Images found here are not to be reproduced without my express written permission.

Zen Garden

It was a peaceful visit, and somehow we left feeling that a burden we hadn't realized was released and left behind.

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At the cat show

 We decided to do something a bit different and went to a Cat Fanciers of America Cat Show.

For comic relief perhaps? ...cats in costumes.... although this cat doesn't look amused!

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A visit to Girard College

Stephen Girard was born in France but emigrated to the "New World" during the American Revolution. He had already made a considerable fortune in shipping but demonstrated a Midas touch and continued to expand his business interests; he also became quite successful in real estate and banking. Upon his death, he left a 38-page will bequeathing $2,000,000 to the city of Philadelphia to establish a school for "white orphaned boys". In Pennsylvania at that time, "orphan" was defined as a child without a father. My grandfather was one of the children who was educated there thanks to this bequest.
Mr. Girard never got to see this institution built; he died in 1831, and the first students were admitted in 1848 after construction was complete. Girard Collegeis not a university but a school which now teaches students from 1st through 12th grade. While students originally stayed there year-round with the exception of a few holidays, they now board there through the week and return to their families on the weekends.
Beginning in the late 1800's there were multiple challenges to Girard's will with several key stipulations being overturned by the courts. In the late 1960's, the first black students were admitted. Since then, females have also gained admission, as well as children of single parents. (Admission is no longer restricted to "fatherless" children.) Today more than 90% of the students are people of color, and more than half are female. The original bequest included many of Girard's belongings, which can be seen in Founders Hall, one of the original buildings. 

The education of the children served by Girard College continues to be supported primarily by Girard's bequest - the $2,000,000 principal remains intact and operating expenses are funded by the investments and interest earned on the principal. All graduates have offers to multiple universities, and Girard College helps their graduates find financial resources to complete their college education. Generous donations from alumni help in this effort.

A statue found at the entrance to Girard College

The front of Founders Hall, which includes a 39-foot-tall door (to give you an idea of its size).

The next three photos are of one of the classrooms, followed by a few of Girard's personal effects found in the museum on the second floor of Founders Hall. Mr. Girard's will was so detailed that he specified the precise size of each classroom and the height of each stair in the buildings.

Among the artifacts preserved in the museum is Mr. Girard's will.

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The Lord's New Church

I'd never heard of "The Lord's New Church" before. This denomination is also often referred to as Swedenborg Church after its founder. My cousin's husband works at the church's large property in Huntington Valley,  Pennsylvania, and my cousin and I went for a walk around the grounds and the fields there. The buildings are obviously old, but we could find no cornerstones indicating when they were built, nor did a web search reveal the history of this property and the buildings found there. If you wish to learn more about their beliefs, here is link about Swedenborg Church.

Can you see the frogs? They were plenteous, with lots of tadpoles as well.

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Philadelphia's City Hall


The statue of William Penn viewed from within the 22nd floor of City Hall.

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Play ball!

The tarp was on when we arrived at the park, but we got started after a brief rain delay. And our team won - 


We even saw blue skies by the end of the game!

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52 years ago today...

Today would have been our 52nd anniversary, (We missed celebrating our 50th by 6 months - a milestone we  both looked forward to.) Neither of us liked having our photos taken, but this one of my husband is my hands-down favorite. The camera caught him just before he laughed. And I miss his laugh.

Losing my husband was the worst experience of my life, but with the support of friends and family and my faith in God, I've come out the other side. And I learned some things in the process and jotted them down. Periodically I pull them out as a reminder, and I'm continuing to learn as time goes by, so it's a work in progress. If you've faced a loss, perhaps it will help you to hear this from someone who's been there and survived.

May God bless and comfort you.


Here are some of the things I’ve learned through loss:

·        After the death of a loved one, emotions can be all over the place – from sorrow to rage to numbness and everywhere in between. Allow yourself to feel the feelings.

·        In the days immediately following your loss, avoid looking too far ahead. There are plenty of tasks to take care of just to get through the first few weeks. Trying to figure out the future can be overwhelming. The fact is, we can only live one day at a time.

·        “Widow brain” or “widow fog” is real. After a devastating loss, it is common to find oneself forgetting even the simplest things. Carry a small notebook and pen with you to jot things down or use an app on your phone as a memory aid until the fog clears. It gets better.

·        Create a list of things you need help with. People often want to help but don’t know what you need. When folks offer to help, you have a ready source of ideas.

·        Things may seem overwhelming. Keeping a to-do list – and crossing off tasks as they’re completed – can help you stay organized. And crossing things off the list can give you a sense of accomplishment.

·        Don’t second-guess decisions you made in the past. You can’t change them. You made the best decision you could with the information you had at the time. Recognize this and treat yourself with compassion.

·        I learned some surprising things about forgiveness. I had to forgive God for not answering my prayers the way I wanted. I had to forgive my spouse. And I had to forgive myself, which required me to look at some uncomfortable truths about myself.

·        Others may have disappointed you then… and may disappoint you now. They're facing challenges of their own. Recognize this and treat them with compassion.

·        Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Stay hydrated, try to eat healthy, get some fresh air, and keep your routine medical and dental appointments.

·        Avoid making major changes for a year after your loss if at all possible.

·        Don’t waste time regretting things that happened in the past. These are things you cannot change.

·        Don’t waste time “catastrophizing” about the future. Doing the best you can with today’s challenges is often the best way to prepare for the days to come.

·        As overwhelming as this loss feels today, in the weeks and months ahead you will learn things about yourself, the world, and those around you that you did not know before. Treasure these lessons as the fruit of your grief.

·        Consider journaling. It can help you clarify your thoughts.

·        Don’t narrow your focus solely to what you’ve lost. Remember also what you had together, and what you still have to be grateful for. Start a gratitude list; write down 3 things (big or small) that you have to be thankful for each day.

·        Often people who haven’t experienced grief are unable to understand, but find someone you can talk to honestly.

·        Friendships with others may change after you’re no longer part of a couple, and this, too, must be mourned. But don’t let this poison your ability to make friends of others. If old friendships wither away, find new ones.

·        Don’t let disappointment cause you to become bitter; let it help you to become more compassionate.

·        Many people find that participating in a grief support group or speaking to a counselor or spiritual advisor is extremely helpful.

·        Rather than blaming God for your loss, ask him to help you find something positive and meaningful to draw from it. Once you’ve found it, use it to benefit yourself and others.

·        Be patient with yourself in early grief, but if the rollercoaster persists or you get “stuck” in an emotion, consider seeking help.

·        There is no way around grief; the only way out of grief is to go through it.

·        Do things when you’re ready, and trust yourself to know when the time is right.

·        We all grieve differently. There is no perfect path to healing from loss.

·        At some point, you will smile or laugh or have an enjoyable experience. Don’t apologize for having a good moment, or even a good day. This is something to celebrate.

·        Even after you are on the road to recovery, you will most likely experience “ambushes” or “flashbacks”, when something – a song, a memory, an anniversary  – triggers a wave of emotion. Ride it out. They get less overwhelming and less frequent with time.

·        If you anticipate that a birthday, anniversary, or holiday may be challenging, make a plan. This may be a great time to get together with friends, to do something creative, to head to your “happy place”, to take a class, or to volunteer for something that has special meaning to you or your loved one.

·        One of the best ways to brighten your day is to do something kind for others. Walk across the street and visit the lonely old lady who lives there. Compliment the harried cashier at the grocery store. Make a batch of cookies and take them to the police department. Offer to cuddle a young mother’s baby for an hour so she can take a nap or go for a walk.

·        As time goes by, you may find that some of the things you did together aren’t as much fun without your loved one. You may even find new interests, and doing so is not a betrayal of the love you shared together.

·        Grieve what you've lost, but allow yourself to move forward when the time is appropriate. We only get one life. It's ok to eventually be happy again. It's impossible to honor the life of a loved one by refusing to live. 

·        And although it may sound strange, I found that my relationship with my husband has continued to evolve in the years since his death. There were things I had to forgive him for. There were things I had to forgive me for. And with those things out of the way, I find my love for him has grown and changed.

And despite the healing that has happened, nevertheless, sometimes the tears still fall. 

Happy anniversary, my love.

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