Sunday, January 12, 2014

We Have been Tagged! aka......Finally Responding to a Meme!

First.....let us begin by saying, we cheerfully responded to this meme.......early last summer.....but never finished it up.  Since Willa and I were together for a week in June, we sat together answering the questions and having wonderful discussions.  It was fun.

And is the completed response, finally:


Erin, our friend "across the ocean" who is the author of a wonderful & favorite blog, Seven Little Australians, has tagged TUAR for the following meme:

The Rules:

  1. Post these rules.
  2. Post a photo of yourself and 11 random facts about you.
  3. Answer the questions given to you in the tagger’s post.
  4. Create 11 new questions and tag new people to answer them.
  5. Go to their blog/twitter and let them know they have been tagged.

Here is a photo of Willa and I when we were younger.........

And this is a photo of our current look...........

Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s “The Letter” (c. 1895-1900), part of the “Passion for Renoir” exhibition at the Prado in Madrid.

 Random facts about us:

We tried to make our random facts match up a bit and it ended up being somewhat of a comparative biographical sketch.   You will see when you read!

In case you cannot figure it on your own, Chari is 1. and Willa is 2.

      1. I was born with a subdural hematoma in Harbor City, California.......that would be Los Angeles Harbor......
      1. I was born on a Native American reservation in North Dakota, the only non-Native American child in the nursery.
     2. Except for ten years in Northern Nevada, I have always lived in the beautiful & expensive, long state of California, first in the South and now in the North.
      2.  From the time I was born, I have lived in 8 different states and two countries: USA & Switzerland.

     3.  My name "Chari" was derived in this way:  take CHARLOTTE, drop the LOTTE, add an "i" and change the pronunciation. I am named after my beloved great-grandmother, Charlotte, who died the year before I was born.
     3.  Chari wants me to mention that I was NOT named after the spoiled little Willa Jean Kemp in the Beverly Cleary books.   And it's true, I was not, but my name IS actually Willa Jean.   My parents just liked the name.  I was born in the Dakotas, but I wasn't named after Willa Cather either, though I've come to admire her writing very much! 

     4. My original plan was to marry when I was 35 years old and have 5 very large dogs.  Haha.  By the time I was 33, I had five kids (there are six now)......and two large dogs.  Always Golden Retrievers here.
     4.  Though I am a convert, when I was 18 I saw Pope John Paul II when he came up to Alaska.  Soon after that I pondered becoming a nun and moving to Calcutta to join Mother Teresa.   It is funny to think that in some ways God was pointing me to the Catholic Church a long time before I seriously considered converting.   And considering that my ambition in high school was to be a truck driver or librarian (couldn't decide which) it is funny that now I am a homeschooling mom of seven (certainly not my original plan, but thinking about it always reminds me of the surprising way that God works) 
      5. My husband and I were married in a historically important church: St. Mary's in the the town where Mark Twain had worked as a journalist. You can see it on the burning map at the beginning of each episode of Bonanza: Virginia City, Nevada.
      5.   My husband and I were married at the Shrine of St Therese in Fresno.   Our first child Liam was baptized there (as was our fifth).   When we moved to the diocese we live in now, we found that St Therese was the diocesan patroness.    Aidan had his transplant on St Therese's feast day in the new calendar, after the Carmelite nuns in San Francisco prayed a novena to her, and I found out that my birthday is on St Therese's feast day in the old calendar.  I am continually amazed at the shower of roses she has rained on our family in one way or another. 

     6. I have had at least four years of Spanish in high school and college........though I cannot speak Spanish fluently, I can get by pretty easily with my Spanish-speaking patients.  I am hopeful that someday I will be able to spend at least a few months in a Spanish-speaking country so that I can finally become fluent. Major dream of mine.
    6. I have had four years of French in high school and college........though I cannot speak French fluently, I was able to pick up the gist of the princess' lines in Henry V last year at the Shakespeare Theatre.   I felt quite good about that -- after 30 years! 
      7.  While I read at least a thousand books in my childhood, shockingly, I never read LM Montgomery until age 24, Austen until age 37, or Dickens until age 46.  Why were librarians in my life never pointing me to this good stuff??? I am still put out by this.
     7. My parents bought for me the childhood classics for Christmas and birthdays.  When I met my husband, we found that he had always seen the movie but not read the book, while I had always read the book but not seen the movie (my family didn't have a TV until I was in my second decade and we never had cable or VCR till I was in college). 

     8. In 1993, I gave birth to a child with congenital heart defects.  At nine days of age, she had heart reconstructive surgery of a rare, but repairable defect. She is just about 21 years old now, expecting a heart valve replacement in the next year or so. In 1999, she had a heart valve replacement at UC San Francisco.......and a day or two after we left the hospital after three weeks of residence, Willa arrived there with her new baby.  This was pivotal in the two of us forging a friendship. 
    8.  In 1999, I gave birth to a child with a congenital liver disease.   He spent his first seven months mostly in the hospital, and was what they call a "frequent flyer" -- often in and out of the hospital for the first four years of his life.   His last hospitalization was at age 8 and he is now 14 and sometimes talks wistfully about his hospital days!  But his family is happy to stay mostly out of medical-land.
       9.  I graduated from University of Nevada-Reno with a BS in Nursing (after years as a biology major/art history minor). I was married after three years of college, and completed three more years after the wedding, graduating on the day I was 5 months pregnant with my first baby.
       9. I graduated from University of Oregon  with a BA in English Literature and was married less than a week after the graduation ceremony. 

    10. I have a giant swingset in my backyard.
    10.  We have several huge granite boulders in our area -- my kids named them all and used them as props in their pretend plays.... usually involving Middle Earth.
   11.  I think Disneyland is my second home.  Or, I wish I did.
   11.  I never went to Disney until I was almost 20, but it has become a part of our family culture, because my husband is sort of like Chari in this matter.      

Erin's 11 Questions for us:

1. What would be your choice of chocolate?

Prefer milk: no nuts, for Chari.....Willa will take the nuts, please

2. If you could live in another era what would you choose?

When we were younger, we both would have chosen the REGENCY era..........but now, older and wiser and Catholic (and even more addicted to literature!), we would both choose the HIGH MIDDLE AGES

..........and it took me (Chari) until mid-twenties, after my conversion, to realize I need to stop wistfully wishing I had been born in a different era......because I learned and accepted that God has me right where he intended for me to be.  My pious godmother showed that to me.

3. What three gifts do you see as the most important to impart to your children?

Faith, Hope & Charity

OR, the homeschooling version.....
Love of learning, love of books, love of nature

4. If you were to be granted three creative talents, what would you choose: home decorating, a green thumb, hand crafter, sketch artist, musical ability, flower arranging, carpentry, baking, cooking, sewing?

Willa:  sketch artist, musical ability, carpentry:handcrafting (tie.....cannot decide between the last two)

Chari: Amazing Artist (all media), Amazing musical ability, Amazing seamstress

This question led to some interesting discussions!

5. If you had the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument what would be your instrument of choice?

Willa:    The piano (I am taking lessons right now).

Chari:  probably the piano.....though the violin is a close second.  I played the flute and the French Horn during school.

6. If you could learn another language what would you choose?

Willa:   I want to be fluent in Latin.   My second choice would be Japanese.

Chari:  I want to be fluent in Spanish. Though I never had an interest before......I would choose German that two of my kids are fluent in German from their exchanges to German-speaking countries.

7. Do you prefer to have a large group of friends or one or two intimate friends?

Willa:   Though my dream is to live somewhere where everyone is a longtime friend, and I hope that's what eternity will be like, in this lifetime I do fine with one or two intimate friends and a small circle of friendly acquaintances.

Chari:  I much prefer intimate.

8. If you had to choose between the phone or the internet for communication with friends, what would you choose?

Willa:   Internet any day.  

Chari:  I much prefer the instant back-and-forth of a phone call between friends.  But I hate picking up the phone to call anyone.  Except for Willa.  She is pretty much the only person that I call.  :)

9. If you could be a hero who would you choose?

Willa:    I identify most with Mary of Magdalen and St Dismas, because they show in their different ways how Jesus can work with even the most hopeless cases.    Do they count as heroes?  If it has to be a pop hero I would probably choose Naruto because even though his personality is the polar opposite of mine,  I think his character shows the wondrous nature of faith, hope and love.   Literary hero?   I always admired Gwydion from the Prydain chronicles when I was growing up;  now I would probably choose Samwise Gamgee as my literary hero, though as far as personality, once again I am sort of an opposite.  

Chari:  I have no idea......if I take Willa's example above, I guess I might choose Saint Margaret of Scotland.  My literary hero is Jean Val Jean.....but I would never, ever choose to have his life.  I do not do pop heros........whatever those are.

10. If you were like Tom Sawyer and attended your own funeral, what would you hope was remembered about you?

Willa:    Hmm, I aspire to be remembered like my Mom was.   That makes me feel like time is short though.   Basically I would like to be remembered as someone who prayed a lot.

Chari: Yes.  I would like to be remembered as a fun & clever mom by my kids, a prayer warrior, kind and generous, a "good" Catholic.

11.What three traits do you see as the most important in mothering?

Willa:  I think faith, hope and charity are perfectly in place here too.  Faith in God's plan for my children, hope even in the difficult stages, and of course, constancy in commitment.

Chari:  Well, faith beats all. After that, unconditional love, patience, cleverness........

Our Eleven Questions: 

1.  How would you describe the biome in which you live?

2.  If you could move to a different country, what would be your choice and why?

3.  What would you consider your most favored book in your childhood?

4.  What book would you say has had the most influence in your life?

5.  If you could meet one fictional character, who would it be and why?

6.  Can you name one area of your life that has been influenced by Charlotte Mason; how?

7.  Do you grow any of your own food, and if yes, what do you grow?

8.  Cradle-Catholic or Convert?

9.  What saint would you most like to meet?

10.  What would you list as your top three favorite spiritual reads?

11.  What is your favorite "go-to" prayer?

So, here is the deal now:  We are going to list a bunch of you........but please no pressure to play the game.  Just do it if the mood strikes you as the right time to play!

First, we will go right back at Erin at Seven Little Australians because we would love to see her answers to our eleven questions.

And then.....

Sarah at Amongst Lovely Things

Theresa at La Paz Learning

Kathryn at Revisiting Brideshead

Leonie at Living Without Schooling

Brandy at Afterthoughts

Faith at Household Diary

Pam at Everyday Snapshots

MacBeth at MacBeth's Opinion

Clare at Come Further Up

Mystie at Simply Convivial

Gae at Cherished Hearts at Home

Sue at Sue Elvis Writes

Caroline at Flowing Streams

Lissa at Here in the Bonny Glen

New Year Blessings,

                    Chari & Willa

PS Both of the paintings above are Renoir's........Inspired by conversation  :)


  1. Oh wow that is quite a list
    Hope to get to it soon , but can't promise anything
    Love Gae

  2. Ooh fun! Love the pictures of you two. Oh wait...I'm tagged in this...hahaha.

    1. Yes! Those are great pictures! ;) are tagged. ;)

  3. I answered the questions! Lots of fun. Thanks for including me!

  4. I loved reading the answers to your questions, and thank you for tagging me!

    1. No pressure to do this........but I would love to see your answers, Sue!

  5. Hey I just saw this today! I am waaaaay behind on my blog feed reader!

    I have to google "biome" before I can answer the first one. ;)

    1. You made me LOL! Biome is one of those words that I have retained from my biology major days. Did you look it up??

      And no pressure to was just for fun!


We love hearing from our readers. Please share your thoughts or just say hello!