All posts by Sarah Patten

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Princess Lamballe: Dealing With Moral and Political Clashes

Early morning on  inauguration day. I  was browsing Facebook and came across some fantastic links about peace and coming together. Other people posted how they hate, hate everything about the new leadership. I think it’s understandable. It’s hard to know exactly what to do. How do we support our government without compromising our own beliefs?

Then a name came to mind.

Lamballe.

Princess Marie Louise of Savoy, also known as the “princess de Lamballe”, was a cousin-in-law and good friend to Marie-Antoinette. (For this post I will refer to princesse de Lamballe as Princess Lamballe.)

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Princess Lamballe was an intellectual, open to new ideas, but was opinionated and a staunch Bourbon royal family supporter. She even went to England in hopes of gathering supporters for the French royal family. She went back to France and was in the Queen’s service till she was separated from the royal family.

Princess Lamballe was brought to trial September 3, 1792 where she was asked to make a promise to liberty and denounce the King, Queen, and Monarchy.

This is a what-would-you-do moment. What could you do—would you disown yourself, people you love, your own belief system or give in to something you don’t believe in? What would keep peace?

I suspect Princess Lamballe had a feeling a moment like this would come.

She agreed to make an oath to Liberty and Equality but would not denounce the King, Queen, and monarchy. Her trial ended with the words, “emmenez madame,” which means, “take madame away.” She was then taken out to the street where she was tortured and murdered. When I found out about this particular murder in history, I was of course horrified. Just replace some nouns dropped in her trial, and you see how relevant her trial is to today.

I hope there won’t be violence no matter how much we disagree. I pray for peace and that I can act peacefully. I’ll still fight for what I believe in. I admit I’m still unsure how. That’s why I see Princess Lamballe, who lived in the eighteenth century, as a new kind of hero. I’m beginning to recognize these kinds of heroes more. They have such diverse beliefs than the new leadership yet show respect to the government and try to be unified. It’s fortunate we have such great examples living in these times because it’s tough. It’s easier said than done.

Sources and Further Readings:
“Elders Oaks, Holland counsel young adults regarding political divisions and life’s changes.” Deseret News. Accessed January 21, 2017
“The Death of the Princesse de Lamballe”  MadameGuillotine.org. Accessed January 21, 2017.
“Princess Marie Louise of Savoy”  Wikipedia. org. Accessed January 21, 2016

Images:
Portrait of the Princess of Lamballe by Anton Hickel, 1788.
Portrait of Madame de Lamballe by Louis-Edouard Rioult .

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Baby Jesus and My Dog, Angel

Beliefs and Speculations

I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that he came to earth to save it. He was born of a virgin in humble circumstances. That’s the one of the most important things in this post.

It is interesting when people present theories concerning the Savior’s birth and early childhood. Like—were there actually “three” wise men? Was Jesus really born in a stable?  Was it a cave? Maybe it was a barn. A more reasonable or scholarly interpretation is that Mary and Joseph stayed at crowded relative’s house in a left over room. Were there animals around? Perhaps.

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Was Jesus actually born in a place with animals?

 

The Bible does say Jesus was born in a manger, and so I definitely believe that.

But could animals have truly been nearby? The animal concept has got to me this year.  My best friend, my dog Angel, passed away in November. This day—Christmas Eve day—twelve years ago, my family and I got baby Angel. She was the best Christmas present ever.

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Christmas Eve Day ’04 in front of Save Mart.

 

This season I was introduced to a sweet song.–Alison Krauss and Alan Jackson’s “When the Angels Cried.” The most memorable lyrics: “And the creatures gathered round and didn’t make a sound. And the angels cried.” Now, I don’t know if the animals were hovering over a newborn (don’t want to scare him for life!), but I know what Angel would have done had she been close enough to see Jesus. She would get as close as she could. A certain story relating to Angel and babies sticks out in my mind.

Angel and Baby

One of my favorite memories of Angel occurred this last summer. Just in the backyard. I had a blanket on the lawn and was enjoying my relaxation under the shade. The dogs had already greeted me when I came out and then went to different areas of the yard. That all changed, though, when my brother came outside carrying his baby girl.

He sat down on the blanket with the baby on his lap. Just in a matter of seconds, I noticed Angel, who was chilling on the patio , get up immediately when she saw the little one. Her eyes seemed to say, “Baby!” She rushed over to see the baby and beat the younger dog. Both gave kisses. Angel then rested on an empty spot on the blanket. My mom came outside and sat by Angel. It was a tender moment and one of the best breaks for a keep going summer.

Really, I can’t convey the peace and enjoyment when I saw the two dogs racing to see a baby.

So now I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but Mary and Joseph had to have some contact with animals sometime in Bethlehem, and I bet the animals were as in awe of the newborn as the shepherds and angels! (And remember I once asked—who said that an angel has to be a human?)

It might sound so ridiculous, but I know had Angel been an animal who saw the baby Jesus, she would have passed up humans and animals alike to see Him

It feels weird without my Angel this Christmas season. She’s never far from my mind.

cimg5024-palsShe feels really close as I look at babies and see paintings of the manger scenes.

 

 

Images:
The Nativity by Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale
Photographs courtesy of Douglas Patten

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Reflections of All Grandma Wanted For Christmas Was

I originally posted this two years ago. Since then I’ve learned a lot more about these individuals—especially my grandma and dad! I love them so much more! I’ve decided this is one of my all-time favorite Christmas stories. It’s unique and yet has parallels to the first Christmas.

(And if you want the movie rights, leave a comment, and I’ll put you in contact with my dad.)

All Grandma Wanted For Christmas Was…

Christmas of ’76 was memorable for my dad and his family.

Just a few days before that Christmas, my grandpa wrote:

 December 22, 1976 – Geraldine had the operation in the St. John’s Hospital. All went well. We all visited her except John – under 14 not admitted to the hospital…

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My dad tells it to me:

Grandma had to have some surgery, and elected to do it during the holidays because she felt that she would get better service – on account of so many patients wanting to be out of the hospital for Christmas. Gerald and Cathy felt the children should all band together and pay for the operation.  I was going to optometry school at that time and didn’t have a penny to my name.  My 3 youngest siblings were likewise poor. 

So Gerald and Cathy, and also Yvonne and Bill, contributed the lion share of the bill.  They paid it ahead of when Grandpa went down to see how much he owed for the operation and hospital care. 

 I wondered what I could do to help my mom? I hoped that there might be something that I could do for her, as I loved her as much as anyone else. I went up to see her and to try and figure out what that special something could be that I could give. I said to Grandma, “Mom—What would you really like for Christmas?”

 Grandma astonished me with her answer.

” I want to see your little brother”.

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 That might be impossible. My little brother, John, was not old enough (according to the posted signs) to enter the hospital.  The hospital was guarded on the front steps by an armed guard. Gun at his side.

 As I prayed and pondered I remembered the time a few years before when I had dressed up like Santa when the youth of our ward went Christmas caroling. I thought, I could do that again and maybe – just maybe – I could get John in, if he was dressed up like an elf.

 I asked my sisters, Beth and Joyce,if they could help me with John’s costume. I would need green tights and green everything for John. They assured me that they could furnish the costume. I asked John if he was willing to go along with the idea, explaining that there was a chance that it might not work and that we could be severely reprimanded by the guard or hospital authorities. John said he was willing to give it a try.

So John and I got all dressed up – I as Santa Claus and John as an elf. We went up to the hospital entrance. The guard spotted us coming.

 “Well, what have we here? Santa and his helper! Right this way!”

 It was hard to get up to Grandma’s room. When I dressed up like Santa before, I just ran around with the other youth in the ward singing Christmas carols. People seemed to think it was cute that Santa was along. I had not anticipated this time that so many patients would want to say hi to Santa or to tell him that they had been good.  It was a treat for Santa to be where they were in the hospital.

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Eventually our family – including John and I in costume -made our way up to Grandma’s room. Grandma seemed to be resigned to her circumstances, and comforted by the fact that she was indeed getting find treatment. You should have seen the look on her face when she saw us, and spotted John – she was overjoyed! We had a nice visit that day. 

“You brought me the best thing ever!”    

John and I walked away with a feeling that I will never forget.

 To this day that is one of my most memorable Christmases.

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 My Grandpa’s Diary Entry for that Christmas:

December 25, 1976.

All gathered around the Christmas tree at 8:00 am, except Geraldine who was still in St. John’s Hospital. We all opened the presents. We had a wonderful Christmas time.

Cathy Lynn prepared the Christmas dinner. It was truly a banquet. We had lots of leftovers.

At 2 pm we all went to the hospital to see Geraldine. Douglas dressed as Santa in the Ward’s Santa Claus suit, and John was made up as an Elf. We put all her presents in Santa’s bag- she was really surprised to see us. We spent about an hour at the hospital. On the way out of the hospital Douglas and John made several stops to see children both young and old to wish them a Merry Christmas.

 We all felt at the end of the day it had been the best Christmas we had ever had, even though Gerri was in the hospital. We begin to see that even during trying times we are able to have very choice experiences and good times. The Lord truly has been good to us. He has blessed us in so very many ways. But best of all he has blessed us with each other.

A better family I could not be part of, they are really great.

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The Pretty New Girl

Some of the “obstacles” Grandma—or Geri—faced growing up was constantly moving and her younger sister. Geri was more proper, and her little sister was more laid back. A memorable experience was when Geri was called to the school office once. It turned out it was because her little sister was going by the name, “Honey.” Was that actually true? The school officials wanted to know. “No, her name’s not ‘Honey,” said Geri. Her sister said Honey was her name because, “That’s what everyone at home calls me.” Little sister hadn’t meant to embarrass Geri.

It would have been tough switching schools so often. Grandma was involved with school activities. One icebreaker seemed to be band.

A member of the band

A member of the band

She was a clarinet player. I call her the “pretty new girl.”I could picture students saying, “Have you met the new girl?” “Her name’s Geri Evans.”

The prettiest girl at every school

The prettiest girl at every school

This was backed up by Grandma herself when I told her how pretty she is in her pictures. She smiled and said people often told her that when she was growing up. She then told me she went to the movies with a boy in fourth grade. My jaw dropped. According to her and my mom, the church didn’t have strict rules about dating. But still, I was in shock. “Grandma!”

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Children, Courage, and Voting Your Conscience

I work at a school. I evade political conversations but listen to them if students engage in the subject. A student looked me in the eye and said, “Well I don’t want Trump. Trump is bad.” She looked down, made sure her shoe was on all the way, and then looked up. “But Hillary’s done some bad things…”

At that moment, there was a certain peace. I was assured I had done the right thing. The subject changed to something else, but I wonder if this student would be proud of my McMullin vote.

Children remind me of what I stand for. I voted my conscience. Many will say when it comes to voting, it’s more important to vote strategy. But it isn’t about that. Voting is about your choice—not a party’s or majority’s choice. Voting your conscience tells you what you stand for and don’t stand for. What you want to be.

I hope I showed courage like the American heroes today’s children are learning about. Those heroes that took a stand when they were in a minority.

I strive to be honest, true, and virtuous. I’m not perfect, but sometimes when I make choices, I think of my nieces and nephews. What type of example am I setting for them?

I hope posterity will view Sarah Patten as someone who chose to do the right thing even if it wasn’t popular. I hope they see that my beliefs reached to all aspects of my life—including voting.

 

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Whatever Happened to My Vote?

Whatever Happened to My Vote?

(Put together by Sarah Patten—inspired by “Whatever Happened to My Part” from the musical Spamalot and the 2016’s presidential election)

Whatever happened to my vote?
It counted and was worth to note.
Now the election is soon
And I don’t know what to do.
Third parties are stringing me along
As the debates go on and on
This is one unhappy voter
The race is getting grosser
Here’s a soul searching poem in my post
Whatever happened to my vote?

I am sick from what I read
What I see on the TV
What I hear on podcasts and Nancy.
The Democrats are still corrupt
Republicans will self-destruct
Do we think a Ross Perot should lead?
Ross Perot!

Whatever happened to my voice?
Once I could choose
Now there’s no choice
We’re with a pervert and a crook
Who are polluting Facebook
We might as well elect a dog
At least I’d follow Fido’s blog
If you think that sounds bitter
Just go and look at Twitter
The true and lying tweets give me a headache.

Whatever happened to my—
—I’ll get a passport, Sammy!

Whatever happened to my—
Not Trump!
Not Hillary!
But my vote!

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My Angel

Who said angels have to be people?

This post is dedicated to Angel on her birthday.

 An Unexpected Gift

Christmas Eve day in 2004 was a very special day. I was slow getting ready, and I believe I was staring at the Christmas tree when the phone rang. My older brother answered it and then quickly hung up.

“There’s a lab at Save Mart who needs a new home!”

With that, my family and I went from lazy to rushing to meet up with my mom.

When my family met up with Mom, she was with a mother and two little girls holding a black puppy.

A puppy?

I wanted a young adult dog. But my expectations changed as we took turns holding her.

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My family outside of Save Mart with our new “edition.”

We quickly found out she was named after her mother Angel. She was most likely part Labrador Retriever and Australian Shepherd. She had been born September 22. My family had fallen in love. Mom paid the previous owners, and we carried a very scared puppy home.

Angel hardly moved, wouldn’t eat, and ignored us when we got home. We had her rest in my  brothers’ room. I was in the hall trying to get her out. I gently talked to her. She would start approaching me and then go back in the room. Then she finally came and curled up in my lap.

Best Friend

Angel’s eyes show compassion when she knows you’re sad, and so she sits with you. She use to jump around when she could tell you were happy. She prefers sitting down now and wagging her tail. My dogs have always tried to make people happy.

As I mentioned before, Angel was very shy when we were brought her home. Her shyness was one of the probable reasons why she was the last pup of the litter to find a home. I had just returned from school and taking the winter off. Most of my friends were out of town going to college, and my family had their busy lives. I worked some, but I was basically alone. I think that’s why Angel and I became so close.

Angel’s Other Friends

Though socially awkward, Angel had a chance friendship with two dogs behind our yard. People love to see her. She’s come out of her shell. One person who broke through to her was a five-year-old girl. She’s thirteen now and is kind of like a second owner to Angel and my other dog. Angels also loves the girl’s little sister. Angel opens up more quickly to people she senses have gentle souls. She especially adores little children and babies.

Angel has aged quite a bit now. I don’t know how long she has to live. But she has had a good life. One individual that kept Angel going and probably preserved her life is our very energetic Australian Shepherd, Zane. He makes sure she gets plenty of exercise!

And of course, my parents. Angel has a harder time being around men, but she loves my dad. Angel really loves my mom.

I’m not there to take care of Angel, but I can rely on my mom to take care of the dogs.

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My mom shows so much love to the dogs.

And that is not always easy. The dogs are mischievous and have a new—and delicious— diet because of Angel’s special needs.

Angel easily makes me happy. I don’t want to sound cheesy, but I believe Angel was sent from above.

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Happy birthday, Angel!

 

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The Princess, the King, and the Tyrant

It’s strange to start out with the moral at the beginning of the story, but that’s exactly what I’m going to tell you. No, Maximilien Robespierre will tell you:

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Maximilien Robespierre was a well-spoken leader who led with terror.

 

“Citizens, take warning; you are being fooled by false notions.”

Those words are taken from an address to justify the execution of Louis XVI.

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King Louis XVI of France wanted peace.

It also sums up what others would feel toward Robespierre as time went on. Basically, it leads to the question: What is truth?

Maximilien Robespierre had pushed for Louis XVI’s execution but wasn’t for Princess Elisabeth’s, the King’s sister.

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Princess Elisabeth of France. The King’s youngest sibling.

Yet, she was executed May 10, 1794. And a couple months later, Robespierre would be executed.

The lives of the Princess, the King, and the Tyrant were connected way before the French Revolution.

Losses

An important place to start is the year of 1764. It was important to both the Robespierre and the Bourbon families.

In May, Maximilien Robespierre turned six, and the royal Bourbons welcomed a baby princess.

In July, Robespierre’s mother gave birth—to a stillborn son. She died soon after. Robespierre’s sister recalled in her memoirs this death changed him. He lost his childhood. In addition to that, his father left the family. The man who was supposed to be one of the most important  role models in a young boy’s life distanced himself from his children. I consider this to be Robespierre’s first major rejection.

The Bourbon children lost their parents to death within three years of Princess Elisabeth’s birth.

Successes

Despite losing parents young, Louis, Elisabeth, and Robespierre were all very intelligent and accomplished individuals. Just to mention some examples: Louis excelled in languages; Elisabeth in mathematics; Robespierre in rhetoric. All three wanted to be models of virtue. The Bourbon children took a religious approach while Robespierre leaned on secular philosophies.

Elisabeth carried a certain charm from her earliest days. Despite being a wild child, Elisabeth grew up to be lovely and known for her piety and wit. There were three proposed marriages, but in the end, she and her brother, now King, agreed that she would stay with the family.

Sometime early in Louis’ reign, he and his wife stopped by the school Robespierre attended. In fact, Robespierre was handpicked to give a speech in Latin at the special ceremony for the King and Queen. It turned out to be a dismal day. It was rainy, the monarchs were running late, and when they did arrive, they stayed in their carriage for the speech and ceremony. They left promptly after the ceremony. Robespierre had just been rejected by high society.

Life’s not fair! Right, Robespierre?

But Robespierre was a bright student and would eventually move up his way into politics after completing school. He started on a small scale during the king’s early reign. Louis and Marie-Antoinette had more of a positive image then.

To someone like Robespierre, it probably seemed as if the King had everything. Besides not agreeing with the King’s politics, I think there were other things that Robespierre  would find bothersome about the King. Louis XVI had obtained power through family deaths. He had a beautiful family, and he had a live sibling born in 1764. The King got a free pass while Robespierre slaved away to get to the top.

Annoying Sister

Elisabeth annoyed her sister-in-law at times. She could surprise her brother. But there was never any doubt that these individuals cared for one another, and that the King and Queen would be eternally grateful to Elisabeth for staying with the family to the very end.

Elisabeth felt she was following God’s plan for her. She was heaven sent in the eyes of Louis and his family.

She was certainly a type of nuisance for Robespierre. If only she had escaped like some of her other family members, he wouldn’t have been caught in a desperate situation.  He fought for her at her trial. But he lost. He just wanted her to be exiled, not guillotined.

People marveled at her poise during her trial and execution.

She had just turned thirty the week before she was executed in May 1794.

Fooled by False Notions

More and more people considered themselves “fooled by false notions.” The new government had stressed equality and virtue— so why were so many being punished and put to death?

Robespierre and his comrades became distrustful of one another. They too felt they had been fooled. They weren’t as loyal as they professed they would be. He had helped to reform this new society, and now he and former allies were betraying each other. This was  Robespierre’s third and final rejection.

Robespierre was executed in July 1794. Had his stillborn brother lived, he would have turned thirty a few weeks before—the same age as Elisabeth, who had met her death in her birthday month of May for being loyal to family. An eerie coincidence.

While I don’t accept that Robespierre is scapegoat of history, I do feel sorry for him. He had all these ambitions and felt that to fulfill them, he needed to take away life. In the end, the curse he set on so many rebounded on him.

 

Sources:

Maxwell-Scott Mary Moniac. Madame Elizabeth de France, 1764-1794.

Robespierre, Charlotte. Charlotte Robespierre’s Memoirs: Part 1.By   http://revolution-fr.livejournal.com/2370.html  accessed August 16, 2016.

Ten Brink, Jan. Robespierre and the Red Terror. 1899.

Trail and Execution (French): de Beauchesne, Alicide-Hyacint

Images:
Princess Elisabeth of France by Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun (Public domain in U.S.) 1782

Portrait of Louis XVI by Antoine-Francois Callet. 1788 (Public Domain in U.S.)

Portrait of Maximilien Robespierre. 1790 (Public Domain in U.S.)

 

 

 

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Review of Marie-Antoinette, Daughter of the Caesars

Marie-Antoinette, Daughter of the Caesars: Her Life, Her Times, Her Legacy by Elena Maria Vidal left me a lot to think about. 

Elena Maria Vidal is a fantastic writer and researcher. She paints a realistic portrait of Marie-Antoinette with facts to back all of it up. It’s very exciting. This book is spiritual, adventurous, and sweet.

I was especially surprised to learn about two specific pieces of unique artwork. It was fun to find out that Louis XVI kept a certain, flirty picture of Marie-Antoinette on his desk in which she’s dressed like a goddess holding a vase with his profile on it. The other one was a tearjerker sketch of Marie-Antoinette entering heaven to her welcoming husband and her two children who died before her.

One of the most memorable scenes comes from a memoir of a servant who witnessed Louis XVI coming into Marie-Antoinette’s room. While he’s being comforted by his wife, she commands the servant to leave.

From other examples, it’s obvious he suffered from depression, but with all the exterior events and past memories, who could blame him? And shouldn’t Marie-Antoinette get the most dedicated wife award? She stuck with him despite the multiple times he wanted her and their children to go to safety.

The spouses gave each other strength and were concerned parents. After their deaths, their daughter was provided for thanks to Louis’ emergency fund and Marie-Antoinette’s diamonds that had been sneaked out of France.

Thank you, Ms. Vidal, for providing so much information that makes me want to learn more!

 

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The Return of the Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast

Being three decades old, I know it’s hard when people give advice freely—especially about marriage. There was a recent meeting/discussion about the topic. I liked what was said, but it made me think of two past posts I wrote. I hope those in the discussion will read this as well as those who contacted me right after I posted those articles! New readers of course are always welcomed.

Last year, I compared myself to the (non-Disney) Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beauty. In the Little Mermaid post I told how I related to the little sea princess mainly because past hopes and heartbreaks. I would also like to add the reason I have a problem with the story is she died after that heartbreak. That’s an easy way out. It’s harder but to live. That’s where my comparisons with her stop.

As for Beauty and for the Beast, it was about how I fell in love with myself by coming to the realization I have surprising accomplishments. (They’re surprising to me anyway.) And how it’s important to live.

The thing is, I still am connected with all these fairy tale characters.

Like the Little Mermaid, I have a fascination with discoveries and sometimes wonder too much. There are times I wish I could be more like her—take risks. Yes, caution is necessary but I think there are situations when it’s appropriate to step into the unknown.

As for Beauty and the Beast, I still see the beauty and ugly in me. I’ll never forget the night when I came to the unexpected conclusion that I loved myself. I’m telling you, it’s a wonderful experience falling in love—even if it is with yourself.

I guess I have no real advice about finding the one—which can be refreshing. Hopefully, though, my story will help others.