Tag Archives: home

#CelebrateLu: Reprise

The sun is shining. The temp is in the 60’s and rising. What a fabulous weather report that takes me back to my farming roots! It’s spring and I’m thinking of home (after a writing workshop last Saturday)!

And yet . . .

Spring is a time to celebrate . . .

rebirth  as plants nudge their way through the ground cover

life as baby animals appear with their families

longer days of leaving home in the daylight and still having daylight on the return at the end of the day

end of the year activities . . . concerts, track events, music contests

And all those dreaded LASTS . . .

The last time the seniors . . .  before they graduate

The last time the juniors . . . before they move to the senior world

And so on . . .

But today I celebrate last Sunday’s reprise . . .

All seven of us who went to Rome . . .

Together . . . plus a few more!!!

“We set off on a journey to Rome, yes a religious trip, but also a trip to the heart of civilization.  This is a city of 300 churches with 200 more in the suburbs.  It’s a city of many diverse nationalities and personalities.  It was a pleasure to be in a group of seven . . .







within a community of 52 pilgrims from an Iowa sponsored tour (plus folks from IL, WI, MO, and FL).”   “SOL16:  Travel Trivia”

Other posts about Rome are here, here, here, here, and here with this one quick photo from O’Hare before our international departure.


and here we were again . . .

But this time in Iowa

A band concert

Taking advantage of time together

Eight months later to gather for a celebratory meal (Leo & Shirley’s upcoming 9th anniversary)

And a high school band concert directed by a son / grandson / nephew/ husband / father   . . .

Central DeWitt:  Sunday, April 30, 2017

Copy of 20170430_190022.jpg

band program

band zero

band one

band three

band four

And always, one of the fans in the seats!


Home can be family.

Home may not be one specific physical place.

Where do you celebrate and call home?


Check out for celebrations at the link with Ruth!

Slice of Life 5: Coming Home

slice of life

(During March, I am blogging daily as a part of  the Slice of Life Story Challenge!)

“Today is the day!  Coming home!  Crossing the ocean!  Landing in Louisville!”

That day did finally happen on Tuesday – yesterday.  The returning celebration was originally scheduled for 10:30 am.  Then rescheduled to 6:20 pm; our anxiety increased with every passing moment.  Rescheduled for 8:20 pm.  Rescheduled YET again for 8:00 pm.  Not allowed to discuss “travel” or “locations” on social media, emails, etc.  NOT allowed; nor ALOUD!  Afraid to whisper for fear of change and the agony of disappointment!  Did you catch my ever so cautious references to “uncle” . . .???

But wait, where did this story begin?  And who is it about?

Let’s begin at the beginning!

Or rather at ONE beginning!


June 2013

our soldier



9  month deployment to Afghanistan;

All soldiers packed and ready to load.

evan julie 2

Saying goodbye to a wife of 2 months . . .  .  .  .

A nine month duty assignment in Afghanistan.


Quieter celebrations in his absence:

Fourth of July,

Labor Day,

Hawkeye football weekends,


Veteran’s Day,

Christmas (KY, IA, Mareks at the Casino, Ruths at Hills),

2 hours of skype – Christmas opening presents with son, daughter-in-law and mom,

Valentine’s Day,

cards from Benen’s first grade class at Central DeWitt, and

packages from family and friends.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Celebrations while away included a promotion December 1st to Sergeant with wife “skyping” in!

Then, eager anticipation for the trip home.

On the plane headed to the first stop, still in Europe  . . .

Real mattresses for the first time in 9 months!

The little things . . .

Closer in miles, yet so far to journey’s end!


Waiting for that phone call to share the details of the homecoming ceremony . . .

evan - wordle

welcome home sign

deplaning Louisville

Deplaning for the “last time” this trip .  .  .  .  Louisville, KY!

(from the bottom of the steps – the second one up)


Finally “released!”

hug 248 days later

A real hug . . .  after 248 days!

Not quite home home, but soon to be with Toby Ryan and Millie Ann who actually helped “decorate” for the homecoming!



Thank you, my son, for your second deployment and for leaving your own precious family to protect our freedom!

In this case, “home” is the United States and my son’s family in KY. . . four states and over 500 miles away from his childhood home!  (An extension of our home due to the graciousness of the best daughter-in-law in the world and the pups, Toby Ryan and Millie Ann!)

Why is this extra special?  Or is it bittersweet?  My son was six months old when his dad’s National Guard unit was activated for one year service to support Desert Storm.  It does not really get “easier” after multiple overseas deployments!


Special thanks to the hosts of the Slice of Life Challenge:  StaceyTaraDanaBetsyAnna, and Beth.   More Slice of Life posts can be found at  Two Writing Teachers .

Slice of Life 3: Home


Typically a home is thought of as that place where one lives.  When you do not have a place to live, you are often known as homeless.  But what about those who must travel for their jobs?  Or leave their home to go somewhere else to do their job?  Do they have a home away from home?  A major home (permanent) and a minor home?

What really makes a home?

Is it the place, the things, or the people?  Some famous quotes about “home” include:

“Home is the nicest word there is.”
― Laura Ingalls Wilder
“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”
          ―  L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”
― Sarah Dessen, What Happened to Goodbye
“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”
― Maya Angelou, All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes
“I don’t care if we have our house, or a cliff ledge, or a cardboard box. Home is wherever we all are, together,”
― James Patterson
“Where we love is home,
Home that the feet may leave,
but not our hearts.”
― Oliver Wendell Holmes
Where is my home?
If home is really where the heart is, then home is with the people.  That means I have had multiple homes including the houses where our family lived  as well as the farmstead where I grew up with my parents and brothers and sisters.
But there is also the “home” that includes my parents and their siblings.  (Mom is from a family of ten while Dad had only one brother.) My godparents (Mom’s brother and wife) would also be significant members of that home.  They are fortunate to have been married for over 67 years.  The longevity in my mother’s family includes multiple aunts and uncles celebrating over 60+ years of marriage.  What a model for those of us in the next generations!
When I think of this extended Ruth family, I have fond memories of visiting my grandma’s home when I was growing up. The smell of Sunday lunch. . . homemade everything . . . kolaches, noodles, and bread warm from the oven.  The sounds of laughter and kids everywhere (after all there were 56 of us first cousins). I can still see the peony bushes that marked the western property border, the pear tree that edged the garden, and the garage near the north alley with untold treasures in the second story.
I was in graduate school when Grandma passed away. I had not yet had my own children nor begun to think about which family traditions to cling to tightly. But after many years our extended family still celebrates Christmas together. The Ruth cousins gather once a month for breakfast together.  Family and this “home” remains important.
We shared stories about Grandma to celebrate her birth 117 years ago.  A teacher, a mother of ten, grandmother, great grandmother, and great great grandmother.  A remarkable woman who had time to listen to our stories and time to tell us stories.  A generous heart.  A life of love. A woman whose family gathered with and around her on a regular weekly basis.  This was a home that I carry in my heart everywhere!
What homes do you remember?  What defined your home?
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