Sunday, December 6, 2020

Merry Thanksgiving and Happy Christmas to All!

Yes, it is a little strange hearing from me again so soon, but I did not want to miss the chance to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! We are all hoping that 2021 will be a better year, but I for one have fastened my seat belt, bracing for what is to transpire. Thankfully the Lord is in charge!!!

Haven and family always stop by on Halloween for our yearly "scary" photo. As always, everyone was dressed up in the costume of their choice. These kids are so creative!!
The other excitement in October was the groundbreaking for the Moses Lake Temple...yes, this photo was taken from my upstairs bedroom. A year from now I will be able to walk across the street to attend the House of the Lord!! What a phenomenal blessing!
This is what I will see when it is done!!!
Restrictions aside, I hosted a Thanksgiving dinner with Haven's family. Ariel and Nathan joined in the "leftover" feast on Friday. 
How I love having this family here in town with me. I love them so much!
On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Ariel and Nathan (and of course Gus) helped set up my tree for Christmas. I decided to put up all my decorations since I will be home for the holidays this year!
Of course the Charlie Brown tree is up and full of beautiful snowflakes!
I counted 22 nativities- so up they all went! The quilted wall hanging is the expert work of Haven!
Some of these nativities I have had for 40 years, while others more recently have come to me through gifts and travel.
Many countries are represented...Fiji, Kenya, Madagascar, Cameroon, Italy and Israel. The greatest joy is reflecting on each one's depiction of the greatest story ever told!!
Got a few new things for the great outdoors this year. Made a wreath and tried to make my entrance feel of holiday cheer!
In any season, the sunsets in Moses Lake are always breathtaking!
May your holidays follow suit as you find peace, joy and comfort in knowing that the Savior of the world is nigh at hand!
Blessings to each of you as you celebrate the birth of our Lord!

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Spring and Summer Under Lockdown!

 Since we have all been hearing about Covid-19, the lockdown and politics in this crazy election year, I promise to keep my comments non-Covid, non- lockdown and non-political. Wow....2020 has certainly been a unique and unusual year to navigate! I have spent a great deal of time at home, so this chapter will not be filled with much in the way of excitement!! LOL! My last post recounted the more "normal" days of winter and early spring, but now instead of travel and exciting adventures, it has been a time of evaluation and introspection....which is of course quite valuable....or maybe just downright scary!

Part 1- Spring

As always I am delighted to see spring arrive so I can begin playing in the dirt... Ariel's dogwood tree was lovely this year!
My Mother's Day flowers from the it is October and they still look beautiful!
The clematis, sage and lavender have taken over my little herb garden!
Although off to a slow start this clematis is quickly catching up.
Planted this box early as it has peas, lettuce, carrots and spinach.
Numerous pickings have helped to fill my freezer!
For the past two years I have not been able to grow any type of squash due to  the voracious appetite of the local squash bugs....yuk! This year I thought I would outsmart them by netting the squash until they bloomed, then I would have to let the bees have access. It worked! I have had enough zucchini for the entire neighborhood and even managed a few butternut squash..VICTORY- never saw a single squash bug!
Of course the roses, peonies and hybiscus never disappoint!

Nathan and the kids helped replace the plastic edging around the lawn and along the flowerbeds with very sturdy steel edging. They did a stellar job! Love my Larsens!

Part 2- Family, Feline and Friends

One of the advantages of having Haven's family in town is my getting to take one of the grandkids out for lunch and a day together each month. One of the popular stops is the Japanese park that boasts some 40 or so Koi. By the way, they really like Multi-Grain Cheerios! Even Little T (who is now 16 and 6ft tall) enjoys this activity!

Here is Dulcinea (now 14) being very Zen at the Japanese park...
Noble's son, Julian (now 12) came to Moses Lake to spend 2 weeks with Mima. Nathan and Ariel went to Utah over Labor Day weekend and he came back with them, then I flew him home...well Delta did most of the actual flying! We had a great time together. He especially enjoyed his cousins and Ariel's chickens!
My friend Naoko Kawahara Johnson whom I met while serving in Japan on a mission, now lives on the west side of Washington state. On occasion she and her husband pass through Moses Lake on their way to Idaho or Utah. It is fun when she has the time to stop so we can catch up!
Ariel opened a draw to get out some linen for the bed I would be occupying over the weekend, and of course Gus saw that as an opportunity to claim a spot among the sheets! She is one funny cat!

Part 3 - The Getaway

Deanna came to visit for awhile..such a treat to all be together. We decided to take a short trip to Harrison, Idaho, which is on the other side of Lake Coeur D' Alene. A tiny town of 300 filled with friendly people, little shops and a delightful Bed and Breakfast that we called home for three days! Our hostess was an excellent cook and we enjoyed the peace and quiet in this laid back community.
Sherry sets a charming table and the eclectic interior of this "home away from home" is very comfortable!
The building has served many uses over the many years, including being the town's hospital.
We had lunch at a pier -front eatery in Coeur d'Alene. The weather was fabulous!
It was warm enough for these two to take to the job was camera-woman!
The Harrison Creamery had quite the reputation for ice cream and fudge...and we were not disappointed!

Part 4 - Fires and Frosting

The West Coast fires were not a threat to us here in Moses Lake, but the smoke was horrific. We had about a week where going outside was not a healthy option! The sun was an orange ball in the middle of the day and every surface was covered in soot...I was never so grateful for clean air and blue skies!!
Speaking of fires, Ariel and Haven decided 70 candles would be a good idea for my birthday cake! It is a wonder the smoke alarm did not hail the local fire department!
Knowing my great love of flowers, the kids all chipped in for 70 gerber daisies!! Had to use the cookie jar for a vase!! Was an enjoyable weekend with family and friends! I am so very blessed!
Well that about brings you up to date. Not too painful for a 6 month synopsis I hope!
October 5th Kelsey would have been 42! Doyle has no doubt been his companion these past four years. Each May and October I head to the cemetery to check on the boys. Haven went with me and we cleaned up the headstones and let them know that we were still missing them !
How grateful I am for the Gospel of Jesus Christ that brings me hope, peace and the expectation of seeing all of my loved ones once again.
May the Lord's richest blessings be yours until we meet again, either in this life or the next!

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Winter Wanderings

 Steel yourself as this blog contains too many pictures for a mere 3 months!

Christmas this year found me in New York City. Although I have visited my children there numerous times, this was my first Christmas in the Big Apple. It did not disappoint! Besides being with my three NYC kids and grandbabies, it was lovely to see the city so very festive...and...COLD!
Rockefeller Center was incredible with its 60+ft tree, ice skaters, heralding angels and festive decorations!

This fountain was running the day we were there, but an early picture depicts how cold I felt!
 Autumn took a day off work and we did a "walk about" through the city. Besides Rockefeller Center we stopped in St. Patrick's Cathedral in time for the ending of a mass. Very impressive architecture!

Autumn is quite the artistic photographer. Inside Sachs and me peeking out from behind the cathedral door.

 We spent the day enjoying the sights and sounds of the holiday season. Her Christmas surprise for me was the Philharmonic and a very talented Choral group performing the Messiah. It brought tears to my eyes- for her thoughtfulness and for the outstanding performance!

 Christmas morning dawned and the little ones could hardly be contained. Oh the excitement of little children. What joy to watch their faces light up!

 Dan and Sandra made an appearance a little later in the day and it was fun having them with us. 
Ailene took the kids, Autumn and I to the NYC Botanical Gardens. More than 175 scaled iconic buildings and structures such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Yankee Stadium, and the Statue of Liberty are displayed under thousands of twinkling lights. Step into a miniature city where famed New York architecture is recreated using bark, leaves, and other natural materials.
 Ailene, Aden and Amaia in front of Grand Central Station
 Brooklyn Bridge
 There were plenty of kid friendly activities, whimsical creatures and opportunities to climb and learn.
Loved this big caterpillar!
 The Wall Street train station was a work of art in and of itself!

 Outside of the Manhattan temple we discovered a Giving Machine. The kids were excited to donate a piglet, chickens and some food!

 Although windy and chilly we took a ferry ride down the East River enjoying the skyline while Ammon was the tour guide and explained the historical spots, ie. Brother Island in the East River where Typhoid Mary met her demise in 1938.

Remains of Riverside Hospital in the East River. Typhoid Mary died here.
 Wide variety of architecture in NYC. Was a fantastic trip!

January was spent catching up and preparing for the next trip!
My friend Carol and Deanna and I decided to get out of the cold for the month of February and head to the Florida panhandle. Miramar Beach to be exact. Ahhh the land of Emerald water and white sand, hence the name Emerald Coast.

 The Amalfi Coast condos offered us a deal not to be ignored with a nice two bedroom condo, a short stroll to the beach, a resident crane, koi and turtles in the pond, an evening fire pit and two swimming pools!

The grounds were beautiful and well kept and the southern hospitality is no joke!!! The Gulf of Mexico was not disappointing! We took an hour long cruise to watch the dolphins cavort in the light turquoise waters and enjoyed the warm sun.

 We decided to take a little side trip to Baton Rouge to see the state capital and attend the temple. We crossed the Florida panhandle, 40 miles of Alabama, 60 miles of Mississippi and then on to Louisiana. That is 4 states in 4.5 hours!

Did an evening session at the Baton Rouge Temple. It is very similar to the Spokane Temple here in WA, but has limited hours of operation.
While in Baton Rouge we were able to tour the old Governor's Mansion, the old State Capital and the remarkable St. Joseph's Cathedral with its very impressive stained glass depicting the life of the Savior.
Front of the Governor's Mansion
The decor and the wall murals were elegant!
The Old State Capital building was more like a fortress than a place for political gatherings....although there might be something to be said for the similarities!
The spiral staircase and stained glass dome! Can you tell that I am a fan of stained glass?
The day we were there a school was having a mock-legislative session.
St Joseph's Cathedral
Before leaving Baton Rouge, we stopped at a famous beignet place! YUM!

The other reason to head to Louisiana and toward the mighty Mississippi River was to get a look at some of the historic plantations. They did not disappoint!
 Oak Alley is quite famous for its Burnside Oaks (named after the plantation owner John Burnside, who owned Houmas House Plantation) Here are a few outdoor and inside pictures of both.

Resident swans in the pond.
Much of the furnishings, although not original to the plantations are nevertheless period pieces that give a feel for life in that era.

 Some of the owners were very kind to their slaves and others treated them abominably. John Burnside was not only kind, but freed his slaves, gave them each a parcel of land and then offered them wages to continue working for him.
 There had been unusually heavy rainfall which is reflected in this photo of the mighty muddy Mississippi!
 We arrived and left right before the festivities of Mardi Gras, but there were decorations, beads, masks and costumes to be had everywhere. 

So my dear friends and family, as you can see I am alive and well and fortunately still able to travel and enjoy my children, grandchildren and many of the sights and history of our amazing country. Hopefully this finds all of you in good health and enjoying your life!
Until next time!