…..OR, “From Whence I Came”.

60 years of marriage for my parents, Jack and Anne Wall.

Jack and Anne Wall, on the occasion of their 60th wedding anniverary.

That was the reason that close to 200 family and friends gathered at Lutherwood, in Waterloo Ontario. Phenomenal…particulary for my father, who as we have all repeatedly heard “had one foot in the grave and the other on the banana peel” when he married my mother what is now 60 years ago. In fact my father who just turned 86, after decades of severe health issues related to asthma, has never been healthier. And my mother, now 84, suffered a stroke several years back, may have troubles walking but all else moves along at a rapid pace. So, yes, quite the event to celebrate and was glad that I was able to participate with my 3 siblings and….

….so many aunts, uncles and cousins, some that I haven’t seen in too many years. And people that I’ve known along the way…people that  knew us and worked with my parents in the various organizations that they founded and worked…Craig Wood Boys Farm, Parkhill Girls Home, Ausable Springs Ranch, Big Chief Camp, Merry Hill and Chateau Garden Nursing Homes, and Foundation for International Development Assistance….those being the “keynotes” that roll off the top of my head…there were others.

With my Dad at Ausable Springs Ranch/House #1 circa 1964

My parents were married 10 years when I, their 3rd child was born. They were running the Parkhill Girls Home and I was 2 when they moved on to start the “Ranch” where the mix of kids that came to live with us was now co ed, and the average number of mouths to feed was 12. And I worked as a teenager at the Big Chief Camp and also at various nursing homes, and as a college graduate went to Haiti, as a volunteer, ..so yes, in a very intimate way my life was touched by that of my parents and the “mission” they lived as their life appeared as a continuum in mine.

And so for the longest time I was certain that my future would be that of a social worker, standing up for these disenfranchised children that were slipping through this world, unloved and uncared for. I grew up with these kids. I knew them. I understood them….it made sense. But then, as I was working my volunteer stint in Haiti, I came to realize that I had an impact on the people that were under my care. (My job was “public relations” related, as I worked to sensatize our mission tour groups, to the plight of the Haitians, and thereby make them more responsive “givers” to the relief organization I worked for.) Studying for my MSW became replaced by wanting to study Development Education. I was all afire! Yes, I was my father’s daughter, but yet another twist in the road would find me diverting….same road, different path.

Moved to Haiti, at 60 years of age!

1985. Preparing to leave Haiti after 3 years. (And yes, my parents, who were in their early 60’s had just moved there…father to start FIDA, and mother to support it by way of establishing/running a guest house for missionaries) Just on the verge of the Revolution. I decide I want a “summer fling” before leaving. No, I ‘m not the summer fling kind of gal…but it sounded fun….nor was Mark Olbrych, the object of my affections.  You got it. We were married a year later and pregnant shortly thereafter. Haiti in political turmoil and I pregnant, we felt it right to relocate….

After I moved from Haiti, my mother helped me on with my little business, Kado D'Haiti. (you don't mess with her!)

But my dream to help the Haitians by educating Westerners to “help them help themselves?” Gone? No. Reworked. Kado D’Haiti, my first business venture was born.  By marketing their handicrafts I was able to help them directly. I was thrilled at this new bend in my road. More on this in later blogs…. and  carried a torch for my little handicraft business as  we moved from Haiti, to Boston and to Cambridge Ontario, all in the first year we were married.

1990 found our now family of 5, moving to Asia, where we would spend the next 8 years, first in Bangkok Thailand, and then in Taichung Taiwan. Full time mom/expat wife….and might I add, consumate party giver,  kept me hopping.

Zach, Ari, Avery and Ruth...from whence comes "ZAAR"

1999 we moved our family of pre teens from Asia to New Gloucester ME. Husband took a hiatus from corporate and jointly we plunged into the entrepenurial vein….the rest you know…Antiques by Zaar was created and became that which supported our family this past decade.

2010. I have spent the past year learning all aspects of my business as my husband returned to corporate. I am thrilled beyond belief that I am, later this month, celebrating 10 years since my first online sale.

But what I’m really here to say, and hope I haven’t lost you yet, is that there is a fire lit under me for this business, and it’s sister, ZAAR Design Center…and I do know from whence it comes. For, one thing my parents have, and continue to show me, is the value in giving to people.  Another is that of living and working against the odds, never giving up, having a dream and with all the passion and fervor you have, making it a reality….AND getting others ignited by the fire that lit their Soul.

My parents have made themselves the official welcoming committee @ their home, and Dad, self appointed chair of the Puzzle Room...proudly here by one of his creations.

I am the child of Jack and Anne Wall. I have had the example of a faith filled, visionary life set before me.  I see them in thier home Lutherwood, an assisted living facility fashioned after the model my father pioneered in the early ’80’s, where it’s like they are drinking from the fountain of youth, as the daily social mixing that they do with those that live in and around them is, as much as anything, keeping them healthy and vibrant and very much alive.

Antiques by Zaar/ZAAR Design Center, is the vehicle by which I can “let my light shine” and I look forward to seeing my world continue to grow in brightness as it is continually enriched by those that touch me and which I hope I too can touch.

If you have read this to the end, you have given me yet another reason to smile on this my 50th birthday.

Life truly is good and welcome to my world.