Friday, November 28, 2014

And The Christmas Season Officially Starts!

While many of you will be out and about catching those "Black Friday" sales, I will be comfortably going about setting up my home for the holidays!

Usually we put up a 7-foot pine tree that dear hubs goes out to the lot and picks himself, as he has the best eye for a tree. But because our living room is filled with all of my physical therapy equipment now, we are opting for a 4-foot artificial tree, that can sit atop the bar between our living room and kitchen.  Next year I am hoping for another large tree, as by then, dd will have moved out, and my equipment can go into that bedroom, along with my office.

Today I begin to also watch all of the Christmas movies on Lifetime and Hallmark, and of course, my favorite of all, the three "Santa Clause" movies with Tim Allen. They became an instant favorite for me. They bring back the innocence of childhood for me. And just while I am watching those....I can believe in Santa once more, the man.
Tim Allen in "The Santa Clause"

So, while you are out and about today, just think of me, hanging the stockings with care on the fireplace mantle, then snuggling up on the sofa with my sweet hubby, and sipping egg nog while watching films about Santa!
This is what excites me about Christmas. What gets you in the Holiday mood?


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

What Are You Having For Thanksgiving Dinner?


This is the first Thanksgiving since I had children that I will neither be having dinner them, or with other family members. It will just be my husband and I. So I thought long and hard, questioned the dear hubby, and finally came up with a meal that is neither labor intensive or over abundant. Enough to make us celebrate our Thanksgiving to God for all of His abundance to us in the past year.


First there will be turkey. But alas, it will just be a turkey breast.

There will be cranberry sauce. But it will be canned, since it will only be eaten by myself.


Of course there will have to be green bean casserole!


Baked sweet potatoes, one for each of us. We prefer them baked like a white potato, and put a pat of butter in them just before consuming.

There will be turkey gravy. From a jar, as I am terrible at making gravy!


Stuffing from a mix.


Frozen yeast rolls. (You just let them rise and bake!)

And because dear hubby says he’s never had it, we’re having sweet potato pie instead of pumpkin.

There will be plenty of hot coffee and sweet tea. Maybe a little wine. And maybe after dinner and we’re sitting in the living room… a little egg nog may be called upon!

Whatever you have for Thanksgiving dinner, make it to suit you and your family. Start some NEW family traditions! And just enjoy the meal together. The fellowship. And don’t forget to give thanks for what you do have. So many don’t have anything this day.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tuesday's Texts

"I only need you to find out if my gr-gr-gr-gr-grandfather fought in the American Revolution. So what would you charge?"

Okay, this automatically sends up red flags for me. Obviously this person is totally unaware what a service costs. But does anyone? I mean, to charge for a service, could be anywhere from $1 to thousands of dollars! (Can I get an Amen?)
In order to keep expenses at a minimum for individuals, I usually charge a search fee of $50. This allows me to see if I can even locate that dear old grandpa in the "easiest" lists to start with. (A quick check through my favorite genealogy site,!)
If I can locate the person there, then we reach an agreement. I usually start with $100-$200 down payment, for a 5-10 hour search.  If further searching is required, then we will bill in another block of $100-$200 dollars. And so on, until the goal has been reached. There are other add on's that might be added as well. Costs for copies, or ordering of other documentation. Trips to cemeteries, courthouses, or genealogical societies, will also add on mileage and time. Overnight stays will include not only mileage and time, but costs of accommodations.
I keep a meticulous time record so that clients will be able to see that my charge for time has been documented well. I actually use a written time card. This keeps me accountable not only to the client, but to myself as well. If I find that I have flittered away too much time on any one search, which can happen when something truly exciting or amazing comes across, then I will credit the client that time.
It works for me.
I've been doing this for 13 , almost 14 years now. And it's always worked well for me.
I still always wonder, however, if they have to ask what my fees are, can they really afford to have the work done or not? It's a risk. For you to take a client that may not be able to pay. But then I think, playing Devil's Advocate, I know it is a risk on their part as well. And so I give it my all.
Be a give it "your" all type of genealogist too!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday's Musings

Good morning everyone.

I am currently writing a novel based on my great-great-grandfather's life. There are several areas in it that are family lore, or in other words...have no factual  evidence on which to rest their tales.

So, for lack of evidence, I am adding those family lore pieces into the story, but I am having to add to the disclosure, that this is a piece of fiction, based on historical fact.

If you were unable to find facts for family lore which you were sure was the truth, what would you do? Would you include the disclosure? Or would you simply write the story, and never mention that you were unable to find fact for those bits and pieces of lore, which wouldn't change the overall reading of the book if left unspoken?
It's a bit of a dilemma. But I am weathering through, and noting fiction where fiction is added.
Have a blessed day as we move toward our Thanksgiving celebrations!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Busy as a Bee

I have been stealing two hours every evening to simply write.

What, you might ask, is causing me to spend two hours every evening typing away on my computer?
The Great American Novel!
Okay, okay, I figured you wouldn't fall for that! However, I am writing a novel that is the Great American Novel to me. It is a novel on my great-great-grandfather's life.
We haven't a lot to go on. His father as know it, is another of those whimsical McBean's named William. Family lore says he was a loyalist in the Revolution.  After the war, he received land grants at a place called Stoney Creek, which even today is a natural divider between Virginia and West Virginia.
We know that his property was sold off for back taxes because his widow could not afford the taxes in 1805.
We know that his eldest son, John, was placed as an indenture servant in February 1804. So we are "assuming" that he died before then. And in September his son William, my gr-gr-grandfather, was also placed for indenture. On his 12th birthday.
Family lore states that he had a younger brother, Roy, who was indentured with him at the same time. Roy either disappeared or ran away shortly thereafter. He was never heard from again. It is believed there may have been foul play and Roy was killed accidentally.
The novel is being written as fiction. The gaps being filled in by imagination.
I am in hope of finishing it about the first of the year. And so I am making good progress with it, and that my dear friends and family, is where I am hidden each evening. No phone calls will be answered during my writing time!
Do you have your Great American Novel yet inside of you! Explore with it. Perhaps you can write yours completely non-fiction! How great would that be? Unfortunately the family lore has been passed down and I am including that as part of the fiction, since I am unable to prove, or disprove it.
Give it try. I've spent years researching my family. And this is just one of many more books to come.