Spanish Fork Pioneer Cemetery Now Complete

We just put the finishing touches on the restored Pioneer Cemetery in Spanish Fork, Utah. We have erected a granite marker with all the names of those buried here and also eight story boards that tell you a little bit about the first settlers to this area and the people who are buried here.
For more information and a picture of me in the Provo Daily Herald check here.

Pin It


Utah Mountains in the Fall + Family = Love

I thought the autumn colors were going to be muted this fall because of the drought. I was wrong. My family went camping in Spanish Fork Canyon this past weekend with our children and grandchildren. We enjoyed picnics, 4-wheeler rides, campfires, marshmallows, tents, long talks and games.

I listened to a family life expert once who said that the one common activity of healthy, happy families was camping. Now I know why. When you are away from modern technology and surround yourself with the beauties of nature and family, it takes your breath away.

Pin It


The Boy Who Couldn't Find His Words

The Boy Who Couldn’t Find His Words


Grandma Baadsgaard

Happy Birthday Liam!

I can’t believe you are two years old today.

Here is a story I wrote just for you.

I love you so, so much. I can see the great man you will be some day.


          When Liam woke up in the morning he saw his mother’s bright smiling face looking up at him.

          He wanted to say, “You are the most stunningly beautiful woman in the entire universe!” but he couldn’t find his words.

So Liam wrapped his arms around his mother’s neck and squeezed so tight her head almost popped off.

          When Liam saw his dad eating corn flakes for breakfast in the kitchen he wanted to say, “Where do you go every day? I miss you.”

But he couldn’t find his words so he grunted and gave his dad five knuckles.

          When Liam looked out the east window and saw the sun rise casting bright pink streaks across the sky, he wanted to “Oh my goodness gracious that is the most majestic sunrise in the history of mankind.”

But he couldn’t find his words so he smooshed his nose against the window pain and let out a long slow sigh.

          When Liam took his morning bath, he wanted to say, “Hey there mates. There is gold in this here ocean for the taking. Shiver me timbers and raise the cross-bones.”

But he couldn’t find his words so he screamed.

          When Liam was told to take a nap, he wanted to say, “What in the world are you thinking mom. I have oceans to cross, mountains to climb and bad guys to fight. And you want me to take a nap?”

But he couldn’t find his words, so he lowered his eyebrows, stomped his foot and grunted.

          When Liam woke up, his diaper was bulging. He wanted to say, “Look the package for these diapers says they hold up to twenty pounds but I believe that refers to my weight not the weight of the diaper.”

But he couldn’t find the words so he pointed to his bulging bottom and scrunched his face.

When Liam’s brother took his favorite red truck away and dashed down the stairs to hide, Liam wanted to say, “Look buster! I’m going to be six foot six and 300 pounds pretty soon, so you better not give me bad memories.”

But Liam couldn’t find his words so he shrieked so loud his mother covered her ears.

          When it was time to go to bed, his mother took out his favorite book and motioned for him to come snuggle. Liam wanted to say, “Being in your arms and listening to you read makes me feel so warm and safe that I want to stay in your hug forever.”

But he couldn’t find the words so he melted into his mother’s lap and sighed.

“I love you Liam,” his mother said when she tucked him into bed that night . . . more than the sands on the shore, more than the stars in the sky. You are Liam the love of my life.”

          Someday when Liam finds his words, he will have a lot to say.      
Pin It


What I've Learned as a member of the New Horizon's Orchestra

         When I was growing up, I always dreamed of playing violin in the school orchestra. I begged my mother, but she told me only rich kids could do that. So I sang in the choir instead. Singing didn’t cost anything. Well, I grew up and got married. Thirty exhilarating and exhausting years passed before the last of my ten children started school. I was in my fifties and for the first time had a few hours for myself. I wasn’t ready for the rocking chair.

Then a friend told me about an orchestra she played in. She said they took beginners. The whole idea that it was possible to learn a string instrument as an adult was something I didn’t know was possible. I expressed my interest and my self-doubts. Then this friend said she had an extra violin at her house gathering dust and offered to let me borrow it and told me she would pick me up and take me to my first rehearsal.  
            I was pretty darn nervous when I arrived at a rehearsal for the first time. I’d never touched a violin before. I didn’t even know how to open the black case, let alone how to hold the instrument or the bow. I started perspiring. I was afraid someone in authority would tell me I was too old and too dumb to be part of this elite group.
          Then our conductor, Andrew Dabczynski, stepped in front of the group and asked the members of the orchestra if they could remember how to hold their instrument.
          A man on the back row raised his arm and answered, “Is this the right way teacher?”
           I turned around just in time to see a distinguished gentleman place a very large bass across his lap and strum it like a guitar. Everybody burst out laughing. That was the moment when I took a deep breath and stopped perspiring. I was going to fit into this group after all. Maybe playing a string instrument was not just for stuffed-shirt arrogant rich people like my mother told me years ago. Maybe, just maybe, they would let me stay.

Later they took me and all the beginners into a separate room and began our primary instruction. Gordon Childs, a gentle, good natured, patient man was my teacher. The first time I played a note, the sound I produced resembled sick birds with scratchy sore throats but I didn’t have to stand out because everybody else in my small group sounded just like me. Our instructor kept teaching and encouraging us until we could play well enough to go in with the other more advanced players.

While all this transpired, I noticed strange things happening to me. Sleepy parts of my brain were waking up. Rusty screws loosened up inside my head as I struggled to use my rarely used left hand to find notes, my right hand to draw the bow and my ears to tell me when I was playing out of tune. I noticed my fingers drumming note placements on my bed pillow before I went to sleep at night. I heard rehearsal melodies drifting through my mind at odd times, like when I was driving the car or doing the dishes.

As our director gently guided us through our first elementary songs, there were moments when the music seemed to lift from the page and soak into my soul. Creating beautiful music moved me. I felt aroused and elevated-like I was flying without leaving the ground. I discovered that the learning process was not intimidating or humiliating; it was energizing, exhilarating and just plain fun. After we played our first song in three parts, I jumped from my seat like a two-year-old and yelled, “We did it! We made music!”

One of the side benefits I didn’t expect from my participation in the New Horizon’s Orchestra is the effect it has had on my children and grandchildren. After attending my concerts and watching mom do it, my son decided he wanted to learn to play the bass and my daughter decided she wanted to learn to play the cello. The other day my granddaughter told me she wants to learn the violin. Sometimes we play together in the living room on cold winter nights and it warms me.

I’ve learned other things as well. Orchestra members have become real friends who uplift and inspire each other. One woman in our group had a brain tumor resulting in the removal of portions of her brain. She went into a deep depression that didn’t lift until her husband brought her to our rehearsals. As she learned to play again, her brain developed new pathways and many other abilities came back to her. Another woman crippled with arthritis plays in the cello section. She has Mona Lisa painted on her music stand and her courage, determination, positive attitude and beautiful smile gives us all a lift every week. Some of our members have lost husbands, wives, children and grandchildren. Others have had to go back to work or move. But we are family. Once a New Horizon’s Orchestra member   always a New Horizon’s Orchestra member.

Playing in New Horizon’s Orchestra has also become my metaphor for joyful living. For example, I play second violin in our orchestra. The other members of the group who play in that section sit behind and on both sides of me. When I lose my place in the music, I listen carefully to the musician next to me while I scan the notes on the page to locate where we are in the score. Before long, I can jump back in and start playing again. The players next to me can’t stop playing to instruct me without also losing their place, but when they can tell I’m lost, they will quickly whisper the number of the measure we’re on. In a similar way, we can’t solve problems for other people, and they can’t solve ours. But we can listen carefully so we are aware when someone around us has lost their place. Though we are often unaware, those around us are starved for attention and compassion. We can’t always stop our life and rush to save them, but we can, in effect, whisper the number of the measure we’re on by offering a kind smile or a gentle word of appreciation, affection or encouragement. Before long, they will be able to find their place in the music and start playing again. A symphony simply does not have the same power without every instrument playing in tune.

For another example, when our orchestra is playing disjointedly and out of tune during rehearsals, our conductor will make us stop, memorize a few bars, and then ask us to close our eyes and play the music without looking. He will further instruct us to listen to those next to us and across the orchestra so we can hear how our part fits into the whole. It is amazing how much better we all sound when we do that. When we are focused only on our part and our eyes are glued to the sheet of music in front of us, we are too concerned with ourselves and are unable to play the notes together as beautifully as we could. In a similar way, if we want to get in tune with those around us, we have to occasionally get our minds off ourselves long enough to listen. Then we will notice subtle expressions of need and hear the silent cries of those across the way. When all of us are sensitive to the needs of each other, we can play the score of life with infinitely more harmony and grace. When we feel discouraged, we need to remember that we are never alone. When we are lost, we just need to listen. The melody is never far away. There is love all around and inside us. All we have to do is listen.

Sometimes I still pinch myself and think, “I’m playing a violin in an orchestra. I can’t believe I’m playing in an orchestra. Some dreams really do come true.”
Pin It


John is an Eagle Scout

My son John is receiving his Eagle Scout Award this Sunday.
I just want to take a minute to tell you why John is such an incredible young man. He has a soul much wiser than his 15 years.

John is a talented musician. He sings, composes and plays the piano, bass and guitar. He has his own music studio with 13 piano students. He plays the piano at church, sings in several choirs and had the lead role of the Beast in his school play "Beauty and the Beast".

John loves learning and his numerous academic awards speak of a dedicated student who always strives for excellence.

John loves children. His twenty nieces and nephews love to be around him and he takes the time to be their friend.

John looks out for others by being a friend to those who really need one. I often have parents approach me and tell me how much John's friendship or example has meant to their child.

John volunteers his time to clean the church and help his friends on their Eagle projects. He is an indexer who volunteers many hours to create digital records for those seeking their ancestors.

Best of all, John is a loving son, brother and uncle. I love him and honor him for a life well lived.
Congratulations John.
I love you,

Pin It

Family Reunion at the Cabin

At the cabin with my family. Life doesn't get any better than this.
Faces of all the people I love.
With my sweetheart. Ross is the love of my life.
Pin It


The Blessing of Grandchildren

Just when you are too old to have children any more . . .  
something miraculous happens.
At our family reunion this year I watched my grandchildren playing games together.
I laughed and cried and soaked in all the love.
I always told my Father in Heaven that I sure hoped
I wouldn't have to wait too long between when I had my last child
and when my first grandchild was born.
 I didn't ever want to run out of babies.
He heard my prayer. 
I was resting in the hospital bed after giving birth
to my last child Alisa when I received a phone call from my daughter April.
"Mom," April said. "My back hurts and I can't walk very well."
Hours later my first grandson Joshua was born.
Now twenty grandchildren later I want say . . .
There is nothing more precious in this world than children.
If you can't have any of your own, 
go out into the world and find a child who needs your love.
There is nothing you do with your life
that matters more than loving a child.
Never take the gift of a child for granted.
They will teach you what you need to know.
They will lead you where you need to go.
They will show you how to love and be loved.
They will slip their heart into yours
and you will never be the same again.
Pin It


How The Family: A Proclamation to the World Inspired The LDS Mother's Almanac and my Life


The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Inspired The LDS Mother’s Almanac

 . . . and My Life

            One evening in the Provo temple, I had one of those life-changing moments where I felt so overwhelmed with gratitude for the blessings in my life that I prayed and offered all of myself to God.

Within the next few days, my husband was called as a Mormon bishop, I found out I was pregnant in my late forties and Deseret Book (an LDS book publisher) called and asked me to write a comprehensive book for mothers. Well, it looked like my Heavenly Father needed my body, my husband and a new book for mothers I didn’t feel even remotely qualified to write.

Then I remembered my promise in the temple.

I deeply doubted myself. How could I possibly do what God needed when my husband and children wouldn’t quit jumbling up my days with constant family demands and drama? Certainly there was someone out there more qualified. I just wasn’t up for up this . . . especially that formative comprehensive book. With all the material I could cover, what would be the most important?

That weekend, my husband was headed up to the Homestead resort in Utah for some business meetings and I decided to go with him. While he was in planning meetings during the day, I had the opportunity for some quiet time to think away from my noisy household.

I was sitting alone in a hotel bed pregnant and nauseated contemplating where to begin. How could I write a comprehensive book for mothers when I was still trying to figure out this mom stuff for myself? I cried, but that just gave me a headache. So I got on my knees and prayed with a sincerity and earnestness that only comes from complete desperation. I was on my knees for a long, long time. I poured out all my inadequacies and flaws. I told God I couldn’t do what He needed me to do without help.

Then the answer came, clear and sweet. I needed to re-read the proclamation on the family. As I read, the jumble of anxieties in my head felt at peace for the first time.

“We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force.”

This quote became SECTION ONE titled Better Beginnings where I discussed pregnancy, labor, delivery, and caring for a new baby. I was also living through pregnancy, labor, delivery and caring for a new baby in my own life while I was writing about it.

“Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live.”

This quote became SECTION TWO called Understanding the Basics where I discussed children at different ages of development, discipline, housework, preparing meals, laundry, yard work family finances and fitness. I was also trying to fit in all these hundreds of demands on my energy while I was writing about it.

“Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.”

This quote became SECTION THREE where I give ideas for celebrations, birthdays, holidays, important events, the outdoors, family vacations and daily life. I was also living through all the crazy holidays, events and vacations while I was writing about it.

“Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.”

This quote became SECTION FOUR where I discussed expression, art, cooking, crafts, computers, dance, drama, music, photography, reading, science, math, writing, family fun, nurturing self and grandma-hood. I was also wondering how to fit in all that good stuff and learning to be a new grandma while I was writing about it.

“Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

This quote became SECTION FIVE where I discussed the family and the church, perfecting the saints, proclaiming the gospel, redeeming the dead, balancing busy family life, spiritual growth for moms and dealing with tough problems. I was also trying to create spiritual growth in my unbalanced self while I was writing about it.

Yet, even after I had a vision for the organization and what I wanted to discuss, my life was not happily ever after. I got about 200 pages into the manuscript before I got bogged down and discouraged. I wanted to give up. The new book and my life were just too exhausting and overwhelming. I rarely saw my busy bishop husband, my ten very active children were a hand full and the newborn late-night feedings and teenage curfew breakers kept me in a state of perpetual sleep deprivation. 

Then I remembered my promise in the temple.

So, I just kept rubbing my eyes, waking up every day, and giving it my best shot. Is The LDS Mother’s Almanac, my book that was inspired by the proclamation, a literary masterpiece? Far from it. Do I have a perfect family? Far from it. Did I ever see my husband again when he was released as bishop? No. They made him stake president. Did I ever get a goodnight’s sleep? No, I still have teenagers and my husband snores. And guess what, I’ve never really felt like I figured out how to be a mom. I think that’s OK. I think we all feel like that.  
Pin It


Baptism Day for Sandy

Sandy with her mother Karen
Sandy with her father Jordan
Sandy with her grandparents, aunt, uncles and cousins
Sandy with her Grandma and Grandpa Baadsgaard
We were able to attend my granddaughter Sandy's baptism yesterday in Roosevelt, Utah. It was a joy to surround this precious little girl with lots of family love on her special day. Sandy wants to live her life after the pattern of Jesus Christ. I know she will be a joy and a light where ever she goes. I love you Sandy. Congratulations on becoming a brand new member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.   Pin It


The Treasure of Family

Rylan on our back yard swing.

My grandson Rylan lived with me for a couple of months this summer while his mother taught two religion classes at BYU. Rylan always smiled at me when he woke up in the morning and he gave gentle love pats while he hugged me. He called me Gaggy. He jumped on my bed at night and raced around the house during the day exploring the world with the energy only a one-year-old can muster. Even though he is back in Pennsylvania my daughter says he still asks for me.

I haven't wiped off some of the finger prints he made on my french doors because they remind me of him. They are like fragile ghosts of his tiny hands.

Some people think that a mansion on the hill, gem stones and foreign travel are the rewards of success and old age. I think the reward and success and old age is a life-long sweetheart that still makes my heart beat faster, children grown to fine manhood and womanhood and a house full of sticky, noisy grandchildren to love.

My love song is this  . . . You are my diamonds, my  exotic travel to foreign lands and my mansion on the hill. Everything that makes my heart sing is you.
Pin It


A Letter From Grandma For Your Baptism Day

Sept. 2, 2012

Dear Sandy,

          Happy Birthday! I’m so excited that you are turning eight years old this year because that means that you are old enough to choose to be baptized. I’m so happy you have made that choice.

I remember when I was baptized. I was baptized on my eight-year-old birthday on a Saturday night in a little white church across the street from my house in Union, Utah. My congregation had all the children being baptized sit on small wooden chairs and talked to us for a while. I don’t remember what they said, but I do remember what I felt.

I felt excited and a little scared before I was baptized. When I was baptized, the water was warm and I felt clean. After I was baptized and put my dry clothes back on, I walked out of the church into the cold January winter air. I remember looking up and seeing lacy white flakes of snow falling all around me. Even though it was cold outside, I felt warm inside. I knew God loved me and was pleased I wanted to come home to heaven someday.

I also knew that Jesus was my best friend and that if I tried to live like Him that I would be happy. When I was your age, they waited until Sunday to confirm me at church and give me the gift of the Holy Ghost. I felt protected when the men with the priesthood made a circle around me and put their hands on my head as my father confirmed me.

What I didn’t know was that the man I was going to marry someday was being baptized on the very same day, January 6th (my birthday) in a little town called Spanish Fork, Utah. He was a little scared and excited too. Because we both wanted to be like Jesus, we found each other many years later. We recognized that we had the same dreams and plans for life.

When he got back from him mission to Samoa, we got married in the Salt Lake City temple and made some new special promises to God when we were sealed for time and eternity. Then pretty soon your daddy was born. Then he grew up and married your mommy in the temple and then pretty soon, you were born.

Being baptized was the beginning of everything wonderful in my life. Being baptized is such a special time because we are able to participate in our first saving ordinance and make our Heavenly Father our first official promise. You are a daughter of God, Sandy, and your Heavenly parents love you very much. They want you to be happy so they have made you a plan of happiness to follow so you can return to them someday. 

Up until now, you have been a child who is learning, growing and maturing. You don’t have any sins. Now that you are eight, you are wise enough to know the difference between right and wrong choices. Heavenly Father knows that all of us make mistakes and some of our choices are not wise. Because He loves us, He wants us to know how to change and not be trapped by our mistakes and bad choices. So He invites us to make a promise to Him and then He makes a promise right back to us. When we make a special promise to God and He makes one right back to us, it is called a covenant. Heavenly Father never breaks a promise.

The promise you make to God is that you will remember Jesus, follow Him and keep His commandments. Heavenly Father promises you that He will forgive you if you make a mistake or do something that you know is wrong if you feel sorry and repent. He also promises you eternal life. He also gives you the gift of the Holy Ghost to help, guide, warn and comfort you.

When you choose to be baptized you tell Heavenly Father that:

*You take on the name of Jesus Christ

*You will serve your fellowmen

*You will stand as a witness of God all the time

*You will obey the commandments of God

          God promises you that:

               *You are accepted as a member of Christ’s church

                  *You can be forgiven of sin if you repent

               *You can have the gift of the Holy Ghost

               *You can live in the kingdom of God

          Everybody makes mistakes after they are baptized so Heavenly Father gave us the sacrament every week on Sunday. That is when we remember the covenant we made when we were baptized. We think about our week and decide how to be better this week. We think about our Savior Jesus Christ and how He atoned for all our sins, pains, disappointment and grief. We also think about Christ’s resurrection and that we can be resurrected too someday.

          So this is such a happy day! I hope you will write about how you feel in the journal I’m giving you. Never forget that you are a child of God and that you can inherit the eternal life God has planned for you. And never forget that your grandma loves you with all her heart.


          Grandma Baadsgaard.    
Pin It