Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Memorial Day used to be called Flag Day or Decoration Day. Can you blame me if when I was a child I thought the day was an event to honor flowers, especially irises, since we called irises "flags" back then and we used to cut armsful of them to take to the cemetery? My mother loved irises and grew dozens of varieties. Most of mine are descendants of some of my favorites from her garden. Along with all of the names given the day and the rituals and observances, it has an additional spot dear to most American hearts as the first "real" holiday of the summer.

The weekend started Friday with a couple of garden projects which involved moving a sprinkler and building two small walls out of rampart blocks. Both projects improved the appearance of my flowerbeds, but left my husband and me with a few sore muscles.

My husband and I observed Memorial Day a little early by visiting four cemeteries Saturday. We took flowers to Taylorsville, Murray, North Ogden, then Wellsville. In North Ogden we arrived in time to hear a veterans' group rehearsing for a military funeral. The haunting sound of taps brought a lump to my throat.

I'd never been to the Wellsvile cemetery before, though a large portion of the people buried there are relatives, and I've visited Logan many times. I wanted to visit my grandmother's grave. It took some serious searching and the help of a professional photographer who was chronicling tombstones for an online geneology service, but we finally found it.

My grandmother, Roselia, was a young woman in her twenties when she died leaving five small children, one of which was my mother. My grandfather eventually remarried and moved to another state where at the end of his long life, he was buried beside his second wife. I don't know if such things matter to the deceased, but I was glad to see she was buried near her three sisters who died as children, her parents, and her maternal grandparents, Azial and Emeline Riggs. My ancestors were among those first rugged pioneers who settled in beautiful Cache Valley and visiting that cemetery and seeing tombstones with the names I'd only seen before on charts gave me a pleasant sense of continuity with my family's past.

We started the real Memorial Day by cooking breakfast for our children and their families. The family wasn't complete; two sons-in-law had to work and our son and his wife were away on a little trip. I thought it ironic that our son-in-law who is a wounded vet had to work on the day set aside to honor those who served our country in combat. In his absence I made omelets which is usually his specialty while other family members took turns overseeing the strawberry pancakes.

I get hungry for strawberry pancakes every spring. My mother used to pick strawberries from her garden, crush some of them to make strawberry syrup, cut the rest in small pieces, and layer the syprup and berries between layers of pancakes or waffles, then top the concoction with whipped cream. It's was a great way to start the summer.
Comments can include anything concerning Memorial Day or the beginning of summer rituals. I'll also be posting on the V-Formation blog tomorrow. Any comments attached to that blog will also count toward this win-a-book contest.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Lachish and AzGirl in Tx are the winners of the two Jerry Borrowman books. As soon as I receive lachish's mailing information I will forward the information to Jerry's publisher and the publisher will send the books to them. Congratulations to both of you.

There are only two entries so far in the Last Half of May contest. Usually by this time there are a lot more entries. I'm not sure if the sluggish start is due to the busy time of year or if none of you like the books I'm offering this time. This is a topic I'd really like to hear a lot of comments on, so if you don't want any of the three books featured, remember winners can request an alternate prize (give me a wish list and if the book is available, I'll send that one instead.)

Saturday, May 16, 2009


AZGirl in TX is the winner of the first half of May contest. Please contact me with your mailing address. AZGirl, Love Beyond Time is yours, but I can't send you the Jeri Gilchrist book because she's a personal friend who wrote a lovely message inside my copy of the book and I don't plan to give it away. Send me a list of several other books you would like and hopefully I'll have one of those available.

Some novels aren't really quite novels. The novel format is merely the vehicle used to preach a sermon, teach a lesson, or explain a concept. Some of these books are excellent books and highly enjoyable; others are not as is the case with other books. Many readers enjoy this method of learning; others feel disappointed when they discover they have picked up this type of novel. So there is no misunderstanding, I'm letting readers know upfront that the three books I've chosen to feature for the second half of May contest are all this type of book. They are all three excellent books, but they do not fall into the traditional novel category.

First is Meeting Amazing Grace by Gary and Joy Lundberg. This is a fun exploration of relationships with In-Laws.

The Holy Secret by James L. Ferrell concentrates on the concept of becoming holy, of loving holy things, and of hope and redemption.

Chasing Paradise by Chad Daybell presents a story which is both entertaining and inspirational as it asks, can a spirit have much influence on the living?

The question I'm asking this time is how do you feel about this type of inspirational novel? Are you more choosy about which inspirational novels you'll read than you are with traditional novels? Do you prefer the more subtle messages contained in traditional novels. Should fiction entertain only?

By the way, if this type of novel isn't your choice in reading material and you win this contest, you can select any of the other books I have available for give-away instead of one of these three.

Entries to win One Last Chance by Jerry Borrowman are still being accepted until Tuesday, May 19th at noon. Entries in that contest added today through the Tuesday deadline will be entered in the last half of May contest as well.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Several months ago I invited Jerry Borrowman to do a guest blog. He responded with a link to his video, two photos of the Duesenberg which is featured prominently in his new book, One Last Chance. He's also offering two free books to two lucky people whose names will be drawn from a hat next Tuesday, May 19. All you need to do to enter is respond to this blog in the comment section. In addition to the two books Borrowman is giving away, commentors will also be added to my usual book contest entries. That's a lot of chances for free books. Please leave comments on YouTube too, but the only comments I'll include in the contest are the ones posted here. The backliner of this book:

Artie Call can't get a break. Orphaned during the Depression, he steals food to survive. When mischief lands him in juvenile court, he's offered a home by fellow ward member David Boon, but then suffers under Boone's unkind and unyielding treatment. And after Artie helps the victim of a robbery gone bad, he's abandoned by Boone and is almost sentenced to juvenile hall.

Then his luck and life suddenly change.

Mary Wilkerson, the feisty widow who was robbed, sees potential in Artie and takes him into her custody. Ray McCandless, the wise yet firm chauffeur, teaches Artie about cars, life, and the connections between the two. Under their care, Artie develops the desire and the ability to leave his past behind and grasp the hope in his future, which shines like Mary's luxurious Duesenberg. But when cornered by old enemies, will he defend his honor with his life?

Jerry Borrowman masterfully combines emotion, morality, suspense, and humor in this tender coming-of-age story. Readers will struggle and rejoice with Artie as he discovers the value of integrity, the sweetness of family ties, and the reality of the American dream. And they will never forget the triumph that unfolds when a good boy with bad problems is given one last chance.

Photos courtesy of Richard Losee, owner of Duesenberg J-249 1929 Murphy Torpedo

As teenager I collected a few model cars and the Duesenberg was my favorite. I enjoyed this book too and you can read my review by going to my web page and looking at the April reviews. I had this to say about One Last Chance: "Jerry Borrowman brings readers a touch of nostalfia for a time long past, when cars were grand, movies were only shown at theaters, and life moved at a slower pace. One Last Chance delivers a subtle reminder that peronal honor, faith in God, and the love of family are the real antidotes to the worst social ills."

W. Kevin Marsh, an automotive restoration specialist, had this to say about One Last Chance, Jerry's attention to detail will bring to life the excitement of seat-of-your-pants racing down the dusty roads of Idaho. You will smile, you will laugh, and you will be reminded of the Artie Calls in your own life. So hold on! It's a wonderful ride.

Monday, May 11, 2009


The graduation season has begun! Friday my daughter-in-law graduated from the University of Utah. She has worked full time and gone to school part time for ten years. When it might have been easier to give up, she kept going and I’m so proud of her. I took some pictures of her at the graduation, but the best shot was one my son took of her.

Other graduations will soon follow. Our oldest grandson will graduate from high school in June and he has four cousins who will graduate this Spring as well---each from a different high school. Congratulations to all of them.

Graduation ceremonies have changed a lot since my big days. They were solemn occasions then with a great deal of pomp and ceremony. When our children graduated from high school, the ceremonies were nice, but the audience had to be reminded a few times to keep the noise level down. Since then we’ve attended nine college graduations, both junior college and university, for our five children and three of their spouses. They’ve all been a little noisy, two were hard to hear because of rude, noisy audiences, some were rained on, some were blistering hot, some graduates were childish show offs, some cried, some were inside, some were outside, but this most recent graduation is the first time I saw a large group of graduates prance across the stage shoeless.

We finished the day with a big party at my son’s house. Her family, our family, and friends showed up to celebrate my daughter-in-law’s accomplishment. She said she’s in no hurry to look for a job with her new degree. She’s happy working for Shriners’ Hospital and plans to stay there, at least until the job market looks a little brighter.

Saturday we went shopping. Not for clothes or groceries, but we visited a plant nursery (with a stop on the way to watch our oldest granddaughter play soccer). It’s hard for me to know when to quit when I shop at a garden center. Guess what we gave our daughters for Mothers’ Day!

Graduation wasn’t the only cause to celebrate this weekend or to open gifts. Mothers’ Day began with a few relaxing hours to read a great book, Pursuit by Lynn Gardner, followed by Church. Sacrament meeting was a lovely meeting with its combination of short talks and musical numbers. The Deacons passed out chocolate truffle bars to all of the moms. Relief Society was at full capacity. In our ward it is customary for the Elders to teach and conduct Primary and Young Womens so that all of the mothers can attend Relief Society, a great idea since it is the one time all year we are altogether.

Following church, all of our children and their families came over. The girls had arranged for a pot luck dinner with lots of pre-prepared or easy-fix salads and desserts plus they fired up the grill for their husbands to cook hamburgers, hot dogs, and brats. The younger kids mostly chased each other around on the gravel paths in the garden while the adults and teenagers ate more than we should have. It was a perfect day to sit around and talk. I received a few plants, a new hummingbird feeder, a restaurant gift card, and some fun casual clothes, but the best gift was being all together this year.

This morning’s adventure was a bit painful, but nice too. I visited a specialist who discovered a good share of my knee pain is tendonitis. Though I have some arthritis in my knees it isn’t the cause of most of my pain. I still got a shot in my knee, but I can walk without pain and I’m all for that!

In recent years our family has suffered several different bouts of cancer, three deaths, a son-in-law in combat then a military hospital, and obligations that took some of our children to other places on days that were family celebrations. These absences have given us an appreciation for those simple times when we can just be together. The biggest endeavor we all took together was a week at the May Ranch near Challis, Idaho after our son-in-law was cleared to travel following his return from Iraq, but each time we are all together, even if we just sit and talk, we all feel a greater closeness and deeper appreciation for each other.

For another entry in my book give away contest, comment on this post or write a short tribute to your family or a particular family member.

Friday, May 1, 2009


There is so much ugliness in the world today. Every newscast is filled with mean, cruel acts. The air is filled with crude, ugly words. Contempt for God's laws is considered the politically correct point of view. Grungy is fashionable. Vandalism, corruption, rudeness are the norm. Yet I think there is something in the human soul that longs for beauty. That is why I savor days like today.

My husband and I, two of our daughters, and a grandson decided to play hooky from our usual tasks to visit one of our favorite places. Anyone who knows me, knows I love visiting botanical gardens and one of the best is just a few miles away from our home. Though I have a soft spot for the Butchart Gardens in Victoria, Canada, for sheer beauty the Thanksgiving Point Gardens in Utah are hard to beat. The tulip fesitval is almost over and we didn't want to miss it.

The festival boasts 95 varieties of tulips. Did you know that tulip bulbs were so valuable during the Middle Ages that a single bulb sold for the equivalent of $5.5 million dollars? Last Fall the Thanksgiving Point staff assisted by elementary school children planted 250,000 bulbs. What a great way for children to learn about the beauty of nature. They'll be back at the end of May to dig up the bulbs which will then be sold to the public and the gardens will be filled with summer flowers.

Instead of talking further about the beauties of the garden, I'll post some of the pictures I took.

My grandson poses in front of some orange tulips he particularly liked.

Horses wearing saddles of flowers. How is a guy supposed to get a ride?

The "bathtubs with pennies in them."

The koi are colorful too and appreciate a snack.

No trolls under this bridge.

This is me with my oldest daughter, Sharon.

Mary Jo and Brandon hiding in a tulip patch.

Just one of many angles of the falls.

That's a lot of walking. Brandon needs to rest. As I usually do, I have a few questions to ask. Where do you find beauty in today's world? Is it important to take time to enjoy something just because it is beautiful? Do you see God's hand in nature, gardens, and forests? Comments count toward May's first contest.