12 in 2017: A Year in Pictures

And now for a quick trip through 2017, with some of my favorite pictures!

JANUARY:  Along with millions of women (and men!) around the world, Emily and I participated in the Women’s March.  I wrote about that here and here.  It was pouring down rain–an absolutely miserable day–and I love this picture that shows what a crowd turned out anyway.  This is what democracy looks like!

Best of 2017 - Women's March

FEBRUARY:  John and I took a weekend trip to Gatlinburg, which I wrote about here.  One highlight was moonshine tasting.  Here you can see all that goodness being brewed, right out in public!

Best of 2017 - Gatlinburg

MARCH:  William turned 16.  I chose this picture because I love the look of delight on his face.  He usually wears a rather solemn expression.

Best of 2017 - Willima's birthday

APRIL:  My sister Betsy treated my mother, our other sister, and me to VIP tickets to The Gambler’s Last Deal, the final tour for Kenny Rogers, which I wrote about here.

Best of 2017 - Kenny Rogers

MAY:   Of course the biggest event this month was Teddy’s graduation, but since I already shared so many pictures of that, I’m choosing this favorite from one of several trips to Dollywood.  This is Lorelei with her cousin Ella.

Best of 2017 - Dollywood

JUNE:  A trip to the zoo.  We got season tickets this year.  This is part of the new tiger exhibit, about which more later.

Best of 2017 - Zoo

JULY:  We went on a wonderful trip to Pennsylvania for a family reunion.  I hope to write that up at some point.  For now, this is an animatronic Spinosaurus from our trip to Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland, which was definitely the highlight of the reunion as far as William was concerned.

Best of 2017 - Reptiland

AUGUST:  Another trip to the zoo, where we were able to get up close and personal with the two Malayan tigers.

Best of 2017 - zoo

SEPTEMBER:  In another trip I want to write about this year, we spent a weekend in Cincinnati.  We were there to see the exhibit of original Star Wars costumes, one of which is pictured below.  What a thrill!

Best of 2017 - Cincinnati

OCTOBER:  My porch chairs continue to make me very happy.  Decorating for Autumn is another thing that makes me happy.

best of 2017 - porch

NOVEMBER:   Lorelei, William, and I attended the annual rosary service at Calvary Cemetery, Knoxville’s only Catholic graveyard.  I’ll be going back to take more pictures before I do a long-overdue write up.

Best of 2017 - Calvary Cemetery

DECEMBER:  In 2018, I will get a new title–mother-in-law! Jake asked Jessica to marry him a few days after Christmas, so I will have a wedding to tell you about this spring.

Best of 2017 - engagement

To see photo essays from past years, click the links below:

I’m linking up at Revolution of Love with other folks who like to do this too.  Click below for more 2017 photos!


2016 in Review: Your Favorites, My Favorites

It’s year three of this fun (well, I think it’s fun) tradition, where I highlight the five posts that WordPress claims were my most viewed for the year, and then the five that were my own favorites.  Which, for some reason, are never the same!

None of the top five readers’ favorites were even written this year.  I’m not sure what that says about the state of my blogging, but probably nothing good.  At least my posts have staying power!


There’s Always That 5 Percent

I wrote this tribute to a high school teacher in 2012, but it gets periodic resurgences in popularity when it is discovered by one of her other students and shared on Facebook.  I always learn something new when this happens.  Be sure to read the comments for even more great stories!

We have so many teachers in a lifetime–too many to count or remember.  But “there’s always that 5%” who make a lasting impression, and Sister Louise was one of a kind.

Hidden Mothers

Another 2012 post, which was featured on BlogHer in 2015.

Sometimes when I walk in cemeteries and look at the graves of little babies, I will say to them, “I see your names.  Today someone remembers you, even if everyone else has forgotten.  Today someone cares that you were here.”  And I find myself wanting to say the same thing to these faceless mothers.

Dear Mom in the Pew

I try to reshare this one around Easter, to encourage moms with rowdy children not to be afraid to take them to church.

If during Easter Mass some cranky submarine Catholic turns around and tells you that your babbling toddler is “ruining it for everyone else,” (and yes, this once happened to me) I want you to know that if he thinks that he doesn’t know what “it” is and he is the one who is ruining things.

Lifelong Marriage: Not for the Faint of Heart

This was first published in 2010, and probably owes this year’s burst of popularity to being featured on YourTango.

wedding couple 8

We have been through some very, very dark times.  the storms of life have buffetted us just as they have everyone else.  We are fortunate that usually we find shelter in each other.   But love isn’t a feeling: it’s a decision. 

Five Life Lessons from the Godfather

This one is from 2015, but the movie–and the lessons–are timeless.


Now that I knew what was going to happen, I was able to appreciate the nuances of the film, particularly the ground-breaking portrayal of gangsters as complex characters who love their families and look upon what they do as “just business.”


We Didn’t Start the Fire

My first reflections on the results of the 2016 Presidential Election.


On Election Day  many of us headed off to the polls excited about a bright new world full of promise and possibility and without glass ceilings.

The next morning we awakened to an America we didn’t recognize, a country we used to love but feel that we don’t even know any more.

Catholic Voting 101: A Guide for the Confused

I am super-proud of this attempt to explain voting to my fellow Catholics.  And this post is getting stumbled quite a bit, so maybe it will do some good.


It’s not your business how your fellow Catholics vote.  It’s not their business how YOU vote! You don’t get to tell them they are going to hell and they don’t get to tell you that you are excommunicated.

September 11: Remember the Love

A 15th anniversary reflection on the events of 9/11.


Our country has changed since 9/11 and I don’t think it has changed for the better.  We have become an angrier country, a frightened country, a deeply divided country.  That’s not the America I love and that’s not what I want to remember about 9/11.

My Grandfather’s Chair

I was so happy to inherit my grandfather’s old chair a year ago that I had to write an essay about it.

Graddaddy's Chair 1

Granddaddy died on September 24, 1980.  It was my first encounter with death.  I remember entering the house for the first time and dreading the sight of that empty chair.

Blessed are the Merciful

This was inspired by several tragic deaths that occurred this year and the over-the-top judgmental internet response.

Blesssed are the Merciful- Showing Mercy to Parents Who Need It

The same hate that has polarized the country over issues like gun control and presidential politics has seeped into every area of public discussion.  We are all firmly entrenched in our little self-righteous camps, unwilling to listen to one another or to extend any benefit of the doubt or God forbid any mercy to ANYONE.

That’s all for this year.  If you enjoyed these, please share the post with anyone you think might like my blog!   Need more to read? Check out the best of 2015 and 2014!

I’m linking up at Revolution of Love with other bloggers who like to do this too.  So if you are looking for a quick way to sample the best of some great blogs, click the picture below.