Garden Veggies

Garden Veggies
Made into tile for my stove backsplash

Portland Rose Garden

Portland Rose Garden
Mike and my 2 youngest sons Ian and Leif

Grandson Michael's Birthday 2014 throwing water balloons

Grandson Michael's Birthday 2014 throwing water balloons
With son Beau, Grandson Luke and his mom Jennifer


I cut this out of a wedding line. I must take more pictures of her.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


This is my new favorite pasta salad.  It is so fresh and summary I can't leave it alone.  I have a bumper crop of basil this year so I am making it a lot.   I included a home made dressing but if you have a favorite commercial Italian dressing it will work.

1 box of orzo pasta, cooked and rinsed in cold water
3 cups grape tomatoes cut in half
1 lb. soft mozzarella cheese cut into ½ inch cubes
¾ cup coarse grated Parmesan cheese
Bunch about 4 or 5 cluster tops of basil in your hand
and with kitchen scissors snip into slivers to make a
generous ½-1 cup of basil (The second time I wanted more basil)
1/2 C. Pine nuts is good but not necessafy

Dressing:  Put 1 T. olive oil in a small frying pan and finely grate 2
Cloves of garlic into it and stir fry until it is a golden brown.
Remove to a blender.  Add ½ C. olive oil, 3 T red wine vinegar,
1 small Roma tomato peeled (boiling water), seeded (seeds removed)
and chopped, ½ tsp  dried basil or 4-5 fresh basil leaves, ¼ tsp. salt and pepper

Blend until smooth.  Pour 6-8 T. on the pasta mixture and toss together.
Add some more salt and fresh grated pepper to taste. This makes a big salad
but it will stay fresh in the refrigerator 5 or 6 days.

Monday, July 18, 2011


 The Carla and Perry Taylor Miracle

Attending a new Ward after 29 years in one is worrisome.  And to make to make it worse our new Ward was not a Ward but a fledgling, 4 month old Branch in a new area of Fruit Heights that was expected to grow rapidly.   There were times when as little as 10 women sat in Relief Society. I didn’t understand at the beginning, that having us all new was a plus.  Our new Relief Society president sparkled with enthusiasm.  She wanted to bring together all the new move-ins and make them feel comfortable.  Her presidency came with dinner when we were packing in boxes; soup, bread, a salad with strawberries.  It was nice but I thought, “Someone is moving in every week, can you keep this up?”  They did.  I learned they had a dozen dinners in their freezers ready to go.  I was impressed.  It did make me feel welcome.  When it was my birthday a month later they all came again with a little gift and well wishes.  “Wow, you all are amazing!”

After a year in the Ward I was called to be the compassionate service leader.  My job would be to work with my lovely, ambitious Relief Society President, Cherise Cragun.  And I hoped I could convince her that the sisters in the Ward needed to take a more active roll in her ideas for helping and serving one another.  I could see that burnout might come if she continued to do so much herself.  E-mail made my job easy and finding volunteers for help was as easy as a morning e-mail to all the sisters.  I was impressed at how eager so many were to help. 
Soon after my call Cherise advised me that we needed to find dinners for Carla Taylor’s family 3 days a week.  Carla had 2 small children and a teenage son.  Her husband had recently checked into rehab to deal with some addiction issues.  Carla had gone back to work to support the family.  She was not attending church at the time.  Someone in the Ward volunteered to take dinner into the family every Monday. (How wonderful of you Jackie Giles).  I needed to find two other days. (Plus the RS presidency often did another day here and there)  Cherise said this assignment would be ongoing until further notice.   I learned, in my new assignment, that there are some you can count on over and over.   Mostly everyone wanted to help when asked personally.  As the weeks turned into months I started to question the wisdom in so many dinners.  Was it too much to ask of the sisters? Thankfully, I never expressed my reservations.  It was not that anyone was complaining.  Cherise met with Carla regularly. I had to believe that she had a pulse on the situation.   Finally we were done.  I never saw Carla Taylor during this time.  

The little branch seemed to grow in spite of the downturn in the economy and I started to lose the ability to recognize everyone.  This is a great little family neighborhood.  One Sunday a tall, beautiful woman with long dark hair sat with Mike and I on the short benches.  I introduced myself.  She said, “I am Carla Taylor.”  “Oh, Wow, I am so happy to meet you!” I said.” And I was happy.  Of course, this woman would want to come and be with the generous people that had fed her family for months and helped her get through a difficult time.  Surely she was confident of our love, concern and support.  I began noticing Carla each Sunday in Relief Society with a sweet little girl who was not quite ready to leave her mom for Primary. 

I didn’t make the connection at first, but at some point I started to see a big and tall man with dark curly hair, moving around church with his leg elevated on its own little scooter.  I talked to him in the hall about his ongoing problem with a foot that split open and would not heal.  He could not walk on it.  His name: Perry Taylor, Carla’s husband.  I noticed that their teenage son was actively involved with the boys in the Ward.  Carla told me that his activity was influential in her decision to attend.   It gave me a lot of joy to see this little family sit together in sacrament meeting.  Perry was not a member but he began meeting with the missionaries and eventually agreed to baptism.  I like to look for them on that bench close to the front, glowing in the newness of their spirit.    I misjudged and it humbles me. 

Several months ago Perry was assigned to be our home teacher with someone who is seasoned in the church to mentor him in the way to do it.  I look forward to his visits.   We compare our foot problems.  We both had foot surgery in January.   Perry is walking without his scooter now, sometimes with a walking cast, sometimes in a special shoe.  He brings a lesson to teach us.  We are impressed as he is working hard to learn the gospel.  He feels inadequate to his new life.  He read a quote about the Celestial Kingdom from the Ensign once.  He said, “I will never go there.  I spent too many years as a hard drinker.”  Mike wisely brought up the parable of the “Workers in the Vineyard.”  The Lord gave everyone a penny whether they came early or late.  Yes Perry, you can aspire to the Celestial Kingdom.  Isn’t the gospel wonderful!

 It has been about 3 years since we began taking dinner into the Taylor family.  When Perry came to visit this month he had an invitation for us.  He and Carla will take out their endowments on July 12 and we are invited to attend with them.  It has been such a beautiful thing for me to watch this story unfold and to learn that God knew Cherise would do the right thing in organizing us to love this family as long as they needed it.  It is never hard to love those you serve.  I hope I have learned not to question the inspiration that comes with stewardship.  
Recently Little Joshua Taylor bore his testimony in church.  He said that he was happy that, “a missionary was living with them.”  Then the missionary got up.   He taught the Taylor family the gospel while serving here. When he finished his mission he moved to Utah and is living with the miracle family he baptized. 
The temple experience with the Taylors was sweet.  About 35 Ward members attended the session to show their support.  I have never seen that many members in the temple together.  I sat there thinking about Carla and Perry hearing everything for the first time.  I remembered my first time, knowing that it is so different from any other church experience that it can be daunting.   But with a commitment to return it will soon be comfortable.  There is nowhere on earth with this much peace.

I was surprised to see a fellow writer, Donna Jones, in the session.  She and her husband Kent are leaders in the LDS addiction recovery program.  She told me that Perry was “one of her boys.”  She said when he first started attending the program he told them, “I don’t know why I am here because I don’t like the LDS church.”  So, why did Perry come in the first place and why did he stay?  Donna said that his teenage son convinced him it was the best place and came with him offering tender support.  She said his progress has been a beautiful miracle.  And I liked what Donna said about his wife. “Without Carla’s support and love it never would have happened, because, there was a point when she threatened to leave. “—so many beautiful pieces fitting together to make it all happen.

I felt honored to have a little reception in our home for Carla and Perry that evening after the Temple.  Three years ago no one could have imagined this.  I love miracles.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


My summer has been busy and I am neglecting my blog.  Someone e-mailed me this list of Paraprosdokians today (Thanks Alicia) and they made me think and chuckle so I thought you might need some minds expanding snickers today.  Enjoy!

I had to look up "paraprosdokian". Here is the definition: "Figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently used in a humorous situation." "Where there's a will, I want to be in it," is a type of paraprosdokian.

Ok, so now enjoy!

    1. Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

    2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on my list.

   3. Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

    4. If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

    5. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

    6. War does not determine who is right - only who is left.

    7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

    8. Evening news is where they begin with 'Good Evening,' and then proceed to tell you why it isn't.

    9. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

    10. A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.

    11. I thought I wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted paychecks.

    12. Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says, 'In case of emergency, notify:' I put 'DOCTOR.'

    13. I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

    14. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

    15. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.

    16. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.

    17. I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn't work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.

   18. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

    19. Money can't buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.

    20. There's a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can't get away.

    21. I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure.
    22. You're never too old to learn something stupid.
    23. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

    24. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
    25. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
    26. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

    27. A diplomat is someone who tells you to go to hell in such a way that you look forward to the trip.

    28. Hospitality is making your guests feel at home even when you wish they were.

     290. When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.

Words of Wisdom

"The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Last fall we spent 5 days in a condo overlooking the Dordogne River in southern France.  This is a view from a boat we took one afternoon with a view of a medieval fortress,  Castelnaud, on the hill.  It was a scene to take your breath away.  20x24 - Oil on Canvas board