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Family Stories – Digital Mustard
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Heaven has a new angel

Heaven has another first class angel.
My cousin…..Carol Rowland Stepek Doezema

I got the news from her younger sister Nancy thru a Facebook private message early Friday morning September 8th, 2017.

Kathy I hate sending these out but I wanted to let you know last night Carol passed away. She collapsed getting ready for bed and they couldn’t revive her.

My heart instantly sank and tears began to flow.

While many of my past memories are just that and have no artifacts to look back on – thanks to the digital age and sharing  I was able to put together some moments of the last few years for me to look back on of only the small slice of her life I knew and shared. It in no way tells her story. It is such a small slice, but it is the one that is special to me. It is pictures of Carol and also some pictures/video of family she chose as her highlights of recent life as mom and grandma to share with others. Carol won’t be forgotten and the lives she touched will forever be blessed.

Most of my sorrow though is not in just losing Carol in my life but in knowing her immediate family has lost her. I am a distant node in her constellation hub. Her loss creates a void that is large for me and it is hard to even imagine how much her loss is to them. She was a center for her mom, siblings, husband, and most of all her children and grandchildren. We will all carry Carol forever in our hearts.

We spent quality time together as kids even though it was not often being 600 miles apart. We sustained our connection by being pen pals in those days. Exchanging letters with news and our philosophy of life at that time. Extended stays for her in WI and me in MI. Cherry picking, shopping, teasing her brothers. Dreaming of the future, talking of boys and love. ConeLand stories, hanging out with our grandmas.

Like most, we drifted apart for some years as we started out our adult lives and built our own families. Yet we stayed connected thru our parents on milestones, successes and challenges for what now I have figured out was about 30 years of once a year Christmas greetings or an update or two when the parents would connect when driving to visit other relatives. Our grandmothers were another glue that we lost with their passing, which made more frequent connections get lost in our busy young adult lives.

Carol became interested in researching family history and ancestry. She connected with my mom with phone calls and letters. I again was hearing what was happening in her life. About 15 years ago, an old school style letter here and there began again, a couple of phone calls and then came Facebook. The online connection provided connection to sharing things in our present lives that so tied back to our youth of dreams and plans. We were not a part of each other’s daily lives, but still maintained a relationship that was real and in the present instead of just an old memory or wondering what ever happened or remember when? We were sharing the now again.

I knew she had created a wonderful life with Joe and had sons. She was so proud and happy to be Mom. She faced challenges in losing her first love to ALS and yet her heart was open and she was able to find love again with Marv. She was happy and felt blessed.

Carol was strong and a fighter – taking on Multiple Sclerosis and not letting it control her. She was always the responsible, hard-working one that was there for others. She was the big sister I never had for the times we were together but also the best friend during those visits and after as well. And as sensible and smart as she was – she knew to have a good time and enjoy life. To live in the moment and move towards the future by remembering the past, but not letting it hold you.

She had a wild side – but it was the kind that could take a tiger by the tail one minute and be back to the one who kept everything together in a heartbeat. She also was one to get it done – when something needed to happen she stepped up and made sure everyone got to it – especially if it was family.

Her humor – Gosh – her wit was so sharp. She had a way of saying things that made a point – but with a touch of humor or sarcasm so one knew to stop and think and that in the big picture not to take one’s self too seriously on the small things. Her smile and eyes with those one liners – I will never forget.

Her love of cooking and baking. I could always count on a new recipe recommendation being posted. And it was long before FB that she shared recipes – I have a few handwritten ones – she was sharing long ago – one with a note. 🙂

Carol's Recipe

I am so glad to have been able to have her in my life journey. Past and present.

I love getting to know her family thru online postings and messages. I cheer at each success and feel so lucky to see the events and how time passes with each new thing. To see the small glimpses of what caught her attention or what was special to her in her life. The joy, sorrow, pride, she had in the milestones and daily lives of her children, siblings and parents. Her children and grandchildren were the center of the universe for a mom and grandma. She was one proud and happy mom and grandma. I have never met her sons, Marv, or grandchildren in person but look forward to each new update whether it was from her, Steve or Nancy. I have come to know some things about them and learned to love them from a distance.

My thoughts go out to her immediate family and friends that will feel her loss so greatly. Together we can celebrate her life, her love, and our fortune in being touched by her. Our memories together will bring the story of the depth of her touch on so many lives and yet still never be able to tell it all.

Peace to all who loved her. She is watching over us all.

Obituary for Carol Ann Doezema

Carol Stepek Doezema, age 62 of Greenville, passed away unexpectedly at home on September 7th, 2017. Carol was born March 30th, 1955, grew up in Cascade, and later married Joseph Stepek and raised four boys in Lowell. After Joe’s death in 2001, Carol later met and married Marv Doezema, and was active in her church and community in Greenville.  Carol loved working with her hands and her quick intelligence allowed her to excel at whatever she put her mind to; over the years she taught herself everything from doll-making to tile cutting. Her passions for crafting and gardening influenced not only her own children and grandchildren but also all of the children she provided care to over the years. She leaves a lasting legacy. She took joy in her grandchildren and they will greatly miss their “Grandma Carol”. Despite living with Multiple Sclerosis for years, she remained active and future-focused, living out God’s love in her communities. Carol is survived by her mother Elaine Rowland; her husband Marvin; her children William Stepek, Steven (Erin) Stepek, Jeffrey Stepek, and Christopher Stepek; step-children Sarah (Jeff) Schatz, Jason (Terri) Doezema, and Joel (Ashley) Doezema; siblings Gerald (Lois) Boelter, James  (Denise) Rowland, Gary (Theresa) Rowland, Ronald (Sherri) Rowland, and Nancy (Dave) Bradley; parents-in-law Jay and Ruth Doezema; brother-in-law Lary Doezema; sister-in-law, Pat Rowland; and grandchildren Xander and Charlotte Stepek, Isaac and Levi Schatz, Jay and Jocelyn Doezema, Taylor Toman and Violet Doezema, and a new baby Doezema on the way. She was preceded in death by her father, Donald Rowland, first husband Joe Stepek, and siblings Richard, David, and Katherine. Funeral services will be held at 1:00 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at Hurst Funeral Home, Greenville, with Rev. Robert Roush officiating.  Friends are invited to join the family for a time of visitation Monday from 5:00 to 8:00 pm at the funeral home. Memorial Contributions can be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and memories and messages of condolence may be shared at www.hurstfh.com.

#ds106 #4Life is Real – it transfers

My ds106 journey started in January 2015 fast and furious!

RECAP: I decided to take the open course plunge because I wanted to begin the storytelling of my family in digital form for my kids and grandkids to have instead of a room full of photographs and momentos that would seem like just old stuff to them.

While I still continue the ds106 routines because they have become #4life – I am really seeing how “education” can turn into “life” and be useful.

Much like in high school, wondering when one would ever use algebra in real life – I trusted the ds106 non-rule rules for success. Many of which have been restated and re-emphasized by students in the traditional ds106 courses as advice to newbies. 

Big lesson learned: Start your weekly summary early in the week as you complete tasks and you will be set at the end of the week and not miss as much or feel overwhelmed.

YES!

That habit has helped me in now doing some weekly updates of family events and news. I keep a post in draft form and add to it as the week goes on. Just like ds106 where dailys, assignments, etc. all have a place, I have created the same type of organization for each section of the family. Some weeks get video summaries, some get photos, some get GIFs, etc. I seem to be coming up with a halfway decent outcome and the work is distributed over the week so I am keeping up with it.

So many of the non-rule rules transfer to life. The marker of a true artist environment of innovation, exploration, and creating, backed up by constant practice of skills and building skills, commitment to self and discipline.

It is that we are our own toughest judge – so just do it. Doing your own part without entitlement or expectations will bring others to begin to add and contribute making whatever you are doing even better.

Thanks #ds106 and the #ds106 community of #4Life….

(Due to some of the information and the comfort level of family members about info on the internet – the majority of my family documentation is in closed or private formats – I keep a separate WP setup just for family memories – otherwise I’d be glad to share)

Coming up for Air – Baby Here Soon!

Geesh! Time flies when you are doing lots of different things.

I took on some consulting hours to help an organization write their technology plan and have ended up taking on the clean up of their website. A content management system is used which is great and distributes work. But for the last 3 years there have been many transitions and all of the check points fell off the map. The front end just look tired and had some dead ends, some loops and some things that were conflicting- not too bad, but only because there were no viewers using much of it. The back end – out of control and very tangled. Becuase of their host and set up  – there isn’t a staging or development area. You can not publish things – but it makes the clean up of the back end even more tedious and error prone. So the only way is jump off the cliff and try to fly! So after a week of 12-16 hour days – I was ready for some sleep and a break.

First came my Happy Cow! A local paint and wine studio had a Friday afternoon session- so I signed up. When I got there I found out I was the only one and they didn’t cancel – so it would be me and Fred the instructor. Fred and I painted away and even finished 90 minutes sooner than was scheduled. I could have gone a little more leisurely – but it worked out fine.

Happy Cow!

I would like to do another one and work on a different type of eye, plus make the background a little brighter for some contrast.

Saturday morning – well started with some of the web grunt work – but just was not ready for it. My first grandchild’s due date is within this week- so I decided I needed to get the “Waiting” video done before arrival. Several months ago this had a lot of grand visions in my head – but I couldn’t get all I wanted. The plus was a weekly shot of Mom that shows the journey. We don’t know who the little person is – that will be a surprise for all until entry into the world. So excited!

Here is the video. I do want to get to more than just music and get more audio and narration in the family stories – but that is still evolving. Until then it is trying to find music that goes with the idea of the video. I have also begun to get better at keeping them to under 5 min. Any longer than that – no one wants to watch and they just go on. These are being placed in a flip book so each video created is separate and a reader can view, skip of view multiple times within the  book.

So – my #ds106 #4life friends – I am still creating – still learning from you, still growing my skills. And still tracking what you are all doing. One of you will soon have something that I won’t be able to pass up being a part of even if there are websites to clean up.

 

A Daily that got personal

When Pigs Fly

Totems: Daily Create #1518

A totem (Ojibwe dodaem) is a spirit being, sacred object, or symbol that serves as an emblem of a group of people, such as a family, clan, lineage, or tribe.

Sometimes no matter how consumed you are in other creating projects or life – a daily create just screams “do it”. I find the daily creates spark in stretching by doing and going outside of something I wasn’t really thinking of and in some, hitting a note of reflection or memory that drives to making a creation.

Todays daily, #1518 was one of those memory reflection prompts. Seeing others posts and the personal statements attached to otherwise unnoticed objects reminded me of my own. Sure did take me to some very great memory moments and the more I thought, the more I realized all the threads and connects of this one tiny object.

I carry my flying pig charm in my wallet. It goes with me where ever I am.

The charm was a gift from the love of my life. About 1995 he had become interested in Harley Davidson motorcycles and riding. I joined his interest and we took the motorcycle safety course and got our cycle licenses. We started with one bike and within a year we each had our own. Part of the Harley culture is pigs – or more appropriately HOGS. About this same time he was launching a business of his own in software development consulting. Dreams and plans were more than abundant. It was a challenging and stressful time – but also an exciting time of our life. We spent many an evening on the patio with drink in hand building the dreams of our future for family, home, and work.

As a Christmas gift to each family member, he gave us the charm and then read the poem to us. A reminder for us all to keep and never stop dreaming.

When Pigs Fly
By Sandra Boynton

I know you for a dreamer
Cause I’ve been a dreamer too
You got that faraway look in your searching eyes
And a heart that’s steady and true
I think I know what you’re looking for
In the endless blue of the sky
You wait for the time when pigs fly

Get out here somebody tell you that dreams are nothing but air
Did I hear somebody try to say
That imagination will take you nowhere
If anyone says it can’t be done
As the time just simply reply
It’s a beautiful thing when pigs fly

You never know and it will be
But they’ll surely come around
Flashes of pink and flashes of gold
And a distant and joyful sound when pigs fly

I know for a dreamer, cause I’ve been a dreamer too
You got that faraway look in your searching eyes
And a heart that’s steady and true
Are we suddenly seeing a dozen or more
Sailing in the clear blue sky?
The time has come when pigs fly
Yeah, it’s a beautiful thing when pigs fly

After that gift to us all, the flying pig became one of the themes of collecting for him and for the rest of us to find as gifts to him. Flying pigs pop up in many places of our home in different ways. We have a collection of flying pigs that hang out in our morning room, yard ornaments, containers, artwork, and more. Hopefully I have been able to keep all these around tastefully in different places. I don’t think our home looks like a flying pig farm! Maybe someone who visits will be kind enough to comment as to whether we have gone too far or remain obsessed yet tastefully creative in our inclusion and presentation.

But – the little charm started it all. While I know I always have it with me, as time has gone on I don’t always think of it. The prompt today reminded me to take the time to remember. And what I am now remembering is the connects this little pig has given me. First, it gave me an insight to my husbands thoughts during a certain time of his life. He is not one who can easily share his deepest thoughts – but is a very deep and complex thinker.

The flying pig has been a thread for more than 20 years now. I see my girls find them for their dad and enjoy his reactions when they give him a new object. For all in the family – his sister, my sister and niece, even myself – the flying pig is a way we connect with him and show our love and happiness that he is a part of our lives.

In writing this post and finding the poem again, I discovered it was written by Sandra Boynton – a children’s writer. We are awaiting the arrival of our first grandchild in April. For the holidays this year I started the building of the library for Baby V. (we won’t know who they are until they arrive!) and several of the books were by Sandra Boynton. So now our new little angel is already connected to the Flying Pig!

The flying pig and the poem also connect me with others. You can read how here via a picture and blog post by Kate Ter Haar.

The following photo is from @katerhaar
Photo by Kate Ter Haar : https://www.flickr.com/photos/katerha/14669346981

The time has come when pigs fly Yeah, it's a beautiful thing when pigs fly

Take a look at Kate’s blog. Her wit and creativity of combining words with photos in her posts is worth the time ten fold. A great pleasure to view and read. She is a true digital storyteller. Kate and I connected in 2009 thru the 365 Photo group which has grown now to over 1700 members in 2016. It was about 200 in 2009. Many of those who started in 2008 with the group are still active posters. I need to get into the posting habit again, but it is still one of my favorite places for picture viewing.

And yet another great memory and connect of the flying pig – my parents. My mom was one to love a theme and use it as a connect. My dad – always a one to do so as well. In taking the picture for the daily create I placed the charm on a cheese box I had found about a year ago for Dixie cheese. My mom’s name was Dixie and she loved cheese – another family tradition and joke -“never enough cheese”!

Today’s daily create was one of those personal connections. It also is a reminder to self that creating daily is important. Some days it will be for skill building, some for stretching outside my box, and some for the joy and reflection or remembering past creates and connects and how experiences and creating enrich and make us the complex and interesting people we all are in life.

May you too see the day that pigs fly.

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Everyday Math and Creating Elephants and Chevrons

January has been full of creative activities, but not ones that fall within ds106.

My daughter is going to be a mom and is due in April. She invited me to help create the nursery – aka as Mom can you paint for us? Together we went thru what her visions might be, what she liked etc. A very loving person and sensitive she didn’t want to shoot for the stars and would be perfectly happy with just something ordinary. However – this is also my grandchild and why should we take the simple way out!

I offered chevron on an accent wall and she accepted. 🙂 What a real life math adventure. How many chevrons? How wide? How to factor in the tape width? Yikes! But I got there and it was fun trying to figure it out. The best information and guidance I found was from Smart Girls DIY – the directions, photos, math formulas and the discussion made the most sense to me and broke everything down into segments that I could adjust to my own thinking and learning style.

Taping the wall

After measuring the wall and creating a grid it was time to tape and keep my inside and outside diagonals in sync.

My first Chevron Wall!

I think it turned out well.

Making progress

Math was involved in trying to figure out the window treatments and how to hang them. How much white to cut, linings – right side- wrong side.

More in place

Creating the cushions for the chair…whew! More math and measuring!

Adding Changing Table

But it came together and our Teddy has his spot and is waiting for Baby to watch over.  The dresser was  painted and up graded from old as well.

Cakes Completed

A diaper and essentials cake(s) was built. This was hands on maker stuff – building the levels and making them sturdy enough to transport.

Essentials Cake

and more creating – painting a canvas board so that guests at the baby shower could place their thumbprints and name as documentation of who celebrated.

Guest Book Project

Now onto #western106 and some more GIFs!

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