Monday, November 11, 2013


PEACE....the absence of war, struggle, turmoil, pain.  Peace can be as huge and magnificent as a country, and nation or even the world.  And Peace can be as personal as an individual, a single soul.  As I look at a topic as huge as mankind or as personal as one single life, I wonder, can I adequately put together a blog post addressing both?  I'm going to try. 
Looking at relationships, family, examples in my own life, is how I gather my thoughts for this blog.  "Peace" is so much bigger than any one of us, especially me.....and then I look at those around me, those who's lives have touched mine and I realize I have incredible examples surrounding me of warriors for peace.  I'll begin with...

Warren Schlessman
The above photograph of a relaxed, calm soldier is one of two photos that I have of my Grandpa, my Dad's Dad from the "Great War".  I know very little about him, besides the fact that he served in the First World War.  He died when my Dad was only about a year old, his death left my own Dad an orphan.  Because of this picture there is one thing I know about Warren Schlessman.  He served his country in the quest for "peace" as a member of the United States Army, and that he smoked cigars!
Roy Houck Schlessman  U.S. Army
The photo above is my Dad.  This picture was developed March 28, 1945 almost 2 years (to the day) before he married my Mom (pictured below).  My parents graduated from high school in Pennsylvania, while the world was at war for the second time.  As a young man (who had never traveled far from home), Roy H. Schlessman left his home, family and girlfriend and followed the call to join the army and head to Europe, specifically, Germany. He was among thousands of young American men who willingly stepped up to help bring forth the cause of freedom and PEACE.
Doris Mae Weaver wearing "her soldier's" jacket and hat
May 8, 1945
This is one of my all time favorite photos of my Mom. I love that she had the idea to have a friend snap this picture of her and I love all that this photograph represents.  VICTORY, FREEDOM and ultimately PEACE to a world, to a country, to a couple of young adults who could now move forward with their lives.  My Mom and Dad belong to "The Greatest Generation" as they grew up and served in World War II.  They willingly paid a price for peace,  and then came home to marry and raise a generation of kids (like me).  They raised us in a world of hopes and goals and endless possibilities that peacetime affords.
That was MY LIFE....
However, my husbands life was different.  Gary's father, Lt. Col. Russell Lee Rogers was a career Air Force man.  Volumes could be written about him and of the influence his life has had on his family and on all of his posterity.  To very briefly describe his career, my father-in-law served right out of high school in WWII, then the Korean War.  He served and trained at Edward's Air Force base as a test pilot and he was a squadron commander during the Vietnam War while stationed at Okinawa.  Russell Rogers is considered a hero among all those who loved him, and honor him now.  I doubt you can speak of war, and military, and PEACE without realizing the incredible price that is associated with this word that we can tend to take so lightly.  Russell Lee Rogers paid the ultimate price on September 13, 1967 while flying over the south China Sea.    
Lt. Colonel Russell Lee Rogers
September 31, 1970   Mary Ann receives post humorous Legion of Merit medal 
Honor and love and the dedication to PEACE can I even begin to express the depth of the price that many, many have paid?  A beautiful family returns home, to a country living in peace, and also to a  country where many are strongly opposed to the war.  Hearts broken, hearts full of pride, coming home from a war zone, to a land of "peace".  A land very unsettled and in turmoil over the cause they have just given "all" to.  Where is peace?
 I admire and respect beyond words the lives of my parents and of my husbands parents who lived to provide a better world for us.  I wanted to honor them and the times they lived through in this blog. 
Now, I want to change directions.  I could never tackle the subject of "War and Peace" adequately, I simply want to say that I am so, so thankful for those who have served our country.  Who answered the call, popular or not, because they believed in serving for the cause of freedom.
I can not write of military service in my family without giving a "shout out" to our nephew Russell.  Russell Cowley is the first son or Grandson of Russell Rogers that pursued service in the United States Military.  As a part of a generation of young people who have grown up with peace, Russell chose a path that would require serving as an officer in the Army.  Attending his graduation from West Point was a great experience for Gary, Emily and me.  It was powerful and moving to see the young men and women who are willing to pursue this type of education.  An education with a commitment to your country of years of military service.   
Russell Cowley      West Point Graduation  2009
 The "world" will never be at peace.  That is a harsh reality and way too deep of a subject to even begin to address in my simple blog.  HOWEVER, I went to college pursuing a degree in special education, therefore I have been trained in "task analysis" the skill in breaking things down.  I became pretty efficient at learning how to break a educational concept down to teach in small segments.  I can EASILY think of "peace" this way.  With a world raging around us in turmoil I can break the search for peace down, down, down from the world, to nations, to families to the individual. 
 There is a beautiful hymn in our church hymnal that begins with the question:  "Where can I turn for peace?"
Come Follow Me
 In John 14: 27 we read:  "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
There is a way to inner peace.  I believe we can find peace.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints sends missionaries out into the world to teach others about the "Prince of Peace".  These young men and women leave their homes, family, friends and educational pursuits behind to serve for two years (on their own dime).  The Mormon faith does not teach of an ancient religion but of a Savior who is resurrected, his Gospel restored and that Jesus Christ loves us and can touch our lives today.....with peace.
I love the following picture of Gary, it takes us back to a long time ago, (that is if thirty some years is a long time!)  A nineteen year old young man serving in Hamburg Germany, with much of his time being spent in West Berlin, which was located within the borders of Eastern Germany, under communist rule.  Elder Rogers was there to share the message of Jesus Christ.  That he lives and that he offers peace to weary souls.  Look at his eyes!  I was in love with them then and even more so now.  Eyes determined, sincere, and full of conviction of what he has been called to do!
Elder Gary Lee Rogers   Hamburg Germany  1976
When Gary was called to serve in Germany the missionary force of the church was approximately 25,000 strong.  Today there are over 80,000 missionaries currently serving.  This army of young missionaries does not promote peace with weapons and force, but with a message of Christ and a heart full of love.
The next four pictures are photographs of my children and my daughter's husbands who served missions for the church.  I love these ambassadors of PEACE. 
ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS.....  they went forth willing to give their all.  They had enough knowledge to get them out there, not much life experience, yet lots of enthusiasm and VERY willing hearts to serve the Lord.
Jonathan Lee Rogers    Mexico City  2000 - 2002
Megan Rogers (Webster)   Baltimore Maryland  2003 - 2005
Steven Jeffrey Webster   Baltimore, Maryland  2003 - 2005
Colton Thomas Jacobson   Rostov, Russia  2010-2012
I find it interesting now that I have posted these pictures of my "kids" from their missions of the photos that I chose of each of them.  There are elements in each of these pictures that symbolize freedom, peace, war, power in various different ways.  Missionaries and peace seem to be extremely intertwined.  I find it incredible and inspiring to think that within our own little family that the Gospel message has been taken to far reaching corners of the world.  When I look at the fresh clean smiles on the faces of these young missionaries (whom I love dearly) I am reminded of the joy that comes from helping others and reaching out to others to teach "the plan of happiness".
The next two photos show moments when the "troops" (or districts) of Mormon missionaries were gathered together.  Just look at their smiles!  True happiness can be found in sharing a message of the love of a Savior, it shows on their faces. When you serve others and teach of the unconditional love of Jesus Christ you radiate happiness and joy.  Ultimately goodness and pure love lead to peace.
Missionaries in Mexico City with Jonathan
Megan with Missionaries in Washington DC
The picture (above) of missionaries taken during the Christmas season, includes a building, which to us Mormons represents a  "place of Peace".  Just as in ancient days, temples have been built and dedicated to perform holy ordinances of God.  In the temple you can find refuge from the turmoil in the world, solace from cares and concerns.  It is a place to learn of Christ's mission and the effect his life and sacrifice can have on our lives.  It is a place to learn of where we came from and what the purpose of life is.  This kind of knowledge brings PEACE.  The temple is a place to make covenants with our Father in Heaven.  The temple can be an amazing, calming, place of peace to those who worship therein.    
"Elder Rogers" at the temple in Mexico City
"Elder Webster" at the Washington DC Temple
"Elder Jacobson" at the Kyiv, Ukraine Temple
So far I have written of those who were willing to "fight for peace", and those willing to "teach of peace", and now, I'll mention Jonathan who has been hired and trained to "work for peace".  Jonathan recently graduated from the Arizona Law Enforcement Academy to start a new career as a "Peace Officer" for the city of Gilbert.
Officer Rogers with his Grandpa, Roy H. Schlessman (previously pictured in this blog post)
Gary with our son "Officer Rogers"

I was very moved as I listened to the oath that Jonathan took as he graduated from the academy.  Something along the lines to: support the Constitution of the United States of America, and the laws of Arizona.  To defend them against all enemies foreign and a PEACE officer."  These words are powerful.  Watching and listening to Jonathan as he went through the academy reminds me how much effort it takes to maintain peace.   

I can not help but to feel a little rattled when I think of my son wearing a bullet proof vest to work each day.  The fact remains that we live in a dangerous world.  I look at these photos above as Jonathan is placing his vest on Tyler, I see my own Grandson experience the weight of wearing a very heavy vest.  Literal and figuratively I believe we must pass our value, love, and respect for peace on to each generation. 
It appears that it takes quite a bit of equipment to "defend the Constitution and Laws"
I honestly didn't know exactly where I was headed when I started writing this post.  I LOVE thinking about the words on my "list" and then seeing where my thoughts take me. 

I'm going to close this entry with the following photograph of me and Gary from this past summer.  We were on vacation, riding bikes along the harbor in downtown San Diego when suddenly BAM.... we rode upon this HUGE statue.  Can you tell how enormous it is by this photo?
The statue...."Unconditional Surrender" by J. Seward Johnson
 This statue is based on the iconic photo from Time Square depicting V-J Day and the end of the second World War.  This brings me back around to the photo that I included earlier of my Mom on V-E day.  Freedom and PEACE should be depicted large, powerful and passionate.  (Guess there has been some controversy over the monstrous size of this monument.)  I stop and think of the world striving for peace, to a single soul searching for inner peace, and I feel such gratitude.  I feel humbled and so very THANKFUL for all the examples of "ordinary people", as far as the world is concerned, who have influenced me and touched my life with their willingness to do their part to help promote, teach and stand as an example of PEACE.   

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


To blog IS to SHARE, really, isn't that what we are doing as we post pictures and thoughts? 
Here I am, slow but sure, expressing my feelings on the 12th word of my 14 word challenge.  Deciding on how to approach this topic was simple and clear to me, Rigby Jon, my second Grandson is my inspiration for this post. 
  My Daughter-in-law and I were looking at my "word list wall hanging" and I told her I knew exactly which word I was going to use "Rigby" as my topic.  She studied the list for a minute then said "well I know which word does NOT describe him"......that would be SHARE, "because he doesn't know how to share" (Rigby's two).  I laughed inside thinking, this is another reason for Grandma's.  To me, this word fits him perfectly,  so here we go, remaining mindful that the following is from a
Grandma's point of view"


When Rigby was born he was in a different position than either of
 my other Grandsons, Rigby had a big brother.  He joined a
"family", rather than created a new family. 
 "Big Rig" entered this world having to SHARE his
 parents opposed to having them all to himself. 
For the first time we had a grandchild who was not a firstborn!

Welcoming Rigby to this world!

I'm a true believer that "birth order" has a huge effect
on our personality.  We often carry on about the
"firstborn" child, I witnessed Rigby entering this world
 to parents who were experienced.  This new little boy, 
taking his spot as the second child would be
 sharing parents with his older
brother, this just might be a great place to be!  
Child number 2 would be welcomed by parents
who are more confident and more relaxed. 
After all they have been down this amazing road of
"bringing home a baby" once before! 
 Sharing life with a big brother can be wonderful.  Having a big brother is like having a ready made friend to show you and share
 the world with you. What an incredible bond brothers, can have!
  Here are a few "brother" moments I captured of Rigby and Tyler.
Now, back to Riggers, this little boy is amazing in many ways.  Yes, I am his grandmother, therefore I can comfortably share that as a fact.  Along with many other traits he has an incredible physical feature.......and that would be

This is the face of a cherub!

There is nothing quite like looking into his eyes, they are mesmerizing:

The excitement of finding shelter from a rainstorm in the mountains!
If by chance you are wondering where those eyes come from, here's a picture of his Daddy.....

Jonathan about 3 years old

Like I said, this post is from a Grandma's perspective, in my opinion the little boy in the picture above, and his son in the picture below SHARE the same eyes. 

And where do these eyes come from??  I usually don't take credit, however, I also believe that you give credit where credit is due.....

Me in the early 60's

OK, now, seriously, there is a resemblance's all in the EYES!

He happens to be watching BYU Football - something he SHARES with his whole family!

I also am the first to admit that this incredible happy face of Rigby's does not exclusively come from his Dad.  Take a look at this face....
This expression, the whole face, the happiness, the softness, is something this little boy SHARES with his Mom!

Can you see the resemblance?
Back to the subject of "Rigby's eyes" you just can not help to look at them and wonder what he is thinking as he takes in the world through those amazing big brown eyes. 

With eyes like his you wonder what his thoughts are and wish he could share with you what he is thinking.  The thing I need to remember is that he is just a little boy, and it is not just those incredible eyes, but his entire expression that reminds me he is a little child growing up and sharing life with a very loving family.

Big Rigs favorite Super Hero is the HULK (love both sets of "eyes" in this photo)

Just look at Rigby's smile while sharing a moment with his Grandpa!!....then check out Grandpa's expression.
Sharing his 2nd birthday cake with his Aunt Megan

"Second cousins" share the same Great-Grandparents

My life is happier and better and filled with joy because I get to SHARE in the life of Rigby.  He is one very cool kid.....

You cover those eyes and you wonder where "Rigby" went?
This little guy is a "charmer" and its not only those amazing eyes.  He has a smile that lights up any room, and when he describes something with the most darling little voice you have ever heard he seems to captivate his audience.  It really helps to have his Mom nearby as she understands his language and is a great interpreter.  He has an incredible connection with his Mom (sometimes we're not sure he likes anyone else).   

Very soon a brand new meaning of the word SHARE will enter Rigby's world as he is about to become a big brother!  We all anticipate the excitement as a baby sister will soon join this adorable family.  My heart is full when I think of the love that Rigby has in his young little life with Jonathan, Kristin and Tyler, and how that love will not be divided and split with another child, but multiplied and increased for everyone when the new little baby is born!


Here is one more photo of a sweet moment shared between Rigby and his parents.  Notice where all eyes are looking and notice the quote on Kristin's shirt in terms of what has been shared about Rigby Jon