Jan 22, 2015

The Best Move I've Ever Made!

For a girl who was born and raised in the same little house in Greenville, CA, I've sure moved around a lot; so I know a thing or two about moving! The sad part is that 17 of the 25 moves happened between 1970-80! (That pretty much sums up that decade of my life!)

Other than the first 17 years and 10 months I spent in my first home the longest I've lived at any address was 8 years and 10 months...

Until now!

We've lived here, on our little quarter acre of heaven for 10 years. As Gordon and I were driving to the Temple yesterday I mentioned to him something that has been rolling around in my little head but finally found its way out-


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Gordon asked why so I started counting off the blessings (name them one by one!)
  • We are close to many of our children and grandchildren and get to interact with them on a frequent basis.
  • We have a paid for home.
  • We are able to serve in the Temple often.
  • We have the privilege of being ordinance workers- which has brought greater meaning to the wonderful blessings administered there.
  • We live in a wonderful neighborhood and community.
  • We are surrounded by good people trying to do the right thing.
  • We live in the mountains (a plus for this mountain-born girl).
  • We live in an area with a lower cost of living.
  • We have four seasons!
The list could go on and on. But I just wanted to share here, publicly, my great gratitude to my Heavenly Father who truly has "opened the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing that there is not room enough to receive."

Jan 10, 2015

Primary Sharing Time Jan- week 2

I always feel like I want to share any ideas I have with others. Today's post may be too late to help many folks, but since I was sick most of the week this is when you get it.

My responsibility as Primary 1st counselor is to not only write the Sacrament meeting program but to do the 2nd week sharing time. I'm frequently at a loss with the small amount of help from the 2015 outline so I have to search for other ideas.

I hope this can help others in their calling.

Jesus Christ is the Son of God

I will follow the outline in the Primary sharing time booklet for week 2.

For Jr Primary I will have additional pictures of Jesus displayed. We will talk about Jesus, who is the Son of God and read the scriptures outlined. Then sing Tell Me The Stories of Jesus.

I will pass out these small coloring books to the children and let them draw their own pictures of their favorite stories of Jesus.

You should be able to right click the image and do a save as. Then print on your computer. I printed mine on 8.5 x 11.  Then added one blank sheet of paper and  cut both papers in thirds horizontally, fold in half and staple on the fold.

Jan 5, 2015

Poor Babies

You know that I have a love/hate relationship with the local deer. I love that they are right here in my yard and that we share a neighborhood BUT I hate that they vandalize my garden.

That being said, I can't help but feel sorry for them in the winter time. I know that the whole Bambi thing comes back to me when he says, "But I'm so hungry Mother!" I've never been hungry other than by choice! And the thought of any creature staving just breaks my heart.

I was sitting here in my perch-up-on-top (aka my office) when I caught some movement through the partially closed blinds. On closer inspection I saw that it was our neighborhood Mama and her twins. I've watched this little family all year. (On a side note, Bekah has a similar trio at her house and they literally sleep right outside their master bedroom window and have eaten her yard to bits!)

They were scavenging on the berries dropped by the *fat-flappers* that also share my neighborhood!

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Now, help me understand how this works... there is this whole flock of robins that DO NOT fly south for the winter. They just stay here in their plentiful neighborhood all year long. Besides many trees that keep their summer fruit on the tree through the winter, nature's bird feeders, there are plenty of folks that have out regular bird feeders. As you can see they are not hurting for food-supply! But the deer? Well, they don't have wings yet so they only get the droppings or what they can reach from the ground.

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This little deer-family stayed for quite a while and let me get some sneaky photos through the blinds (NEVER pull the blinds up!). Finally Mama ambled across the street to see what they were serving up over there today. And this little slow baby finally followed.

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I have to tell you that I felt so bad for them that I dug out some of the ancient, sprouting carrots from my vegetable drawer in the fridge and horked them out under their feeder tree. Poor babies...

Dec 14, 2014

Christmas Reflections

The Christmas season can be a difficult time for those of us who have lost loved ones. I've given it a lot of thought on this 34th Christmas without Tony and Amanda.

Why is it so hard?

When I look at it from a faith based point-of-view (and I AM full of faith) I say, "This is the celebration of the birth of our Saviour! The one who makes it possible for me to have faith in that glorious resurrection when I will be reunited with my children."

So why is it so hard?

I've reflected on Elder Joseph B Wirthlin's talk Come What May, and Love It. But I've decided that I need to change that just slightly to-

Come What May, and Love HIM

With that slight change in wording I'm able to trust in the Lord. Trust that He will never leave me comfortless; He will never leave me to *go it alone*!

But why is it so hard?

I've decided that the Christmas celebration embodies everything that is good and family. It is frequently one of the few times that extended families gather and reconnect with their loved ones: older siblings come home from college or far-away locations. It is a concentrated dose of familial love which makes us feel more keenly those who are not with us here.

So is it still hard?

Yes, and no. Some fifteen years ago a friend, who'd also lost a son, was visiting at Christmas time and I commented that this was the first year that Christmas wasn't so hard. She lamented that I shouldn't tell her that because, in fact, 20 years was a lot of sad Christmases.

How can I make it NOT be hard?

Well, the only way I know of is FAITH! Faith in my Lord, Jesus Christ. Faith in His promises. Faith in His timing. And faith that He will help me CHOOSE to be happy.

And that, for me, is the key. I have to choose to be happy. I avoid those things that will throw me into a funk. When those sad, longing feelings come, and they always do, I try to replace them with thoughts of joy. Joy that my children have been freed from the trials of this world. Joy that I will be with them again someday. Joy that I was am given the privileged of  being their mother. Joy that they are ever near to me... just through the thin veil that separates us temporarily.

Yes. I choose joy.

On a lovely side note-

Today we had a special Stake Conference at which Bishop Gérald Caussé was our visiting authority. As tender mercies will happen, our Stake President, W Vince Wilding, was a missionary in young Brother Caussé's ward in France 35 ago where Brother Caussé served as the branch pianist.

Bishop Caussé and his wife spoke. She apologized for her broken English and strong French accent but spoke movingly of our Savior and the words of the song What Child Is This. When Bishop Caussé got up to speak he said he had a surprise for his wife. He went to the piano and played the most beautiful arrangement of What Child Is This. I was so touched not only by his ability to *speak* that pure language of music but the sweet gesture it was to his wife, who struggles to speak in English.

Dec 9, 2014

Linzer Cookies

I was invited to a Christmas cookie exchange by a new friend in my neighborhood. She's recently moved here from Virginia and this is one of her traditions from back home. I was excited for this way to welcome her.

A cookie exchange is usually about nice cookies... not just your run-of-the-mill chocolate chip cookies. (Although they are very yummy!) I knew that I wanted to use a cookie that I'd found 6 years ago online. I love any sort of shortbread cookie and then if you add raspberry it just kicks it up a notch. Behold the Linzer Cookie.

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But here's the problem... I got a bad cold a week ago and have been feeling like Pooh-Bear- my head is stuffed with fluff! And although I am feeling better than I was, my brain is still not too sharp. I had the hardest time adding 38+15 last night trying to get to the that magic number of 60 cookies (wait... this gets better!)

Yesterday is when most of the work took place. I needed things from the store so I took a trip to Ream's and should have just bought blanched almonds but I'd just toasted 3 cups of UN-blanched almonds. The process of blanching is fairly easy, but time consuming and made harder by the fact that I'd already toasted them. Gordon came to help: many hands make light work! But did I get a photo? NO!

Those 3 cups of blanched almonds get ground up and added to the dough. I rolled and cut AND rolled and cut... for a long time- until I had the necessary 60 cookies. I made extra just in case some didn't turn out ok.

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This morning I assembled the cookies. I wanted to use some of my homemade raspberry vanilla jam. Which, of course, involves more work to strain out all of the seeds. But definitely worth the effort.

Just add about 1 tsp of jam to the bottom of the whole cookie and then top it with one of the cut cookie.

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Since I was making 60 cookies I needed a fast way to fill that center well... ah... my turkey baster!

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NOW we get to the best part of this whole story-

I just looked at the invitation again, don't know why, and guess what?

I'm supposed to bring 6 dozen cookies...  NOT 60!

I was able to scrap together 68 cookies... 

OMSH... it's not easy being me!!)

Nov 24, 2014

OUR Thanksgiving...

I've said it before (and I will continue to say it!)-

I would rather have
on any day than
half of my children, or stressed-out children on THE DAY!

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And it is in that spirit that we always have OUR Thanksgiving on the Sunday before the actual Thursday Thanksgiving.


Our family just keeps growing and growing (look at all of those tall people!! And then there's Grammie! Joan, you really are that short!!)

We were joined by one of our adult grandchildren this year (boy can that make you feel old!)

The only thing that would make this a better day is for us to have our out-of-town children join us.

Here's hoping you and yours have as joyful a time as we did on our Thanksgiving!

Nov 19, 2014

Nature is Back in Balance!

I posted a pix to Instagram and Facebook last week when my bed went flat... the responses were quite amusing! So maybe I need to start by way of explanation-

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It all started in 1974 when I hurt my back loading firewood... wait... maybe that is too far back for this post, but a necessary fact nonetheless!

From there I will fast-forward to 10 years ago (Is that any better? My brother-in-law teases me that when I tell a story I go WAY back!) We'd recently moved to Utah and I was called as the Girls Camp director for our ward. I took my blow-up mattress with me, no sleeping on hard surfaces for this Grammie. Shortly thereafter I ran away back to CA because I missed it so badly! And I slept on my air mattress again for the 3 weeks I was gone.

When I got home I realized that my back didn't hurt as much (see I told you this would be important) so I decided to make myself a poor-man's-sleep-by-number-bed. Gordon and I had been sleeping on two twin bed mattresses pushed together to make a king-sized bed anyway, so it didn't impact his bed.

That first mattress lasted for a bunch of years before I had to replace it. The later models just didn't seem to have the lasting power.

Last fall I had a soap-bubble party out on the back deck locating all of the pin-hole leaks in various mattresses of different sizes and patching them. (Whew... this is getting long!)

ANY-way, about a week ago my air mattress, which had been patched, started leaking again. And since my back has been worse lately (lo, these 40 year later!) I decided it was time to get a REAL mattress!

I decided on a Novaform foam mattress that is similar to the Tempura-pedic sold by Costco. They didn't have any in the local warehouse so I ordered it at Costco.com and waited patiently on a Rube Goldberg make-it-do situation of leftover foam pieces, two pillow and a foam topper that used to be on the air mattress. I felt like I was sleeping on a trundle bed!

But Monday finally arrived with the UPS dude delivering a HUGE 72-pound box that contained my shrink-wrapped mattress. It took a few hours to for it to "recover" (Sleep Innovations term for getting un-shrink-wrapped) but...

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And I'm not the only one who is pleased about that fact!

But here is the last bit of fun that came with my new mattress... the gi-norm-ee-ous box transformed by the Grammie-faerie into a Fiona play house!

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She was a little unsure whether she wanted to go inside to get her new pony but Camille sent me a couple of photos last night of her thoroughly enjoying her new digs.

Nov 8, 2014

Mountain-Goat Grammie

Earlier this week a friend posted a photo of her and her walking buddy, Cooper, on the trail that runs above our houses- the Bonneville Shoreline trail. It looked so glorious that it tempted me right out of the house and up onto the mountain.

I grew up right at the base of the mountains in our little town in the Indian Valley, California. I used to take off and explore all over the mountains. It always refreshes and rejuvenates me to take a hike (which is different than a walk!)

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Harley could hardly believe his good luck! I never let him off the leash when we go on walks. But since this was a hike and we were up the mountain I told him he needed to stay where I could see him or he'd have to go back on the leash. (Yes, I talk to him like he's a person... a little person in a hairy-suit!) He understood and was quite obedient to my conditions; well, most of the time.

We hadn't gone far when the view opened up across the valley to Utah Lake with the cerulean sky overhead.

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At this point I couldn't tell where the trail went next... silly me, I should have just looked on Google Maps on my iPhone which clearly shows the trail. So I doubled back and headed up the side of the mountain on a mountain goat deer trail.

I wanted to get up to the power lines and survey the fire damage (which is almost imperceptible after the wet September we had). I quickly realized that this mountain goat trail went up and down each of the gullies that one almost doesn't perceive when looking up on the mountain. After one such gully I was seriously doubting the wisdom of where I was (what if I tumbled down the mountain and had to call for a rescue? Now that would be embarrassing!) and decided that I needed to just start down hill until I hit the real trail again.

There is a lovely rock that was just right for resting on. I spied out my house. It was easy since my other neighbor has a wonderful bright red tree in her yard.

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I'm always surprised at how a camera diminishes distance. This photo doesn't reflect how far this Grammie had hiked!

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I've often thought I'd like to hike to the top of this mountain... but not this day!

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We got back home just as the light was turning all golden and lovely.  We'd had a happy outing on this golden, stolen November day!

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I know that all too soon we will have snow and it will be months before this kind of hike will be possible.

Oct 31, 2014

My DeLoris

DeLoris Percy
July 21, 1921 - October 30, 2014

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I knew this day would come... it does for all of us. Yesterday my ga-LOR-ee-ous De-LOR-ee-ous was released from this frail existence to go home to home to her loving Heavenly Father.

DeLoris has been my dear friend nearly from the day I moved to Utah. I was blessed with being called to be her visiting teacher. The Lord knew exactly what I needed when I moved here. I was just 52 and I was assigned with a bunch of octogenarians! It didn't take long for DeLoris and I to become fast friends.

DeLoris couldn't drive because of her pain patch so I frequently became her chauffeur. She introduced me to many of the local delights (other than WalMart!). In the fall of 2005 we began our yearly tradition of driving the Alpine Loop.

In fact, we just made our last annual drive 2 weeks ago.

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I went to visit with DeLoris and asked if she would be up to a drive to which she replied, "Let's go!" With her uncertain health (we had a scare before her birthday) I knew that we had to seize the opportunity IMMEDIATELY!

I also knew, from past experience, that she was no longer tall enough to see out the window without some help. We joked on our last trip that she needed a booster seat! So I yoinked a couple of pillows off her bed and away we went.

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This dear sweet friend, my DeLoris, is such a marvelous example of uncomplaining patience through trials. Oh, how I will miss her!

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God be with you till we meet again...

Oct 25, 2014

Grammie's Costume Box of Memories

In 1979 I made my little kids Halloween costumes. I was so pleased with the how they turned out. (Please to notice the barn wood shelf, the very stylish macrame owl and plant hanger- accenting, of course, the harvest gold couch)

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Previous years I'd done easy things like a ghost, cowboy, fireman etc but this year I went all out.

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My first thought was that these would become pajamas but I was so happy with them that they became the first residents of the Halloween box.

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(When I ran across this tomato costume last week I'd forgotten that it was this old and I was that young.)

Over the years I've added more costumes: the Fruit of the Loom guys (a bunch of grapes and an apple), the tortoise and the hare, salt and pepper, pirates, hula girl, shepherds, Tinkerbell (a hand-me-down from Sue), an old woman and many more. Each Halloween we'd pull the box out and have a costume parade... and I loved it.

My favorite will always be the years Bek and the boys would come to visit. Stuart would usually have us in tears of laughter. I searched in vain for my blog post about this and I just now remembered- it's not on my blog but tucked safely in one of my many scrapbooks (you remember those days before blogging?)

So I was happy when Camille asked if the kids could come over and *shop* in Grammie's costume box for Halloween. Yes, please!

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But this was our unexpected bonus... we put Fiona in her Auntie Amanda's 35 year old costume. (And see Mama-Camille's cute *costume*?)

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What do you think this little costume would say about this?

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Grammie says it makes her heart very happy!