Sunday, February 27, 2011

My visiting teaching companion, Cathy King, is fond of quoting:

Be the kind of woman

that when your feet hit the floor in the morning,

the Devil says,

“Oh no, she’s up again!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Today's Family: Saying Good-bye To An Old Friend

Not too many days ago I was talking with my mom on the phone. As I told her of an experience that I had recently had, she reminded me of the tongue-in-cheek quote, "No good deed goes unpunished." At the time it felt very true! It is so easy to feel like our good deeds do go unnoticed or punished and it is so hard to feel like the little things make a difference.

Well, today I said good-bye to an old friend in more ways than one. I got a head start on dinner today and pulled out my Crock-Pot. Several hours later when I checked on dinner to see how it was coming along, I discovered that the Crock-Pot had died. It hadn't even begun to warm the food. I was disappointed that dinner wasn't going to get cooked in time, and I was also sad to see my old Crock-Pot go.

When James and I moved to Seattle for James to get his Master's Degree, we moved into one of those wards affectionately known as a "Newly Wed or Nearly Dead Ward." There were so many older, single women in our ward! They so easily could have kept to themselves and let us young folk do our thing. But these dear sisters reached out across the generation gap and loved us. They didn't let there be a separation. Some of my dearest memories of my times in Seattle are the times I spent learning from and working by these women. Well, one sweet Sister Perry was very kind to us. One day she got a new Crock-Pot and asked if we would like her old one. I was happy to receive her hand-me-down complete with photo copies of the recipe book that had come with it. I have continued to use her Crock-Pot and recipe book for more than ten years. Each time I pull it out, I think of Sister Perry and the other 'older' friends we made during our time in Seattle. I remember their quiet acts of service and kindness and it causes me to drop some of my scepticism and have hope that,

"The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines." (Charles Kuralt)

These sisters were surrogate mothers for me when I had moved far from home for the first time. They were the ones who threw the Baby Shower for my first baby. They mentored me as I learned to be a mother. They truly changed my life one quiet act at a time. I hope that I can remember their influence and "pay it forward" even though I won't be pulling out the old Crock-Pot any more.

by Carol

Sunday, February 20, 2011

My Kind of Teacher

A former Sergeant having served his time with the Marine Corps took a new job as a school teacher. Just before the school year started he injured his back. He was required to wear a plaster cast around the upper part of his body. Fortunately, the cast fit under his shirt and wasn't noticeable.

On the first day of class, he found himself assigned to the toughest students in the school. The smart aleck punks, having already heard the new teacher was a Marine, were leery of him and decided to see how tough he really was before trying any pranks.

Walking confidently into the rowdy classroom, the new teacher opened the window wide and sat down at his desk. When a strong breeze made his tie flap, he took a stapler and promptly stapled the tie to his chest, twice.

He had no trouble with discipline that year.


{Contributed by Susie in honor of this Patriotic weekend and Bob Reed!}

Friday, February 18, 2011

Happy 70th Anniversary, Dad and Mom!

We were raised in a home where romance flourished. Dad remembered Mother on Valentine’s and their anniversary with cut roses or potted azaleas which he presented with a mixture of twinkling/glistening eyes.

At other times he would recruit all of us to gather around the piano when he would play and we would sing “Because” or “I Love You Truly” to Mom.

And there was -- through all their lives -- an under-lying magic between them. You knew they were in love.

Remembering them today, we've added another romantic short story to the sidebar.

It's appropriate as well because in their own way, Mom and Dad had a "double wedding".

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Life of Maud Rosalie Driggs Christensen--Complete

We began our blog by sharing parts of our Grandmother Maud Rosalie Driggs Christensen's autobiography. Of the seven "parts", we've previously shared five. Today we combined those five and have added the last two--ones she wrote about her life after living in Mexico. You'll find her "complete" story on the sidebar.

Maud and Bernard were married 14 September 1904. They raised five children--Clare, Maureen, Paul, Kathryn, and Owen.

Bernard, Kathryn, Maud, Paul, Maureen, and Clare--kneeling

Bernard and Maud
Owen, Paul, and Kathryn

Kathryn, Paul, Owen
Bernard, Maureen, Maud, and Clare

We'll continue to share things about them. For now, the more I learn and remember hearing about them the more my love and gratitude grows for them.

Our grandparents' lives and the principles that guided them have shaped us all. They left us a great legacy.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Grandma's Stash

The last couple days I have spent working on Little Dresses for Africa. Our stake has been making these darling little dresses as part of a Stake Relief Society service activity coming up. I have been helping by making dresses and putting some kits together. The Stake Relief Society presidency wants "no ugly dresses"! When all of the fabric we use is donated -- largely from sisters' old, unused fabric -- this can be a trick! I was given some darling fabric to work with and then one piece that was quite plain and royal blue. Seeing it next to the darling border print emphasized the plainness of the blue fabric.

I was wondering what I could do about it when I remembered Grandma's Stash. I have a couple boxes in the basement of trims that Grandma Christensen collected through the years.

I dashed downstairs and found some beautiful lace that would work! I felt a slight hesitation donating some of Grandma's Treasures to this cause. Then I realized that she would be thrilled to be a part of this project for many reasons. She loved mass production, she loved whipping up sewing projects and would set aside one or two days a week as her sewing days, and she loved service. She was always creating things for others. The more I thought about it the more I'm pleased to feel like I've teamed up with Grandma and the wonderful women of my stake to do this unifying, service project.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

My paper copy of

“Appointment with Love”

has the purple ink of an old-fashioned

ditto copy. It’s a story to remember.

I hope you will like it like I do!


You’ll find it on the side bar.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Gate

You may recognize this gate from the side yard of Grandma and Grandpa Christensen's.  I'm grateful for the way that their love opened the gates to my heart.  In quiet moments, even still, I can feel their love and the love of others who have "gone before" and believe they continue to be interested and a part of our lives day by day.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Photo of the Week

When the Cousins came to Logan circa 1956
Back row -- Bonnie and Paul Barker
Front row -- Dan, Todd, Roger, David, Tyra, Susan, Mark

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Life of Maud Rosalie Driggs Christensen -- Part 5

This part of Grandmother Maud Driggs' history is interesting because President Wilford Woodruff had signed the Manifesto which "publicly declared" that . . . the Latter-day Saints should refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land". It was signed in 1890.

However, the manifesto was not made binding upon the church members in Mexico until April 6, 1904.

Grandmother lived in Mexico in 1902-03.

To read something about how it impacted her life, you can find Part 5 of her story on the right sidebar.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Poems -- If

One of the memories at Grandma and Grandpa Christensen's house that has impacted my life the most was when Uncle Reed recited the poem If by Rudyard Kipling for Grandpa. I think it must have been Grandpa's birthday or some other day we were celebrating him. Rather than give Grandpa a traditional present, he gave Grandpa this poem along with some of his thoughts about it.

"Funny Uncle Reed" and Grandpa were two of my heros from as early as I can remember. And to see their interaction -- and the love and the glistening eyes that were part of this event was wonderful. I had never heard that poem before and hadn't ever been a fan of poetry, but this started me down that path. I learned something that both of them already knew -- so much of life's feelings and sentiments can be shared through so few words with poetry.

It has been fun to learn and hear more of the poetry that was important to Grandma and Grandpa because through those poems we get a glimpse of what they valued and who they were as people.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Life of Maud Rosalie Driggs Christensen -- Part 3

Part 3 of Grandmother's history takes her on a long journey to Colonia Juarez to teach school! Click here.

Life of Maud Rosalie Driggs Christensen -- Part 4

For as long as I can remember, Dad loved to tell about his mother's success as a teacher and an actress at the Juarez Academy in the Mormon colonies in Mexico.

Part 4 describes one very memorable night. The final paragraph was also quoted by Dad. Grandmother had been Franklin S. Harris' high school teacher in Mexico.

President Franklin S. Harris was eventually president of both BYU and USU.

This is from Dad's autobiography, p. 81.

Months before I left the Army, Beth and I had planned for me to go back to school. While in Tokyo, I corresponded with several universities but nothing in the way of scholarships was available. The normal graduate school entrance season had passed, and the time to apply for next year was months away. Shortly after I got home, I visited Uncle Cliff Young. He suggested I contact President Franklin S. Harris. . . .President Harris might know of a county agent position. . . .

Before there was time to hear from President Harris, Beth and I drove to Logan. As I introduced myself to President Harris' secretary, she handed me the letter he had written to me. In his letter and in the interview with me, he stated that there was a research assistant position available in the Agronomy Department. . . .He would give it to me if I were interested. [He knew I had done reasonably well at BYU and in my work with the Soil Conservation Service.] I could start school immediately [on funds from the GI Bill and the research assistantship]. . . .This was an instant answer to our prayers.

Grandmother's early years helped pave the way for her children--years after she was gone.

The picture above includes:

front row -- Bernard, Maureen, Maud, Clare, top row -- Kathryn, Paul, Owen

Click here for Part 4.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Today's Family: Receiving Love -- Ughh! or Aaah!

Several years ago, James surprised me with a date to Hawaii. He and the kids had schemed together to make it “just right” and all of their eyes were aglow as the time approached. When the date came, we didn’t board an airplane or even see the sun. We did tuck the kids in bed and then descend the steps to our unfinished basement where a can of Glade Hawaiian Breeze spray had been used liberally and fancy drinks were waiting. Although we had an enjoyable evening together, there were some thoughts of “ . . . real Hawaii . . . cheesy . . . really -- this? . . .” I went back and forth between trying to accept the love gift as it was intended and finding fault in all that it was not. This can of Glade has stayed in our house since then and every time it surfaces I get to choose my response “Ughh!” or “Aaah!” I can either roll my eyes and get disgruntled about what it isn’t, or I can cherish what it is.

Yesterday school was cancelled here due to extreme cold temperatures. I spent all day at home with the kids until evening when I got some time out for a Relief Society meeting. When I was home, and the kids were tucked into bed, I went into our room and immediately smelled – you guessed it! – Hawaiian Breeze. James had sprayed it all over our room in an attempt to escape the present and let us spend a few quiet minutes in warm Hawaii before the reality of a frozen shower and cold night and another day home from school intervened. Since the first night of Hawaiian Breeze I like to think I’ve grown in accepting love. The “Aaah!” response comes much more quickly than the “Ughh!” response. I’ve learned that there is very little to gain in saying “Ughh!” and much to be gained in saying “Aaah!” And really, it doesn’t take much time, effort, money, or even “doing something back”. All it takes is an open, understanding heart. It takes seeing the gesture through the eyes of the person who sent it.

So as I go through the days receiving one more slobbery kiss from a two-year-old that requires a sponge to clean up, or one more ‘love note’ from a daughter after a mess of paper, glue, tape, and markers, or even a poorly timed, slightly offensive comment from a Relief Society sister I try to see the gestures through the eyes of those who sent them and respond in love as well. Aaah!