Two weddings, a dam, a journal, death and family photos

Journal in the snow

Last January, just before I quit blogging for ten months, I wrote a post called “The world’s best journal“.  The journal is one of the things that makes me unconditionally happy.  To read back over the years and to remember what happened in 1982, 1997, 2009 and 2014.  (This memory is not stellar, so it’s good to have it all written down in one handy place.)

Every January, no matter what’s happening, I faithfully record all the year’s joys and sorrows.  All the biggies, and a few smallies as well.  What hatched and hollowed in the lives of family members and close friends.

We use this journal to consult whether something really happened when we think it happened.  (This of course leads to certain family members insisting that the journal is wrong!)

I have now finished the 2017 entries and happily stored the book in its treasured space on the rolltop desk Barry crafted for me back in college.

This morning, walking in the drizzling cold January rain up our back-country road, I thought of how some commenters suggested that their blogs did the same thing.  Recorded the year’s highlights so they could return and read and remember.

This morning I am going to highlight our 2017 to share with you here.  Since I wasn’t blogging most of the year, you possibly missed some of our highlights.

Picture of my mom and dad at their 25th wedding anniversary, a long time ago...

Picture of my mom and dad at their 25th wedding anniversary, a long time ago..

Last year, on January 11th, 2017, I was remembering my father.  It was one year ago (in 2016) that he passed away.  Today, in 2018, walking up the road with rain drops covering my glasses, I am once again remembering my dear father.  It’s been two years since he died.

It’s been so odd.  We prepared for his eventual death for almost four years.  I sobbed so hard when he passed away, and grieved for about a week.  Then a strange thing happened.  Whenever I think of my dad this huge feeling of love fills this heart.  Big love.  Happy love.  And the grief dissolves the instant the big love bursts forth like his amazing smile.  Whenever I think of him, I am only filled with love and joy.

Back to our 2017.  In May we had the utter privilege of attending my niece, Jillian’s, wedding in Maui, Hawaii.  Barry and I had never been there before–and fell in love with the beauty of the island!

Jillian and Sean

Jillian and Sean

If you would like to meander through some photographic memories of our delightful trip, please enjoy the following pictures:


Fabulous locale for a wedding!  To the left, note your blogger and husband, along with my brother, Tim and his wife Michele.)

Fabulous locale for a wedding! To the right, note your blogger and husband, along with my brother, Tim and his wife Michele.)


Close-up of us.  Don't we look Hawaiian with our wedding attire?

Close-up of us. Don’t we look Hawaiian with our wedding attire?


Maui Hill pool

Maui Hill pool


Back at home we cut and split our wood pile, day after day after day...

Back at home we cut and split our wood pile, day after day after day…


We visit Old Victoria Dam here in the Upper Peninsula, in Ontonagan County

We visit Old Victoria Dam here in the Upper Peninsula, in Ontonagan County in late September.


We attend second wedding of second niece down in Charlevoix.  (Located in the upper part of Lower Michigan.)

We attend the second wedding of second niece down in Charlevoix. (Located in the upper part of Lower Michigan.)

Attending Tianna and Josh’s wedding in October was another highlight of the year.  It was so much fun!  Much of our entire extended family came.  We were able to enjoy time with Chris and Seunghye (who visited the Upper Peninsula first for several days) and Kiah and Diaa.  What a blast!

Being with all the “kids” several times this year made it a very special 2017.

Our immediate family.  Love these guys!

Our immediate family. Love these guys!


Precious photo of my mom, brothers and me

Precious photo of my mom, brothers and me



Barry and me in a coffee shop (with photographer Kiah) in Petoskey the day of the wedding

Barry and me in a coffee shop (with photographer Kiah) in Petoskey the day of the wedding


I didn’t take many pictures during 2017 (usually don’t when I’m not blogging) so there aren’t many to show.   A lot more happened, but it would take six blogs to share all the details. Hope you enjoyed the overview of our year.

Wishing you the best for 2018!  May you have more joys than sorrows to write in your own journal of life…


About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in January 2018 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to Two weddings, a dam, a journal, death and family photos

  1. Carol says:

    Ahhh, the memories, precious memories. When I was doing digital scrapbooking I used to make memory books. It’s like your journal, how I remember when things happened.

  2. john K says:

    When I stop and look at the length and breadth of your family spread across the country and the world, I marvel at what two people in a drug store in Yale, Michigan had started. The attitude and outlook on life of your whole family is refreshingly progressive and inclusive. Your parent’s progeny cross geographical and cultural borders that defy all stereotypes.

  3. jeffstroud says:

    Good for you! When I first saw this blog I thought it was an old one, I must follow you faithfully, for I remember all of this… and more. All the best to you and your family!

  4. dawnkinster says:

    Beautiful memories! Amd I’m so glad you are filled with joy when you remember your dad.

    • Kathy says:

      Thanks for sharing in the memories, Dawn. It feels like the oddest thing to feel so much joy when thinking about someone who has passed away. It’s hard to tell that to anyone else. But just wanted to try & describe it. xoxoxo

  5. debyemm says:

    When I saw that 25th Wedding photo of your parents, I immediately thought of you, Kathy, as I gazed at your mom in an earlier time. LOVED all the love and the obvious diversity in your immediate family. Wonderful. All of it.

    • Kathy says:

      Deb, I love that picture because my mom looked at it once and immediately thought it was me! Before that, we always thought I favored my dad more. But that picture shows some similarities! As for the diversity, it’s so strange. I tend to forget we’re a diverse group sometimes because I don’t usually see distinctions like that. Now I just see everyone’s unique and special energy…

  6. Enjoyed reading some of your experiences of 2017. The weddings looked lovely and I really liked seeing the photos of you, your mom and brothers. Then the photo of your children and their spouses was nice as well. I always like seeing the pics of your part of the USA. Obviously, I am not a traveler, but that is by choice and partly circumstances of my life. But I am very content right here in my area of Texas and happily live vicariously through various forms of media and of course blogs. .

    • Kathy says:

      Yvonne, aren’t you glad that we have the opportunity to travel through media and blogs? The internet was opened up so much to us! (Of course, that comes with its own challenges…) Thank you for enjoying the pictures of our 2017. It was a darn good year, methinks.

  7. Sybil Nunn says:

    Hey Kathy, do you keep notes of what you did along the way ? or in January did you sit down and remember what you did all year ? Y’know why I’m asking don’tcha ? lol

    I think it’s wonder that you feel that way when you remember your dad. I think he’d want that.

    Gosh … Hawaii ! WOW it’s looks like it was magical.

    How many cords of wood do you guys cut ? Do you have one of those splitter thingys ?

    Next time you and your mom and brothers get together, you and she might want to make them stand in the back … lol

    • Kathy says:

      Good afternoon, Ms. Sybil. Oh YES, of course, I have to take notes. All year long I write the biggies and smallies on our calendar. Otherwise, hardly anything would be remembered. And I know why you’re askin’!

      My dad always said he didn’t want anybody crying for him after he was gone. I said, “Of COURSE we’ll cry for you after your gone!” So it’s really weird that I’m not experiencing a “normal” grief, whatever that is. Maybe there’s not such a thing as a “normal” grief.

      Yep, we have a splitter-thingee and I do not know how many cords of wood we cut. Because there’s a difference between a pickup truck of firewood and a face cord. Barry could answer your question, lickety split.

      Ha ha, I am barely peeking over all their manly shoulders in that picture at the wedding! No worries, though. There’s enough photos where we women are front & center.

  8. Love the photos of the happenings in your life….the words. I, too, keep a daily journal writing down all the mundane things that make life life.
    The diversity is unique. I particularly liked what John said. Our family from the cotton fields of MS spread out across the globe, however, we married folk like us, so to speak.
    It was one year since Freddie died in December…the 18th…I am not there yet.

    • Kathy says:

      Glad you enjoyed this, Linda! Journal writing does help us remember all the little things (and the big things, too). I have been thinking today about regrets. Seems like I talk to people who felt like they had “unfinished business” with their loved ones and they seem to be grieving extra hard. I didn’t have any unfinished business with my dad. We had cleared up any misunderstandings (not that there were any biggies) and I sat on the edge of his chair for two hours and said “goodbye goodbye goodbye I love you I love you I love you” over and over again inside my mind. I knew I would not see him again. When I got off the chair and drove back to the Upper Peninsula, there was no regrets. If I had any regrets, I would talk to him everyday and clear the energy, because I know he would be listening. Bless you and your heart, my friend.

  9. Happy New Year to you, Kathy! (It appears that I’m responding to your post logged into my family history blog, but the photo of me is the same as my other blog, so I know you know who it is! 🙂 )

    Even though you didn’t take many photos during 2017, someone has captured some magical moments of you and Barry enjoying life. And surprisingly, I haven’t noticed before how much you look like your beautiful mother! The photo taken on your parents 25th wedding anniversary shows a striking similarity between the two of you. Precious memories for you to treasure. xxx

    • Kathy says:

      Hello, my friend! It took about five seconds to figure out who you are. Thanks for enjoying our 2017, and for your kind compliment about looking like my mom. We never really noticed the similarity until stumbling upon the 25th wedding anniversary photos a few years back. I can only hope to age as well as she has! Blessings to you…

  10. I had to do a double-take. I have a cousin with a son named Josh whose wife is Tiiahna and they were married within the last year or so.

  11. Ruth E Mak says:

    Thinking of you as you remember your dad….and your special year. Love to you!

  12. Thank you for sharing your photos and memories. I love the idea of a yearly journal to keep track of the big things. Great idea!

    • Kathy says:

      Sherrie, I wanted to share again about keeping the journal because it’s been one of the best projects I ever started. So handy to be able to look back and find out what year (and month) things happened!

  13. Kathy, I love this post, with your memories about events of the last year. I adore that thoughts of your Dad give you a big loving, joyful feeling…that’s a wonderful tribute to him! I read about your journal – I don’t know, maybe a year ago? – when you first wrote about it, and, inspired, started one myself. In true over-organizing fashion, missed events or forgotten days caused me to have to start over a couple times before I had the idea to first make an outline on scratch paper before writing it, in ink, in the journal. Then summer came, and the whole project got lost in the hustle and bustle. I appreciate the reminder to get back at it! I am the “rememberer” of my family stories, so this is what I can do. It will be, perhaps, what I am remembered for: the sequence of events, plus stories!

    • Kathy says:

      Cindy, how cool that you started a journal like this one! I totally advise that you write everything on a calendar–otherwise you will totally forget everything (like I would.) Then it will be a cinch to return and transfer the events into the journal that you keep. How neat that you’re the keeper of family stories. Storyteller Divine! I can totally see you as that.

  14. Robin says:

    Beautiful memories from the past year. Thank you for sharing them with us. I love the way your grief over the loss of your father changed to an expansive feeling of love. ❤

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you for coming by, Robin, and reading, and commenting. It has been very cool how the grief transformed into joy. I cannot explain it. I can only bow before it, so appreciative in remembering and feeling my love for Dad.

  15. Photo and journal memories, whether from the recent past or from long ago, remind us of love that began with family and friends, love that grew within us, and love that will always be with us long after the event or loved one has passed.
    I don’t have a journal, but I have many dozens of notebooks filled with the ramblings of a happy wondering woman recording life’s mysteries. ❤️

    • Kathy says:

      Pam, I am just imagining all your journals filled with the mysteries of living your life. How amazing! The problem with my journals is that they were too rambling, and it was impossible to locate practical events, years, and happenings. This secondary journal whipped my life into something that the kids and I could follow. Ha ha! It’s the most ordinary of journals because it’s so factual.

  16. Stacy says:

    I love the idea of a year in review. I write a letter to my daughter every year for her birthday. I store it in her baby box with all of her treasures. (I’ve never told her about them.)

    I went to Hawaii for the first time, too, Kathy, and fell in love with it! Isn’t it beautiful? What a wonderful occasion for you…..we just went on a family vacation. 😉

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