Sandi and TomFrom Arkansas to Appalachia

Growing up in Arkansas, I remember having an infinite amount of time. The second oldest of six children, I spent my days reading, writing, drawing, organizing my dollhouse, playing with my brother, exploring the woods, biking around town, arguing over kickball, engaging in endless games of Monopoly and Risk (at which I was very bad), and planning out my future as a famous author, accomplished pianist, and acclaimed artist. While I have yet to achieve the fame I envisioned, I am thankful for the blessings of a like-minded husband and five remarkable children, who enrich my life more than I could have imagined.

A view of Montreat from the Lookout Trail

A view of Montreat from the Lookout Trail

At the age of 10, I had my first glimpse of the Blue Ridge Mountains when my family went to a conference at Montreat College. Years later, my husband took a job in western North Carolina, and I now live within a stone’s throw of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Whenever I have a choice between cleaning my house or taking a hike, I always choose the hike.

Six out of seven people smiling? That is the reality of life in a large family, folks.

What’s in a Name?

With apologies to Shakespeare, clarification is required for my less-than-lovely moniker. When I set up my blog — initially for the purpose of following my daughter’s travel blog — I fixed on “sappy as a tree,” a name that I had invented years before when I wanted to comment on my brother’s blog. “Sappy as a tree” incorporated a family joke, and I hoped to needle my brother.

Several years later, the name “sappy as a tree” is needling me (pun intended; I like puns, so the name is appropriate). Since I have difficulty discarding old things, I added the phrase “celebrating beauty in creation,” which has a double meaning. With photos and words, I draw attention to the wonders in God’s creation, yet “creation” also refers to the creative act of writing, be it poetry or prose. Warning: sometimes, I change my tagline to “seeking beauty in creation.” Some days, I feel that I’m seeking rather than celebrating.

P1070071My Home Is Also a School

Because my oldest daughter arrived 10 days after her due date, my husband and I were able to attend an information session about homeschooling. (Emily was born the next morning.) Seventeen years after I taught my oldest child to read, I am still on the homeschooling journey. Whether or not homeschooling has been the most effective means of educating my children, it has afforded me an opportunity of learning many things that I failed to learn in 12 years of public school education, four years at a private college, and five years of graduate education at a state university. Homeschooling has also given me an excuse for reading the children’s books that I missed in my own childhood — and a reason to buy bookshelves.

Yes, I Have Another Site . . .

After impulsively choosing “sappy as a tree” for my title and rushing out to the beach with my vacationing family, I began brainstorming for a more refined name as I soaked up the South Carolina sunshine. I searched my memory for a phrase from the poetry that I had studied and came up with What oft was thought, which is a nod to Alexander Pope’s An Essay on Criticism.

Back at the condo, I tried to change my site’s name but succeeded only in creating a second blog. I decided that the readers who might enjoy my scenic photos might not enjoy listening to my abstract ramblings–hence, the continued existence of my second site.

Who’s Taking Your Photos?

Clearly, an amateur. Unless photos are credited to another individual, I took the pictures that appear on this site. Please do not use or reproduce photos or text without my permission. Photography 101 was a baby step for me and resulted in numerous photo essays that were posted both on sappy as a tree and on What oft was thought. I’d love to learn more about framing shots, understanding light, and blurring the background in digital photos. Maybe one day I’ll take another WordPress photography or blogging course!


39 thoughts on “About

  1. Pingback: The Liebster Award – December 2014 | Paintings by Swav

  2. I love the family portrait on your about page- beautiful! I’m going to search around in here for any posts you have about home-schooling. We’ve just begun public school with our 4 year-old! And I don’t know how we’ll fare as time goes on….all best!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Strangely, I haven’t written any posts about homeschooling yet, Rachel — it’s hard to know what this blog will become as it evolves, but I haven’t talked very much about the daily goings-on of my life here. I’d be more likely to talk about homeschooling on my other blog, but, between Blogging 101 (the first half, anyway, before I ran out of steam) and now Photo 101, my topics seem to have gone in a different direction.Maybe, subconsciously, I was seeking an outlet for my non-homeschooling-mom self? In the end, she will probably make herself known 🙂

      Meanwhile, I am one of those people who, somehow, has never been to NYC (except for one hour as we drove through on a college choir tour). It almost happened last summer, when my daughter seriously considered attending a ballet intensive there, but she ultimately chose a place on the West Coast — which was also exciting, since I’d never seen the Pacific Ocean. Thanks for stopping by!


      • Yes, i hear you, i am trying to keep my blog all reading and writing related, its very tempting sometimes to go in more directions. I look forward to seeing what youre writing. Hope you make it to NYC sometime! Brooklyn, where i live, is more residential and relaxed than the big city!


  3. Pingback: The “One Lovely Blog” Award | Redbuds and Rose Rocks

  4. Hi Sandi, I am April. I too am behind on blogging 101 and my assignment for today is to meet your neighbor. I believe that I am supposed to remember who we posted comments on and I can’t remember if you are the second or third. Oh my. The confusion lies in that I have looked but not commented on every blog I looked at.

    Anyway, even though you are behind, I see that you are very thorough as I recognize some of the tips and techniques that were given. I know I have to keep telling myself that even though I am behind, I am learning and that is why I am doing this. To learn. It is not going to do me any good if I rush ahead if my blog isn’t the way I want it and if I didn’t learn anything. It is a hard thing to rein in but if I am not worried about being behind, I notice I’m actually having fun. I’m glad I stopped by.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the nomination! I will have to think about whether I can do this–I may have used up my potential nominees with the “One Lovely Blog” Award. . . Also, my college son came home for Fall Break last night: he is dismayed to find me on the computer so much! I will think about it, and I will check out your other nominees, too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: The One Lovely Blog Award | Notes Tied On The Sagebrush

    • Well–my three older kids are either in college or working, so I mainly just worry (and pray) for them. But homeschooling has been a great journey for me, even if we are less structured than some homeschools.

      Thanks for the kind words.

      Liked by 1 person

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