Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hierachy of the birds

Today at lunch, I sit and watch out the kitchen window in amazement of the birds that still come to the birdfeeder.  Even though I have to clean out the piled snow in the tray from time to time, the birds still come and feast on the treats that await them in the feeder.  My favorite red cardinal, whom squawks at me when the food tray is empty, is now fat with storing up for food for winter.  Why hog it all I wonder, I'll have the food there for you when you want it.  :)  But he is getting fatter and fatter.  The blue jays come as well, the colors are so beautiful in contrast to the snowy background.  The finches come in flocks.  Sometimes they swarm me when I come out to refill the feeder.  The big man on the totem pole however, is the woodpecker.  Whenever Mr. Woodpecker comes close to the feeder or even on any branch on the tree, all the other birds scatter.  They know who is the strongest. There is always a "pecking order" in life.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow....

I never thought I would be sitting here, listening to snow melt.  Wouldn't have even thought that such a sound existed.  The drip drip drip of the icicles on the trees & roof, along with the cracking sounds of the packed snow & ice, and the plop plop of bundles of snow falling from the tree and building.  Amazing.  The weather got alittle warmer today, about 34 or so, so some of the snow began to melt.  Once the sun went down, however, the temps plummeted back to around 23.  So that means ICE.  No driving for me tomorrow.  I just went across campus tonight to be a helpful wife and pick up Roy from chapel, and slid through the parking lot.  It was actually kinda fun, but don't want to chance it again. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

First Winter Storm

The night before Roy's birthday, I started decorating the campus for his surprise, needless did I know, that little snow flurry I told you about did not stop.  Our first accumulated snow was awaiting him for a birthday present on Dec 4th and has not stopped yet.  Each day we have had alittle more and alittle more accumulation.  I shoveled my first walk during my lunch break, then the plows come through to clear the campus lots and roads.  While I was at work in the basement, I heard this load rumbling above and couldn't figure out what it was.  Lo and behold, when I looked outside to the winter wonderland and saw the roads were clear, I got alittle courage.  I took a spin (not literally thankfully) to the gas station to fill up and drop off some Christmas cards at the post office.  Not bad.  Upon my return home, the kids were in the circle building a snowman.  I had to check out the activities.  I pitched in and helped hoist the large balls they were rolling in the snow to make the body and head.  As they were putting finishing touches on it, 5 year old Wil said - I have to make a manger here in front.  So a snow manger was made as well.  I asked, then this snowperson must be Mary then?  He said yes, we must have Mary and baby Jesus.  ahhhh "He is his father's child" Melissa said...  from the mouths of babes.   As the day wore on and the snow starts to come down harder, we are hearing winter blizzard warnings on the news.  Have to keep an eye on internet news alerts, as we still do not have local t.v. stations for such information.   Not to fear, we do have a weather alert radio, that will come on in emergencies.  Heather is hoping for a snow day tomorrow.  Her teacher was very surprised when she asked "how will I know if I don't have t.v." .  The teacher thought she was pulling her leg.  ha ha   Tomorrow night we have a prospective student from FL visiting.  The Morris family will be arriving just in time to "experience Nashotah".   Thursday, Roy and I will be performing in the community choir for Advent and Carols.  Very exciting.  The feel of the cassock and surplus doesn't seem to adjust quiet as fitting on me as it does on Roy,  however.  Enjoy your sunshine, whereever you may be.  I am learning so many things in this new climate!  So far, still fun.  Enjoy the brisk photo's.  Will post a picture of snow Mary tomorrow.  Staying warm in Nashotah... Marcia

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Brotherhood of St. Andrew

Today was a great day.  Started out with a normal day at the office "in the basement - getting kinda dark and cold down there"  then at lunch time, I had to run out to pick something up from the store for Roy's birthday tomorrow.  When I came out it was snowing... HARD.  Well, for you northerners, not really hard I guess.  But for this Florida girl it was hard enough!  Not much stuck to the concrete, but there were patches of white in the grass.  I drove home quickly (but not too quickly) my heart was pounding.  It is a weird experience driving in the snow, almost 3-D, big white flurries coming at you quicker than the scenery on the road.  WEIRD.  I don't think I'll be to anxious to try it when it is slippery.  Then tonight at chapel, Roy was inducted into the Brotherhood of St. Andrew.  I would like to share the prayer with you now from pg 185 of BCP.

Almighty God, who didst give such grace to thine apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of thy Son Jesus Christ, and brought his brother with him: Give unto us, who are called by thy Word, grace to follow him without delay, and to bring those near to us into his gracious presence; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

After chapel, we had dinner with the O'Carroll's.  Then while Roy was studying, I went out to play tricks on him in the campus for tomorrow's "OH NO 40 - Birthday".   My friends,  Susan, Danielle, Kaitlyn and I hung "age old antic" signs all along the pathway he walks to school everyday.  We also decorated his stall in the changing area where he dresses for chapel.  A sign and confetti awaits him in his classroom, and many more surprises.  I will upload pictures soon.  What fun!  Hope someone has a camera handy when he arrives tomorrow.  Would love to be a fly on the wall. 

Blessings to all our blog followers.  Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving.  We did and have much to be thankful for.  Love, Marcia

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The important moments...

Good day blog friends!  8 days until Thanksgiving and oh, we have so much to be thankful for.  What a blessing life is when we truly take the challenge of naming something we are thankful for each and every day.  Heather's birthday has come and gone.  She is 14 now.  Amazing! How the time has flown, daddy will be teaching her to drive next year.  Funny, it is still a clear memory as yesterday when he was teaching Stephanie to drive!  The picture in this post is of her and the cake that our friend Melissa designed and baked for her special day.  Today, I would like to share the story listed in Wed Nov 18th Forward Day by Day. 
    Pilgrims visiting Poland at the beginning of the twentieth century were often told to stop and see the saintly Rabbi Israel Kagan-more commonly known as the "Chafetz Chaim."  Two pilgrims were surprised to see the rabbi lived in a simple, book-lined room, in which the only pieces of furniture were a table, a bench, and a bed.
  "Rabbi, where's all your furniture?"  the pilgrims asked.  "Why, where's yours?" asked the rabbi in reply.  "Ours? But we're just passing through," they said.  "So am I," said the rabbi, "so am I." 
  So are we all.  May we not miss the important moments and people in our lives because they do not measure up to some heavenly expectation.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Prayer for Nashotah House

Bless, O Lord, this House, set apart to the glory of your great name and the benefit of your Holy Church; and grant that your Name may be worshipped here in truth and purity to all generations.  Give your grace and wisdom to all the authorities, that they may exercise holy discipline, and be themselves patterns of holiness, simplicity, and self-denial.  Bless all who may be trained here; take from them all pride, vanity, and self-conceit, and give them true humility and self-abasement.  Enlighten their minds, subdue their wills, purify their hearts, and so penetrate them with your Spirit, and fill them with your love, that they may go forth animated with earnest zeal for your glory; and may your ever living Word so dwell within their hearts, that they may speak with that resistless energy of love, which shall melt the hearts of sinners to the love of you.  Open, O Lord, the hearts and hands of your people, that they may be ready to give and glad to distibute to our necessities.  Bless the founders and benefactors of this House, and recompense them with the riches of your everlasting kingdom, for Jesus' sake.  Amen.  Love, Marcia

Friday, November 6, 2009

Time of Thanksgiving

The beautiful colors around us have started to fall to the ground in preparation for winter.  The moments of "waves of leaves" drifting down like a rain fall before your eyes are amazing.  Of course, the ground is covered with yellow and brown leaves, waiting to be swept, crunched, blown or just to sit and gather mold underneith.  Another time for allergy sufferers to prepare for sniffles and headaches - and you thought the pollen season was bad...   Still though, God's creation does not sease to amaze me.  Like the sound of the gaggling geese flying above in formation, or the howl of the wind.  Each day continues to bring us new experiences.  Today, was a busy day for me at work.  I'm learning new reports and processes to support our newly accredidation with URAC that we have worked hard for.  I'm becoming a "numbers person", which I never considered a strong point for me in the past, but the pride of showing progress of accomplishments is rewarding in the end.  We are meeting our turn around time goals and continue to be successful in the utilization review industry, all the while my eyes are spinning with numbers that follow me to my dreams.  Tonight, is a quiet night.  Roy and Brian have flown to Virginia Tech Seminary to participate in the Episcopal Relief and Development conference with other seminarians around the country.   I hope to hear good things about how to keep this extremely important mission alive in the parish, when he comes home.  Heather is at a friend's house.  I am so glad she is adapting well and making friends.  It was pretty tough at first for her, but she is really making some bonds that she will cherish for a long time.  I have to say, I was so excited to get our November issue of The Messenger from Holy Trinity today.  I love reading it cover to cover to stay connected with our church family back home.  A big AMEN to Father Joe's editorial titled A God of Abundance or Another Reason for Thanksgiving.  He reminded me how we fit into God's scheme of things by realizing all the gifts of life to be truly thankful for.  I especially agree with his last statement " Don't believe for one minute you can outgive your resources.  God will replenish, beyond your imagining, what you have employed in His name."  I know this because I am living it.  What we are getting back, here at Nashotah, far outweighs the sacrifices we have given to get here.  Praise His name, alleluiah.   Thanksgiving approaches, and though sad we will not be with our parents and brothers/sisters, we are excited to drive to Ohio to spend with my family of aunts, uncles and cousins.  It is not often that we get to celebrate a holiday with them.  In close, God's blessings to all of you - take time to consider them, count them, and rejoice.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Holy Hill is The Basilica of The National Shrine of Mary. The Discalced Carmelite Friars inhabit the monestary and welcome visitors year round. Its priceless stained glass windows and magnificent mosaics, boasts a breathtaking view of the southern Kettle Moraine Countryside. Pilgrims walk along the half-mile outdoor Stations of the Cross with 14 groups of life-size sculptures representing the Passion of Jesus. Shown above, we are climbing the 178 steps to the top of the observation tower inside one of the churches. The dramatic view of the rural surroundings and the skyline of Milwaukee on the horizon was incredible. The picnic was wonderful.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hello from Marcia

Hi friends... It has been a couple of weeks, not very diligent about keeping posts current am I? Well, October is here and in brings the cool weather. We actually had wet snow on Sat, which my BFF is educating me, is snow that does not accumulate on the ground. You should have seen my silly snow dance in the parking lot of Sam's Club - with my tongue hanging out to catch the first snow flake. ha ha It was fun. My shopping buddy Susan thought I was crazy and pretended not to know me. ha ha Still love her though. October is flying by, I can't believe how quickly time is racing past us. I am still nervous about driving in the snow the first time, but I won't worry about that until the time comes. Roy had his matriculation on Oct. 1st, which I'll post more pics soon as I get them from our professional photographer, as I wasn't able to get a good shot from the Court of the Gentiles. That is where the nonseminarians sit in St. Mary's chapel. I am posting a great shot of him processing into the chapel though. On my birthday Oct. 3rd we celebrated with dinner at a lakeside restaraunt called Fshbones, which was wonderful cajun food. Roy gave me 2 ornaments that I was previously admiring at the bookstore, of hand painted replica's of our campus bell "Michael" and the other of the Red Chapel with our shield on the back. What a nice keepsake for our seminary memoirs. Blessings & Love... Marcia

Monday, September 21, 2009

Updates from Marcia

Hi Friends!

Just wanted to update everyone on our beautiful fall days in the Midwest. The leaves should be in full burst in the next couple of weeks, I can't wait. Actually, I am not rushing it, as I have been forewarned of what comes next. We have some wonderful friends that have given us some warm winter items to use for the next 3 winters. I still have no idea of what the concept of the temperature minus teens really mean... but I know that cold is cold. I have bought another space heater so we have one upstairs, and one for downstairs, as the basement gets pretty damp and chilly already. I've been told to get dehumidifier for the basement, since that's where our office is, to get the dampness out and possibly some better air quality. So we are on the look out for that. I am enjoying chapel every morning on campus with Roy and will be sending some bookmarks to folks back home that would like them of our new stained glass windows. They were just installed for the 100th anniversary of St. Mary's chapel. Last Friday was Ember Day. Ember Day is historically the day to pray for all individuals pursuing ministry. Specifically, here on campus, it is the day that all seminarians are required to write home to their bishop and let them know how seminary life is going. Yes, Bishop Smith, Roy has assured me his letter is definitely in the mail. I am very proud of Roy for his appointment of Chapel Scholar. It is a work scholarship that is well worth the extra time it takes out of his already full schedule. He has been doing a very good job at balancing his study time, work scholarships, and family time. The topic of late is Matriculation Day coming up on October 1st. That is the day that Roy signs the book and becomes an official "Son of the House". We are all adjusting to the Benedictine lifestyle here at Nashotah. The community pulls together and supports each other every day. We have decided that t.v. was a luxury we are going to do without, in trade for Heather to be able to take horse riding lessons. As our t.v. is not digital ready and we would have to order satellite service even for local channels, both would not be within the budget. It is a lesson in budgeting choices for her, as well as not having a distraction that could hinder the quality of our family time. Roy has to be selective in his free time, and t.v. isn't high ranking. For me, I guess I miss a couple of shows, but have found some websites that show already aired segments. Now, Monday night football is a different story. Tonight my girlfriend is texting me scores of the Miami vs Indiana game (she is from IN routing for the Dolphins and sorry guys me from FL routing for the Colts) its a fun laugh we have. Our neighbors have graciously offered us an open invitation to coming over to watch their t.v. when needed. So far, I am confident we can get by without it. I'll keep you posted on how we do once the weather really challenges us to inside activities. I still attend my weekly women's grouping on Wed nights, I am also active in the local DOK chapter, and am running for junior class representative for the Women of Nashotah club. Heather has begun to make friends at school. YEAH! I have had some disturbing news from home about a couple of family members and a friend that recently lost their job. I pray for that daily, as well as some friends that are having health issues. I will close with an insert from the 9-15-09 Day by Day devotional about Matthew 4:12-17 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. It expresses that the light is not just a phenomenon for those who die. That even with the moments of darkness that come our way in life, that through baptism I know that in the morning, there will always be light. Love and Peace to you all.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Time for sharing...

Life at the house has been interesting indeed. Each day is inspired with a new experience and renewal of awareness of God's presence in nature. I'm adding pictures of a cardinal sitting in the bird feeder right outside my kitchen window. The flowers in the garden are beautiful, and just today we saw some first signs of fall in the trees. Red leaves are beginning to show themselves. We spent a lovely day today picking apples in the trees out by the barn. When we got home, our neighbor shared her handy corer/peeler device which made peeling and preparing all the apples a cinch! I put them in a crock pot and hope for a delicious applesauce by morning. The women/spouses have organized small group meetings, which I have fit into nicely and enjoy getting to know others. We meet every Wednesday evening for prayer, bonding, support, and learning techniques for winterizing (for us southern women) from the seasoned campus ladies. I have gone back to work, remotely with my company from home. Praise God for this!! Having the offer call from my AVP was the biggest sigh of relief I've ever known. I was moved to tears. Not only for not having to worry about job hunting upon my arrival, but the relief of knowing I didn't have to drive in the snow in the winter. The community is very encouraging and helpful. I will also share some photo's of our ice cream social. Many a night, while the weather holds out, we gather together in the circle for grilling, volleyball, a bonfire or just to talk. I have tried out for Chapel Choir and look forward to singing at several events on campus as well as doing alittle to help with the financial scholarship toward Roy's tuition. We have been blessed with the ongoing support that many have sent to Nashotah that have been applied to his account for books and tuition as well. Every penny helps! The first semester booklist was astounding to say the least, but he has what he needs now, thanks to you and our Lord. With the changing of the leaves that I described above, we are now thinking about preparing for weather changes. Scarves, gloves, and all the winterizing will begin soon. Well enough for now... Miss you all... Love, Marcia

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Roy's Thoughts

We have been at Nashotah House for more than 2 weeks now, and I am so blessed to be in such a loving and generous place. I finished orientation on Friday, and have made so many great friends already. We have finished unpacking boxes for the most part, and our townhouse is starting to feel like home. It's amazing how hanging pictures and such on the walls changes the entire atmosphere of a house, and makes it home. Our family has grown closer in so many ways over the past month. Marcia and I go to Chapel every morning, and Heather has made some great friends and is adjusting better than I could have ever imagined. We are searching for a church we all feel comfortable in, since Nashotah House doesn't have a service on Sunday morning in hopes that it will give us a chance to experience the surrounding area and meet other people.

I have already made many great friends, and it is sometimes hard to believe we have only been here a few weeks. The genuine care and concern the community has shown to and for us has been overwhelming at times. It is so unlike the the typical world, and would be unbelievable unless one experienced it first hand. An example is, one of my brothers called me to the side on Thursday evening and asked to pray with me because he felt he needed to pray for my family and our financial situation. He, like everyone else here, has only known me a short time, and yet there is already this bond and relationship that connects us on a personal and spiritual level. Of course, the exception is my brother Bryan, who has helped my family and I in so many ways since we arrived at The House.

I realize also that as I use the term brother for my brothers here at The House, my brother Rob has been truly amazing in supporting me through this transition. It isn't only the financial aspects Rob has helped me in (though those are significant and greatly appreciated more than I could ever repay), but also the love he has shown for me and my family. One of the hardest days in my life was saying good-bye to my brother when we left Florida; even if only for three years. I look forward to seeing him soon, though I too would probably pick lobster fishing in the Keys over a trip to Wisconsin! :)

Our church family, Holy Trinity, has also been so supportive of us. Their prayer and financial support continue to reassure us of why we are here. My friend, Marcus, also set-up a Seminarian Fund through SunTrust bank. Marcus has been a best friend to me over the years, and in speaking with him last evening, made me realize just how blessed I am to have people like him and my friends at St. Andrew's Presbyterian in my life!

Aside from orientation this past week, my days have consisted of spending time with our new friends in community at bonfires, having cook-outs, playing volleyball, and getting to know each other before everyone hibernates for the winter! Marcia, Heather, and I drove to Madison today and went to a Farmer's Market that wrapped around the entire Capital Building. Afterward, we went to the Henry Vilas Zoo and had a great time looking at the animals and taking pictures. Marcia drove so I could study Greek and read one of many books in my line-up for the first semester. We are trying to find ways to do things together that also allow me the time to get my reading and writing in. More on that, once the semester actually begins!

I should find out about my work scholarship position in the next week or so, and I'm sure we will also be given our work crew assignments in the near future, too. My days will consist of Chapel at 8am, breakfast, 5 classes per semester, work crew once a week (maintaining the campus), our work scholarship assignments, Chapel at 4:30pm, training for Chapel during the week, an advisory group meeting during the week, and various other assignments I'm sure I'll find out about once classes officially begin. I am prayerful that He will provide the time for homework and family somewhere in the midst of what seems to be controlled chaos at the moment. The Benedictine lifestyle holds everyone accountable for more than just their studies, and that's what makes our community a family. Though the lifestyle is unlike any other seminary, I know the Nashotah House lifestyle (along with other things) is what drew me and my family here. Hopefully, some of our family and friends will get a chance to come visit us and experience it for themselves! :)

Until next time, God's Peace and Blessings +

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Heather's THoughts And Sayings!

So Nashotah House has been A great experience for me so far, alot of welcoming nice people! There's also alot that I'm going to have to get used to. But when you move there;s always going to be alot to get used to. It was alot to handle at first and I was very nervous....but as I saw all the Nice people walking up to introduce themselves and to help unload our things the nervousness went away. I do miss all of my family and friends back in Florida but I'm liking it here in Wisconsin/Nashotah House. I think I'm going to be able to be comfortable and fit in well here and it's going to be a successful 3 years. I'm very proud of my dad for being brave! and also my mom for being able to hold the family together while we leave Florida the only place we have ever lived. I love them both & and am very proud of both.
That's all for now, Heather

Cloister Photo's

December 8th 2009 - wow what a difference

Now compare to photo taken today in August at 9am. The green beauty is breath taken throughout the campus.

Here is a photo of the Cloisters back in March when we came for "Experience Nashotah" to view/tour the campus. These are the buildings where administration and the classrooms are.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

All moved in...

The travel was exciting... auto train on Aug. 3rd from Sanford to Lorton, VA was fun. Once we arrived and checked in with Uncle Don and Aunt Judy at the campground, we relaxed and enjoyed the company of family. We slept in Cabin #3 (violet) for 2 nights at the KOA campground, equipped with their own outdoor swim park. On August 5th we took the Metro to Washington, D.C. and toured the city. The history and sites were amazing. We watched the changing of the guard at Arlington Cemetary, went to see the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Smithsonian Institute, Capitol Building, White House, WWII Memorial Garden, Vietnam Memorial Wall, and the Washington National Episcopal Cathedral. The Cathedral was a building of awe and reverance. The gargoyles completed the architecture of the beautiful building. Aug. 5th after a morning at the waterpark at the campground, we then drove to New Jersey and stayed at the airport Wyndam Hotel. Early the next morning we took a train to Manhattan and spent the day touring New York City. After a long day of adventure and family time we went back to the hotel and got a good nights rest to prepare for the 12 hour trip to Ohio. We arrived in Ohio on Saturday night Aug. 8th and spent 2 nights with Uncle Dan and Aunt Sarah. Again spending quality time with family. Then we went to Indiana and spent the next 3 nights with my life long friend Tina and her family.

Aug 13th it was time to head "home" to Wisconsin. The 6.5 hour drive was pleasant and uneventful. As we got in to Oconomowoc we went straight to Heather's school for registration. This lasted a couple of hours with quite a bit of chaos and excited chatter of noisy students. We then rolled onto the Nashotah House Campus at around 5:30pm. The PODS were there waiting, but we still could not sleep in our own bed just yet. We spent the first night with our good friends the O'Carrolls and obtained permission first thing Friday morning to MOVE IN. The seminarians all arrived to help unload the PODS. What a blessing for a strong hand!

Today is Wednesday Aug. 19th and I am happy to say we are officially moved in. I pondered the thought this morning as Roy and I were riding our bikes to chapel, how sureal the atmosphere is. Can riding our bikes to chapel everyday along with others either on their way to chapel or to work be for real? Scholars sit on benches scattered throughout the campus reading, the majestic trees and grounds are enchanting. This afternoon Heather and I rode to the lake and joined friends swimming. The weather has been beautiful enough to eat outside every evening.

We will post pictures soon. I hope you enjoy all of our thoughts and moments on this blog. I will encourage Roy and Heather to sign on soon as well. Keep in touch and we miss you all. Marcia

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Journey Begins

We packed our house into two PODS on Thursday, July 30th. My brother, Rob, says we were able to fit 10 lbs of stuff in a 5 lb bag! He has been a great support, and I am thankful for his love and friendship. We stayed at Rob & Lorri's house on Thurs and Fri, and had family over for a cook-out around the pool on Fri night. Marcus and Jenny came by, and everyone had a great time. My friend Marcus set-up a seminarian fund for me, "Allison Educational Fund", so that friends and family can support us financially through the church or through SunTrust Bank.

On Saturday, Aug 1st, we went back to our house to pack the car. Another attempt to fit 10 lbs of stuff in a 5 lb bag! LOL Once again my brother bailed us out and offered to ship what wouldn't fit! We said our good-byes to Rob and Mawmaw, and made our way across the state to see Stephanie. Steph was proud to show-off her apartment and cooked us a great stir-fry dinner! I am not a fan of tofu, but it's nice to know that she is capable of making and eating something other than Ramen Noodles. :) We went over to visit Judy, and on Sunday we all went over to spend the day with Stephanie and Cristina. We hung out by the pool, played Boggle, tried to pet Ruby, went to the mall where Steph and Heather made a karaoke CD, went to Tijauna Flats for dinner, and finished evening with an icee at Jeromiah's.

The outpouring of love we have received from our family and friends is amazing. There have been tears and hugs, and smiles and laughter. We know the Lord is with us and guides us, and that our family and friends are angels who love, support and encourage us on "Our Faithful Journey"!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

From the moment we visited Nashotah March 12 - 15, 2008 we were filled with the spirit of the place we knew we were called.