Tuesday, August 26, 2008


My beautiful mother, Florence, & Garth on his 90th Birthday!

Garth recently celebrated his ninetieth birthday! WOW! As I have my mother and Garth living with us, and as Jim and I seem to have more and more aches and pains. . . .we can feel our bodies changing. Things aren't quite so easy as they used to be. . . . I often wonder at what point do we get old? We go day to day and don't seem to see much difference, but as we move from year to year or decade to decade, there are decided differences in our energy levels and ability to do things that used to come so easily to us. Our bodies are fascinating. How remarkable they are--with the ability to regenerate new cells, heal themselves, etc. I recently completed an Independent Study course through Brigham Young University: Essentials of Human Nutrition.

Here are some amazing facts about the human body:
  • If you live for 65 years or longer, you will have consumed more than 70,000 meals, and your remarkable body will have disposed of 50 tons of food.
  • Each of the body's cells is a self-contained, living entity, but at the same time it depends on the rest of the body's cells to supply its needs.
  • As living things, cells also die off, although at varying rates.
  • Some skin cells and red blood cell replenish themselves every 10-120 days
  • Cells lining the digestive tract replace themselves every three days.
  • Many muscle cells reproduce themselves only once every few years.
  • Liver cells have the ability to reproduce quickly and do so whenever repairs to the organ are needed.
  • Certain brain cells do not reproduce at all; if damaged by injury of disease, they are lost forever.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Catching UP

Our Family at Tammy & Jeff's wedding

This is why I don't keep a journal: I am forever "Catching up." The past eight months have been very full--starting with the biggest event of the year so far. Our son, Jeffrey Leo married Tamara Froisland on January 19, 2008. They were married at Wheeler Farm in Salt Lake City. Tammy is a wonderful young woman. Jim and I feel they are a perfect match! Jeff and Tammy honeymooned in Las Vegas. They are living in Sandy, Utah and house sitting for Tammy's parents while they are serving an LDS mission in Rochester, New York. Jeff works for University Hospital in the billing department. Tammy works doing medical coding in Sandy.

In February, I traveled back to Utah and spent some time with Jennifer's children while she and Paul went to New Orleans. I really enjoyed the time spent with the kids, getting them to school, dance, and basketball. I love it when I can spend some one-on-one time with the grandchildren. We are separated by such a distance that Jim and I miss out on some things. Of course we think our grandchildren are the best, cutest, and smartest. . . . And we aren't biased either!Alison (3), Porter (2), Jordan (6), & Taryn(3)

The day after returning home, Jim and I cashed in our Christmas gift from Matthew and Mary. They had given us tickets to see Bill Cosby at the Hult Center in Eugene. It was great fun! We felt like teenagers in comparison to the rest of the audience. Most people attending were baby boomers or older. Cosby was great! Matt and Mary told us they were giving us the "best Christmas present." It was pretty awesome.

Back to Utah again. . . .We borrowed a huge cargo trailer from our neighbor, packed our 1947 Plymouth and some miscellaneous furniture and other items that needed to get to either Salt Lake or St. George, loaded Jim, Nathan, Grandma, Grandpa, & I and took off. We dropped G & G at the airport where they flew to Salt Lake. On the other side, we picked up G & G in Salt Lake (after unloading the Plymouth and a few other things) and headed to St. George. Once in St. George, we loaded Grandma and Grandpa's possessions into the trailer. We left enough furniture, dishes, etc. to maintain housekeeping and living as Mom's condo is being set up as a rental for snowbirds. We headed back to Salt Lake, had a little time with our family, dropped Mom and Garth back at Uncle Lynn's house and headed back to Oregon! We picked up G & G a few days later at the Portland airport. It was a wild and crazy trip!

Matthew came home to visit after Winter Semester at BYU. We had a great time with him. We spent some time at the beach and also took a day trip to Silver Creek Falls. We spent a day at the Portland Temple as well. The Devil's Punchbowl located on the Oregon Coast.

Here we are at Nye Beach in Newport, Oregon.

This picture is from Silver Creek Falls.

Jeff and Tammy came to visit in July. Jim, Mary, Jeff, Tammy, and I went on a fun trip to Crater Lake while they were here. (Nathan was at EFY.) First we stopped at the Lava Tubes and cinder cones near Bend, Oregon. That was amazing to see. We hiked through the lava tube which was over 1 mile long. . . .then on to Crater Lake National Park. We camped that night in the park. We got in late, so we were setting up camp in the dark. Jim got up early the next morning and got us tickets to go on the Crater Lake Boat Tour. I believe the hike to the lake was about 1 mile down. (Going down was the easy part!! Coming up was a lot harder especially after all our walking on the previous day.) The boat tour lasted 1 1/2 hours and it was awesome! We were so glad we put forth the effort to go on the tour. We have been to Crater Lake twice before, but the boat tour was a first. After getting home from the Cascades, we spent a day bowling; the final day with Jeff and Tammy we hiked to Mary's Peak--another short trip, maybe 30-40 miles from home and a short hike. (After all the hiking we did I think I lost 3-4 pounds!) It was a beautiful hike. On a clear day, you can see the Pacific Ocean on one side and look out to see the Three Sisters on the other. Unfortunately, we had some low clouds and fog, but it was still beautiful! Tammy & Jeff on the Crater Lake Boat Tour

We attended The Phantom of the Opera in Portland. This was Mary's birthday present and our Anniversary Present. I have seen it before and I could see it again. It was wonderful. We all loved it!

We had a fun visit with Jim's family: Kathy, Duane, Kimberly, & Keith from Santa Paula, CA, came to visit their daughter Katie and family (who live in Portland) to celebrate granddaughter, Elizabeth's first birthday. Diana and Douglas came down from Kennewick, WA. Katie, Edward, & Elizabeth joined everyone here on Saturday night for a cook-out, spent the night, and then we all went to church together. Doug, Diana, Jim, Alice, Kathy, Duane

Nathan has been going all summer and we all can hardly believe it, but school will be starting next week. Nathan spent a week on the Lebanon Stake Pioneer Trek. He spent a week at EFY in Forest Grove. . . .another five or so days on a Scouting Bike Trek on the Oregon Coast. . . .and last week he spent three days on a Ward Youth/Leadership Conference on the Northern Oregon/Washington Coast. He feels that he has been gone almost all summer but he has had a great summer. Today he got his Driver's License and got registered for his senior year at West Albany High School.

Mary started school today. She is doing the Pharmacy Tech program here at Linn Benton Community College. She has been working for Target for the past few weeks. They just hired her to work as the pharmacy tech in the Target store while she is doing the program at the college. Things seem to be coming together for her! She was also just called to be the Education Counselor in the Singles Ward Relief Society Presidency.

Amid all the busyness and coming and going, Jim and I have been working on a big project to convert our barn into a shop. This has involved digging out the dirt floor, leveling it, spreading gravel and setting some forms. (We also tore out a wall and shuffled everything out so we could have access to do the work. We did hire a concrete man to do the actual pouring and concrete work.) As if that was not enough, we decided that while we were doing it, we should a dig out a sidewalk and patio area along the south side of our house. It was a huge job which we started about mid-April and finished about early July. We thought it was never going to get finished! Fortunately, our neighbor generously loaned us his small tractor. Unfortunately, the tractor wasn't small enough to get into the barn and scoop everything up. We ended up shoveling most of the dirt into the tractor shovel first. It still made a huge difference. All in all, I have no idea how much dirt we moved, but it was a lot! I had also ordered about ten yards of bark mulch and planting mix which I moved almost by myself. We probably unloaded another ten yards of gravel. It is now done and it is really nice! We still need to put in electricity, a door, and replace some of the siding on the new shop! Jim also needs to finish organizing his tools! Now we have a shop; the garage is our new game room/food storage area since we brought Garth's pool table home from St. George. But we have no garage. . . .another time.
I think the only reason Jim wanted to do this project is
so he could drive a tractor. . . .He enjoyed it way too much!!

Oh, almost forgot. . . . we have another huge garden and we hope to get a good crop of tomatoes.

COMING UP. . . .

Nathan is going to continue on the WAHS Swim Team. This is his third year!

Alice & Florence will continue to harvest the garden--canning, freezing, etc.

James & Amber are expecting their third child--a boy around Christmastime!

Matthew continues to study at BYU. His major is Bio-informatics!

Paul is continuing work on his P.H. D.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Staying Christ Centered

I recently read the book, At Home in Mitford, by Jan Karon. It is about a quaint southern town and its Episcopalian rector, Father Tim. Father Tim follows up on one of his new parishioners to find that he is having some struggles because other members are "hypocritical" in their lives. They aren't "living their religion." This really struck a chord with me as it is so easy to look at the lives that others live and try to reconcile their behavior with the teachings they profess. In other words, do they walk the talk? (A good question to ask ourselves.) We see this in our own lives and in the lives of members of our church. (My great-grandfather allowed the "hypocritical Mormons" to come between him and the Gospel he loved so much, even after he gave two years of his life in serving a mission to his homeland of Switzerland. His life was sadly empty of the blessings he, at one time, treasured so greatly; he died a bitter man. His children and grandchildren were also recipients of some of his attitudes; some are still suffering because of the choices he made. He allowed the choices of others to determine the choices he made.) I have heard it said, "If I were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict me?" I loved Father Tim's response.

'"Well, Father, you probably won't like hearing this. You know the four things you told me to do when I left that day?"

"Pray. Read your Bible. Be baptized. Go to church."

"Well, I'm going to church. but I've got to tell you that it's full of hypocrites."

Father Tim laughed. If there was ever a popular refrain in modern Christendom, that might be it.

"My friend, if you keep your eyes on Christians, you will be disappointed every day of your life. Your hope is to keep your eyes on Christ."

"Yes, well..."

"I will disappoint you, Pete, they will disappoint you, but He will never disappoint you."

"I was about to say to heck with it."

"Don't quit! Are you reading your Bible?"

"Ah, well...I was."

"And then you quit?"

"You got it."

"Then you can expect to be weak on one of your flanks, and that's precisely where the Enemy will come after you with a vengeance." (1994, Karon, Jan, At Home in Mitford, pg. 327)

HERE IS A NEW RECIPE I CONCOCTED: I made some adjustments to a recipe I found and I believe it is better.

6 Chicken Thighs with skin removed
1 Chopped onion
1 or more Green Peppers (seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces)
1 or more Red or yellow Peppers (seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces)
1 can sliced mushrooms (or fresh sliced mushrooms)
2 or 3 Garlic cloves, minced
1-15 oz can tomato sauce
1 jar or can of whole or diced tomatoes (drain off most of the juice; I use a quart of my bottled tomatoes.)
Other vegetables such as celery, carrots: optional
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano (opt)
Salt, pepper, garlic salt to taste
In a large pan (chicken fryer) spray with Pam. Brown chicken. (I used chicken thighs, but cut up whole chicken or breasts will work too. I prefer bone-in chicken as it is more economical and I believe that it is also more flavorful, but it is up to you.) When chicken is cooked thoroughly and tender, add cut up vegetables, saute until tender but not soft. Add tomato sauce, drained and cut up tomatoes, garlic, and seasonings. Continue to cook until mixture is heated throughout. I served Chicken Cacciatore with a rice mixture I found at Winco. (Wildrice mix) Enjoy!
"Hunter-style" refers to a dish cooked with peppers, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms. It's more familiar name is its Italian name: Cacciatore (kah-chuh-TOR-ee) This is a very low fat recipe and very delicious! (The recipe I found contains a low 203 calories per serving; I eliminated the oil so it is less than 200 calories per serving.)