Finding My Native American Roots

Searching for your ancestors can be the most rewarding thing you do, and yet the most frustrating, as well.

It’s rewarding because:

  • You find out about people you didn’t know were related to you.
  • You find interesting documents that takes you deeper into the person you’re researching
  • You find pictures of your ancestral relatives and often times see familial similarities
  • You find out where they came from originally (and where your people came from) as well as what they did for a living.

The list can go on and on. But it’s also frustrating because sometimes you want to know more about a person but because of circumstances you can’t get any farther or find any insights to the person you want to know about more.

For example, I started researching because I wanted to find out more about my grandmother’s father. He was part Indian and I wanted to see if there were any information about him and his mother, who was the full blooded Native American. I got through the parents of his mother and even the parents of her father’s, but that’s about as far as I could get. None of the documents that I found mentioned about them being as such. I realize that indigenous tribes wanted to blend in as much as possible and were kept quiet from the mainstream society, but there comes a point when it becomes obvious that a person is not white. Surely they would have to document that at some point?

I don’t know if I’ll ever find anymore information about my great-grandfather and his Native American family, but I still hold out the hope that I’ll find that one piece of information that will crack open the whole mystery and help me understand.

Be Passionate About Blogging: A Short Blogging How-To.

So a couple friends of mine have created blogs this year and I think that’s very cool, especially considering they didn’t think they were the blogging type of people before they started them. But they have asked me advice about blogging because they think I’m the type of person who’d know the ins and outs of the whole blogosphere. I’m flattered but I don’t know if I’d consider myself the Expert Bloggess or anything.

But it got me to thinking about what makes a good blog and what I like to see in other blogs as well as my own. I thought that jotting a few words down about what I think about blogging and maybe it’ll help my friends and others who are blogging or even thinking about blogging. Granted, these things that I’m about to write are my own thoughts and opinions. What I like to write and see doesn’t necessarily work for another blogger. Take what you will of it and dump the others for others to pick through and decide for themselves.

1. Be passionate about your posts.

I think this is the most important advice that anybody could get about blogging. If you don’t like what you’re writing about and only writing it for the views or because you know it’s a trending topic but not something you feel connected to, people are going to notice it. They’re going to think you’re only in it for the money (figuratively and literally) and probably won’t follow your blog. Some people have niches while others write about whatever comes to mind, a true journal in the sense of the word. Whatever you decide is completely fine and if it ends up transforming into something else completely, then that’s okay too. Blogs change as people change.

2. Use categories and tags, but don’t overuse them.

I like to think of categories as filing systems and tags like those little tags that you stick in books when you’re studying and wanting specific pieces of information. For example, let’s say I wanted to talk about character development. It’s part of the writing process, so I’d stick it under the category “Writing.” This is a broad term in the search engines so adding tags can pinpoint you post more clearly. Words like “characters,” “character development,” “character writing,” and “fiction writing,” would be tags that I use.

Of course, you can do whatever you want in organizing your posts, but that’s what I’d do. I’ve also gone to Google and typed in words like “character” and “character writing” to see what kind of search engine words people have used to look for what you’re writing about. Of course I’m not the one would use a million tags, but just enough to give your post a chance to be seen.

3. Make sure your blog theme/color scheme is the way YOU like it.

I’m one of those indecisive people who can’t decide on anything. I’ve changed my blog theme so many times in one year that I think I’ve frustrated my readers to no end. I wasn’t always like this. For the first year I had the same theme and completely enjoyed it. But then I started reading about how to create a better blogging experience for the reader and I started changing my theme around. First I wanted mine to look professional, so I’d change it to a professional theme. But after a while I realized I thought that my theme was too cold for the content that I was writing, so I chose a more fun theme. But then I thought it was too frilly. And so I went on until I finally found a theme that made me happy. It’s both fun, cozy, and a little bit of professional all at once.

Obviously, you don’t want to put a bunch of crazy graphics, headers, and writing styles to the point that the reader goes cross eyed and can’t notice your content for all the jazz, but you need to find a theme and color scheme that makes you happy and works well with what you want to convey.

4. Get inspiration from other bloggers, but don’t let their work be the end all.

There were a couple bloggers that I looked up to. I wanted to do everything that they were doing on their blog. I started copying their writing style and tried to focus in on one niche or topic. Soon I lost my voice. When I started writing the way I normally write and being myself, I found my best work coming through. When I became myself, I found that more people wanted to come to my blog and read my thoughts. It’s okay to get ideas and tips from others, but down let their stories drown your growth.

5. Be a part of the blogging community.

This means following other blogs and commenting on them. Real people have taken the time to sit down and write what you’re reading. If you enjoyed it, tell them what you liked about it. If you don’t like it, just tell them in a polite way why you didn’t like it. I found that people appreciate others taking the time and commenting on something they worked so hard on and when you do, oftentimes they’ll go to your blog, comment and follow back. This is how you build followers and community. I’m guilty of not doing it all the time, but I try my best to every once in a while.

6. Use social media.

I have my blog attached to Twitter and Facebook. It automatically uploads my posts onto my accounts so that I don’t have to worry about it. Using social media will allow others to follow you if they don’t have a blogging platform to add your blog to their feed. And it gives them other ways to interact, as well.

So I don’t exactly know what else to write about blogging, but these are some main points that I thought about. Maybe if I think of some more or if you guys liked this post and want to see more, I’ll make another Blogging Tips post. What are some blogging styles you use to connect to others that worked well for you?

JonBenet: Twenty Years Later

On December 26, JonBenet Ramsey was found murdered in her home in Boulder, Colorado. She was six years old at the time. Twenty years later, her homicide has remained unsolved. And to this day, people are still enraptured by the events that occurred in the Ramsey home. Two weeks ago, Dateline aired a show about the case. Last night, CBS aired part one of two of their series on her as well.

JonBenet would have been twenty six years old now if she’d lived. She’s not that much younger than me and that makes me stop and think about how fragile life really is. This is not the first time I’ve had to think about this, but to think that someone my age could be murdered at such a young age is eerie. A beautiful little girl with everything she could have ever wanted is killed before she can realize it. What if that happened to me at the age? Or someone I knew from school? Just think about that for a minute and don’t tell me chills didn’t run down your spine.

I don’t know who murdered JonBenet Ramsey. The shows that I’ve seen have made it appear that it was a family member who killed it. And if you look at how the family acted during the investigations and television interviews, you can be made to believe that they had something to do with it. And if you look at each family member, you can think of possible solutions of why they would want her dead.

But I don’t think we’ll ever know what happened to her. The Ramsey’s were well off, they had a lot of social gatherings, including one the night before JonBenet was found missing. Maybe someone at the party killed her. Who knows. The only thing for certain that I can figure out is that it was someone she knew who was in the house between Christmas Day and the morning after. If only the investigation wasn’t so dis-organized, then maybe we would have some solid answers.

What are some of your thoughts about the case? (Please be kind and no hate comments!)

My Greatest Comforts.

When the world gets crazy, strange, and scary, there’s nothing more comforting than being surrounded by the familiar and safe. Without these things, we’d be flying off into no man’s land and might never find ourselves out of it ever again. Here are some of my favorite comfort things:

  1. Mashed potatoes
  2. Josh Groban’s “Awake” cd
  3. Snuggled under a blanket reading a book or watching a movie.
  4. Book: Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
  5. Writing in my journal
  6. Sitting in my favorite seat at Barnes and Noble
  7. Book: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  8. Taking a walk in the woods
  9. Being held by someone special/watching a movie with them (hasn’t happened in a long time, but still comforting)
  10. Country music
  11. Listening to stories on YouTube
  12. Coloring (a newish hobby I’ve discussed before)
  13. Being home without an appointment
  14. Writing
  15. Soaking my feet

What are some of your comfort things?

Words That Touched My Soul.

So I discovered that there’s a book (and a blog at one time) called 52 lists and each week you write a list of things related to whatever the prompt is during that week. She has the first 20 weeks on her website to get started, so I thought I’d give it a go.

This week is list words that touch your soul. Basically, write down words that you feel connected to or find great meaning with. Some people find different words more important than others. The following are some of my favorite words, words that connected with my soul.

  1. Solitude
  2. Love
  3. Mountains
  4. South
  5. Happiness
  6. Peace
  7. Connection
  8. Words
  9. Rivers
  10. Trees
  11. Serendipity (favorite word ever, btw)
  12. Ireland in Spanish
  13. Home
  14. Hope
  15. Blanket
  16. Walk
  17. Thoughts
  18. Book
  19. Pen
  20. Journal
  21. Cozy
  22. Safe
  23. Chocolate
  24. Words
  25. Fuzzy

What are some words that you feel connected to? Write them down in the comments below or link back to this blog post.

Memento Mori, Favorite Movies in Remembrance.

Last night when I got home from work, I heard the unfortunate news that Gene Wilder passed away due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 83. Apparently he’s been suffering from the disease for three years but didn’t want people to know about it. This seems oddly reminiscent of David Bowie, with whom suffered from cancer for a little over a year before passing away. Nobody knew until after it happened. I guess when you’re a famous person, every aspect of your life is scrutinized and you get to the point where you just want to keep certain things to yourself, which is rightfully theirs to maintain in their privacy.

I know that Gene Wilder is an actor with a long resume, and with such a long list of movies under his belt, there’s no doubt that people have different favorites of his. But to me, Wilder will always be Willy Wonka. I don’t think I ever watched or will ever watch another movie with him in it because he is so ingrained in my visions of him as the eccentric chocolate maker from my favorite childhood book. To watch any other movie by him would break that vision that I have of him. It’s rare that I love an actor so much for one roll, but Gene Wilder was one of those rare actors. He made up my childhood. He helped me cultivate the world of pure imagination.

Here are some movies that have defied explanation from the past to today, at least in my books.

  1. A Christmas Story
  2. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
  3. Jurassic Park
  4. Titanic
  5. Cold Mountain
  6. Me Before You
  7. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  8. The Ring
  9. The Prince and Me
  10. The Lion King
  11. The Fox and the Hound
  12. The Green Mile
  13. Forrest Gump
  14. The Dark Knight
  15. The Fellowship of the Ring

There’s a couple that I didn’t watch until recently (The Green Mile comes to mind), others I didn’t watch until a few years after it showed in theaters and most I watched ever since I was little, even if it’s been decades since its release. What are some classic movies that you enjoy watching over and over again?

Around the Corner

I was about twelve years old when I almost got kidnapped.

I was playing with the neighbors two doors down. We had found a stick big enough to be a walking stick. For whatever reason, I started walking around the block using the new found walking stick. I’d just turned the corner when I felt someone or something following me. I looked to my left and saw a car slowed down to a crawl with a Hispanic man looking at me intensely. I thought he wanted to ask for directions or for the time so I stopped and walked to the edge of the grass.

“Can I give you a ride home?”

Cold fear froze me. “I don’t need a ride, I just live right around the corner.”

“I just need to give you a ride, it’s a long way.”

“No, I don’t need a ride, I don’t live far from here.”

“Who is that?”

I turned around. One of the boys that I’d been spending time with that day had followed me around the corner. I don’t know why he decided to follow me, but I felt grateful that he decided to that day.

“My neighbor.”

I don’t remember what he said, or if he drove off. The next thing I remember is my neighbor and I walking back home.

“You need to tell your parents. Have them call the police.”

“You come with me. Help me tell the story.”


I eventually got home alone and I eventually got the courage to tell them what happened. My parents were shocked. We live in a good neighborhood, a quiet one. Why would a suspicious man come around here to jeopardize the kids? My dad immediately said we needed to call the police.

When a cop came by he asked me to tell the story and show me how I was walking. I don’t know why it mattered how I walked at the time because the man in the old beat up car was still trying to take me no matter what.

The police man said he’d drive around the block, see if he can find him. The man wasn’t found and I never saw him around ever again. For a year or so, I didn’t want to walk around that block in fear of seeing him again. I went a different way. I’m so glad that my neighbor decided to follow me that day. Who knows what would have happened to me or if I would have been alive.