"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


I mentioned my 14-year-old nephew at the end of my last post. His DNA results were the only family members' DNA still not reported. Well, those came in finally so I will post them along with pictures I found on my computer - or I downloaded this morning off Facebook.  Enjoy seeing my sweetie - and some of his family!

Me and Michael

Checking out Uncle Daniel

my brother, Michael's Uncle Daniel

First Halloween - 8 months old

Michael's mom, my sister

Ninja Mike

Bagel and Michael

Michael with his dad and dog

Will''s brother Juan visited the family from Venezuela five years ago

Tia Mari

He wanted to sleep on the balcony at the beach
The best cousin picture I could get - 2015

at Myrtle Beach with us in August 2016

With the prop Will made for VBS at their church

My nephew is the one with the horse head

Michael at church camp 2016

DNA Results

Africa 3%
Trace Regions 3%
Africa North 3%

America 14%
Native American 14%

Europe 77%
Iberian Peninsula 35%
Europe West 24%
Italy/Greece 8%
Great Britain 6%

Trace Regions 4%
Ireland 4%
West Asia 6%

Trace Regions  6% 
Caucasus 4%
Middle East 2%

Friday, September 30, 2016

Italians, Greeks, Irish - oh my!

Last month I had fun receiving and analyzing my surprising DNA results.  Since then, Andrew had himself tested, and he came back thinking he is from British royalty. He's even tried out a few British accents around the house, but it's hard to cover his southern one!

I also got my parents tested.  I was curious which one of them surprised me with that 35% from Italy and Greece.  I had a hunch it was my mom because, rightly or wrongly, I think of Italians and Greeks looking more like she does: dark brown or black hair, dark eyes, more olive complexion.  I was pretty sure the Irish part (my second highest at 26%) was from my dad.  We both share fairer skin, bluer eyes, and he has two sisters with red hair.

I mean wouldn't you assume the same?

my mom
my dad on the right

my parents with Pop (her dad)
my dad with his darling firstborn

later we were a family of six

But last night their DNA test results came back, and I saw them this morning.


Africa 1%
Trace Regions 1%
 Africa North 1%

Asia < 1%
Trace Regions  < 1%
 Asia South < 1%

Europe 83%
Italy/Greece 47%
 Ireland 13%
Europe West 9%

 Trace Regions 14% 
 Europe East 6%
Great Britain 3%
Iberian Peninsula 3%
Scandinavia 1%
 European Jewish 1%

West Asia 15%
Caucasus 14%

Trace Regions  1% 
Middle East 1%


Africa < 1%
Trace Regions< 1%
 Africa North < 1%

Asia < 1%
Trace Regions < 1%
Asia Central < 1%

Europe 98%
Europe West 28%
Ireland 26%
 Great Britain 23%
 Iberian Peninsula 8%
Scandinavia 7%

Trace Regions  6%
Europe East 2%
Italy/Greece 2%
Finland/Northwest Russia 2%

The only other family member who took the test was my 14 year old nephew. I am interested in seeing Michael's results in the coming days! 

Apparently, I really need an updated picture of him on my computer.

Michael and Will, a few years ago

Thursday, September 29, 2016

September Books

The Bishop's Daughter by Wanda E. Brunstetter -- book three in the series I began last month; This book follows the stories of Leona, the Amish school teacher, and Jimmy Scott who was introduced to readers in book one.

Walking the Himalayas by Levison Wood -- in the new books section of the library; Interesting story of Lev's journey through several countries

With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden -- A great story about a couple of former classmate rivals, Trevor and Kate, who meet again years later to work on a cure for tuberculosis.  I found this book while visiting an area library (not the one I usually go to).  I enjoyed it, and want to look for others from this author.

The Imposter by Suzanne Woods Fisher -- I sure have found a lot of Amish-based books this year, huh?  I was in an area library, and found this one.  "The Bishop's Family" series apparently. It was in the new books section along with book 2.  This book follows the life of David, recently widowed, and his Amish community and family in Stoney Ridge, Pennsylvania. 

Vietnam, Now by David Lamb -- I received this book for Christmas, and enjoyed learning more about life in Vietnam when the author lived there for four years around 2000.  I wonder how this country has changed since then.
These were some things I shared on Facebook: 

I'm reading a book about a journalist who went to Vietnam during the American war, and went back again decades later. He said after "where are you from?" most people asked about his age (in order to figure out which form of "you" to use*), and how many children he has. Not having any children was attached with "sorrow - and sometimes bad luck." He got so tired of the expressions of sympathy and trying to explain why he had no children despite being happily married for many years, that he adopted a fictional family, and told inquiring Vietnamese that Sebastian** and Aileen** were back in the US and both had recently married. "'Ah' they'd say, 'A boy and a girl. Perfect. You are very lucky.'" (pg. 61)

* "the Vietnamese language has more than twenty words for 'I' and doesn't have a simple word for 'you'; age and status defines one's relationship and how people address each other."

**names that, "conveniently," the Vietnamese had difficulty pronouncing

"'We had to study French history in those days. We studied the French Revolution, and we'd say, "If the French can do it, why can't we?" That's the irony. The French inspired us how to make a revolution against France." -- a Vietnamese man, Pham Xuan An, talking to an American journalist living in Vietnam (pg. 83)

"On my desk was a Who's Who of Vietnam directory that covered 147 pages; fifty-nine pages were filled with people named Nguyen, Le, or Tran." Those being family names. (pg. 112)

One of the important lessons of the war with Vietnam -- "that airpower alone doesn't guarantee victory and that military might is often no match for nationalism.  As many as 2 million men walked to war over the Ho Chi Minh Trail between 1959 and 1975."  (pg. 244)  One man I read about earlier in the book said he left home in Hanoi kissing his wife and children goodbye.  He fought and returned to them after almost ten years.  He didn't see them at all during that time!

The Wheel of Life: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross, M.D. -- my mom actually read this and recommended it to me. She said it was good, but "a little weird" and I totally agree with that assessment.  Except some parts I'd say were very weird (to me) since I'm not really into speaking with guides and spirits and stuff that, frankly, I was taught was something we shouldn't do. (Look at King Saul, for example).  I do believe in a spirit world, demons, and angels, the devil, and all that, but still struggle (?) with wanting anything to do with them outside of the Holy Spirit.  Anyway, what a fascinating woman!

The Next Better Place by Michael C. Keith -- I was amazed at the detail this guy remembered from when he was 11 and 12 years old and went on the road with his wandering, alcoholic father.  Usually in traveling memoirs, people mention notes or blogs or journals so I realize they can keep track of what they did and whom they met.  I find it hard to believe that a preteen boy would do such a thing.  So, I took some of these stories with a grain of salt, not doubting that he experienced many of these situations, but maybe they didn't happen exactly as told. And that's OK.  It was a pretty good story.

The Quieting by Suzanne Woods Fisher -- book 2 of the series mentioned above.  The library had both in the new book section.  This one continued the tale of David's family with the addition if his nieces and very meddlesome mother coming to stay awhile. 

Where Courage Calls by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan -- Many, many years ago, I read Janette Oke books, and when I saw some news books - actually a Return to the Canadian West series - I decided to check them out.  I guess I don't mind hearing about teachers from the East traveling to rougher areas in the West, and seeing how they cope with totally new lifestyles. 

The Inheritance by Tamera Alexander -- McKenna and her rebellious younger brother Robert leave Missouri after losing nearly everything in order to begin a new life with their cousin and her family.   Only things aren't quite right in Copper Creek, Colorado, either.  In fact, things are terrible, and McKenna ends up having to parent another child. 

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman -- I saw this book highly recommended on Facebook by Nancy's mom (although I'm not FB friends with her; someone tagged me in a comment so...).  This isn't a book I probably would have picked up on my own, but apparently enough people liked it as it had a lot of holds on it when I put it on hold at the library.  I read it all in one day.  A good story.  Really grew on me because during the first several pages I was like, Huh? do I want to continue with this?  But I did, and I'm glad. 

Where Trust Lies by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan -- book two in the Return to the Canadian West series.  In this book Beth returns from the year she spent teaching in Coal Valley, and she reluctantly joins her mom and sisters on a six-week cruise through the Maritime Provinces and to the United States. 

Where Hope Prevails by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan -- book three follows Beth and her family again

The Ones Who Matter Most by Rachael Herron -- The story of Abby whose husband dies unexpectedly and then she discovers he had a family before they were married.  She wanted to meet her husband's former wife and the son she never knew existed ... so she goes to their house.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Andrew's DNA Results

Andrew got his DNA results in this evening.   He was hoping for Russian because he and Michael always talk about Andrew's Uncle Tuckishki who invented practically *everything!* But he also has been saying he was from royalty and this - to him - proves it. Ha! 

Europe 99%

Great Britain 81% -- includes England, Scotland, and Wales -- this was my third highest
Range: 61%-100%

Scandinavia 8%

Trace Regions 10%

Ireland 3% -- this was my second highest

Europe East 3%

Iberian Peninsula 2%

European Jewish < 1%

Italy/Greece < 1% -- this was my highest

Europe West < 1%

This was also interesting to me:
How Andrew Tuck compares to the typical person native to the Great Britain region
Andrew Tuck 81%
Typical native 60%

Thursday, September 1, 2016

August Books

Indonesia Etc. by Elizabeth Pisani  -- a great way to learn more about this collection of islands, the people and cultures that make up this country, and that they actually produce asphalt naturally there (like dig it out of the ground; pg. 178)!  Who knew? 

A Hopeful Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer  -- This story follows Aunt Hattie's school for young women of the East who have come to the Kansas prairie in order to learn how to become good rancher wives. Apparently the author met a lady on an Alaskan cruise who had come to such a school (!) thus the inspiration for this book.

Courting Miss Amsel by Kim Vogel Sawyer-- The story of a lady who comes to a small community in Nebraska to teach the local children...only some people are critical of her new ways of teaching.

Jimmy by Robert Whitlow -- Different from most books I've read; this book looks at life through the eyes of a young teen with a lower-than-normal IQ.  A pretty good story about his adventures with his grandpa, his mom and dad, and the assignments he enjoys as he helps others.

Ten Girls to Watch by Charity Shumway -- I like the main character in this book, and the way she pursued her dream of writing, and worked her way into a (very slightly) better-paying job.  

A Whisper of Peace by Kim Vogel Sawyer -- It's not that I find these books the most interesting or terribly compelling, but they are easy-reading and .. sweet, I guess.  Since I've been reading several of her books lately, I figure why not read 'em all?  This book takes place in Alaska when a brother and sister missionary couple goes to an Athabascan village to teach.

Song of My Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer -- When her family needs help after her father is badly injured in a mining accident, Sadie travels from Indiana to join her cousin Sid in Kansas.  Not only does he have a job lined up for her in the local mercantile, he mentions the community's opera house - a real draw for a woman who loves singing!

When Hope Blossoms by Kim Vogel Sawyer -- Imagine leaving your strick Mennonite faith and making your way in the world, and then a widowed Mennonite and her three children buy the property next to yours. Well, this is what happened to Tim in this book.  Poor fella.  

A Sister's Secret by Wanda E. Brunstetter -- book one in the Sister of Holmes County series; I picked up this easy-read at the library when I had about one minute to find a book.  It's the story of Grace who lived among the English during her rumschpringe (running-around years), and came back to her faith with some secrets that she didn't share with her family.  

The Arabs: Journeys Beyond the Mirage by David Lamb -- this book has a copyright of 1987, but it has been updated a bit because the author mentions September 11, 2001.  It needs to be updated again since the chapters on the stability in the Middle East and Khadafi's Green Book, and rule of Saddam Hussein are over.  I enjoyed reading more about these people and the various Arab countries pre-all this stuff going on now.  The author lived in Cairo for four years so he traveled throughout the region.  I am really not familiar with him except for the fact that I was ordering books last year about people who biked across the US, and Amazon recommended his book.  Then I saw in there that he'd lived in Africa, Vietnam, the Arab world, and decided to check out some of those books.

A Sister's Test by Wanda E. Brunstetter -- This is book 2 in the Sisters of Holmes County series, and follows the second sister Ruth although the rest of the family is mentioned as well. It's actually more of a continuation of book one where some family issues weren't resolved.

A Sister's Hope by Wanda E. Brunstetter -- The final book in the above-mentioned series.  This book continues the story, but follows more of Martha's story as she continues her business and the family finally gets some answers about the person who has been vandalizing their properties for years.

A Home in Drayton Valley by Kim Vogel Sawyer --  New York City is too big and dirty for ailing Mary and her family.  Tarsie has a plan to help the family move to the wide open spaces in Kansas.  Will Joss be willing to leave his home and work for the sake of his wife?  Will Mary survive the journey? And how will befriending former slaves impact the family?

What Once Was Lost by Kim Vogel Sawyer -- When the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor is damaged by fire, Christina has to place her charges in homes throughout the community until the "poor farm" can be repaired.  This story deals with her struggles in doing this, and how the residents change as they are out in the community. 

The Storekeeper's Daughter by Wanda Brunstetter -- the first in the Daughters of Lancaster County series.  A good read while I was on my way to the beach and some while I was there and riding home.  It's about a young Amish woman who has to take over the household chores, raising her younger siblings, and working at her parents' store after her mom is struck by a car and dies on the way to the hospital.

To a Mountain in Tibet by Colin Thubron -- a look at British man's journey to Kailas and his description of the journey, and pilgrims, and things they do along the way. I found the topic of burying the dead interesting: burial being for those who died by plagues or those who were criminals,"to seal them underground is to prevent their reincarnation and to eliminate their kind for ever."  For the destitute, "corpses tipped into Tibet's rivers."  "Embalmment is granted to the highest lamas alone, while the less grand are cremated and their ashes encased in stupas."  Sky burial is for the others.  Among many things described in the process is this:  "Then the corpse's back is broken and it is folded into a foetal bundle.  ... As the corpse approaches, the sky master blows his horn and a fire of juniper twigs summons the vultures.  The master and his rogyapa corpse-dissectors then open the body from the back. They remove the organs, amputate the limbs and cut the flesh into small pieces, which they lay nearby. The bones are pulverised with a rock. The master mixes their dust with yak butter or tsampa, roasted barley, and then rolls it into balls.  Finally the skull too is smashed and becomes a morsel with its brains. One by one these are tossed on to a platform - the bones first, for they are the least appetising - and the vultures crowd in."    (pg. 151)  They want the vultures to accept it all! 

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult -- the story of thirteen-year-old Anna, life-long donor to her sister Kate who was diagnosed with leukemia at age 2. Such a touching, sad story.  Ugh...cancer. Just ugh.

The Quilter's Daughter by Wanda E. Brunstetter -- book two in the Daughters of Lancaster County series.  This book has many of the same characters from book 1, but focuses more on Fannie's daughter, Abby, as Abby leaves home in Ohio to help her mom in Pennsylvania for a few months.  An easy read, and I pretty much predicted what would happen before I read the first page. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Ancestry DNA Kits and Family Pictures

Ancestry offered their kits 20% off again last week so I asked my family if anyone wanted one.  My mom ordered one, and my sister got one although she's not decided which of them she wants to test first.  She'd like to test all of them eventually.  Wouldn't it be interesting to see what Ancestry says my Venezuelan-born brother in law is made of?  And there is Michael who looks a lot like his father, but also favors my mom at times.  And would my sister have similar DNA results as mine?  We also ordered a kit for Andrew. He has laughed about my Italian/Greek results several times telling me that is why I love pasta and pizza and pita bread.  Also, maybe it explains why I'm not a "cold Westerner" as Samer likes to say.  Italians and Greeks are -in my thinking - known for being a bit more emotional than, say, Germans.


I wanted to post these few pictures.

The first is my mom's grandfather who was a missionary in China.

Passport photo March 1919

That's why my grandfather was born there, and why Pop's mom is buried there. She died soon after having a daughter when Pop was about five.  I learned from Ancestry that she was only 29 when she died.

The kid with the arrow is Pop, my mom's dad

Also, this is my mom's youngest brother.  My mom thinks he favors their grandfather (pictured above).


This is my mom with her brothers.
Doug, Sharon, Artie, Danny

 I know I shared this already, but here they are even younger with three friends in Africa.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

My mom's gang

My mom is the oldest child in her family. She has three brothers, Danny (in the picture: top left; big smile), Artie (top middle, blond), and Doug (middle boy at the bottom). Her middle brother posted this picture - with the caption - on Facebook the other day.  I was at my parents' house when I saw she was tagged in the picture, and she told me about these boys sitting with her and her brothers.

She said the Browns were another missionary family (different denomination), and their dad and her dad (my Pop) got along splendidly with their senses of humor.  She told of Pop playing his trumpet, and Mr. Brown playing the sax.  She also told this story which I'll copy from my uncle (slight editing) since he posted the same story in a Facebook comment.

Missionary Harold Brown and my dad were up one evening at midnight eating the only snack they could find at that hour~prunes. As they ate they heard very loud snoring coming from the guard station right under the balcony where they were eating their prunes. When they were together they sometimes acted like high school pranksters. Now, about the sleeping guard that was supposed to be awake. Well, let me say this in the most Christian way possible. The grown missionaries baptized the guard below in prune seeds (pits).

My uncle's original comment on the picture:

This was "The Ibadan/Sapelis Nigeria MK Gang". Nathaniel, Bartholomew, and Thaddeus had a dad that was outstanding in fireworks demonstration. Missionary Harold Brown could also play a mean Saxaphone. And with Missionary Dan Truax Sr on the Trumpet we had great music. What fun when Missionary families had christian fellowship.

This is just something I wanted to preserve somewhere so I chose here.