During my life, he was first Daddy, then Dad, and for the last few years, he was sometimes Pop. That’s just my siblings and me. To his grand children and great grand children, he was PaPa. To those who might not have known him well or who wished to show him respect, he was Mr. McMurdo. To most folks, he was simply Tom. I think “Dad” honors him best as his family is his greatest legacy.

I won’t bore you with the facts and figures. They won’t tell you who Dad was or the impact he had on so many lives any more than knowing his name will tell you about his gentle kindness. They can’t possibly show you how warm and comforting I felt when I held his hand or when he gave me a massive hug every time I came home to visit for a short weekend or a long holiday. They won’t tell you of the joy he felt to be with his family or how he lit up around his grand and great grand kids.

So, I will try to tell you who he was to me and to my family.

Dad was the friendliest person I knew. He never met anyone that he couldn’t walk up to and engage in conversation. I can’t count the number of people that have, over the years, told me how wonderful he was and how much they liked him. There wasn’t an old lady on earth that he didn’t flirt with, tease, and make laugh. He had an easy way with people that I can never hope to match. Dad was a people person.

Dad was also engaged, sitting on park boards, volunteering his time, and pitching in when needed.

Dad loved old buildings and anything rusty or made of wood. He could spend hours in the lumber store, picking out the perfect board. He’d feel the grain, check for knots and the board’s straightness.

Dad was a master wood worker. Each of his children and grand children own desks, hutches, possum bellied cabinets, clocks, tables, shaker boxes, caned chairs, benches, and more…all lovingly crafted with his own hands. Mom would see something in Southern Living and the next Christmas, all of the women in the family would be given that item as a gift…hand made by Dad. He could look at a photo and figure out how a piece of furniture was built. I don’t know how many times he would have me turn a bench over and take a photo of the underside so that he could see how it was put together.

Dad took a sketch that I made of a shaker desk and turned it into one of my most prized possessions. He crafted the desk from solid cherry, sourced from a tree that he cut down on Mom and Dad’s property in the mountains. Mom and Dad once came to visit for a long weekend. In just two days together, Dad and I built a pair of book cases to go in my den.

Dad was generous with his time, his money, and his affection. He would go out of his way to help you. Once, when I was depressed, Dad picked me up and took me up to their place in the north Georgia mountains. We spent the day making a dam in the creek that ran through the property. No Pressure, no deep talks. Just him showing me that he loved me. That was his way of being there for me and getting me out of my own head, if just for the day. When I was unemployed for fourteen months, Dad called me nearly every day.

When Dad knew I was on the road, driving the nine hours from my home to his, he would call me every couple of hours to check on me. When he was in the hospital a week before his death, Dad had my sister call for him. He needed to know that I was safe. After burying my dad, my sister called me during my long drive home, taking up where Dad left off.

Dad wasn’t afraid to tell you that he loved you or that he was proud of you.

My dad had a gift for making you feel special. Every one of his children and grandchildren know in their hearts that they were his favorite. They alone had that special connection. In some unfathomable way, they are right. Part of his magic was the ability to love each of us uniquely, without taking anything away from the others.

I have to say that Dad did have a favorite, one that he loved more than anyone else. Mom. He loved my mother like no other person on earth. They were partners in every sense of the word. Together for 57 years, they showed the rest of us how to love someone deeply and passionately. As an adult, it was not uncommon for me to walk into the kitchen and find them hugging and kissing. Or watch the two of them holding hands as we hiked through the woods. He would often say “Your mother is the best.” After she got onto him about something, he would turn to me and tell me “I love that woman.”  There was never anything that she ever wanted that he wouldn’t get or do for her. OK. So, he never took the trash out exactly when he wanted her to take it out. He also snuck junk food behind her back. He was after all, a man. That’s how we are.

There is something about the death of my dad that makes me feel like I am just a small child again. I feel vulnerable and the world feels off kilter. The ground isn’t quite as solid as it used to be. I know these feelings are part of the loss that I struggle with. I am learning to live in a world without him. I can’t call him to hear his voice or to ask for advice. However, in my memories and thoughts of him, I have a fine example of a man to guide me through the rest of my life.

Dad gifted each of his children with an inner strength that we can draw upon when we need it most. He showed us how to laugh in the face of troubled times. Dad taught us to be a family that supports one another and one that circles the wagons when needed. We have circled the wagons. We are here for each other. He would be proud of us.

I have a favorite memory of my dad being a dad and the lessons that he handed down to the rest of us.

On one trip to Atlanta, my car broke down on the Kentucky – Tennessee border. Dad drove five hours to pick me up. I put us up in a hotel for the night and took him to dinner. We talked all evening in the hotel room. In the morning, we headed to Atlanta. On the way back to Mom and Dad’s house, we stopped and picked up my son, Josh. I told Josh about the car and how Papa had come to get me. I told him the lesson learned is that, no matter how old you are or how far from home you were, when you are in trouble, your dad will come get and you.

That was my dad. He would come and get me…and did.

Migraine Thoughts

Dayton Parking Lot Wall-06224

Tonight, I sit here with a migraine wreaking havoc in my head. The pain is behind my eyes, swirling around until it reaches the top of my skull like an explosive ready to go off. On days like these, I try to think calm soothing thoughts. Clear my mind and close my eyes. A dark cool room and as little noise as possible often help, but not always.

I can’t always determine the trigger for one of my migraines, but today, I know it was the nine hours I spent with my face in a computer screen. Other triggers include yeasty foods and stress. Still, most of the time, I have no idea.

Some migraines come on quickly and surprise me. Others, I can feel coming on long before they hit. Those slow rolling migraines allow me to take medication, so that I can head them off or lessen their impact.

My migraines definitely have an impact on my life. There are times when I can push on, in spite of the pain, but other times I can’t really function. I have to lay down and hope that I can sleep and awake without pain.

That said, I am heading to bed.

mini dresses


Not what you expect of a post named “mini dresses”? These miniature costumes stand about two feet tall and were created by a Dayton professor. She used the dimunative dresses as teaching aids for her students. That is a kind of dedication to her students that you can’t help but admire.

Do you have great stories about a dedicated teacher that made a difference in your life? I was lucky to have an English teacher named Miss Case, who taught me the joy of reading for pleasure.

Have a great day, folks.


in the morning, I dreamed…

In the Morning, I Dreamed


I love that second sleep. You know the one. It's early Sunday morning and you wake up for a few minutes, but you soon fall asleep again. Just for an hour or so. During that second sleep, your dreams seem more vivid, more real.

When you wake up, the dreams seem easier to remember and you can lay in bed for a few minutes with your eyes closed, soaking in the lusciousness that is half asleep, half awake.

Yes, I love second sleep.


patience please

Rain and Bus


To be honest, the posts this week have been…. well, they have been a little weak. Due to a combination of bad weather and a cluster of particularly nasty migraine head aches, I have hardly even lifted my camera since Saturday morning. My typical day has consisted of going to work, coming home and going to bed. Hopefully the weather and the pain will clear by the weekend.

I do have an interesting idea for a weekend shoot. We just finished building and decorating a new laundry room. I am planning a photo shoot of the new area. Think of it as a mock interior fashion shoot. Bright colors, plenty of good light, and lots of decorating by Jodi. All of these should combine to create a nice subject. We might even get a new Jodi-ism out of the experience.

I also want to visit the cormorants I found in the fall and see how they are doing. I have a new 70-210mm f2.8 and a 1.4x extension tube that I would like to try on them.

I hope you have interesting plans for your weekend.


someplace other



Where do you live? Do you live someplace warm? Someplace nice… without cold, sleet, and snow? I live in the cold place with no sunlight for days on end during the winter. It's days like this that make me long for someplace warm. Maybe a nice tropical island with coconuts, palm trees, and sandy beaches.

I've noticed that the older I get, the less tolerant of the winter I have become. I still like looking out the window at the fresh fallen snow. Notice though that I like looking out the window. I don't want to get out in the snow any more. Even looking at the snow from the comfort of my warm home leads to the dreaded thought of driving in the snow, or worse yet, shoveling snow.

So back to my question. Where do you live. If you live on that tropical island, would you mind me visiting for a few of those sunless weeks every winter? I don't eat that much and I can be trained to clean up after myself. Just think about it.


down by the water

Source: via Tim on Pinterest


There are lessons to be learned here. Life changing lessons.

You could have been famous with legions of followers. You could have been rich, living the life of ease. People could have been calling your name. You could have been a rock and roll star.

If only you had taken those accordion lessons.


Who would have guessed?


candle power



There is a lot of power in a candle. It can be a source of energy, heating cup of water, spinning a pinwheel, or starting a fire. A candle can set a mood by providing the perfect atmosphere for scary stories or romantic dinners. You can use it to light a room. If a candle is sceneted, maybe its only purpose is to smell good.  Maybe you use your candle to make a wish during a birthday celebration. Put a candle in a window and it can guide somebody home or welcome them to your home.

Perhaps my favorite use for a candle is to use it as a beacon of hope. To ignite dreams and drive darkness away. 

How do you use candles?


get to work!

Wheel Barrow

 It's Monday morning. You've had a nice relaxing weekend. maybe you got some chores finished. Youmight have visited with friends and family. Maybe you got ready for the upcoming holiday. All I can say to you this morning is… Get Back To Work!

This is the way life works. You work all week to earn the right to relax all weekend. Have a great week.