Posts filed under ‘Crazy Quilt: Writings & Reflections’

Cute Kid Story: The Cat is My Mom!

“In Our Hearts” is meant to be not only a record of our family history and genealogy but also a way to preserve our memories, and what makes our family special. If you would like to share something to the blog or add a story (or something else?) of your own, please leave a comment with your e-mail. Your info will be kept confidential. I will reply with details on how you can contribute to the blog.

Blessings ❤

Sharing a funny story from my family…

Cute Kid Story:

So today my Lil Guy did not want to finish his breakfast. In fact, he wanted to splash his spoon in the bowl and watch cereal swim across the puddles that belly flopped onto the table. So I told him to sit in quiet time, for a few minutes, until he was ready to eat. He was not very happy with me.

Next thing I know, Lil Guy is running out of QT… I follow him to the living room where he has his arm around the cat and is whispering in her ear.
Me: “What are you talking to the cat about?”
LG: “You are not my mom anymore. The cat is my mom now!”
Me: “The cat can’t drive. Who is going to drive you when you want to go some place?”
LG: “MY dad (he works on cars) will get me some parts and I will build a special car for the cat to drive.”

So I agreed…the cat can be your mom today!

Lil Guy was not too impressed when Cat Mom made “dinner” and served him a bowl of beef liver soft cat food.

Lil Guy did not like that Cat Mom makes him nap all day just like she does.

And he certainly did not want to change Cat Mom’s litter box!

So after some careful thought.. my Lil Guy tells me “I want you to be my Mom again.

I’m sorry. I love you Mom.”

Awww.. my heart melted! I have since learned that play is actually the best approach to get my child to eat, and if I make food interesting or fun he will eat. We now enjoy International Cooking once a week and try food from around the world. We also learn about the country on the menu’s respective culture, and enjoy music, games or activities from that country. The cat sneaks up to the table, and has to sample too!

~ In Our Hearts, 2015

July 28, 2020 at 2:50 am Leave a comment

Study Reveals: Brutal Treatment of Enslaved People Shapes DNA of Descendants

“Genetic Journey”, original art, by In Our Hearts

“Scientists from the consumer genetics company 23andMe have published the largest DNA study to date of people with African ancestry in the Americas….More than one and a half centuries after the trans-Atlantic slave trade ended, a new study shows how the brutal treatment of enslaved people has shaped the DNA of their descendants.” – Christine Kenneally

Has anyone taken an at home DNA Test to learn more about your ethnicity or family? What surprised you? What did you learn? Post in comments. 

I took a DNA test, and it has been an emotional, amazing journey as I learn more about my family, and retrace the footsteps of Ancestors. One of the things that really touched me is discovering that the paternal side of my family, is mostly Nigerian (and neighboring countries) in ethnicity. It was so humbling to discover where my Ancestors originated, to have a name for my homeland, to belong somewhere. I have since developed a love for Nollywood movies, and really enjoy the spirited comments on the videos posted. I am also learning how to cook Nigerian recipes, some of which are similar to soul food.

A distant cousin (DNA match) living in Jamaica contacted me after I took the DNA test, and told me a little about family in Africa, and wondered if I knew the name of our shared ancestor. I hope one day to discover this person, am still researching… I am so grateful for every connect to family, and enjoy meeting new cousins. Thank you, and sending love from the bottom of my heart, to everyone who has left comments or connected through this blog or elsewhere…you are a precious part of my journey, my family, and my life. I thank God for all of you, and keep you in prayers.

I read an article about a recent study that may explain some of the findings in my own DNA test about Nigeria, and cousin in Jamaica.  The study revealed that Black DNA participants from the U.S. had a high percentage of ancestry from Nigeria. “After consulting another historian, the researchers learned that enslaved people were sent from Nigeria to the British Caribbean, and then were further traded into the United States, which could explain the genetic findings, he said.”

As exciting as these discoveries are, the ancestry tests also can be a source of pain, and deep emotion that words cannot adequately describe. Because I know that despite the results of the test, that Nigeria is a foreign place to me. I do not speak the language. I am not familiar with it’s customs or cities. There is no one there that I can call family. And the reason for that loss is that my ancestor(s) was once a free person who was kidnapped and forced into slavery. My ancestor(s) left their homeland in chains, travelled in the stinking belly of a slave ship to eventually be deported to the U.S. While my ancestor(s) survived, millions others died. That is a grief that does not escape you.

Findings from a recent study validate that the experience of slavery has affected the DNA of descendants, “The forced displacement of more than 12.5 million men, women, and children from Africa to the Americas between 1515 and 1865 has had significant social, cultural, health, and genetic impacts across the Americas.”  Like these scientists, I use the DNA tests along with historical research and family stories in an effort to learn more about my family. The DNA test is the only way I can trace the lost footsteps of my Ancestors.

Scientists from the at home DNA testing company, 23andMe, published the largest study to date about people of African ancestry in the Americas.  More than 50,000 participants gave informed consent to be included in the study, which included 30,000 people of African ancestry. The participants had grandparents who were born in one of the geographic regions of trans-Atlantic slavery.

The study gives information on the countries where people were kidnapped from in Africa, the route they travelled on the trans-Atlantic slave trade and where they were enslaved across the Americas (including U.S., Caribbean, the Guianas and Latin America). The outcomes or what happened to enslaved people can also be traced, to some degree. Since very few records on enslaved people exist, DNA tests are crucial to help piece together the story.

Results of the DNA tests combined with historical records and research shows that enslaved people were subjected to horrific degradation as well as physical, mental and sexual abuse.


-Reduced numbers of certain genetic populations showing up in parts of the Americas where slavery existed suggests that enslaved people were forced to work under “life-threatening conditions” and died as a result. A majority of those who died were men, who did not live long enough to bear children (which also means their culture would die out because there were no survivors to pass down knowledge and traditions).

-Widespread sexual abuse and exploitation of enslaved women was a common practice. A high rate of genetic presence of European DNA shows that many women conceived children as a result of rape. “What’s more, in the United States, European men contributed three times more to the modern-day gene pool of people of African descent than European women did. In the British Caribbean, they contributed 25 times more…”

“The asymmetry in the experience of enslaved men and women — and indeed, many groups of men and women in centuries past — is well understood. Enslaved men often died before they had a chance to have children. Enslaved women were often raped and forced to have children.”

-High rates of suicide among Igbo people from the Bight of Biafra (Nigeria) are also suggested in the study, again due to the low presence of Igbo genetics among study participants. Historical records say that suicide was used as a form of resistance, that the Igbo would rather die than be held as slaves in the new world.

-Historical records show a high rate of enslaved people who were deported from Senegambia to the Americas. Yet, the genetic studies show a very little genetic material passed down to descendants. The study theorizes that since so many children were taken from Senegambia that they likely died during the slave passage due to illness, starvation, unsanitary conditions or abuse, and this is why their offspring did not survive and why there are not many descendants. Dangerous plantation conditions, and malaria, may have also contributed to why very few people from Senegambia survived.

The devastation caused upon Black lives, families and communities by slavery and generations of oppression cannot be underestimated. The trauma has been passed down from one generation to the next, our tears are literally the diluted blood of our Ancestors. This study has shown the horrific consequences of slavery but it has also shown that within our blood, within our DNA is is the same strength, the resilience that enabled our ancestors to survive despite the odds against them. That is why I have hope that in this generation, we can heal and rebuild our lives, our families, our communities. I am also motivated by this study to preserve the memory of our Ancestors, so that they will never be forgotten.

❤ In Our Hearts

The study can be read here: Genetic Consequences of the Transatlantic Slave Trade in the Americas

Source (Quotes taken from): Large DNA Study Traces Violent History of American Slavery by Christine Kenneally

Retrieved: July 25, 2020

July 26, 2020 at 7:51 am Leave a comment

It Takes These Things to Heal (Poetry, Memoir)

This poem is inspired by my beautiful and amazing daughter who came to visit me in the hospital when I was sick… her love is all the medicine I need.

I love you, Sissy! And thank God for you every day ()-:) xoxox Mommy xoxoxo


My daughter and I lay side by side

In a narrow hospital bed,

Her brown eyes gaze into mine

As she solemnly presents:

A carefully colored get-well card,

An old picture of my Dad,

The latest news about Taylor Swift.


A picture of my Dad

Posed next to the Christmas tree…

Looking supafly in plaid bell bottoms,

Did Dad know I was the surprise in his stocking?

That next year he would be a father for the first time—

To a rebellious daughter

Who sang out of tune on purpose,

And sang in tune when no one was watching—

Who tested patience, and flunked


That daughter that grew into a young woman…

Who stood under a wishing star,

The flickering light reached a dark spot

I closed my eyes, and threw my heart into the heavens,

Just off a meandering trail

Someone else was wishing too..

And caught my rebellious heart,

Together we would begin a life,

Have a beautiful baby…


My baby girl came into the world laughing,

She was born unafraid—

Her antics kept me racing

The floorboards shook with large feet chasing after smaller

The tired sigh of exhaustion,

The sail of black hair would collapse against her narrow shoulders,

And almond shaped eyes would finally shudder

Giving way to sleep, thumb hanging from rosebud mouth


My daughter and I sing together,

When angry we crescendo,

our voices hammer to the beat

Then reunite over tearful ballads

Wondering what Taylor Swift song we are living out today.


But right now, there is only the hush of breath–

I am recovering from surgery

An IV snakes through my arm,

A small hand winds through plastic tubing

Holding me close, lest I break.


It takes these things to heal—

A carefully colored get-well card,

A picture of my Dad

The latest news about Taylor Swift…

The love of my daughter.


In Our Hearts, © 2013.


August 18, 2017 at 2:39 am 1 comment

Quote: When You Remember Me – How Do You Want to Be Remembered?

“When you remember me, it means you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am on who you are.

It means you can summon me back to your mind even though countless years and miles stand between us.” — Frederick Buechner




How do you want others, your family to remember YOU?

Your life, and memories are precious! Leave a legacy of love for your family, suggestions of ways to prerserve your memory:

*Create a scrapbook with photographs, momentos, written comments, newspaper articles, recipes and other special items. Invite family members to add to the scrapbook.

*Create a journal of important or memorable events in your life. OR purchase a journal that includes writing prompts– some journals include questions or prompts to write about, that can be helpful. A journal can be composed of written entries or may be a visual journal with photographs or clip art. Other journals include prompts to draw pictures rather than write with words.

*Create an online blog, pinterest page, or use other social media to connect with family members and preserve precious memories.

*Create a playlist of music that can be shared with songs or messages that are important or meaningful to you.

*Reach out to family members to share, talk, play games…maintain relationships with family.

*Create a profile on a genealogy website to record family history, create a family tree, add pictures or significant events.



March 6, 2013 at 5:59 pm Leave a comment

Ancestors Approved Award: What I Have Learned

I’ve received the Ancestors Approved award from Footsteps of the Past. Thanks for thinking of me, this is an awesome idea!

I’m suppose to share 10 things about my ancestors that have surprised, humbled or enlightened me and share this award with 10 other bloggers…(deep breath) so here goes!

1. I found the ancestor of the slaveholder online, and our paths crossed doing genealogy… We shared alot of the same curiosity and love for our families. She apologized for her ancestor’s role in slavery and it came to me so strongly, it’s not your fault–you weren’t even alive then. It was an amazing place to be, coming from two very different families, but both standing together in this moment in time as equals, and being able to answer questions for each other.

2. I am always humbled, touched and heartened to meet with or speak with the Elders in my family…your life stories and memories are precious. Thank-you for taking the time to share with me ❤

3. Surprised to find traces of my ancestors in the faces of my children..and enjoying watching our family grow and become more diverse

4. Absolutely blessed to connect to my cousin Nile, she is my sister and my friend. I enjoy our conversations and adventures digging up family history.

5. Humbled to visit Moundville, Alabama, and learn about the Indians who once lived there, and what life was like long ago. My uncle said our Indian ancestors were farmers and lived between the Warrior and Cohabee (Cahaba) Rivers…close to this area.

6. Really proud to share our heritage for nationality day at my son’s preschool! I dressed him up as a farmer with blue jeans and a straw hat, with a boll of Alabama cotton tucked in the front pocket.

7. Always surprised when a small tidbit of information turns into a huge lead where I find a lost relative or uncover a hidden story

8. Still wondering about my mysterious Ford relatives in Perry, Dallas and Jefferson Counties (AL). Have not found one trace of my great-grandfather, Pettus Ford…one day I hope to meet more of my Ford relatives!

9. Open to learning more..and I love to hear about other families and their stories.

10. I want to encourage my relatives to contact me if you would like to share something or post here.Some ideas: photos, favorite memories, favorite verses/song lyrics/Scripture, recipes, your hopes/dreams, what you would want future generations to know about you…this page is for you!

Many Blessings, In Our Hearts

Visit Footsteps of the Past:

Ancestors Approved Award

July 21, 2011 at 2:13 am 1 comment

Big Bird and the Jungle Underwear (Poetry, Memoir)

To Dad, Happy Father’s Day

To a six year old, the 12 foot statue of Big Bird
Towering in the middle of the department store
Looks as fearsome as any prehistoric beast
I am terrified of his massive size,
His eyes are black as hornet stingers.

I have nightmares about Big Bird coming to life,
The linoleum quakes beneath his massive orange feet
The classical music they play in the store, is lost
In the high-pitched furor of his tweet
Big Bird plucks me up as if I am a worm,
Opens his razor-sharp beak
Then hurls me into a tunnel of blackness…
I wake up kicking my legs against Big Bird’s fleshy tonsils
It was just a dream or was it?
A yellow feather escapes from beneath the covers,
Tickling my toes.

I don’t care if I wear the same socks and underwear
‘Til all that remains is a few stretched threads—
I am not going in that store
Until Big Bird is roasted and served with gravy!

Then one day, the inevitable happens,
“Time to get you some socks and underwear”
I begin to tremble from head to toe
Big Bird stands guard over the pink polka dotted panties,
He’d wait until Dad announces my size
Then decide I have grown just right, my stick thin body filling out
My clumsy feet now tearing holes through my socks
Yummm, tender morsel…
In one gulp, I’d be done for!

I am not going. No way.
I will wear my brother’s underwear if I have to!
Dad can’t understand why I am being so stubborn,
He thought little girls like to go shopping,
That he could bribe me with an ice-cream cone
I am not going, no way!
Well, I really like bubble gum ice-cream…
How about the cone with the chocolate chips….
Maybe I will dangle one toe into the store,
Squeeze my eyes shut and make a run for it.

As Dad and I walk into the store,
Big Bird’s massive head turns towards us,
His eyes fix onto me like poisonous stingers
A booming voice fills the room
“We’re going to get you some jungle underwear today.
You know, like Tarzan wears. How about size ‘gorilla’?”

I did not know anything could be worse than Big Bird,
Now Dad is embarrassing me in front of everyone
Talking about “jungle underwear”
I wish Big Bird would swallow me up!

I dash into a rack of clothes as Dad loudly proclaims
“You know Superman wears jungle underwear…”
When I peek out, Big Bird is laughing at me.

Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?,
I beg, I don’t think Mr. Hooper sells
Socks and underwear in his store,
I will be safe there.

Dad starts to whistle as he walks down the aisles,
Big Bird winks at me, opens one yellow wing wide
I hide in his downy softness,
While Dad picks out my “jungle underwear”.

Then Dad and I leave the store walking side by side,
I run to keep up with Dad’s long stride
The plastic bag of “jungle underwear” and socks
Bang against my hip with every small leap
I imagine the ice-cream cone that will soon be mine,
Topped with banana, popular in the jungle.

In Our Hearts, © 2010


I love you, Dad!

I inherited my gift of storytelling from my Dad, who is always making up funny stories and jokes.

Dad never knew how terrified I was of the Big Bird statue in the store (as a child), I would never admit it… I lost that fear when Dad started talking about “jungle underwear”. My Dad is always cracking jokes but with a straight face, so you tend to believe him until you are caught up in one of his tall tales!

My Dad is a wonderful grandfather to the kids. He sneaks them ice-cream for breakfast when he is babysitting, and lets Nora read to him all day (she is like a school teacher, ordering Grandpa to sit on the couch then piling up the books!). He plays board games with the kids and takes them to the library or garage sales. When I get home, the house is a mess, and everyone is pointing fingers at everyone else… It is the best feeling to sigh really loud, and act all stern (hiding a smile) and feel the sense of “home” surround me — worn in all the right places with love. Kids clean up. Make Grandpa a lunch for work (and put a cartoon inside his lunch bag just as he did for me as a child). Ready for another adventure?

I pray my kids will be able to see Grandpa, and the rest of the family soon. Circumstances have kept us apart but God will bring us back together (Isaiah 49). Happy Father’s Day Dad! And to my children, I love you always ❤

June 19, 2010 at 7:54 pm 1 comment

Happy Memorial Day

Thank-You could not say enough to the brave men and women in our armed forces, and to the Veterans who have bravely fought to preserve a free & democratic America for us, and for future generations. Happy Memorial Day, and God Bless!

The liberties of our Country, the freedom of our civil constitution are worth defending at all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have receiv’d them as a fair Inheritance from our worthy Ancestors: They purchas’d them for us with toil and danger and expence of treasure and blood; and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle; or be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men. Of the latter we are in most danger at present: Let us therefore be aware of it. Let us contemplate our forefathers and posterity; and resolve to maintain the rights bequeath’d to us from the former, for the sake of the latter.” — Samuel Adams, Essay, written under the pseudonym “Candidus,” in The Boston Gazette (14 October 1771) .

Samuel Adams was an American revolutionary, who helped organize the Boston Tea Party. Adams was also governor of Massachusetts from 1793 to 1797.

May 31, 2010 at 5:27 am Leave a comment

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!

* Love your family and your children, they are a gift from God.
* Remember your ancestors and those who walked before you, their prayers, work and love is the foundation for our lives.
* Thank God, our Heavenly Father, for we are His workmanship, made in His image. Our very lives, this world and everything in it is a manifestation of His great love.

Happy Mother’s Day to my children, I know we can’t be together but I love you very much, and pray that God will keep bring us together again. On that wonderful day we will be dancing, singing and getting merry like Christmas.

My children, I love you. I thank God for you everyday.

And to Grandma Dee, you have always been like a guardian angel in my life… My son is named after you. Everytime I hear the Blind Boys of Alabame sing “Mother Pray”, I think of you. You are deeply loved, rest in peace.

In Our Hearts, 2010.

“Mother Pray”

American Spiritual

How sweet and happy seem those days of which I dream
Memories I recall now and then
And with a rapture sweet my weary heart would beat
If I could hear my mother pray again
If I could only hear my mother pray again
If I could hear her tender voice as then
How happy I would be
It would mean so much to me
If I could hear my mother pray again
Around the old homeplace her cherishing smiling face
Was always bringing comfort joy and cheer
And when she used to sing to her eternal King
It was the sound I loved to hear
If I could only hear my mother pray again
If I could hear her tender voice as then
How happy I would be
It would mean so much to me
If I could hear my mother pray again
If I could hear my mother pray again
If I could hear my mother pray again

May 7, 2010 at 1:53 pm Leave a comment

The 51st State: Vomit (Cute Kid Story)

Cute Kid Story:

My daughter is doing her school homework and looking at a map. She says to me, “Mommy look there is a state called Vomit!”

I look at the map, and see she is pointing at Vermont.

Gotta love kids!

In Our Hearts, 2010

February 12, 2010 at 5:11 am Leave a comment



When early morning cooking begins, Lola’s on the prowl
Across a cold floor is the click-clack of four spotted feet
Sniff, sniff…Lola’s tummy begins to growl

Morsel dropped on the floor, a sticky trail Lola will follow
Turkey, pie, stuffing and other tasty treat….
When early morning cooking begins, Lola’s on the prowl

Begging for just one bite, Lola will howl
Yummm… Thanksgiving dinner is almost complete
Sniff, sniff…Lola’s tummy begins to growl

Drool forms at her fuzzy jowl
The sweet potato pie never looked more sweet
When early morning cooking begins, Lola’s on the prowl

Lola jumps on the counter, Mommy’s face is crumpled in a scowl
Slurp slurp, Lola lunges for pie and meat
Sniff, sniff…Lola’s tummy begins to growl

The moon rose in the dark sky, in a lonely tree sits an owl
We are all hungry, there is not a bite left to eat
When early morning cooking begins, Lola’s on the prowl
Sniff, sniff…Lola’s tummy begins to growl

In Our Hearts, © 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from Our Family to Yours!

This is based on a favorite family story, when our Dalmatian, Lola, ate the sweet potato pie that I baked for Thanksgiving. I spent hours baking the pie, and sweetened it with chai only to have it completely destroyed when Lola jumped on the counter, both paws around the pie, and slurped it all up!!!

Thanksgiving Pie


November 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm Leave a comment

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