Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Why I Blog: My Heart And Soul

Grandma Margaret and cousin Beanie

Thanks to Bernita Allen I was inspired to pen this blog. After reading her story about her grandma Edna. My grandmother instantly came to mind. Bernita's story, which was like reading a great book. Made me think about the beauty of family and why I blog about family history.

I am the last person that thought that I would ever be blogging. Especially since up until a few short months ago I didn't know exactly what a blog was. It wasn't until then that I realized that the stories that I grew up listening to were enough to fill the pages of a book. Genealogy has been my passion for many years. I thought that having a family tree on Ancestry.com was good enough. I've always made my tree public. Sharing my collection of names, dates, and a few pictures. Finding relatives along the way. What I never shared were the stories. These stories of my ancestors are what my grandma Margaret had shared with me all my life. They were wrapped up in the special private moments that we shared with one another. To many moments to count. Thanks to her, I had a personal story to go with the most of the names. Grandma knew something about everyone in the family. Relatives that I didn't know, those who were long gone. They lived through the stories that she told about them. She gave special details of what they looked like, their personality, what their life was like. So much information that since I've started blogging I sometimes don't know where to begin.

Through these stories she was sharing a piece of herself with me. The memories of her parents and her family were special to her and she wanted me to know.  I became fascinated with my grandma and everything about her. The stories of  my ancestors have been engrained in my mind and reside in my heart. I can still see us sitting at her small kitchen table..talking over a cup of tea. Even as an adult I would go spend the weekend with her at her home. I remember the last time that I was there. She insisted that I take the huge family picture book. I refused, knowing how special the pictures were to her. She insisted again, telling me that she wanted me to have them. She said that it was time and that I would know what to do with them. At the time she was 90 years old and I hadn't a clue of what she meant by saying that. I took the book and didn't ask her what she meant. I kept thinking to myself,  had I really asked her everything? What else could I ask her that she had not already told me. I tried hard to think of something..nothing else came to mind. It wasn't long before her life changed. I watched my feisty grandmother who was always sharp as a tack slip away. Her eyes no longer sparkled, their color had changed to a dark dull grey. She had become a victim of Dementia, and it had robbed her of her memories. She no longer recognized me as her granddaughter.
L. to R. Mom with her mother,Grandma Margaret and unknown cousin

Letting Go And Sharing The Story:
The day that I requested to join the new Facebook group AAGSAR (African American Genealogy & Slave Ancestry Research)  was a new beginning. Little did I know that becoming a member of this new group would change my genealogy research as I knew it. I thought it was like any other Facebook genealogy group. I quickly found out that was not true. This is a serious ancestor seeking, helping one another, working group. Thanks to Luckie Daniels and her gentle nudge..well, it was actually more like a big push. Always gently encouraging me to keep moving. I started a blog. In the beginning, it was very uncomfortable. I remember thinking that I have absolutely nothing to say, what would I blog about?  I felt like I needed "Blogging for Dummies". I was not a writer. I certainly was not prepared for this. Following the example of  the great bloggers of AAGSAR..I continued to work on my blog. There were so many beautiful blogs. Each one was amazing. In this group." Each one teach one" truly comes to life.

Everyone stands on the shoulders of those who came before. Someone always leads the way. When the student is ready, the teacher appears. I guess I was finally ready to share the stories and a blog was the platform that I needed. I am thankful that I was guided to AAGSAR and for it's creator, Luckie Daniels. With four blogs I would say that I have become a bit addicted to blogging. I still consider myself a newbie, always searching for the right words. Trying to find my way.

I blog because of family, for my grandmother, for the Ancestors who are leading the way. I know now that I must tell their story. It continues to be a journey of self discovery. I have learned that Blogging is truly good for the soul. I now understand why grandma wanted me to have the picture book. I know what she meant when she told me that I would know what to do. She knew what I didn't know.. This is what I was supposed to do. Share the story. She had given me everything that I needed. I just had to reach within myself.


© 2013 Denise Muhammad


  1. Such a beautiful tribute to your grandmother and the stories she shared. And now you are part of that tradition with your blog.

  2. You say you aren't a writer, but you are! Beautiful post.

  3. Straight from the heart!!!

  4. I believe your grandmother would be so proud of you sharing the stories she shared with you. You are doing good, real good.

  5. Dementia? Now I know why we are Kindred & why Grandma Margaret sent you my way. She already had the plan for you Denise; she already knew you were the one. You only needed to be given the vehicle to deliver it. You will never know how much this post was needed this morning. I thank you both for that. Yes... you have certainly upped your game my dear. ROCK THE BELL!:)

  6. OMG!!!! This is a wonderful blog!!!! I just love it, the stories, the sharing and the passing on of the torch!!!

  7. Miss Denise, i love reading your blogs. They are beautifully written, heartfelt, and i feel your love flowing as you tell the story. Well done, look forward to many more.

  8. That was Beautiful and reminds me to keep doing what I'm doing! Thanks to Grandma Margaret! We all needed this. Can't wait to hear more of her stories thru you!

  9. Denise,
    That post was so incredibly beautiful. You are a gifted and talented writer. I love reading your blogs. Your Grandma Margaret had such keen insight and she knew she by giving the picture book that you would take care of them and tell your family story. That must have an amazing moment between you two. She must smiling down on your right now for you have truly taken the torch and ran with it. You did an amazing job with this story and I can't wait to read many many more.

  10. Thank you Bernita. It was your story about your grandmother, that started my thoughts going. Your story was so beautiful! I felt an instant connection. My grandma was also born in Danville,Illiniois. Her family lived there for several years before returning to Iowa.

  11. Denise,
    You are more than welcome. I'm really happy that you connected to the story about my grandmother. Thank you for saying that. What a coincidence that your grandmother and mine were from the same town. What year was she born?


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