Category Archives: Personal Stuff

Happy 70th Birthday, Daddy!

70 years ago, my father entered this world…a part of the chain that would lead to the life of yours truly. The pictures below are of Dad at around age 7 and me around age 9 and then dad now at age 70. Daddy has always been my friend. He was someone I could talk to, get great advice from, and who loved me for me. I never felt like he was judging me or wanted me to be something I was not. If I had a problem, Daddy was the one I went to to fix it. He still is.

So many memories we have made together and/or shared. Fishing in a boat and eating peanut butter and dill pickle sandwiches. Hikes in the fall when I had a day off from school. Card games. Movies he took me too while mom had ceramics class. Hugs. The club house he made me out of a rabbit’s hutch. Homemade wine. Helping me bury Candy, my first and only pet while I was growing up. Replacing the valve cover gaskets on my 1975 Monte Carlo. Sunday drives and ice cream cones from High’s. My handmade bed that I still sleep in every night. The beautiful jewelry box with a drawer full of memories that he made for me for a graduation gift. Long talks. Shooting can filled with water. Target practice on walnuts. The sled track he made for me using a mortar box to smash it down and water to make it super fast. The snow woman he made during the winter of 83. Giving just a bit too much gas to old Gert so we would spin around on a snowy road. Stories of his growing up. The decks he built for my house. Him holding his grandchildren when they were born. His love of the great outdoors. His thoughtful conversations and insights. A bowl of beans at Jesse Reynold’s. Washing the fire truck.

Dad, I don’t think I can ever find enough words to tell you how much I love you! Thank you for the gift of life and for the love that you have showed me every day since!



2015-07-19 14.06.144th grade


You Version – A Useful App

I signed up for YouVersion a couple of years ago. In case you don’t know what that is, it is a wonderful website that you can go to on your computer or through an app on your phone so that you can link to a bible where ever you are, whenever you need to consult the word.

BibleThere are a variety of versions available, there is a search function and there are devotionals you can sign up for. The devotionals range in length from a few days to a year. You can set up reminders for yourself, you can follow friends on YouVersion and they can follow you if you want. I have enjoyed this app because it has reminds me to take time with God on those days that I let life get in the way.

A couple of months ago, I discovered something about YouVersion that I found really helpful. Maybe you already know. Maybe I am missing something in my app. But here’s what I discovered. I have done a variety of the studies offered – always on my phone. Most times there was only a bible verse. What I am really hoping for with these studies is some guidance, some external food for thought. So I wondered why these were called ‘studies’ when it was just a verse.

A couple of months ago, I signed into YouVersion from my computer. I am doing Day by Day with Billy Graham. On my computer, the whole process is much better for me! The verse of the day is highlighted, but the whole chapter is also there. And in a side scroll, there is the devotional from Billy Graham! I was missing that for the first 100+ days because it doesn’t show up on my phone! So, if you are like I, check it out on your computer. There really is more there for you to see!

Newton’s Laws of Motion Apply to Me

The Laws of Motion are defined as three laws of mechanics describing the motion of a body. The first law states that a body remains at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless acted upon by a force. The second law states that a body’s rate of change of momentum is proportional to the force causing it. The third law states that when a force acts on a body due to another body, then an equal and opposite force acts simultaneously on that body.

When I learned this in school, I applied it in scientific ways, and it also was used when our driving instructor was telling us about the horrors of car accidents. I have come to realize that these laws apply to my person.

On days that I get up and walk and go about my many activities, I get so much accomplished. Once I sit down, usually my get and go gets up and leaves. If I start out my day watching a movie or television show…then I end up watching another and another and another. To combat this, I try to make most days ones of movement early on. Not only do I get more done, but when I do take a break, I don’t feel guilty about it.

couch potato

TBT: Moving into the Dorm

Today, I was in Walmart, along with dozens of parents and their teenagers coming to school. School is back in session and we have a lot of colleges in the Lynchburg area: Central Virginia Community College,   Liberty University, Lynchburg College,  Miller-Motte College, National College, Randolph College, and Sweet Briar College.

So many hopeful and excited young adults embarking on a great adventure. I watched with nostalgia as parents picked up rugs, dorm fridges, pillows, hangers and more. I listened as one Dad recommended to his daughter that she try Marie Callender meals because they were ‘the bomb.’ I couldn’t help but smile.

The influx of students means a lot for Lynchburg. More traffic, longer lines in stores and longer waits at restaurants. It also means more money for our economy. These young folks and their parents helped keep us fairly stable during the last recession. They need jobs, but they also provide a need for jobs that are filled by the local folks They bring new ideas, excitement, cultural events, and laughter.

I realize that the same dynamics were in play when more than 4,000 students descended on the College of William and Mary back in the 1980s. We were a boon and an annoyance. At the time, I was only aware of being excited about learning, making new friends and becoming more independent. I had no clue that the local folks cared one way or another about our invasion.

I remember moving into my Freshman room – my parents and our pull along U-Haul in attendance. Negotiating with a person I barely knew about how our furniture would be placed in our 10′ x 10′ room. My mom and dad being proud, excited and sad. So many new experiences and friendships began that day – including with my roommate who I am still friends with today.

Move In DayMove In Day

Bunk BedsBunk Beds – do you know which is mine?

Doug and MelI may have liked unicorns…Doug was the R.A. for our brother dorm, Hunt.

Phone HomePhoning Home…way before cell phones!

The Huddleston Snow of 2012

Well, it finally came…snow. When there was a freak snowstorm that hit the northeast on Halloween, we were certain that we were looking ahead to another busy winter season like last year. Months passed and we saw a couple of flurries, but that was it…where was the snow?
Well February 19th, the snow came – the 18th the temperatures were in the 50s. On the 19th, they began in the 40s at midnight and continued to drop from there. By Sunday evening, they had fallen below freezing. And 7 inches of snow quickly piled up after a day long snowfall that had only brought us maybe 1/2″. I shan’t regale you here with my death defying ride home (thanks God for the guardian angels!), but I thought I would share some pictures from Monday the 20th (before the temperature once again soared into the 50s.
Plato Gallops
Katrina's back snow
Snow Dinos
Sun on snow
Plato says snow is yummy!
Plato snow pillow
Ginger is Serious
Snowboarding--Jack style!
Katrina falling
Katrina comes up smiling
Katrina rescued by Canines
Jack sledding
Katrina gets it!
I hope you’ve enjoyed our fun in the snow!

August 23, 2011 East Coast Earthquake

Yesterday afternoon, we had a brief glimpse into what many Californians and others in earthquake prone areas experience regularly without a second thought. In my house, I was lying down and the wall next to my bed began shaking, the knick-knacks on the shelf attached to that wall began rattling. And there was a sound – a roaring sound. We have an elliptical machine which is about 2 feet away from that wall in the next room. I was sure one of the kids was on their pumping it really hard and causing this problem!
I jumped up…the words “What is going on out there?” falling from my lips as I rushed around the bed and to the door, which when I opened it, I realized the commotion had stopped and there was no one on the elliptical machine. In fact, Daniel, Katrina and Jack were all outside on the deck staring up at the sky! Daniel thought it had been caused by a low flying helicopter, but there wasn’t one in sight. We then realized it must have been an earthquake. First I went to Drudge Report, but there wasn’t any mention there. Then I went to Facebook to place a status update and couldn’t believe it as I started reading posts of friends near and far that they had just experienced an earthquake! When I saw a friend from NY posting, I knew we had just experienced something pretty big and unique.
Turning the TV on, I saw people filling the streets of DC and NY and just like after 9/11 all kinds of reports were coming in – The Washington Monument was tilting, there were cracks in the Smithsonian Main building, the Capitol Building and the White House were being checked for structural damage, local school systems were sending kids home…some of these reports came to nothing and meanwhile, our friends on the West Coast were scratching their heads…A 5.8? Really? And what’s all the fuss about?
We get tremors from time to time on the East Coast, but most of them go unnoticed. This one shook foodstuffs off of grocery store shelves, knocked over bookcases and entertainment centers, caused a few buildings to lose parts of themselves (everything from a lone brick to a complete wall), and left some buildings with large cracks in them.
The East Coast isn’t earthquake territory. Our buildings are not prepared and the sad part is that while we get quakes rarely, they do happen and when they happen, they are felt for a long, long way. This is because of the bedrock that is found under the east coast. Instead of the waves dissipating like they do in the sandy soil of the West Coast, they just keep trucking on in the bedrock of the East Coast. I read where one geologist said it would take several dozen earthquakes of a similar size on the West Coast to have the same reach as we had from one on the East Coast.
Fortunately, there are no reports of death that I am aware of from yesterdays earthquake. While there has been damage, it doesn’t appear to have been extensive. Though, now with a major hurricane aimed at the Northeast, there is concern that buildings weakened by the shaking may not fair well in the high winds that are predicted.
I think the thing that struck me most was the fear that the shaking brought to the forefront for our countrymen in NYC. With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 quickly approaching, and with the memories etched into the minds of those who lived through 9/11 – yesterday’s shaking gave them several horrifying moments.
At this point you might want to stop reading if you don’t want to know more about earthquakes in the middle of our country that could have some effect on us. But, if you are curious, or fascinated (like I am) by all means, read on…You might not want to share with nervous youngsters though.
If you want to read about one of the most damaging series of earthquakes ever to hit the United States, you should check out New Madrid 1811-1812 earthquakes. That is reading that may put a bit of curl in your hair. There are even eye witness accounts. Here is some more information on the New Madrid quakes.
Below you will find a couple of interesting videos.

In a galaxy far, far away…

…okay, so it wasn’t a galaxy far, far away, but it makes for a good story starter.
21 years ago this month, I was sitting on the floor with Matthew, a child who had Down’s Syndrome, and talking with his mother Joy. We were winding up our weekly visit (I used to work with children under the age of 3 who had developmental delays). I was startled to see a man come into the back door of Joy’s home. Her home was very isolated and my first thought was an intruder. Turns out the intruder was her brother and he was looking for a ride to pick his car up from the shop.
I was getting ready to leave and it wouldn’t be too far out of my way, so rather than Joy having to pack up 3 kids, I offered to take her brother to the auto repair shop. There was an instant attraction. Whether it was his blue eyes that I could drown in, or his beard and shoulder length wavy hair, or his warm, friendly attitude and quick smile I couldn’t say, but I knew I wanted to know him better. Unfortunately, the ride was a short one. I kept thinking in my head…’ask me out…ask me out,’ but my telepathy didn’t work seem to be working. I dropped him off at the garage and the whole way home was kicking myself for not just having asked him out. After all, it was 1990 – girls did that sort of thing!
When I got back to work, my friend Linda who was the receptionist, was still there even though quitting time had been 30 minutes before. Turns out she was waiting for me with a big grin on her face. See…there had been a phone call. Some guy I had given a ride to wanted to talk to me! She made me promise to tell her all about it before she would hand over the phone number. I went into my office and called. Daniel and I chatted a bit and made plans for a date the following Friday night. And he called and talked to me every night in between – long distance (that was such a big deal back then, he was paying like a quarter a minute to talk to me on the phone!)
So the night of the big date arrived. Gotta remember, this was before cell phones. About the time that I was expecting him to show up, I got a phone call. He had left the directions to my house at his house, so he had to drive from work in Roanoke to Moneta to get them and he was heading to my house. Finally he arrived in white slacks and a red shirt driving a grey 1975 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. For those of you who have known me for a long time, you know that my first car was a grey 1975 Monte Carlo. I loved that car and drove it for 5 years. This date was definitely off to a good start!
We had to stop and get oil for the car (just like mine) and then we had dinner at a Chinese restaurant that I don’t think exists anymore. We went and played putt-putt and then we came back to Mom and Dad’s (I was living at home at the time) and ended up watching a Star Trek movie on TV. When I found out he loved Star Trek like I did…I was thinking this is definitely a match! I was so enamored with him that I called and cancelled three other dates I had lined up with other guys for the week ahead.. 30 days later I was calling Moneta home.
4 years later, on August 20, 1994, we were standing in a small country church near the Peaks of Otter making a lifelong commitment with our family and friends gathered around. Now here we are, 17 years, 4 children and a lot of experiences later –still in love and celebrating our anniversary. It hasn’t all been peaches and cream. There have been ups and downs, happy and sad times, angry and quiet times, growing together and growing apart times. Daniel and I complement one another. I know I can count on him to encourage me, to be there for me when I need him most, and to love me.
Happy Anniversary, sweetheart! I look forward to the next 17 years of our journey together.

Peach Jam Memories

Yesterday, our 4H club made peach jam for our first class this semester. We are studying aspects of cooking. Several of the children weren’t too crazy about the whole idea – they didn’t like peaches, they didn’t like jam, they didn’t want to get sticky…but they were all soon involved in the class – mashing, stirring, mixing. It was great watching them join together to produce such a beautiful and tasty treat.
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I have never canned anything. My mom spent her summers attached to a stove canning everything from tomatoes to homemade ketchup to green beans to potatoes to jams to pickles. I loved the pickles and potatoes and jam. I hated the ketchup and was always excited when we ran out so we had to buy the store bought kind (sorry, Mom). Kind of an Aunt Bee thing.
Barney, Andy, Pickles.jpg
opie pickle.jpg
Canning was always so much work, but I have to say, the fresher tasting vegetables in the winter months sure were nice to have around. And I liked helping mom get things ready for canning – snapping beans, shelling peas, shucking corn. The memory of warm summer days, little hidden bugs that would pop out as we worked and time to sit and talk while our hands were busy. Thanks for the memories!

Disney’s Beauty and The Beast at the Barter Theater

Katrina, Kaley, and I went to see Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at the Barter Theater in Abingdon, VA. We had the best time! The play was tremendous – beautiful scenery and costumes, excellent acting, singing and dancing. As soon as it was over, I wanted to see it again.
And I wanted to spend more time in Abingdon. I didn’t see very much of Abingdon, but it immediately appealed to me. The brick sidewalks, the quaint little shops (cafes, tea rooms, and shops), the beautiful old homes. The land that Abingdon sits on was originally surveyed between 1748 and 1750. In 1778, Abingdon became incorporated, it is said to be the ancestral home of Martha Washington. The population was 8,191 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Washington County and is a designated Virginia Historic Landmark. It has historic treasures, and a fine arts and crafts scene centered around the galleries and museums along Main Street.
The Barter Theater is a beautiful theater where a variety of plays are presented . There is a show to appeal to all types of audiences. I highly recommend keeping an eye on their website and looking for a play that appeal to you, then go and enjoy a few hours of magic. Live theater is unsurpassed by any other form of media.
Directly across from The Barter Theater is The Martha Washington Inn. This Inn was originally built in 1832 as a private residence by a Virginia General. The Martha Washington Inn has seen many different uses. From private residence it evolved into a finishing school for young ladies. When the armies of the Civil War battled in and around Abingdon, the building served as a hospital for wounded soldiers, and romantic stories of nurses and soldiers still endure to this day. After the Civil War The Martha became a women’s college and today is an elegant hotel, paying homage to its gracious Southern roots and enduring historic legacy.
I am hoping that Daniel and I can plan a weekend trip to Abingdon. We can take in a play and stay at the Martha Washington Inn and enjoy this beautiful town tucked away in Soutwest Virginia.