Living on Purpose

Sometimes, life just happens to a person. We can live day to day with little or no regard to the meaning or purpose of our lives. As I've been applying for jobs and considering what I want to do next, I've realized that days are passing me by, quite without intention or purpose. I know there's wisdom in taking time and relaxing into some peaceful rejuvenation... and I also know that I can be quite skilled at doing absolutely nothing and having nothing to show for my time.

So, I've begun to wonder if I should schedule out my time, even though it's all really "free time." Should I calendar my visits to libraries and cemeteries? Should I log my every moment? Every episode of American Pickers? Every walk and Google search? At 10:00 I looked at the state of Cindy's blog. From 10:20 to 10:35 I researched the Elder family. From 10:35 to 10:40 I soaked up some sun, swatted dragon flies away from Meg's back, and watched Maya dodge acorns as they fell from …


The first week of unemployment, I spent driving.

The second week of unemployment, I spent entertaining my parents before they headed back to Texas.

The third week of unemployment, so far... I have returned my router. Exchanged ceiling fan rods. Shopped for greeting cards. Read a funny little book called "All My Friends Are Dead." Written thank-you notes (I promise they will be in the mail soon). Washed sheets (thanks to Meg for standing up from her nap and immediately squatting on Kef's bed). Played games on my phone. Picked up poop of all sizes. Deposited checks. Compared calendars with Kef. Changed my address on things. Applied for jobs (and read about lots of jobs I don't want). Entertained dogs while electricians worked. Spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to figure out how to turn Kef's TV on. Pondered how it's possible that I'm on week three.

What I haven't done is spend much time really exploring my new-found freedom. I haven't put …


On Monday, my parents, pups, and I set out on a new adventure. After the closing on my house, we hit the road for a series of days driving from Texas to upstate New York. Our nights' stays would be at places I found on Airbnb in Little Rock, near Louisville, and near Erie.

When I told people I was moving to New York, most were immediately concerned that winter would be unbearable. Keeping in mind that millions of people live further north than Texas, I was sure I'd survive somehow. One individual, however, responded with, "New York is so beautiful. The green there is the greenest green." I've been pondering green ever since.

As we drove through East Texas, I noticed how muted the greens were. Some mostly yellow from the summer heat... some sage from the dust... some a muted evergreen when there were stands of trees. In Arkansas, the green got cleaner. There was less dust, less yellow. Moving through Tennessee and into Kentucky, the green was a little bit navy blu…

A New Thing

This is one of my favorite graphics I've created over the past 13 years at FUMC Grapevine. It was for the launch of a new worship schedule, which always makes people uncomfortable. I still loved it. I loved the fresh feel of sprouts coming out of the letters in the font. I loved the dirt that keeps you grounded and reminds you that new things aren't always tidy. I loved the promise of what that plant would be or do or produce when it grows up. I loved the bright points of light in the background, each with their own possibilities. And, I loved Isaiah 43:19... partially because of the question it asks: Do you not perceive it?

Sometimes it takes a while to perceive - or acknowledge, anyway - a new thing. Sometimes we fight it... deny it... avoid it. And sometimes we throw wide the door and run through. For the past few weeks, my door has been thrown wide, and I'm running through to a new thing. The dates are now firm, the plans in place. So, now the announcement (drum roll)…

Thirteen Families

My mother and I recently returned from an amazing genealogy trip through the south (see my travel blog for details). As we were driving home, we counted up 13 family lines that we touched on...
Thomas, Brevard, Jetton, McKnight, Robinson, Deering/Dearing, Gideon/Giddens, Dickey, Crow, Vandiver, Cox, Russell (on Dad's side), and Clack (for Cheri). I might even be missing one.

One of the exceptional things about this latest venture (besides finding SO MUCH good information) was the amount of help we received from expert genealogists. The cousins we were meeting up with are experts in their own right, but we encountered genealogy librarians, DAR representatives, local experts, and volunteers of genealogical societies that were beyond generous with their time and expertise.

One thing I realized is: I want to be them. I want to be the person who goes out of their way to pull piles of files for people in order to connect them with their family.

I don't know what will come of my gen…

Anna Knust Update

I cannot believe I haven't already posted this. But I just realized I haven't. We've found Anna Knust! Back in 2011, I posted a blog about what I knew and didn't know about Anna Margaretha Knust, my 2-greats grandmother. ["What I Know: Anna Knust Zogg"]

Well, thanks to DNA, I know more now!

Back in July 2017, I exchanged a couple of emails with SSH (name withheld for privacy). She and I have a DNA match on Ancestry, and the only common name in our families is.... Anna Knust! SSH is the great-granddaughter of Anna Knust and Otto Schulze. After comparing notes, we have found that she had no record of Anna prior to 1890, and we had no record of her after 1886. She was just as shocked as I was to have a match on Anna! It appears (because we share DNA) that our Anna and her Anna are one and the same. Since then, my aunt Melinda and my Dad have both had their DNA tested, and both also show a match to SSH.

So, we have been asking the question for many years... what …

I Heart Newspapers

As I've been working on the Payne family tree, I got to a point where I knew there were some newspaper clippings on that might provide some source information. I don't maintain a subscription, but I decided to buy one month to get the information I needed. First I purchased just the basic subscription, but the newspapers I wanted were not included. So I decided to upgrade, but there was no information about how to upgrade without paying the full amount for premium... so I thought I was going to be stuck paying the basic PLUS the premium. I sent an email to their customer support and within 48 hours, I'd been refunded! So, that's reason #1 to love Very responsive and didn't give me grief.

Reason #2 though is... just NEWSPAPERS. I just love how old newspapers used to tell you every detail about a person's life. Like what the bridesmaids wore in the wedding. Or who was visiting from out of town for the weekend. Or who threw a party a…