Things I choose to Avoid

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Here’s a list of a few things I don’t really care for:

Crisco frosting (most frostings for that matter)
Sports Center commentators
Thinking about where I am in a parking structure
Fake–hair, nails, eyelashes, body parts, smiles
Arrogance or prideful people
People who spend because they can, not because they need
Conflict or contention
Caffeine (actually, I’ve never in my life had a caffeinated drink)
Dill pickles
Being late
Radio talk show hosts
Remote controls
Movies where cars crash and people are shot
Bad grammar
Sitcoms, comedians, or anything with canned laughter
Extreme Cold
Watching someone else talk while brushing their teeth
Dancing and loud music
Swearing or taking the Lord’s name in vain

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Stonewood 4th Ward Relief Society Retreat

2019-9-28 Cabin RetreatSisterhood is an important thing.  These are some of my neighbor sisters.  Many of us have raised our kids together.  We love and cheer for each other.  Today we had our annual Fall retreat at our Sundance cabin.  We had a delicious breakfast together, then we visited and got even better acquainted.  Many changes happened in the neighborhood while we were away in Washington.  There are new sisters to meet and old ones to remember.2019-9-28 Cabin RS Retreat (3)2019-9-28 Cabin RS Retreat (9)2019-9-28 Cabin RS Retreat (11)2019-9-28 Cabin RS Retreat (20)2019-9-28 Cabin RS Retreat (22)2019-9-28 Cabin RS Retreat (23)2019-9-28 Cabin RS Retreat (29)This was a fun game we played to get better acquainted.  We each brought some small thing that represented something about our lives.  Mine was the mini quilt and the African fertility doll.  It was fun to figure out which item when with which sister.2019-9-28 Cabin RS Retreat (2)I feel really lucky to be surrounded by so many good women.

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Harvest Time!

2019-9-28 (1)Today was a perfect day.  I love Fall.  I love my garden and I love the produce that just keeps coming all summer long.  It will be hard to walk away before the last tomatoes are picked and enjoyed.  Our days are numbered and I am savoring these times in the yard with the kids.2019-9-28 (3)2019-9-28-6.jpg2019-9-28 (5)2019-9-28-11.jpg

I made a pot of garden goodness this afternoon with the tomatoes and yellow squash.  I just brown a pound of sausage with some onion, while simmering a pot full of cut up garden-ripe tomatoes.  When the tomatoes are cooked down, I add the meat and then cut several squash into the pot.  I season this with Italian seasonings and herbs from the garden.  I love eating this with a slice of Havarti cheese melted over it.  Yum!


We also picked some fruit from Farmer Ron’s orchard across the street.  I miss him on days like today, but am grateful his orchard lives on, oblivious of the developers who would take the trees down and bring in more homes or apartments.


Today was perfect.  My life is perfect.  I am so grateful.


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Dad’s 89th Birthday and a Visit to Reedley

2019-9-20 Reedley Trip (10)John and I flew to Fresno this week to visit my Dad and Kris in Reedley.  He turned 89 on September 20th.  I gave him the quilt I finished last week called “Worlds Without End.”  Something to remember me by in the coming cooler months.2019-9-20 Reedley Trip (32)

We celebrated Dad’s birthday with his brothers, Henry and Wilfred.2019-9-22 Reedley Trip (21)

My brother, Eric, and Kris’s boys, Kendal and Trevor with their families:2019-9-22 (3)

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Kendal and Stacey with their kids Addison and his girlfriend and Hayden.

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Trevor and Bianca with daughters Nova,

Birthday Boy!  Dad was born 20 September 1930 in Fresno.  He grew up in Reedley.2019-9-22 Reedley Trip (2)

My homeplace:2019-9-22 Reedley Trip (3)2019-9-22 Reedley Trip (4)My mom planted this olive tree when I was about 10 years old.  She’d be happy to see it flourishing now.2019-9-22 Reedley Trip (11)2019-9-22 Reedley Trip (5)2019-9-22 Reedley Trip (6)

Dad and I had time to go through more things for his history.  I was also able to video record quite a few stories from his life.  A lot happens in 89 years.2019-9-21 Reedley (4)We visited the Reedley Cemetery and found Grandpa and Grandma and Dad’s little sister, Ruth.2019-9-20-Reedley-Trip-14.jpg


Dad says he’s got 10 more years in him.  I’m glad for that!  I will miss him these next 2 years while we’re away.2019-9-21 Reedley (2)

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A Small Cog in a Big Wheel

Cog in a wheel

Farewell Talk 15 September 2019

Look back on your life. Can you remember times when you were in the right place at the right time?  Hopefully that happens every now and again!  Our lives are like tapestries that intertwine with those around us.  We often get so caught up in the here and now that we don’t realize what the bigger picture is.

Sometimes it’s good to stop, sit still and look back to see where you’ve been in relation to where you are today. Maybe even list a few of the things –events, people, experiences–that brought you here, right where you are, right now.

I believe that as you look back on your life, you’ll notice things that led you to be in certain places, or to just BE a certain person that allowed Heavenly Father to work through you to bless others. I hope you are recording those paths in your journals!

I’ve been involved with work in Africa off and on for almost 40 years. I went there first as a young missionary in South Africa. I returned to live in Nigeria for 3 years after my mission. John and I have been involved with work in Mali for many years now. We have waited a long time for this opportunity to go serve there as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

When we received a phone call more than a year ago, asking if we’d consider serving in Mali we said Absolutely! This mission call has been in the works for a long time now. It’s given us time to look back at our lives and see the interesting ways we’ve been prepared to go to this particular place in West Africa.

Just three days ago, the church announced our legal recognition in Mali. Things have been unfolding there for a long long time. It’s been an interesting process to watch.

This last month we’ve been meeting with a church historian who is in charge of collecting and recording the history of the Church in West Africa. I talked with him this week about his interesting job, watching history unfold as he gathers stories and histories. Often at the time things are happening, those involved have no idea what the outcome will be.

David McCullough

Our conversations reminded me of a talk David McCullough gave in a forum at BYU in 2005. He was talking about the Founding Fathers and how at the time they had no idea what the outcome of their actions would be. He started his masterful discourse by saying:

One of the hardest, and I think the most important, realities of history to convey to students or readers of books or viewers of television documentaries is that nothing ever had to happen the way it happened. Any great past event could have gone off in any number of different directions for any number of different reasons. We should understand that history was never on a track. It was never preordained that it would turn out as it did.

Very often we are taught history as if it were predetermined, and if that way of teaching begins early enough and is sustained through our education, we begin to think that it had to have happened as it did. We think that there had to have been a Revolutionary War, that there had to have been a Declaration of Independence, that there had to have been a Constitution, but never was that so. In history, chance plays a part again and again. Character counts over and over. Personality is often the determining factor in why things turn out the way they do. . . . And just as we don’t know how things are going to turn out, they didn’t either.

I believe there is a Grand Plan, but I also believe that Heavenly Father uses whoever shows up to help that plan unfold.

How interesting that this great historian believes that personality is often the determining factor in why things turn out the way they do.

SO, what’s in our personalities? How can we make ourselves more available? More service-minded? More aware of those around us?  More willing to help? Do we find a need and fill it? Or do we just sit and watch? How can we change our mind set from “what can I get out of this?” to “what can I give to this?” My father used to say “there are 3 kinds of people: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.”

Sometimes we stay put or we don’t act because we fear we might miss out on something. That’s called FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out. If we go on a mission we might miss our kids or our grandkids. We might miss a recital or soccer game. But what do we gain and what do our kids (or our missionaries) gain by our going?

When we left for Yakima 4 years ago, Pres Eyring told John and me, “Your children will be more blessed by your going than by your staying.” Now I know he was right. That makes it easier to leave again.

The things we do don’t have to be big or grand. They just have to be Something. Alma teaches by small and simple things are great things brought to pass.

Elder Maxwell (April 2000) said:
Yearning for expanded opportunities while failing to use those at hand is bad form spiritually.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of showing up! Be a warm body. Be present.  Sometimes just being there for someone else is enough.  We are all little cogs in a great big wheel. Be a helpful, useful cog!

If someone you need doesn’t show up, perhaps they’re a cog in someone else’s wheel. Be patient. Focus on where you need to be, not where others need to be.

Oprah Winfrey said, speaking to this year’s Graduating class at Colorado College:
“The truth is, you cannot fix everything. But what you can do, here and now, is make a decision, because life is about decisions. And the decision is that you will use your life in service; you will be in service to life. You will speak up. You will show up. You will stand up. You will sit in. You will volunteer. You will vote. You will shout out. You will help. You will lend a hand. You will offer your talent and your kindness however you can, and you will radically transform whatever moment you’re in . . . . — which leads to bigger moments.”

Be that person who tries, who shows up, who steps out of a comfort zone. Be an answer to the prayer someone else offers. Be available. Let your personality take you places.

Sister Bonnie D. Parkin, former General Relief Society President said:
“We are all required to make journeys of faith. That is the gospel plan. [Y]our path may not be crossing an ocean or walking alone from an empty train station. But whatever it is, it will demand faith in every footstep. Years from now your grandchildren will tell with amazement stories of your choices which changed their lives. You will be called their pioneers. Have you ever thought that as you step into the unknown you are showing others the way?”

I pray we will all be brave enough to embark, to show up, to serve.

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Timpanogos Storytelling Festival 2019

I’ve just spent two days at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival at nearby Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah.  Thirty years ago this festival started in Karen Ashton’s backyard.  She invited me then, and she’s invited me every year since.  It was nice to be back in town this year able to attend.  I took some stitching and settled in for hour after hour of wonderful storytelling.Storytelling Festival

Donald Davis is my favorite teller.  He always speaks to my heart.  He’s like a national treasure and he always reminds us to tell our stories and to keep others alive by telling their stories.  He made an interesting comment this time about a tradition in sub-Sahara Africa.  He said to these Africans, there are 3 states of being:  Alive, Dead and the Living Dead.   The Living Dead are those who have passed on but who still have someone on earth who remembers them and talks about them.  I like thinking about what I can do to keep my ancestors alive here.2019-9-6,7 Storytelling Festival (7)Each evening everyone gathered in the amphitheater for a huge storytelling party.2019-9-6,7 Storytelling Festival (8)2019-9-6,7 Storytelling Festival (10)It was magical, restful and insightful to have time to sit and listen and learn and feel and to laugh a lot.  2019-9-6,7 Storytelling Festival (1)

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I enjoyed these program pages looking back and honoring my dear friend Karen.  Karen and I have been in a weekly quilting group for years.  Our husbands worked together before that.  She is a dear dear friend who is kind and generous.  Last week we bumped into each other in Kansas City where we talked about quilts and family.  This week we shared this wonderful festival.  I’m grateful to have been there with Karen and so many other dear friends.Storytelling Festival.2Storytelling Festival.3

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Faithful Saints

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My daughter, Claire is spending this Labor Day weekend up north at Bear Lake.  She snapped this photo this morning at church there.   It makes me so happy, to see so many good people on vacation, finding the nearest church so they can worship.  The chapel is full, the cultural hall is full and the hallways are full of faithful Saints with heads bowed in prayer.  I am grateful to be able to worship as I choose, and to be surrounded by good faithful people who do the same, wherever they might be.

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Family Trip to Kansas City, 21-28 August 2019

2019-8-21 (3)We decided we had time to get the whole family together once more before we leave, so we packed up the Utah gang and flew to Kansas City before our summer vacation time ended.  We just needed a little more time with the adorable grandchildren and their parents, Adam and Heidi.

Here is where Adam and Heidi live in Kansas City, Missouri:

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Adam and Heidi’s KC apartment (right side)

At the top of our family list was FOOD.  Particularly Kansas City BBQ!  Joe’s Diner was our first stop on the way home from the airport.2019-8-21 (5)

The next day we visited some important Church History sites in Independence, Liberty and Richmond.  We learned about some of the hardships of the early Saints.2019-8-22 (37)2019-8-22 (28)

This is the Community of Christ worship place.  They call it a temple. You can go there to pray for world peace.

We are always good for a doughnut stop when we’re on vacation!2019-8-22 (53)

Liberty Jail:2019-8-22 (55)

David Whitmer’s grave at the Richmond cemetery: 

Oliver Cowdery’s grave at the Richmond Old Pioneer Cemetery:

Also in Richmond:

River walk along the Missouri River:2019-8-22 (79)

Being Grandparents = the Best Thing Ever.2019-8-23 (5)2019-8-23 (6)2019-8-24 (4)2019-8-24 (11)

We are all here except for Josie who was in the stroller:2019-8-24 (19)Kansas City Public Library:2019-8-24 (42)

Saturday’s Farmer’s Market: 

We found an African grocery store!

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A perfect little family!2019-8-24 (103)More BBQ.  Delicious!2019-8-24 (107)2019-8-24 (110)Sunday at church near the Kansas City Temple:2019-8-25 (2)

Visiting Kansas City University where Adam is learning to be a Doctor:2019-8-25 (15)2019-8-25 (50)Lecture hall:2019-8-25 (13)This technology projects from this huge iPad-sort of thing onto the wall–life-sized body parts and things:2019-8-25 (9)Adam is a Fellow this year.  That means he’s teaching, not being a student.  He is teaching the first year students anatomy.  He spends his days in the cadaver lab.  This is is office:2019-8-25 (29)2019-8-25 (41)

More family time:2019-8-28 (14)2019-8-28 (16)2019-8-28 (12)We had a week with Adam, Heidi, Clark and Josie.  It’s not easy to say goodbye, especially for 2 years.  Can I just say these adorable children are perfect?  They’ll be all grown up when we see them again.  Oh how we love our family!2019-8-28 (26)


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Opportunity Cost

Balance Scale- Opportunity Cost

I led the discussion today in our Relief Society class.  The assigned topic was a talk given by President Oaks in last April’s General Conference called “Where Will This Lead?”  He began with the premise, “We make better choices and decisions if we look at the alternatives and ponder where they will lead.”

In his comments, President Oaks used a term I’d never heard before.  When I mentioned that term to my millennial son Aaron, he knew exactly what I was talking about.

President Oaks said:

“We make many choices between two goods, often involving how we will spend our time. There is nothing bad about playing video games or texting or watching TV or talking on a cell phone. But each of these involves what is called “opportunity cost,” meaning that if we spend time doing one thing, we lose the opportunity to do another. I am sure you can see that we need to measure thoughtfully what we are losing by the time we spend on one activity, even if it is perfectly good in itself.”

What a perfect label for something I think about All The Time.  Now I know what to call it.  I’ve been thinking about one of the first times I became acutely aware of opportunity cost.  I was 23 years old, a student at BYU, living with roommates.  I was also preparing to be a missionary.  I had friends and roommates who questioned my desire to step away from our social world and dating for 18 months to go wherever I would be sent.  Several friends told me, “I’d rather stay home and get married than go on a mission.”

I left those friends and spent 18 months in South Africa.  I was 25 years old when I returned.  I remember visiting many of my old friends who had stayed at home to get married.  Many were still single.  I had gone and come back with the world in my heart, and they were much the same.   They had missed an incredible opportunity.

Descriptions of Opportunity Cost:  a benefit, profit, or value of something that must be given up to acquire or achieve something else. Since every resource (land, money, time, etc.) can be put to alternative uses, every action, choice, or decision has an associated opportunity cost.  The opportunity cost is the missed potential gain from the choice that is NOT taken.  When economists refer to the “opportunity cost” of a resource, they mean the value of the next-highest-valued alternative use of that resource. If, for example, you spend time and money going to a movie, you cannot spend that time at home reading a book, and you can’t spend the money on something else.  There can never be zero opportunity cost for anything that we human beings do in this life. Every  choice has an opportunity cost. There will be times when our opportunity cost cannot really be expressed in terms of money, but the cost is still there.

An unfinished sign sits in my office:  a clean house is the sign of a wasted life.  Maybe someday I’ll do the stitching to finish it.  I showed this sign to the ladies today and we all laughed, but that sign has been something I’ve looked at every day for years.  Now I have the vocabulary to explain what it means to me:  opportunity cost.


I am asked pretty regularly if I ever sleep.  I do.  Every single night.  But when I’m awake, I try really really hard to use my time doing the most important things I know how to do, or doing things that will outlast me.  My dear mentor, Mary Ellen Edmunds taught me long ago the importance of “leaving yourself behind.”  I do that with words.  I do that with quilts.  I do that as I gather family history stories.  I’d like to leave something beautiful or meaningful behind when I go.  I may not always succeed, but I try hard to.

Today in our Relief Society class, we talked about ways we can improve how we spend our time.  We talked about making better choices so we don’t miss out on the important stuff.  As we went around the room, each friend and neighbor told one thing they would like to change to live more deliberately.  It was enlightening.  I love that we are all in this together, cheering each other on.

Here are a few other thoughts and quotes I shared with the women today:

The Prophet Jacob gives this counsel:
“Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted.”  (2 Nephi 9:51)

The Savior taught the following to both the Jews and the Nephites:
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  (Matthew 6:19-21 and 3 Nephi 13:19-21)

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave the following counsel not too long ago:
“Our Heavenly Father sees our real potential. He knows things about us that we do not know ourselves. He prompts us during our lifetime to fulfill the measure of our creation, to live a good life, and to return to His presence.

“Why, then, do we devote so much of our time and energy to things that are so fleeting, so inconsequential, and so superficial? Do we refuse to see the folly in the pursuit of the trivial and transient?”  (General Conference October 2012, Of Regrets and Resolutions)

Sharon Eubank:
I know this isn’t unique to me, but sometimes I’m so pressed with everything I have to do that I often don’t even know what the priority is. I have started asking the Lord every morning, “What is one thing you want me to do today?” I’m a maximizer, and I tend to think if one thing is good then five are better and ten are best. Then I’m overwhelmed. So, I’ve calculated if I do one thing that comes through inspiration, 365 times per year for 50 years, that will be a total of 18,250 things that the Lord wanted done. He has counted on me 18,250 times, and I have tried to respond. That is no small thing!

One of the greatest feelings is to know when you go to bed at night that you did the best you could that day. Offer it to the Lord: “I did my best. Will you please use my offering and augment it with the grace of Jesus Christ?” And then wake up and try again the next day. I have learned so much by doing this. I had no idea how creative the Spirit can be! Some of my “one” things have been making a phone call, teaching kids to play Yahtzee, listening to a forgetful friend tell stories I’ve already heard, and once it was taking a nap.(BYU Women’s Conference, 23 May 2018, “Doing Better Doesn’t Mean Doing More”)

President Russell M. Nelson:
Spend more time on your knees in prayer, more time in the scriptures, more time in family history work, more time in the temple. I promise you that as you consistently give the Lord a generous portion of your time, He will multiply the remainder.   (Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults • January 10, 2016 • Brigham Young University–Hawaii)

See also this post from a year ago:

What ideas do you have about what you might change to have no opportunity cost regrets?

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The Martin and Elizabeth Degen Bushman Bible

2019-8-6 Bushman Treasures from Don Bushman (116)I held in my hands a treasure today.   This is the Martin Bushman Family Bible that was published and sold by Kimber and Sharpless at their bookstore in Philadelphia in 1833.

Last week at the Elias Bushman reunion in Lehi, I met Don and Karen Bushman from Herriman, Utah.  They told me they had this family Bible in their possession.  I was so excited to learn where this Bible has been.  I made arrangements for Don and Karen to come to my home today with this beautiful family treasure.  Below is a photo of this Bible that has been in our Bushman family records, so I knew it was out there somewhere, I just didn’t know where to find it.

Bushman, Martin Bible 1833

Holding something in your hands that your loved ones held in theirs is a sweet thing.Martin Bushman Bible and Fam-6 croppedMartin and Elisabeth Bushman were taught the gospel of Jesus Christ from missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1840 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  This would have been the Bible they studied from.

2019-8-6 Bushman Treasures from Don Bushman (18)2019-8-6-Bushman-Treasures-from-Don-Bushman-30.jpgMartin’s signature dated 1833:Martin Bushman Bible and Fam-7

Here is where they read from James 1:5, as Joseph Smith once did, learning that if anyone lacks wisdom, they should ask of God who gives liberally to us if we ask in faith:2019-8-6-Bushman-Treasures-from-Don-Bushman-24-1296687358-1567368336608.jpg

Here are the family records recorded by Martin and Elizabeth.  2019-8-6 Bushman Treasures from Don Bushman (31)Jacob Bushman (top right), their 3rd child, is my 2nd Great-grandfather.2019-8-6 Bushman Treasures from Don Bushman (32)2019-8-6 Bushman Treasures from Don Bushman (48)2019-8-6 Bushman Treasures from Don Bushman (49)

Inside the back cover:Martin Bushman Bible and Fam-24

Don and Karen Bushman, who kindly shared this treasure with me today and allowed me to photograph these sacred pages.  Not only did they bring this family Bible, they brought photos and histories and family memorabilia which I also photographed and will be adding to FamilySearch as I have time.  Today was a Really Good Day!2019-8-6 Bushman Treasures from Don Bushman (388)

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