Category Archives: Friday Photos

Friday Photos: A Spring Day In My Town


The Friday Photos post has been woefully neglected  the past couple weeks, the result of a very busy spring schedule.

Now that things have (temporarily) slowed down, here goes…

This is my son and his girlfriend, who graciously agreed to do a photo shoot with me to celebrate their one-year anniversary. We were at the lake on a gorgeous spring evening and this was one of my favorites. I do love the sweetness and the promise of young love.

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This was taken the same day. It speaks to me of the upcoming summer and the deliciously good times ahead.

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Spring was in full bloom…

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Josh & Maeghan-0024-1And laughter was abundant because my oldest friend in the world had come to visit. We grew up next door to each other and only my husband knows me better. I adore him. Here he is with my mom, who is like his second mother…just as his dear mom was to me.

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I love this town.

And I love my life.

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Friday Photos: Laughter


“A day without laughter is a day wasted.”—Charlie Chaplin

My mom celebrated her 78th birthday last week.

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She recently told me that since she moved to New England six months ago, she cannot remember laughing so much.

I am blessed to have one of the funniest families I know. Not only do we all have a great sense of humor, but none of us are afraid to laugh at ourselves.

Mom fits in very well. 🙂

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“A smile starts on the lips. A grin spreads to the eyes. A chuckle comes from the belly. But a good laugh bursts forth from the soul…overflows and bubbles all around.”—Carolyn Birmingham 

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Friday Photos: College Tours


Some things look fabulous on paper but in real life…not so much.

Such is the case with Williams College in the Berkshires. Williams-Providence-0050-1 We are at that season of our lives where school vacations are used for visiting colleges. Our son Josh graduates next year so this week, we traveled to Williams and Brown University. The instant we drove onto the Williams campus, the first thing we noticed was how picturesque it was. Williams-Providence-0046-1 Williams-Providence-0038-1 Williams-Providence-0059-1 Williams-Providence-0087-1 The second thing we noticed was how empty it was.

“Is the semester over?” I asked my husband as we pulled into the parking lot of our inn.

“I don’t think so,” he replied as we rolled our luggage inside the inn that time forgot.  The furnishings were circa 1985. Our large room boasted flowered wallpaper, a floral bedspread, and a bright yellow bathroom with bright yellow towels.

A trip to the front desk in the lobby yielded two suggestions for dinner. Mainly because there were only two restaurants open in town.

It was  6:00.

We were somewhat alarmed to suddenly hear the sound of loud angry voices with an Irish brogue coming from the bar area. Curiosity got the best of me and I crossed the room to see what was happening.

Turns out that a play was in progress. A sign trumpeting the name of the production was placed at the bar entrance. The actors were scattered throughout the bar while the patrons looked on.

Must be western Massachusetts’ form of theater art. The actors seemed quite talented and the audience as clearly enjoying themselves but I just found it to be the oddest thing.

We left the hotel and headed into town to the recommended restaurant.

Once again, the campus was nearly deserted.

We live in a town of 6400 people.

This place made our town look like Times Square on a Saturday night.

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We passed through the bar on the way to the dining room. It was nearly full and the customers were loud.

By the time we were finished eating our dinner, the bar was crowded and several people were quite drunk. Josh theorized that it was because there was nothing to do in this town.

This was only Monday night! We could only imagine what it would be like on the weekends.

We had high hopes for the information session the following day.

Those hopes were soon dashed.

The man who led the session was very sincere and well-meaning. The problem was that he seemed hard-pressed to come up with even one valid reason why anyone should choose to attend this school. He spoke in a rambling monotone and was  so boring that the majority of our group left. I looked longingly at the mom beside me who was able to read her Kindle because she was perfectly positioned to hide behind her son.

The very instant the session was over, we made a beeline for the car, as there was no way we were staying for the tour, as Josh declared this college to be “soul crushing.”

Doug and I had to agree.

When we returned to our car, this is the sight that greeted us:

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The cat gazed at us  with a certain air of disdain as if to say, “What are YOU doing here???” (Despite the fact that he was on the roof of our car!).

We couldn’t leave until he decided he was good and ready to get down from his perch.

As has been said,  it’s a cat’s world. We all just live in it. 🙂

We were so happy to leave western Massachusetts behind and head to the lovely town of Providence, Rhode Island.

We all fell in love with the Brown campus.

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Brown U-0057-2The atmosphere on campus was electric, happy, and exciting.

It was the anti-Williams.

The information session was led by two bright-eyed, winsome students who immediately engaged all of us with their sense of humor and enthusiasm.

I practically fell out of my seat when they spoke of a most wondrous thing: there are NO general education requirements at Brown! None!

The student is free to design their own curriculum, taking only classes for their major and those that interest them.

Why did my university not subscribe to this amazing concept?!?!

All my life, I have hated math with the white-hot fury of one thousand suns.

Yet I had to struggle three times just to (barely) pass college algebra. It nearly gave me a nervous breakdown.

That alone would make Brown my #1 choice for a college!

As for Josh, NYU is still his #1 choice, followed closely by Brown.

If only he possessed ambition and had some goals. 🙂

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We headed over to Thayer Street for lunch. On the way there, we heard the loud and clear voice of a street preacher on one of the corners.

Brown U-0143-2Most people ignored him. One man openly mocked him from across the street, hurling insults in between taking deep drags from his cigarette. Others laughed in derision.

Still he preached on undeterred, inviting people to come to him to hear about Jesus.

I admired his courage.

After a delicious lunch, we drove through downtown Providence on the way toward home.

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All in all, it was a successful trip.

I find that I am treasuring these increasingly rare times when just the four of us all together, knowing that this season of life when both our kids are living under our roof is rapidly drawing to a close.

My kids think I am being overly-sentimental and maybe so.

But a few decades from now, when they are making these same trips on behalf of their own children, they will understand.

How did it get so late so soon?
It’s night before it’s afternoon.
December is here before it’s June.
My goodness how time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?
—Dr. Seuss

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Friday Photos: Easter Sunrise


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I was lost in utter darkness
Until You came and rescued me
I was bound by all my sin when
Your love came and set me free
Now my soul can sing a new song
Now my heart has found a home
Now Your grace is always with me
And I’ll never be alone.
—-Come Thou Fount, Come Thou King

I hope your Resurrection Sunday was a most beautiful celebration! 🙂

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Friday Photos: National Honor Society


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Three years ago, our son Josh entered the local high school as a freshman.

He had previously attended the very exclusive private school, Brown Academy (Or, as it was otherwise known, the Brown residence. 🙂 ). It was just a fancy way of saying that he was home-schooled.

I still remember his first full day. I was a bundle of nerves with all kinds of thoughts constantly swirling around my mind: Would he like it? Would the other kids like him? Would he get good grades? Had I prepared him well?

I needn’t have worried.

From day one, Josh thrived. He got straight A’s. He made a lot of friends. He acquired a new nickname: J-Brown. He discovered his passion for all things English and writing. He went to New York City with the high school band, saw his first Broadway show, and helped the band win first prize in a contest at Hershey Park. He joined the track team.

A whole new world had opened up to him and that is how it should be. He was ready.

Last night, Doug, my mom, and I headed to the high school to watch Josh be inducted into the National Honor Society.

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It was a wonderful night as we celebrated the hard-won accomplishments of the students.

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After the ceremony, Josh’s guidance counselor came up to me, her face wreathed in smiles.

She proceeded to tell me what a joy Josh has been, how she was worried for him coming in as a new student in the midst of kids who have been together since kindergarten. Like mine, her worries had been unfounded.

“Every single time I see your son in the halls, he has a smile on his face,” she told me. “It is such  a pleasure to know him.”

Music to a mother’s ears. 🙂

Congratulations on all your hard work, Josh. Your dad and I are very proud of you!

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Friday Photos: Irresistibly Contagious


“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”—Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

My son Josh is the one dressed in black. His feet are off the ground and his hair is red.

This photo was taken on Thursday night at the high school.

Each year during Winter Carnival week, there is a Lip Synch competition. Each class develops a theme, finds songs that highlight that theme, then they tell a story through song and dance. It is a huge hit with the community and sells out every year.

The big surprise of this year was my son.

The town had the chance to see what our family, his many friends, and favorite teachers have known all along: Josh is a BIG personality. He is hilariously funny. He is an excellent dancer. He possesses a razor-sharp wit.  He can do dead-on impressions.

Despite all this, he is definitely not one to seek the spotlight. He is quite content to observe (that is what makes him a good writer) and he only talks when he has something to say.

His hilarious, energetic, and entertaining performance caused people to laugh until they cried and received sustained applause. Several people  stopped Doug and I after the show to say, “Where did that come from?” and “We never knew he had that in him!”

To be able to give the irresistibly contagious gift of laughter to people in this sometimes hard and difficult world is a beautiful thing.

All this to say, people are fascinating. There is always more to discover about those dear ones who populate our lives.  We can never think that we  know the whole story. There are always more treasures to be unearthed.

Today, open yourselves up to the possibility that your loved ones  still possess the ability to delightfully surprise you.

Revel in the discovery.

Enjoy them.

Realize that they are one-of-kind, never-to-be-repeated miracle.

Then thank God for placing them in your life.

(P.S. You can read about our first Lip Synch experience here).

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Friday Photos: New York City


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This past week, my family and I headed to New York City to tour two colleges: Columbia and NYU.

Our son wants to be a writer and both offer stellar programs. 

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We arrived on Sunday afternoon and our first stop was a visit to the Guggenheim museum. Or, as my husband refers to it: ” A Monument To Self Indulgence.” 🙂

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NYC college visit-0053-1Photos were only allowed on the ground floor…which is why I do not have a photo of one of the exhibits…the absurdly titled “The Bisexual Flower.” It is “a motorized plexiglass flower-shaped fountain bubbling with glowing bath salt nectar. The work…is not just loud but dangerous: as it screeches it glows and protective glasses are provided to shelter your eyes from the UV light.” (source: gallersityny.com). To protect people from those UV rays, the entire display was shielded by what resembled a giant igloo bubble.

I respect people’s right to create art. However, this just seemed so absurd that our entire family burst out laughing as we observed this spectacle. This definitely garnered us some disdainful looks from the obviously more sophisticated art lovers among us, but so be it.

Give me a lovely Monet to get lost in any day.

Each display seemed more ridiculous than the next, so our time at the Guggenheim was quite short. It was unfortunate that the day we visited, a modern art exhibit was being featured but it provided us with enough laughs for months to come.

The next two days were a whirlwind of college tours, restaurants, heart-pounding taxi rides, and fascinating people-watching.

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Those two days in the city seemed to fly by.

As our cab hurtled toward Grand Central Station, I quietly snapped this photo of Josh…

NYC college visit-0398-1He was quiet as he watched the Manhattan skyline rush by, seemingly lost in his thoughts and dreams.

There truly is no place like New York City.

“New York remains what it always has been: a city of ebb and flow, a city of constant shift in population and economics, a city of virtually no rest. It is harsh, dirty, and dangerous, it is whimsical and fanciful, it is beautiful and soaring—it is not one or another of these things but all of them, all at once, and to fail to accept  this paradox is to deny the reality of city existence.”—Paul Goldberger

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