Friday, February 17, 2017

Chaos to Creativity


Saturday, I attended a conference for women sponsored by our local church. There were several classes or lectures which were meant to inspire and encourage us as we took opportunities to serve and inspire others.  One which I chose to attend talked about the creative process. That was my thing! I love to create new things from something someone else had already started. My mother use to tell us always, to leave our world better than we found it.
The leader told us that when we think of creating we should start at the beginning-In Genesis.
What did God do? He found unorganized matter, chaos, and he created our world. What does this have to do with our creative powers? You should come see my studio—total chaos—unorganized matter in every corner. My husband thinks I’ve taken this too far!
Elder Robert D Hales pf the Quorem of the Twelve apostles writes;

Creativity is a Spiritual Process

"As a child growing up on Long Island, New York, Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles learned many lessons from his parents. He particularly recalls one experience when his father taught him about establishing the proper atmosphere for creativity.
“Father was a commercial artist for a large advertising agency in New York City,” Elder Hales explains. “On one occasion he was under tremendous stress to produce an advertising campaign. He had come home on a Friday evening and worked most of the night. Saturday morning, after a few hours working in the yard, he retired to his studio to create an advertising campaign for a new product.
“My sister and I found great delight in chasing each other round and round the dining room table, which was situated in a room directly over his head. He had told us to please stop at least twice, but to no avail. This time he came bounding up the steps and collared me. He sat me down and taught a great lesson. He did not yell or strike me even though he was very annoyed.
“He explained the creative process, the spiritual process, if you will, and the need for quiet pondering and getting close to the Spirit for his creativity to function. Because he took time to explain and help me understand, I learned a lesson that has been put to use almost daily in my life.”
 “We have the ability to produce creative works in our daily activities. Creativity can also be used to find solutions to everyday problems by developing new ways of approaching the problems. I have seen such creativity during my lifetime.”
Like Elder Hale’s father, we can learn to create as a spiritual process. I remember years ago being asked by the primary presidency to come up with an idea for a Primary special event. I was so tired that I asked for fifteen minutes and then I’d call them back. After a prayer, I lay down on the couch and took a nap. The whole program was laid out for me in a dream. I awoke, wrote down the program and called back. I still create in my dreams. I dream of quilting all night. I wonder if sleeping under four quilts that I made is affecting me!

Friday, January 6, 2017

52 Stories


 









2017 already. I remember sixty years ago thinking about people who had lived in two different centuries and how exciting that must have been. Also, I thought about how old they must have been.
Now at my ripe old age, I am one of them. Isn’t it amazing the things that have happened in our lifetimes.
I was reading an article on the internet about journal writing. This is something I have always had a hard time with. I have twenty some journals with the first few pages written in and a lot of blank pages. This article encourages us to just write a story about our family, our lives, our childhood, whatever encourages us to leave a record for our children. I have a few treasures from my Mother’s life by oh how I wish I had more. I wish I knew more about my Grand- parents.
The article said we should try to write a story a week, fifty -two stories. That sounds easier than a daily journal doesn’t it. And it sounds more interesting than a daily “I didn’t do anything interesting today.”
A couple of years ago I asked various people for first lines to use to write a story . This is from my sister and made me think about my Uncle Jack, my dad’s brother
MEMORIES
So, you take about forty nine cling free peaches, two and a half cups sugar, and about five cups water, unless you don’t like them quite that sweet.”  She probably said more in detailing the recipe but my mind had already drifted back to a summer day and the sweet juicy goodness associated with it.

                  We sat on the wide porch together in the warm sunny afternoon. Bees buzzed lazily among the trumpet flowers and columbine in the front yard; the yellow and black bodies darting in colorful splashes in and out of the deep yellow and red of the flowers.  In the grass the children were blowing bubbles with the large flowers, dipping them in the soapy water Judy had made.

The little girls giggled as the large light bubbles lifted above their heads. Who would ever have thought of blowing bubbles with flowers?

Looking out over the yard, I saw many small peach trees hung with the rosy golden fruit. My mouth watered thinking about the peach cobbler Mom would make from Erma’s peaches. I could hardly wait till we could go home. But, that would be hours –days.  We were here to visit.
                  In the driveway Dad, Uncle Jack and the boys were working on the car. Uncle Jack loved to work on cars and enjoyed having the boys around to share the fun.  Uncle Jack was a happy man. I never saw him when he wasn’t smiling.  He spent most of his life working for the poultry company. The smell alone would keep me from smiling.  But then again when dinner was ready I could enjoy that crispy fried chicken as much as the rest of the family

In the living room behind us a long, low table was filled with Erma’s African Violets.  I didn’t know they came in so many different colors, pinks, purples, rose, even a variegated one. The blossoms smiled shyly through the dark velvet leaves.  Erma was proud of these violets. They are hard to grow—at least I’ve never been able to keep a plant alive and blooming much less a whole table full.  Hanging overhead was a large Christmas cactus. Although it wasn’t blooming yet, I knew it would be filled with red flowers in time for the holidays. It always did. Mother had taken a cutting home with her once so we could have flowers during the cold winter months in the mountains.
                  I don’t have many memories of Uncle Jack and Aunt Erma. But I remember sitting on the porch, eating peaches and fried chicken. I remember the magic of the flower bubbles and the happy smiling family I belonged to. I took a cutting of my mother’s Christmas cactus, Erma’s cactus to continue the tradition. I hope it blooms!

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Birds!




             


Sometimes I feel like they are ganging up on me
Those birds of mine.
Its comforting to hear them call
At seven in the morning,” we’re here, where’s breakfast?” Outside the bathroom window. Or “ bye see you tomorrow “.in the late afternoon.
Last week though it was scary as hundreds descended onto our orchard grounds.
Row after row would spear an apple off the ground and throw it into a tree trunk, breaking it into smaller pieces and consuming it bugs and all. As more rows of large winged, long legged dinosaurs of birds landed, scenes of Alfred Hitchcock’s. “The Birds” flicked through my mind, and I got slightly nervous, retreating to my sewing machine to calm my nerves. I was alone…. with dinobirds.

Today was a cold and overcast winter day. The orchard grounds were clear; it was quiet. As we got into the car to drive to Albuquerque for breakfast with the kids, we saw our army of cranes in the neighbors’ yard. Looking up the “general” a larger, grayer bird, ruffled his feathers, and lifted a wing in a salute or a wave. Bye, We’ll be waiting when you get back.
And they were.

Friday, December 16, 2016

A Christmas Story


Little mouse sat
Huddled by the cabbage leaf
Twisted, curled, and drying;
Trying to stay warm
In the cold deserted
Garden

December is no time
To be lost outside he thought,
But Pester the cat sat drooling in
The doorway barring the way
 to warmth and shelter
Burrr

In the distance a bell chimed
The crystal sound striking
In the frozen air
Peace, Hope, Joy. Love, Share
Little mouse crept closer, hopefully,
Please?

Pester turned,and
Lay in the warm, fragrant straw.
Little mouse timidly drew inside;
Judged the cattitude
Cuddled in the arms of his nemesis
Warm
At least till morning.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Prayers Really do work



Last month I asked that you would pray for me and my surgery; that they would go well. Thank you for your prayers. My therapist told me I was two weeks ahead of schedule in recovery. Which I think is funny, since surgery was only20 days ago.!
I mentioned to her that I had a lot of people praying for me. She asked me if I had prayed for her? As part of my team, yes of course we did.
There are many people over the Internet, out in the world, in politics and business, in our neighborhoods who almost act angrily when we say we are praying for them, I guess they feel that if there is no God for them, there is no point of praying.
And then there are people that hope other people are praying for them but are afraid to ask. I am personally afraid of the things that are happening in our country and world. Whether a person believes in a higher power or not; whatever type of entity you look up to; being God, Science, or hard work and good luck. I hope you will keep the future of mankind in your thoughts.

1. Prayer is the soul's sincere desire,
Uttered or unexpressed,
The motion of a hidden fire
That trembles in the breast.
2. Prayer is the burden of a sigh,
The falling of a tear,
The upward glancing of an eye
When none but God is near.
3. Prayer is the simplest form of speech
That infant lips can try;
Prayer, the sublimest strains that reach
The Majesty on high.
4. Prayer is the Christian's vital breath,
The Christian's native air,
His watchword at the gates of death;
He enters heav'n with prayer.
5. Prayer is the contrite sinner's voice,
Returning from his ways,
While angels in their songs rejoice
And cry, "Behold, he prays!"
6. The Saints in prayer appear as one
In word and deed and mind,
While with the Father and the Son
Their fellowship they find.
7. Nor prayer is made on earth alone:
The Holy Spirit pleads,
And Jesus at the Father's throne
For sinners intercedes.
8. O thou by whom we come to God,
The Life, the Truth, the Way!
The path of prayer thyself hast trod;
Lord, teach us how to pray.

Text: James Montgomery, 1771-1854Music: George Careless, 1839-1932

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Pray for Me


Pray for me. In three days I will be learning to walk for the 6th time and will probably do eight and nine in the next couple of years. And even though I have gained more experience, I think the first time was probably the easiest. I didn’t have as far to fall.
The first time I was eight months old, and as a baby was happy to not be the shortest one in the family. I could see what was going on, and get my brothers into trouble.
The second time I learned to walk was after a stroke  paralyzed me when I was just two years old.
Over the intervening years I damaged a nerve and had to learn to walk without flexing my toes, I damaged my knee and had to learn to walk on crutches. Last year knee surgery and this year hip surgery have given me the opportunities to learn more lessons. I have learned  a lot about, charity, kindness, patience, gratitude, joy, and peace. I have learned that God loves me and that I have a lot of wonderful friends and family members. 
This fall at the  October general conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints ,Elder Evan A. Schmutz gave a talk titled 

As we exercise our faith in the Savior, He will lift us up and carry us through all of our trials and, ultimately, save us in the celestial kingdom.
As part of our Heavenly Father’s plan, He allowed sorrow to be woven into our mortal experience. While it seems that painful trials fall unevenly on us, we can be assured that to one degree or another, we all suffer and struggle. It is my prayer that the Holy Spirit will guide us to a greater understanding why this must be so.
When we view the difficult experiences of life through the lens of faith in Christ, we are able to see that there can be godly purpose in our suffering. The faithful can experience the truth of Peter’s seemingly contradictory counsel. He wrote, “If ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye.”As we apply our “hearts to understanding,”we can increase in our ability to both endure our trials well and learn from—and be refined by—them. Such understanding provides an answer to the ageless question “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
Without an “eye of faith”and an understanding of eternal truth, we often find that the misery and suffering experienced in mortality can obscure or eclipse the eternal joy of knowing that the great plan of our Father in Heaven really is the eternal plan of happiness. There is no other way to receive a fulness of joy.
God invites us to respond with faith to our own unique afflictions in order that we may reap blessings and gain knowledge that can be learned in no other way. We are instructed to keep the commandments in every condition and circumstance, for “he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven.” And as we read in scripture, “If thou art sorrowful, call on the Lord thy God with supplication, that your souls may be joyful.”
The Apostle Paul, himself no stranger to affliction, drew from his own experience to teach with depth and beauty the eternal perspective that comes when we endure well and with patience. He said, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” In other words, we can know in the midst of our afflictions that God has provided an eternal compensating reward.
As we acquire this eternal perspective in our lives, our capacity to endure grows, we learn how to succor those in need of succor, and we come to appreciate and even express gratitude for the experiences God allows us to have as tutors in the path to eternal life.
When we find ourselves laboring through tribulation, it can be difficult to see our trials as signposts on our personal trail of discipleship. But whether we find ourselves at times in the dark valley of despair or on the high road of happiness, learning from and feeling compassion for the sufferings of others can be a blessing.
Then we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
We can take strength in knowing that all the hard experiences in this life are temporary; even the darkest nights turn into dawn for the faithful.
I am looking forward to at least a temporary lessening of twenty five years of pain so I ask you again, pray for me. And look at your challenges and sorrows. What happiness and blessings can you gain from them?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Joyfully


 





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I apologize that my letter this month is so late. It seems like October is running away with all of us. Some of it is fun like our annual Balloon fiesta. Some is sad with the loss of the husbands of two of my long time friends. Some of it is just hard with an overabundance of the delicious apples from our orchard. I wish each of you could come get a box full.  I would like to just put them all into production for a lot of canned applesauce and canned apples. As I am awaiting surgery on my hip I can only manage drying them. One problem is that my husband and daughter can eat a whole days work in a few hours. And then there is politics!
As I have been flying through my month I have reflected back about what brings joy into my life. What brings me up after a down week. My family comes first of course. But here are some thoughts that I found.

“Those who wish to sing always find a song.”
Swedish Proverb

“Expectation has brought me disappointment. Disappointment has brought me wisdom. Acceptance, gratitude and appreciation have brought me joy and fulfillment.”
Rasheed Ogunlaru

“Joy always follows on the heels of pain. If a person escapes a mindset that current events represent an ongoing tragedy, they will encounter and comprehend all the beauty that surrounds them. We find bliss by living alertly and unequivocally accepting whatever is occurring in the present moment. If a person realizes that the present moment is all that matters, they will gain an inner stillness and appreciate the beauty and joy of each day.”
Kilroy J. Oldster, Dead Toad Scrolls

 “Joy cannot be confused with the mere absence sorrow, misinterpreted as experiencing minimal despair, or misunderstood as living without crippling trepidation. Bliss necessarily encompasses uncompromising acceptance of life’s defining permutations. Emotional harmony necessitates beholding the pleasant and unpleasant exigencies of life while expressing unstinting appreciation for the ordinary and the extraordinary events in our lives. Joyfulness transcends the variations in physical and emotional demands exerted upon us. Elation for life allows us to rise above environmental determinates and associated stresses that might otherwise vex our souls including death and other sorrowful events.”
Kilroy J. Oldster, Dead Toad Scrolls

“Our most intense joy comes not from personal feats, but from helping other persons achieve their goals. We become suppler human beings when we find true joy in witnessing other people’s successes and unabashedly share in their joyful accomplishments.”
Kilroy J. Oldster, Dead Toad Scrolls
 “There is much more joy in being a survivor than been a quitter.”
Omoakhuana Anthonia

“A storm-filled life replete with piercing and unearthly sounds ravages the soul of any thoughtful person. In contrast, the genteel wind of restoration moves silently, invisibly. Renewal is a spiritual process, the communal melody that sustains us. Inexpressible braids of tenderness whispering reciprocating chords of love for family, friends, humankind, and nature plaits interweaved layers of blissful atmosphere, which copious heart song brings spiritual rejuvenation. For when we love in a charitable and bountiful manner without reservation, liberated from petty jealously, and free of the toxic blot of discrimination, we become the ineluctable wind that vivifies the lives of other people. The mellifluous changes in heaven, earth, and our journey through the travails of time, while worshiping the trove of fathomless joys of life, constitute the seeds of universal poetry.”
Kilroy J. Oldster, Dead Toad Scrolls

2 Nephi 25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.