Lorraine Davis, rest in peace

It feels like a subtle era has shifted in my life.  How did the dinosaurs know when things had transitioned from the Palaeozoic to the Mesozoic era?  Maybe it was some similarly quiet passing.

My maternal grandma, Lorraine Davis, passed away yesterday at the age of 93.  She’s was my last living grandparent (although Bryan’s Grandma Jo is still with us and is doing well!).  I’ve been thinking about it, and it feels really odd to not have my grandparents around.  They’ve been such a constant my whole life.  So many memories from my growing-up years included them.  And now, one by one, they are all gone.

My grandma’s husband, Grandpa Joe, passed away four years before I was born.  Mum (which is what I called my grandma) missed him every day, as far as I could tell.  The last thing she said was that she would get to see her husband soon.  Mum had so valued being married, and she didn’t like being a widow.  I asked my mom about that once, and she said that sometimes bad things happen and people adapt and move on; but that sometimes bad things happen, and for that person, life isn’t really ever OK in the same way again.

Mum had elegant, refined taste.  She loved interior design, beautiful furniture, well-crated items.  My mom grew up amidst fabric samples and paint swatches.  Mum’s interior design busines, The Eloquent Touch, allowed her to share her lovely sense of style with others.  Mum was proper and liked things just so.  She grew up in the Milwaukee during the depression, and she spent much of her adult life looking toward a level of comfort that she keenly missed during her childhood.  Butter had been hard to come by… margarine was more affordable, and as an adult she wouldn’t consider using margarine.  I think that was only in part because butter tastes so much better:)

Mum made her way in the world for decades after losing her husband.  She was 54 when Grandpa Joe died, and she worked hard, with lots of courage, to support herself through the years.  She tutored a wide array of students, sometimes working with prisoners at the local jail.  I don’t think it was easy, but she did it well.

I grew up an hour from Mum, and I spent a number of weekends visiting her as a child.  These last days, memories of some of those visits have come trickling back.

  • I loved Mum’s dogs.  Her black poodle, Mutzi, and her white poodle, Carrie were good playmates.  When Mum would tell Mutzi that they were going to visit Margot (my mom), Mutzi would leap high into the air.
  • Mum would come to Madison to visit us, and as a newly speaking toddler, I would look at her and say, “shop-ping?”   Mum loved to shop.  My mom loved to shop.  My sister and I love to shop.  It’s hereditary.  Shoes, coats, and handbags are particular obsessions.  One day in high school, I noted that I thought I might have maxx’d out my storage space for shoes.  I said that I thought I’d work on my coat collection next.  Mom laughed and asked if I’d ever noticed the closets of coats that Mum had.
    I imagine that in prehistoric times, grandmothers, daughters, and granddaughters would get together to pass along wisdom about the powers of medicinal herbs or the best way to fillet a mastodon.  My grandmother and mother taught me how to find stellar purchases at Marshall Fields or TJ Maxx for 75% off.
  • Mum showed me how to polish her silver.  She loved her silver flatware and desk set and took pride in taking good care of it.
  • I learned about quality fabric from Mum and my mom.  Natural fibers (especially wool) were esteemed.  Good tailoring was inspected.  The fit, the drape, the details were examined with a thoughtful touch.  In later years when stokes and age had clouded her mind, she would come back into sharp focus as she remarked on my flower-embroidered winter jacket or the leatherwork on Sylvia’s baby shoes.
  • When I spent the night at Mum’s, I would fall asleep in the deep dark (no night lights!).  It was a bit unsettling.  So was the sound of the whippoorwill singing into the night.  In time, I came to love that song, and the stillness of her home in the woods.
  • Mum’s home was near a cold spring, and on several occasions, the two of us would walk down to the stream, roll up our pants, and wade into the icy water.  We’d pull up watercress by the fist-full and take it back home to wash off the dirt and critters and make it into a very sharp-tasting salad.  I liked the picking part much more than the eating part:)
  • The paths near Mum’s house were sprinkled with walnuts, chestnuts, and acorns.  I remember her encouraging me to taste them, and the bitter taste still comes to mind when I smell fallen nuts.
  • Sometimes Mum would take me out on a nighttime walk.  I remember walking along the twisting roads in the woods near her home, petrified contemplating all the creatures lurking the the woods.  I didn’t want her to know I was afraid, so I decided to put all of my fear into one side of my body and to keep the hand that was holding her hand calm and relaxed.  When she asked me what was wrong, I realized I’d gotten it backwards, and the hand that was gripping hers was tense with my unspoken fears.

Mum wasn’t what I’d call an easy person.  She had a strong will, a strong sense of what was right, and she in my experience, she didn’t hesitate in sharing her convictions.  Over the years, there were times when Mum and I clashed and there were times when we got along famously.  Not an easy person.  I think, though, that in some ways, I always sought her approval.  I was just remembering an intense term in college when I had taken physics with calculus without the prerequisite courses (dumb, dumb, dumb).  Having just failed another quiz, I called my mom from the phone in the computer lab.  Choking back sobs, I asked her just not to tell Mum or my grandparents (like that would have been her first inclination!).  I wanted them to be proud of me.

Mum was very conservative.  Her Lutheran faith was one of her defining characteristics.  Until her generation, there had been a Lutheran pastor in the family for many generations into the past.  Things relating to church and to piety appealed to her soul.


I miss my mom in some way every day.  With the passing of my grandma, I feel like the earth has lost an important person who knew my mom.  I also feel like the conveyor belt of time has notably moved forward.  I’m now an adult with kids of my own.  Grandparents are moving on, and everyone I know is moving inexorably away from birth to death.  It’s odd to contemplate.

My mom worked extensively on our family genealogy.  Here’s my entry (somewhat dated…it’s missing Sylvia!).  Mom created our genealogy heading back in several branches to the 1400s.  Thinking of our family as a tree, I feel like I watched my grandparents go through the autumn and winter of their lives.  At the time, I was a new spring branch.  Now I’m in my summer, and my own kids are growing their own spring branches.  The seasons change, the eras shift.  Time goes by.

For a slideshow of pictures of my grandma, visit this link.  A gallery with the option to download images is here.

Finally, here’s Mum’s obituary.  Rest in peace, my grandma.

Lorraine C. Davis, age 93, of Waukesha and formerly of Janesville and Beloit, died on Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, at Virginia Health & Rehabilitation Center, Waukesha, WI. She was born in Milwaukee on Jan. 24, 1919, the daughter of Henry and Tekla (Loeber) Bergmann. She graduated from South Division High School and UW Whitewater in 1940. She married Joseph L. Davis in Texas in September of 1942. He preceded her in death in 1973. Lorraine taught classes in High School, Vocational School, and tutored Math students throughout her life. She was also the sole proprietor of “The Eloquent Touch”, an interior decorating service in Janesville. Lorraine is survived by 3 children: Peter (Marci) Davis of Port St. Lucie FL, Kate (Greg) Brand of Lynnwood WA, and Kirk (Susan) Davis of Plano TX; 7 grandchildren; 2 great grandchildren; and 3 siblings: John (Lois) Bergmann of Milwaukee, Edgar (Helmi) Bergmann of Germany and Carol (William) Lamm of Oconomowoc. She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; daughter, Margot (Kim) Babler; brother, Robert Bergmann; and sister, Mildred Klumb. A Funeral Service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012, at OUR SAVIOR’S LUTHERAN CHURCH, Beloit with Rev. Erik Jelinek officiating. A visitation will be held on Thursday from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. at the church. Interment will be in Eastlawn Cemetery, Beloit. In lieu of other expressions of sympathy please send memorials to the Heart Association or The Time of Grace Ministry. SCHNEIDER APFEL SCHNEIDER & SCHNEIDER FUNERAL HOME & CREMATORY is assisting the family.

Visiting Wichita

We took a driving trip to Wichita for Grandpa Harvey’s funeral.  It was one of the first long drives (12 hours) with our two kiddos.  They did great!

On the way down, we left around supper time and drove until late.  Then the next day we only had about 7 hours.  The way home we did in one long stretch, and remarkably, the kids were wonderful.


Of course, they didn’t often look up from the iPad/iPhones.  My bags of books and coloring books and toys went mostly unused, but so long as everyone’s happy, it’s alright with me!  I read a whole novel:)


We had a nice time staying at Grandma Jo’s house.  Grandma Jo (Mark’s mom) has moved to an assisted living home, and it was nice to bring her back to her old digs to hang out for an evening.  Sylvia liked the tutus and other props she found in Grandma’s closet.  She and Grandma share a flair for the dramatic.


Sylvie shows Grandma Jo her favorite app – Wash my Cat.


There’s the lovely lady:)


Enjoying some time together:)


Now Aunt Melanie gets a tutorial.


Seems like there’s always lots of laughter when we’re together.




While the reasons for our visit were sad, we really did have a wonderful time visiting with family.  We got to spend time with Bryan’s cousins and aunts and uncles, and I have lots of fond memories from our time together.


Andrew and Sylvie were great travelers, and I’m looking forward to taking more driving trips in the future.

Rest in peace, Grandpa Harvey

Sad news to share today.  Bryan’s maternal grandpa, Grandpa Harvey passed away last night.

I feel really lucky to have married into a family with so many lovely people.  And Grandpa (and Grandma) Harvey are two of the sweetest, kindest people I’ve known.  Since I first met Grandpa 14 years ago, he’s felt just like a grandpa I’ve always had.

I’m so glad we got to spend lots of years visiting and sharing the growing family with him.  Here he is with baby Andrew…

And baby Sylvia…08-04-11_Forrest-Harvey_021

Here’s a cute couple of pictures of Sylvia and Grandpa playing together when she was 2.



Grandma Harvey passed away in May 2010 (you can read her funeral tribute here), and since that time, Grandpa’s had a tough road.  Losing his wife of 70 years wasn’t comprehensible to him.  I think he’s probably glad to be at the end of his life’s journey.

Here’s the family together after Grandma Harvey’s funeral.10-05-16_Forrest-Harvey_073

And here’s an image of Grandpa from our last visit with him this May.  Sweet Grandpa, we sure will miss you.  With both you and my Grandpa Babler gone, who’s going to flirt and ask me to be his girlfriend?  I’ll miss holding your hand.11-05-21_Forrest-Harvey_102


Here’s a picture of Grandpa and Grandma when they got married in 1939.10-05-15_Forrest-Harvey_058


Here’s Grandpa and Grandma…still together 70 years later.
10-04-16_Forrest-Harvey_050Whatever happens after life, I’m glad to know that Grandpa and Grandma are in it together.


May trip to Wichita – Part III: Visiting Grandpa Harvey

Grandpa Harvey has had a really rough year.  Perhaps one of the saving graces is that it doesn’t seem like he remembers much of it.  Lola Mae passed away in May of 2010, and since then, Grandpa has been living in an assisted living community.  The day we arrived in Wichita for our visit, he took a turn for the worse, and spent a few days at the hospital.  He’s now living in a higher-assistance memory care facility.

During our visit, Grandpa’s presence faded in and out.  I’m sure we were a really overwhelming crew, but he seemed happy to see us.

Here he’s saying hi to Sylvie.  She had her little bunny give him kisses, which they both enjoyed.


There’s Bryan greeting his granddaddy.  Grandpa Harvey really is one of he nicest, kindest-hearted people I’ve ever met.


The kids discovered a bowling set in the corner of the room, so they enjoyed a rousing game of bowling-at-the-hospital.




Checking out a mysterious red button on a teddy bear.


Andrew and Sylv check out Grandpa and the bear.


Grandpa recognized Melanie, so that’s nice to know that they connected.



At one point, Grandpa got the bowling ball and threw a couple frames.


Sylvie and Grandpa play with a teddy bear.


There’s our dear Grandpa.  Love him so much…  Leaving him there alone at the hospital was gut-wrenching.  Grandpa’s had a life-well-lived.  I hope these upcoming months are peaceful and content, in whatever times or places him mind might take him.  Love you, Grandpa!


May trip to Wichita – Part II: Visiting Grandma Jo

When we were visiting Grandma Jo at the hospital, we took over the waiting room for our time together.  The kids, sensing the opportunity to perform for a rapt audience, took full advantage of the attention:)


Grandma had her hair colored specially for our visit.  The hue?  A sunny marigold:)




There’s always a lot of laughing when Grandma Jo’s around.


These two monkeys, too, caused quite a bit of silliness…

05-20-11_Wichita_025 I thought this was so cute.  Grandma Jo was smelling Sylvie’s feet to see how they smelled.


05-20-11_Wichita_030 One of my favorite images from the trip…


We came back for a visit the next day and settled in to the now-familiar waiting room.


Andrew loves the game Blink, and here he and Grandad duke it out.



Andrew and Grandma Jo play some sort of arm-raising game.  Perhaps they are practicing their semaphore.


So there’s our pictoral review of our visit.  Grandma Jo ended our visits with an elbow bump rather than her traditional leg kick.  We’ll see if it sticks:)


It was sad not to be seeing Grandma Jo either in her home or in her new apartment, but we certainly did have a nice time together, no matter where the location.  Grandma Jo is such a lively, vivacious woman.  It’s sad to know that her health is really causing her some problems these days.  I hope that she’ll have a health-filled summer.

Grandma Harvey’s lovely obituary

Back in the days pre-2007, back before my mom, my two grandparents, Bryan’s grandpa, and Terry’s dad passed away, I hadn’t given a lot of thought to obituaries.  Or stories written about a person’s life.  But in the last few years, I’ve become much more aware of how challenging and important it feels to me to write and talk about a person when they’re gone.  Andrew and Sylvia didn’t get to spend much/any time with important people whom I loved and whom have passed.  That means that it’s up to me and others who knew them to share stories about  and to make them them present in our lives.

Grandma Harvey (Bryan’s mom’s mom) passed away last month, and the pastor wrote up and delivered a really lovely funeral service.  In preparation, she talked to family member and read a memory book that Grandma Harvey wrote, and wove together some lovely words that painted a wonderful picture of kind, sweet Lola Mae Harvey.  I asked Pastor Kim to send me a copy of her notes, and I’ll share them for you here.  I hope you can sit back take a moment to read this, because then you too will hold memories of Grandma Harvey in your heart, and the more people who know and love her and Grandpa, the better.

Thanks to Pastor Kim for sharing this with me!

Lola Mae Harvey’s Funeral Service

Pastor Kim Dickerson

Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Wichita, KS

May 17, 2010

One of Lola Mae’s favorite childhood memories was to lie down in the grass with her sister, Lucille and her brother, Melvin in the late evening. They would watch the stars and make up stories together.  “It was so peaceful,” Lola Mae said.  This experience impacted Lola Mae, and made the 23rd Psalm one of her favorite bible verses.  She said that it seems that heaven would have green pastures and quiet time.

As I read Psalm 23, I invite you to hear the section about the green pastures in a new way knowing how important the scripture and experience was to Lola Mae.

Psalm 23

Proverbs 31: 10-31

Ode to a Capable Wife.


Lola Mae Blue Harvey was born May 6, 1919 to Edward and Mabel Blue in Wichita, KS.  Lola Mae writes that she was most thankful in her childhood that she had parents who loved God, who loved and respected each other, and also loved and respected their children.  While they had very few material things, they still had fun.

She grew up during the depression, and she had to make up most of her own games.  Lola Mae enjoyed playing paper dolls that she would cut out of the catalog. All of her dolls had names and she played school with them.  And she enjoyed passing this game on to her children and her grandchildren.

I was told Lola Mae even would put rouge on the family’s chickens and dress them up and play with them.  Her favorite chicken had a broken wing, and it was a devastating day when a chicken with a broken wing ended up on the dinner table.  She didn’t eat that night.

She was a good student. She loved school and spelling bees.  Growing up, she enjoyed running and swinging on limbs. Walking on stilts, jumping rope and throwing the ball against the garage and catching it.  She enjoyed the times her family would stand around the piano and sing hymns.  She had two older brothers, Vernard and Melvin, and one older sister, Lucille.

Lola Mae also enjoyed baseball, and she would surprise all the ladies in the beauty shop when she would ask for the sports page. She was the only lady who cared at all for that section of the paper. She liked going to games at Lawrence Dumont stadium, and she was a Braves fan.

When she was 14 or 15 years old, she met her husband of 70 years, Forrest Lowell Harvey, who survives her.  They met while in the opening exercises of Sunday school.  Forrest says that on the day they began talking to one another, there was another boy who wanted to sit beside Lola Mae, but Forrest got there first.  He said about Lola Mae, “She took my eye. I wasn’t going to lose her.”  Lola Mae wrote in her book of memories that she liked Forrest because “he was a real nice boy, neat and clean.”

They were married on August 27, 1939 at Bethel Methodist Church in Wichita KS during opening exercises because they could not afford a regular wedding.  Forrest had worked all night at the Beacon.  He got home around 6:30am, and the wedding was at 9:30am.  Their honeymoon was spent going to the Blue family reunion in Blackwell, OK.  It was a one-day honeymoon, as Forrest had to go to work the next day.

The love that Forrest and Lola Mae shared with each other is something that anyone who knew them could recognize.  The children and grandchildren especially appreciate the model for a loving marriage that the couple showed them.  As LuAnn put it, “Some older couples have one of them walking in front, and one of them walking in back.  But they always walked arm and arm.”

This was true. I had the pleasure of greeting them as they left the sanctuary every Sunday, and Lola Mae always was on Forrest’s arm, and you could tell that they had a very sweet love for one another.  Forrest said many times as we prepared for today, that “she was a wonderful little girl, a peach.”

Throughout their marriage, Lola Mae would make a couple of pies and a cake each Saturday, and then some of Forrest’s friends from work would come over and when she would get up on Sunday, a lot of her dessert was missing.

Pies and cakes, rolls and cookies were things that Lola Mae was known for.

This is a tradition she kept up well into her old age—something her family will remember her for.

Forrest and Lola Mae enjoyed square dancing.  They square danced and round danced until they were 80 years old. One of their favorite trips was to Alaska in 1989 with a square dance group.  They also enjoyed playing cards with friends.

Lola Mae was very musically talented.  She could play anything by ear. She played for opening exercises in Sunday School.  She also played once at a McDonalds restaurant.  They were with a tour group and someone asked if anyone could play the piano, and she volunteered. She had the entire restaurant singing old time songs.

As the family shared with me, when you looked at Forrest and Lola Mae, you would think they were prim and proper, but they loved to be silly as well.  She was spunky, and even ornery. She surprised her family once when she told them about the time she put on a show as a one-woman band. She played the drum, the harmonica and the piano all at the same time.  But Lola Mae would downplay it if you said she was talented. She was very modest.

To Forrest and Lola Mae were born three children, Larry Harvey of Augusta who is married to Susan; Don Harvey of Wichita, married to Cheryl; and LuAnn Dotzour of College Station TX, married to Mark.  All of her children survive.  Lola Mae writes that the happiest times in her life where “when they were raising their family.  Each child as so different and so special.”

She was a caring mother, who wrote, “There is nothing as sweet as the way a baby looks up at you when you’re feeding it it’s bottle.  It’s like it’s saying,

‘I know you love me and are going to take good care of me.’”

Larry said that as kids, their home was a gathering place.  Lola Mae enjoyed knowing where her kids were, and if they were all at her home, she felt the best.  She was wound a little tight, when it came to her children.  The serenity prayer was her favorite prayer, but she found it hard to let go of her worry about the welfare of her children.

She was a loving mother, but she also had high expectations of her children.  Once when Larry took ice cream from the kitchen for himself and his friend, she got after him and said, “There are other people in the world other than you.”  She wanted her children to be considerate. Another time when LuAnn had gotten in trouble at school, but fibbed about why she was late getting home, Lola Mae got after her for lying.

She was a loving mother, and also a loving mother-in-law. Cheryl, Susan and Mark all said that she was the best mother in law you could ever have.

Lola Mae was a homemaker for most of her life. She also worked in the school cafeteria for a time.  Lola Mae was a great seamstress.  She made most of her children’s clothing.  She even made a prom dress for Debbie.  She made most of her own clothes until she was in her 70’s, at least, maybe longer.  And, she was very particular.  If it wasn’t done correctly, she would rip it out and do it over.

She was also a great teacher.  She would teach LuAnn how to cook and clean and do the laundry: some of the happiest times LuAnn remembers spending with her mother.  Lola Mae even shared her knowledge with the young women of the Ruth Circle, in which her daughter, LuAnn participated.  She taught them how to make homemade noodles.

In addition to her three children, Lola Mae has seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.  She was a wonderful grandmother who would intentionally lose at every card game she played with her grandchildren.

Her grandchildren remember how she showered them with love.  How she called every camera a Kodak, no matter the brand.  How she came to a Valentine’s party at school and read all the valentines.  How she would fret that the pies and rolls might not be good enough, even though they always were the best.  How she was always so well dressed and classy, even though she would never admit it.  How she never said a negative thing about anyone—she always saw their good side.  How she was such a gracious hostess.  How her dog cookie jar always was filled with something special.

If Forrest and Lola Mae could choose the best way to spend their time, the best activities to take part in, it would have been the times they spent with their family.

Not too long ago, the entire family was sitting in a circle in the living room, talking.  And even though Forrest and Lola Mae may not have been able to follow along fully in the conversation, they were beaming that their loved ones were around them.  Forrest leaned over to Lola Mae with a huge smile and said, “Look, they are all here.”  And that made them so happy.  The highlight of her life was when everyone got together.  She was so proud of each and every one of them.

Faith was a vital part of their lives.  Forrest and Lola Mae were members of Bethel UMC, which later became St. Luke’s UMC.  Each Sunday after church, the couple called on the people in the hospital.  It was their ministry to take cards to the people who were hospitalized that the Congregation would sign.

In November of 2006, they joined Aldersgate UMC.  It has been such a pleasure to see them each week, and be a witness to their love for one another, and also a witness to their love for God and the church.

Lola Mae passed away peacefully with her family at her side on Thursday, May 13, following a stroke.  Memorials have been established with Aldersgate UMC and Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice.


In Galatians 5:22-25 we read, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.  There is no law against such things.  And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, Let us also be guided by the Spirit.”

As I have listened to the family’s stories about Lola Mae, and read through her very thoughtful book of memories that she completed for her family, I believe Lola Mae throughout her life was moving on toward perfection (as the founder of the Methodist Movement, John Wesley, might say).

She was moving on to perfection, or wholeness, moving on to Sanctification, and throughout her life yearned to allow the Holy Spirit to fill her with the fruits of the Spirit.

As I listened to the stories, I heard so many that shared examples of her love her joy and peace, her patience and kindness, her generosity and faithfulness, her gentleness and self-control.  And I believe that she was able to share this because of her deep faith in God.

In the book of memories, one of the early questions was, “When did you first go to church?  What are your earliest memories?”  She replied that church had been important to her all of her life. She remembered sitting in little chairs in a circle at Sunday School. She remembered the dignified ushers.  She remembered the choir, and the big voices some of them had.

She wrote that she always felt like she was a Christian, but that she and Forrest went forward at a revival service when they were about 15 years old to once again profess their faith.  Their faith was one not necessarily lived out through a lot of talking about the faith, but by actually living their faith.  Lola and Forrest would hold hands and say grace before every meal.  And there was a Bible always beside Lola Mae on the table.

The family shared stories with me about how gifted and talented Lola Mae was, but they were very quick to point out that she always wanted to find ways to improve herself.  She knew that to be a follower of Jesus, she must be humble.  She may have been a little too humble, as her family has shared, and not realized what a true gift she was.

She was so talented, but you would never hear her say that, and if you would say something to that affect, Lola Mae would downplay her strengths and say that she had a long way to go.  And even though she was an extremely beautiful and classy lady, Lola Mae definitely believed she was not perfect. She would sometimes cut her face out of family photos.  Forrest says of his wife, “She can never imagine how much she meant to me. I wanted her to know that she was perfect for me.”

We pray that now that she is with her Savior in heaven, that he is showing her what a perfect wife, mother, perfect grandmother and woman, perfect and beautiful Christian she truly is.  Made perfect because of God’s love and grace. Made perfect because she allowed the Holy Spirit to mold her heart, and grace her with the gifts of the Spirit.

Through her faithful life, Lola Mae shows each and every one of us how faith is lifelong journey.  It is not something to take for granted, but it is something that should be nurtured throughout a lifetime.

One of the ways that Lola Mae found to best express her faith was through her gift of music.  Even though her parents could not afford to send her for music lessons, she received a natural gift from God.  Throughout her life, even up until the time of her stroke, God would put a song in her heart.  She would hum a tune around the house and, it would stay in her head until she sat down to play it.  When she would go to the piano, she would smile and play.

The song that Lola Mae would play the most in her later years was “The longer I serve him, the sweeter He grows.”  The words are “Since my life He controls, since I gave my heart to Jesus, the longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows.”  All who knew Lola Mae would agree that the longer she served him, the sweeter she did grow.

She had a heart of a true servant of Christ.  Her grandchildren and children remember how it was so important to Lola Mae that the porch be swept off before anyone came over.  She was always looking for a way to serve other people.  When the grandkids stayed at her house, she would turn down the covers and lay out their nightclothes.  When the grandkids were in college, she would send them care packages filled with buttery sugar cookies.

Lola’s favorite advice was from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”  This is how she lived out her life.

I think Lola Mae would encourage each and every one of us here to live this out. As she did.  She would encourage us to live out the fruits of the spirit. To serve one another.  She would want her family to continue to spend time together with Forrest.  She would want us to love one another, just as her Savior loved her.  She would ask that we remember her great love and commitment over any of her accomplishments.

May we all learn from Lola Mae’s life, may we all continue to work towards perfection in wholeness.  And may we all experience the assurance that God loves us, just as we are, but too much to leave us here.

In Christ’s name we pray,


Hi! I’m back!

Dear Internet (friends and family),

I appologize for leaving you these last weeks.  You’ve been on my mind.  Occasionally, I write posts in my head about the cute things Sylvie is saying, the adorable way Andrew is being her big brother, the milestones that the kids are passing, the job changing that Bryan is going…and then I sit down and edit photos.  Because that, my friends, is what I have been doing these last weeks.  Fastly.  Furiously.  Editing.  Photos.  I finished the last of my Incredible Photography Month early last week, and then we packed up and headed for Maine for my brother Joe’s graduation from Bowdoin College.

I was up until midnight or one or two every night for weeks (except when I collapsed a few times at 8pm).  I had friends stopping in to help watch my kids so I could get a few extra hours of photo work in.  It was intense…and wonderful.  I think I feel most happy and alive and energized when I am focused and productive and a little over-worked.  It is a wonderful feeling.  Thanks to all my lovely clients who help me get that excellent high:)  And to my husband and friends for helping me meet my deadlines!

Our trip to Maine was wonderful…but that’s another post.  For now, I’ll share a few tid-bits about our life these last weeks.

We went to Wichita a couple weeks ago for Bryan’s mom’s mom’s funeral (that’s Grandma Harvey).  Sweet Grandma.  Such a lovely person she was.  Grandpa has since moved into an assisted living home with a lot of support from his kids.  Although the purpose and reason for our trip was a sad one, it sure was pleasant to see all of Bryan’s family again.  Plus we got to see cousins who we don’t see regularly.  Andrew and Sylvia really enjoyed playing with Bryan’s cousin’s children, and we had some really companionable meals and get-togethers. Photos from Wichita are in the gallery.


Andrew had his last day of preschool at Monona Grove Nursery School.  He is so excited about going to Kindergarten in the fall, he can barely wait.  And he talks regularly about how Joe is graduating from college (“That means you’ve completed all the requirements,” he says) and he has graduated from preschool.  We (OK, maybe mostly I…Andrew’s a kid who lives in the moment) am going to miss the teachers and kids and parents.  Andrew’s years at Monona Grove Nursery School have been really special.  Luckily, Syliva will attend preschool there in a year-and-a-half!

In April, Sylvia transitioned rapidly from diapers to undies.  She’s a big girl now.  I haven’t changed a poopy diaper in months.  That, my friends, is a wonderful thing to be able to say.  4.75 years of diapers.  She was dry at night for a couple weeks, and then we had lots of accidents, so I decided it was better for me to sleep well at night than for her to be totally diaper-free.  Next step: a big girl bed.  Not sure when, but it’s coming:)

Andrew had a visitation for his new Kindergarten: Nuestro Mundo last week.  While Bryan and I learned about Kindergartner’s daily schedule, Andrew and the other soon-to-be kindergartners all went off to play with a teacher.  He came back with a picture he’d colored of a frog.  And he is SO EXCITED about his frog.  And his new school.  And coloring more frogs at his new school starting September 1.  Which, as far as he’s concerned, can’t come soon enough!

As a side note, do you know that kindergartners only get two recesses for part of the year?  Then it’s just one.  And lunch plus recess is 45 minutes.  That seems crazy.  How are kids going to learn if they’re in classrooms all day with such limited time to move and engage in free-play?  And the lunch/recess time seems like it’s setting kids up to shovel down their food as fast as possible.  Seems like a bad idea.  I liked this article on the importance placed on school lunch in France.  But other than those things, the school seems like it’s set up really nicely.  It made me a little bit stunned and frankly, ill to watch Andrew bound up the Elementary School staircase.  How did my baby become a boy?

Last week was also Eli’s 5th birthday.  We attended his birthday party and spent some time with him on his birthday morn.  Photos of our playtimes are in the gallery.  Andrew’s pretty giddy about the fact that it is now June and his own birthday is coming up!




My sweetheart’s birthday was a couple weeks ago.  We were in Wichita for his birthday, and then when we returned home that week, we celebrated his birthday is lots of little ways.  The highlight was when we showed Bryan the hammock we’d gotten for him.  Andrew kept the secret for weeks, and Bryan was really excited.


05-22-10_wichita_010 Bryan’s last day of work at OpGen was last Wednesday.  Thanks to all his co-workers for giving him a great send-off:)  He’s home with us all the rest of the week, and then he starts his new job on Monday, June 7.

I took lots of photos during our trip to Maine.  Stay tuned!


Wichita pics – the final edition

Here are a few final pictures from our Wichita trip.

Grandma Jo has this crazy wind-up bar tender from the late 1940s.  He mixes a martini and then drinks it and then smoke comes out of his ears.  Sylvia was fascinated and a little scared.  She called him “coffee man” and said his coffee was “too hot.”

IMG_6110Here’s Granny and the kids playing with the balloons during the birthday party.

IMG_5956And here’s Sylvia looking sweet.  She found that stuffed dog at Grandma and Grandpa Harvey’s on Friday, and it hasn’t yet left her grasp.

IMG_6187Here’s Sylvia setting up her toys to play.  She is really getting into playing with stuffed animals and dolls and lawn ornaments.  It’s cute to watch!


I love this picture of Mark and his mom sharing a laugh.

IMG_6190Here’s Bryan’s two grandmas.  Such sweet ladies!

IMG_6198Andrew loved that party blower.  Here he is, a day later, and still giving it a good work-out.


This is my treasure from Grandma Jo.  She works at a thrift store called Economy Corner, and every visit she gives us a variety of fun and/or silly gifts. This girl here (along with the bejeweled candle holder) may take the cake!

Birthday party…for whom?

When we were in Wichita last weekend, Bryan’s parents planned a little birthday shindig.  The twist…it wasn’t actually anyone’s birthday!  But since we don’t tend to be together to celebrate birthdays (except for the kiddos), Bryan’s parents threw a party for everyone!

IMG_5938We had balloons and cake…and even presents!

After several rounds of singing “Happy Birthday” and chowing down on some yummy BBQ take-out, we pulled out some party blowers and got silly:)






So today…whether it’s your birthday or not…happy birthday!  Have some cake:)

My girl picking flowers

IMG_6055 We spent last Friday afternoon hanging out at Grandma Jo’s home.  Sylvia got a pretty new pink dress (which she immediately put on), and then she went out in the backyard to run around.  So cute!