Sunday, December 30, 2012

closing down 2012

Jill and Lily, December 26

Hello again! I think we can all agree on the busy-ness of the season. A friend at church told me her family made three trips over the holidays. Three! We stayed home the whole time and still I didn't find time to blog.

I cooked. I got rooms and beds ready. I swept up dog hair. I went to the grocery over and over. I wrapped. I watched a movie or two and ate popcorn. Then came the snow - we've actually had three snowfalls in a week - and while I didn't shovel much, I watched the shoveling and readied the throw rug by the doors. My southern friends think snow is pretty. The older I get, the more I think it's a pain.

Best of all was having 4 of 6 kids here and 1 of 3 granddaughters too. It snowed and snowed the day after Christmas ... Lily loved tasting it! What a doll! So special having her here for her first Christmas, even though she enjoyed a set of car keys and the wrappings best.

This is my best photo of the week. Good light is a photographer's best friend and our house has none.My next house will face east and west, not north and south!

Good tidings and happy new year to all!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!
As family arrive and the cooking and wrapping are finished,
I've found little time to blog.
But I pray your Christmas holds the joy, peace and wonder
of Christ. He is God, who became a man
to live among all people. He was and is and forevermore will be ... love.
Love to you this Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

home safe!

The upper plains, or whatever that area to the west and north of us is called, got hammered with a foot or more of snow the past couple of days. I don't pay close attention to the forecast 'cause I live with a weatherman, my hubby. He said we might get an inch or so.

This afternoon I had a couple of little errands to run and thought nothing of the snow. After all, I'm not Memaw. My paternal grandmother, ever the southerner, was horrified when she'd visit us in Connecticut and watch my mother head out to run errands in the snow. Memphians just don't do that. They stay home if it snows, no questions asked.

So. Errand number one went fine. Then I needed to run to Kohl's on the east side of town. After spending just 15 minutes in Kohl's, I headed to my car which was covered in at least 2 inches of snow. The state highway out front, a main artery into town, was packed. OK, the Friday before Christmas, I understand.

Apparently the snow caught the city guys off guard. There were no plows in sight. A usual 7-minute trip took at least a half hour. It was punctuated by icy roads, several inches of snow and slush, and holiday traffic. Slight hills up and over railroad tracks turned treacherous and our main street in town, Sandusky, suffered a gridlock of sliding cars and gobs of traffic.

I'm home now. Dinner is going to be whatever's on hand: no going out! Be safe, friends, wherever you are! (No, Karen, not moving south!)

Monday, December 17, 2012

the day my heart changed

No, it wasn't the day I became a mother.
While I did fall hopelessly in love with my first-born, David,
 it was eight months later that I knew my heart had undergone an incredible transformation.

A Sunday in June 1984 marked the opening day of Girl Scout Camp White Rock,
tucked in the hills of West Virginia.
Bill and I had taken jobs there directing and managing the camp.
Parents dropped their girls off, staff helped campers settle into the units,
and girls headed for swim testing at the pool.

As I finished check-in procedures at the dining hall,
a breathless staff member burst in to report an emergency at the pool.
I sprinted down to discover the waterfront director and nurse huddled over a ten-year-old girl.
Her dark, wet hair curled around her face and she lay motionless on the pool deck
while the staff administered CPR.
"She went into some sort of seizure in the pool; she's not breathing," they told me.
The squad soon roared into camp to transport the girl to the nearest hospital, in Winchester, Virginia.
Bill and I followed in our car, but by the time we reached the hospital, the young girl was dead,
her life cut short, we learned later, by an undetected heart defect. 
I was completely unprepared to serve as grief counselor for the girl's parents and a camp full of campers
and staff, and the next few days were undeniably the worst of my life.

Late that night, we drove back to camp and walked wearily into our little house at the edge of camp.
Our wonderful sitter had stayed those many grim hours with David, our 8-month-old son.
While Bill drove the sitter home, I tiptoed down the hall to David's room.

He was curled up with his blanket, sleeping soundly in his crib.
I bent over him for the longest time, stroking his blond hair, listening to him breathe,
touching his face, and slipping my finger into his hand.
As I thought of the mother and father who'd just lost their daughter, my tears fell onto David's pajamas.
I'd cried many times in my 29 years, but this time the tears came from a deeper place.
They welled up from a new mother's heart. They came from a place of deepest love and fiercest protection.
 I wept for that girl's mother because now I knew the measure of a mother's love
and could better imagine myself in her shoes.
Losing my darling David was unthinkable, yet countless women have lost their treasured
children through accident, disease and war. And murder. 

That June day 28 years ago stands as the day I grew up as a mother
 and the day my heart forever changed.

I am praying that the mothers and fathers in Newtown, Connecticut
who have lost their beloved children
will draw near to God and know his comfort.
He knows and shares their pain for he, too, lost his precious son.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

the people of Heart of Ohio

Yesterday Bill and I took a little drive up to Mansfield, Ohio. At the lovely Westbrook Country Club we met the editor (well, we already knew her - hi, Diana!), publisher and others who write for Heart of Ohio Magazine. It was a cozy couple of hours, learning what's coming up for 2013 at Heart of Ohio. Especially fun was hearing from each person and what he/she has in mind for future articles and themes.

Ever since I decided to get serious with my writing, I've loved meeting and swapping ideas with other writers. It's an instant connection we seem to share: a geeky love of assembling words and working to get them published. I remember my first writers conference: I felt like I'd come home! At no other time or place had I been surrounded by so many people who loved writing.

Anyway, Heart of Ohio Magazine is going gangbusters! While you can access it online, you could also treat yourself to a subscription and help ensure that it continues to grow. Each issue, you'll find positive stories of the people, places and events that make up the heart of Ohio. I'm honored to be a contributing writer. Go to for more info!

Writing ... when I first met Ari.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


WOW, it's December 12, 2012 ... 12.12.12! I'm sure by the end of the day there will be stories of babies born today, born into a lifetime of being able to say his/her birthday is 12.12.12.

The closest we have to anything similar is our son Mark, born 2.8.88 and granddaughter Ari, born 1.1.10. But let's see, this won't be repeated until February 2, 2022? And on and on it goes.

Very busy in my little world ... planning, shopping, cleaning, and getting excited about Christmas with family. We won't all be together, but thankful for the time we just had in November.

Happy 12-12-12 .... and note the time this posted! Tee hee!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Mr. Rogers: the original Google

My first job was as a babysitter. In fact, it provided my main income from age 12 until college. I received calls to babysit from many families but had a couple of regular favorites. One job involved watching the younger children of my sister's Brownie leaders one afternoon a week.

The kids mostly played outside, riding bikes on the driveway or running through the woods. But on cold, rainy days we stayed indoors. It was around that time that Mr. Rogers came on the scene. You probably know the show: Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.

Mr. Rogers opened the show by stopping by his television house, tying on his tennis shoes and exchanging a sport coat for a cardigan sweater, all the while singing:

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood,
a beautiful day for a neighbor,
won't you be mine, could you be mine?
Won't you be my neighbor?

As a 15-year-old, I found Mr. Rogers kind of annoying. His songs were awful and he didn't act like any grown men I knew. He talked to puppets and his best friend was the odd delivery man, Mr. McFeely. "Speedy delivery!" But the kids seemed mesmerized by all that went on in the neighborhood.

Fifteen years later, I changed my tune completely when I had pre-schoolers. While dinner cooked, we'd snuggle on the couch on snowy afternoons and enter Mr. Rogers' world.

It was then I saw Fred Rogers in a new light. An ordained minister, he was a kind, gentle man who cared less about entertaining children and more about showing them that they matter, that their feelings are valid, and they don't need to do anything to prove their worth. He showed that small children need parents who listen and accept them. Mr. Rogers loved life and those around him and always joined in a new project in the neighborhood.

Mr. Rogers, I believe, is the original Google. Ever curious, he found out how things worked or were made. I remember his trip to the Crayola crayon factory to see crayons being made. He once visited an underground mushroom farm, a shoe factory, and all sorts of others. He watched carefully and asked the questions a child might ask. He taught my boys and me so much, without ever using a computer.

Fred Rogers was a delightful man who quietly encouraged and taught two generations of children. I hope he's still influencing parents and children on snowy afternoons

Saturday, December 1, 2012

person of the year

I'm still pouting over this photo-posting problem.
Guess I have a photo addiction
. I almost can't think of a post without a photo, which is how I got in this pickle in the first place.

So ... words, not photos!

Well folks, come May, our family will have doubled in size since 2007. Wonderful blessings!
Dan and Jenny are expecting their third baby in May.
That's some close-together young 'uns, three in under three and half years!

Here's our little family expansion story:

2007 - Dan married Jenny
2008 - holding pattern
2009 - Mark married Jill
2010 - Ari born to Dan and Jenny
2011 - Ashlyn born to Dan and Jenny
2012 - Lily born to Mark and Jill
2013 - New baby due

Go to for Dan and Jenny's fabulous Christmas/baby announcement photo,
created by Katie. (
I know I'm her mom and all, but Katie's a super photographer,
so keep her in mind!

Pardon the ads!
Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 26, 2012

the guys


Most American children suffer too much mother
and too little father.
                                         - Gloria Steinem

For many years, the girls in our family were outnumbered 2-1. Now it's reversed! The girls just keep coming.

Still, I think the guys are so very important in their children's lives. And if you ask me, the absence of fathers and solid men in children's lives is the root of what's wrong in society.

That said, I give you photos of my men loving our children, our little girls. Holding them, reading with them, napping, hiking.

Thank you, Haller men. Your time and love will mean the world to these girls. Love you.
(I'm trying to fix this photo-posting problem, with no success. I'll keep trying. Ugh!)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

fun in Fancy Gap!


Last weekend we all headed for the mountains of southern Virginia ... to Fancy Gap. We rented a house perched high on a hill, with a 180-degree view. Wow!

We came from all directions, winding the breathtaking roads just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. The biting wind, the sunrises and sunsets were all stunning. Three generations converged for a long weekend, hauling in our own mountain of food, toys, hats and coats.

With the three granddaughters so small, a lot of baby-holding happened. Whether playing, reading, fixing the next meal, or climbing up a waterfall, our arms were usually full. Full of love.

I'm having a little, alright a BIG problem with posting photos on the blog, so please bear with the only method I can figure out. I hope you can enlarge each photo by clicking on it.

Next post: more photos, the Lord willing!

Friday, November 23, 2012

praying for Tricia

Five years ago I began reading a blog by Nathan Lawrenson, a worship pastor from the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Nathan's young wife Tricia, who has Cystic Fibrosis, was in need of a double lung transplant. She was also pregnant. Although they were advised to terminate the pregnancy, Nate and Tricia chose to give their unborn baby a chance at life.

Nothing short of miraculous, the Lawrenson's daughter Gwyneth was born 15 weeks early and survived. Today she is nearly 5 years old. And Tricia received the new lungs she needed to survive. Tricia and Gwyneth were cared for at Duke Medical Center, an incredible facility. Our family has had experience with Duke.

Now, Tricia is in dire need of another lung transplant and is very, very sick. You can read their story here. It is one of incredible faith, love, and perseverance. Please join me in praying for Tricia, Nathan, and their family ... for strength, healing, peace, and that God's will be done.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

exceedingly thankful

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope this day finds you enjoying family or friends. But especially, I hope you find some quiet moments to reflect on God's provision. We might not have all we want, but He promises to care for us always. He is at work, always, for our good.

We just returned from a week with our four children, their wives and our three granddaughters. I'm excited to share some photos, but I'm having a photo-posting problem. Hoping to resolve it soon! This photo gives you a hint at where we went. How amazed I am at how our family has grown, and thankful for them.

A blessed day to you!

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

slip slidin' away

It would have made a funny video. But come on, a middle-aged woman losing her footing on the stairs? It's not pretty.

I could blame my hubby, who had just tossed a jacket upstairs for the laundry, though it didn't quite make it all the way. But I think I just outright slipped. In my slippers. Hot, fresh coffee in hand and all, down I slid. My left elbow cracked on the stair, my right big toe folded under, and my coffee made an impressive cascade, top to bottom.

In a show of chivalry, Bill came running with rags and towels and mopped and dabbed every bit of coffee he could find. I whined over my elbow and quickly-swelling toe.

Sigh. There are the big life events. Daughters moving out. Grandchildren being born. Then there is the mundane, like this morning. A tumble down the stairs, spilled coffee and a sprained toe, causing me to hobble around all day.

Keeps me humble. Bah.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

girl to woman

My daughter Katie moved out over the weekend. She completed college and is figuring out what's next. This feels different than any other send-off. Exciting, yet so final. She's the last, my only daughter. She had my heart ...

The nest begins to empty when she goes off to kindergarten. With each passing year and outgrown pair of jeans, a mother dreads the inevitable. Then when a daughter is 14 and 15, an empty nest can't come soon enough. Her wonky hormones propel her across a tightrope between girlhood and womanhood. And then, bit by imperceptible bit, a graceful and mature 18-year-old emerges. The day a daughter leaves for college, she leaves her four favorite stuffed animals on a neatly-made bed, mimicking a childhood left behind.

Those four college years were over in an instant. Like bookends pushed closely together, the day we first moved her in and the day we moved her out seemed just inches apart.

Katie settled in her old room for the summer and worked on her photography. We shared the upstairs: she worked at her computer and I wrote at my desk across the hall. She'd laugh at something and share with me; I'd ask for computer help. We watched movies and ate buckets of popcorn. But as summer stretched to autumn, we knew the time was coming. Her time.

She is much like me. In that I understand her introspective ways,
I want her to taste the messy frenzy of life. To not shy away from it, to speak her quiet wisdom.

In that she is an artist, creator and dreamer like me,
I want her to harness every creative fiber and weave it into a fabulous tapestry.

Before the rigors of adulthood anchor her to one place,
I want her to take wing and discover where God would have her.

Katie knows my sadness, a burden that spilled over in sudden tears at the mall last week.
In the food court, over a chicken sandwich!
Learning how to be a mom was hard.
Letting go of being a mom seems harder.

We're both in a new season:
a daughter making her way in the world,
a mother seeking new purpose and passions,
and finding contentment with husband and home.

Do well, Katie. Be strong. Love others, serve God!
I admire who you are. I love you.

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
Proverbs 31:25

Thursday, November 8, 2012

"Independence" Granola

Since yesterday's post, several have asked for my granola recipe and I am happy to share it. As long as you make sure your mixture is 'wet' enough at the start and you don't burn it, this recipe is nearly fool-proof. Any kind of nut will do (pecans and cashews are my favorites) and pumpkin seeds are also a yummy addition. Bon appetit!

Barb's Granola

About 7 cups regular oats (old fashioned, not quick)

1 cup raw wheat bran

¾ cup raw wheat germ

1 cup raw sunflower seeds

1 cup nuts, broken: pecans, cashews, almonds

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup oil

1 cup honey

Mix all together in a large bowl. Mixture should look wet. If not, add more honey.
Spread in a wide, shallow pan. I use a jelly roll pan, 16 x 12 x 1 (Lined with parchment paper, if you want.)
Bake @ 325 for about an hour, stirring about every 20 minutes, til browned.

Remove from oven and cool in pan. Stir often so cereal doesn’t stick to pan. When cool, store in an airtight container. Raisins and/or craisins can be added when granola is cool.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Over 35 years ago, my mother and I learned to make granola using a recipe from the newspaper. It was an instant hit. Family and friends loved our granola. Over the years, I perfected it, adding more ingredients, which, by the way, increased the cost of turning out a batch.

As more children came along, they got bigger and hungrier. I quickly discovered that to keep them granola-satisfied, I'd have to plan ahead. Not all of my granola ingredients are available at the grocery store. I rely on either a health-food grocery or natural food co-op to stock my pantry for granola-making.

Nuts and honey are the priciest ingredients. I found myself checking prices on these items everywhere I went, including a health food market in tiny New Hampshire, Ohio, on our way to Taylor University in Indiana. At best, one batch of granola calls for $2 worth of honey.

While it's not a complicated recipe, my granola takes some time to plan for, and with 6 people in the house, one batch lasted a maximum of three days. "Oh, this is so good, mom! It's almost gone, can you make more?"

Over the years, satisfying my family's craving for granola became a bit of a burden. I knew how they loved it, and felt guilty if the granola container sat empty. Even so, I began making it to give away. It makes a dandy gift in a mason jar, tied up with a colorful ribbon.

As the kids began to move away, of course they missed my granola. So I'd make a batch to send, especially on birthdays. Then the cost nearly doubled, factoring in the postage.

At last, almost too late, I realized it was time to teach the children how to make their own granola. I can't say that plan has worked very well, simply because it's easier to teach a child a skill while he's still hanging around the kitchen rather than living 400 miles away.

I realize I have let myself become the Granola-In-Chief. It seems the family looks to me as the only one who can supply the crunchy treat. While they could learn the skill themselves (as a couple of them have), they became so accustomed to my provision that they'll do without before getting in gear to make a batch themselves.

I like to give. It makes me feel good and needed in my kids' lives. But it's not sustainable. There comes a time when the greater good is served by requiring kids to do for themselves. It's more efficient. It's longer-lasting. It helps everyone.

My job is to teach and enable my children: not to rely on me, but on themselves. Everyone is stronger for it.

You might call it my Declaration of Independence. Sounds a lot better than Declaration of Dependence.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

election day 2012

For love of country ...


Friday, November 2, 2012


I cannot begin to grasp the devastation that has fallen
on New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.
Hurricane Sandy roared through on Monday
and ruthlessly took out power and burned houses to the ground in Staten Island.
It tore two little boys from their mother's arms and drowned them.
It washed in mountains of sand,
flooded homes, businesses, streets and subways.
Residents are without running water, electricity, heat, access to food and gasoline.
Some have no homes to go home to.
And many are getting desperate.
I'm thankful the mayor canceled the New York City marathon,
a no-brain decision.
I wish I could make a casserole for a hungry family,
or open our spare bedroom to someone who's cold tonight.
But I will pray for God to deliver relief
in the countless ways that are needed,
through big and giving hearts. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Here we have a little Halloween rebel, 1958: Miss Barbara, ready to trick-or-treat with her brother Pat and the O'Brien boys from next door. How she hated those plastic masks. It didn't bother her one bit to trick-or-treat with no mask, and her raincoat covering her costume.

Two years later, my brother Pat wore this outrageous mask.
For 1960, it was pretty scary.
The rest of the story is, my mother answered the door on Halloween for several
years, wearing this mask. She'd fling the door open and scare the kids!

Halloween, 1993. Haller kids in their homemade costumes.
Mark's pirate costume was probably the only costume I ever purchased.
I ascribed to
"go find some stuff in the dress-up box."

Little Ari, two years ago, with a jack-o-lantern grin.
We were visiting a farm to pick out pumpkins.
Such fun.

Not a big fan of Halloween ... but have a good night wherever you are!

Saturday, October 27, 2012


"You're as healthy as a horse!" my mom used to say. Since I rarely got sick, I assumed she meant that neither did horses. But as a child who disliked school, I secretly wished I would get sick now and then.

I do remember catching what was ominously called the "Hong Kong Flu" when I was about 12. It was miserable, keeping me bed-ridden for days. My fever spiked so high that I think I was hallucinating.

But otherwise, even in middle-age, I continue to fulfill Mom's declaration of good health. No surgeries. No medications. Very rarely even a cold.

So last Monday, when I awoke with a sore throat and overall lethargy, I didn't handle it well. I've dragged around all week, to-do list undone.

Since last night, I've been unable to talk above a whisper. Which is funny, because I'm finishing a study of the book of James. In it, the half-brother of Jesus teaches Christians how to live. Good stuff! He says true faith must be one of action, not just words. He also talks about our speech.

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.
Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds,
they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.
Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.
Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.
James 3:3-5

So, this "healthy horse" would be wise to remember the teachings of James. In my little season of silence, I am considering my words and their effect. I desire them to be good and fruitful, building up others. Somehow, my silence is a gift to slow down and meditate more on areas where I need to grow, and ask God to correct and redirect me.

I love his timing, always perfect!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

a delightful little visit!

Katie and her biggest brother

Over the weekend we had a treat:
a short visit with our son David. Yay!
David works for a baseball team, so we rarely get to see him during the season.
He was working in Detroit last week, helping out at some play-off games.
With the nature of baseball: who wins, who loses, and the weather,
we didn't even know until the last out on Thursday
that we could pick him up for a weekend visit.
Bill and Katie drove up early Friday and brought David home.
It was great!

We made pizza one night and grilled steaks the next.
David visited his grandma, and we went hiking at Gallant Woods.
We also played some games and watched "The King's Speech."
How I love, love, love catching up with my grown kids,
seeing how they think and hearing about their jobs and lives.
It's a satisfaction I could never have imagined
back when I was breaking up their fights, packing their lunches and
driving them to the orthodontist.

(Even though you own your own house now ...)
thanks for coming home, David!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

happy birthday, Jenny!

I call my sons' wives my daughters-in-love. It elicits some curious looks and once, even a snide comment. "Humph!" a woman said in confused disapprovel. As if I shouldn't dare to deviate from the term in-law.

But around the time I gained my first daughter-in-law, Jenny, I heard a woman refer to her daughter-in-love and, well, I fell in love with it. Most would agree that in-law doesn't carry much affection. I think mothers-in-love, if they want a good relationship with their adopted daughters and sons, need to be intentional and a loving friend. So that's what I try to do, sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much.

So. Today is Jenny's 28th birthday.  She's my middle son Dan's wife of five years and mother of their two sweet girls. Jenny's a fabulous cook, a lover of God, coffee, chocolate, college football (Notre Dame) and popcorn ... and card games. She's trying, with some success, to turn us into game lovers, too. Funny times.

I admire that Jenny speaks her mind, is a modern young woman who is learning the value of being a godly mother, and treasures family. Happy birthday, Jenny. I love you, and never imagined the blessings I'd gain when my sons married! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

why pray?

When you ask [God], you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives,
that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:3

On Tuesday mornings, I head to church and study the book of James with about 25 other women. I love it! Oh, boy, James offers so much wisdom and challenge.

So yesterday I posted James 4:3 on facebook and found myself in a discussion. Someone in our Tuesday study asked, based on this passage, why doesn't God say 'yes' to requests that we believe are heart-felt. She was honestly asking for an explanation. So I plunged in. In the end, I ended up examining myself. Here's what I said:

I will try, Erika. But only God can answer rightly! Though we might be heart-felt in our prayers and requests, ultimately it's God's call on how He answers. Being human, my mind is finite and my understanding limited. Just like our kids who ask us for things they think are best for them, as parents we usually know (big picture) what's best and what's not. That might lead us to think, why pray at all, if God has made up His mind? I still struggle with that. But I do think prayer links our hearts to God and helps us, in our weakness, to rely on Him more fully by strengthening our relationship with Him.

Thirty-four years ago, I prayed for my mother to survive cancer. My prayers weren't answered. You can believe there was some fist-shaking at God. How could my heart have been more pure, wanting my mother to live? Now, I think I see a part of God's purpose in it. Ultimately, I submitted to and trusted Him more. God became my go-to guy in raising children because I didn't have the person I would have turned to. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith: "sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." I think too often, we are faithful only in what we can see. An oxymoron, ya know?
"...he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:7-8

Oh, I want to be faithful. I used to think it was a weakness, to have faith. Now I think it takes strength of will and perseverance, trusting God in all things, with all situations, at all times .... knowing He sees the big picture of our lives. I can be sure of what I hope for, certain of what I cannot see.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

the rest of my road trip

We find delight in the beauty and happiness of children
that makes the heart too big for the body.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1860

Lily Jane, 8 months

I could scarcely believe it, but after returning home from the last
road trip, I found that I'd taken only a handful of photos while in Virginia.
The move that weekend kept us so busy, there wasn't time for photo opps!
So. Here's my darling Lily, content on the floor of their new home.
She's scooting around to beat the band.
They have wood floors throughout and large, sunny windows. Love, love it,
but miss Mark, Jill and Lily something awful.

Then it was off to Charlotte to visit Dan, Jenny, Ari and Ashlyn.
Their lives are busy and full and we joined the fray!


Given a choice, I would choose a trip to the library over
Disney World, Las Vegas, or ... yes I'm a boring old bookworm.
My little granddaughters are learning to love the library too. Sigh.

I just love this ... my daughter with my granddaughter.

And my son with his daughters.

In addition to the miles driven,

the playing, diapering, feeding, chasing, book-reading, giggling, comforting,

bathing, pottying, dressing and undressing wore out this Baba.

But oh, they delight me.
When it's time to leave,
I find, as Mr. Emerson said,
that my heart is indeed too big for my body.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

16 days and 2693.5 miles

Wow, it's been an incredible two weeks! Sixteen days, really. My recent posts on the Kamp Kiwani reunion spanned a five-day road trip I made to Tennessee, also stopping to visit my dad in Nashville.

As I traveled, son Mark and his wife Jill, who moved to Virginia in August, had to vacate their home due to a plumbing/sewage emergency. Ack! While living in a hotel and with new church friends, they were told they had one week to move out completely.

And so upon my return from Tennessee, I made plans to drive to Virginia to help Mark and Jill move. Home two days, then back in the car. This time, daughter Katie joined me.

While helping with such a hasty move wouldn't have been anyone's choice of a visit, it was great to see Mark, Jill and sweet 8-month-old Lily and give them a hand. What a task! Their new town home is charming with its wood floors and large, sunny rooms. Love it! The neighborhood is full of trees and sidewalks. Especially amazing was the team of guys from Mark and Jill's new church who came to the rescue. A dozen or more men answered the call to help. Wow, what servant hearts!

After four nights in Virginia, Katie and I headed to Charlotte to visist Dan, Jenny, Ari and Ashlyn. The girls are adorable, busy and energetic. They wore out their Baba, but I loved every minute of it! We went to a beautiful park, fixed and ate lots of food, spent time in the lovely Carolina autumn, visited the library, colored, did laundry, read books, took naps, changed diapers and made potty runs.

Arriving home last evening, I checked my odometer. I'd driven 2,695.5 miles over 16 days. A record for me, surpassed only by the great Montana adventure of 1998!

As always, it's sweet to have time with granddaughters. A few more photos to come ...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Kamp Kiwani reunion ~ faces!

Anne (Kanga), Cedar and me.
Cedar is well-loved by the hundreds of girls and staff who have spent summers at Kiwani.
Cedar directed camp and waterfront for many years.
Now a retired teacher, Cedar loves camp and is dear to our hearts!

Group photo!
It was fun to gather by "era" and snap some photos.
Girls of the 70's!

This is Pat. She has a huge heart for Kamp Kiwani
and its girls. "Always about the girls!" she told us.
Pat is special to my sister and me because she
knew our mother and worked with her as a Girl Scout volunteer.
It was precious to hear her memories of Mom.

Oh, Donut! I can't begin to express how special it was to
see you standing at the trading post, hug and then catch up on
each other's lives. Thirty-five years is a lot of catching up.
You're amazing, you're like a sister; love you!

And dear sis, thanks for pushing me to meet you at Kiwani.
I loved it ... and love you!

Day is done, gone the sun,
from the lake, from the hill, from the sky.
All is well, safely rest. God is nigh.