Tuesday, June 30, 2009

We're in Canada

here's some photos of gorgeous BC. Took a ferry across kootenay lake. Going to Banff, Lake Louise and all those gorgeous parks. Great weather cool in 70-80 degree range. Having fun.


Mosquitoes

Vacationtime in the vast wilderness
of Northern Idaho-Sandpointe.
Discovering pesty little insects,
tiny persistent creatures
not quiet, buzzing in my ears. 
I’m going to get you...
Reminding me of the necessity 
of opposition in my life.

Lest I get complacent and lazy,
they appear suddenly around me.
Keeping me busy swatting 
and trying to squash them.
One of the few of God’s creatures 
seemingly without purpose,
except to fex the peace of 
my nature experience today.

Now I have souvenirs of their visit,
tiny little red bumps all over me 
that itch like crazy despite my bugspray. 
First one appears here-then another there,
till I am quite covered with little lumps.
I will remember these mosquitoes long 
after they have died, as I try not to itch.
That only makes it worse...ah, nature.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Lost


Mists of misunderstanding block our view
captured by our ignorance. We are frozen in time.
No progress is possible. Sun filtering through 
clearing skies reveals lost opportunities,
we must continue our journey onward.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wildflowers Everywhere


Myriad daisies cover the green forest floor
Growing with abandon wherever they want
Not limited to manicured flower beds
They are part of God’s vast garden here.


I, too, am just one of His many creations
Seeds scattered throughout the world
Nurtured in diverse families with love
And careful guidance to randomly fulfill
His careful plan of growth and purpose

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Nature Reflections

On vacation in Sandpoint, Idaho and enjoying the beauties here. Writing poems too...so much inspiration in every direction...click to see photos larger.


Reflections are not possible when in the midst
of an experience. It is only later….looking back,
that the whole picture is revealed. Images hidden
in real time blind sighted, present themselves with
distance. So, too, our trials manifest hidden benefits
as we recall the event removed far from the moment.
Fuller understanding of our life’s design develops,
planned knowingly by a higher power.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Courage in all things

Read this fascinating article online at cnn.com about the woman doctor Jerri Nielsen who recently died of cancer. She was the one who discovered in 1999 that she had breast cancer while isolated at the South Pole on assignment with nowhere to go for treatment, so she treated herself. They were able to parachute chemotherapy medicine to her and then airlift her out in very dangerous conditions.

She returned home to the states, completed her cancer treatment, married and wrote a book about her experiences. Then cancer returned to her bones and later her brain, she died recently. Several quotes from her lectures and writing were so outstanding I wanted to capture them for us all to ponder whatever our life's challenges:

I'm not afraid of death. I've come to accept it as being part of life, and I think I've come to accept it earlier than my years because of what's happened to me." She said that after learning her cancer had returned, "after about three weeks of going through a kind of terror, I felt the most incredible peace come over me. Now I am very happy and excited about going forward with my life. The metastatic disease is now just another part of me, another thing that has happened to me."

"She was always upbeat," Diana Cahill said. "She never really dwelled upon her illness. She told people to live every day, and it was about what kind of life you lived. She was really inspirational to a lot of people around the world."

She told the Free Press in March that the cancer had spread to her brain but still displayed her inspiring grit. "I'm not as smart a girl as I used to be," she told the newspaper. "I'm not as hard a worker, that's for sure. But I'm still doing everything, I'm writing a book and giving speeches, and I'm really having a beautiful winter."

Nielsen told Psychology Today, "The things that make you strong, and make you feel as though you've accomplished something, are not the easy ones; it's the things you had to work and struggle through. Those are what give us our depth -- that make us not gray and plain and nothing but give us depth and texture and longing.

"I believe you're always much better off knowing what the real truth is. I think it's only then that you can come to grips with your illness, or with any difficult situation. Some people call this process 'mourning.' I prefer to call it tiring of the fear and the depression and the denial, and the fake optimism and the irritation of it all -- and just saying, 'Hey, I'm tired of feeling bad about this. Now I go on.' "

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Priorities

Where do we place OURSELVES in our list of priorities? Do our physical, intellectual, social, emotional or spiritual needs even make it to our daily TO DO lists? Only if we put them there and start to value ourselves. How about a self exam on the five areas listed above.


1. PHYSICAL-do you exercise daily, eat nutritionally, have checkups, watch/control your weight? Are you in charge of you or do you emotionally eat, forego exercising cause you're too busy, etc. Going to eat better later when...

2. INTELLECTUALLY-do you read or try to learn something new each day, challenge yourself through taking classes, reading or teaching something stimulating? Are you stuck in rutts...remember you are in charge of you.


3. SOCIAL-do you try to reach out to your family, friends, neighborhood and do some service daily? I know it easier to hide out or hibernate but there may be someone needing your special talents or personality to touch and lift their spirits today.


4. EMOTIONAL-do you handle stress and have safeguards in releasing it in your life? Try talking to a close friend, family member, religious leader or counselor. For me writing helps to get it out and deal with it safely.


5. SPIRITUAL-do you have a relationship with a higher power or take the time to commune or meditate in nature? Just taking a deep breath now and then can help you slow down and listen inside. Following spiritual promptings can lead to wonderful serendipty happenings each day.


Then comes the problem of balance, but only when we are caring for ourself and filling our own wells can we have the reserves to serve and love others. Be a power for good in their lives.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Changes Come and Go


Routines are just that, warm security blankets
that give us a sense of order and complacency
in our lives. Then CHANGE comes and look out,
nothing will be the same again. We can REACT or
ACT. Those are the choices available in our lives.


Stuck in our rut, challenges can upset our normal
way of doing things. Oh no, we didn't expect this.
Why can't things work out the way we want them?
All of this self talk will get us nowhere positive until
we realize ACTION is the only helpful response.


What can we learn from this situation, not why
did it happen to me? What doors are now opened?
Can I overcome, stretch, learn from new obstacles
in my way and not stumble or retreat from them?
Only time, faith and our planned actions will tell.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Article #71 History and Me

If you're like most kids, HISTORY of any kind is/was your most boring subject in school. I remember memorizing facts in elementary school on up to college just to pass tests while having no interest at all in the subject.

It wasn't until I matured (read aged a bit) that I began to see the interaction between HISTORY and ME. My awareness may have started when I became aware that I had Mormon pioneers who immigrated from Europe to America after their conversion. I was curious about their homelands and lives there. Also traveling in Europe and other places in the world made me aware of the great differences between countries and cultures. Which led me to say...How come?

Well, being a curious person, I started reading history books for my own personal satisfaction and not to fulfill requirements for a class or to study for a test. Now I was motivated to learn. Perhaps if I'd had a really good HISTORY teacher sometime in my school days, I would have had more interest in this subject earlier.

Nowadays, I'm amazed by what I don't know. Reading the newspaper or watching TV I keep finding subjects that I know nothing about. Lately, we've taken to watching documentary DVDs about the HISTORY of America and I have learned so much more about my own country's development and struggles. I never really understood much about the War of 1812 until I studied it more. Of course watching a well organized DVD is so much easier than reading a dry boring HISTORY book with few illustrations.

As I've studied the lives of my early ancestors, I realized their histories needed to be written so my family members would know more of our heritage and background. That's how my interest in HISTORY really developed when I began the search for my genealogical ROOTS 49 years ago while a college student. I think if I were to start over in college, I'd be apt to major in HISTORY and/or writing. I love HISTORY of any kind.

Tell us how you feel about this topic.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Beauties of Utah

Tell us about the history of your hometown. Mine was settled in 1860s by Mormon pioneers sent south from Salt Lake City, which they settled in 1847, on a Cotton Mission to be self sufficient in all ways. At that time this whole area was out of the United States, but it would be called the Deseret territory and extended into parts of Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada and even California. After years of struggling with the heat, Indians and unruly elements-flashfloods and drought conditions, the early settlers develop a community complete with a tabernacle and a temple. See more on our history here.


As I was driving around our town the other day, I noticed the beauty that is here in this place. The red rock cliffs stark against the blue blue skies, different shades of crimson, orange and browns in jagged silohuettes. (Photo isn't mine but from flicker.) I do love the west and even sage brush and cedar trees. Guess because I was born near this area. It's home to me.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Publishing again

Yesterday I went to a local UPS copy store-that will make my son Jeff happy as he works for UPS. They will be helping me print, bind and publish my collection of articles that I have been writing for the past year for a local newspaper into a book entitled Looking Back...at Life in the "Good Old Days." I've filled an 80+ half page book with 50 articles plus lots of old family photos. Now I'm trying to write a description of the writer-ME. It's really quite the production because I am going to try to sell this book and not just give it away for cost as I've done with the many other family history books I've written.

Above is a photo that will be on the cover. I'll let you know when it will be available, cause I know you'll want to buy one or two of my books. LOL! It's like giving birth to a new child. You have to figure out its name, make all the arrangements for its birth and struggle with a few doubts or two. Can I do this? Am I really going to be a published writer/mother? Guess I can do it, since I birthed four sons and raised them to adulthood before releasing them to the world. Life is certainly interesting and educational. Capturing your journey called LIFE is so important. I hope you are keeping a journal and making plans to organize them into your own personal biography for your family.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Step Families

Almost the norm now with so many divorces
and broken families sometimes through death.
Picking up the pieces of relationships unhealed
is a challenge but necessary part of going on.



The past can't be recreated only remembered,
new family connections will need to be made,
strengthened and developed through time,
patience and unconditional love in abundance.

One day a new blended family different than
the original one can be appreciated by all.
After all, we are all just brothers and sisters
of one great family with the same heavenly parents.

I am a step daughter, step sister, and stepmother,
also a step grandmother, step aunt and an ex-wife,
ex-aunt, ex-sister-in-law, etc. I have ancestors
who were exes and steps also. Life is a challenge.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Article #60 Dads are Different

Father’s Day might be a good day to consider starting to compile your dad’s life story, if it’s not written. Some men are journal keepers, most aren’t. When you finally decide to record his history, it can be a challenge. Remember to ask open-ended questions you want answered before you interview him. It does takes time for that special man in your life to feel comfortable enough to openly discuss his life.

Years ago, I compiled a history of my step dad who was a stoic WWII veteran. He didn’t say much unless you got him talking about the war or politics. No one had ever written his life story down. When he was in his late 80s and having health problems, I decided it was time to interview him and compile his life story for his posterity––many who lived in other states and didn’t see him often. I took notes which I transferred to the computer later for him to check for accuracy. At first I got just the facts ma’am. Later after he was more comfortable talking to me and enjoying telling his story, I started to ask more probing questions like…How did you feel about the war and the Japanese soldiers you were fighting?


His completed story was only twenty pages long and focused mainly on his war years, but I added some background information about his parents. His father was from Sweden and had served in the Swedish army. His mom was from Kansas and met his dad after he’d immigrated to America to work on the railroad. With family and military photos, my stepfather’s history started to come alive. From this project to preserve his legacy for future generations, I learned to understand and appreciate him more.

To be successful in writing a dad’s history, you need the cooperation of your subject. Finding a topic he likes to talk about is the beginning, whether it’s his military experiences, hobbies like hunting or fishing or his work. Listening carefully with genuine interest will build a relationship of trust. If your dad is deceased, it’s still possible to write a story of his life, but it will take more effort and research into his life and background. Interviewing your oldest remaining family members and others that knew him is important. Do it today, as none of us are getting any younger. It’s time to preserve your dad’s legacy.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Computer Age

Man has made many machines, complex and cunning, but which of them indeed rivals the workings of his heart? (Pable Casals, Joys and Sorrows)

Computers can figure out all kinds of problems, except the things in the world that just don't add up. (James Magary)


If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger. (Frank Lloyd Wright)

(From Readers Digest, Quotes on Technology June 2009, p. 189)

Pleasure-Happiness-JOY


Pleasure's fleeting passage leaves us 
empty, wanting more...greed can visit. 
Moments of complete happiness are rare
the universe is aligned, we are at  peace,
secure in relationships, and goals achieved.
We're contented and satisfied for awhile.



Joy is much deeper and longer lasting
the unique profound glimpses of eternity
realized through spiritual manifestations
or whispers to our soul. Blessings come,
and we remember why we are here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Finding your life's purpose

There are lots of different ideas out there about what life is about. Many philosophers, thinkers and teachers have pondered this question through the ages, and everyone comes up with different answers. Diversity. From the comments on my blog yesterday (please read them) here are some ideas I gleaned on the purpose of life: commitment, family, hope for a better tomorrow, to be useful to others, finding joy and laughter in each day, realizing my happiness depends on me, and I keep trying to make things better-keep going cause that's what we are supposed to do

Wow, there was a whole range of emotions expressed there. That's us...individuals each trying to find our way in the maze of life. Reaching out to and connecting with others to gain strength, friendship and love by sharing our trials, triumphs and struggles. 

Most everyone avoided mentioning God or a higher power, probably because we all have different beliefs and don't want to step on anyone else's toes. But just believing in a loving God for me makes this life bearable. I know there is a purpose or meaning to my life. It's a TEST to see if I will live principles of truth each day in how I treat others, and in my personal morals. I will make mistakes but there is always a way to correct that through changing my misbehavior and apologizing to anyone I have offended or hurt including my Heavenly Father and FORGIVING those who have given me offense. 

It's a never ending SCHOOL OR LEARNING experience and our curriculum is organized by a divine power. Opening our hearts, we can learn the many lessons of life-some more difficult than others and bask in the moments of love, joy and beauty that surround us in our FAMILIES, with our FRIENDS and in NATURE. We have never failed in life, IF we are still trying to improve, become better and reach out to help and serve others. That's what I believe.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Why are we here?

Thought it's time to get more comments and ideas from my readers or perhaps I'm running low on ideas? No-that would never happen but I do blog daily. So here's a question for today and I hope to get lots of different unique ideas because you all are each individuals. What motivates you to keep going despite obstacles and problems that seem to arise in each of our lives. So tell me what you believe or don't believe about life's purpose. If you don't have an answer try goggling it. See OPRAH!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Unique Talents or Abilities

I believe everyone has God given talents that are as diverse as the abilities to express yourself in an art form to teaching and touching lives with your example or friendship. I was a dancer in my younger years.

1. I danced in a professional ballet company The Los Angeles City Ballet. Started taking ballet lessons at age 15-after I convinced my mom to let me stop taking piano lessons.
2. Was an extra in Russian Bolshoi's Ballet's production of Romeo and Juliet in the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. We were sewn into our costumes.
3. Won 1st prize in my high school talent show for a toe dance. Won a portable TV set in 1958-it was black and white TV then.
4. Always wanted to dance in Swan Lake ballet and the musical Oklahoma-never did.
5. Choreographed numerous productions-Shakespearean and other musicals.
6. Danced in Boy Friend, South Pacific, Cinderella, Coppelia, Twelfth Night, Kiss Me Kate, Dr. Somebody's Toy Shop, Our Town, Wizard of Oz, etc.
7. Majored in Dance at BYU, recieved a Bachelor and Master's degree in Physical Education (dance). Thesis-Israeli folk dance choreography.
8. Toured Europe in Summer of 1964 with BYU Folk Dancers on their first tour. Saw Paris, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, and Germany.
9. Part of the first Ballroom Dancers group at BYU-loved to dance cha cha cha, tango, waltz, quick step and all those other styles.
10. Taught college dance for 10 years at BYU, Wisconsin State Univ. at Stevens Pt, Univ. of Wis-consin at Mad-ison, Calif. State Univ. at Fullerton, and started several performing groups includ-ing a folk dance group, modern and ballet groups plus creative dance classes for children.

But age and other respon-sibilities such as supporting my family as a single parent demanded that I find a different job which led me to elementary teaching then being a school librarian and finally a part time community education coordin-ator. Now I am retired-I write. It's easier with an aging body but it's still very creative and expressive. My husband isn't a dancer, though we met at a singles dance.

What do you like to do? Tell us about you and your talents in a comment or on your blog.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Happy Anniversary

Yesterday was our 16th anniversary. I know at this rate I'll have to be over 100 when I get to my 50th wedding anniversary. Oh well,  you know what they say about late bloomers. What do they say? The early bird gets the worm or the late birds get the leftovers? LOL! 

I've been married before and can say with all honesty that my husband was worth waiting for as we both learned from previous relationships that ended in divorce. INTEGRITY and RESPONSIBILITY are two qualities that only becomes apparent over time and my hubby has them both. How great to have a husband I can trust who is responsible and caring. Happy Anniversary to us and many many more, an eternity of them...right now my hubby is recuperating from skin cancer surgery so we'll celebrate next week when he's feeling better.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Article #59 Piano Lessons

My mom as a young girl living in a small Utah rural community had always longed for a piano to learn to play. She knew this would never happen because her mom was a widow struggling to find work to support her family of five dependent children. So Mom did the next best thing, she drew piano keys on a cardboard box and pretended to play. Later when she married and I came along, Mom decided to buy me a piano. 

Although I had no interest in learning to play, she arranged lessons for me. After years of trying to convince her that I’d never fulfill her dream of being a pianist, she let me stop taking lessons. It was my tears at my first planned piano recital that finally convinced her. The move to California helped as we left our piano behind with grandma in Utah, and it brought the opportunity for me to study dancing.

My first introduction to ballet was confined to learning to do pliĆ©s at my new girl friend Mary Anne’s house. Holding onto her mother’s ironing board, my friend who had taken ballet lessons for several years was my teacher. Her dad taught piano but I couldn’t get enough dance instruction after I finally convinced my mom that ballet would make me happier than all the piano lessons in the world. 

My greatest desire was to join my friend in her classes and perform in the famous ballet Swan Lake. I wanted to be in the Dance of the Little Swans. It’s a very intricate toe dance executed in unison by a group of four advanced ballet dancers, all unfortunately quite short. I was always tall for my age. You can imagine my disappointment, when after a few months of ballet lessons, our recital came along and I danced in a beginner’s ballet called the Seasons. I was the center dancer representing the sun because of my height. Within a year I had caught up with Mary Anne and danced with her in the ballets Coppelia, and Cinderella. 

During the summers, we attended the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles to see Swan Lake as performed by the professional New York City Ballet. Their starring ballerina in those days was named Maria Tallchief, but she was not as tall as me. Ballet seemed like a dream world of handsome men and beautiful ballerinas dancing out my favorite fairy tales.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Empty Nest


It will come, that day when all your birdies
fly away to make their own nests and families.
Then comes the empty nest and possibilities
of rediscovering your self and your spouse.

Freed from daily caretaking and nurturing
or the nine to five job you are released
to develop talents and find new interests
long delayed or postponed till later.

It's time and it's getting later every minute.
Time to make hay while the sun shines.
We never know how long our sojourn
on earth will last or when the grand babies
will come along to fill our thoughts and time.

I mothered 24/7 from 1966-2001=35 years total. Had my last son at age 42. What a learning experience. He is a joy in my life and now married, his wife Rachel will present us with another grandchild in December 2009.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Other Perspectives

Perspective is important,
not looking at things only
from our own viewpoint
but also others' observations.


Somehow everyone else's life
looks happier more complete
until we get closer, listening
to their concerns and feelings.


  Judging and comparing can
  get us nowhere but frustrated,
  unfulfilled and ungrateful-
  wanting more and then more.


Can we find the serendipity
and little surprises and delights
that can make each day
a growing learning experience?

Only then will we be truly happy,
able to live more fully not demanding
but accepting each day as a gift
from a loving Father above.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How important are we?

Well, I'm just a housewife, mother, wife, daughter, etc. I'm not important to anyone or I'm just a retired teacher. Let's try instead I'm a daughter/son of God with important responsibilities to my family, friends and community. I can be a light, good example, power for good in my circles of influence. 

Reading some of the comments about my post on business cards yesterday, it was interesting. We don't give ourselves enough credit or importance in the scheme of the Universe. (We'll probably be amazed when the time comes to listen in to our funeral service at the difference we made in so many individuals' lives including our family.)

What I'm trying to say is...each of us is UNIQUE from every other individual in the whole universe. We have different personalities, talents, interests, and challenges to overcome. How could anyone love us all? For those of you who are parents, if was amazing how each child that came to your family was so different than the others but yet from the same parents and we love their uniqueness. I thoroughly believe we each come to earth with our own personalities and missions to perform. There is a poem by William Wordsworth that addresses this:

“Ode: Intimations of Immortality”  V. Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The soul that rises with us, our life’s star, hath elsewhere its setting, and cometh from afar: not in entire forgetfulness, and not in utter nakedness, but trailing clouds of glory do we come from God, who is our home...

What is your special mission here in this life or what would your eternal business card say?