Easy as Pie!

Proverbs 31 is full of references to how our Biblical role model put extra effort into everything she did for her family. When you go the extra mile, you enjoy what you’re doing so much more.

Take baking a pie, for instance: You prepare the bottom crust, fill the pie, add the top crust, pierce, crimp and bake. It comes out steaming, aromatic and delicious! There is nothing quite like a homemade pie!

But imagine how much more creative you could be with your family’s favourite pie recipe! With the use of an embossed rolling pin, ravioli cutter and a few techniques, you could create a pie that is a work of art! The flowers are as simple as the ones we made from playdough as children!

My Connection to Anne Boleyn

Today marks the 485th anniversary of the death of Anne Boleyn in the Tower of London on May 19, 1536.

The “other Boleyn girl,” Mary Boleyn, was married to William Carey, who served King Henry VIII as a Gentleman of the Privy chamber and Esquire of the Body to the King. Mary became Henry’s mistress shortly after their marriage in 1520.

William Carey was the son of Margaret Spencer and Sir Thomas Carey. While Margaret is not from the same Spencer family as the late Princess Diana, she was the 3rd great granddaughter of King Edward III.

Thomas Carey and Margaret Spencer had the following children:

  • Sir John Carey, of Plashey (1491–1552), married Joyce Denny (1495–1559)
  • Anne Carey (1493–1550)
  • William Carey (1500–1528), Gentleman of the Privy Chamber and Esquire of the Body to King Henry VIII of England, married Mary Boleyn.
  • Margaret Carey (1496–1560)
  • Eleanor Carey (died after 1528). She was a nun at Wilton Abbey.
  • daughter, name unknown. She was a nun at Wilton Abbey.
  • Edward Carey (after 1500–1560)
  • Mary Carey (1501–1560), married John Delaval, Sheriff of Northumberland (1493–14 Dec 1562)

Mary Carey and John DeLaval are my 12th great grandparents. I am descended from their son, Sir John deLaval 1512-1572 who married Anne Ogle b1515. The line continues through to my grandparents, parents, and myself.

A very interesting person on the tree is William James Bowes, who was born on 15 Nov, 1760 in Glamis, Scotland, and was the grandson of Sir William Bowes MP and Elizabeth Blackiston. Sir William is the 5th great grandfather of the Queen Mother, as his daughter, Mary Eleanor Bowes, married John Lyon, the 9th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne and hypenated the name to Bowes-Lyon. But back to William, the grandson, and my ancestor:

He married Lady Margaret Monteith, who was born 2 Oct 1768 in Inverary Castle, Inverary, Argylshire, Scotland. This was a marriage which his family considered unsuitable. The reason is a mystery. In any case, they left Scotland and emigrated to Canada, where they set up a farm in Ramsay Township, Lanark Co, Ontario.

That shows more than anything else how so many Canadians and Americans of English descent have noble and royal blood, despite the fact that we have farmers in our recent family trees… my maternal great-grandmother was Marguerite Bowes!

Keeping Promises

As Dave and I were eating breakfast this morning, we commented on today being the 95th birthday of Queen Elizabeth, less than a week after the funeral of Prince Philip. Ten years before I was born, on her 21st birthday, this remarkable woman gave a speech that we all remember on this day:

“I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”

Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) April 21, 1947

It’s hard to realize how young she was at the time, and yet the promise she made was one she continues to keep to this day. How many of us can say the same? It made me think about the promises we make, and how they really aren’t promises at all. “I’ll pray for you,” seems to be something we say when we don’t know what else to say. When we say we’ll pray for someone, let’s pray, and keep praying. “I’m here for you” is another. Yet how many times are we too tired or too busy when the person really needs to talk to us?

The promises that matter are the little promises we make to the people in our lives, both friends and family. But sometimes, we need to realize that we can’t promise something, rather than make an impossible commitment that we know we won’t be able to honour. Often, we promise to do something that is beyond our ability, which is an impossible promise to keep. It seems easier in the short term to make a promise than to admit we cannot do it.

The most important promises, our marriage vows, seem to fade into the distance with the realities of day to day life. I would love to see every couple privately repeat their vows yearly on their anniversary, and celebrate milestone anniversaries with a formal vow renewal.

Proverbs 31 women, let’s become known for making promises we can keep, and keeping the promises we make. After all Jesus kept His promise to us when He said, “I am with you always.” (Matthew 28:20)

Kings and Farmers in Your Family Tree

People in Biblical times kept an oral history (and later a written history) that included their ancestors. The New Testament had two separate and very detailed genealogies of Jesus. No doubt, the Proverbs 31 family was aware of their ancestry. What more exciting project for you to do with your children while quarantined than to trace your family history!

I’ve written about this before as it is a hobby of mine, and I recently came across an article that intrigued me. In 2012, a 12 year old California girl traced the genealogy of all the residents and discovered that 42 of them descend from King John Lackland, known for signing the Magna Carta in 1215 (I myself have 2 lines descending from him.)

This is nothing special. I can almost guarantee you also have royal blood, and it all comes down to little math: you have 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparents, 16 great-great grandparents, 32 great-great-great grandparents, and so on… As you go back generation by generation, the number of individual ancestors  grows exponentially and will soon exceed the total population of the world at that time.  30 generations (back to the Middle Ages) would give you theoretically over 1 billion ancestors. 40 generations (to the Dark Ages) gives you over a trillion ancestors, at a time when the planet’s population was around 200 million.

More math: if you divide your theoretical 1 trillion ancestors by the actual population of 200 million, and the average ancestor would appear on your family tree 5,000 times.  Then it gets more complicated. For this to happen, many died in infancy and childhood, so all of the 200 million alive in the Dark Ages did not produce children – many didn’t and so wouldn’t appear on anybody’s family tree, meaning that other ancestors would actually appear many more than 5,000 times.

Kenneth Wachter first illustrated this in his 1980 book “Ancestors at the Norman Conquest”. He calculated that in 1977 an average person born in 1947 would have had 32,768 theoretical ancestors 15 generations ago (at 30 years between generations), around 1527 AD; of these, 96% would have been ‘real’ and 4% duplicates.  Going back 20 generations to 1377 AD and he would have over 1 million theoretical ancestors, 40% of which would be duplicates.  25 generations ago, around 1227 AD – not long after the reign of King John – he would have over 32 million theoretical ancestors, 94% of which would be duplicates and only 6% ‘real’, i.e. 2 million, or 80% of the estimated English population of 2.5 million at that time.

The earliest it happened in my family tree was in the 1700s, when I discovered that I descend from both a son and a daughter of Edward Hicks. A more extreme example is that of Alfonso XIII of Spain (1886-1931), who only had 4 great-grandparents instead of the usual 8 because of royal inbreeding.

Your family tree is diamond-shaped rather than an inverted pyramid.  As you go further back the number of ancestors in each generation increases steadily up to a point, then slows, stops, then reduces.  And as there are fewer people to put on the branches of the 7 billion family trees of people living today, it is a mathematical certainty that, at some point, there will be an ancestor who appears at least once on everybody’s tree – the ‘most recent common ancestor’ of all humans currently alive.

This also explains why we are all descended from Charlemagne, and I have been able to trace back 10 lines so far. Here’s where the royalty comes in: Those who were more likely to survive and have children of their own were those from wealthy families. With these families arranging marriages for financial and political gain, we have sons and daughters of royalty marrying into noble families.

However, in the period between the 15th and 16th centuries, we see a large migration from England and other parts of Europe to North America. Money wasn’t as important as the ability to grow food. Now money and titles were less important than the ability to grow food and those with the largest farms became the new leaders of these colonies.

Here is the link to my post on Charlemagne.

Fifteen Home Projects to do While in Quarantine

The best thing about being in quarantine is that we are all safe in our own homes! And what better opportunity to work on our homes, now that we suddenly “have the time?”

Many of you will be tackling the jobs that have been waiting for awhile, such as painting or even installing new toilets. But the rest of you will want something a little less time or energy consuming, so here is a list of home projects that can be done all in one day:

  • Deep cleaning — more important right now than ever! Start with the kitchen one day, the bathrooms the next, and keep going on a different room each day, until the whole house is disinfected and sparkling
  • Do something about your stereo or computer wires
  • Wash the windows, inside and out
  • Tackle one closet each day. Remove everything, purge what you don’t need, and replace the rest
  • Do the same with your kitchen cupboards
  • Completely organize your basement (this might take more than one day.)
  • Ditto for your garage
  • Go through the family’s clothes and handle anything that needs to be mended buttons replaced, etc
  • Organize your filing cabinet and shred any documents you no longer need
  • Get creative with using up perishables in your fridge
  • Try a new recipe each day
  • Clean your oven
  • Rearrange the furniture — it’s like getting a new home for free
  • Do some gardening
  • Organize your pantry — no doubt your shopping habits have changed a little lately