Having an epiphany on Epiphany

Going home to Ohio this time was a little surreal to me.  I think it had to do with my memories of growing up and visiting at the holidays.  As a little girl I remember my dad would drive down these country roads at night going from his side of the family to my moms side of the family and my brother and I were in the backseat having no idea where we were.  Homes would be decorated with Christmas lights and there would be glistening candles in the windows.  I used to tell myself that one day, when I had a home of my own, I was going to buy candles to sit in the windows because I thought it looked so cozy.  I have not visited Ohio at Christmastime since I was probably around ten or eleven years old.  Thus the reason for my near thirty year time warp, but I must say… not a whole lot has changed at Grandpa’s house.  The sunsets and fields that have been farmed by generations of my family (including my father) still stop me in my tracks with their serenity.

This is my Grandpa (my dad’s dad).  He is almost 92 years old and recently suffered a stroke that had landed him in the hospital and gave us all a scare.  He is so happy to be home and I was so happy to see him, joke with him, and kiss his face.

I even survived watching The Lawrence Welk Show with him.  He finds it endearing, I find it utterly creepy, but love does what it must and I succumbed to the creepy.

As I walk in through the kitchen, I’m met with this same vintage stove that still works like a champ.  I remember sitting on the little stool in the kitchen and watching my Aunt and Grandmother bustle about preparing dinner and being fascinated at how you lifted up the doors to the oven and thought it was so cool.  Shoot, I still think it’s cool.  I love this stove.

I walk into Grandpa’s bedroom and find this picture of me hanging right by his bed.  I can’t believe it’s still there, unchanged.

On his dresser are these pictures of my brother and I sandwiched between a floral arrangement, his socks and his brush.  Pictures unchanged among socks he changes everyday.

His Christmas tree is still up and the same ornaments from my childhood have found their way to hang on the tree another year.

The manger scene that he made so many years ago once again is nestled under the tree.

Sitting in his rocking chair, he watches all three of his children visiting.  All three of his children that were raised right here in this very house that he built are all back together again in the living room with some of their children and if my punks were here, he’d have his great grandchildren.  What a legacy all around.  He’s taking it all in.

My dad points to these golden trees and tells me that he bought these for my grandma and the story of how she wanted them.  The trees sit upon a lazy susan that my grandpa made.  Have I mentioned he’s a retired industrial arts teacher?  He still loves being out in his shop creating. I look at the trees and miss my grandma.  She was so loving.  She’s the only thing missing here in this house of no changes.  She is the only person I know of who called the couch a davenport and who would always sing to me “A Bushel and a Peck.”  She had the most beautiful hands and she’d let me try on her pretty rings and paint her fingernails.  Her makeup, hairspray and nail polish still sit in the bathroom right where she left them almost thirteen years ago.  Once again, I’m flooded with memories.

Going home is bittersweet.  Everything is changing, yet nothing is changing.  We’re all aging, yet all the “things” remain unchanged.  My dad points out other knick knacks laying around  and tells me stories from his childhood.  I cling to these things, these stories because in some indirect way, they have formed me.  Maybe that’s what is hitting me.  My grandparents life choices plus my mom and dad’s life choices plus my life choices have made me who I am and that is my epiphany here at this time of Epiphany.  Can I encourage you in something?  Talk to the older ones in your life.  Listen to their stories.  Write them down.  Take their pictures and be engaged because they are subtly telling you who you are.  It may seem like it’s just their history, but don’t be mistaken for a minute.  It’s your history of who you are too.


Love all around me

I don’t really know where to start with this post, but I don’t feel like I can move forward here on my blog without it.  You see, a week ago today I was on a plane headed to Ohio to be with my family there.  My uncle, who had as big and round blue eyes as my Ol’ Blue Eyes and the most beautiful gray hair you ever did see, had succumbed to that which has no cure, Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, at the young age of 68.  He was such a sweet man with the most wonderful attitude.  He never had a cross word to say about anyone.  I will miss him and his ornery self (and tales of how he lost part of his thumb) so much.  Our family is forever changed without him.  I took this picture two years ago as he was playing around with my niece.  He always let the kids come to him and was so gentle.  Despite his struggles with his disease, he was always cheerful and never complained.

uncle dick

I sat in my Aunt’s home and observed that among such sorrow lies deep beauty.  The way family holds onto one another and sobs. The way we hug and don’t say a word.  The way a son and daughter come up around their mother and check on her throughout the day.   The way prayer abounds from the lips of my grandparents.  Consoling talks with a sister.  Hugs from grandkids.  Invitations for breakfast, cards, gifts of memorials and kind words spoken in memory of our loved one are all sad yet beautiful because at the core of it all we have the hope of heaven.  All of us are believers; therefore we know this mourning is temporary because Christ came and defeated death.  That is our comfort.  Christ’s love and our family’s love is beautiful.

We gather around the table.  We laugh and tease and all the while we know how much he would’ve loved everyone being there and seeing …

a mother visit with her son before he leaves again for the Army…

comfort from the smallest dog

hugs from a nephew…

smiles from his father in law who was another father to him…

a sister who has shared parents, brother, history and so much more…

and despite puffy and tired eyes, we all smile because love comes up all around and only sees the heart.

I’m the lucky one. I’m (mostly) behind the camera watching it all unfold.  The unseen observer who sees love all around me.  I am a keeper of memories, spoken and captured.  Despite such huge loss, from what I see, my heart is full.

It’s true what they say, that life is for the living.  We carry on and we will remember, we will see, we will smell, we may even hear a nudge that seems it’s him nudging us one way or another.  Sometimes I think the veil between heaven and earth is just a dimension away that can only be viewed with the eyes of our soul.  Atleast that’s the way I like to think of it.  A breath away.

I loved my uncle.  He will be so missed.  I love to look up name meanings and see how those envelope and fold around the people I know.  I think of what Ann Voskamp said in her book 1000 Gifts.

“Now, in the Bible a name reveals the very essence of a thing, or rather its essence as God’s gift to name a thing is to manifest the meaning and value God gave it, to know it as coming from God and to know its place and function within the cosmos created by God.  To name a thing, in other words, is to bless God for it and in it.’

Richard (Strong, Powerful)  Lee (Shelter, Healer)  Teet (Glad, Cheerful)

These meanings fold up around him well.  Thank you God for our time with him and for this gift of him.  Thank you for the beauty that can be found despite suffering and hurt and most importantly, thank you for the promise of heaven.

And if you’re reading this, I love you Aunt Linda.  XOXOXO

Thanksgiving 2011

Our Thanksgiving this year was different than any other year before.

For the past several years, I have grown tired of the same thing over and over and have wanted to just do something different… SO…

we headed up to Colorado Springs for a Thanksgiving at The Broadmoor Hotel.

It was beautiful up there and we had beautiful weather.  Here’s a few shots from around The Broadmoor.

Let’s not forget the wonderful buffet!  There were ice sculptures, cheeses from France (oh my gosh… the cheeses from France!), a full spread of breakfast or traditional Thanksgiving food, and the desserts included a chocolate fountain and bananas foster being cooked up right before our very eyes!

After we stuffed ourselves, we headed over to the Garden of the Gods for an afternoon of fun. It was 65 degrees and absolutely beautiful!

This is definitely a do-over. I wasn’t exhausted from cooking, baking, shopping, preparing, cleaning, etc.  It was absolutely wonderful, and now I’m thinking we may have just found a new family tradition!

Here’s to hoping your thanksgiving was fun and wonderful too!

The Testosterone Network

Surely this happens to everyone at least once in their lifetime.


Our Saturday started out like any other Saturday.

We slept in.  We drank coffee.  We decided to infinitely stay in our pj’s.

Ol’ Blue Eyes crawled back in bed for the third time to laze around and…

I said:  “Remember, we are going to put the Christmas decorations up today.”

He said:  “But we have to clean up the attic just to get to the decorations.

I said:  “I know, but it must be done.”

He said nothing.  Then moans of agony came from my living room and…

My youngest punk said:  “No mom!  You said the evil words!  CLEAN THE ATTIC!!!”  (He also says this when I tell him to get a shower.)

I said to Ol’ Blue eyes:  “You all conspire against me.”

He said:  “Yes dear, I telepathically hit the testosterone network around here to speak with my minions.”

I said:  “I am certain that you do.” and walked out of the room.

Then I heard banging and sliding around in the attic and I was pleased as punch that we were going to get our decorations up.  I began to blog and live life in a merry way.

Then I saw a foot come through my ceiling and insulation fall all over the floor.


Here’s the bad news:

I have a hole in my ceiling.


Here’s the good news:

Ol’ Blue Eyes wasn’t seriously hurt and holes in your ceiling can be fixed. As an added bonus, Ol’ Blue Eyes knows how to fix holes in our ceiling.


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This is what his minions are doing while he is patching the ceiling.





So I thought it only appropriate to ask him… “Aren’t you going to hit the testosterone network and telepathically tell your minions to help you fix the ceiling?”

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We didn’t get our Christmas decorations up Saturday.

Annual Antiquing Adventure

Every year we take a break from the stress of all the back to school nonsense and head out for what I  like to call our “Annual Antiquing Adventure.”  Others may call this our “Day of Dorkiness” but I will have to debate that another day.

We found alittle bit of this…

and a little bit of that…

and alittle bit of … “say what?”

And from time to time we got a bit worn out (nothing a coke and candy bar can’t fix).

We measured our strengths…

and found our weakness. (It is our collective belief that all clowns are of the devil.)

But after scouring and digging…

We found a few things like :  metal chickens… (Read this story with an empty bladder.)

some old signs…

 and a jackpot of old cameras for my collection…

lovely, old printing letters…

and a couple of other treasures that needed a good home.

Of course we left some treasures behind, but our adventure was fun, carefree and we had a great time. What traditions have you started with your kids?  Whatever they are, here’s hoping you find a few treasures of your own along the way!

Five things

IMG_9380 We’ve been running around getting ready for school to start.  Eye glasses are ordered, school supplies are bought and new airsoft guns have been purchased.  Yes, you heard me right.  My punks saved their money and both got new airsoft guns.  My youngest is up bright and early this morning and ready for combat.  His brother is still sleeping… and I’m requiring a bit more sit and stare time with coffee.  This is his “hero” shot from this morning.  We take airsoft very seriously in this house (in case you were still wondering).

And with that, I leave you with five thoughts/things for your Wednesday.

1.  My friend needs your prayers, good thoughts and positive energy.  You can read about her struggle and journey here.

2.  If you’re having a bad day, here’s alittle encouragement.

3. This song makes me really happy and I may even dance around my living room when I hear it (don’t peek in my windows).

4. I’d like to start doing this, but it looks like a lot of work.  Can’t decide if it’s really worth it.  Any thoughts?

5. THIS IS THE COOLEST VIDEO and I’m amazed by these people.  Yes, that’s really her.  Such talent!

Have a Happy Hump Day!

i’m back… i think.

so i’ve been a bit out of touch here lately….

i can explain that, but then i can’t. 

you see, i lost a bit of mojo i had going there.  why?


but now i’m back… atleast i think  i’m back, and for some reason, i no longer like to capitolize my letters.  hmmmm…

so for now, i’ll start with yesterday because yesterday was a great day.

ol’ blue eyes and i celebrated 18 years of marriage. 


here we are, young and in love… haven’t changed a bit…  hee hee

ol’ blue eyes bought us a cake and surprised me… which was really sweet… (but i think he really just wanted some cake.)


we had lunch and we had dinner together and we exchanged some really sweet cards…

and i love him so much and the life we have together.  all the ups and downs, i don’t want to do with anyone else.

i love you ol’ blue eyes!  i love our life, the good and the bad.  i love these punks we’ve made and our blended family we’ve created, loved and nurtured.  but always and forever, i love you… and as cheesy as this sounds, i want to grow old with you and no one else.  happy anniversary my love.  you are a good man and i love that all these boys have you to look up to.  i may have been young (only 20), but i knew you had those character qualities that would last a marriage a lifetime… and i was right.  you’re the best husband i know, and you’re all mine!