Knowing Your Family Tree Can Enrich Your Life In 5 Surprising Ways

5 Surprising Ways (1)

About 30 years ago my older sister started researching our mother’s side of the family tree. Our mother had died young and we were left without much family history. My sister was in her 40’s and I was in my 20’s and being a busy, new mother I was not particularly interested. But I tromped around in graveyards and made copies in the archives with my sister and picked up a few things along the way.

My sister then died young as well. I inherited all her research and it sat in boxes in the closet for years. Then a couple of years ago, something happened, a switch was flipped and I pulled out my sister’s research and started going through it.

And the research has been going on since then. Although I didn’t really enjoy it when I was in my 20’s, I really enjoy it now! The search, the discoveries, it’s all so fun to me now.

What is so amazing to me now is how stinking easy it is! You can, right now, go to and begin your family tree. You don’t have to go to the archives, to courthouses, or to graveyards to get started. You don’t even have to know anything about how to do genealogical research. You can grab your coffee while still in your pjs and start your journey! They have so much information online now, it’s amazing!

So, this morning as I am thinking about my next exploration into my family tree, I was reflecting on how enriching it has been to me. So, I thought I’d pause and give you 5 reasons why you should start researching your family tree right now!

  1. Having a new hobby that can enrich the whole family is so fulfilling! Often our hobbies are so individual. We enjoy our hobbies and we’re lucky to have a few people to share our enjoyment with. However, researching your family tree can be enjoyed by the whole family. Having a hobby that provides such meaningful information and impacts each family member in such a positive way is so fulfilling!
  2.  It gives you a sense of being grounded and connected. There is something very assuring about knowing your family story. Knowing where your family came from, the struggles they went through, the decisions they made, all of that gives you a sense of origin and connectedness that is priceless.
  3. It helps you understand yourself better. Often you will find common threads running through your family. In my family, for example, I discovered that my people tended to be farmers, church planters and craftspeople. I am all of those, too, in varying degrees. My love of order comes from my Dutch ancestors and my love of spiritual, mystical things comes from my Irish people. Learning about my ancestors really does help me understand myself better.
  4. It gives you practical information that you can use. When you research the people in your family, you will learn details that may help you. You will learn about what illnesses and handicaps your family members struggled with and died from. It may alert you to potential health risks.
  5. Discovering your family’s roots and giving that foundation to your family is priceless! You will be the fount of all family history! It is so much fun to share the experience of discovery with your family . It was so great to be able to share with my nephew, when he was studying American history, that he was related to George Washington. It blew his mind and made history more exciting for him. It will be so fun to share our family history with my grandboys when they get older.Sharing family history is such an enriching and bonding activity. 

I think knowing your family history is a MUST for every grandparent. And, if like me, your history was not shared with you or it was lost, you have no excuse! Get on or any family research site and start your journey today.

If you need a little inspiration, watch episodes of “Who Do You Think You Are?” or “Finding Your Roots.” Those shows get you excited about family tree research!

Have fun!



It’s Okay Not to be Okay

it's ok not to be ok

At the risk of sounding like a whiny, attention grabbing person, I’m just going to say I’m not okay.

I’ve been wanting to post for a few days and I have just been in a funk. I’m experiencing some after shocks.

And I didn’t want to just post crap just to keep posting (although this post might actually be what I didn’t want to do).

But I don’t want to lose touch with the few faithful followers and friends I have.

So, I just want to say, I’m not okay, but I’m not giving up.

I’ll try again tomorrow!



Must Minimalism Always Be a Reaction?


Freedom. Light. Air. Peace. Breathe. Open. Rest. Freedom.

These words have always been in my life. They were my dream, my desire, my goal.

If we have a conversation, you’ll hear me say these words. Not intentionally, they are just on the tip of my tongue waiting to fly.

I even married a man who’s last name in Portuguese means, “Freedom.” I didn’t know that when I met him.

Minimalism has been a theme in my life as far as I can remember.

Early on the thought was, “I have to stay light, unhindered, untethered, so I can break free when the opportunity arises.”

I never let myself get too attached to things, places or people.

And when the opportunity came, I only took what I could fit in my car.

In addition to that escape mentality, I had experienced the insult of having the people who were supposed to love and care for me choose things over me. So, things became like a more talented, beautiful, more loved sibling of which I lived in the shadow.

Like Scarlett O’Hara, I stood, fist in the air, declaring that “As God as my witness, I would never love things more than people!”

And I didn’t.

Minimalism is elemental to me. It comes naturally and easily.

When I hear stories about people who choose to live minimally, it is often a reaction to something negative: a death, a divorce, and in my case a difficult childhood.

Can minimalism rise from a healthy, balanced experience or must it be a reaction to an unjust situation?

What do you think?

Tuesday Peace to you,









Vive la Difference!


I have 20 minutes before I have to head out the door. It’s a day of being away.

But this topic I will have to return to, I’m sure.

A few things got me thinking about this and it’s pushing it’s way out of my mind and I must let it flow through my fingers or I will explode.

I’m sure the thoughts will not be well sorted, but I have to let it flow.

In my teaching career, I loved kids who were “different” or “difficult.” I’m using quotes because we all have our quirks and peculiarities but I especially loved the ones who didn’t fit in the school model of the ideal student. I should have gone into Special Education, but I didn’t know that about myself until much later.

Think about it, the school set up is really quite stifling isn’t it? For most of the day you have to sit still, be quiet, pay attention to topics that don’t interest you, you’re pitted against your peers and they often bully and poke at you. You either force yourself to fit in or you stay the object of ridicule because you don’t.

But I love those who dare to be different, who march to the beat of different drummer, who take a path less chosen. They are interesting!

We are not meant to be the same! We are meant to be unique. Why do we feel the pressure to be the same or push our kids to be the same?

I always said to my students, “You are like a stained glass window. God’s light shines through you and you display the colors and patterns that only you can.”

I think the special joy parents have is to DISCOVER the uniqueness in their children. To walk alongside them and watch them explore and experiment is one of the greatest joys in life!

Too many times parents don’t like their children. They love them, but they don’t like them. And I think most of the time it’s because they don’t want them to be different or are afraid of their differences because they don’t understand them. They feel they must teach their children, when sometimes it’s the child who teaches the parent.

A wise parent knows when it’s time to be the teacher and when it’s time to be the student.

I’ll be talking about this more, I’m sure.

Have a great day!



Getting To Know You

yul and heston

I read other people’s blogs. They inspire me. They motivate me. Sometimes the words they say stick with me for days.

So, my post today is dedicated to these 3 posts:

Reynolds Made 10 Random Facts Tag

Letitgocoach Who Cares

The Kitchens Garden How To Tell Your Cow Is Pregnant

I feel like I already share quite a lot about myself on my blog. Maybe too much at times, but I absolutely love it when people share about themselves so I thought I’d “Do unto others…”

So, here are a few things (Reynolds Made), honest things (Letitgocoach), random things (The Kitchens Garden) about me.

  • I love to start new projects but I have to make myself finish them.
  • I’m obsessed with knowing random trivia, like “How To Tell Your Cow Is Pregnant.” I don’t have a cow, don’t intend to but I just had to know!
  • I have terrible recall so all the trivia I consume gets lost in the abyss and so I won’t be able to tell you how to tell your cow is pregnant. Something about a “b” and a “g”?
  • I laugh when I’m nervous so I’ll embarrass you if we’re ever at a funeral together.
  • I laugh when people fall so I’ll hurt your feelings if we ever go ice skating together and you’re not very good. Don’t be too mad, I’ll laugh at myself, too. I will laugh just imagining that I fell.
  • I don’t remember numbers so I’ll forget your phone number and you’ll think I’m lying when I say that’s why I didn’t call.
  • I do remember movie lines and quote them ad nauseum. The title of this post? King and I.
  • I probably use IMDB more than any other app for looking up the name of that actor that’s in the movie I’m watching that I know was in that other movie I watched. I’ll miss a whole movie proving I’m right.
  • I don’t mind making a fool of myself for a laugh. Laughing is my favorite.
  • Even though I love to laugh, I equally love a good, serious conversation.
  • I  hate overhead lighting. Reminds me of an interrogation in an old movie.
  • Cell phones have been a help to me. I hate waiting and it gives me something to do.
  • I have a crush on Yul Brynner, a crispy chocolate chip cookie, the ocean, creativity, just the right word, the color blue, Judi Dench, 70’s rock with a funky bass, VW buses, my husband when he wears his black Brooklyn shirt, men in kilts, my husband if he ever wore a kilt, lemurs, river rocks and sea shells.

There’s a lot more, but who in the world will want to know all this?  I would. About you.

Have a great weekend!




We Are All About St. Patrick’s Day Up In Here!

St Pat's

I can’t help it. I know St. Patrick’s Day is an excuse for many to go get drunk on green beer and pinch people who forget to wear green and just another way for card makers and trinket manufacturers to make some money.

But my Irish blood starts bubbling and I am more than happy to celebrate my Irish heritage. And Saint Patrick, too, he was a pretty cool guy with a great story. You should look him up. He was taken by pirates and became a slave in Ireland, escaped and then went back to Ireland to share the Gospel.


I have several family lines that run back to Ireland and Irish traits are very strong in my family. Here’s an edited description of the Irish nature by Francesca Wilde.

“The Irish show the same characteristics as the Fairy race, for they also love everything that is artistic – the fascinations of life, beauty of form, music, poetry and song, splendor and noble pleasures. 

Ireland is a land of mists and shadows; of cloud wraiths on the purple mountains; of weird silences in the lonely hills alternating with gorgeous sunset splendors. All this fantastic ever-changing atmosphere stirs the imagination and makes the Irish people strangely sensitive to spiritual influences. 

The Irish love beauty, splendor, lavish generosity, music, song, the feast and dance. They are made for worshippers, poets, artists, musicians, orators; 

to move the world by passion, not by logic.” 

So, having raised two artists in a world of logic, we loved taking a day to celebrate the land and people from whom we got our more sensitive, passionate, dreaming natures.

Of course we’d celebrate with food!

Irish Soda Bread, Irish Stew, Colcannon, Shepherd’s Pie, Corned Beef & Cabbage and any dessert that uses Bailey’s Irish Cream, haha!

I’ll be making Donal Skehan’s Irish Stew today! If you don’t know him, he’s a precious, young, Irish chef. He has a YouTube channel, website, recipe books and his recipes are delish!

And, of course, we would eat our Irish dishes while we watched one or more of our favorite Irish movies!

It’s fun to watch Sean Connery in one of his first film roles. When my kids were little they would hide their eyes when the banshee showed up!


And who doesn’t love John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara? Filmed in Ireland, filled with Irish actors directed by an Irishman!

quiet man

See? I’m getting all excited just talking about it. So, I’d better get the stew on the boil and start the Soda Bread!

And you know what they say, “Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!” So have fun!





The Best Baby Shower Gift In The World!

The best baby shower gift in the world is one I never got.

I can tell you that if I had gotten this gift my motherhood experience would have been amazingly better.

See, I was a complete idiot when it came to taking my kids to the doctor. I would be asked questions and I had no clue how to answer them. I’m not a number person and so dates and amounts and times just slip out of my brain. And when you’re pregnant or a mom those brain cells are on overload anyway so I was a complete dingbat. I think my kids got the same immunizations several times because I couldn’t keep up with the little record.

So, when my daughter and daughter-in-law got pregnant I knew exactly what to do for them.

And since I don’t see any reason to remake the wheel, here’s the link to Unoriginal Mom’s Best Baby Shower Gift Ever – The Mom’s File Folder!

I followed her instructions and bought cute file folders and a plastic accordian style file container. Instead of printing out the file tabs, I just gave them printable tabs and a list of suggested labels so they could personalize their files to their needs.

I think it’s important to get a cute decorative plastic file container so that the mom can easily find it among other files. She needs to be able to quickly grab it as she’s running out to the pediatrician. This I know from experience.

My girls have used their gift and they love it!

So, with a million baby shower gift suggestions out in the Pinterest world, I can tell you that this is actually the best baby shower gift in the world!

You’re welcome.