Tuesday, June 17, 2014

New Earring Holders Using Re-purposed, Up-cycled Graters a Work In Progress

These graters have outlived their usefulness as such, but I hate to throw anything away, especially a vintage treasure. They were used for at least 60 years by the same person, and don't really grate well. Why not turn them into  fun and funky earring hangers, trees, holders, whatever you want to call them. I still have a few finishing touches for them, and will post later.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Touch

 I just finished reading Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. It's a story that so startlingly mirrors what we are heading into today, that it makes you sit back and think. the similarities to the voice in the seashell bud in the ear, the walls that bring the "family" into the living room via screens with a scripted story people interact in. It brought to mind bluetooth ear buds, smartphones and Facebook with the hours we can get lost in chatting with people about things, but we don't really "do" anything.
The part that caught my eye the most was toward the end of the book where the story reads, "Everyone must leave something in the room or left behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you're there. It doesn't matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that's like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime."

I love the gardener analogy so I've added here, a couple of photos I took with my dumb phone last night while out for a walk.  The hillsides here are covered with lupine and daisies and such in with wild abandon. The Creator must have delighted in tossing out the seeds of change this once naked earth needed to blossom and become the beautiful orb it now is. We see his hand in all the world around us, orderly in life cycles, yet given to asymmetric design.

More than that though, in the creative nature of the earth, is the living to touch the life of someone each day.

Each Life That Touches Ours for Good

 Each life that touches ours for good
Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord;
Thou sendest blessings from above
Thru words and deeds of those who love.

 What greater gift dost thou bestow,
What greater goodness can we know
Than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways
Strengthen our faith, enrich our days.

When such a friend from us departs,
We hold forever in our hearts
A sweet and hallowed memory,
Bringing us nearer, Lord, to thee.

 For worthy friends whose lives proclaim
Devotion to the Savior's name,
Who bless our days with peace and love,
We praise thy goodness, Lord, above.

 Karen Lynn Davidson

Today I hope to be more the gardener than the lawn cutter, the friend, the neighbor I should be.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Choosing the Future Father of Your Children

For years, since becoming an adult, I have thought that if I could choose who my real father would be, it would be Thomas S. Monson. From the first time I heard him speak in General Conference, I have looked to him as an example of what a real man is. So my dear Young Women, I am writing a letter to you today, in the hope that something I say will touch you as you grow up and find the future father of your children.

First off, let me say that the man you marry should be someone who can take you to the temple. We can all be assured that if Thomas S. Monson is our prophet, then he took his wife to the temple. This is not a step I would lightly dismiss, because if your future husband is truly worthy to take you to the temple we can be pretty sure, he is a great man already!

Let's take a look at why I admire President Monson so much. First off, he is happy. His demeanor and countenance is cheerful and upbeat. While no one can be happy and upbeat all the time, when you think of the weight of being the leader of our church must be on his shoulders, and yet he comes in front of us to speak with love, affection and hope, then someone who can be happy and have hope, even in hard times is a man worth taking a second look at.

Another reason I look to him is that he honors his priesthood by serving others. Who isn't touched by his stories of visiting widows and such at the prompting of the spirit? If our men are going to be out and about, wouldn't we want them to be serving someone in need of help, rather than just hanging out with the guys while we wrestle with children, chores and bills? Here is a statement he made  -
“There are many out there who plead and pray for help. There are those who are discouraged, those who are beset by poor health and challenges of life which leave them in despair. I’ve always believed in the truth of the words, ‘God’s sweetest blessings always go by hands that serve him here below.’ Let us have ready hands, clean hands, and willing hands, that we may participate in providing what our Heavenly Father would have others receive from Him.” President Monson is a true example of that. A man who can set aside the pleasures of the world to do what is right is worth their weight in gold. 

Humility is another characteristic I love about President Monson. He is not afraid to admit that at times he has missed the mark, or made choices such as playing with matches around a dry field. We all do things we regret. Someone who can look at their shortcomings, admit them and work on them is someone who will be forgiving and loving to you as well.

If you study a list of his accomplishments, you don't see accolades for sports achievements and such, but you do see the many times he has been recognized for his public service. Yet he doesn't go out and look to be recognized, he just does what is in his nature to do, make the world, the country, the state, his community and his church a better place to be.

I have always been fascinated by women who can look at a man and like him based on his character, not just looks. In truth they see through the surface and see the "beauty" beneath. While you may think attraction is key to having a good relationship, I can promise you this, no amount of handsome can make up for selfishness and mean spirited behavior. A good looking man can quickly become "ugly" when they are ugly in spirit. The surface looks fade away to reveal the "monster" underneath. I can also promise you that if you meet someone who is good, kind, happy and humble, he will become your "prince" as you come to love the inside of him, what is in his heart.

Look to the heart of the man, his character, his courage to stand up for right, his faith in God, his goodness, kindness and willingness to serve, and you will find the future father of your children.  Think of who you admire in our general authorities, and ponder on why you admire them. Make your list based on what I've said. Don't sell yourself short, remember, you are a daughter of God, you have the right to a good life with a good man, and a happy family. Choose wisely dear daughters, your future and your future children depend on you. To you with love.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Dear Dad,

Another Father's Day is on the horizon, and I wonder if you are still alive. I tried searching for you after Grandma urged me to, but the internet was just in it's infancy, and I had nothing to go on but a name. With 54 men named Maurice Leblanc showing up in the search, and some of them not even close to where you would possibly be, although I tried, I didn't get very far. It was hard, because in the back of my mind lurked the possibility that even if you were found you would not want to talk to me.

So it seems I will spend another Father's Day wondering where you might be, and if you even care. It's been so long since I was conceived that you may have forgotten I'm even here. I try not to think about it too much as it would consume my life and I have a lot to live for. I grew up thinking another man was my father. That was hard as I grew up thinking he didn't love me because I wasn't pretty or skinny or whatever like my two sisters. It was frustrating because I tried so hard to be good and smart and it was never enough. If Grandma hadn't gotten upset with my stepfather about something he said, I might never have known about you. She actually did me a huge favor though, as it lifted the burden of feeling unwanted by my "Dad". He was given a raw deal though and so I can't really blame him for the way things turned out. I know you weren't given a choice as to whether you would be in my life or not, and that's sad. I hear you were angry and didn't react very well when Mom didn't want to marry you, and for that I'm sorry. It seems you both made a mistake, but you know, I don't feel like I am one. I also know you got married and had children with your wife, so I have other "halfsies" out there somewhere.

There was a time when I felt very strongly I should look for you. The window of opportunity was open and the push to look was so strong. That feeling has subsided, and perhaps I missed an opportunity to learn about a great family. Fear overcame faith, as I came to feel that you might reject me as other adults in my family have over the years. I can't change that, or go back and correct it. I hope you had a happy life, and are surrounded by those who love you. Heavenly Father has taken care of me by giving me an opportunity to have the true gospel in my life. It has been my life line and God has sent me many angels to lift me up during hard times. I hope I can live up to the gift He has given me, as I truly believe He loves and cares for all of us.

Some day, on the other side, we will meet. Some day I will know what it is like to have both parents in my life, and my children will get to meet both of their grandparents for the first time. I don't know why Heavenly Father loved me enough to give me the strength I've needed to survive this life so far, but I hope it will continue, and that I can be even partly worthy of the blessings I have.

The hardest part about all of this is that I have nothing to share with my children and grandchildren about you. Hair color, eye color, likes, dislikes, sports did you have a favorite? Your parents, siblings, and so on. I only know where you came from, and that your nickname was Frenchie. I don't know who you really are, except someone who spent enough time with my mom to be intimate with her. Mom never told me about you, as she probably thought I would think poorly of her, and she already hated herself. We didn't know that until after she died, she was pretty good at keeping up a good front, but then abuse victims have practice with that.

I am so not good at expressing my feelings openly. It's not easy to share when for so many years sharing meant running the risk of rejection. Now, it doesn't really matter so much, because I've come to know that with God, all will be okay in the end. Even if things get rough, or harder than I think I can handle, with God it will all be okay in the end.

So Dad, wherever you are, I wish you a happy Father's day. May the Lord give you the gift he has given me.

Your Oldest Daughter,


It's a Rainy Day in Paradise.....

A cool drizzle washed my cheeks as I turned to head back down the hill to Wallowa Lake. My lungs filled with fresh moist air as I faced into the slight breeze. Ahhhhh.... what a way to start the day! The valley is canopied with soft gray clouds, releasing thirst quenching liquid to the parched earth. A doe cautiously watches me as a black bird chirps and flutters over my head, both wondering if I am friend or foe. The doe goes back to nibbling on greenery as the bird lands on a boulder by what I assume is her nest.
I started my run feeling sluggish and slow, but found my energy build as I plodded up the road. My goal was to make the place where the river crosses under the road, and yet I was able to keep on trudging up the pavement and get to the top of the hill. I always say a mental, "Hi Mom!" as I reach the top, sometimes stopping at the Chief Joseph monument to walk through the little cemetery and try to feel her presence. Sometimes I feel her close, a comfort I've not often had since she passed. No, she's not buried anywhere I can physically see, but if God allows her to be close to us I feel that she would be up at the lake waiting for us to come home.
It's time to get breakfast together as my daughter has to work a split shift today and will need the sustenance to keep her going. I am contemplating making a nice creamy soup of sorts, and perhaps some crusty, savory rye bread to go with it. Oh, that will be for dinner... lol. Breakfast will be an egg scramble, using up the leftover baked potato I had the other night. Chopped red bell pepper and onion will go into the mix as well. Fresh fruit and toast will round things out. Have a great day, I know I will!