Thursday, December 8, 2011


What is TRUTH, really?
          The things we see
           Shaped in images before our eyes
           A philosophy fitting in our heart
           Or is it really,
           A light in the darkness,
           An all consuming omniscience.

What is FORGIVENESS, really?
            Regret of actions past
            A humble attempt to reconnect,
            An added veil to look through. 
            Or is it really,
            Deletion as if it never happened
            On a hard drive that never existed;
            A gift we can give to ourselves.
            The Cross

What is TRANSFORMATION, really?
            A change of direction,
            An extreme make-over.
            Or is it really,
            Tangible grace,
            Sanctification in motion,
            Holy Spirit
What is LOVE, really?
           A warm and fuzzy feeling,
           A thought of intense care.
           Or is it really,
           A free gift of Eternal Hope,
           A passion for all of humanity, 
           A baby in a manger.
           Emmanuel, God with Us. 


Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dia de Los Muertos: Cemetery Three

Dia de Los Muertos: Cemetery Three

 Getting hungry, we decided to head over to the next stop, Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills and then try and have lunch after. We weren’t quite sure if we were going to be able to make it to the fourth place, Forest Lawn Glendale, before closing time. We headed on the I-5 through downtown and around the North side of L.A., up on the hill, the Hollywood sign in clear view on this beautiful fall day.

Passing by Griffith Park,  driving along Forest Lawn Dr., around the bend is the cemetery.  Here,  we shift to my Father’s side of the family. 

Stopping of course at the front desk, we received the info we needed and then purchased some carnations and baby’s breath. We wanted to place flowers on both my grandparents and my late Aunt Lorena’s graves. 

Our first stop was my Uncle Harold.  My grandmother had triplets, two survived, Harold and Howard.  They were younger than my father. My Uncle Howard rests at Rose Hills with his wife and son. 

United States Merchant Marine WWII and Korea

Aunt Mary Sawtelle, my dad’s sister was the next memory placard. Both my grandmother and my two aunts were very crafty, especially when it came to crocheting. My sister and I always received a handmade ornament when we'd go to Gramma's for Christmas; one of my favorites, the crocheted angel. (I will post a pic when I find it again amongst my Christmas decor).    

Across and down the hill a little further, but still close, we located my grandparents.   Look who else decided to take a late afternoon stroll.  

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.

My Uncle Bert is somewhat a mystery.  He died when I was in the 5th grade.  It was the first time I observed my father cry.  I never remember meeting him or my dad talking about him much…but then again, my Dad was a quiet, somewhat mysterious man himself. My sister’s oldest son John resembles Uncle Bert so much.  Bert was the oldest child.  

Houston Bertram Markham US Coast Guard

My Grandfather Hubert Markham
My Grandmother Tommie L. Trout Markham

side by side

My grandparents met in Texas. My grandfather worked in a shoe store. My grandmother came in to shop for shoes.  The shoe must have fit, I suppose. Moving in 1924 I am guessing, to California, my grandpa built a house on a steep hill in what is known today as Highland Park, living out the rest of their days there.  My grandmother would lose four sons, my grandfather and a grandson before God took her home. My Grandmother Tommie loved the L.A. Roller Derby, The Thunderbirds.

Within close proximity is my Aunt Lorena, the baby of the family.  She has two wonderful, talented sons, my cousins Ron and Steve.  My Uncle Harold was like a father to the boys.   
This picture taken at my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary, is my father's family. Everyone is pictured except Bert who had already passed away.  My Father is on the far right.

 Matthew 7: 13-14  “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Isaiah 61:3 To grant those who mourn in Zion,
         Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
         The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
         The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
         So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
         The planting of the L
ORD, that He may be glorified

Revelation 21:6-7

 6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

As we were leaving, I snapped a few shots at the entrance, the magnificent fountain, marble statues and the gates.  I walked closer through this particular plot, many Asian names in this area; to photograph the carving a little closer and I spotted this simple little pebble, smiling back at me. 

 Do you see it?  It is in front of her right foot.

"Love is the emblem of eternity; it confounds all notion of time; effaces all memory of a beginning, all fear of an end."
 Anne Louise Germaine de Stael 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dia De Los Muertos: Cemetery Two

Dia de Los Muertos: Cemetery Number Two
Leaving the historical and tranquil landscape of Olivewood, Lauren and I headed for quite a different part of So. Cal., Inglewood.  Located in the South Bay section of Los Angeles, southwest of downtown, Inglewood Park Cemetery memorializes many generations of families, my maternal grandmother for one.

Inglewood Park Cemetery, a widely used cemetery for the entire region, was founded in 1905 and the city has been home to the Hollywood Park Racetrack since 1938.[ Fosters Freeze, the first Soft Serve ice cream chain in California, was founded by George Foster in 1946 in Inglewood. Inglewood was named an All-America City by the National Civic League in 1989 and yet again recently in 2009 for its visible progress.

When we were first married, my hubby and I sped down the freeway after work to enjoy the L.A. Kings the N.H.L. team at the Forum many times.  I also enjoyed many concerts there.  To my surprise, located directly across the street is this huge cemetery. 
This is where we found the information we needed.
Switching now to my mother’s mother (Grandma Greer) side of the family, here we hoped to located my Great Grandfather, William Twiggs, his brother and sister as well.  Over one hundred years old, Inglewood Park’s first internment was in 1906. Our first stop, the mausoleum, where we searched halls flanked and canopied by magnificent stained-glass. 
Mausoleum of the Golden West was built in the 1930s through the 1960s. With its stained-glass representations of early California, it remains one of the most beautiful mausoleums ever constructed. It was followed in the 1970s by Manchester Garden Mausoleum, a building containing a center Garden Chapel and four side chapels, as well as over two dozen sanctuaries and hallways at ground level and below.

We found our Great great aunt, Venia Roberts and to our surprise, her daughter Aurelia as well. Don’t you love the names?
Venie was my Grandmother’s middle name; a nickname for Venia. My Grandmother disliked her name, thinking it silly; Inez Venie Twiggs. We don't think so.   Isn't she just adorable! 
Our Maternal grandmother, Inez V. Twiggs Greer

Once again, many beautiful, old above-the-ground headstones, and I captured a few with my camera.

Why do I seem to find the ministers?  This one served in the Civil War.
Finally, we located the brothers, my great grandfather William and his brother James.  Born in Tennessee, William worked as both a farmer and a barber. Because of my Great Grandmother Nancy Elizabeth’s health, in 1910 they moved from Missouri to a drier climate, locating in Portales, New Mexico. They had five children, all girls, including twins.  Great Grandmother Nancy Elizabeth died of “the consumption” when my Grandmother was nine. Moving to Albuquerque sometime in the 1920’s, Great grandfather William aspired to politics, nominated for a  delegate position in the Presidential election. He lost. Soon after that, he relocated again to California, and lived for awhile with my newly married grandmother and grandfather in Los Angeles. 

Standing at their grave markers, this is the view
That concludes this tour of Inglewood Park, with one more cemetery to cover in tomorrow’s blog. Allow me to share some scripture with you. 

Romans 8:10-11 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.  And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

Praise God!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Dia De Los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos,  Cemetary Number One
Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and around the world in many cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it attains the quality of a National Holiday. The celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. 
 On October 8th of this year, my sister Lauren and I set out on a different kind of outing, a day documenting and visiting cemeteries within two counties.  In a conversation shared one day, Lauren, a serious, family tree researcher, said that our great-grandparents rested locally. 

“Really? I said. I want to go see…where are they?”

So, she mapped out a day and we set out to visit four local cemeteries.  We only made three, but plan on a second outing in November. 

Beautiful places to visit, one can really enjoy the scenery and take in some of the history and peace of these gardens of rest, when you are visiting on a day that is not sad. Most impressed by the Olivewood Cemetary in Riverside, it is there where I will begin my picture blog and share a smidgen of family history. 
Besides my own family headstones, this cemetery, tucked under the rolling Riverside hills, displayed well-aged markers from turn of the century (the 19th) Californians.  I snapped away at the carved and worn tombstones. 

 My sister finds things out through research,, and family history stories, letters and many documents.  The internet helps immensly of course.  She has a accordian folder where she keeps many documents like death certificates.  

This is my mother's, father's, mother: Lydia Minerva Harris Greer Gillespie. Her first husband, my Great Grandfather, Lacy Greer, a real cowboy in the old West, (St. John, Arizona), was crushed to death in a cattle stampede.  He left her with seven children. Lydia Minerva remarried, and had three more children with William Gillespie.  They moved to Calif. in 1908. Wm. Gillespie worked for the County of Mojave, building roads. 

Below are unique, and what I found to be interesting tombstones I captured in my photo-taking.  I particularly loved these two crosses.  One a simple, rugged design, the other very intricate with the Celtic scrolls and knots. 

                      Here is someone with Japanese heritage. 

The cemetery is right off the 91 freeway.  There was a lone, elderly proprietor there that helped us.  Giving us the location by lot and row number, we set out to find our family. 
This person,  a woodsman, his headstone recognized him as such, with a log topping his grave marker. 

This is the hills directly behind the cemetery, no fencing,  very simple and so beautiful.  

This gentleman was a pastor.  I loved his epitaph rolled out on a scroll. The Scripture at the bottom is Hebrews 11:4 which reads (NAmS):

"By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks". 
The chapel at Olivewood Cemetary, Riverside CA.