“Only through fire is a strong sword forged.”                                                                                    Star Wars

Richard Morgan worked as a welder for 35 years. He occasionally welded gifts for family members and friends, but basically viewed welding as a job, nothing more. That perception changed in 2008 when he and his wife were notified that their only son, Nathan, had been murdered on a California beach. 

Richard tossed and turned in bed at night. Sleep seemed impossible, so he went to his workshop instead. Welding metal into new forms eased Richard’s grief, awakened his creativity, and ultimately transformed him into a trailblazing artist and metal sculptor.

The legacy of Cecily and Jerry Rohrs’ unconditional love will be realized and treasured for generations to come. Jerry Rohrs and Cecily Strock became good friends in first grade at Liberty Center Schools, and remained so through college. He left for Ohio State; she for Bowling Green State University. Eventually, they realized they were meant to be together and recently celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary.

Jim and Hazel Figy
Jim Figy was a high school senior with a big decision to make:  attend Ohio State and become an Agriculture Teacher, or continue helping his parents raise 10,000 turkeys on their farm. The choice was clear. Jim knew if he deserted his parents, their poultry farm would go under. He worked there for 52 years. 

Thought you might enjoy learning more about the house where the movie, A Christmas Story, was filmed. (See pictures at the end of the article.)

Did you know that the movie A Christmas Story was filmed in Cleveland, Ohio? A leg lamp shines in the front window of A Christmas Story House at 3159 West 11th Street, inviting visitors to step back in time to the 1940s. Our two youngest grandsons, Jaden and Jacob, watched the movie with Dan and me the night before traveling there. Although we’d all seen it before, the movie refreshed our memories to appreciate details throughout the house.

We waited in line on the front porch for the tour to begin. The guide opened the door and welcomed us into the house/movie set. We sat on old-fashioned, overstuffed couches and chairs in the living room while he shared informational tidbits: 


Taking Flight


Today was an uncharted ride on a stream of consciousness. Listening to an audio clip this morning made me think of birds. A small bird sat in a snow covered tree outside the window. "Why is she alone? Isn't she cold? Why doesn't she fly somewhere warm?" I felt chilly wearing layers upon layers of fabric with the furnace turned up. She was out in the elements dressed only in feathers. I shivered for her. 

Back in the 80’s, our local newspaper sponsored a program called Clothe-A-Child. Residents donated money to clothe as many needy children as possible during the holiday season. My husband and I volunteered to take children shopping.  The directions were to use the allotted funds to buy a warm outfit plus winter coat, hat, gloves and boots for each child. We were allowed to buy one small toy per child with our money, but were strongly discouraged from spending more than that. 

We drove to a rundown neighborhood on the rough side of town.  The house had no curtains at the windows and little paint on its rotting exterior. The porch boards felt unstable as we walked to the door and knocked.  A pretty, pencil-thin woman with long dark hair and a baby on her hip opened the door.  An older man and woman sat on folding chairs at a formica table watching a small, black and white television. A young man sat on the bare floor with his back against the wall. The house was immaculate, but there was no furniture.  

This article about my husband, Dan, was published in 2007. Here's a rerun in honor of our upcoming 23rd wedding anniversary on November 17:
I married my former husband two weeks after turning 20.  He was outgoing and a good provider who shared household duties, but we were emotionally incompatible which affected every aspect of our relationship.  Our children suffered through years of conflict. We divorced after 19 years of marriage. I felt numb and had no plans to marry again.  A few awkward dating experiences reinforced this choice. I liked the single life.

Dan and I were blissfully happy and looking forward to the birth of our first child together. I was 41. This was my second marriage but first pregnancy. Dan rubbed my belly as he talked to the baby he called “Peanut.” 

The pregnancy was uneventful until my water broke prematurely. Kaitlin Grace (Katie) was born by c-section to minimize trauma to her 1 pound 12 oz. body. She was perfectly formed in miniature. Her arms and legs were about as long as my fingers. I looked into her eyes and felt a power surge of love. 

Writing about our dog in the past tense seems surreal.  She’s only been gone a few weeks. Mocha, a cockapoo crossbreed, was six weeks old when she joined our family in 1996. She was a fuzzy ball of fur, who looked like a lamb and leapt across our backyard like a bunny. Chasing squirrels became her favorite pastime. 

I was Mocha’s person. She followed me around, whimpered to be petted, and snuggled up in my lap anytime she got the chance. She was a gentle soul with the patience of a saint when our grandchildren were young, licking and loving them even when they pulled her fur or tried to ride on her back.  She sat on my lap on the front porch at Halloween wearing her Dorothy (Wizard of Oz) outfit. Costumed children petted her. Their parents took pictures. She never flinched.  


A bird flew into Dan's workshop last summer and stood in the window looking outside. She flew against the glass over and over trying to get outside.

The back door was wide open a few feet from her, as was the double garage door at the other end of the room, but she was too focused on the window to notice any other options.

She paced back and forth on the windowsill then continued flying against the glass until she wore herself out. At that point, Dan caught her and set her free.

That small bird taught me a big lesson. We can be imprisoned by our own limited thinking. 

Freedom is just a thought away.