Happy Birthday Sam

Dear Samuel,
Happy Birthday! You are thirteen years old today - an official teenager. This is such a great time in your life. As your grandma I sure have enjoyed watching you grow up and become such a fine young man.
A few months ago I watched you perform a piano solo at your recital. I was so proud of you because you did something hard. Hours of practice and persistence made it possible for you to perform well. I think learning to play the piano is a lot like learning to become a loving person. With the piano, you start out as a beginner and learn one musical concept at a time. With life, you start out as a baby and learn as you grow. With the piano, first you learn how to read music and then begin playing simple one finger songs. With life, you learn to walk and speak before you can sing and run. With the piano you make slow gradual progress over time and if you don’t give up eventually you can play beautiful concertos. With life, you make slow gradual progress over time and if you don’t give up eventually you will become a strong, kind and compassionate man.
What if we tried to learn to play the piano without making mistakes? That wouldn’t work very well would it? Mistakes are part of learning to play the piano. Mistakes are also part of learning how to become a loving person. Mistakes are part of the process of growing. If you don’t get discouraged and keep trying you will keep improving. Sam, you get to choose what kind of man you want to become. You simply choose who you want to be and then start practicing. It doesn’t matter how many mistakes you make along the way as long as you don’t give up and keep trying.
I’m giving you some music for four hands. They are called duets. Learning to play a duet takes a special set of skills. That is why many piano teachers require their students to learn a duet. Learning to play music with another person requires that they practice together and learn to discern subtle clues from each other about starting and stopping and how to measure time in the same way. Duets are a lot like striving to develop a loving relationship with another person. Love is not something we give or get. Love is something that two people decide to grow and nurture between them. Both people have to want to grow in love together before this can happen. It works the same way with our relationship with God and our Savior. They always want to grow in love with us but they are patient and wait until we are ready.
In the same way you have regular piano lessons each week where you demonstrate to your teacher that you had been practicing, be sure to report to your Heavenly Parents on your knees in prayer. Talk about your day and what you’ve learned as you try to become more like them. Your Heavenly Parents are the best teachers in the universe. Remember to schedule regular lessons with them. This is called prayer and meditation.
As you live your life, you will make heavenly music for others to hear by the way you treat them. Your love and kindness will let them know how the love of God feels. Your friendly bright personality will brighten the day for all those around you.  Someday the sum total of your deeds of goodness will be your masterpiece – your literal song in the night. God will use your light and goodness to spread love to all those around you as you share your bright and happy melody of love.
Sam, I have enjoyed watching you grow up for the past thirteen years. When I think of you I always smile and feel warm inside. I so enjoy seeing your smiling face come through my front door. I love your passion for life and joy for living and learning. You have an amazing mind and a joyful spirit. I will always be your biggest fan. 

With great love,

Grandma Baadsgaard


Happy Birthday Tessa

Tessa and Her Jungle Room
Grandma Baadsgaard
Happy birthday Tessa. I love you so, so much.

There is a girl with a jungle room, her bed perched high in the sky
And every time she goes in there, her animals come alive . . .

First there is a monkey with a silly grin.
If you open your heart, he will wiggle in
He likes to jump and swing and tease
But first he says, “Tessa, would you please,
By my best friend when it’s time for sleep
And hold me oh so tight and squeeze?”

Next comes snake that likes to say “Hiss….”
Now this is a best friend you won’t want to miss
She likes to sliver and slink and slide
And curl up right at your side
Then she likes to climb a jungle tree
And settle in for a nap on a breeze

Then there is a green frog with yellow on his tummy
He likes to hop a lot and be rather funny
First he croaks and then he blurbs
And then he sings a song that is rather absurd
He likse lily pads and moonlight on the pond
For that is when he sings his best song.

Then there is a bright orange fish
With eyes that you just can’t miss.
You’ll want to add this little buddy to your list
For she dives and wiggles and makes a wish
That Tessa will swim in the deep blue sea
And choose this fish for a best friend to be.

Next you’ll see lizard climbing walls at night
When you turn out the lights and the stars shine bright.
This buddy is quite a mysterious sight
Who likes moon-light and never wants to fight
He just likes to hang and stay rather still
And before you know it your heart is filled.

Now with her five new friends, Tessa won’t be lonely.
She will hug them all and say rather boldly,
“You are all my best friends, I like you all the same.”
Then she’ll throw them in the air for her favorite game.

“You are all my best friends, I like you all the same.”
Then she’ll throw them in the air for her favorite game.


Happy Birthday Lily

Lily’s Song
Grandma Baadsgaard
I love you so - my little Lily.

There is a girl named Lily
Who has a great big smile
If you take her little hand
She will walk with you a while

Sometimes she feels dancey
As she twirls all around
And sometimes she feels quiet
And won’t make a single sound

Sometimes she feels artsy
So she draws a picture for me
Sometimes she feels like talking
Or is as playful as can be

Sometimes she likes to share a lot
With her little sister Eden
Other times she wants to snuggle
Cause she just feels like readin’

But every single day Lily
Has lots of love to share
Cause Lily is a sweetheart
With a heart just full of care

So if you’re very lucky
You’ll have Lily for your friend
She will be your best buddy ever
Right up to the end


Happy Birthday Emma

By Grandma Baadsgaard
I love you Emma. I hope you have a wonderful birthday.

When Emma went to visit her grandma she frowned and said, “I don’t have a best friend any more. She just told me she is moving.”
Grandma sat down on the couch next to Emma and took her hand.
“My parents used to move a lot when I was your age,” Grandma said. “I learned how to always have a best friend. Your best friend is not out there Emma. Your best friend is in there.”
Grandma pointed to Emma’s heart.
“What do you mean?” Emma asked.
“Friends out there move away or stop being nice to you. Friends don’t always stay your friends. But there is one friend you can always count on.”
“I can’t be my own best friend.”
“Oh, yes you can. You can do fun things with you. You can listen to music with you or look up at the stars or read great books with you.”
“You mean it is fun to be alone?”
“Yes. If you are Emma’s best friend you will take good care of yourself. You will eat nutritious food, exercise and have happy thoughts about yourself.”
“What if sometimes I think bad thoughts about myself?” Emma asked. “What if sometimes when I look in the mirror, I think I’m ugly or fat?”
“Then it is time to begin practicing. When you look in the mirror, you can think happy thoughts about yourself like this: ‘I like my strong healthy body. I like my shiny blond hair, my big blue eyes, and my beautiful smile. I like the way I dance, sing, work hard and never give up.”
“The other kids at school make fun of each other sometimes. I don’t want them to make fun of me, so I just listen.”
“Another way to be your own best friend is to speak up and protect someone from unkind comments when you are around. You can teach those around you how to be a friend. Sometimes you will have to be strong and stand alone. ”
“What if sometimes I don’t want to be alone?” Emma asked.
“You just need to practice being your own friend. You can think thoughts to cheer yourself up. You can think thoughts like this: ‘This will be my delightful day because I’m going to do all my favorite things like play with Jez or jump on the tramp in the sunshine.’”
“What if sometimes I don’t like myself because I make mistakes?”
“When you make a mistake you can be your own best friend by telling yourself thoughts like this: ‘Everybody makes mistakes because that is how we learn. I can try again and again and again  . . . and never give up on me.’”
“Sometimes I’m afraid to be alone.”
“No matter where you go, there you will be. You can’t run away from yourself so learn how to like being alone. You are the only person who will never leave you. If you are kind to Emma, you will always feel loved and in the best of company.”
“Maybe we can be good friends too,” Emma said.
“That is a wonderful idea,” Grandma answered. “That’s what grandmothers are for.”


Baadsgaard Family History in Denmark

This is the church in Dommerby where Baadsgaard family members were married.
This is the church in Lundo where Baadsgaard ancestors were baptized, married and buried.
My son John is serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Denmark right now. Many of my husband's ancestors are from Denmark. John has recently been  able to visit the places where the earliest known Baadsgaard family members lived. Here is what happened just last week.

"We drove around to a couple of the areas where my ancestors come from (Dommerby, and Lundø to be specific). At the church in Lundø, which is where my earliest known ancestors from the Baadsgaard family come from, we found 3 gravestones in the cemetery with the name Baadsgaard on them. I took those pictures, and found the people on family search, but ended up finding out that not all of their information was on family search. Because of that find, I have now added about 30-50 names to my family tree in family search. I can't tell you how strong the spirit was being able to put those names in, and reserve their temple work.

Baadsgaard Rock at the site of an old Baadsgaard farm in Denmark.
I'm pretty much a Danish family history expert now, and am excited to help all of you learn how to do it when I get home. Plus, I can speak Danish, meaning I can read and understand the records that my family's information is written on. It's pretty special, and I know that has to be one of the many reasons I was sent to this country."
Lots of people ask me where our unusual last name Baadsgaard came from. It is a Danish last name. Turns out it is a fairly unusual name in Denmark too. (A spelling reform in 1948 introduced the letter å, already in use in Norwegian and Swedish, into the Danish alphabet to replace the digraph aa. The old usage still occurs in some personal and geographical names.) This is a picture of my son John in front of a Baadsgaard street sign in Denmark. Vej means way.

Meaning of the Name Baadsgaard
In Danish, "gaard" most often means farm, courtyard, or estate, and "baad" means boat. Since aa = å, another spelling of the name is Bådsgård.
Baadsgaard as a Place
To date one American research group has identified at least two places in Denmark named Bådsgård in the 1700s. One is on Hanstholm (formerly an island, now connected to the mainland) in Hansted sogn, Hillerslev herred, Thisted amt. Political boundaries changed, and Hanstholm became part of Viborg amt. The other Baadsgaard is in Højslev sogn, Fjends herred, Viborg amt. More Baadsgaards may be found in Denmark and Scandinavia as research continues.
There is a cove called "Bådsgård vig" that can be found by searching for Bådsgård on google maps.
From Wikipedia
"The northern part of Denmark is rising because of plate tectonics, and has lifted the island of Hanstholm out of the water, so it is no longer an island, but an elevated area. You can still see two old farms: Bådsgård, which means boat farm, is located on the previous island Hanstholm; Færgegård is located in Sårup towards Hansted. Today you can simply drive between Sårup and Hansted."
"Lundø is a peninsula surrounded by Bådsgård creek to the south, Skive Fjord on the west, and Lovns Bredning to the northeast, in the southern part of the fjord." 
Baadsgaard as a Surname
It was commonplace for a Dane to use a place name following his/her patronymic name, and a person living at Baadsgaard might use that name as part of his/her personal name. As traditional naming practices evolved, "Baadsgaard" became attached to some families as a permanent family surname. The surname is still in use, though it is rare in the USA.
Baadsgaards in the USA
Of the Baadsgaard descendants living in the USA, a rather light investigation suggests two ancestral lines: Peder Baadsgaard (b.1677) and Søren Andersen Pugdal (b.1659). Soren had a son named Andres (Anders) Sørensen Baadsgaard (b. 1717). Apparently, the name Baadsgaard was used as a place name by Anders.

It has not yet been determine if these two lines are related somehow. Descendants of Peder can be found in Utah, Washington (the state), Nevada, and Texas. Descendants of Soren can be found in Indiana, Illinois and Texas.


Pictures of Ross Esbern Baadsgaard

Ross as a baby with his four older sisters.
The only boy .
Ross with his seven sisters.
Ross as a little boy with his family.
Ross with his parents and sisters in their Springville home.
Ross's childhood home in Spanish Fork.

Ross as a little boy with his family.


Disneyworld Fun

Aubrey and Kyle with Alice, Griffin and Rylan.
Jacob and Teresa with Rachael, Emma and Kate.
                    Aubrey and Jacob's family just got back from a fun trip to Disney World!


Happy Birthday Josh

Grandma Baadsgaard
Happy Birthday Josh. I love you.

Josh wasn’t sure if he wanted to go to his grandparent’s cabin when his mom asked him to hop in the van on Friday evening.
“I can’t get service for my phone up there,” Josh said.
“You need a break from your phone,” his mother answered. “Put it in your pocket and let’s go. We’re barbequing hamburgers and slicing up a watermelon tonight.”
Guess if I want supper I better go, Josh thought.
As their van left the valley floor and climbed higher and higher up the canyon toward the cabin, Josh felt himself relaxing and breathing deeper. After dinner Josh’s aunts, uncles and cousins settled in for some games. Josh slipped outside and sat on the bench on the deck trying to get service for his phone so he could text his friends.
“There’s no service up here,” his grandma said sitting down next to Josh. But there’s a different kind of power up here.”
Josh smiled. Grandma was always full of words.
“Josh did you know there's power in every tree, flower, or blade of grass,” Grandma said. “We miss it if we don’t listen. Close your eyes.”
Josh put his phone in his pocket and closed his eyes. He heard the wind washing through the maples and pines surrounding the cabin the whir of the hummingbird’s wings as they fed.
“There is power in everything,” Grandma said.
“I just learned in science that almost every element was formed in the heart of a star from a cosmic explosion,” Josh answered. “Nothing really disappears; it just changes form. We’re all made of star dust.”
“Master creator at work,” Grandma said.
 “When stars get to the end of their lives,” Josh said, “my teacher said they swell up and fall together again, throwing off their outer layers. If a star is heavy enough, it will explode in a supernova. So most of the material we're made of comes from dying stars. We have stuff in us as old as the universe, and stuff from only a few hundred years ago.”
“I’m getting close to the end of my life,” Grandma said. “I wonder what I’ll leave behind when I’m gone?”
“Me,” Josh answered.
Grandma smiled.
“I remember the day you were born. Just yesterday you were a little boy and now you’re a young man.” Grandma said. “Life is so short. We have to learn all we can while we’re here.”
“Let’s make a fire,” Josh said.
Josh and his grandma stood, walked to the edge of the deck and down steps toward the fire pit. They carefully placed dried grass on the bottom of the pit and then placed a tee-pee of sticks and logs above it. Then Josh lit a match and the grass flashed with light that ignited the smaller and soon larger logs. Before long there was a warm blazing fire.
“When I die,” Grandma said, “I will throw off the layers of this earth and in a bright flame of light I will return to my heavenly home. But part of me will remain here in you. Josh, you are my place in the future after I am gone.”
Josh took a long stick and poked the dying embers in the fire.
“Yeah, like nothing really dies, only transforms,” Josh answered.
Grandma put her arm around Josh as wind washed through the trees bringing the warmth from the fire like a warm blanket all around them.
 “I love you Josh,” Grandma said. “Because I’ve experienced how much I love you and your brothers and mom and dad, I have a small idea how much God loves us. When I was your age I always pictured God above me somewhere out there in outer space. But now I know that part of our Mother and Father in Heaven is inside us. In the same way you have my genes, we have our heavenly parent’s DNA.”
Josh and his grandma looked up at the night sky as a chorus of crickets sang in the grass behind them. Suddenly a shooting star streaked across the heavens leaving a trail of glory across the black sky.
“Looks like someone just went home,” Josh said. 


Isabella's Sunshine

By Grandma Baadsgaard
Happy Birthday precious Izzy. I love you with all my heart.

When Isabella woke for school, she noticed it was still dark outside her window.
“Why is it so dark even in the morning now?” Izzy asked her mother as she walked into the kitchen looking for breakfast.
“In the winter, the sun comes up later and goes down earlier,” her mother said. “But after December 21st each day has more sunlight because the sun stays in the sky a little longer.
“I miss the summer,” Izzy said. “I like to play outside when it is warm.”
“Me too,” her mother said. “Maybe we just have to figure out how to make our own sunshine.”
“But how?” Izzy asked.
“That is a secret that only you can discover,” her mother answered.
Just then Izzy’s father came into the kitchen with a big smile on his face.
“Look at this beautiful polished rock,” her father said. “Isn’t it amazing?”
Izzy took the smooth stone in her hand and rubbed it with her fingers.
“Daddy how do you find an ugly rock in the field by our house and turn it into something so beautiful?”
“I put the stone in a rock polisher machine where it gets knocked around lot and gradually all the rough edges are grinded off revealing the beauty of the stone.”
Daddy brings sunshine into the world by discovering the beauty in old rocks, Izzy thought.
Then Izzy heard her baby brother babbling in his car seat. First he cooed. Then he suddenly broke into a laugh. The whole family stopped what they were doing and listened. Then everyone ran over to baby Christian and laughed with him.
Christian brings sunshine into the world by laughing, Izzy thought.
Right then Izzy’s brother Daniel grabbed her leg and gave her the biggest hug of the world. Izzy smiled and reached down and hugged Daniel back.
Daniel brings sunshine into the world by hugging, Izzy thought.
After breakfast Izzy ran upstairs and got dressed in her favorite school outfit. Then her mother combed her hair.
“You sure look nice,” her brother Brad said when Izzy stepped out of the bathroom.
Brad brings sunshine into the world by saying nice things, Izzy thought.
While Izzy was waiting for her mother to run her to school she sang her favorite song. Izzy loved to sing.
“When you sing, you fill out house with sunshine,” her mother said.
I can bring sunshine into the world by singing, Izzy thought.
When Izzy jumped out of the car and ran into her school, the clouds were still dark and no sun could be seen in the sky. But Izzy felt warm inside because now she knew where to find her own sunshine.


Chad Gull's funeral

We buried my brother-in-law Chad Gull yesterday. 
This is Chad out in the mountains hunting -
his favorite activity.
Chad's sons: Brandon, Ryan and Aaron 
are the pallbearers at the far side the casket in this picture.
Daniel, Chad's 12 year old son with Down's Syndrome,
spoke at the burial 

and touched my heart to the core. 
Though Daniel did not have distinguishable words 
to express himself, 
his spirit communicated with us his love for his father.

This is Chad's wife Karen - 

my husband's beloved sister and my precious sister.


Digging For Buried Treasure

Grandma Baadsgaard
Happy 10th birthday Mitchell - my fellow archaeologist.

Mitchell liked to dig in the back yard next to the old fence at Grandma’s house because there was an elevated mound there. Mitchell’s grandma was once an archaeology dig volunteer in Israel and she taught him about finding buried treasure.
“Always look for a rise or elevated mound,” Grandma said. “When the earth is disturbed, it always leaves some kind of evidence.”
When Mitchell took his grandma to the mound by the fence she smiled.
“Good detective work Mitchell,” Grandma said. “That is where my grandma and grandpa used to bury their garbage. Trash heaps contain lots of buried treasure for archaeologists. That is where we make our best discoveries.”
“But garbage isn’t interesting,” Mitchell said. “It’s just trash.”
“Actually,” Grandma said, “garbage contains the hidden story of a past life. Remnants of food like seeds or nuts, bits of old wool clothing, kiln fired dishes, and broken household items can paint an interesting picture and they are all a piece of the puzzle.”
“Why would I want to find old junk?”
“Because that is how we discover how people used to live . . . what they ate, how they dressed, where they worked, what was important to them and how they died. Museums are filled with rich people’s stuff. But garbage dumps tell us how the common man lived.”
“What is a common man?”
“A common man is someone like you and me. Kings, queens have their possessions preserved in museums, but the common man needs someone who will do the work to discover that their lives were interesting enough to study and learn from.”
Mitchell scratched his head and thought a while. Then he started digging. Grandma went back in the house. Before long Mitchell found a broken rusty metal tool. Next he found a broken bowl with a strange symbol in the glaze. Mitchell was intrigued. He walked back to Grandma’s house and asked her about his ancestors who lived on her land before she did. He found out that his great-grandma was a spinner and a weaver. His great-grandpa was a blacksmith.
“They didn’t have stores back then,” Grandma said. “They had to make everything they needed with their own hands.”
Mitchell showed Grandma the broken bowl with a symbol in the glaze.
“Do you know what this symbol means?” Mitchell asked.
“No, I don’t,” Grandma said. “But I have friends at the university I could ask.”
Several weeks later Mitchell went back to his grandma’s house and asked if she knew what the symbol meant. Grandma took the broken bowl from the closet and sat down next to Mitchell.
“I found a professor in ancient languages,” Grandma said. “She told me these symbols mean love in Hebrew.”
“Why would my ancestors put that word in Hebrew on a bowl? I thought they were just farmers.”
“Apparently they were something more,” Grandma said. “The professor said the Hebrew word for love is Ahava which is made of three basic Hebrew letters. Those letters are broken down into two parts: a two letter base or root, and the first letter which is a modifier.”
“That sounds too complicated for me,” Mitchell answered.
“The meaning of the gleph which precedes these two letters modifies the meaning of the base word, “give”. The meaning of these symbols is “I give” and also “love”. Apparently your ancestors knew that love is giving.”
“Farmers have deep thoughts?”
“Yes,” Grandma said. Perhaps the deepest. They are close to the earth and understand the law of the harvest.”
Mitchell scratched his head.
“I’m an old lady now and I know that loving someone gives our lives meaning and purpose. The truest relationships are those where mutual giving takes place. Without mutual giving, a loving relationship won’t last.”
Mitchell picked up the broken bowl with the Hebrew symbols.
‘I wonder how those guys knew the symbols for love in Hebrew and why it was important to them,” Mitchell said.
“One of your great-grandfathers on your grandpa’s side was the man who gave a bag of gold to Orson Hyde so he would have the means to travel to Palestine and dedicate the Holy Land.”
“Really Grandma? I had a rich ancestor.”
“He was rich because he gave his gold away,” Grandma said.
“Maybe that is where the knowledge of those Hebrew symbols came from,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell picked up the broken bowl and ran his fingers over the symbols for love. Then he noticed the large gaping crack on the side.  
“Too bad this bowl is not good for anything anymore,” Mitchell said. “I think I’ll just throw it away. It can’t even hold water.”
Grandma took the bowl from Mitchell and held it near her heart.
“Don’t throw something meaningful away because it is broken. We all need repair. The broken part of our life is still a beautiful part of our story that can always be mended with love. It is never too late.”
Grandma found some gold molding compound in her closet and mixed it with water. She slowly filled the large crack in the bowl with gold then stepped back to look at it.
“It looks beautiful Grandma,” Mitchell said taking the bowl and turning it around in his hands. “I’m glad I didn’t throw it away.”
Grandma took Mitchell in her arms and held him close.
“I love you Mitchell,” Grandma said. You are my treasure."