Monday, November 20, 2017

We Need to Work Together

                I guess I could have gone into more detail about Danny's class.  As I mentioned, there were fourteen children in the Valiant class alone - four of them boys.  I have never seen more than two Valiant boys in class since I started attending the ward in Myrtle Creek.  After the opening prayer, Danny passed out scriptures to each child - part of a scripture anyway.  Seven children had the names of a book found in the scriptures.  Seven had a chapter (or section) and a verse.  Danny asked why none of the children had looked up the scriptures she had handed out, what may have been the problem - when it was decided that each of the children had only part of scripture, Danny asked that they check the paper and find a partner that had the other half.

            I was impressed how each of them actually worked together and didn't try to trade scripture pieces in order to sit with those they had sat with initially.  After the seven scriptures were read, Danny asked what they all had in common.  They all had to do with service.  We then watched a short video about some of the things the members had to do to establish winter quarters.  Danny asked what some of the things were and made a list on the chalk board: plant food, chop wood, build cabins, tend children and animals, prepare food, make clothing, blankets, shoes, etc.  There were eleven answers given - including the fort itself.  Danny then passed out paper and told the children they would have a minute to draw all of the things listed on the chalk board.  Ready, GO!

            Now not only am I NOT artistic, but I am such a smart aleck, I would have attempted to draw the fort and tell my instructor that all else listed on the board was behind the fenced area. 

            Most of the children attempted to draw everything in the order it had been written.  One girl said she managed to draw seven and one said she got all eleven of them - but they weren't very good.  Danny then asked the children what would make it easier for them to draw all of the pictures.  Most were in agreement that more time would do it, but Danny reminded them of the scriptures they had read on service and how each could contribute his or her part but that nobody was expected to do all of it.  She then assigned each of the children to draw only one thing from the list - assigning the fort to the last three (as there were more children than suggestions) and that made it easier.

            Her last activity (or object lesson) was quite similar to the one I had mentioned here only instead of kisses she had passed out dumdums and larger rocks. 

            Two of the girls were wearing sandals - as though it is still summer outside.  They had more complications of just trying to keep the rock in their shoe rather than walk on it.  Only half the children were aware of the pain the rock had caused.  Most enjoyed their dumdums and were able to tune out the discomfort.  It was a good lesson.  Danny always gives good lessons.

I'm Allergic

                 I came home with a headache yesterday.  I still don't know for sure what caused it, though I have a better idea.  Our youngest beehive attends primary before Young Women's starts.  She had been picked to introduce and conclude the primary program.  I noticed she had been wearing make-up; perhaps she was wearing perfume as well.  That is one plus about being in primary - usually my allergies don't react as the children don't tend to wear it for the most part. I can't say for sure as I have lost the majority of my sense of smell.  I'm guessing a sweet perfume.  Those fragrances I think smell best are the ones that irritate my sinuses the most.

            The stake primary president was visiting as well.  Perhaps one of those sisters had been wearing a perfume - though they were all on the other side of the sliding wall.  But I've had a reaction to chrysanthemums from far away - I would rather not be in the same building as chrysanthemums. 

            Poinsettia and mistletoe.  Most Christmas plants, actually.  It's a wonder I'm not allergic to the tree.  Or at least not the ones my family had purchased in the past. I suppose that would be another contributor to my lack of desire to shop around the holidays.  Candles, aerosols, car fresheners.  I do okay with vanilla and fruit fragrances.  But honey, if you don't ever want me hanging around your car, may I recommend Jasmine.  That should put me in a coma for a week at least. 

Cleaning chemicals, dust, dirt, smoke, ragweed . . . I seem to do fine around plastic or silk plants.  Even several roses brought indoors seems to be too much for me.

            If it isn't the fragrance irritating my sinuses, I have many skin allergies as well.    What a Wimp!!!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The End Result

          Primary programs seem necessary, but I loathe practicing for them.  I always have. As a child, my primary day was on Thursday right after school.  I was then a part of the Midvale East 4th ward.  I can remember on days when it would snow, an announcement would go over the intercom: there will be no primary for such and such a ward.  Never did they announce Midvale East 4th would be cancelled - not even once!  And some days we were faced with more severe snow!  I did not appreciate nor understand it at the time.  I have since thanked my former primary president for her love and devotion.

          However, practicing for the primary program, for me, was worse than crossing the street in the snow.  Though I do enjoy singing, I did not enjoy practicing them or keeping still or staying reverent while others took their turns. I would actually play hooky from primary and hang around the school playground until I believed that primary was over, and then I would walk home. Becoming a primary teacher hasn't changed my attitude toward practicing for the primary program - in fact I believe my attitude towards it has worsened.  Hooky doesn't come so easy as an adult who is trying to set an example.

          I don't know what happened with the primary program last year - why it didn't seem planned for.  I think we only had one or two practices.  I remember our chorister felt stressed about it.  We avoided that this year with five practices.  Last week we practiced on the stage.  Last week I was in a horrible mood. Sitting between two boys that can't keep their hands off each other.  Emily was very reverent.  She was moved to the middle between two other boys in order to set an example.  I watched our youngest primary boy in the corner doing his own thing.  I know I shot him looks of disapproval that the Savior himself would not have done.

          I woke up about 3:00 this morning.  I could feel a headache - though I don't know why - unless it was from the mistletoe I had encountered on Friday (because I had  a headache that day too) and told Roland that if I still had it by the time church started, I would not be participating in the primary program today after all (Oh, darn it all)

          This week I prayed to have a better attitude and better experience.  Last year wasn't bad. There are some really good primary programs and many that we're grateful that they have some to an end, like this one for example.  Today's program went rather well.  Everyone who could see them were impressed (those sitting four or five rows left of the podium did not have a tremendous view - if at all;  the floor plan adjacent to the stage is not the best I've ever seen - plus the fact that we don't have an overly large primary)


          I smiled at Christopher instead of shooting disapproving looks.  Joseph sat between us and felt amused by some of Christopher's four-year-old behavior.  Sometimes I felt myself smiling with him.  The program went 1,000 times smoother than any of the practices had.

          Danny taught the lesson.  I saw the subject had been on winter quarters and thought: "How in the world does one give that lesson in just 25 minutes?"  We had been told to cut class short today because we'd be watching a movie as a reward for having performed the program.  In addition to the children in our class who had taken part in the primary program, we had a few visitors besides.  It was funny to see the look on the primary president's face when she walked past the room to get a head count of how many children there were. 

          "Oh, my word!" she let out.  It's true.  We had fourteen children in our class alone - which is probably how many children we had on stage.  There had been at least eight in the other class.  They were given ice cream to eat while they watched the movie.  Our primary room isn't accustomed to 22 plus how many ever chairs.  Some leaders were sitting, but it appeared that most were standing.  Not me.  I'm  really not claustrophobic, but I didn't want to be smashed into the primary room

I decided I'd go to Relief Society.  My headache was back.  I still don't know why.  I left the church house and arranged for Jenna to be dropped off by one of her leaders.

          I am grateful that the primary did well on their parts and song.  I'm grateful that I didn't have to have my headache on the stage and I was able to drive myself home.  I still have my headache.  I was hoping it would be gone by now.  Perhaps it's psychological.   I missed my niece's missionary farewell this morning.  I heard that Tony and Rochelle represented the family.  Of that, I am also grateful.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Not Your Average Teen

          Our swim instructor retired from teaching in public education but has agreed to substitute on occasion.  She happened to be subbing for one of Jenna's teachers and had mentioned to me how Jenna is well liked by so many of her peers.  She is admired because she is herself.  She hangs on to the things she likes and disregards things she doesn't like and refuses to play games of "following the leader" unless she's the leader.

          There are several times that I've called Jenna "crazy" or "weird" referring to her personality differences and not necessarily with Jenna herself.  There have been a few concerned about "labeling" - but my family understands what I am saying and in many cases will agree with me.

          Take today for instance: Jenna has an opportunity, along with several other honor students, to go to the cinema in the big city of Roseburg.  They will see "Wonder" which we have read and I think she would like to see, but not today.
          Yesterday a dental team came to the middle school to check the teeth of sixth and seventh graders whose parents had given permission to be checked.  Today is the eighth graders turn. It kills me that she would even consider staying with the school in order to be checked rather than to see a movie.  Man, when I was her age, skipping school alone would have been enough incentive to push me to the movies.  Adding the dentist would have been even greater incentive.  I don't know a child who loves the dentist more than Jenna.  I've mentioned that before.  But then again I would not have been in her predicament anyway as I never received the high grades that she does.

          When she was in second grade, I volunteered to escort the class to Mrs. Cavanaugh's chocolate plant.  That was also the day Harmon's would be doing their food samples at the school.  According to Jenna, Harmon's produced the best tasting oranges.  She was bummed about going to the chocolate plant rather than being present for the produce.  I assured her that we would still be sampling - but it would be candy instead of produce.  She still felt gypped.

          Seriously?  I mean, it's cool that my child actually prefers produce to candy but still . . .  given a choice between oranges and chocolate - I'm going for the chocolate.  When we returned to the school after having spent a glorious day at Mrs. Cavanaugh's, the representatives from Harmon's were still passing out samples and so Jenna did not miss out after all (besides  from what I understand, Harmon reps were there each month or every other month; Mrs. Cavanaugh's turned out to be a one-time thing)

          She says she did get to assist with foot traffic during the dental demonstration yesterday and was awarded a toothbrush or oral hygiene kit or something.  Still, she would like her mouth cleaned by professionals.  Silly girl.  I like Jenna's uniqueness.  I really do.  I'm happy that she lives outside the box and sticks to her guns.  When I use the words "weird" or "crazy" to describe her, it's actually a compliment.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Where Is Our Focus?

            The RS presidency was in charge of the activity.  The theme was on gratitude.  I didn't raise my hand when our president asked for volunteers.  I was helping another sister sort toiletries that we had collected to put in bags to send to the women's shelter.  I don't know how many volunteers she ended up with, but her demonstration didn't actually go as well as she had hoped.

            To each sister (and the two Elder missionaries who happened to be there) she gave each a small rock and a candy kiss.  She told each to put the rock in her (or his) shoe and walk around, but to please enjoy the candy.  The idea was "to enjoy the candy so much that you didn't think about the rock in your shoe."  I'm afraid I would have focused on the rock more than the candy.

            The idea was to be grateful for the good.  But I suppose we can be grateful for painful things as well.  As I heard another sister speak on gratitude, I felt impressed to share this post.  Perhaps I should have just allowed the sisters to visit with one another, but chose to stand and relate a bit about Corrie ten Boom's biography and the encounter with the fleas.

            I try to be grateful for things and focus on the things I have rather than the things that I don't.  I'm pleased to know that many of my posts express some form of gratitude. My I always be grateful and not get upset.  Something to work on still.  

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

More Important Than the Trade

        I'm certain I must have mentioned in at least one post that in addition to learning a trade, the online school I attend expects their students to be human or humane rather.  I've taken classes in philosopy and economics and have actually shared various assignments because regardless of whether I am to find employment or not is beside the point.  Some of these classes, I feel, have made me a better human being. 

        The video below is one that I have had for at least three different classes now.  I hope it is one that all business majors will take to heart and keep the statitics in mind that we might not have to live another recession - or depression (found here)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Transformation at Millsite

So many times Jenna and I have gone to Millsite, I feel like I am seeing it for the first time.  The elements change and often causes a new feel.  But there has been reconstruction.  A new fence was added.  Trees were removed and new ones planted.  This is Millsite last year, this year in October and on Veteran's Day

Dec 22, 2016

Dec 22, 2016

Perhaps you will recognize some of these pictures from this site    

October 10, 2017

When we returned to the park on Veteran's Day, I took even more pictures

Thursday, November 9, 2017

What Do Pineapples and Prayer Have in Common?

(Pineapple Members, 2016)
            Some people are blessed with learning from others' examples.  Unfortunately it seems there are more who just don't get it and have to figure out things for themselves.  Still there are some who go through trials and still appear to be clueless.  Allow me to share an example.

            When I was a youth, I remember seeing ads in the classified section inviting youth to earn money picking pineapples in Hawaii.  The ad itself was marketed in such a clever way that youth believed not only would they be earning money, but would have an opportunity to tour Hawaii as well.  I remember a bunch of Patrick's friends decided to fill out applications and asked him to join them as well.  My brother, Patrick, has always been logical and decided he would wait a year.  If things worked out among his friends, surely they'd want to return.  If things did not work, well, Patrick had spared himself.

            What the classified ads failed to mention was that picking pineapples is hard physical labor. I honestly don't know anyone who returned for a second year. 

(Picking Pineapples in Florida, 2011)

My sibs and I have been fortunate enough to weigh our options, find others with similar experiences and learn from those experiences - especially if we can spare ourselves from pain - be it emotional or physical.

            I realize that is not the best example of what I am trying to convey.  I'm certain there were many that may not have appreciated what they had gotten themselves into at the time, but may have had a deeper appreciation for the experience they received - though maybe not at the time.

Mareeba Gold, 2016

            Whether we choose to pick pineapples or not doesn't seem relevant to our salvation - not in the same way as turning to drugs or alcohol or something immoral.  Not like joining the service or giving a child up for adoption.  I think the latter examples are more inclined to stay with you and perhaps even haunt you more than the pineapple picking decision would.

            As I had mentioned in a previous post, I am currently reading The Children of Promise series by Dean Hughes.  I am just finishing the third book in the series "Far From Home".  So far I like how he starts each book so if you haven't read the books from the beginning, you can still follow who the characters are.

            World War II is nearly at its end, but the events will have forever changed the lives of those who lived during that time.  Some had been excited to sign up to join the cause - to fight for their country - whatever country that happened to be.  It had been glorified and certainly sounded more exciting than it was.  Even newsreels only touched the surface of how it really was.

            The character named Bobbie writes a letter to her sister-in-law. It is very short.  There is one sentence that really stood out for me - one I think that each of us can relate to:

            "I used to think if I prayed hard enough, nothing bad would ever happen, but now I understand life is all about surviving hard times" - Dean Hughes (1998, p 388)

            I think often are expectations are quite different from the reality that we face. We're not alone.  We can and should turn to the Lord to receive guidance and personal revelation.   Personal revelation is between God and the individual.  There are some who make decisions and appear to have given no thought to the decision whatsoever.  Take me, I agreed to marry Roland after only three days.   I know there were many in my family who thought I was making a mistake accepting a proposal of marriage and now wonder if any of them had felt anything other than apprehension. It had been my personal revelation to accept his proposal.  I was guided by faith not intimate desires.  There was apprehension on my part as well. 

             I know that my brother Corey had a tough go at his attraction to same sex.  As I mentioned in my last post, we all experience being in Gethsemane.  Corey's longest time in Gethsemane was while he was an active member of the church.  His life was a struggle.  He prayed constantly.  He received a personal revelation to embrace his gayness.  Not possible?  Because it goes against what we've been taught.  Of course we're going to question it.  He did.  For many many years.

            Personal revelation isn't restricted to any one religion. After excommunication, he has continued to receive personal revelation and is definitely happier than he ever had been.  Hard as it may be for some people to believe, some people have to leave the church in order to get out of Gethsemane.  Some people have a different mission and because the personal revelation is between the individual and God, who are we to question?  And yet we do because there's always concern - especially when it seems to go against what we've been taught all of our lives. But sometimes Heavenly Father allows us to experience situations that we may not understand at the time, but there is purpose whether we accept on faith or not.

            On the other hand, there are some choices made that don't include the Lord.  Often there is sorrow and devastation, but we can still learn from our mistakes or better yet, from the mistakes of others.  That's why we have biographies and scriptures.  That is why each of us may be called to give a talk and share our experiences.  That is why we fellowship on another - so we may learn from the lives of others.

            Yesterday I read this thought that my youngest son posted to facebook two years ago:

            "The greatest moments of stress people have faced in their lives have led to the greatest accomplishments or failures that brought experience and change. Learning...g from mistakes or looking back on trials conquered is why life is so exciting. Do not live your life scared or afraid. Living with optimism is what makes life great living any other way is not really living. from mistakes or looking back on trials conquered is why life is so exciting.  Do not live your life scared or afraid." 

            Turn the Lord when you need comfort and include Him with big decisions and listen to Him and act upon faith.  Continue to pray and be guided in righteousness.

Hughes, D. (1998). Far From Home. In D. Hughes, Children of the Promise (p. 492). Salt Lake City: Deseret Book.

Picking Pineapples in Florida. (2011). Retrieved from clippix etc:

Pineapple Members. (2016, December 17). Retrieved from shadowverse:

Ripe for the picking, another Mareeba Gold pineapple grown and marketed by Pinata Farms. (2016, December 20). Retrieved from abc news:

Monday, November 6, 2017

Somewhere Between Eden and Gethsemane

        A garden, by definition, is either a cultivated plot of ground or a gathering place such as a park which is generally adorned with plants and trees.  I guess I have never considered the definition until quite recently.  We had our Stake Conference this weekend, and one of the speakers mentioned two specific gardens found in the scriptures and discussed the symbolic differences between them.

          The Garden of Eden, as mentioned in Geneses,          is outlined as a paradise.  We see paintings of fruit and vegetation, peace and waterfalls, a beautiful place where everything is tranquil.  I guess it represents a kind of perfection.

          The Garden of Gethsemane, as portrayed by each of the gospels, does not have the same appeal.  Paintings often depict a drab setting with perhaps a few barren-looking trees, a hard rock or boulder, uncultivated dirt - it appears to be the opposite of the Garden of Eden.  There is no tranquility.  It represents hardships.  It represents trials.  There is sadness in Gethsemane and it takes faith to endure just being there.

          My youngest son seems to live in Eden for the most part.  He allows discouraging thoughts to roll off his back.   He tries to coax others to come into Eden by waving to them and showing them what the garden has to offer. Sometimes I have questioned whether he has been to  Gethsemane.  I know he's seen it. I don't know he's willing to leave his comfort zone to physically pull others out of Gethsemane.  I could be wrong.

          My middle son fluctuates between the two gardens.  He seems happy and content with one, but then something will set him off and he will mope around in the other.  And then there's my eldest who unfortunately has spent too many years in the Garden of Gethsemane and continues to delve deeper into the garden instead of trying to get out.

          Often his way of thinking (or lack thereof) remind me of John Steinbeck's character "Lennie Small" from Of Mice and Men.  Lennie is sweet for the most part, is seen as uneducated and slow-minded.  He doesn't mean to be harmful to anyone, but sometimes he gets frustrated and defensive when he is unable to communicate his thoughts to others.  I don't think that Biff is quite that far gone, but he tends to forget things he once believed. 
        Often our conversations are (and have been) like beating our heads against a brick wall.  I do believe that he would become bored with Eden in a matter of time, but I don't enjoy watching him struggling in Gethsemane, and I don't know how to help him.  Nor do I know how to comfort his mother-in-law who has visited Gethsemane more times than I have.

          I understand the need for trials.  I understand the need  for peace.  I'd like to see all of my children find their common ground between the two gardens.  I'd like that for everyone.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

May This Tie You Over

There are many thought swimming in my head . . . some floating.  Few words are connecting into something I may post.  So let me share these two songs to tie you over until I am satisfied about posting what's on my mind.  Thank you TriumphRainbow and Jeffery Walsh for your contribution by posting to YouTube:

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Keeping Halloween Safe

I think it's great to be able to go downtown and have the children move from business to business.  The city takes caution to reduce traffic situation at this time

I did not take as many pictures of trick or treating this year as I had the first year that we had moved to Myrtle Creek.  The library was supposed to offer a party from 2-4 before the trick or treating even started.  I couldn't understand why it had been planned so early as the majority of school kids don't even get out of school until after 3:00 (middle school are the first to go to school, and then the high schoolers and then the elementary - and returned home in the same order)

When Jenna returned home yesterday, she changed from her buttercup outfit into one that resembles Harley Quinn.  We went downtown to the annex, but the building appeared to have been abandoned for quite some time - as it had the beginning of this year.

We then went to the library to enquire about said party.  I took more pictures of Jenna and some of the library staff. 

Just some of the many volunteers that support our library

We then went to the baby park behind the library

and returned to the house to get Roland and Jenna changed her outfit into a ladybug - but did bring along her "Halloween Spirit" for when it got dark and colder.  But ended up not wearing that one at all.

Tommy's passed out little ice cream cones and the Elks Lodge offered games.  It was a fun night for her.

inside Elk's lodge

fire truck and city hall

set of footprints on Broadway as businesses were open beyond the post office

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Remember the Positive

Every time your children do something wonderful, write it down.  

Whenever your children do something that makes you upset, refer to the list of actions you've admired.

Focus on the good things.  Don't dwell on the anger or sadness.

Happy Halloween!

Jenna met a friend at a second hand store yesterday.  They were searching for costumes to wear today.  There are three of them that will be dressed as the power puff girls.  I took pictures of Jenna in various costume that she thought might work for Buttercup.

This morning she left the house dressed in the 2nd outfit of the three.  One strap had broken, but she said it was because she was the tough one.  If it is cold tonight, she will be dressing up as the ghost of Christmas future.  Hot costume to wear.  I don't know what she'll wear if it is nice out.