ALL ABOUT LIFE BEYOND KINDERGARTEN! Kindergarten is the basic building block for all future learning. It is true that everything you need to know in life was really learned in Kindergarten. The trick is to remember what you learned when you were five or six. What you liked then will most likely be something you will like now. So be true to yourself and who you really are and who you will really be. Look back and you just may find your true self! Yes…this blog is about a variety of topics…because we are all a smorgasbord of thoughts and ideas.
Michael Henry and Justin Robinettwere students at Texas Tech University in Lubbock Texas when they decided to record a YouTube video in 2009. It was just on a whim…just for fun. Justin had a set of amateur recording equipment that he had acquired back in high school. Michael was curious about how they could make a video. Why not try it out? Anyway… who in the world was really going to listen?
They both had a musical background in their growing up years and met when they were both on the Texas Tech drum line. Michael took piano lessons for a couple of years and played drums in his high school Jazz Ensemble. His singing ability was unknown to most everyone. Justin started taking piano lessons at ten years old and later began playing drums and playing guitar. He attended Texas Tech as a Music Performance Major. They had no idea of the fan support that they would receive from those first and subsequent YouTube videos.
And…another YouTube career was soon launched. Just by accident. Just for fun. They did not even think about the real people who would watch their video. And people watched…and people listened. People loved the blending harmony of their unique voices.
Michael and Justin have over 385,000 subscribers and over 74 million views on their videos. I first heard about them when a friend sent me a video of Michaeland Justin singing “Hallelujah”. It turned out to be one of the best renditions that I have ever heard.
Their covers of well known hits are astounding. I have heard that they are currently on separate career paths…Michael now has a law degree from Texas Tech and Justin has several degrees from South Plains College in Sound Technology and Audio Engineering. I am simply hoping that they keep sharing their musical talent…
Michael and Justin’s harmony is truly a wondrous sound!
A group of Crepe Myrtle blooms at our East Texas farm!
Summer is the ideal time for Crepe Myrtle trees in Texas. They evidently need their winter sleep to deal with the hot weather. I have never even thought about Crepe Myrtle trees beingdormant during the colder weather. No wonder that the grade I earned in my college botany class was far less than outstanding…I must not have paid attention to a word that was said. Too many other things were on my mind. I was far more interested in being on the college newspaper staff and taking pictures with an actual news camera. Learning to develop the film and then enlarge the pictures was a thrill!
A Crepe Myrtle growing near the tractor trail to one of our barns.
The scientific study of plants was certainly not a thrill for someone who was still a teenager! No doubt…I would absolutely love that class now! We have so many Crepe Myrtles scattered throughout our farm. Some of these pretty flowering trees are hidden away in deeply wooded areas…to be discovered by sheer accident!
More Texas Crepe Myrtle trees at our farm!
A flowering tree discovered by a sheer and beautiful accident. A Crepe Myrtle quietly slipped into the woods to grow beside tall pine trees and delicate wildflowers. Such a sight to behold! And this feat of nature has happened over and over again!
…and look for hidden flowering trees in the quiet of the afternoon!
Family Trees are unbelievably fascinating to me. I started working on our family tree at least six years ago. I joined Ancestry.com on a whim. I had been looking through old family photographs and thinking about…Who were the people?…What did they hope to accomplish in their lives?…When did they marry or did they remain single?…Where did they originally come from?…Why did they look so serious or so happy?…How did they lead their lives?
Who? ? ?
What? ? ?
When? ? ?
Where? ? ?
Why? ? ?
How? ? ?
Literally, the basic and the most important questions that journalists attempt to precisely answer are “who”,“what”, “when”, “where”, “why” and the inevitable “how”. These are the first elements of writing that I learned in my first journalism class in college. In trying to figure out the puzzle of a Family Tree, I thought about these questions and how they would give me more information about my relatives. As in any good story, the writer (or in this case…the researcher) needs to figure out what questions are not being answered. The best help can come from photographs and copies of old documents such as census or marriage records.
As I delved deeper into my family history, I knew that I would need new technology and scientific concepts. DNA appeared to be the direct route to the ultimate units of universal information.
The first portion my DNA results from Ancestry.com:
My Ethnicity Estimate According to Ancestry.com DNA Testing…
1. Great Britain
2. Europe West
4. Europe East
5. Iberian Peninsula
6. Finland/Northwest Russia
A second portion of my DNA results from Ancestry.com…Genetic Communities.
What are Genetic Communities?
Genetic Communities™ are groups of AncestryDNA members who are connected through DNA most likely because they descend from a population of common ancestors, even if they no longer live in the area where those ancestors once lived.
For example, some Genetic Communities trace their roots back to groups of people who were isolated geographically. Mountains, rivers, lack of roads, or other barriers made it likely that each new generation would marry someone who lived close to home. Others have their roots in groups who typically married others of the same religion or ethnic group. In each case, these groups came to share a significant amount of DNA. Modern-day descendants who inherited some of that DNA make up Genetic Communities.
My Genetic Communities:
According to Ancestry.com, the majority of my relatives lived in the following locations…some for hundreds of years…some arrived in the mid to late 1880s…
1. Settlers of Northwest Alabama
2. Settlers of Western Tennessee, Arkansas & Northeast Texas
3. Early Settlers of the Deep South
Pictured above is the home owned by my great-great grandfather in Nashville, Tennessee… as it looks today….a blue house with a picket fence. The house was built in the late 1880s and is shown in the top right picture in the early 1900s. My relatives are standing in the front of the house. The entry hall staircase evidently looks as new today as it did when the house was built. The house has had numerous owners and is now divided into four apartments. It is located on Park Avenue not far from downtown Nashville, Vanderbilt University and Centennial Park.
The information concerning my Genetic Communities is totally on target. My maternal great-great grandfather immigrated to Nashville, Tennessee from Oldham, Lancashire, England in the mid 1800s. He was a very young man. My mother grew up in Nashville and I still have relatives who live there. On my father’s side of my family, his relatives lived in Tennessee and moved to Arkansas in the 1800s. My grandfather was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas in the late 1800s. Later, he moved his family to Louisiana and then to Texas. I grew up in Northeast Texas. Through research, I discovered that my paternal ancestors were indeed very early settlers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
Ancestors. Family. Cousins. Aunts. Uncles. Some that I knew when I was growing up. Some that I am just now finding. My DNA results identified 1,498 4th cousins or closer who are currently living somewhere around the world! Unbelievable!!
The following is an article about a wonderful summer camp in East Texas…Pine Cove. Both of our children attended Pine Cove from third grade through their senior year in high school. Our son-in-law also attended Pine Cove. What an amazing experience for our entire family! The friendships, the beautiful setting, the life lessons and the camaraderie of the entire staff are still impacting our lives today!
***click on the link below for the entire story!***
Every year, at a camp by a lake in the piney woods of East Texas, the lives of tens of thousands…
Lake Cherokee is not a big lake in Texas. Lake Texoma on the Oklahoma border is much, much bigger. Lots more water. Visiting some of the marinas on Texoma is like going to a major boat show in Dallas. The boats are big and the prices are big. Lake Cherokee has nice boats and fast boats…just not so many big boats. At least, I don’t think so. When I was growing up, I thought that the boats on Cherokee were the best boats that existed. I doubt that I had been to very many other lakes. Why would I want to go anywhere else? We could get to LakeCherokee in about 15 to 20 minutes.
Lake Cherokee is just south of my hometown. Paradise! I learned to waterski at THE LAKE. When I was growing up, an invitation to The Lake was like receiving a summons to have dinner with Queen Elizabeth. My parents didn’t have a lake lot, but plenty of our friends had one. My mom never learned to swim and a lake lot was the last thing that she wanted to buy. She would go to parties at The Lake, but there was no way that she was going to step foot in the water or even on a pier. My dad was the exact opposite. He would have bought a boat and a lake lot and actually lived at THE LAKE. Absolutely no discussions about that…no matter how much my brother and I begged. So we depended on friends for THE LAKE.
For years, we went to THE LAKE every Fourth of July for a party with some ofour neighbors.
We would swim, ski, make homemade ice cream, have a cookout, ride in boats going way too fast, and watch the fireworks. Our parents, teenagers, little children…all at the same party. Of course, other parties on other days were not so tame as we moved on to high school and college. You know…kids being kids.
THE LAKE had a small island in the middle. I don’t know why, but I always thought that the island was mysterious. I had a wild imagination and thought a very weird and reclusive millionaire lived on the island. The island was the only place that I considered not fun on THE LAKE. I never shared my thoughts about the island with anyone. I guess that every other person thought the island was cool.
Despite the reclusive, not real millionaire, THE LAKE was the place to make friends, have fun, and learn a little bit about independence. The day that my parents actually let me drive with my friends to THE LAKE…without any parents…was one of the most important days that I had ever experienced. There was just something pulling us to THE LAKE. We were too young to realize that being near water can be one of the most calming, yet thrilling life moments.
The sound of the water as it hits the shoreline when a boat pulls away from the dock is so soothing, as is the wind coming off of the water in late spring. Even today, I drive out to one of the nearby lakes…when I am happy, when I am sad, when I just want to see the colors of the water. As a grown-up person, I now know the dangers that lurk in the water…snakes, pollution, alligators, out of control boats, people drinking while driving a boat. I was so innocent back then. I never saw anything really dangerous at THE LAKE. My memories at Lake Cherokee are the best. I still would like to have a lake lot at THE LAKE. Putting trepidation aside, I could really have a fun time at Lake Cherokee. Even today. Especially today!