William Hamblin & Amanda Bearse

My 3rd-great-grandfather, Capt. William Hamblin, son of Timothy and Rebecca (Bacon) Hamblin, was born 13 June 1813 in Hyannis (Barnstable) Massachusetts, and died there 26 May 1893. He married Amanda Bearse, who was born 27 September 1810 in Barnstable (Barnstable) Massachusetts, and died there 13 May 1890, daughter of Ebenezer Parker and Susanna (Baxter) Bearse.

William was a master mariner, who died of heart disease. He and Amanda are buried in the Baptist Church Cemetery, on Main St. in Hyannis. William’s will was written in 1890, and a copy of his signature is on a document from his estate, in possession of his 3rd-great-grandson, Richard Kelley. Probate was not settled until 35 years after his death, on 12 June 1928.

Amanda & William were the parents of at least six children:

i. Capt. Timothy Francis Hamblin, mariner, born 16 July 1839 in Hyannis, died there 27 September 1912. He married 12 June 1862 in Barnstable, Sarah C. Cannon, who was born in April 1840 and died about 1930, daughter of John and Ruth (Crowell) Cannon. The following is from the Hyannis Patriot, Hyannis, Massachusetts, 21 September 1908, page 2:

Capt. Timothy Hamblin
Timothy Hamblin came from old English stock. His great-grandfather came to Hyannis from Plymouth in 1745 and his grandfather, Timothy Hamblin, was born in Hyannis in 1775, and married Rebecca Bacon, sister of the late Owen Bacon, who had eight children–Simeon, William, Hiram and Joel, Betsy, wife of James Snow, Dorinda, wife of Nehemiah Baker, Sarah, wife of Capt. Philip Burgess, and Rebecca, wife of Joseph P. Bearse, all now deceased.

Timothy Hamblin, the subject of this sketch, was born in Hyannis on Ocean street in the 1839, son of William. He commenced going to sea with his father, who was skipper of many vessels in the fishing business. Later Timothy went on coasting vessels and was in the schooner Elizabeth B., previous to her going to the gold regions of California in 1849.

The EB., on her voyage to the gold fields, was commanded by Capt. Almoran Bacon, who owned an interest in her and was sailing master. Several of our smartest captains, who were masters of the famous clipper ships at that time, Capt. Frank Bearse, master whip Winged Arrow, Allen H. Bearse, of the Radiant, Orlando Bassett, John H. Frost, James H. Lothrop and Daniel B. Hallett were passengers. The vessel stayed there some two years, then the party disbanded, and Capt. Bacon brought the schooner home, the voyage being not a very successful one.

Later Mr. Hamblin was in the government employ carrying supplies to soldiers, to Wilmington, N.C., from New York, so he has seen something of the world. The Hamblins were always noted for their shrewdness and knew how to save money. Later Capt. Simeon was master of many fine vessels and made big money. At the time Mr. F.C. Tobey failed, he, like many others, deposited money in his hands supposing it better than any bank. We believe he paid 50 cents on the dollar, but Capt. Hamblin waited a short time and got the whole. Capt. Simeon Hamblin always lived on Ocean street, also Hiram and William. Mr. Roscoe Hamblin, his son, who was in Taunton many years in business, has a nice new house near the old homestead. The Hamblin’s were all branch pilots and knew every inch of water in Lewis Bay. “They say” that Tim can hold flaxseed in his hand and not let it slip through his fingers and hold on to a quarter of a dollar and make the eagle squeal.

ii. Capt. William Nelson Hamblin (my 2nd-great-grandfather), born about 1844, died 19 May 1883 in West Dennis (Barnstable) Massachusetts. He married 16 January 1868 in Dennis, Anna Eliza Baker, who was born 2 October 1845 in Dennis, and died 2 December 1927, daughter of Benjamin and Eliza R. (Eldridge) Baker. Anna & William were the parents of four children.

iii. Simeon Albert Hamblin, born 20 January 1847 in Hyannis, died 14 March 1927 in Barnstable.

iv. Ebenezer Porter Hamblin, born about 1849.

v. Eliza Anna Hamblin, born 8 September 1853 in Hyannis, died 28 January 1935 in Quincy (Norfolk) Massachusetts. She married (as her first husband) 12 November 1873 in Taunton (Bristol) Massachusetts, Francis P. Kelley, who was born 28 July 1848 in West Dennis, and died 12 September 1874 in Dennis (Barnstable) Massachusetts, four days after the birth of his son. He was the son of Francis and Paulina (Sears) Kelley. Eliza married (as her second husband) 21 January 1879 in Dennis, Marcus Bradley Baker, who was born 10 November 1843 in Dennis and died 21 October 1927 in Hyannis, widower of Emily (Crowell) Baker and son of Sylvester and Charlotte (Eldridge) Baker. Eliza & Marcus were the parents of four children.

vi. Harriet Amanda Hamblin, born 20 January 1856, died 18 April 1902. She married 2 September 1880 in Barnstable, Isaac W. Chase, who was born in November 1851, and died 30 May 1921, son of William and Amanda (—) Chase. Harriet & Isaac were the parents of a daughter.

Last Revised: 13 July 2020

my turn

11.19.17 ~ Katherine walking in Ireland ♡

For all the products making claims, exercise may be the only miracle cure for both physical and mental health.
~ Mark Bertin
(Mindful, December 2017)

So, after so many years of Tim’s health problems (2007 – heart attack followed by triple by-pass surgery ~ six years of diverticulitis attacks followed by a sigmoid colon resection last January) it looks like it’s my turn for surgery, a hysterectomy. My uterus is full of pre-cancerous cells. Sigh. After spending 26 years wondering if I might get breast cancer like my mother it was a surprise to discover that it is my womb in danger.

Surgery tomorrow. One night in the hospital. If all goes as planned I will be home Wednesday in time to watch the first episode of season 5 of Vikings. 🙂 Then we can plan our trip to Ireland! I cannot wait to take a very long walk with my granddaughter ~ I miss her so much!

11.19.17 ~ Katherine feeding the sheep on a farm outside of Galway, Ireland

A Sea Captain

My 2nd-great-grandfather, Capt. William Nelson Hamblin, son of William and Amanda (Bearse) Hamblin, was born about 1844 in West Dennis (Barnstable) Massachusetts, and died there 19 May 1883. He married 16 January 1868 in Dennis, Anna Eliza “Annie” Baker, who was born 2 October 1845 in Dennis, and died 2 December 1927, daughter of Benjamin and Eliza R. (Eldridge) Baker.

Hamblin home ~ 123 Fisk St., West Dennis

William was a mariner and became a sea-captain by the time of his death at age 39 of heart disease. William & Annie lie buried in West Dennis Cemetery on Fisk Street. William’s gravestone inscription reads:

Husband
William N. Hamblin
d. 5-19-1883 Aged 39 yrs,
We hope to meet thee in heaven.

Annie was a widow for many years. Next to her husband’s, her gravestone is inscribed:

Wife
Annie. E. Hamblin
d. 12-2-1927 Aged 82 yrs,
Gone but not forgotten.

Annie & William were the parents of four children:

  1. unnamed son, born 23 June 1869 in West Dennis and died there 4 July 1869.

2. Benjamin Francis “Benny” Hamblin, born 23 November 1873 in West Dennis, died 26 October 1955. He married 30 November 1899 in West Bridgewater (Plymouth) Massachusetts, Lillian Wright Pratt, who was born 16 September 1872 and died 20 May 1946 in Abington (Plymouth) Massachusetts, daughter of Ira A. and Lucy Ann (Hathaway) Pratt. Benjamin & Lillian were the parents of a daughter, Ruth Vivian Hamblin, who married Arthur John Coburn. Ruth was an only child, just like my grandmother, her cousin. Grandmother 
told me that she and Ruth considered themselves sisters more than cousins and had a very special relationship. Ruth’s husband, Arthur Coburn, made the cherry magazine rack that my grandparents, John & Emma White, gave Tim and me for a wedding present.

3. Amanda Eliza Hamblin (my great-grandmother), born 2 August 1879 in Dennis, died 6 July 1966 in Taunton (Bristol) Massachusetts. She married 1 February 1900 in Dennis, Capt. Martin Freeman Thompson, who was born 29 March 1875 in South Harwich (Barnstable) Massachusetts and died 13 July 1965 in Dennis, son of Martin Edward and Elisabeth Emma (Freeman) Thompson. Amanda & Martin were the parents of Emma Freeman Thompson, my grandmother and Ruth’s cousin.

4. William Nelson Hamblin, born 1 July 1883 in Dennis, two months after the death of his father, died 31 December 1958. He married Sadie Louise Crowell, who was born 11 September 1884 in Dennis, and died 23 March 1972 in Yarmouth (Barnstable) Massachusetts. Apparently the younger William did not follow his father to a life at sea. William & Sadie were the parents of two sons — Gordon and Francis Hamblin were the much-talked-about cousins of my grandmother.

The following is from the Sunday Cape Cod Times, June 22, 1980 article by Craig Little, pg 13, South Yarmouth:

[William] began selling Mobil gasoline from 55-gallon oil drums mounted in his Main Street front yard in 1914, when Main Street was still Route 28. Ten years later, when it was clear that cars were here to stay, he had the garage built a few dozen yards from his house. Even in 1935, when Route 28 was rerouted to the north and Main Street was relegated to a scenic bypass, there was enough business to keep the station going….. W.H. Hamblin bought the little candy store and moved it to the property in 1928 so his wife could sell ice cream. Now window boxes with geraniums decorate the outside, hanging below the old wood-framed glass display cases.

Hamblin’s Garage in Bass River is a living museum of roadside retailing, a dusty monument to the time when gas stations were stucco and red tile, not shiny plastic and chrome floating on a sea of jet black seal-coated asphalt………[Francis’] brother, Gordon, takes care of the mechanical work (“We don’t do any big jobs like transmission work or rebuilding engines. We do mufflers, brakes, tune-ups, exhausts. Yep, we do all that”). He’s been there since 1934, when he was right out of high school…… After Francis leaves, Gordon will stay on in the house behind the shop. He’ll keep on driving school buses for the town, something he’s done for years. For years he’s also serviced the South Yarmouth’s post office’s fleet of mail vans, working on them on an outdoor hydraulic lift installed in 1930. “Oh, I dunno, I guess they got about 18, 19, or 20 of ’em,” he says from under his cap, worn at an angle, Rootie Kazootie style. “I work on all of ’em — they usually get ’em down here about 5 in the evenin’. They need ’em in the day.”……. The Hamblins charge between $5 and $6 an hour for labor. It doesn’t seem to bother them that other garages get three times that for the same work……. “Yep, been an inspection station since I was a kid,” adds Gordon, twisting a final spark plug into place on Silva’s Mustang. “As far as I know, since the early ’20s.” Behind the car, in a corner next to a pile of old boxes capped with a dusty pith helmet, is a sagging easy chair where Gordon can sneak a break during his long days.

Like an archeological dig, the inside of the gas station has strata of artifacts. Peel back a tire sealant ad from the ’50s and you find a tobacco ad from the ’40s. Peel that back, and underneath is a flyer from the ’30s. Time stands still here…… But after 66 years of pumping gas and changing flats here, the Hamblins are selling out. “Don’t wanna die here,” says Francis, the talkative Hamblin who acts as the front man, pumping gas, taking care of the candy store and making small talk with the customers…….. Francis didn’t arrive until after World War II, when the brothers took over the business from their father, W. H. Hamblin……. Even in 1967, when a shiny new Mobil station was built down by the Bass River Bridge, the Hamblins managed to survive, by switching to Arco. “That’s comin’ too close,” philosophizes Francis….. The more you look around, the more you wonder why antique dealers didn’t clean out the Hamblins years ago. “Oh, I got some baseball cards of Babe Ruth and them at home. Must be worth $40 or $50 apiece,” says Francis, who knows by now that an old thing gets more valuable as it gets older…….. Probably the newest thing in the garage… a rototiller destined to carve out a garden for Francis in New Hampshire. “Just bought a place there last year,” he says. “Hope to have a good-sized garden…….. Because of the war, our father started closing Sundays,” says Francis. “He liked it so well he never got back to the seven-day week. We stay pretty busy, ‘specially at inspection time. Most of ’em is repeats…….. A lot of people come in to have work done on their old cars,” Francis says, nodding toward the 1936 Packard that someone dropped off in the back lot. “They hate to see us go. Oh, we’ve just gotten up in age and want to take it a little easier. Anyway, fella that wants to buy the place says he’s gonna try to keep it as a landmark… won’t do much modernizing. Geez, hope they pass those papers.

Last Revised: 31 January 2020

The Great Basic Art of Agriculture

Tim’s 3rd-great-grandfather, Henry Charles Raven, son of Peter George and Sabrina (Cummins) Raven, was born 11 December 1820 in Merrickville, Upper Canada [now Ontario], and died 5 January 1892 in Natural Dam, a hamlet of Gouverneur (St. Lawrence) New York. He married (as his first wife) 8 July 1840 in New York, Clarinda Sweet, who was born 22 September 1820 in Depeyster (St. Lawrence) New York and died 9 February 1875 in or near Macomb (St. Lawrence) New York, daughter of Josiah and Eunice (Day) Sweet.

Henry was a farmer. According to DeLand’s History of Jackson County, Michigan, Henry was born in Ontario and took part in the Canadian Rebellion of 1837, then came to New York and took up adjoining tracts of land in St. Lawrence County with four of his brothers.

He there continued to be identified with the great basic art of agriculture until his death, in 1891, prospering in his efforts and being held in high estimation by all who knew him. His wife [Clarinda] passed away in 1875, their children having been twelve in number.

Fifteen years after Clarinda’s death, on 28 March 1890, Henry married (as his second wife) Fannie E. Patten, who was born about 1824 in Upper Canada [now Ontario]. They were only married less than two years when Henry had an apparent heart attack and died. His obituary is from the Watertown Daily Times, Watertown, New York, 6 January 1892. The age of his death was erroneously given as between 50-60 years, but according to records he was actually 71 when he died.

A Blind Man’s Sudden Death
Gouverneur, Jan. 6 – The little village of Natural Dam was startled last evening by the report that Henry Raven, an elderly man, had been found lying on the floor in his house dead. He resided there with his wife. For many years he has been totally blind. A married daughter occupies a house near by. She has been ill for the past few days with the grip. Last evening about six o’clock he requested his wife to go to his daughter’s house and ascertain how she was then feeling. Mrs. Raven returned within half an hour and upon entering the house saw her husband lying upon the floor. She spoke to him and asked what he was doing there. Upon receiving no reply she became frightened and hastened to inform a neighbor. When they arrived he was apparently lifeless. Dr. Hassel of this village was summoned, but when he arrived Mr. Raven was dead. He was apparently in the best of health previous to his death, and the shock was a terrible one to his family. The cause of his death was probably heart disease. He was between 50 and 60 years of age. Mr. Raven was a man of some means and respected by all who knew him.

Henry & Clarinda are buried in Pierces Corner Cemetery, Macomb (St. Lawrence) New York. The inscription on Clarinda’s headstone reads:

My soul looks up and sees him smile,
While he the needed grace bestow,
All earthly sorrows to beguile,
And conquer the last foe.

Clarinda & Henry were the parents of twelve children:

1. James Henry Raven, born 25 September 1841 in (St. Lawrence) New York, died 19 March 1862 in Alexandria, Virginia. James served in the Civil War, De Peyster, New York enlisted G Company, 16th Infantry Regiment, New York, and died of disease at Fairfax Seminary, Virginia.

2. Lemuel Day Raven, born 24 March 1843 in (St. Lawrence) New York, died there by drowning on 28 October 1849, age 6.

3. Julia Agnes Raven, born 28 August 1844 in (St. Lawrence) New York, died about 1903.

4. Rachel Sophronia Raven, born 4 April 1845 in (St. Lawrence) New York. She married Ace Henry. Rachel & Ace were the parents of two sons.

5. John Van Buren Buchanan “JV” Raven, born 13 October 1848 in Rossie (St. Lawrence) New York, died 20 March 1911 in Bloomer (Chippewa) Wisconsin. John was a farmer who served in the Civil War, COB 193rd New York Infantry.

6. Josephine Clarinda Raven, born 10 October 1850 in Macomb (St. Lawrence) New York, died 21 August 1919 in Belleville (Jefferson) New York. She married 5 March 1873 in Ilion (Herkimer) New York, Lodowick Benjamin Martin, who was born 4 February 1831 in Ellisburg (Jefferson) New York, and died 27 May 1919 in Belleville. Josephine & Lodowick were the parents of two children.

7. William Franklin Raven (Tim’s 2nd-great-grandfather), born 12 July 1852 in Macomb, died 14 September 1917 in Escanaba (Delta) Michigan. William married 5 March 1878 in Cambridge (Lenawee) Michigan, Elona Naomi Case, who was born there 7 July 1853 and died 22 January 1929 in Badaxe (Huron) Michigan, daughter of Herman Roberts and Paulina Elizabeth (Minor) Case. William & Elona were the parents of seven children.

8. Myron David Raven, born 15 March 1854 in Gouverneur, died 15 December 1918 in Fowler (St. Lawrence) New York. He married Jane Ella Ward, who was born in October 1853 in New York. Myron & Jane were the parents of two sons.

9. Eunice Lucinda Raven, born 18 February 1856 in Macomb, died 2 February 1927. She married (as her first husband) about 1875, Royal Henry Huddleston, who was born about 1843 in New York and died in 1908. Eunice & Royal were the parents of three daughters. Eunice married (as her second husband) about 1908, Curtis M. Price, who was born 1846 in New York and died 1 April 1912.

Ella Aurelia Raven (1858-1918)

10. Ella Aurelia Raven, born 7 April 1858 in New York, died 10 May 1918. She married 25 April 1877, Jasper Alonzo Day, who was born 24 October 1848 and died 31 December 1927. Ella & Jasper were the parents of four daughters.

11. Robert Sheldon Raven, born 4 March 1862 in (St. Lawrence) New York, died 30 May 1906 in Seattle (King) Washington. He married 19 February, in Doland (Spink) South Dakota, Edith Ione Austin, who was born 27 November 1868 in Depeyster (St. Lawrence) New York, and died 19 March 1953 in Langley (Island) Washington. Robert & Edith were the parents of three children.

12. George B. McClellan Raven, born 30 July 1863 in New York. He married Lizzie Willhite.

food shopping

Ruth Mary Hallock (1876-1945) American Illustrator
illustration by Ruth Mary Hallock

Food – the kind of food we eat and the amount of money we spend on it are hotly debated topics. Because of Tim’s heart disease I’ve been on a quest to find a “diet” that will help his body cope with his compromised state of health. In 2012 we tried a vegan diet and he wound up in the hospital twice that year. In 2013 we switched to a grain-free diet and he has not been hospitalized at all, in spite of being under tremendous stress coping with his brother while he was living with us.

But I’m not writing this to promote any particular way of eating, in fact, my stance is very non-judgmental because I suspect different bodies may need different foods to thrive and avoid disease. One of the most difficult things for me about having Tim’s brother with us for eight and a half months was not that his own diet seemed so unhealthy, but that he never let up on criticizing me for “wasting” so much money on our groceries. I let him cook and eat what he wanted without comment and so wished he would have done the same for me.

I spent a lot of time fuming in my room, meditating, slowly acknowledging my anger and frustration, letting it go, examining with curiosity my beliefs about food.

There is a show on public television I watch all the time called Nature. Because I believe that nature is a great teacher, one day it occurred to me while watching an episode that the chief concern and activity of most animals, who definitely live in the moment, is that of locating and eating food. This thought helped me to see that it is perfectly natural to spend so much time and effort cooking and feeding us well.

The Atlantic, 5 April 2012

This is our story today: It is a story about how spending on food and clothing went from half the family budget in 1900 to less than a fifth in 2000.
~ Derek Thompson
(The Atlantic, April 5, 2012)

It is sobering to see that back in 1900 we considered it normal to spend over 40% of our budget on food! Today the average family spends only 10-15% of its budget on food. And most people complain bitterly about the price of food. We spend more money on fancy “starter castles” and less on nourishing food. Animals will leave their homes and travel to find the food they need to sustain themselves, but we humans demand that our food be delivered to us over great distances and at minimal cost. It seems so lopsided!

So we will continue along our current food path, scouting around for grass-fed beef and wild game, avoiding grains. Paying without questioning higher prices for local and/or organic produce. Knowing that no one has the final answers about food, but feeling much more settled about our choices.

vegan ♥ paleo

4.6.12.1115
4.6.12 ~ Jekyll Island, Georgia

To look for a “healthy” diet can be as discouraging as a search for the “true” religion. I spent many years extricating myself from a belief system which had at one time seemed to have all the definitive answers my teenage self was yearning for. One would think I might have learned a lesson or two about words and ideas that sound too good to be true.

Some of my readers may remember a few passionate posts I wrote back in October of 2011, when after reading several convincing books by cardiologists I decided that Tim & I should become vegans to try to reverse his heart disease. In my mind it was a done deal, the final answer. But in the months following our change to a vegan diet, Tim wound up in the hospital twice, which left me feeling demoralized. It was as if eating plants was making things worse, not better.

4.6.12.1122
4.6.12 ~ Jekyll Island, Georgia

One day last fall, I happened to catch another cardiologist being interviewed on TV, and he was talking about the evils of gluten and wheat, and how consumption of grains leads to obesity, heart disease and diabetes. And so began another round of research for me, more books, more websites, more theories to contemplate. To make a long story a bit shorter, we have switched to a paleo diet, or caveman diet. Wild game, grass-fed beef, pasture-raised poultry. Lots of vegetables. Nuts and berries. Hunting and gathering. No wheat or grains. Keeping our fingers crossed.

4.6.12.1147
4.6.12 ~ Jekyll Island, Georgia

This time around I’m not looking at this change as The Answer carved in stone. It’s an Experiment to see if anything different will happen. I’m the daughter of a scientist after all. Maybe the food we choose to eat has nothing at all to do with heart disease, though somehow I still think it might. But cardiologists don’t seem to agree on the best diet for heart disease, so I won’t list all the authors of the books I consulted. Staying off of the bandwagon for the time being.

Last week we did have some encouraging news after Tim went in for a checkup. He lost some weight and his progress pleased his doctor for the first time since his original heart attack five years ago. Let’s hope we’re finally on the right track, although I am keeping myself carefully skeptical, just in case…

4.6.12.1148
4.6.12 ~ Jekyll Island, Georgia

hurricanes and heart attacks

“Storm Landscape” by Franz Stuck

The mixture of the calm with the storm is not haphazard. Quite the contrary. My growth is at the center of each. I will trust its message.
~ Karen Casey
(Each Day a New Beginning: Daily Meditations for Women)

It’s been an unsettling week, to say the least. We’ve been keeping a wary eye on Hurricane Earl since Sunday, hoping it stays on its predicted course and brushes past us to the east tomorrow with minimal damage. The tropical storm watch was upgraded to a tropical storm warning today at noon. Cape Cod is now under a hurricane warning and for some reason I have a desire to go there.

Sometimes it seems that all there is to talk about is the remarkable weather. Yesterday and today we’ve had a heat index of 100º. Today many towns nearby are letting their schools out early because of the heat. The weed pollen levels are “very high.” And there is an air quality alert to boot. The advancing storm should be eliminating all these problems when it arrives. I don’t usually watch the news at noon, where I learned all these bits of information, but I was curious about the hurricane.

Any threat of hurricanes stirs up frightening memories for my father and his sisters. The Great Hurricane of 1938 descended on my father without warning as he was walking home from high school in the afternoon. Fierce winds were snapping branches off trees and other trees were being uprooted as he struggled to keep walking. According to Wikipedia it “remains the most powerful, costliest and deadliest hurricane in New England history.”

When Dad got home he discovered that his mother wasn’t home, only his father, two of his sisters, and a baby nephew. At the height of the storm they were all trying desperately to keep walls from crashing in on them, bolstering them up with heavy furniture and the weight of their bodies. Still, the hardest part was not knowing if his mother was safe, and his sister’s husband, too.

After the storm passed by Dad’s mother returned home. She had decided it would be safer to stay at the neighbor’s house where she happened to be when the hurricane struck. Auntie’s husband was caught at work in New London which had flooded with the storm surge, so he stayed there to help rescue people. Not knowing what had become of him for several days was hard for the family to endure.

Well, thanks to modern technology we can worry a little less about the storm coming tomorrow. And modern technology was at work for Tim’s family this week as well.

On Monday Tim’s younger brother, age 51, had a heart attack. He lives overseas in Luxembourg so we found out about it on Tuesday. It was such an emotional jolt. Since Tuesday Tim’s been trying to make contact with him at the hospital using Skype and finally this morning they connected and had a long conversation, comparing notes, etc. This is still more evidence of a genetic factor at work here, their maternal grandmother died of a heart attack at age 54 – the age Tim was when he had his – and their great-grandmother died of a heart attack at age 52. Tim has four more younger brothers and it’s pretty sobering contemplating the possibilities, although we can all be very grateful for the advances in medicine that no doubt have saved two lives so far.

Our inner selves understand the journey; a journey destined to carry us to new horizons; a journey that promises many stormy seasons. For to reach our destination, we must be willing to weather the storms. They are challenges, handpicked for us, designed to help us become all that we need to be in this earthly life.
~ Karen Casey
(Each Day a New Beginning: Daily Meditations for Women)

never a dull moment

Late afternoon yesterday my son, the one recently diagnosed with diabetes, was hospitalized with chest pains. The doctors have ordered a stress test for today. Scary stuff. He’s “only” 34. Practicing my deep breathing…

A few years ago his wife was in the same cardiac care unit with a mysterious heart problem that turned out to be Lyme carditis. She had no symptoms of Lyme disease until it attacked her heart. She’s all right now, but as a result of the experience they did abandon their “healthy” hobby of Letterboxing in the woods. It didn’t turn out to be so healthy for her!

I hope this blog doesn’t evolve into and endless saga of illness stories!

changing

Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

~ Stevie Nicks
♫ (Landslide) ♫

I have put on thirty pounds since my husband survived a major heart attack and triple by-pass surgery two and a half years ago. A symptom… of what? Stress? Middle-age? Less than a month after the heart attack, my already frail and declining father fell and broke his pelvis, femur and a few ribs. He has since been confined to a wheelchair. Neither one of them wants to exercise… We won’t even go into the healthy eating question… A couple of weeks after that my son was hospitalized with an antibiotic-resistant infection, and in the course of treating that it was discovered that he has diabetes. No family history of diabetes. And eight months after the heart attack I had a highly suspicious (false positive) mammogram followed by the ordeal of a stereotactic biopsy and waiting days for the, in the end, negative result…

Last summer we went to a big family reunion at Shenandoah National Park where I made friends with my “stepsisters-in-law” as we spent four days hiking in the woods together. It felt so good to be active and immersed in the natural world! It began to dawn on me just how sedentary my life had become, the exact opposite of the changes in lifestyle I had started hoping for after the cardiac wake-up call.

spring 2009 ~ Shenandoah National Park, Virginia ~ bear we met while hiking

Last week I was food shopping and a special interest magazine on heart-healthy living caught my eye. Thinking it might have some helpful recipes I bought it, but inside also found an article on strength building exercises. As I read the instructions and studied the pictures I thought to myself that the exercises were too simple and easy to offer any challenge and have any benefit. Well…

This morning: “Stand with feet just wider than shoulders, toes turned out slightly. Slowly bend torso to the right, bringing right arm toward ground and left arm toward sky. Hold for 1 count and return to start. Do the given reps (5-10), then switch sides.” As I lifted my left arm toward the sky for the first rep it ached, oh so miserably, from that simple stretch! (I shoveled snow yesterday and it didn’t bother my arms – hmm…) I stopped at 5 reps and switched sides, right arm ached, too, but not quite as much. There were six more exercises and they stretched all kinds of long neglected muscles. Some of the exercises call for weights, too. Looks like I now have myself a workout to add to my walks!

I love to walk, especially in the woods. My friend Kathy, whose blog inspired me to begin this blog, wrote a lovely blog post, Why I won’t (usually) go cross-country skiing with you, which touches beautifully on the subject of meandering mystical nature walks vs. cross-country skiing (or for me, brisk hikes) in the woods. (I’d love to try snowshoeing one day.) I think both are needed for body-mind health.