Friday, August 30, 2013

Zoodrops Are Falling On My Head

           Heading out to the zoo looked blurry yesterday. Aside from the fact the clouds were hanging close to the water, there was 100% of precipitation. Why go? Because two grandchildren were staying the night and two more were meeting us there.

        We stayed inside where it was dry and dangerous. Wow! Kali the tiger had grown a foot, or two.

                                             We couldn't avoid being eaten by the shark.

                                 The aquarium, in contrast to the gray outside, seemed fantastical.

Then, while we looked the other way, it started. First, a little drop of rain hit the ground. Then another drop of rain hit the ground. Then another, and another, and another and another, until finally the deluge drowned all sound.

But we came prepared.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Primary 5- Reviewing

    I am trying to review a little bit every week in Primary 5 (emerging readers, ages 7-9) class. The journals are essential for that reason. I posted about using journals in Primary, here. Our journals contain story prompts, scripture fill-ins, and visual reminders of lessons. I like to play Scripture Man every now and again to go through out journals and extract information.

    This game requires knowledge but luck is also a factor in winning. Here are the rules.
  1. Make a list of 10 questions which have one word answers. I play this as review but also to dig into a new block of scripture. 
  2. Assign each question a grid coordinate, i.e.; A-7, B-10, F-12
  3. Pass out the Scripture Man handout and have them fill out the grid with the little pictures. The coveted point is scripture man which they can only place once, worth 50 points. The dreaded points are the three bombs which would wipe out all the previous points they earn.
  4. I ask the question and they write down their answer. When all have answered I tell them that if they answered correctly they could have all the points on the coordinates which were assigned to that question. For example; you may have all the points assigned to the robot if you put it there on B-4.
  5. Then we go on to question number 2, and ect.
  6. After question 10 everyone adds up their points and the Scripture Man is rewarded, or just applauded.

      I am not afraid of carrying over this game from one week to the next if time is a factor. The benefit of carrying the game over from the last week is that review can start the lesson. So far, this game is a hit with teenagers and elementary aged children.
  The larger scripture man template is here.
The original scripture man template is here.

And, I thank-you for reading some of my mystery novel, Rubato. Judith, a piano teacher extraordinaire,  makes a decision which, upon reflection, changes the lives of others, not for the better.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


   I don't bottle foods. I did some long ago but I was always wearied by the hot, labor intensive work. My dislike of work as a child has made being an adult challenging. I was one of those kids that hid in the basement, went to the bathroom, whenever work was on the agenda. So there I was with a bag of tomatillos form my CSA farm. I decided to make salsa. My daughter-in-law bottles many things and her salsa is really good. I've heard her describe the process, but she hasn't talked about tomatillos.
  So first I roasted the tomatillos, garlic cloves, chilies on a baking sheet.

The green tomatillos were softer and juicer. They have a bitter bite which can be mitigated with apple-cider vinegar.

   The result was satisfying. I had some over a baked potato with a tiny dollop of sour cream. Yum!
The varied vegetables I receive from my CSA farm are adventures. What will I do with the daikon the size of a watermelon?

  Here is the recipe from Rick Bayless-


8 ounces (3 to 4 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (1 or 2 serranos or 1 jalapenos), stemmed
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
6 sprigs of fresh cilantro (thick bottom stems cut off), roughly chopped
1/4 small white onion, finely chopped


Roast the tomatillos, chile(s) and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler, until blotchy black and softening (they’ll be turning from lime green to olive), about 5 minutes.  Flip them over and roast the other side.  Cool, then transfer everything to a blender, including all the delicious juice the tomatillos have exuded during roasting. Add the cilantro and 1/4 cup water, then blend to a coarse puree. Scoop into a serving dish. Rinse the onion under cold water, then shake to remove excess moisture.  Stir into the salsa and season with salt, usually 1/2 teaspoon.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Book of Mormon Summer- Illustrating Alma

When I am drawing pictures of these Book of Mormon scenes I am often disappointed by my lack of skill but never with the scriptural message I want to portray. I knew I wanted to show the part where the queen is awakened by Abish, the young Lamanite serving girl who believed her father's vision. What became really important to me as I read was her cry to Jesus. As the queen became conscious she revealed her new knowledge of Jesus Christ

   I love the analogy of burying the physical weapons of war with the need we have to bury our spiritual weapons. The wars we wage amongst each other may not take our life but it does take the life out of our relationships.

  In Alma 29 the words, "Oh that I were an angel!" came to mean something more as I pondered the angel who was part of Alma's life. That angel did come with the intent of testifying to Alma and bringing him to repentance. He came back at least once again when discouraged Alma left Ammonihah. Then he came to buoy up his spirit and minister to him. That Alma would like to perform these services to others is no surprise.

                                If the subject of angels interests you, may I recommend this book.

    Donald Parry who has spoken about angels at BYU Education Week, has painstakingly researched what we can learn from the scriptures and from statements of modern prophets about angels and their missions. Chapters in this book focus on such topics as what angels are, what powers and abilities they are given, how they communicate with mortals (including their interaction with little children), what missions and roles they are assigned, how they restore priesthood and keys, how they reveal truth and teach the doctrines of the gospel, and what their roles will be in the Second Coming and during the Judgment. 
    If you would like to download my illustrations in a 4X6 format please look at the bottom of this page.
  I have more to say about this block of scripture here and here.


And, I thank-you for reading some of my mystery novel, Rubato. Judith, a piano teacher extraordinaire,  makes a decision which, upon reflection, changes the lives of others, not for the better.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Morning Lines- August 21,2013

“To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts — such is the duty of the artist.”
– Robert Schumann

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

On The Mat

   In the summer it is a treat to do yoga outside. Timing the right hour is important because behind my house there is privacy but also direct sun. It can get hot.

      Between 7-8am is perfect. I put down a piece of plywood, rollout my mat, and stack my props.
When I find a tall, stable seat, I sit. I listen. I feel, I close my eyes but see with my inner eyes how my body is doing.

   My shadow records the first balance of the day. As we get older our ears lose some of the ability to stay balanced. An average 20 year old can close their eyes and balance on one foot for up to 30 seconds. I can make it to 5 seconds before I fall out. With eyes open I do much better but each day is different. Just like life, some days are more balanced than others. The reason I searched for the six habits of happiness in my life was to maintain balance.Yoga provides my body the habit of moving.

   Warrior one is a powerful pose. The back leg stretches back, the forward leg bends and provides the counter-balance to the back leg. The arms are in opposition to each other reaching strongly.
Just like my habit of moving is in opposition to my habit of creating. One is physical; the other mental, but both balance each other.

    Do I fulfill all six habits everyday. Well…most days I do and those are the best days.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Book of Mormon Summer-End of Mosiah into Alma

I have been reading about angels in a new book by Donald Parry called Angels: Agents of Light, Love and Power. He mentions this angel who visits Alma, the Younger. His name is withheld but he comes many more times to Alma, one example being when he leaves Ammonihah the first time. He was called to warn, guide, and minister. 

     Alma 27:13 "Nevertheless he cried again, saying: Alma, arise and stand forth, for why persecutest thou the church of God? For the Lord hath said: This is my church, and I will establish it; and nothing shall overthrow it, save it is the transgression of my people.   And again, the angel said: Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith. And now behold, can ye dispute the power of God? For behold, doth not my voice shake the earth? And can ye not also behold me before you? And I am sent from God. Now I say unto thee: Go, and remember the captivity of thy fathers in the land of Helam, and in the land of Nephi; and remember how great things he has done for them; for they were in bondage, and he has delivered them. And now I say unto thee, Alma, go thy way, and seek to destroy the church no more, that their prayers may be answered, and this even if thou wilt of thyself be cast off."
I so appreciate the return of Alma. He becomes an amazing missionary and fulfills the request of the angel to remember the bondage of his forebears. His message to the cities where he preaches is one of sincere repentance.

   You can find this overview of the missionary journeys of Alma and the sons of Mosiah, here.

   In this section we meet Ammon, a son of King Mosiah, who is daring, converted, and sure of his mission to bring salvation to the Lamanites.

     Alma17:9 "And it came to pass that they journeyed many days in the wilderness, and they fasted much and prayed much that the Lord would grant unto them a portion of his Spirit to go with them, and abide with them, that they might be an instrument in the hands of God to bring, if it were possible, their brethren, the Lamanites, to the knowledge of the truth, to the knowledge of the baseness of the traditions of their fathers, which were not correct. And it came to pass that the Lord did visit them with his Spirit, and said unto them: Be comforted. And they were comforted. And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls."

                   You can find more of my thoughts on these blocks of scripture here and here.
                              My illustrations, weak as they are, can be downloaded here.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Journaling in Primary

   I am substituting in a Primary 5 class this summer and really enjoy this small group of children. I was curious what teaching skills I could transfer from Seminary to this age group. They are emerging readers and are studying the Doctrine and Covenants. The skill of finding a scripture is paramount and building confidence in that skill is my goal. Step one is having scriptures for each child. Step two is isolating two to three scriptures from the reading block that are simple and relevant to both the child and the lesson. I stick a piece of removable highlighter tape under the scripture when thy find it. That makes it visible on the page.

   Now that they have found the scripture how can we extract information from it? That is when our journals take on meaning. Each week we work on a journal page.

                          I type up our scriptures with missing words and glue them in the journal.

 With their highlighted scripture they scan for the words that they need to fill in the blanks. This is difficult for some children and sometimes I start the word for them.  But each week I have seen more success and they are pleased with their progress.

  Reviewing the scriptures from past weeks provides continuity and builds meaning into the verses. One verse we do each week is Doctrine and Covenants 82:10. It went with the lesson on the persecution in Missouri.
   " I the Lord am bond when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise,"
   I brought a pretty ribbon and asked for two volunteers. One played the role of Jesus Christ and one represented themselves. I tied their fingers together and explained that Jesus would never break that ribbon. The ribbon would only be loosed if we fail to keep his commandments. When I show the ribbon they know what scripture it represents. We repeat it every week.

   Church history stories are compelling and the Doctrine and Covenants has easy verses that are powerful to learn. I see many ways to strengthen scripture reading and comprehension in this age group.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Zoo Be Or Not Zoo Be

Are you a Zoobie? Someone who loves going to the zoo and goes often enough to know the names of the animals and their particular habits. I would like my grandchildren to be Zoobies. 

    I have a grandparent pass that allows five grandchildren free admission each time I go. We often go in shifts and mix families.

  The two elephants there are awesome. The keepers have told me they defer to all their particular tastes.

               Here is a sample of breakfast. Organic and wholesome; it should be my breakfast, as well.

                             And God created all creeping things on the face of the earth…..

               To meet the measure of their creation...

And have joy therein.
This 1000 pound Polar Bear was joyful in the water with his ball. I loved his gigantic tooshie!

                                            Our zoo has a baby Sumatran tiger born in April. 

Kali was only the third born in North America this year. 

                  I purchased a little stuffed tiger to remind us of our visit to Kali. Gabi is in love.

                       The older cousins have a love and patience for the youngest in our pack.

                                                I love their kindness and special caring way.

It was especially nice to have our Auntie from Dallas along.

To be a Zoobie is a good thing; it keeps me hoppin'.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Story Starters

   When it comes to teaching children, the truth is they need continuity and review. Some will say that we've heard these stories a million times but they are not carried to the heart unless the heart is open. When we are bored by scripture stories it is likely that they are have not reached our heart.
   My summer project of illustrating my favorite stories in the Book of Mormon is not finished  but I have made some story starter cards to use in my teaching. I like to share, so if they seem helpful here are PDF's in a 8X5 format. I feel a little like Moroni who is unsure of his writing ability. My drawing is amateurish but it is, what it is.

No. One 1 Nephi
No. Two 1 Nephi
No. Three 1 Nephi
No. Four 1 Nephi
No. Five 2 Nephi
No. Six 2 Nephi
No. Seven Jacob and Enos
No. Eight Omni
No. Nine Mosiah
No. Ten More Mosiah
No  Eleven Mosiah and Alma
No. Twelve Alma
No. Thirteen More Alma
No. Fourteen Alma and Sons

Dropbox is slow to load so be patient please.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Colored Pencils

   I recently purchased more colored pencils at my local office supply store. The problem is I keep buying the same colors because I love them, again. That is a universal problem with shopping. We are attracted to that which we were attracted to before.
   This is a drawing summer. I have my art supplies on the kitchen table so that I do some sketching everyday. I looked at some older sketches and found some I loved.

     I love this one because the old maple tree in the front yard is still there. It was removed more than ten years ago and although I love more light and less fall leaves, I miss the tree.

        This one reminds me of my little girl Genny. She had a shoe fetish when she was small. We actually found her in someone else's apartment trying on their shoes.

      More girl moments that bring back my two girls. Why are hats such an attractive prop to play with but a pain to wear?

     This sketch attracted me because of the gift bag. I cherished it for years and finally decided to draw it alongside my favorite candle, geode-stone, and hand lotion.
   You know you are getting old when your artwork comes out of hiding because you don't give a fig about being great.