Monday, March 21, 2016

Monday Memories - #Hallelujah

“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 springswith 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. 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 our deaths impermanent. I am humbly and eternally indebted for His ability to heal my heart, lift my spirit, and forgive my sins. And that is something worth singing about.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

52 Blessings: Life is Beautiful

On Wednesday I read this verse in Psalms  ". . . the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord" ~ Psalm 32:5, and it made me stop and think.

Immediately I thought of the creation of the earth and images from the Hubble Telescope.

I never tire of seeing them.

Even though I can't see them at night doesn't mean they aren't there.  It is comforting to me to think of images like these images blanketing our earth.

Then I thought of all the little beautiful things in life that I can see -- things like spider webs and blooms -- but are easily missed if I'm not paying attention. Pictures I had used in earlier blog posts came to mind so I went and looked at them again.

By the time I was finished thinking about Psalm 32:5, I had created this little video of pictures from our backyard and neighbors' fields.  I hope you enjoy it:

When Ande was a little girl, she often left me pictures with a few soda crackers or chocolate chips or a dandelion on my pillow.  They were evidence of her love for me.

There is incredible beauty in the detailed simplicity of the Lord's creations.  It's especially noticeable in the picture with the bee.  The symmetry and design in the center of the flower is so precise and calculated . . .  each flower created gets that kind of detail.

These simple scenes that are in your backyard and mine, make it abundantly clear that " . . . the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord."

And to think He left them as new reminders, as fresh as every day, that we are loved and wanted and missed makes me feel very safe and secure.

". . . the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord."  ~Psalm 32:5

52 Blessings - #Hallelujah it's Palm Sunday

Happy Palm Sunday.  It's a sweet day to remember the final time that Christ entered Jerusalem.

On that “triumphal entry” he rode a donkey signaling that He came in peace and humility, yet royally. His humble followers were people just like you and me, people who loved Him and had been served by Him.  To show their honor and love, they carpeted the road with palm fronds, flowering tree branches and some of their own clothes.  As he rode by they " . . . cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." (Matthew 21:9);

In Hebrew, "Hosanna” means "please save me." The people recognized that He was the King of Kings and the Prince of Peace.

Some have supposed that palm leaves* were used on “Palm Sunday” simply because they were plentiful, but as with many things of a biblical nature, there is deep symbolism in Jesus’ followers using the palm leaf. They symbolized:

1.  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.

2.  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 décor 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.  

Palm Sunday is a good time to reflect on the honor, devotion, appreciation and love that we can show to the Savior like the people who laid the palm branches.  It's a good time to get rid of habits and attitudes that aren't reflective of how we really feel about Jesus Christ and adopt ones that are.  It's fitting that today is the first day of Spring, too, it's like we get a fresh start all the way around.

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

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sixteen Pictures (+ or -) for the 16th of March 2016

Jane:  Sunshine on My Shoulder.  Thank you John Denver.

Calvin:  getting loggers in the sun and ready for install in the
farmers' fields

Cali:  Nine times a minute, Atlas asks Uncle Allan if he "like my space ship?"
Nine times a minute Uncle Allan expounds on how awesome their creations are.
I love families.

Levin:  a glimpse of baby Levin in boy Levin

Atlas: We made cupcakes and decorated them with sugar pumpkins that are older than Levin.

Ray:  Ready for a DaVita (work) party

Ande: Today I'm staying sane.

Ezra: Eating fabric scraps.
Ezra loves to eat fabric, but towels are his favorite.

Zeph: Reading to his alligator. (Ande) I also caught him scolding him,
"Alligator, look at me. Look at my eyes. We don't his Ezra.
 Do you understand?" I tell Zeph and Ezra 3 reasons why
I love them as I put them to bed. When Zeph put his alligator down
for a nap he stroked his face and told him why he loved him.

Afton: Doing chores: cleaning the glass doors.

Ty: I sent Captain Sexton on her first solo in the T-6 today!
She came back safely (as did the aircraft) so it was a success all around.

Kathryn: Doing chores: eating rocks and practicing tricks.

Eliza: Doing chores: putting away the silverware.

Michelle: There's a new season of the Amazing Race on Amazon.
This is what Ty and I will be doing most nights for awhile.

Abe: Conducting a recon on the lovely town of Ujen at NTC.

Grace:  My view on our walk today.

Henry:  Finally . . . a nice day to go outside!

Hazel:  Had a playdate today and the little girls made sure I had lots of toys to play with.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Monday Memories - The Nap

Every summer my grandparents took us (my brothers, sisters and two cousins) north to Aunt Jean’s cabin. The boys rode with Grandpa in the station wagon and the girls rode with Grandma in the fancy car. On the way to the cabin, it was best to be in Grandma’s car because she stopped at the drug-store-soda-fountain for black-licorice ice cream cones, but on the way back it was best to be in Grandpa’s car because he could make it all the way home without pulling over for a nap.

Forty-five years later, I am my grandma.

Today is National Napping Day. Since a nap is a human battery re-charger, National Napping Day is celebrated on the day after Daylight Savings begins and we lose an hour of sleep. A few things I love about napping:

  • A ten to twenty minute nap is scientifically proven to improve our efficiency. 
  •  Some studies show that people who nap and get adequate sleep are less forgetful and have lower levels of stress hormones.
  • Napping is an inborn skill.  (Babies are really good at it.)

This weekend I got to babysit my great-niece Sayer and help her take naps.

My grandma was on to something.  Naps are a very good thing.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

16 Pictures for the 16th of February 2016

Cali:  making an "I Spy" quilt for the boys

Atlas and Levin:  a walk in the park

Grace:  Henry playing with "Howez's" shirt.

Henry:  being like Iggy Peck Architect and building towers.

Happy Hazel

Abe:  my view for the day

Ezra:  Rolling down the slide.

Zeph:  tackling and hugging Ezra on the trampoline

Ande:  crocheting blanket squares.  19 down 90 more to go.

Ty: Hop on Pop
(Michelle note: Today, the pilot training class Ty's been working
with for the last 5-6 months officially moved on to the next phase of their training.
A handful of students received awards for their performance,
and Ty was presented an award for being voted their
"favorite instructor pilot." I'm very proud of him. He's a great instructor
and I'm glad his students recognize and appreciate that in him.)

Afton: Today I went to Miss Carli's house to borrow some celery
all by myself. I also decided to fill up everyone's water glass for
dinner and did it all by myself.

Eliza: I am very polite and always say "No fank you."
Dad told me to make my cutest face and Afton coached me.

Kathyn: I am just always happy!

Michelle:  I completed all of vacation recovery in one day!  

Jane:  I caught a ride over to Seattle to spend the long weekend with Cali doing fun projects.
I planned to catch the bus home, but accidentally bought a 11:30 pm ticket
instead of a 11:30 am one.  However, I didn't discover the mix-up until I went to the
bus station at 11:30 am and found no bus and no refund.
Cali drove me halfway home where we met up with Calvin.
It was a great trip.

Practical Matters -- It's Not Just the Big Things

(I'm getting ready to let my old website expire.  We started it nearly 15 years ago to earn money for a family trip to Hawaii to attend Cali's college graduation.  Before the neighbor dies, I plan to save a few articles from it and post them here.)

Ande and Ty slurping up a spilled orange julius.  Waste not.  Want not.

Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79. An estimated 2000 people died that day as the voluminous ash, cinders, and gasses escaped the volcano. Normal city life—a chained dog, a baker’s oven with loaves baking, a woman rocking in her chair, children running—were all stopped. It was like a sordid game of freeze-tag where the people and their activities were literally stopped in their tracks by the heavy ash.

However, history shows that the citizens of Pompeii were doomed even before the volcano blew. Lead pipes carried water throughout the Roman Empire and Pompeii, by current standards, had an elaborate plumbing system. Today we know that lead contaminates in drinking and bathing water can adversely affect almost every organ and system in our bodies causing mental illness, stunting, blood disorders, and eventual death.

This scenario can be similar to our spending habits. It’s not just the big things that can put our budgets in a state of emergency, but small, routine, daily habits as well. N. Eldon Tanner said: “I have discovered that there is no way that you can ever earn more than you can spend. I am convinced that it is not the amount of money an individual earns that brings peace of mind as much as it is having control of his money. Money can be an obedient servant but a harsh taskmaster. Those who structure their standard of living to allow a little surplus, control their circumstances. Those who spend a little more than they earn are controlled by their circumstances. They are in bondage.” (Ensign, Nov. 1979, 81.)

Setting and keeping a budget helps us control our financial resources. One effective and basic budget formula is “10-10-80”. Mary Hunt, of Debt-Proof Living, said, “Give away 10 percent of your income (to defeat greed), save the same amount for the future (to eliminate fear), and live on 80 percent (one whale of a challenge).”

Ten percent of your income is easy to compute. A quick slide of the decimal point and you know the amount to give to charity and to save for your future. Living on eighty percent takes more computing and practice, and in some ways, creative maneuvering. There are at least three ways to make your eighty percent go farther:

Buy it cheaper.

  • Shop sales. Watch for seasonal sales and stock up. This is especially simple when buying groceries and clothing. Baking items are on sale in November/December when baking is heavy and money is short—be prepared to take advantage of the sales during this time. And, of course, buying clothes near the end of the season when the store is making way for new merchandise is always cheaper, too. But, you can also watch for “moving” sales (when stores sale their merchandise cheap so they don’t have to move it to a new location), promotional sales, or grand opening sales. Make it a habit when you’re clothes shopping to peruse the sale racks. I have one friend who always checks the prom dress sale racks whenever she is out. She has picked several dresses up and then sold them to us very inexpensively.
  • Comparison shop. With the internet, comparison shopping is easier and cheaper than ever before. Some stores, such as Wal-Mart will match competitors’ prices making it possible for you to save time and money when shopping. 
  • Buy used. Again, the internet has opened this field wide with on-line auctions, overstock and half-priced sites. Don’t forget garage sales, consignment shops and want ads, too. 
  • Change brands. Many products are manufactured at the same plant but packaged differently for the various brands or companies. Don’t pay for a name, pay for a product. Be flexible and willing to try various brands.

Make it last longer.
  • Maintenance. Take care of the items you have whether appliances, vehicles, equipment, clothing, furniture, or even food. Replace gaskets, change the oil, store yard equipment (mowers, rakes, etc) out of the weather, mend and iron clothing, and preventing spoilage or mold are all maintenance procedures.
  • Waste not. Learn the mantra “Waste not, want not” and then mentally teach yourself that wasting is painful. You’ll be amazed how many people you can feed on what you used to throw away! 
  • Use and reuse things. First it was a shirt, next it is a rag to dust with. First it was a ham dinner with all of the trimmings; next it is diced small and added to scrambled eggs for breakfast. 
  • Worry less about fads and popular trends. A few years ago the going trend was to wear several layers of clothing at once. It was not abnormal to see a young person wearing five different shirts at once. It didn’t take long to figure out who had contrived that fad: the clothing companies along with some help from the laundry detergent companies. Fads are business strategies to get consumers to consume more. Be sensible and don’t buy into fads.

Use it less.

  • Walk, ride a bike, use public transportation, coordinate rides, or ride in a car pool. These are almost considered novel ideas today, but they were expected and necessary not long ago. Determine how many cars your family really needs and get rid of the extras—it will save on insurance, gas, and payments.
  • Drink water instead of soda. Eat junk foods less and healthy foods more; they cost less both in medical/dental bills as well as in the grocery bill!
  • Use cold water more and hot water less when washing clothes.
  • Trying using less laundry detergent, fabric softener, chocolate chips—everything. If you cut back too far (your kids complain about one chip per cookie) increase it back to the amount that is acceptable to you and your family. Don’t be afraid to cut back to save money.
  • Replace expensive habits with less expensive ones. (Satellite TV too expensive? Replace it with trips to the library for books, movies, and audio tapes). 
  • Modify hobbies that consume finances to hobbies that produce finances. (Instead of paying for a round of golf, consider giving golf lessons. Instead of racing cars, consider fixing cars.)

Remember, it is not the amount of money we earn that brings peace of mind as much as it is having control of that money.  Watching our spending on the little things can help us prepare for the big things in our lives.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Monday Memories -- Trophy Wife

Several years ago Cali, Ande and I were finishing up the supper dishes. The girls were talking about “trophy wives” and wondered why some men want them.

When I grew up, my mom stored the trophies we won at school or the fair in gunny sacks. The biggest, newest, brassiest ones sat on the living room shelf for a few months, but they soon ended up in the trophy graveyard with all of the others. Mom wrapped them in burlap feed sacks and we buried them in the dust of the barn attic.

I clearly remember my mother and her friend Josie Pastoor discussing the uselessness of trophies on the phone one day. My mother said, “I just don’t understand why they don’t award the kids something useful like blankets instead of trophies.”

Her tone told me trophies were unproductive and worthless.

Evidently I unknowingly passed down those same trophy sentiments because as Cali and Ande discussed “trophy wives” they echoed my mother’s opinion of our school trophies: “nice to look at, fun to hold, not real useful, and soon grow old.”

Calvin came into the kitchen to get a drink of water near the end of their conversation and the girls blindsided him, “Dad, did you marry a trophy wife?”

They snickered, knowing full well I’m a “blanket” wife.

Calvin was helpless; his mom didn’t store his trophies in a gunny sack. To him, trophies were medals or, at least, wild game big enough to fill a freezer. He grinned from ear to ear and said, “OF COURSE I married me a trophy wife!” and winked.

And I’ve never told him otherwise because Ogden Nash said,

To keep your marriage brimming,
With love in the loving cup
Whenever you’re wrong admit it;
Whenever you’re right shut up.


One day, when we were newly married, Calvin asked what I was fixing for supper. I said, “Tacos.” He was pretty excited when I said I needed to make some shells first. He grew up on authentic Mexican food and now his “trophy” was going to make her very own taco shells. But having never eaten jalapeños, chilies, cilantro or authentic Mexican food before we married, my shells weren’t quite what Calvin was expecting. Each in-law was similarly amazed at our private recipe. As one in-law said, “You know you're a Chadwick if you put ketchup on your crepe and call it a taco.” 

Chadwick Taco Shells

½ cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
Pinch of salt
1 egg
1½ cups water

Sift flour, cornmeal and salt together. Mix egg and water and stir into flour mixture until smooth. Pour puddle of batter (about the size and shape of a pancake) onto a hot griddle and cook until dry on top. Flip and brown lightly on the other side. Serve with unseasoned hamburger, shredded cheese, lettuce and ketchup. If you’re feeling real spicy, serve with diced raw onions, too.