Sunday, September 29, 2013

Back Home Again . . . . . In Indiana . . . . . .

**Hello Dear Family and Friends, It is me again!  I just wanted to let you know that I am still trying to "catch up" with this blog, to get us to the current time frame.  We spent quite a bit of time in August on the road, and I am trying to share a bit of those travels with you.  Then we spent several weeks on Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio (helping Jason and Kerry and family move). We are actually now in Texas (in Lewisville) and on Friday we will head out to South Carolina (the Abbeville area).**

On our way home to Texas, after spending some time in Michigan, we stopped back in Indiana!  Bob's brother David and wife Jeannette had a lovely area set up for the trailer and we spent a few days with them.  They live in Fountain, Indiana, which is close to Attica and to Otterbein (where Bob's Mom lives).  Their home is out in country, in the woods, and is along the Wabash River (where Dave enjoys fishing).  It is so quiet there, so peaceful . . . . . and the mornings were lovely and cool!

Relaxing at Dave and Jeannette's lovely home;  Bob, Mace, Myself and Jane (Ed's wife)

Dave and Jeannette were officers in the Salvation Army, and spent their career going where the S.A. needed them to go.  They had decided quite a few years back to begin looking for their "retirement home," which they wanted to be in close proximity to a body of water to fish and boat in.  They came upon this place along the Wabash, and bought it several years prior to retirement.  They have worked on it through the years, making it into a lovely and welcoming home.  Retirement came a few years ago, and they moved permanently into their home on the river.  Dave and Jeannette also love to do family genealogy . . . .Through the past few years, they have learned that their land and home that they have purchased is directly across the Wabash from the land that Dave and Bob's (and all the brothers and sisters') Great-Great-Great Grandfather, Josiah Biggs land----the land that he purchased when he and his family first came to Indiana from Clinton County, Ohio!!!  They have only recently traced back, and walked, the original land boundries . . . .  none of this was known prior to their purchase!  The Biggs family has come full-circle!

Dave cooking Hobo dinners for us all--They were really delicious!  YUM!

Good Job Guys!!!!

Mace enjoyed helping Uncle Dave and Grandpa chopping and splitting wood!  He decided that it was a bit more difficult to split the whole round logs than the chunks that we generally take camping!  But he hung in there and worked alongside the men.

Bob's beautiful Mom. . . .  .  Can you believe that she is 91???  She is an absolute delight, and God's love, light and joy vividly shine through her!  I count myself blessed to be her daughter-in-law.
Josiah Biggs, Sr, Bob's Great x3 Grandfather passed away and was buried in 1840 in West Lebanon Cemetery in Indiana.  A little over 20 years ago, Dave and Jeannette found his gravestone, next to his son's.  At that time it was still standing, very wind and weather worn, but was still mostly legible.  Last year in August, Jeannette and I went to find the gravestone again for some updated photos.  It was very difficult to find, his son's monument was hidden in an overgrown bush, and Josiah Sr.'s was laying up against the monument, broken in a couple places.  Dave and Jeannette contacted the caretaker of the cemetery, and they came up with a plan.  This year, we laid Josiah Sr.'s stone remains and a new engraved plaque in cement at his original site.  Bob, his brother Ed, brother Dave, sister Sharon, Mom and Mace (this was Mace's Great x5 Grandfather) were all there, as well as Jeannette, Jane and myself. After the stone and plaque were laid, we gathered in a prayer circle in thanks for the ancestors who have gone before us, and for the descendants who will come after, and we sang a hymn.  I think that Josiah would have approved.

From the left: Mace, Bob, Ed, Dave, Jeannette, Sharon and Mom.  Rest In Peace Grandfather Josiah.


Portland Arch is a beautiful treasure hidden away in Fountain County, Indiana.  Fortunately for us, it is very close to where Bob's brother lives.  So, off we went for a wonderful trek through the flora and fauna!  It is like stepping back in time----way back!  One almost expects to see a prehistoric animal or bird around each curve on the trail!  

Bob at the lead---the walking sticks came in handy!!!!

Mace and cousin Layne doing their "Atlas" poses  :-)

The boys walked down to Bear Creek 

On the upward trek . . . .

Beautiful sandstone layers, and the plants and trees growing out of the layers.  There are many plants found here that have not been found in any other place in Indiana.

Jurassic Park??????

Dave and daughter Catherine

So lovely, I couldn't resist a photo!


Bob, Dave and Mace spent a great day together trimming up the newly laid marker for Grandpa Josiah, checking out the different spots that Dave and Jeannette had found where ancestors had land, and, to end the afternoon, some fishing out on Uncle Dave's boat.  Mace had the first catch---his very first catch ever---a channel catfish about 8 inches long---tossed back in.  Uncle Dave caught next, and then Mace cast out again.  Uncle Dave petitioned the Lord for a fish for Mace, and in no less than a second, Mace had a HUGE carp on his line!!!!  It took Mace fighting it, Uncle Dave trying to pull it in, Gramps trying to pull it into the boat . . . . . then, the line snapped!  Noooooo . . . . . and it got away!  They said it was at least a 15 minute struggle with the fish!  Uncle Dave and Grandpa were both there to see . .  . . . . and they say it was a good 2 1/2- 3 foot long!  Too bad Grandpa couldn't get his phone out fast enough. . . .  Now Mace has a good "Fish Story" to tell!   How fun!

Jeannette and I were able to sneek away for a day of genealogy in Veedersburg, and found some obituaries from the old Warren Republican newspaper.  We had such a wonderful time, she drove me past some of the areas where Bob and Dave's ancestors had lived, there in the area.  It still amazes us how the Lord brought the family back to it's Hoosier beginnings. . . . . .  He is Good and Amazing beyond belief!

And so we said Good-bye to family and to Indiana, but only until next time!!!  :-)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Michigan . . . . . .

Ahhhhh, home to Michigan!  We parked our home at my brother, Doug, and his wife, Tanya's, farm in Amber/Scottville (just about 7 miles east of Ludington).  The farm was our Grandparents, and then our parents, so it is home . . . . . .  The pines have grown so tall, we love being nestled under them.  Our youngest brother, Drew and his wife, Dena, and their youngest son, Mason, live just down the hill from the farm.  (I am the eldest, and only girl :-), next comes Doug (who lives in Washington state), then Derek (who lives in the Dallas area), then Dean (who lives in Ludington--a few miles from the farm) and then comes Drew.  (I have THE BEST brothers ever, and love being their sister--- Life Is Good!)
At Drew and Dena's for a cookout--
Mace, Drew and Brad

Randy telling a story at Drew and Dena's

We had a wonderful time in Michigan, as we always do.  It was wonderful having our coffee outside in the cool temps.

We love going to Lake Michigan to play in the surf and the sand.  This year the water was a bit cold, so we didn't do any swimming, but we did get some beautiful photos!

Being with family is truly the best, and it appears that retirement will give us so many more opportunities to do just that!

Below:  Lake Michigan at dusk.  We were at the Ludington City Park.  The sky seemed to be performing for us . . . . . . .

Below:  The Gulls were everywhere the evening we were there. . . . . . they were lovely to watch!

Below:  Mace walking down to the water . . . . .  we hated to leave the lake, it was so peaceful.

It was great to see everyone, and we had such a good time, full of hugs and laughter!  Dena took us blueberry pickin' . . . . . . went to Bud's Tap Room in Ludington to hear my brother Dean's band, Tangle Eye, play . . . . . . . hung out with Aunt Nancy and her kitties and dog Felix . . . . . . had a delicious cookout with Drew, Dena and family. . . . . . . got to see cousin Virginia and sons, Brad and Randy (up from Indianapolis) . . . . . . . had a quick visit with our Aunt Florence . . . . . . had a FABULOUS blueberry pie (and Blueberry syrup) that Dena made for us and got to share with Cathy and Jeff, Aunt Nancy, Drew, Dena, Mason and Cole . . . . . . got to go on a little adventure with Dena to a special area in Ludington . . . .  . .  go to Lake Michigan . . . . . . took a nice walk to "The Project" with Dean, Sharon and our sweet niece Taylor . . . . . . AND was able to do a bit of Cemetery searching  with Dena, Bob and Mace, for Grandpa Erastus Parmelee's gravestone-----and found it!!!!  Whew!!!!!  We packed as much into a few short days as possible!
Mace's first experience picking blueberries--he was a pro in no time at all!

Aren't they beautiful?!?  And they were sooooo sweet!  Yum!
LOTS of berries!!!!!  The freezer will look wonderful, with all this blue!

Dena and the delicious pie and blueberry syrup she made . . . . .  yes, she spoiled us!  *We have to make a note here, that Dena makes some of the best pies ever, and this one was amazing!

Aunt Nancy telling us a story . . . . . we were all laughing so hard!

Wish you all had been here to help us enjoy!
Mace, myself and our very sweet Aunt Florence!
Mace and Felix wore one another out!
Mace and his buddy, Felix, Aunt Nancy's dog

Dean singing and playing, Denny on drums.

Dean on lead guitar, Denny on drums and Remington on bass guitar.  They have a great facebook page, if you haven't seen it, it has some of their music as well.

Walking up to the viewing tower over The Project.  Left to right: Dean, Robert and Dean's wife, Sharon.

Now here are a couple of cuties!  Taylor, on the left and Mace on the right. (First cousins, 1x removed)

My Robert, enjoying the beauty of Michigan

Over-looking The Project
From the left:  Mace, Debbie (moi), Taylor and Sharon

The Project is a hydroelectric plant and reservoir south of Ludington.  When it was built, in the early 1970's, it was the largest plant of its type in the world.  Bob and I remember in the early 70's, my Grandparents took us up for a drive around the top perimeter of the reservoir.  That drive is no longer available, but there are overlooks that give great views.

We had such a lovely time in Michigan . . . . .  and there just is never enough time it seems.

It is always so hard to leave (as it has been, all my life), and we always look forward to our return!

Until next time . . . . . .!

Monday, September 9, 2013

How On Earth Did We Get Here??? Part. 2


Woo Hoo!

Mace wearing his do-rag
Shortly after Bob's retirement from Lowe's, we hit the road!  Our first outing was a bit of a vacation for us. . . . . .  We were able to take our "Traveling Partner" with us this year, our grandson Mace.  He loves to go along whenever he can.  He has become such a help to Gramps and myself . . . . He helps Bob set up the trailer, check the lights, break camp, put in the slides, check to make sure we have stairs up and handles in :-) .  We look forward to being able to take each of the grand kids along on summer trips! 

 We went home to Indiana first.  Bob's family has a reunion the first weekend in August each year at Summer's Carroll Campground in the Attica area. 

                           This is the entrance to Summer's Carroll Campground, so beautiful! And surrounded by cornfields!

 It is out in the country, on gravel roads, the only real noise are the crickets and the cicada.  It is lovely. We go there every year, and always look forward to going back.  Bob has 7 brothers and sisters, and every so often things work out for everyone to attend . . . .  this was one of those years!  Siblings came from Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Kansas and Texas.

From the left:  Carol, Dave, Ed, Mom, Sharon, Doris, Rita, Bob and Pam.  They lined up according to age, and put Mom in the middle. Mom turned 91 this year, doesn't she look wonderful????

We all had such a wonderful time!  There was much laughter, lots of hugs, photos taken, memories recalled, amazing food and as always with a Biggs get-together, the cards came out and the Euchre games began!  The weekend was too short, once again . . . . . 

Cole Family Reunion
During the reunion weekend, Bob's Mom has her Cole Family Reunion as well, so we get to see even more family!  We meet for lunch and visit, the kids play and the family has a meeting.  What a treat to see everyone, and this year we has a special guest, Mom's cousin, Julian Woodin came from Arizona.  They had such a lovely time reminiscing, and we enjoyed hearing the family stories.  Julian hopes to make the reunion next year!  Bob's Mom has 2 living siblings who we always look forward to seeing,  Aunt Iona and Uncle Tom.  
Bob's lovely Aunt Iona 

Mom's cousin Julian on the left and her brother, Uncle Tom on the right.

Mom (in pink) and sister Aunt Iona.
Cole Reunion, Aunt Beulah, Jeannette, Jennifer and Ashlee
Family  :-) At the Cole Reunion

Rita, Ed and Jane at the campground

There is always more than enough food to go around . . . . . .

Bob and his brothers, Ed on the left and Dave on the right.

Everyone visiting and catching up.

The newest member of the Biggs/Sheets family, Hazely Marie Martinez, daughter of Jennifer Renee, and grand daughter of Pam.  Isn't she precious!

Bob and his brothers, Ed and Dave, they resemble one another so much . . . ..  And they do keep us all in stitches!

Ed with Mom and Aunt Iona----I love this photo!

To view more photos from the reunions, click on this link:

On the Sunday morning of the weekend, Dave and Jeannette hold Church for us, and Doris often leads us with the singing.  They were officers in the Salvation Army, now retired.  After Brunch, Church and more visiting, people began leaving.  I had made a pot of ham and beans for dinner, and some stayed later and had dinner with us . . . . . we cleaned up the ham and beans VERY well!
Mace went with his cousins, Layne and Ty back to Uncle Dave and Aunt Jeannette's house on the Wabash River.  He enjoys the company of all of his relatives!  The boys had great fun together.

Can't wait for next year's reunion!!!!