Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Adam loves Halloween, he goes all out with costumes and jack-o-lanterns. Here is one of his goryest jack-o-lanterns. Notice the brains oozing out of its head and mouth.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Congressman Rogers of Michigan

Testimony on floor of the House of Representatives, by Congressman Mike Rogers of Michigan, against the health care reform bill.

This bill "will punish the 85% who have worked and paid for their own health care" in order to provide health care for the 15% who don't have it.

Halloween S'Mores

I saw this cute Halloween gift that my friend Karen G. gave to Sally at her shower. Karen said she got the idea and recipe from this website

You can also make it with bunny Peeps or snowman Peeps for Easter and Christmas. So cute!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

1941 Clarksons move from NM to AZ

Top Photo: Norma Shupe Clarkson with some of her children, around 1940. Left to right: Dean, Alice, Joyce, Christine (my mother).
Photo below: A different photo taken at the same time. Another son, Dale, is on the left. Look at the miserable landscape behind them. No wonder Granny wanted to leave New Mexico for Mesa!

Here is another story I liked from my Granny, Norma Shupe Clarkson Crandell's life story (reprinted on page 67 of "Have Joy in the Journey with Mother and Me" by Christine Clarkson Kelly)

"Daddy (Joe Clarkson, Norma's husband) was in Phoenix, Arizona all winter of 1939 and again 1940 at the races with thoroughbred horses he and his Dad (Ira Clarkson) had. When he returned, we talked about moving and he didn't have to insist because I was so glad.

We began preparations immediately and were on our way two weeks later on April 4, 1941. Joe was driving the 1935 Chevrolet truck we bought with the homestead money. He had built a large enclosure on it before he left to haul the thoroughbred racehorses to Arizona; he also built a 4-wheel trailer and a 2-wheel trailer. The horses and milk cows were to be loaded in the truck the last thing. We packed a 2-wheel trailer with camp equipment to be pulled behind the Model A Ford and the 4-wheel trailer would be pulled behind the truck.

See my post from yesterday, and you will see photos of these two vehicles.

Daddy let you children take almost anything you wanted including your pet rabbit and our dog. He wanted you to take your toys because his family had moved so much during his childhood and he had to leave his prized possessions behind.

I didn't know my Grandad Joe, because he died when I was 4, but this little story of how kind he was to his own children, letting them keep his prized possessions, really makes me love him.

Daddy drove the truck and on the back we had 2 horses and 2 milk cows and underneath the truck, between the wheels, he built cages for our chickens and our 2 pet rabbits. The truck pulled the 4-wheel trailer with our household belongings. My heavy piano and our blue cook stove were in it. I was so proud of these new items I had purchased with the $600 I had saved from teaching school. I drove the Model A Ford car pulling a 2-wheel trailer with camping supplies in it. I was age 36 and Daddy was 42, June age 14, Christine 11, Dale 9, Dean 7, Alice 4, and Joyce 2.

We knew it would be necessary to make the trip as cheaply as possible and probably stop to work along the way if Daddy could find work....

Albuquerque was a short stop, between April and October 1941. We lived in the back of the truck. Daddy thought he would get work in Santa Fe, but he couldn't, so we drove on to Albuquerque. There we found a place to camp by the Rio Grande River where there was feed and water for the animals. We unloaded the six kids, then all of our animals: 2 horses, 2 milk cows, 2 rabbits, and 10 chickens. We were sad we lost the dog in Santa Fe.

Isn't that amazing that a family could pull up to a spot near a river, and camp there for six months? I'm not sure that this would be allowed today.

We all helped to clean up the camper on the truck. We made our beds out at night and got some of them up during the day. We had a separate box of clothes for each person under the beds. We put up a little stove that had 4 lids on top and it had an oven so I could bake bread and cook other food. It was Easter so we colored and hid eggs and the next day Joe found a job plastering. The big trailer was left covered with a tarp except when we pulled the tarp back and played the piano.

Wow! I can hardly picture practicing the piano while camping out for six months.

June rode into Albuquerque High School with Daddy. Christine, Dale, and Dean walked to school, down the railroad tracks to a little country one room schoolhouse. There were about 20 students from first to eighth grade. The school was next to a creosote plant that covered railroad-ties to preserve them.

Daddy's thoroughbred horse, Indian Boy, had sleeping sickness and we tied him between two trees, if he lay down he could never get up and would die. His other horse, The Break, broke his leg and, with great emotion, Daddy had to shoot him.

My Grandad was always training race horses, and trying to make money at it. This must have been really hard to for him to lose these potential moneymakers.

We arrived in Mesa, Arizona, on October 7, 1941. Grandma and Grandpa (Norma's parents Kyle and Martha Shupe) were away in Carson, New Mexico, and invited our family to live in their Mesa home. We were there two months and they returned on Christmas Day and we all lived together in their home until we could rent the Misner house on April 20, when Lynette was born.

Living in Mesa was our first time to have city hot and cold water, an indoor bathroom with a white bathtub and flush toilet. We had our first electric lights at Grandma's house, but we only had an ice box and no fan or cooler in a 110 degree summer. There was gas heat for cooking and heating, so no more worries about hauling water and wood.

Life was perfect for only 2 months and then this great United States of America was bombed at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and it was the beginning of World War II which affected every country of the world.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

1934 Dirt Floor House

My mother, Christine, lived her early years in Carson, New Mexico (near Taos.) She was the second of 8 children born to Joseph E. Clarkson and Norma Shupe Clarkson. They were very poor, like everyone was during the Depression.

Here is an excerpt from my Granny, Norma's life story.

1934 Living in a Dirt Floor House
Written by Norma Shupe Clarkson Crandell
Reprinted in the book "Have Joy in the Journey with Mother and Me" by Christine Clarkson Kelly, p. 46

Living in a dirt floor house was one of the most difficult times of my life. When Dean was a month old, on July 2, 1934, Daddy (her husband, Joe Clarkson) found a house and barn that we could rent for $12 a month. It had a 15-acre pasture, with a stream of water running through it, for our cows, horses and chickens. We thought a cow and chickens were a must for our living in those days. The only trouble was the house had only a hard packed dirt floor. I thought with our Indian rugs and a piece of linoleum it wouldn't be too bad, but I found out the dust was terrible. June was in the second grade; Christine was age 4, Dale 3, and Dean soon learning to crawl. I built a sort of a platform for the children to play on and that helped a lot. When June came home from school she taught Christine and Dale all she had learned that day which was a big help to me.

We did enjoy the fireplace that winter and I still had my blue cook stove. The winter was cold and snowy, but we were blessed with good health and plenty of the necessities of life. I mended blankets for an artist that lived on the mesa, making a little extra money with which I got you girls and me each a sweater set and made pleated plaid skirts to go with them, also cute outfits for the boys. I was so proud to have you all looking so nice.....

I got a gasoline powered washing machine to help with the big family washing for four children. We lived in the dirt floor house for nine months.

My mother, Christine, painted a 6' long folkart montage of all the houses from her family history, and I have a copy of that painting hanging in my house. In the book "Have Joy in the Journey with Mother and Me", she tells about each story and some details about each house. Here is her description of the painting of the Dirt Floor House:

In the painting you can see the dirt floor house has a little black pot at the left of the house that Mother (Norma) heated water in for doing the washing of our clothes....Daddy (Joe) had his two thoroughbred race horses, Dummy and Liz, which he would soon sell with much emotion and with tears in his eyes. Daddy was always training his race horses, doing everything possible no matter how tired he was and hoping that one would be a "stakes winner".

In this photo, (left to right) Dale, June, and Christine (my mother) are a little younger than they were in the Dirt Floor House.

In the lower photo, (left to right) Christine, Dale, Grandad Joe, Dean, and June are a little older than they were in that house.
Also, notice these two vehicles. I think they are the same two vehicles mentioned in tomorrow's post.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wayne is sick

I guess H1N1 has invaded our home. Wayne has a fever of 101.8 (Tues 8pm) and feels miserable. We are hoping that the rest of us can avoid getting it but I have almost zero hope of that.

I assume we will all be sick within a few days. (Sad face)

Pumpkin Bread

"I may not be the world's greatest cook, but I think you'll enjoy my cornflakes."

This has been my motto throughout my life. I really can't cook very well. WITH ONE EXCEPTION: I make wonderful pumpkin bread.

I got this recipe from Wayne's grandmother, Olive Wixom. We lived across the street from them in Layton, Utah for 5 years, and they were so helpful and kind to us. She was a fabulous cook, but unfortunately, every time I made something using her recipes it never turned out right. I would ask her about it, and she would admit that she would throw in extra this or that, and leave out something, or do it by memory and actually not use the recipe too closely.

But for this pumpkin bread recipe, my cooking DOES taste just like hers. Its the one and only recipe I have of hers that I use.

Olive Wixom’s Pumpkin Bread

1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup applesauce
2 eggs
1 cup cooked mashed pumpkin (Pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling)

Mix these. Then add dry ingredients

1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/3 cup water
1 cup nuts

Combine and beat. Bake 1 hour 350 degrees.

A double recipe uses one 15 oz. can pumpkin.
A double recipe makes 5 small loaves or 3 medium loaves.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween Cake

When Adam and Tiffany got married two years ago, my friend Sally Plautz made them this groom's cake for her wedding gift to them. It was the hit of the open house.

The top of the cake is a grass-covered grave with a headstone that says "R.I.P. Adam", and there is a hand sticking up out of the grave.

Sally makes the most fabulous cakes. If you want to see her website, click

I think Adam's cake is shown on the "Grooms Cake" page.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rita's Italian Ice

Tara works at Rita's, so a couple of weeks ago on Monday night, Wayne, Zac, and I went over there and bought some Blendini's, frozen custard, and Misto's for family home evening. Tara was just going on break when we got there. I liked the "Birthday Cake" flavor frozen custard.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Whole Lot of Happy

I haven't ever been to the NC State Fair in all the 21 years we have lived here, and I have never wanted to. It sounded like a huge waste of money. But because I went on the retreat with my sister Carla, and she told us "You Can Change!", I decided to go with my family this year.

Wayne, Tara, Zac, and I went on Tues. Oct. 20, and had quite a good time. I was unwilling to go on any of the rides (I don't trust rides that get taken down and put together every two weeks, they just don't sound safe to me) but I did eat a Deep Fried Snickers bar and some funnel cake and some ice cream.

Wayne, Tara, and Zac went on the ferris wheel, then Tara went on the Freak Out (twice) and Zac went on the Hang Glider (twice) and they also rode the Pirate Ship.

We had a fun time in the petting zoo with the camel, yak, water buffalo, llamas, and alpacas. And the baby goats were really cute.

Wayne's favorite thing was the poultry barn. We were fascinated to see that there are MANY different kinds of chickens, we had no idea that there were so many varieties of feathers or shapes of topknot-thingies.

I think for our $100 that we spent, we got "A WHOLE LOT OF HAPPY" (that was the somewhat dorky theme of the fair this year).

Friday, October 23, 2009

Parade of Homes

Last Saturday Wayne and I went on the Wake County Parade of Homes. We toured 10 homes in Highcroft Village, and a $2.5 million dollar home in a gated community in Durham. We had a very fun time.

It totally whetted our appetite to move in three years. We don't really like our current house, and only moved here to move closer to the high school and new ward building (which is now scheduled to be open the end of November). But after Zac graduates in 2012, we are out of here.

Wayne wants to move by Jordan Lake, which would still be in our stake. I would hate to leave our stake, since we have been here since 1988. We would dearly love to get a smallish house, but it has to have a huge living area/kitchen area. And Wayne wants a freestanding garage, preferably 3-4 car stalls, to hold all the camping equipment, kayaks, future sailboat, and future hotrod. We will never ever find it, so we will probably have to build. Who knows if we can stand the stress to do that.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dallin Oaks speaks about Proposition 8

On 13 October 2009, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, gave a speech at BYU-Idaho about religious freedom under the United States Constitution.

Here is one of the opening paragraphs:

In choosing my subject I have relied on an old military maxim that when there is a battle underway, persons who desire to join the fray should “march to the sound of the guns.”[i] So it is that I invite you to march with me as I speak about religious freedom under the United States Constitution. There is a battle over the meaning of that freedom. The contest is of eternal importance, and it is your generation that must understand the issues and make the efforts to prevail.

He goes on to tell about the recent vote on Proposition 8 in California, with its attendant angry protests at LDS temples and churches across California.

We have endured a wave of media-reported charges that the Mormons are trying to “deny” people or “strip” people of their “rights.” After a significant majority of California voters (seven million — over 52 percent) approved Proposition 8’s limiting marriage to a man and a woman, some opponents characterized the vote as denying people their civil rights. In fact, the Proposition 8 battle was not about civil rights, but about what equal rights demand and what religious rights protect. At no time did anyone question or jeopardize the civil right of Proposition 8 opponents to vote or speak their views.

The real issue in the Proposition 8 debate — an issue that will not go away in years to come and for whose resolution it is critical that we protect everyone’s freedom of speech and the equally important freedom to stand for religious beliefs — is whether the opponents of Proposition 8 should be allowed to change the vital institution of marriage itself.

The marriage union of a man and a woman has been the teaching of the Judeo-Christian scriptures and the core legal definition and practice of marriage in Western culture for thousands of years. Those who seek to change the foundation of marriage should not be allowed to pretend that those who defend the ancient order are trampling on civil rights. The supporters of Proposition 8 were exercising their constitutional right to defend the institution of marriage — an institution of transcendent importance that they, along with countless others of many persuasions, feel conscientiously obliged to protect.

Later, he offered "five points of counsel on how Latter-day Saints should conduct themselves to enhance religious freedom in this period of turmoil and challenge." Here is his second point of counsel :

Second, we must not be deterred or coerced into silence by the kinds of intimidation I have described. We must insist on our constitutional right and duty to exercise our religion, to vote our consciences on public issues and to participate in elections and debates in the public square and the halls of justice. These are the rights of all citizens and they are also the rights of religious leaders. While our church rarely speaks on public issues, it does so by exception on what the First Presidency defines as significant moral issues, which could surely include laws affecting the fundamental legal/cultural/moral environment of our communities and nations.

We must also insist on this companion condition of democratic government: when churches and their members or any other group act or speak out on public issues, win or lose, they have a right to expect freedom from retaliation.

Along with many others, we were disappointed with what we experienced in the aftermath of California’s adoption of Proposition 8, including vandalism of church facilities and harassment of church members by firings and boycotts of member businesses and by retaliation against donors. Mormons were the targets of most of this, but it also hit other churches in the pro-8 coalition and other persons who could be identified as supporters. Fortunately, some recognized such retaliation for what it was. A full-page ad in the New York Times branded this “violence and intimidation” against religious organizations and individual believers “simply because they supported Proposition 8 [as] an outrage that must stop.” [xv] The fact that this ad was signed by some leaders who had no history of friendship for our faith only added to its force.

It is important to note that while this aggressive intimidation in connection with the Proposition 8 election was primarily directed at religious persons and symbols, it was not anti-religious as such. These incidents were expressions of outrage against those who disagreed with the gay-rights position and had prevailed in a public contest. As such, these incidents of “violence and intimidation” are not so much anti-religious as anti-democratic. In their effect they are like the well-known and widely condemned voter-intimidation of blacks in the South that produced corrective federal civil-rights legislation.

Here is the link for the article:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I Can Be a Gaynote

Sally showed us her "bandelo" (pronounced BAND a LO), which is what all the Primary girls made in the 1960's. Each symbol and jewel represented something the girl had done: memorized the 13 Articles of Faith, attendance, homemaking skills, etc.

(If you notice, Sally got 100% of every achievement that she could have achieved. This particular bandelo represents the gold standard of bandelos!) (Click on the photo to make it bigger)

I remembered my older sisters Cheryl and Cindy having bandelos when we lived in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. We had a nice ward there. When I was 9 we moved to Cleveland, Oklahoma, and we had ALMOST NOTHING. We attended a dependent Sunday School, ten miles away. The only other Primary age kid was a little girl the same age as my younger sister Carla. My mother took it upon herself to hold Primary in our home for me, Carla, and the other girl every week.

So, no bandelo for me. And none of the other fun stuff my older sisters talked about doing in those three upper grades of Primary. The classes for the older girls were named "Gaynotes", "Merry Hands" and "Firelights".

Here is the song for the Gaynote class:

First thing in the morning and all day long
I can be a Gaynote and sing a happy song
I can greet the new day and all it brings
With a cheerful face and a heart that sings.

I don't think that song would go over too well with today's Primary girls.

Oh, the rest of the story. By the time we moved to Mesa when I was in the 6th grade, the Primary program was just switching programs to keep up with the times. They discontinued the Gaynotes, etc., and the upper grade girls' classes became Merry Miss. The Merry Miss classes made banners, which had some badges and jewels similar to the old bandelos. But I got in too late to make the banner.

(And speaking of keeping up with the times, "Merry Miss" is really a dopey name and needs to be updated SOON.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Money Tree

Patti and I had a "Casserole Shower" for Sally on Friday, so she could have lots of frozen meals available in her freezer during her chemotherapy. We also had a money tree so people could give her money for a wig, or co-pays, etc. I had never seen a money tree before, so I just made one with a little wire Christmas tree that I had in my attic. I thought it turned out cute.

(Sorry the photo is sideways, we have a new Mac and I don't know the quick way to turn it. Somebody with a Mac needs to teach me.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

My Work

I was just rereading David A. Bednar's talk "Tender Mercies", which was given in the April 2005 General Conference. He is one of the Twelve Apostles of our church, and you can read the talk by clicking HERE .

He pointed out a pair of scriptures that I have never really thought about together before. Moses 1:39 and Doctrine and Covenants 11:20.

....the fundamental purposes for the gift of agency were to love one another and to choose God. Thus we become God’s chosen and invite His tender mercies as we use our agency to choose God.

One of the most well-known and frequently cited passages of scripture is found in Moses 1:39. This verse clearly and concisely describes the work of the Eternal Father: “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (emphasis added).

A companion scripture found in the Doctrine and Covenants describes with equal clarity and conciseness our primary work as the sons and daughters of the Eternal Father. Interestingly, this verse does not seem to be as well known and is not quoted with great frequency. “Behold, this is your work, to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind and strength” (D&C 11:20; emphasis added).

Thus, the Father’s work is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children. Our work is to keep His commandments with all of our might, mind, and strength—and we thereby become chosen and, through the Holy Ghost, receive and recognize the tender mercies of the Lord in our daily lives.

The Father's work, My work. He does his part, I do my part. Straightforward, yes. Easy, no.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wooden tree made by cub scout

This is a cute wooden Christmas tree that one of my sons made in Cub Scouts years ago. It comes apart so it is easy to store.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Painted Wallhanging for Elizabeth

When Elizabeth was born, Michelle Ishihara painted this for her. In case you didn't know, Queen Elizabeth of England is of the house of Windsor. She doesn't have a last name technically, but if she did it would be Windsor. So Michelle wrote "Princess Elizabeth" on the banner, for our little Princess Elizabeth.

(If you are in the Raleigh area and want any faux finishes done on your walls, contact Michelle HERE.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Teacher, Is Jesus Deaf?

I love this story. It was published in the Church News, Dec. 4, 1999, in an article about a Special Needs Primary.

"There is also the heartwarming account from the Murray Utah Special Needs Primary for the hearing impaired. One little boy, James, was watching his teacher sign the story of when Jesus comes again and calls the little children to Him. The boy asked, in sign language, "Teacher, Is Jesus deaf?".

Upon finding out that Jesus is not deaf, James began to cry. "How will He understand me when He comes again?"

The teacher prayed for wisdom and replied, "Sweetheart, Jesus understands all languages, especially sign language."

James' face lit up."

(Note: Our daughter-in-law, Janette, is getting her degree in American Sign Language translation, so I know she will appreciate this story.)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Charity Baby quilts turned in

I volunteered to head up a baby quilt service project in May for our stake. It was announced that everyone donate fabric and batting, then we made kits and quilt tops and handed these out to willing people in our stake to finish. Then after the kits were out all summer, it was announced that the finished quilts should be turned in at our women's broadcast on Sept. 26.

We had a lovely dinner previous to the General Relief Society broadcast that Saturday, and all the quilts were displayed across the stage. I felt very pleased to see that all these quilts were produced from a budget of $0, all out of donated supplies.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blessing dress for Elizabeth

(Top: Elizabeth, October 2006) A little more than three years ago, when my daughter-in-law Rachel was pregnant with Elizabeth, Rachel's mother Sarah made this beautiful linen blessing dress for the new baby.

Sarah wanted it to be from both grandmothers, so she asked me to do silk ribbon embroidery on it. Sarah made the gorgeous crocheted lace around the hem.

This photo shows one of the bouquets of silk ribbon embroidery I sewed on the bodice, and around the hem. The dress turned out wonderfully. Thanks, Sarah, for letting me work on it too!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New Family Search

I attended our stake's Family History seminar on Saturday. I went there really excited to learn about the new Family Search website, where we can find out much easier whether temple work has been done. It was made with the express purpose of eliminating all the duplication that is done all the time in our temples.

I was hoping it would be the MAGIC BULLET, that it would make genealogy completely easy and painless. Instead I learned from Sister H. that it will still take lots of work to look at each individual ancestor, and look at all the similar names, and figure out if that individual is really the same person.

She compared us to the pioneers of the 1840s-1850s. She said they had to make their own way across the nation to Utah. Now we are presented with this new Family Search website, and even though it is not perfect and it will not be easy, we are the people that have to forge ahead and figure it out. We will be the pioneers who will make it easier for those coming afterward.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Thinking about my own mortality

I have a friend who was just diagnosed with breast cancer, and I know of someone else with brain cancer, so this is making me think a lot about my own mortality. If that was me, what would I be thinking right now about how I have lived my life? What would I regret that I had not done? What do I need to do from now on so that when my own mortality is in question, I am able to say to myself, "I have done everything I wanted to do, and everything that my Heavenly Father wanted me to do" ?

I finished my life story (of my early years) when I was about 22 years old. I still have to write "Part 2". I have lots of photo albums that I want to finish. I want to learn to do genealogy, and learn to do indexing of genealogical records. I want to find Josie Box's ancestors and do the temple work for them (see blog post March 16, 2009). I wish I could take all my kids and their families on a trip to England (That's never going to happen---I can still dream about it though).

I want to move into a different house that suits our needs better, after Zac graduates from high school in 2012. I want to be a better wife to Wayne and a better mother to my kids and a better mother-in-law to my three wonderful daughters-in-law. I want to magnify my church callings and serve others in a way pleasing to my Heavenly Father. I want to tell lots and lots and lots of people about the gospel of Jesus Christ, in my daily life and also by going on a mission later with Wayne (but not to Bolivia PLEASE).

I think these are commendable goals, and I certainly want to accomplish all of them someday. I deserve a Nobel Peace prize.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Walking with Anne

Here I am with one of my best buds, Anne. She and I usually walk on Thursdays or Fridays. We've been doing that for years.

She has 7 kids, I have 6, so we've had lots of things in common since we met in 1988. We also talk politics and seminary.

I also wanted to show a photo of a great thing Anne and Frank did for Bryce when he came home from his mission. They had planned to be at the airport with this sign, but his plane was delayed until 2 am, so they brought it over to our house the next day instead.

They also made a sign like this to welcome Seth home from his mission. What great friends!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Boyd K. Packer "You're Good Enough" post #2

More excerpts from

President Boyd K. Packer President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Address to CES Religious Educators • February 29, 2008 • Salt Lake Tabernacle

.....On another occasion...a boy had a terminal illness.... We were dedicating the Indian chapel in Brigham City. President David O. McKay was coming to dedicate it, one of the few times up to then that I had stood shoulder-to-shoulder with him.....
We were interrupted after the meeting by the mother of this boy. She said, “My son is dying. We have brought him in a station wagon and carried him to the office. President McKay, will you give him a blessing, please?” She was a tearful mother pleading for her son.
Again I was startled. President McKay said, “My dear sister, if I gave all of the blessings I’m called on to give, I wouldn’t have the strength to perform the duties that only I can do. We’ll have President Lillywhite”—the stake president....”stand in for me in giving the blessing.” And that happened.
And I thought, “The President of the Church, how could that happen?”
In due time, I learned. I learned that every man knows good from evil, and all men can hold the priesthood. That one statement in the first section of the Doctrine and Covenants that set that in order in the Church is so marvelous and so powerful (see D&C 1:20). .......

....We go to organize a stake that is newly in the Church organization, and there is nobody there who knows much of anything. Maybe it is in the developing world where they have nothing, compared to what we have, in Africa or some of the other countries.
But we go and organize a stake, and we call a man who is very new in the Church.
I remember installing a stake president who had been in the Church only two years. I did not know anything about him, but I knew he was the man the Lord wanted. Sometimes I would wonder why. ......

......The leaders are always there. We do not worry whether we have leadership there. We take what we get. We know that the priesthood is “the priesthood . . . after the holiest order of God” (D&C 84:18) or “the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God” (D&C 107:3). If they know just enough of the basics—if they know about the premortal existence and about the ordinances and about the power of the priesthood—they will find their way. They make a few mistakes but not many.....

.... This man who had only been in the Church about two years, what happened to him? Within a year or two he was as strong and powerful as the stake president who was born in the Church and had seminary and went on a mission.

......With all of the authority and power, the marvelous thing is that you have it too. That is why President McKay did not think it was really necessary for him to give that blessing. You can give it. You have the priesthood. And you can teach the classes, and you are good enough. You will help redeem the world. You are the troops that we call out now against the challenges that are before us.

....... I certify to you that Jesus is the Christ. I know Him. He presides over this Church. He is no stranger to His servants here. I invoke His blessing upon all of you, all of us who are teachers, and do so invoking that ultimate statement of authority, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Boyd K. Packer "You're Good Enough" post #1

AN EVENING WITH PRESIDENT BOYD K. PACKER, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Address to CES Religious Educators • February 29, 2008 • Salt Lake Tabernacle

(I heard this talk given to seminary teachers in Feb, 2008 and it has always been special to me. Boyd K. Packer emphasizes the normalness and averageness of church leaders, they are everyday people just like you and me, except for the fact that they have been given huge responsibilities in the kingdom. Throughout the whole talk, his theme is that we are “good enough” to do our callings, God will help us with everything we need, we don’t have to be a General Authority to have help and guidance from the Lord. We just have to have faith and do our best and rely upon Him.

I love the down-home, conversational tone of the talk, he kind of rambles but he gets his message across. I’m sorry that the talk is only available on the seminary website, which requires a password to enter. Here are some excerpts from the talk.)

I have many times held on to that promise in the Book of Mormon that all “men”—and that would include women also—“are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil” ( 2 Nephi 2:5).
Sometimes when I have been working with a person who was near self-destruction and had almost given up and he says, “Well, what’s the use,” I remember that “men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil.” .......

..... If you knew the Brethren as we know them, you would find that, thank goodness, we’re nobodies. We are as ordinary as ordinary can be. There is not time to convince you of that, but we just have the monumental, monstrous responsibility of guiding
the Church in this day and age. ........

........During the Vietnam War...I, with Brother Harold B. Lee, was on the servicemen’s committee......A young man came up to us as we were leaving and said, “Elder Lee, I’m leaving within the week to go to Vietnam. I don’t know whether I’ll come back or not. I come from an inactive family. Will you give me a blessing, please?”
You could hardly resist the pleadings of a soldier boy.
To my surprise, Elder Lee said, “My son, your father should give that blessing.”
He said, “Oh, my father isn’t active. He wouldn’t even know how. He’s never given a blessing of any kind.”
Then Brother Lee said, “Nevertheless, he should give you the blessing. Let me tell you what to do. You go to your father and say, ‘Now I’m leaving, and I don’t know whether I’ll be back. I’m certainly going into harm’s way, and I want a father’s blessing.’”
Brother Lee knew that this embarrassed father would say, “I don’t know how to do that.”
But Brother Lee gave him the instruction. He said, “Tell your father that you’ll sit on a chair, and he can stand behind you and put his hands on your head and say whatever comes.”
That was the end of that conversation, and the boy went away sorrowing.
That incident was out of my mind until nearly a year later when I met that young man. He reminded me of that circumstance.
He said, “Do you know what happened? My father gave me the blessing. It was a marvelous thing and a strength and a protection.”.......

(I will post more of the talk tomorrow.)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

709 North Broadway

From fourth grade to 7th grade, I lived in this house in Cleveland, Oklahoma (population 2,000). It was located on the main drag through town. My two beautiful older sisters, Cheryl and Cindy, had many male admirers who would honk every time they passed our house, and my sisters would wave to them through the upstairs windows.

Here is the back of the house. We loved this huge sycamore tree. My brother Larry put a rope ladder up into the tree, and I would climb up there and lay on the branches and read a book.

This is the house that had a "fraidy hole" in the backyard (see my blog of July 14, 2009). This is also the house that the skunk sprayed inside the laundry room. And we also had a fire upstairs when I was in the 5th grade. Good times.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My Short Stint as an Activist and TV Spokesperson

That title is supposed to be a joke, I don't want to be an activist OR a tv spokesperson but for a few hours I was one.

Monday afternoon we kept waiting for Zac to get home on the bus. When he was more than 45 minutes late, I walked to my neighbor's house, and the neighbor told me that the bus was parked three blocks away, and they wouldn't let the kids (all from Panther Creek High School) off the bus unless a parent came with ID. (I'm assuming his son had called him on a cell phone. I had not received a phone call, from my son or from the school.)

That really ticked me off, so I grabbed my purse and drove over there. I got my Coolpix 8 megapixel camera out of my purse and put it on "video" and walked up to the bus and asked for Zac to get off.

I was told that the the stop sign on the side of bus number 204 was broken. When the bus driver had pulled up to the first stop on her route, the stop sign did not flip out on the side. The driver was instructed by her superiors not to let the Panther Creek High School students off the bus, because it was unsafe. It is illegal in our state to transport students in a bus without a swingarm stopsign on the side (so cars won't pass while the bus is stopped.)

The school people thought the students were incapable of crossing the street safely, unless a parent came personally, with a valid driver's license and filled out paper work. But, they did not call the parents to let them know that they had to come.

The bus was parked with the door opening onto a wide, safe sidewalk. It made me very angry that the school officials could not trust high school children to be able to get off a bus and make their way home in their very own neighborhood.

School was out at 2:28. It was 3:53 by the time I got to the bus. The repairman was there trying to repair the stop sign. And he got finished at 4:30, when I presume the remaining kids were allowed to get off the bus "safely" with a functioning stop sign.

Those kids were held on that parked bus for almost 2 hours, most within sight of their streets. If the kid didn't have a cell phone, or their parents were far away at a job, how in the world could the kid get off the bus? What if the kid had to use the bathroom? I think it was cruel to hold them that long.

I made a bunch of video of the whole scenario, including the bus driver filling out a form saying I could take my own child off the bus. She was very mad at me and kept saying I was going to make her lose her job. I told her as I left that I knew it was her stupid superiors, not her, that were making the rule.

I went home, called WRAL, and they sent a reporter and a camera man to my house. The story was on the 10:00 news on local FOX news and the 11:00 news on CBS-WRAL. They used a few short statements from me, and a bunch of my video clips.

And I got complimented by the camera crew, they said I took some good video!

Here is a photo of the men who came to interview me:

Oh, by the way, I wasn't the only irate parent. I just learned that another mother actually called the police. I think my plan was better.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

General Conference Quiz October 2009

This is my fourth year of teaching seminary, and every six months I have made up a multiple choice test for my seminary students from the talks given during the Sunday sessions of General Conference. Here is the test I gave to my students yesterday:

(DISCLAIMER: I made these questions up as I listened to conference. I did not have the printed transcripts for reference. Please forgive me for anything that is not quite accurate. I'm not going to take the time later to go to and make these questions more perfect. On they usually put up all the audio and text versions of
the talks within a couple of days after Conference, but I wanted to give the test quicker than that.)

Gen Conf Sunday morning and afternoon sessions Oct. 4, 2009

Henry B. Eyring, apostle
On her gravestone, a woman asked for this to be written, ____________
1a. Rest in Peace
1b. I told you I was sick
1c. Please, No Empty Chairs
1d. Dearest Mother

L. Tom Perry, apostle
In building the Manti temple, the carpenters did not know how to design the roof. They had never built a roof before. They decided that they would design ______, and then turn the plans upside down, and they did it and it worked for the roof.
2a. an igloo
2b. a ship
2c. a teepee
2d. a piece of furniture
2e. a wooden box

Bishop H. David Burton, Presiding bishop of the Church
Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly. He talked about many personal traits that we call virtues. Many of these words end with "ity". He called them the "ity" virtues. Name one.

Bishop Burton told about 8 yr old Megan, who was told by her piano teacher that she would receive a reward for daily piano practice. The teacher phoned when Megan was not home. Later at her piano lesson Megan took the reward. What was it?
4a. a donut
4b. a dollar
4c. a sticker
4d. a candy bar
4e. ice cream

Ann Dibb- 2nd counselor Young Women presidency
She told about a tragedy that happened in St. Catherine's Ontario, Canada. Some workers fell to their death, while other workers held onto a ________________after the scaffolding collapsed, 125 feet high. They clung onto it for more than an hour until they were rescued. Why didn't the men have on safety equipment? They had it, but they chose not to use it.
5a. a skyscraper
5b. a radio tower
5c. a factory smokestack
5d. a bridge

Sister Dibb said she was thankful for her parents. Who is her father?
6a. Thomas S. Monson
6b. Boyd K. Packer
6c. L. Tom Perry

Russel M. Nelson, apostle
He and his wife were far from home on a different continent. They received word of _______ just minutes after it had happened.
7a. the engagement of one of their grandsons
7b. the birth of a baby to one of their family members
7c. a car accident which happened to a family member
7d. an earthquake which happened in their hometown
7e. a mission call of one of their grandsons

In the middle of the night, Elder Russel M. Nelson had a great idea. He wrote it down. In the morning, he _________.
8a. could not find the paper that he wrote on.
8b. found that his wife had had the same inspiration during the night.
8c. found that he had written on the bed sheet.
8d. discovered he could not read his own writing.

Elder Nelson set apart a stake president. The man's father was not a member of the church. Elder Nelson said to him, "You have a fine son. Someday you will want to be sealed to him. When that time comes, I would be honored to perform that sealing." Ten years passed. Six weeks ago, that father came to visit Elder Nelson. " I am worthy and ready to be sealed to my family." He told how he had lost _______, and after that had received the desire to join the church.
9a. his eyesight
9b. his wife
9c. his leg
9d. his wealth
9e. his hearing

Thomas S. Monson told about a man named Dr. McConnell. Dr. McConnell had a father who was a preacher. Every evening around the dinner table, the father asked each child in turn, _______________________________.
10a. What did you learn today?
10b. Did you finish your chores today?
10c. What did you do for someone else today?
10d. What interesting thing did you see today?
Dr. McConnell has established more than 50 clinics across the USA to help the poor.

A year ago, Pres. Monson was interviewed by the Church News. The reporter asked what Pres. Monson would like the church members to do as a gift for his birthday. He answered, "Find someone who is having a hard time, or is ill, or lonely, and do something for him or her." He later received many, many reports from members who did service in honor of his birthday. A photo was shown of an unusual way of reporting what a Primary did. It was a glass jar full of ________________.
11a. jelly beans
11b. buttons shaped like smiley faces
11c.small colored pieces of paper with kind acts written on them.
11d. warm fuzzies
11e. M&Ms

Jeffrey R. Holland bore his testimony about the Book of Mormon.
He held in his hand the same exact scripture book that:
12a. Joseph Smith had preached from in Nauvoo.
12b. Emma Smith had used in Kirtland.
12c. Hyrum Smith had turned down the page just before his death.
12d. Brigham Young had presented to the U.S. president Zachary Taylor.

Quentin Cook, apostle
When he was a bishop, a widow, Sarah, helped every time Bishop Cook asked for anything in the ward. One day another woman called the bishop. "Save Sarah!". Eighty year old Sarah was:
13a. having a heart attack
13b. having car trouble
13c. up on a ladder cleaning out a neighbor's gutters
13d. baking 100 loaves of bread for a soup kitchen

Brant H. Nielsen of the Seventy

When he went on mission to Finland, the mission president's wife was a native of Finland. During World War II, she had left her hometown. Later it was occupied by Russian troops and became part of the Soviet Union. When Brother Nielsen was on his mission, all the missionaries prayed that her hometown of Wieborg or Wiebory would be opened to missionary work someday. They could see the guard towers on the border of Finland and the Soviet Union.
Thirty two years later, ______________ recieved a mission call to St. Petersburg, Russia, and was assigned to Wieborg or Wiebory.
14a. a young man in his ward
14b. his son
14c. his grandson
14d. his nephew

Dale G. Renlund, of the Seventy
As a doctor, he worked every Sunday at the hospital. If he got done by 2 pm, he could walk home and go with his wife and daughter to church. One day he knew he could get home and attend church, but instead he went slower and got home just after they had left, so he could take a nap. He laid down and_______________________.
15a. dreamed about the spirit world.
15b. was woken up by the dog licking his face.
15c. could not go to sleep, because of feeling guilty.
15d. the fire alarm went off.

Joseph W. Sitati, of the Seventy
He is a native of Africa. Unrighteous traditions of the past are beginning to be broken by church members in Africa. Recently, three of his children were able to be married in temples in Africa, and did not follow the tradition of _________________.
16a. paying a dowry for the bride.
16b. giving gifts to everyone in the village at the time of the wedding.
16c. wearing the immodest traditional dress for weddings.

D. Todd Christofferson, apostle
When he was 5 or 6 yrs. old, he mother caught him doing something wrong, and ended his short "life of crime". What did she catch him doing?
17a. He had stolen a candy bar.
17b. He had vandalized a neighbor's fence.
17c. He had stolen a pumpkin from a neighbor's garden.
17d. He had broken a window of a business.

Thomas S. Monson
He said the song at the beginning of that conference session was his favorite song. The song was:
18a. Have I done any Good in the World Today
18b. We are Sowing
18c. How Great Thou Art
18d. O, Divine Redeemer

Some Bonus questions:
Five temples were announced during the Saturday session. Can you name any of them? (5 pts possible)
(Questions 19-23)

24. One of the apostles is getting old, I think this was his first time to sit down instead of stand up to give his talk. Who was it?

Saturday session:
25. Boyd K. Packer told the story of a little girl who was upset that her brother had set a trap to catch sparrows. She prayed that her brother would not catch any sparrows. She told her mother, "I know that he won't catch any sparrows." "Why?" asked her mother.
The girl answered, "Because _______________________."

(See answers below)


1c Please, No Empty Chairs
2b a ship
3- could be any like these: humility, charity, civility, fidelity, integrity, ability, dignity, responsibility, generosity, solidarity, etc.
4a. donut
5d. bridge
6a. Thomas S. Monson
7b. birth
8d. could not read his own writing
9e. his hearing
10c. what did you do for somebody else?
11d. warm fuzzies
12c. Hyrum Smith turned down the page
13c. on ladder cleaning gutters
14b. his son
15c. could not go to sleep
16a. paying dowry for bride
17a. stole candy
18d. O Divine Redeemer
19-23 announced temples in Concepcion, Chile; _______, Brazil; Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Sapporo, Japan; Brigham City, UT.
24. Boyd K. Packer
25. (I prayed) and then I kicked that trap all to pieces.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Adam's and Tiffany's Anniversary

Two years ago, Adam and Tiffany got married in the Washington, DC temple, and had their reception at her home in Maryland. Since I didn't have a blog then, I will share some of their photos now. I think they are a very cute couple!

Here is our family portrait, Oct. 2007. Bryce isn't in it, because he was still on his mission in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ward Split

Last night, between sessions of General Conference, we had a 3-ward meeting at the stake center. The boundaries were changed in the Holly Springs Ward and the Apex Ward, and the Morrisville Ward was split into the Morrisville Ward and the new Green Level Ward. Our family is still in the Morrisville Ward. (Of course, Wayne really isn't, since he is in the bishopric of the Raleigh University Ward, and attends that ward instead of ours.)

Our Apex Stake was created from half of the Raleigh Stake six years ago. At that time the Apex Stake had six units. With the creation of the Green Level Ward, our stake now has ten units.

Three and a half years ago, the Morrisville Ward was created from part of the Cary 1st Ward and part of the Apex Ward. It originally had 305 members. Just before the split on Saturday, the Morrisville Ward had 590 members (230 of those were Primary children.) Now with the rearranged boundaries and new Green Level Ward, each ward now has about 300 members again.

Our stake center has had four wards meeting in it for the past 3 1/2 years: Apex, Holly Springs, Morrisville, and Swift Creek. Each ward meets for a 3-hour block of meetings (9 am-12 noon, or 9:30 am-12:30 pm, or 1-3pm, or 1:30-4:30 pm). Alas, our new Morrisville building STILL ISN'T COMPLETE! So we have a problem. Now there are 5 wards for the stake center. And so this is the solution: The Green Level Ward is taking over our 9 am-12 noon spot, and the Morrisville Ward has been assigned to go to our meetings from 4:15-7:15 pm!!!!! Yikes!

Not to worry, because this horrible meeting schedule will probably only last about 4 Sundays. With all the problems at the new Morrisville Building, they say it will be done in early November (more than 2 years since the groundbreaking Oct. 27, 2007).

As soon as the Morrisville Building is done, the Green Level Ward and the Morrisville Ward will start meeting there. That will leave only 3 wards in the Apex Stake Center, and at that time they will rearrange ward boundaries again (I suppose in the Swift Creek, Garner, and Holly Springs wards) and create a ward in Fuquay-Varina. That will be the 11th unit in our stake. Hurray for growth!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Elizabeth's 3rd birthday

Isaac's and Rachel's daughter is 3 today. Here is a photo of her and her little brother Thomas playing during Seth's and Janette's open house in July.

Here is Elizabeth sitting on our wonderful little picnic table (which we have had since Seth was a baby.)

This is a little quilt which I made as a wallhanging in 1995. I decided that I wanted to start a tradition of giving my granddaughters a little doll quilt when each of them turns three. Elizabeth is my only granddaughter, as of now, so I will start the tradition today.

This wallhanging is WAY fancier than any I will make in the future as a doll quilt. This one is intricately handquilted, using the design from the carved carpet in the Washington D.C. temple's Celestial room. But I don't want it as a wallhanging anymore, and I think it is nice that my oldest granddaughter will have something that I spent so much time making. I hope she wears it out playing with it with her dolls, and maybe she can pass it on to her own daughter someday.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Book Review: The Woman Who Can't Forget

The Woman Who Can't Forget, by Jill Price
The Extraordinary Story of Living with the Most Remarkable Memory Known to Science

What would it be like to live with a memory so powerful that it dominates one's waking life?

Inside book cover:
"Jill Price has the first diagnosed case of a memory condition called "hyperthymestic syndrome"--the continuous, automatic, autobiographical recall of every day of her life since she was fourteen. Give her any date from that year on, and she can almost instantly tell you what day of the week it was, what she did on that day, and any major world event or cultural happening that took place, as long as she heard about it on that day. Her memories are like scenes from home movies, constantly playing in her head, backward and forward, through the years, not only does she make no effort to call her memories to mind, she cannot stop them."

This book was fascinating. I had never pondered, in my own life, why I remember some things and forget others. This woman remembered most things from the time she was two, but by age fourteen she remembered EVERYTHING. This was a plague and a curse.

For months after her mother was diagnosed with cancer, Jill was consumed with every single solitary unkind thing she had ever said or done to her mother. This preoccupation with reliving every bad thing almost made her come unglued, her life was a mess.

Actually, Jill's life was quite unsuccessful, on the whole, because she could not get past her childhood memories of being afraid of childhood phantoms, and could recall every fear and insecurity that little children have. She lived with her parents until she was thirty, even though she had a job, she could not move on with her life.

Another interesting thing about Jill was that even though she carried all these memories in her head, she still felt the need to write a daily diary. But she would only write in it sporadically. Once a year or every other year she would get a diary and then mentally go over every single day and write down the whole year or two years from memory. I think that is really bizarre.

p. 127
"It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment?" --Vita Sackville-West, Twelve Days

p. 181
"Selection is the very keel on which our mental ship is built. And in the case of memory its utility is obvious. If we remembered everything, we should on most occasions be as ill off as if we remembered nothing." --William James, one of the founders of psychology.

Interesting book. I would not want to be her.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Manly Trekkie Diaper Bag

Betty and Bob's son, John C., and his wife Amanda and baby Abigail just moved into our ward. I noticed his cool diaper bag, and he said his sister Heather had made it for him. Heather felt that he needed a Star Trek themed diaper bag. I think this was a great baby gift!
(And Heather made Amanda one with a Harry Potter theme.)