Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Family From Yosemite - 2013

We did our Family From Yosemite stories in shifts this year - Christmas day and last night for Family Home Evening. This Family From Yosemite thing is evolving. It was suggested that we should include some stories and other things written by extended family members and also more of the stories I have written on my blog. It's all about family history and it looks like we've got some work to do to update our book. I will be working on it throughout the year to be prepared for next Christmas. This was my contribution this year:

“Ask Grandma!”
December 2013 - by Martha R. Blair

Going to the store with kids usually ends up involving a request or I should say, many requests from child to parent:

“Can I have some candy?”

“Can I get a toy?”

“Can we buy this cereal?”

And then it’s topped with pleading and begging:


“Please, please, please!”

In the early years of training, you might end up with a big fit or tantrum with tears because you said, “No.” I’d say, “yes” sometimes, but most of the time it was “no”. My budget could only go so far, not to mention it’s not healthy to get everything you want.  Even before we left the house I would make it clear what the situation was, “So don’t even ask.”  I would say that, but the asking still came.

Of course they wanted something, who wouldn’t. Their lives are sprinkled with treats and goodies and I certainly wanted to give in to their sweet requests, but “no” was the way it needed to be.

One day at the grocery store, Cassie, at the time, my petite little preschooler, wanted something.  She had a bit of a speech impediment.  That didn’t stop her from talking, in fact, her altered speech and happy manners made her quite endearing. I still said, “NO.”

She was very insistent and in fact, she was so insistent I worried if my “no” might insight a desire to take something.  I thought to test her understanding of stealing. I asked, “What will you do Cassie when you want something and mommy says ‘No?’”

She was quick to say, with a beaming smile on her face, “OOOOh, I’ll ask Grandma!”

I laughed about it then and I’m smiling about it now because I am a grandma who is more inclined to giving into the pleas of little grandchildren.

That brings me to Sam, the baby of the family. Everyone enjoyed Sam, but I also was a Momma Bear in protection mode from his older siblings.  I was constant in coming to his defense when big kids would come around with their parenting opinions, “You’d never do that for me.” and “He gets everything!”  They were very unaware that I did more for them than they obviously knew when they were little, hum-pf TEENAGERS, I rest my case.

But as time went on and big kids got bigger, and grandchildren came.  I called Sammy, the “leader of the pack.”  He was just five years senior to our first grandchild, Jeremiah.  I was definitely older and taking the grandma reigns, more tired with more money than I had in the beginning as a young mother. One day in my early grandma career, my son, Billy, made an observation, “Mom, I finally figured out why you treat Sammy the way you do.  You’re not a mom anymore, you’re a grandma.”

My reaction - maybe.

Me being GRANDMA with Ammon (Grandchild #4)

Me being MOM with Sam (9 years old in this picture.)

Here's what kind of grandma I am. We had all the grandkids here over the holiday and I forgot to take a picture with all of them. I'm hoping it won't be too long and we'll be together again. Grandma's are forgetful.

"Your story should be written now while it is fresh and while the true details are available. … What could you do better for your children and your children’s children than to record the story of your life, your triumphs over adversity, your recovery after a fall, your progress when all seemed black, your rejoicing when you had finally achieved? Some of what you write may be humdrum dates and places, but there will also be rich passages that will be quoted by your posterity."

Saturday, December 28, 2013

They're Getting It

I can be an influence as a grandparent, but there is nothing more influential in the life of a child than their parents.  They will also be influenced by teachers, friends, etc.  But I wonder, I wish, I pray, that my grandchildren are moving forward in their understanding of Christ.

I had an experience over the holiday I wanted to share.  Ryan, Bill and Chelsea's oldest daughter, who is four years old was in the backyard.  I was watching a number of my grandchildren outside and figured  it was a nice day and I got out our trash can and started clearing out the garden.  The kids were all over it. Evelyn collected old peach seeds and asked if she could plant them.  I said yes so that immediately gave her license to start digging.  The others got out things to dig around with too.  They're garden help turned in to garden play which I was fine with.  Ryan specifically asked if she could help me. She was looking for some instruction.  I told her I was picking up all the dead plants and leaves and putting them in the trash. She mulled around a little bit scrapping up leaves and depositing them in my trash can.  She then said, "You know what this is Grandma?"

I looked at her while she continued to scrape the ground, "What?"

Ryan responded, all knowing, "It's called service."

I was so pleased, I said to her, "That's right, you're helping me."  She carried on with her work just like the rest of the kids.  I happily thought, "They're getting it!"

I told Billy about it later.  He said Ryan had recently given a talk at church about service.  I thought, you really show your understanding of something when you live it - again, they're getting it.

Ryan - one of my many helpers that day

Service allows us to practice doing what Jesus would do. It connects us to those we serve and gives us a kind of satisfaction that self-interest can never offer.
(from The Purpose of Helping Others at mormon.org)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Whew! Merry Christmas!

What a Christmas day we had.  We ended up all together Christmas night, except for Janna, but we talked to her on Skype for 40 minutes.  We had dinner, nativity with the grandkids (including Sam - the leader of the pack), gifts, and a few of our Family From Yosemite stories. We'll finish them up one evening next week.  We haven't been with Rick and family on Christmas day, at least six years, maybe more - it's been so long; and having all these grandchildren together, 10 - is a Christmas miracle in and of itself.  More relatives have come and gone already this holiday and we have more coming this weekend.  We're basking in the moment.    It was a great day!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Luke 2:7

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manager; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Look to the Light

Janna, my daughter - Sister Blair, has been sharing a particular message over the Christmas season with the people she meets and teaches.  I thought I'd go ahead and share it here.  She included this little synopsis of her presentation in her latest letter:

Matthew 2:9-11

When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

We then compare the star to Jesus Christ and talk about how He can lead us.

John 8:12

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world:  he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Then we talk about He can lead us out of darkness.

Then we watch, "Look to the Light".

I love having a missionary in the field.  I love hearing about Janna's experiences.  Even though she's not with us physically, we still feel her very close.  Jesus Christ changes lives.  I'm glad she gets to have experiences where she can see that in other people. It's beautiful!

We'll get to Skype with Janna on Christmas day and she gets to use FACEBOOK starting on January 1st.  I don't know how that works for a missionary, but we'll find out.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Helaman 7:7-8, This is Nephi speaking, discouraged at the wickedness of the Nephities in his day: "Oh, that I could have had my days in the days when my father Nephi first came out of the land of Jerusalem, that I could have joyed with him in the promised land . . . Yea, if my days could have been in those days, then would my soul have had joy . . ."

I've always wondered what it would be like to live in a different time - would life somehow be better?  Many years ago, I remember sitting in the back of the room during a Relief Society meeting. I was a young mother at the time and for some reason I was feeling a bit down that day.  It was fast Sunday and in regular form they offered sisters the opportunity to bear their testimonies during the last few minutes of the meeting.

I remember being somewhat disheartened and thinking, "It would be so much better if I lived during the time of Christ and could see him walk and teach or visit with the prophet Joseph Smith, and hear his testimony and be a member during that early foundation of the latter-day Church."  I guess I had this idea because I was feeling a bit null and void that day and I considered living in times past would somehow bring a stronger feeling of the Spirit to buoy me up.

It was testimony time and their before me stood the most humble of sisters in our ward. By the standard of the world - she was literally nothing and yet she meekly rose and bore her testimony of Jesus Christ. From the small and weak came literally the most powerful of testimonies.  The Spirit was so strong, it was almost overwhelming as it permeated throughout my body. As this sister spoke her assuring words of Christ, and while my body was so full of light  and believe my words do not give the experience justice) these words came into my mind and my heart, "It doesn't get any better than this."

Nephi followed his plea for living in a different time, "But behold, I am consigned that these are my days . . ." (Helaman 7:9).  He lived in a particular wicked time and certainly I do too.  The Book of Mormon shares stories of  the past that help give us understanding today. The point that was made clear to me in that moment is that in spite of the world I live in, ". . . the Spirit is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. . ." (2 Nephi 2:4).  The Spirit I felt that day in Relief Society is the same Spirit I would have felt in past times. I am consigned to my days to live in a world filled with wickedness, but I also have the happiness that comes from living the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I can bask in the Spirit daily.  I am happy to live in my time, in the last days, doing my part in the winding up scene.

I know the Church is true, Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith is the latter-day prophet of the restoration, I know Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God today.  I want to share this with others.  The gospel of Jesus Christ brings us peace no matter where we are or what time we live in.  It is the same, yesterday, today, and forever!

Sunday, December 8, 2013


"Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him."

I read this scripture the other day and it stood out to me.  Even though this is about the Nephites having been assured after praying for strength to be delivered out of the hands of their enemies, I likened it to myself. It applies to me in so many ways concerning my future, my struggles, and my trials. God has visited me with his Spirit assuring me that I will be all right; he spoke peace to my soul and has given me great faith and therefore hope for deliverance. This scripture so embodies me and my feelings.  It strengthens my faith even more to see that what I am experiencing has also happened in the lives of others.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Counting Blessings - Day 30

I am thankful for journals
and the hope in Christ 
they leave to others.
President Kimball's words, "Journals are a way of counting our blessings and of leaving an inventory of these blessing for our posterity."  I keep a journal, but I don't think it is as full of blessings as it should be.  I'm going to try and make it more of that in my twilight years - showing my gratitude will hopefully show my family the importance of the Lord in our daily living.  I am thankful for journals - in all forms (blogs, journals, saved talks, and my collections of letters I have sent to my missionary children).  It's been a good month of being thankful.  I need to do it more. I'm off to a good start. This will be one of my goals in 2014 - being more thankful and recording it.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Counting Blessings - Day 29

I am thankful I can walk.  It seems a simple enough thing, but after falling last February and falling hard; I very much appreciate walking.  I still don't feel too sure on my feet, but all the same I'm grateful. Part of our Thanksgiving holiday has been to walk/hike at the Joshua Tree National Park.

Walking is the best possible exercise.
Habituate yourself to walk very fast.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Counting Blessings - Day 28

I'm thankful for Thanksgiving.
It's my favorite holiday.
  I love it!

I think I  have made Thanksgiving my favorite holiday for several reasons.  One, the gathering of family - extended family.  Two, I definitely love the food. Three, I have such lasting memories and fondness of these gatherings even though there are gatherings of extended family and food at other celebrations during the year. Four, it's traditional and I love carrying on the tradition.  And last but not least, five, Thanksgiving is all about being thankful - counting our blessings.

"And in nothing doth man offend God,
or against none is his wrath kindled,
save those who confess not
his hand in all things,
and obey not his commandments."
Doctrine and Covenants 59:21

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Counting Blessings - Day 27

I am thankful for my house.  You can't see much of it in this picture, but this picture got me thinking about our home. We moved here in 2006; had lived in an apartment before that for eight months waiting for this house to be finished..  This was our original group moving into what was then the Juniper Ward.  In this photo it's June 2008.  We would have lived in this house for a little over two years.  How much has changed from this time.

Here's a few things I have chronicled:

1.  We had just switched to the Sierra Ward because they changed the church boundaries. Since then we're still in the Sierra Ward, but we go to church back at our old building. No more walking across the street like we had planned.

2.  Hugh had been released from the stake presidency having served in that position for seven years, then served at the prison for two years, then as high priest group leader and now bishop again; at work he's laboring harder than ever.

3.   Sam was a nine-year-old Cub Scout.  Now he's a freshman in high school.

4.  Tommy would be leaving on his mission in August.  Since then he served in the Texas Houston South mission for two years, came home and worked for a year, some school, and then decided to be a carpenter, got married and now has decided to join the army.

5.  Janna was 16 and driving, going into her junior year of high school in the fall, and going on the stake youth conference trek the following month.  Now she's had several years of college and is serving a mission in the Florida Orlando mission.

6.  Becky, doesn't look a whole lot different.  Her hair is almost as long now as it is in this picture even though she has cut it several times.  A young adult here, but will be 31 this next February 2014.

7.  Me, I had been home a good 30 years.  I will start working the following August as a substitute teacher. I'm still substitute teaching; it's been five years.  We had been dealing with the care of my parents. My mother has since passed away and we have a full-time caregiver helping with my dad.

This house has been grand central station - that's why we bought it; traffic, traffic, and more traffic - so many visitors, so much going on.  It would have been very difficult at our other house.  It dawned on us one day that we should move and everything fell into place.  This house has served us well. More has happened than I've stated and, no doubt, more will happen over the next five years. - where will we all be then?

"There is nothing
like staying at home
for real comfort."

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Counting Blessings - Day 26

I am thankful for pie.

My assignment for Thanksgiving is making the pies.  When I was a girl, my grandmother, Cassie, always made the pies.  When I got older (after my grandmother passed away), my mother would give me the assignment of making the pies for big gatherings.  I asked why she never made the pies because I knew she could do it.  I absolutely loved her pumpkin pie - Costco can't top it.  She said, "Because I don't like to make pie!." So that was that.  For whatever reason, I like gardening, I like doing dishes (that is if I'm putting them in the dishwasher), and I like (or at least I'm very willing) to make pie.  I'm getting things ready for the big day on Thursday.  We'll have two chocolate, pumpkin, apple, and pecan.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Counting Blessings - Day 25

Me, Adam, Mark, Beth
This pictures was taken in November 2009
We gathered together to visit my parents.
My mother had been placed on hospice.
She died weeks later.

As a kid growing up, you could do a lot of griping about your siblings, but I have to say in the big scheme of things I've got it pretty good.  I know the reason I've got it good is because my brothers and sister all try to live the gospel and if you live the gospel you can't help but get along.  I'm the oldest, Mark, Beth, and then Adam.  I am thankful for my brothers and sister.

"Children of the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connections can supply ..."

Jane Austen, 
Mansfield Park, 1814

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Counting Blessings - Day 24

We all promised.

I am thankful for the Sabbath day.  I found a talk I wrote years ago - as in, before I ever had a computer.  I pulled some quotes from the talk to post here.  I believe in the Sabbath.  I believe in keeping it a holy day.  I know we are blessed in many, many ways by following this commandment.

"Ever since Adam's day the divine law of the Sabbath has been emphasized repeatedly over the centuries more than any other commandment.  This long emphasis alone is an indication of its importance."

Elder James E. Faust
"The Lord's Day"
Ensign, November 1991

"How we observe the Sabbath indicates our feelings toward our Father in Heaven."

Elder LeGrand R. Curtis
"Happiness Is Homemade"
Ensign, November 1990

"There appear to be three things that the Lord would require of us in keeping His day holy.  The first: to keep ourselves unspotted from the world.  Second is to go to the house of prayer and partake of the sacrament.  The third is to rest from our labors."

Elder L. Tom Perry
"And, Why Call Ye Me, Lord, Lord,
and Do Not the Things Which I Say?"
Ensign, November 1984

"Does the Lord love and bless those who keep the Sabbath day holy!  I testify that he does in eternally meaningful ways.  I further testify that when we eventually see things through the proper perspective of eternal truth, we will be amazed at how much we were blessed in important--though often unperceived--ways through keeping the Sabbath holy; and to our sorrow we may sense how many blessings we kept from ourselves by not consistently keeping the Sabbath day holy."

Elder John H. Groberg
"The Power of Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy"
Ensign, November 1984

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Counting Blessings - Day 23


I am thankful for fish.  Not everyone likes fish, but I do.  I like fish tacos.  I like a variety of shell fish, but I really shouldn't eat it because I'm allergic.  As a kid, I was definitely all about a tuna fish sandwich or tuna fish casserole; I still am.  If Hugh and I ever go out, I almost always go for salmon - yum!  I like trout too.  I do draw the line on a few fishy things like octopus, clams, and sardines - "Sorry, no thank you!" 

My friend, Cathy, taught me how to cook fish one evening when I had dinner in her home; just fried it in a pan - so easy.  It was delicious, but I haven't been brave enough to try it myself. I don't know what my hang up is, but I've got fish on my mind because the boys left early this morning to go deep sea fishing.  If they come home with something, I just might have to cook it. It seems I always like food better when someone else fixes it, especially fish.

"Give a man a fish
and you feed him for a day;
teach a man to fish
and you feed him
for a lifetime."

Friday, November 22, 2013

Counting Blessings - Day 22

"God writes the gospel
not in the Bible alone
 but on trees and flowers
and clouds and stars."

We had a lot of rain yesterday and it's still raining today.  Rain helps things grow.  The state flower for California is the poppy.  I remember going out to see the poppies as a child and having my picture taken in what seemed to be a sea of orange.  I still love seeing the poppies and we carry on the tradition of taking pictures in the poppy fields, but the last few years have been very sparse.  We live in the poppy capital of California.  I'm praying for rain and praying for a good year of poppies in the spring.

I am thankful for poppies.
Poppies bring happy childhood memories.
I plant them in my garden and  look for them every year!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Counting Blessings - Day 21

“I may not always be with you 
But when we're far apart
Remember you will be with me
Right inside my heart” 

I am thankful Tom and Haley have moved in with us.  Should I be? That doesn't seem right - kids coming back to the nest, but they're here. They arrived yesterday and I am so happy about it.  Tom has joined the army - it's official. Tom is scheduled for boot camp in April, but it's possible he could leave even sooner. Like Tom's brother, Rick, who serves in the Navy, you don't usually end up living close by - meaning, we won't see them as often as we'd like. We are grateful for this precious time together and I could really use the help around here. 

Tom and Haley moved from Clovis where they lived close to their cousins plus Uncle Mark and Aunt Jo. After they left Aunt Jo called and said, "We're sure going to miss Tom and Haley.  They kind of spiced things up around here."  I don't doubt it. We know they are a lot of fun.  Looking forward to spicier days at the Blair house - loving Tom and Haley and wishing them the best!

Everyday an adventure!
Haley and Tommy spicing up life.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Counting Blessings - Day 20

I am thankful for kind people.  I love it when people are generous. I had a man in line that was shopping just like me and made a point to carry out a big item for me because he knew it would be an awkward task for me. In this world that seems to get uglier and uglier, I'm grateful for a happy "hello" and the gesture of opening a door.  It brightens my day in so many ways. Kindness makes for happy memories. Today I received a fun email from someone who took the time to send us a picture of Janna.  She sent this note: You have a wonderful daughter. Of course, it made my day.  Thank you Amy from Ocala, Florida!

Sister Pitts and Sister Blair

"Kind people
are the best kind of people."
Author Unknown

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Counting Blessings - Day 19

I am thankful for gardens.
"Use plants to bring life."

There is lots to be thankful for when it comes to gardens and gardening.  Here are some of my feelings:

1.   Gardens are beautiful (or at least they can be - no one likes weeds).
2.   Gardens can provide food - YUM!
3.   I personal enjoy working in the garden (definitely like it more than cleaning house).
4.   It's a great place to meditate.
5.   Sunshine is a good thing (except in my case - yikes! - skin cancer - wear sunscreen).
6.   Gardening can help you learn to live providently. I'm not sure it's working in my case.
7.   It's a form of creativity.
8.   It's something to share with others - seeing the flowers, giving the flowers, giving the food.
9.   Love the fragrance - except the allergy part.
10. Love watching things grow.
11. I delight in seeing humming birds and certain birds frequent my garden (not so happy when birds, bugs, cats, and squirrels abuse my garden and definitely no dogs allowed).
12. God's earth is a garden. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Counting Blessings - Day 18

"The soul is healed by being with children."
--English Proverb

As I have counted my many blessings this month, I have already said I'm thankful for being a child of God, thankful for my children and grandchildren, but let me take my thanks and expand it - I am grateful for all children. For many years I have had association with my own children, grandchildren, and extended families with their children plus neighbors and friends.  I have taught in church and at school. I have no doubt - children bless our lives.  Yes, they can be very busy and get into things and exasperate us beyond belief with their doings, but I am still thankful for them.  Children with all their innocence can lead us to Christ. They are examples to us with their forgiving spirits, love, and trust - just to name a few. Watch the bible video included in this post which takes the words of the Savior and teaches the importance of children and becoming like them.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Counting Blessings - Day 17

Favorite Season:  AUTUMN

“There is something incredibly
nostalgic and significant
about the annual cascade
of autumn leaves.” 

I am thankful for four seasons.  Granted, I live in the desert and things might not seem that seasonal around here especially compared to other parts of the country. In my younger days, I was all about summer with the freedom warmer months bring; like running, biking, swimming, climbing trees, not to mention - no school. Since I'm older now, autumn has become my favorite with the changing and falling leaves, cooler weather, and my favorite holiday - Thanksgiving.  I am grateful to see the years pass watching the seasons come and go.  There is something special about each one with memories tagged to each transition.

We can also look at our lives having seasons.  Ecclesiastes 3:1 reads, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."  Unfortunately, my life has stepped into winter. There are things still to do even in winter and memories to be had, but I'm certainly not functioning like my earlier years. Looking forward to my spring with hope in Christ.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Counting Blessings - Day 16

Los Angeles Temple

I am thankful for temples.  Last year I went every week, but that's not the case this year.  That was some kind of miraculous turn of events me going every week, and working, and being so very busy.  Maybe the temple is what got me through it all.  I'm at a slower pace right now, but grateful for my time spent in the House of the Lord. We just went last night to do our assignment at the LA Temple.  It was nice to be there and do our part in the great work of salvation.

"I urge our people everywhere, with all of the persuasiveness of which I am capable, to live worthy to hold a temple recommend, to secure one and regard it as a precious asset, and to make a greater effort to go to the House of the Lord and partake of the spirit and the blessings to be had therein."

Friday, November 15, 2013

Counting Blessings - Day 15

I am thankful for my children.
Now ya know what I'm dealing with.
(Photo taken in the photo booth
at Tom's & Haley's wedding reception.)

“If you can only
convince your children
that you love them, . . . 
that you are their truest friend,
they, in turn,
will place confidence in you
and will love you
and seek to do your bidding.” 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Counting Blessings - Day 14

"I [Martha], having been born of goodly parents . . ." (1 Nephi 1:1)
William Burton Reynders 
Dorothy McMullin Reynders
This picture is from their mission as they served in Nauvoo, IL.

My mother passed away four years ago this month.  My dad is still living, but has a caregiver in his home because he cannot care for himself.  I honor them in this post.  They taught me the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I had a moment of thought as a mother, with many children, and I felt like I wasn't doing enough to provide for my children.  I didn't seem to have the money, energy, or time to give them opportunities in sports, dance lessons, etc. like I thought I should.  I was kicking myself for my neglect and yet there wasn't anything I could really do about it, but the Spirit taught me something very important - I was teaching my children the gospel of Jesus Christ, because of me they would know Him. I could see that my husband and I had made the gospel of Christ the center of our home. We were "goodly parents"; I found peace in that and it spurred me on to be ever more faithful in teaching and preaching Christ in my home.  Thanks mom and dad for helping me carry on the legacy of truth. I am thankful for my parents.

"I'm convinced that special blessings await the youth who reverence their parents through the good times and the bad times-when honest mistakes are made and when the wise suggestions prove to be right. Most of us, like Nephi, were born of 'goodly parents,' and the best we can offer in return is to strive to be goodly children."(The Road to Somewhere: A Guide for Young Men and Women, p. 94.)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Counting Blessings - Day 13

I am thankful for books.

I have never really been a big reader.  I've read more the older I've gotten, thank goodness. I feel like I missed out when I was younger, but I was very active and would be much more content to go outside and ride a bike. Riding a bike is a good thing, but there is joy in reading too. I have memories reading when I nursed my children.  Yes, I was bonding, but I took some delight in the fact that I couldn't get up to tend to other things and therefore, felt very justified in sitting there and reading.  Other people wouldn't have to find an excuse to sit and read, but me and my busyness could easily get the better of me. I needed a reason to sit. Seven years of nursing gave me plenty of opportunities to bask in a book.  I happily did so.

I have favorites listed on my sidebar and recent reads, but I very much value the daily reading of  The Book of Mormon.  I claim it as my favorite book. I have learned of the strength and power that comes through daily study.  My favorite talk from the latest general conference was from Elder Boyd K. Packer.  He said:

"The scriptures
hold the keys
to spiritual protection."

I believe it.  I have experienced it.  I live it.  I know it - reading from the Book of Mormon daily makes a difference. I am so grateful to have it.  I am blessed because of it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Counting Blessings - Day 12

I am thankful for apples.  I like food in general, but there are many things that disagree with my system - allergies, sensitivities, etc. Apples, for whatever reason, never cause me a problem.  Granted, I don't like them mushy. I admit I like them in baked goods, but a good clean apple hits the spot every time - raw, mixed with my oatmeal, for a snack, or with a sandwich.  I like them in salad too.  I try to eat one everyday.  They make me feel good.

"An apple a day
keeps the doctor away."
--old proverb

Monday, November 11, 2013

Counting Blessings - Day 11

"Building a better you
is the first step to
building a better America."
Zig Ziglar

Happy Veteran's Day!

I am thankful for America and standing for freedom. Of course, being Veteran's Day, I want to pay special tribute to all the men and women who have died for our country and currently work in the armed forces.  My husband and I both have fathers who served in the Navy.  My oldest son, Ricky,  is currently serving in the Navy, and my son, Tom, will soon be joining the ranks with the Army in the coming year.  I honor all who serve - God Bless America! We all have our part in making America better. May we do our part in keeping our nation strong - strong for us and strong for the world.

Terrorist attacks can shake
the foundations of our biggest buildings,
but they cannot touch
the foundation of America.
These acts shatter steel,
but they cannot dent
the steel of American resolve.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Counting Blessings - Day 10

I am thankful for rain.  I live in the desert so when it rains I rejoice.  I guess we have more rain in our desert than in Arizona. My son, Bill, said when he first moved there he noticed his students would hover at the window to see the rain come down because it was such a rarity.  He'd shake his head and say, "It's just rain!"  But after living there for a period of time he gets it - because it rains so little. Kids hover at the window here when it snows.  We get it maybe every four years and I imagine in states where it rains a lot they bask in their moments with the sun. We have clear skies often. I wonder if there are places in the world where there is never a clear sky? I wake up every morning looking for a cloud hoping for a little rain. I guess it is somewhat natural to want what you don't have.  I speculate, whatever, I'm all about rain. I've always gloried in it as a child and still as an adult - I love it!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Counting Blessings - Day 9

The inhabitants [of the world]
are begotten sons
and daughters unto God.
Doctrine and Covenants 76:24

"Who are you? Does that sound like an easy question? Do you think that you know the answer? Certainly you know your name. You know who your parents are and that they love and care about you. You are also someone very special to Heavenly Father, the Father of your spirit. He loves you too." 

Laurel Rohlfling
("Sharing Time:  I Am a Child of God", Friend, January 1989)

Counting Blessings today :
I am a child of God.
I am happy to be.
I have a Heavenly Father and I am so thankful for that knowledge.

I am currently serving in the Sierra Ward Primary.  This year's Primary presentation  was "I Am a Child of God" - that's just one reason this message is so close and dear to my heart.  We've talked and sung about it all year.  I know it is true.  We are children of our Heavenly Father.

Watch and listen to this favorite Primary song, CS #2

Primary Song:  I Am a Child of God
Text:  Naomi Ward Randall
Music:  Mildred Tanner Pettit

Friday, November 8, 2013

Counting Blessings - Day 8

WOW!  Getting up to Day 8 hasn't been too bad, but I've got 22 days to go.  Am I grateful enough?  I hope so.

I'm thankful for all my grandchildren. Earlier I had the happy privileged of visiting these two little girls who I don't get to see very often, my granddaughters - Ryan and Dani.  I stayed a whole week just being grandma. Just one of our activities together was Trick or Treating.  It was a great visit.

Ready for Halloween Trick or Treating:
Ryan - Pinky Pie Equestrian Girl
Dani- Monster

never run out of
 hugs and cookies."
Author Unknown

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Counting Blessings - Day 7

Me and Melanie

I am happy to have a lot of friends.  Please don't feel slighted because I don't name you all in this post.  I am grateful for all my friends, but today I am thankful for old friends.  You don't have to be old to be an old friend, but it happens that way sometimes. Lots of times you don't even have to know someone for very long to become friends; in fact, sometimes you're the best of friends the minute you meet.   But the thing I think is remarkable about old friends is that when you get together after years of being apart you pick up right where you left off.

While in Arizona I was able to rendezvous with my old friend Melanie. We had a good year and a half together back in the day. It was over 20 years ago where Melanie and I found ourselves neighbors with several children the same age; in a way we were comrades in arms as we trudged and happily experienced the ups and downs in the daily life of motherhood - at home, church, school, and in our neighborhood. Melanie was a delight to be with and we spent many a day together.  It was too bad our happy camaraderie had to end. They're family moved on to another job, in another state, and we were left to mourn our loss of something that was once very good.  We had our memories and the hope of finding other friends just as wonderful, just as helpful, just as supportive, and we DID.

It was great seeing each other. We ate together and had a nice visit, but didn't come close to catching up. We have a lot in common and a lot to share so the conversation could have gone on and on, but here's just one fun fact:  Our "little boys" are the same age, freshman in high school, and both named "Sam".  Hopefully we'll see each other again - sooner instead of later.

Glad to see you Melanie - it was a good day - another one to add to a list of happy memories. 

I sang this as a Girl Scout:

"Make new friends,
but keep the old.
One is silver
And the other gold."

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Counting Blessings - Day 6

Leesburg Zone
Sister Janna Blair - bottom right
Zone Conference with Elder Walker

I am thankful for having a missionary in the field.  Granted, I'm thankful for Janna, but having her serve as a missionary is a special blessing in our home.  I've had three other children serve and I just know from experience that there is an added measure of the Spirit in our home and in our lives as they served. I sometimes wonder if it is simply the fact that you have sacrificed in letting them go and like all service Heavenly Father rewards.  Having someone serving constantly day in and day out in this special way blesses you.  That goes for Hughie serving as bishop again.  I feel it daily and I am grateful for it.

President Kimball said that "the missionary work, like the tithing, will pour out blessings, as Malachi said, so many blessings that there'll hardly be room enough to receive them."

(From an Area conference Report, Korea, August 1975, p. 61, also see Malachi 3:10.)

This was quoted by Elder Carlos E. Asay at a Prospective Missionary Conference in Provo, Utah September 20 1984.  An edited version is in the October 1985 Ensign"The Blessings of Sharing the Gospel" - he lists 17 blessings that come from missionary service.  He says there are more blessings.  I do not doubt that some of those extra blessings spill over into the family of the missionary. I am so glad to be part of it.  We serve as we support missionaries.  It is just one part of sharing the gospel.