Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

October 13, 2017

As the Cookie Crumbles


As the Cookie Crumbles

Feature Article: by Karenne Grace Rockwood and Angela Myrick Rockwood

Cooking skills are all the rage these days with cooking shows a dime a dozen, but are those types of salivating entertainment avenues with pristine kitchens and magazine perfect results, indicative of true home baked skills?  Does the every day person cook like that?  We set out to find out.

I asked a dear associate of mine, Ammon Rockwood, if he would like to make cookies with me.  I watched closely to see what his response would be.  “Yes!  Mom has a roll of cookie dough in the fridge from the food pantry!  We can use that!”

15 minutes later, without even a single cracked egg, sprinkle of flour, or smudge of chocolate on our aprons, we happily produced, pre-cut, pre-sized, perfectly proportioned cookies.

It appears as if this time, the television is right.  You CAN cook like you’re on TV.

October 13, 2017

Ancient Cursive Language Skills Put to the Test in Indexing Training Class


Ancient Cursive Language Skills Put to the Test in Indexing Training Class

Special Report: by Ammon Pratt Rockwood and Angela Myrick Rockwood

As part of my investigative training, I’ve recently taken part in an effort to re-create and resurrect an art which some say, is dying.  Every day for the last several months, I’ve spent tedious hours, carefully ciphering the intricate writing form, known as cursive.

Cursive lettering is similar to printed lettering, only they’re just a little loopy.  Ancient peoples on this and other continents used these letter forms in formal and informal documents, written before the commencement of the digital age.


Some find the forms beautiful, most find them daunting.

As I have become more engaged with this age-old skill set, familiar to my ancestors, but somewhat foreign to modern man, I’ve grown an appreciation for this “secret language” of the past.

Recently I attended a popular “Indexing” class held by the distinguished professor of ancient familial studies, Dr. Troy Rockwood, of Family Search fame and glory.  Displaying several examples of ancient text, photographed and digitized from their original forms found on a stunning variety of flattened dead tree pulp, he challenged us to translate these strange writings into modern text.

Sharing a room packed with computers and four other like-minded researchers, I set to my task.  look like.jpg

At first the words were a blur of ornate, scribbled ink strokes, but one by one, as my mind became accustomed to the script, letters began to appear, and then words.  Dates, families, people, places and events began to appear– and gradually, each document was revealed.

“I really didn’t think I could do it,” gushed one researcher.  “When I first saw that document, I seriously reconsidered whether I was in the right field!”

“Exactly!” said another.  “But once we got started, you could kind of see a pattern to the strokes, and things just appeared.  It’s the closest thing to magic I’ve experienced.  It makes you wonder how the ancients could have even produced such writings on a regular basis… without even a keyboard!  Sometimes an “s” looks like this, and sometimes it looks like….. that!  Still, you start to get the hang of it, and then it’s actually quite, I don’t know– beautiful, I’d say.”

We’re two days into the class, and already making progress.  Will the past remain in the past?  Or will researchers like Dr. Rockwood and his associates bring these obsolete documents into the light before they’re lost forever?  The question remains to be answered.





September 27, 2017



September 17, 2017

Easter Egg Adventure Concludes With Smiles All Around


Easter Egg Adventure Concludes With Smiles All Around

Feature Article: by Karenne Grace Rockwood

Today we found the last Easter egg. It’s been five months since the Easter Bunny came and hid all the eggs. Five months is a LONG time!

The big kids couldn’t find the egg, but Ammon and I found it.  Today while we were driving home from church, I asked my dad if it was in the black couch.  He thought maybe it MIGHT be there.  That was enough for us.  Ammon and I raced up the stairs and got out of our church clothes and into our Easter hunting attire.  It was time to find that egg.

At our house, the Easter eggs are all hidden in just one room.  You think that might mean that they are easy to find… they aren’t!  Each one is numbered, and my mom keeps track of each one we find.  Sometimes I see in movies how other people have Easter egg hunts where they’re all hidden on a lawn, like at the White House.  That’s just silly.  It’s flat.  And mowed.  Our Easter egg hunts are not like that at all.

Once, we found an egg hidden in a book in the book shelf.  The Easter bunny had cut the pages out in a hole just big enough to fit an egg.  When the book was closed, it looked like any regular, boring old book.  When it was opened… treasure!

This year, my sister, Ava, used her camera phone on a selfie stick to probe the black darkness of the chimney.  She actually took pictures of not one, but TWO Easter eggs stuck inside the chimney flue!  One from this year, one from last year.  That’s the kind of Easter egg hunt we have at our house.  The impossible kind.

But not this year.

This year we finally found ALL the eggs.  We had to shake the entire couch, and reach into the mesh under the couch to find the last one hiding in the frame.  It was a big job, but Ammon and I were just the right size to get it done.

Now we get the big prize… Dinner with Mom and Dad at P.F. Chang’s!  Our favorite restaurant!

Too bad the big kids aren’t here.  🙂




May 28, 2012

Soldiers and the Airforce Academy in Colorado Springs

 Soldiers with Grandpa’s Rifles

A couple of weeks ago, my family took a trip to Colorado.  While we were there with our grandparents, we went to see the Airforce Academy.  We saw a huge B-52 bomber airplane that could drop twenty bombs at once.  It was really awesome.  After we saw the bomber, we went to the gift shop and looked around a bit.  There were lots of hats and pins with airplanes on them, and next door was a theater.  We saw a video on how to get into the Academy and what kinds of things they do there and why.  It showed basic training, with soldiers crawling through the mud, climbing trees, fences and cliffs.  The training looks really hard, you’d have to be athletic like my brother, Daylin, to be able to get through it.  It was really impressive to see.

After we watched the movie, we left the gift shop and went on a trail that went to the Academy Chapel.  The Chapel has a pointed roof that you can see from my Grandma Rockwood’s house.  It was really neat seeing it up close.  We went inside and saw the stain glass windows.  It had orange and blue and purple stain glass that you don’t see unless you’re standing inside the building.

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The Academy Chapel has room for all religions to go there and worship God the way they feel most comfortable.  There was a room for Catholic services, Jewish services, Protestant services and even Buddhist services.  They had a display of the Torah, behind glass, that was 200 years old!

After we exited the chapel, we saw the Academy school where the officers do all their training.  There were four different fighter jets on the corners of the lawn in the courtyard between the school and the chapel.  The jets were small, the bomber was big.   Both were amazing.

When we got home, my cousin Robyn and I borrowed Grandpa Rockwood’s home made rubber band rifles and old camp tent.  We set up camp in grandma’s front yard, with another camp in the back yard.  Grandpa helped set up the tent for us.  We had a lot of fun hunting and shooting enemy soldiers.  At one camp site we had toy dishes and a tarp up on top of the scrub oak trees in the back yard.  We gathered plants and grasses that we pretended were edible so we could live off the land with our toy dishes.  We pretended we had gotten separated from our troop and had to find our own food to survive.  It was pretty fun.  Robyn was a very good soldier.

We had a fake campfire in each of our campsites.  The tent was our favorite campsite.  The flowers made for good eating.  We used sticks and dried weeds for our fires.  The boys had nerf guns, so they shot us with their bullets.  Robyn and I played soldiers for most of the rest of the week.  It was so totally awesome, it was one of my favorite parts of the week we spent at grandma’s.

I don’t think I’ll be part of the Airforce, but it was sure fun to pretend.

–Contributed by Ava Victoria Rockwood (age 13)

April 29, 2012

Mormon Helping Hands 2012 in Thousand Oaks– My Perspective

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This morning everyone met at the church for Mormon Helping Hands 2012.  Even though it was only 7:00 in the morning, lots of people were there to help.  Mormon Helping Hands is something we do every year in our area.  We get out of our normal routines and go do something for someone else, usually in a big way!

This year we had over 500 volunteers at three locations across the Conejo Valley.  I helped in the Thousand Oaks project.  We planted 120 trees, and it only took two hours!  I was surprised how fast it was.  My whole family went, and a lot of my friends too.  I worked on digging holes.  It was hard work.  I am grateful for the service we were able to give today.  I look forward to our next Mormon Helping Hands Day of Service!

–Lily Adeline Rockwood (age 11)

November 8, 2010

Memorization Increases Understanding in Local School Group

by Angela Rockwood November 8, 2010

The brains of local school children have been flexed in the Rockwood Homeschool.  Snatches of poetry, history and prose can be heard on the breeze as classics are committed to memory.

I recently visited the Rockwood classroom and had the opportunity to see the technique in action.  I asked Ava, a student, what sorts of things they were memorizing, she had quite a list:  “The first thing I memorized was the Articles of Faith.  The Articles of Faith are tools to help you with your life.  There are 13 of them, most were pretty easy, but the 13th was the hardest.  I also memorized “The Village Blacksmith” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and the Preamble of the Constitution.”

What can be learned from memorizing the Preamble?  Anna Rockwood, another student had a quick answer.  “I learned the founding principles, the things our Founding Fathers used, and why they wrote the Declaration of Independence.  They wanted to establish justice, make peace, protect their families and help everyone to be free as best they could.  That’s pretty important to understand, the government is not there to boss you.  We need to have a little bit less government bossing us in our country.  It seems like we are getting less and less freedom.”

When asked whether memorization was an effective learning tool,  Gabrien replied, “Yes, because it helps your mind remember things better, even math equations.”  Do you find it difficult to remember so many great works?  Not at all, he says.  “A great way to do it is to use hand motions, that helps me.”

What’s next?  “Hope Is The Thing With Feathers” by Emily Dickenson, and perhaps who knows?  The Gettysburg Address!

November 8, 2010

Hope Is The Thing With Feathers

Hope Is The Thing With Feathers

by Emily Dickenson

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chilliest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

October 23, 2010

My First MHH Service Day!

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Today I woke up at 7:00 and got my working clothes on.  We had to wake up nice and early to go to the Mormon Helping Hands activity.  Mormon Helping hands is where you go and help in the community.  This was my first time going to a MHH activity.  I was really excited to go.  There were lots of people there, and lots of kids! I thought I would be one of the only ones, but the moms and dads brought their kids too.  That was cool.

I got to meet the Mayor of Thousand Oaks, Mayor Gillette, he was there to give us an award for our service and cut the ribbon on our special day of helping.  I got a piece of the ribbon that the Mayor cut for my journal.  I also got to take my picture with him.

When we were done talking to the mayor, we broke into groups and went to different schools to plant trees.  Our group went to Glennwood Elementary School.  We dug holes and planted trees along the front of the school by the street.  I helped dig and was one of the runners getting water and doughnuts and tools to the other workers.  The ground was hard to dig so sometimes the kids helped do other things, like run for supplies.  Makayla’s dad brought a pick, so he could get through the hard ground and rocks whenever we got stuck.  Luckily, the weather was nice and cool, and not too hot.  It actually misted a little bit, but not enough to get us wet.

Tommy and Sam Cooley, Van Bush and my sister Ava did the most digging in our group.  My brothers helped too.   Daylin helped hold up the trees while Ethan and Gabrien filled the dirt back in.  My sister Anna and her friend Chelsea Hackney helped pound in stakes in the ground to keep the trees from falling down.  We all worked together.  It was hard work!

I loved the feeling I had from helping other people today.  I think that’s one of the blessings of serving.  I am proud of all the people that helped.  It was so beautiful when it was all done!

–By Lily Adeline Rockwood, photography by Angela Michelle Myrick Rockwood, Oct 2010

October 21, 2010

My First Oil Pastel

This was my first project with oil pastels.  I think it is the best drawing that I’ve done so far.  I took my time on it and it turned out better than I thought it would.

To me it seems like a picture of free-ness because when I look at it, it’s open like you can fly out with wings between the trees.

I gave this one to my mom so that I will always have a place to keep it and someone I love to feel free with me.  I want my life to be free forever.

I will be better next time I draw with oil pastels, like my mom and dad.  I have a talented family!

by Lily Adeline Rockwood— October 2010

October 21, 2010

Primary Program October 2010

Lily Adeline Rockwood participated in the Annual Primary Program at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She sang two special numbers, including “Beautiful Savior” and had a speaking part as well as being part of the general children’s choir.

She says, “I didn’t feel confident while I was up singing and saying my part, but I remembered that I said a prayer earlier that day and then I felt better.  Even though I had to work a lot to memorize what I was doing, I still felt good inside and felt the spirit beside me.”  She says that was a special day for her.  “It’s one I will always remember.”

by Angela Michelle Myrick Rockwood and Lily Adeline Rockwood— October 2010

October 21, 2010

A New Family

I have a new family that is kind, loving and faithful.  I love my family just like Heavenly Father loves me.

The family I have now is just like I’ve always wanted.  I will try to fit into this family as best as I can.

I got a family that I love and I want to stay with forever.  This is a family that I like.  They know what is best for me and they give me hugs when I am sad to make me feel better.

by Lily Adeline Rockwood– October 2010

October 20, 2010

A Tale of Sugary Intrigue

I filled my pockets with Halloween candies from upstairs and sat in my chair to work on my blanket while we listened to Rush Limbaugh. Anna was working on artistic masterpieces with her wet pens when all of a sudden a candy fell out of nowhere just behind her head.   Plop!

Anna was shocked!

“Mommy! where did this candy come from??” and we stared at the ceiling together. Sure enough, there was a small hole in our ceiling where a cable had come through at some time. Just as Anna was finished chewing the first one, a second one dropped from the air! Anna ran upstairs and when she came down, she reported her discovery that there must be multitudes of the candies, hiding in the attic. She found that they’d come down through the walls and out the ceiling through the hole! Can you believe it?

First one, then two, then three then four little candies fell inexplicably out of the sky.  Anna’s brain raced with the wealth of possibilities.  She began to be impatient to actually see one come out the hole. “Mommy! Lets unscrew these other hooks from the ceiling, maybe more candies will come out!”  “No”, I said, “I don’t want candies falling on my computer, it might hurt it…”  This cinched it in her mind. There were so many candies up there that they could come out at any time, any place, without warning.

“Mommy! I see a black one coming through the hole! See? It’s all black inside! I saw it move!” Now the wheels were really turning.  “Please candy, can you come down? We’ll be nice to you, we won’t hurt you!” but try as she might she couldn’t coax it out.  She even went so far as to promise that she wouldn’t even eat them if they came down. Obviously these were no ordinary candies, they were special candies!

Finally, two more candies squeezed out and dropped to the floor after Anna determined that she must be standing in the way of them coming down and moved. I guess she didn’t want to risk getting hit.

These two candies didn’t get eaten– because of course, she had promised them safety. They’re taking a ride on Susie the Rocking Horse this very minute…

“Mommy! I see two MORE candies up there. They’re talking about coming out!” …and sure enough they did come out.  Now she was carting a sack of little candy babies around–talking every minute about how yummy candies are, but reminding herself of her promise– however reluctantly.

And so the saga continued.  Though the mysterious origin of the candies gradually took a back seat to an ever growing sugar craving.

Hark! do I hear a wrapper??  I think those candies will be too scared to come out any more.

Was it Troy pushing candies through the hole you ask?  No.   I confess to the sleight of hand.  Surreptitiously I tossed each one over her head while she wasn’t looking.  As long as they landed in the area by the hole, the ruse remained and imagination provided the rest.

And thus we see, You have to keep up the magical candy tradition through the generations! You can’t just give it to them, you gotta make’m WORK for it.

–Angela Michelle Myrick Rockwood October 1999

October 11, 2010

The Village Blacksmith

The Village Blacksmith
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

UNDER a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate’er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter’s voice,
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother’s voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.

Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close;
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night’s repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought.

October 4, 2010

Name Changing Day

by Angela Rockwood

Name changing day is a Rockwood tradition. In our family when a new member comes into the family, they
receive a new name.

In preparation for adoption, our two daughters chose today as their special name changing day. This day is a day of celebration and much anticipated. A name is something precious, a gift. In adoption, we promise to love and value each family member, as if they had been born to us. While we may not share biology, we can share a common faith and rich heritage through this special gift. These are the names our daughters received today. Each name is rich in personal meaning for our family.

Welcome Ava Victoria and Lily Adeline Rockwood!