DNA does not lie. 

Curiosity won and I did an Ancestry.comDNA test. After several weeks, I got the results yesterday and I’m trying to make sense of what make no sense to me. 

Some of the results were no big surprise. I knew I had Irish ancestors on my paternal side and Scottish ancestors on on my maternal side. But I had always been told and believed I had significant Native American blood. I have genealogies with names!

Anyway, as I keep reminding myself, DNA does not lie.  Well, it may not lie, but it sure can surprise you and challenge what you thought you knew about yourself. Mercy. 

So, first to the two big surprises. 

Shocked and greatly pleased that I am 5% European Jewish. I have visited a Messianic synagogue over the years. I have studied and celebrated Biblical Feasts many times, such as Passover. I can sing the Shabbat blessing in Jewish and own shofars. I loved all of this, but had absolutely no inkling that it was an actual part of my DNA. 

Yesterday morning before I received my results, I told three of my teens that I wanted to attend Rosh Hashanah this Wednesday night. And then I get these results. I have to say that I am absolutely thrilled with this surprise. The photo below is me at Passover this year. 


The other shocker is a big disappointment. All of my life I have believed that I had significant Native American blood. I have names of Native American ancestors listed firmly in my family genealogy. And yet, zero. The DNA results said ZERO. I am trying to process and understand how this could be. 

My initial and simplified answer is that the Native American DNA is just too far back and too insignificant to register. This makes me sad. I have always taken pride in having both Cherokee and Creek ancestors. Ugh. 

This is a rendering of a Creek Indian princess, Sehoy McGillivray, who is ‘supposed’ to be one of my ancesstresses. She married Lachlan McGillivray from Scotland and the line keeps going directly to my great-grandfather, Lovid Busby Smith, then to my grandmother, my mother, and to me. Or so I thought. 


Among the non-surprises was that my ‘genetic community’ was from the early settlers of Mississippi and Louisiana. I was born in Louisiana and graduated highschool in Mississippi. So, this is perfectly expected. I’ve got cousins all over the Southeastern United States. 

The Scandinavia part was puzzling. This, I had no clue of and it makes up nearly a third of my DNA. Viking? Who me? Couldn’t be!  I honestly know very little of the Scandinavian people. I understand some iconic beauties are from that region. For instance, Ingrid Bergman, Ann-Margret, and Greta Garbo were actresses with such bloodlines. Perhaps I’ll find out more as I take this very interesting DNA journey. 

As I said from the beginning, I wasn’t surprised at all of my Celtic background. Not only was I aware of my strong Scottish and Irish lineage, I am proud of it. The music! The lilt! The dances! The short-tempers too! (I’ve relied on this excuse many times). 

Well, as with most things in life, one answered question leads to dozens of more questions. We live, we learn, we discover, we adjust. That’s my real heritage. I’m a human being, crated in the image of God, redeemed by Jesus Christ, being consistently transformed into the best me possible by the Holy Spirit. 

I find it interesting that just this week, I quoted a Danish philosopher and will share with my small group tomorrow morning. I’ll share it with you now. 

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A Love Like No Other – The Love of a Mother

Today isn’t Mother’s Day, but mothers are on my mind and I’d like to tell you why. 

Yesterday as we sat in a waiting room biding our time, my mom recounted to me what she had told my daughters. She told them about life. She told them about God and her faith in Him. She told them about me and the first time she saw me. 

As I watched her face as she repeated what I’ve heard many times before, her eyes shone with the memories of love and astonished wonder. 

“I just couldn’t believe it. How could a baby of mine be so beautiful, so perfect. I cried and cried. I counted your toes and fingers. You were perfect.”

As I listened I thought the real wonder of this story was the depth of a mother’s love. I also thought it was a great blessing to have been loved with such a love. 


Earlier this week, I told my soon-to-be daughter-in-law about the first time I saw my son whom she will wed. My tale was different. No one placed him in my arms as a newborn. But still, the wonder was just as well, wonderful, when he came into our life. I think she understood clearly the depth of my love for him. 

A few days ago I read a post by a young momma. “What was life before him?” She referred to her newborn son. I knew just what she meant. 


Two days ago my sister-in-law flew across the ‘big pond’ to see her baby and her grandbabies, one of whom is one-week old. That love and hope of brighter tomorrows has kept her moving forward lately through a difficult season. 

My FB feed is filled with new babies and the love in each of these little momma’s faces is apparent. They often use words like perfect. They’re all right of course. 


And then of course, there are the mommas who have adopted and have felt the flavor of wonderment that floods my own soul. I can’t help but rejoice with them as each milestone is poated and celebrated. There are the mommas who have fostered and there are mommas-in-waiting. Mommas are lovely, altogether lovely. 


And don’t even get me started on grand-mommas. My own grandmother was such a treasured and influential part of my childhood, I can’t put it into words. She absolutely helped form me into who I am today. No doubt. I grew to see myself through her eyes, eyes filled with love. 

My sister is experiencing the joys of being a grandmother. One born just weeks ago, another due in a few weeks. Her whole world has shifted in anticipation of this new season of wonder. 

It’s no surprise that I have enjoyed being Grandmommy to three little girls in Georgia who are just the sweetest princesses around! If you aren’t sure about that, just ask me and I’ll do my best to convince you. They aren’t my conventional grandchildren. I’m not the conventional sort. But I have claimed them and they have claimed me and love has sealed the deal. 


No matter how God gave us our children and grandchildren, the thing is, He gave them to us. They are gifts. The love we have for them just seeps out of our souls. 

“Wait a minute there, my experience wasn’t like this.” This may be what a few of you are thinking and I know it’s the truth. You know, as a foster-mom, I sometimes witnessed the worst examples of motherhood. Not every case, but many cases involved mothers who weren’t loving the way they should or maybe the way they truly wanted to. I know that plenty of mommas are selfish, bad-tempered, critical, and hurtful. That’s a shame. But those aren’t the mommas I’m thinking of this morning. 


I’m thinking of mommas who have influenced our lives for the good, been our personal cheerleader, gave us courage to do better and be better. I’m thinking about mommas who adjust their lives, postpone their dreams, set aside plans, and invest themselves into their children. I’m thinking about mommas who have prayed and are still praying. I’m thinking about mommas who have had to overcome adversity, struggle financially, and press on when they wanted to sit down. I’m thinking about mommas who have loved with great abandon and are ready to keep loving not only their children and their children’s children, but theirs great and great-great-grandchildren. 


This morning, mommas are on my mind and I just wanted to tell you why. 

Just Breathe

Today is my birthday and I expect to be spoiled profusely. Why? Well, because that’s what I’ve grown accustomed to. I have a husband who dotes on me and a family who makes me feel like a queen for the day and friends who lavish sweet sentiments upon my FB page. Social media is certainly at its best on your birthday. #birthdaygirl

I will be receiving some gifts today. Some are special simply because they will be given to me by one of my children. Some are special because of the obvious thought that went into choosing it. Some are special because, they were needed and will be well used (like my new mini-van, I really needed that). Then there are those gifts that are special today and will likely be special for years to come. I’d like to tell you about one of those. 


The photo truly doesn’t do it justice, you’ll have to take my word for it that it is even prettier in person. My friend is the artisan and you should check out her page. @palletcreationsbydarlene

My husband gifted this to me from him and ALL my kids. Let me tell you, that’s a whole lot of kids. #momofmany  So, it is special because my Henry bought it, my friend made it and my children are a part of it. But that isn’t the reason it brings tears to my eyes when I think of it. 

Two years ago today, on my birthday, I had an encounter with the Lord that changed my life. Now, if you’ve never had such an encounter, I hope you will one day. You will never forget it, just as I’ll never forget this one. 

It’s rather personal, so I won’t go into great detail. However, I have been eagerly anticipating writing today’s blog so that I can share a portion of it with you. 

Here’s what I need to tell you. In Ezekiel 37, there is a conversation between God and a prophet, Ezekiel. It’s a remarkable account of a valley of dry bones. 

Please, pause for a moment and HEAR me. No matter how disjointed, disconnected, hopeless, dried up, brittle or sun-bleached your hopes, dreams, health, relationships, finances and even spiritual condition is – there is HOPE! And here is why. 

“Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’””

‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭37:9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

That’s it. That’s the answer. That’s the source of our hope, our strength, our healing, our redemption. The breath of the Sovereign Lord! And when He breathes life into a situation, a heart, a relationship, a ministry – It WILL LIVE AGAIN!

Today, when your heart is gripped with fear or worry, when you feel overwhelmed and distressed, when you’re feeling out of options and depleted of hope – JUST BREATHE and then allow God to do what only He can! 

Now, that’s a great way to celebrate a birthday and every day for that matter. 

The Most Influential Women in the World

I am able to trace back my maternal genealogy an impressive distance. My personal experience and knowledge begins with my maternal great-grandmother, Ruthie Mae McDonald Smith. I am glad to have known her as a young girl. I have glimpses of who she was, who she became. Recently, I feel that I’ve grown to know her more intimately as I’ve begun in depth research preparing for a historical narrative I am writing. 

Here is a photo of her with her husband, my great-grandfather and her five oldest children. The oldest girl, is my own grandmother, Alvis Yvone Smith (later to become a DeMoss). 


In this photo as I study my great-grandmother’s face, I can imagine she was so proud and probably so tired. Life was hard, physically hard nearly a century ago. She could not have seen what the future would hold, the tragedy, the grief, the heartache and surely the nightmares. She could not have known that three of her children in this photograph would become part of history, part of the worst school related disaster our nation has ever known. 


The New London School Explosion would destroy more than a building. It destroyed lives, families and the hopes and dreams of many mothers. Only moments before dismissal a gas explosion claimed hundreds of children and many of their teachers. 

I didn’t know her before of course, but my grandmother told me that her momma was never the same again. She never quite recovered. And yet, she continued to mother. She would birth four more children and live a long life. She would become the woman I remember, always appearing a little melancholy. 


Today is Mother’s Day and I’m thinking of Ruthie Mae McDonald who knew the greatest heartache a mother can have   I’m thinking of her eldest daughter, Alvis Yvone Smith DeMoss who had children of her own and one of them my mother, Genevieve DeMoss Roberts. I’m thinking of them all and my heart is thankful. 


I’m thankful to have known the most influential women in the world, in my world. I am thankful for the rich spiritual heritage that they passed on to me and that I will pass on to my daughters. Today I celebrate them all! Happy Mother’s Day! 

The Hope of Easter

Today is Easter and we’ve celebrated with egg hunts and even a Passover Seder. Today we will gather with family and friends at an Easter Service to celebrate once more. Why all the celebrating? 

Well, let me assure you, it is much more than colored eggs and bunnies. We are celebrating the miracle of life. 


A precious ‘son of my heart’ posted the following words a few days ago. He blessed my hear with his words. 

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Galatians 6:9

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
I am living proof, that if you invest Jesus into someone, as little or mundane as you might think it is, that seed will grow. That flower may only need to break through loose, fertile soil. Or in my case, it might have to break through red Georgia clay that’s under a foot of concrete. But be patient and continue to water it, and oh how sweet and beautiful it is once it blooms. 
To all of those that invested in me, I say thank you. And now I pay it forward, investing Jesus into other people, planting my own seeds.

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This is the miracle of new life, eternal life that we celebrate. This hope was made possible by the most important moment in history. That moment was when Jesus Christ, Yeshua, our Redeemer, defeated death, and gave us hope of new beginnings, fresh starts and forgiveness. 


If I told you more of my what Gary had faced, experienced and been through you would be amazed that just before Easter he was baptized as public proclamation of his faith. If I told you about his life, some of his choices, some of his struggles you would rejoice with me that he has come home spiritually. If I told you of the hundreds of prayers and years of waiting, you would take courage as you pray and wait for your own prodigals. 

So, yes, today we celebrate the hope of Easter! And today as Gary posted this picture of his wife and precious daughters, I know the miracle will continue. The hope will grow in the lives of his children. The hope of Easter changes everything. 


So, from my family to yours, I wish you a blessed day and the hope of Easter! 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1:3‬ ‭NASB‬‬

So Loved 

Yesterday my five youngest children and I made a one-day, out-of-town road trip and I was the driver. It was a very beautiful and happy day spent with lots of folks we love. 


Naturally, on the drive home I was doing a lot of thinking and pondering. Things like, never ever give up on the possibilities of what God’s love can accomplish. His love is the most powerful force on earth and can change situations, people’s hearts and the direction of a person’s life. I needed that reminder. Maybe you did too. 

Another truth that is stamped on my heart was verified yesterday. There’s an old adage that says you can’t pick your family. I’d like to firmly disagree. Yes you can. Marriage is a perfect example. A choice to be family is made. Adoption is another example. A choice to become family is made. But there are other examples as well when no judge declares anything at all. Instead hearts declare belonging to one another because we so love them. 

You may not can choose who you are related to by blood, but you do get to choose your family. I’ve chosen well. Not only by marriage and adoption, but also by relationship. By caring and loving and praying and connecting and communicating and hoping and helping and sometimes the biding of time, by so loving them. 


During the next few weeks I will be in four different states visiting family. I will see two dozen family members. I am blood related to less than half of those, only nine to be exact. And yet, they are all my family. 

How can that be? I’ll tell you clearly how. Because love trumps blood, love trumps hate, love trumps differences,  love trumps distances, love trumps circumstances and love even trumps the law of the land sometimes. Relationships are formed when commitment is made, time is invested and choices are lived out. I so love them. 

Today I am loving the beauty of love. The choices we make, the lives we live, the paths we walk and yes, oh yes, the families we have!

Below is a photo of a few of my most beloved family members. I don’t share a single drop of blood with any of them. What we do share is love and let me assure you I so love them!


Below is another photo. This one is a photo of my mother and sister with whom I share blood. Guess what? We are family, not because of blood but because of relationship, precious memories, laughter and the bonds of love! I so love them. 


I can’t conclude my thoughts without adding this. The MOST important family decision you can ever make will be to become a part of the family of God. Choosing to be adopted into His family, as His child, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ will be the most life-altering decision you ever make. You know why? Because of love, once again, because of love. He so loves us. 

Confessions of a Momma with Too Many Children

We are an #xlfamily and I am a #momofmany. If you’ve been around me for very long, I’ve likely proudly showed you their pictures and expected you to guffaw over their wonderfulness. Most of the time that’s just the reaction I get but sometimes the reaction to our family with so many children is that we are a family with too many children. 

Some folks are concerned.  You know, concerned that I’ll wear myself down, concerned that my husband will work without being able to get ahead. Or concerned that the kids will somehow be neglected by being a part of such a big brood. Sometimes, that particular concern stems from their own childhood. 

Other folks are just critical. They’re critical of any choice that is different from their own. Critical of how many you parent, how you educate, discipline, and maybe even what you believe. Bless their hearts, as we are known to say here in the south. 


It’s okay, I get it. We aren’t your average family and more than once I’ve referred to myself as the old lady in the shoe who didn’t know what to do. But, what you may see as chaos, I see as… well, okay, I see as chaos too. But, I see it as more than that. 

I see it as living large and loving large. I see it as an opportunity to grow a family that is forged together not by blood but instead by love. I see it as opportunity to grow spiritually, emotionally and even physically stronger. I see it as an opportunity to leave a legacy of faith and by doing so, influence many more people than I could ever do on my own. 


So, here’s my confession as a momma of too many children. 

  1. I’m not always available to every child every moment they might like me to be. But, someone is. There’s always a partner to play a game or help with a difficult task. 
  2. I’m not superwoman. I get tired, irritable, frustrated and aggravated. I don’t ‘do it all’. I let somethings slide. I don’t dust nearly as often as I should. 
  3. I’m not enough for my very large family. Because I’m not, I encourage them to also rely on each other and build strong relationships with extended family members. Most importantly, I teach them to invest in their personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I’m not enough, but it’s ok because I don’t have to be. 
  4. Our kids don’t get the very same things that kids in smaller families may get. We don’t do exactly the same things, go the exact same places, take the same trips, drive the same cars or wear the same clothes. But, guess what, we celebrate the gifts of each other, work and play hard together and make do with what we have. I like to think I’m nurturing a rare commodity in this day and time. It’s called contentment. 
  5. I’m a little late starting my ‘dream career’ of writing because I have been so busy the last two decades raising kids. But, it’s okay, because this life I’ve lived as a mom of too many children has given me a LOT to write about. 


All in all, I can honestly say I wouldn’t want to live any other way. Sure, I would like less laundry, less dirty dishes and many times less noise. But I don’t want less of us and if we are too loud, too much or too different than what you might be used too, I’d like to invite you to set aside your concerns and criticisms. Instead consider how many hugs have been given, prayers answered and how much laughter this mom of too many children experiences each and every day.