We hope you are happy, healthy, and having a lovely November. We love October and November in the desert. After scorching hot days of summer, the warm days of Autumn are the reward. My grandma always used to say this part of the country has three months of spring, six months of summer, three months of autumn, and about two weeks of winter. The winter is more like fall in where you live. Most years there isn’t even one day of frost. And really the super hot summer is more like two and a half months. Some people say they could never stand the heat here. Yes, it’s horrible hot, but to me it’s not as difficult as freezing cold. I’ve not yet slipped on or shoveled sunshine. Like cold weather in where you live, we mostly stay inside during the big heat.
One of my apple trees died during the heat this summer. Talking to other gardeners I learned that unlike cooler places, fruit trees need dappled shade around here. One tree I really like for dappled shade is moringa. It grows like crazy here and needs very little water. The best part of moringa is it’s highly nutritious, edible qualities. The leaves are pretty tasty when put in soup like spinach or cabbage; they are not too bad in smoothies either. The seedpods taste similar to asparagus and can be used the same way. Where everything else quits growing in the heat, moringa grows like crazy. In the Philippines and India, people have used these vegetables for centuries. In places were children are dying of malnutrition like Africa and South America, moringa is now being harvested to eat with grain, curing and helping them grown strong and tall. Even though I already had four of them in the yard, I planted several more for shade and vegetables.
It’s so silly how I write and write, having no idea if you even read these letters. That’s ok. I write because I love you and because I feel inspired to do so by the Holy Ghost. One time I didn’t listen to a prompting, sort of arguing that my position was right. Disaster resulted. Now, no matter if the prompting makes sense to me or not, I do it. Writing to you and the other Grands makes sense and is fun, too. As I write, I imagine you sitting next to me at my breakfast table. I remember my interests, success, and problems at your age; we have a nice conversation.
When I was eight, I struggled for the first time in school. Before then everything was so easy. Cursive writing was added to the curriculum. Now I know I struggled, because I never learned to hold the pencil correctly. Third grade was also the year of multiplication memorization. Because neither of my parents cared anything about education, they didn’t help me memorize math facts or master penmanship or anything else. Lots of parents were like this in the 1970s.
Back then I just knew I was stupid, but that wasn’t really true. Since nobody ever asked about it, I just didn’t do my homework. A few years later, I met a girl with a scholarship to BYU. Star struck, I stated that she must be very smart. Confused by my comments, she said, ‘No, I just did my homework.’ By then it was too late for me to get that all-important, college scholarship, but it wasn’t too late to get an education. Since then I have read and read and read. Did you know you might learn anything about anything if you can read? What do you want to know about?
For your grandchild-of-the-week book, I’m sending a Bobbsey Twins of Lakeport. Aunt Emily loved reading these mysteries at your age. Hopefully, you will, too. I couldn’t get it on Amazon Prime, so it will get there in a week or so. I hope you like to read as much as me. There is nothing like a good story to transport one to another time and place. It’s the safest form of adventure known to man.
Well, we had a little problem with hawks hunting Dash. I sent a picture to your mom of a red-shouldered hawk sitting on our fence and staring at Dash. After I hurried her into the house, I went back out to take pictures. Then I heard another hawk call from the tree above the fence. Their calls sound like a loud scream, which is pretty unsettling. As the lifted off and soared above the house, I thrilled over the beautiful sight. I also vowed that Dash would not go out of the house by herself until we build a covered dog run. She doesn’t like being cooped-up, but I have a feeling she would like being dinner to a hawk or coyote even less.
It’s finally cool enough to ride my bike again. Since the school is pretty close, only 3.5 miles away, I plan to ride to and from school. At least I’m going to give it a try this week. Not only will I get some good exercise, but I’ll remove a bit of pollution from the air. We’ll see.
Instead of celebrating Halloween, our school celebrates United Nations day. Children and teachers dressed up from a country of their origin. As they sang it’s a small world, the children adorably paraded around the grounds and lined up to sing a few other songs for their parents. Afterwards, there was a huge pot-luck luncheon with food from India, Africa, several Asian islands, several European countries, and even Native America.
It was really hard for me to decide which of my ancestry lines to represent. After I narrowed it down to Native American or Scottish, I chose the latter. I wore a Royal Stuart kilt, as my 13th great-grandmother was Mary Stuart and my 14th great-grandfather on another line was James II Stuart; both are on my mother's side. If I still participate next year, I’m going to dress Native American for Chickasaw Squirrel Chief King and Powhatan Chief Morning Ripple.
It’s so fun to name drop our ancestors, but really our ancestry has nothing to do with our success or lack thereof. Sure, we love our predecessors and are influenced by or experiences, environment, DNA, and family traditions. However, God gave us free-agency, making us responsible for our own choices and actions. Rationalizing misbehavior or thinking we are better than others because of our ancestry is preposterous. “While you are free to choose your course of action, you are not free to choose the consequences. Whether for good or bad, consequences follow as a natural result of the choices you make,” For the Strength of Youth. Satan’s whole goal is to trick us into making choices that restrict freedom, develop bad habits and addictions, and reduce our ability to resist his temptations. We are so blessed to have the gospel is to teach us about choices and consequences.As our grandchild-of-the-week, we pray that God will inspire you to make choices that lead to great faith, meaningful relationships, lifelong learning, excellent health, and true joy. We pray that He will keep you safe and secure that you may grow into a fine young woman. We love you very much; please don't ever forget this. LYLPAG