Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Latest project - Relief Society Aprons

I am in the process of making four of these aprons for stake enrichment meeting on Saturday. Some thoughts on my new calling. Planning is so different. It is more like planning for a wedding reception or other big event. Make 1200 invitations, plan and buy food for 300, centerpieces for 30 tables, etc., you get the idea. The women I work with are amazing and I am learning so much. It is good to be "anxiously engaged."

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Parallel Lives

Sometimes you feel like you know another person pretty well. You have lived in the same neighborhood for umpteen years, attended the same church, and interacted on many levels. Then you find out how little you really knew about them and more surprisingly that you are more alike than you imagined.

This morning, Glen and I attended the funeral of Grandpa Toone at the Westwood Chapel. He had spent his last month in Mike and Carol's home after falling and breaking his hip in December. Mike's father was born in southeastern Idaho where his family farmed. He was in the Army Air Corp during World War II where he met his wife who was also serving in the Corp. They started a family and farmed in Idaho. He had been ill while a young man with scarlet fever which had damaged his lungs. By the late 1950's, his lungs couldn't deal with being a farmer and a doctor told him that he must move to a drier and warmer climate. They sold their farm and loaded a cattle truck with all their possessions and moved to Mesa in 1960. Does this all sound a bit familiar?

When I went to LaNell's mother's funeral last year I also learned that her family moved from Idaho to Mesa in the 60's. And so I've learned that people I've known for twenty plus years and assumed to be lifelong Mesa people, are really hardy (or maybe not so hardy) Idaho people whose parents just wanted to be warm and live near a temple, just like me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Historical fiction that has it all . . .

Lots of laughs, plenty of suspense, and the ability to bring one to tears are all available in Christopher Paul Curtis' latest book, Elijah of Buxton. I recommend this book. I have loved books written by Curtis since his very first, The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963. That book was a Newbery Honor Book as is this one. His second book, Bud Not Buddy, won the Newbery Award. All of this authorship is pretty amazing given that his first job of 13 years was attaching doors to autos in a factory in Michigan. I heard Curtis speak at a conference some years back and he credits his wife who as a nurse offered to support them for a year while he wrote. He would go to the public library everyday to sit and write in the children's section. That is also where he wrote Elijah. I love his strong characterizations and ability to give his characters a unique voice. Ultimately this book is about HOPE. Buxton is a community formed for and by former slaves in Canada. It is the terminus for the Underground Railroad and a place where they can indeed be "free." Hope is found both figuratively and literally in this book.


Now for some of my reflections on HOPE. In my reading and study of the Book of Mormon this year, I am once again brought to some of my favorite quotes and musings on hope. Years ago in a Sunday School class, Pat Arnett shared the following which really entered into my heart:
Faith - Faith in God
Hope - Faith in Ourselves
Charity - Faith in Others

So simple, yet so clear, it as stayed with me over the years.

Neal A. Maxwell, who always spoke and wrote so well, has a conference talk in the Nov. 1994 Ensign entitled "Brightness of Hope." I want to share just a part of that address.

While weak hope leaves us at the mercy of our moods and events, "brightness of hope" produces illuminated individuals. Their luminosity is seen, and things are also seen by it! Such hope permits us to "press forward" even when dark clouds oppress. Sometimes in the deepest darkness there is no external light - only an inner light to guide and to reassure.

Daily hope is vital, since the "Winter Quarters" of our lives are not immediately adjacent to our promised land either. An arduous trek still awaits, but hope spurs weary disciples on.

Those with true hope often see their personal circumstances shaken, like kaleidoscopes, again and again. Yet with the "eye of faith," they still see divine pattern and purpose.

By pressing forward, we can stand on what was yesterday's horizon, thereby drawing hope from our own experiences. Hence Paul described how "tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience: and experience, hope" (Romans 5:3-4). . .

Genuine hope gives spiritual spunk, including to deserving parents drenched in honest sweat from being "anxiously engaged." . . . Giving parents never give up hope!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

So long Mitt

It's over. It's really over. Today Glen spent quite some time removing the Mitt Romney sign from the back of my car. First, he blasted it with the hair dryer. Not much success. Slowly he scraped and peeled it away. I finally, after stating that it was his problem 'cause I didn't put it on, offered him a rag and some rubbing alcohol. That finally did the trick and helped to dissolve the adhesive. I managed to catch some of the action with my camera at the end.
He then moved on to his car. The hair dryer worked like a charm. I guess the bumper sticker on his chrome bumper was plastic based. It peeled off in one easy piece. We are now Mitt free.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Day Fifteen

Now that you are done with the "14 Days of Love," perhaps I should share the history. This was not my original idea. We moved next door to Tina Ray in 1984 at 606 N. Windsor Circle. She taught a little class at homemaking meeting (now enrichment meeting) telling about her 14 days of love. The red papers are from that class, and everyone is welcome to look at them. I keep it in the "Valentine Drawer" of the cedar chest. She had many ideas, not just treats. Sometimes it's easier to just do treats. I found these red plastic heart boxes at Michael's. Each child had a box with their name on it. Often the treats came from Walgreen's when they went on sale in January. I took a branch from Tina's yard when they pruned some trees and painted it white with gesso. It stood up in a canning jar full of small rocks. I used a square piece of fabric and some ribbon to make a covering for the jar. It was as an Easter tree as well with different fabric and ribbon. I hung hearts on the tree to make a Valentine tree with the boxes underneath. I really enjoyed doing the "14 Days of Love." During my teaching years, Valentine's Day was my favorite holiday to celebrate with the children. It seemed so nice to see them sharing "the love." In the bottom of the boxes I wrote, "Always full of love" for the children to see after the treat was removed. Alas, the white tree met it's final demise at the hand of Matthew when he broke off all the branches. I always planned to make another, but never did. I hope that your families enjoyed their 14 days!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Good job Google

Google gets pretty creative with their name on special days. Today's "Google" pretty much sums us up. We drove to Boyce Thompson Arboretum for their "Language of Flowers" exhibit and chocolates. We had a sweet walk together along the many paths and stopped for lunch on the way home. The best part of the Arboretum experience was that we were the youngest couple there. At least, it felt like it. The best part about lunch was that they had layered pink and red tablecloths and a beautiful pink rose at each table. Happy Valentines' Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Poppy Madness

This morning I went out to water the poppies. They were amazingly colorful, so I went back inside for the camera.

Dancing poppies always make me happy this time of year. There was a gentle breeze. Perhaps a better option would have been a video.

I simply can't resist.

Will you "bee" my Valentine?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Latest read - "People of the Book"

(an illumination from the Sarajevo Haggadah)

My daughter-in-law, Susan, is a confirmed bibliophile like myself. She is also an English major and has a blog of book reviews which she writes after reading a book. (I have added a link to my side bar.) I do not have her skills, but would still like to share a good read. I just finished "People of the Book" by Geraldine Brooks. It was the perfect read for a bibliophile, a book about an ancient book.

If any of you have seen the movie, "The Red Violin," the same devices are used in this book. The main character, a conservator of old books, attempts to decipher the history of the Sarajevo Haggadah, a medieval Hebrew book now on display in a museum in Sarajevo. The author moves forward and back in time as the stories of the people of "the book" are revealed to the reader. This book has been compared to "The DaVinci Code." It is not as fast paced or physically squeamish as Da Vinci, but stills holds one's interest and attention until the very end. I liked it better!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Tidbits from my week

I have finally finished and delivered the 1200 invitations for our stake enrichment meeting on March 1st, so time to share a few tidbits from the week. As you can see, Ryan and Emilia have added to their family. I didn't know this, but apparently something that they have in common is a love for "jeeps." Emilia finally received her "right to work" card a couple of weeks ago, then promptly went out and found two part-time jobs as an assistant to two different physical therapists. I'm sure that they were thrilled to get a trained physical therapist for the price of an assistant. She is just happy to have some work in her field. She now works somewhere everyday of the week, thus the need for a second car, and the finding of a very well priced Jeep Wagoneer fulfilled their "jeep" dream. Congratulations to Emilia for finally getting her card!

This is the oh, so hopeful Mitt yard sign before Super Tuesday. Just look at those sprightly, hopeful Icelandic poppies.

I just added a yellow ribbon a few minutes ago now that Mitt has dropped out from the race. It has been quite a ride and so interesting to watch as it all played out. We wish Mitt and his family the best, and I guess the yellow ribbon demonstrates hope for the future. McCain did not win everywhere in Arizona. The 6th Congressional District, where I live, gave more votes to Mitt.

Any suggestions for the best way to remove a bumper sticker placed on the center back of your car by your husband - right on the paint job. Keep in mind, it's been there for a year including six months of Arizona heat!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

"Be Still" Thoughts

Today I dressed in my Sunday best and went to the Stake Center to attend the funeral of Gordon B. Hinckley. On Friday in a telephone conversation with a good friend, she stated that she had to get something done that I had requested by that evening because she had a funeral to go to on Saturday morning. She wanted to dress and go to the funeral of her prophet, just like she would for a loved one. With that kernal of a thought on my mind it suddenly came to me, if the young people of the church could choose to honor their dear prophet by dressing in their Sunday best for school, then surely I could honor him by attending his funeral in my Sunday best. It was a good choice. It was reverent and peaceful and so touching. Not many were in attendance at the chapel, but they were quiet and respectful. They stood as his coffin came into the conference center followed by his family and they stood again as he left. I didn't think of this as a sad occasion, but my heart broke when the empty chair between Elder Monson and Elder Eyring appeared on the big screen. I realized then that he would not be at General Conference ever again. He had really left this mortal life.

The "B's" sampler hangs in my living room. It has always been one of the more simple, but most profound sermons of President Hinckley; a clear and easy blueprint for our walk through this life. A blueprint for a walk which he modeled for us everyday of his life. Thank you, President Hinckley.