Friday, November 29, 2013

Focus on Life Week 48: Giving Thanks

Many of us are probably giving thanks for our families. That is my story as well but this one has a different twist. It begins with my paternal great-grandparents who had 19 children. This was the era where children were needed as extra hands to work the farm and my great-grandfather, Francis, retired early to supervise his sons as they performed the many chores around the homestead. Most evenings they gathered after the meal to sing the popular tunes of the time. Just about everyone was musical and, if you couldn't play an instrument by ear, you were expected to sing all the more vigorously. The gathering of family was so important to Francis that family lore says a provision of his will required the attendance of all family members to an annual family reunion. Here we see many of the children. My grandmother is seated in the center of the first row, wearing what looks to be a dotted pattern.

Children of Francis and Mary Genevieve
The reunion was a mainstay of our family life. And with 19 children, each generation added greater numbers. Here we see my father's generation. I think he is seated on the ground, fourth from the left.

The date of the reunion rarely changes: the week-end before the July 4th week-end. The location was the family homestead until it was sold and then we moved around but always within close proximity to our Loretto, PA base.

This is my generation shown with my grandmother on the right. I am in the back row wearing red and a very coquettish expression. We loved the reunions and the chance to see aunts, uncles and cousins that we saw infrequently throughout the year. Friday night was always a family sing-along followed by a big picnic on Saturday. Games of pinochle, softball and horseshoes were accompanied by more singing and passing the hat to pay for the venue for the following year's events. In recent years, we added a golf outing to the Friday activities.

All of the original 19 have passed on but their children and children's children continue the tradition. I especially like this last picture because it features my siblings and their children. It was taken about 14 years ago when we were just starting to have our families. Today, I have 20 nieces and nephews and, with everyone's crazy schedules, don't think we have a picture with all of them. 

I give thanks for my great-grandfather who started quite the tradition and to my family whom I love so dearly.

Be sure to visit Sally's blog for more inspiring stories of thanks.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Focus on Life Week 46: Reflect

A couple weeks ago, our family spent the week-end in Annapolis to watch the Pitt-Navy game. It was a glorious fall week-end spent in a beautiful corner of the world. The outcome of the game was not in our favor but that didn't seem to matter much as we watch the midshipmen in formation.

Midshipmen in Formation, USNA, Annapolis, MD

This week I reflect how grateful I am for their service and sacrifice.

Here are some further reflections from our fine contributors:

Friday, November 8, 2013

Focus on Life Week 45: Industrial Photography

Well, this was a tough one!

When I think Industrial, I think machines. And this time of year, I think of all the machines whose proper functioning keeps us warm and comfortable. Things like:

the water meter

and insulation

and the furnace and hot water heater

But somehow I wasn't quite satisfied with these industrial samples and my hubby reminded me that we have one of the very best examples of industrial art in our former back yard.... here's a hint:

This is a very far-away view of the Carrie Furnace, which is a blast furnace that formed part of the Homestead Works where my father worked years and years ago. The Carrie Furnaces were the heart of Pittsburgh's steel industry and, while not operating now, they are part of the Homestead Works National Park. Here's a wonderful photo my hubby found online but if you really want to see some amazing examples of the Carrie Furnaces, visit this photo tour by Veronica  Varos.... just amazing!

Here are some more wonderful examples of industrial photography:

Friday, November 1, 2013

Focus on Life Week 44: Saints, Souls, Sugar Skulls and Scares

I know we are supposed to use photos from this week for our postings but I had to dredge up a subject from last year since it is so darn perfect for this theme.

In the photos below, you see my posting from July last year after I had modified Christine Wilson's Bohemian Rhapsody pattern from the June/July issue of Beadwork Magazine, page 53. Now tell me this isn't perfect for this week's theme.......

And the very best part of the posting was that somehow Christine got wind of my project and commented on my post. I was so thrilled, I saved a screen shot! Of course, you could always take a blog trip back in time if you wanted to read it.

And here is a sample of how our other talented contributors celebrated this week's theme:

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