Andra Effectual Doors

Sometimes when we least expect it is when some of the doors open for us and others.
I have not been spending very much time with family history as late.  I took a breather for a while and I had some other things in my life I wanted to focus on a bit more.  However, I have kept my thumb in the water to see if it was hot.
On the 4th of August is the Andra Reunion scheduled in Lava Hot Springs.  A number of the family were each asking me if I knew more details so I took it upon myself to find out the details.  I then took all the information and assembled it into an e-mail and sent it out to the 40 or so individuals whose e-mails I have who are linked to the Andra family.  As a sneaky little family history person, I placed a chart with all the descendents I have for the Andra family.  I asked that if I was missing any or needed an update, to please let me know.  I also encouraged people to pass on the notice about the reunion to those who did not or may not have received it.
Within a week I received about a dozen e-mails with updates on those directly related.  But then the more exciting e-mails started to appear.
As I have written about earlier, the only real family I have had difficulty in obtaining their information is that of the eldest son, William.  He passed away in the early 90’s and Edith continues to live in Missouri.  She has moved in recently with her son, Marc, and has slowed in her age.  In about 2001 she insisted I would not have their records for privacy and legal reasons.  I met with her son, Kent, the same day and they pretty much insisted on the same.  I left it behind but continued to foster friendship.
Kent passed away in 2003 and my communication with his family opened up.  His wife Mary gave me group sheets with all the information on all of Kent’s family and opened up e-mail communication.  Ever since, I have been updated with every new addition.  But she has insisted she doesn’t have contact with the rest of the family.  In sending out the family reunion e-mail, I don’t know how, but I received an e-mail from 2 of Kent’s brothers inquiring about the family reunion.  It opened communication with those families.  Already, I have added one of those two brother’s information to the family records.  The other one is openly willing to share.
What added to it more is that I was able to ask about the other two brother’s families for whom I did not have any information.  They openly gave me their e-mail addresses and I look forward to e-mailing them.  This was pretty well the final major hole in any of the descendents of the Andra family.  I am very thrilled to have had it fall together so well.  Even if it has been 6 years in banging my head against the wall.
The next bit I would like to add relates to another Andra door.  This is through Donald’s line though.  As I have related before in 2006, I have pursued another line which had been lost to the Andra family.  It was Don’s daughter Lori Kaye.  I finally was able to track her mother’s family down and then her.  It fit nicely that at the time we lived only a few miles away.  At that time they welcomed me in, we became friends, but there was no option of expanding that door to allow Don back in to her life.
Friendship and continued communication with Lori Kaye kept things good.  Then the change came.  Her daughter, Sunny, was getting married.  I received an invitation and invited some of the rest of the family to go in on a gift.  Don also sent Lori Kaye a birthday card, the first one in over 50 years of her life.  Add to that her husband’s call as a Bishop, Don & Lolane’s call for a mission, and everything just came.  Don so earnestly wanted to make some mends in this case and I seem to think the Gleim’s wanted to resolve the difference as well.  Completely unknown to me until after the fact, they met and enjoyed dinner together one night.  In visiting with Don and Lolane later, it was absolutely amazing.  All animosity, if any, was not present.  They enjoyed each other’s company and the night was wonderful.  I really wish every story of estrangement could work out so well.
I look forward to those other doors which I knocked on to open up completely.  I wonder what the next one will be…

Prairie Home Companion

Well, I just put out a whole philosophical e-mail and thought I would take a moment to do an actual update on life.
I am sitting here listening to Prairie Home Companion enjoying a few good laughts.  Earlier I listened to Die Frau Ohne Schatten (The woman without a shadow) by Richard Strauss.  It was fascinating to listen to.  Made me want to learn my German.  Funny how music can take us other places.
I have just finished my second week at Bank of America.  Things are going very well.  I am learning many more things about mortgages and all the documentations that attend.  The lessons mostly center around learning the DOS-based system they use for processing all these loans.  I have to admit it is a very detailed system that handles thousands of people working on it at all times with large amounts of information.  Impressive as that it, they tell us it has only gone down once in the last 10 years!  They have replaced one or two systems with Windows applications and they crash regularly so they are not in any rush to be replacing the old DOS-based system.  Therefore, I have to learn the codes and names to navigate the system to check and update information.  They teach us how to check the documents and how to put it into the system.  We were done covering the documents within the first week.  I have found out the position I will be in is basically an assistant underwriter.  It has a whole host of names, but currently it is Home Servicing Specialist (HSS).
Last Saturday and Sunday we had Stake Conference.  I think it was the most powerful Stake Conference I have ever been to.  I have been to some very good ones.  Two were in the Logan Tabernacle (one for the Logan University 4th Stake the other for the Logan University 5th Stake), another in the Springfield Missouri South Stake Center, and the last I can think of was a Stake Conference for the Chester Stake in Wrexham, Wales.  The most impressive part in Missouri was the music and the unity I felt within the congregation.  The Chester Stake was powerful for the fact of some amazing talks given, one particularly by our mission president.  The one for the 5th Stake at USU was that it was basically turned into a stake testimony meeting.  That in and of itself changed the tenor of the meeting but all were invited by name by the Stake Presidency.  The last one for the 4th Stake, I can think of two conferences in particular.  One had Elder Burton, the Presiding Bishop and the other was all the Presidency’s remarks.  President Cherrington usually gave a great talk at all conferences.  So this conference is in good company.  It wasn’t the first conference I have been to with an apostle, but this one had an apostle acted as we expect them to.  Elder Holland gave some powerful comments.
In Priesthood he taught us about Satan binding our tongues, the difference between lips and hearts, and the difference between forms of power and the real thing.  He basically told us we are doing too many things without our hearts and without conviction.  Time to step up to act in the name of the priesthood like we are expected to do.  In Saturday evening, we were taught how we live in a broken world.  Whether you like it or not, things are not perfect.  He taught us about the Atonement and how all broken things will be restored to their proper order at the right time.  Then he pounded out the importance of not whining, not complaining, and going forward in our lives with faith.  He was very direct in those who complain or say something is wrong in life.  He said nobody has the right to complain or wallow in the misery when the Savior took care of them for us.  Time to walk in faith, get up, and be about doing good.  The Sunday session proved to be just as good.  He spoke about his personal experiences of President Hinckley and his prophetic calling.  It was fascinating to learn more about the personal life of a prophet.  He spoke to us about the importance of the gospel and the role of the church.  Again, the topic had to do with looking beyond ourselves and seeing the big picture.  He ended with the importance and the role of the Holy Ghost.  How as latter day saints we live below our privileges and don’t claim the rights that are ours.  We do not appreciate what has been given to us and need to wake up.
Even though I have heard similar talks, the basic point is the power by which he spoke, namely the Spirit of God.  It literally took the message directly to my heart.  I noticed at a couple of points how my bosom literally trembled at what it was he was speaking.  I recognize the power which he conveyed.
In other news, we have been looking for a second car.  With Amanda needing to travel long distances for school this fall, it isn’t going to work to have one car.  So we are looking for a nice little car under $5,000.  So far it has been a miserable failure.  There are very few cars that are below that limit and what we are finding feel like questionable deals.  We went to look at a little Audi A4 for $4,700 and he sold the car at noon.  So we took a little Passat for a drive that he said he would sell to us for $4,000.  It only has 103,000 miles on it.  We took it for a test drive and something about the transmission raised all sorts of red flags for me.  We will have to see if something else pops up.  I may be too picky.  I don’t want a car that smells of smoke or animals.  I would like one which runs well.  I would like one that isn’t completely ugly, like a stationwagon.  Most people take such bad care of cars.  Many have rips in the seats, big marks in the doors or dash, and more.  I keep waiting for someone to give us one so we don’t have to take on a little more debt, but that probably won’t happen soon.  We will have to keep you updated.
Well, I believe that is enough of an update for now.

Sharp Family History Outreach

The past few weeks have held some very interesting walks of family history.  The Sharp family has always been one of the most difficult lines.  I will explain some of the reasons why later.
I have mentioned in past updates my interactions with Kent and Pat Nielsen of Provo, Utah.  He contacted me for the first time several years ago.  I found that he was a relative of mine.  We share the common ancestors of Thomas and Elizabeth Cartwright Sharp.  He was born in 1796
in Misson, Nottinghamshire in England.  We don’t know exactly when he passed away, but his wife immigrated to the United States with her children.  Sadly, she never made it all the way to the Utah Territory dying in St Louis in 1851.
We do not know with certainly what exactly the family’s plans were.  William (1826-1900), my ancestor, joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1848.  His sister, Isabella (1831-1904) joined in 1849 and is Kent’s ancestor.  None of his other siblings joined the church but yet they made their way to the United States.  We assume they came for the LDS cause since they embarked upon a ship predominately  LDS.  They finally arrived in St. Louis despite some considerable difficulties at sea in Nov 1850.
They stayed there for a time.  They held together as a family but the draw for William and Isabella to be gathered with the Saints must have been strong.  They eventually set out for Utah leaving behind them their non-LDS family (Their mother died in Feb 1851).  In 1853, Isabella and William set out for Utah with their new spouses.  They arrived in September of that year.   Joseph and Isabella Carlisle settled in Millcreek, Salt Lake County.  William and Mary Ann headed to Lehi, Utah County.  (I leave behind the Carlisle family due to the fact that they have several individuals working on that line including Leanne Maynes, who I come to find out later was working with Kent.)
Difficulties with the water, cattle, and neighbors prompted them to move elsewhere.  During the evacuation of Salt Lake from threats of the United States Government, they learned of open, available spaces in Weber County to the north.  They made provisions and picked a place moving there the next spring in Mar 1859.  Their daughter, Evelyn, is claimed to be the first white girl born in Plain City.
This is where things get a bit more difficult.  They lived there and were actively involved in the community.  William’s skills as a mason became useful and were employed often in the community.  The family was also actively involved with dramatics and music as well.  Somewhere in this time, discord became apparent in the area.  Somewhere from about 1870 to about 1879, William and Mary Ann (Bailey) Sharp were  excommunicated from the church.  It is also notable to show that they were not the only ones.  A list of individuals was read at a meeting in 1879 announcing their excommunication.  Several prominent names from Plain City are on the list, including; Skeen, Dix, Musgrave, Singleton, Noyes, and Davis.  There are many speculations for the reasons of this excommunication, but nothing is known or documented for sure.
Since we don’t know the exact excommunication date, we do not know how this played into the divorce of William and Mary Ann in 1876.  We do
know that there was a group of former Anglicans who asked for a congregation of the Episcopalian Church to be organized in Plain City.  William Sharp built their church and school for that purpose.
He would later remarry and would die in Mount Fort (Ogden).  Mary Ann we know a little less about, but she would pass away in Plain City in 1913.  With that as a backdrop, we can focus on some more contemporary family.  Anne Sharp would marry in the Endowment House of Salt Lake in 1872 to Daniel Claiborne Thomas.  Their family would for the most part remain active in the LDS church until the present.  The other three  children, Milo Riley Sharp, Evelyn Carlisle Sharp, and Victorine Mary Sharp would all remain away from the church for their lives.
Evelyn would marry James Henry Taylor and we still know little of their family.  They would make their way to Oregon and they are hard to follow with little more than census locations.  Victorine Mary Sharp would marry Robert Edward Maw.  The Maw name is well known in West Weber.  We still know relatively little concerning her family.
Milo Riley Sharp would marry Mary Ann Stoker in 1879.  She was the daughter of William Thomas Stoker and Emma Eames.  Her father joined the
LDS Church in 1852 with two siblings joining in 1860 and 1863.  Her mother passed away in 1863 and that same year her family immigrated to the United States.  They moved directly to Plain City.  Due to financial difficulties, each of the children were raised by separate families.
Mary Ann Stoker was raised by the George and Victoria Musgrave family.  (Her father would go on to remarry and raise another family.)  It was
during this time she took on the name of Lilly Musgrave Stoker (some records show her as Lillian).
Milo Riley and Mary Ann would eventually have 12 children; Milo Ray, George, Effie, Delwin, Ernest, Austin, William Edward, Victorine, Mary
Irene, Edith, Ethel, and Emily.  George, Effie, and Emily all died young.  Their 11th child, Ethel Sharp, is my great grandmother.
The Sharp family has been one of the most difficult lines to connect.  Ethel died in 1925 after giving birth to her 4th child.  John Ross and his parents were not able to take care of the 3 children so they were separated among Ethel’s siblings.  I have written more about this family at this link: Ross-Sharp Wedding.
Grandpa, the son of Ethel, has very few memories of his parents.  He grew up with the Ed Sharp family, and for numerous reasons has refused
to speak of them.  So any continuation of family stories or history has for the most part not jumped that break.
It was with interest that last year in corresponding with Leanne Maynes (Joseph and Isabella Carlisle descendent) that I learned she had some
contact with Mrs. Brenda Pett and Mrs. Carilee Sleight.  I found out they were descendents of Milo Ray (Milo Riley and Mary Ann’s oldest child).  I contacted them and initiated conversation.  The information, history, and photos they were able to provide gave a catalyst to opening up the Sharp history.
With enough information and history on the Sharp line, I began to feel the connection and felt to pursue the family.  The family although raised non-LDS would have several lines who would go on to become LDS.  Only two of the children would join the church in their lifetime, Mary Irene and Victorine.  Although many more lines would open up to becoming reclaimed through a spouse.  For the most part, some of the difficulty
in the Sharp family is still one of a house divided.  That introduced some difficulty in reconnecting the family and bringing them together.  So I will tell of my experience with a couple of the lines.
Brenda and Carilee are both from Milo Ray’s family.  They are a granddaughter and great granddaughter of Milo Ray respectively.  It has been interesting to get to know them.  Brenda is in charge of one of the family history libraries and her mother’s 40 years of accruing family history documents and history has been a valuable resource.  We hope to take this more available to the family and that it can be the means of tying the family together through documentation.  I visited with Brenda for some time this past weekend in touching base and looking to the future.
William Edward, known as Ed, married an active LDS woman and all their children were raised LDS.  This is the family my Grandfather was raised
with, and probably the most familiar of all the Sharp lines.  My personal interaction with Josephine Sharp Costley and Dean Sharp have provided the more human face to this family.  Even though Dean passed away just last month, it has been interesting to interact with these lines at my Grandparents 60th anniversary and at my Grandmother’s funeral.  I have corresponded with Delores Bair who was married to Ed’s son, who we call Eddie.  She provided a great deal of information on the Eddie Sharp and Ed Sharp family line.  I continue to actively pursue this line with Josephine Sharp Costley and Lois Sharp.
I received a phone call from Grandpa sometime last year informing me that a woman, Ms. Lynne Riddle had been to visit him asking for family
history information.  Lynne is a granddaughter of Edith Sharp Martin.  I have been in contact, but she seems to have fallen off the planet.  She
will not return phone calls and e-mails.  She was very anxious in corresponding earlier on.  However it seems she got what she wanted and does not want to share.  For what reasons I do not know.  I do sense it may have a question with the LDS issue after her apparent upset at my
Grandfather imposing his testimony upon her.  I do hope we can break any barrier that may or may not be in place.
Last weekend I visited with Mae Richardson, the youngest daughter of Mary Irene Sharp Richardson.  Mary Irene was the first to join the LDS
church of the siblings.  She joined in 1931.  Her family were all raised LDS, but seem to have had no contact with the rest of the Sharp family
after about 1970.  I just started sending out letters to those who I thought may be family of the Richardson family.  I received a letter back from Mae telling me she was related, and informed me who the Richardson “in house genealogist” was.  In phoned Mae and had a great conversation with her for over an hour.  I also phoned Karen Knudsen, who is her niece, the one who apparently keeps the family history information for the Richardson family.  I look forward to her first e-mail and corresponding and bringing that family back in communication.  The most impressive thing about Mae was her memory.  For being in her 80’s, she could still remember all her siblings birthdates and even locations for weddings, children’s birth locations, and much, much more.
I also relocated a connection through the Victorine Sharp Hunt family.  I met Archie Hunt several times.  Most notably I remember him from my
Grandma’s and Uncle Harold’s funerals.  Who can forget a man who has two prosthetic legs?  One cannot but honor and reverence a man who still
farms under those circumstances.  I look forward to visiting with Archie and reestablishing those links.
So, there is a great deal of work to do in relation to the Sharp family.  There are many descendants that are yet unaccounted for.  There are many
questions and holes just in dates and information on the current family.  Then the fleshing out of stories and life histories yet to be found.  It is good that I am not going about this alone.

Clarification on security, freedom, and comfort

In the first e-mails, I am more building off of common ground.  He pretty much told me his whole desire is to be a billionaire by the time he is 40.  He gave me as the reason for doing so is that he could have independence and security.  Building off of that theme, I gave the following paragraph.  I completely agree with your statements that that is not our whole purpose.  I hope I defined that more clearly in some of the other e-mails that came later, if not in the same one.

“I do not laugh at your hope of retiring early.  I believe it is a noble thing to have prepared so you can spend your live doing something more productive than the pursuit of money.  I completely agree with you on this point.  I hope to be financially independent so I can turn my focus onto other things, more important things.  I see nothing wrong with this desire.  I am sorry if other people find it foolish.”

I certainly think you should do your job with full faithfulness and not just with the end to get money.  You should enjoy your job and find its meaning and opportunity for you.  I completely agree that it is more than just supporting the family.

“There are a couple of thoughts I will throw at you.  I am not to elude that you are caught in these thought patterns, but a caution in case you may have forgotten.  You referenced financial freedom and security.  I am not personally aware of any promises in the gospel that we will be given security or a large degree of freedom.  Agency, yes; the ability to act, definitely; but beware of the thought process that at some point you will have reached a point to where you are excluded from pain, sorrow, or suffering. “

You quoted D&C 70 in relation to this comment.  The Lord there promises us blessings and great blessings.  But I do not read that these promises are necessarily for temporal blessings and temporal security.  Remember, this is one of the reasons why the Saints were so terribly upset in Kirtland and in Jackson.  The Kirtland anti-Banking Society was established and many people fully thought the Lord was going to make them rich.  After all, they were in the process of gathering and of building Zion (literally) and that led to their downfall.  In Jackson the Saints were sure that they would be protected temporally because of some of these commandments.  Well, we know what happened there as well.

To me, when the Lord promises comfort, security, blessings, and freedom, these are all first and foremost spiritually and in the conscious.  I do believe they lead to the physical.  That is one of the messages I get from the New Testament is that Saints will be able to call anyplace, even the pits of hell, home and make it a Zion.  Wherever the Saints are, there cannot be hell.  Remember the Lectures of Faith, those who have a certain knowledge can take spoiling of the goods and even the taking of their lives with joy and a certain knowledge that they have a future and know their place in eternity.  If I remember right, I don’t have the book yet, but the quote of idolatry by President Kimball includes the comforts of family, cars, and houses. 

I guess is what I am saying, Saints were had in Kirtland and Missouri even though they were in hell.  They had comfort and freedom and independence and security despite what they were going through physically.  Many counted it a blessing to come across the plains, even the quote from the old man in the Martin Handcart Company, that it was the place they came to know God and would not trade it for anything.

It seems to me a twist of the scriptures to believe we are promised physical security and freedom.

Your quotes from the Book of Mormon go along with what I have already talked about.  Free forever, certainly is more than this mortal probation (2 Ne 2:26).  The Lord promised the Israelites freedom in Egypt, but they still had to sit there for 400 years.  (I wonder how many lost their faith because they were not given their freedom in their lifetimes?)  Out of darkness into the light, out of captivity to freedom (2 Ne 3:5) seems to be speaking the same.  Under no other head are you made free (Mosiah 5:8) I view death and a resurrection as a freedom from the fallen world too.  Moroni’s inspiration to be freed from bondage (Alma 43:48) is still very much on the Lord’s timetable.  Wandering in the wilderness for 40 years is certainly freedom considered under what they had left with Pharaoh, but still it was very taxing, and they had no real comforts or even security.  They had serpents and all sorts else to worry about.  Hearing the Lord and following him will make us free (D&C 38:22) is very true, but what about all those Saints who wasted away with the same promise in eastern Germany and Soviet provinces.  Hundreds never saw freedom in their life according to what you are arguing here, but certainly did in the spiritual way.  Even Brigham Young has quotes where the strangling of the US government was diminishing the Saints freedoms.  His views were of the freedom of polygamy, and (don’t know if I would argue for it) we still don’t have the complete freedom of our religion in this country. 

As for the quote about the Constitution and our liberty to make us free.  That is one of the big things Joseph Smith taught.  Our constitution gave us the freedom of thought, to act as we please (despite its tightening under Brigham) and freedom of conscience.  You know this. 

If we are righteous, the promise is that we shall have our needs met.  Even that our cup will run over and with tithing that we cannot receive them all.  But that certainly never applied to riches as far as I have ever seen. My bank account certainly could receive more and I could too.  So it doesn’t have to do with money.  But in spiritual blessings, from which the physical manifests itself, I certainly believe we can be therewith content with what the Lord has allotted us.  Even if that is a prison cell in the freezing of winter in 1837 called Liberty.  Isn’t that what the Lord told Joseph and later.  Receive ALL things with thankfulness and you shall be made glorious (again, not necessarily physically).

“I know you are not saving up money to become rich.  It is your desire to be able to be more free to do things which are of more worth with your time to your family and for others.  I certainly think that is a worthwhile pursuit.  Just be careful not to be driven too much by money rather than your worthwhile pursuits. “

This was another building off the common ground concept.  Start at common ground, build off of it, and then you can help them see where you vary and then they are left with the choice.  Isn’t this much of the Socratic method.  But you have to start somewhere to where they can agree with you.

This was one of the main reasons why he wanted to gain riches.  I do think it is a noble thing for you to be able to do more with your family and time for the benefit of others.  I admit, no matter how much I like my job, I have to do it a certain amount and detract away from time that could be used with family, teaching, or even in service.  Honestly, you can love your job and want to spend all your time there, but in the end, whether you love your job or not is not going to get you into heavens quadrants.  Your family, your service and stewardship will count much more.

There are a score of great blessings that do come from work.  I don’t doubt that.  But I am sure you could learn many of those same ethics and work from other meaningful service too.  Our jobs are a required part of life.  Someone has to clean the sewers, someone has to move the trash, someone has to do crime scene investigating, someone has to be the mortician.  I certainly hope those people don’t hate their jobs.  I do believe, in the vein above, that you have to have that inside conviction, freedom, and security and the outside will change.  Hell will in fact become heaven.  If you hate your job, first you should probably change your heart and mind, then look again at the job and consider if a change needs to be made.

I completely agree with the Luke 3:14, 1 Tim 6:8, Heb 13:5 (what would that say if I didn’t agree?) that one should be content with wages, have godliness and contentment, and to avoid covetousness.  I am sorry if I led you to believe I supported these things.

Anyhow, I hope as you read later of the forwards, that I corrected or explained my position more fully.

This is a great little study for both of us.  We must be as wise as serpents but as harmless as doves.  We must think these things through, even we must plan financially but far too many people let it consume their lives.  I really liked your line, “…I can see how it will take over if you are not careful.  But now I know, I need to be wise, but not worry, be prepared, but not obsessed!”

Thanks again, I enjoy our little banters.

Good bye to 2006

Another year has passed. Has it really? It doesn’t feel like it. I don’t feel any older. I don’t think I look any older. What really happened in 2006? Did it really exist? I know it did. I have the memories of it and the evidence. (I won’t be like some nations claiming that you cannot prove the past, like the Holocaust).A former President has died ending the year. I remember meeting President Ford in Twin Falls, Idaho. I must have only been about 10 or
12 at the time. I guess he liked to golf once and a while at the course down in the canyon. (Sad, I don’t even remember the name of it.  (Perhaps I am getting older….)

Who else died this year? I read a few of Milton Friedman’s books. I still sing to myself the music of Malcolm Arnold, especially River Kwai.  I remember joking about what it must be like to be Robert C Baker, but now I would feel bad joking of chicken nuggets. Buck Owens who I saw in Branson passed away. We can’t forget political leaders like President Ford, Senator Stafford, or Congressman Sonny Montgomery. Ed Bradley who I liked to watch. 60 Minutes just won’t be the same anymore without Bradley and Wallace. Who were some not so notable, or infamous, Mr. Lay, Jeff Lundgren, Saddam. It has been a year for deaths! Oh, I about forgot Steve Irwin. It seemed every little kid in England talked of Steve.

A couple of family members have passed away. Ebertha Lutz of my Van Leeuwen line. Dean Sharp just passed away last week. His funeral is on Thursday up in Pasco, Washington. That doesn’t leave many of the Sharp family around either. I know Grandpa is struggling with his death.  Dad, Jan, and Grandpa are going up to the funeral. I hope when my time comes, it will go as well. He wasn’t feeling well, and went to the hospital. His oxygen was low, so they put him on oxygen and he wanted to go home. He was resting and Lois heard him make a noise and saw his oxygen was off. She went over and he was gone. Quick, painless, and comfortable.

I only visited with Dean two weeks ago. I called him to ask him some family history questions about his parents and recollections of Mary Ann Stoker, aka Lillian Musgrave. He told me characteristics of his parents, Edward Sharp and Lillie East. He always had a cool little laugh when he finished speaking. Don’t know if it was a nervous laugh, something he picked up, but it always made me feel relaxed. He never
knew his grandmother, I had to get that information elsewhere. Good bye Dean.

I received an e-mail from a Terry McHugh in South Carolina. He was searching information on the Stoker line. I filled him on information I
had, and gleaned quite a bit from him. It was good to focus some more on the Stoker line. I still have yet to figure out why my Mary Ann
Stoker (married Sharp) went by Lily (Lillian) Musgrave for a spell.

I called Grandpa and he shared a few memories with me. He said she was fairly tall, I am not sure what that means. Grandpa is not necessarily tall. He used to walk past her house every day on the way to school.  He would stop in on his way home when she was alive. It is the same house my Aunt Caroline lives in now.

She would have him put the hooks in the holes for her shoe laces. She also had him pull the strings on her girdle for her. He used to ask why
she needed the thing; after all she was so skinny. She would just sigh and ask him to pull them just a little tighter. It sounded like it was sweet memories. She had a horn for hearing. She went deafer over the years. Grandpa would ask why she needed that horn and she would say it was because he wasn’t speaking loud enough. It was interesting that June Streeter had memories of Lily, but didn’t know who she was. It wasn’t until a few months back talking with her daughter that I cleared that up in her mind.

Life changed considerably for Amanda and me this year. I again made a move across the country. One thing is for sure, get married and the
physical baggage multiplies! You would think that my trunk full of possessions would only double. Some reason or another, women are not
confined to a Spartan life. But add a marriage to it, and the making of a home, and things grow exponentially. There are ways I would like to
go more Spartan, but Amanda won’t have any of that. Probably a good thing.

Dad had his operation and seems to be back to normal. Indeed, he is better than he has been for the last five years. I am glad he has made
such a recovery, even improvement. Jan had her operation on her back.  For some reason I cannot recall if that was earlier this year or not.
Yes, I think it was, pretty sure it was. She is doing much better. Her progress has not been as quick as Dad’s but she is doing better.

Overall it has been a good year. Even the few dreams I have had have all been good. There is one that repeated some over the year. Have yet no idea what it could possibly mean. I am back living at Kasota Road.  But I have to go to the dentist. I go, and it is Garrison Keillor who
is the dentist. We end up chatting about a few things. By the time the appointment is done, he has split a tooth in half, and pulled it.  Having removed a tooth, I am concerned and discuss my issues with him.  He takes and makes me a new tooth and screws it back into the top of my mouth. I am shocked that I can notice no difference from the old to the new tooth. I am impressed there is no swelling and no pain. He doesn’t even use pain killers. It is his reasoning that makes things work so well despite my little idiosyncrasies. Perhaps it is just that I need
to reason and talk through more things in life. I almost laugh in the mornings when I realize I am dreaming of going to the dentist, spending
the conversation with Keillor, and then arise to find life is great.  Perhaps it is just a happy dream. Don’t know why I find it so ironic that the dentist and Keillor make me happy, but I won’t complain. (Now people will think I am more off my rocker than ever!)

Well, I think I will sign off. I look forward to what 2007 has to bring. I am sure it will have many surprises and interesting things to mention. It will be the first year in a long time that I am planning, for the most part, of staying in the same state. Since graduation I have hopped between states every year.

Thanks be given

There is not a whole lot to report on at the present.  We enjoyed a Thanksgiving here in blessed Virginia.

Amanda and I drove to Massanutten, a resort up in the hills.  We went up to spend Thanksgiving with Amanda’s Uncle and Aunt.  It turned out to be an interesting day.  I enjoyed the drive up to the area.  Gordonsville was the highlight of the day, the town having a personality completely its own.  A rare thing it seems these days.

Massanutten wasn’t anything to boast about.  They do have a very large indoor water park.  Other than that, it was just a bunch of condos in the middle of the mountains.  Don’t get me wrong, the mountains were beautiful.  How much more beautiful without the “hello, here I am” presence of the resort? 

Amanda and I have determined we will never go out to enjoy our Thanksgiving meal again.  It seems to undermine what the day is about.  Who would have ever thought it was Thanksgiving.  Where was any resemblance of Thanksgiving, other than a commercial version of the foods associated with the date? 

We went back and pretty much watched the TV for the rest of the day.  Driving home, we were relieved to leave the situation which seemed lacking so much.

Hopefully, I can pay some homage to the day here even though the day did not provide much.

This week, I discovered I am the posterity of individuals who lived at Jamestown.  Yes, next years celebration of 400 years in America, honored even by the Queen, is directly relevant to me.  Not just through this nation, but through my ancestors who lived there.  The Clark (or Clarke) family, the Summers, Lumpkin, and Thompson groups I am all related to.  There is a possibility my Clark’s even come from the famous John Clark, who was the Master’s Mate on the Mayflower.  He had been to Jamestown before, imprisoned in Spain, made the trip of the Mayflower, and eventually made his way back to live in Jamestown.  He died not too much afterwards.  I am also a descendent of the Graham Clan who settled parts of Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky.  They extended into Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, and Ohio as well.  I am an American very deep in some roots.  One of those Grahams was a personal friend of George Washington, and convinced him to help endow a new school he had founded.  Yep, a Graham founded Washington and Lee.  My history includes three future presidents, universities, and other numerous recorded aids to society.

My roots expand the ocean many times.  My roots run to Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and England.  My ancestors were in the court of rulers; my ancestors even ruled parts of the Roman Empire.  My ancestors come from Sweden, Norway, and the largest number from Germany.  I have family who can be traced into Russia, Australia, and a score of other nations.  The foundations I have been given are broad and inclusive.  I am so very fortunate.  Each of us have a history which began long before we were born.

Those blessings extend beyond my family.  This nation, which has its hopes in liberty and freedom are one of the greatest blessings to me.  I am very fortunate.  It may be a weakness in many ways, but is a great boon in many more ways.  I pray for the principles upon which it is founded to continue to go to the whole earth.  I pray that those principles would be grasped by other nations and be implemented into their states.  I pray our nation might return to the principles of truth and freedom for which it is founded.

I remember the lives of those who were given for this freedom I enjoy and others do not.  Two of my Great Grandfather’s were gassed in WWI and both lived to tell the tale.  Both met painful and difficult deaths due to it.  One grandfather has purple hearts to show for his wounds and success in WWII.  The other grandfather tried to enroll, but due to health issues was not allowed to be a part.

I pray for the soldiers of freedom everywhere.  I care not what nation they represent, as long as they are there for liberty, freedom, and truth.  I pray God will bless those who represent those hopes and ideals.  That those who do not represent those ideals, or those they represent, will be thwarted in their designs.

It is with gratitude I offer my thanks to He who makes death not a fear.  I thank and give adoration to the Savior of all mankind, even Christ that we might all live again.  That despite wickedness and fear, we have nothing to fear but sin.  I express my deepest thanks for the restoration of His church back on the earth and the miracles which abound about us.  The gathering of lost nations, the restoration of Israel, the building up of the kingdom in preparation for the king whose right it is to rule.  My deepest sympathies are with the restoration and furthering of eternal purposes upon the earth.  My greatest joys and delight come from this impressive, yet almost unrecognizable effort happening in our midst.

I am pleased to have been born at this time of such great blessing.  It is with a certain hope I see the future, despite all which is prophesied to come upon us.  So much pain that the Saints will barely escape with their lives.  We have seen little or nothing of what is to come.  Nations will rise up against nations and desolation shall abound on all the earth.  Those of the order of God have not need to fear though.  This I am grateful for.  For the Priesthood which shall protect those within the covert from the storm, for the Resurrection that those who will be lost; both for their own sins and for a more full judgment upon the wicked.

Most close to home I thank for those who are dearest to me.  I am thankful for those who so deeply touch the deepest parts of my soul.  Many who are now separated from me by death, but that too shall not be for long.  My dearest wife, and all her splendor for which I am a blessed soul.  My parents who fought and struggled so hard for my upbringing and their abiding love for me. 

There is a whole multitude of souls I could reference for their influence in my life.  The more I learn and contemplate, the more I realize how intricately every soul is linked to one another.  Even years later we remember the influence of another.  There are influences from childhood, influences from events far away, and even influence from beyond the grave.

My heart is full.  I am thankful for all things. 

Getting to know you….

Welcome to the Sept. 2006 edition of getting to know your friends. Copy this and paste it onto a new email & change all the answers so they apply to
you.  Then send this to a whole bunch of people including the person who sent it to you.1. What time did you get up this morning? 7:50 AM
2. Diamonds or pearls? A saphire catches my eye the most
3. What was the last movie that you saw at the theatre? Saw the Joseph Smith movie in Liberty, Missouri on the 1st of July.
4. What is your favorite TV show? Home Improvement
5. What do you usually have for breakfast? Banana
6. What is your middle name? Norwood Jonas (yes, two names)
7. What is your favorite color? White
8. What food do you dislike? Who dislikes food? Without it I would die!
9. What is your favorite CD? Right now, Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto!
10. What car do you drive? 1998 Toyota Camry
11. What is your favorite Sandwich ? Club
12. What characteristic do you despise? Ignorance
13. Favorite item(s) of clothing? The ones I wear
14 If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be? Heaven
15. What color is your bathroom? Cream
16. Favorite brand of clothing? Don’t have one
17. Where would you retire to? Malad, Idaho
18. What was your most memorable birthday? 2003
19. Favorite sport to watch? Soccer
20. Furthest place you are sending this? The Moon
21. Whom do you least expect to send this back? ?
22. Person you expect to send it back first? ?
23. Favorite saying? A lack of preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.
24. Are you a morning person or a night person? daytime
25. What is your shoe size? 10.5
26. Pets? Nope
27. What did you want to be when you were little? Farmer
28. How are you today? Restless
29. What is your favorite candy? Oreos
30. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? Saturday
31. What is your favorite food? Yes
32. Favorite Past-time? Traveling