20 Signs You Went to Catholic School


Honoring, laughing with, and apologizing…

I am honoring, laughing with, and apologizing to our three children who may relate all too well to my reblog of the 20 Signs You Grew Up in Catholic School, below.  I read this post on the heels of my daughter and I attending a Catholic funeral a couple of weeks ago, and being astonished that we still remembered when to stand, when to kneel, the traditional responses to prayers, and all the roles of the priest and altar boys/girls.  Hardly anything had changed since our youngest graduated high school in 1991–which is fast approaching a quarter of a century since we had regularly attended and committed ourselves a Catholic church and Jesus Christ!

Pre-school through High School Years

In fact, our family, during our children’s pre-school through high school years, attended mass weekly on Sundays, holy days, and special occasions at Mount Calvary Catholic Church in Prince George’s County, MD.  We participated in and supported Catholic Youth Organization’s sports programs, fund-raising spaghetti dinners, thespian programs, and served as teen club moderators.  We fasted on holy days and Fridays.   None of us can ever forget the annual Fall school fund-raiser where the kids toted home large cardboard boxed kits of sample goods to be sold. Our church family truly extended our biological family.  We still chat with our children’s childhood friends on Facebook or see them and their parents out and about or at social events.

A New Home, New Church, New Life, and Full Commitment

Upon moving to Calvert County, MD,  22 years ago, we searched long and hard for a church and biblical community where we could find that same sense of fellowship, family, and biblical community.  We floundered about from church to church for several years. And, we have our children to thank for their patience, glowing examples, and perseverance in helping us find our church and extended family of today at Chesapeake Church.   If nothing else, the sacrifice we made to allow our children to attend catholic schools provided them with great educational foundations and values and put Christ in their lives during their formidable years. Ultimately, our family has grown in size and value our relationships with each other, we made new friends, are enjoying new adventures, and we especially thank Jesus Christ for this glorious journey.   I hope you enjoy the article below.

20 Signs You Grew Up in Catholic School

20 signs you went to catholic school

…Apparently growing up in Catholic school is just not the same as growing up a church kid. They had fun Jesus learning with Mr.Psalty, and we had just plain old nun-ification. With the help of three of my lovely former-plaid skirted friends, I came up with my own!

Let’s get this party started. Are you ready? Cause just like your first two hour mass, it’s going to be a loooong ride.

ASH WEDNESDAY

1. You at one point compared who got the “better” ash mark on their head from Ash Wednesday. Really they all looked like splotchy finger prints, but it kept you busy at recesses comparing noggins.

colored socks

2. You feel like a rebel when you wear colored socks. Oh yeah, now that you are out, no regulation white ankle or crew socks for you! Blue! Pink! Black! The world is your stage when it comes to sock color because you know how to party.

Peace be with you

3. When someone says “peace be with you” you say “also with you” without thinking. It’s true. The years of training sunk in, and there is no letting go.

The moment a boy walks into an all-girls school...mine?mine?mine?

4. While you tell everyone that going to an all-girls school helped you focus on school and made you more intelligent, you secretly know it also made you more desperate and socially awkward. It’s sad, and pretty embarrassing, but true.

Oh there's boys! I have to give a crap what I look like!

5. You secretly miss having your clothes picked out for you 5 out of 7 days in the week. Life was easier when you were forced to wear a uniform…unless you wear a uniform for your job…then you are probably thinking  “when is my free dress day???”

Class of kids

6.  You still remember the names of 30 kids you spent 8 years with…their parents, and siblings too.  Aah, elementary school. Sure a couple of kids came and went, but you got to know this core group well. You battled teachers, started puberty, and all sat through mass every Tuesday together. These are ties no graduation can break.

kid playing with a ball

7. You still feel like you need say your prayer before a meal really, really fast, so you can get to recess faster. Because saying the words like you had an espresso, red bull and some crack all at the same time counts as a “real prayer” when you are starving and need that pudding cup…right?

Bible

8. You were shocked after you graduated to find out there were other translations of the Bible than the New American Version. NIV! ESV! IHSYESYGGLSO! Okay, that last one isn’t a translation that I know of but there are so many options out there! If you decided to stay or go back to the Christian life after graduation you were probably met with some confusion when you went to the Christian book store and was met with the aisles of different translations.

Authors note: This originally cited (wrongly) the King James translation, which isn’t approved by the Catholic church.  I have since had some coffee, woke up a bit, and changed it. 

kids dressed up as lambs

(A special shout out the Mountain Mama Teaching blog for this photo!)

9. You’ve been dressed up like an angel, a sheep, and a shepherd at least once (but probably three) times as a child. Don’t lie. Your mother has photos.

kids singing

10. …and you had to sing. A LOT. On top of the school pageants and usual fair, you had the special church events that they used your class singing off-key like some secret choir reserve force when the old women got sick. It was probably just a plot to actually get your parents to mass every once and a while.

pew

11. When at any non-catholic church or the train station, your right knee automatically buckles anytime you enter a pew, and you have to stop yourself from kneeling. Again, it’s true.

Jesus holding a candy bar

12. You know how to fundraise and sell stuff like a boss. Whether you went to one of the “rich kids” Catholic schools or the “very much not rich kids” schools, either way they had you out pimping cookie dough, magazine subscriptions, wrapping paper, and coupon books every year. That pizza party just became less worth the trouble as time went on.

sign of the cross

13. Your non-Catholic friends think doing the sign of the cross is some complicated secret handshake and keep asking you to show them how to do it over and over. It really is a secret sign that makes you get the good wafers at communion. Ya know, the ones that don’t taste like cardboard.

Ghost sitting in church pew

14.  There was always some rumor about a dead saint body part, haunted room, or scary secret tradition (saying Bloody Mary into a mirror) at your church…that you totally bought. Admit it. You believed!

Teen dance in the 60's

15. You know what “leave room for the Holy Spirit means.” One foot apart with only arms touching is the only way to slow dance and keep Jesus happy.

drawing of kid confessing to a priest

16. You totally made up a sin during your first confession with a priest because you were in the first grade and didn’t understand what the heck was going on. Your friend even said adultery, because it sounded cooler than cheating or thinking bad thoughts against your parents, and no one was smartass enough yet to just say murder.

sleeping-300x225

17. You dreaded stations of the cross day. It was long, you had to sit in a hard pew, and most of the time you couldn’t see action or hear the person speaking. So you just sat there. For all eternity.

Nuns holding guns

18.  You have strong feelings about nuns. ‘Nuff said.

May crowning

19. You are still bitter that you were not picked to play Mary during May Crowning or Jesus in the Last Supper. Only the coolest kids, and teachers favorites got those roles. Not little old you. It’s still hurtful to talk about.

Catholic school is like combat, unless you've been there. You don't know.

20. You talk more (aka are more traumatized) about your elementary school experience than anyone else who went to public school. It’s an experience that forever changed you. There was good, there was bad, there was just odd…but in the end you survived.

***Note: Each photo is a link to the original source of the photo***

Our Kent Island Adventure


On Saturday, July 3rd, 1966, (nearly 48 years ago), the closest available weather station to Kent Narrows on Kent Island, MD, was at Stevensville, a distance of 2.2 miles, 3.5 kilometers, or, 1.9 nautical miles. The historic weather conditions reported (and concur all too well within my still vivid memory) that the thermostat hit a whopping 100.9° Fahrenheit in the afternoon with only a light breeze and small wavelets on the bay from a wind of only 6.2 knots, or about 7 miles per hour. When we were sitting in the long line of bumper to bumper vehicles trying to cross the Kent Island Bridge at 10 a.m. in the morning, the temperature outside the car was already 86.7°. But imagine four young adults inside an un air conditioned 1966 Simca, with a loaded interior, a roof that barely held a small aluminum boat tied atop at the front and back bumpers, a trunk that had an older outboard motor, an army blanket, four bamboo pools that had come from recently purchased rolls of carpet. We thought we might have to use the blanket and poles to provide shade if we needed it, and a couple of fishing poles. We also had some coolers stuffed with food from the frig and four large dinner plates and regular table ware because we were so poor in those days that we couldn’t afford to buy paper and plastic ware for the picnic. And, although the photo shows oars or row boat paddles, believe me when I tell you that we had none that day! Now, the first paragraph above somewhat sets the stage for the events that we were about to experience on that holiday weekend—but, not quite.

The night before, the guys, while downing a few beers, tested the old outboard motor by placing it on the side of a 33-gallon galvanized trash can. After several of these beers, the guys demonstrated to us how the outboard engine was ready to roar the next morning.

Our group of four included my childhood friend since we were toddlers, Georgeanne. Georgeanne is 5’2″ tall, weighed all of about 100 pounds wet. Georgeanne’s skin is very fair, like mine, and her hair is naturally strawberry blonde. Georgeanne’s fiancé was Jim, and like my husband, Bob, (of just about 1-1/2 years), was around 6′ tall and had some amount of Native American Indian blood in their ancestral lineage. So their natural skin color was olive toned and they were well-tanned already, unlike Georgeanne and me who were a very harsh pale white and the only color we ever got on our skin was sunburn that turned into more freckles! And, no, we didn’t know the dangers of the UV rays back then, and, if we did, we didn’t have/couldn’t afford sun block/tanning lotion.

Did I forget to mention that this was one of my first adventures out, following a several month bout with morning sickness? Even without the 4-month baby bump, I was no swimmer and there were no lifesaving vests for any of us. Here’s where we might say the real story starts to unfold.

Finally, we four high-spirited young adventurers reached Kent Narrows, where Jim’s mom had gifted him some land in the swampy area adjacent the bay. We girls got the gear ready to board and the guys walked the boat to the shoreline. They placed the motor on the rear of the small aluminum boat and we all hopped in and off we went.

Already, it had been a grueling trip and we were ready to have fun, except, my body was already not coping very well with the heat and humidity. So, we all pitched in and placed the bamboo poles upright in the oar locks and draped our old army blanket atop the bamboo poles and wrapped twine around the four corners of the blanket where it covered each pole. The old army blanket sagged but provided us at least some shade, and, also absorbed some additional heat. ! I feel like we looked like something out Huck Finn or Robinson Crusoe tales, except we have an old tattered and worn army green blanket and they probably had palms from local trees. Geesh, I surely wish we had had cell phones with cameras back in those days. This really would have been a popular funny picture on Instagram or Facebook!

Everybody was finally winding down (except me). Georgeanne, Jim and Bob decided it was time to lay back and take a nap after all of the activities involved in getting us there and afloat in the water. Periodically I would shake one of the more seasoned sailor’s and ask them if they thought we were drifting too far from shore. Repeatedly, they told me, don’t be ridiculous and just to sit back and relax. After about an hour of tapping shoulders and asking how far out we were, they all sat up and decided to take me seriously. Low and behold, our boat had drifted out into the channel. It was then that they decided they should start the motor and take us back closer to shore. Well, the outboard engine that worked when tested in the 33-gallon trashcan, didn’t even sputter when the guys tried to start it. Here we were, the temp was nearly 101°, we had drifted into the channel of the Chesapeake Bay, we had no paddles, no oars, and only tableware. Just about this time, we see a very expensive speed boat with other young people headed our way. We all tried to signal them, but I think they gave us and our rig one look and decided we were probably a bunch of druggies that they wanted nothing to do with. Next, came an elderly couple in a small dingy just cruising slowly around the bay, and they too, paid us no never mind. So now what were we to do?

Well, our only other choice for the moment was to take out the dinner plates and use them as paddles. All of us got busy paddling, but we were making little headway. Petite Georgeanne, then decides that she’s the best swimmer. She ties about a six foot rope made of hemp to her waist, leaps from the seat of the boat and starts swimming off the front bow, tugging us and the boat as she goes. The guys found this just too embarrassing. Jim, being the next biggest and muscular guy, wanting to save his fair maiden and friends decides that it’s his turn. Jim, though, instead of diving from the seat of the boat, just jumps in feet first. Much to everyone’s surprise, the water only came up to Jim’s knees. And that’s when we all belly laughed.

The day had been an unfortunate but great adventure, but the hot 2-hour ride home was a very quiet one. When we got to our apartment still no one had said a word. We just all collapsed in beds and sleeping bags in our wonderfully air conditioned apartment. It was month’s after Georgeanne and Jim left before we ever talked. And, none of us was willing to bring up our holiday adventure ever again. The females blamed the males for the outboard motor not working properly. Jim was just downright embarrassed. I was sick and angry that the events of day had gotten so out of hand, especially since I had warned the others. Bob was Bob, and just took it all in stride. It was back to business as usual.


Our Deaf Heritage


I have had the following post in draft form for several months during which time there have been some Boling, Bolling, Bowling family members discussing whether deafness and hard of hearing runs in our family.  The answer is, in fact, that there have been Boling family members who were born deaf and some of those lines that include deafness extend over to descendants of the John Randolph’s (another branch in the Bolling ancestry).  So, here’s the long and the short of my research:

Early oral education in the United States

Before the 1800s, few, if any, educational opportunities existed for deaf children in America. Some wealthy families sent their children to Europe’s schools, while others children had no access to education.[1] During the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, many wealthy colonists sent their deaf children to Europe to receive schooling.

[2] The best known deaf educational institution was the Braidwood Academy in Edinburgh, Scotland, established in 1760 by Thomas Braidwood as the “Academy for the Deaf and Dumb.”[3]

Braidwood Academy Edinburgh, Scotland

Braidwood Academy Edinburgh, Scotland

He first established the Academy in Bowling Green House in Hackney, London. The name of the house was changed to Grove House and again in 1799 to Pembroke House. The former Academy was continued after Braidwood’s death in 1806 by his family until c.1810. The building that housed the Academy no longer exists but was roughly located in present day No.36 Chatham Street, Hackney, London.

When Thomas Braidwood (1715-1806) first opened the deaf school in Britain in Edinburgh which in 1760, he had one deaf pupil. Braidwood’s success in developing teaching methods for deaf children led to the numbers increasing to 20 pupils by 1780. His approach was to use natural gestures rather than the oralism used elsewhere in Europe. The Braidwood’s represented deaf education for nearly half a century, however the school in Edinburgh closed and Braidwood then moved to London and established The Braidwood Academy for the Deaf and Dumb in Hackney.

The Children of Thomas and Elizabeth Gay Bolling

Thomas and Elizabeth Gay BollingThe Bolling family, who lived in Cobbs, Goochland, Virginia, were the most prominent colonists to send their deaf children to the Braidwood Academy.[2] Thomas Bolling and his wife Elizabeth Gay (who was also his first cousin) had three deaf children, John, Mary, and Thomas Jr., as well as at least two hearing children.[4][5] John was the first of the three children to go to the Braidwood Academy in 1771, with Mary and Thomas Jr. arriving later.[3] The three Bolling children arrived back in the United States in 1783; however, they became ill shortly after arriving home, and John died on October 11, 1783.[6] Because of John’s death upon his return to Virginia, the effectiveness of Braidwood’s 10 years of oral instruction cannot be determined.[6] However, Mary and Thomas Jr. lived for at least another four decades, and comments about Thomas Jr. noted that he was a “miracle of accomplishments.”[6]

The Children of William (son of Thomas and Elizabeth Bolling) and Mary Bolling

The next generation of hearing Bollings had deaf children, and they wanted their children to be educated in the United States.[5] William, the last child of Thomas and Elizabeth, married his first cousin Mary, who bore five children, two of whom were deaf.[5] The couple’s first deaf child, William Albert, was the impetus behind his father’s desire to create a school for the deaf in America.[5]

The Cobbs School for the Deaf

Cobbs-first school for the deaf nin AmericaWilliam Bolling met John Braidwood, tutor of Bolling’s two deaf children and a descendant of Thomas Braidwood, after he arrived in America in 1812.[5][7] Bolling invited Braidwood to stay in his home as Braidwood sorted out a more permanent living arrangement.[7] Braidwood discussed with Bolling his desire to open a school similar to the Braidwood Academy in America.[7] After many setbacks, the Cobbs School was established in 1815 with John Braidwood as teacher.[8][9]  The first deaf school in the United States was short-lived and closed in the fall of 1816.[10]

References

  1. Marschark, Marc; Lang, Harry G; Albertini, John A. (2002).Educating Deaf Students. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 26.
  2. Crouch, Barry A.; Greenwald, Brian H. (2007). “Hearing with the Eye: The Rise of Deaf Education in the United States”. In Van Cleve, John Vickrey. The Deaf History Reader (Anthology). Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press. p. 25. ISBN 978-1-56368-359-6.
  3. Crouch, Barry A.; Greenwald, Brian H. (2007). “Hearing with the Eye: The Rise of Deaf Education in the United States”. In Van Cleve, John Vickrey. The Deaf History Reader (Anthology). Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press. p. 26. ISBN 978-1-56368-359-6.
  4. Crouch, Barry A.; Greenwald, Brian H. (2007). “Hearing with the Eye: The Rise of Deaf Education in the United States”. In Van Cleve, John Vickrey. The Deaf History Reader (Anthology). Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press. pp. 25–26. ISBN 978-1-56368-359-6.
  5. Crouch, Barry A.; Greenwald, Brian H. (2007). “Hearing with the Eye: The Rise of Deaf Education in the United States”. In Van Cleve, John Vickrey. The Deaf History Reader (Anthology). Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press. p. 29. ISBN 978-1-56368-359-6.
  6. Crouch, Barry A.; Greenwald, Brian H. (2007). “Hearing with the Eye: The Rise of Deaf Education in the United States”. In Van Cleve, John Vickrey. The Deaf History Reader (Anthology). Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-56368-359-6.
  7. Crouch, Barry A.; Greenwald, Brian H. (2007). “Hearing with the Eye: The Rise of Deaf Education in the United States”. In Van Cleve, John Vickrey. The Deaf History Reader (Anthology). Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press. pp. 30–31. ISBN 978-1-56368-359-6.
  8. Crouch, Barry A.; Greenwald, Brian H. (2007). “Hearing with the Eye: The Rise of Deaf Education in the United States”. In Van Cleve, John Vickrey. The Deaf History Reader (Anthology). Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press. pp. 33–36. ISBN 978-1-56368-359-6.
  9. Crouch, Barry A.; Greenwald, Brian H. (2007). “Hearing with the Eye: The Rise of Deaf Education in the United States”. In Van Cleve, John Vickrey. The Deaf History Reader (Anthology). Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press. p. 37. ISBN 978-1-56368-359-6.
  10. Camp, Ted. “Deaf Timelines: History and   Heritage”, http://www.silentwordministries.org, Jan. 2011; Loth, Calder, ed. Virginia Landmarks Register, 4th edition, Univ. of Va. Press, 1999.

Silent Worker Logo

The Silent Worker was a popular national newspaper among the deaf population of the United States during the end of the 1890’s through the end of the first quarter of the 20th century. Originally known as the Deaf Mute Times, it was first published in February 1888 and renamed The Silent Worker on September 27 of the same year. The New Jersey School for the Deaf continued its publication monthly, except for July, August, and periodically September until it ceased in June 1929. Deaf American authors wrote almost all articles, although occasional contributions by deaf individuals from other countries were also printed. Gallaudet University Archives has converted their collection of The Silent Worker from 1888 to 1929 into digital format, and made it available on the World Wide Web for public research.

Below is an unabridged article that appeared in The Silent Worker vol. 38 no. 5 (February  1916) that tells the story of the Bollings and their efforts to educate their deaf children in America:

Early Attempts to Educate the Deaf
By: Richard O. Johnson in the Indianapolis News

Source:

The Silent Worker vol. 38 no. 5 (February  1916)

Subjects:

Braidwood Academy
Schools – Deaf

People:

Wilson, Mrs. Woodrow
Bolling, Edith
Bolling, William
Pocahontas
Rolfe, Jane
Bolling, Robert
Bolling, Thomas
Bolling, John
Bolling, Mary
Gallaudet, Thomas H.
Cogswell, Mason Fitch

Digital format:

image/jpeg

Repository:

University Archives, Gallaudet University

Mrs. Norman R. Galt of Washington, DC, now Mrs. Woodrow Wilson, was Miss Edith Bolling,

First Lady Edith Bolling Galt Wilson

First Lady Edith Bolling Galt Wilson

Col Robert Thomas Bolling

a daughter of Judge William [Holcombe] Bolling of Wytheville, Va. and a lineal descendant of Pocahontas, the Indian maid and princess through the Rolfe and Bolling line.  The Bollings of ancient English stock and wealth as far back as the War of the Roses had their seat at Bolling Hall, in Yorkshire.  The first American representative was Robert Bolling [1646-1709, my 8th great grandfather], who married Jane Rolfe, the granddaughter of Pocahontas, her father John having been born and reared in England, but returning to American and mating with a Virginia maid.

Major Thomas Bolling

Major Thomas Bolling

Two generations later Major Thomas Bolling, of Goochland County, Virginia, had three deaf children: John, Mary and Thomas (sixth in line from Pocahontas), all three having been born deaf.  These children were sent at ages of ten (1771), ten and nine (1773), respectively, to Edinburgh, Scotland, to be educated in a special school for the death conducted by the Braidwoods.  They returned to Virginia following the Revolutionary War, in 1783, having “received abroad a good education and, in addition thereto, had been taught to speak intelligently and to read speech from the mouths of others.”None of the three were ever married and they died aged, respectively, twenty-two, sixty-one and seventy.  These three children have the distinction of being the first deaf children of American to be educated.  In addition to these, Major Bolling had another son, William (1777-1845), who possessed hearing and, of course, speech, and who may have had other hearing-speaking brothers, as he certainly had hearing-speaking sisters, who married into well-known families in the states.  This son, Colonel William Bolling as he was later known, “as a man of large affairs and of sterling worth, of broad and liberal views, a philanthropist and a patriot—and, of course, a Virginian with Virginia pride; and it was through his agency that the first private school for the Deaf in America (taught by a young member of the Braidwood family, and giving attention to speech was opened in 1812 at Cobbs near Petersburg, Va.  William Bolling’s initial interest was because of his brothers and sisters, but enhanced later by a deaf son, William Albert, and a deaf daughter, Mary, born to himself and wife, the latter, I believe a Randolph connected with John Randolph, of Roanoke, and fame.  These two children have the distinction of being the first deaf children of America to be educated in their own country.  William Albert had a deaf cousin, St. George Tucker Randolph, a nephew of John Randolph, of Roanoke, who seems to have attended school in Edinburgh, later going to a school in Paris.  Attending school with William Albert Bolling was George Richard Lee Turberville, also deaf, a grandson of Richard Henry Lee, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Really, the first attempt in America to teach speech to the deaf was made by Philip Nelson, in the neighborhood of Rowley, Massachusetts, nearly 250 years ago in 1672.  Just what his success, is unknown, but it was during those disgracefully malicious and inquisitional days of witchcraft when a successful oral teacher would have been hanged or pressed to death.  It is quite probably that there was neither much effort nor success.

Mr. Nelson, however, had trouble growing out of whatever effort there was for the “narrow-minded and fanatical ministers of the neighborhood” were called to investigate him and the boy, who it was claimed, had been taught (bewitched) by him.  The boy was interrogated closely, probably by “third degree” methods of the present day, “but there he stood,” says the church records, “like a deaf and dumb boy as he was—they could not make him hear, nor could he speak.” And thus it was that Mr. Nelson, “who pretended,” it is alleged, “to cure a deaf and dumb boy in imitation of our Saviour by saying epithats,” was saved from the clutch of the infamous frenzy of the day.

Thomas_and_Alice,_Gallaudet_University

Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and Alice Cogswell.

Sharing Two Months of Moments…


It’s been nearly two months since I have posted anything new on my blog site.

Beautiful-Winter-Wallpaper-110No, I haven’t had writer’s block, genealogical brick walls that I couldn’t break down, or outside enjoying the snow and extreme winter temps. To the contrary, I believe I just became overwhelmed by the volume of my every day and special or unexpected moments in my life.

For example (for all of you list makers):

Many of us prepared for and celebrated at least several of the following 16 holidays and observances that involved us making extra special foods, putting extra spit shines on our homes, doing extra shopping, unpacking and setting up our favorite decorations, creating/giving and wrapping thought-filled gifts,  traveling to or hosting get togethers with family and friends for those special meals and traditions,  memorializing and honoring military, religious, and community ceremonies; and ringing out the old and bringing in the New Years, and, finally dismantling and removing all those special decorations—all of these activities in addition to our daily schedules and procedures of providing and caring for ourselves and others in our lives bring us joy, peace, and yes, even exhaustion when we have time to reflect on them.

1)    Nov 11    Veterans Day
2)    Nov 28    Chanukah/Hanukkah (first day)
3)    Nov 28    Thanksgiving Day
4)     Dec 1    First Sunday of Advent
5)     Dec 2    Cyber Monday
6)     Dec 5    Last Day of Chanukah
7)     Dec 7    Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
8)     Dec 8    Feast of the Immaculate Conception
9)    Dec 24    Christmas Eve
10)   Dec 25    Christmas Day
11)   Dec 31    New Year's Eve
12)    Jan 1    New Year’s Day
13)    Jan 6    Epiphany
14)   Jan 16    Tu Bishvat/Tu B'Shevat
15)   Jan 20    Martin Luther King Day
16)   Jan 31    Chinese New Year

But wait, several other life-affecting events took place, at least in our family:

1)    Oct 26    Passing of a very close colleague and friend after a 2 year battle with cancer—I know this one falls a little out of  the 2-month scope I've been discussing, but its occurrence and our times together cannot go unnoticed or unmentioned.
2)    Nov 29    Miracle twins (a healthy boy and girl)—5 years long awaited for one of our church family couples. Life does go on…
3)    Dec 22    My brother, 11 years my junior, found out that he  is not the picture of health.  Rather, he has blockages in and     around his aorta and peripheral arteries, in addition to his COPD  and Emphysema.  He remains in the midst of several tests and       procedures that are expected to stretch into February/March.
4)    Dec 25    My paternal great grandfather’s son Googled his father’s name and his search hit upon an article in my blog post.  Turns out, my great grandfather started a second family late in life and his son and two sisters are my grand uncle and aunts.  Since then,  together,  we have been tumbling down the walls on this branch of our family and soon we will be meeting in person.
5)    Dec 28  A day trip to Lynchburg, VA, to see our 3rd eldest grandson on leave from the Air Force and stationed in Korea, and a birthday dinner with son and family. 
6)     Jan 2    In this season of peace, love, and joy, our 2nd eldest grandson and his fiancé married in Annapolis, MD.
7)     Jan 5    We learned a new meteorological term:  
“Polar Vortex,"as API published:  A whirlpool of frigid, dense air known as a "polar vortex" suppressed the temperatures in more than half of the continental U.S.…with wind chill warnings stretching   from Montana to Alabama. 
8)    Jan 10    A loving and lovely young woman of 95—a friend of  my mom’s and grandmother to our daughter’s best friend in high     school went home to be with our Lord, Jesus Christ.
9)    Jan 20   Our newly discovered grand aunt had surgery on her  ear to recover her hearing loss of 23 years.
10)    Jan 20   Into month 4 of my twice a week physical therapy to strengthen my back and legs, relieve pain, and to lose excess      weight.  All's going well and slowly but surely I am feeling       revitalized and re energized.

Final Reflection

Christmas Drama Scene

Christmas Drama Scene at Chesapeake Church

One of my favorite inspirational/non-biblical quotes that I think best reflects my total awe and exhaustion during this season of my life: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away–(author unknown).“