Different Modes of Transportation


Our family is experiencing new forms of transportation we never imagined. A year ago, we were a boring suburban bi-ped, mini-van/car/truck driving family. That has changed within a week. It is a contrast of worlds, with my son away at West Point and us here at home. Life often holds a lot of irony.  

Here are a few examples…

On Monday my oldest OS will be traveling by a Blackhawk helicopter to a new training site for Cadet Basic Training. A Blackhawk Helicopter travels up to 221 mph. This is part of the final leg of Beast. I know my boy is going to be excited about having this experience even if it makes his mama nervous, very nervous. 

On the other hand, I’m getting around differently. A non-electric wheelchair can travel about 3.7 mph. How do I know? I googled it. Since Saturday, thanks to a friend, I am traveling regularly by wheelchair when I am downstairs or out of my house. This might not mean much to you but until Saturday I’d been stuck at home. I hadn’t been outside since going to the doctor to learn I had a broken foot. On Saturday I traveled to Borders in a wheelchair! FREEDOM!  I was probably as excited to be among the public as Nate will be getting a panoramic view of West Point and its environs. 

Then on Tuesday I will hopefully receive my Rolleraid, which is the BEST Orthopedic Leg Support Scooter around. It will have a basket and a water bottle holder! Wahoo! Who knew that a week ago something like this would seriously make me happy? I intend on being as happy as these two folks pictured in their advertising. Wee! I hope to be whizzing around topping 5 mph in no time at all. 

Nathan is sleeping with a rifle by his side. It’s not good if he can’t find his rifle so he always keeps it close on the field. 

I’m sleeping with my crutches just an arm’s length away. It’s not good if I don’t have my crutches. That’s when I resort to hopping, crawling or scooting. 

My oldest OS has thrown a grenade.

My middle OS threw a football and will see the hand specialist on Monday. He might have torn two ligaments on his thumb. 

How bizarre!

Family Portrait, sort of…


A few months ago, I was interviewed for a newspaper article. When the story came to print, I eagerly read it only to discover that the writer stated that I was the mother of two sons. My heart sank. How could he make such a mistake after I implicitly and proudly told him I had three boys??? For Pete’s sake, he and I shared a moment, he has three daughters, how could he be so dumb? It took me several weeks to write him because it bothered me so much but I eventually informed him of his error. Even though the journalist apologized, the damage was done. He didn’t know how much that hurt me. I am the mother of three sons!!! I’m screaming it from the rooftops!

Even though my oldest OS is far away, he is exactly where the Lord wants him. But that doesn’t stop me from involving my OS in family events. It’s just that now, well, I’ve just become quite inventive with incorporating my favorite soldier into gatherings. Said in my best Mr. T impersonation, “I pity the fool who makes that mistake again.”

During our family reunion, we enjoyed Sunday Service at the chapel in the mountains. We arrived promptly at 9am for the group pictures. 

When it was time for my mom’s brood to get our pictures taken, I didn’t want Nathan to be overlooked. It didn’t seem right for him to not join us. I had the solution, I grabbed the canvas USMA bag with his name on it and placed “Nathan” on the ground while the paparazzi snapped away.

Oh my, was Aaron thrilled when I asked him to “hold” his brother for the cousins photo! NOT! Thank goodness he’s such a good-natured guy who loves his mama. Sorry the picture is so small. Aaron is the tall guy on the left. He’s “holding” Nate! How sweet is that!

The Highs and Lows of a Mountain Vacation, Chapter Two


About 20 minutes after having the BEST PARTY IN THE WORLD, we (that is, my sister, brother-in -law, hubby and mom) were tired and joyous. I had been giggling so much during the party, my cheek muscles hurt. It was midnight, we were happy but tired. It was time for bed at least that’s what we thought…

But then my sister Denise, heard her 2 1/2 year old son Jon rustling in his bed, coughing and acting listless. She picked him up and tried soothing him. Throughout the day, Jon seemed a little sick. During our party, however, he polished off five cookies without a problem. Now my little nephew was having some trouble breathing.  Denise thought he might have a slight touch of the croup and figured a trip to the doctor’s office tomorrow might be warranted.

Then Jon began to have even more labored breathing. He became more agitated and inconsolable. Denise and JD called their pediatrician’s emergency phone number but by then Jon’s breathing had rapidly worsened. We were all running around trying to figure out what to do. A sense of panic filled the cabin even though we all tried to keep it together. “I think he’s going to have a seizure!” Denise shouted to JD. Denise rushed Jon into the bathroom and we cranked on the hot water to create steam. I ran to the bedroom to get Jon’s beloved stuffed cow and threw it into the bathroom

But nothing was working. Jon’s lips were turning purple. We thought he was going to lose consciousness. Just 30 minutes before, we had been yukking it up and having a blast. Now we were in a frenzy as 911 was called. Here we were in a cabin high atop the Smoky Mountains with no idea where the nearest hospital was with a child who needed urgent medical attention. By the time the ambulance arrived, Jon had calmed down but now his face was pale, he was not reacting even when the paramedics were handling him. They found his oxygen saturation level unacceptable and Jon and Denise were whisked away to the hospital via ambulance. 

It was a long, long night. Repeated steroid injections and breathing treatments finally got Jon stabilized. They thought at one point that he was going to be admitted to the Children’s Hospital in Knoxville. My husband accompanied JD to the hospital while Mom, my boys and I stayed home with baby Josiah who happened to have a fairly restful night, thank you Jesus! It was past 2am before Mom and I got to sleep. Everyone who went to the hospital didn’t sleep. We were all zombies Monday morning. Jon slept for long stretches all through the day but was much better than hours before. Kids are more resilient than grown-ups, that’s for sure. 

Jon will be seeing a pediatric pulmonologist and he was acting his hilarious self on Tuesday when we all returned home. He was getting in trouble, bopping his brother on the head, drinking juice and talking up a storm. You would have never known he had been so sick. Apparently there was a point when his oxygen saturation levels were 50%, which is very poor. Now he’s our full-tilt toddler again! Hallelujah!

There were a few moments of levity at the hospital. Uncle Mark was quite the hit when he put a rubber glove over his head. JD took this picture on his cell phone. 

What a night, huh?

Highs and Lows of a Mountain Vacation, Chapter One

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Today’s post is about one of the highs of our Smoky Mountain Family Reunion. I will soon write about the low and trust me, it was definitely a low point for all of us. 

During lunch at the Apple Barn, (which took 45 minutes for a five mile journey- OY! The traffic is INSANE!), I decided we needed to have a party. Not just any party. I wanted to have THE BEST PARTY IN THE WORLD! Talk about pressure! At eight o’clock our guests arrived and we greeted them with left-over gifts from Nate’s send-off party and left-over necklaces from my stepfather’s 50th birthday party. Plus left-over gifts that we didn’t even order but arrived in a package with all the stuff we bought for Nate’s send-off party. No one seemed to care, it just lent to a festive mood. Note the chili pepper necklaces most of our guests are wearing. 

My brother-in-law is an attorney by day but we learned he has a potential second career. Professional Bingo Caller. We didn’t know about this hidden talent. Maybe JD and Isaac and the Tender Tones can have a gig sometime soon. Maybe not. I have included a video segment for your perusal and I’m sure you will agree that JD’s got some mad Bingo calling skills. 

We had family in one room playing Bingo winning amazing prizes ala Oriental Trading Company and another bunch of family in my mom’s room playing Pit. 

According to family legend, Grandma Muth used to say, “there is no family when it comes to cards.” Uncle Brad brought Pit, a frenzied card trading game that he has hung on to since the 70’s as the ugly orange bell and groovy box indicates. Who knew this gentle man has a ruthless side? Who knew that normally demure Aunt Nancy turns into a wild woman with a deck of cards? 

It wasn’t until midnight that all our company left. We hugged each other and commended ourselves on such a fun evening! We were ready to all go to sleep. Was that the end of our evening? Not even close, stay tuned to Chapter Two aka The Lows of a Mountain Vacation…dum dum dum dah (cue omnimous music)…

Tennessee Talent Showcase


Friday marked the day when my mom’s extended family all descended upon Sevierville, Tennessee to begin a five day family reunion. After nearly a decade, over 50 kin from Florida, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina came together and made memories. It has been a wonderful time even without my beloved son. I will blog shortly about my attempts to include him in the reunion though. He was never far from my heart or mind, that’s for sure. 

Saturday was the day of our Talent Show. As many of you faithful readers know, it was going to be the first live performance of Isaac and the Tender Tones. The crowd seemed suspenseful and impressed as we arrived in the family room in our matching, homemade costumes (sewn by one of the Tender Tones!). We heard snickers and laughter but I’m pretty sure it was just jealousy on the part of the less gifted ones in the audience.

Well, I’m not sure what went wrong but let’s just say, Isaac and the Tender Tones still need a little practice. After repeated practices and last-minute changes to our songs, we, well, there’s no easy way to say it, folks, we bombed. It started with a certain “Tender Tone” (aka MY MOM or maybe it was me?) getting the giggles and folks, it pretty much went downhill from there.

Our rendition of the George Gershwin classic, “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” was fortuitous.We should have called the whole thing off. Our song from the Broadway hit musical “Tomorrow” was lackluster but highly dramatic. The Tender Tones began singing after Ike had already played the first stanza. He wasn’t sure what we were doing and looked confusingly at us but it was too late to inform him of our last minute musical changes. Being the consummate performers, however, we persevered. I don’t think it bothered anyone, including us but shockingly, we did not win in our talent show category. Hmphf! We do need a lot of work, as you will see. 

It’s hard to have a bad time when you’re in the Smoky Mountains in a beautiful cabin with delightful, loving people whom we are privileged to consider family not only because we’re related but also because we know Jesus. 

Here’s just a brief clip of the first and quite possibly, only performance of Isaac and the Tender Tones, we hope you enjoy. If interested in hiring us for your next event, please feel free to leave a comment and my booking manager aka husband, will get back to you.