My People

My People
My People - Cosette, Austin, Oliver, Cody, me & Ryan. Just think, had I not lived, these people wouldn't be on the planet. They are my whole heart!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Reasons to Love Monday

It's cold and dark outside... I'm feeling icky and want to go back to bed... but I owe, so I go... and along the way I'm going to find Reasons to Love Monday

1. Coffee good.
2. Austin is going back to school finally.
3. One of the prodigals I mentioned yesterday went back home. There is still much work to be done, keep that family in your prayers.
4. I slept great last night. Trouble loves to either sleep on top of my feet or he will curl up beside me and spoon with his head on my pillow. I'm not sure if he thinks he's a cat or a dog or a person.
5. My electric bill that is due this week is half what the last one was... thank God for being able to keep the a/c and heat turned off.
6. No staff meeting this morning. Not that I don't LOVE staff meetings *eye roll*... I just hate adjusting my schedule.
7. I woke up at 4am this morning and was feeling really sleeping still so I went back to sleep and slept until 6. That felt great.
8. I can't wait for sun up.... the colors here are so beautiful that my little drive to work is filled with wonder and awe... rarely with stress.
9. My commute is a joy almost every day - rarely any traffic, other than at the four way stop. That's important on what is usually the biggest afternoon rush hour of the year... Halloween.
10. Someone asked me recently if it was ok for Christians to celebrate Halloween. I'm not sure I'm a great theological source when it comes to those difficult questions. I think it's about the attitude of your heart and what you're celebrating. Cute kids in non-gory, non-evil costumes, visiting their neighbors... not so bad.
11. We're so remote that it's doubtful we'll have any trick or treaters. I think there are only about five or six kids in our subdivision.
12. I'm not a huge fan of Halloween but I am CRAZY about Thanksgiving! With Thanksgiving you get all the family with none of the financial pressures of gift giving. Ours will be slightly different this year with my parents gone but even if it's just me and the kid... we'll have a four day weekend and that's something to look forward to!

Hope whatever you're doing today... wherever you are... that it's a great day for you. We can do this, y'all!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

family... near and far...

Jim and Sarabeth camping last weekend
How sweet is that picture of Sarabeth and her daddy, my brother Jim? Those of you who are long time blog readers... she was just two when I started blogging and now she's such a big girl... and such a sweetheart. Sarabeth just turned nine. Jamie is closing in on seven, which means that I've been blogging almost seven years. I started just the day after she was born, and talked about the dramatic circumstances surrounding her birth.

Life marches on, doesn't it? Since I started blogging I have lived in six different places. I have had the SAME car the whole time. I have lost and gained the equivalent of three adults. My oldest child was eighteen at the time and now my youngest child is almost 18. It's been quite an adventure, hasn't it?

Today is a super lazy Sunday for me. I slept late - after six! I ran out for a few things that I forgot to buy yesterday and then went RIGHT back to bed. I slept until 11. I knew at the end of last week that I was really feeling completely exhausted, not the normal fatigue, a really deep BONE tired. I'm glad I got the extra sleep in today. I'm sure it will help.

I forgot my camera when I headed out this morning which is a bummer because it was such a beautiful morning. There was a hard frost last night and the colors are so rich and deep... I love fall. I would never want to decorate my house in fall colors, really, although I do have the sage green/chocolate brown pattern in my room... it's almost as if the colors are so perfect that they're impossible to reproduce indoors.

I had a great chat via facebook messages with my niece Tiffany last night. She's the oldest girl of the grandchildren... my brother Michael's stepdaughter (but we really don't do steps in our family... family is family... blood or marriage it's all the same)... I don't talk about this often but my brother Michael - who is the middle of the five of us kids - is a Jehovah's Witness which takes him out of the picture over holidays. He's very family oriented and has three beautiful kids - Tiffany, Cory and Matthew. Tiffany is... 23? I think? And Cory is 14... Matthew is 12... I think. Tiffany is married and has a little boy, Ethan James, who is 3 1/2. She is pregnant with her second baby. Anyways... she is no longer a Witness and is interested in being with our family on Thanksgiving. This just warmed my heart beyond words... my parents are going to be in New York over Thanksgiving and I'm not sure what my aunts are doing - Aunt Ginger and Uncle Carl are in Rome (Italy, not Georgia) right now and I don't know when they'll be back. My cousin Christie has just had her second baby so I'm hoping to get to cuddle him and get my baby fix. And of course, I need to see my Codester and my daughter-in-law Marquee. Austin hasn't seen Devin in months, since Devin has graduated and they don't get to see each other every day at school. We miss our peeps.

Anyways, Tiffany and I had a great talk about family and how important it is to know who you are and where you come from, whether by nature or nurture. Our families - both sides - have such rich, spiritual, fascinating history. I have such a deep need to pass that along, to share the stories of who we are with the next generation. My brother David's family has been alienated from the rest of us for several years and it breaks my heart to not have the relationship with his babies that I have with Sarabeth and Jamie. Ultimately, I pray, they will find their way back to us just as Tiffany wants to do. In the meantime, we just go on loving them unconditionally and praying for their health, wealth, safety, happiness and well being.

I've got a couple of friends right now who are dealing with estrangement from a child. I really, honestly, deeply grieve with them and for them. Two of my three are far away geographically but emotionally, close to my heart. I don't have to worry about where they are or what they're doing. I may not see them as often as I would like but I can be proud of them. I know the pain, though, of having your child walk out of your life. It cuts like a knife. It also is a deep wound when you're estranged from family. It's hard.

I wish the five of us kids and the dozen or so grandchildren were closer. I also wish I was closer with my eight aunts and eight uncles... and the dozens of cousins I have. Facebook helps. It's brought us closer. It's given us a way to keep up with each other without having to pick up the phone (which I hate) or send a letter (which I don't seem to find time for lately).

At any rate... I'm hopeful that we will be able to have Tiffany and her husband and Ethan James with us for Thanksgiving... if it doesn't work out, at least there are good intentions on both sides.

In the meantime... I have two incredible little red heads who are only a few minutes away and I can watch them grow up.

Happy Sunday, y'all!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Our colorful world...

It's a happy Saturday day here in Sautee, Georgia. I'm able to medicate enough on the weekend that the pain isn't as bad. We're blessed to live in a place where you can get a good view of the fall colors. I love living in the mountains.


Right outside  our front door... 


driving to Cleveland...   


Resurrection Episcopal Preschool Incorporated (that's what Jamie called the little Episcopal church where she went for preschool. How beautiful is that?





Swiss Colony... it's a little subdivision near us... Austin asked, "do you have to be Swiss to live there?" I said, "no, but you have to be neutral". Get it? Swiss? Neutral? We thought it was funny.




Driving on Helen Highway toward Cleveland. Not a perfect shot (since I was driving) but you can get an idea of how vivid the colors are right now. Simply gorgeous!


More color while driving. Don't worry. It was early and there were hardly any other cars on the road. Tourists sleep late, apparently.


The little Catholic church in Cleveland. They apparently have almost sold all of their pumpkins this year. 


Jamie Gant thinks this is THE PRETTIEST church. By the way, Jamie Gant (and her sister and daddy) stopped by my office yesterday afternoon and she danced to the Monster Mash for me. She's a sassy little dancer!


*sigh* I wish I was a better photographer but you get the idea... 




This is the road up to our little nest. There's a mountain in the distance... 


See that mountain over there? One of these days, I'm gonna climb that there mountain...
(can you name that tune?)


Our poor old Stubby the three legged wondercat... he likes to perch in the living room window and watch the squirrels and the "goggies" and the bears and Boomer the cat and Crybaby the cat... he lords over this perch like he owns it.


"what? why are you taking my picture?"


Looks a little smarmy there, doesn't he? He appreciates the flea collar.


Our front yard/back yard driveway, whatever you want to call it... it's just woods out there. Beautiful, peaceful, colorful woods.


And since I showed you Stubby's perch, I have to show you Trouble's happy spot. Little narrow table I bought from the neighbors before they moved to Columbia... covered in a comfy comforter and a sheet that matches my bedding.
Although he would much rather lay across my chest and in between me and whatever I'm trying to do.
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Friday, October 28, 2011

giant conglomeration of frustration

I am exhausted. Mentally and emotionally and physically drained. I have been on the  verge of tears for days yet... I haven't cried. I'm just moving forward, faking it, pretending to be present but not really. I'm discouraged with the limitations I have. My life has ground down to just work and home and I'm not pleased with the state of either right now. It hurts to move. It hurts to sit. It hurts to sleep. I have an appointment with a surgeon next week. Not for my back, although I will definitely ask his opinion on that. On the other thing I mentioned earlier in the week. I'm feeling the pressure to get things taken care of before the calendar year ends and my deductible resets. I hurt so bad at times that I think my doctors must be savages to allow a patient to suffer so much. I feel like there has to be something. Anything. Something they can do. I understand how people become addicted to illegal drugs to alleviate pain, if they hurt like I do. Not that I will / would ever do anything illegal. I keep my illegal activities to things like speeding and not often with that. Austin is still sick. I'm sick. I need to go back to my primary care doctor to get something for the junk that I'm coughing up but I don't have time to be away from the office. I need a break. I need to just walk away from the pain for... even just an hour... a day... a couple of days... to do the things I want and need to do. Sometimes I get rebellious and do things I want to do even though I know it will hurt. And then I spend the next day barely able to move. My dad is sick. I'm worried about him. I won't go into details because it's not my story to tell. When I say "worry" I mean in the sense of praying for him... just like with a friend who is facing heartbreaking circumstances... they are often on my mind which means they're often in my prayers.  Austin just told me that his phone (which is a pay as you go phone) "resets" today. Last time it "reset" it automatically drafted out of both of my accounts - both the child support account and my primary bank account even though I had not authorized this. Both accounts were refunded but it took several days. If it does that today, it will take all that I have left to get me through until payday on Tuesday... so I have to go by an atm on the way to work and withdraw cash from both. He will be without his phone for the weekend but that's just the way it has to be. Food or phone? Although, frankly, I've been eating cereal for dinner this week and I'm quite happy with that. Fruit and oatmeal for breakfastSomething from a restaurant for lunch (subway/zaxby's/sonic/taco bell/thai) and then cereal for dinner. I don't have much of an appetite. You wouldn't know it to look at me. I look like I've been on a year long eating binge. I haven't. I've just been a lab rat for a group of doctors who apparently don't know how to make me better and keep giving me different pharmaceuticals to try to fix me... but instead they're just making me morbidly obese. I attempted yesterday a couple of times to open up to people and they changed the subject without really listening. People don't seem to hear me any more. When they say, "how are you?" If your answer is anything longer than "fine"... they don't listen. Nobody wants to hear it. I've become that person that people look past. I let this be one giant difficult to read paragraph because that's how it feels in my mind... like one giant conglomeration of frustration that is sometimes just too much.

At least it's Friday.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

thankful Thursday...

And the week goes on...
Austin is still sick with the sinu-pneumo-pharyngeal crap. I don't know what he really has. Couldn't get him an appointment yesterday. He's not throwing up any more and he SEEMS better... but still dragging.
I'm dragging too.
I'm battling a stuffy head, sneezing, sore throat... extreme fatigue... back pain but no muscle spasms today, yet. Those are the worst.
I could sleep for 24 hours straight and just might do that this weekend.
It's thankful Thursday, y'all. Time to rally the troops (ok, me and the cat) and remember what an awesome life we have.
I was thinking about that yesterday when I made a run to the store for juice, fruit, soup and popsicles for us. How many people would LOVE the life I have?
Not that I'm trying to evoke envy or encourage anyone to covet.
But my life is good. Blessed. Anointed.
I may have married twice... and not been able to keep those marriages afloat.... but I am not harassed or bothered by either one of them. Gone is gone.
I lived long enough to raise all three of my kids to (almost) adulthood. There are so many parents who don't have that blessing... so many kids who grow up wondering who their biological parents were or what they were like.
My car has been hanging in there... minimum maintenance... reliable... that's a huge blessing.
My insurance has covered so much of the medical costs I've had this year... each trip to the pain clinic is AT LEAST $225... I pay around ten bucks. That's a blessing.
If I had led this kind of hermit existence twenty years ago - this whole "work and sleep and little else" existence - I would have been so lonely. Instead... I've got a thousand facebook friends... a hundred or so blog readers... I'm able to keep in touch with so many.
I was able to move away from an area that was increasingly scary for me... after my car was vandalized twice in my driveway... after they put in the speed bumps every twenty feet which made getting in and out of the trailer park incredibly frustrating... after my kid was being hurt at school, almost daily.. despite the ultimate outcome of my relationship with Michael, if I had not met him, I would probably still be in that trailer.
There are blessings to be found in every negative.
Had Michael and I not divorced, I would have been living in various parts unknown... an unstable and nomadic life that would have continued to pull me away from the people in my life who matter to me.
Had lightning not struck our last little nest, we would still be trying to struggle to pay the rent - which I never could REALLY afford - and I would still be worried over what Austin was doing and who he was keeping company with.
I believe, had we not moved, Austin would never have had the opportunity to finish school.
I don't know what blessings God has in store for me through this back pain. It's a lesson I'm still learning but I'm learning more and more every day.
There is no doubt in my heart, though, that nothing in this world is permanent, nothing is secure... health and wealth can be snatched from you in a heartbeat.
The only thing you can count on is God.
And He is good.
I know that none of these situations are new... and I apologize for a redundant blog today... but no matter what's going on for you... there are blessings that can come from it.
Sometimes the blessing is just in the fact that you woke up again today and you still have the opportunity to impact your world... and be impacted by it.
And just now... I knocked over my mug of coffee and had to move the recliner and everything around it to clean it up. The blessing in that? Well... at least I have coffee... and creamer... and a really cool table that my friends brought me last year when they cleaned my house... and a cozy nest... and although it's harder to bend over and clean things off the floor, I still can do it.

Have a great Thursday, y'all.
God bless.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tuesdays Troubles give way to Whiny Wednesday

The leaves on the trees are gorgeous here now. I made an early morning grocery store run and the mist on the mountains... the rising sun reflecting off of it... showing the reds and yellows and deep orange among the pines... it's nothing to complain about, this view I have of the world.

My kid is sick. Coughing, fever, stuffy head... pretty much everything listed on the nyquil bottle plus everything listed on a pepto bismol bottle. He's really miserable. I was up a good portion of the night offering moral support... we both dozed on and off in between. He spent part of the night in his bathroom... which is enough to make anybody sick.

So I ran to the grocery store early this morning and stocked up on gatorade, juices, fruit, Popsicles, soups... thank God the child support came in so I could afford this. I'm hoping to get him in to see a doctor although I suspect that might be difficult to do in the time span I can allot for it today. I need to get into the office by the time the lunches start. We have two new girls who aren't fully trained and appointed so although there are  more warm bodies there is still a shortage of folks who are able to fully and completely take care of our clients. I've got to make it in. PLUS... I need the hours.

I'm wiped out, though. I've got muscle spasms grabbing every inch of muscle on the back half of my body. I'm sore throaty-coughy-flu-ey feeling myself but I'm not going down without a fight. I haven't got time for the pain. I'm giving myself a little juice boost today too.

Yes, friends... it's Whiny Wednesday.

My heart is heavy this morning for a fellow single mommy who is really being put through the ringer right now... facing financial drought... being pushed around by an ex-husband who is abusive at best, psychotic at worst... and on top of that has a bit of a medical crisis going on as well. God knows her name, I just ask that you lift her and her circumstances up in prayer.

Everything gets so greatly exacerbated when you're a single parent. Every little aberration can be a major crisis when you're on your own. You can't be sick. You can't miss work. You have to be there for your kids because you're the only one. It's not for the faint of heart, this single parenting thing.

BUT... nevertheless... you get to sop up all the good stuff with your kids. You don't miss out on the things that non-custodial parents miss. You become stronger. You learn to depend on a higher power and have a greater opportunity to witness blessings that people who have it "easy" never have a need for.

Gosh I'm tired. I'll be ok. Austin will too. It's just a matter of going through.

Happy Wednesday, y'all.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mondays worries give way to Tuesdays troubles...

It's after 7. I usually start writing before 5 am but not today. Today... I've just been sort of selfishly wandering thru cyberspace. Not that I consider my blog entries self-LESS, by any stretch. If it ever felt like a chore, you can be sure I wouldn't write. It's just... me talking via a keyboard. And so far this morning I haven't had much to say.

Yesterday I had two major concerns ... one, my doctor appointment and two, the lack of child support and our dwindling bank balance. The doctor appointment was cancelled because Dr. Parker's baby was sick. She called in a prescription for me and referred me to a specialist. Based on my description, she thinks that I will need surgery. Good times. Nothing like heading into the holidays facing hemorrhoid surgery.

This blog just writes itself sometimes, doesn't it? Show of hands: how many of you grimaced at that last paragraph? I should be more embarassed about sharing these sort of details but... it's the real deal. You should know that I'm writing under great duress.

But I digress. On to the second concern... I got child support yesterday. Not everything it should have been but enough that I can take care of one bill that was haunting me and still buy groceries.

Interesting... less than 24 hours later... the two biggest fruits on my worry tree have been picked and eaten. So to speak. It's done. Well... at least the part of having to suffer at the hands of my primary care doctor who wasn't going to be able to do anything for me more than what she ultimately did... call in a prescription and give me a referral.

Every year takes on a theme, of sorts, in my mind and this year will be remembered as the Year of Pain. 2010 was a Year of Weight Loss. 2009 the Year of Coughing. 2008... the Year I went from Hell to Helen. And so on, you get the point.

I am always amazed, though, when I get through a day like yesterday. Not because it was difficult, but instead because it was so flawlessly easy. I didn't go hungry. The pain didn't bother me until very late in the day. I didn't have to miss hours from work. It didn't shape up to be any of the things I thought it would be.

Of course, I've had a string of very decent Mondays followed up by very trying Tuesdays. Hopefully this week this will not be the case. I'm in pain today already. I'm having very unpleasant muscle spasms. Austin is still very sick with his cold/upper respiratory stuff. I'm tired... very tired... like... effort to move kind of tired. But I have to keep going... so I will.

So that's it, y'all. Life is made of days that you think you'll never get through... but you do. And I will. You will too. Face your fears. Push on through. Believe that there are blessings ahead. Know that it's just a matter of taking one breath after another...

love and hugs...


Monday, October 24, 2011

Reasons to Love/Like/Tolerate Monday - it's just a pain in the rear. Literally.

I'm a real grouch this morning because it's Monday and I'm in a world of pain... more extensive and increased pain than my usual. Not happy. I'm aggravated that I have a doctors appointment today that will undoubtedly cause increased pain... and I'm worried that the time involved in the appointment... or the pain involved in the appointment... will make it difficult for me to go back to work for the rest of the day. We have a new employee starting today... another one... and the one we brought in a month ago isn't trained to the extent that she can function independently... so if I can't get to the doctor and back quickly, I'm going to really leave a heavy burden on my co-workers... and if I can't get back at all... I'm just a big old loser. BUT... I've got to get to the doctor because my situation is definitely getting worse by the day... add that to the back pain and I am one miserable old grouch today. There is no way I can wait another week until my other co-worker returns from vacation.

Sometimes you just have to call on the HeeHaw folks to explain it best...

Still... a new day is dawning and I have to adjust my attitude before I head out into the world... so here we go:
My Reasons to Love Like Tolerate Monday

1. I have health insurance to pay for my doctor visit today
2. I have a doctor visit scheduled for today. I wanted to go last week but... here we are.
3. Austin seems to be getting over his sinus/coughing/sick to his stomach malady.
4. Trouble the Cat has this sitting position that he loves... I call it the "reverse parrot"... he sits on my shoulder with his rear in my face... leaning over the back of the chair, looking at the wall. It's bizarre and it cracks me up.
5. Trouble likes to have his chest and belly rubbed so much that if you start, he will hold your hand there. He and Austin have this game where Austin tickles Trouble and then all of a sudden pulls his hands wide (think Jazz Hands) and says, "boo!" and Trouble always holds his paws wide at exactly the same time mirroring what Austin does. I'll try to capture a video of it. It's awesome. Always cracks me up.
6. I had steel cut oats and bulgur wheat for breakfast... a little brown sugar... a little cinnamon... a little butter... a lot left over. That's a good breakfast.
7. Trouble the Cat when being moved from a position that he doesn't belong in (my chest, my chair, my pillow, the countertops) goes completely limp. It's like he's been trained by government dissidents. It cracks me up.
8. Trouble also has a certain path for entering / exiting my room. He avoids the spot right beside the door... when he's entering the room he climbs up on the tv cabinet right inside the door... goes over the satellite receiver and jumps to the bed... it's like a game of Parkour. If that's how you spell it. When he leaves, he uses the ottoman beside my chair as his springboard and tries to jump from there to the hallway. It's a distance of about 8 feet so it's no small feat... and it propels him so fast that he hits the linoleum floor in the kitchen and sliiiiiiides. HUh-larious! Sometimes when he's doing happy streaks he'll jump from the hallway to the ottoman but his momentum causes him to slide across the ottoman. He uses my recliner to catch himself. Not pretty if my arm is on the armrest. Anyways.
9. Yeah. That's about all I've got today. Crazy cat lady with hemorrhoids. There. I said it. I'm having a unbelievably painful episode of the rrhoids... and not roids in that cool athlete enhanced performance kind of way... rrhoids in that bleeding, raw,  make you scream in pain kind of way... at least mine make me do that. Add that to piriformis syndrome on both sides where I have a nerve running from my back to the backs of my knees that is flared up and horribly painful. It's literally a pain in the butt.
10. Tim Tebow. He's just awesome.

Time to shower and glam for the office/doctor/office. Love and hugs, y'all.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Photo Finish... Sunday?

Ok, so maybe that doesn't fit with my usual alliteration but it is what it is.

Still in quite a bit of pain today and Austin is voicing his frustration of my inability to do things... like tear open a package of rice and beans. I really just don't have any strength in my hands this weekend.

Again... que sera, sera... whatever will be, will be. I didn't choose this... and I understand his frustration. I complain a lot. He has taken on a lot of responsibility... however... he is *almost 18* and he doesn't have an unreasonable load of chores... litter box, trash can, the heavy dishes like the crockpot and the iron skillet... and of course, cleaning up after himself, which, I think any almost 18 year old should do, regardless of how capable and able bodied his mother might be.

That's been sort of a dark cloud hanging over us this weekend... along with the uncertainty about child support. 23 days without a dime... at 30 days I'm filing for criminal abandonment... and after that, I'll file contempt of court for the amount that he's been shorting me for all this time. I'm supposed to get $175 a week... I get $100 a week... and I'm sorry, that's just not enough to cover this kid's room and board and wants and needs and waste of resources. Austin should be driving but I can't afford the insurance on him. Austin should have his own vehicle so he could have a job but I can't afford that. I haven't bought his senior pictures or done any of the things that most kids take for granted for their senior year in high school. I bought the poor kid a pair of shoes at Dollar General yesterday because he's already worn out the pair that I bought a month ago. He doesn't mind the cheap shoes but I feel bad about it.

I've been raising this kid on my own since he was five. It's been more blessing than burden, I promise. I hope I praise him a lot more than I criticize him. I try to. He's been through a lot, we both have.

You know... I had a bit of an epiphany today... I realized that one sign of true forgiveness is the ability to feel empathy for the person who has wronged you. To even feel sorry for the consequences of their actions, even the actions that caused you hurt. I won't go into details, y'all know who I'm talking about... I just realized today what an awful year he's had this year and in my deepest, truest, heart of hearts, I'm sorry for him. I believe that I could have made a difference in his life if he had been open to the basic principles that form my character... instead of mocking them and making me feel so impotent and compromised.

God doesn't make mistakes. I have to believe that the same God who changes the colors of the trees has control over the details of my life, if I'm open to His guidance. I don't believe He wants anyone to suffer but there are challenges that we face in this life that have a greater impact on the next life than this one. I pray that *he* has found blessings in his pain... just as our lightning strike was pivotal and honestly, a huge blessing for us to be in a cheaper place where Austin is separated from the negative influences he had in town... there is nothing, even the greatest struggle, that can't be used for our good and God's glory. I want this for him so badly, for there to be good in his life.

Enough about that....I do have a few pics to share today...


 Sarabeth reading one of her birthday cards. She's so grown up looking in these photos and just so incredibly comfortable in her own skin. I have loved this child since before she was born but I love her even more now as I see the beautiful person she's growing up to be.











I particularly love the way she took the time to read her cards and really appreciate the sentiment in them, instead of just ripping into the packages as some kids might do. I think, like me, her love language may be "words of affirmation" because she genuinely cares about the words in the cards. 







Don't you just love the sweet expression on her face?


The view from here... this is the "main road" we live off of... with the mountains in the distance... we're loving the colors right now. 
the "hills" in the distance... 

Austin likes the view when you have the long and winding road ahead of you... the best thing about living in the valley is seeing the mountains all around us. I'm sure that the view from the mountaintop is amazing... but I'm ok with being in the valley, both literally and figuratively. You have to appreciate whatever view God has given you.

Our Halloween decoration.... not really. We just have spiders. Outside, mostly. So far. 


Austin was proud of the way his cobbler turned out. It's a very simple recipe: melt a half stick of butter in a baking dish in a 425 degree oven. Mix together one cup of flour, one cup of sugar and one cup of milk. When the oven is hot and the butter is melted, add a can of fruit... we like canned peaches or apple pie filling or blackberry pie filling. Top it with your flour/sugar/milk mixture, put it in the oven and bake until browned. It's a great easy dessert and I almost always have the ingredients on hand.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday Recap

There's a pot of chili bubbling on the stove and cornbread baking in my iron skillet in the oven... enough time for me to do a quick blog post. Maybe.

It seems like everything that's wrong with me is flaring up today. So glad this is a weekend day and not a work day. My piriformis syndrome - that's the nerve that runs down your rear end - it's majorly inflamed. I'm having to sit on a mountain of pillows. My arthritis in my hands is bad today... struggled to open the cans for chili, had a hard time cracking the eggs for the cornbread... couldn't tear open the package of chili seasoning. It makes me feel so freaking disabled. *pout* My spinal stenosis is flared... I will spare you the details of how I know that... we'll just say that some bodily functions don't function properly when the nerves are compressed. I went to the Dollar General this morning and had to lean heavily on the cart to walk. Just really weak, like my legs couldn't hold me up. I have a doctors appointment Monday to discuss some of the things that aren't working right. They couldn't fit me in any earlier, I called last Wednesday.

Austin is terribly sick... really bad sinus infection/upper respiratory infection/coughing/snotty kind of misery. He's pitiful. I haven't wanted to ask him to help like he normally does because he feels so rotten... but he did help me with the dishes that were too heavy for me to lift, took out the trash, carried in the groceries, etc.

Incidentally... shopping with Austin the other day reminded me of something my mom used to say when we were grocery shopping... she'd say, "I have to push the cart or I can't think"... truthfully, she probably just didn't want us knocking things down or running into people. Because when Austin pushes the cart I'm a nervous wreck. It doesn't help that he loves to do wheelies with it. He's almost 18. Mercy. What will happen when he actually DOES have to push the cart?

I just turned out what might be the prettiest pan of cornbread I've ever made. Letting it cool with a pat of butter melting in the middle. Mmmmm.... can't wait! Lifting the iron skillet is also incredibly difficult. No strength in my hands. I struggled to lift my coffee mug this morning. What happens if this progresses?

Went to refill one of my very necessary meds today. It's one that... without it.. I can barely function. It was out of refills. Grrrreat. No exclamation point.

Are you getting the impression that I'm having a little bit of a pity party today? Maybe just a little one. I'm definitely feeling afflicted today. Uncomfortable. Didn't sleep well last night. Tried to nap today and couldn't. Had Austin begging me to take him to the game store so he could get a power cord that makes the out of date game system that someone gave him work. Of course, once we agreed on the power cord, he all of a sudden had a need for another game or two.

I hate having to say, "we can't because your dad didn't pay child support and we're down to the bounty of the pantry again for the next week"... but it's the truth. Our limitations right now are not because I'm not working and not doing the right thing. I'm working hard to catch up all my random little balances at various doctors offices. I'm paying off the radiologist with the next paycheck and whittling down what I owe Northeast Georgia Medical Center. After the collection company threatened to sue me over my tiny little $75 balance at the neurologist, I decided I need to be more responsible with these things. Wish his dad was a little more responsible. Austin is a blessing to me and I'm glad he's with me... but he is a huge responsibility and a huge drain on my resources.

But I have been saying to Austin... "I made x dollars this payday... rent is due, the power bill is due, I have to pay this and that and the other thing and that leaves us x amount until the next payday". I think it's important for him to understand how to budget and to realize that our resources are limited. He'll be an adult soon.

Those of you who are long time blog readers will remember Hottie Heath who was such an incredible help to me when I was trying to move out of the trailer. He did what my boyfriend/future husband refused to do... which should have been a red flag but anyways... that's in the past. I found out yesterday that Heath has colon cancer and the chemo is leaving him really weak. Such a big strong strapping fella... it breaks my heart.

Dinner's ready. Hope you're having a great weekend. I have some beautiful photos to share... maybe tomorrow.

Love and hugs, y'all.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Grandma Pennington


I wanted to share this piece that was written by my Uncle Bill (does anyone else think of Jody and Buffy of Family Affair every time I say "Uncle Bill"? No? Just me?)

My two grandmothers were very different... Grandma Leta is still living - and thriving - at almost 88 years old. Grandma Pennington (I don't know why we used her last name instead of her first name) passed away at age 88 in 1998. As a child I spent much more time with Grandma Pennington, I suppose this is true of most maternal grandparents. I've always had the thought in my head that "sons are sons until they take a wife but daughters are daughters the rest of their lives". When I was a small child they lived a similar distance from us but we mostly spent time with Grandma and Granddaddy Pennington. Holidays were mostly spent with our Pennington family. I know those cousins far better than the children of my father's siblings. 

But... ultimately... I knew my mothers sisters far better than my mother's four brothers and their families. It's really only through the new social media that I have begun to connect with those family members. I feel almost as if I've wasted a valuable resource all these years in not honoring those bonds. 

However, if I had to be truthful about it, ever since Michael came into my life, two of the most distant relatives in my life are my two oldest sons. They have their lives and interests and I want them to do the things they want to do. I don't want them to spend time with me out of obligation. I want people to spend time with me because they WANT to, not because they feel like they have to. And I accept the fact that whenever my grandchildren are born of those two sons, their maternal grandmothers will be closer. It hurts... but it's one of those things in life that we have to accept. I am prepared. 

At any rate, when Granddaddy got sick they moved to the same town where we lived and Grandma remained there, near us, the rest of her life. I spent a lot of time with her but I always felt like I never really knew her... although I loved her dearly and she very clearly loved me. She died when I was thirty... and she was able to know all of my children. At the time I didn't realize the basic questions I could have and should have asked her. It's such a blessing to know her now through our family historian, Uncle Bill. 

Her photo - taken with Granddaddy on their wedding day - hangs in my kitchen and was the first thing we hung when we moved into this new nest. I know I've posted a lot of this genealogical stuff lately and I'm not offended if you choose to skip over it. I'm posting as much for my own entertainment and my own record as anything else, but I hope you'll enjoy this. Have a great Friday, y'all!


Memories of Mother -
     Flossie Virginia Jackson Pennington


Mother's father was not meek in the way we define the word, but he was meek in the true biblical sense in that he walked the straight and narrow as in the promising beatitude:  the meek shall inherit the earth. He was blessed with a quiet easy going personality that endeared him to all who knew him.  His presence was always appreciated.  

Mother's mother was more agressive, a little heavier, domineering, outspoken, and highly visable,  and she was very charitable.   Her presence whether appreciated or not, was always known.  Both of Mother's parents were devout Christians who attended church and read their bibles and prayed daily.

It is through Mother's mother's Alderman family ancestry that connects us in a direct line with King Henry II of England.  Strangely enough Dad is also a direct decendant of King Henry through his McCubbin and Howard lines thus making Mother and Dad thirty-seventh cousins. That in itself is not strange, but it is perhaps a bit strange that we have this bit of information.

Mother was the product of the rather unlikely pair known as her mother and father.   She was born on the first day of March in 1910 in rural Leake County, Mississippi and blessed in that she was somewhat more like her father than her mother.  She was one of nine children born to Mary Alice Ray and Luther Vaden Jackson.  Only four of their nine children survived much past infancy. The oldest child was Pearl, born in 1904, and usually referred to as Sister and officially known as Pearl Atkinson, LPN.  She lived most of her life in a state of divorce and raised a son, Louis Atkinson, who was a guard at Kilby State, a prisoner at Brushy Mountian, and later murdered doing a good deed.  The last child and only surviving son was Cpl. Paul David Jackson,  born in 1920.  His claim to fame was crossing the English Channel to Normandy only to be shot in the leg by friendly fire.  He was the only one in the family who ever drove a car or ever owned one.  Mother had one other surviving sister, Alberta,  born in 1914 and named for her Uncle Albert Jackson.  She was the fun loving child of the family otherwise known officially as Mrs. Wilfred Fox.  There was another unofficially adopted sister whose name was Martha Edwards but was called Nell Jackson and worked much of her life in the federal government in Washington. All these people save Alberta have passed on as of this writing.

The little graves of all the other children are at Midway Cemetery near the place where they were all born and died near Carthage in Mississippi.  In a strange coincidence all the surviving children were born in even numbered years as were both the parents who also died in even numbered years.  

Luther Jackson learned early in life that farming was not a very good way to earn a living. Somewhere along the way he picked up a paint brush and painted his way into a job with the Southern Railway System over at Meridian, Mississippi before being transferred to Chattanooga just after 1920.

 He bought a house at 328 Sylvan Street in North Chattanooga and he and his wife lived there for the rest of their lives.  He died in 1966 and his wife died in 1970. The house at that address was elevated with a number of rocking chairs kept on a long front porch running the width of the house and bending around to the side; this portion renovated to become a sleeping porch.  The rooms, especially the kitchen were quite large.  Grandmother was a good cook and furnished her table lavishly when the family gathered there for Christmas and other times of the year.  All in all, it was a fun place to go.

 Mother's early summers while living in Meridian were often spent with her abundance of relatives in the Ray and Jackson families in Leake County including Uncle Floss Jackson, her namesake.  It was a case where two brothers including Mother's father married two sisters including Mother's mother so that just about everyone was related two different ways.    Her childhood memories include leaving Meridian each summer and spending several weeks with her grandparents. 

Mother's own family usually referred to her affectionately as Mamie. She was never to my knowledge, known as Virginia which just happened to be the names of her two grandmothers. Virginia was the reincarnation of her unused name devised by Dad who didn't like Flossie any more than he liked his own name, Clarence.

Her early years are not throughly documented save to say that she attended public school mostly in North Chattanooga and eventually graduated from Central High School in Chattanooga, class of 1930.  She had gained some minimal work experience as a clerk in a dime store.

It was about 1931 that she left Chattanooga and went to New Orleans to attend Baptist Bible Institute. Her objective was to become a missionary. This objective may or may not have been completely clear but it is my understanding that she wanted to be a foreign missionary and while she never left this country she truly was a minister during all of her life.  Even so, if this is the case,  the failure to realize a dream may have plagued her for much of her life.  While in attendance at BBI she worked in a home for unwed mothers and the otherwise homeless in the French Quarter. When writing of her and of this particular time we have to be mindful that this period was in the midst of the great depression, and this work and place was not without its risks and dangers.  She met Dad most likely in 1932 or 1933.  He was a fairly well dressed young preacher from Oklahoma who found much appeal in her devotion and idealism. We should also say that pictures of her at the time show a young pretty and modest young lady who would have certainly been very pleasing to the eye.  Dad let it be known to her that she certainly needed him for her own protection,  a line that has played well since the days of the knights of old.

There was a bit of distance between Dad and Mother's family.  He hit it off well with Mother's father. Anyone would.  And he was tolerable, but not close in his relationship with Mother's mother. There was a world of difference in some of their views, which to my knowledge, were never discussed.  When they visited it was usually a lesson in diplomacy. Dad's relationship to Mother's siblings was always cordial but not necessarily close.

Mother took him to her home in Chattanooga and there at Northside Baptist Church in June of 1934 they said their vows.  They were off to Celina, Tennessee,  an outpost near the Kentucky line where they felt led to establish the town's first and only Missionary Baptist Church with services held weekly in the basement of the Clay County Courthouse.  It worked, of course, but not without great discomfort and difficulty. The living quarters were poor. The pay was miserable, and food and the simplest of comforts were generally denied.  By late 1934 she became pregnant and on a hot June day she gave birth to her firstborn, Albert, a tiny premature child whom the doctor unceramoniously pronounced dead.  But church people are people who come to help one another and pray together.  The ladies at the little house that day took the child and carefully moved their hands about his body and he began to move and cry. Then they prayed for many hours that he would survive. He did.

The following year in the same house on a blazing hot July Sunday morning while his father was out preaching,  another child was was added. This time the baby weighed in at a heaping seven pounds and was quickly named for his paternal grandfather, William Judson Pennington.

By that time the family was able to buy an old car and they set forth to tour the land of all their relatives and show off their two fine children.  The trip was to Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.  While the two new kids were loved and appreciated by all on this trip,  it is, of course, sad that neither of them have a memory of it.

What we do remember is that when we were just two or three years old our days began with a bible story read to us by Mother. This happened each day and the memory of it is fixed forever in my mind. By the time we entered public school I'm sure we had heard just about every story that could be gleaned from both the Old and New Testaments. She would also read stories from other sources. I remember Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates as well as Heidi which Mother for some unknown reason always pronounced Hilda. She would sometimes change things around in her stories to suit her own purposes. She may have been unclear as to the correct pronounciation of Heidi and changed the little girl's name for ease in pronounciation. She often did as she could to make the best of any difficult situation.  If I had to write her story in a single sentence that would be the sentence that precedes thus one.

When members of the family gather there is sometimes discussion about who among the children was more favored.  I never felt any of this as a child. I felt secure and did not believe either of the parents treated anyone any different than they treated me.  I hope I'm not missing something.

Mother was not like anyone else's mother that I knew.  Words to describe her that come to mind today begin with saintly and go from there.  She did have faults, of course, and in spite of all her prayerful and religious ways I have never quite understood her sometimes distant relationship with her older sister. During the summer of 1946 when Mother was suffering from her severe burns her sister quit her private duty nursing job in Cleveland, Tennessee and moved in with us to take care of Mother who was completely bedridden for several months.   Her sister's sense of duty was at a considerable sacrifice.  But in later years Mother would go for very long periods of time without having any contact with her at all.  As a child I had no understanding of this and I must say now as an old man I still don't understand it.  In 1978 after Dad died I was called to explain why Mother's family had not been advised of his death. I had no explanation and tried to smooth things over as best I could.  My gut feeling tells me that there was some jealousy somewhere and I'm not sure with whom it rested. Mother was too good of a person for us to dwell on this single mystery.  No matter how tough the going in her life she always seemed to have an eye on something higher than the trivality of daily life.  Her sense of humor and ability to laugh and smile even when things were tough are among my sweetest memories. There was not a day in her mothering years when she did not make at least some sacrifice for at least one, and sometimes all of her children.

Her sense of compassion extended well beyond her own family. When a child was born to a lady's unmarried sister living with a married couple and fathered by the husband,  Mother went there with a gift for the baby. Her only comment was: "Maybe they should be run out of town, but It's not the fault of the baby." She rarely had anything bad to say about anyone.  One of her more scorching criticisms of a person  would be: "She's not really like us, is she?" She believed in all ten of the commandments and was often heard to say: "Don't ever want something someone else has. Try for something similar and work hard to get it."

While I was still a teenager she found that I had an outstanding debt of $5.46 at a local store,  she paid it She wrote that she paid it because she believed the store needed the money and she was happy to tell me that I didn't have to repay her because she wanted to do something nice for me. For a little more than five dollars she created a blessing for three different people.

I cannot say how easy or difficult her life as a child was. I suspect that she had at least an average childhood for that period of time. The difficulties in he life began, if not before, when she and Dad went to Celina, and as she put it "almost starved to death".  When we moved over to two churches near Lexington and Decaturville in western Tennessee things weren't much better.  The pay was dreadfully low and the housing was not good either.  For awhile we were forced to live in the basement of one of the churches. We lived in a couple of places in Louisville in Kentucky,  and by then Dad had stopped preaching and was making a decent living, but as I remember, the living conditions were far from ideal.  The Spring Creek house in the East Ridge section of Chattanooga was good for her. It was a newly built modern home, built just before the war, and was within walking distance of a grocery store and a city bus ride away from her parent's home. The main problem was that Dad worked for the TVA and Mother had no way of getting around except by public transportation.  She also felt very vulnerable during these war years living in a house with three children, expecting a fourth,  and her husband gone most of the time except on weekends.

The move to Georgia in December, 1944 was the beginning of more hardships. There was no electricity or running water and clothes had to be washed in an iron pot over a fire. Water was drawn by hand from a well and carried to where it was needed.  Ironing was even tougher. Metal irons were heated in the fireplace before being used for just a couple of minutes before having to be reheated.  Butter was made by shaking milk in a fruit jar. Milk was kept somewhat cool in a well but during most of the year it was only good for a few hours.  Night light came from oil lamps that had to be cleaned almost daily. The only fuel for fire was from the wood that we cut by hand. I remember the two winters there as being especially brutal in this unpainted frame house that had no insulation, window screens,  or much of anything else. There was a six-foot wide fireplace in the living room that was kept going, but it was highly inefficient with most of the heat going up the chimney.

It was under these circumstances that Mother was badly burned in April, 1946 while canning strawberries. She survived but endured much suffering for many months during the hot summer.  We moved to Cohutta over in Whitfield County in Novermber, 1947 but things weren't much better there either.  At some point propane gas heaters were installed and an electric pump was placed over a well allowing inside water.  Still there was no bathroom. David, born in 1941 and John in 1944 were both quite small during this period of time and required the necessary care for children of their ages.  Virginia-Ginger was born in January, 1947 while we were at the farmhouse in Catoosa County.  Norma and Linda were both born in Dalton while the family lived at Cohutta.  

It was not until the late 50's in the Atlanta area that Mother would have the hardships lifted from her life. She raised seven children and there was always at least one in the household from 1935 until about 1970. In 1966 Dad had his heart attack and without the possibility of continuing his job at St. Joseph's Infirmary, he was forced to take whatever work he could, which in this case was at the Boy Scout Camp south of Atlanta. During her married life from 1934 until Dad's death in 1978 - 44 years - I personally know of sixteen different houses where the two of them lived, and there was one house - in Cohutta - where they lived for about nine years.  Mother not only lived a hard life, but it was also mostly a nomadic existence.

It is a fact that Dad's death in 1978 was a defining moment and it began the third of the three major parts of her life:  1910-1934,  1934-1978, and 1978 until her own death in 1998, all even years, of course. His death changed the way she lived her own life.   It also created its own set of difficulties. She had a limited income, limited transportation, and slowly declining health.  We should also mention the adjustment of handling financial and other affairs, many of which were unfamiliar to her. She seemed to have done all this quite well. She sacrificed to pay off debts, kept good records, and became even more active in her church.  Whenever an obligation was paid off she would sometimes write: "Thank the Lord'  at the bottom of the page.  She also began doing volunteer work in the nursing home that was within easy walking distance of her apartment there in Riverdale.

She became very active in working with an oriental group associated with her church. The group of thirty or forty people adopted her as a mother to them and would sometimes come in large groups to her apartment with food.  I believe she held classes for them at church.  She once was heard to say that God did not choose to take her to a foreign country, but brought the people from a foreign country to her.

Once Mother mentioned in a letter to me that she was praying that I would move up to the Atlanta area to be closer to her and the family. I wrote her back asking that she please not pray about things like that. I have the greatest faith in prayer and believe that her prayers were quite powerful. I believe that many of the events and circumstances of my life were shaped by her prayers. I do not regret not living in the Atlanta area, but I do regret not being able to see her more often than I did.

Our last trip to see her was on Easter Sunday in April of 1998.  It was a very nice visit in that she used it to relate many of the events that had happened in her life.  She died on May 5th and is buried next to Dad at Methodist Cemetery in Riverdale, Georgia.  At her funeral the old minister said: "A tree always falls in the direction in which it leans." Our mother lived a good life. She often did as she could to make the best of any difficult siuation.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

a little thanks and a lot of genealogy, if you're interested

Austin and I have both come down with a sinus/coughing/feeling miserable affliction over the past two days. His face is puffy... my face is puffy... we both are feeling a bit "under the weather" so to speak. So... if you stop by my house in the next few days, expect to find a few dirty dishes in the sink as neither one of us is up to doing much more than we have to do - school for him, work for me. The rest can wait, right?

Other than that... it's Thursday and I'm thankful for a week that is chugging on along nicely. I got a big box in the mail yesterday - clothes from my friend Tracey - and they are all my size, in almost brand new condition and will round out my wardrobe nicely. I'm so blessed!

Remember when I talked about "each one, reach one"? Occupy Your Life instead of Occupying some random public/private park. Make a difference in your world. It's not that hard. That big box of clothes makes a huge difference in my life... I like to look good and dress as nicely as I can, especially for work. When you feel like you look good, you feel better. At least I do. Although, I almost had to call Purple Michael yesterday and confess that I was wearing thick knee socks under my long skirt. They were warm. It was definitely a fashion faux pas.

My Uncle Bill has sent me some incredibly fascinating (to me anyways) information about our family. I am so thankful for this blessing. I am going to compile this information in book form for the next generation. We need to know who we are and where we come from... you can't know what kind of tree you are if you don't know what kind of roots you have. I'm going to post some information he sent me last week about an ancestor of mine named Tabitha Pennington... who was, back in 1828, a single mother. I think it's absolutely fascinating to realize how much her descendants have accomplished in all these years since she gave birth to Samuel. I'll post it at the end of this entry in case you're not as fascinated with my family genealogy as I am.

The leaves are now at what I would call "peak color" so if you were waiting to take your leaf-watching trip to the North Georgia mountains, this is a good time to come. However, I imagine this weekend will be the heaviest leafer traffic as well. There's a bbq contest in Sautee - where we live - but it's not on the road we live off of so it won't impede our way. Even so... my plans are to completely nest this weekend... a run to the bakery on Saturday morning... a stop to pick up one prescription on Saturday and the fixin's for a big pot of chili since it's defiinitely chili weather!

So that's it for me on this Thursday. I plan to spend my day watchful for the blessings that God provides... and I hope you will find a few of your own as well. Hugs and prayers!

The part below is long and I post it here as much for my recordkeeping as for your interest in reading. Some of you, I know, are interested in this sort of thing.
Here's the genealogy:
My mom's dad  - my grandfather - was C. B. Pennington born 1908
his father - my great grandfather was William Judson Pennington born 1878
his father - my great great grandfather was John Pennington born 1857
his father - my great great great grandfather was Samuel Pennington - born 1828
and his mother was Tabitha, which makes her my great great great great grandmother  born 1806, I think
her father was Wells Pennington - which makes him my 5x great grandfather was born in 1781
his father, I think, was William Pennington -
And now... the story of Tabitha Pennington as told by my Uncle Bill:

It's interesting that you live near Cleveland, GA.  Your town was named for the grandson of Col. Benjamin Cleveland.  Both Cleveland, TN and Cleveland County, NC were named for Col. Cleveland himself.  Who was Col. Benjamin Cleveland?  He is said to have been a Revolutionary War hero and patriot.  He most certainly was not a patriot.

If we go back to the time of the Revolutionary War, the 1770s and early 1780s we find that there were slightly more than three million people living in the thirteen colonies. Had there been a Gallup Poll or Rasmussen Survey polling all those citizens it would have been found that about a million of them favored independence. Another million were loyal to the British rule, and the other million or so didn't care one way or another.  I don't recall ever learning this fact in public school.  Col. Cleveland was among the first million, and so adamant was he that all the others join him he was willing to cut off the ears of those who expressed a preference to British rule.  In extreme cases he was known to hang some Tories as they were called; quite naturally, of course, without benefit of due process.

In Wilkes County, NC and in surrounding areas there was such fear of Col. Cleveland and his henchmen that an effort was made by a group of Tories to capture the Colonel and take him to Ninetysix, SC, a Tory stronghold, where he could be turned over to the British.  He was, in fact captured in 1780 by William Ridley and Zachariah Wells. While they had the Colonel in captivity he was freed by his own men who overtook the captors. Ridley and Wells were both immediately hanged with plowshares even though at least one of the men had been shot during the fracas.

Now there was in Wilkes County, or that part of Wilkes County that was to become in 1799 Ashe County, one Micajah Pennington who was a Justice of the Peace, and held his job thanks to his loyalty to the British. As a Loyalist he was not harmed by the so-called patriots, but there is a record of his possessions being confiscated.  Micajah had several brothers, one being William whose wife in 1781 gave birth to a baby boy.  The baby was named Wells,  Was he named for Zachariah Wells?  Your guess is as good as mine, and if your guess is yes you are probably right.

William died in 1812 and Micajah (pronounced with the "cage" sound) died in 1813. By then Wells had married Elizabeth Strunk, daughter of Johan Strunck in 1800.  Wells and Elizabeth had four children:  Theophilus (1802-1885) who married Penelope Jones; Christina, born 1804 and was married to Samuel Garland, whose father, Ambrose Garland had taken a Choctaw for his wife; Tabitha who was born in 1806 and later in life married Samuel Hardwick; and Arad who married at least three times.  In 1818 all these children were still unmarried and they moved with their parents and Elizabeth's brother's family to what was then the western part of Whitley County, KY.

In 1912 this part of Whitley County became McCreary County and was made famous by another colonel, Col. Harland Sanders, the inventor of Kentucky Fried Chicken. In 1818 the families took up living on Marsh Creek in Whitley.  While there two of the children, Theophilus and Christina took spouses.

In 1825 a former Indian fighter by the name of Pleasant Johnson of Wayne County, KY to the west of Marsh Creek was travelling through the area.  One Angus Ross operated a tavern in his home and provided ferry service to anyone wishing to cross Marsh Creek. A fight broke out and Pleasant Johnson was killed.  I think it likely that the fight took place at the Ross tavern, and Pleasant, with his dislike for Indians may have had an encounter with the half-breed, Sam Garland.  In any even Sam was arrested along with Wells Pennington, and the sister of Theopolus' wife, Annie Jones. They were charged with murder and all were allowed to make bond.  Sometime later there was a trial held in Williamsburg, the county seat of Whitley County.  Wells was acquitted.  Sam and Annie were found guilty of something, though probably not murder and each were sentenced to four years in prison. Annie sought a new trial and was acquitted.  Samuel Garland, the half breed Choctaw served his four years.

In early 1828 Wells and his four children, their sposes and their children moved to Pulaski County, KY.  In May of 1828 Tabitha gave birth to a son.  She named him Samuel of Samuel Garland.


For over thirty years I searched everywhere possible for the name of Samuel Pennington's father.  Early on I had paper proof that Tabitha was the mother. Wells was the grandfather and all the other players were more or less in place, but who was Sam's Dad?  The 1830 Pulaski County (KY) census shows the Wells household with a woman Elizabeth's age, a female Tabitha's age and a male child under the age of five.  It's obvious that Samuel was raised in his grandfather Wells' home, and Tabitha probably lived there too until around 1840 when she met and married Samuel Hardwick, a man several years older who already had a son also named Samuel Hardwick who would later serve in the Confederate Army in Kentucky. Tabitha and her husband produced a little girl around 1842 named Minerva.  This is the only sibling Sam Pennington was known to have.

Around 1830 Samuel Garland was released from prison and rejoined his family in Pulaski County. The Garland's raised a large family with a child born nearly every year except those four years he was in prison.  The 1880 census shows Tabitha and her sister Christine living together. Elizabeth died about 1852. Wells died about 1861 and Theophilus had about nine children and he died in 1885. One of Theophilus' decendants lived his final years here in Okeechobee County, had my name, and caused all kinds of difficulty. He died last year.  I was not too unhappy.

In 1848 Samuel Pennington married Martha Walls. He was twenty. She was fifteen. Not unusual in those days. Martha's parents were sickly and both would die in their 40s before 1850.  They are buried at Tateville Cemetery at the Tateville Baptist Church in Tateville, KY.  I was there in the 1980s and found the two graves in almost unreadable conditions. I took a walnut from a nearby tree, rubbed the inscriptions and managed to get good pictures.  By the time I returned about twenty years later someone had taken a bushhog and destroyed the stones.

In 1849 Sam and Martha had their first child. In 1850 they left Kentucky for good and went to Missouri, Pulaski County, MO for a short time and then on to adjoining Miller County.

They all got on with their lives, but I was still wondering who Sam's father was.  A few years ago Connie and I flew out to Denver to visit relatives. While here we rented a car and visited all the northwestern states, visiting the Black Hills, Yellowstone, etc. and travelled down from Washington and Oregon and Idaho to Salt Lake City.  I spend two or three days at the LDS Library there learning all sorts of interesting genealogy information.  We were about to leave and were on out way to dinner on that final night when I had an idea.  I had reviewed the Whitley County legal minutes for the early years of the county's existence, but the 1828 record had never been available.  I went looking for it in the library and once I found it I saw right away that there was a single bastardy case that came before the justices that year.  It was in May, the month Samuel was born. The name of the defendant was Enoch Smith. The case was dismissed by "defect". The defect most likely was that no one came to contest it.  No wonder. It was two hard days by horse from Marsh Creek to Williamsburg and anyway Tabitha has already moved to Pulaski County. I suspect that Samuel grew up never knowing the identity of his father.

Enoch Smith was married to Nancy Eaton about the time Samuel was born.  Nancy Eaton was the daughter of one of the "better" families in Williamsburg.  I was in contact with one of their descendants a few years ago and it was suggested that we both submit a DNA sample for proof of our relationship.  I declined because I knew in my heart that Enoch was the father and I had no inclination to spend money giving credence to the Smith indiscretions. I'm glad that Tabitha gave her son the Pennington name.  I have not been to any Smith family reunions.