Family roll call

June 17, 2007

By Janet Walgren
I just got home from spending father’s day with my dad and some of my family. We did a family head count and figured out that my dad currently has 106 direct decedents and 43 in-laws and step grandchildren for a grand total of 149. Two of his grand-daughters are expecting and several are yet unmarried. We all have a love for life that is a direct result of my dad’s influence.

The roll call and family report was interesting. The one thing that stood out above the rest was the thought that came as our family attended my cousin’s missionary farewell. Her husband is the new mission president for the Everett WA mission and they will be leaving for their mission this week. For the last two weeks they have been visiting the parents of all the missionaries who are there now, or have been called to go in the near future. About 50 of the missionaries’ parents attended the farewell. That was impressive, but then I thought of my parents and the 106 direct decedents and how much missionary work that represented.

My uncle’s family has been equally prolific and that is just the tip of the iceberg if you go back another generation. I know that parents who teach their children are actually teaching a nation. What better work could there possibly be than the work of parents in the home?

After Shirley’s comment, I had to verify some facts to make sure that this old mind had things straight. I didn’t. Shirley, the record for the number of people who slept on the living room floor is 47 out of 80.

Today my dad was put under notice that he will probably have a house full for the next two weeks as certain families come to visit. The wonderful thing is that he loves it. I can remember going to my dad’s house for dinner once and a ton of family showed up just about dinner time. My parents just performed the miracle of the loaves and the fishes and kept cutting the dinner portions in half. By the time I arrived, they gave me a pork chop bone for dinner, and you know what… it was delicious. Just like my family. They are deliciously interesting, exciting and diverse. Even with all of their faults (and we certainly have them) I can’t think of anything better than family. They are a blanket that wraps me in love.

Happy Father’s Day

June 17, 2007

By Janet Walgren
I would like to thank my father for honoring my mother. My father and mother never fought; perhaps they should have a time or two but they never did. I have always known that my father loved my mother and I appreciate that about him.

My father was a good provider. We were never hungry, homeless or lacking the necessities of life. I’m sure that wasn’t easy for a father on ten children.

My father is careful in his hygiene, dress, and appearance. He was and still is always well groomed. If dad was working in the yard and was suddenly called to give someone a blessing, dad would take the time to clean up and put on his Sunday clothes to pay the visit. He afforded his family the same courtesy. This is something that I very much appreciate in a man especially nowadays.

It was my father who gave me my love for learning. I remember going to classes with him at the University of Utah when I was little. I remember the physics lab, the flight simulator, the math class and the planetarium.  I remember coming home from college and fencing with dad in the driveway. Those were the good old days when I was 4 and 5.

Then there were the fun times with the boy scouts. My dad was the scout master and I got to go on their hikes; I rode piggy back on the boy’s shoulders and they never seemed to mind.  The family also went on the scout campouts with him.

It was my dad who instilled a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ in me and taught me about God. When he was the stake mission leader, he would take me with him for cottage meetings and he taught me the flannel board discussions. I also got to travel with him throughout the stake when he was assigned to talk in other wards; it was a very large state back then and we would travel to small towns with exotic names like Hiawatha where we would hold church in the Odd Fellows Hall after cleaning up the beer cans from the night before.

My dad has always been worthy to bless his family. We can trust him.

My dad gave me my love of the outdoors and my love for life.  Camping and fishing were common activities in my younger years. At 83 my dad can still out ride any of his grandsons on a bicycle and he has a membership to Gold’s Gym. He helps my brothers take out big trees for the neighborhood widows. He keeps his large yard up and does the yard work and gardening for two of the neighbors as well.

My dad is a good citizen and he has been very politically active. He was a delegate for the Republican convention and a constituent representative for Senator Orin Hatch. I am a conservative but fiercely independent so we clash here but it was dad who inspired my love for the constitution and politics.

My dad is a good man a terrific father, grandfather and great grandfather. I don’t know off the top of my head what the family head count is now, but we are over 100 strong and still counting so his influence is deep.

I can say all this because one man had one wife and honored her. Thanks Dad! 

Happy Father’s Day.  I love you!

The Sun-Dial poem, seize the moment

June 16, 2007

By Janet Walgren
My daughter, Heather will be coming home from England on Wednesday and I am so excited to see her. It has been a fun experience to manage her blog and share her internship adventure with her. You can click on the Archives of My Mind link to read about her internship. In reflecting about the many things that I have learned and observed while she has been gone, I think that the one thing that stands out the most in my mind is the power of seizing the moment. Everyone has the same amount of time every day. We all get exactly 24 hours. We can’t save them; we can only spend them and how we spend them, what we spend them on, will make all the difference for us in eternity. I can tell that this has been a very good trip for my daughter. I can see that she has grown.

When Heather was little, we lived near a street with large castle houses on it and she used to talk about wanting to live in a castle when she grew up. Then she modified her desire to a mansion, then a large house, then to a home that is sufficient for her family’s needs.

Immediately prior to Heather’s internship, her dream job in her dream location opened very unexpectedly for BYU graduates with a genealogy background. This job normally requires a MLS so she was very excited to apply for it. I noticed when checking on something the other day, that she did not apply for the job and I knew that she had come to a fork in the road and had made an eternal decision. She has grown.

I know that several high school students in Taiwan are reading my blog now. Thank you for visiting with me. Some of you are graduating and have come to a fork in your road of life. I would like to congratulate you on your accomplishments and encourage you to embrace the future by seizing the moment that is now in your hand. Making right choices isn’t always easy but life is so worth living. It takes faith to make right choices and if you do the future will take care of itself.  

This poem is known as “The Sun-Dial Poem.” It is on a sun dial at Wells College in New York State, USA. I would like to share it with you because it has been my reminder to seize the moment and make the best of each day.

“The Sun-Dial at Wells College”

The shadow by my finger cast
Divides the future from the past:
Before it, sleeps the unborn hour,
In darkness, and beyond thy power:
Behind its unreturning line,
The vanished hour, no longer thine:
One hour alone is in thy hands,
The now on which the shadow stands.

~ Henry Van Dyke 1911

I hope and pray that everyone who reads this entry will have a wonderful life. May God bless you all with the faith to seize the moment and make right choices.

So how’s your day stacking up?

June 15, 2007

By Janet Walgren
This week I have been trying to wrap my mind around RSS Feeds, pipes, and aggregate pages for a project at work. It’s pretty heady stuff for a 60 year old, especially pipes; I’m just not getting it. I might mention here that I am at least a decade older than anyone else in the office including the owners of the company, and the internet didn’t exist when I went to college, so when I ask my new office mate for some help understanding pipes, she kindly explained some basics and gave me a couple of websites to look at. I finally figured out the bare bones basics and with help, subscribed to several blogs and set up a pipe and two aggregate pages and figured that I could pull off the task. As I started writing, my office mate turned to me and said, “You know Janet, you’re pretty tech savvy for someone your age.” We laughed and I didn’t let it make me feel old.

Then my boss came in and told us that she was taking us to lunch at Magleby’s. I went ahead to secure a table while they finished up some business. I had been waiting for about five minutes while looking at a display case full of pewter figures one of a girl sitting on a stack of books. I was thinking that Heather might like one as a graduation present, when a man came up and told me the prices stating that they were very affordable, something that was entirely not obvious to me.

I sat down and tried to wrap my brain around the affordable concept while waiting for my party to arrive. Then a cute little four year old boy came over and sat down beside me.

“Hi, what’s your name?” He asked.
“Janet, what’s yours?” I replied.
“Dallan,” he responded.
“So how old are you?” I inquired.
“Four,” he said.
“So you’ll get to go to school next year, won’t you?” I commented.

He said, “Oh, I’m already in school so that I’ll be ready for Kindergarten. I don’t want to get behind. But, I’m on summer break now… So how’s your day stacking up?”

Suddenly I felt very old

The good book

June 15, 2007

A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint…. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.

   ~Henry David Thoreau

We have so many differences in common

June 14, 2007

By Janet Walgren
Upon coming home from a friends house one day, my daughter was comparing and contrasting her friend’s two cats. Helen was totally in love with the two creatures and I could tell that her heart was full to overflowing as she exclaimed, “Oh Mom, they are so wonderful; they have so many differences in common.” She was in another realm.
I have often thought on that conversation. “They have so many differences in common.” In this troubled world, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could embrace those who are different with the same love and admiration as does a child?

In Acts 17: 25-29 the apostle Paul upon seeing an alter to THE UNKNOWN GOD was explaining man’s relationship to God to the philosophers in Athens:

“…seeing he [God] giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the grounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone graven by art and man’s device…

If all of the inhabitants of all the nations of the earth are brothers and sisters, and I believe that we are, shouldn’t we act the part? Shouldn’t we love one another and respect each other? There are so many wonderful differences that we all share in common. The profound observations of a child could teach us much about peace if only we had ears to hear the truth.

I used to be a tigger

June 12, 2007

 By Janet Walgren
What ever happened to the healthy well built figure? A figure that was not fat, not skinny, not lacking muscle tone, but healthy and shapely used to be the norm in the olden days. I used to have a beautiful figure and I fully expected to arrive in a coffin dressed in the perfect size 9.


About two months ago I noticed that it was getting harder to move freely and do the things that I wanted to do. I thought of the many elderly people that I know with sever mobility challenges and then I took a good long hard look in the mirror; it was frightening. I saw twice the woman that I used to be staring back at me, and I don’t mean that in a good way. I thought back to the good old days when I used to be a tigger. I owned several martial arts schools, a scuba diving academy, and had a trampoline in my backyard; I loved everything physical especially gymnastics. Could it be that I had physically arrived at the point of no return? At that moment I decided to hedge my bets and re-invent myself. If my mind wasn’t old and out of shape, why should I let my body continue to be that way? 


The first thing I did was to mentally visualize myself wearing a pretty dress in a perfect size nine standing in a garden waiting for my prince charming. The next thing I did was get to work. I changed my diet completely and hopped on the treadmill and vowed to make it my daily routine for life. Surprisingly, it only took a good hard solid week to start enjoying my morning routine, and two weeks to start noticing a difference. By week three, my vision was firmly planted in my brain, “As a man thinketh…right?”


Now, at week eight, my inner child has come to life and my imagination is starting to soar. At the end of each workout I tell myself, “Good Job Janet!” The other day I was walking on the treadmill thoroughly enjoying myself. I remembered the days that I soared on the trampoline and could do any number of impressive tricks. Then I began thinking of a video clip that my daughter showed me on YouTube of a group of guys that do a choreographed routine on treadmills. I surveyed the treadmill handles and decided that they looked about the same as the parallel bars, but reality set in quickly. Aha! At least I could throw my arms up in a victory celebration as the treadmill’s timer crossed the finish line and say “Good Job” as I rode backwards and the safety key disengaged. Bloop Bloop! Ouch!! I guess that I need to shorten the safety cord. Oh well, I used to be a tigger and I always will be one at heart.

The teenage crush & the drive by

June 3, 2007

By Janet Walgren
I can’t think of any subject that is more sensitive than “The Teenage Crush”. Each of my daughters was very different when it came to boys, and as for Kris, what can I say, the girls loved him. I can remember Kris walking to church with a basket of flowers that he had purchased for a girl. He was so nervous that he started picking the petals off the flowers saying, “She loves me. She loves me not.” I think that he would have stripped the flowers bare if it hadn’t been for him walking smack dab into the middle of a sign post. The basket of flowers ended up in a waste basket in the church foyer.

One time we were having a birthday party for Kris and a girl slipped him a love note. Kris read it and nodded a thank you then said, “Hey mom, this is really cool. Look!” I thought the girl was going to die on the spot. His friends gasp and queried, “You let your mom read your notes?” It didn’t cool things down any; the girls just solicited my help after that.

Jamie was a little different. Well a lot different. When a guy called her the first time, her sister handed her the phone and said, “It’s Chris!” Jamie thought it was her brother, Kris and was so stunned (you know that deer in the headlights kind of thing) that she hung up on the poor guy. A few days later the guy ran across town (a long up hill jaunt) to see her and she shut the door in his face. I asked her, “What’s the matter? “Don’t you like him?” Sure she replied. She had a fine way of showing it. We didn’t tease her. It was taboo.

When Helen noticed boys, they noticed her back. She was our social butterfly. One day in a life skills class, a guy who had a long time crush on her looked at her homework. They were supposed to design a house, set it up on paper and furnish it on a budget. Helen chose a king-size bed and had drawn the floor plan for the bedroom- furniture and all. When Nick saw it he said, “Boy, Helen, that bed is big enough for three husbands! Nick was red faced with disbelief that he had actually blurted it out loud.

Helen laughed and said, “Well Nick, how many husbands do you plan on having?”

Nick replied, “One… one WIFE!” The entire class was staring and laughing at him. He continued, “Blonde hair, blue eyes, wearing a blue jean jacket…” Helen giggled and gave him a light kiss on the forehead saying, “Nick, you’ll always be my good friend.”

With the kiss and the soft words, Nick recovered and said, “Hark, I’ve been kissed,” and the class went on as normal.

A few years later, we were living across town in a beautiful forested area by the Spokane River. We often drove along the bluff and looked down to see the grandeur of nature in our backyard. A moose would wade into the river and use his antlers to throw water on his back, and there were deer and birds and other wildlife.

One day we discovered that one of the houses along that road belonged to a guy that Helen had a crush on and all of a sudden our ride became a “drive by,” at least to Helen, and thus it was dubbed. We started to tease her and would burst into song.. “I often drove down this street before, but the pavement always stayed beneath my wheels before…” as we drove by. Helen loved it and often on our way home from church or the city, Helen would beg for a drive by.

All was in good fun and the guy never knew about it, but one night, Jamie was driving and there was a dense fog. Jamie couldn’t even see the road and just wanted to get home, but Helen was begging for a drive by. Finally I said, “Jamie it is only one block out of the way. Just humor your sister. What will it hurt?” Obediently, Jamie turned the car down the block, but when we got to the guys house, Jamie stood on the brakes and laid on the horn. Everyone screamed, “Jamie!!!” As I said, “Step on the gas. Step on the gas. Step on the gas.” I think that was Jamie’s favorite drive by.

Cruising Center Street at Midnight

June 1, 2007

By Janet Walgren 
One night I was just entering a state of peaceful slumber when my son woke me stating that his older brother sneaked out of the house and was headed for Center Street with his friend. Center Street in Provo wasn’t a terrible place; Provo at it worst is actually pretty tame, and I wasn’t as worried about the street or the consequences of this daring adventure as I was about his behavior. We needed to talk.

Well, being Super Parent, I arose and put on my Super Hero costume. I can’t remember what I wore that night, but I had a stash of “I would rather be dead than to be seen with my mother when she is wearing that costume!” clothing. It was a tradition and my children had their own costumes as well. I rallied the troops and when we were appropriately attired, we got in to our car and headed for Center Street just in time to pick up Kris and his friend a few blocks from destination zero.


“Get in the car!” I commanded. They knew that they were busted and obediently climbed in the car. On queue, their siblings scooted to the center so the boys each had a window seat. “What do you think you are doing sneaking out of the house like that?” I inquired. The boys said that they wanted to go see all the older kids that parked on Center Street to hang out on Friday night.


“So… you want to hang out on Center Street do you? Well, tell you what; I think that is a great idea! Don’t mind if we join you, do you?” The boys groaned as their siblings laughed with delight. “Everybody roll down your windows, we’re almost there,” I announced.


With that, I slowed the car to a crawl and started saying loud how-do-you-dos to the kids sitting on the hoods of the cars parked on both sides of the street. “Nice baby you’ve got there!” to the teenage mother, and “I like your date!” to the guy on the curb petting his dog. “Cigarettes will kill you,” to the guy who was lighting up. “Aren’t you too young to drink?”… The kids caught the spirit of the occasion and started to pitch in.


When we came to the end of the six block stretch, I asked the boys how they liked cruising Center Street. They said it was real fun. “Tell you what, I’ll just let you guys get out here, and I’ll make my way back up to other end of the street, and I’ll park and wait for you their. I’d hate to ruin all of your fun.”


Now I would like to note here that although I do have exceptional kids, at 13 years of age, Kris wasn’t exactly a rocket scientist, but he was wise enough to know that walking back up the street that we just drove down while heckling the older kids wasn’t the most brilliant or safe idea. “No thanks mom,” he replied, “It would be more fun driving back up the other side with you.”


When we got home, everybody drank hot chocolate and ate cookies while we talked about the dangers of the night especially where their other parents lived. (I had nine children including step-children that summer and some lived in dangerous cities.) We talked about the buddy system and the importance of a parent, guardian, or friend knowing where you were, how long you were going to be there, when you were going to be home, and the importance of checking in if your plans altered.


How you fight the battles of life is just as important as choosing which battles you fight. When my children remember our night cruising Center Street, they laugh. I laugh too, because I know they are safe. To discipline is to teach and I love a happy student.


Ring, ring, “Hello”…

“Grandma where are you?”

“I’m driving up the coast highway getting close to Astoria.”

“Well it’s getting dark. Don’t you think it’s about time you were getting home?”


Warning! Be careful of the lessons you teach. They can come back to haunt you. Seriously, I don’t have an ankle bracelet, but I do have a cell phone…compliments of a concerned son-in-law. Thi…thank you. I appreciate your love and concern. It feels good to know I am loved.