Monday, December 31, 2007

No more monkeys jumpin' on the bed

Remember that little jingle we all sang to our kids? It has been in my head lately because they are banging around in all directions now. Brae went back to Philly. At 3am or so, Lowen, Sienna and Jonlyn left for N.C. and Kyrie leaves for Colorado Wed. am. God has truly blessed us with these people. We still marvel at Brae's beauty and sweetness. Lowen is still quite fascinating to me and continues to be noctural. Sienna and Kyrie are as they always were-cutting, gluing, arranging things, creating and making a mess! It is quite something to see how they love and enjoy each other. O.K. I am looking forward to the picture Damien will find for this post!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


May the God of peace rule in your heart (Colossians 3:15).

Sunday, December 16, 2007

In the Spirit

I kept Pax and Chalice home for a mental health day a few days back and we headed to Walmart and got "Christmas stuff", came home and decorated our house. Pax was flying around putting wreaths and candles in the windows outside. Chalice and I put greens up everywhere with lots of white lights, set out the red, scented candles and there we go-"Christmas". Two Christmas elves showed up from Georgia the other night and that was festive. We have made a pact to keep our house straight. I wonder if we can keep this vow! Christmas cheer everybody.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


Kids are many things to moms but what I am realising is that they were my built-in fitness center. One can not sit long when there is a child in the home. I am reminded of this when I have Eli on Saturdays and when I was talking to my niece Sharon who has 2 little ones. By 9:30 am she had already been to a playground and visited a grandmother across town. Without those very active beings pulling and pushing you to enjoy life to the fullest, I find my body is very happy to sit on our way too soft couch which translates into a way too soft body! My job description has changed and I have to schedule in activities for " the body."

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Art table beauty.

Picture this: Damien creating Christmas cards at one end of the art table with all tools at his disposal-rubberstamps, paper cutter, pens, colored markers, tape, stamps. At the other end of the art table is Pax equally as absorbed making his 10th plus necklace. Tools needed are cool beads, thread, good eyes, hooks. Great music fills that room and before that was Odyssey and in between are boy to man conversations, comments, questions. A week ago when I was nudging Damien to teach Pax how to make necklaces , I knew this scenario in the dining room would take place. I take in the hour from another room with such a grateful heart and then I try to imagine what it would be like if the Papa was not here-but only for a brief moment can I imagine that.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Teeny little dead mouse

There is something very little (I hope) and unseen causing havoc in the Howard home. There is something decomposing in our bedroom-now that is what you call "yucky". "It" has sent us running from our room after we retrieve whatever it is we have to get. "It" has forced us to sleep head-to-head on our long couch. "It" may be in the wall because we can not find "it". After 2 days of this, Damien found miracle candles that absorbed the stench. Now I know how to answer the latest question on Pax's blog.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

2007 Howard Christmas Card

Kiko made this year's photo happen! First challenge was getting everyone together, 2nd challenge: no more than one person can have a melt-down in the process, 3rd challenge: photographer can not grow faint from all the shots Damien wants taken, 4th Challenge: Kate protecting her sore self due to recuperating from "a little stay" in the hospital , 5th challenge: the daughters and Damien agreeing on "the photo" once they are developed (the above shot is not the chosen one) . And finally, Damien spends lots of time designing the card and envelope.

Thank you Kiko. You were extremely gracious during that hot August afternoon photo shoot.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Great Movie!

We just finished watching Miss Potter, the true story of Beatrix Potter (played by Renee Zellweger). She is the author and illustrator of the best-selling children's books of all time. Her beloved creations were Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, Jemima Puddleduck, etc. I thought it would be boring for some reason but it was totally captivating and heart wrenching and beautiful. The movie begins with Beatrix as a young girl talking to her little friends she has drawn . I just erased many sentences about the movie (because Damien told me I was giving away too much of the story) - just get it. It is enchanting.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Jedd was a Christmas tree I think (he had lights on), Pax was a hobo, Mason, a big scary guy...big reunion at the Salvatore's again. It is the one time during the year that Becky Cooney and I see each other and "pretend" to catch up. Once again Lisa put out food for everyone (in the house) and we passed out candy to hordes and hordes of kids.
So an incident happened tonight that is the typical spoiled 2007 little kid. I put a Reeces in a little girl's bag and just before it drops in she whines, "I don't like Reeces." Unbelievable. Other than that, it was fun. Damien said I shouldn't have given her anything but I just couldn't have taken it back and I really didn't want to reprimand her though I was sorely tempted.
Ida was missed this year. She is in Florida trick or treating with her granddaughter Savannah.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Commemorating with a fun photo...

Linnea and Ben's 4th month wedding anniversary!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Simple Pleasures

Being with a kid is such a great excuse to enjoy all the simple pleasures. First thing on the list this morning was for Eli and me to buy 2 big pumpkins and 1 little one. Second thing, go to the thrift store to buy chalk, an airplane, a truck, books, man dolls (3 Kens-you know, Barbie and Ken). He promptly named one of them "My Steve", his dad who he doesn't see very much. I hit the jack pot finding fall tops and sweaters. Then it is home to walk the dog, have lunch which for him was "cereal salad"(remember howard and huntington kids?) For 2 hours I had the pleasure of noticing how engrossed he was in all those inexpensive items. Oh, I also got him a new, black baseball glove (2 bucks) and a softball and I don't think he had played catch before. That was fun. Now he is tuckered out waiting for me to read those books we got-yeah, think of us lounging on the couch with the fan blowing our way and the fall leaves racing across the lawn outside and a very good chance of some rain-one of those very wonderful Fall days. It reminds me of the good times I had with my little ones.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My mom

My mother is so remarkable in just about every way that my brother Robert says her example, her opinion, her thoughts on a matter just don't count (because she doesn't represent normal people). For instance, I go to Annapolis every Tuesday morning to be at a Bible study with my sister. Last Tuesday I called to tell her I wouldn't be over because my other sister wanted to do errands with me. Here is how my mom of 85 who doesn't see me very much responds: "Have a great time with Dawn honey. See you next Tuesday!"
Here is another example of how she is not like normal people. She is in great shape because she is very active dancing, walking and golfing.
Thirdly, she has been cooking and baking the noon meal for the employees of a thriving business for the last 50 years. The employees are her sons. Many family members visit her in the course of a week. Yesterday there were dozens of people visiting and eating and having a great time. As I was leaving-like in my car-she called me back because she had a gift for me-a great big container of Oil of Olay body lotion and a new scrubby thing and money for a pedicure!! I enjoyed my 90 minute drive back to my home and thought about her very attractive ways most of the way.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Pax and his priorities!

I have been giggling about this since last night. Pax and Damien were engrossed in a long Scrabble game and I guess a word came up that reminded him of priorities and he blurts out without a whole lot of thought and in a funny way, "My priorities are God, football and chips!"

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I got myself over to the OliverMichaelsSalon for a hairstyle makeover. It was fun. Chocolate brown with some very noticeable highlights. Chalice and Pax were impressed!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Football Time Again

It's that time of year when Damien and Pax watch game after game after game from their positions on the couch. Pax and Quan are seasoned players with Pop Warner Football . Let's put it this way, don't mess wif 'em!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Brae and me!!

I did it! I broke free from my neighborhood tangles to spend last weekend with Brae in Annapolis. It took until Sunday after church at Starbucks with Brae sipping a double espresso for me to hear about her friends, her thoughts, her big dreams and plans, her likes and dislikes, her new place in Philly, her church and mainly her determination to find her way into the world of photo-journalism. I admire and love her so much and find it hard to believe she came from traditional, conventional, domestic me!! I have found the secret to Brae opening up...the double espresso from Starbucks. Thank you Brae for your time and companionship. I love this picture you took of us.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Boy Howard breezes in for a visit ...

Lowen is almost 25 and rolls into town and nonchalantly walks in with the old familiar "hey Mom" and as usual I am in the kitchen fixin' up some dinner. He kisses me quickly with his beautiful face and then tunes in to the dog and takes her for a walk. You would think he just lives down the street. he comes back and talks with the Papa about music, movies and books--nothing has changed here. They stayed up til 1am talking. He keeps texting and emailing Whitney but that's good ( Sometimes young men get very strange without the beautifying effects of a woman on their mind). I am so glad he has come to take the girls back to their mountain for their second year at Covenant. Mothers everywhere are having nervous breakdowns as their grown-up kids head off once again. Lowen will make this so much easier on us as Dame and I are not up for the 12 hour trip there that Lowen says is no big deal.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Just a tent

In the Sunday school class Damien and I attend there are a handful of older friends who greatly enrich the group with their questions and comments. We listen to a chapter of 11 Corinthians on tape and then we converse about it. I love this kind of Sunday school. Two Sundays ago, I felt like I had never seen this particular verse before: "For we know that if the TENT which is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a HOUSE not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." All that we have in this life, all the wonderful and amazing people, places and things that we observe and interact with is likened to a TENT! Now to me, the word "tent" conjures up words like unstable, dirty, uncomfortable, a very temporary shelter that could blow away quite easily. This verse says that's what our earthly body, home and world is like! It will all be rolled up and pitched one day and there His people will be on the other side of death- wide-eyed, mouths open in wonder standing speechless in eternity where the real beauty begins - "houses eternal in the heavens."

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Wonder Woman

Chalice and I have some history of attacking rooms together for the sake of transforming them. When Sienna left for Africa, we ransacked and transformed her room so it could become Chalice's room. Another time we teamed up on the laundry room. There is nothing subtle about this mood that hits us. It usually involves painting the room and heaping up bags and bags of stuff to be hauled or given away, and buying new room accents at Wal-Mart. Well, we got that gleam in our eye a few days back regarding Pax's large bedroom. We saw in our mind's eye Pax's bedroom becoming a sort of den for any family member wanting to read, write, nap, or just be alone. We'll need to have a giant jalopy piano removed and hauled off.
Mission was accomplished single-handedly this time by Chalice since I was recuperating from not feeling real well. I am convinced Chalice has major talent in design, physical strength and determination to get a job done really well. A girl after my own heart. Thanks a million Chalice. Picture is forthcoming.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunday School

I had a surprisingly refreshing time 2nd hour with a class led by Tim Harr on 2 Corinthians, chapter 4. The small group of adults were talking about numerous verses with excitement and sincerity - mainly about how hard times draw us near to God and that we should see affliction as coming from His hand and that He brings good things from it. Anyway, I loved being with friends who are older than me in that setting - hearing what they had to say and listening to their desire to grow in their faith. I was sitting with Joanne Greer sharing her Bible and seeing it all marked up with underlining and her notes on the pages - that was just such a wonderful thing to see. It felt like a time of real fellowship. I was refreshed and inspired.
After my 3 hour nap this afternoon (!), I sat up on the couch and had a great time reading my Bible for about an hour. It had been a long time since I had done that. I read a little from Genesis, Isaiah, Proverbs, Psalms, Ecclesiastes and Matthew and took notes on what I read. My hope is to make that a daily priority.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I said to my husband...

"Be romantic for this picture."
But that amused him for some reason.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Pretty Bridesmaids

We waited and waited for this wonderful event that took place last Saturday evening in a beautiful setting overlooking the Nanticoke River. Our pastor's beloved daughter Linnea became Ben Taylor's wife. Our big church family (including special guest Thomas Prettyman all the way from Chattanooga) partied and danced and ate cupcakes until the groom politely told us to go home at the early hour of 11:30 p.m.
Summer can end now. The girls can return to Covenant.
Sienna and Kyrie have flicker pictures.
Pictured (left to right) are Sienna, Kyrie, Linnea, and Rachel (groom's sister).

Thursday, July 12, 2007


This is my handsome nephew Vincent Howard and his beautiful wife Kiko who have been married for almost a year. Kiko lets us in on their life together by blogging often and putting lots of pics on Flicker that make us ooohhh and aaaahhh.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Chariot without wheels...

In the early morning Damien reads to me from the Valley of Vision prayer book. We see eye to eye on these prayers. They are basically saying we are weak but He is strong and all things unfold from His mercy and wisdom. God is highly exalted and man is put in his proper place -the posture of bowing down might convey that place. Anyway, I have lagged behind in zeal, fervor and energy for God for so long that I honestly wonder if I know Him at all. I trust that He knows me and has anchored me to Himself so when Damien read this line of a certain prayer it almost made me laugh: "My soul is often a chariot without wheels, clogged and hindered in sin's miry clay..." yep, that's me and I guess I feel comforted that others have felt this way and have written about it and like I said it is He that holds us and will not let go. That is soooooooooo wonderful...but I do need to get the wheels churning somehow.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


Ida and I went to the community Summer Drama Club presentation of Guys and Dolls. It was at the high school. Ida LOVES plays and I hung in there with a real smile for 3 hours. So amazing to see neighbor kids acting, special ed kids on stage, kids with little talent, kids with a lot of it--all together having a ball. Levi was in a suit and a great little gangster, Posie (star quality) as a loose woman, boys filling up the stage belting out songs (all in their own unique key!) A particular high school girl (Chalice's close friend from ballet) stole the show with her beauty and talent.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

3 fun kids and me

I had the best time this evening. My growing children and friends were unavailable to go with me to the nearby festival where a band would be playing Beatle songs at 7pm. There were kidddie rides, cotton candy, etc. so I got this great idea of inviting Posie (9), Levi (7) and Naomi (7) to go with me! We had a ball. The band was great, watching my 3 little friends on 2 rides was more than thrilling-seeing their happy, happy faces on the roller coaster and ferris wheel...watching part of an outside movie was cool too. I was laughing at Cat in the Hat- a movie I hadn't seen. I thought parts of it were really funny. Kids are the VERY BEST company-ain't no doubt about it.

Monday, June 25, 2007


This is Pax waiting to leave for Victory Valley Camp in PA. It just wouldn't come soon enough... for all of us.

Friday, June 22, 2007


My close friend of 25 years. This past weekend Ida was happy to have a new grandson in her home. Ishmael and his parents Tamara (Brae's dearest childhood friend) and Sean Kelly are shown in all their familial glory on Sienna's Flickr site.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day (under the Crape Myrtle)

We had a father's day luncheon in our front yard today! He's wearing his new favorite shirt sent to him from his loving sister Melinda. What made "the luncheon" especially wonderful was Sienna who got here last night from her long trek back from Norway. Hopefully we can all stay put for while. Oh, Damien got burgundy crocs and a medley of chocolates from me, a frisbee (Damien's favorite sport to play!) and a starbucks gift card from Kyrie and some other things... we made it fun.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Lowen's back! (in Chattanooga)

photo by kiko

Look at this great picture of my very own son (who defies description so I won't even try), the ultra handsome and very mature looking Thomas Prettyman, and a pretty young woman named Emily.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The grass really is greener over "There"

I have been reading a 17th century book by Jeremiah Burroughs called Hope. Biblically the word hope means a certain good, a future good. Every person who is a child of God is a person of hopes; he is born to great hopes ( a certain good, a future good) and he serves God for the present but with a longing for what lies ahead - a certain good, a future good. There are wonderful things and painful things along life's road, but I think there is that longing for God's promises that will one day be fulfilled when we see Him face to face in heaven. Maybe this longing for eternity with God is why we long for events and appointments and occasions here on the earth. Maybe it is that longing that flings some of us all around the world in anticipation of adventure and some new thing that will bring great satisfaction or fulfillment. I don't long for travel but I long for the cool of the evening, Saturday mornings, the moments when I get to sit and drink up God's words during a sermon, reunions with family or friends. Maybe even these little earthly longings are indications of the one great longing deep within our hearts to be finally Home - whole, fulfilled, at peace with great joy forever.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Guess who went to work today??

Derailed for 18 months but back in "work mode"- your friendly and competent Larson-Juhl salesrep for the Delmarva region, that would be my amazing husband Damien! He will begin part-time on the Eastern Shore for now. Praise God.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Pax is a daddy!

This is the orphaned Ping who was rescued with a crabbing net at the little beach by the radio station. It is eating its grain and drinking and chirping and paddling around in our bathtub, but mostly nestled in its cardboard box near Pax's bed. The little mallard has lived with us for three days.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

End of school year trip!

This is me and my little (Mud Turtle) friend at Blackwater Refuge! Damien and I hiked along pathways and the water's edge. We didn't have our kids trailing behind us as we did in prior years but it was just as enjoyable as a couple. We saw several Banded Water Snakes right at our feet and dozens and dozens of Painted Turtles basking in the sun. We could learn a few lessons about taking it easy from those little critters.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

My girl Sienna is 20 and gone again.

Sienna was home from college for a short week before she flew away again. I miss Sienna's calm, loving and uplifting ways with her Papa. I miss the funny faces she makes, her affectionate smiles and how she can make me laugh when I am in a bad mood. It will be fun to anticipate her return. There are irises in full bloom in the garden and I always think of her when I see them because they were flowering around our home when I returned from the hospital after having her.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Gentle Giant

Dave Lee was a man in his forties... 6'4" and 250 lbs or so... our big, extended Howard family knew him because he was a close friend to my brother-in-law David Howard for the last 30 years. Dave Lee with his longish hair and beard was a noticeable sight on his bike which is how he got around in his hometown of Easton. This past winter he was quite pleased about having his license and his own little car. He called Damien often to see how he was and came over recently to see us. He never stayed long - just inquired as to how we were doing and that he was doing well in that big booming voice of his. He was hit by a truck while riding his bike last week. I just learned of his death. At the memorial service, I am sure we will hear of his gentleness, his generous ways and his child-like appreciation for life in general. David Lee Archer-Shee has a soul that will never die. I pray that through God's great mercy, he is resting and whole and free in the everlasting Arms of Jesus - wouldn't that be something.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

"Supa dam hawd"

The title is an inside joke among our family and a few friends. My 17th day subbing for a certain teacher is somewhat rewarding and enjoyable but today was just "supa dam hawd". Pax said that many years ago at age 5 when Damien asked him how his dentist appointment went that day. He had many cavities filled during that particular appointment and a root canal.
Anyway, since working everyday I can't believe I live in a world where so many people leave their home early and get home late EVERYDAY for decades. I am needing to sit deep in my home and live in the heart of it again. It gives me a new appreciation for my hard-working husband who worked long hours with Larson-Juhl through sweltering heat and ice storms, sick or well, feeling down or up year in and year out... he went for us...and, Lord willing, is returning to his work June 2.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

God be with you Lowen and Sienna

To Low in Uganda and Sienna in Norway... may God give you love, peace, wisdom, the excitement of a little kid, and a fire in your heart. Go as His lights into these unfamiliar lands. There is no greater joy than to see one's children claim God as their own and walk in His ways. Growth in faith seems slow at times and we clumsily and half-heartedly make steps toward Him. But He pursues us relentlessly and victoriously - that's the amazing part and the happy part.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

A Fast Paced Saturday

Good Grief. I have been teaching Pax to hoe the vegetable garden. He uses the hoe like a weapon to destroy and maim. I am trying to impress upon him gentleness... Eli arrives with a lacrosse stick in hand (he's 3), actually 2 of them and he and Pax practice as well as any 12 year old and 3 year old can....Pax gets the idea of a lemonade stand and we slowly move in that direction because it is only 11a.m. Damien has started the mower and he and I are working on that while Pax is working with Eli. Sienna, Kyrie and Linnea are spiraling around the house, yard and park with the camera. Damien arranges a photo shoot. Chalice has to get home from babysitting and get ready for her school's formal--everyone in gowns and tuxedos. Chalice appears from upstairs in a lavender gown and has to get to the quick shop for 2 bags of ice for the affair. I try to imagine her walking into the quick shop looking like a princess. Shoot! I remember I have to make 2 cakes by 6 p.m. Jedd, my next-to-favorite boy, joins the Howard chaos and he has brought his dog,Eli, who is much more of a bear, to the yard. The lemonade stand is now manned by 3 boys and there is a bear tied up to the telephone pole. I bring it a bucket of water. People actually stop for lemonade...mostly fathers in trucks. The very best part of this day is that Eli (the boy, not the bear) and I are FINALLY alone and calm because everyone went to see Spiderman. We are sooooooooooo glad.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Saturday with the Boys

photo by Robin Wilkinson

Here's a great highlight shot of my boy. After Saturday's action-packed lacrosse game, Pax, Eli and I caught some news about a multi-cultural festival on Pine Street put together by Lydi Garcia and others and we were off! It was really fun going to another part of town and visiting these neighbors we wouldn't ordinarily get together with. I knew a lot of kids because of subbing. There was music, crafts, food, exhibits about things like Habitat for Humanity and there was a huge, shallow fish tank brought in from Horn Point so the kids could get up close, dangle their hands in and touch different kinds of big fish.

On May 12 there will be the second Jazz Festival on Race Street. Kids, remember Max went with you all last May? Mark your calendars.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Blooming Trees

Damien found this tree for me to post. On our walks we see these trees but in a deep rasberry or vibrant pink-really beautiful but they flower quickly and then the beauty is gone.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Dad

A dad can be hard where sometimes a mom isn't. Returning home from dance with Damien, Pax remembers his lacrosse stuff is at dance. The dance building is way down Rt. 50 now so Damien says that's where it will stay and sorry you won't be able to practise tonight and sorry you won't be playing at the game Fri. nite at the high school stadium under the lights. That simple. Pax is sobbing which is my cue to take a long walk-outathere. Pax has been forgetting stuff left and right and whereas I would reluctantly back track for him, Dame just says "Oh well, deal with the consequences." As Linnea would say, "Bam!"

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Boy Howdy

So here he is...
Eli the wonderboy!
(click on pictures to enlarge)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Sunny and mild weather...

got me in the mood to get Damien on his long forgotten bike. I was biking by myself in all the beauty thinking two would be much more fun. He saw that I had a plan and off we went up to the Quick Shop to buy Mary Jane candy, swung around the Catholic Church and went home along the water. That was fun.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Have you seen the commercial? 2 girls and a guy sitting on a couch eating some Slow-Churn ice cream and then they jump up and start dancing to some fun music because it's low calorie or fat free or something and then they hop back on the couch and start eating again. It's so cute, always makes me smile and I can't wait to have my girls home and I would love for them to re-enact that commercial in our living room. Any 3 of them could totally copy that and it would be even funnier!
To see the commercial on YouTube click here.

Just as I feared....

I came home after teaching 7 groups of kids (each group a different grade) and did 3 hours...3 HOURS of lesson plans that will get me through tomorrow (one little day). My concentration with these kids will be in reading, writing, spelling and grammar. Right now I think I will be doing 3 hours of planning every night for several weeks-SCARY. There was so much I liked about today even though it was overwhelming. Somehow it is a scary but positive experience.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Calm before the Storm

A few months ago I was quick to tell a teacher that of course I would sub for her for the last 6 weeks of the school year while she gets some surgery done. Well, I have been spending some time with her and I cannot believe what is expected of me and how little time this person spent going over stuff with me. I will have 7 different groups of kids in many different grades. Each group has their own curriculum and I get a big fat teacher's manual for each group to figure out daily lesson plans. Hello? What? What the? (little joke between Damien and me. We walk around saying "What the?") I cannot afford to panic, my calm and steady sister tells me, so instead I have this little laugh going on today. I sub because I am spontaneous and don't plan much and just go and do it. This commitment is all about systems, organization, new materials every day, putting things back exactly where I got them , using these materials I have never even seen before, different closets I need to get familiar with...what the? Don't you love it when people look at you and say, "Oh it's easy-you won't have any problem." She has been teaching for 37 years!
I fall into this abyss bright and early tomorrow morning. See you in 6 weeks.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Beautiful Ballet

We saw Chalice dance a lot last night in Coppelia. Pax and two of his friends from football were in it too. He wore nickers, knee-high socks, and a puffy-sleeved white shirt. He looked really good and was quite impressive as a dancer. Chalice wore a very feminine black and white Bavarian-style dress that was just beautiful. She and others did this dance with fans and then with tamborines that brought out her Puerto Rican flare. The whole ensemble met for a late night dinner and after-party at Snappers.
Chalice has to resolve to rest her foot now for 6-8 weeks due to a torn tendon she's been dealing with for a year or so. She has a great doctor advising her right here on Maryland Avenue.
And Pax can now concentrate on his first love, lacrosse!

(More pictures on Chalice's blog)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Red Pax

Since red has been showing up on other family blogs I thought
I'd post this picture of Pax taken with our new little Nikon.
I think Pax is watching The Sound of Music. He's on the coziest
little corner of our living room couch.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Easter Sunday

Kate and nutty girlfriends....Kate cooking (which Lisa says I never do), and girlfriends being way too manic in the kitchen because we are around FOOD.

Saturday, April 7, 2007


Heidi, from Sunnyside Shop, was looking for someone to watch her little nephew Eli on Saturdays and at other times. So for the last 2 days we've had a cute little chubby guy racing around our home. He reminds me of Pax at 3 but with longer hair. He is so fun. Damien is making cookies in the kitchen so he thinks Dame is magic and is just hanging out in the kitchen with him. I knew he would start gravitating toward the man of the house. In fact when Damien told me to get Eli to do something, I said he didn't have to and Eli said, "Yes I do." I forget the particulars but he already figured out who he was beholden to!

Thursday, April 5, 2007


I have been at the Montessouri school this week which means I have had the pleasure of seeing Posie and Levi and Anne a lot. Anne teaches singing in French, how to play instruments, relaxation of body and mind (some stretching) and little talks about loving yourself and others. I especially liked how she talked briefly to be mindful of what you are eating at meal times. We all shovel food in at times and eat without thinking or too fast so I enjoyed what she said. Brae is big time into those thoughts on food! But what I wanted to say was how Posie really impressed me today. Three girls, all around age 11, were trying to put a dance together for the upcoming mother's tea and I noticed Posie getting ujncomfortable with how it was coming along. The one ring leader was incorporating pop music (you know, bubblegum stuff) with all the accompanying throw your hip out and your chest and shake it down stuff and Posie had had her fill though she was trying to be a good sport. Finally with a little coaxing from me she said with tears, "My family loves jazz (the meat!)and other kinds of music and my family doesn't really like this kind of music and I don't like dancing like that. My mom doesn't really want me to do that and my dad..." Well, you get the message. She referenced her family so many times in that little conversation that it made me cry ( later in the kitchen with Anne who was cooking!). It was really precious to see that budding individualism, her objections and her sensitivity.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Pastor Pax?

I had such a good time with Pax today coming home from school. He told me a junior high friend spoke at chapel and that he thinks he would like to do that. He said it would have to do with keeping a clean conscience and that he would write about James who confesses sins and himself. Pax said he feels like a different person from who he was last year. Instead of not caring about breaking things, for instance, now he takes ownership of what he has broken. He broke a ball pump at school today and he said "and I just told the person in the office what I did and it was fine." I suggested that maybe he had become a Christian lately and he didn't object to the idea. He wants to write out what he would say at a chapel and ask if he can give it. I really encouraged him to do that. Go Pax!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Car talk

My brother-in-law David and his son Ben and I spent a lot of time together traveling to and from Silver Spring this past weekend. Ben is 17 today. He was interested to talk about God and it was really encouraging to hear his thoughts about eternal things. His father encouraged all of us to read the Gospels and jot down questions and comments that we could talk about the next time we meet. 17 is a hard age in so many ways. Ben commented on how none of his friends are Christians. I remember leaving the carefree years of childhood and grappling with uncomfortable things like voting, driving, a changing body, algebra and the strange new world of sororities and "parties" and guys. No wonder most of us feel weird and displaced at 17. Ben seems to have a lot going for him and a lot on the ball. You should hear him go on and on about history and his adored little sister "Fuss" and his growing understanding that dating in high school is really stupid (his word). A guy who likes to talk to older people like me is a novelty in itself. I really enjoyed spending time with him and David.

Friday, March 23, 2007


I was just boasting about how I never get sick. I've had about 2 headaches in my life while all around me I hear of family and friends who suffer routinely from them. I think it started last evening when I had too much liquid vitamins. After that I noticed a nagging headache, went to bed and woke up with it. Nothing a little coffee wouldn't fix and off I went to sub for a class of 2nd graders. I began to let my kids know that I was holding my head for a reason and to settle down while I got some kites together for 2pm kite time. Outside with everyone I am sitting and now I am holding my head and my stomach. I can not believe I am in the grip of a "sick headache." I can not believe my children and friends go through this horrible thing regularly. I have no tolerance for this-none. I get home, get some sympathy from Damien and think about throwing up and then my wonderful , wonderful friend John comes over. I can't miss that. I try to focus on him for awhile. We're thinking maybe I am dehydrated so I down 4 glasses of cold water slowly. Just before he leaves I am really ready to throw up and slip off to the bathroom. Relief comes and feeling terrible actually begins to fade with the help of a very cold cloth on my forehead. I would rather die than live with those and then I think of Damien who has been sick or nauseous for the better part of 17 months and never complains. No more boasting from me for awhile.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Okay, you women with a man, don't lose your edge! Damien mentioned this article (featured this morning on Yahoo!) from the magazine Men's Health: 'What Makes Men Fall in Love'
1) Passion Besides Them - You have to have interests outside the relationship.
2) You Don't Mind Guy Time - Don't cut off his time with the boys.
3) Keep Your Strut - I guess that means some sass and confidence.
4) Good Taste in Ties - Women need a strong sense of fashion to make up for the total lack of this in most men. They really need help.

Damien and I had fun with this.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


For about a month, Pax had been more antsy than usual. He kept saying, "I want to build something." I took him to a hardware store but the salesman said what he had in mind was probably more than he could handle (not a very good salesman!). Pax was frustrated when I said, "let's leave and think about this a bit more and wait 'til your friends get back from their trips." So he kept thinking about it, his friends returned and back to the store we went. This time Pax insisted on getting started and darn if he and Mason didn't make a spectacular fort in Lisa's backyard last Sunday afternoon. They had just enough know-how with some power tools, just enough muscle (and duct tape) and a ton of creativity. For five hours or so, in the cold, they went at it and practically built a house the size of a BIG shed out of cardboard boxes and particle board! Lisa and I could not believe our eyes. It also has a lookout tower ( a ladder inside of a tall refridgerator box), a bathroom (not what they call it), and electricity inside. He is there now so who knows what else they've added. He loves to tell me every detail of the building process when he finally comes in for the night. Kids are amazing that way.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Half Nelson

Damien and I just watched Half Nelson. I think Matt recommended it. A pretty miserable movie, dontchathink? Everyone's life was a mess and getting worse. If any of you saw it, what did you think of it? The main guy reminded me a little of Lowen but ONLY in looks--handsome and cool and he also reminded me of Uncle Dave in his charm.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Dr. Julie Jaffe

Dr. Jaffe is all of 25 is my guess. Five foot eight, slim, and big brown sparkly eyes that linger lovingly over her patient, Damien, of almost two years. She's daughterly (a really SMART one), she drops things, scribbles all over pads of paper, is pausing ("excuse me") to check the pager hooked to her body and always juggling the laptop as well. Her long deep brown hair flops across her face which is always fresh looking and free of makeup. She looks like a lamb but is a self-professed "lion" when it comes to tackling life-threatening cancers in her patients at Johns Hopkins. The head doctor, Steven Gore, has a lot of confidence in her. In October of 2005 Drs. Gore and Jaffe took a long look at Damien and said, "It's gonna take awhile and you're going to get a lot of chemo. We'll look for a donor among your siblings, you get a bone marrow transplant and we give you your life back." And that's exactly what they did.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

2 Tributes

I read about 2 different women this morning who are both doing pretty amazing things for others. One woman went to a yard sale and for 5 bucks bought a huge supply of needleart supplies: fabric, ribbon, hooks, hoops, thread, you name it- she got it. Then she started thinking about her treasure and of the person who had owned all of it, started gathering information about the woman (who had died ) from friends and relatives who knew her and slowly but surely started making a quilted wall hanging type thing to honor her and her passion for sewing, quilting, etc. It was really beautiful and I wish I had a picture of it to show you. Isn't that cool that a total stranger comes along and does that for another human being. It is so.."pure!"
I'll get back to you on the second woman.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

At a stand-still

Why aren't I blogging? Damien reminds me, Marianna coaxes me....I could blog about my brother-in-law's graduation from a 2 month long rehab and how he honored his sons by what he said in front of everyone that evening...I could blog about my big sister, first born of 9 of us who after 30+ years in Scarsdale, N.Y. moved with her husband to Annapolis, Md. to be with our healthy 85 year old mother, our sister Dawn and of course her daughter and grandchildren. Dawn and I are very excited about this. Sentences are just not coming. I don't know why because there is so much going on that is newsworthy. Brae moved to Philly, Kyrie is in Peru, Lowen has a little dog....I will try again soon.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Mike Bright

Old friends are the best friends. Damien's former boss was in town today all the way from Texas and came to visit bearing cigars and port. What a great man. You know those types that just light up a room with their energy, make you laugh, love you, relax you and give good sincere advice? Well, that's Mike Bright. He came all the way from Texas last winter too to visit Damien in the hospital. A true friend. God bless Mike Bright - that's what Linnea would say!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

An Ever-Fixed Mark

God-like love is divinely generated says Martin Lloyd Jones. It starts within and goes out to others. Circumstances and situations will not move it, shake it or affect it. Wow. I get a sense of this if I don't move or breathe. Dear God, give us this kind of love.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

No Bounds

This is going to be a very frivolous blog entry. Some Howards spent time at 9501 this weekend as Chalice had ballet auditions in the area...anyway, Faith Harr is living there and has anyone noticed her beauty?? I was trying not to stare. I predict her beauty will know no bounds when she reaches her 30's. I told you this would be frivolous because, you know, inner beauty is the thing...

Friday, February 16, 2007

One good sentence

"Every experience God gives us, every person he puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see."
- Corrie ten Boom

Thursday, February 15, 2007


When Betsie and Corrie were harshly pronounced by a Nazi official as "free", given back papers and some of their belongings, and their father's precious things like his watch and ring (because he had died there), instead of being released they were taken to another prison camp without explanation:

"What better way could there be to spend our lives?", said Betsie.
"What are you talking about?", wailed Corrie.
"If people can be taught to hate, they can be taught to love. We must find a way Corrie, no matter how long it takes."

I slowly took in that she was talking about the Nazi guards around us. I saw gray uniforms and visored hats. Betsie saw wounded human beings. I wondered again what kind of person my sister was...what kind of road she followed while I trudged behind with feet of clay.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I remember Mrs. Gutsche saying to me a long time ago, "The older you get, the more you yearn for your first family-parents, siblings." I am still turning through the pages of The Hiding Place revisiting all my favorite paragraphs and I just think I should read a page a day of this book til I die. Corrie and Betsie seemed to me in my 20's sort of like my mom Ruth and her best friend and dear sister, Maugie. Maugie died of cancer a day before Lowen was born. That was a low time for my mother. They only reminded me of Corrie and Betsie because I saw how much they loved each other. Today when I reread one of my favorite parts of this book, I thought more of my sister Dawn and me as I imagined us in that horrible situation:

"After 4 months of being separated in the Nazi prison camp, I saw her auburn hair amid the crowd and as we stepped on to the train at the same time, I seized her hand in mine. Together we found seats in the crowded compartment, together we wept. It had been our first separation in fifty-three years. It seemed to me I could bear anything with Betsie beside me."

Isn't that beautiful yet painful and doesn't it make you realise what luxurious lives we live?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Another Route

I was paging through The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom to inspire me to post and I found a little something. I think I will dedicate it to Lowen Grey. When the only young man Corrie ever loved came to visit one day with his fiance, this is what Corrie's father tenderly said to Corrie later on in her room. "Love is the strongest force in the world, and when it is blocked that means pain. There are 2 things to do when that happens. Kill the love somehow so it stops hurting or ask God to open up another route for that love to travel." Who can argue with Corrie Ten Boom's father? Sounds like a call to get involved in ministry...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Just Weird

Pax and Damien and I playing Scrabble on a Friday night, Pax and Damien watching football and chatting away as I am falling asleep in my bed, Pax getting help from both of us on papers to be written for school, Pax and his friend (or friends) spread out in our home, Pax talking to Damien and me before leaving for church with the neighbors (Damien is still taking it easy as he is recovering from pneumonia), Pax and I working on a Science Fair project with no interruptions.... My mother had 9 children and felt this way with her last son and I guess the more children you have (Damien and I have six), the stranger it is when only one is still in is just weird.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

My brother-in-law

I love my brother-in-law. For anyone who knows my history with David, it is clear that this is a miracle. I asked God for many, many years to change my heart toward David because I couldn't even fake liking him or being kind to him. Last year David saved my husband's life by being the bone marrow donor he desperately needed. Of Damien's siblings, David was the only one who had a perfect match for Damien. He needed David's marrow to live. The doctors at Johns Hopkins made sure that happened last year at this time.
It is David's birthday today and a group of us took him to dinner and bought him some presents. What makes this so special is that he has spent the last 5 weeks at a rehab to stop drinking. He has never looked better and is feeling better than he has in years. He is an amazing person. Very bright, extremely extroverted and with a new hope about the rest of his life. May God continue to bless David with sobriety, a clear mind, and a new heart.

Friday, February 9, 2007

A Good Saying

You know those signs in front of some churches that have a saying on them -- a lot of them are corny and not worth reading twice like "Seven days without prayer makes one weak" -c'mon...I can see saying it maybe but posting it big on the church lawn for all the traffic to see? Today I saw a good one: Blessed are those who give without remembering and take without forgetting." Now that one stuck with me all day.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

One of a Kind

I got to substitute at the little Christian school where I was a teacher's helper for two years. I helped Mrs. Bloodsworth who has worked heart and soul at that school for 30 years. Her son Steve has put in almost as many years and he is the strong male figure/headmaster at the school. He is known for being the most energetic, most playful 50something year old that anyone will ever meet. The mother-son relationship at the school is something that everyone benefits from. Mrs. Bloodsworth is often expressing concern over what Steve eats or needs to eat to be healthy and brings him wonderful food. Mr. Steve is heard laughing heartily over one thing or another throughout the day and playfully exclaims "the train has derailed!" All the kids know that some minor catastrophe has occurred when we hear that familiar phrase. I had 4 kindergartners to take care of today and by the time I left I felt like I should have paid the school for the privilege of being in a relaxed, loving and respectful environment. Long live Open Bible Academy!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Dear "ol' Pastor Shelton"

Actually I have heard from some medical people at Hopkins that folks in their 50's are in the new "middle age". I am eleven months older than our pastor. I think one feels old in their early 50's but then I hear we get a "second wind" and get renewed in our energy for the last couple legs of our journey here on earth. We do things like join the space program, open up an orphanage, you know, that sort of thing. Here's a verse for our beloved pastor:

"Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age."
-Psalm 92:13-14

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The Way Up is Down

My girl is struggling with her work load at Covenant. Yearbook commitments. work study, and an impossible exam to pass. There are only so many hours in a day. What's the worse that can happen? Failing at some things with the hope of new beginnings. Hard days at home, hard days in Africa, hard days at Covenant...hmmm, I see a pattern! The way up is down I think. It's good that God shows us our weaknesses. We won't stray far from Him that way and we learn slowly but surely what it means to have "His strength in my weakness". Hang in there babydoll.

Monday, February 5, 2007

It Takes Two

I had this great idea on Sunday to make a patchwork quilt pillow out of some pretty material I didn't need and some unused valences. I felt sure Damien would help me with the details. I knew if I said the words "pattern" or "design" he would get that light in his eye. Dame googled a quilting pattern, figured out the measurements and how it should look and then I did all the cutting and sewing. Lowen and Brae were little the last time we did anything like that so maybe that's why it took all afternoon. It was really fun. It's a great art project for long, chilly winter days. I guess it was working on it together that made me want to write about it. What creative projects do you like to spend time on?

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Another Country

I know something. I know that I am easily satisfied with earthly joys and pursuits. I put my heart and soul into preparing a vegetable garden out back for the spring and summer and feel fulfilled and happy when I gaze into the face of a little child. I'm ready to call it a day. I know that I still drink deeply from the wrong fountains - good water but not the best.
I know there is a boundless sea of delights if I would only learn to draw comfort and joy in the life to come and in the inheritance of the saints. If there were books on this to fill the earth, I bet it would still not plumb the depths of all that God has for us in the life to come. If I would devote myself to this glorious secret of real life, I would understand more of what it means to be a sojourner on the earth - not being overly troubled by this loss or that one or by anything else. I would be less likely to be undone by life's winds and storms. Christians are born to great hopes (future certainties). So... Let us long for and seek after another country.

Saturday, February 3, 2007


The blog I wrote for today is a bit "heavy" (I'll save it for Sunday). So for fear of losing the few viewers I might have ("that blogger is too serious.") I am going to try and get you to giggle. My sister sent me a copy of the book she is reading called A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. She is thinking it might possibly keep her out of the insane asylum. She heard that laughing each day, even if you have to schedule it, like putting in a tape from comedian Brian Regan, just may preserve the last little bit of well-being she has--hey, it's worth a try. So we are reading the book together and I am reading it aloud to my husband. In the beginning of the book the author is at the diner and asking the locals what they think of him striking out on to the Appalacian Trail for about six weeks. Here goes:

"Scary stuff waitin for ya out there on the AT...Remember Jeb?...tweren't nothin' left o him but a scorch mark."

"lots of diseases out there waitin to getcha...lymes there's a disease for the person who wants to experience it all."

"and Budd..was visiting a bush in the middle of the night, got swooped down on by a fearsome owl and the last he saw of his scalp it was dangling from talons prettily silohuetted against the harvest moon."

I don't know. Maybe it's a book for the Pastrana girls-we're tickled.

Friday, February 2, 2007


After watching a clip of the Dr. Phil show yesterday about someone's destructive dad, I left to pick up Pax from school. I started thinking about my dad in a light-hearted way and how he was a really good one. Generous came to my mind first. Freedom came next - I realise now that some dads are overbearing or too sheltering but my dad was at the other end of that spectrum, for me anyway. He laid down the law when I was little, and from that point gave out more and more freedom. The third thing that came rattling off the press of my brain on my seven minute trek down Rt. 50 was that my 6 brothers and their friends treated me really well while I was growing up. That is no small thing and I attribute it to my dad's good example.
What three things come to mind when you think of your father?

Thursday, February 1, 2007


God, hurry to their rescue, go quickly to their side!
Their feet are slipping, their hands can not hold on
to Yours. In Your great love, revive them.
Send relief, refreshment, and a place to heal.
May they be taught by all Your testings what is
right and true. Let them shout Your name with
a praising song because all things are under Your feet.

-A prayer (based on several Psalms) dedicated to my sister
Dawn and her husband as they seek help in raising their
adopted son from Romania, age 15.
To all the saints, a call to pray.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

guardian angels

With another daughter (Chalice) on the road and Damien finishing up IV treatments at home, my sister Lyn often bewails my situation but always with humor. And this reminds me of what my girlfriends have always said about the Howard home: "Everybody take really good care of your families because all the guardian angels are at Kate's house!"