Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Ashley Blodgett, Landon Chrstensen Evan Price
Back Maren Price Preston holding Kristy and Lisa, Sid Robertson
Front: Julie Price, Chris Spoja Anna and Kelly Spoja

Rachael Latour holding Evan Price

Evan Price

Lisa Price
Maren and Julie Price
Maren and Julie Price

Maren and Julie

Kristy, baby Sydney Spoja, Lisa in front of Julie, one of the Spoja twins.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Staying True to What I Believe

There is a story of a young couple moving to a new town.  In trying to find out more information about the town they were moving to, they asked an elderly man, who was a native of the town, what that town was like.  In response the old man said, “Tell me about the town where you live now.”

     “It’s great!”  Answered the couple.  “The people are fun and friendly.  Everyone goes out of their way to be kind and helpful.”
     “This town is just liked that,”   answered the old man.
    Another couple moving to the town stumbled upon the same old man.  This couple also asked him what his town was like.   The old man queried, “Tell me about the town where you live now.”
     “Oh it’s awful,” the couple responded.   “The people are snobbish and stuck up.  Everyone is unhelpful and unfriendly.”
     “This town is just like that,” answered the old man.

People always find what they are looking for.  This is true of research and any topic, especially Joseph Smith.  No individual will ever know of the truthfulness of any faith based on logic and research alone.  No matter what church you belong to, it requires faith to believe.  There is no religion, famous person, or organization that will shine in the glaring scrutiny of staring backward in time at bald facts.  If you want to find dirt, you will always be successful.   Not even Abraham Lincoln smells like a rose in the light of this scrutiny.  All religions have allegations of child abuse, deceptive and self-serving clergy, infidelity, murders in God’s name, and any other atrocity you can think of.  Look for it on the internet.  You’ll find it.

Since there will always be voices opposing any belief in anything, faith is required. Having faith is a decision.  It means feelings must be listened to as well as facts. It means prayer.  It means study.  It means creating a space for something besides what you can see, touch, and hear in your life.  It means you are not guaranteed a complete understanding in this mortal existence of everything that has ever happened.  Why would you need faith if you had that understanding? 

Having faith is spiritual exercise which leads to growth.  Faith can lead to a trust in God – depending on individual decisions.  This must be important because humans rarely have complete knowledge and understanding of anything.  Ask a physicist if you don’t believe me.

I am almost 60 years old. To abandon my faith means that I must lie about the spiritual promptings I have received from a source outside myself.  It means that I must abandon the assurances, comfort, joy, peace, and happiness that I have experienced as I have practiced my faith.  I would have to say these experiences never happened, or they didn’t have any significance. Or I would have to adopt the position that these experiences were the result of my own self-delusions.   That would be the ultimate self-betrayal.

  I’ve seen deluded people.  They are not peaceful, happy, or assured.  That is a fact.

When you become divorced from your feelings, you have to rely on facts as others present them.  Without consulting your feelings, there is no fail-safe mechanism to weigh another’s presentation of facts, except other facts.  How do you know which “facts” are really facts?  What part do others’ motives play in the presentation of facts?  It’s hard not to flounder among all the different versions of the facts.

The interesting thing about those who propound facts and logic as the only way to reach conclusions is that those in possession of this “knowledge” often end by telling you they just “know” their conclusions are right.  In the end, even proponents of facts and logic must use feelings as a foundation for their beliefs.

When dealing with plain facts, the backstory makes a big difference.  For example, how would you judge a woman if you knew that she encouraged her two-year-old child to drink shampoo?   Next, that woman used a toothbrush to force her child to vomit.  What would you think of a woman who would do such awful things to a child?  I’m certain you would call Child Protective Services in view of the bare facts.

I am that woman.  I tried to make my child drink shampoo.  When I wasn’t successful, I used a toothbrush to force her to vomit.  I did this at the direction of the Poison Control Center after my daughter grabbed a bottle of Campho-Phenique and took a swig.  The back story matters.  Backward glances in time may reveal some facts, but much of the backstory is missing.

As far as Joseph Smith’s marriages, I don’t like them.  And I don’t understand them.  But here is what I do understand:  trying to analyze or condemn, explain or abhor, defend or decry the actions of people from a vantage point with a gap of more than 150 years in time is an exercise in the ridiculous.  In many ways, people living in our culture today are miles apart in experience from people living 150 years ago.  There is also a significant cultural gap.  Compare marriage laws, if you doubt me.  If you believe that Joseph Smith had a powerful vision of God our Father and Jesus Christ, there is a gap of light years in spiritual knowledge as well.  People slinging mud without really knowing  the backstory, feelings, and experiences of the majority of people involved seem every bit as judgmental as people who oppose abortion and Gay marriage are supposed to be.

Speaking of being judgmental, compared to homosexual marriages, late term abortion, drug use, transgender surgeries, cross dressing, purposefully having children though not married, LBGT fight clubs, and a lot of other practices accepted in our society, plural marriage seems tame.

To tell the truth, I think it’s humorous that all this hoopla about polygamy is again in the news.  I heard all this stuff forty years ago when I was a college student.  And a hundred years ago many of the same stories were circulating with the same viciousness. There is nothing new here, except the internet.  My guess is that these new attacks are a funded, organized effort in retaliation to the church’s positions that militant groups don’t like.  If your position is that the church manipulates its members into acting on and believing its doctrines, how can you be so sure you are not being equally manipulated by groups opposing the church?

As for me, I have never had much influence on anybody.  I am not rich, famous, or even especially intelligent.  No one is required to believe the same way I do.  In fact, I would be acting contrary to my religious beliefs to use any methods to coerce any person to think or act the way I believe is right.  I believe in the individual’s right to think and act as they please.  I have a deep and permanent love for all my friends and family, no matter what their choices and beliefs.  Although that love does not mean I will tolerate abuse either of myself or my faith. I am willing to trust in God  and let Him handle the outcome.  I know that trust is justified.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Remembering Stacy

During my growing up years I heard about the sad events that occur in the lives of people.  But those hard things happened to other people.  We all have a built in optimism safety mechanism.  We need to think tragedy won’t strike us.  That is how we get through each day without being an anxious wreck.  That optimism is good. It helps us live our lives sanely.  Still, none of us are immune from heartbreak.

On September 30, 2005, my heart did break.  But with the tragedy, I learned that the Lord is there for me, providing tender mercies to help me find my way through it, if I will let Him.

I will never forget the early September 2005 phone calls from my daughter.   My daughter told me that Stacy, my oldest grandchild, was having headaches and vomiting.  She had missed several days of school.  My daughter was worried. Stacy seemed tired and discouraged from the week or so of headaches and nausea.

 For some strange reason the thought, “She has a brain tumor,” came to my mind.  I didn’t speak the thought aloud. What kind of a statement would that be to make to a worried parent?   I am not a doctor or even a nurse.  I have never researched out medicine on the internet, books, or anywhere else.  I don’t  like to be involved in medicine in any respect.  Hospitals give me the creeps.

A day or so later, my daughter called again to tell me that a doctor visit revealed Stacy was nearsighted.  The conclusion was reached that this nearsightedness was the root of all the problems.  My son-in-law, daughter, and Stacy and younger sister left for New York to start my son-in-law’s first job out of law school.

The trip east was miserable.  Stacy vomited in the car.  At night she would cry out in pain, but the pain could be controlled with Moltrin, until the last day.  In Indiana, a few days into the trip, my son-in-law was sitting in the backseat with the children. He noticed something terribly wrong with Stacy.  They rushed to the nearest Emergency Room in Angola, Illinois, where the staff insisted Stacy lie down.  A CAT scan revealed a brain tumor.  We speculate that lying down increased the pressure on her brain because she quit speaking after lying down and was comatose. 

A helicopter life-flighted my daughter and Stacy to Reilly Children’s hospital in Indianapolis.  I will never forget the phone call from my daughter telling me of these events and that doctors doubted Stacy would live.  I remember trying to call my other children and sisters to inform them of the situation.  Dialing the telephone was a major challenge. I kept dialing wrong numbers.  Putting together the words to explain the situation was almost impossible.

There were two problems that seemed insurmountable.  First, the last time our family had any relatives east of the Mississippi was in the 1840’s.  So there was no family within a thousand miles to offer much needed help.  Secondly, we had two children serving missions for our church. Our son had entered the mission home at the beginning of September, while our daughter was in New Jersey. If we needed to contact them, we were to call the Stake President.  It was General Conference weekend and the Stake Presidency was nowhere to be found.  The stake clerk and executive secretary were new and did not know how to contact missionaries.  I think a person would have a better chance of placing a personal call to the President than contacting a missionary without the assistance of the Stake President.

In this time of anguish, the Lord did not forget us.  My sister, who lives two states away, just happened to have home teachers visit that evening.  Her home teacher had a friend, a Pediatric Endocrinologist who lived in Indianapolis, Indiana.  This friend also happened to be a member of the 6th Quorum of the Seventy. 

I called the friend, John, and reached his wife, Karen, on the telephone.  Usually, John was in Salt Lake for General Conference, but he had decided to stay home this time.  John and Karen went to Reilly Children’s hospital and stayed with my daughter and family.   Karen took my younger granddaughter, Rebecca, home. My daughter was nervous about what four-year-old Rebecca’s reaction would be going with a stranger, but Rebecca seemed to know Karen was a safe person. “I’ll be alright,” she said.   John helped my daughter and her husband deal with doctors, and picked us up at the airport when we flew in. 
The three oldest granddaughters. Stacy on left.

During our flight to Indianapolis, Stacy died.  John and Karen opened their home to all of us and my son-in-law’s parents as well.   John knew how to get the contact information we needed to talk to our missionary children personally and explain what had happened.  John and Karen helped our children find a funeral home and make burial arrangements for Stacy.  They took us back to airport to fly home.

This help was a miraculous tender mercy.  This help from strangers made a tremendous difference to us as we tried to cope with the loss of our granddaughter. I never want to forget these tender mercies and the people that made them happen.

Another tender mercy I experienced is harder to explain.  In the months previous to Stacy’s death, I kept having a recurring thought.  It seemed to come out of nowhere.  The thought was that when tragedy happens, we have to accept it.  If we rise up and fight against the tragedy and become hateful towards God and others, we only hurt ourselves.  At the time, I wondered what this recurring thought was all about, but I knew it was truth.  When Stacy died, I knew why I had the thought.  It was as if the Lord realized I needed this preparation not to harm myself with bitterness and anger toward anyone.  I guess God knows I’m a bit of a fighter. 

At church I had learned, over and over, that the gospel helps us cope with adversity.  I had picked up the idea that when tragedy strikes, it wouldn’t bother me that much because I knew the grand scheme: that I could be with loved ones again.  Suffice it to say that I did not sail through Stacy’s death.  I remember feeling like I was going crazy and had no control over my mind for a while.  I remember realizing I was in the mall parking lot  and having no idea how I got there.  I remember hurting.  Bad.  Knowing the God’s plan did help and does help, but it did not mean that I escaped the grieving process.

One of my missionary children told me of a tender mercy she experienced.  On her mission she had to keep going, heartbreak or no heartbreak.  One day not long after Stacy’s death when she was feeling especially full of sorrow, she visited a member’s house.  Because of the way our world is, missionaries are directed not to coax children to sit on their laps, etc.  As my daughter missionary sat in this home, one of the little children, of her own initiative, climbed into her lap and hugged her.  

Stacy is the toddler.

 That experience made a difference to this young missionary.  She felt God was aware of her suffering and provided comfort.

 Stacy’s death brought me the realization that no one gets off this planet without experiencing sadness, tragedy, frustrations, unfairness, humiliation, bitterness, and disappointment.  No one gets out of here without faith being tried.  Every rotten experience represents a crossroads in our lives.  At this crossroads we make a choice.  Do we keep our faith or become bitter?  Do we struggle, accept, and move on in faith?  Do we rail against God and those who have hurt us? Do we keep trying, or do we give up?  Do we step forward with courage or take a shot at getting even with God?  Do we let God help, or do we try to make it on our own? The choice is ours, and it makes all the difference - now and forever.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Comment on Mysteries

This is a follow up to my post on mysteries in the bloodlines.  I received a comment from Mr. Doug Gonzales that provided valuable information about Henry Brodhack.  His information coupled with logic pointed to Henry being at  least half Native American.   Doug, I would love to get a hold of you, but I am not sure how to do it.  If you are on Ancestry.com, you could send me a message there.  This blog might also have a way to send me a message.

I am truly puzzled to learn that, a nephew tested 3% African American.  We did have ancestors who were slave holders from the South.  I can add the information that I had one of my male cousins DNA tested to determine if the Robertson line might have Native American blood. The Robertsons are pure Celts.

From the BYU testing , I learned that the most accurate way to test would be to find a woman whose mother was a Brodock and follow the mitochondrial DNA back through the female line. This procedure should determine if Submitta was Indian.  If we found a male with the Brodock surname  followed the male DNA back well....I'm getting in over my head, not to mention confused.

I learned from BYU-TV that not all DNA testing is equal... by a long shot.  I have a friend who knows her grandmother was Cherokee.  Ancestry.com DNA testing concluded she had a percentage of something that was not WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant), but the test couldn't pin down what that percentage was.

In the meantime, who wants to be tested next?

O.A. Robertson - the Celt line

Rose Byrd - the English line, but there are rumors about an Indian Agent in the family

The Millers - Scotch and Danish and Norwegian

The puzzling Brodocks:  Left to right Charles, Henry (sitting), and friend.   Most of the girls were dark but two out of three boys were blondes like their mother.

Miller girls- more Scots, Danes and Norwegians.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Reaction to News

I was going through my Dad's old papers and stumbled across this newsletter from the 13th A.A.F., dated October 23, 1944.  I wonder how it would be to be fighting a war in the South Pacific and find out that the President had died.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Lessons From Nature








Sunday, May 11, 2014

Why We Let the Men Come

Saturday Hermione, Cheryl and I decided to go four-wheeling in the mountains. The men wanted to come.  Being generous, we let them come with us.

Although the men frequently want to ride trails that, in our judgment, are not the best idea,
and they don't have much appreciation of wild flowers, 

They have some skill sets that are extremely useful.

 They enjoy a good view, especially if the view
includes elk.

They know when to call it quits on a trail.

They are superb at loading loading four-wheelers and hauling trailers.

Hurray for a fun day, if not a fine day, four-wheeling!

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Springtime in the Rockies

Because of my knee procedure, I haven't been able to go hiking, walking etc.  A little over a week ago Wilbur took me for a drive into the mountains so I could get my fresh air fix.  It was a different world 1500 hundred feel higher. We started with a few piles of snow here and there and ended with significant snow everywhere.  We finally came to the drift that stopped us.

A couple days later, the newspaper reported that two teenagers decided to blast through the very drift where we stopped.  Search and Rescue pulled them out early in the morning of the next day.  No doubt their parents were pleased.

The drift that stopped us

Beattle killed trees near Park Lake

shootingstars preparing to bloom in a meadow

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Mystery in the Blood Lines

Maude Brodock Robertson with son Les Robertson

When I was a kid, I remember my Uncles Les talking to my Dad about a man who told Les he looked like an Indian.  Uncle Les was incensed.  At that time, people I knew here were ashamed of Native American (NA) heritage.  Later, in doing family history work, some relations from Oklahoma wrote to me about an ancestor on the Brodock line who was Indian.  They decided this because a common ancestor, Henry Brodock, had his picture taken in Indian garb and Henry's daughter, their grandmother, claimed NA heritage.  Another relation claims Henry's mother, Submitta (not one other thing known about her other than her name), was Indian and has the same picture of Henry in NA apparel.
David Brodock (known as "Jake." His posture in this pic is just like my brother Jack's posture
Some other evidence that supports the NA theory is that  many of the Brodocks, including my grandmother, had black eyes and black hair.  Other than the "say so" of distant relatives, that is all the evidence I have.
One of Grandma's sisters.  Several of the girls
were dark like this.

Dave Brodock
Trying to track down this heritage would have been so much easier if: 1) Relatives had admitted they  had NA ancestry and 2) DNA testing had been available in the 1950's and 1960's.  Now, all my Brodock relatives have died.  I might be a sissy, but tracking down a shirt-tail Brodock relation that I've never met and asking for a DNA sample sounds awkward at best.
Grandma - Maude Brodock

Because I'm curious, I had a male Robertson cousin test his DNA. The test revealed that the male Robertson line is Celtic and nothing else.  Before I figured out how the DNA testing worked, I had my son tested.  This test revealed that my husband and his father's Welsh ancestors have more similarities with the Vikings than any of the other nationalities.  Well, I guess those Vikings did give Great Britain a heck of a time during the middle ages.

I still want to confirm the NA line.  Family History strongly indicates that our line ties up with Bartholomew Brodock, (before the name was Americanized :it was Brod Hack) one of the first settlers in the Mohawk Valley in New York.  So, along with our Scotch, English, Irish, Welsh, Dutch, German, French, Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish heritage, there might be a drop of NA thrown in.  Review the pics and tell me what you
Janette "Nettie" Brodock - David Brodock's sister

Henry Brodock (Brodhack) David Brodock's father
Supposedly, Submitta, his mother, was NA.