Friday, January 8, 2016


Salt will wake up the flavor 
in an otherwise dreary dish.  
Only a little bit is needed.  

Most recipes call for salt - 
but not a huge measurement.  
It almost seems
 irrelevant at times.  And yet 
that small amount is 
very much needed. 

  The smallest amount 
of ingredient is 
needed the most.  
If salt is left out, 
  the quality is lost.  
The taste is flat.  
The tongue is dulled.  
Salt uplifts.  
Isn't that weird?


  We depend on salt to 
melt ice on roads 
and sidewalks . Surely 
not the same salt that 
we use at the table, 
but perhaps the same salt 
we use to make ice cream.  

I find that fascinating that 
salt has that ability.  
Salt will also destroy snails 
the same way that kryptonite 
would destroy Superman.  
Perhaps not the same way.  
I have seen a snail 
shrivel up to death.  
I have never seen 
Superman shrivel.  
I saw a witch melt 

when Dorothy accidentally
 threw water at her in 
"The Wizard of Oz"

 Utah has a location 
called The Bonneville 
Salt Flats.

 It is Utah's racing track, 
I guess.  I don't know 
what the attraction is at 
speeding over salt.  It looks like snow.

In Matthew 5:13, Jesus tells us
that we are the Salt 
of the earth
We can give of ourselves
even if only in small measure
we don't want to be 
too aggressive and
overpower the dish
but instead, we want to
help wake up the flavor,
help melt away the frozenness
and use our power against evil.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Think Positive

        One of the gifts that I opened on Christmas was the Chicken Soup for the Soul "Positive Thinking"  stories full of reminders not to give up and to do whatever it takes.

        As I read I think of examples from my own life:

        Karyn was agoraphobic.  Her son had gone to a mission in Brazil and had developed feelings for a certain young lady.  After he had gone back to visit, he announced that he and this girl would be getting married and living in Brazil for a while.  Knowing that he needed some support from the family, he wanted his parents there, of course. Karyn and her husband had enough money for only one plane ticket. And because of her fears of dealing with crowds, it was decided that her husband would go.

        His job seemed to complicate the situation as far as the date was concerned.  It turned out that if he wanted to keep his job, he would not be able to fly to Brazil but said that his wife might be able to go.

        The reservations were changed so that they would be in her name, and she prayed.  She prayed long and hard.  It was a mighty challenge as she had to deal with the public at Salt Lake airport.  Imagine how terrified she was to fly into Brazil and face a more crowded airport and a more people than she could imagine.  Not to mention that the majority of people there would be speaking in a foreign tongue that she, herself, would not understand.

        She, of course, tells her story much better than I do.  I remember listening to her experience, fascinated with her determination.  I would have never guessed that she was agoraphobic - especially to the point which she expressed.  Now that's positive thinking.  I hate crowds but cannot fully relate to what she had to overcome.  What strength.  What admiration on my part.

        I wish I had all the details in order to accurately share Shauna's story.  There was a huge number of widows and shut-ins that I would go visit at least weekly.  I would go to uplift them - or at least that was my intention.  But I always saved Shauna for last or visit when I was the one who needed to be uplifted.    

        She kept records and journals that she didn't want anyone to look at until after she was gone.  She was such a great inspiration.  Her story needs to be told.  I had always thought that someone should interview her for an article in the Ensign Magazine or tell her story in any one of several  themed "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books.

        I had been told that Shauna had outlived her disease by 17 years.  I don't remember the name of the disease, but it seems to me that the tissues would swell to the point of choking out all of her other organs.  We were roughly the same age, and yet she was hooked up to oxygen while I was breathing on my own.  She remained active as long as her body would allow. 

        She had such a positive attitude and would always get dressed, because "only sick people wear pajamas all day"
        I was also told that she hadn't gone back to get her nursing degree until after she had been diagnosed.  She wanted to help people and make them feel better, and served others for as long as she was able.

        Laughter truly was the best medicine.  It was what kept her going - in addition to refusing to allow anyone or anything to take her down.

I also let the words to this song fill my mind each day.  I asked Jenna to color a sign that says: Daily Proverbs.  I change the thought every other day and try hard to apply the quotes to my life.  I really am trying to think positive.  

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Creative Advertising

I hope everyone has the opportunity of watching this video

Whether it's true or not, I don't know.  But I think it's an awesome idea either way.

How wonderful it would be if those in the video are caught.

How great it is for those who were robbed to use the crime to their advantage and use footage to advertise their tacos.  They really do look delicious.  Will have to try when I get back that way again.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year 2016

            I grew up with the idea that families got together on New Years to play games.  It would often start on New Year's Eve at somebody's house.  We'd play games and have cheese and crackers and chips and soda.  That was always the greatest part about the new year.
           Mom always took the tree down on New Year's Day.  It was sad. But I have carried out that tradition of taking the tree down on New Years.  What else would I do?

            Although there was one year when Jenna insisted we put the tree up right after Thanksgiving.  I took it down on the 26th because it had been up entirely too long.  I think because it was taking up space in our cracker box house and everything always felt so clumped together with no elbow room even when it wasn't Christmas. 

            I have often either cried on New Year's (or New Year's eve) or someone in the family has been sick (in my childhood it was usually me and/or Corey - sometimes Kayla.  Never Patrick - except maybe before Corey and Kayla came along.  I do think he may have missed out on things when he was a very little kid - but over the years it didn't seem like a germ would dare enter Patrick's body while Corey received well more than his share.)

            More often than not, New Year's events took place in the freezing cold - well perhaps not the event itself, but riding to the event - especially on New Year's Eve.  I heard that it was 20 in Utah yesterday.  I don't know how many family members were sick.  Kayla stayed home with her youngest, BJ.  Biff told me that everyone in his household was sick.

            We heard fireworks going off last night.  Jenna watched them through her window as she said it was too cold to stand outside and watch.  When the sun drops out of the sky (or rather when the earth rotates away from the sun) the temperature does drop.  Last night was below freezing.

           We have space for Christmas tree in the house we live at in Oregon.  I think I could have left it up for a few more months.  Maybe not.  We have taken it down and returned it to the shed.


            The last day of 2015 was quite beautiful in Oregon - or at least where I am.  I thought it felt warmer than 40 degrees and took several pictures outside.  Most I was not even wearing a jacket for. 

Dec 31 2015

            Today is just as beautiful.  A great way to start off the New Year.  I took even more pictures this morning.  I don't remember having seen frost in Oregon before.  It was beautiful.  Is beautiful.  I was still in my pajamas when I took these.

sunlight spilling through our house New Year 2016

beautiful day Jan 1, 2016

            The sun has melted down a bit, but those blades of grass and foliage on the trees that are shaded from the sun still had frost clear into the evening.  It's definitely the longest amount of time that I have seen the same frost.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Our First Christmas in Oregon

            We weren't able to get back to Utah for a lack of funds.  Airfare is way overpriced (even at a senior discount) and Roland didn't have the same amount of time to take off work as Jenna currently has for school.

            It snowed in several parts of Salt Lake.  My sister and one of my sons both reported that there had been an endless snowfall and probably three feet of snow - though one had reported that the streets had been clear.  How awesome that there are those who give up pieces of their Christmas to make things safer for others.

            We woke up to find snow on the ground the morning of Christmas Eve.  The sun shone itself out.  It was really a beautiful day.  Not too hot.  Not too cold.  The air was an invite and in turn invited us to go be a part of it.

            Mostly wet yesterday.  The snow was gone.  All that was left was cold air and soggy earth.  Today is definitely foggier than I have ever seen in Oregon.  Unlike Salt Lake fog, the air is still breathable - and probably good for my sinuses actually.

            Several gifts placed under the tree - many of them were total surprises for Jenna.  They would have all been surprises if I had had Roland move the box from Jeanie and Biff into our room and just put the gifts out for Christmas morning.  Jenna also knew about the gifts that Rochelle and Tony had sent - but she didn't know about the packages from a former neighbor or my sister and her family. 

            I filmed Christmas in order to document everything that Jenna might have overlooked.  Fortunately nothing did.  She showed excitement for each gift that was opened.  I was quite pleased with her positive attitude.

            At 5:00 we started dinner.  We were expecting the missionaries to come at 6:00.  We weren't expecting them to stay and play games with us.  That was really awesome!  I have missed playing games with my family members.  Jenna and I do our best, and sometimes Roland joins us - but for the most part the majority of games we have require at least four people.  Some of the games I hadn't even brought with us because I didn't think we could play them. 

            It was a great Christmas gift to play games with the Elders.  Jenna thoroughly enjoyed herself.  We each made this the best Christmas possible.  I am quite happy with the results.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

message for holiday wishes

        It is important to remember that not everyone is looking forward to Christmas. Some people are not surrounded by large wonderful families. Some of us have problems during the holidays and are overcome with great sadness when we remember the loved ones who are not with us. For many it is their first Christmas without a particular loved one and many others lost loved ones at Christmas. And, many people have no one to spend these times with and are shadowed by loneliness.

         My uncle's family will have their first Christmas without him.  He was buried just before we moved to Oregon.  It is harder still for families who lose their loved ones during the holiday season - to always have that memory around the holidays. We have seen present neighbors and some that we left in Utah just recently pass away.  We have seen hardships and we have seen those who choose to move on and celebrate the holidays as they always have.

         I'd like to share the words which my brother posted to facebook and mirror his message to all of those who may be reading (and even those who don't) :  " I hope and pray whatever your belief system may be, wherever you are in life, whatever circumstances or challenges you may find yourself facing, that you may find peace, happiness, and fulfillment; that is my Christmas wish to all of you."

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Four Legged Angels

             I remember being in the congregation during a sacrament meeting in which a newly returned missionary was giving his homecoming talk. As he shared various experiences, he would explain why he felt the need to share.  I remember him saying that all missionaries have at least one dog story.

         “We do?” I had thought. 
         I must admit that I had missed his dog story as I had been thinking of my own.  One that actually brings a smile to my face each time I think about it.

         I was serving in an area where each door had been knocked on (weekly if not daily) by one religion or another.  It came to the point that people just didn’t want to open their doors as they felt they were being bullied by religious freaks.  We had actually been told to back off from going from door for at least a few months.  No sweat off my brow.  I hated that particular method of trying to find people, but I was with a companion who measured her missionary success by going from door-to-door.  

         Many members in that area referred to our companionship as “The Odd Couple” thus we named ourselves Oscar and Felix.  I was Oscar, and my high-maintenance, “by-the-book” companion was Felix.

         After two months of contacting members and searching for referrals in ways other than door-to-door, my companion counted down the days that we would go tracting door-to-door.  I did not share in her excitement.  I know there are people who have been found through knocking doors - but for me personally, it was not the greatest method and definitely did not measure my success (or failure) as a missionary.

         We had gone to only two houses before a German Shepherd started to follow us from one house to the next.  He would sit behind us and away from the door as we invited those who answered to listen to our message.  A few would look at the dog and ask if he was ours.  As we'd walk away from the skeptic who refused to believe the dog was ours, I'd make jokes just to get a rile out of my companion.

          "Yes, it is our dog and if you don't listen to our message, he'll eat you."

         My companion felt embarrassed and was a bit defensive as answered their concerns.

         “He’s not our dog.  He just started following us.  We don’t know why.”

         After four more houses or so, Sister Felix turned to me and said,  “Sister Cannon, we need to say a prayer so that the dog will stop following us.”

          I'm certain that the look that she saw on my face was one of puzzlement.  
          “Sister Felix, the dog could have been sent as a guardian angel.  If a prayer is offered, it won’t be in harmony, as the dog is not bothering me.  You go ahead and say a prayer if it makes you feel better.”

         Sister Felix offered a prayer and pleaded that Heavenly Father return the dog to his home.  No sooner did we say “amen” and we were joined by a Basset Hound – thus we had two dogs following us.  They weren’t doing anything wrong.  They seemed well behaved.  But it bothered her – which only amused me further. 

         We knocked on two more doors I think, and then Sister Felix became disgusted and announced that we may as well just return to our car, as we obviously weren’t going to get anything accomplished.  What? No more knocking door-to-door? I was right.  They were four-legged angels.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

It's Snowing in Utah

Whenever my phone rings
Or signals that I have received a text message
Jenna jumps
Like Pavlov’s dog
Usually I don’t mind
I am not a slave to the phone
Though she seems to be

She’s always excited when she learns
That it is one of her brothers
Today she answered the phone with excitement
“Randy!” she yelled.
It isn’t any wonder that none of her brothers have gone deaf
First thing he asks her if it is snowing
He says that the Utah snow seems harsh today.
I remember waiting for the bus in killer snow

The snow seen in this part of Oregon is rare
Or so we’ve been told
We saw it fall for two days
But it was never like Utah
Buses were delayed for two hours
But Jenna did return to school
After the snow
We had our power back on
But some people did not.
Those who live in Tiller
Were without power for six days
To a week.

Mostly it rains.  The creeks and rivers rise
The grass turns green and
The earth is drenched with moisture
The Internet tells me
it is much cooler in Salt Lake
than it is in Myrtle Creek.
I do not miss the snow.
I don’t miss the biting cold.
I miss visiting with my family members
In person.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Lights in Rain to Snow to Power Outage

            We were told that a light parade is done each year.  It takes place on the second Saturday of December.  The vehicles start the drive in Riddle and move through Tri-City and through Highway 99 over to the street just behind the one we're on.  The parade then turns down the only street that connects Riverside to Division,  Division to one of the numbered avenues and then on to Main Street. 

            The parade is a big deal, and downtown offers free hot drinks and chili.  There are fireworks at the park stadium.  This has been a tradition for 22 years now from what I understand. I was surprised they were able to do the fireworks with all the rain.  We heard  that it's unusual to have that much rain to fall throughout the day and hasn't happened often. 

            Roland found a corner where two couples were standing beneath an awning.  They had a fire going and told us we could join them.  They said it was rare that it was the only corner with a fire going.  In the past there have been fires on at least three corners.  They bring out hot dogs, marshmallows and sodas.  They said we were welcome to whatever they had, but that it was on the inside of the house rather than outdoors where they usually cook it (I guess)

            We had waited for the parade for a longer time than the parade itself.  Our neighbor said she counted 32 vehicles and clocked at 7 minutes and 23 seconds.  I, for one, was rather impressed.  I wish I could have captured the beauty of it all - but my pictures don't do justice.  We did create a video off Roland's phone. I was able to load it to facebook (finally).

            My neighbor said the sky had been pounding the rain down all night.  It didn't stop until after 4:00 yesterday morning.   When it stopped being rain.  I really wasn't surprised to see snow on the ground yesterday morning.  We'd been told that it rarely ever snows in these parts.  A light snow really.  From what I'm used to.  Jenna was excited.  She built a snowman, made snow angels and begged for a snowball fight. 

            I don't know what time we lost power.  We used the backup generator we had to check the status against what we had heard on the wind-up radio we have.  It wasn't just Myrtle Creek or Douglas County that was without power.  Medford was mentioned and so was Grants Pass.  That's a lot of area. Our generator went out while we were still online.  It's pretty useless now.

            Roland went to Roseburg and back.  He purchased a new generator and several power chords.  He wanted to be prepared for the upcoming week.  He works from home and needs the Internet.  But by then, the Internet had gone out as well.  We didn't have church.

            We had invited our neighbor to come over and enjoy our heat and play some games.  She stayed with us until the power returned.  .  Pacific Power had reported almost 7,000 customers throughout Douglas, Josephine and Jackson counties were without power as of Monday morning. That number is down from the 25,000 that were without power on Sunday. We are quite  blessed that our power had returned when it did.  The schools in all three counties were either delayed a few hours or else cancelled altogether

            It reminded us of a Christmas when we had lost power all day - which actually provided perks for many families.  Jenna says she remembers and would like the power to go out on Christmas this year.  She wants only lights from the tree and a lantern at the table so that we can play games.  I'd like to listen to music.  Both of us seem dead set about the television being on.  Now that we have a new generator, Roland would still resort to a video, I think.

  We were standing near this fire pit.  The awning provided protection as we watched the parade.  Unfortunately it was not able to protect itself.

same corner as  parade route the night before

continuing down this street

Friday, December 11, 2015

It Really is the Simple Things

          Christmas does not have to be about spending money or exchanging gifts - though I love the gift giving thing.  There are some years that we have really had to stretch. We have been recipients of "Sub for Santa" many times. Overall, I think those are the most memorable.  And I have really been touched by all of those who have made an effort to our cause.

          We moved to West Valley at the end of 2009.  It was hard to leave our Kearns ward family - but at the same time, we felt that the move was the right thing for us. Less than a week before Christmas, I received a call from the Relief Society President of the ward we had left.  She said that she had gifts for us from the ward.  She came in the second snowstorm of that season.  She brought two other sisters with her.  Their gifts more than doubled the amount of gifts that we already had.

          The next year was Tony's first year in the WV house.  Our gifts were even more sparse than the year prior (before adding gifts from the Kearns ward). Roland's mom and sister had sent us gifts every year, but we hadn't received a package from them that year. I think we had three gifts for Jenna and one for each of the boys.  Roland and I had only one present for one another.  Both simple (like a twinkie sized furuit cake from me;  Roland actually likes fruitcake - but that's beside the point)

          It was just after 10:00 p.m. when I placed the eight gifts beneath the tree and went to bed.  I was really tired and wanted to sleep.  I was in awe the next morning to find an explosion of gifts beneath our tree.  I couldn't even imagine where they had all come from.

          As it turns out, both Tony and Biff had decided to play Santa as well.  Tony had purchased several gifts for each family member, and Biff had kept a huge secret from us as Richard's mom and sister had taken him shopping earlier in August.  They had loaded up his car with gifts  Neither Tony nor Biff was aware that the other had also played Santa.

          I love Christmas.  I love the suspense.  I love the Spirit of giving and doing.  Recently I read a post on facebook which touched my heart.  My friends were driving the Salt Lake roads when traffic had come to a halt.  In the intersection was a woman behind the wheel of a stalled truck.  A man had seen her and tried to help.  When the truck wouldn't start, he offered to push. 

          Seeing that assistance was still needed for moving the truck, my friend got out of his car to assist with pushing also.  The next thing my friends saw others had left their cars and were helping to push the truck out of the intersection.  No honking of cars or verbal abuse from other drivers.  The lights had changed, but every driver seemed to be patiently waiting - on the roads of Salt Lake.  That, my friends, is truly a Christmas miracle.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Anticipating Christmas

     I have two brothers and one sister.  We would buy or make gifts for each other to exchange at Christmas.  For a while we had gifts for each aunt, uncle, cousin . . . I don’t think we started drawing names among dad’s sibs and their families until the first Christmas I was out on my mission.

     Patrick married Sunny who had four sibs and grew up having exchanged gifts with just one sibling, as they would draw names each year.  I think we still purchased gifts for each of our sibs and all of Sunny and Patrick’s families until after Kayla got married.  And then we decided to draw names – family to family.  That worked out for a few years.

     One time it seemed all of us were struggling financially and decided not to exchange gifts that year.  It was one of the best Christmas gifts we had ever given ourselves.

     Last year we tried the name-drawing thing among our own children.  They seemed to like it and I think it worked out better for each of us to do it that way.  This year will be different.

     This morning I received a text from my daughter-in-law, Jeanie.  She wanted to know if we’d be exchanging gifts this year.  I told her that our family would have to forgo it this year based on income.  I’m hoping that our three sons will still exchange, but it will not surprise me if that doesn’t happen.

     There’s been tension between Randy and Tony.  Both have been riding the “financially-challenged” boat – both have asked for favors from us.  But we are on the same boat ride.  I feel so helpless and forlorn about our situations.

     We have put up the Christmas tree.  That always gets Jenna excited, and she makes gifts so that there are presents beneath the tree.  I’m afraid our gifts for her will be quite sparse this year.  Fortunately she has not asked for much nor do her wishes come with a heavy price tag.

     Colored pencils, cool melt gun, newton’s cradle, drawing paper, wash tape, mostly small things to keep her hands busy.  I’d like to be able to have something for her – something she’s not going to get bored with the day after Christmas.

     Christmas should be a time of giving service, a season to be grateful for blessings, a season to share – even just a simple meal.  So many people miss out on the joy by stressing over having gifts or going shopping or wearing themselves ragged.  I know Christmas will be more awesome for us if we just focus on why we have Christmas in the first place.  I hope we can instill that into Jenna and it may be her best Christmas yet.  I know this year will be hard for her.  I hope Roland and I can change that and this year will stand out as a great memory for her.