Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ronald Reagan --> 10 Fun Facts!

When I was very young, I remember telling my grandmother that she looked like Ronald Reagan.  This probably wasn't the smartest thing to say, but in the mind of a 7 year old, I really thought she resembled the American President.  My grandma was good at keeping her cool, but not this time; a few colorful words accidentally came out that day.  She wasn't angry about the fact that I thought  she resembled a man, she was angry because she didn't like him. On the contrary, I admired him, and so did the majority of the American people, and here's why:
  1. Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on February 6, 1911, to Nelle and John Reagan in Tampico, Illinois. As a baby, he was nicknamed "Dutch" by his father, because he resembled a little fat dutch man. 
  2. In High School he was a life guard, played football and acted in school plays.
  3. Reagan was educated at Eureka College, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Sociology.
  4. Reagan moved first to Iowa to work as a radio broadcaster and then, in 1937, to Los Angeles where he began a career as an actor, first in films and later television. During the next 2 decades, he appeared in 53 films.
  5. In 1940, he married his first wife;  actress Jane Wyman. They had three children, Maureen, Christine (who died shortly after birth) and Michael. They divorced in 1949. In 1952, he married Nancy Davis, who was also an actress, and they had two children, Patricia Ann and Ronald Prescott.  Ronald Reagan  is the only US president to have been divorced.
  6. In 1962 he switched from Democrat to Republican, and on January 2, 1967 he was elected 33rd Governor of California by a margin of a million votes; he was re-elected in 1970.
  7. Reagan became the 40th President of the United States of America on  January 20, 1981,  Only 69 days later he was shot by a would-be assassin, but quickly recovered and returned to duty. His grace and wit during the dangerous incident caused his popularity to soar.
  8. After winning his second term in office and by the end of his administration, the nation was enjoying its longest recorded period of peacetime prosperity without recession or depression.  Despite the ongoing debates, Reagan has ranked among the most popular of all modern U.S. presidents in public opinion polls.
  9. Reagan died of pneumonia, brought on by Alzheimer's disease at his home in Bel Air, California on the afternoon of June 5, 2004. He is buried in the  Ronald W. Reagan Presidential Library in  Simi Valley, Ventura County, California, USA
  10. In 2010, Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 944, to make every February 6 Ronald Reagan Day in California.
Ronald Reagan Quotes:
"All great change in America begins at the dinner table". - Ronald Reagan

"But there are advantages to being elected President. The day after I was elected, I had my high school grades classified Top Secret." - Ronald Reagan

"Each generation goes further than the generation preceding it because it stands on the shoulders of that generation. You will have opportunities beyond anything we've ever known." -
Ronald Reagan

"Entrepreneurs and their small enterprises are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States." -Ronald Reagan

"If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under." 
- Ronald Reagan

"Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face." -Ronald Reagan

"Government's first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives." -
Ronald Reagan

"I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US Congress." -
Ronald Reagan

"Heroes may not be braver than anyone else. They're just braver five minutes longer." 
- Ronald Reagan

"I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph and that there is purpose and worth to each and every life."  -Ronald Reagan
(Found  inscribed at h is burial site. T he words he delivered at the opening of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library) 

"I have recently been told that I am one of the millions of Americans who will be afflicted with Alzheimer's Disease... At the moment I feel just fine. I intend to live the remainder of the years God gives me on this earth doing the things I have always done... I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead. Thank you, my friends. May God always bless you." -Ronald Reagan (his written letter to America when he found out he had Alzheimer's disease at the age of 83)

Click here to view Ronald Reagan's Online Memorial!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How to Volunteer at Find A Grave

What is Find A Grave? is a free online database of cemeteries throughout the world. Over 80 million online memorials have been preserved on this site from volunteers.  These memorials may contain birth and death dates, pictures, biographies and more specific information. Just today, there were  11,625,957 visitors on this site. Take a look, your relatives could be here!

What volunteers do?
  • Add and manage online memorials of family, friends or anyone.
  • Photograph headstones at your local cemetery for people in other states.
  • Submit a photo request for someone else to photograph your ancestors headstones in another state. 
Why should I become a Find A Grave volunteer?  As a Find a Grave volunteer, you choose what you want to do, and how often. Becoming a volunteer does NOT mean you are obligated to do anything. It simply means, you can help out when you can. I became a volunteer at Find A Grave , for the opportunity to preserve my ancestors headstones, and manage their information myself. When I traveled to Indiana to do family research, I spent most of my days in Norristown, Cemetery where most of my ancestors are buried. I noticed that Norristown Cemetery had very few names entered on Find A Grave. So, before it was too late, I photographed and transcribed hundreds of headstones in that cemetery. Honestly, I kinda felt like Indiana Jones as I pieced together broken headstones like a jigsaw puzzle to reveal their identity. There were even headstones that had fallen over, and were buried by grass with the inscription unreadable, but with a little effort, they were saved. Knowing that I helped give an identity to those buried in this cemetery is beyond words. In just a few days work, the unknown became KNOWN and preserved!
Image above: Headstones of my great, great, great grandparents; George Washington Burnes & Sarah Walker Burnes (the 2 on the left), buried in Norristown Cemetery.

For me, and the thousands of Find A Grave volunteers, the rewards are greater than expected. It's a great act of service. It's about doing the right thing for those who lived a much harder life than we have. It's a small way to pay it back as we preserve and remember our forefathers.
Here's an example of what an online memorial looks like: Click image to enlarge

How do I become a volunteer?
  • Go to Below is  an image of what the landing page will look like: (It's not the most glamorous website, but the content of this website is amazing!)
  • On the right, under the " FIND GRAVES " section, the 6th bullet point down, click on the link that says " JOIN THE FIND A GRAVE COMMUNITY ". The new page will look like this:
  • Type in your information. Then, on the bottom, you will see a check box for becoming a photo volunteer. Check the box if you would like to become a photo volunteer for others, or keep it unchecked, if you no not want to do this. (I checked the box when I signed up, and I don't have to photograph unless I want to). Finally, Click on " SEND MY INFORMATION ".  
That's it!! You're now part of the Find A Grave Community! If you have any questions, please contact me at

Click here to view Sarah Burnes Heiner's Public Find A Grave Profile >>

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Enemy Territory!! God promises to keep us safe!

Take a few minutes to watch this Christian video about listening to the spirit and acting upon that spirit to keep you safe from harm and the adversary. There have been many times in my life where the spirit has directed me to safety. I love knowing that God will protect all of us, as long as we keep his commandments. What a beautiful promise!
“You young people are being raised in enemy territory, but I promise you will be protected and shielded from the attacks of the adversary if you will heed the promptings that come from the Holy Ghost,” says President Boyd K. Packer. He shares an experience in which he was protected during World War II by listening to a prompting from the Spirit.
Has there been a time in your life when listening to the promptings of the Spirit has protected you? Share your experience below.
Read, watch, or listen to President Packer’s full address “Counsel to Youth.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Father's Day Tribute to Brady

I wanted to take a moment to give a formal tribute to the man in my life who has blessed me with 5 beautiful children. A Father who dedicates his life to serving his family and loves doing it. He has a great love for each of his children, and shares a deep relationship with all of them.
He has the ability to stay calm when the chaos hits! 
He has a sense of humor that the little ones can relate to and teenagers love.
He can make anyone feel like they're the most special person alive.
He's smart. He's dedicated. He's handy. He's Patient.
But above all, he's the greatest father I have ever known.
Happy Father's Day Brady!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Genealogy Proved The Truth - Correcting False Truths

I felt the impression to get a little personal in this entry because of my struggles with the "false truths" in my own family. There were a lot of details in my Family History that didn't quite add up.

Here's what I mean:

My father was an only child to William Emry Burnes & Ruth Imogene Adams. I was told my grandfather William Burnes was around 50 years old when he married my grandma Ruth when she was only 18 years old. I was told that grandpa most likely had a wife and children he left back in Iowa when he married my grandma. I was told they most likely eloped and "ran away" to California together. My father believed this to be the truth because everything added up that way. Does this sound like a small town scandal to you? Well that's what I thought too. My grandfather died from a heart attack at a young age of 62, leaving behind his only child, a son (my father) age 12, and his wife (grandma) age 33. Imagine losing your father at the age of 12 and not knowing the truth.

I knew very little about my grandfather, and what little information I did know, wasn't very charming. I too lived with this same knowledge of my grandfather, as my father did because of the family history that was tied to him through "false truths".

My quest for TRUTH:
My brother William Aaron Burnes was named after his grandfather; William Emry Burnes, and they both died on the exact day, March 13th, 50 years apart, 1956 & 2006.  After my brother's death, I would embark on something very unknown; the Burnes Genealogy & Family History. Many remarkable events unfolded, including the miraculous "Will Ball". I began tracing our lineage only to find how difficult and merely impossible it was. This is not the case with most people starting their genealogy, but that's how it was with me. At times I wanted to give up, but there is a power in all of us to "learn the truth" especially when it comes to our heritage.
It is who we are, why we are, and where we will go that kept me going.

As I began on this genealogy journey and started discovering the truth of our heritage, I had a dream of my brother William. In my dream he was beautiful! His skin, his eyes, his entire physical appearance was radiant. He walked up to me, looked at me in the eyes, hugged me (with great power) and said two words to me; "thank you". He turned and walked out the excessively large wooden ornate doors that he had walked in. I awoke the next morning in tears because of this encounter I had while dreaming. The dream was so intense, but more importantly I retained everything I had seen and heard so perfectly, and I knew it was the newly discovered TRUTH behind our family history that William was thanking me for; the truth about our grandfather. The same truth he was trying to discover before his passing.

The TRUTH was this:

My Grandfather, William Emry Burnes was an incredible man! A World War I Navy Hero, The city Sheriff,  a Free Mason, a violinist, a successful Business Owner, a Deep Sea Fisherman, an Honest man, Hard working & intelligent.

He was a young man who had carried the heavy load of supporting his mother and siblings through the death of his father during the time of the Great Depression.  He was the oldest of 8 children, and without hesitation,  he took on the responsibility to support his mother, brothers and sisters and their spouses through the painful years of the depression.  A second cousin confirmed this, stating “he even made sure his sisters and sister in laws had beautiful hats and shoes to wear.” At the age of 37, when all of his siblings were able to make it on their own, he married his first wife, Kathryn Fleig. The short marriage of 3 years ended when he noted in the divorce papers that he stayed faithful for the space of 3 years awaiting her return. The papers also stated this small but very important detail "no children were born to this marriage". For unknown reasons, she had left him and never came back. Heartbroken by this tragedy he removed himself from the "normal" way life should be, and focused on living an honest life as the local town Sheriff and Business Owner. It was eleven years later that he would meet Ruth Imogene Adams in Batavia, Iowa. He was 49 years old, she was 19, the perfect match separated by 31 years. They married a few months later and set off to start their lives far from home; in Napa, California. They had two children together, one son (my father) and a baby girl who died just a few hours after she was born. They lived a happy life together for 12 years, until his death in 1956. This was not the typical story for most of your grandparents, but this was mine, and one that I am very proud of.

The passion I have for doing genealogy is very personal to me. It defines the line between the truth and the unknown. It gives me hope, it gives me knowledge, but mostly it gives me the opportunity to link our ancestors together as one family. We live in a day in age, where we can learn the truth of our ancestors from many genealogical websites like;
Ancestry, Family Search , Findagrave , USGenweb , Google and so many more. My newly discovered lineage has impacted the way I view myself and every living and non living person. I know our loved ones who have passed on, are still here, just unseen to our earthly eyes. We can feel them close when we are in tune to them. We all have ancestors cheering for us, helping us daily, and strengthening us as we bear the burdens of this life. They have paved that rocky road so we can pay it back to them by keeping them alive, in us, and staying true to our family name and heritage.

I am so truly blessed to have corrected the "false truths" about my own family history. May we all be diligent in seeking for the truth to clear up those uncertain details and to give credit, where credit is due.

A Tribute to William Emry Burnes:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

"Make Sure You Pass The Test"

“When you go through difficult times, make sure you pass the test. Don’t be stubborn and hardheaded. Recognize that God is refining you, knocking off some of your rough edges. Stand strong and fight the good fight of faith. God has called each of us to be champions; you are destined to win. If you will work with God and keep a good attitude, then no matter what comes against you, the bible says that all things not just the good things in life, but all things work together for your good.”  - Joel Osteen

Friday, June 01, 2012

A Birthday tribute to my oldest child; Taylor.

On this day (June 1st), 15 years ago, my first child was born;  Taylor .  It was 1997 on a Sunday evening, during the NBA Playoffs final game 7, Jazz vs. Bulls (this game made history for Utah). Full term, and 1 day before my due date,  I felt the impression to go to the hospital (thanks to my mother in law), for a random check. With the entire Hospital staff glued to the TV they managed to check my vitals and found that Taylor's heart rate had dropped 50%; he was being strangled by the umbilical cord. Without further hesitation, I was admitted for an emergency c-section. Taylor Jordan Heiner entered this life at 10:03pm on June 1, 1997. Weighing 7 lbs. 2 oz., 19" long. He's now 6'4", 147 lbs., and the most incredible 15 year old I have ever known. I am so blessed to be his mother! Happy Birthday Tay-Tay!! (and yes, his middle name Jordan came from Michael Jordan:)

Now it's time for you to write a simple story about the day your child was born.