Gifted and Talented
Music. I love it. It is one of the greatest gifts God gave us. And the people who make the music, they are gifts too.
I’ve always desired to be musical. I joined band in elementary school. Probably the worst flutist ever to pick up the flute. I begged for a keyboard and piano lessons. I got the keyboard, but that whole two hands doing two separate things at the same time thing. Yeah. I cannot do that. I was in elementary school choir. I was in junior high choir too. In eighth grade, I was directed to sing so softly that I couldn’t be heard at a concert.
I realized then that maybe music wasn’t in the cards for me. Didn’t stop me from singing, I sing all the time. I also dance (AKA flailing) and paint (AKA creative therapy). But those are stories for another day.
What’s the my point? There is only one Kim Walker Smith. There is only one Martina McBride. There’s only one Natalie Grant. There’s only one Loretta Lynn. There’s only one Aretha Franklin. There is only one Doris Day. And there’s only one Jill Nicholson.
Jill Nicholson? Who’s that?
That’s me. I am Jill. I have gifts and talents chosen by God and entrusted to me to cultivate and grow. But for years I felt that because I couldn’t sing like I wanted, that I wasn’t talented at all. That is a lie straight from the enemy. Unfortunately, I believed it for too long and wasted years I could have been tending to the natural abilities I WAS entrusted with.
I believed the lie. So I took my ball and went home.
The parable of the talents comes to mind here because I did bury what I had inside and hide the talents I did have. I didn’t take photography classes because I was afraid I’d be told I wasn’t good at it. Then I couldn’t take photos anymore. I didn’t want a repeat of the choir concert incident. I only wrote for class assignments. Research papers and essays essentially. When I did write other things, I didn’t let anyone read them. I still struggle with letting people read my creative stuff.
“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.” John 12:24-25 MSG
I know the context of this verse is Jesus speaking about His upcoming death, burial, and resurrection. But this is what Jesus woke me up at 3:30 am to show me…If we take the gifts and talents that we have been entrusted with by God, both spiritual and natural, and we keep them to ourselves they are wasted. But if we take the time to develop them, and sow them into His kingdom, those gifts are multiplied beyond what we could ever imagine.
Nothing given to Jesus is ever wasted. It’s always multiplied in some way. I’m still chewing on this, because I know there’s more here, but this is initial revelation.
Point to ponder while you wander…Appreciate the gifts and talents in those around you, not be envious or jealous of them. Be grateful for the abilities YOU WERE given and be good stewards of them.
PS: Parable of the Talents is found in Matthew 25.
Mysteries and Family History: Densmores End Up In Detroit
Hi, Mystery and History Lovers, it’s Velma! Your favorite family tree researcher. My last post was about Jennie and John Brander. Today I’m going to talk about Jennie’s Dad’s family…the Densmores, Dinsmores or possibly the Dinsmoors. They are a mystery I am trying to solve.
Per usual, I’m going to use the spelling as written on the documents I found. It changes…of course
Benjamin and Elizabeth
The furthest back I’ve been able to locate is Benjamin and Elizabeth Dinsmore. Benjamin was born in 1780 in New Hampshire, and Elizabeth was born in 1781 in New Hampshire per the 1850 New York Census. They were born during the American Revolutionary War before the USA was the USA.
They were living with their son, Moses Dinsmore and his wife, Lydia Allard Dinsmore, in 1850, per the 1850 Federal Census. The family was residing in Bangor, Franklin County, New York. (As was Lydia’s parents and siblings) Moses was born in 1814 in New Hampshire, and Lydia was also born in New Hampshire in 1823. They had been living in New York for at least 6 years at this point because their eldest Laura Ann was born in New York in 1844. Also living in the household was Caroline, born 1846, Phoebe E, born 1848, and Mary Elizabeth who was a month old. Moses is listed as a farmer, and both Laura and Caroline attended school that year.
I’m sure Ben and Liz had more kids, because that was how it worked back in the day. But I cannot find any proof of their other children. I also cannot find death records for either Elizabeth or Benjamin. Logic says they died in New York, but they could have also died on the way to Michigan with Moses or in Michigan. I am still looking into this, but have no evidence of their death. Maybe there is no death record because they are still alive at 235 and 236! I would love for this to be true and I would definitely want to spend time with them and hear their tale. But alas, I’m sure I just haven’t found the right location for their info.
Moses and Lydia
Moses Dinsmore married Lydia Allard, daughter of Henry Allard and Mary Elizabeth Fall, on 2 July 1843 in Bolton, Brome, English Canada (Ontario). Moses died 16 February 1866 in Detroit, Michigan. I have also found records that list Moses’s birth state as Vermont on the death records of some of his daughters. Lydia was born 15 August 1819 in Bartlett, New Hampshire and died 10 May 1904 in Detroit, Michigan.
I know that Moses left New York for Michigan with his family between 1850 and 1853, because his son Moses Densmore was born 26 May 1853 in Detroit, Michigan, and daughter Jane Lydia “Jennie” Densmore was born 18 January 1861 also in Detroit, Michigan.
The 1880 Census shows Moses (the son) and Jennie living with Liddie. Moses is a plasterer and Jennie works in a seed store. Liddie is listed as keeping house at 371 Crawford St, Detroit. Please see below map for the location. It’s now near the Fisher Fwy (I-75).
Here is the information I found on the children of Moses and Lydia:
Laura Ann Densmore was born 24 March 1844 in Bangor, New York, and died 6 May 1934 in Detroit. Laura married William Crawford.
Caroline Densmore was born in 1846 in Bangor, New York. Caroline married John McDoinell.
Phoebe E. Densmore was born on 10 June 1848 in Bangor, New York. She died 12 January 1916. She lived at 764 Williams in Detroit, Michigan in 1916.
Mary Elizabeth Densmore was born in May 1850 in Bangor, New York. She married Oliver M. Dicks on 11 February 1871 in Detroit. Their children: Emma was born in 1874. Emma married John Busha on 16 April 1898 in Detroit. Samuel, was born 24 February 1876, but isn’t listed on the 1880 Census. Herbert A, was born in 1876. He married Ida M. Seidel on 14 September 1905 in Detroit. Lottie May, was born 24 October 1878, and died 8 May 1880. Edward, born 10 Jan 1881 in Michigan. Edward married Clara Minnie Spurr in Fort Wayne, Indiana on 23 September 1940. Alexander, was born 25 April 1883 in Greenfield, Michigan, and died 2 December 1884. Alfred G, was born in 31 August 1884 in Greenfield, Michigan. He married Elizabeth Ridge on 10 October 1906 in Detroit. Moses, was born 2 December 1887 in Greenfield, Michigan, and died 24 July 1888. William J, was born in 1887.(Note: Dicks is also spelled Dix in a few documents, but it’s mostly spelled Dicks).
Moses Densmore was born 26 May 1853 in Detroit, Michigan and died 5 February 1910. According to the 1880 Census, he was a plasterer. Moses married Maggie Duncan on 30 June 1880 in Detroit, Michigan. She was born either in Couttern, Connecticut or in Canada on 19 June 1960. Maggie died 23 April 1936 in Detroit. She and Moses are both buried in Woodmere Cemetery. They had a daughter, May or Mary, born 1882. May married Charles Feole, son of August Teole and Caroline Cole on 28 June 1900. They also had a son, Charles H., born in 22 April 1884 and died 11 August 1947 in Detroit. Their daughter, Phoebe, born in 1885.
Last but most important to my life (as in I wouldn’t be here without her) is Jane Lydia “Jennie” Densmore was born 18 January 1861 also in Detroit, Michigan. Click on the Jennie and John link above to read about my 4x great-grandmother and her family.
I’ve also found information that there might possibly be 4 additional children, Twins Amanda and Maranda, James M, and John. It’s possible they were born between Moses and Jennie.
I have hit a wall geneology fans. No further information on Benjamin or maiden name for Elizabeth. Guess…I’ll have to work on a new branch for a while.
Later mystery lovers… xo Velma
PS: One last thing of note…I did notice that the Michigan records are all Densmore. Not Dinsmore, like the New York and New Hampshire records. Not sure why that is. But I wonder. It’s like Nickerson becoming Nicholson on Nantucket I guess…new place…new name.😉
Fun Fact Friday: Cheeky Monkey
If you’ve read much of my blog you know that I am a fan of etymology. And in that vein my curiosity was piqued about Cheeky Monkey? Like what in the world? Cheeky Monkey?
Cheeky is defined in the 1859 dictionary as an adjective, “from cheek, in it’s sense of insolence.”
It’s generally used when someone is mouthy or speaks their mind too easily. My mom used to call it “lip” rather than cheek, but you get the idea. Cheeky is generally thought of as a British term, and that’s probably true. I don’t hear it in my neck of the woods.
Ken Greenwald, of Colorado, quoted several dictionaries (Partridge’s Dictionary of Slang, Oxford English Dictionary, Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang, Chapman’s Dictionary of American Slang, Oxford Dictionary of Word Histories) and posted this in an online discussion forum. I like his verbiage so I’m using it and quoting him directly.
CHEEKY (1859), impudent, insolent, saucy derives from CHEEK (1823), verbal insolence, audacity, impudence, effrontery, brass, chutzpa and was originally considered slang but now is Standard English. “If he gives me any cheek, I’ll knock him down”—George Moore, 1884. The term is metaphorical and has been associated with the cheeks when speaking to or facing someone with confidence. ‘Lip,’ ‘face,’ ‘jaw’ and ‘chin’ have been used similarly. The expression often appears in the form ‘to have the cheek to’ (also ‘to have the face’) to dare, to have the nerve to do something.
So what is a cheeky monkey?
Cheeky monkey is can mean an impudent person, but in most definitions I found it was referred to as what a woman says in response to a man’s flirtation and what not, especially if he’s over eager. Urban dictionary says, “Term used to define sexual our witty comment made in jest. Cheeky means you are flippant, have too much lip or are a bit of a smart butt! Generally you are considered to be a bit cheeky if you have an answer for everything and always have the last word.”
Sometimes parents use this as a term of annoyed endearment when their kids are being saucy and sassy, like the little guy pictured below.
My favorite definition was found it the open dictionary, said, “Used for telling someone that they are not showing respect when you are not really angry.”
Used with a tsk tsk or shaking of the head and a wink I am sure. 😉
Point to ponder while you wander…Tongue in cheek means that something shouldn’t be taken seriously or that it was meant in jest. It’s characterized by either insincerity or exaggeration. I’m sensing that cheeky monkey is to be used in that same vein.
To you this may just be a simple black cabin with a red chimney on some river. But to our family, this is “The Cabin.”
The Cabin exists in the memories of 5 generations of our family as the home of Joe and Bettie Kane. We fortunate few called them Boppie and NaNa. Many of my childhood memories took place here at The Cabin. My parents got married here. I learned to swim here. I caught my first fish in the trout stream here. I got pecked in the head by a chicken here. I learned that fresh dill and chives were awesome in cottage cheese, and fresh picked mint helps an upset stomach here. Against the wishes of my parents, I jumped off the cliff behind the garage into the sand here. I have many many memories…here are a few…
NaNa had a huge vegetable garden. When I was small (I want to say 5…maybe 6 years old) I wanted to help her so she had me pulling weeds with her. But I pulled plants too. So she sat me in the potatoes and showed me how to kill potato bugs with my fingernails, while she replanted her vegetable plants. It’s most likely the reason I don’t fear bugs now.
The garage was Boppie’s domain. In the garage was a beer fridge. It was filled with Papst Blue Ribbon, AKA “Boppie Beer” and usually some Faygo Rock N’ Rye, Red Pop, or Root Beer for us. On the outside was an acronym that I tried for years and years to figure out what it meant. Here’s the acronym: KYHOOTIBWP. Seriously what the heck does that even mean? I asked him and asked him over the years to tell me what it meant. He’d just laugh and say, “Figure it out Jill-o.” I begged him one summer’s day to tell me what it meant. I think I was about 12 or 13 and he finally told me, “Keep Your Hooks Out Of This Ice Box Without Permission.” I felt cool. Like I was in the know. Still makes me smile.
When I was 8 or 9, my dad, one of his brothers, a friend of the family, and Boppie went out to their carefully selected and prepared blinds to hunt. They had been feeding deer in the nearby woods in preparation for hunting season, muzzle loading season specifically. NaNa, Brian (son of friend of the family), and I were sitting there eating cookies, when all of a sudden NaNa says, “SON OF A BITCH! There’s that damn deer that’s been eating my garden all summer.” She grabs her rifle off the wall. Loads it. Opens the little kitchen window and pulls the trigger. She looks at us and says come on. She hands me the camera and smiles. She and Brian dragged it to the garage where they hung it up, and she dressed it. I took a couple pictures and we went inside and washed up. We were just sitting there waiting for everyone to come back. Finally they did. NaNa asked if anyone got anything. They all shook their heads and sadly plopped down on the couch. I couldn’t contain my excitement as I squealed, “NaNa did. It’s hanging in the garage.” Four stunned faces stared at me, as I jumped up and down in excitement telling them the story.
As I think on it now, I laugh because she didn’t have to say a word or gloat or anything. She let the little blonde with the pigtails do it all for her. My reward was that she cooked the liver up with onions, just for me. That may not seem like a reward to you, but that’s because you never had NaNa’s liver and onions. Nearly every time I visited them as an adult she would make me liver and onions and we’d talk. I miss that.
When I would get to stay the night at NaNa and Boppie’s, I slept in the bunk room. It was a small room with built in bunk beds. There were books, games, and toys in there for the kids when they visited. And Tyg. Tyg was a stuffed tiger pillow that belonged to all of us grand kids. He was much loved. Anyway…in the morning when we got up for breakfast you could have any cereal you wanted…usually the choices were some flaky cereal like Wheaties, Rice Krispies, and a few flavors of Chex. The cool thing about this though, was you got to put the powdered chocolate Nesquick on whichever cereal you chose. I’m pretty sure Bops should have gotten credit for all Cocoa Krispies and any other cereal flavored with chocolate.
The big deal at The Cabin was when you were 12 you were allowed to drive the golf cart around with all the smaller kids in it. I only drove it once. My dad was instructing me. We were in the field next to The Cabin when he was teaching me reverse. Now the field is large and mostly wide open, except for one telephone pole in the center of it. I backed into the one hazard in the whole field. I didn’t do any damage to the cart, but I was the one kid who only drove it once. I think my dad is as to blame as I was….but it is what it is.
I remember sitting there eating my very chocolaty cereal and watching the birds out the picture window. NaNa had a big book about the birds of North America, and I loved calling out the names of the ones I knew and looking up the pictures of the ones I didn’t. Black-Capped Chickadees are still my favorites. I remember standing at the flagpole in the middle of the yard and teaching my siblings the Pledge of Allegiance. I remember the Easter Tree filled with all those little plastic eggs, and a blow up Easter Bunny. I remember sneaking apple slices out of the tub filled with salt water (the apples were being prepped for applesauce). I remember the artesian well that never stopped running with the freshest, coldest water you can possibly imagine. You don’t forget washing up in water that cold. Ever.
I have so many memories…but these are a few of the ones that came to mind today. I hope they make you smile or even chuckle.
Point to ponder while you wander…It’s not necessarily the expensive gifts or trips that stick long in the memory of the kids in your life. It’s the seemingly little things. An inside joke. A small tradition. Those are the memories that count because they are the ones that last.
PS: Today is NaNa’s Birthday and Monday is Boppie’s Birthday. Happy Birthday, in Heaven, NaNa and Boppie!
I Am Brave?
So I’ve been on a faith journey that has required me to be vulnerable and take some interesting steps. I had the realization that if I want the life God has for me…the good one from Jeremiah 29:11, I have to run down the dock and jump into the deep end. Go all in!
If you’ve been around a while…that’s not how I roll. I have played around the edges of the lake…maybe tiptoed in to my knees…but never gotten my hair wet.
I went to the city I hear calling my name and I found my tribe, aka my church. Praise Jesus!
When that happened yesterday, I knew that this city is now MY city. I am compelled to pray for her and love her and love her people. I am compelled! I feel it in the core of who I am.
Even though I haven’t moved here yet. Don’t have a job yet. Don’t have a place to live yet. Don’t know when I’m moving here. But I know I am home.
Strangest feeling ever, BTW!
Anyway…yesterday at my church…I was talking to a woman and telling her what was going on. Her eyes got very big and she said, “You are sooo brave. I could never do what you’re doing.”
I am brave? Really?
I did not feel brave. I felt crazy. I am in one of the biggest and most expensive cities in the US by myself to do a fact finding mission to move here. All completely on faith that God is telling me I should move here.
But I left there confessing and declaring “I AM BRAVE.”
So thank you, Maple, for telling me who I am, when I couldn’t see myself clearly.
“Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them.” Joshua 1:6 NLT
Point to ponder while you wander…God is constantly speaking to us, revealing who He is and what’s on His heart, but sometimes we’re so in the weeds of our day to day that we miss Him. He’s also inviting us to partner with Him. But He’ll never force us. We are given a choice to partner with Him or go our own way.
As scary and hard as it is to leave my warm comfortable place. I trust Him. And He is worth the risk.
And honestly, right now, in this hard and scary place, I feel like Sleeping Beauty who has just been awakened with a kiss by King Jesus. 💋
Okay..so I’m in NY
I’ve been having conversations lately about living vs existing with Jesus, my roommate, and several others. I need to fully LIVE this life and I haven’t been.
John 10:10 is really on my heart…Jesus came to give us life…abundant life. But we need to choose to receive that gift and really life every day as an adventure. I was beginning to just sit in a rut of work and Netflix. (11. Seasons of Criminal Minds, Stranger Things, and the like) And that is NOT who I am. Not even a little bit. So this trip I am on is me returning to me.
What trip? On Thursday I decided to go to a women’s conference in NYC. I flew out on Friday. And now I am in NYC for the weekend. Yesterday I started exploring a little bit and I started to feel alive again for the first time in a while.
Maybe my rut came from me being in grief. Maybe from fear. Maybe from the weariness of waiting. I don’t know. But I stopped exploring and being spontaneous. I love exploring my Michigan and her cities.And I just stopped.
I just sorta checked out.
So if you’re in a rut too, get out and explore today. LIVE! Do something spontaneous.
YES! Jesus died to reconcile and reconnect you to God.
YES! Jesus died to take your sin and shame and for your healing, body, soul, and spirit.
YES! Jesus died so you could be free from the weight of sin and death.
BUT He also was RESURRECTED so you can LIVE AN ABUNDANT LIFE! And He sent Holy Spirit to EMPOWER you to be bold and courageous.
So dooooooo it! Get out there. Go after what makes you feel alive.
Point to ponder while you wander…your time on Earth is short…even at Moses’s 120 years…in comparison to eternity. So take some time and ask yourself what makes you feel alive? What really wakes up your soul and makes your spirit do flips in your belly?
Then partner with Jesus and go doooooo it!
You may not be living your dream life right this second…but that doesn’t mean you can’t fully live right where you are!
PS Want to change? Change your perspective my friends…because true change begins with a changed mindset. You we were given a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. Use it. Declare it. Tell fear to go back from whence it came! 😉