“In the path of their duty”

Isaiah writing

I believe in prophets.  I believe God speaks to them.  He always has, He always will.  In the Old Testament, the prophet Amos said, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he  revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”   These prophets help us to know and figure out God’s will for each of us, here and now.

This week I was reading the words of a prophet named Nephi who helped prepare his people in the Americas for the coming of Jesus Christ (about 6 B.C.).  He said, “the more  part of them are in the path of their duty, and they do walk circumspectly before God, and they do observe to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments.”

I paused on his words describing those who are in the path of their duty, remembering words in a Patriarchal Blessing I was given when I was 16 years old.  I think about the words of counsel in that blessing quite often because it refers several times to my “duties” and how to learn what those duties are.  The blessing counsels me to trust God and listen to His promptings through the Spirit.  It counsels me to follow the instructions of the prophets and the counsel of my parents.  It encourages me to read and study good books and to be in the right places at the right times.  It says if I do these, and other things, my duties will be made plain.

This week I was thinking about one particular time in my life when following a prophet seemed counter-intuitive.  I was a university student, eager to learn and enlarge my world.  I wanted to study Everything and had a hard time narrowing my interests down to one field.  I changed my major almost every semester.

During that time, a prophet of God counseled women to do all they could to not work outside the home.  He told us our greatest work would be in our homes, with our children.  As a university student, I wondered at that, considering all the career options out there, and what I wanted to become.  I decided to follow the counsel of the prophet, and I changed my major another time–to Child Development and Family Relations.

I will never forget the conversations I had with my roommates the morning of our graduation day.  We were each graduating from the university, single, hopeful, and with no marketable skills.  We’d each chosen degrees that would help us raise strong families, but not necessarily enter the work force.  What were we to do next??

I trusted in the counsel to trust God to make my duties plain.  He did.  At every turn.  For me it was important to have a university degree.  After that, it was essential to follow the counsel of a living prophet.  My life went in glorious directions, all over the world.  I could never have planned or imagined the “duties” that would unfold.  I did end up with a wonderful career for many years, until my path led me to John and then family and I was prepared for them when the time was right.

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened in my life had I studied medicine.  I would have loved to have been a doctor, or even a nurse.  I would have been relieved then, to have a career path that was clear.  Instead, I took the path less traveled, and as Robert Frost said, “and that has made all the difference.”

Instead, I got to spend time with my 3 incredible children, loving and nurturing them every single day of their lives.  They taught me and they changed me more than any career path I might have selected.  Oh, what a gift!

Road Through Forest

I am grateful for living prophets who see beyond what we see and who know what we do not yet understand.  I’m grateful for the path of my duty that continues to beckon me to discover it.  And I am grateful for the means to discover God’s will for me in my own life.

Posted in Thoughts and Insights, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Two Incredible Montana Women

2018-8-21 To Montana (1)Last week in Montana, I met two women who stopped me in my tracks.  The first was Nancy at the Windmill Village Bakery in a tiny town named Ravalli.  Nancy makes donuts.  Perhaps the best donuts I’ve ever eaten.  When we walked into her bakery, about an hour before closing, I was immediately taken by her open manner and kindness.  She had flour on her face and dough in her hands and a big welcoming smile.

As I asked her about these donuts we’d heard about, she told me about her Norwegian mother, who always kept a pot of potatoes on the stove, using them daily in different dishes.   Nancy’s eyes lit up as she described the “spudnuts’ her mother would make for special occasions.  She decided to make them in her bakery, and now she makes them by the hundreds, daily.

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“Three minutes on each side,” she said, as we watched her plop fresh dough into waiting hot oil.  It smelled like heaven as they turned golden brown.  I asked Nancy about her recipe, which she said she’ll guard until the day she dies.  “Then,” she said, “I’ll have it published in the local paper, maybe on a full page!”  Oh, how I hope I live to see that happen!

2018-8-21 To Montana (22)2018-8-21 To Montana (5)Each donut is hand-dipped into a sweet sugary glaze.  Her secret here is a dash of salt in the glaze to cut the sweetness of the powdered sugar.2018-8-21 To Montana (10)2018-8-21 To Montana (14)We were 4 very happy campers.  The donuts were a full meal.  Food of the Gods.

I’m going to send Nancy my grandma’s donut recipe.  I told her I make my grandma’s German donuts every year on New Year’s Eve.  It felt nice to speak of our mothers and grandmothers and how their legacy lives on, making us and so many others happy.

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The next day I met another Amazing Montana Woman.  Her name is Kapri and she is the creator and founder of Tinkle Belle, the best “Stand to Pee Accessory” out there.  She is a neighbor to Graham’s family at Ashley Lake, and we went hoping to use her internet when our phones got stuck in an update.  As we waited for the phones to figure themselves out, we met Kapri and her husband, Brad, and we learned about their business.  I was blown over.  Just the night before I was looking at other similar products to take on our upcoming trip to Africa, where it can be difficult to squat over pit latrines.

Tinkle Bell 1

Kapri’s story was captivating.  She described the 3-year process of design with all kinds of trial and error and working with engineers and different materials.  What she’s designed is remarkable.  A urologist by profession, she understands a woman’s anatomy and a woman’s needs.  In the humanitarian work I do, I know lots of women who would appreciate these devices and I’ll be sharing with them!

2018-8-22 Ashley Lake (23)2018-8-22 Ashley Lake (25)The view from Karpi’s home:2018-8-22 Ashley Lake (26)

 Tinkle Belle

Here is a bit about this gift to women from the Tinker Belle website:



Our mission is to enable women of all ages to be able to get out and adventure anywhere without having to be hindered by a lack of facilities or having to bare their assets. The Tinkle Belle gives women the ability and convenience of getting to stand to pee.

The Tinkle Belle is a product that supports the God Forgives Foundation. The God Forgives Foundation is a non-denominational for-profit foundation that opens and maintains orphanages in second and third world countries around the world. These children normally would not have a chance in life. Many of the children would be abused or end up in sex trafficking or modern day slavery.

The foundation has zero overhead and zero administrative costs.

100 percent of the money the foundation generates is used directly for the orphanages. The foundation sustains the orphanages and helps the children transition to adulthood either with skill-based training or education.

The foundation is for-profit, as we cannot always adhere to non-profit guidelines at this time. Because we are a for-profit, we are continually investing in, and incorporating businesses and products that help us increase the amount of support and money that we can generate for the foundation and the children.

In our view, it doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not, what political affiliation you are, what country you are in, your race, sexual orientation or what your socioeconomic background is. We believe that any and all children should have a good opportunity at life. We wish we could help them all and we’re trying to do as much as we are able, one child at a time.

We are not asking for donations. We believe that the best way you can support the foundation is through the purchasing and utilizing our products, like The Tinkle Belle. We’ve designed the Tinkle Belle to be the best product we could make and it’s our mission to be the female urination device that empowers women to stand to pee and live their #lifeoutstanding.

The Tinkle Belle has intentionally set itself up with a very small team and low overhead so that we can support the God Forgives Foundation as best we can and maximize our resources and money.

If you’d like to learn more about the foundation, you can check the website here: www.godforgivesfoundation.com

We partner with other people, foundations and entities to help facilitate our mission like Angel House. For more information about Angel House. https://www.angelhouse.me/ 


Good women are Heavenly Father’s gift to this world.  This week I met 2 amazing women during our Montana trip.  Both have made my world a better place.

Posted in Humanitarian Work, Lewis Family | 1 Comment

A Bit of Reading at Ashley Lake, Montana

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Our daughter married Graham Johnson while we were in Washington.  This last week his family invited us to their cabin home at Ashley Lake, Montana.  I took a book I’ve been waiting to read these last 3 years.  It went with me to Washington and back, unopened.  This week I devoured every word of its almost 600 pages.  Nancy E. Turner is one of my very favorite authors.  Below is the GoodReads summary, and 2 of my favorite passages.

My Name is Resolute

The year is 1729, and Resolute Talbot and her siblings are captured by pirates, taken from their family in Jamaica, and brought to the New World. Resolute and her sister are sold into slavery in colonial New England and taught the trade of spinning and weaving. When Resolute finds herself alone in Lexington, Massachusetts, she struggles to find her way in a society that is quick to judge a young woman without a family. As the seeds of rebellion against England grow, Resolute is torn between following the rules and breaking free. Resolute’s talent at the loom places her at the center of an incredible web of secrecy that helped drive the American Revolution.

From “My Name is Resolute” p. 432-433:
Last month across town, Goody Meacham was tried for witchcraft because she argued with a neighbor whose dog killed her goose. The neighbor’s child then died and his cow had a calf born with two heads. No one knew her. No one came to her defense. She might have been hung had not the judges disagreed on whether she looked the part of a witch. I never want to be in a place where no one would come forward to say to a judge that they have known me as righteous. A life well-lived, in some respects, needs witnesses.

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pp. 584-585 from the Epilogue:
I have been swept along by life’s storm, made to choose my life’s path on the wing, often with few options. As I look back I see that even when I thought I was choosing, often I elected merely to survive. I have struggled with a natural tendency to anger and to fabricate tales, but my heart was ever watchful for rightness and goodness, and love. There are those like my Cullah, who stand stalwart without lies, without anger, against the gale of life, and I honor them. I was placed on this shore in a time that has changed, I think, the world–at least if I am to believe what I heard and read when at last our Declaration was read from an upper window in Boston. Perhaps, along with hundreds of other women in this place during this momentous time, I have made a difference. Perhaps I kept some from freezing or starving. The hidden room and unseen stairs in this house have been a respite place for one runaway slave and her babe on their way north.

I am my own tapestry, then, made as I could for myself. Some holes in my fabric have been made by others, some torn by chance. Missing threads in the weave represent all those I have loved who died so long before me. Sunshine and apple blossoms tint it, along with sea foam and stars. Dark places mark where tears dyed the cloth, darker still, the stains of blood, all of it laced with the crystal blue of Meager Bay on a bright day and a single strand of ruby the color of the ring of my mother’s that I still have. The strong, even places consecrate moments where love outmatched loss, and where great good came from sacrifice. When it was finished, it was not what I expected it to be. I had once imagined to live as a delicately fashioned bolt of fine silk of high and gentle quality, perfect but for a minor slub or two. The life I have lived was not a lady’s silk, but a colorful, natty tapestry of embroidery, winceyette, lace, and motley. Many men I have known in my life will be written about and remembered for the deeds they have done these many years since the colonies loosed their bonds. My story is the story of other women like me, women who left no name, who will not be remembered or their deeds written, every one of them a restless stalk of flax who lent fiber to the making of a whole cloth, every one of them a thread, be it gold, dapple, crimson, or tarred. Let this tapestry be a record, then, that once there lived a woman, and that her name was Resolute.

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Posted in Books, Thoughts and Insights | 1 Comment

Sadie Bushman, age nine, The Heroine of Gettysburg, b. 19 August 1853

Bushman, Sadie Gettysburg paper 7

Sarah Margaret Bushman “Sadie” was born 19 August 1853 in Cashtown, Adams County, Pennsylvania.  Her family lived in Gettysburg at the time of the Civil War.  Here is an amazing account of this dear little heroine and my relationship to her.  Grace Honor Bushman is my Great-grandma.

Bushman, Sadie relationship chart

If Only We Had Known
by Becky Bushman Shields

When you were in school and studied about American History and the Civil War did you know that you had Bushman relatives that lived in Gettysburg? Did you know there was a Bushman Farm in the very center of the Battlefield? Did you know there were also several other Bushman family farms near by?

Perhaps if you and I had only known that we had family who lived there we would have paid much closer attention to what actually happened in the worst battle in our American history. Did you know more lives were lost at Gettysburg than any other battle before it? Perhaps if we had known, we would have cared more about the families who lived there and how it affected them for the rest of their lives. Perhaps if we had known the story I’m going share with you it would have made a big difference. For me personally it has made all the difference.

If only we had known!

Let me begin by introducing you to a little nine-year-old girl named Sadie. Sadie is your relative. Her given name is Sarah Margaret Bushman, but she was known as “Sadie.” This is a true story about her and her family.

Around 3:00 a.m. the morning of July 1, 1863, Sadie was awakened and told to dress quickly and hurry on ahead to her grandmother’s house which was only a couple of miles away. Soldiers had been arriving by the hundreds and it seemed there would be a battle very soon. The Bushman family needed to flee for safety.

Sadie dressed and left with her little brother William. Her parents Emanuel and Catherina promised they would come as soon as possible with the other younger children. Sadie was very afraid of being in the dark but knew the way go. It was starting to get light when they heard the loud sounds of gunfire and cannons going off near them. They were knocked to the ground by a huge explosion! A cannon ball had miraculously missed them. Sadie and William were stunned and terrified to realize they were in the battlefield. They were in helped up by a Union Surgeon and taken the rest of the way to their Grandparents home. His name was Dr. Benjamin Franklin Lyford. His medical tents were set up right in her Grandparents yard and Orchard. Sadie loved going to Grandma’s but that day it was totally different. Things were in complete and total chaos. There was no time to think and process what was happening. There were the sights and sounds of wounded and dying men all around her.

Regardless of her young age Dr. Lyford put Sadie to work. A badly wounded soldier was brought to the front yard and needed his leg amputated immediately to save his life! Putting what was left of the soldier’s leg over a carpenter’s saw horse, Dr. Lyford turned and said to Sadie, “give him a drink of water while I cut off his leg.” Sadie did as she was told and witnessed the entire gruesome operation. It was the first of many such surgeries she would assist Dr. Lyford with. Sadie was exhausted from working day and night helping to care for the endless wounded and dying men. She hard such a hard time sleeping because of the heat, the flies, and the horrible smell of blood and rotting flesh. More than anything else she worried about her family. Where were they? What happened to them? Were they all dead? Is that why they didn’t keep their promise? These unanswered questions only made concerns, fears nightmares worse.

After two very long horrific weeks of separation, Sadie was finally reunited with her family. All of that time her parents had hoped and prayed their children and made it safely to Grandma’s. Sadie found out that her mother had gone into labor while preparing to leave their home. She had to have the baby in the cellar as the battle had begun and Cannons were firing from their yard. They were unable to leave or get a message to any of their family. What a joyful reunion it was to all be together again. All of them had survived the 3 day battle. There was still so much to do trying to survive and still help with the thousands of soldiers. So many had died and were dying everyday from their wounds.

For the next five months, Sadie helped Dr. Lyford. She helped to feed the soldiers who couldn’t feed themselves. There were so many who had lost hands, arms and legs. She was able to cheer and comfort them with her child-like innocence. The soldiers all loved her for her tender care and service to them.

Many years after the battle was over and all the men and horses were buried a mysterious letter is found in the pages of an old book in a second-hand book store in St. Louis Missouri. It was far from Gettysburg. The man who found this old letter was Paul Everett. Paul was touched by the sincerity of the letter that he had it published in the newspaper. This letter was written by a soldier who was trying to locate and thank the little “Angel” who had given him a drink of water as his leg was being cut off after the battle at Gettysburg. He believed her name was Sadie Bushman and he was pleading with his comrades to help find her. This was the very same soldier Sadie had helped! Paul then wrote to Gettysburg inquiring about Sadie. He found that she had married a man by the name of Edward Jungerman and they had moved to California several years before. It is believed that Paul had an accident as he disappeared and Sadie never heard from him or received the treasured letter.

By chance or divine orchestration, Dr. Benjamin F. Lyford was reading an article in his local newspaper that caught his attention. It was a copy of the article Paul Everett had printed in the St. Louis newspaper. It talked about a soldier looking for a little girl by the name of Sadie Bushman. Dr. Lyford could not believe his eyes! He had thought of Sadie many, many times over the years and wondered what had become of that brave little girl. After thirty years, Dr. Lyford was able to find and reunite with Sadie Bushman Jungerman. Can you imagine their complete and total surprise to find out that Sadie had lived the past 15 years just miles from Dr. Lyford’s home!

As a thank you to Sadie for her courage and service back in Gettysburg, Dr. Lyford gifted Sadie and Edward a little cottage of their own on his beautiful large estate. He had become a very successful wealthy doctor over the years, specializing in the embalming process which was being pioneered during the Civil War.

Sadie had a baby girl Edith who died before her first birthday and they weren’t able to have any more children. Sadie had been a nurse most of her life, in addition to caring for her invalid husband Edward.

How fitting and appropriate that Sadie, the youngest nurse at the Battle of Gettysburg, was later given the newspaper headline title: “THE HEROINE OF GETTYSBURG.”

If Only We Had Known.

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Below is the transcription and the newspaper article:

Bushman, Sadie Gettysburg headlinesPrinted in the Gettysburg Compiler
Gettysburg, PA., January 12, 1892, No. 20.

From San Francisco Call, Dec 31, 1891

The Part That a Brave Little Girl
Played During the Battle.
She Was Only Nine Years Old, But She
Served General Meade’s Army for
Two Weeks in the Capacity
of Nurse.

In yesterday’s Call appeared a brief ac-
court of an incident of the great battle of
Gettysburg, in which a California lady played
an active part. A Call representative,
who called upon the lady, now Mrs. Edward
Jungerman, at her pleasant home, 822
Twenty-second street, in Oakland, was
treated to an interesting chapter of remi-
niscences of that memorable engagement,
such as must be a never-failing source of delight
to the juvenile Jungermans when,
childlike, they clamor for “a story.”
Mrs. Jungerman, then Sadie Bushman,
was a month or so less than 10 years old on
that bright July morning in 1863, when her
mother awakened her early with the startling
news that 40,000 men of Lee’s army
were within a few miles of the town, hurrying
on to join tbe main line at Cashtown.
The Federals were already in the field, and
it would not be long before tbe opposing
forces would be struggling fiercely for possession
of Seminary Ridge, the rocky emi-
nence on which Buford’s forces were already
“They are going to shell the town,” her
mother said, “and we must all get away.”
In a few minutes their plans were made.
Sadie was to take her little brother and
hasten to her grandmother’s, some two miles
down the valley. There were several smaller
children who, “in charge of their father
and mother, would follow as quickly as
Taking tight hold of her little brother’s
hand, the little girl started out. Her
parents, with the babies, came a little dis-
tance behind, but hardly had they reached
the street when a surging crowd of frightened
people hurrying to some place of safety
bore the two children away from the rest of
the party. It was two long weeks before
the brave little girl saw father or mother
again, and during those two weeks they
mourned her as dead.
Keeping out of the crowd as best she
could and holding fast to her little charge,
the child kept on her way toward her grand-
mother’s. It was not long, however, before
the pathway along which the two fled
brought them directly into the thick of the
fight, on the side of Seminary Ridge, among
the Union forces. On every side men were
falling. The air was thick with smoke.
The roar of artillery, the quick word of
command, the groans and cries of the dying
all struck terror to the child’s heart as she
hastened on. Her little brother clung to her
in despairing affright, but she soothed him
as best she could, realizing clearly in her
young mind that any minute might be their
last. There was no use to retreat; danger
lay behind as well as before. They could
only press forward, so on they hurried.
Suddenly there was a blinding flash, an ex-
plosion louder than any yet, and something
whizzed by her, whipping her short skirts in
its flight A gray-bearded officer seized the
two children and dragged them to one side
“ What an escape” he exclaimed. “That
was a shell!” Taking Sadie’s hand, he hur-
ried the two down the ridge in tbe direction
of their destination, and a few minutes later
breathless and nearly dead with fright, they
reached their grandmother’s farm-house.
”Things were almost as bad there
though,” said Mrs. Jungerman,” and every-
body was in an excitement of heightened con-
fusion. Just as I got there some Union
soldiers came, bearing another between
them, whose leg bad been terribly shot. A
surgeon was with them and they said the
leg must be cut off at once. There was no-
body there but us to help. The men could
not be spared from fighting. Then the surgeon
tnrned to me and asked me if I could
hold a cup of water to the poor man’s month
while the leg was being taken off. I was
terribly frightened, but I saw that I must
do it, so I stood where I was told and held
the cup as directed. I had to see the whole
operation, and I can remember every cut as
plainly to-day as I saw it then. They laid
the leg over a carpenter’s horse before they
began to operate. They did not take the
man into the house, but; performed the ope-
ration out under a big apple tree that grew
in the farm-house yard.
“Well, that was the beginningof the most
fearful two weeks I ever knew. Father and
mother did not come. I never saw them
until two weeks later; none of us knew
whether the others were alive or dead,
There was plenty to be done, though, to
keep us too busy to think. The churches
and school-houses in town were tuned into
hospitals, and even we children, those who
had the nerve to do it, had to help nurse
the wounded. I used to carry soup and
broth and feed those that couldn’t help
themselves. I reported every day to the
officers of the Christian Commission, and
they told me what to do, and it was day and
night work sometimes. I helped at other
operations, too, and, in fact, did what I
was told.”
History has given us full particulars of
the awful carnage in that frightful battle.
There were over 7000 wounded Confederate
captives and more than 13,000 wounded
Uuion men to be cared for in those impro-
vised hospitals. It was a time to try the
souls and nerves of strong men and earnest
women. What the brave little nine-year-
old maiden must have suffered of fright,
home-sickness, anxiety and pain is easier to
imagine than to describe. Mrs. Jungerman
did not attempt to describe it to the Call
representative. She simply shivered at the
memory, even after this lapse of years, and
contented herself with saying it was an
awful remembrance.
It was a gala day for the little girl when
her father and mother with the rest of the
family were once more united, at the
end of the fortnight, under the old farm-
house roof. The horrors of war had held
them helpless elsewhere in the town, equally
busy, unable to proceed through the line and
only daring to hope against hope that the
two children were safe with their grand
Mrs. Jungerman cherishes a grim reminder
of that dreadful time in the form of a
paper-weight made from a minnie ball taken
from the skull of a rebel who fell on that
dreadful field.
Mrs. Jungerman has been a resident of
Oakland for fifteen years.

A Child’s Benison.
The following, from the Chicago Inter-
Ocean recalls an episode of the war, which,
connected as it is with the life history of a
lady now living in our sister city of Oakland,
is of more than ordinary interest to Cal-
ifornians. A dispatch from St Louis, under
late of December 8th, to the Inter-Ocean,
says: To the Editor. Will you kindly pub-
ish in your paper the inclosed copy of a
letter found by me in an old book in St.
Louis. The old soldier never finished it,
but he asked that it be published, so I send
a copy. I sent to Gettysburg for information
as to the girl, and find she is the daughter
of one of Gettysburg’s most respected citi-
zen’s. She is now living in Okland Cal.,
and is the wife of Edward Jungerman, I
enclose the picture of the lady.

ST. LOUIS, Nov. 15, 1830.
In the first day’s battle of Gettysburg I
had my leg shattered by a shell and was
taken to a field a short distance from town.
The farm was owned by a man named Bushman,
a wagon-maker. A motherly old lady
and little girl came up to me. The surgeon
turned to the little girl and said: “Hold
his cup of water to his lips,” which she did,
and stood by while they cut off my leg.
They did the best they could in those trying
times to care for me and others, and I have
aIways hoped to reward that brave little
girl, but have never been able. I wrote to
the surgeon, but he had gone where we all
must go some day. I ask the boys of the
Grand Army to do what I have never been
able to do. The girl was with the wounded
and sick and did all she could, and shells
flying all around. I heard she used to go
every day to the hospital. They all loved
that innocent little girl. She told me her
name was Sadie Bushman. She was only 9
years old, aud the old lady was her grand-
mother and her parents lived in Gettysburg.
Now, boys, see justice done her, the heroine
of Gettysburg.

Bushman, Sadie Gettysburg paper 1

Bushman, Sadie Gettysburg paper 2

Bushman, Sadie Gettysburg paper 4

Bushman, Sadie Gettysburg paper 5

Bushman, Sadie Gettysburg paper 6

There were several Bushman farms in the battlefield areas.  2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip

Here is the home where Michael Bushman lived:2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (155)

If you visit the Gettysburg Museum today, you will learn more about what it was like to live in Gettysburg during this time.

2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (18)2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (23)Here is a hand saw that was used by doctors in Gettysburg to amputate limbs:2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (25)2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (26)2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (29)2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (30)

This is a photo of Dr. Benjamin F. Lyford, who performed the surgery.2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (42)2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (41)

Posted in Family History | 1 Comment

Visiting the Gray Family in Minnesota!

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Larry and Marie Gray

After our Fabulous Family Reunion in Pennsylvania, we flew to Minneapolis to visit more relations there.  My grandma Ruby Lundquist Smuin has a sister named Elsie Gladys Lundquist.  Aunt Elsie has a daughter named Frances, who was my mom’s first cousin.  Frances will be 89 next month.  Her husband, Wally was a family historian, who left boxes of his work behind.  I was interested in finding some original photos that he published in some of the histories of our family written many years ago.

So, we planned a trip to visit Frances, her son Larry and his wife Marie, and their son, Matthew and his family.  We had 2 wonderful days, talking, sorting and discovering treasures.  I am so grateful for my family and for the bonds between us.

The first thing I noticed in Larry’s home is this wonderful collection of our ancestors:2018-8-6 Visiting Frances Gray MN (2)2018-8-6 Visiting Frances Gray MN (3)Here is the key to who’s who:2018-8-6 Visiting Frances Gray MN (4)Frances is living in this assisted living center in Columbia Hills, MN.2018-8-6 Visiting Frances Gray MN (5)My dear Aunt Frances!2018-8-6 Visiting Frances Gray MN (7)2018-8-6 Visiting Frances Gray MN (10)2018-8-7 Visiting Frances Gray MN (1)We spent 2 days going through generations of histories.2018-8-7 Visiting Frances Gray MN (3)2018-8-7 Visiting Frances Gray MN (7)

Here is one of the best treasures we found–pages from a scrapbook kept by Frances’s mother, Elsie.  In it were original photos of her mother, my great-grandmother, Grace Honor Bushman Lundquist.2018-8-7 Elsie's Photos (1)I had never before seen this photo of Grace Honor Bushman Lundquist.  She died at age 38, leaving 8 young children.2018-8-7 Elsie's Photos (5)Here are more photos of their family.  My Grandmother Ruby is in the top left photo in the white dress.  These photos are a slice of my family’s history.  I am so happy to get to see these.  Larry is letting me take some of these treasure home to digitize for the family.2018-8-7 Elsie's Photos (2)2018-8-7 Elsie's Photos (3)Monday evening Marie prepared a delicious dinner and we met their son, Matt and his beautiful family.  Both Larry and Matt are serving as Bishops right now.  They are good and busy men.

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Erin, Rachel, Ellie and Matt Gray

2018-8-7 Visiting Frances Gray MN (22)

2018-8-7 Visiting Frances Gray MN (19)What a gift it is to be connected to families.  This last week of reunions has felt like a slice of heaven on earth!

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A Bushman Family Reunion

John and I have just returned from a Bushman Family Reunion in Pennsylvania, where we celebrated the lives of my 3rd Great-grandparents, Martin and Elizabeth Degen Bushman.  Martin Bushman was born here in 1802.  His parents, Abraham and Ester Frank Bushman were also born here in the 1760s.  The Bushman families had land in Gettysburg and Lancaster County.  It was thrilling to walk where they walked and visit many of the cemeteries where family members rested.

We began our trip in Philadelphia, where we visited Independence Hall and the Old Town.2018-8-1 Philadelphia (25)We also visited the docks where my 5th Great-grandpa, Hans Heinrich (John Henry) Bushman landed when he came to America in 1753.  He fought in the American Revolution.2018-8-1 Philadelphia (74)We visited Gettysburg, learned about what happened there, and visited the farms of my ancestors.2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (11)Here is an account of 10-year-old Sadie Bushman, of Gettysburg, who helped comfort a wounded soldier:2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (18)

This is a photograph of surgeon Benjamin Lloyd:2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (42)2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (23)This is one of the saws the surgeons used to amputate limbs:2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (25)2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (26)

These women were my women:2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (29)2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (30)

Here is another treasure we found in the Gettysburg museum:2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (32)2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (33)Here I am at Samuel Bushman’s home, which still stands in the battlefields of Gettysburg:2018-8-2 Samuel Bushman Home (14)2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (83)2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (154)

I finally got to meet a dear friend, Ellie Johnson.  We’ve corresponded over the years about Elizabeth Degen’s Bible.  She inherited this treasure and brought it to show.2018-8-4 Lancaster Co family sites (119)2018-8-3 Breakfast, Reunion Presentations (49)Ellie is showing this Bible to Richard and Claudia Bushman, our special guests.2018-8-3 z Musical Production (9)

We visited the Rock Ford Plantation, where all of Martin and Elizabeth’s children were married.  Our family members were tenant farmers on this plantation.

2018-8-3 Rock Ford Plantation (151)2018-8-5 z John's Photos (24)2018-8-3 Rock Ford Plantation (66)Our group participated in the dedication of this memorial for our family members here.2018-8-3 Rock Ford Plantation (86)

We also enjoyed visiting Amish country–their markets and their farms.  2018-8-3 z Amish Country (13)2018-8-3 z Amish Country (41)2018-8-3 z Amish Country (68)

Another highlight of the trip included a musical tribute to Elizabeth Degen Bushman that had us all in tears.2018-8-3 z Musical Production (28)2018-8-3 z Musical Production (15)

And we visited several cemeteries where our family members were laid to rest.2018-8-4 Lancaster Co family sites (95)Cherry and Bernard Silver, dear friends:2018-8-4 Lancaster Co family sites (108)

The Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Lancaster, where Henry Bushman and Barbara Trout were married in 1764.  They are my 5th Great-grandparents.2018-8-4 Lancaster Co family sites (121)2018-8-4 Lancaster Co family sites (136)

Another special guest, Elder John K. Carmack joined us.2018-8-4 Lancaster Co family sites (235)Historians, Claudia Bushman and Cherry Bushman Silver:2018-8-4 Lancaster Park Lunch (31)

Visiting family grave sites at the Willow Street Mennonite Church & Cemetery:2018-8-4 Lancaster Co family sites (95)2018-8-4 Lancaster Co family sites (97)2018-8-4 Lancaster Co family sites (100)

Finding other family burial grounds in Amish farm lands:2018-8-4 Lancaster Sites (5)2018-8-4 Lancaster Sites (8)

I loved Ever Single Minute of this family reunion.  I have returned home with a heart full of love for my ancestors and for their descendants.  I met so many cousins!  More than 200 family members from all over the country attended.  I was the only one there representing Jacob Bushman’s line.  He is one of the sons of Martin and Elizabeth, I love them, and their families, now more than ever!

I’m posting all of my photos on the Martin and Elizabeth Degen Bushman Family Organization Facebook page.

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I Was Given A Gift

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Today John and I went into our local Orem Costco to pick up some food, now that we’re home again. The parking lot was full of cars and there are new town homes surrounding it.  The mall nearby has had a face lift and now includes a splash pad for children. There seems to be more traffic and more people everywhere we go. We’re trying to get used to all the changes.

As we went into the store warehouse, we passed the customer service and information desk. The same people who were there 3 years ago, were still there, taking returns and answering membership questions. It caused me to pause and consider where my life has taken me these last 3 years–to Washington and back, and through the hearts of 100s of missionaries and friends there.

I could have been standing behind one desk, or sitting in one chair, or talking to the same small circle of friends. Instead, I feel like I’ve been to heaven and back. I’ve met people and I’ve seen things and I’ve felt things that never would have happened had I stayed here. I occurred to me that I was handed a Gift in the invitation to go and serve in another place, away from my home and family.

Sometimes people talk about our mission like it was a great sacrifice and a noble thing we did. That’s not really true. Serving a mission is more like an offering given, a small offering. But God’s economy is vastly different from ours. We may think we are giving, but the reality is that we received WAY more than what we gave. We returned changed, with hearts brim full of hundreds of loved ones we never would have known and we had experiences that have changed who we are. I’m grateful for this incredible gift!

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