Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Laramie, Wyoming – Home On The Range

Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day
Home, home on the range

How often at night where the heavens are bright
With the light of the glittering stars
Have I stood there amazed and asked as I gazed
If their glory exceeds that of ours

Home, home on the range
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day

Then give me a land where the bright diamond sand
Flows leisurely down to the stream
Where the graceful white swan goes gliding along
Like a maid in a heavenly dream
Oh I would not exchange my old home on the range
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where the seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day

100_2565 100_2564100_2568 100_2561100_2562100_2558 100_2560

My husband and I took this series of pictures from the porch at my parents house.  This is where we fell in love.  There is something enchanting about the peace of the range, the glittering stars (the likes you’ve never seen in your life) and the purple mountains majesty. 

It was a little hard growing up here with the long winters and nothing to do all day but meander around on the prairie.  You can imagine the trouble the youth could get up to with a driver’s license and nothing to occupy them.  Although, our children are enjoying meandering the prairie.  It’s a nice place to visit for a while.  There are a lot of outdoorsman things to do.  It’s a rough and tumble life here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

An Enduring Spirit – The Adam Towler Memorial 5K/10K Run

100_2554100_2553100_2543100_2534 100_2532 100_2544

Saturday my family and the Laramie community celebrated the 4th Annual Adam Towler Memorial 5K/10K run.  It is a beautiful, exhilarating, exhausting event.  We remember my kind-hearted, highly-intelligent, eccentric younger brother by running like mad and raising money for charities near and dear to his heart (St. Laurence O’Toole School, the Heart to Heart Pregnancy Center and the Red Dress Heart Fund).  We know he is keeping us all in his prayers up in heaven.  On several occasions, I have lifted intentions to God through Adam and God has answered.  Adam was clearly needed in heaven.  Do not be shy to offer your intentions through Adam.

I took a few pictures of Adam’s things in his room yesterday (above), because they make me smile.  I forget them when I am away, but they perfectly epitomize his personality—his quirky sense of humor, his love of cold ancient places (the scotty dog from Ireland made of Irish sod), his love of history and geography, his love of writing, his love of the unknown (aliens), and most importantly his religiosity.  He never threw anything away, because he assigned special meaning to everything he ever owned.  Most people get tired of their things, they lose meaning and are discarded.  Adam never did.  He had written a part of his life on each thing.  That is not to say that he was a materialist.  The things, simply, kept symbolic meaning to him.  It’s really quite touching.

Here below is Adam’s obituary from four years ago written by my wonderful sister Sarah.  It may give some insight into why we celebrate Adam each year:

Our beloved son and brother, Adam Robert Towler, died Sunday, July 16, 2006, under tragic circumstances. He was born in Brisbane, Australia, his father's hometown, on May 11, 1986 (Mother's Day). The Towler family moved to Laramie when he was 1 year old. He attended kindergarten through sixth grade at St. Laurence Elementary. As a junior high student, he won the Wyoming State Geography Bee in 2000 and 2001 and went on to compete nationally. A strong knowledge of the globe and an intercontinental family resulted in a deep and profound world interest that would shape his dreams. In ninth grade, he applied for and received a scholarship and acceptance to the prestigious Portsmouth Abbey in Portsmouth, R.I. His high school education served to flourish his personal growth, immense creativity and spiritual enlightenment. Athletically, he competed and found a niche in cross country and track. The Abbey also allowed Adam to nourish his altruistic personality while participating in the Appalachian service project two years in a row. Shortly thereafter, he volunteered with Heart to Heart in Laramie. Adam was also a published writer and poet. He won the school's poetry prize upon graduation from the Abbey in 2005. In the fall of the same year, he entered into his freshman year at Emory University in Atlanta. The diversity of Emory allowed him to pursue his interests with exuberant fervor. He was pleased with his international relations major and even more so with his studies in Hindi and his minor in Middle Eastern and Asian studies. He quickly became an editor at The Emory Political Review and became actively involved in the on-campus Catholic Church while maintaining a 3.7 GPA. In the summer of 2006, he was accepted to the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, realizing a longtime dream. Adam was looking forward to building a new life in the nation's capital. He thought maybe one day, he might be a diplomat or a consulate to a foreign nation and travel the world, visiting the places he had studied for long hours as a boy. Adam was a kind, insightful and genuine young man. He was well known for his sense of humor and ability to quickly make a stranger into a friend. Adam brought his parents and family great pride with both his character and accomplishments. He was a wonderful son and brother and well loved by all who knew him.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sweet Sibling Love

For anyone who ever thought that they would just have one child.  Who would your child share their morning cartoons with?  This scene brought a tear to my eye.  These tots really love each other and want the best for each other.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Nightlight: Like Nails On A Chalkboard


van-gogh-vincent-starry-night-7900566I was awake half the night last night.  There were little lights everywhere.  There were two LED face clocks,  the light on the cordless phone charger and the night light.  I felt like I was trying to sleep in an open field during the sunniest part of the day, except without the soothing affects of the UV rays.  Since the beginning of my marriage one of my biggest pet-peeves, among the many, is light in my bedroom. 

While we were learning about Natural Family Planning we read about the effects of night light on one’s cycle.  Since I was learning fertility signs on my own in a home study course, I figured I would try all the recommend methods of improving fertility signs—no matter how much hocus pocus I thought it was.  I took folic acid, fish oil, ordered other special multi-vitamins and ate more carrots.  The final bit of reproductive cycle voodoo I thought I would try was a totally dark bedroom, except for three nights a month.

We removed the alarm clock, the computer, the chargers; we took two dark navy sheets and thumb-tacked them over the bedroom window (later we bought blackout material from a fabric store and made curtains).  It was totally dark.  We never had a T.V. in the bedroom, but that would be a big “no-no” too.  We slept incredibly soundly, peacefully and felt refreshed.  To my surprise, my fertility signs did become more clear to me and my cycle became a predictable 28 days.  It was quite exciting.  I was hooked.

However, now when I stay elsewhere as a guest or in a hotel, any light in my nighttime bedroom is like nails on a chalkboard.  I have to go around the bedroom unplugging electronics and covering them up with blankets.  I have a sleep mask for unavoidable lights like a smoke-detector. 

Light pollution is something to look into if you have some inexplicable ailment, or have trouble sleeping.  Sleeping in total darkness, or with the moon cycle, can solve health problems without medication.  It is particularly helpful to those charting their reproduction cycle and or suffering infertility.  Your body releases hormones only in darkness and if you do not get enough of these hormones at regular intervals then your body stops functioning properly…Below are some articles on the topic.

Links to articles about light pollution and fertility:
Presence of light points to breakthrough by Sue Ek
Lunar Fertility by Alice Jones Webb
Light Pollution and Your health

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Grant It O Lord

Glory be to You, O Lord, Glory be to You.

For all the babies being born this year and for their mothers, may they be healthy births. Grant it O Lord.
For the children who suffer ailments, may they be healed. Grant it O Lord.
For our children, may they grow in holiness. Grant it O Lord.

For the gulf oil spill, may it end and be cleaned with haste. Grant it O Lord.
For travelers, may they travel and return home safely. Grant it O Lord.
For the Adam Towler Memorial Race and all noble cause, may they have success and enrich our lives. Grant it O Lord.

For all employers and employees of this nation, may we work hard and be able to give the best product and best benefit to each other. Grant it O Lord.
For the men and women who lead our nation and defend our nation, may they serve and protect. Grant it O Lord.
For my husband’s dissertation, may it be completed speedily and properly. Grant it O Lord.
And may I be the best servant to You I can be. Grant it O Lord.


guadian angel

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer Unplugged – Part 2


Kiting - We made a homemade kite.  The funny thing about this summer project is that the idea sort of came from T.V.  We have been reading a lot of Berenstain Bears lately, since Grandmom and Granddad have the complete set of stories.  But, also PBS Sprouts on Demand has the stories in cartoon form.  Alex was watching an episode called “Fly a Kite.”  In the episode, the bear cubs insisted on buying nice new kite for the kite flying contest.  But, their father said that they could build one.  The father helped the cubs build a kite, but it was too heavy to fly.  The cubs insisted that they were going to fly the kite in the contest because they built with their own hands.  Eventually the kite flew when the took it to the top of the hill.  Alex wanted to build his own kite.  I am pretty sure this one will fly.  But there is no wind right now, so we will have to wait to fly it.  We made it out of tree branches, double layered decorative tissue paper and masking tape.


Style Maven – Kristiana loves to pick out her own clothes.  She is attracted to really bright obnoxious colors.  She originally picked out a bright orange shirt to go with these pants, but I knew she would settle for the pink kitty shirt.  At first, I said no to the whole outfit and dressed her in something that matches.  She threw a wild fit.  So I let her have her way.  I am sure there will be consequences for my letting her do that.  But, I also recognized the error of my ways.  I’d rather let her occasionally let express herself through her clothing than stifle her and have it result in a major teenage rebellion later.  I hope that is somewhat sane thinking.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Beautiful, Blessed Freedom – Journal of An American Family

It’s nice to have Independence day on a Sunday.  We woke up, dressed and went to Divine Liturgy.  It was a fulfilling and fitting way to begin and celebrate the holiday.

Kristiana was up to her usual, into everything, running all over the place.  She wore on our patience this morning.  After Liturgy, there were polish sausages and sauerkraut in the fellowship hall for everyone.  They were exceptionally good, even Alex ate some.  They reminded us of Texas, since we live very near a Czech community there…The children played with other adorable children outside.  It was smile inducing.

4th July cheese
fterward, we drove about 30 miles away to the next town to pick up our cat where he has been staying while we are visiting.  However, the time has come that he can no longer stay.  Our dear friend and catsitter is going on a trip to chaperone the Byzanteen Rally.  So our cat, Samwise, is getting to know a lot of other animals at my in-laws home. 

On our way to and from picking up Samwise, Kristiana screamed her head off in the car.  We were privileged to an hour of her screaming.  She was tired and did not want to be in the car for her nap.  She passed out when we arrived home again.  This is payback for the fits I threw at her age. 

We had a family gathering to celebrate the holiday.  I thought it would be fun if the children roasted hot dogs in the fire pit.  It took too long for the patience of the children, so we had to finish them on the grill.  It was a lovely barbeque with nice light salad and a perfect watermelon.  It did not last too long, which is nice for the children to get to bed on time and nice for this pregnant lady who tires quickly.


 Alex wanted a ride in the “backpack” and I love that he wanted a ride, so I took a picture.   I sort of wish Alex or Kristiana would take more rides in the carrier.  They would not be getting into things they shouldn’t and I enjoy to closeness.


I am celebrating that we are now in the third trimester (28 1/2 weeks).  This makes me eager to hurry up, be done and meet this baby girl.  The time will come soon enough…Other than some very minor and normal pregnancy aches and pain, this has been a perfect pregnancy and I feel really blessed.  I suffered from more exhaustion than I would like and some moodiness, but after some diet adjustments things seem better.

Happy Independence Day


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Prayer Request

We are awaiting important news about my husband’s job position.  Please help us pray for positive results.  We may not hear for the next month, but we have been informed there could be very drastic, difficult changes, or things could remain the same.  We are expecting the worst, but hoping and praying for the best.


Summer Unplugged Part 1

My kids are active, or have AHDD.  But, Alex watches too much T.V.  Kristiana could care less about T.V. she is too busy getting into everything to bother with T.V.  At our home we have our T.V. is locked away in an armoire—out of sight out of mind.  However, this summer Alex has a lot more access and he became accustomed to watching a lot more T.V. during the 5 weeks of Washington spring rains.  I am quickly running out of ways to keep the kids occupied.  They do not seem to care too much about spending all afternoon in the back yard like I did when I was a kid.  I think it’s just not hot enough for them here.  The activities I have been thinking up for the kids do not keep them occupied for very long.  I have been trying to take them for a walk in the stroller and a stop at the park every morning.  That usually takes an hour and a half or two.  One day a week we go the library for a couple of hours.  Other days we make a new snack.  Alex has become good at putting together puzzles.  We all like putting together the train tracks, but Alex doesn’t share the trains.  It quickly digresses.

The kids were driving me nutty this morning.  Our morning outing was not as long as normal.  We walked to Starbucks, ate and returned home.  We had to fill the rest of the morning hours.  The kids colored for a little while, but it really didn’t last long.  I thought the kids were going to play in the back yard, but they just ran in and out the back door more times then I care to count and made a mess of the markers on the back porch.  Alex started getting into the refrigerator and cupboards looking for junk food and Kristiana was trying to color everything with the markers.  Alex had already helped himself to popcorn, so I was not interested in making a new snack, further lunch was approaching.  I thought, I have to get these kids doing a new activity, but all the usual suspects had been done.  I googled homemade play dough and that’s what we did.  Except I added a little too much water and it turned out a little goopey.  It was good enough to squish though and Alex and Kristiana are not skilled enough to make sculptures yet, so it worked.  Apparently the play dough worked up a good appetite for grill cheese sandwiches and fruit.  After naptime we played a little bit with side walk chalk, Alex ran through the sprinkler (it was 65 degrees today, but he wanted to), then the kids drove me crazy for the remaining hour until the rest of the family came home.  But look how cute they were while squishing play dough.

Recap of Summer Unplugged Part 1:

1. Home made play dough
2. Side walk chalk
3. Running through the sprinkler

100_2479100_2483 100_2484 100_2482