Monday, January 18, 2010

A Treasure Chest

We just returned home from our annual trip back to Ohio. The weekend that we plan on heading back to the land where I was born and raised, where Mr. D. and I met and married, and back to visit where my dad and grandparents are still residing. We went with no definate plans for the weekend other than to spend quality time with family, and hopefully to get some good times in with friends. Mission accomplished! An afternoon and evening spent with my grandparents out to dinner, and the kids got to spend time with their grandparents! Sunday morning we were able to make it to our church that we hadn't been to in almost 14 years - not since we had moved away, followed by lunch with best friends. Yes, it was a good weekend!!

My favorite part of traveling to the Buckeye state, other than the people of course, sits in a bedroom at my dads house. When I come to visit, he always pulls it out into the living room for me...this huge old green chest - a trunk that once belonged to my grandmother. I remember it as a young girl always holding the most important things of my grandmother's, and it still does today.

Inside it is full of photo albums, momentos, and family papers that when I first discovered I thought for sure I had my own family version of Ft. Knox! The items my grandmother kept were priceless - not just photos of my immediate family through the years, but she had her mother's photo collection which went back even another generation. Basically this trunk holds at least 5 generations of momentos!!

This year's trip brought out a new treasure that I had never seen or read before - a stack of letters that my grandmother had kept. Letters that were written to her by my grandfather when he went into the army before they were married, letters after they had gotten married and she had not yet joined him in Ft. Bliss, TX, and letters that he had written to her from the road when he was driving truck years later.

My grandparents divorced before I was even born, so I didn't know much of their life from when they were together. The letters that a young man had written prior to going off to war were pure heartfelt emotion that he poured out on paper for the young girl in Indiana. And the young girl in Indiana would write back to him just as soon as she received her letters. Once they were married, the letters eventually stopped, obviously because my grandmother had moved to Texas to be with her new husband. Once he had gone off to war, my grandmother received a new piece of mail. First a brief postcard, followed a few days later by a letter from the Defense Department letting her know that her husband was officially missing in action, and later to be declared a prisoner of war. He was eventually found and rescued, but holding that letter in my hands, I can't even imagine the horror she must have felt when she first received it.

The treasure chest that sits at my dad's home is full of history, love stories, and sadness. All stories of my family's journey.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Challenge

I'm being challenged today.

I awoke this morning in my wonderfully warm bed, in my home, and was able to pull out the box of Fruit Loops and milk and eat breakfast at my dining room table. In a little while, I'll be able to go in and take a shower and put on clean clothes today. My children have done the same, and two of them have left for school. My husband also, and he is blessed to have a job to go to each day.

I'm being challenged today because in Haiti, there is devastation after an earthquake hit yesterday. The city of Port-au-Prince is said to have been mostly destroyed, and the number of lives lost will be devastating. There are families hurting because homes were destroyed, and loved ones lost.

Why do I care? Other than the fact that I'm a compassionate human being? Because the country of Haiti has always held a special place in my heart for many years. I can't even say when it began - but it was during a week at church camp (yes, THAT church camp!) when the missionary for the week was a couple from Haiti, Roro & Elaine Eustache. For whatever reason, the memory of them has stayed with me all these years. I hear about Haiti in the news, and I think of them. When I heard of the earthquake yesterday - immediately I was googling the news this morning to find out more.

I'm being challenged because of how another friend is putting his faith into action. Not because the earthquake hit and the country of Haiti needs help. It's the way my God works - to put something on my friend's heart and then watch how HE moves with it.

My household is overflowing with more toys than what my 3 children can possibly play with. Our closets are bursting at the seams with too many clothes. My shelves have DVD's (my children's and my own) that we really don't need so many of - in the words of my friend...

"They just sit there on the shelf. I thought, 'If they're still sitting there when Jesus returns and I could have sold them and used the money for ministry, how will I explain that to Jesus?'"

So yes, I'm being challenged today, and if you're reading this I'm challenging you too. I will also be Craig's Listing many of these "things" that are just taking up space in my house, and the money will be used to help bring restoration to the country of Haiti - in whatever little way that I can help. And what I can't sell will be donated through local charities to help right here within my own backyard. My children will not starve, freeze from lack of clothing, and they may even have to find a way to entertain themselves besides just sitting in front of the TV. But they will survive, and maybe....just maybe, an important lesson will be learned through this.

The book of Acts is a wonderful example of Christian living and waiting expectantly for my Lord's return. Time to move and put it into action - Thanks for the reminder, Frank!

(Note - I was able to locate Roro and his ministry, Haitian Christian Outreach )

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday Ancestor Madness - Great Grandpa Homer

I'm frustrated. Bugged. Downright annoyed with the census takers from 1900. (Because, after all, it just wouldn't be right to be upset with an ancestor!)

A few months ago, I got it in my head to go through each surname file, and make sure that I had located the entire family line on the U.S. census. Then I would know where they had lived, where they had moved, the children, neighbors, etc...everything about them that I could possibly know from a census record.

It hasn't gone as well as I had hoped.

In theory, it was a beautiful plan. For instance, I would OF COURSE start with my maiden name, HULBERT. And starting all the way back in 1790 in Hampshire Co., Massachusetts I just knew I would find James Hulbert, my 6th great grandfather.

Nothing. I haven't given up, but we're talking a time when spelling was not quite what it is now (to put it nicely), and the name HULBERT, was usually spelled more like HUBBARD, or any other variation other than what it really was.

Moving on to a slightly more contemporary ancestor...my great-grandfather, Homer Alonzo Hulbert. I had always been told he was born in southern Ohio. I actually found his birth record across the river in West Virginia. (And my grandmother still argues with me that he was born in Ohio!) He was born in November of 1887. As no census record exists for 1890, he would first appear in the 1900 census.

But that would be too easy.

In 1900, my great grandfather would've been 12-13 years old, a young lad still living at home with parents and young siblings. And yet, in his father's household in 1900, Homer and his immediate sister are not listed. Where are they and why aren't they at home?

I believe that the explanation is that Homer's mother died just a year after he was born, and his father remarried just a year and a half later. The family in 1900 consisted of his 2nd wife and the children he had with her. I have seen in other ancestor's where a spouse died early on and left young children, that these children were sent off to live with other family members while the remaining parent set up his new household. Seems cold to me, but I also wasn't the young widowed father left to raise 3 children under the age of 10.

An interesting note, is that for whatever reason, in 1910 my great grandfather does show up again - this time in Piatt Co., Illinois, and his sister, Della is also in the same county with her hubby & children. Somehow they both chose to head to Illinois. This reinforces the idea to me that they are together somewhere in 1900....somewhere.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

New Year

I've been slacking off on this blog - I know that all 3 of my followers are certainly suffering from Party of 5 Withdrawal. It's not for lack of trying. I log in at least every other day, sit here staring at my screen and wait for inspiration to hit me. Inspiration seems to be fleeting at the moment.

I know better than to make a New Year's resolution to "blog more"...I don't do resolutions. I don't know if it's that I just don't have the commitment level, or if it's too much pressure...I have NEVER been able to keep a resolution.

One that always creeps into my head at the beginning of the new year, is to pick up my bible more. Read that book! But after years of failed resolutions, the thought of looking at the book of Genesis...AGAIN...is just not very appealing. I've tried the chronological method too. But the book of Job and I have spent so much time together in past years, quite honestly I have no desire to start there either. After that, it just seems overwhelming to me to just "pick a spot" and start reading. I know it shouldn't be, but I want this to be a worthwhile endeavor and not a chore.

Yesterday I had passed along to me a 52 week Bible reading plan. I literally groaned inwardly at first. Oh look...ANOTHER reading plan that I can fail miserably at. But when I actually looked closer at this one, it got my attention. This one is split up, yes, 52 weeks - 7 days reading in each week. But each day is from a different section of the Bible!

Sundays - Epistles
Mondays - Law
Tuesday - History
Wednesday - Psalms
Thursday - Poetry
Friday - Prophecy
Saturday - Gospels

This just may have enough variation to keep my short attention span from flying out the window! Granted, I'm already a week behind...but give me a break! I just got it yesterday! Now if you'll excuse me, I have some reading to do....

(And if you're interested.... www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.pdf )