Category: Family

  • Plastic peace?

    Plastic peace?

    Artificial, plastic trees. Artificial icicles and artificial snow. Maybe even artificial smiles amid the stress of the holiday season? And all of it with the goal of somehow generating genuine peace. But all the plastic, and glitter, and presents in the world can’t conjure up peace at our dinner tables or in our own homes, […]

  • Remembering a wise & creative grandmother

    Remembering a wise & creative grandmother

    My Grandma Ruby would have been 112 today. Born in 1907, she passed away just weeks before our first child was born in 2004. I’ve shared a little about her here, where I discussed the handmade furniture she created from scraps of wood for my mother to use with her dolls. In honor of Ruby […]

  • Inner beauty

    The rock you see above is a geode. Geodes are hollow formations, often roughly spherical, that become filled with mineral deposits through water flow and other natural processes. This geode was given to me by a good friend of mine from California. He and his family used to camp out west where they collected these […]

  • The old black walnut tree

    The old black walnut tree

    I recently traveled back home to visit my mom for a few days on the family farm in Wythe County, Virginia. I love that farm, which has been in my family for so many generations. The living monument that has stood guard over the farm all these years is a huge black walnut tree. In […]

  • Fall & fairs

    Fall & fairs

    The State Fair of Virginia is underway as I write this. The Fair, maybe as much as anything, is a metaphor for life. Along its avenues and amongst its attractions you can find emotions from across the spectrum. Joy. What child hasn’t thrilled to win a prize at one of the carnival games? Patti Jones’ […]

  • What are you fishing for?

    What are you fishing for?

    As the summer winds down, school has started, or will soon start for students and families everywhere. There’s a rhythm to a new school year, isn’t there? The relatively relaxed pace of summer seems to reluctantly give way to the regimen of academic and athletic schedules. New books to read, new project deadlines, practices and […]

  • Dandelions for Mom

    Dandelions for Mom

    Our moms have sacrificed for us, believed in us, and loved us unconditionally. When we were little, we tried to return that love as best we could with small hands offering small gifts from big hearts full from a mother’s love. That’s the inspiration for Patti’s sculpture, “Dandelions for Mom.” Patti says, “I wish I […]

  • Paw Umberger gave space for inspiration

    Paw Umberger gave space for inspiration

    My grandfather, Homer Blanton Umberger, was born and raised on the family farm in Wytheville, Virginia in 1897. The land had been given to his family as part of a land grant from the King of England many years before. My grandfather lived on that farm, the Reed Creek Poultry Farm, all his life. He […]

  • A salvaged salvage trip: part 2

    Deep in the mountains The ride started off well enough, but a small omen of trouble ahead came when the passenger-side windshield wiper came loose during a heavy cloudburst as we made our way west in I-64 out of Richmond. Hannah remained calm and collected as I pulled over under a bridge and she got […]