Sunday, May 22, 2016

Eleven Super Heroes Graduate from Canyon View

My grandson, Bridger, age 22, has earned his Weber High School diploma!

On May 20, 2016, 11 super heroes graduated from their various high schools at Canyon View School in Ogden. This special ceremony wasn't announced in the newspaper with the times and places for the local high school graduations that were taking place this month, yet these young adults have spent four years beyond high school earning their high school diploma in the Life Program course of studies offered at Canyon View. For those of us who have earned higher education degrees, we know how difficult it was to finish high school and go on to complete four more years of school,  but we still didn’t experience anything nearly as tough and challenging as these young people have during their education; what they accomplished should be called a Master’s degree in life.

Canyon View's graduation ceremony was one of the most heartfelt, amazing graduations I’ve ever attended.Tears welled up in our eyes and we chocked back our emotions as the graduates took their turn standing bravely in front of the audience while their individual accomplishments were highlighted.  No one in the room could explain what it felt like to see these fine young men and women reach the monumental goal of graduating from high school. Every parent in that room knew the effort it had been to teach small and simple things to their child who had disabilities—the patience, the love, the persistence, the endurance, the every-fiber-of-their-being strength required to get them to where they stood on this special day. The teachers and aides knew, too, and experienced the same feeling of pride for a job well done. The investment in these wonderful human beings, these unsung heroes, was worth every sacrifice, all the tears and sorrow for their struggles, and everything else. There they stood as examples of true courage and great accomplishment.

As each graduate was presented, these are some of the individual accomplishments that were mentioned:  “He learned to advocate for himself,”  “She came to the United States four years ago and learnedEnglish and is working on her citizenship,” “He can now communicate with a device that helps people understand him,”  “She can take the UTA by herself and is looking forward to begin independent living,”  “He has learned to say, ‘Excuse me’ when he needs to do something and people are ignoring him as he stands by patiently, waiting for them to acknowledge him,”  “When he started school here, he  did not communicate, but now has learned to interact with people comfortably and effectively,”  “She can now speak and be understood,”  “He found every educational challenge very difficult, but he hung in there and worked hard and learned,”  “He was recently complimented for being the best custodian the school has ever had,”  “He has expertly managed the school’s recycling program,”  “He has held a job at Smith’s Marketplace,” “She has done a good job as an employee at Deseret Industries for the past two years,” “He has learned to drive his wheelchair safely,”  “He is able to demonstrate proper social behavior and will soon live in a group home,” “She was very shy at first, but can now express herself with confidence.” The list of large and small accomplishments was long and impressive. They each should have received a standing ovation.

These students’ family members and friends will keep this special moment in their hearts, knowing that the world hasn’t been the kindest to people with disabilities. Yet, they go forth into the world now with hope for the future, just like any other high school student. They have dreams and goals. They will achieve much. They will remind us all to be grateful for what we have, and, most of all, to be grateful for what they have taught and given us. They will, indeed, continue on, making the world a better place.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Truly Loving Christmas Gift

My husband hates cats.  Seriously, he doesn't like anything about them, mainly because he sees them as vicious killers who destroy things just for fun.  He says, "The only good cat is a dead cat."  Well, he talks big and bad, but there is something less of a grinch in his heart because he has done an unselfish act for me today, on Christmas Eve, that is a sign that he loves me very much and will do a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g for me.  He is always doing special things for me, but this one takes the cake!

You see, I am a cat lover, but am allergic now that there hasn't been one in my home since I married this man who won't have a cat in our household.  He is a tried-and-true dog lover, but he couldn't get away from felines, since our neighbor, Mack, had, literally, hundreds of cats over the years that often hunted for mice in our field.  Most of them were wild, but he fed them well.  When he died last February, I became worried about those cats that had become dependent on his shelter and food.  So, I contacted Best Friends and was supplied with traps to catch the cats and have them spayed, neutered, and given shots for rabies (all free).  The sick ones were taken to the animal shelter so they wouldn't infect the healthy cats.  They others were released back to their feral colony.

Well, here is the miracle--my husband has helped me maintain the feral cat colony.  At first, I didn't let him know I was feeding the cats.  Then, he knew I was trying to save them because of the trapping operation, but he still didn't know I was going to take responsibility for their care (I was a bit afraid to say anything).  I hid the food on the property and would sneak over to feed them.  Eventually, I had to confess I was feeding them and needed to hire someone to feed them when I was going out of town.  He seemed okay with the fact that I felt the need to have cats even if they weren't mine.  Over the months of my reports about the cats and how one of them was becoming my kitty because it let me touch it, he has softened and is supporting me in this project.  He has assisted me in winterizing the coal shed where we feed them, and fed them when I've gone out of town.  Now, he has done the most amazing thing.  These pictures tell it all.  Love.  Christmas.  Giving.  Gifts.  Sacrifice.  Love.  Love.  What a dear, precious man!

He plowed a path on the abandoned property across the road from our home.  

It goes through the yard of the empty house (see my shadow in the glass?)

He plowed a path right up to the cats' shed.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Brighten Your Hope This Christmas

In a world gone topsy-turvy with suffering, violence, and dark days, there is peace and hope to be found in the goodness of people and in the inspired promises Jesus Christ has given us in His Gospel.  Truly, good will always overshadow bad, and light will always penetrate darkness.  We just have to seek Him, find Him, and follow Him.

Take time, above all, to let the Christmas Spirit lighten your heart.  Enjoy pondering the good things in the world as you read the scriptures, gaze at Christmas lights, and find joy in the many festivities surrounding this glorious season of celebrating the birth of the Son of God--The One who has made all the difference of how our world will turn out.

Gather your family around you and reminisce over those favorite Christmas ornaments you've collected over the years and the traditions you all enjoy as December rolls around each year.  Be glad of life!  Build new memories with your loved ones.  Reach out and give of your own warmth.  It costs nothing but time to cheer another's heart, or put a smile on someone's face.  Life is short.  Make it a loved-filled one.

And . . . don't forget to enjoy the music that, for me, makes the Christmas season especially meaningful and bright.  One of my favorites Christmas songs is the link below.  I usually prefer male voices singing most songs, but this rendition is sweet and brings the joy of the Christmas season to my heart.

Oh Holy Night

P.S.  Just sitting next to my husband in church today, listening to him singing, made me especially grateful to have him near and to feel secure in his caring presence.  I treasure the opportunity to be with him and my family members yet for another Christmas season in my life.

Thanks to God for giving us not only this life, but the opportunity for eternal life all because of our Savior, Lord, and King!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

A Guaranteed Happy Holiday Start

This is a gift for you.  If you haven't heard Alex Boye and his African tribal versons of familiar music, you're missing some truly happy moments in music.  Kick start your Christmas season right here with one of his songs:
Little Drummer Boy

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Symbols Remind Us of Our Savior


The Colors of Christmas – red and green

Red- the first color of Christmas symbolizing the Savior’s sacrifice for all (the blood he shed for us)
Green - the second color of Christmas. It represents the eternal life that He offers us

Christmas Tree – Why aren’t Christmas trees apple trees or oak trees? They are alwaysevergreen which symbolizes everlasting life. The needles point heavenward.

Wreath – most wreathes are evergreen which also symbolizes eternal life and they are always round to represent that God’s love has no beginning or no end.

Star – the star the wisemen followed to find Baby Jesus. It is a heavenly sign of prophecy fulfilled long, long ago—the shining hope of all mankind.

Angels – the angels that announced Jesus’ birth

Bells – They ring out to guide lost sheep back to the fold—signifying that all are precious in the eyes of the Lord

Tree Topper –points to Heaven where Jesus Christ is alive today

Christmas Ball Ornament – traditional Christmas tree ornaments are round
symbolizing that God has no beginning or ending and also symbolizing the
earth (God created the earth and loves everyone on the earth)

Gift Bow – Tied as we should all be tied together in bonds of goodwill and love forever

The Candle – A mirror of starlight reflecting our thanks for the star of Bethlehem as well as Jesus Christ, the Light of the World.

Lights – to remind us that Jesus is the Light of the World

Gifts – The gift of our Savior that Heavenly Father gave to us, and the gifts the Wisemen gave to Jesus Christ.

Nativity Set – depicts the real Christmas and helps us to remember Christ came for us personally
Christmas Stockings came about through a story of the real Santa Claus
Santa Claus was a real man. He lived about 400 years after Jesus. He was the Bishop of a church. He loved Jesus. Bishop Nicholas had a friend that had three daughters, but they could not get married because their father did not have the money for their dowries. So late one night, in secret, Bishop Nicholas threw three bags of gold into their living room. The bags landed in socks that were drying by the fireplace (thus the tradition of stocking hung by the fireplace). Later the Catholic Church made Bishop Nicholas a saint, making him Saint Nicholas. The Santa Claus that we know today in America is a result of Clement Moore’s poem, The Night Before Christmas, written in the mid 1800’s. This description of Santa Claus was expanded upon by Coca-Cola in an advertising campaign in the early 1900s.

Candy Cane- The shepherds crook, used to bring lams back into the fold—a reminder that we are our brother’s keeper.

Another meaning is found in this story: A Candy maker in Indiana wanted to make a candy that would be a witness, so he made the Christmas Candy Cane. He incorporated several symbols for the birth, ministry and death of Jesus Christ. He began with a stick of pure white, hard candy--White to symbolize the Virgin Birth and the sinless nature of Jesus, and hard to symbolize the Solid Rock, the foundation of the Church and firmness of the promises of God. The candy maker made the candy in the form of a “J” to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Savior. It could also represent the staff of the “Good Shepherd” with which He reaches down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray. Thinking that the candy was somewhat plain, the candy maker stained it with red stripes. He used three small stripes to show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ on the cross so that we could have the promises of eternal life. Unfortunately, the candy became known as a candy cane, a meaningless decoration seen at Christmas time. But the meaning is still there for those who “have eyes to see and ears to hear.” I pray that this symbol will again be used to remind us Jesus Christ and His great love.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Swallows Asking for Help from a Man

Matthew 6:26  Behold the fowls of the air:  for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feedeth them . . .
Faith is trusting that God is mindful of us and is watching over us.  He makes it so that everything will be okay in the end, if we just believe and follow His son, Jesus Christ.  A beautiful example of a small miracle reminds me He is there and sometimes it is through others He takes care of our needs.

My husband's golf buddy related a special experience with the many swallows nesting in his barn.  Last week, he drove into his driveway and was greeted by a flock of swallows swooping down toward him as he stepped out of his car.  He thought how nice of the birds to greet him so enthusiastically.  They flew back to the barn and came up to him again as he walked to the house.  His heart was happy to receive another greeting.  As he pulled open the door to go in, this flock swooped down again and flew back to the barn. He then realized they were trying to get his attention.  Going directly to the barn and opening the door, he discovered that magpies were trying to kill the baby swallows!  He scared the magpies away and saved the baby birds.  After securing the barn so only the swallows could get in, he contemplated the wonders of nature and the dependency we all have at times for help from others.

I marvel to hear such a story.  It reaffirms that God watches over the whole earth and His creations in it.