Skip to main content


A few days ago I went on the coolest field trip. My cousin and I did a family history tour. We explored the places that were important to his parents and my parents and our grandparents. I loved meeting some of the extended family that I'd seen before on zoom, and I loved being in the cemetery where my grandparents were buried. I have a new satisfaction from this physical connection. Being able to feel the summer sun and the dust on my feet, these are part of finding my roots.

This journey actually began sixteen years ago. Rewind the clock and I was super pregnant with baby #2 when my dad's dad passed away. Of course I was too pregnant to travel, so I missed the services. Years went by, and the time finally came when I thought I'd go pay my respects to them in Colorado. I have good memories of my Grandma and Grandpa Bare living there when they were older. So of course it seemed natural to find the little cemetery by their house, where they'd be buried. I drove the eight hours from our home in Utah, across the mountains, to a little town in the Denver area. I went straight to the cemetery and took two steps forward, when the thought came to me, 'You'd better go ask your aunt where to go, you won't be able to find them without her help.' So I went inside the house and chatted with her, only to realize that they were buried in KANSAS not Colorado. Well. At least I tried.

Fast forward a bunch more years, and finally the time is right and I decide to make my way to Kansas. This time I enlisted the help of my cousin Mark, knowing that he'd know where to go and I could lean on his knowledge and connections in the midwest. 

I set out early in the morning, leaving Texas when it was dark. At the Oklahoma state line, I was greeted with the old familiar sight of casinos all over the place. Remember Nevada was my home for a while too? So seeing all the casinos was super fun.

Stopping in this little town just made me smile.

Around sunrise, I met up with Mark in Oklahoma City. He showed me photos of the tornado that tore through his neighborhood a few years back. Then we began driving north. The main destination was a cemetery, but there were other cool stops along the way.

We spent some time in Wichita and appreciated the Native American history. I love the wooden carvings on this totem pole.

Cool bridge architecture, and a restaurant with a nostalgic past. Mark told me that one time for Grandpa's birthday, they bought a dozen burgers from NuWay and he was SO happy. I think the fries and onion rings there were pretty amazing.

After Wichita, we continued on our journey, eventually finding the cemetery in the middle of nowhere. This next photo shows a grave marker with an open Bible on the top. I love that so much. Also notice the lichen and mossy stuff growing on the sides of the stone.

I love the detail on the following two photos. Look at how there's a flower motif carved into the stone. I wish I could tell what the cursive script said at the base of the memorial.

(I'm not sharing specific photos of the tombstones of my family members here. If you're related to me and are interested in seeing them, please send an email and I will share them privately.) But if you want to hear my favorite song about a cemetery, go here for Sara Bareilles' song called Chasing the Sun.

Apparently the state flower of Kansas is the wild sunflower. AND that happens to be my sister's favorite flower. 

After talking to Mark's mom on the phone, she reminded us that there are some cousins living nearby. So we called and when they didn't answer, we decided to be wild and crazy and approach one of the houses uninvited. "Do they shoot people on sight around here?" we wondered aloud. Thankfully, the answer is no. Genevieve and Larry and Tammy were welcoming and kind. It was fun to finally meet in person after seeing them occasionally on the cousins' zoom meeting. What a lovely way to spend some time in the afternoon.

Our last stop was in Stillwater. I finally made it to Eskimo Joe's and the food was delicious. I love this town. What an awesome bonus to meet up here and share a meal with my cousin's daughter.  Love you Paige!

So to sum things up, it was an amazing day where I learned new things and connected with some really wonderful people and old places. I'm so glad for a day to remember my heritage, and to appreciate the past. This is me waving to y'all. If you haven't done something like this yet, don't worry. When the time is right, you'll find your way to your own metaphorical family tree. For now, I'll appreciate my roots and the connection to my grandparents and loved ones. Also, I need to thank my cousin Mark one more time, for being the best driver, listener, lemonade finder, and cemetery explorer.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Love your "Roots" journal, Kristina, and others you've written on your blog, as well. You're a great and thoughtful writer. I think it is a Bare thing as your grandparents and the "Three Bares" all enjoy sharing their thoughts.... I'm so happy Mark was able to take you to Kansas and so glad you got to meet Genevieve and Larry & Tammy and share Eskimo Joe's with Paige... Love you lots, Aunt Linda

    1. Thanks Linda, for the support and encouragement in my writing and over the phone. I hadn't thought of that before, but you're right: so glad your folks took time to write their history. I'm so grateful for Mark's help this day, and for time in Kansas and Oklahoma. Love you too!

  3. Kristy, I love this! ❤️
    Jeff and I would love photos of the family graves that you explored. Will you text or email them to me?

    1. Hi Stephanie, thanks for leaving me a comment! That's awesome. I'm finally going through my phone today and will send a bunch of photos soon. Love you Stephanie!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Be There at the Crossroads

  Last week I was looking through an old box, searching for letters that Norm and I wrote to each other before we got married. I didn't find the letters but instead found an old journal from 1987. Look below and see my handwriting when I was a ten year old girl living in San Diego. We’d just moved there from Grand Junction, and I talked about missing our cat, about making new friends, going to Disneyland with my dad and my brother. It was really fun to read through this old journal. I'm glad I wrote that stuff down!  In the middle of these memories from 1987, I was also searching for a quote about mothers and their great influence on their kids. And the quote was something like “be there at the crossroads” when your children are coming and going. Turns out that the quote I was searching for also came from the late 80's. A brilliant church leader and prophet, President Ezra Taft Benson, talked to the women and spent time encouraging and reminding us why motherhood is impor

2021 Christmas Card

December 2021  Dear Friends and Family, We love you and and miss y'all that are far away in WA and UT and other places!! This year we skipped our tradition of sending a Thanksgiving card and opted for a virtual Christmas card instead. It saved a ton of stamps and envelopes, but I definitely miss the glitter and sparkle. We hope you can feel our love even through a simple email or blog post. One tradition we couldn't skip was our gratitude tree, where the little leaves are a list of blessings. We are so thankful for God's goodness and mercy every day. Here's the highlight reel:  Cade graduated, made lots of Domino's pizza, read probably a thousand books, and is currently living in Provo, UT as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He's heading to Helsinki, Finland in January. We are so proud of him and his hard work, we miss him but are excited for his opportunity to learn and serve. Shad spent a zillion hours with Marcus Ban

Golden Anniversary

My parents recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. CONGRATULATIONS! Fifty years. An anniversary like this is remarkable for a few reasons: to stay together that long, to both be alive and well, and to still like each other after all these years. Let's take a quick trip down memory lane first.  My mom and dad met at a college dance.  When my dad proposed, he was working at a ski area, and she was skiing that day. My dad taught me to ski when I was a girl, and he taught me to love the mountains. My mom taught me to love the ocean. Marriage is a funny thing. In our culture we make a big deal about the wedding and plan expensive parties and receptions. But the real work begins AFTER the ceremony. Anytime my father-in-law talks about attending a "Wedding Deception," I have to laugh and cringe at his dry wit. I learned many great life lessons from my parents through the years. My mom taught me to serve, saying, "You love the people you serve."

Hair and random thoughts from a Brunette

Recently I've thought quite seriously about doing this to my hair. It might be so fun to have purple/blue highlights! I never dyed my hair in high school or college. Then when I was 37 the first few grey hairs appeared, ironically enough while I was pregnant. I've spent the last handful of years adding lots of blonde highlights.  Now my hair has a respectable amount of silver. It's kind of annoying. I'm learning to say farewell to being a brunette, because that young girl with the dark hair has grown up. Last month for Christmas, one of my favorite gifts that I GAVE to my little daughter was kinda fun. I spent like 20+ minutes at Target deliberating on which Barbies to buy. Finally I chose this group of friends for their amazing variety in hair!!  And I love each for different reasons. The dogwalking blonde is fun because my daughter really wishes we had a dog. The other three have accessories to be an astronomer, a teacher, etc. Ultimately, each Barbie is different fro


"How are you feeling about your son leaving soon?" has been my favorite question lately. My answer is kinda mixed. During July and August I was surprised and excited. Then on September 14 he flew to and from San Francisco by himself for a day. The purpose was a quick visit to the Finnish consulate for a visa. He had fantastic instructions to get from the airport to the BART to the consulate, but waiting for the interview took longer than planned. Leaving the consulate he had less than an hour until his flight was supposed to take off. That included a 32 minute tram ride, printing a boarding pass, airport security, etc. In all honesty, he should have missed that flight home. But he didn't. Call it a miracle or a test of faith, or whatever you want to call it. But for my boy who loves to be punctual, boarding a flight 7 minutes before take-off was pretty intense. Long story short, I think we all realized a few things that day. There are so.many.details I can't control,

The Invisible Woman

Today I'm thinking about my mom. She spent a lot of years building and serving and lifting. She poured love and time and energy into her children, in a never-ending pattern. She did a hundred things that we still haven't noticed. I wonder if there's a coming of age that happens for a young mom, when she begins to realize how much work it is to BE a mom. Then maybe about two dozen years into this parenting thing, she begins to see  more stuff she missed. Then another realization comes when her oldest is almost grown. I'm still learning to see my mom and appreciate her as a person. But how can you see somebody who's been invisible? This morning I was talking with a good friend, another mom like me. She's younger and in a different season of mothering, yet we both can relate to sometimes feeling lonely. Sometimes we need evidence of progress, or at least a friendly word from a girlfriend. Maybe sometimes we just need somebody to notice and say thanks. Years ago I h

How Controlling Are You?

Life is like Mario Kart. In the early levels, you're driving through Moo Moo Meadows and the grass is green and there's cows and fields and it's lovely. There's an occasional banana peel that gets tossed in the path, and sometimes the cows walk in the road so you try not to hit them. But overall the driving is pretty mellow.  Then later after you've unlocked other levels, there's stuff like Bowser's Castle. It's a maze with lava on both sides of the path, there's fire and brimstone all around, there's stone columns that try to smash you at random intervals. Just to know where to go and how to steer and stay on the path is complicated. Some stages of life are like Moo Moo Meadows. The details are easy-peasy and you just keep moving right along. And then there are years like Bowser's Castle where it's pretty intense and you pray a lot because the fire around you is pretty hot and you're trying not to fall in the lava pit.  During years

Companions - Notes on Home MTC

November 18, 2021 Most people know that missionaries run around in pairs. Some of my neighbors have seen this version of a companionship lately. Let me explain. During Covid, the church did a pivot and changed the missionary training experience from in-person to virtual. During this process they realized there were a few cool benefits that were worth continuing even after the pandemic. So the new version of missionary training begins  at home  with an Elder or Sister doing full-time training with a companion online. Then they transition to  in person  after a few weeks.  My oldest son began on November 8 with training at home. When they are in class or working together, they are meeting and making friends with other missionaries in their district. My son's cohort has four young women and four other young men, for a total of nine kids all going to Finland in January. BUT when they're not actively working or studying together,  I'm his companion . All of the places I'd no

Twenty + One Month

You know how life gets kinda messy sometimes? My version of messy looks like this: Four kids including a teenager learning to drive; a kindergartner learning to get herself ready in the morning; a senior learning about adulting; a middle schooler learning to ride her bike to electives every other day, a mortgage husband's career VIRTUAL PLUS church service pandemic, civil unrest, election year my own personal need for friends and connection even when my schedule looks like a revolving door Our big anniversary was last month and we were lucky enough to celebrate together this past weekend. We managed to sneak away for 24 hours. First I need to give credit where credit is due. There was a very generous friend who volunteered to parent the children during our 'Nelson marriage offsite.' And there was a generous benefactor who donated Marriott points to spring for the fancy room. I won't mention either party by name, but thanks to their generosity we had a great time. I'

It doesn't matter where you live, but how...

Thoughts on Houses This is my first post from Texas.  The blog lives on.  August was a whirlwind, September we started settling in, and now it's October.  Most of the boxes are unpacked.  Just last week I found the box that had cookbooks in it, and that makes me pretty happy.  I still haven't made whole wheat bread or cookies since we got here, but maybe I'll do that soon. We spent a lot of time this summer thinking about houses, getting ready to sell our house in Traverse Mountain (in Lehi, on the northern edge of Utah County), and brainstorming on what we'd need in a house in Texas. On the way to Texas, we drove south through Colorado and spent the night at Mesa Verde.  We found the Far View Lodge inside the park and stayed up high on the mesa.  The night sky was pitch black away from the city lights, and the weather was at least ten degrees cooler up high.  I loved it.  The next morning we learned a lot about the Native Americans who lived there.  A man ga