Tuesday, August 31, 2010

School Daze

My mom's autographs book from her school days seemed like the perfect thing to share for this week's SLICE OF LIFE. The prompt  is School Daze.  These two books are counted in my list of most treasured possessions.  

First a picture of my mom when she was a teenager. 

I have two autograph books that span from 1933 to1936.

Here are the inside covers.

She went by the last name Maggis because "they" didn't want her to use her Italian surname in school.  I never really understood why.

One book had a list of her school mates whose autographs are inside. She went to high school at Ryerson School in London, Ontario, Canada.

 This one was actually upside down in the book. 

For the most part the little sayings just make me giggle. 

And I can't imagine teenagers being so silly now.  

Even when I went to school 40 years ago (yes, it's been that long!!) we didn't write things so silly in our yearbooks

My mom even let her sister sign, this is my Aunt Eva's entry.

I love all the little yours till......

This one was my mom's best friend growing up.  They stayed in touch for over 70 years. My middle name was the same as Lilian's mother...Alice.

This saying seems a little risque for the time. 

This of course was actually on the last page of the book.

Feel free to share a slice of your life.  More info can be found here

Friday, August 27, 2010

Twenty-Three years ago today, a tiny baby was born into the world.  His name was Evan, and he weighed in at a whopping 4 and a half pounds. 

He was a very sick baby and needed lots of medical attention.  Also needed was lots love and prayers.  And oh, was he loved!  And oh, were prayers said!! 

And look at him today!  Such an amazing young man! 

Reflecting back on my feelings on that day 23 years ago, I could have never in my wildest dreams imagined how well Evan would have thrived and the great influence he would be on my life. 

What amazes me the most about Evan is his complete and total acceptance of himself.  He has never once complained about being paralyzed or having to use a wheelchair.  He is just happy with himself.  How many people can say that??   Evan also has an innocence which is endearing.  He keeps his standards high and doesn't not comprise in the least.

Not to say that doesn't have his little mischievous moments.  Just ask his siblings.  Evan is the ultimate Star Wars fans.  I recently over heard him introduce himself as a Jedi Master.  I think that fits perfectly.  To become a Jedi Knight one must go through a set a trials that test skill, knowledge and dedication.  Evan definitely has that, and is teaching others too! 

Happy Birthday Evan!! I love you!! 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sharing the Gospel

Have you seen Mormon.org lately??  What an amazing resource to learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Did you know that if you are a already a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, you can create your own profile and share what you know with others?  Would you like to see my contribution?  Then click, here.  Please remember though it is still a work a progress, just like I am.  I would love to see your profile. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Being Part of Something Bigger Than Ourselves

There is a saying or I guess a philosophy that one should be a part of something bigger than themselves.  I have found that something and it is so exciting.   It's simple and almost anyone can do it right from there very own home.  Want to know what it is??  Drum roll please. It is:

What is FamilySearch Indexing you might ask.   Well, it is a process of extracting names and other data from old valuable records. Then those records become available for others to view for FREE!!  You can find millions of records here at Record Search!  Indexing is easy to do, and you all you need is your computer.  You can spend  hours a day, or 15 minutes a week. Whatever time you have available.  Every little bit helps.   Not only are you providing names for others to find there ancestors, but you learn things about life along the way. 

The last few weeks I have been working on the Canadian Ontario Death records from 1933-1937.  I know it may sound morbid, but I find it fascinating.  Besides, the records are fairly easy to read and easy to index.  The exciting thing is that these people still live and need to be bound to families for eternity.  Every name I index could be someones brick wall, just getting ready to be knocked down.  Indexing also has helped give me an added perspective on living in this day and age where we have wonderful medical advances.  I noticed that a lot of people died of pneumonia in those days. Now we have vaccines to help prevent that from happening.  I recently indexed two different records of a little babies who died from spina bifida.  That touched my heart, and makes me grateful for forever families. But, also made me very grateful that my own Evan was born in a day and age where people with spina bifida can thrive.

Yesterday, I was working on some of my own family history.  Just trying to get some dates straightened out.  My great grandmother has a brother named Felix Constantineau who has a cousin with the exact same name.  They were even born just a few months apart in 1877.  Sometimes it can get confusing.  Recently a lot of new records from Massachusetts and other places were added to Record Search, thanks to lots of people indexing.  So, I went there, looking for information to make sure I had the right Felix Constantineau married to the right woman. Then I was surprised to find a record that my grand uncle had a little baby boy that only lived a short while. I also found another little girl who died at age 6 that belonged to another one of my families, and I never knew that before.  Now they can be sealed to their families for all eternity, and there will be much rejoicing.

Indexing has records available from around the world.  There are records that are easy to index and others that are harder, you get to choose which records you want to index!  Anyone can do it, and you never know who you might be helping out!!  So, go out and be a part of something bigger than yourself.  You will be glad you did!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sneaky Snakes

This weeks prompt for Slice of Life is Sneaky Snake Goes Dancin'!!

Hmmm...snakes...I hear they taste good.  Supposedly snake tastes like chicken but I have never ever eaten snake.  Have you?

Speaking of chicken, I'm getting hungry.  How about you??  I could offer you some peanut brittle or maybe mixed nuts!!  I found a great brand.  It looks like this:

It's even "old fashioned", that is always better than new fashioned or modern, don't you think??  

By the way would you like some???  

Here you go, enjoy!!


Ha ha, got ya!!!  

We had one of these mixed nut cans for a long time!  I mean a really long time!!  I don't even remember who gave it to us, but I think it was my brother Mike!!  Evan was the one who had the most fun with that silly thing!!  He just loved to trick people.  He would even get them to shake the can and you could "hear" the nuts rattling in the can!! Then Viol-la!  They would open it and out jumps a snake!! 

It broke about a year ago!  I wonder if Evan would like some peanut brittle for his birthday!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Answer Is....

A transfer board!! However, I do very much like the mouse trap reply.  I will have to think about that one. Maybe it can have a dual purpose.

Anyway, here is a picture, so you can get the idea.  With our van in the shop Evan needed help to get into our car.  A regular transfer board that he uses for his motorized wheelchair didn't work because the manual chair wheel gets in the wy. But as you can see with the cut out it works perfect!! I love my genius husband.

Good view of how this board just slips over the wheel.

Sliding on over!

This is much better than lifting, trust me!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Genius or Not!!

They say that "necessity is the mother of invention".  And that is exactly what Mike told me when I called him a genius for creating this wonderful device.

Any idea what it is for??

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Water Hole

Today's Slice of Life is the Water Hole.

Summers in Southern California, where I grew up are hot.  When I was around 9 years old, my family was fortunate for a while to live in a home with a swimming pool! What that means is, your neighbors become  friends with you really quickly.  Everyone likes to cool off in a swimming pool on a hot summer day.

The one big problem I had with the swimming pool was I didn't know how to swim.  Plain and simple I was afraid of drowning. 

The coolness of the blue water lured me to it's sides.  I would go round and round the pool holding on to the edge for dear life.  Never ever would I think of letting go. My family and freinds tried to encourage me to swim, but to no avail.  Then the day came, my dad picked me up and throw me in the middle of the deep end of the pool.  It was either sink and swim.  So I swam!! 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tender Mercies

The past week and a half has been filled with challenges. In the mist of it all I can feel what I like to call the "Tender Mercies of the Lord". Blessings inside of challenges. How can that be? Well, let me give a few examples.

On Aug 4, 2010 I was officially released from a calling that I loved. I was so sad to be release from that mission. What was I going to do with myself now? It was interesting in one weeks time right before my release, five people in my ward approached me asking for help with Family History. Four people!! That never happened before. They didn't know I was feeling sad about being released as a missionary. But, the Lord knew! My ward will keep me needed and busy helping them now. Tender Mercy of the Lord.

Last Saturday Mike and I were at Lake Tahoe for a few days while Evan was attending Camp Harmon, in the Santa Cruz mountains. We don't get many days, just the two of us. We had spent the morning at beautiful Sugar Pine State Park, and then went back to our Bed and Breakfast to change into cooler clothes. We were headed out again, when it happened. Jerk, jerk, scrape, tick, tick, tick. You don't want to hear those sounds on a vehicle. Our Grand Caravan Rampvan with only 17,400 miles had a problem, it sounded serious. We called Triple A. Our van had to be towed to Reno, the closest dealership, and we rented a car. Of course they couldn't look at the van until Monday morning. Monday, they could not really figure out what was wrong with the van, as the jerking and noises would only happen occasionally. But,then again they couldn't say it was safe to drive either. They wanted to keep it for a few more days and do some more tests. (Sounds just like medical stuff.) We had to pick up Evan and his motorized chair by 1pm on Tuesday. It's a little hard to pick up a 260 pound wheelchair without a ramp van. We ended up having to pick Evan up at camp with a rental car,leaving his power wheelchair behind, and drive home.

Where's the blessing in all that you might ask. Well, let me tell you. Number one, we are so blessed the van didn't lose it's transmission on one of the curvy mountain roads we had been driving on. No one was hurt. Just majorly inconvenienced. And it's all under warranty. We can live with that! And more importantly that it didn't break down when we had Evan with us. Now that would have been really complicated. Also we are fortunate that Evan has two power wheelchairs. One is very old and he plays power wheelchair soccer and takes it to camp where it can get as dirty as he wants. Also, the camp was very good about being willing to store the wheelchair until we can get up there to retrieve it.

So, there you go. Tender Mercies of the Lord, all around. Actually they are there in every day we live, if we just look for them.

What Tender Mercies of the Lord have you felt recently?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Mission Accomplished

--> Recently, I completed 30 months serving as a part-time, at home, missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints , Family History Department.  This is a very unique mission.  I answered phone calls and e-mails from patrons who were using FamilySearch products.  This included New FamilySearch, Personal Ancestral File and FamilySearch.org, among others.   As I became more experienced I was able to help to train and teach other missionaries.  All of this was done from the comfort of my own home.  In a typical month I would serve around 100 hours (thus that explains my abandoned and neglected blog). Many of the experiences are just inspiring, both with patrons and with other missionaries. It would be an understatement to say I learned a lot. Here are some of the most important things I am taking away from the experience.
I learned a new confidence.  Not a confidence necessarily of myself.  A confidence that the Spirit of the Lord would lead and guide me when I put forth the effort.  I think that Elder Neal A. Maxwell said it best.

“God does not begin by
 asking our ability,
only our availability, 
and if we prove our dependability,
He will increase our capability.”

I can't tell you how many times I felt that strength beyond my own.  It is a very humbling experience to be lifted beyond your own abilities.

I learned much from my fellow missionaries.  They were such a strength and uplift to me.  We came in all shapes and sizes, with different abilities and strengths, and different challenges in life.  One Elder I will never forget, I worked with him on a special project.  I found him to be very helpful, and knowledgeable.  At one point he was in a class I was teaching to other missionaries.  At the end of class we had something called "Check Your Performance".  He had to show me he could do the things he was taught.  We had tools that allowed us to share computer screens.  As I was watching his computer screen, he explained to me that he did not have use of his arms, and that I would be hearing him give his computer commands.  It was just amazing to watch as this Elder flawlessly executed the tasks by telling his computer mouse what to do.  I went away with an admiration for him and gratefulness to live in a day when technology would allow someone to serve in that manner.

There was a Sister in my little missionary group (we were all in groups of about 10 to 12 missionaries, lead by a missionary leader who made sure we kept up in the latest advances) who had environmental allergies and was not able to even attend her church meetings without having a severe reaction.  It was great to be able to see her serve with us. She is such a diligent missionary, and I’m happy she was able to serve in this capacity.

We had another missionary in our group who was serving a Church Service mission with her husband in the Dominican Republic.  He was a Church counsel, and she helped in the local Family History Center there and also with FamilySearch support.  When the quake hit Haiti, she went to work, and touched many lives with her nursing background.  In our meetings she would share pictures of those sweet Haitians who were injured and give updates on their conditions.  She sacrificed a lot to help them out.

I had one great opportunity to teach a group of missionaries from New Zealand and Australia.  Such sweet sisters you will never met.  I marveled again at the technology that would allow us to use to the Internet to speak and teach and learn together from such a great distance.  This is truly a worldwide church, and it’s no wonder we are called World Wide Support Missionaries.

And then there are the wonderful patrons.  I will miss them the most.   My favorites were the little 80 year old Sisters.  They went way outside their comfort zones to learn to use computers to bless the lives of their ancestors and preserve information for their posterity.  I remember one sister in particular.  When she got to a certain point in New FamilySearch to print out something, she misunderstood what the computer was asking, and thought she needed to buy a new printer.  She was willing to do that if she had too.  Such willingness to sacrifice amazes me.

The large majority of patrons were patient beyond belief as we tried to solve their problems. It was always thrilling to help them solve a problem.  Especially those patrons who thought they had a lost a whole computer file of family names. We would cheer together when everything was restored and back to normal, and they were so grateful.  Many patrons shared special sacred experiences that would touch my heart.

I’m moving on now; I’m not sure to what yet.  Hopefully, my ward will keep me busy with family history questions. Oh, and I will have time to work on my own family history.  I need to break down a few brick walls.  Wish me luck!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


In Memory of
Ninety one years on this earth.
Joys, sorrows, challenges all felt.
Life lived with forgiveness and loyality, never complaining.
Children borne, loved and taught of God.
Flowers, birds, and all God's creations enjoyed.
You are at peace now.
Seeing, hearing, moving, learning.
I will see you again one day.

Mom and her sister Eva with Laddie

Mom as a young woman

Mom and Dad enjoying a night out.

Helping in the kitchen

Mom and her guide Dog Lydia

Just me and my mom
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