Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Great Resource

I listened to another talk by Elder Neal A. Maxwell talk this morning while I was on my treadmill. I have many of his talks loaded on my IPod. I am always amazed by his wisdom and how relative his talks are for our day. Some of these talks were written 30 years ago, yet they are perfectly relevant today. I constantly learn something new when I listen to them.

I thought I would share the website where they can be found and downloaded. I always feel better when I read or listen to one of his talks. They are on my IPod and this morning, I downloaded them to my Nook e-reader. What a great resource. The whole "Speeches" website is a great resource for that matter.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Will He Ever Get His Birthday Box?

Ian's birthday was in July. I sent a box out in May. It came back recently because of the first postal issue. I split the contents in two this time and sent one box off and the second box off two weeks later. It seems there is another "box for ransom" saga happening. Ian asked for a digital recorder so he could record journal entries. Hopefully it makes it this time but I won't be sending any more packages his way I think. He sounds good though and very focused on his service, as he should be.

"Dear Family,

It seems as though every week is busier than the last, and passes even faster than the last, I didn’t even have time to breath this week, we have SO MUCH work to do....This new system of training new missionaries really is awesome, everything is layed out with the progress that the new missionary needs to be making each week so that at the end of the 12 weeks they will be capable in all of the lessons and in all of the parts of the work...I have I favor to ask of you all, don´t ever send me another package again. The secretaries called me this morning and told me that the package that Mom send has arrived, but once again the Brazilian Postal System has taken it hostage. This time they are saying that it is because of electronics. The good news is that it will only cost R$50 to take it out, which is about $35, so not nearly as much as last time, but it is still a lot. As much as I love getting packages, this is getting ridiculous, and I feel terrible because we are wasting all this money. I only have one year left and I really won’t miss these packages all that much, it is just not worth the trouble. I will just pay the R$50 and take it out to end the headache. Despite the trouble, thanks a lot for the package and the love..." 

It does look like he'll get his birthday box though soon, almost two months late but better late than never I guess.

My sister Sue told me her power is still out in Connecticut from the hurricane and she has 4 inches of water in her basement. Yikes. No word yet from my other sister who was staying at my brother's house in Newburgh, New York, not sure how they fared. She was in New York visiting him and had to wait out the storm to go back to North Carolina. I bet that's a story.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Great Picture

Wade has been working at a company in a clean room making memory chips for flash drives (I think). Anyway, he's required to wear a "clean suit" in the clean room while he works. The company had an Open House a couple of weeks ago. Emma also got to try out the suit. :)
Now that's a GREAT picture!

The hurricane in the east (Irene) made landfall this morning almost exactly where my sister's beach property is. I am headed to North Carolina in two weeks to visit her. The question of the day is...will there be any beach left when I get there. Scary stuff!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Grandma Caroline

I have been thinking about my Grandma today. I posted about my grandfather the other day and I think it's Grandma's turn. Her name was Caroline. She was my Dad's Mom. Caroline was a very quiet woman. The most striking thing I remember about my Grandma was her faith. She was a devout Catholic. I distinctly remember a practice she had that I have never forgotten. Everyday at 12:00 noon, she sat down in a chair in her dining room and took out a small stack of prayer cards. She had them tightly wrapped in a rubber band. She unwrapped the rubber band and silently went through her prayer cards. It was very important to her. I don't remember how many she went through. I'm not even sure what was on them. I only remember that it was a very distinct habit she had. She was extremely devout in her love for God. She attended mass everyday with my Grandpa and she exuded quiet faith. It was really who she was, a woman of quiet faith and love for the Savior. She died while I was on my mission. I have felt her love for me many, many times over the years since that time. I especially felt her love for my Dad as he lay close to death a few hours before he died. It was a distinct feeling I had which I will never forget. I felt strongly that she was waiting for him and would be there to greet him when he passed on.

When my Dad passed away five years ago, my Mom gave me my Grandma's watch. It was the watch my Grandpa gave her as an engagement present.
It doesn't work anymore but it is so lovely. It has a small diamond in the middle and a sapphire on the side. It is gold plated. On the back, are her initials, "CVG."
Recently I have been thinking of giving it to my cousin Caroline (Veronica), her name sake. She lives in New York. She might enjoy having it as I have.
This was my Grandma's wedding photo. Her nationality was Polish and perhaps Hungarian or Czechoslovakian. That is yet to be finally determined one day. I'm working on that.
This was my Grandpa.
He was a good looking man of German descent.
This is a photo of my Aunt Virginia on the left and her first son Walter, my Grandpa in the middle and my Dad when he was young on the right. My dad was also a good looking man. My cousin Caroline was Virginia's only daughter and Virginia was the only daughter of my grandparents. Aunt Virginia also had seven boys. My Grandma was very, very, very close to my Aunt Virginia and her daughter Caroline. They had a wonderful close mother-daughter bond and grandmother-granddaughter bond. My Grandfather was also very close to my aunt and Virginia's children.

I have been thinking of all of them today. I am headed to the Temple later today. I feel especially close to them today and I sense I feel their love for me. I believe that families are eternal through the blessings of the Temple. I am especially grateful for that knowledge today.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Good Kind Of A Mess

Seth REALLY likes homemade raspberry jam. 
It's about the only kind he wants to eat. 
 So I bought two flats of Bear Lake raspberries...
washed them and smooshed them...
got everything ready...
and made a grand mess in my kitchen this morning.
But it was a mess with a purpose...
 adding sugar and pectin to beautiful ripe fruit...
following the directions, cooking the jam, putting it into jars...
processing them in a water bath canner...
to preserve beautiful, delicious, marvelous
 raspberry jam for this next year...

for Seth.

This is the e-mail from his coach he sent out yesterday:
"Congratulations to our new Team Captain: senior Seth.  Seth has exhibited a positive and outgoing attitude, a willingness to accept new responsibilities and a desire to encourage and lead his teammates.  For these reasons Seth has been named as a Captain to the 2011 West High School Cross Country Team.    

Congratulations Seth!"

What's a mother to do?

Make a good mess for a good son I guess. :)

Love you Seth...
enjoy the jam.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Time Marches On

After many years of seeing kids off on their first day of a new school year, today was the last. Seth started his senior year today. He went out the door with a nervous, upset stomach but with a smile on his face. Bye Seth.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

 First day of kindergarten.
Where did the time go? 
It seems like yesterday.

And time marches on..........

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Did You Say Captain?

Yesterday Seth informed us that his coach asked him to be one of the captains of his Cross Country team. Jim and I were happy for him but could only shake our heads in wonder because neither one of us have any athletic ability whatsoever. Good for him. He's better than his parents. Go Seth!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Love The Greeting Line...

"Ever-so-awesome Family,                                                 

It has been a kind of crazy but good week. On Monday night, I went to Londrina and Tuesday morning I went to the trainers meeting at the president’s home. There we received trainings and I picked up my new companion...and we came back to Maringá and got to work. After some confusion, I also found out during all of this I am now District Leader as well as trainer, so this last week has been pretty crazy with all of the changes and getting used to it all. My companion is from Manaus which is way up north, in the same state as the Amazon river. Despite the fact that he lives there, this does not mean the he lives in the middle of the jungle. Manaus is a very big and quite modern city, and they are about to complete a temple there. We are now hard at work with the new training program. There is a lot that we have to learn, and by the end of the program he will be in control of everything. This program is so so, so, so cool, I think that it is really going to make a huge difference in the way that the new missionaries are trained, it is quite detailed and now we will be using video segments and other cool tools to learn and practice. Other than this I don’t have much news, is it colder again this week and it has been raining. We also had a great activity in our ward on Friday deemed ``Mexican night.`` We had guacamole (which is uncommon here) and chili. We had a great turn out, some investigators, and everyone seemed to like it."

He sounds great....

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Blessings Of Scripture

This video popped up on Mormon Messages a few days ago. I was so struck by it. The message is so important. The words in the message are truth.

I thought the phrase "scriptural illiteracy" was a very interesting phrase. I don't think many people want to think of themselves a illiterate at all but I think when it comes to the scriptures, that term might apply to many unfortunately.

I think Elder Christofferson also mentioned that reading the scriptures helps us to be able to differentiate between truth and error. I have found that to be true in my own life. So the question needs to be asked, if one does not read and ponder the scriptures, how can one really discern between truth and error? Does scriptural illiteracy lead to errors in one's life that could have otherwise been avoided?

The scriptures are a road map. That map leads to God. If you can't read a map, you can't get where you are going. If we don't read the scriptures, we can't get where we are going (or not very well). We might get lost, lose our way, be misled into wrong paths, waste time trying to find the path, get confused and discouraged along the way, and possibly not make it at all. Reading the map seems like an easy way to get on the right path and stay there.

I love the scriptures. If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times. There is so much to learn in the scriptures. Good men gave their lives for the messages in the scriptures. I read them to be able to discern between truth and error but I also read them to feel God's love for me every day. It's the easiest way I know of how to do that.

(The Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine & Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price)

"Thy words were found,
and I did eat them;
and thy word was unto me
the joy and rejoicing of my heart..."
Jeremiah 15:16

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Update On The Film

By all indications and because of the many e-mails I have received from casting, it does appear as though I will most likely be an extra in the New Testament production currently underway. Apparently an e-mail goes out to the needed extra the afternoon or the evening before their scheduled day. I think this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Gratefully, gratefully looking forward to it.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Grandpa's Desk

The first close relative I ever lost to death was my Dad's dad. His name was Fred, like my Dad. I was 13 years old and in the eighth grade when Grandpa died. I remember the day well, I even remember the date, March 2, 1973. I came home from school in the afternoon as I always did.  I came in the back door and hung up my coat and heard my Dad call me from the basement. I went down the stairs and there I found my Dad crying. He had me sit by him and he hugged me and I can still hear him say, "Grandpa died today." I remember those exact words and I can still see me sitting next to my Dad when he told me. We cried together. That was my first experience with real grief and the loss of a loved one.

My Grandpa Fred was a very loving man. His grandchildren adored him. He used to let us sit on his lap and comb his very fine hair. He always had candy in his pocket for us. He exuded goodness and solidness of character. He was well liked by all who knew him and he was a man of kindness. I loved when he took me on car trips to the reservoir.

His wife Caroline, my grandmother, was a very quiet woman. My grandparents were both very religious and they attended Catholic mass every morning of the week. Their religion and the Christian values taught to them in that religion were evident in the way they lived. My love for the Lord comes partly because of their good examples of true devotion to God.

My grandparents had a very small home. It only had a kitchen, a bathroom, two bedrooms, a living room, a dining room, and a small "back porch." All the rooms were very small. Prominently displayed in their dining room was a picture of the last supper. In essence, it was the center of their home. I too have religious paintings in my home. I attribute that habit to the good examples of my Dad's parents. My Dad attended Catholic school as his parents had him do, and he made sure that we attended as well. It was my Dad who made sure we attended church every Sunday. When my Mom had to work on Sundays as she frequently did, it was my Dad who made sure we attended church even though she wasn't there.

My grandfather liked my curly hair. I remember he didn't like it when I got it cut. My hair has always given me trouble of one sort or another but I always remember that it was my grandfather first and foremost who loved my curls and gave me hope that something could be done with them.

My grandfather had an old desk in his dining room. He did a lot of  work on that desk. He was the secretary to the volunteer fire department in our city for 42 years. When he died, a firetruck with his name engraved on the side, was in the funeral procession. There was a lot of fire company secretarial work that went on at my grandpa's desk. As a matter of fact, that is where he was the afternoon he had a massive stroke which took his life...sitting at his desk.

After Grandpa died, my Dad gave me his desk. I used it as my homework desk the rest of junior high and all throughout high school. It is a very, very small desk but it was my favorite. I always loved doing math homework and first thing after school everyday, I sat down at that desk and did my math homework.

Eventually, I moved away and went to nursing school, served a mission, got married, and moved west. Many years later, when my brother Rob was very sick with leukemia, I discovered my old desk in his basement. I asked Rob's wife why Rob had my desk. She said, "This is Rob's desk. He loves this desk." I was so surprised that he thought it was his desk, because I cherished it as my desk. He inherited it as his homework desk after I moved away. She told me he really loved that desk. She recovered the chair and I felt somewhat disappointed that it had obviously found a new and permanent home.

A year and a half later after Rob passed away, his wife and children moved west to be closer to her family. Rob's wife showed up at my house one day and to my surprise, presented me with my cherished desk. She said, "Rob told me to make sure to give this to you after he died." What a wonderful, truly meaningful gift from my brother.

This desk has been in my home now for eleven years. It is a very old desk. It's not really sturdy and the wood stain was wiped away years ago by my sister-in-law who meant to re-stain it one day. In January, I decided to paint it black to go in my redecorated guest room. I finally painted the desk two days ago. It's not a good paint job, but doing this project has brought more than one tear to my eye as I have relived cherished memories of my grandfather and my brother. It's a great desk. My grandchildren might want to know that a good man did a lot of work at that desk and even though it has no monetary value, its sentimental value is priceless.

It has the power to bind hearts.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Year Of Blogging

Next week marks a year of blogging for me. That's a long time to blog. I have some thoughts about blogging I want to share.

First of all, I do not want to blog forever!!


Blogging isn't easy!

When I started this blog, I committed to keeping it for two years while Ian is away on his mission. I am a "commitment keeper" and so I will keep this going for another year BUT  I will also be happy when I no longer blog. There are a lot of good things about blogging. It has been a GREAT way for me to jot down my family history. In that way, it is the simplest way I know of to do family history. Finding pictures of family events as the time has gone on and writing my memories about those pictures has been a wonderful gift for me and one that I can leave my children. Recalling stories from long ago about my life has been fun sometimes. Other times, I have recalled painful memories I have not wanted to remember. I have tried to paint a picture for my family about who I am that they can remember long after I am gone. When I print this blog out after I am finished with it and put it into book form, I hope I will leave a treasure for my children. Ian it turns out, just wound up being the excuse/catalyst for this project; I just didn't know it when I started.

Blogging is different than journaling. When journaling, my thoughts are much more private and deep I think. In blogging, it's tough to write the deepest thoughts of one's heart because you never know who is reading your blog! That said, I have been thinking about what kinds of things I want to write about this next year. I have more stories to tell (believe it or not) and I have more family memories I want to write about. By and large however, I have deeper things I also want to write about. I guess I am giving fair warning. After my trip to North Carolina in a few weeks, I might go deeper in my thoughts. When I say deeper, I mean about the things I hold dearest to me. For anyone who reads this blog and gets a bit nervous by my posts about religious things, this is a fair warning. It's not that I want to preach to anyone or that I want to convert anyone, it's just that those things are the things I think about most of the time. That's who I really am and who I have always been. Those kinds of things are the things I hold dearest to my heart. If religious topics make you feel uncomfortable, sadly, maybe it will be time to turn to other blogs. There are a lot of deeper things I want to say and I think as time goes on, I am just going to say them...for me. I just think it's fair if I give a "head's up" though, so to speak.

When Ian returns from his mission in a year, he will turn right around within a few days and head back to BYU. Seth will also leave (hopefully for BYU as well) that same week. This next year of blogging will see me through to the end of my time when I have minor children living with me and when I become an "empty nester." I'm quite nervous about that and so I suspect that my posts next year this time will be quite emotional. Another fair warning I suppose. I have cherished my time as a stay-at-home mom and coming to the end of that within a year will be trying for me I suspect.

I have been able to tell which countries have people that read my blog but I am never able to tell "who" reads my blogs. I only get a count of the people in a certain country. I have been amazed to see that over this last year, most of the countries of the world have checked in , some many times over. Here are a list of just some: United States, Canada, Malaysia, Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom, Russia, Ukraine, India, Australia, New Zealand, Phillipines, Brazil, Finland, Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Papua New Guinea, France, Spain, Hungary, Poland, South Africa, Columbia, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan...and the list goes on and on and on. To say that this is humbling is an understatement. I don't know how people find my blog or what they think of it when they do find it. I just keep writing. I often wonder if people think I am crazy for some of the things I write. There is not a day that goes by that at least one, and most days many more countries, check in to my blog. It is overwhelming to me.

To those who read...I hope I have said something that may have helped you or at the very least, made you smile or brightened your day. Thank you for reading. Please feel free to leave a comment if you like. I'll keep writing...at least for one more year.


Monday, August 15, 2011

P-Day Check-Ins

My son and my Mom are serving missions at the same time...kind of cool if you think about it.

"Dear Family,
Transfers are upon us once again, my companion is being transferred to a city close by, and I will stay here...and train a brand new missionary. I don´t know who it will be yet, but I know that it will be a Brazilian because there are only 3 new elders coming in this transfer and they are all Brazilians. The Church released a new worldwide program for training new missionaries a few weeks ago, so this will be the first time that we are using this new system, I will stay twelve weeks (two transfers) with the new missionary and they will have some other changes as well, I will keep you all updated on how it is going in coming weeks. I don’t have a lot of new things to tell besides this, we had a good week and we worked hard. It is hot here again.... I testify that this Church is true, I know that God loves us, he sent his Son to save us. I know that change is really, it is what the gospel is all about, changing and becoming better people every day. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that we have a living prophet. I love you all so much, I am very happy that all is going well for everyone, send my love to all. Have a good week."

These snippets came from my Mom:

"As I said before and I say it again, I do not know how I got so blessed...I now have a bus schedule and the bus can be caught right on the corner. I have walked to food shopping a couple of days. I am trying to get all the things I need slowly. I miss my car since I am so independent...I am doing O.K. I ride with someone different every day. (That's a real sacrifice for her after having had a car for so many years and to be 74 riding the city bus.)...There is always something going on...I love what I am doing and know that I am in the right place at this time in my life. ...I am very happy and love my apartment. I have been very blessed...I bear my testimony, the Church is true, Joseph Smith was the first prophet of this dispensation, Jesus is the Christ and we have a living prophet today, Thomas S. Monson."

This is kind of interesting to follow. I won't be including e-mails from my Mom but I thought this first one was pretty interesting. I'm glad they are both well and seem to be very happy.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Good Thoughts

Today we listened to a talk in church about "partaking of the goodness of God." It was quite thought provoking. The speaker talked about the importance of partaking. Partaking means that there is something there to be had. Actively partaking of the goodness of God requires faith. Faith is really an action word because it is a motivating factor for forward momentum towards the things of God. Believing that there is a loving God is the first step. Exercising faith in Him to draw near to Him and partake of His goodness leads to joy. It also leads to the recognition that there is so much goodness to partake of.

I particularly like the 23rd Psalm as a good example of this concept.

The 23rd Psalm

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”

I know that God's goodness is real. I know that He wants us to partake of it. I know He wants to bless us, His children, but we must be willing to seek Him out, exercise faith in Him, and... partake.

Happy Sunday. :)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

Warm Summer Nights

I enjoy sitting on my deck on 
warm summer nights to watch the sunset.
Last night we had an 'almost' full moon.
The Utah State capitol building is a pretty sight.
As well as the temple.
The flowers in my yard look great when the moon is bright.
Summer nights are great.
Soon they will be gone again.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

This Morning I Smell Like A Campfire

That's because I was up in the mountains 
again last night to attend a church girl's camp dinner.
On the way, we stopped at a reservoir.
The ride up was very enjoyable.
I have grown very fond of the Utah mountains.
I loved sitting around the fire at the end of the day with everyone.
 I enjoyed the girls very much.
And I am enjoying the smell of the lingering campfire
 smoke this morning reminding me of the wonderful time we had . 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Here's an interesting link as a follow on to yesterday's post:

"The miracle is not that we do this work, 
but that we are happy to do it." 
Mother Teresa

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Helping Hands Day In Brazil

Ian didn't say anything about this. I thought the following article was great.
"On July 30, 2011, yellow vests dominated the scene at hundreds of service projects across Brazil in celebration of the 12th anniversary of Mormon Helping Hands, a program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that seeks to provide community service and disaster relief to those in need.
Mormon Helping Hands actually originated in Brazil (“Maos aue Ajudam”) as a way to acquaint friends and neighbors with the Church’s humanitarian efforts. It has now become a major annual event.
This year’s day of service was filled with singing, laughing, and applause as 120,000 men, women, and children swept streets, cleaned schools, repaired buildings, beautified parks, and participated in other service projects in Latin America’s largest, most populated country. Church members partnered with community members to provide service that will benefit everyone.
In Belo Horizonte, Recife, and Bahia, more than 6,000 volunteers mobilized to fight dengue fever. In Rio de Janeiro, volunteers cleaned up public schools and day care centers. In Porto Alegre, 1,500 volunteers cleaned schools and some participated in lectures on drug use prevention.
Elsewhere, members delivered clowns made from recycled materials to be handed out to children in daycares, clinics, shelters, etc.
Over the two months prior to the service day, more than 500 volunteers worked to collect donated food, which was given to 175 needy families in Sao Jose on July 30.
Church members in Blumenau donated approximately 300 pounds of food to Casa de Apoio às Crianças Portadoras de Mielomeningocele e Neoplasia (“House in Support of Children with Spina Bifida, and Neoplasia”). Volunteers also taught basic principles of food storage to the institution.
“The techniques we learned will help us to keep food in our pantry, since much of our food spoils in the moist environment,” social worker Adriane J. Backes Ruoff said.
A few Helping Hands projects took place in advance of the July 30 volunteer day.
In February, more than 1,000 Latter-day Saints and friends of the Church took to the mountain region of Nova Friburgo, a municipality in the state of Rio de Janeiro, wielding brooms, shovels, and wheelbarrows to clean the city’s streets, hospitals, and schools, after a rash of devastating floods and landslides in January.
Through Mormon Helping Hands, Latter-day Saints have also pitched in at other times and in many areas of the world to clean and beautify communities. Thousands of volunteers have donated millions of hours of service.
Not only does Mormon Helping Hands help the needy and improve communities, the Helping Hands website reads, it can strengthen Church members, provide an opportunity to share the gospel indirectly, help develop relationships between Church leaders and government officials, and enhance the reputation of the Church.
Last year, more than 100,000 Latter-day Saint volunteers and friends of the Church gathered along the Copacabana Beach in southeast Brazil to help pick up and clean up.
In 2009, on the 10th anniversary of the program, Senator Alvaro Dias, a member of the Brazilian Federal Legislature, said of the service day, “A gesture is worth more than a thousand words. … This gesture has a lot of power to practice what you preach like the Church does here.”  

Monday, August 8, 2011

Short E-mail...Happy Missionary

"Dear Family,

Since everybody is asking about the weather here I will already tell you, it is being crazy. This week we had both the coldest day that Maringá has seen in 12 years (it got almost down to freezing), as well as some of the hottest days we have seen in a few months...But no problem, we are hard at work here, we had a great week, we ended up with two sets of missionaries working in our area for a few days so we taught a bunch. We also had a surprise baptism...he is the grandson of a recent convert. We have been teaching him for a while and he has wanted to be baptized for a long time...he was baptized on Sunday! 

Sorry for the super short and completely unsatisfactory email this week but I am out of time, I am well and you got the important stuff already. The church is true and I love you all!"
It's hard to adequately describe missionary joy but it is very real.
This is a picture from my own mission. 
I experienced much joy in doing the Lord's work.
It's wonderful that Ian has the same opportunity.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sunday Thoughts

I read an article quote this morning by an author who writes for Guideposts. His last paragraph was very thought provoking. He said,

“When I see my life as a story, with all the richness and depth of art, the beauty and serendipity and redemption, the synchronicity of forces beyond my knowing, I  understand finally that I am not necessarily the author.” Edward Grinnan

This statement really resonates with me. I think all of us can say that we can acknowledge the hand of God in our lives if we simply take the time to acknowledge Him. I firmly believe that there are experiences He provides for us which cause us to grow and change and grow closer to Him. I think we can all acknowledge His beautiful creations if we but take the time to do so. My life has had many twists and turns that I would not have chosen for myself, but all all of them make me who I am today. The tapestry of my life tells a story of my own making because of choices I have made in my life. More importantly,  it tells of the kind, guiding hand of God who has granted me experiences which have invited me to become better than I ever would have become on my own. I am grateful for that hand in my life. I would not have it any other way.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Emma came to get math homework help from Seth.
 Elisa came to do laundry.
Elisa also brought three other guests with her for a 
singles conference they have been attending.
 Trying to get a decent picture...
from these three...
was impossible...
so I gave up. 
This was all I could manage.

But I still love them. :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Crossing The Plains

I guess it is time to write the “traveling to Utah as a new bride” story. Writing about I-80 yesterday was the natural opener I guess.

Jim needed to return to Utah after we were married to complete his schooling. That required that I move west with him. I met Jim when he lived in New Jersey. I did not fully understand or appreciate his western roots when we were dating or even when we got married. I thought I was marrying an easterner. He was an easterner but his western roots ran very deep. His parents and all their families were from Idaho. Jim’s Dad only worked in New Jersey for a while, thus they were were only western transplants.

At any rate, after we were married and had a honeymoon in New Hampshire, it was time to “head west” as they say. Heading west involved packing up all our wedding gifts and our one and only piece of furniture, my grandmother’s cedar chest into a U-haul. Jim drove an old, and I mean OLD (1974) nine passenger Chevy station wagon. It was a beast. As a matter of fact, I think Jim referred to it as “the behemoth.”

We set out from New Jersey at 5 a.m. on July 25, 1983. I had been in the west to attend the MTC and spent six days in Provo before I went into the MTC, but I was unfamiliar with the west or western culture beyond that. I had certainly never traveled cross-country before by car. Undaunted, we set off for a new life. I will always remember how happy Jim was as we drove. He had driven cross-country many times with his parents before in his youth to visit family in Idaho. This time, he was taking his new bride and he was a happy man.

I was happy right along with him through the beautiful GREEN rolling hills of Pennsylvania. Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois were similarly familiar to me because I-80 travel in those states was quick and the scenery seemed to be mostly cityscape and GREEN. We traveled all day. There seems to be something about travel by car or plane that just puts me to sleep; Jim says I slept or dozed a good part of the way. We had a great time regardless.

Newlyweds have to get to know one another. Sleep habits need to be understood. We had not figured that out yet by the time of this trip. At 10:00 p.m., my good husband was tired from driving all day. He asked me if I would take a turn driving. Mind you, anyone who knows me KNOWS how hilarious a question this is. I naturally fall asleep about 10:00-10:30 every night, even earlier in the dead of winter. I can’t help it; I just have a natural body rhythm, kind of like chickens. Being a new bride and willing to please, I said I would drive. Jim promptly fell asleep and I knew I was in trouble after about five minutes of driving. We were on a major interstate, it was late, it was DARK, trucks were all around me and I was a drowsy, I mean I was a seriously DROWSY driver. I drove but knew I was in trouble. It didn’t matter that I dozed most of the day, I was still tired. By 11:00, I pulled in to a gas station and confessed to my husband that he married a certain wimp. I told him I could no longer drive safely. Jim being the night owl he was and a non-complainer, took the wheel and tells the story that I slept peacefully the rest of the night while he drove. Oops…Until 5:00 a.m. which is my “perky time.” The sun was coming up sort of and we stopped in Lincoln, Nebraska. I was wide-awake and my poor husband was exhausted. I took over the driving and he slept hard, for two hours. For some reason, we stopped and he decided to drive some more. Well, being a passenger makes me sleepy… so, I SLEPT some more. Jim says I slept the entire way but I know that’s not true, but I did sleep a lot. :)

The rest of the drive tested the newlyweds, sort of. The further west we went, the more nervous I became but the happier Jim became. As we went through Nebraska and then Wyoming…my heart sank. There was nothing there on I-80 except dust, wind, and sagebrush. If one doesn’t grow up with  sagebrush, one takes years to adapt to it. Yes, it’s green, BUT…hello…it does not replace a tree! I said to Jim, “Where are you taking me?” I think I may have also asked plaintively, “Please, turn the car around.” I surely know I thought it. I was now like the pioneers who crossed the plains wondering where the trees were and where the people were, and where ANYTHING was. It wasn’t really that bad, but I do remember being traumatized while watching a lot of nothing go by from the car window.

Jim drove the rest of the way. We stopped to get gas in Evanston, Wyoming and picked up a hitchhiker. (Dumb-I know, but young people do dumb things sometimes). We got closer and closer to Salt Lake. The sign said, 81 miles, 44 miles, 20 miles BUT there was still no sign of life. We drove through Parley’s Canyon, down a winding mountain pass. Still nothing. Then finally,


signs of life. It was now 11:00 p.m. and the beautiful city lights of the Salt Lake valley loomed before us. It was a spectacular, comforting sight to see a city… and lights…and people… and hope.

We were home.

Here's the rest of the picture that was cropped out 
showing the U-haul.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bears And Pigs In The Same Week...I Know How To Live

OK, there never really were any bears, only the threat of bears,  but there really were pigs yesterday, but that comes at the end of this story.
 I told Elisa a while back I would spend a day with her in Wyoming where she lives.
 That is  IF I could get there...
We were completely stopped on I-80 for 45 minutes
because of a wreck.
So everybody got out a walked around for a while.
Eventually we got on our way again.
I have never been completely stopped 
on a major interstate before.
We went to a great home decor store
where I bought a new apron.
 I seem to wear aprons a lot
and I thought this one was great.
 We went to the Chinese tourist places in town
including a Chinese museum with this fabulous picture.
Elisa obliged for pictures...
We mused at the local attractions
 from the car window of course.
 We went to the local ranch store
where Elisa waxed Wyoming-ish.
We ate dinner at a brewery
but skipped the brews of course. :)
When in Wyoming...
one should wear a cowboy hat.
And go to the fair.
And watch PIG WRESTLING!!!!
It was hilarious.
The teams showed their enthusiasm from the start
as they ran after the pigs in a mud ring...
trying to catch it
and  claim victory
by slamming it bottom first into a bucket.
I thought the girls did a great job.
Better than the boys I saw actually.
But all had a good time.
Pig wrestling...
I am now a true westerner. :)

So from bears in the mountains of Utah 
to pigs at the county fair in Wyoming...
I know how to live.

Don't be jealous...

Thanks Elisa, it was a great day.