Saturday, July 1, 2017

There is Rest

If you ask most genealogists, they will declare their love for cemeteries.  After all, sometimes it's the best chance at getting to actually touch a stone that was lovingly selected for that individual.  I LOVE cemeteries.  I love visiting even those that aren't the final resting places of my family or friends, but I passed the chance up to go to a cemetery today.
About three years ago, I was blessed to teach a genealogy class to the eldest girls of some friends I think the world of.  They are the neatest family.  We aren't afforded the chance to get together often, but we sure enjoy the time when we do.  The girls at that time were in junior high and interested in finding out more about their family tree.  I had just taught a class to our homeschool coop and revamped the lessons for a one on one class with the girls.  The youngest, Kenzie, was especially interested and as shy as she was, would be ready for class each week with things she had found or questions about how to find more.  Kenzie's enjoyment of the family search was thrilling to see and reminded me of my own start in genealogy. My favorite session was taking the girls to their nearby cemetery and we talked about cemetery symbolism and what clues you can glean from the stones.  This was especially fun because the girls' grandpa was sextant for this cemetery.  We even found a buried stone for a young girl, and I encouraged the girls to have their grandpa dig it up and re-set it.  Their class was the last time I taught genealogy, and it was the most fun.
At the beginning of this year our friends found out, Kenzie, that sweet, precious girl had cancer.  As a friend, and mother my heart ached for them.  Today she was buried in that same cemetery we had such fun exploring those years ago.
Mookie had developed a severe headache this morning, and we didn't follow the funeral procession to the cemetery. But that would have been the toughest part for me because of the happy memory shared there.

Before today, cemeteries involved joy at finding a long lost ancestor, intrigue at wondering about an individual's story, and comfort during sadness at seeing family members' stones during a graveside service.  Today, well, today my heart couldn't handle all the emotions that would have met me at that cemetery. I am glad that sweet girl is not suffering any more, but my heart breaks so much for those she left behind.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Field Trip Friday: School for the Deaf

"Mom, I don't want to go to this museum, it's different."  That was Shorty's comment as we got out of the van today.  It wasn't that he didn't want to go, he didn't even know what lay inside.  Truth is, it's been ages since we've been on a field trip adventure, so when we pull into the back parking lot of a simple brick building without any bells and whistles signaling grand fun inside, the little guy didn't get very excited.  His words though were true, it was different, but it was another adventure broadening our kiddo's horizons!

Our trip today was to the William J. Marra Museum and deaf cultural center on the campus of the Kansas School for the Deaf.  I have been wanting to make this trip for a while.  My cousin William "Deafy" Boular attended this school for a time, and whenever we drive down I-35 its sign beckons us to come visit.

When we walked in we were greeted by a wonderful gal who was deaf.  It left me regretting we hadn't brushed up on our sign language!  Before Shorty was born, Mookie, Bubby and I checked out several sign language dvds from our local library and practiced daily.  We were getting really good at it, but our language lessons shifted to Latin and we let our ASL slip.  Lately, I've been watching our ASL interpreter who is part of our worship team at church and trying to stay practiced but I'm still rusty.  Our pleasant greeter though didn't let our ignorance phase her and handed us laminated descriptions of the entryway exhibits and showed us around.

We watched a short video and then our guide took us to my favorite part of the museum, a couple of rooms set up like a residence with technology to aid those without hearing.  It was great!  No pictures were allowed in the museum, so you'll just have to check all this out yourself ;)

The rest of the museum walked us through the history of deaf schools in the United States and ended focusing on the Kansas School.  There was also an opportunity to take a quiz on what we had learned through the museum - the kids loved this because they could play against each other!

Our host came back and checked on us before we left and asked us how we had found out about the museum.  I explained my cousin's connection, and she held up a finger for us to wait and disappeared.  She came back with a binder of students at the school for the deaf and my cousin was in there, giving his dates of attendance as 1885-1890.  How cool!

We all walked away feeling really glad we went.  Shorty did alright and had changed his tune, Bubby's favorite part was the quiz at the end, and Mookie's favorite part was our host.  I have no doubt that kiddo faked not remembering any of her sign language (she's done this before because she's a bit of an introvert).  She had so enjoyed her sign language lessons that getting to see someone speaking using just that language I'm sure was thrilling :)

We've been slacking on our field trips as of late, but this day might lead to a resolution to rectify that ;)

Friday, April 21, 2017

Pulling Up Roots

We have been in our current house for 16 years, but are getting ready to move (quite literally) into a new chapter in our lives.  Moving is always hard. Hubby and I moved 5 times in 2 years when we were first married and I haven't missed it!  However, this move will take us closer to Ducky and Grandma, and that is a very good thing.

The last few weeks have found me pouring through all of our accumulated things to see what to take, and what to move on.  Today as I mowed the yard, I was brought to a whole new realization of things to take - our plants. While that may seem a bit silly to some, to the "keepers" it is not.  Hubby and I are keepers.  We have often joked that we cannot get rid of anything in the house because it has some family tie to it - this is not too far from the truth in many cases.  It is also true of our yard.  With each dissolution of a grandparents' estate, we took some of the plants with us.

During my contemplative mowing, I counted off numerous plants that I "need" to make sure we take with us.
My roses, that Hubby bought me, which remind me so much of my Papa Mauzey and his prized roses.
Papa and Granny Mauzey in their backyard
The surprise lilies, aka "naked ladies" that Papa Mauzey gave us before he died.  Those flowers always make me smile because I remember when my Granny Mauzey first pointed them out and said, "There's a naked lady!" and just laughed and laughed :)

The irises: the short purple ones which bloom twice a year that Grandma Patrick thought so highly of, the multicolored ones my Grandmas Murray collected, the light purple ones we brought from Grandpa Bevitt's house.
Mookie and Bubby in the flower bed
The lemon lilies that had been my great-grandma's.  The forsythia that we grew from a start at our first home in Illinois. But the list doesn't end there...
Bubby and the tulips
There are ones I wish I could take, the violets that grow randomly throughout the yard kind of like weeds, but always make the yard look magical in the spring.  The dumb Star of Bethlehem that if they would just stay out of my nice flower beds and grow where I want them to, I would be glad to rejoice in their presence and the meaning of their name instead of cursing them ;) The flowering almond bush that presents little pink puffball flowers for a week in the spring.  Just one week, no more, but it is so pretty.
our fairy garden
My mental list encompasses the whole yard give or take.  In the end, it's just more "stuff".  But every item brings back a memory of one that is no longer here, and that isn't all bad.  So, my whittling down of the list of items to take may just not be very short...

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Singing for Joy

I'm not a great singer.  I like it and feel more and more comfortable with doing it with the family listening or in public, but it's never been a huge thing or so I thought.  Just after Christmas I came down with influenza.  I was down and out for a whole week, followed by a nearly two months of respiratory troubles.  It wasn't until a few weeks had passed and I was in the kitchen fixing supper, listening to music and singing and Hubby said, "oh, Mom must be feeling better, she's singing again".  Wow!  It apparently was more of a part of my life than I knew!

Growing up, my mom always had a song for everything.  Anything from little advertisements from her childhood to songs from her youth.  Every car trip had the "golden oldies" playing on the radio and us singing in accompaniment - those were the best songs to sing to, songs these days aren't quite the same. She didn't branch out to anything more than regaling us with those musical numbers and I even repeat some of them to my own kiddos ;) 
Me (center) and my buddies at the Easter Passion play

Last year, I participated in the church's Passion play for the Easter season.  I was pushing my limits by taking on a part that included a bit of singing - I like to do that every once in a while ~push my limits~ I think it's good for the soul :)  My fear was that I would sing off key or crack on a high note.  My constant thought through the process of was my great-grandpa Cecil.  He would lead worship at the Methodist church my family attended.  He would sing his heart out, you could hear him outside the church - he was not a great singer, but he poured his heart into it. 
Grandpa Cecil
Or the gal attending our present church when we first started.  She had terminal cancer, her voice was weak and she was off key, but she sang because she loved the Lord - her song was one of the most beautiful I've ever heard and I don't even remember what song she sang. 

Between the thoughts that even if I was singing badly but with feeling and the "Mom must be feeling better, she's singing", I realized singing your heart out is not only glorifying God during worship, doing yourself good, but it leaves an impact and maybe even a legacy :)

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Field Trip: Brown's Battlefield and Osawatomie

  Our wanderings took us to Osawatomie today.  We've been doing a lot of Bleeding Kansas discussion here at home, so I was excited to see some John Brown artifacts!  The Adair cabin, aka John Brown State Historic Site, did not disappoint.  I was a little confused when we pulled into the park and saw a stone building with the words "John Brown Cabin" inscribed on the outside - but the cabin is within the stone walls, perfectly preserved. 
I did not get many pics within the cabin.  I was busy chasing this guy around...
and his big siblings apparently had an aversion to getting their pictures taken.  All the furnishings within the cabin are original to the Adair (John Brown's sister) family.  You could even poke your head into the loft.  The site is free (although gladly welcomes donations) and the site administrator very welcoming to homeschoolers.  After we were done we walked the Battle of Osawatomie which is also located within the park. 
  Next stop, the historical museum and railroad museum... well, not really... they were closed :(   This after I told Shorty we were going to a museum with trains *sigh*.  But wait!  We heard a train!  This momma turned that van around as quick as she could and "raced" to the RR tracks! Success! 
We might have missed one train experience, but we made up for it!

Next was lunch at the Whistle Stop Cafe, who's theme was.... trains! They had a train that ran around the ceiling, and tiled floors that looked like tracks! 

The service was just great too :) We were able to wander the downtown a bit after our meal, talked a little historic architecture, and then talked to a friendly local who told us "Jesus loves you".  What a wonderful day all around <3 br="">

Monday, February 13, 2017

Walking the maze

On a recent trip to Johnson County, Kansas we encountered a labyrinth at a local church.  The kids were excited to run the maze and see who could come out the end first.  After reminding them that no matter where we are we needed to be respectful, especially with items associated with religion, they completed wandering its path at a slower pace.
Hahahaha, silly kids, they thought they would be done at the walking of the labyrinth.  With homeschooling, EVERYTHING is a life lesson.  We took pictures of the explanation of the labyrinth and had Bubby read them to us as we traveled to our next destination.  We then talked about what we learned and how it agreed or didn't agree with our worldview.  One of my personal pet peeves is people not knowing why they believe what they believe or just pushing an opinion without regard to the background of others.  Hopefully one day our kiddos will be reinforced with the knowledge they need and be able to stand fast in their beliefs and listen to opposing viewpoints while being respectful <3 br="">

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Field Trip: Hanging with the eagles

This fall has me all kinds of distracted.  I took a bit of time off, but hopefully will organize my time a bit more to include regular blogging again. In August we took a much needed family trip which included Effigy Mounds in Iowa and the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin.  We ended our trip with a neat pause at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha.  I had never heard of it before and we might not have stopped because we were travel weary, but we had some time and it had come highly recommended by a cousin and so we worked it in.
The kids hanging out with a statue of Wabasha in front of the National Eagle Center

We were not disappointed.  During the day they have a special talk by one of the keepers which allows a limited audience to see an eagle being fed.  We were a shade late to attend, and Bubby our "want to learn it and see it all kid" was pretty disappointed.  There was so much else to do though, that the disappointment was soon forgotten.

We were able to get up close and personal with these guys anyway in the viewing arena.  They were pretty talkative at times too because of a recent addition to the bunch.  All the eagles living at the center are rescue animals. 

The center was great for learning by all ages.  Everywhere you looked were interactive and colorful displays.  Our favorites were the eagle nest...
This is a life-sized model and Shorty pretended to be the "egg".
We also enjoyed matching the animals on this board that had pelts, antlers and feathers of local wildlife.
As a parent, one of my favorite experiences was not part of the center at all.  The kids and I were approached by a gentleman who used to be a former teacher and just wanted to show the kids how to make words into cartoons.  He was a little cautious about being a stranger interacting out of the blue, but we were blessed that he did!

This little side trip really was a nice end to what was one of our favorite trips  - but don't make me say which ones are my favorite, because really most are in their own way ;)