Monday, January 31, 2011

RANDOM ACT OF AUNTINESS

He was red, wrinkled, and beautiful beyond belief as he lay in a red Christmas stocking. He had been born on December 22 or 23 (this old auntie mind had forgotten which day for certain). He came home to us as a precious Christmas present.

When my turn to hold him came I simply sat silent and stared at him. There was such peace in this tiny bundle. He seemed content to lie quietly in my arms and stare right back at me. From that very moment I knew that he would be a joyous part of my life.

My darling Joseph as a tiny boy had a childish speech...he called himself Doseph...and we called him that as well. As an adult he still endures being called that by family members from time to time, and he just grins that beautiful, beloved grin that takes me all the way back to a tiny wrinkled babe in a Christmas stocking.
VOICES OF HISTORY

My allergy to dust was making me miserable. I was hot, cranky, and hurt a whole lot. Sorting through things (especially when many things are not mine) and trying to get rid of ANY and EVERY thing that we don't absolutely need is my idea of torture. I had been in the process for long, miserable hours at this point.

I picked up yet another box in the parade of endless boxes. In this box was loose paper. I went to just dump it into the trash. After all, if it's not even in a notebook or any type of binder it must be trash.

Three times I went to dump it in the trash. I didn't want to look at it....I just didn't need more STUFF in my world! Three times something stopped me. Finally.....I quit being impatient, frustrated, (I was still allergic), and just started to look at those loose pieces of paper.

WOW....those loosed unbindered pieces of paper were letter that my Papa wrote to my Mother and vice versa during World War II. In those letters my Papa speaks briefly of something that he would rarely speak to me about, what combat meant to him.

I learned about the way that my parents loved each other as they faced a desperate time of life and death. Mama and Papa didn't get married during that time. Mama witnessed too many friends who got married, got pregnant, and then became a widow. She just couldn't bear that thought. Three long, agonizing years they waited, prayed, and hoped.

Mama literally wore through her engagement ring waiting. Nervous, tense beyond bearing she would twirl that ring on her finger. Twirl, twirl, and the soft gold was worn down by the friction. She literally wore through the gold with he nervous twirling.

When Mama would receive a letter from Papa she would put it on the piano in their front room. She would NOT open it until she received another letter from him. Then she would open the older letter and read it. Her logic was that if she received the 2nd letter that meant that he was still alive. She was terrified that she'd read a letter and THEN receive notice that he had died. Somehow the newer letter was a reassurance that he hadn't died yet and she read that first letter, then repeated the ritual.

Their letters were not filled with grim, bitter, horror over the agonies that Papa faced daily. They were optimistic, filled with hopes of the future they would share together. Mama sent Papa a beautiful verse, that he then sent to his family. I will share some of the parts of the letter in this forum.

Our oldest daughter Ardis wrote a paper for one of her classes on their loving letters. Her subject matter was Women during the War. She received a VERY high grade. I can't bear to think of the connection she would have missed had I simply tossed those loose, old, wrinkled pieces of paper in the trash!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

RANDOM ACT OF AUNTINESS

I have two nephews named Adam. One is Adam from my husband's side of the family. The other is Adam from my side of the family. We heartily, and joyfully claim both Adam's. I spoke about one Adam last week. It's time for the other Adam to be remembered.

When I went to the Stake President for a recommend to serve a mission I carried my precious little nephew Adam with me. I was babysitting him. I was so used to carrying him with me everywhere that I didn't even consider the fact that the member of the Stake Presidency might think he was MY child!

Poor President Zollinger was so confused. He saw that my appointment was to get a recommend to serve a mission but here I was with a small child on my hip. He asked, "Where is your husband?" I thought, that's a strange question. He knows that I'm here to get my recommend to go to the temple to go on a mission. He repeated, "Where is your husband?"

Not being incredibly quick sometimes I said, "I don't have a husband. I'm going on a mission." Now the dear man DID look perplexed. He said, "How are you going on a mission with a baby?" I looked down and remembered the small child sitting peacefully on my hip. "Oh no," I said, "I'm not married!" At this point I remember President Zollinger looking like he had swallowed something that didn't agree with him.

Finally, I figured out why he was so confused. I said, "President Zollinger, this is my nephew. I'm babysitting. I am here to get my temple recommend signed so that I can go to the temple and then go on a mission. Finally we were able to proceed and President Zollinger chuckled over the whole misunderstanding.

Adam....I used to carry you around with me all over the place. I adored you then, and I adore you now. Then you were a chubby cherub with red hair and beautiful brown eyes. Now you're a husky man (skinny is overrated), with less hair, and still beautiful brown eyes.

Even though you didn't really have a choice in the matter you came with me when I got my 1st temple recommend. Granted you caused some confusion....but it is precious to me that I had you with me. I love you!
THE ORGAN IS A MAGNIFICENT INSTRUMENT!

I don't know who the musician was that created the organ. I will...after all I have the internet at my fingertips to do research on this topic. In the meantime may I say that I LOVE to play the organ. It's a magical tool that enables me to put chimes in Christmas songs, make a song loud, and luscious, or tiny, and tender. I play the organ sometimes in our church meetings. I'm NOT good. I play because I LOVE the gift of playing for others to sing as they worship. Gratefully nobody in the congregation has complained about the occasional sour notes. I AM getting a bit better, but trust me I have a WHOLE LOT of room to improve.

I would challenge anyone who has the opportunity to find an organ and try the different stops to hear the multitude of sounds that can be created. Then quickly, find an organ teacher because you will LOVE playing the organ!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

44 is a GREAT number

44 not spelled forty-four but written numerically, 44 is a great number. It's symmetrical, mathematically intriguing, and just generally pleasant. I've already explained why OBJoyful. There actually is a reason for the number as well...aside from the fact that I've always enjoyed the number 4....and that means the number 44 is even cooler. 444 on the other hand is a bit much, and I won't even discuss how over the top 4,444 or higher is.

It's quite simple...really! When I was creating my blog somebody had already claimed OBJoyful. I haven't discovered their blog yet. I guess I should...what are the odds that two such blogs exist? I may have a long lost best friend out there that I need to discover.

Once again may I repeat, 44 is a GREAT number.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

WILHELMINA ELIZABETH - WOMEN OF THE DRIFTING ANCHOR RANCH

“It should be the happiest day in my life!” Beth thought to herself. Her mother was taking Beth’s hair out of rag curlers. Beth felt like she was distanced from her body watching everything that was happening. She wanted to say, “Stop, this can’t be right. I can’t marry anyone except Eric Calkin. STOP!” The moment that thought would hit she would look to her left. There was Angela being prepared for renewal of her vows to Eric Calkin.

Beth couldn’t accept that she would never marry Eric. At the same time she felt that she if she hurt Eric, and Angela it would give her some comfort. She would marry Jamie, Eric’s half brother. Then when she broke Jamie’s heart it would hurt the entire Calkin family. How could they have ruined her perfect plans? She was a much better match for Eric. He needed a woman of refinement, and breeding. He needed a woman who could help him move forward into a positive future.

Beth continued to plot. Jamie was a half-breed. He wasn’t good enough for Beth. Beth would marry him just to make the Calkin family hurt. When she revealed her spite for Jamie, when she made him as miserable as he deserved, well that would show Eric, and Angela. It would wouldn’t it? Sometimes in Beth’s darker moments it seemed that the only person that would be hurt by her twisted, spoiled plans was herself.

RANDOM ACTS OF AUNTIENESS - COURAGE AND COMPASSION

Eve Ann, Evie Ann, Evenann, and Evenannie are just a few of the loving names I've called our beloved niece. She had the distinct family position of being the 7th child in a family of seven, the ONLY girl. That's right six boys and Eve. To this very moment she keeps her brothers securely wrapped around her little finger.

I worried when she married. After all she is so amazing, how could she find a husband worthy of her amazingness? (That is too a word, even if I just made it up.) Unbelievable, she found Jeff...who is one of the dearest men in the entire world. Maybe I love him so much because he reminds me of two other beloved men in my life. One was my Papa, and the other is my husband. All three of those men are living proof that strength is best when gentle. Gentle giants all of them.

Their daughter Izabella calls us Aunt Granny and Uncle Gramps. I find these names appropriate because she is lovingly teaching us lessons about becoming grand parents. Her Mama helped me learn how to become a Mama long before I had that privilege. Now Izabella is teaching us how to be grand parents.

Eve and Jeff had a precious little one that died. They lovingly named her Talitha after one of our great-great grandma's. The actual full name is Talitha Cumi from the New Testament. It's Hebrew for the words that Jesus uttered when he raised a young girl from the dead. "Arise damsel," is the English interpretation.

They had every reason to weep and wail, and become bitter at God for taking away this precious little angel. They DID grieve, but with such wisdom and courage that they have set a dear example for the rest of us.

They bought bracelets engraved with Talitha's name, and birthdate. They wear those bracelets to remind them that their faith teaches them that Talitha is NOT lost to them. There will be a glorious reunion. In the meantime, Talitha is as close as their skin.

How I honor and love this precious family for their wisdom, courage, and grace in this hardest of experiences. I know a little bit about such sorrow....our precious son died inside of me when I was almost 5 months pregnant with him. I learned the heartache that comes with the loss of a child, whether they are still just a dream and possibility, or whether they have spent time in your life, and heart.

Their courage continues on. Even though Eve is diabetic and being pregnant is extremely difficult for her they are expecting their third child. I honor their courage at again taking the risk of pregnancy to share their lives and love with another human being.

Thank you my beloved niece, nephew, and great niece. I love you SOOO much!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

RANDOM AUNTIENESS

I find that from time to time I have random attacks of being an Aunt. I will be just going about the normal course of my day and some nephew or niece event from my memory will pop forward and make me smile.

My sister delivered my first nephew when I was thirteen years old. Since that time my sister and her ex-husband, delivered 9 nephews and nieces (one of them passed away), my brother and his wife had seven nephews and nieces.

Then I married Nyle and he had 18 nephews and nieces. So not counting our two children we have a total count of 32 nephews and nieces. Then we start counting the wonderful people that said nephews and nieces have married and I double that count....now let's start counting my great nephews and nieces (who DO live up to their name of GREAT nephews and nieces) and I can't remember how many there are anymore.

A couple of weeks ago one of those beloved great-nieces gave birth to a beautiful daughter named Serenity.....I'm now a GREAT, GREAT AUNT! WOW, that's the kind of status I enjoy! AWESOME!

Well, today for my random attack of auntiness I wish to make the subject our beloved nephew Adam....Adam on Nyle's side of the family that is, because we have two nephews named Adam.

At a family reunion long ago this weight challenged (or skinny if you prefer) young man came up to us and announced, "I know that my name is Adam, but I'm going to go by Bob for awhile. I'll let you know when I decide to be Adam again." My question is to you Adam.....now that you're a dad of two, husband to a beautiful lady, (whoops, that order that I listed seems backwards), and working on becoming a doctor of medicine is it time to start calling you Adam again?

It doesn't matter.....for the rest of my life I will think of you as Adam Bob....and eventually DR. Adam Bob. Remember Adam Bob, your Auntie CJ loves you VERY much!

The following post is an excerpt from "Sarah, Women of the Drifting Anchor Ranch." This is an 8 novel series of books that I've been working on for the last 20 years. I've finished 3 of the books, I'm currently writing the 4th, Sarah. I have written the beginning chapters of all 8 books.

The blanket covering her was beautiful, brilliant with colors that sparkled. She could see red, gold, and orange. The colors lay over her as she rested in the valley. The clouds seemed to float down, down, down, trying to reach her. The mistiness brushed against her blanket. The blanket broke into tiny pieces. The pieces started to dance. They circled. Mocking her, they made no sound. Dancing in intricate color patterns the pieces changed shape.

Sarah shook her head. She groaned. Could this enormous, heavy thing, be her head? If it were, how did it not snap her long, tiny, neck like a dry branch breaks in gusting wind?

There was roaring, roaring, pounding, rhythmically against her aching ears. She couldn’t remember. Where was she? Had she traveled back to the land of the great waters? Mercifully, darkness closed over her mind. Pain left. Pounding, and dancing blanket ended.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I want to post my new favorite chocolate chip oatmeal cookie recipe....AWESOME

I found it in the "Diabetic Living" magazine. It's a great source of deliciously simple, and simply delicious recipes whether you're diabetic or just interested in NOT becoming diabetic. :)

SOFT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

1 cup rolled oats (you can get mixed grains at the health food store)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar (or Splenda brown sugar blend)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 - 6 oz container plain low-fat yogurt (that's 3/4 cup of plain yogurt)
2 eggs (I like to use 3 for more protein, and then a little more flour if necessary)
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cup flour (I use 1 cup wheat and 1 1/4 cups white)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate pieces (12 oz)

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Spread oats in a shallow baking pan. Bake 10 minutes or until toasted, stirring once; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, baking soda, and salt; beat until combined. Beat in yogurt, eggs, and vanilla. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in oats, and any remaining flour. Stir in chocolate pieces.
3. Drop dough by rounded tsp 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until bottoms are browned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

PREPARE FOR YUMMY GOODNESS! Oh my goodness these cookies are the BEST EVER! They are soft, delicious, and addictive! That added yogurt is brilliant....who knew?
From 1st grade through 12th grade my beloved Mama often packed lunches for me to take to school. Usually she would include a note for me. Sometimes the notes were written on a napkin so that I could read the note, and then turn it over and use it for other purposes.

Often she would start the note with Dearest Objoyful. That's what she called me a lot. She said that my name Caroljoy meant Song of Joy. She wanted to remind by calling me Objoyful that it is important in life to find joy even in the tough times.

One of my favorite quotes says it well. "Life is NOT about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain." I LOVE that quote. It sums up my life so neatly. If I had spent my life waiting for the storm to pass, I would not have accomplished much. There have been a great number of storms in my life, and thanks to my beloved Mama I knew to dance my way through them!

When I would return home from school with a woeful face from anger, disappointment or hurt Mama would say, "Go turn on the stereo and dance for awhile." Following her advice I would dance until my sorrow would pass. Of course that might be why I still dance like I'm angry! lol It's no wonder that I love that quote....literally that's what my Mama taught me to do....dance in the storm!

Now it's my beloved husband who encourages me to dance in the storm. When he had a heart attack before he would let our daughters, and I take him to the hospital he insisted that we open some packages that he had bought for us. He had bought plaques with the motto, "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass but about dancing in the rain."

Taking him to the ER he proceeded to show us by his example the truth of that idea. He was joking with all of the nurses and attendants, this as he is having a heart attack! Hmmmm.....that might be taking the idea TOO FAR...lol No, he is the very personification of the quoted words.

So....today, whatever your trials, or adversity, I challenge you to "Dance in the rain!" Just like Gene Kelly did in the movie, "Singing in the Rain," get out your best rain shoes, tap shoes, or kick off your shoes, and dance. If you can't stand then sit and dance. You'll be amazed at how good it feels!