30 Questions You May Not Know To Ask

Photo Credit: Sorayanulliah blog

Photo Credit: Sorayanulliah blog

Everyone who has ever lived has one.

It separates us from all others and can often make us stand out in a crowd. But sadly many don’t know their’s, or if it even matters. I’m talking about your family’s story. I was privileged to have a mom who loved researching our family’s story. I could ask her any question and if she didn’t know the answer, she would go to work trying to find it. I loved that about her.

But I didn’t always. There was a time when I found our family history quite boring. Didn’t we all? You may still think this subject boring, but please don’t click away from this post just yet. 

Here’s the plan. Starting on Monday, April 1st, I’m going to take part in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post one question each day for the entire month.

UBC-banner2

It will be a probing question about your story. You may already know the answer to it, and if you do, I invite you to share it with me using the comment button. If you don’t know the answer to the day’s question, then ask someone in your family who may know it. Taking one question per day will make the process easy to do, even for the busiest among us.

I hope you’ll sign up for my blog, so every day you’ll get the daily question in your inbox. This will make the challenge easy for you to remember, and it will make me happy to have more followers–call me sentimental! 🙂

Finally, I want to share with you the following music video by Brandon Heath, titled Paul Brown Petty. Brandon is an excellent story teller whom I had the privilege of meeting and seeing live in concert last year in Gainesville, FL. This song is off of his latest album, Blue Mountain. Once you listen, I think you’ll understand why I chose to share it with you. Enjoy…

Something To Ponder

Photo Credit: jordipostales on Flickr

Photo Credit: jordipostales on Flickr

Today would have been Grace’s 124th birthday. And more people know her story and care about what happens to her next than she ever could have imagined. I hear it all the time…when are you going to write the next book? My plans are to begin soon. Since my mother passed away I have found much inspiration from her boxes of genealogy research papers. Here are few things I’ve found:

  • a picture of one of William and Grace’s sons when he was 2. She had it mounted under a clear paper weight. It is fading now, but I would love to try and get it restored.
  • Uncle Bud’s family bible complete with his handwriting marking the births, marriages and deaths of family members.
  • Grace’s journal of a trip she and William took out west.
  • A turquoise and silver indian belt.
  • Mary Elizabeth Ishmael’s crystal candy dish.
  • A tiny porcelain cup that Sarah Kirwin gave to Grace when she was 12.

It has been exciting to discover these items, but it comes with such sadness. I can no longer call my mom for answers to questions I have. I’m on my own when it comes to writing book two. It won’t be the same. I will miss Mom with each page I write, but knowing she read and enjoyed Through The Eyes Of Grace before she passed away thrills my heart! And to think…she’s in Heaven with my grandmother telling her all about it.

Now that is something to ponder, isn’t it?

Questions For Grace

Questions for Grace

I’ve added a new page at the top titled, Questions for Grace. I invite you to bring any questions you have regarding her story, advice or thoughts.  Life speeds by so fast we rarely have the time to sit and talk with our elders about things which matter most. How I wish I had done this with Grace while she was still alive, but I was only 19.

Who in your life could answer questions about your family’s history? Even if you’re not interested now, you probably will be some day. Don’t neglect the opportunity you have today to sit and chat about the past. There is great wisdom to glean from our elders, but they won’t share it with us unless we ask them good questions. Maybe your elders are all gone, and you’ve no one left to ask. Well, make sure you leave answers for those coming behind you. Use the questions provided at the back of my book to write in your own journal your story. There could be no greater gift than this.

What questions would you ask Grace today?

Prologue Part Two

Photo Credit: http://www.ehow.com

Today I’m sharing the last part of my book’s Prologue. I pray it will draw you to want to read more. In case you missed the first half you can read it here.

I was trapped.  As I plopped into the black leather seat, something crunched beneath me.  It was the gift I had seen on the table! I couldn’t deal with it, so I tossed it aside, not interested in the who or the why questions that had incensed me before the service.

Mama picked up the gift, “Gracelyn, this is for you.  Don’t you want to open it?”

“Um, no! Not now.”

“Why on earth not?”

“Oh, Mama! It’s just not right.”

“Gracelyn, I insist.  The giver may be at the dinner.  You’ll want to be sure to thank them.  I really think it best to open it now.”

Mama usually had the last word, and this time was no exception.  I had learned it was best to do as she said.  Picking up the gift I slowly ripped the paper away, revealing a stained wooden box smelling much like the old church we had just left.  Lifting the lid I discovered a worn out leather journal.

“What’s this?” I asked casually, hoping my excitement didn’t show.

“I’ve seen this before; why, it belonged to Mama.  See the engraving – Grace Stella Oswalt?”

As I opened the cover a note fell on the floor.  I picked it up to find Big Mama’s handwriting addressed to me.  The brief excitement drained from my fingertips as if the dead were calling my name.

“M-Mama, you read it.”  She took the slip of paper from my hand.

Dear Gracelyn,

I am an old woman now, and time is running out for me to share with you my story.  I’ve waited for you to ask, but now the waiting ends.  You are my youngest granddaughter, and one who reminds me so much of myself.  It is my prayer that as you read this journal you will grow in your understanding of who you are and to whom you belong.  Your life is not your own to live as you want.  I learned this the hard way, and I pray this journal will help you after I am long gone.  Read it well and remember although life is brief, love is forever.

Affectionately,

Big Mama

I sat there in disbelief as the limo came to a stop.  I wasn’t sure if I was happy to have this gift or angry she singled me out as needing special help.  Maybe it was a little of both, but as hard as it was to admit, I was comforted.

As we filed out of the limo and gathered around Big Mama’s grave, the familiar hymn began to play once more.  This time my voice sang through the tears to the grandmother I loved.

Amazing Grace how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me

I once was lost but now I’m found

Was blind but now I see.

My grandmother had offered me her hand with this gift, allowing me to see and learn about life through her eyes.  That night, alone in my room I opened the musty journal and began to read.