Friday, March 29, 2013

He Lives!

Christ at Thirty-Three by Heinrich Hofmann
On Sunday we commemorate the most incredible and important event in human history: the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Christ's gift to each one of us is the greatest of all the gifts of God.  Because He opened the door, all mankind is saved from death.  Because He opened the door, it is possible for each one of us to repent - to change and grow and progress.

If you are grateful for that gift, I hope you'll take a moment to attend Easter services on Sunday, or read the story of Easter as found in the New Testament, and reflect on what it means to you that we will all - someday - be resurrected.  I'm grateful that I know I will someday be reunited with loved ones who have passed from this life, that this life is not all there is!

There is an eternity of growth and progress available for each of us, made possible by our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Some beautiful videos about the Life of Christ are available to view for free at  These are short movies (Anywhere from a minute and a half to 10 minutes) that illustrate events from the Savior's life as taken from the scriptures.  Take a moment to view the Easter one this weekend.  It's beautiful, and the link is right here:

Have a good weekend and a blessed Easter.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Everyone has to try them on!

Aren't I cute?
Holly Berry checking out the bunny ears
I don't know how things are at your house, but quite often when one kid gets to play with something, everyone wants to try!

So it was with this cute set of Pink Easter Bunny ears.

Holly tried them.

Then, of course, Josie had to try them on too!

Josie smiling for the camera

I think they both look adorable!

But then, Max the cat just couldn't be left out!

Here he is in all his glory:

Max, one cool cat posing as the Easter Bunny
Max is the coolest, wouldn't you agree?

I just know he's singing, "You're no-bunny, 'til some-bunny loves you!"

(On the inside, of course.  On the inside.)

He couldn't sing out loud, because that would disturb that cool cat thing he has going for him.

That Cadbury bunny better watch out.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Vernal Equinox at Sunrise Barrow

My Connecticut-based friend Donna did something different this year.  Last Wednesday, March 20th, was the first day of Spring, or the Vernal Equinox.

She celebrated by traveling to Sunrise Barrow, a Native American calendar structure located in Hopkinton, Rhode Island.

It looks awfully cold to me!

This is the group who came to see the sun rise.  In this photo, it's coming up right behind them.
Donna is second from the left in Blue.
My friend writes:
Myself and a couple of friends encountered this big rock pile while we were exploring the west pasture of my ancestor John Porter's homestead property.  It points East, so Tom, the fellow in the orange cap (below), kept going back to see if it had some calendrical significance and decided that it must mark the Equinox.  He invited a few of us to come and witness that this is the case.

Tom set up reflectors to calculate various angles
 Donna shares that she really doesn't understand how all of Tom's reflectors are supposed to function or what they all mean.  However, the large orange reflector at the front of the rock pile is over the Pointer rock on the front.

The sun is just peeking up over the horizon.

Above, you can see the Pointer Rock at the bottom of the picture pretty much in line with the sun as it was rising on the Vernal Equinox.  It may be primitive, but it works!

I wonder if the barrow was erected to commemorate some big event, bury someone, or just help mark the seasons?

The American Indians that are native to this area are the Tomaquag Indians.  There is a memorial museum dedicated to the Tomaquag people in the town of Hopkinton.  Perhaps the Tomaquag Indians built the barrow?

Read more about these indigenous people here: Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum

Here in my neck of the woods Spring is in full gear and all the trees are in bloom.  These pictures were a sobering reminder that much of the world is still experiencing winter-like conditions.

I still have to say, Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sister Elders

Yes, women serve LDS missions too.  My friend Mandy (left) is currently serving as an LDS missionary in the southern part of Arizona, land of cacti, desert and Gila monsters.  I used to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with Mandy's family when she was just a little girl.  She was an adorable child. To my amazement, she's all grown up now and teaching the gospel full-time.

You go, girl!

We sometimes jokingly refer to Sister missionaries as "Sister Elders".  Okay.  It's a Mormon joke kind of thing...

Here is a photo of Mandy with a mighty saguaro (Say: sah-wah-row) cactus.  They grow only in the Sonora desert, by the way.

Sister Mandy being dwarfed by the cactus
The odd looking trees to the right of Mandy are Joshua Trees.

La Casita
Accommodations aren't always luxurious when you're serving a mission.  This is where the Sisters were staying for a while.

Life for a Mormon missionary isn't all seriousness, scripture study and tracting.  It has its fun moments too, like celebrating a birthday!

 However, Missionary Life is also not without its perils!
Flat Tire!

Not exactly life-threatening, but traumatic none-the-less!

Here are the Sisters being rescued by their District Leaders in the middle of the night:

Knights in shining armor (or suits) saving the day
And... as the harsh Arizona sun sinks slowly in the west... we bid adieu to our brave Arizona  Sister Missionaries!

Keep up the good work!

Monday, March 25, 2013

East-West Wedding

My nephew Daniel's Korean teacher got married a week ago.  She very graciously asked Fred and Livia to be a part of her wedding, and bought them traditional Korean Hanbok to wear as part of the wedding party.

Don't they look adorable?

Actually, Livia looks a little nervous - but, I suppose that's to be expected.

This large blow-up arch marked the venue.
Daniel said it was the largest wedding he'd ever attended.

The hall was massive

The crowd was huge, too!

I can't imagine feeding this many people a wedding luncheon!
The bride's beautiful mother visited with our Livia

This is a traditional display of fruits, no doubt for good luck for the young couple

Here is the lovely bride and her groom
The bride looks a trifle nervous in the above photo.  With all those people there, I'd be nervous, too!
Beautiful Bride!
But when she finally smiled, her smile just lit up the room.  I think she's beautiful.  I love the little girl holding the train of the dress, too!

Now, here come our little flower children, Fred and Livia.  Looks like they needed a bit of coaching from mom and a friend

I love the delighted smiles on all the on-lookers, however!  That just warms my heart.

Oh, and isn't the heart-shaped archway something?

Love the expressions on the faces here, too.  Looks like they managed to make it down the aisle!

The bride is wearing red shoes for good luck.

I like this glimpse of the bride's dress.  Here you can really see the embroidery on it.  It's lovely.

My nephew mentioned that the bow the couple is doing here is very Asian.  The wedding was a mixture of Asian and Western traditions.

Working with little children is always a tough gig!

Our little pumpkin looks so serious!  This is a big deal for a 2-year old!

Fred seems to have everything under control

Look at all the yummy food!  Wow.
What a very fun and beautiful wedding.  I'm so glad Daniel sent photos of this experience.

Our little flower children enjoying some food
I hope Daniel's teacher and her new husband have a lifetime of happiness together.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Las Vegas Kitty

One Cool Cat
My friend Ray took a trip to Las Vegas recently, and brought back this photo of a very cool Las Vegas performer from the seedy underbelly of Sin City.

This is a cat with attitude!  Love the shades.

Whatever your circumstances, have a great weekend, all you cool cats out there!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lil' Cupcake

Bianca turns 1 year old next month. 

Can you believe that?

It seems like just yesterday we were anxiously awaiting her birth - and posting about it on this blog.  Now she's wearing pink tutus and eating cupcakes.  

(Isn't that great?)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

One Life Is All We Have

This statue of Joan of Arc stands in the Place des Pyramids in Paris, France
Last week, a good friend told me he was dying.  

Yes.  Dying.  How awful is that?

I was shocked and saddened to hear the doctors have told him, 'it's just a matter of time'.

I know that's a bummer way to begin a post, particularly on a blog that's usually lighthearted, but that's life, isn't it?

That, and preparing (like mad) the Easter music for our church services on the 31st (yes, Easter is early this year!) has made me reflect on what is important in life and what just ... isn't.

There is a beautiful statue of Joan of Arc in Paris that I've loved since I first saw it there many years ago.  She sits, triumphant on a war horse, in her youthful idealism, dressed in armor, holding a banner - no clue given as to her coming execution at the tender age of 19, for heresy.

I love the speech in Joan of Lorraine, Maxwell Anderson's moving play about her:
Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing. Nevertheless, they give up their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all that we have and we live it as we believe in living it and then it's gone, but to surrender what you are and live without belief, that is more terrible than dying. More terrible than dying young. 
[Maxwell Anderson, Joan of Lorraine, Act III]

I ask you to consider this thought for today: What do you believe in?  For what are you giving your life right now?  Are you sacrificing your short time here on earth for little or nothing?  

Or are you doing something good, something valuable, something you believe in - whatever the cost or sacrifice may be?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Scary Dinner?

Do you say Yummy?  Or Icky?
I've decided what you think is yummy in the food department, and what you find icky, is mostly cultural and maybe a tiny bit genetic.

If I didn't know that tiny squid, like the one my nephew Daniel is holding (above) is really tasty, I'd probably be saying "Eeeeuuuu" right now.  But having had them, I have to say - despite what it might look like -  I bet it's very very good.

The same goes for the fish below.  Yummy or Icky?
The dinner fish
It might not look very palatable to most of you, but my guess is a lot of you will also be saying, "yum!".

It's probably pretty tasty.

It's all a matter of what you're used to, isn't it?  I see that Livia (below) is getting a gastronomic education!  She looks pretty interested in that fish!

Okay, while it doesn't totally gross me out, I must admit I'd prefer that my food wasn't looking at me.

Livia is not quite sure about this food - but she's not afraid of it!
So, where do you stand?  Yummy or icky?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Relief Society Birthday Party!

Happy Birthday, Relief  Society!
The Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the oldest women's organization in the world.  On Sunday, March 17th, Relief Society turned 172 years old!

The Relief Society is a philanthropic and educational women's organization, and, with somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 million members in over 170 countries, is not only the oldest women's organization in the world, but also the largest.

The beautiful cake had real flowers on it!
Relief Society's motto is Charity Never Faileth.

In our little corner of the world, our congregation has a very tiny Relief Society.  We are none the less mighty in good works and friendship.  Last Thursday night, we celebrated the birthday of the founding of the Relief Society in a big, fun way.

Our program notes were on the back of this elegant card
We usually have a dinner for our Relief Society celebration.  This year is was a baked potato bar - my favorite kind of bar, next to a chocolate bar or a taco bar...

We also had a fabulous birthday cake - as you can see in the above photos, which our very talented Jessica made.  It had three different flavors: lemon with raspberry icing (my favorite!), vanilla with fresh strawberry filling and chocolate.

We even sang a hearty happy birthday to Relief Society before we cut the cake!

This antique sewing machine was part of a display of the historical Relief Society
We had a big turn-out for our celebration on Thursday night.  So many, in fact, that there were lots of ladies I didn't get pictures of.
The good sisters of our ward enjoying each others' company

I think I embarrassed these ladies! 

And these!

And probably these, too!

Clowning for the camera - I love it!

I'm always catching some people off guard
I realized later that I forgot to get photos of the women sitting at my own table.  But in my defense, by that time my camera batteries were running low!
The hall was so nicely decorated
We had a great time together.

Relief Society has been a real blessing in my life.  I love these women.  They are a tremendous force for good in our little corner of the vineyard, and all over the world.

Happy Birthday, Relief Society!