There’s No Place Like Home

I grew up in the mid-Atlantic state of Maryland, went to college in Tennessee, taught in a small town in the Appalachian mountains, moved to the suburbs, lived in the city where I could get to anything in five minutes, and now am comfortably situated in the rural countryside of west central Ohio. For me there is peace in the quiet. A slower pace, causes me to stop more often and appreciate the beauty that is all around me. Appreciation. Gratefulness. A thankful heart.

When was the last time you stopped and stared at the clouds, allowed the sunrise to take your breath away? Have you recently taken a moment to marvel at the rural art of fields dotted with round hay bales? Listened to the early morning crowing of the roosters? Saw beauty even in the bright yellow of dandelions?

Then, there are the barns. I love barns. They are utilitarian monuments to a hard working life. Some of them big and strong, others faded and worn. All carry with them, a story.

Yep. I love it. I admit it. I’ve lived all over and seen a lot but, in my heart I’m just a country girl.

Here are some pictures I’ve taken. Pictures of my life………








































































This Mom Of Mine


Five Minute Friday with Lisa-Jo at Tales from a Gypsy Mama.102_3854

Today’s your turn. What did your mama do that makes her your mama? Let’s unpack those memories today.

Where is your memory buried?

In just five minutes. Tell me all about what your mama did that made her yours…


Elementary school pictures with crooked bangs, cut by a mother who with “just one more snip” thought she could straighten them out. I look back at my pictures and have to smile. My mom was good at fixing things and making me feel better. ( I was high fashion style before it was even in style:)

My mom, worried that my neck was swollen…taking me to the doctor to find out why. Holding my teenage hand, when I was scared. Telling me that thyroid disease was going to be taken care of with some medicine.

She took care of me during my bout with mono my senior year, helped get me to and from my job at the Dry Cleaners, was a huge help when filling out applications for college, sat through Lyric theater performances, encouraged me in my goal to graduate with a degree in Special Education. She went with me through the winding mountains of east Tennessee to help me move to the little town that held the first school I ever taught at.

Laughter, tears, joy, pain. Uphill battles and marathon races. Arguments and big, fat, honkin’ mistakes. Lots and lots of memories. My mom is strong and brave and smart and I know this about her. She stepped out and changed her life when it wasn’t easy. She figured things out as she went. She taught my younger sister and I that we could do anything. We were smart and strong and beautiful. She endowed me with a healthy self confidence that as I look back over the years– has served me well. She always made me feel special and loved, and is there anything better than that?

There are always times though, no matter how confident, that I need encouragement. My mom has been and still is my biggest encourager. Her cards, letters, and emails always seem to come just when I need them the most. Her words make me feel better.

Encouragement, it is her gift really.

She is a gift.

And I love her, this mom of mine.


Turning The Page

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. – Helen Keller

Stepping out into the unknown…each day unfolding into an adventure.

Helen Keller's famous water pump at Ivy Green

The diploma in my hand was full of promise. I was chosen for the scholarship. I was leaving for school hundreds of miles from home.

The letters after my name. A degree. Four years of hard work had paid off. The future was full of promise.

Applications. Interviews. God had other plans…and they weren’t the same as mine.

I had moved back home. I was 500 miles away, when I received the call. Would I like to travel back to east Tennessee and take the job?

He asked me. I said, “yes”.  The diamond sparkled in the light.

Teaching. Learning. Changing.

The strip had a plus sign on it. The smile broke out across my face. I was going to be a mommy!

The first strong cry, mingled with my own. I took him in my arms and carried him in my heart.

My husband didn’t feel well.

The doctor told us that “things didn’t look right”.  A door slammed shut that day…and it never opened again.

Gray sky on a damp November morning. Freshly dug dirt.

Having to say good-bye and knowing it would be final.

Soccer mom. Church activities. Parent nights. Laughter.

Girls night out. Friendship.

Dating again. Nervous. Unsure.

Meeting new people. Hearing their stories. Making memories.

Falling in love again. Saying yes, to second chances.

Choosing to school at home.

Moving to a new state. New friends. New routines.

A new house. A job loss. Struggling to understand the why?

Life is a constant adventure.

Tomorrow is a new chapter.

Turning the page…

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
   but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 NIV

Close To Me

Sistine Chapel, fresco Michelangelo,

Image via Wikipedia

Bonnie, at Faith Barista gave us this topic to write about today…

Whitespace Jam:  Share a moment you felt close to God recently.


I’ve been mulling this over. There are many, what I would consider, small moments where I have felt close to God.

Day to day moments. I’m thankful for my life…and in many ways profoundly grateful for the way things have turned out.

For you see, it might not have been this way...

I, like many of you, have had moments or times in my life where I have felt the very hand of God.

Sometimes I knew it right then…other times not until after the fact. When we think of God many times we expect grand miracles,

strong battles, beautiful creations, and the dead being raised to life. And it is true…God is all these things. He is also so

much more. There are times in my life where I’ve cried out to Him, “God where are you?”  Sometimes, for His own

reasons, God is silent. Even if I did not understand at the time, God did. He was always close.

If I could make a map of my life,

it would show a pattern touched by the Sovereign.

Here are some moments from my story. My God moments. The Ever Present in my every day.

* A college graduate who had traveled back home to look for a job. Applications. Interviews. Doors slammed.

“God I know you called me to be a special education teacher. Why can’t I get a job teaching here?” A phone call from

a professor in Tennessee, he had tracked me down to Maryland by way of a friend. A small school, in a small community

in the mountains of Appalachia needed me. Would I consider going? Nearly 600 miles from Maryland…from home.

And God held the door open wide. A small town with a big heart. Memories of my early years of teaching still warm me,

all these decades later. God brought me to this place and I knew that God was close.

*The cries were like music. From the moment the nurse laid my newborn son on my chest, I knew that motherhood would profoundly

change me. I hadn’t known if I’d be able to get pregnant. The fact that I did, was a gift from God. A new role as mother….and God was there.

* “Ma’am, we tried to resuscitate him for 45 minutes straight. We could never get a good heart beat. I’m so sorry.” Part of me

died that day, along with my husband. Plans changed. A new normal.

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. (Psalm 68:5 NIV)  I have never felt so close to God

as I did during my years of widowhood. I clung to this verse from God. He would father my young son, and be my defender. Many

days and dark nights, I would tell God I was scared. He never left me. He most certainly was my defender.

I was able to sleep in peace…with God close to me.

* This man lived so far away. I could not possibly get involved in a long distance relationship. God has a way of working the impossible into

the possible. Time and distance are not deterrents to a God that is not chained to calendars or clocks. He is the God of second chances. My new husband and I stood before God to say our vows. Two families brought together as one.  God was at that ceremony.

I could list many, many times that God was close, as He mapped out my life. There are the big God moments, the bends in the road, the path not taken…..and there are the small moments of realization. The warmth of my children’s hugs. Notes of encouragement from my loved ones. The beauty of much needed rain splashing against the window pane. An email from an old friend. Waking up to my husband’s smile. The comfortable house that I live in. The dog licking my ankles. A cold glass of tea.

All things are from God. God is not a stranger to me. He does not live far away. He has not left me alone. He is intimately involved in the day to day moments of my life. He is close to me. Always.



Because I’ve Got Vision…That’s Why

Taken at a Chicagoland Flea Market. Rosemont, ...

Image via Wikipedia

I bought this fireplace cover years ago at a local flea market in Tennessee. I didn’t have a fireplace, but I did not let that stop me. Details. Details.  I enjoy metal work and this was interesting to me. I took it home and actually hung it on the wall, with some of my other architectural style salvage. I was going for a kind of industrial, eclectic, shabby chic decor. I am all about repurposing objects. My husband does not understand this at all. So…..I did not hang it up when we moved to our new house. My poor fireplace cover has been setting forlornly in the corner. All alone.

I think he needs to be repurposed (my fireplace cover, not my husband). I tend to call my flea market items “he” or “she”. I don’t know why. I’m just weird that way. (chunky metal objects, things with rough edges are definitely “he”, and pastel colors and vintage floral prints are unmistakeable “she”. Understand?)

I have been looking at the cover….and plotting……. I mean thinking. I’m considering painting it a lighter, brighter color. I could use it as a memo board or a place to tuck pictures. It would make a great headboard for a twin bed. (which I currently do not have) It is metal, so it has weight…but, is not terribly heavy. The two side pieces bend back, so it can set up independently….or it can lay flat.

Do any of my crafty readers have ideas?

Encouragement Is Nourishment


Today, over at Faith Barista, we are jamming about encouragement. We are discussing the topic where we feel we could use a little (or a lot) encouragement. Truth be told, couldn’t we all use some?


I love to travel. The thought of the open road gets me all excited.

I love to meet people. I love to hear stories. I love to write.

I love vintage. Treasure finding. Flea markets. Decorating.

The Junk Gypsies are my heroes.

East coast, Maryland girl. Down home, Tennessee woman. Mid-West mama, lovin’ Ohio.

Kickin’ it up in cowboy boots in  Texas. In awe of the Tetons in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Love ’em all.

I love living in the country and the every day of small town life.

I thrill at the bright lights and diversity and interesting shops in the cities.

I am passionate about rights for the disabled. I want to help where I can.

I am constantly in awe of my Jesus. His name is above all others.

I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Life has been a roller coaster. A heartache and a party.

Love. Laughter. And Mud. (nobody’s perfect)

So, that is kind of me….as best as I can describe myself.

I guess, at age 43, I pretty much know who I am. What I like. People I love.

But, where do I fit in? How do I meld together my talents with my interests?

Is anyone out there, “living the life”? Do you wake up in the morning, knowing you

are exactly where you are supposed to be? Doing what you love?

I know, no one’s life is perfect……and I wouldn’t want perfect anyway. That’s boring.

How do you live out your dreams?

Please share your advice. I read every comment.

Your words matter.

They really do.


You’ve Got Mail

Bonnie, over at Faith Barista says…. “It’s the month of classic June weddings. A reader who is single asked me how I met my husband. She said it always encourages her to hear the different ways God leads people to find true love.

In the spirit of encouragement, I’d love to hear from our community. Write on the topic: Finding “The One”. ”  


It happened on August 6, 2005.

I was totally and completely unprepared….

At the time I had been widowed for 4 and 1/2 years. (see my story here) I had a son getting ready to start 5th grade.

I had turned 37 in May.

Life was busy. Happy. Things were good.

Life was normal on that day, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing to tell me of what lay ahead…

I sat down at my computer, to check my email. I saw a response from an online dating service I had signed up for. (which I had done on a whim) Before even signing up I had decided that I was not going to date anyone unless they lived within an hour of my house.  I mean, what was the sense, otherwise?

Then HE left me a message.

He lived in Texas, in a town outside of Dallas. He had one adult daughter whom he had adopted, and two children still at home. He was also widowed. (about his late wife)

He wanted to know me. This kind of made me feel like I was 17 all over again. “Wait, just a minute”, I thought, “I am 37. I am mature. I am a mom. I am not going to get excited about an email. So there.”  At least that is what I told myself.

I wasn’t so sure about this. After all this guy lived in TEXAS for cryin’ out loud…and I lived in Tennessee. The two “T” states, but other than that, not close enough. I waited to reply.  I thought about it.  I finally decided that we could at least be friends. We could both relate to widowhood, (there was a mutual understanding between us, in a way that is difficult to explain unless one has been through the death of a spouse) , had children around the same age, and we were both Christians.


We became long distance friends. We emailed every day. Hundreds of miles apart, but close in heart. After several weeks of daily email and phone calls,he asked if he could travel to Tennessee for us to meet? Kids included. He drove hundreds of miles with a son, a daughter and a dog. They arrived at my house on a Friday afternoon in late September. This sounds hokey, but we felt as if we’d known each other for years.

After a whirlwind weekend of visiting at my home, attending my son’s soccer game, going out to eat,  meeting the family, and even some nervous reservations about how, or if, this would work, we decided that this relationship was worth pursuing.

So we did.

Five months later we were married. It was a life changing decision, but one that we are both glad we made. We will be celebrating our sixth anniversary this year. We tease that it feels like we’ve been married for fifty! We have no doubts that God led us to each other…even if our meeting and short engagement was a bit unconventional. We were both in our 30’s when we were widowed, living hundreds of miles apart, didn’t even know the other existed…until that fateful day in August. We both knew what we wanted in life, who we were interested in sharing that  life with, and that God was and is the One in control.

I love my husband and he loves me. Life has its ups and downs. We are parenting in a blended family. We’ve sold his house in Texas, and my house in Tennessee. We’ve built a house in rural Ohio. We’ve moved from Texas to Tennessee, and Tennessee to Ohio. My husband lost his job of twenty-two years right in the middle of building the house in Ohio. I resigned from my teaching job. We home school our three teens. My husband has a new job, working from home. We have three dogs, four cats, and a horse. Life is crazy and unpredictable.

But, I can’t think of a better place to be than with Scott……after all God brought us together, and HE is the ultimate match maker.

The Little Red Car That Could…

Datsun B210

Image via Wikipedia

My first car was a 1978, two door, candy apple red, Datsun B210. I got the car in 1989. It was the summer before my senior year in college. I needed a car to complete my student teaching. ( I did my student teaching at a local high school about 2o minutes away from my college.) My uncle snagged me a good deal on the car. (thanks Uncle John!)  That little red car could get me where I needed. I loved it!

Long story short…the car never let me down, plus it got great gas mileage. After graduation (in Tennessee) I went back to my home state of Maryland. I had intended to go back there to live and work. Well, life has a way of putting a wrench in one’s plans. So, that following September I was headed back to Tennessee for my first teaching gig. I had packed up all my earthly possessions in the little red car that could, and hit the road. Did I mention that my aunts and uncle also came with me? I don’t really remember but, I think I had stuff in their car too. I was a young 20 something….I probably had a lot of junk to tote around.

As we were heading west on Interstate 40, coming into Knoxville, Tennessee…it happened. I had the lead in the little red car. My relatives were following behind me in the traffic. I was behind a flat bed semi. The guy had his load tarped. For whatever reason the tarp came loose, and flew through the air and landed squarely on my little car. The car was entirely covered by the tarp. Yes, you read correctly. I was going at least 55-60 miles an hour to keep up with traffic and now I was literally driving blind. Not many people have been in this situation, and let me tell you, it is not the sort of thing one learns in drivers ed. With my heart pounding in my ears, I took my foot off the accelerator, and I moved my car to the right, listening for the slight crunch of loose gravel on the shoulder of the road. When I thought I could hear the gravel on both front tires, I slowed down and stopped.

My family had witnessed the whole thing. The truck driver probably had no idea that his tarp had come loose and could very well have killed me. My heart beat went back to normal, I could breathe again, and I realized beyond a shadow of doubt that God‘s hand was on me that day.