Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

New Years Eve is a time to look back at your past, and more importantly, to look ahead to the coming year. It's hard to believe 2010 is about to arrive! It's the time to make those New Year resolutions. I don't usually make out a list but in the back of my mind there are always things I wish for, or resolve to follow through on. Love, Health, Happiness, and Organization wishes follow me through the years. What's on your wish list?
The poems below are timeless treasures written by my Grandma Phoebe (Swanson) Johnson.

Hallowed Remembrances
Memories bring
Light and love to the soul;
A song, immortal, fills the heart
With faith.

Prairie Poets III, An Anthology of Verse gathered by Pasque Petals 1926-1966 and The South Dakota State Poetry Society 1927-1966. Edited by Adeline M. Jenny, Published by The Lund Press, Inc. Minneapolis, Minnesota 1966 pg. 116-120

In the New Year
Heaven grant me grace to find
Darkened clouds all silver lined;
Joy in lowly tasks I do,
Health and friends to see me through;
Life abundant, love to share,
Much to do and heart to care.

(Written in January of 1957)
Prairie Poets II, An Anthology of Verse gathered by Pasque Petals 1926-1958 and The South Dakota State Poetry Society 1927-1958. Edited by Adeline M. Jenny, Published by The Lund Press, Inc. Minneapolis, Minnesota 1958 pg. 98-100

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"Wordless" Wednesday

I didn't get everything brought in from my flower gardens. This little fairy sits on a bench among some hosta. Now she is wrapped in a blanket of snow.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ahhhhh... Massage

Yesterday I had a massage. The owner of the salon called me about a half hour before my appointment and offered to come pick me up so I wouldn't have to drive down and back, wanting to make my experience last as long as it could. (Small town Iowa, remember) I took advantage of the offer and relaxed into the pamper mode.

There are many health benefits to receiving massage therapy on a regular basis: Relieves stress, Encourages relaxation, Improves circulation, Improves posture, Lowers blood pressure, Helps manage pain, Relaxes muscles, Improves flexibility, Improves breathing, Relieves tension headaches, Strengthens immune system, Decreases depression,...

Now, I could use any and all of those benefits and about now you may be jealous or think "I should schedule a massage too" (and you should). I was told to go home, drink lots of water for the rest of the day, take a bath (they gave me some sea salts to bathe in) and then take a nap.

As I was being dropped off at home I was surprised at seeing a neighbor and his dog out clearing the snow from my driveway, could this day get any better? Buddy the dog gave me some lovin and wags of his tail as I went in the house. I'm on vacation now and those things on my to do list were put on hold as I continued my day of relaxation. I talked with family and friends on the phone, watched a movie or two and had some homemade lefse. May you have relaxing days ahead of you too.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A repeat of Grandma's Christmas Poem

Jul-Tide Pilgrimage

In fancy, I go to the Northland, At Christmas time long, long ago,
When my Mom was a small girl in Sweden
And forests were laden with snow.
She helped choose the spruce on the hillside -
The prettiest one to be found;
Granddad felled it and loaded the stoneboat With small folk and tree, homeward bound.
Red lingon have long since been gathered
For jam as a holiday treat;
They grow in the moss-covered marshes,
With promise a future so sweet.
Come hither to fill their wood buckets
And thrill to the cuckoo's call,
That chimes from the top of a pine tree -
A peace and good will song to all!
The candles are moulded from tallow,
Good Julbread and fruit soup is made;
Round cheeses, stuffed sausage and lutfisk,
Will humble festivity aid.
Preparedness is now in full motion, The floor is sand-scrubbed and looks white,
With a door mat of evergreen branches -
Some on stove for incense delight.
This Christmas is full of surprises,
Red apples now sway in the tree;
Dear presents - so graciously home-made,
And eyes that are starfilled, I see.
It's Christmas Eve! In this lowly dwelling
The true Jul-tide Spirit abides,
The head of the house reads the Story -
The love of the Christ Child presides.
At dawn, on their brisk walk to God's House,
Groups carol the long six-mile way -
Thus honor the Babe with their presence
And worship on this Blessed Day.
May you, too, have a heart-warming Christmas,
Find you in each good thing God lends
And thrill as each candle-light hallows The Gift that His Love to you sends.

Phoebe Carolina Swanson Johnson
December 1962
, Sioux Falls, SD

Joe and Phoebe Johnson, 1951.

Each year Grandma would print a poem or write a song to include with her Christmas Card.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Past

Christmas is a time for memories. Family is tops on my list, even if we're spread out across the miles this year, you can't take the memories of Christmas past away from each of us. Last year I posted most of the old Christmas photos I have scanned so far, so here are a few sights from my past for you.

Right: 1961. Steve and I opening our presents. Love my pajama's with the feet in them and the snaps at the waist. (I now have that coffee table with a new tall pedestal under it as my dining room table.)

Left: 1961. Joe and Debbie tearing into their presents. Debbie must be speedy since she's in a blur! (Blue pajamas were popular for the Johnson kids I guess.)

Right: 1962. I think this was before we headed off to the Christmas program at Church or to Grandma Phoebe's for Christmas Eve. I remember posing for this photo. Debbie and my dresses were black velvet. We have one with Grandma Wettestad with us too at this same time. She always stayed with us around the Christmas Season.

Left: 1962. Christmas Day at our house. Up front: Grandma Wettestad, Steve, Diane, Beth Swanson, Debbie, Priscilla Swanson, Dad. Back: Emil Swanson, Joe, Mable Swanson, Elmer Swanson, Grandma Phoebe

Right: 1962. Coffee and desert around the dining room table at our house. Phoebe, Beth, Priscilla, Elmer, Joe, Dad (Calvin) Emil, and Mable.

Left: 1962. Deb, Beth, Joe, Steve, Pris, Diane and Dad. Am I praying that pictures will be over soon? Beth and Pris are Dad's first cousins and daughters of Elmer Swanson. Beth was a professional singer and Priscilla was still in college to become a Dermatologist.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Remembering Steve - 2

Steve has had his heavenly home for two years today. It is a day of remembering him, I still miss him and guess I always will.
We teased him as a kid, for his bottom lip that would protrude in a pout, no one could do it better. He was lucky too, like the time he was shooting his BB gun in the barn and it ricocheted back at him, landing in the lens of his glasses. He had a lifetime love of animals, especially dogs. I can picture him sleeping on the couch with a dog snuggling on his chest or playing on the floor with a dog and his toys. He loved old movies - westerns and war movies were favorites. He loved history.
Steve loved to travel and later in his life loved taking photos of those places, bringing his adventures back to the rest of us.
He was a techie and because of that we were able to keep in touch no matter how many miles were between us. We talked via video cams on the internet back when it wasn't as popular as it is now. He'd make the rounds talking to each member of the family via video after his cancer diagnosis and it was such a blessing to be able to see him and see how he felt and if he didn't call you knew it was a bad day. Those last visits on the video with him are ingrained in my memories since I couldn't be there with him.
Because he's gone doesn't mean he was a saint. We fought, had times of silence, shouted... but those times aren't what I remember. It's the protective big brother full of mishief, advice, smiles and love that I remember. Those cherished memories live in my heart forever.
May you not have to say good-bye to someone too soon due to cancer. The assurance of everlasting life through our belief in God, does give us comfort that we will be together again.

John 14:1-3 (New Living Translation) “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.

Mirror Lake, Yosemite National Park. Photo by Steve

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Wordless" Wednesday

Christmas Season 1961. Diane and Steve portraying Mary and Joseph. (with my sister Debbie's doll as baby Jesus)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad

Having another day off due to snow I was able to talk via video to my folks this morning to wish them a Happy Anniversary. They are celebrating 59 years of marriage today in Mesa, AZ, at their winter home. I wish I was there to celebrate with them.

There is something about you that sets you apart. Something so wonderful it fills my heart. You have a special way in the things that you do. I guess that's why, Mom and Dad, I LOVE YOU!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Johnsons

My interest in genealogy guided me towards trying Tombstone Tuesday postings.
My Great Grandparents tombstones at Grandview Covenant Cemetery, Rural, Larchwood, Lyon County, IA. Anders Per Jönsson changed his name to Andrew Peter Johnson when he and his family immigrated to the Canton, Lincoln County, SD area in 1881. He was born May 6, 1835 in Slätmontorp, Ljung Östergötland, Sweden and died September 13, 1920 in SD. Albertina (Gustafsdotter) Johnson died from pneumonia in 1935. She was born April 25, 1849 in Nybrofaller, Stjärnorp, Östergötland, Sweden and died February 14, 1935 in SD or IA. She had lived on the family farm near Tea, SD with her sons but also lived with her daughter Emma Long across the river in rural Larchwood, IA. The documents I have, have her named spelled Albertina, while this tombstone has Albertena?
Not far away to the west from our Great Grandparents graves is my brother Steve's grave and tombstone at Grandview Covenant Cemetery, rural Larchwood, Lyon County, IA. Born at Sioux Valley Hospital in Sioux Falls, Minnehaha County, SD, he died of cancer in 2007 in Fresno, Fresno County, CA.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Memories from my Auntie Joyce

This was shared with me from my Aunt, Joyce (Johnson) Whitcher, in December of 1999. Auntie Joyce passed away four years ago now, but it's memories like this that we hold dear. When I read these lines I'm transported to a time long ago. Pass on some of your memories to loved ones this Christmas and anytime of the year.
Right: Dale and Joyce Whitcher, 2005

Below: Joyce Johnson, 1927
“The old sheep shed hill and creek were a couple of my favorite places as a child. Uncle Carl, who lived with us, would just shake his head at the things we would do as kids.
Wish I could remember many memories of my childhood at Grandma Anna's. (Mrs. Charley Swanson) She was such a kind gentle person, everyone loved her. The neighbor children would fight to deliver eggs to her. This was after they moved into the new house and the renters would supply the eggs. She would always reward them with a treat or a gift. The old home where mother grew up was a place of beauty & charm to me. The grove of apple trees in springtime was a maze of pink fragrant blossoms. Auntie Mabel had a hammock under the trees which intrigued me as the ultimate way to go. Of course she had her favorite books there.
Below: The C.T. & Anna Swanson home.
Inside the gate where the sidewalk led to the house, were evergreen of spruce trees. Grandmother always had geese in the yard & they liked to chase me so I'd run for the porch. The house seemed so large to me, the favorite place to me was the pantry. So many good things emerged from there. The icebox had a big block of ice from the ice house, she made butter in a churn in the basement. The kitchen was very large where a table seated at least 12 people. But the parlor was the most mysterious of all, no one was allowed in there except for special occasions. There, the Christmas tree stood at the special Christmas I remember, when Santa came in the back door and placed a large box under the tree! And to my amazement it was my first beautiful doll.”

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"Wordless" Wednesday

A view of old Stockholm, Sweden from the top of city hall.
(photo by Robin Whitcher Fodness)


Related Posts with Thumbnails