Monday, December 29, 2014

Article #324 Final Goodbye

            It’s time to say goodbye to my Senior Sampler column after almost six years of writing Looking Back… Not moving away, just ready for a change. This column started in April 2008, a year after we moved to St. George and settled into our Sunriver retirement community. I joined several writing groups locally: Heritage Writers Guild and the Dixie Poets. Having contributed articles to several magazines, the idea came to me to write a weekly column. During a bout with a bad cold, I spent time thinking about what to write. Because of my love for family history, the idea came quickly to explore my younger days as child growing up in rural Utah. thus came this column’s title Looking Back…

            How fun to recall experiences with my grandparents, Saturday night baths in an old tub, using the outhouse, gathering pine nuts, etc. Sending out query e-mails to several local newspapers, the Senior Sampler responded positively. Thus began my new hobby of volunteer journalism. After writing about my youth and things I learned growing up, I decided to gather these stories together to publish a book with all my columns in one place. 

            My first self-published book is entitled:
Looking Back at the Good Old Days describing my experiences growing up with the old fashioned values of my parents and grandparents. That, of course, lead to my next book Find Your Voice, Write Your Life Story which examines my journey from teenager to bride to mother to grandmother. It also includes tips on writing, editing and publishing your own life story. Both of these books are tied to my weekly columns and can be read for free at Just click on my author’s name in the left column and you’ll find a collection of my past weekly articles or better yet buy my books or read my blog which contains all my articles and current books.

             Writing has brought me enormous rewards and free therapy as I discovered the value of contemplating your life to understand the journey we each take. My final book (so far) Discover Your Voice After Divorce: Writing Workbook for Healing and Recovery evolved. It is available in print from me for $15 or as an e-book for $5.99 at Thanks to my many readers who have encouraged me along the way. May you find your voice by writing about this journey called life.  No NEXT TIME.

Sunday, December 28, 2014


Visiting Grandma Floyd in 2014...
Happy Brithday LORIEN
She's FIVE now!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Marriage and the US CENSUS

There was a news article that intrigued me as a genealogist for 50+ years who has used US Census records to collect information on my ancestors. It was a discussion of the possibility of NOT asking marriage information in future censuses possibly because of privacy concerns for the individuals involved; although the results aren't available to the public till 70 years after a census has been taken. Meaning that the1940 census was just released in 2010. Interesting for me because I hadn't been born yet the month the census was taken. My parents were living on the railroad in Nevada, but it gave me interesting information on them and who their neighbors were, etc. Each census varies on the info that is provided. If you want to read more click below on questions answered on the website by Bowling Green State University of Ohio who are concerned and doing research on marriage and family.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

So fun to have Daniel and Tina's family here to celebrate CHRISTMAS with us.

Ham dinner  and trimmings was enjoyed by all
Presents to open and time to share together-the best present
Four of my seven grandkids-all growing up too fast...
Welcome to Christmas at our house 
Sunset and sunrise, life continues as we celebrate Christ's coming to earth.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


So stopping one activity helps you to focus on what other POSSIBILITIES there are. I felt impressed about a month ago to STOP writing my weekly (volunteer/not paid) columns for the local Senior Sampler. I've written about 325 articles, one a week for almost 6 years. That's a lot of thinking to generate new ideas. Everyone seems to like what I write as many people stop to tell me at church or other activities how much they enjoy my ideas. Interestingly enough my husband doesn't read my columns. His interests are somewhere else on building a boat!

Using special paint urethane alkyd-this is the third kind hubby tried––it worked!
It looks great and is so smooth and shiny-it is masking tape.
I will be taking my first CRUISE anywhere with Daniel and family to ALASKA in Aug 2015 on Norwegian Cruise Lines. Unfortunately, my hermit husband isn't interested in traveling on BIG SHIPS. So, he'll stay home and work on his row/sailing/motor boat-it's 15 feet long. He's making progress again with painting the outside, then it will be time to turn it over and work on the inside. It's quite the retirement hobby––keeps him busy and out of trouble!

The process and the painter seen through my fish eye lense adjustment.
So on to the FUTURE. With some of my time freed and less pressure to publish each week, I want to focus on more time with FAMILY, developing my TALENTS in poetry and photography, and serving in my church calling as 1st councilor in the RELIEF SOCIETY-responsible for 150 women in our church that range in age from 55 to 93.

I'm planning a BIG YEAR in 2015 because I turn 75 on July 12th. Will have a party at Daniel's and invite all my family members who can come to have a FAMILY REUNION. This includes my stepdaughters too and their families. I have a blended family with four sons and four stepdaughters. Many of them live in faraway states like New Mexico, California and Washington, so it's not that easy to travel to Utah, but it's time to CELEBRATE family before the final GRADUATION.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Article #323 Season of Change

            As I’m approaching my 75th birthday next year, I’m amazed by how much there still is to learn about me. You think after living with myself all these years, I’d have become perfect, but I’m not. I still make mistakes, hurt others’ feelings, forget too easily lessons learned years ago. Guess I’m not ready for graduation yet. For those who don’t believe in a next life, it must be fun to just live it up and do whatever you feel like without fear of consequences in the future. I’ve always believed there is a purpose to this time on earth: to become a better person. Not a perfect individual, but constantly learning from mistakes made and trying to improve.

            The scariest part about aging is not knowing how much time is left. You could die tomorrow from a car accident or stroke or heart attack or be faced with struggling for years with cancer or some other fatal disease. I see this as the final test before moving into another existence called by some heaven. I don’t believe in reincarnation. I would hate to think of returning to life as a mosquito or cow or other creature. I value my family and believe they are the reason I’m here, to learn from them, nurture and love them. In this day of the mutation of the family and its values in a society hell bent on satisfying the individual only, my beliefs give me security and stability.

            Whatever season of life you are in, there are lessons to be learned. Hopefully you keep a journal to record, evaluate and share this education called life. If you haven’t started writing, accepted my challenge to start your life story. Time is running out for all of us. Next month will be my last column and the beginning of a new phase of my life focused more on family and less on trying to save the world or you my reader who I have encouraged, guilt loaded and urged unceasingly for five plus years to write your life story and find your voice then help others discover their voice including your extended family members, friends and loved ones. Each person is unique and has something special to contribute to this life IF they can find their voice and the self confidence to use their time here on earth by developing and sharing their talents. NEXT TIME: Final Goodbye (to my Senior Sampler Columns)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Last PARTY before Christmas

Elaine and Carolyn look over the buffet table for the Relief Society
Time to dish up yummy food for the party. 
Lots of sisters attending between 30-40 but not at the same time. 
It was an open house from 2-4 pm at Marilyn's festive home.
Kitchen helpers fix the special cherry pudding dessert.
Lots of conversing going on, it was fun just to visit and talk to each other. 
A fun afternoon, we also gathered toys for tots to give.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Article #322 Failure or Faith

           Each day is an opportunity for you to feel like a failure when your expectations aren’t met or doubts enter about your unknown future. As a young friend of mine said I feel so confused. My reply was: This is a world of confusion. So much is happening so fast, that’s it’s difficult to stay in one place and not feel frazzled. What can you do? Focus on the positive, develop faith in some belief system that gives direction and purpose to your life as you struggle with each day’s challenges. When you blame others including God for problems, gratitude takes a back seat and can be replaced by perfectionism, frustration, and depression.

            The cry of today’s youth and many adults is That’s not fair. As IF life is suppose to be fair and supply all our needs and desires with little effort required on our part. Trust in the plan, learn from your experiences. Don’t fight them, embrace them for the lessons they bring. For those who have struggled with raising teenagers, you probably tried to teach your children that life isn’t fair, but there are rewards to be gained from soldiering through the difficult times, leaning on your faith and supportive friends and loving family for encouragement.

             The concept of looking at life as a glass half full rather than half empty will help you avoid feelings of failure. Optimism is contagious and necessary for the development of faith in self and life’s purpose. There is a reason you are here on earth in a family and in this community: to struggle and learn from adversity. Celebrate your efforts then share the wisdom gained with others.

             This is not a random universe-there are laws and natural forces that keep everything in check and moving in its proper orbit. Everyone is governed by laws and natural forces. Stimulus––response, action––reaction, mistake––consequences, failures–––learning. Don’t hate or doubt the schoolmaster who developed this curriculum. Just spend time reflecting, appreciating and learning from your stumbles and develop your faith and cultivate hope in the many blessings that come.

            Writing your life story will help you discover the strengths that you’ve developed from challenges and weaknesses that come to all. Start listing the major trials/tests you’ve faced. Mine was divorce and becoming a single parent. From this experience, I became a stronger person and learned to rely on my faith for direction and purpose. NEXT TIME: Season of Change.  

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas is COMING....

What is CHRISTMAS all about?
Some think it's Santa Claus coming
with toys for good little girls and boys.

Others say it's a TIME of gathering
family members together
exchanging presents and feasting.

It's celebrating the birth
of the SAVIOR of the world
so many years ago in Bethlehem.

Christmas is not only a holiday 
but a HOLY DAY to honor
the coming of our Savior to earth.

He lived and set the example
for us to FOLLOW in serving others
in love and peacefulness.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Happy Birthday JEFFREY

I made this collage 5 years ago, so Jeff is 32 this year
and doing well––married to Rachel, has two kiddos
Lorien and Eddie, works in SLC, completed a mission
to Japan for our church and loves genealogy!

What a sweet family and a good father Jeff is...

Friday, December 12, 2014

To DYE or Not to DYE

When you reach my age
the big question is
to dye or not to dye...
the hair, since dying
of old age is a given.

As a child I was blond,
brunette as an adult
then gray hairs appeared
during my sons' teen years
revealing the aging process.

BEFORE-platinum blonde-frowning
So, I hit the bottle
Clairol's Nice and Easy
that become blond
again, but it was too light.

Now I'm trying a darker
color with more brown 
not just platinum hues
because my son said to me:
Your  hair is white, mother dear.

AFTER-natural light blonde-notice the smile!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Looking Back over FIFTY Years

Recently I attended my fiftieth year reunion at BYU. In 1964, I graduated with my Masters degree in Physical Education (Dance), went on the FIRST European tour with the BYU Folk Dancers and got married to my first husband in the the SLC temple. What a summer! Seeing my classmates from long ago was thrilling this past weekend as we hugged and shared memories. Two of our dance troupe have died from cancer. Many others I couldn't locate through our alumni directory. My name is those days was Linda Vernon later to be changed to Lin.

Graduation with my Masters of Arts

Engagement photo at age 23

My grandparents: standing the Vernons, seated GMJohnson
Looking back, it's fun to recall all the experiences in my life that have brought me to where I am now as I approach my 75th birthday next July...Getting married opened the way for my family to rise up around me as I had four sons and now seven grandchildren. Love them all.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Article #321 Rebellious Children

              Into everyone’s life, there comes a difficult child. In the olden days, they were sometimes called the black sheep of the family. The child that rebels against family values. Extremely independent, but insensitive to others’ needs, it can be a real struggle to interest this person in communicating with parents or siblings. These individuals sometimes emotionally and physically divorce themselves and want nothing to do with the family.

The first question of any parent is What did I do or NOT do to create this child that I no longer recognize? That’s called taking things personally and leads nowhere, except down. If there’s one principle constant in life, it’s that PEOPLE WILL CHANGE over time. A parent can only give raising a child his or her best effort. Rebellious children sometimes grow into responsible individuals. Other times, they can get hooked exploring addictions or alternate life styles which can derail their lives. They become lost or so it seems.

It would be wonderful if there was a MAGIC principle to apply for any family to assure happiness; but everyone has  agency to choose his or her path in life. Reaching out and keeping contact with the straying ones to reassure them of your love as a parent or grandparent may be the only hope of bringing them back into the fold and security of the family. Blaming yourself doesn’t work. I know I’ve tried it. Letting them experience the consequences of their decisions isn’t easy, but necessary.

You’d like to spare your offspring the struggle of learning the hard way, but sometimes it’s not possible. Being a good example and teaching family values patiently is the only way. Be a source of love and comfort. I have seen some parents RESCUE a child time after time without offering any counsel or advice on how to avoid the pitfalls of life. It’s important that parents understand that continuing to enable a weak child to be rescued from consequences of poor choices can lead to co-dependency. It may be necessary for a parent or grandparent to TAKE A STAND to encourage an adult child to take responsibility for their own welfare. Words of encouragement, a listening ear are priceless, while bailing them out of yet another disaster can just build a pattern of irresponsibility––all too familiar in this me generation. NEXT TIME: Failure or Faith. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Reunion time in Utah Valley

Fifty years ago in Europe on the R with the folk dancers.
Click here to see one minute movie clip of our tour.
Christmas Around the World concert a yearly tradition
Introducing my classmates after the concert at the alumni house
Some of my college friends and folk dancers
Dancers from our tour group of 50 years ago
Dg-in-laws+grand daughters attend the reunion party with me.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Time for a Weekend Getaway

Flying north to Salt Lake City to visit family in Utah Valley again. We were just there last weekend but I'm returning alone for my 50th Folk Dance Reunion at Brigham Young University. Will attend with two daughters-in-law and three grand daughters the annual concert Christmas Around the World featuring dances from many different countries. Then afterwards there will be a reception to honor those early dancers in 1964 that made the first tour to Europe. I was only 24 years old then, graduated from college and had been teaching dance at BYU for two years. That summer I would marry and begin another adventure in living. It was a trip of a lifetime.

I have a tour history online with photos and journal of my trip. Just click here.

That's me on the far right, young and skinny!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Time for Partying...

Seems like all the organizations I'm a part of want to party early in the month. Dixie Poets had their annual potluck with our pres. Alma Richie doing his entertaining card tricks and great food and socializing

Then came Heritage Writers Guild party with more pot luck and awards for our annual Jack Frost contest for poetry and prose.

Same room but different people-writers from St. George's, different potluck dishes
Guest guitarist-he was very talented
Santa Claus is coming to town this month! 
Lots of holiday decorations...
Mrs. Santa Claus came too...she one of our co-presidents of the group.