Tuesday, August 25, 2015

At the Hogle Zoo

I see from the above photo that the King of the Jungle is enjoying his summer!  

My friend Meldee attended the Hogle Zoo recently and took these great photos.  I love cats.  Little ones.  Big ones.  It doesn't matter.

However, the big ones are harder to pet and cuddle with impunity.

This Lion Father looks rather tranquil and happy
I think the Lion Father is happy because he has a cute wife.

The Lion Mommy 
 Isn't she adorable?
She likes just hanging out in the summer, too
 She spends some time singing the song of her people.

(Singing) Ingonyama, Ingonyama nengw' enamabala!
The Circle of Liiiiiiiife...
Lions are beautiful.  Tigers are cool, too.

Seelah, the new tigress
Tigers are more like house cats in their actions and physiology, than lions.

"I'm cool!" This tiger agrees with that statement
Can you see a tiger without thinking of Tony the Tiger?

Me neither.

Thank you Meldee, for being such an animal lover.  I get such enjoyment out of these photos.  I really do.  Really.  Then I go hug my kitty.

Dear Readers: I just want to give you a heads up that I'm finally (FINALLY!) going on a little vacation, so there will be no further blogs until September 3rd.

Thank you for your patience, folks!  Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more adventures in my universe come September!

Friday, August 21, 2015

My Mom is Hopeless

Hi, Jack here!
My Mom is hopeless.  Yes, you read that title correctly.  She is going on vacation next week and it has made her more of a blithering idiot than usual.  Oh, don't get me wrong, I love my human, but she is making me crazy right now.

So, I thought I'd take over this blog-thing while she is off at work, because she won't have the time to get around to it.

Mom doesn't seem to realize that I've got the house covered.  I'll take care of everything while she is away!  (I think I can sneak in my girlfriend Katniss while mom's gone.  Ssshhhhh!  Don't tell the cat sitters!  They don't have to know.)

Mom is worried about leaving me.  I try to distract her by putting on my adorable face. I've worked hard on that.  It's not quite as good as Puss in Boots, perhaps, but it usually gets her mind off her worries.

These humans!  What do you do with them?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

My Bestefar and Me

Here I am with my maternal grandfather, my beloved Bestefar Strand.  This was probably taken in Norway in 1953.

Einar Strand was a marvelous man.  I remember him as being very kind and loving. He was my pirate king.  He loved nothing better than to take me and my friends down to the park and play with us until we were convulsed in laughter and completely exhausted.  He was very popular with all the children who lived in his Oslo, Norway neighborhood.  He read to us from classic literature, and told us stories of his own childhood, as well as the old Norwegian folk tales of the animals in the forest.

My favorites were the three billy goats gruff:

...And the story of Bamsefar, the Bear Father's, birthday celebration in the forest:
Bamsefar and his forest friends celebrate his birthday
I love the drawing of that Moose!  Okay, ignore the Danish flag flying at the feast.  It should be a Norwegian one!

Every child should have a Bestefar in their lives.  I'm so thankful for mine.  I look forward to seeing him again some day.

Photos of the folk tales and flag are from heaven knows where, with my apologies! 
It is not my intention to infringe on anyone's copyrights.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Nils' Graduation

Our handsome graduate, Nils
Maybe I shouldn't admit this, but I graduated from BYU 42 years ago!  It's great to see Nils follow in my footsteps... okay, his Dad graduated from BYU as well, so possibly, just possibly, he's also following his Dad's footsteps.

And his brother Daniel's footsteps.

And his sister Linnea's footsteps.

Yes, we're a True Blue BYU family.

Nils and his Sweetheart, Rachel
 Nils received his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics.  We're really proud of him.

Christian, Nils, Daniel, and their parents
In fact, practically the whole family was there for the occasion!  Brother Daniel and his lovely wife Holly and their three children are on home leave right now, gearing up for their next assignment in Beijing, China.  Nils' maternal grandparents came down from the State of Washington to see the great-grandkids and attend the graduation.  His Aunt Anna and Uncle Hans were also on hand. Anna lives in Texas with her husband and their two children.  Hans and his wife are also in the Pacific Northwest.  Nils' paternal step-grandmother, Merlene, was also there.

It was a veritable family fun fest.

I sure love all these people.  I wish I could have been there, too!

Nils looked very handsome as he stepped across the stage to receive his diploma.  It was touch and go there for a while as to whether he would manage to get his cap and gown before the ceremony!

He's a funny kid - and sometimes a bit forgetful.

Nils receiving his Bachelor of Science degree
Later, there were lots of photo ops.  I'm glad all the photographers shared with me!

The boys are doing fine!
The photo above of the brothers is just missing our Missionary, Elder Anders, who is currently serving the Lord in the great state of Texas...

4th brother Elder Anders (right) and a recent missionary companion pose for the camera
...  and their beautiful sister Linnea, who lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and adorable little baby girl, Annika.
Sister Linnea with a happy little Annika
Now you know the whole story and we can continue with the graduation photos, because I'm a proud Auntie and have to share!

Nils and Merlene
BYU President Worthen announced they were having a meet-and-greet for all the graduates on Friday morning (Aug 14th).  My family went and, to their amazement, discovered a very short line. They were able to get this great photo with the Worthens, who were very gracious.

A special moment with BYU President Worthen and his lovely wife
(L-R) Merlene, Dad Jay, Sister Worthen, President Worthen, Nils, Mom Kirsti and Rachel
Of course, it wouldn't be a proper family event without a group photo!
The Whole Family (with a few exceptions)!
(L-R) Christian, Holly with her kids Livia, Fred and baby Olaf in front of her, Merlene, Morfar Merwyn, Mormor Britt, Nils, Mom Kirsti, you can just make out Daniel standing behind her, Kirsti's sister Anna and her two beautiful daughters, and Kirsti's brother Hans.  (I love the little photo-bomber guy in the graduate cap in the lower right-hand corner of the photo!  Cute.)
I'm so proud of Nils!  I've heard the Economics program at BYU is a difficult one and he did very well.  He already has a great full-time job with a nationally recognized marketing firm, and is doing well in the world.  That's better than I had when I graduated from BYU!

Again, Congratulations, Nils!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Bless and Hallow the Sabbath

Worship God as a family
John H. Groberg was a remarkable man. If you have seen the film, The Other Side of Heaven, with Anne Hathaway, you know who he is.  He is the main character of that film, which was based on real-life experiences he had as an LDS missionary to Tonga following the Korean War.

John H. Groberg of the First Quorum of the Seventy, 1984
As a General Authority of the LDS church, speaking as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, he once stated, "The injunction from God to “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus. 20:8) has been in force throughout human history. There is power in keeping the Sabbath day holy. I testify that God lives, that we are his children, that he loves us, and that he gives us commandments so he can bless us as we keep them and thereby have joy. As we keep the Sabbath day holy he will bless us, and we will achieve a quiet power for good as individuals, as families, and as nations, that we cannot obtain in any other way."
From The Power of Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy, October, 1984
Learn about God and his Son Jesus Christ in Sunday School
Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles once stated that Sabbath observance is an eternal principle, and he noted five occurrences in the scriptures when observance of the Sabbath day was required by the Lord:
“From the day of Adam to the Exodus from Egypt, the Sabbath commemorated the fact that Christ rested from his creative labors on the 7th day (Exodus. 20:8–11).”

“From the Exodus to the day of [Christ’s] resurrection, the Sabbath commemorated the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage (Deut. 5:12–15).”

“From the days of the early apostles to the present, the Sabbath has been the first day of the week, theLord’s Day, in commemoration of the fact that Christ came forth from the grave on Sunday (Acts 20:7).”
Enjoy worshipping at home as a family
“The Latter-day Saints keep the first day of the week as their Sabbath … because the Lord so commanded them by direct revelation (D&C 59).” This revelation was given on Sunday, 7 August 1831.

“Sabbath observance was a sign between ancient Israel and their God whereby the chosen people might be known (Neh. 13:15–22Isa. 56:1–8Jer. 17:19–27Ezek. 46:1–7)” (Mormon Doctrine, 658).

Have Family Prayer
"Much of the sorrow and distress that is afflicting and will continue to afflict mankind is traceable to the fact that they have ignored his [God's] admonition to keep the Sabbath Day Holy."
-President George Albert Smith

The Prophet Moses
In an article published in February of 2000, Elder Earl C. Tingey, of the Presidency of the Seventy, quoted from the Old Testament injunction given to Moses:
“Ye shall keep my Sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord.“If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;“Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.“And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.“And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. …“For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you” (Lev. 26:2–6, 9).

Elder Earl C. Tingey
He continues:

We can relate to the promises of the Lord in this modern-day world. Do we not need today, just as the Israelites did in the Old Testament, to have the land yield her increase and the trees of the field yield their fruit? Do we not also need to have rain in due season and peace in the land and to be able to lie down and not be afraid and to not have the sword or wars go through our land? Do we not also want the Lord to have respect for us and help us be fruitful and multiply and establish His covenant with us? All of these promises apply to us today.
Partaking of the Lord's Supper on the Sabbath
Elder Tingey concludes with the following statement:
I bear witness that observing the Sabbath day is a commandment of the Lord and that the Lord is very displeased when we do not honor His day. If we as a people, and each of us as an individual, will follow the counsel of the prophets, we will truly be unspotted, that is, in the world but not of the world, and we will be blessed.
The Good Shepherd
Elder Tingey's statement: "Do we not also need to have rain in due season and peace in the land and to be able to lie down and not be afraid and to not have the sword or wars go through our land?" really touched my heart.
We could sure use some rain right now, and also some peace in our land.
Let us each prove the Lord, put him to the test - and commit to keeping the Sabbath the way the Lord would have us keep it.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Fun with Grandpa

Annika at 4 months old
(Photo by L. Farnsworth photography)
Meanwhile, back in the Washington, D.C. area this summer, we have a growing little baby girl who is just getting cuter and cuter.

Lucky kid, she got to visit with her grandfather on two separate visits this summer.

Annika with her Bestefar (grandfather)
She has a great grandfather, by the way.

Cutie pie in Grandpa's hat
He likes to dress her up.  Okay, this hat is a bit big for her!

Annika with her Uncle Christian, and maternal grandparents
We love our little cutie pie, Annika!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Congratulations to Nils!

A Very Happy Nils and step-grandma Merlene at BYU

Let's give a big hearty cheer for my handsome nephew Nils who graduated from Brigham Young University yesterday. He's a truly wonderful kid and I love him a lot.

Nils already has a good job with a national internet marketing group and will go far in his profession, I believe!

Two Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke at their graduation ceremonies: Dallin H. Oaks and Russell M. Nelson.

By coincidence, Elder Oaks was the president of BYU when I graduated, many moons ago.  I remember fondly him walking across the wide expanse of an empty Wilkinson Center east lobby just to shake hands with my mother and me after the graduation ceremonies.

Nils is the third of my brother's five kids to get his college degree.  I'm so proud of him!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

TBT: Visiting in Durango

My Dad (far left) and I, Uncle Clifford (middle),
Cousin Elaine, my brother Jay, and my Aunt Elma (far right)
It's Throwback Thursday!  The above photos was taken in 1965 - the place, Durango Colorado.  I believe this is Easter that year.

The photo op above shows my father, a 13 year-old me,  my Uncle Clifford (Dad's brother), my cousin Elaine, my brother and our Aunt Elma, Clifford's beautiful wife.

I sure loved my Uncle Clifford and Aunt Elma.  They were marvelous people.  Uncle Clifford served as a Bishop for many years, and later became a Stake Patriarch of the LDS Church in the small town of Durango, Colorado where they lived.  He was a good man.  He and my dad were from a large family. The oldest son of ten children, Clifford sacrificed his own education and went to work at an early age to help his little brothers and sisters.  As a child, my father benefited from this sacrifice.
Uncle Clifford with my dad on his shoulders and Uncle Norman in the background
(I'm guessing this was taken in 1927 or 1928?).
Uncle Clifford was kind and thoughtful in everything he did.

I remember on one trip to Durango for a family reunion, my dad needed to cash an out-of-state check (we lived in Arizona at the time).  There were no ATMs in those days.  My father dashed into a local grocery store for this, as it was either a Saturday or after hours and the banks were closed.  My mom and I waited in the car.

When my father walked out of the store later, he had the strangest expression on his face.  We asked him what was the matter.  He explained that the manager of the store had been hesitant to cash the out-of-state check until he saw his name printed on it.

"Evensen, huh?  Are you related to Clifford Evensen?" the man demanded.

My father meekly answered he was Clifford's brother.  "Clifford is the most honest man I know.  If you are half the man your brother is, I'll happily cash this check," the man said.  My Dad was overcome with emotion at this statement.

My Aunt Elma played the organ for church services for 70 years.  She liked to play things with a zippy tempo! She would play the hymns so fast you really had to concentrate to be able to sing all the words properly.  A great musician, she taught piano and organ too.  I remember her being so thrilled to turn 80 years old, as she was the first in her family to ever reach that august age.

In her later years, Aunt Elma received a beautiful letter from the LDS Church Music committee in Salt Lake City recognizing her many years of musical service to the Lord.

My Dad, his brother Clifford, and Aunt Elma have all passed from this life, but they each left a beautiful heritage of faithful service to God and their fellow beings.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


Meldee with her recent crop
Beets are a highly nutritious root vegetable, but I know some people don't like them.

I love them!

They are good plain and pickled, boiled or roasted.

My only problem with beets is that I tend to get the red juice all over myself when eating them, no matter how hard I try not to.

Yes.  I know.  It's a personal problem.  Forgive me for over-sharing.

My friend and former roommate, Meldee, sent me these fun photos of her recent beet crop.  I think they look pretty good!

Beets, or beetroot, have been eaten for centuries, and they have also been used as a food coloring and a medicinal plant (aiding in digestion and blood illnesses).  The greens of the beet are also edible, and when boiled or steamed have a taste and texture similar to spinach.

By the way, beets also come in a yellow variety, which might help with my, uh, beet-eating problem.  Beets are high in vitamin A and B vitamins, and trace minerals such as Magnesium.

Seeing Meldee's photos made me hungry for beets!

So, what do you think?  Do you like beets?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Spreading the Gospel in Texas

My Nephew Anders (far right) together with their latest convert ready for baptism
My nephew, Elder Anders, who is currently serving as an LDS missionary in the wilds of Texas, wrote a very happy, bouncy, and cheery letter home this week.  He was happy because they had a lovely investigator who was baptized on Saturday, and confirmed a member of the church on Sunday.

The Elders had a few glitches getting everything to work out, but it all came off splendidly in the end.

He writes that the Ward (congregation) they are serving in is very supportive and often bring friends to church with them.  This helps the missionaries so much, as they don't have to find these folks and can begin teaching them the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ right away.

Elder Anders writes:

I do miss family gatherings.. Families are central to God's plan. That's one thing that I've noticed most people will easily believe. There are a plethora of churches here in Texas, but I have yet to find one that teaches that families are forever, besides the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Yet we talk to people, and they say, "of course I believe I'll be with my family forever!" Isn't that interesting? I feel like that's the light of Christ that teaches them that. They can easily recognize that there is truth behind that statement.

I love my Elder Anders.  He's a good kid.  He writes that his missionary companion recently had his bicycle stolen.  It's a tough job being a missionary!

However, it's all worth it in the end.  Teaching people, providing ordinances of Salvation and pointing people towards the Temple where they can become Forever Families - that's what it's all about.

The Dallas Texas LDS (Mormon) Temple
Holiness to the Lord
The House of the Lord
For more information, check out this Mormon Message:

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Gum Wall

My nephew Nils and Rachel at the Gum Wall
(My thoughts exactly, Rachel!)
Nothing is more American than chewing gum.  That should make the Market Theatre Gum Wall, a local landmark in Downtown Seattle, one of the most iconic sites in America.

This is a brick alleyway covered in (gross!) used chewing gum.  The gum encrusted wall is about 50 feet long, 15 feet high and several inches thick.

Some people even have created art with their gum, stuck messages and coins in it, and generally made a mess.

The Theatre workers tried scraping the gum off a few times, to no avail.  They discovered that it was a tourist attraction - albeit a germy one, and finally left it up.

Kirsti and Jay at the Gum Wall
Believe it or not, there is a similar wall - Bubblegum Alley - in San Luis Obispo, California.

My family was in Seattle last week and took these photos in front of this very curious - and a bit disgusting - wall.  The wall is now so famous it has even appeared in film.

According to Wikipedia it's a popular site with wedding photographers.