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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.


…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.

What a Find!

Yesterday was a great day for many reasons. I’ve time time with my two youngest daughters…exercising, shopping, playing games, etc. We tried to help Tom with the pool but are not strong enough, which should make Tom feel good.

Tom said, “Just push it in and give a small twist.”

I failed, so muscular Ellen gave it a shot…

…using ALL of her muscles.

So we left that job for Tom and went shopping. While getting groceries we popped into a little second hand store and found a couple of beauties.

Machine pieced, but hand appliqued.

…and a brother to go with it.

Completely hand pieced.

The first two will easily fit a full sized bed so I’ll probably add a border when I quilt them to make them fit a queen sized bed. The green one will fit a twin bed. I paid $4 each for them. AHH!! Best. Bargain. Of. My. Life! 🙂

Phase 9 of Motherhood

Actually, I just made up that number. I’ve heard numerous people say things like “on to the next phase (or chapter) of your life.” So as I sit here in Lydia’s kitchen (taking a break from packing because, quite frankly, I have no idea what she needs to survive for the next two weeks. I mean, I know what I would keep but she is not me…she’ll be happy to know that.) while she is in the next room making plans for HER next phase with the love of her life.

Lydia – deciding which dishes to pack.

“Phase 9” is actually a very odd place for me to be. I’ve never been here before. I’m not quite sure what to do or what to say. Sometimes I feel like I say just the right thing and the next thing I know I’ve swallowed both of my feet. But, because I care more about my relationship with my family than about winning the discussions (though Tom or my baby brother or sister may argue with this statement), I am willing to get the shovel and dig my feet out.

Gracie (2) – Wasn’t this just yesterday? And yet she just graduated from college!

The thing that I really appreciate about these relationships with my family is that we have a history of love and trust. So, while we might not always like what the other one is saying, we’re able to somehow muddle our way back to a place of, well, love and trust.

Ellen (2) – deciding if she wants to jump into the cold Lake Rosseau.

Nathan (2) – One of my favorite gardeners. (Sorry, I couldn’t figure out how to turn this picture. Just tilt your computer to the right, or your head to the left, and you can see it just fine.)

And from there I can actually enjoy watching my kids go through THEIR next phases. We remember the romance and the plans…don’t we Tom. 🙂 We still have a few plans of our own.