Reality Vs. Television

It was a detective show featuring a male and woman as partners.  The lady always carried a bag over her shoulder.

At an intense moment in the scene, the male detective needed a pen.  He asked his partner for one.  She reached inside her bag and produced the pen.  Just like that.  In about 5 seconds or less.

I wanted to hit rewind.  How did she DO THAT, I wondered?

I was recently at an office needing to fill out some forms, so I needed a PEN; a simple pen.

I reached inside my bag and pulled out two lollipops from the bank.  Hmm....not quite right.

Reaching back into the depths, I produced a gas receipt, a broken comb, a quarter, a half stick of gum.

No pen yet.  But, I knew there was one in there.  I have a pen and pencil fetish, so I keep them around.  But WHERE were they when I needed them?

Searching around the bottom, I came upon a tube of lipstick - uncovered - so the tube of color was stuck with bits of popcorn, cracker crumbs, a small piece of tissue,  candy wrapper, a small screw, and who knows what else?

By this time, the lady at the desk looked at me snarkily and asked sarcastically if I would like to use the office pen?  Perhaps?

So, you can understand why I was so puzzled when the lady detective was able to pull out a pen immediately?!?!?!??!?!?

Could it be the prop people put only one item in the bag?

And, that one item was a PEN, just ready to be pulled out!?!?!?!??

I wonder.........????????!?!?!??!?!?!?

From the Former Mission Files

While going thru files on the computer, I came across this entry from a journal of our mission at the LDS Employment Center.

I'm just going to add this little tidbit of information.

I absolutely LOVE the mission to the family history center.  It's such a happy place.  The People who come in, ACTUALLY WANT TO BE THERE...unlike at the employment center......

On the other hand, the mission to the LDS Employment Center was so challenging.  It often left me feeling helpless and hopeless for so many of the people who came in.

So, here from 2013 is the journal entry I discovered:

Monday Mission Files – Feb 11, 2013

He stood by the bulletin board looking over the job possibilities.  He had on a plaid polo shirt and didn't look like the kind of person we normally get searching for a job.  Since the computers were - and will be - all down, I asked if I could help him and what sort of job he was looking for.

We chatted for awhile and he told me his story; at least his side of the story.Over his career, he had had an unusual job of buying mines that were in financial trouble...he would then sell off all the equipment and sell the mining property to the government who would pay top dollar.  (I don't really understand all the details and I'm not sure about it all.)

He made millions of dollars, but his wife spent even more.  (How does a woman living in St George, Utah spend millions of dollars?!?!?!??!)  At any rate, the money came to a screeching halt - as did his marriage.  It was only while in the process of going through the divorce, that he discovered just how much his ex-wife was spending....he was appalled and shocked.  He had never paid any attention to the bills or the accounting of his finances.

This was actually the 2nd time in three days that a man has told me this:the man made truck loads of money, but the wife spent trainloads of money.  And both marriages ended in divorce, although everyone involved were Mormons.I am often amazed and intrigued by the stories of money.  Money can be such a divider of families, lives, friends.

I often think of Allen's father who lived on practically nothing....he totally lived off his social security which amounted to about $400.00 a month.  He believed in paying cash, paying his bills, and living within his means.  But, he also had something that few people do; he was CONTENT with his life just the way it was.  What an inspiration!

Ah, Mondays....always interesting.

Where There's Smoke there's Usually Trouble – Tuesday, Feb 12, 2013

I don't mean to be judgmental or to be prejudiced, but I will just say this....Nearly ALL of the people who come to see the transient bishop are smokers.  It just amazes me that so many/most come in trailing clouds of smoky smells.

What's my point...there isn't one, just simply stating the facts.

And, adding this thought:

I hate the tobacco companies.


The Sunday Visits

I do love visiting on Sunday nights.

Last week, a few of us went caroling to a lady dying of bone cancer.  She seemed so appreciative and she inspired us with her cheeriness and spirit.

Tonite, Allen and I went to visit the Hancocks; a wonderful couple in our ward.  They are just good, good people....thru and thru.  He is 87 and recently suffered his sixth stroke, but he seems to be doing okay, although he struggles just a little with remembering names of people he hasn't seen in a while.  (HA, I struggle with that even when I haven't seen people in a week!)

He is approaching his 2 millionth name in indexing.  He does over 1300 per day - EVERY DAY!  I just can't even think of that many names in one day!

But, they had a sad story to tell of their beloved son, who is 36.  He - in the last 4 months - has become confined to a wheel chair because of a rare illness called PLS.  Just hearing about it was so heart breaking; he has five children and can no longer work.  The extended Hancock family is fasting and praying; giving them money, helping them in so many ways that it was very inspiring to me.

But, the tragedy of it was overwhelming.

And, once again, I came away so grateful for health, for mobility, for life itself at this point in our lives.

Life is just a constant struggle in so many ways.

I will pray for him and for his wonderful family.

It was so inspiring to be with the Hancocks.  They have such faith and strong testimonies of many things.

Yesterday, I visited Linda Asay.  Her husband was just diagnosed with liver cancer.  He has been sick for a long time, but they thought it was something totally different, so they are just trying to decide what steps to take to get him well.  Linda just got over breast cancer about a year ago, then she was operated for essential tremors, so they have been thru a lot of hard things.

And, once again, I am reminded of the many good people we encounter in our daily lives.

Knowing people like these is such a blessing.


The To-Do List

I love having a to-do list.

Truthfully, it makes me so much more efficient.

I'm not sure why, but writing things down, then being able to cross them off is such a kick.

I love it.

And, as I said, I get more done.

So, here's to a to-do list (WHEN I do it, that is!)


Stories from the Mission

Carman was delightful.

She wanted to see if her great grandfather's endowment could be released since it was reserved in 2014.  We checked into that (It can't YET!) and then she wanted to know about a temple cancellation.

We also checked into that and she will get an email about that.

But, while she was there, I learned a little about her.  She was such a happy and delightful, pleasant person that I was a little surprised she she told me that a financial advisor had lost ALL THEIR RETIREMENT SAVINGS the year they retired.  He had come to their home in Las Vegas and said, "I lost it all.  Sorry about that."

As she told me this story, I was appalled.  Both she and her husband are working now to recover and get an income.


She was not resentful.  She said she's as happy in her life as she has ever been.  She is content.  She likes her job, her husband likes his.

They had to sell the home they were living in;  they live in a much smaller home in a tiny town called Beaver Dam, but she is grateful to God for her blessings.  Both she and her husband have survived cancer; they feel healthy, they eat right, and life is good for her.

She so inspired me.  I have things weighing on my mind and her faith and optimism just buoyed me up.

She was the LIGHT in my world yesterday evening, and I feel so blessed...

As I often do on the days I go to the mission.  So many inspiring people overcoming so many challenges.

And, they all help me.


Sorrow That The Eye Can't See

They look like any normal family.

They smile, they have fun, they laugh, they go to church, the children go to school, and he goes to work.

But there is great sorrow in the depths and hearts of that family.

One child suffers from debilitating depression; he is young and wants to die.

Another child has huge anger issues.  He is just a young child and is out of control.

I know this family well, and my heart aches for them.

I don't know how to help, but they need help.  The mother is emotionally worn out and the father is struggling to know how to help everyone in his family.

I need the comfort of the Holy Ghost, badly; as do they.

Sometimes life can be complicated and challenging.

But, for me, I must continue to look for the beautiful and the good!


The $50.00 Gift Card

It's amazing how sometimes something so insignificant means something to someone else.

One day at the family history center, I was helping a wonderful lady who was visiting her daughter in St George.  They were going to go to Chicago the next day, but her husband didn't feel well, so she canceled her trip to the temple to come to the discovery center.  I helped her for a couple of hours and she told me a little bit about her family.  I really enjoyed her and wished her well on her trip to Chicago.

About two weeks later, I got a card in the mail from her.  Enclosed in the letter was a $50.00 gift certificate to The Painted Pony Restaurant.  I'm still in shock over that!  I mean, who does that?

Not anyone I know.  It was so thoughtful, so unexpected, so generous, so kind, and such a fun surprise.

Today, RAH and I ate at the Painted Pony for lunch.  While my meal was certainly not something I would ever order again, it was a delightful experience and RAH loved his meal.

We ordered an hors d'oeuvre that I've never had before....bacon-wrapped dates with an almond in the middle.  It was so delicious with a raspberry drizzle.  YUM, YUM, YUM!

The thought of that card will warm my heart for a very long time.

And, it reminds me how good many people in the world really are!


Stories From the Mission

They were very strict Catholics.

But, they loved the Family Search Discovery Center.

We got them a free account on family search.org and it was so fun for them to trace some of their lines back.  At the end of our being together for about three hours, he asked how much he owed me for my time.  HA HA  - I loved that.  There's no money that can pay for the joy of what we do at the family history center.......

But, when I work with people, over and over again, I am distressed about the disjointedness of families.

They don't speak to each other, they don't know each other....(the lady mentioned above did not even know her mother's real name because she had changed it so often.  And, I'm not talking married name, either.).  They have long-held grudges, they haven't seen or talked to people for YEARS.  They no little or nothing about their parents and grandparents, where they came from, etc.  It's just amazing to me, truly.

I understand so much more clearly the need for


I am continually grateful for my own family - parents, children, grandchildren, in-laws.  What a great blessing.

But, I love the mission; it has given me insight into families and people.

And, it's such a fun thing when they catch on and see pictures and family names.  It's a high.

And, I love it.


Tales From the Mission

She was not a member of the church.

But, her doctor suggested because she had a lot of extra time between cancer treatments, that she might enjoy the family discovery center.

Enjoy it, she did.

We found an extended tree with information she had not previously had.  And, she loved going thru the Discovery Center, doing as it suggests; discovering things about her family and ancestors.

It was so fun to meet Sandy.  I rejoiced with her at all the things she discovered that day.

However, I also felt sad for her as she has no children and her husband is deceased.

She lives in Mesquite and comes to SG for cancer treatments, as did her husband.  She showed a slight interest in the church and loved all the caregivers, nurses, doctors, etc.  at the hospital.  She realized that many were Mormons, and she said, "THEY ARE JUST SO HAPPY!"

That made my heart sing.

She had just gone to get a coffee, and I mentioned that Mormons don't drink coffee.  She was so surprised and said, "Well, I know they don't drink COKE, but I had no idea they don't drink coffee!"

Ha ha; made me laugh.

Have I mentioned that I truly love the mission?!?!?!??!??

Yes, I do.


Tales of Adoption

In the last three months, two members of our ward have found their birth families, thanks to DNA Testing and Facebook.

They have been thrilled and excited.

They have found answers and with great joy have bonded with new families.

It has been so fun to hear their stories.  I have spoken at length with both of these people;

Bobbie Jo and Dave.

But, here's my question - to no one in particular....

What if your family background is ugly....

Would you want to know?

What if your father is in jail for rape or robbery?

Would that be difficult to find out?

What if your mother is a homeless drug addict?

Would that be a pleasant discovery?

I ask these questions because I know of a situation where some of this is true.

And, it's so sad to know that a parent is really not a good person at this point.

And, no, I don't think the adopted person would want to know.

So, for Bobbie Jo and Dave, they are rejoicing,

But, it's not good news for every adoptee.

Perhaps what was hidden should stay hidden.

SoRRow That the Eye Can't See

Sometimes the ache in my heart is heavier than I care to carry.

Sometimes the hurt is overpowering.

Sometimes all I want to do is weep, cry, sob, and then weep some more.

Sometimes I forget how truly blessed I am in so many ways.

So, when that happens,

I MUST turn to the Saviour.

I MUST use the Atonement in my life.

I MUST recover the joy we are meant to have.

If not, then Satan wins the battle over my innermost feelings. 

LEAVE, sorrow, and let me REJOICE in what is good.

That is my prayer for right now when sorrow overtakes me - again.

Oh, family; sometimes the greatest sorrow lies therein.

Maybe tomorrow I'll wake up and rejoice.


From the Mission

On Tuesday, Ken came in.  He's a larger-than-life Texan and Lousianian.  Normally, he works with Sister Deck, but she was out having eye surgery, so he was sent to me to work with.

He had some names he wanted to put in his family tree.  But, what he really wanted to do was T.A.L.K.  And, talk, he did.

Since I'm a lover of human interest stories, I was captivated by all his stories....particularly this horrible, sad one.

His younger brother had 6 DUIs.  On the last one, he killed a little black boy.  He was sentenced to a year in prison.  After the trial, the judge took Ken, his father, and his brother back into his office.  And, he said, "Now, Glen, I'm gonna give you a year, but let you out in 6 months.  But, I'm telling you this, if that had been a white boy you killed, you'd be in for twenty or thirty years!"

I was HORROR STRICKEN!  I still am.

I expressed my shock and disgust and Ken said, "Ma'am, that's just how it was in the deepest South in the 60's!"

Ken's mother beat him on a regular basis for any infraction she deemed worthy of a beating.  Often he would have to get his own switch.  But, sometimes it was a heavy rope, a belt, whatever she could find.  When she started to beat Ken, his father got in his truck and drove away for awhile.  On her deathbed, she called Ken to her side, and said, "If I had it to do over again, I would treat you better, and I would learn about that church of yours."

One dark late night, as a Senior in high school, Ken went out to the football field, fell on his knees, and cried out, "I don't even know if there is a God, but if there is, HELP ME, FIND ME!"

A couple of years later, a co-worker introduced Ken and his wife to the church and he has been in the church for many many years.

I just love hearing stories like these of wonderful people trying to find God and the right church.

I'm so thankful for this mission.


From the Mission

Deborah was working late on Tuesday night.  She needed my help with the scanner.

She explained that she was working on a project for her children for Christmas....using all the old photos from their scrapbooks, she was making each of her five children a book with the photos from their growing-up years.  It was going to be a mammoth project.

We talked a little; I was impressed with her cheerful and pleasant nature.

On Wednesday, she was back again working on another child for the project.  I asked how many children she had; five was her response.  She then added, "But, I am the legal guardian for another child."

Then Deborah told me about Jody, her child of guardianship.  She had taken Jody in at age 6.  Jody is blind, has cerebral palsy, can't talk, feed herself, use the bathroom, dress herself or function older than a very young child.

Jody is now 40!  And Deborah has been her care-giver all that time.  Smiling, cheerful Deborah.  Happy, pleasant Deborah, who has been the sole source of income since about 1997 when her husband became unable to work.  She owned a day-care facility, went to night school full-time to become a teacher, cared for her own family and for Jody.

Deborah is my new uncomplaining and inspiring hero.

For me, serving this mission is all about meeting people like Deborah.  Each has a story.  Each is inspiring.  Each brings something for me to learn every Tuesday and Wednesday.

And, I feel grateful for this brief period of time to work at the family search center.


I Have Never Wanted.....

a second home.

I know people love them.  People like having a place where family can come, a getaway from regular patterns and lifestyles, etc.

But, to me, they have always represented a lot of WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A few years ago, RAH wanted to spend the summers fishing in Manila, Utah, so he - (well, I guess WE) - bought a little camper trailer.  It was small and it was fine.

But RAH said it was much too small.  So, we found one quite a bit larger with a tip out.  It was perfect for what we needed.  There was actually quite a bit of room and our family has visited us, friends also.  And all was good.  We spent a couple of summers enjoying the trailer.

Too much STUFF now; time to downsize.

So, why would I not like that situation?

Because I knew that - eventually - everything would have to come out of that trailer...

And, because it would be used - we had to fill it with essentials; towels, dishes, cleaning stuff, clothes, food, spices, canned goods, paper products, soaps; anything that goes in a house.  All that stuff stayed stored through the winter and summers.

But, now, the trailer is for sale, so ALL the STUFF comes out...it ALL has to be cleaned out.

I'll be doing laundry for a week with all the items that need washing!

Such a lot of work.

Now, I have piles of clothes, socks with no place to stash them, cupboards with lots of out-date spices, towels that won't fit in the linen closet, dishes and bowls and pans that need a home.  Medicine cabinets over run with aspirin, cold medicines, asthma sprayers, shampoos, toothbrushes, dental floss, soaps, etc.

Stuff that really won't fit in our regular home.

The irony is that for the last year, RAH and I have been trying so hard to GET RID OF STUFF.

And, now, we are loading back up again.  It makes no sense.

But, there you have it.

And, that is why I never wanted an extra home, trailer, camper, etc.

WE ARE OVERLOADED WITH STUFF.  And, it's MY JOB to put it all away.



The Addict

Recently I told my daughter I had not purchased any chips since we had returned from Canada; there were none in our home.

I was going to cut the chip habit.

"Mom," she said, "That's good.  But, honestly, I'd rather have you cut out sugar."

She had told us recently that she thinks sugar is definitely one of the deadliest poisons and its effects are very harmful over time.  Of course, drugs and tobacco are deadly, but sugar is seen as a legitimate drug and most people over use this food item.  It's acceptable to babies, toddlers, youth, teenagers, middle-aged and oldsters.  Because of this, not many - until now - talk about its adverse affects.

So, I decided to take her on.  I've given up sugar before, but always go back.  I feel like I eat it in moderation.

I've only been four days without any cookies, cakes, brownies, granola bars, hard candy, soft candy, chocolate, etc.  It's been a very miserable four days.

My sugar cravings are so intense.  I used to allow myself a piece of chocolate about 11 in the morning.  Then I would just nibble the rest of the day on some kind of sweets.  I LOVE sweets.  I'm particular about them.  I like dark chocolate - GOOD chocolate, not Hershey's.  I love Smith's mini brownies.  I love chocolate marshmallow cookies, See's chocolates, some brand of truffles, Doves dark chocolate squares.  I have candy stashed all around the house.

And, I'm suffering.  I WANT IT.

A few years ago when we were serving on our LDS Employment Mission, I met a lady who had been clean from drugs for two weeks.  I was judgmental and thought, "That's NOTHING!  You've got a long way to go!"  But, now I sing a different tune.  That's GREAT, I would say to her today.

I do not intend to give up sweets forever, just awhile, in fact.  I'm going back.  I'll control it (isn't that what they all say?)

But, I realize that I'm an addict.  It's got me by the neck.

And, my heart truly aches for anyone who is addicted to tobacco, drugs, pills, etc.  Because I have a small - just a small - inkling of how overpowering the urge to just have a taste.

I'm envious of people who don't have those strong sugar cravings...it's a sickness, almost.  And, I've got it.


How to Get Organized

1.  Decide which room you wish to work on.

2.  Pick a shelf or drawer from that room.

3.  Empty out all the contents of the drawer.

4.  Look it over and realize why it is so disorganized and messy.  Most of the stuff doesn't even belong in that drawer.

5.  Take the items out that don't belong.  Carry them to the rightful drawer in another room.  This is very important to our task at hand.  It would be foolish to throw anything away.  Another way to look at this is just reshuffling items.  Move the stuff from one place to another.  It's actually quite efficient.

6.  Put everything back in the now clean drawer.

7.  Feel good because you accomplished something.

And, that is just what I did today.

I'm feeling pretty darn good.

Except that now I have another place to clean out.

HMMM, where shall I put the stuff this time?


A Tale of Two Books

We just returned from an overlong stay in Canada on a home exchange.  We had LOTS of extra time, so I got quite a bit of reading and listening to books on tape done.

Among those were two books - vastly different, yet also very similar.

First, I read BORN A CRIME:

That was followed up by: Hillbilly Elegy

Their cultures were entirely different; one in Africa, one in the South.

 Each of these books was about young boys growing up and coming of age.

Both of these young men had the decks stacked against them to begin with; both were born into horrendous poverty.

Both came from backgrounds of abuse, fighting, poor education.

Both seemed destined to stay in the circumstances like their families and relatives and friends before them.

BUT, the thing that saved them both from their horrible situations was a strong-willed, caring woman.  A woman who cared, who saw the value of education, who wanted more for the boy and could see the need to get out of the ghetto and slum.

For Trevor Noah, the saving woman was his mother.  I have the greatest admiration for his mother; a feisty, strong, independent woman who never babied her child, but let him suffer the consequences of his decisions.  Yet, she was always there, teaching him he could achieve more.

Noah is now a successful late-night comedian.  He achieved the unthinkable, and it is in large measure thanks to his mother.

For J D Vance, the strong woman was his grandmother; his own mother was a drug addict and he lost count of how many times she had been in rehab.  But, his grandmother was determined to not let him fail.  She was a foul-mouthed, noisy, brash woman, but she loved her grandson.  J D Vance is a law-school graduate of Yale University.

So, each book takes place in different worlds, but the outcome was the same.

SUCCESS - due to a never-give-up WOMAN.

Oh, the power of a strong, caring woman.  It's impossible to overestimate that incredible power.


The High School Graduate

He's gentle.

He's kind.

He speaks softly and smiles a lot.

His cat is so fond of him and wants to be with him and in his room.

Technology is something he loves and he spends a lot of time with gaming, phone stuff, camera stuff.

Shuffling between his mother's home and his father's home is something that he just does naturally and without stress.  They both are good to him and love him unconditionally.

He doesn't mind hanging out with his parents.  One day, we went for a walk, and he was willing to come along and to just sit by the pool with the adults.  It was sweet.

It wasn't a given that he would graduate, but he did.  Everyone was pleased and proud, as they should have been.

He has struggled with depression and self-esteem, but during his Senior year positive things happened to him, which was good.

He is a good kid.

He is gay.

And, he is my step-grandson.



It has been so great being here in Virginia with Kristi and Bobby and Will.

Class of 2017 from Murray High School - Congrats, WILL!

And, also, Jordan and his family!

Joining in the celebration were Anna, Immie, and Oliver!  What cute cousins!

Bobby and Kristi are the best hosts.  They are so thoughtful and accommodating!

It has been fun.

Can you tell that no one is really jumping in, except Jordan?  Ha Ha, but before this picture, they had all been in the pool!

Interestingly enough, we are always so eager to get home and don't like to stay more than three nights, but we will be here a week.

Hiking Crabtree Falls.  Oh, I love my kids and husband!  Family; that's where it's at!

And, it has been great!

Just back from a four-mile hike of the Ravanna Trail.  It was great just walking and talking with Kristi.
Allen walked the first mile with us.  (Trying out my new hairstyle - a ponytail!)

Thanks to the best Kristi daughter ever!  And, to her awesome husband.



is our last full day in Va-Des-Lacs, Canada.

It's windy, blustery, cloudy.

A lot like it has been for the four weeks we've been here.

Except the snow has all melted; the birds are back, and spring has definitely come.

The hills are green, a few wild flowers and perennials have popped up making it lovely.

I've learned a couple of things on this home exchange.

First, I don't like isolation. we are on a small lake (GAGNON) and I can see a few lovely homes situated all around this small lake.  However, there's not really a trail to walk around the lake, so everything AND everyone, is at a distance.

The town - if it can be called that - has a little corner market, that is woefully under shelved and seems sorrowful the two times I have gone in there.  I was hoping for a chatty saleslady, but they are aloof, unfriendly, and always in a hurry to get to the back room....daytime television watchers, perhaps, on-line gamers....who knows? But they are definitely not interested in chatting with a foreigner from the states.

So, unless we drive somewhere, we sit quietly in the rustic and charming home on the lake.  (Because, with spring, has come a plethora of gnats and mosquitoes.  Those have entirely prevented me from venturing outdoors the last several days.  The minute the door is opened, they attack with a vengeance.  It's unbelievable, so that has made this setting a lot less desirable for me.)

For me, I need more human interaction.

The 2nd thing I've learned is that ONE MONTH is entirely too long!

Which is quite ironic, because we've said it before to each other.  But we did it again and are doing it in France.  Perhaps if we had been in the centre of a city, one month would be okay, but out in the far-away little village, it's difficult.

We've seen some quaint and interesting little places to visit, but not enough to consume one entire month.

So, as a one-time adventure, it was alright, but I'm glad we are saying our good-byes tomorrow.


Modern Media

I'm grateful for:

The Internet,




Google Photos,

Google Maps,





Kindle reader,


What in the heck, did we do before we had all this stuff?

I'm so grateful for it all.  It means I can be away from home and still stay connected.

And, that is good.


The Power of Words/Movies/Media

I'm feeling a little down today.

But, for strange reasons.

Not anything to do with me personally, BUT, because of the books/movie from today's reading/watching.

I'm listening to VAnITY FAIR....

It's a bleak book about a vain, selfish, social-climbing woman, who cares for nothing and no one but herself.  It's very disheartening.

I'm reading BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, about a dysfunctional Russian family.  It's also a philosophical book about good and evil.  It's long, sort of boring, and also sad.  Families are so very complicated.  Honestly, I don't know why I started reading it.  BIG MISTAKE!

I just finished watching VALKYRIE...a true story about an attempt on Hitler's life.  They came so close, but failed and all involved were executed on the spot.  It was just so very sad.  Hitler was so EVIL....and yet, he persuaded so many to believe in him and follow him.

Then, on the news, over and over, they have replayed Melania Trump's brush aside of her husband's hand as they have gone on a foreign trip.  It's all so very sad.  HE is the president of the USA, and he's so rude, obnoxious, egotistic, and treats his wife like she's just a piece of his property....no wonder she brushes him aside.  And, it just makes me sad to see how they react and treat each other.  

So, those are my feelings today.

I need a good cheery movie, book, and news report.  

For sure.



has finally arrived in Val-Des-Lacs, Canada.

The trees are greening up, the snow has FINALLY all melted.

Flowers are appearing..

The birds are flying around....

the humming birds show up for a quick drink.

AND, the bugs are out!

But, it's all good.

It's a marvelous time of the year.....

No matter where one is.

And, I love it!


Such a Waste....

of money

to order something in a restaurant and have it not taste good.

That has happened a couple of times on this trip.....

And, it's just sad....

Here was a dish we ordered after several people told us it was a Canadian STAPLE.

Poutine....French fries, cheese curds, and meat gravy. 

The waiter who served it to us said most of the people who order this item are drunk!

Another man said, "YUCK!  Disgusting!"

Ah, such a waste of money.

As is getting a parking ticket.  Which we did when we parked in front of this restaurant.

Bad decisions all around.

And, a total waste of money.



......have come on this home exchange if we had known before hand how





It would be?

The rivers are flooding all over this region.  Here it is coming up to the parking lot.
The rain has been pretty constant for 10 days.  

Likely not.

The rivers are just rushing waters overflowing banks all over the towns.  Montreal had flooding, Ottawa had flooding.
More serious water issues than in many, many years.

Today is the first day of full sun since we arrived here town days ago.

Looking out at Lake Gagnon from our back window.  The cloud cover is pretty much standard for the last ten days.

It is also probably only the 2nd day without any rain at all, but, of course, the day is still young.  (Just a note from later in the day...YUP, it's cloudy again before noon.  Total cloud cover.)

The lake is absolutely still today, which is different than any other day.  Today, I will finally feed the birds because it won't blow away or get watered over.

It's strange  how much weather really affects me.

I'm a girl who likes sunshine...

(Weather and LIFE!)


The Gospel

How would you like a Catholic Mass?

In French?

Well, that's what we did today....

Attended Mass at a Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church in Val-Des-Lacs.  The inside is rotting away, a little like their membership numbers, it would seem.

There were 21 people present, including the priest.

No one welcomed us.

Or said anything to us as we left.

But, that's okay.

I wanted to go as it is Sunday.  So, Allen acquisced.  And, we went.

The church is old; in decay, falling apart.

There were no young people there, only old people.  Allen said it was part of the decay.

But, as we sat listening, not understanding, I was so very grateful for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

I love the people, the feelings, the camaraderie, the messages - it feels like HOME to me no matter where in the world I go to a Mormon church....


And, I'm so grateful to have been born a member of the CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS.


Appreciating the Pioneers

Val-Des-Lacs, Quebec, Canada is a unique spot on the earth.

It's a little village of about 700 people year round - 2000 in the summer.  It surrounds Lake Gagnon, but the area is home to 45 lakes and other scattered remote villages.

It's 2000 feet above sea level, so it's mountainous, forested, and COLD.  The lake was still frozen a week ago!

From our view, we can see piles of snow in the front yard and all down the path to the highway.  Yesterday, there was one little crocus peeking up thru the dirt.  Birds come by sometimes, but it's still much too cold for the hummingbirds to make an appearance.

The home we are staying in has a wood fireplace, heating, and all modern conveniences.

So, why does this spark a memory of pioneers?

Because each day, we have gone for a walk, and it has been cold.  Windy.  Raining on most days.  Snowing earlier in the week.

And, as I trudge along with two jackets, good shoes with warm socks, I think of those pioneers with little or nothing to shield them from the cold.  And I am overwhelmed with gratitude for what MY relatives did to stand up for what they believed in.

I finish the walk and open the door to a warm, inviting home.  They had not that great blessing.

My heart swells with gratitude when I think of what they went through to establish a home in the West.

Will I live up to their expectations....I fear not.  But, I will keep trudging along and trying.



Or, even read at ALL.

For some reason, I had it in my head that we were flying out at 12:15 a.m. on Friday morning, so we arrived at the airport in Las Vegas at 6:00 p.m. Thursday evening.  

Were we surprised to learn that the flight was actually on SATURDAY morning?  We had 30 HOURS to use up - we were certainly NOT going to pay to go home for that short time.

So, we looked up a cheap motel.  Only to discover that it didn't have shuttle service - AND even worse - it was a LONG way from the airport, so it cost a HUGE amount for the taxi fare.  What a total WASTE of money.  (It was, in fact, the same cost to go on the shuttle from St George to Vegas, as it was to drive from the airport to the motel....so CRAZEE!)

On Friday, we checked out of the hotel - which had no free breakfast - and literally wandered around town for 8 hours with our luggage in tow.  Allen  - sort of jokingly - suggested we go to the temple, but we had no way to get there, and we were in traveling attire; jeans and casual shoes, etc.

We ate an expensive buffet lunch, went to a few shows at Circus Circus and rode the bus to the Bellagio, where we found a sort of quiet, comfortable place to sit, relax, and wait out our time.

Then, we took the bus to head to the airport.  In order to get the right bus, we had to go to the end of the line where the bus then changed directions.  Where we waited for the airport bus was very scary.  I mean, SCARY.  There were just a few people, one very helpful lady, but a few iffy characters.....on drugs, according to helpful lady.  Their behavior was just bizarre.  I was so grateful to walk in the airport and to feel SAFE.  SAFE.  SAFE.

We checked in at the kiosk, and learned that our sweet daughter, Kristi, had bought a special pass for us which allowed us to get thru security very quickly and with so little stress.  It was Such an incredibly thoughtful thing for her to do.  And, so like her.

By the time we got on the plane, I was pretty exhausted, but SLEEP was not my companion during that red-eye flight.

We arrived in Montreal, got a shuttle to our hotel, and spent the night until our host came to pick us up on Sunday morning.  All-in-all...what an adventure.

And, now, here we are in Val-des-lacs, Quebec, Canada, which is a little resort town an hour and a half outside of Montreal.  It is in the mountains, so the weather is colder than further down the mountains.  It reminds Allen and me of Island Park, Idaho.

But, here we are.......

Rain, snow, cold, and all.

Here we are.

Let the next adventure continue!


I Give Unto Men Weakness...

that they may be HUMBLE.

Well, I was humbled yesterday and also realized one of my most glaring weaknesses.

I was ashamed.

And, I am determined to do MUCH better.

We are getting ready to go on a home exchange to Eastern Canada.

That means we will stay in a couple's home in Canada, and they will stay in our home.

So, I'm trying to get ready by cleaning.

Yesterday, I tackled the fridge and pantry.

I was appalled at all the food I threw out because it was so outdated.

I was horrified at the waste!

Most of all, I was HUMBLED at my lack of discipline in not using the food when it was at its best.


I will try to make this weakness of wasting food, something that I do very little of in the future.

Oh, I EARNESTLY hope so.


Books That Are Painful to Read

Some books just pierce the soul, the heart, the mind, the very being.

Such is the case with the book called:


I had read it several years ago, when it came out and became a national sensation.

But, I am listening to it now.

And, it is so very painful.

It's painful to hear how we, as a nation, treated the Blacks.

It's also painful to realize that not that much has changed since it took place in the 1960s.

The writing is so full of emotion as we hear the voices of the Black maids and the voices of their white women employers.

It's just painful.

And, I always wonder......

If I had been raised in the South, would I have been like those unfeeling, rude, cocky American white ladies?

I don't like the answer I think is correct.

Don't like it at all.


Feeling the Love of a Heavenly Father

Over the last several months, I have been praying for some things.

Some were specific, some were general.

Last week, as i was riding into town to go exercise, it was like a baseball hit me over the head saying,

"You've had those answers to your prayers, and you haven't even bothered to thank Heavenly Father!"

What a crystal clear knock on the head and moment that was.

I began thinking my Heavenly Father quite profusely that morning, and I do so now.

Thank you for the answers to my prayers for our daughter .....

Thank you for the answers to my prayers for our son.....

Thank you for the answers to my prayers for my dear brother, who is recovering so miraculously and well.

I an so grateful for so many things.

A Loving Heavenly Father,
A Husband.

I give my great thanks to GOD, for the many blessings I have.


The Office Book Shelves

In February, we went, as we usually do, to the incredible St George Parade of Homes.

Each year, I am astonished when we go into the offices/dens of the gorgeous homes.

The book shelves often hardly have ANY books on them.  No big binders of family pictures, etc.
No paperback books, which show how cheap a book buyer a person is, no books of odd sizes, no papers stuffed in the corners saying, "I'll get to this some day."

In fact, the book shelves are so inspiring that often I am ALMOST tempted to come home and fix my own shelves to look like theirs.  But, then, the question arises, where will I put all the STUFF?

Just hide it away in some secret, hidden place so that my shelves can look lovely like the model homes.


But, a few days ago, I decided to do a sort of cleaning out a little.  I wish I had done a BEFORE picture.  They still don't look at all like the model homes, but I'm working on hiding things so they look at least a little more presentable.

I have miles to go before I'm done,

BUT, it's a work in progress.....Empty book shelves, overstuffed bureau drawers.  Ha Ha.


One of the Most Difficult...

Covenants for me is...


I always want happiness for others.

And, I don't really like to hear the stories of others and their sorrows and pains.

Not because I'm insensitive, but because I take them so much to heart.  And live with them and feel it and can do nothing.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed when hearing the stories of my own family members - I hate to hear them be in pain because then I am in pain.

I'm learning how to handle it better and to turn to the Savior, but it's something I still need to learn how to do better.

I look forward to the day when this scripture is fulfilled: Revelation 21:4.....

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.


The Story Lost

It was a very slow night at the mission.

There weren't many patrons, so a couple of the missionaries were just sitting talking together.

One Elder was telling a story about his involvement in the St. George Marathon.  He had been with it from its infancy.  In fact, he had actually begun it.  He was telling about the few people involved, then he told how it began to expand to become what it is today.

I was riveted by the story.  He was a very humble, quiet, low-profile kind of man, as he told the story.

When he concluded, I asked him if he would be willing to let me record him on the memories app.  He said he didn't feel like it right then.

I asked his wife if she would encourage him to tell me the story on another night after he had time to think about it.

He was gone for several weeks, and when he returned, he said he wasn't interested in telling the story at all.

But, here's the deal; he doesn't realize what that memory would/could mean to his posterity.  He simply DOESN'T GET IT.  It's not FOR HIM.  It's for his children/grandchildren/great grandchildren.

I've found several other older people like who are so hesitant like he is.  And, it makes me sad, because these stories will be lost.

And, they are worth preserving.



Okay, now this is really scary.

I Dreamed that I could not remember my youngest child's name!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We were in a crowded place where a lot of children were running around, and I couldn't call out to my own child because I couldn't remember his/her name!

I asked one of my older children to find his little brother/sister because I couldn't remember what to call him/her!

  When I woke up, I was thinking "I'm losing my mind!"

Ha Ha.

So, to INKLINGS, I'll have my blood sugar checked.

And, to Laurence, you are right, this definitely proves I am getting OLD!

But, I'm going to tell my mind to quit dreaming!


I Dreamed a Dream

I would love to have a person who could interpret dreams.

For one part of each of my dreams, I am perfectly able to interpret.  I am always in a place where there are no bathrooms, or they are extremely hard to find.

Now, I know what that means.  I LITERALLY HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM!

But, the other parts of my dreams are so bizarre.

And, I want to know why I always dream such crazy things.

Do they relate to the books I am currently reading?

Do they relate to the stories I've heard on my mission from people who have crazy stories to tell about their families?

Are they about my own thoughts about my family?

Are they trying to tell me something, and I'm too dense to get the message.

Man, my dreams are getting crazier and crazier.

So, where's the dream whisperer when I need her?


Retired? If YOU say so!

Yesterday, RAH was filling out an online application for something.

When it came to the box about where he worked, he marked


It made me laugh because we might be retired, but that doesn't mean we aren't incredibly busy!

In fact, as he was filling out the application, we had to leave it because we were running late for an appointment.

Our calendars look like sit is bleeding......

I know it's not as harried as a parent of children, but for being retired, we certainly are on the go a lot.



Visiting and Home Teaching - Often taking 2 or 3 tries in a month.


Grocery shopping,

More errands,

Visiting neighbors - not because we have to - but because we care.

Taking care of some children occasionally.

And, of course, our mission, which I personally love.

So, sometimes when I get a little frustrated or overwhelmed with all I HAVE to do,

I realize that I'm blessed to have mobility, to have a car that I can still drive, to have a small income to be able to do things.

And, it makes me grateful that I HAVE things to do.

So, we might be retired, but oh, are we

B.U.S.Y!  And, that's all right.


Giving Up Something for LENT

When I was in junior high, I had a teacher for two years who was a very strict Catholic.

(Well, she was a strict everything!)

She LOVED popcorn.  Sometimes, she would open the door into her small closet while we were working at our desks and she would pop some popcorn into her mouth.   (I sat at the back of the room where I could see exactly what she was doing!)  I thought that was pretty cool, actually, and wished I could sneak in there with her also.

Every year, Miss Zeibarth gave up popcorn for Lent.  I didn't really understand that religious tradition, but learned about it from her.

Since that time, just to test myself, I have given up items that I enjoy for Lent.  Even though our religion has a monthly Fast day, I have tried sometimes in years past to give up something for 40 days.  (The thing I really SHOULD give up is CHOCOLATE, alas, that is not to to be this year, at least.)

But, this year, I am going back to my days with Miss Zeibarth, and giving up POPCORN for 40 days.

I love popcorn.

I have found a healthy brand of popcorn and eat it quite a lot.

Best popcorn ever.....I buy it in big bags from Costco.  Yum Yum!

Sometimes, I have popcorn for breakfast.  I snack on it for a healthy snack.  I eat it for dessert.  I love this brand of popcorn.

In fact, just writing this makes me crave popcorn.

But, I can do this for 40 days.

Here goes...no popcorn until Easter Sunday.  And, then, I'll do just like Miss Zeibarth did on the Monday following Easter.

She brought a GINORMOUS bag of popcorn - I'd never seen any bag of popcorn so big.  She put it in her closet, and during class, she would go back and enjoy it.

That will be me on Easter Sunday.

Let the LENT fasting begin!


In MY Day....

there was:




That was it.

And, it was all good.

Now, there are so many genders and I don't even have a clue what they all mean.

Except that, I am often left to wonder.......

What will they mark in those little boxes where you are asked to say if you are:




A conundrum, for sure.


FREE Pizza Delivery!

It was later in the evening on Friday night.

I heard the sound of children and laughter.

Then, the doorbell rang.

I opened the door, and there on the front porch sitting right on top of the welcome matt was a small piece of pepperoni.  Not on a plate, not wrapped in foil, just sitting on the matt.  I laughed so hard.

Made a loud voice over saying thank you.

Closed the door.  A few minutes later, there was another rap.

This time what awaited me was a green chili.  Just on the matt; just sitting there.

I'm still laughing about it all.

So, here's the deal.  We have new neighbors.

Just a cute, wonderful family with three boys and two very small girls.

The boys were guilty.  They got their gumption from the fact that cousins were visiting.  So, they DARED do it.

After church, there was a knock.  There stood the family....sheepishly and apologetically.

I said, please don't apologize.  I LOVED it.  Allen said thank you for thinking of us.

And, then they handed us a plate of cookies.

WOW!  Such good cookies!

It's going to be great having the Christensens live next door to us!


Everyone Wants to Write a BOOK!

(Except moi!)

I love our mission.  I love the people on the mission.

So, when Elder E mentioned he had written a book, I - as - usual - chatted with him about it.

And, what happened next leaves me still shaking my head.

The book is mine, but I had to pay for it!!!!!!!!

I was simply looking at it, and he said, "Would you like me to sign it for you?"

And, I said, "Oh no....."

But, the whole conversation from here is blur because he informed he it was $16.00.

And, that is how I have the book from a nice guy who got $16.00 out of me, even though I had no intentions to buy it, and probably won't read it.

So very strange.


The Weekend

He didn't really want to go.

It's just a long drive.

The weather didn't look so great.

But, he went.

It WAS a long drive.

The weather was bad for most of the way.

But, nothing can compare to spending time with beloved family.

So, it was great that we went.

We heard Miles at his violin recital.

Eli gave a talk on Sunday.

Eli - doesn't he look handsome there in the middle?  Well, of course, you can't see, so I'll just answer the question.
He looks very handsome indeed.

And, Calder woke up in the very wee hours, saw us in his room and said,

"I don't want you in here."

Now, what could be better than that?


January 21, 2017

This was an unusual day filled with many emotions; mostly happy.

First off, I went to exercise; that's always good (to have over!)  Ha Ha.

Allen got a home exchange invite to France, so we talked about that a lot and we decided to invite our two daughters.  Then we decided that we would pay for them to go with us.

They were both so appreciative and excited and happy and ecstatic.

Then Stockton moved out....that left me with a very empty feeling....I can't really explain it, but I was left feeling somewhat forlorn.  I have enjoyed having here so very much.

After lunch, we went to visit some friends from Rexburg, who moved here in January of 2016.  They had sent us a Christmas card, so we decided to drop by and say hello.

We had not seen them for 12 years, so when we knocked on the door, she didn't realize who we were at first.  But, it was fun to get reacquainted and learn about their wonderful family with their three children grown and adults now.  That was fun.

We tried to see Shane Calder, but couldn't find his home in the dark, and wanted to visit someone else, but didn't have an address, so we went to Lin's for pizza (me), salad (Allen), which is a total switcheroo.

It was a fulfilling and gratifying day and at the end, I felt grateful for our lives and our family and our friends.

Life is good.

And, I loved January 21.

But, then, on January 22, it was an even better day.

We became great grandparents to little Evan David Fisher

Joyous times!

My heart is filled with gratitude.


Stories from the Mission

Because we are on a family history mission, we hear a lot of family stories;

Some very heartbreaking and sorrowful.

Many are faith promoting and inspiring.

Today, I heard about Loueen's life; her son committed suicide, then her mother die, then her husband died.
Later in the day, I learned that her son was responsible for starting the Piano Guys Group.


So, she has the joy and the sorrow, for sure.

There's beautiful Sister F, who came back to the church after many years of living a pretty wild life.  When she made the decision to return to the Gospel, her three children wanted nothing to do with her because she wouldn't party with them any more. Sh recently had surgery, but not one of her children called or checked in on her.  Just sorrow all around.  But, she finds joy in the many friends, neighbors, missionaries, and ward members who care for her.

There's wonderful, Brother Dickson, a veteran bomber from World WAR II.  In the last few years, his daughter accused him of molesting her and has cut off all ties with him.  He is such a remarkable man, and I find it hard to believe that he would have done such an horrid thing.  It is heartbreaking for him, and he doesn't really talk about to many people.

But, amidst the sad, is also the great wonderful people, who have trials and health issues, but they continue to come and serve.  And, they find great happiness in service. 

As I DO.



Recently, I said something to a son.

And, it's so true.

You cannot take words back.

Oh, how I wish I could.

But, I apologized and he's okay with everything.


A Success Story From the Mission

I really love our mission.

It's fulfilling to help people find names to take to the temple.

It's been inspiring to hear the stories of people and their families; some heartbreaking, some inspiring.

It's disheartening when I can't find a lost relative or something to help them.  I don't like those days.

But, recently, it was a great day.  It's not that I did anything that anyone else couldn't have done, but the family search library has access to some sites that people at home don't have, so I was able to help my neighbor.

Mike had told us that his father died when Mike was nine.  But, he knew so little about the circumstances of his father's death and knew very little of his father, other than he had been born in Lebanon.

So, after he gave me his father's name, I went to a site that has newspaper obituaries and found his father's obituary.  It listed quite a bit of information about Mike's dad; all of which Mike and siblings had never known.  His father had graduated from a Catholic high school and had gone to college in Chicago.  Also, the name of the building where he fell to his death was listed, which Mike and his siblings had never known.

Yesterday, Mike and his older brother made a trip to see the building, which has since been torn down, but he found a picture of the building at an historical library.  He drove to the spot where the building was; he told me tears were shed as he was piecing together some parts of his father's life he had never known.

I didn't do anything noteworthy, but because I had access to some sites, I was able to find the information he had yearned for since 1952.

I am grateful for days like that.

And, Mike is beyond grateful to, at last, have some closure on a father long gone.


Happy 2017!

I'm sure that it will be filled with ups and downs, as every year is.

But, I'm positive and optimistic about our future.

Here are my resolutions for the year:

1. Continue the Resolution to keep the gas at 1/2 or above.

2.  Read the scriptures every day with Sean's app.

And adding these:

Finish Jesus the Christ and relisten to it again in six months.

Read Brad Wilcox's Continual Atonement twice this year.

BE more concerned and loving towards others.  (Not very specific, but I know what it means.)

OH, and one more;


I hardly drink any water, so I MUST DRINK MORE!

No specific amount, BUT just more than I have in the past!

And, that's it.

Here we go.

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...