Showing posts from 2012

Mysterious Myrna

My Great Aunt Myrna Elva [Mason] Winters was single as long as I knew her. Of course, I knew that she was once married, because her last name wasn't Mason anymore. But I was only 7 years old when she died... so "widow" and "single" meant the same thing to me. What was mysterious about Myrna, though, was that after her death we found out she had been married before. In her jewelry box, my aunt Melinda found letters and a wedding announcement. She was married to Raymond Harvey Derrick sometime in the 1920's (the announcement didn't have a date).

Back in 2009, I took Melinda's Myrna notebook home. It contains pictures, letters and newspaper clippings. It seems that R. H. Derrick maintained his communication with Myrna's parents for years after they must have divorced. I haven't found any record of a divorce (those records are not available online).

I would just like to know about that marriage. What happened? Why didn't anyone talk about i…

The End of Life As We Know It

NOTE: When I was writing my Torn blog, I realized that I had written, but never posted this one. so I went ahead and posted it, even though the election is over. It still applies...

The thing that bugs me more than anything else about political campaigns has very little to do with the candidates. What irks me is how people overreact to everything. I know that choosing leadership is important. But I wish people would put it in perspective. It's important, but it's not the end of the world. I believe in a God who can make good out of any situation. I also believe we live in a country that is stronger and more resilient than a lot of people give us credit for. For example, I recently received an e-mail that contained this picture:

Really? If the America you live in is so weak that the presence of one man in the White House is going to destroy it, then maybe it's not worth saving. Apparently the people of Stagecoach Enterprises (not to mention many other people I know) have ve…


Until a few years ago, I didn't know anyone who was gay. Or at least I thought I didn't. When one of my best friends from college "came out" I had a dilemma on my hands. I had always heard that homosexuality was a sin. We were Christians and were supposed to avoid sinning, or at least not do it intentionally. So I didn't know how to handle the presence of a gay person in my life. Should I tell him that he shouldn't be doing that? Or keep my mouth shut and risk him "going to hell"? (seriously, that's what I thought)
It was around this time that I first heard the phrase "love the sinner, hate the sin." For a while, that seemed like a good idea to me. I could latch on to that mantra, not question the beliefs I'd been taught, and rest easy at night knowing that I'd solved the problem. After all, I had plenty of other people in my life who were sinning in different ways... and I still loved them. And I didn't "call them ou…

Movie Library

I haven't watched many movies lately. It's a cold, overcast day outside... and I saw Billy Crystal talking about the 25th anniversary of The Princess Bride last night... so I decided to pull out The Princess Bride and watch it at least once today. To my horror, when I opened up my movie cabinet, everything was out of order! Not sure how that happened... but now that I've rectified the situation, I'm wondering... what does your movie library say about you? Me? I think mine says I like happy endings. Most of the time. Here's my library... what movie(s) should I add?

A Mighty Wind Alex & Emma The Day After Tomorrow Down With Love Elf Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Failure to Launch Fern Gully Fifty First Dates Glee (Season 1) Hairspray He Said, She Said Hitch The Holiday Just Like Heaven IQ The Lake House The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Love Actually Lucky Seven Matchmaker Mona Lisa Smile Moulin Rouge Much Ado About Nothing Must Love Dogs My Best Friend's Wedding My Big Fa…

Genealogy Shop

If I won the lottery I'd open a genealogy shop. Sometimes I just want something that represents my interest in family research, but when I try to shop for fun things online there's no really cool central place to get these things. You can go to etsy or zazzle and find things that individuals have made... and then you can find some really dated looking things on other random websites. But wouldn't it be great to have a shop (both online and in real life... maybe Downtown Grapevine?) that carries all things genealogy? Books, scrapbooking, software, t-shirts, jewelry, etc.? And even a research room where people could come to get started? And a meeting room where the genealogical society can meet? This would be the greatest thing!! Wonder how much that would cost to get started? I don't figure it would be profitable, but if I won the lottery I wouldn't need the money... right? *sigh* If only...


I think it's highly inconsiderate to post a picture on Find-A-Grave when someone else has already claimed it and not tell them that you did.

So today I go out in the rain to get a picture of a headstone that was requested in Bear Creek Cemetery. I claimed it the day the request was posted. Today is three days later. You are asked to take pictures within two weeks of the day you claim them.

When I get to the cemetery (which, by the way, was NOT on my way to anywhere today), I pull up the Find-A-Grave site on my phone to verify the name and vital stats of the person I'm looking for. And what to my wondering eyes did appear... but two photos of said person's grave! Thanks, Todd Peters (contributor #47844210). If you had taken a moment to just shoot me a message saying you'd already taken care of it, I could have saved myself a rainy trip! OR even post the pictures through the "fulfill" link on the request.

Common courtesy: a thing of the past.

Rant over.

The Right to Be Fat

Obesity. This particular issue is something that hits close to home for me. Not only have I been overweight all my life, but many of my family members and friends are as well. As I look back on my life, I can point to several instances in which I was insulted for my weight. I have often been told that I would be happier and healthier if I was thin. And there's no shortage of messages that tell me (and everyone else in the world) that fat is bad and thin is good. But in reality, fat is just a description, not an indictment. I'm brunette, with blueish eyes, and lots of fat.

Recently, I have become aware of a group of people called "Fat Activists" who are working hard to convince the world that fat is okay... That fat people are people too... That "declaring war" on obesity is declaring war on actual people. It's the new [old] discrimination. In fact, it's one of the few ways in which the general population thinks it's okay to discriminate.


Wuv.... Twue Wuv...

"Mawage. Mawage is what bwings us togevah today...."

Okay so maybe no one else finds a Princess Bride quote appropriate. But... marriage is what has brought me to this blog today. I'm going to try to make this one short and sweet.

Republicans: "We believe that... marriage, the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard."

Democrats:  "We support the full inclusion of all families, including same-sex couples, in the life of our nation, and support equal responsibility, benefits, and protections."

There's no question where the political parties stand on gay marriage.  There is some question as to where Christians stand. I know a lot of Christians who support gay rights. And I know even more who don't. This one... I don't really even have to think about because I already know what I think (and you probably do too).

Here's why I support gay marriage:

Christian marriage is supposed to be about one person loving the…

Exceptionalism or Superiority?

One of the tenets of the RNC platform is an embrace of American Exceptionalism. American exceptionalism is the belief that the United States is different from other countries in that it has a specific world mission to spread liberty and democracy. There is quite a lot in the RNC platform statement on this point... it covers everything from fighting wars to supporting veterans to being involved in human rights issues around the globe.

When I first heard that American Exceptionalism was a tenet of the RNC platform, I balked. Why? Because I think many people in the United States think they are better than everyone else in the world... and this belief is rooted in exceptionalism. (Read more about the concept...) We are better because we are the experts on democracy and liberty and everyone should just do everything our way. It is this belief that drives us to invade other countries for the presumed purpose of freeing them from evil dictators... whether they want to be freed or not. It is …

Money Money Money

There is a lot of talk about taxes.... tax breaks for the poor, the middle class, for the wealthy, for corporations. I couldn't even begin to decipher the tax code, the economics of national debt, the pros and cons of the Democratic or Republican economic theories. (I could give it more effort than I have, but numbers bore me and it's not a priority to me, as I'll explain further in a moment). But I would hazard a guess that both parties have a hefty percentage of factual information laced with an equally hefty percentage of spin. I don't believe that either party has the solution to all of our economic and financial "woes" or that either is going to have the magic formula that will make everyone else happy.

The thing that struck me while I was listening to the speakers at the RNC was how much of the rhetoric was about money, economics, wealth, prosperity. I wouldn't say that these are exclusively American values, but they are distinctly American. Someho…

Choice? Life?

Abortion has been at the forefront of social debates for as long as I can remember... my entire lifetime, for sure. Most people separate this debate into two sides: Pro-Choice and Pro-Life. But what is one to do if they are both pro-choice and pro-life? In fact, my faith tells me that God is both pro-choice and pro-life. I would venture to say God is pro-choice because he* - to a fault - always lets us choose. But he also created life, and therefore I would imagine is pro-life.

And so the debate goes 'round and 'round. Every life has value. Every woman has the freedom to choose what to do with her body.

Let's look at the politics. The Republican party stance is:
"The unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed." Republicans oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or to fund organizations that perform or advocate abortions. It says the party will not fund or subsidize health care that includes abortion cove…

The Quest for Clarity

This is how my morning started... I posted the following as my status update on Facebook:
I tried really hard to sleep in late this morning... but my thoughts kept drifting back to that man who's living in his truck while waiting for his first paycheck from a new job (that probably pays minimum wage). My privileged mind just couldn't keep laying in my queen-sized bed, in my air-conditioned house, with my better-off-than-most-people dogs. Issues are weighing heavily on me after the the past week of blog-reading, listening/reading about political platforms, and sitting in my office trying to imagine how that homeless man is living with such a positive attitude. I feel some blogs coming on. Not that writing will change anything, but it will help me get my thoughts out of my head. Time to get started. A few things happened this week that have me pensive. Here's the list:

In staff meeting we heard about a book called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. We also heard about Ephesi…

The Working Theory

There are so many what-ifs and maybes in this Stone family line. I can theorize based on the history of the area(s) in which this family lived. I can make assumptions based on circumstantial evidence. None of that is particularly sound genealogical research. But I need to get my thoughts down on "paper" to help me think it through. So here's my working theory of the life of Matthew R. Stone.

My hypothesis is that Matthew R. Stone was one and the same as Robert Stone, son of Thomas Stone (b. abt. 1811 Virginia) and Rhodicine Kelly (b. abt. 1815 Virginia). The family lived first in Tennessee, then in Missouri.Robert's siblings were James N. Stone, Benjamin D. Stone, and Rhoda T. Stone. By the 1850 census, Benjamin and Rhoda were living with their maternal grandparents, James and Nancy Kelly, in Moreau Township, Morgan County, Missouri.Family history found online about the life of Benjamin Stone indicates that his parents died in 1849. There is no evidence of an exact da…

Leave No Stone Unturned

The search for the Stones continues. I've had a lot of luck in the past 24 hours. I've found land records, possible siblings or cousins, and lots of Thomases, Rhodas, Benjamins, etc. Alas, no conclusive evidence of Matthew Robertson Stone's parents. If my working theory is correct, he was the son of Thomas Stone and Rhodicine Kelly. But there are no other family trees that support that. If he wasn't a son, he was closely related... a nephew perhaps. It appears that their daughter, Rhoda, lived with Matthew and his first wife Louisa for a time.

What I can tell you without a doubt about this particular line of Stones... they were quite adventurous. Maybe they didn't think so - they probably thought it was just self-preservation. But any family whose widows would go live in Indian Territory... well, I think that's pretty brave. I cannot imagine living during this time period. Crossing rivers in covered wagons, losing all your belongings, losing your loved ones, se…

What About the Gault Children?

Now I know I'm supposed to be researching the Stones, but the Gaults are tied to the Stones through marriage... so I'm in the vicinity of doing what I'm supposed to be doing.

The family history states:
After the [Civil] War, her (Kansas Elizabeth Gault Stone) mother (Great-Grandmother Gault) loaded her few possessions and three children (Cansas Eliz., Aunt Belle and Uncle John Gault) into an ox cart and came to Texas and settled near Honey Grove in Grayson County and that is where your Grandfather William Thomas [Stone] was born in September of 1884. Okay, so the census records show that Martha/Milinda Gault had the following children: John, Mary Jane, Kansas E., Belle, William and Ellen T. All of them were born in Tennessee. And all of them were living in Fannin County, Texas as of the 1870 census (the first census taken after the Civil War). So why does the family history only mention three children: K/Cansas, Belle and John?

PS - Also of note is that Honey Grove is not …


I am not a debater. I don't like conflict. It makes me uncomfortable, and I'm a lover of comfort. The last couple of days have turned in to debate, where I feared the consternation of others in response to my opinions. I realized that I really didn't want people to read my blog. I was afraid to post links to it. Scared of being judged. So today I'm retreating. I'm coming back to myself and the purpose of my blog. I'm finding comfort in genealogy and reading and music. I'm researching dead people who can't judge me. I'm reading humor that also enlightens. And I'm ignoring everything else. Just for a little while.

On Second Thought

I can't shake the feeling that my last post about Chick-Fil-A was naive and largely missing the point. I feel guilty for eating at CFA, and it's not because of the calorie count in their food (I don't count calories anymore and I couldn't be happier about it). It's because my conscience is telling me that social justice trumps happy tastebuds. Ugh. I just hate that little cricket in my ear that tries to be my guide.

This morning I was reading my blog feed. Alise of Alise Write wrote a compelling item about why she does not patronize CFA. It didn't have anything to do with the beliefs of the CEO, but rather with the monetary support that the company has given to an organization that participates in anti-gay hate speech. Read the post here.

I have no first-hand knowledge of the causes CFA supports, nor do I know what most of the companies I frequent support. But IF it is true that CFA supports hate speech, I don't see how I can - in good conscience - continue…

Confessions: I Support Gay Marriage. I Eat at Chick-Fil-A.

I've been reading a lot of rants lately about boycotting Chick-Fil-A because their CEO upholds a belief in "traditional marriage" and thinks that gay marriage is likely to be the beginning of the end of America. Or about supporting Chick-Fil-A because their CEO was "brave" enough to tell everyone.

I have to disagree with everyone. Don't ban Chick-Fil-A. Don't ban gay marriage. Eat chicken. Love people.

I don't think Chick-Fil-A should be banned in any city. Not if their only vice is having owners who are vocal conservative Christians. They have the right to be what they want and tell others about it. Now, if they were refusing service to gay people that would be a different story altogether. But they're not. So... let them do business with whoever wants to do business with them. If Boston and Chicago and whoever else really don't want them there, the stores will fail. Problem solved. They should be allowed to fail. Or succeed.

I don't t…


I don't feel guilt about a lot of things, but one thing I can't ever seem to shake is guilt for not going to church on Sunday morning. I'm secure in my relationship with God, but any time I contemplate not going to worship on Sunday morning, I feel like I should have some verifiable excuse for not going. Like a doctor's note. This morning I woke up with a terrible pain in my shoulder. I've iced it, took Advil, stretched, massaged and slathered it with Icy Hot. It still hurts, and the pain is creeping into my neck. So my immediate thought is, "I should go to church. I could go to church, even though my shoulder hurts. But I don't want to. So... does my shoulder hurt bad enough that it warrants skipping church?" Well, I guess the answer is no... but all the same, I'm skipping church. And feeling guilty. Maybe it's because I work at a church and depend on people (like myself) to support the church. It's my livelihood. If people abandon churc…

Loving Yourself

I don't think I've met anyone who would readily admit that they love themselves. Everyone I know has somethingabout themselves that they wish were different. I suppose we all do. But I discovered some time back that I really do love myself. At the time, I thought I could love myself except for how I look. I assumed there was something inherently wrong with being overweight. I should feel bad. Unhealthy. Ugly.

But deep down inside, I didn't. I felt healthy (except for my allergies and a once-a-month hormone imbalance). I couldn't run a marathon or hike to the top of a mountain (and have zero interest in doing those things), but I could do the things I love... play in the flower beds, lop limbs off trees and bushes, walk quickly in and out of the grocery store, wander cemeteries for hours. I like my smile, my eyes, my hair. I like being a little bit messy. I like that dogs love me and I love them. I like being able to create things and research things and learn things.


Blog Reading

I follow several blogs. It took me a while to get into the world of reading others' instead of just writing my own and leaving them out there with no audience. I still have no audience, but I'm doing better at becoming a part of someone else's. I've just come across a new blogger to follow... Stacy Bias. One of her recent posts relates indirectly to my last post on Keeping Quiet. It's entitled "Insecurity: Imperfect & Unforgiven." Well-written and oh-so-how-I-feel sometimes.
Insecurity: Imperfect & UnforgivenI want to talk about insecurity. Actually, I want to openly claim insecurity. I want to wear it like a badge instead of an anchor. I want to acknowledge that it has made me paranoid at times. At others, self-absorbed. I want to erase the shame in it. keep reading...

Keeping Quiet

There have been many times lately that I have found myself keeping my mouth shut, my opinion to myself. I have a particular set of beliefs and opinions, just as we all do. But I am surrounded by people who don't agree - or at least my perception is that they don't. I have begun to wonder... do I do a dis-service by keeping quiet? Or is it okay to just maintain peace and not disagree with anyone? Does it matter if people know my opinion? Is it okay to just let them assume that I agree with them, when I don't?

Case in point: I had lunch with someone the other day who was upset about their pastor's sermon that morning. I asked what it was about and she said, "Helping the poor." And went on to assert that this is further proof that her pastor "is a Democrat." In my head, I thought, "And that's bad because.... why?" Why is it bad to talk about helping the poor? Jesus did it all the time, and last time I checked this person claimed they are …