Monday, February 20, 2017


Have you ever been in situation where you received news that was devastating?  We have.  Twenty-nine years ago we were told our unborn baby would be born with a serious birth defect. It is amazing how fresh those memories are in my mind.  I was laying on the bed during the ultrasound, when the room got really quiet and the doctor's face just said it all without any words.  We were shocked. How could this be!  We felt alone and scared and just cried!  

My how time heals.  We have this amazing young man in our lives.  Not to say life is not without challenges, but certainly the good out weights the bad.  We are grateful for those who were put in our path to help us gain knowledge and ease the burdens.  So, of course we are happy to give back.

That is why when our daughter Rachel shared the following flyer with us, we jumped at the chance to give back and share our story.  

I contacted Orange Socks and when we were in Utah we were interviewed.  We want people to know that all lives are precious even little ones who will be born with birth defects.  They should NEVER be discarded, but rather loved and embraced.  There is much to learn from them! 
 We pray our story gives hope to others that find themselves in the same situation.  

You can listen to our story below by clicking the play button in the top left corner of the collage.  Please feel free to share our story with others who may need it.  Or, please consider sharing your own story.  Click here to go to the Orange Socks webpage to learn more about their mission and to listen to other stories. Thank you. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Calm Between the Storms

We have had a really, really, wet winter.  We need the rain desperately!  So, it's a good thing.   Yesterday's storm brought wind and a lot of rain!  There are a lot of downed trees and some homes are still without power.  Today we ventured out to see what things looked liked in a break between the storms. 

There was tons of debris on the beach.  This is the area where the Pismo Creek and Meadow Creek have converged.  The beach is ever changing.  I think there is a lesson there for our lives which seem to be changing all the time too! 

This is what clever people do with drift wood!  Pretty cool little hut!  


This large piece of drift wood just wants to stay stuck in the sand!! 


It is interesting to see how Meadow Creek had curved around the sand dunes.  

This egret seemed to be enjoying all the water! 

In case you couldn't tell this is area is a hazard. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

RootsTech 2017

I am a small town girl.  Crowds are not my favorite thing!  So, why did we just travel to Salt Lake City last week to join tens of thousands of people in the Salt Palace Convention Center!  I wanted to learn and be inspired and add a little fun too!!  RootsTech 2017 did not disappoint!  Somehow the crowds there don't bother me!  It is the camaraderie I feel there, I think.  Everyone is friendly and you can just strike up a conversation with anyone!  I laughed and cried and learn a ton this week too!  I was able to reconnect with some long time friends too!! Oh, and we have our two oldest sons in the area with over half of our sweet grandchildren!  What is better than grandma time!! It was so fun to spend time with everyone!

We had a hard time deciding whether to drive or fly and we were watching weather reports closely.  We finally decided it would be better to fly.  We are not good drivers in the snow and on black ice.  The flight there was my bumpiest flight ever!  But, we made it safe and sound.  

Tuesday was our day to explore downtown Salt Lake City.  We were staying in a hotel right across the street from the Salt Palace Convention center, where the convention was held.  This works out great for us because we didn't have a car and walked and rolled everywhere!  The Salt Palace was all ready for RootsTech as you can see by the cool sign on the tower.  

We had fun reading all these opposite signs!! 

We went into the Salt Lake Visitor's center and found this cool display with our name on it!!  Actually, I think it was for Price, Utah! 

As you can tell by our clothing it was just a little bit cold outside. 

Tuesday night, David's family came to visit with us and have dinner together.  We saw that there was Buca Di Beppo's just a few blocks from out hotel.  That seemed perfect for dinner! Buca Di Beppo's is a fun Italian family style restaurant.  We got to sit at the "Pope's table!!"  I guess you can tell why they call it the Pope's table.  It had a giant lazy susan in the center of the table and it was a domed alcove that had great acoustics so you could talk to  the person sitting way across from you and actually hear each other!  

Mike got to sit on the throne!!  

This is what brotherly love looks like in our family!!  

Here is the whole gang!  We really had fun eating here and the food was delizioso!!  

The girls were really outnumbered so we needed a selfie!!  Thanks to Joanna!!

RootsTech started on Wednesday afternoon.  I loved my first class!  It was called "When Worlds Collide: Resolving Conflicts in Genealogical Records".  Now that is something that I think most family history researchers can use.  And, I especially have conflicts!  My second class was about finding information for Civil War ancestors.  Lots of great information. 

Wednesday evening, John's family came to have dinner with us! This time we went to the Garden Restaurant on the top of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.  We had never been there before!  What a beautiful view!!  And such great company!!  Aiden and Callan had fun checking everything out.  Aiden played a great game of "I Spy" with me while waiting for our food!  

Fountains are really really hard to ignore when you are seven!  

The view of the Salt Lake Temple from the restaurant was stunning! 

And it just so happened that my friends Sandy and Deanna from the Santa Maria Family History Center were eating there too!!

The first full day of RootsTech started with a video about "what my grandma taught me".  It made me really stop and think what kind of legacy I am leaving for my grandchildren. I personally didn't know any grandparent really well and that makes me sad, but I can help to leave memories for my own grandchildren.  

Here is a video that gives a little feel for what Thursday was like at RootTech! 

Thursday night there was a special concert, "Music, It Runs in the Family" with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir!  It was an evening filled with Rogers and Hammerstein music and narrated by his grandson!  It was a delightful evening.   We were able to meet up with a long time friend Judy Martin who is serving as a Church Service missionary at the Family History Library.  It was so great to see her and her husband who was helping with security!!

This is just some of the fun things to see in the Expo Hall!!  

Friday's keynote address was my favorite of all time.  LeVar Burton gave a touching, heartwarming, inspirational speech.  At the end FamilySearch presented him with a binder full of family history and showed him a marriage record with his great grandfather's signature.  He was stunned and in tears!!

Friday evening our niece Sarah and her two children Autumn and Ephraim brought us dinner!  (It was raining outside so we were happy we didn't have to walk out in the rain for dinner).  We had fun chatting and catching up and getting to know her awesome kids better!  

Saturday was just fun!  The keynote address by CeCe Moore was so interesting about DNA and the progress being made.  The Cake Boss shared his story too!  And there was even a fun cake competition.  

Evan is the video above.  Can you spot him?? 

Saturday is always Family Discovery Day at RootsTech.  Thousand of young people and their families come to learn about family history.  We were lucky because our dear friend Jeremy Gardner came with his son and the youth group from church.  It was great to spend some time with them!!  

The closing event made us all laugh!  Jason Hewlett is a crack up, he does singing impressions and can do really weird things with his mouth.  There was a singing competition between Vocal Point and Noteworthy that was fun to watch too!


Sunday morning we were able to see Music and the Spoken Word in person!!  It was more Rogers and Hammerstein music and I loved it!! 

After church we went and toured the LDS Conference Center, it is definitely an amazing building! 

Water and light are a big component of the LDS Conference Center.  I find it to be very symbolic! 

Sunday evening our sweet daughter-in-law, Sariah, brought us homemade soup, salad and cornbread!  Oh, and her family too!  We enjoyed eating together and laughed our heads off playing the game, Things.  It was hard to say goodbye to our family, but we will see them in the summer for family reunion! 

We enjoyed RootsTech and are going home with tons of great information to help with our family history research! Next year we hope we can go again!!  

Saturday, January 14, 2017


This post is the second in my DASH series for #52Stories.

I have a confession to make about something I did really wrong as a young girl!  I made cookies!! Oh, how I loved to make cookies.  Oatmeal raisin and chocolate chips were my favorite cookies to bake!  I was a dough eater too! Yummy! But that is NOT part of the confession.  

So, why, may you ask was it so wrong for me to bake cookies?  There was someone in my family who couldn't eat them because of type 2 diabetes. That person was my Dad. I would make these yummy cookies that would smell so good and be so tempting and then get mad at him for eating them!!  I did NOT realize at the time how hard it is to look at yummy, fresh out of the oven treats and resist them!  BUT. I. DO. NOW!

Fast forward fifty of so years, and guess who is dealing with type 2 diabetes?  Yep, that would be me!  I was diagnosed about 12 years ago and have tried hard to regulate my blood sugar with diet and exercise alone. And let me tell you it is HARD!  As I am getting older it is getting more difficult to control and I now realize how hard it is to resist all the myriad of yummy goodies that are out there. Even a little cheating is not an option for me anymore. I feel bad that I put all that temptation in front of my dad and just expected him to be strong and pass them by! I am definitely learning empathy for those that have to eat differently. 

I am also learning some new strategies in dealing with diabetes and am feeling empowered to take better control of what I put into my body. 
I just wish I could tell my Dad how sorry I am for putting temptations in his way.  Somehow, I think he would understand.  

Monday, January 9, 2017

Mother Nature

We have been living in severe drought conditions for the past several years. While our drought is not over yet, so far this season we have had some great storms dump a LOT of water in our area.  What a blessing!!  Last night was no exception.  As we wandered out this morning to check out the Pismo Beach Campground area, we were pretty sure we would find a lake!  And find a lake we did indeed!!  

This is the front of the Pismo Beach North Campground, by Highway One.  Where you see water in the front should be grass and in the background that is the campground!  

We had a geocache hiding in the area under the bushes.  Good thing we took it out last week to dry it off and clean it out! We decided not to return it until after the storm.  Good decision on our part.  I am sure it would have floated away!  

This is the road leading into the campground!! 

This is a view from the trail at the Butterfly Trees.  The water is right underneath the bridge and the trail to the boardwalk is submerged.  

This is a view of the campground once you cross the bridge.  We have seen the campground turn into a lake many times, but never quite this high!!  

The saddest thing to us is that the butterflies disappeared!  The wind was strong last night and apparently they left to find a safer place.  There were rangers out looking for the butterflies.  It was weird not even seeing a single butterfly in the grove.  I hope they come back!!  We love the butterflies!! 

But, the birds were singing a happy tune!!  


I was amazed how fast the ducks found the new lake!! 

 Mother nature always amazes me!

Friday, January 6, 2017


I am participating in the #52Stories Project  this year!  This project will help me to "define the dash", you know, that little dash that will be between the year of my birth and whatever year I die.  It is on most headstones.  That dash holds my life experiences. I want to be sure to write and share the events of my life.  FamilySearch is helping me to do that with the #52Stories Project. Once a week, I will share a story from my past.  Each month there will be a theme and I have been given several choices of questions to answer.  This month the theme will be "Goals and Achievements".   I invite anyone who desires to leave a legacy to their family to join me.

My first question is: what is your earliest memory of feeling proud of yourself - at school, in sports, in art or music, in a club or scouting.

The very first musical instrument I learned to play was the french horn.  I started in elementary school and did not play that instrument for very long because for one thing the instrument was loaned from the school and my family moved!

When I was in 6th grade, attending Merced Elementary school, I started playing the flute!  Oh, how I love the sound of the flute!!  The music is just heavenly to me!

I played in the orchestra at Hollenbeck Junior High and in the band my freshman year at Nogales High School and then we moved again and I played for two years in the Bassett High School Olympian band.  Go Black and Gold!!   We were a tiny band but we had fun!  Our school had a piccolo and the band director let me play it!!  My favorite thing to play was The Star and Stripes Forever, by John Phillip Souza.  Oh, how I love the piccolo part in that piece with all the cool trills! So fun to play!!

I did not play in the band my senior year, but keep playing the flute on my own for many years after that.  But, as with many things life got busy with raising children and I had less time to play.  Rachel took up flute in middle school and when she left home for college I gave her my flute!  I am glad it was passed down.  But, if I had to do it again, I would have tried harder to keep playing.  Not sure how much I could remember anymore, it is kind of sad to me.

To learn more about the #52Stories Project click here.

To listen to the United States Marine Band play an awesome rendition of The Star and Stripes Forever, by John Phillip Souza, click the play button below.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Our Christmas Trip

We decided this year to head to Mesa, Arizona to visit with Rachel and Joey for Christmas.  The weather is much better in this part of Arizona in the winter than the sweltering summer.  We headed out a couple of days late because Evan was sick.

The first thing we did was make gingerbread houses.

Evan working on his masterpiece with a little help. 

Rachel had some little friends  who were so excited to be creative!

And the walls came tumbling down! 

Isn't it lovely???

Rachel's little munchkins were going to be leaving Saturday morning so Rachel and Joey planned to have Christmas a day early.  So that made Friday "Christmas Eve".  And what is Christmas Eve without Christmas PJ's?  They were pretty happy about that!! 

One last bedtime story

And that meant that Saturday was Christmas morning.  I haven't never seen more excited kids!!  


So glad I got her excitement on video!  


This little guy was pretty happy too!  

I love the smiles!!  

Rachel and Joey's house comes with furry friends too!!  Lily likes attention from Evan. 

Sasha likes attention from anyone, she especially love walks. 

There are also strange creatures at Rachel's house.  

This one is attached to a cactus!  

Saturday night, the true Christmas Eve, we went to the Mesa Temple Grounds to view the beautiful Christmas display and see the International Nativities.  

This one is all inlaid wood and so beautiful.  It made me think of Brad.  

This one was so unusual,  and such a great idea.  It was cut-out of pictures of different family members. 

I had never heard of Santon before, but love this display.  

I fell in love with this painting.  It is called "Kiss for a King".  

It may have been cold outside, but the beauty of the displays brought warmth to our hearts!! 

Two little love birds. 

Christmas morning was quiet.  We ate breakfast then opened our presents.  The big men both got puzzles for Christmas.  Man is Joey ever a wiz at puzzles. 

Mike had a little bit of a hard time with his.

Evan received the Pie Face game.  We had fun playing and everyone was a good sport!! 

Sunday afternoon Katie and Brad arrived and we had a lovely Christmas dinner together! 

Monday morning we went to the Phoenix zoo.  Joey and Evan were a little under the weather so they stayed home to just chill.  It was a little chilly but we had fun.  

One of my favorite exhibits was the orangutans.  There was family with a bashful daughter and a frisky little boy, a dad that didn't like to share, and a rather ambivalent mom. They were so funny to watch.  They were behind glass and it was hard to get pictures, but they were so funny!!   

Guess who?? 

One of the fun things we did was the giraffe encounter.  We all were able to feed a giraffe.  They have super long blue tongues that kind of tickle!! 

The kids feed the giraffe's lettuce. 

Derek thinks giraffes are pretty cool! 


Kyle liked it so much he snuck behind and tried to grab more lettuce. 

Brad giving the okay sign and out comes that long tongue.  

We all got a change. 

Eye ball to eye ball! 

Kyle, Katie Brad, Cindy, Joshua, Derek, Rachel and Mike.  

The Phoenix zoo has a collect of Lego animals made out of tens of thousands of Legos taking hundreds of hours to create.  

I could not figure out how this hummingbird did not topple over!  

Joshua was pretty happy to climb on this baby elephant. 

Ride 'em cowboy, Derek! 
King of the Jungle!!

How about an elephant for a pet??  
The next morning there was a giggle monster chasing little boys!!  

We went for walk around Papago Park.  Before Katie headed out with her family for home!  

A rattlesnake to climb on that is perfectly safe to play on.

Just what we like, nice flat asphalt trails!  

Derek loves hats!!  

We decided to take a huge detour home via the Grand Canyon and then on to Las Vegas to visit with Aunt Delma.  I loved the Grand Canyon in the snow, it was very peaceful looking.   Pictures do NOT do this place justice, but enjoy anyway or visit yourself.  The Grand Canyon does NOT disappoint!! 

We always enjoy our visits with Aunt Delma.  She is happy to have company.  She lovingly feed us and we spent the night in her apartment.  She said numerous times, "I am so glad you came!".  Aunt Delma is 91 years old, has outlived both her two younger siblings and her spouse.  She is getting a little frail but her mind is still bright!  We love listening to her stories.  

Our trip was a great way to end 2016.  We are looking forward to another year and more visits to family and the great outdoors.  

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