Apr 2, 2017

Blossoming in the place of Solitude

Sometimes the world can seem like an overwhelming place. Our environment is filled with all kinds of stimulation that can bother those of us who are sensitive. When the world seems like it is too much then I retreat to a quiet place.  I blossom in this place of solitude. My best ideas come to me in the quiet. 

Mar 19, 2017

My Campbell relatives rubbing shoulders with George Washington

This week was my spring vacation. The skies were overcast, it was cold, and dreary.  So, what better way to pass the time than to dive into the research pool. I've been at this genealogy thing for a long time. It is something that I really enjoy and has opened my eyes to how people have not really changed over the centuries. I've found a couple of murders and a possible  "Who is the baby daddy?" in my lineage. 

But this week produced a really big surprise. I started looking seriously at the life of John Campbell, the second son of Archibald Campbell. Archibald is my seven times great-grandfather. At the time of the Revolution, the Campbell's were living in Bedford County, Virginia. 

 Archibald Campbell was a member of the Continental Army and provided beef for the soldiers during the Revolutionary War. He was granted a 300 acre land grant from Governor Thomas Jefferson afterwards. However,  Archie wasn't the only one in his family to contribute services in the Revolution, two of Archibald's sons enlisted and fought for the freedom of this country as well.  

Archibald's son James, my six times Great-Grandfather, enlisted in the 10th Virginia Regiment as a private in Captain Clough Shelton's Co. of Foot December 2, 1776. He served three years, his time expired at Morristown, New Jersey in 1779.  James was at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania in May 1778 along with General Washington. But this is not the only time one of my family members was in the same company as our founding Father. 

My six times Great-Uncle John Campbell (James' brother) signed up for three tours.  He volunteered in June 1778, served three months as a private in Captain Robert Adams Company, Colonel Charles Lynche's regiment, and Lt. McReynolds guarding the lead mines in Virginia for three months at Fort Chiswell. 

He volunteered in February 1781 and served as a private in Captain James Dickson's Company.  They marched directly to North Carolina and was attached to Colonel Otho Holland William's Virginia Regiment of Regular Infantry and had a severe action with the British at Whitesell's Mills on a branch of Haw River (March 1781). Shortly after this action he was attached to Colonel Lynche's regiment and marched to Guilford Court House North Carolina and fought in the Battle of Guilford. According to the transcription of John's pension record he thought that the division of the army to which he belonged General Robert Lawson was the commander. They marched to a place called Troublesome Fire Works, North Carolina and was discharged for six weeks. 

In August 1781, John was drafted for a three month tour and entered service under Captain David Beard's Company, Colonel William Trigg's regiment and marched directly to Yorktown, Virginia where they joined the main army under General George Washington and remained there in service until the surrender of the British Army under Cornwallis (Oct 19, 1781).  Shortly after the surrender, John, was discharged after serving only two months on that tour. 

After I read the account of the military service of John Campbell, I decided that I needed to visit his grave and soon. I discovered that John is buried in State Line Cemetery, Preble County, Ohio.  

John Campbell, second son of Archibald Campbell 

I packed up my car and headed down south to see the grave of a relative that I have only read about. The Hamilton soundtrack kept the adrenaline flowing as I sped down the highway.                                                                                                                       
I found the tiny graveyard. The moment I saw the headstone a sob started in my throat and tears filled my eyes. I stood there looking at the stone that I had only seen pictures of. Then, I felt compelled to speak. I talked to him for a long time. Most of all, I asked him to help me to find the link across the pond. He knows who his people are. He knows their names. Give me a clue John. 

I didn't think to bring flowers to his grave. The only thing that I had with me was a stone from South Carolina that a friend gave me.  I went back to the car. I retrieved the stone  and put it in front of his stone explaining that the this was the closest thing I had to the place that he called home. Then I climbed back into the car. Hamilton was still playing in the CD player...

Sarah Vance Campbell, Wife of John Campbell
...and the world is gonna know your name. What's your name man?  John Campbell, My name is John Campbell. 

Mar 14, 2017

Do what you can't

Have you ever had someone tell you that you can't do something because...? Well I take that as a challenge. Because you don't have the guts to do something new or dare to dream doesn't mean that I have to fall into the hole with you.  Be a creator. Be unique. Be yourself. Then take the dive.

Mar 13, 2017

Rusty Porch Swing

Oh I remember these swings.  They were made of metal and were ice cold when you sat down but warmed up once you have been sitting there for a while.  It was made to endure time and eternity.  

Mar 12, 2017

Panther Creek State Park Tennessee

Last August I went to Morristown, Tennessee for a mini vacation. While there I visited the Panther Creek State Park.  It was such a lovely place. The peaceful effects of water and the mountains in the distance was heavenly.  I want to go on anther vacation to such a place. One day I may never return to the cornfields. 

Feb 19, 2017


The sunsets have been incredible this past week. Last night while driving to see a couple of friends who live in the country, I noticed how beautiful the barren trees looked against the glowing sky. 

The temperatures have been fluctuating from high to low all winter. Last night it was warm enough for a bonfire. We huddled around the fire with our blankets wrapped around us and chatted away. The brightness of the stars that hung in the heavens shown down upon us. Our gaze went upwards in amazement at the beauty of it all.  

Not all beauty is lost in winter.  Sometimes we have to look a little harder for it or maybe not. 

Jan 29, 2017

Lion: A Review

I went to see Lion at the theater a couple of weeks ago.  I was deeply moved by this lost and found tale of an Indian boy.  Within minutes of the beginning of the story I was in tears. 

Poverty was a stark reality for Saroo and Gaddu. Their father left them and the mother tried to make a living by moving rocks. In hopes of helping their mother they went to look for things they could sell or coins that fell to the ground by the passengers on the train. Saroo was only five years old, and was not able to stay awake while they looked around the train station. Gaddu left Saroo on a bench to sleep, promising to come back. Saroo woke during the night and his brother never came back. Saroo looked everywhere for his brother but wasn't able to locate him. Saroo searched a train that was stopped at the station and he fell asleep on one of the seats. The train began to move and it took Saroo on a long trip across the country. 

He ended up living on the streets of Calcutta for three weeks and then was adopted by an Australian couple. He didn't know his last name or the city he lived in. The authorities began a search for Saroo's family but nothing came of it. Saroo lived in Australia for 25 years but always longed for his family. Then his search began.  Google Earth was his vice to find his family. 

The film is based on a true story which makes it more compelling to watch.  Dev Patel does an excellent job portraying Saroo Brierley. 

Jan 22, 2017

Photography Exhibition

Friday evening was the opening for the IPFW Professional Photography Graduate Exhibit at the Garrett Museum of Art. The place was packed from 6-8 pm with barely enough room to move around.  We filled the museum with our fine art photographs that we compiled throughout the year. 

I think that I worked harder for this certificate than I did my degree or maybe I wanted it more.  The experience of this exhibit made me feel like a celebrity for a couple of hours. But more than this, the support from friends and co-workers was overwhelming. I talked of nothing but the exhibit for months and I am sure that they were sick of hearing about it.

During the evening, I thought about my parents, especially my mother. She would have been so proud.  

Jan 3, 2017

Cloning and having a soul

I just finished reading the book Never let me go by Kazuo Ishiguro.  I've never been one of those who reads all of the most popular books that are out currently.  Sometimes it takes me years to get to some of those books if at all. I found this by chance while looking for something to watch on YouTube. I watched a snippet and decided that this would be interesting to watch.  Then I went to my local resale shop and found both the book and the DVD. 

When the first sheep was cloned back in 1996 and Dolly arrived on the world's platform, I was amazed. Somehow, I felt that maybe we trying to fill God's shoes in the creating department or on the verge of it anyway.  Then I began to wonder if the sheep had a soul or if any being that was created in the lab had a soul. Does it or doesn't it? Isn't there something magical that happens at conception? 

The story centers around three characters, Kathy, the story teller, Tommy, and Ruth. Kathy narrates this sordid tale about their secluded existence in a place called Hailsham. The children were treated very well at this home for clones, unlike some of the other centers around the country we hear about in the story. All of the children are the same age, which piqued my interest more deeply as I read. It is hinted to them what their short lives will consist of but it is never out in plain sight. They are lied to, tricked, and manipulated so that they will be resigned to the fate for which they were created. 

They were encouraged to be creative and if they became good enough their "art" was taken to Madam's gallery.  Everyone aspired to have their work at the gallery even though they would never get to see it on display. If a student doesn't do well creatively they are made fun of by the other students. Why did they have such an intense focus on being creative?  Hint: It has to do with the soul. 

If you never read another book then this one should be your last. I was enthralled by this novel and how it played out.  Throughout the story I kept asking myself what I would do if I were in that situation.  The author kept my mind twisting and turning the whole time, not wanting to look at the horror of their lives, but peeking nonetheless. 

Dec 27, 2016

Photography Exhibit

After a lot of hard work, I am pleased to announce that I will have a few photographs on display along with fellow classmates at The Museum of Art in Garrett beginning January 20, 2017.  Please come out and join us in celebrating our achievements! (my picture is on the bottom left)