12 in 2017

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I decided I would do my end of the year recount using twelve photos of mine from 2017.

One of my 2017 favorites on multiple levels. First it is a great photo of my daughter. Second I love the little girl  statue standing up for herself being fearless. 2017 was a year of women doing that – standing up. And to me the best thing about women standing up was they were standing up together. Women backing up and coming along side other women. We need each other. We are stronger together.

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Visiting the Ringling Circus Museum in Florida with friends was a highlight but bittersweet with the reality that the days of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus were over in May 2017.  Travel Tuesdays – The Ringling

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My second grandson was born on March 30, 2017.

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My first grandson turned two years old on April 29. He has decided my name is mommom.  I am fine with that. I babysat both of my little men on Mondays and Tuesdays for June – end of August 2017. It was fun and I slept well.

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Family vacation with my girls and their guys was a delightful week at the end of May. We rented a house in Annapolis, MD with day trips to Baltimore and the National Zoo in Washington, DC. Best part just being together. Added bonus being together for both of my daughters’ birthdays – 5/31 & 6/3. Fun moment was the Memorial Day parade. I love a parade. When was the last time you watched a small town parade? Add it to your to do list for 2018 you won’t regret it.

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The 9/11 Tribute Center grew into the 9/11 Tribute Museum in June 2017. Our new location at 92 Greenwich Street has the potential for educating large numbers of people but has not been without challenges as we settle into our new space just a tad further away from The Plaza. Still telling my story whether to school groups or on walking tours or in the galleries. Blessed to volunteer with the most amazing group of people.

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June 14, 2017 was my Mum’s 85th birthday. A few weeks later we gathered with old friends and family to celebrate her.

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I have seen Come From Away four times and I would see it again without hesitation. If you only see one Broadway show in 2018, make it Come from Away. If you plan to see more than one, add it to our list.  Come From Away

“We honor what we lost. But we also commemorate what we found!” Come from Away

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I have been to Seattle, WA many times. My daughter and her husband lived there for nine years. September 2017 was the first time I went to Seattle to visit Seattle. After my trip, I told Emily I understood why she loved Seattle. Had a great trip with good friends.

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On the way home from Seattle, I spent the weekend with family in Denver, CO.  I hope to spend more time with extended family in 2018. Aunts, Uncles, all manner of in laws, cousins, nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews are blessings.

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Family and those who are family through years of friendship came together to celebrate and remember my Mum.

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” C.S.Lewis

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This is my number one photo for 2017. My daughter introducing her son to her grandmother, my Mum aka Nanny. Neither of my daughters could make it to my mother’s party in June. They decided they would both visit her on the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend. My sister graciously opened her home again for a mini get together that day was my mother’s last good day she died less than a week later on September 8.

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”   Dr. Seuss

 

Finally Home

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generations

My mother-in-law is finally home. She passed from this life to eternity early this morning. For years she had been saying (my paraphrase) “Each night I ask the Lord to just take me home and then I wake up in the morning and have another day. I don’t know why God still has me here?” Before she moved to assisted living I would answer that question with “I don’t know Mom but I think it is so we can go to Friendly’s together”. After she moved to assisted living I would say “I don’t know Mom but I think it is because there may be someone here who doesn’t know Jesus loves them.” My mother-in-law was 97 years old last September. She served in her church until she was in her 90’s. She picked up friends and drove them to church until she was in her 90’s which to be honest was always a little scary to me but what an example of servant hood. My mother-in-law truly practiced the gift of hospitality. She was always inviting people over for Sunday dinner. She hosted more missionaries and random people overnight in her home than you could believe.

My mother-in-law lived alone since her husband had died over 20 years ago. She outlived just about every one of her contemporaries. All of her siblings and their spouses are deceased. Many of her friends are deceased.  The one death that she told me time and time again she couldn’t understand was her son, my husband, Bruce Van Hine. Through the 14 years since his death, I would remind her that Bruce was a firefighter and he died in the line of duty doing a job he loved. I would say “It is the wrong order of things for a parent to bury a child.”  I would change the subject to remind her about her daughter and her husband and her 5  grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Naming each member of the family and mentioning where they lived and any stories I could think of. Showing her photos on FB.

My mother-in-law and I didn’t always see eye to eye. Surprisingly we actually became closer after Bruce’s death. We both lost someone we loved dearly. I realized that after a point you just need to cut people slack so a change in my attitude improved our relationship. Also I think if someone is in their 80’s or 90’s what the heck give them a break.

I had the privilege of being with my mother-in-law in her last days. I held the fort down until my sister-in-law could arrive from Kansas. I have to chuckle because last Thursday was the first day I ever wore knee high boots with jeans tucked in and because I didn’t have time to go home for a change of clothing I wore jeans with knee high boots for 4 days straight. I went to CVS and bought underwear, socks, toiletries and t-shirt. On Saturday my daughter drove in from PA and brought me some clothing but wow! my mother-in-law used to call me that dancer girl and here I am in an outfit she would never approve of or understand.  But on the bright side I played church hymns for her on my iPhone, held her cup so she could sip water, feed her one or two spoonfuls of yogurt and told her “if you see the hand of Jesus reaching out to you, grab it.” I prayed for her and read Bible passages and told stories. I left her on Sunday morning in the care of her daughter and I can honestly say “we” were good.

So today I am saddened but I am also rejoicing because my mother-in-law is home and she is reunited with her hubby and son. I am currently visiting my daughter who brought the clothing and her social work expertise on Saturday. And I had to smile because on her way home from work today she stopped at the grocery store and bought shrimp, cocktail sauce and blueberry muffins. All items in memory of her grandmother.

“Don’t worry Mom we are saving the muffins for breakfast. Mom, God answered your prayer. It took longer than you thought it would but He answered it. I love you. I will see you again. Give Bruce a hug from me.” Love Ann, that dancer girl and your daughter-in-law. 🙂

 

Wonderful story about this not being our home. http://www.ugandamission.net/ministry/teaching/homecoming.html

David Bowie and the Concert for New York City

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When I read the news that David Bowie had died I was saddened not because I was a super Bowie fan because a talented creative human being had died from a terrible disease that kills so many. I am saddened for his family and friends as they grieve their personal loss with the world.  David Bowie was a public figure but more than that he was someone’s dad, business associate and friend. Please take a moment to pray or send a good thought or whatever you do to those who truly knew him.

As I looked at the posts on FB of people sharing their “personal” Bowie stories, I was reminded that I had seen David Bowie perform at the Concert for New York City in October 2001. After seeing the clip I remembered his performance. To be honest I don’t remember much about that concert partially because it was over 14 years ago but mostly because I believe I was still in shock when I attended it.  I don’t think I was even functioning on auto-pilot as of that point.

Forgive me for jumping on the David Bowie band wagon but here is my David Bowie story:

The FDNY had invited my teenage daughters and myself to attend the Concert for New York City at Madison Square Garden.  The Concert for New York City was to be my first “rock” concert. I asked my brother and sister-in-law to come along. My little brother https://missannsays.com/2012/06/05/my-little-brother/ was a rock concert veteran and very tall. Both things I assumed could come in handy.  As we walked from the parking garage to MSG the streets were quiet. It seemed all wrong – this is NYC on a Saturday – quiet isn’t normal. Quiet gave way to loud as we entered MSG. Our seats were on side so we could actually see into the wings/ backstage so we could see who was up next. Thankfully my sister-in-law brought earplugs. The concert opened with David Bowie sitting on stage. The word that comes to mind is humble or humbled.  http://davidbowienews.com/2014/04/america-concert-for-new-york-city-2001/

There are three other things that resonate with me  about the concert:

  • The firefighters trying to make sure my daughters were having a good time. Escorting my daughters so they could have a front row view for part of the concert.
  • My 17-year-old and myself having an Abbott and Costello type conversation about “who” is on stage and me saying “The Who” and her saying who???
  • When former President Bill Clinton came on stage the atmosphere totally changed to a mob like mentality that was scary. My brother and FDNY escorts positioned themselves to protect my daughters, my sister-in-law and myself. Thankfully things calmed down but there was a few moments of raw emotion, too much beer, and lack of sleep that could have got bad. The only thing scarier than that was watching the Concert for New York on MSG network years later and hearing the announcer say “the Clintons were cheered.” I was dumbfounded and started yelling at the television. Really we can just change events like that. Not good. To the best of my memory neither former President Clinton or Hillary were cheered.  Wikipedia in their description of the Concert for New York mentions the dubbing in of cheers – what?!? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Concert_for_New_York_City

Thank you Mr. Bowie for sharing your talents and teaching us that we can always reinvent ourselves. Rest in Peace. May your family and friends find comfort in the memories and hope for the future.

 

 

 

 

My ABC’s from 2015.

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Golden glitter

 

A is for adventures. A week in Florida Keys, a weekend in Chicago and being a tourist in my own city all qualify.

B is for ballet. I taught one class a week at a Modern Dance studio.

C is for Colton James. He was born on April 29, 2015.

D is for Dunkin Donuts. I drank quite a few cups of coffee.

E is for Eagle Rock Resort. Enjoyed my cabin and the amenities.

F is for faith, family and friends. I can’t do life without them.

G is for Grammy. My new title thanks to Colton James. 🙂

H is for hope. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

I is for interview. I did a couple of those.

J is for Joy.

K is for kindness.

L is for Library Book Club. Still going strong on the first Tuesday of each month.

M is for my Mum. She is doing well even though she is confined to a wheelchair.

N is for nieces and nephews. 7 plus 12 “grand” nieces and nephews. 🙂

O is for opportunities. I am blessed with many.

P is for published. “Unexpected Blessings” in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Volunteer and Giving Back edition and a devotional in The Upper Room.

Q is for quizzing. After 19 years, Eastern Regional Quiz at ENC was my last hurrah as Metro New York Children’s Ministries director for the Church of the Nazarene.

S is for shore. Spent a few days at the Jersey Shore with the Bowers.

T is for tea with Miss Carol. Always a treat.

U is for university. I spoke on two campuses.

V is for volunteering at the 9/11 Tribute Center.

W is for writing.

X is for eXercise.

Y is for year. Hard to believe another has come and gone.

Z is for zero. The number of regrets I have.

In 2016, I want to read and write more. I want to be present and not distracted. I want to be who God intended me to be.

 

 

 

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At the first anniversary there was a sense of needing to do the “right” thing, the appropriate thing, the expected thing. I am so grateful to a friend who said “do what you want to do” and we did. Meghan and I traveled to Quincy, MA to be with Emily who had just started her freshmen year of college. We attended chapel on campus, then drove down to the waterfront and sat and talked about Daddy (Bruce), we prayed, we cried and we wrote in our “things we would have told you” book – a recap of the year. Later, we ventured into Boston for lunch. I remember we stumbled upon numerous television crews at Nathaniel Hall and not knowing if we should laugh or cry, we kept our distance. We wanted to just be a mom and her daughters missing their dad/husband not 9/11 family members. There was something surreal about the day as there has been something surreal about so many days.

As the years have passed the advice of that friend “to do what you want to do” has proven to be excellent advice. Some years I have taken part in local ceremonies in Greenwood Lake or Rochelle Park or attended unique opportunities like ringing the bell at the NASDAQ or the concert at the Beacon Theatre.  I don’t venture to the National September 11 Memorial ceremony because I don’t think I can take on the grief of all those people. We don’t always write in the “things we would have told you” book anymore. We aren’t necessarily physically together because one daughter lives in Seattle and the other in PA.

This Friday will mark the 14th anniversary. I haven’t decided what I want to do this year. This year is a tricky year because my one daughter has now lived 14 years with her dad and 14 years without him and that breaks my heart. It seems harder this year because I have so many Tribute Center friends and I carry their stories as well. A few things that were true on the first anniversary are true on the 14th. I will talk to my daughters and I will tell them how very proud their Dad would be of them and I will remind them that he loved them so much. I will ask them to remember to pray for the other families, and the Squad 41 firefighters.  I will thank God for His faithfulness, my family and friends. And we will wish that we were just a mom and daughters missing their dad/husband who died in the line of duty and not 9/11 family members because a personal loss in the midst of a national tragedy adds so many layers.

 

a new landscape

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Grief-Quote-CS-LewisToday is a tricky day.(https://missannsays.com/2013/01/18/tricky-days/). Today would have been my husband’s 62nd birthday but it has been 13 years since he celebrated a birthday here on earth (https://missannsays.com/2012/09/10/r-bruce-van-hine/). Actually I surprised myself with a “good cry” this morning. The wondrous birth of my first grandchild back in April has made today harder than it has been in the past. Each year the number of things that Bruce has missed increases. I am grateful for the years we had and I am grateful for the life I have today but…

C.S. Lewis says “Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape.” My life is a totally new landscape now.  And in many ways that isn’t a bad thing but it is a different thing.  Happy Birthday, Bruce. See you again…

psalm 61

Appalachian Trail and Me

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The Appalachian Trail and I have an interesting relationship. I am not a hiker. I have no desire to hike anywhere let alone the “A.T.” I will admit I enjoyed Bill Bryson’s book “A Walk in the Woods”. It was one of my husband’s favorite books.  My husband was a hiker and he enjoyed hiking the “A.T.”. Through the years I have played a role in making sure his car was where it needed to be so when he finished a day hike he could get home. Other times I dropped him off and at a set time picked him up. I have fed “through hikers” he brought home and welcomed strangers to take a shower and sleep in their tent in our yard. I purchased gallon zip lock bags so he could leave Bibles on the trail. And a few years ago I donated his trail guides to the National September 11 Museum and in June the Museum put his trail guide on display. Yesterday I had a telephone call from a Museum staff person telling me they had written a blog about Bruce’s story.

https://www.911memorial.org/blog/new-view-firefighter%E2%80%99s-appalachian-trail-guidebook