Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Saving Mr. Banks

     When I awakened this morning I heard Oh, It's a Jolly Holiday With Mary in my head, followed by Let's Go Fly a Kite.  In my head I revisited my experience from last night, seeing the Disney movie Saving Mr. Banks. A feeling of satisfaction settled deep inside of me, as if I had just finished a perfect meal that agreed well with me.  I lay in bed and savored it. It felt so good.  Life makes sense again.  My heart is singing!


Monday, December 23, 2013

It's Snowtime

I have posted some photos of the snow here in Wisconsin.  It's beautiful! 


Monday, November 25, 2013

The Trek Home

     Friday and Saturday my husband and I drove south to deliver some things to my oldest son and his little family.  After a lovely short visit we headed home.  South of Chicago, with 3 more hours ahead of us, our van had a problem.  My husband was concerned that the van had blown a gasket, so he called a friend who is a mechanic.  A series of checks and phone calls followed, with the conclusion that the problem was probably something much simpler---a torn hose from which we were losing radiator fluid (I'm not mechanical....so if this doesn't make sense, that's why!).  The situation was odd.  Even though fluid poured out of the radiator while it was being added, the thermostat showed very little heating up.  The conclusion was reached that there must be areas below the level of the leak that were retaining enough fluid for the engine to run cool.  Also, the outside temp was unusually cold (below 20 degrees F).
     I did a lot of praying. It was Saturday night by the time we thought we might need a mechanic...all those businesses were closed.  That meant probably getting a room and waiting until Monday.  We are in no financial position to handle hotel rooms and huge vehicle repair costs right now. However, before the trip I had feelings that it would be OK to travel, and that we would be OK (that should have been a clue...why would I get comfort if it was going to be smooth sailing....HA!).  I  felt this way from the beginning of the van problem, even when fear and depression began to descend at what might be ahead (like South Chicago...!!!).
     We decided to continue our trip, periodically adding water when steam burned off what water there was and the engine began to heat up.  It worked until we were an hour south of home.  Not so bad...at least we were north of Chicago!  At this point the van did some new strange things and died shortly after my husband rolled toward an intersection west of Kenosha.  We rolled through a green light and into a gas station.  Ha....what timing!!  More convos with our friend ensued.  When the van cooled off, it started again and more fluid was added.  We limped into our friend's shop near Racine after 9 PM on a Saturday night.
     Oh, what a kind soul.....and he had been right as rain, so the saying goes.  A hose that has something to do with the heating system had ripped and caused all of this.  It was a simple fix, and while there he checked out the rest of the van.  We made it home safely after that, with the van intact.  It has to go in for another problem, but it will be OK for a few short trips until it's appointment with the doctor!
     When this problem began we could not heat the van.  It was so cold....boy, it was going to be a long, cold trip if we were able to travel at all!  Not a fun prospect.  But an odd thing happened.  After we had traveled for awhile, some faint heat began to come through the vents.  The air gradually heated even more..in fact, it was quite toasty at one point.  My husband guessed that this was from steam (that seemed to be the case since we ran out of water periodically....!).  Ha!
     I have begun pondering this experience.  There is lots of food for thought.  Right now I am so grateful for the blessings we had, most of which was our Good Samaritan!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Emperor's New Clothes

     I'm busy laughing this morning.  I've needed a good laugh.  To end, I went back to one of my very favorite stories from Muppet Classic Theater, The Emperor's New Clothes.  Hmmmm....something very familiar about this....Ah....The Empress's New Clothes...it's about Miley Cyrus!!
     The song is at about 5:50


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday Musing 28

    In Readers' Digest I recently read an excerpt from an article entitled 10 Rooms That Should Be in the House of Life.  It was written in 1921.  Wonderful article about what's important in life!


Monday, September 30, 2013


     The past few weeks have been emotionally stressful.  There have been many changes here, such as a visit to my oldest son and his little family, kids leaving for college, orchestral prep for fall, and my not-so-wanted friend named depression.  I've decided that I need to change some of my behavior this week so I can be happier. 
     One of the ingredients of happiness is gratitude.  In the past few days I have heard health concerns from people who are exactly my age to those who are 15 years younger.  The main concern is arthritis.  I have thought to myself, "I'm SO GRATEFUL I don't have that challenge...at least not yet.  Everything still works, and my fingers can fly pain-free. Oh, thank-you for this blessing!".  And I thank the Lord again. 
     For the past two years I have been the librarian for a couple of area orchestras.  In one orchestra things run pretty smoothly; in the other I have more challenges, some of which are difficult.  I enjoy learning, and questions/issues in the latter group are good for me because of what I learn, but it really stretches me at times.  However, I notice that my brain is happier.  He is getting sharper!  I'm so grateful for that.  I'm also grateful for the increased connections I feel for these orchestras.  I don't need a lot of people in my life, but I do need to feel connected.  I enjoy the way these librarian jobs connect me to everyone without having to socialize much.  After the music part is done I get to join in and perform.  That's what I call a "cushy" job!
     I'm always grateful for my wonderful sons.  We live in a world that is very challenging to young people.  I am so grateful they have made good choices when it would have been much easier at times to do otherwise. 
     I'm grateful for my husband, my companion.  He endures a lot.  He is generous, strong, and so very intelligent.  Such a wonderful mind!  I've never met anyone like him.  I call him a whole-istic thinker.  He's a great problem solver. too.  And he is FEARLESS.  He loves Christ and has a strong testimony of him, both intellectually and spiritually.  He has been a good father, and I often attribute the steadfastness of my children to him.  Yes, dads are very important!
     Well, enough....I've got lots to do today.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Late summer surprise

     The area in which I live has been richly blessed with rain this year.  The trees are heavy with fruits and nuts and the grass is still a lovely green.  Some of our crab apple trees have done very poorly the past few years, dropping yellow leaves prematurely so that by September the trees are pretty bare.  This year fewer have turned and fallen.  The tree is still noticeably green and there are zillions of apples. My hydrangeas have finally decided to really grow.  And best of all---not many Japanese Beetles, who usually have demolished my roses by now.
     Most interesting of all is the absence of deer eating my roses.  They always make at least one trip to the front of the house and mow a few down.  The past few years the trip seems to be a mandatory trek in May or early June, just before they bloom.  But not this year...!  All summer they have stayed away.  It's been delightful.  Until yesterday.
     I mentioned the lack of deer attacks to my husband 2 days ago, on my birthday.  And the deer heard me.  They said "Oh---look what we forgot about!  Hey guys...let's go get some late birthday treats!".  Yesterday morning I had beautiful roses.  Yesterday evening 2/3 of them had been devoured.  An attack in broad daylight, in front of God and everybody.  What can I say.........BUMMER!!!!!!!!!!!!  Cursed be those deer!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Things are not always what we think they are

     Lately I've been pondering ways in which nature mimics life and what we might be able to learn from that.  While on my parkway walk this morning I noticed this pine tree.
As I walked past it I could see that there was actually a pair of trees, the inner being completely hidden from my view at the moment I first noticed it.
      Life is not always what it seems.  Mortal perspective is limited; we are subject to time and space.  We can't see everything we need to know to fully understand some situations, ideas, personalities, etc.
     Our Father in heaven knows all.  If we trust God and move forward with faith, our limited perspective will expand in time.  The tree we know as one will multiply.  In the meantime, it's easier to keep an open mind about those things we just don't understand.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Butterflies Ascending

     I just had a very sweet experience. To begin,  I have not felt well all morning.  It's depressing, and I've been fighting gloomy thoughts.  When I returned home from errands I worked on Etsy and then went to the kitchen for a light lunch.  Ralph Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending for violin and orchestra was playing on the family computer; my son had his personal playlist on while working.  I listened while eating and then went to the sink for a glass of water.
     I looked out at the very green backyard and noticed a cabbage butterfly fluttering about.  Then I noticed that the violin cadenza at the end of the piece had begun, and the butterfly fluttered with the music.  They were beautifully synchronized. Pretty soon two more joined in, and they fluttered and flitted about the yard while the cadenza continued.  As the music wound down, the butterflies left the yard one by one, and by the final note they were gone...... a gift left for me.
     The Lark Ascending is a beautiful composition.  I have posted a link below for your enjoyment.  I posted this version because some of the comments are wonderful...take time to read a few!

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Monday Musing

     Last night my sleep was interrupted by a thunderstorm and a bad dream.  I was anxious when I awoke, and could not go back to sleep.  Among other thoughts, I remembered that my husband had recently tried to repair a roof leak for the second time, and if successful, the outside of our front door would be dry.  If not...ugh.  I lay in bed thinking about my awful dream and the door.  I tossed and turned, trying to focus on something else, but I could not get settled down enough to sleep.   I finally gave up, got up, and checked the door.  The repair had been completely... unsuccessful!  I stuffed a towel between the doors and tried to go back to bed.  And I tossed and turned even more (meanwhile my husband slept away....how can he do this, I wondered...must be nice!).  So I went into my office, turned on my computer, and watched uplifting LDS messages on the internet.  I prayed and prayed.  I have been  anxious lately about many things, and I can't seem to get settled.  I'm like an ox stuck in the mud.  Finally I felt better enough to return to bed and sleep.
     By morning the storm was gone, so I decided to take the dog for a walk.  The air was cool and wet, and plants were still dripping rain.  A few branches and small trees were bent over, and one tree had a large limb almost completely severed (perhaps by lightening, I thought).  A patch of beautiful Queen Anne's Lace was bent almost to the ground.
     I thought about how amazing it is that most of these plants will return to their previous positions in the coming sun and dry air.  They will slowly reach for the light and soak it in. Most evidence of the storm will be gone, and the rain which beat them down will help them grow.
     And so it is with life. Stormy times come, but if we reach for the light, God, we will find it and be healed.  He meets us as we do what we can to know Him.  We will also experience personal growth.  Somehow storms nourish us when we exercise faith in God.  For me, the growth often doesn't seem to occur until afterwards, just as the plants rebound slowly when the sun comes out again.
     What about the torn branches and leaves, you might ask?  I think that is the pruning process, which also helps plants grow.  God prunes us, too.  It's not fun, speaking from personal experience, but the blessings that follow are worth it.
     While returning home a line from something popped into my head, "hyacinths feed the soul".  It's from the following  poem I have not thought about for years:
If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store two loaves alone to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.

Attributed to the Gulistan of Moslih Eddin Saadi,
a Mohammedan sheik and Persian poet who lived about 1184-1291

     Perhaps it is a message for me to feed my soul with things that will bring me joy, even in anxious times.   I think it applies to all of us.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mr. Leg update

     I'm free again.  Mr. Leg is much better; I'm almost walking normally.  I took the dog for a short walk yesterday and fared well, but today I went twice as far and my leg felt the same as yesterday.  It's time to work my leg and ankle.  I don't really know how I know this...I just know it's time.  Yeah Mr. Leg!
     I love walking, I love walking, I love walking, I love walking, I love walking.......I feel like I have been let out of jail! 
     When I left the house this evening the sky was beautiful.  The east sky  was full of little puffy gray clouds starting to break apart.  Some of them reflected the lovely pink of the clouds in the west. So pretty!  It had been raining earlier, and there were storm clouds in the south.  The wet road was steamy near the surface.  It was so lovely!
     Now to see my granddaughter.....I'm so glad I can move!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Mr. Downy

     It's a lovely, cool morning.  I'm sitting at my desk, listening to a soft, quick tapping  sound outside the window to my left.  I  peeked out earlier and saw the source of the noise--a downy woodpecker in plain view.  I've seen this species before, but this bird is close enough to hear.  Today his pecking is very soft.  He is very cute.
     I can't get a good photo so I'm posting a link below for info about this bird.  You can listen to it if you click on "Sound", but it's a different sound than what I'm hearing today.  I'm sure he's a downy woodpecker; I've heard the downy's songs and chirps a lot.  I guess he is just lightly pecking today!


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Something really yummy

    A few days ago I tried a piece of vegan cheesecake by Earth Cafe.  It is pretty low in carbs, and I watch my carbs.  WOW WOW WOW.  I was stunned at how good it was.  I kept reading the ingredient and nutritional labels to make sure what I thought I read was correct.  Yup, it was.  I think it was one of the most delicious desserts I have ever eaten.  And maybe the best cheesecake I have ever tasted.  I want to find out how to make something similar.   For anyone interested (and to remind me), I have posted a link below to the Earth Cafe website.  I had the Cherry Dream Cheesecake; the crust was walnuts and the pie was sweetened with agave nectar.  To die for!

Sunday Musings 26

Lately I have been pondering  the state of our society, solutions to problems via the government, and solutions via the gospel of Jesus Christ.  While in a church meeting this morning an interesting phrase popped into my head.  "Don't feed mediocrity".  I'm still pondering this, but so far I have come to the conclusion that many of our problems are related to this.  Our society often feeds mediocrity and starves excellence.
     It seems that since I was a child many educational, entertainment and moral standards have been steadily declining.  Results glare at me in the news headlines every day.  I also see increasing acceptance of mediocre behavior in schools, fashion, entertainment, government, the arts and homes.  I have observed, via my children, the falling standards of what is taught in public schools.
     Along with this I have observed an increasing sensitivity to individual differences.  Much of this is good. For example, many schools accommodate different learning styles.  There is increased tolerance for differences in beliefs, health, race, and  lifestyles.  While many changes have been good, I think that as we have become more tolerant, we have become less discriminating.  It seems discrimination is a word to be avoided, probably because of it's negative associations with racial discrimination.
     Sometimes discrimination is good.  Obviously it is not such when applied to race, but it is necessary in avoiding being overtaken by the mediocre in areas that traditionally have had standards of behavior or excellence.  When the best literature is commonly passed over for fast-paced thrillers or romance novels (which titillate the senses), when Youtube videos done by amateurs reign, when action, blood, violence, nudity and filthy language glut the movie market, when gossip and reality shows frequent our homes, when illegal drugs are household words, and when just about any lifestyle is accepted in the name of tolerance and equality, something is terribly wrong.  And the acceptance of mediocrity accelerates when achieving financial security becomes the most important goal within many homes and workplaces.  In a nutshell, "the end justifies the means" has become more and more popular as a primary motivation.  If  supporting something mediocre brings lots of money, then it's OK.
     Society has been unbalanced for a long time.  I see nothing wrong with occasional light reading or music, or creating a fun craft.  These kinds of things have their place.  I do them.  The problem is when they become the steady diet for most of us.  We need to spend time and money on the best books, the best music, the best way to raise our children, the best food for our bodies, the best clothing, etc.
     I think many of us have been taught the classics (although perhaps many is not true anymore....).  We at least know what they are, and could find out via the internet.  We can even choose to read or listen to them via the internet at the touch of a few keys in less than a minute.  But many of us don't bother.  We are full of excuses.
     Most importantly, what belief system do we have, and do we teach it in our families?  I think that many of us don't even bother with this.  I guess kids are expected to get this through osmosis...but that doesn't happen.  If parents don't actively teach good values and beliefs--and may I add striving for excellence--in the home, children learn by observing and listening to friends, media,  school and society.  The family becomes a place of learning how to succeed in society (maybe...)--not necessarily what will make someone happy.
     After much thoughtful consideration, prayer, teaching my children, and trying to live it for many years, I believe the teachings of Jesus Christ are the best way to achieve excellence in this life.  The gospel of Christ is the great healer, the great motivator, and the greatest source of comfort and sublime joy.  It contains the solutions to all of society's problems.  It is the glue that can hold families together.  It is hope for our country.  It is the only way to mend and grow.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Weekly music nugget 61

     Below is a link to a list of classical music for babies.  It's a nice list consisting of a mix of classics and some lesser known works.  There is a Youtube link for each piece so you can preview the music.   I found it on Facebook via Igudesman and Joo!  Check it out.


I often take early morning walks with the family dog.  During one of these a few years ago, I noticed some big crows high in a tree near the edge of the road I traveled.  It was a small group hanging out together, making their presence known by lots of raucous cawing.  Their large size and strident noise demanded my attention.
     As I walked on I heard another sound from bushes nearby.  It was a catbird quietly singing while hidden from view.  The catbird is a mimic whose song consists of a string of short snippets of various sounds from the neighborhood, including other birds. Occasionally catbirds mew like a cat. They are nondescript, shy birds, who concertize alone from the midst of shrubbery and thick, lower tree foliage.
     There are always a few catbirds in my neighborhood, and I love listening to them.  Their songs are never the same, and the tone of their voices varies.  For example, this spring I listened to one of the sweetest voices I have heard to date.  On a rare occasion I have had the treat of seeing the bird sing for a brief moment.  He never stays in sight very long.
     As I continued walking I thought about the contrast between the crows and catbird.  One was quiet and unassuming with a beautiful voice, the others part of a loud, noisy and rather crass group.  To me their behavior was a type of voices of society, so to speak.  Or perhaps they represent the voices of temptations and our conscience.  Perhaps the catbird is the quiet voice of the Spirit, so often buried by the voices of the world.
     Every once in a while I am reminded of this experience.  I'm thinking about it this month because of the news I read.  Much of it is like the crows I heard-- bold, raucous noise intended to get my attention.  And some of it is pretty crass.  For me it is necessary to focus on the catbird's song--to take the time to listen to the still, small voice of the Spirit. This means reading and pondering the Scriptures every day, and redirecting my thoughts to virtuous things.  It means seeking out the positive and good and dwelling on them.  It means moving forward with faith in God despite all the nasty crowing around me. We all can choose which voices to focus on, even when some of them are screaming.  What do we really want...the mournful sadness associated with November's crow or the sweet, joyful song of the catbird in spring?


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mt Rushmore revisited

    I have been thinking back on my family trips last year.  About one year ago we drove out west  to attend the college graduation of my oldest son and his wife at BYU-ID and to drop our youngest son off at the MTC in Provo, UT to prepare for his mission in Russia.  We also visited Mt. Rushmore, Custer State Park, and Yellowstone National Park.
     I have been going through photos and organizing some of them (finally).  I found some pics of Mt. Rushmore that I really like and thought I would post a few.  I loved Mt. Rushmore...so beautiful...more beautiful than any photos of it I have seen throughout my life.  I still marvel at how much I liked it, including the feeling there.  It was almost sacred ground.  Here goes--

Four above, four beneath (hubby,son,friend,son))

This is a gorgeous exposed quartz vein in the granite of the area.

George Washington

Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Relief from heat

     It's hot here......I'm thinking about our family trips out west the last two summers.  Oh, to be there!  I miss it!  The first pic is from Yellowstone (my hubby and youngest son); the second one was taken on a camping site trail in Wyoming.  The Wind River Mountains are in the background.  Gorgeous!!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunday Musings 25

     Obedience is a word that is not used much today.  As I think about it, the first thing I think of is stoplights.  When I learned to drive I was taught to obey their signals.  I was taught to obey all the rules of the road.  They protected us.  They brought order to traffic.  They made it easier  to get where I was going.
     I suppose someone might complain about the rules and laws, explaining how they slow them down. Stop signs and traffic lights waste time.  Speed limits are too confining, and a faster speed is necessary sometimes.   Let each person exercise his or her best judgment about speed limit, or give speed ranges instead of one number.  Turn many stop signs into yield signs, giving more freedom and flexibility to drivers.  But what about protection, you might ask?  The answer might be that each person is responsible for his or her own life, and if they are injured, too bad.   They need better driving skills.  Education , not laws, is the answer.
     All of this sounds pretty ludicrous.  The resulting chaos from such a system would make driving very dangerous.  I think it's safe to say that education alone will not keep roads safe.  Consistent rules of the road and their enforcement do protect us.  Personally, I would rather endure the inconvenience of traffic signals and reasonable speed limits than be at the mercy of nutty drivers free to do whatever they want.  And in this society there would be many crazy, thoughtless drivers causing needless accidents (many of them talking or texting on the phone). Very strong laws would soon be enacted, perhaps more confining than what we have now in order to bring the situation under control.
     Morality is subject to rules and laws, according to God.   Society has been increasingly rejecting them for many years.  Without moral teachings, in home and/or churches, we are in essence left on our own to figure out what they are, if we even want to know.  For example, strict teachings against being unchaste have been turned into acceptable ranges of behavior, including the prevalent belief that having sexual relationships outside of marriage is OK if you love each other (it's OK to speed if you're in a hurry....).  As morality declines, people continue to broaden the range of acceptable behavior because, frankly, immorality feels good.  It's easier.  And why bother with those old fashioned strict rules when this is so much more enjoyable?!  For that matter, why not just say they are obsolete?!  After all they are God's laws, and if God is not real, then there are no laws...and if we include God's laws, doesn't that offend non-believers?!  And so on and so on.
     Such goofiness.  Did we ever stop to think about the long range consequences of all of this?  First of all, morality protects us.  Immorality is self-indulgent, selfish behavior much of the time.  We do injure ourselves and others when we indulge ourselves.  If not checked, eventually it weakens society.  And so we are where we are today.  I know this is true.
     Obedience takes discipline.  I know something about this because I am a performing musician.  If I don't discipline myself to practice on a daily basis, I lose the ability to play my viola.  If I miss even a week I get out of shape and have to spend extra time regaining what I lost.  I can get it back, but how much better it would have been if I had continued to play!
     Even worse, when I neglect my viola I disconnect with it.  Because I love what I do, I eventually miss it and return.  At that point I wonder why I gave in to not practicing.  So silly!  It's never worth it.  I need that viola.
     For me this is a kind of metaphor for my relationship with God.  Daily practice is daily scripture study, prayer, and doing my duties.  I don't always feel like doing these things.  It's not always enjoyable, and sometimes I would rather being doing something else. Some days it's like pulling teeth to make myself do what is right.  It's like practicing my viola...there are days when I just go through the motions, and there are days that I enjoy the process and make great progress.  But I know I need to do them every day.  If I don't, I begin to disconnect with God.  Then I have to work to regain what I have lost.  My increased discipline draws me closer to God, and He meets me.  I make the first move, and then continue.  When I fail I begin again, relying on the Atonement of Christ to help me do so.  I move forward.
     Yes, it takes rules and old-fashioned discipline.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Weekly Music Nugget 60

   I'm sharing a link to a Youtube video about Landfill Harmonic.  It gives some background for the creation of the stringed instruments.  Great story!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Musioilarose about Mr. Leg

     Mr. Leg is pretty happy.  I began using DoTerra essentail oils on him ASAP after my fall Saturday morning. I have been applying them at least four times a day.  I have been using oils that should help with muscle, bone, tendon and ligament damage (I really wrenched it!).  The ones I have layered are frankincense, Aromatouch, marjoram, lemongrass and some wintergreen for bones.  Monday I began putting  DoTerra's fractionated coconut oil on my leg before applying the oils. Sometimes I add some geranium for bruising.  Starting Monday I have noticed more healing each day.  I have also been on 2 ibuprofen 4 times a day. My progress has been amazing.
     My slow hobbling with a cane has become a slow, funky walk with no cane.  Today I can get my walking shoes on again, and I can climb (not descend) steps normally. I spent about one hour on my feet in a huge grocery store this morning, slowly walking with my cart.  I tired out, but the walking seemd to be good for my leg.  I spent half an hour driving (yeah!).  When I got home I took a nap to rest my leg. He is doing fine.
     I'm pretty excited....maybe I can begin walking the dog again, carefully and slowly with gentle stretching (I'm being careful).  I just have to move.....I'm getting stir crazy!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

First you're up and then...boom!

   What a crazy morning.  It had a lovely beginning; I took a walk on the parkway and found the conditions to be perfect for God rays.  It was a little bit misty, and the sun was at just the right height for beautiful rays of light to periodically shine through the woods along the road.  I had my camera, so I took several photos (see below).
     When I got home I decided to do some weeding.  I grabbed the giant clippers and went off into the backyard.  The grass was high, waiting to be mowed today.  Then my right foot found something hiding in the tall grass...the hole from where a tree had been removed many years ago.  Down I went.  Oh-oh, I thought.....I can't break this fall....my leg is twisting.....that REALLY hurt.....BOOM.  I had landed.  I immediately remembered a bad fall in 1993 in which I broke my other leg just above the ankle; I could not put any weight on it for 6 weeks (and my youngest was a 6 month old baby....!!!).  Oh please, not that again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     I had my cell phone and called my family for help.  Looks like nothing is broken (PHEW!!), but I won't be doing any morning walks for quite a while (bummer.....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).  I can hobble, so it could be worse.  I suppose I will monitor my poor wrenched leg in the next few days, but at least I can put my full weight on it in certain positions.  So now I sit here telling the story.  Such is life!
     Hopefully this isn't catching when you see my pics......

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mrs. Robin

I took a pic this AM of our robin on her nest.  It's not very good, but I don't dare try to get a better one.  She will get mad!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


     This morning I read a wonderful blog post about the LDS family proclamation (https://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation).  I think it does a nice job of defending the importance of families and defending what is now termed traditional marriage (http://wellbehavedmormonwoman.blogspot.com/2013/05/familyproclamationdoctrine.html).
     One of my sons attends Brigham Young University-ID and is taking two online classes while on summer break.  One of them is about this proclamation  When I first saw the title of the class, I wondered how the proclamation, a one page declaration of material that seems pretty straightforward and basic, could occupy an entire semester.  Then I saw his textbook.  I was pleasantly shocked at the amount of material in his big book.  There are articles and research about just about every aspect of family life.  It takes the study of families to a much deeper level than I ever experienced in any related class when I was at BYU many years ago.
     As I pondered this, it became clear to me that students who take this class will be well-armed to defend the LDS church views of marriage/family in a world that seems to be insistent on changing them.  They will not only have the proclamation explained, but will have been exposed to research which strengthens and supports it.
     While I consider this class to be a great blessing to my son, it is sad that the need for such exists. It's one more sign that society is moving father and farther away from God.  Now even basic, godly accepted practices are being redefined into something society thinks is more fair, equal or loving.
     The Lord never said life would be fair.  I don't think it has been fair to anyone.  We all have or will have our share of unfairness, offense, bigotry, etc.  It will never be completely taken away in this life.  What matters is how we handle it.  Part of this is the fight to lessen inequality, etc., but it should be done in at least in the framework of the Ten Commandents (I wonder how many people even know these).  To redefine God's commandments is to reject Him.  And what follows is what is happening now.
     Love.  I have read many comments about support for gay marriage because the issue is about love.  Love rules.  Each person should have the opportunity to be married to whomever they wish, no matter what.
     This attitude about love really bothers me.  First, it implies that to be against gay marriage is to be against love.  What a bunch of hogwash. Since when do many Americans care this much about heterosexual marriage?  Look at the divorce rate and the number of couples living together without marriage.  Such a mess!  Oh wait...on second thought, I suppose that's the very reason society doesn't care about who marries whom.  We've given up respecting marriage.  Maybe that says it all.
     Real love involves discipline, respect, endurance, kindness, faithfulness, etc. It can flourish when worship and love of God are included. Real love in relationships is failing.  It seems to me that we need to be trying harder to improve our own relationships, all over this self-indulgent nation.  We can't make 50% of traditional marriages work; what makes us even entertain the idea of gay marriage in this kind of climate?  This is nuts!
     Well, I'm finished....it's turning into a rant.  I don't want to rant...not good for my health!   And I'm out of time.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Downspout revisited

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again"
She's back...another nest, same place!!  I got a chirp lashing this morning...
see http://musiolarose.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-downspout.html

Sunday musing on Friday

     Each day I check the news via the internet.  It has become a maze of link clicking because I don't trust any one source.  They all seem to have a personal agenda which often, I suspect, is the acquisition of power and money.  Fair presentment of facts is lower on the list of goals; it's trumped by some other agenda which is hidden from most of us.  I'm grateful to live in a country that allows freedom of the press, but when the integrity of the media is very questionable, it is difficult to sort through all of it. It's also emotionally difficult to read about more and more scandals each week and see bias, hatred and anger reflected in some of the headlines. So disheartening.
     What's a person to do?  Most of us don't have enough knowledge or time to figure out what news sources are credible and fair.  As I have pondered this the last few weeks, I have been drawn to the Joseph Smith story.  Joseph was born in December of 1805 in Vermont.  Joseph's family moved to Manchester, New York when Joseph was about thirteen years old. This occurred during the time of the Second Great Awakening, which was a revival movement among Protestant churches.  Upper New York state was nicknamed the "burned out district" because of the numerous revivals held in that area during the early 1800's. They hit Manchester when Joseph was fourteen.  Leaders of churches were  preaching and holding revival meetings  in hopes of gaining converts.  According to Joseph, some of the preachers were not sincere in their beliefs; there was a lot of confusion and contention that resulted from the competition between churches.  The members of Joseph's family were participants in these revival meetings, and each was trying to decide which church to join, if any.  There was no agreement in his family.  Joseph took all of this to heart and seriously pondered about which church to join.  He was inclined to become a Methodist, but he took no action.  One day he was deeply affected after reading James 1:5 which states "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God,.....". He decided to take the matter to God since he simply didn't have enough wisdom to decide which church he should join.  He decided to pray out loud to God in a grove of trees near his home, a place where he would have privacy.  What followed was a vision of God the Father and Christ who directed him (see http://mormon.org/beliefs/joseph-smith), and eventually the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized by Christ himself, via Joseph Smith. 
     The story sounds crazy to most of us.  Maybe blasphemous.  I thought so when I first heard it.  I thought, this stuff just doesn't happen.  This sounds really hokey. However, I decided to let the missionaries teach me because I was intrigued by the belief that this church was the true--restored--church of Christ.  If that was true, I wanted to be part of it.  The rest is history, as they say (see my post Best Gift ).
     One of the things that impressed me about the Mormon church was the members. I had never been around people like this before; there was something different and good about them.  There was a good feeling in the chapel.  When stating a testimony, no one said "I believe these things are true"; they said "I know they are true".   There was certainty in their words and actions.  I was and have been taught by the fine example of many members.   Matthew 7:16 states that "by their fruits ye shall know them" (King James version).  The fruits of this church are many,  ripe with goodness and beauty.  The church is a haven of truth, goodness and positive growth in this time of so much moral degradation.  It is a beacon of light.
     I'm trying to weave my way through the news and praying for guidance, but I know I have at least one place I can go that is certain.  That is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the restored church of Christ which is still lead by Him via a prophet (Thomas S. Monson now).  I must continue my course, no matter what else happens around me.  I must continue to obey the Lord's commandments, strengthen my faith, and try harder to emulate the Savior in thought and deed.  That is what brings inner peace and happiness.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

First rose

    My roses began to bloom this week. Finally!  I have posted a picture of one of the first.  It's name is French Perfume.  It has a beautiful heady scent, as it's name implies.  The rose is mainly yellow, but the buds are more pink. It does well in the Milwaukee area.  Love it!
     It's July 5 and this post needs an edit....I forgot about this!  As the rose ages, the petals get more and more pink from the outside in.  By the time the petals are ready to fall of, most of the rose is deep pink.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy Faces

     Earlier this spring I filled a long planter on our porch with violas.  Their happy faces greet me each morning.  The photos are just a sampling; they are so beautiful!!  Pansies and violas cheer me up.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

My take on The Man of Steel

     Yesterday I saw the new Superman movie, Man of Steel.  I found it to be well worth my time.  It had good acting, great messages and a good pace (except for the Armageddon scenes which were much too long and violent).  It  took the viewer through some of Superman's memories via flashbacks, and shed light on how his parents, upbringing and personal choices helped him grow into Superman.  I loved that part of the movie.
     I always read critiques of movies before I go.  If there are many poor reviews, I avoid the movie.  Superman had a mix of both.  After seeing the movie, I think some of the audience loved the Christopher Reeves movies and were not prepared to like anything different.  I also think some of the critics are cynics and will never understand the importance of spiritual messages that filled this movie.  There were many.  It explores the strength that comes from faith, morality, and  good, faithful parenting.  It explores the power of choices.
     Some critics have used the word brooding to describe Clark Kent.   I did not find him to be brooding.  I think Clark is a heavier, deeper character than in the other movies, and I thought he was successfully portrayed. An added bonus is that Henry Cavill makes a terrific Superman in my opinion; I found him an improvement upon Christopher Reeves.
     The movie has some bad language but no sexual content.  Frankly, I don't remember much about the language, which means it was not a big deal for the most part.  And I hate lots of swearing and vulgarity.  What I did object to was the violence which was intense and lasted too long.  I periodically closed my eyes.  I think several minutes of it could have been cut out and the movie would still have been powerful.
     If you want a lightheated fun movie, don't go to this one.  If you want something deeper that inspires with strong moral messages and leaves you in a state of wonder, try this one.  I left feeling powerful and glowing.  I want to fly!

Friday, June 14, 2013

I'm on a roll

     Here is a link to a few poems about the USA flag.  I like the second one, The American Flag.  On the left is a list of holidays and links, including Flag Day.

Flag Day

     Well, I feel like a doofus!  The flag has been heavily on my mind for about a week, and yesterday I began thinking about the Fourth of July.  This morning I suddenly remembered that Flag Day is this month.  Which day, my aging brain thought?  Oh my...TODAY.  Our beautiful flag is now flying in front of our house.  What timing!
     It's interesting to read and observe how Flag Day is remembered.  It's one of the "quiet holidays", I suppose.  In my initial scanning of internet news, I found little about  it (hopefully that is due to my selection of news sources).  I think a  reminder of what the flag stands for would be in order right about now.  Maybe some feel ashamed of our country in light of the scandals, but ignoring Flag Day just perpetuates our feelings and sends a very negative message.  A better plan is to honor the flag in hopes of encouraging us.  The flag has rich symbolism which can inspire (http://www.usflag.org/).  We need to express our support and love for the great principles upon which the USA was founded.by honoring our flag.
     This holiday is not given much more than a head nod by too many people (I didn't even remember, while posting about the flag!!). I hope I'm wrong. In fact, the most recent flag news I heard was a report yesterday of an HGTV program suggesting to use it as a tablecloth (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jun/12/us-flag-tablecloth-hgtv-issues-apology-july-fourth/).  Appalling (HGTV has since apologized, although I think some restaffing might be in order) !!
     So if you are a US citizen, fly the flag today! 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Flag

    I love the flag of the United States of America.  It's a deep love, almost a burning inside. The flag is more than a symbol of my country; it is a symbol of the godly principles upon which it was founded.  It is a banner of liberty.
    Where does all this come from? Some of it is from reciting the Pledge of Allegiance every morning at school when I was growing up.  When you memorize something well, it becomes a part of you.  If it expresses true principles, you are strengthened.  Some of it is because my mother loved our country and flag and shared that with me.  My father fought in WW II and loved this country deeply, enough to run for local political office many years ago.  He also took my family to Washington DC when I was 12.  While there we toured the White House, had lunch with our congressman and took in other sites.  I suppose the rest comes from my testimony of God and principles of Truth.  The flag resonates with these.
     Recently I decided to do some internet research about the symbolism of the flag.  I needed a refresher course.  I came away greatly enriched (for another post, another time).  For now, what I know is that the flag will always fly.  It will fly because of what it stands for, and because there will always be good people who will rally to its message.  It will always be in my heart, the best place of all for it to fly.
     I wonder how many of our leaders in Washington feel this way, and if they have forgotten, can they feel so again?  I want my leaders to feel what I feel about the USA. It's a precious gift.  I daresay many have forgotten.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Box

     During the early tween years my parents took a trip to Portugal and Spain.  On route they met a couple with whom they became friends.  Conversations included the sharing of family information, including the fact that I liked to sew doll clothes.  After the trip I received a package from the wife which was a large box full of fabric scraps of all kinds.
      It was an exciting gift, and I enjoyed it for years. The fabric was stored in my wooden toy box from early childhood.  It was about the size of a trunk, and the top lifted up to reveal a large space full of these scraps and other fabric I had collected..
     It was my treasure box.  I enjoyed rummaging through it and dreaming about possible outfits for my Barbie doll. At my age I didn't engage in deep play with my dolls, but I still loved  fantasizing about their clothes and what I could make.
     My box was full of wool, cottons, brocades and satin.  Flowered chintz became hostess or ball gowns cut from Barbie patterns.  White eyelet made a beautiful underskirt.  I created a favorite evening gown from a luscious peach satin.  Brocade turned into a cocktail dress.  A pretty light cotton covered with small lilacs became the very long, full skirt of a well-loved dress.  Wools and tiny print cottons became little shift dresses, so very popular at the time.  A coat was sewn from an olive wool.  I also sewed pants, shirts, skirts and capes.
      Barbie's clothes were carefully organized in my blue Barbie case.  Accessories were kept in tiny, clear round plastic boxes stored at the bottom.  Each article of clothing hung above.  I was very particular about how my Barbie items were taken care of. I didn't want to lose anything. Nobody messed with my stuff....especially my sister, who just stuffed all Barbie's clothing inside her case (a big mess).
      Why do I share all of this?  I suppose one reason is because it was a fantasy that never carried over into real life. My bedroom was usually a mess and I was not diligent about taking care of my things.  My mother was always on my case.  I was messy.  Even my fabric treasure box was haphazardly stuffed full of disorganized, wrinkled fabric.  Only Barbie was neat.  To this day I don't keep up my things as well as I did those doll clothes (although I have improved...). 
     Maybe keeping my doll clothing organized was not overwhelming.  Everything was small and easy to deal with, and even easier to lose if I didn't keep track of each item.  I also took pride in some of the clothing because I had made it. 
     I suppose most of us have experiences like this in some way.  We had a childhood love that didn't carry over much into maturity.  Funny how that happens?!  I don't understand it.  In my case the enjoyment of sewing shifted to making my own clothes, but often to save money.  In today's society sewing doesn't save money so I have my Etsy shop, Hitty Hatty.  That seems to fill the void for now.  But sometimes I think it would have been fun to be a doll clothes designer, or fabric designer, or fantasy gown designer, or........who knows?
     Then I remember music and my viola and come to my senses.....

Friday, May 17, 2013

Music Nugget 59/ A True Confession

     When I was young and my dad was driving us someplace, he would purposely accelerate a bit when going up hills on country roads so we could feel the cool tummy feeling that happens when you descend.  I loved that feeling! We would ask him to do it whenever we saw a big hill coming.  It was so much fun.
     Sometimes I get a similar feeling when I listen to music.  An unexpected harmony or key change often triggers it. My tummy flutters, and maybe I get chills.  So cool!!
     Today I'm sharing my favorite Piano Guys song because it does the tummy thing to me.  I love the Coldplay song featured here....be patient and wait for it.  Better than French Silk Pie!  This song would be fabulous to listen to when driving (warning...watch your speedometer).

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Blog Split

     I will be reactivating my other blog, Dashees Garden, which I have renamed Hitty Hatty.  All Etsy info, sewing, embroidery and other craft info will be there.
     Musiolarose will continue as my personal blog about my life, activities, beliefs, etc.

P.I. and Loving It

     It was a short night so I gave up on trying to sleep and searched the news as a distraction.  I read about Benghazi and the IRS scandal.  I listened to testimony I have missed.  I listened to opinions.  I even studied body language in hopes of that shedding some light on who might be telling the truth, or not. 
     I'm not sure I know much more than I did before last night.  And I certainly do not know who to believe (most of the press being way up on my list).
     I have been thinking about the directions our society has gone since I was a young adult in the hippie years.  It's not a pretty picture.  Morality has slowly eroded just about everywhere, including  even churches where it should be upheld. 
     Accompanying many of the current popular philosophies is the label "politically correct".  It seems to me that this phrase is a fancy way of labeling something "accepted by popular people".  Perhaps it is a label for whatever reflects the latest standard of right and wrong. In any case, it is manmade and shifts like sand.  Being "politically correct" is kind of like accepting the same standards as the popular cliques from your high school days.  Of course, the culturally elite disguise it by trying to make it sophisticated. We are supposedly all adults now.
      A prime example is the fashion world. What I call the "slut look" is popular.  To prevent too much of an extreme, it has been tamed down for the average person.  Traits of the style, like deeply cut necklines and body hugging clothing, have been  incorporated into department store clothing in an acceptable "politically correct" style fit for the average person.  The style has been "disguised"  with sophistication for the fashionably elite.  But it still is reminiscent of the slut look (I find it interesting that women's fashion has eroded to this after all the women's lib hype of the 70's).
     What ever happened to God?  Oh, I know...he has been redefined into something more "politically correct".   Mankind has decided we know who God is better than He does.  He has been redefined by the culturally elite or eliminated.  If God doesn't fit the agenda, just get rid of Him.  Afterall, He is only a figment of the imagination--a nice fable.  Or...better yet...let's include the parts of him we like.  Love is good. The more we love, the better.  Love is politically correct.  It's OK to believe in a Love God.  Love should not be controlled by restrictive rules, either.  Everyone should be free to express whatever kind of love they want to.  That is politically correct.
     This reminds me of raising children.  I love my children.  I love them enough to teach them that certain things are dangerous and certain things are wrong (I think we can all agree that stealing and lying are wrong).  Teaching rules and discipline is part of loving parenting.  If we break the rules as adults, what does that teach our children?  Why did we bother to teach them at all?  I think we did because we know deep down that some things are just wrong and will ultimately harm those we love.       
      I think belief and faith are what we should be concerned about, rather than what is politically correct.  By the way, who decides what is politically correct?  The only answer I have come up with is the media.  Why do we let that have such an influence? What authority does the media have to tell me how to live my life? And I certainly would not go there for an example to emulate, at least generally speaking.
     I'm happy being politically incorrect.  I would rather let God be the measuring stick of whether or not something is acceptable.  God is real....this I know.  I don't just believe, I know. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Weekly Music Nugget 58

     A constant in my life has been my love of music.  When very young I would hum and hum and hum, driving everyone around me crazy.
     When I was in first grade I had a teacher who thought I was on the slow side mentally and "backward".  She took it upon herself to break some of my bad habits and teach me new ones.  She broke me of calling people "honey",  humming during art, holding my pencil wrong, and climbing steps incorrectly.  She did not , however, affect my love of music (or my pencil hold....I still prefer my way).  I hummed and hummed at home.
     My mother exposed me to all kinds of music.  We danced to her piano playing, listened to the radio at breakfast and in the car, listened to my dad's Four Freshman records, danced to Disney, Bozo on the Farm, and the Nutcracker, heard records of several musicals, watched Leonard Bernstein on TV, heard Peter and the Wolf and Tubby the Tuba, watched my mother clean to Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite, and soaked up Richard Strauss, Tschaikovsky, Bach, Rachmaninoff, Gershwin, and Beethoven.  We listened to her sing and heard recordings of Mahalia Jackson; we were taken to ballet, symphony and orchestra concerts.  I'm sure there was more....but that covers a lot.
     I soaked it all in.  I began violin lessons when I was nine, and fell in love with the violin.  When I was 19 I switched to the viola and found that to be a better match for me.
     I love my viola!  It has been a long journey, and it continues.  I am so grateful to still be able to play and grow as a musician.  I am so grateful for the deep desire to do so which still periodically flares, and I wonder how I can still feel it after all these years.  Oh, sometimes that feeling is so deep! It's a a gift from the Creator himself.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Downspout

     Spring has finally come to Wisconsin.  April was cold, gray and rainy.  May has been drier and warmer, and along with daffodils and tulips came the robins.  One pair decided to set up housekeeping near the back of our house.
     Every year we  have at least one robin's nest on our property.  Most of them are vulnerable to attacks and usually lose their eggs.  Last year was a good year.  Why couldn't they have put their nest in the same place again?  Instead the nest was built at the top of a downspout near a backdoor.
     We use this door.  I discovered the nest after enduring mad chirping and a few dive-bombing attacks.  My husband suggested we get rid of the nest because it would fall in the next heavy rain.  I said no....I couldn't bear the thought of driving the parents away by touching the nest.  So we endured the dive-bombs.
     Then it rained.  I checked the nest and it had moved to the edge.  The next morning it had moved to the ground.  Empty.  Two babies with hardly any feathers lay dead nearby.  Oh, so sad!!
     Such is life sometimes.  We do our best and things just fall apart.
     Well, I'm going to bed.  I'm tired and this post is rather depressing, isn't it?  It's supposed to be spring!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wagnerian moment

     I'm so tired!  I have spent the last three days playing Wagner's Overture to Tannhauser, Venusberg and Siegfried's Idyll.  And then some very fast Verdi. Oh, and going to the first rehearsal and finding that I had been moved up to asst. principal, one of the hot seats.  Egads!  I suppose if I was young and concertizing every week this would not be a big deal, but I don't fit either of these.  Following the concert last night  I'm not feeling well.  I wonder why...?!
     This continues tomorrow when  Kenosha Symphony will perform two 5th grade concerts, preceded by a 9:15 AM rehearsal (too early for my aging body to be tackling Wagner). The program won't be as challenging; the only repeat Wagner will be the Tannhauser Overture.  We will, however, also perform a shortened version of Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries.  I ABHOR playing that thing.  It makes me cross-eyed!  Enough said.
     I am chugging capsules of Doterra essential oils in hopes of beating whatever bug I am fighting.  It seems to be working so far.  Hopefully I will be ready for more laps in the Wagner marathon.  I love these oils....they have saved my bacon a few times!
     Wagner is physically challenging to play, but in spite of that, it is a fabulous experience.  One word comes to mind. Gargantuan.  The orchestra is huge, the sound at times is huge, musical shapes  and lines are long.  Harmonies shift like the turning of gigantic vehicles.  Being in the midst of this is like being in another world, one that is unbelievably lush, beautiful, and magical.  I wonder if it is akin to the music of God.
      I suppose I will continue to perform Wagnerian opportunities that come my way.  The benefits outweigh my aging body!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Quote from General Conference

     "Spiritual light rarely comes to those who merrily sit in the darkness waiting for someone to flick the switch." -President Dieter F. Uchtdorf 
     I love this.....it's from a talk during the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which I am a member (talks were this past weekend and can be found at lds.org).

Friday, April 5, 2013

Weekly Music Nugget 57

     I would like to share a video performance of two movements from Vaughan Williams' Suite for Viola and Orchestra.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPnvVy3CuIc
     The violist, Maxim Rysanov, plays beautifully. The opening movement is played lovingly with some exquisite moments.  I think he is in love with this piece!  So heartwarming as this particular composition is rarely performed. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


     While checking Facebook I found this beautiful YouTube video.  It speaks of children and the role of parents (http://youtu.be/UNahtS4XJ8E ).
     When I was growing up I assumed I would marry and have children.  All girls did that then.  I ran, played horse, took dance and violin lessons, played Queen of Venus, and never touched dolls until I was about 8 or 9.  That doll was Barbie, and I was in it for the clothes.  I had no interest in playing mother or being one; I was a bit of a tomboy.
     During the seventies social issues  took hold on me.  I thought it made good sense to limit the number of children I had, if any, to one or two.  It made sense to me to live with someone before I married him; it made sense to me to try something out first and see if it fit.
     Soon thereafter I learned about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and decided to be baptized (see post entitles The Gift).  I transferred to BYU and began to live a different lifestyle and desire marriage and a family.
     That eluded me while at BYU.  I learned and learned,  took up the viola, and switched my science major back to music.  It felt right to me; this was my path.
     My music path has been filled with struggles to practice and discipline myself.  My knowledge that this was the right thing for me pushed me along.  At age 30 I entered graduate school and finally got my act together, so to speak.  In the midst of that I met my future husband.  By that time I was in my mid-thirties and wondered  what motherhood would be like, if even possible, and how I wold juggle my viola duties.  To maintain a baseline of playing ability I had to keep up my viola, especially at my age.
     All of this takes faith. You do what is right.  In my case, I was able to have three healthy boys, finish my dissertation eventually, and keep my hand in the viola pot (I also have a very supportive husband!).  I marvel how I was able to do this; ah, how long youth seemed!
     Motherhood grew on me.  I never considered myself the mother type, but it just became part of me. When I recently became a grandmother I wanted nothing more than to run away with my husband and be near her.  Motherhood brings joy.
     I worried about my viola. Around age fifty I began to have some physical issues that affected my playing.  Issues in my life related to children and finances took precedence over my body at that time.  I knew I needed help but it would have to wait.  When the time was right I was blessed to find the perfect teacher for me just 15" from my home.  I look back and marvel at this. He knew what to do and I complied, changing my technique so I could continue.  I was able to do it, and now I can play physically challenging music with very little arm trouble. At my age this is big; in fact, it is miraculous!  In some ways I play better than in my youth.  Who would have thought??!!
     My viola experience is a testimony to the importance of motherhood.  I exercised faith that God's way was best and I have been very blessed in the process.  My children have brought me more joy than any amount of worldly success.  The sacrifices-time, focus, effort and putting the needs of others above your own-are an investment that brings eternal rewards. 
     I know that children  bring heartache at times.  I also know that people can change and that life goes on beyond this one.  Life is about change, and it continues.  If we are separated from loved ones there is always hope for reunion and healing, even if it's in the next life.  I have been blessed with good kids so far, but one of them had brushes with death.  I guess I know a little bit about that. I guess I just wanted to end by stating that there is healing and hope available.  It's never too late!

Friday, March 29, 2013

I won!

     I have been entering a weekly team contest sponsored by the Etsy team called nonteam challenge for many, many months.  I've had a few honorable mentions, but this week I'm the winner (https://www.etsy.com/treasury/Nzg3ODA5MHwyNzIxNjA2NzI5/beach-house).  To participate in  the contest,  members make a themed treasury which must include a particular inspiration item of the winner's choosing--mine this week. Next week I pick the new winner.
     This challenge has always been a favorite activity of mine, but when you are on the winning end it is a very different experience.  I am learning a lot, which I will briefly sum up in my winner announcement post at nonteamchallenge.  Just one thought now...it is delightful to see how many different ways one item can be treasured.  Mind-boggling, and heart warming!
     I'm about ready to leave home for a few days....and a brainworm entitled "On the Road Again" is playing in my head (I wish I liked the song....).  So glad I will have access to the computer so I can review entries......
     Here is the link to the nonteamchallenge entry thread if you are interested.  My inspiration item is the purple heart.https://www.etsy.com/teams/7395/treasury-challenge-nonteam/discuss/12026302/
     I'm having such a good time!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Great link

     I found this Facebook page via one of my sons, a student at Brigham Young University Idaho.  It is uplifting...especially when I realize the comments are by college students!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hitty Hatty 6

     This is what I am working on now-

     The corner of a vintage doily has been hand stitched to raspberry colored linen.  The linen is cut from a thrift store shirt.  The linen is nice quality--both strong and soft.  Love the color!  Hoop is 6 inches in diameter.  Next...embellishing.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Weekly Music Nugget 56
     I've had a Music Nuggets famine but was inspired over the weekend, and I'd like to share something from YouTube.  Below is a link to Libertango (composer Piazzolla) performed by the Berlin Philharmonic Viola Quartet. The arrangement is terrific, and the violists are all wonderful musicians.
     The group not only has great musicianship, but technique.  The members have fine orchestral playing skills which are nicely showcased  here.  This video is a gem!
     If you liked this, go to this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCEh1swSQEg.  This is Oblivion (Piazzolla) by the same group.  It's gorgeous....!  The sound of the viola is beautifully showcased here.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Strange weather

    I'm up late.....and listening to the rumble of thunder in late January.  In Wisconsin.  Spring has sprung again and will exit Wednesday.  Crazy!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cleaning Tip 2

      This tip came from my apartment roommate  many, many years ago.  She suggested that we each clean our bathroom sink each time we used it.  I tried it and liked the tip.  It usually took a few seconds to do this, my sink at least looked clean all the time, and heavier cleaning was simple.  It became a habit, and I still do it.
      I am keeping up with my shower cleaning tip from last year.  It is becoming a habit, and the shower never looked so clean!  This really works for me.
      Now.....I wonder how I can keep up on dusting.  Maybe I will try leaving my duster out in the kitchen where it is visible and easily accessible.
      Another trick that helps remind me to clean.....in the bathroom I leave a few cleaning supplies on the counter instead of hidden under the sink.  They are in a nice container from which they are easily grabbed.
      I also splurge and buy cleansers that smell good, look good, and work.  Some of them are not harsh (I like Meyers)  and I might eventually switch completely to these.  They are better for the environment and they don't bother my nose.  Cleaning is more pleasant now!
      Why these tips?  I hate the discipline of cleaning on a regular basis.  I seem to expend all that energy on other things, such as practicing.  Now that my kids are gone from home I am not as overwhelmed and I'm actually becoming interested in improving my cleaning skills.  Also, I am aging and my body is happier if I do things little by little instead of occasional giant cleaning sprees. I have less injuries!  I'm improving bit by bit......there's hope for me!
       Now....if only I could transfer this desire to paperwork..........

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Musing 23

     I just had an unpleasant flashback to my elementary school years in central Indiana.  I was looking at a picture of navy bean soup at Pinterest and I suddenly remembered the look and smell of the ham and bean soup served in my school cafeteria.  That soup was the only thing I really disliked on the menu.  Actually, dislike is too mild; I detested the stuff.  It was a rather thick, whitish gloppy mess with a few bits of ham that smelled as bad as it tasted.  The odor was kind of sickening.  And there was always a very plain piece of cornbread, too.  Maybe I would eat that.  Ugh!!
     My father loved ham and bean soup but no one else did, so it was not on the home menu.  So he snarfed it whenever he had a chance elsewhere.  I sometimes heard about the experience and tried not to groan too much. 
     When I was about 12 years old my family went on vacation to Washington DC and was given a tour by our congressman at my dad's request.  Our congressman invited us to  eat lunch where he did (I don't remember the name...it was where congressmen and senators ate).  We heard about their famous Senate Bean Soup and I knew I would have to eat it.  I was told it would be good, and that I had to be on my best behavior.  Needless to say, I was not looking forward to the experience.  When the day came and the soup was in front of me, I ate it, and something very odd happened. I liked it. In fact, the only thing I remember about the lunch was discovering there was a version of ham and bean soup that was good.
     After the trip my mother made the senate soup a couple of times and it was pretty yummy.  I've successfully made it, too.  What made it good?  First, I never use the big beans.  The senate soup had the small navy beans.  My school always used great northern beans amd to this day I won't touch them.  But the small ones work.  Second, don't just make it out of ham hocks and beans.  Add other vegees and seasonings.  I like to add some chopped onions, carrots, celery and potatoes.  Hickory flavoring helps, too.  Last, it needs some body but it shouldn't be too thick.  No glue, please.  That's just gross!
     Back to the Pin....I have posted a link to what looks like a good bean soup.  It's time for a nice hearty soup; it's very cold here!  Maybe I'll make it with a 12 bean mix that is good (after I pick the great northern beans out... )         http://www.wiveswithknives.net/2009/10/23/white-bean-and-ham-soup-on-a-chilly-foodie-friday/

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hitty Hatty 5/ Doily Wool Bag

      Below is another project that is nearing completion.  This small  bag is cut from wool I purchased at Etsy.  I decorated the front and back of it with a vintage doily.  It is lined with silk.  I hope to list it on my Etsy shop soon.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday Musing 22

     One of my sons did some research for a class on the topic of mindfulness.  He shared some of what he learned with us and I found it interesting.  Mindfulness has been on my mind...
     Today I had the impression that I need to be mindful of what I am thinking about, especially noting when I have  anxious/worry thoughts.  I should write down what they are and when I have them, and do it for no other reason than to discover how often they occur.  Kind of like the exercise of recording what and when you eat before starting a new diet.
     Once I get a better picture of what is going on in my head it will be appropriate to analyze what I discover and find patterns, if any.  My guess is that I have these thoughts much more than I realize and mindfulness techniques will help me focus on more positive thoughts.  But who knows...maybe it's not as bad as I think!  Guess I'll have to do this and find out...
     Meanwhile, here is a link to some basic information about mindfulness-

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hitty Hatty 4 - felted bag

     Today I'm posting a photograph of a small bag I am finishing.  It was cut out of a felted wool sweater and then embroidered with wool crewel yarn.  I still have to attach the lining (hence the pins) and handle ribbon.  The size will be about 6 x 7 inches. 
     There is a pocket on the back cut from sleeve ribbing.

     Below is a pocket heart cut from felted wool; it's similar to the purse.  So soft and cozy!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sunday Musings 21

    Well, it's a day late...
     Yesterday I had an experience that rattled me.  I have been feeling inceasingly anxious ever since, and have felt myself start down the path of worry and depression.  I found an article this morning that reminded me of the need to move forward in my life...move forward with faith. 
      My elementary school years occurred during the Cold War.  There was talk of bomb shelters, possible nuclear war, and the dangers of radioactive fallout.  TV had periodic announcements about what to do in case of an attack and how to protect yourself from fallout.  I remember worrying about these things.
       I have a memory of one day in particular.  As I was walking to school I remember being scared that I would not get home again.  What if a bomb goes off while I am in school?  What kind of protection is there?  For that matter, how protected is my home?   It was depressing--a dark morning.
       Even though many years have passed since then,  these fears occasionally surface.  I recognize the anxious fear.  It tugs at my emotions and sometimes pulls me off course.  Focusing on my LDS faith helps me overcome my fears.  I have spiritual tools such as prayer and Scripture study to strengthen me.
       In addition to these things, it is faith promoting to see what the Lord has done in my life.  Today I am remembering that the girl who heard weekly Soviet  threats now has a son serving a mission in Russia and a Russian/Ukrainian stand partner in a local orchestra.  I enjoy all the Russian people I have met, and this has brought me joy.  Never in my wildest imagination would I have thought these things would happen.  They were unthinkable. 
       These blessings remind me of how the Lord is personally involved in each of our lives.  Right down to the details.  It also reminds me that His knowledge is far beyond ours; in fact, there are no words for it.  Maybe all-encompassing or eternal.  So it is important to worship him through faithfulness and have hope that everything will work out.  Just hold on...hang in there!  You never know what surprise blessings are around the corner.

Here is a link to a wonderful article I found on lds.org:

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In addition to being a violist, I am a wife and mother (three sons). I dabble in writing, handwork, sewing and photography.