Ever thought about how impact others when used in an appropriate situation? In what situation(s) do you typically give a hug? How about greeting someone who you have not seen in a long time or saying good-bye to someone who you will not see in a long time – kids heading off to college or to the military. The gentle warmth you feel when holding your baby in your lap to snuggle at the end of the day. The creaking, aching knees while squatting when making boo-boos feel better. Maybe you have experienced one or more of the following type hugs:

  • Night hug:   night-night hug for kids; night-peck for teens; night-hug for husband, but only if there is time with all the other things to do;
  • Leave hug:           husband leaves for work; kids leave for school; parents leave for vacation; best friend is leaving for Spain.
  • Welcome hug:      glad-you-are-here hug; oh-so excited-to-see-you-hug;
  • Wordless hug:      “I’m sorry for your loss and don’t know what to say” hug;
  • Busy hug: “OK, son, I’m in a hurry to get this done
  • Abandon hug:    “I’m late, don’t have time”
  • Irritated hug:    no words, just a few pats on the back that imply… “Hurry up, get this over, I’ve got things to do and don’t have time for this”
  • Love hug:    begins with “I love you”, then silence, resting in the contentment, peace and acceptance of the hug.

Think about when someone gives you a hug, how does it make you feel? Warm fuzziness… welcoming… empty…  joy…   comforting …   or neglected. Hugs are portraits – two individuals expressing feelings of acceptance, surrender of self, sacrifice, trust, understanding, insight…. hugs are love in action!

Some people are natural “huggers”, they are open to everyone they meet – leaving a feeling of acceptance. My wonderful mother in law was like that. She would hug you when you arrived, when you left and every time she passed you in between all those times. She never missed an opportunity to encourage someone with a hug. It was her way of loving, accepting, encouraging and even teaching those she came into contact with on a regular basis. Even someone she had just been introduced to was enveloped in a strong, accepting hug. Her hugs were not a pat on the back. No, she wrapped her strong arms around you and held on tight. It was like she was saying “You are important to me, at this time in your life, you mean something to me and I want you to carry with you how important you are to me.” You just knew that she would wrap her arms around you and your life was immediately better for it.

Then there are those who do not like hugs – they tolerate hugs or deflect hugs all together. Shy away from a hug and all that it implies and entails. That’s OK! Personal space is fundamental to and an essential part of living. It is a space that demands respect. Shying away from a hug and expecting respect of personal space does not diminish love in any way! Loving each other is the same, there is no difference.

This analogy may be applied to those who seek opportunities to grow spiritually in their relationship with God and those who do not. Those who hunger for a more intimate relationship open their arms pulling in everything to learn more and more about the God they love. The books they read may be Biblically focused on who Christ is and how He desires to be a part of their life. They work at accepting change by positioning themselves to reach out to others and to be a part of activities that challenge them. They are determined to change their relationship with Christ through attending corporate worship, group Bible studies, individual Bible reading, study and prayer.

What about those who fill their life with same routines day in and day out? They do not entertain any idea of the need to look at their actions and change. They are naïve as to how they impact others with their words and actions or how it reflects their relationship with Jesus. Self-imposed disappointments invade a perpetual cycle, negative thoughts, self-centeredness live in their mind. Words reflect the heart of negativity – nothing satisfies them. They may be full of good intentions, when everything about their life is perceived as wrong in some way or another. They never seem to be able to find the strength within themselves to move into a healthier lifestyle – mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

While reading this blog, did a few people flit across your mind? I know a few crossed my mind, some with several of these traits and others with only one or two. Even those who are struggling to find the strength to move out of their box. But I kept going back to one particular relationship… mine with Jesus! Yes, me! I continue in this self-imposed lifestyle, which continues to close me emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually to a bold, confident lifestyle with Jesus.

Is this not like a hug, I can either choose to work at a lifestyle that opens my arms to a relationship with Jesus or I can cross my arms deflecting everything relating to changing my relationship with Jesus. To have a growing relationship with God is determination and hard work. It is growing outside of comfort zones, purposefully placing myself in situations that challenge growth and accountability. I must look at the impact my words and actions have on others. I must ask Jesus to show me how to change to be open to a deeper relationship with Him. I must ask Him for the strength of obedience.

Oh I am so thankful that God not only gave me His HUGS, but continues every day to hug me. Lamentations 3:22-23   “Through His mercies we are not consumed, because His compassion never fails, they are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”

God is a God of grace. I still work to understand His grace and how it affects me. HUGS is one way that I try to understand it. I shy away from grace, something that God has given me that I don’t deserve. God wraps me in His grace. Thank you God for Your free gift – HUGS!

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I’ll Stand…

Lately as I get up in the morning my mind wanders to the habits of my morning routine of getting out of bed. I have been comparing my routine to how my husband starts  his morning. Have you ever thought about how you get up in the morning? Have you ever lain in bed after you have awaken, allowing your mind to clear the fog of sleep? Does how you wake in the morning reflect how your day will progress? Is it true for you about which side of the bed you get up on? These questions have been echoing in my mind.

Reflecting on how I get up in the morning, I see traces of my childhood. Growing up in a two story house built in the late 1890s was an experience I cherish. Three rock chimneys meant 6 fireplaces – 2 per chimney & 3 fireplaces on each floor. Only one was a working fireplace – on the first floor, the one in the dining room, next to the kitchen. This one fireplace was, at times, our only source of heat for the house. This meant that the upstairs, where I slept, was unheated. I slept with blankets, bedspread and quilts (sometimes 2+ quilts) at a time to stay warm. The bedcovers were so heavy that I basically slept in the same spot all night – it was warm! The quilts that I grew up with were handmade, heavy and made it hard to move about in the bed.

Living in that type of environment, I quickly learned to lay my clothes within reach before going to bed at night. Then in the morning I could pull them under the covers, so they would warm up and I could get dressed in the warmth of my bed. Wake in the morning and seeing my breath in the bedroom, I knew it was cold.  After dressing, I would literally “slip” out of bed, not disturbing my bed, so that my bed was made up for the day and hurry downstairs to the warmth of the kitchen fireplace.

Even today I “slip” out of bed and hurry on my way. Thinking about how my husband welcomes the day triggers totally different thoughts about how habits affect your day. Doug “tosses” the bed covers half-way back across the middle of the bed, swings his feet to the floor, sitting on the side of the bed for a few moments to welcome the morning. He stands and goes about his morning routine – awakening fully to face the day.

Reflecting on these two examples of greeting the day, I wonder “Do I “slip” into the day hoping I can stay in the shadows…hoping not to be seen, avoiding an interaction with God till I need Him in an emergency? Yes, I do!

Most of the time, my first thought of God is when I have an emergency. God is right at my bedside – protecting me all night long; interceding for things that I don’t even know about and I slip past Him to hurry into my day. Maybe He has protected my children or other family members through the night as they work. I imagine Him reaching for me, wanting to tell me how much He loves me and to hear my thoughts for the morning – good and bad. As I hurry past Him, He sighs, follows along, yearning for a word or two from me.

Oh how I have ignored the Savior that I have professed to love, to want to know more about, yearn to have a relationship with and strive to live a life worthy of honoring Him. Starting my day with Him would be better, than trying to find Him as a last ditch effort in an emergency.

Waking up in the morning habits can change my relationship with Jesus and the world I will face that day…making that day count for Him or not! How would my day be if I started it by waking each morning, rubbing my eyes to clear the fog of sleep, then look around and thank Jesus for being there and protecting me and those that I love.

What if…….as I sit up, I raise my hands, He grabs them to help me up and I say….. “I’ll stand with arms high and heart abandon in awe of the one who gave it all; I’ll stand my soul, Lord to You surrender, all I am is Yours.”

Wow, what a difference that will make to my day, to surrender all I am to God. Daily Devotions may not be on my agenda (I’m just not that disciplined) on my work days. I forget, sleep late, in a hurry, helping family with things for their work/school day and I make poor decisions that lead to no time left for spending with God each morning.

However, I can, no matter what, choose to throw those covers back, grab His hands, stand and proclaim with “arms high and heart abandon”, that I am surrendering that day to Him. He and I can face whatever comes my way that day!

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Long Time

It has been another “long time no see”, yet it doesn’t mean that the road of researching has been cool. I have been researching not only my Conner family, but the family of my husband – the Gouge family!

With the release of the 1930 & 1940 census, doors have burst open to confirm leads and  discover new leads. It was like opening presents on my birthday! What is it? Which one do I open next?

I have been able to confirm documentation that I have had for years.  Discover new leads such as place of residence, leading me to a new family member.

All the new discoveries created a new problem! How to organize it all?

I’ve been talking for years about doing a book on the Conner family. My only problem was, I just could not publish something that I could not confirm. Now with the publishing of the census, it has put be on the track to really work on the book and publish what I have collected over the years. From the work of Clifford Conner to hand written notes of my grandmother to draft cards to photos to wills to taped interviews of my great-aunt Odell.

What a journey it has been! I look forward to sharing the information.

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Long Time No See

It has been a long time since I have blogged on the Conner family. I have not been working on any research lately and hopefully will be able to re-connect with the research journey soon.

I just recently compiled a 38-page notebook of mementos of my parents, especially my Dad’s time in the military. It was exciting to find their marriage certificate, Dad’s military service record, his medals and a 1943 Thanksgiving and Christmas menu for Company A, 59th Battalion Armored Division. 

The only problem with all this research is that it was my Dad’s side of the family – the Burgin family. There is a great work already on the Burgin family, all the way back to the 1600′s. Peggy Silver did an awesome job in her book…Echos in the Mist!

There does not seem to be extensive research on the Conner family of North Carolina. That is what keeps me digging.

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Conner Websites and Blogs

Are you like me……..surfing the internet looking for information on your ancestors. Well, I was surfing, hitting upon a site and wonder if or even how they might connect to the Conner Family I’m searching.

Who knows the possibilities? Here are the sites that have caught my attention:

Scrapbook of Me: Conner page

Probable Usefulness

Pam’s Little Corner of the Great Black Swamp

Jake Fletcher’s Blog: Conner Family Research

Conner Genealogy on Facebook

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Conners’ Buried at Bill’s Creek

During my surfing for Conner genealogy, I came across a blog by Sharon H. Harris titled “A Scrapbook of Me”.  Sharon has given me permission to post her video of the Conner tombstones at Bill’s Creek Baptist Church Cemetery, Lake Lure, Rutherford County, NC. Thank you for your generosity!

A Scrapbook of Me - is a blog where Sharon has written extensively on her line of the Conner Family, including pictures and other information.

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The Elusive Conner Family

Are you hitting brick wall after brick wall when researching the Conner Family? How about dead-end web searches? Non-responsive forum queries?  Well so have I, which is why I have started blogging about my Conner research.

You see, I’ve been researching the Conner family going on 16 years and walked so many twisted paths and twirled in so many circles till I am dizzy. I have looked through so many documents that people have given me that did not have sources cited and could not be verified.

Cousin Clifford Conner shared his immense knowledge and collection with me. I am forever indebted to him for his generosity. It has been the most accurate and verifiable.

I’ve heard of good report that there is a Conner Family Bible in Rutherford County, NC, and the family is very protective of it. I understand wanting to protect a wonderful piece of Conner Family History. If you know them, please let them know that I would really appreciate the opportunity to see this great family history piece.

I have found at least six spellings  of the Conner name – Conner, Connor, Coner, Conor, O’Conner, O’Connor. For the sake of clarity, I am using one spelling – Conner.

My interest in the Conner family was inspired by my mother, Eunice Faye Davis and her siblings – Lawrence, Eugene, Katherine and Beatrice. Even though I never knew Lawrence, it seems as if I did from the stories told me from my mother and his siblings.

My ancestors are as follows:

Cynthia Jane Burgin [Gouge] (me)

Eunice Faye Davis [Burgin] (b. 1924)

Ina Beatrice Skipper [Davis] (b. 1896)

Adeline Lillian Conner [Skipper] (b. 1870)

Joseph Washington Conner (b. 1845)

Jackson Conner (b. abt. 1820)

 I have confirmed my family back four generations to Jackson Conner.  In the Bill’s Creek Township of Rutherford County, NC of the 1850 census in the household numbered 1462….  Jackson is the father of Joseph Washington Conner.

Joseph listed as a 7 year-old and Jackson Conner is listed as a 30 year-old, which would indicate that he was born about 1820.

This is where all the questions start…

  • Is Jackson in the 1850 census….Jackson Isaac? Jack?
  • Who is Jackson’s father?
  • Are the Rutherford County, NC Conner’s connected to the Conner’s who migrated to Ohio and Texas.
  • Which dock did they step upon when arriving in America?
  • What ship that brought them across the ocean?
  • What year did the Conner’s migrate to America?
  • What brought them to America – religious freedom? Famine?
  • Were they transported across on convict ships?

I have reviewed my collection of documentation many times. Read and re-read, read it again, then over and over when a note hand written and lopsided on the page caught my eye.

Written on the page of Clifford Conner’s research was the following sentence, “Uncle Edgar Conner said that his father – Joseph Washington Conner – was a 1st cousin to my grandfather – Felix Crawford, whose mother was Martha (Patty) Conner” – said by General Dalton.

If this is true, that makes Jackson Conner and Martha “Patty” Conner siblings and William Albert Conner, Sr. their father.

Wow! Doesn’t that open up a whole new theory on where Jackson Conner (b. abt. 1820) is from and where the Conner family originated?

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Trip to Rowan County, NC

Rowan County Public Library has an extensive “History Room”. If you have never been, it is worth the trip if you are researching early North Carolina history and families.
I spent from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. there and could spend days there. They had a specific sections for family research, NC counties, Salisbury newspapers, Virginia research and more!
I confirmed several things that were only theories for Conner research and look forward to going again really soon.
My wonderful mother-in-law was related to the McCanless family and I found a wonderful book that I would love to own. If anyone knows of a copy of The History of the McCanless Family in the United States for sale at a reasonable price, please let me know. It includes the documentation of her relative – D. C. McCanless murder trial when Hickock and two others were charged with the murder!
Many theories as to where the Conner family came from exist and that they were O’Conner/O’Connor before becoming Conner/Connor.
The puzzling thing is that in 1840 there is only one (1) O’Conner/O’Connor shown in the United States by That O’Conner/O’Connor lived in Maryland.
By the US Census, the Conner/Connor families were already established in the Carolinas with Conner families in the 1790 Census.
I would love to hear you thoughts on this idea and suggestions for further research.

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Another step along the trail

Going, going, going….I can’t wait! I’m going to Salisbury, NC to do some research on the Conner family.

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Time Together #1

One of my most favorite genealogy travels happened in 2001.
About 8 p.m. on a July night, I called my Aunt Bea (my mother’s youngest sister) and ask her to take me around to the cemeteries where our Conner ancestors are buried. Cemeteries like Bethlehem and Bethel-Cherry Springs!
What a day we had! I picked Aunt BeBe up about 7a, so the cool of the morning would comfort us and we would be finished before the heat overwhelmed us.
Walking the grassy rows of the cemeteries, she told me stories about her mother and things she remembered about her grandmother – Addie Conner Skipper.
I am so thankful for the time that I spent with Aunt BeBe while she shared about the different Conner’s.
We arrived home about 10 a.m. – tired, hot and happy.
After dropping off Aunt BeBe, I picked up Aunt Katherine (mom’s other younger sister) for a trip into the low country…Rock Springs, Big Level and Bill’s Creek Cemeteries. Aunt Kat continued to tell stories about each of the cemeteries and tombstones.
Along the way I took picture after picture of tomb stones of Conner ancestors. After returning home, it turns out that the pictures were invaluable for checking dates on ancestors and creating time lines.
Several of the pictures created more questions of who is who? Where did they come from? How are they related?
More Conner Trails to follow!

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