Thursday, May 17, 2018

Family Reunion: Making Memories

By Debra DuPree Williams @DDuPreeWilliams
We’ve recently had my husband’s two sisters and their husbands visiting. Sue, the younger of the two, and her husband Bill live in Athens, Greece, and we don’t see them very often. Kay and her husband Randy live in Birmingham and they’ve come several times since we’ve lived in North Carolina. It’s been five years since the three siblings were together.

One thing families always seem to do is reminisce about the olden days. We are no exception.  They talked about people and places they all remember from their childhoods. I’ve heard these stories so often after almost forty-five years of being married to the baby of the family, that I know many of the people and places, too. And it doesn’t hurt that my husband’s mother grew up in my hometown. We graduated from Andalusia High School, twenty-eight years apart.

Talk And More Talk

We talked for days, sharing this memory and that one. We shared laughter and we shared tears. We talked about their beloved parents and how proud they would be of where each child’s, grandchild’s, and great-grandchild’s path has taken them. We talked about how differently they each saw the same shared moments of their lives. Three separate perceptions of the same events.

One thing we all agreed upon while talking was how quickly the years have gone by. We marveled at how old our children are. We all asked, “how can they be that old when I’m not even that old?” I think this must be true of most of us. We look and feel every one of our years, but in our hearts and our minds, we are still that twenty or thirty-something young person just starting out on this journey. If you aren’t there yet, just wait. I promise it’ll be here before you know it.

Golden Anniversary
Sister number one, Kay, and her husband celebrated their fiftieth anniversary while we were all together. We had an intimate family gathering complete with a little cake for them to slice. That was a special time for all of us. How many people these days stay married for that long? Between the three couples we have a total of one-hundred-forty-four years of marriage! Now, if you throw my sister and her husband into the mix, we have two-hundred years of marriage. Wow! Two-hundred years ago, it was 1818. Alabama, the state in which we were all born (with the exception of Bill who was born in Greece) wasn’t even a state. That didn’t happen until 1819.

As we celebrated with Kay and Randy, we all marveled again at how this could possibly be us. Married this many years. That should be our parents, at best.

Time does have a way of slipping by. Those moments we are together are precious. Treat them thusly. Tell the people in your life that you love them. Tell them how they’ve influenced your life, made a difference in it. We don’t know when our next reunion will be. None of us is promised tomorrow. Share the message within your heart today.

Share the Good News

And if you have loved ones who don’t know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, don’t be afraid to share the Gospel message with them. After all, we want to have a family reunion in Heaven where each and every family member will be present. What a glorious day!

Are you having a hard time believing the number of candles on your birthday or anniversary cake? Share your thoughts with us.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Almost Home but Lost

by Debra DuPree Williams @DDuPreeWilliams
My husband and I recently made the long trip from our little villa in the Tampa area of Florida, 650 miles up the road to our condo near Asheville. This was our fifth or sixth trip up here since the beginning of the year. I actually lost count. Suffice it to say, when you are of a certain age and you’re traveling up and down the roads on trips that far, it can wear on a body. In spite of that, we decided to make it in one day.

I haven’t driven a lot since about 2011. That year, we went from a three-car family to a one-car couple. Our youngest was off in college and he needed reliable transportation. Seeing no need for us to have two cars, we sold J’s car to said son. Along with the loss of the car meant that I drove very little. My husband became my chauffeur. As one of my dear friends so aptly put it, J (that’s my husband)  was spending his days, Driving Miss Debbie.

Now picture a woman who hasn’t driven more than a handful of times in the past seven years, having no choice but to drive the family car from Tampa to Asheville. It was an undertaking I wasn’t in the slightest looking forward to, but I did it with mostly a smile on my face.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Precious Memories Linger On

By Debra DuPree Williams @DDuPreeWilliams
Do you ever experience days in which memories come flooding without any warning? I had one such day this past week. Of course, I was talking to my sister at the time. I was working on last week’s blog about churches closing their doors. Our thoughts soon turned to the little town in which we grew up. Andalusia, Alabama, was a great place in which to live out our formative years. It is small-town USA, but it was filled with the best teachers, mentors, Sunday School teachers, pastors, friends, one could hope to have.

Sissy didn’t spend as much time in Andalusia as I. She entered the eleventh grade the year we moved there and soon went off to college and marriage. I was in the fourth grade at East Three-Notch Elementary School.  Mrs. Jay was my teacher. I have fond memories of her.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Many Churches Are Closing Their Doors - Could Yours be Next?

by Debra DuPree Williams @DDuPreeWilliams

This past week my sister and I had quite an intriguing conversation. Each of us likes Dr. David Jeremiah and we try to watch him every chance we get. My area gets his shows on a delayed basis, so she saw this one before I did. He talked about having visited a church in Vienna that has stood for over five-hundred years. At one time, it was the place where townspeople gathered to worship. He said this particular church is now only a tourist destination. How very sad. He continued by saying that in the next seven years, over fifty-five-thousand churches in the United States will close their doors.

What? Did I hear him correctly? I had to find some statistics somewhere to tell me about this. So off I went to good old Google.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

WWJD: The Story of In His Steps

By Debra DuPree Williams @DDuPreeWilliams
My sister recently gifted me with a bunch of old books. I brought the box of books home where I put it aside until a couple of weeks ago. When I finally got around to going through them I found an old, yellowed copy of In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon. The introduction in my copy dates it as 1956. I remember hearing about this book in the past, but I wasn’t as familiar with it as I would be if I had read it. I finally got it out and began reading. One of the things that stood out to me as I read the preface was that this is the source of the phrase, what would Jesus do?

I don’t know about you, but I thought this was a twentieth-century-coined phrase. Late twentieth century. I had not heard it until my children were in youth group at our church and they all began wearing the rubber bands with the anacronym printed upon it—WWJD. I called my sister and talked to her about this book. She reminded me that Mama had a copy of it when we were girls. That’s why the title seemed familiar to me. Still, it wasn’t a book that I had read. By now, I was intrigued. I had to learn more.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

When DNA and Art Colliide--Chromosome Painting

by Debra DuPree Williams @DDuPreeWilliams
Last week I went over the basics of DNA testing. As I said, I am not an expert. I just happen to be the person most people in my family go to for information. The likely reason for that is that they are only marginally interested in our ancestors at best. To me, they are an integral part of the person I am today. Even though I have never met the majority of my ancestors, I feel a deep connection to each of them.

But it isn’t just about the DNA. The largest part of learning about one’s ancestors is discovering their personal stories. My great-grandmother’s story impacted me so personally that I wrote my first novel, a cozy mystery, centered partly around her missing grave. To this day, we still have no clue where she is buried in spite of searching for her for over twenty years.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

DNA Testing--Yes or No?

by Debra DuPree Williams @DDuPreeWilliams

A few of my cousins on both sides, my and my husband’s, have asked if I’ve taken a DNA test, and if so, which one I chose. The answer is, yes, I have. I did the Ancestry test a couple of years ago. I tested, my husband tested, and so did all four of our sons.

The Ancestry test is autosomal. At this point, that is the only test Ancestry offers. It is very popular, in part, in my opinion, because it is far less costly than many of the others, especially if one waits for a sale. The cheapest I’ve seen it is $59. It is normally $79. FTDNA can be as high as $500. That’s a lot of money. 23andMe is $99 on Amazon, $199 if you choose to do genealogy and health. They had another one, MyHeritage for $75. I’m not familiar with this one, but I’ll do some research before next week and I’ll make inquires of my cousins.

But cost shouldn’t be the only factor when one is choosing a DNA test. It actually depends on what you wish to learn about yourself and your ancestors. The three main types of testing available are autosomal, mtDNA, and Y-DNA. Let’s delve into what each is.