Days for Girls Work is a Blessing to So Many!

It has been a joy to step back into our Days for Girls work here in Orem since our return in July.  Every Thursday we gather at Building Q here in Orem (585 East 1200 North) from 10:00 until 2:00.  Women (and a few men) come from far and wide to help us make and assemble hygiene kits.  This week some of our missionaries joined in the fun.  Oh, what a gift they give as they #LightTheWorld!2018-12-6 (1)2018-12-6 (2)2018-12-6 (3)2018-12-6 (4)Melissa Clark and Wendy Barton tirelessly keep the work moving forward.2018-11-28 (14)

This week Anna Monson, a BYU student came to film what we were doing.  Take a look at her video and explanation of Days for Girls.  She did a great job:

We also go on the road from time to time.  This week another of our missionaries invited her Spanish Ward in Provo to join in the fun and help:2018-12-5 DfG Hna Pons Provo Ward (3)2018-12-5 DfG Hna Pons Provo Ward (6)2018-12-5 DfG Hna Pons Provo Ward (7)We assembled more than 500 kits this week.  This is work I am grateful for!

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The Dedication of the BYU Engineering Building and our Son Aaron, the Engineer

2018-12-4 BYU Engineering Bldg (1)We were invited today to attend the dedication of the new Engineering Building at BYU.  Our son, Aaron is a 3rd year Mechanical Engineering student, and he spends a good deal of time in that building.  Elder Bednar spoke and gave a beautiful dedicatory prayer.2018-12-4 BYU Engineering bldg2018-12-4 (2)This quote was in the program:

“Redemption from the ills of the world is dependent on our ability to understand the laws of the universe and to live in conformity therewith. . . . Sin, inefficiency, and disease are merely manifestations of ignorance. The overcoming of these is the triumph of education and the vindication of the power of intelligence.” –Franklin S. Harris at his inauguration as BYU president in 1921

2018-12-4 BYU Engineering Bldg (2)

As he talked about the old coming down and new buildings being constructed, Elder Bednar said, “I pray we always will remember those who have gone before.”  I remembered classes I had in the old Eyring Science Building, which still stands right next to this building.  I loved learning about physical sciences–physics, astronomy and chemistry.  I typed papers and reports on my new electric typewriter that had a correcting ribbon.  Our highest technology then pales compared to what I saw today.

After the dedication, Aaron took us on a tour of this incredible building.2018-12-4 (7)This last year his classes have included Electrical Engineering, Differential Equations, Computing & Numerical Methods, Computer Aided Design, Modeling, Mechatronics, System Dynamic Modeling, Manufacturing Processes and Statistics for Engineers.  Holy Cow, I don’t even know what most of those things are!

Right now he’s working on a semester-long project building a robot. 2018-12-4 (9)

2018-12-4 (12)2018-12-4 (11)Here’s where the robots are tested.  They pick up or shoot balls into specific places.  I’m sure there is a more technical way to describe that!2018-12-4 (13)Here are robot parts and pieces from all the students working on this:2018-12-4 (15)It was amazing to walk through the floors and see all the labs and work areas for students.  Everyone was busy, as this semester is coming to an end and projects are due.  I’m proud of Aaron and his good mind and heart.  He loves what he’s studying and he’s an excellent student.2018-12-4 (16)

The Daily Universe reported, “The building’s construction was possible with the help of $85 million, 100 percent funded by more than 17,000 donors, according to the dedication program.  The building took 27 months to construct and has been operational for three months. It has five floors and is 180,000 square feet total, while the engineering research laboratory has two floors and is 20,000 square feet total.  A feature exclusive to the new building includes Harvey’s Cafe — named in honor of Harvey Fletcher, the first dean of the College of Engineering. The innovation floor also includes prototyping facilities, entrepreneurship infrastructure, student club commons and project labs. Team rooms provide students with a place for collaborative study, and an engineering research laboratory includes access to two wind tunnels, a water tunnel, engine test facilities and combustion reactors.”

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Bringing Home the Tree!

Photo0281Growing up in Reedley, CA, we always went to a Christmas Tree Farm to cut a fresh tree.  It was always the beginning of the holiday season.   I think these photos were taken around 1972 or 1973 when I was in Jr High.  Photo0284This weekend we went to pick out a tree here in Orem.  We found a perfect one that wasn’t clipped and trimmed to perfection.  The branches were left natural, just the way we like it.2018-12-1 (4).JPGThe process of bringing the tree home hasn’t changed much.2018-12-1 (6)2018-12-1 (7)2018-12-1 (8)Tonight as the snow dusted our world, we were cozy inside, lighting our little world as we remember Jesus Christ, the true source of Light.  I am so grateful for Him!2018-12-2 (4).JPG2018-12-2 (8)May we all feel His peace and love this Christmas season!2018-12-2 (9)

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Places Planted in My Heart

There are two places foreign to my feet, but home to my soul.  These two lands are far from where I grew up, or from where I live now, but in both, I feel so at home, I can hardly believe they are not my home.

I love Germany and the land of my ancestral fathers and mothers.  I love the language, the food, the people, and the farmlands where my grandparents and everyone before them labored.  I feel I’ve come home when I visit there.

Here are the vineyards that have been in my family for centuries:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My other home away from home is on the other side of the world.  It’s in Africa.  I have just returned from 2 weeks in Mali, West Africa with my people there.   For some reason, God plucked me out of my comfortable world in 1981 and sent me to Africa.  I lived in South Africa for 18 months, then Nigeria for almost 3 years.  I couldn’t get enough of that land and those people.  They became my own.  I’ve not been able to keep away for long since then–there is always a corner of Africa in my heart and my soul always longs to be there.

Something pulls and draws me to that home away from home.  I return every opportunity I get.  It’s interesting to me to feel so at home there when I don’t speak the local languages and I can’t eat all the local foods and it’s so hot and dry and dirty and hard, in many ways, to live there.  The water isn’t clean.  The living conditions aren’t always comfortable.  The sweat and heat sap my energy and my feet are always dirty, but I LOVE being there.  I love the smell of the bush, the sun on my face and I love inhaling the hot dry air.  I love the weathered skin of the elderly and the hopeful eyes of the young.  I love the contrasting colors–the bright batik prints against beautiful dark skin tones.  I love just about everything about being in Africa.

Let me share this love with you.  Here are a few photos taken on this last trip.2018-11-12 Mali AL (4)2018-11-13 Mali (19)2018-11-13 Mali AL (12)2018-11-13 Mali AL (45)2018-11-13 Mali AL (51)2018-11-13 Mali AL (100)2018-11-13 Mali AL (250)2018-11-13 Mali AL (255)2018-11-13 Mali AL (276)2018-11-13 Mali AL (288)2018-11-13 Mali AL (303)2018-11-13 Mali AL (347)2018-11-13 Mali AL (351)2018-11-13 Mali AL (371)2018-11-14 Mali (25)2018-11-13 Mali AL (398)2018-11-13 Mali AL (400)2018-11-14 Mali (17)2018-11-14 Mali AL (2)2018-11-14 Mali AL (6)2018-11-14 Mali AL (51)2018-11-14 Mali AL (57)2018-11-14 Mali AL (67)2018-11-14 Mali AL (111)2018-11-14 Mali AL (230)2018-11-14 Mali AL (239)2018-11-14 Mali AL (274)2018-11-14 Mali AL (284)2018-11-14 Mali AL (291)2018-11-14 Mali AL (301)2018-11-14 Mali AL (328)2018-11-14 Mali AL (344)2018-11-15 Mali (3)2018-11-15 Mali (21)2018-11-15 Mali (40)2018-11-15 Mali (60)2018-11-15 Mali (78)2018-11-15 Mali (95)2018-11-15 Mali AL (9)2018-11-15 Mali AL (20)2018-11-15 Mali AL (33)2018-11-15 Mali AL (39)2018-11-15 Mali AL (56)2018-11-15 Mali AL (103)2018-11-15 Mali AL (105)2018-11-15 Mali AL (173)2018-11-15 Mali AL (197)2018-11-15 Mali AL (209)2018-11-15 Mali AL (219)2018-11-15 Mali AL (254)2018-11-15 Mali AL (281)2018-11-15 Mali AL (293)2018-11-15 Mali AL (299)2018-11-16 Mali (6)2018-11-16 Mali (49)2018-11-16 Mali (56)2018-11-16 Mali (63)2018-11-16 Mali (70)2018-11-17 Mali (55)2018-11-17 Mali (71)2018-11-18 Mali (57)2018-11-19 Mali (52)2018-11-19 Mali (56)2018-11-19 Mali (42)2018-11-12 Mali AL (24)

2018-11-19 Mali AL (129)2018-11-19 Mali AL (168)2018-11-19 Mali AL (186)2018-11-19 Mali AL (198)2018-11-19 Mali AL (226)2018-11-19 Mali AL (238)

The medical expedition part of the trip:2018-11-19 Mali (32)2018-11-22 Mali (57)2018-11-19 Mali AL (10)2018-11-19 Mali AL (36)2018-11-19 Mali AL (84)2018-11-19 Mali AL (103)2018-11-19 Mali AL (106)2018-11-20 Mali (17)2018-11-20 Mali (27)2018-11-20 Mali (33)2018-11-20 Mali (35)2018-11-20 Mali AL (32)2018-11-20 Mali AL (65)2018-11-21 Mali (5)2018-11-21 Mali (6)2018-11-21 Mali (16)2018-11-22 Mali (3)2018-11-22 Mali (43)2018-11-23 Mali (11)2018-11-23 Mali (12)Our beds:2018-11-23 Mali (15)Our translators:2018-11-23 Mali (26)

I hope it won’t be long before we return again.  I am already missing these friends and this land, where my heart seems to be planted.


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Tomorrow we fly!


Tomorrow I return to Africa, my other home!

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Seeing through her eyes

2018-11-3 PennyI went to visit my dear friend, Penny this week.  She is fighting to stay with us and we are fighting to keep her just a bit longer.  When you’re with someone you love who doesn’t have much time left in mortality, you begin to look at things a little differently.  Actually, a LOT differently. That is one of many gifts Penny has given to me.  Watching her love others unconditionally has taught me to love more freely.  Hearing her repeat, “Well, I can’t take it with me” has caused me to look at stuff in a different way.  Watching her share everything she has has opened my heart.   I am grateful to Penny for blessing my life in significant ways.  I love her.

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Grandma Grace Rememberies by Granddaughter, Claire Lewis, age 5

Lewis, Claire with Grandma Grace

These words are from Claire right after Grandma Grace’s funeral on 1 Nov 1998:

Grandma had curly yellowish hair.

She liked to take care of us and read stories to us–the girl that rides on the goose (Mother Goose).

She gave us treats: carrots and M&Ms and crackers and cookies and pretzels in a little cup.

We did puzzles with her–the wooden ones–a pumpkin one is my favorite.

She always gave us apple juice from her fridge and applesauce.

She wore flower kind of clothes.

She had pretty flowers around her house–purple and pink and white and yellow.

She had a bird house and stones that we walk on every time by the front door and the hose.

When she died she went in that basket with all the pretty flowers on it.

They showed everybody in the box. Grandma was in it.

Her spirit went up to heaven like our balloons did.

Do balloons have a spirit?

What do you think Grandma Grace is doing right now in Heaven?
She’s looking down at us.

She wants to say “Claire, you look pretty today. Claire, I love you.”

What would you like to say to her if she could hear you?
“I hope you have a nice winter.”

Do the angels help Jesus get the snow down?

Claire wrote: “It snowed today. Christmas is coming. I love you grandma.”
(She made hearts between each word.)

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