Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Morning Rituals

          I listen to your footsteps in the early morning
turning on the kitchen faucet
and starting the coffee
I listen as you unlock the door
and walk to the end of the driveway
to pick up the morning newspaper

I listen to the clock radio
as another Top 40 record plays
and as the DJ tells another silly joke
I pull the blanket over me
through the weather report
and the latest news headlines

You open the bedroom door, softly
to see if I am awake
I rub the sleep from my eyes
and reach for my robe
which had fallen to the floor
and wrap it close around me

You pour my morning coffee
as I hunt for my reading glasses
You chatter; I am quiet
the early bird and the night owl
 We are familiar with each other's habits
especially in the early morning hours

(c) 2005 Anita M. Ashworth

(I wrote this several years ago)

Sunday, January 17, 2016


I celebrated another birthday this month. I am now 39 with 20 years experience, as I like to tell people. Although next year, when I change decades, I will have to confess to my true age.

Still, as many people say, every day above ground is a good day.

I have much to be thankful for. My two daughters. My six grandchildren. My son-in-laws who are good and decent men.

 I am fortunate to have a good job. I think of the many people I meet everyday who share their problems and stories with me, seeking to improve their financial situation. (I work in a credit union). Like the lady who only had an 8th grade education and went to Nursing school when her children were in elementary school. Everyone tried to talk her out of, but she wasn't deterred. Not only did she pass her GED test, she retired as a charge nurse after 26 years and was able to send all five of her children to college.

I am now reading the new book by Harper Lee, "Go Set a Watchman" and also the book on "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" (what a long title to simplifying your life!)

Also on my list is "The Martyr of the Catacombs" a book that I read as a teen and loaned to someone. It is one of those books that stays with you and creeps into your conscience. With Google search and Amazon I was finally able to find it again!

I recently finished "The Searchers"The Making of an American Legend, about John Ford, John Wayne, and the making of the classic western, "The Searchers."

Alas, I don't read much fiction, preferring biographies or books about history, religion, etc.

Have a blessed day!

                                 Five of my six grandchildren. This was taken on my birthday.

Footnotes in History

I can't believe that we are already two weeks in the New Year!

I recently discovered new facts on my husband's side of the family. I was able to back to the 1700's and found out that one of his ancestors was baptized in the Old St. Paul's Church in Baltimore. The gravestone belongs to Jane Stansbury, the daughter of Thomas Stansbury. She married John Lemmon, who is a direct ancestor of my late husband. Genealogy is much like being a history detective and connecting the dots.

Another interesting story that I discovered in my brother-in-law's family tree is that one of his ancestors immigrated from North Carolina to Tennessee in the 1780's to one of the Cumberland settlements near Nashville. John Donelson brought a large party down the Cumberland and built Fort Nashborough (now Nashville). As a child we took a field trip to this fort and what was intriguing to me was that John Donelson's daughter, Rachel, became the wife of Andrew Jackson. "Andy" Jackson was a well-known frontiersman at the time and became famous for the infamous "Trail of Tears" legislation that sent the five Eastern civilized tribes to Indian territory (now Oklahoma).  Sadly, Rachel died and never lived in the White House. Their marriage was actually quite a scandal back then because Rachel was previously married and her divorce was questioned by Jackson's enemies. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

On Being Ordinary

A friend shared a link to an article on her Facebook page regarding the younger generation and how they have been brought up to think that they are "special." It was an interesting perspective and although I don't (generally) like generalizations, there was a lot of truth in the article.

Let's face it, most of us are ordinary. Special is nice, but when I was growing up, there were very few special kids. You either had to be sent to the Principal's office on a regular basis or  be the Teacher's Pet year after year to claim that title. There were the random kids whose brief claim to fame may have been doing something that the rest of us were in awe of (vacation, unusual pet, BIG Christmas present, etc.) They were special for that reason. But the rest of us, oh well, we rode the school bus, we fought with our siblings, we ate cereal and watched Saturday morning cartoons...in other words, our childhoods were pretty similar and ordinary.

We grew up to have ordinary lives; get jobs or go to college, pay bills, fix the car, have children. Along the way we faced our disappointments and frustrations. Perhaps life wasn't always that easy. Some of my friends went through divorces; some of us lost our spouses and buried parents and other family members. The things that we all go through. It doesn't make us special; it makes us ordinary, like the mortal human beings that we are.

I think the problem with thinking that we are special is that it breeds discontentment. To maintain our "special" title we may compare ourselves to others and see success through rose-colored glasses. We will never be skinny enough, or rich enough, or our house will never be big enough, our careers never fulfilling enough because we think that ordinary is so, well, ordinary and we don't want to be ordinary.

I know that I am "special" to a few people, my grandchildren, but I realize that as they grow older, my "specialness" may wear off like a fake tattoo, as they grow up and pursue their own lives. But, hopefully, I will maintain my "specialness" to them as much as they are special to me.

I believe that we are all special in God's eyes, but he has many, many children, so waving my hands or jumping up or down is not going to make a big difference. He knows I'm there. He knows you are there. And that's enough.

So make the best out of your ordinary life. I am.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a blessed and joyous Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Little Tree

I decorated sparingly for Christmas, with a small, "Blue Christmas Tree"
 perched in the corner of my living room. 
But I did put out my snow globes and Christmas cards and Nativity. 

With working full-time and trying to do it all, I have come to the realization
that I can't do it all, so I must choose and prioritize.
 I choose to do things that bring me joy
during the Christmas season
Last week I had free tickets to take my two granddaughters to see
"The Nutcracker." It's not something that we do every year. This past Sunday I helped bake cookies and make food gifts with my daughter at her house. The girls watched Christmas movies and nibbled on the goodies and kept their pajamas on all day. The girls
decorated their Gingerbread House and wanted to eat it as soon as it was set!
It was a lot of fun!
Today I helped deliver a few food baskets to needy families. 
To me, this is what Christmas is about.

However, I haven't been completely lazy, mailing out my Christmas cards on time and having wrapped most of my presents by now.

The Stars Up Above

Last Saturday evening a friend and I drove up to the mountain to the Planetarium to listen to a presentation of "The Star of Bethlehem", a historical and astrological view of the times during the birth of our Savior. My friend is more versed in Astronomy, but I am a complete novice and haven't been to a planetarium since I was a child.

It was quite an interesting program, with Biblical passages and bits and pieces of historical events that aligned with the birth of Jesus.

After the program we ventured outside to look at the stars through the telescopes that the astronomers guided us to and pointed out the Constellations visible in the clear, dark sky. Names like Orion and Andromeda. It was quite chilly and I was glad to have worn my warmer coat. Below the mountain we could see the city lights and above, the sky was clear for a winter's night, stars shining brightly.

We walked down the darkened path towards my car, flashlight in hand, having gained new knowledge about Nebulas and galaxies and light years. I am anxious to go back and take my grandchildren.