Family History Friday (FHF): A Tender Heart

My maternal grandpa was the kind of person who was so tender on the inside that to protect himself, he sometimes came across crusty on the outside. As a young child growing up in Park City, he was always trying to find a way to earn money. I honestly believe, he wanted to make a contribution to his family income. I’m not sure whether he was required or not, but I believe he would want to help either way. Times were tough, and most people struggled then. Around Christmas time, it would not be unusual for him to go out into the woods and chop down a tree for the family. One year, instead of chopping down one tree, he chopped down several. One of them was for the family tree, a couple he would sell and earn a little extra money. The sweet part, and my favorite part of the story, was that he took a couple of them to the widows in town at no charge, so their little families could have a Christmas tree, too. What a tender heart! He spent a lot of time all through his life giving to those who were in need. I’m sure if others knew of his gift and they made a big fuss, it was embarrassing to him.

I remember my Grandpa carrying me on his shoulders, when I was just a little girl. He always had strong shoulders. Even after a stroke he was strong and came across as gruff. But I know that his heart was always tender. I miss him, and I know that in that one way at least I am like him; Strong shoulders, tender heart. Think about your ancestors, are some of your characteristics and personality traits like them? If so, share that with your family. Tell them why you’re like their ancestors, and maybe they’ll start to see how they are like you.
Happy Family History Friday. Love, Joy

A Story of Thanksgiving

Susanna White was pregnant with her second child when she boarded the Mayflower and left for the new land. Her son Resolved was just 5 years old. She came with her husband William, hoping for religious freedom. They left England on September 9th, 1620 and arrived on November 11th, 1620. After two months on the ocean they anchored off the tip of Cape Cod and Susanna had her baby there. He was named Peregrine, which means wanderer. They then came across the bay to what would be known as Plimouth (Plymouth), Massachusetts. That first winter was very difficult and William died, leaving Susanna a widow with two small children.

The thing that amazes me the most about this story is, how brave these people were. I have trouble leaving home for a trip, I can’t imagine leaving home for good. They really didn’t know what was next. The courage they had, crossing the ocean, then landing in a foreign land with no idea what was going to happen when they arrived, if they arrived, is awe-inspiring. Add on top of that, the fact that Susanna was expecting a child makes me love and admire her more.
In the spring Susanna married Edward Winslow whose wife had passed away that first winter also. It was a blessing that they could have each other to go through life with, after such a tough time. What amazing people they were. That next November was when the “First Thanksgiving” took place, and I’m sure they were thankful to be alive in a new land.
I am most grateful for all of those who made this life better for all of us. Their stories alone bless my life. If they can do what they did, make the sacrifices that they made, go through the trials that they went through, and still come out of it and live a full life, I can too. But it’s not just the stories, it’s that I have the freedom, the rights and privileges that I have, because of others who paved the way for me to have them. I love them!
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!
From this moment on, I want to encourage you to
receive all things with thankfulness and your life will be blessed.

Thank the Lord for the ride!

“Life is like an old time rail journeydelays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for the ride!” -Gordon B. Hinckley

When I think about my life, all of it, from the beginning, I can honestly say that I have learned how to do this. Just knowing that there’s a trick is helpful.

One especially hard time in my life was when my son, Riley, was a newborn and I started to have some health problems. When he was two months old, I had to have gall bladder surgery. I honestly felt so picked on. The surgery which was supposed to take a few hours, ended up being more difficult and took about 5 hours. I had a large incision across my abdomen and tubes coming out. I was in the hospital for a week. I was not supposed to lift anything more than ten pounds for a month or so. Guess how much my little boy weighed? More than ten pounds! One of the tubes hanging out of my body had to stay in for 6 weeks. And once a week I would have to go get an x-ray of my bile duct. They would shoot dye into the tube that was hanging out of my body and then take an x-ray. After the first x-ray, they saw something that looked like a gall stone still inside me. If what they saw was a gall stone, they would have to go in through the hole that the tube was coming out of and get it. I was so not in the mood!!! On the day of the last x-ray, I was just praying and hoping that they would not have to go in and get a gall stone. I was very stressed, too stressed. I went out to get in the car to go to the hospital and I sat on a wasp that stung me on the butt. After I realized what happened, I just laughed!!! I was taking myself way too seriously. I went to the hospital and the spot they thought might be a gall stone was still on the x-ray. Like I said, this meant that after pulling the tube out, they would have to put some type of a scoop in the hole and see if they could get the stone. As they gently pulled the tube out, sitting on the top of the tube was the gall stone. It came out with the tube. I immediately thanked Heavenly Father. It was about a year after the surgery that I really started to feel like myself. I had had a baby and two months later had major surgery. It was a very difficult time for me in my life, but I am grateful for it. I am a more compassionate person, more empathatic and aware of others feelings, what they might be going through at a tough time. I have learned to thank God for the ride, then and always. I have also learned to relax when overwhelmed and discouraged and listen for help in dealing with my trials from Father in Heaven.

Family History Friday: Where did they come from?

My second great grandfather was born in Norway. He came to America in the 1800’s looking for a better life. Sometime after he arrived, he decided to change his name from Andreas Ostrud to Andrew Hanson. It was common for people who came to America to “Americanize” their name. If we didn’t know the story about him changing his name, we might not know where he came from or where to start looking for more family. The information and stories that are passed down from one generation to another, is one way that helps us know where to research next. Andrew came from a farm in Norway, named Ostrud. His father’s name was Hans.

We should always ask our oldest family members what stories they have heard about our ancestors, then go from there. Happy Family History Friday! Love, Joy


I’ve always believed in miracles. I know they happen, every second of every day, some where on the planet. We just need to have eyes to see them. Some people would call them a coincidence.
I experienced a miracle. I would like to share it with you. I have always tried to be a good person, doing what I believe is what God would have me do with my life. I really needed a great job, one that could bless my life and help me to supplement our income and pay for much needed family expenditures (ie. a new roof for our house, etc). I recently landed what I thought was this job. I started this job, after leaving a job I really loved that did not have benefits and paid less. The new job was a full time job, insurance, paid vacation, paid holidays and working for an amazing company. Well, not so fast. Two months after I started this job, they had to cut my hours. From full time to two days a week, no benefits. Ouch! I was so sad, and I kept thinking, “what am I supposed to learn from this experience?” I know Heavenly Father is aware of me and loves me and I know He wants to bless me. I decided to just hang in there, go with the flow. I worked a little longer until I decided it was not beneficial for me to be at that job anymore. I had prayed and prayed to know what Father would want me to do.
I was sent home early from work on Wednesday, it was just too slow, and they didn’t have enough work for me. I left my job and went straight to work trying to find a new job. I really felt like it was the right thing to do.
I just kept listening to my heart.
I looked Wednesday and Thursday for jobs, anything really, mostly online and on the phone. I chose to be proactive and knew that God could not bless me unless I was active myself. I really believe that. “Pray like it depends on God, work like it depends on you.” So I decided I would get up on Friday and get ready for work, you know, dress in my work clothes and look professional. I also started calling all my friends and family. Literally just going down the phonebook in my cell phone.
I called one friend who told me about her friend who was an office manager, and told me she didn’t know if they were hiring. I asked her to give me her name and said I’ll just go over there right now (literally) and ask her. What do I have to lose? So I drove straight over to where her friend works. I met her and told her I was looking for a job. She asked about my experience and what I was looking for. I felt like it would be a great job for me. She then informed me that she actually was hiring and that she had a group interview scheduled that afternoon with seven applicants. She was so nice, and I really felt very comfortable with her. She invited others in the office, that I would be working with, in to meet me. They loved me! I honestly could tell, they loved me. I told her as the impromptu interview wrapped up, that I would keep my phone close, so I wouldn’t miss her call. I left feeling very calm and peaceful. I knew that if I got the job, it would be because the job was mine, that I was meant to be there. Later that afternoon the office manager called and said she cancelled the group interview, because she found the girl for the job. It was ME!!!! Later, when I called the friend back who told me about the office manager, she said that her name just popped into her mind and that she hadn’t even thought about this person for a while. When the office manager called my friend to ask about me, she told my friend that she could feel, that I was supposed to work there.
Now, I know some people would say that feelings and faith and such shouldn’t be in the work place. I really don’t make a move in my life without thinking about the big picture, how will this choice effect my life, is this what God wants for me and what He thinks is best?And so far, thinking this way hasn’t lead me astray. Even getting that awesome job in the first place was meant to be. God wanted me to learn something there. And I did. Besides this job wasn’t available back then. I start on Monday and I will do great and love it. Thanks for reading. I love Father in Heaven and know he blesses all of us with miracles. This was a biggy!

Family History Friday (FHF): John Sayer

It’s always fun when your ancestor turns out to be fairly well known. Well known in certain circles, that is. My 5th great grandfather is
John Sayer.
I’ll tell you what I know about him.
He was born in 1750 in England. He came to America and was a fur trader. He is famous for a journal that he wrote during his time as a fur trader. He had a post near Pine City, Minnesota. In fact, there is a living museum there now called the North West Fur Trading Post. It is the post that John Sayer was at during the winter from 1803-1804. His journal is quite important, because it gives an excellent example of what the fur trade was like. John Sayer was married to my 5th great grandmother Bwan equay. She was a full blood Ojibwe (Native American). I’m telling you about John Sayer because, if you google him, there is a plethora of information about him. You may have already thought of this, but in case you haven’t, google your ancestor. Try it, you may find them there.
Happy Family History Friday! Love, Joy

I always wondered about that word.

Remember the wonderful story by Charles Dickens,

A Christmas Carol“? I’ve always thought it was such a great story. The main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, is very much like all of us, at one time or another in our lives. We get involved in our lives and cynical when things don’t turn out quite the way we expected or hoped. I wondered about his name, Ebenezer, especially when I heard it in one of my favorite songs, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”. You can listen to it here. So, being the curious sort of person that I am, I looked it up. This is what I found.

Ebenezer means “Stone of Help.” It was the name of the memorial stone set up by Samuel to celebrate God’s help to Israel in their great battle against the Philistines (1 Samuel 7:7-12)
An ebenezer is a stone, but can also be a pile of stones on the ground.

A really smart person named Christian said “It represents help from God, raising my ebenezer means I am going to ‘praise God’ and mark the spots of His grace toward me as places to REMEMBER! [In the song “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”,] the song writer is saying to this place in my Christian walk I have come dear Lord, a glorious place, I never thought I would reach on my own, and Lord I did not reach it ON MY OWN, but by YOUR HELP, therefore it is a place worthy of a mark in my mind, in my heart and in my acknowledgement of YOU, as my Gracious God. I think if we wanted to raise an ebenezer today, it would not necessarily have to be a pile of stones, though there would be nothing wrong with that. It could also be a date we remember and celebrated on our calendars, or an extremely highlighted and MARKed, remembered and celebrated place in our diary! ”

I love that explanation. Maybe Charles Dickens named his character Ebenezer to represent that Ebenezer Scrooge’s parents were grateful, christian people who wanted to acknowledge God in their lives.

And now that I know what an ebenezer is, I will raise my ebenezer in my life.