The voyage to meet my ancestors begins …

On November 8, 1921, my great-grandfather William Garroch—along with his brother Peter, his 16-year-old son (my grandfather, William Jr.) and his nephew Thomas—crossed the Atlantic Ocean, from Glasgow to New York City. They traveled on an ocean liner called Cameronia, in second-class cabins.

On January 20, 1922, my great-grandmother Helen—along with their three daughters—followed on a ship called Lapland, also second-class. Helen had $200 cash, in pocket.

After passing through Ellis Island, they traveled by train to Castle Gate, Utah, where Helen’s brother, William Littlejohn, was the superintendent of the Castle Gate coal mine, owned by the Utah Fuel Company. He had arranged jobs for numerous family members, and many of them traveled from Scotland, where the life of a coal miner was much, much more difficult.

Both oceanic voyages took 11 days, and I don’t know how long it took them to get from NYC to Castle Gate. Tomorrow I will travel to Castle Gate with my daughter, from Phoenix, Arizona, a nine-hour drive.

I’ll keep their discomfort in mind if I begin to feel restless about sitting in a car for such a ‘long time’. My daughter’s car is a comfy ride, and we’ll have a cooler packed full of fresh, healthy Trader Joe foods. In comparison, I have nothing to complain about.

Once we’re there, we’ll be touring the site where the town of Castle Gate used to be. It no longer exists. The only thing left is the cemetery where William, Helen, Peter and Thomas are buried, and the opening to Mine #2, the mineshaft in which all three men were killed during the Castle Gate Mine Explosion on March 8, 1924.

We’ll also be visiting the Western Mining and Railroad Museum to view pictures of the town and the people from back then, and chat with the curators there.

I’ll be posting here and on Facebook, live, during the trip so if you’re as interested in genealogy as I am, follow along! I think you’ll find it fascinating.

Who do I think I am?

A genealogy FANATIC, that’s who!

I’ve been into ancestry research for many years, long before the TV show Who Do You Think You Are? began airing. It has since become one of my favorite programs. How about you? Isn’t it a great show?

When I first signed up with Ancestry.com in 2008, I knew very little about my grandparents, and nothing about anyone beyond them in my family tree. After extensive digging (and some mild obsessing) my first big success came when I discovered a long-lost second-cousin from my paternal grandfather’s side of the family who coincidentally lived a couple of miles from my brother.

I was hooked!

Since then, I have connected with family from all over the world, some of whom happen to look just like me. My dad had 10 first-cousins we never knew about, so I am now enjoying a whole passel of second-cousins.

Next, it was time to dig into my mom’s side of the family.

I wasn’t making much progress until one day I got a message in my Ancestry.com inbox from the husband of my third-cousin (who, up until then, I didn’t know existed), telling me that some of my Scottish ancestors had died in a famous Utah mine explosion.

Over the years, since I first learned of this story, I’ve managed to dig up an impressive amount of information about these people about their lives, and their deaths.

William and Helen, my great-grandparents whose names I didn’t previously know emigrated from Scotland in 1922 with their four kids: Jeannie, Willie (my eventual grandfather), Nellie and Isabella.

Before then, William worked in the coalmines in Scotland, where life was desperately hard. Helen’s brother was a big wig at the coalmine in Castle Gate, Utah and he arranged jobs for his family members. Several of his siblings journeyed across the Pond on ocean liners, with their families, to seek their fortunes.

Only a year later, Helen died of cancer at age 39 leaving Jeannie, who was 19 at the time, to mother her siblings. Six months later William, his brother Peter and their cousin Thomas were all killed in a massive mine explosion that took the lives of 172 men. William and Helen’s kids were now orphaned, strangers in a strange land.

Through my research, I discovered that William and Helen’s kids spent a large sum of money ($2,000 in today’s currency) for their headstone. That tells me that they cared a great deal for their parents — after William was killed, the kids had to fend for themselves. To put themselves in debt like that … well …

I’ve seen this photo of Helen and William’s headstone online, because someone else posted the pic on the FindAGrave website. Next week I’m traveling to Castle Gate to visit their graves for the first time.

It will be my honor to pay my respects to these people, the great-grandparents I never knew — and never would have known, if not for Ancestry.com.


lisa author shotLisa Bonnice is an award-winning, best-selling author. Her current passion-project is a series of metaphysical comedy novels. The first in the series is Be Careful What You Witch For!, a modern-day fairy tale about Lola Garnett, a bored housewife and office drone who wakes up with unexpected psychic abilities, and no instruction manual, and Twink, the reluctant, sarcastic faery assigned to assist and educate her. Its sequel, Patterns in the Chaos, is in the works.

http://www.lisabonnice.com

Looks like we made it!

Jeff loves him some White Castle.

Lisa & Jeff go to White Castle

lisa-and-jeff-go-to-white-castle-copy

There are no White Castle‘s anywhere near us so in January 2015, when Jeff heard that a new one was opening in Las Vegas, he immediately declared that we must go.

He craves a bag o’ sliders. Neither of us has had a White Castle burger in about five years. Unfortunately, Vegas is almost six hours away from Phoenix, where we live, so it has taken a long while for us to finally get up the time, the money and the energy to make the trek.

This weekend, we are finally going. I hope they’re as good as I remember.

Dr. Sue Morter Shares 2 Energy Practices for Accessing Natural States of Bliss & More Vibrant Health — The Shift Network

TSN blog image

Life is hard right up until the moment it isn’t. — Dr. Sue Morter

Ever feel like your efforts to manifest a healthier, happier life meet with resistance for reasons you just can’t seem pinpoint? Well, the source is often found in disruptions in your energy patterns, according to Dr. Sue Morter, founder of the Morter Institute for Bioenergetics and Healing and an internationally recognized authority on bridging science, spirit and human possibility […]

via Dr. Sue Morter Shares 2 Energy Practices for Accessing Natural States of Bliss & More Vibrant Health — The Shift Network

 

Miraculous healing in Phoenix

Dafne Gutierrez 12NEWS NBC Phoenix

Dafne Gutierrez (Image Source 12NEWS NBC Phoenix–see link below)

I, like many others, would like to believe in miracles. However, when life gets hard and stays that way, it’s difficult to trust that miracles are real. But I just heard about a woman in Phoenix, Arizona whose vision was restored and even one of her doctors admits that a miracle is the only explanation.


I recently attended a healing service at Saint Timothy’s Catholic Church, in Mesa, AZ and was surprised to see that they were hosting a guest speaker, a woman named Dafne Gutierrez. She spoke at length about losing her vision in November 2015, only to regain it earlier this year, in January 2016, after being prayed for by a local priest and touching a relic of St. Charbel, who was known for his miraculous healings.

Gutierrez spoke movingly about how her only option seemed to be going to a nursing home, because her family was unable to easily care for her. She had young children and was devastated that she would never see their faces again.

Eventually, a relative told her about the local church’s temporary possession of the saint’s relic and insisted that she attend. She did so and, within a few days, her eyesight was not only restored, but her stunned doctor told her that her vision was now 20/20.

After Gutierrez spoke, one of her doctors took the mic and reported that a panel of several objective physicians examined her and her medical records. While the older records clearly stated that she was permanently blind, with no hope of recovery, the physicians discovered that her optical nerves were as good as new. The doctor ended her speech by saying that she had no other explanation than a miracle.

Here are a couple links to news stories about Dafne Guttierez:

Here is a video of another woman speaking about her own miraculous healing, due to St. Charbel. And although I’ve had my own experiences with smaller miracles, these people give me hope that true miraculous healing is, indeed, possible.

And, as a final note, here’s you a miraculous dog.

miraculous dog


lisa author shotLisa Bonnice is an award-winning, best-selling author and editor/manuscript doctor (and former stand-up comedienne—is there anything she can’t do???). Her current passion-project is a series of metaphysical comedy novels. The first in the series is Be Careful What You Witch For!, a modern-day fairy tale about Lola Garnett, a bored housewife and office drone who wakes up with unexpected psychic abilities, and no instruction manual, and Twink, the reluctant, sarcastic faery assigned to assist and educate her. Its sequel, Patterns in the Chaos, is scheduled to be published sometime in 2016.

http://www.lisabonnice.com

Wait … that’s chaos magic???

chaos is daisies

Image 1 source                                                         Image 2 source

I’ve heard the phrase “chaos magic” for years, but never bothered to look into the definition for two reasons:

  1. When I’ve heard it mentioned, there were dark and evil connotations. I’m not interested in playing with that, so it’s not high on my long list of things to research.
  2. I’ve got enough chaos in my life. Why go looking for more?

I had no interest in a method of manifestation that focuses on darkness or confusion. I mean, good lord, do an image search on the phrase and some of the results are so creepy they’ll make you cry.

No, thank you. Life is hard enough without stirring that pot. I’d rather “be excellent to each other” and bring order. I wanted to find usable, harmless patterns in the chaos. (In fact, I even titled my soon-to-be-published second novel Patterns in the Chaos.)

I have always, in spite of societal training otherwise, assigned my own meanings to the objects and circumstances in my life. I’m a big watcher of synchronicity and signs from “the gods”.

I create my own reality, as well as I can, by paying attention to a glowing trail of psychic bread crumbs. (I don’t always follow that trail, but I do pay attention to it.)

I didn’t learn this from anyone else. In fact, sometimes I learned it in spite of anyone else. It came naturally, as I’m sure it does for many of you. I didn’t even think of it as magic. It was just … the only way life made any sense.

Turns out, that’s exactly what chaos magic is. Who knew? (Not me, obviously.)

To my great relief, I just learned that “dark and evil” have absolutely nothing to do with it. From this excellent article by Andrieh Vitimus on the Llewellyn Worldwide website, here is a straightforward definition.

Chaos magic is an attitude, a philosophy that promotes experimentation, play, and creativity while discarding dogmatic rules. Chaos magic points out that the techniques more than the symbols are what matter and that our belief in a system is actually what makes it work.

Well, sheeit. Been there! Done that! Literally wrote a book about it! I had no idea at the time, but I wrote extensively about my personal version of chaos magic in my first book, Shape Shifting–reclaiming your perfect body. I just thought it was an excellent way to live a productive and compassionate life. Again, who knew??? (Again, not me!)

And get this … there’s no religion inherently involved, so there’s no fear that “evil” is attached. I get out of it what I invite into it. And if I don’t bring it, it ain’t there. If I engage demons, I get demons. If I engage unicorns …

… okay, maybe not unicorns.

The point remains, if I screw up, it’s my ass–so I had better play nice. Therefore I declare, consistently, that I don’t mess with any vibes below the level of the Christ Consciousness, the Big Gun from my religious upbringing–the one who is “judging” me from my subconscious. That’s some early programming that I don’t know if I can rewrite, so I might as well work with it.

Buddy Christ makes sure that I don’t wander too far from that glowing path of breadcrumbs. And there’s enough room for both science and spirituality that I don’t have to choose between them.

So. I guess I’m a natural-born chaos magician. Who knew? (I do, now!)

Here’s you a magical dog, dressed as Professor Chaos:

chaos dog

Isn’t this awesome? Image source


lisa author shotLisa Bonnice is an award-winning, best-selling author and editor/manuscript doctor (and former stand-up comedienne—is there anything she can’t do???). Her current passion-project is a series of metaphysical comedy novels. The first in the series is Be Careful What You Witch For!, a modern-day fairy tale about Lola Garnett, a bored housewife and office drone who wakes up with unexpected psychic abilities, and no instruction manual, and Twink, the reluctant, sarcastic faery assigned to assist and educate her. Its sequel, Patterns in the Chaos, is scheduled to be published sometime in 2016.

http://www.lisabonnice.com