Sunday, November 28, 2010


Turkey Day!

Game night sleepyhead

Peter Espen's blessing day, Nov 28

Rachel and Michelle Smartt
Mr Turkey posing in vegetable mode

Lili watching over her very own turkey

Thanksgiving table favors


November 28, 2010

‘Sobremesa’ describes Thanksgiving this year – our tummies were full, our hearts were fuller and we were content. The day before, though, I was rather dreading it all thinking about how much work lay ahead, worrying about how many guests were coming, and wondering if I had planned adequately. Gary just kept reassuring me that it would all work out, and then he went to work to make that happen. The Fias were in-house guests and they went to work, too – raked leaves and carried them off to the burn pile, helped Poppy gather fall cuttings for centerpieces, kept Ranger fed and happy, and even fixed breakfast for everyone (Sofia’s famous scrambled eggs). Kailey joined the work crew and kept the little ones entertained and out of mischief. She is one of my favorite people to have come and spend a night or two. Emily treats our home like it is her home – I guess it currently is (but not for much longer) – as she cleans, cooks, and creates. She works a lot harder than I do so I don’t know why I was the one stressing about Thanksgiving! I stand in awe at what she is able to get done in lickety split time and what she is able to create without spending a whole lot of energy on the creative process. She just comes up with an idea and makes it become real. Case in point: ‘Give Thanks’ set in oranges, cornucopia favors for the adults, cute edible turkeys for the kids. Jake took over outside and cleared the walks and decks of masses of leaves. The day was beautiful so we set up tables outside for the kids who really were far more interested in their turkey favors than the real thing: Thanksgiving dinner. We definitely had a crowd (30+) and a feast (two turkeys and a ham!) and it all worked out, just like Gary said. We saved the best for the last when we gathered in our Thanksgiving circle to express gratitude for the blessings and lessons of the year. Sobremesa!

Freddie shared a letter from her mission president that touched my heart with it’s messages. I felt gratitude once again for the pilgrims, learned something about Joseph Smith’s progenitors, and realized that Joseph F. Smith could have said to me on Thanksgiving day were he here, ‘Sister Jewkes, all this and the gospel, too?’

In 1620 a small ship left the Plymouth harbor bound for the New World. Its name would go down in history—the Mayflower. The 102 people aboard the ship were composed of religious Separatists, servants, and crew. The Separatists, or Pilgrims as we now call them, left their mother country reluctantly. They sought only what they believed to be a God-given right—the right to worship according to the dictates of their own conscience. They believed that the Christian “Church” had abandoned many of the plain and precious doctrines of Christ’s original church. They called themselves “Saints” and they referred to one another as “Elder” and “Sister.” Theirs was a treacherous and uncomfortable crossing marked by an amazing rescue at sea of an indentured servant who had been swept overboard. His name was John Howland. Howland later recalled that he felt strongly that he had been preserved for some divine destiny which he did not yet know. He was...for he became the great-great-great-grandfather of Joseph Smith. Howland became a free man in the new American colony of Plymouth and married the orphan daughter of two devout Pilgrims, Elizabeth Tilley. Elizabeth’s parents were among the half of the passengers and crew who did not survive that first, brutal winter aboard the Mayflower where they suffered from exposure, scurvy, and outbreaks of contagious disease while they waited for the snows to thaw. By spring, nearby Indian tribes came to rescue those 53 passengers who still remained alive. They taught them how to hunt, fish, plant, and survive in the American wilderness. Was it any wonder that when harvest came, the colony set aside a 3 day fast and Thanksgiving to honor their Indian friends?

The Prophet Joseph Smith is reported to have said that one of the greatest sins which the Latter-day Saints would be guilty of in the last days would be the sin of ingratitude. Brigham Young repeated a similar warning. President Ezra Taft Benson mentions all this in a Thanksgiving message found in the November 1976 New Era. “I do not think this is because we are less grateful than other people, but we have so much more to be grateful for. “ He then tells the story of his grandfather, George Taft Benson, bishop of the Whitney, Idaho Ward. Elder Joseph F. Smith visited the old Oneida Stake which comprised the Whitney Ward and took a meal with Grandfather Benson. “The table was laden with good things to eat. The family was gathered around… Just before they were ready to start the meal, President Smith stretched his long arms over the table and turned to my grandfather and said, “Brother Benson, all this and the gospel too?”

Espen Peter was blessed today. When Josh started the blessing and I heard the name, I thought how perfect that name seemed – it just fits. Josh gave Espen a beautiful blessing of health, promise, and future. And then at the end he blessed him with the gift of charity. That little baby boy is loved so much and will return that love as he grows. We all gathered at Josh and Dagmar’s last night to watch BYU go down in defeat to the U and it should have never happened, especially with Emily singing ‘Rise and shout, the Cougars are out…!’

And that’s the week’s update…

Sunday, November 21, 2010

An Inconvenient Splendid Cruise from a 60 year old perspective

A fondue dinner in San Juan Capistrano the night before cruise.
Dave and Jessica, Gary and Becky, Jake and Emily

8 Cruisers! Jim, Jenn, Becky, Gary, Emily, Jake
Emma and Madison who are guests of honor

On board the Splendor

Evacuated from our cabins - first mornings meal fare

SS Ronald Reagan to the rescue!

Disembarking on Nov 11 in San Diego

Waiting to check in at the Hyatt, compliments of Carnival

Our guests of honor were brave and oh so good from day one forward

60th birthday dinner at the Hyatt, all expenses paid!

Two bookworms in sunny San Diego

A week to remember with our granddaughters
and looking forward to another week in the future, compliments of Carnival.

Here’s a sampling of some rather memorable phrases I’ve personally heard the last couple of weeks – ‘Alpha team, alpha team, alpha team – report to your stations!’ ‘Evacuate your cabins!’ ‘The ship has lost all power!’ ‘This cruise is terminated!’ Then this: ‘You don’t need to put on your life-jackets!’ Whew! It was a wild beginning for the Heninger Reunion Cruise aboard the Carnival Splendor. What was supposed to be a seven day vacation to Puerto Vallarta, Matzatlan, and Cabo San Lucas ended up being a totally unexpected and inconvenient adventure with trying to stay warm after a cold shower, finding something appetizing to eat after standing in line for a long, long, long time, ‘feeling’ rather than ‘seeing’ your way around your cabin and bathroom, having an ‘open door policy’ 24 hours a day to get a little light to do all of your private business, trying to sleep with the open door policy (unless you were lucky like me and could electronically disconnect from the noise), having an aircraft carrier come to the rescue, watching helicopters drop loads of food, trying to ignore the smells permeating the ship, and…..well, just read the Hutchings blog for all of the details!

Emma and Madi get a gold medal for being brave, full of adventure, happy, and delightful to have along. They explored the ship from top to bottom and bottom to top, met cousins and played with cousins, got lost and then got found, made origami with their Japanese neighbors across the hall, and couldn’t thank us enough for the ‘adventure’ when it was all over, and can hardly wait for their next cruise. Emily was the most disappointed of us all to have her dream cruise of relaxation and sun turn into more of a survival cruise and clouds, but she’s looking forward to a free cruise in the future thanks to the generosity of Carnival. We were reimbursed all of our expenses including cruise fare, travel expenses, and maybe even babysitting costs – Emily is working on that – plus given a future free cruise. My cruising spirit hasn’t been dampened at all and I will definitely be on board.

What did I learn from this adventure? I learned that order digresses to chaos very fast, cleanliness to filthiness even faster, humans can get rather uncivilized and very selfish quickly, and a flashlight would have come in right handy! I learned that it was a lot of fun to be with our granddaughters, Gary, the Hutchings, and Taskers – as if I didn’t already know that important detail.

And now for some words from Caleb that are even more memorable, to me, than the ‘alpha team, alpha team, alpha team…” – ‘You cook the best food, you are always willing to do stuff, and you always bring presents, so congratulations on being the best grandma in the world and I hope you have a happy 60th birthday!’ And so I did – it was the BEST. Why? Well, we got off the Splendor right in the middle of my big day! Carnival put us up in a beautiful hotel in San Diego. I took a long, hot shower and I could actually see in the bathroom! There was hot food and no lines. The Sedgwicks joined us so I had lots of help blowing out the candles. I have a book of 60 memories from all of you – the PERFECT gift. I have another ‘101 Things I love about you’ from Gary, added onto 36 other such cards in past years for a running total of 3737 things that Gary has noticed and expressed appreciation for in who….me? I find it rather astonishing to say the least. It really was the BEST day and I don’t mind being 60 at all – in fact, I rather like it.

We have a new member of our family who joined us on Nov 4: Espen Peter who is just as handsome as his name sounds and came complete with a full head of black hair, tiny nose, plump, dimpled cheeks, and little mini body. How I adore these little mini bodies that come so perfect and straight from heaven. Dagmar looks wonderful and says she feels good and I believe her. She is radiant. And I know that Josh is a proud father – he deserves to be with four beautiful children.

We came home from California to Georgia in all her fall glory and I have to say it again: there is no place more beautiful than Georgia in the fall. Even the weather is perfect, as if apologizing for cooking and steaming us over the summer.

I can’t quite put my finger on November and here it is almost Thanksgiving! Taskers are going to St. George to be with Jim’s family, Jessica and Dave are in Boston but will be back barely in time to host the extended Sedgwicks at their home, we hoped to get the Crofts to drive to ATL and share the holiday with us but weren’t convincing enough, Bells have the Bells right around the corner just like the Allreds have the Allreds right around the corner and will share Thanksgiving with them, Beau and Amy will be in California watching the Sedgwick kids, Julie and Seth have been invited to Connie’s (I wish I were feasting at Connie’s), and Jake has mentioned driving to UT but I haven’t heard the final word. We will miss all of you – we really will. My heart will be full but empty too, if you know what I mean, and if you are a mom, you know what I mean. We will love having Josh, Dagmar and their children, Piet and Lina, Jordan, Amanda and Jonah, the Hutchings and Vickers, and more missionaries than you can count on one hand! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love being outside and enjoying the beauty of the fall season, I love the simplicity of the celebration with minimal materialism, decorating, and preparation. I love acknowledging my overflowing cup of blessings, and I certainly love the whole feasting idea put into practice!

I read a tribute to a woman whose life was dedicated to ‘giving away’ rather than ‘accumulating’ – seems fitting for the season, for the year, for life:

ChenShu-chu is a seller of vegetables in a stall in Taitung’s central market in Southern Taiwan. Out of her modest living, Chen, 59, has managed to donate nearly $320,000 to various causes, including a children’s fund, a library, and a local orphanage. What’s so wonderful about Chen’s achievement is not it’s extraordinariness but that it is so simple and matter of fact in its generosity. ‘Money serves its purpose only when ti is used for those who need it,’ she told a newspaper. And rather than bask in her celebrity, Chen seems to dismiss the whole thing with a wave of her hand. ‘There isn’t much to talk about, because I didn’t enter any competition and I haven’t really made any huge donations.' I doubt ChenShu of Taiwan knows it, but she is a Christian and following Him.

Monday, November 1, 2010

It Feeels BIG, SWEET, and GOOD...

Claire convinced me to get back into blogging mode with pictures, so I coaxed her over to help refresh my very limited skills and we ended up with something BIG (figuring out blogging again after more than a year in hiatus), something SWEET (every picture of the grandkids!), and something GOOD ( pushing ‘publish post’!) Now for some detail on the pictures and times in between. The BIG fish was caught by Glen, our most recent fix-it-up guy. He claimed it weighed 15 pounds and it definitely came right out of our front lake. He says he is going to ‘mount it’, but for now, it is in Claire’s freezer…good for me since he’s not using my freezer, bad for Claire. I loved the SWEET picture of Hannah and Lucy together in the ‘chair lift’ swing taken one morning on our walk at Sundance, and Amelia thinks the ice-cream sandwich is very, very GOOD. I got the cute shots of Kate and Taylor in their community pool when Connie and I stopped in Dallas enroute to Denver early in Sept. Our destination was driving Patti’s car to Denver, but our goal was to have a fun road trip together which I would say we accomplished! I got several shots of Izzy with a band-aid on a different part of her body each time. For now, they are her trademark. I have to admit that I nearly fell in love with Muffy, the little dog at the Taskers, and offered to swap her out for Ranger, the big dog at home. I had no takers and probably just as well since the dog on Hickory Hill Farm has to fend off possums, skunks, beavers, snakes, and other scary things which Muffy might not have been too successful at. Gabe and I had an ice-cream date which he managed to turn into a visit to his favorite restaurant where he skillfully pointed out all of the stuffed animals and then wanted to know which one was my favorite! Have you ever seen a jack-a-lope? Cute little things….but not near as cute as Gabert T. Tasker. Jenn and I spent some good time doing kickboxing at the church (she was the teacher!) and yoga at her fabulous gym (where I was definitely the oldest, the stiffest, and the most uncoordinated but I did persevere). We enjoyed an afternoon at the temple and that evening we split ways so she could take kids one place and I could take kids another place. I got to take Emma to her gymnastics class and witnessed 2+ hours of bending, flipping, vaulting, and balancing. What a stark contrast: myself at Yoga, Emma at gymnastics!

Gary and I spent some time at Sundance – our annual fall retreat. He commuted to and from Utah instead of back to Georgia between his work days. Jessica, Dave, and children came up for a week loaded with their bikes and bike trailers, as well as several volumes of Harry Potter which Madi was totally immersed in. She read, Dave and Caleb mountain biked, Lucy played with Hannah, Jessica fed Ammon, and then Jessica broke her leg and that changed everything! They stayed an extra couple of days at the cabin so Jessica could feel up to traveling back home. This delay meant they would miss the St. George marathon which was a big reason for their coming to UT in the first place. Gary stayed at the cabin to help out as well as recuperate from a lot of travel and work. I headed south to St. George for the marathon weekend. Our runners this year: Rachel, Julie, and Amy. Rachel was injured early on (so sad), Julie endured to the end and completed her second marathon, and Amy did an amazing job on her first marathon. One of the highlights was driving back over the racecourse and realizing what an incredible thing it is to be in a marathon. Julie says she will be back next year with determination to train better, Rachel says she will definitely run a marathon someday but right now she is working on getting her knee healed, and Amy is undecided – too soon to tell!

The next week I was at the cabin alone – kind of nice some of the time, kind of lonely some of the time. I did have great company one night when Dave and Kathy, Steve and Melanie came up. They were on their way to St George themselves but did a layover at Sundance. Melanie was keeping her foot elevated (just like Jessica was keeping her leg elevated) as a result of a four-wheeling accident a couple of weeks earlier where she broke most of the bones in her foot – serious stuff. I told Melanie she had earned the right in 2010 to be depressed…but she declined and smiled! The latest news from their family is that Andrea is expecting - #6 for the Lovelands.

I did ‘fall cleaning’ at the cabin if there is such a thing. When I was growing up, it was always ‘spring cleaning!’ When I left, the cabin looked GOOD and I felt GOOD! I went from UT to California, and Gary came from Kalamazoo! and we were able to share in Ammon’s blessing day. Dave and Jessica had the blessing at their home so all of Dave’s family could be there. Lucy climbed the wall so she wouldn’t miss a thing – isn’t she amazing in her picture… amazingly cute. I stayed for a few extra days to help (Jessica has been ‘couch bound’) and just had a fun time with the kids, with the baby, with Jessica, with going to soccer games and piano lessons and anything else that needed to be done.

It was major catch-up time when I arrived back in Georgia – catch up with everything I missed, catch up with office stuff and church stuff, catch up on a pile of mail and a bigger pile of laundry, and catch up with the birthday people! Gary and I caught up with Josh (Oct 24) and Dagmar (Oct 27), Jordan (Oct 26) and Amanda and celebrated together at the Farmhouse where we had a delicious dinner that could almost be called ‘homegrown’ – they actually grow quite a bit of what they serve right on the property. It was a fun evening out together. November birthdays coming up: Julie on Nov 5th, Emma on the 6th, Baby Boy Jewkes soon to arrive on the 8th, Grandma Becky on the 11th, Jasper on the 13th, Isabella on the 21st.

We finished up Halloween celebrations on Sunday with a Halloween dinner: cheesy ghosts, mummified doggies, creepy punch, spider web dip, monster munch. We nearly scared our guests (the Mayfield family) away! Do you remember our first Annual Halloween Parade a year ago? I’m hoping for a second Annual Parade in 2010 – send pictures!

Life is good!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

It Feels BIG, SWEET, and GOOD to blog again!




Kate says 'Hi!'

Taylor says 'Bye!'

Izzy loves bandaids almost as much as her dog, Muffy

A dinner date with Gabe and his wildlife friends at Saltgrass

Making cookies with Kailey

Lucy and Hannah at Cascade Springs

St. George Marathon runners: Julie, Amy, Rachel
Beau and Rebecca joined the last few miles

Steve and Melanie being lazy at the cabin

Kathy and Dave joined us at Sundance

Lucy is climbing walls!

Ammon's blessing day, Oct 10, 2010

October Birthday celebrations at The Farmhouse in Serenbe for Josh, Dagmar, and Jordan

November birthday celebrations at Soup Sunday for Quincy, Jasper, and Grandma Becky

The cutest Irish dancers ever: Lili and Sofia