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...

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, 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 (  We need to express our support and love for the great principles upon which the USA was 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 (  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.....

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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.