Monday, March 31, 2014

My Wife Sheri

Bishop asked me to write about Sheri's history for a Fifth Sunday presentation.  He asked me to model it after the pattern in a article in this month's Ensign.  Sheri is the current Primary President in our ward.

Sheri is of royal lineage.  I sang a song to her when we were married a song called Vision: See that woman standing there, golden sunlight in her hair. Something glows above the rest, can your sense her nobleness.  A painting without frame it seems, but endless in its majesty; can you see what I see, can you see?  I see a vision in eternity, you are the vision I see.  Angels surround you in eternity, glorious queen your will be.  I see the sons I see the daughters at your side, glorious queen; Goddess forever. 
Sheri’s youth was hard.  Her parents were divorced when she was three, and she was raised by her birth mother and stepfather.  Sheri now has two fathers.  Her step father did not always treat her as he should have.  Her oldest brother was killed in a farm accident when she was in third grade.  Sheri was acquainted with grief and hardship. 
Sheri was the oldest daughter in her family of thirteen siblings.  She grew up working hard, changing diapers, cooking and cleaning; and performing farm chores.
After we were married, we were anxious to start a family.  Sheri always wanted a large family of at least eight children (not a few).  Sheri quickly became pregnant.  However her fist pregnancy ended in miscarriage.  Her second pregnancy also ended tragically with a stillborn baby boy.  It wasn’t until her third pregnancy that we brought our oldest daughter home, Natalia.  She was followed by five more siblings, each born about two years apart.  Sheri was a busy woman.
When are youngest child, Caleb, was finishing elementary school, Sheri reminded me that when we courted I had always talked about being adoptive and foster parents.  She was the spark behind us becoming licensed as foster parents.  She said she felt inspired that we were supposed to do this.
Starting about eight years ago, we brought over 35 children into our home.  Some we had for only a brief period.  Some we kept for over a year.  Tony we were able to adopt.  We have had children from many different circumstances.  Some, such as Tony, were premature.  Sheri has a special talent with premature babies and babies with prenatal drug exposure.  She has a deep seated love for children.
Sheri is an example in our home of daily prayer and daily scripture study.  She gets up early and reads her scriptures and has some time to herself to meditate and pray.


To each is given a talent, and we should use that talent.
Having faith in the Lord he will show us the path we should go and the things we should do to leave a positive mark in the world.
Even though things don’t always work the way we would like them to, and there may be trial and pain; as we pursue with faith we receive blessings from the Lord.

What Can I Do?

Recognize and develop my talents, and use the talents I have been given.
Think about how I can strengthen my faith and trust in the Lord.
Consider how to make my time spent waiting for the Lord’s blessings more fruitful and productive.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Poetry I Like: Make Your Own Kind of Music

Make Your Own Kind of Music; this words remind us that there is a place for us.  We don't have to be like the next person, but can find our own song and our own way to be happy.
"Make Your Own Kind Of Music"

Nobody can tell ya;
There's only one song worth singin'.
They may try and sell ya,
'cause it hangs them up
to see someone like you.

But you've gotta make your own kind of music
sing your own special song,
make your own kind of music even if nobody
else sings along.

So if you cannot take my hand,
and if you must be goin',
I will understand.

You're gonna be knowing
the loneliest kind of lonely.
It may be rough goin',
just to do your thing's
the hardest thing to do.

But you've gotta make your own kind of music
sing your own special song,
make your own kind of music even if nobody
else sings along.

So if you cannot take my hand,
and if you must be goin',
I will understand.

You gotta make your own kind of music
sing your own special song,
make your own kind of music even if nobody
else sings along.

This song was written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.  It was first recorded in 1968 by the Will-O-Bees and in 1969 by Mama Cass Elliot.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Words I Like: Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

Sometimes less is more; as proven by this famous speech given by Abraham Lincoln at the dedication of the military cemetary at Gettysburg 19 November 1863.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Poetry I Like: Follow the Drinking Gourd: Underground Railroad Song

Follow the Drinking Gourd
Story: The lyrics were instructions on how to get to safety. They were taught by a man known as Peg Leg Joe. The young slaves would use to song to know when it is safe to run, and where it is safe to go.
When the Sun comes back
And the first quail calls
Follow the Drinking Gourd,
For the old man is a
-waiting for to carry you to freedom
If you follow the Drinking Gourd
The riverbank makes a very good road.
The dead trees will show you the way.
Left foot, peg foot, travelling on,
Follow the Drinking Gourd.
The river ends between two hills
Follow the Drinking Gourd.
There’s another river on the other side
Follow the Drinking Gourd.
When the great big river meets the little river
Follow the Drinking Gourd.For the old man is a
-waiting for to carry to freedom
If you follow the Drinking Gourd

If you aren't allowed to teach or read, how do you teach about the north star.  The answer is in song.  This song tells a slave the route to follow, and what signs to look for on the way.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Caleb Sings "I Wonder When He Comes Again"

When Caleb was six, he sang "I Wonder When He Comes Again" for the Stevens Creek Ward Easter presentation.  He did an excellent job, and both Sheri and I were very proud of him.  He did so well that he was invited to sing again for the adult session of stake conference.

He was leaning too far forward in a folding lawn chair, it collapsed, and he grabbed the fire ring catching himself.  The fire was enclosed in a metal ring, which had been heated by our fire.  He burned both his hands, one on the palm and the other on the back of the hand.
He was in a lot of pain on the way to the hospital, about 40 minutes away.  We tried to cool down his hands as best we could, Sheri sitting in the back seat with him as I drove.  We got him to the hospital and he ended up with big bandages on both his hands, and had to go to the wound center for treatments.  He still has some scars, but nothing that affected his ability to use his hands.

Caleb had already been practicing a song to sing in the adult session of conference a day after we were done camping, "I wonder When He Comes Again".  He did a great job.  His hands were bandaged and everything.  After the conference session a woman came to congratulate him.  She did it by grabbing both his hands, ignoring the bandages.  Caleb didn't say anything, but he was in obvious pain.

Caleb sang this song a couple more times for the Easter presentation.  Sometimes with other children, including Adam Ure, Decker Ure and Scott Dye. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Poetry I Like: Mark Twain, Good Night, Dear Heart

Warm summer sun, shine kindly here.
Warm summer wind, blow softly here.
Green sod above, lie light, lie light.
Good night dear heart; good night, good night.

Whe Mark Twain's daughter dyed unexpectedly at age 24, Mark Twain was crushed.  He had read this poem and put it on her tombstone.  He couldn't remember who had written it.  It is based on a poem by Robert Richarson called "Annette" about a young woman who passed away and had many suitors.  I like Twain's short version better but you can read the entire poem here:
Mark Twains version was put to music by Dan Forrest.

Dolls form Peru

These dolls I brought home to my mother from Peru.  There were flea market venders at many important locations, including the train station at Machu Pichu and also in  Cusco.  These cam from one of the flea markets.  It is a couple of natives and a llama.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Poetry I Like: Ode to the Artichoke

This is my favorite Pablo Neruda poem.  First in English, then Spanish.  I love the thought of how the artichoke is eaten, peeling piece by piece from its armor until you reach the tender heart.  I think love is that way as well.  We peel each other's layers, until the peaceful pure heart is laid bare.

Oda a la alcachofa

The tender-hearted
dressed up as a warrior,
erect, it built itself
a little dome,
it kept itself
its armoured leaves,
beside it
the raving vegetables
began to frizzle,
they turned themselves into
tendrils, bullrushes,
touching bulbs,
below the ground
the red-moustachioed carrot
the vine
dried out its shoots
through which wine climbs,
the leafy cabbage
took to trying on skirts,
to scenting the world,
and the sweet
there in the garden,
was dressed as a warrior,
like a grenade and proud,
and one day
assembled with its fellows
in large wicker baskets,
it walked
through the market
to make its dream of
come true.
In ranks
it never was so military
as at the market,
the men
among the vegetables
with their white shirts
of the artichokes
the serried files,
the ordering voices,
and the report
of a fallen crate,
but then
comes along
and with her basket,
picks out
an artichoke
she isn't scared,
she scrutinizes it, considers it
against the light as if it were an egg,
and buys it,
tossing it
into her bag
jumbled together with a pair of shoes,
a cabbage and a
bottle full of vinegar
when entering her kitchen
she plunges it into a pot.
Thus ends
in peace
the enlistment
of this armed vegetable
called the artichoke,
after which
leaf after leaf
we undress
its deliciousness
and eat
the peaceful substance
of its green heart.

(Translated by Phillip Hill)
Listen to the poem            

La alcachofa
de tierno corazón
se vistió de guerrero,
erecta, construyó
una pequeña cúpula,
se mantuvo
sus escamas,
a su lado
los vegetales locos
se encresparon,
se hicieron
zarcillos, espadañas,
bulbos conmovedores,
en el subsuelo
durmió la zanahoria
de bigotes rojos,
la viña
resecó los sarmientos
por donde sube el vino,
la col
se dedicó
a probarse faldas,
el orégano
a perfumar el mundo,
y la dulce
allí en el huerto,
vestida de guerrero,
como una granada,
y un día
una con otra
en grandes cestos
de mimbre, caminó
por el mercado
a realizar su sueño:
la milicia.
En hileras
nunca fue tan marcial
como en la feria,
los hombres
entre las legumbres
con sus camisas blancas
de las alcachofas,
las filas apretadas,
las voces de comando,
y la detonación
de una caja que cae,
con su cesto,
una alcachofa,
no le teme,
la examina, la observa
contra la luz como si fuera un huevo,
la compra,
la confunde
en su bolsa
con un par de zapatos,
con un repollo y una
de vinagre
que entrando a la cocina
la sumerge en la olla.
Así termina
en paz
esta carrera
del vegetal armado
que se llama alcachofa,
escama por escama
la delicia
y comemos
la pacífica pasta
de su corazón verde.

My Poetry: Ode to the Cow

This was written when we lived in Duckwater, and attended a cattle round-up

Ode to the Cow

Planted they seem like a well rooted tree,
Slowly trudging, if moving at all
I spied the cow on the road in front of me.

A toot of the horn, cow doesn't respond
So I creep around--not knowing
if the cow will jump in front of me, or be gone.

On the road there are always cows.
Slow moving beasts of life
lying in wait, sometimes to dent our cars.

And that same creature, pushed and herded
to the cattleman provides sustenance
and on the road just turded

And the slow beast has it a brain?
Or is it just a factory
for spawning steer calves, preferably lean.

For the cow is the mother of hundreds
of steaks, burgers and stews
And of barbeques more than a few.

And the bawling calf and the bawling cow
Yearly fill the valley's air
The cow mourning, torn in half

She searches, she sniffs the night air
Her precious must be close by,
If she could find him, but where?

Lion House Restaurant, Salt Lake City

Dad took us to Lion House in Salt Lake, I don't know if when I was living with him or just going through.  Lion House is attached to the Beehive house, the old residence of Brigham Young, on the Church property by Temple Square.  We went to the restaurant. It was very crowded.  It had a different type of set up as it was cafeteria style. It also had a theme of old time cooking with soups, breads and candies.  You went through the line and picked what you wanted.  The line went very quickly; but then every seat was taken.  There were a lot of downtown customers, including employees of the Church.
Dad said it as a family tradition to go to the Lion House when we went to Salt Lake for conference.  I didn't remember ever being there before however.