Wednesday, April 15, 2015

15 Pictures for the 15th of April 2015

Who knew six years ago when we started this that it would become a tradition to document the same day each month of the year.  Every now and then I see patterns . . . like today there seems to be a lot of hamburgers and pajamas in our day.

Much love to my family for doing this tradition day after day, month after month, year after year . . . 

Zeph begged to keep his pajama shirt on all day.
Who was I to argue when I was still in my pajamas?

Ezra is so patient to all of Zeph's antics.
Whether it's shoving pennies in his hand,
lying his giant head right on his milk belly,
or stealing his pacifier.
Ezra just watches and accepts it all.
Maybe we should have named him Job.

Tonight Zeph got left with his first honest to goodness babysitter
so Joe and Ezra and I could go to dinner and trivia night.
We got fourth. Ezra was happy or asleep the whole time.
Zeph fell asleep 2 minutes after we got home, completely worn out.
 So. Success all around

Ty: Enjoying our last evening with the Osborne family at Big'z Burgers.
We have really appreciated having family nearby and will miss them. 

Afton: I'm going to miss my cousins Zoe, Ethan, and Ellie.
Or second cousins? Once removed maybe? My mom's cousin's kids.

Michelle: One of the few moments of relative calm in my day.
 (And Afton's first of three cheeseburgers in the day).

Eliza: The fifteen minutes that helped me survive the day of moving out of our house.

Grace:  Loved Face-Timing and getting texts from Henry
while he stays with Grandpa and Grandma.

Abe: Moose Tracks after a very long day.

Calvin:  Lunch with Henry

Jane:  Henry has been staying with Grandpa & Grandma
this week.  We face-timed his mom and dad each day.

      Folletts Family night was racing, ice cream,
and for parts we practiced Levin’s gymnastic tricks.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tuesday - Speedy Delivery

Google says that today is the 155th anniversary of the Pony Express.  What a coincidence.

1.  This is Casey.  More than once he has carried and hand-delivered goods to Idaho for me.  He stopped by this afternoon to pick up a delivery of brownies and fruit leather for my niece:

Casey even somewhat fits the Pony Express Rider description:

2.  Our postmistress makes me feel like I'm giving the entire postal fleet a gift by sending packages in fun original containers -- like these boxes.  I found them on a post Valentine clearance.  They have a little bag of cookies inside.  I added a roll of fruit leather and a note then simply taped the box closed and put the address label on the backside and mailed them as is.

While some of the grandkids got their animal boxes in the mail last week, Cali said Levin and Atlas got their's today.  

Happy Anniversary Pony Express.  I hope mail never goes extinct.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday Memories - For the Bible Tells Me So

Henry "reading" scriptures

Our grandson Henry is spending the week with us. A true and oft-repeated story came to mind tonight as we were having scriptures. Many might wonder if a one year old can really get anything out of the scriptures. All I know is that once upon a time ago this happened with his dad . . .

Abe about the time of the following story.

Abe was about two years old. We were having a difficult time weaning him from the crib to the bottom bunk bed. No matter how much we scolded, bribed, or spanked, he would get out of bed and wander every night. One evening for scripture study, I happened to tell the story of Samuel, the Old Testament prophet. I told the story like this:

“Many, many years ago there was an old woman named Hannah. She wanted a child very badly and prayed and prayed that she might have one. She promised the Lord that if He would bless her with a baby boy she would raise him and then take him to the temple to be a helper to Heavenly Father’s prophets.

“The Lord answered her prayer with a little baby boy. She named him Samuel. After Samuel grew up to be a big boy, Hannah did just as she promised and took him to the temple so he could help Heavenly Father’s prophet.

“One night Samuel was in bed at the temple and he heard someone call, ‘Samuel . . . Samuel’

“He got up and went into the prophet and said, ‘Here am I, what do you want?’

“The prophet said, ‘I didn’t call you, go back to bed.’

“So Samuel went back to bed, but pretty soon he heard someone call his name again, so he got up again and went into the prophet and asked, ‘Here am I, what did you want?’

“The prophet answered again, ‘I didn’t call you, go back to bed.’

“So Samuel went back to bed again, but pretty soon he heard someone call his name again, ‘Samuel . . . Samuel . . . Samuel. . .’

“For the third time, he went in to ask the prophet what he wanted. The prophet told Samuel that it was the Lord calling his name and he should ask the Lord what he wanted next time he called. Then, the prophet told Samuel to go back to bed.’

“So Samuel did and waited for the Lord to call him.”

After I finished the story I asked Cali, who was four, what we could learn from the story and she said, “We should always listen, ‘cause we don’t know when Heavenly Father will call us and we should always be ready for whenever He needs us.”

I was so impressed with her answer so then I turned to Abe and asked, “What did you learn from this story?”

He answered, “That boy, naughty boy. Three times prophet told him, ‘Go to bed.’ Three times that little boy got out of bed. Naughty boy needs spanking.”

There it was.  Plain as day.  The scriptures applied and were even understood by a two year old. (Incidentally, we never had much trouble with Abe going to bed after that night. All I had to do was put my hands on my hips and say, “Abe, what did the prophet say?” and he would scamper back to bed.)

This is the story that we “read” tonight.  It was perfect reading for a little fourteen month old boy.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

52 Blessings - Because He Lives

Happy, happy Easter.

Peter and John running to see the empty sepulchre.  (John 20)

This says it all . . .

Friday, April 3, 2015

Life in Our World - "the darkest hour is just before dawn"

When I was eighteen, my neighbor's nine-year-old daughter died from leukemia. In a letter she wrote to me a few years later, she said, “After you lose a child, Easter becomes the best holiday of them all. It’s the one I look forward to most.”

I thought about Thanksgiving with its tribute to our blessings, peace and prosperity. I even considered the Fourth of July with its rousing appreciation for a great nation at peace with so many freedoms. I thought of Christmas with celebrations of the birth of Christ and angels announcing “Peace on Earth, good will to men.”

But, I understood that she meant that even those wonderful and significant holidays don't offer the same peace and hope that the Savior's empty tomb held. For my neighbor, the fears and grief that may have bothered her throughout the year were swallowed each Spring as she celebrated the hope that is born of the resurrection.

My neighbor passed away from cancer several years ago, but each Easter season I remember her words, “(When you lose someone you love) Easter becomes the best holiday of them all.” I sensed her peace in that letter and in her life.  I agree.  Easter is the light after the dark, the joy after the despair.

But before there was the hope of an empty tomb, there had to be the dark hour of Christ's cross and death.    

These four minute videos help you feel what my grossly inadequate words cannot.  Each video can help us better appreciate the Savior's offer. 

The Atonement of Jesus Christ was not only fundamental to my neighbor but to all Christianity. It is completely encompassing and yet very, very personal as the power of the Savior adapts to our individual needs. The power of the Atonement is something that we can feel deeply and personally. He died for each . . . and all. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Thursday Thinking - Believable, because it's true.

I never believed in the Easter Bunny. He just didn’t make sense. We lived where there were tons of jackrabbits. Literally. They were so destructive to the crops that all the farmers would have rabbit drives. Droves of adults and kids would run through the sage brush hollering and hitting the brush with bats or sticks and scare/herd the rabbits into large wired pens. (Think of it as a demented Easter egg hunt where we looked for the rabbit instead of the eggs.) Nearly every trip to town we counted road kill rabbits in the double digits.

Another reason I couldn’t believe in the Easter Bunny was Grandpa used to come out and load us grandkids in the back of his station wagon and take us up on the hill to target practice on . . . you guessed it, jackrabbits.

But, even if I hadn’t been desensitized to rabbits, I don’t think I would have believed there was an Easter Bunny, because often our Easter baskets were trays just like this one:

Mom spread green Easter grass in the bottom and then made a little pile of jelly beans, a little pile of malt balls, and a little pile of bubble gum eggs along with a few Peeps and Reeses peanut butter eggs and a sprinkling of little, foil-covered, chocolate eggs. Each tray had a little strip of paper with our name on it and she hid them in the house (inside the dryer, the game closet, the kitchen cupboard, under the couch, etc.) and when we woke up Easter morning we looked until we found our “basket.” I’d seen rabbits in the yard. I’d seen rabbits in the pasture. I’d seen rabbits in the fields. I’d seen rabbits in the sagebrush. I’d seen rabbits crossing the road. I knew there was no way a rabbit could hop and carry a tray (let alone ten for each one of us kids) and still keep the candy in neat little piles. No sir, there was no such thing as an Easter Bunny. Reindeer that could fly, yes. But an Easter Bunny that could deliver neat piles of candy on a tray, no.

However there is one part of Easter that made perfect sense to me and that was the story of Jesus being resurrected from the tomb. That was believable. That was real. Incredible as it was, that was something I could grasp as a child and cling to as an adult. It doesn’t matter whether or not others believe it or say it isn’t so, Jesus Christ is real and so was his life, death, and resurrection. And while some stories get better and better with age, the story of Jesus’ resurrection was just as marvelous and powerful and true then as it is now.

There are many stories within the story of that first Easter. Each powerful. Each beautiful.  

One of my favorites was when Jesus had just finished that incredible prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before he was crucified. Typically in Christendom, that Last Supper and prayer in the Garden is celebrated today. After the Passover dinner, Peter, James, and John went with Christ to Gethsemane and waited just outside the gate as He went into the garden to pray and make an Atonement for us.

Shortly after the experience, when Savior rejoined the apostles, Judas Iscariot, also one of his apostles, brought the crowd to arrest Jesus. Peter, who was often impulsive, saw what the crowd intended to do and protectively drew his sword.  To defend the Savior, Peter cut off one of the servant's ears. I imagine there was a cry of pain, clutching of the wound, and a lot of blood (being a head wound and all) besides chaos and shouting. But in the midst of all that the Savior told Peter, “Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” and then carefully touched the man’s ear and healed him. Amazing.  And completely believable.

I love that part of the Gethsemane story for three reasons:

One: it reminds me that the Savior has the capabilities to calm and heal no matter the circumstances, no matter the problem.  

Two: it reminds me that when I’m like Peter, exuberant and naive, the Lord can correct my follies and teach me to do better in the process. 

Three: the Lord never loses sight of His purpose.  Never.  Every soul is great in the sight of God.

The best part of this story is it's true.  I don't have to pretend, I don't have to wonder, all I have to do is believe.  

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wednesday Homemaking Tip - Prepare

The scriptures don't really say what the Savior did on this day of what we now call Holy Week, but in the book of Matthew the Parables of the Ten Virgins, Talents, and Sheep and Goats come right before the Passover. It makes sense, knowing He would soon be gone from the earth, that He would spend the day teaching those parables to prepare His followers for His Second Coming.  Regardless of when he taught them, the Parables prepare us for Christ's Second Coming.

The Parable of the Ten Virgins has always been sobering to me.  Being left out of a good thing is serious business.  When I was a girl, I couldn't figure out why the wise virgins, if they were so good and wise, didn't share their oil with the others.  Or, why the girls who didn't have enough oil didn't just latch themselves on to someone who did, or at least walk right in their shadow.  Later I learned there are some things you just can't give to another.  The oil represented their commitment to the Savior and you can't give that to someone else.  You can't give your faith, nor your knowledge. You can't give your experiences or your understanding. You can't give your obedience or your Christlike attributes.  There are some things in life that you can't beg, borrow, or steal, you have to gain them for yourself. So it was with the virgins, so it is with me.

I have come to love and appreciate that message of preparation and self-reliance in this parable. It's practical and applicable in all areas of my life. Spiritually it causes me to seek, emotionally and physically it causes me to grow.  I've especially enjoyed learning to be self-reliant in making a home and caring for a family.  It's why Calvin and I grow a garden and raise chickens.  It's why we butcher our meat and bottle fruits and vegetables. And, it's why Calvin experimented making cheese a year or two ago and I learned to make yogurt a few days ago.

A few months ago I went to help Ande after Ezra was born.  She had 3 jars of homemade yogurt in the fridge. After I tasted it, and she promised it was easy, I was determined to come home and make some myself.

I'm here to say, it's not only very good, it's good for you, it's economical, and it's practical.  Since I leave early every morning for work, a cup of yogurt is an easy breakfast to eat on the way. Today,  imitating the expertsI packed four cups of yogurt.

One cup has caramel in it.  I used leftover caramel ice cream topping made from this quick and easy recipe with a little cup of cashews to stir in.

Two cups have frozen blueberries with little cups of homemade granola (also Ande's recipe) to mix in.

One cup has dried coconut added with sliced almonds and mini chocolate chips to stir in.

There's lots of plain yogurt left for smoothies, baking, making more flavors, and the start for more yogurt.

It cost about $4.00 to make the yogurt and it produced well over 3 quarts.  I estimated the savings to be at least $25.  Not bad.  Not too bad at all.

Zeph's Greek Yogurt

1 gallon whole milk
5 oz. plain Greek yogurt (with active, live cultures)

Put milk in crock pot and heat until it reaches 180 degrees.  (This takes about 2 hours.)  When milk reaches desired temperature, turn off heat and let it cool down in the crock pot to 90-115 degrees.  In a small bowl mix yogurt and 1/2 cup cooled milk until smooth.  Add mixture into crockpot and stir.  Place crock pot bowl (without lid) in oven with the light on for 8-12 hours.  Congratulations.  You just made yogurt.  To make Greek yogurt, place a flour sack towel, t-shirt, or double layer of cheese cloth over a large bowl and spoon yogurt onto towel, careful to leave enough room for yogurt to strain liquid.  Place in fridge for an hour or two while it drains.  Now you have Greek Yogurt (and a giant bowl of whey, which can be used for other things).  Store in jars.  Saves in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.  To eat, mix in honey or other sweeteners, fruits, etc.  Serve with granola if desired.

Prepare.  Self-reliance.  The Parable of the Ten Virgins.  Good advice for everyday and everyone.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tuesday Tried It - Less Than < > More Than

Less Than <. More Than >. Did those symbols confuse you as much as they did me when they were first introduced to you? It took me several weeks to get the hang of them. I recognized =, but could not get the hang of  < and > to save my soul.  Is 5 + 17 < or > 28 – 5? Those equations took me forever to compute.

Most computations determining "less than" and "more than" are absolute; but to add to the confusion, there are some exceptions. Sometimes less than is more and more than is less. Calvin calls it the “Law of Diminishing Returns.” He first explained it to me the summer I got the Strawberry Pretzel Salad recipe. I was just getting good at making it, and didn’t have to look at the recipe anymore, when he said, “This salad was really good the first twenty times you made it, but I’m kind of tired of it now. It’s called the ‘Law of Diminishing Returns’ . . . the more you eat, the less it satisfies.” It didn’t matter that I still had so many plans and variations for that recipe.  It has been thirty years since I got that recipe, and now when I make it (once a year at best) Calvin still says, "Please tell me you only made enough for one day.”

I've discovered the “Law of Diminishing Returns” applies in every facet of life, not just the kitchen. Living in a producing and affluent society makes attaining “more” easier. Often times “less” wisdom is practiced when we have more.  I saw it as a young parent:  The more monetary things we gave our children the less parent and child interaction we had — more lessons, more activities, more clothing, more treats, more video/computer programs equaled less parent and child interaction, less parental supervision, and less parental teaching and influence. H. David Burton pegged it when he said, “The struggle to set limits, make do with less, and avoid the pitfalls of ‘more, more, more’ has never been more difficult. It is hard to say no to more when you can afford to say yes.” (Ensign, Nov. 2004, 98) Qualities such as sharing, working hard, making do, inventing, and building patience are not developed when a constant menu of “more” is served.  

I see it in my life today:  get a little more done, fill all the empty spaces = ponder on important things  little less.

Then again, sometimes more is better. More virtues = better lives. Who can argue that an increase of patience, integrity, kindness, gratitude, service, humility, courage, and faith also increases our happiness? Albert Einstein said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” Taking us right back to where we started. Sometimes less is more and sometimes more is less.  Life and math are confusing sometimes.

But, there is one thing that is the greatest -- more than -- anything else.  Jesus taught exactly what that was just a few days before He was crucified.  He said the Greatest Commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  He said nothing is greater.  Everything else is less than.

He then said that the second greatest commandment was to love our neighbors as ourselves.  He said there was no greater commandment than these.  (Mark 12:30-31)

Seeing more than and less than through the Savior's eyes makes everything clearer.  Heaven help me to remember it and live that unchanging truth.

(And just in case you have never tasted The Law of Diminishing Returns Strawberry Pretzel Salad here is the recipe.  It's a great Easter salad because of the fresh strawberries.

3 Tbsp sugar
¾ cup melted butter
2 cups broken pretzels
1 large package strawberry Jell-O
1 ½ cups boiling water
1 lb fresh strawberries, sliced
1 8 oz. container of whipped topping
1 8 oz. package of creamed cheese
1 cup sugar

Mix 3 Tbsp sugar, melted butter, and pretzels. Press into 9” x 13” pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. Cool.

Mix Jell-O and boiling water until Jell-O is dissolved. Refrigerate until partially set and then add strawberries.  

While Jell-O is setting, whip creamed cheese and 1 cup of sugar until well blended. Fold in cool whip. Spread on cooled pretzel crust (spreading the mixture to the edges and sealing it so the jello won't seep down into the pretzels) and then top with partially set Jell-O.

Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.


raspberry Jell-O with raspberries
cranberry Jell-O with whole cranberry sauce
blackberry Jell-0 with blackberries)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Monday Memories - Bad Agency, Bad Consequences.

Several years ago I tended children. One cute, three-year-old boy, Austin, had fine blonde hair, wore Wrangler jeans with a belt and buckle, a western button-up shirt, and often boots.  He had a stocky build and wanted to be included in everything.

One day Austin would not stay out of trouble.  He was uncharacteristically irritable.  He jumped in the mud puddles in his nice clothes right after he promised he wouldn't.  He teased whoever came near him.  All morning he did one naughty thing after another, until finally he chucked rocks at the kids. I brought him inside, sat him down on the bench under the open dining room window, and told him he'd have to sit there away from the other kids until he figured out how to be nice.

I continued to peel potatoes for supper at the kitchen sink while the rest of the kids played outside. Balls bounced and they shouted as they made baskets.  The girls laughed as they chased each other and built forts in the trees.  And there Austin sat on the bench all. by. himself. listening to them - sheer hell for a little boy that begged to be included in everything.  

Soon Austin mumbled to himself as he kicked his feet back and forth against the bench and looked at the floor, "Bad agency; bad consequences. Good agency; good consequences.” 

Knowing that his mother had been trying to teach him about making good choices and using "agency" (ability to choose and act) positively, I listened closer to him.  I was more than a little surprised, for not only did he use the word "agency," he was using it correctly.  He said, “Bad agency: got in the mud, fought with Sarah, threw rocks at Abe. Bad Agency.  Bad agency; bad consequences. Now I’ve got to sit on the bench: bad consequence. Bad agency, bad consequence.”

Austin pretty much summed up a mystery of life with his quote, "Good agency, good consequence.  Bad agency, bad consequence."  Knowing we're accountable is a game changer.  Without it we have little - we make excuses for poor behavior or performance, rationalize wrongdoing, and believe that truth is relative and we're an exception to the rule.  But, when we're accountable and we know it and are held to it, behaviors, beliefs, and ideas change for the good. 

Christendom celebrates this week as Holy Week.  On Palm Sunday Christ entered Jerusalem for the last time.  The next day He went to the temple and cleared it of the moneychangers - those who were desecrating His Father's house.  It was as if He was saying, "You can spite me, scourge me, spit on me, but don't you dare mock my Father."  He held them accountable for their behavior. 

I've wondered what I would do each day of my last week on earth.  Little wonder what Christ did.  It makes perfect sense that He spent His last week correcting and teaching the people so that they could change their behaviors, beliefs and ideas - their lives - so that they could inherit eternal life.  He came to save each one of us from ourselves and a fallen world.  He came to make sure that we understood that bad agency equals bad consequences and good agency equals good consequences.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

52 Blessings - Green Beans and Easter

“If it says Libby’s, Libby’s, Libby’s on the label, label, label

You will like it, like it, like it on your table, table, table.

If it says Libby’s, Libby’s, Libby’s on the label, label, label.”

We sang that ditty over and over while eating our sandwiches and chips. Excitement. That’s what makes children babble and repeatedly chant. We were wound up that day because it was The Tour and everyone in our 4-H club had their animals washed, blow-dried and combed waiting for our leaders and club members to come to our homes and see them. The day was especially looked forward to because the tour ended at the hot springs with a pot-luck supper afterwards. I was giddy because I had a brand new, scooped neck, orange shirt—a birthday gift from my sisters—to wear.

Since Dad was our 4-H leader, the tour started at our house. After everyone had seen our animals, we loaded up for the next stop. I climbed in a car with a neighbor girl a few years older than me and we hurried to her house so she could get her animal brushed off before everyone arrived. We pulled onto the cement pad in front of their family garage and I climbed out of the station wagon. The family’s big German shepherd dog greeted me. Being freshly ten years old, I didn’t have to stoop far to pet him. He barked, put his paws on my chest and pushed me back a little and then bit my face. He left teeth marks on the bridge of my nose and then as his teeth slid down my face they tore the skin between my upper lip and nose into two pieces. A thin layer of skin inside my mouth held the two pieces together, but the outer layers were torn apart. Blood dripped down my orange shirt.

The girl’s mother quickly came around from her side of the car and yelled, “Lock up the dog!” She led me into the kitchen and put a cold washrag on the gape. She also gave me a different shirt and began rinsing and ringing mine in the sink. When Dad arrived he took me to the doctor. The tour went on without us.

The doctor took one look at my lip, laid me down on the table and put a paper towel with a little hole over my face. Then he deadened the flesh and began stitching the pieces back together. He apologized for taking so long and putting in so many stitches, but said he didn’t want it to pucker and scar. The room spun as he worked, it felt like a ride at the fair. When he and the nurse finished sewing, they gave me a tetanus shot and told Dad to check the dog for rabies. We got in the car and drove to the swimming pool where the 4-H club was. I sat with my bandaged lip and watched the other kids swim and eat. It hurt to smile.

The lip healed, but not without a lump. The pieces didn’t fit the same after they’d been torn apart and the lip thickened as scar tissue formed. When I smiled, the lump hung; when I frowned, the lump hung. It didn’t interfere much, but it didn’t bend. The doctor suggested plastic surgery to remove the lump, so the next year my mother drove me to a large hospital several hours away and a surgeon removed the excess scar tissue. Again, after some time, my lip healed and today, other than having one extra deep laugh-line from my nose to my lip, the scar is not noticeable.

One time my heart felt like my lip - torn.  It was ripped into two pieces, an emotional tear, but it felt physical. It ached. It throbbed. It hurt to smile. But like my lip, with the right attention, my heart healed. Like my lip, when it healed it didn’t fit back together the same as it had before. Though mended and healthy, some scar tissue formed from doubt, injustice and fear and my heart felt a little thick in a spot or two. Although my heart beat the same as before it was torn, I wanted the scar tissue removed. I didn’t need something extra hanging on to a perfectly good heart. And like my lip, an expert physician was needed—a Master Physician. Carefully, with perfect tools, He cut away the thickness and my heart once again felt soft and impressionable.

Life is full of bumps, bruises, tears and scars, stitches and healing. And yet, as painful as things may be, because of the real celebration of Easter we know we don’t suffer alone or needlessly. We know that the Son of God sacrificed so that our pains could be temporary and death impermanent. I am humbly and eternally indebted for His ability to heal my heart as well as forgive my sins.

Today begins the celebration of Holy Week. Palm Sunday reminds us of the final time that Christ entered Jerusalem. On that “triumphal entry” he rode a donkey which signaled He came in peace and humility, yet royally. His followers strew palm fronds, flowering tree branches and some of their own garments on the road to show their honor and love.  They shouted, "Hosanna.”   Hosanna means "Please save me" in Hebrew.

His followers were people just like you and me -- people who enjoyed comfort, help and sorrow. I welcome this Palm Sunday as a reminder to show privately and publicly the love and reverence that I have for the Savior like His followers of old did.  And surely, if I could sing about Libby’s green beans with such fervor in anticipation of a 4-H tour, the least I can do is celebrate the life and resurrection of the Savior with enthusiasm and appreciation.


Some have supposed that palm leaves* were used on “Palm Sunday” simply because they were plentiful, but like many things Biblical, there is deep symbolism.   Palms symbolized:

  • Great value and luxury. The palm branch was the emblem of Judea and was found on her coins, signifying that palms were one of the country’s and people’s greatest riches. 
  • A gift from God. The palm had many uses in the people’s lives, so much so in fact that when countries went to war they attacked the enemy’s palms to expedite their victory because:

a. the date palm supplied dates.

b. the coconut palm supplied coconut and coconut milk and the shells were made into bowls, utensils and tools.

c. the sugar palm sap was dried and ground into sugar and it’s leaves were cooked and eaten like a vegetable.

d. the trunk of the sago palm was ground into flour.

e. the heavy fiber was used to make ropes, the coarse fiber was used to make brooms, mats and baskets, the fine fiber was made into sewing thread.

f. the palm oils were made into butter and soap.

g. palm wood does not easily rot and was used for making boats.

h. the palm seeds were boiled and made into medicinal drinks or were dried and eaten like nuts or used as beads.

i. the yellowish-white palm flowers were made into perfume or worn as d├ęcor by the women.

In essence, through the symbolism of the palms, the people showed they were willing to offer their daily pursuits and time as well as their riches to honor Jesus. 

(*Information gathered from Dorothy D. Warner, “Palms for the Lord,” Liahona, Apr 1999, 10)

Monday, March 16, 2015

52 Blessings - Almost 15 pictures of Family for the 15th of March

Ty: Eliza and I trying to recover from a few busy days of traveling.

Michelle: I was a speaker in church today. My topic was this verse of scripture

Afton:  We talked about exercise in nursery today.  Afton and three other kids decided to be
selfless and sacrifice their own physical fitness in order to help Jermaine.

Eliza:  Got a little too excited to get in the bath and forgot something.
Or maybe she was too groggy.

Zeph: Went to Joe's Mom's house this afternoon.
He was fed a popsicle, Nutter Butters, gummy worms, chips,
a piece of ice cream cake, and sent home with a guitar in
the shape of a dog that has a "howl" setting. So. He's ecstatic. 

Ezra: This is how Ezra spent the evening. 
Conked out in his car seat with a soft blanket rubbing his cheek. 

Joe was gone from church today.
Ezra's pacifier kept everyone happy regardless.

Calvin: Put manure on the strawberries yesterday and they got rained
on today.  Perfect timing.

Jane:  One of the great things about Sunday is empty-ish streets in town.

Henry: It's 2230, and I'm still awake.
I'm a little punch drunk but having fun.

Abe and Grace: We enjoyed playing Cover Your Assets
with our friends, the Simmons, today.

Levin:  It's my dad's birthday and I'm in charge.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Life in Our World - A Picture a Day

Monday 3-2-15
Back to one shower head and empty fridge reality - a very good reality,
nevertheless real and not quite as colorful as Hawaii.

Tuesday 3-3-15
Calvin is in his happy place tonight stoking the fire,
working on a gun . . . and wearing his red vest.

Wednesday 3-4-15
I read Dr. Ben Katz's obituary today in my hometown newspaper.
He was 93 years old and still involved with medical projects.
He was our kids' pediatrician and carefully guided me as a mother through a hard situation.
He was no-nonsense.  He was smart.  He was firm.  He expected me to be, too.
I loved and respected him.  I hope he gives a little check-up to all of our unborn grandchildren
 before they come to earth and reminds Clara to get enough Vitamin D.

Thursday 3-5-15
Weekly Stake Relief Society Presidency meeting.
These women are inspiring, fun, and talented.
Kathy (center) made us darling matching aprons for future kitchen duty,
and delivered them today.
Friday 3-6-15
Such a great date tonight.  We loved the movie . . . and the popcorn.
I appreciate Calvin for continuing to take me out often through the yeaers.
I love to be with him.

Saturday 3-7-15
Some meals just need to be documented, so at Calvin's request this one is.
In Calvin's words, "Nothing better than a Saturday morning breakfast like this.
With the help of God we produced everything on the table - the eggs came from the chickens;
we made the sausage and bacon from our pigs we butchered last Fall;
the hashbrowns, applesauce, and bread are homemade;
and the raspberry jam comes from our patch in the garden."
(To be fair, we didn't grow or grind the wheat, nor did we make the dishes from our soil
or carve the utensils from the trees, BUT, that doesn't diminish the fact that we are
very blessed and we know it.)

Sunday 3-8-15
Just in case you wondered where you would sleep at our house if you came to visit.

Monday 3-9-15
Just in case you wondered what kind of ice cream is in our freezer.

Tuesday 3-10-15
Calvin and I had an interview in our home tonight.
Ever since I read that which chair you choose in a therapist's office says a lot about you,
I find seat selection rather interesting.
The two men interviewing us sat on the couch.
Can you guess which chair I sat in and which chair Calvin sat in?
(Hint: the softest chair did not produce the chattiest person.)

Wednesday 3-11-15
For Young Women's tonight, we took the girls to Mariah's Salon.
She was so gracious.  She found something beautiful about each girl,
taught them about affordable hair products, did a unique hair style on each girl,
and gave them their product.  Some of these girls can't even afford a blow dryer
so this was a big deal.

Thursday 3-12-15
Brandee (left) and I went visiting teaching tonight.
The lesson was on "Attributes of Jesus: Long-suffering and Patient."
Catalina (right) is 82, has lost two husbands and a daughter,
still grows a garden and cans food from it.
We just let her teach us the lesson
since she's about got that attribute perfected.

Friday 3-13-15
Judging from the pile of the manure, we're going to have a good garden this year.

Saturday 3-14-15
Saturday is a get-the-work-done-day.
Calvin worked outside spreading manure and starting seeds in cups;
I worked inside baking bread and cookies and making fruit leather.

Here are a few things the pictures didn't tell --

  • Two sweet little girls sold me a rock they'd colored with chalk for 38 cents.
  • Calvin and I attended two different funerals of great people who helped to build Moses Lake into what it is.  
  • I am teaching some pretty incredible classes of kids this year. This week one class made a special effort to do their very best to learn which made for a very positive outside observation. 
  • The look of grief when I realized that the new construction on a busy intersection in Moses Lake (where once lived a huge, beautiful lilac bush) is a pot greenhouse (as in marijuana).
  • Meeting up with friends to watch a college softball game of a new friend who is the daughter of old friends and the granddaughter of an even older friend.
  •  Fun mail received.  I got a pipe cleaner butterfly and Olaf jelly beans; Calvin got a pipe cleaner snail and a licorice snake.  Afton is pretty crafty. 
  • Speaking of gifts.  Our cats are mousers.  Good mousers.  They have brought us several dead ones as presents.  Try as I might, dead mice do not pose for pretty pictures.

Life is good.  Very good.