Sunday, October 25, 2015

God's Masterpiece

When God created the earth he took out his blue crayon and colored the sky. He then found another shade of blue and colored the ocean. He found a brilliant yellow and called it the sun. Black became night. He colored the earth brown. The many shades of green became the grass and the trees. He used the deep purples and violets and pinks and colored the flowers. By now he had used almost all of the crayons, but there were some crayons left; the burnt oranges, the rust reds, the copper browns. So God had a brilliant idea. He would also create different seasons. Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. And with the remaining colors God created his masterpiece, Fall.

Fall is my favorite time of the year. The colors are peaking right now, so I try to take advantage of my days off and explore our local nature trails. We also made a side trip to a local Pumpkin Patch. I took these pictures over the last two weekends. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015


My youngest daughter and her family spent a few days 
in the Smoky Mountains this past week.
The highlight of their trip was seeing the Mama Bear and her three cubs. 
She was even able to get a short video. They were so close! 
I wish that I could have been there.

                                                             Bears in the Smokies.

The view from their cabin.

The Nail

Have you ever had those days that seemed so out of kilter, when everything seems to go wrong? Yesterday was one of those days. Before I walked out of the door in the morning I heard my phone ring. I didn't answer it in time and had to listen to my messages. Normally, I do not listen to my messages before I go to work, but this one was important. A dear, elderly friend passed away yesterday morning and her husband called to give me the sad news.

Work was keeping me busy and we played phone tag a couple of times before I was able to reach him and offer my condolences.

At lunchtime one of my coworkers informed me that I had a flat tire. I pushed the thought aside because sometimes I can get panicky when things break down, especially since I don't have a man around the house and son-in-laws are usually at work and not available to help in a mother-in-law crisis. And then again, I work with a bunch of women and a busy day is hardly the right time to try to change a tire when there is a lobby full of members waiting to be seen. I adopted my Scarlett O'Hara attitude, "I won't think about it right now, for tomorrow is another day," (also known as "procrastination").

 Finally, close to closing time I called my insurance company, and yes, I had roadside service, so they promptly sent a man to change my spare tire.

 It was a nail.

The man noticed that my other tire was in need of service, and since my engine light had started coming on, I arranged to take my car to Firestone the next morning.

It was a good thing that I did. Apparently, when I had my oil changed  last week something wasn't sealed all the way (I know nothing about cars, so please forgive my vagueness) and the mechanic told me that I had no oil! Engine flag. My daughter told me that I was lucky.

Yes, all because of that dumb nail.

Oh, and to top it off I had two phone calls waiting for me at work regarding a possible compromise on my debit card, which turned out to be false.

I am thankful for that nail.

On our way to Birmingham this past Sunday. It was a beautiful day.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The End of Summer

Labor Day weekend seems to officially mark the end of summer, although the children have been in school for more than a month. My younger daughter and her husband have a camper, so I was thrilled to spend the day at the lake with my grandchildren. For a treat we went to an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. The town itself is right out of a vintage magazine.
The lake was quiet and peaceful. The children had fun riding on the golf cart with their "Paw Paw."
I came home that night and slept well after all the fresh air.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


For the past several weeks I have been compiling Genealogy research for various family members, including my late husband's family. It has been so interesting. Every time I find out something new, it opens up another path. I have to be careful, so I don't lose my way! I have discovered that it is not the politicians or the generals or even the Founding Fathers who built this country. Instead, it was built by the people whose names are mostly forgotten, perhaps scribbled in a Bible somewhere or carved in a fading tombstone. They are the footnotes to the story. The ones in the headlines had the vision, but the people whose names are unknown made that vision come true.

They came over to this country as indentured servants or escaping oppression in their homelands. They came to escape famine in Ireland and religious persecution. And they kept moving. Wherever there was an opportunity they would pick up and move on. In some cases. Not all.

In one family tree a father and his two sons go off to fight in the war, on the Confederate side.
In another family tree, a young teacher left to fight for the Union and barely survived his ordeal in a prison camp. Yet, in another family tree, a Confederate soldier from Alabama lost his life at Gettysburg and is buried there. Two were volunteer nurses on the Union side, who later applied for an old-age  pension.

These ancestors were farmers and laborers, railroad men and bricklayers. The women, listed on the census reports as "Keeping House" often had a house full of  children. One family were tenant farmers (or sharecroppers) in Alabama and were forced off of their prime land when TVA moved in. All the able-bodied adults in the household and children that were old enough, picked cotton to scratch out a living. But out of that poor sharecropper family came recognition when a son went off to World War II and came home to win the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Another family raised generations in a hollow named after them in the scenic landscape of southern Tennessee. They farmed the land, hunted in the gentle rolling hills and rarely left this beautiful piece of land, unless it was to serve in the military. They can trace their roots back to a Revolutionary War soldier who was an early settler and mentioned in the history of the county.

There are ancestors  that were explorers, pioneers and settlers in a new country, often moving onto land grants given in return for military service by the federal government. Some emigrated west with the Gold Rush, settling in the Sierra Nevada region and yet others settled in the West Virginia hills and hollows, working on the railroad and farming the land. Many loved ones lost their lives to Tuberculosis, called Consumption in the Depression years.

Another family member counts among his ancestors a plantation owner in Alabama. An old-timer remembers the story told of the Indians, curious about the white children, and how the mother would be protective of the little ones, keeping them inside.

Every once in a while, a noted person shows up in the family tree, usually by marriage. There is the uncle several generations back who became a founding member of the Sierra Club, advocating for the forests and the environment long before it became popular to do so. There is the distant cousin that became the first President of the Sierra Pacific Power Company (after publishing a newspaper in Reno and Carson City), in the early 1900's. His son attended Harvard University and married a girl from Massachusetts. Another distant cousin in the family tree married a U.S. Congressman from Michigan, although he elected to only serve one term.

And soldiers. Every one of these family trees had men who signed their names on draft cards and many served in all the battles since the country was founded. I have found ancestors with military records from the Revolutionary War, up until the Vietnam War. I find it simply amazing.

Friday, August 21, 2015


   I am listening to a deeper way.
  Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. 
 Be still, they say. Watch and listen. 
You are the result of the love of thousands.”
      Linda Hogan, Native American Writer 

Indian Mounds near Helen, Georgia

Coincidence or God's Way of Remaining Anonymous

This is a picture of my grandparents, Karl and Anna, in 1923. I never knew my grandfather. He died from cancer a few years after the war, long before I was born. "Oma" lived for another 40 years. I remember a story that my mother told me about my grandmother, a story that could be called a coincidence, but not if you believe in something more. My mother had a picture of herself hanging on her bedroom wall. One night it was storming so badly that the thunderstorm caused the picture to fall and break on the floor. It woke her up. The next day my mother received a phone call from Germany that Oma had passed away that morning. The time difference between Germany and the United States is around six hours. It was around the same time that my mother was awakened by the storm and the fallen picture. She called me in Texas to give me the sad news. Whether this was a coincidence or God's way of remaining anonymous, I will never forget that story.