Friday, July 31, 2009

Our KOA Kabin

Here is a picture of our charming little home-away-from-home, our KOA Kabin (with a "K") in Canandaigua, New York, 8 miles away from the Hill Cumorah. It had a double bed and a set of bunk beds inside. It was way cheaper than a hotel room, which was important because we had to sleep there for 16 nights.

I hate camping. Staying in this kabin was a tiny bit better than regular camping, because it had electricity and a ceiling fan and a door you could lock. BUT IT HAD NO BATHROOM. The bathroom was 220 steps away. I think this is the farthest I have ever had to walk to a bathroom. I hated camping at Yellowstone National Park in 2000 because the bathroom was 175 steps away from our tent. I was much younger then, and didn't have to go to the bathroom so much in the night. So this situation was much worse.

I will never, ever, ever, go camping again unless a mob runs me out of my house. I HATE walking to a bathroom outside at night. I am too old.

P.S. Wayne loved the design of the kabin, he is pretty sure it was made from a log cabin kit that you can buy. He wishes he could sell our house and buy a house with some land, and build 4 or 5 of those little cabins* around it for our kids and grandkids to stay in when they visit.

*If they were ours, I would spell "cabins" with a "C".

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wanna be in the cast?

If you want to be in the cast of the Hill Cumorah Pageant, go to to find out how to apply.

You have to go as a complete family. Only single adults can go separately. You have to get a letter from your bishop, and sign some forms, and get your tetanus shots up to date. The deadline is in the fall sometime. Then you will be notified in December if you got accepted or not.

It takes 3 weekends and the two weeks in between, about 17 days. It starts right around July 4.

Everyone in your family will have their own group of friends. Its like Especially for Youth and Youth Conference and a family reunion all rolled into one. (Except you're rehearsing all day every day.) There are "cast teams" for every age group, those are the people you hang out with. And there is Primary for children 4-8. If you have children younger than 4, you are out of luck. You have to keep those little ones with you every second, and its pretty rough on them since everything goes so late into the evening. My advice would be to wait until your kids are at least 4 before you go.

Basically the only thing it will cost is for your housing and food and travel. The first time we went (in 2003) we paid for the college dorms at Hobart College, and we bought the full meal plan. So it was about $500 per person. That really wasn't worth it.

The next time (2005), we camped at Zion's Camp in tents. (Thats a campsite just for castmembers which is on the Hill, within walking distance of the stage.) There was a $350 charge for the whole time camping there. And we ate our own food. So that was really economical.

This time, we were not given a spot at Zion's Camp, so we had to camp at KOA, which was about $900. We cooked our own food on a grill under a little dining fly we set up right at the Hill. Our food was good and cheap. An added bonus was that Wayne or the kids could take naps in the hammocks when they didn't have rehearsals. I'll tell about the KOA in tomorrow's post.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cumorah Day by Day

There were 729 in the cast this year. We got there on Friday July 3 and received our roles. Rehearsals started Sat. July 4, we had rehearsals constantly every day. We had to be there by 8:30 every morning, and got done at 10:30 or 11 each night. We set up 8000 chairs on Tuesday. Our first dress rehearsal was Wed, our second dress rehearsal was Thursday, opening night was Friday July 10. Then we had a morning off on Saturday, then performance again Saturday night July 11.

The weather was unbelievably cold, we wore sweatshirts and layered clothing constantly. There was only one day where I wore shorts and a short sleeve shirt. All the other days I was bundled up. Here is a picture of us rehearsing on the stage, on one of the warmer days. You'll notice that everyone has on jackets, and they have their arms folded because of the chill.

The first Saturday of performance was a huge thunderstorm. Immediately after Samuel the Lamanite prophesied "There will be earthquakes and fire, thunder and lightning!" the clouds opened and poured on us with lightning all around, and the director came on the loudspeakers and told everyone to get off the stage. It was too dangerous to have us on that metal stage, or to have the work crew guys up in the metal light towers during the lightning. (I could just imagine the headlines, "700 Mormons Killed by One Lightning Bolt"). They say that the Pageant is never cancelled because of rain, but it is cancelled because of lightning.

We had church on Sunday, and a day off on Monday July 13. Then we had a fun talent show/variety show on Monday night, with lots of people from the cast performing music or doing wild and crazy skits. Tuesday started with a complete run-through to refresh our minds, then we had performances Tues-Sat.

For that week, we had a lot more free time instead of rehearsals. We got to go on outings to the Grandin Building (where the first copies of the Book of Mormon were printed), to Joseph Smith's farm, and to the Sacred Grove. (Our family also went to see a lock on the Erie Canal.) After our last performance on Sat. July 18, we had to put away the 8000 chairs, then had a cast party until 1:30 in the morning.

Wow, no wonder I was so tired when I got home.

I took this picture the day we departed. We saw skies like this almost every day. Notice the jacket and the umbrella.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bryce is Home!

We picked up Bryce at the airport last night at 1:30 am! What a wonderful young man!

My Co-stars

Bev D. as Ishmael's wife, me as Sariah wearing my long black wig.

Sanford T. as Lehi, Don B. as Ishmael.

Here are the two founding couples of all the descendants who make up the story of the Book of Mormon. I bet you always wondered what they looked like, now you know.

(Actually, I probably am a few years older than Sariah was, because she bore two more babies while they were in the wilderness. But I did feel qualified to play Sariah, because I have 4 grown sons who could have actually been Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi, if they had been similar to those boys personality-wise. And I hate to camp. And I complain to my husband a lot.)

Sanford, (known as Sandy) pointed out that his wig made him look very old, and that I looked much younger than him. We all decided that I was just a trophy wife.

Another fascinating note: If you have read the Book of Mormon, you will know that Ishmael dies in Nahom, and his daughters mourn for him. This happens before the family crosses the ocean in a ship. The writer of the Hill Cumorah Pageant obviously valued symmetry, because he left Ishmael alive. Mr. and Mrs. Lehi and Mr. and Mrs. Ishmael are in many scenes together, including the boat scene, and the one in which we arrive at the promised land.

Don, who played Ishmael, kept reminding us that he was actually dead, and was only there in spirit.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I played Sariah at Hill Cumorah

Well, it has taken me a week to finally get something posted about being in the cast of the Hill Cumorah Pageant. We left home July 2 for Palmyra, New York, and got back home July 20. It was one of the most spiritually uplifting vacations one could ever have, but also the most tiring.

Registration and casting happened Friday July 3. All the principal roles were given out during the course of about 3 hours. First they cast the women. Tara tried out for a "movement" role, so had to dance a certain set of motions over and over and over for about a half hour while the directors gave out role cards to each person. She was cast as a Lamanite Campfire Dancer.

Next, the directors came over to all the women who were not trying out for "movement" roles. I hoped to be in a crowd scene, like I had been in 2003 and 2005. Instead they picked me for the role of SARIAH! I was completely stunned.

Zac tried out for a movement role, and was cast as a Lamanite Battleman. Wayne was an Unbeliever Torchbearer in the scene of "A Day a Night and a Day" (where the believers are about to be killed just before Christ's birth.)

The casting happened Friday night, and Saturday morning rehearsals began. I felt overwhelmed with what I had to learn. Sariah is in the first fourth of the pageant. I realized the magnitude of my role, and cried for two days. I couldn't even talk about it without my throat closing up and my eyes watering. I felt so inadequate and that I was going to be such a horrible actress that I would ruin all the scenes I was in.

Rehearsals took up hours and hours all the first week. With a lot of prayer and faith in God, I became more comfortable with my role and felt that I finally learned it okay. By the time the performances started on Thursday July 9, I didn't even get nervous. MORE LATER.

About the photo: This was taken during one of our first dress rehearsals. Obviously Wayne did not wear his sunglasses on stage. Also, by the time performances began, they made me wear a long black wig.

Bryce is coming home tonight!!!!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!! Bryce is coming home on the plane from Oaxaca, Mexico, and should be arriving tonight at 10:34 pm, on American Airlines from Dallas. We are so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

And More Pioneer Legacy

More pioneer ancestors who have inspired me:

My great great grandparents on my mother's side, Palestine Palmima Stover and her husband Cornelius Jasper Stover, were baptized by Elder Joseph Standing in 1878. My great great grandmother Palestine made the clothing Elder Standing was wearing when he and his companion, the future apostle Rutger Clawson, were attacked by a mob and Elder Standing was shot to death near Rome Georgia.

The Stovers immigrated to the west, and the prophet John Taylor called them to settle in Manassa, Colorado in 1880. About 7 years later the prophet Wilford Woodruff called the next generation to settle near Taos, New Mexico, a desolate country with very poor farming, where they raised pinto beans.

This is where my maternal grandparents lived, and where my mother was raised. How would it be, if today, we were called to leave our comfortable homes and told to go to some uninhabited spot to build houses and plow the fields? (With no airconditioning or plumbing.) I wish my attitude could be like this man's:

In 1862, Charles Lowell Walker (no relation to me) received a call to settle in southern Utah. He recorded: "I learned a principle that I shall not forget in awhile. It showed to me that obedience was a great principle in heaven and on earth. Well, here I have worked for the last seven years through heat and cold, hunger and adverse circumstances, and at last have got me a home, a lot with fruit trees just beginning to bear fruit...Well, I must leave it and go and do the will of my Father in Heaven, who overrules all for the good of them that love and fear him. I pray God to give me strength to accomplish that which is required of me in an acceptable manner before him." ("Our Heritage" p. 88, from Diary of Charles Lowell Walker)

Can we make similar sacrifices? We make sacred covenants in the temple to sacrifice for the kingdom of God. But do we really mean it? I remember once when we used to go on Relief Society Temple trips on buses to the Washington DC temple, and we were on our way home.

I was on a spiritual high from going through the temple, but I became very discouraged as I listened to the conversation of the two women who were sitting behind me. One was telling the other how her bishop had recently given her a calling to be a Primary teacher, and she was explaining to her friend how she told him, "No way, I won't do that." She obviously didn't want to sacrifice the time and effort it would require to work in the Primary, and it made me wonder what she WAS willing to sacrifice.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

More pioneer legacy

We are so thankful for pioneer ancestry on both sides of our family.

In the 1800's, there was much mob violence against church members, and yet they still stood up for the truth. Wayne's maternal great great grandfather, Bishop Edward Partridge, was seized by a mob and taken to a public square in Independence Missouri and commanded to renounce the Book of Mormon.

Bishop Partridge would not renounce the Book of Mormon, and said that he was willing to suffer for the sake of Christ. He was stripped and his body covered with hot tar and feathers. (p. 42, Our Heritage)

On my dad's side, my great grandparents John McCleve and Nancy Jane McFerrin McCleve were poor converts from County Down, Ireland. With a loan from the Perpetual Immigration Fund of $382.41 they went on a ship from Liverpool England and came to America with their 7 children, and were in the second handcart company, the McArthur company, which went across the plains in 1856. My great great grandfather, Joseph Smith McCleve walked the whole way, 1300 miles from Iowa to Utah, at the age of 8 years old, his father dying at Bear River two days before reaching the valley. Despite their poverty, within 6 years they had paid back the Perpetual Immigration Fund. (By 1861 they only owed $94.)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pioneer legacy from Erastus Snow

Today we are celebrating Pioneer Day, because 162 years ago today, the main body of the saints first arrived in the Salt Lake valley in 1847. But what they don't mention too often is that a few days before, on July 21, 1847, Orson Pratt and Erastus Snow got there first.

Orson Pratt was officially the very first Latter-day saint pioneer to reach the valley, but it would have been his travelling companion Erastus Snow, except earlier in the day Erastus had laid his coat down on the ground and had forgotten it, and had to walk back to find it.

Erastus Snow was my husband Wayne's paternal great great grandfather. I guess Wayne's legacy from Erastus is that he inherited Erastus's ability to lose things.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rachel's Birthday

Our son Isaac married Rachel on Aug. 10, 2005. She is a wonderful mother to their two little kids and she loves Isaac to pieces and we are so glad she is in our family! Another great thing about Rachel is that her parents live in Fuquay-Varina, so we have hope that Isaac and Rachel will never move far away.
Here is a silly picture of Rachel in October 2007 with baby Elizabeth crawling on her back.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Painted Shoes

I saw Roberta's shoes, and asked her how she made them. She said she buys leather shoes, sands the surface, then prepares the surface with something? (fingernail polish remover? I could be wrong). Then paints them with acrylic paint. I thought they were great.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Some favorite quotes #2

Today we should be arriving home after being in the cast of the Hill Cumorah Pageant! I will try to start posting photos from that in a couple of days, as soon as we get unpacked. In the meantime, here are more of my favorite quotes...

There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and after that,
to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. Logan Pearsall Smith

I read in a book that a man called Christ went about doing good. It is most disconcerting to me to find that I am so easily content with just going about.
Toyohiko Kagawa

God gives the very best to those who leave the choice with Him.

If you have not chosen the kingdom of God first, it will in the end make no difference what you have chosen instead.
--Neal A. Maxwell, April 1974

True Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried. C.S. Lewis

We humble people, we who feel ourselves sometimes so worthless, so good for nothing, we are not so worthless as we think. There is not one of us but what God's love has not been expended upon. There is not one of us that He has not cared for or caressed. There is not one of us that He has not desired to save and that He has not devised means to save. There is not one of us that He has not given angels
charge concerning. George Q. Cannon

Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
--Nephi, 2 Nephi 2:25, in the Book of Mormon

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Some favorite quotes #1

The more often a man feels without acting, the less he will be able to act and in the long run the less he will be able to feel. C.S. Lewis

Don't complain you don't have what you want. Just be thankful that you don't get what you deserve.

He who dies with the most toys is still dead.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.
--Edmund Burke
(Note: The problem is not that they're doing nothing, the problem is that
they're doing something else.)

The purpose of life is to matter---to count, to stand for something, to have it make some difference that we lived at all. Leo Rosten

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bad names for food

All of these words sound terrible, and I don't want to ever eat most of them. (I like hash, but the word is still ugly.)

congealed salad
blood sausage
kidney pie
sauer kraut
bird's nest soup
butthole pork

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bakin' with Powdered Eggs

My recipe box was stuffed full of folded papers, recipes I had printed off the computer. Its been a long time since I hand-copied a recipe onto a 3"x5" card. So I got rid of the box and put all my recipes into a notebook by category. I think it is working out much better.

I want to heartily recommend using powdered whole eggs for all your baking, they don't taste different at all. I have used them for at least 21 years, since we moved to North Carolina. I never have to worry whether I have eggs in the fridge for baking. (I only use them for baking. I use real eggs for scrambling, boiling, etc.)

You just use 2 Tablespoons of egg powder and 2 Tablespoons of water to substitute for one egg in a recipe. Easy!

P.S. I was asked where to buy this product. I order it from Emergency Essentials. Their website is

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The plaque on the wall

This is the Missionary Wall at our stake center. This photo was taken about six months ago, when Bryce was sixth in line to come home. Since Alex came home on June 5th, Bryce's plaque has been at the front of the line. He will be coming home on July 27th, and we are so excited!!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Our Ferris Wheel

Here is a photo of my eight-year-old birthday party. We are in my yard, we lived 5 miles outside of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, on 60 acres.

Someone welded this ferris wheel together, and our family owned it the whole time I was growing up. One person sat in the top seat, one sat in the bottom, and as each person came to the bottom they would push off with their feet. It was a lot of fun to ride, but extremely dangerous, it would have been easy for someone to be injured or killed while riding it because it had no safety features at all.

In fact, several of my siblings said they and their friends tipped it over by going too fast or by putting only one person in the top (with no one in the bottom) and releasing them so they would fall really fast.

To see a photo of the ferris wheel with no one riding it, go to yesterday's post entitled "Cheryl's clothing, Tornado Shelter".

You can see our 60 acres in the background. We lived in the BOONIES.

(I am hanging on the center bar, Carla is on the far right, Larry has his hand raised. The rest of the girls are my party guests.)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cheryl's clothing, Tornado Shelter

Here is another fashionable dress worn by my sister Cheryl, around 1968. (Click on photos to make them bigger.)

I like this hat and dress. Look at that long collar.
Also, I want you to see the tornado shelter behind her, that was in our back yard in Cleveland, Oklahoma. You can see the slanted door.

Here is a picture of Carla and Jamey riding on a Whirlygig toy, and behind them you can see the tornado shelter better. (In later posts I will tell about the yellow ferris wheel you can see behind them.) It was a cement hole in the ground, with two roof vent chimneys sticking out for ventilation. (Larry has a boat upside down on some sawhorses.) There was a slanted door with a pulley system to help you pull the door open.

We had a few tornado watches and warnings while we lived there, but we never ever had to use the "Fraidy Hole" (named for fraidycats).

Monday, July 13, 2009

My sister Cheryl's Birthday

Happy Birthday Cheryl!

My sister Cheryl is 6 years older than me, and I always looked up to her when I was a child. She was SO FASHIONABLE, and had the coolest clothes.

She made this coat in Home Ec, no one else had a coat this "hip".

She wore this white pantsuit with palazzo legs to a formal dance, and was the only one that didn't wear a dress.

Tomorrow I'm going to post some more of her cool clothing.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

About Marriage

Two stories I probably got from the Reader's Digest years ago (I am writing these from memory):

A young girl asked her great grandmother what was the secret to her long happy marriage. The woman replied: "When we were first married, your great grandfather and I decided to each make a list of ten things that if the other person did them, we wouldn't let bother us." The girl asked, "What was on your list?". The woman said, "Well, I never actually wrote down the list. But whenever he did something that bothered me, I would just say to myself, It's a good thing thats one of the ten things."

Next story:

A wife got mad at her husband. She said, "Lets each write down all the things that we don't like about each other." So they each got a paper and pencil and wrote furiously for a few minutes. After they exchanged papers and started to read, the wife screamed and tried to grab her paper back from her husband. She had seen that he had written the same thing over and over all the way down the page, "I Love You, I Love You, I Love You......".

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Book Review: Miss Julia Series

You gotta read the "Miss Julia" series by Ann B. Ross. In the first book, we meet Miss Julia right after she is widowed. She never knew her husband had tons of money, and has just found out she is a wealthy widow. Then a little boy is dropped off on her doorstep, "This is your husband's son". She finds out her late husband, Wesley Lloyd Springer, has had an affair for years with a younger woman, Hazel Marie, and they had a son. The whole book is about Miss Julia's growing love for this little boy, and the way she begins to be friends with his mother. Meanwhile, there is a crime going on that they have to solve together.

Here are the books in order:

Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind
Miss Julia Takes Over
Miss Julia Meets Her Match
Miss Julia Throws a Wedding
Miss Julia Hits the Road
Miss Julia School of Beauty
Miss Julia Stands Her Ground
Miss Julia Strikes Back
Miss Julia Delivers the Goods
Miss Julia Paints the Town

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My Blue Heaven quilt

I have recently completed my seventh quilt in my "Frazzled Fancies" series. They are each made of little pieces of fabric, piled on top of each other, and sewn down to a background with hand embroidery. This one has some pretty blue sky fabric on the back, and thats why I named it "My Blue Heaven". It is 25.5" x 25.5".

Monday, July 6, 2009

I Drink My Icewater in Style

After I came home from the Stewart Retreat, I was in the grocery store and saw these beautiful plastic prism-colored drinking glasses. I immediately told myself "I don't need it, I have plenty of glasses at home. I don't need to spend the $6." Plus, it has to be handwashed, and we had plastic glasses similar to this and they all cracked within a year.

But instead, because of Carla's lessons, I told myself that I could spend $6 on something beautiful if I love it to pieces. And it was worth it to me to handwash my very own water glass. I can surround myself with wonderful items that make me happy when I look at them. Thats one of my new goals: Own beautiful things, even if it costs a little more.

So this will be my very beautiful icewater glass forever until it breaks.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Tara's Sunday School class age 6

Here is a photo of Tara's Sunday School class (in 1998, I think). Its fun to see Daniel P., Emily F., Megan A, Jason G., Jackson D., Christopher R., C.J. D., and another kid I can't remember.

(Sorry, I don't put last names on here.)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Seth's Furniture

(This photo was taken in 2004).

Seth loved his woodworking class in high school so much, that when faced with the choice of graduating in December or staying just to take another semester of woodworking, he stayed another semester.

His teacher said he made the nicest furniture of any student he ever had.

Seth also made one more piece, a nightstand.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Seth's Birthday

Happy Birthday To Seth! (Right) Seth was such a climbing toddler, all the time getting up on top of furniture. I had my sewing machine in the living room, and had to keep all my sewing supplies in the linen closet to keep them away from the kids.

He went on the Pioneer Trek in 2003, here he is with Bryce.

(Right)) Here are some friends from his younger days. Mark, Erik, and Rachel. I hope Mark is crouched down, I don't remember him that short. (Bottom photo) Now he is spending all his time with this nice young lady, his fiancee Janette.