Saving $ with a wood burning stove

In many places, it’s COLD this time of year.  So many are considering getting a wood burning stove to help heat their homes.  Fei thought it might be helpful to know the cost of such a venture. (Fei says “You’re welcome”)  (She’s been snorting at me to get this published for a couple of weeks… so here we go….)


$ 458.00       Stove, Pipe, Installation, Etc.

149.95          Chain saw

44.60            Care and maintenance for chain saw

8,379.04       4wd pickup, stripped

438.00          4wd pickup maintenance

310.00          Replace rear window of pickup (twice)

500.00          FINE: For cutting unmarked trees in national forest

126.00          Cost of food when you go to the forest

50.00            FINE: For littering

50.00            Towing charge: Truck from creek

45.00            Physician Fee: Removing splinter from left eye

29.50            Safety glasses

125.00          Emergency Room: Broken toes (Dropped logs)

49.95            Safety boots

800.00          New living room carpet

110.00          Cost of painting living room walls and ceiling

150.00          Log splitter

9,000.00       15-acre wood lot

310.00          Taxes on wood lot

75.00            Replace coffee table (Accidentally chopped and burned)

185.00          Physical Therapy: Strained back


($ 72.33)       Savings in conventional fuel, first year


(Oh!  And remember to watch for GREEN, YELLOW, ORANGE and RED days – AIR QUALITY – so you’ll know when you can use your stove and when you CAN’T!)  Love, Fei

TODAY you are YOU!!

You are YOU2

I read something which went like this: BE YOURSELF … EVERYONE ELSE IS TAKEN.  It reminded me of a CURRICULUM FABLE:  One time the animals had a school.  The curriculum consisted of running, climbing, flying, and swimming, and all of the animals took all of the subjects.  The duck was good in swimming.  Better, in fact, than his instructors.  He made passing grades in flying but was practically hopeless in running.  Because he was low in this subject, he was made to stay in after school and drop his swimming class in order to practice running.  He kept this up until he was only average in swimming.  But average was acceptable, so nobody worried much about that.  Except the duck.  The eagle was considered a problem pupil and was disciplined severely.  He beat all the others to the top of the tree in the climbing class, but he had used his own way of getting there. The rabbit started out at the top of the class in running, but he had a nervous breakdown and had to drop out of school on account of so much make-up work in swimming. The squirrel led the climbing class, but his flying teacher made him start his flying lessons from the ground up instead of the top of the tree down, and he developed charley horses from over-exertion at the take-off and began getting C’s in climbing, D’s in running. The practical prairie dogs apprenticed their off-spring to a badger when the school authorities refused to add digging to the curriculum. And at the end of the year an abnormal eel who could swim well and run, climb and fly a little was made Valedictorian.

Did you find some things to think about in the way you treat yourself or others??  I’ve thought a lot about this, and I’m happy just being MEE and no one else.

You are YOU!  There is no one just the same as YOU.  Dr. Seuss taught this: “Today you are you – that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is you’er than you! You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes – You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

Why try to “fit in” when you were born to “stand out?” Some people spend way too much time, energy, and soul on trying to be someone else – someone they’re not. We can certainly see qualities in others and work to develop some of those same qualities in ourselves.  Many of us have sung a song which has a beautiful phrase: “I’m trying to be like Jesus.”   And we ARE!  But we are still unique from everyone else. Let’s try to be who we are – who WE were meant to be, not who someone else was meant to be. Be who you are. Share what you feel. If you’re a duck swim! If you’re an eagle, fly! If you’re a rabbit, run! If you’re a squirrel, climb! If you’re a prairie dog, dig! If you try to be “everything,” you might end up feeling like “nothing.”

It’s like the horse that was beautiful but wanted to be even more so. He wanted to become more beautiful than anyone or anything else. So he said to “powers that be,” “You have given me beauty and other nice qualities, and I’m really grateful to you – but oh how I wish you could make me more beautiful. I would be extremely grateful forever if you could make me more beautiful.”  The “ptb” said, “OK – Tell me in what way you want to be changed.”  The horse said, “I think I’d be much more beautiful and well-proportioned with a longer neck.  And maybe with my legs longer and thinner.” The “ptb” said, “So be it!” And POOF!  A camel appeared in place of the horse. The horse was so shocked and disappointed that it started to cry, “I wanted to become more beautiful. And I’m NOT!”  The “ptb” said, “This is what you asked for. So you have become a camel.”  The horse cried, “Oh no, I don’t want to become a camel!  I want to be a horse! Everyone liked me as a horse.  No one will like me as a camel.  The “ptb” said, “Never try to be or receive more than I have given you. If you’re not careful, then you’ll continually want more and more. You’ll never be satisfied. But you have no idea what the outcome will be. Each thing has its own good qualities. The camel is not as beautiful as you are, but it carries much heavier loads and has a tremendous sense of responsibility.  And it can cross deserts!”

In the October general conference in 2000, Elder Oaks gave a wonderful talk about becoming. Here’s a short quote: The Apostle Paul taught that the Lord’s teachings and teachers were given that we may all attain “the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). This process requires far more than acquiring knowledge. It is not even enough for us to be convinced of the gospel; we must act and think so that we are converted by it. In contrast to the institutions of the world, which teach us to know something, the gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to become something.

I encourage you to read the whole talk again (Ensign, November 2000).  And remember: Today YOU are YOU – that is TRUER than TRUE!  There is NO ONE who is exactly like YOU!!  So, you unique and wonderful YOU – Have a wonderful day!! .

You are YOU








It may seem strange to have what I’m about to share as a “shout-out.” But I’m shouting for JOY, and I hope I can adequately explain why.  I had an experience yesterday afternoon which has blessed and influenced and happified me to the very center of my heart and soul.  And Steve said I could write about it – about him – on my blog.  Steve is a dear friend, and I might mention that he’s also a very dear friend of Fei’s. (We used to do skits with/about Fei when we’d have MTC parties).  25 years ago, as a result of many “happenings,” Steve lost his membership in the Church.  It broke many hearts, including his.  But last evening, in the very same stake center where he’d lost his membership, he was baptized. And yes, I can’t help weeping as I even write those words down.  We’ve been in touch during these years.  One of my favorite times was when Fei and I took him to breakfast in Palo Alto.  I know that there have been some dark and discouraging times for my friend, but all of that melted away last evening. It’s been quite a while since I’ve cried so long and so hard in a public setting!  But I was in good company – we ALL cried!  As Steve stepped into the font with his eldest son, he was already “adding to the water.”  And as his son baptized him (now I’m sobbing again) with those incredibly beautiful words, Steve came up out of the water and they clung to each other, sobbing. And all the rest of us were sobbing too.  How could we help it? This is the quality and depth of JOY which truly cannot be reduced to words.  I loved every single thing about this experience.  I loved seeing friends with whom we worked (served) at the MTC.  I loved having Jim play the organ (as that pipe organ has probably rarely been played) for a long time before the meeting began.  I loved singing “O Come, All Ye Faithful” with everyone, especially with Sug, whom I sat beside. I loved the way we grabbed each other’s hand and held tight. The chapel was full, and we sounded like a wonderful choir. I loved it that Ric offered the opening prayer – he has kept in touch with Steve all through these years and is a Saint. I loved the chance to visit with him and his wife afterward.  I loved seeing and hearing all of Steve’s grandchildren sing “I Am a Child of God.” That hymn – those words – like everything else yesterday meant more than usual. Much more. I loved the extraordinary message Kieth shared about Steve’s journey to yesterday, and of some of the sacred miracles which happened along the way. I loved being so close as Steve was baptized. I was deeply, deeply moved by the tears of the witnesses, two of his loved ones, James and Jamie. I loved the reverence and holiness of it all.  I loved how all of “Steve’s missionaries” (from Bolivia days) who’d come gathered to the front of the chapel (along with his children, who were missionaries too!) and sang “Called to Serve.” I loved their tears. I loved sitting by a dear “MTC friend” Richard and his wife Valerie. I loved the amazing message Steve’s son Carl shared with us about the GIFT of the Holy Ghost. I loved hearing “O Divine Redeemer,” and as with the other hymns and ALL that was shared… the words sank deeper and brought more exquisite feelings of love and gratitude than I can express. I loved – oh how I loved – the prayer offered by Steve’s brother Jeff as he confirmed his brother and said those words – “Receive the Holy Ghost!” – with such love and power. I loved the blessings he included for Steve… SO beautiful, SO meaningful.  I loved it that Steve agreed to share his testimony.  It was incredible. More tears…. (did they ever stop? I don’t think so).  He mentioned many who were there, including a Bishop who came to visit him during the time he lived in Salt Lake. Steve said “I think I let him in because he rode a motorcycle.” That Bishop asked Steve to come and play the organ in their ward, and (reminding the ward members that Steve wasn’t a member and so could not be sustained as the organist) asked for everyone who wanted to let him know he was loved and appreciated to raise their hands… and everyone did.  Several stake presidents were there.  People who were in Steve’s ward when he was a Bishop. Oh, it was more beautiful and tender and unforgettable than I can ever explain or express adequately.  One thing I felt was “No WONDER the Father killed the fatted calf!!!”  (The story of the Prodigal Son is one of the most beautiful stories ever written).

aaaa1There was NO ONE there last evening who had ANY feelings akin to those of the brother of that son. We were “one heart and one mind.”  We were SO HAPPY!  There was hardly room for AIR in the chapel because of the JOY!!!  Steve shared from the center of his heart, and we received it in the same place.  It really “got me” when he said that “I lost my membership 25 years ago in this very building – down that hallway (and he pointed).” I’m wishing the whole evening had been recorded – especially Steve’s sweet, honest, tearful testimony.  And then we sang “I Need Thee Every Hour.” I can’t really explain what I felt as I sang and wept…. Some very personal responses to some questions I’ve had on my mind were answered….  Joseph, one of Steve’s beloved missionaries, offered the closing prayer.  It took him a long time to be able to begin. I had noticed that he was unable to sing during “Called to Serve” because of how he was feeling. Oh, if I could just put into words what happened in a dedicated building the evening after Christmas on a cold, snowy night (it was 14 degrees as I drove home). . . . I know that there were angels round about – ALL about!! – to join us in an experience we will never EVER forget. Welcome HOME, dearly beloved Steve!





Did you see this?

In case you didn’t, I decided to try to post it.  I hope the link works so you can hear the little boy and his father talking to each other. Precious!  Priceless!  A French father, Angel Le [a great first name for an angel of a father!] tells his little son that flowers are a defense against terrorism.

Paris-FlowersAngel Le’s son was approached by a reporter for Le Petit Journal and asked if he understood the significance of the terrorist attacks in Paris.  The boy said he was worried about guns used by ISIS.  His father assured him flowers and candles would keep him safe.  The exchange was translated as follows:  Son: They’ve got guns. They can shoot us because they’re very, very bad, daddy.  Angel Le: They’ve got guns, but we have flowers.  Son: But flowers don’t do anything. They’re for … they’re for … they’re for …  Angel Le: Look, everyone is laying flowers here.  Son: Yes.  Angel Le: It’s to fight against the guns.  Boy: Is it for protection?  Angel Le: That’s right.  Son: And the candles, too?  Angel Le: They’re so we don’t forget the people who have gone. Son: Oh. The flowers and candles are there to protect us?  Angel Le: Yes.  Reporter: Do you feel better now?  Son: Yes, I feel better.

After the father found out that the video “went viral,” he said:  “I’m the dad with the little boy, thank you all for the great comments that you have posting for us. When I see all this support it tells me one thing: I’m proud to be French and proud of my fellow countrymen!”

The attacks in Paris in November killed 130 and injured more than 350….

What is Christmas?


A little boy (Collin D, age 10) “nailed it,” and I love the way he asks his questions and lets us know whether we have the right answer (yet) or not.  Enjoy!

What is Christmas?  You may think Christmas is about presents.  Ding!  You’re wrong.  Christmas is not about presents.

Is Christmas about Santa Claus?  Ding!  You’re wrong again.  You are NOT on the right track. I’ll give you a clue.  Christmas is about a special event in the Olden Times.  Now, what you’re supposed to answer, what the special event is, you probably already knew.

Ahhhhh … is it when Nephi landed on the Promised Land, aka America?  Ding!  You’re way too far back.

I’ll give you another clue. The special event deals with a very important baby.

Man!  I just about gave it away!

Ahhhh … I think I got it.  Is the special event the Nativity?

Yes!  Finally you got it.

If you got it wrong again I would have given you another clue, and I would have said it deals Big Time with Jesus Christ.