Tonight, I saw the “flash” as the sun set for the first time in my life!! 😍🥰❣️⚓️🧜🏼♀️🏖💃🏼🎉🏝🏴☠️
Sharon Slonaker and I got our hook bracelets from Bamboo, Port A’s ( Bron’s Beach Carts) received recognition at Woody’s, and the sunset was spectacular!
Tonight, I saw the “flash” as the sun set for the first time in my life!! 😍🥰❣️⚓️🧜🏼♀️🏖💃🏼🎉🏝🏴☠️
Sharon Slonaker and I got our hook bracelets from Bamboo, Port A’s ( Bron’s Beach Carts) received recognition at Woody’s, and the sunset was spectacular!
On April 26th, 2021, we moored the Star Gazer in Christmas Cove. As I was writing in my journal some thoughts hit me quite hard. I had to post the following on Facebook because I could not wait until I was able to post here on the blog. One never knows what darkness lies on the other side of beauty.
As I sit here alone in the galley writing in my journal, I cannot help but think of a categorical contrast to the beauty before my eyes and the past atrocities on an island just to my south.
We are moored in Christmas Cove, USVI, and in one turn we would be in view of what has come to be known as Pedo-Island. The island owned by Jeffery Epstein and his despicable guests.
The irony of the name of this cove and the evil which was once lurking to the south does not escape my soul. I pray for his victims and hope they can find the healing due them. The hope and joy wrapped in the promise of Christmas is something that should not bring pain to someone. Then when you consider the beautiful surroundings of this area, I’m heartbroken over the distain imposed by a self-serving & atrocious individual.
I’m in awe of this beautiful paradise; yet I’m heartbroken at the same time.
Heartbroken but Abiding Still, Rachele
If you have read the other posts on my blog, then you know that I found out some shocking news this year. 2021 has been anything but boring! In January, I discovered that my father was not my biological father after all. I mean, if you have looked at the pictures then you know…the resemblance was unreal! This year also brought me a sister through this bio-dad. She is fabulous! Let us now fast forward to April 28, 2021. This day would have been my daddy’s 79th birthday. But, it was also Siboney’s birthday!! These were two very good reasons that my heart longed to have the trip inclusive of this date in particular. I needed this time with her, time to myself to reminisce about my dad, now to use this date to have peace with the news, and finally I really needed the time at sea to spend it with my Heavenly Father! (I am a huge fan of run-on sentences…haha, just kidding, but it had to be done!)
April 28th, 2021 began with a beautiful double rainbow, which we thought would be a sign to the last of our daily island rain. Instead it was an all day drenching. Nothing like some gloomy skies to process devastating news, right?! This was the day to celebrate Siboney and for me to find some peace about my dad situation. Our plans were also sure to be enough of a distraction for me as well. We had planned for Cinnamon Bay that day then onto a lovely new private resort for a lavish experience on Siboney’s happy day. By the time we arrived to Lovango Resort, the rain had decided to stay. Being the good crew from a sailboat, we did the next best thing and adjusted our sails. Who wouldn’t do just that? Take a look at the next few pictures and you can tell me if it is just too beautiful to let the rain get you down?! From the rains behind the hills, to the white sandy beach, cotton candy skies, and the window to the sea in Cinnamon Bay (Ventana al Mar Canela Bay), this day was filled with many gifts and blessings. Of course, spending a birthday with your mermaid soul sister, is the icing on the cake! (Pun absolutely intended!)
By now, you must be asking yourself exactly why this is about God’s sense of humor. You shall wait no longer….
Waking up to the gorgeous double rainbow definitely helped set the tone for the day. However, today was still not going to be easy in my mind. I had set the day up to be a bit bad that way I would be happy if it turned out wonderful. Also, this day was not wholly about me and I wanted to make sure that stayed in the forefront. However, I must admit that a certain level of sadness encompassed my heart and soul as unexpected memories besieged me. Some sent me into fits of laughter, while others caused me to search for a space to be alone.
Once we left Cinnamon Bay, which deserves its own post, we moored up to the Lovango Beach Club and Resort. The rain had begun to ease some, so we called for the dingy to take us ashore. Since it was Siboney’s birthday and raining, they gave us a covered cabana for our stay and our own server. Our server’s name was Jimmy and he was from Boston. Lovango was owned by the same people of Martha’s Vineyard. Due to the seasonal employment and the pandemic, they offered positions in paradise to some of their employees. I would work there in a New York minute!! It is stunning!
Here is where my laughter began and my attitude greatly shifted regarding my dad, bio-dad, and Heavenly Dad. My daddy’s name was Johnny but he was called Chico. Bio-dad’s name was….I will give you a moment to guess…yes it’s the same as our server!! It WAS JIMMY! My biological father’s name was James but he went by Jimmy. Upon hearing this particular name, I looked right at Sharon and proclaimed, “God definitely has a sense of humor!! And he wanted me enjoying this day with a smile!” So I had to talk to Jimmy all day on Chico’s birthday!! I am not sure either father would have appreciated the humor but I certainly did! Even now, as I type this post on the rainiest day of 2021 in Corpus Christi, TX, I cannot help but laugh again! If I had the time and the money, I think I would have liked to buy Jimmy from Boston a drink and share my story. Maybe next time I will do exactly that!
This post must be concluded with a little advice from me. This year has not been easy but it has offered and produced many blessings and gifts. If I had not allowed for attitude adjustments, perspective challenges, and kept an open heart I would have missed them all! Be very willing to ADJUST YOUR SAILS in this life whether you have difficult news or the best news of your life. Happiness and joy can be YOUR CHOICE!!! And I must admit, this is much easier to do in paradise!!
Until next time my friends, I am Abiding Still,
We arrived at the airport to be greeted by Carnaval like characters, island music, and festive faces. the first character to greet us was towering over us from his stilts and dancing as if he had two bare feet. the beautiful ladies, donning bright colorful costumes were very welcoming. Their beauty was only outshone by their smiles. I felt most welcomed to the island of St. Thomas.
This trip was two years in the making, for me and one of my best friends, Sharon. It had been rescheduled until the third time was a charm. We were supposed to this very week in 2020, which was planned in 2019! Siboney, my sweet friend, who is also one of my best friends, was the hostess, chef, and beautiful first mate to Captain Tim. The only thing prettier than her appearance is her heart of gold! She is one incredibly kind, outrageously thoughtful, and sweet mermaid.
Tim, our gracious captain, also my friend who is like a brother, is the kind of man with stories that would make you think he was 100 years old. Unlike, most men with stories like this, his are all true. He is as unique as he is accomplished. when you sail with him, you know you have a rescuer at the helm. Tim is a former Navy rescue diver, USCG certified, and a heart as big as the ocean.
Siboney and I met and were friends from that moment on. Our friendship grew quickly and I can’t imagine my life without her or Tim in it. Those two hit it off from the moment they set eyes upon one another. It was as if their hearts extended outward to one another and drew the other person in for all eternity. It feels my heart with such joy to see their relationship become this amazing journey. They were definitely created for one another. Their dreams and experiences have come together into a union that only God could accomplish. How else would that mid-west boy meet this beautiful south Texan lady? Only our Father can do something like that! Now their lives consist of one beautiful destination after another. Which brings me back to my journey and places me in one of the most beautiful places on earth, The Virgin Islands.
Six women and one captain all set sail from St. Thomas upon the Star Gazer and began a journey from one gorgeous shore to another. This vessel has almost everything one could hope for and definitely all that we need. The galley is roomy and all in one with the salon. With 4 roomy berths, each having its own head, this sailboat provided a wonderful home away from home for the week. There was plenty of room to nap, sun, watch the sunrise and sunset, all while maintaining adequate privacy and together time. This is a vacation I will repeat as often as possible for the remainder of my life.
Stay tuned for more on this mermaid’s journey around coves and bays of the US Virgin Islands.
This year has really made me understand why so many people have used some form of the quote below. It is also no wonder that I could not determine the original quote. I can only imagine that it came from long ago. This exact version of it came from Thomas S. Monson.
“We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust our sails.”
Entering into the many forums regarding DNA surprises opened a new reality for me. The many parallel yet different stories have caused me to adjust my sails, emotionally speaking. It is astonishing how many people are experiencing this in growing numbers! The one thing that rings true among the majority of us with parental surprises, is that we don’t really like to hear that ‘nothing has changed’. We know that it truly “hasn’t” in some aspects, but internally things have definitely changed. Many, like me, who have had a DNA surprise are now questioning our identity. Most of us know that our parents, as we understood them to be, loved us. We know that our family loves us. But for some that is not the case. Many people are experiencing heartache upon heartache. Some are being told not to ever contact them again or being told not to tell certain people. They are now a “secret”. Some are learning that the one they searched for has passed away. The new families are not all awarding a warm reception or an ounce of acceptance. I am so grateful that my newly found sister wanted to meet and wants to be family. Seeing the stories, which are confidential, I began to feel some closure and healing in my new reality. The stories I have read have also shaped my perspective in a healthy way. Peace has encompassed me even though I will not find any answers. I cannot presume to know how my parents would have reacted. To do that would only put unnecessary worry upon myself. I don’t have to doubt whether either of them loved me unlike some are having to do. However, I will say that the year my mother died was the last year that I truly felt secure. This speaks volumes to me now. My dad loved me, but I did not always feel secure. The only security some people ever have is in knowing WHO they are. Now many are struggling with that very crisis due to DNA results and familial reactions. Even if you do not like, love, or respect your parents, the foundation of your identity began with the names on the birth certificate.
We have had our laughs watching shows which reveal the father. The scene is usually disturbing and chaotic leading us to wonder why anyone would put themselves in such a public position. Now…now, I can understand the innate desire to know, truly know who your father is at all cost. After all, it is the foundation of our identity, right? Until one has been in this situation, it is extremely difficult to have true empathy or even words to say. I have a couple of friends who ask me how I am doing but most just go on like nothing has changed. AND…it hasn’t…or has it? Some days I feel like nothing has changed, then the wave of grief hits me. I will go quickly to the mirror and study my face again. Then I look into the mirror and ask myself, “Who am I?” once again. This struggle is exactly what is happening as my father’s birthday approaches. It feels different internally.
On April 28th, 1942 when Johnny Charles Bone was born. He was a mess but he was a good man. His lifelong best friend, Brenda, has told me many stories. She also opened for Willie Nelson and got to hold his guitar. (I know that doesn’t apply here but it’s pretty darn cool!) Her son, David, even wrote a song about my dad. He tried to sing it for me once when he was performing at the Houston Rodeo BBQ Cook Off. He cried, I cried, my friend cried. I am still waiting for the day to hear the whole song. He loved my dad too. He was Uncle Chico to a lot of people, blood or not. He will always be my dad, blood or not. He was immediately exposed to chicken pox the day he was born and nearly died. My grandfather ran over him with a jeep in the sand. He went to the hospital and was ultimately ok. I think he was 3 or 4 when that happened. My grandmother was a wreck, I am told. He was her youngest, hence the name “Chico”. The closer I get to his birthday the more stories, memories, and emotions slip into my mind. It feels like it is time to once again adjust my sails.
I am finding it difficult to think of how to honor him on his day in light of the news. I am supposed to on a sailboat in the US Virgin Islands on his birthday. Two of my best girlfriends will be there too. One of them shares his birthday, and this touches my heart deeply. We will all know the certainty of this trip in 2 days. I have looked forward to being out on the water on April 28th since last April 28th. This trip has been rescheduled 3 times. (I really hope it happens.) The last 12 months have truly brought home the need to “adjust the sails”. It feels as if I am adjusting my emotional sails daily. So, how appropriate will it be to be on a sailboat while reminiscing and spending some quiet moments with my Heavenly Father? I can feel it in my bones and I am longing to be there. The saltwater has always helped me gain perspective and work through difficult thoughts. The peace the ocean brings, especially to this water loving believer, is difficult to duplicate elsewhere. The waters of the Caribbean have long been my happy place. Even now, I close my eyes and picture myself there. I am ready to literally adjust my sails and feel the ocean spray wash over me.
One of my favorite shirts has this: Saltwater Heals Everything. For me this is true!
Thank you for joining me on this journey!
Abiding Still, Rachele
Ungraceful. Inelegant. Clumsy. Carelessly…
Yes, that is exactly how I have felt about my behavior since January. Life has thrown some crazy stuff at me lately. The gamete stretches from good to stressful at warped speed. What is the good, you ask? I am so glad you asked! I am engaged to a man that is far beyond the man of my dreams. I have never met someone who has endured this level of difficulty in such a short amount of time! To call my fiancé a ‘gem’ would be a mammoth understatement. I don’t think the rest of our lives will be long enough to properly express my gratitude. What I do know is that he is God’s gift designed just for me. He unknowingly stepped into the chaos of my life (some of which I was unaware myself). I promise to fill you in. The stressful points are common to some and uncommon to most.
I must admit that this journey had me questioning my sanity at times. Once I realized that the results were real on Ancestry, my perspective changed. Words really cannot describe how this news makes one feel. I questioned everything about my past for a brief period. But then again, there are times we simply must ask ourselves some tough questions. It was time to make sure my plumb line was correct for my own emotional and spiritual wellbeing. The following are some of the questions I have asked myself:
1. DNA vs Identity
We spend our early lives identifying who we are based upon who are parents are. Once we have reached elementary school age, our identity is influenced through friends and teachers. A child will notice invitations to birthday parties and sleepovers to determine how they fit. Receiving a birthday invitation validates our existence, this carries into junior high and high school as well. The crowd we run with not only affects how you see yourself but also how others, namely adults, see you. We look into the mirror to determine our self worth based upon current societal standards. During this time in our lives, we forget or never learn to look inward and truly know who we are. It is in our DNA and the behaviors which surround us. Some families truly celebrate their heritage while others celebrate culture, religion, and status quo. This still will never determine who we are. DNA tells us where we came from and possible inherited traits, behaviors, and health. DNA does not determine the value of self. What I have observed over the last few months in that more and more people are determining their worth on the DNA results. It is serving as confirmation for some and deep heartache for others. The shock that comes from an unexpected result is very real and very deep. And once again, we are looking in the mirror wondering exactly who we are.
2. Who Am I?
In part 2 of my journey, I mentioned that I would stare into the mirror and wonder where my traits originated. But God had other plans as to how I should look into the mirror. In 1977, at the tender age of 5, I accepted Christ as my Savior. My Memaw, my mom’s mother, would take me to church with her when I would stay the weekend and that is how I came to know the Lord. Discipleship did not enter my life until adulthood; however, I always knew that He was with me. After my mother passed away in 1983, I felt lost all over again but I knew He was still with me. The thought that ran through my head was, “Who am I without my mom?” I was only 11 years old and had all of the toughest parts of being a girl ahead of me. She had the foresight to tell me all sorts of things about life, for which I am forever grateful. It was HIM, because He was with me. My father had the biggest part in teaching me to love, forgive, and treat others better than I wanted to be treated. Although he never attended church or read his Bible, he was actually teaching me as the Lord Himself would.
He taught me to be kind, treat others with kindness and grace, and that I was to never think of myself as better than anyone else. To him, it was the golden Rule, but in the end I have always known it was my Heavenly Father speaking through him. My dad always pushed me to do better as well. He would be so disappointed when I would have a grade less than 85% for the six weeks or on a test. And yes, I would be grounded until the next report card. And yes, he would often let me off early. Being an only child had its advantages in that regard. He would ground me, yet we would still go to the movies. He was a softy in a hard crabby shell. He told me I was smart, capable, beautiful, and creative. He told me he loved me and other than my rebellious years, I always believed him. He passed away in 1997 when I was 24. That was likely harder on me than my mom. She had been suffering; his was sudden. It seemed unfair. It was then that God first told me that I am not an orphan. In fact, the Lord began to teach me that I was HIS child. At that point in my life, I began to get a glimpse of who I am.
3. Who Does God Say I Am?
He calls us His own. He loves us. Why should I be lost in any conclusion about myself other than HIS? I am sacrificially loved by my Heavenly Father! It is not about WHO we are in the end; it is about WHOSE we are!
4. How Do I Know God is Present!
God being present is where we often struggle. This is also where it is difficult to convince a non-Christian of His existence. But if you have faith you can sense the things unseen and feel the things that are not tangible. God has been with me throughout my life. He was there when He called me to his own. He was there when He called my parents to their heavenly home. HE IS HERE!
I know God is present when I am at my weakest. His words have filled my heart when sorrow cast its shadow upon my soul. He was present when my car would not move at the green light and the 18 wheeler plowed through their red light at an obnoxious speed. He was there during every gift and every heartache this life has thrown my way. I could list so many different times that He revealed Himself to me, but I will conclude with the present experience.
I know God IS present while I process the DNA results of fatherhood. He IS present because HE was already here with me. Since the early 2000’s I have studied the different names of the Lord. It was this meditation which helped me to accept this new reality: Johnny “Chico” was not my biological father. It is as strange to type as it is to hear. A man named James “Jimmy” was actually the one who took part in my conception. Since both fathers are no longer living, God has made His presence real and upfront for me. Whether it was something a friend said or sent, or something I read at the right moment, He was here and holding me. When ever I would pray about how this could possibly be for my good, I would be reminded that He brings beauty from ashes. When the sobbing would ensue, I could feel His indescribable peace wash over me.
I now feel total peace over these results, but I know there will still be moments when the shock wave will rollover my heart again. I have so much to look forward to in getting to know my sister and all the blessings that will bring to both of our lives. At least now when I look into the mirror I know where I received my physical attributes. Finally, I know that WHO I am isn’t really the relevant question any longer. It’s WHOSE I am, that brings me the peace which surpasses all understanding.
Abiding Still, Rachele
NPE = Not Parent Expected
2021 began with big discovery for me and it has taken me some time to truly digest and understand it. For Christmas, I bought my fiancé and I the AncestryDNA kits. I sent mine in quickly because I was not going to wrap mine. The results came in at the end of December. After briefly glancing at it I realized that I did not have time to walk through it, so I waited. We moved in January and it was then that I started looking into the matches. There were so many matches a few of which I recognized. So I thought to myself, “Ok, this is real because I am matching with my cousin Michael.” Then I noticed a “close family” match, which began my investigation into my DNA matches.
I spent most of my nights awake for hours trying to make sense of this “evidence”. Prior to the AncestryDNA test, I took the CRIGenetics DNA test. That test came back 40% German, which was no surprise to me. However, AncestryDNA says that I am only 3% German but more English and Scottish. I am still trying to decipher that information. As each night would linger on I would look up resources and charts for interpreting DNA results. There are charts available that show the possible relations with your matches based upon Centimorgans (CMs). Facebook also offers many groups for support and sharing when there is a DNA surprise. Most of the sites I found were due to searching for DNA counseling and assistance to make sense of it all. I think I had discovered that I might belong to a new group of people, The NPE’s.
Centimorgans is what experts use to describe how much DNA and the length of specific segments of DNA you share with your relatives. These shared segments are divided up into centimorgans. The more centimorgans you share with someone, the more closely you are related.
A “close relative” match of 1859 CMs would be either of the following: Grandparent, Aunt/Uncle, Niece/Nephew, Grandchild, or Half Sibling. So at this point, I went through each possibility and looked Shane in the eyes and said, “This lady is my half sister!!! There is no other possible option! I am going to reach out to her and ask her how she thinks we are connected.” With his full support, I messaged her and was met with shock on my part. SHE had been looking for ME!! Wait! What?!? Apparently, Bio-Dad knew I existed. Since all parties involved in my birth and rearing have passed away, I will never have full answers. I am ok with that! This discovery was not something I was expecting at all. There was no doubt in my mind about my father. Commencing forth was the shock and shut down of my world. I did not know how to understand or accept this. It was just more than my brain could handle.
After a few messages with her, we became friends on Facebook and exchanged phone numbers. Then I just had to find more pictures! She texted some pictures and I had grabbed a couple of the Ancestry Tree of bio-dad. So I decided to make some comparisons of the images to help my overloaded brain and heart. Let me tell you that as soon as I compared him to my son I was DONE! This man was definitely my biological father, no more doubts!
NOW I HAD SOME RESEARCH TO DO!
Entering into the scene that is now my life are some wonderful people from supportive Facebook groups! DNA Surprise Support Group, DNA NPE Friends, NPE Only: After the Discovery, and last but definitely not least DNAngels Client Group. I had an interview with DNAngels and they accepted me as a client. The lady that took my case was extremely thorough and did confirm that James Hardman was my biological Father. I was also able to ask her about connecting with others through my expected father…my maiden name is linked to my mother’s side of the family! Then I discovered that my first love is my cousin!! We had reunited and it did not pan out, now I am glad. THAT IS JUST WEIRD!! This story just keeps adding twists and turns. (I hope they are all done now!)
As you can see, I am convinced that this man was with my mother. Part of me is glad I do not have to face either of my parents with this new reality. They loved me and I loved them! They can rest in Heaven and I have a new sister! She and I have contact when we can. My Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways for sure. My half sister actually lives near my future mother in law! We are going to meet in person this Saturday. There is probably still more to this story and I will update after we meet!
Where am I? Or as Shane will ask me, “How is your heart today?” I am doing OK! This all brought me back to my one TRUE FATHER, ABBA, DADDY, The MOST SOVEREIGN FATHER OF ALL! My parents shaped me and did an overall wonderful job with me through many trials and illnesses. My mother died when I was 11 and my father when I was 24. My new half sister told me that Jimmy passed away in 2009. We will not be getting any explanations or answers. So, where do you go when you don’t know what is next and your mind is a mess? I go to the ROCK, My Father in Heaven. I have studied His names for years upon years. All of that time studying about God being our Father has truly helped me through this situation. HE knew then what I know now! HE carefully prepared me to absorb this shock and welcome this wonderful lady into my life. She even told me that Grandmother Hardman would be so pleased and is likely telling everyone in Heaven that we finally met!
I could be mad. I was.
I could be sad. I was.
I could be hurt. I was.
I could be confused. I was.
I could be shaken. I was.
Or I could have faith. I DO!
Because, I am a daughter of the KING! I am HIS and HE is mine! I don’t have to question my identity, ethnicity, or even my earthly father! I put my trust in the Heavenly Father who tended to my heart before I even knew I needed it!
Welcome to my blog! I am Rachele Lynn. I used Blogger for a lot of my writing several years ago. After reading my past posts, I felt the deep need to jump back into the blogging community. I am very excited to create a new post, but I am still waiting upon inspiration from the Lord.
My posts will include Biblical studies, experiences, friendships, women, poetry, stories, travels, and sometimes random, yet deep, thoughts.
Please come back soon and see what is going on in my world as I try to catch up in all of yours.
Since blogging under Abiding Branch, so much has changed and I will definitely be covering a lot of it. I began to say that I am Abiding Again, but my fiancé reminded me that I had not stopped. I merely wandered, often and a lot!
I cannot thank you enough for stopping by and I hope to see you again real soon!
Thank you so much,
Under the guise of a ladies Christmas brunch, I became the future Mrs. Shane Beckwith. The date was 12/12/2020.
I am not sure the last ten years prepared for me this exact moment, but they have certainly prepared me for a life with this man.
This is the most gorgeous ring I have ever had on my hand! My honey did a very good job!!
This is the spot where he proposed to me. It was supposed to be a ladies brunch. He was able to keep about 20 people quiet in order to make this a surprise. The deck is behind one of my longest and best friend’s house.
As I walked outside, I was told to keep on walking then he popped up and took my hand. Moments before he proposed, he asked that we pray together. It was the most beautifully romantic setting, gathering, and proposal. He absolutely blew me away. Of course, I knew this was coming at some point but he still took my breath away!
This is where I reminded him that I was an only child and like hearing, “YES” to questions and requests. He said, “Noted. Should I be scared?” No, honey, it’s all good, trust me.
2020 ended with a literal ring to it!
2021, well that’s another story and a different post.
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