Must Need There Be…So Much Contention?

Back around the first part of the year, I made a post and changed the name of this blog. I found a suitable name that I liked after having pondered it since last years announcement and I purchased the URL, SisterMaggie.com.

The part I failed to do due diligence with, was the Facebook page previously associated with Slightely Mormon, which I would now be attempting to change to some semblance of “Sister Maggie.” Facebook Pages were not having it. You see, I had created the Slightely Mormon Facebook page BEFORE Facebook had set up a certain setting for personal blogs, and on their side, they set it up as a business.

Here’s the thing: This website does NOT generate any money. I PAY out of my personal disability pension for the ability to share my testimony here with you. I receive NO money whatsoever. There is not any way that you can call this a business. If it was, it would be a failed one. As it is, what this site is, is a place to share my Testimony. This site SUCCESSFULLY reaches thousands of people every year in over 15 countries.

Regardless of the fact it is not a business and has never been one, Facebook would not back down: They refused to change the name of my page. They stated the name was not “Facebook official.” So I created a new page with a name I was trying to change Slightely Mormon to…and then attempted to merge the pages. Facebook insisted I was attempting to merge a personal blog with a business. Seriously?!

Why must there be so much opposition in the world? This is the question I began asking myself when dealing with this social media outlet that was not allowing me one inch. They would ONLY deal with me through robots, giving the same answer to all questions. All appeals were denied. There seemed no place to turn. What was the answer?

But really, does there have to be one? For now, there are two pages. I don’t want anyone who enjoys my writing to be left out in the cold if I delete the page Slightely Mormon. I will be sharing posts from this page on both social media pages, but as always the BEST way to make sure you don’t miss out on any is to subscribe to this blog . I appreciate greatly anyone already doing so.

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This site url was changed from SlightelyMormon.org to SisterMaggie.com, although both will point here until the end of the year. Perhaps I will give it that much time for social media to catch up as well. Perhaps I will keep Slightely Mormon, we shall see.

Until next time, see you on Sister Maggie on Facebook or
Maggie Slighte on Instagram, and on Twitter @MaggieSlighte. For those interested in more of my writing, it can be found on MaggieSlighte.com.

Thank you to all who follow me here, I’m just doing my best to Testify of my relationship with my Heavenly Parents, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

May God bless you always.

I know I’m Irish…

…but every St. Patrick’s Day I wonder from who and where in Ireland.
My first estimate from my Ancestry DNA test

When my daughter and her husband bought me a DNA test for my birthday a few years ago, I was thrilled to confirm that I was almost as Irish as an old boyfriend had though (he said I looked a lot like one of his relatives, still in Ireland). That made me happy.

The combination of my (once) dark hair and blue eyes with red-headed glow-in-the-dark skin, are some of my most striking features. It was easy to fall into the “goth” fashion during my teenage years and young adulthood.
I have loved my “Irishness”ever since I first learned of my heritage, but I had no idea where in Ireland my family originated.

One of my paternal great-grandfather’s names is “Foley,” which seems like a simple link to my Irish blood, right? Not so much. I have been unable to find any records of the original Mr. Foley who immigrated to the United States. Family rumor says that I have him and his (wife?) to thank for my native blood. Mr. Foley reportedly married a woman of Aboriginal American descent, who belonged to the Cheyenne Nation.

My furthest ancestor on the Foley line who I am able to identify is Pleasant Foley, my second-great-grandfather on my father’s mother’s father’s side. If his father came from Ireland as rumored, he would be one of three of my third great-grandparents to come from the emerald isle.

Sarah Thornhill, my daughter of Henry and Rebecca

Sarah Thornhill, my third great-grandmother, also on my father’s side, but this time on his father’s side, was born in Ireland in 1828. Many sources confirm that fact. I have been yet unable to find where in Ireland she was born, but her parents left Ireland after some of their children were born and settled in England. Her father, Henry Thornhill, was born in County Fermanagh in Ireland, but is laid to rest in Manchester, England (not too far from where a Facebook friend of mine lives!)

Although I’ve been unable to find a surname for Sarah Thornhill’s mother, “Rebecca Thornhill” was born in 1808 in Londonderry, Ireland. Again, she is laid to rest in their adopted Manchester.

Margaret Thornhill Walsh (my great-grandmother) and her sister.

 

Sarah Thornhill immigrated to Canada. Her death record indicates that she died at age 50, on 15 April 1878, six years after her husband, John Walsh passed away. I found her cause of death oddly familiar: “Constipation of the bowels.” Many things seem to have been inherited from my Irish ancestors…

John Walsh, Sarah’s husband, was born in Birr, County Offaly, Ireland in 1812. His father was possibly Tom Walsh (with names like “John” and “Tom” without personal accounts, it is difficult to discern if it is actually my ancestor), and John’s mother was most likely Ellin Muleahy, both who lived all of their lives in Ireland.

John and Sarah (Thornhill) Walsh made their home in York in Ontario Canada and both passed away in their 50s. Even though their deaths were over a century ago, as a 52-year-old woman, it causes me to reflect.

The other side of my father’s father’s Irish line are the Cullens. Yes, I was more than mildly amused when this ancestral surname was co-opted by Twilight’s writer as the vampire clan’s chosen surname.

Thomas Cullen, born between 1802-1805 in Strokestown, County Roscommon, Ireland was possibly the son of Patrick Cullen (1783-1865) and Bridgide Hill or McGinn. Again, some of the details have been difficult to nail down. But what seems clear is that County Roscommon can be added to the counties from which I descend. Thomas is my fourth great-grandfather.

My fourth great-grandmother, Thomas’s wife, was Jane Bentley (1805-1881) from County Longford. Her parents were Christopher Bentley and Frances Cox.


Jane Bentley (1805-1881), my fourth Great-Grandmother

My mother’s line has been a part of the building up of the United States of America since the early 1600s, so attempting to find her Irish lines was a bit more difficult. However, I was able to find a few who were born in Ireland in the 1700s.

Here is an interesting fact: My father’s Irish lines emigrated to the American Continent in the 1800s, and my Irish lines on Ancestry seem (30%) stable, but those parts that have changed (both my estimate and my mother’s Ancestry DNA estimate changed after our tests), seem to be from the Irish lines that emigrated in the 1700s. Ancestry is now calling those lines “English,” but they are not.

Isaac Highley was (most likely) born to Thomas Highley and Margaret in Ireland in 1772. He is my 5th great-grandfather on my mother’s mother’s side. The Highleys married into the Parrs married into the Savage line on my mother’s line.

When Sara Christena Parr (my great-grandmother) married William Duncan Savage, she added more Irish into my mother’s line. William Duncan’s great-grandfather, William, my fourth great-grandfather, was born in Ireland in 1797.

William Savage and his wife Harriet Eisnaugle, married and raised their family with much of my Irish ancestors in the Ohio valley before the family moved to Wisconsin.

Ancestry.com updated both mine and my mom’s DNA and our Irish turned English!

Although my mother’s Irish line has now been replaced by a generic term on Ancestry.com, this is one day that I would like to pick out those particular ancestors of hers that were born in Ireland and chose America to start over. William Savage and Isaac Highley chose a different life for their families and for generations to come.

As someone who has known that her heritage included Irish from the time she could look in a mirror, it is WONDERFUL to have County names to associate my heritage with. I now understand that I not only come from Ireland, but I come from County Roscommon, County Longford, County Fermanagh, County Londonderry and Birr in County Offaly.

Somehow, knowing all of this means a little more on this St. Patrick’s Day.

Note: This article was simultaneously published on MaggieSlighte.com by the author

Flirting to Convert?

I’ve been divorced for a year now. During that time, I have not dated at all. I have not entertained the advances from any man. It’s been nice to be single, I enjoy working on the issues that I have and would like to get to a more stable point in my recovery (from past relationships and childhood trauma) before becoming involved in another relationship. All of that being said, my “plans” were dealt a bit of a perspective blow this week when a very attractive man started talking to me with grand intentions.

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Then I began to ponder: What about my dreams of a “Temple Marriage?” What about Eternity? I KNOW I’m not only getting involved for time when I do marry again. What? I’m already talking about being married again? Yes. Why else would I even date? I believe in chastity before marriage, and I do want to be joined with a partner…eventually. But what about dating a non-Mormon? And what do I feel about these General Conference talks…and even the CONCEPT of “flirting to convert?”

WHY would anyone attempt to change someone else’s heart? What about agency? What about the 11th Article of Faith?

Personally, I had never even considered attempting to persuade another person to change their heart about Heavenly Father and the Gospel of Christ until I met a man who exemplified the teachings and who was not a member. I had really not honestly considered dating anyone who isn’t. I respect the agency of my future-husband and really don’t want to influence that unduly.

I thought back to the talk I had heard in April by Elder Joaquin E. Costa, To the Friends and Investigators of the Church. In this General Conference talk in April 2017, Elder Costa described his (now wife) rejecting his advances and basing her rejection of him on her desire to be an Eternal Family:

She spoke of her goals—of marrying only someone who could take her to the temple, of having an eternal family—and she declined my offer. I wanted to continue the relationship, so I agreed to listen to the missionaries. Is this a good reason to meet with the missionaries? Well, it was for me.

I’m happy that Elder Costa and his wife were able to become a “forever family” together. I’m happy he felt that was his path. But I am uncertain if it is mine to influence another’s faith. I do want to be an Eternal Family. My most fond dreams are in a Temple of God, being sealed to a man who holds The Priesthood.

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I LOVE God, I LOVE Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for the Gift of the Holy Spirit. I’m thankful for the blessings that Heavenly Father brings into my life daily.

I know I must be patient. For now, I will continue to keep my covenants and work on my own issues. I will persevere in my rehabilitation efforts and in becoming the person I want “him” to be with eternally. If “he” is the one, he will understand my dreams. Those people who love me will respect my most fond desires and wishes and will help God make them come true.

Update: For anyone keeping track, this lead to my faith being wielded back at me as a dull knife he named “fairy tale.”

No longer allowing myself to be in a relationship where someone believes it is okay to hurt me, it was called off but we remain friends.

Honour Thy Parents: Day 5

This last May, after I walked for graduation from Southern New Hampshire University, I wrote a bit on MaggieSlighte.com about my path to the university. I know with absolute certainty that I would not have gone to college at all if it had not been for my mom.
A previous version of the following was published on MaggieSlighte.com on May 15, 2017:

Making Our Mark

In North Carolina I was met with the proof of a fact that I had no way of knowing when I began my journey towards graduating from Southern New Hampshire University. Having come from very intelligent parents and grandparents, yet knowing that none of them had attained what my daughter and I were due to obtain in our educations; I had

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Solomon Richardson’s mark when he took a marriage bond to marry my 4th great-grandmother in 1822

never doubted that my family “had always” been literate. When I read the words, “his mark” surrounding the “x” that made Solomon Richardson’s mark, I was taken aback with the proof in front of me that my fourth great-grandfather, born in North Carolina in 1800, had been unable to read and write: He was illiterate.

My own education, in retrospect, would appear to those not intimately involved, to be a series of “fits and starts.” I remember when I became pregnant at the age of 16 (after being told that would be impossible), I was unsatisfied to take the GED tests choosing rather to enroll in an alternative high school. Thurston County Off-Campus High School was based on the format of the local Evergreen State College allowing me to set my own curriculum with the guidance of teachers and a counselor become friend. It was imperative to me that I actually graduate high school. I did so with one child on my lap and one on the way.

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My mom took this photo of me and my first son at my high school graduation in 1985

I continued my education immediately after high school, enrolling in South Puget Sound Community College’s medical assisting program. Looking back, I wouldn’t have had the guts to do so if it weren’t for my mom’s employment there. She was an integral and vibrant part of the college’s support system. Throughout my preteen and teen years she had invited my brother and myself to the campus, introducing us to faculty members and support staff, making the campus feel for us like a second home and its staff our extended family.

 

Having loved writing all of my life, I found myself drawn to the school’s newspaper. Although I was a very busy young woman with two very active toddlers, I would spend any free moment from my grueling curriculum in the Student Center. I learned the now archaic Apple computer with a manual on my lap and my hands on the keyboard in the room that doubled as the school’s newspaper office. I assisted with getting a paper we would call “Sounds” off the ground and was asked to step in as a Vice President of the Student Body of South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) when the student election had gone awry.

With more than six months to go in my program, financial aid not going far enough to cover my expenses and in the midst of a personal mental health crisis, I resigned my position with the student body. I left my writing gig at the student newspaper and got a job as a Medical Assistant/Back-Office Nurse when the need to support my tiny family overwhelmed my desire to actually finish my degree. This was 1988.

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At our reception

In 1989, I married my husband Bruce after we used the idea of us being engaged to prank the student government we both worked for. He knew my mother before he met me, she was an integral part of the social sciences department where he had found a passion. The campus was still my family, our wedding reception was held in the Student Center where we met and became best friends.

Our daughter, Siobhan, was born in February 1990. She was the product of our college education, although neither of us finished any degree at SPSCC. Siobhan graduated with her Associates in Arts 18 years later. It was on the same campus where her parents had met the day before her high school graduation. She embodied the epitome of our desire for our children to take education seriously.

My own education continued when Siobhan was only three. I had returned to the campus I called home to retrain when the strain of the birth of my daughter caused my first disabling condition no longer allowing me to work in the medical profession.

With Siobhan in the daycare that I helped to build while I was Vice President of the student body, I retrained in the computer field. A year and a half after I began, I once again was forced to call my education to a halt before any degree was attained. My husband Bruce was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and his overwhelming symptoms made it difficult to maintain his employment. I quit my program and went to work for The State of Washington as a computer programmer to support our family. My dreams of finishing my education seemed to dim in the everyday chores of raising a family.

A couple of years before the blessed event of my daughter’s dual graduations, my body and brain conspired to make continuing to work at my position as a computer programmer impossible. Once again disabled, I conceded to draw a pension and concentrate on my health and the matters of domesticity. My daughter struggled through the stress of her parents losing their home and gradually losing their relationship with one another as the overwhelming stress of being disabled mentally and physically changed the shape of what she knew as “family.”

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Me, Siobhan and my mom, her grandma Joan

Her Grandma Joan was a beacon for Siobhan. The community college where her parents had met and celebrated their marriage became a home for her as well. She was welcomed in the position as a math tutor, just as one of her older brothers had been. Tutoring people twice and three times her age, they adored her amazing intelligence and beauty.  When she graduated with honors no one was one bit surprised, but we were all amazed.

I was living in the middle of 37 undeveloped acres of land in a 5th wheel trailer with my new husband of 18 months in October 2015 when I felt impressed by God to ask Siobhan about this University where she and her husband had chosen to finish their degrees.  She had left the University of Washington’s engineering program after being the first in our family to ever be admitted to a four-year college when her dad and I had finally divorced. The event had not only put me without a home, but had shattered her very idea of stability. She went on to find that stability with her new husband and they rapidly went about supporting each other in the pursuit of their dreams, making and achieving goal after goal together. In this same spirit, they had researched online education extensively and had chosen Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) to be the best college to meet their needs with programs and credentials that they found exemplary.  When Siobhan posted online about a place called “the writing center,” I replied that sounded like a dreamy place. She encouraged me to apply and see if SNHU could do anything with my 130 community college credits. I made the call.

IMG_20151021_093242703Although I had no practical way of even living to most people, the lack of basics such as electricity, water or even a place to use the toilet did not deter me from what it seemed that God was calling me to do. Where there is a will, there is a way? Perhaps, but it seemed that God was guiding me to start school where many would only find impossibility. My first term back was highlighted by a blown head gasket in our truck which would strand me 5 miles away from a paved road with a partially collapsed lung. The installation of the satellite internet that student loans helped to pay for was delayed by the company so long that although I tried to complete my classes on the disposable phone from Walmart that my husband and I shared; I failed my first term back at school.

I wept. I felt absolutely dejected and discouraged. My Visiting Teacher, Amy, through the local Branch of my church was encouraging. She was a retired lawyer choosing to create her dream of a farm in the middle of nowhere.  We shared a commonality in our mental

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Amy at Snowflake Temple

illnesses. In spite of an increasingly abusive marriage, I found a friend and support in Amy that would enable me to continue. I was faced with overwhelming adversity, but a glimmer of hope each week in Amy’s and my weekly visits to the Snowflake Temple made the impossible to most, seem achievable to me.

This year when my second divorce was finally finished, I headed to the east: My daughter was to be graduating summa cum laude from SNHU in Mathematics on Mother’s Day. Every mechanic that looked at the little Volvo which was my only return from my second marriage of three years deemed it impossible. Every time I prayed, and every Priesthood Blessing I received said it could be done. I persevered in the face of impending doom and followed every impression on the journey. Just days before Easter, I arrived in New Hampshire and toured the “brick and mortar” campus of SNHU: It was real. I made it.

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My first year adviser, Lauren with me

Through the intense assistance of my first year adviser, Lauren, and then her follow-up my “senior adviser,” Liz, I recovered from that disastrous first term. When my credits began accumulating quickly we realized I may also be eligible to graduate this May. I was frustrated when life and the college schedule extended my classes out through August, but was thrilled when the university stated that I could walk with the class of 2017 in spite of the fact I was finishing up in the summer. My daughter and I would be walking for graduation the same weekend.

This Mother’s Day weekend was amazing. Dreams that I never thought I could dream have come true. By pursuing her education, Siobhan became the first in her father’s family and my family to achieve her Bachelor’s degree after also being the first in both our families to earn her Associate’s. She has made me so proud and she has now made education more possible and inviting for generations of our family yet to come.

My mom flew to New Hampshire to celebrate and watch both her daughter and granddaughter become the first and second family members to finish undergraduate degrees. (I finished my program in August 2017 and received my Bachelor of Arts).

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Mother’s Day Weekend

Both Siobhan and I have learned to “make our mark,” after coming from those who could do no more than to sign with an “x”. I know that our ancestors worked hard and traveled to distances trying to make a better life for their children. The pioneers of our families did all they could while imagining greater opportunities for future generations. As I traveled across the country to receive the honor of my degree and watch my daughter receive hers, I realized that we are the product of those hopes and dreams. I thank God for relatives that reached across the veil to help me to understand that.

I thank my mom for instilling within me a love of education and the feeling of home within a higher education environment.

Watch: A video from backstage at the SNHU Arena