Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Proclamations

It's 10:00 p.m. and I'm wondering whether I should write or sleep. Okay I'll write.

I really like Thanksgiving because it's good for me to remember my blessings.

Like the beautiful autumn leaves I find on the street outside.

I'm thankful for my two sons and the fascinating experiences they bring into my life.  My first born son loves to ride off-road. Here he is with his father and friends. My son has the red jersey with the blue bike, and his father is behind him.

My second born is on a phone call. (ha ha)
I just had to put this picture in.

Okay, here he is. He just bought a juicer and he's very excited about it.

In fact, this Thanksgiving morning, he got up early and went to the market.

When grandma and grandpa arrived, he showed them how it worked.
He used kale, celery, carrots and apples.
It was very...well...healthy tasting.

Oh, we must not forget the dog. My oldest son has just revamped and refinished her doghouse. But the dog won't go in.

Oh there we go!

In closing, I'd like to print 3 proclamations. A friend emailed them to me and I feel every American should read these. At first, I didn't want to read them, because it makes me sad to see how far our country has drifted from truly being thankful to God for what he has given us.

But if you have some time, they are worth looking at.  I must confess, I read them pretty fast, but I want to go back over them because they give some interesting glimpses into--not only our leaders' faith, but also way of life.  (they were thankful for clams)

All in all, it inspired me to pray for our country.  There is still hope. And there is still a lot of good in all of us.

 First Thanksgiving proclamation by William Bradford, to be held Thursday Nov 29, 1623:

Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.

Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.

--William Bradford
 Ye Governor of Ye Colony

President George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation held Thursday, Nov 26, 1789:

WHEREAS, It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor;

WHEREAS, Both the houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted' for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have show kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

--George Washington - October 3, 1789

President Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation

To be held on the last Thursday of November 1863.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln


Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Night at Savannah

A few nights before Halloween Letty and I set out to visit the oldest cemetery in Southern California, Savannah Memorial Park.

Letty wore her Jack-O-Lantern socks.

 We had made reservations for the trip, and this included a bus ride to the cemetery.

We weren't expecting these additional visitors.

 But Letty can usually make friends with anyone.
      We wanted to visit the cemetery so we could learn a little bit about the people who lived here in the past. According to the Southern California Genealogical Society, "Savannah Pioneer Cemetery is very likely the first Protestant cemetery in Los Angeles County.  It is essentially the last remaining evidence of the area's rich pioneer legacy as the End of the Santa Fe Trail and those who lived to make it there."

 It's not a very big cemetery. Busy streets surround the quiet corner. People buzz by and take little notice of the lives gone by. I have driven by many times, but I always noticed the gate was locked. I heard they only open the cemetery once or twice a year.  But tonight I found out that the little slender gate facing south is always open...if you give it a push. 
 We filed in and while Letty held a place in the food line (yes they fed us) I walked around and snapped some pictures before the sun went down.
 You can see the tables and chairs they set up for us. We had scrumptious snack of meatballs and tasty ribs
 There were quite a few graves relating to circus people. Back then...the circus personnel would come and winter their performing animals in the warm California sunshine.
 The graves memorialize some of the Valley's founding members. Many of the streets in this area are named after them.
 There were graves of Civil War veterans, both Union and Confederate soldiers, and at least two veterans from the War of 1812. We saw graves of veterans of the Spanish American War.  We learned "Samuel King was killed on a Monday afternoon in a gunfight with Micajah Johnson." John Holt, one of the veterans of the War of 1812, was a Mormon who, with his two wives, fathered about 15 children over a span of about 50 years.
 We received complimentary flashlights. The tour guide in the red cap, a retired history teacher,  tells us stories that illuminate the past.
 Back on the bus—we enjoy a spooky snack.

 We had a great time!

P.S. I loved this little grave.

"God's Missionary"

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pitbull Puppy Positives

1) Father and son are speaking more. “Did you see how high she can jump?”
2) The kitchen floor is cleaner. Pee has to be washed off every day.
3) More time to write articles…Have to sit outside to make sure she doesn’t chew through the fence.  Take the laptop and WRITE.
4) More exercise. Throw the ball. Then chase the ball to show pup how to do it.
5) Upper body exercise. Wrestle pot holders and shoes out of pups mouth.
6) Woman magnet: My sons take the dog out and young women appear.
7) Son hikes in mountains with pup instead of lying on couch.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Secrets to Growing Mums

Fall is coming and the blooms in our gardens are bowing their heads for a rest. But take heart. The mums are coming! It won't be long before their vibrant colors and shapes splash and explode in your garden.  I say explode because....

Grown by Pat Stockett Johnston
many look like a firecracker. Bang!

I’d like to introduce you to Pat, who recently took up the fascinating hobby of growing mums.  She is quite the firecracker herself as she always has the gusto to try something new. Pat is a member of my writers critique group and has just published a clever book entitled, "Mums the Word: Secrets to Growing Chrysanthemums for Home and Show." I say clever, because she explains her craft in simple fashion and if you follow her advice, everyone will think you are quite a clever gardener.

Grown by Pat

The book was published by G8 Press. To take a look at her book go here.

Pat is a very interesting person aside from growing mums. I caught up with her the other day and asked if she would tell us a little about her life.
Pat, tell us what countries you have lived in and a little about your work.

I lived overseas for 34 years as a career missionary with the Church of the Nazarene. Our first seven years were in Beirut, Lebanon—a beautiful, fascinating country, reeking with ancient history. The ruins of Byblos, Sidon, and  Baalbek are fabulous. The Lebanese Civil War forced us to leave the country.

Next we were assigned to Amman, Jordan, for five years. Still Arabic-speaking people, but with 95% of the people followers of Islam. This high, desert country had its own beauty. And Amman was an intriguing, beautiful city. Plus the whole country was an archeological site. We especially enjoyed Petra, Pella, the Roman ruins of the city of Jerash, Jesus’ Baptismal Site at the Jordan River, and the Dead Sea.

pd image
Next followed 14 years in the Pacific Island country of Papua New Guinea, located just north of Australia. You couldn’t beat the weather at 5,000 ft. altitude of the Western Highlands Province. Rained over 250 inches a year. No seasons. Just a wet season and a wetter season.

Our last seven years were spent back in Amman. Jordan had signed a peace treaty with Israel while we were in Papua New Guinea, so that allowed us many opportunities to visit Israel. A 3-week History and Geography course at Jerusalem College University gave us the opportunity to see the country—Dan to Beersheba, Jericho to Haifa. I’d visit Israel at the drop of a hat. Never got tired of visiting biblical sites there.

Did you cultivate any gardens when you were in the Middle East?

We mostly lived in high-rise apartment buildings in the Middle East that offered no private gardens. But that didn't matter, for I had a brown thumb. No house plant survived for more than a month under my care!

Grown by Pat
Ha! Ha! That's hard to believe.
You have published several books about your experiences overseas. Is this your first gardening book?

Previously I wrote seven books for my church’s missions education program. The fact that I could actually keep a plant alive for more than a month was surprising. The fact that I can grow beautiful, prize-winning chrysanthemums is a miracle.

Well if you can, maybe we can too!
How is the book doing?  Any interesting calls for copies?

The publisher has not provided me with the number of books that have sold. But I do know that Kings Mums catalog is selling the book in its 2013 catalog for rooted mums cuttings.

Is it really true that ANYONE can grow mums?  What about those of us with a “brown thumb”.

I think it’s important to have mentoring when trying out new activities. I joined the Descanso Chrysanthemum Society and its members shed light on how to grow them. But like most plants, mums need good soil, fertilizer, watering, insecticides, and regular care. Show mums are grown in pots, and demand only six hours of sun a day. Honestly, if I can grow them, anyone can!

I am stunned by the variety and different styles and colors of the Mums. How many kinds of Mums are there?

There are 13 classes of mums grown for show exhibitions. Here’s the link to my YouTube 1-minute video that shows an example of each class bloom.

Oh my goodness—that was beautiful! Readers---go here and watch the gentle dance of 13 mums.

In your book, I like the step by step instructions with pictures…for example, the section “How to Plant Cuttings from Last Years’ Mums”.  Who took the pictures of your hands performing the tasks? 

My husband Gordon took the pictures. We are a mums-growing team. He does the watering, fertilizing, transferring to bigger pots, and sprays for insects and worms. I have smaller hands, so I disbud unwanted new growth and stake the stems. We make a great team!

How can we purchase a book?

Grown by Pat

At Learn more about me on my author’s page by going to the Mums the Word Amazon page and clicking on my name.

Thank you for all the work you have done to help us grow these beautiful flowers.

Your welcome!

Click here to visit Pat's blog.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bicycling at Mammoth Lakes, California

Mammoth Lakes area has a beautiful bike trail that threads through the pine forests, beside lakes, along a waterfall, and next to scenic lookouts.  With friends, Craig and Linda, we rented bikes in town, for $20 each, put them in back of the truck...then drove them to the shuttle stop.

We could of rented bikes directly at the shuttle stop, but it was a little more expensive. The shuttle is free. Our bikes are in a trailer hitched to the back of the bus.

The bus drove along the edge of a scenic pass. We could see the town of Mammoth in the low lands and several mountain ranges in the distance. Then we began approaching the lakes. There are 5 or 6 and about one mile apart.

The bus dropped us off at the top of the trail which is Horse Shoe Lake. It's beautiful but its shrinking slowly due to a fissure in the lake floor. We are in earthquake and volcano country. The ground is covered in tiny pumice stones.

Mozart, who is an off-road enthusiast, talked us into riding around the lake on a dirt trail. It was  great. I told Mozart we should sell our motorcycles and get into mountain biking. This didn't go over well.

After a loop around the lake (and I will mention we are at 8955 ft.) We head down the paved trail beginning our 8 mile decent. We take a detour over to a foot bridge for a picture. 

The bike trail goes right along the top of this waterfall. The water flows into the lake below.

 We stopped to visit the horses at the horse back riding post.

The bike tunnels were awesome.

Another bridge.
We had a great time!

Ninety-five percent of the ride was downhill. So the altitude is not a big problem.

This is a great ride for the whole family. We noticed a couple of 12 year old boys taking the shuttle up with their skateboards. The driver told me they had been going up and down all day.  Well that's better than video games!

 Mammoth is a mountain biking mecca. I've only barely touched what is available. The emphasis is on off-road. There are miles and miles of trails. You can even ride the gondola to the top and kamikaze down your favorite ski trail.  I'm not quite ready for that yet!
But you don't have to be a biker to enjoy a scenic gondola ride to the top.

That's it, for this post... I must go and make some mashed potatoes. My oldest son had his wisdom teeth out today. His new puppy is a great helper.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mammoth and our New Pup

We went to Mammoth Mountain for a few days. When we arrived home, we found a new family member. Our former dog passed away unexpectedly in March.  Sensi looks a bit like her. She is 9 weeks old.

 In Mammoth, we floated on the lakes, explored trails and rode bikes. Mammoth has a great bike trail that threads through the forests and along beautiful vistas.  I'll post more pictures of the trip later. Here is a sample.
One of the lakes on June Lake Loop.
 We visited the ghost town of Bodie.  Took a special tour of the old Stamp Mill. Did you know that Bodie had electricity before Washington D.C.?
 On the bike trail with our friends, Craig and Linda.
Home Sweet Home...back to our boys....and Sensi