Friday, November 23, 2012

The Distraction of Hype

Yesterday was a wonderful day with my daughter and her family at our house...and I took time from the internet and my blog to focus on being present with them and my husband.  So, in the hopes to inspire you, my thought today was to post only three photos...

Ordinary Wonder

...that focus on gratitude...

Living Life as a Gift

...and remind us (especially me) how we should gratefully live our lives...

Thanksgivings, Joy, Blessings

but I must also add a statement my daughter, Lydia, said to me during our time yesterday that should make all of us stop and think,
Isn't it ironic that on the day we are to focus on being thankful for all we have, the hype is about getting the meal over to go out and buy more?
At what point does it become enough?

Happy Thanksgiving to all of we celebrate it with our lives throughout the next year!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Your Faithfulness

I took this still as part of my 365 project...and this sits on a table next to my piano.

Your Faithfulness - 17/365

I had no idea how this would turn into something so meaningful in the next 24 hours...

This morning at church there was a lot of focus on gratitude, thankfulness and God's faithfulness...

There was a special song that was sung...I was captivated...moved to tears...especially this line:
I don't know if these clouds mean rain
If they do, will they pour down blessing or pain?
I don't know what the future holds
But I know I can trust Your faithfulness.

- Brian Doerksen

You see...this is my father's Bible.  He was asking if I could help him find a personal size with the index tabs (his was wearing out).  I said I would look on the internet...and bought this for him as a gift (he wanted to pay me!).  I bought it for him in 2008.

My dad, in April 2009, was unexpectedly diagnosed with terminal brain cancer...had palliative resection and went through rehab.  We were in shock.

By June he was back at church and publicly praised the Lord for His faithfulness and goodness to Him.  When I heard these lines in the song this morning, it made me think of his trust in his Savior, no matter what the future held, He would be faithful!

On October 9, 2009, he met his faithful Savior face to face...

Here is the song, if you'd like to experience it, too...

This blog, while it touches on many things, its main focus comes from a verse about faithfulness:

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
  his mercies never come to an end;
 they are new every morning;
  great is your faithfulness.
(Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV)
Yes, He is faithful...and ALL is grace!


A Lesson From an Avalanche

Is it just me...?  Or are mailboxes spewing out more mail-order catalogs than ever before?  It's like an avalanche!

The seduction begins...glossy ads for perfume advertisements, controversy over Black Friday starting on Thanksgiving Thursday for some stores...the ringing Christmas Hershey kisses are back on tv!

And to stop this insanity?

The avalance caused me to stop and think about gifts I had been given in the past, what had been meaningful, and what had seemed forgotten...

My mother faithfully gave me gifts at it much thought.  And yet every year in the decade before she was stolen away by Alzheimer's...I told her what I wanted...something I'd be disappointed if I did not receive one.

Every Christmas there would be a pair of hand embroidered pillowcases that she had done.  The time and effort she had put into these, plus knowing that the work was done by her own hands...hands that someday would no longer be able to do so...made them priceless.

She would ask me..."So, what do you want this year?" and my answer was always "a pair of embroidered pillowcases."  She would laugh (deflecting the compliment) and say, "oh that's nothing."

But it was everything...and I have them and lay my head on them, holding her close as I sleep.

Maybe the best way to stop the Christmas insanity is not to give what we're seduced by multimedia to believe will fulfill our loved ones' every desire...

but instead, give gifts that will have enduring those cherished pillowcases.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Five on Friday - Five Families ... (Okay, there's really seven!)

Monday I was privileged to be part of a "red carpet" premiere of a documentary featuring seven families that have been involved in our pediatric palliative care center.  All of us who work in the center were in the documentary...but it was the families that really made this 60-minute film to educate medical students on pediatric palliative care.

Portraits of Life, Love, and Legacy

Yes...we really did have a red carpet ceremony.

I can't think of anything I'd rather share or be a part of's the trailer of Portraits of Life, Love, and Legacy through Pediatric Palliative Care:

Leaves you speechless...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Me and the Thistle

While in Canaan Valley last month...with my love of art by West Virginian artisans...I stopped by one of my favorite places...Mountain Made.

I've always loved thistles...then a friend from Sacramento, Geri Royer (she's a docent at Sutter's Fort),

intrigued me more about this humble weed.  But the story goes further...and this handcrafted silversmithed necklace of a thistle had an even deeper connection.

Scottish Thistle - 13/365

The research I did on my ancestry after my father died in 2009 resulted in discovering that my roots go back to 17th century Scotland.  Yes, a lowlander...persuaded by King James to migrate to Ulster, Ireland...just 13 miles across the ocean. 

These Ulster-Scot ancestors of mine thrived in Ulster and were prosperous...and, of course, English Parliament felt threatened by such competition.  Economic oppressions plagued my ancestors as the English rule flooded them with restrictive regulations.  Given that and Queen Anne's succession to the throne in 1703 which encouraged discrimination against Protestants (most Ulster-Scots were Presbyterian)...resulted in a quarter of a million Ulster-Scots migrated again...this time to the American Colonies.

Many of my Ulster-Scot ancestors served 7 years of indentured servanthood in payment of their debt for their passage.  Once the debt was paid, they hacked their way into the wilderness on the appalachia...the only land available for poor people.  My 5th-great-grandfather, Henry McWhorter, was one of those...his 18th century cabin remains in West Virginia...and I was able to photograph two summers ago.  His birthday is Tuesday!

Henry McWhorter Log Cabin

And every subsequent generation was born in West Virginia until I came along...a child born of West Virginia parents who they, themselves, migrated to Ohio, with their college education obtained through the GI bill after World War II, to claim lucrative jobs before now had been beyond their reach.  And I was clothed and fed by The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.

So, you see, the Thistle of Scotland is part of my story.  Its legend is told below.

The thistle may only be a humble weed, but it is the emblem of the Scottish nation. The prickly-leaved, pink or purple-flowered ‘Scotch’ thistle is, along with tartan, perhaps the most identifiable symbol of all things Scottish. But how did the thistle earn its place in the heart of the Scots?
In truth, no-one knows, but legend has it that a sleeping party of Scots warriors were saved from ambush by an invading Norse army when one of the attackers trod on a thistle with his bare feet. His cries raised the alarm, the roused Scots duly defeated the invaders, and the thistle was adopted as the symbol of Scotland. Unfortunately, there is no historical evidence for this, but Scots, like other nations, love a good story.
And every Appalachian loves to tell stories...they're famous for it...stories told in folklore and in their music...

And I hope you've enjoyed my story today...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sleeping Place

Day 83 of Kim Klassen's Beyond Layers e-course was a challenge to make a random mosaic using images, brushes and fonts.

I went through my archives wanting to use photos from earlier in the year...don't ask me why...probably to make it even more random.

I was drawn to these photos I had taken this past Easter weekend...

Sleeping Place

So a voice in me said, "Go for it!"

Do you know where the word cemetery comes from?  Some random trivia here ~ from the Greek word koimeterion meaning sleeping place.  How nice compared to "boneyard" or "burial ground."

This is Glendale Downtown Akron.  It is home to Akron's old money...and American history...

Seiberling Family - Goodyear Heritage

such as:

F. A. and Gertrude Seiberling - Founder of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company...

whose daughter-in-law, Henrietta, introduced an Akron surgeon and an unemployed stockbroker from New York visiting Akron, on Mother's Day, 1935.  Both drunks.  The surgeon agreed to give 15 minutes to the New Yorker...which resulted in 6 hours.  Alcoholics Anonymous was born.  This story from her own words is nothing more than amazing.

F. A.'s grandson, Henrietta's son, John...was an 8-term Congressman for Akron...a staunch environmentalist who was the catalyst to the government establishing Ohio's only national park.

A Rough Rider

One of  the approximately 1,200 Teddy Roosevelt's Rought Riders is buried here.

And Jason Brown, son of abolitionist John Brown is also buried here.  Present with his father at the Potawatomie massacre in Kansas, the first blood shed in the war against slavery in the United States.  Jason wrote his account in the Akron newspaper in 1880, 20 years after his father was hanged after the raid at Harper's Ferry.

And...moving on to the 21st century... the funeral scene in the movie based on James Patterson's novel, I, Alex Cross, (currnetly in theaters) was filmed here!

Yes...that's Ed Burns! (movie photos courtesy of Akron Beacoun Journal) where you can also read their story.)

Wow...I had no idea where I was going when I started this Mosaic this morning...wasn't expecting to end up with a rather violent Hollywood movie...

But I do have a point...

Cemeteries are amazing places!  You never know what you will find, what stories are there, plus the beauty, serenity, and natural oasis they provide.  Not convinced?  This wonderful 56 minute documentary, A Cemetery Special, available on Netflix, will change your mind.

And yes, even though it reminds us of our own mortality...doesn't  that cause us to embrace and relish each moment that remains?

It does me!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Five on Friday

It's back...!!!  Five Fact Friday!  A feature inspired from Kim and Xanthe's site.  But it has taken on a can be 5 anything (not just facts)...whatever rocks your boat.
So, today, it is five photos of a very special place...that has been on my mind the past week or so...
Here's the story...
I've written about my wonderful son, Caleb.  I "Googled" his full name one day ... about 8 years ago.  Just curious.
"C-A-L-E-B S-M-I-T-H" then hit "ENTER"...
Wow!  I couldn't believe it...there was a "Caleb Smith State Park."  I vowed if ever it became possible, if I was even remotely close, I would visit there.
In 2009, when Edster and I married...we honeymooned in Maine.  I had never been to Maine. 
This was my chance...
These photos were taken back in my point and shoot days...the park was beautiful, as I knew it would be.  I made quite a collection to make some photos to mount on the walls of Caleb's room at the group home.
But I've been concerned...
You see, Caleb Smith State Park is on Long Island, New of areas of major New York City devastated by Hurricane Sandy at the end of October...
How has the park fared?  Is it salvageable?  Will I ever be able to return?
Like the spirit of New Yorkers, I believe the park will rebuild...and I will return...and take glorious ones for the walls of Caleb's room.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I Love Democracy

The incivility and polarization that has occurred during this election year has been disheartening and grieves me.  As a nation, we have so much...but most of all...

I Love Democracy - 10/365

We have democracy...

Democracy is messy...and fragile...and not always clean and tidy.

Democracy is based on principle and a constitution which cannot be times that can feel inflexible.

Democracy is imperfect.

Democracy allows for dissenting opinion, critical thinking, and diversity of viewpoints.

Democracy is a gift we have that is envied by many who have never known it.

Democracy allows the personal right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I love democracy and wholeheartedly embrace the word of Benjamin Franklin:
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Homebound Today But Had Visitors!!!!

No church or any activities today outside the house that would keep me too far from the bathroom...prep work for a procedure tomorrow afternoon.  (Sorry for the TMI! )

But God is so good...look at all the visitors He brought my way today at our feeders!!!!

Backyard Buddies 8/365

There were more, but photo ops weren't as great.

Those who know me well, know how important birds are to me and how God has used them over and over again in my life.  So I know these were directly from His hand.

What amazing gifts...with feathers EVEN!  By the way, the greatest prize was the Carolina Wren. (tea-kettle, tea-kettle, tea-kettle)  Do you know which one that is????

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Anorexics and Fences

Have I ever showed you my favorite fence photo I ever took for all time?  Joy Dare October is past...a good discipline for me.  Oh...I will continue to focus on God's everyday gifts...but I'm back to mixing it up.

Now Happy Fence Friday is something that is common among those who post on Flickr regularly, but Donna Catterick clued me into a Fence Friday at Life According to Jan and this is my pick!


One of those magical times when you see something unusual (I rarely see Turkey Vultures not flying that don't fly away when you try to capture them)...and then you find the PERFECT quote.

I've always loved Erma Bombeck...and miss her wit, wisdom, and self-deprecating humor.  Definitely found another quote I'm going to use soon!

May God give you the gift of laughter for a moment today!