Sunday, June 29, 2014

June is a Month of Celebration!

My brothers, Steven and Gary

I think I could have spend the entire month writing about the celebrations of the special occasions that occur every year in June.  It is a good thing we do not imbibe as we'd have barely seen a sober day!  Haha!  Our birthdays for the month started June 1st.  My brother Gary turned 62 that day.  My brother Steve is 65 today.  That is who I planned to tell you about today.

But first let me at least give mention to some other great days this month just for the record, lest you think I'm kidding.  On June 2nd, our youngest grandson Owen turned 7.  June 4, was my cousin Chuck's 66th birthday, June 10th was our 35 baptismal anniversary, June 15th our 46th wedding anniversary and Father's Day, June 16th was our sister-in-law Emily's birthday and the baptismal anniversary of our cousin Stephen, June 23rd was our family sealing anniversary in the Oakland Temple 35 years ago, June 23rd my "new" cousin William turned 69,  June 27th my cousin Bob turned 70 and today, June 29th my brother Steve is having a turn.  Then let us not forget the graduates...Hazel graduated from Kindergarten, Ross from Elementary School, Connor from Junior High (all grandkids) and our great nephew Thomas from High School.  So now you can see I wasn't kidding if we had been toasting each and every one of these events.  Holy toledo!

Not only that but it doesn't lighten up for another week.  July 2nd my birthday turning...well getting older.  July 3rd Ross turns 12, July 4th we celebrate another year of Independence and Liberty and on July 6th Ross will be ordained as a Deacon.  After that a pause for a little while.

Here's one big pretty cake to celebrate June for everyone!
If I missed anyone, have a piece with us!

Jim: "That is not a cake!"
Me: "Yes it is, Honey!  It is a ribbon cake on
 a vintage cake stand!"
Jim:  "No way!  That is a big pile of ham on a fancy dish."
Me:  "Sigh..thought bubble....Men!"  ;-)

When I think of my brothers I think two things.  I love them to pieces and I miss them.  I miss the days when we saw each other every day growing up, even though they drove me nuts once in awhile back then.  You know how it is with younger siblings.   They are kind of ridiculous if they act their age and annoying if they think they are old enough to hang out with you and your friends.   Aside from the usual sibling things we got along very well.  At least that is how I remember it.  I am not sure what they would say.  Everyone's perspective is so different in any given situation even when all are there and present in the same scenarios.  

We grew up in a good home where our parents tried their level best to create a happy home for us and teach us correct principles.  We went to Lutheran schools which was a close community of friends and culture.  We felt loved and secure and I don't remember ever worrying about anything beyond kid stuff.  They sheltered us from the worries and cares of the adult world.  It was nice.

 The only times I remember feeling really scared as a child was during the Cuban Missile Crisis and when little Stevie got lost at the State Fair at age three...just as the sun was setting.  We were not wealthy in anything but a good family and always had what we needed and often what we just plain wanted.  We did not have a lot of clothes or stuff like our kids and grandkids do today. We didn't even know to want it I guess.   It just wasn't the way things were then. Our parents struggled with finances sometimes but we didn't know any difference between the normal times and the lean. 

Both my brothers got their college degrees and went on to marry my great sisters, Marilyn and Emily.  We have spent some amazing times together over the years but the busyness of modern times has taken its toll.  The raising of kids and hectic work schedules and other obligations have created a time when we just don't get together as much as I would like.  I am a real family girl; you know me!  But I love them both very much and am happy whenever we do get together.  So that is why I said, "I love them and miss them in the beginning!"  They both have good families that contribute to society in a great way.  

I am happy for the great kids they both have and the grandkids that Steve and Emily have.  And today as it is Steve's actual birthday I want to wish him the very best day with his clan.

Here is a picture of Gary on his birthday and one taken a few years ago with their two kids!   Their daughter had lunch sent in for them for Gary's Birthday this year. She lives in Utah now.  He looks pretty happy about that gourmet pizza!  Their son lives in NYC.  Sure miss them!

And below is one of Steve and one of their 
daughter's children and one of his son's daughter.

Cuties aren't they?

So happy celebrations to you and yours.  I believe in celebrations.  These are the days that set days apart from the ordinary and create great family memories.  Upward and onward to July!  Happy Fourth if I don't get back here between now and then.  Party on!  And be safe!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Cousins, Cousins Everywhere!

This is my cousin, Bobby.   Well, Robert Michael really, who now goes by Bob but in this picture he is Bobby.  Bob is turning 70 today.  Our mothers are sisters.  As we were growing up they lived a few miles from us in Sacramento. So I love this dear cousin and he is like my brother.  In fact, he is the only person I know today that has been a part of my life since the day I was born.  Of all our cousins, he and his older brother, Billy, were the only ones we ever lived near.

William Kenneth, AKA Billy

I have so many memories of them growing up.  Our moms were close so we were together a lot. All the holidays for sure and many many other just plain ole ordinary days.  It was wonderful.  We lived in a housing tract but they lived in a little paradise for kids. It was rural with acreage and farm animals and a barn and pastures and a chicken coup.  They even had a Grandpa that lived above their garage in a really nice apartment.  It was pure heaven to be there. They had cows and chickens and dogs.  Their family sure loves dogs.  They had a little dog named Perky that was very special to them.  They had a portrait of him on their wall.  In fact, as I write this and have added the photos of my cousins I am pretty sure these same photos were right up there beside Perky, one on each side of him!

I remember some other really unique little things about their house.  Aunt Wilma bought the most wonderful smelling hand soap.  It was green and oval and I loved using it.  We always had the white soap with sharp angular edges at our house and those oval green bars were so fabulous. I loved the feel of them in my hands.

They had those old-fashioned (now) metal chairs in their backyard that were all the beautiful colors and had a rounded shell shaped back on them.  I think they rocked a little, well it was more like they were bouncy.  Do you remember these?

I'd love some of them in our backyard now they are so comfortable and colorful.  I use to love to sit in one of those chairs and look up into the big trees they had all over their yard.  My favorite one was the rosy peach one but I'd take the sky blue or forest green if my favorite was in use.  I think some of the trees were sycamore trees and I loved them.  They had the biggest lawn in the front of their house too.  In the summer it was cool and breezy with those big shade trees.  They made those hot Sacramento days bearable.

They had a big brown cow that I use to watch my Uncle Bill milk sometimes.  They named her Bonnie.  I've never been too sure how I felt about that...even then?  But I'll consider it an honor to protect my self-esteem.  Same with another Aunt and Uncle that named their motor boat after me.  What the?  I see old photos of my Auntie Grace sitting in their boat that had my name in calligraphy "Bonnie Jo" on the side of it. When our little granddaughter was named Hazel Jo I was honored to have a little girl (finally a person) with my middle name.

I remember running and playing at their house and all the cool little nooks and crannies where kids could hang out and not be cooped up like in a tract house with a fenced yard.   I liked the gravel driveway that crunched when you walked or drove on it.  And shooting a real gun at a target when we got much older.  I think the dads supervised that one.

 After that when we thought we were too old to "play"we migrated to the boys' bedrooms to chat about things, play music, etc.  I remember Bob playing his guitar and telling me all about high school.  When he was there and I was only a mere child in junior high.  I hung on his every word not knowing if I was excited or petrified by what lay ahead for me.  He enjoyed being older and wiser and gave me lots of advice.  So did Billy!  I thrived on that role of not being the I was at my house. They really helped me a lot.  I knew the names of every cool car, how to dance (or so I thought) and what music was "cherry" because of them.  There is so much more, so many heart prints of those days.

Our Thanksgivings and Christmases with our dads smoking, lounging around and playing cribbage and watching football is vivid still.  I can just hear them saying "15-2, 15-4 and a pair is 8" while they slammed down their cards on the coffee table with a grin!   Meanwhile our moms cooked and prepared these amazing feasts for all of us.  They would chat and giggle a lot as they did this in the kitchen and always with a dress and an apron on...never pants.  And the boy cousins were always trying to sneak pie out of the mud room where they had been set to cool and be out of the way during the dinner preparations.  And if I'm not mistaken I think the boys succeeded a time or two at snatching a taste of the pies and our parents got after them for it.  Good times for sure.  I hold them so close to my heart now. It's funny how the years teach you what is most important. Like those carefree, childhood memories that shaped and bonded us forever.  Just the everyday simple things that make family special.  They were simpler days; the innocence and wholesomeness of them wash over me and I feel very nostalgic.  There are so many more things I could share.

Neither one of my cousin married young.  But when they did they both married such great women. Both Beth, Bob's wife and Leanne, Billy's wife are wonderful.  My sweet cousin Billy died at a young age (56) of heart disease.  That was such a shock, I'll never forget it.  Within 18 months Bob had lost his only brother, his dad and then his mom.   That was very sad, just too much really.  He and Beth don't live too far away and we have done a lot together since then.  They have a lovely family of three daughters and some grandkids to keep them busy as well as happy.

Some things I love about Bob...He is so sweet and I love his laugh. He has an awesome sense of humor and I love the twinkle in his eyes when he finds something humorous, or even better hilarious, and just watching him enjoy it is the best.  He was so good to his parents and helped them through their difficult years while his father took care of his mom and then suddenly died four months before she did.  He is a really GOOD person.  He gives great hugs!  He has a sweet relationship with Beth and is kind and helpful.  He still loves animals so much and if I know him at all, he is still grieving over his beloved Misty after a couple of years.  He use to take her out to sea on his commercial fishing boat and shared a twenty four inch bunk with her. She was a big beautiful lab.

He taught me the importance of following your dreams.  When he was in high school he use to say he was going to build a boat and be a fisherman.  I'm sure he got a lot of eye rolls on that one.  Well, guess what?  It took him awhile but he did it!  And he was a successful commercial fisherman most of his life.  He is a lot like Jim, he knows how to work hard and get a job done.  He is retired from fishing now but still he loves the sea.  He and Beth love to travel all over the world and most times they cruise to do it.

They are so bright and knowledgeable about so many things and are so well-read. We like the same movies, picnics, hanging out together and Cleo Lane, The Straight Story, and Kenny Rankin!  We love getting together occasionally with my brothers and their wives and watching old rock stars in concert on the Big Screen.  It is kind of a hoot to see how old those people are now.   Not us mind you...just them! We spend Christmases together again sometimes and other holidays depending on all the kids and our schedules.  And nobody throws a crab feed like they use to with crab fresh off the boat.  What's not to love?  Cousins are the best.

Have a wonderful birthday, Bobby!  Love you and Beth so much!  Big hugs from us to you today and every day!

Eat Cake, it's your birthday!

❤♡♥♡❤♡♥♡❤♡♥s, Bon and Jim

Saturday, June 21, 2014

By The Grace of God...

I never really thought in my ordinary life, I would have had an Oprah worthy story to tell.  But I do, and I am...six months after it happened I am ready to share it.  This story is sacred to me and so close to my heart, that I just didn't ever find the exact right time until now.  Today we are celebrating a very special date, time, place and circumstance in our family.  June 23, 1945.

This is a World War II story.  A time when things were so uncertain and lives were put on hold to put up a good fight for freedom.  The young lives of my parents and aunts and uncles were completely fraught with upheaval and distress.  Young people married in haste and hurried off to war.   Often both women and men not going to war, changed their plans for college and instead worked long hours in jobs to support the war effort.

Normalcy did not exist for anyone and especially for newlyweds.  It was not easy.  You were never told where or when your spouse was going.  It was not easy knowing if you'd ever see your husband or wife again, if they would live or die or what the next day would bring. With little contact other than censored letters they knew very little. The mail did not come with any predictable regularity. Often it was delivered in bundles in big piles of 20 or more letters. Once they did arrive they knew virtually nothing still...between the big sections cut out, deemed unacceptable by the military censors or the lengthy delays.   These were very hard times.  Often the stresses of all of this diminished those young relationships until they completely dissolved in divorce.

That is what happened to my Dad's sister my Aunt Grace.  She was 19 when Pearl Harbor had the horrific surprise attack that destroyed most of our fleet, killing more that 3,000.  The warning from Washington came an hour too late for it to matter.  The next few years she followed her husband from port to port when she would get a sudden call to meet him.  In her own autobiography she said, "Of the 821 day we were married we spent 33 days together and never in the same place for long."

In 1944 she found herself in Sacramento, California working for the war effort there and living with my Mom and two of my Mother's sisters.  Towards the end of 1944, my Aunt Grace was expecting a child.  This was clearly not part of the plan.  For reasons only she and the father of her unborn child understand fully, they did not marry.

She moved away and the baby was put up for adoption.  None of the other living relatives ever breathed a word about this and to this day we do not know if they even knew.  If any did, I suspect my mother did.  During the war everyone was scattered all over, Grace's mother lived half a country away, her brother was in the Pacific someplace.  How would it help to tell them one wonders?  What could they do but worry?

Gracie went to live with a family in Chico.  There she gave birth to her tiny son and left him with the family whom she believed would take the best care of him.  As well as I have known her all my life, I know this could not have been easy for her.  On his birth certificate she named him James but he grew up in a loving home and was named William. He did not know he was adopted nor did his only sister.

When Williams mother died his father, William Sr., told both William and his sister that they had been adopted.  At the time William was in his 30s.  Although his sister did not have an overwhelming desire to seek her birth mother, William, was driven to make that discovery and connection.

 For 35 years he searched and at one point he discovered that his mother had given a false name on his birth certificate but she had been born on 17th of June 1922 in a little town in North Dakota. When William searched those birth records for that area, there were some baby girls who had been born that day, in that place, but none with the name on his birth and adoption papers.  He was stumped by that.   But each year since 1967 he had thought of his birth mother on the 17th of June and thanked God for the woman who gave him life.  He also discovered that the people that processed the vital records had noted that they felt the mother had falsified the information at the time of his birth.

Fast forward now to the last few years.  In William and Rita's church they have a good friend named, Nancy, that does a lot of genealogical research.  Upon hearing his story she took an active interest in his case and started to help him.  They were coming up with so many roadblocks because they really did not know his birth mother's name.  Since I do a lot of genealogical research myself this story is all the more magnificent to me.

She convinced William to have some DNA tests run after a class she had taken about how much that can help you connect to your ancestors' surnames.  Maybe going through the paternal line would yield a chance to find her.  William got the test and Nancy was right!  27 possible matches or connections.  William so lovingly refers to Nancy as his Search Angel, and for good reason.

They started to analyze the results and to pick which Hallsted (along with some other surnames with matches) for who would be a likely candidate.  They tried to eliminate some that were perhaps too old but decided to go with all the males residing in California at that time.  Lots of time and effort went into all of this.  Nancy also began her search online for the surname Hallsted and a few others.  One night she was Googling the name and she ran across a blog.

 My blog! This very blog!  I have written well over 2,000 blog posts since the end of 2007.  Sometime I would get discouraged and say, why do I do this?  Is anyone even reading it?   Well, on December 19, 2013 that question was answered in full.   Oddly, I had just asked my husband, Jim, those very questions the night before.

In 2008 I had gone to my Aunt Grace's funeral with my brother, Steve, and had taken lots of photos of the church where the funeral was held, and at the burial and I retold the story of the three days we spent with our cousins.  That time for reasons unknown to me then, I even included the obituary word for word on the blog post. I added several pictures of my beloved aunt both as a young woman and before she died.  There were also several photos of my cousins.

Nancy was overjoyed because she had been to Carl Hallsted's grave via Find a Grave online and had seen that he was buried beside a woman name Grace and they shared a common headstone.  But the name Grace had never been a part of their research until then.  It was not until she read the obituary and saw Grace's birthdate that she knew she had found William's mother AND his father, AND his five full siblings!  Nancy called William but they were not home.  She left a message for him to call and read my blog posts.  He has related to me that he felt very emotional and overjoyed during those moments after the discovery that was so much more than he had dreamed or hoped for all these years.

 Now I have no idea how William must have felt but I can pretty much relate to how Nancy must feel.  This work of connecting families on pedigree charts and family group sheets that are our ancestors is pretty exciting, but to actually unite an entire living family, now that is indeed something else! A once in a life time story.  A human interest story that makes total strangers weep because they feel something special and their heart is touched by stories like this. We all love a  little good news because it lifts us.   Just the imagining of it is a thrill.

After the elation he felt, William had the task of wondering how to contact his siblings and tell them his story.  There must have been much trepidation not knowing how they would react.  He compiled a letter with his story, and some pictures of himself as he was growing up as well as how he looks now.  Each of my cousins received their letter on December 18th in the evening.

At 6:00 am the next morning our phone rang.  It was my cousin, Chuck, the first born, or so I thought.  The call gave me quite a scare at first until I realized everyone was quite well and then he told me what had happened.  He was absolutely thrilled and sounded like he was five feet off the ground.  Each and every one of my beautiful cousins felt exactly the same way.  What a Christmas gift!

One look at William and we all knew his story was true.  He looks like my Aunt Grace, and all his brothers, and MY Dad.  I would have given anything to see each one of them as they first discovered each other's pictures. Most of all I would have loved seeing William's face when he saw his mother.  It wasn't long before this picture below was sent to me.  I love it.  Someone had photo shopped William into this picture of Grace with her other five children on the beach.  He is the one in the Hawaiian shirt~right in the middle where a place seemed to have been purposely left for him.

David, Grace, Jake, William, Chuck, Jan and Judy!

The real reunion of the sibling occurred in early January of this year.  With their spouses and each other they spent four days, hugging and talking and sharing and loving each other.  They have a life time of catching up to do and they are enjoying every minute of it.  These are six of the most important people in my life.  I love each and every one of these cousins with all my heart.  In each of them I see my beautiful Auntie Grace, my Grandmother, my Dad.  Along with our DNA we share a rich heritage.

 We hope to meet William and his wife in person sometime this year.  People wonder why I love family history and genealogy so much.  Maybe now they will understand a little better.  Next to God there is no one more important in our lives than our family.  Each person is like a special petal on our own person flower.  Each one adds to our lives and enriches us in ways that only they can. These are my people just as your family members are yours.  They contribute to who I am and who I will eventually become.  When they are happy~I am happy too.  I surely did learn that lesson this year.  They multiply my joys and divide my sorrows.  This story is more than an Oprah story by far...this is nothing short of a divinely inspired, modern day miracle and I am so grateful for it in my life.


Carl and Grace

Grandma and Grampa Yeasley 
With Grace in Sacramento 1946

The joyous reunion of all the siblings
January, 2014

The Profiles of Four Brothers!

Our Beloved Grace in her last years!

Today, as I said is my new cousin's birthday.  The first one we have been able to celebrate with him.  Happy Birthday, dear William, we love you.  We are so thrilled to have been united with you in this life.  Finally, a wonderful gift of Grace for all to share.  May this be your best birthday ever!

Friday, June 20, 2014

When Dreams Come True

This is a vintage story with a happy ending.  When I was a little girl somewhere between 8 and 11 there was this lady that went to our church in Sacramento.  She always came with her two beautiful teenage or young adult daughters.  They were the prettiest girls I had ever seen.  One had dark hair and dark eyes.  The other had long blond hair and sparkly blue eyes.  One played the piano and one the violin.  The details have kind of blurred over the years and I don't even know their names.  What I do know for sure is they were so beautiful in my little girl eyes.  I wanted to be just like them when I grew up and I remember thinking what a lucky Mom they had.  I waited each week to see them and their pretty outfits.  They were so graceful which was only exaggerated to me by own preteen awkwardness.  I was so infatuated with them.

About that time in history the little Ginny Doll was so popular and my parents let me get two of them.  I was in heaven over being able to have two.  That was so fun for me because they were sisters in my imagination.  Something I wanted myself so badly but never did have.  The cool thing about them was they had very life-like hair for styling and little glass eyes and lashes and a ton of darling little clothes you could buy.

 The Ginny doll was only about six or seven inches tall.  She had a carrying case for all the accessories.  When you stood the case on its side it was like a little closet and it had tiny plastic hangers and a little rod to hang the clothes on.  I was never much of a doll girl, but I did love those particular ones.  The best part was you got to choose eye and hair color and I had two that I chose specifically to look like those beautiful girls at church.  I idolized those girls, I really did looking back on it now.

Well, looking through old photos the other day I ran across this beautiful picture of our daughters from the 1990s.  They are just as striking a contrast as those girls in our church and the Ginny dolls.  Oh how I did love to dress them up and get them all fancy when they were little.  And even now I love playing with them more than anyone.  Having them was a dream come true for me, a little girl with no sisters growing up.  I sure do miss the good ole days when they were here under our roof being my little dollies.  Mothers never seem to feel quite whole when their children are living away.  Even an active imagination doesn't fix it.  The gift of memories is the only salve.

Jennifer and Laura

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Simple Woman's Daybook~June 19, 2014

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~Thursday, June 19, 2014 
Outside my window...the sun has just come up and the birds are singing like crazy right now.  It is a lovely time of day.  I love getting up early when it feels like the rest of the world is still asleep.  It is just like a magical time when I know I won't get interrupted and I can do whatever I want.  Woohoo!  It is my most productive time of the day really.  By 3:30 I'll need a little nap but for now the world is my oyster...whatever that means.  Don't you just love idioms like that?  Where that expression comes from I have no idea.  Anyway, the air is very still this morning.  It is going to be a warm summer day I'm betting.  June has been mild.  Only one really hot day so far.  So July and August will no doubt be scorchers.

I am thankful for....personal revelation.  
We all experience learning through the Holy Ghost.  You know those times when the Lord just speaks to our minds about things that are within the realm of our stewardship in a given situation or when things we have been pondering and praying about suddenly make sense and we understand what we should do?  Or the times we think about the redemption of the Savior and suddenly that feeling washes over us and we know his gospel is true. Sometimes it is a voice of warning that comes out of the blue protecting us from danger.  It is those times when suddenly our faith takes a big leap and we just know something is right and good to the point that all questioning is over.  The Holy Ghost simply testifies of the truth and we know.  It is that step beyond just hoping or believing.

From the learning room...Never give up.  We all have those times in life where we just want to give up on something.  I have learned that when I hit that wall with something  I am trying to learn that I am almost there.  If I just push through something or get some help from someone I can always conquer the problem.  Case in point: the new scanner that has been sitting on my desk for 6 months waiting for me to tackle learning the process of scanning old photos and documents for genealogy and family history in the Canon software program.  I tried to figure it out with the 180 page propeller head electronic manual. 

I am not sure what it is about those but they rarely answer my questions in a way that I can proceed and actually accomplish what they are supposedly teaching me.  There seems to always be one or two components to the procedure that do not compute for me.  That hole in the knowledge of how to do it..leaves me frustrated and irritated and ready to throw in the towel.  At that precise moment I know I am almost there.  I seek human assistance and inevitably the problem is solved and I can move forward.  The light will come if we just don't give up.

I am reading...some of my old blog posts and thinking about compiling a book of my favorites.  Projects...never ending is what life is made of isn't it? These kinds of things are good as they move us forward in accomplishing our dreams and goals in a constructive way.  It is so much better than thinking, I really should do that but then just keep putting it off.  Taking that first step is crucial to succeeding.

From the kitchen...have been being a little more creative in the menus lately and it feels good.  Tonight we are going to a special staff appreciation dinner so no cooking tonight or tomorrow night or Monday night.  I could get use to that.  Jim is getting much better and we are resuming our more active life after many months of his pain and suffering with his hip, the surgery and recovery.

Some spiritual thoughts I have been having...I have been pondering just how perfect God's plan is for his children, each and every one.  It is quite remarkable even with all the ups and downs, he is very near.  Always ready to help and lift us just like our earthly parents.  And we never have to worry about him leaving us...he never changes.  That brings such stability and comfort.

I am hearing...Some moldy oldies from the 40s.  So fun, I love that music because it is the music my parents loved.  It was played in our home all the time so is quite nostalgic for me.

One of my pleasures...Car trips with Jim.  We really enjoy that and seeing the countryside and backroads of the US and having uninterrupted time to chat and read, etc.  I read he drives when I drive we listen to music.  It is fun.  

We will be going to Utah a couple of times in the next several weeks.  That road is well traveled by us and not very interesting, but we do it often to see our kids.  We missed being able to go to Washington so trying to reinstate that one at some point.  Maybe in the fall.

Pet Peeves...stupid people that try and often succeed in sabotaging websites.  What kind of idiots are these people?  Even as I write this a bunch of criminals are attacking  Trying to hack in and disrupt things.  To what end? There actually is no end to the evil that exists in this world.  Heaven help us.  This is more than a pet peeve or an annoyance,  I hate this kind of stuff.

I am quoting...pinterest, love this one!

If I could change one thing it would slow time down a little.  More leisure time for everyone to regroup, refresh and restart their engines.  Too many of us seem to run on empty all the time.  It is hard work to reinvent how we do things as a culture.

An enjoyable movie/ TV show we have watched lately...Babette's Feast. It is a foreign film so subtitles, but a wonderful, even poignant movie. Consider it if you don't mind reading your movies!  A friend had recommended it to us for so long and finally one day brought us her copy to watch.  We did and loved it, and ordered our own copy  that very day.  It is not a thriller, a definite sleeper by American computer generated action film standards, but very worthwhile and a story that stays with you.  

I am curious about...people.  What makes them tick, what they love and why, and how they manage their lives through their basic beliefs and morals and standards of conduct.  Why they do the things they do, both good and bad.

Plans for the rest of the week...a little shopping this morning and then going to the work dinner tonight, doing some Family History research in between, tomorrow going to Room With a Past with friends, date night, weekend no set plans yet, Monday having dinner with my brother and his wife for their birthdays, some time this week writing a special blog post for and about my cousin William that I have been planning since December of last year.

One of my favorite things...the dearest of family and friends that color our days and give us cause to get up each day.  The ones that are always there when we need them, always helpful and loving.  The ones we wouldn't want to live without.

One thing that made me so happy this past week..The special events surrounding Father's Day and our anniversary, having dinner with Lee and Dave at Scott's and doing something special for our cousin's family who has been there for us with our family history in Italy for years.  It was a wonderful and meaningful weekend.

The most surprising thing this past very much I enjoyed working with some relatives of my dear friend, Carol.  They came from Reno for help with their genealogy.  We spent nearly 4.5 hours together and I talked non-stop to the point of being hoarse.  They got on the computer and did the hands on that is so essential to learning it. The time passed quickly and they went away feeling they can now start working on their own.  That was time well spent.  The take away for me was that a sustained period of time is way more valuable than an hour here and there.  It is helping me formulate better ways to teach and help people.

A photo I am sharing this week...The photos I found of my brother Steve and me as little kids and then one of Steve and our younger brother, Gary together.  I am so loving that box of old photos I have been going through and scanning.  Yep, scanning!  I finally
figured it out with the help of my friends!

Steve about 2, Bonnie about 4
Steve about 9 or 10, Gary about 6 or 7.

A blast from the past!


❤♡♥♡❤♡♥♡❤♡♥s, Bon

Monday, June 16, 2014

Happy Father's Day~Daddy!

This is my Dad, Ross.  He was a magnificent human being.  Always so kind and gentle and calm.  He was extremely bright and funny.  He was self-assured but not pushy, boastful or egotistical.  He lead by quiet example.  He was a corporate executive, a WWII Veteran, and a loyal member of his church (Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod) where he served regularly in many capacities.

My Dad was the epitome of stability and comfort to me.  He treated my mother and his mother so sweetly and was a good family man.  He was sports-minded and played every sport well that I ever saw him play.  He had a precious sense of humor and his laugh was infectious.  He died at almost 62 from his second heart attack.  It was sudden and unexpected in 1979.  It was a devastating shock to our family, we miss him still.  My Dad will never be forgotten by those of us who knew him best and loved him deeply.  They don't come any finer than he was.  I love you, Dad!  Thank you for a good start in life.  You cared for us so well and never gave us a worry about anything.  It was a happy childhood. Very happy.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Happy Anniversary To Us!

46 years ago on June 15,1968, I married my best friend. It has been a very good life. Many blessing, many struggles and it's been perfect because we did it all together. This is our wedding night as we were leaving our reception. Since we dated for four years, it is really our 50th year together. 

The secrets...Pray together every day and never give up on each other and your commitment to your dreams. And give each other the space you need to become who you were meant to be together and as individuals.  Have love for God, each other and your children and grandchildren and dear friends. Believe in miracles and live the Gospel to the best of your ability.  Work hard at whatever you choose to do...God will take care of the rest.  BnJ

Living Purposefully

The sun has come out and melted the snowballs

This is a Flashback post from one year ago with an introduction.  Reporting in that the "Aha Moment" has actually changed how I am living my life a year later.  I am more aware and more authentic and more happy as I have stopped doing this snowball thing described below with myself quite a bit.  It has helped me to be more of who I was meant to be and less of what everyone else's perceived notion of who we all should be.

We are busy creatures, constantly running to an imaginary finish line victory ribbon in a race.  Just as you approach the ribbon of winning and being finished, it keeps moving farther away as you dash towards it.  It is elusive and nearly untouchable.  You can never plough through it and break it.

There is always something that needs to be done, people to serve, projects to complete, duties, obligations, and sociality and the like.  That is life but we need to slow in down, pause and reflect on what we do. And for crying out loud, enjoy life a little more!  We have got to stop glorifying busyness.  Busyness does not equate to being more important.  It is more the case that the busyness distracts us from the more important.

 Do I have a gillion things I should and could be doing today?  Yep.  Am I doing them right this second...actually yes.  I am doing something for my soul.  Like a steaming kettle I am releasing some of my creativity into cyber space via this blog post.  Is it earth shattering and important?  Not terribly.  And I am OK with that.  That would not have been the case years ago.  First we work and then we play was the adage we lived by. Guess what? We didn't play much.

Remember the old saying "Stop the world, I want to get off?"  Well just for the record...I'm off.  And guess what else?  I am actually more productive than before.  Why?  Because I don't feel trapped or coerced by a vicious cycle I cannot break.  Because I get to make choices about how I live instead of letting a frenetic schedule choke me and my enthusiasm with the " Have To Do's.  I make the things I feel are most important my priority now.  Most of those include serving someone else in a particular way.  They do not include a bunch of obligations (mostly social) when I feel I should do something or be someplace just because it is expected by someone else.  If I want to go someplace I do because I actually want to...what a concept!

Don't get me wrong.  Some people love that type of living and that is fine for them.  But not for me. Truth be told most of my most beloved people are highly wired, super busy brilliant people.   If you love that life style you live it happily.  Jim says the trick is to not necessarily do everything you want, but being happy in everything you do.  If you are not, you stop and tweak it.  That is being authentic, it is knowing who you are.  It does not mean you are lazy if you cut some things out anymore than being an introvert means being shy.

 It means you know how you work best, you embrace it and you are happier.  I feel so much more healthy and purposeful in what I do because I examined my life and made it work better for me. Well, that was longer than I anticipated when I began, but here the post from last year.


Snowball AKA Project Deadline
I was talking with my friend last night at work.  We were bemoaning all the things that always seem to be pressing down on us, turning up the pressure and stress levels.  She was saying how she just needs a day to relax and have nothing to do.  Paraphrasing here...then she added but when I actually get one it, it is not that great.  That made me think about how that happens to me too.

It seems we have become so accustomed to the running that we don't know what to do with a slow day.  It is almost incomprehensible that there is not something that must be done today or that someone doesn't want something!  Surely that cannot be!

I started to think about how we live...there is one project to complete after another.  It is how most of us roll.  Have our lives become To Do Lists and Projects and Deadlines?  Kinda! As I work I am usually thinking... I am half done, almost done...done!  My brain is always running the calendar of events in my head and how I need to do XYZ to be ready.  And I always know what time it is.

So this morning I realized I really only have today to work on my family history!  I was so overwhelmed with; where to start what to do first, how I need to buy more folders as my paper files are getting way too full, I need to write some lessons for my classes, and I want to work on my own genealogy and organize the papers that have been piling up about the Mayflower and get all that in its place....yada, yada yada.  Oh and I want to blog, and research some things on Wikipedia and I have to try hard to finish up on the vacation adventure posts in my spare time.  Oh yeah, and there are all the things I have around the house.  The never-ending watering flowers (ugh!)  cleaning, cooking, you know how it is. 

Then came my AHA!  "Bonnie life is more than just project after endless project."  Life is not a project marathon.  Life is a process.  It is a process of accomplishing things a little at a time while not killing yourself in the process.  It is working on something and finding the joy, not the time clock.  It is balancing the 'have to' moments with the 'want to' moments.   It is having those days we call the "days with nothing to do" be the days of doing plenty, but just what we want to do...not just what we have to do.

 I am not suggesting never doing what we need to do, that would be very irresponsible.  But rather balancing that with the special want to do days.  May I be so bold as to suggest the kind of day when you do something just for you?  That can even include doing for others but on your terms.

In some ways I have been conscious of this feeling since leaving the workplace and that is what I love most about it.   The freedom to choose.  That is what I had the least of when I worked many hours a week for someone else.  Having my own business for six years was so much better because of the flexibility.  Doing what you want does not eliminate work, it just allows you to work at something you like to do...or even PLAY, heaven forbid.

I had a lot of feelings about that not being able to choose how I spent my time phenomenon.  But the Aha of "process not projects" really articulates it for me.  I understood this on a certain level before, but just hadn't attached language to yet.  That tends to make concepts more useful.  Until something moves from the feeling stages to the articulated stage it is hard to make changes.  (That is one reason I love writing so much.)  I want to accomplish things but with a different emphasis and paradigm. 

Nipping at one's heels...

It will help me (I'm hoping) in removing that feeling that there is a big snowball chasing me down a hill that is about to over take me and flatten me completely.  It will also make me face the fact squarely that I am the one putting that snowball on my heels.  I either make that happen or let it happen.

I want to stop putting unrealistic exceptions upon myself and life, in general, because as we all know...the projects just keep coming like beads dropped on a string with no knot at the end.

 I am going to put more emphasis on the process of living well and enjoying all that I do. I seem to use the word "savor" a lot lately.  That is living life as a process not a project.

Me pushing back at the snowball...

You are going to see me chilling (but not on a snowball) a little more and being more realistic.  Man is that he might have JOY.  (Woman too.)  And pushing unrealistically all the time robs me of that.  Some people are much more capable of it than I am.  So anyway...that was my big "Aha" moment today.  As you can see...I am blogging in the middle of all these papers all over my desk that I was reorganizing and decided that instead I needed a little joy... and that always brings me back to my keyboard and you.

Letting the snowball melt all alone...without me!

Are you enjoying your life as a project-oriented person or a person in the process of living your life to the fullest and savoring it?  It doesn't mean being lazy, it means living with a different mindset and more purposefully.  Something to think about.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier

This Guarding of the Tomb of the Unknown
Soldier is Positively Awesome! 
Soldiers have been doing this 
24/7 and 365 Days per year
Since 1930.

It's more than the precision and the 
pomp and circumstance of it.
It is the reverence and the rigor of
being selected to be a Guard.
It is the life long commitment.

The cemetery is large and sobering
It fills you with a sense of gratitude and respect.
When we were there the cherry blossoms 
were in full bloom!
A sight particularly poignant,
Never one you will forget.
Every American should have the privilege
To stand in silence and reflect.


Jeopardy Question: 
Jeopardy the other night, the final question was
"How many steps does the guard take during his
walk across the tomb of the Unknowns?"
All three contestants missed it! 


How many steps does the guard take during his
walk across the tomb of the Unknowns
and why?


alludes to the twenty-one gun salute which
is the
highest honor given any

military or foreign

How long does he hesitate after his about face
to begin his return
walk and why?

seconds for the same reason as answer number

Why are his gloves wet?

gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his
grip on the rifle.

Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all
the time
not, why not?

He carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb. After his march across the path,he executes an about face and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder. 


How often are the guards changed?

are changed every thirty minutes,
twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a

What are the physical traits of the guard
limited to? 



person to apply for guard duty at the tomb, he
must be
between 5' 10' and 6' 2' tall and
his waist size cannot exceed 30.

must commit 2 years of life to guard the tomb,
live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot
drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of
their lives. They cannot swear in public for the
rest of their lives and cannot disgrace the
Uniform or the tomb in any way.

two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that
is worn on
their lapel signifying they
served as guard of the tomb. There are only
400 presently worn. The guard must obey
these rules for the rest of their
lives or
give up the wreath pin.

shoes are specially made with very thick soles
to keep the heat and cold from their feet.
There are metal heel plates that extend to
the top
of the shoe in order to make the loud click as
they come
to a halt.

There are no
wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform. Guards
dress for duty
in front of a full-length

The first six months of duty a
guard cannot talk to anyone nor
watch TV.
All off duty time is spent studying the 175
notable people laid
to rest in
Arlington National Cemetery .
A guard must memorize who they are and where
they are interred. Among the notables are:

President Taft,
Joe Lewis {the boxer}
Medal of Honor winner Audie L. Murphy, the most
decorated soldier of WWII and of Hollywood fame.
Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for guard duty..

2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was
approaching Washington ,
DC , our
US Senate/House took 2 days
off with anticipation of the storm. On the ABC
evening news, it was reported that because of
the dangers from the
hurricane, the military
members assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb
the Unknown Soldier were given permission
to suspend the assignment. They

respectfully declined the offer, "No way,
Sir!" Soaked to the skin,
marching in the
pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that
the Tomb was not just an assignment,

it was the highest honor that can be
to a service person. The tomb has been patrolled
24/7, since 1930.

Bless and keep them.

I'd be
very proud if this email
reached as many as possible. We can be very
proud of our young men
in the service no matter where they serve.

The studying of Family and American history has been on my mind lately.  Most Americans do not realize they have ancestors that fought in every major battle since the beginning of our country's history.  This unknown soldier represents our own family members who fought and fell for what we have and who we are today.  Friday is Flag Day.  Hooray for the Red, White, and Blue.