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

Leaving Utah

Norm and I are at a crossroads.  It's time for our family to take the next step.  But first a quick trip down memory lane. We first came to Utah sixteen years ago.  We were young and cute and pregnant with baby #1.  Norm had been accepted as a student.  I had a lot of fun during my first two years of college, and I imagine the admissions board looked at my transcript and said something like, "yeah right!"  (More details about getting a D in organ lessons over  here .) So my first BYU application was rejected.  They let me attend classes as a visiting student, and one day an admissions officer called my phone.  It was a landline, and we were living in BYU married student housing.  He had two questions for me:  Is your husband a full time student?  Yes.  And you live on  campus?  Yes.  End of interview.  A few days later I got my acceptance letter. We finally graduated together in 2004. We bought our first home in Lehi, not too far from Willow Creek middle schoo

Thorns and gifts

We've been reading in the New Testament as a family lately, and Paul has some great advice and counsel that's still applicable today.  In his letter to the church in Corinth, he talks about a thorn in the flesh. 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 7  And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8  For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. It's kind of a moot point to speculate what Paul's particular thorn might have been, but I've often wondered. More importantly: what is God's purpose in giving his children such difficult stuff to learn? Why does life have to be so hard?

One More Syllable

It's been a year. One year ago we moved to Texas. One year ago I started asking people to call me Kristina instead of Kristy, thus adding one more syllable to my name. August is our anniversary. Last year we celebrated that anniversary by adding a cool new memory. That day we drove up to our house, found the keys and walked inside with the kids. We spent the night in our house without any stuff. Isn't it funny how places seem bigger when they're unfurnished? And that pool in the backyard? We knew nothing about pools and maintenance but just jumped in carefree. It was great. It was like being in a hotel but with room for everybody to spread out. Maybe it's time to explain the name change. For me, I had decided before moving to Texas that I wanted to quit using Kristy as my nickname. It served me well for many years and I still like it, but it's mainly for simplicity. When I'd first meet somebody, maybe I'd mumble or maybe I don't speak clearly enou

Meek Warhorse

Norm's last church talk/sermon in Utah before moving to Texas July 2018, Lehi UT, Traverse Mountain 8th Ward Hello brothers and sisters, it’s my privilege to speak to you today.  I guess this is our good-bye address even though we haven’t moved yet, which I’m taking as a personal sign that the bishopric can’t wait for the next family to move in.  (that was a joke, guys) In my remarks today, I’m going to cover an alternative definition of meekness that really struck a chord with me.  Once I’ve introduced this idea, I’m going to share my supporting argument for meekness as a strength, and then I’m going to talk about how I believe we can develop this form of meekness in our lives. As Kristy told you, our topic is “being meek and lowly of heart” which, in the terms I normally think of meekness or lowliness, is a subject that does not come naturally to me.  I am not naturally what I consider to be meek, quiet or, as Kristy would tell you, all that well behaved.  While I