Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Somewhat Less Than Favorite Christmas Music

Yeah, yeah, yeah.... she loves music. Big deal!
Christmas music is wonderful, I love it all except the really cheesy Alvin and the Chipmunks stuff. But there is one Christmas hymn that I have said for years that I just plain do not like. Maybe it's because it isn't really about Christmas. No Christ child, no Santa, not even a snowflake. No sleighbells ring ring ring-a-ling, jing jing jing-a-ling too.
The first three verses are sad, it's depressing, it just gives me the blues - and a Christmas hymn should not do that. It ends well, all the bells are appealing. Pealing, all the bells are pealing. There is a story to the lyrics, they were written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow during the Civil War. Or the War Between the States, however your history book references read.

Maybe what I have never liked about it was the lack of bells. At Christmas time, there should be bells. And heavenly hosts. And shepherds. And wise men. Especially bells. In this video, the narrator tells the story of how the lyric came to be. I love the story and the choir sings some of the verses. And there are enough bells. There are two bell ringers (bellists?) whose place I would like to have. They are both men, can you guess the posts I would like to have?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Every Time A Bell Rings...

It used to was that "It's A Wonderful Life" was shown a million times every Christmas season. You could flip from one local station to another and see it. It was a classic, Christmas wouldn't be the same without it, constant reminder that 'no man is poor if he has friends'. Then the right to show the film went to NBC; they only show it twice a year. It's on right now, because it's Christmas Eve.

I recently read a review of it that talked about how sad the movie was. Poor George, settled for his high school girlfriend and never got to Paris. Stuck in his small home town for his whole life, never achieving any of his dreams. Sad, sad, sad.

Most of us recognize the vision of the film, that George's life meant something because of the unselfish choices that he made. I wonder sometimes if my life has made that much of a difference in anyone's life. I suppose we all do. With the Lord's help, I know that we can make a difference, if not in a whole town, at least in the lives of a few people.

And every time a bell rings...

Sunday, December 5, 2010


What a beautiful day to go off-roading! Crisp (freezing) cold, light snow, and a little black ice. What a treat! Driving home from church, still filled with the warm spiritual glow following great meetings and sweet testimonies. A perfect, peaceful Sabbath.
Did I mention black ice? Yeah. Driving home, a curved exit from one highway to the next and that little bit of ice on the road. Suddenly, the car is fish-tailing, Ronald darling stoically wrestling the car, trying to regain control. Then the car said, forget it, I'm outta here! and it spun right off the road and into a ditch. We came to rest with the hood of the car aiming up at the road and the back of the car resting against a chain link fence.
Alive and unhurt, what more could you ask? Next steps, get out of the car, survey the damage and call a tow truck to haul us back up to the road. Yeah. In my dreams. Ronald darling was at the wheel. He gunned the engine, back and forth until we were facing in the direction we wanted to go, but still.... down in the ditch. He began driving forward, angling toward the road, putting us at about a 45 degree angle. I casually mentioned that if the car rolled over, which I thought was a distinct possibility, I would be upset. He recognized the possibility and backed up, back into the ditch. Was he done? You don't know him vewy well, do you? LOL
He started backing up, revving the engine, trying to back up onto the road we'd left. He would get close, but not make it, and then a car would come driving around the curve. We did that about four times, until he was back up on the berm, and could drive onto the road again. We drove on home from there, about three miles. There was grass and mud and ice on the windshield and on the sides of the car.
All the rest of the way home, no problems. After we got here, THEN he checked for damage to the car. His years of excellent driving skills, a little luck and some of the Lord's tender mercies got us through another adventure. And maybe those back to back Please, please, Thank you, thank you prayers helped.
Ronald darling is a stubborn man, he's tenacious and he doesn't quit. I love that about him!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Hugged By A Stranger

Have I ever mentioned that I love to eat? In addition to singing, it is one of my favorite things. And we love feeding the missionaries; we've done it for decades. When our children were growing up, we had the missionaries over every Monday, it was great!
When the nest was empty, we started taking them out - usually to an all you care to eat buffet. Recently we've been taking them to breakfast instead. Just imagine - all the bacon you can eat! Love it!!
That's where we were this morning when I saw a young sailor at the breakfast bar. Goodness knows, I love a man in uniform! I decided to buy his breakfast, but he'd already paid. What to do, what to do? I went to one of the servers, gave her the money for his meal and asked her to give it to him. Just tell him "Thank you" and pay for his meal. Well, she wanted me to watch while she gave it to him, to make sure she didn't pocket the money. A wise move on her part, I guess, so I stood back and made sure that she went to him and tapped him on the shoulder.
I didn't want to make a big deal of it and preferred to be anonymous, so I walked away. But she ratted me out! She pointed me out to the sailor. He jumped up and followed me as I walked back toward the table. He stopped me and thanked me. Of course I thanked him for his service and he gave me a big hug. Bless his heart, they make sailor's really young these days.

God bless all of you who serve in our armed forces. Thank you for your sacrifice, and a special thanks to your wives, husbands and children who support and sacrifice with you.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mormon Monday

This past weekend we had Stake Conference at church. Instead of our regular meetings we had two general meetings; one for adults on Saturday evening, the other Sunday morning. There are nine congregations in the Stake, and the building will not hold all of the atttendees. In the past we've held two Sunday sessions and assigned congregations to come to a specific session. Recently we've held only the one Sunday session and broadcast it to the other chapels via the internet. I was able to sing in the choir, which, as you know, I love! From the choir seats, you can see the back of the speaker. Interesting. But you can see the faces of the members of the congregation and that is great. I love looking out at a sea of over 1,000 people and finding my friends.

One of the speakers in the Saturday evening session talked about his experience as a father, teaching his children to recognize the Spirit. He would ask them periodically when they last felt the influence of the Spirit. By doing so, he prompted them to seek it and respond.

The easiest way for me to feel that Spirit is through music. Responding to the influence and remaining in tune is a habit I continue to develop. In the mean time, I feel the influence of the Lord through music. I can't pick one favorite, but this is fantastic. I love the music and the message and, especially the settings! Do you suppose that people who were not involved just jumped in and sang? I know I would have.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dancing with Different Stars

I may have mentioned a time or seven hundred that I love, love, love music! As an appendage to that, I also love dancing. Ronald darling and I have been known to cut the rug from time to time. Waltz and swing are our favorites with square dance and polka thrown in. Boot Scootin' Boogie, not so much.
Remind me sometime to tell you the funny story about Ronald darling and square dancing. You will fall on the floor laughing. Oh yeah, I forgot, I can just write ROFL! But that is a story for another time. Today we are talking about other people dancing.
In addition to music, singing and dancing, I like see them put together in one place and call it a musical!
You want to know my five favorite musicals? Sure, here you go!
  • The Music Man
  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
  • Damn Yankees
  • Oklahoma
  • West Side Story

The next five?

  • Fiddler on the Roof
  • Mary Poppins
  • State Fair
  • South Pacific
  • High Society

I could go on...... When I discovered musicals I found that some people don't like them. Really. I could not understand, so I just up and asked them. Why not!?! The reason they gave was completely irrational. You want to know the reason? They thought that musicals were illogical. No one busts out singing at the drop of a hat. But they are wrong, because I DO!

I DO! I DO! by the way, is the name of another musical, which I've never seen.

But along with the music and the singing is the dancing. Love it. Here is a clip of dancers from about 40 different musicals. They are in a montage set to one piece of music. The editing is great, because all of the choreography fits the music.

WARNING! Some of the shows were made in the 80's, so there is scary hair. Also scanty costumes on a some of the dancers may bother you. And the obligatory hip grinding that passes for dancing in some venues. Forewarned is forearmed.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mormon Monday

Have you heard the phrase "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy"? Yeah, me too. It's not a strictly Mormon phrase, ya know, everybody knows that. And I always thought I knew what it meant. Cater to mama, make sure she's happy and has everything she wants or she will make your life a living... well, you know. Kind of cute, kind of catchy and men just love to say it and roll their eyes!

This phrase from the Sunday School lesson caused some discussion.
"A loving and happy family does not happen by accident. Each person in the family must do his or her part. The Lord has given responsibilities to both parents and children. The scriptures teach that we must be thoughtful, cheerful, and considerate of others. When we speak, pray, sing, or work together, we can enjoy the blessings of harmony in our families."
One sweet (and very young) sister said that she'd realized that it was her responsibility to set the tone in her home. Not hers alone, but still, hers. Another said that she arose every morning before her children, dressed, exercised, prayed and studied the scriptures before anyone else was up. That way, her day started right - before she began taking care of her husband, children and home.

And there was my "ah ha" moment. I must to choose to be happy. Not that I don't, usually I am a disgustingly cheerful, upbeat person. Nauseatingly so, at times. But when I was a young, upstart mom? Probably not so much. If I knew then what I know now....

I'm grateful for this phrase from Colossians 3:15 "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts..."

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Tears come easily to some people. Too easily sometimes. Take me for instance. You knew it would come back to me, didn't you? It always does! I'm my favorite topic. Anyway, I cry easy and easily. Easy because there are no wracking sobs, just the little lip tremble, the quaver in the voice and the tear trickling down my cheek. And you wouldn't believe the list of things that bring that reaction. For instance, a few years ago McDonald's televised a commercial that showed a group of six or seven very young children, say five or six years old. All walking into McDonald's out of a rain storm, each of them in a little yellow slicker and rain hat, with clumsy rain boots. It was so sweet and cute, that I teared up on the spot. Silly.
My daughter was once describing "Shadowlands", a movie that was brilliant, but sad. Hers was a warning to everyone that it was difficult to watch. She turned to me and said, "It would probably kill you." She knows I can't watch sad movies.
One of the most painful scenes in a movie is the end of "Carousel". Have you seen the movie? A real tear-jerker; and that last scene is something else. Ask me about it someday, you'll find that I can't describe it without tearing up. Billie comes back from the grave to try to help his wife get through the trials of life. At the end, he stands behind her and sings "When You Walk Through a Storm". He couldn't be the husband that she needed in life but was trying to help her. My description isn't adequate, but it is excruciatingly sad.
Anyway, tears. This is United Way enrollment week in the office where I work. I'm not a fan of United Way, but they gave us free ice cream for the kickoff. Yum. And every day, there are representatives from two organizations that receive funds from the program. Today, one of them was Hospice of Dayton. Hospice is great and I thought I'd go over and tell them so, and thank them for what they did for my dad. My dad died over 7 years ago and was only at Hospice for 24 hours. Yet I stood there and cried. Even now, thinking about that little two minute vingette, the tears come, the throat tightens and I can't speak. I don't think about him often, but I love him. And I remember.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Done It Again

At this moment, there are three sets of five pound hand weights on my bedroom floor, under a table. There is an exercise ball, still in the box, a medicine ball with video training, and at least three exercise bands in the same place. Do I use them? NO, I DON'T!
Over many decades I've owned some exercise equipment. Two treadmills, an exercise bike and a stair-stepper come to mind. They were passed to me from my parents who also didn't use them. Over a certain amount of time, they became excellent clothes racks. Eventually they were passed on to others with good intentions.
I must confess... well, I mustn't confess but will, I am sometimes concerned at the level of inactivity in my life. I remember looking at my mother and thinking, "For crying out loud, the woman never gets out of her recliner!" She was about 70 when I first started thinking that. And here I am, not 70. Many days, I come home from work, sit down in the recliner, pull the laptop into my lap (go figure), pick up the remote control for the television and don't. get. up.
I should be going for nice long walks, enjoying the free gym that's available at my workplace, doing a few pushups every morning, yadda yadda yadda. But I don't. A variety of aches and pains make for great excuses, but with or without them, I don't.
Which brings me to today. Leaving the temple, we found that the lovely neighborhood across the street was having a community garage sale. Nothing like being spiritually fed and then browsing through strangers' junk with the hope of finding a hidden treasure. So there we were, driving around, and I spotted it! An exercise bike. Not a really tacky, half broken one but not a high end humongous one with 400 bells and whistles. We stopped, I got on it and it worked. Smoothly, without dropping me or making me feel like it would drop me. I would have haggled (although I don't like that very much) except the price had been dropped to $10. Ten. Dollars. We bought it, Ronald darling wrestled it into the back of the car with only a minor tear in the fabric on the interior roof of the car. We drove home with it sticking out of the hatchback, strapped shut, only vibrating slightly over the road.
We brought it in the house, not sure where to put it. Some furniture rearrangement in the bedroom will be involved. Right now, it sits in the living room. We've both been on it and realize that even without resistance, it can provide a much needed workout.
So, I've done it again, fallen victim to my good intentions. We'll see. I don't need another clothes rack. Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Conundrum

Once upon a time, Ronald darling was a cook in the Air National Guard. That was his designation, but he was assigned to bake. He baked all night, so that the mess hall would smell of freshly baked bread in the morning. Hmm... salivating at this very moment at the thought of fresh baked bread.
Oh, look! A squirrel!
Sorry, lost my place. He loved the job, loved the baking and loved leaving when everyone else was coming in for the day. The Guard job did not carry over to home life. I've done most of the baking in our marriage, when there was any baking going on. But now?
There's a whole lot of baking going on. About a year ago, Ronald darling started taking brownies to the temple every Thursday. He'd buy a box of brownie mix, whatever was on sale, and bake 'em up. Then he got cute, and started throwing chocolate chips, or nuts, or marshmallows, or toffee chips, or peanut butter chips, or butterscotch chips or potato chips (fooled you!) into the mix. He tasted a friend's home made brownies one day, and thought maybe he should try to make his own.
So, he's been experimenting, sometimes good, sometimes not so good, but everyone at the temple eats them up. One day someone asked him if he ever made lemon bars. He didn't, but he does now. He's been through at least three recipes to get them just right.
Then one day he tried a new recipe for brownies. He likes them nice and thick, and these were just perfect. He'd been baking all day when I got home. "Taste these," he said. "These are too good for the temple." He was right! I ate six of them that evening, took three to work and ate the last one when I got home the next evening! They are even better when he puts Ande's Chocolate Mint chips in them.
A couple of weeks ago, we went to a farewell openhouse for friends. He made cookies that were delicious. They went over really well. One gal described them as "Christmas cookie plate good". I have requests for the recipe and one teeny weeny problem. Ronald darling doesn't remember what he made that day! I described them as best I could to prompt his memory (you know how old people are) so now he's pretty sure he might sort of remember which ones he made. So now I have to supply my friends with the recipe with that caveat.
Sometimes puzzles are fun. Sometimes not.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

How Music Works

I have no idea. Really. I love music (most forms), but I couldn't write a song if my life depended on it. How Beethoven wrote brilliant classical music while deaf? Not a clue! How Mozart began composing at the age of 5, writing symphonic, concert, chamber, choral, opera and piano? It's a mystery!
I don't understand periodic music... Medieval, renaissance, baroque, classical, romantic or even 20th century. Music theory? Huh uh.
I like all of these.... even some opera. I like swing, rock, country, jazz, blues and folk. I listen to pop and show tunes and I love choral music. But I don't understand how it is composed, what makes the notes fit together. What is the inspiration for a particular piece of music? I can figure out why a slaver who became a Christian wrote "Amazing Grace". And I know what prompted Loretta Lynn to write "Coal Miner's Daughter" and Dolly Parton to write "Coat of Many Colors". The motivation I understand, the method, not so much.
Gioachino Rossini was an Italian composer(1792-1868). He wrote 39 operas, including "The Barber of Seville", as well as chamber music, religious music, popular songs and instrumentals.
I understand one piece of music he composed.

Friday, September 3, 2010


It's amazing the things that pop into your mind. I put on a denim jacket this morning and the collar turned up a little bit. And there he was... Edd "Kookie" Burns. Loved him! So cute, so sexy and just a little bit of a bad boy!
I know you youngsters have no idea but WOW! I was crazy about him. He was a secondary character on a detective show called "Seventy Seven Sunset Strip". He became as much a part of the show as the stars... sort of like Urkel only SO cool.

So with that image in my mind... the song came. Yes, they wrote a song about his character; the song is called "Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb". What a difference a few decades make. Who shares combs these days? Who even uses a comb? Of course, all the men in my life comb their hair with a washcloth! LOL

Old television shows have been under discussion around here all evening. They may come up in future posts.

Anyhoo, two songs from that television show have been in my head all day.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mormon Monday: Family Examples

Ronald darling and I were with our daughter, her husband and their two sons a week or so ago. We drove down on a Saturday and were able to attend church in their ward the next day. It was a great day, but I missed the most special part of it. Our youngest grandson was all dressed for church in his white shirt, tie and dress pants. He noticed that his grandpa was wearing the same color suit as the youngsters trousers. He remembered that he had a jacket the same color, so he went and put it on. Then he noticed that grandpa had a handkerchief tucked in the breast pocket of his coat. Young one asked why, how do you get it in there with the pointy parts up, can I have one? So Ronald darling showed him how to grab it, tuck it and fluff it. They went to church identically dressed and I missed the significance. Drat!
While we were visiting, we had breakfast each morning and read the scriptures with them. I would love to say that my daughter learned that families should read the scriptures together from the wonderful example set by her parents. Can't say it, 'cause it isn't true. I was so impressed with that little morning study. Everyone read in rotation, the youngest always getting to read the last few verses in the chapter. He was so excited on the last day because they were finishing Helaman. "Tomorrow we get to start Third Nephi!" What great parents, that their children are excited to read that special part of the Book of Mormon.
Every prayer included a request that Heavenly Father "help us not to fight". My grandchildren have learned that certain behaviors are not right, and that Heavenly Father will help us overcome our problems.
So yesterday I was chatting with my daughter and she told me about the boys getting ready for church. Young one put on his clothes, laid out his handkerchief, picked it up just so, tucked it and fluffed it just right. Just like grandpa did it. I wish I'd seen it!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

You've Been In The South When...

Ronald darling and I recently visited our daughter and her family in the Carolinas. Ronald darling did not want to go because it would mean he couldn't sleep in his own bed, he couldn't drink out of the jug in the refrigerator, and he couldn't snack on whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. We bought him his own jug of chocolate milk and put it on the top shelf of the refrigerator and let him buy his own snacks. We couldn't do anything about the bed, but promised he could sleep with the same great lady he slept with at home. He settled.

You see definite differences in the south. These are some of the ones I love most. It is not a comprehensive list, it may not be accurate for all of the southern states and/or neighborhoods and is seen through the eyes of a woman who doesn't always notice every detail.

Fewer tatoos, especially on the ladies.
Trousers and jeans on young men are worn at the waist!
Women in the grocery are wearing make-up and have their hair styled, even first thing in the morning.
Men's hair is shorter and less often in pony tails.

It's better. Okay, too vague.
Hush puppies are served with butter for dipping. Yumm.
Barbeque sandwiches are served with cole slaw on top of the meat. Yumm.
Fat back is next to the bacon on the breakfast bar. Hmmm.
Deep fried corn on the cob. 'Nuff said!

Fifty foot Southern Pine trees tower over everything.
The Appalachian Mountains - gorgeous.
Family... always helps make everything look good!
More flowers, more flowering shrubs - gorgeous.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Mormon Monday

In the past week, I've seen two families lives turned upside down. Not only don't we know what will happen tomorrow, next week or next year, we don't know what the next moment holds. Good news, bad new, joy or tragedy. And when tragedy is there, what can we do? I've seen it hit three families this week. Two had sudden tragedies with no forewarning; the other saw the escalation of a debilitiating, fatal disease that is slowly destroying the mind and body of a family member.
What could I do? "Sorry for your loss?" "I hope the tests come back negative." "She'll be in a better place soon?" "Is there anything I can do to help?"
Obviously there are things that can help, things that we do on a routine basis. Watching the kids, making funeral potatoes, visiting the sick and afflicted. My desire is to take away the burdens, but burdens were what we signed on for when we came to the earth. Everyone will have these issues in one form or another. Everyone in the family may be healthy, but the family members may be wayward. Everyone may be faithful and hard working, but still remain single, or infertile, or deaf, disabled or unemployed.
So what can I do?

The only answer is prayer. While my actions may make things a little better for a little while, it doesn't take away their burden. So I pray. I pray for insight, that I will recognize the things I can do. I pray that they will be comforted, that the doctors will be wise, that they will recognize the hand of God in their lives. That they will be strong enough to carry the burden given and that the Lord will make the burden seem lighter. That the trials they go through will draw them closer to God, that they will cast their burdens upon him and allow him to sustain them. Sometimes it doesn't seem like enough, but prayer is the best, but not only, thing that we can do.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mormon Monday

Following the example and recommendation of a friend, I am instituting a recurring, themed post on my blog. Mormon Monday. Welcome to the first.

I have favorite scriptures; not just one, but many. And they change depending on my need at any given moment. But some of them are constants. Like this one.

"And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality...?"
- Alma 5:14-15

It's kind of nervous-making to have the Lord, through his prophets, ask you specific questions like that. Or, it can be. But these make me smile. I love this one. "Have ye received his image in your countenances?" Sometimes you can just tell by looking that someone is good and sweet and Christlike.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Rockets Red Glare

I was tired this evening... dozing in the recliner with the laptop glowing. I know that never happens to anyone else, but my life is SO exciting that I just don't make it through most evenings without nodding off. I woke up with full intentions of going straight to bed, but alas, the television was on the History Channel. I don't know why I was there, it's usually HGTV or a rerun of NCIS. Not this time.
The War of 1812, the battle of Ft McHenry, and the battle of New Orleans helped define the vision the United States had of itself and maintains today.
Two pieces of music stand out because of that war. First is our national anthem. It was written by Francis Scott Keye after that battle. He was being held aboard a British ship, and was watching the 25 hour bombardment of Fort McHenry all day and through the night. When dawn came, the flag was still raised over the fort and the Britsh left. They had given up that part of the fight but still pressed on to take New Orleans.
Another song was written about that battle, written much later and without the same reverence.
So here's the Battle of New Orleans:

And our National Anthem:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tender Mercy

In April of 2005, Elder David A Bednar spoke in General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. His topic was "The Tender Mercies of the Lord". In the talk, he gave several examples of small blessings given to individuals that were just what they needed at that particular moment in time. He said "....the Lord's tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ."
Ronald darling did not care for the talk. It was much too touchy-feely for him. Fluff, he thought. But a week ago we experienced some of the Lord's tender mercy.
We recently bought a semi-new car. Actually, it is the same year, make and model as the old one, but it has 200,000 fewer miles on it than the old one. So about 10 days ago, it started sputtering, chugging, gasping for air. Something like that. So Ronald darling decided to take it to the garage and have it checked. I drove the old car (which we haven't sold yet) to work and would see him at home. I parked in the seven level garage across the street from my office. Ronald darling took the car to the shop, but they needed to keep it. What to do? He was six miles from home on a hot summer day.
He decided to hop on the bus (30 or 40 years since the last time he took a bus), come downtown, pick up the old car, drive it home and then pick me up after work. He tried to call me, but his cell phone was not charged. It wouldn't have mattered, mine was turned off.
I usually eat lunch in the cafeteria, but on that day I had to go to the IRS office. shudder. It's four and a half blocks from the office and it was a hot summer day and I am a semi-old lady. I decided to drive. I got hung up in conversation so did not leave at 11:30, but at 11:38.
Ron rode the bus downtown but missed the stop and had to walk back two blocks to the garage. I don't have an assigned spot to park, and if I did, he wouldn't have known where it was; he's never been in the garage before. So, I left the building, crossed the street, climbed the flight of stairs to the second level and headed for the car. And there he was, walking toward me from the other end of the garage.
Some people would call this a coincidence. I know better. It was a tender mercy from the Lord. Ronald darling drove me to the IRS, dropped me back at work and picked me up after. We both basked in the knowledge that the Lord loved us and was aware of us, every moment.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy Flag Day

You're a grand old flag,

You're a high flying flag

And forever in peace may you wave.

You're the emblem of

The land I love.

The home of the free and the brave.

ev'ry heart beats true

'neath the Red, White and Ble,

Where there's never a boast or brag.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot.

Keep your eye on the grand old flag.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

D-Day, the Sixth of June

War is hell. Too frequently necessary, but hell, nonetheless. We teach our children from the beginning to play nice, to say they're sorry when they hurt someone. We teach them that all men are their brothers, that we are all the children of our Heavenly Father who loves us. That He loves all men and that Christ died for the sins of all men. If we teach them well, and if they are receptive, they learn to believe it and then to know that it is true.

And then comes the necessity of war. We have to teach them to defend themselves from those who seek their death. We teach them to kill, and to understand that they may be killed. To fight on anyway.

We teach them of the 2,000 stripling warriors, who believed their mothers. Who believed that if they did not doubt that God would deliver them. And we teach them that it doesn't always work that way.

We teach them that they are part of a greater good, to rely on their companions and to protect one another. And we pray.

Today marks the 66th anniversary of the beginning of the end of World War II. My father flew bomber support for the troops storming the beaches of Normany. The weather changed day to day and hour by hour. At times, he had to return to base, unable to drop his load for fear of hitting the Allied forces. He never talked much about the war but was proud of the role he played in freeing Europe from tyranny.

He kept in touch with many of the men he served with during that war and the wars that followed. There develops a kinship amongst the men who serve together.

"And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother"

- Henry V, act IV, scene 3

Sunday, May 30, 2010

In Flanders Fields
-Lt Col John McCrae MD
18872 - 1918
Canadian Army
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I Count

I do, I count.... frequently. When I walk, I count. I don't think it's always been like that, but now? I count. I think it started with "10,000 steps a day will make you healthy and lose weight". Out of curiosity, walking around the block, you know? I started counting.
But then, do you count every step or every stride? Or are they the same? Army drill type, left, right, left, right, left. Do you count every left and every right, or just every left? Don't know. But I don't count every step, because I lose track. So I start over, or try to pick up where I think I might have maybe left off. Maybe.
But if I stop counting, if there is nothing else going on in my head, which is most of the time, I find that I'm counting again. Huh. If I sing while I walk, I don't count. But I walk to the beat of whatever I'm singing. Which is frequently the Marine Corps Hymn. It just seems more march-ish than "Off we go, into the wild blue yonder". Sorry, Dad.
I'm not Monk-ish or anything. I don't line anything up in rows. Except shoes, but that's how they're supposed to be, right? And hangers. Hooked over the rod from front to back, the garment hanging with the front on the left side of the hanger. The shoulder seams right on top of the hanger and the garment centered around the hook. But nothing nerdish or geeky. Really.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How Ironic!

I wrote the previous post on Mother's Day, just before I left for church. I was so full of wisdom and comfort for those whose lives are not exactly perfect... sort of like mine. I would certainly like to have an "ideal" life now, but even more, I would like to have had an "ideal" home and family when my children were growing up. Even more than that, I would like to have been an "ideal" mother when my children were growing up.
Trust me, both of my children could tell you stuff that would scare you, if you knew them about me. Fortunately, they haven't... so far.

So, then I went to church and directed the music in Sacrament meeting. It was Mother's Day, so I had chosen the following hymn. As I sang it, I had to exhibit strict control to stop myself from laughing. After my earlier post, it was ironic to sing these words. Peace and plenty? Hate and envy ne'er annoy? Time doth softly, sweetly glide? Making life a bliss complete?

Yeah, right. LOL
Love at Home
1. There is beauty all around
When there’s love at home;
There is joy in ev’ry sound
When there’s love at home.
Peace and plenty here abide,
Smiling sweet on ev’ry side.
Time doth softly, sweetly glide
When there’s love at home.
Love at home, love at home;
Time doth softly, sweetly glide
When there’s love at home.
2. In the cottage there is joy
When there’s love at home;
Hate and envy ne’er annoy
When there’s love at home.
Roses bloom beneath our feet;
All the earth’s a garden sweet,
Making life a bliss complete
When there’s love at home.
Love at home, love at home;
Making life a bliss complete
When there’s love at home.
3. Kindly heaven smiles above
When there’s love at home;
All the world is filled with love
When there’s love at home.
Sweeter sings the brooklet by;
Brighter beams the azure sky.
Oh, there’s One who smiles on high
When there’s love at home.
Love at home, love at home;
Oh, there’s One who smiles on high
When there’s love at home.
Text and music: John Hugh McNaughton, 1829–1891

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I Have A Family Here On Earth

I love watching home improvement shows. I love to watch Ty build a house from scratch; everything completely perfect at the end, running smoothly all the way, in just seven days.
There is another type of home improvement show. In these shows, things don't go exactly as planned. The people work too hard, too fast, too desperately in order to have everything perfect right NOW.
Isn't that the way we sometimes work on building our family? We think that lots of people have perfect families, perfect children, perfect relationships with their spouses, parents and in-laws. Lots of people are having wonderful family home evenings where the children's minds and hearts are opened to the Spirit and their little testimonies grow rapidly and unwaveringly. Lots of people have harmonious, peaceful, uncluttered homes. They don't have to run through the house grabbing things and throwing them in the back bedroom when the doorbell rings. They can quote scripture from memory, including chapter and verse, instead of saying, "It says somewhere something about....". They never raise their voices to their children, never threaten to throw away all their toys or knock them into next week. They never raise their voice to their spouses, never sulk or pout or whine.
We think that if we were good enough, everything in our lives would run smoothly and be perfect all the time. Life doesn't work that way. We are where we are in our progress and everyone else is where they are. Building our family relationships with spouse, children, brothers, sisters, cousins and parents is a work in progress. We build as best we can where we are. There is no magic wand and there is no finish line. And there is no time when we can say, "I'm finished, all done!" Our relationships with our families, forward and back, continue to flow.
I am blessed with a great family. Parents who loved me and raised me with good values and work ethic, who kept me safe when the world could not. A brother and sister I grew up with, played with and squabbled with and love who have grown even dearer over lo, these many years. They are married to wonderful people whom I also love dearly.
I have two children who grew into charming, funny, intelligent adults, in spite of me. I have two grandsons who are growing up way too fast for me, who are sweet and smart and caring.
And I have Ronald darling. How much more could I ask for? 'Nough said?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ah-Ha Moments

I recently attended "Time Out for Women", an interesting, uplifting, quirky weekend shindig. There were speakers, musicians and lots of stuff to buy. I went with a group of 9 other women who were also interesting, uplifting and quirky. I had a wonderful time, talked too much, slept too little, ate too much and spent WAY too much money! But I had a blast!
We arrived on Friday evening, in time to eat dinner and attend the Friday evening session. The speakers were great, the music... not so much. I thought that opinion was a personal preference issue. However.
After dinner and the evening session, most of us ended up back at the hotel in our bedroom and talked for hours. What a hoot that was! Two of us in the room were in my age bracket (pretty old) and the rest were mothers of children still at home and very young children. Those young mothers were very nice to us old broads, laughed at our jokes and didn't do any of that "just smile and nod until she shuts up" stuff. Or if they did, they were very good at it - I didn't notice. LOL
Oh, yeah - back to the music. The musician was one I've seen in workshops; a great teacher of music history and style. But he can't sing, although he did. He composes a lot of music and everything he performed was his own. I didn't like it. The last piece, I suppose, was intended to be the spiritual highlight of his performance, but it wasn't. It went on for decades... okay, many minutes. And it was very very very very very very repetitive.
I didn't say anything about it during our apres' event chat but someone braver than I am, did. Turns out we all had basically the same opinion. Some of his remarks were interesting but the music? Nope.
One of the ladies was not a member of our church. When we began speaking frankly about the musician, we asked her what she thought. She figured that maybe that's just the way music is done in our church! LOL

But back to the title of this post.... While we were talking, one of the sisters asked if anyone had an Ah-ha moment. Something that just popped out. I had, but just couldn't remember it! I meant to take notes, but forgot the paper and pen with which to do that. It took me until lunch the next day to remember. But here it is:
Self-discipline is remembering what you REALLY want. Duh! I know what I want, but I have not been demonstrating the behaviors that will make it happen. I have a list of things that I want; and an even longer list of the things I need to do to make them happen. And an really much longer list of the things I am doing that get in the way. So that's my new wise saying.... I'll let you know how that's working for me!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hoof in Mouth Disease

I know you've never said anything stupid, right? I have occasionally. Rarely. Infrequently. Seldom. Once in a freaking while!

For instance. I was at the Bishop's storehouse several months ago, maybe a couple of years ago. Working along side a nice guy, friendly, cheerful and a little shy. So I asked him where he'd come from and how long he'd been in the ward.

Eighteen months! A year and a half and I had failed to notice. Or, if I had noticed, I had forgotten... or failed to recognize him. Yeah.

And trust me, I never ask someone when they are due unless they TOLD me they were pregnant! In the last 15 minutes!

I have a couple of other examples that are still too humiliating to recount even after 20 or 25 years.

But yesterday there were witnesses.

I worked for a company for 25 years. I knew a lot of people really well. Now I work for a different company and many of the people I knew before are here. A nice cozy arrangement. A woman and her son worked there and work here. Not in the same department, but in the same building. Yesterday I got on the elevator and they were both on it, along with several others. They were headed downstairs, they had pushed the elevator for the main floor, they had their jackets on and she had her purse. I logically presumed that they were leaving the building. So I thought I would be cute. So I asked a question.

"Where do you two think you are going?" I asked.

I thought later of all the things that could be going on and for which there would be no good answer. There could have been worse answers than the one I got, but still.

When she replied, I heard the indrawn breaths of the others on the elevator. Her nephew had committed suicide and they were leaving to be with family.

She turned to me as soon as she'd responded and said "You couldn't have known." I hugged them both and expressed sympathy but felt like dirt.

So, would it have been better to have said nothing? I wouldn't have been a dim wit, but she would have gotten no sympathy.

Maybe I just won't try to be cute anymore.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Age Is Relative

Ronald darling and I have both had birthdays recently. That's a good news and bad news event. Good news - we are no longer sitting on an age that ends in zero (the scary ones). Bad news - we are another year older (but not deeper in debt).* Good news - we are still on the right side of the dirt. Bad news - we are closer to the time that we will be on the wrong side of the dirt.

My daughter (one of the reasons I occasionally feel old) was talking about how old she feels. I understand how she feels. She mentioned some reasons she is feeling old. For instance, she remembers using a rotary dial phone. (Let me know if you need me to tell you what that is.) My first job? Switchboard operator for Ohio Bell, a now illegal monopoly telephone company. One ringy dingy, right?**

And look at the clothing the operator is wearing. When I graduated from high school young women were not permitted to wear trousers, pants or jeans to school. If our skirts didn't reach the floor when we were on our knees on the gym floor, we were sent home. Really.

Speaking of grade school, we didn't have tornado drills; we had atomic bomb drills. Run to the inside wall, crouch and cover your head. It was really going to help when we were within striking distance on a SAC base during the Cuban missile crisis.***
My first car? A 1966 Renault. It looked sort of like this only a solid blue.

You could go to the movies on Saturday, see a double feature, a cartoon and a newsreel.

Donna Reed, Harriet Nelson and Margaret Anderson were my idea of the perfect wife and mother.****

All flight attendants were good looking women called stewardesses.

Airplanes had propellers, not jet engines. Even the ones that flew for 18 hours to get you to Morrocco.

If you needed help in a math class you used a slide rule.*****

Milk in glass bottles (quarts), eggs and bread were delivered to the door. You put the empty milk bottles in the box on the porch to be picked up by the milkman. We didn't know we were recycling.
We drove cross country every year, but the road only had two lanes, one coming and one going.
When we were driving cross country, mom bought a loaf of bread and a pound of bologna for lunch. Fast food had not been invented.

*Did you catch the old song reference?
**Did you catch the old television show reference?
***I know, you never heard of a SAC base.
****Do I have to tell you everything?
*****I'd show you how to use it, but I forget.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday Afternoons

Ronald darling is an interesting man. When we were younger, a few decades ago, Saturday mornings were full of things to do and tasks to accomplish. No sleeping in, no lazing away the day; it was go, go, go! If we were still in the house at 10:00am, it was another day shot!
He was cute, but annoying at times.
Now, we serve at the temple on Saturday mornings. We are up and out the door by 6:30, working in the most spiritual atmosphere. Then, maybe a meal on the road and home by 4:30 or 5:00. Nothing shot about the day at all.
But the temple is closed for two weeks and we have no planned activities. This morning we went to the barber, the bank and the grocery. Home by noon with all the scheduled tasks completed. What to do with the afternoon? Me? I'm in the recliner with the laptop. Ronald darling turned on the television and started flipping channels. For awhile he was watching reruns of the House and Senate on C-Span. Fortunately he got tired of watching the rants repeated and started flipping again. And then he found this. He didn't go any further, we've been watching for about 45 minutes. Well, he has; I'm still on the laptop. Does anyone else watch this?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sometimes I Like Opera

But only sometimes.... like when it seems really real! LOL
My darling daughter brought this to my attention on facebook, hope you enjoy it. Salud!

Go here for the full screen version.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Qualify, Recognize and Follow

When we receive a Christmas present or a birthday present, that means someone loves us.

When I was 16, I did not get a car for my birthday. I wanted one, but I didn't get it. If I had, that gift would have come with qualifiers. Learn to drive, pass the test and maintain a safe driving record. If not, the car sits in the garage in standby mode. The gift of the Holy Ghost also comes with qualifiers. The gift means that Heavenly Father loves us. He doesn't want us to be alone, without guidance. But there are qualifiers for being able to use the gift of the Holy Ghost. We have to be worthy, we have to recognize it and we have to follow it.

Why wouldn't we do that? There are lots of reasons - time contraints, distractions and lack of understanding. But the gift is there, the promises that come with it are there. We must take advantage of the gift that Heavenly Father has given us. He loves us and wants us to have that cmfort and insight.

Don't park the car in the garage and leave it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Prayers for Haiti

The First Presidency message on Haiti was read in our Sacrament Meeting this morning. It was sweet and tender and called for members of the Church to donate "as their means allow in order to help our Haitian brothers and sisters". It acknowledged the difficulty that many are experiencing because of the recession, and the donations that have already been made.

Then it went on to the other needs; it took me back to my questions about prayer. The statement says:

"Money is not the only need in Haiti. People are frightened, bewildered, and wholly uncertain about their future. In addition to what people can do in helping with food, water and shelter, there needs to be a calming influence over that troubled nation. We invite our people everywhere to supplicate God for a spirit of calm and peace among the people as urgent aid and reconstruction efforts continue."

Goodness knows that Haiti is not the only troubled nation, I guess I should be praying for all or at least most of them. And who doesn't need a spirit of calm and peace? And how many are frightened, bewildered and wholly uncertain about their future?

I know individuals and families who are dealing with illness, sorrow, family issues and economic crisis. The Lord's instruction is help where possible and pray for them. I think my prayer roll has become a reality. I will remember the people of Haiti in my prayers and I will remember you.

Friday, February 5, 2010


This time it's not about me! Honest!

I was reading a story about the president. He was talking about the need for healthcare for everyone. In doing so, he brought up a campaign worker who had developed cancer with no health insurance in place. She fought the good fight and lost. Upon her death, she left instructions that she be buried in an Obama t-shirt.

Now, if he had told her story, focusing on her courage, the tragedy of her loss and left it at that it would have made his point perfectly. But he carried it one step too far, and turned the focus back on himself. It was all about him again.

Which brought to mind a song that I've always liked. Well, always since 1980 when Mac Davis recorded it. So I went to my friend You Tube to find a video of the song. And then my focus changed. While I still think this applies to the president; the video is too cute because it features one of my favorite TV characters, Anthony (Tony) DiNozzo.

So here you go!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

What A Good Idea

Okay, this may be about two good ideas.
The county that I live next to and the company that I work for are cosponsoring a new health program; strictly voluntary. It is called "5 - 2 - 1 and almost none".

Five servings of fruits and/or vegetables daily.
Two hours of screen time daily. (Includes TV, PC and electronic game time)
One hour of active play/exercise daily.
Almost no sugary drinks.

I already do the first and last things - I'm halfway there. I have every intention of doing number three - someday. But the second one - I don't think so. The organizers tell me that doing the second one will help accomplish the third. Maybe, but I am certainly not there yet.

Because I have not limited time on the old laptop, I keep finding things that interest me, enlighten me, annoy me or touch me. I found this today.

It is a blog to allow members of the church to find one little part of why we are Mormon and express it with a few words and text.

It just began at the very end of last year. Some of the submissions are a little humorous, some are very insightful and some are touching. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Prayer Rolls

My mama taught me how to pray - at bedtime. Every night:
"Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take."

At the time, I didn't think that was strange or even (just a little bit) creepy. Most of my friends said the same prayer. Except my Catholic friends, they got to do the Rosary. They could pray for hours. I know; we had a competition once. They could pray MUCH longer than I could!

We didn't pray at meal time when I was growing up. Other families did, but my family was, how shall I say, not particularly religious. Only for special occasions; in other words, just for show.

When I grew up and married, I had found and joined the church and wanted to raise my family properly. So among other things, we taught our children to pray. How, when and why. Like all parents, we did the best we could and hoped (and prayed) for the best. Our children are great; I hope the emotional scars don't go too deep.

But recently I've been thinking about those prayers that are not for me and mine. I've had friends ask me to remember them in my prayers. When there is a tragedy in someone's life I send my thoughts and prayers. Facebook is great for that! But the actual prayer? I don't know if I'm doing it effectively, or even appropriately sometimes.

I started writing this post days ago, but the tragedy in Haiti brought it to mind in a big way. I've heard many people, including the President, say that we will keep the people of Haiti in our prayers. My question. How do you keep acquaintances and strangers in your prayers?

We pray frequently for the sick and afflicted. That's a generic term; we don't have anyone specific in mind. But with these prayer requests - real people, even when we don't know their names. Do you keep an actual prayer roll, a list of people for whom you are praying? Do you just remember them without any prompting? Do you pray only for those people that are close to you?

And what do you ask for? Complete healing, comfort, whatever is necessary? For bad stuff to be undone? That has to occur to you sometimes, but I don't think the earthquake will go away.

So help me out on this.... how does your prayer roll work?

Friday, January 1, 2010

All Fired Up!

We had a lovely New Year's Eve; quiet, romantic with candlelight and dancing...

Yeah, right! I wished the world a happy new year via Facebook. Ronald darling woke up before midnight and joined me in wishing the old year out and the new year in. Kisses.... mmmmm.

I slept in this morning. Really! Until almost 8:30. Then I decided to make a fantastic breakfast. Scrambled eggs, bacon and home made biscuits, with lots of butter. Yummy. The biscuits baked at 450 degrees and I like my bacon cooked quickly. This caused a little bitty teeny tiny problem. The smoke alarm thought we were in danger and started shrieking like crazy. I had turned on the exhaust fan when I started cooking to avoid this possibility, but no luck! Our smoke alarm has the most delicate sensibilities; the tiniest thing will set it off. If it's judgement was accurate, my kitchen would look like this:
But it's not and it doesn't and we're safe and sound. Hope all's well with y'all!