Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Food, Glorious Food

(Look at this gorgeous watermelon carved so that it looks like a floral bouquet.)
I had been on the South Beach diet from January to March, so when I stepped foot on that ship I was ready to pig out. I considered that all those uneaten calories were sitting in a calorie bank account just waiting for me to spend them.

We had dinner at 5:45 every evening, at the same table with the same waiters. It was like a 5 star restaurant. Very fancy entrees, appetizers, desserts, with the plates beautifully decorated. The first night I had no idea how to order, I tried to order just an entree, and the waiter said, "Is that all you want?" and I got confused and asked him what all the things on the menu were. After that I got the hang of it, and just ordered everything that looked good. I tried to keep track of my food in my diary, here's what I remembered to write down:

Sat: Hawaiian Pork
Sun: Halibut. Dessert- Love Boat Dream chocolate mousse, raspberry ice cream.
Mon: roast beef.
Tues: French onion soup. Veal cordon bleu.
Wed: Fried chicken, cheese soup.
Thurs: Entree was Pumpkin Crepes. Dessert: Banana ice cream and chocolate mousse pie.
Fri: Meatloaf, Baked Alaska

(Plus I usually had about 2 appetizers and at least 2 desserts per meal.)

I might not be perfectly suited for cruise food, because you can see that I really don't have that fancy of tastes. I ordered pretty normal foods because I don't like to try exotic foods and I don't like seafood. The chef was from Australia, and had been trained in Europe, so all the desserts were European. I have to admit that by the end of the cruise, I began to think of things that I was missing ( warm Tollhouse cookies, tapioca pudding, pecan pie, Boston cream filled Dunkin Donuts).

But all in all, the food was DELICIOUS and I will definitely try to do this again.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

AQS Magazine, Ultimate Ship Tour

Some exciting news: Chris B. from American Quilters magazine called me and asked if they can keep my quilt "Five-Thirty A.M" a few days longer and photograph it for the AQ magazine. She doesn't know if they want to feature it as a pattern or if they want to put it as the final photo featured at the back of the magazine. Either way, I'm thrilled.

Also, I want to tell about my Ultimate Ship Tour, which I took on Friday. I was lotteried in as one of the 14 people on the ship that got to be on this tour. I had to pay $150 but it was way worth it. The tour took us all over the ship, into the places that passengers don't usually get to see.

We went backstage at the theater, saw the dressing rooms and the costume storage, and the cabins of the singers and dancers. They had so many costumes that they were stored on a sort of electric dry-cleaner rack that spiralled up 3 stories above the stage, they just pushed a button to spiral the dresses around and find the ones they wanted.

We toured the photography office (they print 10,000-15,000 8x10s on each cruise), and the printers office, where they gave each of us a thick personalized notepad with "Ultimate Ship Tour" and our names on each page.

We saw the galley (kitchen) and all the frozen food locker-rooms, the refrigerated locker-rooms, the holding rooms where they stored all the pounds of chopped vegetables they had chopped for the next meal, the humongous soup pots, the holding ovens, the big grills. It was all electric, because of the danger of fire. The ceiling, floors, walls were all steel.

Everything was absolutely clean, not a smudge or piece of dirt anywhere. I was impressed. They served each of us a delicious virgin cocktail and some fancy cookies, and we got our picture taken with the chef, Loreto Bembo, and the ships purser, Georgianna ____.

They have 184 cooks and 64 galley cleaners.

The laundry was almost the best part. They had gigantic tablecloth machines, two men put in the two corners of a wet tablecloth, it went into the presser and it got pressed dry, and then the machine folded it and it came out a little folded square. The same with towels, washcloths, napkins, each had their special machine that folded them.

There were washing machines that washed 350 towels at once, and it only took 5 minutes.

We went in the engineer room, and saw all the computers and video cameras showing the engine rooms and funnels, etc. We didn't actually get to go where the engines were. They told us how the heat from the ships engines is used to distill the water for the ship. They don't load water onto the ship, all the water is distilled. The ship can distill 30 tons of water per hour from salt water. I drank the water all week and it tasted great.

They told us that the ship weighs 70,000 tons, and to go from full speed to stopping takes 5 minutes and 1.5 miles, changing engines from full steam ahead to full astern.

Then for our last stop, we got to visit the bridge and talk to the 2nd officer and the captain and have our pictures taken there, while they all had champagne and I just had more fancy cookies. The bridge looked just like Star Trek except instead of stars there was a window 50 meters across with an ocean to look at. Lazy-boy type chairs and lots of computers and instrument panels. They had double back-up on every system, but they also had a regular old style sextant and compass, etc, in case everything broke at once. All the officers lived in cabins right next door, within 20 feet of the bridge, in case of an emergency they can all get there in about 1 minute.

That was about the best $150 I ever spent, I LOVE seeing behind the scenes.

Oh, I also got a fluffy embroidered "Sapphire Princess" bathrobe and a chef's uniform and the photos included for the price.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Getting Our Land Legs

We got home Sunday night at 10:30. It is weird, I can still feel the movement of the ocean, when I am laying in bed or sitting here typing, I think the house is going up and down with the waves.

Our tile all looks good in the bathrooms, the finishing touches are not quite done but will be in the next day or two. I need to paint behind the master bath toilet before Luke can put the toilet back on.

We found out that the kids somehow didn't close the freezer door properly in the garage and all our food got thawed. More money down the drain.

I gained 6 pounds on the cruise. Now its time to get back on the South Beach diet. I am determined to get back to my skinniest weight again.

Wayne had way more fun sailing on the sailboat with Jamey on Saturday than I did. I took 2 Bonine tablets to prevent seasickness, and they put me right out. I was so close to being unconscious all day that I was a zombie when I wasn't napping.

Will tell you more about my cruise tomorrow.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Get to Know Your Lime

Once a month, all the seminary teachers attend a training meeting. At a recent one, Brother B. had a big bag of limes. He gave one to each of us, and said, "I am giving you one minute. Get to know your lime."

We turned them all around, noticed the bruises, dots, bumps, various colors, etc.

After one minute, he had us all put them back in the bag. Then he dumped them on the table, and we each had to pick out our lime. It was so easy! Mine was light on one side and dark on the other. I knew exactly which spots and bruises it had, because I had studied it and paid attention to it.

He went on to give us a lesson on paying attention to each student, their personalities, their interests, how they learned, etc. If a teacher spends time getting to know the student, the teacher can serve that student better. It was a good analogy.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

My Parent's Early Marriage

Immediately after my parents marriage, they went to live with my grandparents in the logging woods of Arizona. My grandpa Hap had a contract to haul logs out of a forest there, and had to make the roads and haul the logs with their crew of mostly Navajo Indians. My parents lived in a one-room house there, with no electricity or plumbing. They were in that situation for about 2 years. My oldest sister Cheryl was born while they lived there.

My dad was an avid hunter, and taught my mom to hunt. She was a good shot.

Friday, March 26, 2010

My Parent's Wedding

My parents got married in the Mesa Temple only three weeks after my mother came home from her mission to the Northern California mission. My dad actually went to visit her TWICE during her mission, once with her parents. He proposed while she was on her mission.

They went on their honeymoon to the Grand Canyon. And they went fishing.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

News from Cabo San Lucas

This will be my last post before I get home.

By the way, I checked the AQS website and I didn´t win an award. Oh well.

We had to take a tender (a little boat) from the ship to the port, then walk through a lot of people yelling "want to go whale watching? want to go on a glass bottom boat? want to swim with dolphins? want a taxi? want to go on a jet ski?" etc all the way to the shopping district. Cheryl started screaming from frustration.

Mother loves to look in every jewelry store. Jamey bought a very expensive watch yesterday. I bought a cutesy little handmade purse, bright colors, I bet you are not surprised.

Wayne, Larry, Rona and Jamey went on a snuba outing today, thats SNUBA not scuba.

Our room is on the Lido deck, so every time I see the sign for our floor, I start singing the Lido Shuffle in my head the rest of the day..."Lido missed the boat that day he left the shack, but that was all he missed, so he aint going back....oh oh oh oh, Lido!!" and I am so so sick of that song.

Tonight is the second formal night so I will wear the taupe formal that I wore to Adam´and Tiffanys wedding, so I can dance and the big full skirt will twirl.

For the next several days, only random posts will appear, and I will do another update on Monday morning I hope. We will be home late Sunday night.

I can´t wait to see my new bathroom tile, Luke has been finishing it while we are gone.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

News from Mazatlan

(Photo of the Papantla Flyers, descending from a 60 ft. tall pole with ropes around their legs. Part of the entertainment that we saw on our bus tour.)

(Photo of my mother and I at the cathedral in Mazatlan.)

I left the ship and came over here to the terminal all by myself. Thanks for all your emails, that made me feel good that you all wrote. Now I know what missionaries feel like.
Me and the girls went on a tour today, airconditioned bus for 3 hours all over Mazatlan. Wow the houses and buildings are all bright colors just like on my quilts. I want to paint my house lime green with purple accents like here.

We love the shows, and last night Wayne and I went to a big band dance and danced the swing, waltz, etc. then left that one and went to the 50's dance and did the swing and the twist and the handjive.

A few days ago we took salsa lessons and line dancing lessons. Wayne would like to be Fred Astaire someday, thats ok by me, he is a good dance partner.

I have not been in shorts or swim suit yet, it has only been about 75 degrees at the hottest but usually I have been indoors so I wasn't ever hot enough for shorts.

We looked great on formal night, we bought the portrais for our 30th anniversary portrait.

I have never felt sea sick a bit, just every now and then it feels just like being on an airplane and sways a little bit so I look drunk as I'm walking. (But I'm not drunk.)(Just wanted to be sure you knew that.)

We are having a WONDERFUL time. Wayne said the first evening, "WE HAVE GOT TO DO THIS AGAIN!!!!!!" so I am sure we will.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

News from Puerto Vallarta

(Our Oklahoma relatives finally got on the ship in Puerto Vallarta. Here are Larry and Rona.)

(Carla and Kyle in Puerto Vallarta)

(Cindy and mermaid sculpture.)

I am in an internet cafe in Puerto Vallerta, Mexico. We have been on a fabulous cruise since Saturday.

Five of our group got delayed by snow in Oklahoma for 4 hours on Saturday, and arrived at the LA airport a half hour after the ship left the dock. It was so sad. The trip insurance we think will cover their flight to Puerto Vallerta and their hotel, they flew here instead and spent the last 3 days waiting for us, and they boarded the ship this morning.

I haven´t been seasick a bit.

Wayne has been stuck on Eastern time and has woken up at 3:30 am every morning, and has gone out of the room to read by the pool, or work out at the gym, or swim, or hot tub.

I am gaining weight for sure, we eat at least 7 desserts a day.

We will be in Mazatlan tomorrow, and Cabo San Lucas the next day, and i will try to find an internet cafe each time.

To my family: Gee thanks for writing to me. I got zero emails. You better write to me for tomorrow.

More photos of 3-D House

Monday, March 22, 2010

3-D House for Mother's Birthday

I spent about 35 hours making this little quilted house for my mom's birthday. The house is 3.5" x 3" and 5" tall. The base is 8" x 9".

It is made of silk fabric, photos transferred onto fabric, beads, yarn, charms, buttons and silk ribbon embroidery. It is all attached together with buttons and black elastic.

The exterior of the house has a photo of my mother, and a photo of her parents.

The interior of the house has photos of Cheryl, Cindy, Larry and me.

The roof interior has photos of Carla and Jamey.

The base is a board covered with fabric. I have written in machine-quilting the verses from Proverbs: "Her children arise up and call her blessed" and "Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies." I made flower-gardens of silk ribbon embroidery in the front and back yards.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Mother's 80th Birthday

This is my beautiful mother, and she is 80 years old today.

Wayne and I, my siblings and my mother are on a 7-day cruise right now to celebrate this milestone in her life. She has been a wonderful mother to me.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sea Cruise

Tomorrow morning bright and early we are flying to Los Angeles, where we are meeting my whole family and we are going on a cruise to celebrate my mother's 80th birthday.

We will be visiting Mazatlan, Puerto Vallerta, and Cabo San Lucas, and we will be on the "Princess Sapphire" cruise ship.

I will tell you all about it when I get back.

I am excited!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sounds Suspicious

I got an email yesterday from someone named Sarah who does a quilting newsletter in Lancaster, PA. She said that Bonnie B. (a bigwig in the American Quilter's Society) referred her to me because I have "an amazing quilt in the show this year". Sarah wanted me to answer some questions so she could put my comments and the photo of my quilt in her newsletter. I was happy to oblige, any publicity is good publicity for me, because I guess I'm going to start doing my business again and need to get my name out there again.

Anyway, now I am very suspicious. Why did Bonnie B. tell Sarah about this particular quilt, and say it was amazing? I don't want to get my hopes up, but I wonder if I will be winning some sort of an award. At the very least, I can feel happy to know that Bonnie B. thought my quilt is great.

Here are my answers for her newsletter:

1. What’s the story behind this quilt?

Five-Thirty A.M.

53” w x 54” h

For four years, I have left my house each weekday at 5:30 am to be a volunteer teacher of high-school students at our church. Every school day the religion class is held at 6:00 a.m.

The quilt shows my car leaving my house (with the lights on). All the other houses I drive past have dark windows. Then at the bottom of the quilt, my car reaches the lighted church, which is surrounded by the cars of the students.

I attended these early-morning religion classes in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a youth, and all of our six children have attended throughout their high school years.

One of the goals every year is for the students to memorize 25 selected scriptures. I have machine-quilted many of those "scripture masteries" all over this quilt.

2. How long did it take you to make it? I made it a little at a time over a few years. The curved piecing was actually left over from another quilt that I made in 2003, but it took me awhile to figure out that I wanted to make the curved portions into neighborhood streets with houses on them.

3. How long have you been quilting, and how did you get into it? I've been quilting since 1985, and have taught nationally since 2001.

4. Is this your first time entering a quilt into the American Quilter’s Society Quilt Show & Contest? No. "In the Beginning" was a contestant in Paducah in 2001. "Make an Appointment", Paducah, 2002. "Groovy Basket of Blessings", Paducah, 2004. "Five-Thirty A.M" and "He Loves Me" are contestants in Lancaster in 2010.

5. As a quilter, are there any other recognitions you have received?

Awards at National Quilt Competitions:

MidAtlantic Quilt Festival: First Place Theme, 1999
Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza: Judge's Choice 2001
MidAtlantic Quilt Festival: Honorable Mention 2002
World Quilt and Textile: Viewers Choice 2002
Pacific International: Judge's Choice 2003
Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival: Judge's Choice 2007

6. What are you looking forward to most about your stay in Lancaster County? I regret not being able to attend this year.

7. Where do you find your inspiration for quilting? One of my strangest inspirations is the desire to use up fabric or "UFOs" (unfinished objects). This quilt, "Five-Thirty A.M" was started by trying to use up scraps from a previous quilt entitled "Sunday Morning".

I started piecing together all those brightly-colored fabrics, and then used my curvaceous piecing technique to make long curvy borders in between 1/2 yard pieces of dark hand-dyed fabric. When looking at it, I decided it looked like neighborhood streets, so I made a bunch of fusible-appliqued houses to put on it. Since it looked like a night sky, I realized I could make it into the story of myself driving to church early every morning to teach my religion class.

8. What’s next for you creatively or technically with quilting (your aspirations or goals)? In the past 2 years, I made a goal to finish every UFO in my stash, so I finished 18 quilts/wallhangings and made 7 baby quilt tops (to be quilted later when grandkids arrive). I still have one long-term project that has been in the works for 10 years, and after that is done, the sky is the limit. I can start whatever I want!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Light of Christ

"The Light of Christ", by Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, April 2005, p. 8.

"Every man, woman , and child of every nation, creed, or color--everyone, no matter where they live or what they believe or what they do--has within them the imperishable Light of Christ. In this respect, all men are created equally. The Light of Christ in everyone is a testimony that God is no respecter of persons (see Doctrine and Covenants 1:35). He treats everyone equally in that endowment with the Light of Christ."

He continues:

"The Light of Christ is as universal as sunlight itself. Wherever there is human life, there is the Spirit of Christ. Every living soul is possessed of it. It is the sponsor of everything that is good. It is the inspirer of everything that will bless and benefit mankind. It nourishes goodness itself."

President Packer then adds,

"It should not be difficult, therefore, to understand how revelation from God to his children on earth can come to all mankind through both the Spirit of Christ and the Holy Ghost."

God has blessed many nations, and has given them all the truth "that he seeth fit that they should have." (Alma 29:8).

In 1978 the First Presidency of the Church stated:

"The great religious leaders of the world such as Mohammed, Confucious, and the Reformers, as well as philosophers including Socrates, Plato, and others, received a portion of God's light. Moral truths were given to them by God to enlighten whole nations and to bring a higher level of understanding to individuals. The Hebrew prophets prepared the way for the coming of Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, who should provide salvation for all mankind who believe in the gospel. Consistent with these truths, we believe that God has given and will give to all peoples sufficient knowledge to help them on their way to eternal salvation, either in this life or in the life to come. We also declare that the gospel of Jesus Christ, restored to His Church in our day, provides the only way to a mortal life of happiness and a fulness of joy forever..."
Statement of the First Presidency regarding God's Love for All Mankind, Feb. 15, 1978.

(My thanks to Eric-Jon K. Marlowe for bringing these quotes to my attention, through his article "The Only True Church: Boldness without Overbearance".)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wake County Republican Convention

I was a delegate to the Wake County Republican Convention on Monday night, my first county convention.

I arrived at the Kerr-Scott building at the fairgrounds at 6:30, looked around at all the tables which were set up for various candidates, took literature, talked to people.

Then sat in my seating area for District 41, and listened to speeches by the Wake County Republican party chairman Claude Pope, and to a video by U.S. Senator Richard Burr, and to a speech by former gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory.

We watched 2-minute video presentations from about 15 candidates running in our districts, it was wonderful to hear their messages and get an idea who I wanted to support. It was also a lesson in videography skills, you could certainly tell who paid for their videos and who was filmed by their friend or spouse.

After the videos, we voted in a Straw Poll to see who we thought we would support. I have always wondered how political candidates percolate up from being a nobody to being someone who has supporters, now I am starting to see how they do it.

I got a thrill of excitement when Claude Pope said "Please stand up if this is the first county convention you have ever attended", and fully one-third to one-half of the crowd stood up (I couldn't tell how many, it was A LOT). That told me that previously-non-involved Republicans are pouring out in great numbers to be a part of the political process.

It was a good experience, and I hope to participate in this way every year from now on.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Zac brought home a document from school the other day, wanting us to declare what race he was. It wasn't mandatory, so I didn't send it back.

Any day now, I'm going to receive my census. I have heard that it lists every race and ethnicity under the sun, and you are supposed to choose one.

I am going to go all the way to the bottom, and choose "Other". And in the blank line beside it, I will write in "American".

Monday, March 15, 2010

Rude Neighbor, Etc.

I went out to bring in my empty trash can from the street, and discovered that some rude dogwalker had dropped a plastic bag of dog doodoo into my trash can. Now I can't put my trash can back into my garage, because I don't want that to smell up my garage for a week. I am not happy.

(Added later) If you read this post earlier today, sorry, but I thought it was too negative so I decided to add more.

Good news: Zac has found an Eagle project. He will be constructing a wooden set of rolling shelves, to hold backpacks of kids who attend classes at the Bond Park Community Center. The unit will have cubbies to hold 40 backpacks.

I found something to wear to the formal nights on the cruise. I bought a gorgeous lace jacket at a resale shop, to go with a black chiffon skirt I bought at Goodwill. Total price: $65.

I finished painting our master bathroom. This week Luke is going to start tiling all 3 bathrooms.

And I just discovered a new favorite show on HGTV. It is on Sunday nights at 9, "Sarah's House". She and her husband bought an older home, and they are renovating it. I love the way she finds bargains and ways to get very upscale looking results without spending much money.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Something's Alive in the Dryer Vent!

On Monday I was home alone, and kept hearing weird noises upstairs. Oddly enough, instead of automatically thinking it was a rapist hiding up there, I decided it was just wind in the various exhaust pipes that stick up out of the roof and left it at that.

Tuesday when I was in the laundry room putting in wash, I heard all sorts of wiggling and rattling behind the dryer and realized something was alive inside the vent hose. I didn't dry any clothes because it creeped me out to cook the little critter. The next time I was out, I bought a new vent tube. Then forgot to tell anyone in my family about it.

Wednesday Tara did laundry, dried my load of clothes and her load of clothes. So I suppose she was the unknowing executioner.

Thursday when I opened the laundry room door, I caught a faint whiff of "Eu-de-Dead Animal-Cologne". I finally remembered to tell Wayne, and he came home that evening and took the vent hose off, and sure enough, there was a big dead bird that was nearly as big around as the vent hose. I'm surprised our house didn't catch fire when Tara did 2 loads of laundry.

There are 2 morals to this story:

1) As FlyLady keeps telling me, dryer vents are a fire hazard and should be cleaned out every 6 months. I've never worried about my dryer vent before, and have never cleaned out any of them in any house, even houses we have lived in for 11 years. Think about all that flammable fuzz that gets trapped in there, with or without dead animals.

2) Make sure your husband knows that he is the "Dead Animal Specialist" in your family. Because EWWWWWWW!!!! us girls don't want that title! I am definitely a sexist when it comes to this. I would pay someone instead of hauling out a dead animal myself. Thats a MALE's job.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Harrowed Up

I was recently teaching from the book of Alma in the Book of Mormon in seminary. In Alma 36, Alma tells about how he repented of gross wickedness and was born of God.

He says:
"Verse 17: And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.

Verse 18: Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.

Verse 19: And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.

Verse 20: And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!"

I never really thought about the words "harrowed up" until I went to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park a few years ago, and went to a pioneer village there.

I saw these harrows, and finally realized how much it must hurt to truly have your soul harrowed up.

It makes me understand the metaphor in the Book of Mormon, about faith being like a seed. If your soul is harrowed up, you have been prepared for the seed to be planted.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Molasses Sugar Cookies


3/4 c. shortening
1. c sugar
1/4 c. molasses (also works with honey for a
different flavor)
1 egg
2 t. bkg soda
2 c. flour
1/2 t. powdered cloves
1/2 t. ginger
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
Dip in sugar. Put unsugared side down.
Bake at 375 for 8 min.

These are some of my favorite cookies. I got the recipe from Wayne's Aunt Carol. They were from Uncle Gary's side of the family.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Workout Music for Missionaries

I never thought about it before, but when missionaries do their mandatory physical exercises every day, what do they listen to? If they are only allowed to listen to hymns and EFY music, I think the rhythm and beat would be way too slow to exercise with.

My good friend Jo (an old roommate from BYU) has come up with an answer. She is marketing aerobic music for missionaries, which are hymns arranged with a great beat. They are using her CDs during exercise time at the MTC in Provo, and selling them at the Missionary Mall store in Orem.

You can listen to samples of the music at her web site, and order the CD's from the Missionary Mall (scroll down about 7 items and you will see the CD entitled "Get Moving Missionary HymnMix".)

Good job, Jo!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My First Book of Mormon

I was looking through some books in my house the other day, and found an old blue Book of Mormon with an Angel Moroni on the front cover. (They don't make that kind anymore.)

I opened it and found that it was the first Book of Mormon I ever read all the way through.

It says

"Amy Stewart
Nov. 1, 72 read this book" (then the Nov. 1, 72 is crossed out. I was 13 years old.)

"March 10, 73" (then the March 10, 73 is crossed out.)

"1st Jan. 1974 --straight thru"
(I am assuming that this was the time that I finally made it all the way through reading it. I would have been 14 when I started and 15 when I finished, probably.)

"2nd time--Oct. 30, 74-- "

(I didn't record the ending time on either one of those dates.)

My family didn't have daily scripture study, so I would have never read the Book of Mormon with my family. Also, the Sunday School and Primary curriculum was much different back then, not as scripture intensive. So reading it on my own when I was 14-15 was a significant milestone in my life, the first time I had ever really heard all those stories straight from the scriptures.

I remember that I knew the Book of Mormon was true, I had no doubt. And I didn't have to wonder any more. I had my own testimony that it was true, and didn't have to rely on anyone else for that.

About 15 years ago, I visit taught a woman who had joined the Church as a teenager, had married in the temple, and had about 3 children. When hard times came to her and her husband, they started finding fault with the doctrines of the Church, and eventually ended their membership.

In the early stages of her dissatisfaction, I tried to help her by giving doctrinal lessons when I came visiting teaching. It finally came out that she had never read the Book of Mormon. She never had that burning testimony that it was true scripture from God, with the resulting testimony that Joseph Smith was a true prophet who had the priesthood authority and direct revelation from God to restore the true gospel on the earth again.

She had no foundation on which to continue in the Church, because she had never received a testimony of two of the three most important truths of the gospel. (She believed in Jesus Christ, but she could go to other churches which also taught about Jesus.) She only liked our church because she liked the comradery, the programs, the atmosphere. And interestingly enough, she liked the doctrine that there were more worlds than ours, that Jesus was the Savior of them all. But that wasn't enough, and she fell away.

I have a lot of foreboding about the future, I do not know how long it will be before the Second Coming of our Savior, I only know that the prophets have foretold that it will happen. Things are not going to get easier, it will be increasingly harder to live the Gospel. And we have to have a testimony that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet in order to live through the things that will be required of us.

I am so thankful that I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, and of a living prophet on the earth today, guiding and directing the true Church of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Brigham Young to Governor of North Carolina

I was teaching seminary in the high council room at the Apex stake center all this school year, and only yesterday switched to the new Morrisville building.

All year I have noticed a big plaque on the wall of the high council room, so a few weeks ago I looked at it and found that it was a framed document, a reproduction of the letter that Brigham Young wrote to the governor of North Carolina, William A. Graham, on April 25, 1845.

In 1845, at the height of the Church's persecution in Nauvoo, Illinois, Pres. Young wrote to many governors, asking to be received into their states as refugees. I can only assume that Governor Graham didn't respond, or replied in the negative. Because Pres. Young could not find any state to take them in, the saints emigrated to Utah.

This is on the plaque:
A Plea for Asylum
Brigham Young Bicentennial Display at the Apex Stake Center, High Council Room
Display created June 1, 2001

When Brigham Young's 1845 plea for religious asylum in North Carolina and other states failed, the Mormons' great western migration began. 156 years later, 56,000 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints live and worship in the state--four times the number who followed Brigham Young across the central plains, settled in Utah between 1847-1848, and began the colonization of the American West.

These labels are below the photos of each man:

Brigham Young, Church President 1847-1877

William A. Graham, North Carolina Governor 1845-1849

I typed the whole document for you to read:

Nauvoo, Illinois, April 25th 1845

Honorable Sir,
Suffer us, Sir, in behalf of a disfranchised and long afflicted people to prefer a few suggestions for your serious consideration, in hope of a friendly and unequivocal response, at as early a period as may suit your convenience, and the extreme urgency of the case seems to demand.

It is not our present design to detail the multiplied and aggravated wrongs that we have received in the midst of a nation that gave us birth. Some of us have long been loyal citizens of the state over which you have the honor to preside; while others claim citizenship in each of the states of this great confederacy. We say we are a disfranchised people. We are privately told by the highest authorities of this state, that it is neither prudent nor safe for us to vote at the polls; still we have continued to maintain our right to vote, until the blood of our best men has been shed, both in Missouri and Illinois with impunity.

You are doubtless somewhat familiar with the history of our extermination from the state of Missouri, wherein scores of our brethren were massacred, hundreds died through want and sickness occasioned by thier unparalleled sufferings; some millions of our property were confiscated or destroyed, and some fifteen thousand souls fled for their lives to the then peaceful and hospitable shores of Illinois; and that the state of Illinois granted to us a charter, for the term of perpetual succession under whose provisions private rights have become invested, and the largest city in the state has grown up, numbering about 20,000 inhabitants.

But, Sir, the startling attitude recently assumed by the state of Illinois forbids us to think that her designs are any less vindictive than those of Missouri. She has already used the military of the State, with the Executive at their head, to coerce and surrender up our best men to unparalleled murder, and that too under the most sacred pledges of protection and safety. As a salvo for such unearthly perfidy and guilt, she told us, through her highest executive officer, that the laws should be magnified, and the murderers be brought to justice; but the blood of her innocent victims had not been wholly wiped from the floor of the awful arena, where the citizens of a sovereign state pounced upon two defenceless servants of God, our Prophet and our Patriarch, before the Senate of that State rescued one of the indicted actors in that mournful tragedy from the Sheriff of Hancock County, and gave him an honorable seat in her Hall of Legislation. And all others who were indicted by the Grand Jury of Hancock Couty, for trhe murder of Generals Joseph and Hyrum Smith, are suffered to roam at large, watching for further prey.

To crown the climax of those bloody deeds, the State has repealed all those chartered rights by which we might have defended ourselves, lawfully, against aggressors. If we defend ourselves hereafter against violence, whether it comes under the shadow of law or otherwise, (for we have reason to expect it both ways,) we shall then be charged with treason and suffer the penalty. And if we continue passive and nonresistant, we must expect to perish, for our enemies have sworn it.

And, here, Sir, permit us to stae, that Gen. Joseph Smith during his short life, was arraigned at the bar of his country about fifty times, charges with criminal offences, but was acquitted every time by his country, his enemies, or rather his religious oponents, almost invariably being his judges; and we further testify, that as a people, we are law-abiding, peacable and without crime, and we challenge the world to prove the contrary; and while other less cities in Illinois have had special courts instituted to try their criminals, we have been stript of every source of arraigning marauders and murderers who are prowling, around to destroy us, except the common magistracy.

With the facts before you, Sir, will you write to us without delay, as a father and friend, and advise us what to do? We are, many of us, citizens of your state, and all members of the same great confederacy. Our fathers, nay, some of us, have fought and bled for our country, and we love her constitution dearly.

In the name of Israel's God, and by virtue of multipled ties of country and kindred, we ask your friendly interposition in our favor.

Will it be too much for us to ask you to convene a special session of your State Legislature, and furnish us an asylum, where we can enjoy of rights of conscience and religion unmolested?

Or, will you, in a special message to that body, when convened, recommend a remonstrance against such unhallowed acts of oppression and expatriation as this people have continued to receive from the states of Missouri and Illinois?

Or, will you favor us by your personal influence, and by your official rank?

Or, will you express your views concerning what is called the "Great Western Measure" of colonizing the Latter Day Saints in Oregon, The Northwestern Territory, or some location remote from the states, where the hand of oppression shall not crush every noble principle, and extinguish every patriotic feeling?

And now, Hon. Sir, having reached out our imploring hands to you with deep solemnity, we would importune with you, as a father, a friend, a patriot and statesman; by the constitution of American Liberty; by the blood of our fathers who have fought for the independence of this republic; by the blood of the martyrs which has been shed in our midst; by the wailings of the widows and orphans; by our murdered fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, wives and children; by the dread of immediate destruction from secret combinations now forming for our overthrow; and by every endearing tie that binds man to man, and renders life bearable; and that too, for aught we know, for the last time, that will lend your immediate aid to quell the violence of mobocracy, and exert your influence to establish us, as a people, in our civil and religious rights, where we now are, or in some part of the United States, or at some place remote therefrom, where we may colonize in peace and safety, as soon as circumstances will permit.

We sincerely hope, that your future prompt measures towards us, will be dictated by the best feellings that dwell in the bosom of humanity---and the blessings of a grateful people, and of many, ready to perish, shall come upon you.

We are, Sir;
With great respect,
Your most obdt servts,

Brigham Young, President
Willard Richards, Clerk of the Quorum of the Twelve

N.R. Whitney, George Miller, Trustees of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Committee in behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints, of Nauvoo Illinois.

P.S. As many of our communications, postmarked "Nauvoo" have failed of their destination, and as the mails around us have been intercepted by our enemies, we shall send this to some distant office, by the hand of a special messenger.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Survival Guide to Catastrophe

(NEWSFLASH---Seth called last night and said he has decided to come to NC State and get his master's!!!!!! So he and Janette will be moving to this area at the end of April!!!!!)

Months ago, I gave a book review of The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes--and Why. © 2008 by Amanda Ripley. A couple of days ago, I was reading something on the internet and they had a link to an article she wrote. This article from Time magazine, May 29, 2008, contains some of the best parts of the book. (Who survived when a ferry sank, who survived in a restaurant fire, and who survived in the World Trade Center.) Read it and get some good ideas!,9171,1810315-1,00.html

To learn more about survival skills in a disaster, go to

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Skinny Minnie

Announcement: I have now lost 20 pounds, from my highest weight in Jan. 2009 until now. I AM PROUD OF MYSELF.

My clothes are all baggy. I can button sweaters and jackets that I used to wear open with a tshirt under. I have gotten all new pants since last year. My skirts' waistbands are all loose.

(By the way, I give all the credit to the South Beach Diet. The principles I learned there have made all the difference in the way I eat. Mostly by eating lots of vegetables and some lean protein, and skimping or eliminating all the pasta and breads, all that weight has come off.)

The bad news: I am going on a cruise in two weeks. So goodbye baggy clothing. It was nice while it lasted.

AND Here is a link to a great talk by Elder Dallin Oaks, one of the apostles in our church. He gave this speech to the Harvard Law School on Feb. 26, 2010

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Light at the End of Seminary

Yesterday we moved everything out of the stake center high council room, and on Monday I will start teaching seminary in the new Morrisville building, 1/2 mile from my home. No more driving 9 miles to seminary!

I may be released from seminary in just a few months, yet if I am released, I am totally apprehensive to find out what calling I will get next. I am hoping it is a normal, average calling, like Primary teacher or something that I've done a million times before. I am really ready to have a rest from these hours I spend each day on seminary. However, I'll leave it up to God, I suppose if He wants to give me some other hard calling I will deal with it.

I am finally starting to think I can get back into teaching quilting.

I would really like to start learning how to use New Family Search, I hope I can do that a bunch in the coming year.

I also have a goal to go through the whole "Preach My Gospel" book and do every single exercise in it. I have read the whole thing already, but didn't do any of the exercises. I think that will be much more helpful to do this next time.

(I have all these big goals, like doing NaNoWriMo and Preach My Gospel and Family History, as if I'm going to have tons and grundles of free time suddenly. I'm sure it won't quite work out that way.)

Tara is going to BYU in the fall. Seth & Janette have no idea where they are going after BYU graduation in April. Adam is also graduating from NCSU, no news yet on what he and Tiffany will be doing next. Bryce will be an EFY counselor in the Midwest all summer and will be home 2 weeks at the end of August, probably he and Tara will drive out to BYU together. Then Wayne and I will just have Zac left at home for 2 years, that will be really weird.

Oh, I'll tell you a story about my granddaughter, Elizabeth. She has decided that having a pet fish would be good, so when she was at my house she took a Little People toy (it was a plastic girl, didn't look anything like a fish) and put it in a glass of water and carried it around all day. "This is my fish." And she protected it with her life, and wouldn't let anyone touch it or pour out the water. And she fed it a cracker.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Rules for NaNoWriMo

In case you are curious, here are the rules from their website:

Occasionally, participants write in to ask about the rules of the event. We don't have many! But because we've found that creativity is often heightened by constraints (and communities bolstered by shared goals) we have evolved a handful of rules over the years. The rules state that, to be an official NaNoWriMo winner, you must…

Write a 50,000-word (or longer!) novel, between November 1 and November 30.

Start from scratch. None of your own previously written prose can be included in your NaNoWriMo draft (though outlines, character sketches, and research are all fine, as are citations from other people's works).

Write a novel. We define a novel as a lengthy work of fiction. If you consider the book you're writing a novel, we consider it a novel too!

Be the sole author of your novel. Apart from those citations mentioned two bullet-points up.

Write more than one word repeated 50,000 times.

Upload your novel for word-count validation to our site between November 25 and November 30.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

50,000 Words of Crap

I don't usually say "crap" because my mother taught me it was a cuss word, but that was in the title of this section from the NaNoWriMo website,

(From the website) If I'm just writing 50,000 words of crap, why bother? Why not just write a real novel later, when I have more time?

There are three reasons.

1) If you don't do it now, you probably never will. Novel writing is mostly a "one day" event. As in "One day, I'd like to write a novel." Here's the truth: 99% of us, if left to our own devices, would never make the time to write a novel. It's just so far outside our normal lives that it constantly slips down to the bottom of our to-do lists. The structure of NaNoWriMo forces you to put away all those self-defeating worries and START. Once you have the first five chapters under your belt, the rest will come easily. Or painfully. But it will come. And you'll have friends to help you see it through to 50k.

2) Aiming low is the best way to succeed. With entry-level novel writing, shooting for the moon is the surest way to get nowhere. With high expectations, everything you write will sound cheesy and awkward. Once you start evaluating your story in terms of word count, you take that pressure off yourself. And you'll start surprising yourself with a great bit of dialogue here and a ingenious plot twist there. Characters will start doing things you never expected, taking the story places you'd never imagined. There will be much execrable prose, yes. But amidst the crap, there will be beauty. A lot of it.

3) Art for art's sake does wonderful things to you. It makes you laugh. It makes you cry. It makes you want to take naps and go places wearing funny pants. Doing something just for the hell of it is a wonderful antidote to all the chores and "must-dos" of daily life. Writing a novel in a month is both exhilarating and stupid, and we would all do well to invite a little more spontaneous stupidity into our lives.

It sounds like a fun challenge. I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Calmed Down Yet?

Are you over your shock that I'm going to write a novel? Do you feel sorry that I am so delusional, and want to talk me out of it? Don't worry, I don't have any high hopes about this, and I don't believe it will ever be published, I am writing it purely for the exercise and to say that I've done it. I picture it like running a marathon--what do you really get out of it but a little medal and a lot of satisfaction? So don't worry that I'm going to be sorely disappointed.

If you read the website, you will find out how to participate.

(from their website)How NaNoWriMo Works (in Ten Easy Steps)

1) Sign up for the event by clicking the "Sign Up Now" link at the top of the site. It's right there above "National."

2) Check your email and read the ginormous email our noveling robots send you. It will have "Love" in the subject line, and may be hiding in your Junk folder.

3) Log into your account and use the links on the My NaNoWriMo page to set your timezone, affiliate with a region, and tell us a little bit about yourself.

4) Begin procrastinating by reading through all the great advice and funny stories in the forums. Post some stories and questions of your own. Get excited. Get nervous. Try to rope someone else into doing this with you. Eat lots of chocolate and stockpile noveling rewards.

5) On November 1, begin writing your novel. Your goal is to write a 50,000-word novel by midnight, local time, on November 30th. You write on your own computer, using whatever software you prefer.

6) This is not as scary as it sounds.

7) Starting November 1, you can update your word count in that box at the top of the site, and post excerpts of your work for others to read. Watch your word-count accumulate and story take shape. Feel a little giddy.

8) Write with other NaNoWriMo participants in your area. Write by yourself. Write. Write. Write.

9) If you write 50,000 words of fiction by midnight, local time, November 30th, you can upload your novel for official verification, and be added to our hallowed Winner’s Page and receive a handsome winner’s certificate and web badge. We'll post step-by-step instructions on how to scramble and upload your novel starting in mid-November.

10) Win or lose, you rock for even trying.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Shocking New Goal

I am going to completely stun all of you with this revelation. I think I really want to write a novel.

You are probably saying, "What the Heck! Mom is a QUILTER not a NOVELIST! WHAT HAS GOTTEN INTO HER????"

Well, a few years ago, when I was dead set on writing a how-to-quilt book, I checked out lots of books from the library about how to get published. I basically wanted to know how to type the book in the correct format, how to find a publisher, etc. Instead, I kept accidentally checking out books on how to write a novel. And the more I read them, the more I said to myself, "I could do that!"

Just like you, I have had lots of crazy and weird and thought-provoking things that have either happened in my own life, or I have been a witness to them happening in other people's lives, and the more these little anecdotes rattle around in my brain the more they collide and form plotlines and dialogue and IT COULD REALLY BE A GOOD NOVEL. So there.

The most interesting book on writing that I came across, was one called No Plot? No Problem! A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days, by Chris Baty. He started the National Novel Writing Month ( called NaNoWriMo) in 1999 with 21 friends, and they all made a goal to write 50,000 words in 30 days. By the next year, 140 people signed up, and 21 of them succeeded in writing 50,000 words.

Last year, 2009, they had 119,301 adult participants worldwide, and 21,683 had achieved the goal. It looks like loads of fun, and I want to do it too. (Only 1,667 words per day, shouldn't be TOO hard.)

National Novel Writing Month is Nov. 1-Nov. 30, and unless I have a super hard new church calling after seminary ends, writing a novel is what I will be doing that month. Anyone want to join me?

Check out the website:

(from their website) What is NaNoWriMo?

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Thirty Years Ago-Engagement

To recap our romance story, Wayne and I went on our first date (to the Osmond Concert) on Jan. 26, 1980. I dated other guys clear up to Feb. 16. I cancelled my mission call on Feb. 24 because I was falling in love with Wayne.

We went to the Girls' Preference Dance at BYU on Feb. 29, then out to eat at R. Spencer Hines Restaurant in Provo.

Here we are just before going to Preference.

We got engaged on the night between Feb. 29-March 1, 1980. (It was leap year so we decided to say we got engaged on March 1.)

We told our roommates on March 2, and Dave J. was the most surprised.

When I read this story, I am appalled at the speed of our engagement. What stupid idiots we were! I knew him so little, that I could have married him and found out later that he was an axe murderer or mentally unbalanced or any number of horrible things!

However, we have been exceedingly happily married for almost 30 years, so I can only say that God was looking out for me and led me right to the man of my dreams.

I also wonder if we had several guardian angels arranging things as we went bumbling along. I would love to meet them someday in the spirit world, and hear their side of the story.