Happy Birthday, BiL!

For maybe as long as he’s been able to talk, BiL has been wanting snow on his birthday.

Today he turns 14, and he got his wish!

Not a bad thing, getting a snow day on your 14th Birthday, huh?!

Happy Birthday, kid. You make me proud.

Love, Mom.

Urban homesteading is in my blood…

My Grammy had a green thumb.

[Victory Garden circa 1943.]

She grew up in the garden, really. As did my Grampa – he was the son of a dairyman and a professional cook – both of whom believed in having a large garden out the kitchen door.

I love the old pictures of Grammy as a little girl, playing in the garden. So much of life revolved around the garden of their Booneville, Arkansas home. They lived in town – in a house that my great-grandfather built (he lost his right arm in a cotton gin when he was 11 years old – but it didn’t stop him from doing pretty much anything!) – that had a small barn, a chicken coop, and lots and lots of garden. There were fruit vines and trees, vegetables galore, and lots of “sustainable” living going on in that city lot!

[Tom Thumb wedding circa 1919.]

My Mom spoke of her love of the time spent in her Grandmother’s garden when she was a girl. For her, the love she felt related to her time spent with her Grandmother had very close ties to the amazing food grown, prepared, served, and enjoyed as a family in their lovely Southern California garden.

[My Great-Grandmother and my Mommy circa 1947.]

Growing up we always had a garden in the back yard. Mom and Dad always grew tomatoes, squash, corn, beans, peas, lettuce. Mom always had a patch of strawberries going and there were the plum trees that put out all kinds of crazy quantity of succulent Italian prunes. (Little did we know we loved prunes!)

If something important happened when we were growing up – we’d snap a picture in the garden!

[Grammy holding baby sister, my brother Joel, and I circa 1968.]

In the summers – nothing better than sharing a meal out-of-doors – featuring the very foods we’d grown just feet from our table.

When John and I married it was a no-brainer that no matter where we lived a garden would be involved. Better yet – a garden that could yield enough produce that we could preserve for future use! (I married a man with amazing skills. He’s the one who taught me how to can!)

Some of the sweetest memories I have are of my Grammy out in the garden with my own children – showing them just how it’s done!

[Grammy – age 82, and Jessica – age 2, watering circa 1994.]

When we came across this house that we live in – listed for rent – on HALF AN ACRE just a stone’s throw from downtown Portland, well – our pulses quickened a bit. Could we afford it? Could we even possibly be in line early enough to be in the running to luck out to rent it? We nearly fainted when we got the word that we could indeed afford it (barely), and that we were the first in line with a completed rental application and application fee attached.


A house with a garden. A REAL garden – the kind you can live off of. Just what we’d longed for.

What a gift!

What a blessing!

What an amazing God!

Yes. There is great responsibility. But oh – the benefits far outweigh any sense of burden.

But here’s the thing…

It scares me a bit how little people of my own generation, much less those of my children, understand where food comes from. It scares me significantly more that if you stood on a street corner and surveyed the folks walking by – asking if they could grow a garden given the resources – that the vast majority would look at you with a blank stare.

There are so many deep philosophies at play here – this beautiful thing called urban homesteading represents.








…the list could get very, very long.

For me – bottom line – it goes back to WHO I am accountable to in my life. I believe with every fiber of my being that there is a God and He is Creator and that He has gifted us with this very precious resource. I consider it nothing short of Worship to be able to steward this little corner of the world. We consider it our privilege and honor to take the yield from His blessings and our labors, preserve them, and to gift excesses to those in need in our community.

NOTHING about any of this is new.

It is the way it was done in my Mother’s day.

It is the way it was done in my Grandmother’s day.

It is the way it was done in my Great-Grandmother’s day.

…and for generations prior.

My fervent hope is that my children, my children’s children, and for generations to come – it will continue to be an important part of life. That they will never take for granted the beauty of this thing.

If you’re an urban homesteader, consider joining us in celebrating this beautiful thing we do – and make a stand for the unrestrained right to proudly declare so. There is a Facebook group to check out here. Other excellent posts to read here and here.

August 6, 1993

Funny how 17 years can go by in just a flash.

Seventeen years ago today I was in Columbus, Ohio.

Eleven days prior I’d met John McBride – face to face – for the first time.

We’d met “online” some months before – by chance.

He was a recent widower with a baby daughter named Jessica. When we met he was finishing up his last semester of seminary, was pastoring a church in rural SE Kentucky, and caring for his daughter and mother.

I was a committed to being single young woman who had moved home to care for my Dad, who had a terminal diagnosis, and had asked me to come home and be his primary care giver – with the hope of freeing my Mom of some of the things she’d been having to juggle.

We’d formed a friendship, John and I.

I had an airline ticket that needed used before it expired, and so I was planning a trip to visit my much-loved cousin, Bobby, in North Carolina. As it turned out, John and I met – had a great time getting to know one another, and even went through a crazy adventure involving car keys locked in a car, over 100 heat, multiple calls to AAA, hours and hours of waiting for AAA – and a resourceful Marine who ultimately came to our rescue. Boy was I sun burnt!

I’d always heard, “You’ll know when it’s the right guy!” Yeah – I wasn’t so sure. I’d met plenty of nice guys. Just none that had a commitment and heart willing to go and do ANYTHING that God called them to – from that moment through the rest of their lives.

I think my biggest fear was that I’d marry someone whose love for the Lord would wane over time – and who would cease to be willing to be obedient – no matter the cost. So I’d resigned myself to the fact that I would be single – hopefully contentedly so.

Silly me.

When I met John face to face that first day I knew I would marry him.

No – he hadn’t asked.

No – there was no implication that he would.

No – there were no expectations headed that direction.

I just knew. Not a me thing. Totally a God thing.

My goodness, God is amazing, isn’t He?

So there it was, August 6, 1993.

We were headed to dinner with Brad and Alcy – pretty much life-long friends of John’s, who I’m happy to claim as friends now, as well. (Although – just a warning – take your blood pressure medication if you need that sort of thing before you ever ride in a car that Brad is driving!)

He had a ring, that John McBride.

A lovely little diamond solitaire.

He asked me if I’d consider marrying him.

I assured him that I’d be most happy to.

No fear.

No worry.

No concern.

Just peace.




Not a day goes by that I wonder anew why God would choose to bless me so. There certainly has not been a single thing that I have done or could do that would merit the blessings of having a husband like John McBride. The man is amazing.

He’s loving.

He’s kind.

He’s hilarious.

He’s my best friend.

He’s exactly the partner I want leading me through the rest of my life.

He’s a man of honor and integrity.

He’s conscientious.

He’s an amazing father.

And above all – he’s a man who is committed to following his Savior faithfully.

So – today, August 6, 2010 – we celebrate 17 years since our engagement to be married.

I am an incredibly blessed woman.

1 John 4: 16b – 19: God is love. Anyone who leads a life of love shows that he is joined to God. And God is joined to him. So love is made complete among us. We will be bold on the day God judges us. That’s because in this world we love as Jesus did. There is no fear in love. Instead, perfect love drives fear away. Fear has to do with being punished. The one who fears does not have perfect love. We love because he loved us first.

Totally True!

Years ago, when my children were considerably younger, we were invited to attend a friend’s wedding.

William was about 6 years old, Jess about 11.

It was a little bit higher church wedding than we were accustomed to, and accordingly my Mom and I whispered instructions to the kids in the pre-ceremony hush on how to behave.

For the most part, they were angelic.

Finally, the ceremony began.

The groom stepped to his place at the front of the sanctuary, the priest – in his robes and hat, as well. Then, the processional began, and the attendants made their way to the front of the sanctuary. Finally, the bride – who was lovely in her wedding finery – made her way to stand beside her much loved groom.

I glanced at William and thought I saw a glimmer of recognition in his eye.

I thought – “What’s that kid thinking?!”

And before anyone knew what was happening, in a booming voice, William pronounced, “Mwarrige… Mwarrige is what bwings us twogwever twoday…”


I admit it.

I have warped my children!

The glimmer of recognition?

Here you go:

Bride, groom, priest, candles, flowers!

What should come next?

Only one thing in his then 6-year-old mind…

“…and wuv, twoo wuv…”

Totally true!

Happy Father’s Day!

I’ve been missing my Dad.

My aunt (left) and Dad (right). Probably near Jackson, MS around 1943/44.

He was a really “real” guy. He was all about telling the truth, being a man of integrity, a man of his word, and loving unconditionally.

Man, he loved my Mom.

Man, he loved us kids.

He was not a mover and a shaker, so much. But he moved people by his love and generosity. And he wasn’t above getting on the floor and playing with a bunch of kids – even if that meant getting dirty, or laughing his full-bellied laugh along with a child.

I don’t think he ever forgot how to see things from the eyes of a child.

And that, my friends, is part of what made him such a great Dad.

You know what? He died February 1, 1994 – and I still find myself stopping and thinking, “I should call Dad and tell him such and such…” I forget that he’s gone. He’s so not forgotten.

The boys both have a LOT of James A. Courtney in them. It’s hilarious, really – being that Jonathan was just a baby when Dad died, and William was born three years after Dad died. They both look like him, too – in their own ways.

As the boys get older – it kinda of blows me away how I see more of Dad’s personality coming out in them. How can that be?

Isn’t God wonderful to continue those precious things in these grandsons of my Dad’s?

My Aunt and Dad – early 1960’s-something in Beaverton, OR.

When the world seems to be such a dark place – with so much to be sad or worry about – I take great delight in remembering Dad and the great times I shared with him. I know he’d be proud of these boys – who are quickly growing into young men. He would be so proud of Jess – the grandbaby he’d hoped and prayed to one day have – who would share his birthday. He would take great delight in her academic achievements, her plans for college in the fall, her integrity, and commitment to the things of God.

…and he was so happy to give my hand to John McBride in marriage.

He actually told John when we got engaged that he would require a dowry of 19 horses for his first born girl. John – being the great guy that he is – promptly went to the toy store, purchased a deluxe set of 20 miniature horses and FedEx’ed them to Dad – explaining that 20 seemed more appropriate! Dad laughed out loud when he got them, and gave his hearty blessing.

What a blessed woman I am to have had the rich investment of some truly amazing men in my life.

What a blessed woman I am to have the great honor and privilege of being married to John.

What a blessed woman I am to have the best seat available to watch as my husband fathers the children God has entrusted to us.

John, holding William – July 1997, the Oregon Coast.

Happy Father’s Day to you all.

May it be a day when you will take the opportunity to express freely the love, admiration, pride, and honor you feel for the faithful Dads in your life.

Do you ever just wonder?

One day last week I was in the file cabinet – putting a couple of things away, when I came across some old photos. I love old photos.

 Here’s some of what I found – and I’ll share what I know this one and the others in future, and hope that some of the family who read here can fill in some of the gaps!


This is Louise Alcock. She was born May 9, 1894 in Marietta, Ohio. She was – I believe – the youngest of George Alcock and Easter Smith’s 11 children. (I really need to do some more research and find out if all 11 are truly George and Easter’s children!)  George was the son of Thomas Alcock and Ann Racer. Thomas, interestingly enough, served in the 148th Ohio Infantry during the Civil War. We have his enlistment and discharge papers, as well as a Certificate of Thanks with the signature of Abraham Lincoln and Edwin Stanton on it. Thomas must have been a pretty faithful correspondent – we have a number of his letters, ledgers relating to the farm, etc. He seemed to be a pretty interesting guy. (Thomas’s father – Thomas, was an emmigrant from Cheshire, England – we have his land grant dated 1789 – pretty cool stuff!)

I don’t know much about Louise, sadly.

I know that she married Dwight McBride September 10, 1913 – seven years after the picture above was taken.

And I know that she was mother to two boys – Harold and Charles McBride. Harold was my husband’s Father.

That’s Harold on the left, and Charles on the right.

What’s really interesting about this photo of Louise is that it’s actually a post card. Here’s what the other side said:

It was addressed to Louise’s Aunt Aura Smith Dotson.

Things that make me wonder…

Was it normal to just send a family photo in the mail as a post card?   I mean – there’s no message!  Just an address!

I also want to know about the rabbits!

I want rabbits!

 I think I count 16 or 17 rabbits in the picture.

 How did they keep them in there? Wouldn’t they just burrow out? Did they raise them for meat? (That’s what I want to do.)

 And what about that post-mark. Do you see the Akron mark? It says September 23, 1906 – and it has the time on it! 5:30 pm! Did they always mark the time on the post mark?

 I think it’s interesting, as well, that the Reno, OH post-mark is for the day prior. This little post card covered some ground in pretty quick order!

Interestingly enough – being the nosy person I am – I Googled the address on the card and think I may have found the house that Aunt Aura and family lived in! It certainly is of an appropriate architectural age, if it’s the house.

There’s so much I’d like to know about the generation preceding Louise – I know next to nothing about her siblings. I need to invest some time doing some research on this part of the family!

Gotta love those stashes of old family photos!

All about passion…

If you were to ask me – pretty much any given day – any season of the year, “Where’s Jonathan?”

Nine times out of ten the answer would be, “He’s playing ball.”


His love affair.

This kid eats, drinks, sleeps, breathes, walks, talks basketball.

When he’s not playing ball at the Rec, he might be at Training. (He works with a professional basketball trainer – a great honor.) When he’s not at the Rec or at Training, he’s probably at JV2 basketball training at the high school. Or at a game. Or at the elementary school up the way playing ball. Or at a friend’s house playing ball.

Have I mentioned that Jonathan loves basketball yet?

Yeah – this kid knows all about passion and the motivator it can be to excel.

I am so proud of this kid.

He’s starting to think about his future seriously.

He’s thinking he’d like to try out for the JV team next year. I’m thinking he’ll make it.

He’s thinking if he makes JV next year, he’ll try out for Varsity his Senior year. I have every confidence he’ll make it.

And he’s thinking UCLA would be a really great place to go to college and play ball.

Basketball, of course.

I love that he has dreams.

Have I mentioned how proud I am of this kid?

Just have to share some great pictures that one of the dads on the JV2 team has shared with the rest of the team. Of course, Jonathan features prominently! 🙂 He’s number 22.

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

When I was planning out the dinner menus a couple of weeks ago I was searching for things that seemed – you know – different, but not all that scary. Keeping in mind that I have two of the pickiest kids on the planet eating here – I must be very, very careful when testing the waters!

I found a couple of Crock Pot Sloppy Joe recipes and I thought, “Hmmm, those could be okay.” It got scheduled for Thursday evening of this week.

I should interject here that I don’t think we’ve EVER done Sloppy Joes as an actual meal. John likes them, buys the canned sauce, and when the urge hits (about once a quarter?!) he’ll make some up. I always think they smell good – but that’s about where it’s ended. My last experience with them is likely way back when – when I worked/lived at Sambica – and we had them fairly regularly. They weren’t awful, the kids always loved them. I figured – kid friendly food, right? We’re gonna give this a go!

So, I did a little web search, and came up with two contenders for the recipe we’d use. They were:

This one from www.myrecipes.com – a web site that I’ve recently rediscovered and find that I like quite a bit.


This one from www.southernfood.about.com – which seemed a little simpler – and John thought we would like better than the other offering.

So, Thursday morning – before I got ready for my interview – I threw together the second recipe – only I modified it a bit for us – cause, well, I know us!


2 pounds lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped, about 1 cup
1 cup chopped celery
1 (12-ounce) bottle prepared chili sauce
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 to 3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Toasted hamburger buns

The original recipe calls for diced green peppers – I’m allergic to them, so they got omitted. The original recipe called for THREE pounds of ground beef. Good grief! That’s WAY too much. I wondered about the 2 pound quantity, but figured if the boys liked it – we’d be glad we had that much.

I actually had to run to the store to purchase a couple of groceries before starting this – and hit upon a bit of a moral dilemma. Here’s the thing – I’m completely unfamiliar with chili sauce. Do you know anything about it? Use it regularly? I mean I’ve never – in my life – purchased or tasted the stuff. Here I stand in the aisle at WinCo debating the choice between Heinz and the “Homemade Chili Sauce” – the latter, as you can see from the photo below – I ended up choosing. I ended up spending a little more – BUT – the real shoe in for this one is the fact that there was no HFCS in it. Gold star for the makers!

So pretty easy ingredients, right?

Oops – forgot to include the Worcestershire sauce in the picture! Here it is. And I choose this one – once again – because there is no evil HFCS in it.

I just used my handy chopper for the onions and celery:

I love this thing!

Then I browned the ground beef – which had virtually NO fat on it – so I skipped the draining step; and then I threw the beef and veggies into the Crock Pot.

And then I dumped in the chili sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and black pepper. Seriously – took maybe five minutes to do all of that. Just gave it a good stir – and voila!

At that point all that there was left to do was set the heat on the Crock Pot on low, throw on the lid, and move on with my schedule for a very, very busy day!

Went about my business – and later that afternoon after a lovely second interview with the very nice place I’d interviewed with previously – I walked into the house and smelled a wonderful smell – the Sloppy Joes!

“Hooray!” thought I. “They smell great – I’ll bet we love them!”

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I will say – for ease of preparation – total gold star. These are a cinch to throw together, and then to put them in the Crock Pot and not have to worry about it until time to serve – lovely. We served them on hamburger buns; William, of course, added cheese to his. Jonathan actually had to leave for basketball practice before dinner time – I offered him one before he left and he looked at me with this horrified look on his face and said, “I DO NOT eat Sloppy Joes. It looks like dog food!”

Have I ever mentioned that my boys are picky eaters?

I will point out – however, that they look NOTHING like the food our dog gets fed. I don’t know what the kid is thinking of!

ANYWAY, when John and I, Jessica and William sat down to eat – we had the following thoughts about this recipe:

John: It’s too sweet. WAY too sweet. If we were to make it again – totally eliminate the sugar. In fact, next time we make it – we ought to just use the canned sauce.

Me: It’s too sweet. It’s okay. But, well…. Not sure I’d want to serve this for a meal again in the future.

Jessica: Well, they’re okay – but, well, they’re camp food! (Remembering she worked at camp all summer long and didn’t especially love the food.)

William: I HATE Sloppy Joes. Cheese doesn’t even make them any better. YUCK!

So – consensus: we’re never making these again!

It was a good idea in theory – in practical reality, not so much!

Back to the drawing board!

Catching up…

What a couple of weeks it’s been!

First – my desktop computer – it croaked. No warning whatsoever. One minute it was working beautifully – the next, dead as a doornail. Thankfully I have a rocking warranty on it, and so I called the Dell folks, spent copious amounts of time on the phone with tech support, they had me try pretty much everything short of standing on my head and juggling oranges – and deduced they needed to send out replacement parts and a tech. They overnighted parts, the tech arrived with the parts – I held my breath in anticipation – would it work?!


So… the tech calls tech support, reports the outcomes, they decide to send MORE parts. But, of course, it’s the weekend before a major holiday, and so a WHOLE WEEK goes by before said tech calls again and reports he’s got the parts and wants to come by. I said, “By all means!” I mean HELLO! I’m addicted to my computer. May as well cut off my left foot without it! So he comes by, he replaces said parts – I held my breath in anticipation – would it work?


EGAD! So then they say – “Um… well… We’re basically gonna have to replace your computer!” Which, in theory, sounds great – right? New computer, 2 years into the rocking warranty. (Thank you Jesus that the hard drive is in good order!) Right?! But get this: 2 to 3 weeks to receive said replacement computer.


So, I’m pretty much just limping along on the laptop. THANK YOU LORD JESUS for the laptop! Oh, and the wireless network! BUT – all of my files – everything – are on the hard drive of that desktop, and well, yeah – it’s been a little bit traumatic.

So forgive me for my absence – not having the desktop has sent me for more than one loop! (Okay – yeah, I get it! I’m an addict – a computer addict! I know! I just don’t see anything to do other than embrace it!)


The laundry room sink – original to the house (aka VERY old) – you know, the old cement kind? Cracked. Big time. And then a bit of a flood ensued. And the landlord had to be called, and stuff had to be replaced. Praise the Lord for good landlords!


The washing machine broke. Had to get that fixed. Praise the Lord that happened on a pay day – and while it hurt to pay the $163 to fix it – it got fixed. Cause, honestly, I’m about as addicted to my washing machine as I am my computer! Thank you Jesus!


Brace yourself…

(John visiting me in the hospital this summer.)

Remember how I was pretty much sick all summer long? (Well, honestly, it was since April 24th, to be specific.) And how I was in and out of the hospital May to September? And how the last time I was discharged from the hospital they had me go NPO (nothing by mouth) and sent me home with IV antibiotic infusions five times a day and TPN (IV nutrition) for 16 hours each day?

Yeah, I remember, too.

Well, on the 18th of November (the day the computer crashed) I went for a follow-up Upper GI. Guess what we learned!!





So, 9 weeks to the day from the time I went NPO (September 19th, 2009) I took my first sips.

It was soup broth – nothing earth shaking – unless, of course, you’ve just spent 9 weeks ingesting NOTHING! I spent that Friday through Tuesday doing liquids, and then on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the wonderful Dr. Zelko (my amazing surgeon here in town who takes such great care of me) called and gave me the go ahead to eat whatever the heck I wanted to! I like Dr. Zelko so much! J

Great timing, huh?

Needless to say, Thanksgiving was full of lots of reasons to give thanks!

(Great-Grandma’s Toffee Cookies – for Thanksgiving, of course! Famiily tradition lives on!)

We had a great get together with family early in the day, and had the great privilege of getting to have a second Thanksgiving celebration in the evening with our very dear friends.

I got off easy – I brought the dinner rolls! I will concede they were pretty darn yummy.

Oh! And my African violet – which I’ve never had success keeping alive in the past – did this:


In the midst of all of this – life has continued to go on.


Jonathan (the goofy kid on the right)… drum roll, please…


Woo Hoo!

We are SO proud of him!

His first game was Tuesday night – they creamed the opposition – 68 to 30-something. Go team!

And like…

Our girl Jessica – who unbelievably enough is a Senior this year (How?! Where did the time go?!) has…

  1. Been accepted to one college.
  2. Gotten her applications, essays, scores, etc. submitted to all of the rest of the colleges she wanted to apply to.
  3. Concluded she will likely go nuts waiting to hear the outcomes of said applications!

I, on the other hand, will try not to freak out about the fact that my BABY is in our home for the last Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years’, etc. as a kid… She will soon be out on her own. Sniff… I miss her already.


William continues to be William – or ahem – BiL, as his friends know and love him – and give us all great cause to smile – and laugh out loud – just being who he is – a really, really cool kid.

In the Hip Chick Chronicles part of life, the 2009 Chicks are growing up!

Our flock has settled right at 30 girls. We were averaging about 10 or 12 eggs a day until we kept them shut in the chicken yard for about a week and taught them WHERE they are supposed to lay their eggs. We had a 20 egg day the other day – amazing!

Crayon has recovered from her molt and is no longer naked! Good thing, too – it’s been downright cold, and is supposed to be bordering on frigid in the coming week!

Scarlet – at the grand old age of 8 months old – has decided she wants to be a Mommy. She’s been broody for nearly a week now. If it were summer I’d buy fertilized eggs and let her set them. But the dead of winter? I think not.

Scarlet, by the way, was once deemed our special needs chick. If I had my desktop here I could upload a photo that showed you how she got her name. As just a wee thing she somehow got the top part of her beak caught somewhere – and it pretty much ripped off – and when we found her – she was all bloody. One of the kids – a boy, I’d venture! – said we should name her Scarlet. Somehow it stuck. At first we worried quite a lot about her – she was underweight compared to the other girls her age. But she’s compensated JUST FINE, thank you very much. She’s actually quite sweet and I believe would be great Mommy material. I keep wondering if we should have her bottom beak trimmed, though – it seems so weird that her beak is so uneven!

She’s a Cuckoo Maran, by the way, who lays the most gorgeous deep chocolate brown eggs – when she’s not broody! The copper coloring along her head and neck is so pretty. There is such a thing as a Copper Cuckoo Maran – I’ve wondered if that’s what she is!

AND, maybe most potentially world-rocking of all…

It has become quite obvious that we need additional income.

We’ve scrimped.

We’ve eliminated perks.

We’ve given stuff up.

And it’s just not enough.

So I’m looking for a job.

I actually got called for an interview. We’ll see what – if anything – comes of it. It was for a wonderful place, with very nice people, doing a job that I believe I would be very good at. I could be quite content with said job!

So lots to thank the Lord for.

As always.

Gosh, it’s good to be His!

Wow! What a gift!

A little over a week ago I was the recipient of a very generous gift.

[My great-great aunt, Nancy Kitchens Overby, on the far left. Isn’t she pretty?]

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve made a goal of doing a better job of passing along the information that I’ve been the very fortunate recipient of regarding our family history. I have kids, nieces, and nephews, in-laws – not to mention cousins, aunts, and uncles – all of whom have expressed an interest in knowing more about the treasure trove that I have housed on the hard drive of my computer and the filing cabinets in the pantry.

I had every intention of making a weekly post to this blog on this very topic.

Then I got sick. Really sick. Like months long sick.

Funny how the best of plans are so easily derailed.

I had mentioned previously, as well, earlier in the year I had a 14-day free trial subscription to Ancestry.com – giving me access to some really incredible research records. John and I had this secret hope that we might be able to somehow scrimp together and come up with the $30 a month we’d need to pay for an actual subscription to the level of service that we’d need/want to be able to continue to access international records (which we’d like to be able to do since his grandfather was born in Scotland) – but we just couldn’t do it. Not in good conscience anyway. So, the combination of my illness and lack of quick and easy access to research tools pretty much sidelined my intentions.

[Earnest Sylvester Barrett, my great-grandfather, with my great-aunt and uncle.]

When I was finally sent home from the hospital, almost a month ago, I was sent home with home nursing care, since I have a PICC line, was doing IV antibiotic infusions, and am NPO and on TPN for 6 weeks – requiring weekly blood draws, etc. It’s so nice to have the nurses come to my home and take care of all of the things that need taken care of! What a blessing!

The nurse who is in charge of my case is a really sweet lady. We share a common faith, are interested in many of the same things, and have both traveled internationally quite a lot. Then we found out we shared an interest in genealogy! I was laughingly telling her about my 14-day free trial and how many hours of sleep I did without in order to cram as much research time in while I could, when she got the most interesting look on her face. She picked up a piece of paper, wrote two things down on it, handed it to me and said, “Would you like to share my Ancestry account?”


“Are you kidding?” I asked her.

“No – I don’t get as much time researching as I’d like to, and I’d love to have you be able to share in using it. This is the user name and password. I hope you have great success and enjoy it.”


What a blessing!

Thank you so much C! You are amazing!

[Christine Barrett Courtney, my paternal grandmother.]

To be honest, I’m a little blown away. What a kind, generous, thoughtful gift! I am so excited to jump in and move forward with research.

Right now I’m formulating my plan of attack. What to start with!

I’ve been online nosing around a bit, trying to determine where to start, and I’ve got to be honest – it’s easy to lose huge chunks of time to this pursuit. I’ve got to be wise about time management, as well.

John thinks I should set an appointment on my calendar to block time out for research. I think he’s one of the smartest guys on the planet. I think I’ll do just that.

So I’m excited.

I’m getting healthier. I have a little more stamina. And I’m beginning to heal up.

I can’t promise a once a week genealogy-themed blog post quite yet, but that’s my goal for when I’m all healed up and not such a wuss on the energy exertion front.

In the meantime, I’ll start digging out those juicy details to lure the kids in with again! Gotta get them sucked into genealogy, too! [mwaaa haaaa haaa….]