Janice Hall Heck

Finding hope in a chaotic world…

Archive for the tag “Story of My Life”

Ten Things That Make Me Happy

BlogEverday[1]Blog Every Day in May. Prompt 14:  Ten Things That Make Me Happy 

1. Singing with Julie Andrews,”These are a few of my favorite things: Whiskers on kittens…” All kittens as a matter of fact. And all cats, too. Here is a picture of me as a little girl with Thomasoulo, my father’s cat. My Mom told me once when I was a little tyke that I was terribly upset because my little brother, Bobby, was teasing Thomasoula and making him nervous!  No. Not sweet little Bobby! Never. He was Mom’s little angel.

Five-year-old Janice and the family cat, Thomasoulo.

Five-year-old Janice and the family cat, Thomasoulo.

2. Checking the flowers that bloom in the spring. It doesn’t matter what kind of flowers, I love them. I think I take after Mom on this one. She had a green thumb and could raise almost any flower. I didn’t inherit her green thumb, but I still love flowers.

Daffodils on the Appalachian Trail. Photo: Terry Bliss

Daffodils on the Appalachian Trail. Photo: Terry Bliss

3. Singing with the choir at Margate Community Church, Margate, NJ. My husband, Ken, (My-Heck-of-A-Guy) has been singing with this choir for over 35 years. I wandered in with him one day about nine years ago, and they let me stay. We have made some very good friends here.

Margate Community Choir

4. Singing old hymns at church. So many hymns remind me of my growing-up years, sitting next to Mom or Daddy, singing away in the ole Sunday evening hymn sing at Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Mom used to love, “I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses.” (“He Walks with Me”) I think of her every time we sing this song in our Margate church. You can listen to it here.

Mom and Daddy, 1952, Long View, TX. at Uncle Bob Ellis's graduation from Le Tourneau Tech Institute

Mom and Daddy, 1952, Long View, TX. at Uncle Bob Ellis’s graduation from Le Tourneau Tech Institute

5. Eating out with My-Heck-of-A-Guy and having Cassie and Mandy join us when they can. Cassandra Heck and Amanda Heck are a barrel of fun with their unlimited imaginations and their playful spirits. This is my favorite picture of the two of them together. Don’t you just want to laugh looking at the picture?

Cassie and Mandy entertaining...

Cassie and Mandy entertaining…

6. Seeing new pictures of my grandchildren posted on Facebook. I just don’t see these grandchildren enough because they live in California, Arizona, and Tennesee.

Grandchildren climbing all over Grandpa Ken

Grandchildren climbing all over Grandpa Ken

7. Walking on the beach and getting sand between my toes, and then later walking on the boardwalk in Ocean City, NJ

Eating ice cream on the Ocean City Boardwalk with my grandchildren and their cousins.

Eating ice cream on the Ocean City Boardwalk with my grandchildren and their cousins.

8. Watching thunder and lightning storms in the summer. These storms remind me of all the times we sat as kids on our old front porch watching the lightning in the distance and waiting for the heavy rain to start. Something about a lightning storm is magical.

It was a dark and stormy night.

It was a dark and stormy night.

9. Traveling to new places with friends. It doesn’t matter where or when, anytime a friend says, “Let’s go,”  I am ready. Sometimes we have to wait a bit until our money coffers refill, but that’s okay, we still do it.

Christine, Inger-Anne, Jan, Carol in Sienna, Italy, May, 2012

Christine, Inger-Anne, Jan, Carol in Sienna, Italy, May, 2012

10. Looking through old family pictures. I have recently come across a new source for pictures (Ancestry.com, where my cousin, Bill Swartz, posted family pictures from ages ago). I have been posting some of these old pictures on Facebook and playing guessing games with my siblings and their children. Who remembers? This has been a lot of fun.

Grandmother Minnie E. Carlton feeding the chickens at Brewster Road and Vine Road.

Grandmother Minnie E. Carlton feeding the chickens at Brewster Road and Vine Road.

“These are a few of my favorite things…”

The Last Meow.

Of course, I have something to say!  Sitting in the sun is one of my very favorite things! Meow for now.   ={^:^}=001

Blog Every Day in May, May 6: What Do You Do?

BlogEverday[1]

Blog Every Day in May Challenge. May 6. Prompt: If you couldn’t answer with your job, how would you answer the question, “What do you do?”

DO?

When you retire, you can BE!

We wonder a lot where our time goes now that we are retired. We also wonder how we got everything done when we did work. Time just disappears. At any rate, here’s a brief summary of what I do, and what I am at this point in my life.

A wife. In 2004, I married a man I had dated more than forty years ago. (My first husband passed away from cancer in 2000.) Now this man is my partner, my sounding board, my editor (picky, picky, picky), and my best friend.

A granny. I have six daughters and thirteen grandchildren: Winston, Dean, Jackie, Gabbie, Donovan, Pauley, Evan, Eric, Isabelle, Madelynn, Tristen, Sarah, Kaylee. Sadly, they live in other parts of the country, and I don’t get to see them very often.

A caretaker. My older sister and brother both need assistance, so with my sister, Beverley, we give what help we can. We provide transportation to doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, grocery stores, banks, and so forth. (I am the youngest living child out of an original nine siblings in my family; Beverley is the middle child out of nine.)

My brother, Adam, 79, is blind and still lives independently. This amazing man has been skiing and mountain climbing with Ski for Light, an organization that assists blind and handicapped persons to engage in outdoor activities that would normally be off limits to them. You can read about Adam and Ski for Light here: B is for Big Brother’s Bits about Being Blind   (A to Z, 2012)

Adam cross-country skiing with Ski for Light buddies

Adam cross-country skiing with Ski for Light buddies

My eldest sister, Joanne, 81, had a series of small strokes, then later a larger one. I found her after the larger stroke. She didn’t answer her phone, and I went to check on her and found her sitting in her recliner, half of her body paralyzed, the other half very weak. Now over a year later, she is stable and living in a nursing home. Because of the diabetic stroke, she lost blood flow to her left leg, and it had to be amputated. She has adjusted amazingly well to all of this, despite the complete loss of her independence. I wrote about Ms. Joanne in  F is for F.A.S.T.: Know the Signs of Stroke: It Can Become Personal in an Instant. (A to Z, 2013)

Ms. Joanne, Adam, and Gunner, the community dog, at Juniper Village

Ms. Joanne, Adam, and Gunner, the community dog, at Juniper Village

Between visits to doctors for Adam and Ms. Joanne, I occasionally visit doctors with my husband and visit my own doctors. It seems like I spend a lot of time in doctors’ waiting rooms. I guess that is something that comes along with your AARP card.

A singer. No, not a popular singer, just a Sunday singer. I am a member of the Margate Community Church in Margate, NJ, and I belong to the choir. My husband sings bass. I sing, well, I try to sing second soprano. I love the choir and enjoy singing and being with them. I wandered in one Sunday, and they let me stay.

A blogger. I have always loved writing, even when I was in elementary school.  I started blogging on a lark. My step-daughter suggested it one day, and I laughed. Me? Blog? What on earth for? Who would read what I had to say?  But the thought stayed in my mind, and lo and behold, I started blogging. And even more surprising to me, people seem to be reading what I write. Thanks to you all!

A traveler. Travel has always been a major interest. Ever since I first went to Europe on a student tour with my Gordon College professor, Dr. David Franz, I have loved travel, and especially historical travel. Most recently, I have been to Italy (Tuscany and Rome) and to Israel. When I worked in Hong Kong at Hong Kong International School, I traveled to Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Japan, and the Philippines during vacation breaks. I regret missing Korea, but that is still on my bucket list.

Jan in Jerusalem with On The Horizon, HWL newsletter

Jan in Jerusalem with On The Horizon, HWL newsletter

An editor. Our 55+ community started a newsletter, On the Horizon (above) about eight years ago. I have been pulling that newsletter together for about seven of those years. Now it is a quarterly newsletter that ends up being between twelve and sixteen pages long. It keeps a good record of the goings-on in our community.

That’s pretty much sums what I do, and who I am at this point in my life.

I know. I am soooo cute.

I know. I am soooo cute.

Oh, one more thing.

A kitty lover. How could I forget that? Most of my posts have a kitty at the end.  Meow for now. =<^:^>=

May 4 Favorite Quote: A Childhood Memory

Blog Every Day in May Challenge. May 4: Favorite Quote

BlogEverday[1]

When was a very little girl, I went with my family to Sunday school and church. I loved seeing my friends there and listening to Bible stories, playing Bible games, completing arts and crafts projects, and memorizing verses. I was a good memorizer and managed to complete the memory list for every grade level. Some of those verses pop into my head now, so many years later.

This one was tricky to memorize, but once I got it, I never forgot it.

For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22.

These are all character qualities that I admire in others and aspire to demonstrate in my own daily life as a Christian.

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