Farewell 2013

A son-in-law lost his job...

So, they moved from 25 minutes away to 13 hours away in New Mexico!

Two grandsons went on missions..

Our mission ended.

We traveled cross-county.

We visited our children.

We visited other family members.

We had some family gatherings.

We got new and fun church callings.

I continued to visit dear Sylvia and be inspired by her.

Our grandson did an internship in Texas and met a wonderful girl...we'll see where that leads.

Our health remained good, for which we are mighty mighty grateful.

A daughter got engaged - will marry in autumn 2014.

All in all, it was a pretty good year..

And, my heart is full of gratitude.

Weighing the Cost

In March 2011, I bought an ITouch, for about $300.

I didn't even really know what purpose it would serve, but I had had a little IPod, and liked the music features.  RAH thought it seemed pricey for a little music player, but he said it was okay to get it.

Since buying that little gadget, I have used it nearly every day.

I take it to the gym and:

read books (Jesus the Christ, which I am almost finished with)
listen to free ebooks from the library (man, I've heard some great ones!)
watched videos from BBC through ITunes.

We have listened to dozens of pod casts while driving.

I've used it for email, games, church work.

And, yes, I have actually even used it for music!

I think I have totally gotten my money's worth....because I have used it for nearly three years and I intend to keep using it for a very long time.

I have other items that I think I've gotten my money's worth;

an expensive pair of shoes that I wear nearly every day.
a very inexpensive mini tablet - from a brand no one has ever heard of, but I use it literally every single day to read books, read scriptures, play 7 Little words, Words with Friends, read the news, etc. I truly love my little mini tablet which only cost me $129.00 at WalMart.
Computer - my lifeline...truly.

Our neighbors have a huge motor home that they spent bucko bucks for, and have NEVER used.  Until recently when he sold it - at a great loss - that big very expensive motor home sat in his driveway every day, rotting in the harsh sun.

So, here's the deal.  Some things may be pricey, but I think the way to tell the value of an item is to weigh its COST per day usage.

I've made some very bad decisions with regards to spending money, but I have also purchased some items that have been worth every penny.

Those are the deals I like best!


The Cycle of Life

Growing up, lots of people came to visit and stay at my parents' home....

I loved it; I didn't have to do all the work, so why wouldn't I have liked it?

Cousins, aunts, uncles, distant relatives...people LOVED to stay at the Gee revolving door hotel..

And, why not?  Mom always made them an incredible breakfast:

French toast, scrambled eggs, hash browns, toast, juice, milk, hot chocolate, bacon, ham.  It was like a Chuck-a-Rama buffet; only better!

She always had plenty of ice cream, pie, cakes, cookies, snacks, nuts, etc. for the evening when they arrived.

And, if they stayed long enough, she provided other nutritious delicious meals.

Fast forward to MOI:

I love to have relatives/friends stay.  And, they do drop by and spend a night or two, which I am delighted about.

But, I'm definitely not my mom.  Oh, I'll fix waffles or pancakes - if they want.

I have a few snacks - if they want.

But, here's where we are alike:

 I am glad our relatives feel comfortable staying in our home.  And, that we have room for them to stay.

That is a great blessing.

Hyrum getting his shoes on as he leaves on Monday morning.  This kid just melts my heart.  I love his little face, his unique voice and the sheer delight he gets out of books!  Okay, I'll steal him for a week or two!


Making Bad Decisions

I don't like it when I make bad decisions.

I do not like it, Sam I Am.

I need to learn how to make better decisions.

This one was about money.

Dumb, dumb, dumb;

but, it's done, so that is that.


When Someone Turns 73; It's Time for a Tribute

Here’s what he is....

A carpenter, a landscaper, a musician, a photographer, a fisherman, an author, a cook, a teacher, a handyman, a chess player, a composer, a jewelry maker, a sculptor, a computer programmer, a singer, a religious leader, a traveler, an adventurer, and with all of that, he is just plain - a very good guy.  

HB, RAH; thanks for the music all these years….I’ll never tire of it.


The Trouble With Being...

an early riser is that


4:00 a.m....gotta call Janessa to see if I gave her her mother's Christmas present!  But, she won't be up for another 6 hours!  I need to KNOW NOW!

4:30 a.m....gotta call the dentist for this toothache!  But, his office won't be open for another 4 hours! YIKES!

5:00 a.m....gotta call the bank to see about that accounting error!  But, they won't be open for another 4 hours!

Gotta call to make visiting teaching appointments...no one is up...

Gotta call to cancel the subscription...Not open...

Gotta run to the dollar store to get....not open.....

And, on and on.

NOTHING can be done.

NO ONE and NOTHING is open.

I need to sleep late like the rest of the world!


Christmas 2011

When Allen Sun (who was in America for one year studying at Stanford) emailed to see if he and his daughter could spend Christmas - and a few days - with us, I was very nervous for a couple of reasons:

1.  Christmas was on a Sunday; should we take this Communist to church with us?
2.  What would we do while he was here?
3.  What gifts should we give this Chinese teenager, who could buy anything we have HERE over THERE - and for lots less money?

I was very concerned;

As it turns out, I needn't have had any worries.
Allen and his daughter Cindy enjoying one of Allen H's signature delicious breakfasts.

Quite the opposite in fact - it was a wonderful experience in every way.....we had plenty to do...

Allen and Cindy Sun enjoying Zion National Park; it was perfect weather while they were here!

MOI with Cindy Sun; you can't tell in this picture, but just in honor of the occasion of having the Suns with us, I am wearing my Chinese shirt that I got in the Guangzhou airport....and it says Guangzhou, which is the city where Allen and Cindy are from.  I thought it was appropriate to wear whilst they were with us!

Allen loved driving Allen's boat....great day in Southern Utah!

The Chinese eat a lot of pineapple, so they are experts at cutting it up; here Allen Sun shows me how it's done!

And, yes, they went to church with us; afterwards, Allen Sun said; "That was a very nice experience...people were so friendly and so kind."

Yes, it was a memorable Christmas...

Okay, now it's time for Let's Dance!  Even Allen Sun got in on the action.....he had a lot of fun doing this.  In fact, I think he had a lot of fun with everything we did while he was here.  It was fun for us too!  After all he had done for us in China, it was good to be able to show him a good time.  One night, we went to the China Buffet; he really LOVED that!

Of course, we had to go see the Fishers in Hurricane; we drove around to show Cindy and Allen Christmas lights, then made a stop at our favorite decorated home in Hurricane....

And, Allen even seemed happy with his gift...

SOCKS, of course....(AND, a few other things too!)

In fact, Allen Hackworth just got an email from Allen Sun remembering that Christmas of two years ago and thanking us for the denim shirt which he says he wears a lot.

What a memorable Christmas!


Kindle Vs. Book

It's 6 a.m.

And, it's pitch dark.

RAH is sound asleep.

I am wide awake.

On my nightstand is a physical, actual book because it's not available as an e-book.


No light.

So, that is just one of several reasons that I prefer the Kindle reader.


If Only....

Whenever my father gave a talk, he would beat himself up about it.

It was:

too long,
too loud,
not good enough,
didn't hit the target,
on and on and on.

I used to get a little impatient with him over his self-beratings.  Everyone LOVED his talks, so I couldn't understand why he was so harsh on himself.

Yesterday, I spoke in church.

Afterwards and for about one or two weeks, I will totally beat myself up over the talk:

too dramatic,
didn't really hit the mark - after all, it WAS Christmas!
not very good.

Holy cow, once again, I have totally turned into my father!

I don't want to beat myself up.  I want to just stop thinking about it and move on, like Allen.  He gives a talk, it's over.

I give a talk, and I think, "Why did I say that?" "Why didn't I say that?" Why did I choose that subject?  Why didn't I give the other talk I prepared?  Why, Why, Why?

On and on in my head.

It's like it's a genetic SICKNESS....

Oh, wait it is.


Wanting to Be Sharon

Every couple of months or so, we drop by and say hello to Ron and Sharon.

And, every time we walk out of her house, I want to be Sharon.

Not because she is always happy and cheerful.

Which she is.

Not because she is a great seamstress.

Which she is.

Not because she is very generous and giving of her talents.

Which she does.

But because her home is:


As in; no papers ANYwhere, no clutter in drawers, on countertops, in shelves.

Her home is a marvel of clean and totally organized.

So, I want to be Sharon.

But, I'm not, so that is that.


Never Too Old...

to be read to!

Every week I visit Sylvia; she's such a dear.  Her life is lived 98% of the time within the four very tiny walls of her little room at the nursing home; she's much too young to be incarcerated there, but that is her life.

Sylvia finds it difficult to talk because of her jaw pain.

And, we run out of things to say.

So, a few weeks ago, I had an inspired idea.


I kept forgetting to take my book to our weekly visits, but yesterday, I remembered.

and I took this lovely little Christmas book to read to Sylvia:

Sylvia thoroughly enjoyed the short little story of the trees and their dreams and how they come true in a very surprising way.

So, I'll do it again; read a picture book each week I go.

I have a lot of delightful picture books.

Everyone enjoys a good story.

Oh, yes, that was an inspired idea...thank you, Heavenly Father.

We'll BOTH enjoy this reading time together!


Wrapping It All Up!

...in service to others;

The local radio station plays Santa to hundreds of kids each year.  They try to make sure every child has a Christmas, while also trying to ensure that the system is not taken advantage of....

This year, I helped wrap presents; it was AWESOME!

And, I loved being a very small part of this incredible, HUGE project:

Each person was given a plastic bag with toys and clothes in it.  We would wrap each item, label it for the child - or children.

There were 110 tables set up, and at one point, the lady announced on the loudspeaker that more people were coming who wanted to help wrap, so could we move over and let others get at our table?

So, at some tables there were 2 or 3 people wrapping; it was an enormous job to wrap gifts for 1200 kids.  But, it was so well organized; it blew me away.

Most of all, however, it inspired me...so many good good people donating time and money.

Tonight 50 Santas will deliver presents to 468 families in the county.

And 1200 children will believe in the MAGIC of CHRISTMAS!


Ha Ha on MOI!

Shopping, then buying

Gift card:

One for RAH,

And, one for MOI,

for Christmas...

Hey, that's one way to get exactly what a person wants; buy oneself a gift card!

Come home, put them away.

Now, time to wrap them and put them under the tree.

BUT, and it's a big BUT,

I cannot find them - anywhere.

Okay, I'm too good at hiding things!


High Drama in the Friendship Corner

"Sharon," I said recently over a sandwich lunch.

"I need your advise.  RAH and I have been very good friends with A & T for about 7 or 8 years.  We have gone on trips together, used to eat out about once a week together, been to each other's homes often, etc."

"And, then one day, T was VERY cold to me, no longer sent her fun emails, was distant and cold when we saw each other publicly.  I can't figure out what I did.  Should I say anything to her?"

Then Sharon told me HER similar story.

"We were best friends with a couple in our ward.  We did what you are describing; went places together, ate together, played games together, had so much fun.  I thought we were best friends.  And, then one day, she wouldn't talk to me any more.  She would avoid me at church.  I couldn't figure out what I had done.

"So, I bought a little gift, went to her home, apologized profusely, asked her forgiveness, saying I didn't know what I had done, but was so sorry.

"She listened, sat stoically, but said nothing; no acceptance of my apology...absolutely NOTHING.  I left wondering what had just happened!

"I saw her with her husband recently in the grocery store...I went over, was just as friendly as can be. She didn't say a word.

"But here's the deal, Loni," Sharon said.  "I tried; I still don't know what I did wrong, but now, it's HER problem, not mine.  I'm sorry about the loss of a really great friendship, but the drama isn't worth it.  So, if I were you, I'd just let it lie.  At this point, if she wants your friendship, she knows where to find you!"

I'm still shaking my head over women and our drama....

Come on, ladies, we are not back in the 10th grade any more.  We are adults - we can figure this stuff out.


If I did something wrong, I'm incredibly sorry.

Tell me about it, let me apologize and then let's get on with our friendship.  Why would you let something I did unintentionally RUIN a lot of years of being good friends?

Ah, Life - it's complicated.


It Comes in Threes...

..so they say.

So, here were our three, plus a fourth that RAH reminded me of...within 2 months time.

1.  The washing machine went out.  We had to buy a new one.  The broken one had been bought in 2002 when we had moved into a brand new home in Rexburg, Idaho.  11 years seems way too short for a washing machine to work; they used to work for 25 years.  Not so any more...the salesman said they last from 3-5 years....incredible, so we forked over $400 for the least expensive machine we could find.  It's basic; no frills....just a simple washing machine.

2.  The water in our shower froze; it has been one of the coldest winters on record; cold, cold, cold; unrelenting cold that didn't get above freezing.  So, in sprite of running the water, that one line froze.  We will be putting extra insulation in our attic so it hopefully won't happen again.  Allen COULD possibly fix it.  But, we will hire someone and it will cost us $250.00

3.  The battery in our car went dead....totally would not keep a charge; draining problem, the mechanic said.  The car is about 18 months old!  It SHOULD NOT have battery problems at all.
Cost to us $110.00

and as a bonus; our kitchen sink faucet broke...we limped along for awhile, but finally gave in and had to buy a new one.  $250.00

Okay, so stop the madness!

Time now to quit shelling out on home/car repairs and try to get back in the saving mode.

Yes, it's time for the three good things to kick in now.


Letter #2 - From the Files of the Perfect Family's Christmas Letters

Well, it's definitely that time of year when we sit down and tell about our family:  I'll try to be brief as we have just had such an amazing year....

Our oldest son, Richard the thirteenth, recently got a job with Peabody, Peabody, Peabody, Peabody, and Peabody.  On only his 2nd day there, he was made executive vice-president of Executive VIce-Presidents.  (We do not feel that this- in any way - was brought about because he married the 3rd Mr. Peabody's daughter.)  He has his OWN EXECUTIVE WASH ROOM, his own parking place right by the building, and his own corner office.  My goodness; we ARE proud.

His lovely daughter, our oldest grandchild, Princess Tiara, just won the Toddlers in Tiara contest for southern California.  She twirled, danced, sang, played the violin, piano, showed a soccer video of her making her team's only point, and recited the Treaty of Versailles in French, Russian, and Hungarian.  We just couldn't be more proud.

His son, Richard the fourteenth, age 2, can recite the Pledge of Allegiance - frontwards and backwards - knows his colors, letters, timetables up to 11, and can sing the Gettysburg Address in both English and French.  He also takes violin, wrestling, piano, tuba, and scuba diving lessons. We are so proud.  My goodness, kids these days are just getting better and better; it's so hard to keep up with all they can do!  I get exhausted just being at their lovely, well-ordered, perfectly manicured home, which his lovely and well-adjusted wife, Elizabeth runs so efficiently.

Our 2nd son, David Alexander Mathew Mark-John - a senior in high school, received the highest score possible on his ACT and SAT tests.  He is getting scholarship offers from all over the globe.  Our mailman said that we will just have to get another bigger box to hold all his offers!  Now, isn't that funny?  But, David AMM-J, as we affectionately call him, has decided to go to Cambridge and pursue a doctorate; he sees no reason to associate with lowly Freshmen in any setting.  We feel such a sense of pride at his remarkable achievements, especially since he is only 15!

And, our youngest child and only daughter, Emma Sophia Isabella Clare Olivia - (as you recall, we just couldn't decide which name to pick; she seemed to fit ALL of them!) is a junior.  She is having quite a struggle balancing her head cheerleading duties with being forward on the basketball team, president of the Honor Society, President of the Junior Class, President of the Helping Others Who Are Not as Cool as We Are Society, all this while getting straight A's.  In addition to all that, she serves at the local food kitchen once a year, "To remind myself what I could have been, if it weren't for my good looks, personality, and charm."  Additionally she plays piano, soccer, runs track, plays the viola, flute, clarinet, and dances each Christmas in the Nutcracker.  My goodness, she's a busy one, that girl!

As for Richard the twelfth and myself, we are keeping very busy.  But, we decided to scale back on Christmas this year.  We are only putting up 25 trees in our 12000 square foot home, instead of the usual 30.  Richard the twelfth felt we should donate some money to charity, so that is what we are doing.  We are giving a huge donation to our local country club, of which he is the president.  Both our golf scores continue to be low and our income high.  We toured 28 countries and took 37 cruises this past year, but it's difficult for Richard the 12 to be away from his work so often, so we are cutting back next year.  My father and mother are still living with us in the 5000 square foot guest house with their own maid, butler, and chauffeur.  Isn't it great to help those we love when they need it ?  We feel so fortunate to be able to help them out; after all, they raised ME!  SO, now it's my turn to help them.

We do feel blessed at this time of year and want to wish you all a very Happy Holiday.

(I no longer say Merry Christmas, as my husband does not want to offend anyone in his business ventures, which are quite extensive.)

So, from all of us to all of you...
Richard 12
Me-Mary Katherine
Richard 13 and his lovely wife;
Elizabeth with their children:
Princess Tiara
Richard 14
David Alexander Mathew Mark-John
and finally
Emma Sophia Isabella Clare Olivia 

Happy Holidays to you all!


My Christmas Letter - in Response to All the Perfect Families Out There

Dear Loved Ones,

It hasn't been our best year, but I'm sure things will start looking up for us as soon as Johnny Ray gets out of prison.  We are hoping he can remember where he stashed the cash he took from the gas station.  That will help our financial situation a great deal.

Our 2nd son, Bobby Ray has been out of work now for nigh on to 27 years, but he's still hoping to get his job back as manager of the feed lot, although it went out of business shortly after he lost his job....not that the two are connected in any way at all.

Carly Ray had her 3rd baby; we are all so excited for her.  She has her trailer fixed up quite nicely.  It's small, as those mini travel trailers are, but hey, it's home.  Hopefully, she will be able to get some furniture this year, as she is getting tired of sitting on the floor each day.  But, her 92 inch television set keeps them all happy and occupied quite nicely.  Go, Alabama!

We are so proud of Carly Ray's oldest son, Thunder Ray; he joined the track team.  Man, he's on fire.  He came in 10th of 9 runners.  We're not even sure how he did that, but isn't that great!  Not everyone can do that!

Her daughter, Little Carly Ray, is doing very well in art; she drew a picture of her mother's boyfriend picking his nose. Little Carly Ray said the teacher was speechless when he saw it. We couldn't be prouder.  However, Little Carly Ray is struggling in other subjects in school, though.  She just can't seem to get those times tables learned.  She's hoping by the end of this year - her junior year - she'll have the 2's down.  Here's to education.

Buddy Ray and I are plugging right along nicely.  He is still nursing his black eye that he got when he ran into the dang door; I guess in the dark he just didn't notice it was closed!  Man, how could he not see the door?  It's been there for nigh unto 2 days now since we've been doing that remodel work in the bathroom.  He must of been in a REAL hurry!

As for me, Lida Ray, I'm still struggling with:
Restless Leg Syndrome,
Dry Eye Syndrome,
Very close veins,
High blood pressure,
High cholesterol,
High anxiety,
High hopes,
and the list goes on, but, hey, who's complaining at this wonderful season of the year?

We have much to be grateful for; our guns have bullets, we have meat on the table - which now only has three legs, thanks to our dog, Ray Ray - stupid dog thought the meat was for him!

But, we are doing well...and our family wishes you all a very Merry Christmas.

(We'd love to see you, but - Please don't come by during the holidays as we are still trying to get our home organized and put back together from the flood we had in 1989 when Johnny Ray tried to hide his first-ever robbery money down the toilet.)

May you always have a RAY of sunshine in your home...I know we do!  HA! HA!

Lida Ray, Buddy Ray, Johnny Ray, Bobby Ray, Carly Ray and her 3 little Rays, and of course, the 4-legged Ray - Ray Ray.

Ha Ha! Made Me Laugh

But, Baby, it's COLD outside!

Oh, yeah!


Well...This is RARE!

...a snow day from church in Southern Utah.

But, why, you might ask...

Well, few people have snow shovels to shovel driveways and walkways.

Which means it is very treacherous to walk.

The county has no snow plows or salt to manage the roads.

Which means it is very dangerous to drive.

And, many people are not familiar with HOW to drive on icy roads...which they are...very icy...

Few people have snow tires as who would ever need them?

These are necessary items in Rexburg, Idaho; but rare in St. George:

snow shovels,
snow tires,
snow plows,
warm woolen mittens,
snow pants,
salt for roads,

Well, you get the picture;


One neighbor said it had snowed 10 inches; I don't know if that is totally accurate, but I do know that it snowed ALL day yesterday; HEY, what's going on - I moved to get away from this stuff??!?!?!?!??!
So, I'll just hunker down with a cup of Postum or hot chocolate...stay warm and write Christmas cards, thank you very much.


When Did the Music Change?

Early morning gym routine...

biking, weights, walking, ellipsis - any combo of these or any one of these....

And, while doing the above, listening to a book on tape or reading.

But, today, there was a time when I didn't have the head set on, so I was FORCED to listen to the music being piped over their LOUD, LOUD, LOUD speakers.

And this is the truth; it sounded just like a person screaming for


in a 911 call!

 If you had played them side-by-side, you would not have known the difference...

plea for help, screaming banshee music.

It made me so sad for my grandchildren and the music they are exposed to and listen to. In our home growing up, we listened to a variety of music; so our children like folk, pop, a little country.

But, their children are listening to and loving what is being played today; and it is NOT music; it is loud screaming; swearing; bad-mouthing parents, teachers, old people, the establishment, America, religion, God; well, you get the idea.

And, I was so incredibly sad.

I love music.  I love to sing along at the top of my lungs, I love to hum a tune, to be enthralled by GOOD music.

And, it just makes me wonder;


Striving for Perfection

Late last night, just before I slipped into the realms of never-land and dream-land,

RAH asked this intriguing question:

"Are you  ever dissatisfied with something you've done and wish it could be BETTER?"

"Ha! Everything I ever do, I feel that way...every project, everything I cook, every time I clean, the list goes on and on!

"How about you?" I asked him.

But, I already knew the answer.  He was always striving for - yes, that wretched word -


in his music, his gardening, his fishing, his jewelry making, his writing.

"Perhaps," he said, "It's because we are the offspring of God.  Maybe that's where this drive for wanting it better, wanting it perfect, wanting it just exactly RIGHT...maybe that is where this yearning comes from.  Being a son or daughter of God just naturally makes us want things to be done better...."

Too deep and too philosophical for me late at night.

But, then again....it's true, I do want it all to be better...

my mothering skills, my wife-skills, my family history skills, my computer skills, my writing, my housekeeping, my cooking, my organizing, my neighborliness, my nursery persona, on and on.

Yes, I do wish I were better at it all.

But, therein lies the rub....will I really TRY to work harder at any of them?

Or will I be content to just be the way I am?!?!?!??!

Living a Life of Purpose

My father was often asked to sing or give speeches all around the county.

My mother taught painting and yoga lessons, was involved in a sewing and book club, serving as an officer on many occasions.  She wrote delightful poetry for important events in her life.

Both were heavily involved in the community and church; their calendars were filled with a variety of events; most of which involved giving of their time and talents.

Then, they moved to Virginia, then to California, and finally settling in Utah.

It was a good move in many ways; closer to family; close to Mormondom.

But, it was a sorrowful move in other ways.  Because their calendars were empty.

In their new community, there were no phone calls, no meetings, no luncheon dates, no singing or speaking assignments.  Just empty days - void of the busy lives they had previously led.

My mother, one of the most talented ladies I know, was not aggressive or forceful; quiet, gentle, good.  But, she was not asked to participate in clubs, events, socials, gatherings.  And, she never volunteered, as far as I know.

My father, who had been one of the most prominent and well-respected members of the smallish Idaho community, was rarely asked to speak or sing or be part of a committee or anything.

They quietly faded into the background; into the oblivion of old age.  Thinking about it since, it often causes me the deepest sorrow.  Because they were such good, giving people and suddenly, they were no longer needed or used or asked or invited....in fact, my father once told me that - in their new ward - they had been invited just once into a neighbor's home for dinner.  And, every January the older people in the ward went on a trip south, they were never invited; my father felt the pain of that.

In some ways, they are responsible; we cannot wait for others to come to us; we must step forward...we must be aggressive in voicing our desires, in volunteering for things.  But, that was not my parents' style; they were willing to give, but both were reticent to push themselves forward.....

And, so their final years were rather lonely and mostly uneventful.  Oh, they had wonderful family gatherings; and friends or relatives came to visit occasionally; they were still terribly needed by their children and grandchildren; as counselors, advisors, safe haven home, mentors, question answerers, retreat from the world home to escape to, etc.....

but the bulk of their days was spent in quiet isolation.

Their lives had been amazing; they had visited many many foreign countries; had lived abroad; they traveled the United States and Canada extensively; they flew in a private plane all over the country.  They had experiences others can only dream of.  They had made generous contributions to their community in so many ways.  I have almost an entire box filled with thank you letters to my father about his speeches, his songs, his unselfish service to others.  I heard a story, first-hand. about how he healed a community torn apart by a brutal murder while he was serving a mission in South Carolina.  My mother belonged to a luncheon club for 25 years; she had had a core group of loyal friends who did things together; she was so needed and appreciated.

Their lives were totally purpose-driven; they were the most giving, generous people I knew....in time and resources.

They served two missions - to Hawaii and South Carolina....

And, then - NOTHING.

In some ways, my life follows a similar pattern to my parents...living in a community for a large portion of my life - then moving into an entirely different place.  Leaving friends, obligations, busy lives.

So, the question now becomes, will I also be like my parents - whom I find absolutely NO FAULT WITH AT ALL?

Or, will I have the courage to break out of my own natural reticence and inclination to STAY HOME?

Will I - at this point in my life - lead a purpose-driven life?

Or, will I sink into oblivion, hoarding my time, my energies?

That remains to be seen.


I Wonder Why...

every kind of food I LIKE - except bananas - is bad for me?

I'm not fond of fish - at all.

I don't like many vegetables - except potatoes, which are very high in carbs.

I like a few fruits - but am not a fan of apples.

I will eat salads, but they are not my fav.

It's just interesting that I grew up in a home with lots of good home-cooked meals, but we ate mostly carbs; pastas, breads, potatoes, and meat.

So, I grew up liking all the wrong things.

And, I've carried that into my adult life; habits are hard to change.

I WANT my cake and eat it too.


Why I Like....

Rachel learned her baby was a girl; I could take her a loaf of bread after the birth.

Angela had emergency gall bladder surgery; I could take her a loaf of bread.

Anita is no longer with her spouse; I could avoid saying something really stupid - maybe.

Lauralee and I made contact after many years of not being in touch.

Diana was up all night with her baby; I could take her something just for HER.

Christie got into a highly competitive phd program; I could see her at church and congratulate her.

Mike finally got a job; I could let him know how excited I was for him after many months of searching.

Gardner was thinking of moving to St George; I would have a nephew nearby to babysit kids and invite over often.

Bonnie has cancer; her link is posted on Facebook and I can keep up with her prognosis.

I see pictures of former friends, new babies, neighborhood events, my own family.

I read news that I would not ever know about.

So, yes, perhaps it can be a time waster.

BUT, it can also be a marvelous TOOL to stay connected to people I love, admire, like, respect, and wish to know about.

And, that is why I'm glad there is FACEBOOK.


When the Family Gets Together

Thanksgiving 2013

a time of gathering,

a time of surprises,

a time of laughter,

a time of music,

a time of food,

a time of fun,

Jenni's caption: my brother taking a pic of his sisters taking a pic of their brothers!
a time of shooting -
guns; not pictures! -  (no pictures..sorry!)

a time of gratitude!

We Give Thanks for Family - And, we are forever grateful!

And one final reminder of our good times; sorry no pix available for the food portion - 

We had some mighty fine meals brought to you by the folk in the Hackworth clan...

Let's review:

Wednesday evening when people started arriving:
Chille Rellano
Chicken Enchiladas

Breakfast: crock pot casserole with sausage, eggs, etc. - by Loni
Lunch: cheese platters with crackers, breads, apples, hummus, cheese ball, raspberry butter, etc.
             Home-made macaroni and cheese with rice pasta - by Carisa
Late evening snack (because someone who will remain unnamed forgot to plug in the crock pot!)
            Roast beast with pepperoncini peppers

Breakfast: pumpkin pancakes with home-made buttermilk syrup - by Amy
                  3 kinds of fried potatoes - by Justin

Lunch: more of the cheese platter, etc.

Dinner: turkey - fixed by Janna, cut up by Allen; ham - provided by Janessa and Jared, 
              prepared by Sean; mashed potatoes - peeled by each grandchild, prepared by Jenni; 
              gravy - by Janna; beans and brussel sprouts - by Bobby & Kristi; carrot cake - by Amy
              no-bake cookies - by Jared and Janessa; stuffing and rolls by Mrs. Cubbins and Rhoades
Thanksgiving pilgrim boat table decorations by Amy and grand kids....

Late night snack for games; party mix - by Loni

Breakfast: sausage, eggs, hash browns - by Allen
Lunch: Cafe Rio
Dinner:  Turkey noodle soup - by Allen; magic cookie bars by Loni
Treats: Honey Crunches - by Bobby

Breakfast: blueberry waffles, hash browns, fried eggs, whole wheat toast.

So, the bottom line is this:

We have probably all gained 15 pounds.  
But, oh, yeah, it was worth it!

Thanks, good cooks, for your help and your contributions all around!

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...