Sunday, February 19, 2017

How Beautiful ​Upon the Mountains are the Feet!

Tribute to my father's brother's wife, LaRue Barrus Gee, turning 80 this month
 Just a few years ago, as we came to participate as temple workers in the Bountiful temple,
 Aunt LaRue welcomed me with her winning smile. One day when no one could make it up the hill in a winter storm, I remember finding Aunt LaRue pitching in, shoes
or no shoes, at the organ...ever prompt at her duty, ready to fill in where someone else fell short.  Music is a forte for the aunt whose footsteps I​ would be happy  to follow.  With sixty piano students at a time, patience and exactness mark her contributions.  

I loved reading stories of her missions: about rabbit steps in Finland appearing out of nowhere to direct lost ones  temple spires, 
 of finding lost communication devices in Africa 

 and divine protection on snowy roads in the Ural mountains of Yekaterinburg, Russia.

One of my earliest memories of Aunt LaRue came with porridge at their Ohio home.  
I had never seen bowls so large   (the boys used serving bowls)  and wondered if Goldilocks would enjoy it 

until we found an even better snack invented by ​her family: Scooby Snacks, named after something talked about by a favorite contemporary cartoon character
​--Scooby Dooby Doo.​
Koolaid or fruit drink syrup
​ was 
mixed into a drink and frozen into cups or ice cubes.   Add fruit or cut into squares.  
Then add your own flair.  

I also remember on one of our summer trips "out west," hiking up Mount Timpanogas with her family 
I heard Aunt LaRue tell us the story about the princess on the mountain and another about timber wolves. I ​remember sleeping at our grandparents during our big cousin gatherings and having nightmares about the timber wolves.  Last Saturday (during the birthday celebration narrative) I learned that I am not alone.  Aunt LaRue makes stories come alive.   

I love the way Aunt LaRue has taught me how to let my feet be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. 

​Once in the temple, she told us a story of how, filling in at the organ, a tabernacle organist ​approached and suggested that she wear shoes, which she was accidentally missing, but which she usually wears.

If I could wear someone else's shoes, 
​would​ try to walk the steps 
​that Aunt LaRue ​continues to walk
 in loving her Heavenly Father,  her husband,  her children, her grandchildren and all she sees around her. 
Monday, Val and I escaped "south," not far enough to have to speak Spanish for more than 30 minutes at our lodging, where we met a helper from Mexico, but because I have these lovely mountiains, and it is such a eye catching thing to share...I will share some mountains, that were worth putting our feet upon...Happy Valentine month to each of you!  
 Grateful not to be left without root or branch 
 Grateful for family members and friends with balance and those who stand out with distinction
  Those who help us remember the special ones who came before
  to "look  

  Blessings to you each as your feet seek beautiful mountains.  
Laurene and Val 

A P.S. Tribute from my Mom:

Tribute to my forever sister, LaRue Barrus Gee, by Shirley Gee
The thing that I had the most in common with LaRue was that we were planning to marry the two Gee brothers that we met at Ricks College!
I was blessed to have many sleepovers at the Barrus home in Sugar City, Idaho, and many pleasant experiences together at Ricks College.
LaRue shared her amazing family with me.  I love the live on the farm--her brothers, Clyn and LaMar--her kind and busy father and animals and the chores.
Sleeping in her upstairs bedroom, I learned that the early morning practicing of the piano and the flute meant that you did not get to help with the morning milking and the chores. 
I also got to enjoy the fabulous cooking of her grandmother Hammond, who lived at their house.  I think of Grandmother Hammond often when I am in the temple, because she stitched the beautiful apron that she gave to me for my temple wedding.
I worked in the English department for LaRue's mom and corrected and grated the papers of many of her freshman English students.  He mom was a gifted teacher, writer, and musician.  I was often included as a guest in their home, to concerts and to meet folks who come to gatherings there.  Her parents and family loved each other very much and shared lots of special things. 
LaRue was student body secretary at Ricks college and was loved and admired there.  I was the student newspaper editor.  So we both went to the student council meetings the first year that Ricks College was a two year school. 
I was blessed to go with La Rue to Lander, Wyoming to Martell's missionary farewell.  He went to Finland for three very long years.  We waited for missionaries together.  When Martell came home, they were happily married around Christmastime. 
I would like to say that LaRue is one of the happiest and most balanced people that I know!  Her life is a testimony to me that families can be together forever!

Thank you for sharing your life and your family with me!    ----Shirley Gee

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Time Flies

Happy 2017!  
Greetings for the first time in a wonderful new year!
Here is a drawing created by our returned missonary niece Becca, partly in Romanian,
and a thought by Michael Altshuler for our skilled family members.

I need a new title and a new blog. We are home from Coban, so our Capers are not Coban Capers, they are more like Kaysville Capers.

But that is Mom's song.   I tried Home again, home again, jiggity jig!  But it doesn't translate.   So, how about "I love the mountains!?" 

On our way over hill and plain from New Hampshire to Wyoming and Idaho in the summers, in our Rambler station wagon, and in our flowered minivan, we would sing. 

"Sing, sing, sing.  I like to sing.  I like to sing a song, sing, sing sing!"

And "I love the mountains, I love the rolling hills.   
(This is from our September 2016 trip celebrating 100 years of National Parks--truly Zion!)
(Another kind of mountain and fountain, is the mountain of the Lord--We are enjoying a call to prepare outgoing missionaries to attend the temple!)
(And we enjoyed viewing a drier, rocker type of mountain a bit further south on our way to our house this November.)
I love the fountains

I love the daffodils

(This is from a September invitation to Redwood territory to see Point Arena lighthouse with Val's sister and husband)

  I love the fireflies, when all the lights are low.  "Boom dee ahda,  boom dee ahda,  boom dee ahda, boom dee ay.  Boom dee ahda,  boom dee ahda,  boom dee ahda, boom dee ay.  

We do not travel from New Hampshire to Wyoming in the summers any more, but we do have time in the car with children and grandchildren.  And to keep from poking each other, it is good to have a distraction.

Our latest song,  has been "The Family is of God."  We learned it last Tuesday at Great Grandma Starkey's breakfast table at  and practiced it in the car and at lunch. I have not told my mother that we are consistently breaking the age old rule NOT to sing at the table. 

Because yesterday marks four years since we sent Dad on a  long-term mission with limited communication...
we are walking together, and "extended [family can] lend support when needed."  (see Proclamation on the Family) 
(more of  St. George--yes, getting together as families is "out of this world!")

I hope someday to narrate our anniversary excursion overseas.  Meanwhile, more family gatherings over the holidays included 
gifts and games and comings and goings...

(Here is our "Mary", examining the gifts to the king, and Zach and Maria learning that time has a way of showing us the things that really matter!)
(For Maria's dad, a prize came in Maria's remembering Val's appreciation of black licorice during her European escapades.  For Laurene, it was Kristen finding a way to help everyone look forward and smile, even if they were missing from our party!)
Everyone seemed to like remembering "the old world" with scarves from Athens and wood from Bethlehem.
 And Kevin simply loves to laugh.  If you laugh, he'll laugh, even if the joke is a little over his head. 
"Me, too!" says Becca, who has come alive upon turning one.
We gathered for Christmas   
and again for New Year's with a celebration marking fifty years for my brother Steven.
Fifty means "WOW" in sign language!

The party was filled with charades and fun visits from nieces from near and far.  
Not long after, came a celebration for a 87 year old Grandma
and her one-year-old great granddaughter

And later, looking through old photos and drawings, we find another pattern--like mother like daughter, only a few decades difference!  

 (Kristen has ever liked to celebrate and bake...
she still loves both!)
So our eyes have been open to watch grandchildren grow. 
Will has joined a host of cousins in the race of school.
His sisters and brother (and cousins) don't lag much behind in willingness to try new things 
Our last week's adventure carried over from summer's ring around the rosy in Washington 
to invite four cousins to play for four days.
A five foot break in a kitchen drain pipe gave incentive to clean a little...
and then they came! 

With museum time, 

Great Grandma's famous whole wheat waffles, 
with fresh eggs
from free range chickens
that have a good life, greens included;
with snow adventures
(our neighbor suggested an igloo--begun by a civil engineer, continued by a retired and budding is doomed to melt, but we may still have the largest fort in the culdesac!)
and creating angels with newfound cousins,
 tasty food and mind-stretching games,
letters for a faraway cousin,

memory after memory, 
Mommy and Daddy finally returned

to welcome a loving Great Grandma airport visit,
then scooped them up
and leapt into their wild blue yonder.

 Maria has a "yonder" ahead...with a job interview out of state later this month.  
Winter remains, with slopes and eager mittens
We are working to "see afar off,"
 to lend a hand
(Saturday, the nearby high school hosted a community event to prepare hygiene kits for young women in Africa and elsewhere.  What can be more fulfilling than to put a shoulder to the wheel, with friends from at least three states, to send a caring gesture to friends far away.)

And because our second to last daughter has announced an upcoming marked growth of our family,
"Coming July 2017:  Two little Galli girls! 
Watch out world!"
("Two, two, two mints in one!")
A great harvest!
True pioneers.
Our plans are to be part of a main event. 
 How lucky can we be??

("Boom, boom, boom!")
Blessings to you each.  Please let us hear of your rolling hills, daffodils, 
and boom-de-ah-das.  
We love you!
Laurene and Val