Friday, February 29, 2008

Our February 29th

Today was busy. I completed Helen’s blog, and sent out e-mails to people to let them know. It was amazing how long everything took, but I wanted to word things well. Then after I’d sent out the e-mails I realized I’d forgotten to include the blog address, so I had to send them out again. BUT it's DONE! I'm so glad. It has been a long time coming. It has been a very worthwhile project, and I've been grateful to be able to do it. There are actually two blogs for her--one regular, and another that contains the unabridged texts of all the talks that were given at her funeral. I put blog counters on each of her blogs. Only three people have left comments, but 55 people have looked at the main one since this morning. 15 have also looked at the talk blog. That's good to know.

Then to celebrate February 29 our family went to Outback Steakhouse. We also rented the movie Stardust. From the commercials I saw about Stardust, I really didn’t think I would like it, but I really did. It was not a movie for little kids, (Kirsten went to bed before it was over) but it was a fun flick that told a sweet story with a happy ending. Helena told me it was somewhat like The Princess Bride, and it really was, although it was very different. Anyway, I’d recommend it. Jim and Betsey really enjoyed it too.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Does Elizabeth Look Like Peter? (Her Daddy) What Do You Think?

The following picture was taken in September of 1977. Peter was 9 1/2 months old. Helena (on the left) was 6 1/2, and Kirsten was 8. Jim and Kathey were 35. I love those Polly Flinders dresses the girls are wearing. Some friends and I used to go to the Polly Flinders outlet in Cincinnati. They were seconds so we got those dresses for 3 or 4 dollars each.

In the next picture Peter is 5 months old.

Little Miss Valentine Elizabeth is 5 weeks old here

This is a nice one of her looking at the camera on blessing day.

It will be interesting to see how she looks when she is a little older. Who do you think she looks like?

What Will You Do To Celebrate February 29th?

Tomorrow is the 29th of February. We're being given an extra day this year that comes around only once every four years. Rather than just letting it pass as another day in a routine week, I decided that we should do something to celebrate it. I’d like to go to a restaurant we haven’t been to around here, and possibly rent a video. What video should we rent? Barbie and Kyle recently saw Enchanted at the dollar theater and loved it. They said we’d really enjoy it. I wonder if it's out on video yet?

Going to a restaurant and renting a video isn’t anything spectacular but it ought to be fun, and we don't do it very often. It’s the wrong time of the year to go to the zoo or something like that. Even though I would love to go bowling, I haven't done that in years, and I don't think I could stand the smoke that is usually associated with bowling alleys.

My mom and I used to watch bowling on TV and really enjoyed it. I remember that Don Carter was a favorite. Right now I don't remember any of the others. When I was in jr. high or high school, I was on a bowling team in a league for teenagers that met on Saturdays, and I loved it! (I know I have a picture of the team around here somewhere, but I haven’t found it yet. I do remember that my top score was 192. I don’t remember my average.) We called ourselves The Deadbeats. Yes, that's an odd name for a bowling team, but there was a reason for that.

There was a TV show that was very popular with teens back then. (My guess would be between 1957 and 1959) It was on fairly late at night, probably on a Friday or Saturday. I hope that the name of it and more details will come back to me but all I can remember right now is that it was spooky in a hokey sort of way, and we kids loved it. The host was a guy who dressed like a vampire, and every once in awhile there would be a flash of lightening on the screen. The lightning was very distinctive, and even today I’ve seen that same flash used quite often when such a thing is required on TV. Sometimes I’ve even said to myself “That’s the lightning from–––––––“ and I’ve said the name of the show, so I know it’s in my brain somewhere. (Help, does anyone know? I tried calling my brother to ask if he remembered, but he wasn’t home.)

Anyway, to make a short story long—on this TV show was a musical group that was funny. I remember that one time they sang “I Ain’t Got No Body” and appeared as a group of singing, heads that kind of bounced around as they sang. The name of the group was The Deadbeats. It was a fun group, so we decided to name our team after them. At the time I couldn’t imagine why the manager of the league thought that was a terrible label to put on our team. It wasn’t until later that I learned that a deadbeat was someone who didn’t pay his bills, but hey, for us it had a much different connotation.

Isn’t it interesting that we can start out writing about a subject and something will trigger memories that cause the subject to go in a completely different direction? I just decided to let it flow and see where it would take me. It’s been fun.

Monday, February 25, 2008

We're Back!

We had four days in the Los Angeles area last week. California--land of incredibly tall skinny palm trees; bird of paradise flowers, and wax begonias blooming in February; very neatly trimmed trees and hedges; and crazy freeways either zipping along at 80+ mph or stopped. Well, yes, I had been there before, but it had been a very long time. And distances. I had totally forgotten about that. It takes a long time to get somewhere, especially when there's so much traffic. I had no clue. Here at home we can drive for 5 or 10 minutes and be out in the country, and it takes only 15 minutes to get to the next town.

We had a couple of unusual things happen on the way out. Twice we had to wait about 20 minutes in the plane on the ground before disembarking because another plane was in our parking place. Then when we went to pick up our luggage at LAX one of our bags wasn't there. There was another one, a little smaller, that was the same flower-print green as mine, but it didn't belong to us. When he inspected the tag, Jim found a phone number belonging to someone named Katie. On the third try she answered the phone. When he told her that her bag was at the airport and we suspected that she had one of ours, Jim heard her say to someone in the car, "Dad we have to go back." She showed up 15 or 20 minutes later, and yes, she did have my suitcase. Wheeeeeew! When we gave her the other suitcase we also have her two pass-along cards, so it will be interesting to see if anything ever comes of that.

SO! Hopefully we have learned that when flying, always include a cell phone number on the luggage.

Being out there was sure nice. The temperature was usually somewhere in the 60's during the day. Being with family, however, was THE nicest part. We got to meet Elizabeth on Saturday, and she was blessed on Sunday. She's an incredibly good sleeper. Her mom and dad get around that by taking lots of pictures whether or not she's awake, so we did too.

We are so grateful to have been able to meet Elizabeth and be there for her blessing.

It's amazing how you can spend two hours holding a sweet baby on your lap and just stare at her while she sleeps. That's what Grandma did that first day. (awww)

All tired out from the big day. This is the dress that
Aunt Barbie made three years ago when cousin Kate
was blessed. Aunt Barbie also made this quilt
for Elizabeth

Grandpa got to hold Elizabeth a lot too. We love this picture.

This is also a favorite.
Aunt Kirsten thought Elizabeth was pretty special.

Lovely Mama

Happy Papa

She looks so familiar to me. Betsey says that's because she
looks like Peter. I'm not really sure who she looks like
--all the kids I guess, and my brother.

Peter planted a few squeaky kisses on her head. It was very cute.

She really does have red hair!
Awake and Smiling

Coming back was a bit of a shock. The first leg of our trip home took us to Dallas. As we took off from Dallas the captain announced that the temperature here at home was 16 degrees. A little later he announced that it had gone down to 12 degrees. As we were landing he said it was then 9 degrees. We had copious amounts of snow and ice. Six inches had fallen that day and the previous night, and our car was coated with a pretty thick layer of ice. Jim had us wait in the airport while he went to the car and scraped ice for about a decade. Good move I think. By staying in I missed much of the lunar eclipse that was going on at the time, but we stayed warm.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Put Your Head Down and Slide

When we first moved here we had only one car. Jim was in the AFIT program so he was in school full time. We also had a handicapped daughter who was in an early intervention pre-school program and needed transportation so I really needed the car. Jim solved that problem by riding his bike to work/school. I wish I had a picture of the things he did to prepare his bike, and himself. He had a basket for carrying his books, etc., and he also put a slow-moving-vehicle sign on the back of his bike. You’ve seen them—the big red triangle on the back of tractors, etc. You could definitely see him coming—or going as the case may be.

This was in the days before bicycle helmets, so he wore a motorcycle helmet. (I’m glad he did, as you will see later.) The helmet was to protect his head in case of accidents, but it was also handy for keeping the rain out of his eyes, and sleet off his cheeks. Get the picture? He rode all during the year—in all kinds of weather. He dressed in layers, and showered when he got to work/school. One day when the weather was especially bad—it was snowing and sleeting at the same time I believe, a car passed him. As it was passing the guy cranked down his window and yelled “you’ve got to be crazy!” Jim chuckled as he was telling me the story, because he thought the guy was a little nutty for rolling down his window in that kind of weather.

Well one day when he came home Jim didn’t look so good. He was smiling, but the shoulder on his jacket was torn up and ragged, his sleeve was filthy, his pants on that side were scraped, and his helmet was scratched up. I couldn’t imagine what had happened.

At that time it was still cold outside, but most of the snow was gone and the streets were clear. He went around a corner (and I’ve seen him take those corners—he doesn’t mess around) and met with sudden disaster. At the intersection there was a slight dip all across the road where some water had accumulated and then frozen. He hit that frozen strip, the bike slipped to the side, and BAM down he went. The really embarrassing thing is that there was a school bus full of kids (probably every one of them an excellent bike rider) stopped at the corner. He thought “Oh no!” But there wasn’t anything he could do at that point, so he just leaned the side of his helmeted head down on the pavement and slid until he stopped. By putting his head down like that he took most of the pressure off his shoulder and arm. We retired what was left of the jacket at that point, but if I remember right, he didn’t have a scratch on him. His pride was hurt worse than anything else.

So sometimes those things happen—times where we have to put our pride aside, go with the flow and just do what needs to be done.

The first time I used a wheelchair was like that for me. We went to the Columbus Temple open house. I knew that walking the whole way would be hard enough that I probably wouldn’t enjoy it very much, so I elected to use a chair. Once I got in the chair it felt SO weird. I felt like everyone was staring at me and I wanted to sink into the nearest hole. However, outside of that I was able to go through the whole open house and enjoy myself and not be totally worn out.

How about you? Have you had any times when you just had to put your head down and slide? Any that you could care to share?

Has This Ever Happened to You?

Something weird just happened. I had just completed a blog entry and was tweaking it a little. When I pushed "View Blog" it had disappeared! Any ideas? I wonder if I need to compose in a word document first just for safe keeping? ????

Friday, February 8, 2008

And Let Your Soul Delight in Fatness

I have a friend who is going through a severe trial--again. She commented how helpful it is to have the support of other people, because she feels terribly alone in what she's going through. I've pondered her situation--and wept for her, and prayed for her--and I remembered something. Some years ago, during a Relief Society lesson, a sister told of a realization she had during a time when she and her husband were having severe trials with one of their daughters. What came to her is that even though we may be going through something with another person, we really each face our trials alone. Even though she and her husband supported each other, and she was extremely grateful for that, the only way she achieved real solace was through prayer--deep heart-felt, gut-wrenching, down-on-your-knees prayer.

Tremendous comfort can also be ours through the scriptures. I realized that some years ago, but I had to do it in my own way. I have a short attention span. (I also told my kids that I have been blessed with a short memory, so I tend to take good notes to compensate.) In 1995 I received what I know was a personal revelation. I was even told what store to go to! I knew there was something important for me at Office Max. I went down there with no clue as to what I was looking for, but I had a feeling that I would know when I found it.

I made my way slowly down the first aisle, looking to the right--and there it was. What practically jumped off the shelf at me was a Gold Fibre Designer Project Planner, 9 1/2 in. by 7 1/2 in. No. 20-817. Huh? And what am I to do with this?

I don't remember now if it came to me in the store what I was to do with it, or if I figured that out later, but I went home with my new-found treasure. Over the next few years three others came to join it.

This sample page is out of my scripture notebook #2. I chose this page because it not only contains scriptures, but it shows a few quotes as well. Over time I came to include both. These little books turned out to be ideal for me because:

  • There is a place at the top center of the page to write the
    topic or topics.
  • To the right is the page number, followed by
  • The date that page was started
  • To the left is a column where I can write comments.
  • There is also lots of space in which to record scriptures
    and quotes.
If a topic has lots of entries, they are continued on the back. Sometimes there are so many that it's necessary to start a new page. When that happens I just start it on the next empty page, and put a "see also" not only on the new page, but also on the original one.

The topic of the page shown above is Forgiveness/Repentance. It is page 102 and was started 1 Jan 1996. It says:

1. Forgiveness! What a wonderful way to start a new year.
See "Unexpected visitation" in Topics--Forgiveness.
[Note: Not only do I have scripture notebooks, I also have
a whole section of topics on the computer that I add to
over time. I really enjoy synthesizing information.]

2. Matt 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses,
your Heavenly Father will also forgive you.

3. Psalm 32:5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and
mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my
transgressions unto the Lord; and Thou forgavest the
iniquity of my sin.

4. Heard on the radio "Perhaps I can't forget, but I
can choose to not remember."

5. "Forgiveness means to write it off. Let it go. Tear up
the account. It is to render the account cancelled."
(Boundaries, by Cloud & Townsend)

6. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just
to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all

7. Mosiah 26:30…As often as my people repent will I
forgive them their trespasses against me.

8. Moroni 6:8 …As oft as they repented and sought
forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven.

Please note: Originally I made colored index tabs and put them at the top of the pages. Over time I stopped using them in favor of a typed, cross-reference index which makes it a lot easier to find things. Also, I regret that I usually have not included dates on the individual entries.

I have found it to be great fun to read from the top down and see how well the entries fit together even though they are from different sources at different times.

I'd like to close with a few entries from page 134 the topic of which is Read the Scriptures:

For the Lord giveth wisdom: Out of His mouth cometh
knowledge and understanding. (Prov. 2:6)

…Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the
words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy
One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth
not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul
delight in fatness. (2 Nephi 9:51)

I love the metaphor of a fat soul. How comforting that sounds! (I know there are also several scriptures that refer to fat bones. Fat bones sounds to me like a possible remedy for osteoporosis!)

Jim commented that "You can never get too much of the word of God." He also said, "Getting fat on the word of God does not give you cholesterol problems!" (I like that!)

Dr. David Jeremiah once said "If we feast on food we lose our appetite after awhile, but if we feast on the word of God, we get hungrier for more." (Turning Point radio program.)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Everything's Just Ducky

These are from "Elizabeth, Week 3." Click HERE to see more.

Daddy/Daughter matching Shirts!

Elizabeth reminds me of someone in this picture. I think it's my brother. I'll have to check some old pictures. Wouldn't you like to be this peaceful?

I saw it! He caught a fish THIS big!

Friday, February 1, 2008

I'm Really Excited

We're going to go to California for Elizabeth's blessing! That means we're going to get to meet this little cutie and hold her and get acquainted.

We're going to take along the dress that Aunt Barbie made three years ago for Kate's blessing.
The dress was pretty big on Kate (pictured here) but it worked just fine. I'm sure it will be great for Elizabeth too.

Kirsten is excited about going along. Betsey, and our ferocious guard dog Angie, will be holding down the fort here at home.