Saturday, February 28, 2009


*loves to eat tons of anything and everythingDSC04263

*knows how to walk, but will only take a few steps if we beg and clap ALOT

*thinks he should be able to do everything everyone else does and gets mad if he is left out

*is a great little negotiator of the stairs

*says Nana

*has had so much fun climbing on this table and unseating the birdhouse (bottom right) that normally sits there                        DSC04269

*plays ah-ohhhhh really well

*has an adorable smileDSC04264






*delighted Ashley White at YW...having never seen this face before, she looked up and said, "Is Cherylyn here???"











                      *seems really happy at the Birdhouse

Friday, February 27, 2009

friday's sketch

Today Chezzie and I took Clark to the park to play tennis. It might have all started a couple of days ago when Brianda was babysitting Payton and she had both of them outside with tennis racquets swinging for the ball. Then yesterday when Clark and I were working in the garden together, he wanted to play some more, and so we did. I was pretty impressed that he could hit the ball. Last night this little six year old girl was playing with her dad at the courts where Cherylyn and I  were playing with Missy and Linda. Really, this little girl was very impressive. Cherylyn asked me if I could imagine Clark playing that well in three years. Of course!

So today we played at the courts and he was hitting right over the net!

DSC04225 DSC_0577Watch for Clark to be playing like this  soon!

Then Cherylyn took me to lunch at the Goblin Market in Mt. Dora. Afterwards we enjoyed a visit to the Orlando Temple.


When we finished, we drove over to the


and picked up empanadas for dinner and a few other yummy things!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

oak haven strawberry farm

No one has really experienced paradise on earth until he has plucked and eaten a clutch of fully ripe strawberries, warmed by Florida sunshine.                                                  adapted from Joy of Cooking

 DSC04241 DSC04243 DSC04232 DSC04237DSC04236  DSC04239

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

more monkey


When Clark came to the Birdhouse he brought his MarioKart skills with him.





He has advanced them...and his form!

Monday, February 23, 2009

my oscar

You Would Win Best Costume Design
You are imaginative, artistic, and very unique. You are a natural designer.
You can picture entire movies in your head. You are incredibly visual.

As long as you can remember, you've always had a flare for fashion. You like to experiment with looks.
You like dressing up in costumes and outfits. And not just for Halloween!
Now I just need to see the movie!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

change in our lives creates choices

The Stake Presidency is excited about this new-year and the changes that are ahead of us as the Kingdom of our Father in Heaven grows and develops here in the Leesburg Florida Stake.

In the past year and half especially we have heard quite a bit about change….change in the political sense, change in the economic sense and change in various aspects of our lives.

President Monson in one of his addresses in the October conference last year said the following; and I quote…“I begin by mentioning one of the most inevitable aspects of our lives here upon the earth, and that is change. At one time or another we’ve all heard some form of the familiar adage: “Nothing is as constant as change.”

Throughout our lives, we must deal with change. Some changes are welcome; some are not.”…close quote.

Change in the political sense this past year was used as a rallying cry and many responded with enthusiasm and eager anticipation…contrasted with the change required of us personally to achieve a change of heart and become a new person in a spiritual sense…the enthusiasm and eager anticipation of the rallying cry can quickly become marked by hesitation and increased reluctance as human nature takes over and reminds us that change within ourselves can be uncomfortable and run counter to our established patterns of habit.

We all listen to the Brethren at general conference and our local leaders and agree with and welcome their teachings…but sometimes find the execution and incorporation of those teachings into our lives to be a difficult process. Whether it is our established patterns of habit, our basic reluctance for change, our stubbornness as we hold onto the world or our lack of faith required to change…we all find it hard to change to some degree or another. Yet change is required of all of us if we are to achieve the state of valiancy required to return and live with our Father in Heaven.

King Benjamin said this to the people, “And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.” Therefore, faith needs to triumph over our reluctance, our stubbornness and our established patterns of habit if we are to be successful in changing to meet the requirements of the Savior.

Last Thursday night in our monthly missionary coordination meeting with the bishops, WMLs, the zone leaders and the mission president we were discussing the effort required to achieve baptisms of individuals and families. We noted that of those investigators who accept a target date of baptism only about 30% are actually finally baptized. I asked the full-time Elders what were the driving reasons for the 70% fall off after a baptism date had been established. Without hesitation one of the zone leaders responded with “it is the change required in their lives” that is the biggest stumbling block. Their lack of faith and immature testimony of the truth cannot overcome the natural reluctance and established patterns of life to fully accept and embrace a new lifestyle that centers on the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is a way of life that requires much as we seek be obedient to all of God’s commandments.

The same phenomenon happens to those of us who come to church each week and know the Church is true….as we work to refine and change and increase our levels of obedience and diligence in the gospel of Jesus Christ we are challenged by the natural man.

Sometimes change in life is forced on us by circumstance while other change is purely voluntary…both cases require a choice by us…a choice that is founded on the principle of agency where we are free to choose what direction we will go…or what path we will walk down. It is the process where the Lord tests our faith and willingness to follow him and those He has placed as our leaders over us.

How we react when change is forced on us by circumstance is usually an interesting and telling indication of our devotion and faith to choose the right. When as a young man I was learning to fly an airplane I remember many things to this day of the careful way in which my instructor taught me so many things about flying an airplane. Many of those things were grounded in safety and “what if” scenarios in cases of emergency. I remember after a few lessons we had just taken off from the airport and at about 1500 feet the instructor reached over and pull the throttle out all the way and the power to the engine immediately went to idle…the propeller became a mere fluttering piece of metal in the wind offering nothing of any power to the airplane. He said to me that I had just lost my engine and that I needed to land…circumstances had been forced on me and a change of plans was required. As I contemplated my choices he quickly reminded me to do the most un-natural thing possible…point the airplane down so as to maintain my airspeed. Then I quickly started to look for a place to land among the densely populated neighborhoods of Orange County California. My choices raced through my mind…can’t return to the airport…too far…the freeway…six o’clock rush hour traffic…a school ball field….looks too small…a golf course…what fairway is the longest I said out loud and started to make my approach in my glider that a few moments before had been an airplane. Although I knew in my mind my instructor would save me…I was sweating profusely as I lined up on the golf course and my chosen fairway. Having accomplished this he pushed in the throttle….complemented me on my approach and quick thinking… but criticized my choice of one I had chosen had too many trees.

Real life is often not as forgiving as the instructor who is teaching and testing our reactions…The Savior is our Master instructor and He is bound to let us choose for ourselves after He has done all he can to teach us the right. Real life…in real time, is the ultimate change test ground for all of us.

When US Airways flight 1549 departed La Guardia Airport in New York City on it way to Charlotte NC recently…the weather was clear and 155 crew and passengers settled in for an uneventful two hour flight…as is sometimes the case the co-pilot not the pilot was flying the plane as it began it’s climb out of the New York City area. And at 3000 feet everything changed. A large group of birds in their natural habitat met the two large turbine jet engines of the Airbus A320 and all external power of the airplane was instantly lost. The crew later reported it was the silence that first caught their attention. Because of my interest in flying and my own training I have studied the transcripts and actions of the pilot from the first moment after that deafening silence.

The first thing the pilot immediately does is he says to the co-pilot “My airplane”. At which point the co-pilot would have taken his hands and feet off the controls of the airplane.

The next thing he does is declare an emergency and request to return to the airport…as he is doing this he is doing that most unnatural thing of pointing the airplane at the ground to maintain his airspeed so he has a chance to fly the plane rather than fall from the sky.

Air traffic control immediately tells him to turn left to a heading of 220 degrees and he is clear to land on runway 13. Air traffic control then stops all activity at the airport to accommodate the plane that is in trouble.

On receiving clearance to land on runway 13 the pilot having further assessed his circumstances immediately responds with the simple word…”Unable” and adds “we may end up in the Hudson”…He has already realized and chosen his most likely landing spot among the densely populated neighborhoods of New York City…the Hudson River. But he continues to examine other alternatives. Air Traffic Control while attempting to do all it can to help offers to let him land the opposite direction of the wind on runway 31 and then offers runway 4 at La Guardia in a desperate attempt to help. The pilot responds with “Can’t make any runway” but then asks if a smaller airport nearby is available…hoping to avoid the water landing…Air Traffic Control immediate obtains and gives him clearance to land on runway 1 at nearby Teterboro Airport…the pilot responds with the simple words:

“We can’t do it”

Air Traffic is now desperate and willing to do anything he can and asks “what runway would you like at Teterboro”?

Having examined and exhausted all of his possible choices the pilot calmly responds with….”We’re gonna be in the Hudson”.

All of this has transpired in one minute and 52 seconds.

Still desperate to help, Air Traffic control then offers Newark Airport seven miles to the West unaware at that moment Flight 1549 was touching down on the surface of the Hudson River where all 155 persons on the plane were pulled to safety. Floating in the river, the pilot made one last walk up and down the long aisle of the plane to ensure all passengers had exited to safety.

Even though this change in direction was forced on the pilot…Excellent training, skill and a set of good choices by him saved the lives of all.

Change and choices go hand in hand. You have often heard me quote Elder Wirthlin that every choice results in a consequence, and every consequence has a destination. So it is true in our lives…as we make choices when faced with change or when asked to change by our leaders. From one earring piercing per ear to the standards contained in the For Strength of Youth pamphlet we are asked to live our lives in such a way that we will be protected and helped along the path of safety back to our Father in Heaven.

The early members of the Church had established a beautiful city in Nauvoo Illinois with brick homes that had wonderful fireplaces to warm them in the winter. Yet in the dead of winter they walked down Parley Street to the frozen Mississippi River and walk across to Iowa on the other side. Why would they choose to leave their city and their warm homes? And if you are going to leave…why would you leave in in the winter in such adverse and terrible conditions? Some would say that change was forced on them and they had no choice. While there was some pressure and force…they still had a choice to respond to their leaders.

Many of my ancestors living in or near Nauvoo left when the bulk of the Saints left, but some stayed behind by choice…though just as able to leave they were unwilling to follow their leaders. They lacked the faith and testimony to do the hard thing that was required of them.

When Alma was teaching his son Helaman he told him of their ancestors and their use of the Liahona or compass that had been provided by the Lord. He told him, “And it did work for them according to their faith in God; therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold it was done. However, if they were “slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased and they did not progress in their journey.”

Then Alma gives a warning to his son…”O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way;” Sometimes brothers and sisters the effort required from the Lord for us to change is outside our comfort zone and “the way” is harder than we would like. The change required is a trial indeed. But the Lord for all his mercy has promised us that the resulting blessings will be worth it.

The Trek that our youth and some of our willing adults will embark on in April has already started. We have already seen the willingness and excitement of many and we have already seen the reluctance and resistance of a few. The lessons of our ancestors are already being experienced by our youth and they have yet to even don their period costumes that will be part of their experience. Most will leave on the journey and some may stay behind.

At the age of 16, in 1858, Fanny Fry began a journey to Salt Lake City from England along with her brother John and her sister Sarah. Their father had been lost at sea and was presumed dead. Along with their mother they had joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and had a great desire to join the gathering in the United States. Their mother could not afford the trip at the time of the departure of her children. Fanny describes her feelings as her mother helped her pack for the journey:

I could not describe my feelings while these preparations were going on. It seemed that I was in a complete daze or dream from which I expected to awaken and find it all a delusion. My feeling at the time can better be imagined than described. Mother had her photograph picture taken and gave one to each of us, and it was a prize to me, for it was five long years before I saw her again.

Fanny and her brother and sister crossed the ocean on the ship William Tapscott with the George Rowley Company without major incident. Fanny’s brother John, remained in New York for a short time to work, and Fanny and her sister traveled to Florence, Nebraska. Fanny joined a handcart company while her sister, Sarah, traveled with another company.

In her own words Fanny describes life in a handcart company:

Well, we started from Florence, Nebraska, on the seventh of June. That memorable day I shall never forget in this life. We traveled three miles the first day. Brother Coltrin pulled the cart in my place, and I walked beside him. He felt so sorry for us because he knew what was before us and we knew nothing of it, he having just made the journey.

There were fifty-eight handcarts, with an average of three to a cart. Our rations when we started was a pint of flour a day, and we had some bacon and soap. These items soon gave out. We had to take a cold water wash for the want of a vessel to warm the water in. And not having soap we were worse than ever. At the Elk Horn River, my feet were so swollen I could not wear my shoes. Then when the swelling went out, my feet were so sore from the alkali that I never had on a pair of shoes after that for the entire journey.

After a while we recovered our usual spirits and enjoyed ourselves evening around camp visiting each other, with singing and other amusements. I recollect one day that captain put me to a cart with six people’s luggage on and only three to pull it—a woman, a lad of sixteen, and I, seventeen—and there was nine days’ bread. All grown people were allowed twenty pounds of luggage apiece and their cooking utensils besides. That made quite a load for us. I know it was the hardest day’s work I ever remember doing in all my life before or since. We had to pull up quite a long hill, and part of it was steep. In climbing we go behind one of the teams for the oxen to help us, for it was all we could do to keep it moving. Captain Rowley came up and called us lazy, and that I did not consider we were at all.

Later on in the journey across the plains Fanny describes an incident as the journey was nearing its ending.

The day we were going over Big Mountain, I was learning to ride horseback, and a nice picture I looked, I can assure you: an old sunbonnet on my head all torn, an old jacket, and my petticoat tattered, and my feet dressed in rags. That was my costume. I was riding in advance of the entire company. I saw a wagon coming toward me; I rode on and the wagon was passing all right. When about past, I saw some well-dressed ladies sitting in the wagon, and one of them cried, “There is my sister.” The next thing I knew I was in the wagon in my darling sister’s arms. Oh the rapture of that moment! It was blessed to me, I will say. Sarah had arrived in Salt Lake City sometime since and got rested, and now Brother and Sister Eddington were coming with her to meet me and the handcart company. They had heard that the company would camp in the canyon that night, and they had come prepared to stay all night with us and fetch some of us. They brought with them a quarter of young beef, half a lamb, pies and cakes that I was to divide among my friends.

The plains of the old West and the safe and comfort of old England were quite a contrast and change for young Fanny and the rest of the pioneers. They made a choice to respond to those things they knew to be true…and their choices influenced thousands of souls in the generations to come.

After arriving in Salt Lake City, Fanny married John Zundell and they became the parents of one daughter. Her name was Fanny Christena Zundell.

Fanny Christena Zundell married William Peter Carter and they had a son named Lester

Lester John Carter married Eve Martha Andrus and they had a son named Bruce

Bruce Lester Carter married Beverly June Coles and they had a son named Douglas

Douglas Bruce Carter married Debra Ann Chytraus and they have four daughters and nine grandchildren and live in the Eustis Ward of the Leesburg Florida Stake.

While I doubt that Fanny was thinking of me or my posterity when she made her choices, I am eternally grateful for her and others and the choices they made despite the hardness of the way.

In life we are constantly faced with change and choices…sometimes those choices involve temptation and sin, or alternatives that will not lead us to happiness or safety. It is in those occasions that we should respond just like the pilot of Flight 1549, “unable” or “we can’t do it”…I won’t do it because I know what the Lord would have me do.

When the Savior was in the Garden of Gethsemane he said, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” He had a choice and he said “My Airplane”

When he was taken before Pilate he could have answered questions differently and probably saved himself…but he chose the hardness of the way…the way of his Father.

He knew where he was going and where he was going to end up. For he responded to the request of one who hung with him with the reply…”Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

Again we were served by those who have gone before us. In this case by the Savior himself who has made it possible to save us all…

He has provided excellent training through the scriptures and living prophets and apostles. He has assured us the skill required to do all that he might ask of us. He made one final walk of the aisle in the garden…to ensure we could all get out safely. The only thing he left to us, is the choice to completely change our hearts and follow Him.

In the last general conference Elder Ballard compared our struggles of today with those of our ancestor pioneers when he said, “This is not to suggest that our challenges today are more severe than the challenges faced by those who have gone before us. They are just different. The Lord isn’t asking us to load up a handcart; He’s asking us to fortify our faith. He isn’t asking us to walk across a continent; He’s asking us to walk across the street to visit our neighbor…He isn’t asking us to die a martyr’s death; He’s asking us to live a disciple’s life.”

May we do so through the choices and changes that will come before us in our lives. May we always feel to respond with “not my will, but thine, be done.”

This is His gospel and His church upon the earth. Of this I do testify in His name, even Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

harry p. leu

My husband gave me a membership to the Leu GardensDSC04213 in Orlando for Christmas this year. I had been wanting to visit there and take some classes. DSC04208 Chezzie went with me today for the first one: Chinese Herbs and Allergies. I learned a few things and it was a beautiful day for walking in the gardens.



Friday, February 20, 2009

happy faces

My tummy was hurting today, but I enjoyed watching these two guys play. Clark  had fun using the island in the kitchen as a race track.DSC04196 Andrew chased the leaking helium balloon around the houseDSC04197 banging on it like his brother had modeled yesterday. I no sooner had purchased it than we realized that it was leaking air. When Cherylyn took it back to the store, the lady showed her the place on the face that was ripped. She put a piece of tape on it and refilled it. We showed Clark the "bandaid" and told him to be careful. He became less interested in the fragile balloon while Andrew became more so.

Although I wasn't feeling up to much, their favorite aunt, who Clark has rechristened Brianda, was keeping them all happily entertained.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

hanging out with the kids

Cherylyn and the boys arrived last night. She was exhausted from her eight+ hour solo drive with her two little ones, but still managed to stay up past 1am chatting with her daddy. She did request a "lie in" this morning. Breakfast went something like this:

I poured Clarks cereal and milk and put it on the table. Then Andrew pulled it off the table. Then I got out the green machine and cleaned up the mess. Then Andrew fell off his chair.

The rest of the morning was rather calm. Clark enjoyed playing "monkey" which is MarioKart because apparently his favorite character used to be DonkeyKong before it was Mario. Andrew went exploring about the house and successfully and safely negotiated his way up and down the stairs. I did have to do a repair job on a few pages of my scriptures that he took a keen interest in. It was cloudy and rainy this morning which put off our tennis game, but late this afternoon the sun came out and we had some outside fun after all.

DSC04190 DSC04183  DSC04185 DSC04182


DSC04179 DSC04161










and Andrew at the park. I had a great time taking their pictures and listening to all the squealing sounds! I'm so glad they're here.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Copy (2) of File0314 (Picture taken on Valentines Day, February, 14, 1977.)

Doug's mom had been calling me first thing every morning to see how I was doing for more than a week. On that day, February 16,  I told her that I was fine except that my back was hurting. She asked me if it was hurting constantly or off and on. I answered that it was off and on, but persistent. "You are in labor!" she cried.

I found that impossible to believe, because I wasn't even due for three more days and I had NO STOMACH pain. She told me to look at the clock when my back started hurting and stopped hurting. I soon realized that I was having pain every 5 minutes.

Doug had a big math exam at school that morning. He ran over to class to tell his teacher that his wife was in labor and could he please take the test later. The teacher said no, and Doug started taking the test. He never did finish that test. (He got a D on it because forgot to turn the paper over and didn't do any of the questions on the back.)

When he got home, I was in a panic. With all sincerity, I told him that I really didn't want to have a baby and I don't know why I ever thought I did. Somehow, he calmed me down and then he started making all kinds of charts and graphs to document my labor.Copy (2) of File0320

A while later, we went to the hospital. Eventually, the doctor broke my water and Patricia Ann was born sunnyside up about 19 hours after I started into labor.

She weighed 6 pounds and 13 ounces. My parents and Doug's parents came and talked to me after the birth while I was in recovery.  I hadn't known that I was having a girl.  Doug's mom was particularly happy to have a granddaughter after birthing five sons. My mom was happy that I had a  daughter first, just like she did (which was me).

The next day we were released from the hospital. The car seat is my lap as you can tell, even though the slide was scanned from the wrong side.Copy (2) of File0324 File0304 We stayed at Doug's parent's house for a few days. The first night Doug wanted to go play basketball, and I wanted him to take me out to dinner. (Of course, he ended up doing both.)

I still remember our quiet little celebration together at the restaurant.


Three days later, we took our very new baby to church with us.

Then we headed back to our apartment

Copy of File0341

File0353to watch and care for our firstborn.



Happy birthday Tricia!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

garden bloggers bloom day

It has been a rough month in the garden with freezing temperatures and temperatures in the 80's, with no humidity and loads of humidity. In spite of it all,  there are blooms to share today.


The bottlebrush has taken a hard hit in the past with freezing temperatures, but the canopy of the  overgrown oak tree behind  has protected it this year. I keep cutting the bottlebrush back; it wants to invade the light and space of the herbs. It has responded by growing into the forest and it is getting huge.

The potted impatiens for shade and  for sun managed the cold quite nicely in the garage and are happily back where they belong.

DSC04145 DSC04149

DSC04144Most of the herbs are growing  and the lavender has even started sending up it's flower spikes.

I bought this huge cordyline called Black Magic. It is still waiting to be planted, but in the meantime, flowering to let me know that it really was a great purchase. I think it's black and green leaves are fabulous.





In the back garden, next to the house...

mystic spires blue salvia, Mexican sage, snapdragons, pansies, red pentas and a few other garden faithfuls.DSC04143


The azalea bush out front is a profusion of buds that are just starting to open. I always look forward to it's annual splendor


that I hope to get a good picture of next month.