Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Camp Muir to the Operating Room

Yesterday Jack and Daniel were invited to join Jeff, Joe and Dave on a mountain climbing expedition. Camp Muir is the base camp before groups make the final assent to the top of Mr. Rainier. You will probably never catch me on such a grueling hike but I guess the guys think it is fun.On the way up Daniel, who insisted on wearing canvas shoes and shorts, dropped one of his ski poles down a steep hill and had to go down to get it. Apparently it is a pretty tough climb back up.The views from the camp are spectacular!On the way back down there are places that you can sit and slide making it quite a bit faster than the uphill hike. Jack, unfortunately, got sliding so fast that he twisted his knee tearing his meniscus. So sometime next week he will be getting surgery to repair his knee. Yikes!! Way to make make the weekend last.

After a good time Daniel was ready for a good long rest.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Stake Enrichment

I was asked to do a table display at our stake enrichment a couple of weeks ago. My table theme was how family traditions help to deepen our family roots. I divided it up in four categories.

Play Together
Work and Serve Together:Celebrate Together:Worship Together:I had a good time putting together this display. Our family is so steeped in traditions and we enjoy being together so much, it was fun sharing.

Life is Best in Your Own Backyard.

I Love Summer.
I think that our backyard is a nature preserve now. The squirrels some running when I call them. They like peanuts. The goldfinches like having pool parties in our fountain, a possum likes to walk along the fence at 10:00 every night, and now we even have a wild cottontail bunny that keeps showing up in the yard. You would think that we lived in the country instead of a big city.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Yesterday my friend, Ruth, had an extra ticket to the Mariners game. Knowing that I am a big baseball fan she called me to see if I wanted to go. I love the Mariners but also the prospect of spending the evening laughing it up with Ruth sounded like lots of fun!

We have some friends that are season ticket holders and have AMAZING seats. They are members of the Diamond Club and we sat in their box seats. Our seats were located about 3 or 4 rows behind the Mariners dugout. Ruth says that no matter how good her seats are or how empty a movie theater is the tallest person with the biggest head will always sit right in front of her. This is her view.

So we moved down a couple of seats and .......This is her view.No in all seriousness we had great seats with a terrific view. Once we spent our life savings on popcorn and hot dogs we settled in for great baseball.
This is Ruth after spending almost $10 on a small drink and about 2 cups of popcorn. Boo Hoo! Or maybe she just didn't want me to take her picture. Sitting behind us was this couple on a date, we decided that he was certain to be the most boring date in the entire world. I think he was a lawyer or something and spent the game time talking about this client or that and estate planning. The poor girl with him, I'm sure, was just hoping the game would end soon. He caught us taking his picture. Opps. (this is totally the BEST picture of me ever taken :( )Back in the old Kingdome days my kids used to love going way up into the nosebleed section and try to get onto the "diamond vision" scoreboard. This is the best we could do last night. Luckily Adrian Beltre hit a double, or maybe they were just talking about my Adrian.
We are also used to sitting up where the crowds are a little louder, and sometimes a little more drunk. In our usual seats you may here fans yelling at the players "You Suck" or maybe "Kill the Ump" but not in the "box" seats. We heard such things as "that was a very disappointing play". Who yells that!! We were so in the nerd section.I am so grateful to have such good friends that I can laugh with and play with!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mother's Day

Last week on Mother's Day I spoke in church. Several people have asked for copies of my talk, so I decided to post it here with a few photos added.

A baby asked God

A baby asked God, "They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow, but how am I going to live there being so small and helpless?"

"Your angel will be waiting for you and will take care of you."

The child further inquired, "But tell me, here in heaven I don'
t have to do anything but sing and smile to be happy."

The Lord said, "Your angel will sing for you and will also smile for you. And you will feel your angel'
s love and be very happy."

Again the child asked, "And how am I going to be able to understand when people talk to me if I don'
t know the language?"

The Lord said, "Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words you will ever hear, and with much patience and care, your angel will teach you how to speak."

"And what am I going to do when I want to talk to you?"

God said, "Your angel will place your hands together and will teach you how to pray."

"Who will protect me?"

The Lord said, "Your angel will defend you even if it means risking her life."

"But I will always be sad because I will not see you anymore."

God said, "Your angel will always talk to you about Me and will teach you the way to come back to Me, even though I will always be next to you."

At that moment there was much peace in Heaven, but voices from Earth could be heard and the child hurriedly asked, "Lord, if I am to leave now, please tell me my angel'
s name."

"You will simply call her, '

Abraham Lincoln said: "All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother."

The First Presidency of the Church wrote in 1935: “Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels.”

I cite a Jewish proverb: “God could not be everywhere, and so He gave us mothers.”

Are all mothers perfect? Of course not. But motherhood is the holiest service, and as the First Presidency said, those who honor its holy calling are placed next to the angels.

Today is a day to give special honor to mothers. It is a day to give hope, encouragement and inspiration to mothers and to all women, and it is a day to inspire others to honor, encourage and help mothers.

Mothers in the Scriptures

The scriptures provide examples of not only righteous mothers, but also of the sacrifices mothers had to make and the heartache they experienced.


When God first placed a woman in the Garden of Eden, he asked Adam what she should be called. Adam replied Eve, for she is the mother of all living. Adam and Eve were instructed by the Lord and by angels whom he sent. They were commanded to multiply and replenish the earth. We can be assured they were righteous parents and taught their children God’s commandments and the fullness of the gospel. Imagine the heartache and despair Mother Eve must have felt when she learned that her son Abel had not only been murdered, but he had been murdered by another son, Cain.

Mother of Moses

Turning to the Book of Exodus, we learn of a righteous Israelite mother. She bore a son at a time when the wicked pharaoh of Egypt had ordered all the boy babies of the children of Israel to be drowned in the Nile River. She successfully hid her baby for three months until he was too big to hide any longer. Desperate, she devised a plan to build a basket of bulrushes, put the baby in it and place it at the edge of the river. She sent her daughter Miriam to watch over the baby from afar. The scriptures tell us that Pharaoh’s daughter found the child and although she knew it was a Hebrew child she had compassion on him. Miriam offered to call a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby and thus the infant’s own mother was called to care for him. Because of the wisdom of a mother, one of the greatest of the Lord’s prophets, even Moses, was spared and in time was able to deliver the children of Israel from bondage.

2000 stripling warriors

One of the greatest examples of influence of righteous mothers is from the Book Helaman in the Book of Mormon. You know the story. The people of Ammon were Lamanites who had been converted to the gospel. Because of their great wickedness before their conversion, they made a covenant with God that they would never again shed the blood of another person, even if it meant giving up their own lives. When the nation and the liberty of the people were in grave danger 2000 of their young sons volunteered to go to war under the leadership of Helaman to defend their country, their families, and their liberty. In an epistle to Captain Moroni, Helaman wrote:

“And now I say unto you, my beloved brother Moroni, that never had I seen so great courage, nay, not amongst all the Nephites.

For as I had ever called them my sons (for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me: Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay our brethren if they would let us alone; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus.

Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.

And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.”

After the great battle, Helaman recounted:

“And as the remainder of our army were about to give way before the Lamanites, behold, those two thousand and sixty were firm and undaunted.

Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them.”

This account not only is a great example to the youth of courage, faith and valor, but it is also a great example to every mother of the power of mothers teaching their children with faith and testimony. What a blessing it would be in the world if every young man or woman could say with conviction, “We do not doubt, our mothers knew it.”

Grandma Robison

In my own life I have witnessed the great attributes of mothers. I have but a few memories of my dear sweet grandmother, Nellie Hinckley Robison. She passed away at the age of 91, when I was only four-years old. She lived in an apartment on the back of my uncle’s home. Every morning with me in tow, my mother would go there and cook breakfast for her. I remember that I would ask her for a piece of the bacon my mother had put on her plate. Mom would gently scold me telling me that was grandma’s bacon. Then grandma would share it with me. When I was much older I learned more about the example and heritage she left her family. She was born in 1870 in Cove Fort, a fort Brigham Young had sent her father to build in central Utah. As a child she became crippled and had to walk with the aid of a crutch her entire life. Although her body was weak, she had an iron will. She gave birth to eight children and grieved as three of them died before reaching adulthood. She supported my grandfather in a move to the scorching desert of Southern Nevada. They cleared land to farm and 100 years ago this spring they planted their first crop. It was nearly time for a successful first harvest when a great flash flood inundated the valley and destroyed their crop and nearly all they had. Their livestock died in the desert heat, and yet they persevered. Grandma never let physical handicaps or challenges stop her. Her surviving children grew up strong in the gospel and with the sure knowledge of her strength and her willingness to serve the Lord. I believe they could all say “We do not doubt, our mother knew it.”

My Mother

My own mother, Josephine Robison Walsh, celebrated her 93rd birthday two weeks ago. She is my grandmother’s last remaining child. I will mention but two of her great attributes of motherhood: first her sense of humor. Her cousin, President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “In all of living have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.” Mom truly lives with that philosophy. The very fact that she fell in love and married my father proves that she had a sense of humor.

My parents were born in the same community and lived the first few years of their lives on neighboring farms in Logandale, Nevada. My father’s family moved when he was a six or seven and they did not see each other again for many years. My father joined the navy and while stationed at Pearl Harbor joined the church.

In his life history my father tells the story of how they became reacquainted when he was on shore leave in California: “On Sunday morning Oct. 3, 1937, my navy buddy Monty and I walked into Sunday school at the Long Beach Ward and sat down about halfway back in the chapel. Shortly two young women walked in and sat down in the seats directly in front of us. We hadn’t been able to get a look at their faces, but being young sailors, and perhaps a bit brassy, we were determined to make them look back at us, so we could wee what they looked like. Monty looked at me as though to say, you’re the mouthy one. Say something dumb and startling.” I shrugged and I guess he felt he should prod my creativity, so he asked in a loud whisper, “and what are we going to do after church today?” Then in one of my bursts of spontaneous idiocy, I replied, “Oh get drunk as usual, I guess.” Both of those pretty heads instantly swiveled around to see what sort of cretins were sitting behind them. Their faces were vaguely familiar to me but it didn’t really ring a bell in my memory. Later when we went to Sunday School Class, the teacher started introducing visitors. He looked at the elder of the two girls who had been sitting in front of us and said, “Rose, we’ll start with you. You haven’t been here for several months. How about introducing yourself and your sister” Rose announced. I am Rose Robison of Logandale, Nevada and this is my sister Josephine.” One could have knocked me over with a feather. The Robison girls—our nearest neighbors when I was a small boy.”

After an introduction like that, Mom had to have a sense of humor. Still at 93 she laughs and jokes. She lives the principle that life is to be enjoyed, not just endured and she has passed it on to her children.

The other great attribute of motherhood that I would like to mention is service. Growing up there was an elderly woman, Mrs. Lyman, whom my mother would visit every week or so. Some of my earliest memories was my mother taking me along on her visits to Mrs. Lyman. As soon as I was old enough to push a lawn mower, that it what I would be doing when Mom made those visits. I never questioned why we visited Mrs. Lyman or why I always mowed her lawn. That was just the way it was. It was years before I realized that considering some of the challenges that my own family was facing, that my mother must have been making quite the sacrifice to so diligently visit and help this elderly lady. I’m quite sure that Mom wasn’t her visiting teacher, she was simply doing what she knew she should do.

I also never questioned why we nearly always had other children living in our home. I must have been four or five when Craig, a little boy a year or two older than me lived with us. There was Della. She was the daughter of one of my father’s distant relatives. Here parents were apparently going through a difficult time and our home provided a more stable environment. LouIra was a young Indian girl that lived with us during the time that my parents were called to serve a stake mission in the branch at the Moapa Indian Reservation. When my brother, who is 13 years older than I am, was a missionary in Mexico there was a family in a ward that he served in that had some type of problem. Teresa, their teenage daughter lived with us for two school years. When I was in high school one of my cousins who was a single mother was having a hard time raising her teenage son. Danny was soon living with us. Until I became a parent, I never realized the sacrifice that my parents and especially my mother made by raising other children in their home. Growing up I simply thought it was what everyone would do.

Judy’s Mom

My mother-in-law, Jennie VanderHoeven, is another great example of motherhood. A great part of her legacy is the strong family bonds she forged. As Judy’s siblings married and moved back to this area, Mom’s influence created the tradition that Saturday afternoons and evenings were the time for the entire family to get together. Though she has passed on, her children, grandchildren and now great grandchildren still get together nearly every Saturday evening—mostly recently last evening—to visit, laugh–and invariably eat—and to keep our family bonds strong over the generations.


The most important mother in my life is the mother of my children, my eternal sweetheart, Judy. I am continually amazed that the Lord has blessed me with such a amazing wife. She is an example of many wonderful attributes of motherhood. One that I will mention now is how she a friend to our children. When the kids have problems or concerns they know that she will listen and that she is always there for them. Our family may be a little different. When our children have headed out to college and are on their own, if they have a question about cooking they call me. But with most of life’s trials it is Mom that they call. How often do teenagers consider their mother to be one of their best friends? But in our family Judy had cultivated a relationship of trust, friendship and respect. She is truly among their best friends and they are her best friends.

Finally my sweetheart is also a peacemaker. She hates contention and strives to create peace in our family and in all of our relationships. Friday night we were out on an exciting date enjoying the 99 cent menu at Wendy’s. As we observed the interaction between other couples and families I told Judy that I was thankful we did not fight with each other and that I could not remember the last time either one of us raised our voice to the other one. She simply replied that she thought we were both to lazy to fight. It takes a lot less energy to get along with each other, she said. I’m not quite sure that it is laziness, but what ever it is, I’m thankful that Judy is a peacemaker and that she is setting an example for our children to be peacemakers as well.

Motherhood: the Holiest Service

As I said before, are mothers perfect? Of course not. None of the mothers that I just talked about are perfect. But motherhood is the holiest of callings and those who honor that calling are placed next to the angels. God has blessed women with the seeds of something special that is more than simply biological. Just as my mother served unselfishly mothering children she did not bare as well as her own children, women can serve as mothers to adopted children, foster children, nieces, nephews, children in the church and in the community. The need for mothers is great. Carol, a wonderful lady who I worked with years ago, one day told me what her little grandson who was adopted said to her: “Most babies come from their mommy’s tummies, but I came from my mommy’s heart.” It is my hope that all babies, whether or not they come from their mothers’ tummies, will come from their mothers’ hearts.

I pray that mothers of all types will be ever mindful of the holy calling that the Lord has given them and that each of us will always honor, love and support those angels we call Mom.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Laura!!

Laura's first birthday
Wow the last fourteen years have just flown by! My youngest, Laura, is turning 14 today. Laura is such a fun girl, she loves to dance and hang out with her friends and cousins. She is growing up to be such a beautiful young woman. Happy Birthday Laura, We love you!!!
Happy Birthday to Sarah too. Her birthday is next Saturday.