Friday, March 23, 2012

Last Doctor Visit

I went to see my last doctor today, so my medical papers are ready to be turned in for the missionary department's scrutiny.

The appointment was with my cardiologist regarding the interpretation of my stress test last week. He found my heart is in good shape and cleared me for our mission. Yay!

Now Tony is waiting to find out if he has to retake the Hepatitis A/B vaccine and he's finished too. We should be able to turn in all our paperwork next week.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Change - You Can Depend On It!

We received a call from the missionary department yesterday and they informed us we cannot go to Athens, Greece for our mission because the Greek Consulate on the West Coast is making people wait for seven months or longer to obtain a visa. No explanation from the Greek Consulate as to why.

Because we do not want to wait that long we have opted to go elsewhere. When we know for certain we will share the location.

Needless-to-say we are disappointed, but we know we will serve at the Lord's will.

Addendum: Of course now it is June and we have received our mission call to Cyprus, which is in the Greece Athens Mission - so I guess the Lord wanted us there all along! Yay!

On Sephardic Jews

This post will come as a surprise to some and a shock to others. Then again, maybe some of you may not be surprised at all.

As you know Tony and I have been researching the Vargas/Obregon families for almost 42 years. We have not given up even when all seemed impossible and we couldn't move on.

We asked questions of our elders, even video-taped their interviews, but never got answers to many of the questions we asked. In many cases there were not any answers, because there was no knowledge.

Herein lies a warning. Those of you of the younger generation - take heed. Don't ever stop talking about your ancestors! They are who make you who/what you are! I remember Mom (Hilaria Obregon Vargas) telling me that her parents never spoke of their ancestors. She said they never even mentioned their names. Please, after all it has taken to find the answers to our questions, don't be a party to this. The memories of our ancestors must be preserved. There is good reason behind this.

First of all, a professor I had in college used to say, "You'll never know where you're going if you don't know where you came from." [Poor English, I know, but it's the sentiment I'm referring to.] Secondly, we must always know about any health concerns in the family - we are our genetic makeup! And thirdly, everyone needs to be able to identify themselves with their family, to be connected.

In the past year Tony and I have spent a great deal of time researching the Duran/Vargas line, which is his paternal line. Probably the most significant blessing of our research was discovering all that Ramon (his father) had told us about his family was true - every word. Interestingly Dad received all this information from his mother (Julia) because his father died when he was so small. Julia kept the memory of the Vargas/Duran line alive by talking to Dad about them. Yay for her!

As we began to read the ancient parish records of Chihuahua, Mexico we began to become acquainted with Tony's ancestors. This was no small task as the records are in such poor condition that reading them was nearly impossible at times. We were constantly making penmanship comparisons of the records of all the people whose names were recorded on a single page with Tony's ancestors just to define one word, and the spelling thereof. Each priest or his clerk wrote differently, so the task changed from page to page.

I was finding the research really tedious last summer and happened to mention it to Miguel (our son). He then was speaking to a co-worker who is from Spain about his family's surnames, and he happened to ask what was his family's surnames. Miguel told him, "Vargas and Duran". To which his co-worker replied, "Those aren't Spanish surnames, they are Sephardic Jews". When Miguel told me this, I laughed. Never in all our time researching had we ever heard such a thing. But then when I got into the early 1700's in our research in Chihuahua our family history took a sudden turn - to the North and then to the East.

I discovered Tony's father's family came from Spain alright, but not in the 1800's as we had always presumed. Oh no - not at all. It turns out that these families came to Nueva Espana in 1492 to escape the Inquisition - when all the Jews were expelled from Spain by edict of Queen Isabela and King Ferdinand. In fact, I found many of Tony's ancestors were married as early as 1545 in Santa Fe, New Mexico!!

Another interesting thing I discovered was that the Sandoval and Gurule families of Lloyd Sandoval (whose own mother was a Gurule) were right there along with the Bargas/Duran families in New Mexico and Northern Mexico during this period of time. So the Sandoval/Gurule cousins need to realize they have been marrying into the Bargas/Duran families for centuries!

We were shocked! The next step for Tony is to have his DNA discovered and checked it against the Sephardic Jewish DNA tables of those in New Mexico who have already found out who they are. Yes, there is DNA proof that these families of New Mexico and Northern Chihuahua, Mexico are Sephardic Jews!

There is a great deal of history written and shared online and in books about the Sephardic Jews of New Mexico and Northern Mexico, so I don't need to repeat that history here. Suffice it to say we have made great strides in the discovery of Tony's family history that are remarkable. In fact, one little tidbit for you here is that his seventh great-grandfather, Tomas Manuel Duran fought in the Revolutionary War! That's right! Mexico fought along side of the Americans in the Revolutionary War. Now I know YOU didn't know that! There are actually records of the Mexican soldiers who fought in that war. Not only did Tomas Manuel Duran fight in the war, but he was also a wounded, disabled and decorated veteran of the Revolutionary War! Is that not amazing?

I will not go on, but I just had to let you know, those of you who still come to this page will now have some very interesting conversations among yourselves after reading this. And as more is gleaned I will let you know about it.

Till then - Shalom!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Our Family Continues to Grow

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. Not the least of which is the return of our granddaughter Monique Mosely to our family. Monique is the daughter of Dorothy our daughter. Monique is married and has a little girl named Destiny. Destiny is one of our almost 11 great-grandchildren, as Jacuelyne - daughter of Audrey is due in a few months with another great-grandchild. We are thrilled at the growth of our family! Monique said she had been looking for us for the past 8 1/2 years, and I told her I had been looking for her for 20+ years! I didn't know the surname of the family who adopted her many years ago.

Monique Nicole (Shea)Tansmore Jefferson Mosley

Dorothy had lived many troubled years, and when Monique was very young she was forced to give Monique over to the foster care program in California. We never knew her foster parents, who eventually adopted her. And Monique has since told me she lived in a very abusive household with her adoptive parents. I was very disappointed to hear that, and she has also told me she has little/nothing to do with any of her adoptive family, which her husband has endorsed because he feels it is detrimental to their family life. She did say she is still in touch with one of her older brothers from the family.

Destiny Mosley

Now - how did Monique come back into our family you may have asked yourself. . . well, it was all thanks to Facebook! She began trying to find me on Facebook, and when she did she saw a post from me stating I was at the UCLA Institute of Religion teaching my Wednesday night religion class. Because I used the "Check in" feature on my iPhone the address and phone number of the Institute was 'clickable' - so Monique called the phone number the next day to ask for me. Sister Margaret Park who is the UCLA Institute secretary took her call and then spoke to Brother John Neeley who is the director about connecting us, so Monique had left her phone number with Margaret and she gave it to me and I called her. We had a wonderful telephone reunion and are planning a family barbecue on Memorial Day at our home in Lancaster, CA.

Monique and Gabriel Mosley

I gave Monique Dottie's phone number and she contacted her. A few days later they met at Monique's home for dinner and are now permanently connected.

We welcome Monique, Gabriel (her husband) and daughter Destiny to our family - eternally!

More Doctor Visits

Today I had my stress test done, and it was interesting because no matter how hard the tech pushed me she couldn't get my heart rate up. She said I must be in better shape than the docs thought! Ha! I was pleased with that. Next Thursday I see the cardiologist so he can translate the test, and give me his conclusions. After I see him next Thursday I am ready to turn in my papers to Bishop Badurek, but I will have to wait for Tony to get his, so we can turn them in at the same time. Then we wait for our call.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Additional Information

An addendum to my doctor's examination - I got a call yesterday from my cardiologist's receptionist and she said they got a cancellation for a stress test and moved my test to next Thursday. Yay! God is watching over us. I am so anxious to complete this test because once I get it signed off on my physical examination papers we can turn our mission papers into the bishop and stake president and then the papers will be sent off to the church mission committee. Then it should only be 2-3 weeks before we get our call. It's a good thing because patience wears thin when there's so much to do and so little time to accomplish it. Still, I am very thankful to be on the last leg of this part of our journey.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Mission Readiness

Today I completed another facet of preparation for our mission - I got my yearly mammogram. Always unpleasant, but gratifying to know I can expect good breast health for another year. When I had that serious scare with a tumor in my right breast many years ago and had to undergo several procedures, including a lumpectomy
to determine if I had breast cancer, I determined to be vigilant in seeing that I have a mammogram yearly. The doctor still makes me have one each year. I do have a story that accompanies my breast-cancer scare. About two days after I had undergone one of the procedures to determine the nature of the tumor I had in my right breast our bishop called me in to issue me a calling in our ward. The calling was to be the new Relief Society President of the Adams Ward in Los Angeles. I was shocked because I knew I would be going through a lot of tests and the lumpectomy for the tumor. When I told him all this he looked me in the eye and told me that never had the Lord impressed upon his mind so strongly that he should issue this calling. With that I told him I would serve, no matter what happened to me, and off I went.
Eventually after all the medical procedures were completed my surgeon came to me and said she couldn't understand what had happened to me, because all the indications were that I had at least stage 2 insitu breast cancer. She said it was a miracle that I had escaped from it. I knew then why I had been called to be Relief Society President by the Lord - it was to preserve my life to serve God and my sisters. I have ever been grateful for that opportunity.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

No Pressure Day

Tony and I went to Disneyland today. We had such a nice day. Before we left Tony went to his doc to have his left arm checked because he had the TB test as part of his physical exam for our mission - he passed. Yay! I saw my cardiologist yesterday and he said my heart is in good shape, but I still have to get a stress test, it is scheduled for March 28th. After the test I will be cleared to go. Patience is always difficult for me.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Another Doc Visit

Okay, today I went back to my doctor to have my left arm checked, because on Tuesday when I saw her for my physical she had the nurse give me a shot to test me for TB. Today I passed with flying colors at my re-check. Yay!

Also, yesterday I asked Ramona to send me a new picture of Caroline, and here it is. Sweet baby girl who loves her froggy!

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