July 2017: Faith Journeys

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Our co-priests are on sabbatical (May 14-Sep 3) and our parish is having all sorts of fun, educational, and just plain cool forums and presentations. Thankfully most of them do not involve “stuff” that I would have to bring home.

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This project did. However, it has a lot of meaning wrapped up in one simple stained glass cross. It’s small enough to tuck into any corner of a suitcase. Every time I look at it hanging in my window I am reminded of the lessons I am learning during this journey with my beloved parish.

Ohio, post 2

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Clifton Gorge was one of our favorite hiking spots in Ohio. We started taking Michael at least once a month starting when he was about 5 months old. He loved to go: it was quiet, peaceful, he actually slept best when strapped to Kelly’s back.

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Closer to home, we took daily walks, sometimes multiple walks a day. He rode in the stroller when it was just the two of us. He began to walk to 10 months and from then on he chose whether to walk, ride, or usually a combination of both.

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He began to hike on his own at about 2 1/2. These were just short little hikes, but we did include some elevation and scrambling before he turned 4.

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Ohio, post 1

In late November 1987 we arrived in Ohio with a car load of possessions. Shortly after arrival all our things we’d stored in Evansville (wedding gifts galore) began tricking into our home. We’d gone from light and clean to slightly cluttered.

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Since it wouldn’t all fit, we bought plastic crates and filled a closet with them. It filled a closet, but with the door shut you never knew and out of sight out of mind!

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In late March 1988 I was sick. Really sick: passing out, throwing up, sleeping a lot, and unable to keep up with life and work.

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In mid-May I finally went to the doctor. That’s when I found out I wasn’t sick, I was pregnant. Pregnant with serious, long-term morning sickness.

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This change in family status necessitated moving from our cheap, old, run down, drafty apartment to something a little nicer. After several months of looking, we found a cute little 2 bedroom apartment. It was adorable and probably my favorite of all our homes.

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The thing about this apartment was it was bigger than our efficiency apartment in Texas (350 square feet) but much smaller than our existing apartment (900 square feet). 600 square feet with small closets and no storage space and we were adding a child. In those days before the move, I began to purge. I’d open a box in the closet and if I’d never used anything in there, I’d stack it up in a corner. A couple of days before the move, DAV came with a truck and hauled it all off.

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What I learned from this move was if it’s in storage you’ll forget about it and buy it again.

I also learned that a tiny new life could suddenly upend everything I ever thought I knew. And that was a good thing.

I also learned that babies don’t need 90% of the stuff I was given at multiple baby showers.

moving light

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I’ve been thinking about our earliest days both in Germany, Turkey, and Georgia. All those moves required sending our stuff ahead of us. All of those moves saw us living out of suitcases and backpacks  for extended periods of time. The move between Ohio and Germany was 8 weeks without the majority of our things (weight limit 4000 pounds) and 2 weeks without our  “express shipment” (weight limit 1000 pounds) which mainly consisted of kitchen stuff, books, and more clothing.  The move between Germany and Turkey was a total of 14 weeks without anything that didn’t fit in our suitcases. Our things left Germany, went by boat to New York, then by boat to Turkey. It was a crazy thing that had to do with customs and other weird rules.

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I often think back to those days and how carefree things seemed. We weren’t weighed down by an abundance of stuff. We weren’t always cleaning because suitcase living really only requires a broom and a dust cloth. In each place, we bought beds and bedding within a few days of having a home. We used our stainless steel camping plates and mugs for weeks on end — one for each of us. One cast iron pan was enough to cook anything and everything.

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One thing we did in each place was to find a toy store in the local towns. Each child picked out 2 new toys. They agonized over the decision because they knew all they had to play with was these 2 new toys, along with their favorite doll/stuff animal, paper and crayons, and the 2 toys that had fit inside their backpacks for the plane ride. Germany saw the addition of Playmobil people into our lives as both kids were enamored of the little people. Turkey brought geometric shapes (Tangrams) and more Playmobil for Michael and a collection of plastic horses and more Playmobil for Hannah.

Texas, part 3

Our home in Texas was in a nice complex that included laundry facilities and a pool. The pool seemed like such a luxury when I arrived, but by June I was of the opinion it was absolutely necessary. It made cooling off in the middle of the day a true highlight of our time there. Everything we had fit into a 300 square foot efficiency apartment.

What we should have learned in this apartment is that white space is everything when you can see everything standing in one spot. But as pictures of upcoming houses will reveal — I didn’t learn it until much later. But, as I look back on these pictures I see how little it really takes to feel at home.

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Remembering this (white space) helped me when drawing up our shipping allowance list. We will be looking for a very small home. And I don’t want it to feel cramped and small, but rather open and spacious.

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Our apartment complex was “way out” on the 1604 (near where Sea World is today). There wasn’t much around but scrub at the time. We took long walks in the scrub, and drove miles to run errands. At the time it didn’t bother me because I really didn’t have anything else to do while Kelly was at training.

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Our next few homes were much closer to Kelly’s work and errand running sites. Our current home is “way out” and it takes 20 minutes to get to the nearest gas station and grocery store, 40 minutes to get to Target, bookstore, etc.

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Each time I have to go to town, I prepare for a long day. It is better to clump all my errands into one long day. As the years have gone by, I find that I really don’t like being so far out. Don’t get me wrong, I love our little place, the quiet, the space, but there are days (many days lately) when I long to hop on my bike and take care of my errands.

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Texas, part 2

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I think the most profound lesson I learned in Texas is that adventure (and living in a culture radically different than your own) is not scary, is not dangerous, and is not necessarily expensive. It may seem strange to call Texas a radically different culture than southern Indiana, but when all you know is Midwest, English speaking, white people . . . Texas is worlds away.

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I came away from our time there with a confidence that I could communicate with anyone. A few words in a language (not your own) shows respect, a commitment to relationship, and a true interest in those around you.

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I also learned that it is important to find people and a place where you can worship regularly.

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And food . . . I definitely learned to eat like a local. Find the places where the locals go and eat there, buy food in the local markets, and get a cookbook so you can try out food on your own

Texas 1987

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Kelly left Evansville in late February 1987 for San Antonio. He joined the United State Air Force as a way to give the two of us a better start in life together than Evansville could offer. I joined him in May.

Texas . . .It was the first time we’d been anywhere (longer than a week) without a family support system. We stretched our wings, explored our city, and learned how to take care of a myriad of normal tasks.

Texas . . .We found our favorite places were run by locals. We found our favorite neighbors spoke a mix of Spanish and English. We experienced life in a community of diversity unlike anything we had previously known.

Texas . . . Kelly walked 2 miles in the September heat from our apartment to see Pope John Paul II. Our dates consisted of finding out of the way Missions (Catholic churches from the late 1700’s and early 1800s), then hitting up our favorite local eatery, and taking walks in the scrub behind our apartment complex.

These are the biggest impressions that remain from Texas. Mostly it was about daily life interspersed with adventures and learning more about those who lived around us. It was a taste of something we couldn’t identify at the time, but followed us to our next base.

In late November 1987, we packed our Mitsubishi hatchback (it was a tiny little car) and headed north through Texas . . . destination Dayton, Ohio.

Greetings

Greetings!  A fresh blog with no words written yet is just like a new journal.  Somehow I feel the words should be momentous and memorable. And so, I am tempted to put off writing until it seems the words are perfect. But if there is one thing I have learned after walking this beautiful earth, it is that perfection isn’t attainable.  So I’ll settle for good enough and start writing.

My family is a family of four adults choosing to live together.  We started out as two: young, impulsive, wanting a life together, wanting adventure, wanting children.  So we started with a marriage, a move or two (Indiana, Texas, Ohio).  Then we added two children in pretty quick succession.

Our children (Michael and Hannah) are as different as night and day.  They always have been.  Michael was born observing the world, seeing too much, hearing too much, finding patterns (and comfort in the patterns), inquisitive, and sensitive.  Hannah was born watching the world, telling the world exactly what her feelings were, performing, guarding the defenseless, creative, and playful.  Like I said Night and Day!

Kelly and I were still young, impulsive, and wanting adventure.  So when, in a fit of emotional upheaval, I announced a desire to move . . . and to move far away, Kelly signed up an “accompanied, overseas, extended, tour of duty.  Several weeks later the paperwork came in and we found out we were headed to Germany.

Germany . . . land of beauty, a new language (after 7 years learning it in high school and as my college major), a new start, and an adventure.  Germany was an amazing place to live with small kids.  It is clean.  The water is clean.  The public restrooms are clean.  The air is clean.  The people are clean.   We arrived with three large suitcases and four backpacks.  Each weekend we used the backpacks as we got out there, meeting people, seeing the sights, eating local food, and generally acting as if we were on an extended vacation.

Germany . . . also the land of base closures.  We knew when we arrived that our time there would be relatively short.  Pretty soon, too soon, we were looking at a list of bases we could choose from.  We could stay in Germany, come back to America, Kelly could go to Korea alone, or Turkey.

Turkey . . . land of beauty, a new and much different language, another new start, and an even bigger adventure. The adventure started immediately:  Kelly was being sent to Italy for training.  The kids and I were going to be there alone  . . . right away.  In many respects, Turkey could not have been more different than Germany.  And I fell head over heels in love with it.  We were in far eastern Turkey, so all that stuff you know about Istanbul–none of it applies to where we were.

Turkey  . .. dirt, sand, sandstorms, no rain (except during the rainy season and then boy does it rain), intermittent water outages (and then lovely “Water Buffalo” trucks that bring water to the neighborhood), intermittent power outages, and marble floors laid straight on the dirt.  But the people and the food . . . it just doesn’t get any better.

The first person I met in Turkey was Çemile.  She was young (17, maybe) and she was Turkish.  We met as I was struggling to figure out how many Turkish coins to insert in a pay phone in the hotel lobby, while talking on the phone arranging permanent housing (as opposed to the hotel we were currently living in), and trying to keep two young, energetic, and hungry kiddos quiet and happy.  Salvation appeared in the form of a lovely, slender, young lady, who picked up Hannah, motioned for Michael to follow, and led them to clear spot on the floor where she began to talk to them and play.  She looked up hesitantly and I beamed my biggest smile ever.  We were fast friends and we hadn’t spoken a word.

Kim

May 2018

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BookNotes: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Repost from other blog —

Oh my! I learned so much science reading/listening to this book. I also learned how much science I simply assume all people understand. It was eye opening to learn about people who do not have that fundamental knowledge.

This is so much more than the story of HeLa cells and Henrietta Lacks, it is a story about presumption that occurred (and still occurs) in the medical and scientific communities. I’d like to hope these things don’t happen anymore, but I am uncertain.

Renaissance Fair 2018

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April 2018

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Planning 

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More planning

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young peach tree

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Compost 1

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young cherry

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turning over garden bed 

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leveling the pool area

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mature apple

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view of the front yard from clothesline to west

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view of the eastern half of the backyard

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cistern 2: a work in progress

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new trees in the old meadow

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thistle patch

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Meadow (with new trees)

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Established paths in woods

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This just calls for a hammock

Chlorophytum comosum

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AKA: Spider plant

Care Instructions:
Light: bright, indirect light
Water: likes to dry out a bit between watering
Container Size: prefers a to be a bit root bound
Fertilize:
Temperature: above 50°, prefers cool

Epipremmum

Golden Pothos

Care Instructions

Light: low-high, 4 hours
Water: moist
Container Size: started out at 3 inches (small one is in 5 inch pot); large one is in 10 inch pot)
Fertilize: every 2-4 months
Temperature: above 50°

Ravenea rivularis

AKA: Majesty Palm

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Today I present Luna. She’s also in need of a new clay pot. I’m also still moving her around looking for just the perfect spot.

Care Instructions

Light: high light, can be indirect, within 5 feet of a window.
Water: keep soil moist
Container Size: 12 inches
Fertilize: every 2-4 months
Temperature: never below 40°

Dracaena Marginata

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AKA: Madagascar Dragon Tree

I think I’ll call this one Norbert. Harry Potter fans will understand. It’s an air purifier.

It’s also in need of a lovely clay pot. Hannah brought it home to me a few days ago and it’s still in its plastic pot. I try to get my plants out of plastic and into clay as soon as possible.

Care Instructions

Light: high light, 1-5 feet from a window.
Water: keep soil moist, but no standing water.
Container Size: 12 inch
Fertilizer: Every 1-2 months
Temperature: never below 50°

gingersnaps

Because my mom asked:

Gingersnaps

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup molasses

1 egg

2 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, molasses, and egg.

In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to combine.

Put 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a small bowl.

Roll dough into small balls, then  roll in granulated sugar.

Place on cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Christmas 2017

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More Organ work

Paths

A relatively new path being formed into the center section of our woods. Jasper has gotten so much better about taking walks now that he can stay on the soft earth.