Welcome to Seattle, Ya’ll!

We enjoyed a glorious, relaxing and fun week in Maui.  But more on that later when I get the pictures done.

 You may recall that it started raining in Texas well before we left on our trip and a series of thunderstorms *quickly* filled up the reservoir that supplies some of our water.  It hasn’t stopped raining since then except for a few periods lasting no more than about three days at a time.  While we were in Maui, I kept getting severe weather alerts on my phone for our home area, and several friends shared about the downpours we were receiving.

2015-05-21 14.00.53

As I’m typing this post this morning after my first cup of coffee, it is 47 degrees with 90% humidity, and the high today will struggle to reach 60.  Normally, the average high for late May should be around 85 degrees, but it’s not uncommon for the temperature to go well above that, too.  So, I decided to check the average weather in the Pacific Northwest this time of year, and it seems we are right on track with Seattle’s weather in May!

So, if I never visit Seattle, at least I now what it feels like to be there in May.  And it is “loverly!” 

With more severe storms in our forecast for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, we have decided to scrap some tentative plans to go out in the RV for a little getaway, hopefully with our son coming along.  I’m not into camping during super-cell storms at all, and we are having an epic load of them these days.  Some friends of ours went to Copper Breaks State Park two weekends ago with their trailer in tow, and not long after they arrived that evening and set up, they found themselves running to the bathroom/shower building nearby to dodge an oncoming tornado.  Apparently, it absolutely rained buckets of water during that storm, along with some small hail.  We were flying out to Hawaii that day and receiving regular text updates about what “dogs” we were while they were trying to not die at Copper Breaks!  It is funny now…  ;-)  Glad they, along with their trailer and truck, are fine most of all.

You have to be tough to camp in Texas in May and June at times, and there are lots of tough people out there.  I’m just not sure I’m one of them, but kudos to them for being brave souls!

More lakes are rising dramatically, and it’s an amazing thing to witness.  “All droughts end with a flood” seems completely spot-on at this time.  Just check out a few of the lakes that have seen a dramatic increase over the past few days and weeks, especially the first one.

Lake Alan Henry

Lake Arrowhead

Lake Brownwood

It’s amazing what the rain has done for the spirits of the people in our area.  It’s like hope has finally returned and the doom and gloom of the drought may actually be behind us, at least for a while.  And right along with the lifting of spirits with the return of rain, it seems my own spirit is finally on the rise after several long, depressing months following my mother’s death.  I swear she is up there levying God to make some good things happen for me and for this area that was her home for 93 years because everything just seems to be making a 180 degree turn right now in so many ways.  It would be so like her to do that.  Always thinking of others.

I enjoyed several hours alone at a lovely spa in Hawaii while Hubby played golf, and it was a great time of reflection and peace for me.  God felt so very close as I had the unique opportunity to spend time with him in this gorgeous place.  The various health treatments must have helped the blood start flowing to my brain again, literally, and I have felt so much better physically since that day, and walking quite a bit while we were gone certainly helped, too.  The quiet time with God helped me to realize that it’s time to start moving on while remembering Mom and our good times together.  I had one teary time as I sat alone amid the beauty, but I have not cried a single tear since then.

There is too much of life left to live, and it’s time to quit wasting it on being sad.  I’m not sure what all that will mean for me going forward, but I’m ready to see what life has to bring my way.

One thing that became clear was that it is time to pursue my photography hobby once again.  I’ve put it away for too long, and the passion that God has given me for photography is going to waste in some way.  This happened *before* I even mentioned this small revelation to my Hubby.  When he told me on my birthday, the day we flew home from Hawaii, that he wanted to upgrade my camera equipment when we got home, it confirmed my earlier revelation.  God works in mysterious and glorious ways, and the blessings are flowing all around right now, for sure.  The new camera and lenses are already in hand, and I’m looking forward to new photographic experiences with them and hopefully improving my skills significantly.

IMG_6966

The drought is finally over.  Spring has returned in so many ways, and my heart is grateful for the sustaining power that saw me through it all once again. <3

D
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Wordless Wednesday – New Camera and Lenses

2015-05-19 19.26.47IMG_0003 IMG_0004a IMG_0005 IMG_0006 IMG_0008 IMG_0011 IMG_0013 IMG_0014 IMG_0015a IMG_0018 IMG_0021

D
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Birds, Bunnies, Butterflies, Bicycles and Beauty

Just over three years ago, we purchased our first RV with the hope that we could get away more often and allow Hubby to quit losing vacation days each year.  We wanted a way to be able to leave town on short notice with our dogs, get some good exercise and re-charge our “batteries” without breaking the bank in the process.  Being long-weekend RV warriors has been all we wanted and even more.

Recently, we made such a trip in the RV once again when we realized on a Thursday evening that the weekend weather was going to be beautiful and would be a nice time to go out.  All of the regular state parks that we visit were already booked, so we decided to check out a “new-to-us” state park in the RV for the first time.  We had discussed camping at this particular state park for the past couple of years, wanting to pick a good time to visit.  This was actually a perfect time to make that trip, so off we went.

Lake Colorado City

Lake Colorado City as seen at the day use area close to the boat dock

Lake Colorado City State Park is a state recreation area on the banks of Lake Colorado City.  Unfortunately, the drought of 2011 brought the lake level down, as it did so many lakes in this part of the state, and RV camping is less popular here than most state parks now for that reason.  The park sits only ten miles from I-20, a very busy interstate, so I’ve found it a bit odd that more RV travelers don’t check it out for an overnight stay.  Overnight RV sites in the nearby Permian Basin area are practically impossible to find these days due to the oil boom there, which would only seem to potentially increase some RV traffic here.  After visiting the park, there are probably more RV campers than advance reservations would suggest, with many probably just pulling in without a reservation, since they are not needed right now for the most part.

We made a quick trip in the car to check out the RV sites back in February, and we were pleasantly surprised at how nice this RV park was.  Of course, the trees are primarily mesquite trees and are lower profile for the most part, so spending time at this park in the heat of summer would not be something we would do unless the weather was cooler than normal.

Mesquite tree

Interesting mesquite at our campsite

The weather was quite beautiful while we were there on this most recent trip in the RV.  The entire area was so wonderfully green, and wildflowers were everywhere, putting on a nice show for us all over the park.  We even saw a few patches of bluebonnets, which was quite unexpected.

Here is my “Top Ten List” for reasons to camp at Lake Colorado City State Park right now, not in any particular order.  Make a special note of #10, since this is a nice option that is unique to this park from what we’ve seen.

1.  We would most definitely drive ten miles from the interstate to overnight camp here if we were traveling.  Most commercial RV parks in this general area honestly leave a lot to be desired while this one is quite nice with good spacing between sites.  Some sites are back-in and some are pull-through.  We had a water and electric pull-through site for $22 per night.  All tables have covers, and the sites are mostly level, too.  If arriving after office hours, there is a phone number to call to gain admittance, as the park is actually locked after hours.  We were given the code to the lock when we checked in, just in case we needed to leave after hours.  The park personnel are very friendly, too.

Sunrise at Camp

Sunrise across the lake at our campsite

Campsite View

View looking north from our campsite to the adjacent sites

2.  This park is a popular birding park, and over 300 species of birds have been documented here.  It is a little oasis in this area.  Even in the RV campground, there are birds everywhere, and they were quite loud in the mornings due to the sheer number of them chirping.  On one quick morning walk, I saw two roadrunners, numerous scissortails, two different kinds of quail, cardinals and several others I couldn’t identify right away.  A professional photographer and his wife were camped near us in their RV, and he was out just after sunrise taking photos of the birds and took photos for quite a while.  The park staff also conducts periodic bird watching and counting events, inviting the public to join in the day-long fun.

Roadrunner

Roadrunner on our morning walk in the campground

3.  If you like bunnies, this is your park.  In fact, there were so many cottontail rabbits in the campground that our dogs would go a little nuts every time we took them outside for a walk.  I have never seen so many bunnies in one place.  They were so cute.

Girly Girly and Bunny

Girly Girl watching one of the many bunnies

Bunny

Cottontail bunny being very quiet nearby as I took the dogs on a walk around the campground

Bunny in the Road

Bunny in the road at the campground

4.  We saw many pretty butterflies.  It made me realize that I really don’t see them too often at home anymore.  Seeing them was a real treat, even though I didn’t get a photo of them on this trip.

5.  This is a great place to ride bicycles, at least for us.  We prefer a mostly flat area to ride with only gentle hills, and this was perfect for us throughout the park and gave us a good consistent workout.  In fact, our long morning ride was one of the nicest bicycle rides we have had since we bought our new touring bikes a couple of years ago.

Bicycles

Getting ready to ride bikes at our pretty pull-through site with the lake in the distance

6.  The real treat for us on this trip was the beautiful wildflowers and prickly pear cactus which were all over the park and in the campground areas.  It was a delight to once again see beautiful flowers, just as we did on our visit last month to Lake Brownwood State Park.

White Flower Wildflowers a Wildflowers b Wildflowers c Wildflowers d Wildflowers e Wildflowers f Wildflowers g Wildflowers h Wildflowers i

7.  I suspect that most RV campers here these days are couples who are traveling and might just want a quiet place to camp for a brief stay, which keeps this park a pretty low-key place for now.  There is really no recreation on the lake except fishing and kayaking right now, and those activities take place in a different area of the park.  (The park will host a new guided kayaking program this summer, which could be a lot of fun, especially in the mornings.  They even provide the kayaks.  We may give it a try at some point, too.)  The couple camped closest to us was on a cross-country route headed to Yosemite from Florida and stopped overnight here when other state parks were full.  I suspect this is a common tale for this park.

8.  The town of Colorado City sits right on I-20 and has a big Affiliated grocery store.  It would be a great place to affordably restock groceries, whether you camp at the state park or not.  There are other places to eat in town, although we saw mostly fast food places closer to the interstate.  We are always good for a stop at Dairy Queen when traveling, though, and there is also a Sonic in town for ice cream.  No, that is not on my diet, but perhaps you could indulge for me.

9.  This is a uncrowded park and is very peaceful and quiet.  Most state parks these days cannot boast that fact on weekends, and it was a welcome respite for us, to be sure.  Peace and quiet is always a bonus for us, and I believe others would also enjoy this peaceful place in good weather conditions when it’s not too hot and not too cold.  It’s just a great place to relax and get away from it all.

Girly Girl Lounging in the RV

Girly Girl lounging in the RV on her horse blanket, since it was Kentucky Derby day

10.  Small cabins with attached RV sites are available that front the lake, and they are quite nice.  While we camped at a regular RV site on our trip, we are considering going back sometime and renting a cabin with the RV hookups next to it.  Our dogs could stay in the RV, since they are not allowed in the cabins, and we could enjoy the extra air-conditioned space, the nice shaded patio in front and also have quick access to the lake to fish or swim.  Each cabin has a tall grill outside and a fire pit on the ground.

Cabin 1

Cabins face the lake

The cost is only $60 per night, plus tax, including the hookups for the RV. Guests could come along and have their own place to sleep in the cabin, along with air conditioning, a small fridge and a microwave oven.  Each cabin can sleep six but would comfortably sleep four people in separate beds consisting of two sets of bunk beds.  No linens are provided.

Cabin 2

View of the lake from cabin porch

Cabin 3

View inside a cabin

Cabin 4

RV site right behind the cabin. Some RV pads are wider than this one.

 If we go back to kayak sometime, I think we will opt for this arrangement, since the kayak tours take place in summer months.  We would appreciate the extra air-conditioned space in summer months, since it can get quite hot here.  In fact, Hubby would be quite content to camp with this particular set-up for more than a weekend, too.

After the miracle rains of the past week in our area, I’m certainly not discounting the fact that this smaller lake could quickly fill up once again, and we are hoping and praying for that to happen.  We’ve seen just such an event take place with another area lake this week.  Lake Colorado City was down even before the 2011 drought, though, and motor boaters have not been able to get their boats in the lake for about ten years now.  I’m sure if the lake comes back up, the summer boating crowd will quickly return.

In summary, this state park may not necessarily be a destination park for most people, but it has some definite benefits to visitors, especially to those traveling by RV.  We will definitely be returning to this park, along with several others in our travel rotation, for weekend trips.

D
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Running Away For Mother’s Day

May always brings Mother’s Day and my birthday about a week later, and May also seems to be a good time for Hubby to take off from work, and we’ve definitely learned that it is advantageous to visit popular summer destinations in May before vacation crowds hit.  Taking a long trip in May, then again around the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, works well for us these days, and we use our remaining vacation days with weekends and holidays in the RV the rest of the year.  Combining days off with weekends and holidays has helped us to really maximize our travel opportunities and keep Hubby from losing so many vacation days each year.

As we discussed where to go and what to do for our week of vacation in May this year, I told Hubby that all I wanted to do was be gone on Mother’s Day weekend and hopefully the following week, if possible.  I didn’t care where we went, as long as I didn’t have to spend that weekend at home for my first Mother’s Day without my mom.  I suspected that this would be a hard time, and I was correct in that assumption.  I probably even underestimated how hard it is right now leading up to this first Mother’s Day without Mom.  The closer we get to Mother’s Day, the harder it is for me.  I swear that Mother’s Day ads are everywhere!  Mom’s marker was finally updated with her date of death last week, and that only seemed to really drive home the point that she is truly gone in my mind.  It was really hard to drive out to the cemetery to take the updated photos, and I bawled like a baby while I was there.  Fortunately, no one else was around to watch.

As we discussed travel options for our May trip a few weeks ago, we were looking forward to possibly finding yet another new RV destination to explore.  We started discussing some options to visit a new Texas state park or two in the RV or even fly back to Denver and see Rocky Mountain National Park again, as well as more of the Denver area.  We even talked about booking a cruise.  There were pros and cons of each option.  Then, out of the blue, Hubby suggested a Hawaii do-over.

I first thought Hubby was kidding, and I reminded him that we just went to Kauai last year.  After my mom fell early last year and fractured her hip, we completely cancelled our initial plans for a 35th anniversary trip consisting of a week in Kauai, followed by a weekend in the bay area to see the kids.  A few months later, though, after she healed faster and better than expected, we re-booked a trip fairly last-minute in May, but we were only able to spend two days in Kauai before heading to the San Francisco area for the weekend and touring Big Sur with the kids.  It was a great trip, especially our weekend with the kids when I felt much better, but we were both a little disappointed to not have spent more time in Hawaii as we originally planned.  In addition to only having two days there, I was sick at my stomach for the entire five-hour flight from Los Angeles, that first night in Kauai, and part of our first day on the island.

Still, despite everything, we truly enjoyed our brief time in Kauai and even dined at one of our favorite little restaurants on our last night on the island after my stomach settled down for good.

Welcome to Kauai

Kilauea National Wildlife Refuge 3

Kilauea National Wildlife Refuge, Kauai

Kalalau Lookout at Kokee State Park

Famous Kalalau Lookout at Kokee State Park

Even though we adore Kauai, we decided to look at another island destination this time, since we visited Kauai last year, as brief as it was.  Our second favorite island is Maui, so we looked at some lodging options and found what we believe will be a great one-bedroom condo for us for the week.  We prefer condos when visiting Hawaii, and this should be a nice resort experience, suitable for the anniversary trip we really wanted last year.  We have not visited Maui in about twenty years, when we took the kids on an island-hopping trip and saw Oahu, Kauai, Maui and Hawaii.  What a fun trip that was, too.

We’ve both had a pretty rough year so far, and it will be good to just get away and hopefully decompress.  I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as far as estate matters are concerned and closed my part on the rent house on Tuesday afternoon.  After some out-of-town family members sign their documents and return them to the title company, the house will finally be mine.  Hubby is nearing the completion of some extra job duties he temporarily inherited last year when another manager quit unexpectedly.  The timing for that development was just terrible for him, but he made the most of it and did a great job, cleaning up a huge mess that the manager left behind, all while we dealt with Mom’s illness and passing.

I think I’ve underestimated what Mom’s passing has been like for my hubby, too.  His mother passed away over a decade ago, so my Mom was our Mom for all that time.  She spent all of her holidays with us, not just me, and I think he wants to just run away somewhere for the week like I do.  We know what the first year is like after losing a parent, since we’ve done it three times before this year.  It is just hard, so hard.  I have also learned that after the first year, it does seem to get better, or at least be more tolerable, since all of the “first times without the parent” are finally over.  New routines will have time to start developing, estate matters will be done, and life can go on.  I know it’s going to be much different this year, though, since we no longer have any living parents.  It is very different so far, to be perfectly honest, and it may take both of us longer to adapt this time.  We’ll see.

Anyway, we are going to disappear for a week to paradise, leaving on the Saturday before Mother’s Day.  I am so grateful that we can go back to Hawaii, especially right now.  I have much to be thankful for these days, especially my hubby and my little family that I love with all my heart.  While I wish we could all be together this week, just like we did a few years ago in Kauai in this same week, but perhaps we will find a way to make it happen sometime in the future.  Our goal for this trip is to just relax and have some fun.

Leaving Kauai

I never expected to return to Hawaii this year.  Hawaii is a trip we only make every five years or so, if not longer.  Hubby outdid himself this year by suggesting we go back, and I’m looking forward to a special week with him, for sure.  Kauai (and Hawaii in general) is one of my all-time favorite “happy” places, and Hubby loves it there, too.  It’s pretty much impossible to not be happy while in Hawaii, and I hope that proves to be true once again on this trip.

I have scheduled one post for next week about our most recent RV trip to Lake Colorado City State Park, but I will most likely be offline until we return to moderate comments and read posts by others.  See you in a week, and Happy Mother’s Day!

D
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What Answered Prayer Looks Like

Rainbow sm

The drought is over as of 1:30 am this morning!

I was witness to this miracle yesterday evening while dining out with two dear friends to celebrate my birthday a little early.  Looking to the east where our water supply lake is, this storm was the one that ended our drought.  The lake received over seven billion gallons of water in 36 hours, *in just the right spot,* and it is now full and flowing over the spillway to send even more water downstream.  We have witnessed the tremendous power of water flowing in the Brazos River once again, which immediately came up thirteen feet as the rains hit.

The last two days have been quite an epic sight to witness, and my heart is so full of gratitude, especially as I can finally mark this prayer request as “answered” after four long years.   The lake was officially documented as “full” at 1:30 am while we were asleep, but this was the very first news story I heard when I turned on our local news earlier today.  I even got the picture last evening to document this wonderful event!

Thank you, God, for the rain!  West Texas is so grateful today.  What an understatement!  I never cease to be amazed at how God answers prayer when we least suspect it or are even looking for it.  I’ve had a big lesson in the power of prayer through all this after an excruciating four years of drought, and my prayer life is better for it.  :-D

Update: WordPress just informed me that this is also my 200th post! What a great way to hit that small milestone today!

D
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It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

Rain is often a rare visitor here at home, but sometimes it decides to come and pay us a serious visit for a little while.  The rain started falling late Monday afternoon, and twelve hours later, we have received about 3.5 inches of rain.  The communities about thirty minutes south of us received about double that amount, and it should really be interesting today as significant rain is in the forecast for the next 24 hours.  It is still raining as I’m typing this, and the weather guy on television just said the next band headed our way is producing rain at 4″ per hour.  That is going to hit right at morning commute time, unfortunately.

I try to never, ever complain about the rain, and I won’t start now.  I hope people here are safe in driving as it continues, as several high water rescues took place yesterday evening.  I plan to just stay in today or until the roads improve, but others do not have that luxury as the workday commences shortly and roads are still pretty flooded.  In flat terrain, it is hard for flood waters to run off, and every little valley and low spot will collect water and start to flood with little warning, especially when the ground is saturated like it is at this time.  Some roads in the rural areas are completely closed, including some that are widely traveled, and a couple of small communities opened shelters for travelers and others overnight.

A long-term rain event like this will definitely help to recover from the drought a bit more, and it is yet another answer to many prayers since 2011.  Technically, we are no longer in a drought, even though many area lakes are still very low and desperately need good soaking rain events like this to help recharge their levels.    May and June are our prime times for rainfall, so we will take every drop right now and hope for even more during the coming weeks.  I suspect this one rain event will result in more rain for us than we received in the entire year of 2011.  We’ll see in a few days.

Our big spoiled puppy started to panic late yesterday evening over the rain.  “Sugar” apparently thought he would melt if he had to go out in the hard rain to do his business.  We both tried and tried to get him to go out with no success, but finally around 10 pm, the rain broke just long enough for pup to agree to go out.  Girly Girl just takes it all in stride, even though she doesn’t like it.

The weather forecasters were spot on in forecasting this rain event days ago.  We knew it was likely coming, so we took advantage of the gorgeous weather over the weekend to make a quick trip in the RV to a “new-to-us” destination, Lake Colorado City State Park, and I will try to share a little information and some photos soon.  It is a lesser known state park with a lower visitation rate these days, but we had a nice, relaxing time, especially since it was not crowded with only a few other couples in their RVs while we were there.  The park and the entire area were so green, and the wildflowers were especially beautiful.  We even saw some bluebonnets in the park.  I’ve felt that this little park has gotten a bit of a bad wrap lately, especially as far as RV camping is concerned, and our experience proved that to definitely be the case.  Motor boating on the lake is not possible at this time due to the lower lake level, but RV camping is still quite nice there.  There is still a lake there, too.  More to come.

White Flower

Just one of the many pretty wildflowers we saw this weekend

We are preparing to leave on a trip this Saturday and will be gone for a week.  I have more to share on our upcoming trip before we leave and will try to share here on Thursday or Friday.  If it keeps raining like this, though, we may need to take a boat to the airport on Saturday instead of our car.

D
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Ancestry Research, Again

Once again, I’m in the midst of ancestry research, after being contacted by a relative in Arkansas that wanted to share information on my father’s family.  Each of us has done quite a bit of ancestry work, and it makes perfect sense for us to collaborate and share what we have done on this particular line in the family.  I’ve also been working on some other family lines, too.

I first began ancestry research in earnest after my brother died in 2007.  Some events during that sad time pointed to the fact that we really needed to get our family history documented somewhere, and I realized I had the opportunity to leverage my aging mother’s memory of such things, especially since she had some old family photos that we needed to preserve.

I created a family tree at Ancestry online for the first time in 2007 in memory of my brother, and I will never regret that decision.  My sister scanned the old photos, and I edited them as best I could and even learned how to “rebuild” some areas in a few photos in the process.  I bought a six-month research membership, and I used it almost daily for that entire time.

I was honestly quite surprised at how much good information I was able to glean at Ancestry.  Many times, I would find a piece of information and ask my mother about it, which would jog her memory to confirm the details.  I learned of family members that I never even knew about and new details about others as well.  It was such a fascinating experience, and it was a great way for me, my mother and my sister to honor my brother in the process.

Finally, at the end of that initial six month period, I felt that I had exhausted the available resources at Ancestry for the paid membership, and I mostly put it aside for several years.  On occasion, I would purchase a single month membership, just to check to see if any new information popped up.

After being contacted by this relative a couple of weeks ago, I have once again purchased a research membership, and my goodness, there is so much more information available now.  I have already made some great updates to many people in the tree, and I’ve also been able to work through some “dead-end” tree issues through other member trees that were not available a few years ago.  The 1940 census information is also available now and was not available the last time I did research online.

I’m once again “hooked” on this little project, at least for a while.  The standard membership is a somewhat limited membership, but it is all I need for now.  Having access to other member trees, grave site records and the available census data will get me the information I want at this time, and I can always go back later on to add public records and other information that is available with a more expensive membership.  Over the years, I have also found plenty of errors, especially in the transcription of census data.  It is certainly understandable, and I try to file corrections online when I find them for the benefit of future researchers.

Hubby's great-great grandfather and great-great grandmother!

Hubby’s great-great grandfather and great-great grandmother.  They are buried, along with most of hubby’s other grandparents, in the same cemetery in a remote location in another part of the state.  That cemetery is now has a state historical marker, and it was a truly fabulous find, especially the fact that this photo is such a good one, considering they were both born in the early 1800’s.

The biggest score in this most recent round of research has been tracing my husband’s family back to his great-great grandfather for certain.  And of all things, I even found a good photo of him and his wife!  If you’ve ever done ancestry research, perhaps you can appreciate what a great find that was.

My grandmother (right) and her sister (left) as young women, most likely taken around 1910

My grandmother (right) and her younger sister (left) as young women, most likely taken around 1910.  I spent quite a bit of time restoring this photo a few years ago.

I also found the burial site of my dear grandmother’s younger sister at last.  They were very close but were separated after their mother died at a young age from a ruptured appendix.  I actually had to call cemeteries in California in the area where she lived at the time of her death to locate it, since that cemetery has not yet acquired volunteers to catalog their sites online.  My grandmother and this sister were very close, despite the long distance between them for many years, the distance between west Texas and northern California, which I certainly understand these days myself.  As it turns out, she lived and was buried with her husband in a cemetery that is not too terribly far from where my daughter now lives.  I sent that information to my daughter, and she was excited to know there was some close family history in her area.  She said it “made her day” and plans to go check it out sometime when she is in the area.

If you’ve ever considered ancestry research, I highly recommend subscribing at Ancestry for a month, just to give it a try to get a basic tree online.  You may provide some missing links for someone else, and you will find that you can make a lot of progress quickly, too.  Just *be very careful* and review all records for accuracy before attaching them to an ancestor’s record.  If in doubt, just throw it in your “shoebox” there.  The little green leaves are just suggestions.  I open every census document and review it myself.  Your tree and all information you find will be kept there permanently, and you will always have access to it, even when you no longer pay for a research membership.  It has been a fabulous tool for us, and our wonderful tree is something that I will always treasure.

At some point, I will have to hand off administration of this tree, hopefully to a family member that loves ancestry research as much as I do now.  Much time and effort has gone into it, and much more will go into it over time, too.  It is truly a priceless treasure.

Making progress in my research has also been a great way for me to honor my mother in a personal way right now.  She was all about family, and it seems quite fitting to now continue this project in her honor.  Researching my ancestors has brought back many fond memories from 2007 when she helped so much with this project.  That was a very meaningful time with Mom, one that I will forever cherish, and it is giving me a good deal of comfort right now to return to this project once again.

Note:  If you would like to look for the burial location of a family member or friend, check out Find A Grave.  It’s totally free to use anytime.

D
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