Posted in Blessings Corner, My 52 Stories

November Blessings- Day 11 (My Daddy)

Since it is Veteran’s Day, I’ve decided to write a little bit about my dad. I haven’t seen my dad in many years. He lives in the Philippines with his wife, where they are close to her family.

When I was growing up, I was a daddy’s girl. My dad is an easy-going, laid-back kind of parent. I don’t think I could ever do anything which would disappoint him. Sometimes I wished he’d give me more of an opinion about something because he would always say that if it made me happy, it made him happy.

My dad always called me his baby girl or his princess. He made up elaborate nick names for me and my three brothers and my sister, which he would use whenever he got the chance. For example, he would use it over the phone whenever someone would call us. He would say something like, “You’re calling Princess Camie, Keeper of the Unicorns? Let me see if her majesty will talk to you.” That was usually amusing, but a little embarrassing if a boy called me. There might have been more between Princess Camie and Keeper of the Unicorns, but that’s all I remember. And then he would make up enchanting stories about kingdoms and magical creatures, and we became the knights and princesses. I loved his made up stories.

I miss my dad. I don’t hear from him very often because of the poor internet service there and the huge time difference. But I am glad he is happy with his wife and other family.

♥ Happy Veteran’s Day to my daddy and all veterans. Thank you all for your selfless service. ♥




Posted in Blessings Corner, My 52 Stories

November Blessings- Day 3 (Our Thanksgiving Traditions)

It’s a gloomy, gray day here, with rain and a cold breeze. A realtor walked through my house this morning. We are planning to put our house on the market come spring and move to the town where my mother-in-law lives. She is an 81-year old widow. She needs more family support and we are the only ones who are not tied to where we live by a job. It’s going to be crazy around here for the next several months, especially as we prepare our daughter for her mission in January. I told the realtor this was just to get the ball rolling because I want to enjoy the holidays with my family…

Last Thanksgiving. These are my four babies.

Speaking of the holidays, I’ve started to plan this year’s Thanksgiving. I was going to invite my mother-in-law here, but it turns out two of her sons and their families have decided to spend Thanksgiving at her house. That will be really nice for her. We won’t join them, however, as my oldest daughter works for Kohl’s and will have to cover a Black Friday shift. That means we need to stay close to home so she can join in the festivities. Besides, I want our family to be together for our last Thanksgiving and Christmas in this house and before my youngest daughter leaves on her mission in January.

Then I thought of my mother and her husband. My maternal grandparents passed away a few years ago, and my side of the family has a Thanksgiving dinner together before Thanksgiving so that everyone can go to their “other” family on Thanksgiving. I found out my mother and her husband had no plans for Thanksgiving Day itself and that they had spent it on their own last year. They jumped at my invite to spend Thanksgiving with us. They’re even planning to spend the night in our guest room.


When I was growing up, we spent half our Thanksgivings at my grandparent’s home (my mother’s parents) and half at my grandma’s house (my father’s mother). I loved my grandma’s house the best because she had the tradition of making each grandchild their own miniature pumpkin pie. I love pumpkin pie! Plus, holidays at her house were chaotic and laid-back, whereas at my grandparent’s they were subdued and controlled.

I have one very sad memory of a Thanksgiving morning where I woke up to the next door neighbor phoning us to let us know that my cat had hung itself over our shared fence. I know how that sounds! My mother, never an animal lover, admitted to tying my cat up to our family dog the night before and I guess in the middle of the night the cat tried to escape. I cried all that day and the only explanation I ever got for what happened was that the two animals needed to learn how to get along. My father helped me bury my cat under a tree in our backyard.


We have spent Thanksgivings in Canada and Peru. Canada was fun because we celebrated Thanksgiving twice; first for Canadian Thanksgiving in October and second for American Thanksgiving in November. In Peru, we celebrated with all of the other Americans. ♥ Our family traditions for this holiday include a waffle breakfast, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, football, and a Velveeta salsa dip with chips. Our dinner is usually around 4pm and is always turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, green bean casserole, rolls and a variety of pies for dessert. Then we end the day watching a Christmas movie or two.

♥ What are your plans and traditions for Thanksgiving? I’d love to hear about them. ♥

Posted in Blessings Corner, My 52 Stories

November Blessings- Day 2 (Discoveries From My Baby Book)

From the time I was born, until I was 12-years old, my mother kept a journal of my growth and milestones, as well as certain events in our lives. She assembled mementos and photos for me in a keepsake book. My baby book gives me an idea of what my early childhood years were like, as well as my personality back then. Here are some examples: I know that I visited my Great Grandma Gray (my father’s mother’s mother), in a rest home, until she passed away. I was a kitten for my first Halloween trick or treating. My dad was a high school janitor for a time, and I helped him clean with a little broom he made for me. A cat jumped on me in the middle of the night and scared me into “hysterics.” I was bossy to my brother, nearly a year younger than me, but we became “buddies” once I was in first grade and he was in Kindergarten. I spent a lot of time by myself drawing, coloring, reading and making things. I was always holding something in my hands. I liked to sing. I have memories of playing records and singing along to the Camelot soundtrack. My mother is a talented pianist, so it’s interesting to me that she mentions a time when I did not enjoy her playing the piano in our home. I wonder why?

This photo was taken a couple months after I turned 3-years old. I still have the scar on my chin. I’m not sure how I got it. It looks like I might have hit my mouth and chin on something.

I know I was hospitalized when I was not yet 3-years old, for a few days, because my right knee was causing me so much pain that I could not walk or put pressure on that leg. I was also feverish, and though my knee was x-rayed, and a blood test was taken, the cause could not be discovered. I did not like the splinter a doctor made for me, and in the end, my mother was upset by the way the hospital and staff handled the whole situation, so she brought me home and tended to me by letting me “tell her what felt best for [my] knee”. A few days later, I seemed to have healed. In the end, it was thought I might have Juvenile Rheumatoid arthritis, but I’ve never had an issue with that knee since.


My mother even mentioned the time in 2nd grade when I won a class coloring contest and was awarded a Charlie Brown puzzle. What she did not write was what my teacher said as she gave me my prize. I had been chosen by vote of my classmates. When my teacher presented the puzzle to me, she said something like this: “Camie won the vote, but Susie’s coloring was the best.” After that, I purposely colored poorly so I would not win again.

The last thing that stands out to me was my mother writing that I loved to “write notes and letters and lists of anything,” and she complimented my handwriting. I was a perfectionist with my writing, especially my cursive. Thankfully, I’ve outgrown that as I was obsessive to the point of rewriting my class notes multiple times! However, to this day, I am a list maker. My husband teases me about all the lists I write.

♥ Today I feel blessed to have some of my childhood memories preserved through journals and photos. I also kept my own journals when I was a teenager and my kids love to read some of my zany entries. ♥ Do you have a keepsake book from your childhood? Have you made interesting discoveries about yourself from when you were little? I’d love to hear about it. ♥

Posted in Blessings Corner, My 52 Stories

November Blessings- Day 1 (Goodbye October, Hello November)

It’s been a while since I have shared a 52 Story here on my blog and with the start of new month, I thought I’d post a 52 story once a day. Today will be one of my holiday memories, since yesterday was Halloween.

Our Nightmare Before Christmas trunk-or-treat scene. We painted the backdrop.

Last night, my two sons and I participated in our ward’s trunk or treat (a ward is my church congregation and a trunk-or-treat is a version of trick-or-treating in a parking lot instead of a neighborhood). To our dismay, we were only one of two families who decorated their trunks, out of the twenty or so who participated. Decorated trunks are the best part! We even played the soundtrack to Nightmare Before Christmas, and some of the children told me this is a movie they love. Me too!

Last year’s Minecraft trunk-or-treat scene, which took us a week to create.

While I do miss having little ones in my home during the holidays, I have a lot of fun with my adult children and teenage son. One of my favorite family activities is decorating together. I love to decorate my home for holidays and seasons. And, when I decorate, I go “all out” as they say. For me, there is no such thing as too much decorating, just like there is no such things as too many books! It’s just the way I roll. I have the same mindset when I clean my house for planned company. I end up cleaning out my fridge and pantry, bathrooms are spotless, every nook and cranny dusted.


When I was a young girl, my favorite Halloweens were the years I got to visit my Aunt Coleen’s home in the little mining town of Copperton, Utah. I adored my aunt’s charming brick house and every Halloween she would host a family party where she cooked up chili or something like that. My cousins and my brothers and I would trick-or-treat together in a big group. We loved trick-or-treating in my aunt’s neighborhood as we would often get full size candy bars. I remember one year a neighbor of hers refused to give us candy because we weren’t local children. We tried to explain who we were, certain she knew our aunt, but it made no difference. I also remember, there was a back room in my aunt’s house where scary movies played all night long. I would avoid that room like the plague. I have never enjoyed watching scary movies. I am a romance-comedy girl. I love Hallmark movies, especially at this time of year when all they play is Christmas romance.

This picture has nothing to do with this post, but this is the first time we’ve seen roaming chickens in our backyard. They must belong to one of our neighbors.

♥ This morning I found these scripture verses to be a great comfort in light of all the recent tragic events around the world, which sadden our hearts:

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation. Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” (2 Nephi 22:2-3; compare to Isaiah 12:2-3)

Today’s blessing is knowing I am a child of God, as we all are, and that if I trust in Him and turn to His Son, Jesus Christ, as the source of my strength, I will know joy and peace in my life, even though there is evil at work. God is aware of each one of us and He does hear and answer our prayers, in His all-knowing time. ♥ I wish all my readers a delightful November. Thank you for stopping by and reading. It means a lot to me, and I try to read your blog posts as often as I can. Let’s continue to lift one another up. ♥

Posted in My 52 Stories

My Great Grandma Nellie (a 52 story)

I was blessed to know my Great Grandma Nellie for all of my childhood. She even met my firstborn before she passed away at the age of 97. I remember going to her house when I was a little girl. She had a laundry shoot and my brothers and I would toss our toys down it and then go to the basement to collect them from the hamper. She would have homemade oatmeal raisin cookies in her cookie jar and this wonderful collection of old fashion toys like Tinker toys and tiny plastic ballerina figures which I loved to line up in a row on her piano top.

This is the RMS Republic, which my grandma and her sister sailed from England to America. Photo credit goes to my Uncle Quin.

The other day I pulled out my baby book and rediscovered a letter from my Grandma Nellie, which she wrote to me the summer after I graduated high school. I was living in Colorado, on my own for the first time. She was sweet to think of me and send me mail.

Nellie’s cursive tells a special story to add to my 52 Stories. She starts out by explaining that it was the 24th of July, which is a pioneer holiday in the state of Utah, celebrated much like the 4th of July with parades and fireworks.

This was taken from this year’s Days of ’47 parade.

She was impressed by the police officers on their motorcycles at the start of the parade she saw that year. This tradition continues today. They make figure eights, obviously well practiced and timed.

At the bottom of the third page, she starts a new paragraph and here I quote her words:

“I had a special privilege given me this year. I was asked by one of the American Legion to give a 3-minute talk at the flag raising. I hope you won’t think I’m boasting. First I said I wouldn’t miss a flag raising ceremony if I could help it. I said I respect these men of the American Legion and what they stand for. I told them, ‘I am an adopted citizen of your country. I came from England in the year 1908. I was 11-years old. I entered an American school. In the history class I learned of Washington at Valley Forge, Lincoln at Gettysburg. I memorized that speech and still remember it. The Founding Fathers I loved. I took classes in citizenship, I took the tests, I passed, I graduated and received my diploma stating I was now a citizen of this great country. And now I’d like to repeat for you, President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.’

Then I did. As I left the stand by the flag pole I was greeted by Ila Webster and Vea Gean Hamiton, wives of American Legion men, and others and the men came forward with handshakes. The queen and her attendants embraced me. I was glad they had all enjoyed my talk. I timed it as I practiced at home. Just 3 minutes. As we were having dinner, or was it breakfast here, a lady who was over the play to be given at night, came and asked me if I would give Lincoln’s Gettysburg address again at 9:00pm that night before the play.

I was escorted up the steps, hand in hand, across the stage to the mike, introduced as the oldest citizen in Riverton. I started, than my mind went blank. What was I going to do? I just couldn’t let this lady down, nor could I disappoint the large audience before me, all quiet and waiting. I did the only thing I should- I said a silent prayer for help. Then I started again and went right through. My escort came to lead me down the steps- this time the steps down in front of the audience, but he felt they were too rickety as we left to go to the back of the stage. I couldn’t believe the applause I was getting.”

Grandma Nellie

My great grandma taught me to love this beautiful country I call my home. She cherished her life here in America and I am so glad I knew her here on earth. I’m sure she’s watching over me and my children. She really was a lovely grandmother and someday I’ll be reunited with her.

♥ We just celebrated the 24th of July here in Utah once again. I’ll be sharing that with you in an upcoming post. ♥ Did you know your great grandma or grandpa? I’d love to hear any special memories you have of a favorite grandparent. ♥

Posted in My 52 Stories

2017 Youth Theme & My First Story

I love the youth organizations in my church. Boys ages 12-18 participate in Young Men’s (or Aaronic Priesthood) as Deacons (ages 12&13), Teachers (14&15) and Priests (16&17). Girls ages 12-18 participate in Young Women’s as Beehives (12&13), Mia Maids (14&15) and Laurels (16&17). Every year, the youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have a theme to inspire and guide them in their activities, gospel lessons and scripture study. This year’s theme is: Ask of God, taken from the Bible verses in James 1:5-6. (Actually, the theme is the scripture verses itself, but “Ask of God” sums it up well.)

I remember when I was a Beehive in Young Women’s. My leader was my next door neighbor, Holly. She would let me gab her ear off as she lovingly ironed every article of clothing her family owned. I remember wishing she could be my mother. She was so sweet and fun and she would take the time to listen to me. She had two daughters and I would play with them both even though they were years younger than me. The youngest daughter liked to play house and she always insisted I play the mom. I remember wishing I could play another role because in real life I was a second mom to my younger siblings. I had to be very responsible as the oldest child in my family and so playing house mimicked the things I had to do every day at home. Honestly, I was like a real-life Cinderella, as the household chores and child care always fell to me. To this day I am a very thorough cleaner because it’s so ingrained from the way my mother taught me to clean, but I will not get down on my hands and knees to mop (Thank you Swifter!) as I had to when I was young (and I don’t iron).

In Young Women’s there is a value based, goal-setting program called, Personal Progress. I once wrote a little about this on my previous blog (Happy Hearts Homeschool). Well, for my last value project, I took my baby book and each of my four siblings’ baby books and updated them to the current year. My mother had left mine off at 5th grade, which meant each of my siblings was left off at even younger grades. My baby sister’s was barely even started (she is twelve years younger than me). I really tried to make my siblings’ baby books special, adding touches such as stickers and journaling. This was when I discovered my love for scrapbooking and memory books.

That is my first memory or story for the 52 Stories project, which I wrote about in my last post.

Back to this year’s youth theme, Marcus is my only child left in mutual, but all of my children have fully participated and benefited from Young Men’s and Young Women’s. Having just turned 14, Marcus will be ordained a Teacher this upcoming Sunday at church. He has really enjoyed passing the sacrament as a Deacon these past two years. I have loved watching him solemnly pass the sacrament bread and water in his suit and bow tie (he prefers bow ties to regular ties). He can still continue to pass the sacrament if there are not enough Deacons, but as a Teacher he will now help prepare and clean up the sacrament.

♥ Was there a youth program that you participated in as a teenager? Do you have a childhood memory about your next door neighbor? I’d love to hear about it! ♥