Friday, August 16, 2013

Who Do You Think You Are?

Happy Friday!!

Yay for the weekend! Truthfully I don't really care much for the fact that its the weekend because Jason knew since Tuesday that he would be working all weekend full days so although I plan to keep the truck tomorrow it doesn't really make much difference to me. However I am very excited that the days are going by because it is officially a week today until we leave!! I started my count down the day we got back from our last roll out so the fact that we are a week out now is super exciting.

So all week I've been talking about a post I was really excited about and I will be honest I somehow doubt many of you will find it exciting and I completely understand. I also understand that Friday really isn't a day for very serious posts but I have been putting this off all week for one reason or another so today I'm going to just dive in!

Have any of you watched that new show (or new to me) Who do you think you are? (Hence the title, it wasn't some snappy title leading into a "this bitch" story... sorry to disappoint) Anyways a couple of weeks ago I was laying in bed not being able to sleep and I saw this show on TV. If you haven't heard of it, it is basically a show about celebrities tracing their ancestry through and other means. The show is really interesting, and not just because of the celebrities, although it really does humanize them quite a bit but because its always interesting to find out where you came from.

Who didn't have to do a family tree in school? I know I did and I actually really enjoyed it. My Mom's family was really hard to trace and although on and off for years I put some effort into it, it didn't go too far. I think when you are thinking about working on a family tree you always think to start with your direct family and move back one generation at a time, I have found with this show they indeed do that but recently they don't focus on the closer generations but those further out... which is even more interesting.

I have seen quite a few episodes of the show and truth be told the more I watch the more interested I am. Part of my interest is that I really do enjoy history and being Canadian in school we learned Canadian history, not really any American so although over the years I have read a bunch of books on different aspects of American history these shows are extremely interesting to me.

Last week Zooey Deschanel was on the show and her episode was the one I found to be most interesting. The show was based around the fact that growing up her mother always insisted she came from a long line of strong woman and it was important for her to trace that back and see just how strong they were. She found an amazing story, and I found a new obsession.

As I said I really enjoy history and as Zooey's episode focused a lot around the Civil War and Abolitionism it was really interesting to hear about those times and what it was like to live through something of that magnitude and the difference it made for the world we live in today.

Having recently read The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom it focused a lot on slavery (I compared this story to that of The Help, although truthfully I think I enjoyed this book more) and I always find myself heart sick thinking about how differently we once treated each other and just how the world once worked and the progress we have made. I will admit my knowledge of slavery is limited and not until I started watching this particular episode did I realize the magnitude of the struggle to abolish it.

I remember on one of our road trips seeing the sign for the Mason-Dixon Line and laughing (cut me some slack, again I am Canadian) I guess I never put much thought into it but thought it was just one of those things people said but didn't actually mean much. Who knew that the Mason-Dixon Line was originally surveyed in 1763 and 1767 by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon (get it?). The popular usage of the Mason-Dixon Line was the symbolize a cultural boundary between Northeastern and Southern United States, meaning without giving you a major history lesson at one time is basically separated the states that utilized slaves and those that did not.

Being somewhat ignorant to American history I was also very minimally educated on the Civil War, also known as the War between the States because that's essentially what it was. The Civil War was fought between 1861 and 1865 in the United States after many southern slaves declared their secession and formed the confederacy which was also known as the Confederate States of America. After four years of miserable bloody combat over 600,000 soldier were dead, the confederacy collapsed and slavery was abolished.  This was during the time of Abraham Lincoln's presidency. 

However the Civil War essentially ended Slavery abolitionism (the movement to end slavery) first began by Spanish government who enacted the first European law abolishing colonial slavery in 1542, although it wasn't widely enforced that was so many years before the Civil War took place. Not until the 17th century did English Quakers (essentially Abolitionist) and Evangelical religious groups condemn slavery. 

See I told you wouldn't find it as interesting as I do, mostly because most of you will have learned all of this and school and really how many people are so in love with history?

I guess the idea of Slavery sticks with me, it is extremely hard for me to fathom the thought of treating one differently because of their skin color, acting as though they are beneath you over something they have no control over. Although the 1800's were obviously a long time ago the treatment of others because of their skin color was on ongoing battle for years to come, and sadly in some areas still is. 

So with my new found interest I naturally jumped on Goodreads and started looking up books to educate myself and these are a few I came across:

Just to name a few, truthfully my best bet would probably be to go get some American History textbooks which I'm not at all against! I know you are all thinking.. really this is what you have to talk about on Friday, a history lesson? In all fairness I told you from the beginning that I knew you wouldn't find it as interesting as I did.. I warned you!!! 

So this is what I'm into at the moment, if I could ever get some sleep I would get through the books that I am reading right now and invest in some of these books. I am not one of those people that can have two books on the go at the same time and the only time I will stop reading a book that I've started is if I absolutely HATE it! I'm thinking if we find the time while we are in Raleigh I might hit up a Barnes & Noble and see if I can get my hands on any of these and because I really miss walking around a book store! 

I am still not feeling dinners but we are not going out because we will be eating out a lot while we are away so we want to eat dinners at home while we can. Yesterday afternoon I cut up all the veggies I had in the fridge and made a huge stir fry! I'm really trying to eat healthy so this is a big combination of a variety of bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, celery, onions, garlic and it is AMAZING! 

Obviously Jason will never eat it so thankfully the last time we made lasagna he made an extra one and put it in the freezer so I will pop that in the oven tonight for him and I will enjoy more of this!

I will be out and about tomorrow but I will stop in with a lighter topic! I hope you are all having the wonderful 90 degree weather we are and plan to enjoy it!

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  1. Nicole, you picked a fantastic subject to talk about today. Personally I find it fascinating because it goes to thef heart of racism. I could write 10 pages on this subject of slavery. Did you know that the immortal hymn , Amazing Grace , was written by a former slave trader ? The words hold so much more meaning when you realize the context in which it was written. It explains those wors in the hymn, " that could save a wretch like me".

    If you have not watched the movie Lincoln, that came out last year I would highly recommend you buy it and watch it. It is a very powerful movie about Abraham Lincoln and I found it very powerful. It is not, historically accurate in some respects but this does nothing to diminish the powerful message of the movie. I rarely cry watching a movie but I did watching this.

    I would highly recommend Red badge of courage. It is a classic. I am not familiar with the other books you listed but I am familiar with C.S.Lewis.

    It's interesting you mentioned Evangelicals being a part of the reason Slavery was defeated. Actually Evangelicals as we knows them today did not exist back then, however there were Bible believing Christians that strongly believed that Slavery was anti biblical or at least contrary to the message of Christ. However there were those in the Christian church that believed Slavery was permitted. Obviously Christ followers that practised the message of the gospel, that all men are equal before God won the day. But it wasn't till Martin Luther king Jr and LBJ that things really started to turn around for Blacks and the struggle continues up tho today.

    So that's my history lesson. Thanks so much for having the depth to study this issue and write about it.

  2. Thanks Steve, I had a feeling you might enjoy this post! I did not know that about Amazing Grace, that is very interesting.
    I am definitely going to watch that movie, and look into getting some of these books! This topic has definitely caught my interest and I've been doing a lot of reading about it online the last week and found a ton of very interesting information.

    Thanks so much for your insight and information, if you have any other book recommendations I would love to hear them, you can view the selection I have found on my Goodreads account!