Medical Monday: An Apple a Day, A Test a Year- Whatever it Takes

This is a late post but an important one. Periodically I have to begin a round of tests to ensure that I do not have cancer. This has been going on for about 10 years now. Occasionally, after what I think will be a routine exam, the doctor will say, “There's something that I'm not sure about. Let's do some tests.” So I go do the tests and then it's wait wait wait wait wait...then, “Ok well it seems like everything is fine so we'll just watch and wait.” And then I'm put on an every six-month schedule to see the doctor for at least a year and a half until they're comfortable with the way everything is going. Last year I was referred out to a breast cancer doctor in Tulsa so she could take a look and give her input. It was a little stressful to be bumped up from OB-GYN care to a breast cancer doctor. Let's be was nerve-racking. She was great though and even got me a genetic cancer screening paid for by insurance and it said everything was fine. So I felt confident that I was healthy and I went on about my business. But really- who knows the future? I just had another visit to the breast cancer doctor today for an exam. Regular exams are so important. Guys (men!)- don't think you're immune to breast cancer because it hits guys, too. For that matter, don't ignore any signs or symptoms of any type of cancer. If something isn't right- go to the doctor! Ignoring it doesn't make it go away. In this day and age, cancer is survivable- especially if you seek treatment right away.

Just to emphasize what I'm saying (for those of you who share some of my genetic history), I'm going to post photos of causes of death on ONLY THREE of my direct line paternal ancestors. There's plenty on mom's side too, so don't think y'all are off the hook just because I'm talking about my paternal family. Please- get regular exams no matter how uncomfortable they may be!

I know that these are ancestors who died of cancer but this was a long time ago. Cancer is treatable now. The people who love you need you to TRY! So go get examined today if you're having problems- and maybe even if you're not. Preventive maintenance is the best policy.

Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

Drama Queen

Today's blog theme is 'heirloom'. This is another topic that has already been covered this month so I planned on doing something different for the final blog post in this month-long challenge. I've written a post about Derek so now I want to finish up with a blog post about Shaina and my stint as a 'drama mom'. It's going to be short and sweet, I hope, since we are still struggling with the hot water heater problem.

I remember when Derek was in 2nd grade his teacher (I wish I could remember her name- he loved her) commented to me once about how dramatic Derek was. I must have looked at her like she had two heads and I remember saying, “He is?!” She went on to tell me the ways in which Derek was dramatic and all I could say was that I guessed I hadn't noticed that Derek was dramatic since his sister was so much MORE dramatic all the time. ALL the time.

Over the years both my kids were in quite a few plays. I truly enjoyed my time as a drama mom. I was in a play in 1st grade and loved it but once I got to high school I didn't have enough confidence or self-esteem to be in drama. I kind of lived through my kids during their drama years. So to close out this month, here are a few mementos of some of the plays Shaina was involved in. She was a good actress and I'm proud of her.

Shaina is front and center- almost covered up by the music stand.

Shaina is at the microphone for her solo part.
Candy Cane Christmas- Kuna Life Center, Kuna, Idaho.

Shaina is in the center in blue shorts.

Shaina is next to the cheerleader on the right.
Summer drama camp- Grease musical

I thought I had lost all these photos in a computer crash! I was just saying a few days ago how much I would like to have a photo from this play. This is Shaina and my nephew, Patrick, in The Plain Brown Bear. Shaina and Patrick earned the two leading roles in the play. Shaina is on the far right in a dark blue dress and is sitting. Patrick is front and center in the bear costume. Both Shaina and Patrick gave excellent performances. This was Shaina's final stage performance. She showed her maturity as an actress on stage.

Bart and Derek are wearing the Roman soldier costumes. I am seated to the left of Bart and Shaina is the girl seated next to Derek, between Bart and Derek. In the upper right corner I'm pretty sure that's Derek getting a pie smashed in his face by Jackie Lingle.

In the upper row on the far right is Derek and the girl in front of him wearing the purplish-pinkish costume is Shaina.

I *think* both my kids are in the upper tier with Shaina being on the far right in the green costume and Derek being third from the right in a yellowish/beigish costume.

This is the opening scene. I am on the upper tier in the white costume helping someone with their flag. It was a windy night and the flags were difficult to handle that night. I *think* that might be Shaina below me and to the right next to the maroon-colored curtain on the building. The girl wearing the green dress.

2010- our final season in the Picture in Scripture play at Disney, Oklahoma. The final picture is Bart and Derek playing the two thieves on the cross and me as Mary. Shaina was in the crowd below us.

I think this was the 2003 season- our first year in the play. Shaina is in the circle on the left. Bart and I are circled together and Derek is in the other circle.

Finally, Shaina in The Little Prince and me as backstage drama mom in The Little Prince. She got to wear a fat suit and play a male character:

Me backstage helping one of the cast members with her costume.

The fat suit was a chore to get into.

Shaina posing for the camera with her cast friend.

So much emotion! One of the play rehearsals.

This was backstage on either a dress rehearsal or one of the show nights. This was Shaina's next to last stage role. She showed a lot of maturity on stage and in accepting the role she received.

It was stage tradition for the actor/actress to write their favorite line from the play on the wall backstage. I can't remember the lines Shaina chose but maybe if she remembers she will share them with us.

I hope you've enjoyed the November blogs. I'm going to take a break in December. I need to start on Christmas presents before I run out of time! You may only see two blog posts from me in the final month of 2016 but I'll still be around blogging when I can.

Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

Dreams and Wishes

The blog theme today is 'food'. I had no intention of writing about food. I feel like we've covered that topic well this month. As I was considering an alternative topic last night, our hot water heater went out so we've been dealing with that problem today. That means another short and sweet blog post for you.

Dreams and Wishes
Bart and I have lived in our current home 10 years now (longer than I've ever lived in any one house). That means most of our appliances have now hit the 10 year mark as well. We knew this day was coming soon when the appliances would start shutting down. This little hot-water-heater bump in the road has kicked off yet another round of discussions about getting started on building a new house. You see, the place we're living in was always meant to be the garage. We never intended to live in it long- and definitely not 10 years, yet here we are.

So tonight we drug out this:

Our all-time favorite house plan. Now we're hashing out our options and what our next move will be (other than buying and installing that new hot water heater, of course).

Here's to your dreams and wishes. I hope they come true for you.

Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

Momma Always Said My Middle Name Was 'Go'!

Today's blog theme is 'hobby'. If you've read my blog, you know me. What you see is what you get. I love to write, I love to research my family history, I love to travel, and I love to forage wild edibles. If you don't know that by now you've missed some of my posts! (Go back to 'Go' and do not collect $200!) The other thing I have fun with that may not necessarily be apparent is trip planning and date planning. I love planning! I've planned day, weekend, and spur-of-the-moment trips- mostly for dates and genealogy research. I've planned longer trips- mostly for anniversaries and vacations. I've planned trips for other people who didn't like the planning aspect. When our kids were at home and I couldn't travel with Bart, I even planned day trips for he and his travel buddies when they would get a day off unexpectedly. My mom always said that when I was little I could be asleep and dead to the world but if someone said the word 'go' I was instantly wide awake and ready to go- just like my Granny Jessie BATES. I'm sure I've told you that when Bart and I were young and broke I would break out my trusty atlas and plan future trips to different places. Just thinking about going somewhere makes me feel better and it really doesn't matter where we go! Maybe my middle name really should have been 'go'!

Being a trip planner means you keep in mind what your fellow travelers will enjoy as well as what you will enjoy. I think one of the reasons Bart and I travel so well together is because we respect each other. He wants me to have a good time and I want the same for him. Any time we go on a trip together you can bet we'll be riding motorcycles (even if we have to rent one) and we'll be digging around in courthouse basements for information to add to my family history. Why does he dig around in basements or tromp through cemeteries with me? Because he respects and loves me. Why do I hop on a motorcycle and go for day rides with him? Because I love and respect him. It's a two way street. The funny thing is, I've learned to enjoy riding and he's learned to enjoy history and family research. We both win because we're both happy. But we also win because we've made each other feel valued, accepted and loved. The benefit is we've stretched the boundaries of our comfort zones and done things we wouldn't have otherwise done. Studies show that when you learn something new it helps to keep your brain healthy (it fights against Alzheimer's). I'm predisposed to Alzheimer's/dementia on both sides of my family so the more I can fight it the better off I am. But mostly we both benefit because we've kept ourselves from becoming selfish and self-focused. When we're sharing experiences with each other it keeps our feelings for each other alive in a way that I don't completely understand and can't explain. And nothing beats sitting on the couch on a winter night and reminiscing about some experience we had together.

By actively participating in each other's activities and hobbies we say to each other, “You are important enough to me that I'm willing to do this with you even if it may not be my favorite thing.” The willingness to do things together builds confidence and bonds us together.

So enough talking already. I'm sure you get it. Here are some examples of some dates, vacations, and trips we've taken together.

A cowboy themed date we went on:

The remake of True Grit was in theaters when I planned this trip and I wanted to go see it but I wanted a full date experience so I planned a cowboy themed date. We had a lot of fun. We went to Dewey and went through the little Tom Mix museum. We went to Claremore to the gun museum, watched True Grit, and had a great meal. We had a lot of fun and spent the whole day running around and enjoying each other's company.

Weekend trip to see Elmer McCurdy:

This was a weekend trip to Guthrie. Sometimes I don't know why Bart does some of the crazy stuff I plan for a trip. I became absorbed by the story of Elmer McCurdy a few years back (if you have time you should definitely look up his story). I decided we should go to Guthrie and visit Elmer's grave at midnight and make a recording to see if we could record any strange occurrences. Just for fun. We left Elmer a beer for his trouble. It was a great weekend.

One of our favorite trips was to Massachusetts in 2010. It was one of my all-time favorite trips. He was hooked on history by then and always loved the Revolution. We went to Lexington, Massachusetts, stood on the green and heard the story about the Redcoats and the Minutemen, and toured the area all the way to Concord.


One of the trips we took this year was to Georgia to Chickamauga Battlefield. It was amazing. We were there most of the day and did not get to see everything that was there.


The field I'm standing in front of is a field where my ancestor's unit fought a battle in the Civil War. (My 3rd great-grandfather, Joseph LARKIN- 59th Ohio.)

I love to trip plan and Bart's job has afforded us lots of opportunities to travel and trip-plan. For a girl who was born understanding the word 'go' Bart's job has been a real blessing. If you ever need a trip planned keep me in mind.

Until my next trip- however short or long it may be-
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

Take It Easy

Today's blog theme is 'album'. My two immediate thoughts were “photo album” (way too broad) and “Eagles album”. Yes...Eagles album. A few years back Bart and I were in Winslow, Arizona. We took our pictures on the corner in Winslow, Arizona.

Bart on the corner in Winslow, Arizona.

Lisa on the corner in Winslow, Arizona.

Eagles album cover

Enjoy the tune while you're reading:
The Eagles live- Take It Easy.

It was a fun trip. We enjoy that area. As it happens, I have distant relatives in the nearby Flagstaff, and Winona, Arizona area. I'd like to focus on the folks south of Flagstaff and directly south of Winslow, though. I'd like to write first about my dad's family- Pearl Belle DRAKE GANN- and then second about my mom's family- Short and Ella Amanda GIBSON LONG.

She Waited with Hope- Pearl Belle DRAKE GANN

Pearl DRAKE GANN was my 2nd great-aunt. Aunt Pearl made headlines in April of 1959 when she needed (and received) a cornea transplant.

About a year and a half later in November of 1960, Pearl and her daughter, Bonnie, were called back to Oklahoma because Poppy Lon DRAKE (Alonzo Ervin DRAKE- my 2nd great-grandather) was sick. I thought possibly 1960 was when Poppy Lon was attacked by the hogs but Dad said it was more likely when Poppy was diagnosed with cancer. Dad said Poppy was attacked by the hogs about a year before he died and never quite recovered from the attack before he died. Poppy died in 1964. I wonder if Pearl thought about the fact that the cornea transplant allowed her to see her dad's face again before he died. I wonder if this was the last time she saw him before he died. Pearl was able to see (and possibly quilt again) for 9 years before she passed away.

Shorty Long the “Bug” Conductor and a Missing Branch of My Family- Ella Amanda GIBSON LONG

You might remember my post about my 2nd great grandfather, James Thomas GIBSON. He was accused (and later the charge were dropped) of raping his daughter, Ella Amanda GIBSON. I never knew much about Manda (the name she went by before marrying Shorty LONG). I sometimes wondered if Manda and Dettie (my great-grandmother and Manda's half-sister) knew each other or even knew about each other. I think they probably did because over the years I found a photograph of Manda and Myrtle (Myrtle is Dettie's full sister). So I think I can safely assume both that Dettie and Manda knew about each other and that they had met and actually knew each other. I don't have any pictures of Manda and Dettie but I do have the photo of Manda and Myrtle.

Manda is on the left with glasses and Myrtle is on the right. (I think!)

Weren't they beautiful?

I'm not sure why or how Shorty and Manda ended up in the border town of Nogales, Santa Cruz, Arizona. They married in Monroe County, Iowa. I suspect they ended up in Arizona due to Shorty's job with the railroad. Shorty spent much of his life being a train conductor for Southern Pacific railroad. While in Nogales he conducted a passenger train called the “Bug” that ran between Nogales and Benson. At some point either this train crossed into Mexico or Shorty worked another railroad job where he did cross into Mexico. I know this because Shorty had to get a passport for his job.

Shorty LONG's passport photo.

Later photo of Shorty.

In January of 1911 Shorty's train was in an accident. Shorty was lucky and only sustained an injury to his hand.

Clipping about accident.

As an adult, Shorty and Manda's son, Virgil, moved to New Mexico but soon moved back to Nogales, Arizona. When he moved back to Nogales he became the assistant postmaster. This is what I know about Manda. I'd like to connect with her descendants someday to try to piece together story (and subsequently her dad's story). Maybe I'll get lucky one day and one of them will do a Google search and this post will turn up.

Until then I'll wait.
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

What Can 4,096 People Do?

Hubbard Coat of Arms (photo shared on Ancestry).

CAVEAT: Research that we are related to Thankful HUBBARD MILLER was done by others and has not been verified by me. Take this with a grain of salt and do your own research.

Today's blog theme is 'thankful'. There isn't much in my life that I'm not thankful for- in fact, I can't think of anything. So I decided to take a different approach and look at people named Thankful (and one named Thanklord whom some say was really named Thankful). There are 10 such persons in the Drake tree and all – ALL- of them trace back to my great-grandmother, Edith HUBBARD DRAKE.

Thankful HUBBARD (said to be my 10th great-aunt) was the daughter of Nathaniel and Mary EARLE HUBBARD. She married Joseph MILLER and together they had at least 8 children at least two of whom died before reaching adulthood. Joseph was a descendant of Lady Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmoreland. Lady Joan was a powerful land owner in Northern England in the early- to mid-1400's. You can read Joan's love story here.

Thankful's sister, Abigail HUBBARD, married Jonathan BURR. It is said by BURR surname researchers that anyone with the surname BURR is in some way related to former Vice President Aaron BURR through one of his cousins.

Aaron Burr, Jr.- 3rd Vice President of the United States of America. Photo from Wikipedia.

No one is known to be descended directly through Aaron or his sister. If you want to, you can read about BURR research here. The Wikipedia version of Aaron BURR's and his father, Aaron BURR Sr's history can be read by clicking on each of their names. Aaron Sr. was a Calvinist and married to famous preacher, Jonathan EDWARD's daughter, Esther.

Esther Edwards Burr. Photo from Wikipedia.

Like I said before, I'm not 100% sure Thankful is my 10th great-aunt or Nathaniel and Mary are my 10th great-grandparents because I haven't done the research myself. What I do know is that I'm thankful for each and every pair of parents that God brought together to create me. Consider this: Starting with Nathaniel and Mary (and including them), God brought together 4,096 individual people to create 1 me- and that's only back to my 10th great-grandparents! That's biological ancestors- not including step-parents that stepped in when biological parents died or couples divorced. Thankful died just a couple of years before the American Revolution so really, those 4,096 people basically only include people from about one or two generations before the beginning of the USA. It inspires a feeling of awe to really consider how many people God has to bring together to create one person in the world today. Be thankful. Be awed. Be inspired. There is only one you and you have exactly one lifetime to make the world great. Do your best.

Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives


It's been another busy day so today the post will be short and sweet- again. The theme is 'worn'. I was going to do something different but I can't access the photos I needed from where I'm at so I'm going with some photos my cousin, Mechelle WISE, sent me today. This is a bedspread (?? I don't even really know what the proper term is) that my great-grandmother, Bess WILLIAMS LARKIN, crocheted for my cousin's parents when they married. It's absolutely gorgeous. I only ever saw my great-grandma do doilies and small things. I had no idea she could or did ever do anything like this. Thanks for sharing, Mechelle!

Detail shot of the spread.

Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

Write It Down!!

I've been going through boxes tonight and found some stuff I thought would be fun to share. When we lived in Kuna, Idaho and the kids were little (Shaina was 7 and Derek was 10) I asked them to write down some questions they'd like to ask their great-grandparents (Papa Troy "Lum" and Granny Jessie BATES). We wrote the questions and mailed them. Mom asked Granny and Papa the questions and wrote down the answers and then mailed them back to the kids. I decided to make it a blog post. I hope you enjoy it.

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This was once a photo of both of my grandparents and both of my children sitting on Granny's couch several years before they asked Granny and Papa the questions below. I cropped out papa when I posted this photo for a blog post about Granny once and now I can't find the original that has all four of them in it. If you have this photo I'd love to have a copy for the blog post.

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Mom and Granny.

Lum Bates blog.jpg
Papa back in his hunting days.

What Was Your First Farm Like?

Derek wrote his own questions and I added sticky notes so the question was clear to someone not used to reading the writing of a 10-year-old. True to Derek- he wanted to know about farm life.

Granny's response (speaking for Papa because it was a question for him but he could no longer speak well enough for them to understand all he was saying):

"It was up the hollow from Sulphur Springs, Ark. There was 200 acres. Mostly trees (timber). The house had 2 rooms (kitchen & living room) and 2 bedrooms were built on as side rooms (sort of a lean to). Cooked on wood & heated with wood. In this house our son Dennis was born. Troy & Jerry were born in a house that we did not own.
We had 2 or 3 hogs, chickens and cattle. We had a saw mill. We sold lumber and ties. We had a truck & tractor."

Below, it looks like mom asked for additional information:
Mom: Where did you grow up?
Granny (still speaking for Papa): "Hiwasse, Ark."
Born: "August 29, 1912."
Where: [blank]
School: "Rocky Comfort and one around Caverny. He went to the second or third grade. Just went when he wanted to."

Who Was Your Best Friend?

Shaina, true to her 7-year-old girlie self, just wanted to know about best friends. What else was more important to a 7-year-old girl?

Granny answering for Papa: "Roy Rotramel."

What Was Your First Car Like?

My all-boy son also wanted to know about Papa's first car. (Wish I would have found this a few days ago when I blogged about just this topic!)

"1913 T Model Ford."
"Dad once said he was almost too small to crank it to get it started."

There was a follow-up question attached that asked when did Papa learn to drive the car but it did not get answered. (Or else it was answered elsewhere and I haven't found it yet.)

Who Was Your Best Friend When You Were a Kid?

My girlie-girl Shaina still just wanted to know about best friends so she asked Granny the same question she asked Papa.

Granny: "Tressie Morgan when I was in school. My first boyfriend I got struck on [was] Lester Pendergraft (early teens)."

I'm betting Shaina was happy with this answer. I wish I could remember the discussions these questions sparked with my children.

For some reason, Granny answered this one twice though, so Shaina got a bonus answer.

Mom: "Who was your best friend in school?"

Granny: "Lorene Gwartney."

Mom: "When did you learn to drive?"

Granny: "When Jerry was a baby."

Mom: "Who taught you to drive?"

Granny: "Myself. I drove on the road and out in the field."

Final Notes

Mom wrote a note that I found in the front of the file about Papa's condition the day she asked my grandparents these questions. I thought I would include it here.

"May 25, 1999
"As I write all of this information, Troy C. Bates is laying in a hospital bed in the living room of his home on MM Highway just east of Southwest City, Mo. He is unable to talk clear enough for us to understand him. And who knows if he would even remember his first farm or car anymore. Although I think he would. His mind is pretty sharp.
"On this day, he is very tired and does not want to get out of bed for anything, so mom carries his urinal to him to use the bathroom."

I love having this note from my mom tucked in the file. It reminds me how well she cared for her parents and reminds me that one day it will be my privilege and responsibility to do the same. And one day, maybe it will provide me with strength and courage on a day when I will really need it.

Don't forget to ask questions and write down answers. Someone will thank you for it one day.

Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

Choose to Do the Right Thing

Blog theme today is 'advice'. (I'm not sure why it isn't 'thankful' or 'gratitude' but that's coming on the 26th.) Today I'm going to give you another “short and sweet” blog post about advice given by my grandpa Eugene DRAKE.

My Papa said whenever you have a tough decision to make think about what is the right thing to do- and then ALWAYS choose what is the RIGHT thing to do. It's timeless advice. So I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family or friends- or alone if you're an introvert and that's what you choose. And when you're making that next decision, choose to do what's right. You can't go wrong with that.

Photo of Eugene Drake.

Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives


Today's blog theme is 'heirloom'. It's been a busy day so I'll keep it short and sweet.

My Treasures

Mam's vase that goes with the wash stand.

This is a water pitcher that goes with a wash stand and basin. The wash stand has a mirror and two candles- one at each side of the mirror. One of the candle/stand sets needs to be repaired. I'm not sure how I was so fortunate to end up with the set but I love it. Yellow is my favorite color. I think of Mam every time I look at it. I wish I had a photo of it when it was sitting in her house.

Granny's plate.

This is a small plate that Granny had on a wall shelf in her bathroom. My bathroom was done in purples and flowers like Granny's so when Granny passed away I asked for this trinket. (I doubt anyone has a photo of it in her house but if you do, I'd love to have it.) I keep the plate in a curio cabinet that belonged to Bart's grandmother- Esther WOLF. Behind the plate you'll see a set of brown glasses. Derek died on a “homemade Christmas” year. My mother had finished this set of glasses for him early in the day on the day Derek passed away. She gave them to me to keep. On the other side you'll see a cup that my kids made for me one year for Christmas. In front of the homemade cup is a glass coaster that my great uncle and aunt- Carl and Barb LARKIN- brought back to me from Germany. On top of that coaster is a Christmas ornament one of my kids made for Bart and I when they were little.

I love all these treasures. I would love to see pictures of the heirlooms you have and cherish.

Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives