Monday, January 31, 2011

A Tiny Sign from Aunt Marrian's Home

We had a nice visit with Aunt Marrian in Springville last week. She shared her family history materials with us and we'll be posting things from them soon. We really liked this quote hanging in her little bathroom. Over the years I've learned that profound things might be discovered in obscure places!


Friday, January 28, 2011

Life of Maud Rosalie Driggs Christensen -- Part 2

Click here for the next "chapter" of Grandmother Maud Christensen's history. As you read this, remember that the material in quotes was written by her son, Clare B. Christensen.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Grandma's Recipes

In my personal collection of recipes, I have a couple that Grandma wrote out for me. I love them! I don't make the recipes themselves so often, but I love the memories they evoke. Seeing her handwriting on these cards takes me immediately back to their home and her warm, inviting kitchen.

Here is one of the recipes that I have from her. I have transcribed it since it is hard to read.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Today's Family: Our Scripture Heritage

Quite a few years ago I was in their home taking pictures and among them I took these.  On this day, as on so many, Grandpa's scriptures were out having been "freshly" read.  When I think about passing the heritage I've received to the next of the things I hope to pass on is our grandparents love for and testimony of the scriptures.

For Christmas we got little brightly colored scripture cases, paperback scriptures and a marking pencil for each boy.  We've set the goal as a family to read the Book of Mormon this year...before Nathan turns 8 next January! 

Let’s be honest, the reality of family scripture reading is all of us crammed into the boys bedroom with our jammies on.  It’s a little listening and a lot of little bodies all rolling around on the floor being “sushed” frequently.  The most reverent moment occurs when it’s Elizabeth’s turn to read.  As one of us whispers to her and she manages to mostly say the last word of each phrase, two brothers sit quietly…with sparkly eyes…proud of their little sister’s best new trick.  =)

The best part of Nathan’s and Joshua’s reading is the use of their freshly sharpened red pencils:  Joshua arbitrarily pointing to verses for us to outline…and then he carefully tries to stay inside the lines as he colors them in, and Nathan very carefully picks out his favorite parts to highlight.  A few nights ago Nathan carefully underlined the scripture describing the hilt of Laban’s sword, and then very excitedly moved on to underline the verse where Laban gets his head cut off.  He then leaned over to me and whispered, “Mom, I know these aren’t really the most important parts, but they’re the parts I really like!” 
May we be blessed as we do our best to pass on the heritage we've been blessed with to the next generation!  =)


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Remembering Dad

Monday is the 10th anniversary of a journal post I made about a hard time in Dad's life. His eyelids looked like blowfish and other horrible things were happening. But that isn't what I remembered most about Dad that day. It was what was on his mind while we waited a long time in a doctor's office.

Thought you might like to think about him, too.

“Invictus” and Paul Christensen

January 24, 2001

Today Dad and I were in search of a cure for his swollen eyelids and swollen mouth. He has been suffering from a cold, a sinus infection, and eventually some other awful symptoms. We saw Dr. Isaacson and Dr. Kelly Hubbard (Don Holdaway’s new partner). After Dr. Hubbard examined Dad, he said he needed more information and would be back soon. Dad was snoring by the time he returned. Dr. Hubbard has just come from the Mayo Clinic. He had called the department head there to see if he had ever seen angioedema with Stevens Johnson syndrome. He had, so Dr. Hubbard and he concluded that is what Dad may have. He suggested we report back to Dr. Siler (Dad’s eye doctor), which I did. We also talked to Reed twice and he talked to the allergy specialist at Tripler. So we have information from six doctors.

Still, Dad is suffering. Earlier this week when his eyelids were inflated balloons, we thought it was bad. Then he got cankers and his lips were swollen beyond recognition. Even now eating is nearly impossible because of pain. He takes food through a straw.

While we were first waiting for Dr. Hubbard to come into the room, Dad said, “There’s a poem that keeps going through my head these last few days. Clare used to sing it.”

“Say it for me,” I encouraged, suspecting which one it was. I hope I will always remember the scene. With effort he formed each word around the obstacles in his mouth. He began,

Out of the night that covers me.

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

He paused, carefully swallowed the emotion, then moved on.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed. . . .

He was looking straight ahead. I was sitting beside him, studying his misshapen, guileless face. He wasn’t performing–just carefully remembering each meaningful word.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate;

I am the captain of my soul.

(“Invictus” by William Ernest Henley)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday's Family History Fast Fact

Did you know that Bernard Christensen and Maud Driggs corresponded for over four years during Bernard’s mission and after until they were finally married at the ages of 27 and 26? But if you think their letters were all love-struck missives read here what she wrote to her cousin Howard about them!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bernard Niels Christensen

Bernard Niels Christensen, our grandfather, is another of those people that “I have loved long since, and lost a while”.

Maud’s Life History will be more meaningful if we share a bit of Bernard’s beginnings.

Bernard’s mother died in 1894 when he was 17. As the oldest son in a family of seven--with three children younger than 12--he felt a large responsibility. He worked summers at Saltair--something of an “amusement park” in its day.

Two years later more sadness came. His Danish grandmother, Ellen Poulsdatter Christensen, died.

“By the time his grandmother had died, Bernard had grown to be six feet in height. He told his father that he was going to get a job at the sugar factory in Lehi. Niels said, ‘Oh you can’t get a job, they are not even hiring married men.’ Bernard was a man of no small determination. For the next seventeen days, he was at the factory twice each day. On the morning of the seventeenth day, someone was ill and Bernard was hired.

For more on Bernard, click here.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Today's Family: Overcoming Temptation

When Nathan was two, I bought him a new pair of scissors. He was so excited to get to cut. What a big boy thing! As I was watching him at a distance…without him aware I was there…I watched him go from cutting paper to slowly raising his scissors to his hair. As I held by breath, I watched him hesitate for just a minute…think things over…and carefully lower the scissors back down to the paper.

What a lesson learned from my two-year-old boy about about making good choices and overcoming temptation!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Life of Maud Rosalie Driggs Christensen
by Herself

It was the 25th of October 1877, when I first saw the light of day in the small city of West Jordan, Utah. My father was a merchant in this smelting town and I was the fourth child of Benjamin W. Driggs and Rosalie Ellen Cox--the other children being Frank Milton, Howard Roscoe, and Leonora.
Although only four years old when we moved away, many incident of those days were vivid to my young mind. We lived in what was called “The Factory House” with three apartments and agreeable neighbors, among them the May family. I remember our dolls and chairs on Christmas, the fun we had digging wells in our pasture near by. Then our baby Clarice died of whooping cough, leaving a broken-hearted mother.
To see all of Part 1--Click here.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Christensen Pedigree Chart

Uncle Owen and Aunt Maureen and Tithing

Dad, Mother, Joan and I went to American Falls, Idaho in 1951 for Dad to start a business as a gasoline and oil distributor. Dad borrowed about $2,000-$3,000 from Uncle Clarence and Aunt Maureen to start his business there. The distributor who had preceded Dad had been dishonest. When Dad started he didn't have a single customer. It was a hard beginning.

Dad went out every day to meet the farmers to try to get their business. After a few months Aunt Maureen called Dad and asked him how he was doing. Dad replied, "Maureen, I don't even make enough to pay the rent on the house". Aunt Maureen said, "Are you paying your tithing?" Dad repeated, "Maureen, I don't even make enough to pay the rent". Aunt Maureen counseled, "I don't care how much you make. Pay your tithing".

Dad did as Aunt Maureen told him and paid his tithing faithfully. He never again didn't have the money for the rent. Dad became a successful businessman in Idaho and after five years was offered a little better distributorship in Provo. We moved there and he built a very fine business.

Two of the things Dad always told us growing up was "pay your tithing and stay out of debt". I have been grateful for those words of wisdom.

~ from Tyra Christensen Barrett

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Friday Family History Fast Fact 1

Did you know that my Great Grandmother, Maud Rosalie Driggs Christensen, often cooked, served, and occasionally even performed for President Heber J. Grant and his guests? One of these was the poet Edgar A. Guest. If you want to know more of the story, click here.

We Stand on Their Shoulders

We stand on the shoulders of so many people.
This fall our family have been collecting stories of all kinds. It seemed to us that we'd like to share the ones about some of the people upon whose shoulders we stand.
The poet John Henry Newman wrote,
"Lead, kindly Light,. . . .Lead thou me on!. . .
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till the night is gone.
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which [we] have loved long since, and lost a while!"
This photograph at the left is one of Owen, Miriam Barker, and Dad's Father, Bernard Niels Christensen. Grandfather Bernard and Grandmother Maud Rosalie Driggs Christensen are some of "those angel faces which I have loved long since, and lost a while."
We hope you'll enjoy turning your thoughts and hearts to some of our loved ones this New Year!

Today's Family: Finding Jesus

Early December I was preparing a message about the Nativity for Primary.  My visual aids for the day were to be the three mangers (and babies) from our three nativity sets.  After locating two, I realized that our third manger was missing its Baby Jesus.  At first I was disappointed that my lesson was wrecked, but then realized that maybe we could learn a different kind of lesson. 
I took my three mangers and two babies to Primary and explained we’d put the nativities up early, excited about the “true meaning” of Christmas.  But somehow in the week prior, during wrapping the presents and setting up the tree that somehow the baby Jesus had gotten lost in the shuffle!  We talked about how sometimes that happens in our own lives—that in the other exciting parts of Christmas we may “lose sight” of what matters most.  We decided that each of us could “look for Jesus” during the following week.
Two weeks came and went.  The first Sunday children reported their successes in “finding Jesus” and I told them that I was going to have to spend another week looking.  (I secretly hoped I’d set myself up for a great Christmas finale.)  But, embarrassingly, even on the day after Christmas when the children asked about if I’d found Him, I had to admit that even though I’d prayed (like they’d encouraged) He was still nowhere to be found.  I felt like I’d missed my great chance for a learning moment.
As we took our Christmas tree decorations down a few days later, I heard a holler from the family.  I came from the other room to find the baby Jesus…having just been pulled out from under the tree stand. 
Our family and Primary learned at the beginning of this New Year that:
Prayers are answered…it just might take a little while. 
And, that it’s never too late to find Jesus!


Thinking of You

from Miriam ~ Although my Mom would have loved and welcomed more help in the kitchen, we seldom came through as she hoped. That doesn’t mean, however, that we were very far away. We spent most of our time on the other side of the counter.

Ideas were hatched, feelings were shared, lessons were learned, and laughter was a guarantee as we sat (while Mom worked) at the counter.

These past several years our family has worked together to create several “collections”--of recipes, of family history stories, of meaningful personal experiences, etc. When we’ve thought of what meaning these “collections” might have beyond our own personal enjoyment, the idea of this blog came to be. In my mind, I’ve pictured that this blog could be the kind of sharing that would have happened “at the counter” in days past. Sharing great “nuggets” of family history, recipes from our favorite kitchens (including our Grandmas), quotes and poetry that inspire us, and experiences in our lives today as we try to carry on the great legacy of those who’ve gone before.
from Karen ~ What Miriam wrote about “the other side of our counter”, could have more readily been said about “the other side of Mother’s counter” (or bar) as she called it. On most days, it was literally the center of our home. Mother’s days were filled with more visitors dropping by than anyone I’ve known. Her secret for accomplishing all she did was to invite us and anyone else who wanted to talk to sit at the kitchen table and visit with her as she worked. Whenever she could, she put us all to work. It was a wonderful place to be because Mom was a great conversationalist who found the fun and humor in every day life. It seemed to us that the sun always shone through her kitchen windows!

from Carol ~ With life pulling us in so many directions, it is difficult to gather together in anyone’s kitchen for sharing stories and visiting. But we hope you’ll take time occasionally to “pull up a stool or a white kitchen chair” and join us here to visit. We hope to get to know you better as we remember the past, share the treasures of the present, and look together with optimism to the future! So be sure and comment – lots! And feel free to e-mail one of us if you have your own thoughts to post and we’ll work you in.