Monday, December 22, 2014

Mojo Monday ~ Ancestry

Linda Hogan Quote

A number of years ago I got into doing some genealogy.  Maybe it is the history lover in me.  Maybe it is my curious nature.  My last foray into delving into the history records was before I had twins. Plenty of things fell to the wayside after I became a mom.  Recently though as my husband delved back into his genealogical research I too decided to sign up for a month of access on Ancestry.com. It is a fascinating journey to find the connections and the mazes of my family tree.

A week into it, sometimes obsessively tracking and connecting the dots of one generation to another, I found myself asking "Why am I spending my time doing this?  Does it really matter if I find out the names and birth dates of the people who I share my DNA?  Does that have any bearing on the present and my life today?"

What I find myself contemplating is how all of these people who I am related to were once alive and walking on Earth.  They were born, grew up, got married, had children and eventually died.  I am perplexed at times how quickly memories and historical information in a family can fade away.  So many stories and the history of a family can be lost in a generation.  I consider how after I die and my daughters grow old and die that I too could fade away.  I consider that this too is just how things are, and yet at the same time I think about keeping the stories alive and doing my part to preserve some of the family history for future generations.

I wish I had realized

There are moments such as when I discovered the death certificate of my paternal great grandmother Eva Lavendar that she and her life story becomes more real to me.  My paternal side of the family I new the least about.  More of her life story began to unfold as I discover census documents, a marriage certificate, and her death certificate.

Yet let me start at the beginning to give great grandma Eva Lavender a moment in the spotlight. This is a woman who could fade away if descendants, like myself don't keep her memory alive.  Eva Lavendar was born on July 28, 1880 in Menard Co., Illinois.  She married Thomas Franklin Higginbottham on January 1, 1901 in Weiser, Idaho.  They moved to Missouri and their first child, Howard Higginbottham was born on October 19, 1901.  Their first child Howard sadly died the following July.  Their next child Jesse Ray was born on July 20, 1903. The third child Annie may have died at birth as the records only estimate she was born in 1903, though I am guessing it had to be more like 1904.  Their fourth child was my paternal grandmother Lula, was born on June 9, 1905. Following the birth of my paternal grandmother Lula, my great grandmother Eva would go on to have seven more children.

I read on the death certificate filed in August 1914 that Eva died from childbirth, a postpartum hemorrhage on July 18, 1914.  She was only 34 years old.  The child she gave birth to died too.  I discover this as I look at the birth and death date of her 11th child.  As I contemplate her life I do the math and figure out she married at age 21 and had her first child that same year.  In the course of only 13 years she gave birth to 11 children.

Death Certificate Eva Lavender (Higginbotham)

There are many women in my family who had this many children or more.  My maternal great great grandmother Sarah Roberts (Maiden name Briggs), was born March 17, 1868 in England.  She emigrated to the United States with her parents and siblings and married her husband in Beaver, Utah on April 16, 1884.  Her husband William Roberts had also been born in England and had emigrated to the USA.  Together they had 16 children.  Her first child was born when she was only 17 years old and her last child was born when she was 44 years old.  My great grandma Ida was her 10th child.

Roberts (Briggs) family tree

Roberts (Briggs) family tree page 2

In my research I came across a short written biography about my great great grandmother Sara Briggs parents and family. Her father James was a Methodist Minister in England.  He ended up converting to Mormonism and married his wife Betsy Fielding who converted with him.  They left England on the ship "Idaho" on June 30, 1978 with four of their children Betsy Alice, John, Alma and Sarah.  They arrived in New York City on July 14, 1875.  They then arrived in Utah by rail on July 22, 1875.  They were received in Salt Lake City by Bishop Jacob Wheeler.  Two of their older sons had come to Utah two years before.  In my searching I come across some journal accounts of those two sons.  In with the biography I also discover someone wrote a poem about the Briggs family.

The James Briggs Family

There was Robert, Alma, John and Joe
Finest of men you would ever know.
Bob, a shoe maker, the best they say,
Made many a shoe without any pay.
Joe lived in Frisco, for a long time,
Was superintendent of Horn Silver mine.
Alma and John owned a big her of sheep,
And would tramp o'er the hills, till they got sore feet.
The girls were Sarah, Alice and Nancy,
Lovely and charming as girls could be.
Sarah, blue eyes with blond curly hair,
When she caught the eye t'would make folks stare.
Nancy, brunette and brown hazel eyes.
And a shy little way that took folks by surprise.
Alice was small, dainty, gentle and sweet,
As pretty a lassie as e're walked down the street.
The Father and Mother were Betsy and James.
They reared this family a credit to their names.
James lived the gospel and knew it by heart,
And in every way tried to do his part.
'A very good family', folks would say,
Now may years have gone, since they passed away.

Madeliene L'Engle quote

I am bound to them
 My explorations will continue.   It feels like a treasure hunt and when I find photos and stories posted it feels especially exciting. Getting a glimpse into reading my ancestors life stories is interesting.  There are other people on Ancestry.com who have created their own family trees and they show up as links and hints because we share relatives.  I have yet to reach out to any of these long lost relatives. I came across an article called My Top 7 Tips for Finding Old Photos of Ancestors on a website called Teach Me Genealogy that offered some great ideas too.


Have you done any exploration into your ancestry?

 Do you still have great grandparents, great aunts and uncles, cousins, who you could talk to about your family history?

Are their family photo albums, bibles, or other records that could provide details about your ancestors?

In addition to genealogy sites that require you pay like Ancestry.com which I am using, I came across a list of sites that offer free resources. I haven't looked into all of these, but feel free to explore for yourself:
  1. Family Search www.familysearch.org (For research, historical records and
    volunteering to help index)
  2. Find a Grave www.findagrave.com (Millions of online memorials, from transcribed headstones)
  3. World GenWeb Project www.worldgenweb.org (Genealogical data per country)
  4. US GenWeb Project www.usgenweb.com (Genealogical data per state)
  5. National Archives www.nationalarchives.gov (Archived Genealogical data from the US Government)
  6. Genealogy Today www.genealogytoday.com (Genealogical Data)
  7. Google www.google.com (Genealogical data, images, maps, and more)
  8. Access Genealogy www.accessgenealogy.com (Online Genealogical Data)
  9. Family Tree Searcher www.familytreesearcher.com (Online family trees)
  10. GeneaBios www.geneabios.com (Genealogy Biography database)
More highly recommended Free sites:
Genealogy- chasing your own tale2

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mojo Monday ~ Fun Deficit Disorder

Life isnt as serious

Sometimes I can be really serious.  I am sensitive to world events.  My heart hurts when there are painful and sad things happening.  I struggle with the big issues regarding injustice, violence against women and children, as well as hurtful actions against animals, which is why I adopted a vegan diet 6 years ago.  I also happen to be in my fourth year of writing for Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine and while the first years leant themselves to me writing about inspirational uplifting topics, we as a collective group have dug deeper into more challenging topics, especially this year where the theme is Taboo.  I have now tackled the topic of Naked Vulnerability, "Death" in We Are All Going to Die. Poetry Can Help , "Ambiguity" in Shades of Fucking Gray or Delicious Ambiguity? and the most recent, sexual abuse of children, in The Bogeyman Under the Bed.  Goodness I sometimes feel like this series is putting me through the proverbial wringer.

In my off time from contemplating and writing about topics like death and abuse I can also get caught up and focused on chores, to-do lists, keeping my car clean, organizing my emails and hanging up my clothes according to color scheme.  (Oh dear, I am revealing my idiosyncrasies.)  Yes, there are aspects of my moderate OCD personality that likes everything in a certain order.  It is the last trait that can trigger my irritation about towels hung up haphazardly, the bed not made, books and homework strewn across the dining room table, too many things cluttering up the house, jackets thrown on the floor...well you get the idea.  It is something I feel I have to tame regularly if I am to avoid the true grumpy grumps and grumbles about wanting to live alone, so I don't have to clean up after other people.  I love my children and my hubby.  It is terrifying to consider a life without them, so obviously moving out or moving them out really isn't the answer.  What I aim to focus on instead is making peace with things I cannot change. Not always so easy, but when love trumps everything else, you do what you need to to make it work.

Even Cowgirls get the BluesSo in consideration of how serious I have been feeling, and in all honesty, the blues I have been struggling with for months now (yes even Cowgirls get the blues), it was timely to receive a newsletter that reminded me of the importance of Play.  It also seemed appropriate for the magical month of December.  I laughed, but related especially to the description of FDD ~ Fun Deficit Disorder.  Let me share with you the inspirational message from Kathy Tyler of Innerlinks that struck a chord with me.
 
Inspirational Message
Maximize every moment of liveness. Experience 
pleasurable involvement in all your activities and enjoy what you are doing.  Have Fun!
 
Play is at the heart of our creativity and animates our being in our most carefree moments. It helps us live with absurdity, paradox, and mystery. It feeds our childlike joy and wonder. It keeps our search for meaning grounded and on to earth.
 
There is so much going on in the world, and within us, that our stress levels have adjusted upwards to a new 'normal' creating a hidden epidemic of fun deficit disorder (FDD). Play is an antidote to stress. It can totally absorb your attention and cause a cascade of feelings that greatly impact your happiness quotient.
 
Play engages us with the imaginal realm and supports and enriches our metabolization of life. It is integral for generating insights and effortless realizations. Play literally gives us a 'breather' – restoring our vitality at a core level.
 
This month find a fun activity that totally captivates your attention to the point where time seems to slow or even stop, and the voice inside -- (the one giving constant commentary on what you’re doing, have done, or will be doing) -- ceases.  Laugh heartily at jokes, situations, and yourself.
 
Wishing you playful, joyous moments throughout December. And, transformed FDD to F:):)....
Warmly,
Kathy

Ways I am choosing to have fun this month ~

Created a new holiday music mix and will be designing the cd cover.

a-sprinkle-of-love-christmas

Prepared the annual family holiday letter
with photos and news about our 2014.

holiday letter snapshot

Getting creative with our Elf on the Shelf named TwinTweety.

IMG_2325

Delighting in putting up lights, including a new heart and star
on the porch that make me happy.

IMG_2327

Decorating the candy house with the family.

IMG_2326

As one who loves finding and giving that oh-so-perfect gift
I'll delight in wrapping and preparing gifts for loves ones.


present

Before I head off for the fun task of
plotting the next adventure
for our Elf on the Shelf
I encourage you to consider how you 

can make this a Season of Magic.

IMG_2329
Artwork by Kristina Swarmer ~ card by Brush Dance

I'll also close with another
inspirational message from Innerlinks.


You are important.
Your thoughts create.
Your actions matter.
Your presence changes everything.
Be an Intentional Butterfly,
a participant in the ripple effect of caring.

This is the beginning, now is when you start. It is time to awaken to your presence, to be inspired in your actions, and to hold the highest and best outcome for the planet, humanity, and all life on earth. You make a difference and you decide what that difference is. What you think about yourself affects how you feel and how you act. What you think about those you meet affects how they view themselves. We all create each other. I am cannot be a teacher if there are no students. I cannot be a student if there are no teachers.

It is not a question of whether what you think matters. It absolutely does. Your participation is mandatory regardless of your perception. You are here, you are a part of life, and you make a difference. You are a participant in the creation of our future. So, the only question is; what kind of difference do you want to make? It is up to you to decide to be a conscious or unconscious participant. Non-action, to do nothing, is a choice and one you are ultimately accountable for. And, sometimes, non-action is the most courageous choice. But, to do nothing because you do not want to get involved is an excuse to stay disempowered and unaccountable. So, make choices with intent. Be willing to learn, grow, and evolve in your ability to discern what to do and what not to do.

As you go about your daily activities, you touch numerous people most of which you do not even meet. The woman or man behind a cash register who serves you at the counter, your interaction adds or subtracts from their day and how she/he then interacts with the next customer or co-worker. Your interaction with them may tip their inner balance point in the direction of kindness or anger. What kind of influence do you want to be? What is the ripple your energy is creating?

Become a beacon of intention. Intend kindness, peace, grace, appreciation, and recognition of the spirit of the person who is in front of you. You do not need to 'know' them to extend your good will and good heart. It is not the receptivity of the other that prevents you from extending your best to each moment.

Practice goodness, become an intentional butterfly that lights upon each interaction with the blessing of the true reality that is our shared humanity. Add your presence to the love and compassion that are the healing agents that free our spirits and open our souls to the knowing of our true selves.

Each interaction is an opportunity to start a chain reaction of caring. Of giving the moment a magic touch that reverberates and carries out like a ripple on a pond. Endless in possibilities to affect an outcome many steps down line from your initial incidental action.

This is a way to contribute to the phase shift where change can happen. Like water heating to the boil, there is a moment before it reaches the temperature to start to boil, but if the heat remains at that point or drops, the water never makes the phase shift to actually boil, to become steam, to change its frequency. You can be that moment; you can choose to add to the phase shift of another. You can be the butterfly with the gentle touch that contributes to the phase shift, to the change. You may just be the difference that changes everything. Don't miss your opportunity.

Join the circle, become an Intentional Butterfly. Make a difference. Start now, be a conscious, caring, human being. You are part of a larger picture, a much grander plan then what you may perceive. What you give to one gives to the whole and ultimately gives back to you.

Keep your acts of intention simple.
  • Open a door for someone and as look in his or her eyes, smile.
  • Let in front of you the driver who is waiting to merge.
  • Ask the cashier how they are.
  • Compliment your partner.
  • Give specific appreciation to your children.
  • Return a shopping cart to the door.
  • Recycle your cans.
  • Make a phone call to someone who lives alone.
Build on simple acts increasing in frequency. Frequency meaning both: more often and increase in vibration. Upping your intentional actions. Extending your loving presence to touch that in another.

Then, ask for more opportunities to be an intentional butterfly. Keep your heart open. Stay alert to the seemingly incidental moment that can change the outcome of someone's day.

IMG_2330

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Mojo Monday ~ Corita Kent

SisterCorita

'The Revolution introduced me to art, and in turn, art introduced me to the Revolution!'
~ Albert Einstein

Corita Kent nun

2page
3page
4page
5page
6page
7page
8page
9page
10page
11page


sistercorita_lowres


Kent’s “Love” stamp and Kent and other teachers in her print making workshop.
Kent’s “Love” stamp and Kent and other teachers in her print making workshop.


Hope


Corita-Kent-Be-of-Love

Learn more about Corita Kent here.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mojo Monday ~ Impermanence

Impermanence expresses the Buddhist notion
that everything is constantly in flux.  

Cultivating an acceptance of the transitory nature
of our current situation helps us deal with change and loss.

Sharon Marroquin
Sharon Marroquin

On January 8, 2010 Sharon Marroquin received a phone call that informed her she had breast cancer.  Twenty-six months, three surgeries, sixteen chemotherapy treatments and thirty radiation treatments later, she wanted to make sense of the journey.  Confronted with her mortality, angered and frustrated over her inability to handle the disintegration of her body, Sharon Marroquin begins to consciously deal with it through art and decides to create a dance called “Materiality of Impermanence”. Through the creation of the dance, Sharon escapes to another realm that is not confined by physical limitations, disease, childrearing, teaching and running a home. “Foreign Puzzle” is a visual testimony of the transcending power of the human spirit.

Please watch this brief video introduction about Sharon and the "Materiality of Impermanence."



“When I saw the photos they were beautiful,
it was a turning point because I realized that this horrible
thing happening to me had some beauty in it
and that’s when I started thinking I could make a
dance about this so that people outside of myself
could see both the ravages of what one has to go through
but also the beauty that’s within the human spirit”
~ Sharon Marroquin
Face to face with mortality- Sharon MarroquĂ­n
Face to face with mortality - Sharon Marroquin

"I have to learn to surrender to this journey
and to use it as an opportunity for growth, for learning..."
~ Sharon Marroquin

Video clips from the performance
"The Materiality of Impermanence"




photo-1


From Mandalas & Meditations for Everyday Living:
52 Pathways to Personal Power
by Cassandra Lorius

"Because nothing lasts, our natural reaction is to grasp on to people or experiences, but this can lead to emotional suffering.  It is more healthy to learn to remain open to what comes into our lives and accept the situation when it leaves.  We can become more adaptable and appreciative of the present moment.  To do this, try to drop illusions and expectations, such as the direction of our own life and career, how we have imagined our parents' and siblings' life stories, our relationships, the need for someone to love us unconditionally and take care of us, our religious certainties, the kind of people we prefer our children to grow into, or our assumptions about health and longevity."

Meditations on Impermanence

1 Think back to a time when you became aware you were holding on to an illusion.  Recall your discovery that it was just an illusion, and remember how that felt.

2 Think about the new awareness that must have created the conditions for your realization that it was an illusion.  What was the scenario that unfolded?

3 Relive the release when these illusions were dissolved.

4 Become aware of the spaciousness and sense of freedom you have when you live without illusions.

5 Let go of each and every one of your illusions, releasing them into the vast space of the universe.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Courage Doesn't Always Roar

Courage doesn't always roar

Sometimes courage is the quiet voice

at the end of the day saying,

"I will try again tomorrow."



Want to be part of makingdreams come true and 
sharing inspirational messages?  

Why Mary Anne and Applied Insight
Need Your Help

Mary Anne is ready to inspire future generations with fresh work and delightful new energy (because evidently a quarter century of art and verses and a dozen books later she hasn't even scratched the surface). So, she's creating a new studio and artistic space in her home where she can host retreats and workshops and artists (oh my!), and where she can birth another glorious array of ideas and insights, art and words, to inspire generations to come.

She calls the new space "The APRON-AERIE," where she dons boldly-colored aprons (often polka-dotted in nature) to create and inspire and to support others in doing the same. THAT's what Kickstarter will help her do. One of our fabulous Kickstarter rewards levels gives you and a friend a 5-night, 6-day opportunity to spend uninterrupted time in the APRON-AERIE with customized artistic guidance from Mary Anne, enjoying rest, relaxation, creativity, and million-dollar views from her lovely studio and home on Whidbey Island. But there are so many more ways you can enjoy and celebrate her work.

Mary Anne Radmacher Apron-Aerie

Because while she's doing all of that, the Applied Insight team will be busily bringing all of her inspiring new work to the world. In the form of cards and journals, art and affirmations--whatever touchstones will help people remember to act boldly, embrace courage, and live with intention. To do this, our Kickstarter campaign will help launch an exquisite new line of wall art, journals, stationery, and quote cards that people have been asking for (ok, demanding) for many, many months. Mary Anne creates. We bring it to the world. You love it (and live it) every day. Everyone wins.

Those who have followed Mary Anne's career know that she is far more inclined to ask for help for others (and often does so with grace and compassion). Applied Insight knows this about her and we are asking for help on behalf of this whole endeavor.


It takes courage
to change your style,
your opinion,
the path you walk,
your hat!

It takes courage to let go
of the weighty parts of your past.
It takes courage to find your own voice.
It takes courage to reinvent joys,
to reinvent opportunities,
to reinvent dreams,
to reinvent connections...
to reinvent hopes that you have set aside.


There are only 7 days left to reachthe Kickstarter fundraising goaland they are over half way there!

The goal is $43,700 and they have
reach $25,755 as of November 1st.
They must reach the goal by 4:52 pm next Saturday, Nov 8th

If they don't reach the goal
they will not receive any of the funds.

Giving is easy and a joyful experience.
Be a part of making dreams come true
and ensuring that Mary Anne Radmacher's 
inspirational words continue to be 
spread far and wide.

You can also receive beautiful gifts
in return for your giving,
come learn more by visiting
the Kickstarter page here.


Courage doesn't always roar 

It takes courage
to recognize that rigid habit inhibits
It takes courage to accept
that the way you "have always been"
does not determine the way you are.

It takes courage
to stand in a place you didn't know existed...
and learn from a view
you previously couldn't imagine.

It takes courage to let go
of your assumptions
and fly you dreams as a 
soaring invitation to become the best
version of yourself.

It takes courage to stand for your convictions.
It takes courage to give up control
and it takes courage to recognize
you are perfect just the way you are.
Change of any sort, requires courage...
Courage to write a new story of your life
with the pen of each day...
of every moment.

Tell yourself this little story when you need it - 
"I have the courage to stand in whatever
the weather brings...
and understand that everything is washable.
Everything is fixable
and everything is replaceable
but by time and breath."