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Category Archives: I was thinking…

“Better late than never” . . .

This afternoon I begin my final semester of classes. I decided to look around and see what I needed to finish up to clear my mind before I enter what threatens to be my most difficult semester so far (well, excluding those two semesters that I had to take Biology). I realized that I didn’t post a Christmas blog. So . . .

Merry Christmas (2013) and Happy New Year (2014) from the Bier Family Goofy Family Photo - Christmas 2013

2013 Christmas postcard1 2013 Christmas postcard2


Happy Birthday, Beautiful Lydia.


For your birthday, a little blast from the past. What a joyful day this was for us.


Dad and Mom

Lawn Mowing 101

Today I mowed the lawn for the first time in at least 35 years. I do not think I have mowed since I lived with my parents many moons ago. Now I will share some wisdom I learned while mowing today, just in case any of you have been out of practice for a while.

  • It is probably a good idea to mow the lawn at least once while someone is around that knows HOW to mow the lawn.
  • When you ask your son and husband for step-by-step instructions and Step #1 is “remove the mower from the garage,” then you KNOW they are making fun of you.
  • Even though your son and husband have written down step-by-step instructions, there are always things that they will fail to mention – NOT because they are mean, but simply because they mow so often that it is second nature to them. I mean, nobody told me that the gas tank was hiding UNDER the seat of the riding mower.
  • Allow PLENTY of time to mow the lawn before dark.
  • When using a walking mower that has one of those levers you pull to make the wheels turn so you simply walk behind the mower, be ready to GO when you pull the lever.
  • When things on the mower are strapped or tied up, make sure you look carefully at how they are strapped or tied JUST in case you brush into a bush and they fall off and you have to re-attach them.
  • ALWAYS be aware of the width of your mower.
  • When using the walking mower, if you are on a small hill and the shoes you have chosen are a little slick, it is probably a good idea to change shoes BEFORE you get to the big hill.
big hill

Big Hill

small hill

Small Hill

Big hill from the bottom

Big hill, looking up from the bottom.

  • Did you know that when you leave your mower, unexpectedly, while mowing that it automatically shuts off?
  • Always remove items from the bottom of a big hill BEFORE you begin to mow.
Bottom of big hill

Who put that junk there anyway??? Oh, nevermind, it was me.

  • Did you know that if you get off a riding mower without shutting it off first that it shuts off by itself?
  • Don’t wear slippery pants while on a riding mower. Slippery pants + big hill = see previous bullet
  • Duck when going under low branches. Now, I know you experienced mowers think this is an unnecessary step, but when you are a new mower there are MANY things to remember while driving.
  • While on a riding mower, when you feel like you are getting the hang of it and feel very happy and proud of yourself, do NOT smile. You KNOW what the front grill of your car looks like.
  • Enjoy the fruits of your labor…

Finished!! …in a record breaking time of THREE HOURS!! Woo Hoo!

Goal Number 46: Finish Bachelor’s Degree – Check!

May 11th is my official graduation day from East Tennessee State University. No, I am not walking…next May, you can all come and sit through my EXCITING graduation ceremony. I’m working on my cartwheel so I can perform it on stage after receiving my Master’s Degree diploma.

Completing my Bachelor’s degree comes with some bittersweet feelings because it means the end of a fantastic internship. Unfortunately, I cannot post any details on line other than to say that it has positively altered my thinking about mental health and “recovery.” This internship accomplished its purpose – to help narrow or refine the playing field. I will certainly miss my day-to-day responsibilities with the members and the fantastic staff that I was able to work with. They have set the bar very high.


Good Luck Rhonda

Cakes and signs awaited me on Friday.

I’ll have to wait to see what fun things await me on the next phase of my journey.

Merry Christmas 2012

Family Photo 11-2012 - GoofyWe mailed the serious Christmas photo, but knew that some of you wouldn’t be fooled by that so we have posted the “real us” here to wish you a Merry Christmas.

As you can see by our fancy duds, we’ve been doing some celebrating this year. Lydia and Philip (my favorite pastor son-in-law) were married on November 3rd. We had a wonderful time with friends and family who came to enjoy the day with us. Lydia graduated with her Masters from Lee University in July and is serving as an Admissions Counselor at Anderson University and Philip serves as a pastor at Cross Point Church. The newlyweds are settled in Anderson, SC.

Lydia Price

Get ready to celebrate again in 2013 because Brandon (my favorite son-in-law to be) proposed to Grace on December 18th (what would have been Marshall Bier’s, Tom’s Dad’s, 100th birthday) and they are planning a June wedding. Grace and Brandon both graduated in May from King College. Grace is teaching 6th Language Arts in Knoxville and Brandon is an Accountant starting his new job after the first of the year.

G&B Engagement

Ellen is a Junior at the University of Tennessee studying Kinesiology. She hasn’t decided for sure what she wants to do with that but is enjoying her church family and her “Vols for Christ” family. She can often be found on a hike somewhere with her friends, but still won’t accept her dad’s request to let him track her on her iPhone. 🙂

Nathan is midway through his sophomore year. His swimming skills have greatly improved with the growth of his body (and in the voice of Miss Swan, “He looooooooks, like a man!”) and his dedication in practice. I have never understood how my children can get up at 4:45 a.m. and jump into a swimming pool for two hours. I drive Nathan to practice (in my sleep) and then crawl back into bed.

Biers 012

Family Photo 11-2012 Wedding

Tom continues to pastor part time at The Journey, meeting at the ETSU Campus Ministry house, and as of November 10, 2012, an American Association of Pastoral Counselor’s Certified Pastoral Counselor. His new full time job is teaching Earth Science and Physical Science at Science Hill High School. He is thoroughly enjoying teaching again and is having a great time with his students and the other staff. In between all this, he continues to work on finishing his doctorate.

Rhonda is one semester away from finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and hopes to continue into the Advanced Standing Master’s Program beginning next summer. If all goes as planned, she will have her MSW in the Spring of 2014. I know you won’t believe this, but Tom actually expects her to get a job when she’s finished with school!

“As you celebrate the wonder of My birth in Bethlehem, celebrate also your rebirth into eternal life. This everlasting gift was the sole purpose of My entering your sin-stained world. Receive My gift with awe and humility. Take time to explore the vast dimensions of My love. Allow thankfulness  to flow freely from your heart in response to my glorious gift.” –by Sarah Young in her devotional Jesus Calling.

Merry Christmas! from the Bier Family.

Routines…become Habits?

I love the fall for many reasons – changing leaves, cooler weather – but I’ve realized that I really love it for the fact that we get back to a routine. Okay, yes, summer has it’s own routine but it’s harder for me to remember (those who have children on a swim team may understand what I’m talking about) and it is ever changing. The older I get, the more I like a steady routine.

One new “routine” (I have done it for one week. I don’t think it counts as a “habit” yet.) that I started when Nathan went back to school is to drop him off in a parking lot by school and then walk a mile and a half. By the time I return, the drop offs have ended and I can easily leave the school area. I found I was sitting 15 minutes to get out of the drop off line. I am eliminating my “wait” AND my “weight.”

Another new routine I am enjoying this fall is that after my walk I come home to breakfast, by myself (okay, I’m not enjoying the “by myself” part), and am listening through the Bible with a website that Tom introduced me to last year.

Let’s see if I can keep these new routines when my classes start the 27th.

Flooding in Johnson City

Our pool hasn’t flooded in five years, but once again we have a pool full of clay water. Tomorrow we will dig that trench that we intended to dig five years ago. 🙂

Our rental property had some flooding but they are safe.

This is what a proper drain should do.

View of our drainage ditch.

Walking over to dig out the drainage ditch (during a thunder storm, by the way).


Resulting in water entering the basement. Thankfully our renter was home WITH a shop vac.

After swimming around at the rental property, Tom swept the water out of our garage.

While loading these photos on line, I had news that The River where I have volunteered for over 5 years has had flooding. Also, one of the directors (and her family) had to be picked up BY BOAT from the second story of her house. We are praying for safety tonight for all those affected by the flooding.