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

Sunday, January 29, 2017


Mom's advice today:

"Don't forget to pray."

I was chatting to mother today.

I told her about my statistics math class.
I got really, really stuck last week.
I felt like crying. I felt so helpless, and hopeless.

I felt like giving up. Then I remembered I hadn't said prayer before I started studying. I went by myself, knelt (on a pillow, of course, following mom's advice to take care of my knees), and told God about how helpless I felt. I told him about how sorry I was to forget to even talk with Him and ask for help.

And I cried.

And then followed President Hinckley's 2003, Women's Conference advice. He said, " Get on your knees and ask for the blessings of the Lord; then stand on your feet and do what you are asked to do. Then leave the matter in the hands of the Lord. You will discover that you have accomplished something beyond price."

I don't know that my homework will accomplish something beyond price, but I do know that when I stood up and returned to my studies that my mind cleared, new ideas came to me, and I knew what to try next. I discovered why I was stuck, gained an understanding of the concepts of the week, completed my assignment (on time), and I passed the test. 

I told mom about this experience. 
She said, "Always remember to pray. My mother taught me that!"

Mom says her mother often sang the hymn, "Did You Think to Pray."
Mom began to sing. I joined her.
Thank you Grandma.
I often heard my mother sing that hymn [140]. 
I know it by heart.

Now I just need to do it.

1. Ere you left your room this morning,
    Did you think to pray?
    In the name of Christ, our Savior,
    Did you sue for loving favor
    As a shield today?

Oh, how praying rests the weary!
Prayer will change the night to day.
So, when life gets dark and dreary,
Don't forget to pray.

2. When your heart was filled with anger,
     Did you think to pray?
     Did you plead for grace, my brother,
     That you might forgive another
     Who had crossed your way?

3. When sore trials came upon you,
    Did you think to pray?
    When your soul was full of sorrow,
    Balm of Gilead did you borrow
    At the gates of day?

Text: Mary A. Pepper Kidder, 1820-1905
Music: William O. Perkins, 1831-1902

Sunday, January 8, 2017


Yesterday was cold and it snowed heavily.
The day before was sunny but frozen, well below 0.
David quipped there were no degrees left.
I added that a few seemed to be missing!

Mom and I talked about being, and staying, warm.
About how nice it is to not have to go outside to get wood.
And about how rich we were when I was growing up.
We burned coal!  Mom tells me that only the rich had coal.

I never felt poor but did not realize I was rich!
As I scrubbed down the black soot from ceilings and walls twice a year, at least, I certainly didn't think that made me rich.

(In the fall, after dad brought the loads of coal that were shoveled to fill the small coal room in the basement [6x6?], we always washed all the ceilings and walls. No matter how well our furnace grate was covered the black dust filtered through to stick to everything. And mother insisted everything was washed clean. In the spring, after most of the coal was burned, and the weather warmed so a fire was no longer needed night and day, we washed everything again to remove the greasy black soot that clung to ceilings and walls. Mom never complained. It was the price of being warm, and rich!)

Mother grew up in Hillspring. Coal came there on a train, and was costly. A coal fire only needed attention a few times a day for a steady, constant heat. It was also more easily banked to burn more slowly all night.

The Campbell family burned wood in a large iron stove to stay warm.
Keeping the fire going all day was an all day job.
When it was very cold, the fire was tended even through the night.

At night they would warm their beds with a rubber, hot-water bottle or a glass jar filled with hot water - water that was heated on the stove. The rubber water bottle was a luxury item, and plastic containers didn't exist. They would get the beds warm, and by sleeping with several siblings be able to stay warm all night.

Mom says they always slept with 3 or 4 to a bed.

All summer they would go to the timber and cut logs. The logs were then cut into 6 foot lengths, loaded on a wagon, and taken home where they were cut into shorter lengths and stacked in the wood house at the bottom of the lot.

I remember the mostly empty shed at Grandpa Campbell's, at the far back by the alley. I realized that I usually visited in the summer and I am not sure I ever saw it in winter when it would have been full. She says they were really lucky. They always had enough wood for the winter because they could go to the timber and fill the wood house. There was lots of wood available at no cost.

Mother explained that the logs had to also be split into smaller pieces to be able to fit into the stove, and no one was exempt from the chore of helping keep the fire going. You had to put on your coat and boots and go out to the wood house and get the wood. It was just an un-insulated, enclosed place to protect the wood and keep it dry.

I asked if critters liked to go in there to stay out of the storms. She said of course! All kinds of animals took shelter. Was she scared to go in there? I asked. She said you just took a stick with you and hit anything that was there to chase it off. Weasels were the most fearsome.

She also explained how her dad eventually put together a larger furnace out of sheet metal, and then a larger log could be burned. The bigger logs lasted longer and burned more slowly. They were so grateful to have the furnace.

We also talked about storing food. The Campbell family had a cellar on the north side of the house that kept things like root crops and bottled fruit, vegetables and meats, from freezing in the winter, and in summer it was cool enough to keep milk from souring to quickly.

Gratitude. This year I need more gratitude.
I am grateful for central heating and cooling.
I am grateful for electricity and appliances.
I am so grateful for ancestors that worked so hard.
Family that is so loving, and hard working.

And for so much more.
My heart is warmed thinking of all I can be grateful for.