A Scoop of Ice Cream for a Not-So Spring Chicken!

Milk = Ice CreamThat’s me, on the back side of the big 6-0!  No “spring chicken,” though I still have a lot of energy to go non-stop like the famous pink bunny until I finally wear myself down.  I’m up at o’early every morning and go strong for 12 to 14 plus hours a day (mind you, that is 14 hours of standing and walking).  I’m not a sit-down person, nor is my job. It takes an energized person to teach high school, and being a chef/instructor means several things: keep them safe, keep them learning, and keep them active. “Walk a mile in my shoes” takes on a whole new meaning as I can blow up a step counter in just one day.  Maybe someday someone will able to keep up with me, but until then, I’ll set the pace for the other spring chickens!

We were gearing up this week for an annual showcase of our area schools and the programs each offers. The hum of ice cream churns and the wafting smells of a variety of cupcakes filled our commercial kitchen.  Our “real” ice cream made with cream and egg yolks has been sampled by all of my students and several faculty/staff members as we practiced the recipe last week.  A few of my students helped serve, sell, and promote our program at the showcase with sample cups of vanilla ice cream, red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, devil’s food cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting, and carrot cake cupcakes with Italian buttercream frosting.  We sold out of the delicious cupcakes with handmade decorations in 45 minutes and sold most of the ice cream cups for 50 cents each!

Ice cream is a staple at Nana’s house and graces the table for every special birthday chocolate-cold-dark-1346341.jpglunch.  Chocolate, cherry “vilinna,” as my granddaughter calls it, and other varieties that complement the birthday cake are on hand.  The little ones enjoy a small cone filled only to the top as they tend to share their quick melting treat on everyone and everything.  We have even had an ice cream baby shower!  A variety of toppings covered the island in my kitchen and each person created their own concoction in glasses with sundae spoons to reach the bottom.  With the warmer weather approaching, I urge you to break out your churn (or purchase one if you don’t have one) so you too can “churn” up some memories with your family and friends.

As I listened to the hum of the electric churns, I reminisced about making ice cream when I was a child and the old hand crank churn that had a folded towel on top so one of us could hold on to it and take turns with the crank.  Vanilla or fresh peach were my daddy’s favorites. “Butter-be-gone” was my sweet husband’s favorite.  I sure miss having an occasional “little scoop” with him and slowing down long enough from my fast-paced life for some simple joy.

I am including this simple ice cream recipe that can be adapted to include your favorite flavor and some ice cream sauces/topping recipes.

May God bless you and your family as He continues to bless ours,

Chef Woods

Vanilla (Bean) Ice Cream

Yield-@ 3 c. Ice Cream Base, @ 2 quarts after churning

Tools and Utensils:

  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Small saucepan
  • Whisk
  • Food thermometer
  • Strainer
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Ice cream churn

Ingredients

  • 2 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1/8 t. fine Sea Salt
  • 6 egg yolks
  • *1 vanilla Bean, OR 1 t. vanilla Extract

*To prepare the vanilla bean, use the tip of a knife to split the bean lengthwise.  Scrape out the seeds (caviar) adding both the vanilla bean and the caviar to the heated ice cream base to steep.

Procedure

  1. Heat heavy cream, milk, sugar and sea salt in a small saucepan until the sugar is melted.
  2. Temper the egg yolks with the heated mixture.
  3. Return the saucepan to heat the mixture, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, to 170 °
  4. Remove and stir in steep the vanilla bean and caviar for 15-20 minutes OR add vanilla extract
  5. Remove the vanilla bean and carefully strain the mixture through a strainer into a medium mixing bowl.
  6. Cool the mixture, cover and refrigerate several hours or over night.
  7. Churn the ice cream mixture per your ice cream churn directions with ice and rock salt for @ 1 hour to 90 minutes or until thick.
  8. The ice cream will be at a soft serve-stage.
  9. Remove ice cream for the churn and freeze (cure) in a plastic container over night or several hours, or enjoy it straight from the churn!

*Note-this ice cream does not have preservatives and melts quickly.

Hot Chocolate Sauce

4-6 servings

Tools and Utensils:

  • Electronic scale
  • Small double boiler
  • Measuring spoons

Ingredients

  • 3.5 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3 T. dark corn syrup
  • 4 T. water
  • 2 T. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 t. vanilla extract

Procedure

  1. Combine chocolate, syrup and water in the top of a small double boiler.
  2. Heat over simmering water until chocolate melts.
  3. Stir in butter and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Serve warm.
  5. Refrigerate cooled leftovers in an airtight container.

Fudge Sauce

2½ cups

Tools and Utensils:

  • Large saucepan
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons

Ingredients

  • 6 unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 13.5 oz. skim evaporated milk
  • ¼ c. milk
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 ½ c. corn syrup
  • ½ t. instant coffee granules
  • ¼ t salt

Procedure

  1. Combine ingredients in a large saucepan.
  2. On medium, heat until boiling.
  3. Boil for 2 minutes.
  4. Serve warm.
  5. Refrigerate cooled leftovers in an airtight container.

Caramel Sauce

4 cups 

Tools and utensils

  • Electronic scale
  • Medium saucepan
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Pastry brush
  • Whisk

Ingredients

  • 34 oz. sugar
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 ½ t. lemon juice
  • 8 oz. heavy cream (room temperature)
  • 1.25 oz. unsalted butter

Procedure

  1. Combine sugar and water in a heavy medium saucepan.
  2. On high, bring to a boil.
  3. Brush down sides of saucepan with water on a pastry brush to remove sugar granules.
  4. When sugar come to a boil, add lemon juice, but do not stir.
  5. Continue boiling until the mixture reaches 338°F, and is dark brown.
  6. Remove saucepan from heat, and gradually add cream as it may spatter, whisking until smooth.
  7. Add pieces of butter, stir until smooth- may be necessary to place back on the heat to melt.
  8. Serve warm.
  9. Refrigerate cooled sauce in an airtight container.

My First Born

By Tina Michelle Cameron

IMG_20181106_040446_012I am a proud mom of two sons. I love them both the same—to the moon and back. We have all said this to each other since they were little. My oldest is named Corey Stephen Cameron. He just turned 28 on March 11. The day I found out I was pregnant with him was one of the happiest days of my lives. I was not expecting it, and it came as a complete surprise. I found out at my first gyn appointment. I thought the lab tech was congratulating someone else, but she was talking to me! I was 8 ½ weeks along that day. I knew from then on that I had to know as soon as I could what the sex of the baby was. His nursery was done in teddy bears. The timing was not the best as I was in the middle of LPN school, and his due date was the day after graduation. Well, I made it through school and then three weeks after that! I was miserable. He was born as an emergency C-section and was the biggest baby born at Baptist Medical Center that week and made the news in The State paper. He was beautiful and perfect. I remember that day like it was yesterday.

Fast forward to age nine: he was a very active boy and took Karate two nights a week and taught Karate classes two nights a week. One evening, he was kicked (accidentally in the head) and this injury led to a life-changing diagnosis—not just for him, but my entire family of three (I was divorced by then). He was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type 3, which is a rare connective tissue disorder. It causes easy bruising, bleeding, and joint dislocations. He was forced to stop Karate, became home-bound from school for 8 months, and could not do any contact sports. It took many months of physical therapy and numerous doctors to get him stable. He is now doing well, but the disease has no cure.

Corey is a very intelligent, fun-loving, and sweet young man who knows no stranger. He

attended Dutch Fork High School and then graduated from The University of Alabama on May 2, 2015 with a degree in mechanical engineering. He has been working at Mercedes-Benz in Ladson, South Carolina as a project manager since 2016. He gets to travel the world with his job—lucky boy. He is passionate about working out, eating healthy, traveling the world, and his motorcycle. Corey shares a home in Charleston with two of his best friends, Elliot and Colton. He is also dating a sweet girl named Acacia. I am so proud of the young man he has grown into. I am glad to have him back in South Carolina and closer to home, but I do not get to see him as much as I want. Corey, I love you to the moon and back!

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Someone Else’s Burnt Toast

By Rachel Sircy

So does anyone else remember the version of the Pollyanna movie with Hayley Mills in it? That was one of my favorite movies as a kid. They played it all the time on the Disney Channel, and I watched it almost every time it was on. Of course, the part that everyone remembers is when Pollyanna is explaining the “Glad Game” to her aunt. The Glad Game is one that Pollyanna’s poor, missionary father taught her to play when all of her dreams of getting a single doll — something other than the rocks and sticks that are her only playthings — is cruelly dashed by an idiotic person with a cushy, workaday warehouse job. The idiot in the warehouse mistakenly sends a pair of crutches (how does this even happen??) instead of a doll. There is apparently no return policy with whatever company it was that sent the crutches and since Pollyanna’s poor, missionary father spent all their money just trying to get this kid one measly toy, there is nothing for her to do but be glad that she doesn’t have to use the crutches. You play the Glad Game by choosing to find a reason to be glad about all of the horrible mistakes that make your life just a little bit worse.

bread-breakfast-eat-33309.jpgWell, I failed at this game on Saturday. I loved Pollyanna, but I didn’t seem to absorb a single lesson from it. You see, HRH (her royal highness), my four-year-old daughter, woke me up on Saturday much earlier than I’d intended to wake up. Half-asleep, I went to the kitchen to make her some peanut butter toast for breakfast. I grab a toaster – we have two: one that is gluten-free and one that isn’t – and I stick two pieces of whole wheat bread in the slots and press down the lever. Each piece of toast comes out slightly burnt on one side. I think to myself, “that toaster doesn’t usually burn toast.” It wasn’t until I pulled the second piece of toast out of the toaster and began to smear peanut butter across it that I realized my mistake. I had used MY toaster, the gluten-free one. This may not seem like a big deal, but celiacs cannot share toasters with people who eat gluten. I had completely ruined my toaster just by putting two pieces of wheat bread into it. I let out some bear-like growl which must have frightened HRH because she yelled out from the kitchen table, “Mommy, what is wrong with you?!” To which I replied, “Oh, nothing, sugar. Mommy is just in the kitchen destroying her appliances.” It was all a bit melodramatic.

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What was the point of telling you this story? Well, just this: life is hard, and even though I think that blind optimists should be pelted with lemons, it really does make a difference to look on the bright side. I’ve pretty much been a sour troll of a woman for most of my life, but I am slowly learning a lesson that my pastor touched on in his sermon last Sunday: those with chronic illnesses cannot afford a single, negative thought. Really, none of us can. Life is hard for everyone. It’s harder in different ways for different people, but it can be especially difficult for those who have chronic health conditions. So after my little pity party over the ruined toaster, I decided to play the Glad Game. I’m really glad that I didn’t have to eat that burnt toast.

Nailed it.

 

 

 

 

Hospice

By Lisa Baker

I know…I know…you hear “hospice” and think the end.  Mom has been on hospice before FB_IMG_1551055644572just 3 or 4 months ago.  Then she seemed to get better and graduated from hospice.  Now we are looking at hospice again.

Hospice does more than just help as a loved one gets close to passing away.  They can help with medication, supplies for incontinence, and care of skin while using these supplies including adult pull ups, diapers, skin care lotion, and creams to help with skin break down.

They also can help with bathing and dressing your loved one as well as walkers or wheelchairs.  Their care doesn’t stop with the patient: they also help family members.  They provide pastoral care and many resources for the family because you are all going through this together.

It takes very special people to be involved with hospice care including nurses, nursing assistants, and even doctors.  Hospice does not always mean the end.

During this challenging time, I also lost a very dear friend to cancer.  I have worked with her for 16 years.  We used to get to work very early and have breakfast together and talk about our families.  We celebrated our joys and comforted each other during especially trying times.  I can’t even begin to express the importance of our friendship.  I also find it hard to express how much she will be missed.

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I know you must be thinking, “what does she have to do with dementia?” You are right; she has nothing to do with dementia.  Honestly, she and I both started having issues in our lives almost at the same time.  For her it was cancer, and for me it was my parents’ dementia. It was very hard for us to physically be there for each other, but we stayed in touch.  We would text and send cards to each other. We both knew that if it weren’t for our hardships, we would indeed be there for each other. I’ll miss her so very much here on Earth, but I have faith that we will one day see each other again.

We are thankful for each day we get with our loved ones and pray that we will have more time for more memories. Tell your family and friends you love them.  Give as many hugs as you can.  Forgive easily. For no one is promised tomorrow.

**This post was written on March 21. On March 24, my mother passed away and is free from dementia.

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Easy Come, Easy Go…Does Not Apply Within the Diet World!

By Marianna Boyce

I texted an accountability update to my sister before church recently.  With ten more pounds to lose, I’m still pleased with my current weight of 145 pounds.  Cindy constantly makes me laugh, so I thought I’d pass a smile onto you.  The screenshots of our conversation are quite comical, but they certainly ring true for most of us.  Her spontaneous ending remark is credited with renaming this blog post.

When Every Woman Blog published my post, “New Year…New You…No Dieting,a couple of months ago, a coworker and sweet friend shared it with others.  What Neya didn’t share was that she implemented this plan for herself.  She was a sneaky secret keeper—until she couldn’t hide it any longer.

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A few weeks into the new year, I noticed she was losing weight.  Unbeknownst to me, she was following some of the tidbits of advice I gave in my first blog post of 2019.  She chose the “My Net Diary” app instead of “Lose It.”  We are having a ton of fun on our journey so far, but when our calorie intake exceeds our limit, we agree it is detrimental to our psyche.  Nothing can be done once the choice has been made to eat the burger, fries, chocolate cake—or all three.  Other than laughing about it, our secret is moving on and making better choices the remainder of the day.

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Neya is a beautiful new mom.  After sweet baby Mason was born, she weighed in at 234 pounds.  Having lost twelve pounds since the first of the year, she currently weighs in at 222 pounds.

For every good weight loss plan, there is an exercise program to match.  Being young and vibrant, Neya is signing up for a gym membership.  I’m so proud of her for taking steps to improve her mental and physical well-being.  A healthy mama is a happy mama.

Regrettably, I approach exercise from a different angle.  In the past, I always enjoyed a challenging workout, but now shudder at the thought of it.  Rheumatoid arthritis and similar illnesses take a toll on the human body.  Exhaustion and pain typically rule the day.  My pain levels are now mostly tolerable, but I cannot subject my joints to workouts I accomplished in the past.  Since daylight savings time has ended, my plan is to simply enjoy an evening walk in my neighborhood at least three times a week.

It’s not as easy as it used to be, but I resolve losing the last ten pesky pounds one small step at at time.  Doing something is better than nothing at all.

I will update you on our journey in a future post.  Hopefully, we will be reporting positive results.  How are your health and wellness goals?  Do you need a fresh start?  There’s no shame if you do.  It’s never a “one size fits all” situation.  Simply do what’s best for you!

Refocus, rebalance, restart—because you’re worth it! 

Oh the Butter I Have Spent!

By Rhonda Woods 

butter-1449453_1920To convey to my students, who are finishing up the baking and pastry chapter, just how much baking we have done, we talk in terms of how much butter we have used. With a large class, butter is easy to use up…along with flour, sugar, eggs, milk, extracts, and spices!  My hope is that they have enjoyed the experiences many may never have again.

Baking is an art and science as learning the purpose or function of each ingredient is very important.  Take sugar, for instance: it can be used as both a dry and liquid ingredient because when it is heated, it melts to become a liquid.  It also causes that “golden brown” color as it caramelizes.  Butter and other fats are added in a variety of mixing methods to create different textures and give the product the distinct buttery flavor. It is also one of the three “Bs” of southern cooking…the other two are bacon and brown sugar.  All in moderation- bless your heart, darlin’!

I’d like to share a couple of recipes for buttermilk or sour cream biscuits, sausage & grits casserole, and ginger sage & garlic sausage (shout-out to my friend, Chef Hay, for the recipe!).  Only once a year, my students and I make our own bulk sausage from pork loins and the fat trimmed from the pork loins we used when we made our pulled pork.  The recipe can easily be made at home by purchasing 20-25% fat ground pork and mixing in the herbs and spices.  This week, we used some of our house-made sausage for the sausage & grits casserole served for a breakfast.  It must have been as good as it smelled because there was none left.  I hope you too will enjoy making these recipes for your family and friends.

Funny story- My sweet husband told me after we were married that I couldn’t cook grits or make biscuits!  That was a comment I took personally.  He liked to cook his grits for an hour at the hunting club, so I was determined to cook grits and make biscuits to please him…and I did!  He was always happy to have “breakfast for dinner,” especially with homemade biscuits to enjoy with the fig preserves I made for him each summer.  As for the grits, the first time I finished them off with some heavy cream, he was convinced I knew what I was doing!  I would say, “That woman sure can cook! Somebody needs to marry her!  Oh, that’s right…you did, didn’t you?”

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This photo was taken at my son and daughter-in-law’s wedding.  My husband was his best man, and I am still the best M.I.L. (Mother-In-Law)

May God bless you and your family as He continues to bless ours,

Chef Woods

Sour Cream OR Buttermilk Biscuits

Yield @ 8-9 3” biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2 c. self-rising flour
  • 1 T. sugar
  • ¼ c. solid shortening OR cold butter
  • 1 c. (8 oz.) sour cream OR ¾ c. buttermilk

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 425°
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, measure and combine flour and sugar.
  3. Cut shortening or cold butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles small peas with a pastry cutter.
  4. Stir in sour cream OR buttermilk to form soft dough. (Dough will appear to be too dry, but continue to mix until a dough is formed.)
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
  6. Roll the dough in the flour to lightly coat and eliminate stickiness.
  7. Gently knead dough 5-6 times with fingertips, and then shape into a smooth ball.
  8. Roll dough with a lightly floured rolling pin to ½ “thick.
  9. Cut dough with a floured 3” biscuit cutter, being careful not to twist the cutter.
  10. Shoulder cut biscuits in your ungreased pan.
  11. Bake 10-12 minutes.
  12. Remove biscuits from pan.  Serve warm, or cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Breakfast Sausage with Ginger, Sage and Garlic

5 pounds

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs. ground pork, 20-25% fat
  • 3 T. kosher salt
  • 2 ½ t. ground ginger
  • 2 ½ t. rubbed Sage
  • 1 ½ t. granulated garlic
  • 2 t. black pepper
  • 1 c. ice water

Procedure

  1. Chill pork before mixing.
  2. Combine spices and ice water in a small bowl.
  3. Mix water/seasoning mixture with the ground pork until thoroughly combined.
  4. Sauté a small portion, taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  5. Package sausage in quart freezer bags for freezer storage.

Grits and Sausage Casserole

9 X 13” pan @ 12 servings

Tools & Utensils

  • Frying pan
  • Measuring spoons
  • Medium saucepan with lid
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Measuring cup
  • Whisk
  • Large mixing bowl
  • 9 X 13” pan

Ingredients

  • 5 c. hot water
  • 1 ¼ c. quick cooking grits
  • 1 ½ t. salt
  • 1 lb. bulk sausage
  • 1 T. dried onion
  • 2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Pan spray
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. In a frying pan, combine sausage and onion, stirring to brown and crumble.
  3. Drain
  4. In a medium saucepan, heat water and salt to boiling.
  5. Gradually add grits, stirring constantly with a whisk to prevent lumps.
  6. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 5-7 minutes, stirring to prevent scorching.
  7. Combine grits, cooked sausage, eggs and cheese in a large mixing bowl.
  8. Pour mixture into a sprayed 9 x 13” pan.
  9. Bake 20-30 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.
  10. Serve immediately.
  11. Cool and refrigerate leftovers.

 

 

My DNA Story

By Janet Prince

DNAI know you have all seen the ads on TV for the Ancestry.com and 23&Me DNA kits, especially over the holidays.  In 2017, I had some family members receive an Ancestry.com kit for Christmas. They took the test and sent off the vials in January 2018 hoping to learn more about their ancestry, where they came from, and when. When they received the results, they were surprised!  A first cousin we had no idea about was a very strong match above all others throughout our family.

This is where my DNA story began, but before I go in to what we found, I want to share how I feel about DNA testing and why I feel that way.  Keep in mind that everyone has their own opinion, and that must be respected.

As most of you know, I am a 16-year breast cancer survivor, and I lost my mother to ovarian cancer.  Both of us were diagnosed in 2003 just five months apart.  We met with a genetics counselor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in November 2003 and began building a genetic tree of our family members that had any type of cancer.  We were able to determine that the cancer line came from my grandmother’s family where we found breast, brain, lung, cervical, and ovarian cancer.  Taking this test was very important to both of us because of my two daughters.  I have always been a believer in knowing your health history, and I especially wanted my girls to know theirs as they became young women.  Since we did our testing, many new breast cancer genes have been identified, so I will be having an updated DNA test this spring.

 

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My belief in DNA testing is very strong.  By taking this DNA test, I was able to rest at ease knowing that neither my mother nor I carried the breast cancer genes BRCA1 or BRCA2.  In addition, the results were something that my family members could use.  They learned the history of aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins, and children that had all been diagnosed with a type of cancer.  Everyone accepted the results of this test and never questioned if they were true.

Now knowing how I feel about DNA testing, I want to share the story of finding our new first cousin.  When my family members received their results, someone was at the top of the list (meaning they are your strongest match) who they didn’t know and had never heard of.  This person reached out to my family to see how they were related, and at first, my family members seemed thrilled to have a new cousin. When they called me with the news, they were excited to learn more and to hopefully meet her because as luck would have it, she has a step-sister who lives in the Upstate of South Carolina, and she was planning a trip there later in the spring. Since my mother died, I have been the keeper of the trunks that belonged to my uncle as well as one that belonged to my grandparents. Both trunks were filled with letters, postcards, and my uncle’s US Marine uniforms with all his medals.  My family asked if they could go through the trunks to verify the connection between my uncle and her mother.  I was more than happy to do this because I was curious to know the connection myself.

Last spring, our new cousin, Linda, traveled to South Carolina from Nevada, and I was so excited to meet her.  Linda came and spent an afternoon with me, and we went through the trunks.  We were elated when we found a note with her mother’s name and telephone number on it!  It was the confirmation she had been looking for all her life trying to find out where she came from.  She had found “home.”  I knew when I opened the front door that Linda was a part of my family.  We have the same cheeks, her mannerisms are much like my mother’s, and when I hugged her, it was like hugging my mother again.  She is definitely a member of my family.  After looking through the trunks, I took Linda to visit her father’s grave and was honored to share this moment with her.

While she was here, Gary and I had a cookout for my other family members to come and meet Linda and her “sister” Kathy (Linda has four step or half-sisters, but they only call themselves sisters not anything else).  We had a wonderful time and even FaceTimed with another sister of hers who lives in Texas and loves genealogy.  She started asking about other names on Linda’s tree that they didn’t know, and when she started calling out names of my great-aunts and second and third cousins in Alabama, it sealed in my heart that Linda was a member of my family.  We hugged, cried, and laughed with joy.  I look at Linda as a gift and another connection to my mother.

Unfortunately, only one of my cousins came to meet Linda that night, which broke my heart for her.  Their once excitement had turned into not believing in the validity of the testing, and therefore not accepting Linda as part of the family.

UncleLinda, who is my first cousin, was the daughter of an uncle I had who was killed in the Korean War in 1950 at the age of 21. Linda was born five months after his death.  Because my family members chose not to believe the results, I took the Ancestry.com test in June.  When my results came in, my family member who had originally taken the test were first, and Linda came up next followed by both of her children who are my second cousins.  I was so excited to verify that Linda is a part of us.

Linda and I have hours-long phone conversations sharing what our lives have been like.  Like me, Linda is a cancer survivor having been diagnosed with multiple-myeloma in November 2013.  Linda’s mother was killed in a car accident when she was only 9 years old, and I have told her that I believe with all my heart that if my mother and father had known about her, they would have brought her here and raised her as their own.

I don’t know why God brought Linda into my life at this stage in my life, but I am just so Familythankful that He did.  I was so happy to have Linda and Kathy attend Ashlan’s wedding, and seating them with the family was a great joy.  This was the first big “family” event Linda had been able to be a part of, and I wanted her to know how special she was to me and my family.  Knowing she was there brought much comfort to me, and I look forward to spending more time with her and getting to know all her sisters.

DNA matches can either bring big surprises or things you already knew about but with the deeper story.  I encourage everyone to take the DNA test of their choice if nothing more than to know their family health history.  Remember, this is information that can be passed down through the generations. Be prepared for secrets the test may uncover, and remember the person on the paper who you didn’t know about has feelings and deserves to be acknowledged.  Whether you want to build a personal relationship with that person is up to you, but be mindful of your actions because they can hurt someone.