Friday, September 4, 2015

Sleeping Like An Egyptian

The Luxor, Las Vegas
Okay, I've been intrigued by the pyramid-shaped hotel in Vegas, called The Luxor, since I first saw it rising from the desert on the south end of the Strip some years ago.

So we decided to stay there on our road trip last week.

It was an interesting place.  I loved the Egyptian decor.  The inside is quite nice.  We had a room in the east tower - you can see one of the black towers rising up to the right side of the pyramid in the above photo.  There are two, actually.  It was one of those.

My friend Peggy in our Luxor-ious room
We had to see The Strip before we went to bed, so we didn't crash until nearly 3 a.m.!

Yes.  We're nuts.

But it's Vegas, Baby!
The Double Queen beds were comfy!
We enjoyed our stay at the Luxor.  The staff we encountered in our stay was absolutely wonderful. Everyone was pleasant and kind and very, very nice.

That's a business model I like.

I wonder if ancient Egyptians had comfort like this?
We had a pleasant stay, and a nice breakfast in the Pyramid Cafe before we headed back on our journey to Utah.

Trucks with bold ads haunt the main streets of Vegas
I didn't think it had been so long since I was last in Las Vegas (or Lost Wages, as some prefer to call it!).  Yet The Strip was quite different than I remember it.  New buildings and hotels of all kinds have been built in the interim, convincing me it was longer since I had last been there than I had originally thought.

Vegas just gets brighter and glitzier and crazier with each passing year.

It can be a lot of fun.

However, there is also an undercurrent of human misery there.  The line between the two, I think, is often a fine one.

We said good-bye and headed north after breakfast.

I love the Sphinx!
It's a fun place, but I wouldn't want to live there.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Guess Where I Was Last Week?

I don't get many vacations, so even a small one is a big deal to me.  I took a tiny vacation last week.  Guess where I went?

More clues tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

At the Hogle Zoo

I see from the above photo that the King of the Jungle is enjoying his summer!  

My friend Meldee attended the Hogle Zoo recently and took these great photos.  I love cats.  Little ones.  Big ones.  It doesn't matter.

However, the big ones are harder to pet and cuddle with impunity.

This Lion Father looks rather tranquil and happy
I think the Lion Father is happy because he has a cute wife.

The Lion Mommy 
 Isn't she adorable?
She likes just hanging out in the summer, too
 She spends some time singing the song of her people.

(Singing) Ingonyama, Ingonyama nengw' enamabala!
The Circle of Liiiiiiiife...
Lions are beautiful.  Tigers are cool, too.

Seelah, the new tigress
Tigers are more like house cats in their actions and physiology, than lions.

"I'm cool!" This tiger agrees with that statement
Can you see a tiger without thinking of Tony the Tiger?

Me neither.

Thank you Meldee, for being such an animal lover.  I get such enjoyment out of these photos.  I really do.  Really.  Then I go hug my kitty.

Dear Readers: I just want to give you a heads up that I'm finally (FINALLY!) going on a little vacation, so there will be no further blogs until September 3rd.

Thank you for your patience, folks!  Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more adventures in my universe come September!

Friday, August 21, 2015

My Mom is Hopeless

Hi, Jack here!
My Mom is hopeless.  Yes, you read that title correctly.  She is going on vacation next week and it has made her more of a blithering idiot than usual.  Oh, don't get me wrong, I love my human, but she is making me crazy right now.

So, I thought I'd take over this blog-thing while she is off at work, because she won't have the time to get around to it.

Mom doesn't seem to realize that I've got the house covered.  I'll take care of everything while she is away!  (I think I can sneak in my girlfriend Katniss while mom's gone.  Ssshhhhh!  Don't tell the cat sitters!  They don't have to know.)

Mom is worried about leaving me.  I try to distract her by putting on my adorable face. I've worked hard on that.  It's not quite as good as Puss in Boots, perhaps, but it usually gets her mind off her worries.

These humans!  What do you do with them?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

My Bestefar and Me

Here I am with my maternal grandfather, my beloved Bestefar Strand.  This was probably taken in Norway in 1953.

Einar Strand was a marvelous man.  I remember him as being very kind and loving. He was my pirate king.  He loved nothing better than to take me and my friends down to the park and play with us until we were convulsed in laughter and completely exhausted.  He was very popular with all the children who lived in his Oslo, Norway neighborhood.  He read to us from classic literature, and told us stories of his own childhood, as well as the old Norwegian folk tales of the animals in the forest.

My favorites were the three billy goats gruff:

...And the story of Bamsefar, the Bear Father's, birthday celebration in the forest:
Bamsefar and his forest friends celebrate his birthday
I love the drawing of that Moose!  Okay, ignore the Danish flag flying at the feast.  It should be a Norwegian one!

Every child should have a Bestefar in their lives.  I'm so thankful for mine.  I look forward to seeing him again some day.

Photos of the folk tales and flag are from heaven knows where, with my apologies! 
It is not my intention to infringe on anyone's copyrights.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Nils' Graduation

Our handsome graduate, Nils
Maybe I shouldn't admit this, but I graduated from BYU 42 years ago!  It's great to see Nils follow in my footsteps... okay, his Dad graduated from BYU as well, so possibly, just possibly, he's also following his Dad's footsteps.

And his brother Daniel's footsteps.

And his sister Linnea's footsteps.

Yes, we're a True Blue BYU family.

Nils and his Sweetheart, Rachel
 Nils received his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics.  We're really proud of him.

Christian, Nils, Daniel, and their parents
In fact, practically the whole family was there for the occasion!  Brother Daniel and his lovely wife Holly and their three children are on home leave right now, gearing up for their next assignment in Beijing, China.  Nils' maternal grandparents came down from the State of Washington to see the great-grandkids and attend the graduation.  His Aunt Anna and Uncle Hans were also on hand. Anna lives in Texas with her husband and their two children.  Hans and his wife are also in the Pacific Northwest.  Nils' paternal step-grandmother, Merlene, was also there.

It was a veritable family fun fest.

I sure love all these people.  I wish I could have been there, too!

Nils looked very handsome as he stepped across the stage to receive his diploma.  It was touch and go there for a while as to whether he would manage to get his cap and gown before the ceremony!

He's a funny kid - and sometimes a bit forgetful.

Nils receiving his Bachelor of Science degree
Later, there were lots of photo ops.  I'm glad all the photographers shared with me!

The boys are doing fine!
The photo above of the brothers is just missing our Missionary, Elder Anders, who is currently serving the Lord in the great state of Texas...

4th brother Elder Anders (right) and a recent missionary companion pose for the camera
...  and their beautiful sister Linnea, who lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and adorable little baby girl, Annika.
Sister Linnea with a happy little Annika
Now you know the whole story and we can continue with the graduation photos, because I'm a proud Auntie and have to share!

Nils and Merlene
BYU President Worthen announced they were having a meet-and-greet for all the graduates on Friday morning (Aug 14th).  My family went and, to their amazement, discovered a very short line. They were able to get this great photo with the Worthens, who were very gracious.

A special moment with BYU President Worthen and his lovely wife
(L-R) Merlene, Dad Jay, Sister Worthen, President Worthen, Nils, Mom Kirsti and Rachel
Of course, it wouldn't be a proper family event without a group photo!
The Whole Family (with a few exceptions)!
(L-R) Christian, Holly with her kids Livia, Fred and baby Olaf in front of her, Merlene, Morfar Merwyn, Mormor Britt, Nils, Mom Kirsti, you can just make out Daniel standing behind her, Kirsti's sister Anna and her two beautiful daughters, and Kirsti's brother Hans.  (I love the little photo-bomber guy in the graduate cap in the lower right-hand corner of the photo!  Cute.)
I'm so proud of Nils!  I've heard the Economics program at BYU is a difficult one and he did very well.  He already has a great full-time job with a nationally recognized marketing firm, and is doing well in the world.  That's better than I had when I graduated from BYU!

Again, Congratulations, Nils!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Bless and Hallow the Sabbath

Worship God as a family
John H. Groberg was a remarkable man. If you have seen the film, The Other Side of Heaven, with Anne Hathaway, you know who he is.  He is the main character of that film, which was based on real-life experiences he had as an LDS missionary to Tonga following the Korean War.

John H. Groberg of the First Quorum of the Seventy, 1984
As a General Authority of the LDS church, speaking as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, he once stated, "The injunction from God to “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus. 20:8) has been in force throughout human history. There is power in keeping the Sabbath day holy. I testify that God lives, that we are his children, that he loves us, and that he gives us commandments so he can bless us as we keep them and thereby have joy. As we keep the Sabbath day holy he will bless us, and we will achieve a quiet power for good as individuals, as families, and as nations, that we cannot obtain in any other way."
From The Power of Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy, October, 1984
Learn about God and his Son Jesus Christ in Sunday School
Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles once stated that Sabbath observance is an eternal principle, and he noted five occurrences in the scriptures when observance of the Sabbath day was required by the Lord:
“From the day of Adam to the Exodus from Egypt, the Sabbath commemorated the fact that Christ rested from his creative labors on the 7th day (Exodus. 20:8–11).”

“From the Exodus to the day of [Christ’s] resurrection, the Sabbath commemorated the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage (Deut. 5:12–15).”

“From the days of the early apostles to the present, the Sabbath has been the first day of the week, theLord’s Day, in commemoration of the fact that Christ came forth from the grave on Sunday (Acts 20:7).”
Enjoy worshipping at home as a family
“The Latter-day Saints keep the first day of the week as their Sabbath … because the Lord so commanded them by direct revelation (D&C 59).” This revelation was given on Sunday, 7 August 1831.

“Sabbath observance was a sign between ancient Israel and their God whereby the chosen people might be known (Neh. 13:15–22Isa. 56:1–8Jer. 17:19–27Ezek. 46:1–7)” (Mormon Doctrine, 658).

Have Family Prayer
"Much of the sorrow and distress that is afflicting and will continue to afflict mankind is traceable to the fact that they have ignored his [God's] admonition to keep the Sabbath Day Holy."
-President George Albert Smith

The Prophet Moses
In an article published in February of 2000, Elder Earl C. Tingey, of the Presidency of the Seventy, quoted from the Old Testament injunction given to Moses:
“Ye shall keep my Sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord.“If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;“Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.“And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.“And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. …“For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you” (Lev. 26:2–6, 9).

Elder Earl C. Tingey
He continues:

We can relate to the promises of the Lord in this modern-day world. Do we not need today, just as the Israelites did in the Old Testament, to have the land yield her increase and the trees of the field yield their fruit? Do we not also need to have rain in due season and peace in the land and to be able to lie down and not be afraid and to not have the sword or wars go through our land? Do we not also want the Lord to have respect for us and help us be fruitful and multiply and establish His covenant with us? All of these promises apply to us today.
Partaking of the Lord's Supper on the Sabbath
Elder Tingey concludes with the following statement:
I bear witness that observing the Sabbath day is a commandment of the Lord and that the Lord is very displeased when we do not honor His day. If we as a people, and each of us as an individual, will follow the counsel of the prophets, we will truly be unspotted, that is, in the world but not of the world, and we will be blessed.
The Good Shepherd
Elder Tingey's statement: "Do we not also need to have rain in due season and peace in the land and to be able to lie down and not be afraid and to not have the sword or wars go through our land?" really touched my heart.
We could sure use some rain right now, and also some peace in our land.
Let us each prove the Lord, put him to the test - and commit to keeping the Sabbath the way the Lord would have us keep it.