Butterfly on Milkweed Flower

Halfway Through 2023

Picture of Question Mark Butterfly. Image by Theresa Davidson
Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis). Image by Theresa Davidson

How are we already halfway through 2023? I haven’t blogged in a while and the only excuse I have is life has been BUSY! There are just so many things vying for my attention. Most of the year I have not even prioritized all of the right things. I am trying to get back on track.

Word of the Year

Even though we are halfway through this year, I am going to memorialize my word of the year. This years’ word is hope. Without hope for a brighter tomorrow, for a future in heaven, I don’t know how to get through the bad times. Living in the present is so important, but having hope keeps me grounded in the things that matter to me. Do you choose a word every year? If so let me know what it is in the comments. Found this on youtube: https://youtu.be/CMiQD7brjgk . Also like this: What Is Hope? | Catholic Answers

Soccer Mom Again

The heading is a little misleading, my grandson has been playing recreational soccer since he was in pre-school. This year he started playing on the towns traveling soccer team. It is so much fun watching him grow stronger as the teams goalkeeper. His team went from the “the bad news bears” (remember that gen x-ers?) to winning their first tournament! They didn’t lose any games in that tournament but tied one against the most experienced team in their division (they beat the same team in the final). To say we were all surprised and proud of them is an understatement. We are halfway through the calendar year with one season down, a summer full of training, and then the fall season. Bring it on. I love it.

Authors grandson drop kicking a soccer ball.  Image by Theresa Davidson
My grandson dropkicking skills continue to improve. Image by Theresa Davidson.

Family Fun

We have had a good time with the family in between soccer practice, games, school and work! We had a great easter celebration at my mom’s house. It was a nice day and we celebrated with cascarones (confetti eggs) and other yard games and corn-hole. Of course we went to mass to celebrate the Lord’s resurrection.

Authors grandchildren having fun with an easter egg hunt. Image by Theresa Davidson
The grandkids had easter fun at their great grandparents house. Image by Theresa Davidson

Unexpected Storm

I guess you can’t get halfway through a year without some exciting weather, can you? This spring brought a couple of intense rain and wind events, with a little hail thrown in for good measure. Thankfully, we were spared from tornados! But we did get some damage to our house. We have to replace the siding and roof on our house. Some sections of siding were ripped off the house or just up and away from the house. One section became home to a colony of big brown bats. Being the “battyowl” and a wildlife biologist who happens to love bats, I thought that was pretty exciting. Not all people would welcome the bats and the mess they made down the side of the house but I was. I also knew it was temporary. We are replacing the siding after all.

The Lord has come through with his beautiful artistry once again. I have so many pictures of flowers, birds, and landscapes. I will add a few pictures here for you to enjoy. All images are mine. My art could never compare.

Also had fun with the grandkids (and the big kids too) on Memorial day weekend. I tried my hand at taking pictures of them blowing bubbles and the bubbles themselves. All images are mine.

Summer’s Here

Well, this year is halfway through and summer is here. I hope you take time to enjoy time in nature and with your families. May God bless you with wonderful weather – warm sun and lovely drought quenching rains when you need it. Do you have big summer plans?


2022 – What a Year!

Bonfire Image by Theresa Davidson

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”

Henri J.M. Nouwen


For the past couple of years, I have chosen a “word” and tried to focus on it throughout the year. My word for 2022 was “joy.” I have actually spent a lot of time focusing on finding joy this year even though there have been some really rough patches this year. Like the quote above, I have found that to find you, you have to choose it on those hard days or at least through the tough times. I chose the bonfire image to symbolize the tough times, but it was a joyous occasion when we burned that fire (our family Halloween celebration).

Baltimore Oriole Image by Theresa Davidson


You know what they say, there is a time for everything. Early this year, I was asked if I was interested in doing a temporary detail into a Regional USFS position (Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive Species Program Lead). After much thought, I decided to go for it! After a few months in the temporary detail, I was officially offered the position and I accepted it! It was hard leaving the National Forest I had spent the last 13 years on – both as Forest Wildlife Biologist and as Collaboration & Planning Staff Officer. This wasn’t a promotion, I stayed at the same pay grade – without supervision. A step back from FS leadership but still a position with collaboration and leadership skills necessary.

I restarted this blog again in 2022 after barely blogging these past few years. The restart was part of an experiment I am not going to go in to, but it was semi-successful! Looking forward to many more changes next year.

Spiritually, I have done some growing as well. I have blogged about this a little, but more is going on inside of me and I suppose that is where is all starts, right? Hopefully, the youth group I lead, is benefitting from this growth – and maybe it is expanding outward too. Letting the light shine, if you know what I mean. Jesus has been there for me, that’s for sure and my guardian angel has most likely worked overtime for me.


This year has been a time of loss too. One of my employees passed away early this year. She was so young and such a sweet person. Cancer sucks. It was so devastating to all that worked with her and of course to her family. It was heartening to see her friends and co-workers rally together to send her care packages while she was in the hospital and to see them again rally to pack up her apartment with her parents. Kathryn, you are missed.

We also lost my father-in-law this month. Losing family during the holidays is hard. Lucky was a lifelong conservationist, avid tennis player turned official, fisherman, husband, dad and grandpa. He fought a terrible battle with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. I can’t imagine the pain he was in before his passing. I am grateful for the hospice service that made him a little more comfortable in his last days. He will be very missed.

This is a terrible picture of a picture – but it is one of my favorites. Lucky made huge leaf piles for my girls when they were little. This picture was taken over 20 years ago!


This year has been filled with travel for me! Most of it was work related but there was some pleasure travel as well. I went to South Dakota this year for a conference at Custer State Park. I was able to visit Mt. Rushmore on the way there. The buffalo up close at CSP was such an awesome experience.

Cape Cod Trip image by Theresa Davidson

The big family highlight was a big trip to Cape Cod. We went there for a Family Adventure Cycling tour of the cape! We rode our bikes on the Cape Cod Rail Trail and along the National Seashore. Brian did about 100 miles, Brayden and I did about 85 miles. It definitely pushed my limits but it was so worth it. We camped the entire way out there and well we did get a couple of hotels on the way back. I think my favorite state we camped in was Vermont. It was beautiful there! On the way back home, we also stopped in Pennsylvania and saw my dad and brothers. That was a visit way overdue.

I took a couple of work trips to Wisconsin, one at the peak of fall colors which was pretty great. A work trip to Florida rounded out my work travel. Orlando in November isn’t a bad time to go! I went a day early and got to spend a half day exploring Universal Studios by myself. Of course, I had to go to the Harry Potter world. Also got to go to a nature preserve that The Nature Conservancy manages. It was beautiful.

I am looking forward to the new year. What was your favorite part of 2022? Let me know in the comments!


Choosing Health

Image By Theresa Davidson. Flowers in three different stages of life.

Where I Have Been

It is time. Time for me to choose health. For too long, I have not chosen health. I have had fits and starts but I fall back on old habits. I have carried too much weight from my pregnancies. My first born is 27, I don’t think I can use it as an excuse anymore. I was on bed rest with her, and I just gained a lot of weight. It wasn’t pretty. But I have to give it up.

“The more a man uses moderation in his life, the more he is at peace, for he is not full of cares for many things. “

St. Anthony the Great
Image by Theresa Davidson. Monarch caterpillar eating milkweed leaf.

Last year my A1C crept up to 6.1. That is not terrible for a type 2 diabetic, but it is when the doctor says you either need to lose weight and eat right or you are going back on medication. My cholesterol was also going up. Menopause symptoms were getting bad again and the weight gain – just unstoppable.

Speaking of menopause, did you know menopause symptoms are so much more than hot flashes and night sweats? There are mood swings, aches and pains, brain fog, and man, if I didn’t have ADHD before, I sure feel like I do now! A good night’s sleep, what is that? My doctor (GP) wanted to put me on Lexapro when I said I had mood swings. I snapped at him and said “why do you only hear “mood swings? If I could sleep, I wouldn’t be so moody.” I had to laugh at myself later, but seriously, if I was getting enough rest, I think I could focus better and not be moody. I saw my gynecologist a few weeks later and she tried a different medication to try to help me sleep. Unfortunately, that med made my heart rate drop so low I thought I was going to die. No more of that. Still need to try something else.

Image by Theresa Davidson. Sunset picture from my deck, taken with my phone.

“Take care of your body as if you were going to live forever and take care of your soul as if you were going to die tomorrow.”

Saint Augustine

Where I Am Going

Dieting is not easy for anyone. I have tried a number of different diets and have had varying levels of success with each one. Everyone’s body is different and you need to find what works for you. With the combination of taking something for my menopause (an OTC menopause remedy), the lifestyle changes I am making with my diet (low carb/healthy fats), getting a little more exercise in, and wearing a continuous glucose monitor, things are starting to change. My prayer is that God gives me the strength to keep on this path. I want to be healthy so I can do what He calls me to do.

Another aspect of health is taking care of your mental health. I am so glad that the old thoughts on mental health issues as being shameful and weak are disappearing. It’s so important to take time to do things that “keep you sane” and do things that bring you joy. Nature photography, arts & crafts, reading, and writing all keep me sane and bring me joy. All of those things are like prayer to me. Singing is like prayer to me too and I start the day by singing in the shower – mostly Matt Maher songs. I am sure my family just loves all the noise I am making. Didn’t St. Augustine say, “singing is praying twice?’ Ah, but it brings me great joy. Isn’t it lovely to take a walk outside? Taking time to “smell the roses” is so refreshing to the mind and to the soul. Prayer and receiving the sacraments also helps stay in the right place mentally and spiritually.

“I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Romans 12:1-2

Capturing peaceful images is also soul soothing to me. What are you doing to stay healthy: physically, mentally, and spiritually?


printed musical note page

Music – It Moves Me

I love listening to music. I love singing – mostly in the shower or in the car! Choosing a favorite genre is impossible. I love it all! My mood dictates what I am listening to most of the time. Sometimes I want music to just chill with, sometimes, I want music in the background while I am working or reading (usually classical). There are times I want to rock, times I want to listen to throw backs to my youth (a lot of times this is where I land to be honest), and there are times I use music for worship and prayer.

Image by Theresa Davidson. My headphones and phone!

Music has the power to move a person or to make a person move! Here is some music that moves me. I have included YouTube links to some of the songs.

Image by Theresa Davidson; My Echo Show playing Lord I Need You by Matt Maher

These are just some of the songs that move me. What songs move you?


Capturing Nature

Image By Theresa Davidson 2022 Wildflowers at Loggers Lake, Missouri

“On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.”

Psalms 145:5

Within a few months of the covid pandemic, I knew I would want to spend a lot of time outdoors. I needed something better than my phone to capture the beauty of the outdoors. I was very lucky to happen upon an ad for a barely used Nikon D3500. It’s a nice entry level DSLR. The man whom I bought it from, bought it for the same reason I was buying it. He decided within months that he loved photography so much that he was going to upgrade to an even better camera. This camera makes me very happy, but I will probably upgrade when I retire and have more time to really get out there.

Image by Theresa Davidson – my camera (picture taken by my phone!)

I just love to get outside and take pictures of all of the wildflowers my husband has planted trying to convert some of our land back to native species. Some of the pictures I take are of non-native flowers (they are so pretty; I can’t help myself). I am not great at bird photography, and I probably need a better lens for that, but I have managed to get some good shots. I have captured dragonflies and butterflies too!

Image by Theresa Davidson: Goldenrod
Image by Theresa Davidson: I could not stop myself from taking this picture of a curly vine growing on this tree.

Being in nature always brings me closer to God. Seeing his wonderful creation always leaves me in awe. I always thank him for the beauty all around me. I can only capture a little snippet of what I am seeing (even if it’s a landscape). Many of these pictures will be used to create watercolor or acrylic paintings at some point! Practicing that will bring me great joy!

Image by Theresa Davidson, Turtle on branch at Lion’s Club Park, Rolla, MO.
Image by Theresa Davidson: Mushroom in my back yard.
Image by Theresa Davidson: Dragonfly at Lion’s Club Park, Rolla, MO

I will leave you with this quote below. Let me know how you like to enjoy nature. Peace.

“Let all creation help you to praise God. Give yourself the rest you need. When you are walking alone, listen to the sermon preached to you by the flowers, the trees, the shrubs, the sky, the sun and the whole world. Notice how they preach to you a sermon full of love, of praise of God, and how they invite you to proclaim the greatness of the one who has given them being.”

St. Paul of the Cross
Image by Theresa Davidson: Loggers Lake, MO

Doorways – part 2

“And when they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast and the door was shut. Afterwards the other maidens came also, saying Lord, Lord, open to use. But He replied, “Truly, I say to you, I do not know you. Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” – Matthew 25:10-13

Here is another doorway we will all be faced with. It is a little scarier to think about this one. I mean, it’s joyful on the one hand – described as going to the marriage feast! Who doesn’t love a wedding party. Or more specifically, who doesn’t want to enter the gates of heaven? This passage tells us we have to be ready to enter through that doorway at any time – or else we will be wailing on the other side! We don’t know the day or hour of our death or the Lord’s coming. It’s sobering news, isn’t it?

How do we get and stay ready? We need to be so grateful for God’s mercy. We need to stay in relationship with Jesus! I used to hear that, and I wasn’t sure what that meant or how to do it. We do it through prayer, through reading the Bible and pondering His words. How is He trying to speak to you through the Word?

We are supposed to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). What does that mean and how do we do it? There are many books explaining various ways to do that, but I will share what I try to do (I definitely need to keep working on it). For me it can look like reading the mass (bible) readings for the day – and read or listen to a reflection on it. If I am really on my “game,” I will try to relate it to my life, I may even journal on it. Throughout the day I try to thank God for different things. If I am bird watching or just out in nature in general, I am always overjoyed and amazed by God’s creation and artistry. I pray for the ability to be a good steward of God’s creation. I also pray for the ability to somehow capture His creation creatively – either through my art or my photography, writing (this blog, poetry (been a while), or in my journal). I thank God for getting a green light when I need to get somewhere, or for a red light when I need to grab something in my car!

Image by Theresa Davidson – Sunflower after rain 2022

I ask the Holy Spirit to guide my words if someone needs my counsel or to help keep my mouth shut in situations where my temper may be tested (I really need to work on both of these because well, let’s just say, I need help). I like to use a prayer journal and pour my prayer into it. And of course, I attend Sunday mass.

We also need to make sure we are right with God. I am so grateful for the sacrament of reconciliation. I make not like it – it’s so humbling, isn’t it? But I am grateful for the gift of God’s mercy.

Stay ready for that doorway to open to you! I would love to hear ways you pray constantly or your favorite form of prayer.


Image By Theresa Davidson at C&O Canal in Pennsylvania 2022

Doorways – Prayer (part 1)

Have you ever gotten to a closed door and felt trepidation or maybe excitement at what might be on the other side? Doorways can be portal to new adventures or a path to bad news. An open door is usually easier to go through than a closed door – at least for me anyway. You can take a peek into the open doorway; and see what is just beyond, but a closed door just lends itself to mystery.

Have you ever thought of your prayer as a doorway? Luke 11:9-13 says “And I tell you, Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

We are knocking on Heaven’s door when we pray! When we bring our needs and the needs of others to God’s door, we will be answered! I know the hard truth that sometimes the answer is “no” or “not yet.” But sometimes that answer is a “yes” and that answer sometimes comes very quickly. I prayed for years for a close relative to be healed of their health issues, and they never were. But God had other plans and I am seeing how all of it worked out for good. I have seen the power of prayer work miracles – healing that could not be explained. The thing is we have to pray, and we have to pray with faith. Faith that God hears and answers our prayers. And then we have to thank God for hearing and answering our prayers.

Bringing our needs to God and even asking others to pray for us takes courage. It exposes our vulnerabilities and areas out of our control. AH, isn’t that the key! So often I want to be in control, I want my will to be done, my way, and now. It’s often after that doesn’t work, that then I go to God, exhausted with all my efforts, and then really pray for His will to be done. I need to learn how to get over myself, over my need to be I control, and go to God first. I mean I pray daily and all, but when stuff hits the fan, I usually want to dive in and solve problems and control the situation! Am I alone in this? Tell me I am not! I would love to hear how you have worked to overcome this or how you are working it.

Pray for me friends! I will pray for you too. Keep on knocking on Heavens door.


Managing Type 2 Diabetes

Managing Type 2 Diabetes

The Diagnosis

When I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes approximately 2 years ago, I was devastated.  I had fasting blood glucoses that were very high and my first A1C was 12.7!  The first trip to the grocery store was extremely overwhelming as I looked at all of the labels of the food I usually bought and saw how tiny a serving size was and how many carbohydrates each serving had in it.  I literally cried in the store that day.  I had no idea what I could or should eat. My doctor had just told me to watch my sugars and the websites I visited said to eat a low carb diet.  It really wasn’t very helpful at all.

A few months later, I found a diabetic education class that met once a week or 4 weeks in a town about an hour away from where I live. It was the best thing I could do.  I also joined the American Diabetes Association forums – click here to see the site (and subscribed to the magazine) and the support and advice I got from both of those groups was amazing.  I learned what I could eat and how to test my blood sugars to get to the optimal ranges.  I learned daily exercise is important (though I admit I am terrible at this). I was also put on Metformin. I could only tolerate a low dose, but luckily for me it really worked for me as I worked to control my numbers through my diet (and occasional exercise).  I lost weight (25-30 lbs since diagnosis – that 5 pounds keeps fluctuating).  Things continued to get better. My A1C decreased to 7 by the first time it was retaken!  By last summer it was down to the 6’s.

How far have I come with my Type 2 Diabetes.

My A1C was drawn a couple weeks ago. Last week I got the great news that it was now 5.8!  WOW.  I actually thought it would be higher because I did a lot of cheating over the holidays.  My doctor took me off of the metformin and I now have to do it all (control my blood glucose) through diet and exercise.

It’s been less than a week since I am trying this and it has not been easy.  My numbers have been high to low…I am having trouble getting things into the range I really want (they aren’r ridiculously high, but the lows are troubling because they happen quickly with just a little bit of exercise).  I think I need to go back to the diabetic counselors and get things figured out so I can do this right.  It’s a little scary being off of the medication, but it’s also exciting. I don’t want the chemicals in my body unless I absolutely need them.  Pray for me or send good vibes my way.  With God’s help I know I can do this!  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! – Phillipians 4:13.

Question for you.

If you have Type 2 Diabetes, how are you controlling your blood glucose numbers? What advice would you give me?

Taxes, Taxes, Taxes

US Flag with Tax
2015 Tax Time is Upon Us

It’s Tax Time!

My taxes are done!  I e-filed today!  I have “rendered unto Caesar the things that are Caesars..” (Matthew 22:21).  “Caesar” also gets to give me a little back.

That part is always nice.  A little refund is welcome to me.  If it weren’t for our “little deductions” (and the big ones too (house)), we’d probably owe taxes.  We’ll have to re-figure our W-4’s once the little guy starts school full time and child care costs diminish.

A Hot Topic.

Taxes are such a heated topic among politicians and those who like to discuss politics (I’m really not one of those folks). We are hearing plenty of talk on the subject by the political candidates right now though the debates and political ads.  Our tax dollars fund a lot of things and you should probably look up how that money is spent.  Go straight to the source here.  There are many good government programs and some that maybe aren’t.  My point here is not to get into a political debate, rather I am just pointing you to some facts on where our tax dollars are really spent, instead of believing potentially misleading commercials or statements.  You should also look up all of the candidates plans for taxes and their tax voting record.

Catholic Viewpoint on Taxes & Voting

I’m not an expert in this subject at all.  A few years ago (2008), Archbishop Charles J. Chaput authored a book for Catholics (and anyone else) facing a U.S. election year, called “Render Unto Ceasar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life” (Find book on Amazon).  It may be a great time for you to read the book for the first time (or again), especially if you are Catholic, and are struggling to pick a candidate to endorse (as I am).  You can also read the transcript of a talk the Archbishop gave on the same subject here.

Paying taxes is a civic duty we must all engage in; as is voting in our elections. I have participated in my tax duties and will vote this year. Will you?

Do you have your taxes done? Let me know in the comments.



Top 10 Books to Read During Lent

Books during Lent?

Lent is a time when many Catholics “give up” something for 40 days. It’s a way to hopefully discipline ourselves – taking away something that we’ve become addicted to or spend too much time doing.  Some people choose to “take on” something that will help them grow spiritually.  Those practices could include going to mass daily instead of just on Sunday, helping at a soup kitchen weekly, going to do the Stations of the Cross on Fridays, or taking on the reading of spiritual books. See my recent post for more.

Books that are geared towards spiritual growth are plentiful.  You can even listen to audio books as well. Here’s a list of books that I have enjoyed reading over the years or that I am looking forward to reading this Lent (in no real order).

My Top 10 Books to Read for Lent


10. Memorize the Faith by Kevin Vost.  I read this book in chunks.  There are a lot of things to memorize in the Catholic religion! The system used in this book is built upon the mnemonic system of St. Thomas Aquinas. If you need help memorizing the Ten Commandments, the Stations of the Cross, the Books of the Bible, and many other Catholic things, this is the book for you.

9. A Guide to the Passion, 100 Questions About the Passion of the Christ by the Editors of Catholic Exchange. I know many people will watch Mel Gibson’s movie every Lent. This guide is a great companion to the movie.

8. Spirituality You Can Live With – Stronger in Faith in 30 Days by Chris Padgett.( Find his book here.) There are 40 days in Lent, but once you get through the 30 chapters with questions for reflection you will have achieved some spiritual growth.  I really liked this book.

7. The Cross and the Beatitudes by Fulton J. Sheen. This 92 page book is one I read (or at least read parts of) every Lent since I got the book. It really speaks to me.  With lessons on mercy, purity, poverty, zeal, peace, and mourning, I am sure you will find something that speaks to your heart as well.

6. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis. I have never gotten through this book but this Lent, I am going to do it. Probably through the audio book.

5. Scripture, Nourished by the Word by Margaret Nutting Ralph, PhD. This is a great book if you are looking to learn about the meanings of the storied in the Bible in short format.

4. Tracking Virtue, Conquering Vice A guide for Spiritual Survival by Rev. Joseph F. Classen. I love this book! The writer, Fr. Classen, is an outdoors man who loves hunting and fishing. Much of his spiritual story telling is gleaned from his experiences of God’s creation.  In these ways, he speaks to my heart. Many of his stories are set in the Midwest too and it’s fun reading about his experiences at places I’ve been.

3. Back to Virtue by Peter Kreeft.  My pastor at St. John Vianney Church, Fr. Scott Mansfield, recommended this book.  If you are looking to better understand virtues and live a more virtuous life, this book is for you.

2. Living Lent With Mercy – Encouragement & Daily Prayer by Pope Francis. Obviously his book just came out for Lent this year. I just downloaded it onto my Kindle.

  1. The Holy Bible. l don’t think anyone could go wrong reading a bit from the Bible daily.

What books would you recommend reading for spiritual growth this Lent? Leave me a note in the comments with your favorites.