40 years ago

Forty years ago today was a big day in our lives…

(We were both  14)

ūüôā

 

 

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Not quite sure

I published my first blog post in 2007.

Since then, I’ve had the privilege to meet several of you in person… Kristina, Grace, Brittany, Cheryl, Val, Lisa Maris, Michelle, and I’m a thinking I am missing someone :-).¬† I’ve connected with a few more of you via facebook¬† ¬†something I’ve never taken that for granted either.

On the flip side,¬† I’ve watched people I loved to interact with suddenly drop off the face of the earth without nary a whisper…Doctor Victo, Linda, Joy,¬† Bill, Michael, to mention just a few…their blogs either just¬† went silent or were deleted without any notice.¬† Every time, it felt like a friend had just skipped town without explanation.

In my last post, , I mentioned in passing the “writing muse” seems like it is starting to dry up.¬† When I first started blogging back in 2007, my mind was overflowing with topics and issues I felt driven to write about, but now, 12 years later, I feel like I’ve said everything I want to say.

I actually still have 5 active blogs….this one, my farm blog, a history research project blog, a 4th one¬† that is unapologetic-ally deeply spiritual, and an earlier version of this one, currently set to private.¬† Each with a specific purpose.¬† this blog (heart to heart) is where I tend to process life.¬† Last count there were between 600 and 700 blog posts between all of the blogs…Many of the posts “clunkers” I’d be the first to admit.¬† ūüôā¬† A few I may revisit and eventually assemble into another book…I’m still not sure.

So I’m not sure what is coming next, if anything…When Kristina¬† was here last week, we talked briefly about this, and maybe I would be interested in using “prompts” to stimulate my writing.¬† That doesn’t really appeal to me, I do have plenty to keep me entertained now that the new growing season has arrived.

What would help me out more than anything, would be for those of you that are regular readers (even if you don’t leave comments all that often) is to answer this question- Why do you subscribe to¬† this blog?¬† ¬† Are there certain topics that resonate with you more than others?¬† Is there something I’ve touched on in the past, you’d love for me to write about more fully?¬† Or are you good with¬† things just as they are? (Even that would help me get some direction.)

Give it some thought and let me know.  Any feedback @ this point would be helpful.

Danka.

DM

Me in the orchard….

Few more weeks and this is what it will look like.

 

Growing up with big ears

Yesterday son John and I worked together hanging drywall.¬† He said he liked the picture I’d put on Facebook¬† the night before….(my grandpa’s baby picture).

I said to John,¬† I just wish someone would have told me when I was growing up, big¬† ears ran in the family.¬† ¬†ūüôā

Growing up I hated my ears.  I was ashamed of them. Kids called me monkey.  I swore that I would have plastic surgery when I grew up.  Funny thing is, when I could finally gets my hands on the $3000  I needed for plastic surgery, I had to stop and think about it.  They no longer bothered me.  My ears are just a part of what makes me, me.  -)

I’ve been working on family history this winter as I’ve mentioned recently and one of my dad’s baby pictures caught my eye.

I posted this series of photos on Facebook for my peep earlier this week:

Grandpa

Dad

Me

Son John

John’s son

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Growing up, my self esteem sucked.¬† No other way to put it.¬† I had a terrible case of low self worth.¬† I didn’t realize just how bad it was until I became an adult.

I hated my ears, I hated my name.  I hated the fact that I was small for my age growing up, not good at sports like my little brother.  I was different than him. I had a musical bent.  A sensitive heart. And I was clueless when it came to girls.

Low self esteem casts a long shadow.

It affects all your relationships.

Low self worth is  a festering wound in the soul.

I no longer battle with the self esteem issues I had growing up.

Restoring self worth in others is one of my passions.

A part of me would love to start a support group for kids who think they have big ears.

Question for you…What would you tell that little boy who came to you and said, the kids in school are making fun of his big ears, calling him “monkey, monkey, monkey,”¬† and picking on him because he is so small?

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Have a great day and thanks for stopping by. DM

 

That’s Twice Now

It has been a very productive winter for me as I’ve had the time to work on¬† family history.¬† It’s an interest I’ve had for years that comes and goes.¬† I’ve had individual folders with old family pictures, notes¬† from conversations from people now passed, two different family trees books I am descended from…a lot of information that begs to be organized.¬† ¬†Last Fall, I happened to run into Diane at a local picnic for a tour group in the area from Ostfriesland.¬† (Part of northern Germany.) By the end of our conversation, Diane had offered to help me work on our family tree.¬† She had the time, the know how and I jumped at her offer.

She reached out to me this past January and asked if I was ready to get started.¬† I gave her some names and she started setting up a family tree.¬† I didn’t hear anything for several weeks, and discovered in the meantime¬† that since my wife had taken a DNA test there was a free ancestry account already in existence in our name. So while I was waiting for Diane’s results, I started doing some work on my own…adding pictures, uploaded stories, using the search tools in the local newspaper archives.¬† ¬†It has been a great way to break up some of the time these past few months.

Night before last Diane wrote me a note.¬† I’d given her a link to the family tree I’ve been working on,¬† this is a portion of what she said:

“I can tell you that your instincts, Doug as a genealogist and family history keeper are excellent.”

That is the 2nd time someone as given me unsolicited affirmation about that area of my life. (lover of history.)

The first time was in 2009.¬† I’d shared a link to a history blog I was working on with one of my favorite authors.¬† Andrea Seu Peterson.

She wrote me back and said : “You may want to call yourself a contractor, but I think you’re a historian. “

I hesitate to share those two affirmations and yet, I believe there is a place in our lives for personal affirmation.  God knows there is enough negativity most of us battle with that goes on in our private thought life.  So, when  a few words of genuine affirmation makes it into my life, I celebrate. :-).

So there you go.

I am a voracious reader, especially when I get on a topic that interests me.  Heck, I grew up in a home where World Encyclopedias were on a bookshelf in our bathroom.

So for me, to receive two unsolicited affirmations  affirming my work in the area of history,  does as much for me as getting a piece of paper telling me I have a Masters degree.

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I’d never seen any of the following pictures before…(except the one of grandma on the boat.¬† I’ve share that one before.)

Picture of my grandmother (little girl on the left)  She was 13 years old.

My grandma, front row second from left.  Getting together with  her friends right before emigrating to America. March 1929.  She was 23.

Grandma on ship March 1929 coming to America

1949 Picture from my grandmother on her first visit  back to Germany since she immigrated. 

(She is in the center)

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Twenty years had passed…She’d gotten married to an Iowa farm boy.¬† She’ had three children.¬† Her father had passed away while she was gone.¬† She’d endured the Great Depression in America, experienced WW 2 as a German living in America.¬† ¬† I think of the emotions she must have been feeling at that moment.

I miss her.

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I need to get moving.

Thanks for tagging along.

Take care.  DM

Mom’s Birthday Gift

My mom turns 85 this month.

I wasn’t sure what to get her.

What do you get for someone who doesn’t want or need more stuff?

Decided to take her out on a date.

A coffee date.

I am scheduled to pick her up tomorrow morning at 9.

Just the two of us.

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I’m her first-born.

If you were to ask me to summarize my relationship with my mom in a word, I would say Confidant. (And it goes both ways.)

Confidant:  One to whom secret or private matters are disclosed.  A person with whom you confide things.

Mom lost her father when she was three.¬† Raised by a single mother.¬† Grew up during the Depression.¬† Told me once, “She never realized she was poor, because everybody was poor in those days.¬† Her grandmother helped to raise her while her mom worked. There was no social security in those days. Your family was your safety net. They ate pigeon pie.¬† Fish her grandpa would catch.¬† Her grandma has a big garden.¬† Took turns sharing the bath water with half a dozen other kids on the back porch every Friday night.¬†”

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Here’s where you (my blog readers)¬† come in… ūüôā

Mom and I will have no trouble carrying on a conversation when we are together. It never is.

BUT, I wouldn’t mind taking the opportunity to ask her a question or two about something of substance.

Any suggestions?

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Early picture of my mom and three of us.

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24 hours later….

Coffee date with her eldest

As it turned out, it was the perfect outing.¬† We did talk family history, but it wasn’t forced.¬† Found out mom initially went to college to become a teacher. (I never knew that.)¬† ¬†Two different local businessmen offered to help her out with her tuition. (Never knew that either) ūüôā

 

Stats

Blogger I follow just passed 40,000 followers.

On a given post, he will get between  100 to 150 comments.

Just for fun, I took the number of followers I have had (223) divided that by the number of comments I typically get, and found you my readers are 10 times more likely to comment than the other blogger, whom I enjoy reading.

Yesterday I was in the office and decided to look at the people on that list of 223 followers….75% of them I’ve never ever heard from, several blogs no longer exist, some were linked to business sites.¬† Lots of smoke / no fire.

So I went through the list and started deleting.

Now I’m down to 53 followers.

Did the same thing on my farm blog.   Went from 160 down to 70.

It felt good.

It feels good.

I would rather my words go out to 3 or 4 people I know who  read my posts and interact on some level, than have my thoughts go to thousands of places where nobody reads or cares.

I find it hard (sometimes) to write, because of this.¬† I’m not 100%¬† sure I can even¬† tell you why, although that proverb/ word picture of “being careful not to cast your pearls before swine” came to mind…¬† ¬† (Translation:¬† Don’t place what is precious and valuable before someone who¬† will¬† just discard and trample it into the mud)

People write for lots of different reasons.

I write for a couple of reasons….

Any guesses? ūüėČ

By the way, please don’t feel any pressure to comment, (or like this post)…I mean it.

Just the fact you are reading this means you made the cut.   I know you are out there and I value your interactions in my life.

Thank you! DM

 

 

Lois

I met Lois 13 years ago.

She and her friend Floe had signed up for¬† a class I was teaching at our local community college¬† called “Bible for Dummies.”

Lois was 80 years old.¬† Farm wife.¬† ¬†She had a couple of hundred chickens/ sold eggs on the side.¬† Sharp mind.¬† Quiet, sweet personality.¬† I remember thinking no way is this lady 80 years old…65 maybe. Floe told me on the side Dave her husband could be a little “overbearing.”¬† Said Lois didn’t get away from the farm much.¬† Hard worker.¬† It was “good she was able to take a break and get away from the farm for a few hours.”

After that class ended, wife and I would occasionally stop by Lois’s farm and buy eggs.

We read in the obituaries a few years ago, Lois’s husband had died.¬† ¬†I think we may have gotten eggs from her one time after that.¬† I think of Lois every time I drive by her farm.¬† ¬†Christmas night, feeling nostalgic¬† I googled her name to get the address of her farm.¬† I was thinking about dropping her a note.¬† ¬† ¬†Two addresses came up for Lois.¬† Her place that I knew about¬† and a 2nd local address.¬† It was a care facility.¬† White pages said she was 93 years old.

As I was driving past the exit to the care facility¬† this past Thursday morning I thought, what the heck, I’m going to stop and ask if she lives there.¬† No harm in that.

Walked up to the front door. Doors were locked.¬† Needed a security code to get in.¬† Off to the right, were the instructions and code numbers.¬† ¬†Punched them in, sure enough, this time the door opened.¬† Straight ahead was an office with two secretaries and a resident, so I popped my head in the door and asked, “Does a¬†Lois, so- and so lived there?”

The secretary in charge looked at me as shook her head slowly¬† and said “Nope.”

I went on to tell them the details of why I there…It was spur of the moment.¬† Wasn’t even sure she was there, just that the computer said so.¬† Told her about the class Lois was in years before with me.¬† Told them I’d occasionally stop by her house to buy eggs, but it had been a while…

At this point, the secretary does some non-verbal signals with her eyes toward the resident sitting in the chair next to her desk, three feet in front of me….

It was Lois.

I did not recognize her.

Different hair style and her face was puffy.¬† ¬†I’m guessing she’d put on 20 pounds.
I asked how long she had lived here?  Secretary guessed maybe 3 years.

All this time Lois just sat listening to me banter, then reached up and grabbed my hand…didn’t let go until I left.¬† I looked her in the eyes and asked “Lois, do you remembered me?¬†

¬†“Yes” she said in a quiet voice.

We all  had good laugh.

Secretary said she thought I was joking initially.

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I’m still processing that little adventure.

I did write Lois a letter last night and pop it in the mail.

For the life of me, I can’t imagine going from the¬† active lifestyle that I have currently… where I can do whatever I want to do, make home-made bread, have a big garden, tend 80 apple trees, build furniture in my wood working shop, ferment sauerkraut, have a dog…..to moving into one room where all of my earthly possessions have to fit.

(And I couldn’t bring my dog).

Libby (our dog)

I watched a friend of ours (Helen) transition from living on her own, to moving into two different care facilities as her health declined…She pulled it off with amazing grace.¬† I’m not so sure I want to wind up like that.

(Not so sure I  have too much say in some of those details either.)

Radio DJ Friday morning was talking about her grandmother.  Grandmother lived through the depression of 1929-1939.  She said her grandmother had a remarkable cheerful disposition, in spite of all she went through. She asked her grandmother how she did it?

Grandmother told¬† her…¬†“It is a choice.”¬†¬†

Would love to hear any thoughts any of you have on this issue of aging, transitioning from one  season of our lives to the next.

I am taking notes ūüôā¬† DM