Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's About Time

I have been delinquent from posting to my blog for far too long. Summer has passed into the history books and fall is swiftly passing away as well. I am having a hard time accepting the fact that November is waning and that December is on the horizon.

I get upset with the way the government is being run these days. I am embarrassed that the president of our great country bows and scrapes to leaders of other nations. Not only that, he apologizes to them for our country being a success. However, he is trying to change all that by destroying everything that has made this country great. He is circumventing the Constitution every chance he gets. The change he promised is not one that I embrace.

I wanted this blog to be positive and so I have felt no incentive to come here and write. But I realize that there is still much to write about that is positive in this country. So, I will once again strive to find that which is good and of worth to discuss on this blog.

I will begin by enumerating some of the things for which I would like to express my gratitude. Mind you, this is only a partial list and everytime I actively think about the blessings that we have been granted my list grows. These are some of the things for which I am so very grateful:

1. My Life and the joy that is mine
2. The Gospel and my testimony of its truthfulness
3. The Scriptures and what we can learn from them
4. The privilege of being able to commune with the Lord
5. The joy of having prayers answered
6. A living prophet and all the brethren who serve with him
7. The freedom we have in this country
8. My husband, Wally
9. Our children and their good circumstances and the love we have for them
10. Our grandchildren and the love that is between us
11. Our home, neighborhood, good friends, and the beauty that surrounds us
12. The love and harmony we have in our home
13. Our comfortable financial circumstances
14. Opportunities to serve
15. Our health and strength
16. The ability to do things to increase our health

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Farewell to our Tree

Forty three years ago we moved into our home, not realizing it was not only our starter home but was to be our final destination. About ten years ago some neighbors and friends who live closeby decided to sell their home. They put it up for sale, it sold, and they went out house hunting. After a few days of that, they changed their minds and cancelled the sale of their home. They felt they were money ahead staying put and remodeling their current home insteading of starting over. But I digress, this is, after all, a post about our tree.

When we moved in, our tree was just a sapling, there was no lawn in the back yard, and no fence. The tree grew through the years. Our children loved that tree because they loved to climb it, or sit in it, and we loved the shade it provided.

But then it started dying. Several times during the last few years, we have had arborists come in and trim off the dead branches. We hoped it would help, but sadly it didn't. Every time the wind would blow, our yard would be littered with branches from the tree, large and small.

Now my dear husband is a practical man. He got a little weary, maybe even a lot weary of picking up those branches every time he had to mow the lawn, which is weekly in the summer. So he felt the time had come this year to take the tree out.

So I took pictures of the before, during and after. I didn't realize how sad I would feel to see this tree come down. Our tree was a landmark and I miss it.

I wish we had just had all the branches trimmed and just left it there. I took a picture of a home where they did that very thing, hanging interesting little bird houses from it. You know what they say about hindsight. It seems to be pretty perfect vision, after it is too late.

This is a sad sight to see

I wish I had thought of doing this before the tree came down

This is a great example to apply to our lives. It seems that many of us have this distorted idea of perfection. If something isn't perfect, then out it goes. Our negative opinions about ourselves keep us blind to the good in ourselves and in others around us. We look in the mirror and think (and yes even say) naughty things to ourselves. The more we do this to ourselves and even to those around us (especially the ones we love the most), the more unhappy we are.

We need to take the gifts the Lord has given us and make them shine, instead of hiding behind the lack of perfection we see around us. Folks, not one of us is perfect, so we need to get over it.

We must accept ourselves as we are and make the best of what we can be, instead of turning our backs and trying to forget about the whole process. For example, we can't remove extra pounds just by calling someone and having them lopped off, so we mentally "put ourselves down." Why can't we just accept ourselves, like the tree that was changed to hold the bird feeders. Yes, it takes time to make changes in ourselves, but we can make small changes. If we can't ever be a beautiful, thin model-type person, we can lose a few pounds and feel more comfortable.

The tree stump is my touch stone. When I see it, I'm going to work harder at accepting who I am and what I can accomplish while I am here in this life. That is what is the most important thing to remember.

Maybe I'm not making sense to you and maybe I'm not articulating it quite correctly, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Feeling Better

I've had bronchitis for the last week. Half of that time I thought I was going to win over it. I was taking some GSE drops several times a day and just kept going. Well, last Thursday it sneaked up on me and body slammed me. I knew I was in over my head and that I had to see a doctor.

Now I knew if I saw a doctor, he would prescribe antibiotics. I hate to take antibiotics because they mess with my digestive system, but there comes a time when you have to assist the body and so you do it. I had kept telling my husband that I would go to the doctor Monday if I wasn't better. However, Friday I was so miserable, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could not put it off. Of course, my family doctor was all booked up so I took myself into Insta Care.

And just as I predicted, I got the prescription for antibiotics and cough syrup. Sunday night, after listening to me cough my sox off, my husband commented that I would never have made it to Monday before seeing a doctor. He was right. I probably was heading toward pneumonia and would have arrived soon enough without intervention. Bronchitis is bad enough. I hate the wheezing.

I'm feeling better now, although if I talk much I start coughing my sox off. So for now I guess I need to be quiet and let my fingers do the talking.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Bird Watching Made Easy

I "borrowed" this link from here and have enjoyed watching the live cam as well as the archived files that show the adult Peregrin (I guess it's the father) feed the little hatchling some food. Watch it--it's delightful.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Thoughts

Principles are anchors of safety. They are like the steel anchors a mountaineer uses to conquer otherwise impossible cliffs. They will help you have confidence in new and unfamiliar circumstances. They will provide you protection in life’s storms of adversity . . . The productive power of correct principles can make your life a joyous, satisfying experience.

~ Elder Richard G. Scott ~

We are navigating through times in our Country the likes of which we have never seen before. We have politicians who twist the truth into something unrecognizable. They say one thing to placate the masses and then do another to please themselves and/or to further their “careers.” The one thing we can do in these turbulent times is to hold to correct principles. The important thing is to stay close to the Lord and follow His path, striving with all the energy of our hearts to be like Him. If we do this we will triumph.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Consider This Quote

"You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away people's initiative and independence.
You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves."
~ William J. H. Boetcker ~
(This is a quote made famous by Abraham Lincoln)

I found this quote here and felt it was something that we should consider as we look around at the chaos our beloved Country is experiencing. I feel that we must let our representatives know how we feel and be consistent in that contact with them.


Friday, May 15, 2009

The Amazing Tomato Plant

Last fall our neighbor's soon-to-be daughter-in-law discovered a little seedling bravely growing in the drain of the bathroom sink. The family speculated on how it came to be there, and decided that it must have been deposited there in the drain by someone as they were brushing their teeth. They didn't even know what kind of a seedling it was, but on a lark their son carefully fished it out of the drain and planted it in its own pot. He placed the pot in a window with a southern exposure, watered that brave little seedling and waited.

It soon became evident that it was a tomato plant. Well, that brave little tomato plant liked that pot and that new home and it began to grow. Well, actually it thrived. Eventually, it set out blossoms, which the family fertilized with a gentle squeeze of each little blossom. Soon those blossoms dropped off to reveal tiny little tomatoes.

Along about the first part of April they picked and consumed the first two full grown, ripe tomatoes. Now the third is beginning to turn a lighter green. So, the contest of who in this neck of the woods will eat the first, ripe tomato of the 2009 growing season has already been won.

The tomato plant has now been given a new home out in the garden. It's not as warm and cozy there, and at times it has been downright cold (read almost freezing). The wind blows and so the plant has had to endure some buffetings. At first it suffered a little shock and it looked a little bleak for this plant. In fact, it looked like it might just give up and die.

But no, that plant rallied, took hold, and now it continues to thrive and grow. All season long, I'm sure it will provide those luscious red, ripe tomatoes that we all love to eat.

This just proves that no matter where we are planted, we can grow and achieve the measure of our creation. In the beginning, I suppose that little seed could have just gone "with the flow" (pun intended) and just wash down the drain into oblivion, but it didn't. We need to be like that little seed and seedling. No matter what is happening around us, we can keep having faith in our Heavenly Father and in ourselves and keep on striving.

Just like the plant, when our life suddenly changes and we find ourselves suddenly "transplanted" into some hardships and trials, we can again be like the tomato plant and just dig in and adapt and continue to grow. In the end we can be winners, just like the tomato plant--growing, serving, and striving to be the best we can be.


Thursday, May 14, 2009


Some years ago, while I was still employed as a secretary, I came down with a very bad cold. The cold progressed and settled in and around my vocal cords--otherwise known as laryngitis. It was awful. It was probably about the worse case of laryngitis I had ever had for I could make no sound--only whisper.

Of course, I stayed home from work to nurse my cold and take care of my throat. During the course of the day, the telephone rang and forgetting that I couldn't talk, I picked up the phone. Then I realized I had to "say" something, so I whispered as loudly as I could "hello!" The masculine voice on the other end asked for someone I did not know. Again I whispered, "I'm sorry, you have a wrong number."

Then came the question that warmed my heart. He queried, "Are you all right?" I'm not certain what he conjured up in his imagination. Was I whispering because I was hiding and didn't want to give myself away, or because I was in trouble of some kind, or .... well, use your imagination. I explained in my best whisper that I had lost my voice. He wished me well and apologized for bothering me.

That memory came up yesterday as my sister was telling me about her bout of laryngitis. I will always remember the concern of a stranger on the telephone. There are many good and caring people in the world.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A New Leaf

I don't know just why I put off updating my blog. I have great ideas. I take the pictures and upload them to my computer. And that's where it ends.

I can't figure out why I have such a resistance. I love to write. I want to keep a journal, and this is the best way in the world to do it. The only thing I have been able to come up with is that I want each post to be perfect. That means, I write it in Word and check it over and revise it a time or two, and then look it over again to make sure, then at last I feel I can post it. All that doing takes time and so the days slide by and nothing gets added.

So I decided that I would just write something each day, or at least a few times a week. I decided I would just write like I was updating a good friend or family member on what's going on in our lives. If I make a mistake, well, so be it.

Anyway, that's the plan. Wish me luck, won't you?


Sunday, April 5, 2009

I'm Ready for Spring

It's still cold here, but I find it is easier to find things to be grateful for instead of ranting and railing about the weather. I am grateful for a warm home, a good car (with a heater), for coats and sweaters, and the blue skies I can see today. The water picture is getting better and better and the cool weather helps. I am just hoping it gradually warms up, rather than going from cold to hot a in a couple of days.

I have always been a summer person. Yes, I get hot in the summer, but I seem to endure the heat better than I do the cold.

I am anxious to enlarge our garden. Our garden occupies a small corner of our yard and the grass keeps encroaching upon it. Each year the garden has gotten smaller and smaller. We spent a year and a half in Brazil and so there was no garden for those three years--the year we left, the year we were there, and the year after our return. The grass took advantage of us, so we need a plow--our tiller is just too wimpy to cut through the grass efficiently.

I love spring and watching the growing things come back to life.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Global Warming? I Don’t Think So!

This is our backyard and it was clear full of snow. Since this is the north side of our home, we still had a good portion of snow left from the huge 17 Feb snowstorm.

I don’t know how the weather is in your neck of the woods, but it has been quite a winter here. As I have noted in the news, there are many parts of this world that are experiencing some unusually cold, ferocious, wet weather.

I googled on the internet to see what information I could find about weather patterns. I found an interesting article from The American Thinker Website. Here are some excerpts from that article about the lack of sunspots and its effect on our weather:

Author: Thomas Lifson

“There is some serious evidence accumulating that we may be on the brink of not just global cooling, but an ice age. Sunspots are historically correlated with temperature on earth. During the Dalton Minimum, beginning in 1790, the number of sunspots was low, as the earth's climate turned cold for a few decades. At you can see live images of the sun taken from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory in space. Right now there is but one tiny sunspot. (My note: When I checked there were NO sunspots.)

Phil Chapman, geophysicist and astronautical engineer who lives in San Francisco, writes in The Australian about the frightening prospect that this year's ferocious winter and decline in average temperature is the herald of serious cooling. . . .

We need to watch the sunspot activity, and keep our fingers crossed that the world is not entering a new ‘little ice age’ . . . .

If we are entering a period of low sunspot activity and global cooling, then the changes demanded by Warmists, especially the conversion of crops to fuel use, would be catastrophic.”

About three weeks ago, we got out of bed and looked out the window to see mounds of snow on the ground and the snow just kept coming the whole day—we ended up with about 18 inches of the white stuff. It finally stopped snowing late that night. The 18 inches was added to the foot or so of snow that was already gracing the ground. It was quite a day. We just stayed home and watched the spectacle. Oh, we could have, perhaps, made our way out of here, but I fear we would never have made it back up our hill for most of the day.

The first edge of the storm was either rain that turned to ice, or heavy, wet snow. It coated the power, cable and telephone lines leading into our home. The wind managed to finally blow the snow off the power and cable lines, but the snow hung tenaciously onto our telephone line, making me fear that it would collapse under the weight of the heavy, wet snow. We had already lost power for about two hours that day and the Direct TV was a bust for the entire day until about 8:30 that night.

I encouraged my husband to shovel a path in the back yard out to where he could reach up with the shovel and jostle the line enough to knock most of the “snow sleeve” off the telephone line. I should have taken a picture of the whole line hanging low, but I did take a picture of the part that just hung on “like Velcro.”
This is the path my husband shoveled in order to get out in all that carpet of snow to reach the telephone cable with the shovel and knock most of the snow off.

If you click on this picture and enlarge it, you can see the portion of the "snow sleeve" that hung on. Just remember that most of the whole line was covered in this sleeve and it was hanging verrry low.

Now three weeks later the snow was almost melted from our front yard, but we have had another full snow day. It hasn’t been as bad as the one three weeks ago, but we’ve got about 4-5 inches out there again.

I never did believe in man-caused global warming, and now there are more and more scientists who doubt it as well:

NEW YORK CITY - Speakers at a conference on climate change are making the case that the alarmism behind the global-warming bandwagon is politically motivated, has nothing to do with science, and could affect the sovereignty of the U.S.

The second annual International Conference on Climate Change hosted by
The Heartland Institute is well under way in New York City. More than 700 registrants have gathered in the Big Apple to hear more than 70 scientists -- representing the views of tens of thousands of their colleagues -- make the argument that media and environmental advocacy groups have it all wrong, that global warming is not a crisis.

So there you have the story of our big snow storm and my opinion on global warming. Lest you think I am not interested in our planet, I am. I have been recycling before it was the "thing" to do. I even recycled when we were in Brazil once I found out that people were sifting through our garbage looking for usable stuff. I just saved all the cardboard boxes, plastic bottles, etc., and set it out separately.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Feira in Brazil -- How I miss it

While we were in Brazil we learned to love the feira (fay – tuh) that came to our street every Thursday. Early Thursday mornings we would awaken to the various sounds of the feira being set up—trucks parking, the pounding of the stands being put together, and boxes of produce being moved from truck to stand. It was such a delight to buy fresh produce from the stands that lined the street. They also had other venders who sold all kinds of goods from CDs to clothing to trinkets and what-have-you. They also had some kind of machine that pressed the juice out of the sugar cane--that was very popular with the people. They also sold fresh fish, pork products, and beef, but we never bought anything like that.

We bought a little shopping cart that rolled along on two wheels and made it very easy for us. We would load it up with such fresh vegetables as green beans, broccoli, radishes, cauliflower, and fresh fruit, like bananas and pineapple. I think I miss the feira the most of anything that we encountered in Brazil.
The feiras are very popular in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where we lived. During the week they would visit different areas of the city, bringing the fresh produce and goods to the people. Along about 1 or 2 o'clock, or sometimes earlier if a vendor sold all out, they would pack up and leave. The street would be littered with all kinds of detritus from the fruits and vegetables. However, when we came home along about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, it was all cleaned away and you would never know they had even been there.
The stand above was maintained by a couple (their picture is just below) who we grew to love. We didn't speak Portuguese with much fluency, but it was enough to let them know we thought a lot of them. One day I found her in tears and learned that her little dog had died that day. I gave her a hug and let her know that I understood that losing a pet is cause for grief. I have lost pets in my lifetime and I know just how heart-wrenching it can be.
This man was always at the feira, sitting on his little box in which he collected donations. He would sometimes play his harmonica. I always gave him a Brazilian dollar, one real. One day as I was walking to the office one day, when a huge truck started backing up. It was moving toward him and I thought that they could see him and would soon stop. However, the truck kept moving, and since he was blind, he had no idea he was in danger. In that moment of extreme anxiety, I shouted at the top of my lungs: "STOP!" Even though it wasn't in Portuguese, I guess the distress in my voice alerted them and they stopped. I don't think he ever realized he was just about to be squashed.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I Wish I had Written this Letter

My friend sent me a copy of a letter written by a University Professor and sent to the editor of the Wall Street Journal this past week. This letter so eloquently put into words the thoughts that I carry in my heart and mind about abortion. I recently emailed my own thoughts to President Obama about lifting the ban on paying for international abortions and about the danger of signing FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act) into law. Every protective law that now exists will be effectively eliminated and the family will suffer. My words to him were not so exquisitely expressed. I want to publish this letter here so that I can share them with any who might read my blog:

Dear Mr. Pollock:

One of the last orders that George W. Bush signed as President was the January 2009 National Sanctity of Human Life Day Proclamation. His pro-life record includes the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, the ban on partial-birth abortion, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, and the block of Federal funding for overseas “family planning” abortion programs.

One of the first orders that Barack H. Obama has signed as President is a reversal of the ban on taxpayer-funded international abortions. He also plans to expand the power to kill innocent lives via the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). We cannot print enough worthless monopoly money to solve our national and global economic crisis, but we still have plenty of hard cash in the budget for killing babies at home and abroad?

On the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Dr. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, challenged Mr. Obama to include unborn children in his vision of life, liberty, and justice for all. Maybe he will be strong enough to abolish chattel abortion, just as President Lincoln abolished chattel slavery. If not, someday a great President will end the lucrative business of elective abortion. Someday the record will show who really cared about human rights. The rhetoric will end, and the record will stand.

Someday great reporters will have the stomach to expose the practices and profits of the elective abortion industry and the sale of baby body parts. The taboo on reporting prenatal violence will be lifted by men and women of conscience, who know that the blood of the littlest human beings should not be used to pay for the unprincipled behavior of adults who refuse to take responsibility for the consequences of sexual activity.

Someday the violence of abortion methods will be as abhorrent as any other assault or physical abuse. The paradox of those who oppose the death penalty but promote abortion will end. Pacifists will oppose elective abortion when they realize that more babies have died from abortion in the last 36 years than all of the soldiers and civilians who died from all of the modern military wars combined.

Someday elective abortion, the ultimate example of age discrimination, will be unthinkable. Those who said that women were not legal persons could not prevail. Those who said that slaves were not legal persons had to fail. Someday the tiny human beings who are not yet born will have protection as legal persons. Medical and technological advances will continue to roll back the frontiers of inner space in defining the genesis of human life. Hands that grasp and hearts that beat will be more eloquent than the most self-indulgent right-to-choose, right-to-kill, right-to-privacy speech.

“Little Lamb, who made thee?” asked the poet William Blake in “The Lamb,” his most delicate song of innocence. He mourned the fate of chimney sweeps caught in narrow Victorian infernos. Someday a poet may write a parallel piece:

Little Life, who saved thee?
Dost thou know who saved thee?
Little Life, I’ll tell thee.
They are called by thy name,
For they call themselves humane.

Someday great poets will grieve for the grisly piles of fetal bodies incinerated daily in the land of the free. Someday great writers will grieve for broken lives of unwed undone mothers-not-to-be in the land of the brave.

Who will be the abolitionists? Who will participate in the Underground Railroad? Who will be the new Harriet Tubman? Who will be the new Mother Teresa? Will there be a Horton who discovers the “Who” of unborn personhood in universes of discourse more lovely than we can imagine? Let it be so. Let it be now. Let it be me. When future generations look back on our 3.5 decades of slaughtering innocents, when they recoil at the hypocrisy of our polite exterminations, when they rebuke publicly-funded genocide, when they condemn the press for its cowardly cover-up, when they wonder why nobody said anything, let them find my poor name in a pile of old newspapers, as one who said “To waste the flower of our love and to kill the fruit of our loins is wrong.”


This is my effort to let everyone know that I stand immovable and steadfast in my love for my Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. It is my desire to be like my Savior as much as it is in my power to do so.


Friday, January 2, 2009

Pennies from Heaven

I must tell my story about pennies and my Mom. This story began a long time ago and over a period of time. Whenever my Mom and I would be together when we were visiting her or she was here with us, we liked to go for long walks. Whenever we’d see a penny, she would stop and pick it up. Now me, I never used to pick up pennies thinking them to be of no consequence.

After she passed away and I would see a penny, I began to pick them up because they reminded me of her and I loved thinking about her and replaying some of my memories of her. I can’t remember how or why I started this little game with myself, but I would playfully announce to anyone that was with me that Mom must be nearby because I had found a penny. I began to pick those pennies up and save them. It soon became a way for me to fill a need for her to be part of my everyday life.

When we went to Brazil, we had left our home in the warmth of summer and arrived to be greeted by Brazil’s winter season. Being a person who is miserable when cold, that first week there was one of great adjustment. I was cold and coming down with a cold, homesick, beginning what was tantamount to a new job working in the mission office and learning all the duties associated with that, couldn’t speak the Portuguese language, getting used to a different money system, and dealing with all sorts of stress. President U (the mission President) had invited us to go to Jacarei to attend a Rodeo with him and his wife. I told about this experience here.

As we wandered around the rodeo grounds, I looked down and sitting there in the dirt was an American penny. I was astounded. Here we were in Brazil, where the money is so far different than ours, and I find a penny; it made me feel that my Mother was really nearby and making sure that I knew it.

There was another amazing time in Brazil that I was at a major low point. We had just experienced having our apartment robbed of our laptop computer and various other goods. It would have been worse but we came home (although it was a little later than our usual time) and they didn’t have time to finish their raid (this is a whole story in and of itself). Shortly after that, we were walking from our apartment to the mission office and found a myriad of American pennies on the sidewalk. We picked them up and again I wondered if it was because my Mom was offering what comfort she could.

Since that time I continue to pick pennies up when I spot them. However, it seems like there are not so many pennies lying around on the ground these days. People are either hanging onto their pennies and/or picking pennies up where they used to pass them by like I used to do. We were shopping last Tuesday and as I walked out of the grocery store and moved toward our car, the thought went through my mind that it had been quite a while since I had found an errant penny lying on the ground. I finished that thought by thinking that perhaps I didn’t need my Mom to be so close any more. I no sooner than finished that thought, when I looked down on the parking lot and there was a bright, shiny penny winking up at me. As I picked the penny up, I marveled. I will leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions, but I hug my conclusions to me in love and gratitude.