Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving

May you be able to enjoy this holiday with family and friends close by!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

An Heritage in the Lord's Service

These are my four nephews.  From left to right:  Daniel, Nils, Anders and Christian.

They are handsome dudes.

But more importantly they are intelligent, kind and good people.

They are men of valor and integrity.

I love them!  A Lot.

Daniel served as a Latter-day Saint missionary in Germany and Austria.  Nils served in Mexico. Christian is still too young  and Anders... he's coming home today.

This (below) is the boys' great-great-grandfather Nils.  He was the one who set the pattern on our Dad's side of the family.  He served two missions in his native land of Norway for the Lord. What's more, he served 'without purse or scrip'.  That's an old-fashioned way to say he had no money and no printed materials, like books and pamphlets, to help him.  He was a man of great faith, as was his wife.
My great-grandfather Nils (above)
This is my dad's family (below)

My dad, middle row, far left; my grandfather Axel, front right

My dad is in the middle row on the far left.  He served as a missionary to Norway, too. 

My brother also served as a missionary.  He broke with tradition when he was sent to the country of Sweden.  We forgave him!  (That is a joke.  He had no control over this.)

He sent me the selfie below last month:

He likes to play with funny settings on his camera.  This is supposed to look like a photo from the 1950s, and it succeeds very well!

Today Anders, my third nephew, returns from serving an honorable mission to the great state of Texas!

Anders, far left, attends a baptism
On Monday, my brother, Anders' father, wrote in his last letter to Anders:
Well, this is it. You have served faithfully for two years. You have blessed the lives of many people in Texas. I know this from the things you have told me and the photos you have sent. People's lives have been changed forever, and that would not have happened if you hadn't come on a mission. There is nothing better you could have done with your life the past two years. I am proud of you, son. I know the Lord is proud of you, too. I hope you feel the calm assurance of a job well done. 

I wish I could be there today as Anders arrives home and steps off that plane from Texas.  

There is nothing better than serving and helping our Heavenly Father's children wherever they may be in the world.

We currently have three young men serving our congregation in Whittier, California.

As they taught us on Sunday, I couldn't help thinking of my family's heritage of faith in God and service to His children.

Pickering Relief Society

It's something I'm very grateful for.

PS:  As I was finishing up this post, I got the word - He's HOME!

Elder Anders at Salt Lake Airport

Monday, November 23, 2015

Riding Rickshaw

My neighbor attests to the fact that Japanese Rickshaw drivers are amazing athletes! They are able to pull people around in their vehicles all day without complaint.

They also know their way around town well and at times can a be a good resource for information about the city they serve.

Rickshaws cater mostly to tourists these days, but there are locals who still use them to get around in, as they are much more maneuverable in heavy traffic than a car.

George had fun talking to these Rickshaw drivers.

These guys were not only highly physically fit, but they were charming representatives of their culture and city.

Seems like a crazy, but honorable way to earn a living.

Have you ever ridden in a Rickshaw?

Friday, November 20, 2015

Jack is Helping

This is Jack.

He is helping me to box up some books.

He thinks the boxes are a fort.

He is also protecting us from evil monsters.

Oh.  Hi, Mom.  Just keeping us safe from scary monsters.

Have a great weekend, everybody!  And stay away from scary monsters!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Meanwhile, Back in China...

Daniel and Livia in the Forbidden City
The Chinese branch of our family is settling into life in Beijing, China very nicely.  They do get to play tourists on occasion, as evidenced by the above photo of my nephew and sweet little Livia in the Forbidden City.

The photo below shows chubby baby Olaf in a rather bare apartment in the Capital city.  (Daniel says it's huge.)

Daniel with baby Olaf
I'm anxiously awaiting more photos of life in China, but they are slow in coming.  Daniel is busy with work and he laments that internet connections are slow at times.

I can't wait to learn more about life in Beijing!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Kyoto Castles

Kyoto has 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than 1600 Buddhist temples and over 400 Shinto shrines.

Here are a few photos of some of the temples and shrines, that my neighbor George recently visited, and the beautiful gardens that surround them.

This almost looks like a peaceful caretaker's cottage (above).  What do you think?

The details of these ancient structures (below) are exquisite.

This (below) seems like an idyllic country scene.

I love how the pagoda (below) peeks above the roof line of the village.

Even the placement of the trees seems deliberate.

These structures have a fairytale-like quality.

I think the time of year (late summer/early fall) is just perfect in these photos.

An old covered bridge - reminding us that the winters can be hard here.

These zen gardens are so lovely.  Why do I have the urge to run through the sand and leave my footprints behind?  I'm such a brat.

Someone has taken the time to rake these so beautifully, leaving no trace of themselves behind.

Have a peaceful day!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Diary of Anne Frank

The Whittier Community Theatre does an excellent job portraying this classic dramatization of a young girl's diary, the story of Anne Frank and her family.

The cast of Diary of Anne Frank
Anne Frank and her family hid in the attic of an Amsterdam business building during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.

The theatrical version of this story has touched audiences world-wide since its premier in 1955. Now, 70 years after the end of World War II, it is more meaningful than ever.

There are only two performances left: 
Friday, November 20th, and Saturday, November 21st, at 8 p.m.  
Ticket prices are $15 General Admission, $12 for Seniors (62 and above), Juniors (under 18), Students and Military with current ID.  

Call 562-696-0600 for reservations.

Don't miss this gem. The Diary of Anne Frank is a celebration of the resilience of the human spirit in the face of overwhelming odds.

P.S.  Help the WCT feed the less fortunate this Thanksgiving by bringing a non-perishable food item to the basket in the lobby.  If you do, you will receive a free goody from the snack bar at intermission.  All contributions will be donated to a local Whittier food bank.