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

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Solving a DNA-Match Mystery

If you've read my blog for a couple of years, you may remember how startled I was by my high Europe South (Italian/Greece) DNA results from Ancestry.com awhile back. Then, of course, the results were updated and I wasn't quite as Italian after all, but my dad stayed strongly Italian. I figured if my results refined to more Great Britain (which is much more understandable and likely), his should as well. That wasn't the case.

I figured it was just one of those mysteries that the Fuqua side held. Who knew if I'd ever figure it out?

But then I started contacting some of the closer cousin DNA matches which brought me some "new" cousins on the Truax, Wilkinson, Ferrell, Wilson, and other sides. I even convinced a guy from California that he was my Truax cousin, and what fun detective work that was last year!

What's been odd, though, is that some last names I'd hoped to find are absent from my list. And then there are a host of these Greek and Italian surnames showing up - a few as close family. Like close enough that they are in the same category as my nephew Michael. Yet...I have no idea who they are. And at least one of them has replied back that they are puzzled on their end as well as they've never been to the South...and they live in Ohio.

I've put more things together, and I think I've figured it out. My dad's sister did a DNA test recently, and when her results come in, I'm pretty sure that I will have more answers.

Unfortunately the responsible parties aren't alive to confirm anything, but with the DNA results plus my online sleuthing, I'm going to make the best scientific-and-mystery-solving guess that I can!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

The Death and Funeral of Rachel Held Evans

Last month I was shocked to read of Rachel Held Evans's death as her body succumbed to a terrible reaction to the flu plus a UTI plus medication. I remember reading in mid-April that she'd been hospitalized for treatment, and later her husband's updates about the medically-induced coma due to brain seizures. I remember he posted that they were going to try bringing her out of the coma, and had hopes that she'd be OK eventually.

Instead God took her home during the early hours of May 4th. Andrew and I were getting ready to go somewhere together that Saturday around noon, and I glanced at my phone while waiting for him. I was stunned at the headlines I read about her death at age 37!

I don't remember exactly why and when I came to know of Rachel Held Evans, but I have read and own two of her books.  (The others I put on my Amazon Wishlist after her death.)

In May 2013, I recorded:

Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions by Rachel Held Evans -- If you think a twenty seven year old should never write a memoir, you'd probably not enjoy this, but I read Rachel's other book last year and loved it. This book tells her spiritual journey of how she went from being a fundamentalist-type evangelical (one who knew all the answers) to someone who questioned her faith, and came to different conclusions.  I really enjoyed this book especially when she talked about pond-scum theology. I could relate to many of her thoughts.

(this book has been re-titled since I bought it) 

I remember Rachel's disclaimer about her 27-year-old self writing a memoir, but now that she's gone just ten years later ... well, I'm not sure how to feel about that. Clearly, I read the book and liked it. I want to read it again now.

A few months earlier, I recorded this about Rachel's definition of biblical womanhood after reading her first book (mentioned in this post).

All that so say, her funeral was just held yesterday. I'd hope to watch it, but we took a day trip to the mountains so I looked for the link and saw I could watch it today. Yay.

Here is the video, and the order of service and liturgy.  The PDF also gives the speakers' and singers' names. I didn't watch every minute of her funeral (it's pretty long), but I listened to Rachel's sister's eulogy if not her song to Rachel, and I enjoyed The Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber's sermon which started around the 50 minute mark. The Communion hymns were delightful to this Baptist girl's heart! And I loved the Benediction (which you can read at the above link, or listen to on the video.)

This was the beginning part of the PDF. It was a beautiful service!

Rachel Grace Held Evans 
Saturday, June 1st, 2019
 The liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy. It finds all its meaning in the resurrection. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we too shall be raised.The liturgy, therefore, is characterized by joy, in the certainty that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

This joy, however, does not make human grief un-Christian. The very love we have for each other in Christ brings deep sorrow when we are parted by death. Jesus himself wept at the grave of his friend. So while we rejoice that one we love has entered into the nearer presence of our Lord, we sorrow with those who mourn. 

The communion table is open to everyone without a single exception. You are invited to come forward and receive the bread and (non-alcoholic) juice, which, for many, is the body and blood of Christ. If you choose not to commune, you may remain seated or come forward with your arms crossed to receive a blessing. Ask your communion server for the gluten-free option, if needed.


In conclusion

I remember reading this was the ending of Rachel's final post on her blog. From March 6, 2019

It strikes me today that the liturgy of Ash Wednesday teaches something that nearly everyone can agree on. Whether you are part of a church or not, whether you believe today or your doubt, whether you are a Christian or an atheist or an agnostic or a so-called “none” (whose faith experiences far transcend the limits of that label) you know this truth deep in your bones: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return.” 

Death is a part of life. 

My prayer for you this season is that you make time to celebrate that reality, and to grieve that reality, and that you will know you are not alone. 

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.  

 -- Rachel Held Evans.

Pray for Rachel's husband, Dan, their two young children (she left behind a 3 year old son, and a little girl not quite one), her parents and sister, and many family and friends who knew her personally, and will miss her incredibly.