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Category Archives: Family doings

The End Result

Last Friday Nathan fractured his wrist. Initial x-rays had the doctor concerned about a couple ligaments that he thought were spread out so he ordered a CT Scan to get a better look. It looked like surgery for Nathan.

Today we can thankfully report that he does NOT need surgery and will be in his new “Go Blue” cast for about 6 weeks. He can continue with cardio activity so Coach Chris has him on the bike as I write. You former swimmers will not be surprised at this. 🙂

This injury was a big set-back for Nathan who had just finished his goal-setting meeting with Coach Chris for the new swim season on the Science Hill High School team. He even has one of his times written up on the mirror as a constant reminder. Those plans will now be delayed a bit but he’s hoping not to lose too much ground.

Here are our photos of the day.

CT Scan at Franklin Woods Hospital

The temporary cast was cut off. The wrist is still pretty swollen.

A “sock” on the arm and a separate one on the thumb. The break is through the growth plate where the thumb meets up with the wrist, but the doctor doesn’t expect any healing problems. They have immobilized the thumb.

Next, the “Go Blue” wrap. Now we just need some maize colored duct tape to make an “M” for it.

We are saying, “Thank you, God!!!” that he doesn’t need surgery.


…and Now You Know the Rest of the Story (Paul Harvey)

Lydia sent me a text this afternoon telling me she would call at 6:30 p.m. this evening. At 8:15 p.m. we finally connected on Skype – though she had her video off until the very end because it slows down the internet so much. So, faithful readers, let me pick up where we left off.

Lydia was on her way to dinner with the two women from Honduras, but they were being very quiet about where they were eating. They finally arrived at the restaurant – it was outdoors, beside the ocean, and beautiful. A door was finally opened and there was Philip in his best t-shirt and shorts. They hugged and kissed, which scared off the two women she was with. Actually, I think they politely excused themselves at this point.

Philip – waiting at the restaurant for Lydia to arrive. (Not really – I stole ALL of these photos from Philip’s Facebook wall and just twisted them to fit my version of the proposal story.)

At this point, we would expect him to fall to his knees and express his undying love or something sappy like that. Instead, they sat down, ordered their meal, and then she heard his story of how he had arranged the surprise. Then he told her that he had a surprise for her…and pulled out a package of coffee. Apparently they have this “thing” that when he goes out of the country he brings her coffee beans. So she discreetly looked down into the beans to see if the ring was hiding in there. My guess is that he had that “cheeky” grin on his face. But, no ring and no proposal.

Philip’s “cheeky” grin – though the one above works too. Doesn’t it just look like he’s got something up his sleeve? (Philip’s parents will have to confirm this.)

THEY ATE THEIR ENTIRE MEAL and after the dishes were cleared, Philip told Lydia that he had another present for her but it was very large so she would need to close her eyes. Unbeknownst to her, he was setting up the video camera. When she opened her eyes she found a little box in front of her…with another box inside…and then, the ring. And just so you know, I DID guess his line, “Hey Babe, wanna get hitched?” She kissed him and said, “Yes, truly with all my heart.” (or something like that)

She said, “YES!”

…”This is Paul Harvey – and now you know the rest of the story. Good day!”

The Proposal Details You’ve All Been Waiting For…

Lydia FINALLY called me tonight at 7:07 p.m. in the middle of our prayer meeting. Normally I would simply ignore my phone during this time, but calls from Lydia while in Honduras are rare so I stepped out. She called because I’ve pestered her NUMEROUS times (I think she said seven)  on Facebook and so she decided to take a few minutes to call me after their meeting was over.

I’ll start at the beginning…

Oh wait – not this far back.

In April of 2012, Philip asked for our permission to marry our daughter. Some may think this custom is old fashioned, but we enjoyed every minute of it and, of course, said “yes.” I have watched the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice (the five-hour version) so many times with my daughters that I think that’s where this idea came from because Tom did not ask my dad for permission. I was thinking he would ask within the next couple of weeks, but Mr. Price had bigger plans that just a simple, “Hey Babe, wanna get hitched?”

Another part of the Bier family custom is to wrestle the youngest brother for permission. If Philip can win the wrestling match, he can win Lydia’s hand. I can’t believe all families don’t have these customs.

As you can see, Philip completed both of the requirements and now he only needed to build up his courage to ask the said fair maiden. HA! Somehow, as you will see, he had an idea of what her answer would be.

Lydia moved all her belongings to her new apartment in South Carolina where she will be starting her new job on July 2nd. She spent a weekend in her new home and then left for her month-long internship in Honduras. I would imagine she was very sad when she left Philip.

This is her sad movie-star face and I’m pretty sure it’s the one she used when they parted.

Lydia has been in Honduras, settling in, switching to the Spanish part of her brain (so much so that the first time we were talking, she switched into Spanish – now I’ve had two semesters of Spanish but she knows that I only remember the greeting), basically focused on her task at hand.

Thursday morning, my phone rang as I was heading into a meeting. “Philip” appeared on my screen and I immediate knew something was up. When I answered my phone and heard airport noises (I love the sound of a noisy airport), I knew where he was headed and that Lydia was in for the best surprise of her lifetime. All day I was DYING to tell Grace, Ellen, and Nathan but knew that it would be way more fun for them to hear it from Lydia so I restrained myself. Unfortunately, I could not stop looking at the clock all day OR smiling every once in a while – so much so that at one point during a card game with Grace and Nathan, Grace was sure that I had cheated or had something up my sleeve. She said I had my sneaky grin on. WHAT?? I have one?

Is this it?

Here’s where Lydia’s portion of the story picks up. Sorry it took me so long to get back here. Philip and Lydia were apparently talking on the phone when he needed to get going to the airport to catch his flight. Being the honest young man that he is, he told Lydia he was going to take someone to the airport…but skirted around the issue of who. Lydia thought it was odd, but set that aside. She was having dinner with a couple women from Honduras for planning or something. They were acting odd…

Tom used to read stories to the kids. He would usually only read one chapter. Some of the books they read together really left you hanging at a critical point in the story. The kids would beg and beg and beg for their dad to read, “JUST ONE MORE CHAPTER.” Occasionally he would, but tonight children I cannot. Because this is the point in the story when I was cut off from Lydia and she still hasn’t called me back. AHHHH!!! So I STILL don’t know the story.

Back to the Beginning

August of 1985 (comin’ alive in ’85), Tom and I were married and moved to Louisville, KY where Tom was finishing his Masters of Divinity. We loved Louisville and often remember that year and a half with great fondness, though Tom likes to remind me of how much money we could have saved if we had stayed in seminary housing. 🙂

Tom has been back in Louisville the last couple of years working on his Doctorate in Pastoral Counseling and Sunday we spent the night together in Louisville as Grace and I were heading down from Michigan and Tom was heading up for classes. The weather was perfect when we arrived around 8:00 p.m. so we decided to go for a walk around the reservoir. We stopped for some Chinese food on the way…I can’t even remember the name of the place we stopped, but that’s okay because it wasn’t the best I’ve ever had. (It has to be good to beat Wok and Hibachi.)

The overhead view…gorgeous.

It was dark and as the overhead lights were shining through the railing bars, the reflection was a “T” all the way down the steps. We thought of Ellen at the University of Tennessee.

The gate was already closed for the evening so we ended up sitting at the top of these steps and eating our food. We were not disturbed by any mosquitoes and the weather was a perfect temperature. It was a wonderful date (with our middle daughter there to chaperone) and made us realize that we need to take time for these adventures more often.

PACK Swim Meet

Thank you for allowing this mother to brag a bit about her favorite son (okay, he’s her only son).

Nathan made it to finals this weekend in two events of Saturday’s competition. As you watch his races, notice the yelling in the background…you can probably hear Ellen (and a bunch of her friends who attended) screaming for her favorite brother. Here are his two races from finals (I apologize for the advertisements before each race – one was a bit “racey”):

  • 100 Breast Stroke, Lane 4, first heat – Nathan cut 2 seconds off his best time during this race (One of his close friends won this event overall in the second heat of this same link)
  • 200 Butterfly, Lane 5, first heat – Nathan cut 1 second off his best time during this race

We are so thankful that PACK recorded these races via LiveStream for us to be able to share these events with family and friends who were not able to attend. We are also thankful for great coaching…thank you, Coach Chris!

Another Fun Year – Memories of 2011

“Time flies when you’re having fun.” Maybe we should think about not having so much fun so it will slow down a bit. Can you believe it’s already the end of 2011? It took us a few tries, but we finally got a decent photo. (Thank you, photographer Philip)

Merry Christmas 2011


  • Tom completed another semester of studies toward his Doctorate in Pastoral Counseling. He also learned all the hoops one must jump through in order to complete Certification. He divides his time between The Journey and Pastoral Counseling.

Tom finished re-staining the house this year. Rhonda couldn't watch the last wall.

  • Rhonda completed another year of college courses toward her degree in Social Work and transfers to a four-year university (ETSU) in January – six classes and an internship to go for her BSW.

All of our weirdness, now focused on one child.

  • Lydia is one semester away from graduating with her Masters in Counseling and began an internship at a play therapy clinic in Cleveland, TN.

Lydia met this South Carolina guy, Philip, in Honduras. They seem to be spending a LOT of time together.

  • Grace has completed all of her coursework for Elementary Education and begins student teaching January 2nd. She and Brandon graduate in May, 2012.

Tom's cousin Mikey (bottom right) and her friend Maggie (left) visited us for the first time. Had a great visit. Grace and Brandon (who also spend a lot of time together) are standing behind them.

  • Ellen completed another year in her studies, amidst her very busy social life with the Volunteers for Christ. Ellen worked on crew at Cedar Campus for the first time – and plans to return this summer.

Ellen began her Christmas break by taking a trip to Washington D.C. with seven friends from Volunteers for Christ. BONUS - dinner with cousin Austin and Lauren.

  • Nathan successfully completed his first year of high school AND has not only outgrown all of his sisters, but has also beaten all of their swim times…which he is happy to point out at every opportunity.

My sister and her son vacationed with us in Canada for the first time in ten years.

2011 has been our year of “trusting when we cannot see.” God is faithful to meet all of our needs and every day we are amazed at just how He meets us right where we need Him most.

We pray that you and your family are met by God’s faithfulness and are reminded that He is not only the one who provides all you need, but He IS all you need.

Ode to My Favorite Mother on her Birthday

Mom having a little Tom's expense. He had no idea.

I feel it’s important to start this sacred blog out with the TRUE Mrt. Yes, “Mrt.” Her name is really “Merla,” but I think she got tired of writing five letters, so she shortened it. Plus, how many people can say they have no vowels in their name. This photo is here just so my Tennessee friends understand why I am the way I am.

Let me make an account of some of her many attributes:

  • Wife for over 50 years…TO THE SAME GUY
  • Mom to three kids…the oldest being her favorite, I’m sure
  • Gifted with hospitality (and if they couldn’t get to our house, she brought them food)
  • People lover…someone always in our home
  • Devoted to Jesus…she and my dad still host a bi-weekly Bible study
  • Master craft-woman…seriously! She can knit, crochet, or quilt ANYTHING

Lydia, as the oldest grandchild, received the first quilt. I can't remember the year mom made this for her.

Grace's quilt - a gift for graduation. Notice that Granny made sure to match Grace's WILD room color.

This is Ellen's quilt from "Granny." It has little dolls all over it and my sister made Ellen a rug with a matching doll. In the far corner is a cupboard that "Papa" made for Ellen. It used to house little dishes but now is a home to photos and other treasures.

Nathan's quilt - Christmas gift 2009 (It was a Christmas we couldn't go to Michigan. When Nathan pulled it out of the box and the kids were helping him unfold it, Lydia said, "It smells like granny's house" and promptly started crying)

One October, mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas. JOKINGLY I said, well you’ve never made me a crocheted table cloth. I would love that. . . NEXT Christmas. She had it finished that same year!

Last Christmas, she found a scarf pattern in late October that she liked and decided she was going to make them for all the females (EIGHT of us) in the family…and finished them before Christmas!

So, mom, thank you for ALL that you’ve taught us…from caring for people to creating for people. We love you and are so thankful that God chose you to be our mom.

Happy Birthday!

Mom and Dad's 50th Wedding Anniversary