Redeeming presses forward, even today!

In the Spirit of the Fast, with it being Fast and Testimony day, I thought I would do the same online with regards to my latest manifestation.
Here are two quotes with relation to family history work.  Particularly, after you have done your homework and gone to the limit of your capacity, the door will be opened and a little more revealed.  Sometimes, the floods even fall into your lap.
“It is your duty now to rise up, all of you, and trace your genealogies, and begin to exercise the powers which belong to saviors of men, and when you do this in earnest, you will begin to comprehend how widespread, how numerous your ancestors are for whom Temple work has to be performed, in order that they may be brought into the fold; and when you get stopped, the Lord will reveal further information to you;” (George Q Cannon, JD 22:130)

“That same God who has ordained baptism for the dead, and who has commanded the believers in this generation to be baptized for them, will in due time, when we have done all we can in searching out our genealogies, reveal to us the chain so that we shall find our fathers, no matter how many generations…(Orson Pratt, JD 16:300)

While in Virginia, I spent a considerable amount of time in the Family History Library.  I taught my classes there, helped people do research, and spent many, many days pouring through books for familiar names and information.  Often I would borrow a book from the library for the week and through the week go through the entire book pulling out information on possible relatives.  In doing so, I really opened up a number of families for which I found nothing on the internet or anywhere else.
However, in doing so, I ended up with a whole host of what I call floaters.  Those individuals who I was pretty sure linked into the families I already had in the file, but I had no real information to tie them in.  For example, going through a marriage registry book gives only the names of the couple, and typically the father of the bride who gave bond.  I had a whole host of couple’s floating.  In about a dozen couples, the bride’s father’s name was Joseph Martin.  I had more than 30 Joseph Martin’s in my file and to try and link them to one was nearly impossible without more help.
Since I knew my time was limited in Virginia and the resources of the library, I would often take any individual with a relative’s name.  For example, every Graham, Martin, Meredith, and other families I ran across their information went into my file.  While this was highly successful with the Meredith line in tying the families together, it was much less so with the Martin’s due to their sheer number.  Martinsville, Virginia, obviously founded by Martin’s has at least 3 major Martin families who in all branch throughout Virginia and North Carolina.
Just this past month I was wondering how in the world I was going to connect these floaters in my file.  It just happened to be that I received a couple of e-mails that led to my receiving a packet in the mail.  The history report for an 8th grader on Revolutionary Soldier and founder of Martinsville, Joseph Martin.  Who would have ever known an 8th grader would write such a concise and researched document.  I tied my 30+ Joseph Martin’s together in such a way that I am down to 10!  All of those floaters whose father’s name was Joseph Martin are gone.  In my mind, it is a miracle.
The mere fact that information which so perfectly fit my scenario is in my hands is the work of the Lord.  As I connected link after link, that is what was running through my mind.  “This is the hand of the Lord which has brought this to pass.”
Surely, the hand of the Lord is over this work.  This I surely know, and only witnessed to again through this manifestation.  There are an endless host of such experiences.  If it were not for the Spirit witnessing this fact to me, just the mere coincidence of so many genealogical research puzzle pieces coming together in my life is near impossible.
I know the work is alive and vibrant.  It all depends on how much we wish to be engaged in it.  The more engaged, the greater the blessings for us and those who we also serve.  It is an endless circle.

Stiffnecked

Today I sent my wife back across the country.  Seems a bit out of odds that I am sending off my wife for another month or so.  It seems more like she should be sending me away.  A mission?  Military?  Work travel?  I could not help but think of Engelbert Humperdink’s, “There Goes My Everything” as we said adios again.  As President Stucki would say, “There is no such thing as a good bye in the gospel.”  I believe it is true.  No matter what happens, we will meet up again.

I find myself even further from her now.  I am now in The Dalles, Oregon.  She is in Richmond, Virginia.  That puts us about 2,800 miles of separation in one day.  Don’t we live in a day of miracles?  I can visit with her without any more cost than my cell phone plan.  I spoke to her in Detroit, Minneapolis, Richmond, and a host of other places in the past month.  I am always impressed when I send out a dozen letters in one day all to different regions on the United States, or even the world, and know they will arrive there.  Most of them within 2 or 3 days.  That is a miracle to me.  As I type this up, on a free internet signal, in a hotel room, my computer connects to the internet and will make it available worldwide within seconds of my pressing the send button.  Every person in the world could read it if they wanted.  That is a miracle.

If you cannot tell, I have thought about miracles today.  I listened to some of Harold B Lee’s stories about miracles.  I thought about the miracles in my own life.  I even wrote of the miracle of the Book of Mormon in a recent blog.  They are all about us.  Somehow though, I get so busy in my life not to recognize them.

This leads me to the scripture I have thought about from the recent reading of the Book of Mormon.  This is another one of those scriptures I memorized that summer but have not been able to retain.

“And there are many among us who have many revelations, for they are not all stiffnecked.  And as many as are not stiffnecked and have faith, have communion with the Holy Spirit, which maketh manifest unto the children of men, according to their faith.”  (Jarom 1:4)

Far too often, I think I fall on the side of the stiffnecked.  In fact, I know I do.  I am just proud enough to miss so many of the blessings which could be easily obtained.  In some instances, more recognized.

There are plenty of ways in which I still need to repent and rise above the natural man.  Without beating up on myself too much, I do completely recognize that I am just humble and faithful enough to have some personal revelations of my own.  I end up with one or two in each journal, but they are there.  Meaning, I know that the Lord speaks to even me in my weakness.  Even in my weakness, I am abundantly blessed and am just humble enough to see some of those blessings and miracles all about me.

Inlande Futures

I have been pretty slow to mention anything on here about the recent change of venue for employment.
My newest employment is with Inlande Environmental Resources, Inc. based out of Pasco, Washington.
As most of you know, I was laid off from Bank of America on 31 December 2007.  They were divulging themselves of the entire Wholesale division.  I was one of the fortunate few.  I applied for a number of positions within the bank but I later found out HR and a Hiring Manager had messed up.  They thought I was a closer instead of an assistant underwriter.  I was not seriously considered for the jobs I applied for.  I fought it some, but there are only so many positions and they were already filled.  Once again, Bank of America screwed something up.  I won’t even go into how they messed up my pay and severance package.  They withheld the equivalent of 32 hours of pay for some hiccough they had on their end.  I think I am glad to be done with them.
In the meantime of applying for different jobs, my Dad gave me a lead for Inlande.  I thought it couldn’t hurt to apply.  In the end, I ended up getting that job for 1/3 more salary, plus commission.  So I could not refuse it.  No other jobs offered employment in Richmond.  It was one of the only options open to me.
Part of the problem applying for a job in Richmond was the fact Amanda graduates in May.  With that, I would effectively quit my job to move west.  Who is going to hire somebody for 4 months?  I could not be dishonest when they asked how long I intended to stay with the company.  Add to that, the fact Amanda and I have already booked our tickets to Europe for 6 months from 4 June to 16 July.  Who wants to hire me then?  As soon as we arrived at the town I would be attending law school, I would then have to find employment for a month or two until school started.  The whole situation was not favorable.
Along came Inlande Environmental.  We made a trip for the interview.  It was more of a visit to the family.  I was interested in the job but it was so far away.  When would they want me to start and how long would Amanda and I have to live apart?
When I found out it was 1/3 more salary, plus commission it was more interesting.  It would be a change of industry from mortgage/finance to infrastructure/public utility.  That industry will not go away as long as humans need to consume water and remove their waste.  I was forthright about our 6 week vacation for the summer, the good chance of my getting in to law school, and attending law school in the fall.  They still thought I was worth the risk.
It looked fascinating to me to have a job that got me back into some chemistry.  That was an area I have been interested in for a long time.  (I took a chemistry book on my mission!  I never got around to studying or reading it though.)  Plus with the recent changes in the mortgage and finance industries I wanted to get out of such a shifting environment.  Add to the fact my new job would not keep me confined in an office and I was definitely hooked.
The major difficulty was in the distance.  Amanda would have to remain in Richmond while I moved to Idaho.  The position is for a Regional Sales Manager for Utah and Southern Idaho.
Amanda has a number of rotations coming up in which she would be gone for several days at a time.  In addition, she wanted to start studying for her boards a couple hours every night.  With my being gone, she could study for long hours without the need to be concerned about me.  I also would not be the constant distraction I am for her.
After the offer, we determined it was not an offer we could pass up.  Nothing else came as close to looking as good.  Richmond is expensive and we could not afford a drop in pay.  I really didn’t want to spend a month job hunting because the loss of income would really cut our options for our trip to Europe for the summer.  Employment had to continue for us.
This put one of us closer to scope out places to live when we decide where we will be moving for the fall.  It helps me get out some more of the traveling bug that constantly haunts me.  The requirement to travel and a company vehicle with fuel had me jumping with excitement.  This job will have me traveling all over the entire state of Utah, Southern Idaho, and Western Wyoming.  Not to mention the occasional trip to Washington.  I certainly have a few places to stop as I am traveling through.
Amanda can focus solely on school and I can really do the heavily traveling required to lay some foundations.  Even if I decide against law school or am not accepted, I will have done the initial legwork so I won’t be required to travel as much when Amanda joins me.
It will not be an easy task.  I have no worries that Amanda and I will make it through it.  We will get to see each other about once a month until that time.  Anything we may lose in 4 months apart I certainly am sure we will make up in 1 1/2 months of traveling through Europe.
Most people look at me like we are crazy.  Like I have left my wife and this will be the end of it all.  For some reason I feel more pity on the people who feel that way.  I am not concerned for my marriage like they seem to indicate they would be for theirs.  Sure, I don’t want to be away from my wife.  However, we both recognize this as our best option and felt that heaven was directing us this way.  We can talk daily.  We can e-mail.  All is not lost.  Our engagement we spent equivalent time apart and were able to overcome that obstacle.
I now find myself in Idaho.  What does the future hold?  I am not entirely sure.  A couple of law schools have declined me already.  There are a few more to hear from.  We shall wait and see.  At any rate, Amanda and I will be reunited this summer and pressing forward for whatever life presents then.  This job could be one with definite long range potential.  More doors are opening than are closing with this time apart.

Philadelphia

I have just added nearly 70 more pictures to the newest album.  It is the 2008 album and has been appropriately named.  As we continue through the year, I will do like I did with the Virginia Living album and put the most recent photos at the front.
The pictures all come from our most recent trip to Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.  There are photographs from the U.S. Capitol, Washington Cathedral, Independence Hall, Congress Hall, Carpenter’s Hall, and other sites in Philadelphia.  Amanda and I drove up Thursday evening to Kensington, Maryland and stayed with my Uncle Donald and Aunt Lolane Andra.  We worked in the Washington D.C. Temple Friday morning and then went to visit the Capitol and Cathedral.  Saturday morning we arose early and drove to Philadelphia by way of Delaware and New Jersey.  Philadelphia for the most part was a beautiful day.  It was a bit brisk at moments but they were not long lasting.
We were fortunate to not have any long lines for us to wait.  We entered most of the buildings very quickly and in some instances had the building almost to ourselves.
It was a great little get away weekend.  This coming weekend we are headed off to Williamsburg.  What will be in store for us there?

Photo Album for Thanksgiving 2007

The photo album that I just placed up a few hours ago are all photos Lolane Andra took.  She and Donald came down after Thanksgiving and spent a couple of days with us.  We went around and saw a bunch of the sites.  So you will see a pretty good variety of locations.  Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Jamestown, Monticello, Confederate White House, Hollywood Cemetery, and who knows what else.  I put most of the pictures up.  Enjoy!  You may recognize a couple of the photos as very common to other photos in other albums that we took.

Report for Thanksgiving

Here is a short update of what has been happening the past few weeks.
Thanksgiving Day we spent at Uncle Don and Lolane Andra’s home in Kensington, Maryland.  We enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving meal with them and the rest of the Rock Creek Ward.  We really enjoyed ourselves although we did not get to take home any left overs.  They came down to Richmond that evening and spent Friday through Monday with us.  Amanda took them to Monticello, we went to Jamestown Settlement on Saturday, Sunday we toured some of Richmond, and Monday we went to Shirley Plantation.  The highlight in the whole thing was taking them to church with us and meeting up for lunch with Sister Andra on Monday.  Sister Andra is Donald’s brother’s granddaughter, my second cousin.  It was a new idea for me to be at lunch with three missionaries and they are all related to me!  Please notice the picture I posted of us in the Virginia Living and Andra Family Albums.
Amanda has been a little stressed with finals coming this week.  So there has been a juggling act of sorts here at the Ross apartment.  I put my first application in for law school last night.  We we start the mad rush of applications and then the hurry up and wait game.  I guess I better start putting some more effort into securing employment after the new year.
In other news, I received a message from the detective for mother’s case.  I very much appreciate his goodness and comments.  I did have a few questions to ask of him and I hope he will respond.  Perhaps we can put to rest a few questions I have had lingering over these years.

Berkeley and Shirley

In introducing the new photos just uploaded, Amanda and I decided to take a trip a bit off the beaten path and stop at Berkeley and Shirley Plantations.  Both of them hold significance in the history of America.  Just because back then many of the noble families intermarried among each other there are numerous links to various known families.
Berkeley Plantation was also known as Harrison Landing.  It is here at Harrison Landing the ship landed in 1619 having come from England.  According to the dictates of those who sent them, when they reached the shore, they were to drop and give Thanksgiving for having made it safely.  It is also here at Berkeley that Bourbon Whiskey was first made by a Priest.  The other notable first for Berkeley is “Taps” was written there in about 1862.  It is named after Richard Berkeley.  After the Berkeley Hundred was abandoned after an Indian massacre the home was taken over by the Harrison Family in the 1630’s.  It was through this Harrison line that Benjamin Harrison was born, the signer of the Declaration of Independence.  He is buried in the graveyard.  Interesting to note, the first 10 Presidents of the United States were entertained and stayed at Berkeley Plantation.  It just happens the 9th President, William Henry Harrison, was born at Berkeley.  It was in the same room he was born that he wrote his inauguration speech.  The one in which he gave despite the weather to prove he was not too old to be President.  He caught cold and died about 30 days into his Presidency.  The shortest Presidency still, the first President to die in office, and he was for almost 150 years the oldest President to be elected to office.  It was his grandson, Benjamin Harrison, who would become our 23rd President (during whose term Idaho became a state).  During the Civil War McClellan camped 140,000 troops here.  During this time President Lincoln visited and entered the home.  It was in these camps ‘Taps” was written.  Anyhow, Berkeley was very interesting to visit.  It was a cold day so there were few visitors.  The lady selling tickets saw my Zion’s card in paying and asked where were were from.  She taught English for many years at Mountain View and has moved to Virginia, where she was born.  Small world isn’t it?
Shirley Plantation is not far up the road.  It is part of what was the Shirley Hundred.  It claims to be the oldest plantation in America (1622) and the oldest family owned business.  The Shirley’s who were given the Shirley Hundred were on their way to Virginia when Mr. Shirley died in the Azores on the way over.  The rest of the family went home not wanting to venture to the wilderness without him.  The property was sold and the Hill’s acquired.  After a generation or two the Hill’s had no male heirs so it went through the daughter who married a Carter.  It is through this Carter line Anne Carter was born, mother of Robert Edward Lee.  Robert was raised here, but he certainly spent a good deal of time there growing up and receiving some of his schooling in this house.  During the Civil War the Plantation became a place where the Union Troops placed their injured after the Malvern Hill battles.  Those at Shirley Plantation went out to tend and take care of the injured soldiers and earned the respect of General McClellan.  In return for their efforts he assigned soldiers to protect the home from being burned and pillaged as many other homes were during the Civil War.  Today, descendants of the Carter’s (and Hill’s) still live in the home making it the 11th or 12th generation.  That possibly of itself makes it the longest family owned home in America.
There was some definitely instructive and pleasing things learned at Berkeley and Shirley.  They were fascinating really.