Thursday, March 29, 2018

Finish the Sentence Friday - Throwback Friday

When there is a fifth Friday in the month, the prompt for Finish the Sentence Friday - Throwback is to share something previously written. For this post I am going to share a blog post I wrote Tuesday, June 23, 2015, titled Teachers who made a difference in my life. I appreciate Kristi Campbell at Finding Ninee and Kenya G. Johnson at Sporadically Yours for hosting and co-hosting the FTSF blog hop each week. Please click the link to see what other throwback writings are being shared this week.

I know the value of reading those things we have written in the past. I remember seeing how much our children used to enjoy having me read from my journal things I'd written about them or reading to them those things they had said which I in turn wrote in my journal. 

My own maternal great great grandfather, Valentine Kimes, born in 1811 in Virginia, wrote a journal when he was in his 70's recapping events in his life. Fortunately that journal which had been written on foolscap paper had been given to a descendant, and I was blessed years later to receive a copy of it. Although many of the events in his life were very different from my own, there were things that I learned about how he handled some of the challenges in his life that were very inspiring to me. At the time he wrote his journal he even questioned its value to any future reader. I will be forever grateful for that which he took time to write. A very touching moment happened after I had read a few pages from his journal to our then three-year-old daughter one evening at bedtime. When I completed reading, I saw tears starting to stream down her cheeks. When I tried to comfort her, she choked back tears to exclaim, "When will I every see him?" I was thankful for the calming words I was able to tell her.

June 25, 2015

Teachers who made a difference in my life

The very first teacher in my life was my Mother from whom I have learned so much, including a desire to study hard in school. 

Mother, age 98,  enjoying the sunshine and flowers at the nursing home today.

School teachers can be remembered in a positive way or a negative way, and unfortunately some may only be vaguely remembered by a student. As I was driving to visit my Mother today, I thought about some of my teachers who made a difference in my life.  Certain interactions stood out and I am grateful for the things I learned from them.

As a first grader standing in the cafeteria line with a full tray of food, a boy ahead of me made a sudden move which caused me to drop my tray. The bowl of hot soup which had been on my tray was now spilled all over my socks and shoes. My teacher quickly came to my rescue and had me walk back to the classroom with her. She hurriedly removed my socks and soaked leather shoes. She cleaned off my shoes, rinsed out my socks and laid them on the radiator heater by the classroom wall. She made sure someone brought me some lunch, and then the two of us just visited while my socks dried. I have always remembered her kindness to me that day.

When I was in the third grade at a two room school, our teacher liked to crochet during the lunch time. She asked some of the girls if they would like to learn to crochet instead of going out to recess.  Several of us were interested. She gave me my first crochet lessons, and I crocheted a lot of caps that year. I always thought that was nice of her to use her precious time to teach us something that I'm sure wasn't in her contract to do so. Of course at that point in my life, I knew nothing about teacher contracts, just that she wanted to help us learn how to crochet.  While I don't crochet all the time now, I did expand on my crocheting skills as an adult.

There was a Christmas play that I was in the year I was in the fifth grade. I was kind of embarrassed when I learned I was to play the part of a Grandma in the play. All I had to do was read a poem I had written for a classroom assignment. It had been included in the script as a poem Grandma had received from someone. I think that may have been the first poem I had ever written. To this day I still dabble in writing poetry and still think that there is a season and a time for poetry in our lives.

By the time I entered seventh grade our two room school was consolidated into a larger school district, and I attended a large junior high school. If I remember right, we all had one term of art. One of the assignments we had was worth quite a bit of our grade.  We were using poster paints. Just as I was completing my painting, I got more paint on my brush than I should have and a drop splatted on the painting. I was very upset, because I thought there was no hope of getting a good grade now. My teacher came to my rescue and made a suggestion. She said that I could try to turn it into a balloon and paint a string on it. So in my finished painting of a street scene, there was a balloon floating in the air. A few weeks later, my teacher asked me if I had seen the display cabinet in the hall. At the end of class, I walked by the display cabinet and was surprised to see my painting displayed for all to see. By that experience, she taught me that things are not always as bad as they first appear, and that when life gives you lemons, turn them into lemonade!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Six Sentence Stories - Vent

What would writers do without the combination of scenes and experiences from their own lives and the lives of others that enables them to place themselves into a newly created setting that is a fusion of the past, present or even the future? 

I am thankful for Denise, at Girlie on the Edge for hosting a blog hop, called Six Sentence Stories, each week where I can practice writing a short story. She gives us plenty of leeway, so bloggers who prefer to write a little poetry, a ditty, or a musing can do that instead, as long as it is only six sentences and uses the prompt word. Vent is the cue word this time. 

Select the link to take a few minutes to read what other bloggers have shared. Feel free to accept the challenge. The more the merrier.

The smell of the upcoming mint fields being harvested overpowered the strong odors of manure and silage from the large dairy farm that they had just passed.

She and her siblings shifted uncomfortably on the hot sticky clear vinyl plastic-covered seats of the old farm truck as their dad headed toward the feed store at the edge of town. They kept quiet as their dad listened intently to the latest farm report on the staticky radio. The windows were rolled down to let in a breeze, although there was little to be had.

A large truck loaded with bales of hay came around the bend in the two-lane road which was barely wide enough for both vehicles. Unfortunately, there was no room for their dad to dodge a recognizable black and white blob on the hot pavement and even less time for them to try to crank the windows closed and shut the vents to keep out the musky scent. 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful

What a day this has been! There have been hundreds of thousands of young people, some accompanied by their parents, and teachers and leaders who participated in March for Our Lives all over the United States. Those of us who have lived long enough, and/or have read from the history books and the publications or talked to participants and survivors of previous conflicts and marches, can't help but feel the tension and the desire for change. 

It is important to do those things that bring a feeling of hope, and peace into our lives even in the midst of turmoil and even anger seen in the world around us, and maybe especially during those times. For this reason I participate in the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop each week and link my post to Josie Two Shoes site where you can read of ways others are expressing their gratitude.

I am thankful for seasons, and especially for spring, which is a reminder of the hope of new growth and new beginnings.

Five daffodils blooming in front of a wire fence

Blue hyacinths 

A pink and white English daisy in bloom

Oregon grape blossoms looking very much like clusters of small yellow grapes adorned with holly like leaves against a blue sky above a freshly plowed field
Even though we have had some sunny days this Spring, we have also experienced heavy downpours of rain and hail and even woke up one morning to snow that had fallen over night. Spring is full of surprises. 

The snow on top of our car and on the windows didn't melt until noon.

All through the years that we have lived in this area we have enjoyed the drive through a wooded area where fir trees lined the hilly road. When it snowed, it was especially beautiful. With the coming of spring and summer, the growth of ferns, salmon berries, and some patches of  trilliums decorated the woods. Wild columbines in oranges and yellows, wild purple irises and rambling fuchsia colored sweet peas climbing over undergrowth creeping near the edge of the road also brought color into an otherwise green world. I am thankful that I have felt that appreciation for this area, for now there are new plans for this wooded area unknown to me. Perhaps it was long overdue to harvest what started out as a Christmas tree farm. Maybe there are other plans for the land. It could be that there are new owners of the property. I don't know. Time will tell.

The hill on the left side of the road has been mostly cleared of the fir trees. That hillside hasn't seen the light of day for many years, and has been the abode of many deer seeking shelter. The right side of the road is still lined with oaks and fir trees in front of homes.

I'm thankful for homemade chicken soup. I do not fear variations of traditional recipes, so I varied it a little. We liked it, and it is a good thing, because we will be eating it for several days.

Do you ever use something without ever taking the time to learn all there is to know about it? Today I was looking at the little keyboard I use with my iPad and decided to check out the purpose of the tiny row of keys at the top. There are several I will be using frequently now. Once again I am thankful for discovery and new knowledge, even though it may be a small thing.

Do you know someone who lives alone? Maybe you are that one living alone. The other day someone who lives by herself, mentioned how much she appreciated having a hug from her son and how it isn't often she gets hugs. I found myself thinking about that and knowing how much I would miss those hugs from my husband if he were not here. Those in nursing homes thrive from the power of touch from their loved ones and friends. I have found that lightly rubbing my Mom's arm or her back as I visit with her in the nursing  home is one way to show love to her, especially when it is difficult to communicate with her otherwise because of the Alzheimer's. I'm thankful for hugs to give and to receive.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Finish the Sentence Friday - Photo Share Friday, Can you identify them?

It took me a while to decide which photo to share today, so I chose two. Today is the day to link up to the blog hop at Finish the Sentence Friday - Photo Share Friday. Kristi Campbell of Finding Ninee is the host of this blog hop and Kenya G. Johnson of Sporadically Yours is the co-host. After taking a look at my post, be sure to click the link and hop over to their sites to see what others have shared. (The posts will be the same at either of their sites.) I'm sure you will see quite a variety of photos and the stories behind them.

Throughout my life I have enjoyed looking at old photos. My earliest memories of examining such photos came when I visited with my paternal grandparents beginning before I started grade school. These two photos were among a few others in a stationery box where she kept them. Her photos were quite a treasury to her, since all the photos she once had were destroyed when my grandparents' home burned. The few she had were duplicates relatives had given to them after the fire. After the death of my grandparents, my parents ended up with the photos, and eventually they were given to me probably because I was interested in the family history.

Possibly Pierce, Johnston (Johnson), Durbin, or Shively family in
St. Paul, Neosho, Kansas

Possibly Pierce, Johnston (Johnson), Durbin or Shively family in
St. Paul, Neosho, Kansas  

Unfortunately, if anything was said to me about the people in these two photos, it slipped from my mind long ago. Nothing was written on the back and no other relatives have been able to help me to date.  

The assumptions that I have made are that both photos most likely were taken at the same time and outside at a rural location. It was most likely on a farm. It seems to me that the time of year was probably late summer or early fall, as there appears to be tall cornstalks in the background of the bottom photo. The people in the top photo appear to be gathered at a large table outside getting ready to eat a meal. There are at least six shade trees quite close to the table. Some food has already been set on the table and one woman is pouring a drink from a large kettle. 

I do know that these photos are of my grandfather's relatives, since my grandmother had no photos of her parents and relatives. Her mother died when she was about two years old and relatives of her father took the various children to live with them.

Since my grandfather was born near St. Paul, Neosho, Kansas and many of his family lived there, I think the people in the photos are very close relatives of my grandfather.

Some of the family had dark hair and olive complexions which seem to fit some of the women in the top photo. I think that the woman, not wearing a hat in the bottom photo is possibly the same as the woman in the foreground of the top photo. Due to the brightness of the bottom photo, it is difficult to see how dark her complexion is. She resembles a relative that has been identified for me, but without knowing exactly when the photo was taken it is hard to be sure that it is the same person. 

I think that the man between the two women in the bottom photo is the second husband of my great grandmother. He was first married to my great grandfather's sister. Another interesting thing is that my great grandfather's sister and my great grandfather died in the same year, but not in the same month. My two widowed ancestors ended up getting married to each other a few years later.

If the lady without the hat in the bottom photo is the same lady as in the foreground of the top photo, she could possibly be my great grandfather's sister or my great grandmother, or a daughter from the man's first marriage or a stepdaughter from his second marriage.

The time frame for these photos, if my speculation is correct, is that they were taken sometime in the late 1880's and no later than 1916.

So unless there is someone who has a photo of these people and can  identify them, the time, and the place, I'm still not sure exactly who they are, but I would like to solve this puzzle.

That is the story as much as I know. If you have stuck with this story to the end, you either have a glazed look in your eyes, or you  enjoy family history research as much as I do. I promise, I'll select a completely different photo the next time around, so do come back.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Six Sentence Stories - Activate

It was difficult to steer my mind away from some of the headlines this week as I considered writing a post for the blog hop Six Sentence Stories - Activate. For some quick reads, click the link to see what other bloggers have shared this week.

What she saw as she peeked through the window wasn't exactly what she was expecting, so she decided to wait a few minutes before opening the door.

When she did, a blast of hot air hit her body, causing her to jump back and drop her potholder.

Her mother handed her another potholder so she could pull out her first "made from scratch" cake from the oven and place it on a rack to cool.

As the cake cooled she watched in horror as it seemed to settle back into itself and even change to a darker color in the center.

Whatever was supposed to activate the cake to rise didn't, and although the family attempted to enjoy their dessert, in the end all agreed she should carry it to the barn and give it to the hogs.

The fact that even the hogs wouldn't eat the very dense, gluey textured center of the cake didn't make her feel any better, nor make her want to stir up another sponge cake any time too soon.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful

Since I last posted a little over a week ago, there has been much to be grateful for even though there have been some thoughts of sadness and concern for others during this time. That is one reason I keep showing up here. Writing this thankful post each week is one way to keep me focused on the positive. I'm linking my post to Josie Two Shoe's Ten Things of Thankful blog hop and encourage you to either join myself and others in writing a blog post and linking up or at least reading some of the thoughts others have shared. Even on the bleakest of days, there is something that is a sign that there is goodness in this world and in people.

1. Reminders of the importance of every single human life. We attended a funeral recently of someone we have known over two/thirds of our lives. He touched many lives and he and his wife went about doing good. It was touching to see how many people from many places came to remember him and support his family.

2. Recognitions of people who have accomplished what would have seemed to be the impossible. I attended a surprise party to recognize Wendy Garrett who has overcome a lot these past few years.

3. Discovering another relative thanks to utilizing some information I learned about GedMatch at RootsTech recently. Since finding her, I learned some information that I would not have known had it not been for some sources she had.

4. Celebrating a 90th birthday of a friend. A few of us met for lunch and to celebrate a special friend's birthday.

5. Getting an estimate on some pruning of trees on our property. The pruning will be done next month.

6. Knowing of the well being of family and friends via texts, phone calls, and messenger this past week, as they traveled, faced difficult situations, were concerned about hospitalizations of loved ones, facing bad weather, etc.

7. Getting a haircut.  After some time of letting my hair grow and watching it become bushier and harder to control, I opted to go back to the shorter style. I had to laugh when the woman cutting my hair said after trying a couple of hair products on one part of my hair, "It's just going to do what it wants to do." I was hoping the experience would be a little more helpful, but instead she said she was going to go home and google it. (Actually I'd already tried that and hadn't found anything helpful.) So, my hair has a mind of its own, and now it has been confirmed.

8. There was a Women's Conference at my church on Saturday celebrating the anniversary of the Relief Society. This women's organization is 176 years old.  I appreciate all the work and preparation that was made to truly make the program one to be remembered.

9. Getting the tax papers (ours and Mom's) ready to turn in to the accountants. I'm always glad to have that project done.

10. Observing short-eared owls about 50 miles south of here. These owls have been observed in a particular location for a couple of months now, and my husband has been able to get some great photos of them. I went with him one day recently. It was a beautiful day for a drive and for me to see what he had been observing first hand.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Six Sentence Stories - Curtain

It is time for me to get on stage. The audience may or may not be waiting. Some perhaps decided to see a different blog post by now. In case there is anyone still waiting, here is my post for the Six Sentence Stories - Curtain. I'm linking this to blog hop over at GirlieOnTheEdge.

At the time the brown shingled three-room house had been erected in the midst of acres of plum trees, it was near the end of the 19th century. The small rectangular shaped building, home for the hired hand, was evenly portioned in half lengthwise with the kitchen and bedroom on one side and the combined dining and living room on the other. The only source of heat was a wood stove located near the inner wall of the living room. 

It wasn't until some time in the first trimester of the 20th century that there was an unheated bathroom and an adjoining utility room built on to the end of the bedroom. In the middle of that century, after much of the land in the area had been planted in strawberries, hops, and other crops, the hired hand moved on and a family of four moved in and made three-fourths of the small attic into bedroom spaces for the children and then covered some of the rough wooden floors with linoleum.

Each window in the home was adorned inside with a roll-up blind and a sheer, white ruffled priscilla curtain, which offered a degree of privacy and also beauty.

Finish the Sentence Friday - Laughter

What would life be like if there weren't times of laughter? When there have been times of sorrow, worrisome occasions, and difficult spells, it has been partly laughter that has made it possible to make it through the tunnel to the other side.

I am linking this post to the Finish the Sentence Friday - Laughter blog hop hosted by Kristi Campbell at Finding Ninee and co-hosted by Kenya G. Johnson at Sporadically Yours. The challenge this time is to do a five-minute stream of consciousness post about laughter. 

As a young girl I remember listening with my paternal grandmother to Art Linkletter's radio show People Are Funny. Although I thought the show was funny, it was even funnier to share laughter with her. There were some other times when I remember having some giggling spells with her. I don't recall what was so funny, but we both ended up giggling, me at her, and her at me.

When we were rearing our children, I especially enjoyed the Family Circus comics. This little round circle of humor about family life just helped me realize some parenting struggles and situations are universal.

Now thanks to some FaceBook posts and Twitter posts we are given daily or weekly opportunities, depending on how often one visits these sites, to enjoy the humorous statements of little children, at least from the viewpoints of their parents who decided to share.

Spoonerisms have always made me laugh, and sometimes I have to think a bit before I come up with exactly how my brain decided to say what it did. Needless to say, comedians and authors who have intentionally said or wrote these odd combinations of words have been enjoyed by our family.

I've always enjoy poetry and limericks of Ogden Nash, and was glad to discover that my husband-to-be enjoyed his writings also.

Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett. Laughter is synonymous with both of them. Even though I have watched many of their shows repeatedly, I never tire of them, and they always make me laugh. Each of these links shows several clips of each of these comedians performing.

Lastly, there is memory that comes to mind of a time when I was about 11 years old and was supposed to sing with I believe three other girls at a talent show. I was very shy and scared to get on stage and sing, but nevertheless, on stage I went. When we were supposed to begin singing, a couple of us began giggling and couldn't stop completely. I don't remember if I ever was able to sing with the rest. Has anyone else experienced nervous laughter?

Friday, March 9, 2018

Finish the Sentence Friday - Listicle - Music

Music is as much a part of me as the air I breathe. This blog post is being linked to Finish the Sentence Friday - Listicle - Music. Although the Listicle posts are a list of 10, I felt like I could have gone on forever. There have just been so many experiences in my life, starting at a young age, where I recognized the power that music has. Thanks to Kristi Campbell at Finding Ninee and Kenya G. Johnson at Sporadically Yours we are able to enjoy participating each week in such great opportunities to think about these interesting writing prompts.

1. Handel's Hallelujah Chorus. As a young girl taking piano lessons, I would play this over and over, because I not only loved the music, but I loved how the music made me feel. It still has that same impact on me.

2. Climb Every Mountain by Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rogers. The message of this piece gave me the inspiration I needed at a time in my life when I needed it.

3. I Believe  by Ervin Drake, Irvin Graham, Jimmy Shirland, and Al Stillman. I probably heard this first sung by Frankie Lane but have listened the The Lettermen and Elvis Presley sing this too. I even wrote a poem when I was in high school titled I Believe. I wish I had a copy of it now.

4. The Impossible Dream by Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion. At one time or another we all have what seems to be an impossible dream. 

5. Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg.

Lyricist ,Yip Harburg, sings the song he wrote, Somewhere Over The Rainbow from David Paul Kirkpatrick on Vimeo.

6. It's A Small World, by Robert B. Sherman and his brother Richard Sherman.  I know that there are some people who have tired of this song, but I will never forget the time I went to Disney Land when our children were young. When I listened to this music as we went through the It's a Small World attraction, it was truly magical and brought tears to my eyes.

7. Take Me Home, Country Roads by Bill Danoff, Taffy Nivert and John Denver. This song makes me think of some of my roots, because many of my ancestors lived in West Virginia. When our children were growing up, my husband often strummed on the guitar as we sang folk songs as a family. This brings back such happy memories.

8. Water from Another Time by John McCutcheon. This song is a more recent discovery, but it is another piece that makes me reflect and causes me to feel. My husband and I attended one of John McCutcheon's performances and heard this piece.

9. Wanting Memories to Teach Me by Ysaye Barnwell. I recently shared this piece on another post of mine.

10. Remember Me. Many years ago I went to hear Deanna Edwards talk about grieving at an Education Week at BYU. I was so impressed by her music and the power of it. She shared many personal experiences of how music can help people through times of tragedy and sorrow. She has since passed away, but her music remains.

Ten Things of Thankful

Thankful and happy are words that come to mind after a week of spending time with one of our daughters and her family. However, with getting home on the cutoff day for the last TTOT post, I decided to just get an early post in for this next Ten Things of Thankful blog hop over at the Josie Two Shoes' site.  

In case you haven't discovered this yet, learning to recognize the good things in your life and in the lives of others and expressing gratitude for them brings a sense of joy in your life. So what if life seems a little gloomy at times, just look for one thing that is something unique and good in your life, or perhaps a gorgeous sunset you saw one evening, or a baby's smile, etc. Although this blog hop is titled Ten Things of Thankful, there are times when bloggers share more or less than ten, and that is just as acceptable. Read some of the posts by other bloggers at Josie Two Shoes' site and you will see how flexible this blog hop is. All are welcome at her site.

1. Snow seemed to frame my trip. A snowstorm arrived two days before leaving on my trip and two days before departing to return home. Fortunately, the roads were clear by the time I needed to get to the airports.

2. I had looked forward to visiting our daughter, but also had been anticipating attending the RootsTech Conference in Salt Lake City with her. What I had not in my wildest imagination supposed would happen was this, but everyone needs to experience a bit of fun and laughter from time to time. 

My daughter and I  standing in front of a Legacy Republic photo booth in the RootsTech Exhibit Hall. We could choose from some wild dress-up items.

3. Being able to see two movies I hadn't yet seen was a bonus. Seeing The Greatest Showman and Coco in the same week in my vacation.

4. On the day before I left, we went to the BYU Museum of Art and saw some of the works of M. C. Escher and some Tiffany lamps and other Tiffany works.

5. Both of our daughters had raved about Hruskas Kolaches in Provo in the past, and now I know why. I consumed some of their freshly baked offerings several mornings as we headed to the conference. Since returning home, I have discovered that near the temple I attend there is a similar bakery. I look forward to comparing kolaches sometime.

6. Being able to visit with our one of our granddaughters, and one of our grandsons and his wife was a plus. I knew that I would be seeing our granddaughter, but seeing one of our grandsons and his wife was unexpected. I was introduced to BYU Chocolate Covered Cinnamon Bears by said grandson. These were a real treat!

7. At the RootsTech Conference attendees were able to discover cousins who were there. Those who had signed on to their Family Tree App were able to find their cousins who had signed on to the Family Search Tree App. Meeting some of my cousins was almost as much fun and attending the classes. While in Provo, we went to see a friend who now lives there, and by using the app, discovered she is a distant cousin also. I can't wait to try this among friends here at home.

8. Even though there have been a couple of mishaps this week, they ended up not being as bad as at first seemed. My husband said part of one of his teeth broke off. He found out it was a crown that broke off and just needed to be reattached. This was ever so much less expensive that the alternative. One of the temples on my glasses broke off. Fortunately I'd taken my extra pair of glasses with me on the trip and I was able to get another similar looking temple for my glasses when I got home and it was free!

9. My daughter's dog, Drexel, reminds me so much of our deceased dog. I enjoyed how Drexel welcomed me into his world.

10. My husband let me rattle on telling him all about my adventures from the trip as we travelled home from the airport. He didn't even turn on the radio. He just listened and we talked. I missed him and it was good to be back home with him.

Thanks to all my blogging friends who link up each week to express gratitude!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Six Sentence Stories - Crane

We have a new administrator for the blog hop, Six Sentence Stories. Thanks to Zoe at Uncharted for being the go-to-person of late. Hopefully we will still see some posts from her on the Six Sentence Stories. After this week she is passing the torch to Denise at Girlie on the Edge to be our hostess. The stories will continue, you can be assured. I'm linking my post Six Sentence Stories - Crane to Zoe's site this last time. 


When he was outdoors and wearing his leather jacket, he was feared although he wasn't quite sure why. Unlike others with underground connections, he intended no harm to the people around him. He was simply following in the footsteps of his familial roots.

The pot she brought introduced him into a world of warmth inside her home, quite a different feeling from all he'd previously encountered. Although it wasn't immediately apparent to him what was going to happen next, it was necessary for him to get rid of his leather jacket and to spread his wings.

At last he was free to fly and to adopt his new name of Hawk, short for mosquito hawk, but formally he would be known as crane fly.