Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Swept along by Life

I've been playing catch-up after being away for almost a week. Between laundry, unpacking, mail, some booth work and eBay I've stayed busy as can be every day. I admit, I've spent some time just resting! The flowers are looking so pretty, it's a pleasure to just sit and look at them.

Yesterday was a storytelling day, telling West Virginia ghost stories to 4-H campers. It's been a while since I told those stories and it was good to dust them off again. There was no flooding in Glenville, thank goodness, where this event took place. I passed this sign again--I saw it on my way to Allegheny Echoes, and it's still there. Someone has changed the name of Spencer back to its original name, Tanner's Crossroads!

 First tomatoes are finally coming in! Is there anything like those first tastes of garden-fresh tomatoes? These are some black cherry tomatoes and a Mountaineer striped tomato that still has a little ripening to do. The small ones are actually ripe, they just keep some green on them. I ate one and it was so good.

It's been a relief to hear from friends who live in the flooded areas. So far everyone has reported in as okay, some with minor flood damage but safe. The flood cleanup continues in our state, and every day stories of kindness and bravery surface. The man who used his boat to rescue one person after another, the I Am Richwood Facebook page that has become the hub for information and help in that devastated town, the person offering free wifi, food, and laundry facilities in his home...on and on. So many supplies are being sent from groups everywhere! There are the annoying stories too, about looters but those are few compared to all the stories of help and good works that I have read.

My granddaughter is now on flood duty with the Army National Guard. That makes me feel good, to know she's there helping. And I've raised over $1000 for the single mother a friend told me about, just by asking my friends on Facebook and here for donations! She is stunned that complete strangers are willing to help, but that's how Americans are, isn't it? When the need is there and immediate, we're a generous people.

Today we are packing up for the big 4th of July Flea Market that is held each year in Fairplain, WV. We've never sold there before but we have lots of stuff that we need to move and this is a good opportunity to do that. We're setting up today and tomorrow, then the sale opens on Friday, July1 and runs through Monday, July 4. Should be an experience! We're pricing things to move, as we don't want to haul it all back home.

So I may not be blogging much for the next few days, but I am sure I'll have lots to report about this new adventure when I get back to what passes for normal around here.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Helping a Stranger

It is what Americans do when devastation or tragedy strikes--they reach out and help.

Right now I am trying to help a young single mother who lost everything in the recent West Virginia floods. I prefer myself to give directly to an individual rather than through agencies so I know the money does the most immediate good. Money is the most immediate need; later she will need stuff. But for now, she and her two daughters are living with her father in his trailer, and she has nowhere to put anything. So stuff can come later, right now they just need to get through the next few weeks until they can figure out what their next steps must be.

If you would like to help please send an email to me at or message me on Facebook and I will send you more information. Every little bit, no matter how small, will help.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

The Flood: Day 3

It is not so easy to return to everyday life, knowing what is going on in 44 of West Virginia's 55 counties. The photos of flood damage are horrifying. I find myself looking at them again and again, trying to wrap my mind around what happened, what is happening.

For now, I only look at the pictures and feel overwhelming sadness. I am waiting to find out which of my friends are affected and how best I can help them. I travel all over West Virginia telling stories and I have friends in so many places in this state. Clendenin and Richwood are two of the places close to my heart and to see this devastation is so hard. Right now I know the best thing I can do is stay out of the way of the emergency workers. I want to be there, but I know I'm old, and I'm not in shape for the work required. But it's not so easy to just watch, knowing how terrible it is. I'll donate what I can; that's all I can do.

If you want to see more, here is a link to a Facebook post with almost 400 photos. Many of these places are places I know and have been often--some of them as recently as this past Sunday. How strange it is, and how sad, to see them now.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.
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