Friday, October 31, 2014

Yardwork and Landscaping

Time to do some yard work after all the winter kill of plants
Before the stepping stones that hubby laid lacks any pizzazz..
Just a little decorative rock makes a difference in this pathway
Same thing with our dry creek pathway, little red peebles draw interest!
Our Home Owners Association helps with planning and planting of yards.
Adding some flowers here and there plus some
river rocks to show contrast with gravel
Then there's the back yard and the two side yards no wonder my husband
lost interest in doing this work, he's building a boat in the garage!
I love our dry river bed and the yuccas that surround it
We have a small house with two casitas,  but lots of yard to take care of

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Article #320 Adoptive and Step Parents

            When a parent remarries after a divorce or separation or death of a spouse, it’s an adjustment for those involved especially the children. Acceptance of a new stepmom or stepdad is not automatic. It may never occur depending on the personalities involved. Time and patience plus unconditional acceptance will determine when and IF bonding happens. Step relationships are complex and change through the years depending on the interactions of the individuals involved. Love can’t be forced.  It grows from the seeds of genuine caring and sending value OVER TIME. The younger the child, the easier the adjustment usually is. Although, there are plenty of grown adult children still filled with anger trying to understand why their parents divorced or split up when they were young then remarried. Family and individual counseling can help heal the new relationships involved in a blended or stepfamily.

            What about adoptive parents? If the adopted child is young when placed in a new home by his or her birth parent, it’s easier for that individual to bond with the new adoptive parents. The difficulties come later when an adopted child grows up and wants to meet his or her birth parent/s. It’s new territory for all involved. Mixed feelings can be manifested by an adopted child, a birth parent and even the adoptive parent. Fears of rejection, guilt, anger, etc. may arise.

I’m watching this process as an adopted child who is now a teenager wants information on her birth parent. The adopted parents are helping this daughter reach out to the birth mother, not knowing if that birth parent wants to reconnect or not. In this process there may be other siblings to meet, and many questions to be answered to bring closure. It’s important for the adopted child to go slowly and talk about the process supported by loved ones.

            Having four adopted grandchildren, I’ve watched them bond with their adoptive parents and myself as a grandparent. We are family, yet there is a birth family somewhere that they may want to meet one day. Hopefully not until they are mature enough and interested in making this connection.  Their adoptive parents have sacrificed so much to make a home for these children not born to them, but chosen to join their family.  Hopefully, the children involved have the support of their adoptive family and their birth family in this endeavor to connect.
NEXT TIME: Rebellious Children. 

Article #315 Family Pride

Homemade ham radio station
           pride in my parents’ achievements. We need to do more celebrating of our successes as families and individuals, less time dwelling on our failures. Here’s a challenge-make a list of achievements that your parents or grandparents accomplished: 1. Both my mom and dad were the first to graduate from high school. My dad was the oldest in his family while my mom was the fourth child of five in her family. 2. My dad built a ham radio station and learned Morse code while a teenager. 3. My mom was one of the first women in Utah to learn how to use a ham radio and send/receive code. 4. My dad bought an airplane and became a pilot. 5. My mom became a telephone operator after becoming a widow. Just recalling these facts gives me a sense of pride in my parents’ achievements. We need to do more celebrating of our successes as families and individuals, less time dwelling on our failures.

GMJ as a flapper
in 1920s
In order to share something about your family’s background, you have to know about their lives. Ask them questions if they are still around or try to remember stories or events that your deceased parents or grandparents might have shared with you. Hopefully they or you wrote down some of their thoughts. Look for old photos, letters or news clippings for clues.

         Some topics to get you thinking of what to write about as you look back on your life: who was your favorite relative and why, any fun family traditions or meals, nicknames that you acquired from others, what’s a word that would describe your family: faith, thrifty, loving, honest, struggling, etc. Can you remember any stories your grandparents told you about their parents or background? Then comes the next part to consider writing your own history. It can be an simple as a blog or as complicated as a published autobiography, but some day one of your descendents will read it and learn from your life's struggles and insights. NEXT TIME: Family Links.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Youth Poetry Contest 2014

Four years ago, I decided to start a local Youth Poetry Contest to encourage children ages 1st-12th grade to write and express themselves in words. This year was our biggest participation with 420 youth from 15 local school districts. Supported by Dixie Poets, Washington School District and Tuachan Saturday market which is where it started with encouragement from Rose Marie Broussard, it is now going strong.

Joyce Kohler does a group poem with the audience before the awards. 

 This year's poems were based on the theme of "Remembering." It's amazing the depth of expression and understanding in these students poems. It was difficult to judge them but we selected 1st, 2nd, 3rd and honorable mentions in five different age groups. Judges were from local poetry groups.

The happy talented winners plus judge Shane Williams in red and me on left

Local poets enjoy Joyce Kohler's reading of her award winning poems
Thanks for RoseMarie for taking photos, Gary Christian, Shane Williams
and Sue Leth for helping judge, Virginia Grenier for the gift books and
Dixie Poets and Red Rock Writers for prize money donated.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sst. George Book Festival 2014

Busy times with the yearly Book Festival. Here's some photos, more coming from today's Author Expo.

Keynote speaker prominent Utah author Dean Hughes spoke on
how he writes his novels and work techniques for writers.
Workshop held at Dixie State University with over 50 participants 
Teri Harmon teaches about the importance of story.
Virginia Grenier co-chair of Festival presents ideas on using the senses.
Ideas on how to market your books from Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Charity dinner in the evening with l-r Dale Kohler, his wife Joyce-Utah
Poet of the Year, myself and Marilyn Ball-local poets.
Mayor Jon Pike shares ideas about the importance of reading for all.
Presentation of money to St. George Children's Museum and Washington
County School District for their support of reading and learning,

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Article #314 Not Forgotten

Benjamin Franklin said: If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten; either write things worthy of reading, or do things worthy of writing. How many unforgettable moments do you wish you had recorded in some way. I often think of questions I’d like to ask my mom or grandmother, but they are both gone from this world. Now is the time to record moments with your loved ones or your own life that you’d like to share or leave for your family.
           Barbara Ainge of St. George wrote in her life history about her memories of World War II. Life was different during the War. Everyone pitched in to help. As men went off to fight, women filled in their jobs at the factories, making airplanes, tanks, jeeps, any type of vehicle to contribute to the war effort. Food was rationed so that commodities could be sent to feed the boys overseas. Our family had food stamps and coins issued by the government to use to buy food.
Margarine was invented when butter went to our soldiers at war. I can remember my mom stirring color into the white margarine when it was brought home from the market. Meat was especially limited. Dad used to come home occasionally with a couple of pounds of ground meat which we greatly enjoyed. It wasn’t until years later that’s our mother told my sister and me that she suspected this meat was really horsemeat, but she never asked my Dad.
                   Families who had soldiers, sailors or marines fighting during the war displayed little flags in their front windows. These flags had stars on them: one for each member of the family who was in the armed forces. If a star was a gold color it meant that their servicemen or woman had been killed. The United States and other countries lost millions of their men in that war as they tried to free Europe and Asia from the tyranny of Germany, Italy and Japan. It was four years before World War II was finally won: VE Day (Victory in Europe) came on May 8, 1945 and VJ Day (Victory over Japan) on August 14, 1945. When victory was announced, my Dad piled our family into the car to go down to Newark New Jersey where there was a huge public patriotic celebration for the peace that was finally won.

What important occasions do you need to write about? NEXT TIME: Family Pride. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fun with DUP

Daughters of the Utah Pioneers have a monthly meeting where we discuss the history of those pioneers who came to Utah. I have lots of Mormon pioneers in my pedigree chart and stories about them. See which is my website with all my genealogy stories and photos collected over the past 50+ years. Each month we have a different lesson on pioneer life at DUP. It's a fun organization. Unfortunately I have no daughters of my own to continue on this tradition but perhaps one of my grand daughters will one day. I have a couple of sons who are very interested in genealogy which is a blessing. Our lesson this month was on Pioneer Past Times.

My grandmother Vernon enjoyed handwork as did pioneer women. 
Our DUP officers, I started a camp years ago in New Harmony. 
Our meetings are held at church and all women in our area are invited.
Our new teacher Jerri Francis is a hoot-so funny and in pioneer costume.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Saturday Drive

Craving to see some autumn leaves, hubby and I took a drive to nearby Kolob Reservoir. It was fun to get out in nature and enjoy some time together. Then we stopped by Sonny Boy's BBQ for a quick lunch-delicious!

Redrocks of Utah and Zion National Park west side.
Amazing colors even though vegetation is sparse at this elevatio 
An old ranch house without electricity or water, not used now.
Some pine trees appear as we drive higher in up the mountains.
At last autumn leaves but no red leaves just aspen and scrub oak.

Bright yellows are so cheerful saying goodbye before winter comes.
A very pleasant uncrowded ride up in the mountains.

Here we are at Kolob Reservoir with its lower Fall water level.
Still used for boating but not fishing after September...maybe next year?
Yellow, orange leaves plus green pines welcome in the change of seasons
Time to return home through Zion Park's majestic beauty
Love the variety of rock formations and colors.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Slowing Down or Falling

I live in a retirement community and it seems someone is always falling: stumbling over a rug or a raised sidewalk curb not to mention after climbing up a ladder. I remember falling when young or twisting an ankle, but I seemed to rebound in a short amount of time. With aging, the body bounces back slower. So I decided to write a poem about an experience I had last Sunday.


Off to another important meeting
rushing out the door,
jumping in the car
only to discover I'm falling.

My foot slips on the garage floor,
my ankle turns, I land on my knee
then my elbow, my bottom, next
comes the head. I'm flat, but not out.

All this in a few seconds gives me
a real surprise. Now I'm no longer
caring for others, but I'm the one needing
help. Slowly I sit up, look around then stand.

Grateful that nothing seems broken,
I change my small high heels for flats
then return to the scene of the accident.
Slowly ease into the car and drive away.

Lesson learned...slow down, enjoy
the journey. Who knows when it may end,
suddenly without announcement. After
seventy-four years I should know that.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Article #313 Family Challenges

            Is there a family anywhere that doesn’t have its challenges? Sometimes we might think so when we look at others all dressed up and smiling at church or out on the town together. When we come to know individuals more closely, it’s amazing the trials each person has to overcome. It’s seem to be human nature to always think that life is easier for our neighbors or distant relatives or the other people in the world than for our selves.

            Why? Some may ask, is life so difficult at times? Why can’t it just be fun and games? These are questions many of our youth probably want to ask adults. Looking back at our immediate ancestors lives, we may find some answers. Through their diligence, hard work and perseverance, they worked to creaste more opportunities for us. Their example of faith and hope during trials can motivate us to carry the family tradition of conquering our challenges, overcoming personal weaknesses and striving to become a better person who contributes something good to the world.

            Why are there wars, epidemics, terrorism, suicides, corruption in our modern day world? It’s almost easier to become a pessimist and give up on there being any purpose or meaning to life. And many have. It’s a wild crazy mixed up world we live in these days with few answers or good examples to follow. Hopefully you can be an example to your family and descendents to give them courage to continue to find meaning in each day’s struggle. Strength and personal growth can come when we overcome tests that we each have. Finding faith in a higher power who created this universe can bring peace and purpose no matter what religion or belief system you follow.

            Are there examples from your family of loved ones who overcame tremendous odds and difficulties to become a beacon of hope for you as you strive to live each day better than the last one? I think back on parents, grandparents, cherished uncles, aunts or cousins who through their daily struggles showed me the way to overcome my trials. Not give up, but pressing forward, showing kindness and love to others as walk the daily journey called LIFE. Collect your memories and write down what you remember of family members who have helped you in life. Then share them with us and your loved ones. NEXT TIME: Not Forgotten.

Monday, October 13, 2014

One family at a time

Jeff and Rachel's family came back at a different time from Disneyland and stayed overnight so we were able to have a more relaxed visit with just one set of parents and two kiddos. Although I love having a full house with two sets of parents and 6 total grandkids, it's much easier to enjoy the chaos and excitement with just one family at a time.

Lorien playing with grandma's big legos saved for family visits.
Every little girl wants to be Elsa from Disney's  FROZEN this year...
Eddie enjoys playing with clay with his mom Rachel and his sister. 
Happy Grandma with her two  youngest grandchildren together on her lap!
Snacktime, Eddie's a non stop eater-he loves food of any kind....
All dressed up for church on Sunday, soon time to head home...
We'll meet up again at Thanksgiving time...