Saturday, November 21, 2009

Making a hole to the sky...

One of our wonderful trees died this past year and in the process this lovely evergreen turned a marvelous shade of red and then shed its pine needles. This left us with the need to cut it down. Living in the northwest where there are so many tall, tall trees I found this experience like making a hole to the sky. Here is the new sky we can enjoy.

As you can see the tale is told in reverse as the pictures posted in that order. (Someday I will figure this out like my girls...)

There is nothing like a big fire at the end of a Saturday to clean up the refuse and settle ones soul.


Tate drove in last evening and got the honors of doing the deed. He did a great job, dropping the 85 foot tree right where we wanted it. Counting the rings we figured it was approximately 65 years old. It would have been sad to do this if the tree wasn't dead already.

This tree greeted our friends and family for the 14 years we have lived on Joelle Lane. Now they will enjoy with us a little more sky. If you look real close you might see the little squirrel that lived next door. It isn't Bosky.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cannon Beach Retreat

Becky and I ventured out to see the world and found this windy and powerful beach a choice place. Of course it was a little rainy and yet wonderfully deserted allowing room to walk and wonder.

Lest one think Cannon Beach is all wind and weather, as Becky enjoyed the shopping at a local cloth store I wondered down the street and found this lovely setting for a family reunion. If you are game many of these homes are all available for us with easy access to the beach and that state park in the background is only a walk down the beach or bike ride away.

This charming little lane could be on the coast of Scotland...
( I am also learning the Iphone pictures up load better for blogging. )

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I have just attempted to "add images" of a few of the most precious children I know. As one might see it didn't take. I wanted the pictures as "visual images" of what I feel and would add here today. We are grateful for the birth of Jackson Howard Turner last Saturday, October 10, 2009. And also grateful that mother, Rebecca Joy Turner and son are fine.

Becky flew out to Pittsburgh Friday to be there for the birth. Her account to me was one of reverence and admiration for her daughter, Joy. Almost in hushed tones she spoke of how well Joy did, the pain and effort and strength through the ordeal.
I know that tears came to my eyes as she told me about it. I could hardly see to drive as I spoke with Joy so happy and humbled by this gift.

These precious little ones bring so much to our lives. Just tonight I was rocking little Colby to sleep, playing a favorite song, Ye are a light on a hill, and he immediately recognized it, perked and started to sway back in forth as he enjoyed the melody. Just a little smile and his head and shoulders swaying back in forth with the music and life was beautiful.

We enjoyed a precious week plus with little Abby Burton earlier this summer. Her bright eyes and smile can make this grandfather do anything she wants even as she lights up the entire room.

And then one turns around and they are growing into energetic and fun filled children who capable of late evening sunset swims in the boundless Lake Erie. Anne and Andrew love to swim and literally swam until dark in this huge mass of water. For they are afraid of almost nothing. And Colin and Conner wrestle and play and explore and ride... What a special treat it was to assist Colin to master his fear of bike riding. To see the set of his head as he knew he could ride by himself, oh yes, oh yes, I can, I can. As he heads out each day to ride around the circle I remember a snowy Christmas many years ago when I was given my first new bike. It was cherry red and new and I rode it around our block every 15 minutes all day that Christmas day despite the snow. Now my grandson is set free to ride and coast and make his bike a space ship or motor cycle or a star wars land speeder... for he can ride, oh yes he can. And Conner almost keeps up despite a well warn set of training wheels.

As I pondered the joy these little ones bring to our lives I was reminded of a a "the law" C.S. Lewis re discovered "every preference of a small good to a great, or a partial good to a total good, involves the loss of the small or partial good for which the sacrifice was made". In other words You can't get a second thing by putting them first; you get second things only by putting first things first. Lewis asks in his essay "What things are first?" as a concern for philosophers... grandkids, family, love, cherished and precious moments seem to be many of the second things one receives for obedience, dedication and sacrifice in keeping first things first. How do I get here... it is easy as I have enjoyed watching my daughters and wife and mother put being a mother first.

Now we enjoy so many precious moments with these precious little ones.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Deserve more than one day...

For some reason I felt to teach the "Honoring Motherhood Lessoon" to the priest quorum yesterday... Mothers Day. It was good for me and I pray for them. The lesson is based around 3 questions that are supposed to help these 16 to 18 year old normally self centered young men take a moment and realize all that their mothers have done for them. It even includes 5 comments from some other young men that should highlight the subtle ways a mother does so much for them.. for us all. I was impressed that this priest quorum was respectful and I think appreciative of their moms. I know their moms. To a women each is a dedicated and spiritually powerful mother. As I glanced around the room I realized how fortunate these young men are to have such mothers.

As I prepared this lesson and pondered on the mothers in my life I was again humbled by the sacrifice each embody as they raise and bless their families. I am inspired by Becky's devotion to us. Especially now as she and Anjuli work together to assist these young sons of Anjulis. Inspired by Anjuli's many hours of service to them even as she studies and prepares herself to also be a wage earner. I am inspired by Brit's love for her little Abbey and Joy's willingness to again approach the inherent danger in child birth. I am inspired by young families that create in their homes and lives a love and happiness that is a light to all who would see. I am grateful for fathers that will support these mothers. Who will toil away at jobs that might be tiresome and troubling, boring or even dangerous so that mothers can stay home and nurture little ones.
I am grateful for light and restored knowledge that gives reason and hope for these little struggles... and love that makes it all possible.
I am grateful for my mother and sisters who dedicated their lives to raising a new generation of faithful and powerful people. I don't know where I would be today if it weren't for my marvelous mother. Her influence is now felt in almost countless homes. For there are now many mothers who choose to stay home and despite the trends of our world continue to nurture and love and teach and prepare little ones that will become big. Mom didn't like mothers day (I rememner her telling me that more than once) because she felt that one day of remembrance didn't speak the truth of how important mothers were...
That's how I ended that priest quorum lesson... If you really want to honor your mother, show it everyday... everyday...everyday! Just as often as she rises early to show her love and devotion to you.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Family Prayer

As I ate breakfast this morning I reached out and flipped open the recently delivered March Ensign to Pres. Monson’s article on family prayer. It was the answer to my prayer regarding what to teach the priests quorum today. And as I read the article my mind was flooded with other thoughts that prompted me to make this note and perhaps post it to our blog.

As I read Pres. Monson’s comments on family prayer I thought of how prayer is and has been a blessing to our family. If there is a gospel family principle that we have lived more than others it is this one. For we have prayed as a family more consistently than almost anything else. We’ve prayed together, morning and night, over meals, on the road, for each other and because of each other. I have often wondered the effect of our prayers on the children as we prayed for them, with them. Were we praying at them, over them, because of them? My simple faith says the prayers were heard by God and His angels. As I read Pres. Monson’s words now I wonder again if the prayers blessed us also by communicating love and intentions. How many times have we prayed for students and direction and missionary sons and pregnant daughters, new, young families and our home. I wonder if our eyes were “opened” if we could see the angels that surround this home and our other homes.


As I read these words I thought also of the family prayers in my home on Richards Street. For many years these family prayers were the only testimony I heard my father speak. He didn’t bear his testimony in church like others… sure his service and Christian behavior was a testimony that sub-consciously taught me. I make this note because he didn’t consciously teach the gospel to me (as I recall) like Mom who was more direct in teaching the gospel to me. (She was the teacher that given our class when no one else could handle us. None of my friends would dare mess around if Sister Burton was teaching.) No, Dad was the ward clerk who sat on the back row and raised the questions about Doc Taylor's sunday school lesson. I remember him reading his priesthood manual on Sunday mornings after he had returned from priesthood (before I went to priesthood meeting) but never heard him teach or preach. It was Mom that reminded Dad to call us to pray, to give the priesthood blessing. As I recall the only sermons I remember Dad preaching over the pulpit were the talks at Grant's, then Charles's then my missionary farewell ( In my little boy memory I remember he spoke at Jim Gaskells farewell… Something about “Remember Jim (who was going to Finland on his mission) many are cold but few are frozen”. This got a laugh that I didn’t understand until my mission and my study of DC121). I have noted many times Dad's "everybody has only one sermon. They just give it in different ways." His was always about the mountains and nature. Charlie, my brother, was made a Bishop last week. He will speak of the mountains and nature... and sports and running as he teaches the gospel to his priests and the other youth of his ward in Mesquite, Nevada. He will be a good Bishop. He was part of the same family prayers.

But when Dad knelt with us in the living room and voiced so many family prayers I realized he believed for there he was speaking to God for us. For how can a man kneel with his family in a quiet living room in a simple, humble, home if he doesn’t believe. Later in life when I was older and Dad was even older we learned to talk of his faith. It seemed to be stronger if more simple as he spent more time in the Temple. He was sure Mom was with us in the Temple at each of those sealings when we gathered to create another family in the Salt Lake Temple. And we still pray as a family…. All over the country now and here at home. Tonight young Colin Fry said the prayer for us here on Joelle Lane… even as Mom (Becky) wings her way to Salt Lake to assist her sister and gather with the family to remember the life of Mack Patten. She will kneel with David and Sierra in a home there and end this Sabbath with a family prayer.