Monday, December 23, 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013

WISE MEN STILL SEEK HIM

I love Christmas. Thinking of Christ and pondering his life and gifts to us is a glorious opportunity. This is another great Christmas message: Remember the reason for the season. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 9, 2013

THE REASON BEHIND CHRISTMAS

This is a sweet reminder of Christmas: Remember, the Spirit of Christmas is the Spirit of Christ and have a Merry Christmas.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

AUSTENLAND, by Shannon Hale

It's official. Being a Senior Missionary is the best! We can enjoy leisure pursuits - like reading.

I bought the movie Pride and Prejudice years ago, and much to the chagrin of my daughter, I watched it often. With this said, I still wouldn’t be admitted into the Austen fan club.
I still thoroughly enjoyed Austenland.

Since Mr. Darcy is mentioned often, and with a spirit of admiration or awe, it might be important for a reader to have at least watched the movie once, or read the book, in order to relate.

But who hasn’t?

Poor Jane Hayes. She hadn’t meant to fall in love with Mr. Darcy. She did realize he was a fictional character, and all. It’s just that none of the real-live men that she’d known could hold a candle to him. Why bother, if one can’t have perfection?

Jane’s love life is laughable – and we get a glimpse into her dysfunctional idea of a boyfriend at the beginning of each chapter.

When Aunt Carolyn comes to town, Mom brings her to Jane’s apartment with the idea of sweetening Aunt Carolyn to Jane so she’ll bequeath Jane some of her money when the time arrives.

Aunt Carolyn sees the hidden Pride and Prejudice DVD and knows exactly why Jane is still single. Later, as Mom had hoped, Jane was included in Aunt Carolyn’s will. She is bequeathed a three-week vacation to England’s Pembrook Park.

It’s a place where Austen-obsessed wealthy women go. Most of them are tired of their real lives, and of their real husbands. They’re given new, Austen-y names, and even get to pick their age.

There are plenty of handsome men around—the handsome yet brooding Mr. Nobley, the charming Colonel Andrews, and the newly promoted Captain East – are all actors hired to play their parts and keep the clients happy.

They’re actors, they’re actors, they’re actors. This is what Jane keeps reminding herself, and it’s hard to keep real emotions away from pretend situations, and it appears that with the exception of the well manicured landscape, nothing in this amusement park is genuine.

In a desperate attempt at finding something real that she can put her emotions to, Jane escapes into the arms of Martin, one of the gardeners. But then she realizes that in order to rid herself of her Mr. Darcy obsession she must face it head on.

Jane dons her bloomers and corset, she walks the walk and talks the talk of the proper Austen character, and finds herself in danger of falling in love with the real-live fictional character, Mr. Nobley. However, when he offers the scripted proposal, Jane is finally able to put Mr. Darcy behind her.

Austenland is a fun read – all the awkward moments when Jane is teetering on the edge of make-believe and reality made me laugh out loud. The whole time I was reading it, I kept wondering how Hale would get a proper ending. I needn’t have worried. All questions were answered, and it was a romping good time from beginning to end.
 
 

 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Mission Tour--SLAM! IMAGINE PEACE

It's a slam dunk getting to go to the St Louis Art Museum. You've got to love a city that shares it's culture and history for free. It's been called a "family friendly city." This is why: the zoo entrance is free. The science center is free. And the art museum. FREE. That's right in my budget.
It was built as a Palace to the Arts for the 1904 World's Fair. They just don't make beautiful buildings like that anymore. Sigh.


Ancient art



Modern art




















The difference between cultures is interesting, don't you think? The modern art is a representation of heaven and earth. Earth is the broken glass on the floor.


I felt like a little school girl getting to go from room to room viewing, in person, artists whom I've admired their work - or thought their lives sad, or interesting. In van Gogh's apples, his wide brush stokes give away the fact that he painted them.



The Dreamer, by Pierre August Renoir was thought a bit "saucy" back in 1879.



Georges-Pierre Seurat


I got to see Seurat's pointillism up close and personal. By the end of the day, I had my own museum staff keeping an eye on me from room to room. Hey. How was I supposed to know that the line of dark brown wood embedded in the floor was the "stand back" line?

Water Lilies

How could any art museum tour be complete without a picture of Claude Monet's Water Lilies? This is part of a triptych. The other water lily paintings are in Kansas City and Cleveland. And  yes, I had my nose right up to the painting. Without touching it, of course. It's the fault of my glasses, and my "over 40 eyes."

Wishing Tree


When Yoko Ono was a girl growing up in Japan, there was a wishing tree in the temple courtyards. This follows a similar theme, yet on a grander scale. Visitors write a wish on a tag and tie it to one of the three trees. Periodically, the museum staff take the wishes down and put them in a clear acrylic bin just inside the door.
This is only one of many of her Wish projects. Following her instructions, the wishes will join others, now totaling over one million, at her Imagine Peace tower in Iceland. Here, she celebrates, and keeps in memory, her late husband, John Lennon. Every year the tower is lit on Lennon's birthday, October 9th through December 8th, the day he was shot.
Click this Google link to see some spectacular pictures of the Imagine Peace tower:
https://www.google.com/search?gs_rn=26&gs_ri=psy-ab&tok=LdyogzW9v51vaJp3Ohnl8w&cp=7&gs_id=q&xhr=t&q=imagine+peace+tower+in+reykjav%C3%ADk+iceland&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.52164340,d.b2I&biw=1366&bih=648&dpr=1&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=gfE0UtCkNeeY2wX20IHwCw












Tuesday, September 17, 2013

CATHEDRAL BASILICA

I felt a bit awkward going into the Cathedral Basilica wearing my missionary tag. But we were told that it was one of THE places to see in St Louis. We got there a little before the tour started. I took advantage of the time by taking pictures in the foyer.
There are several mosaics there depicting the life of King/St Louis of France.

St Louis before leaving for the Crusades.
I'd heard of the crusades, of course, but was excited to see someone who had actually gone. During his lifetime King Louis actually bought the crown of thorns worn by Christ from Emperor Baldwin ll in approximately 1239. King Louis died during his second crusade, in August 1270

From the back, looking forward.

 The mosaics are all on the upper part of the cathedral and the ceiling. They depict lives of people who have done good things in this life, the apostles, and special events.

This is looking toward the front doors.
The striped layers depict earth. We're down on earth. The people in the mosaics are in heaven.


The mosaics above were made by Tiffany Studios. They are my favorite. They have a soft look that gives them the appearance of tapestries.

The highest dome. Not seen from the outside.
The rest of the mosaics were constructed in the Byzantine style that uses the rich colors. The cathedral turns off the lights for tours because the lighting distracts from the beautiful mosaics. The white in the circle are windows letting filtered light. In the Byzantine style, the craftsmen put the glass down and before it's dry, they hammer it in places to make the tiles uneven. That's why the tiles with gold-leaf under them shimmer as in the picture above.

I was glad that we went. It was very interesting, and I can't remember it all. They have special events here throughout the year, including a Christmas choir. I'd love to go. I imagine the sounds would be breathtaking.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW

Dinner and a Movie.
This song was sung at St. Louis South stake's conference this past weekend. The spirit gave a strong confirmation that the Lord does watch over us. Listen to this and know that you are loved more than you can know.






GRILLED SALMON

1 1/2 lb salmon fillets

lemon pepper, to taste

garlic powder, to taste

salt, to taste,

1/3 C. soy sauce

1/3 C brown sugar

1/3 C water

1/3 C vegetable oil

Directions

1.   Season salmon fillets with lemon pepper, garlic powder, and salt.

2.   In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and vegetable oil until sugar is dissolved. Place fish in a large resealable plastic bag with the soy sauce mixture, seal, and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

3.   Preheat grill for medium heat.

4.   Lightly oil grill grate. Place salmon on the preheated grill, and discard marinade. Cook salmon for 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

MISSION TRIVIA

The first thing a person should do on their mission, is get to know the area, and then get to loving the people. It hasn’t been hard loving the people of St Louis. They’re all so nice. Most of the members
treat us as though we’re angels sent from heaven, and thank us over and over again for our service.

It makes me a bit nervous since I don’t think we’ve done anything overly special. After all, we’ve just barely been here four weeks now. We’re just getting to know our responsibilities, and don’t have them down pat yet.

 
Here we are at Ted Drews. Could anything be finer?


We’ve been going to two wards each week and introducing ourselves. Our years of moving from one place to another have prepared me for this activity. I’m used to going into a ward and not knowing anyone. As I look back on my life I can see the Lord’s hand in preparing us for our mission in a lot of different ways.

In turn, we’ve had angels come to us. The first two are Rock and Joy Erekson. I’ve never met a lovelier couple. They’re gracious and kind, and generous.
Randy (right) w/ the Ereksons
 
You gotta love people whose favorite activity is going out for frozen custard! It's so yummy, everyone just stands outside and eats it. The city put up a railing between the sidewalk and the street so that when there's a crowd, they don't go into the street and get hurt.
 
Saint Louis, the King and Crusader


After the ice cream, they took us to see the sights until it was our bedtime. This is actually across the street from the art museum.
 


The St Louis Art Museum.


This building was build for the 1905 World's Fair. It's pretty amazing. Why don't they build pretty buildings anymore?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

HAPPPY BIRTHDAY!

Tomorrow is my husband's birthday. I'll not reveal how old he is, but he hasn't turned 60 yet. To celebrate, I'm going to embarrass him by posting some crazy pictures I've taken of him.

Bubbles
at the Foutz Family Reunion
 
silly daddy!
 
cookout at Sugarloaf Mountain, AZ

April Conference 2011

Water day!


Happy Birthday to a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather! I hope your day is memorable.
 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A POCKET FULL OF GOLD

As most of you know, my husband and I are on our mission now. The year before our decision to serve was full of trials and hardship. The time since our decision to serve has been exciting, fun, and full of new possibilities.

What's it like to sell your home and most of its contents to serve the Lord? Let me share this cute story to help me explain:

There was once this rich man. He had spent his life acquiring wealth, and he was very good at it. One night, while he was in his office going over his finances and feeling rather pleased, and angel came to him. "The time is at hand for you to meet your eternal reward. Prepare yourself wisely."
"I'm not going to go," said the wealthy man, "unless I can take my wealth with me. It's who I am. It's what It's been the focus of my whole life."
"You will die when it is your time," said the angel, "and you’re not allowed to take anything with you.”
But the wealthy man had great bargaining skills, and finally the angel relented. “You can take one suitcase,” he said, “but that’s all.”
The wealthy man rubbed his hands together with glee. He would rock heaven with his wealth. Perhaps even Kind Midas would be jealous of what he had accumulated. But how could he get it all to heaven?

He decided that if he transferred his wealth into gold, he could make the most of his small suitcase, so he set about having his wealth condensed into gold brick.
Finally the time of his death arrived. He found his suitcase and lugged it to the pearly gates. Here he met St. Peter. He saw the suitcase and said, “You’re not allowed to bring anything from your life on earth. That has to stay.”
The wealthy man said, “No, no, no. It’s okay. I have special permission.”

St Peter decided he’d better inspect the suitcase before he allowed it through, so he opened the bag. Upon seeing the gold brick, he exclaimed, “Pavement? You were allowed to bring anything you wanted into heaven, and you brought pavement?”
Some of our things were particularly hard to part with, but in the end, it’s all just stuff. The things that are important on earth aren’t the same things that are important eternally.
Moroni lived in a cave. Moses grew up in a palace and ended up wandering in the desert for 40 years. We won't be gone that long. In the mean time, we're hoping to fill our suitcase with something more than pavement. Haha.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

WILD ABOUT ANIMALS

Did you ever want to stand next to a mountain lion? What would he do? What would you? In this zoo, we had that opportunity.
I felt sorry for many of the animals in this zoo, as many of them seemed stir crazy. This mountain lion was one of them. He/she paced back and forth.


Did you ever see a giraffe and wish you could slide down its neck? Not to land on the fence, of course, but on a pillow of mulch.
 
In this zoo, you can.
 
Did you ever wish  you could live underground with the groundhogs in a labyrinth of tunnels? This zoo found the answer.
 
Who is the animal on display?
 
Did you ever pretend you were a butterfly?
 
 
Or wish you could swim like a jellyfish?
 
 
Zoos around the world find answers to all of our youthful aspirations, trying each day to help us appreciate the wild animals that share this planet with us. If you can, visit your local zoo soon.
 
 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

BOMBING MEMORIAL IN OKLAHOMA CITY

As part of our travels, I wanted to stop by the memorial garden in Oklahoma City. It was worth it to spend a moment thinking of the precious nature of life, and how quickly things can change.



 
 
The chair memorials are arranged in rows specifying the floors of the building. There is a name on each chair and they are arranged according to the floor that person was on at the time of the bombing.

This building was adjacent to the building bombed.



It was a very sobering and reverent tour.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A RIVER OF PURE WATER

Also in Missouri is the Meramec State Park. It's a beautiful paradise, only marred by the heat of the day we went. This picture below is where it all starts - the river. This is the place where it bubbles up from deep underground.


 
 
The river is used as a fish hatchery and there are tons of fish.
Nearby is the site of  the ruins of the Meramec Iron Works, built in 1829.

 
 
 


We didn't stay here very long, but I got some good pictures.
 
 

 
 
Who's this good looking couple?
The fish are thick in the part of the river behind us. There are feeding machines nearby.


 
 
Is this the house of one of the seven dwarfs ?


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

FANTASTIC CAVERNS!

While driving through Missouri, we kept seeing billboards for caverns. I love 'em. We had a few minutes, so we pulled into the Fantastic caverns. It's a drive-through cavern with expert tourguides.


My camera had run out of batteries, but they allowed me to charge my battery a little while we were waiting for the next tour. I thought that was very nice of them. But, because I only had a limited amount of battery use, I only took a few pictures.



It was first discovered in 1862, and was mined for its saltpeter which was used to make gun powder. It is a live cavern, meaning that there are still droplets of water making the stalactites grow.



During the prohibition era, it was used as a hideaway to make moonshine. There is a river in a deep crevice which has occasionally flooded the whole cavern. That's a lot of water. But, it has unique animal-life such as blind salamanders. The tour guide said that if we lived in the cave with no light, we would eventually go blind as well. Interesting.



Later, it was used as a type of night club where famous country stars performed. The natural stage is still there. These pictures were all taken toward the end of the cave, the stage is near the opening.


All in all, it's a beautiful cavern, and there's an equally beautiful park on the outside for picnicking and walking etc.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

ONE WILD SUMMER!

Bears! Lions, tigers, leopards! What can be more fun than a barrel of monkeys and a couple of grandkids?
I'm keeping the pics of my special cuties to myself, but I got some other interesting pics to share.
Peahen and chicks
When this mama took her babies for a walk, the peacock-daddy followed them around in his full-fan-glory to protect them.



Proud papa

 

What you talkin about?
I just love these little guys!
 
Hey, what's for dinner hun? Anything good at the bottom of the pond?

Burp!


A moving dandelion blossom.