It's not what you gather, but what you scatter, that tells what kind of a life you have lived.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Miscellaneous Ramblin'

I'm sitting here watching Phenomenon with John Travolta. I think it's my favorite Travolta movie, because I like him to be the good guy. Plus he's so down-to-earth in this one. He doesn't want any fame or fortune, all he wants is to help others and get the girl. I think that's a nice way to live your life. The scene when Kyra Sedgwick cuts his hair is one of the most truly sensual scenes I've ever seen, without being dirty or tacky. Really romantic. O love this movie!
Tonight, I'm feeling pretty good, although I'm not sure why. I don't know how we're going to pay our rent, but most of the other bills got paid. I will probably have to go to work soon, because we're not making it. When there is work, my husband makes pretty good money, but if the work's not there, the pay's not there either. It makes planning anything really difficult! But I guess I feel so good because I actually finished the first book in the kid's craft series. It's a book of recipes for moms. I did little illustrations and all for it, and now that it's done, I feel relieved. I don't know quite what I'm going to do with it, but it's done, nonetheless. I gave a copy to the head librarian and asked her to read it and give me her opinion, so we'll see what she thinks of it. She has helped at least one author get published in the past, so maybe.......
I started my diet, and I think when I get on the scales tomorrow morning, I will find that I have gained, not lost. I seem to want to eat all day long and everything in sight. I haven't been writing everything down, though, and I think that's a big eye-opener. Most of us don't realize just how much or how often we eat until we see it in writing. So I'm going to start a food journal. I have the diet tracker on my MyYahoo, and that helps, too, because I have to weigh in once a week and enter it into the computer. I have to see it in writing, too, and that's pretty scary. But I am determined. I have gained so much weight that my temple dress doesn't fit anymore, and the Spokane Temple is one of the small ones and doesn't have rental dresses, so I can't go to the temple until I get a new dress! Or lose some weight. If any of you have some good, low-fat recipes that are quick and easy, email me. I need all the help I can get.
Well, I'm sitting here falling asleep, so I better say good night for now. Remember, this earth life is for testing, not for resting! Gramma G.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Well, today was July 24th and nothing happened. For Mormons, it is usually a big holiday and I miss the hullabaloo. The parades, the rodeos, the programs, the BBQs, you name it, I miss it. There are quite a few of us here in Montana, but its not like living in Utah or Southern Nevada. There will be a program and ice cream social or something like that on Saturday evening, but that's it. I will go and I'm sure I will enjoy it, but I still miss all the rest of it. (For those of you who don't know, it's the anniversary of the first Mormon pioneers reaching the Salt Lake Valley.) Part of the difference is the change in society. When I was young, we still had people around who remembered the hardships that the pioneers endured. My grandmother's grandparents were some of those pioneers and she kept that sense of history alive for me, but the farther we get from that generation, the more that gets forgotten. I have tried to keep that history alive for my children with the telling of it, and by participating in the festivities every year, but I can still see it dying. Don't get me wrong. They are proud of those ancestors who crossed the plains. a few by the side of Brigham Young, but those people have been gone a long time, and my kids don't see a lot of relevance between the two lifetimes.

The other reason I think we don't have the big celebrations is that everyone is so busy today. It takes a lot of time and a lot of work to put together those events. And it takes a lot of people to make them possible, too. People who don't have the time. Life is just rush, rush, rush nowadays and there doesn't seem to be enough time in a day to do what needs to be done, without adding frivolities. At least some people think of it that way. I, on the other hand, think that it's important to keep the past alive, so we never forget where we came from and what our ancestors went through to give us what we enjoy today.
Okay, enough of that. How about this instead? This Monday will be my 35th wedding anniversary. 35 years! WOW! My husband and I are one of the few couples from our graduating class to still be together after all this time. We have never been married to anyone else; we were married right out of high school. We have five children and 14 grandchildren, and we're still sane. At least relatively so. Every time I tell one of my children that I'm losing my mind, they tell me you can't lose what you never had, so maybe I don't really know what sanity is! But I'm still here, and I guess that's what counts. I love my husband very much. He is my rock, what keeps me going when times are tough. And they are really tough right now. We are having some real financial difficulties, and I don't know right now if we'll make it through, but we keep pluggin'. It's all we can do, and as long as I have him by my side, I'll be OK. I think we'll probably go to dinner and a movie for the big day. My daughter is off that day, so I won't be watching the babies, and we will be able to take some time for us. That will be nice. Then again, we may just decide to stay home and lounge around. I don't know. We'll see.
I'm still trying to get the ski tube hat done. My hands have been really bad lately, plus I have been doing the arts and crafts project every week at the library for the summer reading program, so it's not getting done very fast. Some days I can barely get anything done, my hands hurt so bad. I promise it will get done, though, and soon, because I want to share it with you before its to late to make them for winter. Oh yeah....I forgot to tell you that the Pineapple Lush Angel food Cake was really good. I made it with sugar free and fat free everything, and it was still really good. Try it! You'll like it! I'm also trying to lose weight. Again. Almost two years ago, I lost 45 pounds, but I've put most of it back on again. I lost it by going to Weight Watchers, and I can't seem to do it again on my own. I need the motivation of the meetings and the members to keep me going. I did find out that we have a WW meeting right here in Stevi, so I think I will have to find the money to join again. I'm so tired of being fat. And I felt better, both physically and mentally, when I was thinner. I need to lose a lot more than the original 45 lbs. but that's a starting goal. Then I will worry about the other 30 lbs. after that. Maybe if I blog about my struggle, I will feel accountable, and will be a good girl. We'll see if it helps at all.
Tonight is going to be short, because it's now 2:28 am and I'm tired! I'm going to take myself to bed and see if I can get to sleep. I usually lie awake for an hour or two before I finally drop off, but I'm pretty tired today, so we'll see what happens. Here's another little tidbit I heard at church the other day: "Don't ever permit yourself to do anything that you wouldn't want to see you children do." I think that's pretty profound. What about you? Call a family member and remind them of how much you love them. 'Night, Gramma G.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Camping is Great!

I've been so busy since we got back from camping that I haven't had time to write. The camping was wonderful! The lake was so beautiful and blue, and not a mosquito in sight. The campgrounds were clean, and we just happened to luck out and get a spot that had firewood that was left by the people before us! A whole stack of really nice firewood. All we had to do was collect kindling, which was so readily available that I didn't even need to make fuzz sticks. We had a very enjoyable weekend, and when we left, we went to a ghost town that my husband's boss told us about. We almost didn't make it there. When Don told us about Bannack, he made it sound like it was just a hop, skip and a jump from where we were camping. It was 150 miles!!! As we are driving along, and driving, and driving, we almost turned around and went home, but I finally convinced my hubby that we were so close that it would be a shame to go that far and not go the last 28 miles. As it turned out, we were glad we did. Bannack is a really neat place. I took a mess of photos. We got there at the same time as a big group from Michigan, 30 people that I think were all members of the same family, so when it came time to pan for gold and garnets, it was really crowded, so we didn't do any panning, but maybe sometime we'll go back. It looked like fun.

As we were traveling to Bannack we passed through several little towns that almost weren't towns. They were so small, they didn't even have a service station. Some had schools, but some didn't, the same with churches and stores, and it made me think about life the way we live it. How many of us could live without our conveniences? When we left Bannack, we came home a different way. We went over to Dillon and then up the freeway. Now Dillon isn't a very big place either, but way larger than places like Jackson or Wisdom. There was an LDS church there, and that answered the question of where all the mormons in that part of the state went to church, but it would be a real drive for some. Would I be willing to go that far to make it to church on Sunday, or to get my kids to mutual, and what about seminary? And then I thought about my mom. There were times in my youth when we did live that far away, and my mother always made sure that we made it to church. I got to all my school activities and church activities and everything else that I thought was important, and my poor mother, she spent a lot of time sitting in the car reading a book. I don't think I have ever really thought about the sacrifice she made of her time, just so I could be part of whatever was going on.

When I was in high school, we lived 40 miles away from school and church. My dad had just retired from the Air Force and went to work for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, at a pumping station out in the middle of the desert. My mother spent a lot of time on the road for me, as well as reading a whole lot of books! At that time, we had Sunday School in the morning and Sacrament Meeting in the evening, so we made two trips every Sunday, plus she had Relief Society on Tuesday morning, I had MIA on Tuesday evening, and mom taught Primary, which was on Wednesday after school. Then there were all the ball games and dances and concerts, and practices and everything else connected with school. I don't know how she kept her sanity! I do know that we put so many miles on our cars that my parents were able to use it for tax purposes! (Because my dad's job was out in the middle of nowhere and required us to live there, mileage was allowed for a lot of things.) I wonder if I were in her shoes, would I be as gracious about giving up my time (and money) as she was? I don't think I ever heard her complain about all the hours she spent waiting on me, and they were considerable. I was your typical ungrateful teenager, who thought my mother's life revolved around me and that she was supposed to give up everything for me. Boy, have things stayed the same at the same time that they've changed! Teenagers are still selfishly ungrateful, but mom's are out of the home more and more, with less and less time to spend with their kids. Wow!!! Did I get off on a tangent, or what? Sorry!

Back to camping.....the weather was so nice. It wasn't too hot or too cold, no rain, just perfect, actually. And there were a lot of little squirrels and chipmunks running around, trying to find food to store away for the coming seasons. The birds woke us up in the morning, and I think we were the first ones up in our area of the campgrounds. We're pretty early risers normally, anyway, so it was kind of nice to be up before all the noise and rambunctiousness started. It's the best time of the day, especially in the woods. We watched the sun rise up over the mountain as we started our fire for breakfast, seeing it turn from a weak little light to a bright golden sun. We were right at the foot of the mountain, so it took a little while to reach us as it inched its way down the slope and through the trees. In the this photo you can see a momma duck and her little babies. They were so cute! My husband did some fishing, but he only caught one little one that he threw back. It was a good time all the same.
As I close today, I want to leave you with something I heard in church this morning. "Try to learn from the mistakes of others, because you don't have the time to make them all yourself." Hug someone you love. 'Night, Gramma G

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Goin' Campin'

My husband and I are leaving early tomorrow morning to go camping for a couple of days. We're headed south to Lake Como, with a visit planned to a ghost town nearby and lots of fishing. That's fishing for him, not me. I read or knit or write or draw, but I do not fish! I help if he needs it, you know, holding the net or the stringer or such, but not actually fishing. I leave that up to him. He fillets them when he catches them, too. I will cook them, though. I really like fresh fish. I used to hate fish until I tasted my first fresh-from-the-stream trout, (I think they were trout) and now I've actually grown a taste for them. Not all of them, though. Catfish is usually to "fishy" for me, as are a few others that I don't know the name of. Unless the catfish is Cajun and fixed by Dottie or Abe Manual in Milton, Tennessee. That is the best fish I ever tasted in my life! They cook true Cajun style, not all hot and over-spiced, but with a nice spicy flavor that lets the true taste of the fish come through. Man, oh man, that's somethin' good! It will make you do the Louisiana boogie! Dottie also serves up a Banana Split Cake to die for. Absolutely scrumptious!

Back to the camp outing. This will be our first in Montana, and its been pretty warm lately, so we packed only light blankets. Then tonight, it got quite chilly. I had to close the front door while we were watching TV because I got cold. And I never get cold! So I'm thinking that I better pack a quilt or two so we don't freeze. But I like the cold, so we won't stay home because of it. We'll just pack a little warmer. And I'm really looking forward to that Dutch oven chicken and potatoes I'll be fixing! It's one of my favorite meals, and we haven't been camping for a long time, so I've missed it. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

We've never been to Lake Como, but we hear tell that it's nice. There are two or three campgrounds, and I hope running water and a bathroom. We're taking plenty of water just in case, but I really don't want to dig a latrine! I'm pretty sure there are facilities there. If not, we may go somewhere else to camp and just go fishing there. Gotta have a potty! Have you ever camped rough? I have an uncle who was a tree-topper in the forest above Sacramento, California, and they had logger's camp every summer. My parents and I visited one summer for a week and I had so much fun. They call it rough camping, but they take everything up there! Even the kitchen sink! My aunt had three Army-sized tents put together for her "camp house". One was the bedroom, complete with a huge feather bed, one was the kitchen, complete with a wood burning stove, and the last one was the living room, rocking chair and all. She actually had more living space at camp than she had at home!

But the potty was the point of this whole long spiel. It was a hole dug in the ground with a toilet placed over it, and a refrigerator box, maybe two, around it. Aunt Irene insisted on privacy. So... we had been there for about a day, maybe two, when my dad had a little "accident". He was in the habit of leaning on the wall when he was taking a leak at home, and he forgot that those walls up there were only cardboard. He fell through, knocked down the wall, and gave everybody a good laugh! He was lucky he didn't really hurt himself when he fell over the toilet. Meanwhile, no one could go to the bathroom until repairs were made.

Of course, one of the favorite pastimes at logging camp was drinking. They went through more beer after work than I had ever seen in my life up to that point! Some of them were loud and rowdy, but mostly they just drank while they played cards and told stories of past camps. I have a picture of me, I think I was about 11, in front of a giant pyramid of beer cans. It kept me busy and out of trouble for a long time. If I can find it, I will post it. Those are some good memories, because my dad was in the Air Force, and we lived all over the place and didn't get to be around family much. I think that's one of only 2 times I ever got to meet my Aunt Irene and Uncle Armond, and they were good people. I wish I had known them better.

As for camping, I have loved it since my first experience. I was in 5th grade, and interestingly enough, we were living in Great Falls, Montana, when I went camping for the first time. It was the Young Women's group from church, and I wasn't actually supposed to be there, because your were supposed to be at least 12 years old and I was only ten, but my mother went as craft director and my dad went as life guard, so I got to go, too. And it was primitive camp. We dug our own latrines, and lashed long branches to trees for the seat, hung blankets around the whole set-up and had a community bathroom. No showers, just the lake. We had grease pits, where we dumped our cooking grease, as well as our dish water, etc. and of course, we cooked over an open fire. I thought it was great! I learned how to build fires, do First Aid, cook over a fire, do lashing and carving, AND...... I learned how to make a fuzz stick! That was the best. If you don't know what a fuzz stick is, it is a little piece of a branch that you "fuzz" by taking your pocket knife and making little cuts all over it. They are used as fire starters, and they work really well. I may have to show my husband all about them this weekend. Of course, it won't be a big deal to him, but it will be a good memory for me. I also learned how to go snipe hunting. If you have never been snipe hunting, you haven't lived! There is a certain way to hunt a snipe, and I won't give it away here, but if you've never been, you need to ask a friend who likes to camp to take you snipe hunting. It's a blast!

Well, that's enough for tonight. When we get back, I'll tell you all about it. At least the good stuff, not the boring day-to-day stuff. We'll see if there's anything to tell. Remember this quote from Oscar Hammerstein, the "love in your heart wasn't put there to stay, love isn't love 'til you give it away." 'Night, Gramma G.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Moving on...

Little boys are wild! They do the craziest things, and it's so hard to stay mad at them long enough to discipline them. My little 2-year-old grandson got under his mother's bed and got himself stuck. Couldn't get back out, and I couldn't pull him out, either. I had to literally pick up the bed and then try to convince him that he could get out now. It was comedic except that it was frustrating, too. When he tried to get out at first, and then when I tried to pull him out, his ear was catching on the bar that goes from one side of the bed to the other, and it hurt. So even when I lifted the bed, he didn't want to try it again because he was sure it would hurt. I finally got him out, but it took a little convincing.

His new favorite word is dammit. I'm not sure who he heard it from, but I'm having a hard time getting him to stop saying it. He has other words that sound bad, like garbage (he says it gar-bitch), but I really think he's saying the real thing this time. He also learned the words shut-up from someone, and every time he says it we say "Don't say that word." So now he say "Shut up, don't say that word," He's just so cute that it's really hard to get after him for those things. Now, he has other habits that it's really easy to get after him for. He throws things when he gets mad, or when he gets told to put them back or give them back to his brother. He will sometimes lay down or sit down and kick his feet if he doesn't get his way, or he tell you to "Stop it!" if he doesn't like what you are saying. In those cases, I would like to blister his butt, but mostly I just have to threaten him with the wooden spoon. It's a big one and looks lethal, and most of the time he doesn't want to argue with it. There are times though........

His brother, who is 3 1/2 has an equally frustrating habit. He pouts. And I don't just mean he is unhappy, but he sticks out his bottom lip and puts his head down on a chair, or the couch, or your lap or the floor, whatever is handy, and stays that way until I tell him to go to his room or I spank his butt. He also makes horrible faces now, and drives us all crazy. And he has developed a real sweet tooth lately! He is constantly asking for candy or a popsicle. If he is told no, then the pouting begins. One good thing, though....if we give him a "healthy" snack, like cheese and crackers or an apple, he is just as happy as if we had given him the candy he asked for.

My daughter is planning to look for her own place in the near future, and the boys will have to go into childcare. I'm glad, in one way, because they need the interaction with other kids and adults. But I hate the thought of getting them used to it. They don't even like to be left in the nursery at church, and I know they will cry and cry and cry. They can both cry for really long amounts of time. In fact the older one will make himself sick crying. I think I'm going to suggest that she start them in daycare right now, while it can be for only a few hours at a time, so they can get accustomed to being left, and learn that she will always come back. They have hardly ever been left with anyone besides grandpa and grandma, and that's not the same, so they have a high level of separation anxiety!

I think I might have some separation anxiety, too. I am looking forward to having "my own" place again, but I will miss those early morning visits to my bedroom when they first wake up and are so sweet. The little one always wakes up in the best mood and it's the best time of the day for him. The older one takes a little time to wake up, but then he's pretty sweet, too. I will also miss the "Bwamma"s when I come in the door after being gone for a few hours, or when they come running with something to show me. I know my husband will miss the greetings he gets when he comes home from work. It's really hard to share your home with a grown child and her children, and it's good that she's planning to get her own place, but I will miss those babies a lot! I also know that it's just as hard to move back in with your parents when you've had your own place and been the one in charge of how things are done. All of a sudden you don't have full autonomy anymore, and it's hard to readjust to that. We've done pretty good so far, very few blow-ups, and none of them major, but it's time.

Enough sadness for now. I have been working on the ski-tube-hat-thing, but I ran out of one the yarns I am using, so now I have to decide how to go on from here. Since this is just the prototype, I could just finish it with whatever I've got, but what if I want to give it away? I can't do that if it's a hodge-podge of different yarns! Or maybe I could. I have a granddaughter who would probably like it better that way, and she is one of the few grandchildren who actually happen to live where it snows. We'll see. I will try to decide quickly.

Well, it's now 1:00 in the morning and my eyelids are getting heavy and my fingers are getting clumsy, so I guess it's time to close. I have been working on my first little craft book, which is recipes for moms, and I only have to do a few more illustrations and I think it's done. That's why I am so tired. My eyes are burning, too, so that's a definite sign. Remember y'all, that family is everything, so take care of the ones you have. 'Night all, Gramma G.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Boy! have I got a good recipe for you tonight! It's called Mexican Casserole and they make it at the deli at the grocery store by me. My daughter who lives in Nevada really likes it, as I do, and when I asked them for the recipe they were nice enough to give it to me. It's not low-fat at all, but it sure tastes good!

Mexican Casserole

2 cups cooked chicken
2 cups cooked beef
2 cups cooked macaroni
8 bean and cheese burritos, cut up
3 8oz. cans chili
12 0z. mild salsa
Shredded mozzarella, provolone and cheddar cheeses, 1 lb. bag

Chop up meats, then add the rest of the ingredients with 1/2 of the cheese. Bake in a 9x13 pan at 350 for 25 minutes or until hot all the way through. Top with the other 1/2 of the cheese and serve. Enjoy! It sounds a little strange, but it really is delicious.

Now that that's out of the way......In church on Sunday we had a lesson on freedom. Since it was the 4th of July weekend, that was not surprising, but it wasn't about our political freedoms, or even our physical freedoms, but our spiritual freedoms, and what they mean to us in the long run. We discussed the fact that spiritual freedom gives us the right to choose right or wrong, good or bad. The fact that there are consequences to those choices does not affect our right to make them, but it may affect the choices we make. And the choices we make can affect our freedoms, too. If we choose to break the law, that affects our freedom. Knowing the law can affect our choices. For example, if we choose to do drugs, then we choose to give up our freedom, and instead we become a slave to the drugs. We also choose to give up the freedom we will lose to the law. It's all a big vicious circle.

A lot of times, our children look at the commandments as rules that constrict them. They feel that all our "rules and regulations" are binding, and they feel tied down by them, so they make some bad choices that they call exercising their freedom. But instead of freeing them, those choices can put them in bondage. The bondage of sin, of choices that they can't undo. If only they could see that obeying the commandments gives them choices that they will get no other way. They can choose to be free of guilt, free of memories that haunt them for the rest of their lives. They can choose to be the type of person who is looked up to as an upstanding member of the community and never have to worry that their past will come back to bite them. These are all options for the person who chooses the straight and narrow.

Some of us never learn. We make the same mistakes over and over and over again, thereby narrowing our field of choices until we have very few alternatives. We can't seem to let ourselves be happy by making good choices. And a lot of the time, we blame our troubles on anyone but ourselves so that we can be free to make that same choice again. Or we look back and say "If only...".
I want my children to know that by setting rules in our home when they were young, I was trying to help them make good choices. I was not trying to force them to be something they were not. They have all made decisions that I'm sure they look back on and think "If only I had done that differently." I tried to help them not have any of those. But I realize now that I couldn't. They had to make up their own minds about what they were going to do and what kind of lives they would live. I would like to think that I gave them a good foundation on which to base their decisions, but ultimately, the choices were theirs. I have spent a lot of time blaming myself for the choices they've made, trying to figure out what I should have done differently. I have 5 children and 4 of them won't have anything to do with church or religion. They don't take their children to church. My grandchildren are not being baptized or being taught about God and their Savior, Jesus Christ. They are not being armed with the gospel to aid them in their journey through this world in these latter days. And I'm afraid my children fall into that group of people who don't believe there really is a devil. They don't seem to realize the eminent danger in not acknowledging his existence. They are trying to teach their children what they need to know to get ahead in this world, but they're doing it without all the lesson plans. And I have to stand by helplessly and let them do it.
Someday, they will realize what I was trying to teach them. That I was trying to prepare them for the times to come, when everyone will need all the strength they have to be able to make it through. I hope they realize it before it's too late. Especially before it's too late for their children. I'm sorry that I've been so negative tonight. Every once in a while, I look at my family and wonder what I did wrong. I love them all very much, nothing will ever change that, but I wish they had made different choices that led to different lives. I wish they were all active in the church, with temple marriages and kids who were born in the covenant. I wish their children attended Primary and Young Men's and Young Women's. I wish my sons and son-in-law honored their Priesthood and taught their sons to do the same. I wish my daughters and daughters-in-law were active in Relief Society and actively learning how to make their families strong in the face of evil. I will continue to pray that they will remember their upbringing and the things they were taught, and will look at those things in the way they were meant, not as shackles but as keys to their freedom.
Someone (I don't know who) once said that all it takes for evil to triumph over good is for good people to do nothing. I hope you are all doing something to make the world a better place, and I don't mean planting flowers. Good isn't always easy, but it IS always right. 'Night, Gramma G.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I am an American!

I am the daughter of a career military man. My dad was in the Air Force for 21 years, so suffice it to say I am very patriotic. If you cut me, I bleed red, white and blue. I collect Americana. For years my home was decorated in red, white and blue, and it will be again. I painted my front door with a folk art flag. I have more red, white and blue clothes, and T-shirts with flags on them, than most people I know. I support my president, even when I think he's wrong, because I don't know the whole story. I may not vote for him again, but while he's in office, I support him. I think that we had to go to Iraq or have them come here (as if they aren't already here). I think that anyone who immigrates to America should have to learn the language and pledge their loyalty to her. Read this quote and see if you can guess who said it.

"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Pretty powerful, huh? And right to the point! America should be filled with Americans! We have only one flag, a perfectly good one, and we don't need any other. If you come here to work and send money "home" it should be to help your family come, too, not to support them in the old county with money that should be staying here. If you work here, you should pay taxes here. If you are not a citizen, or working on becoming a citizen, you should not be entitled to free health care, welfare, my social security, or anything else that I pay for and can't even use myself. If things were so bad in your country that you came to mine for a better life, then leave that life behind. Become wholly American.

I'm not saying to forget where you came from. Along with being a patriot, I am also a genealogy bug, so I believe that family history is important. But there is a difference between remembering your roots and parading in the streets of America with the flag of another country, complaining about the way you are treated, or the lack of amenities given to you. Being proud of your heritage is good, but expecting something for nothing because of it is NOT. Nowhere else in the world would you be given the freedom you enjoy here in America, along with the chance to work for a better life for you and your family. I think you should appreciate America, not defame her.

As Americans, we also have a responsibility to appreciate what we have. No, this country isn't perfect, nor is her government. But it is a far sight better than what you can find elsewhere in the world. That's why people lie and hide and use false paperwork to get here. Because we have what the rest of the world wants. We have way more than we need, and it has turned us into greedy monsters for whom nothing is enough. We blame our troubles on the politicians, but who put them in office? Or maybe we should ask ourselves, why didn't we put someone else there? Do you vote? Do you take the time to learn as much as you can about each candidate and what he believes? What has he done in his life? Is he faithful to his wife? Does he believe in God, and is he an active Christian? A candidate's character is just as important as his accomplishments, maybe even more so. Accomplishments come our way from others, those that put a value on our actions. But the actions that really count are the ones no one sees but God. The actions that make up our character. We need to watch what our politicians and leaders are doing when they think no one is looking. THAT is when we'll see their true natures.

One of my pet peeves is those Americans who don't vote and then complain about the way things go after the election. I say if you don't vote, you have no right to even voice an opinion, let alone complain. Each and every voice is necessary in the election process. If you don't voice your opinion by casting your vote, then you take what you get. The good, the bad and the ugly. There is always the chance that a good guy will turn bad, but all we can do is try to make an educated decision, and then if it turns out not to be the best decision, make a different one next time. Don't keep making the same mistake, thinking that things will change or get better, because in my experience, they don't! What's that old saying? Dumb is making the same mistake over and over and hoping for different results? Well, it doesn't happen and we just need to stop it. We need to take responsibility for the way our country is run, and not pass the buck.

Well, in case you can't tell, I have some strong feelings about America, and I am thankful that I have the freedom to voice them. You may not agree, and that's OK, because you have the same rights that I do, if you are a citizen of this great country. And if you are not, then you have NO RIGHT to say one word against her. If you don't like it here, go home, and see if it's any better there! I am thankful for freedom of speech and religion, for the right to vote and to assemble peaceably. I am thankful for the foresight of our forefathers when they made the constitution with a checks and balances system. I could go on all day, but I won't, because you have other things to do and so do I. I will just say one more thing....I am an American, and Proud of it! I hope you all have a nice (and safe) 4th of July, and remember to share the love. Your family will appreciate it! 'Night, Gramma G. (Oh yeah............ the quote is from a speech made in 1907 by Theodore Roosevelt!)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

It's Just Life

Life is getting back to normal, whatever that means. The house is getting cleaned and put back together, things have calmed down, the kids are calming down, too. Somebody told me today that Montana has two seasons; winter and company. I find that pretty funny.

Today was story time at the library. I'm a volunteer helper and I usually help with the arts and crafts projects. Today I also had the snack assignment, so it was pretty hectic. The summer reading program is in full swing and this year's theme is bugs. Everything is just buggy. This week was bees, so I made honey cookies in the shape of bees. I don't know if I'll ever do that again! I started out to make beehives with little bees on them, but I couldn't find those little bees I used to buy that were made out of black and yellow pipe cleaners with little transparent wings. Remember those? My daughter works at Wal*Mart and gets off at 10:30 at night, so I called her and sent her all over the store looking for something I could use. (This would be because I forgot until yesterday afternoon that I had to do the snack.) It was really qiute funny. For me, anyway, I don't know about her. First she looked for the bees, in two different places, then I sent her to look for cookie cutters, and guess what? No bees! Then she looked at the kid's crafts for foamy bugs, and there were dragonflies and lady bugs and butterflies, but, you guessed it! No bees! We thought about using a rubber stamp with food coloring and a few other ideas, but wound up getting some black and yellow frosting is those little tubes for stripes on the bees I made by hand. I used a heart cookie cutter for the wings, and rolled the bodies and heads and smashed them all together. The kids really liked them, so all the work was worth it, but staying up until 4 in the morning to make a snack is ridiculous!

She (my daughter) is off tomorrow and Friday, so I will get a little break from the boys. I love them with all my heart, but I'm 53 years old, and I'm supposed to be past this raising children phase! It wears me out. I go to bed exhausted and I get up tired. Where's the fun in that? I would like to find something worthwhile, that I like, to do with the rest of my life. Not that the boys aren't a worthwhile endeavor, because they are, but I would like something more now that my own children are all raised. I would like to write children's books, or have a children's craft show on some little obscure TV station, or own my own bookstore or craft store. Some of the things that I've dreamed of but never had the time or gumption to try. I've wanted to have a crafter's bed and breakfast for years now, but have no capitol. I think it would be so much fun (along with a lot of work). I would arrange for craft classes and workshops of all kinds. It would be great! But it takes a lot of money! Oh well. Enough of that subject. I'm sure I will still be doing the same old thing when it's my time to go. That's life.

Before I go, here is the recipe for the Honey Cookies. These cookies are better with age, so make them a few days before you need them. These cookies are not too sweet, and have a lot of body, which make them excellent for making a cookie tree, you know those that are made with about 8 or 9 different sizes of star cookie cutters all stacked up. Anyway, the recipe:

Grandma's Honey Cookies
1 cup honey
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten well
1 tsp soda
5 cups flour
Mix ingredients well and refrigerate over night. Roll and cut out. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

Well, it's my time to go for now. I'm tired and things are getting a little blurry. Remember to pass along a smile. You can change the world one smile at a time. 'Night.....Gramma G.
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