Saturday, October 31, 2015

Only a few Go From Door to Door


        When I worked for Swire Coca-Cola,  we had the option of buying up to 8 cases of soda at six cents a can to pass out on Halloween.  This started a tradition that we tried to continue even after I had left Swire and was told that the company no longer offered the six-cent can option.  We still found sodas that were comparable to passing out candy. 

          Parents liked it because the bags of their young trick-or-treaters would become so heavy that they'd want to go home.  We also liked passing out soda because it wasn't the same old, same old.  We actually did not make a purchase for anything this year.  I honestly didn't believe that there would be door-to-door trick-or-treaters.  We were told about the event downtown.

          Stars Hollow is the fictitious town in which the series "Gilmore Girls" is set.  I admire that atmosphere of a community working together and participating in events and celebrations as a town.  Same with "Hart of Dixie's" Bluebell, Alabama.  I often thought it would be fun to live in such a close knit community and enjoy the company of others.  I now have that opportunity in Myrtle Creek.

          The Halloween event takes place downtown.  Almost everybody dresses up and take young ones trick-or-treating or walk from one participating retailer to the next to receive candy.  It's a huge event - not just for Myrtle Creek, but the surrounding areas.  I enjoyed Halloween this year just watching those who were out, and discovering more of Myrtle Creek for myself.

          There were a few that came to our door - but not a lot.  (It gets really dark even before the sun fully sets - and the streets are NOT well lit) We did have some close-out sodas in the fridge (being closed out with good reason) and passed those out.  I don't expect those trick-or-treaters will ever be back.   

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam

        I have two callings in the ward which I currently attend.  I was pining for a position as an instructor in  Relief Society.  The primary was just a bit quicker about snatching me up for a position.  I had agreed to substitute teach the sunbeams only the week before I was asked to be a teacher for the sunbeam class.

        Emily was not there the first week that I taught, but has been there every week since.  Quite shy at first because she didn't know me.  She was okay if there was another classmate in attendance.  But for the most part it's just been me and Emily.

        She reminds me of my granddaughter, Ester, though I wasn't given the opportunity for spending much time with Ester.  I am reminded of her smile and her great knowledge as I spend time with Emily, who often pretends that she is a horse.

        Before I left Utah, my ward calling was the activities director in Relief Society.  A calling I really wasn't comfortable with as I found it hard to find diverse activities to include all the sisters and felt frustration when the scout leaders or activity leaders did not support the activities in RS because they were serving in their own callings.  I thought that schedules should be alternated one every other month so that they could attend. 

        The last activity that I semi-coordinated, I was unable to attend.  I opted to go to the viewing for my uncle and had told the RS president that I could either help set up or attend the activity.  We opted for my setting up.

        I have asked about the attendance and how  the activity had gone.  I am still waiting for feedback. I don't think it was well attended.  I feel bad as it sounded like it was really fun.  

        I have always enjoyed being on the activities committee.  Just not being head chief.  Right now I am once again serving on the committee and have received a better understanding about why I may have been called to chair up the activities in my last ward.  To utilize the talents I was given in my Utah wards and bring them to Oregon. 

        We have an activity tonight.  I hope we have the same attendance that we had in July.  It was my first activity here and was very well attended.  But the last activity was not.  They don't have to share their building with other wards or be assigned certain days in which all activates fall.  They can spread out all week.  They can leave all of their kitchen utensils in the kitchen and not worry about another ward messing with it.

        In February, we are going to try out the activity that I had advertized for in May and June.  The second counselor in the RS is very excited.  I think it will be a great activity.  I hope that one is well attended. I'm impressed with the sisters who are willing to make the drive.  There is more distance to travel here than back in Salt Lake - where I could literally pass over 30 LDS buildings in the time it takes most of the members just to get to one.

        I like it here.  I am happy in Oregon.  I am happy at our Church.  I am happy to be part of a ward family.  I am happy to breathe clean air.   

Saturday, October 24, 2015


I suppose there have been things on my mind that I think I will post - and if I actually take the time to write what it is I think I want to say - it doesn't come out too great.  I realize I don't NEED to post, but sometimes I feel like I should.  

Today Jenna and I decided to walk to Millsite Park.  I took several pictures before we got there and even more when we arrived.  Here are some of them:

notice the sun-faded red with the mark of the arrow
in dark red - as it remained there for almost four mounths

typical sight all throughout the state

bridge over main street

amphitheater where bands perform music in the park

Monday, October 19, 2015

Keeping the Tribe Alive

The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians is one of nine federally recognized Indian Tribal Governments in the state of Oregon. The Cow Creek Tribe has a rich history in southern Oregon that reflects hard work. The Tribal Government is responsible for establishing the policies and procedures for the administration of tribal programs, economic development ventures and other governmental business. 

Jenna attends youth center that is governed by the Cow Creek Tribe.  She is able to learn things of their culture and make great crafts.  She's made a terrarium and a rain stick, jewelry among some others.  She made this choker last Thursday. 

She was taught a tradition to give away the first one that is made.  She gave it to me.  I think it is gorgeous.

I am grateful for the opportunities that we have been given.

For more information about the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, see this site.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

I Am Their Sounding Board

For the last two weeks, Roland has announced that he has so much lesson to cover that he expects he will run out of time before he runs out of material.  He teaches gospel doctrine or the adult Sunday School - which I have actually never taught before, and so I don't have a first hand account of teaching gospel doctrine. I have taught gospel principles before, and there was one time I substituted for a sister in Relief Society.

My lesson was based on two different talks - oh, as if I'd really have time to do both.  Well, I suppose I could have if I hadn't had the participation I'd been searching for.  Both talks were really good, but I had leaned more towards one than the other as one seemed more general on being an example and the other covered eternal marriage and forever families and I just didn't want to teach the forever family theme that I loathed hearing when I was single for so long.

Of course I would like all of my lessons to be inspired as I present them - that the Spirit may take over and not just words and emotions according to LaTiesha Cannon.  I did make room for the second talk if I needed to stretch out my lesson into the alloted time frame.  There are so many single sisters who attend the ward I last attended while in Utah,  I prayed for direction as I presented my lesson.  I taught the way I always do - by asking questions.

After sharing the first story from the first talk, I asked my first question. It was a personal one.  I had asked for someone to share a part of herself.  After a hushed silent fell upon the room, I shared an experience of my own, using my own dad as an example and what I had learned from him.  I became emotional of course - but it seemed to extend the invitation even further, for other sisters started to share their examples.  It was a beautiful lesson.

I had actually given it the very day I had been called to be the RS activities director - which is not a calling I felt comfortable about - but I had to accept it.  I felt like the outcome of my lesson was riding on my accepting the position.  If I accepted, I would be guided by the Spirit to give a lesson powerful enough to reach out to those who needed the lesson. If I didn't accept, I would stand like a fool, present both talks in a non-powerful way, run out of material long before running out of time and feel humiliated and not at all humble.

The subject of eternal marriage came up, and one of the sisters did complain about the topic and expressed the same feelings that I had had for so many years - and I understood what she was saying.  We became really good friends after that.

It's funny how two teachers can look at the same lesson and think, "How am I ever going to teach everything that is in this lesson?" or "What else am I going to use to fill up the time?"

I remember my mom saying that she had been called as a Releif Society teacher and felt quite out of place teaching other sisters who she felt were much stronger in the gospel than she. She said that when she gave her first lesson, she didn't ask questions or allow participation.  She said she had finished 20 minutes early.

Over the years, she learned about how to give a lesson and to prepare for extra time - or in the case of cultural refinement (that used to be a subject of lesson taught the forth Sunday of each month) she would use me as a sounding board and a plant in the audience to ask and answer questions if there was no other sister willing to participate.  It was okay when I was actually allowed to go to Relief Soiciety (seems like I always had a calling in primary) but the feedback was not the same when I was on my mission. 

Mom would detail her letters with what she had read and what had been outlined for her to teach.  By the time she'd get a letter back with my input, she had usually given the lesson already and was working on the next.

Mom persisted in doing her best to fulfill all of her callings.  Unfortunately she was always comparing her methods of teaching to others - which isn't right.  There's a reason that each of us is called to serve in whatever position - and sometimes only a certain individual can touch another in a way that no one else can.

After Roland and I were married, Lily and her husband started going back to church.  Lily loved when my mom taught the lesson.  Mom was taken aback to hear her say that.  Everyone loved it when Peggy taught - or so mom believed.  But Peggy often went over Lily's head.  Lily liked my mom's lessons better because they were easier for her to understand.  We all related to different people in different ways.  And that's a good thing.

Many people love and feel comfortable with Roland.  But I suppose there may be a few who feel intimidated with the way he presents himself - and that's okay.  Roland can reach certain people that others can't - and there will be people who are touched by others that Roland might not be unable to reach - or his teaching methods rather.  

It's not a contest to see who can get the most followers.  We're put in positions to be used for tools to assist others.  Not all tools work the same though they can have the same purpose in the final result of what is being built.

So now I'm Roland's sounding board.  I don't attend his classes as I am in the primary - again.  I have my own lesson to teach - which is very different from the one he gives.  And so is my audience.  I have one to two three-year-olds that I "try" to teach.

Today we had our primary program.  I enjoyed practicing for it for the last two weeks and not having to prepare a lesson that often feels like I've prepared for in vain.  But I know there is a purpose for this calling.  As of now, I don't ask of anyone to be my sounding board - not on lessons anyway. I have relied on Corey to be my sounding board in life.  Is that the same? 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Space Travel - Perception then and now

I was 7 years old when the astronauts landed on the moon for the first time.  I didn't care about space or world events or modern technology and so forth.  I was seven.

The oldest boy from across the street was nine, I think.  He loved the idea of space and everything that came with it.  He would ask his mom to buy tang and space food sticks and whatever other promotions that might be related to space.  He owned a telescope and spent time at the planetarium (he probably had a regular membership) and was absolutely intrigued with any current space-related discovery.  He was obsessed.  Still might be, I don't know. 

Space and astrology never did much for me.  I did like the star shows at the planetarium,  but for the most part I found the whole space obsession somewhat boring and hated having to learn about space in school and studying the names and forms of each planet.  There were nine at that time, because Pluto was considered a planet at that time - the coldest and smallest planet.  Today I think it's just a rock may or may not be circling the solar system.  Whatever.  I don't care.

Yesterday we went to the big city of Roseburg as that is where the county's only cinema is located.  It was Roland's birthday and he wanted to see "The Martian"  which I really did enjoy, and it got me to thinking about the attitude I have always carried with me about the space program - which I don't actually view as uninteresting anymore.  The adjectives I use now are: "scary", "crazy", and "mind-boggling".  I used to say I was "scared FOR astronauts" which Jenna misinterpreted and would often tell others: "My mommy's scared OF astronauts"  which isn't true.  I'm afraid for them - for the unknown.

I've seen "Mission to Mars", "Gravity", "Space Cowboys", "Planet of the Apes" and  some that really were based on actual events - like "Apollo 13".  But it always leaves me with shaking my head not disbelieving any of "what could be" and basically the unknown - unknown to me anyway.  Why would anybody willingly risk their lives like that?  Why would anyone willingly go up into space?

In 1986 NASA would send a civilian in addition to the trained astronauts.  The program was intense.    Christa McAuliffe was not the only the only  candidate in training.  There were several who tried out for that coveted position.  And as her students cheered, there were others who had been in camp with her who had wondered "Well why didn't I get picked?"

Space movie disasters always take place several years away from planet earth and not so close to take off.  I was on my mission when the Challenger Shuttle was launched. How would the investigation have been different if the explosion had taken place two days later or the following week?  Would we know what happened or would we think the communicators had gone faulty or what? 

As we sat through "the Martian", for the first time ever, I saw the entire space program with new eyes.  Certainly in 1957 or 1963 - the concept was so new, the idea was so unreal to most, that it was a dream to some to be the first to travel in space.  It was exciting!  Conquer the impossible. 

From the late 50's to late 60's - what a turn of events.  I'm now actually impressed with what was accomplished.  To think we actually had that kind of technology half a century ago.  That's actually quite amazing!

I still think those who enter the space program and willingly leave their friends and family for an adventure in space are nuts.  But I seriously do have a better appreciation - though I still don't understand all the reasoning involved and why it's important.  But I do use a GPS and am very grateful for the satellites that help guide me on the roads.  So thank you NASA and for all of you dreamers that contributed to making space travel a reality and are willing to explore the unknown so that perhaps we may enjoy other benefits that I personally may have never thought of (like the GPS)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Coffenberry Rocks!

          Jenna had once told me that she thought it would be fun to be in junior high.  I personally never believed that - especially while attending.  I think my brother, Corey, hated junior high even more than I did.  He has been a substitute teacher in both high school and elementary but has chosen not to deal with the misfits of junior high.  Too many bad memories.

          I did not choose to share my feelings about junior high - or middle school as some districts call it.  She'd find out soon enough - or hopefully not at all.  I would just smile and say, "That's great honey." while thinking, "I really hope it works out for you."

          Before school started, Jenna was apprehensive about going.  Of course I understand.  I was always apprehensive about the start of school - especially one I had not attended the year prior.
          If we were living in Salt Lake, Jenna would still be attending her last year elementary school. But here, in Oregon, she is attending her first year of middle school.  I actually hadn't heard too many positive things about the school she currently attends.  One neighbor drives her children to Canyonville, and I heard of another who makes the drive to Riddle.  But Coffenberry has a music program not offered in Canyonville.

          Jenna has made many friends and loves middle school.  She enjoys most of her classes - especially band.  I love her enthusiasm.  I have not seen her this excited since she was in kindergarten. 

          Of course the youth center helps - though she really doesn't care for the bus ride out there.  She does enjoy being active after school.  And I am happy that she gets her homework done and gets to enjoy arts and crafts and learning skills.  It's so great to have her happy again.

          Last night I took her to the middle school for a family fun night.  The theme was "Finding Nemo" and there was a scavenger hunt, a passport map, jeopardy, crafts, decorating a cookie, the book fair, playing games.  I met a few of her friends as we went from room to room and building to building and she would point to certain areas where she had this class or that.  I met a few of her teachers.  I can't wait for parent/teacher's conference. 

keep on reading

          My impression of Coffenberry has been a good one.  I am also grateful for the opportunities that Jenna has had since we have moved to Oregon.  As a whole, I am so much happier here than I was in Utah.  But then I look at pictures of family members - two that I haven't even met in person, and I get a bit homesick for my family members.  But overall I really am happy here.  I'm especially happy that Jenna is happy.  I'm so happy that she likes school.