Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Moments

Not all Christmas moments are created equal. 
Here's a glimpse of our doings.
Haggard Billy with sick little Ryan.
All ready to head back to Arizona.
She's feeling better now.

Sam with a fun toy Christmas morning.

Becky did her magic,
knitting Ninja Turtles and dolls for all her nieces and nephews.

Plenty of games to play.

"Jumping Jack Rabbits, it's a pogo stick!"
Perfect for Jeremiah and all Dedman boys.

Santa Tom, "Merry Christmas!"
How does he do it!
He claims he's been Santa the least number of times
and yet he's it once again.
Do the math!

Becky, our Christmas Elf, with Dexter.

Ryan was all about her helmet and trike.

Sam having a cozy moment.
I should have took more pictures.  We had a great Christmas ham dinner.  It was good being together in spite of some of the sickness we encountered.  Hope you had a Happy Christmas!  We're ready to ring in the new year!
"I will honor Christmas in my heart,
and try to keep it all year."

Thursday, December 30, 2010

In Review - 2010

I set goals every year and I never do as good as I'd like.  Nothing new this year in that regards, but I did have some great experiences and have been more and more aware of Heavenly Father's guiding hand and help in my daily life.  I'd like to think I had those experiences because of my goals.  Those experiences that stemmed from them have made me far more aware and helpful of others.

Even though I didn't write it on my blog this year I still set my usual goal of increased temple attendance.  I've never really been satisfied with my results, so I keep it on the list each year because it helps me do a little more than the requested once a month.  But during August of this year I found myself with some major concerns and I felt compelled to go to the temple - I had to go.

Many can identify with me when I say that many times when I have schedule a date to go to the temple, all sorts of things get in the way to impede me from getting there like planned.  It's happened to me time and time again.  Interestingly, I found myself in the opposite situation.  I felt guided to go to the temple to deal with some problems.  I set a goal of going every week.  At times, even when I thought that it was going to be difficult to orchestrate going; things would work out so I could go.  Everything would fall into place for me to accomplish my needed worship.  It lifted me and I knew my Heavenly Father was helping me get there.

For a good three months I went every week.  What would have took me a year before, I found I accomplish in just a few months.  I knew sooner or later I would break my weekly cycle, but I made mental plans not to be upset by it.  I continued to look at each week and try to go.  I've missed some, but I'm more consistent than not.  I'm so grateful, so very very grateful about it all.  It's been a good thing.  And because of my results it won't be on my goal list for 2011.  I'll focus on some other things.  "I love to see the temple . . .", but more importantly, I love to go inside.

Redlands Temple

“My brothers and sisters, we have built temples throughout the world and will continue to do so. To you who are worthy and able to attend the temple, I would admonish you to go often. The temple is a place where we can find peace. There we receive a renewed dedication to the gospel and a strengthened resolve to keep the commandments.”

President Thomas S. Monson,
"Until We Meet Again,” Ensign, May 2009, 113

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What Shall We Give?

You're probably wondering where I've been.  I worked steadily until school was out for the Christmas holiday.  And then, if you know me, you know that getting sick is standard procedure over the holidays, and yet I'm happy to report I'm well.  It pleases me, and consequently, I'm having a very merry Christmas.

Sadly, in spite of purchasing stamps, in spite of having Christmas cards, in spite of having put together a letter - I'm not sending out my usual greeting.  I didn't send out cards last year and here I am not doing it again.  I love Christmas cards!   Hopefully a few people will hear from us by me posting our greeting here. Have a good one!  We love you!
Merry Christmas
and a
Happy New Year!

Wishing you the BEST!
The Blair Family

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving 2010!

Our Thanksgiving week has been filled with fun, food, and laughter. We invited my brother Adam, Sally, and family to spend their vacation with us.  Our group became larger at various times during the week with other friends and family joining us.  I'm counting my many blessing, feeling joyous, and grateful.  Hope you had a great holiday - Happy Thanksgiving!

"And he who receiveth all things
with thankfulness
shall be made glorious;
and the things of this earth
shall be added unto him,
even an hundred fold, yea, more."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Think they're related
or is it just their age?
My youngest son,
Samuel McMullin Blair,
12 years old.

My oldest son,
Richard Houston Blair,
12 years old.
My maternal grandfather,
Virgel Edgar McMullin,
approximately 12 years old.

"We are linked by blood,
and blood is memory without language."
Joyce Carol Oates

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Sister

With all the pictures I took I didn't get one of my sister. I made a point to take a photo yesterday before she left to go home.

Beth came from North Carolina to visit our dad and attend my brother's wedding. She drove with us on our trip to Salt Lake City. She was a trooper to endure all that traveling. "It was worth it," she said.

Beth, ready to go home.
She's always good to take on a project when she comes
and great to visit with.

"A ministering angel shall my sister be."
William Shakespeare

Saturday, November 13, 2010

SLC Trip

We made it to Salt Lake City, Utah this weekend. It was a whirlwind of a trip. We traveled Thursday to Utah. We traveled Saturday home to California. Friday was the day we visited with family, friends, and attended my brother Adam's wedding. Here are some photos from our very wonderful day.

Hugh and Aunt Noriene Bombard
She's so delightful!  We were happy to visit with her
Friday morning in Bountiful, Utah.

"Over time, you can become like your relatives,
 especially in good ways."

Larry A. Hiller
 “It’s About Time,”
New Era, Aug 1998, 21

Emma, Janet, Janna, and Kate
The girl cousins who came for the happy wedding.

“The temple is a place of beauty,
it is a place of revelation,
it is a place of peace.
It is the house of the Lord.
It is holy unto the Lord.
It should be holy unto us.”

President Howard W. Hunter
Ensign, October 1994, 2

Girls joined by the guy cousins.
Michael, Tommy, Sam, and Scott

“As we touch the temple, the temple will touch us.”
President Thomas S. Monson
Our family outside the Salt Lake Temple

“When you return from the temple,
share with your children and loved ones at home
your feelings about what you experienced.
Speak not of the sacred ordinances,
but of the love and power manifest by them.”

Elder David B. Haight
"Come to the House of the Lord"
Ensign, May 1992, 16 
"Remember this day that you touched the temple.
One day you will go inside."

“You are never lost when you can see the temple.”
quoted by Elder Gary E. Stevenson

The reason we came.
Adam and Sally Jo
sealed in the Salt Lake Temple
November 12, 2010

"The most important single thing
that any Latter-day Saint
ever does in this world
is to marry the right person,
in the right place,
by the right authority."

Elder Bruce R. McConkie,
"Agency or Inspiration?"
New Era, Jan. 1975, 38

Greeting their two kids as they exited the temple.
Michael, Emma, Adam, and Sally

"Marriage itself must be regarded
as a sacred covenant before God.
A married couple have an obligation
not only to each other, but to God.
He has promised blessings
to those who honor that covenant. . . .

"Husbands and wives who love each other
will find that love and loyalty are reciprocated.
This love will provide a nurturing atmosphere
for the emotional growth of children. . . ."

Ezra Taft Benson,
"Salvation—A Family Affair,"
Ensign, July 1992, 2

  At the reception
Janna and Janet
“Let us walk in the light of the Lord.”
Isaiah 2:5

Our substitute mother, Janeen Stevens, and Adam

One other word is equal
in importance to a Latter-day Saint.
Put the words holy temple and home together,
and you have described the house of the Lord!”

Boyd K. Packer,
“The Temple, the Priesthood,”
Ensign, May 1993, 20 
More cousin fun after the reception

“Within the sound of my voice
are many young women, young men, and children.
I plead with you to be worthy,
to be steadfast,
and to look forward with great anticipation
to the day you will receive
the ordinances and blessings of the temple.”
David A. Bednar,
“Honorably Hold a Name and Standing,”
Ensign, May 2009, 100

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Big Boy - Big Doings!

Sammy, no longer in Primary.

Happy 12th Birthday!

Cake, candles, and Sam - November 4, 2010
Sam was ordained a deacon and bore his testimony on
Sunday, November 7, 2010.
"I know the Church is true. 
I know Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God.
And, I'm glad to be a deacon."
 Dad, Sam, and Tom
November 9, 2010 - Court of Honor
Tenderfoot Scout and two merit badges too boot.

Sam and Mom

Four B's for Boys
Be Smart
Be Fair
Be Clean
Be True
Gordon B. Hinckley,
“Four B’s for Boys,” Ensign, Nov 1981, 40 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Scripture Study Alzheimer Style

"A grandparent is a gift from above
one to cherish, one to love."

Tom had a special visit with Poppy this week.  It is difficult to carry on a conversation with Poppy, so Tom decided he'd read the scriptures with him.  In this first attempt, Tom set Poppy's Bible open on his lap so Poppy could feel like he was following along.  Tom then opened Poppy's Book of Mormon and read from it.  Poppy actually seemed to enjoy it.  He didn't know who Tommy was in spite of  Tom's explanation that he was his grandson.  While reading about Alma the Younger, Poppy looked up at Tom and with some vague recognition said,  "I think I know who that is."

Of Alma the Younger, the Sons of Mosiah, Tommy, and Poppy too:

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tricks 'r Treats - 2010

We didn't get out Trick or Treating this year, but we did hit a few parties and gatherings at church earlier in the month. No worries, plenty of candy came our way and some fun times with some fun kids.
"Trick or Treat!"

"Who are you?"

("Oh that JoJo!")

"A grandmother pretends
she doesn't know who you are
on Halloween."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I've Learned Something

One day after lunch I was standing by my classroom door waiting for my students to come in with the other staff.  It just so happened I had a friend working next door.  She too was waiting for a class to do hearing screenings.  I greeted her and we talked a bit.  She asked me why I didn't get certified so I could work full-time as a teacher.  My immediate response was, "I don't like working!" For some reason I felt a tinge of regret in that statement.  I mean, work is important.  I guess I'm just not use to getting paid for it.

Soon after I greeted my class as they filed in from taking their walk.  I thought, "These students and para-educators would feel very sad if they heard me say, I don't like being here."  On the contrary, I love filling in for the teacher of this particular class and I have other classes too where the kids are all about me and their student aides are happy to see me too.

How could I say, I don't like working?  I've thought about it.  Working outside of the home has been a big adjustment for me.  I guess I'm still not over it.  There is this thought in the  back of my mind, I shouldn't be here.  Well of course, a mother's place is in the home.  And I have bent over backwards, for oh so many years, to stay there.  I was comfortable with my motherly state of service.  But, I know women are in a position to serve in many, many, ways. I volunteered in my children's classrooms for 25 years. Little did I know I was gaining work experience. One day I realized I needed to step up to the plate as part of my motherly duties and become gainfully employed.  We needed it. DRAT this economy! With my degree in-hand, CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test) scores, and the experience I have had as a mother, classroom volunteer, callings in Primary for nearly 20 years; I stood prepared to be a substitute teacher.

I've talked about it before.  I have worked all my life, but this has definitely been an adjustment entering the workforce again after over 30 years and becoming a paid employee again.  I'm sure many people are thinking, "What's with all the drama?  Get over it already!  Cash the check and move on!" But it hasn't been easy.  It has definitely jostled my life.

Heavenly Father has helped me.  I've been trying to find balance through all of this and it has been coming.  I'm more accepting of my situation as I have realized my work is service - a paid service.  Especially having teachers call me back with the idea that they would like me to be the one to care for their class in their absence.

I'm not a perfect sub, but I am a sub who loves children and wants the best for them.  I want to be of service to them and their teachers.  So, I guess I can finally say it, with confidence, "I like working!"  And,  it helps when I get nice notes from teachers like Ms. Miller:

Thanks again for all you do.
I never worry
when you are there.

"Every sister who stands for truth and righteousness diminishes the influence of evil. Every sister who strengthens and protects her family is doing the work of God. Every sister who lives as a woman of God becomes a beacon for others to follow and plants seeds of righteous influence that will be harvested for decades to come. Every sister who makes and keeps sacred covenants becomes an instrument in the hands of God."

Elder M. Russell Ballard,
“Women of Righteousness,”
Ensign, Apr 2002, 66–73

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


My bishop asked me to learn to play the organ.  As far as I'm concerned, it's a miracle that I am doing so.  As I am learning, I am always hopeful that my presentation is never a distraction.  The music at church is to lift your thoughts to higher ground, to help you feel the Spirit.  There is a definite rationale in playing the hymns of Zion.  They are like scripture, evoking eternal messages of truth.

Prelude is the norm as one enters the chapel Sunday morning. I wonder sometimes if anyone is really aware of what I am playing when I hear chatter and the atmosphere seems so irreverent.  It's times like this when I'd like to crank out my melody above the din calling attention to everyone, "Please, be reverent."  But then there are other times when it is so quiet.  I know people are in some kind of reverie. I then become very nervous, worried I might miss a note and interrupt someones solace.

Last Sunday was the Primary presentation.  I decided, because of the situation, I would play Primary songs for prelude.  There was a lot of busyness around me as the children arrived and found their places before the meeting started, that was to be expected.  But as things settled down, I saved the best for last, the most familiar, "I Am a Child of God".  As I played, I heard a little voice behind me as recognition touched her ears.  She said with a pleasing and delightful tone, "I know this song."  I could feel her unfettered happiness.  A smile crossed my face as the music did it's wonder. She began to hum and as I continued to play, right on cue, she quietly began to sing the chorus, "Lead me guide me, walk beside me . . ."

"Ahhhh," I thought, "Reverence is more than just quietly sitting . . ."

Rev’rence is more than just quietly sitting:
It’s thinking of Father above,
A feeling I get when I think of his blessings.
I’m rev’rent, for rev’rence is love.
When I’m rev’rent, it shows in my words and my deeds.
The pathway to follow is clear.
And when I am rev’rent, I know in my heart
Heav’nly Father and Jesus are near.

Reverence Is Love, CSB 31
Words and music: Maggie Olauson, b. 1949
© 1987 by Maggie Olauson. All rights reserved
This song may be copied for incidental, noncommercial church or home use.

"I believe that those who choose, conduct, present, and accompany the music may influence the spirit of reverence in our meetings more than a speaker does. . . An organist who has the sensitivity to quietly play prelude music from the hymnbook tempers our feelings and causes us to go over in our minds the lyrics which teach the peaceable things of the kingdom."

Elder Boyd. K. Packer
"Reverence Invites Revelation,” Ensign, Nov 1991, 21

Saturday, October 16, 2010

They Came - They Went

Billy and family came visiting this week.  We were happy to have them for four fun filled days.  They hadn't seen Tommy since he came home and Tommy had never met Ryan because she was born while he was gone.  It was a nice reunion for everyone.  As always, lots of food, hiking, games, playing, and more.

Ryan, Bill, and Chelsea

“Our most important and powerful assignments are in the family. They are important because the family has the opportunity at the start of a child’s life to put feet firmly on the path home. Parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles are made more powerful guides and rescuers by the bonds of love that are the very nature of a family.”

President Henry B. Eyring,

Sunday, October 10, 2010

San Diego Weekend

I love to see the temple

and my granddaughter too.
Billy and Chelsea came up from Arizona for a wedding at the San Diego Temple.  They wanted us to come babysit outside while they were inside for about an hour.  Who travels three hours to babysit for one hour?  Grandparents DO!
We made our venture into a bigger weekend by coming up the night before and attending a session in the San Diego Temple ourselves. It was nice spending some time together.
We got to see Ryan and we'll get to see her some more with her parents later this week.  They are adding on a visit to Lancaster so they can see Tommy.  We're all looking forward to it.
"The temple is an ever-present reminder that God intends the family to be eternal. How fitting it is for mothers and fathers to point to the temple and say to their children, “That is the place where we were married for eternity.” By so doing, the ideal of temple marriage can be instilled within the minds and hearts of your children while very young."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I Have a Garden - An Autumn Garden

If I post pictures of my garden it's usually in the spring, but after our recent rainy days I looked at my garden this morning and thought it especially pretty.  Unfortunately my pictures don't show the beauty I saw.  My photos had too much glare, so I cropped out the glare parts and revealed some of the area where the tree's morning shadow casts across the flora.  It will have to do.

This makes me think of a favorite song I learned as a child in Primary. It's a song I would sing and rock my babies to.  I even sing it now, to myself. I love the old French melody and the message.  I have never forgotten it. The words are by Mary Hale Woolsey:
I Have a Garden
I have a garden, a lovely garden,
With flowers blossoming ever fair;
Where sun shines brightly, and rain falls lightly,
And breezes gather sweet fragrance there.
Songbirds come singing out of the sky;
Butterflies winging, hovering by;
And in my garden, my lovely garden,
There's always beauty to greet the eye.

I have a garden, a secret garden
Where tho'ts like flowers grow day by day;
'Tis I must choose them, and tend and use them,
And cast all wrong ones like weeds away,
Goodness and love are seeds that I sow;
God up above will help me I know,
To keep my garden, my heart's own garden,
A place where beauty will always grow.

Mary Hale Woolsey is also the author of the more famous, "Springtime in the Rockies".  This was a favorite song of my mother. It was a goal of hers to learn to play it on the piano.  I remember her practicing it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Back-to-School for Me Too!

It's not just back-to-school for Janna and Sam, but for me too.  I'm not taking a class, but working again.  It's been a bit of a slow start.  No work the first week, but I ended up with six jobs (two a week) by the end of the month.  I like this pace.  It's a little slower, but I have lots to do at home and elsewhere.  So it gives me time to get other things done and earn a little extra money which is especially helpful right now.

My first job was a class of autistic children.  It's a classroom I have subbed in before.  It was mostly  the same kids from the previous year.  None of them are particularly verbal, but you know me; singing is always on my agenda.  As we sang some songs together, I started to get requests from one boy in the class. He was taller than the other children and could talk better than any of them.  I felt like he was stepping forward as the class spokesman. He remembered the songs I had sung with them before, even Halloween songs from last year.  What a surprise! I understood what he wanted, so we sang his desires.

I was in their classroom for two days.  At times it can be a difficult class to handle, but with one child's enthusiasm he spurred us on to greater singing heights.  It all went well.  I'm hoping for a great school year.

"A song is a wonderful kind of thing
so lift up your voice and sing."

Monday, September 27, 2010

September Student of the Month

Nancy Cory Elementary has standards they encourage the students to live by.  The last two years Sam has received the Student of the Month award the last month of the school year. I'm happy for his recognition, but on the last go round I told him that maybe he ought to try and get the award earlier in the year. Well, lo and behold, this year he got it the first month of the school year. Hoorah for Sammy!
 Sammy and Dezmond
"We must always be trustworthy. We must learn whom we can trust to help us make right choices. Perhaps the most important thing of all is that we must let Heavenly Father know that He can trust us—that He can trust us to do the things that are right, that He can trust us to keep His commandments to be loving and kind and obedient and honest and to set a good example for all those around us. Heavenly Father wants us to be trustworthy, and when we are, we will receive the wonderful blessings of peace and joy and happiness that He has to share with all His children."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"Oh, What Do You Do In The Summertime?"

A lot happened this summer that I didn't cover on my blog in recent months.  It's still not everything, but I thought I'd give you a glimpse with some photos.

Janna went to North Carolina for a week.
Lots of sights and family to see.
Cousin Angie, Cousin Jessica, and Janna
on the North Carolina coast.
 Cousin Carson and Janna, NC

Janna and Cousin Amy in North Carolina

Sam went to Cub Camp as a Den Chief Leader.
Janna went to Girls Camp as a Stake Leader.

We gathered to Clovis, CA over the 4th of July weekend
and happily saw more family.

Cousin Emma visiting from Holladay, UT with Janna

Cousin Brent
One of many extended family members we saw.

Yvonne and new baby Peter.
We had a family reunion this summer (minus Elder Blair) when Rick and his family came through town with their move from Okinawa to Pensacola, FL.  Bill and his family joined from Mesa, AZ.  We were all together for about five days.  It was great having everyone here. 

 We saw Eddie for the first time, our youngest grandchild.

 Sam at Littlerock Dam with the fam.
Ryan and Bill watering Grandma's grass.

Tried to get a photo with all the grandkids together.
You can see how that went.

Singing around the campfire.
"Daddy Shark, do, do . . . ."

Will and Evelyn eating s'mores.

And, Tommy came home, as you know. 
We're so glad to have him back.
Janna, Becky, Tom, and JoJo.

"It was a splendid summer morning
and it seemed as if nothing could go wrong."
John Cheever

 I love it when life feels this way.