Freedom to Choose

"In America," the university freshman asked the American teacher, "can you choose what job you want?"

"Absolutely," Judy answered...."we can be whatever we want."

"Not here," the student said. "The government tells us what we will be. I wanted to be in math. But, I was not in the top 5% on the national test, so I was told I will be in tourism."

Sometimes I forget how incredible....

Freedom is....

America is!


St, George, You've Let Me Down; twice now

Two weeks ago, we tended our two grandsons for several days. We had been having nice warm sunny days.

BIG PLANS: picnics, water park downtown, neighborhood park.

PLANS DASHED: bad weather! Cold and windy.

Beautiful weather ensued the day after they left. Gorgeous weather for several days.......

Now, California son just returned from being out of the country for a long time...comes to visit with his three sons.

BIG PLANS: picnics, hikes, water park, outside fun

PLANS DASHED; bad weather! windy, cold, possible rain.

How can this be? It's sunny and warm so often, just not when the grandsons are here....

St. George, I usually love you, but I'm mad at you now!

The Great Escape

"It was about twenty years ago.

My husband and I were not getting along at all.

Our three teen-age boys were in trouble in: school, seminary, personal lives, etc.

I had just started the job from Hell; going to work each day was miserable.

So, I used to fantazise about getting in my little car and just driving away to live in Southern California. I would live by the beach, not tell anyone where I was, and maybe, just maybe, I would go to church.

Now, all these years later, my boys - or men - partly because of the economy, and partly because of unwise choices, are in trouble again with:

finances/house reposessions/
job/job losses
divorce/marital problems

And, the vision of running away has returned.

And, that is why I turned in my mission papers a couple of weeks ago."


Truth Can Be Stranger Than Fiction

Divorce; sometimes amicable, but not in this case in the deep south...

Father wins custody of three small boys. But works 50-60 hours a week, leaving boys, ages 6, 4, 2 1/2, unsupervised for many hours alone to fend for themselves.

Mother of boys and grandmother go to home....take boys to grandparents' home.

Father comes home - no boys. Angry, goes to home of former in-laws.

Argues with grandfather; violence ensues with grandfather shooting father of three boys in self defense.

Mother of boys tries, but her life is so mixed up, she cannot raise three boys; put in foster care. In desperation, she takes little boy - age 3 - and leaves him on steps of hospital in hopes he will find better life.

Hospital locates mother's sister. Aunt of 3 yr old had had a child die, was delighted to take in sister's child to raise him with her other 2 children.

Boy raised by LDS convert aunt, but refers to her as mother.

Boy - turned man - is kind; humble; good, good person; sports lover; hard worker; gentle; pleasant demeanor and disposition .

And is the bishop now!

I love it when people triumph over adversity and circumstances and are able to lead fulfilled, productive lives.

Bishop, you inspire!


Scaredy Cat Gene....

is all over in my body.

I'm afraid of everything....

I'm afraid to try anything....

I'm scared of being brave and doing things that aren't that dangerous.

Where did this gene come from...

Going Green

To most people, going green means environmental stuff, but to MOI, it means drinking Amber's delicioso spinach drink each morning. (Thanks, Amber, for the recipe and idea to get a daily dose of salad in such a tasty form.)

It's hard to see, but there's also a banana hiding in that drink. Also, lately, I have been adding a little cranberry juice to the mix or some canned fruit that we are trying to eat up.

Tasty, nutritious, gotta love that goin' green!


Favorite Picture Day

4 Generations 1970, Rexburg, Idaho
Jenni Hackworth, Loni Hackworth, Dorothy Gee, Alice Merrill



So glad to have you back in the USA, Jeremy.

I am thankful for his safe return.

But, I will continue to pray for all those young women and men who still fight in countries around the world.

Thank you all for serving our country and fighting for our freedoms.


Words I've Eaten Over the Years

It usually starts with; I'd NEVER.....

and, then, of course, I end up doing, buying, having whatever it was I swore I'd NEVER do/buy/have.

Here are a few words I've had to choke down as a parent:

Before having a toddler:
I would NEVER let a toddler of mine behave like that in church...look at her, she's actually not even staying in her chair for the entire meeting.

After having a toddler of my own:
Okay, RAH, it's your turn to go get Randi off the stand and get her to quit pounding on the organ - I've done it the last 3 times!

Before having a teenager:
What kind of mother lets her child come to school dressed like that? No child of mine would EVER dress that way?

After having a teenager:
Okay, if you insist on wearing THAT to school, just don't sign your last name to anything, and then maybe no one will know you're mine.

Before having a grandchild:
What grandparent would be seen in public with a beautiful girl who has a little teeny tattoo of a flower on her ankle? I would NEVER allow a grandchild of mine to do that to her body.

After being a grandparent:
"I just don't understand why you tattooed 'Abducted by Aliens' across your forehead?" and
"You've pierced your WHAT?"

Ah, the words I've eaten - definitely not a tasty meal.

Best not to EVER say NEVER!


Thoughts While Thinking

It's Friday,
Jeremy is supposed to arrive in San Diego on Saturday night....

On an entirely different note, what is happening in America is frightening to me;
the national debt,
health care,
congresspersons who forgot to be concerned about the people who voted them in office,
the slide to socialism in America,
yaddah, yaddah, yaddah

So, here's the deal...one item is so exciting, the other item so depressing.
Today, I'll focus on item #1.


A Tale of Two Donnas

Donna B.
She is the most conservative spender I have ever known (except her father). She is the queen of grocery bargains; bargains just seem to rise up and greet her in every store. She's not interested in clothes, home fashions, name brands mean absolutely nothing to her. But, she is interested in good bargains on EVERYTHING she purchases. She shops thrift stores if she is compelled to buy clothes, etc. And, she always looks great. Even if she married the wealthiest man on the planet, she would not change her habit of looking for and finding a fabulous bargain. And, of not being interested in buying stuff. One of her most endearing traits is that she is very content with her life - she doesn't need things, just family.

That's just who she is.

Donna C.
She is the epitome of conspicuous consumption. Sunglasses are needed when sitting by her in church to keep the glare off her diamond and other jewelry. She is a fairly large woman, but dresses very stylishly and fashionably with her clothes coming from high end stores. Her home and yard are immaculate and reflect very up-to-date trends. She and her husband have toys; camper, ATVs, pool, fancy cars, trips. She likes nice things and buying stuff.

That's just who she is.

BUT, the differences stop there. Because you see, both Donnas are strong members of their faith. They will be found sitting each Sunday in their favorite pew, listening, commenting. Donna B serves in the Young Women and loves camp, treks, etc. Donna C has been an institute instructor; her knowledge of the scriptures is astounding!

Yes, they are different in their lifestyles, but not in their religion.

And, that's just who they are!

Favorite Picture Day

Zion National Park on a Wintery March Day 2010
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Why No One Can Afford to Save Money Anymore!

This actual non photo-shopped visual aid was captured by MOI this morning while looking at my on-line bank account.
We received a total of eight cents' interest for the month of February!
At this rate, by the end of the year, we will earn ninety-six cents in our checking account.
It is just so exciting, I think I'll go celebrate today and spend that interest money...now, let's see, what can we buy for eight cents? Is there even penny candy any more?
After my shopping spree today, I'll keep you posted on where the money went.


From the Files of Visiting Teachers; Near and Far

What's not to like about the visiting teaching program....and, I've had some really great VT over the years.

Here's a fun, lighter look at visiting teaching by people who have some interesting memories.

"Shay was a convert to the church...she was a saint in every way...good, pure-hearted, gentle. How I loved that woman! Her companion, Lisa, was young, spunky and very outspoken.

During one lesson, the subject turned to the church's welfare system. Lisa said, 'yeah, I remember working on the church's tobacco farm when I was growing up.' Shay immediately spoke up, 'the church doesn't own tobacco farms.' Lisa responded with, 'well, they don't now, but they used to.'

Shay - the convert - could not and would not believe this. Lisa became irate stating in her distinct southern accent, 'I think I would know. I'm from the south, I worked the rows of tobacco as a girl growing up, you didn't!' The sparks were flying, the discussion heated. I sat there that day sort of in a fog, not knowing what to do. I changed the subject, but those two would not give up the discussion. Finally, I had to call a truce, say some parting words, and practically shove them out the door. But, as I closed the door, I heard them still going at it on our front porch.

Something happened to the spirit that day!" MS

"I was a visiting teacher to the wife of very prominent leader in the church. She was often hard to catch at home, and didn't always return our calls.

One afternoon, I had baked some cookies for our visiting teaching families. When we knocked on Sister....'s door, no one answered. I wanted to leave those cookies that were fresh and tasty. As we stood by her front door ringing the doorbell with no response, her cat came up to me and started meowing, like she wanted in also.

So, I just opened the door to let the cat in, and to put the cookies down. As I opened the front door, there was Sister..... reclining on the couch with a book. As the cat went in, and as I put the cookies on the floor, she sat there looking straight at me without saying one word.

Neither of us ever mentioned that day.

She has since moved, her husband is very important in the church, but I hope she liked the cookies." KP

"I had just had our fifth baby. I was feeling totally overwhelmed with church, family, home, kids/their issues, etc. On this particular morning, I wrapped up baby MJ in his little blue baby blanket and headed over to Sister LP's home. She was the wife of a prominent doctor in town, and a very classy, good person. She invited us in as she sat down on her couch, which had no food or drink spots. I glanced around the room - there were no toys scattered everywhere; everything was neat, tidy, orderly. Beside her on the couch was a book which she had been reading. And, next to the couch on the coffee table was a bowl of chocolate bridge mix. I stared at that candy for a long time, thinking about how long it would last in our home...maybe 2 minutes.

Her life seemed so perfect, serene, calm, tranquil, when stacked up next to my noisy, cluttered life and home.

Many, many years have passed.

Recently, in a See's chocolate store, I was offered a sample of bridge mix. I immediately pictured that long ago morning in Sister LP's immaculate front room looking at her bowl of chocolate. I smiled remembering those feelings of longing for the peace and serenity of her life.

Now, I sit on the couch, a book beside me, a bowl of chocolate close by, when the visiting teachers come over with their little kids, telling me how incredibly busy their lives are with their young families.

AHH, the cycle of life, it's wonderful." VT

Yes, I do love visiting teaching, with all its inherent memories, foibles, and great moments.


From the Past - First Internet Purchase

He'd always wanted a black leather jacket.

But, there were two problems;
1. cost, and,
2. he'd never go shopping for or buy said item for himself.

So, with Christmas coming - those many years ago - I decided to get RAH a black leather jacket. But, in our small town, there was a K*Mart, a Wal*Mart, and an expensive men's store on Main Street. None of those seemed like a possibility.

I'd heard about "Shopping on the Internet." I was a catalog shopper, but had never purchased anything on the Internet. In fact, I didn't even know anyone who had bought anything via the Internet.

But, one night in the pink and blue bedroom turned into an office, I began searching for a black leather jacket on the Internet. It was rather dizzying.

I found one for $99.00. That sounded so reasonable to MOI!

I put in all the information and reluctantly hit the CONFIRM PURCHASE button. Immediately I was stricken with panic...what if the coat didn't fit, what if RAH didn't like it, what if they didn't send the coat and I was out the $99, what if it's a scam to get my credit card number? So many "what ifs" for my first time Internet shopping experience.

When the package arrived - sent to the school library so RAH wouldn't get it first - several of us stood around as we opened the box. The leather jacket was wrapped in tissue, and we opened the paper up to oohs and ahhs. (Opening any package with Beverly around is always extra exciting, so that made it even more memorable).

Whenever anyone came in the library that day, we would have them come look at the black leather jacket which was purchased off the Internet, and we were always quick to point out just exactly where it had been purchased. It was like we had discovered gold, landed on the moon, invented penicillin...well, maybe not quite like that, but it was definitely newsworthy....a package ordered from the Internet.

Quite a few years have passed since that package arrived. RAH wore that jacket for years, but recently, we bought a lighter, more attractive black leather jacket.

Now, several companies and I are on a first-name basis: Oriental Trading Company is always a handy place to get little items and have them shipped to grandkids, Amazon and I have established a very fond relationship, as have Chadwicks of Boston, EBay, Orbitz, and a few other companies.

And, I'm still always a little cautious about hitting the CONFIRM PURCHASE button, but I realize it's not the end of the world.

Nowdays, people don't think anything of buying on the Internet, but I don't think anything can quite compare to the thrill those many years ago of getting RAH's leather coat in the mail, lifting it out of the tissue paper, me trying it on to show my friends, realizing it was such a great coat/buy, and anticipating the thrill of having RAH open it on Christmas morning.

And, just what did RAH think of his long-wished-for leather jacket?

"WOW, where did you get this?'

My little secret.

Love That Reply!

"You're so CUTE!" I said early in the morning to almost 4 year old Miles.

"I'm NOT cute!" he said defiantly.

"Oh, if you're not cute, what are you then?" I asked

His answer:

"I'm adorable!"



Favorite Picture Day

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Enjoying the museum in Springdale with Eli and Miles...what great kids they are.



I liked her immediately. She was feisty, fun-loving, spunky, gutsy and outspoken - a woman very much in charge. We met when we were both serving missions at the family history center.

As we got to know each other, RAH and I learned Dee's story, and what a story it is:

She had 3 young daughters, was a stay-at-home mom, very much in love with her husband, but he went on a lot of business trips. One day, while unpacking his suitcase, which he had left on their bed, she came across a bundle of love letters. It seems his "business" trips had included a lot more than just business.

Dee confronted her husband, who denied it at first. As always, the truth will out.

Ugly, bitter divorce followed.

She was left a single mom; little skills, no job..you know the story.

But, as I mentioned, she was spunky, feisty and determined. She moved in with her parents, paid them rent, and bought the food, and got a job at BYU. Eventually, she had saved enough money to move into a small home, which, over the years, she maintained, beautified, and earned money off a basement rental.

She saved money, putting it into a savings account on a regular basis. Her dad - a faithful church goer - asked her to co-sign a loan with him. He promised that he would repay her and and that he would automatically deposit the money in her savings account each month (this is long before on-line banking appeared on the scene.)

Dee had promised her daughters a trip to Disneyland for the summer, and she was going to use her savings, which supposedly her father was replenishing.

You guessed it...her father had not put one cent back into the account! When she went to withdraw the money, the teller said there was NO MONEY in the account. Heartbreak for three young girls. And, bitterness for one mother.

The bitterness was palpable and directed against men. She left the church for one year. Then realized that was not what she wanted. She prayed to MOTHER IN HEAVEN because of her bitterness towards men - which now had extended to her own father.

The bitterness also included her male bosses at BYU, who took all the credit for work she had actually done.

A few years passed. She met a man at an LDS Singles Dance. Suave, handsome, smooth talking, and active in the church, he said.

No, please don't tell me....yes, he swindled her out of all her savings. He was smooth talking, as I said. Somehow, he convinced her to invest HER money, and it was gone before she even knew what had really happened to it, and to her.

Following the death of her parents, her brother cheated the siblings out of a large portion of the family inheritance.....

Now, at this point in time, Dee has recouped, recovered somewhat, and is remarried to an awesome, awesome guy.....I think DB is just the greatest; fun, articulate, interesting, pleasant.

But, there is still a portion of her that doesn't totally trust men.

Sometimes our life experiences shape our reality...her reality over the years became - men are not trustworthy.

My experience has been the opposite.

I am grateful for the men in my life who have led lives of nobleness; they've not let me down. Thank you, dad, RAH, and Hubert.


The New Bishop

He was one of the very first persons to welcome us when we went to church that first Sunday in the LV 4th ward three years ago. When we told him our names, he said, "Where are you from?"


"Were you a bishop in the college 7th ward?" he asked RAH.

a yes...

"You were my bishop!" he said excitedly.

RAH didn't remember him, but an instant connection was made to a really good, gentle man and his marvelous family.

And, on Sunday, when his name was called as the new bishop of the LV 4th ward, it was total role reversal.

Now, he's the bishop of his former bishop.

And, that's just the great way it works in our church.


The Challenge

It starts early in the morning.

It ends late in the evening.

It's meals, snacks, meals, snacks, meals and snacks.

It's games, coloring, reading, homework, fights, disagreements, lost shoes, noise, running around the home, lost homework, tripping over a shoe left in the doorway, crying, screaming, temper tantrums, shoving, hugs kisses, picnics in the park, laughing at silly knock-knock jokes, sneaking in a trip to the bathroom to catch a breath, story time, wiping up spilt milk (juice, spaghetti, soup, macaroni and cheese, yogurt, applesauce), strapping them into car seats, scurrying around to get out the door to get someplace, laughing, intervening in squabbles, teaching, singing,changing clothes or diapers, testing patience.

It's just a day in the life of a parent of young children and toddlers.

And, it seems it will never end.

Then - poof; they're gone and you are left standing in an empty home; wondering how the time - which once seemed forever - vanished so rapidly....almost while you weren't even noticing it.

Parenthood; the great all-consuming challenge....

And, then comes Grandparenthood; the routine starts all over, only this time around, you are better prepared knowing it all ends very quickly and all too soon.

So, this time around, you smile more, laugh more, enjoy more, and hold on to every minute.

Favorite Picture Day - Father and sons

Justin, Jeremy, Jordan, Allen
Let's get Jeremy out of Afghanistan and Jordan back to the West.



I'd buy basketsful of these to spread around the neighborhood...

ring the doorbell, then run!

Honestly, don't they just make your heart sing!


Weight, Weight, Don't Tell Me!

The picture, which I had never seen before, absolutely stunned me! The woman on the back row was ginormous, looked like she could play football in the NFL. The woman on the front row was big also. Oh, it was scary because the picture was my dad's great grandmother, and his grandmother!

Which also meant they were related to MOI!

The yellowed, aging newspaper article stated: " They are the LARGEST - in height and width - family in the state of Idaho. Each one weighs well over 2oo pounds." Oh, this was scary because this family was my mother's grandfather and her father.

Which also meant they were related to MOI!

Now, I ask you, seriously, with ancestors like that - what - with those genes in my body - chance do I have to look like I did when I was 13; tall and gangly? Answer -I have no chance.

But, it also seems hopeless because I've seen weight loss failures in so many people around me:

So, again I say, why even try?

Where's that left-over pizza?


Winner - Kindergarten Spelling Bee

Winning word: UNDER
Hey, Lucy, pretty awesome, I must say.

See you at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 8 years.

Cousins Coincidence

Dixie texted; she wanted to meet us for lunch. Dixie is Allen's 2 or 3 COUSIN; who knows, but anyway, they are related.  She is won...