9/21/2017

Happy Birthday Liam!

LIAM THE DRAGON SLAYER
By Grandma Baadsgaard
Happy Birthday Liam. You are strong. You can fight the dragon. 
I love you.

Liam lived in a quaint village in Denmark surrounded by farmer’s fields and bordered by a deep, dark forest. In the beginning, all the villagers worked together to plant and harvest crops, forge pots and swords then spin and weave their sheep’s wool into cloth for their clothing.
Each year at harvest time, the villagers would place an offering for the dragon that lived in the forest so he wouldn’t carry off their children. At first the dragon was pacified but soon the offerings weren’t enough and the dragon began taking one of their children each year.
When the villagers saw the dragon flying toward the village, they frantically tried to grab their children and run away to safety.  But the dragon was always quicker than the slowest child. Each year one more child would turn up missing. Soon the villagers became angry with each other for running away too fast so that their child would be the one who went missing. Soon villagers refused to trade goods with each other. Before long they all became poor. Year after year the village grew darker until it was as threatening as the forest.
All the children lived in constant fear never knowing when the dragon would strike. Then one day when they were least expecting it, the fire breathing dragon would fly into the village, pluck a child out of the horrified crowd, then fly high into the sky and disappear into the forest. When it was discovered who was missing, the family of the missing child would weep and mourn for their hearts had been broken.
Liam watched as his village and his family grew darker and more afraid every day. One day Liam decided that if anything was going to change, he had to be the one to do it. He gathered all the villagers and stood on a platform so they could all hear him.
“Don’t blame each other,” Liam yelled. “Blame the dragon. We must join together and slay the dragon so that he will never take another child again.”
“The dragon is huge and we are small,” one villager replied as he shook his head.
“The dragon can fly and we cannot,” another villager said.
“The dragon spews fire,” a child said. We cannot fight the dragon.”
“Today I will forge a sword and I will be ready for the dragon,” Liam answered. “I will carve a whistle with a disturbing sound frequency only dragons can hear. Who will join me to fight the dragon?”
All of the villagers looked at Liam, shook their heads and walked away. Liam spent months forging his sword, practicing his dragon slaying techniques and carving his dragon whistle. The next time the dragon flew down into the village, Liam was ready. But something happened he did not expect. Liam watched in horror as the dragon flew into the village, picked up his brother and flew toward the forest before he could stop him. Liam took out his dragon whistle and blew with all his might. Dragon whistles drive dragons mad. The dragon stopped in mid-flight and turned back toward the village.
“Give me back my brother!” Liam shouted.
Startled at the unexpected piecing sound from the whistle and the annoying disturbance displayed by a young boy, the dragon dropped Liam’s brother Gideon and flew toward the boy who dared to confront him.  Liam grabbed the sword in a leather sheath at his side. He thought about how much he loved his brother, trust the sword over his head and swung the blade with all his might. The dragon laughed as the blade missed him and sliced through the air. Then the dragon spewed a huge billowing ball of fire toward Liam. Liam knew the dragon’s burst of fire was about to consume him and his brother if he didn’t move quickly. He darted away from the fire as the dragon walked toward Liam’s brother.
“You will not take one more child,” Liam yelled so the dragon would turn toward him. “You will never hurt a child again!”
Liam’s brother Gideon cowered against a tree; his leg broken and unable to flee. Liam knew he was the only person between his brother and death. The dragon threw his head back and laughed at Liam’s annoying disruption.
Liam acted quickly while the dragon was distracted. Darting between the dragon’s legs, Liam and swung the sword with all his might. He cut off the front legs and watched as the dragon fell forward with a loud crash. Then he swung the sword again and smote off the dragon’s back legs. Then Liam climbed up on the dragon and thrust his sword into the heart of the beast. The dragon roared in pain, spread his wings and flew painfully toward the dark forest.
Liam ran to his brother and picked him up in his arms.
“I will never leave you to fight the dragon alone,” Liam said. “I am your brother. I will always be at your side and protect you.”
Then Liam stood and shook his fist at the forest.
“Don’t ever come for another child again for I will stand and fight you and I will win,” Liam yelled.
Liam and Gideon heard the dragon’s last painful roar and together they watched as the dark forest burst into flames and the dragon was at last consumed – never to return again.

9/18/2017

Ross and Alisa Hike Loafer

Ross and Alisa conquer another mountain.
Alisa and her father on top of Mount Loafer

9/06/2017

For All Who Have Experienced the Death of a Child Before Birth

     This post is dedicated to all who have lived through the death of a child before birth. Experiencing the loss of a precious life at any stage of development is a grief that is difficult to put to words. Three of my children died before they were born. I still miss them.
     I wrote the following letters to honor my daughter April and her husband Dallan. Their daughter Catherine Grace recently died before she was born. The deep, profound love of a mother and father for their child is perhaps the most divine love we experience in this life.
     To my precious granddaughter Catherine Grace - oh how I look forward to resurrection morning when I will be able to see you and hold you in my arms.

Dear Child,
     It’s been only a day since I lost you. Yesterday I had such plans for you and now today you are gone and where you are I cannot go. You were the answer to your parents’ prayers. We’ve waited so long for you. You should have seen the look in your father’s eyes when I told him you were coming. We were so happy. We told everyone you were on your way.
     
     Each morning when I woke, I would stroke my palm across the place where you were growing. Even morning sickness reassured me of your presence. Whenever I went somewhere, I knew you were with me. It made me feel complete. I could never get over the miracle of you.
     
     Then something happened that I didn’t expect. I went to my regular doctor appointment and they couldn’t find your heartbeat. The doctor looked and listened and brought in technicians and ultrasound experts. They tried and tried again - nothing. I stared up at the ceiling in disbelief and wept. I couldn’t bring myself to believe that you were really dead. I thought this must be a mistake. This can’t be happening.
     
     The next day I went to the hospital and they gave me something to help you come. The delivery was slow and measured giving your father and me time to think about how much we loved you and would miss you. Then you were born. Even though your spirit was not inside your body, I knew you were there with me. 
     
     Sudden unexpected complications after your delivery required quick action by the doctor. The placenta that nourished you didn’t want to let go. The pain was unbearable. Part of me refused to let go. I looked over at you alone in the bassinet and sobbed for me and for you.
     
     Then the doctors and nurses left us alone and your father and I held you. You were snuggled up in a soft flannel blanket. We held each other as we held you - our perfect tiny butterfly not quite ready to emerge from the cocoon with tightly wrapped wings never to open in this life. You looked so small, so beautiful and perfect. We finally had our little girl

I will never forget you. You are my precious daughter. You have been part of me. I miss you. I don’t see life in the same way since I lost you. I walk softer now. Life is more fragile, more precious.

   I thank God for the time we had together. I love you. Though I am no longer able to hold you in my arms, I will always hold you in my heart.

Your Mother


Dear Child,
     We waited so long for you to come. When I found out you were on your way, I wanted to tell everyone the good news. The day your mother told me, I felt this lightness in my step - like I was younger and starting out again. I liked to call your mother to find out how she was feeling. She always said she was fine. 
     
     My life seemed to count for more. Your mother and I planned the rest of our life differently because you would be in it. I wanted to take good care of myself and stay healthy because you would need a dad who could get up at night with you as a newborn and later, teach you how to walk and ride a bike and maybe even play basketball on the back court.
          
     We began looking for a car-seat, crib and stroller because we gave away all our baby things. We started planning the nursery. After four boys in a row we were silently hoping for a girl. After your brother died and your mother’s miscarriage, we had pretty much given up hoping for you. But then it happened – our late in life miracle, our gift. 

     But then you died. 


     When your mother called me from the doctor’s office, I rushed home to be with her. I wanted to reach out and stop time - force the moment to come back when you were still alive. When we were at the hospital, your mother was in so much pain. I wanted to stop what was happening but I couldn’t. 
     
     I don’t understand why this had to happen. We waited so long for you. Now our house feels too big and too quiet without you. I have so many questions. I’m learning to be patient as I wait for answers.
     
     I didn’t carry you inside of me, but you are part of me. Whenever I took your mother in my arms, you were there too. Perhaps someday I will know all the answers. But for now, I choose to trust God and wait. You will always be our gift – our precious miracle.

     Now I ask,“Please God, help me say good-buy when I never had the chance to say hello.”

Your Father

9/03/2017

Happy Birthday Sandy

SANDY
By 
Grandma Baadsgaard
Happy Birthday Sandy. 
I love you with all my heart.

 She walks so softy
With the grace of a queen
And sees so deeply
All that is unseen

She speaks so gently
With the wisdom of knowing
And finds her own way
For she is sewing

Now the girl
Grows into her own
Young woman of strength
And quiet repose

All who love her
Watch as she spreads her wings
And finds the strength
Her own melody to sing

Happy Birthday Kate

KATE
By
Grandma Baadsgarrd
I love you Kate! You are a piece of sunshine.

If Kate is happy
Does that mean she’s raspy
And cries tears of joy
Then shouts, “Boogie Boy!”

If Kate is mad
Does that mean she’s sad
Or just a little ticked
Because she was tricked?

If Kate is funny
Does that mean she’s sunny
And pops up like the sun
Cause she’s always on the run?

If Kate is jumpy
Does that mean she’s frumpy
With ten fine fingers and toes
And a fine ballerina pose?


If Kate is sleepy
Does that make her weepy?
She says, “I am not tired!”
I still a little wired.


If Kate is lovey
Do you give her head a rubby
And squeeze her oh so tight
Because she is a delight?

8/03/2017

I Like You Just The Way You Are

The other day my daughter Alisa took out the camera and asked to take pictures of me.
I told her I wasn't camera ready - I needed to curl my hair and put on some make-up.
She said that she liked me just the way I am.
Alisa is 17 years old. I am 63. I thought she would be embarrassed to have such an old mother.
Instead she has taught me that when we truly love someone we accept them just the way they are.
We don't love others in spite of their weaknesses and mistakes; we love them because of them.
We fully accept them as they are - wrinkles and all - for we see the beauty of their soul.
We realize we are all striving to be better than we are
. We are all worthy of love and belonging.
Aging is a beautiful process of learning how to deal with loss . . .
loss of children, career, worldly beauty, health and time left to be alive.
I'm so glad I'm not dead yet because I have so much to learn and so many people to love.
I want to keep learning, changing and growing throughout my entire life.

Life has been profoundly humbling for me.
I realize I don't have all the answers.

In the end I can choose to stay in the darkness or search for the light.
We do not come to grace. Grace comes to us.

8/02/2017

THE BAADSGAARD FAMILY VISITS DENMARK

JOHN BAADSGAARD WITH HIS MOTHER JANENE AT THE CHURCH
WHERE THE BAADSGAARD FAMILY ATTENDED WORSHIP SERVICES IN DENMARK

My son John served a mission for two years in Denmark
for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He shared his love of Jesus Christ and served anyone who needed a helping hand.
At the end of his service my husband Ross,daughter Alisa and I met him in Denmark and took a few days to to travel to the places where he served and where our ancestors are from. It was a magical trip because we traveled with John - someone who had grown to love the people and places in Denmark and spoke the language fluently. He drove us to all the interesting places and even knew the best places to eat. 
My daughter Alisa and my son John at the street sign that means Baadsgaard Way in English.
Inside one of the charming churches out in the countryside.
This church is typical of the white washed churches with red roofs.
Most of Denmark is close to the water. We loved the charming villages with sail boats all along our way.
We loved seeing the inside of the churches that dot the countryside.
Many church dated from the 1100 and 1200's.
All of the churches had beautiful alter pieces depicting Christ.
We loved the charming cobblestone streets with bright colored houses that are still being lived in today.
Many of the altar pieces were so stunning that they took your breath away.
At the northern tip of Denmark there is a place called Skagen
where the Katteget and Skagerrak seas meet and crash together.
This is an old German bunker from World War Two.
The Germans lined the beaches with mines to ward off an invasion from the Allied Forces.
This is John at a Viking grave yard.
This is Jytte Baadsgaard a facebook relative we were finally able to meet.
Denmark is surrounded with water and has multiple islands. I loved the fresh salt air and a handsome husband to hug.
Ancient writing from the Viking days.
This is perhaps my favorite Karl Bloch alter painting depicting Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane.
We spent a day walking through an open air museum that had houses from all over Scandinavia
depicting all the different time periods.
This is a statue of Hans Christian Andersen.
As someone who writes lots of stories I loved going to the museum and home of Hans Christian Andersen.
 John brought home a collection of his fairy tales written in Danish. I have my own copy in English. 
This is a typical street in the old part of Odense.
This is the place where Hans Christian Andersen lived and created his stories.
Deep in the dungeon of the Hamlet Castle is this figure, Holger Danske, in stone.
According to legend he will come to life and fight for Denmark if enemy forces threaten to destroy.
One of the beautiful ceilings in the Frederiksborg Castle.
The Frederiksborg castle is home to a beautiful collection
of Karl Bloch's paintings depicting the life of Christ.
This is one view of the Frederiksborg Castle and what itlooks like on the outside.
It is surrounded with water and a large manicured garden.
While visiting the Hamlet castle, period dressed characters from the Shakespeare play burst into the courtyard or palace rooms acting out the play Hamlet for visitors.
Another Karl Block painting from the castle placed in the prayer room of the king.
This is the Hamlet castle (Kronborg) where we walked from room to room
watching the play of Hamlet acted out in the castle where is happened.
This is the Statue of Christ in the Church of our Lady. I am kneeling at the alter.
Ross and Janene Baadsgaard at Nyhavn - brightly colored dwellings line the street
near a canal with lots of boats and barges.
John and Alisa Baadsgaard grew up together and missed each other for two years. Best buddies back together again.
This is the changing of the guard at the palace in Copenhagen.
As an author I love knowing that a character from the imaginative mind of an author has become a symbol of a nation.
Here is the Little Mermaid statue - a character from the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale titled The Little Mermaid.
I recently reread the tale and is does not end like the Disney version.
This is the palace in (Amelieborg Castle) Copenhagen. This is the winter residence of Denmark's royalty.
There are lots of people who ride bicycles in Denmark.
The most stunning sculpture in the Church of our Lady is certainly Jesus Christ. Yet the twelve apostles that line the chapel on each side were amazing and touching as well.
I loved going to the open air museum (Frilandsmuseet) near Copenhagen that had authentic farm houses, agriculture buildings, mills, shops, gardens, ancient breeds of domestic livestock, historic gardens, horse drawn carriages and Danes dressed in period clothing for us to see. This was 100 acres of delight for me.
All of the houses were filled with period furniture. 
Denmark has lots of interesting wind mills.
I enjoyed the interesting architecture and thatched roofs.
We were able to attend the Denmark Temple and do baptisms for our ancestors from Denmark.
The temple presidency and the matrons were so gracious.
It was so charming to walk through the homes of our ancestors and imagine what their lives were like.
We felt like we had stepped into the past and connected our ancestors in a way that truly touched our hearts.
Ross and John Baadsgaard. Father and son together again at last.