It seems like such a small thing, I mean, it is just a toothbrush. I’ve been brushing my teeth for about 52 years now and I never really gave my brush that much thought. The problem is . . . I should have.

Enter the MableBrush


  • No waste packaging
  • Bamboo handle (compostable)
  • BPA free bristles
  • Stands up
  • Cute non-toxic paint on bottom so you know it is your brush and not your partner’s.
  • It is very comfortable to hold, even for my hands — nice wide base to grip.
  • The company even has a way to get your brush delivered automatically, which will save you Amazon’s packaging it in a plastic bubble filled envelope and take one more thing of your to-do list.

what’s growing? may 2018

What’s growing in our gardens — May & June 2018

Kitchen Garden

  • peas (edible pod)
  • okra
  • lettuce (6 rows)
  • spinach (6 rows)
  • kale
  • chard
  • carrot (2 rows)
  • zucchini
  • cucumber
  • radish (globe)
  • beet
  • radish (French breakfast)
  • asparagus
  • hot peppers
  • bell peppers
  • tomatoes (cherry)
  • basil
  • parsely
  • cilantro
  • oregano
  • yellow squash
  • green bush beans
  • rows of blooming flowers interspersed in each bed to attract pollinators

In Seed Flats

  • lavender
  • basil
  • parsley
  • cilantro
  • tomato

Fruit Garden

  • strawberries
  • grapes (4)
  • blackberries (20)
  • blueberries (3)
  • peach tree (2)
  • cherry tree (2)
  • plum tree (1)
  • apple tree (1)

Pollinator Garden (New)

  • new round flower/pollinator garden with wildflower mix (includes pollinator mix, hummingbird mix, butterfly mix, shade mix) **to help settle the soil while I fill in with perennials, bulbs, etc.** Will free up half a bed if we can remove these from the kitchen garden
  • primrose (4)

Compost Bed:

  • about 2 feet deep on 8 June
  • layers: <sticks, ashes, grass clippings, food scraps, soil> <sticks, grass clippings, food scraps, soil> (We will continue to layer like this until the stack is 4 feet tall, then 4 bags of manure will be added, 2 bags of peat moss, 2 bags of sand, and then a final layer of grass clippings and soil.

Planning/Dreaming (2019)

  • 7 red raspberry bushes
  • 2 blueberries bushes
  • 1 grape
  • 1 plum tree
  • 1 swamp white oak
  • herb bed (separate from kitchen garden — will free up a half bed (at least) in the kitchen garden
  • add perennials to flower bed
  • expand flower bed towards oldest peach tree, deck, and house
  • “shade house” over 2 half beds for greens
  • sunken greenhouse
  • rain water collection and irrigation hose to each bed


Yard & Garden

There are two months around here that always seem super busy with yard/garden work: April and October, the beginning and the end of gardening season, and the shift between inside and outside.


Here are some highlights of what’s been happening in April (so far):

  • firewood collecting has ended
  • lawn mowing has begun
  • walks deep into the woods have ended
  • walks along the established paths in the woods have started
  • the front yard has been completely cleared of debris from the winter
  • the area where the new pool will go is being leveled
  • 2 of the 4 garden beds have been prepped and planted
    • lettuce, spinach, chard, kale, green onions, peas
    • strawberries
  • garden bed 3 is being turned under
  • compost beds 1 and 2 are both being filled
  • herb and flower bed is being planned
  • talks have been had about possibly buying a tiller (right now all garden work is done with hand tools and elbow grease)
  • talks have been had about how far apart to space trees in the meadow turned new woods
  • cistern 2 is being dug
  • trench from cistern 1 to cistern 2 is complete
  • trench from cistern 2 to creek bed is complete
  • old rabbit yard is cleared of debris
  • east backyard has been cleared of debris
  • laundry is being hung outside again — and it is delightful
  • the driveway is being used as a driveway and a staging area for clean-up piles


The past two tornados have been hard on our woods. I’d estimate we’ve lost about a third of our trees. We started clearing the downed wood starting at the south end of the woods and moving northward. It has kept us in firewood for 4 years. We’re only about half way done. There is still a lot down that needs to be cut up. Our guys don’t work in the woods during the spring, summer and fall. Too much poison ivy and Michael is super allergic.

Our woods were littered with a zillion things from the tornados. Its rough work getting it all out of there. I found 6 tires and hauled them up to the driveway. Today I spotted about 4 more — sigh. I’m not quite sure how you dispose of used tires, but I suppose I’ll make some calls and find out.

Tasks to be finished in April – May include:

  • continue lawn mowing
  • continue walks on the established paths of the woods
  • finish leveling pool area
  • install pool
  • plan deck for around pool and price out options.
  • get two rockers for the front porch
  • get a new hammock (just the fabric part)
  • complete prep of garden bed 3 and plant
  • start and complete prep of garden bed 4
  • finalize plans for herb & flower bed
  • continue work on cistern 2
  • clear west backyard of debris
  • call about dumpster, if needed
  • plant 1 cherry and 1 plum tree
  • plant willow branches in wet spots
  • plant Mothers’ Day trees


preparing for FWtFL

Please Note: I no longer recommend this program. The reasons are legion.


On March 4 I began to prepare for my FASTer Way to Fat Loss program.  It starts tomorrow, so I have had 3 weeks of practice.  Here is an honest look at how I’ve felt over the past 3 weeks about varying parts of the program.


*How is IF?

  • 3/9/18 — I am going to hurt somebody this morning! I woke up knowing today was not just IF but a Low Macro day. Then I couldn’t find the strainer for the teapot so my herbal tea wasn’t “just exactly right” and my daughter made delicious homemade cherry turnovers (my favorite) at 9 am. 11 am seems so far away.  So very far away.
  • 3/14/18 — I’ve got this IF thing.  A couple cups of water, a cup of herbal tea, and I’m not thinking about food all morning anymore. Well, I still think about it, but it isn’t all consuming anymore.

*How is Carb Cycling?

  • 3/10/18 — One week of prep/practice and I think I understand the flow of the days. It should make next week a bit easier. I am learning to be hungry and be ok with that.
  • 3/18/18 — I’ve got the routine and I understand the numbers. I’m developing some meals that work for the different days.

*How is movement?

  • 3/6/18 — Who the heck thought up a Bulgarian Split Squat? They need to be illegal.
  • 3/12/18 — I really enjoy the long LISS after an intense HIIT.
  • 3/14/18 — I was able to do my whole strength training with the heavier weight.
  • 3/23/18 — Jumping from a 10 pound to 20 pound kettlebell might not have been a good idea. I think I need to step it back to a 12 or 15 pound first.  Good Lord, my biceps and triceps are hurting!

*weight loss? inches lost?

  • weight loss — 3 pounds
  • I have definitely lost inches.
    • Abs — 2 inches smaller
    • Hips, waist, Bust  — all 1 inch smaller
    • upper arms, thighs — both 1/2 inch smaller

I still have lots and lots of questions! Mostly my questions concern the correct amount of calories and how to set my macros.


Reading:  Die Dritte Hand (German), The Nature of the Beast (Gamache, L Penny), At Home in the World (M Guenther)

Listening:  A Wrinkle in Time

Watching: Krypton, Timeless

lenten discipline, 2018

This Lent I’m focusing on praying for South Africa.

The embattled South African President Jacob Zuma could be out of power within days, but residents in Cape Town are facing uncertainty of another kind: their water supply is fast running out.

After three years of relentless drought, a rapidly expanding population and accusations of poor planning by authorities, day zero, when the taps are simply turned off, could be as soon as May.

Here is the resource put together by the South African Anglicans:  Water

Our kitchen tap is turned off for 40 days. We have a couple of water pitchers on the counter for drinking water. Dish water is fetched from the bathroom. We bring in just enough for a half pan of washing water and half a pan of rinsing water.

It certainly makes it easy to remember to pray!


Reading: At Home in the World (M Guenther), Momente in München (German), How the Light Gets In (Gamache)
Listening: Ender’s Game
Watching: Fringe, The Lizzie Bennett Diaries

2 January 2018

9th day of Christmas

I’ve picked up my very rusty German lessons. I found some readers and have been copying out a bit each morning and working my way through. I’m noting vocab that I’ve forgotten (and therefore looked up in my dictionary) and reminding myself of grammar rules. It’s going quickly and I love the satisfaction that comes with seeing it all written out and worked through.

Today I spent some time tidying the bathroom and noticed the same feeling of satisfaction when I completed the task. Before (and I originally used the word normally, but hit the edit button!) I worked for a set period of time and then stopped. This morning I said, “Tidy the bathroom.”

Germany; 1992-1993

Germany: June 1992-April 1993

Our move to Germany happened very quickly. Shortly after Christmas 1991, I told Kelly that I wanted to get away. Family visits over Christmas had been emotionally charged and difficult.  I wanted a fresh start where our little family didn’t have to fit into anyone else’s pattern. So in late February, Kelly put in the paperwork for an “accompanied, overseas, extended long” tour of duty. We left the location open so that we’d be at the top of the list for “send them anywhere as long as they go as a family.”

In late April, Kelly called home at lunch and asked how I felt about Germany. I loved the idea.  “When?”  Six weeks!  By the time he got home, I had the bathroom and part of the bedroom ready.  We sat down and talked about the base. It was a base closure assignment: short-term and then you can choose your next base.  He signed the paper the next morning and the merry-go-round started immediately.

Passports (on rush), shots, medical clearance — all in the first week. Spouse counseling, international driver’s licenses, and loads of paperwork — week 2.  Movers for bulk shipment (by boat) — week 3.  More paperwork, more shots, and finish up all stateside business — week 4.  International bank account and movers for express shipment (by plane), pick up passports and exchange some dollars for DM, and say goodbye to Ohio. — week 5.  Visit Kelly’s family to say goodbye, fly to Atlanta to say goodbye to my family, and finally board the international flight from Atlanta to Frankfurt Germany — week 6.

We got to Germany and stayed in a hotel for a week and then we moved into a base apartment. Germany was an amazing experience. We spent our weekends exploring the country around us. We found our favorite places (Trier, for one) and picnics on the Moselle River (which was quite near our base). We traveled rain or shine and even in the snow.  We knew our time there was short and we made use of every free moment.

Germany was also the place where my kids got chicken pox, ate from street vendors, climbed over ruins, and learned that friends don’t always speak the same language.  We went to church where German, Croatian, Russian, English, and Sudanese were all spoken.  We had earpieces for the Sundays when the sermon language wasn’t English.

One Monday in early April 1993, the movers came again and packed up our express shipment (which went by air from Germany to the US and then on another plane from US to Turkey).  On Wednesday and Thursday they picked up our bulk shipment (which had to go from Germany to the US by boat before going by boat to Turkey).  Friday we took a shuttle from our base to the airport.  We spent the night in a hotel, and early Saturday flew to Turkey on a C-130.

When we left Germany there were piles of snow and it was cool (45-50 degrees).  When we landed in Turkey it was green and brown and 85 degrees. We knew we were in for a huge change.


Ohio, June 1990-June 1992

June 1990 brought a second addition to our family. A little girl with some trouble breathing entered this world on Fathers’Day. She came with nothing but her beautiful blue eyes. We spent the first four days in the NICU and several weeks after carefully watching her chest rise and fall.

Two kids in 18 months will tax any system put in place in a home. My home was no different. Suddenly there was at least twice as much of everything a kid needs. Or rather, what our society says a kid needs. We had beds, a walker, an indoor swing, an outdoor swing, push toys, pull toys, dolls, blocks, strollers, carrying slings, diaper bags, etc. You name it and we were probably given it.

What we weren’t given was twice as much “mom energy” and I realize how much of my energy had to go into maintaining our home and constantly putting things away. They helped from the time they were old enough, but still most of the “doings” fell to me.

Looking back, I would do things much differently. I would follow the Montessori principles much more closely.

By June 1992, a major move was on the horizon. I had no way of knowing how completely it would change our family.

faith journeys

Our co-priests are on sabbatical (May 14-Sep 3) and our parish is having all sorts of fun, educational, and just plain cool forums and presentations. Thankfully most of them do not involve “stuff” that I would have to bring home.

This project did. However, it has a lot of meaning wrapped up in one simple stained glass cross.  It’s small enough to tuck into any corner of a suitcase. Every time I look at it hanging in my window I am reminded of the lessons I am learning during this journey with my beloved parish.