Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Indexing...You CAN help!

   Why should I care about indexing?

     Family Search Indexing is a non-profit community effort sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We believe that every person is important and that families are meant to be both sacred and eternal. We encourage all people to find their ancestors and preserve their family histories. To help in this great pursuit, the Church has been actively gathering and preserving genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years.

     We have learned that interest in family history is not limited by culture, ethnicity or religious faith. People around the world are innately and intensely interested in their family heritage. Because the Church’s family history efforts are funded by charitable donations, it freely offers its resources to anyone interested in finding their family’s roots.

Augusta, Maria, and Germaine Hillaert in Belgium.
My Grandmother (middle) with her sisters.


Sandra Joy Beaujeu Dodge

     Perhaps it is this feeling that prompts millions to seek out their family history. For most, records of their ancestors provide key links to their past. An army of volunteers from around the world is now helping to save and make these records available. Using our online system, they are able to easily extract data from valuable records and provide free searchable indexes—all from the convenience of their homes.

      YOU CAN HELP. No special skills or fixed time commitments are required. Volunteer when you can. Just register, sign in, and follow a simple process:
  1. Select a “batch” of records to download to your computer.
  2. Enter the requested information (names, dates, events, etc.) in the corresponding spaces.
  3. Submit your completed index to the online system.
    It's easy.
          But, you say...'I don't know what I'm doing, or where to begin.' There are excellent tutorials that you can listen to that explains things beter than I can. And there are instructions on each project. You can go here to find out more:
             Elder Dallin H Oaks of the quorum of the twelve Apostles gave a message in the 2007 General Conference entitled, 'Good, Better, Best' where he said, "We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families."
          You can read/listen/watch/ or print this message in it's entirety here:
          I knew when I heard this message at Conference that I could do better at choosing the 'BEST' things. It was not that I was doing bad things...but there was places in my life that I could stand room for improvement. How many episodes of 'Everybody Loves Raymond' can one watch? LOL! I'm NOT an avid TV watcher but this message spoke to my heart on many levels. I not only could take my unproductive moments and make them more meaningful...but I didn't know how fun, interesting, and fulfilling indexing could be. There are beginner, intermediate, and advanced records that need to be indexed. If you know another language they especially need YOU! 
          You can even download several 'batches' and work on them 'off-line' when you are at the cabin, camping, fishing, or waiting in an airport. Our old Bishop frequently goes overseas on business and indexes on his long flights. Then when you plug back in to internet service they are easily uploaded.
    You don't have to be a member of our church. Anyone can volunteer. This effort makes thousands of records available to anyone searching for their family history.
          In fact you can begin searching for YOUR family here:
          If you are ready to begin your quest to find and link yourself to YOUR family the best software out there (imho) has a free version you can download here:
          This is fun. It is interesting. It is meaningful. It is addicting! :) And if you EVER need help. You can call me. I am NOT an expert but I can find you someone who CAN help you. My email address is: 
          Come on! Pick the BEST things to do with your time. GET STARTED! Go Here:
       Love as always,

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Living in Texas can be exciting.

Monday Jerry left with Jered and the other Varsity Scouts to go on their High Adventure. I was excited that I could do what I'd like all week long. I spent the day cleaning up after the chaos of packing them and their camping gear for their trip. With dishes done, laundry done, house cleaned, I was feeling pretty good about the commensement of my week. I decided to go to bed early and get a bright and early start in the morning.

I  woke up about 2:30am with the sounds of a severe storm going on outside. I turned on the TV so I could get some information on what kind of storm it was, how big, how intense, and how long it may last. But my attention to the TV was immediately thwarted by what sounded like heavenly hosts pitching hard-balls at our house. I was alone since the boys were gone. This was NOT good. The hail got worse. It was hitting the windows so hard that I was afraid that at any moment the glass would break. I got dressed and put on some tennis shoes in case this should happen. I also called Jerry. I needed to hear his soothing voice as the flashes of lightning lit up the insides of the house, and the walls seemed to quake with the rumbling  of the thunder.The loud intensity of the hail pelted everything outside, and then got worse. By this time I was shaking. Usually the storms pass quickly and a few minutes of hail is the norm...but THIS storm seemed to be parked above us and the hail went on, and on...and ON.

This was taken by my friend Allison Niccum on her front porch.

Brother Niccum collecting culprits. 
Photo's taken by- Allison Niccum

At one point there was a bit of a lull in the storm so I went to the back door to look out and see if I could get a picture of the hail covering the yard so I could text it to Jerry. I bravely/stupidly snuck out to snap a picture and...KABOOM! A flash of lightning and a quick retaliatory body-shaking answer of thunder and I was back in the house as quick as you could say, "Why did I do that?" LOL. I thought I smelled wood burning. I hoped someone's house didn't get hit by lightning. Maybe someone's fence? Then the weather pulled a Haley Mills, twin, presto-chango thing and we had another round of the storm just like the first. The second wave had begun. It lasted until about 3:30am. It was 4am before I could quit shaking long enough to lay down on my bed and find sleep.

Yep, this is the great shot I took. So NOT worth it.

In a couple of short hours when the sun came up with a beautiful clear azure sky I went to investigate my home and the damages. The first place I looked was to my little garden, flowers, and tomatoes. I am going to show you a before and after picture of my flowers & tomatoes.

My flowers two weeks ago.

Tuesday Morning after the hail. Boohoo.

My tomatoes last week. You can see the
Texas heat beginning to make them sad.

My tomatoes Tues. See them in the mulch?  Sticks much? :(

Here are some more pics of the storm  damage:

I went to Sit-N-Sew the next day at 11am
in the 90+ degree heat and this was still left
under Lois's window 8 hours later.
This is at least 3" deep.

The black dots are pieces of shingles.

These are the holes the hail made in my friends
daughters bedroom window. How did it make
such big holes but NOT break the glass?
Tender Mercy.
This photo by- Heather Olsen.
A neighbors yard.

Our fence from being pelted.

A VERY broken flood light.

Our down-spouts & eaves are also damaged.

The west side of my beautiful tree.

I went to check FaceBook to see what my friends were saying about the storm, or if anyone else had damage. No internet. No TV. No Home Phone service. Hmmmmm....remember the smoke I smelled?  I called Verizon and got a tech on the phone who walked me through, seemingly, all 500 steps to get service up and running, but alas, to no avail. So, he finally scheduled an actual human tech person to come out. But wait...not until Thursday late afternoon. Drat. But understandable with the scope of the storm. So I went inside and looked around. I had planned on doing so many fun indexing for HOURS...on the computer. Out. Watching all my favorite Tivo'd shows while I sew. Out. There were many other things that were well. But this is what I learned:

I learned I am grateful for a LOT of things this week. I am grateful to have a husband that through all the storms of life is by my side, or at least several hundred miles away with a good phone connection. He is such a wonderful calming presence, I feel safe, and secure when he's near and I can hear his voice and snuggle at his side. (I know, I know my children are saying...ummmmm, ew.) I am grateful that the power outage was short and that soon the blessed air conditioning was back on and sucking out the attrocious humidity that was left in the wake of all that water. It made me think about the poor people in Joplin and other parts of the country who didn't fare so well and are still without homes, power, and any luxury. I am grateful that NONE of my windows shattered. A friend of mine had even the screens torn with large holes in them. She lives a few miles to our west which is where they got baseball size hail. I am thankful that the fence is still standing albeit is in tact, unlike many of our poor neighbors and friends. The trees though missing a bunch of their beautiful leaves are still standing, and I am thankful for that. I am thankful or a sturdy beautiful home that gave me shelter. I was driving along FM407 later that day and saw the cattle, horses, donkeys, and goats and felt bad for them. I wonder how they are feeling today, poor things. I am thankful for good insurance because we are probably getting a new roof (our home is but 6 years old), a new fence, new flood lights, and possibly new air conditioning units (2). But most of all...I was thankful when the men in my life pulled into the driveway from their fun adventure on the Gulf of Mexico. I hugged Jerry's neck for a while glad he's home.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Scripture Quilt Update

A couple of months ago when my Sisters-in-law were here for a family event. I scheduled a little 'Field Trip' for them to go down to Lois's so they could meet her and see some of her projects and amazing quits.

Linda, Lois, Dolores, & Pauline.
Checking out Lois's Long Arm sewing machine.

Demonstrating Lois's new Bernina. Fun!

I was excited to share such a special place, and friend. All my Sisters-in-law are very talented women with a needle and thread so I knew they would enjoy a trip to Lois's.

Our 'Sit-N-Sew' group meets once a month (sometimes twice) and this year we are doing a 'Scripture Quilt'. I first laid eyes on it a couple of years ago when my dear friend Janet took me on my first 'Field Trip' to Lois's. It was as if every cell in my body jumped for joy when I saw this beautiful quilt. It was SO beautiful I actually got verklempt. LOL. Wow, if only. But, as I looked closer at it I dismissed in my mind making it because of the level of difficulty, and the amount of work involved. I am an amateur quilter at best. Then in the fall of last year when our group was deciding if we should do a quilt project together...that inner quilter in me piped up that I would vote to do the Scripture Quilt. I heard it come out of my mouth...but I was exillerated, and scared at the same time. COULD I? And since it is just one of those once-in-a-lifetime quilt opportunities....we all decided thats the one we'd like to do. Let me just say, that NONE of it would be possible without Lois. Teaching, guiding, preparing, hosting, sewing, ironing, and even letting us use her vast stash of fabric to pull from. I know, what a deal right? Thank you Lois.

So since a few of my family and friends know I have been working on it since January they have been asking how things are going. I posted earlier in my blog (see older posts) about the first block or two. But here are the January- May blocks that I have finished.


The creation of the world.

The Tree of Life

Noah and the Ark

Tower of Babel

Jacob's Ladder

I have learned so many things from making this quilt.

1- Doing a project above your expertise makes you stretch in ways that are so fulfilling. I am my own worst judge.

2- This is MY quilt. Even though there is a standard pattern, as soon as everyone is cut loose with fabric choices it becomes uniquely theirs and beautiful. No-one's is like mine, although there are threads of similarity that are alike. I LOVE the beauty of that. I cannot wait to show you theirs.

3- I found the scripture reference and 'sayings' on the original pattern not to my liking. (I know...I'm a tad picky) So I have been making my square and reading my scriptures about the square story I am doing, and THEN I choose my own scripture reference and saying. It may, or may not be the same as anyone else. But it has provided me with a lot of reading, thought, conversations with my hubby, and satisfaction. I can't wait to see what some of the other ladies choose.

4- I LOVE the creativity aspect of quilting. I actually go in the ZONE, and it is a place of peace, creativity and happiness. A place where time goes by quickly, and I look at my watch and say, 'Oh my goodness is that REALLY what time it is?' I feel that way when I am doing genealogy, photography, scrapbooking, and reading a great book. It's too bad there isn't more time to do all the things we'd like to do. Sometimes life has a way of SNAPPING us back to reality...say about 4:20pm when the front door opens. LOL! But that is a good thing too. :)

5- One of the reasons I bought Lois's old Bernina is because it does a 'blanket stitch' -or- 'button hole stitch' which allows me to go around the edges of applique. Lois has been helping me with that in the past.....ok basically doing it for me. LOL. I plunged forward in my learning process though, beginning with the 'Tower of Babel' square. I did the applique stitching myself. Now this month was the 'Jacob's Ladder' square which has many stars, BTW stars are VERY hard to do. I resisted the temptation...I almost called Lois (at least) 10 times to ask for help, tips, and pointers. But I knew the best thing to DO. I love it! Because I can look at my block and see which star I did 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and so on...LOL! I can see myself getting better as I went. This block will always be special to me because it made me stretch. :) Until next time...

Happy quilting!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

German Pancakes (Jered's Favorite)

This is one of those EASY recipes that is wonderful and most people have the ingredients on hand.

German Pancakes

6 eggs
1 c. milk
1 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter

Spray a 9x13 (or any oven safe large pan w/ deep sides) pan with light coat of Pam. Place a cube of butter in your pan & set it on a burner on low. Heat until the butter melts.

Blend eggs, milk, flour and salt in the blender for 2-3 minutes (I use my Braun hand mixer).

Pour the egg mixture over the butter in the hot 9x13 pan. Carefully put in oven.

Bake at 425 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

This is how the 9x13 pan looks when it's almost done.

This was done with a stainless steel deep side frying pan.
I think it's prettier. Since the oven is set at 425...
make sure your pan is oven safe.

It will rise in the oven and get really puffy, then settle down once you take it out of the oven. Top with powdered sugar. Serve with maple syrup and whipped cream, heat a can of any flavor pie filling (like apples), fresh strawberrys, blueberries, or bananas, and immediately after taking out of oven pour it in the center. Serve nice and hot.

Apples and cinnamon.

Fresh berries & powdered sugar.

~Sandi Dodge