CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

December 11, 2014

Cornell Family Dialogue Via Blog Post Comments

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

CORNELL FAMILY DIALOGUE

VIA BLOG POST COMMENTS

KILLED STRANGELY: A NEW ENGLAND MURDER STORY was the most commented on post on CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS, an online magazine-style blog. It’s connected numerous persons delving into the Cornell family (Twitter hashtags #Cornellgenealogy, #Cornellfamily).

  • Hi Carolyn, I am the great, great, great grandson of William and Margaret O’Neal Cornell of Bedford PA.  I’m trying to figure out if I belong to the New England family line or the French Huguenot family line or a lesser known family….Maybe you could help!  Patrick, received on CAROLYN’S BIO July 23, 2013

I decided to post a list of these comments separately from the list of a review of other CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS comments because the information is valuable for Cornell family researchers.

NOTE: This article is being rewritten. Upon review I discovered I made multiple writing errors which I will correct after January 1, 2015, on the CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS follow-up blog, CAROLYN’S ONLINE MAGAZINE. To reread the edited copy type CAROLYN’S ONLINE MAGAZINE after January 15, 2015.

Below are the Cornell family comments on CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS:

  • this story fascinates me! I found it a couple of years ago when I came across clues that suggest we’re also Cornell descendants here in Oklahoma! I had to buy the book. I’m reading it again because I want to share the story with my family on my blog, American Saga. I will track back to you when I get it written. Jan
  • Thomas Cornell was my eighth great grandfather. I’m going to Rhode Island in three weeks to visit these spots you mention and others. Were you able to find the graveyard where he is buried? Cameron Cornell  — January 3, 2009
  • I recently spoke to the author, Dr. Crane, who assured me she had found the family burial plot deep in the overgrown woods. It is not located on the government property. I visited this spot in Rhode Island a month or so ago, and walked back in the woods, but did not go deep enough to locate the plot. I’ll try again in the spring. John W. Cornwell  — January 22, 2009

(more…)

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December 9, 2014

International Friends Share Our Life Journey — Part 2

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

INTERNATIONAL FRIENDS SHARE OUR LIFE JOURNEY

Part 2

The following piece was written between July 1985 and summer 1988. It has been updated from then to include relationships to the present date.

During our children’s growing up years they met special people from foreign countries, people who joined their life journey to ours. This is Part 2 of their stories. Read Part 1 at

germany-map-travel_2

David, an 18-year-old exchange student from Germany. We co-hosted him with our then neighbors Rhonda and Tom—we had the sleeping space, they did the high school activities with their children and they cooked dinner regularly. David learned a lot during his stay with us—how to do his laundry, how to iron, how to tie a tie. He was great at skateboarding. But most of all, he held a baby, my great-niece Haleigh, for the first time. He returned to Germany at the end of the school year.

sw-150

Another good friend came from my paternal grandmother’s country, Sweden. We met Roy through a fellow writer, the late Diane Potter. On each of his visits we hung the Swedish flag, which delighted him. He often told the story about dynamite being invented in Sweden, and went with us to a St. Lucia program at the Church of the Savior in Cleveland Heights, Ohio (my son’s church). Read about it at  Sancta Lucia: Swedish Christmas Tradition with Italian Roots

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In recent years I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Holocaust survivors Bob Mendler and Janet Singer, perhaps the only two child survivors of (more…)

December 7, 2014

Saving Beyond Necessity: A Question

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

SAVING BEYOND NECESSITY: A QUESTION

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 41:34   (and Joseph instructed) Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance.   (NIV)

 Related Scripture:   Genesis 41:35-36, 47-48

DISCUSSION: Joseph not only interpreted dreams, but also presumed to make practical suggestions for a course of action necessary in light of the interpretation. He presented his case successfully to the Pharaoh, who immediately began to sift through candidates for the position of “Secretary of Agriculture.” Finally, he said to Joseph: as much as God showed you all this, you shall be over my house. Pharaoh conferred on Joseph symbols of the high office to which he had been appointed. (5 pp. 103)

REFLECTION:  A question occurs to me: If there were to be seven years of abundance, then seven years of famine, would not one save one-seventh of each good year’s harvest? Yet Joseph instructed Pharaoh to take one-fifth of the harvest, a significant difference (14% versus 20%) beyond what would be needed to pull the Egyptians through the famine, assuming one-seventh would be sufficient for one year’s sustenance.

Why the extra? Possibly because (more…)

December 4, 2014

A Review of Comments On CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

A REVIEW OF SIX YEARS OF

COMMENTS ON CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

Because CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS is coming to an end (later December posts will update you on the magazine’s evolution to CAROLYN’S ONLINE MAGAZINE : COMe) I decided to review and list some of the comments received over its 6 year life.

Comments indicate connection with readers. They add meaning to my writing—I’m reaching someone, entertaining them, introducing them to new topics and ideas, perhaps providing insight. Often they add corrective comments. More often they are uplifting.

The many wonderful comments received by CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS  during its lifespan encourage me to move on to creating a follow up blog—information on CAROLYN’S ONLINE MAGAZINE will be provided, hopefully, on January 1, 2015, and posted on this blog so you won’t lose any of my delightful writing. (OK, so there has to be some humor!)

Below is a list of only a few of the comments made on CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS.

An (Internationally) Adopted Adult Tells His Story Carolyn, thank you for sharing Mark’s story. I admire Sam and Annette for giving loving homes to these special children.  Merri

My Sister and I: Cluttered Versus Neat Home I’ve read that clutter is conducive to creativity. So look at it this way: You’re not neglecting your housecleaning, you’re fostering your creativity!  Danny

CAROLYN’S BIO My husband sent me the link to this bio on you, from the Upper Room’s devotional, first thing this morning. His words, “She looks like someone you would like.” I have always had writing aspirations, but even though I write a commentary daily on the day’s devotion, I have little time (more…)

December 2, 2014

Best Laid Plans, Interrupted, Offer Opportunity

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

BEST LAID PLANS, INTERUPTED, OFFER OPPORTUNITY

Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday? 

OK, I was unaware of this. A Tuesday newspaper article alerted me to the day. However, we were thrown into a giving experience on December 1, 2014, the day before that year’s Giving Tuesday. Allow me to share the story with you.

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I’d planned a quiet day clearing up some paperwork, writing, making turkey broth from leftover turkey bones. However, the best laid plans…you know the rest of this cliché…

Blood dripped onto my kitchen floor as I examined the cut on husband’s index finger. Its depth had me suggesting he might need stitches. I finally convinced him to go to the emergency room as his AB+ red fluid flowed freely into the bathroom sink unless he put real pressure on it.

Monte and I entered the emergency room almost simultaneously as another gentleman.  We looked at each other while waiting to sign in. He looked so familiar.

“John?” That morning I’d had a man cancel an interview due to illness, and he mentioned he might have to go to the emergency room.

“I’m Walter,” the man (more…)

November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving is Every Day: Transformation Through Gratitude

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

THANKSGIVING IS EVERY DAY:

TRANSFORMATION THROUGH GRATITUDE

…the problem is, we celebrate Thanksgiving on this one day, but it’s something we should be celebrating every day.

Dr. Gary Welton

Turkeys in a garden in East Weymouth, Mass.

Turkeys in a garden in East Weymouth, Mass.

What is this new sub-discipline of psychology called positive psychology?

Positive psychology was developed as recently as 1998 to seek understanding of the fulfilling aspects of the human experience. It counteracts psychology’s historic focus on mental illness and dysfunction.*

Psychologists Robert Emmons and Robert Stern, upon reviewing the research on the benefits of gratitude, concluded that gratitude has …dramatic and lasting benefits in both the physical and psychological realms.*

Physically (an attitude of gratitude) can

  • lower blood pressure
  • improve immune functioning
  • increase energy

Psychologically (an attitude of gratitude) can

  • reduce depression, anxiety, and substance abuse
  • provide protection from the destructive impulses of envy, resentment, and bitterness
  • may offer some protection against psychiatric disorders

(An attitude of gratitude) is larger than the effects of optimism, hope, (more…)

November 25, 2014

Give Thanks for the Ordinary

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

GIVE THANKS FOR THE ORDINARY

When the extraordinary becomes ordinary and the ordinary evolves into entitlement the need for giving thanks dissipates.

When I first visited Kentuck Knob I wondered why Frank Lloyd Wright located the structure a distance back from the knob, denying residents the opportunity to view the knob’s spectacular sunrises over the rolling Laurel Highlands hills, the Youghiogheny River gorge and nearby farmland.w of the .

I learned that Wright chose the location away from the peak to enable the house to become part of the landscape. It’s also my understanding that he also chose that location so that persons who wanted to experience the view had to make an effort, had to walk from the house to the knob—because he understood that a scene of beauty readily available would soon become commonplace, making it ordinary, and therefore less miraculous, less profound.

When we first visited our community of Laurel Mountain Borough it was magical. The one-lane gravel roads, the forested atmosphere, the almost eccentric aura contrasted with the cookie-cutter world we were accustomed to. We felt like we were being transported back in time to an era reputed to be less stressful, to a back-to-earth time. It was magical.

Gradually this profound, magical, feeling dissipated. The sense of uniqueness and magic evolved into the commonplace, the ordinary.

This evolution from the miraculous, the profound, to the commonplace, the ordinary, is a part of the human condition. Once a situation becomes ordinary it evolves into entitlement.

Which brings me to a statement I read in the November 23, 2014, newspaper column, Giving thanks can be a challenge. The quote is somewhat altered: That which was a pleasant and gracious (experience) year quickly becomes an expected entitlement. That for which I was thankful in the past, I now assume to be my right.

The author, Gary Welton, professor of psychology at Grove City College (Pennsylvania), noted that he’s been blessed with incredible health, yet I have never appreciated it. I have only taken it for granted. Only when I am ill do I recognize the incredible gift I have been given.

That for which we feel entitled we don’t feel thankful for. It it belongs to us so there is no need to give thanks.

 

Perhaps we need to step back from the commonplace, the ordinary, in our lives and revisit it with new eyes. So today (and every day) I will be thankful for (in no particular order):

  • my morning coffee, and the persons who planted the seeds, grew it to maturity, picked the beans, prepared them for market, and transported them, all so I can enjoy my morning wake-up time
  • my morning newspaper, and the journalists (who sometimes risk their lives) to research, interview subjects, and write the copy; and for the delivery person who brings it to my newspaper box in the wee hours of the morning so I can relax reading it while partaking of my morning coffee
  • my gray cat King and his former owner, who abandoned two cats in our community, one of which adopted our family. King offers us companionship, adulation, and conversation
  • my family, without whom I would not be who I am today
  • the dishes that clutter my kitchen counter, waiting to be washed and put away. I am no more entitled to this luxury than is the person living in a hut eating out of pie tin
  • water that flows freely from  my household taps, water I am no more entitled to than the woman who must walk a mile to find water to fill the jugs she carries back to her home.

I could continue, but I think you have the idea.

Do you agree with the items on this list? For what do you feel entitled, so thoughtlessly leave off your list of things to be thankful for? I invite you to share your thoughts in the comment box below.

May you and your yours have a blessed Thanksgiving.

November 23, 2014

Reports from Storm “Knife” in Buffalo, New York

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

REPORTS FROM STORM “KNIFE” IN BUFFALO, NEW YORK

November 17 to November 21, 2014

Photo by Kirsten

Photo by Kirsten

In 1977 my sister Lee was driving in Alden, New York, when the Blizzard of 1977 began. When she could drive no longer she parked her car on what she hoped was the side of the road. She, her 5-year-old son Todd and her 10-year-old daughter Deb exited the car and proceeded to the distant lights of a farmhouse.

Almost immediately she lost Todd in a snow drift. She frantically dug into the snow and finally managed to uncover him. Frightened, the three headed towards lights in the distance, never realizing they passed another closer house on the way. The owners let them in and cared for them while the blizzard blew wild outside.

Fast forward to Monday, November 17, 2014.

Sunday and early Monday, Nov. 17, 2014 Contributed photo.

Sunday and early Monday, Nov. 17, 2014
Contributed photo.

Lee is now a senior citizen experiencing health problems. Her daughter lives in a trailer with her husband, Tom, and 3 children: 7-year old, 5-year old, and a 6-week old baby. Kirsten could only open her door slightly open. The snow is falling. Fast.

Photo by Pat

Photo by Pat

Below are conversations I had with her, Kirsten, my long-time friend Pat, my sister Sally and sister-in-law Marge.

Snow blocking Kirsten's door --- photo by Kirsten

Snow blocking Kirsten’s door — photo by Kirsten

Kirsten's girls, photo by Kirsten

Kirsten’s girls, photo by Kirsten

Tuesday. November 18.

Lee. 10:00 a. m. While Monte and I drove to a doctor’s appointment I called Lee. She was snowed in.

“It’s sunny here, blue (more…)

November 18, 2014

International Friends Share Our Life Journey — Part 1

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

INTERNATIONAL FRIENDS SHARE OUR LIFE JOURNEY

Part 1

The following piece was written between July 1985 and summer 1988. It has been updated from then to include relationships to the present date.

During our children’s growing up years they met special people from foreign countries, people who joined their life journey to ours. Below are some of their stories.

singapore_sm_2014

One such person was Hung Pheng Tan, a graduate student at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where my husband Monte taught. We were his American host family, and when we relocated from SUNY@Buffalo to Slippery Rock University, Pennsylvania, he visited our new community. He was the first international person our daughter Sandy met—although I’m certain she doesn’t recall knowing him back then, as she was only a few months old. Hung Pheng was present at her baptism. She remet him (and his wife) when the couple visited us in 1988, and my son Nolan met him for the first time.

Whether from Singapore or America, we all feel joy

Whether from Singapore or America, we all feel joy

When they visited us in July 2014 Sandy could introduce him, his wife, and his college-age son to her daughter, a sweet sixteen.

map-of-cameroon

Joseph, a Cameroon (Africa) native, lodged with us for a short time while studying at Slippery Rock University. He needed work and we needed help in our country-style life—especially with planting trees. When he moved on he left behind a young boy—our son—who, for almost two years, rejected the use of silverware in favor of fingers.  This was the result of the effects of an African dish meant to be eaten with the fingers, a technique Nolan applied to almost all foods.

When Joseph’s wife Susanne came to the United States to join him and to study here, she left their son in their native country. While here she also became a special friend. Susanne became pregnant just before we left for Atlanta, Georgia, where my husband Monte studied for the ministry. Understandably they lacked many needed items. Our family prepared a pond-side baby shower for Susanne, complete with a warm-weather swim to cool off. In attendance were several elderly neighbors as well as younger folk, all of whom were exposed to her Cameroon culture. Her son arrived a month later while we were in Atlanta.

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During our three-year sojourn in Atlanta Samir and Farial, from Egypt, joined our life journey. We met through a program that connected foreign visitors with (more…)

November 16, 2014

11 Unique Facts About Thanksgiving

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

11 UNIQUE FACTS ABOUT THANKSGIVING

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

“The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.

No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless,

set aside a day of Thanksgiving.”

– H. U. Westermayer^^^^^

Many historians believe that only five women were present at the first Thanksgiving, as many women settlers didn’t survive that difficult first year in the U.S.* Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts

Thanksgiving is an amalgam of different traditions, including ancient harvest festivals, the religious New England Puritan Thanksgiving, the traditional harvest celebrations of England and New England, and changing political and ideological assumptions of Native Americans. Thanksgiving is often considered the site of the first cultural war because it contains both a narrative of the birth of freedom and democracy as well as an account of racism, mistreatment of Native Americans, and conflict.**

Abraham Lincoln issued a ‘Thanksgiving Proclamation’ on third October 1863 and officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving.**** Thanksgiving can occur as early as November 22 and as late as November 28. **

Below is a quiz to entertain and puzzle you. Something to share with your friends and family following your Thanksgiving feast.

Turkeys in a garden in East Weymouth, Mass.

Turkeys in a garden in East Weymouth, Mass.

QUESTIONS

  1. Was the autumn 1621 Thanksgiving at Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts the first thanksgiving celebration on North American soil in the New World?
  2. Who is considered the Mother of Thanksgiving?
  3. What utensils were used at the first Thanksgiving?
  4. What popular product did Thanksgiving spawn in 1953?
  5. Who taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate the land?
  6. How did the early settlers plan on celebrating the first Thanksgiving?
  7. What was on the menu at the Pilgrim’s 1621 Thanksgiving dinner?
  8. What is the average long-distance mileage of Thanksgiving travel?
  9. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is not the original holiday parade. Which parade was the first?
  10.  What is the National Day of Mourning?

BONUS QUESTION

Who wrote the two accounts of the first Thanksgiving?

 To learn the answers click on MORE:

(more…)

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