Thursday, June 30, 2016

Along a Country Road

I would venture to guess that most of us have certain routines that we follow.
And routines can be a good thing, for the most part.
 Friday mornings I routinely set aside to do my weekly grocery shopping.
I like to leave the house right after sunrise.
  When you get up with the chickens (even on your days off) this is not a hard thing to do.
I could get onto the highway but I prefer to take the more scenic route,
along this country road which is only a few miles from where I do my shopping.
These photos are from last Friday morning.

The road is mostly unpaved and off the beaten path, not to be confused with my road less traveled.
 I have taken lots of photos on this gravel road and have shared many of them here as well.

One of my simple pleasures of summertime is gazing upon a field growing high with corn.

It's not quite as high as an elephant's eye yet but it's getting there. 
And if you look really hard, you can see the corner of a fence in the distance :)

I didn't realize corn stalks have these really cool feet.

One of my first stops along the way was to get a few shots of this Canadian goose family.

I had seen them the week before but they were on the far side of the pond.

I was delighted that they were close enough to snap a few decent shots, although not the best.
Not that you can see it, but I was actually shooting between the wires of an electric fence.

Really... I swear.

You may recognize this hay barn from other posts...or you may not.
I find myself stopping once again to get more images of it.

I experimented a bit with different effects and angles.

The Queen Anne's Lace is in all of it's glory, everywhere you look.

Surely the Lord will allow it in heaven...

...but of course, no one will be allergic :)

Believe it not, there is a fence buried under the thick growth.

I promise :)

Gee, it's almost Friday again...
...time for my routine to start all over again :)

Join me over at the Run-A-Round Ranch for Theresa's
Good Fences

Monday, June 27, 2016


Happy last week of June!
Didn't we just celebrate Memorial Day...I mean, really...where did this month go??
So today, I'm linking to Judith's final Mosaic Monday.
Hasn't she done a fabulous job since she took over this fun party?
Her creativity and beautiful photography, along with her expertise in gardening
has certainly made this something to look forward to every week.
I know Judith isn't leaving us,
but I do hope Mosaic Monday finds a new home!

I have loved snapdragons ever since I was a little girl.

Mom always grew them and I can't look at one without it bringing about an image of her...
on her sweet knees, weeding her precious garden.

She has been gone now for over six years but having a few of these in my own garden
somehow makes me feel like a part of her is still right here with me.

They really are such unique little flowers, don't you think?

I remember as a child making them "talk" to each other.

Or maybe this is more like it...."open wide and say ahhhhhhh!"

Did you ever do that?

Surely, you must have.

Each individual bloom looks as if it might just open it's mouth and start talking all by itself.

Wouldn't that be a hoot?!

I've heard of people talking to their flowers...

...but the flowers talking back?

Only in the imagination of a young girl...

...many, many years ago :)
Do you have a favorite flower that sparks a childhood memory in you?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Found: Long Lost Cousin...a Father's Day Story

Well, actually...she found me.
So I guess I should be thankful for my unusual maiden name which is Billheimer.
When I was a teenager, I used to dread telling people my whole name...
 D-e-b-b-y    B-i-l-l-h-e-i-m-e-r... 
I thought it sounded SO uncool and that it had too many b's when you said it all together.
Go ahead...try it and see how it sounds.
See what I mean?
Anyway, this post didn't start out to be a Father's Day post at all.
It just so happened that I kept putting it on the back burner but if I hadn't done that,
the story wouldn't have turned out to be so cool!
If you are so inclined to read to the end, it will all make sense...I promise :)
It all started a few months back on Sunday, March 1, as I read my email that morning...
...the words long lost cousin were in the subject line.
I have cut and pasted the letter below.

I was reading some old letters of my mother's and it led me to doing some research on some members of our family, which eventually led me to your blog.  When I first read the page on the musical ability and your family, I knew we had to be cousins. Then I looked at the page you dedicated to your mother, and I actually recognized her picture from a reunion that my mother and I attended (and two of my brothers and my own daughter and grand-daughter) back in 1996 at the Troy park.   Mom died in 1997. 

I am Sharon Billhimer Nale, my mother was Hazel Billhimer, my father was Emil Billhimer. We grew up in Troy Ohio. There were seven of us children: Keith (deceased in 1977), Jim (deceased in 2011), Tommy (deceased in 1994), Joe (now 78), Deanna (now 74), Sharon- me- aged 71, and our youngest brother Ken, only 70!

I am so eager to begin a correspondence with you and to share family history information. I only hope that you also wish to share such information. I will wait until I hear from you to make sure we have made a connection. I am thanking God for leading me to you,  and praying for your enthusiasm on the other end of this letter.


P. S. Here is a pic of Elma at Hazel Billhimer Brown’s 100th birthday a few years back.  I think. Correct?

This photo was added at the end of her is my mom and my oldest sister, Lois.
According to Sharon, she had been present at my dad's older sister's 100th birthday party.
I'm sure if Mom was still here on this earth, she (and certainly Lois as well) would say...
"Oh my goodness....what a picture!"
It's pretty obvious that they didn't pose for it :)

As Sharon named these members of her family, I was absolutely blown away.
Her father, Emil and my dad were first cousins, best friends and partners in crime...
...well, not really crime but I remember so well hearing my dad tell of their many crazy antics!
Here is one of the many photos she shared with me through facebook.
I have put it next to a photo of my dad to show the resemblance.

Sharon's dad, Emil Billhimer                                   My dad, Joe Billheimer

My grandfather, Solomon Billhimer, who passed away the year I was born,
and Sharon's grandfather, Ezra Billhimer were brothers.
Notice the difference in the spelling of the last name.
Somewhere along the line, a family member must have decided to drop the 'e'...
...which my guess is probably the original German spelling of the name.
I will bet that Sharon knows the reason why it was changed...I'm just guessing here.
Sharon also has a brother named Joe and I remember as a little girl thinking how cool it was
that there was another Joe Billhimer...and that this one had dropped the 'e'.

Here's a photo of him and I think he bears a striking resemblance to my dad too!
I may have tiny fragmented memories of Joe and also of her sister, Deanna,
who was close with my oldest sister, Lois, but I don't remember Sharon (sorry, Cuz).
Were you hiding somewhere?? {smile}

So anyway, as Sharon stated in her email to me, she had come across my other blog,
where I have written about some of my childhood memories.
After we made the connection through email, we quickly found each other's facebook pages
and proceeded to connect all of our siblings to each other as well.

Fast forward to the beginning of last week.

I don't regularly visit my other blog unless I have written a new post (which isn't often),
but you know those facebook memories that pop up daily on our newsfeed?
One of mine was from a couple of Father's Days ago,
 where I had posted a story about Dad from my other blog...
it was about him being able to blow the fire (heat) out of burns to the skin.
Sharon had read this and left a comment which of course went into my email.
This had been at the very end of February and she had emailed me on March 1st.

The plot thickens....

So...if you are still with me, I'm about to let you in on the best part.
I bet right now most of you are saying "Any day now!"

This time when I clicked on the link to my post and read the comments,
I noticed that there was a link back to Sharon...this cousin of mine started her own blog!
A couple of days before she emailed me, she had written about how it all came about.
I didn't know all of these details about how she actually found me until this past week.
You could have knocked me over with a feather as I read her post (below).
She has given me permission to copy and paste it

Genetically Hardwired
I was researching my family on the Internet.  Two weeks ago I found the obituary of my cousin quite accidentally. I had just texted her on the day of her death, the very day the obituary went on line. I had spoken to her by phone the week before.We had been exchanging family history for the past several years. Had I not found that obituary, I most likely never would have known what happened to her. She only has one daughter, and that daughter never had children. That daughter has never stayed in touch with our branch of the family, and has never shown a desire  to know us. I was greatly saddened about that, but I understand it's fairly common among families. I have tried to contact this cousin, but no response. The Internet has not been helpful in the usual ways of locating her, but I am hopeful.

Tonight, I quite accidentally (or serendipitously) came across a blog which I believe connects me to another cousin.  This blog was about a musical family. As I read it, I realized it had to be a cousin of mine. This blogger wrote about her mother, and I recognized the picture. She wrote about her father, and I recognized his picture! She wrote about family superstitions, and I recognized our own family superstitions! Things like "the seventh son of the seventh son "having special medical abilities such as "blowing the fire out" or healing burns.  My mother was given the special Biblical words/verses to recite from the seventh son of the seventh son in her family line.  She has passed it onto my brother, who is the seventh child, though not the seventh son.  He tells me he forgot what the Bible verse was that she whispered to him that day many years ago.

I will interrupt Sharon's post here to insert a link to my post that she is referring to.

Well, the blogger's mother and father are now deceased, and my own mother and father are also deceased. But I am certain this woman and I are cousins. I have written to her tonight, and though she lives in North Carolina and I live in Ohio, I am still certain we are related. The fact that her family experiences mirror my own family experiences so much makes me think we are come from the same gene pool! We are so very similar it gives me chills and fills me with awe. How can this be? 

I cannot wait to hear from her, and I decided to start this blog to share what happens from this point on. I have never done a blog before, but I am certain that this one, provided we both live long enough, will bring us an unusual, extraordinarily enriching relationship- and perhaps others will enjoy reading about this miracle that the internet has made possible.

Below are some of the folks who I believe are links in our family tree.  Mostly likely they are cousins of this blogger and me. When I get her permission, IF I get her permission, I will identify her, and with her help, possibly identify also the folks whose pictures are displayed below, taken at a reunion 14 years ago.

Yes, it was I who took the pictures, and yes, I had no idea who these folks were. I just went around snapping, and hoped to learn their names as the picnic progressed.  I never did, sadly.  I got cornered by other family members and the time passed before I learned identities.  

(my mom)
(my brother, Jerry)
(Jerry's wife, Elaine)

Anyway, please stay tuned and check in from time to time, because this may be quite an exploration.

Grouped together, just right of center are Mom and all four of my sisters: Lois, Ruby, Janet and Barbara and brother, Jerry. 

I think I may have attended one other family reunion from this branch, but maybe not. I more often attend reunions of the other side of the family on my mother's line. My father's line stopped having the reunions for some reason. That's sad too. The times are changing for many of us, mobile as we are, moving here to there and all over. Reunions are harder to attend.

This is her post after she made contact with me.

Joy in Mudville
Mar 1, 2016

Well, the contact has been made.  I have texted with two of the cousins so far.  I uploaded quite a few pictures. There is excitement from their end, and from our end. I say OUR end, because I immediately called both brothers and my sis and let them know of this fantastic find.

Seems their branch of the tree and our branch ALL have some of the same inherited tendencies.  Musical, magical healing powers, inventing, hardworking, mischievous, and more.  My father looks like their father, though they were only cousins.  I hardly know where to go from here. I don't want to make a pest of myself.  I am waiting for something from their end.

I thought I'd dream about them all last night, but I didn't.  I bet dreaming is a part of their lives, too! Many of my sibs dreamed, and remembered them.

I think my branch wins on the poverty side of the story.  Mostly because my parents divorced after 13 years and 7 kids.  Their mom and Dad stayed together.  That impacts greatly economically and is far-ranging in other effects.

What I am most interested in is comparing genetic tendencies.  I have always believe that our shyness was inherited because so many of us were plagued it.  Three of us at least, out of 7.

The same applies to the musically innate qualities, playing by ear, etc.  That applies to 3 of us out of 7.

More to come, but I must get my rest and prepare for a root canal tomorrow. That's another thing I want to check out.  Are their teeth as bad as ours on our branch of Billhimers?   I tell anyone who will listen my teeth were hard-wired to be bad.  I think this applies to 6 of us 7.

I also want to check out heart disease on their line of Billhimers.  Ours has a dreadful record. Mother? Check!  Father? Check. Keith? Check!  Jim? Check!  All died from heart problems. Sharon?Check! Joe and Ken and I all high blood pressure. I have arrhythmia. Joe wears a pacemaker. Aunts and uncles have the same kinds of records both on mom's side and daddy's side, though the two girls of the family lived into their 80's.  My Dad and a sib(male) died of heart disease.  Grampa had heart problems, suffered a stroke and died. Gramma lived into her 90's.  I want to know about THEIR grampa (my great uncle Solomon) and gramma.

Maybe one of them will find this blog and read it and answer?


So that's about it...unfortunately, I cannot be that person who answers her questions...
I don't know half of these people and I can't remember the other half!
Maybe some of my older brothers and sister can enlighten her somewhat.
As what so often happens, the years and miles separated many of us.
With a name like Billheimer...or Billhimer, it's pretty easy to look up our ancestry, I assume.
But it's still nothing short of amazing how these two families found each other after so many years.
There is no doubt that God Himself had His hands all over it.

Oh, and before I forget...

...this is Cousin Sharon.

She will no doubt be celebrating Father's Day the same as I do now...
...the way any of us do after we have lost our dads.
But we never lose the memories, do we?
We celebrate by honoring their memory by talking about them...
 ...telling and re-telling old familiar stories that really never get old at all.
And of course, never forgetting the impact they had on our lives.
I know my dad lives on in my heart and I cherish his memory always and forever.
This is just a short segment of a video I made for my family after my dad passed away.
I hope you take a few minutes to watch it.

So, if you're still with me and if you are blessed enough to still have your father around, 
tell him you love him..or better yet...GO GIVE HIM A BIG HUG!

Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, 
that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land 
which the LORD your God gives you. ~Deuteronomy 5:16

Friday, June 17, 2016

Simple Pleasures and a Bloggiversary

Hello my peeps!
I hope everyone has had an enjoyable week.
It sounds as if we are in for a fabulous weekend, weather-wise...
...temps barely reaching 80 degrees, no humidity and plenty of sunshine!
I plan to savor every moment because I'm pretty sure it will not last long.
 So another year has rolled around and tomorrow will mark my third year of blogging!
It's funny...sometimes it seems like it's been much longer than that... other times I still feel like such a newbie. 
I am very grateful for each and every one of you who pop in to see what I'm up to!
This past year has had it's share of trials and tribulations and I thank you all for your prayers.
But oh, what wonderful blessings as well and I thank you for rejoicing with me!

And if you know anything about me at all,
you surely must know that it's the simple things in life that make me happy... just doesn't take much.
They say diamonds are a girl's best friend...
...but although I do have a few (nothing extravagant, mind you) and am quite fond of them,
watching a butterfly light on a thistle just delights my heart.

Or sneaking up on a dragonfly, getting so close you can almost reach out and touch it... that's exciting!
Here a few more shots taken over the past week of some more of my favorite things.

Snapdragons...they remind me of my dear sweet mother...

A Ruby-throated hummingbird...some of our Lord's best handiwork...

Queen Anne's Lace...

such a delicate masterpiece!

And did I ever tell you how much I adore milk thistles?

Surely I have...I'm almost positive :)

Milkweed blooms and bumble bees...

...more butterflies on more thistles...

...and a little Picmonkey mirror-image fun.

Just a few of my simple pleasures.
There are many more where they came from :)
Thank you again for hangin' around to see what year four has in store.

Hugs to all!
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