Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween...looking back

Halloween is my least favorite holiday of the year. I don't like the greediness and sugar consumption of it. Although it was fun to help my young sons be creative in making their own costumes years ago, I never could stand the sugar high that they and my elementary students were on for days. I always tried to give out nutritious treats like apples or popcorn but the kids would rather have wrapped candy. Of course as a kid, I loved to trick or treat!

In the last few years, I've made it a habit to hide out on Halloween night and not be at home to avoid giving out treats. Sometimes we've gone out to eat or to a movie or to visit the grandkids and share in their excitement. So what are your feelings about Halloween?

I also think it's a great opportunity for people to do mischief like bullying little ones or damaging property etc. I just don't like it or see much benefit in it except for creative expression. I admire those mothers who try to make a family halloween party for their kids at home or do some service that is needed. We tend to spend too much money and forget what the holiday was originally all about All Saints Day on Nov 1st to honor our departed ancestor spirits-now that I could really celebrate. Check out Sandys post on All Soul's Day as celebrated by the Episcopalians.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Article #78 School Bullies

Raised as an only child, I never knew that kids were unkind to each other. I had just transferred to Tintic Elementary School from Salt Lake City where my widowed mom had tried to work full time to support us, and go to secretarial school. After experiencing problems with babysitters, she decided we’d move to rural Eureka to live with her mom, my grandma. (Photo l-r: me, Grandma, cousin Jody and her mom Esther-my aunt with cousin Marion in front.)

My new first grade teacher Mrs. Anderson welcomed me to school, but I soon discovered not everyone else was as nice. During recess two girls stopped me in the bathroom and wouldn’t let me return to class. Trying to make me stick my foot in the toilet, I had no idea how to handle this situation except to cry, which got me taunts of cry baby. Finally when the bell sounded, we all returned to class. I was silent about what had happened, fearful of my classmates’ retaliation. I had met my first bullies.

This vivid memory stayed with me, and was never resolved. Years later in junior high school, I would meet another bully in the form of a tall shy girl my own age who rode the same bus as I did. I never understood why she was so mean to me. When it was time for our 50th high school reunion recently, she contacted me via to apologize for her unkind actions long ago forgotten by me. Through conversing with her through emails and a phone call, I began to remember and understand her misbehavior. It seems that she was taunted by other girls at school because she was the minister’s daughter. Then one day she decided out of frustration, after constantly being abused by classmates, to bully someone else. Unfortunately I was the one she chose. (Photo on right mom and me in Eureka.)

While traveling home after school, she had threatened me as we got off the bus. She said she could see immediately in my eyes––tears of fear and hurt, and that really stopped her. She didn't beat me up but only walked away, and had never forgotten that day. She didn't tell anyone about it and especially not her parents. We hadn’t talked about it even though we later went to four years of high school together, and carefully avoided each other. Now after years of feeling guilty about the incident, she apologized. Learning to grow up in a world of bullies wasn’t easy.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Identifying Old Photos

I'm still working slowly on my husband's biography, starting with a little background on his ancestors. Allen has these two old photos that were framed and given to him by his brother. Originally they belonged to his grandma Gladys Floyd who had given them to his mom Wanda. Very old photos they are with no names on them. Through the process of elimination we think we have identified them as the mothers of his grandma and his grandfather. See below:

Meet Hattie Catherine Weaver born in 1870 in Texas. She is thought to be part Native American possibly Cherokee Indian. She has the same round face as her daughter Gladys and that helped us identify them.

Meet Nellie Alloysius Mundy also called Alicia born in 1870 in Clarksburg, West Virginia. Both she and her husband were college educated unusual in those days. She rode horseback around the countryside giving piano lessons. They later moved their family to Gatesville, Texas.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Teaching Feedback

On my walk today I happened to meet a former classmate of mine (and his wife) who took my "Write your life history" class and loved it. I mean he was so enthusiastic. After my free class taught at our church, he sent me a $20 gift certificate for a local eatery. Then when I advertised my book for sale, he came right over and bought it. I love students like that. They are few and far between. Compare that with another student I had recently, an older lady who took my "Creative Blogging" class and got so frustrated she quit the class. Despite my best efforts to encourage her, give her one on one help in class and offer to visit her home and help her there, she gave up. So I've had both kinds of feedback-positive and negative. What makes the difference in learning styles? I think attitude, willingness to listen and try new things. Seeing lack of knowledge not as an obstacle, but a challenge to overcome.

Right now I'm teaching a family history class for my church with a new program online that has been introduced. After 50 years of teaching this class with no manual, I now have one but it needs to be adapted because most of my students are not beginners but have spent years doing their genealogy. I've outlined my lessons and made handouts, but then my students aren't there everytime. So some have missed 2 out of the 3 lessons I've taught so far, which is frustrating to me as a teacher. There is so much involved in teaching and I'm just talking about teaching adults. With children, there is also the discipline factor-capturing their attention and keeping it. Teaching isn't easy but when it works, it changes lives-both yours as the teacher and the student as an individual. You make a connection that can have eternal implications.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

REALLY connecting

Been noticing lately how it's possible to be
among people and not REALLY connect.
Pleasantries and smiles are exchanged but
not the deep inner thoughts of our souls.
Trust must be built first, then interest
shown in caring to listen to others thoughts.

It's called friendship and most of us are
too busy to cultivate it. We make friends,
see them occasionally, but do we connect?
Always looking for a new acquaintance
that will bring the feeling of closeness
like we've known each other forever
though we've only meet recently.

Over the years, I can count on one hand
the close friends I've encountered
on my journey through life. We've met,
talked and bonded instantly, wanting
more time to share confidences and
be together BUT time is so precious
seldom is there enough for continuing.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Driving home through a barren desert,
jagged mountain peaks lay hidden.
Evening comes as the sun sets
revealing majestic designs as
clouds play with blackening outlines.

I love my high Mohave desert home.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fall Colors

Bright yellow colors signal
the changing of the season.
A cool breeze rushes by
chilling me as I sit basking
in sunshine. Summer is gone.

But it didn't ask my permission
just slipped away like a guilty lover
not wanting to face the music
hiding behind a facade of integrity
until it, too, gives way.
Leaves fall, truth lies naked
like trees in the wintertime.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Nathan's Birthday

Now seven years old and full of vim and vigor.
Nathan is my oldest grandson, born in Utah
and adopted by my son Daniel and his wife Tina.
They were so excited to add a boy to their family
after adopting twin daughters four years earlier.

Nathan came home from the hospital with oxygen
and was quite fragile at first, but he's grown into
a real boy who loves cars, soccer and teasing
his younger brother James. Of course, Nathan
learned well how to tease from his older sisters.

Bright, energetic and excited about life he is.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY tomorrow to a special boy NATHAN

Friday, October 23, 2009

Article #77 Family Doctors and Midwives

When was the last time your family doctor made a home visit when you or other members of your family were sick? Today, when illness strikes, you drag yourself to the doctor’s office or the ER room at the local clinic or hospitals––if it’s after hours. Your doctor’s home phone or location is a well kept secret, unavailable even in the case of emergency. Physicians have so many patients today and refer problems to specialists. It’s unusual for the same doctor to treat you from birth to death.

In Eureka, Utah, we had old Doc. Bailey who did it all––maternity cases through senility. My grandmother was his untrained assistant who went with the good doctor on maternity cases. She would be there to administer anesthetic to the laboring mother. A simple cloth dampened with ether was used to help take off the edge of the woman’s pain. Then grandma would remain at the mother’s side to help her with recovery and her household chores for 10 days to 2 weeks. Dr. Bailey was like part of our family, a simple call to his office or home would bring him over day or night to treat your symptoms. Unfortunately for us, those days are gone for most modern communities.

The early pioneers in Utah had very little health care and many women were called and trained by the LDS Church to be midwives. My grandmother’s mother (Ada Mary Lowe on the right in photo above) and another great grandmother (Elizabeth Wilkins-photo on left) served their communities this way. Living in desolate places, they were sometimes the only medical help available and served as primitive doctors to all in need. One of my great grandfathers Richard Lowe lived in Springville and was well known as a herbalist. He was adept at mixing concoctions of different herbs together to fix any known ailment of the day.

There was no health insurance for families or individuals then. You planned on staying healthy. If you had illnesses your extended family was your only resource with no social security or medicare available. When my grandfather became ill with stomach cancer, that was the end of his income for my soon to be widowed grandmother and five dependent children. I’m not sure how she paid his doctor bills and interment that was probably just a simple pine box. Maybe their hardy lifestyle helped them stay healthier than we seem to be, but they also had shorter average life spans than we enjoy today.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Looking at old photos

How precious are old photos saved by our grandmothers in antique scrapbooks and albums usually without captions. How important to ask them while they are still around who, when and what then label each priceless memory so we can share the photos with others. My hubby has a special Texas cousin who is a lifelong genealogist and has preserved the stories and images of her Forrest kinfolk. Let's hear it for cousin Amelia in Gatesville, Texas! (Photo above of my husband's mother Wanda Laxson and her mother Frankie Juanita Forrest.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Act don't React

So easy to say, so hard to live
but I'm working on it as I begin
again on my husband's life story.
Is this case acting is doing.
and reacting is avoiding.

It feels good to be expending
the effort to finish something
started long ago-16 years to be
exact when we first married
and I decided to get to know
him better, his family, childhood
dreams and ambitions in life.

It hasn't been easy as hubbies
are not talkers, mine isn't.
But with gentle prodding and
much patience, the story is
coming out, being recorded
for his posterity and him.
Sometimes, it feels easier
to give up but that's a reaction.
Instead, I choose to ACT.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Unfinished Business

Been thinking about projects
started but not completed
due to lack of interest or time.
Books purchased, a few pages
read but no drive to finish.

What can be lacking is endurance,
keeping focused, finding needed
energy to complete, to finalize.
But if the interest is gone so is
the desire to see it to completion.

What stops me? Other projects
needing my attention or just
lack of time? Still the project
waits and waits. Sometimes
disappearing from my memory

until that day I rediscover it:
the unfinished manuscript or
the idea for the perfect poem
collection to make for family,
a fun holiday gift to make and give.

It's time to choose an unfinished
task that interests me and complete it.
I husband's life story
The Unauthorized Biography of...
started long ago still waiting.
Now where are my notes?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Transition time

In between projects time
finished with one, now what?
Anything awaits,
only needing my permission
to spring into being.

Photography, sewing, poetry
stained glass, and weaving
are all things I've done
in the past but
now what?

Rest, ponder, explore.
What captures my attention:
relationships, connecting,
a different kind of art
but most important.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Soul Mate?

You hear so many women talk about finding their SOUL MATE. I believe it's a fantasy, like finding your PRINCE CHARMING and living "happily ever after." Rarely do you stumble unto such a relationship, but I do believe it's possible to become soul mates in your relationship-given time and focusing your energies on trying to be an understanding and unconditional lover to your spouse or chosen companion.

I think it takes TIME and EFFORT, and develops slowly from withstanding TRIALS TOGETHER, learning how to give and take SUPPORT through illnesses, family problems, etc. says a soul mate is where you... inspire and support each other to grow into your best possible selves...connecting on a soul to soul level. Unfortunately most men aren't wired or taught how to connect that way...that's why it's so important to have a special female friend or two where you can make that needed soul to soul connection while you are working on developing that closeness in your marriage relationship.

As John Gray says in Women are from Venus and Men are from Mars. We are each different and see the world differently. Men don't need to talk, but women do to understand themselves. Men want to solve problems not talk about them. Women want a caring listening spouse. What are your observations?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Article #76 Childhood Diseases

Nowadays with all the vaccinations and shots available, many common childhood diseases such as rheumatic fever, typhoid, measles, small pox and polio have almost been eradicated in developed countries. Knowledge of how to treat these diseases or even what caused them in earlier times was lacking. There were only home herbal treatments.

When my Grandmother Vernon (see photo at left with her brother Meade) was young, she was stricken with rheumatic fever and became very ill. Her baby brother George had died earlier with rheumatic fever when it came to their community. I recall her telling me that “I got rheumatism in my legs, and my feet turned right around backwards.” In time she recovered and her feet returned to normal, but how frightening for mothers in those days, not knowing when or if their family would become ill or how to treat them. Many families were quarantined to prevent spreading of the disease. This was the case with the influenza outbreak in the early 1900s.

My grandmother continues, ”When I went to school, it was a one room and I never did graduate because my mother got sick and I had to stay home and do the work and take care of all the kids. (Photo of her mother Clara Wilkins and her father George Stevens.) I learned to mix bread when I was 6 years old. We had to wash on the board for a long time then later Dad got a washing machine.” Disease took it toll on early families regardless of age, occupation or financial status.

I remember a childhood illness of mine that started with a cold then turned into pneumonia. My grandmother quickly came to the aid of my mother with her experience from raising three children. I was bundled up and a hot mustard plaster applied to my chest to help my breathing. Then mentholatum was put on my chest. With time and tender care, I was restored to my usual good health.

During my childhood there was a great fear of polio. I was warned not to get chilled or I could catch this frightening disease that crippled many children. Some individuals even ended up in iron lungs for assistance with their breathing or wearing braces the rest of their lives to support their legs for walking. Nowadays, children need have no fear for many diseases of my childhood as they can be vaccinated or have shots to protect them. Unfortunately, we are finding new diseases like the swine flu to fight.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Remodeling and Repentance

We are thinking of doing a remodel,
enlarging our home to include a shop,
so hubby can work on projects without
clearing out all the cars from our garage.

Do we ever need to remodel our lives?
To make necessary changes to improve,
enlarge our abilities or future potential?
Probably, but that is much harder to do.

Don't all remodels start with a detailed plan,
a notion of how things could be changed?
We could call that repentance in our lives.
It all starts with a vision then hard work.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Are you happy?

My quiet husband ever once in a while out of no where will ask me a deep question. Like yesterday at breakfast, he said...Are you happy? Well, after stopping in my tracks. It was interesting to follow my thought processes. I'm not unhappy. I'm well, finally over my cold. Your archery meet is over. Everyone seems to be doing okay right now despite their individual problems, etc. etc. All this speeds through your mind in mili-seconds and then I found myself saying: YES! I'm happy!

But then I started wondering what happiness really is. JOY I know-sublime spiritual feelings of communion with deity. PLEASURE-a momentary passage of enjoying something completely, but HAPPINESS? So I looked it up in the dictionary, I found it defined as contentment. Ah yes, I like that definition. At the moment I am contented with where I live, the kind of person I'm trying to become, the activities I am involved with, the friends I have, my church membership, etc. Does that mean everything is perfect? NO! This is earth life and is meant to be full of CHALLENGES and TRIALS to STRENGTHEN and TEST us, but then I understand that I can be content with less than perfect days, friends, activities, etc.

It is involved also with GRATITUDE and EXPECTATIONS. Not being greedy or selfish but trying to give some SERVICE each day to others and remembering to PRAY for GUIDANCE and DIRECTION in all we do. Yes, I am HAPPY. If you are unhappy, take a moment and list all the blessings in your life and focus on them for a while instead of your problems...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lovely Afternoon

Took some time yesterday to visit my friend Mary. We had jasmine herbal tea and some deep conversations about life. I love talking to her as we spin ideas off each other and always come away feeling somewhat fulfilled, yet eager to tackle our own life and its unique challenges. We all need friends for feedback, support and comfort. Mary shared a book she has read recently and her 11 pages of notes. Called You Can Be Happy No Matter What: Five Principles for Keeping Life in Perspective by Richard Carlson (author of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.)

  • Is my life really all that bad right now, or am I simply in a low mood?
  • Am I following the road toward unhappiness in an attempt to find happiness.
  • Am I putting my opinions above my positive feelings? Do I want to be right, or be happy?
  • Am I reacting to someone else’s low mood?
  • Am I playing out a war in my own head? (Mental arguing)
  • Am I struggling with a problem?
  • Is my tolerance for stress too high? Ease up, rest, stop over-thinking, clear the mind.
  • Am I thinking about myself too much?
  • Am I taking my past with me?
  • Am I postponing my life?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Finding new adventures

It's quite a feeling of satisfaction when a BIG project is finished
but then comes the opportunity to discover new adventures:
either building upon the just completed project or tackling
something new and different to give variety to our lives.

What to do next is an exercise in free choice and depends
on what is our passion or interest in a hobby or innate talent.
What makes us happiest? Make a list or maybe you know.
Mine is to create a bigger and better self published book.

Perhaps to branch out into children's poetry or photography,
the possibilities are really endless-limited only by imagination.
With a little prayer, nudges can come that are useful guidance.
What would He, my Heavenly Father, like me to accomplish next?

Our time here on earth is limited, but we know not for how long.
A creative journal of our thoughts could be priceless to our families,
no matter their age. An expression of our love for them, our hopes
for the future, our philosophy or unique view of the purpose of life.

It's never too early or late too's my youngest grandson James after preschool celebrating Columbus Day and new adventures! (Photo from his mom Tina.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus or Leif Erikson?

1825 was before 1842. Leif-great name, Eric's son was a son of Iceland (I have many ANCESTORS from there) and grandson of Norway. Let's hear it for the Scandinavians!

Interesting quote from Bill Gates: What if Columbus had been told, 'Chris, baby, don't go now. Wait until we've solved our number-one priorities––war and famine, poverty and crime, pollution and disease, illiteracy and racial hatred...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I found it...

Been craving a real submarine sandwich like I used to get in California when they first came out in the 1950s. (Yes, I can remember back that far.) I was in Junior College and dancing professionally in the Los Angeles Ballet Company. After our intense ballet classes, we loved to go next door and get a fabulous sub. Moving to Utah to continue my college education at BYU, I lost track of sub sandwiches. Then Subway came to be, but they weren't the same. What made the original subs so good was the crusty French bread-a skinny 8 in. baquette sliced in two and loaded with Italian meat and cheese, oil and vinegar, tomatoes, sweet onions, shredded lettuce, and hot yellow peppers for those who liked them.

Well, I found them again, after almost 50 years, at Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches. Being curious about the popularity of this franchise, I decided yesterday to check them out. After eating their #9 Italian Night Club, I can tell you I found my original sub sandwich! Try them out if you have a Jimmy Johns in your area. They even have a website that will tell you if there's one near you and deliver to your home. Of course-I gained 1.5 pounds yesterday, but I thoroughly enjoyed eating ALL of the sub and didn't save any for my hubby-although I did tell him how good they were. LOL!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Archery Tournament

It's here, the Huntsman Senior Games with sports competitions for adults over 50 years old. My hubby Allen has been working on making archery stands for the last month or so. He volunteered to organize the Target archery section and it's kept him busy designing and building equipment to hold the massive new targets. Not to mention setting up and taking down the targets and stands each day and putting them back up the next day-great exercise. He's too tired and busy to shoot.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Article #75 Childhood Pastimes

Ever look back and wonder how your spent your childhood? Growing up in rural Utah, I had a special playhouse in my grandma’s attic complete with a crib for my baby doll plus a little table and chairs with a small cupboard to hold my tea set. Playing house was the name of the game. Pretending to be the mom, and taking care of my baby (doll) filled many happy hours. Dressing-up with my girl friends in my mom’s old clothes and high heels was great fun. (Photo on left of my girl friend Marilyn with the umbrella and me playing dressup.) We could be gypsies or grownups going to a party. Acting like a doctor or nurse using my medical kit, I could give shots or make slings, take temperatures or listen for my patient’s heartbeat, etc. I suppose I was trying on future adult roles in my pretending.

As a preschooler, I remember having a mixed group of friends that included boys and girls. We loved to play outside regardless of the weather. In the winter, we made snowmen and used our sleighs to pull one another. In summer, we built forts or hideouts, and used our creative imaginations to pretend we were Cowboys and Indians fighting each other. Outside games popular in my mom and grandmother’s days like Hide and Seek, and Kick the Can were also popular. During school recesses, I liked to hang upside down on the monkey bars and twirl around or play on the big swings and teeter totters. The girls had a game of jacks and the boys loved to shoot marbles. (Photo on right of my elementary school-it still stands.)

Growing older, I got interested in playing board games with my best girl friend. We loved to sit down for an afternoon after school or on the weekend pursuing riches and success with Monopoly. I even learned how to gamble by playing Poker for pennies. Then there was Canasta-a complicated card game popular at the time with adults too.

Evenings were spent doing homework or watching the limited TV programs available. A favorite group activity during my Jr. High days (photo of me on the left at that age) was going to the roller rink with friends. I always hoped to be picked by a certain boy for the couples skate only. During high school, I enjoyed sports after classes like field soccer and volleyball. Active in the Home Economics club, Scholarship Society, and Chemistry Club plus dancing in Drama productions kept me busy trying to find my place in the world. (To purchase a collection of past columns in book format, contact lin at sunrivertoday dot com.)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Writing Articles

I'm reading an interesting book about writing articles that I got from the writer's conference that I went to several weeks ago. It's called "Writing Content: Mastering Magazine and Online Writing" by Roger Nielsen. Seems he was sitting next to us at a banquet and told us about his book, so of course I wanted to buy it. Trying to get published short magazine articles and writing longer family histories is where I'm at currently-non fiction is my thing. So I'm enjoying finding out more about the field. He lists different kinds of articles you can write:
  • Report-recaps of research
  • Survey-broader report of research results
  • Profile-spotlight on an individual's life
  • Travelogues-this sounds fun
  • Voice of warning-i.e. global warming, etc
  • Narrative-recalling some event
  • First person-non fiction narrative
  • How tos-explaining the process or procedures of making something
  • Laundry lists-i.e. food storage ideas
  • Humorous-which he says the hardest to write but it's important to put some humor in all your articles to make them more interesting.
It seems to me that some of these overlap, but it's opened my eyes to new possibilities and just yesterday I wrote an article on Huntsman Senior Games archery tournament featuring my hubby. Will try to interest an editor from US Archer magazine who is also an archery participant....Now for a trip to Tahiti or somewhere exotic so I can write a travelogue. LOL!

What do you or would you like to write about?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Priesthood Power

As many of my blogging friends know, I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and we have a lay leadership. A priesthood that isn't paid but rather trained from within. As the mother of four sons (photo on left-l-r Dan, Frank and Brook), I'm grateful for the training that they have received. Starting at age 12, worthy boys are interviewed by the Bishop and ordained to the first office in the lesser or AARONIC priesthood-a DEACON then they can pass the sacrament in Sunday services, and collect fast offerings from the homes of the congregation once a month. At age 14, the next office is TEACHER which enables the young man to prepare the sacrament, and home teach selected Church families once a month with an inspirational message. At age 16, ordained a PRIEST, they can bless the sacrament in Sunday services, baptize, and ordain other deacons and teachers. It's a great program to teach responsibility and service. Also the scouting program at the same time reinforces many of these same values.

At age 18+ a young man can be ordained to the Higher or MELCHIZEDIK Priesthood. Generally this doesn't take place until a special occasion such as becoming a MISSIONARY or getting married takes place. At age 19, our young men are encouraged to serve full time 2 year missions for the church at their own expense. Two of my sons served-one in Taiwan and the other in Japan. They were ordained to the office of an ELDER in the Melchizedik Priesthood at age 19+, entered the Missionary Training Center to receive 6 weeks of language and other training prior to flying to their mission field.

Those who chose to marry rather than serve a mission can be ordained to an Elder prior to their marriage. Now as an elder the young man can attend the temple and receive his endowment before his mission or marriage. Other offices in the Melchizedik priesthood are SEVENTIES-concerned with missionary work worldwide and HIGH PRIESTS concerned with administration matters, temple and family history work. (Photo above: l-r my youngest son Jeff now 26 who was recently ordained a high priest, and his brother Daniel who ordained him to Aaronic priesthood.) It's quite a plan and I as a mom with four sons have appreciated the influence of righteous priesthood holders as well as scout leaders in the training and preparation of my sons for their responsibilities as husbands, fathers and church leaders for those that have chosen that path.