I won a Mr. Coffee Cafe’ Latte machine!

I never win anything.  Well, that’s not entirely true. I did win back money I’d already played in Las Vegas one time. However, I don’t think you can consider it winning when you break even. The world seems to be … Continue reading 

Connecting with family reunions

Summer is a great time for family reunions and we had the opportunity to reconnect with my mom’s family in August.  There are 62 of us (four generations), but only 28 of us were able to attend this year. It was a lot of fun to catch up with family we don’t see very often.Family_reunion

My sister and her husband hosted the reunion at their home, which has plenty of space for large groups to eat and play. They also had a brilliant idea to ask a friend who does photography as a hobby to come and hang out for the day and take some candid and formal shots. We have some great photos to help us remember the day! Most of us are so busy talking, eating and playing that we often forget to take pictures.

We were also supposed to attend a family reunion on my husband’s side of the family. We were really looking forward to this event, because we had never met these family members. My husband’s great-uncle’s family has been having family reunions for decades, but they were unaware that there were extended family members who lived close enough to attend. We connected through Ancestry.com and because their relative was the oldest in the family, they have a great deal of old family photos and documents. Unfortunately, we were unable to attend due to my being quite ill with a “bug” and subsequently, a migraine. They hold their reunions annually, so we hope to attend next year.

My dad’s family has been scattered and distant due to the death of his mother when most of the children were school-aged. They were raised in different homes, and to the best of my knowledge, the last time all eight were in the same location was at their mother’s funeral in 1936. They have all passed away, but we cousins are beginning to connect through social media.

Pat_meI recently located my dad’s brother’s oldest daughter through a combination of Ancestry.com searches and Facebook. She was anxious to meet her cousins and traveled from Chicago to Portland for a visit last week. I shared old photos I’ve acquired and it was interesting to hear her tell stories about her dad, step-mom and siblings. It helped fill in the blanks for both of us, although I suppose there will always be questions about how our dads and their siblings coped (or failed to cope) during those childhood years after their mother died. We hope to connect with the other cousins from our dads’ side of the family next summer with a reunion and discover more about our shared history.

I’d love your suggestions and tips for organizing family reunions. What would make you attend a reunion? Have you hosted a reunion?

Political jabs

I enjoy keeping in touch with friends, family and colleagues with Facebook. As we move, change jobs and just get busy with life, it’s difficult to maintain relationships.  Facebook has become a fun tool to make that important task easier.

However, in the past few months, Facebook has become a battlefield of ideology; republicans against democrats, liberals against conservatives and libertarians against everyone. Insults fly unchecked for accuracy. I don’t have an issue with good debate, but that is not even close to what I’m observing.

I believe my friends who share political posts are patriotic citizens. I believe they are doing the job they believe the media has failed to do. I respect freedom of speech and the free exercise thereof, however, is the divisiveness caused by sharing every “joke” making us better citizens? Are we truly more informed voters?

I’ll admit to being a little bit of a Pollyanna, and it might be unrealistic, but can we look beyond the labels? Can we respect that others have a different point of view without trying to convert them to our way of thinking? If we can’t get along with our friends on Facebook, how do we expect Congress to get along and fix the big issues facing our country?

Regardless of whether you agree, please celebrate the liberty we have as citizens to freely vote our conscience without intimidation. VOTE November 6!