Friday, September 30, 2011

Guilt-Free R & R, Granny Sue-Style

Every year, right around this time, I get excited about something that does my body and soul even more good than taking a vacation. In fact, it IS a vacation, in its way––a spiritual one––and it does me more good than a week at the beach, a few days in the mountains, or a much-needed trip with good friends (which is saying a LOT, by the way, because all of these are a great boost to my spirit).

Of course, readers who happen to be members of my church already know what I've been looking forward to with such enthusiasm on this first weekend in October. Since the majority of my readers are not Mormon, however, I will spill the beans. Tomorrow begins the 181st Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is held in Salt Lake City, Utah, but can be seen via satellite at selected LDS chapels throughout the world. Personally, I choose to sit in my favorite chair and watch it on cable TV (also available on satellite or dish), because I love the warm, uplifting feeling it brings into my home. The four separate but equally inspired sessions can be viewed Saturday and Sunday at 10 am and 2 pm MDT, which means I'll be watching an hour earlier in California. Eight golden hours of guilt-free rest and rejuvenation! Ahhhhhh. The speakers are current church leaders, all of whom have fasted and prayed about the topics and subject matter presented.

What I love best about conference is its direct relevance to my life. Years of experience as a listener have taught me to expect the very truths and insights I've been seeking most earnestly to come my way at this time. Invariably, one or more of the talks speaks directly to my heart, often as an answer to prayer, but occasionally as an aha! moment that turns on a light bulb I didn't even know existed. It seems that the Lord always gives me what I need, and general conference is one vehicle He uses to deliver it. All I have to do is be there to receive the goods, and you can bet that I have pen and paper in hand to jot down a few notes. Especially now that my special "menopause memory" has made its unwelcome appearance.

General conference also inspires me creatively, and I frequently write a poem or poems afterward. One of these pieces, a favorite of mine, is "He Walked Alone," based on "None Were With Him," a reverent and riveting conference address by Jeffrey R. Holland (April 2009). Elder Holland, who was President of Brigham Young University before becoming an apostle, has a Master's Degree in Religious Education from BYU and a Master's Degree and PhD from Yale in American Studies. Don't you love when intelligence and inspiration come together? I do!

So, if anyone is looking for me this weekend, I'll be snuggled into my most comfy chair with a soft blanket, a college-ruled notebook, and a smooth-gliding pen...charging up my batteries on a vacation that doesn't cost a thing but pays off big.

Care to join me?


"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6: 19-21).

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Xcuse my W: Alphabe-Thursday X/W Combo

I'm hoping all of you X-tra special Jenny Matlock meme enthusiasts will X-onerate me for introducing my in-X-cusably late W post With this X-ceptionally shady X one. (You've probably heard that X is the new W, right?) X-actly!

Waves hello

Waves goodbye

Waves brought low

Waves tossed high

Waves of grief

Waves of cheer

Waves of weakness

Waves of fear

Waves of people

Waves of grain

Waves of heat

Waves of pain

Waves of soldiers

Waves of tanks

Waves of workers

Waves of thanks

Waves of change

Waves of need

Waves engulf us

Waves recede

Waves of hope

Ways to cope



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Janette Oke Is No Joke!

While I was laid out with my back problem, I spent more than a little time indulging in what has become one of my favorite pastimes lately, reading just about anything penned by Janette Oke. This Canadian author has written more than 72 books, and over the past few months I have read a good number of them. While I am not, in general, a fan of Christian literature (it is often a bit too heavy-handed for me), I have yet to read a novel by Ms. Oke that I did not thoroughly enjoy...and I recommend her books to anyone who loves a well-plotted, deftly-charactered tale of faith, love, determination, and family.

Oke is primarily but not exclusively drawn to pioneering stories and frequently creates a series that spans several generations, rather like Little House on the Prairie for adults. I must warn you that the titles can be almost painfully maudlin, but the stories are emphatically not (though her first outings were more pedestrian about sharing her faith than later efforts, where she weaves religion seamlessly through the fabric of each story). Subtle or less so, these books are well worth reading for the characters, drama, diversion, and gentle wisdom they offer. My spirit was uplifted, charmed, and warmed by every one of them.

Can literature that is beautifully simple take you on a journey that is soul-deep? I say yes, and I think you will agree that the work of Janette Okes proves me right.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Sunny So Cal Specials

Happiness is dinner at CPK with the So Cal contingent of our family.

I made the mistake of asking my eldest son to smile.

Grandma smiled for me, too, after polishing off two desserts!

And Carli was declared Sudoku champ of the world!


for more happiness, click here

Monday, September 26, 2011


Yes, my friends, the blog break is officially over.

The muscles on this old bag of backbones are still a bit touchy, but I’ve picked up most of my regular activities again and will just sort of let the remaining kinks work themselves out as best they can. I like to give this kind of thing a few days of complete rest and then get moving again before stiffness sets in. Seems like these back complaints can take on a life of their own, if you let them.

Needless to say, I missed every one of you, but I did put my mornings off to good use last week. Having an additional hour or so for scripture study took me to some interesting places, and I feel renewed and refreshed by the extra time spent in spiritual pursuits. In fact, I am raring to go! (Do you think those green smoothies play a part in that as well?) I do believe they are agreeing with me.

At any rate, the weekend was uplifting, with a wedding that was sure to set any sagging spirit soaring. My husband (the bishop of a young, single adult congregation) and I are privileged to witness many of these beautiful occasions, and I am always grateful to be in the room when young couples look into each other’s eyes with love and tenderness, exchanging the eternal vows that will keep them a family forever. As Saturday’s sealer said so wisely, “I am here today to perform a temple marriage, but whether it is a celestial marriage will be entirely up to you.” Happily, I'm convinced that all our wonderful couples who got married this summer will forge celestial marriages over the years. My wish for them is that they will learn to find joy in the good times and in the not-so-good times…and that they will come to appreciate both sides of that coin as part and parcel of life on earth. While this path we're on can become awfully steep and rocky, there's no denying that the views are great, with more than a few rest stops along the way. Indeed, our sojourn through mortality is guaranteed to be everything we need it to be. I guess that’s why we ALL get the full package: the blessings, the battles, and the back pain!


PS. Saturday's General Relief Society meeting was one of the best ever, and President Uchtdorf’s talk about literal and figurative forget-me-nots went above and beyond. Which is just where I like to go…

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Blog Break (BRB)

I'm taking an entirely unplanned and unwanted blogging break until Monday to give my back a chance to heal. (It isn't too happy when I use the computer.)

Needless to say, I will miss you all. Of course, I intend to do my best to catch up on your goings-on once I return to the keyboard.

Have a great week!!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Here's the Dealio

I'm home from my Southern California fantasy vacation (visiting my grandkids), but I'm sorry to report that I somehow wrenched my back in the midst of it all. To tell the truth, this old bag of bones is pretty sore, so I will spend most of today icing and resting the injury in hopes that I'll be ready for tonight, when we will welcome my husband's singles ward for dinner, darts, and ping pong. The good news is that our son Ryan will be driving down from San Francisco to lend a hand with the BBQing and whatever else needs doing. What a guy!

Dave spent the weekend in Tahoe (also with the singles ward), and it sounds like he had a great time. He did look pretty beat when he got home, though. I'll be glad when the poor guy can finally retire and stop going into the city every day, because he never has a minute to just sit down and relax. I constantly wonder how he manages to keep pace with a schedule that would wear out a 30-year-old. It's true. He works harder than any one of our children do, and they are no slouches, either. Kinda crazy!

Having said that, neither one of us would want to be put out to pasture, so we're glad that our responsibilities, interests, and commitments keep us busy. Hey, we all need to feel needed, don't we? Besides, as Mark Twain said, "Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Autumn Lullaby

My grandkids just took off for a soccer game, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to get down with the Saturday Centus. Since Jenny was a little bit wicked this week (requesting lyrics to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star), I decided to go gruesome. The prompt, as always, is in red.

Autumn Lullaby
to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

In the autumn, goblins howl.
Ghosts and ghouls are on the prowl.

Leaves are bleeding red and gold.
Hallow's Eve looms dark and cold.

Witches streak across the moon.
Sleep, my darling. Sleep and swoon.

Friday, September 16, 2011

We the People

Yesterday I was talking with a few members of my family, and we were lamenting the fact that we don't have one viable candidate we can feel even moderately excited about supporting for president. What's more, none of us wants to be affiliated with our political parties any more because we are all so disgusted with them. Not a good way to go into an election year, is it?

It seems our political system has devolved into a mad scramble of egocentric, unprincipled individuals to first, seize power by making promises to their constituents and second, hold on to that power by abandoning those promises in favor of the party line. Sadly, the honest and committed need not apply...nor would they wish to, because they are unwilling to dive into the smarmy, backbiting cesspool that has become Washington DC.

I can't even stand to listen to most of the news programs at this point. Where are the steady, truth-finding reporters and commentators of old...examining both sides carefully in an attempt to uncover truth, wherever it may lie? Good luck finding one on any television station today. Hosts and guests alike don't care where truth lies anymore, because their truth does lie, blatantly and without apology, in support of whatever self-serving cause they are using to exact personal gain in that moment.

Have you ever taken a close look at a politican's eyes during an interview or debate? Their shifty orbs dart from side to side like sneaky little foxes, trying to find a way through the hen house without getting any feathers on them. Those all-too-oft repeated talking points and "at the end of the day's" are enough to drive a concerned citizen looking for real information crazy, and I am just fed up to here with the whole freak show.

The question is and continues to be this: What do we do about it? How can we vote our conscience when our conscience tells us none of these candidates is worthy of being called President of the United States of America?...or anything else, for that matter?

I only wish I knew, but I do know one thing. We need to speak and write and discuss our displeasure in the public forum, and I hope you will join me. Talk to friends and associates, both at work and in the community. Blog about politics now and then, however distasteful. Contact your senators and congressmen/women so you can let them know how you feel about two-faced behavior, personal glory-seeking, and double dealing. These people need to realize their careers will not survive if they are serving themselves instead of our country and its citizens, and we are the ones that have to make that true, by and through our own votes. The same goes for presidential candidates, who can be contacted via their various personal websites.

I've heard many say that they will refuse to vote at all if they cannot do so in good conscience. While I completely understand their reticence to support a candidate they neither respect nor trust, I suggest that if we fail to keep exercising our right to vote, we are lost. With that in mind, I will continue my ongoing commitment to discerning which individual is the lesser of two (or more) evils and marking my ballot in his or her favor.

However, in the not entirely unimaginable event that there is no one I can possibly vote for and still look at myself in the mirror the next day, I intend to utilize the write-in option and place on the ballot, as both a protest and a suggestion that our political system needs an overhaul, the name of someone I think might conduct himself honorably. (I realize this would not be a valid vote unless that person were to pre-register as a write-in candidate, but it would still be a valid vote for my purposes.) Think about it; if enough people did this, a loud statement would surely be made. If nothing else, political hopefuls might be forced to court independents by making greater efforts to work together for the good of our nation and to exercise a measure of integrity in their dealings.

I have to believe that we, the people have more power in this union than we are making good use of at this point. I am going to do more this year to make my voice heard, and I hope many other Americans will do the same.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Word Verification: Take a Vacation!

The Word Verification Rant
©2011 Susan Noyes Anderson

Word verification is not my thing.

No added safety does it bring.

It only takes a lot of time

and makes commenting less sublime.

At first, I had it too, you know?

It took some nerve to let it go.

But others bloggers cheered me on,

and they were glad when it was gone.

The dreadful problems I had feared

without it, never once appeared.

No spam, no weirdos, no remorse...

just lots more comments! So, of course,

I did not turn it off in vain.

Word verification is a pain!


for more V posts, click below

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Love, Peace, the Planet

The title of this post sounds like I'm making a plea for conflict resolution and ecological conservation, and I do advocate both, but what I'm writing about today is a new shampoo and conditioner that I am absolutely loving. It's TGI's Love, Peace, the Planet Eco Awesome Cranberry Orange Mint Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner, and it is making my dry, thinning hair very happy these days. What's more, I'm not losing a million strands every time I wash!

As you have probably noticed, I don't advertise products or services on my blog. I'm just not interested. This recommendation is simply a matter of me wanting to share something cool with all of you...a new product that is helping my badly-in-need-of-repair hair. And it's inexpensive, too. (Won't you laugh if a month from now the extra set I bought ends up in the rejected hair care products cupboard I shared with you last week?!) ;)

Hope you're all having a great day. I'm having tons of fun with the grandkids and looking forward to seeing Todd and my parents in the next day or so.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Happiness Times Four

Can't imagine anything more fun that hanging out with these four while my son is out of town. Except, of course, hanging out with all five of them when he gets back!


for more happiness, click below

Monday, September 12, 2011

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Just a quick post from me today because...I'm leaving on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again...

(Actually, I do know when I'll be back again, but apparently John Denver had no clue.)

At any rate, my husband will be home alone this week...all because I decided rather impulsively to go visit my grandkids (and their parents, of course) in Southern California. With any luck, I'll get to see the great-grandparents, too! And maybe even Todd, if he can spare some time from his crazy study schedule.

I'll probably bring my laptop with me so I can blog to my heart's content, though I hate the thought of lugging one more thing over, under, around, and through the airport without Dave's help. Ugh.

I should also mention that I am guest posting today at We Talk of Christ We Rejoice in Christ, where Jocelyn asked me to blog about how to write a family mission statement. Since a family mission statement is a very good item to have, you might want to go take a look!

Peace out, homies.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Child's View

It's Saturday Centus time again! I've been attending yet another wedding and am now running out to a baptism, but I didn't want to let this weekend go by without remembering 9/11 and its significance to each one of us and our nation. I hope all of you will forgive me for going over 100 words, but I needed a few more to express the thoughts of my heart. The prompt, as always, is in red.


9/11: A Child's View

©2011 Susan Noyes Anderson

Mother, may I ask why God allows such awful things?

Surely His hand could stay the devastation terror brings.

He made the mighty waters and the vast, eternal skies;

no living creature falls to earth unseen before His eyes.

His hand has power to heal and bless and save; then why the pain?

How could a Lord who loves His children let this evil reign?

If God can save us all, why did 3,000 die in vain?


All men are free to choose, and choose they must for good or ill,

yet consequence leaves ripples that extend beyond our will.

God's power to save is limitless, in heaven and on earth;

through Him, each living thing fulfills the measure of its birth.

The victory Christ won for us transcends this world of tears

and raises us beyond the reach of present foes and fears.

Trust Him, my child; all things will be restored when He appears.