Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Way Things Ought To Be...

It is the eve of Laura's 35th birthday.  She is here with us.  My heart is bursting for joy because we rarely get to see the kids on their birthdays anymore.    We plan to spoil her rotten tomorrow.  At this moment she is relaxing in the claw foot tub with candle light, music from the movie Il Postino which is just very mellow sweet music from the old country.  She has lots of spa products a book and she is all set.  The only thing missing is chocolate and that is on her pillow.  Tomorrow for breakfast fancy waffles, a lovely walk and then whatever she chooses to do until we go to the temple tomorrow night.  Are we doing good so far?  I am hoping it will entice her back next year!

And since her sister and our older daughter, Jen, is coming in a few days, she gets the same thing. God bless Robert and Grampa for watching all the kids so we girls can have an R&R...just the three of us for the first time ever.  I feel like it is my birthday!  I cannot remember when I have been this excited about anything! These are precious moments and I am so glad Jim got to do something similar with Chris in Peru for 10 days this past summer.  Parents and kids just need this sometimes no matter how old they get.  I am a foot taller today...I am floating 12 inches off the ground. 

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!

Monday, January 28, 2013

One of Our Best Dates!

One of the things that is fun to do in interior design is to take a painting of a still life or landscape and select something real that is depicted in the art and place it in front of or near the painting.  By doing this it lends an interesting three-dimensional quality to the vignette and draws the art piece towards the viewer.  A simplified example of this would be a painting of a rose garden on a wall and then selecting a vase of roses of the same color as one of the accessories on a credenza beneath it.  Well, we had a date that was something like that design principle this week.  What, you say?

The Girl With The Pearl Earring
Johannes Vermeer1632-1675

This week the preview for the exhibition of the 17th Century Dutch Masters opened in San Francisco at the De Young Museum.  The Centerpiece of this exhibit is The Girl With The Pearl Earring One of the best things we have done since we retired was invest to in an annual membership to the De Young and Legion of Honor fine arts museums of San Francisco.

 We have seen so many incredible pieces of art and have broadened our appreciation for the fine arts many-fold.  The price is $125.00 for our family and we can each bring two guests at no charge when we come and children under 14 are always free.  This is an incredible deal considering one visit for each of us would be $20 to $25 without the pass.  We have unlimited access and it has been so great.  What is even better is we can go when only 'the secret society of retired persons' is out and about and it is delightful.  Quiet, not crowded and a very well kept secret, indeed!

 It is nice that it is so close to home and not a rushy tourist trip with suitcases and more things to run and see.  It is leisurely and enriching and just plain fun to stop and view a masterpiece for as long as you like. This exhibit was our favorite so far although we say that every time we go.  If you live in the Bay Area you should consider going to see it (here until June, be sure to make reservations) and also becoming members if you enjoy this sort of thing. 

I have definitely found that the more you know about what you are looking at in the museums the more intriguing it is.  We knew a little about Johannes Vermeer's most famous painting but now we know more and I look forward to repeating this date with our daughters in a week or so.

Vermeer and Rembrandt were contemporaries and the art show has many of Rembrandt's famous etchings and some paintings as well.  This is the first time out of Holland for these works and the only show on the west coast for this exhibit.  It really is a once in a life time opportunity.  Or twice in our case. :-)

This era of painters focused heavily on realism and facial expressions.  Their art brought lots of evocative contemplation to the viewer.  You always feel like you'd just love to know what the subject is thinking.  The artists did a lot of pieces called "tronies" which were actually painting done as studies of facial expressions.  They were quite different than the more formal portraiture of the aristocracy. These study pieces brought the middle class to the foreground of the art world.

Most art experts feel that The Girl With the Pearl Earring is actually a tornie, raising the question of her actual existence or was she a composite of several models?  Which ever she is, she is very expressive and is known as the Mona Lisa of the North.  (Having seen both, we vote for this one!) The nice thing is that the painting has been photographed often with the paint cracking on her face.  In 1994 they painstakingly restored her and it is truly exquisite now.

 In 1999 a woman named, Tracy Chevalier, wrote an historical novel and came up with a very interesting story about the girl whom she named, Griet, and her life in Delft in the 1600's as a servant to Johannes Vermeer. He is known to have had 11 children, struggled for money to feed his family most of his life and did not have much notoriety until his later years.  Since little else is known of him and his life one must of course realize the book is fictional but you can tell a lot of work went into the research of the period and setting and the work itself.  It weaves a very intriguing and plausible story around this stunning painting that has received much attention over the centuries.   I remember having read the book years ago and enjoying it very much.

So we had a lovely time on our date and then that evening we went home, popped some popcorn and watched the movie, based on the book, that came out in 2003 and that we happened to have in our collection of DVDs.   So now you see what I mean about our 3-D date? We were absolutely amazed by how much Scarlet Johansson looked like Griet or the Girl With The Pearl, whatever her name actually was....if, in fact, she even had one.  We noticed that this movie has a minimum of dialog and much of what is conveyed is through facial expression alone just like the tronie it represents.

And yes, ladies...Mr. Darcy is in it. Colin Firth 
 Mmmm, hmm Sweet!

So there's your culture corner here on the blog for today.  It is not that often we come up with new and creative ideas for a date.  This one was perfect.  So three thumbs up: painting, book and movie!  Copycats welcome, you can even borrow our movie!  I hope you have enjoyed this look at The Girl!  Now if we could just go visit Downton Abbey see the that gigantic painting in person hanging in the dining room and have a chat with the cast......I can dream can't I?  Ah yes, I'd have some questions for Lady Mary and her Grandmama.

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Simple Woman's Daybook~January 25, 2013

Our lives pass swiftly by! I want to do something to remember
the everyday moments and my thoughts about them.  
That is what this daybook is all about.
Focusing on the little things that become my life.
One entry at a time.

Just for today~Saturday, January 12, 2013

Outside my window...It is 8:20 am and I have been working for a couple of hours already.  I just sat down and looked out the window.  It is overcast, breezy and 48.  Warm compared to the past few weeks.  Maybe the cold snap is over or at least that is the hope.  It looks like the high clouds may burn off in which case it will be sunny and lovely today.

I am thankful for...having completed this project for family history and a presentation I have done that was quite difficult for me.  It is a presentation I will give 10 times and so now that I have the mechanics under control and my PowerPoint done, I can get caught up on all the things that had to slide in the process.  I am a little nervous as my first two presentations are Sunday but I am thankful for the stretching opportunity it has been to get ready for it.  I do not run track ( I know that conjures up a ridiculous image to those of you that know me...hehe) but there are hurdles in life regardless.  I am running towards it now...I'll let you know if I clear the bar.
From the learning room...when the Lord calls us to do something he always prepares a way for us to accomplish it.  That faith is essential when you strive to do something new.  Replacing the fear with some faith in His constancy is the ticket for me.  I can do this, I can do this...with His help.

I am reading...Nothing for the sheer pleasure of it at the moment.  But that will change shortly.  I have a couple of new projects on the back burner but I plan to take a little break before getting into them.

From the kitchen...Oh, I bought a bunch of veggies and fruit that I need to get ready for the week.  Weight Watchers has this really cool thing going on with marketing concepts in the frig.  So we have tried it  and it is fun and effective.  And my hubby has been doing almost all of the cooking.  He loves to do it and who am I to argue with that?  Not stupid, that is for sure.  I am sure it will slow down when the weather is better and he can get back to his construction so I am enjoying it fully right now.

Prepare all your veggies for use in advance

Place all the nutritious food 
of high impact/low calories
right at eye level Brilliant!

Put other things like condiments you don't use
 often in the "Dead Vegetable" bins down below.
I am missing...our family.  It has been too long since we have been together so we are fixing that this next week.  The girls will soon arrive.  I am so excited I can hardly handle it.

Some spiritual thoughts I have been having...I have been continually amazed lately about how much the Lord is in the details of our lives.  It is so awesome.  Things continually happen and I am like...Wow, he really knows us up close and personally!   Such a wonderful thing to know for sure.

I am hearing...it is later in the afternoon now and the windows are wide open and it feels like spring.  I have just been breathing the air in and feeling so happy.  I am still putting things away from my once every two months trek to Walmart so no music playing yet.  I hear a piper cub overhead, a dog barking in the distance and my keyboard clicking away.  And I might add, at a speed that would make my old typing teacher from high school roll over in his grave.  He was positive I'd never actually get typing.  Now if he knew how many things I type in a week, he'd pat himself on the back...big time.  I think my problem with it was him.  He made me soooo nervous.  To this day I do not like to have someone stand over me and watch me type.

One of my guilty pleasures...being done with typing class and done with Walmart and just being right here right now enjoying a few minutes in the present.  Pushing all the cares away and just being.  Try it, it is fabulous!

Pet Peeves...birds that like to perch right over our clean car and front porch railing.  Argh!

I am going...To take a little nap very soon.  I have been up since 4:45 am today and on the run.  I am calling "Uncle" for now!

I am quoting...Pinterest:

If I could change one thing it would be...lack of heartaches for us all.  That no one would say and do things that hurt other people so much.  Of course it won't ever happen but it is a nice place to think about.  I think they call it heaven!  I think simple kindness and respect would change the way this world turns on its axis.

An enjoyable movie we have watched lately...Downton of course although not technically a "movie."  I didn't like the first two episodes this season) but the third one pulled me in.  The first two episodes everyone seemed miserable and crabby including the newlyweds.  Are you kidding me after waiting from June to January to see it happen?   Not even one episode of bliss?  Sheesh, I am such a Pollyanna!  I just want to watch happy, warm and fuzzy when I sit down to relax in the evenings and say good-bye to reality.  Funny thing is when I mentioned it to Jim he said he felt exactly the same way but wasn't going to say so!  Anybody else?  I venture to guess our opinion is not a popular one.  But we love, love, love it overall and as I said it redeemed itself substantially in episode 3.

I am curious about...what the girls and I will do once we are all together?  No kids, no Dads what on earth could this mean?  This could be a dangerous experiment!

Plans for the rest of the week...Do some last minute things tomorrow for my classes on Sunday. Sunday do the two classes and finish church, then I have a meeting in Oakland in the late afternoon and then a great opportunity to hear some words of inspiration from our Stake President  and his wife at a Stake Fireside for the women of the church.  Downton Abbey on Monday via PBS and more prep for Laura's arrival and her birthday.  It is going to be a fantastic week.  I am so looking forward to just relaxing and having fun with her.   I am sure the end of the week will include a trip to SF with Jim and Laura.  We're just going to shut the world out and enjoy this special time.

One of my favorite things...Getting old enough to actually realize how much of a blessing time with the kids really is.  Being able to savor it in the moment and not being so caught up in what happens next that I miss something.  I remember thinking that when I was sitting at her wedding reception 15 years ago.  It was our third reception in four months with all three of our children being married that year. Yes, you did read that right!  I remember just thinking this is the culmination of a year's worth of work on weddings.  This will never come again.  The event is happening right now, the time for preparation and details is over.  Just relax and be here, right now, enjoying what it is.  What a blessing that was and still is!  Being present in the present.  That is one of my favorite things!

A photo I am sharing this week...We had a fun dinner with friends this past week on Sunday.  Jim invited the people and did everything himself.  He decided as he was getting into it that he would do it with only what we had in the house.  No grocery shopping!  I was thinking to myself, now this should be interesting.  He knew I was buried in work so he told me not to worry and just come.  I said, "you're on" with a little trepidation in my voice I'm sure.  I was amazed, he did a great job.  I kept thinking he will run out of food for nine people.  Nope.  I need to just trust that food talks to him and he obeys.  He made Ravioli, an Italian fritatta, a green salad with the help of Phyllis, we had sour dough bread and some other things as well.   He served fresh fruit and salted chocolate caramels for dessert.  Perfecto!  It was pretty cool being a guest in my own house!

Patty and Jim and Phyllis and Terry

The Magic Dinner by The Pampering Chef!

❤♡♥♡❤♡♥♡❤♡♥s, Bon

Photo at the top of the page
Musings of Life An Illustration by Erin
Depicting Jo March from Little Women!

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Empathy Defined

Today our grandson Zachary had his tonsils removed. 
 This was his first surgery and he was so brave.
In fact it seems like he was having some fun.  

His mom and Dad sat quietly in the waiting room
For news that he was fine.

When the doctors came out to tell them 
the surgery had gone well...
Mommy fainted!

Stress can take its toll especially when 
hospitals are not your favorite places.

She is a mother who would do anything for their kids
But this act of motherly love and service 
Is hard to top.
All in a day's work for a super mom.

This picture depicts
Extreme Empathy~Defined! 

And Zach's Dad is no slouch either.
He is taking great care of them both,
and Connor who is sick and the two
healthy kids as well.
Be well, you two!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

About Aging Gracefully

All photos via Pinterest

There are so many joys as we age!  I know that there is controversy about this but I am standing up in favor of it.  I have heard people scoff at The Golden Years.   But then I have heard people scoff at and expound upon most everything.  People's attitudes can often gravitate to the negative no matter the issue.  The thing is~our reality is what we think it is, true or not.  That is the bottom line.  The greatest gift of agency we have is we get to actually create our own world here and now.  I didn't know that when I was young.  Lacking that knowledge is tantamount to giving your power away to every wind that blows past you.  Life needs to be proactive, not reactionary and that begins in your head. 

It has occurred to me very poignantly again recently that we literally create our own reality.  This is something I have to keep re-learning.  Of course I know it intellectually, but every once in a while, I realize anew that my emotional development is lagging behind in this area.  When I feel myself slipping into emotional pain, whining or grousing about something or someone, I have to stop and ask myself, "Is this concern even real?"  Seriously.  Oh, if we could only get back the hours we have wasted fretting and stewing, even crying over things we thought were true, with no substantial shred of evidence whatsoever. That is worrying needlessly.  That is being faithless...towards God, ourselves and others.

My least favorite space to be with anyone else is wondering where I stand with them.  My own insecurities can get me to a point of being all tangled up over things I think might be true.  This is not good; this combination of insecurity and an active imagination!   The tint of my view of the world is just plain off at times and based on nothing but my fears.  I am learning I can choose to think well of eventual outcomes and that there are many variables when I am feeling a dissonance in a situation.  I didn't know this when I was young.  I thought my every feeling was accurate.  Not so.  We need to get use to being wrong and humbly being taught by life.  That polishing comes in our Golden Years.  I am voting for it. 

I have spent a lot of time wondering about why I struggle with these types of insecurities but, I have decided it pretty much doesn't matter.  It is what it is, as they say, based on what was in the past.  However, in my future I have the power to just stop doing the negative thinking and to choose happier, more productive thoughts.  Like an artist with a brush we can paint a picture that makes us feel so much happier.

This goes beyond Pollyanna's positive thinking.  It is consciously allowing ourselves to consider something and choosing to think good thoughts rather than just automatically assuming the worst.  It is choosing not to borrow trouble prematurely.  It is choosing not to worry and fret.  It is aging gracefully.  It's letting life teach us something new instead of just reacting in the identical way every time something happens.  It is knowing that if you don't change something, nothing will change.  The key word there is YOU!

It is having faith in other people.  It is loving in a different way. It is realizing that loving is what we give and maybe don't always get in return.   The real joy is in the giving of it and how selflessly loving uplifts us no matter what.  It is growing up and being an adult.  It is cutting others a little slack and more importantly, cutting ourselves some too.  Ta da...aging gracefully.

It is letting go of the things that have held us captive, by using our own power to change our paradigms or ways of thinking.  And let's face it head-on.  It is letting go of all our doubts and fears. It's trusting God, ourselves and others and loving life unconditionally.  Life is never going to be perfect here but it can be perceived in a much better way.

The Golden Years!  Bring 'em on.  Let the light and love within you make a difference.  It is a time to take more control of our own happiness, to savor what we have learned and to be a mentor in what can often seem like a dark world.  It is a time to be a good example of a happy survivor in this life. It's time to share what we have and to give back in ways we couldn't do in our youth.   As we experience life's joys and trials on our own and watch others do the same, we grow a lovely heart...full of compassion, understanding and wisdom and love that is for giving away.

It is a time of fully accepting yourself, not reinvented as the world would have you be~but as you really are.  The way God so beautifully made you, unique and incredibly special in your own way...His way, the right way.

When you look back you can see how far you have come and appreciate it. You are not perfect but you are making good progress.   And you can look ahead with more faith and longing for these really good days you are now discovering.  You will find more joy in the simple things that really matter.  You will know them if you are aging gracefully. 

I have never been one to say, "Oh boy, I sure wish I was 25  again!"  But looking back on all the stages of my life so far...when I am really ancient, I do feel I might just wish I could return to this time.  In this phase of life of more freedom where I still have my health and facilities and the ability to contribute to the world in my own unique ways.  And when I am that old I just hope I will be able to remember how wonderful life is right now, right here in this moment of contentment and joy that I am feeling today.  If I don't will someone please read this to me?

The Golden Years for me are a time of deeper and more meaningful love, compassion, joy in the beauties around me and more faith in God then ever before.  That same beauty and faith bring me closer to the surface with my tears, that come more easily now.  Joy and everything else is felt much more deeply than ever before.  I have finally figured out how to live each day more fully and be truly in it.

This is a place I want to stay for as long as I live.  I know that is probably not to be, so I am capturing my thoughts like a Kodak moment here today.  Aging gracefully is what it is all about.  Trusting in the Lord and His plan for you and me and submitting to His will.  In the scriptures it tells us that, "..Men are that they might have joy." 2 Nephi 2:25

By seeking for the joyful parts of this life, in a conscious way through our thoughts, we can create a world that allows us to fill the measure of our own creation.  We will find and experience that joy for which we were created in the first place!  We do, in fact, choose our view each day. I like the plan....don't you?

I could have used an understanding of this at 20...but that could not have been. The journey had only  just begun.   That is what I love and embrace about getting older.  And the absolute crowning jewel is doing it along side of my best friend and golden husband, whom I choose to see as perfect for me!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

20 Things to Look Forward to Right Now!

Jumping the gun I know,
  but I am already eager for spring.
It's not really just January 16th, is it?

1. More Daylight and sunshine

2. Blue skies and warmer days

3. Tulips and Daffodils

4. Being healthier

5. Walking outside

6. Listening to the singing birds

7. Enjoying the green hills

8. Wild flowers in bloom

9. Fresh air in the house

10. Planting some flowers

11. Celebrating Easter

12. Photographing Spring

13. Getting more home projects done

14. Less than 4 years before we can vote in a new President!

15. Traveling before it gets so hot again

16. Clean sparkling windows

17. Planning a trip back east!

18. Hearing children playing outside

19. Decluttering and Spring Cleaning

20. Watching the apricot trees pop their blossoms!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Old Hearts~You and Me

Every once in a while you meet a friend and you
 just know you have known them forever.  
Carol, this one is for you.  I adore you and 
admire you so much and will never forget 
our experience tonight.
  Too sacred to share here, too spiritual to ever forget.  
Thank you for being you.
You are a tremendous blessing in my life.

Love and hugs, Bonnie

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Forgiveness, Mercy, Trust and Love!


A few years ago when I was serving in another calling in the church, I was asked how to forgive the unforgivable, by someone that was suffering greatly with this. I surely did feel the weight of that question and the responsibility of it as well. These are some of the things that I understood better as I pondered and prayed. I shared some of these thoughts with this person, my friend. Some I have learned since that time.

 Taken by Jim on a snow trek with the men
 in the family a few years ago.

Anger and being hurt deeply are like being frozen. Not only does your heart grow cold but it can create a type of paralysis where you just feel stuck, without control in your own life and helpless. Just like this snow isn't going to melt over night neither is the pain. We have to act to move through it.

Forgiveness and reestablishing trust in a person that has hurt us deeply is a process. We forgive for many reasons: 1. It is a commandment. 2. It is the only thing we can do if we want to learn to love unconditionally. 3. It is the only way to remove the guile from our damaged heart. 4. How else can we find the peace we seek when we have no control over others, their agency or their actions?

Our making an attempt at forgiveness is the first step and demonstrates to the Lord, the other person and ourselves our willingness and desire to have things restored to the way they were again. It demonstrates that we want to carry on the process of loving someone that is not perfect.

We are seeking charity and that precious pure love of Christ that helps us overcome the damaged relationship through the actions of another. This demonstrates our acknowledgment that we are not perfect either and our desire and need to be forgiven by the Lord, others, and ourselves for all of our own transgressions.   It forces us to look and accept in humility our own errors and mistakes that have made a contribution to the pain in the relationship.  It literally opens the doors to our progression through the forgiveness we are seeking to accomplish for all involved.  Sometimes forgiving ourselves is the most difficult of all.

One step at a time...
If we want the restoration, forgiveness is not an option, it is a necessity. Even if at first we think we do not even want it, when the pain is fresh and stinging, we still need it. It requires great courage to go forward at that point but we must.

That does not mean that it is easy, or that it happens immediately, or that wishing will make it so. Forgiving is hard work. It requires us to put aside our pride. It requires us to pray sincerely and often and sometimes it requires pleading with the Lord for charity towards that person with all the earnestness of heart we can muster.  We need the Lord to succor us then, perhaps more than ever.  We need that assurance that in our sorrows he still loves us with a perfect love.  We need to know that his love is not based on what people do.  Unconditional love from him comes to all involved and is ever present.

It requires that we go to the scriptures often. I feel that one of the things this accomplishes is that it demonstrates over and over and over again, in a thousand different scenarios, how keeping the commandments of God is the only way to find real happiness in this life. We begin to understand that the ill feelings we are harboring are not in keeping with the commandments of God.

Gradually we can apply this belief to ourselves and stop blaming the other person for our pain so much. We can take action as to whom we will become, not them. It transports us to a place of being proactive rather than reactionary. Our desire to begin the process of forgiving gives us a handle on that feeling of helplessness and of being a victim. We then feel we can use our own agency to move forward. We begin to realize this process has less to do with the offender and more to do with changing our own heart.   Our own thinking is so relevant to the way we will be comforted.  Continuing to focus on the pain is never helpful. This is freeing in and of itself.  When we find that higher road, the compassion for the offender and the beginning of understanding another's motives and actions begin to be felt.  Our perception and elevated thinking literally released the venom from our hearts.  It is easy?  Rarely.  It is possible, yes with the power of Christ's atonement.
If we do not have immediate trust in the person whom we feel has wronged us, or even worse if we feel we can't trust anyone now, it does not mean we cannot or have not forgiven them. Although it could indeed mean that, it may also mean that we are still working on the process of how the atonement actually heals. It takes lots of time and effort for the big things.

To move forward in our ability to trust we have to return to the first principle of the Gospel. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This requires us to think more deeply about the atonement and to increase our faith in its power to change us. Perhaps the other person will come along the same path also and maybe not. Our focus has to be on the Savior and on ourselves as we try to come to a point of forgiving. We do not focus on ourselves in a selfish way, but in a desire to make the changes that will bring peace to us through Him.

Google Images

We cannot trust again without effort on our part to want to move forward and to place our full trust in the Savior. To be restored both parties must come to this place in their spiritual journey separately. The beauty and the complexity in this lies in the fact that we can only change ourselves. The offended person may come to the place of peace long before the offender realizes that their own ability to become trustworthy again depends on the atonement, as well. These changes in the individuals happen independent of each other. The irony is that both must travel the same path to achieve the change within themselves. That change is the restoration that only comes through Jesus Christ and His atonement.

His is the only name under heaven whereby men can be saved in this life and the next. In some instances it will happen for one and not the other. The one who makes the effort to truly repent can have perfect healing whether or not the other ever seeks to achieve it or not. Our comfort and peace depends on our faith in the Savior, but we often focus solely on the apologies, restitution, or repentance of the other. The very fact that it doesn't work that way, is evidence of His perfect love for us as individuals and the total equity in the Gospel Plan. We can have a perfect peace with or without the slightest effort on the part of the person that has hurt us.  Isn't that a life saving principle from our perfect God?  It truly is.

Ideally it would be great if both were working on repairing the relationship at the same time, with the same degree of effort, understanding, spirituality, desire, etc. Realistically this is often rare, or nearly impossible. The individuals may come to the realization of their own culpability and or responsibility in the situation at very different times and ways. But of course it does and can happen.
If the serious situation happens within a family, there is one thing that moves us toward that forgiving like no other. It is having the same foundation or operating system to work within in the relationship. This is why we are encouraged to pray and study together, attend meetings together, go to the temple together, have Family Home Evening, to give service to others, etc. Everything we are asked to do within the Gospel of Jesus Christ creates unity. It helps us have a better understanding of the atonement and the central role of Jesus in our lives.

 Forgiveness and trust come in no other way. The natural man is an enemy to God and that is where we harbor anger, resentment, thoughts of despair and retaliation, even hatred. Our personal relationship with the Savior is the only thing that can turn us around and help us reach our ultimate goals of perfect love, a desire to be righteous, and the ability to be resilient in a world that is often baffling, cruel, heartbreaking, and unfair. In our common foundation of Faith in Jesus Christ we can lay claim to both Hope in our future and Charity towards those who offend us. Our own personal restoration and happiness depend on all three.  Faith, hope and charity.

The perfect relationship involves three; you, the other person and Jesus Christ. If one decides to end the relationship we always know it will not be the Savior. He will stay with us no matter what the other person decides. In real life the outcome is not always happy between the two people but it is always a happy ending if we stay close to the Lord. We need to wait on the Lord, and it takes time to forgive and be healed. 

Forgiveness allows us the freedom to see beauty in our lives again.

The best news is that it is possible to forgive and to completely forget, if not the incident, at least the devastating pain of it, with the help of the Savior of all mankind. My question is always, who would not want this in their lives? The way is strait, the path narrow, but it can be done. As we hear His call to come unto Him, we will see the way.

The key is to want it with all of our heart, might, mind and strength and then to move forward in humility with complete faith in Him. And knowing that being encircled in that embrace of His perfect love we will always be safe. In that safe haven we will be free to forgive and trust and love as we desire and move on our lives. It is The Son of God that melts our freezing, cold and lonely heart with warmth and new life. It is a miracle and it is enough.

Thoughts for Today~How The Lord Forgives Us

I wrote this post above in 2007 and have updated it several times including today.  I cannot tell you how many times I have had to reread and relearn these principles.  Today in Sunday School we talked about the atonement of Jesus Christ.  We have the most wonderful class and teacher who asked us profound questions that help us think through how we really learn which is through the Holy Ghost. 

 I learned some new things about the lingering effects of natural consequences of our actions and how we should not think that the Lord has not forgiven us if we have truly repented.  During that time when the law of the natural consequences of our mistakes still troubles us...with his help and comforting love we can heal. It occurred to me as I pondered this that perhaps these two things (forgiveness and healing) rarely happen simultaneously.

I personally believe he forgives us very quickly when we ask him to with a sincerely repentant heart.  That does not mean we still do not have things to do to feel his peace.  If we miss the feeling of the outpouring of the constant and unconditional love he has for us after we have recognized we have made a big mistake, we often cannot feel worthy of forgiveness.   We have to believe in his unchanging love.  He does not stop loving us because we make a mistake.  This is contrary to the ways of the world. We can have a hard time believing it because worldly experiences speak differently to us.

I think a lot of people think that if they are still hurting after repenting then somehow it didn't work and that they are not forgiven.  I had the impression today that the much bigger part of the process may be the succoring Jesus does for us during the healing process.  I keep thinking of the prodigal son and how his father ran to succor him, embrace him and welcome him home.  That embrace was the father's perfect love for his son, his gift of grace.  

He didn't just stop there, the father continued to show him love and favor over time until the son felt completely happy and whole and truly forgiven.  The father showed an increase of love until the son felt peace.  When the son realized his father truly remembered it no more the son was free to let the pain of his own wrong-doing go.

Well, these are just my thoughts that came to me in class and afterwards today.  It lifted my spirits to personalize this and feel comforted by the mistakes in my life that he has and continues to forgive.  Our sins and mistakes are truly heavy burdens and it is a wonderful blessing to be able to cast them at his feet and with his help move on.  There is truly no greater love than this.  We should find constant comfort in it.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Simple Woman's Daybook~January 12, 2013

This photo is from pinterest
Musings of Life
I adore it!
An Illustration by Erin
Depicting Jo March from Little Women!

Our lives pass swiftly by! I want to do something to remember
the everyday moments and my thoughts about them.  
That is what this daybook is all about.
Focusing on the little things that become my life.
One entry at a time.

Just for today~Saturday, January 12, 2013

Outside my window...It is clear and beautiful and not a creature is stirring.  It is 30 degrees out and California is numb.  We are not up for these kinds of temperatures.  Hope this cold snap ends soon!  It is going to be a lovely day to stay warm inside or walk very fast when out in it.  I know this is funny to those of you who live in really cold climates but here our homes are not built with sufficient insulation, etc. to handle it.  And our outerwear is not designed for it either and our cold is damp.  So burrr!

I am thankful for...finally being dermatitis free.  It has taken months but I feel normal again.  Yay!  I hope it is gone forever!
From the learning room...changes are hard.  Whether they be spiritual, physical, mental, social, emotional or whatever they are difficult.  We need God's help in all we try to do.  There is no going it alone, that is the good part.

I am reading...instructions on making an animated PowerPoint presentation.  I should be working on it now but I'd rather be doing this.  I am procrastinating the inevitable.  I have a new project due...yesterday but I am dragging my feet because I want it to be perfect and am not sure how to make that happen.  So waiting for inspiration and the 'just do it spirit' to prevail.

From the kitchen...Artichoke ravioli and salad and crusty bread for dinner either today or tomorrow and I am going to a luau for lunch!  Our good friends' little grandson is being baptized today and his Daddy is Hawaiian so there will be a befitting feast afterwards.  Poor Jim has a day long meeting today for Scouts so he will be missing the sacred occasion for Isaac and fellowship afterwards.  We have known and loved five generations of this little boy's family.  His great-great-grandmother was baptized on a cold winter's day in the icy waters of the North Sea many decades ago.  I can still hear her bearing testimony of that event in many testimony meetings.  Sweet Grandma Kest.  What a delightful thing to see what her choice has done for her posterity. 

I am missing...my get up and go.  I have got to get up from this computer and get going on the things of the day.  In just a minute.

Some spiritual thoughts I have been having...God is so mindful of us and faithful in his promises to us.  It is all very remarkable and peace promoting.  His peace is different that the world's peace.  In fact that may be because in the world there is no true and enduring peace really.  Just glimpses of it from time to time.

I am hearing..."When You Love Someone" by James Ingram and Anita Baker from the soundtrack of Forget Paris.  Have you seen that movie?  One of the sweetest and funniest movies in my memory.  I love this song.

One of my guilty pleasures...Jamoca Almond Fudge from 31.

Pet Peeves...when I over think things, wondering, speculating, trying to figure things out that make no sense to me.  I need to let my heart and soul rest and let go of things that perplex me and I need make my brain stop working overtime. Sheesh!  Some things just need to remain a mystery.  It is not my job to always try to "get it!" 

I am going...to have our two daughters all to myself for a few precious days at the end of this month.  I am ecstatic about it.  It has never happened before for more than a few hours.  It is going to be a girls' fiesta.

I am quoting...Pinterest:

If I could change one thing it would be...my BMI.

An enjoyable movie we have watched lately...Oh, Downton Abbey for sure.  Season 3 episode 1 under our belts and full season being mailed here on January 29th via Amazon!  We did see The Hobbit and found it quite disappointing.  Too much CG and fighting and noise.  Ugh!  And a big departure from the book.

I am curious about...why I am still sitting here when I have to be out of the house rather soon.  Honestly, I am hopeless.

Plans for the rest of the week...Get my Family History presentation done so I can meet with the man that is helping me with the electronics and practice the coordination of the equipment, logistics, etc.  that is #1 on my list.  Everything else will fall into the mix somewhere but this is my first priority. 

  One of my favorite things...Laura and Robert got iPhones today!  Yeehaw!  And we got a new camera yesterday.  A late Christmas present from each other.  Yay!  Expect better photos in the future!

A photo I am sharing this week...

This picture was taken on Christmas Eve night around midnight.  We had gone to St Mary's College for a late service in their beautiful European Chapel.  We took this photo as we were leaving.  Unfortunately we arrived late due to an Internet error in printing the time of the service!  But we did hear some beautiful hymns by their choir at the end of the service and the setting was beautiful. 

So I am posting this photo because Christmas is now all but a wonderful memory for 2012.  All the Christmas decorations and evidence of it has been tucked away from another year.    The house is looking rather drab as it always does for those few days after all the red disappears.  It was a nice Christmas.  In spite of the mix up on the time at St. Mary's it remains one of our favorite memories this year.  There was just something magical about that whole beautiful night.  So Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night! 2013 bring it on!

❤♡♥♡❤♡♥♡❤♡♥s, Bon

Friday, January 11, 2013

~About Me~A Permanent Page

Have you ever noticed that you can create permanent pages that are always accessible from the home page of your blog?  If you just look under the header photo above you can see some links.  One of them says, "About Me."  Blogger gave us this option a few years ago as a way of replacing that little "about me" section on the side bar.  I really like it as it gives you more options of telling about who you really are beyond your favorite movies, books, and hobbies.

This morning as I was changing my header photo I noticed them and decided it was time for me to write a little something in the About Me section since it has been two years ago that I had started it. I had every intention of adding to it but I never did. But today I have.  I am including it here in hopes that you might also want to do this sometime on your own blog and also that what I have learned might be beneficial to someone else.  If you click on About Me in the link above you can read part one of this section.

I also want to update my permanent 1000 Gifts page on that link bar under the photo of the street where we live in the header.  I'll put that on my "to do list with no deadline." 

Moi~Autumn 2012~Napa, CA

One of the things I have noticed is how much more you can grow into the person you were meant to be at this stage in our lives.  There is time to develop and nurture one's special interests in ways that never existed during the years of working constantly, raising a family, building a nest and a nest egg and caring for aging parents.

It is now January 11, 2013 and we continue to love being retired but have found that lots of new things have been filling our time, mostly volunteer work.  And yet on some very basic level we have guarded and maintained time for self, each other, friends and family and pursuing our own personal development.

The novelty of this kind of freedom does not wear off.  Each morning we awaken with an awareness of what a blessing it is and an excitement to be alive.  Each morning we also awaken to the more sure knowledge of God's love for us, his personal knowledge of who we are, our needs, and that he hears and answers our prayers.  Life gets more precious and more thrilling on this side of the hill.  When you stop to smell the roses you also worship and honor The Gardener in a different way than during earlier decades.  You take notice of the wonders of the earth and life itself in a more intense way.  I love this stage in life.  Depending upon your perspective and your attitude these really can be the golden years.

 I have pretty much learned through countless experiences that life is exactly what you make of it and as Lincoln said, you will be as happy and contented as you make up your mind to be.  Cliches are cliches for a reason...they are the compilation of many people's unique experiences that resonate with a common idea.  "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he." Many have put that biblical verse to the test and found it to be absolute truth.

One of the things that I am adamant about is having some fun and free time in these autumn years.  It seems that was out of balance in our spring and summer seasons of life as we tried to always keeps things running a little too intensely.  We lived by the notion that, "First we work and then we play."  Hmmm, that was not exactly right I am afraid.  It took us on a slightly unbalanced way of doing business.  Progression is one thing, perfectionism quite another.  Working too many long, hard days with not nearly enough breathers and recreational activities and rarely any relaxation time is not healthy.  I have learned that relaxing is not just sleeping.

For me true relaxation is a conscious awareness that at that particular moment nothing is pressing on me and that I have choices about how to spend my time.  It may very well be that I choose to work during that free time but with the notion that I am not forced to do it.  It is not that some self or other imposed giant clock is ticking and I am rushing to yet another deadline that will only be replaced by another when I am done.  That kind of day to day madness is like stringing beads onto a thread with no knot at the end.  We all know work is never done.  We spent too much time being human doings instead of human beings. But that has changed and has made all the difference in the world as to how I feel, my blood pressure and general well-being and my cheerfulness.

I like to take time to enjoy my solitude.  This is essential to a person who is an introvert.  {If you wonder if you too might be an introvert read this article.}  This is where I gain my energy to go back out into the world and do more service, be more social, accomplish more learning, have more energy each day.  This notion of recharging my batteries that is now like a fountain of living water for me was non-existent in my earlier life.  It is where I can discover, savor and appreciate my blessings and my joy.

If I could pin my occasional feelings of being frustrated, exhausted, and confused as a very busy younger person, it would be on the fact that I didn't take enough time to know myself well enough to know what I actually needed.  I know this is very common for both women and men in the earlier years and it is one of the most important lessons I would like to pass on to our children as I watch them frantically 'doing it all.'  Be busy, be productive, keep learning and growing and serving but find the balance in it.  Know thyself and to thine own self be true.  An empty cup cannot fill another.

For me one of the most important things I have been able to do is write.  I need to write as often as I possibly can.  It helps me sort things out, and know myself in ways that the fragmented, brain chatter inside my head does not accomplish.  I need to get things out in full sentences and analyze them through the things that just flow out of me when I put my hands on the keyboard.  I want our children and grandchildren to find their own "keyboard" whatever that may be, earlier in life than I did.  It would be something that creates joy on its own merit and self-awareness and balance and true happiness.  To find their treasure they will have to first find their time to reflect and pursue it.  God grant them this blessing is my prayer for them today.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

For You Cat Lovers, Especially Susie!


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Resolving the Resolution Solution

This is good~just sayin'

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

English Sticky Toffee Pudding


 English Sticky Toffee Pudding

Recipe courtesy Marie Simmons
The Food Network
Show: Cooking LiveEpisode:

Bonnie here...I don't really bake often but this recipe is amazing.  Jim's cousin brought it for Christmas Eve and it vanished quickly and with raves.  I wanted to share it with you and save it in my files just in case I really get inspired to go in the kitchen.

Picture of English Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe Photo: English Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe
Rated 5 stars out of 5
Total Time:
1 hr 5 min
20 min
45 min


  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup pitted dates
  • 1 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch round or square baking dish. Sift the flour and baking powder onto a sheet of waxed paper. Chop the dates fine. Place in a small bowl and add the boiling water and baking soda; set aside. In a bowl of electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla; beat until blended. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Add the date mixture to the batter and fold until blended with a rubber spatula. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake until pudding is set and firm on top, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven to a wire rack. Toffee Sauce: Combine the butter, heavy cream and brown sugar in a small heavy saucepan; heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil gently over medium low heat until mixture is thickened, about 8 minutes. Preheat broiler. Spoon about 1/3 cup of the sauce over the pudding. Spread evenly on top. Place pudding under the broiler until the topping is bubbly, about 1 minute. Serve immediately spooned into dessert bowls. Drizzle with toffee sauce and top with a spoonful of whipped cream.