Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I am an imposter

I was reading a blog post today about syndromes that often affect computer programmers and I just burst out laughing because it rang so true to me. I am suffering from what is called "Imposter Syndrome". Have you heard of that before? I hadn't! I didn't realize that there was such a thing and that perhaps I might actually have colleagues who felt the same way that I do. Apparently it is common and even more common among women in my field. Check it out here:  http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Impostor_syndrome

I am surrounded at work by highly intelligent developers and engineers and I believe that most of them are much better developers and much smarter than myself. I worry that some day I will be "found out". They will realize that I am not as smart as they are and that will be the end. My career will be over, my job gone. So, I make sure that when I talk about my work that I deprecate myself and my abilities. I don't like to stand in front of them and present on my skills. I am intimidated in meetings to speak up because I fear that what I say will sound 'stupid'.  (Wow, just typing that up makes me feel dumb for even feeling that way haha.) I wait for others to share before I do because my ideas might not be the 'right' ideas. And the list goes on and on....

I guess, in reality, I do this in more areas of my life than just my work. I often find myself talking down my abilities and my talents in pretty much all areas of my life. I am reminded of a quote:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." ~Marianne Williamson

I know that I have talents and skills. Mine are not the same as everyone else's and that is why we all work so well together. We complement each other. We help each other. I want to make my workplace a safe place where there isn't fear that "I will be found out". A place where I can share of my skills and talents and not worry whether my idea is the 'right' idea or the 'wrong' idea. Not a single one of us on this planet knows it all. We all have gifts and ideas to share with each other. I am going to create this at my job and in my home. So be it :)

Monday, February 24, 2014

The NO diet "diet"

Curtis recently asked me how many books I had read about diets and dieting and what I got from them. I was a bit embarrassed that I have read so many, and yet, have not had long lasting success with maintaining the weight that I want to be at; however, I think that each book has provided me with insight of some sort.

Not everything works for everyone. I have usually been successful losing weight when I exercise and count calories, but I always end up gaining it back. I feel like I have to diet just to maintain my weight. A book that I recently read, and enjoyed, called the Gabriel Method (www.gabrielmethod.com) had some interesting things to say about this. Although not everything in the book rang true, it is quite "new agey" in some ways (he talks about past life regressions, sun eating and a few other things), there were several things that I am going to take from this book and try to implement into my life. I will try it out for the next 30 days at least. The methods he employs are slow moving; with the first month only focusing on a few of the items he discusses. I think this is so that you can start to create new habits and have them actually stick. It is much easier to change one small thing at a time than to try to change it all at once.

I just want to highlight a few of the ideas that I liked in the book:

  1. Use visualization / meditation daily to help you accomplish what you set out to do. If you are talking about a healthy body, then get an image of what your healthy body looks like. Look at this image first thing in the morning and just before bed for about 30 seconds. Then visualize yourself this way. His book comes with an evening meditation that you can use also. I have used it twice so far and plan to use it for the next 30 days at least.

  2. http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/expert-advice-beginners-running-tips#.
    I picked an image like this because I want to be strong and active.

  3. Practice more mindful eating. Don't read, watch tv, play games on your phone, etc when you eat. Enjoy a meal with your family and really take the time to enjoy it. Also, make breakfast and lunch your big meals. 
  4. We are nutritionally starved even though we get enough 'food' to eat. He does recommend some supplements such as Omega-3, probiotics, and digestive enzymes on a daily basis. I don't usually do supplements, but I am going to try these for the next 30 days to see if I feel a difference.
  5. Drink lots of water DUH... Heard this one a ton. He recommends a glass before a meal/snack and during the meal/snack, plus lots of water in the evenings to help stop the late night eating (not really something I have a problem with usually.) 
  6. Add in more of the "real" foods everyday; foods like leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, etc. One of his suggestions that really hit home for me was to make every meal a salad. If you are eating lasagna then chop it up over a plate of greens. He says you can make ANYTHING into a salad. 
  7. Exercise in a way that causes your body/animal brain to think it is being chased. This helps your body to think that it needs to be faster, stronger and thinner to escape. It helps to turn on your fat burners. He doesn't come right out and say it, but his suggestions remind me of interval training type methods. Short bursts of energy intermingled with your normal cardio routine. 
  8. When you feel stressed, immediately do some type of physical activity. This will do the same as number six above. Your body doesn't know the 'reason' for the stress and if you immediately begin doing physical exercise, your body will think the stress is causing you to need to move faster ("flight") and thus burn more calories to make you faster and leaner so you can get away from whatever is chasing you. 
  9. Hide the scale. Your body weight fluctuates A LOT. If you are weighing everyday you may get discouraged and think things are not changing. This can cause you to start thinking negatively about everything and really derail your visualization.
  10. Physical cravings for bad foods stop when you are nutritionally fed. If it is a mental craving, he has visualizations you can do to make those foods less appealing. I know this works because I did it with cow's milk. I created a mental image of how disgusting it is and over time I lost all desire to ever drink it. Now the thought of drinking cow's milk makes me feel ill.  
  11. Overall, the basic goal is to stop eating the bad stuff by filling up on the good... eventually ridding yourself of the desire to eat the artificial, processed, fast foods.
There are many more things that he discusses, but these are the ones that really stood out to me. His suggestions for the first month are as follows:
  1. Use the visualizations every evening and start by looking at the picture you selected as your perfect body. 
  2. Every morning take 30 seconds to look at the picture again then close your eyes and imagine yourself this way. Then imagine the rest of your day going the way you want it to go. 
  3. Eat a good breakfast. It can be anything you want but he suggests that you try to make it as healthy and filling as possible. Allow more time to eat and do it leisurely. 
  4. Take the suggested supplements. 
  5. Have a "real" food afternoon snack. 
  6. Drink your water and try to add as much "real" food to your other meals as you can. 
There are no "Eat This" or "Don't Eat That" things in the book. If you are craving something, then eat it, but then try to add in as much of the healthy stuff as you can to your meals. I liked this idea. I think what I liked the most from this book was that this way of eating is not telling you to take away anything. Instead, over time, you add in the good stuff and force out the bad.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Patronymics: Naming conventions in early 19th century Wales

I have recently found myself at the edge of my research in the United States. The latest ancestor that I have been researching emigrated from Wales in the mid-1800's. I came across this article and felt that others might also be interested in naming and how it relates to genealogy. So if your family came from Wales or another Scandinavian country, give this article a read.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Visiting The Archives: Surprise findings.

Part 2

After our trip to the Carbon County archives, we drove around Eastern Pennsylvania just to look at the small towns and the countryside. It is a beautiful state. We didn't really have specific plans so we drove back to Allentown and spent the evening there. On Tuesday, we decided to visit the historical district and possibly stop in at a museum. There was a museum listed in one of the hotel brochures that sounded interesting; it was the Lehigh Valley Historical Museum. The brochure mentioned that it told of the history of Allentown and had displays about the Pennsylvania Dutch. We had about five hours until our flight home, so we headed downtown. The city was interesting and I enjoyed looking at the old buildings mixed in with the sky scrapers. After a short walk around the city, we found the museum.
Upon entering we were greeted by volunteers who were very happy to tell us about their displays. I mentioned that I was in Pennsylvania doing genealogical research and the volunteer told me that this museum also housed a genealogical library that contained many collections. I was very excited to see what might be held here. I tried to stay interested in the displays but my mind kept drifting to what I might find in the library. Finally, I just left Curtis in the museum and headed down. This was the highlight to my trip. This library contained church records, cemetery records, family histories, state archive collections, etc.

I spent several hours searching the church and cemetery records for traces of the Peters' ancestors, but I came up empty handed again. One of the other patrons mentioned to me that she saw a book on one of the back shelves that was a history of the Peters' families in Pennsylvania, so I headed back to look. I found the book, but determined that this was not the same family line. As I was perusing the collections, though, a name I was familiar with jumped out at me. There was a two volume collection of family history for the Peter Fullmer and Susannah Zerfass family. I was familiar with this name, as this is also the name of my 4th GGF. I didn't know that this book existed and I was thrilled to see it. I quickly opened it and verified that this was the same family line. It was. I had not realized until this moment that my family line and Curtis' family line had all settled in the same county in the same state. What a SMALL, SMALL world! I took a picture of the contact information for those who put the book together, and I plan to contact them and see about getting a copy for my library. After this find, I was done for this trip. It was a great trip and I did find some new information to help me along. Some of the information was not expected and very eye opening for me.

Until next time...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Visiting The Archives

Part 1

My trip to Pennsylvania began on Sunday morning. I do my day job for an airline, so I have the benefit of flying standby to my desired destinations. This can certainly save on money, but not necessarily time or patience. My goal was to get to Allentown, PA that day so that we could start our research first thing Monday morning. We started out at 5AM with a plan to reach Allentown about 4PM. Unfortunately, the flights didn't work out as we hoped, but a quick search for alternatives, got us into Allentown, PA at midnight.

There are a few things I did to prepare for this trip in hopes of making it successful. The first thing I did was to look up the archive sites in the area and call ahead to make sure that they would be open and available to me on the dates I would be there. The website had a list of the available records and I made a listing of which records I would want to search and for which ancestors. My research goal was to find evidence of Evan Peters' birth and death. To find out what land he owned and to tie together the families I had found in previous census records.

We woke up on Monday morning to a beautiful landscape of lush green hills and beautiful old buildings. It was really exciting to be in a place where our ancestors had once lived. I imagined what it might have been like to live there in the 1800's, how hard the travel must have been from township to township. As we drove the thirty minutes to Jim Thorpe (formerly Mauch Chunk), Pennsylvania, we passed signs for the cities and towns in the area. Many of these I recognized from my research. I shared the stories I knew with my husband of ancestors who had lived there and what they had done while they were there. We drove through the towns just to see the places of their history. We loved the homes there. Almost every one of them had porches with chairs and tables. In the evening, we actually saw folks just sitting out on the porch watching the sun set and the people pass by.

When we arrived in Jim Thorpe, it was raining. Not really raining, but dumping sheets of water from the sky. A quick two or three minute walk had us soaked through to the bones. I would have loved to spend more time just wandering the streets here, but the weather was horrible. The historical town of Jim Thorpe was beautiful. The old buildings were fascinating. Our first stop was the archives. It wasn't anything like what I had expected. My previous research has all been done at LDS church family history centers where there is so much information to browse through that you could spend days looking. This center housed just a few collections. I was disappointed to find that some of the indexed records that I had hoped to search could not be located by the staff. In the future, this is one of the questions that I will ask before taking a trip.

The staff was very accommodating and took the time to show me where to find the information I was looking for, how to use the microfiche machines and explained to me the cost for making copies. I began my search. Unfortunately, I could find not a single record for Evan Peters. I moved my search on to his wife Margaret and was able to find a will for her. This gave me a firm date and place of death and also confirmed the spelling of her second husband's surname. This information is valuable even though it wasn't exactly what I had hoped to find. The staff explained to me that the records I was looking for, may not exist or may have been recorded in another county. The search will continue for Evan, but for now, I was done in Jim Thorpe.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Looking for a missing link: Not (necessarily) a cavemen!

Finding Clues In Census Records

Growing up I always disliked geography, mostly because I could never remember where anything was! That and I hated memorizing states and their capitals and I still can't tell you where anything is outside of the United States. My fascination with genealogy has really opened up my mind to the importance of knowing geography in the sense that I need to know where my ancestors lived. One of the first things I do when I start my research is to locate the city, township, county and state of the ancestor I am researching. This helps me to know which records I might want to collect while doing my research.

I recently found some records that helped me to find the parents of an ancestor who was missing from our family tree. His name is Griffith Peters. I knew quite a bit about his adult life from other research that I had done, but not much about where he came from or who his parents might be. I knew that he was born around 1845 and that Pennsylvania was listed as his birthplace. This was where I would start.

Start Out With A Broad Search

I started out doing a broad search in the census records for this relative with only a name, estimated birth date, and birth state. The only thing I found was a single mention of a Griffin Peters in the 1850 census. The name didn't match exactly, but census records are often not correct. So many different things can influence the information contained in the census record. It may have been written incorrectly by the census taker, the names may have been given second hand by a neighbor or even the foreign accent of the person giving the report might cause the name to be recorded incorrectly by the census taker.  I needed to find other records that might link this record to my ancestor. I logged what I had found and set it aside as a possible match.

Keep A Log Of The Clues You Find

In my log, I took note of the family group:

Father: Evan Peters, age 30, born in Wales
Mother: Margaret Peters, age 34, born in Wales
Child: Griffin Peters, age 5, born in Pennsylvania
Child: Richard Peters, age 2, born in Pennsylvania

And the location:
Banks Township, Carbon County, Pennsylvania

I also noted that of all the records in several pages of census reports, Evan was one of the only persons to record that they owned real estate. (This will hopefully help me find more information later.)

Investigate Leads

Armed with this information, I logged onto Google maps and researched Banks Township, Carbon County, PA. I familiarized myself with the neighboring towns and counties and then I headed back to do some more research. I knew from family records that Griffith had joined the Union army in 1864. I was able to find records that showed that he had enlisted in his company when they were recruiting in Mauch Chunk, PA. Through my research I could see that Mauch Chunk was quite close in proximity to Banks Township, Carbon County, PA. I surmised that the family must have stayed in the general area at least until the time that Griffith joined the military. So where did they go?

My next step was to search the 1860 Census. I could find no Peters' families in the area that seemed to match my family group, so I broadened the search. In a neighboring county of Luzerne, I found a census record with a listing of Margaret, Richard, Griffith and another child, Mary Ann (who was born shortly after the 1850 census) but all under the surname Haycock. Once again, I pulled out a map and determined that the new location was just a few miles from the one where Evan and Margaret had lived in 1850. It appeared to me that Margaret may have remarried and the children from Evan were now being listed as part of the Haycock family group. Once again, I had a possible match through census records, but the names didn't match completely. I needed to try to tie the pieces together to determine if I have a match.

I began searching for the surname Haycock in the census records. In the 1870 census, I found the Haycock family group again in Luzerne county. Griffith had left home by 1870, but I found Richard and Mary Ann and now they were listed with the surname Pierce, easily a misspelling of Peters, and living with the Haycock family. This confirmed to me that Richard and Mary Ann were listed in the 1860 census with the wrong surname. And once again in 1870 with the wrong surname but a very close match to the Peters name that I had been searching for.

I was able to follow Margaret's life through census records until her death in 1880.  Now I need to take the information that I found in the census and try to find birth, death, or other documents to make sure that I have truly located Griffith's family.

Beyond The Census

My next journey is to visit the Carbon County court house and search the archives for more information. Since Evan is listed as owning $500 worth of real estate, I am hoping to find a will or probate record that will confirm Evan's death and possibly Margaret's second marriage and also her inheritance of the real estate. These other records will help to ensure that I am barking up the right family tree.

Over a year ago...

I am thinking about starting another blog and when I pulled up blogspot, what do I find, but a list of neglected blogs... Go figure. I reread my past posts and it reminds me of how lucky I am to have the persons and things in my life that I do. I am truly blessed.

Perhaps this is the place to continue my new blog. It is going to be about genealogy, and what better title to use than "Who Am I". I am a collective set of DNA from my ancestors. I am a collection of their experiences. Without them, I would not BE... Thank you to all those who came before me, for the events and experiences that led to my birth, my life and my turn here on this earth!