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

Monday, October 31, 2011


When someone says or does kind things (especially on a special day) the words warm the heart and cheer the soul. I must thank my family for special remembrances of my birthday.

a gift from the girls and their girls
Symbols convey more than words ever can. Their very nature invites repeated reflections that continue and in time come to have greater meaning and influence.

I read the card enclosed with this gift. It says,"Thank you for being a strong link in the generations of our family ... ". I think of the great strength I draw from my mother and grandmothers.

To have a strong chain each link must have its own strength. I am grateful my daughters and granddaughters each have their own unique strengths.

And they are beautiful too - inside and out.

when held up, light reveals intricate detail
on beads that at first glance look like a sparkling rock

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Casey has a birthday this week -
a celebration of her arrival into life.

Casey we hope you know how much we love you and appreciate the blessing you are to our son and grandchildren as well as all the many things you do for him and with him.

Happy Birthday.

When I was a teen someone asked me how many children I wanted.  I thought carefully and decided 12 or more would be a good number.  Having a lot of children was not a popular idea. I think I mostly wanted to appall the person that asked but then I decided that I really wouldn't mind having a lot of children.

I had to settle for fewer.

As my 6 children find spouses and ask them to become part of our family I think of them with the love I view my sons and daughters with. This week I realized that when my youngest son marries our family will, in my heart at least,  have a dozen sons and daughters - 6 of each.

My hopes and dreams are finally coming true. Thanks for being willing to be a part of that - a unique and special part of our family.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Do not stop on such roads if it can be avoided.
Better to take pictures through a bug smeared window. 

I think every road out of this area goes through mountains. Some roads are steep and curvy; others are 'straight on until morning' freeways. We enjoy each trip and the variety of places and things we see. We loved this sculpture we saw in the middle of an Idaho Falls roundabout. We just HAD to make time to take pictures.

Roads can be newly paved, broad and smooth or under construction, narrow or rough.  Some have many interesting places to stop and things to see but some are so boring I am reduced to contemplating cows ... well maybe all roads have those sections.

 Each road has places like that ... the going is slower or a bit tedious. Some roads have known dangers or treacherous areas. Some have warnings - some do not.

Clarence's car 'tried on' a deer hood ornament in September

We saw a lot of deer as we drove through Montana and Idaho.
Cars do not 'wear' deer very well - sad for the deer and sad for the cars. David asked if I noticed that most of the cows we saw were black.  He speculated that maybe Montana cows are black so you can tell the difference between herds of cows and herds of deer - funny David!!!

Although some stops are needed for health and sanity, if a traveler stops often, or for very long at too many venues, arrival at a desired destination may be significantly delayed.  I suppose it all depends on what is expected and desired - what is the reason for the trip? to see the interesting things? or to arrive somewhere and be part of an event?

Idaho Falls temple with reflection

Am I going somewhere in particular or just anywhere, with no pre-selected destination?

We wanted to attend a wedding on Friday in the Idaho Falls LDS temple (and a luncheon afterwards in Rexburg), do and see as many other things as possible (yes I did get in some shopping), AND avoid exhaustion or any dangers that might tend to 'jump' into our path.

Rexburg Idaho Temple front view
We especially enjoyed going to the temple in Rexburg Friday evening. It is a very beautiful edifice.

Rexburg, Idaho temple side view 

Traveling and arriving on a schedule requires planning and preparation. When we make any mistakes, like missing a freeway exit or having improper directions, our trip has additional cost and takes extra time. We cannot travel north on US95 and expect to arrive in Idaho Falls. If we realize we are on the wrong highway or headed west instead of east we have some decisions to make.

A specific destination also means sacrificing some good things for other priorities - things we desire more.

As always, time in the car provided the opportunity for pondering that was not interrupted.  I thought a lot about a family and how it is like a journey - with thrills, easy times and hard times, distractions and even sometimes missed opportunities or changed plans. Each of our children has prepared for and planned their own 'destination' of choice - their eternal family.

Every family must travel their own road. It may be parallel to or intersect with others (or even join with them for a while before diverging again). We will each experience a unique trip but we all can 'arrive safely'. It was wonderful to be a part of the beginning of a new family this week.

I thought about how families begin, continue and how a family can bless every person in it.  We are a bit like travelers.  One of our sons arrived in our family along a bit of a bumpy road with lives hanging in the balance and has had some serious curves and steep inclines.  We often worried that his 'trip' might be cut short and grieved that he might not be blessed to have the joy of a companion and children.  We have been so pleased that his life now includes a spouse and children. His wife makes many sacrifices to help him be healthy and happy. He makes many to help her. They work together to help their children. 

Families are like that - we work and learn and play together.
We help each other along the road and share the wonders of it all. We are all traveling to a wonderful destination. There are times I ask myself where my road is going. Am I alert and prepared? Can I 'arrive' safely? What do I really want? Can I get where I want to be?

Where is your road going?

Monday, October 24, 2011


This week we traveled to the Idaho Falls Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to attend the marriage of Mark.

Idaho Falls LDS temple at night 

About 12 years ago my son, Clarence, met Mark when our local church units (known as Wards) were reorganized.  We all made new friends as we began to attend church in the 5th Ward (instead of the 8th Ward) with many people we had not met before. The boys were in the same Priesthood Quorums and Scout Troops. 

Our son encouraged Mark to attend (and participate in) dances, parties, and many other activities youth enjoy. Mark encouraged our (more gregarious) son to think and plan carefully so consequences of decisions and actions turned out well for all involved.  

Boys can do that - strengthen and help each other!

We traveled hours through Montana, seeing the grand sweep of the Rocky Mountains and foothills,

deciduous leaves donning fall colors among the evergreens, 

and 'Big Sky Country' put on a variety show of sun and clouds with some light rain,

an unexpected rainbow 

and evenings lit by her starry expanses.

I marveled at the scope and the majesty of the world. 

The beauty of the temple at night, reflecting in the river,
 was across the street from our hotel.  

LDS temples reflect the majesty of great mountains. 
Their spires point our eyes and thoughts up - toward God. 

In Idaho Falls we spent some time looking at an exhibit in the Visitors Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints titled "The Healing Power of Jesus Christ". The exhibit contained sculptures by an artist originally from Columbia Falls, Montana - Angela Johnson.  I marveled at the scope and majesty the sculptor gave to her subject. 

One piece in particular moved my heart through deep emotions. It depicts a boy kneeling at the feet of God and his son Jesus Christ.  The sculpture tells of the glory of his answered prayer

Joseph Smith was only a boy. An ordinary 14 year old boy. He was taught to think. His mother taught him about God and the sacredness of God's word - the Bible. 

Joseph believed the truth he found in James 1:5 of the Bible.

It was simple.  
'If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God ...'

Asking God is prayer.

He prayed. 
He went to a secluded grove of trees, knelt and asked God. 
God answered.

I looked in the face of that sculptured young boy and found tears prickling in my eyes.  My grandson, Calvin, is 14 this week. Happy Birthday Calvin. I think you will enjoy the link to this gallery of sculptures and the artist's story and work.  

Joseph was 'only a boy' but his example of kneeling to 'ask of God' humbles me and bends my own stubborn, and sometimes careless, knees.  

That one act - that one choice grants me, and every other truth seeker, greater truth and more blessings and knowledge from God than has ever been known. 

An ordinary boy can do that. 
That is extraordinary! 

Monday, October 10, 2011


Happy Canadian Thanksgiving.

Many of you have already eaten the turkey, and will have leftovers with a relaxing day off today, so here is entertainment for the kids to enjoy making - really - I have made these with 4 and 5 year olds - but I do admit I 'let' them eat their own creation. If you want picture perfect place settings or neighbor gifts you may want to do that separately - most kids can't resist finger licking or snacking as they go.

Yes you did see the process last year but that was just for fun. I hope this is a more serious and useful version you may actually be able to follow to create a treat.


Krispie-rice cereal, 
Butter (real butter = real taste)
Mini marshmallows 
Sandwich cookies                                      
(I prefer chocolate for contrast),
Candy Corn

1 container of icing
 (or powdered sugar to make your own).

[And perhaps some pretty (disposable) plates
and Zip closure bags that the loaded plate will fit in for deliveries].
Note: Watch for Candy Corn in individual bags near Halloween.  For group or class projects one bag per person, per turkey make these very handy.

Add caption

Find a largish bowl that can be microwaved
(the easy/lazy way) or a large kettle that will hold at least 8 cups (bigger is better). I tried it both ways. On the stove top the treats set harder and in the microwave they stay more soft and malleable.

It also depends on the brands you are using.  The marshmallow brand at one store, that has 'great values', made treats that were way too soft and sticky. If you encounter this problem let the mix cool more before handling.

[Aside: I avoid this store as their icing sugar tastes like it is mostly starch!] 

Note: Most mini marshmallows contain 6 cups - the ‘great value’ store brand does NOT!

RECIPE for krispie-rice treats:

1/4 cup butter (real butter = real taste)
6 cups of mini marshmallows
6-8 cups krispie-rice cereal
vanilla to taste (about 1/2 tsp)

I zap the butter just enough to melt it and then pour in about 2/3 of the marshmallows (whatever fits in with extra room to mix) and stir a little bit to coat with butter.

Next I microwave those marshmallows approximately 30 seconds until they soften (will depend on your power settings - I use high) and then add the rest of the marshmallows and zap them again until they are puffing and ready  to beat.

 Add vanilla and beat it in until smooth.

 Add the marshmallow mix to the cereal
and stir until cereal is coated evenly.

Cool slightly.

I put a small amount of butter on my hands, and using a large spoon to scoop out the mix, make balls about 1 - 1/2" to 2" in diameter.

Do not make these too large.

Cooling helps the shapes hold together better -otherwise the mix tends to stick to your hands not itself and the butter just melts.

These are your turkey tummies.

 Form Turkeys:

Split sandwich cookies in half and if icing is not sticking onto the cookie remove it. If it is not firmly adhering to the cookie it will cause trouble later - the tail falls off or the tummy rolls off the base.

Spread inside of both cookie pieces with frosting.

Place ball firmly in center of one cookie. 
Some cookie brands are quite fragile and break easily.

To avoid breakage always lay the cookie
on a flat surface when pressing  the turkey tummies into place. 

Next place that combination onto the other cookie half.
They are now in an L or chair (without legs) shape.

Place one Candy Corn, pointed tip down, at top center of cookie between tummy and cookie (chair back) but extending slightly above cookie edge.

Add an additional piece on either side, (making three) and then another one on both sides of those, making 5 all together. 

These are the tail feathers. 

If you run short of Candy Corn (as I always seem to do) use only 4 evenly spaced.  Pieces of Candy Corn that arrive broken in the package  can readily be used for feather 4 and 5. If needed dip the end of Candy Corn into icing to help secure it into place.

Sometimes I also find I need to gently encourage better shape by giving some pats and a squeeze here and there.

BE ADVISED: this is often when cookies break.

Last but not least select a very nice
Candy Corn for the turkey's beak and head.

Use frosting to 'glue' it to the front of the 'turkey tummy'. 
Keep it fairly low to the base and if desired tilt slightly to create attitude.

 I let the kids make and eat their own - it is my rule! 

Some creative kid is sure to want to add more details –
check out these wonderful wings on this fellow.

wings invented and placed by a determined 6 year old 

Friday, October 7, 2011


Monday, October 10th is Canadian Thanksgiving.

Citizens of Canada and the United States of America live in unparalleled prosperity with so much of EVERYTHING that we grumble about the most minor of lacks of food or clothing, or inconvenience in any little way. We are devastated if electricity or water is off for a short time or our car needs a repair.

Today my cousin posted a Facebook link that made me cry.

I am so foolish and silly. I don't even realize all the wonderful things I have in my life. I take windows and open space, light and air and about a kazillion other things for granted.

Starting today I am going to count my blessings;
one by one by one;
everyday, every single day.

What else do I take for granted?

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Recently I found an older picture of my parents with my father's brother and parents. My two older brothers are there also, as young children.

I was thrilled to see these family faces. I don't remember my grandmother very well. She died when I was quite young. The picture surprised me. My father is much, much taller than every one else in the picture.

I have never thought of my father as a tall man. Most of my brothers and many cousins are taller than he is. My mother has always seemed kind of short to me.  She doesn't even really clear dad's shoulder at just over 5 feet.

Aug 1972 Garth and Neil S. Forsyth ( both standing)

Looking at the picture I realized mom was not really short - the other adults in the picture are not much taller. I was especially surprised to notice that my grandfather was not a tall man. I did not know that and I knew him well. He lived in our home for a time. I just never considered his adult height.

Jean and Garth Forsyth's comparative height clearly shown
Grandpa Neil Snow Forsyth (seated) with 2nd wife Ruth Rassmussen
children top left to bottom right: Tad, Kati, Ginger, Shawn
When I was growing up if someone stood over 6 feet tall they WERE considered tall. I vaguely remember my dad being proud of being 6 feet tall. I knew my brothers all wanted to be 6 foot tall and that the only one that didn't quite hit the 6 foot mark was a bit disappointed.

I remember the day one of my children sidled up along side of me, threw an arm around my shoulder and announced, "Mom, I am way taller than you are" (partly in response to some discipline and discussion).

He was right. It was true - and I had not really noticed.

I looked up quite startled and momentarily wordless into my son's young grinning face. That is when I noticed the booger just inside of his nose! I smiled and replied, "that is so I can tell if you have booger's up your nose."

His sisters almost died laughing - they could see it too! He denied it but still went and checked - and we all followed along so we could watch. Aren't families wonderful? In families we can experience some of our finest and most terrible moments and still be lovingly bound to each other.

Each of us needs someone to tell us how to keep our 'nose clean'.

I have several grandchildren that are at least 6 feet tall. Totally weirds me out! This week one of my granddaughter's will have a 17th birthday. She is very tall - at least to me - but I am realizing it is all our perspective. Sometimes we don't even notice. That may surprise her and she may disagree but really height doesn't matter in many important ways.

An idiom from my childhood was that if you looked up to someone they were 'six feet tall'.  I look up to my granddaughter in more ways than just lifting my chin so I can see her face.  To me she really is 'six feet tall'.  I hope it will always be that way.

And just in case she ever thinks of doing something foolish I am giving her this reminder, "People who are tall enough (or good enough) to look down on anyone else need to remember that shorter people can 'see up their nose'."

Each of us, short or tall, has talents and vices. I hope each and every birthday will increase our talents and lessen our vices.

Happy Birthday, Meg.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


BLlleeaahhkhh - I hate shoes.
I have always hated shoes.
When ever possible I am barefoot.

As I take off my shoes, some lyrics from Paul Overstreet's song "Sowin' Love" (a favorite of mine) run through my mind. "I used to love to walk behind my daddy, as he plowed our garden every spring.  My little bare feet in the dirt would make me happy, as we talked about what harvest time would bring."

I do remember walking barefoot in the dirt with stubble scratching my ankles as I ran across a field to catch a horse or lamb.  I can remember how some children cried if they had to walk on gravel - what was their problem I wondered - thistles could hurt you but gravel?? really? 

I seldom wore shoes -
except to town - mandatory -
and to church - expected/coerced ... 
but I could get away with taking them off there.
Socks had to be left on but shoes I might slip off.

My cousin,Vicky, had shiny, red patent, pointy toed slippers.  
I begged for patent shoes, even black ones. 
I promised to WEAR them!

my shoes were similar to these but mine were brown

The answer was no. I had to wear lace up boots. I had to wear shoes the doctor ordered, heavy, sturdy, lace up, high top, support-and-correct-the-ankles-and feet, leather shoes. AND they were brown!

I didn't hate Vicky - but I thought about it. I did marvel that any individual could have so much (she even got dance lessons too) and could seemingly be unaware of how special she was. 

It isn't just shoes. I love shoes and boots as a fashion accessory and wear them when I dress to go out but my feet LIKE to breathe. I sleep with them uncovered. If my feet are covered I am sick or it is extremely cold.

After a fall and subsequent lengthy rehabilitation from a severely fractured tibia and fibula I began to experience back pain. Doctors discovered one leg was 3/4" shorter than the other. I needed orthotic shoes that were built to fit me and I needed to wear them - always! 

I have tried - really I have. Pain is a great motivation (as is their huge cost) but I still often spend my days at home barefoot. There are many ways to balance the need to support my back and keep it aligned AND be barefoot. I may have tried them all.

You don't usually notice my lift but I do. This type of shoe is heavy and not very flexible but it serves its purpose. My back is not contorted and functions mostly pain free.  I can walk. I am grateful to be able to walk but I do miss skiing and many other athletic activities almost as much as light flexible runners and cute 6 inch heels, (sometimes in red patent or purple suede). 

One day at church two younger men, in very nice suits, sitting just behind me were laughing at my 'granny' shoes and mocking them. I thought about that. My feelings would have been less raw if my shoes had been foolish or extravagant! Who were they to point and mock? That was a turning point for me.  I stopped hating my own shoes. I pay more for my shoes and my comfort and mobility than those men will ever pay for shoes, or comfort, and I genuinely hope they never have to endure immobility.

My parents taught me to never be ashamed of myself - by never doing anything to be ashamed of - or if I did something foolish or embarrassing, that I should make better choices and leave the past in the past. Guilt and shame are indications that I need to make changes in my choices and if I don't need to make a change then I don't need to feel either guilt or shame. They also taught me that I can be proud of good choices. If I learn to make those good choices by being silly and then correcting that silliness I am still able to feel right about making the choice to change.

It is said that as we age we revisit our childhood.  I have become more resistant to wearing my shoes.  I have had 'lifts' built onto flip-flops and sandals and even dance shoes. I love to dance, even though doing so has had new limits since my accident. Dancing motivates me to maintain mobility more than bike riding.

And as we age, sometimes, we become more humble and teachable - we hope - and we adapt; we learn and we can even have cold feet. I realize I can decide to love wearing shoes as easily as deciding to never be ashamed of who and what I am.

Today I am working at my computer with shoes on; shoes that prevent pain; shoes that are on my feet by choice. I choose to wear them and I choose to like wearing them.


I do, at least, like the results of wearing them.

I can choose.

What can you choose?

Sunday, October 2, 2011


               General Conference
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Hear prophets speak:

click HERE