Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas

How did it get to be Christmas so quickly?
Last night we did the dinner and mass and then the bride and groom zipped off to meet his family......They were nervous. Jen must of made a good impression since she is coming home with a different color nail- painted by Ryan's young sister. I don't know how I feel- like I am in the eye of a tornado. James is here and relaxing- actually getting antsie. It is really quiet- but that is why we like it here- but without a car a twenty year old gets hemmed in..... Scott had to go into the office- Jen has the other car----so here we are- just chatting and making our way though a quiet Christmas. Tomorrow the "fun begins"!

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Soon the chapel will be decorated and Scott will escort our first born down the aisle to meet with her husband to be. Some of our closest friends will be there and some of our family. It is a cozy little chapel- just right for these two. No huge fanfare- just warmth and love. We begin at 2 and will celebrate through the night. We look forward to adding another son to our family. A man that our daughter loves enough to commit her life to. I have to admit that at times it seemed like more of a hassle than it is worth- but it will be worth it in the end when she walks down that aisle.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Parking Lot is Filling Again

Last January I wrote that the parking lot across from the Commersary was almost empty. Now it is filling once again. The fort will deploy over 2,000 soldiers in the next four months. We only had 500 out when I wrote last January. I am afraid for the soldiers and their families. It is such a stressful time- especially the first and last months of deployment. Scott's job increases so quickly and the nights become times to talk to commanders in Kuwait instead of sleep. My students become overly restless. We all know someone deployed or deploying. It is a time for deep prayer and hope that we will have as many as possible return safely. Knowing that both of mine (all three with the addition of Ryan) are about ready to be at the stage of deployment themselves.....my stomach is quite upset. I think I will take many pictures in the next few months- the eagles overhead, the bare trees and the crunching leaves. The quiet is everything. They all remind me that life continues for us all....here in Kansas.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Monterey- what a beautiful place to fall in love!

Countdown is here

The wedding dress hangs in the bedroom- awaiting the bride. Invitations are out- stamped and posted. Gifts are beginning to arrive. Calls are getting more frequent- where shall we live, what shall we buy, how do we do this? So much to do in a short time. Reality is - you have the rest of your life sweetheart. Take it all in slowly and enjoy the ride:>)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

It is close

We are one month away from the wedding. I went out and met Ryan(or Brandon depending on who you talk to). He is a sweet and loving young man- and a Marine. Midwestern to the core- careful to tiptoe when Jen's mom is unhappy.
It was fun to take Cathy's box out to them. I had them open it above the field overlooking the ocean- the place he asked her to marry him. What a beautiful day. As they went through the things excitement grew- "what is that? What is it for? Ohhhh smoothies- I like that one!" They are just comfortable with each other- so good to see. And now on to the wedding- enough flowers, and dress and cake and toppings....just a time to be together with their families. It is so wonderful that they WANT to share.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Passing



To lose a parent- what does that mean? The mentoring is lost and now I have to just remember what my dad would have said so I can share his wisdom with my children and grandchildren. Some of the things my dad taught me: work with the poor but never pity them, for it is through your strength that they will be able to work their way through their situation. Listen to wise people who share the word of the Lord with you. They may fall in society's eyes- but the Lord will use them anyway - for his own purposes. Support good causes that have a hands on affect. Pray without ceasing. Love your family- even if they don't understand sometimes. Write out your thoughts - read them and write them again- I am not good at the second part of that. Ask, but quietly. Expect others to do their part- but don't depend on it. Definately do YOUR part. Practice something a hundred times if you are going to read aloud- especailly the Word of God. Bring beauty to everyplace you are - plant roses. Go fishing. Take the time and go on a retreat. Love the unlovable

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Home

I drive around the corner and down the drive and I am home. Sometimes the turkeys spread in front of me. Often Scott lets the dogs out the door to greet me. For the first time in my life, I feel at home in this place. It is not that the house is exceptional. The ground is not sacred. But in the morning, I look out the front window and just feel the peace of this place. There is no corner that I do not feel welcome, or gully that does not call me. Home is a space in my heart that has always had a bit of a sense of fear- but there is no fear here. What is it about the sky blue and particular morning pinks that just say, "this is where you belong- home".... Maybe it is time to get out my art again and play with the colors I remember loving as a very young child with my dad and Nana.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Overwhelming

Sometimes the sadness is overwhelming. I cry at the drop of a name or the thought of a person. An action. A word. A movement.
Still, I feel with intensity the caring for the children I work with. What does it matter that Jerry does not bring a book in the grand scheme of things? What matters is that he is absorbing the nourishment of the wash of material that encompasses the classroom.
I just want to take them all with me. And yet, leave them behind. There is so much we can cure with simple understanding and so much we can hurt with impatience.

May their souls rest in peace- Sue, Ron and Paul. I pray that our Loving Lord takes them into His arms and gives them a peace that they never had here on the earth.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Yellow and Red

The leaves are turning. The seasons change in Kansas. I look out the window to see the chicks, who learned to fly off of our walls, are big enough to be demanding more corn so they are plump for winter. We have moved into the next phase of planning for the wedding. The invitations arrived yesterday and were addressed by last night. Reservations are made, dress picked, family coming, it will be a great celebration of a new commitment. A new season is definitely here
in Kansas.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tired

I am tired. Scott's brother passed away last week. We went to Michigan to attend his funeral, but arrived in time to join the family in trying to wake Ron's wife from a comma caused by a heart attack. When I returned from the long weekend I told a small group of students what had happened (something I rarely do). One of the ones who rarely seems sympathetic said, "You mean she is dying from a broken heart?" He was correct. Ron and Sue were so close- a broken heart is what she is leaving us with. But she is strong- and she may decide to let her heart heal. Tough weekend.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Airman and Marine



There they are in military dress. The love birds ready for the ball and work and whatever life throws their way.

Soon enough my two, soon enough.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

He is so strong and handsome in his uniform. Leading. Caring. Struggling. Being. My son is left of the flag. He is a company commander at West Point this semester. He works with command decisions while trying to figure out what to do with his life after West Point. I am inspired by his work ethic. I pray that he survives his major. More than that, I pray that he survives the next few years. The world does seem sooo out of control. Both of our children have chosen to serve. It is difficult to watch at times- to watch them turn away from their childhood into their adulthood. But they do it with style.

How complicated can it get?

Knowing that most people do not feel that Kansas is on the road to anywhere
and that I have not been comfortable enough at "my parish" to join
and that the rules sometimes get in the way of Sacrament in the Catholic Church
and that the military works on it's own time clock....
The plans continue.
So far, we have the Church- but Jen is not secure in the marriage prep.
We have the reception, but few guests.
We have the cake decorator, but no idea what it will look or taste like.
We have the music for the reception, but not the Church.
Heck, this would have been easier in Hawaii- at least I know the place well.
The good side is that Kansas is BEAUTIFUL in the winter. I love the whisper of the limbs as they touch in the cold air. The river is beautiful as it rambles under the small pieces of ice. The streets are decorated- but not in a commercial sense.
You can really get away from the mess here.
We will cut our Christmas trees ourselves and decorate them for the arrival of our children.
The flowers will be in the pots outside the door to greet them.
I hope for snow- it is SO beautiful.
Yes, This is the best place for my daughter to marry. A warm fire, close family and the blue Kansas sky!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Planning

Our daughter is getting married in three months. She seems level headed and the young man who is her intended sounds like he has thought out his life a bit. And so we begin to plan.
Weddings.
How did they become so complicated?
My grandparents got married in the basement of the Catholic Church and left for their honeymoon shortly after- at three in the morning.
My daughter is coming to Kansas for the wedding. I am hoping that most of his family and ours will be able to come. The wedding itself at a beautiful little chapel. A dinner at a local restaurant after the ceremony and then a barn dance- simple. But it isn't elegant....And I worry that is not what she wants.
Hummmm- lots of plans to be made. Food to be purchased, place settings to be chosen....planning.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Midnight

Have I made a difference this week?
I try to ask myself that on a weekly basis.
I am not doing anything "big" with my life right now- just living. I haven't gotten involved with my Church in my new community. I haven't gotten into any social work per say.
I have stayed home a great deal. Listening and talking to family. That seems important. I have listened and talked to many students as well. They have listened and talked back.
I think what I am doing right now is important. I did get a hint that I could go back to my old job. Heck, the money is better and I do miss the travel.
No, I have done something important this week. I have been there for my husband, family, friends and a student or two. Not saving the world anytime soon- but working on it one piece at a time.
Missing the community involvement a great deal.....hummm after James graduates.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Marriage

As both of our children approach marriage at the same time- I ponder what to say. What did our parents say? Not much. The doubts that were expressed were worries only for a second to me. My mother went on about the five things that Father so and so told her- but did she follow those herself? I don't think so. Neither did I- but we are both still married....
What does it take to be married in this day and age? The willingness to put your friendship above all else is huge. The willingness to make a painful decision jointly- and then stick to it. The willingness to lead, follow and, sometimes, sit to the side.
Our marriage grows stronger daily here in Kansas. Being in a space that nurtures our need for green and area. I love it here. I can see growing old here.
So, I will continue to ponder what to say- but know that I can say nothing that their hearts have not heard before. Marry a friend and stay committed.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The journey

What is the journey? Three have terminal progressions. All three were "hunks" in their own way for much of their lives. All three could make me laugh in a silly way. They all are strong men. Now all three are thin and...small. I see fail hands, thin skin and painful looks. All three continue to smile from time to time.
The journey is long for all of them and for those of us who care for them. Sometimes the end journey is the most difficult.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Zoo

We often say that we live in a zoo. We are in the cage of the house and the animals come and visit. This morning I was finishing my post of the Catechism and heard a noise at the window. The window is ground level- but above my head since I am in the basement.
I looked up to se what is making the noise in time to have a medium sized turtle stick his head in the direction of my face! We are probably no futher away from each other than six inches. HE stared in while I stared out. Then he slowly made his way to his next adventure.
So far I have encountered my dogs, a frog, a group of turkeys and now a turtle at this particular window.
Yes, I do thank the Lord daily for placing me in...Kansas!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Gloves

Occasionally, I wash a set of gloves. Sometimes Scott beats me to the task, but I want to do it. These gloves are unique.
As I put the gloves into the wash, I have to separate two from each other. All are white and the same size. I think about the hands that wear the gloves. Some are light brown, some dark others almost glow in the dark, like mine. I think about the age of people wearing the gloves- most of them are around twenty, some slightly younger, occasionally they are older.
I think of the gloves being put on in the van as they end a long ride to a dusty green spot in Kansas. They shine in the Kansas sun, usually in a small place by a field where people of all walks gather.
Those gloves of the young then touch the wood of the old, and sometimes not so old. They are touching the box that carries one of our soldier's body to the next part of life- the return to dust. I think of the gentleness of the touch-but the firm grip the gloves have to have. I think about the folding of the flag- the placement of that flag into the hands of someone who is there. Those gloves touch it all.
The gloves come back to my washer in many conditions. Sometimes they are really dirty, others I wonder why I am washing them. The day, the weather, the people, the flag- all are held in those gloves.
When the gloves leave the dryer I fold each pair of gloves and pray for the soldier who will wear them this time, the soldier who has left us and the family who will forever be touched by the gloves.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Changes

My daily prayer has had the same base for the last twenty two years. It begins with the thoughts of my children. I have prayed for their direction, their health and their happiness. I have not always gotten the answer that I desired or even wanted. Of course I believe that God will guide people through their good and bad choices as long as their heart is with Him. In turn, I accept what my children do. I pray that their heart stays strong within the Lord, even if they do not see it at the time.
One of my larger fears is that I will see my children as often as we see my husband's parents (almost never). We do communicate with them constantly- but we are not near to each other. I do not want to grow old without my children and grandchildren (assuming my children will marry, their spouses like us, and they have children of their own). My husband feels that they will always visit us here on the farm- visits are not the same as constant contact.
I did not have great contact with my own grandparents. My children did not have great contact with their grandparents. This was not because they were unloved or even unliked. My kids LOVE their grandparents- they just never spent a great deal of time with them. Same with me. My grandparents were a great influence on me- but they were not constantly there.
So, I wonder. Will I have enough contact to know my children into adulthood well? Will my grandchildren be able to feel comfortable to call me anytime and ask me to come(or them to come here)? Will I be comfortable enough with my children's spouses that they will welcome us to their households as a part of their lives as well.
Back to the prayers and the trust that God will guide my children's hearts in their movements and mine in accepting where I am- here in Kansas.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Parking lot

At our Fort there is a large parking lot by the commersary (grocery store for those of you who do not know military terms). For the last year the parking lot has been full- overflowing in fact.Then,about two weeks ago, it seemed to have fewer cars.
Today I went to get some milk and the parking lot has about 1/2 the cars that it used to have.
You see, the parking lot is where the soldiers park before leaving for Iraq. It helps them save money and reminds me to pray for them while they are deployed. About half of the Fort Riley soldiers are back now- with more on their way home in the next month.
When the parking lot is nearly empty, I will be relieved. "Our" year long posting to Iraq will be almost over.
My prayers for soldiers will continue. I know that the soldiers on this post stand guard all over the world and the parking lot will always be a reminder that one of them needs my prayers that minute.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

This House

Today we begin redirecting the house that we moved into in May. We removed the entry way 8 foot mirrors before we moved in one piece of furniture. That helped. Scott removed the hideous wall paper in the rest of the entry way next. The roses and purples almost made my stomach turn every time I walked in.
Now for the color.... Something neutral seems to be on the agenda. We have lived in rented houses for so long I think we have gotten used to no color on the walls. We instead purchased wild ethnic art wherever we lived and used those for the color. Would something more lively be in order for a house we plan to live in the rest of our lives?
For the rest of our lives- that sounds WAY to long!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Tomorrow

Tomorrow my oldest and dearest will travel to Kansas City to join the Air Force. This has been a LONG journey- several years to be exact. If she had joined when she first considered it- she would be almost out right now.
Now is a good time for her to go though. The war is winding down. The need for her skills are still high. And she has traveled just about every alternative road that was open to her. Her dad and I basically pushed her to this decision, but we both think it will be best for her in the long run.
I have been doing the laundry all day, cleaning the house, sort of getting ready. I am very nervous about her leaving. It is a passage of sorts. When she was away at college I knew she would be home at every available break. This time she will not be home for a year.
Life will really change for me.
I will miss her tremendously.
Still, I will encourage her with everything I have. I love her and want only the best for her. Growing up will provide that stage to develop into the wonderful human being that she already is.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

First Days

Returning to school after a long break make my stomach queasy. The anticipation of student expectation. They have been gone so long- they actually await the start of the day. Their hope seems to be that they will understand more this time and school will be "fun".
I pray for each of my students as I return. My prayer is that I will find a way to help that light inside shine even brighter through the dark winter months.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Sky Blue

Until I visited Alaska I never really understood that a sky can be the "sky blue" in the crayon box. There I was stuck in a place between Fairbanks and Palmer looking at the sky. It was blue, but not regular blue. I lived in Northern Arizona. I know what "blue sky" looks like. But there I was seeing, for the first time, "sky blue". What an amazing color. It is actually exhilarating. Think of a whipped blue as pale as it can get and then suddenly a splash of dark blue thrown in.
It was actually warming a day that was probably about -10.

I thought, after my trips to Alaska ceased, I would never experience that color again. I think it was just so unpolluted there I could see the REAL "sky blue". I was to be surprised.

Yesterday I was out walking on our small farm- and there it was- "sky blue". I have not lived in Kansas this time very long, but I have already come to appreciate the many things that brought us back here after 15 years away. The geese gathering to fly south, the kids bounding up our drive to see if the sledding hill was ready, the sunset out my kitchen window and now "sky blue". Moving back to Kansas was a good move.