Tears

I began the following post during the holidays. I’m just now sharing it with you…

We are doing what we usually do this time of year…driving to visit our kids and grandkids who live out of town. We spent Christmas with our son in Tennessee, and now we’re heading to spend New Year’s with our daughter in Georgia.

Today, driving backroads through North Georgia, we came to an historical marker that has significance in my family.

The Trail of Tears.

It begins in South Carolina and meanders it’s way to Oklahoma—formerly known as Indian Territory until 1907 when Oklahoma became a state.

The deal was that Indians would forfeit the land they knew and loved in exchange for 160 acres of deeded land in Indian Territory, west of the Mississippi River.

My ancestors reluctantly made the trek, but due to controversies within the tribe they broke off and settled in Texas. Horn Hill to be specific.

Many indigenous people died on this trail, thus the name. But many made it to their “promised land”. Although they had many tears too.

I don’t like change.

I can’t imagine a group of settlers telling me that what was once mine is no longer so. I must now relocate to and unknown land and start anew. Yet this is what thousands of indigenous peoples did. They had no choice but to take the next step.

My grandfather and great-grandfather ended up with two 160 acre plots of land east of Jenks, Oklahoma. Their names were recorded on the Dawes rolls.

Such a legacy. I would love to hear their take on this process. I do know that they eventually mortgaged their allotted land to invest in citrus in Central Florida. It was their next step.

They moved here in 1922 and never looked back. They even allowed their land to foreclose because they loved Florida so much more.

What is the next step in your family’s journey? It may involve lots of tears, but may also come with lots of hope for a brighter tomorrow. All we can do is take the next step in faith trusting in God who leads us into His perfect plan.

A Rut Can Be A Good Thing

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I have always loved maps. Maps help you see where you are from a different perspective, and they help you get to where you want to go. Traveling without a map would be unheard of, unless you are familiar with the layout of the land.

In Grace’s day, maps weren’t readily available to the common traveler. Instead, they followed ruts in the ground using a compass to make sure they were heading in the right direction. The ruts were well-worn paths that were a good thing. It showed many people had traveled that way and they most-likely led to the next town.

The map above shows what Oklahoma territory looked like in 1905.

You can see Noble County, where Ceres (pronounced like the store–Sears) is located, as well as the Creek Nation, where Jenks is located (marked with a yellow arrow). Both towns are where my book takes place. How Grace would have loved to have had a map like this when she discovered she would be leaving everything that was familiar to her in Oklahoma Territory for her new life in Indian Territory. But she didn’t. She had to rely on the advice of those who had traveled that way before, and it was frightening.

How often we are forced to depend on the advice of those who have gone before us as we face a new normal. The Bible provides an excellent map for Christians to follow day in and day out, and the wisdom there is not a well-worn path, but a proven guide that is not limited by the time in which it was written. Maps expire. GPS systems are practically obsolete from the moment an update is finished. Time marches on and marks are made along the way. Only those who are looking for guidance find the help they need.

What are the well-worn paths in your life that you can’t do without? What paths would be best to leave behind to pursue a new way?

 

 

Officially Yours

It has been mine for the past 25 years. Ten  years ago I began the process of making it yours, and in the Fall of 2012 it will be official – officially yours that is.

I have prayed, cried, and labored over this project. I have gone from being a novice writer to a full-time writer of a blog, our neighborhood newsletter, and my own journals. The project of which I speak is my first novel titled, Through The Eyes Of Grace, and is based on the life of my grandmother. The story takes place in Oklahoma just after the turn of the 20th century. Oklahoma was called Indian Territory then, and is still home to hundreds of Native Americans today. I didn’t know her story until after she died when I was 19. I was her youngest grandchild, and how I wished I could have heard these stories from her first-hand. What lessons I could have learned from her, but at 19 I was too young to appreciate the value of asking good questions.

My Mom was her youngest daughter. Of my grandmother’s six children she outlived all of them except for her. My hope is that her story will compel you to ask good questions of your own parents and/or grandparents. My Mom says that every time someone dies a library of information is buried with them. Sadly, this is true. Unless we ask and remember their stories will be gone in one or two generations. What a gift to know those stories and pass them onto your children and grandchildren.

I’ve provided at the back of the book a list of great questions to help you get started in discovering your own family history. We all have a story, but we may not know all the details. My prayer is that you will not only enjoy reading my book, but that you will find yourself drawn to talk to loved ones about it.

Through The Eyes Of Grace is my gift to you.

If you are interested in reserving a copy of my book, simply sign up to receive my blog posts by e-mail (see right column). This will guarantee you’ll be one of the firsts to hear of it’s release. 

Blessings to you and yours,

Debi