Tag: family histories

Babymoon, Day 2

Today began with a visit to Lowcountry Whimsy, a delightful gift shop filled with . . .

Amazing Things

(Photo: Two smiling women – one wearing pink, the other wearing turquoise and a hat that says “Stand close to people who feel like sunshine” – stand in front of a sign bearing the words “Amazing Things.”]

To hear Jeanne read this post (3 minutes 57 seconds):

 

Beautiful Beautiful Things

[Photo: The same two women stand in front of a sign bearing the words “Beautiful Things”]

Magical Things

[Photo: The same two smiling women stand under a sign bearing the words “Beautiful Things.”]

We each fill (and payfor) a small bag filled with goodies that will serve as souvenirs for an indescribably fun weekend of togetherness as well as reminders of how we can live a life filled to the brim with intention and delight all the time.

[Photo: a small square of paper bearing the image of a red heart with gold and silver lines radiating from it.]

As we make ready to leave, Sylvia the owner of the shop, treats all 3 of us to a lesson in using Flying Wish Paper. First, you select a fireproof base. I choose a heart. Imagine that.

[Small square of paper with image of heart in the center covered with a small square of thin purple paper.]

Then on a sheet of tissue paper, you write your wishes and intentions. Things like spelling and grammar don’t matter one iota cause there is no spell check to wag a finger at you. Shoot, you can even write your words and intentions all over each other and in every direction like I did, and you won’t lose points over your lack of neatness and legibility.

[The small square of paper with the heart image serves as the base for the thin purple paper that is now on fire.]

Then you fold the tissue paper so it will stand up on your fireproof base card, and set it on fire. Yes, really. When the flame has almost eradicated the entire square of tissue paper, the tissue paper takes flight. Lastly you gather the tiny little bits of burnt paper, nesting them in the palm of one hand while shielding them with the other hand and take them outside where you gently blow them into the wind. Our plan is to use this paper on December 23 as part of our New Moon Ritual.

[Smiling woman in pink displaying a blue journal with pink band titles You Got This.]

In the Things I Thought I’d Never See category we have Alison picking up and looking through a productivity journal / planner. She was not coerced, she did this of her own free will. I joke about this because historically I’ve gotten eye rolls and audible sighs when I pick up my planner or share plans I’ve made. My baby girl is growing up! We did not purchase this journal, though, cause she already has a planner she likes to use. And I tell y’all what, she did such an outstanding job of planning this entire weekend, it looks like I’ll soon be handing over my crown.

[Unsmiling woman in pink rolling her eyes in jest sitting beside the woman wearing red heart-shaped eyeglasses. They sit in front of a sign for the Five Eighths Seams Fabric Store.]

Next stop: The Five-Eighths Fabric Store where one of us was obviously more excited than the other.

 

[Photo, top: 7 pieces of fabric are fanned out on display. One is covered in images of cats in hues of white, black, and tan; a pink fabric bears images of eyelashes; two pieces of fabric are covered with images of pink flamingos; one piece of fabric is musical notes and symbols on a cream-colored background; the next piece of fabric is an abstract design of circles (reminding us of my grandmother name: Bubbles) in various shades of pink; and the last piece of fabric is a pink base covered with multi-colored hearts resembling the Valentine’s Day candies.]

(Though she did pick out several fun, colorful, smile-enkindling fabrics that we brought home for me to use in Junior’s first quilt.) (Why yes, that is fabric with wings  . . . though some would argue it’s really eyelashes.)

[An opened bottle of Sparkling Grape Juice and two hands, each holding a paper cup practically filled with grape juice sit in front of a cup filled with trail mix.]

Tired and filled with joy, we come back to the hotel room early, popping the top off a bottle of sparkling grape juice then toasting each other, us, Junior, and offering gratitude for this astonishing weekend and the sense of wonder and joy it continually lays out before us.

[A quilt top made of pink fabrics surrounded by pineapples in yellows, golds, and pinks.]

Then Alison tucks herself in under the quilt I made her when we went for her frozen embryo transfer. Pineapples are symbols for fertility, and, as you can tell by the fabrics, she loves cats and pink.

[Photo: Another view of the quilt that shows the background fabric of cats in colors of greens, yellows, pinks, and browns.]

[Photo: The quilt is bound in the fabric that is used on the back of the quilt.]

Every quilt my grandmother made was created to be used, and without exception. she backed each one with flannel, binding them in what now has a name: self-binding. My family couldn’t love those quilts any more. In fact, fights have broken out over who gets to sleep under the one bearing my name because let me tell you, there is no better, deeper, dreamier sleep to be had then when snuggled and snoring under that quilt made just for me by Grandmother Ballard. Because of that, every quilt I make to be used (as opposed to being hung on the wall) is backed with flannel and finished off with self-binding.

This particular quilt is named Tantivy (tan TIV ee), a word meaning at full gallop, and the story about the name is another post for another day.

Babymoon, Day 1

Come February 2023, I’ll be Bubbles (my grandmother name) to a third Sprite! I’m calling her Junior for now ‘cause she’ll be named after me, though my daughter doesn’t plan to call her Jeanne. In case you’re wondering, I’m named after an uncle I never met.

New parents apparently celebrate upcoming arrivals by dedicating a weekend to a babymoon- a play on “honeymoon” – enjoying a last fling of freedom and gaiety before a life of diapers, feedings, and sleep deprivation begins. Since Alison is a single parent, I get to enjoy this special weekend with her, and it started yesterday. I’m telling you about it in past tense because by the time we got to our hotel room last night, I was too tired to open my computer.

a reserved space!

We kicked the day off with a 2-hour glamor shot photo shoot (a.k.a. sonogram) because to date, Junior insists on refusing to give the medical professionals the views they desire. They want to see her cleft palate, and she insists on putting her foot not in (that’ll come later), but in front of her face. They want to see her spine, she lays on her back. You get the, well, picture. Frustrating as it is, I can’t help but be a teensy little bit tickled by the early signs of Junior’s independent streak and authority issues. I sense her arrival will be more of a “buckle up” than birth event.

 

After photos and a bite of breakfast, Alison and I made our way to an old Charleston building now serving as offices for several attorneys. On a car-ined street, there was one available parking space right in front (and I do mean RIGHT IN FRONT) of the building. We we made our way to the back of the building, I enjoyed the old, old bricks and the determined green plant life – mostly ferns and dandelions – poking their heads out of tiny little nooks and crannies.

The conversation on the drive went something like this . . .
Alison: Mom, you know to be quiet, right. Don’t say anything.

Jeanne: Alison, you don’t have to worry about me. This isn’t my first psychic reading. Every September in the Way Back When, Mrs Fincher and I would buckle you, Kipp, and Blake up on the merry mixer at the Kiwanis Club Fayette County Fair, and go have a reading done by the woman with a card table set up in the parking lot.

Yes, my friends, behind the door we entered was the most delightful, inviting room where the most delightful Andrea conducted our psychic reading. The first word out of Andrea’s mouth was “mom”, and I felt it was wrong not to tell her that Alison is pregnant, but she’d gone to such great lengths to hide her pregnant belly, I knew things would go badly if I so much as looked in Alison’s direction, so I zipped my lips and let Andrea focus on me as the obvious mom. Daddy came to call first, wanting me to apologize to Mother for something, and honestly, y’all, I silently whispered to him that since I was paying for this, I’d sure appreciate it if he’d talk to and about me. He must’ve heard me ‘cause he shifted to another lane and talked a good long time about how he trusts me and how I’ve taken such good care of somebody (who is obviously Mother), that now it’s time for me to spread my wings and fly – spread my wings, he said multiple times, always with Andrea doing hand motions –  to work on something that’s important to me – which I choose to interpret as this book I’ve been writing on for umpteen plus one years now. He said he trusts me implicitly, and Andrea offered that he meant that it’s okay for me to take intuitive leaps in whatever it is I’m working on (cause thought i might have thought about the book, I knew better than to say anything about writing a book)!

The Engineer’s mother shocked the stew out of Alison and me by coming in with great fanfare (that’s not the shocking part. That she came at all is the surprising part.) She seems just as excited over Junior’s birth as she was over Alison’s birth. Andrea rather emphatically conveyed to us that there is something Grammaw (Mrs. Chambers’ grandmother name) really wants Junior to have – something she made or purchased, something that has been handed down. [She bought Alison a christening gown to wear home from the hospital when Alison was born. I’d never heard of such a thing or such a tradition, but Alison wore that dress home as did my son Kipp as did Kipp and Marnie’s 2 children who were born in Colorado. And that christening gown is in a box somewhere in the chaos that is their new and almost-remodeled home in Colorado. Amid everything else they’re doing, they’re searching for that little white gown and bringing it to  Alison at Christmas.] Yep, gotta be the christening gown.

There were many other things that came through via Andrea, including one female wearing a hat who died and traveled across the Atlantic before her death. Alison and I have an idea of who that could be until we get to the part about traveling across the Atlantic. Thank goodness we recorded the entire session.

 

After hugging Andrea good bye, we needed to walk (something Grammaw encouraged Alison to do via Andrea), and there were 20 minutes left on the parking meter, so we started walking, and what do y’all think is the first thing we saw as our feet hit the Charleston sidewalk?  Right: our first found heart of the day!

Not knowing the area and having nowhere in particular to go, we just walked straight down the sidewalk, stopping at the first shop that caught our eye: the Old Whaling Store offering the most aromatic handmade soaps and lotions for sale. We left with lotion for me and lip balm for Alison. As we pulled away from our front-row parking spot, there was a line of cars waiting to take our place – ha.

Y’all look at this tree we parked beside and tell me what you see. At first I saw a tear because I have a thing for tears and see them as reliquaries. Then in a literal blink, I saw a womb cradling a cherub.

We then made our way to the Bye Bye Baby store, our first shopping spree, which turned out to be mostly a looking spree, though Alison found more things to add to her gift registry and  y’all know I found a few things . . .

a few must-have gifts for Junior, and

a little something to remember what Daddy repeatedly told me through Andrea. Oh wait. I thought those black lines were WINGS. Only now do I see them as eyelashes. Well, here’s how it’s gonna’ go down in the history books: those are wings, and wet macular degeneration or no, I absolutely love my vision. I mean Vision.

Moving on . . .

In the house between shopping and our next step at Urban Nirvana for facials and massages, my daughter-in-love Marnie called to tell Alison that she wants to host a baby shower for Alison and Junior! Alison is so touched and so excited, she actually cried a little bit . . . then got right to work on the invitation list.

 

I haven’t had a massage since they added an “e” to the word, and let me tell you, it was wonderful. Okay, it was beyond wonderful. Ditto that for the facial. (And it was 25% off thanks to the early Black Friday sale, so there’s that!) I want some of the cute and comfortable little sandals we wore at the spa, and i might actually want to go back to wearing robes after a multi-decades long absence. (Silly me, a former version of Jeanne decided that robes take up valuable closet space and besides, I need to get up, get dressed, and get to work ticking things off my (always massive) to do list. Jeanne 7.0 thinks Pfffft on that and will be shopping for a luxurious soft, fluffy robe in the Relative Soon time.)

We kicked off the weekend with Storm Hair, we closed out day one with Massage Hair.

Spying a Chili’s restaurant, we turned in, parked, walked up, and were seated promptly at a larger table for four instead of one of those tiny little tables for two. When we left the restaurant, the line of people waiting was way down the sidewalk.

Straight back to the hotel we came, donning our pajamas and climbing into bed lest we fall asleep standing up. It was a day filled with the magic that comes from laughter, love, wonder, and loving, gleeful anticipation. What better way to spend Junior’s first all-girls three-generations outing, right?

~~~~~~~

Want to see more? Let’s get together on Instagram and Facebook.

Keepsake Writing Tribes Forming, and You’re Cordially Invited

 

If you’ve ever promised yourself that One Day you’ll write and preserve your personal and family stories, good news: One Day is right around the corner on Monday, 09 March 2020. That’s when my new online life story writing course called Keepsake Writers begins.

Writing, telling, preserving your stories is powerful. Stories unite us, uplift us, give us the literal and metaphorical arm’s length distance to better understand ourselves, decisions we’ve made along the way, and how we came to be who we are. Stories connect us with ourselves and others, with our friends and family, and often, in explicable ways, with our ancestors. Stories make us laugh, make us cry, make us think and feel and remember. Stories can show us where we went right and where we may have strayed from our intended path (sometimes – perhaps often – a good, serendipitous thing). Preserving and sharing our stories can be cathartic. Your stories – which is to say your life – has value, and there are so many good reasons to capture and share your stories. I hope you’ll decide to read your way through to the registration button, then commit to joining in what will undoubtedly be a life changing, life-affirming experience.

And all proceeds go to The 70273 Project, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to commemorating history, good and bad, personal and global.

My Background

Where most of my friends wore necklaces, I wore a Brownie camera. If you don’t count all those diaries, I wrote my first personal history in 2000 when I conducted interviews, did contextual research, and wrote a book of my father-in-law’s stories on the occasion of his 80th birthday. That was in late July. When I woke up one morning a week after delivering a copy of the book into every family member’s hands, a little voice whispered “Write a book about your daddy, and do it NOW.”

”You must be crazy,” i countered. “It’s August, and there’s no way I can do all the work and have a book wrapped and under the tree by December.”

”Ahem,” The Voice said again through what sure sounded like clenched teeth, “Write a book about your daddy, and do it NOW.”

I learned a long time ago that I lose every time I argue with The Voice, so I got out of bed, brushed my teeth, and got to work. The leather-bound books arrived on Saturday, 02 December 2000 while Daddy was in the hospital, suffering from complications from a fall he took a week before. I gathered the family around his bed to reveal the early Christmas present. We began reading the book to Daddy at 20 minutes till 1, finishing at 15 minutes till 5. Daddy took his last breath at 5 minutes till 5 p.m.

After that, I hung out my shingle, penning 22 more personal and family histories for clients and teaching workshops for the more do-it-yourself inclined.

Your Personal Elf

Even though it’s an act of love, I know how hard it is to writing your life in stories to an already full life. I know how overwhelming it can be to sit with a blank sheet of paper or a blank computer screen. I know how lonely it can be to write. I also know how joyful and well, cleansing it can be to spend time with your life stories. I know how exhilarating it is to hold a book of your stories in your hand and how rewarding it is to have other people smile and thank you with tears in their eyes when they’ve unwrapped their very own copy. That’s why in the monthly Keepsake Writing Tribe gathering, I’ll offer whatever support and encouragement you need or want. I will be . . .

  • The Trellis that provides the structure for you to grow and bloom
  • The Drill Instructor who elicits more from you than you may have ever thought yourself capable of
  • The  Fairy Godmother who whispers morsels of support and encouragement just when you really need it.

I won’t be writing for you, but I will make writing your stories fun, enjoyable, and do everything I can think of to help you create a lasting legacy that future generations will thank you for.

How It Works

Your investment of $107.00 USD per month ($26.75 per week or $3.82 per day, if you like that kind of math) includes . . .

  • Once a week we’ll gather on a Zoom video chat for 1.5 hours. With Zoom you can opt in for video or choose to join with audio only, and you make these choices every week. I’ll send you a link to our gathering every week, and when you click on it – voila, you’re in the circle.
  • We’ll warm-up for a few minutes then I’ll toss out a prompt, and you’ll write.
  • When writing time ends, you’ll have the opportunity to share your writing with the group, if desired. It is totally up to you, and you will never be pressured to share.
  • To eliminate the inclination to write to please others, the only audible feedback given by other Tribe members after each sharing is a simply “Thank you.”
  • We’ll have a private Facebook group just for us. In this group, I will post inspirational quotes, writing tips, organizational suggestions, usable information, book recommendations and reviews, and more to keep you stimulated and writing between gatherings. It’s a good place to get to know, support, and encourage each other.
  • Maximum enrollment of 12 to allow time for sharing.
  • Keepsake Writing Tribe(s) begin in March 2020 and will continue through the end of the year. The curriculum is different every month, never repeating or building on itself, so feel free to join at the beginning of any month.
  • Each week’s gathering will be recorded for those who have to miss.
  • Once the Gatherings have started for each month, I can’t offer any refunds.
  • Once you’re enrolled, I will add you to our Facebook group and email you the link for our first Gathering. Each week’s link will be shared in the Facebook group.

Who Benefits

  • You and your loved ones. You will create something that will surely be cherished by current and future generations while reminding yourself and them that you are amazing.
  • The 70273 Project. All monies go directly to The 70273 Project to cover increasing expenses. The 70273 Project, Inc. is a 501(c)3 organization. Contact your tax advisor for guidance in tax matters.
  • Me. I get to do something I love doing – helping you preserve your precious, unique, invaluable stories.

Register now so you don’t miss a single Tribe Gathering.

Imagine holding a book of stories about your mother and her first sewing machine. Or your dad and his first car. Or the special toys that favorite uncle once created. Or about that rickety old chair you remember sitting in the corner of the kitchen. Don’t let your stories and the information they hold be lost forever. Sign up today and let me help you create something of lasting value, something that will be treasured for generations to come.

Make the Big Decision and Register Now for March 2020

March 2020 Keepsake Writing Gatherings:
Mondays 12 noon to 1:30 pm, Eastern Time
March 9, 2020: 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time
March 16, 2020: 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time
March 23, 2020: 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time
March 30,  2020: 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Find your time zone here: https://www.worldtimebuddy.com/
Register now and make sure you don’t miss a seat at this very special table.
Important note: Should you find that you have to miss one or more gatherings, you can still join us by way of the recordings. I record each gathering and will post them in our Facebook group for you to listen and re listen any time you want.



Questions? Just holler.

Where in the world is The 70273 Project? Please add a pin to show us where you are in the world. (1) Click the + sign in upper righthand corner of map. (2) Enter your first name only. (3) Enter your city/state. (4) Using the pins at the bottom of the map, select a marker based on how you are involved. (5) Select preview to see before posting. (6) Select submit to post. Please add a marker for each role you serve in The 70273 Project.

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