During April 2017 I will be blogging about my Courtship Memories from A to Z . These challenge posts will also be found at Creation and Compassion http://marcyhowes.blogspot.com/

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Milk, The Perfect Percent

Little blurb found on a bottle of Darigold 2% Milk:

"2% is what happens when delicious whole milk meets delicious nonfat milk, and they decide to make the most perfect milk known to mankind.  It's impossibly creamy yet somehow light and refreshing.  Enjoy the sweet taste of perfection."


I don't normally drink 2% milk, but would if I felt I could and not compromise my health.  I mostly drink skim milk now, and believe that I drink much more milk than most people, especially people of my age.  I grew up drinking milk fresh from the cow, with the cream poured off the top, but we used the cream on our cereal and in our baking, so I guess I basically grew up drinking whole milk.  I admit that I love real butter, whole milk cheeses, and anything made with plenty of butter and cream, but try to keep it all saved for special occasions now days.


Anyway, the little ditty on the milk bottle just tickled my fancy, and I thought I'd share.

Cheers!  Have a glass of milk.  Perhaps 2% Darigold?


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Christmas Lights and Decorations

I came home from my weekly visit with my Dear Father this evening to the sight of Christmas lights brightly shining from the eves of our home.   Thank you DD3 for once again taking care of the Christmas lights!   Her kind service to her mother is becoming quite the tradition, and it is greatly appreciated!  I do very much appreciate Christmas lights!   Just when the nights become the longest and the days the shortest of the entire year, the tradition is to deck the halls and the homes and the businesses with brightly colored lights to cheer us and to carry us through the darkest and longest nights of winter.  What a wonderful tradition!


On a somewhat sad note, DD3 regretfully informed me that of all of the wonderful strands of out door lights that were gifted to us over 20 years ago by my Dear Mother in Law, only two strands seem to work this year, and of those two strands, quite a few of the light sockets no longer work.   We have plenty of replacement bulbs, but it is the sockets themselves that are the problem.  It looks like we'll need to watch the sales this year and invest in some new lights for the future.


After our dinner, we pulled the old Christmas Tree out of the box in the garage, and the 3 dear daughters that are here for the weekend worked together to deck the tree out with lights and garlands and our truly unique collection of Christmas ornaments gathered from various locations over the years.   Again we found that the lights were lacking.   We have had many sets of chasing colored lights for the tree for the past two decades, but alas, only one strand still works properly.  So this year we will settle for the pre-strung white lights that came with the tree.   We are in the market for even more lights, and possibly for a new tree?   We shall see.  


But we are by no means perfectionists when it comes to our decorations around these parts, so for now, for this season, we are grateful for and we celebrate the lights of Christmas . . . and the wonderful service of loving daughters who help the tired Mom so she can enjoy the lights!


Friday, November 25, 2016

Parents Kind and Dear



I'm grateful for my wise, kind, loving and serving parents.  
Photos are of them at their wedding reception in 1949


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Nourishment for Body and Soul


I am grateful for nourishment for both body and soul.  I'm grateful that never once in my lifetime have I gone a day without the opportunity and means to nourish both my body and my soul.  I do not remember a single day where I have not nourished my body.  On days that I have not nourished my soul, it has been because of my own choice and neglect.

Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ.  Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.

2 Nephi 32:3

Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.  Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father:  Ye shall have eternal life.

2 Nephi31:20


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Zion and Being Kind

Zion:  The Pure in Heart.  The Lord's people or the Lord's church.   The place where the Lord's people and the pure in heart gather together.

People tend to congregate, associate, and want to be around others who share the same values, beliefs, and background as themselves.   I'm grateful to be surrounded by wonderful family, friends, neighbors and co-workers who desire to be good, and to do good to others.

When we find something good and lovely and true, we also naturally want to share the goodness with others . . . whether it's a great sale at the grocery store or the craft or fabric store, a beautiful and fun place to vacation, and possibly even a favorite fishing or hunting spot??  (I don't really know about that one for sure since my family isn't really into fishing or hunting, but I guess it could be true.)  The same is true when we find new faith or truth that we were not aware of before.   This is why we often want to share/convince those that we care about that our religious or political or other beliefs are true and good.  They make us happy, and we want the others that we care about to be happy too.

Wouldn't it be lovely if we could all share the same beliefs and values?  But if we can't, and it certainly seems that way these days, hopefully we can still love and respect and care for each other. Let's all do our part to build Zion.  And above all else.  Be Kind.

And verily I say unto you, I give unto you a sign, that ye may know the time when these things shall be about to take place--that I shall gather in, from their long dispersion, my people, O house of Israel, and shall establish again among them my Zion . . . And they shall go out from all nations; and they shall not go out in haste, nor go by flight, for I will go before them, saith the Father, and I will be their rearward.   -- 3 Nephi 21:1, 29

 . . . Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of they habitations; spare not, lengthen thy cords and strengthen thy stakes; . . . And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.  --3 Nephi 22: 2, 13.




Sunday, November 6, 2016

I am Grateful for Jesus Christ


I won't preach a sermon, but I will emphatically state that I know Jesus Christ is the Savior of this world  He is the mediator between us and God, our Eternal Father.  He is my brother and yours, and he knows and loves each of us  intimately . . . all who now live, who have lived and those who will yet live  He has experienced and suffered every physical, mental, and emotional, pain and anguish, regret, and sorrow that each of us has ever experienced.  He loves me.  He loves you.  He loves us all.  He has paid the ultimate price so that we may live eternally with joy and happiness, as long as we will follow his path.

Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.  And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of the that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and I have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.

3 Nephi 11:10, 11

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heat; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Matthew 11:29

Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me.

D&C 19:23

Therefore ye must always pray unto the Father in my name; And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believeing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you.   Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed.

3 Nephi 18:19-21



There are so many places to find others who testify of Christ.  Here are a few links to a few of my recent favorites:

The Perfect Path to Happiness  by President Thomas S Monson

Oh How Great the Plan of Our God by President Dieter F Uchtdorf

Songwriter Michael McLean

Be Still, and Know that I am God, talk by Elder M Russell Ballard


Saturday, November 5, 2016

November Roses


I'm grateful for Roses in November!  It's not every year that we can still enjoy these beautiful flowers into November, but this year we have been blessed with fairly mild temperatures and an fair amount of rain.   I confess that the roses in my yard are not the most well tended, nor the most beautiful ones around, but they have brought me much joy this year.   Every weekend I have been able to go out and find enough roses to make a nice bouquet to share.  Every weekend for the past several months I think  "This will probably be the last of the roses for this year"  but then the next weekend I go out and find even more.

I've now put away the hoses for the season, and cleaned out most of the dead plants from the vegetable gardens, but the roses are still blooming!  I'm grateful for November Roses!



Friday, November 4, 2016

Music

I'm grateful for music.

I've spent quite a lot of time lately listening to music, and thinking about how much music has been a part of my life.  I like to listen to classical music in the car while I drive, and I tend to drive at least several hours each week these days to visit various family members.  We do have a very good local classical music station, and that is my preferred station most days.   I love classical music, especially strings and piano.  My dear Mother was a musician.  Of course I heard her practice and play on occasion, but most of my growing up years she was always quite busy tending us children and taking care of a busy farm household, but she listened to the radio, or her record collection, or her children practicing their own instruments while she worked.

I did take piano lessons for most of my elementary and high school years, and played the flute in the Junior HS Band,  I enjoyed participating in a musical group, and love listening to my own children perform.  I did listen to the radio and bought a few record albums as a teenager, but I never was one to build a big collection of popular music.  I would rather spend my money on books.    While in college I learned to enjoy some good ole country music too, and I've always been pretty easy going about letting others choose the music we listen to when in group settings.  I also enjoy  and gain comfort strength from Hymns and other religious music.   But when I'm alone, and traveling, I find that I prefer the classical music.  It calms my soul.  It brings me peace,

I'm grateful for music.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Sunshine

Hooray for Sunshine! I'm grateful for sunshine!  I'm grateful that I was able to sit and soak up the sun during my lunch break today.

 According to this recent research conducted by three professors at Brigham Young University, the amount of time between sunrise and sunset is the weather variable that matters most. It matters more than the weather, than pollution, or even the temperature. .I've always known this deep down inside!! Hooray for sunshine!! I'm grateful for sunshine!! Get out and soak up the rays!

 Sunshine matters a lot to mental health; temperature, pollution, rain not so much

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Halloween Candy



Today I'm grateful for leftover Halloween Candy.  I may not have been quite so grateful on Halloween night when I realized how very much I had over-bought, but tonight it is nice to have a variety of munchie treats to choose from.

 DH bought some to take to his work to dish up to the kids of co-workers, and then called me Halloween morning to warn me that he had also accidently grabbed several bags that I had left out on the dining room table.   Worried that I wouldn't have enough for both the trunk or treat activity at the church parking lot, I stopped off at the drug store on my way home from work and bought several more large bags.  Needless to say, we had plenty, enough, and even more.   Many of the neighborhood kids made the rounds of the parking lot several times, and I'm sure that one of my sweet young friends stopped by our trunk at least six or seven times.  (No names will be named, to protect the guilty.  I love that girl in spite of her sweet tooth.)

I have tucked some away for later, taken some to work to share, and we still have a nice sized container sitting out for us to munch on.

Now, if I can only exercise a bit of restraint!  I do love me some chocolate!


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Freedom and Peace

Granted, this year has seen plenty of craziness in our country, but I am very grateful to be living in this country where we do have freedoms and a level of peace and safety that is unheard of in so many other places and time periods.  

I am forever grateful for Freedom and Peace.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Come Unto Me




A few days ago DD1 and I were able to attend the wedding of one of my nephews,   We had a bit of time between the actual wedding itself and the wedding luncheon, so we took some time to explore  (I should say wander, as I do know the area well) a bit of the downtown area near the LDS Temple where the wedding was held.   We toured a garden area that DD1 had not ever had the chance to see, and then we spent a few peaceful minutes resting and reflecting in the presence of the Christus statue.  
I have now placed a poster of this photo in a prominent place in my bedroom as a reminder of the peace that faith in our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, can bring

Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me.  






Monday, October 24, 2016

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yes, it is a little bit early to be wishing myself a happy birthday, but my bright and shiny new birthday present arrived this past weekend!  Complete with a sparkly bow or two!



It took several shopping trips over the course of several months to finally get this gift to happen.  We have had two different stoves during the past twenty five years and put a lot of wear and tear on them both, switching them out several times.   Our GE oven was still going strong, but we've been down to one working burner for longer than I want to admit, and it's time.   I didn't want anything fancy, just a good dependable electric stove that hopefully will last us for another decade or two.  I no longer cook for as many since the kids are mostly gone, but I do still like to fix a good meal on occasion and would bake a lot more if the body was better able to handle the end result of that creative activity.  

At any rate, we're grateful for the new stove.   We just used the microwave on Saturday and went to Grandma's for dinner yesterday.  Now, it's time to fix dinner, but do I really want to spoil the perfectly clean, shiny newness?   

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Garden Produce

So old Jack Frost stopped by our place last week, so the beans and squash and peppers are now done for the year.   Here is our last harvest of those tender hearted vegetables, along with a bucket with about 12 lbs of grapes.



 We had a nice dinner with squash and green beans, and then turned the grapes into about 3 1/2 quarts of juice.  Hopefully tomorrow most of the juice will be made into jelly.   We still have tomatoes, carrots, potatoes and peas that survived the mild frost, so look forward to more harvest to come!

For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.
D&C 104:17

And agian, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man--Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.
D&C 80:10,11

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Friends

Recently I was in a medical facility waiting room where a popular movie was playing on the TV screen to entertain me and the others who were waiting.   As I sat down to wait, a helicopter was being flown over a cityscape and somehow became stranded on the top of a very tall skyscraper.   A beautiful woman climbed out of the helicopter and ended up hanging on for dear life to the landing gear of the helicopter, dangling high above the city streets.  Of course who should appear, but Superman, who deftly rescued the beautiful maiden (Lois Lane, I assume) and the helicopter, delivering them both safely to a helicopter landing pad.

"But wait, who are you?" she asks as he starts to walk off into the night.

Superman turns and gives her is big signature smile, and answers,  "A friend."

Where would we be without friends?  We all need and crave friendship, whether we admit it or not. I'm not really a very social person.  I enjoy being around good people, but definitely don't feel the need to "go out and socialize"  every week. I don't often go out of my way to arrange social activities or to invite people to gather in my home, but I do appreciate my good friends and neighbors and co-workers and appreciate associating with them from time to time.  I enjoy and appreciate the times when a friend and I can just sit and talk, sharing our highs and our lows, our good times and blessings, our worries and our struggles.   Good friends have our back and know how to lift and help when we are down.

Earlier this week my DH and I had the privilege of going out to dinner with a group of old friends.  A former roommate of mine and her husband have come to the area for their youngest son's wedding this week, and since they rarely are able to visit from their current home in China, they invited a fairly large group of friends to meet together for a meal and visiting.   It has been many years since we have visited with these friends, and we didn't know everyone in the group, but it was good to renew old friendships and to get to meet  new friends.  I can honestly say that they are not only some of the "brightest minds" (as our host graciously pointed out) of our generation, but I would also add, some of the kindest and noblest hearts.   I feel privileged to know them, to have been included in the group last night, and to call them my friends.

Thinking of friends and friendships, I would have to say that my very closest friends are those who I have been blessed to have as my family.   My DH is my closest friend and confidant, my own Superman/Clark Kent.   My angel mother and my noble father are not only my greatest mentors, but they are also souls that I consider among my greatest friends.  My dear brothers and sisters were my closest friends growing up, and next to them were my cousins.  I love spending time with them all.

The children who have come to my family are now among my closest friends and confidants.  I love spending time with them, admire them immensely.  My two dear daughters-in-law are included in this bunch.   Even thought I have not known them nearly as long as I have known my own dear children, they are both wonderful women, and I could not have chosen better companions for my two dear sons. I recently saw an appropriate meme on facebook that does a pretty good job of expressing how important my friendships with my grown children are . . . but now I can't find it!  So this post will just have to exist without that colorful touch.

And who do I consider to be my very greatest friend?  My Savior, Jesus Christ.  My elder brother, the one who knows and understands me better than anyone else ever has or will. He knows my thoughts and the intents of my heart, and still loves me. He has suffered and endured every single thing that I have suffered or will ever have to face, or not face, if I will repent.   He truly knows me.   He is the one who is always there to hear my prayers, whether they are prayers of gratitude or pleadings for help and comfort.  I know he wants to be there for you too.


"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."
"I will call you friends, for you are my friends"
D&C 93:45


Monday, October 3, 2016

The Sun Will Always Rise

Last night was a long night.   Sometimes after a wonderful, spiritual high like I enjoyed yesterday during our General Conference, I find myself being hit by a huge wave or wall of sadness, doubt, regret, remorse, anxiety and discouragement.   Last night was probably the worst that I have ever experienced, at least for a very long time.  There are many things that are concerning to me right now.. There are many of my friends and family members that are struggling too.

I did try to go to bed early, after prayers and scriptures with the family.   Once in bed my mind would not shut off.  I could not concentrate on positive things.   I tried reading, praying again, eating, and even trying to find uplifting TV programs or movies in the middle of the night.   Usually any one of these activities will help me to relax my mind and my body and fall to sleep, but last night every single time that I finally managed to drift off, I almost immediately woke again to another difficult thought pervading my mind.

At one point I was finally able to feel the sweet, peaceful reasurrance from the spirit of the Holy Ghost that I am a beloved daughter of Heavenly Father, that he knows and loves me, and that eventually everything will work out all right.   I still was not able to go back to sleep, at least not for very long.

Eventually morning came.  The sun's rays found their way over our beautiful eastern mountains.   I was able to get up and get ready for the day.   I was able to go to work and do my job, think clearly and converse with the staff and students who needed my help and attention.    Today was a good day, and I know that more good days will come.  I have faith that many far better days will come.

I'm so very grateful for the knowledge that the Sun will always rise.


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Happiness and Joy

Am I happy?  

This is a question that I feel most of us ask ourselves almost constantly, even if we only do it subconsciously.  I know that I think about it every day, even if it is in a superficial way.  Am I physically comfortable?   Have I done something fun or enjoyable and entertaining lately?  Am I overworked or stressed about something?  Am I worried about anyone I love and care about?

I have spent the weekend drinking in the counsel and advice from a group of people who I believe are the very most qualified of any on this planet to help people like me. and all people anywhere find true happiness, true peace, and true joy.

This morning, President Thomas S Monson,  the current living prophet of God and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,  reminded us again of the answers to the age old questions, Where did I come from?  Why am I here?  and Where am I going? The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us the answers to these questions and teaches us of God's plan of Salvation.   We lived with God, our Father before we were born.  We are here to gain a physical body, and to learn how to return to our Heavenly Father.  Essential to the plan is the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  Through his sacrifice and teachings we can return to live with him and with our families once again.  It is the one perfect plan to peace and happiness both here and in the world to come.

Many many more messages were shared throughout the weekend, a virtual feast of uplifting messages of hope and inspiration.  Watch or listen to LDS General Conference here.

I started this blog years ago in an effort to help me take the time to recognize and express my gratitude for the good and wonderful things in my life.  Tonight I am very grateful for living prophets and apostles.    Tonight I am also making a renewed commitment to recognize and record  the daily tender mercies that I am continually blessed with and more of the insights that have come to me while listening to inspired counsel.  Gratitude, Happiness, and Joy.

Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. 
2 Nephi 2:25

For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
Moses 1:39

Friday, September 2, 2016

Summertime

"Summertime"

Summertime, and the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high
Oh, your daddy's rich and your ma is good -lookin'
So hush little baby, Don't you cry

One of these mornings you're gonna rise up singing
And you'll spread your wings and you'll take to the sky
But til that morning, there aint nothing' can harm you
With Daddy and Mammy standin by

Lyrics Source


"Summertime"  is an aria composed in 1934 by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess.   The lyrics are by DuBose Heyward, the author of the novel Porgy on which the opera was based.  A month or so ago DH and I had the privilege of attending a local musical festival production of the opera Porgy and Bess, performed with a full orchestra as originally written by George Gershwin. The story is somewhat sad, dealing with problems of poverty, racial injustice, drug abuse, and such, but the the music was wonderful, and we had an enjoyable evening together enjoying the music and each other's company.


This past summer has been quite busy with work and a plethora of family weddings, including the wedding of DS1 and our beautiful new daughter in law.   All of our children were able to be home for the wedding, and the kids pretty much planned and carried out all of the festivities themselves, so it wasn't really stressful, but it was a very busy time with everyone coming and going.  . . . . And then before we knew it, they had all returned to their various homes and things are pretty quiet around here again. 

 There is always plenty to do, with work and taking care of the house and the yards and gardens, but I have been particularly enjoying these late summer evenings this year.  I'm trying to take at least an hour or two most evenings to just putter around the yard and the garden and enjoy the cooler weather, maybe even laying back on the grass and watching the sun set.  This time of year has usually been quite hectic with back to school activities right and left, but now with an empty nest and several more weeks of daylight savings time . . . I am truly happy to be able to take time to relish and enjoy the little things:




Monday, August 22, 2016

Marcy Speaks Up: Evan McMullin for President


I rarely speak out about politics.  I do try to sometimes publicly share my thoughts and beliefs on a variety of topics, but for the most part I try to avoid controversy.  That being said, I strongly believe that it is my responsibility as a citizen of the United States of America to take an active part in understanding the issues of the times and voting in any public elections where I am eligible to vote.  This year in particular there seems to be some widespread major dissatisfaction with both of the US Presidential Candidates from our two major political parties, if not dissatisfaction with both major parties themselves.  If you don't feel comfortable voting for either party's candidate, what do you do?  Vote for the lesser of the two evils (if you can decide what that is)?   Risk "wasting" your vote by voting for a third party candidate?  Most views of these candidates have not really meshed with mine either. Stick your head in the sand and not vote at all, hoping and praying that everything will turn out ok no matter who wins?

On August 10, 2016 former CIA Agent Evan McMullin announced his presidential candidacy as an independent candidate.  I had never heard of him before this announcement, but so far I like what I see.  If you are in any way dissatisfied with the current political state of affairs in this country, please take a look.   I'm not telling you how to vote come November, but please do a bit of reading and exploring, and if you like what you read about Evan McMullin, please spread the word.  Let's all be fully aware of what our options really are!!

Here's part of the introduction to a recent NPR broadcast about Evan McMullin:

"For voters dissatisfied with both major party candidates, there are a few other options.  There's Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, and a lesser known late arrival to the scene--Evan McMullin . . . 
"MucMullin has worked for the CIA, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Goldman Sachs, and as chief policy director of the House Republican Conference."
"In an interview with NPR's Scott Simon, McMullin argued he is the best candidate on national security.  He also spoke about his stance on the Affordable Care Act, trade, and Syrian refugees."


Please click on the above link to read more highlights from the NPR interview.  You may also want to explore these links:


Video of Interview with Mark Halperin   posted on www.bloomberg.com


Sunday, August 21, 2016

How Well Do I Know Him?

I'm somewhat of a loner.  I don't enjoy being the center of attention, and I relish my privacy and time alone.  But I am human.  I'm a wife and mother, a daughter and a sister.  I do have friends and neighbors and co-workers.  I love my family and enjoy spending time with friends and neighbors and co-workers.   I enjoy most casual social interactions, and I, like most people, crave and need to be understood.   We are taught that one of the most vital of human needs is the need to be loved, and I believe, understood.

As babies and young children, most of us were given huge amounts of love and care from our parents and other care givers.   Along with this love and care we received huge amounts of empathy.   As parents, older siblings, grandparents and other adults, we understand what it means to be tired, hungry, too hot or too cold.  We understand what it feels like to be uncomfortable and what it is like to be in pain.   We do all that we can to make sure that our sweet children and babies are taken care of, loved, and happy.  We can have true empathy for them in most situations that they encounter.

As we grow older, we encounter many varied situations and challenges.   At some point we each face problems and situations that our parents may not have faced.  Even if they have had similar problems, the circumstances are different, and the way we react to the same situations and challenges will be different from those who are close to us.   The same holds true in our relationships with siblings, friends, roommates, and even BFF's and spouses or significant others.   They may not have experienced a failing grade, the accidental death of a good friend, losing a parent, abuse from a loved one, divorce, cancer and it's treatments, diabetes, anxiety attacks, depression, loss of a job, serious sin, having very limited money/financial resources.   They may have had similar experiences, and time has numbed their memory and pain.   They may be the very ones who have inflicted the pain and have no real realization of what they have done.

I don't know about you, but I find it even harder to face a particular challenge or situation when my loved ones don't quite understand what I am going through.  Yes, they are usually sympathetic and empathetic to the degree that they are capable, but I often feel that they just don't quite understand.  You know the old teenage refrain . . . "but you just don't understand!!"   Yes, it's true.   At some point in our lives we each reach a place where none of our closest friends or loved ones quite understands what we are going through or where we are coming from.   So why do I always expect my loved ones to totally understand???

So where do we turn?   As Christians, we have been taught that we can turn to Christ.  WAIT. STAY WITH ME HERE.   I know this, but still I would rather have my loved ones understand.  They are usually who I turn to first.  My dear husband.  My daughters.  My sons.  My sisters.  My co-workers.   To their credit, they do their best to sympathize, understand, empathize and comfort me.  But why do I always turn to them first for comfort rather than turning to the Savior, the one who knows me better than anyone else?   Do I not believe that he will understand?  I have been taught, and I believe, and I think that I know that he understands better than anyone else.   That's what the whole atonement is about, that he has suffered and understood every single sin and pain and sorrow that I have or will ever suffer, and has ALREADY suffered these things for me.

So what is the problem?  It is me.  Where do I spend my efforts?   Who do I spend the most time with?   Who do I live, work, and play with?  Who am I most comfortable with?  Who do I know the best?    Am I spending enough time with my Savior, and am I close enough to him that he is the one I instinctively turn to?  Instead of my spouse?  Instead of my children?  Instead of my co-workers?  He has already offered to comfort all of my sorrows and my woes.  He has already suffered for all of my pains and sins.  Am I comfortable with Him?  I need to learn more of Him.  I need to turn to Him more often in thought and prayer and study.  He is there.  How well do I know Him?


Friday, August 5, 2016

Five Minute Friday: HAPPY

I haven't been too actively blogging this busy summer season, but the first post on my blog feed this afternoon was a Five Minute Friday Challenge posted at Sand Castles and Snow Forts.

Are you interested?   Take five minutes and write your own blogging thoughts about HAPPY, and join in by posting a link to your blog on Kate's linky at this link:  Five Minute Friday Challenge: HAPPY


Here's my five minute offering on HAPPY

Am I Happy??   This was perfect timing for me.  If you had asked me to spout about Happy last night, I may have given you 30 minutes about UNHAPPY!   No, nothing is terribly wrong in my life, but I am adjusting from a season of planning for and looking forward to the wedding of DS1 to DDIL1, and all of the busyness and excitement of having all of the family gather together from both sides of the continent for the wedding day, to the present time when all have returned home..   I do love my six wonderful childrens and their spouses and my Dear Hubby, but do wish we had just a wee bit more time all together.

I am happy for green grass, and sprinklers to water it in the hot summer time, for cars that allow me to travel many places in our beautiful state and elsewhere.  I am happy for gainful employement and wonderful, pleasant and faithful co-workers.  I am happy to live in a super neighborhood with wonderful, caring friends and neighbors.  I am happy to have born into a super duper wonderful family with super duper wonderful parents.

My five minutes are over, and I've just touched the tip of the iceberg of wonderful blessings that make me happy!


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Introspection on Being Social. And on Introspection.

Warning:   This post is somewhat lengthy and probably not very entertaining.   However, it is composed of my very own, not so random thoughts.  So if you are up to it, read on.

I do not consider myself a very social person.   Normally and in most circumstances I'm pretty content to sit back and let others do most of the talking and be in the spotlight and the limelight.  I do enjoy getting to know other people.   I enjoy company and conversation, but mostly with people that I am already acquainted and comfortable with.  I love being with my family!   I do enjoy thinking about parties and events and even doing a fair amount of planning and arranging for such events, but as for being the spokesperson, the in charge person, and especially the hostess of such events . . . not quite so much. And I definitely do enjoy my solitude and alone times too.

This past week I have been thinking a bit about some of my life experiences where I was not exactly forced, but put into circumstances where it was my responsibility to be up in front, or a spokesperson, and or a decision maker.  Of course there were the times in school when I was  assigned to give a report or read a story that I had written in front of the class.  I would be given lines to memorize and recite in programs at both school land church.  I was sometimes asked to give a 2 1/2 minute talk in Sunday School.  When I was 12 years old for a period of six months or so it was my responsibility to call the other 7 girls in my youth group on a weekly basis to remind them of our planned activities.  This was excruciatingly painful for me.

 In high school my friends and I tried out for the school plays, and I even  had small speaking parts. This was somewhat fun to participate in, but I was so self-conscious that it was difficult for me to project or put much feeling into the parts  I was also nominated for student body office my senior year in high school and managed to campaign and speak in front of the entire student body (small as it was . . . .about 400 students grades 7 through 12, and to my surprise was even elected to office!  Granted, I was the student body historian, not the president or anyone who was required to speak up front on a regular basis.

Probably my first hugely challenging experience with being social and in front of people came when I made the decision to serve as a full time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for a year and a half.  The thought of reaching out to strangers on a daily basis in order to teach them about Jesus Christ terrified me, but I had an experience in the spring of 1981 where I knew in my heart that this was what the Lord wanted me to do.  So I began planning to take 2 years away from my college education so that I could complete this mission.   This decision also helped me with several other decisions that I faced later that summer.  I was called to serve and teach in the country of Colombia, in South America.  Not only did I need to learn to approach and talk to complete strangers about religion and Jesus Christ, but I needed to learn speak and teach in Spanish.  This was not easy.  There were long days and long nights and there were tears of frustration and inadequacy and homesickness.  But I did it.  It was hard.  But it was also rewarding.  I learned that if I am prepared, and I can speak with confidence in front of both large and small groups. I learned to know and love a very beautiful country and very beautiful people, and I also helped many people understand a bit more about God, Jesus Christ and his atonement, and their plan for all mankind.

I remember one preparation day during my mission.  This was usually on a Monday, and the one day when we had free time to do such things as laundry, shopping, writing letters home, and any sight seeing or other approved activities within our assigned city or area in the mission boundaries.   The missionaries who were our district leaders had gained permission from the Mission President for our district of six or eight missionaries to take a day hike out in the country.  We rode the bus to an outlying town, and from there hiked a mountain of interest.  I don't remember for sure, but believe that it was near the city of Buccamaranga Colombia.  I'm a country girl at heart, and the day of hiking in the mountains was truly balm for a fairly new missionary in a strange land who is trying to get used to being around people, often large crowds in a large city, twenty-four/seven.  As the afternoon drew on and we began our return trip to the city, I was thinking about how much I truly would love to be a hermit and live out the rest of my life in near solitude and an area of such natural beauty.  Alas,  I also knew deep in my heart that this is not what God intends for any of his children.  Part of our challenge here in life is not to find peace in solitude, but to find true peace and happiness by following the example of Jesus Christ and by helping others in any way we can.  Most importantly, the challenge for those of us who know the truths of the gospel, is to help others here on earth to understand these truths and to understand how they can find this true happiness and peace.

Fast forward nearly 15 years:

When our youngest daughter began school, I started working part time to help out a bit with family finances.  It was a very simple data entry job  just a hours a day and required limited contact with other people.  As I have become more experienced at my work over the past 15 years, I have gradually taken on more responsibility, answering phone calls, helping students with admissions questions, and even helping with training of other employees on both an individual basis and in larger group settings.  These responsibilities have come gradually and have been easier to adjust to as my experience has grown over the years.  I still have no desire to "be in charge" but feel happy and even fulfilled to be able to help others with my work.

I think that my most challenging opportunities to be a more social person have come through callings and assignments in our church.   For over five years I was responsible for the leadership of the Relief Society Women's organization for seven or eight of our local congregations. I met with the local leaders of each congregation several times each year and with the help of my two counselors and my secretary we would plan several large conferences or service projects each year. This was quite overwhelming as I felt very young and inexperienced and often found myself meeting with and advising women much older and more experienced in life and the gospel than I was.  But, I accepted the call and did my best.  For the most part I enjoyed  these responsibilities.  I had very capable help in my presidency and we seemed to work quite well together.  I felt we did some good and made a difference with our efforts.

Several years later came my very very very most challenging responsibility to date.  Almost eight years ago I was asked to preside over the Young Women's organization in my congregation.  This meant preparing and carrying out or assigning lessons to be taught every Sunday and also organizing social and educational activities every Tuesday evening.   It meant getting to personally know every young woman in my neighborhood between the ages of 12 and 17, and doing what I could to be an example and mentor and sometimes confidant  to them during the challenging teenage years.  I again had other wonderful women to work with, but this time around I felt so much responsibility for each of these young ladies, two of whom were my own daughters, and the others who were their friends and classmates.  My feelings of social inadequacy were very overwhelming.   I had never been very good at socializing when I was a child or a teenager, and as an adult I still feel very inadequate in these areas.  But, I again accepted the call and did my best.  I don't know that I made much of a difference in the lives of these young ladies, but I truly hope that I did some good of some kind.   I still know most of these ladies, and have seen them mature into wonderful, capable students, employees, missionaries, wives and even one young mother.

Many of our weekly activities and Sunday lessons focused on the Young Women's Personal Progress program.  This is a program where the young women are encouraged to set goals and participate in experiences and projects, some required and some of their own choosing, based on seven different values:  Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Choice and Accountability, Good Works, and Integrity.  Once a young woman has completed a certain number of experiences and projects, she is eligible to receive the Young Womanhood Recognition Award.

Not long after I accepted this calling, we learned of a change to the Personal Progress program with the introduction of a new value, Virtue.  New guidelines for experiences and projects based on the value of Virtue were introduced.   Young Women leaders are not required to complete the Personal Progress program, but are very strongly encouraged to participate in the experiences and projects.  I felt a strong need to focus right away on completing the experiences for the value of Virtue.

Now for how this relates to Introspection:  The third required experience for the Value of Virtue is as follows;

Prepare to be worthy to enter the temple and to participate in temple ordinances. Read Alma chapter 5. Make a list of the questions Alma asks. Answer the questions for yourself, and make a list of the things you can and will do to prepare yourself to be pure and worthy to enter the temple and receive all the blessings our Heavenly Father has promised His beloved daughters.

This was not an easy assignment.  It took me many days, much introspection, and at least 12 journal pages to read and answer Alma's questions for myself.   Do I remember God's goodness to me?  Have I been spiritually born of God?  Do I exercise faith in Jesus Christ?  Have I experienced a mighty change of heart?  Have I received his image in my countenance?  Can I look up  to God with a pure heart and clean hands?  If not, how would I feel to stand before him today?   There is much, much more to ponder . . .

We are currently studying the book of Alma in the Book of Mormon in the Sunday School class that I currently teach.   Again I have been challenged to read Alma chapter 5 and answer Alma's questions for myself.  It's something we should all probably do again and again.  In our hearts on Sunday as we take the sacrament and renew our baptismal covenants.  Occasionally it wouldn't hurt to do a more in depth introspection and read and answer all of  Alma's questions for ourselves.  Am I prepared to stand before my Savior and share with him all of the thoughts and intents of my heart?  Where are my values?  Where do I fall short?  Where do I need to improve?  Have I received his image in my countenance?


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Being Mom

My Dear Children, 1995

When I was a little girl, I needed to be in the hospital several times for several days at a time following surgeries.   While there, the nurses were my caretakers, and as much as they could be, my friends.   I admired them very much, and for a long time I told everyone that I wanted to be a nurse when I grew up.

While I was in school, I had many wonderful teachers, many of whom became my mentors.  I still look up to these teachers, and remember their examples, even though most of them have already passed along to the next life.  I have sometimes thought that I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up.

While I was in college, I learned about business and food science and  nutrition and people.   I had exposure to many brilliant and talented and faithful teachers and mentors and examples.   I felt drawn to doing something important with my life, something where I could teach and help others to live better and happier and healthier lives, perhaps in a third world country.

I have been blessed with a very beautiful, talented, loving, and faithful mother, who a little over a year ago passed along to the next life.  She was a musician and a teacher.  She taught me that I am a daughter of a Heavenly Father, who loves me and wants the best for me. She read to me, sang to me, fed and clothed me, and helped to provide me with every opportunity that she could , so I could learn and become the best that I could be.  I have always, always wanted to be Mom.

I was also blessed with two beautiful, talented, loving and faithful grandmothers. One nursed her husband through the great flu epidemic.  The other was a teacher and bravely sent her young husband off to war.  They grew up in times without electricity and running water and learned very young the importance of hard work.  They each helped to teach, nurture, care for, and love me.   I cannot remember a time in my life when I have not wanted to be a mother and a grandmother.

I have been blessed with a dear husband and helpmate, and six wonderful, talented and faithful children, and have recently entered the world of being a grandmother.   Yes, the years of being Mom have sometimes been challenging and have sometimes brought tears.  There have been nights with sick of fussy babies and little or no sleep, There have been mountains of laundry and countless meals prepared and dishes to be washed.  There have been scattered toys and messes of all kinds,  There have been late nights of helping to finish homework projects and early mornings of helping to deliver newspapers and driving kids to seminary or music practices.  There has been paint on the rug and there have been mud pies in the freezer.  There have been tantrums and holes punched in walls and fighting and quarrels.  There has been illness and heartache and pain and anguish, both for me and for them.

Have there been good times?  Most definitely.  Sitting with a beautiful, sweet sleeping child in your arms.  Seeing their joy splashing in the tub or the pool.   Listening to their pure trusting faith as they pray.  Reading countless stories and tucking them into bed with a hug and a kiss. Watching them recognize that letters make words and words make the stories they love to hear and can now read for themselves.   Seeing them discover the wonderful world of numbers and math and all of its infinite uses.   Hearing them play their first tune on the piano or the violin or give their first talk in church.  Attending their many concerts and sporting and dance events and art exhibits and busting your buttons.  Seeing them learn to cook and create their own delicious treats and even meals.  Hearing wonderful reports from teachers.  Watching them get so excited over planting their own garden and washing the dishes and helping with chores. Seeing them get their first job, their driver's license, graduate, serve the Lord, enter the temple, and serve their fellow men.  Seeing them find someone to love, and the joy they have in becoming parents themselves.

Is it worth it?  It most definitely is.   I now have more than thirty years of being a mother under my belt, and I can most definitely say it is worth it.   I have almost two years experience being a grandmother and look forward to many years of grandmothering ahead.   Now all of our children are grown and have left the nest to seek their own fortunes and built nests of their own. I continue to marvel at the wonderful people they have become, and feel so very blessed that they one day long ago they each agreed to come to our family and let me become Mom.


And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.   But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.   

King Benjamin,   Mosiah 4:14, 15

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Zoo


Did you visit the zoo when you were a youngster?   We didn't go very often, but I do have memories of the zoo.   One of my Aunties would usually plan an outing over the labor day weekend for her family,or sometimes another summer day, and our family would usually be invited along.  Most of the outings were to places that would fill one of the cub scout requirements for visiting a local historical attraction or bird watching or some such thing.   Since we did some such activity every year, we ended up visiting a lot of fun and interesting places that we may not have done otherwise.   The Zoo is one of the places I remember visiting together.  Elephants, Giraffes, Zebras, Lions, Tigers, Monkeys, Polar Bears, Birds, Reptiles . . . and so much much more.  The zoo also features a petting zoo and a train ride, features that attract any child.

I couldn't find any photos of our visit to the zoo back in the day, but here are some more recent photos from our local zoo's facebook page.  I think it's great for children to be able to see and experience as much of the world and it's creations as they can, and I feel that our local zoo does a tremendous job of providing natural habitat and careful care of the animals.







Do you have fun memories of the zoo?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Yhatzee



Yhatzee is one of the many games that we had in our house when I was growing up.   In reading a quick history of the game at Wikipedia, I am thinking that we must have first received the game sometime around 1973 when the Milton Bradley company bought  the game from the E.S. Lowe Company that first introduced the game back in 1958.

I must confess that Yhatzee was not my favorite game, but I did play it fairly often and managed to even score decently sometimes, which was not always the case with other board games.  We played a lot of board games during school vacations, especially at Christmas time and during the early weeks of summer vacation before the haying season was in full swing.    As one of the youngest of the family, I lost at board games more often than not, which somewhat soured me on board games for many years.   Monopoly, Risk, Life, Sorry, and even Chutes and Ladders and Candy Land were the games I remember playing, and losing, the most often during my childhood years.  Sometimes our family Monopoly marathons would last for days at a time . . .and of course I was usually one of the first ones to go bankrupt.

It wasn't until my Adult years when I discovered that I was a fairly reasonable player of Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble that I began to enjoy, and remember the enjoyment of sitting down together with family and friends over a good board game.  Possibly I have matured a bit too, and the winning vs the losing don't quite matter as much any more.  It's more about the time spent with those that I love.

(PS.  I'm still not a fan of Risk or any other strategy games!!)

What are your favorite board game memories?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

X-Rays and X-tra Teeth



One of my claims to fame is that I have never had a broken bone.  (Perhaps it is due to the calcium from all of the home grown milk I have consumed over the years).  I do vaguely remember having an X-Ray of my hand or my arm at some point in my childhood, but I don't remember exactly why.  I do remember the huge X-Ray machine and the heavy blanket (is it a lead blanket?)  that was used to cover me to protect the rest of my body from the harmful rays.

I do remember getting dental X-rays almost every year.   Every June Mums would schedule an appointment with the dentist who lived and worked in the neighboring town, and the entire family would load up in the car and travel to visit the dentist.  It always took the entire morning, or longer, for him to examine each of the eight sets of teeth and take care of whatever cavities or extractions were necessary.   I dreaded the visits to the dentist office that was located on the second floor of an ancient office building.   The old wooden stairs creaked as we climbed them, a foreboding sound as I pondered the tortures to come.   The high ceilings and linoleum floors accentuated that echoing of a frequently ringing telephone in another office down the hall.  It seemed there was never anyone there to answer that phone, and it would ring and ring and ring over and over again.

The waiting room was comfortable enough, filled with magazines and books to read.  I remember admiring the glass covered barrister type bookcases filled with important looking books.  But eventually my interest would wane, and the seemingly endless waiting for my turn in the chair would continue.   But my turn did eventually come, the dentist would poke and prod and clean, and sometimes the x-ray machine would be pulled around to check for the inevitable cavities or to see just where that new tooth or that extra tooth was.  Yes, one year I did have an extra tooth erupt from the middle of the roof of my mouth.  And no, I did not miss growing any other teeth, except for wisdom teeth.  I have never had a wisdom tooth.

The reward after the day of torture?  We would usually stop for hamburgers and ice cream before driving back home!

What are your memories of X-rays?  Did anyone else out there ever have an X-tra tooth?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

West Hills


Although I grew up on the family farm, it was not the same farm that my father grew up on.   The house that my Daddy grew up in was several miles to the west of the current family farm, nestled right up against the western foothills that bordered the little mountain valley filled with farms and lumber yards.  This house tragically burned to the ground in January 1939 when Daddy was 15 years old.  The family moved into a home in town several miles away for several years and moved the cows to a friend's farm nearby until Grandpa was able to sell the property on the west side of the valley and buy the farm where I grew up.

Daddy and his sisters and neighbors spent much of their free time as children exploring and playing in the West Hills.   They would go hiking and find pretty rocks and Indian arrowheads and an Indian Spear Head that Daddy still has in his collection.   They would swim and fish in the nearby Beaver Creek.   They would ride the horse up into the hills to round up the cows and sheep that were pastured up in the hills during the day and bring them back to the farm at night to protect them from the coyotes.  I even remember hearing stories about an old abandoned mine that they knew about, but had been warned to not play in.

Of course Daddy wanted to share his childhood memories with us too, so sometimes he would take us over to the West Hills to go hiking among the sagebrush and prickly pear cactus and lichen covered boulders.  The valley was always lush with green meadows, but the hills were much dryer and had little grass.   I remember  the constant sound of crickets, seeing rabbits and lizzards, and keeping an eye out for rattlesnakes.  We would hunt for arrowheads too, but I never remember finding any.  The town dump was located in the West Hills, and sometimes we would take a load of our trash over to be dumped, and sometimes find treasures that had once belonged to someone else!  Sometimes we would go over to the West Hills with our cousins to pick chokecherries for our mothers to use to make chokecherry jelly.

And of course, almost every winter we would need to take a trip over to the West Hills to our favorite sleigh riding spots.  It was there that one of our favorite family movies was shot.  Mums was sledding down the hill, with Daddy shooting her ride with the camera.   The sled she was on hit a big drift or bump and off she flew, landing in the snow and tumbling down the hill a ways, the sled continuing on without her.  This particular film was originally shot with a 3 mm camera, then later converted to VHS and then digitized.  This is probably our very favorite film of our dear mother, and we would stop the film, and then reverse it, watching her fly back onto the sled, zoom up the hill, and then start the film forward again, watching her repeat her now famous ride back and forth, over and over while we would laugh and enjoy the memories.   Of course Mums was always a good sport and would laugh right along with us, remembering her sleigh ride in the West Hills.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Vacations


The last week of May was always a very favorite time of year.  School was out!   The weather was warming up, we planted the garden, and almost every year we prepared for a family vacation.   The family vacation varied from year to year, but almost without fail we would pack up the car with our suitcases and a box of easy to prepare food, and leave the farm in the capable hands of Grandpa and some cousin or local young man to help with the milking.   It would be several weeks before the hay would be ready to cut and haul, so we had time for some family recreation.

Most years our trips would be to visit various relatives who lived a day or two's car ride from our home.   It was a tight fit to get all eight of us in our four door sedan, and yes there was always a bit of bickering amongst the kids.   We would read books, sing songs, and play the typical car games such as seeing how many different states license plates we could spy, or the ABC game:  who could find a word beginning with every letter of the alphabet from road signs and billboards along the side of the road.  Sometimes we would rent a motel room or a cabin along the way, and we would almost always visit national parks and monuments or places of historical interest along the way.   One year we stayed at the lake several hours north of our home,  and one year we traveled to Yellowstone National Park.  One year we visited Zions and Bryce Canyons, another year we visited the World's Fair in Spokane, Washington, and another time we visited relatives in California and made the drive along the California coast.  Some years we stayed close to home, pitched our tent in the nearby mountains, and spent the days hiking.   No, we never visited Disneyland or went on a cruise, or traveled to Hawaii or Europe, but the family vacation was always a highlight of the summer, if not the entire year.

What are your favorite vacation memories?

1974 World's Fair, Spokane, Washington

Grand Coulee Dam

 Camping 1975

Camping 1973
Hiking 1973


Monday, April 25, 2016

Under the Willow Trees



Family Reunion Under the Willow Trees 1962

 Under the trees was the popular gathering place during the summers when I was growing up.  When my Grandfather bought the farm, he planted a row of golden willow trees as a wind break to the west of his home.   Willow trees grow quickly, and within a few years this row of trees provided not only a wind break, but a nice area of shade from the hot summer sun.   Most of my Grandfather and Grandmother's siblings and their families lived down the mountain in the city, so each summer there would be family reunions up on our farm.   For as long as I can remember there have been rows of picnic tables under those willow trees.  One Saturday in July and one Saturday in August were set aside for these reunions.   Great Aunts and Great Uncles, my own aunts and uncles and myriads of cousins would descend on the farm for a day of picnic lunch under the trees, tractor drawn hayrides through the meadows, horseback riding, volleyball, horseshoes, watermelon and ice cream.  Of course everyone was interested to wander out to the barn when milking time came around to watch the cows being milked.

Those same trees are still there.   My nephew now lives in my Grandfather's old house with his wife and children, and my brother build his house on the other side of the row of willow trees.   We still gather under the trees several times most summers to celebrate holidays or other family events with a picnic lunch and games and visiting.   The huge extended family reunions under the trees are mostly a thing of the past, though we did gather together with my cousins for an afternoon picnic and visit at a different location this past summer.   It is good to get together with family, whether it is under the trees or some other location.

Does your family have a favorite traditional place for reunions?



 Family Reunion 1964 


Family Reunion 2015

Under the trees 2016