BOTTLED

  • In order to succeed in life you need three things - a wish bone, a back bone and a funny bone. Reba Mcentire

Thursday, April 28, 2011

RUTS

-
Garth and Jean Forsyth on honeymoon in 1948.  Mom says they went shopping
 in Great Falls and this is the blue shirt and pants he bought her as a gift.
 Car owned and loaned for honeymoon by older brother Ken.

My father and mother met and were married about 1948 while working on a ranch in Southern Alberta.  She came to the Ranch as help for the house when she finished 10th grade in June. On her 18th birthday in September they got the day off, caught a ride to Cardston where they could take a train to Lethbridge and they bought a diamond ring. The train home went through Hillspring (it had a daily loop it traveled) so they stopped there for him to meet her parents for the first time and tell them the news.

My father tells me that he 'jingled' or brought in the horses for the other men in the bunkhouse.  He did it because he was an early riser and had to get his own horse so figured he might as well get their horses while he was at it.  The boss noticed and at the end of the pay period added a quarter - yes 25 cents - to the 3 dollars (plus room and board) that he was being paid for each day - do the math ... 3.25 X 30 is about $97.50 per month. They worked every single day including Sunday. 


His habit of getting up early and giving unasked, willing service to those around him put extra money in his pocket, gave good will among his associates, and self esteem in his soul.  He says the praise and appreciation from the boss meant more to him than the money that he "blew just like all the rest of it".

Jean Campbell Forsyth centre back

My mother earned $50.00 per month to tend children, help keep things clean, cook for the men in the bunkhouse as well as the family and any other general house and yard/harvest chores required.  She lived with the family as part of the family and was expected to do what ever needed to be done.  


When they married they moved into a small house at the 'Horseshoe Bend' on the St. Mary's River and earned $80.00 per month (house included without charge).  Dad says that during harvest season the men earned $5.00 per day. Motorized vehicles were still uncommon but the ranch did use a small tractor for plowing, seeding etc.  Horses were still the main method of travel. Horses were also used for much of the work on the ranch.

Little house at Horseshoe Bend 

To get to their home they drove across the prairie to it, over hill and dale,  whether in a car or a horse drawn wagon.  They tell me that 1948 was a rainy year. Dad says he got about 60 acres seeded before the rains started and then it was too wet to do more. 

As wheels and feet traverse the same place again and again a path is worn into the land as the sod is packed hard and the grass and other vegetation cease to grow.  These 'roads' generally went the shortest (or easiest) way between any given destinations.  

These dirt 'roads' became almost cement like when heavily used but grass etc still grew in the center areas that were not as packed between the wheel tracks. When it rained the tracks quickly softened and became a deep mire of mud. Ruts formed might be several inches or (even much more) deep.  In rocky places the ruts would not be too bad but in some areas the road would become impassable. That didn't worry them too much, they just stayed home or rode horses. 

Mom tells a story about their first car quitting and from then on they would just hitch the horses to it to get where they were going.  It was warmer and more comfortable than any buggy or wagon and the rubber tires rolled easily and made the ride not so bumpy.  She says they didn't do that often but that when people couldn't afford gasoline or the car wouldn't work that hitching the car to a team of horses was an option. 

They tell a wonderful tale about getting the car stuck one winter on the steep hill going down to their house. They walked home and left it there until spring.  It was too much work and effort to move it and they usually couldn't use it in the deep snow anyway. When they did pull it out finally (one nice day) the debate was whether to take it down to the house or up to the top of the hill.  They took it to the top - there was less snow going up because winds scour the hills free of snow and drop it into the valleys below.


When I was a child my parent's visited the 'old place' many times. We picked berries and gathered rhubarb etc or swam and played in the river.  They have many wonderful memories of their early married years there. The ruts were so deep that once the car started on the road it could be very difficult to get out of them or change direction. Many times dad drove along beside the road (but then you had to be very careful because a rock could scrape and damage the 'oil pan' and ruin your car). 

My dad had a steady hand and also sometimes drove with the left wheel on the hump in the centre and the right wheel on edge of the road to the right, just up and out of the rut. This only caused problems if he had to get that left wheel across the right rut for some reason (perhaps another car coming along in the rut. There were flatter areas (likely rock underneath) where the ruts were not worn quite as deeply and that is where you could get out of the rut or turn around or cross them.  Yes, it was almost impossible to cross them, and you did have to follow along until one of those more shallow or flatter places to 'get to the other side'.  

There were also areas that were 'problem' areas with deep holes, dangerous rocks sticking up, or other hazards caused by those struggling with the misfortune of becoming stuck! - and you literally could get stuck in such a way that you absolutely could not move the vehicle. I watched (and rode through) many a miracle - I think my dad could take a truck or car almost anywhere with or without a road! He also has a very creative mind and relies heavily on inspiration to warn him to 'not go there' or give him the idea of how to solve what seems to be insoluble.

 A son traveled to Ohio and back by car last year.  He met his share of road hazards and needed to be rescued in Montana. A very kind church leader, that lived in the wild foothills along an unimproved road, took him home for a couple of days. He saw a deeply rutted road and heard a story about the man that lived up at the end of the road. Apparently the man likes to drink a bit much, now and again, and it is a worry to get home in the dark.  When he is drunk he is always relieved to get to the dirt road because he knows that now he is safe - the ruts will 'take him home' even if he goes to sleep or passes out.

That funny story seems pretty far fetched but it has me thinking ...

Do I have ruts / habits in my life that make it hard to get where I want to be? Do 'ruts' prevent me from changing the direction I am traveling? Do I have 'safe' ruts that allow me to continue to do what I often do and know I should stop doing? 

Yep! sure do!! 
Now how am I gonna get out of them?
And stay out of them?

How about you?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

SUNDAY

Easter Sunday -
a day I feel a at a loss to describe.

How can I express the sacred quiet elation -
the assurance and certainty?

I can't.

BUT
I can sing!
I do it privately - and in church!
Always in church.

Hymn 86 How Great Thou Art (with all its rich history) is not a traditional Easter hymn but it is a favorite I find I hum every time I see a wide expanse of sky, stand on a high precipice looking out and down (or deep in a valley looking up and out), watch water ripple along as a small stream or a raging river and at various other stormy and calm moments of life. Kimber blogged this hymn recently here. I had no idea ...

Verses repeat silently in my every fiber this Sunday:

"And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin:

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

And I burst into outright voice:

Christ the Lord is Risen Today,  Al-le-lu-ia!
Sons of men and angels say, Al-le-lu-ia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Al-le-lu-ia!
Sing, ye heav'ns , and earth reply,
Aahaahaahal-laaayyyeh-luuuhuooy-ia!!!


Love's redeeming work is done,  Al-le-lu-ia!
Fought the fight, the vict'ry won, Al-le-lu-ia!
Jesus' agony is o'er, Al-le-lu-ia!
Darkness veils the earth no more, 
Aahaahaahal-laaayyyeh-luuuhuooy-ia!!!

Lives again our glorious king,  Al-le-lu-ia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Al-le-lu-ia!
Once he died our souls to save, Al-le-lu-ia!
where thy victory, O grave? 
Aahaahaahal-laaayyyeh-luuuhuooy-ia!!!

Notice those lovely rhectorical where questions?

I love that song - 
just don't sit in front of me 
in Church!!

A soloist I am not.











Friday, April 22, 2011

GOOD FRIDAY

Today is Friday.
Today is Good Friday.
What does that even mean?

I can only answer that for myself.
We must each find such meanings in our private ponderings.

I find expression of some answers in words spoken in Oct 2006 by Joseph B. Writhlin, Apostle of Jesus Christ, and member of the Twelve Apostles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

"I think of how dark that Friday was when Christ was lifted up on the cross. On that terrible Friday the earth shook and grew dark ... evil men who sought his life rejoiced ... the veil of the temple was rent in twain ...

"On that Friday the Apostles were devastated. Jesus, their Savior - the man who had walked on water and raised the dead - was Himself ... [seemed] overcome by His enemies.

On that Friday the Savior of mankind was humiliated and bruised, abused and reviled. It was a Friday filled with devastating, consuming sorrow that gnawed at the souls of those who loved and honored the Son of God  ... of all the days since the beginning of this world's history, that Friday was the darkest."

I have dark days in my life.

Days that seem like all light and hope is extinguished. Days and/or nights that seem to have no end.

Times of utter despair.

I suspect you do also.

I hope not but also know it is part of living and dying, loving, serving and striving.


With the rain,

 sometimes,

 we may ...

if we wipe our eyes
and lift them to look -

glimpse a rainbow.

Elder Writhlin continues, "Each of us will have our own Fridays - those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.

But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death - Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come.

No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, in this life or the next, Sunday will come."[emphasis mine]

I join my voice to his.

SUNDAY WILL COME.

And every Sunday I will look again at the white cloth covering the sacrament table and remember the corpse of the Savior and then eat and drink the symbols of His triumph! His triumph that dispels my darkness. Dispels all darkness of all such 'Fridays'.

And with Elder Writhlin I will rejoice and " ... live in thanksgiving for the priceless gifts that come to us as [children] of a loving Heavenly Father and for the promise of that bright day when [I] shall rise triumphant from the grave. No matter how dark [my] Friday, Sunday will come.

The Resurrection transformed the lives of those who witnessed it. Should it not transform ours? We will all rise from the grave. On that day we will know the love of our Heavenly Father and will rejoice that the Messiah overcame all that we could live forever."

For now I listen to the advice of Isaiah in chapter 24 (verse 14) and sing in the darkness, "Glory to God on high ... tell what his arm has done, what spoils from death he won ..Praising His name ..." hymn 67

Spring brings the changing season -
the daffodils - the birds - the green - the light ...
and Sunday will come -
even should Spring fail -
even in the dark!






Thursday, April 21, 2011

WHY and WHO

Two days ago my husband went to Horizon Credit Union to cash a cheque.  The teller mistakenly put it in my personal account instead of cashing it.

My husband does NOT have his name or signature on that account. He asked for the money. She then withdrew the money using his signature.  I believe he could have withdrawn any amount he requested at that moment.

Beware - Horizon makes 'little' mistakes like that. When they 'mistakenly' gave him a year's printout history of my account I notified them in person, and in writing and requested that this private account be kept private.  I also stopped using that account except for our car loan that is attached to it.  Yes his name is on the car loan. Horizon assured me that does not affect the account and that he does not have access to it.

I have nothing to hide from my husband or anyone else.  My finances have always been transparent in our marriage but I have also learned that my spouse and I do not think alike or manage money in quite the same manner.

Whether we like it or not the frustrating vestiges of a system that allowed some (often white men) to discriminate against others is still part of the very psyche of much of our world. We now often hear and see discrimination against those that dominated that archaic system. Their error is used as an excuse to perpetuate the same kind of mistake in reverse!

Good people never truly exploit other people although some good people did not or have not learned to value others. I will leave that exposition for another post - if  I ever feel so inclined.

Discrimination will only be rooted out when each of us makes conscious choices to value and respect every person regardless or race, gender, age, health, religion, political affiliation or any other factor.

That statement could be a dissertation!
A lengthy one.
I will leave it as is - a shortened deliberate statement.

Meanwhile I will begin in my own heart and mind.

Who do I fail to respect?

Do I hate them because they have more __________ or less?
I could make a list for the blank in the sentence above that might include stars and dots, power, money, talent, friends, religion, happiness, grammar, property, opinions, knowledge, - you get the idea!

I could also expound on any one or all of the possible entries and choices for the blank and justify, excuse or explain pros or cons.

OR I can start now to respect others more.

I can look inward and act more kindly outwardly.

I can treat myself with respect ...
and I can pass that respect on -
first to my own family -
my spouse, parents, siblings, children etc.

I will spare you another blank -
you know who your family consists of.

I commit to start today!

Monday, April 18, 2011

THREE LIKE SONS

I have 3 sons.

I also have 3 daughters.
They have each married a young man that is 'like a son' to me.

Each of 'these' sons has a birthday in the spring when the days warm, begin to lengthen, and the light steadily increases.
Easter, with all its symbolism of life and light, is close also. 

All my sons bring light to our family, and humour, and increase the vitality and lengthen joy in warm interpersonal interactions. Each of them leads my 'daughters' and their children towards light. I have been in their homes and heard them pray together and seen them play together. I pray for them each to always have strength and inspiration to continue to do so. 

Happy Birthday may seem like such a trite saying and (yes this is the third time I am saying it within a few weeks to these young men) yet I hope for their happiness, not only on the day the calendar marks, for them, the passing of another year - their birth day, but all other days too. May God grant them strength and the humility that will bring them the patience any husband and father needs.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

LITTLE PURPLE PANSIES

Little purple pansies touched with yellow gold,
 growing in the corner of the garden old,
we are very tiny but must try, try, try -
just one spot to gladden you and I!

I love pansies.


I learned the ditty above in Primary when I was a child.  Children still learn it and sing it. [page 244 in the LDS Children's Songbook] I think all my children learned it also.

I have a child that is a bit like a pansy - in  a good way.
She finds spots to gladden and does so.
Her talents are many - she just arrived that way!

She also arrived with bouncy curls,
long lashed bright eyes and
the widest laughing smile I had ever seen.

At birth she wore her caul like a bridal veil and throughout childhood would often place blankets, or other cloth objects over her head in a similar fashion and parade about as a 'princess' or 'bride'. She was especially fond of lace and ruffles and PINK! Purple was good but pink was mandatory - that and green - her favorite everything was green.

At age 4 she would tackle anything that came to her mind, or sight or hearing and could ride a 2 wheeler bike without training wheels.   She begged a ball of yarn and a pair of needles to knit 'like mommy' - and taught herself to do so by watching.  She made a scarf for her grandma.

She drew and painted and crafted with any and all materials available and STILL does so. Then it was egg cartons turned into carts for her pretty ponies and a small empty box from her brother's new scriptures made into a doll bed: but that is enough - this list could be unending ... but must also include a knack with animals.

(She once approached 2 fierce Dobermans, eye to eye, fearlessly and they backed away tail between legs to their open mouthed master.  She followed and patted them and they licked her 3 year old face while she threw her arms around their necks and scratched their ears.  Her cowboy grandfather said he had never seen a child that had more 'knack' with horses - she loved them and they loved her. I think she still owns the hand made bridle dad gave her.)

Now the list is even longer and she uses fancy cameras, computer programs and big girl tools like saws and drills and kitchen machines to make weddings and furniture and clothing and photos and food and every other fancy a girl or boy's mind may dream of. (And we each are just girls and boys - still.)

What is your dream? She likely could make it come true! If she wanted to - AND could find the time between her escapades.

I dabble at crafts, by comparison, but I did fancy up a small cheesecake for her birthday - I made some sugared pansies.  They make me think of all the sweet things she does to brighten every corner she occupies  

looks funky here - poor lighting and heavy sugar account for that,
the cheese cake is a nice creamy color and the pansies are pansy purple

Happy Birthday, baby girl.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

SUGAR, SUGAR

'Sugaring' edible flowers is easy and fun -

a bit painstaking perhaps - but easy AND fun!



You need: one egg white,
 a small new artist's paint brush,
edible flowers / leaves,
super fine sugar (also known as berry sugar)
and patience - loads of it!

And they have many uses,
can last months once dry and
if you have a sweet tooth are tasty.

I chose pansies for a cake topper.

Select blooms and leaves and rinse well.
 Be sure to avoid picking in areas where pesticides have been used.
Leave stems attached to make them easier to handle.
 Don't worry if they are completely dry,
just shake them free of excess water and set aside.

Separate the egg into a small shallow bowl - keep the white (it is your glue) and do what ever you wish with the yoke. One egg white will do dozens of small flowers. I have always used raw egg but if you have concerns about bacteria such as salmonella I have 'heard' meringue powder also makes an excellent 'glue'. (But I have not tried it).

Place a few spoons full of sugar into an open dish or container making sure it is free of lumps (and yes it does have to be the super fine sugar).

I always do the all backs first because the fronts show more. To make really gorgeous flowers spread the egg thinly (and some say to water it down just a little bit) so that the sugar sticks but is not too heavy.  My pictures show pansies that are actually too heavily coated. Too much egg = too much sugar coating. You can tell it is too much because the flower droops, and the coating may crack and fall off in places - NOT pretty!!

Paint the petals, one by one (first all the backs and then all the fronts) with the least amount of egg white possible but do make sure every area of the surface is shiny with a thin egg white coating.  This is the 'glue' to stick the sugar on with and it seals the finished product when dry.


For buds as pictured on the right go ahead and open them a bit to spread the egg into the crevices, as lightly as possible, using the brush tip to gently push into difficult to reach areas.



TIP: Sprinkle each petal or leaf with a dusting of sugar as you go -



Paint one, sugar it;
(these are very small leaves)




paint another, sugar it.

This is the 'patience' part.




Prop the flowers on wax paper to dry. As the sugar absorbs the moisture it becomes clear and sparkles (unless you have too much - then it stays more opaque and crusty)


The egg and sugar hardens and seals the flowers into shape. Position them attractively by gently lifting petals if need be and by laying them on shaped edges/forms (I use balls of wax paper).  Store in an airtight container when completely dry.

Violets are small and lovely on baked goods and candies.

They can be dipped into a thinned egg/water mixture and 'dropped' into the sugar. They may become a bit clumpish but because of their tiny size sometimes it is easier to do as many as possible, as fast as possible, and then select your best ones for decorations and let the others be eaten as candy.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

LIKE A SON TWICE

I have 3 sons.

I also have 3 daughters.
They each married a young man that is 'like a son' to me.

TWO of 'these' sons have birthdays this month -
both within a week's time.

In spring the days warm, begin to lengthen,
and the light steadily increases.

All my sons bring light and humour  to our family, increase the vitality, and strengthen joy with thoughtful gestures and kind actions.

Does this sound a bit familiar? 
It should - I said something like it a month ago.
Repetition of good things is a good thing! 

Happy Birthday may also seem a bit repetitious or trite but ...
why change a good thing?

So ...

 HAPPY BIRTHDAY boys ... 

 I pray for your happiness, not only on the day the calendar marks, for you, the passing of another year - your birth day, but all other days too. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

THREE "C"s

 1. CONNECTEDNESS

Today I thought about connections.
What am I connected to?
Who am I connected to?

Why?

If someone knows my name, and calls me by name I feel connections with that person.  Friends know more about me than my name.  Family members know intimately more than any friend - as we share the functions of living and space there is no way to avoid knowing and being known as outsiders never can.

What makes the connection to someone (or even something) greater or less? good or not?

God knows my thoughts - my mind and my heart.
My connections with God are sure and deep.

2. COMPETENCE

When I succeed at something - anything - it sure feels great.

A friend once told me, "at least I have a good laugh - people tell me my laugh makes them feel happy".  Part of her worth and happiness as a person came from others telling her she has a wonderful laugh - and she does!

I am a competent seamstress - maybe ... but -
I doubt myself when I don't get feed back from others that shows I am competent and capable. Maybe I don't know enough, or do it well enough, and am kidding myself?

Self doubt is a pervasive voice.
It comes into the mind and drowns the heart.

I think the circles at the top are lights
above the bathroom mirror

Recently a young granddaughter sent me a letter with a picture on the outside of the envelope.  She admires my 'curls' and wishes her straight hair 'had curls'.

Awwww ...

 She has helped me remember that some of me is 'competent' in spite of anything I do or don't do - there are things about me that are blessings that others long for and do not have.

How can I help her understand her 'competence'?
And learn vital lessons of self acceptance and awareness?

I longed so deeply for shining smooth straight hair, like hers, the first 30 or so years of my life. I never learned to know or manage my own fuzzy hair - no one ever knew how I felt or explained valid options to me. I am sure my mother tried but she seemed frighteningly out of touch with the style of the day - ironed flat, straight hair! She thought ringlets were a wonderful look (and they were I might add - now, in hindsight).

How do I help some one know their value? that their smile lights up my world, their song brightens gray days or their service, even just a smile or an opening door,  touches my soul?

I believe those voices of self doubt and recriminations come from the devil himself and the minions that desire our misery. Sometimes people around us heap fuel on our fires of self recrimination with thoughtless words, negligent actions or careless looks.  I  believe each of us can silence those voices for people around us with kind words, loving actions and grateful looks.  

Simple sincerity requires little effort but much diligence. 

3. CONFIDENCE

Connectedness plus Competence equals Confidence.

C1 + C2 = C3

A simple formula - just an equation.
A pattern for love, and life and perhaps even happiness.
It may not be easy to recognize me, call me by name, validate things I do, allow my feelings, help me see how I contribute value or to just accept ways I am different from you. When you do so with understanding, and without mockery, I feel and find confidence!

If someone knows my name, and calls me by it or just notes my existence I feel connections to them. Noticing my existence is not superfluous and may even be life or sanity saving. I ask myself - am I making connections that build competence and confidence? With my spouse? children? grandchildren? siblings?

Am I choosing to make viable connections in the most important relationships of life - with family?

What can I do today to help family members feel competent?

When someone I trust (and perhaps another also) compliments a choice I make or an action I take I begin to know competence. I begin to realize I can 'choose and do' - especially if I have 'connections' with them.

When I 'choose and do' I become more of what I have chosen and more of what I have done - for good or ill.

What can you do with confidence?  


Ideas from training to help youth in crisis. I was able to find an Internet reference to "Positive Youth Development Program" from Hong Kong, that may be one of the sources from the training. Accessed 26 January 2015

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

SORRY I AM NEVER DOING THAT AGAIN

I have often observed small children say, "sorry" repeatedly and without meaning it, as if saying sorry is an excuse to forget about bad behavior and then repeat it.

One child grabbed another's toy -
then shouted 'sorry' as they ran away with the toy.

Another child ran their bike into a group of children as they rode around a playground. 'Sorry' they called as they continued on their way.  On the next couple rounds they did the same thing. 

A larger child punched and kicked a small child and left them crying on the ground.  'Sorry' was voiced but certainly did not mean the larger child regretted what was done. 

What exactly does sorry mean?

A dictionary states that it means feeling or expressing pity, sympathy, remorse, grief or regret. An exclamation expressing apology used especially at the time of misdemeanor or offense. 

I have my own definition! 
Sorry means I won't do it again.
And if I can make amends I will do that too.

I love the Friend, a children's magazine published for children by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I subscribed when my children were young and still do - I think I am addicted ... giggle ... or else I must admit to being child like - I keep learning from the simple lessons in its pages.

The April 2011 issue (page 22) simply and effectively teaches about the 1st four principles and ordinances Latter Day Saints believe are important. I like what it had to say about repentance - "Repentance is when we change our hearts to be more like Heavenly Father. When we do something wrong, we feel sorry and promise ourselves and Heavenly Father that we will not do that wrong thing again. When we repent we can be forgiven because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ."

Perhaps I learned my definition of sorry from a child's magazine or Primary lesson.  I especially like that here 'sorry' includes a promise to myself (and God) to not do the wrong thing again.

I mostly know what is right and what is wrong. 
We all do. 
Sure we excuse and justify many things we do but are we sorry?

Or are we like young children that speak it without meaning?

As I read the article I began to mull over things I do and wonder if I have things I need to stop and promise MYSELF I will never do again.

Do I always obey the law? keep the speed limit? pay the parking meter? do my VT? keep my word? tell the truth? pay my creditors? treat others kindly even when they bug me?

I refuse to answer any of the above questions.
My list is getting rather longish ...

What about you?

Sorry means I am never going to do that again.  
I promise. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

TWO MINUTES

I graduated to two minutes this week.
Such a long short time!

A few weeks after I started physical therapy (following removal of a large benign tumor) I graduated from simple stretching and lifting exercises to 1 minute on an elliptical trainer. The one minute rule was strictly enforced for the first week and then, if I wanted to and felt up to it, I could add more time -
 entirely my choice.

What kind of exercise can you do in 1 minute?
If you do it every day will it make any difference?

My first exercises were very simple.  Lift the leg from 90 degrees to 180 degrees ten times.  Step onto a thick book and lift my own weight 10 times etc. I had about 15 different ones. My leg muscles had to be trained in the simplest of motions.

Repetition worked wonders and with it my ability to walk and balance soon allowed me to discard the walker and change to a cane.  When I started the elliptical I often had to revert to the walker the following day. The gradual improvement was slow and at times seemed nonexistent but in time I began to have more strength and stamina.

Enough strength and stamina to begin that 1 minute!

Wikipedia says the following: "An elliptical trainer or cross trainer is a stationary exercise machine used to simulate stair climbing, walking, or running without causing excessive pressure to the joints... to offer a non-impact cardiovascular workout ... They are an example of a weight-bearing form of exercise. ... An elliptical cross trainer is comparable to a treadmill in its exertion of leg muscles and the heart. Ellipticals produce an intermediate range of leg motion between that of stationary bikes and treadmills.''

When I finished my first day on an elliptical I REALLY needed the ice massage each PT session ended with every time; and then I went home to bed.  I went to PT 3 times a week.  Thanks to Casey who cheerfully drove me there and picked me up.

The second week I pushed myself to the max - I made 1 minute 15 seconds. I felt a bit silly - how could such a simple movement be so difficult? I determined to up the ante - I really wanted more than a cane - how can I be healthy and ride a bike or dance with a cane?

 It took some time but eventually I refused to quit until  I made 1 minute 30 seconds.  My legs would turn to jelly and I could hardly walk to the massage table but I was at 1 1/2.

That might not seem very long but have you ever tried to hold a toddler still for that long? or even yourself? Try it - can you do absolutely nothing or hold perfectly still for 90 seconds? This was much much harder than those things are!

Medical Insurance only pays for specific amounts of PT.  Before I ever reached 2 minutes I was sent home with lists of exercises, resistance bands, and suggestions for other things I could buy/do - the only impediment was money!

I had no money.

I do have GRRR though - I have continued to more or less do my therapy - at least sporadically.

A few months later as I moped and moaned (and wished I had an elliptical) my patiently listening daughter reminded me that she had given one away - it was missing a cord but perhaps still traceable and possible to use. It had been the rounds to several places but was now unused.

Soon the older, dust covered elliptical with a one partially broken and one missing foot piece moved from a garage to a new life in my sewing room. David replace the foot pedals with some well thought out and constructed wooden platforms (that even compensated for the 3/4" lift I wear on one leg - I so love not needing to get shoes and socks on) and I added 1 minute on the trainer to the simple exercises I do most mornings to maintain my mobility.

Do I exercise every day?
I WISH! I should be so diligent!
No - but I do basics often enough to prevent problems - sometimes not until the problems start though but I at least know how to correct them - it is just the daily grind and reps.

I started with one minute again - 3 times a week - EEEKKK!!!

Who knew so much lactic acid existed in the world - and the only way to really dissipate it is to do the exercises more faithfully.

Last week I really pushed to make 2 minutes one day - I almost died - or at least wished I might.  The following week I could only do 1/1/2 with difficulty. I persisted and this week I have officially graduated.

2 minutes, baby!!
2 minutes - I am starting to polish my bike!

What can 2 minutes do for you?

Monday, April 4, 2011

I LOVE TO SEE THE TEMPLE

I grew up near a temple.

The magnificent Alberta Temple was a part of my hopes, my dreams and part of all the teachings of my parents and grandparents to their families.

There is a picture of when the cornerstone was laid 19  September 1915, in my mother's photos.




It shows David O McKay at that time (standing) .  Within arm's length in the background is my grandfather, Neil Snow Forsyth and, just behind him, his father George James Forsyth (white mustache).


As a child, I was taught reverence for the temple. I felt something when I saw it - when I walked on the surrounding grounds or touched its stones. I watched my mother care for, wash and iron, the white clothing they wore when they 'went to' the temple and puzzled a bit about all the effort she made.  We did not have the song, I Love To See The Temple, but I remember our Primary went to see it once and that we could walk up to the frieze depicting Christ, sculptured in bas-relief on the front of the building, and touch His stone figure.

As a teenager the temple was just a large building my gym class ran around - 2 laps was a mile.  I said, and acted as if, I hated religion and everything to do with religion BUT inside there was still a place that was set apart - a sacred different place - regarding the temple.

Alberta Temple Dedication Ticket 27 August 1923 6 pm

When my maternal grandmother, Elna Bohne Campbell, once showed me a trunk of her 'important' papers and treasured mementos one of the things I noticed there was a smallish pink card.  It was a ticket and recommend allowing her to attend the dedication of the Alberta Temple on the 26 August 1923. She was 14. She told me she went to that ceremony with her father. He got all the children in his family that could go to the dedication tickets and they went. [Only children age 8 and older are permitted to attend.] When the building was remodeled and then rededicated in June 1991 grandma was still living and thrilled to see it restored and renewed.

My father tells me that as a child he saw her father walk, about 5 miles (each way) from Aetna where they lived, to the temple in Cardston several times each week. Dad lived on the South Hill in Cardston and the road went past his home.  Dad said that Henry Bohne was known to all the boys as 'Old One Eye' and endured much teasing.

Recently David and I received a phone call from the temple president.  He wanted us to come to our nearest temple for an interview.  We were asked if we would accept a calling to serve there for two years.

This calling has become my greatest and most cherished opportunity.  As I go there each week (we are assigned to serve one shift per week helping the temple patrons) I have found more peace and more tranquility and understanding than I have experienced in the entire 30 years I have been able to go to the temple.

There have been times when I have not been able to go to the temple because of distance or circumstance for long time periods but mostly I have tried to go once a month. When we lived in Utah for a couple of years we attended weekly but I was very young, had a large family and being religious was new to me because I had spent many years seeking for and searching for what my parents and their parents had tried to GIVE to me (genuine, real truth and all the blessings it can bring into lives and hearts and minds - even the gospel of Jesus Christ - the good news that he was born, and lived and died).

This past Sunday morning Thomas S. Monson, President and Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, spoke in the 181st Annual General Conference of the church about temples.  I listened to most of the conference via the internet in my own home.  Modern media and technology make his words, and the words of other General Authorities and church leaders available to almost anybody anywhere anytime. [see here]

After explaining why, he instructed us to make going to the temple our highest priority and to make any sacrifice necessary to go there as often as possible.

Anyone can have this blessing in their life - anyone that wants it. With all my heart and soul I commend his words and all the talks given, but especially these specific instructions, to each of you my loved ones. What ever it takes, what ever you need to do - please, please make that sacrifice or change in your life.

There you will be able to resolve and understand any problem or difficulty. There you will gain the strength to accomplish all things that are good or right. There you will find peace and hope and tranquility.

There, in the temple and its ordinances and covenants, is the very way to heaven - the way to be with God again, here and now in our every day lives, AND forever through all eternity.

Friday, April 1, 2011

APRIL FOOLS

I have fond memories of April 1.
It was always a day of good, silly fun.

I quickly learned to never believe or trust anything heard or said on the first day of April - my four older brothers  were the hard school masters.  But it was all in good natured and simple fun. Gags that could hurt someone physically or emotional were always in bad taste and made the one doing such mean things look like more of a fool than the one being tricked - isn't that still the case?

Pranks and silliness ruled April 1.

Margarine back then was white, not colored, and came in 1 pound blocks almost identical in appearance to a 1 pound block of lard.  If you wanted margarine to resemble butter in color you had to knead a small packet of coloring (that came in the package with most brands) into it - my mom couldn't be bothered - that was just a waste of time.  One of the pranks almost guaranteed to show up on April Fool's day was the substitution of lard for margarine - a fairly harmless and very amusing trick. Imagine spreading your bread/toast with lard and taking a bite - YYYYUUUUCCCKKKKK! been there done that.

Salt and sugar were often exchanged by filling the sugar dish with salt or the salt shaker with sugar. My mother did not approve of putting salt in the sugar bowl - it wasted too much food.  She spent a good part of each April 1st checking on possible food substitutions to make sure waste did not occur but invariably some sneak would get one by. She was good natured about it especially when the one being tricked might have been getting away with some tricks.

All day long someone was always telling you such things as 'your shoe is untied' or 'did you hear that soandso was hurt/died/got married/' etc. April 1 was not a good day to set appointments or to have accidents - no one would believe it was 'for real' if you did. I mean if I invited you to dinner to day would you come? and if you did would you eat anything without suspicion? - I could be putting anything in there for a gag couldn't I?

One of the best April Fool's pranks I fell for was a garage sale.  As I drove across town big signs with arrows announced a garage sale.  I followed them. The day was a beautiful spring Saturday and I was so excited to go to my first garage sale of the year.  I pulled up to the address - there on the front lawn was a huge bright sign that read "APRIL FOOLS".  I still chuckle about that and tell everyone that will listen.  Maybe someone else can play that one - it is a terrific example of a harmless joke.

So have a nice day - and be nice too.