Wednesday, January 3, 2018


As in, we are halfway through Tony being in Korea, away from us. He took two weeks and one long flight to spend Christmas with us. We awoke at 3:30 yesterday morning to get him to the airport. He kissed each of the kids good-bye and we ventured out in the 5 degree pre-dawn chill. Immediately I noticed that the grass and trees were sparkling like I have never encountered before. It was a wonderland of glittering ice everywhere the headlights shone.

Christmas was lovely and crazy and cozy, which is how it should be. We then settled into days of playing new games and enjoying our time with Tony. Jack's birthday is in a few days and he requested that we go to a railroad museum and antique shopping with his dad as an early gift. My parents joined us for lunch and antiquing, skipping the museum. The museum is on the ETSU campus, and we chose to explore Jonesborough for the antique hunting.

I have lots of organizing and cleaning to do, which I let slide during Tony's visit, though today is another of those gray, dreary, excessively cold days which has sapped my energy and motivation for all things domestic.

I do have a chicken roasting in the oven for dinner, the first meat in the house in almost two weeks. Tony has continued on his vegan adventure, losing almost 30 pounds on the way! I have been channeling my creativity into making meals that will both please the kids and meet his dietary restrictions. I found a great cookbook at the library, "The Oh She Glows Cookbook" by Angela Liddon. Everything we have tried thus far has been delicious! My goal is to have more vegan meals than not each week, slowly acclimating the kids to a new way of eating.

Lastly, I bought Lightroom 6 software for the computer and tried it out for the first time today. I still am trying to understand it, but it may be the only option for the time being. My Ipad died right before Christmas. I am waiting on a new battery to be shipped to see if that will save my Ipad. If that does not work, I am taking it as a message from God that I was spending entirely too much time with that device (which I already knew). The Lightroom apps for the computer require more than our computer has, so the software option is all I have at this time. Wish me luck!

Christmas morning. The cat seems less than enthused to be part of the photo.
I had bought only one "power popper". Tony informed me that this would never do. A second one was purchased for battles.

The battle begins.

This face. I see it all the time. There is much silliness in this boy of mine.


Look closely. You can see his face in the top lens.

G scale model train set

Watching the trains

There was a scavenger hunt for the kids, so he needed a bird's eye view!

Someone is not a fan of model trains.
In historic Jonesborough Tennessee

in the antique store

Sunday, December 17, 2017


I am most definitely not a morning person. Convincing myself to get out of bed takes prayer. However, once I am awake, morning is one of my favorite times of day.

It is a clean slate. I have yet to make any serious mistakes. The air just feels clean and fresh when you breathe it in. God starts with a fresh canvas each morning too. The sky slowly comes to life with colors different than the day before, different from the moment before.

I sat with my coffee and my Magnificat this morning in my comfy orange chair, now riddled with claw marks from the kitten who is now mostly a cat. As I glanced away from the page to ponder what I had just read, I saw out the window the most brilliant red horizon. I blinked and the view had changed, yet was just as beautiful. I dashed up the creaky wooden stairs to grab my camera, hoping not to awaken the kids. Stepping into my slippers and stepping out the door in my bathrobe, I attempted to capture a brief moment of the ever-changing canvas before me.

There is such promise in the morning sky. I ask God to guide my feet and my heart as I begin my tasks of this day, full of things yet to be.

from this....

to this was less than a minute.

Friday, December 8, 2017


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 and knitting.