Thursday, December 4, 2008

More Canning Coziness

I've been wanting to mention this book, it isn't new but I've enjoyed it-- it makes me want to garden. At least it makes me want to garden in theory. For many years I've been spending the bulk of my summers in California while living the rest of the year in another state. This makes gardening... difficult... it seems you need to be in the same place long enough to plant a garden and harvest the garden. silly gardens!

The book is great and they have a website: which is also good.

I originally bought this as an audiobook for the long drive between where I was in California and where I was going in Utah. I've listened to it three or four times now (most recently during my canning mentioned in the last post) and I've purchased the book which is odd, I know, but I felt the need to have it more as a "reference." I adore the audio book though-- read by the authors, I get drawn in.

I just came from a friend's house where we made a batch of Cran Apple Butter. It was fun to share the Cran Apple Butter goodness and the fun of canning-- it's really not as hard as some folks would have you believe but I can understand wanting someone there who's done it before. It can be intimidating. Maybe next year I'll try tomatoes, tomato sauce and salsa. I think that will be interesting especially since those are things we use and so is a bit more practical than jams, jellies, and apple butters-- which are all I've done so far. Well, we use the jams just not in large quantities.

Also I heard that the local university grows tomatoes and apples and such that they end up selling on the cheap... it's just a question of timing. I'll keep my eye open next summer. I'm also on the list to volunteer to pick the university crops. I learned about the program too late to participate this season so I'll write about it more when I've actually done it but as I understand it they have volunteers come and pick and the food goes to the local food bank which I think is awesome (and I hear the pickers get to take some home a bit of the bounty as well). I'm looking forward to participating (so she says now).

In other news the beau just turned another year older, yay! We're planning to do more of the birthday stuff this weekend but it was fun to see how many times I could work in "Happy Birthday" into the conversation. Love you Honey!

Monday, December 1, 2008

So evidently my grand idea of writing posts at home and them bringing them to the library has not been as effective as I would have hoped, but at least I'm here now. whoop-dee-doo!

Right now life is a really odd combination of busy and dull. I'm working on some puppets which are progressing very slooowly (see, three 'o's... that means it slower than usual). But there are other projects that lure me away... Like this the day before Thanksgiving

I made a batch of Cran Apple Butter and I'm wanting to make another. The day after I made a batch of Orange Chili Marmalade ... I guess it turned out how it was supposed to... I'm just not a fan.

well, the library computer is about to log me out!

Hope everyone is doing well.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Trying Something a Little Different

With no internet at the house my blog posting has… well... stopped. This will not do. So my new plan of attack is that I write my post on the computer at home and process any images I may use and plop it all on a thumb drive then make my way over to either the local or not-quite-as-local library (the one that opens before 1pm and has double the computers and more than double the books) and cut and paste.

If I didn’t have to drive then the internet would basically be free. So that’s good and kind of exciting however it presents it’s own special sort of hassles to be sure. …I have mixed thoughts about limitations on time on-line. I find I waste less time when I think I only have 30 minutes but if it’s slow and the pop up window asks me if I want another 15 minutes I can’t say no. Then if it asks me again… well, since time on-line is limited it makes it harder to walk away whereas when it’s at home and I know I can come and go it makes it easier to leave it alone because I know if I think of something I need to look up later I can. Lists help but they’re not fool proof and inevitably I find myself later in the day I think of something I forgot to do on-line. There are times when for business I’ll really need to have the internet more accessible so I see the library as a temporary situation. ::fingers crossed::

Now for things I actually wanted to post.

First the toads!!

These three turned up while my beau was mowing the lawn a couple of Saturdays ago. Not wanting to hit them with the mower he brought them inside (one at a time as he found them) and put them in a pace picante sauce jar.

These guys are small and soo cute! The biggest one was about the size of a gumball. So that little was pretty bitty! Of course when the mower was put away we released the trio wishing them well and for them to get fat on the hundreds of crickets in the yard.

I’m not sure what makes so many amphibians fall into the cute category—but there they are.


STEW! (maybe it’s not best to write about toads and stew in the same post… could make the tags look funny but here we go)

The weather has been cooling off (it’s raining now) and with that comes stew! It’s one of the reasons I can let go of summer and embrace autumn and winter… it’s cozy!

This was the first stew of the season (we’re currently finishing off our second-- a lentil and sage sausage number that illustrates that I need more practice but has become quite tasty). What I was excited about was the pound of Adirondack Blue potatoes I scored at the farmer’s market that week. As I understand it, any food with naturally blue or red flesh is a good source of anti-oxidants… which makes me wonder why not eat more blue potatoes since they’re just as delicious, healthier, and much more fun?

See? Pretty!

This was taken before cooking. The potatoes didn’t stay this purple, the surface turned white but they were still purple on the inside. I like. If we ever garden as much as we discuss wanting to I would love a row of blue potatoes. I’m enamored.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

In Michigan, and, Happy Birthday Jayna!

We've been in Michigan for a week and the unpacking continues without much of an end in sight.

I like our little house despite the questionable craftsmanship. I think the painting we did in July has really helped make the place feel more like ours. And again I'm thinking how good it was that we did it then since now every wall has stuff stacked in front of it.

We had good time driving across -- especially in Logan. We got to see friends (many of which also helped us load our storage unit of stuff into the truck) which was so much fun (yep, it really was since the rain kindly/mostly subsided) and we got to stay with our bishop and his wife in their very lovely home... which we're told it actually was a bed & breakfast at one time. So it was even more fitting when our first morning there Lonnie made us waffles for breakfast... thus encouraging my waffle kick... (the morning after our wedding we had waffles at Tallahan's Cafe in Arnold) which has ended since we do not own a waffle iron-- pancakes will have to do.

It was easier to say goodbye to Logan this time since it really didn't feel like ours anymore. I will still miss it though.

The batteries for my camera were dead for the entire drive (boo!) but I also didn't feel like messing with it. A lot to see but not all that much to photograph (except the monument at the highest point of the Lincoln Highway and the Strategic Air Command museum-- which was pretty neat) everything else fit in these categories: Dennis Driving, Highway, Gas Station, Restaurant, Hotel/Motel... oh and we got to see the Mississippi.

So not only is today Jayna's Birthday-- which is great and wonderful since she is great and wonderful-- but our friend, Bill, along with five of his friends are crashing at our house tonight. They're taking a road trip to the Grand Canyon and we get to be their first stop! It sounds like their trip is going to be very fun-- wish I could go! (especially in exchange for unpacking) ;) I'm looking forward to the visit. Bill's been a good friend and not just because he played such a large part in the wedding implementation (for which I will always be grateful)-- he was a good friend long before all that.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Yay!! We're Hitched!!

one of my favorite photos so far
(nice work Andrea!)

Bishop Teerlink performed the ceremony which was great!
(this photo doesn't show the wonderful aisle runner Francine painted though)

favors: little jars of home-made peach jam
(thanks Mom and Dad for the peaches--
Thanks Lois for the jam... there just wasn't time this Summer!)

this shows a bit more than half of our wedding cake buffet
(the best idea ever!! Karen rocked the catering! btw)

I sang a song... generally ill-advised but I think it turned out well. :)
(Thanks Jason for teaching me my two cords and Chris for some styling tips)

our first dance (to "I Wanna Grow Old With You" from the musical of The Wedding Singer)
(it's a movie that we've enjoyed together on many occasions)

at the end of each table runner there was a different phase stitched in
(thanks Lois and Jayna!)

the petal toss makes fun pictures!

and I can't think of anyone I'd rather be hitched to!

It's been a crazy crazy month and we're not out of the woods yet but I wanted to give the briefest to run downs about the nuptials! yay nuptials!! We don't get our photos from the photographer for about two weeks (I'm really looking forward to it!). These photos where taken by my good friend Andrea (I'll need to see if there's a link she'd want me to connect to)... and I'm very pleased with what she was able to capture. Here is just the tiniest of samplings. She took so many pictures it's like you could make a flip-book of the action. Thanks Andrea!

So many people helped make it all happen... pretty awesome! I really can't thank them enough. So many details I could talk about but I think that will wait until I have even more photos and more time as well.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Woo Hoo!

A month from today we're getting married! So much to do sometimes I wonder if it will ever get done. Part of me wants time to slow down so I can get more things done but the other part can't wait to make my beau my husband-- and take him home!

I have a lot of the wedding stuff done... there's just so much more. I want to enjoy the details and not be burdened by them-- I love details-- but I also know that I'll need to let some of them go.

Also in the personal good news: I'm letting go of some very long-held animosity.

It feels good and freeing. I've made several attempts on my own over the years but I'm feeling confident this will stick. And you know what I did? I took my mother's advice-- even after I told her there would be no way I could do it-- but I did-- I feel good-- she was right! Thanks Mom!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Off to Iddie-hoe

Looking forward to it! (just not the drive!)


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bridal Shower

I came back to California Friday night-- I thought someone would notice if I missed my own bridal shower which was the next day. I really didn't know for sure what to expect although I have attended a handful of bridal showers, four to be exact, in the past. My beau's mom and aunt organized it and I really had a good time! It wasn't the type of shower with all the weird and awkward games. This shower was just about tasty food and visiting with a bunch of really neat gals. Oh and presents-- which feels really odd at first but the type of odd you get over in not too long. Something that was pretty great was that there was no need for a poker-face since everything was either very useful or very beautiful or both!

It feels so good to be surrounded by such wonderful women in my life.

(and I promise you that I put some make-up on... it just really doesn't look like it in the picture-- but in the picture it does look like I'm a unicorn! :) a happy one)

We had a loose "picture frame" theme that is if people didn't know what to bring they could just pick up a little picture frame that I could then use at the reception to display photos of me and my beau. I thought that would 1) save me a bunch of cash and 2) be fun for people to see the frame they brought used at the reception. Now a have a whole lot of very very pretty frames that come together in a very fun eclectic mix (that all looks good together) that you just couldn't get if you sent one person shopping. Amazing! An idea that I wish I had sooner was for the guests to bring pictures from their own weddings if they wanted-- I think that would be so much fun to see everyone's pictures and give everyone a chance to talk and reminisce about their own wedding. I'm kicking myself about it now because I can't think of another opportunity to get everyone together in a context where that would make sense.... ... ... unless we have an anniversary party at some point ... maybe. hmm

Monday, June 30, 2008

Me? Impulsive?

It was Tuesday, last Tuesday, almost a week ago. I had just finished puppeteering in a video shoot (for a really cute show about keeping rivers clean-- I'll let you know when I find out the name-- for the California Department of Fish and Game) and I was really really missing my beau. Not just the sad but glad I have someone to miss, no, this was the sad with no redeeming qualities what-so-ever and this wasn't the first day I was feeling this way.

So that evening I'm partaking in the nightly conversation with my beau and he gives me the good news that he had booked his flight to California and it arrives a couple days sooner than I had expected-- this pleases me very much. He goes on to tell that he found a good deal as well-- also good-- and that he was using a popular website to find it but a different website than I usually do so I hopped online and went airfare shopping and landed a $362 round-trip ticket (after all the taxes) and after much deliberation we decided that I should go see my honey! Yippee!

(as a side note: On the SouthWest Airlines website you can find flights
after the summer from Sacramento to Detroit for $85 one way-- yeah, I know, awesome-- I luv SouthWest and not just because that's how I found the fella who's gonna be my husband... although that certainly helps!)

So that was Tuesday. My plane left for Michigan on Friday and here I will be until July 4th (the only noticeable holiday the he and I have been consistently able to spend together. The travel was alright (I had a flight attendant that I swear smelled of maple syrup and I got a little woosie from reading during the landing-- then unfortunately was woosie periodically for the rest of the day) and it was so nice to get to see my beau! I just couldn't stand it.

We made several stops on the way to the house which was fun but it was also nice to finally get to see the place. It will serve us very well I think but I think one of the best things about it is that it backs up to a wooded area with a trail that wraps around a pond (not one of those manicured kind... the kind with fallen logs, algae, and bull frogs) and leads to a park. We walked the trail yesterday and it was great. we had to be careful, the baby toads were out and crossing the trail. They were itty bitty bitty about the size of a sunflower seed and, if they were to hold still, two could perch side by side on my thumbnail. I couldn't believe the cuteness! Even the beau hadn't seen ones quite that small... and he's seen a lot of frogs, I dare say he's seen more than the average person. Walking is something we like to do together so I think we'll make good use of this trail... and there has been talk of getting cross-country skis so we can use it in the winter too-- we'll have to see about that though.

When we got to the park, without any known froggie casualties, we sat on a bench together for a small while and as I sat there holding his hand I realized that with him beside me growing old is not a scary thing at all.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Over There

At this very moment my beau is far far far away-- much too far for my tastes. He's been away for about three weeks now and it will be about two months before I get to see him. Time is going slow and fast at the same time and part of me wants the time to go slowly so I can get everything ready for the wedding and the other part of me wants the time to have past already so I can hold my darling and he can hold me in return.

There is so much to love about my beau. He's been in what will be our Michigan home for the past week during which time he's cleaned the carpets and the kitchen and tonight he installed under-the-cabinet lighting fixtures. He doesn't care that it's a rental. Every place we've lived he put in lights under the cabinets to better illuminate the counter work space. It's practical, yes, and I love him for it. He makes it easy.

It's apparently very difficult to live in a practically empty house. Since we have a storage unit full of stuff in Logan he is resisting the urge to get those useful things that we already have and only need one of-- like a silverware drawer divider. Tough I know, I never thought about how annoying it would be to live without one and while he packed a small "kitchen survival kit" that wasn't in it. It would be hard living in a house whose furniture consisted of one small table, one chair, and an air mattress-- makes it kind of hard to just "hang out" and this will be for the rest of the summer. Although today he picked up a small free dresser so now he can get his clothes out of the suitcase. I think I would have a tough time of things if it were me over there alone starting a new job and living in an empty house. I hope for his comfort that he finds a suitable futon.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Little Dancers

Yesterday was my birthday and it was a pretty fun day.

It started with work (yay work!) ... well, two hours of work (yay only a little work!) then I got to have lunch with my mom and with my beau's mom and aunt-- a great time was had by all. It's great to be around such fun and nice ladies!

I got to pick up the tablecloths for the wedding-- yay! and send out another batch of invitations-- another yay!

The day rounded off with my niece's dance recital-- a whole bunch of yays! She did a good job and it was all so cute. so so so cute.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Today's Forehead Slap!

It's not surprising that I made the invitations to our upcoming wedding. What is surprising (and a bit horrifying) is that during all the time I spent designing them, printing them (which was a process I might talk about sometime), cutting them and putting them all together-- checking and re-checking-- I never noticed that I flipped two digits in the RSVP telephone number (for reference the 1 and the 6 need to be switched). While that is a small mistake it is a significant one for folks who don't already know me and don't use email.

And of course I realize that posting about it on my little blog that nobody reads will do a world of good-- I know.


But the very nice man who has the number that was printed said that he wouldn't mind passing along the correct number to any of the future calls. (I don't really know how many people tried to call already and just hung up when it was clear that it was the wrong number)

Very nice man!

double doh!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

So Much to Love About Lucy!

Shortly after I started this blog I learned that my grandmother, Lucy, was in the hospital and wasn't expected to recover. She had been living with Alzheimer's for many years and while it certainly affected her memory and the way she functioned, it didn't seem to effect the essence of who she was-- both sweet and feisty, fun and a hard worker. I am very grateful for the time that I got to spend with her. The picture above was taken when I visited her and her twin sister Lucille in Idaho in June of 2007. I had just finished quilting the pictured quilt with my Grandma Humble who also lives in Idaho so I stopped to spend some time with her on my way back home to Logan. We had a great time-- love isn't about remembering names-- it's about how we spend our time together. We walked and listened to the birds sing and looked at a neighbor's horses-- and of course we sang! That's one thing about Grandma Lucy-- she loved music and singing-- oh yes she did!

I'm grateful for the time I got to spend with her during her final week in the hospital-- especially for when I got my own "shift" when I could sit beside her, hold her hand, and sing to her.

My Aunt Brenda gave a wonderful eulogy at both the California and Idaho services-- I have it posted below:

Leah Lucy Durtschi Phillips - Eulogy

Given May 17, 2008 – Tetonia Ward by Brenda

Home at Last - Little Lucy is Home at Last! It is truly heart warming to be back in Teton Valley, surrounded by family and friends as we pay tribute to our dear mother, Leah Lucy Durtschi Phillips. As Lucy’s eldest daughter, it is my honor to share her life story In order to tell – Lucy’s Story – I’m letting you know that my message is going to be spiritual and somewhat religious in nature and if I say anything that offends any of you – please know it is not intentional – but Lucy’s life cannot be told in any other way because she lived her life based on her religion, which is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints… more commonly called Mormons. Should you have any questions, please come and talk with me afterward… I know my mother would want you to have your questions answered.

Before her mortal birth – there were preparations in the making of a special family for this beautiful spirit to come to Earth. Lucy’s Father Alfred Durtschi was born in Switzerland. Alfred’s family was introduced to a new religion by Mormon missionaries in 1905. These missionaries came preaching about a God that had a body of flesh and bones, not a God without body, parts or passions – this along with other gospel principles spoke truth to their hearts and the family members one by one were firmly converted. Because this religion was so different, they suffered persecutions by people who used to be their friends. After much thought and prayer, they decided to leave all their possessions and come to America to freely practice their new found faith. Alfred and his brothers eventually settled in the beautiful area of Teton Valley, Idaho nestled beneath the western slopes of the Grand Teton Peaks. They loved this land as it reminded them so much of the Swiss Alps they had left behind.

Lucy’s Mother, Ida Aeschbacher was also born in Switzerland. Like Alfred’s family, they also were converted to the Mormon faith and many members of Ida’s family came to Salt Lake City. She did not know Alfred yet.. but as fate would have it Alfred came to Salt Lake looking for a wife and he found sweet little Ida. They were married in the Salt Lake LDS Temple in Oct. of 1914.

I wish I had time to tell you some of the hardships and events these brave pioneers to America went through. It is truly amazing what people of this time experienced and sacrificed in order to live in a land of freedom and practice their religious beliefs. What I can tell you is that this new family of Alfred and Ida Durtschi was based on a deep conversion to a religion that answered all Earthly questions about why they were here and their purpose in life. It gave them a strong foundation of inspiration and faith, regardless of any obstacle or hardship, their life was happy, meaningful and loving.

Alfred and Ida had 3 children – Arnold, Isabel and Walter. Their family would not be complete without the birth of one more baby – Lucile, but surprise!! Little Lucy must have decided she couldn’t wait any longer and tagged along with Lucile. 2 little red-headed girls were born on February 13, 1924, and made this family complete. Being Lucile’s twin sister was always such a treasure to Lucy. She loved her and always felt incomplete if her twin wasn’t right there! I’m sure part of her sense of always sharing with others came from being a twin. As I sat with her in her last days, she would always make sure I got my share of food or treat, asking “Did you get yours?” The last and final name my mother could speak without prompting was “Lucile”.

It is also very interesting to note that just a few weeks earlier on January 5, 1924, Ida’s sister “Lena” had a set of twin girls as well - Betty and Barbara Duersch. I don’t think this was a coincidence! These girls lived just a few miles apart, shared their childhood experiences and developed a life long bond. Mom told us their best summer entertainment was the Duersch “swimming hole”. One day the kids got Aunt Lena to jump in with her clothes on… She made a great dive – but somehow managed to loose her false teeth… the boys took a few dives under water and luckily found them! Now we know where Mom got some of her spunk since Lucy has taken a few dives into swimming pools fully clothed as well!

As a little girl Lucy really did have fun!!! Being born on a dairy farm with lots of room for adventures in nature, pastures to roam, berries to pick, horses and sleigh rides, and cows to milk – I did say fun didn’t I?... You may think milking cows wouldn’t fall into this category, but you need to know one more thing about this special family – they were Durtschi’s and Durtschi – loosely translated – means “Love of Work” or “Work is Fun”, especially when you are singing. Grandma Durtschi told her children to sing to the cows and they will give more milk. In my mothers notes she wrote of the wonderful feelings she had when going into the barn to milk. The smell of fresh hay and the warmth and gentle mooing of the cows as they sang and milked were wonderful memories to her and she missed that feeling of “working” in the barn. Yes work became “fun” and she taught that to her children. I remember about age 10, Mom and I were driving in the car and I mentioned that I needed to file my nails – they were getting too long and she smiled and said “if your fingernails are too long, you haven’t been working hard enough!” That was the last time I told her I needed a manicure!!

Lucy’s mother Ida had a great love of music. She taught her children to sing beautiful songs and the 3 Durtschi sisters learned to sing as a trio as well as learning at least one musical instrument. Mom related the memory of her mother getting her up early in the morning, sitting her on the kitchen table top and as she dangled her legs over the edge of the table, her mother would sit in the chair facing her and they would sing the Alto part together This love of music was something she learned to share with others.

I do want to relate a story that exemplifies Lucy’s gumption, even as a young girl. Lucy had a favorite horse Bess. Well one day she was in Driggs, the largest town in Teton Valley, with her family for an annual celebration and they held a horse race down Main Street. Lucy decided that the following year, she must enter her horse Bess because she just knew that Bess was a real runner and could outrun any of those horses. The next year came and Lucy took Bess to town and got herself all situated for the race. What she wasn’t counting on was Bess hadn’t been to town and wasn’t used to all the cars and commotion. A car came by “spooked” Bess and off Lucy went – she hit the ground and didn’t win the race… but She tried! This was a trait she carried with her through out her life. Lucy went for her Dreams. She took action. She would figure out ways to accomplish her goals and she would not give up. She truly believed the only way to fail was to not take the initiative and TRY.

Her Mamma and Papa taught their children to be responsible and the true value of feeling accomplishment. Most of all they were exposed to feelings of the spirit thru their experience of church conferences and meeting general authorities and prophets of the church. In her writings she tells of powerful joyful feelings that gave her hope and inspired her in many choices and decisions throughout her life because of these convictions. It was never hard for her to make a choice. She would pray and act on the answers that came to her.

Lucy grew into a vivacious young woman. She had long dark auburn hair, hazel eyes, an ivory completion, complete with a few freckles, and a dazzling smile. During World War II she, and her 2 sisters, went to Salt Lake City to work in a facility that made ammunition to supply to the Army. While there they also went to lots of USO dances and she was quite a jitter bug queen. She loved to dance. During this time her sister Isabel took up hairdressing for an occupation and Lucy decided she would do the same. This was a good decision and fit her personality perfectly. She was good at fixing hair – but she was even better at listening to her customers – because she loved them! Beauty salons would come to play a prominent role in her life.

In 1946 Lucy and Lucile served a full time mission for the church. She always said this isn’t something she had in her plans.. but her father had promised the Lord because he was so grateful to the missionaries that left their family to come to Switzerland and share the gospel with them, that all of his children would go on a mission. Well, she said – how can you not go – when the Lord has been promised!

Leaving home and going to northern California to serve the people of this area was to be one of the most cherished times in her life. She had many faith promoting experiences, but we only have time for one. In Mothers writings she tells of a woman, Marie Anderson. Lucy and her companion knocked on her door one day spoke to her briefly and they gave her a Book of Mormon. They could tell that she had problems with her eyesight because she did not look at them clearly – but rather looked off in the distance. Later, they went back to see her - Marie told them, I must be baptized – this book is true. I had prayed for answers about my life and you came with this book. I can read it without my glasses! It was a joyful time to help this woman find the answer she had been seeking. Because of spending time in this area, Lucy and her husband would later decide to move to northern California. It’s interesting how life unfolds…!

Returning from her mission in 1947, Lucy gave a report at a church conference. A handsome young man, John Phillips, was in the audience and touched by the amazing spirit of this beautiful redhead, he asked her out, fell in love, and they married May 19, 1948 in the Idaho Falls, LDS Temple. They moved to Tetonia his parents homestead, Milt and Sybil Phillips, and farmed for several years. During this time eight children were born: John, Brenda, Ronnie, Milton, Merritt, Holly …. Lastly – twins, Dean and Dale – which she prayed for and finally got. I told you she was determined! Lucy gave her children lots of room to have their own adventures on the farm – just as she did as a child. Lucy loved John’s family. I watched my mother fix Grandmas’ hair every Saturday for church on Sunday. We learned how important it is enjoy your Grandma! There were many visits with Phillips relatives coming to the farm. Lucy would cook her famous Dutch oven chicken on an open fire and there were always homemade cinnamon roles and other goodies to eat. What fun we had!

As we know, there are always trials in this life. One of the children, Ronnie, died unexpectedly from an accident at age 11. During this time our parents taught their children that death is not to be feared. That there is great comfort in knowing we will be together again as a family and there is not only hope, but joy in knowing our brother was only separated from us for a while. What a great lesson we were given at that time. Lucy was a mother who taught by example. She did not just preach the gospel – she lived it. Her actions of serving, loving others, and living a faith based life gave her family a strong foundation which we cannot deny.

Life on a farm is not always financially rewarding and in 1968, John and Lucy decided that they should try making a life in a larger community where there were more job opportunities. They hated leaving the small valley and dear friends and family, but after much prayer and a few trips to the area, they moved their family to Fair Oaks, CA. In reading an old letter of Dad’s he speaks of driving down a main road and seeing a street sign called McKay, which is the last name of one of our prophets. Then turning on another street, he saw a street sign, Deseret, another common LDS name. Driving down Deseret he saw a familiar sight – an LDS church building. He wondered if this would be the place for his family to settle. He went to church that Sunday morning wondering what to expect…. Well, the Bishop conducting the meeting was Bishop Scott Newey – for those of you that know Bp Newey, I don’t need to say anymore. For those that don’t know him, you need to. … my mom and dad bought a house and moved their children into Northridge Ward and let the rest of their lives unfold as it should. It was the right place and right decision. They were able to buy a new home big enough for their large family – it was in the right neighborhood – all the schools were within walking distance – there was a perfect room in the home that allowed for a small in home beauty salon - which set my mother in place to perform her greatest work - righteously raising her young children alone as a widow at the age of 46.

Just two years after moving to California, tragedy struck. My father had been hired as the manager of the stake welfare farm. He had a fateful accident in his farm truck and was killed. Since his accident happened while he was at work, there was an insurance benefit paid to my mother. In faith, she prayed for guidance. She knew she needed to add more equipment to her home salon – at least one more hair dryer. She saw an ad in the local paper saying beauty salon equipment for sale and after calling, went to see the condition of the dryer she was interested in. When she got there, the man had a small salon full of equipment for sale – Mom asked what are you doing with the rest of this … he said I’m closing up and it’s all for sale. Mom contacted her home teacher Brother Snow. He came with her and looked at the little shop and he told her, we can help you get this remodeled and I think this would be a good little business for you. Well that was all Lucy needed, she was off like a shot! That beauty salon was the first of 4 salons she would eventually own in the Fair Oaks/Citrus Heights area. She worked hard, but thoroughly enjoyed her relationship with “her” girls that worked in the salon and all the many customers that came to have their hair done. Sure there were lots of ups and downs, many times money was very tight – but she always managed. Sometimes she needed help and help was given, she appreciated this and accepted help gratefully knowing this is how the Lord expects us to live. Sharing and helping each other. I don’t have to tell any of you that Mom was always there to help others. It was just how she lived.

There are many special memories that our family can relate about Mom and we don’t have time to tell you all the wonderful things she did during this brief time I’m allotted, but I do want to say that for me… I was always a little rebellious. Not nearly as generous as my mother. There were times I would see her working so hard in her little shop – and then I would often hear her say to a customer “ No No, you don’t have to pay this time. I want to give this to you!” One day I couldn’t take it any more… I decided to speak up and scolded her saying – Mom .. Do you know your children have holes in their tennis shoes? She paused and looked at me tenderly and said, Brenda, their shoes are just fine… this woman needs the help and I need the blessing! And she was blessed over and over again. She truly knew that money could buy material things – but loving and serving others … well there is nothing on Earth that can give you more joy or more blessings!

Fortunately, or I believe again another blessing – a wonderful person Janness Cassidy came into our mothers life just prior to our father’s death. Janess and Mom shared so many wonderful fun and spiritual times together - I know she filled a void that we, as her children, could not. I know Mom would want her to know how much support and comfort she gained from having her in her life. She was literally a God send!

Even though she had a very busy life, Lucy actively participated in various church callings. She served in Mutual, was a music chorister, choir director, and arranged special musical numbers for sacrament meetings / which she loved because she could help the youth develop their talent… but I think her favorite calling was teaching Primary, especially the children turning 8 years old. This is the time that the children are of age to be baptized and she would gather all the kids in her class and make sure they attended their classmate’s baptism. Afterwards they would have hamburgers or other treat and sometimes go to her house to play games and have fun. I know mom did not have lots of money or extra time to do this – but it wasn’t a consideration – it was a decision based on LOVE for these children.

As in all areas of her life, Lucy did not just tell her children to work… she worked with them! We built many a rock wall together to create a beautiful landscaped yard in Idaho and cleaning beauty shops in California was an added bonus!... but after the work was done - oh how she loved to see us have fun! ! She made sure each child was being entertained and not sitting idly by. As children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, we all have many memories of crazy fun times with Grandma Lucy, whether it was playing fun games such as Foggy in the Meadow, Jolly Jolly Butcher Boy, Going to Heaven on an Ironing Board. She didn’t mind if the kids rough housed, tossed each other in the air in blankets or just ran in circles – as long as they were having Fun together that’s all that mattered.

As she grew close to retirement, Lucy thought about going on a 2nd mission for the church. This became a reality in 1991 when she was called to serve in the Nevada Mission. She wrote letters and told us of many wonderful experiences bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to so many people and there were many baptisms that brought great joy as lives were changed. She didn’t want to return, but she did come home and finally decided that she really should retire.

Since she was retiring, our sister, Holly, wanted Mom to move to Portland and live near her. This would be one of Lucy’s most heartfelt blessings. Our dear brother-in-law Mark and Holly built her a beautiful new home just down the street from the Portland Temple. There my mother spent many days doing what she enjoyed most – temple work. She went daily, most times doing more that one session. If you will allow me to be a little personal here… It was during this time that I know my Mother put my name in the temple every time she went… looking back I truly believe she went so much because I needed so much help…. For as I mentioned before – I was somewhat rebellious and wanted to live my life in my own way. It was during this time that many small and wonderful miracles happened in my life – and I gained a true testimony and love of the gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I will be forever grateful to my mother for her unconditional love - her determination to never give up on me or any of her children. For those of you who are in a similar circumstance and do not know what to do with your children… live a life of example, make sure they know you love them, and pray for God to allow His angels to take them by the hand, and then have the Faith that you know He will do his part.

Yes, Lucy truly enjoyed her “retirement” years in Portland. She had a beautiful yard full of flowers, and not only was it convenient for her to go to the Temple, but she opened her home to visitors and many other people came and stayed with her so they could attend the temple. It was a time of fulfillment … but it was also a time of trial as she began to develop a loss of memory due to Alzheimer’s disease. She knew it was coming – I’m sure she was scared – but she continued valiantly on - living each day the best she could. When she could no longer safely live alone, a dear family member, our sister-in-law Cosette’s mother, Marylyn Gilisse, came and lived with mother and was such a great help. We so appreciate Marylyn for the service and time she spent with Mom. She was truly patient and kind to our Mother and Mom truly loved her.

Eventually in 2001, Mom needed more care and once again Mark and Holly built another home, this time in Rigby, ID so she and her devoted sister, Lucile, could live together. Lucile was so good to help her sister and we so appreciate Lucile for her service to Lucy over the course of several years. We knew that this was the place Mom wanted to be most. Looking back, we know this was a somewhat daunting task for Aunt Lucile – after all - don’t forget she was no spring chicken!! Now that the time is past, I know it was and is a time of priceless memories. Lucy and Lucile were together, until it was necessary for Lucy to have more help. Mom came back to the Fair Oaks area last summer, July 2007 living in care facilities that could meet her special needs. Again, thanks to Holly and Mark – our mother got the best care possible. She truly was blessed beyond measure by their generosity. I know Mom would want me to publicly say “thank you - thank you - thank you”… to Mark and Holly for all you provided …not just for her, but for the many trips and events we attended together as a family because you made it possible.

Having Mom return to California was a very personal blessing to me as I could be with her almost daily. She was quite a character and even though she could not talk much… right when you would least expect it she would come up with a real zinger!! Sometimes we would just do silly stuff like pull funny faces together just like kids do… how sweet those times are to me. As her memory faded, her communication was very limited – but she was able to sing songs! Oh how grateful we were for beautiful songs that allowed us to communicate our feelings and words of love for each other and our family and friends. It seemed as we would walk along and I’d talk about something songs would come to mind to fit the occasion. We sang old favorites, hymns and lots of primary songs.

One day in January, we had to make a trip to the doctor and it couldn’t be postponed… that day we had a terrible storm – it was really raining and the wind was blowing hard… All of a sudden Mom started to sing “ Oh the weather outside is frightful!. I just cracked up… she knew what she wanted to say – and found the perfect song to let me know. We did have a hymn that is our “theme” song called “Count Your Blessings”. We’d sing it every time I went to visit. The hymns message to me exemplifies her life lesson about the principal of gratitude and choosing happiness. No matter how bad things got, or what hardships she had to bear – she would have the most optimistic attitude. What she did was quite simple – she stopped thinking about her sorry state and chose to think about all the positive things she did have in her life… this would usually end in another trip to the neighbors with a dish for their dinner or a letter or phone call to someone who “really” needed to be cheered up.

During the past month of April, she became increasingly tired and our last real conversation together I asked her late in the day if she was ready to go to sleep for the night and she responded, “FOREVER!!” and gave me a determined look and then that magical smile and we both hugged each other knowing she meant it! The following day, she didn’t want to sing – but listened patiently while I played the piano to her and sang some songs, but for the first time she did not join in.

When I checked on her the next day, Saturday, April 26th, she was running a high temperature and I had her taken to the hospital. In talking with the doctor he advised she had an internal infection and it was determined her Earthly life was coming to a close. All her children came during that next week to tell her good-bye and lend support to those of us here. On Saturday May 3rd at 10:20 PM with her loving children singing choruses of songs around her bed, she slipped peacefully out of her old tired earthly body and I believe into the arms of her dear husband, John. She had waited such a long long time for this reunion. It will be their 60th wedding anniversary in just a few more days. I think Dad finally got his request to have her home with him and their son Ronnie!

In closing, I would like to read a poem specifically for my brothers and sister Holly - Lucy’s children: (you grandchildren and great-grandchildren and extended family should listen too…..

You’ll never forget your mother’s face,

The sound of her voice, The gentleness of her touch…

They let you know you were loved.

You’ll never forget the stories she told,

The traditions she handed down…

They let you know who you are.

You’ll never forget the lessons she taught,

The things she stood for…

They are her gift and your legacy.

You’ll never forget, and you’ll always know

That you honor her every day

In how you live and who you are.

This is a wonderful day – it is a day to share our memories and words of gratitude for this genuinely loving person who we treasure. She is a beautiful and truly amazing spirit who loved life and those in it, and so we say to you, Lucy - We love You!

I apologize for taking so much time – but I had to say those things that came into my heart. I know that Lucy’s spirit lives. I know that our Heavenly Father has tremendous love for her and each of us. I know that through Jesus Christ we will be resurrected and have the opportunity to live together again through the Eternities. May God comfort us in our loss and bless each of us as we remember to love one another. I say these things in Jesus name. Amen.

This is the grandma that gave our family Swedish Pancakes and the best rolls known to mankind (I may be exaggerating-- but not by much) and something I learned at the Idaho service-- she and her twin sister had a double wedding! -- I didn't think that happened in reality but these crazy chicks (and their husbands) did it! funny!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Some Exciting News

Hello, and welcome to my very first blog entry. I plan on updating fairly often so please check back periodically if you'd like to know some of what's going on with me and my beau.

Now with the exciting news!

My beau got a job as a post-doctoral researcher at Michigan State University. So we're moving to Michigan! He'll be working with someone who he knows and respects and I hear is very well connected in the plant science community. It sounds like this will be a job that will lead to better jobs and hopefully to the job that will let us really settle somewhere (and hopefully, somewhere nice). It sounds like this job will be what the unfortunate job in Utah lied and said it would be but never was... only better! He'll get to continue with his doctoral research and learn more things-- things that he is much better at explaining than I-- sorry!

At the moment we still have to move from Utah. We will return there next week to re-register our vehicles and ready ourselves for the move east (and north brrr). The plan so far is that my beau will start work out there in June and I will stay in California for my summer work (and to plan our wedding) and then after we've tied the knot we'll go to Michigan together. East Lansing Michigan. I currently know nothing about Michigan but I guess I'll learn.