Monday, November 16, 2009

Six Times Four

A) Four places that I go to over and over: Wal-Mart, Distribution Center (work), church, Hobby Lobby
B) Four people who e-mail me: Richard, Janet, Mother, Jenny
C) Four of my favorite places to eat: Alamo Cafe, Mi Tierra, Olive Garden, Cha Chos (I do live in San Antonio and love Mexican food.)
D) Four places you would love to be: Utah, San Diego, Nauvoo, The British Isles,
E) Four people I'm almost sure will respond: I'm probably one of the last ones to respond.
F) Four of your favorite TV shows: We haven't joined the HD world. Some favorites from the past, Wheel of Fortune, The Price Is Right, Little House on the Prarie, Knight Rider

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

2 Steps Closer

Our living room is nearing completion. Last week we found a rug for the floor. Today I finished the curtains. Richard hung them this evening. All that is left is reupholstering the wing chair - that eyesore in the top picture.
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

In Utah - briefly

I got to spend some time with Austin (and his parents) this month. I flew out to stay with Austin, Mike and Julie while she had jaw surgery and to be there during her first week of healing. Austin is a little tiger.

Mom and Austin playing "Squish" (Pre-surgery)

Bubbles are okay.

But the bubble blower - now THAT is fascinating.

Helping Grammy crochet.

(Who knew yarn was so fascinating?)

Yogurt - good to the last spoonful - or smear.

Quiet time - missing Mom?

Ensure is pretty good and I can eat faster than Mom.


Thursday, September 10, 2009


Doesn't the chair on the right look good!?!
On Monday Janet and I found and purchased, because it was on sale for half price (and the only way we could afford it), fabric to cover the dining chair seats and the wing chair. We also found coordinating fabric to make curtains for the living room. Since Richard has worked so hard on redoing the living room I thought I should get started on the chair seats. What a difference! The fabric is reversible. Over Thanksgiving break Janet and I plan to recover the wing chair with the lighter side as the right side. I had to special order the curtain fabric because they didn't have enough on the bolt. Time for one more seat before I need to move on to other things.
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A Thing of Beauty

Alright. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But if you've suffered through the driest two-year period on record and spent hours hand watering in hopes plants would survive and not even considering their thriving, this is a VERY pretty picture. This was today's rainfall. When the picture was taken we were getting another few sprinkles of rain. More rain is predicated for Thursday and Friday.

Another delight for today. Today's high was only 88 - the first time the high has been below 90 since May 23rd. For most of July and August our highs were in the triple digits.

I might even enjoy this September!
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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Oh! By the Way...

On August 16th I was released from the Stake Primary Presidency. On August 23rd I was extended the calling of Ward Relief Society President and sustained on September 6th. For those who are thinking "haven't you done this before," the answer is yes. This will be the third time for me to serve in this capacity: first time in Shreveport when Julie was a baby, and here about 17 years ago.
I have spent much of the past quarter of a century working in the Primary organization - either in Scouting, Nursery or the Stake Primary presidency (with Scouting or Nursery responsibilities). This will be a change!

My third time as a den leader was probably the most rewarding, as was my third time as nursery leader. I'm hopeful the pattern will continue.

As notes of interest:
1 - In San Antonio I was called under Neil Jorgensen. He was released and Roger Davis was the new bishop and I served under him. This time I will serve under Rod Davis - Roger Davis' twin brother.
2 - There are now 3 Lawrences in the Ward Correlation -Janet as YW President, Richard as HP Group Leader, and yours truly.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Grandma Harmon!

Elizabeth Thomas Shaw Harmon, known to many as Bessie, was born today in 1892. I don't have a digital picture of Grandma handy but did want to recognize her birthday. This is a picture of the sugar bowl that was a wedding present to her parents. In this picture it is on a doily her mother, Elizabeth Thomas Shaw made. The sugar bowl is something she probably grew up using. Guess it wasn't in the large tub of dishes she was carrying between the dining room and kitchen and dropped. Her comment over the broken dishes, "Thank goodness they weren't washed!" Apparently doing dishes was not a favorite chore. For awhile she succeeded in avoiding doing the dishes by visiting the outhouse - until her Grandma caught on and made sure it didn't happen again.

I had always known Grandma Harmon as a very refined, gracious woman. That is until her mother came to visit us for several weeks in the fall of 1962. Grandma Shaw told us stories that have entertained generations. From trying to convince the Indians mud was a very effective soap for hand washing to fleeing from the dentist's office raising her hands high over her head, "Minnie (her older sister) saved my life! Minnie saved my life!" There were the baby buggy (occupied by infants) races - of course always sedately walked in front of the home. One lunch time when asked to fix a bite to eat for her mother and grandmother, Grandma did just that. When she called them in for lunch they found a bite of bread on each plate! At Grandma's viewing the night before her funeral one of her teenage friends told me the story of how Bessie did her best to embarrass this friend when she was the queen of a parade. One of my favorite stories is how as a newly-wed, her brother-in-law challenged her to an Indian wrestling match. Grandma demurred saying she hadn't brought any pants. Then she went home and practiced with her brothers. The next time this brother-in-law challenged her she accepted - and promptly flipped him. And who doesn't enjoy the story of her scheme to get her father to re-hitch the horses and head back into town to get her some chocolates - the only thing that would make her feel better.

Grandma certainly had a sense of humor and enjoyed life. She was also compassionate and charitable. When she was in her 50's she volunteered to take care of her younger brother's infant son when his wife died in childbirth. She took care of Larry for several years and made sure to send letters and pictures to his father (Byron) so he could be part of his son's growing up. Later when her parents needed more care than they could provide for themselves, Grandma brought them to her home and lovingly cared for them. Grandma served for many years in Relief Society and was a faithful temple attender. Towards the end of my freshman year at BYU I was a little concerned about going home for the summer and having to give up my "freedom" I had enjoyed while living away from home. I asked her advice and she gave good counsel.

Grandma was my escort when I received my endowments. When Grandma passed away in 1984 Mother chose to buy new temple clothing to bury her mother in and gave me Grandma's temple clothing. They washed up beautifully and I have enjoyed using them for many years. They were what she wore when she was my escort and in a sense Grandma came to the temple with me every time I went.

Happy Birthday Grandma! I look forward to being with you again.
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Thursday, June 4, 2009

And Today

A three man crew came this evening and cut up our tree. It took them about 2 and a half hours. They did clean up nicely and even blew all the leaves I had so carefully put out 2 weeks ago as mulch into the pile. They were going to haul the wood away but had underestimated the volume of the tree. So Richard and his trusty pick-up will get to do that.
This is what remains of our tree.
(Pictures aren't great since they finished up just as the daylight was finishing up.)
And this is where it was.
Now to decide what tree to plant and figure out the damage to the roof.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Lightning Strike?

This is what our front yard looked like in January.

This is what it looks like today.

A thunderstorm came thru San Antonio last night and apparently lightning struck our beautiful Chinese Pistache tree. Though it is hard to believe it didn't wake either Richard or me. Richard remembers the storm; I slept thru it.

A section of the tree landed on our roof appearing to have only damaged shingles with no structural damage

A close-up of the tree trunk.

The view from our front door.

There ARE stairs under there.

We will miss our beautiful tree, the shade it provided, and the gorgeous fall color - even if it didn't arrive until November. Maybe the deer aren't so bad. (They came through again last Saturday/Sunday. Enjoyed the geranium blossoms - had waited long enough for a nice selection - and our newly planted impatiens.)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

BIG Flowers - and a pretty basket

There are five blooms on the Hardy Hibiscus this morning - thought you might enjoy. Per Dennis' suggestion I've included one with a measuring tape so you can better visualize the size.

Also including a couple of pictures of a tropical hibiscus so you can compare.

And last but not least - my pretty hanging basket of petunias. The plant is much happier in its new pot - my oh my does it like water!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A BIG Flower

We woke up Thursday morning to this gorgeous flower on our back patio. It is a hardy hibiscus (as opposed to a tropical hibiscus). Other names for the plant are swamp mallow, rose mallow and dinner-plate hibiscus. The blossoms only last a day but it is a prolific bloomer and there are lots of buds on the plant. It's a bit hard to tell in this picture but the blossom is about 8" in diameter. The petals have the texture of crepe paper. In past years we have had blossoms that approach 12 inches. In looking up the plant to make sure I had the correct name I learned that it really is a wet-lands/marsh plant. Therefore it wants LOTS more water than I have been giving it. We did transplant it to a bigger pot this year so maybe I can better keep up with it's water requirements.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Doesn't This Look Good?

Our garden is coming along. While the regular tomatoes are still getting bigger our cherry tomato plant alread has some ripe tomatoes. I took a picture and then picked. We've already enjoyed some beans. The sugar snap peas were good. We enjoyed some and froze the rest for stir fry later this year.

We've had a small picking of green beans. Blossoms promise more.
Last Monday for FHE we planted another row of green beans where the peas were. In this picture you can see the first row behind the bell pepper.

And the bell pepper plants now have baby peppers on them. This one looks a lot bigger than it really is.

Along with beans we planted cucumbers around empty tomato cages and they are already coming up. If you look closly you can see the dirt lifted in the background where we should see bean seedlings in a day or so. We also planted zuchinni squash and cantalope. The zuchinni is also making an appearance.
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Handful of Blossoms

In spite of the warm temperatures my sweet peas produce sporadic blossoms. This is encouraging. I'll try planting earlier next season.

My geraniums are recovering. Perhaps it is about time for the deer to come around again?

This determined little snapdragon is a gift from nature - no human put it there. It is growing within inches of the curb in the front yard and causes many walkers to pause and appreciate.
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Best Hiding Place

When I came downstairs Mother's Day morning there was this beautiful bouquet of flowers and a card for me on the table. They were from Richard. Knowing he hadn't gone to the store that morning I asked where he had hidden them. With a little grin on his face he replied, "The laundry room." I'm enjoying the flowers - and the perfect Saturday afternoon hiding place.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Oh Dear, Not So Dear Deer

The pot of geraniums I planted in March have, over the last two months really filled in and bloomed beautifully and profusely. The pot is a most welcome spot of color. Saturday morning the color was gone. Marauders had removed the geranium flowers and the petunia and Gerber Daisy flowers near the front door. If you look carefully at the picture taken a couple of days later you will see 13 flower stems with no flowers. As you can see a new flush of bloom is on the way.I suspected deer and found the hoof prints to back up my suspicions. It's hard to tell in the photo but within the square formed by the sticks is a hoof print.
I am grateful they only enjoyed the blossoms and not the plants - dear, dear, deer.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Our Pioneer Ancestry: Elizabeth Holbrook Shaw

My intent was to post a short sketch of Elizabeth H. Shaw's life along with her picture. She led such a note-worthy and intriguing life it was had to leave anything out. It is a story well-worth reading.

Elizabeth Holbrook Shaw is a fascinating and remarkable woman. She was born at Arnold, Nottingham, England July 8, 1845 to John and Mary Ann Jeffery Holbrook. Her father died when she was three months old. She was the youngest of 5 children. (There is some discrepancy as to the number but her autobiography says there were five children twelve and under.) The family joined the church when she was nine.

She was six or seven when she began working to help the family finances. She worked at two bleach factories (they bleached woman’s stockings) walking a mile each way to the first and then four miles each way to the second because it paid better. Her next job was at a silk and lace factory. Because of her dependability she was soon given a position at the machines. One day her arm got caught in the machine’s cogs. Before the equipment could be stopped her arm was almost cut off. It took 21 weeks for it to heal enough for her to go back to work. She worked here until she was 16.

Two brothers immigrated to Brooklyn, New York in 1858. They were able to send enough money to bring the rest of the family to Brooklyn. They sailed on the “Benjamin Franklin” arriving in July 1861. Elizabeth now 16 found work at a tobacco factory. The next spring they joined William B. Preston’s wagon company arriving October 1, 1865. Ever industrious, she found a job stripping sugar cane in exchange for molasses. In November she went with a family to Providence in Cache Valley where she worked for her board. “Being a green English girl … they traded me out of all my good clothes as I always had plenty. My mother was a very proud woman and always kept us well dressed, our stomach could go short if need be but never our backs.”

On March 26, 1865 she married Henry Albert Shaw at Paradise where Henry taught school. They were among the first settlers in Paradise. There they built a log house and planted wheat. Their plan was to go to the Endowment House in SLC after the harvest to be sealed. They traveled by ox team. They stayed in the tithing yard where Henry found Emma Rogers, now a widow, whom he had known in England. Henry asked Elizabeth’s consent to marry Emma as a second wife the next day, October 20, 1865 after they were sealed. Prior to this Elizabeth and Emma hadn’t met. The enlarged family returned to Paradise but were caught in an early snow storm and had to walk from Mantua to Paradise about 15 miles. Elizabeth was 2 months away from having her first baby.

The two wives lived in harmony in a shared home, eating “at the same table”. When Elizabeth and Emma had 13 children between them, they “insisted in dividing the house between us each having five rooms.” Henry built a home with each wife having her own kitchen, bedroom, sitting room and pantry with a large stairway dividing downstairs and four large bedrooms upstairs.
Elizabeth took care of the children with help from a hired girl while Henry and Emma taught school. In 1872 when the Paradise Co-op was organized in a room in their home, Emma became the clerk and manager.

Henry died January 26, 1884 three months before their youngest child was born. Elizabeth homesteaded 160 acres in the Avon area raising cows and selling the butter. She would travel to Paradise each Sunday morning to attend church and return to the homestead in time for the evening milking. When the land was legally hers, she sold it and moved back to Paradise. She went to SLC for a course in nursing and obstetrics in 1886 or 7. She also had learned to make powders for nerves, teething and cancer. She was a sought after “doctor” for 30 years. Her picture hangs in the Doctors Room in the DUP headquarters museum.

When she was 51 one of Emma’s daughters had been in poor health and was concerned about surviving the delivery. She asked Elizabeth to take care of her baby if she died. The baby was a week old when the mother died. Elizabeth took care of the baby boy until he died at 7 months.

When Emma became an invalid Elizabeth cared for her for many years until her death in 1904.

In 1910, when she was 65, her youngest son’s wife left him and asked Elizabeth to take care of their two children, a 4-year-old girl and an 18-month boy. She raised the children to maturity.

She was a talented seamstress, the first milliner and dressmaker in Paradise. She made flour sacks for the mill and sold overalls. She did lovely embroidery and crochet. She made many hand-pieced quilts, doing “her stint” – one hand-pieced quilt block – every day irregardless of what else was going on in her life.

Elizabeth was a member of the Paradise Relief Society Presidency for 25 years. As there was no undertaker in town she prepared many bodies for burial. As president of the Sewing in Relief Society for 30 years she tended to the temple clothes and made “them for the living and the dead.” She also served in the primary organization and was active in community affairs.

From her autobiography: “I always despised poverty and would do anything to earn a dollar. My husband was the first school teacher at Paradise and continued to teach for about 15 years then his health began to fail and he discontinued teaching. He was also pioneer postmaster being P. M. from 1871 to his death in 1884. We are and always have been a happy family. My husband’s wife Emma died fifteen years ago but we still hold our family reunions and every member of my husband’s children are as dear to me as my own and they honor me and never forget my birthday no more than my own.”

She was always well-groomed and dressed. According to her granddaughter she “had sparkling black eyes, a ready smile and a quick answer.”

She was very ill the last four months of her life, living with her daughter, Elizabeth Bahen. She passed away December 30, 1928. She is buried in the Paradise Cemetery.

Life History written by Ruby Williams Nielsen, a granddaughter
Life History written by herself, probably in 1916 when she was 71. All quotes, except the last, are from her autobiography.
Life Sketch by Carma Danielson
Obituary for Mrs. Elizabeth H. Shaw
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A Gem of a Find

My interest in exploring the internet for information on my ancestors lead to this find. It is the St. Issell church in Haroldston St. Issells, Pemborkeshire, Wales.

This is where David Thomas probably married Elizabeth Nash on 30 September 1828.
David and Elizabeth Thomas are my 3 great-grandparents.

photographed by Rosemary Bevan