Birthday Story for a Five-Year-Old

Ninja Warrior
by Grandma Baadsgaard
Happy 5th Birthday. I sure love you Liam - my mighty warrior.

            In the towering cliffs next to the sea, lived Liam a mighty ninja warrior. Liam wasn’t always a warrior. Once he was a little boy who lived in a cottage with his family. One night many men dressed in black unexpectedly came to his house and set the roof on fire. His family ran out the front door. Liam ran out the back door and hid behind a rock wall while he watched the men tie his family’s hands behind their backs and take them away.
            Liam was alone. He slept on the beach until the dawn. He caught a fish in the ocean when he grew hungry. He searched over the remains of his home. He pulled out a half burned quilt his mother made him and a small blade his father had given him. He found his flute hidden under a stone in a box beneath the floor boards. That night he played a sad song under the stars. He did not know where his family had gone.
            After many days passed he saw a peasant gathering wood near his home. The man walked toward Liam. He looked at Liam’s home in ashes.
            “You are alone,” the peasant said.
            “The men in black burned my house and took my family away.”
            The peasant quietly turned and picked up a piece of charred wood then another until he formed a pile. Soon the rock foundation was all that remained.
            “We will find new wood,” the peasant said.
            Liam followed the peasant into the woods, chopped down trees and carried many logs to the foundation. Together they built a new cottage. Later, after they finished rebuilding Liam’s home, the peasant built a fire in the fireplace. Liam played a song on his flute with his mother’s quilt around his shoulders and his father’s blade in his pocket.
            “I miss my family,” Liam said.
            “Then we will find your family,” the peasant said.
            “I am afraid of the men in black,” Liam said.
            “Then we will use strategy and skill,” the peasant said.
            That night when the peasant thought Liam was sleeping, he walked from the cottage to the edge of the cliff in the moonlight. Liam secretly followed. Liam watched as the peasant crouched down then curled into a ball on the ground until he resembled a stone. Then Liam saw the peasant transform into an eagle that rose majestically and flew into the night sky. Liam returned to the cottage deep in thought.
          “I have found your family,” the peasant said at breakfast the next morning. They are slaves building a castle for the men in black. There are many, many men in black. We must plan your family’s escape with cunning and skill.”
            Lessons began. Each day the peasant gave Liam new lessons in the use of mental clarity, forecasting and transformation skills.
“When you feel fear, knell on the earth and gather courage deep inside. Then rise, spread your arms like the wings of a bird and let your fear go. You can rise above and fly.”

          Each night Liam rose from his safe place next to the fire and secretly followed the peasant into the cold dark then watched as he transformed into an eagle and flew toward the castle. When he was ready Liam openly followed his teacher to the each of the cliff. Then he too crouched down low until he resembled a stone. He gathered his courage deep inside. As he stood and spread his arms wide, his limbs became wings and together they flew toward the castle.
          When Liam saw his family sleeping in dung and rags, his heart ached. When they returned to the cottage Liam knew what he must do.
          “I am ready,” Liam said to his teacher the next morning.  
          That night they flew together to the castle, transformed then spoke to Liam’s father.
          “Father,” Liam said. “I am here to bring you home.”
            Liam’s father awoke and quietly roused Liam’s mother and brothers and sisters. Silently they followed Liam toward the gate. Liam and his teacher flung grappling hooks over the castle walls and assisted Liam’s family as they cleared the wall. When they were safely outside the castle, both Liam and his teacher curled into a ball on the ground until they looked like a stone.
          “Gather your courage,” Liam said.
          Then Liam’s father, mother, brothers and sisters quietly followed their lead. Just as the moon rose over the horizon, a flock of eagles soared high in the night sky and glided toward the cliffs near the shore and their home. When Liam woke the next morning, a fire crackled in the fireplace as his family slept soundly all around him. He walked from the warm cottage and found his teacher sitting at the crest of the cliff looking out toward the eastern horizon. Liam sat next to him facing the wind.
“We are only grounded by our fears,” his teacher said.
         Then Liam watched as his teacher slowly crouched into the shape of a stone. For a moment Liam longed for him to stay. Then he understood why he must go.
          “I am ready,” Liam said.
           Liam watched as his teacher spread his wings and soared high into the brilliant light of the new day.


John in Denmark

John on his first day in Denmark standing in front of Nyhavn a street in Copenhagen.
John at his first apartment in Denmark with his new bike.


Write Your Own Story - Happy Birthday Sandy!

by Granny B
Happy Eleventh Birthday Sandy. 
I love you. Keep writing your stories.

While the rest of her family was busy watching a movie, Sandy sauntered through the house deep in thought with a notebook in her hand.
“Come watch Princess Pink’s Magic Kingdom with me,” her sister begged jumping up from the couch. “Please.”
“No thanks,” Sandy said, “I’d rather write my own stories.”
Sandy imagined she was Sherlock Holmes as she continued pacing about the house with a keen eye. She turned on her story brain by playing detective. Everywhere she went she studiously observed her surroundings and carefully listened. Her grandmother once told her that you can write a story in your mind while you are doing something else like washing the dishes or walking home from school.
“I want to be a writer like you when I grow up,” Sandy said to her grandmother when they were sitting next to each other one day.
“What a pleasant idea,” her grandma answered. “We writers should stick together; for we all like to gather words like clouds, let them rain and then make the sun come out again. It is the perfect line of work for those of us who want to live lives with happy endings.”
“There are stories circling around in my head all time,” Sandy said. “Sometimes I hear people talking to each other in there.”
“Me too,” Grandma answered. “I still don’t have all my stories out. Did you know that when you love to read and write you always have somewhere interesting to go even when you have to stay where you are?”
“What is the best way for me to practice writing?” Sandy asked.
 “Listen carefully, feel deeply, read widely and write every day,” her grandmother answered.
So Sandy listened carefully to the way her mother and father spoke to each other across the kitchen table and practiced writing their dialogue in her notebook. She read The Secret Garden and grew curious to learn about the life of the author Frances Hodgson Burnett. She wrote a few verses about their apple tree sending blossoms into the air like wee parachutes. Then she tucked those lines of verse inside her idea folder. Mysterious plots, good versus evil themes and noble characters were stacking up in the accordion file of her mind getting ready to be played. Sandy listened to narratives writing themselves inside her head everywhere she went. She didn’t have enough time to write them all down; she had to choose. Choosing was hard.
Sandy tried out her latest story on her younger brother when she tucked him in.
“Once . . .” she began, “There was a purple ballerina who couldn’t stop dancing.”
Her brother gave her a blank stare and grunted so Sandy changed up the plot a bit. “Once upon a time there was a dinosaur that ate little boys!”
With wide open eyes her brother stopped wiggling and waited for the rest of the story.
Sandy pulled out her notebook and wrote, “Good stories need a villain.” When her story went too long, her little brother fell asleep; so she added, “Little boys like short stories.”
Sandy also liked to try out her new stories with her older sister when they were falling asleep in their twin beds in the basement at night.
“Once upon a time there was a girl who liked to write stories,” Sandy began contemplating being the star of her new interesting plot.
She heard her sister yawn.
“Once there was a girl in junior high that discovered a hidden door behind the blackboard in her English class.”
Her sister sat up excited to hear the rest of the tale.
The next morning Sandy pulled out her notebook and wrote, “People like stories with a little mystery thrown in.”
Then Sandy headed upstairs for breakfast and walked straight into a wall because she had her nose in a book. She heard her brothers and sisters laughing at her in the kitchen.
“Stop laughing at me,” Sandy said.
Her siblings laughed even louder. Sandy stopped being embarrassed and laughed along with them.
“People like stories with characters that make them laugh,” Sandy wrote in her notebook after breakfast.
Later that night Sandy’s father tucked her into bed.
“Will you tell me a story?” Sandy asked.
“Once upon a time, there was a girl who had more tales and yarns in her head than pieces of sand on the sea shore. Every day she told a brand new story to anyone who would listen until she was very old. When she had grey hair and lots of wrinkles, she told stories to her grandchildren. She never ran out of stories. The end.”
            “Is that a story about Grandma or me someday?” Sandy asked.
“Yes,” her father answered.


Fairy Poem

by Grandma Baadsgaard
Happy 5th birthday Kate. 
I sure do love you.

There is a tree at Grandma’s house,
Boughs hanging to the ground,
Where fairies dance at twilight
If you listen, you’ll hear their sounds

When you’re very quiet and eavesdrop carefully
You’ll hear their tiny bluebells chime
And see their flaxen lantern’s light
Then hear their voices sing a rhyme . . .

“We are your wishes – your dreams at bay
We paint the summer flowers bright
We spread the glisten in the trees
We make mid-night stars alight.”

“On your knees beneath the hanging boughs
You’ll see our tiny wooden chairs
Made with moss and well-trimmed sticks
You’ll find jewels for your hair.”

“No one knows where fairies hide
When grown-ups are about
So if children want to see us
They can’t scream and shout.”

“They must sit quietly upon the stone
Close their eyes and hold so still
Then they’ll hear our wings purring
And they’ll know that we are real.”

If you’re very lucky we might be brave
And light upon on your hand
That is the time for you to wink and smile
For now you’re in fairyland.” 


Learning Danish at the Provo MTC

These twelve young men are learning Danish at the Provo Mission Training Center. They will soon be leaving for Denmark after only six weeks of language training.
Elder John Baadsgaard in front of the Provo Temple.
Sister Annette Burgess sent me this picture of John (Elder Baadsgaard) at the MTC with his companion Elder Francis.
They are standing next to Brother Burgess the MTC Mission President.


Cove Fort Days 2015

I loved spending the day at Cove Fort with my daughter Arianne 
and my grandchildren
 Sam, Sophie, Logan, Liam and Gideon.
These pictures were taken by Arianne.
My favorite volunteer was the potter working at the wheel.
 His hands and his heart were full of wisdom and the love of God.
This is the kitchen in the fort.
I had a chance to work on a loom for the first time.
The fort has been restored and in each room a volunteer will tell you all about what happened at the fort in the 1800's.
Wagon Rides
I so appreciate the many volunteers and missionaries who donate their time to make this awesome day possible.


Saying Goodbye for Two Years

John Baadsgaard entering the Missionary Training Center in Provo Utah.
John and his father.
Saying goodbye for two years is so hard to do.

Ross and Janene Baadsgaard Family Reunion 2015

My Big Beautiful Family


John Baadsgaard is going to Denmark on a Mission

My son John is leaving to serve a mission in Denmark in a few days. His farewell talk in sacrament meeting is on Sunday July 19th at 10:45 at the Maple Mountain Stake Center in Spanish Fork.

He is serving in Denmark and will enter the Language Training Center in Provo on July 22nd.

Baadsgaard is a Danish name. Many of John's ancestors are from Denmark.


Birthday Poem for Eden

By Grandma Baadsgaard
I love you Eden
A very happy birthday to a very adorable one-year-old

We could not stay
God loved us enough
To send us into the world
For there
Was no other way

 just so
We wouldn’t forget,
God sent you -
our garden,
 portion of heaven,


Colonial Heritage Festival

This is a picture of my daughter Arianne Baadsgaard Cope with three of her five children Samuel, Sophia and Logan.
My daughter Arianne was a volunteer presenter at the Colonial Heritage Festival this past weekend.
She is a master artisan at many of the lost arts including, spinning, weaving, soap making, food preservation, hand sewing, the use of herbs, and wood carving and decoration. She believes that so many of us are disconnected from the things we eat and use everyday. For example she makes a connection from sheep to shawl and from garden to pantry in a way that is soul satisfying. As her mother - it delights me to see her connection to God's good earth, the skillful use of her hands, her preservation of lost arts and skills and her desire to freely share what she knows. I love seeing my grandmothers come alive through her.

The Colonial Festival is sponsored by the Heritage Foundation (a public charity dedicated to the preservation of the values, culture, skills, and history of America's Founding.) They believe many of the problems that face America today can be largely alleviated if individuals and communities return to the values of the the great patriots of America's founding.

These principles include:
the commitment to individual liberty
providing justice for all
a strong work ethic that leads to self-reliance,
the individual desire to acquire an education that supports liberty
the willingness to make personal sacrifice for the good of the community
a belief in Divine Providence
a sense that we all have responsibility to live lives of virtue to quality for God's intervention on behalf of our nation.

These values were commonplace in the lives and thoughts of seventeenth and eighteenth century North Americans but are harder to observe in the fabric of today's American culture.

Because of people like my daughter Arianne, and the other volunteers at the park this past weekend, my grandchildren were able to attend reenactments of the Tea Tax Debate, George Washington's commission and the writing of the Declaration of independence.

Thank you Colonial Heritage Festival and all the volunteers like my daughter Arianne for giving me a way to celebrate the 4th of July in a way that was interesting, educational, meaningful and fun.



Payson Utah Temple Cultural Celebration

        The Payson Utah Temple Cultural Celebration-June 6, 2015. 

My children John and Alisa participated in the Payson Utah Temple Cultural Celebration held on Saturday evening June 6, 2015. This grand celebration proved to be a miraculous and faith promoting event for all who participated - both on the field and in the audience. The journey to performance day had been arduous and required individual dedication and hard work. On the eve of the performance and after practicing under the hot sun for hours, the youth in temple district were anxious to perform. 

Suddenly a typhoon style rainstorm hit the area along with hail, thunder, lightning and 35 mile-per-hour winds. Thousands of participants and spectators moved from the stands and huddled under the stadium for shelter listening to clasps of thunder and a loud warning over the PA system - “Program is temporarily suspended. Take shelter under the stadium or return to your vehicle.” Others hunkered down with umbrellas not wanting to give up their good seats until the intensity of the wind, rain and lightning finally created a mass exit from the stands.

As the minutes ticked by, thousands of rain soaked participants and their disappointed audience wondered if the show would ever go on. Some kept checking the time and the skies while others silently prayed. Young men and women were seen leading large groups of people in prayer as lightening flashed and instant waterfalls cascaded down the bleachers.

The cultural celebration starting time, came and went. Then an hour after the scheduled time to begin the program, the storm unexpectedly stopped. As the dark storm clouds abruptly parted, it felt like a miracle as rain soaked participants and audience members gratefully glanced up at the sky. With a nod from the PA system 13,000 youth, along with their families and local community members eagerly re-filled the LaVell Edwards Stadium. As preparations began for the opening number, all present felt an increased appreciation for this rare and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It was show time.
Eager, radiant youth cheered as Church leaders appeared in the stadium riding in covered carts and again as President Eyring walked to the podium. Other leaders (including many who escorted their wives) included Elder Russell M. Nelson, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Elder Quentin L. Cook, and Elder Neil L. Andersen, all of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, and Elder Ulisses Soares of the Presidency of the Seventy; Elder Kent F. Richards of the Seventy; Bishop Gerald Causse of the Presiding Bishopric; Sister Carol F. McConkie of the Young Women general presidency; Sister Cheryl A. Esplin of the Primary general presidency; and Larry Duffin, temple committee chair.

Following an opening prayer, Elder Kent F. Richards welcomed everyone by saying, "Thank you for your faith and for your patience.”

Then President Henry B. Eyring stood and with a broad smile said, We all feel excitement and gratitude that the weather is going to let us go forward. You have spent countless hours mastering the parts you’ll play tonight. You have found talents as you have prepared. You will never forget the satisfaction as you discovered that through effort and determination you can do more than you thought possible. You have stretched higher and farther than you thought you could. One of the reasons you felt that growth is that the Lord has magnified your performance because of your faith in Him. We feel your faith in the Savior. His light will shine through you.
President Eyring told performers their purpose “is to help the Lord fill the earth with light. He is the Light of the World. His light shines through you to all who are with us tonight. Those of us in the audience tonight will feel inspired because of what is in your hearts. We will feel from the music, dance, and the words your faith in the Savior. This will be a memory of light, love and joy. You will be able to carry this wonderful feeling with you and return to it time and again. So let's fill this stadium with love and light. Let the celebration begin!"

Unexpectedly a large impressive flock of white doves flew high in the air above the stadium taking several graceful circling swoops. A video displaying vast sweeping fly-over views of the cities in the Payson Utah Temple district appeared on large video monitors on each end of the football field. Next, in an Olympic style procession, several youth from each stake walked down the center on the football field carrying a hand-made banner.
A series of rousing and or lyrical songs and dance numbers followed along with powerful narration and solo performances. The opening dance number Happy expressed the joy we experience in life. A more lyrical number, Come to My Garden, highlighted the orchards in the temple district with May poles and apple blossom branches. 

The dance, Through Heaven's Eyes, honored the Jerusalem movie set in Goshen with a dance reminiscent of the children of Israel. Next came a patriotic march that filled the football field with youth dressed in red, white and blue standing in straight lines and snapping flags. Following the patriotic march came the Founding Fathers and characters from the Book Mormon.
A brass band along with a number of bagpipes performed a crowd favorite Amazing Grace followed by hundreds of Stripling Warriors raising their voices and their wooden staffs. Youth from Spanish Fork came next, holding baseball bats and dancing to Take Me Out to the Ball Game highlighting that area’s love of softball and baseball. Payson youth performed in cowboy hats and neckerchiefs spotlighting a local culture of rodeos.
The next number included young men holding long strips of fabric over their heads creating the impression of dark clouds for the number Endless Night. These clouds represented the storms of life. As the performers left, a large model of the Payson temple appeared as young women ran onto the field waving yellow ribbons representing the Son (Sun) or the light of Christ. Then all the youth, both on the field and in the stands joyously sang, while using sign language, a rousing and touching rendition of Redeemer of Israel. Dancers dressed in white ran to the center of the field while others danced on each end of the field with large rings representing the eternal nature of temple covenants. When this number was over, all the youth ran to the east stands preparing for the grand finale.
The final number included all 13,000 youth, wearing white shirts and singing, “I will fill the world with love.” Then section by section, the youth removed their white shirts, revealing matching colored t-shirts. Each section formed one color and together they created a multi-colored rainbow wave across the entire length of the stands. Like Noah of old, these youth made a covenant with God and God made a covenant with them. A release of bright yellow balloons marked the end of this inspiring program as all spectators jubilantly rose to their feet and cheering and clapping in a standing ovation.
Just as the music stopped, a quiet hush fell over the crowd. Cast and spectators looked up to the heavens as gentle rain fell, slashing on their faces creating the perfect ending to a spectacular and miraculous celebration.


Cornerstone Box Filled For the Payson Temple

I've had a wonderful opportunity to be the historian for the Payson temple 2010-2015. I was asked to write a history and assemble the items that would go inside a cornerstone box that would be placed directly behind the cornerstone.
Most people know that we place the mortar around a cornerstone in the ceremony that celebrates the completion of a temple right before it is dedicated. Many don't realize that behind the cornerstone is a metal box that is filled with items that celebrate our faith in Jesus Christ and the events leading up to the temple dedication day.
On June 6th at 3:00 I met in the Payson Temple with the temple committee and their spouses to fill the cornerstone box. Elder Kent Richards who leads the temple department for the LDS church joined us for a few minutes and spoke to us. He mentioned that he helped in the location of the SLC temple cornerstone box with medical equipment from the hospital where he worked as a surgeon.

Then I described the items we would be placing in the box. Each person in the room took a turn to place one item in the box.

Some of the items we placed in the cornerstone box were:
Holy Bible
Book of Mormon
Doctrine And Covenants
Pearl Of Great Price
LDS Hymn book
Two books by President Thomas Monson: Teachings of Tomas MonsonTo the Rescue – The Biography of Thomas S. Monson
wheat grown on the temple lot
the newest translation of the Book of Mormon
The Payson Temple History 2010-2015
A binder that included:
pictures of the Savior
photographs of the Payson temple.
Groundbreaking program/tickets/invitations/prayer
open house tickets/invitations/new releases/gifts
cultural celebration tickets
dedication tickets/invitations/prayer 
invitation to the first endowment session
original copy of hymn High on the Mountain Top
line drawing of Payson temple
temple committee credential
copy of The Family – A Proclamation To The World
pictures of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve
copy of Payson LDS Temple booklet
cloth handkerchief and metal medallion with Payson temple logo
copy of The Living Christ
missionary outreach printed materials
list of stakes and wards in the Payson temple district
sample of hand-made temple altar cloth and open house hosting tablecloth
Hard bound copies of city/stake histories in Payson temple district

After we placed the items into the box we brought it outside and slid it inside a cavity on the south east corner of the Payson temple. Then we placed the stone in front of it that read: Erected 2015.
The following Sunday, President Eyring and other General Authorities placed the first mortar to seal the stone. Then they went back inside the temple and finished the first of three dedicatory sessions.


Libby is Baptized

I was blessed to attend my granddaughter's baptism this past weekend.