Happy Thanksgiving!

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” -John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Thanksgiving Memories

It’s the time of year when fall ends and the Christmas season begins (although in retail stores, it began in October!).  Sweater weather is here.  In the Midwest, it’s been around for a couple months.  In Los Angeles, it has just begun.  Too bad I brought only one sweater with me.  I’m currently in LA visiting, and I’m certain the weather will warm up soon.  This is when I put an optimistic smile on my face.

pumpkin-1706702_1920Over the years, I’ve had many memorable Thanksgiving Days.  In my youth, we headed over the river and through the woods…Oops!  Wrong story!  We drove past open fields covered in snow with their crops harvested for another year.  We would arrive at my grandparents’ home.  It was a white cottage down the road from a country church where my mom taught Sunday school before meeting my father.

Anytime we went to Gram’s house was a special occasion.  Whether it was a Sunday dinner or a holiday feast, she would have put together a meal suitable for a crowd of hungry farmers after working in the fields all day.  Instead, she had a handful of little rugrats and their parents to feed.

Holiday dinners would always have two different types of meat, typically a large turkey and a ham.  Multiple side dishes strained the table with their combined weight.  Mountains of mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, corn, baked rolls, cranberry sauce, jello salad and a number of other treats were prepared with great care for her family.  I give thanks for Gram’s love.

After the meal, the adults would sit around with full stomachs and converse on the topics of the day — news, local gossip, the weather, and sports.  You would know they were ready for dessert when they began talking about food again.  I give thanks for my extended families — aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents.

In later years,  our celebrations were smaller when the preparations became too much for Gram.  We would stick with our nuclear families and visit Gram in her little apartment.  When we lived overseas, we would invite other Navy families and single sailors to our Thanksgiving Day dinners.  I give thanks for being privileged to have served my country.

On this Thanksgiving, my active duty son will be gone serving his country.  I am 2000 miles from my husband and eldest son.  I’m spending this Thanksgiving with my new daughter-in-law.  I give thanks for my lovely family and their health and safety.

New traditions will begin as our family grows and changes in the years to come.  This is why I give thanks.

 

 

November Blues

America will survive. In a democracy, we respect the will of the people through our electoral process. Even if it means not getting the result you wanted. We’ve weathered a lot, and hopefully any challenges we face will unite us and make us stronger. I am sharing this thoughtful blog by the talented author, Gaby Cabezut, a member of the One Million Project.

theonemillionproject

Today feels like a gloomy day.

Donald Trump has just won and most of the people I know are in shock. He represents everything that humanity has been trying to fight for decades. It feels like we just stepped back in history. And the saddest part? He didn’t get there alone.

People I love, admire and respect chose him.

I can’t understand why. Not even after hearing their reasons.

I’m biased. Completely.

I know the USA will keep going. I know they’re strong enough to get through this. I have no doubt about that. People are frustrated and worried, but life keeps going and they’ll make it work.

I’m worried about my country. I’m worried about Mexico.

But most of all, I’m worried about humanity.

What kind of society are we leaving to our children?

A society that breathes television shows and has you tube vlogs for dinner?

Our technological…

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Discovering Our Ancestral Past

Most everyone has heard about geneology research sites such as Ancestry.com which help us to search records for snippets of information about our families.  Many families pass down stories about their ancestors to younger generations, but my family didn’t.

I was always interested, but when I asked questions of my parents, they had very few answers.  My grandparents had difficult lives, and I doubt it left much time for passing on stories of their youth.  Most of what I’ve been able to find out has been through a couple of stories one of my uncles told me and the web.

Kate McGinn is my alter ego.  When I decided on my pen name, I chose a combination of my own name and my grandmother’s maiden name.  If I was to be known as someone else, I wanted it to be connected to me in some way.  It was important to have a name with meaning.  When I started writing and creating social media sites for promotions, several of my relatives asked my mother “Who in the world is Kate McGinn?”

My husband and I are planning a trip to Ireland in the near future.  It will be my first time traveling to the homeland of my ancestors. I really wanted to travel to the town where my grandmother grew up — Carrickmacross in County Monaghan.  In preparation, I contacted some of my family members to see if anyone still had contacts in Ireland.  I was pleased to find out several of my father’s cousins still lived near my grandmother’s hometown.

When my aunt told them how I was using their mothers’ and my grandmother’s family name, they were very pleased.   It was such a special feeling to know I would see the place that my McGinn ancestors called home.

My curiosity has peaked thinking about walking the streets my grandmother traveled as a young girl and woman.  I look forward to seeing if any of our Irish family bear a resemblance to their American cousins.

The story of my family and their past awaits, and Kate McGinn can’t wait to see it unfold.

 

Post Election Thoughts

No matter who you may have voted for or which party, if any, you affiliate yourself with, we need to come together. We need to realize freedom of speech doesn’t mean you shout the other side down to silence it.

Prior to the election, the country was divided almost 50/50.  Each of us must acknowledge this fact. This election was not a landslide by any means, but what makes America great is uniting as a people and compromising so large segments of the country don’t feel ignored.

America needs to move forward not backward or at a standstill.  Only time will show us if we will strengthen our democracy or impede it.

God Bless America.