Monday, July 27, 2015

Moving To a New Blog

It is time for me to move on.

I don't want to say I have found myself, but I don't feel like this title applies to me anymore.

I'm starting a new blog called Strength Peace and Blessings. Please come on over and join me. It will be a place for me to share how I see God in my life through the Strength Peace and Blessings he gives me.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Family Tree

For a very long time I have wanted to create a family tree on a wall in my house.  I had the perfect wall picked out, just wasn't really sure how to go about starting.

I thought I might try to paint a tree on the wall, but I'm not artistic in the least amount and never came close enough to thinking I could do this to even try.

I still really wanted to do, I just couldn't decide how I was going to manage it.

I was searching online one day to see what might be out there, surely I can't be the first person to ever think of putting a family tree on the wall.  I came across a couple options, and finally found an adhesive tree with leaves. It comes with a dozen or so frames, and I thought I might be on to something. 

One of the things that I was trying to figure out was how and who to put on the tree.  Generally, I think most people would think that at the base of the tree would be the oldest ancestor with all their descendants up and out the branches. 

My problem with that is that I wanted my tree to be more of pedigree style including my side and my husbands side.

I didn't want limit myself, either, as to adding more "leaves" if I discover more ancestors.

I have done genealogy research on and off for many years, so I have collected several generations on some of my ancestral lines, but not so far on others.  The same goes for my husbands side of the family tree. Some lines I have been able to track back a ways, while others I'm only as far back as a great grandparent.

Back to my tree on the wall, I had to figure out how I was going to arrange it so that I could fit everything on it I wanted, but still try to show the different lines.

I ordered the adhesive tree that I had found online and thanks to some of the reviews, I ordered two sets. That would allow me to add more branches and extend the tree if I found I needed to. I am glad I did.

The tree itself is set up so that it extends to the right with only a few short branches on the left.  The wall I planned to put it worked well for this layout. 

I also thought that since I wanted to include both mine and my husbands sides, I could put us on the trunk of the tree, with our kids to the left. That would leave the longer branches to the right for me to start each of our "branches".

I decided that I would look at just our direct ancestors not including any other siblings. I wrote out each generation with just the parents of the previous generation to get a good visual on how many people I had for each side.  I could see that it made sense to have certain "lines" on certain places on the tree to leave enough room for some and not needing as much for others.

By doing this I realized I needed MANY leaves. I have a Cricut machine and I purchased black adhesive vinyl made for Cricut. I already had a cartridge with a leaf cut out, I just needed to make sure it would work with the adhesive tree.  And it did!

The other thing I wanted to take into consideration was what pictures I had. I wanted to include pictures as much as I could but the reality of things is that I don't have many. 

I went through some old family pictures and discovered that I did have at least a picture of each of our sets of grandparents. So I settled on that. 

Once I got the adhesive tree and actually started putting it together, I am glad I had the two sets. My wall is tall enough, I extended the trunk of the tree using both sets. 

With the pictures that I had and maintaining the idea that I was going to put us on the trunk of the tree it made sense to have four main branches reaching out the right side.

I put pictures of each our parents, individually, on the right hand side of the main tree trunk with the couple picture of each set of grandparents starting a branch.

Me to the left, with my father below me to the right and my mother below him. Each of their parents, my grandparents, starting on the branch.
On each leaf "name plate" I put the name, date and place of birth for each of us individually up through our grandparents.

After that for all the rest of the leaves and generations, I made the "name plates" for the parents of the previous generation.

This is my nana Bea and granddaddy Bill...

Here is the completed tree...

I am so pleased with how it turned out. I hope it inspires you to display you roots in some manner.


Sunday, January 11, 2015


Today we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord. We had a visiting priest today and he led us through the renewal of our baptismal promises.

I’ve been thinking a bit about baptism over the last couple of days knowing that today is the
Baptism of the Lord.  I was thinking about my earliest memories of baptism, and what I understand it’s meaning to be today.

I was raised protestant, as I have written about before here. My earliest memory of baptism is from the Nazarene Church where I spent most of my childhood growing up in. The basement of that church was a big wide open room.  I remember singing lots of children’s songs gathered in the big room for Children’s Church and I remember having Sunday School in a sectioned off portion of that room.  We spent so much time in that church that we had plenty of time to explore. We knew every inch of that little church which was really a neat thing for us as there were a couple different staircases and three different levels.  Anyway, one of the most fascinating things was in the big open room in the basement, there was a door in the floor in one area.  I remember one day we asked one of my friend’s dads what it was. He pulled open the door to reveal a large pool with stairs down into it. It was the baptismal.  We, of course, were fascinated that this whole time running around all over that church we had discovered a secret hidden most of the time.  And then of course I never trusted walking over that part of the floor again. 

I got baptized in that baptismal, I can’t be certain what age I was, but I had to be around ten or eleven. What disappoints me is that I have only very slightest memories of my baptism. I remember being scared about being under water, (still not my favorite thing) and I remember being in the bathroom after soaking wet.   They remodeled the basement shortly after that; they turned the big open space into three rooms, two classrooms and a nursery.  I did a lot of babysitting in that nursery, which was built directly over the baptismal.  I do remember thinking of the baptismal often when I was in that room. I can’t recall exactly what I was thinking about it, but somehow I think I felt sad that it was now covered up, no longer to be used.

When my mom married my step-dad we started attending a Southern Baptist Church.  That baptismal was very different. When you were sitting in the pews looking straight ahead there was a window that wasn’t a window but an opening that was in front of the baptismal. So when someone was being baptized, you just sat in the pew and watched.  I got baptized in that baptismal also.  You see, the protestant denominations that I have been a part of believed that you should be baptized into that church.  Again, I have fairly vague memories of that baptism, mostly just the wetness of it, and having to change in the classroom at the bottom of the back stairs.  

But this baptism means more to me now, now that I am Catholic. It was the certificate from this baptism on November 6, 1983 that the Catholic Church accepted when I was coming to the end of my journey into the Catholic Church, as it states I was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

I know that many Catholics were baptized as infants and have no memory at all of their baptism. I hope some of you at least have pictures. 

As we celebrate the Lord’s baptism today, I hope you think about your own baptism.  I hope that you can remember what it is and what it means. It is one of the many gifts from God that is taken for granted, but it is our membership into the Body of Christ. It is a cleansing of our souls from original sin and the first sacramental grace we receive.  It is a beautiful reminder of God’s love for us and we need to remember that he has given that love to us freely, freely dying on the cross for us, so that our sins could be forgiven.  How will you respond to that kind of love?  And I hope that as we all renew our baptismal promises again at the Easter Vigil, you will think about those promises and what they mean.

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Friday, January 2, 2015

{7QT} 2015 Resolutions

This will be my first Quick Takes with the new host, Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum

How about some New Years Resolutions?

1. Blog more. I think it is an avenue of evangelization for me, that is my goal anyway, and that is a good thing.  I didn't blog so much in 2014, one of the reasons was that I trying to make some better priorities and one of those was less screen time. I was spending a large amount of time on the computer and felt I should be more present to my family.  Have I succeeded, well maybe somewhat, at least I am conscience of it now, but I have a long way to go. God will keep working on me.

2. Keep on keeping on. I want to continue to grow stronger in my faith, to learn more, to read more, and to faithfully serve God in whatever way he leads me. My prayer every morning is that He always guide me in everything I say and do that day, that I have the fortitude to make decisions based on His will in my life, and that others will Christ in me.  One of the ways I will work on this is by reading the Bible in a year. Brandon Vogt wrote a great post to get you going on this seeming overwhelming task.  Check it out here and see if you can do it to. (At least we are only one day into the new year so it shouldn't be very difficult to catch up)

3. Get healthier.  Gosh, I am bad at this.  I'm trying to make myself see it differently, I'm trying to remind myself that God gave me this life and this body and I need to take care of it.  I just need to be more disciplined. Discipline is always a good thing, it's just so dang hard. I may try The Daniel Plan. From the description: "The Daniel Plan teaches simple ways to incorporate healthy choices into a reader's current lifestyle and helps them understand the kind of foods God created to keep them fit and strong. The book is categorized around five key concepts for optimal health that promote success: faith, food, fitness, focus, and friends. These concepts encourage readers to deepen their relationship with God and offer inspiration as they make positive choices each and every day." Click the image to take you to Family Christian.  (You can probably find it elsewhere, but I like to support Family Christian.)

4. Be more organized in the kitchen.  I really have an adversity to coming up with meals. I just really don't enjoy cooking, and I'm not a creative cook. I get stuck in cooking the same things over and over, which I think gets boring for my family after a while. I will try to mix it up a little but I find it hard to find things that my family likes, and that I can make without much skill or time.  And I have been really bad lately. I am going to try to do better, again that discipline thing.

5. Gain some personal insight. Lately I have come to understand that I am really a creature of habit. I guess I have known it for quite some time, but I have really noticed it lately.  I buy the same things, at the same stores, with very little variance. I use the same cleaning products, personal care items, and even eat the same things day after day. Routine is comfortable to me and when things get out of order or distorted, I get really anxious. So this year I am going to try to help myself try to take a step back, take a minute, to really look at the situation and ask myself if I really need to have this anxiety over this particular instance. Wish me luck.

6. Show my family I love them more.  I want to make extra efforts to do little things for the family I live near and to keep in better contact with my family that aren't near.  I want to continue to strengthen the bonds that God has given me in the people in my life. 

7. And in the midst of all the seriousness of life and work, I want to always remember to look for the joy.

Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to visit Kelly for all the other Quick Takers.

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Mary, the Holy Mother of God

On this feast day of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, I offer you this:

I have prayed many Hail Mary's this year and it truly gives me peace. Get to know our Mother this year!

Happy New Year!

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Back to the Blog

It's been soooo long! But, by golly, I want to give this ol' blog another shot. 

It's been a long but fast year.  When I think back, I'm not sure where 2014 disappeared to.  We were on vacation in Colorado in April, went to Catholic Heart Workcamp in July, then Thanksgiving and Christmas were here and gone.  And I have very few pictures to jog my memory...not usual for me.

Married life has been great. My husband continues to grow in faith since his return to Church and it is very special to me to attend Mass with him. We have made an effort to spend some extra time together over this last year and it has helped us grow closer.  I am thankful for his love and support everyday!

Our daughter, Kayla became the store manager at the FYE store in a local mall. But they just recently found out they are going to close.  We are so proud of her for accomplishing all that she has and know she will take what she has learned to another employer and continue to build her career.

Our son, Hunter started his Junior year of high school. His schedule is heavy with some Advanced Placement classes, but he is a smarty-pants and does well. He knows it is important to work hard to accomplish his dreams.  We had a visit at Clarkson University to see if he would be interested in completing his senior year simultaneously with his first year of college.  It is a great program, but we opted not to do that. But we did find out how much we love the Computer Sciences department at Clarkson.

Work has become even more crazy, busy over this year. There is SO MUCH going on in healthcare these days, it is hard to keep ahead of it. And often times I feel like I am barely keeping up. Two of our primary care practices were re-recognized and Patient Centered Medical Homes, and we are currently in the submission process for five more of our primary care practices to be recognized also as Medical Homes. Between all the government quality programs, it really takes a lot of work to stay up with it all. And thank God I have a great team.

I had the opportunity to attend a Leadership Academy at Cornell University in collaboration with HANYS (Healthcare Association of New York State). It was a six week course with two on-site, three full lecture days at Cornell.  It was a great experience and I learned so much. I am very thankful that my organization chose me to attend and sees a leadership future in me.

Christmas was very nice this year. We had some really nice family time with our NY family, but missed our Colorado and Germany family very much.  We are planning another vacation to Colorado next summer and hope we can coordinate it with our Germany families visit again. 

And what kind of blogger would I be if I didn't include some pictures...

The best part of Christmas morning was Hunter's present to Kayla. He had the idea to disguise his gift (an Alex & Ani bracelet) in a big box with a log.  He then composed a letter to her telling her how the gift could provide her with much warmth. And Mr. Smarty-pants that he is, went into detail about BTU's and whatnot. Then the gist of the letter was the best way to keep warm with this one log was to walk upstairs with it, toss it out of a window, then run back downstairs and retrieve the log, and repeat as often as necessary to stay warm.  It was hilarious listening to Kayla read it between giggles, and just as fun to watch Hunter with it.  It may not seem that funny, but it is kind of a family joke about how much Hunter knows about energy (and other things) and how much the rest of us don't. It was great to laugh like that with all of us.

Our religious education classes and their families get together on the first Sunday of Advent and make an advent wreath.  This was mine and Hunter's.  It is always amazing how they start out as a pile of branches and a Styrofoam circle and they turn into beautiful creations, no skill required, just the beauty of nature that God gave to us to enjoy.

Well, I will call that a good start back to blogging and hope that you get a little entertainment out of my blog. 

Here's to a blessed 2015!

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Saturday, May 3, 2014

7QT about Books, Music, Prayer, etc.

--- 1 ---

During our family trip to Colorado we stumbled upon a store I had never heard of. It’s called Family Christian. As the name indicates it is a Christian store they had all kinds of different things for sale. I ended up purchasing a t-shirt for our neighbor girl who took care of our animals while we were away. It is somewhat difficult to find Christian stores so I am excited to visit their website when I next need a gift or bible or anything really. Click the picture above to take you to their website. They have a reward program called 1:27 which references James 1:27 that calls us to serve orphans and widows. Here are some of things they have accomplished, it is pretty impressive.

--- 2 ---
One of the perks of Family Christian is their daily $5 deals. While we were there I purchased a Matt Maher CD and found my new favorite song: All the People Said Amen. It’s upbeat and refreshing and makes sing at the top of my lungs alone in my car.

--- 3 ---
Travelling back from vacation I finished one of the best books I have ever read. It is called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It is an incredible story of learning to recognize and be thankful for the gifts that God gives us everyday. And how that leads to joy in the midst of the everyday craziness in our lives. I highly recommend it. I have begun my own gratitude journal and am excited to be more attentive to God's gifts in my life. The author blogs at

--- 4 ---
Recently my husband and I started praying Vespers (Evening Prayer) together each night. We also found a beautiful prayer via an app call Laudate. The prayer is called Prayer for a Married Couple. It goes like this:
O God, we want to live our life together with you and always to continue it with you.
Help us  never to hurt and never to grieve each other.
Help us to share all our works, all our hopes, all our dreams, all our successes, all our failures, all our joys and all our sorrows.
Help us to have no secrets from each other so that we may be truly one.
Keep us always true to each other, and grant that all the years ahead may draw us closer to each other.
Grant that nothing may ever come between us and nothing may ever make us ever drift apart.
And as we live with each other, help us to live with you, so that our love may grow perfect in your love, for you are the God whose name is love.
This we ask for your love's sake. Amen 

--- 5 ---
So while we were wondering around a mall with our daughter in Colorado, we stumbled upon something intriguing. There was a Catholic resource center and a chapel right there in a store in the mall.

--- 6 ---
When you've been away from work on vacation for a while you never know what kind of pile of work you will return to. It wasn't to bad that first couple of days, however this week was a different story. Lots of different things going on this week including a huge project that we are in the middle of that required a lot of reporting and data collecting and meetings. Anyway, I came back refreshed and full of ideas again, which tends to happen when I'm not immersed in the day to day tasks that have to be done. So I am hopeful that I can keep myself focused enough to get some of those ideas implemented. We will see.

--- 7 ---
I got my copy of Something Other Than God. I can't wait to read it. Obviously if you reading this from the Conversion Diary site you know all about it, but if you aren't it is the conversion story of Jennifer Fulwiler and her search for happiness. You can purchase it at many places, but this is the link to Amazon.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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