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!

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/downy_woodpecker/id

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!
https://earthcafetogo.com/onlinestore/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=1&zenid=06236hq8kpp2hg18g4vlimtd3039rk25

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.
http://www.classicfm.com/discover/collections/baby-music/classical-music-babies-playlist/

Voices

  
    
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!!
https://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2013/the-landfillharmonic-orchestra/#comment-876243

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

Family

     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.
    

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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.