• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


A friend asked me to read a manuscript for a novel. A large one. The basic story line is of a teenage girl suddenly becoming a queen (of course complete with fantasy worlds,  peoples and things).  It actually was OK – not bad, really – quite readable.  I encouraged the author to seek a publisher.  Later the author asked if I would read the sequel – Part II of 3.  It is like most sequels. And larger. I am struggling to read it despite the story being mostly an extension and expansion that fleshes out the worlds, peoples and things – it is months and I am still not finished!

In the novel the young queen is – well – young.  That makes for adventure right there does it not? Terrific and terrible all rolled into one.  She has wonderful abilities to heal and help people and also conceal that it is her that is doing it but they all know she is a ‘healer’ and that her touch can heal.  Of course, they don’t know the extent of her power.  She doesn’t either – and parenthetically neither, apparently, does the author as it never quite gets to where this reader thinks the natural, if this then that, extension should lean.

As the various people meet their ‘queen’ they close their eyes and drop to one knee.  I ponder in my mind, “Whom would I kneel to?  And would I be willing to close my eyes while doing so?” Anyone? Symbolically? Do I submit my own selfishness for the good of my husband? my family? Am I obedient to good and appropriate council? The queen meets with a race of giants – they willingly kneel and close their eyes.  They are some of her friendliest, wisest, kindest people. 

This morning as I dozed at the edge of awakening I considered this story and the giants.  They were among the wisest of the wise, and by sheer size some of the most powerful.  To kneel before someone is to acknowledge someone as greater than I, myself, am.  My pondering thoughts wandered and mingled into short and silly dreams. I got up earlier than necessary in disgust. Yet my mind holds to the thought thread – I kneel when I pray.

To kneel before their young and sometimes foolish/impetuous queen, and close their eyes the giants  gave their safety and well being to her.  What or whom do I give myself to? The giants were not too proud to acknowledge her power AND her position.  I consider, “Am I too proud to ________” but the list I begin to debate in my mind must be set aside to answer the phone.

I find those same lists again in a 1989 General Conference talk (reprinted in part for the October 2003 New Era) by Ezra Taft Benson about pride. It is only a few keystrokes away on and easily perused.  
Most of us think of pride as self-centeredness, conceit, boastfulness, arrogance, or haughtiness. All of these are elements of the sin, but the heart, or core, is still missing.
The Heart of Pride
The central feature of pride is enmity—enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means “hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.” It is the power by which Satan wishes to reign over us.” Ezra Taft Benson
These are strong words. This is definitely not milk for babies. He continues at length and finishes with even meatier words, 
“Pride is the universal sin, the great vice. Yes, pride is the universal sin, the great vice.
The antidote for pride is humility—meekness, submissiveness.  It is the broken heart and contrite spirit.”

Am I humble? Meek? Submissive? Will I kneel to God? Close my eyes and beg his mercy? Am I full of enmity? Or any of these other ‘elements’ listed? -  towards you, my family or fellow human beings? things like hard-heartedness, being easily offended, or competitiveness that pits my intellect, opinions, work, wealth, talent, or any other thing against you in attempts to elevate myself or diminish you, or in other ways make you feel like an adversary?

Ezra Taft Benson states that, “[Pride] can readily be seen in others but is rarely admitted in ourselves. Most of us consider pride to be a sin of those on the top, such as the rich and the learned, looking down at the rest of us. There is, however, a far more common ailment among us—and that is pride from the bottom looking up. It is manifest in so many ways, such as faultfinding, gossiping, backbiting, murmuring, living beyond our means, envying, coveting, withholding gratitude and praise that might lift another, and being unforgiving and jealous.

Disobedience is essentially a prideful power struggle against someone in authority over us. It can be a parent, a priesthood leader, a teacher, or ultimately God. A proud person hates the fact that someone is above him. He thinks this lowers his position. …”
GASP!!!! There are those lists again. The ones I personally struggle with.  And he is far from finished.  He continues by listing the
“Forms of Pride.
Selfishness is one of the more common faces of pride. “How everything affects me” is the center of all that matters—self-conceit, self-pity, worldly self-fulfillment, self-gratification, and self-seeking. …
Another face of pride is contention. Arguments, fights, unrighteous dominion, generation gaps, divorces, spouse abuse, riots, and disturbances all fall into this category of pride.
Contention in our families drives the Spirit of the Lord away. It also drives many of our family members away. Contention ranges from a hostile spoken word to worldwide conflicts. The scriptures tell us that “only by pride cometh contention”

The scriptures testify that the proud are easily offended and hold grudges. They withhold forgiveness to keep another in their debt and to justify their injured feelings.
The proud do not receive counsel or correction easily. Defensiveness is used by them to justify and rationalize their frailties and failures.

The proud depend upon the world to tell them whether they have value or not. Their self-esteem is determined by where they are judged to be on the ladders of worldly success. They feel worthwhile as individuals if the numbers beneath them in achievement, talent, beauty, or intellect are large enough. Pride is ugly. It says, “If you succeed, I am a failure…
Pride is the universal sin, the great vice. Yes, pride is the universal sin, the great vice.”
I hope you can forgive me for all the times I have been or may ever be puffed up in pride, full of selfishness, disobedience, mockery or contention. I am working on it. I will continue to do so. 
Ezra Taft Benson is a prophet of God.  His words stir my heart. I want to do better.  Perhaps I can start by remembering to always kneel before God and close my eyes as I pray for his forgiveness and yours. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010


YOU are loved.

That, in a nutshell, is the simple short version.

Pretty simple that one.
I love you.
God loves you.
Your ____________ loves you.

What is love?   Really? ?   Oh, come on - you know!   REALLY.

We could blog definitions for love with the denotations and the connotations beyond eternity but bottom line - you know when you feel love and you also know when you don't.

Did I mention that I love you?
You can't change that by the way - same with God - he loves you much more than I do and that is just the way it is. You may dispute that love. You might try to prove that you don't deserve to be loved. You may even do foolish things that make me (or you - or both of us and even others) unhappy or that separate us from close interactions  - even from God - I will still love you. That's just the way it is. (I'll not presume to speak for God but I will witness that when I do foolish things he DOES continue to love me.)

You may not believe you ought to be loved. The prevalence of 'earning' love in our vocabulary and culture seems to teach us and train us to negotiate love.  Purposefully (or perhaps just in default) we buy into this concept - just try to divorce yourself from doing so - and we even may violate our true selves as we attempt to achieve a false security starting from such vain, futile premises.  I'll be your friend if you'll be mine.  I'll care for you as long as you meet my conditions.  I'll love you as long as you ... don't cry, get good grades, keep the house clean, go to work, pay the bills,  _____________ ...

And it seems to be a two way street.  If I do ___________  you will love me.  If I don't do ___________ you will love me.  If __________ you will love me more.  If we could master this would we need anyone?

The problem is that when love is negotiated, conditional, arranged and earned the deal is never sealed, never finished.  Can we really feel loved if we feel we may lose love by failing to meet conditions or contracts? How can we then ever be sure that there are not unidentified conditions that will nullify all previous expressions and professions of love? Is there not a fear in every heart that someone may stop loving us because __________ - go ahead - fill in the blanks.  We all do it - and when we do we doubt love.

We inherently know that real love has no conditions, no potential deficiencies.  I feel that love from Father in Heaven.

By the way - did I mention that I love you? You can't earn that. That is a done deal. I already do. You don't have to accept it either.  I just do - and will continue to.

It can be difficult to set aside concepts conditioned into our psyche and break away from ingrained patterns of  trying to earn love.  The 'real world' may have shown us that we get what we earn and we earn what we're worth. As we try to be 'lovable' can we ever allow ourselves to just sit back and be our genuine self? Our best kindest real self? There even come unspoken incongruities that potentially place others in charge - in control of what we do, what we say or how we act - perhaps even,  possibly - extending to how we think.   A great gap may distance us from our authentic selves and true principles to the extent that we become lost - lost to agency, lost to self respect, lost - simply, irrevocably lost.

So (in case you don't understand) I just want you to know that I care about you, deeply care what you think and feel and need - no strings attached - reciprocity is irrelevant.

Bottom line: I love you

Monday, May 17, 2010


My parents sang - to us, with us, and with each other.

Dad was forever singing a quip of a love song to mother, or a piece of advice to anyone astute enough to hear it.  Mom often sang hymns - first and foremost - but she sang all kinds of other things as well.  Their songs are printed indelibly in my brain.

"Put your shoulder to the wheel push-a-lahoonnngg, do your duty with a heart full of saw-onnnggg,  ..."

"I've got a Humpback mule, a plow and a tater patch ..."

"Home, home on the range, where the deer and the antelope play ..."

"Bill Grogan's goat was feeling fine ..."

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine ... "

"Hey, hey good lookin', wha-whatcha got cookin' ..."

"Count your blessings, name them one by one ..."

"How would ya like t'swing on a star, carry moonbeams home in a jar ..."

"From this valley they say you are going, I will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile ... "

"The old gray mare, she ain't what she used to be ..."

Yes, we had a radio - a 'little' transistor about 12" long, 8" tall and 5 or 6" wide. It had a place of honor on the kitchen counter.  It was mostly on only when Dad got up in the morning or when someone needed the weather or the news; especially the farm news - hay and grain and cattle prices.  It usually was not on otherwise - that would cost money for the electricity it would use and who needed more noise with so many people around anyway?

No, we did not have a TV.

They sang in the house. They sang in the car. They sang at work.  They might burst into song just to be silly - and some things 'stick to the ribs' of memory like porridge for breakfast!

"O I got a gal named CrossEyed Sue, her eyes are red and her lips are blue, dimpled hair and curly cheeks, her glass eye rattles and her false teeth squeak."

They sang when they were happy, reverent, or sad.  If you put 13 people in the cab of a pickup (there was no such thing as a club cab) on a cold winter's day (otherwise some would 'get' to ride in the back)  or even inside a car (how did we have room to put in grandma or give neighbors rides?) they could travel reasonably well if someone started singing.  I don't remember joining in, as a general rule.  I do remember just listening;  hearing contentment; knowing the world could be and would be right;  feeling secure.

I suppose songs were a form of entertainment.  When a group gathered; at neighborhood or family outings, at  reunions, picnics, church activities, on holidays and ALWAYS around campfires; the singing began.

 If you wanted to you could join in but if you would rather you could just listen - listen and soak in the rapture.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I got a bike for Christmas.  Papa gave me a miniature bicycle with working wheels, stunt pegs, pedals, and brakes.  Pretty cool little bike - the seat even is on a tension spring.  All the kids that come want to take it home.  I left it on the tree until we cleaned up Christmas.

Now it lives on the bookshelf at child's eyeball (and finger tip) height. I didn't know it could be taken apart like a real bike and that there are interchangeable parts (to buy of course). The kids tell me this as they hold up their hands full of pieces and tell me there is one (tiny) piece they can't seem to find!
But we do seem to always find it.

I never really believed I could ride a bike again -
walk, yes - run - maybe...
but ride a bike????

I have been working on increased mobility for about 2 or 3 years.
Papa keeps egging me on.

I pedal my small exercise bike.  The kids all love it too.  When Avy and Raanin are here for Christmas 08 it really gets a work out.

The grandkids can't seem to leave it in one piece either. There is a tension screw on top to adjust how hard it pedals. Funny thing - those pedals seem to always be put away when some kids visit lately.  Mom taught me that "what the eye can't see the heart can't grieve.' And they can't punch each other or cry about turns neither.

The left leg/ankle will do what ever the right leg makes the pedals do.

Last week Papa announced that he has the bikes ready.  Monday we bought 2 bike helmets at a local department store. That was Family Home Evening this week.

Wednesday was the big day.
I rode a bike.

I got on it!
I almost fell down!
Papa lowered the seat.  Now I could touch the ground with my longest leg. (He showed me how to simply mount it by stepping on one pedal and swinging your other leg over as you get going - YEAH - RIIGGHHHTT!!!)

I rode it wobbling crookedly into the sprinkler and got soaking wet - but I did not crash!

I suggested Papa lower and level the front of the seat. Now I could get on AND off more readily and (if I tip the bike slightly) get either foot on the ground.

I rode it down the block and back to the driveway. (Yes I looked like a drunk driver - I assume with practice that will improve.)

I rode it all the way around the block with Papa, on his bike.

Then he put them away in the garage.  An hour later (as it gets dark) I realize a pivotal moment, in my life, has occurred.

He did not realize it would be so difficult (or time consuming) for me to get myself by the scruff of the neck and make myself get on that bike. I honestly wasn't sure I could.  What if ... ????

We decide to take pictures. They are not wonderful but they are taken on that same day! (His back hurts if he leans over too much or too long so, a while ago, he fixed his bike so that it has high, upright handle bars.)

 He has a lot of fun on the bikes.  And I do love my helmet - color that is - it is one of my favorite colors!  He says it matches my eyes.

Monday, May 10, 2010


I am grateful to have "... been born of goodly parents," 1Nephi 1:1 
back row; Dad holding Tim, Mom holding baby Linda 
front row; Rex, Gene, Randy

My mother had 5 kids when the measles came to live at our house.  Look at those red cheeks!
My mother sings hymns - randomly - snatches here and there. She especially sings them in church - with or without a book - but anywhere, anytime she sings.  She says her mother took her to choir every Sunday.  She told me, this week, that Wilfred once played a prank on her.  He sat on the stairs, behind the kitchen wall, and taped her for a long time.  She would sing a line or two of a song, pause, and when she began again she would sing part of another song or sometimes whistle.  She says when he played it they had many a good laugh.  "I didn't even know I whistled," she says. "My mother was a whistler.  She really could whistle."

You have heard quotes and sayings from my father. 

He tells me (when I ask), "I learned that from my mother." Interesting that her father was known for recitations.

The family wrote some of the sayings down once.  We counted over 1200 things!  We all could just start quoting his sayings that we had heard.

Families spent time together when ever possible - even extended families and gave each other support and friendship. Many of the Forsyth's came to see my new baby brother, Shane (1956), blessed. I am the toddler (almost 2) on my mother's right knee and he is on her left knee. 
 Shane's baby blessing fall 1956   Composite photo by Rex
The 3 pictures below were taken about 1957 in Cardston on the south hill in the front yard of my Forsyth Grandparent's home.
From back to front, left to right: Randy, Tim, Rex, Gene,
 Linda, Shane - early spring 1957
I think from looking at the this toddler's face that I must have had a bit of personality to spare. I would be not quite 3.

  I also suspect that in this last picture I am kicking Rex because he is getting in the picture too.
There are few pictures of us at these young ages.  There are many times that the pictures that remain are with the Horne family (dad's sister Ruth) as is the case with the horse and kids pictured here.  

 Notice how very blonde we all were - except Rex (who was very dark) and Shane (who was always brown).  We spent a lot of time outdoors in the sun and always got quite bleached out each summer.
back row: Randy, Mom holding Necia, Rex
front row: Tim (facing left), Shane, Linda, Gene

Every spring the boys were given a 'crew cut' - shaved bald. And it appears that I got a new baby sister in 1958 - I would be about 3 1/2

In this Christmas 1958 picture, as a 4 year old, I have a tight hold on my house keeping tools -otherwise one of the boys might get them. That is the little red broom I so naughtily used to mark up the ceiling above my bed with.  The 4 youngest kids slept in a set of bunk beds just off the kitchen.  I was on the top bunk at one end with one of the others at the other end.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


I have six children. Through them I have experienced the greatest happiness I have ever known. I sorrow that I have not been able to give life to more. I was so thrilled to become a mother. Even though, in the culture of the time, it seemed expected for women to marry and have a family, I hardly dared to even voice that as a career goal or life long ambition or aspiration - that was not a popular stance to take. I am grateful to the many wise women in my life that modeled being a mother to me.

My mother had 10 children. As a teenager, in a rebellious teenager sort of way, I decided I wanted at least 12! Perhaps it started just to tweak somebody that was, in my opinion, a pompous prig but (as most teens do) I then thought about it made up my own mind on the issue. I decided that would be totally 'cool'.

 It was popular at that time for many to spout the rhetoric that the world was overpopulated and that couples should limit the number of children they chose to have. 'What foolishness,' I thought. 'What utter nonsense!'

I still think that. Our homes and society are crumbling. When will people begin to see and believe the truths prophets teach? You, for example, and me - do I really believe what the prophets say? teach? Really? Even wise and prudent thinkers many generations ago have raised voices of warning about women leaving homes and family responsibilities to join the work force.

Governments are discussing incentives to increase the child bearing rate in their countries because the birthrate has declined to the extent that their population, economies and services can not anticipate sufficient workers to replace themselves. Even in China, where a one child rule had been enforced, problems are beginning to surface and have caused that rule to be changed.

Who started such silly heresy anyway? I think it is rubbish that the adversary of all happiness spreads, along with all the other misery possible to inflict on human beings.


Every day was a delight when I became a mother. Ginger was a living breathing miracle, as is every baby, but she was my miracle, my baby. She was healthy and happy for the first month of her life while I nursed her. When I was unable to continue to do so she became sickly and fussy. None the less she was a good and obedient child with an amazing ability to talk clearly at a very young age although she did not walk until she was 18 months.

My friends couldn't believe how obedient Ginger was (except that she loved paper). If I said, "No,no" or "ta,ta" she did not touch whatever it was - except paper. She loved how it rattled and crumpled or floated. If she could get her hands on a brown paper bag (not plastic) she could entertain herself for an hour. She would even stick her feet into it or put it over her head. Wrapping paper was a special favorite but since she liked to put it in her mouth too and I didn't like the inks to be ingested or get on things I limited that. If she could get her hands on a book, it invariably found its way to her mouth - she wasn't really interested in having them read to her but most books in our house had teeth marks on them or chewed corners.

I loved making clothes for her and dressed her for every occasion - mornings, naps, afternoons, and bedtime - not to mention walks or trips to town.

She seemed most to love eye contact and someone talking to her. As long as I put her where she could see me and talked she would smile and be pleasant. When she began to crawl she could scoot her bottom and use two hands to go faster than I could run to catch her but she never did crawl in the traditional way - she had her own unique way. This has been the case for all her life - she does things uniquely and when she is ready. Even her hair had a mind of its own - it didn't grow in until she was several years old.

She loved to be outside but was very cautious about new experiences. She would walk to a crack in the side walk, get down and crawl across it, and then stand up and walk again. She loved to swing and would stay in the tire swing at Grandma's as long as someone would push it - no such thing as the wonderful baby swings of today. She also loved to play in the sand (or dirt) and with the animals on the farm.


I was so excited to have my tiny little baby son arrive safely.  He was expected to arrive August 27th so June 21st really was a bit early.  Some women I knew had babies that arrived a couple weeks after their due date.  I wondered if my baby could possibly be born as late as September 16th because that was my mother's birthday. I thought it would be cool to have them share a birthday. In this picture he has just come home from the hospital. 

As a tiny preemie he slept on a breathing mattress (with sensors that would set off an alarm if the baby stopped breathing) in a small car bed next to my own bed. I was very nervous so I also slept with my hand so that it touched him and I could feel his breathing. Feedings took almost an hour and had to be done every 2 hours because he was so small.  Feeding him occupied most of each day (because he couldn't suck properly with the cleft). My mother helped to care for all of the children and we stayed with her most of the summer. The picture below with her was taken at Christmas 1974 just prior to his first surgery.

This picture was taken near Easter the spring of 1975 not long after that first surgery.  He was a content baby and child with a sweet and gentle disposition. His shirt was dark brown and tan and his pants were brown. Ginger's sweater was pink and her plaid pants also in pink with a green and yellow line on a white ground. I made his teddy bear. It was dark brown with bright orange tummy and face. 

The most difficult part of the surgery was that his arms had to be splinted so that he couldn't put them into his mouth or bang his face with them. I stayed at the hospital every day and when he slept I would help rock or comfort other cleft patients that had no one there.  I saw first hand how blessed I was - my problems and his seemed so minimal.  I was especially blessed to have had a doctor that absolutely insisted that I take a folic acid supplement. 

Tad has always loved babies - baby anything. He especially enjoyed the animals when we would visit Grandpa and Grandma Forsyth on the farm. The calves and lambs or chicks each spring were a special delight to him and he could pet them and carry around the puppies or kittens. 

He grew up with the puppy 'Babytovan', as he often called the golden puppy (terrier cross) named 'Beethoven.' 

Tad had a wonderful sense of humor and even as a very young child invented many games that hinged on puns and plays on words. One of his favorites was to say a word and then the other person had to say a word that went with it - like the first thing you thought of - but it had to relate to his word somehow.  If he said banana and you said apple that was OK because both were food, but lemon would be better because it was yellow and/or a fruit or you might say hotdog because it could be eaten and was generally the same shape and could have mustard on it and then likely mustard would be his next word - not to mention that I loved mustard and he knew that.  The more ways the two words went together and related to those involved the more delightful - especially if it involved a pun or a bit of witty nonsense.

Kimber and Ginger did not always appreciate his humor as they had to endure a load of teasing.  It was unending but many cousins helped ease their 'burden' when he spent time playing with them. 


Kimber was born in Calgary at the Holy Cross Hospital.  She was always a delightful baby with a laugh that sounded like a burbling brook.  To this day my mother remembers the delight such a laugh evoked in all that heard it.  Caring for another child seemed like it took less time than taking care of the other two had.

This is one of the few pictures I know of when I was expecting.  At Christmas (me at 8 months) family members plotted to get this shot.  One got the camera and then the another held me so I couldn't run away - in my nightgown too! NO FAIR - but there you are Kimber - your first portrait!

Kimber was as curious and happy as any child could be.  Christmas 1976 was an incredible experience of wonder and awe. Not yet one year of age or walking, but when given a wrapped present she would undo the paper herself and exclaim with ooohhs and awwes of delight at the surprises inside. The  favorite toy she got was a yellow squeaky gingerbread bath toy. She loved all things yellow! She hugged it and demanded it all day and for weeks afterwards.

Kimber loved the outdoors and her siblings.  Every day was an adventure and she spent most days quietly entertaining herself and exploring her world.  She walked at about 14 months and trained herself  the same week.  She had always let us know loud and clear when she needed to be changed; that was one of the few times she fussed.

 She loved interactive toys, blocks and books. By age two she made up stories as she sat and 'read' books.  She constantly brought books to everyone hoping to be read to. Soon she could lisp out her favorite repeated stories almost verbatim - she seemed to remember most of what she heard.

1st Forsyth reunion about Easter 1978

When she entered Narnia Day Dare (fall 1978) she was happiest sitting in on the school classes that by age she was not permitted to be included in.  The children rotated through age appropriate activities in various centers, including outdoor play.

Jean, the day care owner, and I laughed because excluding her from the classroom was one of the few ways to precipitate one of her rare tantrums. Kimber seldom fought back or threw a 'hissy fit' but trying to keep her out of the classes was always a trigger.  Since she was perfectly behaved if permitted to stay (or even 'hang on the quarter height door' listening) we all, for the sake of a law (like child labor laws - don't force them to school too early)   pretended she was not where she always turned out to be 'found' and turned a blind eye to her stubborn disobedience.

As I thumb through old journals I notice that for several years after leaving day care she would ask to go back  to Narnia.


Nena Elissa tried to arrive a bit early at the beginning of March.  After some medical interventions, a stay for me in the hospital and enforced bed rest she arrived on my maternal Grandfather's birthday, 17th April.

My mother watched her born into the world.  She said it was the first time she ever saw a human baby born. Nena  had 3 girl cousins in the Forsyth family born in the 6 weeks on either side of her birthday (and strangely enough 3 in the Ames family also - yes Shauna gets counted twice). Who will ever forget poor Tad  weeping on the step, quote, "One of them could have been a boy!"

Elissa was my longest baby at 22 inches.  She was beautiful with an exquisite complexion and the cutest nose any baby ever had.  Everyone exclaimed over her beauty - especially her siblings who thought she was the finest baby doll available.  Doctors told us she had a 'submucous cleft' but that as she grew it wouldn't really affect her (although she did need her teeth, which were not centred, aligned with braces).

At 3 weeks of age she had some seizures. As I gave her artificial respiration (while mom drove as fast as the truck could go to the hospital) I prayed for God to give her life and help me to be a good mother to her.  Despite many tests, doctors never were able to identify exactly what occurs. She was mostly healthy and always on the go - as in a chandelier swinger.

In Spanish neña (spoken neen-ya) means little girl. Papa was fluently bilingual and whenever he spoke to her in Spanish and called her a little girl she would answer him (but otherwise ignored him).

 She had personality to spare and made my other 3 children look like the angelic children everyone always told me they were. I began to learn many creative responses and interventions to childish adventures.  My mother helped me see each one in that light - an adventure for all of us to learn and grow from - especially to learn how to be gentle and loving. She had already taught me that 'there are no bad children, only unhappy ones.' Now I learned first hand how true that was. In this picture Nena is screaming in delight as she plays peek-a-boo with Tad's hat (that he likely snifed from Grandpa).

At age two the nursery had another Alyssa and it was easier to begin calling her Nena Elissa and then eventually just Nena. My mother loved the name Nina (spoken with a long 'i' sound).  She often called her Nena from the day she was born. After several years we no longer used the name Elissa at all.


When we finally were expecting another baby we were very excited, especially Papa. We couldn't afford medical care at this time but I knew what to expect because I had experienced so many pregnancies. A good friend, Nancy Hugo, that lived near us in Provo, was a nurse and often encouraged me to get a doctor but understood that we had only bits of money to live on.  She occasionally asked me all the 'nurse' questions and all went well until the 6th month.  I became cold.  We didn't know why and although I felt otherwise fine I could sit on the porch in the summer sun wrapped in a quilt and feel cold.  Eventually I felt ill and one day threw up.  I NEVER throw up! We knew a doctor was needed.

 At the emergency room we were told that the doctor on call had an emergency and we would have a long wait while the doctor called to fill in caught up. Dr. Nicols happened to be an Obstetrician. He wanted to admit me and when we asked if there was any other way he said, "sure - go to the morgue."  So it was that I spent some time in the hospital.  I had kidney failure that necessitated IV antibiotics and bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy. Ira Jeshua Absolon Ames arrived when expected December 13th, 1982.

quarter photo booth - or was it 50 cents? picture for grandparents
He appeared to be a healthy heavy baby boy in every way when delivered. He felt like a brick - heavy and solid. He was my fat, short, heavy baby - only 20 1/2 " long and 8lbs 4 oz. A short time later he turned blue and was on life support.  His name was a point of discussion from the time we married.  A few days after he came home from the hospital David emerged from putting him to sleep in the bedroom and said that as he had played with him it was as if a voice said in his mind, "My name is Benjamin".  That afternoon Papa went to the courthouse and amended his name to Benjamin Ira Jeshua Absolon Ames.

So began the saga of life and death that became a routine over the years.  We celebrated each milestone and regularly accepted that only Heavenly Father can give and sustain life.

His first trip was to be introduced to his Forsyth cousins at Aunt Bonnie's wedding when he was only a few weeks old.

Despite all odds he not only lived but slowly grew, learned and participated fully in life. This picture is taken in Provo in the spring of 1983. 
Below is a picture of Faline Shaw (1st cousin) and Benjamin clambering on David on a Sunday afternoon after church. He 'watched' the kids this way (dozing in the sun from the large windows at his parents in Grand Prairie) many a Sunday while dinner was being fixed.  And look at the twinkle in that baby's eye - that is not just sunshine.  This little guy could make his sister look like an angel! Faline and Benjamin would struggle and climb until they flopped over onto one side of Papa and then turn around and go the other way, over and over - it was one of their very own special games - that and climbing stairs!


Papa and I really wanted more children. My doctor told me definitely and emphatically that I should never have another pregnancy (and unless I took serious preventative measures he would not see me as a patient). We discussed it and got a second opinion. After a careful review of my health and health history Dr. Westcott, a new OB/GY in Lethbridge, decided that if we really wanted one more child that we should immediately try to do so. He thought that with careful supervision, preparation, planning, interventions and treatments that we might proceed. What a circus! Planning, preparation and supervision indeed - every day for months. He wanted to know the instant I might become pregnant and started a regime of daily shots that tapered off to weekly for several months. Oh my aching pincushion hip!

My sister-in-law was expecting at the same time. I remember the smart remarks about our profiles when this photographer suggested we smile - so we posed - and let it all hang out! This was taken in December 1985. What a nice portrait of Sonya and Clarence. They didn't do ultrasound portraits way 'back in the day' the way they do now.

Clarence arrived safely and on schedule but not without some time on bed rest for me - yuck - that wears thin real fast! He was a gregarious baby that seemed to always be smiling. He learned every trick his siblings could teach him and then invented a few more.

Clarence loved music and rhyme - and baby swings were a nice innovation! When he learned to talk many were the times he had to be taught that all letters should not be used for rhyming games.

His special blue tricot blanket went everywhere he went. He did not sleep without its cool silky touch on his face. If you see it in a picture without him, rest assured he is nearby somewhere.

This was taken in the spring of 1986. He made eye contact and looked around at his world from the moment he was born. Notice the stiff straight legs - this was his first line of defense around his siblings and cousins. He could stick those legs out so fast and push someone away in the blink of an eye - and yes even pin an unsuspecting brother to a wall if it were close enough.

He was prone to ear aches and so usually wore a hat. He went visiting a lot. This picture is likely near April 17th as we sometimes went to visit my grandparents for Grandpa's birthday and to take Nena to see him. He often wore those same gray overalls the way Grandma wore an apron.

He was my chubbiest baby and grew rolls and jowls that made me laugh to see them. By the time Cla came along we had discovered that 'school photographers' would take pictures of siblings when they weren't busy with a class so we usually had pictures taken at the schools in the fall. This would be the fall of 1986.

We would try to get a family picture once a year. We did not have and could not afford a camera but would dress up and splurge (about15 dollars) each year and get some pictures taken to try to make sure we recorded 'the way we were.'

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Well - what can I say about my mom's siblings? - sheesh - there were always some of the cousins around.  The largest group I ever mingled with had over 300 direct descendants at a reunion up at the Westcastle Boy Scout Camp - and O yeah - what a water fight that one was.  Most of you have attended one or more of these Campbell reunion camps.  Do you remember them?  I do not have any pictures of any major groups from them but if you visit the Campbell group on Facebook you should get plenty of  snapshots to see.

The Campbells often got together around Christmas time. I am not sure why at that time of the year.  I think this picture of the some of the Campbells in 1965 (at the Forsyth's in Mt. View, Alberta) would be near Granny Bohne's birthday.
I do remember one Christmas that they all came to our house in Kimball and we played some crazy 'toothpick' game - I think the idea was kind of like Jenga but it was toothpicks being stacked on top of an old fashioned glass pop bottle somehow.  I just remember all the adults and teens laughing like lunatics while they played and how they all were sitting or laying on the floor - shocking - adults on the floor, some stretched flat out!!

While looking for some other pictures look what I just happened to come across! 

And I must make a correction - it was matchsticks apparently! 
The house was stuffed right full of people - big people, little people, old and young.