The Last Day Of The Year

Chiot's Run 2011 Calendar

Image by Chiot's Run via Flickr

TIME

Seconds to minutes

Minutes to hours

Hours to days

Days to weeks

Weeks to years…

Here I sit on the last day of the year, wondering where all the time went. I contemplate what I’ve done this past year. I analyze the details of my life. I smile at all the things I have accomplished. I fret about all the things I’ve left undone. I believe I could have said more. I wonder about what I should have left unsaid.  Aahh…we all walk a fine line, don’t we?

Each day brings new opportunities. Sometimes I grab the opportunity. Sometimes I let it go. Sometimes I’m glad, other times I have regret.

There are people that are gone from my life. New friendships were made. Some individuals faithfully remain.

I’m one year older and hopefully at least a little wiser.

Tonight is the end of the old and the beginning of the new.

It’s always exciting to think of starting a new year with a clean slate. The possibilities…. The opportunities…. The path less taken.

Happy New Year!

 

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We Are Family!

Kendal

Image via Wikipedia

Over Christmas break I decided to try my hand at figuring out my family tree. I’m using Ancestry.com. It’s really very interesting. So far I’m back to the 1600’s through my paternal grandmother‘s side of the family. I’m finding family from Ireland, England, and Germany so far. It gets a little tricky finding parents of ladies that married into the family.

Things I’ve learned along the way…

1. A lot of young ladies got married at the age of 20.Some younger. Some older. Twenty is the average.

2. As I dig back in time I realize that having 9-13 children was normal. I know this was a common occurrence, but it tires me just thinking about it. If that were me, I’d be the type that would say something like this, ” John, Jacob, Michael, Peter, Robert…… For cryin’ out loud, YOU. Yeah, the one with the blond hair! Thomas. I knew that. Really. Yes I did!!! As long as YOU know who YOU are, I’m okay with it.” Seriously. That would be me.

3. My family had beautiful names… Catherine Eliza (1767), Christina Katrina (1763), Sarah Ann (1827). Also names that showed the times…Mary, Emma, Orpha Maria, Annie, Sophia, Matilda, and Gertrude. You know what’s funny? Several of these “old” names are back in style again. How many Emma’s or Sophia’s do you know? Oh, and one (several greats) grandmother from Germany. Her name was Waldburga Geiger Von Wurttemberg (1705). Try and say that name 5 times, fast. I dare you.

4. Many of the men had Biblical names. James, John, Joseph, Samuel, Philip, Thomas, Benjamin, Daniel, Michael and David. There are also some interesting ones such a Cyrus, Andrew Jackson, Purnell, Raymond, and Johann (es).

5. Most of my mom’s side of the family settled in Pennsylvania after making their way to the “colonies”. Most of my dad’s side of the family settled in North Carolina.

6. I had one of  “those moments”, while sitting researching. If even one of these long line of people had not been born, I would not be sitting here and typing this blog entry right now.

7. Some of my (many great) grandfathers had first wives that died young. The men went on to remarry. I’m thankful for that. Some of my (many great) grandmothers were second wives. Really, if you think about it, they were young women, marrying men somewhat older than they were. In some cases the men already had children with their deceased wives. So the new brides married into already established families–and then added more children. Quite a handful.

8. This is really fun.

9. After I go as far as I can in the family tree—I’m going to start researching places. The one (many greats) grandmother was born in Kendal (or Kendale?) Ireland. I also want to look up Wurttemburg and Mecklenburg, Germany.

10. It makes me wonder about my own legacy. What will my future family learn about me? What history will I leave behind?

I’m thankful for family…

A New Chapter

Times Square Ball - New Year's Eve 2008

Image by Atomische • Tom Giebel via Flickr

The end of one year, the start of another. The possibilities, the choices, the opportunities.

In my life, I’ve been accused of thinking too much. I take  this declaration with a grain of salt. Too much thinking? How is that possible? What is the result of thinking too much?  Or not enough thinking? Or at all? I like to mull things over. Long after a conversation…I’m still going over the content of what was said.

I like to ponder what this new year will hold. I become contemplative during this time of year.

Each year brings new possibilities. Not because New Years Day is some sort of magic key, but because it is more like a door to the unknown. None of us really knows what will happen to us this year. We can have our plans, but many times life does not go as planned. Sometimes it careens off course. We end up on a road that we never intended to travel.

Sometimes things that seem “bad”, turn out to have lessons that are good for me. Other times I’ve made poor choices and I’ve suffered through the consequences of those choices. Sometimes it is a bitter pill to swallow. Yet, sometimes events happen that are completely out of my control. I could not have changed them even if I desperately wanted to. One just never knows how things will turn out.

We all hope for a good year, abet, even a great one! We all want joy in our lives. Moments that matter. The opportunity to make a positive difference. Fulfillment. Friendships. Love.

I can plan. I can make changes. I can try to be even more organized and productive. Ultimately, God is the one who chooses how this year will proceed. It is He that is sovereign. It is He that makes life interesting and worthwhile…and I can rest in that.

Everyone Has A Story…

Charles Kuralt, Host from 1979–1994

Image via Wikipedia

My husband gave me the DVD set of the late Charles Kuralt, On The Road series. The series used to air on CBS Sunday. Mr. Kuralt and crew were in an RV, traversing the highways and bi-ways of America. He met people in the big cities and small towns of this country. His key phrase had him wondering what was “up around the bend”. Even though I was a child for most of his years on TV, and don’t really remember watching the series, I am intrigued by his travels, now, as an adult.

One day, I hope to “hit the road” for an extended period of time. Meet people. Write their stories. I long to see America in a way that isn’t shown on the nightly news. There is something to be said for taking time to go down the road less traveled, to sit and listen to stories that  might otherwise never be heard.

I think that is why I love blogging so much…and reading other people’s blogs. I get to meet people in a sense…get to know them. Just like a book can take me to a place I’ve never been…my blog friends show me their lives in parts of the country that I’ve never had opportunity to visit. Yet.

White Out!

Deep snow during the Blizzard of 2006 Nor'east...

Image via Wikipedia

My husband and I, and our children are visiting family in upstate New York. It has been cold here, but not really any snow (besides what is already on the ground). I’ve been watching the news this morning. Everyone is talking about the blizzard that hit many areas of the east coast. New York City doesn’t look that bad to me, yet it is being called a blizzard. Technically, a blizzard has to do with certain amounts of snow, but a true blizzard also has high winds over 35 m.p.h.

I remember being in 5th grade in Carroll County, Maryland when the blizzard of ’79 struck. Of course, as a child I enjoyed being off school for a week. My sister and I got bundled up like a couple of Arctic explorers and ventured outside to make tunnels in the deep snow.Mom always had hot tea ready for us when we came inside.

I also remember as a young newlywed, the “storm of the century” in March of 1993. The entire east coast got pelted with that monster storm. My husband and I went to bed on Friday night with just a few flurries falling. We made a bet with each other that it wasn’t really going to amount to anything. We woke up on Saturday morning to a snow induced hush over our own, personal winter wonderland!

All this talk of blizzards got me to thinking about snow fall. Look at this site of the Top 10 Worst Blizzards of all time. It makes me cold just reading about them!

What are your coldest, snowiest, most blizzard like memories?  How old were you? Where were you living at the time?

Wheelchair Dancing

A close-up of a rear wheel of a wheelchair.

Image via Wikipedia

I don’t remember what caused me to think of it… a memory that has been tucked away, for at least twenty years. It’s funny how things just pop back into one’s mind, when least expected.

Everyone wants to be accepted. Everyone wants to feel wanted. Everyone needs a friend. In those ways we are not so very different.

A group of friends. Laughing and dancing. Being silly. Being young.

One friend’s brother sat in a wheelchair. An accident had taken away his ability to walk…ever again.

He wanted to dance.

He didn’t think anyone would want to dance with him…because his legs didn’t work. Because he was different. Because of fear.

He shyly looked at me. Will you dance with me?

“Yes”, I replied in youthful exuberance , “let’s go”.

I sat on his lap, wrapped an arm around his neck and off we went. We rolled, and rocked, and spun in dizzying circles.

We laughed out loud.

After the song, we rolled to a stop. We were out of breath from laughing and spinning.

He thanked me for dancing with him.

And I thanked him for asking.

That night I learned a valuable lesson.

Take a chance. Don’t let fear stop you from asking. Don’t worry about what others might be thinking.

And enjoy the dance.

 

 

Life On The Road

Tim Hortons in Ottawa, ON, Canada

Image via Wikipedia

I won the alphabet game!! Woo hoo! It’s the small things in life that matter…especially when stuck bonding with family on a 9 hour road trip. Usually, my husband wins the alphabet game on family trips. He said he was busy driving and couldn’t fully concentrate. Excuses. Excuses. I take my wins however I can get them.

We played Crack The Code (a mystery card game), and Twenty Questions which my husband also almost always wins.  My husband and I listened to talk radio, and the kids played on their PSP‘s, and computer.  We listened to our oldest son recite poetry. All in all no one pulled their hair out it was a good trip. Family togetherness. Because between the luggage, Christmas presents, and junk we were crammed in like sardines

I am not a fan of toll roads. A family is pretty much stuck in the matter of where to eat dinner on the road. If one gets off the toll road, one pays. Or if one gets off accidentally, thinking it’s a rest area, one pays. Not that, that happened to us. Arrgh.

We ended up eating at Tim Horton’s. I love Tim Hortons for coffee and hot chocolate, but the food is highway robbery expensive. That’s true of most eating establishments these days.

We survived had a good trip.  Enjoying today. Visiting family. Relaxing. Life is good.