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.