Monthly Archives: April 2016


2015-09-11 10.47.22Who am I?  Who am I?  24601?  I’m definitely not Jean Valjean, and whether or not I was number 24601 in the 23andMe lab is irrelevant.

For those of you who might not know, 23andMe is a genetic testing lab.  From saliva, they can determine your ancestral origins, or if you have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s, Breast Cancer, Parkinson’s and more.  These genetic testing sites have seemingly sprung up all around lately:, Canadian DNA Services, 23andMe and more!

I think we all yearn to know where we came from, and I think this is especially true for those of us of a certain age. Before we go, we want to know where we’ve been!

I first heard of 23andMe from someone on Facebook, who gushed on and on about her gypsy blood, and her Ashkenazi Jewish heritage.  Then I heard of others who were tested.  I even heard of someone who’d received a testing kit as a Christmas gift, but I have been curious about my ethnic origins ever since my cousin mentioned that my paternal grandmother (Anelia Wiczorek) may have been Jewish.

At first, this rocked me to my core.  I’d never heard a whisper of anything about this from anyone in my family.  Could I have strong Jewish genes and not know it?  Would this change how I saw myself?  Would it change my life?

From the time I was born, up until the age of six or so, I lived with my paternal grandparents. I thought back, and I think I remember crosses scattered throughout the house, but I can’t be sure.  I do know my father’s parents never went to church, at least, they never took me.  The only thing I can remember is that my baba had been instructed (by my mom,) to take me to catechism classes. She probably sat around with other parents or grandparents and waited until class was finished, so she could bring me home.  She never once spoke to me about God or Jesus, (that I can remember,) so when my cousin mentioned that she may have been a Jew escaping war-torn Poland, something about that pinched a little.

I began to think that maybe I didn’t know myself or family history as well as I thought I did.  So, who am I?

Well, I’m 99.6% European, and I’ve been European as far back as ten thousand years! That’s a long time!

The breakdown is this:  76% Eastern or Southern European, 12.7% Balkan, (who according to Wheeling Jesuit University/Center for Educational Technologies states: Sometimes scholars define the Balkans as the region that was conquered and ruled by the Ottoman Turks for varying periods of time after 1300. – Today they would be Greeks, Albanians, Macedonians, Bulgarians, Romanians, Serbs and such 😉 2% Brit/Irish, .4%Ashkenazi, .2% Asian or Native and finally, .1% Sub-Saharan African.  I’m about as Eastern European as they come.  Talk about white privilege!

I have to say; I was more than a little disappointed with my results.  I guess part of me wanted to have some exotic gypsy strain or sultry Mediterranean; or have Jewish blood coursing through my veins perhaps going back to the time of Christ.

Apparently my ancestors liked where they were, didn’t have the traveling bug, or simply couldn’t go anywhere.

Now, for the scarier side of DNA. Did I want to see my health overview: genetic risk factors, drug responses, inherited conditions or traits?  Did I want to know my risk of developing breast cancer, or Parkinson’s?

Even with specific variants present, it doesn’t mean I will develop these things; it just places me at higher risk.

I started with traits.  It seems my odour detection is: sensitive.  Both my kids can tell you that.  I was born with an extra sinus.  Whether or not this helps me smell better (pe-ew 😉 is debatable, but whatever it is, I have an extremely strong sense of smell.

I have odds of early menopause.  I am already post-menopausal, so I’d say this is correct.

I am likely:  not resistant to one form of Malaria.  Good to know, just in case I’m traveling to a certain part of the world where I might get this one in a million strain.

Inherited conditions: – I have a variant present for Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy. Limb-girdle Muscular Dystrophy is a term for a group of diseases that cause weakness and wasting of the muscles in the arms and legs. The muscles most affected are those closest to the body, specifically the muscles of the shoulders, upper arms, hips, and thighs.

Now for the sobering three: Alzheimer’s, Breast/Ovarian Cancer, Parkinson’s.  I took a deep breath and unlocked the reports.  Thankfully, I’m clear for “increased risk for the first two, and 0% for Parkinson’s.

What it doesn’t say is that I think I have several variants which give me an increased risk of being:  kind-hearted, funny, forgiving, gifted, loyal and faithful.  I’ll take those traits any day!

So, who am I? 24601?  Nope, just me!


2015-09-11 10.47.22OKAY, A LITTLE RANT – Some of you may or may not have heard about a minister in the United Church named, Gretta Vosper.  It came to light that some time ago, Ms. Vosper (I won’t call her Reverend) decided that she no longer believed in God as an entity, or the divinity of Jesus.  She stopped saying the Lord’s Prayer in her services, and OBVIOUSLY alienated many of her congregants who left her church; OUR church.

Now, anyone may choose to believe whatever they want, but as a minister in ANY church, this is ludicrous!  She should have been ousted immediately.  Instead, the very inclusive (it seems of absolutely everything and everyone) United Church has allowed this to drag on and on.  After all, there are legalities etc. etc. and certainly we wouldn’t want to dismiss a minister who doesn’t believe in God, do we?

The United Church has one assumption that is making all of this possible; the assumption that God is Love, and only that.  Yes, God IS love, but God is not ONLY love.  He/she is so multi-dimensional that we can’t fathom it.  God the entity itself tells that he/she is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow – unchanging.  We can no more separate Old Testament God with New Testament God.  Yes, Jesus came to bring the new, but that doesn’t mean that God will not judge (and we are told he/she will) separate the goats from the sheep in the end.  Even Jesus, didn’t accept everyone and everything.  He called his own disciples, “thick and slow.”  He called out the church leaders of his time, the Pharisees, and many others who did not speak the truth.  And when he was gone, his disciples chastised and admonished congregations who were behaving badly.

She professes to preach “love.”  So, is it love that prompts her to threaten to sue the United Church? Does one sue or use legal means for love’s sake? Is it love that allows her to tear our church in two?  I don’t think so.  Love is an instrument for building up, for encouragement.  What Ms. Vosper is doing is self centered, narcissistic and ego driven.  What is ego based is certainly not love.

When one no longer believes in what one is doing, one usually leaves.  So, what might we think is keeping Ms. Vosper where she is, and in a place that is garnering scads of publicity?  Well, for one thing, if she were to leave, where would she preach?  If she were to leave, she would lose her pension.  Could these be the reasons she has chosen to dig in her ego filled heels and cause such consternation within our church?  Only she can answers these questions.  Only she knows what is truly in her heart, but we have been warned of false prophets throughout time.

Do I judge her opinions, or her beliefs; certainly not, but I do draw the line at her remaining in the church as a leader, and tearing it apart!

Our greatest commandments are to love our God with all our mind, heart and soul, AND love others as ourselves.

Each side can pull Scripture to defend their stance, but in the end EVERYONE knows that if you no longer believe in the Creed of your church, you can no longer lead a flock.

If you really love us all Ms. Vosper, you will simply step away.  Give up the lawyers, give up trying to desperately hang on to brick and mortar.  For the love of God and church, just stop.