Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Robot Restaurant

My friend and neighbor, George, just returned from a marvelous trip to Japan.  This is the first post of a series from his trip.  It really sounded like a fun time!

Our first stop?  The Robot Restaurant in Tokyo.

It's a pretty wild place.

Fire-breathing dragons astound the guests!

Then they throw in a man-eating shark.  Save the women and children!

There were also human performers.  These lovely ladies were NOT robots!  (At least I'm pretty sure they weren't.)

I'm not sure if some of these wild robots (as shown below) are featured in Anime or are from films I haven't seen - they are products of a magnificent imagination, however.

These singers (below) look like robots - what do you think?  Real or Robotic?

Ourobouros?  Again, a bit scary!

Hide under the tables!  (Oh, I see no one is hiding... phew!)

Danger!  Danger, Will  Robinson!

This seems like quite the spectacle!  I wonder if the food was good?

My friend said the noise and lights were an assault on the senses! There was certainly a WOW factor and it was a lot of fun he said - but also headache inducing!

Thanks for sharing your photos with us, George!  They are beautiful.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Worshiping with the Saints

Kirsti and Jay in front of the Conference Center in Salt Lake City
Usually I play "Find Don" when I watch the worldwide LDS General Conference.  He is my friend who sings with the Tabernacle Choir.  

This time, I played "Find Jay and Kirsti".  My brother and his wife and gotten tickets for the Saturday morning session, and I searched in vain for them in the 21,000-person crowd.  Ha!

The Tabernacle Choir performs in the Sunday Afternoon session
My friend Ellen was there, too, enjoying the tremendous spirit that is found at this unique, twice a year event.

I finally spotted Don, as the camera panned towards his section of the choir in the final session on Sunday.  I never managed a glimpse of anyone else I knew personally.

Oh well.  It was worth a try, right?

A view from the side, inside the Conference Center
The big news this weekend, of course, had to do with the three men who were called to fill the recent vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  For more information about these three special men, click on the link below:

Elders Dale G. Renlund, Gary E. Stevenson and Ronald A. Rasband
We are so wonderfully blessed to have a Prophet of God and Apostles, fifteen good men who are sustained as "Prophets, Seers and Revelators", to lead and guide us in these troubled times.  

Jay and Kirsti inside the Conference Center

A few photos from the Deseret News, and the others courtesy J.D.Evensen

Friday, October 2, 2015

Hunkering Down with Jack

Jack just hanging out
Jack likes General Conference weekend.  That's when we just hang out all Saturday and Sunday watching Conference and hanging like the Besties we are.

Jack watching conference with me back in October, 2014
Jack cuddles up with me on the couch.  He really likes hearing the Mormon Tabernacle choir perform.  He just gets comfy and closes his eyes to enjoy the moment.

This is better, I think, than actually being there - and much more cuddly.

The LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City
Besides, Jack enjoys conference very much and I don't think they would let a kitty into the services at the Conference Center!

At home, all snuggled on the couch, we have the best seats in the house!

Jack posing for me
Wherever you are, I hope you will also enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Come, Listen to a Prophet's Voice!

The First Presidency: God's Prophet on the earth today, President Thomas S. Monson
sits flanked by this counselors, President Henry B. Eyring (left) and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf (right)

This coming weekend will be the Semi-Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I love General Conference!  It's a time for renewing faith and recharging spiritual batteries.  October conference has always been special to me, as I love Autumn and my birthday follows soon after.  The advent of conference time marks the beginning of the best time of the year and the holiday season which is just around the corner.

This conference will be an even more special one than usual.

We have lost three members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since April conference: L.Tom Perry, Boyd K. Packer, and, just last week, Richard G. Scott.

These chosen and beloved servants of our Heavenly Father will be greatly missed.

Elder Russell M. Nelson has recently been sustained as the President of the Quorum, and as a church, we are waiting with impatience to discover who the next three Apostles of the Lord might be.  The Lord chooses these men, and lets the prophet know through revelation.

Although we anticipate there will be three new Apostles called, it might not necessarily be the case.  Sometimes vacancies in this sacred Quorum take a while to be filled. We shall see.

Tune in to the Saturday morning broadcast to find out!

Conference will be shown on DirectTV (BYU-TV, Channel 374), online at LDS.org, or BYUTV.org.  Sessions are at 10 am MST and 2 pm MST (That's 9 am and 1 pm Pacific Time) on Saturday, October 3rd and Sunday, October 4th.

In fact, LDS.org has a wonderful segment on How An Apostle Is Chosen for you to click on right now if you'd like to know more about this process!  Check out the link below for more details:

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


A rare lull in business, on an early Monday afternoon
I had heard of the glories of Leatherby's, but never tasted it before our latest visit to the Salt Lake City area.

Peggy and I unexpectedly found ourselves having dinner and ice cream there before driving back to California.

We had merely stopped to refuel prior to our departure, and... there it was... the Leatherby's sign! I couldn't contain my glee.  "We have to stop," I said.  "It's right there.  It's fate!"

Peggy quickly agreed.  After all, we both reasoned, it was nearly dinnertime.

The Leatherby's Crew at work
So, we entered the near empty restaurant and ordered hamburgers.  The meal deal came with a scoop of Leatherby's homemade ice cream.

Banana split art on the wall
The hamburgers were delicious.

Then came the ice cream!
Peggy enjoying her scoop
It was good.  It was really really good.
This was ONE SCOOP!
The "single" scoops were huge.  HUGE I tell ya!
Yours Truly
I was happy to finally have had a chance to try this Utah favorite!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Women's Conference

President Dieter F. Uchtdort
The pure love of Christ is “what makes us happy,” President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, taught during the General Women’s Session of conference held on Saturday in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.

I was able to attend the session, which was broadcast world-wide, in my Whittier Stake Center with hundreds of other women - my dear church friends.  This session of conference was for all women - ages 8 and up, and it was a delightful experience.

Sister Rosemary Wixom
General Primary President
She focused her message on each individual's Divine Nature
We received many wonderful messages from the Church-Wide General Presidents of the Primary, Young Women and Relief Society.  The best, however, we all agreed afterwards, was President Uchtdorf's concluding remarks.

“As I pondered what I should say to you today, my thoughts turned to the way the Savior taught,” he said. “It is interesting how He was able to teach the most sublime truths using simple stories. His parables invited His disciples to embrace truths not just with their minds but also with their hearts, and to connect eternal principles with their everyday lives.”

Following that example set by the Savior and recognizing that President Thomas S. Monson often teaches through stories that touch the heart, President Uchtdorf shared a story of a girl named Eva.

“There are two important things you should know about Eva,” he said. “One is that she was 11 years old in this story. And the other is that she absolutely, positively did not want to go and live with her Great-Aunt Rose. Not at all. No way.”

Carol F. McConkie
First Counsellor in the Young Women's General Presidency
She spoke about faithful sisters being involved in the work of Salvation

Because her mother was scheduled to have a surgery that required a lengthy recovery, Eva’s parents decided that she would spend the summer with her Great-Aunt Rose.

“In Eva’s mind, there were a thousand reasons why this was a bad idea,” President Uchtdorf said. “For one thing, it would mean being away from her mother. It would also mean leaving her family and friends. And besides, she didn’t even know Great-Aunt Rose.”

But no matter how hard she tried to change the decision of her parents, she packed her bags and went with her father to her Great Aunt Rose’s home.

President Uchtdorf explained that “from the moment Eva stepped inside the house, she hated it.” Great-Aunt Rose lived alone — other than her gray cat — and had never married or had any children. Eva quickly noticed the old books, strange-colored bottles and other things in her relative’s home.

“Even the house itself seemed lonely,” President Uchtdorf said. “It was way out in the countryside, where the houses are far apart. No one Eva’s age lived within half a mile. That made Eva feel lonely too.”

At first Eva’s thoughts were focused on her mother, and she would oftentimes stay awake at night, praying that her mother would be well. When word came that her mother’s operation was a success, Eva’s thoughts changed as she began to think of enduring the rest of the summer with her relative. As the summer continued, she began to notice things about her aunt. Eva watched as her relative sang, laughed, read her scriptures and prayed.

A beautiful choir performed

“Over time, Eva made a surprising discovery: Great-Aunt Rose was quite possibly the happiest person she had ever known,” President Uchtdorf explained.

Although Great-Aunt Rose had never married, had no children, and had a hard time doing simple things such as tying her shoes and walking up stairs, she still managed to find happiness. She would find happiness in nature, in conversations with other people, or even in the process of making marmalade from oranges.

“Soon Eva made another startling discovery: not only was Great-Aunt Rose one of the happiest persons she knew, but Eva herself was happier whenever she was around her,” President Uchtdorf said.

With the end of the summer approaching, Eva asked her aunt a question she had been wondering about for weeks: “Aunt Rose, why are you so happy?”

Her aunt took her to a painting in the front room of her home. It was of a girl in a pioneer dress skipping along a bright blue path.

Her aunt explained to Eva that there were many dark and dreary days for the pioneers — their life was hard — but the painting represented being bright and hopeful, moving forward and upward.

Sister Linda S.Reeves
Second Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency
She counseled us on the importance of Virtue and Enduring to the End

“Eva was silent, so Great-Aunt Rose continued, ‘There is enough that doesn’t go right in life, so anyone can work themselves into a puddle of pessimism and a mess of melancholy,’” President Uchtdorf said. “ 'But I know people who, even when things don’t work out, focus on the wonders and miracles of life. These folks are the happiest people I know.’ ”

Great-Aunt Rose taught Eva that God created His children to have joy, and that through trusting Him, He will help all notice the good, bright, hopeful things of life. She also taught the young girl that things don’t necessarily happen instantly, but that most good things take patience and work.

When asked how she was able to be happy, the older woman shared that she could either be miserable in her situation, or, make the choice to have faith. Through discovering faith she was able to have hope, which led to confidence in the Lord that “one day everything would make sense.”

Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson
Young Women's General President worked with my cousin Marit in the Swedish Temple
Sister Oscarson conducted this meeting

She taught Eva that as she relied on the Savior, she was able to see how to be happy in the moment — not just looking forward to happiness in the future — and find joy in life. Through filling her life with meaningful things — not just things to keep her busy — she was able to experience the heart of Christ’s gospel — love.

President Uchtdorf recounted the woman’s words, “You see, everything else in the gospel — all the should and the musts and the thou shalts — lead to love,” he said. “When we love God, we want to serve Him. We want to be like Him. When we love our neighbors, we stop thinking so much about our own problems and help others to solve theirs.”

And that — the pure love of Christ — the wise woman said, is what makes someone happy.

President Uchtdorf
President Uchtdorf concluded his talk by saying, “As you walk along your own bright path of discipleship, I pray that faith will fortify every footstep along your way; that hope will open your eyes to the glories Heavenly Father has in store for you; and that love for God and all His children will fill your hearts.”

God didn't design us to be sad!

Who am I really?  I am a child of God.  Therefore, what?  

Therefore, I can serve.  
Therefore, I can smile.  
Therefore, I can trust.  
Therefore, I can hope.

Watch and/or read the messages from this historic conference at this link:

Text from the Deseret News Article
Photos from LDS.org

Friday, September 25, 2015

Nils and the Baby

My nephew Nils
What is it about men with babies?  It always melts my heart.  Take your average manly man and add in a small, cute, baby, and you have an instant "Awwwww" moment.

Uncle Nils and his dad are playing with baby Annika in these photos.  They were making her laugh.

I love it.

Later, I saw Nils out on the deck, still holding the baby.

They were having some alone time.  Okay, it may have been a photo op with Annika's mommy standing with a camera at the foot of the stairs, but it was still adorable seeing them together.

I think Annika enjoyed all the attention too.  She has a great Morfar (Mom's dad, or grandfather) as well as three studly uncles.  Lucky kid!

I wish they all lived closer to me.