Friday, December 8, 2017

ponderings




The first snow of the year is magical. Even for adults who know better. Those first flakes appearing faintly, then falling more steadily until there starts to be a blanket of white over the landscape. Snow can transform the bleakness of leafless trees and gray skies into a wonderland.


Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. It seems to me that Mary herself laid this blanket of white over the world to remind us what her Son can do.


They seem to be gazing longingly at their destination and their destiny
 

I have been reading "On Pilgrimage" by Dorothy Day for my book club, underlining passages that stand out or give me pause. From my lunchtime perusal, I can across these gems:

"What else do we all want, each one of us, except to love and be loved, in our families, in our work, in all our relationships? God is Love."

"God sees Christ, His Son, in us and loves us. And so we should see Christ in others, and nothing else, and love them. There can never be enough of it."

Mary, the Immaculate Conception, said "Yes" to God, said "Let it be done to me". Is that not the perfect example for us all? It was her love for God, for all of us, that let her give that "yes". Love. There never can be enough of it.


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Back in the Saddle



I woke up one morning and realized that I had let too many things go. The things that matter to me, that make up the rhythm of our days. It is easy in life to get overwhelmed and revert to what I call "survival mode". You take care of the basics of life until life calms down. Then you can take a deep breath, hike up your britches and add those things back to your day.

I am starting small. Bread, to be exact.  I had stopped making bread in Germany because, well, let's face it, German bread was better, not to mention fresh baked and cheap, and could be obtained by a quick stroll to the village bakery. Now? I have no excuse for eating bread that doesn't taste good. My mother had a bread machine taking up space in her pantry. So, I brought her machine to my little condo, and started experimenting. I now have a nice white loaf that is delicious. Next up is a honey whole wheat loaf that is not too dry.

My goal is to add back one thing at a time, until it is a full life we are living and not just surviving.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Ironic, isn't it?





Picture if you will, a college campus, a boy, a girl. He, a meat and potatoes kind of guy. She, a vegetarian. Both studying music, yet an unlikely match. Nevertheless, they meet, fall in love, and get married.

A quarter of a century passes, seven kids are born, and the next thing you know, he is stationed in South Korea. One night he is
looking for something to watch on Netflix and decides to watch a documentary, and becomes a vegan. His wife, meanwhile, is now raising a pack of carnivores back in Tennessee.

What will become of these two? Will she learn to how to prepare vegan meals? Will the kids protest? Only time will tell, though the protesting children are pretty much a sure bet, based on tonight's foray into vegan cooking. Stay tuned as the story unfolds.

Fall Fleeing Fast



The days have been flying by, barely allowing me to appreciate them at all! In one sense, that is a good thing, because it makes this year's separation from Tony go faster. I can't believe we are almost at the halfway mark. On the other hand, after the kids are finally in bed and I can breathe a sigh of exhaustion, I wonder how many times I really, truly looked at them that day.


 
 
The kids and I have been looking out the windows of the van all through October and into November at the brilliant fall foliage surrounding us. The mountains almost looked ablaze for a while there with all the reds and oranges of the trees. Then, almost overnight, after one of those windy, rainy kind of nights, the colors were gone. Fall was gone. The dreariness of a long winter stared back at us.
 
 
Same trees, one week later


As the idea of a long, cold winter sunk in, I happened to notice this pair of deer frequenting our backyard in the mornings. The baby still had its white spots, which I thought odd at this time of year. On one of our visits to Bays Mountain, I asked one of the park rangers about the baby. She figured the mama had a miscarriage and got pregnant again late in the season. She then informed me that most of those babies don't survive the winter. Already feeling sad about this news, the next morning Anna noticed the baby's leg was injured. I called Bays Mountain again, worried sick. They said the best course of action was to let the baby stay with the mother unless it could no longer walk or the mother abandoned it. Then almost 2 weeks went by where I did not see either of them. I feared the worst. So imagine my joy this morning when I looked out my window to see them both! The leg is still injured, but looks no worse. The baby looks stronger and healthy!

I took this the morning we noticed the leg injury.



 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

On Finding Peace




There is an unnamed time between summer and fall. It comes and goes as swiftly as the hummingbirds at my feeder, and is just as wonderful to behold. Mornings have a chill to them, fog delicately shrouds the mountain and river, while sun glows a brilliant orange through the still silhouetted trees. The trees are taking off their lovely green summer frocks and blanketing the ground with discarded, decaying leaves, foretelling the approach of fall in full force.
 
Nature does not fight the changing seasons, unlike me. All the changes in our daily living have left me unsure of my place. During the terribly darkest doubt, I felt I had abandoned all the very things that define my existence. This morning, I stayed for morning circle. There, I witnessed my children participating in a farewell song to one our priests, and peace finally settled upon my heart. I know that God has led my family to this place. This school, this parish are our faith community to lean upon and contribute to for the next year and we are blessed indeed.
 
I wish I could bottle this moment of peace and place it on a shelf, to uncork and breathe in whenever doubt starts creeping back in, as I know it will. Adoration is one place where that peace is restored for me. Another is in nature. This morning was an answer to a prayer that has long been on my lips. 


First day of school at my alma mater. Anna is still at home with me.


One of the best parts of being in Kingsport is having my parents so nearby.
 
 
 
My parents have a boat on the lake. Taking advantage of one of the last  sunny, summer days.






Spending time in nature is such a balm for my soul. God's amazing handiwork abounds.





Capturing a hummingbird in flight is pretty nigh impossible.


Another change for us, a kitten! Lulu is a sweet little cat.


Celebrating Grams' 106th birthday.



And Therese's 7th.


Some things stay the same even among all the changes...coffee and knitting.


Sunday, June 25, 2017

When it Rains or alternately, God's plan is not always what you expect



Firstly, I am extremely grateful for our safe arrival back in the US. No one threw up before during, or after the flight, which is a vast improvement from our flight to Germany. Our wonderful friends brought us a batch of chocolate chip cookies for the flight! They never made it on the flight since they were all consumed beforehand. Mainly because we had a major delay. Our priest came to see us off as well, which I appreciated ever so much.

Less than a week after our arrival, we received the devastating news that a dear friend had died unexpectedly. We hopped into the car we had purchased only days before, and made our way to Virginia. I am so thankful that we were able to attend the funeral Mass. we stayed in the area a few extra days to see Tony's siblings and other dear friends.

There have been some glitches getting settled into our new home, and I am trying my darndest to remain positive and trust that God has a plan in mind here. The hugest obstacle to my trust happened this week. I knew not to expect our household goods to arrive quickly so when I got the email on Thursday that not only were they in country, but actually in Kingsport, I was thrilled! I called to schedule delivery and that is when it became extremely hard to say "I trust you Lord" when they informed me they could not deliver it for an entire month!! What? Kingsport is not that big. How could there possibly be that many people needing to move?

Forward to the next evening, when I got a call from the maintenance man at our condo. "Umm, ma'am, there is water leaking from your unit into the basement. Could you come over quickly?" And we did, to discover that a water pipe had been leaking for almost 24 hours! It had soaked almost all the carpet on that level of the house. It is currently being dried out and we are praying that there is minimal damage. But now I see that if the furniture had been delivered when I had hoped, all our belongings would have also sustained water damage. How good is God for sparing us that heartache! And so I am reminded once again how God's way is really the best. I must try daily to put my trust in Him.

Meanwhile, I am so incredibly blessed to have such wonderful parents, who are housing our gang until we can finally move in. I know we are not an easy bunch to accommodate. Also, the church community has been so welcoming and the VBS was this past week. What great timing! With all the glitches,the kids were able to go have fun while the big people sorted out all the problems!

I hope to return to this blog more frequently once we are settled in to our new home.





Saturday, May 20, 2017

Lasts



Nowadays, I will be doing some task and think, "This is the last time I will do this in Germany." The days are slowly dwindling on our European assignment. We must go back to our home country. The emotions involved are so contradictory that the whole family is struggling. Yesterday, we went to daily Mass (it was the next to last time for that), and after returning home, I was so tired out that I didn't have it in me to do any schooling, and I thought, "Let them just relax and play." They are just as unsettled as their mama apparently, for chaos and arguing quickly filled our echoing, empty house. As soon as dinner was done, we headed for the bowling alley to release some stress. It worked. Tears turned into hugs and laughing (the chocolate chip cookies might have helped too).

The previous day we went on a field trip (another 'last') that a friend so graciously set up for our family. We learned how brass instruments are made. Most of us were spellbound, excepting the two smallest, who quickly lost interest but hung in there with minimal complaints.

We toured the Alexander Musical Instrument manufacturing company. They produce baritone horns, Wagner tubas, regular tubas, and french horns. Their claim to fame are their french horns. Tony informed me that the first really good tuba he ever played was an Alexander.




















































Tomorrow is likely our last culinary hike. Monday is our last day in the house I have grown to love. Then we go to temporary lodging to await our flight home. Home. We have one waiting for us. A place I have only seen in pictures on the computer. But we will make it our home for the next year. This military life is full of upheavals, yet it is our life. And we will soldier on.