News from Nonna: December 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Must Read!

Since I have moved to Colorado, I have been involved with a book group that meets once a month. I love to read and love book group. There are 16 of us and we get together once a month and talk about an assigned book and then have a luncheon that goes along with the theme.Well this month we read, SNOWFLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN, by Lisa See. It was so illuminating (notice the big words) and humbling at the same time. It made me realize that I was not only blessed by being able to live in this dispensation, but in America. I really have no idea of the hardships that 99% of the people in the world face, and have faced, and for that I am grateful..

This was a fascinating book about Chinese women and the tradition of foot binding. It also discussed "Laotong," and "sworn sisters." Women were virtually less worth than a dog. They were raised essentially to pass along to a man and then serve him and his family the rest of their lives. So many were beaten and mistreated, and their only comfort came from women who had been chosen in their youth to be their best friend forever, "Laotong." They also had a secret language that they wrote on fans and handkerchiefs to pass along to one another. No man knew "NU SHU." Thus they were able to comfort one another. I thought about the nurturing role that women have always had in the world and continue to have, and how we rely on each other to meet many of our emotional needs. I myself have "Laotong," in my mother, grandmother, and daughters. How blessed I am. I also have a wonderful husband who genuinely loves me and considers that I have worth. I am grateful that my daughters are treated well, and that my son is a kind man. So even in something like a book group, I am able to see the blessings of the Lord in my life.
It was a compelling book and I think it is definately worth your time. So to my "Loatong," and sworn sisters........Thank you.

Bonus: We got to eat Chinese food which I never get to eat because Richard is from Idaho! And next month we read, "THESE IS MY WORDS," which is probably more my level. :)

Speaking of women, I am very grateful to have Jaimie as my new daughter. Yesterday I went to church to listen to her speak on putting Christ back into Christmas. She did such a good job. Besides looking beautiful up there, she gave a very touching talk and I went away a better person. If that wasn't enough, she invited us over for dinner. She is turning out to be a great little cook, and wonderful homemaker. I feel very blessed again. Another "Laotong," in the making!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Who Said That We Are Empty Nesters?

As everyone knows, I love dogs! Maybe because when I was a little girl, one never lived past puberty. One of my dogs got run over by the mailman, Pixie. One died outside by the water spout, and then I think we quit trying. My Uncle Gary had a dog that they had brought back from California and they named him Elvis! How appropriate. Little did we know that Uncle Gary and Mike would grow up and sing just like Elvis! I'm not kidding. They amount of times we have spent singing around the piano and with the Karaoke machine are recorded for history. I used to have Mike come over to my house and sing for the women in my ward, at ward functions. Women still talk about him. He is truly as good as Elvis. I love to hear him and never will get tired of him singing. By the way, Aunt Debbie can sing just like Barbra Streisand and so they make quite a pair.

Anyway, I was talking about Elvis. The Dog! He was a chow mix and I loved him. He was so loyal to Mike and I and we spent our young lives with him. He used to follow us to school and then meet us as we were coming home to Grandma's house. All of the nieghborhood kids knew and understood his quirks. He was very docile until it was time for my Granddaddy to come home from work. He would see his car start to pull up and then Elvis would start barking and chase all of the kids that he had played with all day. When ever the kids would see Granddaddy's car come down the road they would all say "AH OH" and start running. When we were young kids we would walk downtown to the show on Saturday mornings. Elvis would always walk with us. He would actually wait for the cars to go by before he would cross the road. I thought he was magical. Sometimes I would worry because if he followed us to school the dogcatcher would try to get him. He always let me touch him when he would eat and no one else could do that.

One time he got hit by a car and Granddaddy picked him up and put him on the backstep and said ,"We'll just have to wait and see." I don't know how he recovered but there were no insurance plans for dogs back then. He always got fed Grandma's scra[s from supper and let me tell you I would eat those scraps today. Biscuits and gravy, ham, friend chicken etc. He was one lucky dog.

So my reason for remembering my dogs, I love them still today. Thus, we have three dogs living here at any one time.! Much to RIchard's chagrin...............My wonderful children bought me a dog, Gracie, a Chinese Pug, in case something happened to Joie, a Chinese Pug, who I had for 13 years. I talked to her more than I have anyone else in my life I guess. She passed away in March of last year. So Gracie was a good idea. Thank you Jonathan. Then we babysit Jonathan and Jaimie's dog quite a bit, which I love. His name is CHIEF, and I love him too. Then Jacqui is not able to take as good of care of her dog as she would like so she brought her home at Thanksgiving. Thus we generally have three dogs here and Richard is learning to go along with the plan. They actually love him alot. So today I am grateful for my friends. My animal companions. They are God's creations too. Thus, we are not really empty nesters but now a boarding kennel for man's best friend! I am lucky.


I have finally finished decorating the house for Christmas. You know that I wanted it to look good and feel like home because all of my children and grandchildren and parents will be here for the holidays. I am so excited. As a point of reference, all of the kids that marry into the family do so on a schedule. One year is our Christmas all together and the next year it is Thanksgiving. So I have been looking forward to this all year. I have finished getting everyone's gifts and my office is full of presents to wrap. I am anxious for the fun, memory making, laughing, cooking, snuggling, games, and togetherness to begin. Here are a few shots of the house. Now if I could just get the outside decorated. Richard's disability, (broken wrist) is causing all sorts of problems :( He really is useful and handy. You don't realize what you've got until it's gone!