A few minutes ago the mailman rang my doorbell and handed me this large box covered with postage stamps. It came from my friend, Star, in North Carolina. She first contacted me here on 20 June 2016,, leaving a comment about a photo I’d posted of Theodore Turley.
I recently purchased a painting that was signed Mary Turley. I believe it is possible that the man in the painting is Theodore Turley and that the painter was his daughter Mary Ann Turley. Does anyone know if she was an artist?
She told me she purchased the painting at a yard sale in North Carolina from a lady named Kathy Leonhard who said it came from her deceased aunt who had lived in an old large house in Thomasville North Carolina.
Our conversations have been delightful over the years, as we have shared findings about Mary Ann Turley and Theodore, trying to solve the mystery of this painting.
Star said she purchased the painting because she loved the look of it. Then she found the artist’s signature, Mary Turley, and she began researching, wondering if the man in the painting might be Brigham Young, or Theodore Turley.
At some point, I asked Star to remember me if the day ever came when she might be willing to part with the painting. Now, almost 3 years later, that day has come, and I have purchased the painting. The mystery still isn’t solved, but I hope in time we will know if the man in this painting is Theodore Turley, my 3rd Great-grandpa.
Here is the unveiling:
I’m so happy to have this painting where I can see it every day. I believe the resemblance to Theodore is quite remarkable and hope to continue finding clues about its origin.
Today is the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the coming together of the transcontinental railroad at Promontory Point in Utah. I’ve been reading about what Brigham Young called the “pivotal and sweeping” changes this mode of transportation brought to our corner of the world. I also listened to the reenactment today on the radio. (The next segment from the radio talk show guy was about driverless cars expected to be the rage in the next decade.)
Not so many years before 1869, when the Golden Spike was driven, my ancestors crossed the plains in wagons. In the 1850s it took about three months to cross the plains at a cost of about $1,000. For many the cost was higher because of lives lost. My my Great-great grandpa Jacob Bushman watched as two of his sisters were laid to rest along the trail in unmarked graves. Elizabeth and Hetty died on the trail, a week apart, in October of 1846. Elizabeth was 8 and Hetty was almost a year old. Many died of cholera, dysentery, exposure or other illnesses.
My ancestors left homes, land and possessions, bringing only what they could carry as they moved across the continent at the slow speed of oxen. They packed provisions like dried foods and hardtack. They cooked over fires and slept under the stars. There probably weren’t many opportunities to talk with other families who had been to where they were going. They went forward with faith.
There have been many times in my life when I’ve looked back and thought, “oh, if only I had waited a bit, the path would have been much simpler.” Or, “if only I had waited, I would not have needed to spend money on that” –like cassettes that changed to CDs or like DVDs that are now digital. We could spend our whole lives waiting for things to get just a bit easier, or cheaper, or more convenient–like a transcontinental train that could take you from New York to San Francisco in a week for $150, first class (which included sleeping cars), or $70 for emigrant class.
Orson F. Whitney said, “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God . . . and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we came here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven.”
I have no doubt that walking across the the plains taught my ancestors things the train-riders never learned. I’m grateful they did it. I bet they are too. Maybe someday I’ll look back on my footsteps and my path and feel that gratitude for growing up when and where I did. The lessons I’m learning are just right for who I am right now. I wouldn’t want to miss something because I’m waiting for life to get just a little bit better. Let me live every day in the best way I know how, enjoying what I have to the fullest. And then, bring on the future!
This evening I was invited to speak to the National Honor Society at Mountain View High School. What a great group of students who excel not only in academics, but in leadership and service!
Below are my notes.
National Honor Society Induction Ceremony
Mountain View High School
9 May 2019
Thank you for the invitation to join you this evening. It’s an honor to be in a group of outstanding students like you!
I’ve recently returned from living and working with about 450 young people who drank in advice as fast as my husband and I could share it.
This evening I’d like to share some of that advice and some ideas with you that have the potential to be life-changing.
You are an Amazing Group of students. You are the cream of the crop, the movers and shakers of the next generation. You will not only live to make yourselves happy, but much of the happiness and security of my generation rests in your hands.
Look around this room at your fellow students. Find someone who is Exactly like you–someone who has taken the same classes you’ve had, someone who has a family just like yours, someone who has the exact same dreams and goals you have.
Can you find that person? Not? Does that person exist? Probably not!
We each come to this earth with a very unique set of gifts, talents, strengths and experiences. The variety is really quite amazing.
Right now I want you to think of 5 things you are good at.
If that seems hard, think about what your best friend would say about you.
When you get home tonight, I’d like you to get out a piece of paper and make a big long list of all of all the things you are good at, the things you like to do–your strengths, your talents, and the gifts you’ve been given. It can be anything at all.
I’ll share with you a few things from my list:
I love to do Family History research and write about my ancestors
I can read old German documents
I make good soup
I give good hugs
I’m a grammar Nazi
I’m good at rationing things (like Easter candy)
I like to write and journal and blog
I’m good at photography
I like to read books
I’m really good at buying fabric. I make quilts and other things.
I do a lot of humanitarian work
I like to live in hard places
If you your list seems a little bit short, have your mom help you.
She knows you better than anyone else–I’m sure she can help you list lots more!
So–I believe there is a God who created us and gave these gifts to us.
He gave us each a magnificent and different list!
But what do we do with that list??
We usually focus on all the things we AREN’T good at, and worry and fret over those things. We compare ourselves to others who seem better at this or that. We talk ourselves out of doing things we’re good at because we think we might not get it right.
Elder Henry D. Moyle
“I have a conviction deep down in my heart that we are exactly what we should be, each one of us. . . . I have convinced myself that we all have those peculiar attributes, characteristics, and abilities which are essential for us to possess in order that we may fulfil the full purpose of our creation here upon the earth. . . .
” . . . that allotment which has come to us from God is a sacred allotment. It is something of which we should be proud, each one of us in our own right, and not wish that we had somebody else’s allotment. Our greatest success comes from being ourselves” (Improvement Era, December 1952, 934).
I know it’s hard to say out loud what we are good at, but it’s important that we think about our own specific gifts and talents so we can figure out how to use them.
If you want to have a happy life, learn to how to use your gifts and talents to help others!
If you want to be even happier, practice noticing gifts others have and compliment them, praise them, and help them use their talents and strengths. It’s amazing to see that helping and cheering on others lifts us all. That’s the best kind of networking!
There was once a wise old king who said we are in debt to God for all that we have and for all that we are. He also said we should help those who are in need of our help.
Think about what you HAVE. What have you been given?
Consider what you’ve learned this year in your favorite classes.
Consider the things that make your life happy.
Think about your friends, your home, your food and clothing.
What does it mean to be in debt to God for what we ARE?
I think that means that He put His list in us when he created us.
It’s a list that will help make this world a better place.
That’s who we ARE.
As you go forward in your life, pay close attention to your magnificent list and the things only you can do to help particular friends in very particular ways. Help those who stand in need of your succor, or your help.
Now is the best time to learn to work from your strengths.
Learn who you are and what you are good at.
Take classes in things you are good at or interested in.
Pursue schooling or jobs that use your strengths, and provide ways for you to serve and help others.
“Strange our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: That we are here for the sake of others. . . for countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy.
“Many times a day, I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of other people, both living and dead and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received and am still receiving.”
Einstein was Smart. He understood that we each have gifts and purpose and we are here for the sake of others. That’s a magical key to happiness.
Find your list. Work from your list.
Use the things on your list to bless others. That’s why you are here!
When Hope Bates invited me to come speak this evening, she asked me to share a few of my experiences. Did I tell you I love living in Africa?
It’s on my list.
When I was your age, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I “grew up.” I went to BYU. I changed my major every semester. I couldn’t figure out my path.
Some of you will have a very specific path you will follow, and some of you, like me, will spend a lot of time wondering what you should be studying or doing with your life.
If you know exactly what you want to do, go do it!
If you wonder, then it’s important for you to be smart and learn how to learn and expose yourself to lots of different things. Be observant.
When there’s something important you need to do, you will recognize it.
My life unfolded in very unexpected ways.
I was a missionary in South Africa– one of the first American Sisters sent there.
Nothing I had ever studied prepared me for Africa.
I learned to love the people there.
I came home and graduated from BYU the next year.
I tried hard to find my next path. I prayed a lot. I listened a lot.
I watched what others were doing. Everyone had different ideas for me.
I was older and single and I had a feeling there was something I needed to be doing. I didn’t know what that something was.
When I look back now, I can see two things that were important in my life:
Being Willing to Help Others
At age 25 I was invited to move to Nigeria for 3 years to direct a child health program. I knew I had to go and I jumped at the chance!
In Nigeria, my team and I worked hard to teach and train village health workers in dozens of villages throughout the region. We taught principles of basic home health care, nutrition, sanitation, water purification, and self reliance.
We were young and had dreams of saving the world. Instead, we learned that our efforts were a drop in the bucket, at least that’s what it felt like then.
Now, 35 years later, I look back and I can see incredible things happened because of those small drops. I can also see how one experience opened the door to the next experience. There was a path for me to discover, but I could never have known that path when I was your age. I just had to start doing things.
I’ve been involved with work in Africa ever since. Now I work with a world-wide organization called Days for Girls that makes feminine hygiene kits for girls in Africa and all over the world. I’m doing things I love and I’m so very happy.
Make your list. Find your passions, or your likes.
Find ways to share what you like to do with others.
Give more than you take.
Leave places better than you found them.
Be prepared to get up and go if you are asked to.
Be aware of the needs of those around you.
You are Wonderful, Powerful, Smart Students who will be an influence for good in the world. Go forward with confidence! Go make a difference!
I will close with a statement I love by
George Bernard Shaw, Irish dramatist & socialist (1856 – 1950)
“This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. Being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as I live it is my privilege – my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I love.
“I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me; it is a sort of splendid torch which I’ve got a hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”
Thank you for inviting me to share with you tonight.
Go home and make a list.
Then use that list to go change the world!
I wish you all well.
When I was a student at Reedley High School, I was extremely busy with sports, school and extra curricular activities. We lived a few miles out of town, and driving back and forth also used valuable time. I remember going to swim practice at 5:00 a.m. before early morning seminary, then going to practice again after school, coupled with homework and other activities that filled my life. In the summer we worked long hard hours in the packing shed. I remember feeling tired all the time.
My junior and senior years of high school, Bishop Buchanan asked me to be the APYWO (Aaronic Priesthood and Young Women’s Organization) President at church. I’ve never forgotten one leadership meeting I attended where Bishop Buchanan asked me to be in charge of a huge assignment of some sort. I remember looking around the room at the other youth leaders who, in my opinion, had very little on their plates. My first thought was, “He’s trying to kill me off!”
After the meeting, I found a quiet moment to question him and ask if it was really necessary to put me in charge of that particular assignment. I’ve never forgotten his response. He said to me, “I learned long ago that if you want to get something done, give it to the busiest person you know and it will be done.”
Having a busy life has been my norm. Thanks to that bit of counsel from Bishop Buchanan, I’ve always looked at it in a different way, and with a smile.
This week we went to a “Retirement Counselor” at BYU to talk about our future. John’s been working full-time at BYU since our return from Washington. July 1st will be his last day. That means things are going to change around here!
Today he turns 65. That’s a big number, and this is an exciting time in our lives. We are looking forward to many Grand Adventures together as we move into the fun years!
A week ago I had my shoulder surgery. They not only put me to sleep, they put my entire left arm to sleep and it did’t wake up for 2 days! When I woke after the surgery, I was surprised to find my arm was totally numb, like a fake rubber arm. I couldn’t feel a thing. My hand flopped here and there from the end of my sling, with a mind of its own. It was the most bizarre sensation–because there was no sensation.
I remembered the anesthesiologist explaining to me before the procedure, that they’re finding it’s better to deaden the area for a couple of days to let it heal, rather than pumping me full of pain meds. I didn’t think much of it in the minute or so before I went under. I expected my arm to just wake up when I did, but it didn’t.
During those next 2 days, I felt a little panicky. What if my arm didn’t wake up?? What if they clipped a nerve or something went wrong? What if my arm really was dead??
I learned in those hours just how valuable having two arms and two hands is. I learned that some things just take two hands to do–like tearing off a piece of toilet paper, or putting a clip in my hair, putting on a sock, or holding a book and turning its pages. I thought about all the things I love most to do–computer work and family history with a keyboard, quilting, using my phone to communicate or take pictures–all take two hands.
I started to pray my thanks to Heavenly Father for blessing me with two hands, still praying my left hand would wake up. I became more and more aware of the need for two, the need for opposition in holding or picking up or grabbing something. I became keenly aware of how often two hands work together to accomplish things.
By the second day, the tingling in my arm began and by midnight it worked its way down to my fingers–first my thumb, and then eventually all the way to the tip of my little finger. My arm and hand came back to life. Oh, how relieved I felt!
It takes two fingers to pick something up. It takes two hands to do most jobs. Fingers push against each other. Hands grip and hold. Opposition in our lives is a blessing. It keeps us standing and fighting and working as we were intended. Oh, how grateful I am for my two hands!
On Tuesday morning I was at BYU, at work scanning and preserving family treasures when I received a text from a friend with the news of the fire at Notre Dame. I was stunned at the thought of the loss of this great cathedral and all it represents to the Christian world.
Throughout the day, I checked the news on my phone, sick at the thought of it. Images flooded in, and people all over the world responded. They say the fire alarm was first triggered Monday evening at 6:20 p.m. Twenty-three minutes later, flames were visible high in the building’s ancient wooden frame.
Construction of Notre Dame, which was built on the ruins of earlier churches, began in 1163 and was completed in 1345. That’s about 800 years of a presence that’s inspired believers and heathens alike. Each year about 12 million tourists pass through Notre Dame, seeking peace and inspiration. I have been there several times, for the same reasons and have felt the sacred majesty of the place.
In this image made available on Tuesday April 16, 2019 flames and smoke rise from the blaze at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, Monday, April 15, 2019. An inferno that raged through Notre Dame Cathedral for more than 12 hours destroyed its spire and its roof but spared its twin medieval bell towers, and a frantic rescue effort saved the monument’s “most precious treasures,” including the Crown of Thorns purportedly worn by Jesus, officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Thierry Mallet)
As I looked at photos of people mourning this loss at the start of this Easter Holy Week, my thoughts have turned to our Savior, Jesus Christ, whose mortal body was offered as a sacrifice on a lone hill outside a city wall, not just a symbol or structure of Christianity, but the Essence of Christianity. Oh, the loss! Did the world stop to notice and mourn as we have stopped to mourn this week? Do we hold Him as dear to us as we hold this holy edifice that represents Him?
Something about this horrible fire has changed my Easter worship this week and reminded me what I hold dear. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ with all my heart. I love Him for giving His life for me, a sacrifice for my sins.
He is more than a cathedral to me. He is Everything to me. Oh, how I love Him!
“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor 15:55).
Because of Him, we will live again. Because of Him, we will each rise from the dust when we are finished here. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ.
Every spring and fall, leaders of our Theodore Turley Family Organization meet in Salt Lake to plan and discuss family matters. I’ve been meeting with this great group of relatives for many years now, as the representative of the Charlotte Turley branch of the family.
This year we are planning a virtual reunion on May 15, which is World Family Day. Descendants of Theodore Turley (there are about 20,000 of us!) will be encouraged to share a memory of a family member or ancestor on FamilySearch. This might be a story, a document, or a photo. Imagine the history we can share and preserve if we all did this!
These are our family organization leaders:
Top photograph: Back row (L to R): Ted Roy, Monita Robison, Natalie Tanner, Ann Lewis, Steve Turley, Jane Turley, Mary Ann Clements. Front row: Kay Lovell, Richard E. Turley, Sr., Janet Packham, Luana Rogers. Not pictured: Dan Rogers, Adrienne Williams, Diana Glissmeyer, Ted Pyper (Skype), Tony Turley (Skype).
A week later, on Saturday 13 April, we had another family meeting in Salt Lake at the Family History Library. David Turley gave an excellent overview of the last family field trip taken to San Bernardino last October. Theodore Turley and his family helped to settle that area in the 1850s. Then Rick Turley spoke to the group. He and David and I are working on 3 volumes about Theodore Turley’s life and papers. Rick calls us “the Three Musketeers.” It’s been a great opportunity to work with him. He’s one of the finest historians I know.
Ann Lewis, Rick Turley, David Turley
Rick told us a bit about his assignments and projects and the work he’s done on the series of books called SAINTS. It is the single most-read history of the Church ever printed, an open and honest narrative of our church history.
We also talked about our Theodore Turley books project and answered questions about how it’s coming together. We hope the first volume will be published this year.Rick said that about 2.5% of church members are involved in family history work. He encouraged us to do the 3 things the church historians do, but on an individual level: Collect, Preserve, and Share.
Collect: Do I have any records related to my family? We all have family history records like certificates, letters, journals, photos, or documents. Gather them. Put them in a shoe box or a safe place.
Preserve: Take your shoebox to a scanning machine and digitize the things you have. Save the digitized images in more than one place. Label photos with names, dates and places.
Share: Upload your digitized records to safe repositories online like FamilySearch. Put them into the public domain so others who are searching can find them. Donate and share your treasures with libraries who can keep them safe and make them accessible to others. Get children to help you transcribe records so they can be shared.
After the program, we had some good visiting time. It was a really fun morning.
I grew up not knowing a thing about the Theodore Turley family. When I started searching for my ancestors, I found them. Oh happy day! It’s a great blessing to belong to such a great family!
Every now and again you meet someone who absolutely changes your life. Roger Minert is one of those people to me. This week I attended his Last Lecture at BYU as he prepares for retirement. This is the man who taught me to read the old German records and do German family history research. He is one of my dearest friends and mentors.
Roger spoke to his fellow professors and friends, reviewing the interesting path his life has taken, which led him to BYU (and to me). I honestly can’t imagine my family history life now without knowing all the things he taught me. He opened a huge world to me, a world that includes my German ancestors, and the records of their lives. Because of Roger, I can read records like these:
He talked about his German Immigrants in American Church Records books. I got to help do the research for the early volumes and John & I continue to support this project.Knowing Roger Minert has been a life-changer for me. I’ve taken every class he teaches, and then did some independent study with him. He taught me how to find the histories and stories of people. One class project was an immigrant case study. We were given the name of a person, their birth date and place in Germany, and their death date and place in America. We had one semester to find and write their life story.
You can read my research here: http://pikecoilgenweb.org/image/adams_county/pdf/bastertfamily.pdf
The other day I was looking for something in my file of letters, and I found this letter about Roger, written to BYU President, Cecil Samuelson in 2005, shortly after I first met Roger.
5 January 2005
Dear President Samuelson,
I saw you zipping across campus Tuesday morning as I was on my way to class and I wanted to flag you down and say Hi, but I was too far away, and you were too fast on that little cart.
Then today I received the birthday card you sent and I wanted to thank you for the kind thoughts. I’m sure you get a lot of mail from students, so I hesitate to take your valuable time, but I just wanted to tell you of the wonderful experience I have had.
When I graduated 20 years ago, I had a feeling that someday I’d be back. But then my life went other directions, and once John and I finally met, family life took over and I was content. That changed last August when I was visiting with some friends who were in town attending the BYU Family History Conference. When I asked them which classes had been the most valuable, they immediately told me of a German teacher who alone made the whole trip worthwhile. Their comment was, “I can’t believe you live right here and could just take classes from him.” That’s all it took. I went right to John’s office and found Dr. Roger Minert and enrolled in one of his classes.
The class I took was a German Research class (Hist. 422) where we learned to decipher and read old German and Latin documents. It was hard, but I loved every minute of it. I now have skills that will be invaluable to me in my own family history work.
I want to tell you a bit about Roger Minert. I think he’s pretty new here at BYU. I don’t know how he came to be here, but what a blessing it is to have such an outstanding professor here on campus. I’ve known a lot of professors here, but I have known few who have the vision he has for the work that can be accomplished in his field. He is a man driven to teach and share skills that will prepare us to really make a difference in the world with the things that really matter. As I sat in his classes, I felt the Spirit very strongly that that was exactly where I needed to be, learning from exactly the right person.
Bro. Minert is humble and Good, and is quietly making a very big difference in the world of German Family History Research. It almost scares me to think that I could have missed learning of his classes. I hope you have a chance to meet him if you haven’t yet and hear about some of the many projects he has involved his students in. As part of our 422 class last semester, the students in my class extracted thousands of names from documents that few people are able to read. These records will be published and made available to people desperate to read them or understand them. It was a wonderful experience, and John and I will do all we can to help support his work.
Anyway, I just wanted to check in and let you know I’m a happy student having a great BYU experience. I’m taking two more classes from Bro. Minert this semester, and I’m really looking forward to learning the things he’ll be teaching us.
Thanks again for the birthday greetings and for all you and Sharon do to make us so happy to be involved with the University.
In 2009 John and I traveled with Roger and his wife, Jeanne to Germany and Poland to do some research there. It was a fabulous trip. We started in Berlin, then made our way through Germany, to Poland, and then to my ancestral hometown, Leingarten in southern Germany. I’ll write more about that trip on another day. Here are just a few pictures of what we did:
Visiting a Latter-day Saint church building built in Poland in 1922, and a cemetery where members of the church were buried:
Auschwitz Concentration Camp:
Visiting churches in Cainsdorf and Zwickau where John’s ancestors are from:
Visiting Leingarten and the farms of my ancestors and relatives:
Meeting with the Burgermeister and Pfarrer of Leingarten to present my research:Roger and Jeanne:
I have often thought that my ancestors had something to do with aligning my life with Roger’s. They knew that in order for me to have access to them, I would need to study with one of the few individuals in this entire country who could teach me to find and read their documents. Knowing and learning from Roger has been a remarkable gift!