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I shared this with some people, but I have to write it down. It is still awe inspiring to me. And I am so grateful to a loving Heavenly Father who makes this world so beautiful.

We have had quite a long winter. Lately a few nice days and then some snowy days etc. So many people complain about the snow and I just love it. I prefer cold weather to hot weather. Not blizzards, though. I love the snow glistening in the sun, I love the snow covered mountains, I love to play in the snow.

This week we had a lot of snow over a couple of days. I woke up Thursday morning to a foot of snow on the ground, the roof and on top of the cars. But it had stopped snowing. I went to the 6 am temple session in the Mt Timpanogos temple. As I entered the Celestial room about 7:30, I could tell the sun was out. That in itself was exciting. Then when I came out of the temple, I was met by the most beautiful sight. There are a lot of trees by the temple and they were all totally covered with snow, the snow was all over the ground, the cars in the parking lot, the mountains… and the sun was shining brightly on it all. It was so beautiful that it took my breath away!! I got soooo excited and I was so grateful for the experience. Thank you Heavenly Father for making this earth so wonderful!  

A little later that morning, we drove to West Valley City, where we needed to work on our rental property. And as we got into the Salt Lake valley,  there was no snow on the ground. They missed it! We still had some snow on the ground at home until this morning, two days later. But today, as I came out of the temple about the same time as the other day, the grass was all green, all the tulips and daffodils and pansies were blooming, the mountains were still white and it was a different beauty. Spring and flowers make me happy, too. Spring makes everybody happy. It was just gorgeous! And today, it was so warm and nice outside. Here in the mountains and high altitude, things just change a lot. Today, everybody was out working in the yards and enjoying the sunshine.

In just a few minutes,  is Linnea’s 18th birthday. Wow! My baby is all grown. As I am writing this, her birthday party is winding down. She had quite a few friends over tonight. They have been singing and dancing, eating and playing games. She had a whole group of them over here the other night , too, and they were even louder then. She is enjoying her party. Tomorrow is the family party, our regular Sunday dinner. I am so proud of Linnea. She is such a good girl, and always wants to be good,  and has great goals in life. I hope she will always do well. Am I sad that my baby is 18? No, not at all.  Well, maybe a little. It is exciting to think that she will be on her own (sort of) pretty soon, going to college. Have I done a good enough job to prepare her for life? Will she be OK? Will she make good choices in life? I sure hope so. Who will she marry? Hopefully that won’t be for a long time, but who is out there preparing himself to some day marry my daughter? Lots of thoughts. She is excited about turning 18 but also a little nervous.

 18 years ago that I was pregnant with her. I actually weigh more now than I ever did pregant. That is pretty sad! I also started coloring my hair after she was born and some people asked me if I was her grandmother. My hair already started turning grey. She wants me to keep my hair colored until after she is married. I don’t really care if I am grey, but  I think she would rather have a young looking mom. It is funny: to her I am an old mom, and to my grandchildren I am a young grandma.

The years have gone by fast. Linnea was such a blessing to us when she was born. Everybody loved her. She was the one everybody greeted when they got home, she was the one everybody wanted to hug. She brought such a sweet spirit into the home. She was everybody’s little princess.  She didn’t like wearing pants, only dresses, and she didn’t wear pants until first grade or so.  She was also scared of men until about first grade. How things change! 

I love you Linnea!

A long time

It has been a long time since I wrote here. I do send emails to our family missionaries and some friends. And Ed talked me into setting up a Facebook account. But his is much better and he puts lots of pictures on his, so if anybody wants to see lots of pictures, go to his Facebook account. Or Linnea’s.

I think the reason I haven’t written much is that I don’t know what to write. Life has been a whirlwind at times and lots of things have happened. Here are some of the things that have happened the last few months.

Ed is on disability for his heart, and has been since Dec. He is doing much better now but he will retire for good in June. I have to admit I am sad that he isn’t teaching any more. His job was a blessing in our lives in so many ways and he was able to work with so many wonderful people, both staff and students. He had  transferred to the same high school Linnea attends, and she was so excited to have him there in the seminary building. So she was sad when he wasn’t there anymore.  Plus, how often do you have just over one mile to work? And I loved being a part of the Church Educational System family. Ed is using his time off to travel a lot. Puerto Rico to visit Sean and Heather, California and Mexico…. and he even went on a great cruise that left from Puerto Rico when he was there. I could go traveling with him, but I am not leaving Linnea alone. I don’t want her to have the memory of her parents always leaving her and not caring about her her last year of living at home. And being alone in a big house is pretty scary anyway. She is only home a few more months

Danny moved out in January and is enjoying more of the campus life before he is all done with school. He will be graduating in June, and he wants to spend more time concentrating on his music. He is still looking for Miss Right. He now has his own band and they play and sing his music, and they have had some good performances here locally.

Linnea applied to a few schools and got accepted to all of them, and she is going to attend BYU in Provo. She got scholarship offers to all of them except BYU, so she has some second thoughts. But at the same time, she wants to stay closer to home and also to be able to continue her karate. She  now has her Red belt at Omega Tae Kwon Do, which is the same as brown belt at other studios. She can test for Black belt next year and she would like to do that. She just left for New York this morning with the chamber choir from school. They will be competing and performing there, but they will also have a lot of fun, sight seeing, attending several Broadway plays etc. She is soooo excited! She has never been to New York, so this will be a great experience. She did have to take some home work, though, especially for the distance learning college math class she is taking. She is excited about college, but sort of scared at the thought of being an adult, 18, this month. She has lots of fwonderful friends, goes to lots of dances, she is a great girl, and a blessing in my life.

For me, life is taking care of home and all the extra things. I spend lots of time with Linnea and lots of time with grandkids, especially Lisa’s kids. They live close by and Lisa has had to go to work, so I help with some of her housework, check on the kids, take them places, help with homework, and make sure they are OK.  And as soon as I walk into that house, their dogs go crazy. They love their “grandma”.  I try to go to grandkids performances and sports events, as many as I possibly can. And to Linnea’s and Danny’s, too, of course. There is always something going on. I go to the temple a lot, I do lots of family history and help others at the Family History center, especially with Scandinavian research. I work at the church cannery every time there is an assignment, an easy thing for me to do to help others. But to stand up at a cannery all day every day would be so hard. I am grateful I don’t have to do that full time. Lately, I have also worked hard to build up our food supply. If times get hard, I know we will have a house full, especially with all the family we have here. But I have also given some emergency food and supplies to my children. For myself, I walk (run) on the treadmill every morning or I take our dog, Abby, for walks. But then I guess I eat to make up for it, so my weight stays about the same. I have started doing some work in the yard, but it just keeps snowing off and on, so I can’t do any major work, yet. I did plant quite a few fruit trees, trimmed some other trees,  and I am expanding the garden this year, and starting earlier. I enjoy our family get togethers, usually on Sunday afternoons. And I enjoy hearing from or seeing my children as often as possible.

A few other things that have happened:

 Draper Temple open house and dedication and I went a few times taking family members. It is really beautiful, and it was great being able to participate in the dedication.

Sean and Heather with their children came to visit for a couple of weeks. Heather’s grandfather passed away. That was of course a sad thing, but we were really happy to see them and have them here with us for a few days. I know Heather’s family felt the same. Some of the other grandkids spent every minute they could here also, so they could be together. We all miss  them so much. I think they couldn’t wait to get back to the sun and warm weather. They did get to see quite a bit of snow and cold weather here.

Christina is looking quite pregnant and really cute. 3 more months. It is a boy and his name is Rome. There is a lot going on at their house and with all their kids.

Lisa got badly hurt at work about 6 months ago when a patient fell on her and she tried to catch her. For workers comp to pay for it, she has had to keep working, but on light duty, but we don’t know how much longer, if at all. And it is still hard work, doing the laundry and/or being in charge of supplies. Her back is severly injured in several places, and she is having all sorts of problems. She is having her third MRI (first her lower back, then her knee and now her neck) today to determine what exactly is wrong and to see what can be done. She has the worst luck. And she has been so miserable and in so much pain.

To end this post on a positive note: I am excited about a lot of things and I am grateful for so much. I am even thankful for snow. It is beautiful, it is fun to play in. I love the snow on the mountains and snow when the sun shines on it. It is also saving me hours every day, not having to do yardwork, even though I do enjoy that also most of the time. Shoveling snow now and then is just good exercise, as long as I am healthy enough to do it. And I am thankful that I don’t have to water, and I am thankful for the water we enjoy all year around from the snow pack. I am thankful for my health and the things I am able to do.

Time to run. I am taking grandchildren to school.

Merry Christmas

Right now it is Christmas morning. Happy Birthday, Jesus! We celebrated Christmas with our family a few days early this year and it actually has been nice. No last minute Christmas shopping, only last minute Christmas cards and letter. We didn’t do a family gift exchange this year, where everybody buys one gift for one other person. Instead we wrote down gifts that we would give Jesus this year.  If nothing else, maybe it made the grandchildren think a little more about the reason for the holiday. Why should the person, whose birthday we celebrate, be the only one NOT getting presents. What kind of birthday is that anyway?

It is snowing again. Truly a white Christmas. It looks like Winter Wonderland out there.  So beautiful. I love the snow covered mountains and the white snow on the ground. I just don’t like driving when it is snowing. If I could expand my Thanksgiving list, it would include cars with four wheel drive and cars with a working heater, as I have been without both of those in the past. I can also travel in a car in comfort. It sure beats walking or riding in a wagon. I am also thankful for a warm house in this cold weather. And that I can sit in here and watch the beauty outside.

I am thankful for the celebration of Christmas, for the reminder it gives us to be a little kinder, to think of others more, and to turn more to Christ.  

Merry Christmas to all!

Happy Thanksgiving

I don’t write on this site very often. I do write emails that are more personal to family and friends. But Thanksgiving is a special time for reflection on what we are thankful for, so here are some things on my list. Some are the obvious, some are things we take for granted, and some might be a little crazy. And a lot of them are in no specific order.

1. The knowledge that there is a purpose to this life.

 2. The knowledge of a Heavenly Father who loves me and wants me to come back to him after this life.

 3. My Savior, Jesus Christ, who was an incredible example to me, who took upon himself all sins, died for me and was resurrected for me so that I can live again.

4. The membership in the Lord’s church.

5. To be able to attend church as often as we like

6. Living so close to church

7. All the opportunities to serve in the church. I am thankful for every single church calling I have had. I have learned so much and, hopefully, become a better person. I could probably list 1000 blessings just associated with that, the people I have worked with and served, the incredible lessons I have learned etc.

8. The holy scriptures. Wow! What a guidance in our lives! And I am so grateful to all who sacrificed so much so that we would have them, the prophets who wrote and preserved the records and those who brought them forth and/or translated them.

9. The printing press so that we can have everything at our fingertips.

10. Living at this time in life.  

11.  Living in this country, USA.

12. Being born and raised in Sweden.

13. Good parents, who taught us how to work, taught us correct principles and gave us a great foundation.

14. My handsome husband, who is a great provider and loves me and the family, who honors his priesthood, who has a big heart and cares for and  helps others, who wants the best for us all.

15. That I have been able to stay home and raise our children and serve others, and haven’t had to work outside the home much during our marriage. That I have been able to spend lots of time with my children, going to their functions, helping out in the classroom and on field trips, attending their sports, choir and drama events. That I have been able to have time to study for lessons, help others in need, and be able to do things around the house that needed to get done.

16. My wonderful children, who honor their parents and are doing their best in making a living, raising their families and living righteous lives. And my good single children who are a joy in my life. They are all intelligent, smart, good, and I am proud of all of them. 

17. My children’s spouses who work hard, love their spouses and children, and teach the children the right way to live.

18. My grandchildren with loving hugs and visits at grandma’s.

19. Abby, our dog, who is the sweetest dog ever.

20. A house to live in, a place to make a home, a refuge from the world, a place to be comfortable no matter what the weather is like outside, a place for family to gather, a place to cook, play, watch TV, work on the computer, talking, playing music, being together……

21. Heater and air conditioning to keep us comfortable year around.

22. Washing machine, dryer. I’d hate to think of washing in a stream or bucket.

23. Dishwasher.

24. Telephone, including cell phones. Can any of us imagine life without cell phones now?

25. Computers. Same question as above. And we haven’t had them for that long, either.

26. Microwave oven. I use it mostly for heating food, so much easier than before. Some cooking.

27. Stove, oven, barbecue, all things to simplify cooking.

28. Refrigerator and freezer to keep food safe, cold, good and last longer.

29. Indoor plumbing. We turn a faucet and cold or warm water comes out. We can take indoor baths and showers. We don’t have to go stumble out to a stinky outhouse in the cold, at night, or any time. We can do laundry and dishes inside with warm water. We don’t have to carry water from a well or stream.

30 Cars, buses, trains, planes, all vehicles to take us places, to help us run errands, visit our family, visit foreign and familiar places, to make life easier on us, to serve others, to do good things……..a long list.

31. Computers. To keep in touch, to research, to write blogs, emails etc, to learn, to pay bills and do banking, to help in family research work……. another long list.

32. A warm, comfortable bed, with comforters and pillows. The ground or the floor just doesn’t sound good to me any more.

33. Stores that have everything.

34. But I am grateful that I can go to a store and realize that I don’t really NEED anything. Wants are a different story. And if I do need something, I can get it.

35. A back yard and a place to play and be in.

36. The beautiful mountains. The beauty, the majesty, the view, the place to hike with Ed and Abby, a place to go sledding, the colors, the way they keep the air cooler longer in the mornings before the sun comes up over them…

37. The view we have of the lake and the valley.

38. Great neighbors where ever we have lived.

39. Great friends who love and inspire

40. The temple. So close and so wonderful and such a peaceful place to be and communicate with our Heavenly Father.

41. Prayer. To know we have somebody who listens and wants the best for us.

42. Answers to prayers. Such a comfort and such a help in life.

43. Roads. Good roads to drive on and keep us safe (mostly) in getting to our destinations.

44. Rain. To clean the air, to water our plants and give life.

45. Snow. I love the snow capped mountains and the clean, white surroundings. I don’t even mind shoveling snow. It is good exercise.

46. Snow plows, salt and sand that make the roads safer when it does snow.

47. Our treadmill and other exercise equipment so we can exercise indoors and try to stay in shape even in the cold of winter.

48. Good doctors, hospitals and great technology that restored Ed to good health after his heart attack. Include great medicines in that, too.

49. Good medical insurance.

50. Ed’s great job, working with wonderful people and being able to influence others for good.

51. Paper in all forms. To write on,  printed or written to read for learning or pleasure, to research, to clean with, to communicate with, to print, to fax….. and I do appreciate soft toilet paper. What would life be without paper?

52. Trees. For beauty, for shade, for the fruit and nuts they give, for supplying lumber to build homes, other buildings and furniture with, supplying paper…..

53. Fall colors. I love the orange, yellow and red in the fall. The mountains look like they are on fire for a few weeks.

54. All kinds of water. Streams, ponds, lakes, the ocean, rivers, all provide such beauty and pleasure at the same time as it gives us the life giving liquids we need.

55. Sunrises and sunsets. I loved going down to the beach in Oceanside in the winter and watch the sun go “down in the ocean”. Linnea used to call it a big orange. I also loved to go walking early in the mornings there, seeing the silhouette of the mountains with the sun just barely coming up over them.  I love to see the pink sky or when it looks as if the sky is on fire.

56. The sun. Life giving and warm. When you haven’t seen it for a while, it just makes you happy.

57. Blinds and curtains to block out the sun when it gets too hot. And the same to open up and let the sunshine in when it is cold.

58. The moon and the stars. The beauty and the light from them.

59. The rainbow. Sometimes we see two at the same time. The beauty and the promise from the Lord of no more flooding as in Noah’s time.

60. Food. All kinds of food. That it is readily available and we can get any kind, any time. That may not always be so, and I appreciate it so much. Junk food, healthy food, any flavor, chocolate, fruit, berries and vegetables, milk, cereal, juice, fish, chicken……..

61. A garden. I absolutely love going out to the garden, picking vegetables, bring them in the house and use them for our meals. Thanks, dad, for helping us make one here. And I miss it now that it is colder. We do have parsley still, though.

62. Furniture to sit on, to put things on or in.

63. Carpet to keep the floor soft.

64. Tile for beauty and easier to keep clean than carpet.

65. Dishes, pots, pans, utensilis to eat on or with and to cook with.

66. Smiles. A good smile brightens the day.

67. Tears. Of joy, of thankfulness, of sadness. A way of showing how we feel and to release tension.

68. Good health.

69. Aches and pains to remind us how great good health is.

70. Wind when it cools you off. I can’t say I am thankful for hurricanes or destructive winds other than that they remind you how vulnerable we are and how much we rely on higher powers.

71. Time. To use as we please, but hopefully for good.

72. A prophet to guide us.

73. General conference and the talks to guide us in life.

74. Ensign and New Era. I always read the New Era first for some reason.

75. Life. To be here on this earth and for all the experiences, good or bad.

76. Missionaries. The ones who brought the gospel to our family and to Ed. And our family missionaries who have and are spreading the gospel to all the world. Elders do look handsome in the suit and ties. And the sister missionaries look beautiful. Thank you to all the missionaries who are such great ambassadors for the church.

77. The knowledge of what is right and wrong no matter what the world says and the power to act on it.

78. Love. For friends, for those who hurt us, for all mankind, for family, for God and Jesus Christ. For love we give and love we receive.

79. For new life and babies. Nothing brings the spirit of God into our lives more than that. I am thankful for all my “babies” and grand babies, old and young.

80. Agency. I am grateful to have mine. I am just sad when agency is used for bad, to hurt, to overpower others.

81. Challenges that help us grow.

82. Family History work. To feel a closeness with my ancestors, to learn to love them, to appreciate what they were and what they passed on to me. It is a “high” in my life. To be able to do the work for them that they can’t do for themselves. To feel their guidance as I seek out their information. The miracles that have happened in association with that. But another blessing is that it helps you use your brain. It takes some enormous detective work and reasoning to find information at times.

83. A brain. Even though it doesn’t comprehend everything and I am slow at times. It sure will be nice when we can use the whole thing.

84. Siblings. They lift me and inspire me and it doesn’t matter how far away we are, it is always great to see each other and hear from each other.

85. All other family members. Cousins, especially Eva, who loves me and keeps in contact and gives strength to my life. Nieces and nephews who are doing great and are wonderful examples to me. And hugs when I see them. My grandparents, who I can’t wait to see again in the next life. Aunts and uncles, who have influenced my life in different ways.

86. Calculators. We didn’t have those when I went to school.

87. Video, DVD, digital cameras, and all other new inventions to help us record and remember, and watch.

As I am sitting here, the list in my mind just grows bigger. I might sit here all day, but I have to get some things done. Maybe I will continue later with the list. It sure is good to think about all the wonderful things we have. I have been abundantly blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Hug, Gil

Puerto Rico

I just spent 8 days in Puerto Rico, visiting Sean, Heather and their children, Kaden, Alia and Keanan. It was a lot of fun seeing how they live and experience a small part of their lives with them. But it is always sad to leave again. I love them and miss them so much.

By the way, this is obviously the first time I have added pictures so I hope it works. I am including just a few pictures.

I had always said that I wouldn’t visit during hurricane season, but Sean called and asked if somebody would like to come and visit. He was going away to South Carolina for some work training and it would be nice if somebody could come and stay with Heather while he was gone. I decided to go. I got there a day after Sean had left and stayed for a few days after he got home, too.
I checked the weather before I left and the Atlantic was calm with no looming hurricanes. But low and behold, a new one popped up just south of Puerto Rico and was heading straight for the island. We spent a couple of days preparing for hurricane Omar, such as getting food, water and other supplies, putting everything away in the back yard , filling the cars with gas, clearing the garage to make room for both cars. I was nervous about even getting off the island or anybody being able to take me to the airport. But, the hurricane went just a little farther east than expected and arrived just a little later, it missed most of Puerto Rico and I didn’t have any problems leaving. All the preparations for the hurricane ended up just being a practice run for another time when it will really happen.

It was hot and muggy most of the time I was there. But I was told how much better it is now compared to July and August when there is no escape from the heat. Sean and Heather had fans in every room, and that was a necessity. The pool was great relief, and the cold showers. It also helped that it rained some every day and it was overcast quite a bit. I have decided that January sounds like a great time to visit. I don’t do so well with the humidity. I guess you get used to it.

The children are like fish in the water. Even Keanan. He swims under water and just needs to learn to put his head up now and then to breathe. Sean surfs most of the time before work in the morning, and the family spends Saturdays on the beach. The kids all get a chance to surf and Kaden, especially, is doing very well.

Kaden and Alia attend a Spanish speaking school so, by the end of the year, their Spanish should be quite good. Heather is learning fast ,too. She really makes an effort to learn and she is making an effort to really enjoy their time there. There are a few LDS families living close by and they have a lot of fun together.

Sean describes Puerto Rico well when he says that it looks like a mixture of Hawaii and Mexico. Tropical like Kauai, but buildings and houses look as if you are in Mexico. The signs are a mixture of English and Spanish, the gasoline is sold by the liter, but they use US dollars to pay, the speed limit signs are in miles, but the distance signs are in kilometers, a drive-through is called “servi-carro”. The stores are mostly American stores and the titles and descriptions of the items or the menus are in English. It seems as if most people speak both Spanish and English. And the Spanish is hard to understand. People cut off the words a lot there. As an example: Buenos Dias becomes something like Bon Dia.

I was able to visit some beaches, the fort built in the 1500’s, Old San Juan, and some other locations, but I was mostly there to spend as much time as possible just being with the family, seeing how they live and what they do, and enjoy my grand children. And that I did. I enjoyed their ward and their friends.

A great day

The morning started out with the sound of rain. We haven’t had much of that this year, so I was excited about it. My next thought was that I wasn’t so sure about driving in the rain up to Salt Lake and attend the afternoon session of General Conference. I had 3 tickets and parking pass but the parking was pretty far from the Conference center, especially if we had to walk far in the rain. Stupid thoughts! I can’t believe I even thought that.

We watched the morning session on TV at home. I have to admit it is so nice and convenient to just sit at home. The meeting was soooo good. We have such wonderful leaders. By the time it was over, I was more excited to actually attend in person, so my mom, Linnea and I went. We had plenty of time, the drive was fine, and our umbrellas worked great for the walk. Lots of people were heading the same way, obviously. All along the walk, there were people standing out there in the rain, some pretty wet, begging for any extra tickets so they could attend the session. One young man had a sign, which said, “Drove from Missiouri. Need ticket.” And I felt bad for even having doubts about going. And I wished that I had had many extra tickets. As it turned out, I believe all who wanted to got in. I am sure many with tickets didn’t show up, maybe because of the weather. They really missed out. There were some empty seats even.

We were early and got great seats towards the front in our section. And we got to hear the Primary children’s choir practice. What a bunch of great kids. They sounded great and looked great! I assume they were all older, such as 10-11 years old. They brought such a great spirit to the meeting, and they sang quite a few songs. I wished so much that my grand children could have been with me. I know they would have enjoyed it. Then the feeling when Pres. Monson walked in and we all stood up. Just being in the presence of all those great men. It was an awesome sight seeing all the priesthood brethren up on the stand. There was just such excitement being there. So many great people.

The speakers were so good and the spirit was so strong. Some talks were so powerful. I cried so much. Linnea commented on how it didn’t matter who spoke, or what the topic was, they all had something that pertained to her. She was also very excited about the young children singing. They were so cute. I just wanted the whole thing to keep going. Time just went by too fast. As the Apostles walked out, they were waiving to the Primary choir and the children were so excited and they were waiving back. What a great memory for them!

We went out to eat dinner at IKEA and got some Swedish goodies for dessert. I stopped by and shared some with Lisa’s kids. We also ran some other errands. In the meantime, General priesthood meeting started. Ed took the guys out for dinner and then they went to the meeting together at our stake center. So they had a great time, too. And to make Ed’s day complete, we had some music playing  and singing at night. I watched a movie with Lisa’s girls.

It was a great day!!!!