My life is a journey...I never know who or what I will meet just around the next bend that will give my life experience!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Our Ever Changing Seashore...

 Dean and I have lived on the Oregon Coast for the past thirteen years.  Though we have not lived in the same city or the same house for that long, it has been a beautiful journey for us.  I grew up in Santa Monica, California...only a mile from the beach...and my love for the sand and the seashore live in my very soul.  Dean, on the other hand, grew up in the desert of New Mexico, then lived in the mountains of Taos and his soul is filled with the mountains.   Over these thirteen years, Dean has allowed the beauty here to soak into his soul and he, too has a great love for it.

When the weather permits, we like to take long, leisurely walks along the beach.  We don't always choose the same strip, but just let our "whims" take us wherever we want to go.  Three of our favorite strips in Newport are Beverly Beach, to the north; Agate Beach, about a mile and a half north; and Nye Beach, approximately a mile to the south.

Most of the time our walks are just on wet sand when the tide is out and we can walk for a mile and a half and see very few people.  But, for some reason, this year we have found some treasures in the layout of the beach and sand that Mother Nature has stirred up with sand, wind and crashing waves.    No two days are the same.

A couple of months ago, we were walking along the back side of Beverly Beach, close to the cliffs and found some interesting "carvings" in the cliff and in the sand.  It looked as though someone eons ago had "built some great wall" and then abandoned it.  There were also some perfectly round holes in the cliff face, approximately a foot plus in diameter.  What on earth carved these holes?

At the beginning of last fall, we went to walk on Agate Beach and found great mounds and "canyons" carved in the sand.  I swear, I felt like we were walking in the great Arabian Deserts I read about as a child in Arabian Nights!  It was spooky at times.  There were little mounds of sand, created by the waves that looked like the hardened sandstone I have seen in Zion National Park, carved there over the centuries by water!

A second visit, a few weeks later with JerriAnne and her friend Jossie, we visited Agate Beach again and it was nearly flat again.  There were a few mounds and left-over sand jetty's, but it was eerily different.  We had a lovely day walking and exploring.

Yesterday, Dean and I walked Nye Beach and found huge "rock" formations that we had not noticed before!  A visitor on top of one of the rocks said that "17 years ago he proposed to her on this rock and at that time there was an arch that connected it to the cliff to the east."  The arch is no loger there!

As I contemplate this collection of changes made by the mighty sea, I am in awe of its power.  A churning, ever moving wave crashing against the sand of the seashore does these crazy things and we are the ones who are privileged to view the beauty of Mother Nature.  And I ponder...if the great ocean is poweeful enough to create such beauty and change each and every day, think of the power of God as he shapes our very souls with crashing waves of adversity, the winds of change, the sunshine of His love.

Learning to appreciate all of these things, I am in awe and feel such a growing love and confidence in the love of my Heavenly Father.  He gave us these things to teach us about His love for us; to teach us about His power and Glory.

Today, I have even a greater connection to the seashore.  It has been my greatest joy to live here!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Swan Song...

I think I might have sung my last solo, duet, chorus participation, or any other performances.  Last Sunday, January 21, 2018, Dean and I sang a duet at church entitled "Come Unto Christ," accompanied by Laura Buckmaster.  It is such a beautiful song with words that are meaningful. 

I agonized over the melody at first, because I just couldn't get it into my head.  You see, I have to pretty much memorize everything I sing these days due to my poor vision. Once I got the melody into my head, I could pick it out on he piano.  I played it over and over again.

And then there are the words.  I had to blow the music up 115% and type the words in a huge, bold font so I could see hem in case I lost my place.  Next, I started memorizing the words and putting them to the melody.  Agonizing!

In the end, with a couple of rehearsals with the pianist, we were ready for our contribution to Sacrament meeting.  I don't think I have been this nervous since high school and all the performances I had to do then.  I missed a few words and phrases, but managed to "patch things up" and keep going.  Dean did a stellar job and I thank him for his wonderful talent.  I came away feeling defeated.  "I just can't do this anymore!"

I remember when singing was such a wonderful, fun experience for me!  From the sixth grade, when I tried out for the Christmas Program (yes, they had them back then!) and was told I had an "angel's voice" with a 2+ Octave range, to my first singing lead in "The King of Rio Rico" in the ninth grade, to the alternate lead in "The Mikado" in high school, to the lead in "Promised Valley" when I was a young mother in the Stockton, CA Stake.  Singing has forever been a part of my life.

I have sung in numerous choirs, choruses, trios, and quartets.  I have sung solos in church, on the stage, and in my heart!  I have sung with my mother, my sister, and friends.  I love those memories.

Last Sunday, I sang with Dean in church.  I believe I am getting too old to go through all of that learning and memorizing to do this any more.  And so, I believe that Sunday was my Swan Song, so to last public singing.  I will continue to sing to the Lord in my heart and let Him know how grateful I am for the gift he has given me.  It grieves me that I can no longer see the music to play the piano or read a new song, but I cannot stop the aging process, just "swim" with it.

My Cup Runneth Over...Section Two...

One of the primary reasons I visited the Provo/Orem area of Utah was to go to A Santa Monica Ward Reunion in Springville.  Oh, my, that was an awesome event.  Some of these folks I had not seen in over 50 or 60 years.  My how they have changed!  

I brought my daughter, JerriAnne and we met my brother, Darell and his wife, Joan and his daughter, Michele there.  We had a wonderful meal and reunion, although it has only been a couple of years since I saw them!  My "little brother," Burdell Moody-Jarvis also came to visit the reunion all the way from Gold Canyon, AZ.  How wonderful to see him again.  He is a part of my family and I do so enjoy visiting with him.

Here are some of thr people I did remember:  (although some of their names have escaped my aging memory!)

                                                       Duane Nichols and Marjorie

There was Nancy Mills (LeSuer) Richard Jex, Doug Chester, Alice Cole, and Duane (Gary) Nichols.  How wonderful to connect again after so many years!  A sad note:  Some weeks after the reunion, Duane Nichols passed away from a bad heart.  I was saddened by that news.

Visiting with the Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren is always a joy!  Debi's little one's come to visit often and so we played in the back yard.  I love those little squeekers!

In this section, I will  also recall my trip from Debi's house in Orem, Utah to Heather's house in Las Vegas, Nevada.  I was going to rent a car for the trip, but Debi insisted that I fly...she didn't want me to get in an accident, I guess.  I will admit that my driving is kinda scary these days!

So, I boarded a plane in Salt Lake City and flew to Las Vegas, where Heather picked me up.  I had a wonderful stay with Heather and family.  I am ashamed that I didn't take very many pictures while I was there, but the ones I did are choice.

We did a lot of running around with and for the kids. It is always wonderful to be able to see what the kids, Parker and Hailey, are up to.  Parker is running Cross Country this year and has so much enthusiasm for the sport.  He is also an A-Number One Baseball player!  Hailey has tried out for the Volleyball team and she has a gift for the sport.  She made the team!

While I visited, Mark and his two children came to see us.  We did get a lot of photos of that visit.  Heather and Rich's new Puppy did some photo bombing!  (But I can't seem to find those photos

Another visitor came to see us while I was there!  It was my Granddaughter, Elissa!  She is such a sweet addition to this family!  We had a wonderful visit while we were all there together.  She had to share with me all of her plans for her upcoming wedding next August (2018).  I am so excited for her.

The major event that happened while I was at Heather's, was the Total Solar Eclipse on August 21st.  Unfortunately for me, it was pouring rain in Las Vegas, and no eclipse of any kind was visible!  I did get to get some good pictures from my husband's camera.  He was situated in Newport, Oregon and it passed right over him!

That event was pretty much the end of my trip to Utah and Nevada.  What an ending, eh?  I flew back to SLC and in a couple of days, boarded a plane home,  This trip was a memory that will last a long time.  It may be my last solo trip, as my traveling legs just aren't what they used to be.  Although, Dean and I still have some trips planned that I hope I can get up the strength for!

Until next time, bye-bye from a rambling traveler!  

Beauty And The Beast...

Newport, OR has some of the most amazing talents.  Friday night (a week ago) Dean and I attended a local production of "Beauty And The Beast."  Twenty of the cast members were from our Newport Ward and the Director, Jodi Hannah, goes to my Church.  Her husband, Brian, was the man responsible for the set design and building.  He is amazing.  He also played "Lumier!"  (Hr was so funny!)

The costumes were superb, the set design was outstanding, and the acting and singing were something akin to a Broadway Show.  I loved Mrs. Potts and her little teacup, "Chip!"  And Belle's father stole the show with some of his humorous antics.  He is a good friend of ours, and we always see his personality light up the stage.

In my mind, this performance should have won an "EMMY!"

How are we so fortunate to have such talent in one small area of the world.  It takes me back to my High School days, when we were blessed to have Don Bluth (Creator of "Feivel", the little mouse that comes to America; and "Land Before Time"; and "The Secret of NIMH" and more!).  He directed such plays as "The King of Rio Ricos," "The Mikado," and others.  He also directed and wrote all of our Road Shows.  I was privileged to star in a few of his productions and, as a Ward, we had the time of our lives.  He later took his talents into the community and opened a small community theater in Santa Monica, CA and my sister, Christine, starred in some of his plays.

These are the experiences that the youth, adults and families of the Church will hold dear in their memories for their whole lifetimes.  I know I have.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Sunset of My Life...

Consider the beauty of a sunset...
The whole sky changes colors from blue and white to grey to pink to salmon to red.  The eye beholds its magnificence!  There is no sound, so there is nothing to hear except the beating of your heart and the singing of the birds; you cannot touch it so there is nothing to feel  except joy; and you cannot smell it.  But your heart delights in its beauty and you snap a photo in your mind (or physically) for your memory.

Those who stay long enough will experience that last sliver of light as the sun slips beyond the horizon and out of sight.  And with its passing, it leaves a promise that it will return one day.  It says to us, "I will return on the morrow."

The year 2017 is coming to a close, and like the sunsets I have viewed, I pause and consider the beauty of the past year.  I have experienced pain and sorrow; I have experienced family delights; I have given up a portion of my independence; and I have grown a little older.

I have grown, I have fallen (literally), and I have mellowed with the experiences of this past year.  God gives us experience for just these purposes.  And he tests us and tries us to make sure we are ready for better things to come.  Like the iron ore that is put into the fire, shaped and bent and hardened, our lives are shaped and bent and strengthened.  God works His wonders through our lives.  We cannot see what He sees, and sometimes it is so very hard to realize that "this is for your own good!"  Only He knows the outcome.

I am experiencing the sunset of my life.  I'm sure there must be some beauty there, but some days it is hard just to get out of bed and get moving.  My hair has turned nearly white; my eyes are dim; my ears don't hear as sharply as they used to; and my bones and joints have an ache to them that sometimes slows me down.  Simple tasks, like getting in and out of a car, find me moving with such deliberation that patience must prevail.

One day, like the sunset and like another year's end, I will be facing the promise of tomorrow, but not yet.  The sun will return; a New Year will arise; and I shall return again with that same promise that "I will return on the morrow.

I'm sure I will see quite a few more sunsets in my life and I will see a number of years begin and end before I face that last sliver of light fade from my life.  And so, for now, I will enjoy the many sunsets to come...whether or not they are on the ocean or the desert or the mountains...they are all so beautiful.

Forgive my rambling.  Just an old woman alone with her thoughts as 2017 comes to an end and I am wondering what 2018 will bring.

                                             HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ONE AND ALL!

My Cup Runneth Over...

The past several months have found me caught up in a flurry of much so, that I hardly have time to even think, let alone write!  It has been one of those quarters in the year where I hardly know where to begin!  You know how it have a list so long that it overwhelms you and so you do nothing!  But there are so many important events that I cannot leave a single one of them out., goes!

In July, my son, Billy and I started on a road trip--just the two of us.  His brother, Eliot was getting Married August 2nd and Billy was to be the Best Man.  I drove to Redmond, where I met Billy and the following morning we took off in my car.  (Don't ask why this particular's complicated!)  We drove all day that day and arrived in Orem, Utah (where we stayed overnight with his sister, Debi and her husband.)  We stayed in Orem an extra day, because we were early.  We had an awesome visit and Billy got to rest his eyes for the next leg of the trip.

The following morning, we said our good-bye's and headed south to catch Highway 6 through Spanish Fork Canyon and on to Denver, Colorado.  Another 10-hour drive!  I don't know how Billy does it.  We arrived in the early evening in Denver and went ti the Motel Eliot had arranged for us.  We were both exhausted!

Denver is a crazy town!  Traffic, traffic, traffic everywhere and Freeways that don't make a bit of sense.  (Much like Salt Lake City.)  It's interesting how those big cities start out with one main thoroughfare and then keep adding on until it looks like a spaghetti bowl!  I do not like driving in the cities.  The next day, Dean arrived via airplane.  We had a very nice family gathering.  Eliot drove all of us to the venue where the wedding was to be held and we took some pictures.  I like this one the very best!

                                                    Those boys are always goofing off!

There wasn't very much rehearsal involved, so we just walked around and got to know the park.

The wedding was the next day and we weren't allowed to take pictures of the ceremony.  Eliot and Tamiya had a photographer who took care of all of that.  (As of this writing, we have received no photographs!)  We did take one of Dean and I standing on a little bridge.

August 2, 2017                            Dean and I on the bridge.

The wedding was very nice--very simple, but nice! Dean and I were way too overdressed!  We dressed for a "wedding" and I guess folks don't take that as seriously as Dean and I do.  Just about everyone else were dressed in jeans and tee shirts!  Oh, was the marriage we came to witness, not a fashion show!  (When I am able, I shall post photos of the wedding.)

With the wedding behing us, we all went our separate ways.  Eliot and Tamiya to their new life, Dean to the airport to fly back to Newport, and Billy and I to travel back to Utah.  Ugh!  Another 10 hour drive!

We took a different highway back--I-80--and stopped in another town, where Billy went to see Alicia and the girls who were visiting friends. Alicia got to meet her real dad and a sister for the very first time.  Billy and Alicia are going through some really difficult times lately and it was awkward.

On our way to Salt Lake City and Billy and I had some really long and deep conversations.  Getting to know my son has been quite a wonderful experience.  Somehow, all that talking made the miles just melt away.  There were no real long silent periods and though the trip took 10-11 hours, it seemed we were there in no time!

Debi met us at a KFC on Redwood Road.  I said goodbye to my son (I'll miss him) so he can continue on to Redmond (another 10 hours).  I don't know how he does it!  Debi and I ate some lunch--not the best KFC we've ever had--and continued on to Orem where I will be staying for most of the rest of the month os August.  I hope she can put up with me!

I love staying with Debi.  She and Brian give me my own space with a bedroom and a bathroom and I am always very comfortable.  They work every day, but that is OK with me.  Debi goes to the gym every morning, golfs a couple of days a week and still plays baseball!  That girl!

                                                     Brian and Debi's Cabin

On Friday, we went to Brian and Debi's cabin in Indianola,  It is a beautiful setting.  Brian and Debi have built an amazing log cabin on the property. The property has been in Brian's family for years.  Just last year, they built a second cabin, called "The Shed," and furnished it for guests.  That is where I go to stay.  I love the mountains...I felt so free and loved just walking around taking pictures; I even liked using the "facilities," (an outhouse that Brian built.)

                                                         "The Shed"

                                                          The Facilities!

On my walks, I often come across some interesting wildflowers,  I love to photograph flowers!

I had a lovely time at Debi's.  She is always the perfect hostess...and daughter.  There is so much more to tell, but this writing is getting too long, so I will do this in sections.  I will call this one Section One and continue the story later in Section Two.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Memories of England...

I don't know why,k but today my memories were flooded with thoughts of England and their beautiful gardens.  I was mesmerized by them.  The weather in England is much ,like the weather I have enjoyed here on the Oregon Coast for the past 12 years.  And it is on the coast of Oregon where we grow the most beautiful flowers.  Well, more on that later.  For mow I want to get back to my memories of England,

We traveled there in June of 2003, a year after my mom died and just months after my first eye surgery that left me basically with extreme vision problems.  My vision was not great to begin with, but after surgery my world was truly foggy.  My husband was worried that I wouldn't see anything...and in some cases he was right.  But, there is a lot of fog in England so it didn't really makje a huge amount of difference to me,.

We stayed with a Mason friend of Dean's on Chapel Lane in Urchfont in Devizis, England.  Their home was in the country where there are rolling hills, forests, remnants of ancient inhabitants... and gardens!  They called themselves the "woodpeckers" and had the cutest little woodpecker for a door knocker.  It was here that I fell in love with England.

The Pocock's were perfect English hosts.  They lived in an old cottage full of Antiques.  John was an Antique dealer and Jean was an incredible decoratot.  In the front entry of their home was the most unique desk I have ever seen.

"I'll bet you have never seen one of these before," John said to me.

 I could honestly answer that I had not.  "It is called a 'Davenport Desk!'"  I was astonished!  I had never heard of such a thing.  And then he proceeded to tell me the story of this amazing desk (much of which I have forgotten over the years).  As I recall, it was a sea Captain who wanted to make something very special for his wife, and so he designed this desk, full of little hidden nooks and cranny's to hide things...important things.  I loved that desk instantly, and not just because it bore my family name, but because it was the most charming desk I had ever seen.\\

John Also took us on a tour of the rest of his collection of antiques!  For instance, we would be dining on a 900 year old dining-room table for dinner!  Floored again!!

While Dean visited with John, Jean took me out to the back yard to walk in her garden!  Oh my, I cannot find the words to express the beauty of it all.  Lavender and Heather and Roses galore.  And all perfectly trimmed and "dead-headed" so there were no dead flowers anywhere.  I believe it must take a special skill or art to be able to accomplish such beauty.

After tea, we walked into the charming town and passed house after house of beautiful gardens.  On the corner there was a little plot set aside for more beautiful flowers and shrubbery.  Jean told me that a little widow lady who lived across the street devoted all of her time not only to her own garden, but to this little plot on the corner.  She was a crippled lady, who got around only with the aid of a wheelchair.  I wanted to cry!

How is it that a small little village in the middle of England can elicit such beauty?  It has to be inbred into their souls.  When Dean and I wer in Londonm we visited Kensington Palace and all of the beauty there.  We walked along well manacured walks to the lake in front of the Castle, where swans were lazily paddling their way through clear waters.  It was a beautiful scene.  We walked for what seemed like an eternity and came to another area of the property called Diana's Plasyground.  It was a park for children that Princess Doana had designed and oversaw the construction for the children who came to play there.  It was enchanting.

Across the street, we drifted into a little cafe with hundreds of pictures of Diana on every wall.  We learned from our waiter that it had been one of Diana's favorite "hang-outs" to get away from it all.  Everyone loved her and had nothing but kind things to say about her  She loved her children and she loved all children..  Hers was a tragic end and I felt sadness creep into an otherwise beautiful day.

We had an amazing time in England, but I think the beauty of its gardens  will forever live in my memory.  One day, I would love to return and stay longer in London.  But that will have to be perhaps for another lifetime.