Thursday, December 06, 2007

Kentucky in November

Studying requires alot of energy & focus - so they say...

Alex - staying warm

Diana & Emily - Paint Lick, KY
Three generations: Loraine Stoughton Todd; Diana Todd Morris and Emily Morris - 2007

Michael's chopping wood for a cozy fire...

Enjoying the farm in Paint Lick...chilly outside, cozy inside.

My father's family settled in this area over 120 years ago...Although most of the farm has been sold over the years, my parents own a little over 30 acres of beautiful bluegrass country - in the foothills, just outside Berea - folk art center of the country.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Class of 2007

Congratulations! May God be your guide every step of the way! May you always be a Christ follower, always loving others and growing in faith.

I hope you always have an inquiring mind, to learn new things and new ways of doing things. I hope you never settle for less and live each day to it's fullest. Live big, love big and give away as much as you can.

Remember, you are never alone and you are a delight!

Love always,

Your Mommy

Friday, May 04, 2007

A Night To Remember

PROM 2007





Enjoy your special NIGHT! You deserve it!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Spring in Indiana

So, Emily talked me into getting my hair chopped off. It's been about five years, so I did it!
I went to Great Clips and donated my long locks. They use the hair to make wigs for cancer patients. Pretty cool idea.
What do you think?
This will be a busy month. Emily has her Senior Prom, finals and graduation! Wow! This is it. Alex has been hanging out with his buddies that have their own apt and he can't wait to have his own place. He's great! Being their mommy has to be one of the best parts of my life!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Family Fun

Riverwalk, San Antonio

The drive to San Antonio wasn't too bad. I was surprised that the road signs weren't helpful at all in knowing which exit to take, but we found our way. Downtown reminded me so much of some old cities in Brasil. There were lots of trees and squares with benches and fountains. Once you get to the Riverwalk, it's like entering a private garden. The street noise is gone and the trees, flowers and shrubs are wonderful. The walk is shaped like a "T" and part of it is much busier than the rest. Once you get close to the restaurants and the shops, it gets really crowded and noisy.
After enjoying the Riverwalk, we walked over the the Alamo. Then we stopped at a great little cafe for a snack. Heading back to the car, we enjoyed some of the old architecture. Back in the car, we headed East to Winnie, Texas for the night. Poor Michael had to drive through several hours of heavy rain. I'm so glad he was driving!

Wednesday, Caverns of Sonora

What a beautiful morning! We checked out of the hotel and drove about 7 miles west to the Caverns of Sonora. This is privately owned and has camping facilities, as well. There are deer all over. The caves were not developed for tours until many years after they had been discovered. The original opening led to a huge opening that dropped down so far, the explorers were afraid to attempt going further. I'm glad they finally found a way to get through, it's really an interesting site. Very different from the Mammoth caves in Kentucky. That's Michael, to the right.
Their website is
The tour lasted about 1 1/2 hours and the guide had alot of info to share on the history of the caves. One of the most incredible formations in the cave, was shaped liked a butterfly - but someone broke off one of the wings, so it doesn't quite look the same. What a shame!
After visiting the caves, we headed east to San Antonio. SPEED LIMIT 80 mph!! I guess because the roads are fairly straight and the distance is so great, you can really make great time.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Tuesday in Sonora, TX

Arriving late Monday in Sonora, we were soon faced with small town facts. Everything shuts down by 9:00pm. In other words, no supper. We checked in and fell asleep pretty quickly. The next morning we headed out to The Enchanted Rock. This is about 17 miles north of Fredricksburg, TX. I'd like to come back to spend a few days just visiting this quaint town and climbing the rock some more. Photos cannot do justice to the scope and magnitude of this mountain of stone. It was incredible. If you look closely to the picture up in the right corner, those little specks at the top are people. It is ginormous! It started to rain while we were up on top, so we climbed down very carefully. The flora growing on the rock was incredible. Well worth spending several days exploring. There is a campsite at the bottom of the mountain with plenty of sites and clean facilities. We drove back to Sonora and stopped by the Eaton Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. You can check it out at
That evening we did catch supper at the local Pizza Hut and had ice-cream at Dairy Queen. Yum, yum!

Monday in Shawnee

After visiting the college, we drove down to the old Shawnee Depot. We took several pictures of the depot, the old train and an oil pump nearby. Next, we headed over to the original Van's BBQ. Delicious! Brought some sauce home with us. Their website is
We also stocked up on baking mixes from Shawnee Mills, they have great muffin mixes, corn bread and brownie mixes. With much reluctance, we said our good-byes and headed southwest to Sonora, TX.

Fun in Shawnee,OK

Sunday was such a lovely day. We spent time catching up on the news and playing with the girls. Late lunch was delicious, at a local Mexican Restaurant - huge portions! Perfect!
In the morning, we headed over to see Saint Gregory's College, where my oldest brother, Phil, works. As you can see, the campus is beautiful.
Here's another shot, Phil walking across campus after his morning class. We didn't get up early enough to sit in his class. That would've been so amazing. He has a great way of helping his students think through things that most of us take for granted.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Road Trip 2007

Wow! We are in Sonora!
We left home around 8 pm on Saturday, as soon as Michael. Loaded everybody up and headed west on I-70. it was after midnight when we drove through St Louis. The Arch was beautiful, lit up against the skyline of the city. No time to stop, so we headed southwest on I-44 to Springfield, and then onto Joplin, Mo.
I took a detour in Joplin, following the old Route 66. Parts of the road were so old, it felt like a gravel road. There were old abandoned buildings that hinted to a more prosperous time gone by, but no touristy spots along this stretch. We arrived in Miami, OK around 5:30 am. It was still pretty dark, so my photos are questionable. it appears that work is underway to spruce up the old downtown. There are several interesting buildings, but I didn't see the courthouse.
My parents were married in Miami, OK in 1962. How fun!
We jumped back on I-44 and headed towards Vinita. Stopping at the "Nation's Largest McDonald's" - a restaurant that straddles the Will Rogers Turnpike. It used to be the Glass House Restaurant. I was able to get a photo of the sun coming up(see photo above right), from the restaurant. Well, no one was quite ready for breakfast, so we headed down the road, through Tulsa and toward Chandler. There were signs of storms in the distance and Phil called to let us know we might run into rain. The rain was refreshing and lasted about the last hour of the drive. Arriving in Shawnee, we grabbed a bite to eat, then made our 1st stop - Phil and Kristen's home.
We were welcomed by happy girls, playing on the porch, watching the trees bloom and the rain fall. It was wonderful to breathe Spring fresh air and sit outside.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Road Trip 2007 - Part I

It's been almost a year since my last road trip, so it's definitely time. The last time we were all on the road together was in 2001. Two weeks. From Connecticut to Oklahoma, through Washington DC, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and back again.
This will be a special road trip for many reasons, so we're packing in alot of sights in just 8 1/2 days.
  • We'll be heading out on a Saturday, by 6pm. From Indiana we'll be driving west, through Illinois to Saint Louis, MO. The Arch will welcome us, just as all the pilgrims that have gone before. That will be a good place to take a quick break, before heading southwest to Springfield, MO. Birthplace of Route '66. Coffee will come in handy about now. Continuing southwest thru Joplin, MO, where we may take a small detour on "Old Route '66" to Miami, OK. A quick drive thru Miami to get a photo of the courthouse (that's where my parents eloped, back in 1962.) We'll catch breakfast somewhere in the area, then we'll continue on thru Vinita, OK (the nation's largest McD's - it stretches over the Will Rogers Turnpike), pass by Claremore, OK (home of Will Rogers) and Catoosa, OK (home of the Blue Whale). On through Tulsa, OK until we get to Chandler, OK (there are murals on the town's buildings and an old Phillips 66 station). From Chandler, OK, we'll head south to Shawnee, OK (home of OBU and St Augustine University). About 750 miles. Time for a break. ETA 9am Sunday morning.
  • Sunday in Shawnee, OK - best BBQ ever at Van's, and Shawnee Mills has wonderful muffin mixes. Load up on BBQ sauce and muffin mixes. Hang out with family.
  • Monday morning in Shawnee, visit St Gregory U and head out after lunch. Drive through Oklahoma City, then catch 44 south to Wichita Falls, TX. Take a quick break before heading south through Abilene, TX to San Angelo, TX on 277. We'll be crossing the great Colorado River and drive by the Twin Butte Reservoir. Between Abilene and San Angelo, the terrain will start to change as we get closer to the Edwards Plateau and The Hill Country. Our stop will be Sonora, TX. About 477 miles. ETA 9pm Monday evening.
I'll be posting pictures and notes along the way, so keep checking back!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

No Greater Love

Love.. what is love? Is it merely an emotion that comes and goes like the rain? Is it proud or conceited? Or is it subtle and enduring?

When I think of love, I think of long hot hazy summer days in Kansas - when the heat rolls off the pavement and sand hills, like ocean waves breaking on the beach. I think love is like the wide open blue sky that spans across the golden Kansas wheat fields and it flutters like the windmill in the late afternoon breeze.

Love takes me back to a very special place. Love leads the way past the old family farm, lost so many years ago. It leads past the empty school yard where only memories linger and on down the lane past the old gas station...Love is no longer here. It hasn't been found here for quite awhile.

Love moved on. So we followed. My mother and I. We drove past buildings, past cars, past open fields... Love led the way. It led the way down a dirt road to a small family cemetery. On this hot hazy summer afternoon, I was given a gift of love. As we sat in the cemetery, my mother shared her beautiful love story.

The story is of a young lady, born and raised in the sandy hills of Kansas. Oh yes! There are sandy hills in Kansas. One day this lovely young lady, her husband and their four young children moved far, far away from home. She left behind her sisters and brother, her family and friends. But, the hardest thing to leave behind was her beloved mother. She was her dearest friend.

And so this lovely young lady traveled far, far away, across the sea to another land. This land was very different from Kansas. With love, this young lady set about making a new home for her family. She studied hard to learn the new language and embraced this new culture. She worked hard to help her children adjust to their new home. She did it all with amazing love. Love not only for her family, but also for the millions of people in this new land who had never heard about the Greatest Gift of Love. That was her purpose for being there.

Not long after the young lady had arrived in this new land, she received news that her beloved mother was dying. Cancer was slowly taking away her life. There wasn't much time left. The young lady had to borrow the neighbor's phone, since they had none. She soon discovered how hard it would be to leave this new land. But love would find a way.

The lovely young lady packed a few things and got on a bus, all alone, and traveled for many hours to request permission to leave this new land. She would go every day to the Consulate begging for permission to leave. Days turned into weeks. No one understood the odds stacked against her. No one could see the battle that was raging. Each day her beloved mother would ask for her and wonder why she had not come. Each day she would pray and ask for help. As time drew on, the lovely young lady, who loved her mother dearly, prayed that her mother suffer no more. She couldn't bear the thought of her mother lying in pain just waiting for her to come home.

Finally, after six long weeks, the papers were issued, granting permission for the lovely young lady to fly back home to Kansas. She had her papers, she had her ticket. Love had prevailed. Or so it seemed. For when the lovely young lady called home to give them the news that she was on her way, the answer came back..."it's too late." Her dear mother had passed away.

Love... what is love? It is sacrifice, it is letting go, it is enjoying each precious moment you have, it is as deep as the blue summer sky. So I wanted to pass this on to celebrate the love my mother has given so freely in her life. Her love has been unselfish, not holding a grudge against those who could not understand why she went so far away and why she could not come back so easily. Her love has been gracious, accepting and sincere. Her life is a beautiful reflection of her Heavenly Father.