Sunday, December 4, 2011

Annual Clatter Day

It has happened again...the leaves on Paula's and Vera's Mulberry trees across the street have all fallen to the earth in one day. (See my blog in fall,2009) We have been making bets on when they would go...Yesterday they were like this:
And today they are like this.

I love the way mulberry trees let the leaves hang on and hang on in the fall, then suddenly one day decide, "Today I'm finished. Off ya' go, leaves!" And they really do make a clatter when they come down. They're NOISY little critters.

I feel bad I missed the yearly event by being in Church. The trees were absolutely nude by the time I got home, the shameless hussies!

I stole this photo off Lonnie Ballard, who posted it on facebook. I really did ask him for permission, but he didn't respond, so I just DID IT! He was saying how he had to clean the leaves off his car before he could go to church. SEE??? Those mulberry trees just don't care when they fling their leaves off.

Did I mention that I love, love, LOVE autumn?

Now we shall talk about the fact that the Gifford's have not ONE Christmas light up yet...nary a one. Every weekend it seems like there is a reason we haven't been able to drag the lights out of storage and string them about. Yesterday, our dryer went kaput, and it seemed more important for Darwin to fix that nagging little problem. It's always something. Our neighbors have put us to shame...we are surrounded by lights...but alas and alack...we are still gloomy and dark. Maybe we'll have them up by Christmas. Then we can leave them up till the daffodils poke their heads through the frozen ground!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sabbath Thoughts

I love Sunday. I love all that it implies: Church, study, serving, relaxing,(those previous two sound diametrically opposed!) and being with family. I love all that it doesn't imply: going to work at HIS, laundry, shopping, the slings and arrows of daily life. This morning I am sitting in my basement at the downstairs computer, the Fixity (Janna's and Juje's psycho cat) curled up beside me, listening to the sounds of...silence. Everyone else in this household is still asleep.

I am singing in Sacrament meeting in LaVerkin today--a medley of favorite Primary songs and hymns. Well, two songs, really: "Whenever I hear the song of a bird..." and parts of "How Great Thou Art." I came down here to run off words so I won't stand at the podium and have a brain blackout. Any other day I would feel in such a hurry to go, to do, to run, run, run...but not today.

I just want to thank my Heavenly Father for the Sabbath day. He knew what he was doing, consecrating one day in seven to be a day to worship, to ponder, to serve in many different ways than we serve during the week. Last Sunday was a busy day for me--going to Church at 9:00, going over to the Beehive House to sing a special number for those precious people over there, having our new home teachers visit, going to choir practice, making spaghetti for the family...but all the busy-ness was different busy-ness than I do on other days. It felt GOOD, not burdensome. I felt a happy kind of tiredness at the end of the day.

Probably my favorite part of Sunday is being with family. They are my favorite people to hang out with. I ended last Sunday by reading about family, too...Janna curled up beside me as I read aloud from Grandma Stratton's book, Look to the Stars. Oh, how grateful I am that she took the time to record her life for her posterity. I LOVE THAT PRECIOUS MOTHER OF MINE!

Oh. I'm caught. I hear footsteps above my head. Before I head off to the day, I want to say how much I love my Heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ. I am thankful for at least a zillion things today...and I want to NOTICE and pay attention to my blessings today. I want to live the words of the songs I will be singing...

"He gave me my eyes that I might see the color of butterfly wings,
He gave me my ears that I might hear the magical sounds of things,
He gave me my life, my mind, my heart:
I thank him reverently
For all his creations of which I'm a part.
Yes, I know Heavenly Father loves me." Clara McMaster Thanks, Clara!

This, too, will be a joyous Sabbath. I can feel it in my old bones.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Wasatch Back: My Summer Dream Home

I love southern Utah. I really do. But I love the summers less and less the older I get. I don’t do heat very well anymore. Brigham Young really had the right idea: winter in the south, summer in the north.

This is the summer home I want, right in the heart of Huntsville,Utah!

Darwin and I took a 43rd anniversary jaunt last week. We had a free night coming at a condominium in Huntsville, on the shores of Pineview Reservoir.Our condo is across the lake, tucked up on the shore clear on the left. See it, see it??? Of course you don't...this is too dark of a pic, but it's the only one I can find right now.

We both have a thing about Huntsville, now. It’s the most charming town. There are no curbs, no gutters, just green grass growing clear to the edge of the pavement.
Here's what people have in their backyards--green--horses--water. Sigh.

People actually live this way. I cannot believe it!

Here's a great place to eat--a few minutes away from Huntsville in Eden.

Julianne and her friends (Hayley, Cole, and Brett)came with us. It was FUN.

We saw a sign that beckoned us to a monastery a few miles away.
This is Father Patrick and me. He is my new BFF...and I do mean the forever part. He is a Trappist Monk and has taken a vow of stability, so he never leaves the monastery, except to get his teeth cleaned. He says his next move will be vertical...and that he'll save me a place. He sold me this honey.

Okay. I'm going to shut up now. But I really, really, REALLY do want a summer home in Huntsville. I don't care how high the snow drifts are in the winter, because I'll be my WINTER home in southern Utah!!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

There's a reason why this holiday is called Memorial Day. It is a day set aside to honor those who have gone before. It is a day for memories.

My memories are many-fold today. First of all, I'd like to pay tribute to John Kammerman.

John passed away only yesterday, leaving a huge hole in the lives of his loved ones. His passing seemed sudden...and he seemed far too young to make that journey into the next life. We will miss him!

Here is how he is related to me:
This is Jill

She is hugging on our son whom she's been married for 15 years.
We loved Jill from the moment we met her. She feels more like a daughter than a daughter-in-law.

Her parents are John and JoAn Kammerman. (I hope I spelled JoAn's name right!) Here I am with JoAn in Andy and Jill's back yard when they lived in Georgia.

We have loved JoAn and John like family ever since our kids hooked up. We have seven kids, they have seven kids...we love music, they love music...we adore our family, they adore theirs. On and on it could go.
Darwin and John in deep thought, trying to solve a Sudoku puzzle together...

When John became ill this spring, we were very concerned. We prayed for him and thought he would recover from this last, very serious set of problems. But as did the Kammermans, we left it in the Lord's hands. He evidently thought it was time for John to be called home because he was all finished here. John had fought the good fight. But what a void he left behind. He was a big man in every sense of the word...his heart was bigger than his whole body. What a gracious, kind, giving man.

I don't have a lot of pictures of John, because we've never lived in the same area. I want to share a few that I have.
John and little Tate Gifford in the Kammerman's yard in Georgia. His grandkids adored him.

John taught the kids to work right along side of him. This is Tate and Gavin Gifford. (Grandkids we share!!!)

He didn't just work with the kids, he always had time to play with them, too! Gavin and Blythe Gifford

Jill, Andy and Seth Gifford at Seth's baptism.
When the Kammermans and Giffords moved back to Utah, it was far easier to visit.

We went up to Springville when Seth was baptized. We met with the extended Kammerman family for a picnic lunch. I snapped this pic of John carrying his sleepy little grandson to lay him down--it's a tender shot that says a lot about John and his relationship with his grandkids.

When Andy and Jill's last baby was born, we were so thrilled that she was a girl...Blythe would finally have a sister! This is a shot of the Gifford and Kammerman grandparents at Grace Lolene's blessing. (Yes, they named her after ME!!!) John was in the process of recovering from surgery at that time, so he was pretty vulnerable...but still a trooper.

Here's the whole Gifford family with their Kammerman grandparents.
(from left to right, top row: Gavin, Blythe, Andy, Jill, Seth; bottom row, Hunter, Grace, JoAn, John, and Tate)

Farewell, good friend. You leave a legacy of love and family behind. We will miss you...until we meet again...we will celebrate our memories on this Memorial Day.

Monday, January 17, 2011

What I did today

I love Monday holidays. It makes me sigh with relief all weekend whenever the realization hits me yet again..."I don't have to work on Monday." Sunday evening is NOT poisoned with dread.

Today, I wanted to "dink around." That's Darwin's favorite saying for doing whatever you darn well please. It wasn't hard to convince Janna and DarDar.

First, we checked out an old house that's for rent in Toquerville, in case Florie wanted it. It looked like it was decorated in Early Hippie.

Orange and purple walls, with curtain fabric that looked like it was ripped right off from an Indian maiden...India, not Native American...while she was wearing her best sari. It was GROOVY!

Next, we toddled on up to Virgin (aren't the names of our towns awesome?)to feed the burros. We had a whole refrigerator drawer full of wizened apples that I had always meant to cook up into applesauce so I wouldn't be a "waste-y Beecham." The only time I would have these applesauce thoughts would be when I opened that fridge drawer...and since it's my tricky OUTDOOR fridge...I hardly ever opened it. So the Dar-ster made an executive decision and pulled the whole drawer out to feed the burros. He has a soft spot for those darn animals.

The burros had voracious appetites. Holy cow. They were the funniest things. If we fed them too slowly, they started to whine. I didn't know burros could whine. These guys are professional beggars! One of them got so excited he chomped Janna's whole hand. She said it felt like her hand got caught in a car door. It still hurts. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!

Then it was off to Errand Land...St. George. We were so efficient. We took back Christmas gifts that needed exchanging, shopped for health food items at Natural Foods, returned a Dyson vacuum to Costco and got another...hopefully, this one won't sound like a diesel with its Jake brakes on coming down the Hurricane hill whenever you use it. I must just insert right here how much I love Costco. The only problem is...I always end up buying things I don't really need. Today it was beef jerky...97% lean. Original flavor.

Finally, the piece de resistance: (click on the link and listen to the pronunciation, and pretend it's me talking!): driving to see the brand new St. George municipal airport. Darwin and Janna had attended the dedication of the new building earlier in the week...or last week. President Dieter Uchtdorf was there to give the dedicatory prayer...and Janna sidled right up to him through the throngs and masses of people and stuck her hand in his for a hearty handshake from the man she calls, "Our hottest apostle." I, on the other hand, had to work and couldn't be as free-as-a-breeze to attend these festivities. So I wanted the grand tour today.

It was awesome. Check it out.

They say that they will eventually have direct flights to watch out, Kate and Bean. Won't that be cool?

Darwin was so happy when he found out that his picture is on the walls of the new airport, just as it was on the old one. Since he was one of the original members of the Desert Wings Flying Club, he is HISTORICAL.

Can you see him? He is the handsome one with the dark sunglasses. Look at the names.

That was then. This is now. I think he's STILL handsome!

Oh. We sandwiched a meal at the Pasta Factory in there, too. Only it wasn't a sandwich so much as veggie noodles with marinara for me. I could suck their marinara up like a vacuum cleaner, I think it's so good...but I might choke on the mountain of fresh Parmesan I have them grate on it.

It was a good day.