Monday, February 28, 2022

Sharing Our Stories: Heroes and Angels Still Walk the Streets of Bryan, Texas

 Isaiah provided the February prompt for our memoir writing group:


"A hero story.  Write about a time when you were in trouble and you didn't know what to do and a person or object came at just the right time to help/save you."


I spent a bit of time thinking about this prompt before remembering a perfect hero story from my life to share.


My older sister, Kay, moved from Riverside, CA (where she had lived for 40+ years in one house) to Bryan, TX in the spring of 2019. I told her that I could either help her with the packing up or be in Texas to help with the unpacking. She chose Texas. And so, off I flew to be a pair of essential sister hands. My sister’s husband was in a wheel chair and couldn’t help at all. I hadn’t seen my sister in some time, so I was unaware of how hard it was for her to get around and how much care her husband required.


Our days were overfull and I found myself being a tough taskmaster because I wanted to help her be as settled as possible before my return to Seattle. We decided to put unpacked boxes that weren't essential in the spare bedroom. We went to Target for all the needs that pop up when you make a move. Kay leaned on a cart to help her walk into the store and then transferred to a motorized cart.


At the end of our expedition, we headed to the parking lot. I opened the car door for Kay and popped open the trunk to stash our purchases. In just the moment that it took for me to do that, I heard Kay cry out, “Oh no, I fell.” She was trying to get from the motorized cart to the car door and slipped, landing flat on her bottom on the pavement.


I looked around and asked another customer in the parking lot to notify an employee in Target that we needed help. There was no way that I could lift Kay from her seated position on the concrete. I hoped that she wasn’t hurt. But I could quickly envision that the only way out would be to call an ambulance and let them help us transport her from the ground onto a gurney and to a local hospital. My mind wondered if her insurance would cover such an expenditure.


And that’s when our angel arrived. A man in the parking lot walked over from his truck and asked if he could help. I assured him that we were waiting for help from a Target employee when he said that he could pick her up. I quickly asked him to wait for help from the store, but before I knew what was happening, he put both arms under her arms, squatted and lifted my ample sister from the ground. He stood with her to be sure she regained her balance, helped her into the car and was gone. I have no doubt that he was sent to be there at that particular time to come to our aid. We’ll be forever grateful for his assistance. Sometimes, angels arrive with a fluttering of wings and angelic robes, but our angel arrived in blue jeans and drove a black truck. 


To savor the magic of story, join our open group of writers
and link your post at Sharing Our Stories.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Sharing Our Stories: Magical Moments

My camera in my pocket (aka cell phone) is my ever ready accomplice for capturing moments. Come along for a few magical moments from the past week!

Wednesday Wonders

Friday Fun



Sunday Splendors

Monday Marvel

 Joining my friends at Sharing Our Stories 
with this collection of magical moments.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Slice of Life: It Pays to Get Outside (Even When It's Raining)!

I grumbled a bit. It wasn't supposed to rain between 3 and 5. But that was when I checked the weather app this morning. We all know that the weather is a fickle friend. But my neighbor, Brenda, was not grumbling. She insisted that she didn't mind walking in the rain. I pulled up the hood of my jacket and pulled my head inside, turtle-like, as I responded to a phone call from my daughter, all while trying to keep my phone from getting wet. 

Suddenly, Brenda grabbed my arm and shouted, "Ramona!" I wasn't sure why she was so animated until I followed her gaze heavenward above the school playground. And there it was, the object of my neighbor's excitement!

A double rainbow! A perfect antidote for my afternoon grumblings. We both stopped to take a picture and then fairly danced the rest of the way home through the afternoon showers. Remember the next time you hesitate to walk in the rain, that sometimes there is treasure to be found when those droplets mix with a bit of sunshine!  

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Sharing Our Stories: Whimsy and Snow!

When the Christmas tree and decorations come down, my snowmen go up. It helps me maneuver through the dark days of January and February. I keep my holiday lights burning on the deck too. This year I have new lights and I thought there was a red and white combination I could use for February, but I've discovered it's just red lights. It made me giggle and think of a red light district 😂, so I switched to blue lights last night.  I may be brave and switch to red for a few more nights before Valentine's Day. My snowman collection is my contribution to whimsy (our prompt from last week), a collection that is quaint, fanciful, and playful which always brightens my post holiday winter days.

And then Ruth gave us the prompt "snow" this week. I'm relieved that it's not snowing here. We had quite a round of snow on Christmas and the day after that hung around for more than a week. We are not well equipped for dealing with snow in the Pacific Northwest, so it often means that things grind to a halt which is usually okay with me. But being snowed in for the days between Christmas and New Year's Day felt oppressive and disappointing. Maybe because we've spent so much time indoors during the past two years, but especially since we had looked forward to seeing the zoo lights with daughter's family during that time and having some fun mother-daughter time together while my son-in-law was home from work. I hope the current snowstorm is short-lived and without power outages for friends and family who are affected, especially my Texas relatives who endured the power outages last year.

Just like I love snowmen, I love books about snow. My latest find is Where Snow Angels Go by Maggie O'Farrell. First printed in Ireland in 2020, the US edition arrived in 2021. It's Maggie O'Farrell's first book for children (a longer picture book with beautiful illustrations by Daniela Terrazzini). Don't miss the author's note about how the book came to be. Check it out of the library (like I did) or purchase it. It's definitely going on my list of books I must own!

 Joining my friends at Sharing Our Stories 
with a two-fer post combining last week's 
Whimsy invitation with this week's Snow invitation.

Spiritual Journey Thursday: Turning Hearts

I am blessed that the pandemic has been a time of turning my heart to my family, both present and past. When we were unable to see the grand boys, I hosted story time on Zoom! I treasure the daily phone calls I made to my brother and sister in 2020. I continue with almost daily calls to my sister, my one remaining sibling. My son calls me almost daily, always with a grandchild or two or three at his side. I love this video of a young man's discovery of the importance of journal keeping and looking to the past.

My interest in family history exploded when I attended the Roots Tech conference in February 2020. They have moved to an all virtual and completely free conference for the past two years. This year's conference is March 3-5, 2022. You can sign up and view sessions from the 2021 conference here.

I believe the words of Malachi are being fulfilled as our hearts turn to our families and our ancestors: 

"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:

And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." (Malachi 4: 5-6)

One of my favorite activities is saving and sharing family photos and stories. We have very few written accounts of our family history, but I have enjoyed connecting with cousins through Facebook to learn more about my dad's family. A cherished memory from 2020 was a Scifres cousin gathering on Zoom. Another way that I have learned more about family members is by utilizing features on FamilySearch. I like adding pictures to the Memories section and then I look at Details and Timeline to learn more about the person.

This year I'm choosing to highlight one ancestor a month by joining a challenge from Megan at Modern Genealogy. In January, I chose my maternal great grandmother, Mary Ann Wilson. Here's what I learned about this remarkable woman and shared on January 30.

"Happy birthday to my great-grandmother, Mary Ann Wilson Martin. She would be 151 years old today. She was born in Potter, Polk County, Arkansas and married William Martin when she was 19 years old. Mary Ann was one of 11 children and had a twin sister named Martha Ann. Mary Ann had 11 children and a set of twins too - my grandmother, Ella Martin and her twin brother, Elvis Martin. In the picture, Mary Ann is seated on the far left, in the middle is Molly Martin (great-grandpa’s sister) and then my great-grandfather, William Martin. Dog’s name is unknown! Mary Ann died in Olney Springs, Crowley, Colorado in 1936 when she was 65 years of age. #ancestorofthemonth #moderngenealogy"

You may be familiar with Bruce Feiler's article, "The Stories that Bind Us."

"Decades of research have shown that most happy families communicate effectively. But talking doesn’t mean simply “talking through problems,” as important as that is. Talking also means telling a positive story about yourselves. When faced with a challenge, happy families, like happy people, just add a new chapter to their life story that shows them overcoming the hardship. This skill is particularly important for children, whose identity tends to get locked in during adolescence.

The bottom line: if you want a happier family, create, refine and retell the story of your family’s positive moments and your ability to bounce back from the difficult ones. That act alone may increase the odds that your family will thrive for many generations to come."

Now is the time to help your family thrive by telling your family stories! 

Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
is hosting Spiritual Journey Thursday
this month and provided heart as our prompt.