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.