Before blogging and before caring for my Mom and now making every other day visits to see her at the nursing home, and before surgery, etc., I used to spend hours of researching to learn about my ancestors. Anyone who has done any of that kind of research knows that there are often a few dead ends in the research. I am no different in having a few lines that have been difficult to trace.
Well a few weeks back I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about my maternal grandmother's brothers and sisters. I'd not been able to find much about them in the past, but usually I don't wake up in the middle of the night thinking about them either. Perhaps it took that kind of a jolt to get my attention, since my daytime hours seemed to be filled with other stuff. To make a long story short, that is how I've been spending my time.
Many people pursue family history research, and thus there is an increasing amount of information that is now online and quite often with no cost involved. What used to require traveling to far away places, and libraries, now quite often can be viewed on one's own computer at home. I've been rewarded by finding additional information that brings new light and understanding about my family.
Today I found the following on page 2 of the Indianapolis News, 27 June 1882. Adam is my Grandmother's brother. He would have been about 11 years old at the time he drowned. North Vernon is in Jennings County, Indiana.
"Adam Morgan, of North Vernon, was drowned while making an effort to save his Brother, who, while bathing, got beyond his depth. Ed. McGannon, a fifteen year old boy, who was standing by, plunged in and saved yourg Morgan, but was unable to reach Adam until life was extinct."
While reading some entries in old archived newspapers I read some articles that told of people who died from lockjaw. The tetanus vaccine wasn't available until 1924, about 41 years after my great grandmother died from lockjaw. I know that there are controversies about the use of vaccines, especially on young children, but I remember my parents concerns if my brother or I ever stepped on a nail. I remember putting on rubber rain boots (meant to be worn over the shoes). I was in a hurry to take care of some farm chore, and decided not to put on my shoes. Long story short was that I stepped on a nail and it went through the boot into the bottom of my foot. I had to be taken to the doctor to get a tetanus shot, "just in case." I'm thankful for vaccines, and not to have to worry about getting lockjaw.
After what seems to be a never ending series of deaths and funerals, I've come to understand more the "circle of life." Although the death of a person brings a degree of sadness and mourning to those left behind, it also brings a great deal of reflective moments to those who knew the person and those attending the service. One learns even more about the deceased person through hearing the eulogy and stories shared. There are lessons to be learned, if one hears and feels with an open heart. I'm grateful that I'm having these opportunities to learn in these hallowed settings.
Trials are hard and may seem to go on forever, but they will end sooner or later. My mother had been facing some challenges at the nursing home. These weren't anything that had to do with her health or her care, but just something that was difficult to explain to her. About a week ago, the situation resolved, and now all is well. Isn't that the way with all of us? Often we face situations that just seem to arise and can't be explained away, or fixed in an instant. We have to endure, make do, try to do our best, until we get past and through the situation. We may have a little reprieve before we face another challenge, or perhaps we'll go right into a new situation, having been strengthen from the past. I'm thankful for being able to learn from all experiences.
How do you receive strength during your times of trial? In church today, I sat with three other women discussing this very subject. What was interesting was that all four of us spoke of how hymns, or certain lines from hymns come to our minds when we have tried to find solutions or comfort when facing challenges. I've not ever tried to memorize hymns, but by singing them weekly, the words have been planted in my mind and heart. In the very time of need, the words come quickly into my mind, often just a phrase. Sometimes it is the entire hymn. I'll go to the hymn book and read the words, and know that was what my heart needed to hear. Many hymns have phrases from the scriptures too. I am thankful for hymns, uplifting music and the scriptures.
Some of the sheep near us will soon be lambing. I'm looking forward to seeing these little lambs and taking taking their pictures. There is something about seeing new life that just brings joy. I'm a sucker for those youtube videos of baby pandas, elephants, lions, etc. They make me feel happy.
The past few weeks, I've been trying out recipes given to my husband by his doctor. It is kind of a modified mediterranean diet. It has been interesting to try these recipes, which have required purchasing some items that hadn't been in our diet, such as tempeh. I'm thankful to this new experience, even though some of the dishes require considerable more preparation time.
A friend came to visit the other day, and brought me a bouquet of flowers, just because. What a pleasant unexpected gesture! I must look for ways that I can do more of the unexpected niceties for others.
I'm thankful for my family. To know that we are close in heart and mind is a wonderful blessing.
My husband is a wonderful support to me. The other day I was thinking about how much I love our little conversations, how he makes me laugh, and how much I love him. We've come a long way together. It has been a journey that has brought with it a lot of growth and understanding.