Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Oh My, Blackberry Pie

     My house is a bit crazy this week. Amongst the usual smattering of piano students I have my grandchildren back on board, meaning living with us, and we have colds. We share all things in such close quarters and that is good, in most instances. On the good side is the blackberry pie that The Teacher Son made with Emmaline. For the next few weeks, blackberries will be available on a branch near you. 

   First you have to pick them. This entails some scratches and if you are unlucky a nice stinging from the nettles.

                             Then comes the mixing and measuring, along with the sampling.

    At last the time comes to cut into the fresh, piping hot pie. Or, if the pie is baked too late in the day it can be enjoyed in the morning. I don't recommend putting the steaming pie in the freezer as someone, who will remain anonymous, attempted.
    And lastly, a bit of grandmotherly advice to parents with young children. Really, bottom line, having children is unmanageable. I use this word manage with the definition; to maintain control of. You can pretend you have control but don't be naive. At best we supervise the process of growing up. A happy supervisor knows how to laugh and cry "uncle" when they have you pinned to the floor.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

What Is Up In The Garden?

                       Here are some things whichI have in my garden which are remarkable.

                Deep Red Impatiens

Tiger Lilys

New Babies

       I have heard these two crying for their mother.

What's For Dinner?

The Summer Day

Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Book of Mormon Summer- Mosiah 1-18

        There are stories in the Book of Mormon that have strong images. I can visualize them and it is such a joy to try to capture them on paper. Even though they seem cartoonish I am strengthened by the process of drawing.
     One of those stories is the gathering of King Benjamin's people. Truly their desires changed history as they made covenants talked about for years after.

    Mosiah 2:5 "And it came to pass that when they came up to the temple, they pitched their tents round about, every man according to his family, consisting of his wife, and his sons, and his daughters, and their sons, and their daughters, from the eldest down to the youngest, every family being separate one from another.
6 And they pitched their tents round about the temple, every man having his tent with the door thereof towards the temple, that thereby they might remain in their tents and hear the words which king Benjamin should speak unto them;"
   Meanwhile, back in the Land of Lehi-Nephi, another great story unfolds with King Noah reigning in unrighteousness. As tragic as the account of Abinadi is, the miracle of a listening Alma is unsurpassed in miracles.

    Mosiah 17:2 "But there was one among them whose name was Alma, he also being a descendant of Nephi. And he was a young man, and he believed the words which Abinadi had spoken, for he knew concerning the iniquity which Abinadi had testified against them; therefore he began to plead with the king that he would not be angry with Abinadi, but suffer that he might depart in peace."
    This misguided Alma makes such an amazing turn-around and I love visualizing the Waters of Mormon where his followers receive their covenants and continue their spiritual journey.

    Mosiah 18:16 "And after this manner he did baptize every one that went forth to the place of Mormon; and they were in number about two hundred and four souls; yea, and they were baptized in the waters of Mormon, and were filled with the grace of God. And they were called the church of God, or the church of Christ, from that time forward. And it came to pass that whosoever was baptized by the power and authority of God was added to his church."
   What a book! Read it again and again. It never gets old, to me.
Here are 8X5 versions of my illustrations to copy.
Heres are more thoughts on this block of scripture.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Strawberry Days

For me, the Strawberry Festival makes the half-way through summer mark. I love taking pictures of the color and shapes in the parade.

            This year the Scot's came along and added Bag Pipes to the mix of sound. A good parade always has Pipers.

       Unique to our community is The Thriftway Drill Team. We have an emeritus member in our own family.

      The highlights are the Grands who wave and appreciate the cheers. Miss Maggie has appeared in several Shakespeare plays this year and walked in the Midsummer Night group.

              The Sawbones float is important to my community since so many are employed there.

                                    The Moonbeam is still small enough to pull through the parade.

           Drill Teams get cuter and cuter every year. This year the Garden Club Drill Team was my personal favorite.

                    Would you give a singing telegram? The WSF will deliver and make someone smile.

                                       The Pony Club is always horsing around in the line-up.

          I saw this business last year and thought these coops were terrific. What a great idea for a second home.

                         The winner of the "statement award" was the genetically modified corn cob. 

                Last, but not least, was the solar powered bike. It is, hands down, the better solution.

                                                           Last year's pictures are here.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Pencil And Paper

   I have taken pencils and paper lately, not to write words, but to record images. I draw now and then and this is now. Drawing is to seeing what music is to hearing. Artists use a way of seeing that is not perceptual. They don't draw what they know is a "hand", they draw the lines and curves and the negative space around the "hand". Magically, that then becomes a hand. I copy what I see and start the drawing with the picture upside down. This keeps my brain from interfering with instructions on what to draw. Since the model is on it's head I am left to look at shapes and relationships.

     When I draw from real life I find it is difficult to talk people into standing on their heads while I draw them. I am limited and not "really good". But that is okay. My father was an artist and we sometimes made fun of his drawings, noting his mistakes. Now I look at his renderings differently. I ponder his subjects, his perspective, and his emotions just under the surface of the sketch. It tells his story and I like remembering him.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

On Fisher Pond

    There is a certain etiquette on the forest trails that children learn and then teach each other. Having a quiet mind and observant eyes are essential. Yesterday we introduced two new cousins to Fisher Pond.  

         The water-lilies cover the pond in the summer but at water's edge life is teeming just under the surface. The fish and water skeeters reveal themselves only if you wait and watch.

Along the trail we stop and chat quietly. We listen for birds and ducks, we see various shapes and sizes of pinecones, and we discuss what berries are edible. The new cousins need to learn the facts of life on the trail.

       If you go into nature regularly the discoveries are endless. But it is also fun to run like mad down the trail and stay in front of the group. Come on Grandma, keep up!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Book of Mormon Summer- Enos- Omni

Enos is a special book. Small in size, it is long on principles, the most important one being repentance. I love the question Enos asks after he is told that his sins are forgiven. I believe he wants to know how the guilt was removed since his relief is so real. The release of guilt comes with faith in Christ. Then Enos is told to move forward, act on the new impetus to do good, which Enos does by opening his heart to others.

     The records, most valued and prized, are passed through four families, Lehi, Benjamin, Alma, and Mormon. We live in a time when scriptures are easily accessible, but it has not been so in the history of the earth.

     Omni is a record with many hints of events to come. It took me years to realize that reading this small account was vital to understanding the plot of the book of Mosiah.

                                    Here are added thoughts on these books of scripture.
                                   Here are 8X5 versions of my illustrations to copy.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Guest Blogger- Playing Piano At The Joseph Smith Memorial Building

   Welcome to my first guest blogger Lesa. She writes here about her love of music and the joys in her life.        

    Once a month I have the opportunity to play the piano in the lobby of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City, Utah. To become a pianist I had to fill out an application and turn it in to a gentleman who is over the lobby pianist. He gave me a call and asked if I would come in and audition for him. I was humbled and excited when Brother Klopfer indicated he would like to give me some opportunities to play in the lobby of the Conference Center and the JSMB. At first I was a substitute pianist. Bro Klopfer would call and ask me if I wanted to fill in for someone who was going to be absent. Eventually, I was given a permanent spot and I've had the opportunity to play once a month on a certain day and time. When I play in the lobby of the JSMB my repertoire includes classical, Broadway, and songs from musicals. As pianist we aren't called to serve in this position; we are just volunteers who give of our time without monetary compensation. The spiritual lessons I have learned by doing this over the last 5 years are worth gold to me.

      Each month as I sit down at the piano, I always wonder what experiences I will have. Last week a group of youth and some leaders came up to the piano. They were on a scavenger hunt that required them to find all kinds of things in the JSMB. As they found the items on their list they had to take a photo of the item. One of the things they had to find was the grand piano in the lobby. They came up to the piano and I stopped playing to visit with them. Over the next hour two more groups came up to the piano. When the last group came up, I asked one of the young men to video me playing the piano as I wanted to have a recording for my children. I have been wanting to do a recording for a long time, but the moment hasn't ever presented itself. The young man agreed and I started playing. At the end of the song I motioned him to come closer so I could talk for a minute on the recording.

Without hesitation I said, "I have the wonderful opportunity to play each month in this building - The Joseph Smith Memorial Building - and it is a great place to be. I have a testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith."

I thanked the group and they went on to finish their scavenger hunt. If I would have had a few more minutes I would have added a few more things.... 

Additionally, I know Joseph Smith was called of God to be the one to be the instrument in the Lord's hands to bring the restored church back to the earth in this last dispensation. I've had the opportunity to go back to the mid-west to see for himself the places he lived and the jail where he was murdered June 27, 1844. Also, we visited the sacred grove in New York where Joseph Smith was visited by Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in a vision.
     My testimony of Joseph Smith came as a solid confirmation one day several years ago. I picked up a book about Joseph Smith and I looked at a picture of him and all the years of learning, studying, and hearing about him came together and I just knew in that moment that he is a true prophet of God. I just knew. And I've never doubted since. I know Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God.  

Thank-you. Lesa for your testimony.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Make a Melon Hedge Hog

Watermelon is so sweet this year. We have had two this week. This can be a juicy desert to take to a summer party. Ta Da! A Melon Hedge Hog.

   Slice in half, length wise, and cut the edges for snout and ears. Carve out squares in the other half of the melon and replace. Attach snout and ears with tooth picks, placing blueberries on the sharp points.

                     Add a toothpick to every square to create the quills. Enjoy this summer time treat.

                        Brought to you by Angela and Gabi………………………..

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Cousins Have Arrived

The cousins from Phoenix have arrived and are becoming Washingtonians at last. While their new mainland house closes they are living with us. The house is filled with chortling and expressions of delight. In the morning we get out the bag of stuffed animals and sing, "When ------ get up in the morning they always say------------". Fill in the blanks with appropriate animals and sounds.

    I thought I knew how to baby proof a house but I forgot that a one-year old finds anything, the smaller the better, and chews, rips, and generally takes it it apart.

    The girls think I have a playground in my backyard and that all my toys are super cool. Miss Emmaline is quite concerned for the cactus which has become yellow. She wants me to make it better. Being a desert baby does connect you with certain plant life.

    The cousins are very glad to be together and getting to know one another. I did not have cousins my age so I find the carnival of cousins very interesting to watch.

    So far everyone seems to be happy and satisfied. My son is wonderful about taking the girls on outings several times a day. They are very interested in the beach and each day we have more seashells to clean and sort through. July is a grandchildren month and I am okay with that.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Six Habits of Happiness- Study No. 2

   This summer along with reading the Book of Mormon, I have embarked on another study project. Along with a study buddy, I have been reading two General Conferences talks a week and writing down my impressions. Lesa, at Everyday Notes, is featuring my project on her blog today. Go take a look, please?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Book of Mormon Summer- More 2 Nephi and Jacob

     The words of Isaiah quoted by Nephi are amazing prophecies for our day.
2 Nephi 27:11 "And the day cometh that the words of the book which were sealed shall be read upon the house tops; and they shall be read by the power of Christ; and all things shall be revealed unto the children of men which ever have been among the children of men, and which ever will be even unto the end of the earth."


I am curious about the number of times General Conference speakers use portions of scriptures without quoting them verbatim. These then are listed as footnotes. For example, Bro. Uchtdorf makes the statement, in his preisthood session address, " ..if you will rise up and join the chorus and allow the power of God to work through you, you will see "the windows of heaven open and will pour out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it". This is a reference to Malachi 3:10. We often think of that scripture as pertaining to tithing but really Malachi is warning the Jews who have stopped observing the laws of Jehovah and he is encouraging them to go back to observing the ordinances of the Law of Moses. The blessings of heaven are promised by the Lord through Malachi for all those who "walk in the way of the Lord". President Uchtdorf uses the language of the scriptures to draw us in because we recognize the phrase. Or is it something more subtle? Is the language of scripture the word of salvation? Nephi tells his people. after seeing their puzzled faces, 

    2 Nephi 31:13 "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism--yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel. "
   Is the tongue of angels a language? Does it consist of the words of salvation? Can we become conversant in this language as well?  

   If reading the scriptures tutors us to understand the tongue of angels then there is no language as beautiful as the allegory of The Vineyard.

Jacob5:41 "And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard wept, and said unto the servant: What could I have done more for my vineyard?"
   When I read this chapter in Jacob I know, deep within, the long-suffering patience and love of my Savior, Jesus Christ.
  Here are some more of my thoughts on this block of scripture.
 Here are some more 8X5 versions of my illustrations. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy July Fourth!

  One of my great joys in life is color. Perhaps you can imagine what fun I have gathering images across the Internet and organizing them into color palettes on one of my favorite computer applications called Pinterest. As we are celebrating a holiday which is identified with three majors colors I have gathered together my favorite Pinterest boards honoring the colors of our national flag.

    Red is really an amazing color. It occurs in nature as a warning but also as a symbol of attraction. I am so enamored with red in picture groups.

   White, or any neutral shade, is soothing and warming at the same time. I like the look of different neutrals together with just a hint of dark to define.

  And blue has always been my favorite color. Soft blues that don't intrude but wrap me up in quiet and peace.

  I can't leave my little Pinterest collection without a quick look at my collection of garden gnomes. Don't steal mine, I pay them well and they get Thursdays off.