Tag Archives: photo essay

#SOL16: Photo Essay

What do these three people have in common?

They were all part of the reason that the family trip to Rome occurred in August of 2016.

Screenshot 2016-08-08 21.07.57  A birthday wish . . .

A Saturday Papal Audience  . . .pope francis.jpg


And a canonization of St. Teresa of Calcutta saint-teresa

All led to a trip to Rome.


How many family members would accept Mom’s invitation?



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Mom, her brother and his wife, my two younger brothers, my younger sister and myself.

Any story about our travels would not be complete without Father Marty, our spiritual leader and the center of FUN!

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An interesting fact about the members of our group (4 sets of sisters).


And the whole Tour Group . . . 52 Pilgrims


And some of the people we met along the way . . .

A photographer from a Quad Cities TV station who captured film as we left Davenport . . .

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And the many faces of the family . . .

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Accordion music in the parking garage . . .

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An articulate and passionate tour guide . . .


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and guards . . .


and cameras everywhere . . .


with selfies as a regular occurrence!


slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

Introducing “who was traveling” and “why” this trip!!!


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 .

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