Now that I've tackled faith, this might be an excellent time to get into my family heritage.
The Hughes part of my heritage emigrated from Northern Wales. My Grandfather Evan was the first generation of our direct line born in the U.S.
I had the wonderful fortune as a young man to spend two weeks hitch-hiking through Wales that culminated in spending the night in the local B & B in Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog. My ride into town was the town butcher, Davey Jones (meat lockers). I spent a wonderful afternoon in the town pub, joining locals in watching the England vs Australia Cricket Test whilst quaffing halves of Brains Ale and savoring their famous scampi and chips. The local play by play jumped from English to Welsh frequently, sometimes mid-sentence. I still don't understand cricket.
The graveyard was crowded with memorials of Hughes' long gone and I glimpsed the old family homestead on the bus ride out of town.
Northern Wales remains rural and beautiful. Snow fed streams bisect heather covered hills dotted with rock outcroppings and sheep. Farmers in their wool caps ferry their animals to the livestock auction in Newtown where the cadence of the auctioneer's voice culminates in the slap of his crop on his clipboard. Shop keepers display their names above their doors; Jones, Morgan and Hughes predominate. The world economy was evident in citrus fruit from South Africa and lamb from New Zealand.
Celtic Knots have an ancient history that has much to do with an acknowledgment that there is an inter-connectedness in our lives. The Welsh seem particularly fond of using them in carvings. Welsh love spoons are worthy of a separate exploration at some other time.
I have recently adopted a Celtic knot theme on this site and in my other publications as a reminder to myself that common ground is not that hard to find, that we are connected in many ways. The balance of my Scotch-Irish-German-English Heritage virtually guarantees it.
My wife and I lend our voices to the contemporary music group at our church. We are currently attempting to master a song that is particularly challenging and very beautiful.
On a daily basis, fiduciaries work with clients and their families struggling with loss, dysfunction and death. Very early this morning the words and melody of our new song brought me fully awake and compelled me to write down these thoughts.
"Miracles just happen," announced not by heavenly trumpets but are small events realized in the moment as inspiration and answers to the questions you haven't yet articulated. Consider the times in your life when many things come together for absolutely no reason.
As I drive from appointment to appointment my "silent prayers get answers" readying me for the next challenge. I met just yesterday with the discharge planning nurses and a placement specialist at a local hospital. We quickly developed an appropriate solution to a challenging medical diagnosis and economic reality.
My faith is a choice, it's the comfortable old sweater that warms me when the chill of frustration and despair descends. It reminds me that judgment is not mine and is "the hope that doesn't ever end."
I don't often talk of faith and frequently fail to fully live it. Yesterday and today the words of a song brought me back to it.
Don the Trustee
When my mother passed very suddenly some 16 years ago, I worked as a trustee for the first time. Her trust contained walnut orchards, peach orchards and a small vineyard. One of the properties was within the sphere of influence of the adjacent city and I dove in with the neighbors and started working on annexation. Loved this work back then and still find it very satisfying today.