Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Where there is a thankful spirit, there is joy.

Oh dear, what in the world?? My blog posts have played hide-and-go-seek these many months. Can't tell you how many times I've printed in all CAPS on my to do lists: BLOG, to no avail. Gah!!

I continue to write for Heart of Ohio Magazine. The kind folks there kept me on board. Check out our beautiful magazine! Better yet, treat yourself to a subscription!

This week I'll make a stab back here on the blog. It's spring break from my school job. I appreciate you readers who have asked or said you miss my posts.

The past year has been amazing, in good ways and hard. How can anyone know exactly how a big life move will play out? Living in the same city as half our family is wonderful, as imagined. And living more central to all the kids proves the move from Ohio to North Carolina was right. We've made trips to Florida and Virginia (kids and grandkids both directions) and of course spend time with the kids/grandkids here.

Thanksgiving weekend 2016

I LOVE the weather in North Carolina. Spring comes with the calendar, none of that snow in April nonsense! We have a lovely front porch, perfect for morning coffee and afternoon reading. Hot summers, yes, but in college I lived in tents at Girl Scout camps in Tennessee and Florida ... THAT was hot. We can take day trips to the Blue Ridge Parkway and breathe in the mountains. Spectacular.

What I didn't fully anticipate was the difficulty of adjusting to a large, new city (even though we'd visited Dan and Jenny here for eight years, I didn't really learn the city), where to shop, friends, church, routines, and well, just EVERYTHING changed. At our age it's just harder than when you're young or have kids around to light your fire.

I spent a few months seeking part-time jobs and finally landed one which began after Thanksgiving. That's what seems to have anchored me a bit. I'm a reading tutor in a public elementary school and while learning all the pieces of the job was a challenge, the stretching has been so, so good. I work with some amazing women who are passionate about helping kids read, write and understand better. I love being part of a little army of encouragers to some kids who need it.

We've had some houseguests throughout the year: friends and family stopping over on trips north or south. Fun!

If there's one thing I'd do differently as a wife/mother/woman, it would have been to keep up a career of some sort. Yes, God makes my way but I believe He has something more beyond mothering and grandmothering and at this age it was extremely hard to find a niche where I can use my gifts.

Our quiver continues to fill: grandchild #8 is due in June (Mark and Jill's fourth) and #9 in September (David and Chelsea's first)! I'm excited to have the summer off for a change of pace although I doubt the pace will slow down. And really? I don't want to slow down because at my age I may not get moving again!

So that's where I am. Bill is driving for Uber and he's amazing at it! He needs to keep a journal because he comes home with hilarious and interesting stories from the road.

Perhaps the best lessons the past year have come through the hardships. I've learned gratefulness in the very hardest things because that's when I stretch, grow, and lean more on God and His faithfulness.
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is
God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

100 years


Elizabeth Haller: our mom, Grandma, "GG" was born 100 years ago today. She charmed everyone who knew her by her humility, laughter and sense of humor, and the way she held so loosely to the things of earth. She left us last December and how we miss her wonderful spirit. Happy birthday, Mom. We love you!

Friday, August 26, 2016

summing up summer

Good grief in five days it'll be September. This means I haven't posted ALL SUMMER which is lame if you ask me. But our new life has me still unsettled and ... I don't write well when unsettled. I'll try to sum up the summer.

We headed back to Ohio soon after my last post: dear friend and neighbor, Steve Johnson, died in early June. Such a fighter. I was thankful to sit with his wife Siobhan on their back porch for a bit, sharing our hearts and tears. We helped each other as young moms and Siobhan is the closest friend I have to lose her husband. I realize, obviously, the brevity of life, but also that we're entering the season of life when friends lose spouses.

We learned later in June that the buyer of our cabin demolished it. We figure it was his plan all along, a plan he'd revealed to no one, especially not us nor the realtor. While we knew this would probably happen someday, it was a real gut-punch to know someone valued that piece of property (the size and view) a whole lot more than the historic little cottage. And you know how special it was to us.

Only now am I beginning to feel a bit more comfortable here, JUST a bit. The adjustments are huge. Like who'll cut my hair (it's real!), where's the nearest library (in Delaware it's just "where's the library?" because there's only one), grocery store decisions (no Kroger in sight: this is still disturbing to me but I'm dealing), how to fit everything in a much smaller house (daughter Katie moved back home with us; that upped the 'stuff' factor), and navigating my way around (in our area of Charlotte, plus Dan and Jenny's area of Harrisburg): figuring out routes but also becoming an assertive city driver in the incredible traffic.

I know God brought us to this little neighborhood for good reason, if only for a time. Their names are Jack and Frances, next door neighbors. True Southerners, as friendly as they come. We've enjoyed many a chat about gardening, God, and life in general. So thankful!

We've found a church we really like: Connect Christian Church in Concord (still another community) and the people and worship are terrific. But to make new connections in a community takes intentional time and effort. I have gone to quite a few women's events (Monday breakfasts, book club and ministry events) to meet more women. I had become so complacent about this in Delaware, but now I feel it's essential for my mental state to forge friendships. But it isn't easy!

I spend some time with the grandchildren and that's pretty special: babysitting to help out Dan and Jenny, having the kids over to play, taking them swimming. It's so dear getting to know them better! I surprised Jill in June, showing up to spend a few days. Really fun! Will be going again soon.

We had a "birthday weekend" here in late May for three of the grandchildren: lots of fun!

                                                                                                 by Katie Haller

I'm also looking around for a job. It'll help our finances and I just have a sense that God wants to use me somewhere, somehow. I spent a lot of years at home with kids, but I'd love to use my skills and develop new ones. And I plan to get back to my photography. I'd appreciate prayer!

"Petey" by me
Bill had some crazy back pain this summer but after seeing a neurosurgeon he's working hard at physical therapy. It seems to be helping. "Go Popsy, work hard!" as 6-year-old Ari says! I'm hoping he can strengthen and improve his mobility.

David and Chelsea will fly up for a weekend in September: really looking forward to that! David is usually on hiatus from seeing us for most of baseball season.

So that's where we are. Having stayed put for 26 years, we'd forgotten what's involved in a move. But also, we're middle aged and all of it takes much more effort. We're getting there but it sure takes some time.

Hope your summer's been smooth. Fall is just around the corner and we will welcome it here in North Carolina!

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. Psalm 37:7

Monday, June 6, 2016


I'm not sure any words are needed for this post.
Suffice it to say that our birthday/Memorial Day weekend was a barrel of fun and laughter and food and a few tears here and there. Peter and Jordan (right) both turned one and Noah (middle) turned three. My daughter Katie got this photo which took some darn good skills!

Seven! Who could have guessed? So blessed.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

the rest of the story

So the last week of April we contacted our realtor in Michigan about the coming season and the plan for getting our property and cottage back on the market. Since this would be the fourth summer on the market, I had a heavy spirit over more showings, low offers and disappointments. I was sick of the whole thing, especially since we'd doubled the driving distance by moving to North Carolina.

Well. On Monday, May 2, I received a text from our realtor Katie. She started out talking about the listing documents we needed to send, but also: " a family spent most of the weekend looking around your place which I just found out. They called this morning and asked for the survey, listing, and want to make an offer!!"

We'd had three years of dashed hopes and promises of offers which never materialized. But as the day progressed and the texts kept coming, we began to have hope. And so it was .... a real, CASH offer by the end of the day. The next morning we countered which they accepted immediately. And they wanted to close by June 1.

June 1. About a month prior, I decided to pray for an OFFER by June 1, but God upped it and brought a CLOSING by June 1. In fact two weeks later we were on the road to Michigan: about 900 miles one way, to wrap it all up. We closed on May 20, just 18 days after the offer.

We loved the cabin these 14 years. She was our respite, our place to connect as a family, so rustic and charming and had a spectacular view of Grand Lake. But life changed. All our kids left Ohio. My dream of the grandkids bunking in the boat house wasn't practical. And keeping her was too costly.
We're glad a family with young children now owns the cabin. We trust they'll love and enjoy her as we did. While we won't miss the massive amount of upkeep she required, we'll miss how she welcomed and sheltered us each summer.
I drew closer to God through this long process. He taught me that prayer isn't solely about "getting what I want." It's about strengthening my relationship with Him and trusting His will for my life. It's about knowing He will always be with me and love me no matter what.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

travel and more travel

We've done a crazy volume of travel since moving to North Carolina.
January: move and settle in (?) month.
February: visited Mark, Jill and kids in Virginia.
Those got blogged about; but then, like I said, it got crazy ...
In March we visited Katie and several old friends on the
east coast of Florida.
We spent our last glorious day winding up the coast and climbed
the beautiful Jupiter lighthouse.

April took us back to Florida, this time on the west coast
to visit newlyweds David and Chelsea in St. Petersburg.
We played a little shuffleboard at the St. Pete Shuffleboard Club,
site of David and Chelsea's wedding last July. Fun!
The Cleveland Indians were in town playing the Tampa Bay Rays
so we took in all three games.
En route to Florida we stopped for a night in the Beaufort, S.C. area
to visit my brother Pat and his wife Jan.
We worshiped with them at the Old Sheldon Church ruins, circa 1750.
Absolutely amazing!


Soon after that trip we ran down to Greenville, S.C. for a night
to see my nephew Robby perform in Lion King Jr. Excellent production!
In between all this we were finding our way around Charlotte, I applied for a couple of
jobs that didn't work out, and helping with four sweet, energetic grandchildren.
At the end of April we contacted our realtor in northern Michigan
about getting our property sold this summer.
Little did we know what would unfold the following week ...

Thursday, April 28, 2016

easy, breezy fun

Oh, I have a blog? I nearly plum forgot! Gee this moving thing requires so many changes, adjustments, accepting-of-what-is-different, and lots of mental and emotional energy. We are in a city; we weren't before. Kroger still isn't here. It's felt like spring most of the last four months. Lots of southern drawl which I love: it reminds me of my mother. Inchworms hatched and invaded in early April, super gross. We have a big front porch where I read and drink iced tea. Well what else? It's the South!

I keep trying to just "do the next thing" as my hero, Oswald Chambers, wrote. Some days it's easy and others it's a huge, hard effort.

We live about 20 minutes from Dan (son) and Jenny and their four spirited kids. It's fun! I help when I can and this week took the two older girls on separate "dates." When I asked Ashlyn, who's closing in on five, what she'd like to do on our date she answered with bright eyes, "go to the dollar store!"

And so we did. Dollar store, a park (my one here favorite so far), and finished with frozen yogurt. Our two hours can be described as easy breezy fun. We talked about food, gluten, smoking, how clean my car is "because no kids ride in it," what to put on the frozen yogurt, naturally what to select at the dollar store, and we romped in the "enchanted forest" at the park. A nearly five-year-old is the easiest to please!

So glad I grabbed my camera: she's a natural!

Leaving Ohio wasn't easy, but I know God knew to bring us here. Blessed!