Life in my Shoes

Life in my Shoes

Monday, April 30, 2012

A civil war story of tragedy, courage, passion, and loyalty. {Part 2}

Oops.
At the end of my last post about the civil war story in my family, I mentioned that I would post part 2 the following day.
Well, that didn't happen.
Life happened.......but not the blog post.
Life for me right now is relentlessly screaming for my attention on a million different fronts, and I often find myself making promises I cannot keep.
Bad form, I know.

So let me get back to that story......
and some things I saw as just too extraordinary not to keep alive for my children.

If you'd like to read the story again in it's entirety......just so you know what I'm talking about......
you can find it here.

The first thing that jumped right out at me was......
that although my great-great-great grandparents had conceived a child before they married,
they did not get an abortion, an act becoming more popular in the mid-19th century, and more readily available at that time.
William felt an obvious obligation and sense of responsibility, and based on the growth of their family and the length of their marriage, a deep committment and love for this lady and their child.
He did not leave her in scandal and destitution, which was often the result for women in this state at that time in American history.
They worked together to provide for their growing family, and were known in their church as having "an excellent character in the community and were considered very worthy people."
I love that they took responsibility for their actions and were pro-life!!
I love that even though they made what seemed like a "mistake," they handled it the right way and went on to have some great victories!

Second, he fought for the cause of freedom, had to step aside from the fight due to physical ailments, but clearly wanted to get back in the fight when the time seemed right.
He seemed to me a man of courage, a man of passion, and a man of great loyalty!
I'm not exactly sure what motivated him to get into the war.
The state of Delaware was a "border state," but it was also a slave state.
I noticed that on a census for 1860, it looked to me like they had a 17 year old girl living with their family possibly as hired help.
Her name was Louiza Clayton and it looked like her occupation was listed as "Dress Maker."
I wouldn't be entirely surprised if she was a slave.  (or maybe even a "free slave?")
I have no way of proving that though.
Her name is not listed in the census of 1870, but I also find no record of this young woman in any family records anywhere.
I don't know who she was, or why she was living with them.
Maybe she was a sort of nanny to their six children?
At any rate, I don't know if my relatives were initially for or against slavery.
But I think that by the end of his military career, they were against it.
Whichever way he fought though, he was very loyal to his state and to his regiment,
and was earning himself a higher rank.

Third, though I'm sure it was difficult for his wife to continue to raise 7 children by herself after his death, she had the good sense to obtain outside help with expenses.
I commend her for going through all the hassle of getting the right people to go with her to write down their testimony of her family life and to verify that all she was applying for was true and honest.
I commend her for not giving up and splitting up her family and sending her children to live with other family members.
She kept them together as I could gather from later census records.
To me that is a testament to a great tenacity and will to survive and to care for her family.

Last, and most profoundly, I've learned through this process that unless you have military records that record a more detailed account of the family's life, the information available via documentation is relegated simply to a birth certificate, (possibly) a marriage certificate, birth certificates of children, and a death certificate.
That's it.
Those are the footprints left in the genealogical history of a family.
UNLESS, family members keep the stories of these people alive.
They have to be talked about.
They have to be SHARED!
Passed down.
But even more.....I want to be remembered as more than just a birth certificate and death certificate.
What kind of mother was I?
What kind of wife was I?
What kind of legacy did I leave in the community......in my church?
What was I known for?
Did people clearly know that I was follower of Jesus Christ and had a passion to help others see Christ in my life and the difference that His sacrifice on the cross made in my life?
Did I pass that on to my children?
Did my life count for the cause of Christ?

I will never have a way of knowing what my great-great-great grandparents were like on a personal level.
I may be making huge assumptions about several decisions they made that are clearly documented.
But I want to learn from this that if a person's life is going to be valued and important.....WE must see the value of those who've gone before us, and the things we can learn from their successes and their failures.

"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, 
let us lay aside every encumbrance,
and the sin which so easily entangles us,
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus, 
the author and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy set before Him endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider Him who endured such hostility by sinners against Himself,
so that you may not grow weary and lose heart."
Hebrews 12: 1-3


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Walk into your past......a civil war story of tragedy, courage, passion, and loyalty. {Part 1}

Over the last several months, I've spent what "free" time I can find dabbling around in some of my family history.
I am by no means a professional genealogist, but I have learned a couple of things or two when it comes to tracing your family roots via the internet.
One thing I've found is the AH-mazing amount of information that is available for you to find with extreme ease from the comfort of your own home.
It just takes some time.
And that is what is a rare and precious commodity for me.
I can usually only find the quiet, uninterrupted time to concentrate and research when my children are safely, peacefully tucked into their beds.
Recently, I've had some real struggles with depression and hormonal imbalance, and it has left me feeling despondent, unmotivated, tired, and overwhelmed with all that is on my plate on a daily basis.
In an effort to keep moving, and to focus on something interesting, and to not drown in self-pity, I've allowed myself some extra time snooping around in my family history while my husband tends to the children.
That has helped me get through some really tough spots.

I had been hunting diligently for anything I could find on the family history of my Grandfather from my mother's side.    My mother's father was not the friendliest guy around, but he was delightfully quirky and humorous.
Slightly mean and obnoxious, but he had a soft spot for his grandchildren.
He never talked about his family though.
Ever.
He passed away on Easter Sunday in 1994, and I wished I had had the tenacity when I was younger to really push for more information.
I remember sorting through some old, sepia colored family photos in a box at their apartment outside of Philadelphia one summer, and he would name off some of the fellows in the pictures.
But that was it.
When I pulled out two extraordinarily old photos (think victorian era) of a man in what looked to me like a civil war uniform, and an older woman dressed in heavy black cotton sitting in an ornate chair, my grandfather could not tell me who these people were.
It was like he was seeing these photos for the first time.
So I put them in a box and promptly forgot I had them.

Then several weeks ago, I made an extraordinary find!
I feel I must share it as a means of recording this for my own children so that this story is not lost again.
I'm just astounded that this story was not preserved in the family....that I had to dig around and put it together by myself.....piece-by-piece....it makes me sad.
I want to keep these stories alive, to use them as a means of teaching character to my own children!

William J. Gallagher
A civil war story of courage, passion, and loyalty.

On March 11, 1848, William J. Gallagher and Sarah Ann Rhoades were married privately in the home of the Reverend Daniel Dodge, the pastor of the Second Baptist Church of Philadelphia, PA.
No witnesses were there, just the pastor and some of his family.
He was 23 and she was approximately 24.....and expecting their first baby.
He wasn't their pastor.
You see, they lived in Wilmington, Delaware, 30 miles from Philadelphia.
It was a different time.
There was a stigma associated with carrying a baby before marriage.
So, they couldn't marry in their hometown and receive the good wishes of family and friends.
They began their union quietly, and went back to Wilmington to begin their life together.
In late summer, their first son, John Stotseuberg Gallagher was born.
By 1850, the young family had joined St. Andrews (Episcopal) Church in Wilmington and baptized their first son, and William was employed in leather production.
Within the next 10 years, they added 5 more children, one of which died at the young age of 20 months.
His name was George Alfred and it is unknown what caused his death.
In April of 1861, the War of the Rebellion had been declared.
Delaware was a border state, a slave state that was thought to be against military coercion of the Confederacy, though it never declared its succession.
But the Gallagher's pastor (rector), Bishop Alfred Lee, was very vocal
 about his opposition to slavery.
William J. Gallagher decided to get involved.
He joined Regiment 3, Company B of the Delaware Infantry as 2nd Lieutenant in Wilmington, Delaware on October 12, 1861.
In June 1862, he was "with his detachment in charge of camp and baggage at Harper's Ferry" in 
Virginia (which later became West Virginia).
By October of that year, he was sick, but received a promotion from 2nd Lieutenant to 1st Lieutenant   
the following month (November 1862.)
He received orders from General Robert C. Schenck to apprehend deserters back in Delaware in the following months.
But William was not feeling well.
In fact, for two years he had been dealing with a painful, discharging "fistula."
He also had a chronic abcess that was so debillitating to him that the company surgeon,
declared in a certificate that he was "unfit for duty" and that "because of the nature of his diseases, and the depraved condition of his constitution, there remained no hopes that he would, ever again, be fit for military service."
William signed his letter of resignation on February 10, 1863, and was honorably
discharged on February 16th.
He goes home to Sarah and his children in Wilmington to recover and enjoy some time getting to know his newest son, William Johnson, who had been born while he was fighting at Harper's Ferry
in June of the previous year.
On July 6, 1864, the Confederate General Jubal Early crossed the Potomac River

That unit was the 7th Regiment of the Delaware Infantry.
William J. felt the call.
He had obviously recovered enough to feel he could go where he was needed in an emergency situation.
Sarah probably begged him not to go.
He had been honorably discharged due to a disability, he had made it home alive, and now they
had a brand new, 2 month old son, Evan Watson Gallagher.
But William was determined.
He was loyal to the cause.....
and besides....it was for a maximum of 30 days....right close to home.
So, he mustered in on July 11 in Company C in Wilmington.
But just days before the term of service was over,
he contracted typhoid fever while in Havre De Grace, MD.
He was quickly removed to Wilmington, Delaware were he died on August 10, 1864.
Sarah was left behind with 7 living children ages 16 to 3 months.
She was able to file for and receive a widow's pension in the amount of $15 a month for herself until her death and $2 a month for each child until they reached the age of 16.
Sarah passed away at the age of 70 in 1883 of heart disease.
Her youngest son, Evan Watson Gallagher, married and had 4 boys.
His oldest son, Evan Hazel Gallagher, died at the age of 28 in October 1918 after contracting the flu and pneumonia
during the infamous Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918-1919.
He left behind his wife of 6 years and their 5 year old son, my grandfather,
Norman Council Gallagher.
It wasn't until a couple weeks ago that I remembered the photographs
 I had asked my grandfather about.
I'm just sure this is William J. Gallagher.


And this would have been his wife, Sarah Ann Rhoades Gallagher.




This story is just so dramatic and inspiring to me.  
A testament to a great tenacity of will, and standing with your fellow countrymen for a cause you are passionate about......no matter the cost.
Yes, it has a tragic ending.
But is it the end of the story........I think not.

In tomorrow's post {Part 2}I would like to present my thoughts on this story and some of the tremendous lessons that can be learned.
It is just rich with truth that can be gleaned from lives lived during a tumultuous time in American history.
The culture was changing........the way women were viewed was changing, the way an entire race of people was viewed was changing, politics and the western expansion of our country was influencing the culture!
The stories of these men and women have much to teach us!!









Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday's Fabulous Family Recipe: Strawberry Spinach Salad!!

I must confess from the get-go that I'm probably misrepresenting this recipe when I advertise it as a
"Fabulous Family" recipe.
My husband is not a fruit lover.
I think I remember only one of my children even touching this.
It's more for the ladies.
I love it.....but more importantly......so did my mother-in-law!!
I tasted this recipe once at a newlywed friend's apartment like 20 years ago, and I've kept her recipe ever
since......intending to use it again one day because I was so impressed with it.

Well, since we're trying to eat more fresh, plant based recipes around here, this recipe came to mind
for an easy-to-prepare-ahead-of-time dish for our Easter Sunday lunch.

**Photo by Taste of Home 

I put the spinach and strawberries together the day before, and mixed up the dressing a day ahead as well.
When we arrived home from Easter Sunday Services, all I had to do was toss the dressing with the salad and we were good to go!
This combination is so pretty, amazingly delicious, and a such a lovely spring time dish!

I followed the recipe found here........with these alterations:

I did not use the chopped onion (though that would've been delish!).
I also left out the Worcestershire sauce and the pecans.  (though I'll probably add the pecans next time)!
I also substituted Xylitol for the sugar.

Yumminess!
Happy Spring!


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Family activities to make Passion Week meaningful


This week our family has been remembering the road that Christ took to the cross. You can follow through the Gospels and reflect on the activities of Jesus Christ that final week before His terrible death....His slaughter. This event climaxes everything the Old Testament was about......everything the Old Testament pointed to. God's satisfaction for the sins of mankind was permanently, this one time only, displayed hanging on the cross. His death so completely satisfied the debt that the ten-foot thick veil that hung between all believers and God the Father in the Temple in Jerusalem was divinely torn in half signifying that it was no longer necessary to have a human high priest go before God the Father to intercede for our forgiveness for our sin.  Believers in Jesus Christ, Christians, now have full access to our Heavenly Father because Jesus Christ is now our High Priest and we can go before Him ourselves. That intimate relationship with God the Father was restored to us because of the death of Jesus Christ. Our sin that stains us and contaminates our being and prevents us from being in the presence of a Holy God has been covered by the blood of Jesus Christ.

I wanted to make this week of remembrance special for my children again this year. I'm really not interested in combining this most sacred, holy, reflective time with bunnies, eggs, and candy. I don't really see how the two even relate? I do like to do baby animals, eggs, and candy for celebrating SPRING....but Easter? No. So for the last couple weeks, I've been looking for some great hands-on activities that my children can do together that really pictures what this week is all about. I found some beautiful ideas here.

Then I went over to one of my favorite blogs, Holy Experience, and found lots of great ideas.
Here are a couple things I found that we incorporated into our teaching times:

1. We made candy crosses. "Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2. Are you learning how to be conformed to the image of Christ? Here are some pictures of our family's version:





This year I used Katie's recipe and made sugar-free chocolate candy using xylitol.  The recipe here. 

2. We've done these in the past.  Fun project with  magazine pages to make some butterflies.. Talk about new life....new life found in Christ....and the life cycle of butterflies.  The tutorial for making the butterflies can be found here.




3. I LOVE this idea about an Easter Lenten Garden. You must read this tutorial about how to construct one.
I have not yet been able to make one of there, but am so hoping to next year!! Read about it here.

4. Oh my!! The "Family Box of Repentance". Another lovely, profound idea that we've incorporated in the past. See how the Lord speaks to a heart full of pride!! Go see it here.

5.  This week we talked about Jesus, as the Lamb of God, who took away the sin of the world.
We did have a little trouble with our lamb cake.....


........but it was pretty easy to fix.





Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Women's Wellness Wednesday: Phytoestrogens

It has been awhile since I've posted about some of the things I've experienced in this journey with adenomyosis.
What a journey it has been!
But I'm so pleased to report that things have improved so much for me that I'm excited and feel burdened to share what I've learned with other women who may be experiencing the same symptoms I was!!
You can read here about this condition and what led me to discovering this is what I have.
Once I learned what it was that causing such a problem, I began researching how to treat it.
The first thing I learned about was something called xenoestrogens.
But once I got THAT thing figured out, I learned about something else in our environment that I needed to be aware of:  PHYTOESTROGENS!
Not only do those of us with estrogen dominance issues need to be aware of the estrogen mimicers in our environments (xenoestrogens), but also of those in plants we may be ingesting as well.  Hence the term, "phyto" estrogens.

Of course, the most notorious is soy.
Soy has long been known to have estrogen-like chemicals in it.
We try to be careful that our children are not getting extra hormones in animal products these days,
but are we aware that we can be replacing that when we give them an alternative like soymilk?
What about tofu or those things with soybean oil in it?

I've also been careful with the essential oils of lavendar and tea tree oil as well.
These are also known to be estrogen mimicers!!

And I hate to break it to ya.......I was mad about this myself......so does COFFEE!!
Just so you know.
For a list of specific phytoestrogens that I've been avoiding, check here.
To be fair though, it's always good to have other opinions, and I appreciate the information found here.
Either way, this is another way that I've been trying to be aware of what I'm putting in this one body that I've been given!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday Funday: Celebrate Spring!!! Party

In a previous post, I mentioned that this year I wanted to do something concrete for my children to help make the separation in their minds between chocolate candy, jelly beans, and egg hunts, and the exhibition of Christ's power by His glorious resurrection from the grave!!
I don't want them to confuse the "Easter Bunny" with the what the real celebration is about!!
But I love all things spring!
I think fluffy bunnies and chicks and chocolate eggs are so much fun!!
I love that butterflies are so symbolic in the new life we have in Jesus Christ.......

"....old things are passed away, behold all things are become new...."

We see that principle as well in all the trees and flowers that are blooming so beautifully all around us!
So this is what we came up with:   

  Celebrate Spring!!


Little helpers making our "Bird Nest" treats.



Goldfish treat bags




Shaped pb and j sandwiches



Treat buckets




Ready for an egg hunt?




Little "bug" crafts






"Bunny bowling!"

We so enjoyed being outside in such lovely weather celebrating in "all His glory!"

"The whole earth is full of His glory..."
Isaiah 6:3