Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas in Nephi

It is quiet here ... The snow is piling up as it get's closer to Christmas. In Nephi their attention is on keeping the highway and the main roads free of snow, when a storm hits. Which is as it should be. Snow drifts and piles into rivers of cold across the frozen asphalt, with worn rivulets from passing cars as they slip and slide through the streets. A slow crunch and blinking lights reflecting off the snow as one slowly drives by my house.

It reminds me of night lit riverboats on the Mississippi. Houses along the street that have holiday lights provide multicolored snow as the snow covering them slowly melts. Our neighbors currently are green and look like they belong in a Dr. Seuss book with a Lomax.

Our puppies prance and hop like bunnies in a field of grass. Hop Hop Hop through the snow, their tails wagging and bodies twist as the roll, jump lift and tumble through the depths. They do not seem to be affected by the cold. They only delight in the soft whiteness and toss it in the air.

This year I have found my voice again with my writing. I have started new endeavors for novels. I have written poems again and I am looking forward to spending time with my family this holiday season. I hope they will enjoy Christmas as much as I intend to!!! Our tree is a compilation of metal and glitter, glass and cloth. We have ornaments from Galilee, a carved stable nativity, others of Santa and pictures of our pets. We hang a white stocking on our tree, for Christ.

This sunday I was thinking on how much fun it is for me to give. I love it... however, there are some gifts... that do not come from a store. It is important to recall why... we give at this time. For the child who on that starlit night had no home. Had only hay, and two loving parents and a few animals to watch over him. How poor and lowly... they were, but full of life and joy and love for their newborn son.

Their wonder how as later, shepherds came to visit them and told them of angels. How their hearts must have been full. Even though they lacked for most comforts. We do not even know... the condition of that stable. Was it clean... was it warm... Yet it was that they had. They made do.

God gave us such a great gift on that humble night with one bright star... Our tree has a very pretty star on it. It is covered in glitter, however it only shines brightly when our room is brightly lit. Then it sparkles and glistens. It is very pretty. However I think of it, how on that night so long ago there was a new star to declare his birth, yet many may not have looked upon it, how it may not have seemed unique or special to them... that it dwelt in a darkness that only awareness and holy light could illuminate for those who paid attention. Who listened to angels or viewed the night sky and wondered on it. I imagine this may be why... the shepherds... they saw the star, shepherds often watch the stars to tell direction time of night etc. How they must have known there was a new one in the heavens. How they must have questioned this in their hearts and wondered at the significance of such a thing. Is this why... that those who dared to stop and "see the stars" to really look at them.. to wonder at the beauty... the real true lights of Christmas...

I often think of that couple and the child. I have two wonderful children. Holding them as Infants at Christmas as they slept I have always thought of another mother with another child on that night. This year.. I recall that with a bitter sweetness that time robs us of. It is those still quiet moments I felt connected more... with him and through her. By being a mother myself and realizing that it is the best of all of God's gifts. To have a child.

I have to admit I was a bit envious as I watched my Neice in the arms of her mother as she slept over Thanksgiving. I love the ages they are at now but I ache for the infant... Time marches on and they grow. As our daughter crosses over into adulthood... I am grateful to see the young woman that she is becoming. I know that she too may reflect on this same thing when she becomes a mother later in life. On a young mother, not much older than she is now, that held a special young child in her arms.

So as I wrap ribbons and bows for sweet gifts for families and friends. This year I want to remember that the reason we celebrate this gift of giving celebration is because of two parents, in a stable, with animals and hay, and small little boy that would grow into the son of Man and of God.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Its summer again. When I was a kid the funnest thing about summer was if we got to go camping or not. Usually at the Farnsworth Reunion. When I was a child I LOVED IT. I loved sleeping in a sleeping bag that was never quite warm enough. I loved the aches and pains. The smells, the pine trees, the forest after a storm. I loved the sites, the bear in the river with its cubs. The beavers, squirrels, rabbits and other creatures we saw.

Campfire smoke... I LOVED The smell of it. It didnt bother me as a kid to inhale it...


I am allergic to smoke. Any kind of smoke, kitchen cooking smokes, campfire smoke, etc.

Triggers my asthma. So Lee Barbeques outside. I stay indoors if there are forest fires in the area. I bring my inhaler if I go see my parents when they are camping and try to stay out of the fire's smoke path. We have two fans in our kitchen and if we get smoke in the kitchen, every window and or door is opened to air it out as fast as possible.

Its LAME. Drives me absolutely nuts. Cigarette smoke makes perfectly good sense.. its not healthy for you. But this.. I cant roast marshmallows and hotdogs without worrying if it will trigger a stupid coughing fit.

I use to light candles all the time. I loved that. I cannot do that anymore. I can use a candle burner for my candles but I cannot light a flame on them. So I watch them on TV on shows and in movies and wish.

There was a time I tried no matter what just to ignore it. I had friends that smoked, I would hang around them. If someone was burning something I didnt avoid it. If there was forest fire in the area. I didnt avoid it, I just kept trying to pretend that if ignored it ... maybe it would go away.

It didnt in fact I made myself very sick and came down with Chronic Bronchitis. It lasted for about nine months and it severely hampered my life. I could not function somedays.

There are two types of asthma. The one's that can't pull in oxygen, and the ones that can't push the bad air out. I can't push bad air out. I have a condition that has a medical term but in laymans terms.. I have sticky bronchials. I have this sticky substance like the stuff that comes off of okra when you slice it. Its a sap. It makes it so I get pockets of air trapped in my lungs. When it is really bad I start choking. This is my bodies attempt to force it out. Ergo an asthma attack.

My doctor says it is like breathing car exhaust all the time. After a while you start getting weak, unable to move, drowsy a headache...

Yeah its not fun. Although on the end point when I lose my voice it is somewhat comical because I dont have the ability to push air through my vocal chords.. I think I sound like Pee Wee Herman on crack. My expression, but it fits.

So back to camping.. When I was young the aches and pains of sleeping on a rock.. bothered maybe for as long as it took me to get dressed and get out of the tent.

Today.. DAYS it is so annoying. I bruise easily because of Hypoglycemia so things like a rock poking in my back, wind up a bruise ... I always have bruises and most the time I don't even know where I got one from. No clue. Sometimes I will wake up and have a big black one and I will try and try for the life of me I have no idea how it occurred. I guess that could just be a little bit of senility working on me...


When I was a kid they fascinated me. I LOVED them. Even the ticks. Jim and I once went in an area camping with Mom that we saw lots of ticks crawling around on the ground. They were feeding off an ant mound. We were fascinated. Mom was not she searched us thoroughly that night for them and burned any she found.

Spider's were cool. It didnt bother me when one crawled on me. Sometimes I would pick them up. Jim also loved them and did a science fair project. He also had a pet tarantula.

Then well... when I was fourteen.. I woke up one night, with a big spider crawling in my mouth. I choked on it but could not help as I swallowed it. It quite literally crawled down my throat while I was awake. It was a very tramatic experience for me. All except for Daddy Long legs bother me now. If I see any other variety I kill it.

Did you know that we eat in our sleep an average of 7 spider's a year. Gross fact.

So we live in an old house...

Yes it is spiderville here although not so much as it use to be. Taffy, our dog that got lost, was a spider hunter she would willingly hunt, kill and eat them. She was big.. so I just let her do it. One night she started barking at our Bathroom. I was like what is it girl and I went to go in and she blocked me. Wouldnt let me go in the Bathroom.

Then it moved. It was almost as big as Jim's Tarantula had been. Nearly as large as my hand. A giant wolf spider was in our bathroom. When I lived in Florida they had these big spiders called Garden Spiders and you would randomly find them all over the place. Crystal Stringham that I lived and worked for there would scoop them up and garbage disposal them. Yeah not nice. Gross even but very very effective. Well now I have a great husband who I have dubbed Spider Killer and he kills the little beasties for me he just scooped it up with some toilet paper and then squished it with his hand and then flushed it down the toilet.

Not a big fan of most bugs anymore. Unless it's a butterfly outside of my house. We get moths here all the time that die I have to clean up. Not a fan.

So... this all sums up to my idea of camping now.

A camper trailer, mobile home with built in bathroom or a cabin. If I have a fire... I want it in a gas fireplace. If I cook over a flame I want it on a propane or gas camping stove. I want a place to sleep that has some comfort and I wont wake up feeling all black and blue.

My parents appear to be of this same mind set and they still go camping but take a mobile home with them. They cook on a stove. They sleep in comfortable beds, they even take DVD players with them.

So I reminisce about Girls Camp, Family Reunions.. and when I do go out into the great out doors it is usually for a picnic or a few hours. I take a few pictures ... of wildlife and call it good.

What brought all of this on? Well Girls Camp is coming up, I am not sure if Dazee is going or not but she is in Young Women's so it is possible. A lot of my friends are going ... So I was thinking on how much fun it was, to play pranks on tents, do secret sisters, sing and cook around the campfire... Then reality set in.

So I started thinking of how I could do camping now and I have turned into my parents and grandparents. I believe that Lee and I at some point will get a Motor Home. A driveable moveable home. We will use propane to heat water and shower while on camp instead of taking a bath in creek water.

I have turned into a wimp and surprisingly enough, I am okay with it. I will enjoy listening to music, Trevor's speakers in his camper are amazing, great sound system. I will take a laptop and watch dvd's or TV on it.

I may get some four wheelers and go riding around instead of hiking. So the two favorite things I enjoy about camping .. the sites and smells, ( especially after a rainstorm), will still be there for me. That and the occasional spider or mosquito. I will plant trees in my backyard and put in a tiny fire pit that may or may not be lit by gas instead of actual wood etc. I will put in a fountain and make a little oasis in my back yard.

I may get a trampoline, set that up and sleep under the stars...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Today's subject is: Books

I have been reading since I was very little. I knew some words when I went to Kindergarten. Reading was very easy for me. I think it is because Dad used to read bedtime stories to me and Mom did also. I have to say though Mom is my biggest influence on reading and I am so grateful to her for it.

The bookmobile I recall driving to whereever the book mobile was and going up and down the aisles hunting for some new treasure. Mom would help me choose some and I am glad she introduced me to Flash Gordan, Tarzan, and many others.

I have been regaled since little with tales of a little hobbit named Bilbo Baggins. Tales of Winnie the Pooh, Piglet and Owl. I recall having a little red book with the name AA Milne down the side of it. Thank you for having the orginal Mom and not Disney at that time. When I was a bit older Mom introduced me to Hardy boys mysteries to say I loved them was mild. I would get in trouble staying up late to read the Criss Cross Shadow.

There are books of all genre's that I enjoy. From Dan Brown to Kristen Britain, from PD James to True Crime stories. They all interest me. I enjoy fiction but every now and then I like reading a really great biography on someone. Especially on people I really adore. Beethoven was probably my first that I read. I have also read on Louis Pasteur, Abraham Lincoln, and some great women in History.

The wonderful world of reading now spreads to reading online. Wikipedia is one of my favorite sites. I learn a lot there. Alexandria and I will sometimes research painters. She loves James C. Christensen. For all that I have enjoyed though. I still love the feel of a real book in my hands as I slowly turn the pages.

The excitement of when my daughter and I went and stayed up all night it seems to get Breaking Dawn from the Twilight Series. She won the Trivia contest I was second. She got a free copy of it. So both of us went home and dived into them. Reading until very early in the morning then getting up and reading some more.

It is great to enjoy books with her like this. We dragged Lee and AJ with us. I think AJ really enjoyed it. So now we go to book signings of books we would like to read and get a copy. The kids really love it. AJ has been chewing through reading several books. He is really quite brilliant in that way. Alex reads and re-reads like I do. Enjoying favorite passages until she finally places it back on the shelf.

Lee doesnt find much time to read anymore. ( I read really fast it takes him a little longer so he doesn't like to spend time on it.) So, I started reading to him. It has been really fun because we discuss the story while we read it. This summer we will be reading books together as a family. We are going to start with one of my favorite authors. Terry Brooks and read his first book. The Sword of Shannara. It was a good book but now compared to his newer books, it is not as good but it is the beginning to a wonderful group of stories and books after that so we will read it and learn. Our own little book club I guess you could say. Currently we are reading High King's Tomb by Kristen Britain. It was on the New York Times Best Seller's List, which is a shame because the first two are very good too in that series. She is said to be writing a fourth book in the Green Rider Series and I cannot wait for it.

We have a library here and they do not have a wide range of books. So, Lee said I could donate. So I am scrounging through Yard Sales and Garage sales for good quality books I can donate and we will be sharing our love of books with our community.One of my first finds and Jim can appreciate this, is Flat Stanley. I know Jessica got some for Mom a while ago.

I read a recent book by Matthew Pearl called the Dante Club . If you love mysteries and historical figures it is great. It is based on real history.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Dr. Oliver Wendel Holmes, James Russell Lowe, J. T. Fields ( Publisher ), all were a part of a group called the Dante Club. They were responsible for helping to see that Dante's Divine Comedy being the great poetic work that it is, was translated from Italian into English for American's to enjoy in about the the 600th year celebrating Dante's birthday.

Having read parts of Dante's Divine Comedy, (not for the faint hearted it is NOT an easy read but very thought provoking.), I was intrigued by the premise of the book. The fiction part is how a series of Murder's involving aspects of the Divine Comedy, the punishments of the damned , began to appear in their historical Boston. As they are the first to recognize this, they decide they must be the one's to catch the perpetrator.

It was great to step back in time to a world of old Victorian type homes, with carriages and cops, right after the civil war ended. What a wonderful book. I hope that if you love mysteries and historical fiction, you will take a glance at it. I plan on passing this on to my parents. Mom I believe will absolutely love it. It was exciting to read of a time just after Poe died when Literature involving Ralph Waldo Emerson and others was being created. Of the literacy conflicts between Boston and New York at that time.

I have today off and I have the Brisingr on my shelves. I have not yet read this book in the Eragon series I think I will step into the world of it's pages today. I hope all of you are still reading and sharing the joy.