Saturday, January 22, 2011

60 Years & Old Still Tempted

I almost fell out of bed this morning knowing I had to hurry and feed the livestock and various other creatures that roam the ranch. My new electric blanket was so cozy, maybe the wired-blanket, new purchase, was not such a good idea. My bedroom was cold, even though I know it's a whole lot warmer outside. I checked my phone..70 degrees. By the time I'm out there working I'm going to red-faced and wishing I had only my jeans, sturdy shoes and a light T-shirt.

I went straight to the kitchen to find something to put inside my gut so that my heart pills wouldn't cause damage to my already messed-up digestive system, my stomach particularity.  I don't want cheese, no crackers, and I looked in the cookie jar for "I-don't-know-for-what-reason"  I know now. There in my hand was a whole bag of Dove Bars, extra dark chocolate, my favorite. Oh, this will make me feel like I'm on top of the world and give me a bit of "go" to do the chores this morning.

I carefully opened each one and.... because, I suppose, I did have my glasses on my face..I noticed that there was a note on the inside of the wrapper. A message. The first one said, "You are invited to relax today." I didn't much think about it, like I would do for a horoscope or fortune cookie admonition or wisdom : )  in cookie, but the next one said, "Indulge your every whim." Okay...I'm having another. "Be yourself today" Oh, this is weird...I'm myself, everyday. Do I need to change and perhaps, hyper-relax?. I peered outside the window and there was not a cloud in the sky. It was a "run-away day" for sure. Indulge again. I did... and the last one said, "Breathe Deep!" Oh yes, I'm just soaking this all in. I was getting messages that suited me just fine. So I made myself a big breakfast of toast, eggs, and bacon. That is so wrong, really so wrong. The worst thing for a farmer to do is eat before the animals are fed. I was wrong, but my Dove Bars led me to believe, or let me to believe, I needed to relax... the animals could wait.

I couldn't eat all my breakfast because the donkeys were hearing me in the kitchen and I absolutely couldn't let that noise go on any longer. It's Saturday and a morning for others to sleep-in, so I opened the back door and it was like the entire ranch was saying, "You spoiled-rotten, thoughtless, jerk!" "You ate before you fed us!" There was great ire in their scolding and I felt it. I thought to myself, "Breathe deep!" and I walked-out in my bright pink flannel nightgown. Quiet...not a peep. Not a chicken cluck, not a howl from the dog, and I started doing my chores.

I gazed out into the wilderness and thought this was a day I was going to get hurt. I was going to do something stupid trying to make-up for the thoughtless person I had perceived myself to be today.There on the porch, I saw a piece of very old tin and picked it up and turned it over. It had obviously had razors in it at one time. COME ON! Where's MY warning? It's a "sign" that I shouldn't drive, let the animals out, or play outside.
 I know by just reading this won't, "GET-IT" It's just me & blades, razors, shavers, etc. You have to know I've handled them a lot and ever single time, I get snagged somewhere. Didn't want to add that information, but I can see, by rereading all this, the puzzled questions-marks are bound to pop right-up in the thought bubble.

 Where is this all coming from? The "signs" weren't from the right source. They were messages. All not worthy, good, or important to doing my duties, obligations, and important jobs that needed to be accomplished today. I am not going to "run away" as in, back in my cozy bed or even think about relaxing someplace like that. I eyed the swinging hammock near me.

 I am goin' to do some "schmoozing" with the animals, and they LOVE that! I'm going to do my chores, let the animals out to graze, trim hooves, clean and fill troughs, and then start my day over.

Everything I did this morning, I did carefully. No trimming hooves to deep and I didn't hold their skinny legs too tight. I let them kick and give to their unbalance and set each foot down and start again. I only let the sheep loose for the morning without watching them. Goats always need a babysitters. And best of all...I came inside and had another couple of Dove Bars and you know what they said inside---it repeated the first three that I already quoted and the last one was, "Get It Done" and that's what I'm going to do today.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Running to Utah Non-Stop, Almost

Our family reunion wasn't large by any means, but it was so important and so sweet. There is nothing  that fills me with more joy than see my mother-in-law so excited and happy. We asked my mother to come with us and of course, my Marnie and her family wanted to come and visit, also.

My mother got to visit her brother in St. George and they were able to travel all around the large valley and explore so many of the places my Uncle Terry and Aunt Eileen love, in beautiful St. George. I also had a great visit with one of my favorite cousins, Wes Wellman and his darling wife, Delores. They live right on the edge of St. George in Washington. What a view!

This journey right-back to Utah again was literally, "spur-of-the-moment" I hadn't completely unpacked. Steve's mother really wanted to see her closest sibling and Steve had first cousins that would be there that he had never met and some he hadn't seen in over 35 years. We had to go. The plus in all this was that even my children from came "outta' the deep snow" up in Sevier and Sanpete county to come down and see us all.

It was just as if we just dropped everything and took-off pretty late in the morning and did a straight-shot to St. George. I felt like a pioneer and it was a bit rough. I'm not complaining! We were on vacation! Even if it was only three days. St. George seems big but we stayed at the Best Western Inn Coral Hills, oh it is wonderful and brand-new remodeled and right on St. George Blvd. old town. I wanted to walk around. But we took my mom out to Hurricane to the motel to check-in and then right over the freeway and to this "gorging palace" called the Chuck-a-Rama. I've never been there, but I can tell you it was good, but confusing. Food piled everywhere. We ate and went to bed. I think I just had laid my head on the pillow and "H-E-L-L-O! Get-up, get dressed and go find another place to gorge ourselves. We didn't have far to go because we ended-up not having time to go back to our room to dress-up for the party. It was already time to eat at the gathering and was one block down from Chuck-a-Rama. The place was for wedding receptions and wasn't too shabby! I'm was just plain fancy!

70th Anniversary Mr. & Mrs. Boyd Patten
Dune Patten Lazenby & her Brother Boyd (90 yrs. old)

My Daughter Larin and baby Finlee with Great Uncle Boyd

My Daughter Marnie and my Grand daughter, Adree
Grandson's Best Friends: Dallin & Dean

We attended the dinner and then went to the club-house and again, there was a big feast. My grand children that were with us were either possessed by "cabin fever" or lack of movement from being "straight-jacketed" in their car seats for hours and hours. Energy was bursting forth in their young bodies and with the sunshine and beautiful day they went out to the parking lot and started an impromptu "conga line" without music. I don't know if they even have ever saw a "conga line" maybe it was "run-like-a-train" game. Oh, Pressie just told me it was, "Choo-choo Train." My husband had my new camera and went really nuts with all the pictures. I posted an YouTube video with all the pictures for my children. I really should have been there to yell at him ... like he said to me, "take your finger off the button!" I had way, way too many pictures. Our camera shows we never tire of them.

Then, something caught my grand children's eyes. "low and behold" there was a St. George Senior Center "water feature" I will bet to say, none of the children would guess, even the oldest, that all the water was there for swimming and wading. We don't have those in Ventura County much. I don't know where one is...but we are located by the ocean, and it's for swimming. We also have a crick in the backyard by our Jurassic Park and just down the bank.

Oh, and a senior bridge is here for jumping off in the water! Didn't have to blink twice and those little kids were in it! Ducks, bugs, and miscellaneous worms are no matter. The grand kids from Salina in thigh-high snow also thought 50 degrees warm was no biggie. That's dang warm. Yep, you guessed it. There's still snow in the shady places in St. George did anyone see that? No.

Next stop for Steve and I, and all the gang, was to meet my cousin Wes and Delores for dinner at the Golden Corral. Great Food and a "way" different atmosphere. But, again...I have never seen a spread like that before, ever. What is it with all these buffets? Is it a Mormon thing? It should be called the "Golden Feed Bin" or "The Load It Up Corral" hahahah...St. George is a "Feed Lot" for humans!

My grandchildren were all wet and dirty, so they didn't get to go to dinner and went to clean-up at the motel room. We said our good-byes and the Utah group went back home. Too soon for me.

Yes, we did manage a Cracker-Barrel stop. Wow! Shopping and eating combined. Great draw. I really love that place.

Wes and Delores invited us to their Senior Branch close to St. George, but I think in Washington City and also at a new chapel. We went to church just before we left for home on Sunday. It was wonderful to visit another ward and be with them.

My mother and my Uncle Terry and Aunt Eileen were right in the parking lot of "Chuck-a-Lot" and we did know where that was. We sure weren't hungry and my mom hadn't had breakfast either. It was just a fast-dash home again. We were already starting out late at 12:30 pm. We took just a few pictures and it was off for another "Vanishing Point" run across the desert.
Uncle Terry & Aunt Eileen O'Connor
Mom and Uncle Terry, her Younger Brother
Eileen and I in The Parkin' Lot

Picture by: Fran Golden
I didn't get enough of St. Geroge. The sunsets and sunrises were amzing with an explostion of color We have a somewhat, 'pink-moment' at home, but here... the whole sky was a kaleidoscope. The whole world was breath-taking. Our jaws dropped and I had to get a photo off the Internet when I was doing this post because we were so awe-struck at the sky, we didn't even take-out the camera. I can't believe we didn't take pictures of all of the sunrises and sunsets.

I want to see the history of St. George, attend the beautiful temple, and know about the settlers and how they found this lovely place. I want to discover the surrounding area, like my aunt and uncle have done, and I'm jealous of their exploration of Pine Valley. I want to shop! I didn't say buy. Our house has this saying about the difference between shopping and buying. My husband will let me shop my heart-out if he can stay in the car. Shopping was always meant to mean "looking at" not even coveting...just looking. I sure don't want to eat, I've done a lot of that. I'm going to say it, just say it...I want to buy! I want to go to Harmon's. Mom and I want some old-fashioned candy. Walnettos and some little Scotty Dog Licorice. Yummm. So, this is on my list, stuff I need, and I'm writing it in my blog so I can say, "I wrote it down"  "This isn't shopping, Steve" "See, it's right here on my list" "Candy!"   (just a note...I lost weight on this trip. I ate like crazy, didn't move except to sit down from one place to another. hummm) Food for Thought!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I Am Changing My Handwriting And This Is My Only Resolution

Well, after writing a talk and finding that I couldn't read or look at it, or understand what I had written, I typed it out. How bad is it when a person can write a ten minute talk and not be able to even follow it? I try to squint and concentrate to decipher what is on the page. I'm doing a sloppy job that's not only uneven, it's little. Is that an "old people" symptom?  I have new glasses, so that's not it. I'm guess my fingers are just lazy. I love to take notes in church and also write little things of what my grandchildren say...I want to remember the fun conversations. A little kid's view on any subject can be incredible. So now... I have a bunch of quotes of my grandchildren, and either I can't figure-out which child said it... or no clue what was said. I need a cure.
A Super Close Sample of My Chicken Scratch!
 I had, like every high school senior, a class in civics. I loved history, but this class was ridiculous. It was the big government class and now includes some economics, too. I wish we would have had been taught some skills in budgeting and investing. But, as it was in the mid and late 1960s, we just learned the Constitution, how the government works, and a whole lot of boring stuff, and was made way more boring by an instructor that taught this class... non-stop and all day.  I know he just monologued it and had it memorized for years. Our teacher was bored. He reminds me now of the movie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Remember the economics teacher, played by Ben Stein... questions, "Anyone?" "Anyone?"  I think everyone has had one teacher like that. My cure, that kept me from running out the exit in class was taking notes with my left hand. I learned a great way to print. That might explain how unbelievably slow our teacher was talking. I can still write with my left hand, but it's printing. I want to change my signature. Is that a bad thing? Should I? My "Z" in Lazenby, looks like a lightening bolt and if I make it the other way it looks like a "m". A change is needed.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Graditude of Family. Road Trip! Woot, Woot! Not Retired, Just Antsy, Right?

 Family reunions are one of the greatest gathering we can have together. Reunions are a glimpse of heaven.

Graditute is a blessed virtue. I have felt so much gratefulness this week for so many things that have happened in my life. I suppose just living through a charging horse knocking me out cold, just a week from yesterday, has made me contemplate how incrediable it was, that I wasn't hurt. I am thankful. I sat down and wrote out so many "Thank-you" cards this week, it took all of a whole day and late into the evening. I still don't think I wrote enough.
Steve walked in last night and announced we are going to Utah again for Uncle Boyd Patten's 90th birthday. Oh, I am thrilled. Our kids are coming down from the north and we are meeting-up with everyone in St. George. It will be a Patten Reunion and I'm so happy some of my grown children can attend, as well. A little unusual run for us to go to Utah since we were just there... and only home less than two weeks.

I can't help but think that the opportunity to attend church is one of my most favorite parts of my life. My recent preparation and giving a talk on baptism, has made my devotion to attendance, my partaking of the sacrament, and reflection on the Savior, so much more meaningful. I love the feeling of the Spirit and I'm grateful for the love of our members toward each other. They are so compassionate and I really saw that today. I came with my mind-set to learn and I did. Elder David B. Haight said in the talk, "Remembering the Savior's Atonement" That,  "Sacrament meeting should be a time of reverence, remembrance, and thoughtful worship." Amen.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mormon Old Programs That Had A Good Heart. Glean The Good Goals. No New Year's Resolutions

Jan. 2, 2011
A long time ago many wards or church congregations tried programs to help members realize our goals, maybe as the perfect mother, grandmother, or father. By word of mouth, letters, and often just visiting other congregations, members were writing and submitting programs to what they thought would help us. The more we had to help us or keep us busy the happier we'd be, right?

We had the Moroni Awards for the women who were examples to others and were picked by the Relief Society Presidency to receive a trophy. It was held as a dinner and a small program with songs helping us to lift our goals and be better as Latter-day-Saint women.

Another was the "table designer" award. Every year the names were chosen and those that had the assignment decorated a table for an elaborate formal dinner. I remember even taking a picture of the my table and I do still have the picture. My table was white and lavender and it was expensive and took me weeks to prepare. I was out-done by every single other table decoration in the Cultural Hall. You can make a "purse outta' a sow's ear" with enough money.

Young Women's camp Liahona awards, was another program, it was well written and tried to tie the elements of the earth to the scriptures and the Liahona. All the girls graduating were given an award, but each award was represented by the elements of the earth. My oldest daughter was a Beehive 1st year when this was discontinued. She enjoyed it and wanted to be water. But at this time, the older girls were morphing the awards that were given to them, to mean other things and not recognizing the scriptures that went with this camp program. This award was in some ways similar to Scouting and was a bit of a ceremony for fun and then somehow ended, making so many left with hard feelings. Kangaroo Court at girl's camp was right-up there with how fun can change into harassment and hazing.

Oh, and there were others. All of these programs and ideas that everyone was making-up and  presenting were unfortunately, flawed. I cringed when we received the homemaking award program, called "The College of Homemaking" It was given to us on April 1, 1988 and because of the date, I was sure it was a joke.

The introduction letter was about learning to achieve and be successful in life. We needed to become better wives and mothers, which requires unnumbered (no duh!) skills and talents. We were admonished to achieve greater heights in skills and talents and though this program all will improve ourselves, gain much knowledge, and will develop talents and grow spiritually.

I noticed it had a date at the beginning and an ending. I sighed when I saw the date: 18 months and I almost cried. I was asked to have different people sign my requirements off to get my credit. My heart just sank. This was going to be like interviews and everything. Things that I enjoyed doing would become a burden. I couldn't really learn other things that I felt I had some interest, and my bread making schedule--- Oh no! Would I have to stay up later at night? I was sending homemade bread to a neighbor that had terminal cancer and all he could eat was my bread. He said to us that it tasted like his mother's bread. I couldn't stop the bread. There would be no room for anything but the "list" and I would be controlled by this 18 month schedule. Challenge? Oh yes, and a very huge burden. Our neighbor did pass-away, but as life is--I also became pregnant with my youngest, and the baby we had prayed for, for so many years, was a blessed prayer answered. I was soooo morning sick and all of my work on this program ...well, I just hid it. I was using my freedom of choice and here, my baby and her health and my wellness came first. It wasn't long after I had hid my papers, that this program and everyone of the other programs, that had been implemented into our activities, were stopped. There was an announcement from the pulpit and from our leaders to only follow what had come from the right sources, as The First Presidency of the Church. Just by thinking a little bit, a person could quickly see some very worthy persons would and could be left-out in these award programs and in so many ways. A shy person would probably never make the Moroni Award. If you didn't have money, there could be no fancy dinner award, and what about naming or labeling a young girl that she belongs in a category of fire if she didn't understand or know the scripture study to realize what her placing really meant? The homemaking award has a lot of goals, what if you couldn't read very well, from health issues,  the lack of education, or any number of other obstacles. All the well-meaning programs could lead to real humiliation.

There are a great many ideas here in the "College of Homemaking" that would be fun to learn and if you are interested in goal-setting for only yourself. Actually, not everything. I didn't like writing a poem and sharing with the Eliza R. Snow Poetry Contest and have it published. I was embarrassed to the core when I compared my attempt to write beautifully and read what others had submitted. Mine could be a limerick compared to the beautiful poetry and songs that were submitted. How about make gluten and use it in your meals? That was just too much, since most of my children and myself can't even digest gluten, what a waste of time and effort. There are some others, but on a whole these goals are worthwhile and if a person had time, developing a talent is fun without the fanfare.

I want to say I do support the small handout that is sponsored by the Church called Women of Excellence. Makes me stay-on-track with my scripture reading, personal prayers, Temple attendance, etc. and it's small. It's a woman's own guide if help and direction are needed. That's me. I would say this program is really wonderful and a inspirational guidepost. The analogy of the "iron rod" comes to mind when it means staying on track, helping us on our journey. We know the "iron rod" are the scriptures. Maybe for some of us, the Women of Excellence is a hiking stick to lean on as we travel holding on with our other hand to the "iron rod".

I think the most important thing we can do with New Year's Resolutions is just by wishing everyone of my friends and family a Happy, Happy New Year. I hope everyone makes a bunch of goals and achieves everyone of them, that is of course, the ones you love doing. If you don't love it, quit. Find your passion and enjoy the learning that comes with your goal or resolution. Actually, the resolutions means resolute in doing something. Does that mean you can't move on and make your goal "work" another way? Yep. So I think the Resolution word it O-U-T and the word goal is in.  I would also hope that your goals aren't "bucket lists" because we will all be ready for wonderful new ones next year. Hurray, for fun and important goals for you. Things that will help us grow, improve, and gain new skills, serve our family, friends, (enemies...I can add that!), situations, and become a better woman, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, friend, and daughter of God. We don't need an award for these things or recognition because our improvement is our reward.

One really good idea is to just do 3 goals in 30 days. It's on Facebook and called 3 in 30. The inspiration and mission is encouraging and challenging each other to accomplish goals in 2011. "Goals are dreams with deadlines". I think this is a realistic and quite a way to move forward in our steps to progression in reaching any goal we might be yearning to complete and enjoy. We know that in good small things, greatness happens. I'm grateful that I stumbled on to this site and even though I don't log-in with my goals, they are right here in my sturdy notebook. I have a link to one of the blog pages that help found 3 in 30 and a link is provided on my blog, under "Favorites" at the bottom of my blog on the left-side. Happiness is moving forward.

Bachelor of Homemaking

  1. Make an apron.
  2. Sew in a zipper.
  3. Make a dress or shirt with set-in sleeves.
  4. Make a crocheted, knitted, embroidered or needlepoint item.
  5. Spend at least 1 hour quilting or tying a quilt.
  6. Organize your sewing center.
  7. Have on hand, fabric and sewing notions to dress your family adequately for 1 year. You may consider each family member's present wardrobe and then plan to sew all additional items.
  8. Bake from scratch a layer cake and frost it.
  9. Make a casserole you've never made before.
  10. Make baking powder biscuits or muffins from scratch.
  11. Make a pie from scratch.
  12. Make homemade salad dressing or mayonaise.
  13. Make a batch of bread and give it away.
  14. Preserve fruit, jam or jelly by canning, drying, or freezing.
  15. Preserve vegetables by canning, drying, freezing or pickling.
  16. Organize your recipe file.
  17. Make at least one survival candle or buddy burner and use it for light, heat, or cooking.
  18. Clean and organize your linen closet.
  19. Before retiring, pick-up, and put-away anything out-of-place each night for one month (excluding children's bedrooms).
  20. Manicure your nails 30 times. (no) hahahah
  21. Give someone a haircut (no)  They won't let me!
  22. Do 10 minutes (what?) of organized exercise each day for one month without missing one time.
  23. Give the lesson for your Family Home Evening six times.
  24. Write a note of thanks to someone who has touched your life.
  25. Write two letters to a missionary.
  26. Attend Relief Society 80% of the time for one R.S. year.
  27. Magnify your calling as a visiting teacher.
  28. Invite the missionaries to dinner.
  29. Read the "First Presidency Message" in the Ensign each month for 10 months.
  30. Have your personal prayers each night and morning for six weeks without missing.
Master of Homemaking

  1. Make a nightgown, bathrobe, housecoat, or pajamas.
  2. Recycle one item of clothing by making it over.
  3. Sew an item of clothing for a man or boy.
  4. Make a tied or quilted quilt.
  5. Make one batch of gluten and serve to your family (ewww!)
  6. Make a raised sweet roll.
  7. Grow some sprouts and serve them to your family. (Does the Chia Pet count?)
  8. Make a tray of appetizers.
  9. Make a dessert from your year's supply.
  10. Investigate ways of preserving meat from your freezer if the electricity should go off for a long period of time, and try out one of these methods on at least one piece of meat.
  11. Plan 4 weeks of dinner menus, at least five meals per week. Keep on schedule for four weeks, making no more than two major changes.
  12. Go for a 24 hour period without using any electricity or natural gas in your home at all. You may leave your freezer and refrigerator plugged in, but may wish to try not opening them that day. You may also leave your furnace on, though perhaps at a lower temperature. Or camp-out for two day without a camper or trailer.
  13. Plan and serve a dinner or luncheon party.
  14. Inventory food storage. Check what you have on hand and make a list of items yet needed for your year's supply.
  15. For one entire day, use only water from your storage supply.
  16. Grow some fruits and vegetables.
  17. Make a first-aid kit or evaluate and update your present kit.
  18. Make a flower arrangement.
  19. Make at least three of your Christmas gifts.
  20. Read the "Random Sampler" in the Ensign for 10 issues.
  21. Attend relief Society 85% of the time for one R.S. year.
  22. Participate in a choir.
  23. Make a work of art or submit an entry in the Eliza R. Snow Poetry Contest or the R.S. Song Writing contest.
  24. Do your genealogy for generations back.
  25. Do a compassionate service once a month for six months.
  26. Record your family''s major expenditures for one month and organize a workable family budget.
  27. Memorize ten scriptures.
  28. Have a 15 minute daily scripture study for one month.
  29. Hold family prayer night and morning for one month, not missing more than two times.
  30. Have ready a 72 hour pack for each person in your family. Include extra clothing, bedding, food, first-aid basics, etc. Place it in a strategic place in your home for use in case you should need to leave quickly because of earthquake, flood, fire, etc.
Doctor of Homemaking

  1. Sew cording or an applique on something.
  2. Make drapes, curtains, bedspread, window shades, or a rug.
  3. Make a pair of shoes, moccasins, sandals or slippers.
  4. Keep a live yeast-start growing for a month and use yeast from it in your baking.
  5. Bake all the bread for your family five times in four weeks.
  6. Shop for groceries only five times in four weeks.
  7. Have on hand one year's supply for the four basic supplies: wheat, sugar or honey, dry milk, and salt, Evaluate it and be sure it's complete. (This doesn't necessarily apply anymore. Store what you can eat and what your family can tolerate--the new rules)
  8. Make a batch of soap or participate in making soap.
  9. Weed your yard or garden.
  10. repair something electrical, mechanical, etc.
  11. Paint or wallpaper a room or assist in both.
  12. Refinish or upholster a piece of furniture or assist in both.
  13. Make-up a work schedule for your routine housework and stick to it for two weeks.
  14. Clean all closets and storage areas of your home and  prperly dispose of items no longer of use.
  15. Be patient, kind, and understanding with your children and husband for three consecutive days.
  16. Label and date all photographs of your family. (Wow!)
  17. Write your personal History.
  18. Complete a class through the Institute of Religion, Community College, BYU Home Study, or an Adult Education Program.
  19. Prepare a another emergency kit for your car with tools and emergency supplies. Study all the necessary and needed items and purchase them and tie-them-down properly in the car or trunk.
  20. Demonstrate the ability to use the following skills: No mouth to mouth here, so study the NEW CPR and also know the Heimlich Maneuver.
  21. Seek out someone who does not attend relief Society on a regular basis and fellowship her into full-activity in Relief Society.
  22. Teach a Relief Society mini-class or teach someone a skill.
  23. Attend Relief Society 90% of the time for one R.S. year.
  24. Be five minutes early for every church meeting for one month. (Excluding real oxen in the mire)
  25. Bear your testimony in Fast and Testimony Meeting or at Relief Society.
  26. Attend 80% of your church meetings for one year.
  27. Read the Ensign cover to cover for two issues, (one issue must be a conference report)
  28. Read all church scripture reading assignments for one year. (It's the New Testament for 2011).
  29. Attend the temple nine times during the year. if you haven't yet received your temple blessings, prepare yourself and obtain your temple recommend.
  30. Submit the name of an ancestor to have his or her work done in the temple.
Okay....ya' think I'm ready for a PHD after my name. Not yet.
Bill Watterson is so great! 
Love Calvin and Hobbs.
Perfect Comeback!
If you want to go crazy and really make changes in your life, You Can Do It,  by Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas. It has some really great resources. It has this merit badge system and handbook for grown-up girls. It says, "Dare to Dream" & "Learn Something New"  Really, these are intense, life-changing steps to get-out and do something. I just like the links to all the places for extra information. It's organized like a Girl Scout Manual and it's got merit badges and everything. Charts, steps and great resources. The downside is that most of the projects really are intense and require a lot of energy and some more money than just regular people can afford.

Some of the Content pages include: Dancing, Travel, Acting, Stand-up Comedy, Firewalking ( nope not going there) Public Speaking, Activism, Starting a Band, Starting a Business, Flying Solo, Singing, Painting, Writing, Getting Published, Filmmaking, Photography (intense) Building Websites, Gardening, Flower Arranging, Decorating, Beading, Sewing, Quilting, Knitting, Negotiating, Learn a Foreign Language, Finish Your College Education, Play an Instrument, Art Appreciation, Art Appreciation, Read Good Books, Cooking, Drinking (no more info on that) Entertaining, Exercising, Yoga, Surfing, Climbing, Skydiving (Oh, Marnie) Triathlon, Scuba diving, Snow Sports, Billiards, Horsebackriding (that's what I'm talking about!) Eat It, Care For Your Health, Quit It, Personal Style, Money, Budgeting, Saving and Investing, Estate Planning and Philanthropy, Car care, Computer Care, Home Maintenance, Organizing, Meditation, Teaching, Camping. Genealogy, Family Traditions, Dating, Strengthening Your Relationship, Volunteering, and Making Your Own Badges.

 My favorite book, however is The Daring Book for Girls is so darling and easy. The book was written by Miriam Peskowitz and has easy fun things to do, like making a friendship bracelet or silly pranks or just making a real lemon-powered clock. Right-up my alley. I know it's for young girls because I never could even attempt "Double Dutch" jump rope. So fun to share with my grand daughters. By-the-way, there's a Daring Boy Book, too. I love the activities in the Boy's Book, as well.

Good Luck!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Danger Ranch & I Hate Falling On My Head. Maybe That's How I Learn

Here's the scene: Group a bunch of grandchildren, two frisky horses, anxious grown children and mix it up with a Queensland Heeler and a prissy Kitty, that thinks it's a Heeler and what do you get?

There was a cat that jumped high-out of the bushes to scare the horse, that jumped like a bunny, helping the dog that bit the horse, then slammed Sally her buddy, that scared the sheep hiding and running, that made the ol' lady swallow the fly... no, I didn't die. I really could have added the donkeys, our stallion, goats and the chickens... just how does this all come together? "Is this real life?"

Bummer, She's Okay...
I think there were a few that thought I died. I was knocked-out of my shoes backwards. My shoes were facing the other direction and I didn't even know what hit me. I fell backwards and hit my head and my arms went up behind me, all in slow-motion. I saw stars, again and no, my fireman, husband hero was not here, and on duty at the station. No, we didn't call out the medics.

I knew I was chancing the "horse-thing" when I started taking the horses out of their pens. It was too wet from the recent rain storms. I should have stopped it right there when I saw the puddles, but excited that my grand daughter was showing interest in our Sahara. She just needs a girl so bad. I know Sahara misses our daughter Kiely and the truth is that Kiely isn't coming home and still has marriage, college, and who knows ... maybe a baby and family, before she will be able to ride again.

There was another thing that I should have caught is that there is a storm coming again and that makes for very frisky horses. Oh, that may apply here again to our frisky little kitty that does harass our horse constantly and her best friend our dog, Darby. Both of these critters were nuts! This is right out of the a child's book, "Skippy John Jones" The cat that thinks it's a dog. Well, there is something wrong when a prissy kitty will be in a pen of a full-grown Quarter Horse and just chase it all around the pen. The kitty is so going to get launched. I didn't really know she was doing this ALL THE TIME. My husband said she was acting a bit unusual in the pens lately. I think he should have warned me because I think my survival depends on the "personality changes" in our animals and children.

I got "watched" for about an uncomfortable hour, while my two daughters were looking for signs of weird-eyed me. I finally was allowed to walk and limp my weary body back into the house. I was too sore to hang-out by the heater so I went in and curled-up in my bed. It isn't too often that we can actually see our breath inside our own house. I think I'm living in the 1920's. The heater only heats one room and truly I went to bed with my teeth chattering.

Tressa told me later that it really freaked-her-out that I was lying there on the ground and "out" in the pasture. She quoted my favorite  saying,"Not funny, McGee!"

One of the most interesting part of the whole event was that I was up against the horses hooves. I was just one step from my face getting stepped-on and first, I wasn't aware of that, and second, the horse didn't move a muscle, when she realized she knocked me down, she froze. As I came to my senses, I felt her breath on my face. I don't dare put words in an animals mouth, but I'm sure she wondered why I was there on the ground. Sally was trying to get away from the fussin' Sahara and getting her rear kicked. I'm pretty sure she didn't even see I was there. Excuses, excuses...I know. And here again, I have learned to wait for my husband, wait for good weather, and not do anything unless I have the right shoes, gloves, and all that ... before I just jump-out and wrangle the horses.

So Serene Just An Hour Later
 I hope my grandchildren are not scared-off of the horseback riding experience or worry about me. I remember my dad stampeded by five horses and he went limp. The horses all pushed him into the fence and right in front of us and my dad just collapsed on the ground. I thought Dad was dead and here we were in the I same pen with my sister and little brother. When he "resurrected" himself, he taught us, maybe not my toddler little brother, but Lori and I how to fall. It was the first time of many, that my dad said to go limp, don't brace yourself because a horse vs. a person will not win against a horse's strength and adrenaline. My dad was a rodeo rider for years and had first-hand experience with the proper way to defer a very bad injury, by just going limp. I would love to say I did as my dad taught, but I'm sure I didn't see Sally, our biggest mare, running at me.

If you are wondering what all of us little kids were doing in the horse pen, we were looking under rocks. We wanted to play with the purple salamanders. That sounds so lame, but my dad found them while he was moving rocks and he was showing us the weird, shiny amphibians when the horses

Poor Tressa, feels bad that she let-go of the rope, but really, she would probably would've been dragged through the pen, herself. My Bree and Kiely, the daughters that live so far-away had some choice words for me especially, Kiely.  Kiely's said, "What the heck were you doing, without dad there?" True, true. My other daughter who "just" survived another truly deadly tornado storm in Arkansas and she said to me, "Mom, just tell yourself that was really a crazy Shiatsu Massage and a fancy spa treatment of mud and seaweed." I think she has some real insight on how to mentally handle scary situations.
Not Even a Worry or Care
Oh howdy! The ground could have been a lot harder and the grass stained my clothes and honestly, I was for the first time, I am very glad the thick, green weeds were there. The noxious weeds were not so bad.

A Real Surprise Christmas Present The Airport, Flying, & Doing It Again Santa Paula Airport

 Written: Sunday, December 19, 2010

I had no start in this whole Christmas present episode, except I told my kids that their dad missed flying. Steve had done this all before. This is a small town with an active, small, but famous airport. Many young men and some young women got jobs early-on in the early 50's and 60's.  Yes, even before that, because my dad also earned his way to get his pilot's license before he could drive legally. Steve wanted to fly and he as a real young boy worked throwing the newspapers and saving all his money so he could learn to fly and flew at age 12! He finally received his pilot's license when he was just 16 years-old.
This is the only picture of my husband and his really,
really red beard. Does he look happy? Oh yeah, he was!

 Steve's solo flight, not his first solo. His first time was many years earlier.

He started up his flying again when a friend told him he really needed to continue his dream and fly. Steve took some lessons in Santa Paula as a young father and then flew at the Oxnard Airport because he wanted to fly in a bigger airplane than Santa Paula had available at that time. Steve did this all in the mid-1970's  and it was when we had all these little children and babies. I don't know how our Stake President knew about his flying, but he told Steve he was risking so much by flying when he had the great responsibly of having and raising a family. He explained that he felt there was a risk he might crash and the babies and I would be left alone to fare for ourselves. If the Stake President tells you this, you listen and Steve quit. He had finished his solo and it was over. I could tell he was really sad.

Santa Paula's airport is known locally, as The Antique Airplane Capitol of the World. It was built in the late 1920's but was destroyed by flood and then another was built by right near Santa Clara River bed by a group of ranchers. The airport is still small, but hangers are always a very sought investment. The airport even has an open house on the first Sundays of each month for airplane enthusiasts to see a huge museum of really unique airplanes. No wonder so many are in awe of flying. The airport doesn't have a tower or radio. No one is suppose to land at night or fly over the town to land. The sound of airplanes is a normal part of our everyday white noise, as a train coming through town everyday and a train whistle. Another wonderful part of the airport is that it's a real community and so very safe. The people who fly here are real experts and experts at safety. My Steve would know, he is a firefighter and the airport is in his sector.

I know my children knew about their dad wanting to fly again, but they hadn't said anything to me or to him about a gift, or even hinting at flying again.

I hadn't thought about what my children were going to get their dad for Christmas at all. I had been worrying about packing, getting all our things together to be warm enough to wear when we go to Utah, and the big thing was preparing spiritually to speak on baptism for Dean while we're back in Salina.

I had even posted about my experience and love of The Savior while reading The Book of Mormon.  I said, "I love the Book of Mormon. As I read...I prepared myself for 3rd Nephi. I know the joy of truly feasting on the Scriptures." I was reading about baptism in my bed and under the covers with a finger in my ear and holding my hand-held mobile app. with my other hand. I had to hold my finger in my ear and then take it out to scroll down each time I read ten or so .. scriptures. Steve was listening to a local radio station and I think it was Tim Conway Jr. and it wasn't loud, but I wanted to really concentrate. Steve was snoring, so I didn't want to wake him to turn his radio off.

I became so sleepy, but I finished my reading and set my phone to the side with a plug on my phone to  Bose speakers to drown-out the talk radio with soft music, and I promptly fell asleep.

First thing in the morning ... and I mean about 6:00 a.m. I got a call on my phone. I was a bit awake, but drowsy. The phone call was from Dustin and he asked me a question. I asked, "What?" Yes, he was on my speakers. He asked, "Can Dad hear me?" I said, "Wait a minute..." Steve unplugged my phone and I stuck my finger in my ear and told him it was okay, Dad couldn't hear now. Steve busted-up laughing and I realized what I had done. Did I think that Dustin's voice was going to come-out my other ear? I was way more sleepy than I was aware and really shouldn't have been talking to anyone. Honestly, I even text in my sleep and it for sure doesn't make any sense. Huh, Bree?

All I know is Dustin wanted me to watch his children for just a couple minutes during the morning. I think he told me about the "airplane thing" but I don't remember. Dustin was here at our house in just a couple of minutes took his Dad to the airport and gave him the present from all our children. New training, new classroom time, and an "do-over" so my Steve could try this all again. I might add my husband was really surprised, really happy, thinking and thinking ... and thinking ... this is "his time to fly"

Maybe it's my time to get my shawl, just commit me.

I know this is this includes The feelings of all of us right now:
Larin excitedly said, "My dad will be flying
again after 30 year break. Merry Christmas dad!!!"

Utah A White Christmas and Unbelievable Beauty

The Clock Tower At Kiely'and Matt's School

Sweet House-~~Kiely & Matt's

New Library Across The Street From Kiely's and Matt's House

The Aitken's Married Housing~~ Darling Place

Crazy Mr. Potato Snow Man Just Down The Street From The Aitken's
Dec. 23, 2010
I'm impressed by the snow in Utah. I love it. It's so fluffy and we just saw it, white and pure. I'm not that unfamiliar with the snow problems of black ice and ugly stacks of hard brown and gray snow. The bad melty snow wasn't there yet and we were so happy to be in Utah's "Winter Wonderland"

Higher The Altitude~~ Snow Sprinkles

What Is This? Name it 4-H and The LDS Kids Will Drink Coke?

Cache Valley Cheese in Beaver, Utah

Squeaky Cheese

We did make the usual stop in Beaver at the Cache Valley Co-Operative and buy some "squeaky cheese" for our family that live a few hours to the north. The snow through all the little towns seemed to sparkle with shimmering lights. I was afraid to even breathe the snowflakes. The snow looks like gnats or White Flies that we have around here, in Southern California. Ewwww! I know to also carry a hankie because of the cold air does unusual things to my face and nose. All of winter scenes and the excitement of a very real merry Christmas, made us more than anxious to be with our family there in Utah. December 26th will be the baptism of our grandson on Sunday, and it falls on the day after Christmas. And today we will be attending the Temple in Manti.
We Can See The Manti Temple From Far Away

We easily made the last session at the Manti Temple. My experience at the temple gave me the true meaning what Christmas it meant to be and I really want to attend the temple each year at this time. My attendance at the temple for my family has given me a great feeling of joy.

We Ate At The Manti House After Our Temple Attendance

Manti Temple

Dec. 25, 2010

Christmas Eve was exciting. The Knapp family, set the stage by reading from Luke II the night before and talked about the Nativity scene and all the the traditions we hold and that have meaning about the Savior birth. My son-in-law made certain everyone was aware of the importance of remembering that all of this, is to honor of Jesus. The children recited their memorized scriptures and we had a sweet Family Home Evening that my children and grandchildren took seriously and reverently. I hadn't slept well that night, not for the opening of presents on Christmas, but thinking of my talk that I needed to prepare for Dean's baptism talk. I went upstairs when everyone was getting in bed and put notes together from all my reading. I was stalled in III Nephi, when Jesus Christ was there teaching, blessing, and preaching to the people of the Book of Mormon. Most of my talk was taken from that chapter. I used the "stepping stones" object lesson from "Sugardoodle Blog" and my daughter, Kiely also had prepared a very visual talk. We were both ready for Sunday, by Christmas Eve.
Larin & Dave Knapp are Done!

Peaceful Dreams of Christmas

Jaxon Dreaming of Christmas With His Weesy

Finlee, Not Aslee
I woke everyone up Christmas morning, but not on purpose. It was really early, still dark, and I stumbled upstairs and knocked over some steps. The loud crash against the wall woke the whole house and it was a stampede up the stairs to see what Santa had brought them. They just stared. The children waited for us to get ready by parents who distracted them with the sight of their gift peeking out their stockings. And we all enjoyed the slow opening of gifts and the glee of each moment, one of the kids realized what they were getting as they opened each one. It was fun.
Fun Things Bungie Cords and Leopard Duct Tape for ME!
Jaxon's in Heaven With A Big Truck

Dean Methodically Opening His Presents

The Wonder of Christmas

Snow Days & There Is Still Activities

Finlee Kissing Her New Present

A New Bottle For Finlee's Baby Doll
Kiely & Matthew Aitken's First Christmas

Mario's Still Popular?
Dave's place at the table is always where the whipped-white and cherry jello is placed. We had wonderful meals and my daughter's are excellent cooks. Everything was perfect. After the food all the family seemed to rest.
After Dinner Clean-up
 Steve and I took-off for sight-seeing somewhere in the Fish Lake Forest area. We should have asked about the steep terrain, the frozen mud, and the locked gate with no turn-around at the top. The off-road trip was very scary especially sliding down the hill sideways. I hope my mother doesn't read this, she won't ride with us anymore. Off-roading: I can say now, I'm okay with the "sand" 4-wheeling, the ice and snow...not so much.The cemeteries were what we were going investigate, but all of them were so covered in snow, it didn't seem like we could manage snow-digging at the cemetery for the Lazenbys, who may or may not be buried there.

Wonderful Snow

Slippin' In Snow

Snow Everywhere

Dec. 26, 2010

I was so tired by Sunday I wanted to paint eyeballs on my eyelids to make it through Church. I felt like a jerk when I found that it was high counsel Sunday. The talks of the week before were postponed because of the Christmas Program. Oh it was hard to get ready to even go to church. I can say there were way too many of us and so many showers were needed. The snow was still deep, but not cold. We walked to church without our jackets and as usual. I  must say all the places in Utah are really, very warm inside. At Church, I listened and learned that most of the people of that sweet town are either truckers like Dave, or miners, or ranchers. All the men had distinctive drawls. The town of Salina, I thought was pronounced like Salinas in California. Kiely and Larin still say it like "Saw-line-a" The regular church members all called their home, "Slide-a". Now, I'm confused and hesitate each time the town's name comes-up in conversation. Actually, I still hesitate to say my daughter's new married name of Aitken. It's pronounced like Aching...well, without the "g" so more like Achin'. It didn't help that while they were going together everyone corrected me outside the family, that the name was "AT-KIN" She reminds me that her blog name is "Our Aitken Love" and not think of the way the name looks.

Kiely still loves the snow after her year anniversary. It even snowed the last day of school for summer break. She told me that sliding down the Peeteetneet School in Payson was the highlight of her snow experience. She has done the sledding one time before, but she was so young she didn't remember it. I can only imagine her husband was chuckling at Kiely screaming, as she raced down the steep slope, just as her grandmother had done so many years before when she was in grammar school. Oh, and all her great aunts, uncles, and also her great grandfather. Matt of course also attended the school at Peeteeneet. I know he has been down that same slope a lot as he was growing-up in Payson. I'm sure all his family enjoyed the school "Amusement Park". Kiely said it was better than Disneyland. I know it will be a wonderful sweet tradition in their family, too. Snow isn't like I thought and definitely not as cold. Amazing.

The baptism was my favorite part of Sunday and the whole trip. Dean, my grandson, was so reverent and even came to the podium to tell me his memorized scripture about baptism. He was very prepared. Matthew, Kiely's new husband, conducted and my Steve was able to perform the confirmation and Gift of The Holy Ghost. This was Dave's first time to baptize his own child and I know it was an experience that will be forever a very blessed memory. It definitely was a beautiful evening and again the shimmer and glistening of all the lights highlighted the quiet and sweet peaceful and reverent moment of the Baptism. This occasion will be a precious moment in our family history.

 Matthew & Kiely Atkin, Steve & I, Knapp Family: Larin Holding Finlee,
Dave, Dean the Baptism Boy, and Jaxon with His Weesy Blanket
Dave and Dean Before The Baptism

Knapp Family
Dec. 27, 2010

We started home and we were able to visit my aunt and uncle in St. George. My Aunt Eileen made a beautiful painting of a cow and calf for Kiely. When she saw the photo that he dad sent of it, she was overwhelmed. The baby calf looked just like her first steer, Cookie, as a little calf.

We headed southwest and went to the Las Vegas Temple. How amazing is it to witness the visual of the city below and the temple high above in heaven and view down below what to me, seemed like hell. That feeling was overwhelming when we attempted to maneuver through that main "strip". Most buildings are askew and out-of-proportion. The whole scene looked, cartoon-like. We saw huge "large and spacious buildings" that were up so high, we couldn't see the top. Hundred's if not thousand's of people were running and walking holding large packages of new purchases, and dressed to the "nines". Everyone seemed to be in fancy clothes, like it was evening.

You know things are really bad in a city when just off the main street are old run-down shops that are filled with lawyers, pawn-shops, bad newspaper stands, street walker ladies, and small warehouse looking wedding chapels. The cars that surrounded us in Las Vegas were Bentley's, new Rolls, and sport cars. I haven't ever seen that before. Here we were... in a super-red-muddy FJ Landcruiser.

I'm sure of the holiday and short stay in Utah didn't give the highway workers a chance to fix any roads. Again, the detours were everywhere and the sun was right in our faces. I was relieved that we stopped for dinner at a yogurt place and just took our time for the sun to go down behind the hills. My husband set his sight on Palmdale and we were able to let our neighbor know to feed the livestock and miscellaneous animals for us, because we were going to be home late. Again, we had stopped for refills of "squeaky cheese for all our family here at home" I'm also thankful we were able to visit Cove Fort. That was on my list--we are always in a hurry and we needed to still see and hear Church History, one of my favorite interests. We about threw the "squeaky cheese" on Tressa's lawn in Fillmore, and were able to give my mother, and Marnie some before we went in the house. The rest would have to wait until tomorrow.
Side-Trip to Cove Fort
The Small Cove Fort~~Didn't See A Lot of Action
Pioneer, Sister Hinkley's Kitchen
 Home. We couldn't get to bed fast enough, both of us were exhausted. I didn't want to think of crazy Las Vegas, but didn't have to-- because as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was looking at my eyelids. Home again.