As the first day of fall arrives here in the United States, may you find joy in great things like rustling leaves, crackling fires, steaming mugs, cozy quilts, and cuddling!
Flowers from Israel…© Valorie Webster
We have just returned (very exhausted from the travel) after spending nearly a month in Israel and Greece. I looked through over 1000 images to find one to depict my feelings this morning. I decided on these flowers.
It takes me a while to sort through all the feelings I have after these trips, but today I want to say that I am grateful. We have so much in our country…some more than others, as in every country. Our worst days pale in comparison, however, to people who have lived their entire lives with religious wars, homes lost, all retirement funds stripped away and more. Yet, they continue…most with relative happiness.
If I write more blogs regarding this trip, there will be mixed emotions and differing opinions than you may have. That is okay. What I know, for myself, is that world travel points out all our differences…AND all our similarities.
Flowers seem to find a way to bloom everywhere! May we be at peace!
My daddy and me…1953.
Ninety-three is a ripe old age, but he didn’t make it. He died in 2003 at age seventy-nine, but I think he would say he lived life his way and as well as he could. Can one wish for more?
My father would be celebrating ninety-three years of life today. I miss him. He was many things, but always “daddy” to me. It seems that people either loved him or hated him. It also seems that he felt the same about most people. Does that make him any different than most of us?
I really want to tell his story, but it is like Swiss cheese, or a bucket full of holes, or a cake that I didn’t remember to burst the air out of before baking (this was his favorite kind of cake, heavy, and he taught me to drop the pans flat on the counter so the air bubbles would rise and burst!)…his story all falls to pieces, or just doesn’t fit together in the first place. As it turns out, those holes existed in his heart, and he died with them.
It would be his story to tell, but for the most part, he never did. Yes, we heard some stories…good, bad, and ugly…from his childhood on through his life, but it seems he kept some things secret and it actually has created some holes in my heart now! Those places in my heart are not so much about what he told or didn’t tell, what he did or didn’t do, but about the pain he held inside and how much freer he might have been. If he had shared more, how much would he have been judged? I doubt more than he was judged by some anyway. I know that what I have learned has only made me understand him better. It confirms my feeling that secrets only hurt, sooner or later.
When Harold Watson Smith was born on April 4, 1924 (or so says his birth certificate, though that is another story), he began a life in the hills of West Virginia, outside Charleston. He was the 10th child I have been able to document, with two more brothers to come along after him. He said there were more. I began work on a family tree in 2002 and he was very clear that he didn’t want me to search his line. Being so much like him, he had to have known that to say those words was like throwing a bone for a dog. I would be off on the search. Yes, being stubborn is genetic.
I lived across the country and would continue to call and talk and ask questions. He began to open up, bit by bit, and told me some things. One big item being that he never knew who his father was and that had left a “huge hole in his heart”. I will always remember him telling me that. At any rate, he finally agreed to tell me all he knew when we could sit down together, face to face, and talk. Unfortunately, not too long thereafter, he had a massive heart attack and died. I did get to his bedside before he passed, but was certainly not going to talk genealogy then. He was not able to say much at that point anyway.
So began my journey into his history. I was going to fill that gap that existed for him. I was on a mission, indeed. My mom’s line would have to wait, as I knew those folks already and had some sources for searching. Daddy’s story needed to be discovered. After years of research, and two trips to West Virginia with my sister and brother, I can say I have learned more. And yes, I have found some darkness. It exists in all families, by the way. Now what I wonder is if it is right for me to tell his story. I have shared my suspicions with many. I have had some confirmations and been left with more holes in other places. Personally, as mentioned, I find the information revealing and interesting. But, is it my story to tell? I am ruminating on that. It is part of my heritage, but he didn’t want some things told. He just didn’t tell me what those things were.
So, today, I will say Happy Birthday, Daddy! I love you, I always did, and I miss you.
More of this story to come…sometime…perhaps.
(Image from the Internet)
Fred the Needle (aka Susanna Di Milo) posted a great and thought-provoking article on her blog last week.
Finding Your Passion…
If you read it, which I recommend, you will be certain to think about what you believe on the subject of finding your passion. Thank you for this, Susanna. I commented on the post and she asked me when I was a child, what did I want to be when I grew up. Interesting to remember that. I wanted to be a mom. I was very lucky to get to be that and honestly, it was probably my favorite job ever!
After that, I would say that I chose happy and have often said that the search for happiness led me down a long and winding road of, yes, some happiness, but lots of struggles and heartache too. It comes down to being all about choices and one choice might be to let everything be decided for you. I am not sure this is what Susanna means when she says your passion will seek you out. Or wait, maybe she does mean just that! I lived a long time just doing what came next…”one foot in front of the other” was my mantra, more or less. I think the Universe, or whatever you choose to call it…God, Spirit, Mother…may just know and keep directing us somehow.
Along the way though, you have to put yourself out there. You have to be open and try things and trust the guidance you are getting. You need to trust your own guidance too; your intuition, your gut. You will make some mistakes, most likely, but learn from them and get up to go again. It has been said that if you haven’t made some mistakes, you have not tried enough things.
In my lifetime, I have been a daughter, sister, mother, wife, aunt, friend, homemaker, sewist, photographer, writer, crafter, seeker, adventurer, lover, seller…gee, I have been blessed! And if I look back, I do believe something was guiding me. I am grateful. I am loved. I can finally say I am HAPPY!!! Happy is not about ego. Happy is not just about taking care of yourself. Happy means you can do much more for others. Happy means you can share light and joy in this world that really needs it.
How do you perceive the quest in your life for what you have been looking for? What has your greatest lesson been? Are you open to possibility? Do you have your blinders off so you can recognize the nudges you are getting?
(Image from the Internet and Karen Lamb)
At book club this week there was a new member who asked about the members. I guess some people out in the blogosphere also want to know more about the people they follow, so here is a recap of our year…
It is two days before Xmas and all around our house, there is so much snow we can hardly get out!
As we sit by the window watching the flakes blow, we decided to bore you with some things you may not know.
One of us (guess which one) really doesn’t like this endeavor, but when she puts on her thinking cap she thinks she is really clever!
Cuteness aside, let’s get on with the telling, it’s been a pretty good year, as we’re no longer selling!
Yes, indeed, we are both retired as Val turned in her papers and will collect Social Security starting Jan 1! This leaves us fancy free to do whatever we want. It seems like the thing we do most is travel. Our trips this year included…
Travel from Vancouver, Canada on Via Rail to Toronto in March……beautiful scenery, great food on the train and in Toronto and met some really nice people. It was COLD everywhere we went. Got to see the Hockey Hall of Fame and a great play, Disgraced. Also on the train trip we stopped in Saskatoon and had a brief visit with Val’s Facebook friend she had never met. Mavis Ens…it was a pleasure!
In July our grand-daughter, Ali, visited for 10 whole days! We are so pleased that even at the advanced age of 20 she found enough time on her schedule to visit Granny and Gramps! She is a junior at Kansas University, studying Psychology and Dance.
Dear friends visiting us throughout the year were the Potts, Ehrlichs, O’Connells, Sevciks, and other Websters. Speaking of Websters, we had a family gathering at Lake Tahoe in August with Roy, Sandy, Randy, Val, Chris, Madelyn, C.J. and Ty. The favorite event was baseball!
In early September we went with Michelle and Dave Mindolovich to the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness for a few days of back-packing. We hardly ever saw them on the trail as they are much faster than we are, plus Randy was battling gout (I don’t recommend getting this!) Next year will see some leadership changes to this group, as this might be an annual event!
Our longest trip of the year took us to SE Asia where we spent three weeks in Laos and Cambodia. We went with Roy and Sandy Webster who still aren’t sure whether to forgive Randy for some of the planned events, i.e. an elephant ride and river crossing, bike riding in the jungle in what seemed like 115 degree heat, and an overnight stay “off the grid” with only solar power (no AC)….and in tents! But they never complained about the cooking lessons they took on the last day of our trip!
In all honesty, it was a trip of a lifetime, with some great experiences!
Our final trip of the year was a last minute hop to Maui with Roy and Sandy (they are good sports)!
Val continues to stay active at home with quilting, genealogy, Spirit Sisters, and she joined a new book club. Randy continues as a mediator for Deschutes County Court System and Community Solutions as well as golf (love/ hate relationship) racket ball, pickle ball and genealogy.
In 2017 the big trip on the books so far, is Israel and Greece. Val is also excited about a long overdue visit to Kansas City in early January to catch up with family and friends on their turf!
(Image from Internet)
We hope that you and yours have a happy, healthy, holiday season and that you have something to look forward to in 2017.
(Image from Internet)
Love and good cheer to all!
Image © Valorie Webster
“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.”
Booker T. Washington
Think on this…
Benjamin Franklin said, “I didn’t fail the test. I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.”
(Image from The Robinson Library)
I encourage you to go and try the 101st time!