Thursday, October 20, 2016




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.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Fiddler's Wife

One of my favorite songs in high school had words which I took to heart and made my mantra. “Won’t be my father’s Jack, won’t be my mother’s Jill.
I’m going to be a fiddler’s wife, and fiddle where I will.” And that became my life-
Jack of all trades, and master of none.

I was looking on Wikipedia today for the name of an acquaintance and co-worker of my husband’s. I learned things about him that  didn’t know and it was interesting.
Just for fun I put my name in not expecting to see anything. But still it was sad to see that I didn’t exist!  That was as bad as when I looked for myself on Google a few years ago and learned that I had no friends! It makes me reflect back over my life and wonder if I have done what I was sent here to do or am I just taking up space on this planet of ours.
What did I want to do with my life? I thought of being a teacher or a nurse. That and secretary were the three things that most schools encourage women to do in life. There were women scientists,  actresses, and  shop keepers, sure, but women weren’t encouraged to be doctors and CEO’s much. It was better than when my mother was in school though. She wanted to be an architect but no school would let her attend classes for that. She settled for Landscape architecture and after being the first woman to graduate from her school in that discipline, got a job where she was hired by her initials so they could pay her as much as a man. My neighbor of the same age, wanted to be a conductor of a symphony, but her school said, “We could NEVER let a woman do that! The scandal!”

The thing I really wanted to do was be a wife and mother. I graduated in Home Economics Education because I would always have a job. If not for pay,then  in my home with a family. And I did use my training with family, church youth groups, girl scouts, women’s organizations and after school programs.
I read a quote from Gordon B. Hinckley the other day.

“I believe our problems, almost every one, arise out of the homes of the people. If there is to be reformation, if there is to be a change, if there is to be a return to old and sacred values, it must begin in the home. It is here that truth is learned, that integrity is cultivated, that self-discipline is instilled and that love is nurtured—Gordon B. Hinckley
So what do we need to know to teach this to our families?

Susan W. Tanner, former Young Women general president, taught: “Our Father in Heaven exemplifies the pattern we should follow. He loves us, teaches us, is patient with us, and entrusts us with our agency. … Sometimes discipline, which means ‘to teach,’ is confused with criticism. Children—as well as people of all ages—improve behavior from love and encouragement more than from fault-finding.”
Yesterday I saw something on my daughter’s face book page  that made me smile.

“One day, when my children are grown, I hope they still come through that front door without knocking. I hope they head to the kitchen for a snack, and rifle through the mail looking for a magazine they always read. I hope they come in and feel the weight of adulthood leave them, for they are home. For my children, my door will forever be open. Above all else, I hope they know this without me telling them.
Love speaks clearly enough
-The Train To Crazy.-
I guess I do exist

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Being Thankful


In the book LDS Gems and Inspirational Quotes Henry B. Eyring writes
“You could follow the command, “Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things’ (D&C 59:7), President Ezra Taft Benson suggested prayer as a time to do that. He said:
“The Prophet Joseph Smith said at one time that on of the greatest sins of which the Latter-day Saints would be guilty is the sin of ingratitude. I presume most of us have not thought of that as a great sin. There is a great tendency for us in our prayers and in our pleadings with the Lord to ask for additional blessings. But sometimes I feel we need to devote more of our prayers to expressions of gratitude and thanksgiving for blessings already received. We enjoy so much.’

I have a niece who once commented, “ how would you feel if you woke up one morning and the only things you had were the things you said in your prayers that you were thankful for. I have thought about that since and it has changed my prayers.

 I’m grateful for the country I live in. I’m grateful for the opportunity we have to vote for great leaders. Living in the high desert, I’m grateful for the rain and hope we will get more. I’m grateful that we have a home and food and clothing to wear; for friends and family who are willing to come to our aid. I grateful for two teen-age cats to love and care for and laugh at.
My husband looks funnily at me sometimes at some of the things that pop into my head during prayers. I’m grateful for the sun, and flowers in our garden that we live in such a beautiful place. I’m grateful that we have enough to share; and pray for guidance to find those who need our help.

We had the opportunity to donate some furniture to Catholic Charities to set up an apartment for a refuge family last month. I don’t have a table to paint on but another family has one to eat on. I don’t have a couch to lie on and watch TV. But another family can sit. I gave away a dresser to keep my quilting  stash in but someone else has a place to put their children’s clothes.
 I am blessed. I have opportunities to grow, and share, and serve.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

You're A Success!


It is so difficult getting old. By the time my computer boots up I forget what I was going to say! Even the computer is feeling the stresses of age. When I try to hurry it along, it “Bleps!”at me.

I had some friends over this morning to help bind a group quilt we have been making. It has been fun getting together and working on a joint project as we catch up with each other’s busy lives. This quilt has had some interesting lessons for me.
Patience- Other people have lives and can’t drop everything for my schedule.
Charity- we all have different skills and talents
Artistic sense- Our brains are wired differently. The colors I see are not the same ones you see. What I saw as dark navy, someone else sees as black. My pale blue is your grey. My burnt sienna is her brown. But it is done and will be gifted Sunday.
Now my focus will change and I don’t know where to start. So many possibilities line up on my list. Should I take a nap and let the swelling in my legs go down? Should I clear up my work room to start a new project next week. Should I fold the laundry?
Should I write the poem to go with the quilt? I’m still waiting for inspiration on that one.

I’ve always been one to make lists. If I have too many things I want to or should do I write them down on paper, tear it up into little pieces and put them in a jar. Fate will choose which one for me to do. “No not that one, try again!”

Marvin J. Ashton, an earlier Apostle in the Latter Day Saint Church said, “Set your goals—without goals you can’t measure your progress. But don’t become frustrated if the victories’ don’t come quickly or easily. Remind yourself that striving can be more important than arriving. If you are striving for excellence—if you are trying your best day by day with the wisest use of your time and energy to reach realistic goals—you are a success, and you can feel proud of your accomplishments.”

My dad and I, when  he was in his 90’s, would sit at the breakfast table and plan our day. I said we should plan to complete at least one thing a day. He smiled and said, “Today I got out of bed! “
What are you striving for today?

The Bishop's Quilt


A block in a block in a block he thought. That’s what I feel like!  I’m ready for a vacation. It seems like he’d been the jack in the pulpit for years. Gathering his family they headed for the lake. A Broken wheel threw a monkey wrench into their plans, but heading out with supplies on their backs they were determined to have a good day. Flying geese overhead called to them as they climbed a rail fence and followed the trail of the covered wagons over stiles and stones and through the lattice of trees in the woods.

Seeing the bear paw print they jumped the rail fence with both eyes open
The saw tooth star last night, gleaming in the heavens warned them of their adventure. Passing this old house, an ancient log cabin, they walked toward the brown waterfall.

Approaching the lake, they rented a sailboat, glad they’d gone fishing. They had seen a another bear paw print as they hopped the third rail fence. !

At the end of the day; full of fresh fried fish, and fruit from the apple leafed trees, they snuggled down  next to another rail fence; into their sleeping bags, happy and content under the dark sky filled with Missouri stars. Tomorrow they’d go panning for gold
“Dad,” the young boy said, “Thanks,
 Families are forever”.

Sunday, June 19, 2016


“May God help us to be a little kinder, showing forth greater forbearance, to be more forgiving, more willing to walk the second mile, to reach down and lift up those who may have sinned but have brought forth the fruits of repentance, to lay aside old grudges and nurture them no more” –-Gordon B Hinckley

Forgiveness…. may be the greatest virtue on earth, and certainly the most needed. There is so much of meanness and abuse, of intolerance and hatred. There is so great a need for repentance and forgiveness. It is the great principle emphasized in all of scripture, both ancient and modern.”—Gordon B. Hinckley

”Somehow forgiveness, with love and tolerance, accomplishes miracles that can happen in no other way.”—Gordon B. Hinckley

Many times I have sat contemplating my life and my actions and I wonder, have I done anything that I need to ask forgiveness for? Most of the time I have either been very good, or oblivious of how I have hurt someone. People don’t always react strongly enough to tell they’ve been hurt. I didn’t know why my son in law stopped talking to me after one comment I innocently made till I heard his family’s history. I apologized and asked him to let me know when I said something stupid instead of holding a silent grudge.  Another time I made a comment about something someone had made. I said it was interesting. UT- OH! I knew right away I’d hurt her feelings but it took me a week to apologize and explain that I really did like it and I really did find it was an interesting method she had used.

On the other side of the situation, how easy is it to forgive others?
This has been such a difficult month, no year. Remember the church group last year who invited a young man to their prayer group. He prayed with them, learned with them, and shot them. Could I have forgiven him, as the congregation did?
And this month in Florida, when someone took his assault rifle into a night club and
started shooting. randomly killing fifty; why, because he didn’t like their lifestyle? Was it because he was mentally unbalanced?  Was it because he thought he had a cause to uphold? Can I forgive him? Not yet, I need to think about it more

Thomas S. Monson from the D&C teacher’s manual says,
“If any of us are imperfect, it is our duty to pray for the gift that will make us perfect. Have I imperfections? I am full of them. What is my duty? To pray to God to give me the gifts that will correct these imperfections. If I am an angry man, it is my duty to pray for charity, which suffereth long and is kind. Am I an envious man? It is my duty to seek for charity, which envieth not. So  is it with all the gifts of the Gospel. They are intended for this purpose. No man ought to say, ’Oh, I cannot help this; it is my nature.’ He is not justified in it, for the reason that God has promised to give strength to correct these things and to give gifts that will eradicate them (Millennial Star, 23 April 1984 260).”
I hope you have a blessed and forgiving summer.

Friday, May 27, 2016

How will they know?

When we decided to move back to New Mexico I thought “Wow! Maybe I’ll get to meet some of my favorite authors.
 I always enjoyed the sights and sounds of New Mexico and had fun collecting art of the area. My home is filled with paintings and sculptures that I picked up at craft shows. I enjoyed talking to the artists about their work. It makes each piece personal. One of my favorites was painted by the bag boy at the grocery store that we shopped at when I was a child.
But authors? How do you get to know them except through their work? One night I dreamed that I would meet two of my favorite authors in New Mexico, in church! Isn’t that a crazy dream?
The first one I met was at a local bar. She was doing a book signing. I didn’t know what she looked like or anything about her except that I liked the books her famous father had written. She was continuing the series so we went to listen. I sat at the back nursing my soft drink and a lovely woman walked up to me and started a conversation. It was interesting, relaxing and informative. I had fun. And behold, she was the author. I got to make a connection without being star struck.
Sunday was a conference at church. We had four or so congregations meeting together. I was with my brother and his wife and didn’t see many from my own congregation. Just before the meeting began a new member walked past us and my sister in law said hello and asked him which ward he was in. He said the name of the same one I belonged to. So he asked if he could sit in the empty seat next to me and we had a short chat of introduction. “Your name is so familiar, I said, are you related to anyone in Los Alamos?” After conference we talked some more and I said, “See you next Sunday!”
On the way home it struck me. I was sitting in church, in New Mexico, with my other favorite New Mexico Author. God’s little gift- He pays attention to our dreams and wishes, not just our needs and prayers.  What a fun time I am going to have fellowshipping a new member- if I can keep from being star struck.
My daughter had fun experiences like this when she was working at a local bookstore and authors and movie stars came in for material and book signings. She was good at helping but not over-whelming them as customers. The trick is to be kind, cheerful, and of service. But not stalking them.
How do we teach our children to treat others helpfully but comfortably?
I am reminded of a song we sing to our children

How will they know
  1. Words: Natalie W. Sleeth, 1930-1992
Music: Natalie W. Sleeth, 1930-1992. Arr. by A. Laurence Lyon, b. 1934, and Natalie W. Sleeth

1. How will they know, the ones for whom we care,
That God is love and with us ev'rywhere,
That life is good, with blessings all can share?
How will they know unless we teach them so?
2. How will they learn that, though they go astray,
God will forgive and help them find the way?
How will they feel the Spirit day by day?
How will they know unless we teach them so?
3. How will they grow in wisdom and delight?
How will they choose to follow what is right?
How can they trust the future will be bright?
How will they know unless we show them?
4. How will they live when they at last are grown?
What will they give to children of their own?
Will they reflect the values we have shown?
How will they know, as on through life they go?
How will they know unless we strive to teach them so?

As we relate to those around us—as we teach our children how to treat others—As we pray to God and tell him our hopes and dreams—we can remember that God cares about us always, in all ways, even the small stuff