MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: It’s okay to be different

My Aunt Jenny posted this quote on her Facebook account and it has already been one of my favorites as it was how Mother raised me.

This is one thing (of many) I shall always be grateful for Mother: teaching, stressing, and encouraging me to not see the need nor desire to be, and especially, think like everyone else. She praised and cheered her nerdy little boy whose head was in music and history.

When a letter from Uncle Garry Jolliff (Aunt Jenny’s husband) would arrive, the huge World Book Encyclopedia Atlas was pulled off the bottom shelf and she would have me find Vietnam. If he should mention a location of R&R, the magnifying glass was lifted to search for the city or area; some of his areas were too remote to make the atlas cut.

Most of my friends had no clue where Vietnam and Cambodia were, let alone why we were (or shouldn’t have been) there, and the Gulf of Tonkin, etc.. Honestly, I do not believe I ever felt bothered by this isolation. Mother and the other adults in my life corralled around me with encouragement.

Mother was aware I was different in my thinking and interests and I am so glad she never threw any cold water on those interests or differences. I am glad I got to thank her, many times, for raising me how she felt I should be raised and not by convention and Dr. Spock.

And, what is more, she supported how I raised each of my sons on a very similar track based on their individual and unique needs.

Be yourself.

Be an individual.

Be curious (this was the biggy!) and search for the information and possible answers.

Find those untraveled paths and tramp down the grass in case others are also looking for a new avenue.

Make it a great day whether you are part of the flock, the lead bird in the chevron, or simply flying on your own.

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MY DAY: Monday is off and… sluggishly moving…

It rained a tiny bit in the early pre-dawn hours and has been spitting little spells of passing currents throughout the morning. Grey clouds hover over The Miami Valley and radar shows several heavy, extended bands of showers preparing to pass through.

My body is educating me in new designs that are altering my day. After speaking on Zoom with my England son each morning, I feed the dogs at 8:00 AM, open the back door, and fall back into bed until Noon, rising only for bathroom breaks. It’s not a restless sleep, either, but a deep solid sleep. In the recent past I have noted my body reacting to weather conditions, much like my sinuses before the rain and I am seeing that they tend to go hand in hand. Since last Wednesday when we had a front move through, followed by different weather pressures, the body has behaved with fatigue and sinus pressure and drainage. Teaching, going out to dine, and going to a band contest were fine and I found myself alert, but once the daily plate was cleaned, the body gave in.

While this and some of the other symptoms can be frustrating, I do find great interest and joy in being able to continually learn about my body and how it now operates in its new setting. I also realized this morning that if Mother was still with us, I would probably not find the freedom in sharing as much, if anything, as I have done. I am grateful my system’s collapse was after her passing as she would have been in fierce knots of unceasing worry and trying to investigate each written line in suspect of me hiding something from her. I do find it freeing that I am able to deal with MS and not weighing her with a mother’s concern as I would have been doubly concerned with its affects on her.

In my Google Alerts, the obituary of my former studio-mom’s grandfather appeared. It was a beautiful and tender expression of the good man who was a terrific example of being of service to others – something that is quite identified with his succession of generations. What stood out was the fact that he graduated from high school in 1945 and after joining the army, was stationed in post-war Japan. Can you imagine being a teenager, being sent half-way around the world to temporarily live in a country that your own country as just conquered in war? Oh, my brain swirls to imagine all that he witnessed and experienced.

It’s time to shower and prepare for teaching until 11:30 PM. Then, it’s one more day of teaching and four days. It’s already been a day of realization and inspiration. Now, onward with the day.

Photographs of post-war Japan.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Free of gravity

This is not my writing. This is from DailyOM.

We take flight mentally and experience new insights when we rise above our habitual ways of thinking.
As earthbound beings, humans have always had a fascination with winged creatures of all kinds. The idea of being able to spontaneously lift off from the earth and fly is so compelling to us that we invented airplanes and helicopters and myriad other flying machines in order to provide ourselves with the many gifts of being airborne. Flying high in the sky, we look down on the earth that is our home and see things from an entirely different perspective. We can see more, and we can see farther than we can when we’re on the ground. As if all this weren’t enough, the out-of-this-world feeling of freedom that comes with groundlessness inspires us to want to take flight again and again. 

Metaphorically, we take flight whenever we break free of the gravity that holds us to a particular way of thinking or feeling or being. We take flight mentally when we rise above our habitual ways of thinking about things and experience new insights. This is what it means to open our minds. Emotionally, we take flight when the strength of our passion exceeds the strength of our blockages; the floodgates open and we are free to feel fully. Spiritually we take flight when we locate that part of ourselves that is beyond the constraint of linear time and the world of form. It is in this place that we experience the essential boundlessness that defines the experience of flight. 

Taking flight is always about freeing ourselves from form, if only temporarily. When we literally fly, in a plane or on a hang glider, we free ourselves from the strength of gravity’s pull. As we open our minds and our hearts, we free ourselves from habitual patterns of thought and emotional blockages. As we remember our true nature, we free ourselves from identification with the temporary state of our physical forms. The more we stretch our wings, the clearer it becomes that taking flight is a state of grace that simply reminds us of who we really are. 
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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Sitting with feelings

This is not my writing. This is from DailyOM.

Taking the time to sit with your feelings to acknowledge them, will save you much distress down the road.

It can take great courage to really sit with our feelings, allowing ourselves to surrender to their powerful energies. All too often we set our feelings aside, thinking we will deal with them later. If we don’t deal with them, we end up storing them in our minds and bodies and this is when anxiety and other health issues can arise. Denying what our bodies want to feel can lead to trouble now or down the line, which is why being in the thick of our feelings, no matter how scary it seems, is really the best thing we can do for ourselves. 

One of the reasons we tend to hide or push aside our feelings is that we live in a culture that has not traditionally supported emotional awareness. However, as the connection between mind and body — our emotions and our physical health — becomes clearer, awareness of the importance of feeling our feelings has grown. There are many books, classes, workshops and retreats that can help us on our way to emotional intelligence. We can also trust in our own ability to process what comes up when it comes up. If sadness arises, we can notice its presence and welcome it, noting where in our bodies we feel it, and allowing ourselves to express it through tears or a quiet turning inward. 

When we simply allow ourselves to fully feel our feelings as they come, we tend to let them go easily. This is all we are required to do; our feelings simply want to be felt. We often complicate the situation by applying mental energy in the form of analysis, when all we really need is to allow, as the earth allows the rain to fall upon it. As the rain falls, the earth responds in a multitude of ways, sometimes emptying out to form a great canyon, sometimes soaking it up to nourish an infinitude of plants. In the same way, the deeper purpose of our feelings is to transform the terrain of our inner world, sometimes creating space for more feelings to flow, sometimes providing sustenance for growth. All we need to do is allow the process by relaxing, opening, and receiving the bounty of our emotions. 
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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Take action

This is not my writing. It is from DailyOM.

In order to make our dreams come true, we must take action rather than simply wishing for what we want.

There is a popular misconception that we might be able to just wish our dreams into being. Maybe on some other level of consciousness this is the case, but here on earth what we need to do is take action in our lives. Vision is an important companion to our efforts, but it can’t accomplish anything all by itself. When we focus on what we want and ask for what we want, we are initiating a conversation with the universe. Our desires, passionately defined and expressed, bring about valuable and relevant opportunities, which we then respond to by either taking or leaving them. 

Many of us are afraid to step out into the world and make things happen, and so we hang back, dreaming and waiting and watching. There are times in life when this is the right thing to do, but this phase of inaction must eventually give way to its opposite if we are to build our dreams into a reality. This can be really scary, and we may fail and struggle, but that’s okay because that’s what we’re supposed to do. Waiting for everything to be perfect before we act, or waiting for what we want to be handed to us, leaves us waiting forever. No one expects us to be perfect, so the best thing we can do for ourselves is to get out there and take action on our dreams. 

One of the hardest parts about having a vision is that when we test it in the laboratory of life, it often comes out looking completely different than what we had in mind or, worse, it doesn’t come out at all. If you read the life stories of people who have brought their dreams into reality, you will hear many stories about this experience. But you will also hear about hard work, taking action, perseverance, and, finally, the successful birthing of a dream.
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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Daily self care

This is not my writing. It is from DailyOM.

Putting yourself first means that it may be necessary to say no to someone else, in order to say yes to yourself.

We have all heard the instructions of an airline attendant reminding us to put on our own oxygen mask before we help anyone else with theirs. This advice is often cited as a metaphor for self-care because it so accurately expresses why it is important. It seems to say, ironically, that if you can’t take care of yourself for yourself, do it for others. Few situations in our daily lives mimic the wake-up call of an airplane emergency, so it’s easy to keep putting self-care off — easy, that is, until we get sick, overwhelmed, or exhausted, and suddenly don’t have the energy to care for the people who count on us. That’s when we realize we haven’t been getting the oxygen we need to sustain ourselves. We begin to understand that taking care of ourselves is neither selfish nor indulgent; it’s just plain practical. 

Putting yourself first means that it may be necessary to say no to someone else in order to say yes to yourself. For many of us, there is always something we feel we could be doing for someone else, and it helps to remember the oxygen metaphor. You can even encourage yourself by saying “I am caring for myself so that I am better able to care for others” or some other mantra that will encourage you. It also helps to remember that self-care doesn’t have to be composed of massively time-consuming acts. In fact, the best prescription for taking care of yourself is probably small, daily rituals; for example, taking one half-hour for yourself at the beginning and end of the day to meditate, journal, or just be. You might also transform the occasional daily shower or bath into a half-hour self-pampering session. 

Whatever you decide, making some small gesture where you put yourself first every day will pay off in spades for you and the ones you love. The oxygen you need is all around you; sometimes you just need to be reminded to breathe. 

My watch even has a reminder to breathe every hour. It helps to re-engage my mind and body as one! Make it a great day!

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MY DAY: Monday evening

It’s Monday night, 11:45 PM, and the teaching day is over. I am almost ready for four days of writing and relaxing.

This Sunday’s and Monday’s lessons have been outstanding with tons of progress and energy toward some hefty goals. Tuesday students, I am looking at you to keeping this fine trend going!

A friend has bid farewell to her grandfather, and her children, former students now in their twenties, have gotten to know great-grandparents when so many their age probably never knew theirs. I, too, was so blessed to have known all but one grandparent and all but one of my great-grandparents. I was especially close to my great-grandfather, Garrett Clary, and can appreciate this family’s sense of loss.

For some reason, the body was not cooperative this morning and I listened to it, spending most of the day in bed until it was time to shower and teach. We have rain coming this Wednesday and I suspect I am finding reactions to the front approaching. I’ve noticed this several times before previous weather fronts arrive that it is not only my sinuses that are thrown into a tumble.

At some point in the late morning I heard a commotion going on near the deck and fence to the DP&L easement. Years ago I had put up chicken wire along the wood privacy fence to aid in keeping out intruders. I checked the area and snuggled next to the fence and looking through the chicken wire was a possum. I looked and saw no wounds nor injuries. It didn’t seemed scared by my presence and as I talked to it, the sweet faced thing blinked its eyes and appeared calm. I sat on the deck’s side steps, about six feet from the possum, separated by only the chicken wire. After about fifteen minutes I stepped away and when I returned it had moved on.

I think I shall spend a few minutes on the deck before turning in around 12:15 PM.

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THE FAMILY ALBUM: The Saxon line

Sometimes, it is aggravating to research my priorities because I get trapped in genealogical rabbit holes.

Tonight, while reading up on my Ball ancestors, pioneers of Boone Township, Madison County, Indiana, and buried in Forretville Cemetery, I went back several more generations.

Mary McCrory married my 4th-great-grandfather, William W. Ball, and they lived on a farm directly north of Forrestville Cemetery after rounding the curve where once stood the hamlet of Forrestville, now long disappeared.

Mary McCrory’s parents were Robert McCrory (1801-1879) and Salina Margaret Saxon (1806-1879) from Fayette County, Indiana.

Salina’s parents were Alexander Saxon, born 11 Sep 1767 in Georgia; died 2 Dec 1844 in Fayette County, Indiana; and Mary Baldwin, born 1773; died 23 Jul 1855 in Fayette County, Indiana.

1767… my 6th great-grandfather was born a British subject.

Now, this is nothing new as I have traced countless lines of my family back to various European countries as far back as the 1100s. But, tonight, it just interested me that this Alexander Saxon was born and lived for nine years as a British subject.

There is a photograph of one of his sons, Alexander Gillespie Saxon and his wife, Margaret McCrory Saxon who was a sister to my 5th great-grandfather, Robert McCrory. There is also a photograph of their sons.

The nine generations of this line:

Alexander Saxon

Salina Saxon McCrory

Mary McCrory Ball

Prudence Ball Greenlee

Anna Greenlee Jones

Mary Belle Jones Clary

Donna Clary Barmes

Diana Barmes Jolliff | Haas

Darin Jolliffe-Haas

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MY DAY: The call can wait…

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MY DAY: Wednesday is off and running

It’s overcast and grey but so comfortable with mild breezes on the cool side.

At 11:00 AM I will receive my third Covid vaccine which is the booster. I am relieved and feel fortunate for this impending jab but I am also aware that masking and distancing needs to continue. I am weighing the situation daily as to knowing if and when I should self quarantine once again. I know the ropes and am content with quarantine life.

After Jab-3, I will return an Amazon item to a station inside Whole Foods near the Dayton Mall. I am debating whether or not to grab some Mexican food next door to Whole Foods or just come home.

Thursday is my regular Zoom lunch with colleagues and friends and later an Italian dinner with my bonus-little sister, Jenny.

Friday I will hopefully mow what needs mowing and then continue with writing.

Saturday I plan to write and then attend THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ERNEST with Mama Kay and Laura.

Okay, time to shave and shower and then off to Jab-3.

Keep making it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: The Sound of the Human Voice

I did not write this. It is from Daily OM.

Every time we use our voices, we send our energetic imprint out into the universe and to the people around us.

Whether listening to the low muted murmur of a confidential whisper or the proud declarative boom coming from behind a mic on the podium, there are few sounds more evocative than the human voice. Each human being’s voice has a unique tone that is all its own. Carrying their own signature traits and idiosyncrasies, no two voices are alike.

Yet so often, we neglect to hear these resonances under which our spoken words are floated over. A lover’s voice vibrating with tenderness can feel like a warm caress touching the body; words spoken over an angry voice can seem like bullets hitting one’s auric field; and a voice tinged with laughter can’t help but fill us with good feelings. And then there are the voices of other people we encounter. The radio announcer’s soothing baritone that accompanies us during a long ride, the cheerful chatter of children playing on the street, and the dulcet hum of a yogi in mid-mantra are just a few of the voices we may be blessed to hear on any given day. Taken together, they’re like a wondrous symphony of mellifluous notes.

Every time we use our voices, we send our energetic imprint out into the universe and to the people around us. And, like the words that we use when we speak to people, our voices can communicate what we are feeling, what we desire, and what we really mean. There is no hiding our truth that can be felt through the sound of our voices. Timidity, desire, pain, and love can all be expressed and felt through the human voice. Our voices also have the power to heal, to hurt, to love, and to transform others. When we are aware of the impact our voices can have, we can consciously choose what we are expressing. Remember that what you communicate when you speak goes beyond words. Take responsibility for the power your voice has to impact the space and the people around you, and let your voice be a sound that creates harmony and compassion in the universe.

Always use your voice to make it a great day, not just for yourself, but for those within hearing!

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I took my son third son, Jose, to get a haircut at Great Clips in Kettering. We were the only customers and there was one stylist sweeping up from a previous haircut.

“I’ll be right with you.”

Jose, nearing age 19, peered around the counter at the voluptuous pretty blonde stylist who was probably in her 30s.

“I think I’m going to enjoy this haircut.”

I was thumbing through some magazine and joked, “Well, you’re old enough; you could ask her out.”

Jose took a second look. “She’s kind of old for me.”

Adding a bit of screen-dad coolness like Steve Martin or Robin Williams, said, “Maybe she’s one of those coyotes.”

Jose squinted his eyes and stared at me. “Do you mean ‘cougar?”

Ohhhh… maybe?

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THE FAMILY ALBUM: “Dad? Where are you?”

It was not uncommon for me to leave a store or performing event and suddenly remember I had forgotten my sons. I had been on my own for so many years that I was not used to taking a roll call before leaving.

It did take me several years to recognize that it was one of my sons yelling (several times) specifically for me when I heard, “Dad!” I just figured it was for someone else.


I always preferred attending to grocery shopping between 11:00 PM and midnight, mostly for convenience of just returning home from rehearsals or events, and so that I would run into fewer folks I knew in order to move through the store faster. I had only had my first son a few days before I headed out to the old Kroger in Centerville. I returned home to find him sitting on the stairs, fearing that I had left him.

Yes, this is kind of a sadder story but the rest were actually pretty funny.


Our summers were always eventful and busy with doing as many things as we could cram in. Often, we’d hit Kroger, Meijer, or Walmart around midnight as we returned from an event. Many times I would shop while the boys hit the gaming center.

One night, I loaded all the groceries into the car and pulled out of the Meijer parking, heading west on Stroop Road. I got to the intersection at Marshall before I realized Joshua and Matthew were back at Meijer.

Sure enough, they were still glued to the gaming monitors and had not missed me.


I gave Jose $20 to run inside to pay for gas. This was before the committed payment before filling up your tank. While Jose stood in line, I filled up the Lumina and climbed back inside the car.

I was just ready to pull out onto Far Hills Avenue when something surprised me on the passenger side of the car.

Twelve year old Jose jumped into the car with “Were you trying to see how fast I could run?”

Whoa! “Yes, I was. And you are so fast.” Whew! He bought it.


We finished up a show and the entire crew was heading to Quaker Steak for a post-show chow. Quintin asked if he could ride with some family friends so I attended to a few closing items and went to my car parked on the other side of the building.

I arrived at the restaurant and was greeted by the family friend with “Where’s Quintin?”

Oh, shit. Again! “Umm, didn’t he ride with you?”

My phone rang. A fellow teacher was leaving the building and saw Quintin sitting on a park bench by the parking lot. He had missed the family’s departure and then discovered I, too, was gone. Thankfully, my friend delivered him to Quaker Steak and I treated her to a dinner.


I really didn’t leave three of the boys at Disney World. I got on the monorail car in EPCOT and was on my way back to The Magic Kingdom before I realized I was reading a brochure to just myself. Apparently, something held them back from getting aboard the same car.


I thought I was guiding my son onto the elevator to descend top of the Eiffel Tower but I was actually holding onto the arm of some kid whose family entered alongside me. I was a half sentence into asking if he wanted a funnel cake before… “Oh, hell! You’re not my son.”

The boy’s family asked if I wanted to keep him because he was at that mouthy middle school age.

Nope. “I just left one at the top of the tower.”

My son met up with me at the bottom when I explained my story.

“You thought it was me?”

Well, he was about your size.

“Dad, he had blonde hair,” my black haired Hispanic son observed.

At that age they all smell alike. But, I’ve always wondered if that one young man ever got a funnel cake before leaving the park.

Oh, and there was at least once, maybe twice, that I pulled out of the long line of exiting traffic after realizing I’d left the sons back inside the park at our regular meeting spot. They always thought “Dad ran into someone he knows…”







The stories are pretty much the same but with different sons.


When the funeral service had ended I suggested to the boys they go back to the family quarters to watch television since it would be a while.

And it was a long while.

Finally, inside the car waiting in the funeral procession line, my dad tapped on the window. I lowered the window. “Where are your sons?”

The departure was only held up for a moment while I retrieved the boys.


I was preparing to pull away from where my mother and sister were living at the time and my sister leaned inside the car.

“Are you forgetting anything?”

I looked past a short redhead to see Flyer, the dog, in the back window.

Nope… oh, no!

My sons were not in the car but my little nephew, Andrew, was in the backseat.

Now, I honestly cannot accept full responsibility for this swap as I believe my sister was the mastermind behind it. However, we would have probably been fifty miles away at the New Castle exit before I figured out the difference.

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THE FAMILY ALBUM: Please wait on the porch

The light was red at my turn from Far Hills Avenue onto Shroyer Road where my house stood about a mile away. I phoned my teenaged son.

Joshua:  Yes?

Dad:  Can you please be on the porch in about two minutes?

Joshua: Why?

Dad:  I need you to help me carry things in from the van.

Joshua:  I can’t.

Dad:  What do you mean you can’t?  I need your help.

Joshua:  I can’t.

Dad:  Josh, please come to the porch and be ready to help me carry things inside.

Joshua:  It’s going to be hard as hell.

Dad:  Why?  Are you in the bathroom?

Joshua:  No. You left me at the store.

Dad:  I’ll be there in about fifteen minutes. Please be outside by the front. Absolutely no smart ass comments.

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MY DAY: Tuesday after Labor Day

And here it is Monday… I mean, Tuesday morning. Tomorrow, my Wednesday shall probably be Tuesday in my mind.

Saturday through Monday was a mix of everything, socially and physically. Labor Day weekend has always been one of my favorite holidays. Living in the midst of Kettering’s Holiday at Home Festival has always been such a kick with the additional foot and street traffic. Shroyer Road, especially on my elongated block, has always been busy but there is a different busyness over the Labor Day weekend. It’s exciting.

Saturday morning at 9:30 AM, I prepared to battle the mowing and trimming, a job that requires not much more than 45 minutes to one hour. I’d put off mowing for several weeks due to the high temperatures followed by several days of much rain. At around Noon, I stiffly walked inside and collapsed on my bed, barely able to move a muscle. I had no strength to even reach for the bottle of Tylenol. The front easement and backyard required several re-mows, the first rounds being terribly strenuous. Everything I intended to do the remainder of the day was off the books. But, the yard was mowed and I did it my self. That’s very important to me during this chapter of life.

For many years, the Hoosier kinfolk would spend their time here from Friday through Monday, taking in a Fairmont game so we could see one of the boys in marching band, going to parks for picnics, spending time at Young’s Dairy, wandering through the Holiday at Home festival, and enjoying the parade. I actually did a majority of cooking for the meals which was either celebrated or tolerated. The only true fail that I can recall was my attempt at mint chocolate pancakes. In my brain, they were delicious. Well…

Sunday, I was hankering for a lemon shake-up. Laura agreed to go with me to the festival, one long block over, and we corralled Mama Kay into joining us instead of napping after Mass. Upon our return, Mama Kay invited us to lunch with chicken salad croissants, chips, my own contribution of macaroni salad, and delicious desserts. I returned home for a quick nap, and an afternoon and evening of teaching.

In 2008, the Bane family, whose children studied piano with me, and later saxophone, began using my driveway to park and we’d all head over to the parade on Far Hills. We’ve only interrupted this tradition in 2020 when the festival was cancelled. Yesterday, we returned to our regularly scheduled parade program.

By 2:00 PM, post-parade, I was returned to my Monday teaching schedule with everyone present on a Monday holiday.

This morning I decided to glide into my day since I have another 2:00 PM to 11:00. PM teaching schedule. I even laid down in the study to cuddle Chief before the three ladies figured out what was happening. Soon, The Quartet was snuggled around me for a good thirty minutes. It’s been relaxing morning watching the Medora (North Dakota) Musical that celebrates the Wild West and Teddy Roosevelt. My Colorado students saw and loved the musical this weekend, told me about it, and it was contagious. Such a fun watch!

Now, to sweep the study and bedroom, and to get some writing completed before it’s time to teach.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: One day at a time

I did not write this. This article is from DailyOM.

Taking one step at a time makes life much easier to navigate, rather than always looking at the big picture.

The years of our life do not arrive all at once; they greet us day by day. With the descent of each setting sun, we are able to rest our heads and let the world take care of itself for a while. We may rest assured throughout the night, knowing that the dawn will bring with it a chance to meet our lives anew, donning fresh perspectives and dream-inspired hopes. The hours that follow, before we return to sleep once more, are for us to decide how we want to live and learn, laugh and grow. Our lives are sweeter and more manageable because we must experience them this way: one day at a time.

Imagine the future stretching out before you and try to notice if you feel any tension or overwhelm at the prospect of the journey still to come. Perhaps you have recently made a lifestyle change, like beginning a new diet or quitting smoking, and the idea of continuing this healthy new behavior for years seems daunting. Maybe you have started a new job or are newly married and can feel an undercurrent of anxiety about your ability to succeed. If you can shift your focus from what may happen years down the line and return it to the day that is before you right now, you may find a measure of calm and renewed confidence in your capabilities. You may also discover an inner faith that the future will take care of itself. 

The way we show up for our lives today and tomorrow has an enormous affect on who we will be and what we will be experiencing years from now. If we can remain fully engaged in the day at hand, enjoying all it has to offer and putting our energy into making the most of it, we will find that we are perfectly ready and capable to handle any future when it arrives. 

DLJH: Taking one step, one day, one minute at a time is all about the process which I love. Take life one day at a time and make it a great day!
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THE FAMILY ALBUM: Willkie license plate

I love this photograph of my great-great uncle and aunt, Raymond and Betty Daugherty. I have seen this photo so many times and don’t believe I have ever noticed the Wendell L. Willkie license plate on the front of the automobile which dates this photo to 1940 when Willkie, a hometown boy from Elwood, Indiana, ran as the Republican candidate for president against the incumbent, Franklin Roosevelt.

Uncle Raymond, the much younger brother of my great-grandmother, Thelma Daugherty Barmes, was three months older than his nephew, my grandfather, Leroy “Red” Barmes.

Betty Church, whose family lived near Summitville, Indiana, in the northeast corner of Madison County, was a best friend and classmate of my grandmother, Donna Clary.

So, two best friends and an uncle and nephew, dated, married, raised families, and were a part of my wonderful village.

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MY DAY: It’s Friday…

Since I have several days off from teaching each week, I don’t look as forward to Fridays as most folks, even when I designate Friday FunDays for particular events.

Last night I wandered over to the next block which contains the expansive and manicured Lincoln Park with its crown jewel, The Fraze Pavilion, named in honor of our local inventor who designed the pop-tab for beverage cans. Each summer, The Fraze is host to incredible talent both of international and local fame. Thursday evening, to cap off the end of summer city block party, The Kettering Civic Band, under the most capable baton of Catherine Abner gave the community a last musical “hurrah” for summer.

Today, I will lunch with my dear friend, Carol Chatfield, whom I’ve missed seeing weekly throughout this pandemic and quarantine. In the evening, I’ll traipse downtown to The Levitt Pavilion to hear ensembles from The University of Dayton music department.

The past two nights I’ve had much appreciate sound sleeps with minimal distractions for bathroom breaks. I’ve not felt especially tired but having a complete night’s sleep is quite welcome.

On with the day. I’ve forty-five minutes of play time with The Quartet before I need to ready myself for my lunch date for which I am most excited.

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THE FAMILY ALBUM: Grandma Carter

Mary Maria Vinson Jones | Carter 29 March 1853 – 25 September 1934

I grew up hearing my grandmother, Donna Clary Barmes, lovingly refer to Grandma Carter. Since Carter is not a surname name directly connected to any family line, this one might be confusing.

Here’s the lineup for eight generations:

1. Joshua Vinson (born 1791)
2. William Vinson Carter (born 1820)
3. Mary Maria Vinson Jones | Carter (born 1853)
4. Joel Monroe Jones (born 1873)
5. Mary Belle Jones Clary (born 1897)
6. Donna Mae Clary Barmes (born 1924)
7. Diana Kay Barmes Jolliff | Haas (born 1945)
8. Darin Jolliffe-Haas (born 1964)

Grandma Carter was the mother of my second great-grandfather, Joel Monroe Jones. Grandpa Jones’ father, John Henry Jones, died as a young man and Mary Vinson Jone remarried to George T. Carter.

The Vinson family migrated in the 1830s from Delaware and Maryland to pioneer Van Buren Township and Boone Township in Madison County, Indiana. By the time the Boone Township map of 1876 was completed the Vinson family owned a number of farms and acreage that Mary Vinson Jones inherited, thus becoming known as The Jones’ Farms, and in 1936, the main farm property deeded over to Garrett & Belle Clary, my great-grandparents.

Grandma Carter’s parents:

William Vinson

4 October 1820 – 19 September 1883 Born in Delaware Died near Summitville, Madison County, Indiana. Buried in Old Vinson Cemetery in Van Buren Township, Madison County, Indiana

Mary Jane Robinson Vinson

1832 – 1900 Born in Indiana Died near Summitville, Madison County, Indiana. Buried in Old Vinson Cemetery in Van Buren Township, Madison County, Indiana

Grandma Carter’s paternal grandparents:

Joshua Vinson

1791 – 27 November 1871 Born in Sussex County, Delaware Died near Summitville, Indiana Buried in Old Vinson Cemetery in Van Buren Township, Madison County, Indiana

Mary “Polly” Smith Vinson 1798 – 7 September 1865 Born in Sussex County, Delaware Died near Summitville, Indiana Buried in Old Vinson Cemetery in Van Buren Township, Madison County, Indiana

I’ve never seen any photos of Grandma Carter and only have a copy of her death certificate and photos of her gravesite which is in the Vinson Family Cemetery south of Summitville, Indiana.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Being Your Own Village

I did not write this; it is from the DailyOM site.

Sometimes we need to be our own village by utilizing all of our skills and learning more.

Simple survival requires us to be in possession of many skills. The pursuit of dreams requires many more. Most individuals rely on the support of a village, whether peopled by relatives or community members, to effectively address the numerous ways we need assistance. This can mean anything from asking favors of acquaintances and leaning on loved ones for support to paying a skilled artisan to handle specialized tasks. However, each human being is born with the capacity to be their own village. We embody many roles throughout our lifetimes, all of which are representative of our capacity for self-sufficiency and self-determination. In different moments in our lives, we are our own counselor, janitor, caregiver, cook, healer, teacher, and student. Our willingness to joyfully take on these roles grants us the power to maintain control over the direction our life’s journey takes.

In times past, human beings learned all of the skills needed for survival. Today, the majority of people specialize in a single discipline, which they hone throughout their lives. Thus, many of us feel uncomfortable standing at the helm of our own existence. We question our ability to make decisions concerning our own health, happiness, and welfare, and are left feeling dependent and powerless. But the authority to take ultimate responsibility for our lives is simply a matter of believing that we have the necessary faith and intelligence to cope with any circumstance the universe chooses to place in our path. Proving that we can each be our own villages through action enables us to accept that we are strong enough to exist autonomously. Cooking, cultivating a garden of fruits and vegetables, undertaking minor home repair, or adopting a healthier lifestyle can help you reassert your will.

Being your own village does not mean embracing isolation, for a balanced life is built upon the dual foundations of the inner and the outer villages. Rather, being your own village is a celebration of your wondrous inner strength and resourcefulness, as well as an acknowledgment of your innate ability to capably steer the course of your life.

Celebrate YOU while making it a great day!

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MY DAY: Thursday on the deck

I am beyond thrilled to be back at my table on the deck, even with 64-degrees. I do not mind the temperature, nor even the mild breeze as I just wanted to be back on the deck after the several weeks of unbearable heat and humidity followed by the several days of annoying but much needed rain.

The grass is tall and I know that Friday or Saturday I shall be tackling it in preparation for The Labor Day festivities, Holiday At Home, that surrounds The Haasienda.

Tonight is the Kettering City Block Party in Lincoln Park that will conclude with The Kettering Civic Band in concert at The Fraze. My plans are to attend.

Yesterday was spent researching for my project but I kept finding myself going down a number of unnecessary genealogical rabbit holes. While I was thrilled with some of the new family information I uncovered, I was agitated that I had lost my entire focus on other research. But, I do have new items for family members to enjoy and share.

On with my day. The forecast says we shall only hit 75-degrees and by an hour into tonight’s band concert it will be in the 60s.

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THE FAMILY ALBUM: Jesse Barmes WWI draft registration

Interesting that Jesse Delmar Barmes lived in Elwood during WWI.

I knew that Jesse’s brother, Edla Barmes, had brought Jesse’s sons, Virgil and Emerson, to Elwood, Indiana for jobs at The American Sheet and Tin Plate Company, but I had no idea that Jesse also came to Elwood. I did discover that Jesse’s mother, Mary Jane Cline Barmes, had lived in Elwood with Jesse and, later, he daughter, Hazel.

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THE FAMILY ALBUM: Mary Jane Cline Ayres Barmes Bannon

Mary Jane Cline Ayres was a widow when she married my 3rd great-grandfather, Frederick Elde Barmes, of Hope, Indiana.

This is some information on Mary:

Mary Jane Cline Ayres Barmes Bannon was born 23 December 1854 in

Mary Jane Cline, born 23 December 1854 in St. Paul, Decatur County, Indiana and was the daughter of Robert Martin Cline (1829-1919) and Julia Anne Weatherford (1832-1869).

Mary first married to George W. Ayers (1850-1875) in March 1872 at Decatur County, Indiana. It is not known if Mary and George had any children.

After George died, Mary remarried to Frederick (went by Fred) Elda Barmes (1838-1897) on 13 Feb 1877 at Decatur County, Indiana. Mary and Fred were the parents of four known children, namely:

1. Jesse Delmar Barmes (1877-1938) (this is our line)
2. Elda “Eldie” Robert Barmes (1880-1955)
3. Elsie Blanch Barmes Rothrock (1889-1919)
4. Hazel E. Barmes Harber (1895-1973)

After Fred died Mary remarried to William Campbell Bannon (1844-1918) on 08 Nov 1899 at Anderson County, Indiana.

Records also show Mary J. Barmus (sic) married William C. Bannon on 31 Jan 1901 at Madison County, Indiana.

At the time of the 1900 census Wiliam C. Bannon, Mary and William’s step-children Elda, Elsie and Hazel Barmes were living at Elwood, Madison County, Indiana. Mary said she was the mother of four, all living.

Mary J. Bannon was still living at Madison County, Indiana in 1910, being listed twice: once with William C. Bannon and once listed with her daughter Hazel, married son Jesse and his family, a single sister, Hattie Cline.

In 1920 the widow Mary was living with her son Jesse and his family at Elwood, Madison County, Indiana.

In 1930 the widow Mary Bannon and married daughter Hazel Barmes Harber (or Hordes), were rooming at Stockton, San Joaquin County, California.

Mary Jane nee Cline (Ayres) (Barmes) Bannon died 3 April 1931 in Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana and is buried alongside Frederick Barmes in The Moravian Cemetery, Hope, Bartholomew County, Indiana.

Mary Jane Cline Barmes, left, with her son and daughter-in-law, Jesse Delmar Barmes and Emily Brewer Barmes.
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THE FAMILY ALBUM: Virgil Barmes’ draft card

Virgil Barmes was my maternal great-grandfather.

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THE FAMILY ALBUM: Writing out memories

In 1977, I made binders for my grandparents, some of their siblings, and my great grandparents, and their siblings with story-sheets they could fill out to record their favorite stories, our family’s history.

I’m glad that at age thirteen was thought of this family project as the stories were written in their own hand writing and in their own words.

In 1990, I had them add more stories. Here are a few from my maternal grandparents, Leroy & Donna nee Clary Barmes.

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