Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My Greatest Joy

ardie19Forgive me, but I was just watching the video of Alan Jackson singing "Remember When".  Dorothy wrote something to Mike a while back that made me think, cry, and express gratitude to the Lord for Ardie.  She made a stand and said something to the effect of, "but that is the man that I love."  If you give a person a thousand reasons not to love you and not that many to love you, your gratitude must run very deep, as mine does for her.  What does this have to do with my greatest joy?  Nothing has brought me more joy in this life than to be loved by this great woman unconditionally.  I simply do not understand how she did it, but she did.  Love, given without condition, is the greatest gift we can give to each other.  I feel that same love from my children, in spite of the fact that I have given them far too many reasons not to feel that way about me.  It is amazing.

My second greatest joy is when something good happens to other people.  I really don't care who, and I don't mean they just won the jackpot on Price is Right.  I wrote a young woman with whom I had worked many years ago and had not had any contact with since.  At the time, she was finding marriage a very difficult endeavor.  She wrote back and talked mostly about her family and how happy she was now in her marriage.  The joy I felt lasted several days.  There is just nothing better than seeing joy come into other people's lives.  I work a horribly mundane job.  Most people look at those of us that do my work as some kind of lower form of life.  I am just grateful to be able to go to work each day and enjoy the company of the people I work with.  When I work at the customer service desk, as I sometimes must, I look closely at every person that walks up to me.  I try very diligently to feel the spirit to see if there is anything I can say, in an appropriate way, to make their day a little better.  Most of the time nothing comes to mind, but once in a while I am given the right thing to say.  A girl came to the desk to cash a check.  She was on the phone with someone and having a very bad conversation.  She got off and I asked for her ID.  She was very belligerent in giving it to me.  I looked at the picture, and then at her, and then back at the picture.  I looked at her and asked her if the girl in the picture was really her.  She said something about, "Who did I think it looked like?"  I said it was hard to tell because the girl in the picture was smiling and could she help me out by smiling for me.  She looked at me like I was out of my head for a second and then smiled, first just with her mouth, but when I smiled back, the smile came from way down inside.  WOW! that sounded like a lot of bragging, and I really, truly, hate that.  I'm just saying, nothing brings me more joy than seeing joy come into the lives of others.  If I can help in some small, insignificant way, I will try and do it.  Pass it on.

PS - Here's the rub.  If I really care about bringing joy to others, why don't I remember anybody's birthday, even after Heidi makes me a beautiful birthday calendar.  I should work as hard for my family as I do for strangers.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Miracle of Friday the 13th

Friday, the 13th, 2009. It is past time for a new post and I have so much I wish to commit to this page, but not yet. Friday I went in to have an agiogram. Probably not spelled right. I was pretty much out of it, but the idea was to find the blockage in my arteries and place a stent to open the blockage so I would have proper flow from my heart again. The blockage was much worse than anticipated and so now I am looking at coronary bypass surgery. I had to cancel my hip replacement surgery because of these problems, so now I have a couple of biggies to deal with. I guess there are many ways of looking at this. I have chosen to look at it as a great blessing. Had this problem not been found, I would have died in the not-to-distant future. It is a kind of miracle, if you will. But here is the greatest miracle. Many years ago, I moved to the Northwest for reasons I will never understand in the midst of a horrible marriage. A while after, my oldest daughter, Heidi, moved to Portland with her husband. A couple of years ago, my youngest daughter's husband, Jake, was accepted at OSHU dental school in Portland and so she lives here for now. With her two sisters living in Portland, Heather, my second oldest duaghter, knew she couldn't stay in Utah and be so far away from her sisters and so many of her nieces and nephews. She is now teaching high school in Portland. A few years after my marriage ended I was moved to the Portland area. So, here we all are, far from our beautiful home in Orem, Utah, in a place none of us ever thought we would live. Friday, Heidi spent the day with me at the hospital and was the only one alert enough to talk to the doctor. Stephanie spent the day taking care of Heidi's four children, as well as her own. Doesn't sound like a big deal. Trust me, Heidi had the easy job. Heather, after finishing school for the day, drove over and picked me up at the hospital, and drove me home. Heidi followed in my car as I was in no condition to drive. She then drove us back to the hospital to pick up Heidi's car. I was then driven to Heidi's house where I spent the night in Abigail's and Emily's bed. Thank you girls. Some would say this is all a nice coincidence and of course it is. But I know, I simply know, that it is no such thing. This day, as well as the days ahead, will demonstrate God's love for me in ways I cannot beging to imagine. I am not alone in Tacoma, Wa, but am surrounded by the greatest love a person could ever hope to experience. Though I am deeply grateful for the blessing my daughters are in my life, I acknowledge God for placing us all together at this when my needs are the greatest. I also need to acknowledge on other person who I have seen influence the lives of my daughters. Thank you Ardie. I love you.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

I remember a few years before Ardie, my dad, and my mom died, all of my father's family got together for Thanksgiving dinner at his home in Orem.  At the beginning of the dinner he stood, and with great emotion, expressed how grateful he was to have all of his family together at the same time.  So first, I would like to express my gratitude to John and Miriam, especially Miriam, and the kids for making this a very special Thanksgiving.  As I see my family moving even further apart in the next several years, I wonder if I will ever see them all together again.


Let the eating begin.  The fellow next to Hed is Bruno.  He is originally from Brazil and his name is quite common there.  I like him a lot because he is a camera buff and I can ask him all my stupid questions.

After dinner it was necessary to burn off a few calories so it was out to the garage and the air hockey table.  It was a single elimination tournament so if you lost, you were out.  Now, maybe it is just me, but I am like, 65 years 153old.  Don't you think my children would have made it single elimination except for me?  You know, give the old guy a couple of shots at it.  But, oh no.  You lose dad.  You're out.  Wow, the hurt of it all.  The in humanity of men towards men.  I have long held that competition is of the devil.  God wants us all to be winners.  I think I have some very substantial proof of my feelings.  Please notice the eyes in the next two photos.


Sure, I know what you're saying. "Just red eye."  I took these photos to a professional developer and he couldn't even get it out.  H163e said it was something he had never seen before.  He just kept looking at the eyes and after a few minutes he started throwing stuff around and screaming.  I felt it best to leave. 

The competition raged on, without me, I might add.  would it have killed anyone to have given me just a few more chances?  Here are a couple shots of the final match.  Once again, please notice the evil in John's eyes.  Now I need to go back about 40 years.  I am in a small kitchen in Springville, Utah.  There is a 5X8'184 sheet of plywood being held up by the counter on each side of the kitchen.  I stand at one end on the table with ping pong paddle in hand.  Ardie is at the other end.  I am slamming the ball mercilessly at her time after time.  Problem is, she is returning it.  Day after day we played.  Until today I would have thought her the most competitive person on earth.   In the picture above I am wondering the same thing you are.  How does she see anything?


AND THE WINNER IS????  ARDIE, oops I mean HEIDI.  Always was and I guess, always will be.  The girls in this family want it more than the guys.  Sorry John.  Please notice the great humility with which Heidi accepts her trophy.  You can't get any more Ardie than this.

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I was grateful to see John take his loss with love and kind feelings towards his sister.

Well, the turkey is eaten, the games played, and now for a little napping and the like.  Here is Mirm expressing her gratitude at my taking her picture as she begins her nap. 159160 Here she is coming to take a closer look at the camera.  By the way, Mirm, I talked to the  repairman.  He said it will still be a few weeks before the camera is useable again.  I will send you the bill along with the bill from the doctor who had to remove it from, well, you know.


Here we are at the Beau Thai restaurant.  Great food197 and even better company.  

I think what Steph is saying here is: "Daddy, they won't let me watch Rainbow Bright."  Does it never end?200

The girls had to check out a few of the shops on the Avenues.207

We were entertained by wonderful music.  Megan and Abigail became very good at their duets.178

One of the happiest memories I have is that of going to the kids choral concerts when they were in high school and college.  I know it also brought great joy to Ardie.  Here the kids, along with Mirm, who also sang in those choirs, sing together.  It was simply like dying and going to heaven.  When they sang, 'Oh Come, Oh Come, Emanuel", I couldn't believe how beautiful it was.  Thanks kids.  It was the best part of my Thanksgiving. 212

Well, all great things do come to and end.  It was time for a few pics of the grandkids and then off to Utah, with a stop in Boise on the way.



  The "BARFMOBILE" heads out for Utah.  A great time with great people.  Thank you from a very grateful father and grandfather.  Thank you John, Mirm, Aaron, Megan, Josh, and Zach.  And thank you Heidi and Rick, for making your home, once again, a gathering place.  I really love my kids.  Thanks to all of you for making this time so special.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


During my life there have four events which I consider to be of great historical significance.  The first occurred on Sept. 2, 1945 on board the battleship Missouri, in the Pacific.  There, General McCarthy signed the treaty ending WWII and the great evils associated with that war.


Being only two-years-old at the time, I had no idea of the significance of that moment.  In later life, as I read thousands of pages on the history of that war, I developed a greater appreciation for that great moment in time.

The second significant historical event of my life occurred in November of 1989.  It was on that day the Berlin wall came down.  In March of 1966 I had the opportunity of passing through the entrance into East Berlin.  The distance between Checkpoint Charlie and the entrance into East Berlin is the greatest lesson I have ever had regarding freedom.


There is nothing here at the checkpoint to impede one's movement, but the concrete barriers can be easily seen in this photo which marked the entrance into East Berlin.  What cannot be seen here are the two machine gun placements on each side of the barrier and the several rows of similar barriers behind this one.


On the evening of that day my companion and I stood here looking at the Brandenburg gate.  It was beautifully lit and the wall was not yet built in front of it.  As we stood watching the many guards with there automatic weapons and dogs a West German police officer approached us and asked us if we knew we were standing in East Berlin.  The barriers you see here were not present at that time and the wall was well within East Berlin.

It was not that the destruction of the Berlin Wall was so significant on its own merit, what what the destruction of that wall would preface.  Within a short time the USSR would crumble and communism would become a thing of the past in the nations of Eastern Europe. 

I will preface the last two most significant historical events on my lifetime with an experience I had as a young boy.  My father built our family a beautiful little home in Pasadena, California in 1955.  It was a stone's throw from Devil's Gate Dam, and the arroyo that lay behind it.  A virtual haven of adventure for a young boy.  Almost everyone has indirectly heard of this arroyo because it would later become the home of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  Only a few years after moving to Pasadena my parents came home one evening from a neighborhood meeting.  I could see my father was very upset and I was old enough to ask him why.  He said they had just come from a meeting of the neighbors in the area and the discussion had been regarding the selling of homes in the neighborhood.  He said they were told not to sell their home to someone of Japanese descent as they would turn around and sell to a black person.  They wouldn't do it on purpose, mind you, they just didn't have the brains keeping them from doing something so abhorrent.  His disgust at what had been said formed my attitude about discrimination for the rest of my life.  My father was later to engrain his feelings of non-discrimination more deeply within me by calling a man of Japanese descent to serve as his counselor when he was called as bishop.

My children have chided me for being prejudice many times during my life and it is certainly true that I have found many things about individuals of every race of people I did not particularly care for.  That is why the next two events may be a surprise to them.

The first occurred on the evening of June 9, 1978.  I walked to the mailbox to retrieve the evening newspaper.  It was a beautiful late Spring evening.  I took the paper out of the box and opened it to look at the headlines, as I always did.  What I read caused me to stop dead in my tracks.  In a matter of moments, tears were freely flowing from my eyes as I read the news that all worthy male members of the church would be allowed to hold the priesthood.  I had never been completely comfortable belonging to a church which seemed to discriminate against people I had been taught not to discriminate against.

The last, at least to this moment, occurred tonight, November 4, 2008.  I sat and watched a young man deliver an acceptance speech as the president-elect of the United States of America. His words were inspiring and uplifting and promised hope for the future.  The fact that I disagree with many of his political leanings was unimportant.  What was important, and almost impossible to believe was that this young man was black.  Not just black, but the son of an immigrant from Kenya.  The very people my parent's neighbors had sought to keep out of their neighborhood, had just become the next president of the United States.


I am very grateful to have lived to see these moments in time.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Family Outing to Mt. Hood, Part IV

I think I finally have this about where I want it.  And yes, it is all about the pictures.

Timothy Lake_0045

On the way up the mountain, I stopped at this at this beautiful little lake. Heidi has camped here before but it was very crowded this weekend. Before turning off on the road to our campground I passed this beautiful meadow.Timothy Lake_0047 I arrived well ahead of everyone and spent a great deal of time looking through several camps for a site large enough to fit Heidi, Rick, Abi, Connor, Em, Holly, Hed, Me, Steph, Jake, Jaxon, and Sage. When Heidi and Steph arrived we finally found one and settled in. Timothy Lake_0050 Lake Timothy is a beautiful lake further down the Southern flank of Mt. Hood than the lake above. It is a perfect lake for kids to play in. The weather was perfect and the kids got in the water before dinner.Timothy Lake_0052 Timothy Lake_0056  Timothy Lake_0063Timothy Lake_0061 Some friends came along and let the kids pet them. The owner assured us they wouldn't hurt anyone. You be the judge. Sure, the one in the foreground looks friendly enough, but look at the dog next to Em. He is looking at Holly like she would be a perfect meal.Timothy Lake_0069 "Yes I'm going swimming. Do you want to try and stop me?"  Timothy Lake_0070"I'm sure I saw some cute boys down the road a little ways, let me get this helmet on and we'll ride down and check em' out. Timothy Lake_0077 Timothy Lake_0080 "Hi grandpa. What are we doing?" Oh, nothing, just checking out the bike. What we are not doing is getting ready to go and check out the boys down the road."Timothy Lake_0081 "Look Sage, he has his camera. Just give him a big smile and he will go away and we can take off."Timothy Lake_0082 Finally, time for dinner. Nothing like cold tortillas to get the stomach rolling. At this point I am heading down the mountain to McDonalds. No, Jake doesn't look like that because he is on drugs. At least, I don't think so.Timothy Lake_0084 The girls of camp, or least most of them.  Sage and Holly took off down the road on the bike for some reason. Timothy Lake_0088 After dinner, a belated birthday celebration. This just may be the best chocolate cake I have ever tasted. Simply perfect, and Step's best creation to date.Timothy Lake_0091 After dinner, a trip back to the lake. I love this shot of Abbie pointing out over the water to the mountain.Timothy Lake_0097 Back to camp for the ceremonial roasting of the marshmallows. Look at Connor's right arm. In a few short hour he would fall into the fire and his right hand and right arm, up to the elbow, will look like cooked meat.Timothy Lake_0113 Breakfast. It all tastes soooo good in the out-of-doors.  Sage is asking Holly if she wants to go back down and see the boys again.Timothy Lake_0003 Time to hit the lake for a little boating. Timothy Lake_0009    Here is Heather going out with the kids.  Timothy Lake_0014 And here is Heather coming back with one of the kids. We sat and watched them maneuver the boat for quite a while. We could see they were trying to get back to where we were, but the harder they paddled, the further away they got. Finally, Connor and Abbie bailed out and walked back and Em rowed while Heather pulled. Good thing they didn't get into deep water.Timothy Lake_0016 We then took off on a short hike up to the pacific crest trail.Timothy Lake_0022 You will notice Steph and family are missing. They took off early to head up to Jake's parent's house in Washington to take care of other family business. Here in Oregon, there isn't much color to look at in the fall. Just a lot of green, and then there is the green, and oh, look at that beautiful green, and oh, my goodness, I don't believe I have ever seen that shade of green before. You get the picture. Soooo, when I saw this color, I couldn't get the camera out fast enough.Timothy Lake_0025 Timothy Lake_0030

It was a great camp out. I loved being with my family in the mountains. The best part of this camp out?  I got to talk with Evans in Zambia, Africa.  He is a huge part of Heather's and Heidi's life.  He was very excited about going to boarding school.  As I understand it, his only chance to attend anything like a high school.  Heather and Heidi have committed to financially help him further his education.  The school costs $1,000 a month.  This is an impossible amount for most Zambians.  These are some of the nicest pictures I have ever taken. My thanks to John, Heidi, Hed, and Mark.