Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Did You Have a Merry Christmas?

Gifts of time and love
are surely the basic ingredients
of a truly merry Christmas.
~Peg Bracken
I admit, Christmas came to quick for me this year.  With working everyday and the last day of school being December 21st, I just wasn't ready for it all.  I suppose I always try to do too much; but with getting older, I couldn't push if I wanted to.  Instead, I went to bed and Becky took care of some of the last minute details. Thank You!  We even skipped Christmas dinner today with the idea that we would do it tomorrow when more of us were here. We've had our moments together today.  I'm grateful for less.

Best Wishes!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Have a Jolly Holiday!

I've been working more than my usual substitute norm since school started this fall. Here it's Christmas and I've worked everyday this month. Busy, busy! I just wanted to get a little greeting out there so you'd know I'm still around and hoping to get back on the blogging bandwagon.

Wishing you the best
and hoping you're having a

Janna the Elf
During a Christmas celebration last Saturday on Lancaster Blvd. Janna was an elf. She's a bit of a blur because she's in a giant snow-globe. She was in there for three hours - waving, wishing all who passed by a Merry Christmas, and getting her picture taken a lot.

"Well, way up north where the air gets cold
There's a tale about Christmas that you've all been told
And a real famous cat all dressed up in red
And he spends the whole year workin' out on his sled

It's the Little Saint Nick . . .
Run, run reindeer . . .
He don't miss no one!"

by Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Got the news yesterday. They were walking on the beach. They had been collecting shells. Tom called to Haley, "There's something in this shell . . ."  She came.  She saw the ring. He proposed - NERVOUS,  SURPRISED,  EXCITED .  .  .  PERFECT!

So happy for these two, Tom and Haley.

Marriage brings
greater possibilities for happiness
than does any other human relationship. 

Elder Russell M. Nelson

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Did You Vote Today?

Trying on a few masks,
Jake and Jennie when they came to visit in October.

"Nobody will ever deprive
the American people of the right to vote
except the American people themselves
and the only way they could do this
is by not voting."

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Sunday, October 28, 2012

They Came, They Went

They came, they went and because of their visit I'm back on the blogging map. My niece and nephew came to town several weeks ago. Angie (coming from North Carolina) brought her husband Edward; and Jake (coming from Salt Lake City) brought his friend Jennie. We had a wonderful time!

Of course, they came to see Poppy, but we always get the fringe benefits of those who come to see my dad. Happily, Edward, dare I say, super computer geek, (super - as in he has literally saved my life with this computer of ours); he got me straight on downloading pictures so hopefully I'm good to go until something else goes haywire on this thing.  I'll finally get to post about my trip to Utah and other stuff that has been going down around here.  Thanks Edward!

Edward and Angie at the San Diego Temple

Visiting family gravesides at the La Verne Cemetery
Angie's great-great grandparents on her mother's side.


Angie, North Carolina girl
amazed at Red Rock Canyon

North Carolina boy - Edward
Checking out the foliage and landscape of the Mojave Desert

Tommy, Haley, Jennie, and Jake

A visit with Poppy.
Jake, Poppy, Angie, and Edward

Edward on the verge of a grueling game of Dominion!
Angie and Jake at the graveside of their little brother
Steven David Lockhart
He died at three weeks old from SIDS. He'd be 25 this year.
He's buried next to my daughter, Martha Ann Blair.

Hope to see everyone soon!
Edward and Angie with Hugh and I
Fun info about Edward:
He's related to Blair's in Vermont
See any resemblance between Hughie and him?

Cousins - Angie and Cassie
Even though Becky and I went to Angie and Edward's wedding last year, everyone else hadn't seen Angie in five years and it was a first trip for Edward to California.  We were glad they came and everyone was pleased to meet Edward; grateful Jake and Jennie made the trip too.  It was an awesome week.

"Y'all Come Back Now,
Ya Hear?!!"

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ask the Sister Missionaries

"A mission

is a voluntary act of service

to God and humankind."

Elder Russell M. Nelson

Janet's mission is different because she serves at Temple Square - a visitors center and she works in the chat room of Mormon.org. Not every missionary serves this way.  Sometimes they let the sisters serving on Temple Square go out and serve in the "regular" mission field; and that's exactly what has happened to Janet (Sister Reynders, I should say). As of this week, she is currently serving in the Washington Spokane Mission. She'll be there for the next 4 1/2 months. Her first area is in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho. Her new address through the mission home is listed on the sidebar under her picture.

Sister Reynders standing in front of the
Spokane Washington Temple
with Sister and President Mullen
(her new and temporary mission president).
Janet will eventually return to Temple Square in Salt Lake City.
I'm so excited for her.  What an opportunity!  That's why I'm repeating Elder Russell M. Nelson's words from general conference with the added word "sister":

Ask the [Sister] Missionaries!
They Can Help You!
Elder Russell M. Nelson
General Conference, October 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

Ask The Missionaries

At general conference last April, President Thomas S. Monson in his opening remarks said:

"We meet each six months to strengthen one another, to extend encouragement, to provide comfort, to build faith.  We are here to learn.  Some of you may be seeking answers to questions and challenges you are experiencing in your life.  Some are struggling with disappointments or losses.  Each can be enlightened and uplifted and comforted as the Spirit of the Lord is felt.

"Should there be changes which need to be made in your life, may you find the incentive and the courage to do so as you listen to the inspired words which will be spoken.  May each of us resolve anew to live so that we are worthy sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father."

President Thomas S. Monson,
"As We Gather Once Again"
Ensign, May 2012

Those words apply to every general conference and with that said, this weekend we had the 182nd General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It has come and gone.  Two days of watching, listening, discussing, and pondering what we learned from the many speakers. Hopefully my enthusiasm will not wane. I need to continue to bask in the light I have been given. I have understanding I need to incorporate into my life.

We also had a luncheon Sunday at our house with new friends and the missionaries during the break between the morning and afternoon sessions of conference. The weather was so nice and it was great to be with everyone. Our meal only added to a wonderful day.

This is one of my favorite talks from general conference this weekend.  Elder Russell M. Nelson from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke at the first session on Saturday.


Young men can serve a mission sooner, 18 instead of 19; and young women 19 instead of 21.  With this announcement my nephew, Scott, will have his missionary application in ASAP.  He was ready and waiting for this early opportunity. With this announcement their will be an anticipated upsurge in the number of missionaries serving.  Need some help?  Like Elder Nelson stated:

"Ask the missionaries!"

Scott on Thorley Mountain,
ready and waiting to serve
as an 18-year old missionary.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Yikes! Me and Technology

I should have been done posting about my road trip, but I'm having a hard time - can't seem to get my pictures to download.  I've had some other big breaks in trying to post earlier this year because Picasa (where I put my pictures) updated and I didn't know how to use it. I was so frustrated, but I clicked around enough and finally got the hang it.  Now the problem is either our computer or camera, but more likely - ME.  My lack of ability is probably influencing the situation more than anything else.  I just need to set aside some time to try and deal with it and time is hard to come by these days.

Anyway, I had been putting some pictures together this summer as a catch-up post.  I was working on this before the trek and way before I ever thought I'd head out on a road trip to Utah, but this will have to suffice for now.

I'm still here.  I worked most of summer school during August and yesterday was my first day working in the new school year.  Hopefully I'll get this figured out soon.  These pictures are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what we've been up to in the last six months.

Sister Ibarra and Sister Reynders
were introduced for the first time on Temple Square
by our friend Trenton.  It was a fun encounter.

Tommy with friends at the Mormon Helping Hands
service project last April.
They worked at Grace Resources

Cassie and her three youngest
surprised us by coming home from Puerto Rico in April.
Ruben and Jeremiah followed about a month later.

Tommy and the gang at Mormon Night at Dodger Stadium.

Shooting - Tom's latest hobby
How come I just keep posting pictures of Tommy?
Oh yeah, he's the only one getting photos.

Scott, Tom, Sam, and Bill
We had a bit of a reunion this summer.
Bill's family and the Reynders came to visit.
The guys made a trip to Magic Mountain one day.

The week before Hugh and I went on the trek,
Tommy went on a trek.
The Young Adults went with the Lancaster East Stake.
The Young Adults had the option of
just coming up for part of the time
because so many work, go to school, etc.
Tom was there for the whole thing.
He went on a trek as a youth
when he was 14-years old.
8 years later he's doing it again.
He loves the trek.
The YA group made up nicknames.
Tommy grew out his Texas Chops (major sideburns)
for the event, hence, his name was "Chops."

My brother and his wife with their son, Robert.
Bob finished medical school this summer.
He's doing his residency in Kansas City in neurology.

My other nephew David, and his wife and family
moved to Missouri to start a doctorate program
in physical therapy.
They made stops
along the way to their final destination.
Happily they came to see us for a day.

2nd Cousins
This picture is blurry and a little weird,
"Someone is going to break a leg!"
But it also shows all the fun the cousins were having.
Cassie's four boys were jumping and jumping and jumping,
with Ryan (my niece's oldest son) off our garden wall.
Annie and her family came visiting in August
after living in Australia for about a year.
It was so good to see them and they saw my
dad too, of course.  As always - so fun for the cousins!

"No one needs to feel alone
on the road to life,
for we are all invited to come unto Christ
and be perfected in Him."

Elder Benjamin De Hoyos
"True Happiness:  A Conscious Decision"
Ensign, November 2005

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Back From "Mormonville"

Salt Lake City Temple

That's what my friend, Lisa, calls it - Mormonville, referring to our road trip to Utah.  We left September 6th and got back yesterday September 12th - 7 days.  Since when do I go on a road trip, let alone with a girlfriend?  Well it happened and I'll be doing a series of posts like I did with the trek.  I'm glad to be home and getting back in the swing of things.  We had a great time.  It was a fun and needed respite.

Description of the experience when Brigham Young entered the Salt Lake Valley:

When we came out of the cañon into full view of the valley, I turned the side of my carriage around, open to the west, and President Young arose from his bed and took a survey of the country. While gazing on the scene before us, he was enwrapped in vision for several minutes. He had seen the valley before in vision, and upon this occasion he saw the future glory of Zion and of Israel, as they would be, planted in the valleys of these mountains. When the vision had passed, he said: "It is enough. This is the right place. Drive on." 

[Wilford Woodruff, in The Utah Pioneers (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Printing and Publishing Establishment, 1880), 23; quoted in B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Century One, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1930), 3:224]

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Why the TREK?

Hughie looking out on the meadow.

It makes one pause to wonder why Hugh and I were asked to serve as a Ma and Pa on the trek.  We were older and me heavier.  We both felt we should go when asked.  We had six months to prepare and during that preparation Hugh had a bad bout with his knee and I with my back, but we made it.  We exercised, we walked. I also went to my chiropractor and allergist to be ready.  We felt prepared, but in spite of our preparation we know God helped us.  It's the only way we could have done it.  We only did four days, nothing compared to what the Saints had to travel and endure.  We were happy to serve and prayed we'd be able to do it and we did.

Hugh and I were both inspired by the youth.  They had such good attitudes in participating in this event.  No doubt they gained some understanding of the pioneer Saints and what they went through.  I feel my life is so easy in comparison to the pioneers.  I woke up that first morning after walking ten miles and prayed with such earnestness that I could endure yet another day.  I did.  I thought about my prayers at home.  I'm certainly not earnest in my pleas like I should be in my everyday living and I have had plenty to be earnest about in gratitude and help.  I think my prayers are better because of the trek experience.

I couldn't keep up with my family on the trail.  I felt like I turned into some pioneer ornament on the trek.  Surely they had the infirmed who lagged behind, but I just kept going just like I'm sure those of old did.  I lost a toenail and have had a necessary week of recuperation.  I've started exercising again and I notice that I'm stronger than when I left - physically and spiritually.  The benefits have definitely been worth it.  Maybe I need to go on another trek?  I'm sure I have more to learn, but then I've learned my life is a trek.  Here I go!  Forging onward!

"They, the builders of the nation,
Blazing trails along the way;
Steppingstones for generations
Were their deeds of everyday.
Building new and firm foundations,
Pushing on the wild frontier,
Forging onward, ever onward,
Blessed, honored Pioneer!"

Hymn #36 - verse 1
Text: Ida R. Alldredge
Music:  Alfred M. Durham

Monday, July 30, 2012

More Trek

All the Ma's and Pa's

Every morning we had a Ma and Pa meeting
to review the day and to receive counsel.

Our trail boss, Brother Sauer.
He and President Silva guided us on horseback.

A place to hang your hat.

Devoted Sisters
Six of our eight kids had other family members on the trek.
This is Elizabeth's "real" sister who was in a different family.
They'd get together when they had a chance.

Dallin's father served as Pa Mackay.
They had a chance to visit during our break
before our last leg of the trek.

Trek Sisters

We fixed all our own meals,
but two - our first and last on the trail.
Our cook station provided the food and the recipe.
Everyone pitched in and helped.
Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwiches
Chicken Stew
Fried Potatoes, Sausage, and Eggs
Beef Stew
Hardtack Biscuits
We didn't starve.
Lots of snacks and fruit too.
I gained three pounds on the trek.  I hope it's muscle.

Not much time to relax - we were so busy.
The hammock was a hit during leisure minutes.

Music was part of the trek everyday.
Mostly the kids sang as they walked.
I heard a bit in the evening too as the day would winding down.
Our Sunday meetings had music too
with all of us singing
or as pictured above,
a special musical number.

"Lord I Would Follow Thee"
Hymn No. 220 - 1st verse
Text:  Susan Evan McCloud
Music:  K. Newell Dayley
Savior, may I learn to love thee,
Walk the path that thou hast shown.
Pause to help and lift another,
Finding strength beyond my own.
Savior may I learn to love thee-
Lord, I would follow thee.
Ready to move on.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Trek - Day 4

Gathering at the Cook's Place - Brother Sherman and all

Before heading into our
"entering the Great Salt Lake Valley experience,"
we were fed, muffins, hot coco, and fruit.
It was our chilliest morning yet, but it warmed up quick

 We also got some final photos.

104 youth
13 sets of Ma's and Pa's
Two on horseback
and a slew of support
to pull off the cooking, water, first aid,
and all the activities - AMAZING!

The Blair Family,
loaded up and ready to head out.

We walked for quite a while
and then we had a final break to say some closing words.
I ended our journey with this excerpt:
"Henry Clegg Jr. was a finisher.  He joined the Church with his family when the first LDS missionaries went to Preston, England.  Henry had a view of his destination in his mind as he and his wife, Hannah, and their two young boys immigrated to Utah.  Henry left his older parents, who were too feeble to make such a long and arduous journey, knowing he would never see them again.

"While crossing the plains, Hannah contracted cholera and died.  She was laid to rest in an unmarked grave.  The company then moved on, and at six in the evening, Henry's youngest son also died.  Henry retraced his steps to Hannah's grave, placed his young son in his wife's arms, and reburied the two of them together.  Henry then had to return to the wagon train, now five miles away.  Suffering from cholera himself, Henry described his condition as being at death's door while realizing he still had a thousand miles to walk.  Amazingly he continued forward, putting one foot in front of the other.  He stopped writing in his journal for several weeks after losing his dear Hannah and little son.  I was struck with the words he used when he did start writing again:  "Still moving."

"When he finally reached the gathering place of the Saints, he began a new family.  He kept the faith.  He continued his story.  Most remarkably, his heartache over the burial of his sweetheart and son gave birth to our family's legacy of moving forward, of finishing.

". . . All faithful modern-day pioneers are learning.  With the Lord, nothing is impossible, but we each have to finish our own story.  He sends His Spirit, we call out encouragement to each other, but we have to keep [moving] and accepting new challenges to the end of our own story.  "Still walking" [with faith in every footstep] is the fundamental requirement in the journey of life.  He wants us to finish well.  He wants us to come back to Him.  I pray that each of our stories will end in the presence of our Heavenly Father and His son, our Savior Jesus Christ, the authors and finishers of our faith."

Gayle M. Clegg
"The Finished Story"
Ensign, May 2004

and a final round of hugs
from Ma and Pa Blair,
and we're off.


Banners, people, cheers, and food greeted us.

We made it!
Ma and Pa Blair with PJ

Time to unload.

Greeted by friends and family we had a yummy meal.
After packing the truck we drove down the mountain
and headed home.

Before we got home we stopped by the Smith's house.
Sam was there ready to leave for Scout camp.
We said our good-byes.
With Scout camp and Trek we are 11 days apart.