Monday, May 27, 2013

Blow Us Up, Blow Us Down, We Will Stand

This one was personal.

When you've lived in "tornado alley" all your life you become used to spring storms. Bad ones. The old joke about Oklahomans is that when a tornado siren goes off we run to the front porch instead of the cellar...well that's really true! When I was a kid, the designated shelter in our home was the hall coat closet. When the sirens sounded we always had to throw a bunch of things out of it just to get in. It was kind of a family joke.

This was no joke.

My son, his wife and two of my three grandsons live in Moore.  Let me just say up front that they are all fine. Their house wasn't damaged. But it was a very close call. Less than 1/4 mile.  Andrew called me to let me know they were okay before I even knew the tornado had happened.  We are so blessed and I know it.  But nevertheless, this one effected me deeply. I was pretty much a nervous wreck all week thinking about what could have happened.  I think part of it was the children. The sight of the wounded children and demolished schools evoked memories of the Oklahoma City bombing more that any other event in the 18 years since.

Andrew and his family rode out the storm in an in-ground shelter that Elizabeth's mother had given them. Sadly, her mother passed away unexpectedly on Mother's Day. But I believe she was still watching out for them from heaven. Andrew, who is a middle school teacher in Moore public schools, just "happened" to be home that afternoon. Elizabeth just "happened" to be off work and, on a whim, decided to pick up their sons early from school / daycare.  I can just see Diane up in heaven shaking her finger and saying "I gave you that shelter Elizabeth, now go use it!"

I must confess that I haven't always been happy to be an Oklahoman. Even now the Oklahoma legislature can make me grind my teeth in frustration. But this last week, watching everyone in the state pitch in to help... well, it made me very proud to share that heritage.

You can blow us up. You can blow us down. We will stand.

P.S. Singer Kellie Coffey the amazing artist singing in this video. Check her out at

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

No Photos? No Problem!

My mother was a scrapbooker before there was scrapbooking. She created a wonderful family album that covered roughly the first 10 years of my parents' marriage and the birth of their oldest child (me).  There was not much of what we would now call "journaling" but she included lots of ephemera along with the photos. Then my younger twin sisters were born and that was the end of scrapbooking for my mom!  Guess she had other things to do.

I can't say that I have done much better regarding keeping up with the family photos. But I'm fortunate to live in the age of digital photography and digital scrapbooking.  I've worked on a few digital projects and have thoroughly enjoyed them.

Recently I was asked to give a presentation on my Civil War Haworth brothers.  My father and I (mostly my father) have done a lot of research on this family but sadly, do not have much in the way of photos. So the challenge for putting together this presentation was how to visually tell the story without the aid of photographs of the people involved.  I basically had two photos: a portrait of my 2nd great grandfather John Haworth and a group photo of his family. I also had some photos I took on a research trip to their hometown.
John Leonard Haworth
So I started looking around online for digital scrapbooking elements that would fit a civil war theme.  One of the best ones was at website called Heritage Scrap. The Civil War kit  by Kate McClellan (pictured below) was perfect!  

This site also had a kit called History Helpers- Civil War Cards by Rachael Hudnall. It included cards designed to look like original military records onto which you can transcribe your soldier's information. Cool!
History Helpers

I also searched my computer for digital kits that I had previously purchased.  I had three that I took elements from for the presentation: Duty Honor Country by Danyale Lewis and Recollection by Joanne Brisebois. These are both available at one of my favorite digi-scrap sites

Duty Honor Country
The third kit I borrowed from was Remembrance by Brandy Murry. This is available on another of my favorite sites,

Remembrance by Brandy Murry

Here are two of the presentation slides I made using these digital materials:

See? No photos!

And while we're on the subject let me just say that purchased all of these kits with my own money just like everybody else. I received no freebies or incentives of any kind.  My reviews are my own opinions.     So there.

Next time I'll tell you all about the FREE stuff I found online!

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