleep or in the basement playing… I don’t recall…I do remember it was quiet, as I wondered who in the world would be at my door that early? My heart was racing as I went to the window to see what car was outside. When I saw the little blue car on the street, I squinted quizzically and realized who it was. My cousin. I opened the door, confused wondering why he was there so early, as he lived a good distance away, and usually never showed up unannounced. My mind was racing, only thinking: who could be dead or in the hospital…. never imagining that his wife left him, and she temporarily took the kids, and only a few days to find somewhere to live. Wala Whalah ding dong….right? First thing in the morning. He was distraught. Upset to say the very least.  Of course, I hugged him, told him it would be ok, and I am sure I asked a few other questions, long gone from my memory at this point in time, and then invited him to come stay with us. After he left, I didn’t even concur with my husband if that was OK!?!? YIKES! Oofu mistake, right? 

Why do I tell this story?  Twofold reasoning. I immediately told him he could stay with us.  I acted on love.  Love never has to think twice. I sternly suggested he go empty the apartment, get whatever was left and then go get the kids, who were 3 and 9. I was relieved when I called my husband at work to update him with this “family drama”, and he, of course, said to me, he can come stay with us while he figures all this out. Phew. That worked out – love worked it all out. Love never ever fails!

With confidence as strong as a brick wall, I knew it was the RIGHT thing to do. We needed to be there for my cousin, he needed solid friendships to help him walk through this dark night….. together, with five kids under 9,  and three of them in potty training mode. That’s real folks! Work it out we did!

Secondly, my husband and I  could help. If for nothing else but to be a good support during this huge struggle in his life. Doesn’t everyyyyyyone do such things? (come to find out afterward,  the answer to that question is no. People do not let other people move in. I can go off on a tangent on that remark in itself. We’ll save that for another time).

People like to live behind closed doors. No one wants a witness that their life is not so pretty as presented when outside the walls of their safe haven. #liesfromtheenemy.   We all have troubles, we all make mistakes, we all deserve second and third chances.

Second, the reason this story is pertinent is God gave people to live this life out TOGETHER.

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Couples stick together through THICK and THIN. Whether life is a walk on the sweet sunny beach, or when it falls upon shaky ground, or hurricanes of junk come flying your way, you work it out. Life gets sticky and stinky – sometimes often!

So, when you say I DO – it is A LIFETIME of  YESES – No’s and everything in-between.

The tides come in and go out. Nighttime is the stronger tide, weather it out. In the morning the sun shines and clarity comes, you work -it -all -out.

Choose your spouse with wisdom, not a fling, not by looks or status quo. Look into the heart and eyes of that person. Get real honest with yourself and see the person you want to marry for what they truly are. Yes, people can change, but often times, pride gets in the way – down the path of arrogance and selfish desire. Relationships go both ways.

Realize as well, your marriage is bringing two families together, which are often times very different in the way they live, habits, ideals, and a host of other things.    Communicate and love each other – be with each other, because we have enough enemies in this world as it is. May our homes be one of love and grace.

Please understand nobody is exempt from being hurt or hurting others. We all fail. ALL of us. The quick resolve is that when we have Christ in our lives, we learn to be guided by His Word, (the Bible). His love covers all the sins we create. Grace, mercy, and love will make clear when we realize we have made mistakes. Forgive quick and love always!

*** side note: Abuse is never acceptable, so the sidenote to this story is if you are in an abusive relationship, seek help. No one should be a punching bag, nor verbally attacked for any reason. Seek your local hospital, county or village to find out who can help near you.


5082 c purple petunias

This Easter, if you are a follower of Jesus and accepted him as your personal Savior, then you are a part of His Royal Family. THEE family – Born of and to God, for and with a PURPOSE. There is no greater love than that of Jesus.   Live in his wonderful love.

If you do not have Jesus in your life, please say this simple prayer, and you will live eternally in Heaven, and walk this earth with Jesus as your sweet guide as you walk and talk with him, learn his Words from the Bible, our guide to life, and blessings will be yours.

 –– Lord, thank you for salvation. Thank you for your willingness, Jesus, to go to the cross and die for my sins. I repent and want to live a good clean life, free from sin. Forgive me of my past sins, and help me as I walk in the days ahead, listening for your prompting when I do sin or want to sin, and I will be quick to leave that behind me. Thank you for forgiving me and loving me. In Your Name, Amen. 






© Copyright 2015 Photos By Design. All rights reserved. All photographs and text included herein are the property of  Donna Balsavich, dba: Photos by Design. All materials are protected under the United States and international copyright laws and treaties which provide substantial penalties for infringement.


Tonite, I sit here in utter tears. My heart is broken and tattered, ripped into small shreds. One of the loves of my life, my furbaby, Chloe the Cocker Spaniel, at 12 years old, and a decaying body that was not matching up with her mind, is put to rest. her ailing body just was getting the best of her, and it was the right time to say goodnight, and until we meet again on the other side, I love this furbaby so much it hurts. (if you’re not an animal fan, you might not understand – and that ‘s ok, I hope you can still enjoy the personality of these girls of mine, throughout the years, their cute faces, and grasp the love my kids and I have for each of them – even still, after their passing).

 The love of an animal, especially a dog, fills the heart and house with joy and fun. 

Of course, those who aren’t animal fans, don’t quite understand the depths of love for these canine friends. Dogs are accepting, fun, cute, cuddly, wise, logical, whimsical, no inabitions, strong, weak, mighty warriors  to their owners, chasers, eaters, beggers (who doesn’t want some yummy smelling meat??!!);  the  list goes on – and on.

As an adult, I have had five dogs. Two collies, one golden retriever, cocker spaniel and a shih tzu.  I am a child of the 60’s – that loved Lassie and Cuddly Duddly. Who didn’t, right?!?!

My husband and I had our Collie  – Wiski – before we had kids; She was the most intelligent and caring dog I have ever been around. She loved her “man”(my husband), and loved her mommie (me);  When my husband and I would hug- she could hardly stand it – in her mind  she thought we  were doing something bad to each other – (it didn’t help that we would teasingly cup our hands and “hit” each others’ back to make that pretend “hit sound”), she’d bark and literally come between us to break us up;  Who couldn’t fall in love with that loyalty?!?!

When our kids came along, she knew when I ‘d go into labor, she also was right  there with each one of them during each growth spurt in  our sons lives. She was so patient and caring with them. She never lashed out  – never lost her mind, nor temper. She  was the welcoming commity. When she passed away – I had to take her in alone (she passed away in our home), as my husband was working. I cried my eye OUT!  Still do – 25 years later – she was thee best dog in the universe !    Then came along the “stupid dog”, as I named her. Golden Retriever reject. She really looked like a Yellow Lab. She definately should have lived on a farm or been a hunting dog. She was NOT a good family house dog – didn’t potty train for years – attacked my Wiski (at 10 weeks old !!!!!!!  As Wiski went to get a drink of WATER!) Not sure why this dumb dog was threatened by the dog who really was the Alpha – Chelsi was NOT submissive at all. But she sure knew her place with me. She never crossed me – cuz I would have taken her right back to where we got her from had she done so. She bit often (which I was unaware of until recently- the boys knew I would have gotten rid of her had I known of that ….and the critters she caught and brought to the back door was an unacceptable feature that I also wasn’t going to put up with, but didn’t know until recently).

Part of why I did not want or like her, was my husband went back on his “pact” with me;  we agreed that we would only have collies, as we both grew up with them in our childhood, and knew that the breed was good with children. We always had a house full of kids too. so that was important to us).   BUT… a certain family member, who will remain unnamed in this blog 🙂 , started breeding Goldens, and basically bambooseled my husband into taking the pick of the liter. Which I still do not understand why she didn’t take the pick – especially since I said NO NO NO at least two dozen times – (and yet she proceeded to bring my oldest son into it – as  the pups were born near his birthday – making it about him – and this would be a gift to him- I know ya’ll see what I am saying here, right!!?!?);  Our Wiski was old, going blind, loosing her hearing, hip displacia – and we wanted her to live out her limited time free from a puppies playful ways etc. Well, my voice did not matter – and I was overruled – and we got this puppy, who proceeded to BITE my Wiski girl – broke skin – she got infected and needed surgery – which would NOT have happened had we only had Wiski and NO puppy as my husband and I agreed years earlier. Less than a week later, Wiski passed away; 🙁 Tears still flow so easily when I think of her. She was a true treasure in a dog.  One of the loves of my life.

Shelbi – Collie #2 came into our lives a few monthes later. Fun and hyper dog. Not the best bred. But she was a collie who loved everyone. True to form!  This girl ended up having epilipsy – but lived to about 9 years old. She had a good life – even though Chelsi didn’t like other furry family members, she tolerated Shelbi.  We  had the cats then for some time. I took a break from dogs – I needed it. from the  whirlwind of life as a widow raising three boys with full scedules, I was tired of taking care of barking dogs and fur etc.

Once the boys were all in college – I was feeling that void. Too much quiet. One day as I pondered this new season – I said to myself – this is either time to adopt a child or get a dog. The dog won. Easy decision!   On  the search for that special furbaby that would be mine, so I wanted a collie, but they were hard to find, so, I considered a small dog – easy to take care of – and maintain.  I went against what I always said I would not do – and looked for a small dog.

I came across this very quiet – sweet – relaxed and oh so adorable cocker spaniel who was as cool as a cucumber. Nothing bothered her. BINGO! I love Cuddly Duddly, and always wanted (as a kid), a Cocker Spaniel. She was ten months old. I wondered why no one wanted her yet.  She definately needed to have a home, so that was that. She came home with me. Over the period of a few weeks she morphed into this crazy silly determined hyper focused dog. But still soooooo sweet.  When my sons came home, she FELL IN LOVE with them. Momma’s heart was right in picking this dog. Love my boys – and you win me over!

Then in my love for puppies/dogs, I came across this oh so very cute Shih Tzu, who climbed into my neck like a cat, I couldn’t resist. She came home with me, and I now have a huge love and adoration for these very docile and sweet dogs – I am a huge fan of Shih Tzu’s AND Collies. Both favorite breeds to this momma’s heart.

With each dog we have had, they each have brought a special bond and love into our lives. Just like children. My heart overflows so much that I can hardly express this truest of loves. These animals can’t talk, but only offer fun, love and lots of cuddles. If you treat them right, they reciprocate. What’s not to love and care for????

God gave us dominion over the creatures of this world. These creatures get into my heart – and I just fall in love. Tears flow much to easy at the moment, since my girl Chloe has only been “gone” for about 5 hours. Not sure I will ever get over the void, which is oh so similar to my Wiski girl. Different seasons of life, they came into our world – not asking for US to be THEIR family, but chosen by me – hand picked. Crafted, for sure by the Heavenly Father, knowing these pets would work their way into our homes, and lives, to leave a lasting imprint in our minds and hearts – forever.

I do believe with all my being that we will see our pets in heaven – this is an argument made by some. I won’t enter  that disagreement any more – because I believe the Word. What matters to me, matters to the Father.  The Word of God says the Lion will lay with the Lamb when we get to Heaven. Peace is what that means, I’m sure.   But I believe it is physically as well as spiritually done. We shall see one day – on the other side….  until then….. my sweet Chloe  – I love you , you beautiful cocker spaniel.  You won my heart 9 years ago, and I will never be the same. My life is enriched by having you in it. Thank you Lord for gracing me with this dog. I know you loved us as much as we loved you, Chloe.

Enjoy the sweet photos of our girls. Each with thier own personalities, just like my own children. And that is just the way it should be. I love them all (except Chelsi, the devil dog). Until we see each other again….. I love you my Chloe – with all my heart. I miss you already, more than words can express.

Chloe –  Curled up and Comfy in bed with me

Ok, whatcha doing?

Oh that tongue!  She’s always curled up in bed – loving it !

she is the ipitomy of Cuddy Duddly

Is this spoiled or what?!!?!

Can’t sit on the floor! oh No!!!  Cozy on the couch with a pillow !  That’s  my Chloe 


0154 Chloe in the daisy’s – it was a hot day!


Oh this sweet face (that really isn’t so sweet – but very very lovable)


This is my Wiski at about 5 ish months;  What a girl; beauty at best – Lassie style!  Wiski always knew what to do at Christmas time – she had her own stocking – and her own gifts every year!  Just love her  so – Wiski and her boys, whom she loved SOOOO much !

oh did Wiski love the snow! The more the marrier! 

 the serious look – always thinking 

Our Mis-l-Toe – alley cat – she loved us as much as we loved her. She was so pretty!  In the mix we added our Black and White Cat,  Mis-L-Toe;  a  cat that was found  as a litter in an alley  of Chicago. She took to us well. Half typical cat- and mostly in love with us as family. She knew she was loved, and I think appreciated that fact. She was the alpha cat for sure – she held her ground with Chelsi and even with Chloe  when she came into our family. 

Looking for that pesty squirrel 

that tongue – and focus – like no other dog we’ve had  –  Forever in love with Chloe  Our Chloe loved the car  – oh that face. 

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Sleepin cozy on the pillow

Oh this girl has always had my heart
Is this not CUDDLY DUDDLY at best?!?!

Sleeping comfortably in bed..right where she belongs.

oh Snow day…..   the snow was soooo deep – and she was a trooper – determined to get through it all  #strongwilled and #determinedThis beautiful face. I am always going to be in love with this girl – none like her – anywhere. (below)Is the one and only Chelsi, the Golden Retriever – dumbest dog ever. Very short temprament  – uncharachteristic to Goldens. I sure Don’t miss her – but my boys do Sister Collie #2 is Shelbi;  Sweet girl. but second to ALpha Chelsi – who did not like other animals… but pictures can be deceitful can’t they???
Another of our beautiful Mis-L-Toe 
 Oh this girl – So Cuddly Duddly looking – but so determined, focused and definately an Alpha personality  – She was #1  and demanded it. 


The soulful look in her eyes are what I loved most – or is it her noes, or ears, or tongue, maybe the personality… oh shoot – I just will always love everything about this girl – forever my girl

Her sleeping away. Check out those long eyelashes that all girls dream of!  Oh, that nose. I will miss kissing that sweet nose.  Curled up in her rightful place – in bed – and yes that tongue sticking out.  I love you Chloe – forever my girl !!  And her boy walking her and  sister dog, Caabie (the ShihTzu)  the nose that checks out every single thing – nothing gets pasts her. ever.  The wind her her face. What a dog.   a sketched photo of Chloe  – that face is like none other. Pretty and always cute.  Prayin’ she don’t get into trouble ! 🙂 Collie #2 – our Shelbi and her boy (my son) That Golden look is oh so deceitful, she’s lurking to see who she might snap dragon on. #notsofriendly  Named this girl CAAB – cute as a button   —-    This girl is so stinking loving AND sweet; laid back, and oh she loves ice cream!  Ooooh just wanna squeeze her !  the tongue the tongue. #what a face. only a mother can love – right?!?  sleepin in bed with me  – spoiled to the max. #imgonna missyoucurledupatnightwithme 


getting some  rays and enjoying the view – chloe and caabie (Cute as a button = CAAB)  looking innocent – #NOT !!! Oh so tired – and always cozy in bed with me. 



do you see that look??? I’m tellin ya – she was NOT the typical Golden! mean.as.sin! 




the authoritive look  – oh what a girl 



I’ve had many a cat in my life. I love them all. but this girl Lexi, is by far theeeee best cat in the UNIVERSE! Sweet sweet sweet – so sweet – even those who hate cats – Lexi won them over!  perfect in every way ! That focused and intelligent look – with the tongue  —-waiting at attention! This is her truest look. This dog has my heart in the midst of her paw- I love her deep and wide. She was made for our family. none like her.  #forevermygirl

The Lord is speaking into your heart today, he wants you to know,

That he wants to be welcomed in.

He waits for you to lean into his arms. He wants to tell you how much he cares.

He’d be able to make it better, only if he could have the chance to help,

because the answers are right there,

He says:

There is so much to tell you, it would be an honor to be  trusted,

with the love I so desire to share within your heart, but  I need to be asked in to your life.

Let the circumstances could be released, and the emptiness you feel

could be filled up with joy,

If you would only let me in.

You could release your deepest fears, and enter in to the fullness of My love.

Promises I give will make your life complete. I am your friend, your help and your love.

I want to be your Protector, to keep you from all harm, I would be so happy, if

We could walk this life together, I love you

More each day, I hope you let me in.

Let’s Pray:

Father God, I am so sorry I ignore your voice and sometimes even your loving prompts. May my ears be soft to hear, and slow down to hear you tell me how much you love me. I do rejoice at  how much you love me. I know you love me more than anyone I have in my life.My desire is truly, to have more of you and less of me.  

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