Wednesday, February 22, 2012

It's in the Genes!

When I was growing up, while we were in evangelism, my Dad enjoyed tracing our family tree. We would go to libraries in lots of little towns as we travelled and Dad would continue his search. Sometimes he would come out and tell us about the person he'd learned about. I always thought it was so neat.

Now that I'm older, I decided that I wanted to trace it too. So, several months ago, I asked Mom and Dad to help me start the tree and they gave me all the information they could remember about their families and I put the information on a tree at This week, I decided to really start looking harder and it has been an amazing journey...with much more to learn. However, so far, this is just a bit of what I've learned...

On my Mom's side, I have traced part of the line back 21 generations to 1328 in Scotland. Along the way, I've come across that we have a line of Lords and Lady's that begins in 1358, a minister in the family (born 1789), we also have relatives from Ireland and England, and sadly I have an Uncle who was drawn and quartered in 1548 though I don't know why. Now that is just disturbing! Looks like the first Barrett (my mom's Maiden name) to come to the US was James Barrett who was born in Ireland in 1715 and his wife Hannah who was born in Scotland in 1720.

On my Dad's side, I've traced part of the line back 18 generations to 1378. We are from Welsh and English descent on the James side of the tree. Looks like the first James to come to the US was John James in 1673 from Wales (found his travel papers). Since Jamestown was founded in 1609, that means my family was here almost at the beginning of the United States. That's pretty cool! Though...oddly enough, there don't seem to be any actual James' in Jamestown. :-) At least not from our line. I also found the Last Will and Testament of Captain John James (died 1778) and it was quite and interesting read. I believe he was in the Revolutionary war, but I'm not certain, though I'm pretty sure some of his sons were.

I've also discovered that my family seems to have the travelling bug from WAY back. No wonder we've still got ichy feet. It's literally in our genes to travel about it seems. :-)

If you've never traced you tree, I would encourage you to do so. I've still got a long way to go, but WOW, I find something new out about my family nearly everytime I look.

We study the history of our country and of the world in school, but we often lose track of our own personal history. That seems so sad to me because we can learn an awful lot from those who have come before us. So, I'll keep digging! Who knows what I might find. Some of it may be exciting, some it will certainly be sad (like some things I've already found...I'm not at all proud that some of my relatives were slave owners...turns my stomach to think abou that.), but it is all my history and it has all gone into the forming of the person that I am today. So, the search continues!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Blessing of Friendship

So, the last few days I've been somewhat nostalgic. It happens to me from time to time. This time it was brought on by looking at some old pictures on Facebook. I've always been one to take lots of pictures and I love looking at them. They help me remember all the wonderful people and places I've been blessed to know over the years.

I'm about to have a birthday in a little over a week and while I am not one who generally worries about growing old, when my birthday rolls around, I do often take a little time to reminise about the days gone by. When I do, I find that I have been blessed more than I could ever deserve with friendships that have stood the test of time.

First I was blessed to have a small group of friends who never seemed to lose track of me no matter how many times my family moved. If you've ever had to move often in your childhood you understand what a rare gift that is. Sara, Audra, Stacy, Janell and Jason will always be special to me and very dear friends because they have always been my friends no matter how far away I was from them. They have known me the longest...and they still like me. :-)

I was in 5 public schools and was homeschooled as well. In all those public schools I met amazing people. Thankfully I still get to keep up with some of them through Facebook. What a blessing that is.

In college I met some of the most amazing, talented, and loyal friends that I could have ever imagined. I couldn't possibly list all the wonderful people who touched my life during those years. I loved cheering on our soccer team, hanging out with my Music Business classmates, being apart of Student Government, having parties (usually in the same room of Jernigan where SGA met or in Benson Lobby), Watching X-Files with friends on Sunday nights while eating Little Ceasars Pizza, attending/being in weddings, spending time with my amazing roommates (Krista and Lisa), Choir tour fun, and of course who could forget that marathon 8 night recording session to get my Senior Project done in a studio that wasn't always quite operational. Sam, I'm pretty sure you and Derick pulled off a miracle that week for which I am very grateful.

God blessed me with friendships in churches across the miles. From other Pastor's Kids (like the Fountains, the Brummets, the Freys and more) to staff members that I have been blessed to serve along side (Muncie Southside, Liberty Towers, Jefferson City, and now North Vernon) or other ministers on the District's where I've served (NEI, Sacramento, Missouri, Indianapolis) and the countless people in the churches where I have attended or served. New friends have been added to my life that I can't imagine not knowing because while we have known each other a relatively short time (can it really be less than 5 years?) they have become people that I depend upon, lean on, love and trust so much.

While my parents were missionaries, I got to meet some of their students and now count the students of the Shangalia Choir as friends as well.

As I look back on my life, I am humbled by the blessing of friendships that God has granted me. Friendships that I hope to continue to foster and grow.

Thank you Lord, for the amazing blessing that you give us through our friends. May we never take them for granted.