Remembering Grandma

Tulips and old cookbooks from Cumberland, WI

This photo is in honor of my Grandma Resch’s birthday yesterday…she died when I was only sixteen, but I still think of her every day, and she lives on in my heart. 💕💕💕 #family

Happy birthday Grandma!

Posting this today in honor of my maternal grandmother, Fern Wright Baach, on what would be her 129th birthday. She was quite a woman: a teacher; a suffragette; a self-taught violinist; poet and writer; and a Minnesota farm wife and mother during the worst of the Depression and the Dust Bowl. She died of breast cancer long before I was born, but my mom adored her and talked about her so much I’ve always felt I that knew her. And now I do more than ever, since I inherited all of her old letters to her sister, letters that span the decades from the 1910s to the 1950s. Happy birthday Grandma!

An Instant of Time

“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” Dorothea Lange .

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These photos and negatives are all from the 1920s, and include photos from when my grandparents were courting, and a Christmas portrait of my mom and her big brother. (The Brownie camera belonged to my father-in-law.) Does anyone not love old family photos?

Life is Grace

I am changing my blog’s name to fit the direction I want to take it, and my writing. There will still be plenty of photography, and if anyone should be interested in making a purchase, just click on “Gingerfancy Photography” above the blog header. To read more about why I am changing the name, and how it fits with the past history of the blog, please keep reading. Also refer to the pinned post at the top of the blog, the quote by Frederich Buechner.

Welcome! I’m Barbara and one thing I want to make clear straight away is that I am determined to live a full, generous, and creative life, one filled with love and laughter, despite chronic pain and disability. This is a good time to plug in one of my favorite quotes, by Joseph Campbell:

We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

Continue reading “Life is Grace”

A to Z Blogging Challenge: F is for Family

WHEN EVERYTHING GOES TO HELL, THE PEOPLE WHO STAND BY YOU WITHOUT FLINCHING–THEY ARE YOUR FAMILY (JIM BUTCHER)

So here they are…just some of the people who have always been there, no matter what:

 

 

the strength of a woman

The strength of a woman is measured by the extent of her refusal to allow hardship to dictate her and who she becomes
–C. Jobbell

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Me and my aunties (my dad’s sisters) this summer

My mom and me having a moment at my wedding.
My mom and me having a moment at my wedding.

Dedicated to my mom, my grandmothers, and my aunties, the strongest and most loving women ever!

(The first picture above is of my Grandma Resch on her wedding day in 1914)

friday five: where is its home?

This week’s Friday five, a tradition over at one of my all-time favorite blogs, RevGalBlogPals. Every Friday, one of the women posts a meme and invites other members to play. So this week, I’m playing!!! Here goes:
N.B. The narrative voice here asking the questions, etc., is from the original author, not me! My answers are in red.

“As noted at my own blog, my word for the year is “clear.”

One of the things to which this refers is clearing away clutter.

One of the best ways I have found to do this is to give everything that comes into my house a HOME. And I can easily tell that I have too many things when there are not enough homes for them all!

I gleaned the idea of items having homes  from my younger sister who used to say to her toddlers, “See that book on the floor there? Is that its home? No? Please put the book into its home.” Often, I am saying the same words to myself that she said to her little ones.

Photo from Discountofficeitems.com

In my mother’s house, the Marks-A-Lot marker always went in the cupboard next to the sink. I don’t know why, I just know that’s where the Marks-A-Lot goes, still and forever, in my house many miles away.

So:  Tell us your favorite homes for five things, the places that you can always and reliably find them. 

1. This one is easy. Books I’m currently reading, not including books for classes (who wants to see them first thing in the morning and last thing at night?) is my nightstand. Of course, other books frequently migrate there as well. And my Kindle is in my nightstand drawer when I’m not carrying it around the house with me like child with a blankie.

2. My dad’s things (his old missal, cards he saved from my mom and me, his photos from WWII, etc.) are in a special box kept on the first shelf in the study closet. Easy access, but out of the way enough so that, hopefully, nothing will get spilled on or chewed on (by the dog, not me, honest).

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My dad and his buddies during Basic Training at Fort Lewis, WA, ca 1942. My dad is in the middle.

 

3. Old family photos that have not yet been put into albums–one of my future projects–are kept in the top left-hand drawer of my old rolltop desk that my dad made for me. Most of them are from my mom’s side (not all), and I’m still trying to figure out who some of the people in them are, and what year, approximately anyway, they were taken. The most interesting photo isn’t a photo at all, at least not in the ordinary sense; it’s a daguerrotype that must date back to at least 1860 if not earlier, of my Cherokee great-great-many greats-grandmother. (Although this is my adoptive family, so there is no blood relation.)

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Bertha Wilhelmina Mohr and John Adam Resch on their wedding day. Pine City, MN, July 12, 1915. My grandparents. I never knew my grandpa but I adored my grandma. She was the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known, inside and out.

 

4. The Children’s Bible my godparents gave me for my First Communion resides in the Governor Winthrop in our living room. The Governor Winthrop is a combination secretary desk with a bookcase on top that I inherited from my Great-Aunt Millie, and it’s the perfect place for some of my most treasured old books, like my old bible. It’s dog-eared and falling apart, but just looking at it brings back the many hours I spent poring over the stories of David and Goliath, the First Christmas, and the fascinating pictures in the back of the places in the Holy Land where these exciting stories actually happened!

5. Fiona’s toys hang out on the living room floor. During the day, that is. At night she brings most of them to bed with her (us, I should say, much to the dismay of my allergist). She used to have fluffy stuffed toys, until she began destroying them, tearing them apart with great joy. So her toys now consist of chewsticks, rope toys, and Kongs, although she also considers my socks and bras toys as well. (She loves to trot out into the living room dragging one of my bras by the strap. Oh, the look of glee on her face!) Since I’m home most of the day, we usually play with each of her rope toys in turn; and I should note that part of our play consists of fishing her toys out from under the couch or the bed, which she finds great fun. I don’t, especially since I’m currently recovering from neck surgery, Sigh.

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So what does it say about me, I wonder, that my longest answer is about…my dog’s toys?

Readers, I invite you to play along too! Leave your answers in the comment box, and we’ll comapre notes!

ps: the prevailing wisdom that one should never have a “junk drawer”? I don’t buy that. Because, where else do you put your birthday candles, tiny measuring tape, kite string, eyeglasses repair kits, etc.? “

 

friday five…a day late (well, a few minutes late!)

Emptiness Friday Five…..

 
 

This Friday five comes courtesy of Sally over at RevGalBlogPals! (You don’t think I could come up with something like this myself, do you?)

I have been pondering this Friday Five over and over in my mind, but I am coming up with nothing, so I am wondering; what do you do when you feel empty of all creativity and unable to make/do anything? This is a completely open question, the only rule is name 5 things that fill/ inspire you:

Well, this is a tough question for me to answer, given the way I’ve been feeling physically/emotionally/ spiritually these last few months, so perhaps this is just the time for me to give this a whirl.

1. Being surrounded by my family. Although I’m an only child, my dad was the third eldest of eleven children, so I grew up surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, great-aunts, great-uncles, and at the center of it all, my grandmother, the most warm, generous, and loving woman I’ve ever known. So then I wound up marrying a man who, amongst his other stellar qualities, just happens to have almost as many cousins as I do! (I have 44.) Not to mention he’s the baby of six siblings. Our wedding was huge. and, incidentally, I’m a proud great-auntie myself now, several times over. And now I’m in contact with both sides of my birthparents’ families, who, yes, are also part of large extended families. Naturally. I have more family than I know what to do with! And I love it, especially now that my folks are gone, because to me, family is home and love and laughter.

2. Walking, sitting, gazing out on the water of the North Shore of Lake Superior. It soothes me, slows down my mind and body, and fills me with the presence of God.

3. Feeling forgiven, truly forgiven, whether by another human being or by God. It is the only thing that heals the brokenness I feel inside when I know I have wronged someone, whether it be by “what I have done or by what I have failed to do.”

4. Going through my parents’ old pictures, letters, etc. It never fails to bring back floods of memories, some sad, some happy, most of which make me laugh until I cry. Which reminds me that I HAVE to get my hands on that new set of Laurel and Hardy movies, even if it is astronomically expensive. After all of the hours the three of us spent watching those movies…

5. Doing something for someone else. During the Depression, my Grandma Resch never, ever turned a hobo away when they came by asking for food, despite the family’s poverty and all the mouths she had to feed. She always found something to fix for them, and even something extra to make the plate look nice. My parents carried on this tradition, and one of my biggest frustrations of my current run of migraines is that I’m stuck at home all of the time, which keeps me from doing any of the things I’d normally do to pay it forward, so to speak. After all, I didn’t choose the Prayer of St. Francis for both of my parents’ remembrance cards for nothing. I chose it as words to live by.

top ten things i learned from my mother

THIS IS FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO KNEW AND LOVED MY MOM:

Top Ten Things I Learned From My Mother
(In No Particular Order)


  1. She always told me that love is the only thing that really matters. You can lose your possessions, your job, and your health, but you can always hold on to the love. And in the final analysis, it’s the only thing that makes life worth living.
  2. Decorate your house with bookcases, because you can never have too many books! Nothing ever seems quite so bad if you can curl up with a good book and a cup of hot cocoa.
  3. Class is not determined by money or social position; rather, a truly classy person is one who goes out of her way to make others feel comfortable and special. Classy people are warm and gracious.
  4. You’ll never get old if you are always interested in other people and continue to learn new things.
  5. Life isn’t fair. But that doesn’t mean it can’t still be good, even wonderful, if you retain a sense of gratitude and remember what really matters.
  6. God does not send us tragedy and pain. But he does give us the strength to bear them, the courage to face them, and the grace to learn and grow from them.
  7. Listen to your heart and follow your star. You never know where they might lead you!
  8. Yes, you are your brother’s–and your sister’s–keeper. Always remember that “whatsoever you do unto the least of them, that you do unto me.”
  9. What others think of you doesn’t matter. It’s what you think of yourself that counts.
  10. It takes more muscles to frown than to smile–and holding a grudge takes too much energy.
  1. Never, ever, take the people you love for granted. And never hesitate to say “I love you.”
  2. Tough times don’t last. But tough people do.
(NB: This is from the eulogy I gave at my mom’s funeral on April 19, 2007)

 

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