Saturday, May 31, 2014

Day Tripping

Good evening!  Today has been such a good day!  I went with Mel into the shop this morning and we both did a little work there.  Then Mel said, "What shall we do for the rest of the day?  Do you want to go to Garden Valley?"  Well, sure.  I love it up there.  So off we went towards the mountains.  About half way there, Mel said, "You know, there are yummier places to eat in McCall."  Ha, ha!  Yes, there are and it is only another hour on the road.  So we drove up to McCall.  It was beautiful!  Sunny and warm.  We got lunch and sat in a little park by the lake.  We have so many memories from McCall...starting from the first summer we lived in Idaho.  So it is fun to sit and reminisce.  Then we decided to head back in the general direction of home.  We took a detour though and went off on some little mountain road that said "Dead End" right at the beginning.  That means it is probably gorgeous and they don't like people driving around their property:)  So we drove out to the end of the road and found this little cottage.

Yeah, it is pretty nice, and the view is amazing!  So that was lots of fun.  We drove around for a while seeing how the other half lives (or is it 10%?) and then started back home.  We stopped near Banks to get close to the river and take a break.  I got a good picture of Mel...smiling.  He loves the wilderness...especially forests and rivers.  We watched several rafters float on by.  It was fun.  I think next time we will remember our swim suits because the hot springs are fun around there.
Anyway, now we are back home.  Mel is out mowing the lawn.  I am blogging of course.  It has been such a lovely day.  I hope things are great in cyberspace today.  Take care.  And have a lovely rest of today!!!!!!!!!!!  Melody

Friday, May 30, 2014

Lost in Dreams

Good morning!  I woke up with a dream still in my memory this morning.  It was kind of funny!  Some dear old friends came for a visit.  That part was nice.  But then Max had 12 puppies right in the middle of everything.  And they weren't tiny or helpless!  They were running everywhere.  And all of a sudden our kids were too....back to the ages of pre-teens.  It was real chaos.  And it made me remember.   And so this morning I am grateful that those kids are grown and don't live here anymore.  I do miss them, but definitely not the chaos!  It was such a vivid dream!  I even remember the needle work I was doing:)  Can you imagine....needlework in the midst of all of the kids and puppies, unmade beds, lost treasure and the whole thing.  I am glad I woke up!!!!!!!!!!
So I am off to visit teach.  I hope today finds you cheerful.  HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!!!  Melody

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Some Fantastic Photos :)

Good evening!  I thought I would share a few photos of a couple of grandsons.  The first is of Taylor from yesterday, when he was playing with the hose.  I love these photos because it won't be long before he might feel a little self conscious about playing with a hose in his grandma's backyard.  He looks so happy and carefree!

The others are of Sebastian.  He is Kim's third grade and they had a singing concert for school today.  He was not too excited about performing in front of an audience.  Can you tell?

He kept looking over shyly...kinda cute!
It was a patriotic program....all songs were about America and the freedoms we share.  It made me remember how blessed we are to live in a country where our freedoms are protected....for the most part.  I realize nothing is perfect, but it is pretty wonderful that we still enjoy freedom of religion.  That is so important to me.  Especially with all of the other craziness going on around us, it is comforting to feel like I can believe according to the dictates of my own conscious.
Well, not much more to share.  I spent most of the rest of today filing and recording stuff on Mel's computer at work.  I am trying to be a good worker bee:)  Take care out there in cyberspace!!!  I am still pulling for you!!!  Have a most pleasant and peaceful night!!!!  Melody

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sweet memories from today

It's late but I wanted to record something Taylor said to me today. He and Alex came over for the afternoon because Liz had some errands to run.  Taylor played a long time in the sprinkler. Then he spent about an hour working on a very big and magnificent sand castle.  He had me walk out through the sprinklers to see his creation. I was impressed. It brought to mind many sand creations from my past.  I told him how much I liked it.  And he said, "Grandma, I think it's good my folks are so busy because I get to come here and play with you. And it's my favorite place to be!"  That made my day.  He is such a sweet boy.  I really do feel like I am the scripture says, "My cup runneth o'er."
So good night!  Pleasant dreams!  Melody

Getting Organized

Good morning!  My computer just announced that it is nine o'clock.  I love that feature!  I lose all track of time when I am reading, and especially when I am on the computer.  So it is nice that a little voice reminds me of the time.
I wanted to report that I saw pelicans yesterday!  Two big gorgeous birds!  I think they were a couple.  They danced right over my head as I was headed out to town yesterday.  I tried to take a video, but it didn't come out too well.  The sun was so bright that I couldn't tell where they were in my view finder, and I mostly missed them.  But they were so beautiful!  They are still in my memory, very clear.
The other fun thing was that Taylor and Alex came for a visit last night.  They love it here, and played in the backyard most of the time.  I got a shot of them filling the sandbox up with water from the hose.  It isn't a very good picture, but at least you can get some idea of the affection shared between these two brothers.
And it reminds me that I need to get out and weed around the sandbox!!!!  So much to little time.  And I am not fond of weeding these days.
I am planning a day of food storage organization today.  I have a couple dozen buckets in the garage full of wheat.  I bought them when we first moved to Boise and all of the kids were still home.  I think originally I had 1800 lbs. of wheat.  There is nearly that much still.  I am not very good at rotating the wheat.  I am not too sure what I will do with it.  I have heard all of the stories about how it lasts forever.  But I am sure that it really doesn't.  Wheat grains are a living thing, and they die over enough time.  We had a botanist speak in our ward some years ago and he explained how eventually the grain dies.  One way to test if it is still alive is to sprout it.  So I guess that will be the first see if it will sprout.  And then I need to see what we are still in need of for our food storage.  A few years back I had it all in order and up to snuff.  But since then we have had a few of our kids and families move home and have depleted it considerably.  There is a website put out by the church on food storage.  Here is a link if you are interested.  Food storage  It is a good idea to prepare for an emergency as we have seen in the last decade with so many people facing hardship.  And besides, Mel has a responsibility as a high councilman to encourage family preparedness.  I am glad because I will try a little harder to get things back in order.
And then there is painting.  I keep thinking I will get to it, but things keep coming up...mostly kids and grandkids.  So it is all good.  I will eventually get to it.  As I have said before, I am sooooo grateful we do not depend on my skills to earn us a living.  But I do love painting, so I know I will get to it soon.
And in the meantime....I hope all is well and happy in cyberspace today!  Take care and HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!!!  Melody

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

My Witness

Good morning!  I think I am me again.  And it feels good.  I think a few days of feeling off was good for me.  It makes me appreciate normal!!
So today is traditionally laundry day....or it was when I was on a tight schedule.  Fortunately there is not much laundry today.  So I may put it off.  I kind of like doing it all at once...and watching a good movie while I fold clothes.  Lately though I have been watching conference talks.  I love that I can get them so easily on my ipad.  Mel has started a tradition since he was called to the high counsel.  Each night he listens to a conference talk.  At first I was a little resentful...because I was trying to go to sleep. But this last week I have been trying to soften my heart and to listen along with him.  It wasn't that I don't like the talks...but he was listening to the same ones I was listening to during the afternoon.  But he got through all of the ones from the last conference, and now he is listening to past conferences and I like hearing those talks again that I haven't heard for a long time.  Last night we listened to Elder David B. Haight.  He was such a sweet apostle!  It was from the conference in 2000, when they were first meeting in the conference center.  He talked about how the church had grown, and the faith of those first members of the many of them anonymous except to their families.  It was a beautiful talk.  Here is a link.  Elder Haight 
It made me think of my own ancestors, those who have been faithful in living the truths they found in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  How grateful I am for their testimonies!  And how much I lean on them when I feel weak or sad.  It is reassuring to me that they knew the prophets, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.  I trust their good judgement that these men really were prophets.  I know that President Monson is a prophet today.  He spoke in a ward I was in many years ago when we lived in Provo.  It was special, because he knew many of the members of the ward as friends and he talked to us as if we were all close friends.  He was so warm and kind in his remarks.  And I had a special personal witness that he is a prophet at Women's Conference in 2008.  I don't know if I have written about that.  He came to speak on the last day of the conference.  We wanted to be as close as we could, so we sat down close to the floor in the bleacher seats at the Marriott Center.  So we were close as he walked in.  I had a very special feeling as he came through the doors.  It felt like he was accompanied by hundreds of unseen angels.  I couldn't see them, but I could definitely feel them.  It was so special.  And he talked about how we should be joyful in living the gospel.  It was a beautiful talk.  Then after he left we had to leave.  I looked up the many stairs I had to climb to get out of there and thought, "How can I do this?"  My knees weren't as bad then, but they were not great.  I started up the steps, and tried to grab the handrail, but there were so many other people holding on, that I couldn't get a hold of it.  Just then, it felt as if I was being held up on both sides, and I easily climbed the stairs.  As I got to the top, these words came into my mind, "You will have all the help that you need."  I remember those words came so clearly, and that they made tears come to my eyes.  And so I had my own personal witness of the prophet and those angelic beings that attend him, and a personal reassurance of the Lord's love for me.  I am so grateful for that.  I know that He loves each one of us and is personally concerned for each of us.  He is truly our Savior!
I hope this day finds you well and happy.  Take care out there in cyberspace.  I am pulling for you!  We are definitely all in this together!!!!  Melody

Monday, May 26, 2014


Good merry morning!  I am feeling a little better today.  I stopped taking that medicine because it had so many awful side effects.  The worst was I couldn't sleep at night...only during the day!  And it made my heart race, my head ache and my stomach too.  It's funny how different bodies react to medicines differently.  This one is definitely off my list!  And I think since I only took it for a couple of days that I will be feeling normal again soon.
Today promises to be a fun day.  Taylor texted me early this morning.  He has an old phone of his mom's that she lets him use.  It is pretty old, the screen is broken, and the battery won't hold a charge for more than a few minutes.  But he is so happy to have his own phone.  It is kind of cute.  Anyway, he wants me to join him at the park at 11.  How could I say no?  Besides, it is hard to find enough to do around here.  I am still working on motivation....and energy.  I hope that returns as I get off of this medication....not that I had a whole lot to spare.  This park is next to his new school, and he is excited to show me.  I guess it has some innovative toys that are run with electronics or wind power or something.  It will be fun to see.
Then I am going to attempt to sketch a little and decide what to work on next with painting.  I keep thinking of things, then talking myself out of them.  Not a good work ethic I know.  But part of it is that I am still establishing priorities in this next phase of my life.  And children and grandchildren will always come first....well, first Mel, and then children and grandchildren.  But he is pretty low maintenance.  He is happy most of the time, and easy to please.  I am quite blessed there.  My kids and grandkids take a little more energy.  But that is good.  I need to feel needed.  Where I will fit painting in is a bit of a quandary still.  Does it come before or after housework?  Maybe after dishes and laundry and before dusting and vacuuming:)  Honestly, things don't get as dirty as they did with a house full of kids.  That was just a couple of months ago.  No wonder I am searching for meaning and questioning priorities.  It all goes by so quickly!  I just need to be patient and take one day at a time.
So I hope things are happy and well in cyberspace today.  Take care and have a wonderful day!!!  Melody

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Life in High Resolution

Wild Roses and Irises
John La Farge
Good morning!  I found a very cool website thanks to James Gurney.  It is a site put up by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  I guess they have had the site up for a while.  But they put up a bunch of new high resolution images.  The cool thing is that you can zoom in on a painting and see brush strokes and use of color.  I am learning a lot from Rembrandt this way.  And other artists too. I am kind of excited about this.  I remember discovering something similar a few years ago that google was doing.  But this is even better I think.  Anyway, here is the link.  Images
I had an odd day yesterday.  I have started a new medication, and the doctor warned that it might make me feel a little wonky the first few days.  He was right!  But I did sleep better, which was the point.  And I guess it will even out in a few days.  But it makes it hard to think, so I may not write as well.  This getting old stuff is a little difficult at times...but I guess it all goes along with the plan.  I am certainly learning to be more compassionate of others ailments.
Well, I guess today will be a regular work day.  Mel went into the shop.  He has a mold that he is working on that is giving him fits.  I hope he can solve the problems for his customer.  I keep thinking how nice it would be if he could find another tool and die maker to help with this work.  His employees are good at running machines, but not at making tools to run in them.  I guess from what I have read, that it is hard to find machinists and tool and die workers anymore.  They mostly reside in China:)  Or they are already working here.  I remember when Mel belonged to the union of tool and die guys in California that he was one of the youngest members.  He thought then it meant job security.  And in a way that is true.  But it does have its down side when you are getting old and tired:)  He does have a China connection and they can make many of his tools, but there is a time lapse and it is not always possible.  Do you feel informed in the fine art of tool and die work now?  I guess it is something I want to solve for him, but most likely he will have to figure it out on his own.
And I think I need to go eat some breakfast and see if a little brain food will help me feel more normal.  Take care out there and have a most wonderful day!!!!  I am pulling for you!  Melody

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Short and Sweet

Good evening!  I saw my doctor today.  He is such a nice man.  I feel like he is one of those people who genuinely cares about others and is doing all he can to be of service.  I am glad I have such a good doctor.  And it is nice that he thinks I am doing well.  So a good doctor's report is encouraging.
I also met with our accountant again today...Mel and I and our bookkeeper too.  We are working hard to get the business to a more professional level of financial stability.  It is all good.
But tonight I am kind of exhausted.  I think mentally as well as physically.  So I think I will just wish all a good night.  I will see if I can think of good things to write about tomorrow.  Best wishes and HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!!!  Melody

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Good morning!  I woke up this morning with this song from Sesame Street in my head.  Not all of the words at once, but I did remember it all before I found it on youtube.   So I thought I would share so you would have it in your head too:)  Nine  It sounds like Burl Ives, and I love the animation!
Yes, way too much time in front of the TV...folding clothes of course...and watching my kids grow up.  Good years!
It's a gorgeous day here today.  I think it did all of the raining it is going to do for now.  It rained quite hard last night when we went to see our granddaughter, Ellen's, choir concert.  She did so well!  It was fun to watch her sing...and dance.  The teacher had them all learn a little dance to "Thriller".  It was pretty fun.  I don't know if the kids are learning how to read music, but they are all definitely learning to love it.  And I suppose the first step in learning something is to learn to love it.  We saw an old friend from Boise there who also had a grandchild in the performance.  But he was not happy with the innovative approach.  He has daughters that dance really well, so maybe he was disappointed in the dancing.  I quite enjoyed it.
So today is Wednesday....already.  It just speeds on by.  Yesterday I did not get any painting done.  Instead I took Liz and her boys over to see the fountain.  She hadn't seen it yet, although she has been to the one in Las Vegas.  Her judgement was that ours is better....because you can get up so close to it.  Everything in Vegas seems to be behind a barrier of some kind.  I guess they have the crowds there that we will never have here.  At any rate she had a fun time...and a good break.  It is hard to be a mom of small kids, and not having transportation makes it extra hard.  I can remember trudging through the snow with a stroller when we lived in Provo...just to go downtown.  Crazy!  But I had to get out of the apartment!!!!
Well, today should be another fun and fascinating day.  I hope it is in cyberspace!!!  Take care and HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!!!  Melody

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Day of Remembrance

Good day to you!  I am determined to make this a positive day.  So far I have cleaned out one kitchen drawer:)  That is an excellent start!  And I plan to paint today.  I have a few things in mind.  Did I ever post my final painting for my anatomy painting class?  Here it is.

I kind of like it.  I did get an A in there.  It was a nice feeling to see my grade posted on Blackboard.  Of course it is less about ability at painting, and more about getting everything done and turned in.  I heard several students talking about how they hadn't started on the color chart, and others saying how they hadn't done any of the homework.  So that probably gave me an advantage.  I am a little over the top about meeting deadlines and getting things turned in.
OK, so today is an important date that I can never forget.  I try to, but that might mean forgetting Tommy, and I can never do that.
 This is the date he died in 1983.  And this is one of the last photos I took of him.  We went to Larkey Park in Walnut Creek.  He wanted to see the animals they had there.  He met a little boy there, who said hi to him.  After, he told me he had made a friend.  I remember being a little surprised at that.  He was such a loving and caring little spirit.  He died a few days later after having a brain hemorrhage.  He was six, so now he would be 37.  It is hard to believe so much time has passed.  It has always seemed a little surreal to me anyway.  When we found out he had cancer, my world sort of turned upside down for a few years, and it hasn't really righted itself all of the way.  I feel that he is safe and in a good place, it isn't that.  I just miss him. It helps to have a grandson, Taylor, that looks quite a bit like him.  Taylor said to me the other day, "I would never say this out loud, but my mom thinks you favor me because I look like your son that died, what was his name?"  "Tommy."  "Oh right, she thinks I look a little like him."  And it's true.  It's not the only reason I favor him a little.  There are a few of my grandkids I do that to, mostly because I worry about them surviving divorce.  But I admit I also have a warm spot in my heart for little Taylor, because he does remind me of Tommy...a lot. I used to worry about that, but I have decided it is one of those tender mercies that Elder Bednar talked about. (Here is a link to that talk if you are interested.  Elder Bednar ) And I have met a couple of other moms who have lost children and then seen them reflected in the face of a grandchild.  It is a blessing!
Well, I guess that is enough somber thoughts for one day.  I am doing fine.  It used to be hard to get through this day.  I wanted everyone to remember, and usually I would have to remind them.  I have learned it is OK if I remember him in my own private way, but I also feel better writing a little in my blog.  Then after I am gone and my posterity read this, they will know he was remembered...always.  Have a good day.  I'm still pulling for you!!!!  Melody

Monday, May 19, 2014

Monday Night

Hola!  I don't have much to write about today.  It has been kind of a lazy day.  I did go swimming with Taylor...and I helped Mel at the office for a short while.  But most of the afternoon I have spent relaxing here at home.  It is very nice to be able to do that!  It seems like I have been on a rather speedy track for a while now.  So I think slowing down should be good.
Taylor is getting to be a pretty good swimmer!  I am so glad!!!!  I have worried that he was getting kind of old to not be a proficient swimmer.   Today he passed the test easily that the YMCA requires of kids before they can use the water slide alone.  Then he spent a lot of time climbing up and slip sliding down.   Apparently someone showed him how to hold his body so he can speed down really fast!  He was delighted!!!  After he had gone down 4 or 5 times, they opened the lazy river.  Although today it wasn't too lazy.  Tay and I were the first ones in there, but almost immediately we were joined by about thirty five kids and a few moms.  It was crazy!!!!  I guess summer is really here because there were so many children at the Y.  I kind of like it, but after an hour of swimming I was done.  And yes, I admit it, I hid out in the deep pool by myself some of the time.  For some reason the kids don't go there.  So while Taylor was slip sliding away on the slide, I was making my way around the perimeter of the deep pool.  It was very peaceful and calm.  It reminded me of when they first opened the YMCA in Meridian.  My sister Diane and I used to go a lot.  And nobody else used it right at first, so we were usually there on our own.  One day the famous Mr. Simplot, of  McDonald's Idaho Potato French Fry fame came in to view the facility to which he had so generously contributed money.  Diane and I were the only ones in the pool.  So he came over and talked to us for just a second.  So I guess that is two famous people I have met in my swim suit...J. R. Simplot, and Elder Jeffrey Holland:)  Kind of funny!
Well, I hear Mel coming home.  Hope all is well in cyberspace today!!!  Have a great family home evening.  If you don't know what that is, here's a link.  Family Night  Take care!!!  Melody

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sabbath Day

Good Sabbath!  It has been such a lovely morning.  Mel gave his first talk as a high counsel man.  He did great, and it was fun to go to another ward.  We saw lots of people we knew.  His talk was on testimony and conversion.  He used some quotes from Elder Holland.  He had a bunch of stuff from Elder Bednar, but he didn't have much time.  The speaker before him went a bit over. But it still was very sweet.  I especially liked when he talked about his own testimony, and how he gained it from hearing his father talk of the experiences he had gaining a testimony.  Taylor is with us this weekend, so he enjoyed it too.  We are home for an hour, then we will go to our ward.
Last night was fun too.  First we had the missionaries for dinner and then we went to a singing concert that a few of my friends participate in.
Jodell Faris is the one with yellow in the middle.
Carol Wintersteen is behind her to the right.
The pianist is also a friend, Helen Fairbourne.
They sing at various rest homes and places and any money they earn they donate to a world surgery center that is run from Boise.  They go all over the world and help children who need special for cleft pallets.  It is a nice thing, and a fun concert.
This morning my plant has become even more beautiful.  The blooms are opening up and are huge!!!  I love it.

Well, I guess I will go and get Taylor some lunch before we leave.  Take care and have a wonderful Sabbath!  Melody

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Flowers of Grace Appear

Good morning!  It is a beautiful day here in the hundred acre woods.  Mel is out mowing the lawn, Taylor is playing games on my ipad, and I am all done with house work.  I still need to shop a little.  We have the missionaries coming over for dinner, and I need a few things.  It should be fun to have them here.
Taylor is quite happy.  He finished his research paper!  So now he is done with school.  He is doing home school this semester, and I think he is enjoying it a lot.  Liz not so much.  So he will be going back to regular public school in the Fall.  They have moved to a different place, so hopefully the bullying will not continue in a new school.  That was the main reason they did home school.  He is a smart boy, and he learns quickly.  I had fun helping him with his paper.  But it was hard to keep him on track.  He loves to talk, and everything is a new topic.  But I suppose that is evidence of a creative mind.  He is lots of fun.
Yesterday I made cinnamon rolls and homemade bread.  So he is pretty happy with that.  So is Mel.  I don't make bread as much as I used to.  I guess because it makes me fat:)  I love it as much as they do.  Only my metabolism is not very fast any more.  Sigh and double sigh!!! topic.  I have a Christmas cactus (houseplant) that I have had for a couple of years.  It is a nice plant, but it has always gotten very tiny buds of flowers that don't grow large and then fall off without opening.  I don't know what happened, but this last week it started growing very large buds, and they are opening into beautiful full flowers.  My visiting teachers wanted to know what I did.  I honestly don't know.  We did move it to the coffee table when we had company for Mother's Day, and it is closer to the pellet stove.  It was only there for a couple of days.  Other than that I am clueless.  But the flowers are gorgeous, so I took a few photos to share.

Well, I hope things are going well in cyberspace.  I am pulling for you!!!!  We're all in this together!!!!  HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!!!  Melody

Friday, May 16, 2014


Good morning!  I am sitting at my computer this morning, reading facebook and waiting for my visiting teachers to come.  I always look forward to their visits.  One of them is an artist too, and so she loves to see what I have done, which is kind of fun.  She does more exact landscape type paintings.  She likes to go to a painting convention they have in Las Vegas each year.  They have classes for three days from various artists.  I am not sure it is something I would like.  I am getting used to painting something that I imagine.  Most of these you paint what the teacher's already drawn on a canvas and you paint it in with instruction.  I guess everyone paints the same stuff.  She has a painting I really like of a waterwheel.
After my visiting teachers come I am going to be a teacher for Taylor.  He is writing a research paper on the History of Video Games.  I think it is great he is writing about something he is so interested in.  But we had to go over to Meridian to find a book about it.  Actually we found three, so that was lucky. I had looked it up on the internet to see what was available in the valley and there wasn't much.  Anyway, he spent the afternoon here making index cards of his ideas...with a little help from Grandma. He made thirteen cards, so I figure he can write a paper from that.  It only has to be three pages long.  But that's a lot for an eleven year old.  He is so smart, but easily distracted.  So my job was to keep him on task...without doing it for him.  I think that is the hard part for a teacher.  When you see what needs to be done, it is so easy to hop in and do it.  But a good teacher is a guide and a cheerleader...standing on the sides and pointing towards the finish line!!!  Ha, ha!  As a student I loved the teacher that would say, "Move over and I'll show you what I mean."  I think that is helpful too.
I picked up all of my art work at BSU yesterday.   I did pretty well I guess.  I am not sure of my grade yet....830 points out of 900 points.  I think that is a 92%, which would give me an A-.  But I won't know for a week or so.  All I know is that it feels tremendously, fantastically, wonderful to be done with school!!!!!  (Notice I didn't use the words awesome or amazing...I read that they are over used.  "awesome
 - Something Americans use to describe everything.  Oh wow I feel awesome!"  From the Urban Dictionary.  But just for the record I feel awesome...and amazing too!!!!!)
So, I guess that is all I have to say today.  Remember I'm pulling for you!!!!!  We're all in this together!!!!  And HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!!  Melody

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Dove of Peace Sings in my Heart

Good morning!  Today is a mixed bag day, some fun, and some worried anticipation.  The fun part is picking up Liz and her boys for a run to the library.  Taylor needs a certain book for school.  And we will probably end up at the water park.  They have a few that are free and fun in Boise and Meridian.  It is supposed to get into the 80's today.  And it will be nice to sit and watch the kids run through the water.  No, I probably will only sit and enjoy watching, not running through the water.  I have done that in years past.  But I suppose I am at the other end of the cycle of life.
The anticipation part is that I have to go and pick up my paintings....with a grade on them.  Actually this will probably be helpful.  I love helpful criticism:)  And this teacher is not so subjective as some.  Still I am hoping for a good grade.  Last semester I got an A+ from this teacher in my anatomy drawing class.  I was totally surprised by that!   I am not expecting such a good grade this semester.  Sigh!  And I don't even know why it matters....but to me it does.
I had a funny dream last night.  All of my professors were there, and my family.  It was like a ward dinner, only it was supposed to be an art show.  I must have Spectrum Live on my mind or something.  Anyway, it was one of those reassuring dreams.  The teachers who I thought hated my work were there telling me what a good job I had done.  Then I woke up and realized it was wishful dreaming.  I do have silly dreams sometimes!
This morning as we were eating breakfast I heard a dove again that I heard last night.  He or she has a distinctive call....instead of saying coooooo, coooooo in pleasant even tones, he says coo, cooooooo.  Over and over.  I pointed this out to Mel and he said, "Maybe he is an escapee from a mental health aviary."    I hope he is not commenting on the people that live here:)
Well, I best go on with my day, since I am full of silliness.  I hope today finds things well and productive in cyberspace.   Take care and HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!  I'm still pulling for you!!!!  Melody

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Enjoying Life

Good afternoon!  I am home again after a long day of work.  No, I am not kidding.  The first job was book club, but I guess it wasn't a hard job.  Just a little nervous being on the spot about a book I wasn't wild about.  But I was industrious and went to the BSU library and got a few supplemental a book on North American moths.  Since the book is all about a girl who is enthralled with nature, and particularly moths, it was a good reference.  I know, it sounds weird, but it was pretty interesting.  One of the ladies in our group had been raised in Indiana and knew about the area.  She said reading the book was a little like going home.  They always had nature things going on at school...studying insects and leaves and such.  I guess they are pretty proud of their swampy heritage:)  But ironically, most of the wetlands have been destroyed.  There is a movement to restore the wetlands of Indiana.  I guess there is a similar movement in many places.  At any rate it is over and I will not have to do another review til next year:)  And it went pretty well.  It is always so fun to get together with these friends I have known since the middle 80's.  I sound like an old timer.  I don't think it sounds at all that long ago, but I guess it is.
After book club I went to the shop to do filing and bill paying for Mel.  I kind of enjoy getting things in order.  And I found a check he had forgotten about!  He is so busy, and doesn't always have time for the paper side of things.  So I earned him a little money.  It is the second time this week.  Going through the things on his book shelf the other day I found some birthday cards from last July he had left on his shelf.  There were three gift cards and two checks!  It's good I like to organize I guess.  Even if it takes me a while:)  I guess I will go into work and help Mel for a few hours each day until he is caught up, and then I will just go in a few times a week.
The temple was so nice last night!  And afterwards we went to my favorite place around here...that's right, the fountain at the Village in Meridian.  We got there in time to see the hourly choreographed musical number.  I took a few pictures, it was so beautiful in the dark with the lights shining on the water!!!  I love sitting outside on a warm night anyway, but the fountain makes it extra fun!

So that is my life at present.  No painting today.  But next week for sure!!!!!  Hope things are good in cyberspace today!!!  Take care and HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!  Melody

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Happy Day! All Is Well!

It is done!!!!  I turned in my paintings this morning...all of them.  And I loaded my car with all of the odds and ends of painting left in my locker and shelves at school.  I am really done.  It feels rather weird, but good too.  Now I will have to figure out how to spend my days.  For the last four years I have had classes to challenge me.  I was thinking it had only been three years, but I started in the Fall of 2010, and took classes each semester, including most summer semesters until now.  So that is four years.  The time has certainly flown by.  It's going to feel a little strange for a while until I fill my life up with other things.  I am glad for book club!  It is tomorrow and I am in charge of the discussion.  We read A Girl of the Limberlost.  It was pretty interesting, about a girl raised in the swamps of Indiana, although I am not sure I would recommend it...unless you love romantic stories with a lot of sentiment.  I guess I love literature that is written concisely and this was not.  I guess it isn't fair to hold every author to the standards of an English major though:)  Mel and all of my kids have teased me for many years about "the standards of an English major."  And I have heard a few jokes about English majors over the years on TV and radio.  I especially like Garrison Keillor's Professional Organization of English Majors' jokes.  Here's a link if you're curious. English And a quote of my favorite line.  "English. It's the language we dream in. If you find yourself filled with inexpressible thoughts and yearnings, maybe you should think about majoring in English."
Well, I am being a little silly.  I should be listening to conference talks.  We are headed for the temple this evening.  I am looking forward to that.  Hope all is well.  Take care and HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVWonderfulEvening!!!!!!!  Melody

Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday Night Again!

Good evening!  I am feeling very tired, but extremely happy!!!!  I just put the last paint stroke on my paintings!  There are three of them due tomorrow along with my color chart.  I finished that too!!!!  My favorite painting is the one where the people are dressed:)  I forgot to take a photo of that.  I went into school this morning to finish it, and fix the face.  It looks much better.  The other paintings are here.  So I will let you take another peek.
I feel pretty good about them, except for the things I don't like about them.  I guess the main thing is that they are all so contrived.  I will be happier painting what I want to paint I think.  I don't know yet:) But I am going to start on a project so that I keep my fingers in the paint.  I think the first thing will be to start in on the walls in this house!!!  After 13 years of hard living, they need it!!!  Especially all the mop boards.  But I am planning to start illustrating a book about Christiana Long Syphus....for my grandkids.  I figure I will keep up my skills if I paint a little each day.  Mel would also like me to come into his work and do a little office managing.  That would be fun, and it would help him out a lot.
It's so funny!  On Saturday Taylor helped Mel mow lawns.  He got to do some of it all by himself...after a little instruction from Mel.  And we have a riding lawn mower with all of the huge lawn we have here.  So Taylor was really excited.  He told me he got to drive the lawn mower all by himself..."and grandma, it is almost like driving a car!!! " I think it was the highlight of his visit.  He is 11 years old.  I am sure I had Kenny mowing lawns by that age.  I even think we had a riding lawn mower some of the time.  Seems like Kenny liked that too.
I guess I feel a bit like I am at the end of a long and winding road....and I am not sure what is around the bend.  I hope it is all good.  I am planning on that in fact.  I feel pretty optimistic considering.  So I hope today has been a good day in cyberspace.  I think it is time for the news to come on here, so maybe I will go check it out.  Take care and have a great family night!!!!  Melody

Sunday, May 11, 2014


Happy Mother's Day!  I love this day, although I do miss my mom more on this day than most others.  She was an amazing lady.  And she has been my inspiration in so many ways.  She went back to school when she was 45 to get her master's degree.  She loved learning, and I know that has had a big impact on my life and thinking.  She was also kind and loving and very patient with me.  I think I was challenging as a curious little girl.  I loved reptiles!  Especially snakes!!!  And I also loved frogs. Both things my mother was not fond of, and tolerated for my sake.  I guess I hounded her about getting a puppy.  She finally gave in when I was 12 and brought home a little puppy in the pocket of her gray wool coat.  How I loved that dog!  But how much of his care was done by my mom.  She was very patient.  So thanks mom.  I don't think I told you that enough while you were still here.   And thanks for all the hours you spent ironing!  I am so glad for permanent press!  It has got to be one of the greatest inventions ever!
My mom with her Uncle Norm
Today has been nice.  Church was especially nice as the Bishop read responses to the question of "What would you like to tell your mom for Mother's Day?" from all the missionaries from our ward.  I think we have about 15 or 20.  A lot anyway, and it was fun to hear what they appreciated about their moms.  And I think the mothers were very touched!
Taylor said something today that touched my heart.  A friend said to him that he was with his grandma a lot, and it was good to see him.  He answered, "Yeah, there isn't anything that can keep me away from seeing my grandma!"  I liked that.
Mel and Taylor made me a batch of cookies:)  I ate one, but now I am full.  We may take the rest of them with us to Liz's when we drop Taylor off later this evening.  She likes chocolate chip cookies!  As we all do!
I should write so much more about the virtues of women and especially mothers.  I would but I am so tired I can hardly keep my eyes open.  So just know it would have been astounding!  I do love all the women who have raised mom and grandmas and aunts and great aunts.  They were all wonderful!  I have been so blessed.  I hope today is great for you out in cyberspace!!!  Take care and remember I am pulling for you!!!!  Melody

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Good Day.....SUNSHINE!!!!!

Good morning!  I am feeling so much better this morning.  Last night I was ready to throw in the towel on painting.  But today it doesn't seem so hopeless.  I think I get a little pushed when things are due.  And I hate feeling pushed!  I wiped off the face last night so that I can start again on Monday.  It will be fine...or not.
So today is Saturday, and it is my day to cook dinner.  But it will be simple.  I am just heating up a ham, boiling potatoes, and chopping a salad.  And no one is coming until 3.  It gives me a little time to clean up around here.  And to take my time.  I find if I take my time I can enjoy everything.  And I really want to enjoy my time with family.  I think I have a different attitude there are no guarantees about how long I get to be here, so it makes me want to enjoy these precious people in my life.
I found this picture of me and three of my three oldest...from left to right, me(ha, ha!  In case you mixed me up with my daughters!), Amy, Kim, and Michelle.
 It was taken in 2009 I think, at Women's Conference.  I will have to search for a photo of me and all of my daughters.  Here we go.
And how about a family photo?

Well, that was fun.  I hope today is a good day for you where ever you are out in cyberspace today.  HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!  I'm still pulling for you!!!!!!  Melody

Friday, May 9, 2014

Just one more thing!

Good Friday Night!  I am home and feeling just a little frustrated with the painting I have loved up until a couple of hours ago.  It was looking pretty good, and I thought .... (OH NO!).....  I'll just put this one more little piece of paint here on this eyelid....and I ruined the face!  I did all I could to fix it, and it didn't work.  So I started on the face all over again...and it is disappointing to me.  I guess I will just have to go into school on Monday so I can look at the photo again.  It is hard to recreate in my mind.  But tomorrow we have kids coming for Mother's Day, and so I will wait til Monday....blahhhhh!!!!!  So I guess it isn't too bad.  I just made the woman look annoyed....probably because I am feeling so annoyed with this bad habit I have of ruining things!  Anyway, I think I can save it.   Or I may grow fond of this new content for the picture...not!!!
The rest of my day has been OK.  I had a good morning, and a lovely lunch.  I looked at photos for a while...I enjoy looking backwards. And it does make me realize I have learned a lot in the way of painting.  I really think I can paint much better than when I started this little journey, but I am not yet where I want to be.  I guess it may take a few more years of practice. And immense patience with myself!
So here are a few jokes to cheer us all up.  The sign downtown..."Jokes about German sausage are the "wurst"!  I love that!  On NPR today they had a guest who has written a book about humor.  It is called, "Ha!"  I love the title.  Anyway he was quite interesting.  You might want to look it up on "Science Friday" for npr on May 9th.  Here's a link.  Why do we find things funny?  The book is by Scott Weems I think.  Anyway it was a good interview.  One of the jokes I thought was funny I won't tell, because I am so bad at telling jokes.  But it had to do with two hunters and calling 911.
Well, I guess I have complained sufficiently.  Oh and here is the painting so you know I am not joking!

HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGFriday Night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Melody

Thursday, May 8, 2014

School Day...this is the last one!!!!!

Good day!  I am feeling a little silly I should paint well!  It is my last class today.  I am a little sad to be done with Boise State University, but not too sad.  What a ride this has been to go back to school.  I have really enjoyed it.
BSU Campus - aerialview
And so probably this last day of school is my last for this lifetime.  Weird!!!!  I told Mel it will be hard to find things to do around here.  And he said, "Well, you don't have to stay here."  I laughed and said, "Yeah, I could get a job!  But who would hire an old woman with a limp?"  And of course he would.  But frankly I don't enjoy the monotonous work at his shop.  So I will probably figure out how to use all these skills I have been developing....somehow.  Today it seems a little daunting.  But I suppose I can just do Nike says.  I do have courage and I can send in a few images when I have some to send.  And our livelihood is not dependent on me....thank heavens!  I know I will miss the social aspect of school, but I will figure it out eventually.  No, I am not depressed, just fighting the urge to really rant about the fun of old age.
I did paint for a while this morning...on that same old painting that is headed for the burn barrel.  I think I have done enough to it.  I found out all our ungraded work is due next Tuesday.  I only have the painting at school and the color chart to finish now.  So I shouldn't be too panicked.  I think my main problem is that I get in a hurry and don't mix colors as carefully as I should.  I usually can draw things fairly well, but it's the coloring in that is least in oils.  I do better with dry crayons:)
Well, I hope all goes well for the world today.  And also for cyberspace!  Take care and HAVVVVVVVVVGW!!!!!!!  Melody

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Happy Wanderer

Hola!  That song came to mind as I was thinking of wandering and what title would work for this blog.  Here's all the words to The Happy Wanderer.  (I am the singing granny after all.)

I love to go a-wandering,
Along the mountain track,
And as I go, I love to sing,
My knapsack on my back.
My knapsack on my back.

I love to wander by the stream
That dances in the sun,
So joyously it calls to me,
"Come! Join my happy song!"

I wave my hat to all I meet,
And they wave back to me,
And blackbirds call so loud and sweet
From ev'ry green wood tree.

High overhead, the skylarks wing,
They never rest at home
But just like me, they love to sing,
As o'er the world we roam.

Oh, may I go a-wandering
Until the day I die!
Oh, may I always laugh and sing,
Beneath God's clear blue sky!

I love the sentiment of that song!  I love to hike about and wish I still could.  But I do like to wander in my car and see new sights.  It must be the pioneer in me:)  And of course I still laugh and sing!
I have been painting again this morning.  And I think I am almost done with this frustrating painting.  It helped to decide they were on a cruise:)  How silly I know, but it solved the background problems, and gave me an ocean to paint.  Anyway, I am not real happy with this painting still, but happier than yesterday, and since I am going to throw it in the burn pile when this class is done, I guess it is good enough:)  It is funny that I will not keep most of the paintings I have done.  I think I may cut out a few faces, but just for reference.  I will keep the things I can modify and the ones with clothes:)  Just writing this makes me chuckle.  I wish I had been at BYU, where they at least put a bathing suit on I have heard.  So here is the face I have been struggling with.  I think it is better.  Although not to my liking still.
Now I am going to take the rest of the afternoon off, at least from painting.  I promised Taylor we would go swimming.  And of course there is the laundry and dishes.  And I think I am going to be brave and vacuum.  Maybe....if I have to....I guess.  It certainly needs it.  And I have a book to finish for book club next week.  I am the presenter, so I probably should have it read.
Kenny called.  He's back from Africa.  I guess it was a real adventure in Nigeria the last couple of weeks.  He said he had to stay in the back seat of the car and hide whenever they went out.  I guess there is not a lot of good feelings for whites just now.  He is rather tall and stands out in a crowd, so just to be safe they did not let him wander too far.  He said it was still fun and fascinating.  I am glad he is home and safe!
Well, I hope all is well where ever you may wander today.  Take care and remember I am pulling for you!!!  And HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!!!  Melody

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Glimpse

Hi again!  I am feeling so much better this evening!  I went to class and found out when I got there that it was cancelled. But I stayed and painted anyway. A couple of my classmates showed up too, so we had fun visiting until we were all in the zone....painting away. I love this painting I am doing.  The subjects are dressed for one thing:)  And I think it is progressing nicely. I have lots to do still but I took a picture to share it in stages, and to help me see mistakes!
This is the whole canvas

Close up of the face

It looks like she has a hole in her side!
I guess the most obvious is the black space in the mans arm. Mel thought it was confusing and you couldn't tell whose arm was whose, but it really helps me to see what I need to paint more clearly.   Sorry if it confuses you.  I kind of like it at this stage with less detail. Maybe I will keep it a little less detailed.   I'll ask my professor what he thinks.
Mel has begun his high council assignments this week. Tonight he has a meeting with a family history committee. And Thursday he has an assignment at the orchard. And he is speaking on the third Sunday:)  He will be busy!  I guess I will hold down the fort here at home. Or maybe get more done with family history!   Hope all is well.   Adios!  Melody


Good morning!  I hope it is for you!!! I hope I can send good vibes, even though I am feeling a little down because I am struggling with this painting still.  It is to the point where I just need to let it be, take a break and come back later, and that is hard.  And this morning I am looking at Simon Dewey's art and wondering if I will ever get it like he does.  Sigh!  I see and yet I don't see.  But it is all good.  Mel reminded me this morning that mistakes are good.  We learn lessons from them if we are wise.  I hope I can.
I told you I might share a little more of my great, great Grandma Syphus' history.  So this is another story copied from the family search site.  I love this site!
"This history was told by Christiana Long Syphus to her granddaughter, June Syphus. It was written by June when she was attending Moapa Valley High School in Overton, Nevada. June won an honorable mention for her essay of her grandmother. The awards were listed in a newspaper article dated June 11, 1929. This is the life of Christiana Syphus, a pioneer of Southern Nevada. It seems too bad that so many of our old pioneers die and leave behind them such wonderful lives, yet no one knows enough to tell them as they should be told. Thousands of stories are written every year for the entertainment of people. Nine tenths of these are not true, yet our parents and grandparents have had so many thrilling experiences happen to them in their day, and they pass away without their history being recorded. My grandmother used to tell me little incidents of her life and they thrilled me so much that I had her repeat them to me many times. One night while some of her grandchildren (including myself) were sitting around the fireplace, I asked her to tell us the story of her life. She seemed glad to do so, and also happy to think that we were interested enough in her to want to hear her stories. We all sat very quiet, so eager to hear her begin that we could hardly wait. I will now try to tell Christiana Long Syphus’ story as she told it: I did not have the privilege of having a mother’s care, for my mother died when I was so young that I can hardly remember her. When but a child of six, I was adopted into a fine old family by the name of Kings. They were living in the city of London, which was my birthplace, although I had spent several years before my mother died, in Toronto, Canada. I lived with these people until early womanhood when I chanced to hear some Latter-day Saint Missionaries preaching the gospel. Not long afterward I joined their church and became actively engaged in the work. While helping with these activities, I chanced to meet Luke Syphus. With him, began my first romance. He, too, joined this church although the people are more commonly called, Mormons”. When I was nearly nineteen years of age we were married. One year later, we, with a few other people, set sail for Australia. Our ships were not built as they are today, and all during our journey we had the constant fear of not knowing whether we would arrive safely at our destination or not. While on this voyage, which lasted six months, my first child, a son, was born. He lived only a few days and was buried in the sea just off the coast of Africa. Our vessel caught fire several times, and it was with great effort that the ship and its passengers were saved. Several times before we reached Australia our food was reduced to sea biscuits alone. At one time, our water supply became exhausted, and had it not been for a passing ship, which re-supplied us, we probably would have died from thirst. Among the passengers on this ship was a young couple by the name of Ridges. Acquaintance and deep friendship sprang up between us, and for three years we lived and worked together in the wilds of Australia. We were engaged in the lumber business during the time of the gold rush there. Here I spent some of the happiest days of my life, for we prospered greatly, besides accumulating the necessary means to carry us on to America. We landed in Welmington, which is now San Pedro, California, in August. Three days later, in a hastily improvised shack, built from the fragments of a wrecked vessel, my second son was born. When I was again able to travel, we went to what is now San Bernardino. After two years, we were called into Southern Utah to settle that country. We left our home, land and nearly all of our belongings, except just the bare necessities of life for we could not overload our wagons. During this journey some very thrilling but almost disastrous things happened. We were camped just above Moapa Valley close to where Glendale is now located. During the night, I was awakened by a noise, and I heard whispered words like someone creeping around our wagon. My husband awoke about that time and together we investigated. We found several Indians in the act of stealing our eldest daughter. How thankful we were that she was saved, for Indians at that time would steal children and keep them until big rewards were offered for their return. The next day we traveled on, and as we were dragging our weary way slowly along the sands of the Virgin Valley, passing through sort of a glade surrounded by trees and brush, we were suddenly startled by a young Indian jumping from the willows and delivering a hurried speech in Piute in which was occasionally used the words “Sipus”, “Sipus”. Then from the surrounding brush appeared a whole band of Indians with drawn bows and guns ready for discharge which they withheld only by the command of their chief, when the first appearing warrior commanded supplies for his band. Explanations proved it to have been the intent of these Indians to massacre the company, which no doubt would have happened, had not the first appearing Indian, at an earlier date visited San Bernardino where my husband had treated him with much kindness, and a strong friendship had grown up between them. This Indian upon recognizing him in the company had counseled with the chief and as a result the intended massacre was prevented. This taught me one lesson which I have ever since remembered. If you once form friendship with an Indian he never forgets it and is ready when an opportunity comes to repay you for your kindness. After a brief sojourn in Cedar City (Utah), we started the settlement of Santa Clara. When leaving this place, we lost practically all of our earthly possessions on account of a great flood. Going from there to Clover Valley, now a railroad station on the California and Utah line called Barkley, we spent three years in the settlement of this place. About fifteen or twenty families moved into Clover Valley at this time. We quickly saw the need of cooperation, together with hard work in order to protect ourselves from the savage-like Indians who raided that part of the country. We built a fort with all the houses joined together except in several places that were used for openings. About one hundred and fifty yards from this fort a corral was built where all the horses and cattle were kept. The men in turn would guard this corral at nights. They always carried their guns with them while working in the fields. If it was necessary for the men to do this, you probably can imagine the danger that women and children were in, and the constant fear they had that their lives may be taken at any time. It was useless in even trying to keep Indians out of our houses, because of the crude way in which they were built. An especially dreaded Indian was Bushhead, the chief of a tribe about two miles from the fort. He would come to the houses during the day while the men were in the fields and threaten to kill our children if we didn’t give him anything that he so desired. At one time he came to my house while I was alone with the small children. He walked over to the crib where my baby was lying. In one hand, he took hold of the baby’s hair and in the other he held a knife, threatening to scalp the child if I didn’t give him “shetcup” which meant grub. I realized how absolutely helpless I was in trying to save the baby. While it seemed like hours were passing by and nothing being done, I suddenly seized a chair and with one hard blow Bushhead went to the floor. The knock stunned him and for a minute he could not move. I was trying to decide what next to do when my husband came in. It seemed to save my life for help never had looked so far away as it had a few minutes before. During the fall of one year while my husband was away, I constructed a burrough through the tall standing grain, at the end of which was a large space covered with interwoven grain. The children worked hard to help me with this for they were always frightened of the Indians and as young as they were seemed to realize the danger we were in. I instructed them that in case of attack during the night, they were silently to creep through this burrough while I should make the best defense possible of the home. This we had to do every night during the absence of my husband. One day, about noon, Bushhead again appeared in the doorway. I could see at once that he carried no weapons. No doubt he seemed to think that the scare he had given me before was sufficient and that I would give in to him and hand out anything he should ask for. At once, every ounce of determination I owned seemed to be ready to assist me. This kind of work had been going on long enough, and I was determined it should cease. Grabbing the first implement of defense in my reach, which was a butcher knife, I rushed at him. For a minute he stood there seeming to think that my intentions were only false, but he quickly changed his mind for I kept after him until he was clear out of the fort, and I’m telling you he found out that I was in earnest before he had gone many paces. So many dreadful things had been happening and conditions were getting worse instead of better, so that something had to be done--and done quick. That night all the men got together and made their decision. Early the next morning they took all their weapons of warfare and marched up to the Indian camp. Of course, the chief and all his followers were taken by surprise. They could do nothing but surrender. The men lined all the Indians up with Bushhead taking the lead and marched them into the fort and down into the dooryard of my home. Then all the Indians were placed in a circle and in the center, Bushhead, their chieftain, was hanged. Men were guarding them so they could do nothing but watch the hanging. They were then given a fair chance and told that if they would stop stealing from us, and be friends, they could live in peace; otherwise the same thing would befall them as had done their chief. They promised to be friends but evidently forgot all promises for not long afterward the same things were happening again. We became discouraged. All our time we spent in planning a way to protect ourselves. Our children were not given the proper care they needed. We felt that they were being neglected and that it was our duty to care for them properly. The only way to solve this problem was to move from Clover Valley. Once more we left our homes and lands and saw all of our work for the past three years being left behind for those to enjoy who drove us from it. We hoped to find peace in Panaca, and to build a home in which we could really live and enjoy ourselves. Here my time was devoted to my children and associates, and even though a great part of my life has been hard to bear because of discouragements and general hard times, there has been lots of pleasure. I have reared a large family of whom I am very proud, so that seems to make up for all other things."
Can you imagine?  I love her history because it is so real to me.  I grew up hearing her stories from my grandma Duffin....embellished a little, but full of the tales of Indians and floods and an ocean voyage that must have been so scary!!!  
Today I need her story to help me with mine.  I don't have scary Indians attacking or trying to take away my children and food.  But I feel like the enemy is still as real and threatening, as my children and grandchildren are challenged and facing real life problems.  I think I need to remember that the Lord is just as watchful of me as he was of my great grandma, and that I have to have the courage she did to chase away the things that threaten.  I am thinking I might start my children's books as illustrations of these stories, so that they become familiar to my posterity.  It might be a good way to begin and to see how I do.
Well, I am a little discouraged this morning I guess.  But luckily I have my class to attend, where I will receive excellent encouragement and instruction.  I am so grateful for that, but I am sad it will be ending this week.  Thursday is my last class.  I can hardly believe it.  Despite the things I don't like, I have learned so much!  And I think I will be a better artist because of this class.  
I know I am a little long winded today.  Sorry about that.  I hope this day finds you well and happy and full of courage to go forward in your journey through life.  I am pulling for you!!!!  We're all in this together!!!  HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!!!  Melody

Monday, May 5, 2014

Small and Simple Things

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  I am having a great day so far.  And my next task is painting, so it should continue to be a great day.  It sure does help to have a good attitude.  It's funny to me how easy it is some days to have a good attitude, and how hard it can be on other days.  I guess the trick is to decide ahead of time that you are going to have a good matter what!
I brought home a calendar from Women's Conference with pictures by Simon Dewey.  It is nice to look up and see Mary helping the little child Jesus to pray.  That is the picture for the month of May.  One of the artists at the bookstore was very pleased with a painting he had done of Joseph and Jesus in the same pose.  I like them both.
So today I am going to finish a painting from class.  It has been a difficult one for me.  Mostly because the models were behind a screen and we had to walk back to see them, then walk back to our painting and try to remember what we had seen.  And I changed the pose to fit the story in my head, so I made it even harder for myself.  But I suppose it is good practice.  I feel like I have made some rather large strides forward in my painting this semester.  Not that I have arrived or anything, but I feel like with some more practice and enough time, I can do good work.
Tonight is our empty nester family home evening.  It should be fun.  The Newell's are hosting it, and they are having a family history night.  We are all supposed to share an ancestor.  It is fun to go on family search and read stories about ancestors.  I read about Samuel Brockbank Hardy last night.  He had such an interesting story.  I may use a story from my great great grandma, Christiana Long Syphus.
 She had an amazing story of hardship and strong faith.  And I just discovered she was also an ancestor of Elder Bednar, who told part of her and her husband's story at Women's Conference in 2011.  It's great to think I am related to Elder Bednar.  And I didn't know this part of her story.  Here's a copy from family search's history.
Elder Bednar: Story of Luke Syphus "Small and Simple Things"
Contributed By Seth Frehner Waite
In 2011 Apostle David Bednar recounts the story of Luke and Christiana Syphus in a talk to Women's Conference "Small and Simple Things". Luke and Christiana Syphus and Joseph and Adelaide Ridges The second example Elder Bednar shared was of Luke Syphus and Christiana Long, who are among Elder Bednar’s forebears and who joined the Church in England, married, and then, in the 1850s, emigrated to Australia. During their five-month voyage, the Syphuses became good friends with another couple, Joseph and Adelaide Ridges, who were likewise immigrating to Australia from their native England. When the ship arrived at its destination in April of 1853, the Syphus and Ridges families lived and worked together at Pennant Hills, approximately 15 miles northwest of Sydney. During their journey from England, the Ridges had grown to admire the Syphuses for their good habits, kindness, strength, and devotion. Luke loaned Joseph a copy of the Book of Mormon and a text of the teachings of Elder Orson Pratt. Both Joseph and Adelaide ultimately became convinced of the truthfulness of the gospel and were baptized in 1853. Joseph, who as a child in England had been fascinated by an organ factory near his home, began building a small, seven-stop pipe organ in his spare time. Mission president Augustus Farnham suggested that Brother Ridges donate the organ to the Church in Salt Lake City, to which Joseph agreed. With the help of members and missionaries, Joseph dismantled the organ, packed the parts, and stowed the instrument in the cargo hold of a sailing vessel, the Jenny Lind. In 1856 the Ridges and the Syphus families and some 100 others boarded the vessel and set sail for Utah. Upon arriving in California, the families loaded the organ in a wagon and hauled it across the desert by mule team. They arrived in Salt Lake City in June of 1857. Brother Ridges installed the small organ in the old adobe tabernacle on Temple Square, where the Assembly Hall now stands. That simple instrument was the forerunner of a great organ Brother Ridges later built—the organ for the Tabernacle on Temple Square. That instrument would take more than 10 years to construct and would eventually have two manuals, 27 pedals, 35 stops, and approximately 2,000 pipes—and would measure 20 feet long by 30 feet wide by 40 feet high (6m by 9m by 12m). It would become, Elder Bednar said, “one of the iconic symbols of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
This example also shows the “profound spiritual pattern” of small and simple things bringing great things to pass, Elder Bednar said. “Acts of kindness, of righteous influence, and of Christian compassion by Luke and Christiana were instrumental in bringing to pass the conversions of Joseph and Adelaide. A small and simple organ in Australia helped to bring forth the great Tabernacle organ. … No big results occurred quickly or all at once. Rather, by small and simple things, great things were brought to pass.”
That is interesting to me.  The part of her story I had heard all through my life was how she had been converted as a young woman in England.   She married Luke Syphus and together they sailed on a vessel to Australia.  But on the way the ship met with difficulty and a three month voyage turned into six months.  They were forced to subsist on stale seabiscuits that were full of worms.  She had her first son on that voyage, but because of her starving condition was not able to nurse him enough to keep him alive and he was buried at sea in Table Bay, Africa.  Her tale goes on to include Indians and floods.  Perhaps I will include it in tomorrow's post.  Well, I had better get to work.  I hope all is happy and well in cyberspace.  Take care and HAVVVVVGW!!!!!  Melody

Sunday, May 4, 2014

American White Pelicans

Good Sabbath!  I saw pelicans this morning!  About a dozen big white pelicans with black tips on their wings.  They are such beautiful birds!  And it always makes me so grateful for this amazing and beautiful earth.
Unfortunately I was leaving for church and couldn't stop more than a minute to watch them circling out above our court.  Many times I have felt they were a sign of the Lord's love and watchful care of me.  I suppose that may sound a bit egotistical and perhaps stretching things a little, but maybe not.  They have been present several times when I have needed that reassurance.  They are certainly one of the more beautiful of God's creations!  I love how they fly in unison, like they are all listening to the same music and have choreographed their flight to synchronize all together.  If you haven't seen it, and felt the emotion yourself, it is hard to describe what emotion I feel when I see them flying above me in the sky.  It makes me stop whatever I am doing and just watch the beautiful dance in the heavens. My art teacher said that artists through the ages have copied pelican wings to draw wings on paintings of angels.  That seems very appropriate to me.
Church was very good today.  I was able to bear my testimony and tell a little of what I learned from Women's Conference.  I love testimony meeting.  We heard from a lot of good people today.  I am so grateful to be in a congregation of good people each Sunday.  How blessed I feel!
Now Mel is out doing his home teaching.  I am glad he has a companion that likes to get started right away at the beginning of each month.  They are good home teachers, and they have a strong influence on the people they home teach.  I know because I visit one of the sisters they visit.  And it is all good.
I feel quite encouraged today.  I guess I feel like I am in the right place, doing the right things.  It is a wonderful feeling!  I hope this Sabbath Day finds you happy and well and at peace with the Lord and His creations.  Take care and HAVVVVVVVVVVVVGS!!!!!  Melody