Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

While looking for Hector the Halloween Cat, I found all these pumpkins made YEARS ago by my sons. I thought you'd all enjoy seeing how artistic they all were . . . are.

These are Mike's.

This one is from Doug, nicely signed on the back.

And notice the great animation on this one from Steve: see how the eyes move?

Weren't we amazing in our fine technologically advanced artwork?

I couldn't find David's pumpkin, but he did make this nice Mayflower. See his name in the waves?

What is halloween without bats and ghosts?

Mike did the bat.

Doug drew the complicated scene with ghosts and mummies.

The mom and baby ghost are unsigned.
Anyone claim them?

Happy Halloween!

Halloween Cat

"Hector the Halloween Cat" is a story I remember really well from my childhood. Does anyone else remember Hector? We once had one my mom had made with lots of glitter all over the mask.

After going back and re-reading the actual story this week, I realized that I remember the CAT fondly, but not the story.

Here is the story which officially accompanies the cat: see what your think.

Did you notice the tiny little drawing and the set of directions at the bottom of the story card? Hector is actually made out of four pieces of black posterboard (or, better, the newer black foamcore board if you can cut it) threaded onto a long (hotdog-shaped) balloon.

One sheet of posterboard is sufficient to make one Hector, with one piece of colored paper for the mask. Below are the four shapes you need to make: be sure and blow up your balloon and measure the diameter BEFORE you cut out the holes!

Here is a 50 year old schematic of how to assemble the cat.

Note that you actually have two options with the 'belly' piece. You can have the belly hang down or twist it upward so that Hector is arching his back.

As to the story, I think there is a play on the idea of being a 'scaredy cat' : is Hector fearsome or fearful? But I now rather dislike the scary part of Halloween and am not sure I'd want to teach little kids HOW to be more scary.

So maybe a better use of Hector would be to explain why people are wearing masks and help them be more comfortable with masks by taking off the scary mask to find the friendly cat beneath.

Hector also makes a great table centerpiece. Add a bowl of "catfood" - peanuts, candy corn, or M&Ms. You can also make really cute, individual Hectors by using balloon animal balloons: cut out much smaller body pieces - maybe just 4" x 8" - and only blow up the balloon a short way, leaving the tail long, maybe tying a ribbon on the tail.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Holy Days

Humor me and read this summary of the Jewish Holydays which are today and tomorrow (October 20 and 21 this year): this came in an email today: [explanatory comments in brackets are mine]

"Shemini Atzeret & Simchat Torah in a Nutshell

Immediately following the seven-day festival of Sukkot [Feast of Tabernacles, above] comes the two-day festival of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah.

Shemini Atzeret means "the eighth [day] of retention"; the chassidic masters explain that the primary purpose of the festival is to retain and "conceive" the spiritual revelations and powers that we are granted during the festivals of the month of Tishrei [that means the High Holy Days, including Yom Kippur: for Mormons it would include Oct General Conf], so that we could subsequently apply them to our lives throughout the year.

The second day of Shemini Atzeret is called Simchat Torah (Rejoicing of the Torah") [or JOY in the Scriptures]. On this day we conclude, and begin anew, the annual Torah reading cycle. The event is marked with great rejoicing, especially during the procession, in which we march, sing and dance with the Torah scrolls around the reading table in the synagogue.

"On Simchat Torah," goes the chassidic saying, "we rejoice in the Torah, and the Torah rejoices in us; the Torah, too, wants to dance, so we become "the Torah's dancing feet."

Other festival observances include the special prayer for rain included in the musaf prayer of Shemini Atzeret, and the custom that all are called up to the Torah on Simchat Torah."

So, today I received another email from LeGrand Baker, a friend of Steve, Miriam, and Mike, and it included this comment about JOY and ATONEMENT, the themes of these Jewish Holydays:

"David Ries : Thoughts on the Atonement

Today I had a remarkable spiritual experience as I got ready for church.
I was thinking about the Primary song "If the Savior Stood Beside Me." I'm learning it to accompany the Primary program next Sunday. So I knew the music before I knew the lyrics. I was learning the lyrics. The 3rd verse says:
"He is always near me, though I do not see Him there
And because He loves me dearly, I am in His watchful care…"
I loved the line "He loves me dearly."

I was thinking about the Atonement. How His gift to us was the greatest gift, and how He took upon himself all our sin and pain and loneliness and inadequacies. To know all those things is ultimately intimate. No one in this life could know us so well, because they could not know all the pain of our lives as He did. Hence, no one on this earth could love us so well. He truly must "love us dearly," both because of how He knows us, and what He did for us.
I thought of His ultimate pain in taking all that upon Him. And then I thought, how nice it would be if, as recompense for that, He could experience all our joys and happiness, all our accomplishments and rewards. So I said a simple prayer and asked Heavenly Father to bless His Son, that He would know all our joys and accomplishments and loves.

Suddenly, I felt the Spirit very strongly. I felt an acknowledgment of that prayer. I felt as though this is the greatest wish I could have for the Savior, that He could know all the positives, as well as all the negatives. I felt blessed that I had wished that for my Redeemer. I felt these words in my heart: "Blessed art thou, for thou hast wished the greatest gift for My Beloved Son."

And then I felt that it was so. That our Redeemer, in addition to knowing all our pain, was also given to know all our joys. And that that is his great reward for performing that ultimate act. He is privileged to know all our joys and all our loves. That is the reward.
And of course, He knows us all the more, and loves us all the more, for knowing the good and the evil. As part of this experience, I felt His love. His dear love. I felt it strongly and warmly and richly.
There can be no greater witness of His existence, and His atonement, than to feel His Love."

I sent this response: "I think Christ's joy in us is doctrinal, or at least scriptural.
"This is my work and my GLORY"

"Blessed are you because of your faith; and now behold, MY JOY is full. and when he said these things, he wept. . . " 3 Nephi 17: 20-21

"How great is his joy in the soul that repenteth . . . And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!

16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me! D&C18:13, 15-16

23 And now, my brethren, I desire that ye shall plant this word in your hearts, and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith. And behold, it will become a tree, springing up in you unto everlasting life. And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son. Alma 33:32"

Then, after a bike ride with Randy, I went upstairs to prepare my Institute lesson for tomorrow based on Ch 5 of Talmage's "Jesus the Christ." Wanting to look up a scripture reference, I realized my bible was still downstairs, so I picked up a NEW bible I bought just last week [see photo above]. I really just wanted the beautiful brown leather journal [right] that was sold as a set with the bible and since together they were only $6, it was worth it. So I opened the new soft red leather bible [left] and soon realized it was a new translation I had never read before: the Holman Christian Standard Bible. And I really like it.

I was reading about Ezra in Nehemiah 8-9 where he reads the scriptures aloud to the people returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonian Captivity. Then the next verses/chapter tell how they celebrated Rosh Ha Shanah (this day is holy to the LORD v. 1-12), Feast of Tabernacles (v 13-18 : and there was tremendous JOY), and Yom Kippur (confession and worship) as they read from the book of the law. I enjoyed the translation so much I decided to re-read the whole OT this year : then the next verse was: 9:38 'in view of this we are making a binding agreement in writing on a sealed document. . . ."

I did not do any of this consciously on purpose because of the Holy Days. But still, there it is.
The LORD is good to me and so I thank the LORD for giving me the things I need...
Love Mom/R

Post Script: this psalm of David is sung every day during these High Holy Days. I think it is an excellent choice.

This is a Jewish translation: G-d is used in place of the sacred name of God.

Tehilim (Psalms)- Chapter 27
1. Of David. G-d is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? G-d is the stronghold of my life; from whom shall I be frightened?
2. When evildoers draw near to me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and my enemies against me -- they stumbled and fell.
3. If a camp encamps against me, my heart shall not fear; if a war should rise up against me, in this I trust.
4. One [thing] I ask of G-d, that I seek: that I may dwell in the house of G-d all the days of my life, to see the pleasantness of G-d and to visit His Temple every morning.
5. That He will hide me in His tabernacle on the day of calamity; He will conceal me in the secrecy of His tent; He will lift me up on a rock.
6. And now, my head will be raised over my enemies around me, and I will sacrifice in His tent sacrifices with joyous song; I will sing and chant praise to G-d.
7. Hearken, O G-d, to my voice [which] I call out, and be gracious to me and answer me.

8. On Your behalf, my heart says, "Seek My presence." Your presence, O G-d, I will seek.

9. Do not hide Your presence from me; do not turn Your servant away with anger. You were my help; do not forsake me and do not abandon me, O G-d of my salvation.

10. For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but G-d gathers me in.

11. Instruct me, O G-d, in Your way, and lead me in the straight path because of those who lie in wait for me.

12. Do not deliver me to the desires of my adversaries, for false witnesses and speakers of evil have risen against me.

13. Had I not believed in seeing G-d's goodness in the land of the living!14. Hope for G-d, be strong and He will give your heart courage, and hope for G-d.

Translation adapted from the Judaica Press edition of the Tanach by Rabbi A.J. Rosenberg

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tag! You're It!

Susan tagged me. So here is the 4th picture from the 4th file in "My Pictures." That was 2002. This is Aidan - my only grandchild at the time - at his OTHER grandparents' home in Colorado Springs. Mike and Miriam were living there after Mike lost his job when the bubble burst. My Dad and I had driven there to visit them after dropping someone off at BYU and the Williams were most gracious. I love this photo because of the good lighting: that is the ONE most important thing I have learned about photography from Lesli. Those who knew him when he was young will recognize Mike's hair and cleft chin. Shortly after this photo, Dad and I drove off east to see the church sites in Missouri and Iowa on our way to Ohio and Mike and his family flew west to Auckland, New Zealand for a new adventure, a new job, a new school (U of Auckland), and a whole slew of wonderful new friends.

I'll tag Heather, Karen, Doug or Lesli, and Steve.
Sorry: I still don't know how to imbed a link . . .

Friday, October 10, 2008

Autumn Arrives . . . Autumn Leaves

Autumn is here in all its glory! I spent much of the day outside digging up perenials, separating and replanting them. Would anyone like some free Japanese Iris? I have at least 100 extra tall white ones.

Fall is a great time to go out collecting leaves with your kids. For anyone living here in Lorain Co., pack a lunch and come on over to Beavercreek Reservation where there is a nice playground and Safetytown for the kids to ride their bikes around, all surrounded by glorious color. With two craft projects in mind, fill the now-empty lunch sack with lots of colorful leaves. Look for different shapes and sizes as well as colors. Talk about these things with your preschoolers while you walk and look and collect.

It took me a while to figure out what Mom was describing in that last sentence, cutting the corner and folding up the edges. Then I realized she's giving directions for making a paper frame around the leaf rubbings. These leaf rubbings are also fun to do with colored paper or with the leaves overlapping. Note that you need those old crayons that have been unwrapped by little fingers so that you can rub their sides over the leaves.

A second craft with the leaves is actually my favorite, but you'll need more supplies and adult help. You can make autumn place mats for your dinner table with those beautiful leaves by ironing them between layers of waxpaper.

Supplies needed: leaves, wax paper, scissors (ones that cut a decorative edge are great), old newspapers, cloth rag, iron and ironing board.

Set up the ironing board, plug in the iron and heat to a medium setting, no steam. Lay several layers of newspaper on the ironing board: this will absorb some of the hot wax from the wax paper. Next lay down a piece of wax paper, about 10 x 15 inches. Place a selection of leaves attractively all over the wax paper, leaving at least one inch of waxpaper uncovered at all edges. Top with another piece of waxpaper, then a sheet of newspaper.

Finally, cover the newspaper with an old cloth rag : this is to protect your iron from getting messed up by the wax or the newspaper ink. Set your iron on top and s-l-o-w-l-y heat the entire area of the waxpaper. Take your time and try to not move the whole stack around. After a while, peek under the newspaper: the two pieces of waxpaper should fuse together, locking the leaves in place. Carefully remove the cloth and newspaper and move the warm placemat to a table to cool: you'll probably want to cover the table with newspaper as well to protect it from wax. Make a placemat for each family member. After they are cool, use the decorative scissors to cut a nice edge.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Dress Ups

That's what I called costumes: "dress-ups." Whatever you call them, I loved to dress up and pretend. Mom helped that happen, and it couldn't have been convenient for her.

Here's my earliest photo of me in costume, prefiguring Johnny Depp et al. This is my third or fourth (probably) birthday party. Mom had bandanas for everyone with one large earring attached to it : so much easier than piercing little kids' ears! My brothers are behind me to the left (Doug in the striped shirt; Steve next to him on the middle row) and to my left was my bestest friend in the world, Ann Kenney. We went to see Disney's Sleeping Beauty together TWICE : once when it first came out in the 50's and again when it was rereleased our senior year of high school. (I bought the paperdolls both times, too, and am sorely tempted to buy the new two DVD version: how well those marketing people know us!) Note that I am holding the treasure.

My brother Steve was my favorite playmate for years. He was very creative and inventive and tolerant of a younger sister. Here he plays Prince Charming to my Princess.

Both of the above photos were taken when we lived on Wyoming Street in Salt Lake City, the first house I remember living in . The Salt Lake Tribune ad for it, dated 29 August 1954, in the Homes for Sale column said :

"NO DOWN payment to qualified vet. 3 bedrms. 1,200 sq ft. Dead end street. New school. 7-1076 ."

Dad says he only had to pay $300 out of pocket to buy this house.

Left is a photo of me as the flower girl at my cousin Joan's wedding. I am told I spent most of the evening twirling around and around : evidently there is an old 8 mm film of this somewhere. What I do remember is playing dress ups with the hat and umbrella for years until they were both literally in tatters.

One more birthday party. This was from my 5th birthday, just after we moved to East Millcreek. The girls are, from L to R, Kathy Tolstrup, Kirsten Jensen, Becky Bromman, Ann Kenney, ?, me, my cousin Marilyn. Again, mom went to a LOT of work to make those crepe paper grass skirts. Thanks, Mom.

And all this work wasn't just for me: look at the cool wings Den Mother Mom made for Doug (left) and Steve (middle) who were Cub Scouts. I believe they were "Thunderbirds" - probably for a skit at the Pack meeting, which Dad, as Cubmaster, would have been in charge of. What great parents we have!

[Some of you may know that I have a collection of paperdolls. Mom started me on that when she gave me her original, uncut Ivory Soap set of the Dionne quintuplets. Occasionally I'll post paperdolls which relate to the topic, like this DRESS UP doll. Print them out and have fun with your kids.]

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Children's Friend

Back in the 1950's, LaFawn was an illustrator for the LDS children's magazine, The Children's Friend. I will be posting many of those illustrations here as I get copies of them.

Mom began doing incidental drawings to accompany other authors' work, like the shoe, mother and children on this 1958 table of contents page (above), but the later activities, cut outs, puzzles and games best exhibit her amazing creativity.

Looking through The Children's Friend, I often recognize animals or people which Mom recycled into other projects. For example, animals on this activity page (above) also appeared on the back page of the cloth Busy Book which Mom made for me to play with at church.

Polio was still a deadly scourge in the 1950's, as evidenced by this activity page showing a boy in a hospital bed. I vividly remember taking pennies to Primary to help support the Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City. Someone had created a cardboard model of the hospital and it was used as a bank that we would drop our pennies in each week in church after school on Tuesdays.

Note: Many of these first posted pictures are mine thanks to the kindness of my cousin Mark and especially his wife Kristine's family. They had saved old copies of The Children's Friend for 50 years and, upon her mother's death, Kristine inherited a box full of them. Last March, when Grandpa Roly and I were in Utah preparing for my son Steve's wedding, Mark and Kristine invited us to Easter Sunday dinner and surprised us with piles of these beloved old magazines. We sat around the table ripping out Mom's illustrations and sharing childhood memories. So, thanks again, Mark and Kristine!


Back before Scrapbooking became a multi-billion dollar industry, people kept scrapbooks.

This news clipping is from my Brownie scrapbook, ostensibly recording events of my years as a Brownie Girl Scout. On the fourth page is a newsclipping with this photo, one of my favorite photos of my mom, LaFawn Holt.

This clipping was sent to me in 1960 - six years after its publication - by Catherine Hatch, one of Mom's "Club" friends. ("Club" was a group of Mom's friends from her U of U college sorority, Alpha Chi Omega.)

That my mother made gingerbread doesn't surprise me: she was a cooking/home economics major, after all - but that she made a NATIVITY SCENE is wonderful to me.

Her focus on the Saviour, rather than secular Christmas imagery, is important to me this week in particular as I begin a new year of Institute classes. Karl Anderson, our CES coordinator, suggested that I teach the New Testament, so I chose to focus on the Life of Christ, especially using James Talmage's wonderful book, "Jesus the Christ".

There must be something in my genes - Joseph Smith called it the believing blood of Israel - urging me to teach of Christ, especially using visuals and imagery.

My grandfather, Harry Holt, personally knew James Talmage (left). On at least one occasion (I need to reconfirm the date for this again in the Journal History of the Church at the Church History library), they spoke together at the same Sunday evening fireside at the Salt Lake Tabernacle, Talmage giving a doctrinal address and Grandpa Holt providing a scriptural one.

This follows the pattern the Lord set out for Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in their ministry together:

"It shall be given unto him to prophesy; and thou shalt preach my gospel and call on the holy prophets to prove his words, as they shall be given him." (D&C 35:23)

Harry Holt (right : photo from about 1950) gave other firesides on the Life of Christ throughout the Salt Lake Valley, usually illustrating them with lantern slides projected on the walls of the old chapels. My dad tells me that Grandpa had purchased slides of famous paintings - by men like Holman Hunt (see below his "Light of the World" from St Paul's in London) - of events in the life of Christ. (I went in search of those old slides, but that must wait for another post.)

Dad told me about the lantern slides after I told him of my making a slide show of paintings of Christ for my seminary classes to watch back in the 1980's or 90's.

My dad, Roland Holt, also told me this week that in 1959, the year before Mom made the gingerbread nativity, he was asked to teach the priesthood quorum lesson in the East Millcreek 3rd Ward. The topic was the Life of Christ and Dad used Talmage as his text.

I hope my little girls (and boys) - and their little girls (and boys)! - will not only enjoy seeing this photo of Grandma Holt, but that it will help to confirm in their memories that she has a deep love for Jesus Christ and a testimony that He is the Son of God.

I also hope that you will all join us this year in reading - or rereading - Talmage's "Jesus the Christ" as part of your own scripture study. I'd appreciate having another generation of disciples share insights and testimony with me.