Where are my fossil peeps?


Any ideas as to what these fossils are? I picked these limestone rocks up near the local wildlife reservoir in Kansas, USA during a fishing trip. The layer where these are located is 2.5-5cm thick. Each black fossil is about 1cm in length.

I’d love to hear anyone’s ideas as to what these might be?

I’ve always had an interest in rocks, fossils, and the environment around me. My favorite college classes were Oceanography (right… in the middle of the continental USA), Astronomy, and the outlier here – Human Growth and Development. I think the last one had more to do with the AMAZING professor who taught it. Ecology of the Environment was a good one too. Mineralogy was tough due to the fact that my eye correction is super high and that seems to make microscope work difficult. — I’ll end my tangent here. —

Back on track – if you have an idea of what sort of creature or plant may have created these fossils, I’m all ears!

Creativity · Family · Perspective

Child-View Photography: POV

Yesterday’s post was pretty heavy. In an effort to lighten things up, here is the world from my children’s point of view. Not necessarily in focus or properly framed, but authentic child-view.

Every once in awhile, one of them sneaks my phone and takes random pictures. 99% of the time, my phone is completely off limits to them. Exceptions are few and far between.

I give you the photography of M (age 4) and T (age 6).

Outdoor Scenes. And a good reminder that I need to get the flower beds and yard ready for spring!

The above porch project (rip it off and pour a new pad and patio) is the LAST thing on my husband’s “honey-do” list. It is also kind of on my father-in-law’s honey-do list as he does concrete work and is a brick mason. Now to coordinate the two…


A nice evening, early spring sunset. We like to sit on this swing in the evenings and listen to the night hawks and cicadas in the summer.

I find it entertaining what they focus on. Truly fascinating to see what they notice.

This is our 14 year old 19# house cat. He’s been with us since before we married. Still has his claws and does not, nor ever did, have the ambition to use them. He also enjoys small children carrying him around and key lime pie yogurt.

These two were M. A picture she painted, then continued with an ink pen to create on. Not her cleanest work, but I refuse to judge or have an opinion about free-style child artwork. Her dance shoe. We are wrapping up her first few months in dance. She’s become a much more creative kitchen dancer since starting class. Now it’s not just me…

Finally this. I hope this is what they always leave my presence with.




St. Patrick’s Day Musings

I’m sitting at the dentist office with my youngest for the second time this week. Monday it was a cleaning. Today it’s for the fillings that she needs even though we brush, floss and swish with fluoride rinse. And I realized that I’m not wearing green. Surely no one is going to pinch a 34 year old woman in pink… Right?

Last year, my crew decided to get away and loaded up for a weekend in Manhattan, KS. Or ‘Manhappiness’ as we like to call it. I ran the 10K road race that begins and ends in Aggieville. I PR’d and my family enjoyed the annual festivities the city puts on. All around a good time.

st pat race

If you’ve never been to Manhattan- the Little Apple- home of Kansas State University- neighbor to Fort Riley, home of the Big Red 1- gateway to the beautiful Flint Hills and Tallgrass Prairie- I encourage you to check it out. I am absolutely biased after attending KSU for 4 years there, but the majority of people agree it’s a lovely place.

“I know a place that I love full well…”

Aggieville is the bar and college inspired area just off campus. This little gem is the heart of what has become a large St Patrick’s themed party, aka Fake Pattys.

Fake Pattys is held the Saturday before the real St Patrick’s Day when the college students are still in town. I believe this was born out of the problem recognized by bar owners- students are always on spring break for the real holiday. Thus, the bars missed a huge chance to sell an enormous amount of green beer.


Throw it WAY back to 2009.


I’ve attended two Fake Pattys and likely won’t attend another for a very long time. The day starts around 8am with green beer, green shirts specially designed by the t-shirt stores in Aggieville, breakfast and green beads. Fast forward a few hours and more green beers… to lunch and live music. Then a whole afternoon of more green beer, more green beads, more bands, and maybe a nap back at your apartment. Back to Aggieville and probably another bar with more green beer, bar food, and on and on until 2am. At which point you absolutely need fast fried food and a ride home.

We were actually in town again this year on a business errand and witnessed the melee. Our favorite observation was the entrepreneurial students across the street from Aggieville selling Mac n cheese and bacon from a pop up tent. And they had customers.

All of this is now a tradition a decade strong and growing every year.

I don’t condone over-intoxication or unruly conduct. I won’t paint myself as someone who didn’t make bad decisions in college either… I did. These days, I lead a simpler life that involves a rare few drinks socially a year. However, I certainly remember the care-free attitude of being a college student.

The Manhattan PD and assisting agencies have a fabulous account of the holiday this year. You can check it out here. Working law enforcement in a college town, I think you’d have to have a good sense of humor. I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite tweets of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day season:



Faith · Perspective

Windblown and On Fire

Windblown. Physically and emotionally.

This was a rough weekend around here. Sustained winds around 40mph for going on four days with stronger gusts. Prairie fires. Branches down. March comes in like a lion, right?

The wind has this claustrophobic affect on me. It makes me tense and jittery, which is overwhelming. Although the sun is shining and the temperatures are mid-70’s, I don’t want to be outside. The dust is roiling down the road. The scent of smoke tinges the brown air.


Dirt blowing down the road at me. Sky is brown. The truck is stopped.

I’m feeling beat up. I believe many around here reciprocate that sensation.

Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas are on fire. I don’t mean the nice kind with beer and marshmallows and chocolate and fire pits. I mean literally, on fire. Burning down houses. Killing animals and tragically, in the Texas panhandle, people too.

Interstate 70 Closed for Fire – Town of Wilson Evacuated

Prairie fires have been occurring for thousands of years. They are nature’s way of controlling invasive species, refreshing and renewing the soil with nutrients, and just plain doing “clean-up.” Usually, to prevent wildfires and promote growth of grass, burning is done on a permit basis depending on the weather and moisture levels.

This winter and spring, the clouds didn’t drop much moisture. The weather warmed up quickly. Too quick. The weather pattern set up for strong winds. Kansas is usually windswept… but as I told a customer today in the office, this is abnormally windy. Perfect conditions for prairie fires.

Fires around Hutchinson, KS – National Guard uses Black Hawk Helicopters to Drop Water


Cred to the South Hutchinson Police Dept on Facebook for this image.


90% of the firefighters in Kansas are volunteers. The men and women who fight the flames have day jobs or night jobs or both. They go to trainings and “Rural Fire District” meetings in the evening once or twice a month. They do not get paid for their time or effort. It can be extremely draining, especially when you are fighting for your neighbor’s livelihood or life.

The Volunteer Firefighters of Kansas

To support these volunteers as they fight fires in and around their communities, there are yet more volunteers providing food, water, blankets, shelter, and other resources when the needs arise. Currently, there are people flooding in from rural volunteer districts to help with the large fires across the state.

I believe I’ve mentioned before that us Midwesterners are a friendly sort. We’ll talk to you even if we don’t know you. Honestly, we expect you to talk back. We wave when we meet people on the road even if we don’t know you. We would like it if you’d wave back – or at least give the head nod acknowledging the wave. This is exactly the type of spirit you find in our rural fire districts and the volunteers that support them.

Although these fires are devastating, I’ve always been one to search for the bright side. The rays of light in this are the rallying cries of people coming together to support each other – to fight the flames together – to say we’re here for you. Don’t give up.


Cred to Cirrus Weather on Facebook for this picture and post


If you are the praying sort (I am), please pray for all those involved in the fires. Pray for rain and a calm day. And as in all things, give thanks for how we grow and connect in these situations.


Creativity · Fitness

Mother Nature

When I woke up this morning before the kids, I thought maybe I should just sleep in. I’m tired and achy. Thinking the better of this, I got out of bed and went for a run, slower than usual. A little short of the halfway point, SKUNK. Turned around and ran faster back. Well played Mother Nature. Well played.

I love living in rural Kansas. With the recent sprinkles, wheat harvest has been put on hiatus temporarily while things dry out again. This allowed a nice long country walk with my daughter in the stroller without the danger of trucks, combines, and tractors with grain carts.


Dirt Road North Central Kansas - June 2014
Dirt Road North Central Kansas – June 2014


How can you not marvel at God’s creations with a view like this? He created everything with such detail and rich color. As our pastor on Sunday talked about, how amazing is it that everything that a plant needs to grow and mature is packed into that tiny seed. All the directions for the roots to absorb nutrients and moisture and for the leaves to absorb sunlight for photosynthesis – all packed into that tiny little seed! AMAZING.


Dear Winter —

Dear Winter – Thank you for making me appreciate summer.

Groaning and grumbling, we sweat above the century temperature mark.
Glistening in the sun, splashing in the pool for relief, we beg for that cool breeze of fall.

Sweatshirts, football, leaves and crisp air, children excitedly press faces to the window to see the first snowflakes.
Turkey and family, we eagerly await the winter that is coming.

Winter is here. Sub-zero. Slick and Snowy. Thankful for the moisture.
The birds puff up and huddle against the horizontal snow and biting wind.

When will it warm up? We long for any sign of a thaw. Anything green out there?
Snow melts, mud deepens, buttercups and tulips poke through. The air sweetens with the blush of spring.

The seasons turn again in Kansas.

Dear Winter – Thank you for making me appreciate summer.