Our story begins in Pocatello, Idaho, circa 1972, when the lovely Debby Christensen agreed to a first, though fateful date with admirer, David Croshaw. Long story-short, he bade her follow him, and they went arm-in-arm to the Logan, Utah temple for establishment of an eternal family unit, Generation 1, on May 23 1973.
From their first blissful summer in Salt Lake City, educational pursuits took them to Provo/Orem, Utah, birthplace of Leslie and Rebecca, and to San Francisco/Oakland California, birthplace of Colin and Matt. Then, for establishment of livelihood, expansion of the tribe with Abby and Dana, and for raising/unifying of Generation 2, it was back to the roots in Pocatello for a rewarding sojourn.
In time, driven by a raging, but commonly shared sense of adventure and independence, one-by-one, Generation 2 escaped the homeland to distant regions of the country and the world, each ultimately developing their own tribal expansions by pairing with worthy mates and initiating Generation 3.
Now sensing fulfillment of their purpose in Pocatello, Generation 1 has also left those roots and transplanted to Cascade Idaho, from which base, they anticipate more abundant contact with The Posterity, Generations 2 and 3, in the future. That contact however, awaits fulfillment of a call to LDS missionary service in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, wherein they hope to help the state of the world by sharing the love of Jesus Christ.
So now, including Generation 0 (Grandma and Grandpa Christensen) home base includes Yuma, Arizona, Pocatello, Idaho, Cascade, Idaho, Vancouver, BC, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Spokane, Washington, Boise, Idaho, Los Angeles, California, back to Boise, Idaho, and on and on (Generation 3+) to infinity.
Our Mission Statement:
Thisis the blog of our eternal family unit. Initiated years ago, it served well as a journal, but even more so, as an archive of our personal interaction. It was a gathering place, a confabulation instrument, a unifying force for four generations of widely dispersed and progressively prolific posterity, and their valued associates. Though it served these purposes well for many years, it eventually took a back seat to new-kids-on-the-block, Facebook, and Instagram, and was sadly forgotten.
We now move to resurrect this blog with an added functional purpose of archiving the missionary experiences of Generation 1, of their movements and activities as they participate with The Gathering of Israel in the land northward. In so doing, we hope that via their own comments and posts, this blog will again serve to gather and unify the posterity and their friends.
As in the past, that the young and vibrant may know the old and tired, that enduring bonds may be fostered and maintained, that experience and encouragement may be openly shared, that posterity may embrace truth, and that hearts may be knit together, we must resist detachment despite our geographic divergence. We shall do so here.
Matt! It's your special day. Too bad we aren't all together to go to dinner and a movie for your birthday. I hope you have a great day and know how much we all love you! You had to be one of the cutest little boys of all times. You're so wonderful and deserve a happy birthday! Love you lots! Dana
I just wanted to take a minute and let you all know how much I love you. I'm so grateful to be part of this family. I wish we could spend more time all together, even talk more, but still...I feel so lucky. I'm grateful for the examples you all set for me. It's no wonder how you all turned out with a mom and dad like we have. They are the best, thanks mom and dad for everything you've done for our little family. I couldn't have dreamt up a better family, I'm not sure anyone could. (Is dreamt a word?) I love you all so much and wish I could celebrate the Savior's birth with you. Some day! That's what I have to keep telling myself. I hope everyone has a great Christmas Eve/Day, you are all so wonderful and deserve a happy happy holiday! Dana P.S. To all the nieces and nephews, I hope Santa brings you what you want too! :)
So we were affected by the big ice storm that hit the country this week. Luckily we got our power back last night. We were without power for about 36 hours. I never want to have to go through that again. The longer I live in Oklahoma the more I understand the need for emergency preparedness!! We were actually in pretty good shape, better than most. We have a gas fireplace we could use for heat, a gas stove to cook on and hot water heated by gas. It got really hard when it started to get dark and there was hardly any light anywhere. That really starts to affect you psychologically. It really makes me appreciate the pioneers and what they endured crossing the plains, especially those with young children. I honestly can't imagine...the pioneers really are my heroes. Whenever I have a hard time with something I try to think about the pioneers and think about how easy I have it! The kids thought it was kindof fun, using flashlights and sleeping in mom and dad's room. There is a picture of them watching a video in the car during Ray's PT appointment. (Ray had knee surgery last week so this has been double hard for him!)
It is amazing how much power a little inch of ice can have, the destruction it can cause. It honestly looks like a war zone here. Virtually every tree is bent or broken. There is an older neighborhood next to ours with lots of big trees. It is so sad to drive through and see all the broken trees. Some trees were literally split down the middle (I thought of all your beautiful trees, dad:). There were over half a million people without power in Oklahoma, not to meniton all the people in Kansas and Missiouri. I really feel for your family, Crystal. Lots of people have died in car accidents and from house fires and carbon monoxide poisioning as a result of alternate heat sources being used. The entire state was literally crippled. It really reminds you who is really in charge. But, we made it through and everyone is okay. When the power came on last night I screamed and Elliot started jumping around saying "We did it, we got lights!" It was really cute. It makes me really appreciate all the modern conveniences we enjoy!
For the past 3 years or so, I have been invited to attend Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner with my best friend Tiffany's family. Her aunt makes the most-awesome sweet potatoes! They are creamy and have a strusel-like topping...
I love them, in fact, they were not at dinner last year and I have been thinking about them ever since.
Does anyone know of a recipe for such a dish?
We are driving to Missouri and then Kansas, then back to Missouri then home next week and the day we arrive, I am in charge of making Christmas dinner for my family while my mom shops.
We are having so far:
My favorite "funeral" potatoes
salad ( I wish I could find that sesame/raspberry salad dressing Lori had- that was TO DIE FOR, I would eat salad every day if I could find it...)
sweet potatoes (Somehow)
Broccoli and Cheese
I am the only one who likes dessert of all my siblings, so maybe a cake or a pie, but maybe not.
Am I forgetting anything that I should make?
Wish us luck- this is a 20-22 hour drive and we have to go straight through to and from...
Click on the above link to view the most dangerous animal in the world. Yes this is a very dangerous animal.
Right now Crystal and I are watching an interview with Mitt Romney and Sean Hannity and Alan Colmns. As I consider certain the prospect of Mitt Romney being the next president I must admit I'm not fond of the idea for various reasons. One of the reasons is because I don't think it would reflect to favorably on the church as a whole. If he did anything wrong I'm 99.999% sure that opponents of the church and those who are fence sitters would blame the church or at least the fact that he is a Mormon.
Also, as I was watching the interview and I noticed his reaction to them asking him about something Mike Huckabee said about Mormons and the belief that Satan and the Savior being brothers. I noticed that I'm bothered by his reaction whenever anyone asks him about the deep doctrinal questions and the not so deep doctrinal questions. His reaction is generally the same. He stumbles on his words and becomes visibly uncomfortable. I know about his speech and I respect the fact that he gave this speech regardless of how it will effect his candidacy. However, as a Mormon it bothers me that he struggles with owning up to what he is when the cameras are on him. One of the only things I know about his father is that he was quite the opposite.
The other thing that bothers me is that he has had a history of waffling on issues where he should not waffle. During some of the early debates I watched I noticed one of the candidates showed that he really had guts when it came to his stance on moral issues. He never danced around the question nor did he become uncomfortable when he explained what he believed. This candidate was not Mitt Romney. Instead it was Senator Brownback from Kansas and sadly he dropped out of the race. There were times Romney spoke about certain moral issues and he danced around those issues.
So no I really don't want Mitt Romney to be the Presidential candidate. If he were a little stronger about who he was and what he believed and would own up to his deep doctrinal religious beliefs then I might approve a little more of him.
I read a story to the boys I teach on Sunday about a Mormon soldier. To paraphrase the story his rough and tough drill sergent said that what got him about Mormons was that they "were good even when they didn't have to be." Perhaps it would be appropriate to say is Mitt Romney true to what he believes no matter how many people are watching him? I think for him being a public figure it's extremely important that he represent Mormons in a positive light.
It is so odd, weather-wise here! Last week was bitingly, freezingly COLD! Today is it 70 degrees and GORGEOUS. IT is a bit breezy, like a perfect day in late April or May. Today, walking Valerie in to school we were both like... it doesn't feel like Christmas, but it is undeniably GLORIOUS today.
The funny thing is- she NEVER wants to wear a coat (I wonder where she gets that from :-/) and since I got her the wool coat for her birthday (I will have to post pictures, she looks like a little fancy grown up), she wears it whenever I let her. I have always wanted a coat like that and I was worried she would not appreciate it, but she LOVES it and I am grateful.
Valerie fasted- really and truly for the first time this weekend. She was under the good influence of her friend, Vanessa. Vanessa is from Charlottesville and she stayed the night Saturday and after I told her our ward was fasting, she said she wanted to fast too and that she has breakfast, but skips lunch... all the way to dinner. So. There was the good example, and Valerie followed suit. She fasted for Vanessa's dad who is really having a time with his back. She was writing so furiously during Testimony meeting about how she was feeling and how she was praying that I could feel that precious child's testimony so dearly. I still have the notes, and I actually took them up to the stand with me when I went up to show my gratitude for the Gospel, my family, another birthday of Valerie's and FINALLY finishing graduate school. It was the most I have cried in church in a long, long time. In fact, the most I have cried about being done with the thesis... which trust me, I have been holding in. That was the single hardest experience of my entire life. Not only did I endure it, the meeting was the best one I have ever had. I felt the love of the Lord so strongly. The next day, going back to get the signatures of my advisor and committee was a joyous occasion and Valerie got to come with me. Everyone was so happy to see her. She is so blessed, her life is unrecognizable from my childhood.
Anyway, I just wanted to post something, that is what is in my head for the moment.
Happy birthday to you!!! It was a wonderful day when you became part of our family. We hope you have a happy, happy birthday and look forward to sometime actually being able to see you on your birthday. Please let us know what you do on your special day, and what you receive for your birthday as well. We love you.
i have been thinking about Pres. Eyring's talk about recording daily occurrences where we recognize God's love for us or someone else. how about all of us do that this month. you could email them to me and i could compile it all together in a family account of our experiences? i think it would be great reading. i love you all. xoxo mom
I love Wintley Phipps and this video makes me smile and gives me goose bumps. It reminds me very much of a class I took for my ministry minor called "African American Religion" during which I learned an amazing amount about the black population amongst us. I loved that class and it gave me such passion. If you like this kind of music (why is Amazing Grace not in the hymnal?!) with a gospel flair, check out the Nation of One Soundtrack. It (and the movie it comes from) will open your eyes to a kind of music that is incomparably stirring.
Did you know music (and especially drums) are used in Africa as a way to communicate to other tribes? When Africans were exported for slavery, it was drums and singing that slaves used to communicate to other slaves so that they could steal away at night, after working all day, to isolated areas in the woods, etc to sing and worship. Truly ALL they had was their faith. Not only were they stolen from their families, any children they had were often sold from them and they were daily de-humanized... but the spirituality remained strong and even better than that, defined the slave population.
I could go on and on about this, but I won't today... take a look at this short video. It is stirring.
If you like this, check out the one I posted on my own blog... I am still crying from the message therein.
I didn't really know how 3D ultrasounds worked, but I kind of thought they would just use a different ultraound device. That's not how it works. They use the same device as a regular ultrasound, but they had to take the picture and then work with it to get the 3D effect. It was hard and since there isn't that much room, conditions have to be perfect, like a lot of fluid in front of the face. It was hard to get good pictures of Lilia, and the ones I thought were the best didn't make it onto the CD they sent me home with. But here are a couple...you might be able to get some kind of idea what she looks like.
And she got video of her yawning...it's so sweet. You don't think of babies in there yawning while they're breathing fluid, but they do.
Crystal's post about the real tree made me think of a childhood experience that made a difference in who I am. My parents were amazingly tolerant of my attempts at creativity. They would even encourage me, or at least would humor me by acting impressed with my inovations. This tended to make me a little brazen and presumptive with the things I would do arround the house. I was always taking things apart and putting them back together, often using, and sometimes loosing my dad's tools without permission. I would get into a little trouble for that and I had to learn to take care of the tools. He never minded my using them, he just wanted them put away when I was done.
One year during my early teens, I decided, without consulting anyone, that we should cut our own Christmas tree. So one Saturday morning, I went up into the foothills east of our house with a hand saw and a hatchet. I picked out a nice 6 foot cedar tree, cut it down and dragged it home. I had seen some official flocked trees the year before and thought that was so cool. I decided I could do that myself, so I went to the greenhouse and bought a flocking kit, which consisted of a bunch of ground up white paper stuff which was to be mixed with water and then sprayed onto the tree. I set up a flocking station in the garage, using my mom's old Electrolux vacuum with the hose plugged into the exhaust outlet. It was pretty powerful, and I got more flock on the walls and ceiling than on the tree. I wanted the flocking to be thick so it would look like the tree had heavy snowfall on it. You know how cedar trees are very thick and full- I ran out of flock and had to go buy more to get the job done. My dad, being Frank Frugal, had originally liked the idea of a free tree, but ultimately I probably spent enough in flocking materials to negate that theory. Anyway, I finally got it done and dragged it into the house, getting flocking all over everything. We set it up on a make-shift wood stand my dad had helped me build, and decorated it with lots of those old foil ice sickles, big lights, and balls. I thought it looked pretty good, but my mom and dad were just beside themselves with how beautiful it was, and how great it was that I had done it myself. The mess I had made did not seem to be an issue. We all cleaned it up together. That all made Christmas very special for me that year. In fact, they liked it so much that they let me do it again the next year.
Looking back, I now realize that those cedar trees were pretty mundane and folksy in my mom's beautiful living room. I now have to believe Mom and Dad must have recognized that at the time, but, I never would have known it from their reaction. They just smiled and kept encouraging me, probably subconsciously bracing at the same time for my next crazy project.
I'm not sure I was as good a parent as they were in that regard, but I hope you all will be with your kids. It will give them tremendous levels of self confidence.
We had a great time at thanksgiving. It was so good to spend that time with all of you. Dad
For as long as I have been a grown-up, I have purchased our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving... this year, for obvious reasons, plans changed. When I went to pick up Valerie (literally after driving from Ohio), she was very concerned about not having a tree. I even considered going with her and buying one in the dark. I knew that Sunday was out for tree-buying.
So today, right after school, despite all the rain, we picked out our gorgeous tree.
I have collected fantastic ornaments since Valerie was a baby and we never have enough room for them all, but this year, with vaulted celings, I bought an enormous tree... all the ornaments fit!
Valerie's Grandma Whitlow gave her 25 presents... one to open each day of December till Christmas, so Valerie could not wait to organize them all as soon as we got the tree up and decorated. It is truly the most-beautiful tree EVER.
I also put up my italian creche and put up the fancy table linens and got out many other things, but I can not find my Partylite stuff.
I love decorating- I even put up lights outside while Matt was "running". I LOVE the holidays! It is just a joy to have a lovely home, pretty things, and to ponder so often on the birth of the Savior.
Family, it was so great to be with almost all of you over Thanksgiving. I was sad today after Mom and Dad left because I knew it was back to the grind for me. I am so blessed to be in this family where we all care so much about each other! I felt so lucky that everyone came to our house to be together. You all were so helpful and accomodating and tolerant. I love you all and thanks for making my Thanksgiving so special!! Lori
I am shocked no one has posted since the dishwasher post! I suppose Matt and I are the only ones to have been maintaining a sense of normalcy for 2 days now...
I just want to say I am so grateful- so utterly humbled- to be a part of such an amazing family. It has actually been a REALLY hard couple months for me for many, many reasons... suffice it to say that I have been under the gun with the thesis, I have been struggling with working like a dog and seeing no end in sight, I am devastated by my grandfather, and honestly... I am having a really hard time seeing what is happening to Matt and I in the near future. Things seemed all fine and dandy before we were married- the plan was that I would work this year and Matt would start law school next year and hopefully by then, we would have a baby and I would only be working part time...
Well... I got the feeling when thinking about how all of this is not working out how we planned, that God is in control. There are reasons all of this is happening the way it is. I suppose the hard part for me was that I felt like everyone either did not realize the severity of the situation (with the LSAT scores, miscarriage, thesis, etc...) or that everyone was just acting as if all is well, when really and truly- all is not well, but it is manageable.
Also- since being married, I have moved from all my friends and I feel pretty isolated and I do not hear from anyone regularly. I only have a few peoples' phone numbers, I save them to my phone when I am called, and I sometimes feel no interest in me or Valerie, but a lot of serious interest in Abby's boyfriend... you know? So... what I am saying is I am really sorry for being aggravated and feeling sad about all this. It is new to me and I had expectations that I really should not have. I will be trying much harder to be realistic.
I am so impressed by the family and how awesome Matt's syblings (I know I spell it wrong, but I love the word so much more with a "y" than with an "i") and parents are. I plan to write to each of you that I got to spend time with this weekend, my heart is so full of love for all of you. So absolutely full and I want to tell each of you why.
I loved Kirtland so much and it made me so sad to realize how far away from the Gospel the Community of Christ is and how amazing it is to be a part of the true Church with temples where ordinances and veils are a part of enlightenment and salvation. It is mind-boggling the misunderstanding that the current ownership of the temple has. What a blessing to know what happened there...
Our talks went well, we both cried and talked, of course, about the most-incredible answered prayer we have had- to find each other.
I sat there completely in awe of my husband and to think... he chose me...
More later, I need to figure out where to put the ginormous tree.
Our dishwasher stopped working the beginning of November, when I was gone to see my family. Colin, being the great husband that he is, loaded it all up and turned it on to discover that it wasn't working. As he is so seldom away from the hospital I had to make the calls when I got home to get it repaired or replaced. I called the plumber the day after I got back, Wed. Nov. 7th. They scheduled a time to come on Friday, just two days later. Friday morning, I believe, my landlord called to let me know that it wasn't the plumber that needed to come but their appliance repair guys. She gave me the number and I called them scheduling an appointment for Tuesday, a week from my original call. Tuesday came, mind you I have put off doing the dishes in the dishwasher hoping it would be an easy fix and I could just run it and in the meantime I have been handwashing ALL of our dishes. The guy comes and finds out it is a broken motor and it will cost about $250 to fix. He said he would contact our landlady and let her know, see what she wanted to do, then call me and let me know. I waited two days to hear from the appliance guy or my landlord. Nothing. I called her, left a message, she called me back within the hour and had heard nothing from the appliance repair co. I filled her in and for the cost of fixing the current dishwasher she was just going to buy a new one and have it installed. She called her "handy man" to take care, he called me and said he would deliver it the next morning. Thank goodness!!! I would finally have a dishwasher again. I pulled all the dishes out of the dishwasher thinking I would just load them in and wash them in the new one. He came Friday morning, dropped the dishwasher off, said he called the plumber and left. I could not believe it!!! Isn't a "handy man" supposed to be handy in all things? Ahhhhhhhh !!! Well I called the plumber Friday and scheduled him to come today, Monday, and install the new dishwasher that was now sitting in my kitchen. Another weekend without it. To heck with that!! I would just do it myself and then the plumber could double check it when he came. Well I called my dad, a true handy man, he gave me some advice and I set to work with Jack as my apprentice. Well, more like Dennis the Menace climbing on my back, picking up the tools. I get to the electrical source and it says you have to turn off the electricty because it is hardwired, not just a plug in. I decided to stop there because I have no experience with electricity. I looked at my kitchen and wanted to scream!!! Dishes everywhere, they accumulate fast with 2 kids along with all the ones I took out of the dishwasher. We were having people over the next day for a little get together for Mia's birthday. What was I going to do? I really just wanted to put them all in a box and put them in the garage or the bathtub or something because I didn't want to wash and dry all of them and put them away. I sound completely lazy, I know. So we went out to eat because I couldn't be in there to fix dinner a moment longer. Saturday morning I decided I had to hunker down and wash them. An hour later, it seemed, Colin and I had them done. Ahhhh, my kitchen was clean again. I washed dishes again Sunday and should be washing them again right now because, I STILL HAVE NO FUNCTIONING DISHWASHER EVEN AFTER THE PLUMBER CAME TODAY!~!!!!!!!!!!!! Just kill me now. The plumber came, earlier than scheduled and he had to wait 20 minutes in his car. He smelled greatly of cigarettes then when he was unhooking the line from the disposal he spilled yucky, curdled milk in my cupboard. He wiped it up but gag, it still smelled. He gets the old one out, preps the new one then tells me that the electrical wires are too short. TOO SHORT, SO FIX THEM. He tried but didn't feel like he could do it well, or something. So he called the electrician. I have yet to hear from them. This Thanksgiving, if that dishwasher istn't fixed, so help me, I will be one cranky hostess and you will all be washing your own dinner dishes. So pray, pray hard and pray often so that we don't have to wash a million dishes this weekend. Love you all!!! Lori
I am just about ready for bed, but wanted to write tonight. For the record, I love you Crystal, and I love Valerie. There hasn't been a lot of time for us to get to know each other (and I include Valerie here), but it doesn't change the fact that I love both of you. We are so happy that you and Matt found each other. There has not been one second that I have not been grateful to Heavenly Father that you three are a family. We are all sealed together and will be eternally, so you are ours and we are yours. I have been very busy and I am sure not as responsive as I should have been, but please don't ever doubt that I love you and appreciate all of your efforts to make your family better and stronger. We all wanted Matt to find his eternal companion, and feel you are a blessing to our family, as is Valerie. The more personalities the better. You are part of our family, and it may take a while for all of us to get to know each other well, since we are scattered all over the country, but please don't ever doubt that we love you. I realize I may be gushing, but you really are a great blessing in our family. Hopefully this summer we can all get together in a little more relaxed setting, well actually we ALL probably can't get together, but some of us, anyway. OK, I have gone on long enough. I hope you can make it for Thanksgiving, but if you can't, you will be really, really missed. It won't be the same without you. Love, Debby
Today, Shanah (one of my best friends since junior high) was married to Trevor Tafoya in the Salt Lake temple. I feel so blessed to have been there! I was happy for Shanah, and happy for her mom, and just happy overall! It was such a great experience. Mom and dad were able to be there after catching an early flight home from Hawaii, they didn't think they were able to be there. But, they made it and Shanah was so greatful. She was a beautiful bride, of course. Here are some pictures for everybody to enjoy!
(I really don't like this picture of me, but I had to put one of both of us.)
If any of you have worked with me on any kind of project, which you probably haven’t, I am not exactly the perfectionist. I like things to be done right but I also don’t want to make myself to look like a careless slob here. In my mind, if what I am doing is visually satisfying, then I can live with it.
Let me tell you why I’m sharing this with you all…
If any of you have worked with David, you know the job will be done, as I say, to “pristine excellence”. No corner cut, no blemish left unfixed, visually stunning and mechanically sound, engineered past the minimal requirements and a fine specimen of work.
David and I have been re-modeling the Christensen’s kitchen, and while the Croshaws have been away in Hawaii, I’ve tried to continue on with the project. But found something very unsettling while working alone. The more I look at what I am doing, from setting countertops, to framing a soffit, to putting mud on sheetrock. I CANT STAND IT NOT TO BE PERFECT. Almost to the point where I want to tear the whole thing over and start from scratch. I guess the saying is true that you are who you associate with. So I guess I should thank David for making be a better person.
Every November in DC there is an Inter-faith concert, with representation from more faiths than I can remember. You get Catholic, Sikh, and Baha'i choirs, Hindu dancers, Jewish fiddlers, Muslim rappers (they did a rap about Moses, Jesus, and Mohammad, in addition to the Islam call to prayer. They're actually very good. You should check them out at nativedeen.com.), and yes, even a group of singing Mormons. For whatever reason, the singles of my stake have been the LDS representation for the past two years, so I got to sing last year at the National Hebrew Synagogue, and this year at the (ahem) Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. (Only the largest basilica in the Americas.) Where else in the world would I get such an opportunity??
This one was televised, and supposedly we're going to be on the DC public access channel all through December. (So everyone, um, tune in?) It was a really touching, to see all the different ways people have found to worship and revere God, Allah, Vishnu, or whatever they deem to be the higher Being. Since I'm living in such a religiously diverse place, I'm trying to take advantage of the opportunities I get to learn and understand more. Lately, Marcia and I have been talking religion a lot with a Muslim friend of ours, and you know what? Muslims and Mormons have a lot in common! It's just all a reminder to me that religions of the world may have some vast differences, but yet, we're really NOT all that different.