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

Saturday, December 31, 2011


A grandson was baptized today.

We traveled six hours to see this marvelous thing.
His father bears priesthood authority to perform such ordinances.

His father was ordained by the 'laying on of hands' by his father who was ordained the same way by his father back several generations. That great grandfather was likewise ordained by the laying on of hands giving him proper priesthood authority. He was ordained by an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. His priesthood authority can be directly traced to the restoration of Priesthood authority on 15 May 1829.

There were several 8 year old children baptized.  Dressed in white they were completely immersed under water and raised again. Symbolically they were 'raised' to new life with Christ as one of his disciples.  At age 8 they are mentally and physically ready to make covenants and commitments of this serious kind. They are capable of making choices and acting upon those choices.

There were several musical numbers at the baptism.
One was done by several children.

One of the girls that was baptized was joined by siblings and cousins, both older and younger, to sing "I Am A Child of God". They sang one verse. The older children were clearly not very comfortable performing a musical number. As the pianist (another sibling or cousin) finished the intro and began to play for them I was not sure, honestly, if any one was singing. I looked carefully. Some mouths were moving but I had to strain to hear anything.

Suddenly, from the far right, came a very young child - perhaps four-ish. She had been too shy at first to join the other kids in front of the congregation but with coaching and encouragement there she was - running past the podium and pushing her way to the front. She began singing as she came.

Her young voice was clear and distinct.
As the second line began she stood with the group.
The child on each side of her joined their voices with her.

The pre-teens and teens began to do more than lip-sync. Their voices, although quiet, now provided back up for the youngest. By the last line of the song all were singing - and it is a short song.

A phrase from Isaiah 11: 6 came into my mind ... "and a little child shall lead them". I love Isaiah. He describes a time of peace and happiness wherein a child can be perfectly safe and shall be able to lead all creatures in that peace.

Jesus taught that "except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3

In May 1996, Neil A Maxwell, taught:
Children often have the “thoughts and [the] intents of [their] hearts” focused on the Master. Though not full of years, such children are full of faith! Too young for formal Church callings, they have been “called to serve” as exemplifiers,  ...-

Just as the scriptures assure, “little children do have words given unto them many times” (Alma 32:23). For example, the resurrected Jesus revealed things to the Nephite children, who then taught adults and their parents “even greater” things than Jesus had taught (3 Ne. 26:14).
This child was a powerful example to me.

I need to step forward, not hang back.
I need to make my voice heard.
I need sing, and say, praise to God.

My grandchildren, and their friends, coach me and encourage me.
How can I become more like them?

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Near the end of November we cleaned up the yard and I wove a wreath from vine and flexible bush trimmings.

Waiting for ribbon and finishing touches still to be found

I love the dogwood's red branches and the curly twists of the climbing Virginia Creepers. I twined some fake mini holly greens along the circle, and tucked in some plastic-ish  mistletoe pieces for visual variety.

We decided a theme last year - a woodland of pine cone browns, birds, snowflakes, ice and glowing greens. We hit the sales after Christmas 2010 for lots of greens and browns for nickels and dimes.

All year when we saw nice cones we would bag them and haul them home until we had a bushel box of several kinds and many sizes from tiny on up. Then we found a bag (or two) at the second hand shop and one that is huge - really huge!!!

Papa showing the scale of his huge pine cone ...
The swags are always his handiwork. This year green lights up there.

We started to get ready for Christmas the very first of the month. Outdoor lights went up on a warm day at the end of October but were not plugged in until that first day of December.

Out of storage came the boxes and bags and bows and baubles.

The house was a disaster area for weeks as we enjoyed the creative process and 'messed' around.

a roll of brown mesh on top a box of lights
Even the garage was 'filled' up - with  empty and half empty boxes as the tree and wreaths and lights were put up and extras picked over.

Thanks to Nena for bringing my antique green balls - all the way from Boise!

We went for a full size green tree - we've only done half trees for a while but this year decided to stand the bottom piece. There is no rule that says you have to use all the tree pieces - right? If you leave the bottom part in the box the 7' tree is only 4.5 feet tall (except we put it on a small table top) and you only have to decorate half as much ...

Finding our clear lights proved futile - so add 4 sets of 100 to our expenditures - at least mini lights at $1.87 total less than $10 - very inexpensive.

At last we got the tree standing, rotating, and finally the lights searched for, purchased, twisted into the branches and plugged in.

We decided we NEEDED brown mesh at $9.99 a roll and brown balls, also that price.

These were our significant expenditures for Christmas decor 2011.

Floral wire, and pliers to cut and twist it, were also needed but I had those things on hand.
David drilled a tiny hole into the end of each cone and inserted an eye screw.

Then we had to decide which ornaments and lights to use and how to arrange it all.

 I discovered that 5 or 6 in a group is better and easier to manage than 8 or 9 and they go onto the tree much more readily - just thread the wire through each hanger twice and leave an inch or so between (more for larger items, less for smaller).

The mesh was pinched into 'pouffes' (using a wire 'evergreen' twist taken from the end of a garland) and spiraled around and around the tree.

More mistletoe was placed at each pinch and a glow-in-the-dark star placed in the garland over the angel's head.

'Ornamotions' were added to the light strings where larger spaces allowed for their movement. See video below.

The angel got her lace washed (she came out of storage with something smeared here there and everywhere), new green bows, and tiny pine cone trimmings.

Bows were bunched and cones were consolidated into piled groupings of baubles and berries to be alternated with antique green balls (and other unique or fragile ornaments) along the glittering mesh filler, or hung on the wreath and scattered on top the piano - along with nuts and pears ... had to include the green and the gold pears!

With so many pears around we had to add a partridge to our pear tree also. There just happened to be a lovely one at the second hand shop the day we were there.

This small fragile gold and cream glass ornament belonged to David's mother

And birds - lighted birds were threaded among the branches and birds of glass and every conceivable medium were perched among all the decorations. We counted 97 altogether but only counted once so that may be considered an estimate.

Thanks Ginger for the new tiny nativity
and we still love our plaque - we keep it there year round.
Papa hung our crocheted snowflakes along the dark wall behind the piano on either side of the completed wreath.

We love our intarsia nativity and it was a perfect focal this year
Our usual nativity graced the book shelf for us to arrange every day. Guests also shared in the pondering that brings, as they were invited to arrange it when they came over. 

Other nativities and angels and bells and a few glittery green poinsettias filled nooks and crannies on every shelf and hook. We changed out a few pictures on the walls also. 

Our white satin stockings seemed out of place so I made a couple of new brown stockings with a sheer pine cone print quilted onto the front and soft fleece fur tops you can't resist petting. 

Hendrix and Avalin both advised us, by Skype, that the letters on them should be D and L (not P and M). They were quite concerned that we might not be able to tell which was which unless they were properly labeled!

I promptly made gold glitter letters for them. 

Our woodland Christmas showcases the abundant blessings we enjoy. "Sing praise to Him, remember him, as you picture Christmas this year."

Saturday, December 24, 2011


My favorite Christmas activity has always been the church Christmas party. I loved seeing the nativity portrayed, no matter how clumsy or how carefully orchestrated. It has always filled me with strong emotion.

 Christmas Eve at Ginger's 2007 
My favorite nativity play has always been seeing kids acting the parts, at church or at home.

the inevitable giggles
There is always the waiting in the 'wings' parts,

what's up with this thing getting so much attention???

even the family pets get involved,

and the babe is never the only one 'adored'.

My all time favorite nativity is a small scrapbook nativity.

Each of my children, that live days of travel apart, and many hours travel from me in many directions, took pictures of their children portraying the characters in the story of the birth of Christ. Then they compiled an album of individual pictures into a small book telling the entire story. I got the original - they got copies.

In 1982, I was homemaking leader in my Provo, Utah Ward and scared to death! I had not attended church much as an adult and had never had a 'calling' before. It was my responsiblity to arrange for monthly classes that helped women learn to use their hands and minds AND productively learn something.

Sister Roundy did not often come to church but was willing to teach the Relief Society sisters how to make ceramic figurines. We arranged for a class starting in July. Most sisters wanted to make nativity sets. I did not have the money for any.

I was expecting my 5th child.  In August I had partial kidney failure and the obstetrician ordered complete bed rest - no exertion - until the baby arrived - due in DECEMBER!!  I was BORED to tears! Sister Roundy asked if I would like to clean greenware for her. It is a tedious process. I found it interesting and engaging.  Under her tutelage I cleaned several sets while laying on our couch.

Then she gave me two of the sets.

It was a dream come true for me.
Each set had children's cherubic faces.
One, I finished with pearl glaze, I gave to my mother-in-law.
My oldest daughter has inherited it.

although you can't really see the faces here,
you can see generally how this set looked when finished

I was so thrilled with both. After the first firing on one of the sets we let each of our children help pick, and then paint, the colors onto a bisque figurine. Even the 3 year old could 'swing' a brush and was excited to 'paint' one of the animals as Papa held her on his lap and directed her brush back to the figure when ever she decided to paint anything else.

He enjoyed the process so much that he put a loaded brush into the hand of an infant son and 'helped' him paint one.  Strangely enough it almost seemed like the baby knew what he was doing - perhaps I only have a vivid imagination.

We have many various sized nativity ornaments and sets but this set has special memories. A friend came and went with tools and paints and glazes.  As I lay for months on bed rest I planned and then executed each face.  I had never painted anything besides a fence before.  I was a bit uneasy but tried anyway.

When it was all finished everyone wanted to 'arrange' it.

Joseph and donkey
We all have our own ideas of how things might have looked/happened. 

Baby Jesus

To prevent quarreling family members took turns. 

Cow and Sheep with lamb
It was arranged a new way each day and  if a guest came they were invited to arrange it for us.  

The kings were named for their jewels -
this one is the 'green' king
The 'blue' king with his camel
And the 'red' king in a tall turban
I have taken a few pictures the last few years.
Here are some of the interesting 'arrangements'.

by 6 year old Beckham
a fun idea from a 3 year old  ...
"they all want to be close and see him first"
a new father said, "there is no way Joseph is letting anybody near that baby!!
a mother said, "she is ignoring everybody and all the fuss"
a newly married girl said, "Mary is having 'me' time ... letting the guys talk."

Some think animals should not be too close - too many germs,
- except the symbolic lamb
How would you arrange it?
What do you think?


We have many nativities.

There is one small nativity I cherish.

It was our children's gift to us in 2003.

Many of our grandchildren are pictured in it as characters in the story.

Perhaps someday they will make us a new, updated one ...