Friday, May 27, 2011

Phoebe Bethien Grant Smith Tribble

This is my Great Great Grandma Phoebe Bethien Grant Smith Tribble. She was a pretty remarkable woman. She is from the same Grant family as Ulysses S. Grant. They were cousins.

Phoebe had 14 children. Her first husband Christopher Monroe Smith died, and Phoebe seem to move on rather quickly. 

The story goes...Phoebe loaded up the chuck wagon with all the children and all her belonging and married another man. Hill C. Tribble was her next choice. He had 10 children himself. The 2 were married, but the marriage did not last long at all.

The children were of various ages...all 24 of them. The children just could not get along. Fights would break out everyday. Hill C. Tribble was the preacher of the local church, and he help to found a school. He taught at the school and is mention is many documents of the area in West Virginia.

Phoebe got pregnant during her time that was married to Hill, but she could not take all the children fighting. She gathered her items once again, and loaded her chuck wagon and took off. It had been raining, and there were many mudslides in the area. Giant rocks were blocking many of the roadways. Phoebe would get out of the chuck wagon with all the mud. Her boots were heavy with mud, and she was pregnant. She would have to give the horses some extra nudges to get them to do something. She also had to put all the kids to work, and have them help get around each situation that they would stumble upon.

One of the wagon wheels rubbed against the side of a mountain and broke the wheel off the wagon. The family set up camp. They finally found a place to stay, but Phoebe did not marry again. She would have Alda (my great grandmother) pretend that her last name was Smith. All of the census records have her listed as a Smith. Later Alda would learn that she was a Tribble and not a Smith. Alda has on her marriage certificate Alda E. Tribble. 

Genealogy is one of my hobbies. I have been tracking down our family roots since I was young. Family Tree Marker is what I use with

Could you handle 24 kids?

I am working with Schultz Family and the Peterson Family, so here is the link. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

C.M. Cooper

Yet another artist that I only have one piece of work. I love this piece since it reminded me of my daughter when it first caught my attention. It looks as though she is just as hard to get to sleep just like my daughter. This painting just an impressionistic feel with the the heavy strokes that are used. I also like how she has used light and shade. The feeling for me is the baby finally made it to sleep, but not without a fight. She has to have two bears instead of one to pacify her to sleep.  Her little afghan that covers her body that is all balled up, is her favorite blanket.

If you want to find out more about C. M. Cooper here is her link. No, I don't get paid or compensated in any way for telling you about her art. As an educational feature an artist that I have collected, and inform you where you can find out more information.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Around My House

In my dining room. She was a Nun that fell in love with a Priest. She was young and beautiful, the two ended up leaving the respective Church, and married each other.  I have paintings of Missions in California behind her. The photo was taken with a Canon T3i.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


My family cracks me up all the time. There is lots of laughter at our dinner table. The dogs are even funny. I have voices for each of them. The one on the right is Sadie, and she is the intellectual, and left is Sheba we joke that she makes plans with a crayon in the back of her house. Sheba is the one that has to go outside more often than Sadie. Sheba drools as she waits for a cookie. Sadie likes to lounge once dinner is over for us and for the dogs she comes into the house and spreads out on both of the cushions that are for the dogs. She will even put her paws up on the furniture.

What makes you laugh?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Jesuits and Skulls

I am a Roman Catholic. I was married in a Jesuit Church. I have seen so much erroneous information that we worship skulls and it is evil. This is just ignorance and arrogance. One phrase that is said over and over is "Find God in All Things, Find God in All People, Every Place, and EveryThing." I think in this modern age we forget how close death was to everyone even 100 years ago. People usually had several generations of people in one home or close in the same community. People died from simple infections, and disease spread through families quickly. More importantly the Masons were started after the Cathedrals were built. Yes, they were a group of people that were a guild, later they would grow to the establishment they are today. Even this group is not evil! They have a broader scoop of religious beliefs. I just don't understand why people are so quick to be judge others in such a harsh way. Religions all over the world have more in common with each other than differences, but some people just want to focus on something they construe as bad. Here are some images that the negative people focus on as negative.

Spiritual Exercises are one of the many things that Ignatius worked on in his life. If you are interested you could go here to listen to Spiritual Exercises. Ignatius was for education, keeping your body, mind and spirit tuned. At times when people had to stand for our faith they did, and some of those people died doing so. The crown upon the head of the skull is because this person was a Martyr. These people stood up for what they believed. Just because there are people around him praying does not mean they are worshipping a dead body or a skull. When people gather at a funeral they are not there to worship the person, they are there to remember the life they once lived. Sometimes skulls are all that is left of a Martyr. If the skull is brought out of a crypt is not being worshipped we are remembering that it has not always been so easy to be a Christian.

There are many images of St. Francis Borgia gazing at a skull.

Again we have the skull with a crown. St. Francis Borgia is remembering the life of someone that gave their life for Christians everywhere. Some other images of St. Francis with skulls

Here is St. Francis with a skull wearing a halo. The artist may have only wanted to hint at St. Francis and his adoration for Martyrs of Christianity.

St. Francis with a Martyr donning a crown on top of a book. The Jesuits were and still are to this day promoters of education. Behind St. Francis is a choir of angels and the Monstrance-Reliquary in the background.

This images almost seems to beg the question from St. Francis if we would be willing to be a Martyr for our faith. His eyes look right at us showing us that others have given their lives for us to have this freedom to participate Christianity.

Here again is St. Francis with a Martyr and a beckon on light in the background. I am guessing that this too is a Monstrance-Reliquary the light around it is the light on Christ. The light of Christ illuminates us in many different ways and variations for different people. Some people may feel moved to read the Bible more, while some people may be moved to help people, animals, or the environment. Why people have to criticise others for their callings is beyond me.

This is one of my favorites...
Here we have St. Francis is in a library, an appropriate place for a Jesuit. Jesuits were the founders of many Universities. Behind him is the crucifix to remind the viewer that Jesus died for all of us. The Monstrance-Reliquary is in his hand. A pen in the ink well. A reminder to all of us that writing is important. The skull of a Martyr, and paper  or maybe a letter in front of him. A letter to possibly to his good friend St. Ignatius?
   And the last one that I am going to show you...

A sculpture of St. Francis with a Martyr for Christianity. A book at his side to remind the onlookers how important education is to all of us. 

All of us need to educated ourselves before we jump to wild conclusions. Even fellow Christians are guilty of the same thing. The Davinci Code was a great book, and people were going mad over the contents. I read the book, and honestly...even if Jesus did have a child I would still be Catholic. I enjoy being a Catholic. I also enjoy reading a plethora of other materials that provoke thought. 

Thoughts do not equate evil. There are many ways to educate yourself. There are even so many ways to enjoy learning for free through iTunes University. Skulls don't equate with all thing evil either. There is beauty in so many things, and there is also God in all things. What are some ways that you educate yourself?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Howard Asa Gray Family History Friday

Howard Asa Gray was the son of Osburn W. Gray. He was the husband of Alda. As I said last week, I found Asa by utilizing information that my family gave me. They told me that his name was Ace, but they did not know that Ace was only his nickname. They did tell me the Funeral Home they used. It is worth while to investigate any information that you have been given. I called the Funeral Home, and they not only told me that Howard was shown there also his daughter, Hazel.

The Funeral Home sent me a copy of the death certificate.I needed to know more about Hazel. Alda died after giving birth to Hazel. She lasted for 3 days after Hazel was born. Hazel was 4 years old and her and a little friend were playing with matches. Hazel was called into the house, and her friend put a lit match inside the box. As Hazel ran to the house the matches caught on fire, and then her apron. As Hazel ran the fire got worse, and she was burned throughout most of her body. A doctor came to the house for the next few days. Hazel died after enduring so much pain.

Aunt Nellie took care of the family. Howard went to work in the coal mines of West Virgina. His father Osburrn worked at any job he could get. He was a day laborer. He worked in the field, and so did the children. What ever work they could get and when they could get it, so this is probably why Howard wanted to be stable somewhere. His 2 other brothers Byron, Augustus, and Herbert all worked in the coal mines too. Herbert would go on to commit murder. I will have to share that information with you some time soon. I have the newspaper pieces I got from the archives, and I wrote to the prison he stayed.

Howard had a hard life, and I can see where he thought he had bad luck, but I think it started with Osburn. Osburn decided to leave without conforming to the year of morning...married another woman, and she was pregnant in no time. His family never had anything to do with him. His eldest daughter stayed with the family in Graysville. Unknown to the rest of the people Osburn took his family back to the place where he grew up swimming in the river. Howard grew up taking his kids to the same place, and my grandfather took his kids to the exact same place. We put this all together from a distant cousin. I met him on rootsweb. He told me about the swimming, and told me how he visited the place when he was young. My Aunts told me about how they would go, so we looked it was the same place. It makes my heart heavy thinking that Osburn wanted to be a part of his family again. Maybe he told them stories  about how they grew up in Graysville.


Always Goggle your family person. You never know what you will come up with. There are so many people that have already done vast amounts of research. You may get lucky! Sometimes there are people that you will find with the same first middle and last name as YOUR person...these are usaully clues!!!! This may not be your person, but the names usually give great clues.

Many times you can find the maiden name of the female embedded in the name of one of the children. Usually it is a male, but sometimes it can be a female. Names often repeat from one generation to another. You can also find out much about the people...a common name can indicated that the person just went with what everyone else was doing like Eliza...very common in the 1800's. There are many Spanish names in the line of Phoebe Grant (Alda's mother), so I am wondering if there was Spanish in the line of Christopher Monroe Smith, or was she an avid reader of a book or two that was Spanish, or did she know some Spanish people?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nita Leger Casey

Nita Leger Casey water colors are so beautiful. I bought two of these little 3x5 paintings. I just fell in love with her work. I have several of her pieces. I have some oils and watercolors. The watercolors just have so much skill for so many details. The little lamp posts are my favorite. I have a hard time passing a gallery that has a painting with a lamp post. Look at the flower post...and the umbrellas.

If you are interested in seeing more of her work go to her Gingerbread Art Studio.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Flowers From Mothers Day

I am very luck to have such a great husband. He is still Romantic after all these years. Not only did I get beautiful flowers for Mothers Day, but he made a huge breakfast. We woke to the smell of homemade waffles with a touch of cinnamon. Eggs that were perfectly round and sunny side up with all the white done. I can't even get that in an established restaurant. One little biscuit, with a pat of butter on the side. Two golden brown hash browns that graced the side of my plate. It all looked like a little art work in itself. Thank you my dear hubby! I appreciate your everyday kindness and sweet gestures. I love you so much!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Transforming News

I have been appreciating more and more the material items I already have. I have also been more social, and have been tracking my spending more accurate. I used to give myself more permission to spend, but since Lent I have continued on my journey.

Even my husband took our tiles, and put them up in the kitchen. Our kitchen has transformed too. Are you transforming you or your surroundings?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Skulls Part II

Some of the most prevalent images we find are of skulls these days. They are everywhere, of course they are a part of us, but it seems as though everyone has jumped on to the skull bandwagon. There is every kind of merchandise available. T-shirts, computer covers, and so many types of tattoos.

Daniel Strom makes a beautiful, but VERY expensive skull watch. Even though it is a little more macarbe for my taste. Although, I think it would look nice on someone else.

Then we have the Swarovski Crystal Skull that were done by Fabrien Baron. These pieces of art that are brought into the homes of those with a reputation of having the most discerning taste.

Alexander McQueen (yes, the same one that designed the dress for Kate Middleton) also designed many items with skull images including this little number.

For a little more than 3 Grand it could be yours.

Italian artist Nicola Bolla recently used Swarovski Crystals in her art. She not only used the skull but the ribcage as well many other parts.

Dan Aykroyd sells his premium Vodka in a glass skull. He says that he was inspired by his friend John Alexander. He often used skulls in his art. Recently, Quinn Gregory made a crystal skull for Dan.

It is still possible to order a crystal skull from Quinn Gregory, or buy a tie, t-shirt, shoes, purse, socks,coffee cups or just about anything else you can imagine. The Damien Hirst Diamond skull is the one that you may not find.
The Damien Hirst infant skull is a little too haunting, but some people may like it. There is always the front part of a Vespa that may even be more your speed, still a work of art though...

What do you think of it all?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Religion and Ancestors

So lately, I have been fascinated with telling you about my skull fetish. I have read over and over about the Native Americans had a  fascination with crystal skulls. It was more than that to them. Crystals have vibrations of their own, and we are made of the same elements as the crystals. We can feel the energy within the crystals. It really makes sense to me. Rocks and gemstones of various colors and properties have different types of energy that we feel. We know for sure that colors of gemstones effect how we feel. We know for sure that stones are used in computers and watches. They have power, and in the form of a skull is a reflection of us as humans. We have taken something from nature and manipulated it into something that we can identify with, ourselves.

Over the next couple of weeks I am going to be examining this subject in more depth. Bringing information to you that at least will illuminate the subject of skulls and their place in art, symbolism, and rituals.

I am not sure if Joseph Sparrowhawk knew of or related to crystal skulls, but I do know that he had a deep appreciation for nature. He believed that kindness and tolerance go a long way in society. I too believe in more than one religion above it all. If a religion is GOOD to other people it really does not matter to me what or who they worship. It is about the goodness of their heart. We as human beings have come a long way, and we have more in common with each other than differences. Sure, we are individuals, but we are a community of people that have more love for each other than distain. Kindness goes a long way, rather to our fellow humans, animals, trees, plants or insects. Do something nice today for something or someone! You will feel great!

Thank you Joseph Sparrowhawk and Sarah Persinger for helping me be who I am.

Artist of The Week

I have already told you that since I was a young girl I have wanted a crystal skull. A few years ago I finally got a crystal skull. In fact I got my fist one from Sherri from her crystal skull collection. She wrote that the one I bought was carved from a 90+ year old man in Peru. I still have him. Sherri owns Synergy, which is said to be very old. You can take a look at her crystal skull information here 

I have been looking for the perfect yellow one, and I knew that when I felt it the right one would be there. I think I have looked at at least 1000 different yellow ones. but I finally found the one that called to me.
This on is a "Golden Healer Moon Stone" I wish you could see the details in the skull. The craftsmanship that it takes to carve these is a work of art in itself. The skull is so lifelike, and you can feel that the stone spoke to the artist. Michelangelo once said that the marble told him what it wanted to be, and these stones must have wanted to be skulls. You can feel the energy from them. Honestly, if you want to see some unique stones made into works of art go see what Eric and Susan are doing at Soul 2 Shine. Believe me you are going to be impressed.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wedding Photos

Before the Wedding almost 15 years ago.
St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco, CA

My brother gave me away to my husband.
Just Married!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Crystal Skulls and Religion

I label myself a Roman Catholic, but I wasn’t always a Roman Catholic. My parents did not really observe or  adhere to any religion. As I understand it, my grandmother and grandfather on my mothers side did not go to church. There were 14 kids. I have a feeling that my grandparents on my dad’s side were not church goers either. 
There was a real distain for Catholics from my father. In fact we lived real close to Catholic church and I always loved hearing the bells. It was a sound that I missed once I moved away from that house. My sister and I were like spiritual gypsies. We went to so many churches, and then we would come home and sit with our backs against our beds and talk about what we liked and what we did not like about the church we attended. We agreed that we hated going to any church where the preacher was going to make us feel like crap. It took us years to visit the various types of churches, but we always had a great time after church. 

The family of my father came from a long line of people that escaped Religious turmoil. Hugo was the name of my French ancestors that left France. They were at war with the Catholic Church. I hope my ancestors understand that I like to do things my way. Then again they liked to do things their way just was not the Catholic way.
WhenI was old enough to drive we visited Pow Wow’s, and Camp Chesterfield was not far behind. We read about ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. We loved how there were so many parrells in various Religions. Once that statement came out a friend recommended Joseph Campbell. I loved the series of books he wrote. I also loved the Neo-Plato groups of Italian Renissance. 
I still loved Roman Catholism, and how various Pagan religions and thoughts of earlier people were rolled into the school of thought. Oh sure, there are people that will say that   some of our Holidays did not come from various Pagans, but the truth made econonmic sense to do so. We also still have the histories of the Pagan celebrations. I don’t see what the big deal is, this does not deter me from wanting to be a Catholic. It makes me appreciate it. I find it fascinating.
Several years ago I purchased my very first cyrstal skull. I studied the various beliefs about the Crystal Skulls, and was intrigued. Do I think that the Crystal Skulls have special power? I do. There is some kind of energy field that the Crystal Skulls have. Just because I am Roman Catholic does not mean that I don’t believe there are not other life forces and energies in the world. I don’t worship the skulls. I do believe in the good works that the people (guardians) are doing for other people. They do facilitate a deep meditation, and the gatherings of others with skulls is a positive experience. 

So, I don't want to keep you in any more suspense here is a photo of the family Crystal skulls.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Exploring Skull History I

Skulls seem to come and go in the popular culture. Some periods of time they were more prevalent than other. Crystal skulls of the South American people are said to be of some of the very oldest. Through time people have crafted skulls out of pottery, Ivory, bronze, marble, and gemstones. The first one I am showcasing is from Jordan. It is made of plaster. This skull dates back 7000 years ago. People were much closer to death than we are today.  An infection could easily kill a person, and a bad year of crops could mean famine for so many. People also lived very close to their relatives, and often after a death people would make a mask of the deceased so they could have the ancestor right there with them.

This is a mosaic from Pompeii and now in the Naples National Archeological Museum. Skulls are so fascinating because of the complex symbolism. This one is full...Above the head of the skull is an instrument that a mason would use to measure angles for a "square" building. One could also relate it to a square life. The skull is hanging by a string, just as life is precarious. Hence the Latin saying... Carpe Diem or "Seize the Day". Savoring your time in the moment. The moth or butterfly is a hint that beauty fades. The wheel is the wheel of fortune, and it is unpredictable. You may have good fortune, as the purple cloak show us the side of wealth with a scepter. The other side show us poverty, with a goats hide, stick, and a rag bag. Another interpretation is that death is the ultimate equalizer. It does not matter if you are rich or poor, you are going to die.

This is an ancient bronze skull from Italy. I wanted to show you this one since it has the bizarre looking skull too. I have not been able to find any information about the Etruscans utilizing skulls, but they used images that resembled people quite often.

Another mosaic this one of a skeleton serving wine. When the elite would have dinner parties they often gave out fully reticulating bronze skeletons. Again reminding the visitors of their home to enjoy themselves today. We may not have tomorrow.

A Roman coin with an elderly man poking his staff into the eye socket of skull. Is he trying to tell us that he is beating death for the day?
A skull in Naples that is rubbed for good luck.

An Ivory skull that is from the Roman period. There are so many examples to show you from all over the world. I have chose to focus on Italy today. As I mentioned earlier the Celtics, Germans, French, have also carved skulls.
Jewelry was given to a lady that you were serious about. You were telling her that now is the time. Two Putti are holding up a skull. This is etched in crystal.

A crystal skull with a crown, a wheel under it and then the cross. This is in the Met Museum in NYC. Death is the ultimate King, since we all die. Fortune may be good to us, or not, but religion is here to save us.
Antique Ivory topper to a walking stick. The unique look of a tooth missing adds more mystique. Again, there are so many images to show you, but so little time. I wanted to show the ancient skulls were used in so many ways. reminding people that today is the day that counts. This moment is the moment to live. Get the things done today that can be done today. Skulls have gone through transitions, we have welcomed them at times, and shunned them at times. At this moment in time skulls are everywhere. They are not to be feared. We enjoy the aesthetically pleasing look of a great skull. Big eyes naturally draw us in, it is part of our code.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

2nd Easter Sunday

We did not have Easter Eggs this fancy. Nor have I colored Easter Eggs with my children. My philosophy about egg coloring is for me and my family it would just be a waste. Neither of the children would eat the eggs after they are colored. It would just be a waste of food. We buy organic eggs that are not only expensive. It is not right to waste food. We work really hard for the food we have on our table. It would be criminal to waste valuable food and resources. Do you color eggs for Easter?