Monday, December 31, 2012


I opened the door of the theatre office at BYU. I was receptionist/secretary for the theater department of the college. My boss asked me if I would like to do some freelance typing using the word processor that the department owned. I was happy for the opportunity.
When I opened the door to the tall, dark, stranger at the theatre office I was slightly startled. It wasn't due to feelings of danger. This man had the kindest face. It was also the handsomest face. He was a giant of a man standing at six foot four inches. 

I did not immediately feel that my soul mate had arrived at last.  For me there was no love at first sight.  What I did enjoy was that he was silly and playful.  He actually laughed at my jokes!

I typed for him quite often for the next month.  One of his works was a screenplay called Allovial.  In the middle of that screenplay love arrived.  I felt that anyone who could create an alternate reality with imagination, humor, and tenderness was someone that I wanted to know better and possibly spend the rest of my life with!

I invited Nyle to my house for a birthday party...for me.  I only invited one other person.  The other person was a young man who was wickedly handsome.  He had asked me out on a date and I turned him down.  Sean was the type of man that it would be fun to be stranded on a dessert island with, but only for a short time.  I sensed that Nyle was the type of man that I could depend on, day to day, for an entire lifetime.

Nyle told me later that he thought that Sean was my real interest, and that I asked Nyle to throw Sean off the scent.  It was actually the other way around.  I invited Sean so that Nyle wouldn't know I was interested.  It was the first time in Nyle's relationship with Sean that a woman had been more interested in HIM than in Sean.

When I invited the two men I had no idea that they had a love/hate relationship.  They were both game masters.  They played games in the method that the knights of old jousted.  There were no TIES or civility in their playing.  Whatever the game that they played it was for blood.

It was uncomfortable at first because they were coming off a hate cycle.  They had not spoken to each other for a while.  When we started playing a game of Scrabble they both attacked the game with such concentration that they didn't even pay attention to my playing.  This was to my advantage.  Since they paid me no attention I was able to sneak past both of them and win.

I'm still not certain if they let me win.  It was the one and only time in my entire life with Nyle that I won him at Scrabble.  Did I mention that the man played for blood?  He was a very complex man.  He was loving, and generous to a fault.  Yet when playing games Nyle thrived on the strategy and competition.

I had no great design in writing this post other than to review the events that led me to marriage with my tall, dark, handsome Nyle.  I will love him until the day that I die and beyond the grave forever.

I am a romance novelist.  I declare this identity with pride.  Romance for me is endlessly fascinating.  Every time a man and woman grow in love (you don't FALL in elevates you, lifts you to higher heights) it's new, and watching them grow together to become a family, never boring....NEVER!

So as a romance writer I will from time to time explore my own romance with Nyle.  It gives me great comfort as I approach the one year anniversary of his death.  He died on January 11, 2012.
If you list the date in numbers it is 1-11-12.  Notice that the sequence of numbers creates 11:11. 

Early in our marriage Nyle proclaimed that 11:11 was a magical time of the day.  It was the only time that the numbers were four identical numbers.  It only came twice a day and only lasted for a minute each time.  So Nyle said that if we were together at that moment we would hold hands, until 11:12 came around. 

It made me happy to think that even in his last moments of life he left me the gift of remembrance.  Remembrance of our love created by numbers.

Nyle, I remember you today and everyday in light, in love, and in numbers!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas or Chaos

It's the glorious season again of Christmas.  It's a time of rushing, reflection, and reward.  It's a time to re-establish your priorities for the coming year.  It's a time of miracles, lights, and love.

How ragged is it then in this joyous season that families are torn, crying, broken hearted for their beloved children of promise?  Precious little souls cut down in the very eve of their potential.  Families that feel as though they will never be whole again?  A senseless slaughter of innocence caused by a madman.

To add insult to injury the costs of funerals, burials, etc. etc. are prohibitive.  It's around $800.00 for a short eulogy in the newspaper.  How critical is it to these parents to feel that they gave their little ones the best in death.

Now I wish to shift to a different tragedy.  The forces of nature tore apart the lives of many in the eastern section of our country.  Homes are gone, families are splintered, finances are destroyed, and life has become a mere matter of survival from moment to moment.

Do I believe that GOD or Creator or whatever you choose to call the Power of Creation of this planet earth caused so much pain and suffering.  NO....once again emphatically NO!  What I DO believe is that this earth is a trying ground, a place of proving, and testing.  That means that human agency is in play.  So that means that someone disturbed and wounded can cause the senseless slaughter of precious little ones.  That means that sometimes we may be flooded, or in an earthquake, or tsunami.  The worst part is AFTER the initial blow of tragedy.

When our precious son died inside me.  My Father-in Law gave me timeless advice.  He said, "Pray more than you've ever prayed before!"  It is a natural thing to blame God for the tragedy.  After all human nature DEMANDS that someone be at fault!  Especially in the face of natural disaster it would seem fitting to blame God.

Resist that temptation.  Instead turn to God...He will bring peace when your strength is not sufficient.  I watched a movie one day where one cancer patient asked another, "Do you ever get angry at God for this disease?"  The other woman was silent for a moment carefully choosing her words.  Finally she said, "I can't afford to be angry at God.  I NEED HIM TOO MUCH!"  It is a choice for all of us.  Do we let tragedy make us BETTER or BITTER?

Now for a happier story.  Twice this month total strangers have reached out to me in love when I had a physical need.  I did NOT request the assistance yet it was freely given....again BY TOTAL STRANGERS TO ME.

This simple acts of human decency happen every single day in our great country.  Rather than wallowing in the all too human sorrow of tragedy, let us reach out to each other and find ways to help and support.

I love the song, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day."  "For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth good will to men."  That is one of the lines.  The writer of the hymn had lost a precious son in a war.  The next verse tells some more of the story, "Then pealed the bells more loud and deep, GOD IS NOT DEAD OR DOTH HE SLEEP....the wrong shall fail, the right prevail with peace on earth good will to men."

I'm praying for all those struggling this Christmas.  I'm praying that they may find that precious "Peace that surpasseth understanding."  I'm praying that hands will be raised up to feed the hungry, and succor the sorrowing.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Perspective....Half Full....Half Empty

First thing in the morning I MUST take my doggy Rolly for a Strolly. (I do like rhyming, you may notice.)  This morning as Rolly pranced along (I didn't prance....I just kind of walked slowly) I looked to the western sky.  Fresh blueness of sky greeted my morning eyes.  I stopped for a moment (Rolly was having a sniff fest at that moment)  I filled my soul with the newness of this day, and the beauty of blue sky.

After walking to the west for a short distance we turned to retrace our steps.  Savage, dark, clouds greeted my vision.  The clouds were heavy, leaden, and appeared to hold copious quantities of snow. seems such an ordinary word but it literally frames our days and nights on this earth.  We hear about this subject often...because it's SO IMPORTANT! 

The sky was brilliant blue AND dark with threats of snow.  Where did I choose to gaze?  Even the words that I just used to describe the contrast of sky could be changed to a more positive interpretation...laced with the beauty of snowfall.

Another rhyming phrase that I focus on is an Attitude of Gratitude.  This rhyming phrase has carried me through many a dark day and night.  There is a lovely little song that says, "When I am tired and I can't sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep, and I fall asleep, counting my blessings!"

Another perspective lesson that I remember was flying.  Leaving Portland our plane went soaring, up, up, up.  We passed through layers of rain laden cloud.  When we reached crusing altitude the sky was brilliant blue.  It reminded me of a folk song from my youth, "I've looked at clouds from both sides now, from up and down..."  Wondrous to see "Clouds from both sides..."

As I flew on that day years ago I was startled by the realization that ALWAYS above the clouds and dark weather of life there is the bluest of beautiful sky.  It's up to us to see that brilliant blue sky and remember that it's always above us even when clouds of storm block it from our view.

In my personal season of sorrow I DO "Count my blessings instead of sheep."  I know that my sweetheart who had a personal motto, "Happy not Crappy" would expect nothing less of me.

Oh I DO lose my perspective.  I DO have pity parties.  Yet instead of letting life push me down, and then staying down, I WILL bounce up!  You never fail until you quit trying.  I will KEEP trying...every day....and every night!

Christmas Crazies vs Reason for the Season

Ten Signs that you are infested with an attack of the Christmas Crazies

1.  You find that your tongue is dried beyond redemption from licking copious amounts of Christmas Card envelopes, and stamps.
2.  It is not a nice idea to send out Christmas is a necessity....even though you are working two jobs and have three little kids, a husband, a dog, and two kitties!
3.  The NEED of baking cookies to take to the entire neighborhood is constantly throbbing at the back of your mind.
4.  The tree is up, decorated, you've been the home room mother for every single one of your children's Christmas parties at school, and you wish that Christmas was over and your kids were back in school.
5.  Just as a stranger in a department store  reaches to grab a giftish type of something you find your hand sliding under hers and pulling away the VERY LAST of a toy that your child is convinced they must have or simply DIE!
6.  You engage in a wrestling match with the above mentioned lady to redeem that aforementioned item that your child will simply DIE if they don't find under the tree on Christmas morning!!!
7.  There is a Christmas party at church and you insist on taking pictures with Santa and ALL of your children.  Even Bess the thirteen month old that you KNOW will scream and cry in terror at the sight of a jolly old man in a red suit with white trim (how does he keep that white trim white going down all of those nasty dirty chimneys in the world)? MUST have her picture taken with him because after all this if for memories in years to come DARN IT!
8.  You pretend that you're asleep so that your husband will get up and comfort Bess (who is having night terrors about some strange man in a weird red suit)!
9.  You get up at midnight to go to a Christmas sale with toys that your children just HAVE TO HAVE OR THEY'LL DIE....and when you get home exhausted you discover that you saved 50 cents at the all important sale and now you only have two hours to sleep before your entire family will be up and want you to make breakfast!  (Let them eat granola bars....after all you were up all night for them, right?)
10.  The number TEN reason that you know that you're suffering from an attack of the Christmas Crazies.  Your family is sitting around the Christmas tree singing Christmas Carols and all that you can think of is, "When can I insist that we all go to bed?"

Now the reason for the season.  When my beloved Mama (94 years young) was a tiny child in the 1920s her Father taught her a lesson that has stuck with her over the years.  Before they would go into the magical Christmas room where Santa had left gifts he would exclaim, "Christmas Gift."  My Mama knew that he was reminding his family of the reason that gifts were given at Christmas.  The original purpose of those gifts was to remind us that God our Heavenly Father gave the most precious of all gifts, he allowed his son Jesus Christ to be born into this world.  He knew the cruel suffering that his son would endure.  Yet God knew that it was necessary for Christ to come to earth to break the bonds of death for ALL of God's spirit children, that includes you and I.  Christ had made a choice using his own Agency to make this grand sacrifice.

So as the Christmas Crazies threaten to engulf you in their tight hold remind yourself, "Would the world stop spinning if I sent out JANUARY cards this year?  If I allow someone else to be room mother this year, would my children suffer irreparable harm that would lead to years of therapy?"

Review your priorities often, maybe each morning before you start your day.  You may even find pockets of time that you can temporarily relinquish (like watching television or going on Facebook for four hours).  After all Christmas Crazies ARE temporary.  What is PERMANENT will be the precious memories that you make.  Memories like the beauty of lights that surprise and delight your soul as you drive through a normally dark and dreary neighborhood as you are going home from your work.  Remember the precious smile of your youngest watching Christmas lights and listening to Carolers sing.  Joy on your child's face as they see the wonders that Santa brought for them will make all your effort worth it!

Just so you understand, I'm writing this entry to remind MYSELF of what matters during this time.  There is a song by Sarah Bareilles that says, "All I am all I need is the air I would kill to breathe. Holds my life in his hands AND STILL I'M SEARCHING FOR SOMETHING..."  Nyle, my beloved husband of 27 years, I still miss with intensity breathing the air that we shared.  Nyle passed away in January of 2012.

Yet I know that he would insist that I continue "SEARCHING FOR SOMETHING!"  I will use the "Reason for the Season," to not give in to mindless sorrow and the deepest of anguish.  I will use the joyous Christmases we shared to keep me from the Christmas Crazies.

Oh I WILL grieve but it will not be the type of grief that drives me to desperation.  It will be tempered with the joyous knowledge that because of God's gift to all of mankind, I WILL see my beloved husband again and feel that love that we shared.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Jokes for a Monday Morning

"Things that make you go OOOOOH."  I don't even remember what advertisement that came from.  Those pesky tag lines (In advertising) are designed to grab your sub-conscious and stay there.  There is a reason why they are also called, "The hook."

So today I want to invite all my beloved readers, family, friends to take a short break to send me their very mostest favoritest (WHAT?  They are too words!)  jokes.  Groaners welcome.  I think we all need on this lovely Monday to take the risk that something will catch us off guard and make us do like the little acronym says, LAUGH OUT LOUD. takes courage to actually use the words.  In 200 years they probably won't remember that lol stood for anything.  The dictionary will consist of all acronym words and there will be NO GRAMMAR OR PUNCTUATION.  To some of you that may sound like Paradise to my writer's soul, PURGATORY.

Back on subject, jokes....NO BLUE ONES....You know nasty things about the human digestive a Mature Flatulent I don't find those exceptionally funny anymore.

Here is my contribution to the jokeathon (You can also contribute the rest of the days of the week as well!)

"Why did the elephant paint her toenails red?  So she could tiptoe through the strawberry fields without being seen!"

Knock knock....Who is there, Boo, Boo Who?  Well you don't have to cry about it!"

OK...your turn...the more the merrier....I am fascinated by the things that make people laugh.  My daughter used to be embarrassed to go to a movie with me.  I have a strange, corny sense of humor and I often laugh out loud when others are totally silent.  She's used to me now.

What "Things make you go ooooh?"  in a humorous way....all you blue thinkers, clean it up!  lol

Happy Monday to all of you in this Festival of Lights

The Jewish folk celebrate the Festival of Lights.  I am not well educated on the customs and traditions of this time.  I'm notorious at "borrowing," traditions from any and all sources that bring me pleasure and adding them to my own.

"The Festival of Lights" for me is Christmas time.  Lights appear all along.  They show up on houses, businesses, and even on apartment patios.  The long darkness of winter is enriched by the beautiful lights.

Christmas when we celebrate the sacred, much prophesied birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Great I Am and the Great and Morning Star.  All are names that are ascribed to Jesus of Nazurus before his birth and after.

Anyone scqueamish about the whole "Christian" part of Christmas I don't want to offend a single one of you.  So you may approach this post from a rational vantage point, "What does this writer think?"

I think that at Christmas time a good many people are softened towards, "Peace on earth good will towards men."  I think there is more kindness, more tapping in to the desire to love and be loved.

Oh I know the statistics that negatively show all the depression and suicides at this season.  It's AWFUL and HARD to be alone.  Especially when depression lies and tells you that you're a burden.

A lesson I've learned along the way.  When I'm feeling alone, REACH OUT!  Find a loving friend that will listen to all of it, the good, bad, the somewhere in between.  They will then lovingly forget the really bad, (or get you professional help) and see the beauty that lies within the human soul, and love you.

Or maybe it's time for you to go to a homeless shelter, and clean, or serve meals.  I guarantee you that your troubles will seem far smaller when compared to families that have no where to go for Christmas. Or Vets who have come home battle damaged and unable to function in our day to day world.

So, again it sounds like I am preaching, lecturing.  If I am it's to myself.  I know this Christmas close up front and  personally how hard Christmas is when you've lost your beloved spouse.  The lights don't even seem bright enough to dim the missing of him. 

Yet, I will take hope in the eternal message of Christmas.  "God so Loved the World that he gave His Only Begotten Son...that whoso liveth and believeth in Him SHOULD NOT PERISH."  I know that my beloved still lives and that one wonderful day we will be together again.  I will challenge myself to remember that message in this season when I miss Nyle the grandest celebrator I've ever met.

One last thought.  Nyle played the Ghost of Christmas Present at the Hale Center Theater in Orem for several years.  He was the oh so jolly embodiment or eSPIRITment of the joy, lights, and loveliness of Christmas.  Yet he was also the reminder of Scrooge's selfishness.  As he lifted his robe and showed two small children cowering together he would say, "These are Man's."  Suddenly he changes from the jolly, laugh from the belly spirit to the calling to repentance spirit.  He reminds Scrooge of his former words towards the dross of humanity, "Are there no prisons are there no workhouses?"

At THIS Christmas my beloved Ghost of Christmas Present would wish for myself and our girls the happiest of Christmases (that's how they say it in England Happy Christmas, not Merry Christmas....since The Christmas Carol is from England I thought I'd stick to that idea).  In addition he would wish that anyone that reads my rants and raves would also have the Happiest of Christmases.  Remember the greatest gift of all, "God so loved the world (that's all of us) that He gave His only begotten Son."

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Depression, Let's Talk About it!!!

Enough....ENOUGH ALREADY!  I wish I could program every brain in this world to understand that CLINICAL DEPRESSION is NOT the same as discouragement.

Discouragement is a condition that is situational and CAN be treated through counseling, and behavioral training.

CLINICAL DEPRESSION is a MEDICAL condition.  It is literally when for whatever the reason (usually some trigger like severe illness), causes a body to stop making the three chemicals that we need to feel sated.  The three chemicals are Serotonin, Neurepinephrine, and Dopamine.  Usually depression is caused by a lack of Serotonin.  This severe condition is usually treatable with a broad choice of medications. 

If an insulin dependent diabetic stopped taking their insulin eventually (and probably sooner than later) they would die.  Why don't people understand that if they stop, cold turkey, from taking their anti-depressant medications they will die.  What is worse they may die by their own hand!

Clinical depression is a liar that tells you, "You're a waste of space, you NEED to die, you're a burden on your family, YOU MUST DIE!"  When I battled my clinical depression (for 4 long years because I was too foolish to take anti-depressants) I finally reached a point where the world had all turned gray.  I could not get out of bed to go to the bathroom (4 feet away).  I was frozen in a gray world where every single activity was excruciatingly hard! 

I found out today about a friend of a friend who attempted suicide.  The person was convinced by a caring partner to quit taking all psychiatric meds....all at once.  Gratefully they survived.  There are so many that DON'T SURVIVE!

For one thing, let's start talking about it!  My whole life these types of things have been spoken about in dark whispers.  "Did you know that her Father killed himself?"  I was astounded when the famous actress Katherine Hepburn spoke openly about her beloved brother killing himself.  It took great courage for her to share that vulnerability in her life that happened when she was still quite young.

Now let's speak of the children of those that kill themselves.  Medical science has shown a hereditary link in families to clinical depression.  Even without that burden many children of suicides kill themselves out of desire to be with that beloved parent, or out of imprinting.  Imprinting is when someone critically important to our sense of identity behaves in a certain manner and we find ourselves behaving in a like manner, even if we don't consciously wish to behave that way.

I wish every single person that battles clinical depression could open their door and hurry outside, or into the hall and scream, "I want to die.....HELP ME!"  Then I wish that people would actually find help for those people.  There IS help.  There are many wonderful organizations that exist specifically for helping people who are a threat to themselves.

If you have a spouse, parent, child, friend, acquaintance that is suicidal PLEASE GET THEM HELP.  Do not be in denial, until you discover your beloved hanging from the ceiling or lying on their bed dead from overdose.  GET HELP!

I wish that I could NEVER hear one more time in my lifetime that someone has killed themselves or tried to kill themselves.  I wish that we would begin to find ways and means to reach out to others.  I wish that we could start a dialogue and keep it going about effective ways to fight depression, anxiety, and other psychological disorders.  Oh wait....WE CAN!  Let's all make a goal to quit whispering about these things and speak openly....let's educate ourselves, and our family and help anyone that needs that help.

Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 25 years for trying to create freedom for his people in South Africa.  He eventually ended apartheid, and became President of his County.

There can be great power in one....and even more power when we unite with others that have the same goals and dreams!  Let's quit hiding from this plague and help each other.

Slow down you Move Too Fast

If you remember that title chances are that you are 40 years of age and above.  The words are, "Slow down you move to fast you've got to make the morning last just kicking down the cobblestone, do, do, do do do, feeling groovy!" such a well groovy word.  Early in my childhood the word groovy was added through popular culture.  Other words from that era are cool, neat or neato.  In the 60's there were Beatniks, in the 70's there were hippies.

Language in America is ever changing.  In my lifetime these words have been added to my vocabulary, "Sick," and in case you're confused this type of sick is GOOD.  Radical, decent, lol, jk, and all of the new acronym words invented for texting.

I feel sorrow for the immigrants trying to master this fluid, flowing language.  It seems that just about the time I begin to learn to speak well the language has changed.

I knew that I was falling in love with my husband when he admitted that he read the dictionary as a kid because he was fascinated with words.  He also LOVED to wipe others out when they were playing Boggle, and his all time favorite SCRABBLE.

I also had a constant love affair with words and had read it at great length over the years.  At college my roomies gave me a quote that said, "Women who try to become walking dictionaries should remember that reference books, are NEVER taken out!"  Here is where I will use one of those acronym names.)  lol

BTW, I LOVE language, linguistics, and studies about the development of language.  I have often wondered why our language has so much in common with Italian, Spanish, and French.  For example Hola is quite close to Hello.  There are many words that are pretty much the same but spelled differently.

I found out a fun fact from my daughter as we traveled in Europe.  Did you know that Merriam Webster change the "English" language to make the "American" language different.  He wanted our countries speech to be as different as possible while still allowing the Englishmen and the American's to converse.

So to sum up this discussion pull out a dictionary and start reading.  You'll probably be surprised by much you enjoy yourself.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude

I have NOT counted my blessings this wondrous Thanksgiving season.  That is an error I intend to correct IMMEDIATELY!  So listed below are my blessings in order of priority.  I would LOVE it if some readers would share THEIR favorite blessings.  They can be sublimes or's just delightful to hear what others hold dear.

I can't separate faith and me they are one and the same.  That is not to say that all those I love as family agree with my religion.  They DO agree with my desire to worship God in the way that I see fit.

I also can't separate friends and family.  I am blessed indeed to have friends that are family and family that are friends.  I have a HUGE family!  I have over 70 first cousins.  I only have one brother, and one sister, but they both wisely married terrific people that I'm glad to count as a brother and sister as well.

I'm also EXTREMELY grateful for my husband's brothers and their wives.  They have supported Nyle and I literally and figuratively through some incredibly difficult times in our lives.

I must say that I'm grateful FOREVER for my faith that Nyle still lives!  He HAS lost a lot of that he's invisible to my mortal eyes.  Yet I feel his presence oh so often.  I KNOW that he still loves the girls and loves me.  This knowledge gives me hope to keep living the best that I can.

I'm so grateful for two amazing daughters.  Our girls bless my life each and everyday.  They treat me as a valued friend not a burden to put up with.  Their examples constantly inspire me to live better, BE better!

I'm also so very grateful for the many "part-time" children that we have gathered over the years.  Amanda, Chris, Christine, Colby, Teralyn, Andrew, Erin Jane, oh so many that have enriched my life, and still do!

As Thanksgiving transitions into the Christmas Season I wish to express my sincere thanks for my belief in Jesus Christ.  I have had the privilege of knowing about him, and serving him to the best of my ability in this life.  It makes very little rational sense to believe in a being that being half God lived on the earth, taught, loved, and then died an unjust death, to rise again from the grave three days later.  Yet that is the very belief that I hold close to my heart.

Many would call Jesus Christ a "mythological" creature.  I'm grateful for my faith in Christ, and my experiences of his love.

Now to end this post I will segue from the sublime to the ridiculous...I'm grateful for chocolate!  Chocolate fills an empty spot in my soul right now that Nyle used to fill.  I'm certain that he would laugh if he thought that I was replacing him with chocolate.  He's IMPOSSIBLE to replace, but chocolate makes me smile for a little while!  I agree with the book title that says, "Hand Over The Chocolate and No One Gets Hurt!"  I could not eat chocolate the first 15 years of my life due to severe allergies.  Seriously the best thing that puberty did for me was to let me grow out of that allergy!!!  Ahhhhh.....the soothing properties of chocolate.

So...please tell me the things that provide your heart with gratitude.  If you have the time be specific and elucidate.  I would LOVE to hear from you!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happiest of happy Snurffle Days!

About the fourth Christmas of my married life with Nyle he began to participate in what he called, "The Grand Christmas Tree Hunt."  This consisted of going to a government building and purchasing a "Christmas Tree Permit."  That gave him permission to go to certain mountainous areas and chop down a Christmas tree.

We purchased a four wheel drive vehicle and a couple of years he almost died in his pursuit of the PERFECT tree.  He and I decided that we would develop a tradition of celebrating the Friday after Thanksgiving when we would get our tree and decorate for Christmas.

The tradition developed through the years.  It was Nyle who designated it "Snurffle Day."  I have no idea to this moment where the name came from....well actually I know that it came from his brilliant, creative, talented mind.

When we moved to Portland we discovered a Christmas tree farm about 40 minutes from our home.  It was called "Sleighbells."  It was owned by a large family.  We would go drink free hot chocolate, then they would give us a ride up a steep hill to where the Christmas trees were waiting to be hunted.

We would relish the intense beauty of the Oregon world in late fall, early winter, and find the most beautiful tree on the hill.  Nyle loved Noble or Grand trees.  I loved Douglas so we would rotate every other year. 

Then as the girls grew older we added the fun of buying new jammies (Ardis and Sarah like theirs to match...STILL).  We'd come home from Sleighbells, put on our comfy new jammies, and decorate for Christmas.  JOYOUS!

When we moved to Utah we changed and rearranged the details, but Snurffle Day is proudly, joyously continued.  This year we are missing the mischievous joy that Nyle brought to the time but we still feel him close.  I know that he doesn't want us sitting around crying all day.  Instead he wants us to love, decorate, and create beautiful new memories.

There probably will be some tender crying in the missing of our beloved hubby and Papa, but more celebrating of his life, and contribution to ours will be enjoyed today more than tears.

HAPPY SNURFFLE DAY TO ONE AND ALL!  Create a tradition today....drink hot cocoa, or possibly MEXICAN hot cocoa...which is to die for!  Or call someone that you haven't spoken to in too long, Or just know that I love all my family and friends with great happiness and gratitude.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Act Don't React

Way back a million years ago when I first got married (OK it was only 27 years ago, it just feels like light years away) I read an article in the Reader's Digest about a man who refused to let the negativity of others determine his behavior.

I was so impressed with the article (which I can't seem to find anywhere on the internet) that I used it in a training and development seminar that I taught the phone operators that I supervised. 

The story is still vivid today.  I just wish I could find it to give the writer credit.  I can't so I'll reconstruct the ideas with my own example.

I worked in various forms of customer service for over 30 years.  In addition I've worked with all sorts of business situations just as a regular human being.  (Purchasing subscriptions to magazines, or newspaper, working with creditors, or debtors...etc. etc.)

When I worked as Switchboard Supervisor.  I often would receive phone calls from people who had been offended.  Whether their complaints were real or imagined, I would do my best not to let their rudeness, or irritation become my reflection towards them.  I worked sincerely to help them in such a way that they ended the phone call with a smile.

Oh I wasn't always successful.  One phone call left me in tears.  Yet, through that work I learned a great principle that as I move through life is repeated again, and again, over, and over as though perhaps it were important to my personal development.

Act DON'T REact.  Three simple words, right?  Yet our ability to conform our behavior to those words can change our lives.  There is an excellent quote that says something to this effect, "No one can make you feel inferior without your permission."  This means that we actually choose to let another's actions impact our lives.

I hear someone say, "It's too hard.  I can't do that."  I have a one word response to that comment....NONSENSE!  It takes practice and it IS hard, but it's amazing how much better you feel when you do not let your mood or actions depend on the actions of those around you.

So today, when that car cuts you off on the freeway blow them a kiss.  That's what my handsome hubby did a lot.  When someone was annoyed at him for something rude THEY had done (in a vehicle) he would simply blow them kisses.  One man saw Nyle's reaction and started to chuckle. challenge today, ACT DON'T REACT!  Try it.  Then send me your stories about this idea.  Please send me comments...I LOVE to hear from others, and know what things are happening in your world!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Random Act of Auntiness

I was excited for a low key night managing our little hotel.  My parents were the "official" managers.  I was just a little substitute.  The evening was quiet and I was enjoying watching a bit of television.

Then came the frantic call from the babysitter.  "Your nephew Adam has stepped on a fish hook and it's pronged, we can't get it out, and it's bleeding, and all the kids are crying, and what do I do?  I told her to call the family doctor, that I would find someone to substitute for me, and then I would come get him and take him to the clinic.

It was around 7 pm on a Saturday night.  My parent's brother and his wife (Adam's parents) were in a special meeting at the church.  This was long before cell phones became commonplace.  I had no way to reach his parents, or my parents.

I called a friend who is exceptionally quick at learning new things.  She also had lots of secretarial experience.  She came immediately.  I gave her a 10 minute tutorial on managing a motel.  Then with a prayer in my heart for her, the hotel, but especially Adam I drove off in a fury to get to Adam.

When I got to the house everyone was remarkably calm.  Adam was joking with the babysitter.  This while he literally has a four pronged fish hook sticking out of his toe.  You couldn't push the nasty thing through, and you couldn't pull it out.

I don't even remember the drive to the clinic where Adam's family doctor met us.  I just kept saying to myself, "If you are scared, then Adam will be scared."   Somehow I managed not to share the information that I was one big shaking mess.

Adam was a champion.  I can't even remember how the doctor got the nasty thing out of Adam's toe.  I do remember that Adam was quite calm about the whole thing.  I don't think he was even 10 years old yet.  He and doctor were joking back and forth.

Adam was quite proud of the grisly trophy.  Then came the news that Adam had to have a tetanus shot.  This young lad that had not shed one tear during the drive over, or the mini-surgery to remove the hook finally reached his saturation point.

I held him with big tears in my eyes while he cried as the shot proceeded. 

Afterwards I took him home.  I was in awe of how quickly this boy bounced back from the trauma.  When I left he was regaling his older brothers with his experience.

I went home, and proceeded to shake for two hours.  Adam....he was a brave lad then, and he's a star now!  LOVE YOU ADAM!  (I have TWO nephews named Adam.  One of them is on my husband's side of the family.  This nephew that I'm referring to is on my side of the family.  The good news is that I ADORE both Adam's!

One can never have too many wonderful men named Adam in their family!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Musical Movement

Ten car accidents left me with LOTS of back issues.  (I'm a TERRIFIC driver, but have ridden with some really NOT TERRIFIC drivers).  I was a dancer...I LOVED to dance, I LIVED to dance!  I still feel the same thrill when I hear a song with a singable lyric, and an excellent rhythm.  Sometimes I dance in a chair....sometimes I can dance on my mini-trampoline....but for me I MUST find a way to keep dancing.  My favorite quote of all quotes is, "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the RAIN!"

Many years ago I learned the secret that opened the world back to me....WATER AEROBICS!  Glorious joy, I climb into the warmth of a heated pool, and feel the silken embrace of the water.  I can  move as though I am 20 and have NO back issues, NO bad knees, no anything else negative of any type.

Magical movement pours out of my body, the same old magical movement that I used to feel dancing on a stage.  When I'm alone in the pool I also sing at the top of my lungs (great acoustics).  It's a terrific way to practice singing.  You REALLY hear the best and worst of your vocal abilities singing in a huge indoor pool.

I grab a noodle (long, styrfoam tube)  I sit on it and ride like I'm a kid again racing all over town on my bicycle.  For those of you who are older, do you remember the thrill of movement that bicycle gave?  I pretty much only got off of mine to eat, go to school, or sleep.  I have proud permanent scars on both my knees that can attest to the hundreds of hours I spent either riding, or falling off my bicycle.

What do you do that gives you a rush of adrenaline?  Sometimes eating delicious chocolate gives me the same rush (but then I crash and burn....still lovely for a little while!)  Singing, riding a bicycle, jumping on a trampoline, dancing, swimming, or playing in a pool?  I used to jump on a pogo stick....loved it!

We all NEED to exercise.  I'm not convinced that it will extend our lives.  I AM convinced that it WILL make the lives we live better and healthier.  So everybody get up out of your chair, and find a way to move that brings back the innocent joy of your childhood, and infuse the rest of your life's journey with it!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

This has bee a delightful 11/11

It has been a delightful 11/11.  Thinking about my sweetheart and the life we shared together has kept me joyous and warm all day.

I had some visitors, new friends from my church group.  That was a lovely, unplanned surprise. 

I sent some messages to those that loved Nyle, that he loved so much, (not everyone, there aren't enough hours in one day! :>)  

So to all of those that love Nyle, thank you for the contributions you made to his life.  Thank you also to all of you that love and help support me as I make new plans and go forward into my new life.  Nyle is still my rock, my anchor, but I just can't see him as well.  That's probably just as well because it's harder to quarrel when you can't see the person that you would like to quarrel with.

I didn't like to quarrel with Nyle, but I LOVED to make up with him AFTER the quarrel.  I hope that all of you are blessed enough to have a love in your life that inspires you to be the best that you can be....Nyle did that for me, and he still does.

Happy Birthday???

Desperately ill my husband spent most of his days and nights in bed.  He was unable to get up and sit in a chair for five minutes.  Benign positional vertigo (there was NOTHING BENIGN about it), a stroke, and Sarcoidosis had taken my sweetie from Law Professor, Associate Dean of Career Services to bedbound.

I had lost my business, Harmony Home.  I had a thriving childcare business in our home.  After Nyle became so ill I fell and ruined my back.  I could no longer handle the physical demands of caring for infants up to children ten years of age.

So, we had gone from a comfortable two career income to nothing, not one penny coming in.  Unfortunately, lots of pennies needed to go out. 

It was the night before my birthday and I was filled with hopelessness, and despair.  I saw no joy in our future.  I saw only the empty half of life's glass, and even the contents of it were spilling out rapidly.

I went to bed exhausted in every way possible.  It seemed a cruel joke that the next day was my birthday.  Birthdays had ALWAYS been very special in Nyle and my family.  They were also special in my family growing up.  Even if there was little money, there was ALWAYS lots of love.

When I awakened I smelled something extremely floral.  I jumped out of bed and ran to the front room.  Then I had to sit down quickly in a chair in shock.  On the dining room table was flowers, of all kinds and varieties, brilliant colors, soft colors, sweet roses, soft orchids, the sensory thrill was overwhelming.

I ran back to Nyle and climbed on the bed next to him.  I threw my arms around his neck crying.  (I cry when I'm happy almost more then when I'm sad).  "How, when, why?  Were the almost incoherent questions that tumbled from my lips.

He said, "After you went to sleep I was so sad.  I just couldn't let you have a birthday that was awful.  You do so much for all of us around here."  (He didn't know that just those words were a HUGE gift for me....the affirmation of my value to our family).  I had to do something.  We have no money, and there weren't any stores still open except Winco.  I walked up and down the aisles desperately trying to think of anything, anything that I could buy with our limited funds that would make your day special."

 "At the florist section I saw that they were about to get rid of many, many cut flowers that were still lovely.  I asked how much it would cost to buy the entire lot.  They named a prize that we could afford.  I had a hard time carrying them to the car, and back in the house there are so many.  Happy Birthday Sweetheart!"

Happy Birthday indeed, for you see the present that he DIDN'T mention was the sacrifice it took for him to just get dressed, get in a car, drive to a store, and then walk up and down the aisles for a long time.  He probably had to stop and throw up a time or two for he would cough really, really hard, and that would trigger the nausea.

Knowing that I was loved, and loved like that, the world was suddenly lovely beyond compare.  Hope was everywhere that I looked.  Our two girls came squealing in to our bedroom with birthday wishes for me, and my joy was complete.  We didn't need money as long as we had each other. 

Even now that Nyle's mission on earth is finished and he's received a "transfer," to a different place of service, I feel his love around me.  Especially on this day 11/11 that is so precious to me.  Thank you Nyle for love, hope, and faith, ESPECIALLY in the darkest times of our life together.

11/11 - a special time and day!!

Soon after Nyle and I married he informed me that 11:11 was the only time in the day that all four digits were the same.  He decided that we should hold hands at 11:11 if we were together.  We did this little ritual for 27 years.

Sometimes we weren't very happy with each other for reasons that we thought were important at the time.  Strangely enough if we held hands for that one little minute while we were unhappy with each other things changed.  Our love returned and we were able to work through the things that divided us.

Today is 11/11....I will celebrate the gift of love that Nyle brought into my life all day today.  I will do that by blog, wall post, and connecting with beloved friends that also celebrated and loved Nyle.

I am ever so grateful for my belief that Nyle is NOT far from me, our two biological daughters, or our many part-time daughters and sons (that includes you beloved couple that Nyle called "the kids, you know who I'm talking about!)  If I believed that I would never again share the loving relationship that Nyle and I had....well I don't know that I would have courage to keep facing forward and walking into a future that is completely unknown.

Yet with the belief, the reality that Nyle continues to live only in a different dimension, format, or time, I know how proud he is of me.  He wants me to succeed in every way imaginable.  I want to succeed for HIM, but also for myself. 

Soon after we married I asked Nyle's advice on a question that was specific to me.  His response shocked me because in our LDS culture many people believe that the husband should always have the last word.  He should be the guide, and the wife and children should abide by his advice "In righteousness." 

Nyle believed in a modified version of that credo.  He believed that he AND I were co-equals.  His response to my question was, "You have a very good mind, and I'm certain that you will make the right decision."  HUH?  He wasn't going to make the decision for me?

Nyle's way of husbanding, and parenting was not to make random decisions.  We did often discuss together things that affected our entire family, and rarely did he make decisions regarding our family WITHOUT consulting  me first.  I loved that about Nyle, that he didn't set himself up as some sort of benevolent ruler of our family.

Thank you to all of you who contributed to his life, and to mine as well.  After twenty-seven years of sharing life in all it's ups and downs I will feel connected to my beloved through the rest of my life, every 11:11 that comes along, whether it is in the time of the day, the month and day, or any other time that I see four 1's in succession.  On the other hand I don't need those numbers to remember my beloved.  Thanks for listening today as I share my life with Nyle.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Rants and Raves

I know that you can't see me, but if you could you would see the "soapbox" that I'm about to step on.  I started this blog initially with the express purpose of creating humor, or inspiration, something positive in the lives of others.  Not too long ago I realized that wasn't enough.  I am a very passionate person.  My opinions, likes, and dislikes are rather intense.  (If you know me that's no surprise.)

So today's rant.  I live in a lovely apartment complex.  I think it looks a bit like the town of Florence in Italy.  My oldest daughter thinks it looks "Disneyesque."  So apparently I live in an Italian Disneyesque apartment complex.

I have an adorable dog named Rolly.  His other name is EXERCISE MACHINE.  His need for doing "business," in the great out of doors every few hours keeps me from being any type of potato person, whether it's a couch potato, or whatever type of furniture I'm "Potatoing upon."  Never knew that a potato could be a verb did you?

Today as I was on a strolly with Rolly I walked past the dumpster.  I stopped in my tracks.  In that dumpster was a perfectly lovely, still working babies swing....barely used.  There was also a kitchen set of furniture, two chairs perfect, one needing a little care, and the other in many pieces (but pieces that could be put back together and VOILA you would have a lovely dining room set of furniture.  The table top was also in the dumpster, I didn't look to see if the legs were there as well.

This type of waste literally makes me sick to my stomach.  I have known want in my life.  Oh not the I'm starving and living under a bridge type of want, but the, we're going to lose our home, and go through bankruptcy, and not be able to pay our bills kind of want.

In addition I have two amazing parents who lived through the Great Depression, and World War II.  My parents would NEVER have left perfectly good furniture to waste.....NEVER EVER!!!  They would have cleaned it up and found someone who needed it and given it away.

Why did I not do that?  I am "differentially blessed," as one of my Mission President's described physically challenged.  Refurbing furniture and selling it online is not within my realm of abilities.  I couldn't even load it in my car today and take it the the thrift shop that is LESS THAN A BLOCK AWAY!"  My daughter and I car/share and it's her turn today. 

So... the people who tossed all of it in the dumpster, why? .They had so much money they didn't need the furniture anymore?  They were going to buy all new because they were tired of the old?  Whatever the reason, recycling makes all the sense in the world....especially since we're less than a block from a place that would be THRILLED to receive them.

I don't always eat like I should,  I don't always exercise the way that I should, but I will NEVER, EVER, waste something that could be reused, repurposed and put to good use.

As a child when I didn't want to eat something Mama would use the common phrase of my parents generation, "There are children in China that are starving."  The stark reality is that there are children, RIGHT HERE in the United States of America that are starving.  We don't have to reach so far away to find need.

It's almost Christmas time again...."A time when need is most keenly felt..."  (The Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens)  Look around at the assets that you possess.  Then look at the good folk around you.  Don't EVER throw away something that could be used by others. 

Rant finished, I will now climb down from my soapbox (it's kind of high so I will climb carefully)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Grief, Discouragment, Depression

Last night a dear friend said something that resonated all through my body to the soul level.  She's currently battling cancer with bone clenching, cell shaking chemotherapy.  Having never been ill before in her life she says, "I don't reach out to people because who wants to hear about my sickness, struggles, and sorrow?"

How are you?  Are you hiding a houseful of woes behind a cheerful face?  In our church everyone smilingly says, "How are you today?"  Most of the time they really don't want to know.  If they actually DO want to know nobody has time to cry on each other's shoulders.  Besides that would make their Sunday clothes soggy!

In Me (soft e sound) he those who speak Espanol call it (I love so many things about that place!)  My dear friend tells me (she's from Tampico) that when people ask Como Estas?  Which means How Are You?  They really, truly want to know the answer.  Even if the person is a total stranger.  She proved her point to me as she refused to let me be an isolationist neighbor and pretty much dragged me kicking and screaming into one of the dearest friendships of life.  I wasn't kicking and screaming because of my beloved neighbor.  I was kicking and screaming because of the sorrow, stress, and sickness in my life.  She just brushed that aside with a wave of her dainty hand, as you would brush aside a nasty cobweb in your path and insisted on loving me..

Telling the complete truth losing my husband has kicked my booty pretty well.  Sometimes the grief is so overpowering that I can hardly hold a two way conversation even with those that I love the most.  I cancelled a fun evening with family this weekend because I just couldn't handle the conversation.  I wanted so badly to curl up in a corner and cry!  I kind of did that for awhile.  I wish I could say that it made me feel better, a will only be better when I'm with my honey again.  Don't worry, I WILL keep living, and I DO know that in time it won't hurt quite so badly.

Yet, we all need to quit isolating to lick our wounds in private!  NOBODY gets better by themselves.  Let me repeat that in case any of you were getting bored and drifted off.  NOBODY gets better by themselves!!!!  We all need a hand up, a hug, an affirmation that we hurt.

There are friends that are "fair weather friends," that will disappear because they are incapable of dealing with the weight and girth of your pain.  To my way of thinking they were only friends for the most positive parts of life.  We all need friends who can bear it when you're talking about your colon disease, or cancer of the bowel.  Get over it already happens!  (OK, but maybe not for hours on end the discussion of the sewer parts of our anatomy...everything in balance right?)

SO HERE IS YOUR CHALLENGE FROM ME TO YOU!  It's all in caps because I didn't want anyone to miss it :)  Today, NOT, reach out to someone that you know is struggling.  If they start to rant beyond the time that you can spare hug them hard and tell them you'll call in a few days, AND THEN CALL THEM.  You can simply NEVER give without getting back much, much more.  It may take a few times to get used to the all too human idea that a sorrow shared is contagious. are the Mathematics of love (I wish I knew who came up with this quote, I'd like to thank them), "A joy shared is multiplied, a sorrow shared is divided."  So go divide someone's troubles.  Don't then take them on your shoulders, for that doesn't help ANYONE.  Brush their troubles off your shoulders and then put them in your prayers.  I KNOW that there is someone who listens and blesses us through prayer.

I'm going to steal a quote from a man I grew up admiring, Arthur Godfrey, "Goodbye, and God bless."

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Perspective, my first experience with it was NOT a positive one.  I was in middle school and we HAD to take art.  I worked so hard at being an artist.  In one of our assignments we were supposed to draw telephone poles that looked smaller and smaller as you looked off into the distance.  No matter how hard I worked at it the lines and shapes lay flat on the page.  There was no indication of perspective.  I did that assignment multiple I did every other assignment in that class.  A measure of my artistic ability in the medium of drawing is the big fat D MINUS, that I got.  NOBODY got a grade that low in that class.  I had NEVER had a grade that low. 

I was afraid my parents would be very unhappy with me.  They both chuckled, said, "Well the apple didn't fall far from the tree (Whatever the heck that meant, I thought), they signed my grade report and I vowed to NEVER take art again.  A vow which regretfully I've kept to this point...that may change, I'm still here!

In that context perspective was the visual image of how things look smaller the further you are away from them, and closer as you move towards them. 

That is a very limited definition however.  The definition I prefer has nothing to do with art class or that dismal D- which apparently still bugs me....

Tonight, I was having a mini-pity party that may have involved lots of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies from Dick's.  (Really I have ALWAYS thought pumpkin chocolate chip cookies were a waste of calories....not at Dick's market they aren't)  I was about 4 hours in to various mindless TV programs.  I was doing my best to drown out the sorrow that currently resides in my soul 24/7.

My husband died in January.  He had come close to death to many times in our marriage of 27 years and I hoped desperately that as always he would bounce back again.  Not this time.

To say that I miss him seems so trite.  In fact my pain reminds me of that show in reruns "Charmed."  There are the good guys, and the bad guys.  One of the things that the bad guys do is to reach inside a living person's chest and pull their heart out.  Done in a very campy way or I couldn't watch it.  (I'm not fond of violence!)  Still that image describes how I feel a great deal of the time. 

The pain is so extreme that doing much more than eating pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, watching TV, and vegging in my apartment is almost impossible.  I do try to exercise, and keep in touch with family. 

Back to perspective.  So, in full mourning this evening it became aware to me suddenly (by virtue of the dog's panting, and holding his front paws over his privates, OK I may have made some of that up), that it had been a long time since said doggy had been outside to relieve himself.

So grumpily I put on a coat, and proceeded to take the dog out.  We were walking along and suddenly I saw a Christmas tree with brilliant red lights.  In actuality what I saw was an optical illusion created by a house with lots of windows that had lots of stop lights reflecting in them.  Still my breath caught for a moment in my throat.  Christmas has always done that to me...reminded me of all that is most precious in this mortal moment.

I saw through the eyes of perspective that this pain will never completely leave as long as I'm separated from my honeybunch.  Yet, the severeity of the pain, and the inability of functioning more than partially will improve. 

I think tonight I earned a better grade than a D MINUS on perspective....but I think I'll still go eat another cookie, and watch one more show before bed....Hey, tomorrow is a new day!  That is also perspective.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Beatle's Music is Playing

Nyle my husband, LOVED the Beatle's.  He identified with the backgrounds that inspired
them to write, their originality, and knew of all things Beatle.  Last year we were able to
go to Europe as a family.  There we met with our beloved daughter who had spent a
year earning a Master's at Cambridge.

Going to Liverpool was a MUST for Nyle.  We went to the homes where they grew up.
We went to the museum, and took a self-guided tour of Strawberry Fields, and all things
Beatle.  Nyle knew more about them then a guide would have known.  So as I write this
post I have the Beatle's playing.  I will never again hear a Beatle's tune without thinking
of Nyle and his love for their music.

Today was a special parade that my beloved niece and nephew participate in every year
to honor the precious baby that died one hour before she was delivered C-section.  Their
day of memory triggered a day of memory of my own.

I combined that desire to memorialize with my desire to climb into the fiery crimson
leaves of autumn.  Nyle was an artist who relished beauty.  He then would use music,
poetry, or prose to express those feelings.  He wrote two books, Flagpole Fighting
and Other Lessons My Mother Taught Me, which was a tribute to his amazing Mom.
He also wrote My Child My Love, which was a delightful fictional tale of why the
Innkeeper turned Mary and Joseph away from the main part of the Inn.

As I walked through the autumnal splendor I thought of my beloved who as long as
I knew him had severe degenerative spinal disease.  His back became more twisted
and bent as he grew older.  Walking was problematic.  To finish his undergraduate
degree in college he would sometimes lie down on the ground and drag himself
to the car.  We couldn't afford an electric wheelchair and he had problems with his
arms and neck as well.

As I walked today I rejoiced in my belief that he no longer is bothered by the
struggles he endured physically in this life.  In fact I envisioned him darting ahead
of our little doggy and I on the path.  I could see his smiling face, and hear him
say to me, "Look at me now, look at this, look how high I can fly!"  These images
turned my teary eyes into smiles.

As I thought of my beloved, I also thought of our dear son who was still more of
possibility than a baby when we lost him.  I remembered my dear Papa, my
Mother-in Law, (she was more of my "other" mother than in-law), my brother,
and oh so many more.  It's getting a little too crowded in the spirit world for
my liking.

My poor little doggy who is 13 and has 6 inch long legs finally sat down and refused
to walk anymore.  I picked him up to climb up the last hill and look at the vista
below.  As I turned around and started back down I noticed an extremely dead
tree still firmly standing on the crest of a ridge.  At first I thought, "Why doesn't
someone chop that thing down before it falls and hurts someone."

Then this little verse rushed into my mind, it was probably Nyle, or my Papa sending
me a happy message, they were both terrific writers.

The tree stood bold on the crest of a hill
All signs of life were still
Yet below deep deep down
It's roots lent strength to the trees around

Those we love that have passed into eternity have strong roots that still help to
anchor us in the rough winds of life.  I give thanks everyday for those roots,
for those that as the song says, "I have loved long since and lost awhile."  Only
I HAVEN'T lost them....their roots, their love, their ideas still make life a good
place to be.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Trial of Ease??

In the scriptures it speaks about a trial of "ease."  I've often throught as I've struggled my way through life financially that I would LOVE to try on that particular trial.  As I worked full-time until our youngest daughter was four years of age, and then worked full-time and a half as I opened a childcare business, I used to dream of winning the lottery.  Imagine never having to work that hard again, I would fantasize.

Getting older brings the gift of perspective.  I understand that those times were difficult but they were also rich with stories to tell, lessons to learn, and most especially the unbridled joy of watching our two beautiful daughters grow up, and my beloved husband earn his Bachelor's or Theatre and Film Directing, and then his Legal degree.

I've been in this lovely apartment for two and a half weeks.  I still have more boxes than I have spaces, and everyday I empty more boxes, and try to gain more order in my lovely place.

So....I do NOT have billions of dollars, I don't even have a simple million.  Still, I have more than enough THINGS to make me happy.

Better than the THINGS, I have a family that I adore, friends that are family, and family that are friends.

One day I was feeling overwhelmed at the task of "downsizing," to a smaller apartment.  Then I started to think about some of the people that I saw in Jamaica who lived in cardboard boxes, or huts with a tin roof.  Their spaces were about two feet by three feet.  Yet those people were smiling.  They didn't seem to realize that they were poor.  They would say, "Irie," which means basically, "Don't worry, be happy."

There are so many types of wealth.  There is obviously financial wealth, but the kinds of wealth that are the more important are the wealth of true joy.  That joy comes from relationships, NOT things.  Oh trust me, I will always enjoy wearing pretty clothes, and jewelry, but I would give them all up in a heartbeat for any of my beloved friends or family.  (Anybody out there need some beautiful women's clothes in a size of 18/20?)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I'm BACK or is it forth?

Back and forth is a great phrase to express everything about the year 2013.  Back and forth emotions, back and forth physical locale, back and forth....oh heck just everything!

First my beloved husband of 27 years moved.....FAR the spiritual realm.  Talk about LONG DISTANCE MOVE?  It was most annoying that he did NOT take a single physical possession with him. 

The next move was our beloved oldest daughter.  She moved for a lovely job that she got where she works with history on a daily basis...yup she loves it!

Then there was my move.  Have you EVER gone through the boxes, bags, and containers of 27 years of your life?  Every single thing to pack has a memory attached that can send you reeling into tears, sorrow, and did I mention, WOW Nyle moved way too far away!

I moved (with the help of numerous beloved family and friends) on a Saturday.  On Sunday I slept ALL DAY....moving is exhausting....bone drying, dregs of physicality EXHAUSTING!  On Monday I went back to my former place and cleaned....again with the help of beloved friends who are family..

Tuesday my daughter and I packed up her school possessions, and off we went to her college where she is finishing her last year with honors.  She's such a smartie!!!

Wednesday I drove home.  Then Thursday came....DUM DA DUM!!!  No kids...I was ridiculously grateful that I have a small doggy and 2 kitty cats.  Trying to find places for all the things coming out of the boxes was ludicrous.  I moved from a 3 bedroom 2 car garage to a 2 bedroom no garage.  (Did I mention that I had spent 27 years collecting THINGS?  Nyle as well.)

Now before any of you sigh and say, "Ah poor thing."  (I really NEVER want, compassion, empathy, but NEVER pity!)  I have a different picture for you to view.

Ann Shelton Howard left England, her beloved homeland, because she listened to two missionaries speak of the restoration of the gospel as Jesus taught it.  She and her husband took their 7 children, and with all of their savings crossed the ocean to America.

After the rigors of traveling with 7 children across an ocean they had just begun their journey.  Their destination was as the hymn "Come Come Ye Saints" sings "Far away in the west."  They had little money left at this point.  So they purchased a handcart....which is like a giant wheelbarrow on two wheels. 

That meant that they were lucky to fit in it enough food for the lengthy journey, and a change of clothes, and that's pretty much it....because you see the giant cart had to be pulled by human hands.  It was not designed to be pulled by horse or oxen, and they couldn't afford those anyway.

So with amazing faith, and high hopes for the future of their children they set out to reach the destination that they called "Zion," which in their definition was the "Pure of heart," those who shared their zeal in their newly embraced religion.

They did well for quite a while.  Not far from their destination Ann gave birth.  Partially due to the rigors of this cross country march the baby only lived a short time.  Then she became desperately ill, probably with child bed fever. 

Ann was described by family as "A woman of large stature."  Remember she's ingesting next to NO food, and walking at least 15 miles a day.  She was not exactly rotund, but simply a strong, big boned woman of around 200 lbs.

When she became too ill to walk the wagon company was approached.  There were many in the company that had wagons pulled by horses or oxen.  However, if they put her in their wagon they would have to take something else of equal weight out of their wagon.

These were tired, hungry, desperate people at this point.  At first no one was willing to make that sacrifice for a stranger.  Finally one dear soul agreed to let her ride in his wagon.  (I hope that he received a grand reward in heaven for that kindness!)

For about a day she rode in a bed in the wagon with her head in her beloved young daughters lap to help protect her from the incredibly bumpy, rough ride of a wagon.  Imagine being jolted, huge bumps, and constant rough ride when you are the sickest you have ever been?  Did I also mention grieving over the loss of a precious child?

Finally in her young daughters arms she died.  They buried her on the brutal prairie this woman of a cheerful disposition, a faith filled heart, and a brilliant head of red hair.  There was no marker, she was hurriedly buried, probably with stones over her to keep wolves away from the grave.

Then the family marched on.

So, remembering Grandma Ann today, I suddenly feel my modern burdens lifting.  The weight seems much lighter.  I have a lovely car to drive when I want to go somewhere.  Instead of having NOTHING of physical possessions, I have TOO MANY.  I do NOT have to travel across an ocean and then a vast wilderness to live my faith.  . 

Somehow I feel better about my lot in life.  Thanks Grandma Ann for so much sacrifice to make a better life for me, your great, great grandaughter!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ere You Left Your Room This Morning Did you Think to Pray?

Visiting Teaching is a wonderful thing that happens in the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints.  Each sister is assigned to visit and teach other sisters each month.  This visit is to build each other up spiritually and physically.  There are numerous accounts of people receiving rich blessings both by visiting and by being visited.

Sometimes the grief that I'm working through leaves me feeling quite powerless.  I feel unable to reach out, to be vulnerable or to help someone else.  Wanting to be totally, completely alone is new to me.  I
generally gain a great deal of my strength from my relationships with people.

This morning it took every ounce of strength that I had to get up, get ready, and go to church.  The Relief Society sisters were warm and inviting.  They always make me feel loved and supported (why do I hesitate to be there with them?)

A sweet sister rose to give the Visiting Teaching message.  I cringed, and wanted to run right out of the door.  You see this wonderful sister is someone that I am supposed to Visit Teach.  I have been
THE very worst Visiting Teacher.  I think I've physically visited her once or twice in this last year.

In the last month I have at least started to reach out through email.  Then one day I felt inspired to tell her that I was praying for her.  I really was praying for her, and for her family.  You see, I LOVE this wonderful group of people.  My inability to Visit has nothing to do with her lack, and all to do with my feelings of inadequacy.

Now can you imagine that she shared my attempt to Visit Teach.  She told that she was having a very rough time in her life.  One day the spirit told her that the people who love her are praying for her.  The next day I sent her a message and told her that I was praying for her.

The Holy Spirit knows our hearts...he knows what we need, and what we NEED TO DO FOR OTHERS.  I'm so grateful that I felt that inspiration to reach out in prayer.

The other thing that it reminded me was the power of prayer.  It is not some ethereal words that we mumble into an uncaring universe.  Prayer when uttered with faith, even as small as a grain of mustard seed (have you ever seen how tiny a grain of mustard seed is?) can move mountains.  In this case it linked my heart to this beloved lady that I Visit Teach, and reminded her that she is loved, and it also connected she and I to our beloved Heavenly Father.  Mountain moved.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Elephant Jokes

One of my beloved sister-in laws LOVES elephant jokes.  She loves the simple, black and white humor that is to be found in them.  She is NOT simple.  My dear sister more than in-law, is quite brilliant.  She raised seven children....the first six of them boys.  She was an exchange student to Greece, and has been nominated at different times for honors due to her scholarship.

I have always thought Elephant jokes were ridiculously simple, and too silly to be funny....UNLESS...unless it's my sister-in law telling me the jokes.  I've tried to decide if the jokes ARE funny when she tells them because her laughter is so deliciously contagious to me.  Just by the action of laughing it feels like she's inviting me to a delicious feast....a feast of humor instead of food. her honor....although I am not going to give her name publicly (she knows who she is) I am going to list a couple of elephant jokes....laughing is optional....but it feels SOOO GOOD!

"Why did the elephant fall out of the tree?  Because it was dead."  "Why did the elephant paint her toenails red?  So she could hide in the strawberry patch."  "What is red, gray, and white?  Campbell's cream of elephant soup." it's your turn.  I love my blogs to be a forum for discussion.  So please, if you know any elephant jokes, share.  You know you want to!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Romance and other mushy stuff

The water warmly welcomed me as I slid into the Caribbean. The color of the water was vivid. I adjusted my snorkle mask and effortlessly put my face under the water. I gasped, and almost pulled water into the snorkle tube.

I swam around fascinated by all the life, and movement in that underwater environment. Coral, waved gently in the watery movement. Tiny, vivid fish darted to and fro. Other creatures were there as well.

Then a bump, and my hand was enveloped by a much larger, more masculine hand. The touch of that hand on mine was as familiar to me as my own body. My heart began to race. I smiled and realized that my husband couldn't tell I was smiling, I had a snorkle mask on!

Holding hands we flippered our way about the cove close to Cabo San Lucas. It felt completely right to be sharing the beauty of this other world. It was the greatest of adventures because I shared it with my beloved.

We were both very sad when our time was completed and we made our way back to the ship. Forever I will remember the feel of Nyle's hand engulfing mine. I will remember the coral, the fish, the newness and unexplored feeling that was just beneath the watery surface. I will remember the love that is stronger even than death.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Social Media

I foresee a future when my grandchildren will be simply aghast at the notion that in my childhood there were NO COMPUTERS! I remember with great fondness listening to my beloved grandma Cheney speak of riding in a wagon, even a covered wagon! I thought that she was ageless, old as the dinosaurs, old as the mountains. I simply could not even imagine a world in which we used buggies, wagons, and horses for transportation.

Each era of time has a particular tilt of life that is difficult to be understood by the future generations. Yet the basic humanity of life remains the same. We all need to eat, drink, and love and be loved. It used to be much more difficult to communicate that love. A letter, vs, a Facebook message sent and delivered almost simultaneously, even across the globe!

I remember living in Minnesota. I had a beloved Great-Uncle who used to send me letters from Idaho. It took almost a week for me to receive one of his treasured letters. Now I can send a message to a beloved part-time daughter in Azerbaijan and know that she will receive it instantly.

So...the realization is that in each time of life there has been good, and bad....and it seems as though often we learn the best things in the worst times. What an interesting life it is.

I wish to avoid spending the rest of my life looking back ALL the time. I wish to embrace and look forward to the future, with whatever marvelous changes it brings!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Splashing in the Sunshine

Bright, chubby, and absolutely adorable four year old Sarah was full of excitement.  The words repeated themselves over and over in her mind, "We're going to Tryon Creek Forest, we're going to Tryon Creek Forest."  She could hardly stay in her seat belt.  She wanted to get out of the car, and just RUN to one of her favorite places in the entire world!  No, she corrected herself, "The entire UNIVERSE."

Now granted, in Sarah's four year old mind the Universe consisted of a great deal less space and matter than it does in the minds of adults, but size is relative, right? 

Arriving at the forest Sarah was the first out of the car, the first helping with getting the baby in the stroller, the first to lead the parade of children through the forest.  The path was paved, and the trees caused the sunshine to dapple the path.

Sarah gleefully jumped from one spot of sunshine to the next.  Joy filled her and she felt like she was so happy that it was just leaking out of her ears! 

Then the idea hit with the enthusiasm that only a four year old person can create.  "Mama....I'm splashing in the sunshine!!!"  Yes I did just put THREE exclamation points. That is because she stated this precious idea with fulness of thought and happiness.

Forever, and ever, I want to remember the look of sheer wonder on her face as she hopped from sunshiny spot to sunshiny spot.  Her joy was pure, and sharing that joy filled me, her Mama with joy as well. outside and "Splash in sunshine!"  Will you please?  You'll be amazed at how good it makes you feel!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Brave, the movie, or the movie goer

I have been anxiously anticipating a movie called BRAVE.  My anticipation was well rewarded.  I thoroughly enjoyed this animated film. 

Yet there were some things in the movie, that although funny made me wonder about taking children to it.  There are some pretty intense moment of violence with a very large bear.

There was a group of men that had nothing on the bottom half of their bodies.  It was a funny scene in context of the movie, but again, how do you explain to children, "Sweetie, all of the men don't have on pants, and it's OK, because it's funny?"

It seems as though many times films are targeted to younger audiences but then "adult" types of ideas on thrown into the movie to appeal to their parents.  One classic example of this idea was "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."  I really enjoyed that movie but didn't know how to explain to my not yet 10 year old daughter and her group of friends that went with us why the Monsigneur was singing about "Passions of the flesh," as he thought of the beautiful young gypsy maiden?

What ever happened to Pollyanna, The Jungle Book, Summer Magic, or The Love Bug, films that are light hearted, and wholesome.  It was delightful to know that you could take your children to Disney films and there would be NOTHING in them that you would make you want to cover your child's eyes, or their ears.

My Mother used to quote to me a little poem, that I've forgotten most of but there was something to the effect that when somebody makes a choice that is different than our value system first we disagree, then tolerate, then embrace. 

It is NOT my place to tell someone else how to live their life, or to make their choices.  Yet, how can you even make a choice of a movie to take your children if there is only the rare G rated movie, and even they have crude moments, violence that is too extreme, or adult types of humor?

Well, I will now climb down off my soapbox.  I do remember that one way to show that you disagree with the current trend is to NOT vote with your money.  Does that mean that you NEVER go to another movie with your family, or that you simply do your best to explain those words, or scene, or violence, away for the larger benefit of the entire movie?  I really would love to hear some discussion on this topic.  Please?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Loving and Being Loved

There is a marvelous book that I've read a little's called "The Five Languages of Love."  It helped me lots to understand better the things to do that made Nyle, my husband, feel loved...the things that others do that make ME feel loved.

I feel the most loved through positive affirmation.  In other words yesterday in Sunday School when the sweet lady next to me told me how much she enjoyed watching me write in my journal throughout all my church meetings, it made me happy, and I felt loved, and appreciated.

I also LOVE receiving gifts of time, love, thoughtfulness but the best is when someone verbalizes positive things about me.

I review the comments that are on my blog.  On my gloomiest days I'm lifted by the kindness of others.  I KNOW what a difference it makes in my life when someone says something as simple as, "You looked pretty in that outfit," or "You can always make me laugh."  (Hopefully those two comments do not come together as in, "You can always make me laugh, in that outfit!"  lol

I'm grateful for those that love me.  I'm also grateful for the many, MANY people on the earth to love.  Love IS a verb, and giving love to others ALWAYS lifts me, and make me happier.  One of the greatest goals of my life is to love without thought of what I will get in return.

So....a challenge for any and all reading this little post, today, right now, this minute, find a way to brighten someone's day, maybe it's a smile to a stranger you see as you are walking somewhere.  Jot off a note to your sister who is struggling.  Maybe give a cookie to somebody who helps's those very simple gestures that make a huge different in our world.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Time to giggle

PEMFEST was today.  I know that many of you will NOT be familiar with the name Pemberley.  If you have read Jane Austen there is a larger likelihood.  I live in a lovely little place that is very much like the tiniest of towns.  Today we had a day long celebration with children decorating and riding their bikes in a parade, games, for children and adults, face painting, and the best of all was the delicious barbeque.  It's a time that reminds me of my youth, and family reunions, or 4th of July parties.

I had the fun of sitting with a table of children, 12 years of age and younger.  One of them LOVED to tell KNOCK KNOCK jokes.  So....I have lived 55 years, and I believe that I have pretty much heard ANY KNOCK KNOCK joke that has ever been created.  Still the teller of these jokes did it with so much adorableness I laughed as though I had never heard them before. 

Knock Knock....Who is there?  Boo.  Boo who?  Now here is a different answer from the one I've always heard, "I didn't mean to scare you!"  Again, I laughed enthusiastically.  I wish words could begin to describe these "beautiful boy."  On an adorableness level from 1 to 10, 10 being the best he was way, way above a 10.  Brown curls, brown eyes with lashes that any girl would envy, dimples, honestly this boy is going to break hearts, he may be already at the ripe old age of 4!

Often there is talk about the "Wounded Child."  Most of us will not make it through childhood without encountering some rough stuff.  Yet it was so wonderful for me today to remember those joyous moments of childhood when the most serious concern was yummy food, sunshine, friends, and family!  I LOVE to focus on my "Inner child,"  I worry the most for my "Outer Adult."

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Touch is the name of a TV show.  It shows how our lives are connected on this planet.  I thoroughly enjoy the writing and acting of this wonderful program.  The premise is presented in a different way than I ever have seen.  The main character has an autistic son who can't speak.  He discovers that his son is communicating with him through numbers....numbers that somehow connect people, or show a life lesson.

A couple of years ago my family took our youngest daughter to college.  I had heard through the grapevine that my cousin worked in the bookstore.  I hadn't seen this cousin in over 25 years.  As a mature young woman of 12 I had a very big crush on this cousin...come on we were 2nd cousin's once removed...barely related. lol

So...I felt like I should visit with this cousin.  So timidly I searched out his office and visited with him.  He is still a charming, wonderful man and I very much enjoyed our reconnection.  The story does not end there.

I found out that his wife is an author.  She has self-published many books.  We connected and discovered that we are kindred spirits.  She has given me so much encouragement and courage in the quest to publish my own books.

It was in a Facebook message to her that another cousin, also related, connected with me again.  (We hadn't seen each other in 20 years). 

Now that's three connections...let's put a few more forward.  My author friend and I were chatting on one visit.  We discovered that the missionary companion I trained worked with her in the Salt Lake Temple in 1980.  The missionary companion and I are still friends.

I found out that one of my daughter's friends from Oregon has dated my cousin's son.  

I went to a missionary farewell today, for my cousin's niece.  There I reconnected with so many cousins, and friends...and a couple sat down at a table next to me.  We began chatting and soon found out that they live in the same small town that I live in.  What's more they own a condo in my complex, and they rented it out to a couple that are some of my best friends.

I'm excited to see the other connections that will still come about through this friendship renewal.  I'm so grateful for the experiences in my life.  Some people like to call them "the hand of God."  Some see them as coincidences.  I believe that God through His love for us, has woven a pattern of people in our lives. People who will bless our lives, and people that we will bless their lives.  To me these seemingly random connections are prove of a pattern, a design woven through our lives.  Just as a quilt may have one color that weaves through the entirety of the quilt, so patterns in our lives show a purpose, and value for our lives.

I love...

My family is one of my richest blessings.  I am so grateful for my slightly enormous Mormon family.  I have over 70 first cousins, and I'm actually friends with many of my 2nd cousins.  All through my life they have inspired me, lifted me, and taught me

I have one sister, and one brother, but they have provided me with 16 amazing nephews and nieces, and over 40 great nephes and nieces.  I even have one GREAT GREAT NIECE!  I also have a beloved sister-in law, and brother-in law from my side of the family.

On Nyle's side of the family I have three living brother-in laws, and four living sister in laws, and sixteen nephews and nieces.  Brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, from Nyle's side or mine, they are all my relatives, my family.

I'm SOOOO grateful for the chance I have had to marry my soulmate, and spend twenty-six years together, living,  loving, and laughing....laughing SO MUCH!  Although he's not as close now (since he's transitioned into his eternity), he will always be a huge part of my heart!

Our two daughters have enriched my life.  I simply can not imagine how I lived life before they entered my life.

My parents, oh what a blessing they both were, and are.  One of the richest blessings in life is being born to goodly parents.  There are no PERFECT parents, but mine were and are perfectly wonderful.

My grandparents were and are one of my greatest examples.  I love them!

You may have noticed there is a recurring theme in this post...GRATITUDE!  I am SOOO grateful for the family I was born into, and the many beloved friends that have become my family by choice!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fox Trot Rock

Slow, slow, quick quick, slow, slow, quick quick, Papa said softly to me as he guided me around the dance floor.  I looked down at our feet, trying to pretend that there was not another living soul in the room.  I couldn't look Papa in the eye, I was mortified, no boy would ever ask me to dance after watching me dance with my Father!

It was the era of rock music, just before disco made it's appearance.  I don't remember what song was playing but I was well aware that it was NOT music that most people would interpret by dancing the Fox Trot.

I was fifteen, with braces and acne.  The phrase "With a face that only a Mother could love," certainly applied in this case.  Only it seemed that it was my Father that loved my face, and he simply could not bear to see me sitting on the sidelines of yet another church youth dance.

Papa breathed heavily as we danced.  It didn't occur to me until many years later how tired he was, having worked for nine hours, worked in his enormous garden for an hour,  and then doing volunteer church work for another four hours after that. 

He had known that there was a youth dance, and that I would be attending.  I believe he also knew that I would be sitting on the sidelines, horribly shy, and definitely a later than late bloomer.  So, exhausted as he was, he danced with me.

Some forty years later I don't remember many boys my age.  I DO remember my beloved Papa, dancing the Fox Trot with me, and even attempting to move to Rock Music when I tired of Fox Trotting.  I remember that he loved me that much.  HE THOUGHT I WAS BEAUTIFUL! 

Papa passed away twenty-one years ago.  What I would give to once again Fox Trot with him.  This time I would look him straight in the eyes, and I would be the proudest to dance with my Father.  After all ANYONE can dance to Rock music, but not just anyone can Fox Trot, Fox Trot with my beloved Papa!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Memories of Papa

This week has been unique.  I came with my youngest daughter to Idaho.  She has two semesters left to obtain her degree in Elementary Education.  It just so happens that her university is 12 miles away from the tiny place where my Dad was born 92 years ago.

Papa was fond of saying that some people were born with a silver spoon in their mouth.  (It's a phrase that means they are born wealthy).  Papa continued by saying that instead he was born on a shoestring.  (This means that he was born to poverty).  Grandpa delivered Papa.  To tie the cord he used the shoestring from his razor strop.  (If you don't know what a razor strop is, that's what google is for now, right?)

Dad was the 4th child in his family.  He was born in a one room, humble cabin.  Previously the occupants of the cabin had been chickens.  They were tossed out in honor of the newest inhabitants who had scrubbed the place spotless, and then painted it.

Grandpa and Grandma didn't have much in the way of worldly possessions.  They did have infinite amounts of faith, courage, and love for each other and their children.

Eventually there were 10 children in the home, and this during the Great Depression.  Frugality, and thrift were not abstract ideas to Dad and his family.  They were the foundation of their lives.

I went to church last Sunday in the building where so much of my family events have taken place.  Babies have been blessed there for three or four generations of our family.  Receptions have been held there after marriages.  My beloved Grandpa and Grandma held their 50th wedding anniversary there.  Sadly the walls have also sheltered funerals.

It was joyous for me to have the chance to stand behind the pulpit and share my gratitude for the faith,
that lives in me which has been inspired by these dear people.  My great-grandparents who sacrificed
so much to build a good life for their family.  My grandparents who also sacrificed for their family.  My parents who did the same, and now it's my turn.

I'm so joyously grateful for my heritage of faith, unconditional love, and sacrifice.  I hope that someday my grandchildren will speak of me with the same sense of humility that I have when I speak of my ancestors.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Memorial Day

Coming home tonight the traffic was a mess...even worse than usual.  I realized it was a Friday, but it was even worse than your normal run of the mill rush hour Friday traffic, and then I remembered, oh yes, it's Memorial Day.

What do you do on Memorial Day?  Do you take a trip, go hiking, have a barbeque, water ski, etc. etc.?  Now please don't misunderstand, those activities are all worthwhile especially when you share them with family or close friends.

In my family Memorial Day was to members, soldiers that my Papa fought and died with in World War II, any that had passed into the next part of our eternal journey.  We would spend Memorial Day weekend going to pretty much every cemetary between Kaysville, UT, and Archer, ID.  OK, that's an exaggeration but when I was REALLY young it seemed that way.  Actually there were only five cemetaries that we went too almost every year.

Now this is the part that may seem strange for some people to understand, we had SO MUCH FUN!  Mama would fill the trunk with beautiful flowers that she cut from our garden.  They would be in giant cans filled with water.  (In later years we bought silks, not as messy).  The fresh flowers smelled MUCH BETTER!

We would pack HEAVY...well at least my Mama.  I seriously think she planned for EVERY eventuality!  Hey, we could break down somewhere rural, and then we'd REALLY need a blanket in May, right?  I often thought that if I dug down into Mom's suitcase, and boxes, and boxes I would most assuredly find the kitchen sink, nestled safely.  On the other hand, when I was eight and we WERE in a car wreck, and the other car needed padding to stop bleeding, you guessed it, MY MAMA WAS PREPARED!

In the car we would take turns singing.  My beloved Papa used to say that our family didn't always sing WELL, but we did sing LOUD!  Hey, the scripture says, "Make a joyful NOISE..."  We would each take a turn and choose a song to sing.  One of my very favorites was "Old Grumbler is dead and laid under the ground."  Pretty good subject matter for Memorial Day weekend.

We also played a festive game called "Beaver."  To this moment I have NO idea why it was called that.  It had NOTHING to do with Beaver's.  It involved looking for certain items on a long list, such as a school bus filled with children (on Memorial Day weekend that one was pretty scarce!)  If you were blessed enough to find a white horse or a privy with the door open you got to shout out BEAVER, and you WON immediately.  Thank heavens they had more privies back then, with more open doors.  Now if you can even find a privy the door is probably warped shut!

So, part of the fun was having Mama and Papa talk about the ancestors that we were visiting.  My great-grandpa, Mayor of Brigham City, and his lovely wife.  My little brother who died during birth.  (He was beautiful, perfect, but the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck). 

When we arrived at Archer, our final destination we would usually be there on Memorial Day itself.  That was on purpose because if you landed there on Memorial Day it was better than a family reunion.  I believe Papa was related to most of the people in that quaint little cemetary.  I say it was better than a family reunion because I could go sit in the car and read if I got bored listening to adults chatting about this, that, and the other.  (Reunions I was expected to stay, and listen, even when the discussion was BORING.)

This year is very tender for me.  My beloved husband has joined the ranks of those we remember.  He passed away in January of this year.  Yet, he will never really pass away, not from the memories of those blessed enough to know and love him. 

This year, I will no longer traverse the road between Kaysville, and Archer, but I WILL travel far in my memories, remembering, remembering, and treasuring all those that I have loved long since but lost awhile.  I will remember them all with joy and gratitude for their influence in my life.  Even great-grandpa Blackburn (the mayor) that I never met in this life. His example of strength in the face of adversity continues to inspire me.