1.31.2014

Art Class

In the 4th grade, my teacher was Miss Biggert.

Once a week, we had art class.

Each week, Miss Biggert pinned up on the front chalkboard, the picture we were to draw and color that week.

It was to look exactly like the picture she posted in the front of the class...same exact colors, same size, same everything.  At the end of art class, Miss Biggert hung the "good ones" along the front of the chalkboard.  Clones - all lined up neatly.

I can remember one picture from that year; it was a child's head in winter attire.

I do not recall if I EVER had a picture hung up in front, maybe one, but certainly not very often.  I guess I didn't really ever do it just the way Miss Biggert insisted it SHOULD look like.

Leap forward many years........

Last week, I was privileged to spend time with my grandsons who are home-schooled.  We read a portion of a book they are studying about the story of the world.  Their assignment, after listening to me read one chapter, was to draw OR sculpt from clay, a scene based on what we had read.

In the midst of our reading, Miles, 7, was so excited that he jumped up from the couch, ran to the counter and began to sculpt the bow and arrow described in the reading.  I kept reading while he was engaged in sculpting.

When I saw what he had made, I was amazed; it was intricate, finely detailed, truly amazing to me, as a non-artiste!  And, it was so very creative!

Out of his head with no picture to reference, he had sculpted a remarkable weapon that was described by the author of the book.

And, I was so glad his wise mother allowed him the freedom to be creative, to envision in HIS mind what something looked like.

And, I was REALLY glad he didn't have Miss Biggert as his art teacher!

1.29.2014

Home-Made Bread and the 7 Year Old

RAH needed some whole wheat bread to take to church for a demonstration on using food storage;

So, on Saturday, I baked six loaves of bread, not knowing how much would actually be needed for the people at church.

(As it turns out, hardly any was needed, but I didn't know that at the time this happened.)

I told my grandsons ( 7 and 9) that I needed the bread for church, so we weren't going to eat any of it.

Then, I came in the kitchen and saw THIS:


"But grandma," he said, "It smelled so delicious and it tastes so good."

I didn't get really angry, but I was upset because I didn't know how much bread we would be needing.  So, I told him he should always ask...and that we were needing it for church....

Then, a few minutes after the rebuking, I saw this:


Okay, so, I guess home-made bread is just impossible to resist for a 7 year old.

When I told his older brother that I should not have gotten upset, and just said to myself; Will this really matter in 5 years?

Eli said, "Yeah, grandma, it will be a funny memory that we look back on and laugh about!"

I love kids!

1.28.2014

Little Dorrit and My Mother


I just rewatched the BBC production of Little Dorrit by one of my favorite authors; Charles Dickens; I absolutely loved it - again.

Previously, I had watched it when we were in China,  about 3 or 4 years ago.  So, I had forgotten a large portion of the story.

The character of Amy Dorrit is so good, pure, kind, thoughtful, sweet, nice, generous, a peacemaker, gentle; and I just loved her.

Today, while working on some family history, I realized why I adored her so much.

MY MOTHER is Amy Dorrit; good, pure, kind, thoughtful, sweet, nice, generous, a peacemaker, gentle...

Holy COW, no wonder I like the story so much!!!!!  My mother's story is nothing like Amy Dorrit's, BUT my mother is the same type of person; good to the core and so attentive and loving to her father and mother.

Strange - I never thought of how similar they were before, but now I totally see it; they are two wonderful women.

One is fiction; one is real.

And, I'm so blessed to have known and loved the ReAL one!

1.27.2014

In Defense of Unhealthy Food

My father - one of the very best of men - lived to be 90.

His entire life he had a zest for living and life.

I remember taking him to Yellowstone Park when he was quite elderly.  At every single turn-out, he wanted to stop, look, and if there was a hike associated with the turn-out, he wanted to go on it.  One time the hike was rather strenuous and he could hardly make it back to the car.  But at the very next turn-out point, he wanted to go again!  His undying spirit of adventure is a great inspiration to me....(I like to stay home!)

But, my father was also an extremely picky eater.  I didn't realize this growing up.

My mother pointed that fact out to me later in my life and in his life.

He didn't like vegetables; I can't really ever remember seeing a green salad on his plate; jello salad, yes; greens, no.

He was not too fond of casseroles, but....

he liked turkey, ham, roast beef, mashed potatoes, root beer, ice cream, cookies, cake and pie.

My father enjoying a dessert with friends while courting my dear wonderful mother.

I am my father's daughter in terms of what I like (I rarely eat ice cream or root beer however).

I will, unlike my father, eat a green salad - and a couple of times a week for breakfast, I fix a green smoothie loaded with veggies.  I have to say that I do make a small effort to eat somewhat healthy.

BUT, here's my point.

My father lived to be 90 having maybe green salad once or twice A YEAR - if that.  Having hardly ANY fresh vegetables; occasionally - a banana perhaps, or an apple.  He ate great quantities of my mother's home-canned peaches, but they are hardly the paragons of healthy food as they were loaded with sugar!

So, doesn't this prove my ever-recurring theme; can anyone REALLY PROVE that the lack of healthy food is what leads to death?

Doesn't genetics play a HUGE part in the grand scheme of things?

Now, I know that a person might say well, look at 3rd world countries and of course, the people there do literally starve to death for want of food.  But, they have so little of anything; it's not really the same issue.

My father did eat; just not very healthy.  So, he had nutrients swirling around his body; just not the kind that nutritionists would say were healthy for him.

Here's where all this is leading, folks; last week, I went without sweets/treats/ for several days.  I was miserable.  I just wanted a little sweet at the end of a long full day of tending grandkids; as a reward you might say.  But, I was on a sugar fast; it was NOT FUN.  So, today, I decided to go back to my usual way of eating; sugar in the morning, sugar in the evening, sugar at suppertime!

And, I don't think it's going to KILL ME!

(ADDENDUM: after I wrote this, I went for a long walk; I do try to exercise frequently.  While walking I thought of this: my father, mother, and I have exceedingly LOW blood pressure.  (Once, in fact, a nurse could not even find my pulse and she asked me somewhat jokingly, but also in frustration; "are you even ALIVE?")  Low blood pressure for us translates into having very LOW energy levels.  My father took a power nap even while working full time at his law practice; he came home and napped during his lunch break.

So, back to food and goodies; about a year ago friend mentioned about that she had totally cut out sugar.  And, she noticed a huge increase in her energy levels.  So, I should consider that when defending unhealthy food; I could perhaps increase my energy level.

There is that factor to think about for sure.)




It's a Puzzle: a Question of Fairness

T, a relative of mine,  leads a perfect life; her life has always been one of happiness and things working out for her.

She had a happy childhood with good parents.  T married a wonderful, good man who had a fulfilling, lucrative career...they raised 4 marvelous children, who are in turn raising many wonderful children.  In her life, she has not had any major illnesses, no reversal of fortunes, business set-backs, etc.  There have been no unhappy situations with children or grandchildren.  They all continue to have good secure jobs, stay on the path, go to church, lead fulfilling lives and are happy, well-adjusted people all round.  She leads a Disney princess existence.

On the other had A, another relative, has had bad luck her entire life.  At a young age, she became involved in a business and it failed.  One of her loved ones died early in life of a debilitating illness.  She has had numerous serious, critical health issues.  Her financial situation, in spite of her hard work, is always precarious, at best.  Some of her children have caused her grief.  She has had much sorrow in her life.

I know these people quite well, so it is not a question of not seeing the entire picture; because I do see the whole picture, thank you very much.

Now, here's the thing:

Both T and A live the Gospel completely.  Both always have lived it.  Both continue to live the commandments and follow the principles.

BUT, and it's a huge BUT, their lives are so entirely different.

And, I'm puzzled by that.

It doesn't seem fair.

"Life isn't fair," people always say.  But, why should one person, living a good life, SUFFER so much grief and heartache, and another have so few sorrows?  (BY THE WAY, I would never wish sorrow on anyone, so I do not want that for T, but I want much less of it for A!)

It seems ludicrous to always say; "Oh, well, A will get her reward in heaven."

  I'm certainly glad for that.  But, you see, how about a reward NOW????  T is getting lots of rewards now and she will also get them in heaven.

It's something that I puzzle over.....because

I just don't get it...never have, never will.




1.25.2014

Utopia


UTOPIA: 
ideal and perfect state: an ideal and perfect place or state where everyone lives in harmony and everything is for the best

So many times I think about our neighborhood.

It totally seems like a utopia; it blows me away some times.

Everyone seems so perfect, so happy, so secure, so financially stable, such idyllic marriages, incredible children, lovely homes, manicured yards, good people.

And, I wonder, can it be real?

Are all these people as good as they seem to be on the surface?  

And, my answer is always the same.  It is always a resounding:

YES.

1.24.2014

Advise to a Grandchild

He's 7 and very adorable.


So, last night, as I was fixing dinner, he came into the kitchen and said:

"I came over here because I need some advise."

What he said next totally threw me off guard, but it was all pretty serious stuff.

"Grandma," he asked, "how do you get a girl to like you?"

That's way too weighty for me to answer - I'll turn that over to his parents to answer that!

But, it still makes me laugh...oh, I do think kids are delightful.


1.23.2014

A Shout Out to All Mothers

Whenever I tend my grandchildren, I am reminded of the incredible amount of

ENERGY

it takes to be a mom.

It's crazy;

they get up very early (young children, at least!),

if allowed, they stay up late.

They have LOADS and LOADS of unceasing energy; it is boundless!

To keep up with them is a full-time job.

So, to every TRUE mother (those who engage with their children, help them, teach them, do homework with them, go to their concerts, sports' events, train them, listen to them, ENJOY them, laugh with them, play with them), I applaud you!

You have my greatest admiration.

1.22.2014

Of Money and Giving

"I wish I had a way to make more money," I mentioned to J one day.

"Why do you need more money?" he wondered.  "Don't you have enough for what you want to do?"

And, the answer is quite simply.

I do have enough.

We have a small, but adequate income.

But, I want more.

However, I didn't feel comfortable really answering his question.

Here's why:

I didn't want it to sound like I'm a do-gooder or a braggart.

But, I want to be able to help people.

In subtle, quiet, anonymous ways.  And, sometimes, in big ways that really make a difference.

Example; a young friend on Facebook just found out her husband - in his early 30's - has a very rare, but not treatable form of cancer.  He has three small children.  An account has been set up to help them with the overwhelming expenses of this horrific disease.

I made a small contribution; hardly noticeable in the grand scheme of the bills they are facing.

But, truthfully, I would LOVE to donate A LOT to that cause - or to others...

And, interestingly enough; it's actually rather selfish because it's SO FUN -

I like to give anonymously also.  That really makes me happy.  And, that is why it is selfish....it's a kick.

Most of the time, I don't see the reaction of the people I give to, but that's okay.  It's really just a FUN thing.

And, that is why I would like to earn more money.

And, to go eat out more often..hee hee.....




1.21.2014

Genes and More Genes

They are sisters; young and charming.

L is 10.

A is 6.

L has dark brown curly hair.

A has black very straight hair.

L is very large; big boned; big legs, big arms, big fingers: just very large.

A is a teeny petite little thing; just little all over.

L has worn glasses since a young child.

A does not need glasses.

L is bright, intense, serious.

A is flighty, talkative, capricious.


They are full sisters.

They could not be more different in their physical and personality characteristics.

But, both are wonderful and delightful to be around.

GENES; oh what a difference they make.


1.20.2014

All Bishops...

are not created equal.

We moved in our home on Sunday.

Tuesday night, there was a knock on the door and there stood three gentlemen; two in suits and ties, one in knee-length shorts and funky tee shirt.

The one in shorts was the Bishop.  He was also the Seminary teacher at one of the local high schools.

We immediately loved our bishopric.  They were energetic, fun, lovers of righteousness, etc.

Since then, we have had 2 other bishops, and they, too, visit new members IMMEDIATELY.  I mean, the truck isn't even unloaded when they drop by to visit.

On the other hand, our daughter moved to a new ward in July.

She has never met the bishop, and he has never visited her and her husband.

It is upsetting to me.

I guess my bishop just set the bar too high.

1.16.2014

Of Heroes and Such

Jason and Jessica are a wonderful couple...

they have 2 little tiny adorable daughters.

AND, they are foster parents.

They take children who have challenges into their home.

And, none more so than the girl they have right now.

You see, she's 14 and the mother of a 4 month old son.

Jason is always positive and encouraging to K.  Jessica is teaching her life skills.

To me, Jason and Jessica are true unsung heroes.

I'm grateful for their example.

1.14.2014

On My High Horse

I can’t figure out the movie rating system…at all.

Saving Mr. Banks is rated PG-13.  It’s an outstanding movie, and I just read a reviewer who expressed my feelings exactly:  
A note on the PG-13 rating: It’s ludicrous. This is the most G-rated film I’ve seen all year. There’s no sex, no violence, no swearing, no nudity, no drugs. The MPAA says it is rated PG-13 for “thematic elements including some unsettling images.”
God forbid a movie have “thematic elements.” As for the “unsettling images,” I assume they are referring to a few brief moments in Australia when Helen’s sick father is shown spitting up blood. Hardly worthy of a PG-13 . (From Cleveland.com)

While I have not seen the entire movie, Anchorman, I have seen a few snatches of it and know that it is filled with sex, bad language, innuendo, crudeness, etc.  How can those two movies even remotely have the same rating?  It makes no sense to me.  

A few years ago a friend decided, after seeing a very raunchy PG-13 movie, that she would no longer go to anything PG-13.  So, that eliminates a movie like Saving Mr. Banks, which should not be rated PG13!  

Do movie makers think they will get MORE people coming if they rate it a PG13?  And, it just makes me wonder who comes up with these arbitrary RULES and ridiculous ratings?  

Why do the ratings HAVE ABSOLUTELY no meaning whatsoever?!?!??!?!??!  

Okay, that’s over now.  I’ll get back to watching the nightly news, which should be rated NETD (Not ever; too depressing!)

I Don't Fear....

death," Johnny Cash said,

"I fear loneliness."  He was speaking of his wife as she lay dying in the hospital.

Whoa, very profound.

1.13.2014

Where Is the America I KNEW and Loved?

same sex marriage ?

Legalized marijuana?

Socialized medicine?

Do-nothing Congress?

Evil, corrupt politicians as the norm?

Dear Dad, you would be shocked at this country you taught me to love.

Sometimes I wonder where I am.

And, it breaks my heart!

1.08.2014

Change; It's Definitely NOT My Thing

I don't do well with CHANGE.

Oh, I don't mean the money kind...I like that kind.

No, I'm talking about when you go to a website and it has totally

hcnagde

See, what I mean?  It's been changed....

I like things to stay the same...well, most of the time...


Change BUGS me, as in:


One of my favorite foods is GONE....Zweiback toast for babies.



One of my favorite gum flavors is no more....Dentyne choco-mint.


My daughter and her husband changed their residence and moved far far away.





The bank changed its deposit requirements.




The church changed its starting time; the nursery had a change in leadership.
Dave and Lori Waters are no longer with me...sad face here...


I just don't do well with 

CHANGE....







1.07.2014

Why I LOVE Google



There are so many things I NEED to know....

like I needed to know HOW TO do something...

I just GOOGLED it.

And, presto; there it was!  Several answers and I found just the one I needed.

I probably use GOOGLE several times a day.

Oh, it's a good one....that Google.

It makes me wonder what we will do in the future since everything changes so rapidly.

But, for now, I'll just sit back, relax, and enjoy

GOOGLING stuff.

1.06.2014

The Pathway to Sainthood....

is definitely easy for some....

like, Linda R, LuJean S, Eunice M, Donna S, Stephanie G.

They walk - and have always walked - down the straight path with no sideways glances, no bumps or side trips; just a straight shot; eyes focused on the goal straight ahead.  Their goodness is such an integral part of who they are from the day they were born.

For others of us, it's a bit more of a rocky road...side trails, bumps, or even mountains, a detour perhaps, a lag, a step backwards, a step in a pothole off to the side of the road.

  Our sights are set in the same direction, but we get off track sometimes.  Discouragement, questions, despair, situational problems; sometimes throw us out of kilter.

But, eventually, we set ourselves aright and struggle on, with moments of grand vistas, which make us aware of what it is we really want.

Oh, yes, the pathway to sainthood is different for everyone.

The important thing is to just keep trying......

1.05.2014

Farewell Leisurely Sabbath Mornings!

I admit it!

I've been very spoiled.

And, believe me, I have appreciated it!

In fact, I've loved it.

Get up, write letters to our twin missionaries, work on lessons, take a leisurely shower; eat a leisurely late breakfast.

Oh, yes, it's been good....church at 1:30...now, that's just perfect.

But, it all ends TODAY.

Oh yes, we go at 9:00 a.m.

SHARP!

I don't even have kids to get ready and I'm moaning and groaning.

It's not that I don't get up, either; of course that is nary a problem.

It's just that I have to actually GET DRESSED and READY to BE SOMEWHERE!

Ah, well, it was inevitable.

So, let the 9 am. stuff begin!

1.02.2014

Judge Not


She was sitting in the front row in the RS room.  She was new; I had never seen her before.

Tall, blonde, very high heels, nails done.

And, I made a snap judgement; I knew all about her kind; rich, high maintenance; oh, yes, I knew the type.  And, I also knew that we would never be friends....

Closing prayer.

And tall, blonde immediately goes over to Sylvia in the wheel chair, bends over and says in a soft, caring voice,

"Hello, I'm A.  I'm going to be in your ward.  I'm excited to meet you!"

She had noticed someone that lots of people didn't ever speak to...she had connected instantly with a person who was often easy for some to ignore.

Instantly, I felt like a JERK/DWEEB/BIG JERK/ 

And, I realized that, ONCE AGAIN, I had judged so W.R.O.N.G. and so very harshly.

As it turns out, I could not have been more wrong.

A is probably - hands down - one of the very NICEST persons I have ever met.  She's thoughtful, kind, loving, generous, happy, good to the core, NOT high-maintenance, and absolutely adores her husband - a 2nd marriage for both.  She has a sense of goodness that few people have - she is naive, child-like and so very thoughtful.

She is my neighbor and yes....we are friends.  

Truthfully, I ADORE A!

And, it makes me wonder - again....

WHEN will I quit judging?????????

Okay, this will be the year.

NO MORE JUDGING!


It's a NEW YEAR - 2014

What grand adventures await?

What sights to see?

Music to hear?

Joys to be had?

I'm excited...and determined to make it a good year.

I have 2 resolutions;

1.  To continue to carry out my last year's resolution which was to never let my gas tank get below 1/2.  Great goal; easy to keep.

2.  My new one this year; now, it will be a challenge; try a new recipe once a week.  You see, I don't do a lot of cooking.  So I need to step it up a bit this year...for Allen's sake.

Oh, yes, come on, 2014....let's GO!