Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Looking Into the Past

Ok, so anyone who knows me or has read my blog over the past few years knows I don't have much else to do besides kids and Genealogy. I finally got around to testing my mtDNA and for those of you who are not savvy it is the line of females from which women trace their ancestors. It is a gene passed from female to her children but only continued through females. Since starting my research I knew back five to six generations based on family records. Proving is harder than old folks memories. I traced back to a wife of Eldred Swain of Emanuel County, Georgia in the 1700's. Her name was Delana, and that was all that was written. Records prior to 1850 only contained the names of the head of household and then marks represented the age groups of male and females living in the household and if they were free persons or a slave. So trying to prove someone prior to 1850 is pretty difficult unless you find other documents such as wills that give names of otherwise digits on a page. And since a census was every 10 years looking for people is difficult and if you are a female even harder once you passed 12. I have looked on various sites for the past four years and finally found a man working on a branch of the line of Eldred Swain where he mentioned that she was possibly a Johnson. Then you get a last name but if there are many living in the area what then?
This was the same with another female ancestor. With her we knew her last name but finding her parents was another feat. I finally found a possible that until proven wrong I am sticking with. We have one family of Johnson living in the county close in proximity to the family of her known husband. The census in which she would be a child is of course the digits no names but their is a child with the age category living in the home. By the next census she is married so how can I prove her? I have looked for marriage records but if there ever was one I cannot find it. One person denied me so far saying that she married to early, and the parents had their first child three years after they were married. Ok, so a couple marries and doesn't have a kid for three years? They didn't have birth control as is evident by my large family lines (hehe they didn't have much else to do). So my assumption stays. But you think working with every ten years is hard but how about when someone is from another country? Some countries do have records but third world is usually a oral history. Like my hubby I was finally able to prove to him the other day he is five years older than he thinks he is. His mother said that he was born the year the locusts swarmed in Libya. I looked it up after watching a show on History Channel on Biblical Disasters, he was born in 1955. But after 22 years of marriage, who cares about five years. But when I ask him about his ancestry, he can name his grandfathers for five generations but ask for a female name or dates of birth and he is lost. How do I share my children's heritage with them if we cannot remember names?
My mtDNA showed that my female line in a few short skips go from Georgia to Europe and Germany and then to the people of Yemen or North Africa a J1 Haplotype is what it is referred to. So I guess a few thousand years ago I was from the same place as my hubby was born. Just goes to show we are all one big family. I like the people who say oh I can trace to Adam, where did you find that census record, when I can't even find my greatx4grandparents? Another issue is the variations of a surname spelling. I may have brought this up on occasion but some of the spellings just make you wonder how we have the documents we do have. Such as today, I was looking up Boyett. Here's a few Boyette, Boyet, and try Benjamin and you get Ben, Benj, Benji, B and "Doc" or some other nickname that someone was called. For the longest time I thought that LNU was a spelling for some female name and finally found out it stood for "Last name unknown". Jno is John and James can be Jimmie, Jim or Jimmy. I hope the census takers of 2010 will do a better job. And don't get me on handwriting or just initials for a whole family either!

Friday, September 04, 2009

New Opportunities

I guess I have a fan out there besides my brother, and they wanted to know how my other children were doing. I would have probably gotten around to them in the next few letters but until then here's what's happening.

Suhayb now 19, finally graduated from high school and is now attending a local community college. He wasn't too sure what he wanted to study and so I suggested he take his required like Math and English to begin. I explained to him that college is different. Teachers there can be much harder and more is expected as an adult. He was able to get two classes only due to late enrollment. He got English and Sociology. I told him I felt I was never good with English but deviant behaviors of humans was right up my alley. I went to college for 3 yrs and never finished. I tried to go back once and the beginning of the semester lost a child and I gave up on school.

He has only been going a week but he bumped into some old friends and seems to be doing ok. He is the only one who has to wake up early for school. The others being home schooled can sleep in and do work later in the day.

Hard to believe that my first son is going on 20 in October. I often tease my friends, on how handsome our sons have become and how beautiful each of our daughters have became as well. Suhayb was still wanting to be a Hockey Goalie but life just hasn't dealt us good hands with that so far. I do want him to reach out for a dream, as I and his father seem to have never reached our own. He had to write an essay for English the other day and he handed me a story about him and his dream to be a goalie for a pro team one day. I felt like crying, his dream is so strong and his desire is so great and yet seems like it is always just out of his reach. I sat there and wished that some Hockey coach sitting out there somewhere could see this essay and say, "Let me offer this kid a chance to have his dream." But, I don't know any Hockey coaches. As for other things he wants in life a car is always a matter of discussion. He is so tall that both of our cars he has to duck to get in and contort his legs to fit under the steering wheel. But we owe so much on the Taurus and now with the economy its worth less than what we owe so we just can't trade it in. As for the other car, Taher's old beat up Subaru Legacy it is so in need of being taken out back and shot its sad. The car has a great engine and we never have any problems with it but a few years back it got caught up in three separate accidents and its frame is bent and its paint is peeling from sitting under trees that leak sap at his work that its a sorry sight. So for now another car is out of question.

Suhayl, finally hit 17 this year. He got a nasty deal after last school year and like his brother will not graduate on time. He was supposed to be a senior this year and when I brought him to home study they reviewed his grades and he got 10th grade! They don't accept high school scores less than a C and so he has to redo so many of his classes that public school let him pass with F's. He can work quickly to do the courses and hopefully he can finish by next school years end. Suhayl is still one of my most loving children. Each time I see him, he is passing out hugs to me and his sisters. He makes up for me where his father's old styles lack. I need hugs. People need hugs in their lives and for some reason my hubby is not a hugger. So anytime I need one I know who I can go to. He has grown into a handsome young man like his brother and yet he is a reminder of how his father once looked. So often was it remarked how he looked just like his father when we went to Libya. He and Khadijah are the only two who look like their father's side of the family. Suhayl wants to be a computer programmer or a gaming designer. He has the head for it and is often called to fix someones computer on the block. I would love for him to apprentice under someone that fixes computers but things aren't like the old days when you could put a child under an adult and have them learn a trade. So every time I go to the library I find him books that he can read and learn. When he finishes high school I want him to go to a technical school and learn the trade. He's got the talent, and like his brother he has his dreams.

Khadijah I know I mentioned but let me bring her up as well. She is now 14 and becoming such a beautiful girl. This one will be some guys eye turner one day. She has it all looks, perfect frame and brains. She is very smart but she loves anime and has become a very good artist. Its funny how she can see a animation character and draw it almost as if she copied it but tell her to draw something else and you would think Fatimah drew it. I was a good artists in high school and yet mine was landscapes. I could draw somethings so real and others looked like kindergarten work. So I guess I know where she gets it from. I also happened across her ability to write. I was needing to shut down her computer and she had a paper for English up and I printed it out. I wasn't being nosey but the paper had some photos and I began to read. Her tone and style made me feel like a 9th grader again. How it feels to walk down the hall as a new kid and wondering if you will have a old friend in class with you so you don't feel so alone. She hit it on the head. If I can I will post a photo of some of her work if I can get her to find some of her best stuff. I will ask for some writing too.

Lets see, that leaves Aieysha and Fatimah. Since most of my last post dealt with Fatimah I will touch on Aieysha. Aieysha did not want to take the online school option she didn't want the pressure of meeting some teachers needs so I use the work Fatimah does and make her do the work. She struggles with spelling words and I feel for her some days. Aieysha also had a weight problem and now the doctor thinks that it is something she is not going to grow out of. So in the next few weeks she will go to the teen weight clinic and see what we can do. She wants to be a pet vet and yet I try to tell her in the softest manner possible that if you have trouble with 4th grade words this is so much harder. I told her maybe after she is 17, she could apprentice at a local pet shop but the few I talked too didn't seem kind to her. This child has so much love to share and yet people can't see past her. She would have to work with someone who works with kids with special needs or a really understanding person. In the meantime she asked a neighbor to walk her dog for her. In the beginning the neighbor was hesitant but I talked to her and told her that it is a big favor for my daughter as it helps her exercise and it makes her feel good to help others in someway. The dog gives her quite a workout as he is so happy and excited to be out of his yard and pulls her around the neighborhood. I told her when she was older and living on her own maybe she could work at a training school for animals or a shelter giving animals extra love. She has so much to give if she is just given a chance.

Last night, I was sitting with Khadijah and talking about Adam and Eve. She said, "Do we all come from them?" Well that is what our holy books teach us, I explained, and yet how do we not all look like each other was her answer. I told her of a article I had read on National Geographic channel I had read the other day. Scientists believe that we all originated from Africa. Here is where Adam and Eve would have landed after leaving the Garden of Eden. So that can explain the earliest of bones coming from that region. But these people were not white like all the pictures found in so many places around the world. Africa was a warm place and like great grandmother explained, "People in warm places had to be dark so they would not get sunburns and so that is why people are different colors." So how is it that all our churches have paintings of white people? Anyway, the article said that we came from one couple and that each generation there was a genetic chance that a mutation could occur. And that if a generation failed to reproduce certain genetic factors were lost and others became stronger. I told her, "look at your siblings, each of you have some trait of your parents yet none of you are identical to each other." Only her and Suhayl look like their fathers side. Everyone else except Melissa looks more like me while Melissa looks like her father. I told her each of them had bits and pieces of their ancestors that are carried on and with each generation some are lost and some stay until a later generation. That is why I like to look at old photos of my ancestors and see if I see something in them that has been passed on. Like your ears, I told Khadijah are from your great grandfather on my side. Grandpa had big ears and when she was born I knew just where they had came from. One thing I could never figure out though was if Adam and Eve were the first and their son killed his brother and then fled, who where the people he found? I figure there is an answer out there. Maybe Adam and Eve were the first of many? Also if Adam and Eve looked like us and they were the first, then why don't the oldest bones on earth looking just like us too? I feel they didn't look like us because we evolved as humans. God, put us here to nurture and grow and change. Like our animal companions we changed to fit the world we were given. Some days I don't think we evolved very well. Suhayb ask me the other day if I believed that the world was going to change or end in 12/24/2012. The Mayans and Aztecs think we will. I don't know I told him. I don't think God is done with us yet but with all that happens in this world. I feel some days that our end is closer than we want it to be. I told him remember when Fatimah was born, 09/09/99. All those fears of nuclear explosions due to computers reading 9999. Well we woke up the next day didn't we? Well lets go to sleep on 12/23/2012 and hope that if God sees fit we will wake to find the morning. Regardless of what man does to the day. There are days when he is so much like me...

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Betty Davis Eyes

Maybe with some effort I could renew this old page. I pretty much stopped writing because I seemed to always be down on life. But regardless what life deals us we go on. So since my life revolves around my family I will chat about that and occasionally I will vent, hopefully not to often.

You know the old song "She's Got Betty Davis Eyes"? It was a song about a woman with a lovely set of peepers. Like the renowned eyes of actress Betty Davis. Well into her 80's at least now her eyes are about all that is still lovely but she is still a beauty. This week was trips to the doctors for two of the girls. Fatimah has now had Type 1 Diabetes for 7 years and was due for an eye exam. And Aieysha was scheduled for a dental to check progress on her braces.

Fatimah got very sick around her second birthday, at the time she was the third youngest in the USA. Also for some unknown reason children born in 1999 were coming up diabetic. Don't know why never looked into it much back then. Fatimah was born on 090999. She had just barely recovered and made it to two when a few days later a more famous day is known 9-11.

Well, this month she is 10 years old. She is my baby and its odd to know that my granddaughter Keeley just had her tenth birthday on the first. For anyone from Libya this is a day of pride. September 1 is the day Qhadaffi came into power. I got the letter from the Embassy warning us Americans to be careful during that time. I was in Libya that time, four years ago when I last was in Libya. I remember going to the capital city and seeing all the lights and decorations set to celebrate the day. And that evening I stayed at home with my brother in law Salem and could here the celebrations around the city.

Well, this year is much different, I'm in the USA and far from the sights and sounds of Tripoli. We are working on our third week of school and the kids are doing great. So, Monday I took Fatimah to her diabetes exam and for once in a very long time her Hb1C was 8.9. To those of you who suffer with diabetes you know that is the level of overall sugar in your system. A score under 7 is the best. But it has always been a struggle for us to keep her scores low. I hoped that with her getting older she would begin to understand more of not having so much of something or not asking for more when she eats less than a hour before but her little body goes into hunger pangs when her levels go up and she eats like there is no tomorrow. She has yet to understand that is a trigger that she needs to ignore. Her body is needing to burn the sugars in her system not add more to it. So things such as loss of eye sight over her lifetime will be reduced. They said that even people with good testing still can loose eyesight but I would love for it not to happen too soon. There is too much too see that she hasn't.

Well, we got a appointment for the next morning so I had two at the same time. I asked hubby to take Aieysha and I would go with Fatimah since they were only a few buildings apart. We got in and as usual my daughter was a social butterfly talking up a storm with the nurse. She was a bit scared when I told her what the doctor was going to do but she was a trouper. Her eyes were first looked at with various scopes and the nurse finally administered her drops to dilate her retina. Then she said it would be 15 minutes. A fine young doctor entered the room and had a wonderful bedside manner and she had a new buddy. He then was great at explaining what he was doing. The doctor used a variety of scopes to again look into her eyes. On on occasion she peeped, "I can see the back of my eyes!" He told us so many technical terms that I finally asked how to spell that one so we could share it with her siblings. ENTOPTIC Phenomena. When a strong light is shined into the back of your eye you get a refraction onto the lens and it is transferred back so you see a floating light. Next, he took a few photographs of her eyes to examine for damage to the blood vessels of her eyes. This damage is what results in lost of eyesight for diabetics. The tiny veins begin to deteriorate and the veins burst and eventually the eyes loose blood supply and they die. We looked in wonder at her eyes and commented on what they looked like. Chicken yolks came to mind, planets in space and plain old yuck was her opinion. But they were still strong that was all that mattered. Now each year she will be given an eye exam and if and when she starts having eye trouble we have a reference point to refer to for damage. In the photo above the dark spot is the eyes optic nerve that goes to our brain. The spider veins supply blood and oxygen to the eyes. The other light spot is the eye seeing light from the source. I was so thrilled I asked the doctor if he could email it to me to show the other kids. He took my email address and said he would try to.
Well, we gathered up our belongings and headed out the door and Fatimah, donned in her space glasses entered the bright sunlight and yelled. "its too bright!" Yes, hunny be thankful you can see this glorious day. Somewhere out there is someone who can't or doesn't want to see the wonder of this day. So to all of you- Look for your sunshine day and remember it when the world seems dark.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Am I Getting Older or What?

Where has time gone? Where has my life gone? I looked in the mirror the other day and realized that I am almost 50. I guess each year when my brother updates his email address it is a constant reminder that we are getting old. My oldest child Rachael will be 30 this year and I finally have a new grandson, Macloud Raiden Ruel. He was born in Feburary but I never saw him until this month. I live less than a mile from his mother yet I never saw him until my mother and sister came to visit me this month. Long story, but hey I haven't written anything in like over a year.

Rachael and Melissa are my older daughters from my life prior to becoming a Muslim. Rachael was a teen pregnancy whose father ran off and joined the Army and Melissa is the daughter of my first husband Steve. Life didn't deal me the best hand as a young woman and our relationship as mother and daughters is not what I want after so many years. Rachael lives with her two children Keeley and Kaleb in Utah and I talk to her just about every day if not twice a week. I talk to my grandchildren on a monthly basis or each time she calls at least. Melissa on the other hand moved here to Colorado after the death of her father. She had been dealt years of stories about Mom that anyone who has gone through child custody and divorce is familiar with. She didn't quite fit into my life and for many reasons she met and married a nice young man Michael. Don't get me wrong I love her with all my heart and they both know it as do my other children I have with Taher but our relationships are not the same.

Even though we are less than a mile apart we may be worlds away. I rarely see or hear from her and my life goes on. In June, my mother told me she and my sister Faye were planning a trip to see me then on to Utah to visit my other siblings. I haven't seen my mother in a few years and except for the phone relationship we now have I am not really a part of my families lives. Another result of American lives. My ties with my family started breaking long before but it was the death of my Adopted father James that broke the last straws for me. James adopted me and two siblings when I was 7 and although I remember that I had another last name I have no memories of my real father. This was one reason why I began my genealogy work. James had been married before and had two sons Kerry my most wonderful brother in the whole world and Farrell whom I met once in my lifetime and I wish to reach out to. Kerry came into my life at a pivotal point I had just became a teenager and he was the older brother I always wanted and now had. He was one of the few who thought it was cool to be an uncle, when I had my first child. Farrell came for a summer the year I was 14 and like most half siblings it was a miserable summer. He lived in Virginia and we never saw or spoke to each other again. James passed away 15 years ago, when my daughter Aieysha was barely a year old. The two boys have no memories of him as they only saw him when they were very little and Aieysha saw him a few weeks before his death. We all flew to Utah for the funeral and stayed just a few days as family issues arose that lead us to leave as soon as possible. Many hard feelings were made that day. Needless to say it was until I began my search for my birth father that my ties with my family were renewed. I finally got up the nerve to call my mother one day and get more needed info to try and solve the questions of my past.

Now it is two years later and I speak to my mother two to three times a week chatting about someone I found we were related to or asking if she can find a certain book at the most wonderful book store in Florida Books, Books, Books. Those ladies are great at finding stuff that I need or old books that are long out of publication lying on old dusty shelves. We joke that one of their best customers is in another state! Anyway, not too long after my sister became ill and they asked me if I could locate her father too. I did, but thankfully it was not a serious illness and they at least have a chance if they wish to form a union.

Maybe it is just me, or something I lost in life but I feel lost without knowing who my father was. I did find him, he is living but not anywhere close by. But once his family got involved they refused to speak to me. They wanted proof that I was his child. OK, I agree, but they have never done a DNA test to help me prove that and they do not respond to my letters. I guess this is one thing I will never know for sure. And it has left me feeling more lost.

Anyway back to last June, not only were my mother and sister coming to visit but my grandchildren Keeley and Kaleb were supposed to visit their father who now lives in Colorado for the summer and they needed a place to stay. So my little house was bursting! Mom and Faye came and we barely got one day with each other, seeing as I had not seen my sister in 15 years it was a bit odd but it felt like we had just talked last week. It was a bit strained I think no one wanted to say anything to damage the delicate balance we now live with. I have yet to really talk with my other siblings. Except for Kerry, I feel like I live alone when it comes to family.

With the beginning of Ramadan I am always sad, I think back to just four years ago when I went with my children on a trip to Libya to visit my husbands family. Those of you who know me know how that journey was. But now with time, all bad fades and I still would go again in a heartbeat to be back were at least there was family. Ramadan is so much of thanking God for what you have and some days I fell like I haven't given my kids the most important gift-FAMILY.

I can only hope that I at sometime in the future hold my grand kids on my lap and tell them the stories of their parents when they were little. While my mother and everyone were here I felt really sick the second day after they arrived. I thought it was the stress of just being together and so many people in one small house. Especially with the two extra children fighting over everything...I was making couscous for dinner and I was trying not to cut myself. I had felt funny all day and this was getting dangerous. I told them the meat was in the pot and the soup needed sometime and the couscous was ready and sat down on the couch. I have been diagnosed with high blood pressure but never stayed on medication due to doctors. I pulled out my blood pressure cuff and took my score it was 179/130. My sister called my old doctors office whom I had just been to a few months back and they took two hours to call me back. They said go to the hospital right away. Taher was called and my son drove as my sister had no idea where or how to get to the hospital and mom stayed with the other kids. At 3 am they said that it was close that my potassium level was so low that a heart stroke or attack was likely had I not came in.

The next day, I cried. I hadn't even seen my new grandson yet and I had just seen my sister after 15 years and it shook me to the core. What if I did have a stroke or attack and had died? Well, its a month later and I am doing better for a few weeks I walked and moved like granny but I have regained most of my health. I tried to fast but it drained me so badly that for my health I will not fast this year. My kids homestudy now and we have been in school two weeks and are doing great. I have my son to take me where I need if I need to go out although he hates to be chauffeur. But imagine if I have a weak spell while driving. I don't risk other peoples lives. The day after I got out of the hospital my daughter Melissa came and brought the baby for me to see. First time in 6 months, he was a beautiful boy, not sure where he got that from!! Hehehe. But I was having problems with weakness in my arms and could not hold him and he was looking at all the strange people and just bellowed. I went into my room to lie down and inside I was breaking, here was my grandson who I could not hold and who I had just seen for the first time and I almost never saw him. To me Ramadan is not fasting, not friends, or how many parties or dinners you have too serve to another group of guests it's FAMILY. Cherish what we have people. Life is getting short. My husband still has not talked to his family in years and mine is strained at best. But I have to make due with what I have. My children that are still at home and help them to understand the value of family as one day when we are older we may no longer have them around to enjoy. Peace to everyone and may you see your life in a new light today.