Monthly Archives: May 2012

Family History on Mother’s Day

My step into genealogy was cautious, but I was drawn in and now I look back over these last years and the binders of photos and documents produced. The many kindnesses of strangers in offering research data and suggestions has amazed and encouraged me. I’ve also been introduced to a number of cousins of various degrees and learned so much along the way. But still, it is like having just the corners of the jigsaw puzzle of family. Those corners are a thrill, but so many pieces still lie scattered about – a photograph, a name, a reference in a letter or newspaper – they draw me farther into the story of family.


Sometimes the most intriguing fragment is a bit of oral history passed along and casually mentioned. I have learned that these bits can be deeply colored by the pain of the teller or what they heard or assumed of situations.

Facts and story blend. In a small pristine prayer book kept carefully in a wooden box, I found a scrap of water stained paper. Initials and dates lead to archives and records and hard facts are added to the record.  The family history tells of a little boy raised in an orphanage. My only “photograph” is a hazy picture emerging in my mind of a distraught young father burying his young wife and then their second child and placing his very young son in the orphanage and while his family of parents and brothers move on to another state, he stays near to watch over this child. But I know the story doesn’t end there.

So I continued sifting through data, coming to dead ends, re-reading letters and clippings, searching records, just muddling along really and then one day a new thought came and I placed a phone call. We followed that with a trip to the cemetery office and while new pieces of the puzzle where scattered on my mind, we did find answers.


There was a certain rightness in finally standing at the grave site of this couple on Mother’s Day.  Proverbs 31 speaks of the woman whose children rise and call her blessed. Standing there I smiled into the past and blessed Mary Ann. Dear Mary Ann, Our present was worth your short life. We honor you.

Hello again!

It seems to happen. The ‘perfect’ posts, saved, go missing. Changes will need to be made on this end!

Today, I start to make up for some lost musings and offer garden updates. The hummingbirds have returned; I had forgotten how very tiny they are. The yard has been alive with bluebirds, cardinals, catbirds and wrens nesting about. And, I suppose the nuthatches, finches and tufted titmice that come to the feeders are nesting as well. Most stay hidden in the growing canopy, out of reach of the resident hawks.


With rain last week and again last night everything is lush, including the weeds! I enjoyed my early walk around.

I am making some progress in rearranging gardens. Last week a friend gifted me with new to me plants and Monday my sister brought daylilies and new perennial begonias. The begonias thrive for her and barely hang on by a leaf here. Perhaps these offerings will be happy here.


Mr. Toad seems to have safely migrated across the yard to forage under the hydrangeas. This time I was quiet.


This was first harvest and the garden is coming along. It was a bit hot so the spinach is beginning to run to seed but we are enjoying it along with the first peas and lettuces too.


Garden Tending

Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend it. Gen 2:15

Gardens and yards have always been in my memories. My first memory is of being in the back yard of my family’s first home. It must have been after a heavy rain for a rivalette of water had cut a path through the grass revealing tiny stones along its bank. A magic world opened before me.

I shared this memory with my older sister a while back musing over the tall tress that enclosed this private world. There was a long quiet while I looked back into that place. Finally she said, “You were very small, so I guess the trees would have seemed tall to you.”


And so they did! How glad I am for my memory with child-size rivers and rocks and grass to capture my young soul with wonder and beauty.

Years later I would listen to my mother refrer back to that yard in wonder – “You could grow anything there!” And the litany of flowers and Victory Garden offerings would follow. This, of course, was in contrast to the yard around us of hard clay. They worked and coaxed and composted and supplemented and tended. It was hard work but they persisted and were rewarded.

I now tend gardens, not everything I plant grows. Plants mysteriously disappear in winter, vacation somewhere and sometimes return years later having taken up residence in another part of the yard!

It is a wild place where we do battle with deer and racoons and rabbits and the occasional ground hog and thorns and thistles, too. But still we tend and the first harvest is a special delight even if it is only radishes!


Recently my friend took me to visit a secret garden and I was so delighted to visit this beautiful place tended with love. I’m glad I took my camera so that I could share a bit with you.

Poem thoughts

“My gentle Reader. I perceive

How patiently you’ve waited.

And now I fear that you expect

Some tale will be related.


O Reader! had you in your mind

Such stories as silent thought can bring,

O gentle Reader! you would find

A tale in everything.”

William Wordsworth

And dear reader, this expresses just what has happened – tales in everything, silent thoughts not written yet, but captured in the camera. Catbirds nesting in rhododendron, gardens after the long awaited rains, excursions, projects and surprises, too…

Gardening in the shade

I decided to work on a small bit of shade garden after realizing that ferns and hostas had been busy colonizing in my absence. I set about weeding, rearranging and mulching.


Suddenly I was surprised by sudden movement near my foot. The many years of country living have perfected my response – scream first – and then identify the intruder.

This time it was only toad, usually the unseen gardening partner. I finished and left him to his work.


I walked away feeling rather bad about screaming, it seemed to make him a bit glum.


Spring Cleaning

Cleaning e-files, I found a devotional piece I wrote several years ago; just on the day I needed it!

The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land    Song of Solomon 2:12 NKJV

The rising temperatures of spring bring bird song and light, changing the view to fresh green and bright color. Spring is a gift that lightens the spirit, lights the days and stirs us to brighten the world around us.

When I was very young, there was a great flurry of activity each spring. Windows were thrown open, rooms aired and cleaned. Draperies were changed, walls were washed and sometimes freshly painted, carpets were changed out and floors had the wax renewed. Everyone was energized, everything seemed light and fresh. Then finally the freshening of wardrobes with things outgrown discarded.


Housekeeping customs have changed in many ways and I am grateful! But there is still that inner stirring, a nesting instinct, to clean, clean out, throw open the windows and to make things fresh: in home, garden and wardrobe.

But while working on home and garden, I think about the need for an interior cleaning of a different kind. I find some dusty, actually rather grim and dirty attitudes lurking in corners of my soul; petty things that had loomed so large in the shadowy light of winter gloom. Now seen in the light, I find no use for them. It is time to really lighten up, cast off negative attitudes and sing a new song.

And I find myself praying – Lord, shine the light of Your Word into every corner of my soul. Help me to let go of old ideas and weed out grimy thoughts. Please do the necessary repairs on my weariness that I might have freshness. Blow through my attitudes changing and renewing my mind. Let me hear the singing birds and please, clean even my glasses that I might see beauty in the more colorful folks around me. Amen!

Some things don’t change and spring cleaning is still needed in me as well as around me. I’ll be pretty busy this spring!