Musings defined: ponderings, reflections, meditations, contemplations.
I aim to share experiences, past and present, with the goal of learning and appreciating what life presents.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

"Tis the season, the Christmas season. I love this time of year when we have more opportunity to celebrate the birth of our Saviour and His life, death and resurrection Because of Jesus, I have hope of being forgiven of my sins as I repent, because He paid the price and has mercy on me. How fortunate we are to have a Heavenly Father and a Brother who love us so much they give us the gift of eternal life, that is, to live with Him forever.

We are given challenges and weaknesses so we might grow strong and learn to make the choices and learn to rely on Him. That will bring us to Him.

So we join Christendom in celebrating the birth of Jesus. One way our church members (and many others around the world) have chosen to celebrate His birth is with an exhibit of nativity scenes from around the world. This "Creche Exhibit" has been provided for the public for about the last 13 years. It gives us a quiet and beautiful reminder of what Christmas is all about.
For most of the four days of the exhibit, Christmas music by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is played. One evening a program of live music is provided in the chapel. This year our little branch choir was invited to sing, and I am a member of the choir. Eventhough we were small in numbers, we received good feedback. We sang arrangements of "Were You There on that Christmas Night? and Hark the Herald Angels Sing. (We also sang these in our sacrament meeting today.) Six community groups and soloists, including our two church choirs performed. I was fascinated by the 5 piece Recorder Ensemble. With their simple instruments they harmonized music that made them sound heavenly.

My bit of wisdom today:  Look for the opportunities to tune into the Spirit of Christmas.  Music tugs at my heart the most; just ask my daughters when they sing spiritual songs if tears don't come readily to me.  So find a quiet time and tune into the message of Christmas; whether that is live nativities, Christmas programs, an inspiring story, your own traditions, or an uplifting production.  Feed your soul and appreciate that warm feeling of peace.

Posted by PicasaI like this quote from a friend:
May you have a wonderful Christmas
That your heart will be filled with love for
Christ, others, and yourself.
Remember, Christ loved you first.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Sweet Nectar

What is my favourite drink ever since we moved to this valley?  You know it.  Home made apple juice!  Would you rather this be a "how to" posting or for me to continue telling you how good it is?  How about both.  Mom and I picked free apples three times. 
The best juicers were the Spartans that Murray B. told us about.  The  last were tiny Red Delicious frozen on the tree.  I am still intrigued by the set up of 9 Hoover washing machines set up in the trailer.  This nice man said we are likely his last customers of the season.

We were fortunate to have helpers.  A new friend, Melanie helped Mom inside while the Elders worked outside.  The Elder takes our apples from inside the garage and pours a box into a little hopper where they roll into an electric chopper.  The owner of this outfit is holding a cloth bag.  His helper is pouring chopped apples into a bag inside the washing machine.  The machine is set for only the spin cycle, forcing the juice through the bag and into a pipe under the machines that collects the juice.  The other Elder puts a little vitimin C in the new pail of juice to keep it a more clear colour and brings it into the kitchen.  The apple pulp is dumped into the garbage can and the machine is ready for another spin.
 Inside everything is busy because many clean bottles must be rinsed with a purifying solution ready to be filled.  But first the juice must be pasturized.

The foam is first skimmed off and then placed in big pans on the stove to be heated to 180 F.  The juice is again skimmed and then poured into the bottles and capped.  It will keep for years but is usually all consumed before the next season.  Mom also put 14 ice-cream pails full in the freezer.  Frozen juice does not need to be pasturized.  I think frozen juice tastes fresher. 
She also sprinkled an enzyme powder on 25 gallons.  Overnight the solids in the juice all formed on the top or the bottom of the pail.  We use a little pump we bought years ago for this as it removes the juice without disturbing the sediment.  The clear juice looks the best but personally, I like the taste of the cloudy juice best. 
The next day I helped fill bottles with the clarified juice.
Of course Mom was in charge, but she appreciated me lifting the heavy pans of juice.  I have great motivation to help, because, I enjoy the juice so much.  Sometimes we add a stick of cinnamon and heat a glass in the microwave.  Sometimes I add ice.  Sometimes I add water to this concentrated juice.  It is good any time.  Also makes a unique gift at Christmas time and a treat when family visits.  Mom calculates our juice man made over 85 gallons.  Of that: 14.5 gallons frozen, 26 gallons in 1 gallon bottles, 15.5 gallons in half gallon bottles, for a total of 56 gallons put away.  The rest we are drinking or taken by Melanie and Debbie who also supplied apples and helped.  How's that for a year's supply?  Except for gas and labour, it cost only $50 plus $18 for crystals.  Anyone like to drop by for a drink of divine apple nectar?

Like the ant that worked vs the grasshopper that didn't, I like the satisfaction and enjoyment of gathering what others discard and making something delicious out of it.  Involving others makes it all the sweeter.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

All Decked Out

What do you see through our open front door that is new. If you said snow, you would be correct, with about fives inches in the last few days.  If you said, What is new is the deck, then you are on the right track.
I finished building the deck last week.  I feel very blessed that during the last phase of construction, the weather cooperated so I had joyous times in the sunshine and only one day of cold wind.  It was actually enjoyable.  But then don't we have projects so we can use our time enjoyably?
I was telling a friend of mine, Peggy, about how it was all going.  A week after it was almost done she asked what my next project was.  Let's not rush it.  I am getting caught up on my writing, like this blog, although Carroll and I have started a new project, a delicious one.  But that is for next week.
Construction started back in August when I dug out the grass down about 6 inches covering the 21 foot area in front of the house.  Next I dug six holes.  Actually I dug 9 holes but covered 3 of them in; deciding I didn't need them.  After all, this is an exercise in physical exercise.  Wheelbarrow was handy to carry away the dirt and to mix the concrete in.  Six 8 inch sono tubes filled with concrete about 21 inches deep.  The double outside frame of 2X6 treated lumber is securely nailed and screwed and attached to each of the 6 metal saddles that were secured in the concrete when I poured it.  This should ensure the deck does not move eventhough it is not secured to the house.  I have never built a deck before and didn't know what I was doing.  I am grateful to framer Chris next door; Pieter, best friend cabinet maker; clerks at Home Depot, Home  Hardware; and most of all, Harvey at Trans Canada Lumber who had built his own elaborate deck and had lots of tips and ideas for me. 
I am especially grateful to my friend, Scott, who spent a day with me setting up the construction and brought his chop saw over for me as long as I needed it.  That made me faster and more accurate than my old skill saw.  I also bought a new yellow De Walt drill because my old blue drill didn't have the power to put the 3 inch screws in.

Once I listened to my team of experts, (who didn't always agree by the way, aka the extra holes), I could relax more and enjoy the work.  Carroll was a big help when the 16 foot deck boards needed cutting.  She also helped me keep the angles straight.   

As usual this project took longer than I expected.  I was glad I poured the concrete posts before we left in September for our 3 week trip, because the night temperatures fell to freezing when we came back.  As much as I enjoyed building this deck, once I knew what I was doing, it was good to get up off my knees and pull down all the yellow CAUTION tape I had strung up for so long.  Now we can relax on the front deck
or the back deck; in sun or in shade; but in actual fact we seldom just sit around when outside.  When we bought a smaller home, Carroll wanted room to garden.  Maybe I wanted room to landscape and make projects; as long as I don't have to complete them in too speedy a fashion.  The deck is our answer to the increasing tilt of the sidewalk - cover it over.
The bit of wisdom:  I have discovered that idle time gets me into trouble.  I thought retirement meant I could do pretty much anything I wanted, including watching all the TV I wanted.  No!  I am happier when engaged in something productive - like building a deck.  As I reflect back on the blogs I have posted, most tell of effort, whether it is work or play and many include family.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Travels in October

After General Conference in Salt Lake City, we drove to La Verkin and stayed in the home Mom grew up in.  She met with all her sibs.  They also sorted books.  Both of us grew up loving books.  We also stayed long enough to meet Christina's fiance', now her husband.  Christina is usually so reserved - but not with Shon Jessee.  We met lots of family at the reception.

Sarah and Rob invited us and Micah, Keziah and Arrianna for Thanksgiving dinner.  They warned us that it would not be a traditional dinner, as you can see.  Rob spent much of the day making fresh California sushi, won tons for the soup, and cubed pork, chicken and mushrooms to cook in the soup with the shrimp.  What fun! and so delicious!  The girls brought 2 pies.

Rob is the master chef at work.

Isabella is so cute and talks lots now.  She gets her  white blonde hair from both her dad and her mother.  She loves to go for walks outside.

I love to see cousins having fun together.
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Arrianna and the rest of the family all have winning smiles.

Guest blog by Keziah

I am taking over my grandfather's blog. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! He asked me to write a little diddy to improve his blog, so I accepted. Grandpa and Grandma are over visiting MY house while my parents are gone for their anniversary in Mexico. It's been fun having my grandparents around but they don't like playing the same games as I do (strategy and long... like Risk). The house is much more quiet than normal but I'm getting used to it.

Our family has discovered a hard working, gruelling, risk taking, savage, inopportune, irrelevant, freezing, burning, sweltering, aggressive, bloody, bright, dark, filthy, drab, ugly, homely, bad, annoying, crazy, dead, helpless, horrible, odd, poor, old, tough, wild, angry, annoyed, arrogant, stupid, awful, clumsy, condemned, cruel, dangerous, depressed, disturbed, frightening, nasty, naughty, terrible, troubled, uptight, disagreeable, uncomfortable, heavy, broken, damp, dreary, rough, weak, empty, crooked  job... Delivering newspapers! We have been delivering newspapers for about three years and at one point we had nine paper routes, just a little too many. Now we have three and it takes us an hour to finish, which is actually pretty fast. We get paid about $250.24 every four weeks for twelve hours of work. :) (can you count the adjectives in the first sentence of this paragraph?)

Our family life is pretty busy and we don't have that much spare time. My only free day is Thursday, but not really even then because that is the day that I have youth. Church, papers, piano and supper, papers, youth, papers and chores. That is my week and sadly my life. I love my life though, don't read that wrong, it's just really busy, but we all need something to do.

As you now finish reading the best post in this whole blog I would like you to think about your family and what they mean to you. How much time do you spend with them? How often do you do activities together? I know that I love spending time with my family and playing games with them. I am thankful that my grandparents took the time and effort to travel down to little old Lloydminster to visit their grandchildren. Toodledoo!
Keziah Jensen

NB:  Keziah wrote this post in October when Carroll and I were there.  Thank you Keziah.  A sad post script is that Keziah's Uncle Seraft was murdered earlier this week in St. Vincent in the Caribbean.
Grandpa, November 18th.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

 Carroll and I were fortunate to obtain tickets in our stake for the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference, October 1st in Salt Lake City.  We were delighted that our grandson, Ben, wanted to attend with us, and we had the extra ticket.  This Conference Center holds over 21,000 with nothing to impede the view, except the distance in our high balcony seats.  For close ups we relied on the large screens on either side.  The choir seats are occupied by Primary children as they replaced the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for this session.  They sang with gusto and with simple faith.  Tears came to my eyes as they sang "I Thank Thee Dear Father".  Another highlight came when Ben rested his head on my shoulder during the conference.  I don't think he was napping because he answered my question.  Love that grandson.

I like this view from in front of the Conference Center because you can see the spires of the Salt Lake temple, across the street, just beyond the trees.  We ate dinner the next day with Ben and all the family at their home in Payson.
General Conference is a special time because we hear the apostles and prophets and others remind us of what we need to hear for our time and in our day and age.  I particularly liked the talk by a Seventy, Ian Arden, who reminded us of priorities of how to spend our time.  In my notes from that Saturday afternoon, I wrote: family, things of God matter most, seek deligently from the best books, service to others.  Be as quick to kneel in prayer as we are to text.  Cease to be idle, but be profitable.  I have a great deal of discretion of how I spend my time.  I am making an effort to waste less time so I might be more profitable: to the Lord, family and others.

In the general priesthood session, President Dieter Uchtdorf reflected on our caring for the poor and needy.  Our commitment to welfare principles should be at the root of our belief.  President Henry B. Eyring is one of my favourites.  "We need faith and humility to rediscover" what we learned of the Plan of Salvation.  The Lord calls weak and simple people (versus the worldly learned people) to carry out His purposes, [like the young farm boy Joseph Smith].  Our beloved prophet and president, Thomas S. Monson, announced more temples for people around the world.  He also reminded us that, "We are never alone when we stand with our Father in Heaven."  Even now I stop to ponder the meaning of these great talks for my life today.  I find answers to my challenges in the inspired words of their talks.
To read all their talks given during the five sessions of Oct. Conference, go to:

Monday, 14 November 2011

Kayaking on the Okanagan

Over two months with no posts.  Tch, tch.  I will give some reasons later.  For now I am repenting and will create some posts that I have wanted to make for over two months.  One of the benefits of our family reunion at the end of July this year, was that we were able to spend some time with families just one on one both before and after the reunion.  The water of Okanagan Lake is a great attraction.

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My close friend, Pieter Bakker, is generous with the loan of his two kayaks.  We carried them across the road from his home in Peachland and enjoyed some quiet time paddling on the lake.  The rest of the story...
Near the end of August new move-ins to our city, Mike and one of his daughters, Kaitlynn,  joined Pieter and I in with their kayak.  I like to check out this and that in the water on this warm evening.  I was just taking big strokes of the paddle to catch up to them, when all of a sudden -- I ended up in the water over my head.  Couldn't believe that so quickly the kayak turned over, dumping me out; leaving me no say in the matter.  First time in 3 years of kayaking I ended up in the water.  A couple on the beach asked if I needed help and I said, "No, my friend Pieter will help me.  Mike, in his more stable kayak, came back and allowed me to hold on while he towed me and my paddle back to shore.  After we dumped all the water out of the kayak, we paddled some more, but it gave us something to talk about.

Monday, 29 August 2011


The theme for sacrament meeting talks Sunday was love.  Dave Maller effectively introduced and concluded his talk with a quote from a letter written by a recently deceased political leader.  Dave said he did not necessarily agree with his political views, but he did agree with the concluding paragraph of his letter,
"My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world."  I agree too.

Love is the all-encompassing value that defines successful relationships.  In the bible in Matthew 22: 35-40, the Saviour was asked by a lawyer what was the greatest commandment.  The Jewish religious leaders spent much time debating this question.  The lawyer thought to catch Jesus in a conundrum and make him look bad in front of the crowds.  Instead He replied that we must first love God, and then our neighbours as ourselves. 

Love God, self and everyone.  This is not something most of us will accomplish while on this earth, but it is worthwhile working towards.  I appreciate that a politician writing a letter three days before he died of cancer, identified the importance of love in his life.  Put into action, love becomes service to others: mothers sacrificing their time for their children, fathers working and playing with their children, and all of us helping those less fortunate with many kinds of assistance and with a listening ear.

Love is an action word.  This action brings inner rewards of joy and satisfaction of knowing we are making a difference in the lives of others; even a positive difference.  In this world of challenges and diversions, I am glad we have God's word in the scriptures that reminds us of the path that brings us happiness - to recognize His love and return it, and to love those around us.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


I learned the word "procrastination" while still very young.  Now I have developed procrastination to a fine art.  I just finished reading an entertaining "Mommy blog" at .  Not until I spent an hour reading the blog and comments and anzlyzing the blog did I realize I just spent my precious writing time doing the easier thing of reading.  Yesterday I promised myself that I would at least start to dig out the grass where my friend is going to build a deck in front of the house.  Instead I read lots and got caught up in watching TV; all the time hoping the few drops of a shower would turn into a torrent so I would have a good excuse.

I'm glad everyone does not have this problem of procrastination or nothing would get done in this world.  I'm glad I don't put things off all the time - like I am writing this blog right now.  I love retirement.  Lots of freedom.  When Hensie phones up and says, "I can get only Thursday off so can we go to the Armstrong Fair then?", Carroll and I can say "Yes, what time would you like us to pick you up?"  When Sianne is getting baptized we can say we will coordinate our coming to the temple at the same time.  When my new friend says he would like to go kayaking with me my first reaction was, "Oh you have to work during the day don't you.  I'm available only Tuesday or Wednesday evenings."  We are going tonight.  (His wife is encouraging this because she bought him the kayak and he is not using it as much as she would like.)  So not digging the grass out is not so much avoiding exercise (I even enjoyed aquafit/watercise yesterday morning), as it is committing to this project that I do not feel confident about.  Saturday morning I phoned into the garden show for advise but didn't feel comfortable with Don Burnette's answer so I phoned his usual partner at home (on vacation?) and said, "Can you pretend this is Saturday morning and I have a question for you?"  He was very gracious and agreed to use his expertise as a landscaping expert to tell me what to do.  No more excuses. 

 One of the problems of retirement is that I always have tomorrow.  A very active friend of ours, Traudi Kane, surprised me when she said in her sacrament meeting talk that an enemy of retirement is the seduction of comfort and ease.  I agree.

No more procrastination.  Right after breakfast I dig up six by 21 feet of the front lawn.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Happiness in family life is...

Family happiness is fun, fun, fun and good food.  Our family reunion was a great success.  My anxiety beforehand was totally unnecessary (like most anxiety is).  Just like I knew it would be, everyone had fun talking, teasing, tearing off on bikes, and toasting a great family.  The reunion was not without its moments of quiet, tenderness, sharing, singing, and mayhem.  I like what the Proclamation on the Family (1995) says about family:  "The family is ordained of God...Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."  While the last aspect was the most obvious at our reunion, ie recreational activities, I believe the other values underlie the good relationships of our family.  We missed the presence of our youngest son and his wife and daughter.  They are an important part of our family too.  Maybe next time.

Literally thousands of photos were taken.  How do I choose what to display?  I'll pick some just a little different.  We have many hams in the family.  Most of these photos were taken by Rebecca and can be seen in the book I created on line at Blurb.  To see a 78 page book of photos and comments of the family reunion of Michael and Carroll Jensen, click on the link below and see, "The Jensen Family Reunion, July, 2011" or translated, "Happiness in family life..."

Click on PREVIEW.  Once you have the book, I recommend you click on the bottom right hand corner box with the arrows going four directions for a full screen view.  Enjoy.  So for a little sample.

Havie loves to take pictures.  She is looking at photos Rebecca took while Isabella and Tali look on.

I was glad to see my new ping pong table was a big hit.  We are also a competitive family.

 Amelia is a wonderful aunt.  Just ask Sianne.
A couple of months ago Esther started gathering materials for the TV game, "Minute to Win It", a bit hit.

The photo/video I most regret not having is of about ten of our family who sang in our church meeting on Sunday.  They sang harmony for the hymn, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" so beautifully it brought tears to my eyes.  Jennie organized that.  Darius and his son gave talks/sermons in sacrament meeting as well.  Others offered prayers.  Later a friend of mine said he has never seen so many members of one family participate in one sacrament meeting.  Always nice to receive compliments for the family.  But Darius in his talk told some lies when he gave the impression his parents were perfect.  However, I am glad he remembers the good times.

  Learning to work will be of great value

Glad daughters and granddaughters volunteered to feed us.  Some unsung heroes are the husbands of our daughters who pitched tents and looked after children and washed dishes.  Love them all.

While most of our children weren't interested in learning piano when their mother taught them, they are more into it now, like Sarah.

I am glad Isabella likes my water feature.  Just as the right height too.

Many quiet moments to share.

Hensie brought her Japanese student to see what a Canadian family looks like.  So our family keeps on expanding, one way or another.  Hopefully our influence is for the good as we try to live the values and principles that bring happiness. 
Final thought:  FAMILY is not easy, it does involve sacrifice; but it is rewarding and it is worth it!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

KVR - a pioneer heritage

Another great family outing on July 23rd as we rode the Kettle Valley Steam Railway (KVR). This ride was my present to Justus as he turned five years old; and to Javan and Hensie as they celebrate their 6th wedding anniversary and as Hensie celebrates another birthday. We finally had a hot summer day and all had a great time on this 90 minute adventure.


I booked seats for us to ride in this converted cattle car that was open so we see better and take lots of photos.

I also recorded our journey on video tape.

All the crew are volunteers. Watching this brakeman brought back memories when I was a front end brakeman on the Canadian Pacific Railway for two summers out of Lethbridge, Alberta.

Javan and Hensie finally have time to snuggle on this romantic ride.

No Jay is not sleeping. The train is passing through beautiful vineyards and orchards and he is contemplating the beauties of nature. 

We stopped on the long high trestle over Trout Creek. Around 1913 the KVR was built in the high hills to carry out gold and other precious metals. The local people preserved this section of a long rail line. The rest of the KVR has all the rails taken out (since we moved here) and is used extensively as a hiking/biking path through the mountains.

The engine is an old Canadian Pacific coal burner that has been converted to oil.

I've never seen a cuter person wear a railroad cap than Josie. I have my dad's cap like this that says, C.P.R. Conductor. The volunteer staff were very good to pose for photos.

In church today the theme of talks and music was, our pioneer heritage. We owe much to those who went before us, building and sacrificing as they worked hard to overcome obstacles and tame our countries. Today our children have many obstacles to overcome that are just as dangerous as building high trestles or traversing the plains in handcarts. Drugs and pornography and other addictions also kill, destroy families, and provide just as deadly challenges today. May we remember the efforts of pioneers, and continue their work to build a safe and loving society.
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