Sunday, October 19, 2014

Acknowledge and Honor Your Story

This morning I was watching an interview by Dan Rather with Crosby, Stills and Nash. All of these years later, they have not been able to agree on how they even met. It reminded me of conversations with old friends and family. Nobody ever remembers an event quit the same because we all see it from a different perspective. Think about it. Where were you the first time you heard Crosby, Stills and Nash. Who were you with? Would your story match their story? Probably not. It is human nature.

We all see life from a different perspective because we are different from anyone else who ever came before us and anyone who will ever come after. In the 90's I went to Unity Church of Austin. I loved it for a while, they had a great youth program that my son Christian was very much a part of. But one day, while sitting in the Sunday morning service, I realized I was no longer comfortable in that environment. It was a big "Ah Ha" moment for me. I realized that just because the minister felt a certain way didn't mean I had to feel that way as well. She was a lesbian woman who was afraid of her father. She was telling her story and was asking us all to buy into her story and feel the same way. It became very clear that her likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, and motivations were as unique to her as mine are to me. It was a good lesson in not getting caught up in searching for truth and happiness in someone else's version of life. However, I wasn't able to apply that to my family just yet because I was still very much caught up in trying to perceive things as I was expected to in our family unit, even when it wasn't in my best interest.

One of the most frustrating things for me is to intuitively know something is wrong or to feel something painful and having other people tell me that I shouldn’t be upset. It is a self betrayal to not acknowledge what you know to be your truth. As a child my mother used to tell me not to cry. In retrospect, if I felt I had a reason to be upset, why shouldn't I be allowed to cry?  As an adult, I have learned that recognizing, acknowledging and honoring our personal pain is a lifetime commitment. Going along with the status quo to keep peace, was detrimental to my health. Just getting up and dusting myself off and moving on as if nothing happened is absolutely the most unhealthy coarse of action I have ever taken and most of us are asked to take that route our whole life.

What I now know to be true is that we all process unwanted change differently. I am talking about major changes like the death of a loved one, divorce, the loss of a home or job. When the whole conceptual framework for your life collapses, the meaning that your mind had given it dies a painful death. Suddenly, after the shock wears off, you find that you have also lost your security. You have lost your joy. I have experienced all of these losses and there is nothing worse than being told "WHEN it is time to be OVER IT." Again, burying feelings is the unhealthiest, action I have ever taken. When you are told to hold in your feelings, you pay for it years later in illness and bad relationships, both of which I have had my share of. The outcome sweeping grief under the rug will cause an explosion next time you suffer a loss because it snowballs. If you suffer a huge loss and don't allow yourself to grieve, a small loss later will bring up all the emotion that was buried and it will feel just as huge as the original loss that you didn't grieve.

The healthiest course of action any of us can take during hard times it to allow ourselves to feel our sadness and anger. Grief is part of the healing process. Allowing our experiences to flow through us is healing. Now that I know my story matters, I don't get caught up in searching for happiness in someone else's version of life, remembering that each of us are unique. So when the conceptual framework for our life collapses, a rewrite of our story is mandatory to heal, however, there is no schedule in rewriting the story, as the healing takes place. Meanwhile, if the uneasiness of your pain, your story, is an inconvenience to someone because their story doesn't match, it is best to just not be around them. Surround yourself with those that don't mind a little messiness, those that don't mind that your mascara is a big smear on your face by the end of the evening and most importantly, those that are willing to be real. Never let anyone tell you not to cry. Your feelings are yours. Healing happens in small increments over a period of time. It is a privilege to feel deeply. The dark night of the soul can be a very spiritually enlightening time. Most of my best art has come from those very dark hours in the middle of the night when I felt like I had no one to turn to. In my experience, it has been an amazing experience to emerge out of the dark night of the soul into a transformed state of consciousness. Life has meaning again, but it’s no longer a conceptual meaning that I can necessarily explain. I've experienced an awakening to a deeper sense of purpose or connectedness that isn't dependent on explanation. And believe me, when this takes place, peace can be found.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Labadie Family

It's been over a month since I have written a blog post and my ancestry research has become sporadic. Mainly because I solved the mystery surrounding my paternal grandmother, Josefita Labadie Fajardo. I have traced all the other branches of my family tree as far back as the 1500's, some even further. The search for information about my paternal grandmother had become a personal challenge so when I found it, it was time for a break.

Josefita and Doroteo Fajardo

According to the Nuestra Senora del Refugio Church records in Puerto de Luna New Mexico, my grand parents, Doroteo Chavez Fajardo and Josefita Labadie Fajardo were married on May 12, 1915. My father, Felipe Montoya Fajardo was born two weeks later on May 26, 1915. Doroteo and Josefita had a daughter named Anita as well but I haven't found her birthdate or date of death. Felipe and Anita grew up without a mother because in the winter of 1918, when my father was only 3 years old his mother, Josefita died of the Spanish Influenza. The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 killed more people than World War I. "The Spanish Flu" or "La Grippe" was a global disaster.

Read more about it here ----> Infuenza

While I searched for information about my grandmother and aunt, I found another Felipe M. Fajardo family. In the 1800's there seemed to be a lot of Fajardos around the Socorro area and this particular Felipe M. Fajardo family migrated to the Hatch, New Mexico area. He was my dad's 2nd cousin and he also had a son named Phillip and a daughter named Anita. When I discovered them on, I thought I had hit a jackpot but it ended up just being a cousin with many family names in common.

So back to my father's given name, Felipe Montoya Fajardo .... I was always told that Montoya was my grandmother's maiden name however, I was ecstatic when I finally found the census from Puerto de Luna, New Mexico from the year 1900 that showed Antonio Montoya as head of household, his wife as Dorotea Montoya. There were six children listed ... BUT ... the children were all listed as step-children to the head of the household, Antonio Montoya and the children's last names were Labadie. I looked down the list of children to the next to the last name and there it was! "Josefita Labadie," my grandmother! Mystery Solved At Last! My great-grandmother had been married to Juan Labadie y Sanchez, ( I haven't figured out the Y Sanchez part of his name) They had six children and then he died. Cause of death unknown for now. My mother had always told us that my father's mother was a Labadie but never explained the situation. Anyway, 2 years after Juan's death, when Dorotea was 47, she married Antonio Montoya. While searching for records of Juan Labadie's I discovered books of interesting history on the prominent Labadie family in New Mexico.

Throughout this journey of discovering my ancestry, coincidences have occurred all along the way, I sort of just expect the synchronistic discoveries to occur now. The week I discovered that my grandmother was actually a Labadie, not a Montoya, my friend Marcia Ball's mother passed away and Marcia posted her mother's obit on facebook. The obit mentioned that she was from Labadieville, LA. What are the chances that information would show up the same week that I discovered my Labadie connection?

So as the story goes, my 4th great-grandfather, Dr. Dominique Labadie was born in France in 1738. He first settled in  St Louis, MO and then in Santa Fe in 1765. As a young medical doctor, the 27 year old married Maria Micaela Padilla, daughter of one of the original founding families of Albuquerque. They married in Santa Fe on November 2, 1766. and had 15 children. Their son, Juan Pablo Labadie, born on May 24, 1784 in Santa Fe is my 3rd great-grandfather. Then Juan Pablo Labadie married Maria Rosa de Reyes Cisneros and they had a son, my 2nd great-grandfather, Juan Labadie, born in 1817.  He then had a son, my great-grandfather, Juan Labadie y Sanchez, born in 1834. He was my grandmother's father but he died when she was 7. She took her stepfather Antonio Montoya's name and later gave my dad the middle name, Montoya.

My great-great-grandfather, Juan Labadie y Sanchez had a younger brother, Lorenzo Labadie. Lorenzo's immediate family are some of the most colorful characters that I have read about in my research.  It has been written that Benjamin Baca was the founder of Santa Rosa, NM but a historian from Santa Rosa tells me that my Great-Great Uncle Lorenzo Labadie was the founder. Nonetheless, they have both been named as two of the first settlers.

Lorenzo Labadie was described as a handsome, honorable man who wore many hats. In 1851 he was the Sheriff in Valencia County where he served 3 terms. Like his friend Kit Carson, he was a sympathetic and a loyal friend to many of the Native Americans. In 1855 he was appointed as a U.S. Indian Agent for 15 years and gained respect and confidence seldom obtained by the Native Americans as an Agent. Under his watchful eye, the Native Americans worked side-by-side with soldiers, damming the Pecos River to irrigate crops, planting trees, and building a slaughter house. They had 94 gardens spread over a 100 acre area and grew melons, pumpkins, chile and green beans. He was removed as an agent because he protested against the Native Americans being furnished unwholesome food by the government.
Lorenzo married Rayitos Giddings, a beautiful blue-eyed 14-year-old called "one of the fairest daughters of the territory," on Feb. 16, 1852. Rayitos was just as colorful in her own right. She was raised and educated by her great aunt, Maria Gertrudis Barcelo, AKA Madame La Tules, an intriguing, free-spirited woman who dominated Society in Santa Fe. She was known as the best professional gamblers in New Mexico. Rayitos later became a well known doctor. On the day of their wedding, as a wedding gift, Lorenzo received a commission from Governor James S. Calhoun as colonel of the territorial commission.

Later in life, Lorenzo became a census taker for at least 10 years. In 1880 he sat with Billy the Kid in Ft. Sumner and Billy gave him the name William Bonney and said he worked in cattle. He was also the census taker in 1900 in Puerto de Luna when he recored Antonio Montoya as head of household with wife Dorotea. I wonder what kind of relationship Lorenzo had with Dorotea, his deceased older brother's widow and mother of his nieces and nephews listed as Montoya's stepchildren.

In 1893 Lorenzo was elected to the legislation assembly of New Mexico as representative for Guadalupe County, NM. Lorenzo died on his birthday, August 10, 1904, in Puerto De Luna, New Mexico. He was buried there in the El Calvario Cemetery.

Lorenzo Labadie's grave

I will continue with Lorenzo's daughter Beatriz Labadie and her husband Juan Patron at a later date. This is another interesting story.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Family Takes On A Whole New Meaning!

It has been 5 months since I have been on this intense ancestral journey. Time travel has been amazing. Sometimes I can't help but feel that the souls of my ancestors are here with me on this journey, guiding me from one adventure to the next. Since I am related to many of the conquistadors and families that came with Juan de Oñate from Spain to Mexico, then north on the Camino Real, the Royal Road to Santa Fe, I would have been much more interested in 9th grade New Mexico history than Texas history...but oh well.

Earlier this week I discovered my 12th great uncle, Cristóbal de Oñate, a Basque aristocrat who was born in 1504. He was one of the richest men in the world, a silver baron and then became an explorer, conquistador and colonial official in New Spain. He was the founder of the contemporary city of Guadalajara in 1531. His wife Catalina Salazar y de la Cadena was a descendant of a famous jewish converso family. They had a son, Juan de Oñate. He married Isabel de Tolosa Cortés de Moctezuma, the granddaughter of Hernán Cortés, the Spanish Conquistador who conquered the Aztec Empire. She was also the great-granddaughter of the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma Xocoyotzin. Yes, you read that right. Many of us from New Mexico are related to Cortés and Moctezuma through one woman, Isabel de Tolosa Cortés de Moctezuma. It is sort of mind blowing. She was described as a lady of surpassing beauty, highest virtues. How crazy is it that her bloodlines were royal on both sides, Cortes and Moctezuma?

Then King Philip II of Spain chose Juan de Oñate to lead an expedition to what is now New Mexico. Oñate set out with a group of 600 people early in 1598. Though Oñate's primary mission was to spread Catholicism, the discovery of new sources of silver was also a significant motive for the expedition. Since the Spanish conquistadors were professional warriors, only the ones that were married brought their wives. Oñate of course brought his Aztec Princess Isabel. 

The whole reason I went off on the that branch earlier this week was because I am still doing researching on the CCM1 gene mutation that I seem to have that was passed down from my 10th great-grandfather, Gerónimo Zambrano Márquez. He was a Captain in the Oñate expedition. He was married to Ana de Zaldívar y Oñate, the grand-daughter of my 12th great uncle Cristóbal de Oñate. Which would have also made her the niece of Juan Oñate the founder of New Mexico and his wife Isabel, the granddaughter of Cortés and the great-granddaughter of Moctezuma. At least I think I have that right... it is all so confusing...nonetheless, I still haven't received a call back from anyone at the University of New Mexico that I have been told that are experts on the CCM mutation. Very strange.

Last night I read about my maternal 8th great-grandfather, Diego de Vera who was born in La Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain in 1593. He came to Santa Fe and married Maria de Abendano. Three years and two children later, he was tried for bigamy because he had left a wife in the Canary Islands. When I look at photos of the Canary Islands I wonder why anyone would ever want to leave, however, he may have had good reason, his aunt know as "La Perdoma" was tried and and sentenced for practicing witchcraft when she in fact was merely practicing Jewish ceremonies.

This morning I sat down with my first cup of coffee and a gold mine appeared on Even though I had been able to trace most branches of my family tree at least as far back as the 1500's, my dad's mother's family was still a mystery. She had died when he was three but he had plenty of cousins, aunts and uncles that should have made it easy. The Fajardo and Montoya families had remained close. It should have been easy, right? Wrong.

Today I found a census from Puerto de Luna, New Mexico from the year 1900.
Antonio Montoya was listed as head of household.
His wife was Dorotea Montoya.
There were six children listed.
I looked down to the next to the last name and it was Josefita, my grandma's name... but... the children were all listed as STEP-CHILDREN to the head of the household and had the last name Labadie! My mother told me years ago that there were Labadies on my dad's side but never really explained it and I couldn't put it all together. My great-grandmother had been married to Juan Labadie, they had six children, he died and two years later, at the age of 47 she married Antonio Montoya. I was beyond excited to make this discovery! Then I was sitting here thinking that she was the only grandparent that I didn't have a photo of... then my brother Gilbert called. He said that Stella, the renter in my parent's house in Amarillo had found an old photo in the house. It was my grandparents, Josefita and Doroteo. How cool is that? Her real last name and a photo of her magically showed up on the same day!

 Josefita Labadie Fajardo and Doroteo Chavez Fajardo

So there is a week's worth of research. I hope to one day put all of this information together and be able to give it to my children and other relatives.... who knows... I may write a book.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Still Looking For Answers

It sounds like it could be the screenplay for the next Hollywood blockbuster. I can see the headline in the entertainment section:

“Two Deadly Diseases, Without a Cures, 

Targets People From New Mexico"

I am telling you, truth is stranger than fiction. Until 2 weeks ago I had no idea what could possibly be causing my life long ailments, now I think I may be getting closer to the answers to not 1, but 2 diseases that target native New Mexicans. 

Here the news cast about on of the diseases today in Albuquerque:

OPMD stands for Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy. What’s even scarier than the name are the facts behind it. It's a rare muscular dystrophy, but it is common in Hispanics from New Mexico. Researchers believe 6 in every 100,000 New Mexicans have OPMD. That’s compared to 5 out of 100,000 Americans who have the most popular form of a muscular dystrophy disease.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Truth Stranger Than Fiction Found In My Genes

If you have been following my genealogy adventure, you have probably tuned into my excitement about my travels back in time. In the beginning of this journey my excitement was that of cleaning up my family's gene pool by potentially repairing DNA. Really. In recent years scientists had found that memories are passed down through generations in our DNA so my hopes were to repair the damage done to my family during the Spanish Inquisition. In the process, my interest in the Spanish Conquistador, Juan Onate's expedition and the huge part my ancestors played in that expedition have become my main interest. I have discovered 500 years of family history in my research.

DNA is like a computer program,
but far, far more advanced than any
software we’ve ever created - Bill Gates.

Meanwhile, my brother, Phillip, has been on his own quest to repair our DNA with music. Again, there are scientific studies that show that simply listening to a single musical note that vibrates at 528 Hz repairs your DNA.

Well, I asked for it, I didn't get exactly what I was thinking I was going to get, however I got way more than I could have imagined. It gives a whole new meaning to dreaming big and then handing it over to the Universe because EVERY TIME you do, you will receive way more than you could possibly dream. I've received answers to some of my life long health issues, of which there have been many.

What some of you may not be aware of is that I do all of my research while lounging on my couch between activities such as doing artwork, watering plants and laundry. All of my world travels, by way of the internet, while doing genealogy keep me from going stark raving crazy on the days I don't feel well enough to leave home. Meanwhile my friends and family travel the world and post photos on facebook.

This week's discoveries play a HUGE part in possibly solving some of my rare and potentially dangerous health issues. About 3 months ago I joined the "New Mexico Genealogical Society Facebook Group." I read that there are two rare mutations that exist largely within the Hispanic population of New Mexico that have been passed down to the descendants of the early Spanish colonists. When I read it I thought "Oh, that would be me." Then I got really busy dealing with some potentially serious cardio and neurological issues so I put this information aside. Silly me... if I had known what I know now, I would have taken all this data to the specialists that I have been seeing in the past couple of months.

So the first of the  two rare mutations and potentially most dangerous is the CCM1 mutation called "Cerebral Cavernous Malformation." It is causes abnormal blood vessels to form raspberry like clusters, known as angiomas, in the brain or spinal cord. Cavernous Angiomas can occur in other parts of the body but with the CCM1 mutation, the angiomas occur in the brain and spine. The walls of the capillaries are thinner than normal, less elastic, and prone to leaking. Interestingly enough that was exactly how my cardiologist explained a congenital heart condition I have that he had never seen before. I have a right aortic arch. This means that my aortic arch developed on the right side of my airway instead of the left side.The aorta is the large artery that carries oxygenated blood out of the heart. The aorta forms an aortic arch along the top of the heart as it travels to the body. To make things worse, I have an aneurysm on my right sided aortic arch so I am required to see my cardiologist every 6 months to make sure the aneurysm doesn't get any larger than 3 mm. I have often wondered if this aneurysm is part of the CCM1 mutation... that is a whole other issue.

At any rate, in the brain and spine, if the angiomas bleed or press up against structures in the central nervous system, they can cause seizures, neurological deficits, weakness and burning in arms and legs as well as problems with vision, balance, memory and headaches, or hemorrhages. Okay... just hold on right there! I have had seizures, neurological problems, weakness and burning in my arms, legs and neck as well as problems with vision, balance, memory and severe headaches beginning at the age of 15. And progressively getting worse!

About 7 years ago, after a very bad bout with the spinal issue, I got an MRI and I was diagnosed with a rare disease called Syringmyelia. That's just a big word for a cyst within the spinal cord that presses up against structures in the central nervous system causing severe headaches, pain, weakness and stiffness in the back, shoulders, and extremities. Uh.... ya think maybe I was misdiagnosed? Maybe, just maybe I have been dealing with CCM1 all along. Not Syringomyelia. It has almost become a family joke when I say I have the "wah-wahs" meaning "I have this weird over sensory sensation in my brain, like it isn't firing correctly." For years these episodes would only last for a few minutes. Now the over sensory brain misfiring episodes comes with pressure on my spine and it lasts off and on for about 2 days.

The second rare mutation is called Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy, or OPMD. The gene that’s defective in OPMD was discovered in 1998. Symptoms usually do not begin until the mid-40s or 50s. A person with OPMD may tend to choke frequently and have difficulty swallowing. Yeap... I have that symptom for sure. My friend, Winker had to take me to the ER once when the spasm in my throat lasted 3 hours when it would normally only last about 5 minutes. I now take meds for it. Now I just have a raspy, dry throat and voice and I cough and choke all the time. Another symptom is droopy eyelids. I stopped wearing eye make up a couple of years ago because my eyes are so droopy. I was complaining to my friend Lana about my droopy eyes once and she thought it was because I had been crying over a stupid man. NOT.

"The New York Times" did a story about both of these diseases in 2007.
You can read it here: Heirs to a Rare Legacy in New Mexico

In the interview with Joyce Gonzalez she said she suffers from CCM1 and the same genetic mutation caused a cerebral hemorrhagic death of her 9-year-old cousin, Jenae Gallegos and that many relatives in her mother’s family have had seizures. As she said in the article, it is easy to trace the Hispanic families that have lived in New Mexico for over 400 years, we’re practically all cousins. That led her to trace the genealogies of other Hispanic families with histories of CCM1. Her complex genealogical chart had five converging family trees that pointed to one man, Gerónimo Márquez, the 16th-century patriarch of her family. So I immediately looked at my family tree and found that Gerónimo Márquez is in fact my 10th great-grandfather on my maternal grandmothers branch of my family tree.

Then I heard an NPR interview recorded in 2013 and in the recording they pointed at Juan Perez de Bustillo as the carrier of the mutated gene. Again I went to and found that Juan Perez Bustillo is my 11th great-grandfather on my paternal father's branch of my family tree. So to map the disease, researchers have created some very complicated family trees to identifying descendants who may have CCM1. I am guessing since I don't live in New Mexico, I wasn't contacted. I spoke to a cousin and his wife in Santa Rosa, NM the other night. His wife and two children have CCM1 and the 2 children have had to have surgery to remove the angiomas. The first of the two was in the late 70's and was thought to be a brain tumor.

My prayer is that all of this genealogy research may have lead me to the answers to my life long health issues and that with my brother's findings that we may be able to start to heal. It affirms to me that by paying attention to what our hearts tells us to do, we discover very precious information. I am sharing my journey in hopes that others don't have to wait until they are 59 years old to have answers to life long health issues, or even better... maybe it will save a precious life.

Let the healing begin!

Please read the links below.

New Mexico Congressional Delegation Seeks to Help Hispanics with Rare Genetic Disease


In 2017, Alliance to Cure Cavernous Malformation began the Baca Family Historical Project to find and connect descendants of Cristóbal Baca II and Ana Morena de Lara. Our mission is to foster a community for better health outcomes. Through our work, the genealogy of the Common Hispanic Mutation is becoming clearer. Joyce Gonzales, the staff genealogist has written a summary of what is known in A Tale of Three Cristobal’s.

There's now information available about genetic testing for the Common Hispanic Mutation through Ancestry DNA and Promethease.

Alliance to Cure can be contacted at this website:

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

This Father's Day I am honoring my father
by blogging about his given middle name.

 Felipe Montoya Fajardo

It may seem odd to blog about my father's middle name but I grew up believing that Montoya was my paternal grandmother's maiden name. Early on in my ancestry research the first important ancestry discoveries was that my grandmother's name was not Josefita Montoya but in fact, Josefita Labadie. Her father, Captain Juan Labadie y Sanchez died when she was a child and her mother, Dorotea (Dolores) Chavez remarried Antonio Montoya. Antonio adopted her children and gave them his surname. I discovered this on a 1900 Puerto de Luna census taken by my grandmother's Uncle Lorenzo Labadie. The Labadie family was a prominent French family in New Mexico at that time. My grandma Josefita passed away when my dad was only 3 years old, during the 1918 Spanish Influenza. Sadly, the keeper of the family heirlooms and records was gone. I had never even thought about what a gift it was to have this photo of my father that was taken before his mother died. 

Baby Felipe Montoya Fajardo in 1915

From what I have gathered, my dad was raised largely by aunts and uncles, mainly those in the adopted Montoya family. My mother would mention the Labadie family in passing but I didn't know how we were relate to the them. Meanwhile, my father remained very close to his cousin Prudencio Joe (Lynchie) Montoya. He and his family lived in Texhoma and visited us in Amarillo often, now I know why they were much more like brothers. All these decades later, I am realizing the reasons for some of our family dynamics while uncovering layers of family history. My quest for family knowledge has turned me into an amateur historian. My original goal of repairing generational dysfunction by discovering the traumas that had occurred through the ages was hitting very close to home, but that is another blog.

Felipe Montoya Fajardo during WWII

The Montoya surname is of Spanish origin.
Derived from the Spanish word "monte"
which translates to "hill."

Montoya families lived in the mountainous
Basque region in northern Spain

I've spent months combing through genealogy websites trying to connect the dots from one Montoya to another, meanwhile getting sidetracked by so much other data and coming to the realization that there are closer links to the Montoya surname on my mother's side of the family. I just discovered a very important player in of the Montoya surname. 

Bartolomé de Montoya

He is the progenitor of the Montoya surname which is firmly established in New Mexico and was my 8th great grandfather in my maternal grandfather's lineage.

Bartolomé de Montoya was born in Cantillana in the province of Andalucía, Spain in 1572, the son of Francisco de Montoya and Maria Lopez. At the age of 28, he was the Alferez Mayor (Trusted Assistant to the King) As a Spanish Conquistador, he escorted a band of friars from Zacatecas to Santa Fe, New Mexico on December 24, 1600. He brought with him with his wife Maria de Zamora, an Aztec Indian the daughter of Pedro de Zamora, the Mayor of Oaxaca. She was born in about 1575. They had been married in in Tezcoco, Mexico. They were a part of the second Onate expedition, whose colony consisted of 65 settlers. Bartolome and Maria brought with them their 5 children, Francisco, Diego, Jose, Lucia and Petonia. They also brought with them 25 servants, cattle and equipment needed to begin a new life in New Mexico. 

At this time, New Mexico was under the Spanish flag. ALL Montoya families from New Mexico descend from Bartolomé de Montoya. I can't even tell you how excited I was to discover this information. 

Bartolomé de Montoya died in 1609 in Santa Fe South, New Mexico, at the age of 37, and was buried at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Bartolomé de Montoya
Buried at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi
Santa Fe, New Mexico

This is the most direct lineage to Bartolomé de Montoya. It's on my mother's side of the family but I have 35 pages of Montoyas in my family tree so there are an abundance on both sides.

On my father's side of the family, even though my paternal grandmother did not carry the Montoya surname, Bartolomé de Montoya was my 9th great-grandfather in that lineage and again, you will find four notable progenitor's surnames.

And last but not least, I have THREE 4th great-grandmothers
on my mom's side who were Montoyas.

So my ancestry journey continues from my home base in Kyle, Texas. Living here has been such a blessing. It is remote enough that it is sometimes like living anywhere but Texas. It's just the right amount of seclusion and quiet. Alone time is peaceful. It’s not Texas in my little world … until I drive 20 miles north and then I am back in Austin. And that is a wonderful thing.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Love Liberates - Happy Birthday Momma

"Love Liberates" that is what Maya Angelou said when she spoke of the unconditional love of her mother. Today is my mother's birthday, she would have been 93. Happy Birthday Momma.

I felt orphaned on the day she died on April 12, 2005 even though I was to turn 50 exactly one month later. There is no love like the love of one's mother.

Love Liberates

"I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now and to be able to love, because that liberates. Love liberates. It doesn't just hold—that's ego. Love liberates. It doesn't bind. Love says, 'I love you. I love you if you're in China. I love you if you're across town. I love you if you're in Harlem. I love you. I would like to be near you. I'd like to have your arms around me. I'd like to hear your voice in my ear. But that's not possible now, so I love you. Go.'"

— Dr. Maya Angelou

In the video above Maya speaks fondly of her mother who told her when she was 22 "You know you may be greatest woman I have ever met." My mother gave me that same gift one day as she rocked in a chair on my front porch. I told her that my sister had said that she never wanted to live like me, being a working mom and never having much money. My mother said something to me that I hold close to my heart. She said "Don't let anyone talk to you that way, you are the richest person I know." From that day forward I have felt rich because my mother knew me better than anyone. I knew exactly what she meant. I am rich. I am loved and love liberates.

Happy Birthday Momma and thank you for the wonderful liberating gift of love.

Agnes Fajardo with her Willie Nelson braids
The month before she left us

Phenomenal Woman By Ruthie Foster

Live at Antone's

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Life's Little Journeys

I have been doing a "Whole Life Challenge" with some friends this month which means I am eating a gluten free diet, drinking more water, stretching, walking and journaling what I am grateful for. Today and every day I am grateful for the little jewel of a life I have created in Kyle, and I have to thank my friend Jenna for helping me to manifest this dream. She told me a story a year or so ago that broke my heart but helped me to realize my dream.

Like so many of my friends, Jenna used to be a Kervert, meaning she would park her wildly decorated trailer at the "Campers from Hell" campground in Kerrville and party with friends for 3 weeks. It has been years since she quit attending the annual folk fest. The last time that she attended, there were some teenagers who were making the daily drive down to the swimming hole for the day. They were killed in a car wreck. Jenna had just spoken to one of the girls that morning. She said that the death of that sweet young soul left a bigger impression on her than any other in her whole life. She decided that she wanted to live every day for the rest of her life the way she lived in Kerrville. So she created a place that is like heaven for her in Liberty Hill. To make a long story short, that is kind of the same decision I made after a rough couple of years. One was spent moving from Austin to St Louis, to Dallas and then to Kyle. A year ago I created a heavenly home... in Kyle, of all places.

One of my goals has always been to reconnect with my roots, that meant moving back to New Mexico... but wait .... most of my friends and up until 3 years ago my children were in Austin! Having everything in one place is rare.

Once in the 90's, I actually had an amazing weekend when the Folk Alliance Conference was held in Albuquerque. I was able to stay with my cousin Paul and his wife Kathy's house and hang out with him in the day and then go to the hotel and hang with my Austin friends at night. That was a dream come true for me! I have always been pretty good at creating my own little vortex of energy where ever I live but I feel like I have gotten it down to a fine art. Now I just wake up in the morning, have coffee and I can just imagine that my cozy little villa is almost anywhere I would want to be. I have tapas and a siesta in the afternoon and I in my mind, I may as well be in Spain... without the airplane ride. Then in the evening I take a short 15 mile trip to Austin to go hear some live music and I am with friends again. Amazing!

Maybe the "vortex" I've created in my home has been accentuated by watching world traveler, Anthony Bourdain's and the little journeys I take back through the centuries researching my ancestry. Almost daily, another piece of the puzzle falls into place and I discover yet another connection to something or someone. Imagine the excitement when recently I discovered that the Fajardos migrated from Spain by way of the Canary Islands. Discovering that there are streets, mansions and vineyards, named Fajardo has been so heart warming! 

Last week I was curious to see what the Canary Islands are like, I googled "Canary Islands" and the next thing I knew I was on ETSY buying a peridot ring from a company called "PeridotMountain," in Lanzarote, Canary Islands. I wasn't shopping for a ring, it just spoke to me so I ordered it. When the very nice and extremely poetic man received my order, he noticed my name and said he lives in wine country where there are only about 20 houses and the big house on the vineyard is Casa de Fajardo.

I have been communicating with my new friend from the Canary Islands for about a week because we seem to have a lot in common and he is helping to fill in gaps in the ancestry info. I know it is a little late in life to being learning all of this history and geography but this is the first time that it really seems to matter. I couldn't relate to the Texas history that they taught in Texas schools. So now, as I am learning the history that I am interested in, I am documenting my family history. When my children and grandchildren get old enough to care, they will have all of this to look back on.

So my new friend from Spain realized that Kyle is a short 50 miles from San Antonio and informed me that in 1731, 16 families (fifty-five people) from the Canary Islands were sent to San Antonio, Bexar County by King Felipe V of Spain. My cousins the Delgados, from Santa Rosa, are descendants of one of those families.

Today, my Spanish friends asked what kind of art I do. I sent him a photo of the "Red Guitar" I painted for Danny and Rene about 7 years ago because it remains my favorite. He immediately wrote back and said:

"The painting hit me right in the heart!!
No need for thought, no need for words,
just communicated the way real good
art is supposed to!" 

What a compliment! Then he said he is a musician and plays at the vineyard... well of course he does!

"Red Guitar" by Christina Fajardo
Painted for Rene and Danny Britt

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Reflections On My Birthday Month

Another year has gone by celebrating Taurus birthdays with all my Taurus friends....  except Sarah Elizabeth, the one that I miss very much. This Taurus birthday season just wasn't the same without her. She wasn't just the center of the Taurus parties, she was the center of every party. She had a way of creating a party when there wasn't one. I miss the magic in her infectious laughter. I miss her political incorrectness when she would say what everyone else was thinking. My birthday somehow wasn't right this year, I am hoping next year will be better... it's a big one... I will be 60.

Sarah Elizabeth Campbell and John Prine

I found a poem online about Taurus the Bull. After reading it, I thought yeah, maybe I have some of those traits but I've been a muse for a few songs that seem to have captured my essence a little better.

The latest on is a song written by my friend Danny Britt. The song is loosely based on me... or at least the first verse. His artistic license sort of took over somewhere in the middle of the song. It's called "She Only Drinks Whiskey In The Morning." He and I were having a conversation one day and I jokingly said that I only drank tequila in the morning, referring to "Tequila Sunrises," well he couldn't find a word to rhyme with tequila so he changed it to whiskey. Okay, cool... I like whiskey too.

In my defense I have never slept in a car or danced on top of a bar.

About 4 years ago my niece's husband, Mario Matteoli wrote a song about me and I am so glad I got passed that tragic, heartbreaking time of my life, but hey, I was a muse for a song that seems to help  a few women get through tragic, bad break-ups and I am absolutely positive that the attraction to tragic relationships is in my past. All I have to do is watch this video to remind myself that I never want to go down that slippery slope again.

In the 80's another good friend, Milton Carroll, wrote a song about me called "Cecelia Don't Give Your Heart Away." As you may imagine, the song was just as tragic as "Sweet Cecelia." 

Okay, so all the songs written about me aren't tragic. Here is one written by Daniel Ruddick in 1991 called "Christina's Magic." I actually named my company after the song and it held that name for many years.

Christina’s Magic

She sent Billy Doss from somewhere near Waco

He gave me a message from the lady Christine

Just like a snake I slipped from my past

Rode down on the back of a gold eagle’s wing

We landed in Austin then out of the shadows

Like a dervish she swirled and danced in my dreams

Christina slips off her synthetic see-through

And takes me to places I’ve never been

We ride on the slipstream, me and Christina

I told her I’ve loved her for lifetimes it seems.

She weaves her magic on a desert mandala

Her cluster of blessings are hidden by pain

Dark angel’s hair rolls down streaked like sunset

Lips sliced like peaches drive me insane

Standing on crystal here at the crossroads 

Waiting for lightening to strike twice again

Christina’s magic is old and it’s ancient  

My mother of mercy brings new life to me

We ride on the slipstream, me and Christina

I told her I loved her for lifetimes it seems

Thunder clouds gather 

Christina’s passion drives tears from heaven 

Down to the sea

The scarlet red dawning dances on trinkets

Treasures Christina has left for me

Christina’s magic is old, very ancient  

My mother of mercy brings new life to me

We ride on the slipstream, me and Christina

I told her I loved her for lifetimes it seems

Written by Daniel Rudick, August 20, 1991, 8:00 am

Of course, Daniel went back to Canada and later recorded the song with his new girlfriend and completely changed the lyrics. You can listen to it here.

So the moral to the story...

Recognizing, acknowledging and honoring our path is a lifetime commitment. Anyone that has spent any amount of time in therapy knows that we have relationships with people who mirror ourselves and the relationships we have with our parents. One of the most frustrating things in the world is feeling something painful and having other people tell you that you shouldn’t be upset. That has been the message I received for the majority of my life. 
I've read "The Secret" several times over, I should have it all figured out, right? In some areas of my life I do. I have excellent parking karma. Animals and children love me. I can make a yard come alive in the blink of an eye. Relationships are a different story. I mirror the one I experienced as a child. The one I was told to overlook. I have seen the law of attraction work for so many and it seemed to be working against me. Finally, last week I heard Esther Hicks say that if you strongly affirm something verbally, but you don't really believe it in your heart, you are actually working against yourself. It's like you are arguing with yourself and digging your heals in. I get that. I'm a bull... I dig my heals in. So my birthday gift to myself this year is to really acknowledge my beliefs and to continue healing that part of myself that, in the past, didn't feel heard. Family dynamics are a funny thing. I urge you to take a look at yours and if there is an imbalance, acknowledge it. The day after I had that "Ah Ha moment" I woke up with this poem in my head, it was around May 12, my birthday. I'd had a dream about a family member that had really hurt me numerous times over the years and not only did they not acknowledge it, I was expected to accept their behavior and I did for years! And since nobody acknowledged that it was happening, an apology wasn't in order. That was until I finally stood my ground and acknowledged what an unhealthy situation it was for the whole family. I assumed they cared about me as much as I cared about them therefore these atrocities couldn't be occurring.... well they were.  I thought they would always be there for me, only to realize they never were there for me at all. Acknowledgement of the truth is key. We all need to know that we are seen and heard and
that we matter.

Happy Birthday to all my Taurus friends and family
and also to all the Gemini friends and family! 
Gilbert, Mom and Dad to name a few.