Here are some snippets from our past month:

Gabriel at the Park

Thank you Maria!

I’ve been heavily researching family history. Thank you Maria for sending me this book. It’s the first book I’ve stayed up late reading, in a long time, because it was worth missing sleep over! Heartbreaking – but it gives a glimpse into the persecution my great-grandparents went through as they left Turkey for the last time.

Symeon Playing On My Grandmother's Organ

Another Fr. James Youth Sermon

My big boys are holding a tree stump with roots. The stump is covered in many cares of this world – money, food, parties, sports…etc. Father talked about how easily it is for us to be rooted to our earthly cares and desires. During Lent, we have an opportunity to reflect on what keeps us rooted to this world and what prevents us from growing our relationship with God. We are called to chop away at anything that takes us away from God.


He was being too quiet so I went looking for him – and this is how I found him. Just like this.


Big Boys and Cousins at the Chess Museum


I took the boys hiking the other day

Forest Forensics on Our Hike

Looking at the trees around us, we could see that this area had been logged in the past. This is actually one tree with three trunks. After a tree has been cut down, many times it can grow back by sprouting branches on the outer part of the stump which become the new main trunk.

Forest Forensics

A tree that was pushed over when it was younger by a wind storm.

On Our Hike

Symeon was in a pack on my back.

Basal Scar

This is a small basal scar on the tree that was caused by a fire.

Basal Scars

This is a significantly larger basal scar also caused by a fire. You will tend to see these scars on the side of the tree facing the downslope. Dead leaves, pine needles, and other debris will collect on this side from wind or water run off. When a fire comes through, the debris gathered here will act as kindling and support a concentrated larger fire at the base of the tree. This tree has an older basal scar and a newer one.

Lightning Strike

This scar is either from a fire or lightning strike but I’m leaning towards lightning strike because the trees around this one do not show any sign of fire damage and the scar goes very high up the tree which usually happens with a lightning strike instead of a fire.

Possible Pasture Tree

Farmers will tend to leave a single tree out in their pasture as a source of shade for their cattle. These trees do not have to compete with other trees for light so they will grow very wide. If you find an incredibly big tree that has wide, stretched out branches surrounded by smaller trunked trees, you can take an educated guess of when the land was abandoned as pasture based on the age of the younger trees around it.