Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.

Happy New Year 2017–Looking Back and Looking Forward

10 Comments

 

Until yesterday, when I posted my first post of this year, I had not blogged since June, 2016!  Some of you missed me, thank you very much.  It’s been an interesting six months, good and bad as real life always is.  This is my family’s story, part of it for 2016.

The less than good events were of course, my continuing battle with heart disease, and angina, which only creates problems if I walk too far, more than  20 to 35 feet, or stand more than a few minutes, or get too cold, or too hot!  

Health issues continued to try to bring us down, but didn’t succeed!  My husband of 45 years, Max had cancer last year.  He had surgery and treatments, and appears to be cancer free.  We are keeping an eye on his numbers of course, but so far it’s been great!  Max, who is never sick, but our strength and rock, also had bronchitis which would not stop!  We all had viruses as well, so we kind of quarantined ourselves for a couple of weeks, with coughing and hacking being the ultimate sound in our house!  LOL

 Our adult  daughter, one of them,  hurt her back and has been unable to return to work for over a year! Treatment after treatment, doctor after doctor, she had to give up her apartment and move home–then there were the medical bills. Thank God for Obamacare!  Oh, you say Republicans are going to get rid of it? You say they won the elections?  How did I miss that? Not!

Even in my family of origin–normally healthy people were sick last year! Seriously ill. My sister had quintuple bypass and an ablation for afib.  The ablation failed and in a month they did a cardioversion!  Vasculitis set in, so forth and so on!  She continues to improve, but what a battle!  One brother fights severe diabetes, and another had cancer surgery also!  It’s true what they say…

http://www.criticalchristian.com/view.asp?file=431.%20The%20Latest%20Chapter(1).htm&id=3&feature=Essays&title=The%20Latest%20Chapter%20in%20Growing%20Old

http://www.criticalchristian.com/view.asp?file=431.%20The%20Latest%20Chapter(1).htm&id=3&feature=Essays&title=The%20Latest%20Chapter%20in%20Growing%20Old

So you can see that health concerns overshadowed our lives this past year.

Good news buoyed us however, our faith sustained us and fun and adventures brought joy!  Max is much better, I am stable, and our daughter is improving, slowly but surely!  So why did I not blog for six months?

I kept thinking I would.  But besides health issues, I got into helping people find their birth parents and their true heritage, genealogy!  It was so rewarding, and so much fun, I felt like a detective!  Amazingly, and as we all know, the universe works in strange ways. Most of the people I had the joy of being involved with were people who matched my own dna on ancestry!  I’ve written about a case or two before actually, but in the last six months, the numbers of folks topped fifteen that I was involved in searching for roots with! I can hardly wait to tell you about some of them, some successful, some not, some still in progress. However, all were successful in one way, I met a new cousin!   I met generally  3rd, 4th, even 6th cousins who had been adopted, and were kin to me!  Amazing adventures!

Of course my other special hobbies, of my 3 g’s, besides genealogy, are grandchildren and gardening. They each brought us so very much joy this year, that we can still smile,laugh,and enjoy life…and maybe even blog a little.  

Fully present in the moment, children help you focus on joy! Fully beautiful at the moment, flowers do also.  And don’t forget Elvis, it’s his birthday!

 Lift your head, look around, breathe, smile, life is worth living. Wishing you all the best, and looking forward to the journey. 

Personal photo collection, grandchildren enjoying first snow of 2017

Personal photo collection, grandchildren enjoying first snow of 2017

daylillies-onpatio-of-90-castlerock-dr-youngsville-nc-helen-and-max

Personal photo collection, lillies in our garden

 

This gallery contains 5 photos

Honoring the College and University Level Teachers in Our Family, Past and Present

2 Comments

Teachers teach all other professions

During the months of September and October, 2015, we’ve been honoring and recognizing the Educators in our Family Tree, past and present. I am presenting quite a few educators in today’s blog post. I am sure that there are many more whom I either have not identified, or did not know. Please feel free to comment and tell me about those I have missed so that I can either include them here with a correction or write an addendum.

It just so happens that I had the blessing in my life to teach children with behavioral and emotional issues in first  through sixth grade right out of college. After being at that level for three years, I moved to the Junior High level where I taught students aged 12-16, they would be classified middle and high schoolers today.  When we first moved to Raleigh, North Carolina in 1980, I had the opportunity to teach Interpersonal Communication at North Carolina State University for 3 years as a “Visiting Lecturer”. Most of you know, with my BA from Greensboro College and my MA in Clinical Psychology from Chapman College,  I went on to become an individual and family therapist for twenty years after that.  My point is to say, having taught at the different levels, and known so many teachers over the years, I can say that teaching is challenging at all levels! The challenges are different for sure, but the ultimate goal  is to educate, and every single level is needed to create success at the next level! We cannot skip any level of development and learning and expect to have a well-educated person! As the saying above aptly states, “Teaching is the profession that teaches all other professions!”  Nothing could be more true! Why then don’t we make the salary of our CEO’s!  I’d vote for that!  It’s past time the importance and value of our teachers be more highly recognized by our States and National Government budget makers!

We have amazing people in our family–I hope you will enjoy “meeting” these people  and knowing just a bit about what they do and where they teach, if you want to be in touch with any of them, let me know and I will ask them to get in touch. I am presenting them in alphabetical order by first name, we are family after all!

Carol E. Winters, 2013Carol E. Winters, PhD, RN, CNE (Doctorate, Registered Nurse, Certified Nursing Educator) my cousin through the Scottish Hogue family, is currently a Professor of Nursing at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC.  She is the Director of the MSN Nursing Education Concentration–she teaches Graduate level nurses to be Nursing Educators! Carol served as the Dean of the School of Nursing at Hawaii Pacific University in Hawaii for 16 years before returning home to North Carolina.  Carol has a BA in Christian Education from Greensboro College in Greensboro, NC, then an M.S. in Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She earned her PhD at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.  Not only has she these teaching , leadership accomplishments, but so much more! She is a published author, has been a hands-on nurse of obstetrics, and since 2009, has been a Faculty Advisor for the NFLA, Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy, a national organization sponsored by Sigma Theta Tau, the International Nursing Honor Society jointly with the Elsevier Foundation. There is so much more I could tell you about this dynamic woman who happened to be my college roommate and friend of almost 50 years! We only discovered our cousinship last year through my genealogical research!  She has three children, five grandchildren, and has done vast amounts of volunteer work in her communities, and served and led many committees.

 October 1, 2015,–Carol Emerson Winters was honored as the 2015 Nurse Educator of the Year by the NCNA, the North Carolina Nursing Association! CONGRATULATIONS! AN HONOR WELL DESERVED! congratulations in gold

My Hogue cousin, Dee Horn, has tutored College level     Dee Horn also   English at two  different colleges over the years. I have known many college level tutors. When I was at NC State University I quickly learned how invaluable they were to many students–like those who had learning disabilities, some who were blind, and  even some who were valuable sports team members who needed extra help to keep up with academics during their physically demanding playing and practice seasons. We take our hats off to one on one teachers! 

Donna Miller 3Another Hogue cousin  Donna Miller earned her degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and taught Business Education  at the High School level, in Business Schools, and at Community Colleges.  Life, marriage, and children took her from Pennsylvania to Connecticut and Rhode Island.  In Norwich, Connecticut, for 23 years, she taught at a business school and served as an Academic Dean!  After retirement, she worked  part-time at Three Rivers Community College.  

When I asked Donna about some memories, she  said several things which I wanted to share.  One was a simple teaching technique but fun: “I liked making the students think about what they were doing. Sometimes I would purposely make a spelling or grammatical error on a test and then tell the students that they would get extra points if they found it.” That’s the kind of thing that adds an extra challenge and a bit of fun for students!   She went on to say: “It’s the one profession where students have actually come back and said, ‘Thank you for believing in me,’ or ‘pushing me,’ or ‘making me realize that I can do . . . .’  When you are finished teaching, you know that despite some of the negatives (there were stressors), you feel that you have done something positive with your life.”  Oh yes! I know a lot of the educators we have profiled feel this way, and it is why we admire and love them so!  When a teacher’s philosophies so resonate with you, you know you’d love to have that teacher for yourself, or for your children, and you know with certainty that they are a GREAT teacher! 

My first cousin James Goodell, great-great grandson of Goodell, James McClainJ.Steptoe Langhorne, has taught computer sciences for many years at Menlo College in Atherton, California. He studied at the University of Freiburg located in Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.  He currently serves as President of the Goodell Corporation, a family real estate school and business his father founded.

Youngblood, LarryLarry Youngblood is one of our multi-leveled/multi-talented teachers as well! For years he has home schooled his grandchildren through all the levels of education!  Having studied at Texas A&M University Larry  has taught at Private Catholic Schools, Business Schools and Universities.  For several years now, Larry has been the Administrator of the International Youngblood DNA Project researching the  different family lines of Youngbloods evidenced by their dna.  He is currently writing a book about the Youngblood/Jungblut/Jungbloedt families. Thank you Larry! 

Pat Spangler, PhD, my second cousin, son of Charles Langhorne Spangler and Kittie Cockram Spangler, grandson of  Fanny Langhorne, and Great Grandson Spangler, Pat, PhD 2014of J.Steptoe Langhorne is a geophysicist in a family with three close cousins who are/were geophysicists! What honor he and they bring to our family!  You can read a previous blog post featuring them  at  Buck, Spangler and Houchins, Three Cousins Who are Geophysicists as Well!   Pat Spangler, PhD, is retired from the University of Florida, and thus his title is now Associate Professor Emeritus of Geology. Pat has published extensively and is highly respected in the academic community as well as in his family community.

Rick White, PhD, Donald Richard White, Professor, 3x gr grandson of James Steptoe LanghorneI am thrilled to introduce to many of you, our cousin Dr. Rick White, PhD, Chemist. Rick is the second great-grandchild of James Steptoe and Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro Langhorne, same as James Goodell, Roger Buck IV, PhD and I are. Pat Spangler above is their great-grandson. Rick is a Professor of Chemistry at St. John’s River State College in Jacksonville, Florida after a twenty plus year career in industry. He has also taught at Florida Southern College, and at the University of Tampa. He earned his PhD at the University of Florida and did post doctoral studies at King’s College in London. (At the time of his post doctoral work, the school was called Queen Elizabeth College, but Margaret Thatcher consolidated the colleges in the mid-1980’s and it became King’s) Rick has three sisters by the way, more cousins for us to enjoy. Another extremely accomplished professional, Rick has over 25 peer-reviewed publications, and over 200 internal company reports from his time with industry.

Rick worked for over twenty years for Procter and Gamble. Twelve of those years were spent in their Food and Beverage business before moving to their Health Care business where he worked for another ten years! He was an analytical chemist, supporting all aspects of product development, from inception to launch. Some of the products he worked with included brands you will recognize like Folger’s Coffee, Pringles Potato Chips, Citrus Hill Orange Juice, Pepto-Bismol, Metamucil, Crest Toothpaste, and Vick’s cough and cold remedies! Just think, from now on when you pick up one of those products, you will know that our DNA is part of the brain that helped develop them! We are very proud to be related to you Dr. Rick White!

Voorus House, Dorothy Pearl

Voorus Home in PA

Robert Voorus, 1891-1985, my cousin through the Spangler and Hogue families, had brothers and sisters  who were featured in the earlier educator posts. Robert worked in the Library of Congress as a young man. When he moved back to Pleasantville, Pennsylvania he taught at a Business School in Oil City, Pennsylvania. He is remembered by family as an excellent educator. 

Roger Buck,III was a master’s level Marine Biologist. He spent Buck, Walter Roger Buck, IIImost of his professional life researching for the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA, which is now part of William and Mary College for their Oceanography Concentration.  Roger not only researched heavily, but he taught at William and Mary College and earlier at Duke University. With all of his major accomplishments, Roger, my Uncle by marriage to Katherine Langhorne Kerse, was a kind and genteel man who raised a son and a daughter who both earned their  PhD.  His son, W. Roger Buck IV,  became an educator and research scientist as well, while his daughter Tyler Buck is a financial analyst and advisor with her own company.

Roger Buck, IV,PhD, my first cousin through the Kerse, buck, Walter roger Buck IVHouchins, Langhorne families, is a Professor of Geophysics at Columbia University in New York. His speciality is earthquakes and he researches through Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York.  He has traveled the world lecturing and researching as he says, from “collecting rock samples for radiometric dating in Egypt, and in the Mojave Desert, to diving on the Reykjanes Mid-Ocean Ridge in a Russian submersible, and helping with GPS surveys on Iceland.” What amazing adventures this cousin has experienced!

I just want to make a couple observations regarding our families. The Langhornes were a wealthy family from England. But James Steptoe Langhorne became blind, several of his children, grandchildren and more, were blinded by the same inherited disease, his only natural son drowned at age 16, and after the Civil War, he was land poor and devastated!  Wouldn’t he be amazed and gratified that his grandchildren and greats would grow to be such good and educated people, and educators! He and his wife Elizabeth started a school and a Sunday School in Meadows of Dan, Virginia both of which were very important to them. We have carried on that philosophy–because it is imbedded in our DNA?  It is interesting!

The Hogues emigrated from Scotland, the Youngbloods from Germany, while the Voorhees originated in the Netherlands.  They fought in our Revolutionary War and our Civil War and many others. They were honorable people who supported their new country, but most of all, the Voorhees and  Hogues were Presbyterian Ministers and educators. It is amazing to me to see the traditions and/or the DNA at work in such a continuing fashion.

 What accomplishments for all of us to be proud of, and thankful for! Thank you our family members who educate all of us– for your inspiration, your wisdom, and your hard work! We honor all of you as you have honored us!

Teaching quote, wisest-mind-george-quote

This gallery contains 14 photos

Honoring the School Principals in our Family–Past and Present

Leave a comment

Leadership larrypage-quote

I love the saying above! Larry Page may have been talking about Google employees when he said this, but if you change the word “company” to “school”, I believe this is a perfect saying for educators!  They all want to have an impact for the good of society!  Their principal can help them get there if she/he is a good leader! I only know of  one actual sitting Principal in our family at this moment in time, but we have had many over the years. I want to highlight a few of these special people  for you today!  

Richard TurnerOur currently active high school principal is Dr. Richard Turner, EdD, principal of  William Byrd High School in Roanoke County, Virginia.  He is our cousin through the Langhorne, Spangler, Omohundro, Stovall, and Turner lines of our family tree.  Richard served as the Assistant Principal at William Byrd High School from 1992-1999, and has been the Principal there since 1999, for sixteen years now! You have to be amazed at his meteoric rise in educational leadership when you realize that he graduated with a BS from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in 1982 and started teaching Marketing Education  at William Fleming High School that very year! In 1987, Richard earned his MS at Virginia Tech, and from 1988- 1992 he served as the Program Coordinator (Supervisor) for the Marketing and Adult Education Programs for the entire Roanoke County Public School System. He went on to earn his Doctorate in Education in 1994 at Nova-Southeasern University. 

While that is a good overview of his education and main career focus in the last 33 years, it nowhere near paints a complete portrait of this dynamic man who shares our genes and makes us proud to be related!  Was he only teaching and leading? Not by a long shot!  He is married to the talented Tina Turner who is also an educator! She is the Assistant Principal at Hidden Valley High School, also part of the Roanoke County Public School System in Virginia. Richard has two young adult children from his first marriage and two stepchildren, also young adults. That’s four children whose lives he’s been a major part of during his life, as well as the thousands of student lives he’s touched.  

Along with his demanding main career and family responsibilities,  Richard has made his life bloom with other interests and responsibilities as well.  He served as an assistant basketball coach and a head soccer coach along the way.  He taught and coordinated adult continuing education classes as well.  However, his leadership abilities were well-recognized as he served his community in these many different  capacities.He was the chairman of the Blue Ridge District with the Virginia High School League (VHSL) and chaired the VHSL Region 3! He is a past-state President of the Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals (VASSP), and currently sits on the Board of Directors for Region 6.  He rises to super stardom when you realize that he is a current member of the Parent’s Council at James Madison University  where his daughter is a senior, and has served as the past chairman.  He is also on the Board of Directors for the Vinton, Virginia Chamber of Commerce, and serves as the co-chair for the Leadership Council for the Roanoke Valley chapter of the American Cancer Society! 

You’d think that would be all any one person could manage, until you discuss hobbies with him!  Richard admits that he loves anything and everything related to Virginia Tech!  Since Virginia Tech is all about the burnt orange and Chicago Maroon, I am trying to honor his enthusiasm  with this post! I can’t imagine where he gets the time, but he likes to golf, is a ham radio operator, , and loves working with old cars and hot rods!  He even has a collection of cars! He raced  alcohol powered karts for many years with the World Karting Association (WKA) and won several track titles!  Can you believe he finds time to serve even now as a part-time crewman for BK Racing on the Sprint Cup Series! For those n the know–his team has 3 cars that compete, #23-Jeb Burton, #26- J.J. Yeley, and #83- Matt Dibennetto! 

Can you say Wow! Awesome! Inimitable! Superlative!  Excellent! Yes, Dr. Richard Turner is all of these things! He is also our cousin. Our dna crosses over. He represents us more than well, and like all of our educators, we are so blessed to have him in our family! Thank you Dr. Richard Turner, for who you are, for your accomplishments, and for your gifts to our civilization and society!  We applaud you and are happy to call you family! 

DNA has become important in my genealogical research, and as I have written about these educators in our family, I have become even more convinced of its influence on our lives.  Dr. Richard Turner would not, I believe,  deny that dna might have had an influence on some of his talents and abilities as his own father was a stellar educator as well.   I had the opportunity to read an incredible interview of Juel McKay Turner, Turner, JuelRichard’s father, recently, and I believe you might enjoy reading it as well.  Juel was our sixth cousin, and Richard is our sixth cousin once removed, at least for those in my line and my generation.   Juel lived from 1926 to 2011. He taught and served as the Principal of different levels of schools in Virginia for thirty-five years! He served as a Principal when he had to teach as well, had no assistants, no custodian, and had to fill pot-bellied stoves with coal for heat everyday!  In this interview, Juel tells details from his salary, and his duties, to working with staff .  He tells us that right out of college in 1951 he was hired to teach sixth grade and to be the Principal as well, at Patrick Springs Elementary School in Patrick County, Virginia.  For his work, he was paid $2000.00 a year, taking home about  $170 a month, $100.00 of which went for his car!  It is an extremely interesting interview of one of our educator cousins. If you want to read it, and I think you’d love it, you can find it here: http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/faculty_archives/principalship/t/276turner.html

I have three more Principals to  present to you for  our honoring of educators in the family!  They will be included in the next post. I hope you are enjoying learning about the amazing educators in our family as much as I am!  What a talented group of people!  

This gallery contains 3 photos

Honoring the School Principals in our Family–Past and Present, Part 2 of 2

Leave a comment

Leadership Quote by John-Quincy-Adams on inspiring

Youngblood, Kay in front of bookshelvesToday I want to introduce you to  a true leader and another school Principal in  our family tree!  Kay Youngblood Fuller is my 2nd cousin on my father’s side of the family. We knew each other as children in Richmond,Virginia,  then lost touch until we ended up at the same small Methodist College, Greensboro College in Greensboro, North Carolina. This allowed us to renew our friendship which has lasted uninterrupted since then in 1968! Being friends with this dynamic leader and ball of fire is amazing all by itself!  She is fun to observe and fun to be with–she’s like the driving force or the wind beneath a lot of people’s wings! Kay has been married for 45 years, and has three children and three grandchildren. Like many educational leaders, she has done it all!

After college, Kay went on to earn not one, but several Master’s degrees! She earned a Masters in Curriculum at Elon College, in Elon, NC. She also earned a Master’s in Educational Administration at University of North Carolina at Pembroke, UNCP. As if that wasn’t enough, she completed all but her dissertation in Educational Leadership from UNCP/East Carolina University! What’s amazing is that Kay did all this while parenting three small children! When Kay walks into a room, people notice the energy she exudes!

Giving you the briefest synopsis of Kay’s career is still amazing in my opinion!  I neglected to tell you that Kay is also a talented musician, playing several instruments and singing beautifully! Think God gave her enough talents? The wonderful thing is that she uses them! She served as a Director of Music at Harrells Christian Academy in Harrells, North Carolina, then held the same position at  Heritage Academy in Newman, Georgia.  When her family relocated to Greensboro, NC, Kay started teaching eighth grade Math, first at Mendenhall Middle School, then at Kiser Middle School for the Guilford County Public School System. I personally was thrilled when her husband’s job brought them to Raleigh, NC where I was living.  The Wake County Public Schools System was very happy to have this experienced educator to teach 8th grade Math and English at Ligon Gifted and Talented Magnet Middle School, where both of my children attended!  Never a family to let grass grow under their feet, Kay soon found herself teaching in Laurinburg, NC where she not only taught 8th grade Math, but became the AIG-Academically/Intellectually Gifted Program Facilitator at Spring Hill Middle School! Her leadership skills firmly recognized and tested, she was chosen the Assistant Principal of I.E. Johnson Elementary School, then the Principal of Scotland High School of Leadership and Public Service in Scotland County, North Carolina!  After serving Scotland County Schools as the Director of Secondary Education, at only age 63, Kay retired with 37 years in education!

What did this amazing woman do upon retirement?  She was asked, and agreed to teach Algebra II for one year at Hickory Grove Christian School in Charlotte, NC!  This year she is administering an NC Quest Grant for Richmond County Schools!  Whew! Wow! Awesome! I can hardly catch my breath just thinking of this whirlwind flying through life!  I’d certainly have to compare her to a soaring Eagle when I think of this quote which I believe describes her very well:

Leadership eagle

Bill Williamson was married to my first cousin Claudia.  We already had the chance to meet his dynamic Williamson, Bill, Principaldaughters, teachers Becky W. Stodola and Stephanie W. Nicklin. He has a very entrepreneurial son, Bill Jr, a good businessman as well! Bill Sr. was a popular Science teacher at Matoaka High School in Chesterfield County, Virginia,  where he was also a football coach. He was later tapped to be the Principal there where he was so well-known. I wonder if that made his job harder or easier?  He served as Principal at two other schools as well, Kanawha Elementary in Cumberland County, Virginia, and  Mechanicsvile Junior High School in Mechanicsville, Virginia.  Bill also earned three Master’s degrees– one from the University of Virginia and two from Virginia Commonwealth University!  We do have an educated family–one who lives by their strong beliefs in the importance of education!  Tragically, Bill was killed in an automobile accident when he was only fifty years old. He would have been so proud to see how well his children have done professionally and personally–how they have followed in his footsteps in education. How they’ve become good people who care about others. His grandchildren as well, four of them, all growing into smart, exciting young men and women. We are blessed by this family in ours and in our world!

Hogg, Calvin, principal and Dory grandfatherAn ancestor Principal, Calvin Hogg, was born 10 Mar 1883 in Slippery Rock Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania, and died 15 May 1962 in Cherry Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania.  He is related to  our family on both my father’s side through his Hogues and Watts, and on my mother’s side of the family through the Hoges and the Spanglers! Isn’t that amazing! I did  not know this until I started working on genealogy and met his granddaughter, my cousin, Dorothy Voorus Hogg Moore, called Dory. The Spanglers are related to Dory through her Voorus/Voorhees line of ancestors!  Amazing.  Calvin and his whole family were educators. We already met and heard about his wife Dorothy and her sisters, Bessie, and Lena. His son, Dory’s father,  Robert Arthur Hogg, taught Science and later became a Guidance Counselor.  We will hear about another of Dorothy’s brothers when we meet our college educators.

Calvin was an interesting person. He served in the Armed Services in World War I. When he returned, he earned his BA from Grove City College and his MA from the University of Pittsburgh. He then taught at Karns City Elementary. Later he served as the Principal at both Harrisville and at Evans City School. He moved on to be a District Supervisor and the Assistant Superintendent of Butler County Schools until he retired in 1953. What a career he had!  How much would I have liked to have had the opportunity to talk with him about all of his experiences over the years.  He attended schools before the turn of the 20th century, then taught and lead them for another half century, can you imagine what he could tell us?  He was retiring about the time  Juel Turner from our last post was beginning his educational career. We know Juel filled his own pot-bellied stoves for warmth in his classroom and taught and served as Principal at the same time–can you imagine what the classroom was like for Calvin Hogg?  I would have loved to hear his stories! 

Five School Principals profiled, five in one family system! I think  that is pretty amazing, and I am sure there are more of whom I am not aware.  These five however, bring us great honor as a family, and so we honor them back! Thank you for all of your hard work, for the huge gift you have given our society and our family as you have chosen to lead the call for the importance of education!  

Our last educator posts will focus on our college professors and instructors.  We have quite a few of these talented individuals who represent our family well. Please share your thoughts with us, tell us about your favorite educator, tell us about  some of these if you knew them. Until we meet again, keep on learning! 

This gallery contains 9 photos

Life and Joy

6 Comments

blog post on loving life media

Helen with grandchildren Liam 7, and Katy 3, being silly.

I love life! I am at such an interesting stage in my life right now, (retired, disabled, too dependant for my liking) that it’s fun to stand back and analyze a bit. As a teen and young adult college student I was busy achieving and playing…like most of us at that age. Fun was my middle name.

Then I married and became a responsible adult with children of my own and a profession. I taught community seminars on parenting for heaven’s sake, who does that who actually has children! LOL I lived in fear of my children throwing a temper tantrum at the grocery store! LOL  Not my kids, they were perfect! LOL My husband and I were active in church, PTA, Band Boosters…Scouts…you name it, we did it! LOL We lived through, and lived with dying parents, such a sad time for all of us.

Then we lived through Max and I turning 50 and falling apart, so young! His open heart surgery was a fix and he has remained the rock and engine of our family with his mechanical heart valve!  Mine however, was experimental because I couldn’t be fixed, and yet, although predicted to die in five years, here I am 17 years later–looking forward to more! Everyday, I am thankful that I married Max who cares for me and opens my world. Our kids are grown and add joy to our lives in different ways.

Cakes by Annie, EasterAnnie learned well from her Dad all about baking…but she went further as kids are wont to do…and is an amateur pastry chef now.

Ali, our musician, is a mother of three kids from 17 months to 7! Can you say BUSY?!  Ali at 40th birthday party with Welcome to the Zoo sign!

Balloon fest 2015, Ali, Liam , Katy, and Evie, with friend Michael enjoy experience of being in the basketAli and family with Pooh at Disney Wd may 2015, cropped

Still, with life and sickness…comes hobbies and interests that make our lives thrive. Max’s woodworking, my Red Hatters, genealogy and our gardening more often fill our days. Blog post loving life

But then there are the surprises…

Six weeks or so ago a good friend and I piled into her car and joined my sister on a garden tour in Virginia!  On this tour, I got to see the church my grandparents met in just after the Civil War! Can you believe it! Wheelchair dependant, there I was, having a fancy lunch at the premier Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia with my sister, friend, and reuniting with old highschool friends, an unexpected blessing. SAM_0464

Last week we were in the midst of a hot-air balloon festival! So beautiful, so majestic, so peaceful!Balloon Fest 2015, glow Balloon fest 2015, flag balloon in flight Balloon fest 2015, Katy in red hat and dress

Last night, I was at Falls Lake State Park here in Raleigh, NC with all of our immediate family and extended family from South Carolina. My grandkids, ages 7, 3, and 17 months, provide unbounded joy in their enthusiastic enjoyment of the moment!  Sticks become swords or magic wands, sand and water become a huge playground of exuberance! Showers of sand, splashes of water, running, jumping, tumbling…oh to be a child with this kind of freedom on a summer evening again!  Fireflies…lightening bugs…oh my gracious..they are magical for a child and adults!  Campfires, hamburgers and hot dogs, roasting marshmallows! We met other campers also, hiking/rolling trails, and just enjoying the weather….campers are generally friendly, helpful people with interesting lives of their own of course. How much fun to meet strangers who are living next door or across the way in that tent or RV.

Last week, my last beautiful Iris bloomed, this week the daylilies are opening their cheerful colors to our days! The morning glories are singing, and yesterday, my first magnolia blossom opened! Tonight it looks like I’ll get to watch the first moonflower of this season quiver its way open and perfume the night!

Life….it is….enjoy!  Thank you God.

This gallery contains 20 photos

“W” is for Walt Disney World

12 Comments

Goggle Earth view of Cinderella's Castle at Disney World, 2015

Goggle Earth view of Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World, 2015

Walt Disney World in Florida, USA–is there a more magical place on earth?!  We don’t think so, and our family has had some very special adventures there over the last 45 years!  Yes! I said 45 years, Max and I got to go to Disney World for a preview in December, 1970, a full ten months before they officially opened in October, 1971! We had gone down to visit his cousin Ronnie Kennerly who was a police officer in Jacksonville, Florida. Disney had invited the law enforcement  officers to come visit, and Max and I got to go also! We had no idea the magnitude of what we were seeing, nor of how privileged we were to see it before it opened to the public! All we knew was that our 21 year-old selves loved it and thought it was magical for sure! 

1970 pictures of trip to Disney World

By 1989, Max and I realized our first child, Ali was 15 and our second child Annie was 7, and we had not taken them to Disney World yet! How had we let this happen! Off we went for our great adventure! Then in 2005, our daughter Annie did an internship at Disney World for her Hospitality and Tourism Degree at Appalachian State University. While she lived at Disney for eight months, we went down to visit her during the Christmas holidays that year. The family now included Greg Orcutt as Ali had gotten married in 2001. Max and I have not been to Disney World since that 2005 trip, but in nine days, our daughter Ali and her family, Greg and three kids 7, 3, and 15 months are taking the plunge and touring the wonderful world of Disney, I can hardly wait to see pictures! 

Look at the difference in tickets alone between when we went in 1989, and for Ali and her family to go now in 2015! While we used paper tickets, treasures in our family scrap books, Ali and her family will wear electronic bracelets, called Magic Bands, which they will scan to get in, proving they have previously bought their admission tickets.  The bands not only replace the tickets to the parks, but also room keys, charges to the room, and fast passes for rides. How cool is that! 

 In 1989, Max and I stayed off campus in a condominium. It was lovely, but we decided it would be easier to stay in a Disney Resort  if you had kids.  When our children and grandchildren go next week, they will be staying on Disney. To this day, I remember how lovely it was to visit Disney World.  From the moment we parked and entered Disney, we were met and catered to by Disney cast members who saw to our every whim–with a smile! If that alone didn’t put a smile on your face, surely the parades, the Castle, the riverboat where we had breakfast with Mickey, Minnie and all the characters–to the Broadway play we saw in the Contemporary Resort, every moment was awesome, for us adults and the kids!  We rode rides, and visited backstage at Disney MGM Studios to see how movies were made.  Back at Magic Kingdom, we actually had lunch with Cinderella in the Castle, an event we had signed up for six months ahead of time! To this day, Annie remembers seeing her favorite Princess and that when lunch was over, Cinderella said, “I have to go now, because I have to go feed the Prince!” That amazed 7-year-old Annie! The days and nights were filled with parades, fireworks, oh my, and we shopped ’til we dropped! We left Disney thinking what a fabulous trip we had.

1989 trip to Disney World in pictures: 

In May 2005 through January 2006, our daughter Annie completed the Disney College Program (an internship) at Walt Disney World! During that time she took classes at Disney College, became a cast member and worked at Pop Century Resort in retail and in the food court. She also had the opportunity to work special events like the Food and Wine Festival and Star Wars Weekends. She even joined the cast choir which allowed us to hear her sing along with celebrities on Christmas Eve in Epcot Center! We had never been to Disney at Christmas time, and the sight took my breath away! Luxurious greenery and decorations covered every door, arch, and window! By then, I was sick and using a wheelchair. Getting on and off the monorail, getting in and out of plays, restaurants, stores–always, ALWAYS there was someone to lend a hand and see that my needs were met! My life might have been stressful for me and my family at home, but at Disney World, being handicapped brought support beyond belief, so that only joy remained! Annie learned the ins and outs of Disney, including the underground, cast only, tunnels to get them from one place to another. With all the normal trials of working at a place that large and busy, Annie finished still loving Disney, and having made a lifelong friend.  A sick Mom, and the eminent birth of her nephew, persuaded Annie to come home, but she has always considered returning for a career at Disney. She is a family person, true, but she is a Disney girl as well. One of our cousins calls her “Disney Girl” in fact–a nickname she loves!

2005 Disney College Program with Annie and Family Christmas at Disney

I want to share with you some pictures and a video from the Candlelight Processional which they have at Epcot Center every Christmas season. If you are ever at Disney during the Christmas season, you might find this as awe-inspiring as I did. I will never forget the trumpets, the candlelight procession, and the beautiful voices raised in praise that night in 2005, including our daughter Annie’s voice. 

Being the amateur genealogist that I am , I cannot close this post without sharing with you that I discovered that my husband and children are actually related to Walt Disney himself!  The relationship chart, showing that they are 9th cousins, 3x removed  looks like this: 

Disney relationship to max, 9th cousin, 3x removed

Forty-five years of trips to Walt Disney World includes my daughter Ali and her family’s trip this coming week. I can hardly wait to hear about my grandchildren’s first trip to Disney and to add some of their pictures to our collection. 

This gallery contains 42 photos

“L” is for Liam, 7- Year- Old Grandson Has His Own Blog!

4 Comments

 

 

I have been blogging for a couple years now, mostly genealogical in nature. A couple weeks ago, my 7 year old, first grader, grandson Liam and his class at school started blogging! I was very surprised, and thrilled! Another writer in the family! Of couse, don’t tell him that, he’ll tell you quickly he’s going to be a State Park Ranger like his Papa!

Liam is the son of  my daughter Ali and her husband Greg Orcutt.  Liam is a nickname, named for his Great-Grandfather William Donald Brown, and his Great- Uncle  William Donald Brown II, called Bill (Greg’s mother–Kaysie Brown’s father and brother). So three in a row we have William, Bill, now Liam, all from the same name! I think that is very cool! A wonderful tribute to beloved family members as well.

Liam does so many wonderful and fun things, as you can see from above, but today, I wanted to share his blog with you. It is on a site for his school, not available to the general public. However, he was kind enough to let me repost his blog posts!

Liam concentrating so hard, has his little tongue out, just like his momma used to do when she was little! LOL   Liam’s Blog               

March 30, 2015  9:52am

Thursday night, me and my sister got new shoes. I thought mine were best!

**************************************************************

March 30, 2015, 4:05 pm

“My Base” 

 I built a new base on “Disney Infinity.”  It has a hiding place.  I made a world for it myself.  

*****************************************************************

 April 7, 2015, 4:50pm

Walt Disney World

 My family is going to Disney World. We are so, so , SO excited.  I ‘m really excited to go to Star Tours and Animal Kingdom.  

 

 

 

 

This gallery contains 14 photos