Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Cathy!

Cathy and I are 10 months apart, which seems to always work in her favor.  Either I'm much older and she always claims to be younger than me (and she looks it) or if I try to claim the older and wiser argument, she reminds me we are only 10 months difference in our age.  Either way, I'm always grateful to her parents for bringing her into this world and she is without a doubt, the best thing that ever happened to me.  If you get a chance, stop by her Facebook page and wish her a Happy Birthday: Cathy's Facebook Page.

So today, October 29th, Happy Birthday Cathy!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Honoring my Ancestors by Doing their Temple Work - Sarah participates for the first time!

Friday and Saturday, we were able to attend the temple and perform ordinance work for my our ancestors.  In my faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe not only do you have the opportunity to make sacred promises with God, but you can vicariously, in acting in behalf of others who have died, perform similar ordinances for them.  Those individuals still have the option of accepting or declining the work done for them, but we have the obligation to try and give them that chance.  The beauty of it all, is that everyone has the chance of returning to our Heavenly Father and they get the opportunity to make that choice themselves. 

My mother and her sisters are really the only members of the Church on her Father's side.  My Grandfather, a dry farmer from the Chicago area (Elgin) had gone up to Canada to get inexpensive farm land and met my grandmother a nurse from the Benjamin area of Utah County, who was staying with relatives in the small farming community of Barnwell, Alberta, Canada.  They fell in love, had six girls with my mother being number 3.  At the age of six, my mother lost her father unexpectedly and her youngest sister was born after my grandfather died.  He never joined the Church, but was supportive of my Grandmother and his girls.  He was a good dad and loved his girls and it would strike me as unfair in the Kingdom of God, that he never get the chance of being with his family again or enjoying all the blessing the Lord has in store for him.

The temple provides that opportunity and it is one of the reason my faith encourages us to work on our Family History.  Not only does it give us a sense from where we have come, but it helps also in performing ordinance work for those who have passed on before us.  In the two days, we attended the Salt Lake Temple, performing baptisms for 30 ancestors and then on Friday, we attended the Logan Temple and performed ordinance work for another 30 ancestors.  Included in the group we did, were my ancestors, Maria Bach, born on the 10 February 1856, Elisabetha Frey, born abt 1770 and Maria Carolina Glaser, born 26 March 1812.  We owe nearly all the success of finding these ancestors to my brother-in-law, Warren Bittner of Ancestors Lost and Found, LLC. who has worked tirelessly over the last decade helping us to piece together some gaping holes in our family research.  Thanks to the generosity of other family members we have found nearly 4,000 names of ancestors that 10 years ago, we never knew existed.  

Perhaps one of the best parts of the experience was being with my family and attending together.  Sarah, who recently turned 12, can now go and perform "Baptisms for the Dead" or the vicarious act of being baptized for her ancestors.  It was sweet moment being able to perform that work and have her be part of it.  In addition on Saturday, my mother-in-law, Lois Nielsen joined us and helped us perform another ordinance work for Barbara Krapff, who was Christened, 24 Jan 1653.  Opportunities like that don't come very often, and I'm glad we had the chance.  It was a beautiful day, some of the leaves were still turning and the food at the Bluebird Cafe afterwards was great! 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Maureen Haltiner - Poet, Author, and Teacher

A good friend of mine, Cal Noyce passed along to me the other day, an invitation to a poetry reading by my former AP English Teacher from West High, Maurine Haltiner. The flyer brought back a lot of memories, mostly good about my experiences with both her and literature.  Having grown up in a home where my mother held a Masters Degree in Creative Writing with her Bachelors in English and Theater, poetry and literature flowed abundantly in the walls of our home.  I've always enjoyed it but not exceptionally good at either reading it or writing it.  In fact, in most of my advance testing for college, including my AP exam, I never could test very well and despite much higher scores in other areas, it always brought me down in my overall score.

However the lessons I learned in Ms. Haltiner's AP English class were more than simply learning the advanced pieces of literature from around the world.  It had a lot to do with keeping commitments, meeting deadlines, and living with integrity.  In fact, the only incomplete I received in High School, came from her because I had failed to finish an assigned reading in her class during the peak of basketball season.  I eventually finished the book, did my report, and received an A- or B+ for that term.  My siblings have often remarked that it was really Ms. Haltiner that prepared them for college, where all too frequently if you missed deadlines, failed to turn in papers, it was only you who really paid that price, not the teacher.  Of course Ms. Haltiner's lessons were much more civilized and compassionate than college, and we will often be grateful for it.

Maurine Haltiner retired a number of years ago, and I occasionally run into her from time to time.  To her credit, while my hair seems to be going white, she looks about the same, perhaps a little more of life shows, but always courteous and interested in my well being.  Cal showed me some of her works which demonstrated her continued interest in literature and using her own talents in the expressions which tell of life's stories.  If your schedule permits, you should set aside the evening of October 20, 2011, a Thursday evening to attend her Poetry Reading at Alpine Art, 430 E South Temple.  RSVP to  Unfortunately, I may have a conflict, and can't make it, but I would like to be there.  While I'm interested in hearing her materials, it is the quality of the individual which is the real draw for me.