Monday, December 17, 2007

Society Women Rock

Saturday I got a call from the Bishop thanking the Relief Society for their recent ministering efforts. The Sisters had provided Christmas for 4 needy and incredibly deserving families in the ward and one elderly widower. We had enlisted the Bishops help and had him deliver the bags and boxes of gifts anonymously.

“Tell the sisters thank you. (Voice Breaking) You’ve just made some families very happy.”

So many women donated and I was struck by two things. One: even $10 was a sacrifice for some and yet they gave. I am very sure that one of the women we helped donated herself.

And two: It was all done, with the exception of the Bishop and our Presidency, without anyone knowing who the recipient families were. We simply set out a list of needs on a Giving tree and they responded with the items. No fanfare, just quiet giving.

I am proud to belong to an organization that can and does do so much good. The women of our ward, once someone’s needs are known, can be so remarkably generous and kind. And for all my whining and carping and frustrations with the Society of Relief, sometimes we get it right.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Shoppin’, Wrappin’ ‘n Thinkin’

Yesterday, Megs, Kenz and I ‘shopped until we dropped’. It was the only time we all had to coordinate our schedules and get the job done. Whew Whee, have I mentioned often enough how much I hate to shop? My idea of shopping, and my girls can attest to this, is to sit in the car while they pick out something in the store and then wait for them to text me to come in with the moola.

It’s not that I don’t like to give gifts, I do. But I really hate to shop. This is because I haven’t the patience for it and I am easily distracted. Luckily, yesterday this was not the case as I had my girlies with me to keep me focused and zipping along.

And zip we did. All of this ‘shop and drop’ frenzy paid off big as we made a huge dent in our Christmas purchases and around 9:00 pm Megs and I crawled into our pajamas, secured the tape (oh, lots and lots of tape, how I love TAPE! ) and scissors and plopped our hineys onto the living room floor. We wrapped and wrapped and talked and talked. For the first hour. By the second hour we were much more reflective and pensive and tired. Megs, I owe you an apology. What you thought was just ‘mom’s cbd*” was really ‘Mom’s yearly Christmas epiphany moment’, er something like that. I am so thankful you urged me to finish wrapping and wouldn’t let me curl up into a ball and go to sleep right there among the tape and ribbon. I appreciate your gift wrapping leadership. Really, I do. If it weren’t for you I would still be wrap, wrap, wrapping instead of lying here thinking about deep stuff. Stuff like ‘Life is too short to use weird snowman wrapping paper that creeps me out’ and ‘what kind of person designed this paper and is there a curriculum or special upper division class for wrapping paper design?’ And the big question, one for the ages, ‘What constitutes good wrapping paper art?’ ‘Is there an academy award, maybe called the wrappies, for the years best wrapping paper?’

Thankfully and because I was a disciplined wrapper last night (Megs, you are a great wrapping session life coach) this morning I am at my leisure to reflect and ponder on the deep meaning of questions like these. And the joy just continues as I am wistfully conjuring up and fondly remembering favorite wrapping papers of my Childhood. Because I am deep like that. And because it soooo matters.

*Cranky butt disorder

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Snapped Outta Brain Fog

So this morning the fog has rolled in. It started when I heard ld doing his morning routine. Ping, his computer comes on, footsteps down the stairs, shower running, cough cough. Big red digital clock says 5:45. Ugh.

I have a migraine. I try relaxation techniques learned from the internet but my head is having none of it. I pop the aspirin, flick on my laptop and crawl back in bed. I type:

Today’s stuff:

Buy Xpedex white bags
put air in tire (make GB help w/ this)
find song for Becca
prepare RS agenda
Visiting teaching, make changes
Cook, set out chicken to thaw
Clean out fridge, destickify the door
Order M&M’s
Address 10 envelopes
write thank you to Pat
find Cathy’s grandma rose stuff

I stop typing and groan. Ugh. I don’t wanna do any of this stuff.
I remind myself to stay focused. I google ‘brain fog’.

Time passes. I get dressed. Seriously girl, get a move on.

I start reciting all my motivational mantras, like ‘it takes activity to create energy’ and my recent fav ‘I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has to get down to work’. Ahh, thank you Pearl S. Buck, author of the Good Earth. I start thinking about how much I love that book and the character Olan and how she delivered her baby while working in the fields. ‘Oh, Olan’, I think, ‘you had a really hard life’.

I become drowsy.

I think Biblical, ‘‘Thou sluggard, get the mattress off thy back!”

I turn to pop culture person Anne Lamott,

‘How am I going to get through this craziness?’
‘Left foot, right foot, left foot, breathe,’ ....

I am depleting my arsenal of motivational ammo. I am thinking the day will be a total waste.


A song slowly rises to my throat. I sing, hesitantly at first, but then with increasing gusto -

It's such a good feeling
To know you're alive.
It's such a happy feeling
You're growing inside.
And when you wake up ready to say,
I think I'll make a snappy new day...

I snap, snap, snap my fingers. I am smiling. I am dancin' a two step and bustin' out the moves. Mr. Rogers, good man that he is, may he rest in peace.

Look at me. I am movin’ through my day. I might even put on makeup.

It's a good feeling, a very good feeling, the feeling you know you're alive.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Napkins and a Mirror Improve Credibility

Yesterday, Meghan and I were chatting each other up. It was scintillating and stimulating conversation. We covered everything from the Wedding to World War II. Really. And then just like that, poof, all the wind is sucked out of my sails. At the height of my verbal profundity, at the very point of my climactic and dramatic point, I am told this:

Megs: Hmmm. You may be right, Mom, but it’s just so hard to take someone very serious when they speak with chocolate ice cream all around their mouth.

Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?

Has anyone besides myself noticed and profoundly felt the absence of one of our favorite bloggers? JLA, what has happened to ye? Where have ye gone?

Those of you who agree with me and want JLA to resume his blogging wit and wisdom please say so in my comment section. Word out on the street is that if we get at least 8 comments begging him to come back to A.S.S blogging activity, he will. Sort of a write in campaign, kinda.

Each comment should contain the reason you want him to come back, what you promise if he does and a declaration of his inestimable value to Assdom.

Something like:

JLA, I want you to come back to your blog because I miss the pictures of Cibola and because you are funny. Without your blog I will die. If you come back to writing posts I promise to forgive you for all those times growing up when you sat on me and dangled a long strand of spit over me, or stuck a wet finger in my ear. Yeah, I will forgive you for even that, that’s just how serious I am. The A.S.S blogosphere is not the same without you. Puhleeeeezzzzzz come back, JLA. U r cool.

Yup, that should do it. Write in campaign starts now.

Moving, awe inspiring, life changing and whatever else you said...

Sunday night I was invited/talked into watching Saving Private Ryan by Megs and Kodison, my fav engaged lovedove couple. I had held off on seeing this movie previously for several reasons, mainly because

a) I don’t enjoy blood and guts and bombs and bullets

b) War movies are guy films. You know, violent, sexist and totally superficial. Guy movies always have a moral and that moral is : you must be brave and honorable, no matter the consequences and I am going to beat you over the head with my message.

and c) It’s rated R.

But my love for said engaged couple won me over and and after much cajoling I succumbed. I sank into the loveblob downstairs and watched. (The CleanFlicks edited version, mind you).

Oh. My.

Now I am not admitting to weeping (heresy, this is guy movie afterall ) but I am admitting, and to my FSIL II, that it was ‘moving, awe inspiring, life changing’ and whatever else you said I should own up to feeling if I was any kind of person with a conscience or heart.

I give. I freely confess to liking this movie. So much so in fact that I spent a good portion of my day yesterday reading articles and researching online World War II facts. I engaged Megs and later Kodis in conversation about all my new findings and insights. And yet again as today begins, I find myself still thinking about it. What’s not to love about a movie that produces this kind of response?

Saving Private Ryan. It is a violent movie, but justifiably so. Its themes are powerful and have to do with the very essence of the human spirit. What is the value of a single life? From where do courage and valor come? Why is it that human beings will die for one another? And what is it that we owe one another, our families, our nation, the human race, our God, as the price of our humanity? What is our responsibility at the end of the day for having been given the gift of our own lives?

I don’t think it much of a stretch to see this film as kind of a parable. There is lots of devotion and sacrifice and incredible courage as the squad carries out its assignment. Although they would not call it that, a bond of love emerges among them, about which Jesus once said, "greater love has no one than this-that a person lay down his life for a friend."

And it’s about stewardship. At the very end, many of the GIs are dead, Private Ryan will be saved. He comes upon the captain, lying mortally wounded. He says to Private Ryan-the last words of the film-his last words, "Earn this."
Earn it. You have been given a very precious gift. Your life has been bought at a very dear price. Others have died so that you might live. You have not earned this-yet. But now you can. You can live the rest of your life in a manner that honors the gift and the ones who paid the price. You can value the gift of your life at least as much as they did. Earn it. Basic stewardship, I think . . . the same message the Savior gave his friends just before he died.

Great stuff, great film.

And okay. I did cry. A lot.

Monday, October 22, 2007

My Little Bird

My baby turns 21 today.

She grew up sooo fast. And yeah I know the New Age jargon, We are letting them go from the moment they arrive in our lives. Posh. What poppycock. While I know the wisdom in letting go, my heart is having none of it. She will always be my baby. And now my baby is having a baby. How is this possible? Where did the time go?

Someone bring me the wispy haired little girl who had her own fashion sense (and that meant usually running around naked), who pinched when she was frustrated and sang like a little bird. Bring me the little girl who could melt your heart with her affectionate ways.

The only compensation for her having grown up is seeing the fine young woman she has become.

Happy Birthday, Mackenzie Sue. How did I get so lucky as to be your Mom?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Variation on the Classic Mud Pie

Today, I came across the coolest thing. I was researching about women who crave dirt (no, I’m not admitting nothin', it’s none of your biz wax) and stumbled across this:

and this

Turns out in Japan, turning mud into these shiny works of art is a major pastime among schoolchildren right now.

Is that not the coolest thing? If I wasn’t so busy with the Society of Relief and the wedding and teaching piano and finishing my Russian novel and fixing dinner I would so do this. Like right this minute.

And no, ld, that little baggie of dirt by the side of my bed is not the start of trouble. It's not. Really.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Oh, the Wisdom of Lizzy

Jane: Why would you have me go to London, Lizzy?

Lizzy: No reason.

A change of scene and society?


Remember the above line, oh ye P and P fans, where Lizzy suggests visiting London as just the thing to lighten Jane’s broken heart?

We decided to ‘liken P and P unto ourselves’ and headed to Cedar City for the weekend. Good thing. A change of scene and society has indeed been just the thing to lift our ‘low spirits.’

What’s not to love about laying around in your pjs watching conference and eating Chinese food? But hey, we weren’t total bums either, we did other stuff too. We enjoyed a play, (well, more like ld endured it), drove into St. George for a little shopping (can’t wait to show you all my new frying pan purchase!) and ate some more.

Oh, and the highlight of the trip. I went for a swim in the most incredible little indoor pool. Really. The water was unbelievably warm and I had the pool all to myself. And get this: they piped in music for your enjoyment. They played Mozart and Brahms. Seriously, it’s an incredible experience doing the backstroke to Eine Kleine Nacht Musik. I enjoyed myself so much that ld considered coming to look for me. Two hours later I showed up in our room dripping and all pruned up wrinkly and so rejuvenated. Gold Gym’s should take note.

Anyway, we’re headed home this afternoon. Can’t wait as the car ride home gives me some needed reading time. I’m re-reading The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Great book that I so didn’t ‘get’ in Freshman English.

This trip has convinced me, ‘as we have daily proof’ that Oprah and Martha Stewart have nothing on Elizabeth Bennett. She is, like, so wise. A change is as good as a rest.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

And Yet Another Birthday Song...

So, it occurs to me that maybe this years birthday tune for ld is too difficult. (See previous post) So I'm bustin' out something more familiar. That is familiar to Linds and Dana as I wrote this charming little ditty years ago and had them sing it to ld. Geez, they were just little kids and did whatever I said. Do you remember it, guys?

He always says "I don’t like messes"
when we spill popsicles on our dresses
He says "see these eyes, they’re mean eyes"
He has a gorilla named Otis and some pet flies

He likes to tease us and he'll say,
"I'm going to eat some little girls today"
But when he says "I’m going to break your arm"
Deep down he doesn’t mean us any harm.

Though you act like a tough guy,
this much we can say,
we know you love us in a very special way,

So sound the cymbals, blow the horn.
Uncle Lance we’re glad that you were born!

- end of song -

Am I a maker of catchy birthday tunes or what?

One year older and wiser too....Happy Birthday, to you!

Here’s a birthday jingle thing I wrote for ld. I was going to video tape me singing it while I accompanied myself on the accordian, but turns out ld and I are out of town. So just imagine me dancin’ around and singing my heart out. Here are the lyrics. You can sing along. Only you don’t know the tune. Just do the best you can.

L - l - l is for lover boy
a - a - a is for Apple™
n - n - n is for numismatist
c - c - c is for cs
e - e - e is for electric man

So, now you know just how it goes, it’s L and an A and an N-C-E. It spells Laannccee.
It’s an L-A-N-C-E, spells Laannccee.

(and now I hum the last phrase. I hum again and then fade out)

- end of song -

Happy Birthday, ld.

love, love you.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Why I have been trying out new recipes

A couple of Sundays ago at the dinner table I made the unfortunate error of recommending and sharing detailed insights about my new fav movie, Babette’s Feast. Because of the mockery suffered at the hands of JLW and B Gomer, I am reluctant to ‘cast my pearls before swine’ as it were and share my intense love for this movie publicly in my blog, but my feelings are such that I can no longer remain silent. I must recommend it to you all, no matter the risk I take in experiencing further ridicule and taunting. What can I say, some people are nincompoops.

Anyway, this movie. I cannot say enough about it as it is meaningful on so many levels such as what it means to be an artist, making choices, etc and of course, through it all run strong, powerful references to Christ.

The Christology in this film is very hard to miss and I view the story as one mostly about grace. How hard it is for people to accept it, recognize it for just how wonderful it is, or even appreciate the fact that it is offered for free and yet cost the giver everything she/He had.

This movie is in Danish (with some French sprinkled in as Babette is afterall from France) with English subtitles. The performances are superb and give new meaning to the word acting. Did I mention I love, love this film?

And just so you don’t think I am just blowing ‘artsy fartsy’ smoke, it comes highly recommended from other church members as well.

Truman Madsen said:
We watched this film years ago in the presence of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. He has written what for me is one of the clearest and most in-reaching talks ever given on the relationship of souls, symbols and sacraments. He helped me see this story as an elaborate metaphor of what the scriptures call the wedding supper ”or the marriage supper” of the Lamb. Jesus, does indeed, liken the kingdom of heaven to a wedding feast. He calls the church His bride. And when she is adorned as a bride, He, as the Bridegroom, will come in triumphal reunion. To this consummating feast the poor and the meek of the earth will be invited. It will be a feast of feasts.

You can read the rest of the talk at:

The story also illustrates in an unusually poignant way that lives can be transformed by sharing a meal.

Babette, once a renowned chef in Paris, fled to the Jutland coast in 1870 to escape the fighting in France. She served as chef and housekeeper for two sisters in a tiny fishing village whose inhabitants were members of a devout religious sect.

Each of the twelve who gathers for Babette’s feast is in some way troubled about choices they have made in the past: loves they have lost, roads they have not taken.

As one character puts it, We tremble before making our choice in life, and after having made it again tremble in fear of having chosen wrong.

Nevertheless, as Babette cooks and serves her feast, the food and wine become a means of grace to the troubled souls gathered around the table.

Each feels embraced by life and comforted by the company of friends.

Babette’s Feast is based on Isak Dinesen’s short story (which I found on the internet btw), which sums up the effect of the feast in this way:

Of what happened later in the evening nothing definite can here be stated. None of the guests later on had any clear remembrance of it. They only knew that the rooms had been filled with a heavenly light, as if a number of small halos had blended into one glorious radiance. Taciturn old people received the gift of tongues; ears that for years had been almost deaf were opened to it. Time itself had merged into eternity. Long after midnight the windows of the house shone like gold, and golden song flowed out into the winter air.

Every time I watch this film I weep. It inspires me, on so many levels. I would love it if at my table those who supped there found strength and warmth even if all we are having is Sloppy Joes. Good things can happen to families and individuals who make time for rituals that attend to our need for nourishment. Maybe this is because what we find in our communion around a table is sustenance that nourishes not only our bodies, but our souls as well. Geez, I wanna be Babette when I grow up.

Yeah, okay. You get it. I really, really liked this film. I am certain that you will too, that is the non-nincompoops will. It ‘s a BM club choice.

See it. I can think of very few films that are more spiritual in depth and scope.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Blog tag

I've been thinking about dumb party games. You know the ones. They are on my mind as we have a Society of Relief Board Social coming up. And it would be nice if said Social could be fun but not too lame. Tall order, I know.

In Young Women, I had this down. We played great games. Stuff like Human Lemonade, Spam Carving, Cheeto Head and Peanut butter Baseball. Great fun. Messy and gross, but it kept things lively. Somehow I can’t see our Society Sisters gettin’ into Pantyhose Golf either. Sigh. You see my dilemma.

I am stuck with boring games. Remember the one called “I Have Never” where you say something you have never done before and then everyone runs around and scrambles to find a seat if they have done it. Is that just not soooo fun? Whew Whee.

Just thinking about all that party game hilarity makes me want to play a game right now. Because there’s no more ice cream in the freezer and I’m excessively bored, er, distracted.

So. Game on. I’m calling it Blog tag and it goes like this: I name 5 unknown facts about me ( so fun and fascinating, I know) and then I run around cyberspace chasing all my fam and then when I catch you, I reach out and touch, say, Devry or Wendy or Brig, etc. And then I grab you by the shirt and squeal excitedly, ‘Tag, YOU’RE IT’.

Is that not just the funnest? Then on your blog, you have to name 5 unknown facts about yourself. You know give us all the goods. Because revealing is so much fun. And you all suffer from A.S.S, so if it’s about you, then you are VERY interested. Yup.

Here goes. Heretofore unknown stuff about me, cs:

1. My name is biblical. (See page 1380 in Holy Bible) It’s even spelled authentically.

2. I drank coffee once. In the motel room we stayed in for HB’s college graduation. I went into the bathroom, locked the door and mixed me up some brew from the coffee machine sitting on the counter. I spewed it out fast as my Mom could sniff me out and that is the only time I have ever broken the W.O.W except, of course, the time I ate some candy cigarettes from SunGold Market.

3. My secret ambition/fantasy in life is/was to write the essays in the back of Time magazine.

4. I am one of .006 tenths of the world’s population who is able to discern a distinct flavor from ice. Really. And no, ld, it’s not the same gene involving asparagus. Don’t go there. Don’t.

5. I play the accordian. Not really play, mind you, but well enough for people to make fun of me. If I really like you, I whip it out on occasion. I can do a real inspiring and reverential version of ‘Sweet Hour of Prayer’ and a lilting ‘Pokey Polka’.

6. Oh, and one more. I forgot. I threw a pair of scissors at my teacher's rump in the 2nd grade. But with good reason, mind you. I had my hand raised and she was not coming fast enough. Mrs. Shelton I am so sorry. And I am sorry you had to tell my Mom. But in my defense I had not yet turned 8. I was an unbaptized, unaccountable brat. I would never throw scissors at anyone's rump now.

There. I am fdl (falling down laughing). What a game, eh?

And now. Run run run and pant pant pant...Ha, ha ha!

YOU’RE IT, Lindsay!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Happy Birthday, Super Son in law

Last summer when Brig first showed up around here I called him "Marty Poppins". Behind his back, of course. I called him this because like Mary Poppins he just came riding down the wind one day, plunked down on our doorstep and caused quite a stir, changing our family forever. And, just like Mary, who came and lightened and lifted and made lives better just by being her, Brig has been a breath of fresh air. He is quite possibly the most optimistic, gregarious and sincere disciple of Dale Carnegie on the planet. And if all this were not enough he is also a very good husband to Kenz. Good as in holding Kenzie's head and hair back while she pukes her guts out (so admirable considering seeing someone puke makes him want to puke.) I don't know why this should be so touching to me but it is.

But what's not so touching to me is being attacked by miniature marshmallows. What was I thinking in giving you a marshmallow launcher as a birthday gift? My bad. Very bad. Of course you would actually use it and of course you would find perverse enjoyment in shooting up your mother-in-law. Still, even as I am digging spent marshmallows out of the couch cushions and out of my hair and the one stuck to my leg, I am smiling. You can be so endearing.

For all your A.S.S. tough guy ways, I know the truth about you B.Gomer. You are an amazing and wonderful and super person and we love you. Dearly.

To be sure though, next year I will get you socks.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Officially Engaged

Around 8 this evening I received the following exciting text messages.

Megs: Picture message (image of Meghan’s hand sporting a beautiful sparkly shiny diamond. I’ll let her post it on her blog)
Megs:: I’m engaged. It’s official!
Megs: Mumsie 4?
Megs: Mumsie, I’m engaged.
Megs: He proposed.
Me: So glad, as now we won’t have to take back the wedding dress. : ) I’m soooo happy for you.
Kody: Ah, thank you. Ah, thank you.
Me: I understand now why it took you so long as judging from the size of that diamond it must have taken the 7 Dwarfs a really long time to excavate it. Holy Carbon! It’s beautiful.
Megs: Mumsie, it’s gorgeous and he’s perfect.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

All Hail, the Blogger King

Okay, I give. I concede ld, that you are quite possibly the fastest, most consistent, random and funniest writer of posts. You win. Satisfied?

My heart wasn’t really in the fight, anyway. But how’s about a rousing game of Balderdash this afternoon? Hmmm? I am very confident I could kick your hiney in that (and everyone else’s, too. : ) Yup.

ld (and all my ‘lil fam), the gauntlet is thrown down. A Balderdash Off it is. This afternoon. Be there.

Unless you’re too scared.

Post #4: Insights at 50

I turned 50 on Tuesday. It was a great birthday, possibly the best yet due to so many sweet birthday wishes from all my fam. Thanks for all your kind words and written memories, it meant so much. I love you all.

So, 50. It’s not really old, but it puts you on the path. And don’t go feeling sorry for me, I can deal. Growing old is a natural consequence of living, I mean what can you do? I made my peace with the old gal in the mirror long ago and I forgive my body for betraying me, it simply has no choice.

Besides, it’s really not all the sags and bags and brain fog that frustrate me. It’s just that I really thought at 50 I would be smarter, maybe even, kind of wise. You would think having lived half a century a person would be able to figure things out and life would have given up some of it’s secrets. Wrong. As someone said: “As for me I know nothing. But don’t think one can know nothing so easily. It has taken me many years.”

So, here I am at 50 now knowing that I know next to nothing. Strangely enough I like that better than the ‘perky little know it all’ I was at 35. Ewwww, I was so self righteously annoying then. Ick.

I wouldn’t go back, not for a second. And even though I admit to not knowing much there are many truths I’ve come to embrace and many, if not all of those insights and truths have come with the passage of time. It‘s a fair bargain, as vanity and cockiness and immaturity kills teachableness.

Some of you, as in my brothers and sister-in-laws, know what I mean. As we grow older, we lose the illusions of our youth and begin to appreciate things and people for what and who they are. We learn forgiveness and acceptance of our self. We are able to laugh at our weaknesses and learn an appreciation for things we miss when we are young. (Like smooth skin and  restful sleep and energy.) We develop a sense of gratitude unknown in our youth. Old age leaves us rich with gifts unattainable at any other age. (And okay I’m not that old, still I’m on a roll.)

So in honor of my being 50, here are some of my ‘truths to live by'. And I’m keepin’ it simple. But not short. (B Gomer you may want to stop reading now).

• Character matters. Enormously. The test of life is to become like our Savior, to study and practice and apply His teachings. It‘s not all theory and there are no loopholes. We simply must do what He would do and say what He would say.

• Relationships matter. I’ll say it again. They matter. The ties that bind a mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, etc. are much more profound than we can know. They are worth struggling through, and investing our time and energy on. No matter what, we don’t give up on each other. Ever. Love ties are eternal.

• Wickedness never was happiness. All sin is a form of insanity and is usually an unmet need trying to be met in an illegitimate or illogical way. Experience teaches this. ‘Nuff said.

• I don’t believe in self esteem, least not as the world views it. Self esteem comes from trying and achievement and hard work along with a big dose of service. Forget yourself totally and watch your confidence, competence and happiness soar.

• Choices. The ability to choose. Praise be for the Heavenly plan that allows for this. The underlying theme of life (and come to think of it the Harry Potter books as well) is that no matter our circumstances, talents or predispositions it all comes down to our choices. As Dumbledore says, ‘there’s the easy way or the right way and we have to choose’. Okay I’m paraphrasing. Anyway, you get my drift.

• Hard really is good. But only if there’s some joy sprinkled in. Most of us are much, much stronger than we realize. We can do hard things.

• We are what we think. So think positive. Nothing is so bad that it’s not made worse by giving into anger, despair, gloom and doom. Yeah, life sucks some times, it ain’t no crystal stair, but optimism is a better place to be. It’s the way we express and live out our faith. And it’s a very buoyant thing.

•  Read. Think. Learn. Everyday.

•  Practice your scales. Everyday. As technique gives you the freedom to be creative.

• Find your voice. Express it. Keep a journal. (Or blog:) For two reasons: 1) how can you know what you think about a thing until you write it down. Writing, however inept or feeble, brings clarity. 2) If it isn’t written down, it’s as if you don’t exist. Some day I will bust out my Mom’s and Grandma Rose’s journals for you and you will see this.
• Give. With both hands open. If you keep one fist tightly clenched, it’s really no gift at all.

• Stop criticizing, complaining and comparing. It makes you mean and ungrateful and vain. And it’s wasted energy.

•Take life seriously, but not yourself. Arnetts are very good at this.

• Repent. And do it as you go along. It’s easier that way. Live by grace. Keep your covenants. Embrace and apply the Atonement.

• Live a Gospel centered life. Gospel living is a process of continuous individual renewal and improvement until the person is prepared and qualified to enter comfortably and with confidence into the presence of God. He’s not teasing us with this. Eternal life, is possible. I want to merit it and be there with all of you.

 • Come unto Christ. Nothing much else matters.

Post #3: Wanna know what’s better than young love? Old, married love.

Me: Oh. My. Gosh. Your Dad is out of control! Every post is about me. It ‘s getting to be embarrassing. He really needs to get a life.

Kenz: But Mom. (Pause) You are his life.

Me: (Gulp). Yeah. (Slow smile) I know.

ld, I love 'ya.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Blog Off Reminder

Just to be clear. I still have officially until 8:04 tomorrow morning to complete my last 2 posts. It isn't over until the fat lady sings.

#2 Post: New Fam Blogs

Okay, I’m a little behind on my 4 posts, this being my 2nd as my fam won’t let me count the one where I announced the blog off. I’m behind because, ahem, unlike others I actually have a real life on Saturdays. Errands, duties, mothering, seeking after all that is virtuous and lovely. Stuff like that.

So this blog thing. It has gotten out of hand. If you could have seen us all this morning, sitting around with all our laptops, typing on our ‘one true computers.' The excitement was palpable.

And now even more good news: Megs, Kody, Brig and Kenz have all converted, too! They have seen the light and have decided to document their lives for us all to peek and poke fun at, er, I mean learn from.

You can visit them at:

Go on over and take a look.

Post #1 of the Post Off: Movie Review

When Lacy was here last week she recommended to me the movie Water by Deepa Mehta. I was excited to see it as I put great stock in her artistic judgments and opinions. I was not disappointed. Oh. My. What a beautiful, moving and deeply profound film. This is an Indian film with English subtitles, but don’t be scared off.

Water is definitely not a fluff film. It goes without saying I love films (books, and conversations too) that make you think or question and introspect. And this one does.

Water is about the sorry plight of Hindu widows in traditional India. It’s a film with a message but it’s not really political as it explores faith and ancient oppressive practices, and self-interest.

As explained in the film, according to ancient texts a Hindu widow had three choices; she could join her husband on his funeral pyre, she could marry his younger brother (ick!) or she could go into an Ashram (refuge) with other widows and live a life of self-denial to atone for the sin of having lost her husband. It is the third option Chuyia takes on the death of her husband in 1938. Chuyia however is only like eight or nine years old and barely remembers getting married.

The Ashram is a poor place, self-supported by the proceeds of begging and prostitution, but there is camaraderie amongst the women (who are of all ages) and Chuyia, initially, is not badly treated. The focus shifts to Kalyani the Ashram's "jewel" who becomes involved with a young political activist Narayana, a supporter of Gandhi.

I did not find this film so much an attack on religion as on particular beliefs.There was much controversy surrounding this film as the writer/director was prevented from filming in India by some Hindu fundamentalists and "Water" was eventually filmed in Sri Lanka.

This film speaks to using the practices of a society which has long passed away to defend an economic interest, or rather to excuse the abandonment by her family of a woman who has had the bad luck to lose her husband. As Chuyia asks, where is the Ashram for the widowers? Also, whatever could be said for child marriage on social or economic grounds 2000 years ago, there is no possible justification for it now.

The film as I understand it was/is banned in India and Pakistan which is so sad, as it is not easy to forget. The cinematography is incredibly beautiful, kind of reminds me of House of Flying Daggers.

I loved this film so much that I am recommending it for our BM Club. I own a copy. You can borrow it. See it. Let’s discuss.

It’s a Post Off!

ld and I are engaged in a post off. No, dearies I will spare you the conversation that lead up to this, but let’s just say there was something about ‘putting your money where your mouth is’, and ‘you can’t post everyday’ ‘can to’, ‘can not’, ‘can to’, blah blah blah.

We are so mature.

But then finally, in exasperation, one of us layed down the rules.

1. You have to post four times today.

2. One post has to be funny, one deeply profound and one about the other. The last is a free for all, poster’s choice.

So the post off is on! Starting now.

(I think this counts as a post:)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

For JLA: New Post Please

Ok, I know it’s been a while. What can I say, I am a lousy blogger person. But in my defense I have been busy as we finally made the pilgrimage to Nauvoo. (And yes I know that was a couple of weeks ago and this is late in coming. Quit your whining).

We visited sites I had long wanted to see: Independence, Liberty Jail, Far West, Adam-ondi-Ahman, Nauvoo, Carthage. It was both fun and faith promoting and I loved being there in person where so much happened in the lives of the early Saints. So inspiring and sobering to reflect on their sacrifices and courage.

Oddly, I have been much more reflective by way of memory of these sites than I was when I was actually there. Go figure.

Some ‘Voo Vacation Vignettes:

The senior missionary couples (although the lady who forgot to give us our token gingerbread cookie is on my list). Seriously, those old guys and gals are inspiring in their service. Who knew yodeling was a gift of the spirit? I especially loved the cute old guy at the brick making place who reminded me of Dad and Uncle Charles. He had the same gentle demeanor and quick wit.

The Nauvoo temple. Incredibly beautiful, both inside and out. Loved, loved being in the celestial room with my ‘lil fam.

Seeing Megs chat up sister missionaries at each site. So touching and sweet. So sweet in fact that I forgive you Meghan for continually texting ‘u know who’ as it was so annoying and sheesh he should have just come with us, for all the constant messaging flung across the miles. Still, I suppose it served it’s purpose as you two seem to have discovered that you can’t live without each other.

Seeing Kenz and Brig meet up in Nauvoo. B. Gomer’s been gone most of July selling in Nauvoo. Which is one reason we decided to go. We knew ‘Kenz would be unbearably mopey without him. Good call on our part.

ld going AWOL. He simply went missing. Several times. Found wandering back streets and alleys trying to find an internet connection. As he explained: My readers, all 3 of them, depend upon me to post and I can’t let them down.

The little house, or as the internet ad said, cottage, that we stayed in was charming and quaint. The owner, who calls herself, Auntie Ann, had the most amusing and interesting decorating style. Let’s just say it was eclectic. Whatever her taste in interior design, she was a sweet and thoughtful woman who left as a parting gift to us an old photograph of Old Nauvoo. This photo hung in her father’s paint store in downtown Nauvoo while he was alive and she made a copy of it for us. You must see it.

And yet again, ld’s fascination with power poles and power lines and corn fields. His unsatiable curiosity about the draw bridge and did I mention how hot, er, I mean endearing, he looked in a certain straw hat?

Dinner at Alpha’s in Fort Madison, Iowa. Some immature and slightly infantile persons (and their names begin with B and K) started throwing ice and lemon slices from their water glasses at Megs and yours truly because they said we were telling secrets and acting, shall we say, a little silly. It was so not our fault. Not, not. The reminder and reprimand that I got from our grand poobah patriarch that I was ‘for pete’s sake goin’ on 50’ was sooooo unwarranted. Hmmph!

The Pageant and the sweet lady from Iowa City who chatted me up and told me her conversion story. The wagon ride (where I took most of the pics seen over on ldsquared)

I could go on and on but then it would start to seem like a boring fireside slideshow “Our trip to Nauvoo” and having sat through far too many of those in my lifetime I won’t be so cruel. Still. It was a wonderful trip, with enough sights, sounds, feelings and memories to sustain me when my mind is prone to wander off. Which is often.

The only downside to the trip is that our 82 year old Relief Society sister passed away while we were gone and her funeral was the day after we came home. So, I was kind of busy with all that. Oh, and then Meghan fell in love. A wee bit distracting.

But Nauvoo. It’s true what they say, everyone should experience it once in their life.

There JLA, satisfied? New post from you now, please. Neener, neener, neener.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Snakes on a Plate

Yesterday, while stopped at a red light on State Street, I noticed something rather unique. A customized license plate. Now, I know, you are saying, Big Deal. Bumper stickers and personalized license plates are very common.

True. Some of them are even fairly amusing. Ones like:

I'm still a hot babe, but now it comes in flashes.

Dyslexics are teople poo.

Life is short. So buy the shoes!

Therapy is expensive. Popping bubble wrap is cheap. You choose.

Hang up and drive.

Funny, no? Still, I confess to being a license plate purist/snob and am mildly proud of the fact that I have never displayed my opinions, beefs, or values on the bumper of a car. It just seems so tacky and well, kinda needy.

But yesterday caused me to rethink my beliefs in that regard as the car in front of me inspired such curiosity and interest.

What made this plate so unique was that it had a snake border. Really. There were two sculpted gold snakes framing the thing. And they looked all Egyptiany. Like two agitated cobras, to be exact. The kind of thing you might see on a Sarcophagus.

Anyway, it was somewhat perplexing. What does having a license plate with snakes on it say about a person? The rest of the car looked mainstream, no jacked up tires and no guns visible from the window. Just your average, ho hum car, unremarkable. Yawn. But it did have a Utah license plate, did I mention that? Which makes it all the more intriguing as Utah plates are fairly predictable as you might expect a Utah plate cover to boldly proclaim, R U LDS 2, or Proud Parent of an Honor Student, or Families R 4ever.

So, what gives with the snake theme?

All day I have been puzzling over this.

Maybe they have a fear of snakes. Maybe their therapist suggested this was a great way to address their fear. Makes perfect sense, display whatever gives you nightmares on a license plate.

Or maybe they want to inspire fear in others. Maybe this person is really short and puny and exhibiting snakes makes them feel, well, bigger.

Or maybe they like to eat snakes, as I heard they taste like chicken.

Maybe it’s a religious thing. The vehicles occupants are snake handlers. Or snake worshipers.

Could be they are snakeologists, er, people who study snakes. For a living. And they want the world to know.

For all my speculation I will never ever really know the reasoning or meaning behind the license plate. But it has got me thinking. If I were the type to ever purchase and display such plates what would I choose? What symbol or graphic would define me as a person and reveal to my fellow road warriors what I am all about? Good introspection exercise for all of us, eh?

Then again, maybe the mystery surrounding the snakes is the point. Maybe it‘s meant to be a puzzle, sort of like a brain teaser.

My head hurts from obsessing about this. Really, I’m done. Here is what it really means and I'm so dumb why didn't I see it: Life is a snake. Period.

I hate it when I’m out deeped.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Fish Tales and a Bed of Nails

I have a big day planned. So much I gotta do.

Tomorrow we are having a garage sale, so there’s that. And then I have a bunch of Society of Relief stuff I need to do, like teach Sunday and go over vt changes, and then fix dinner and then take dinner in. There’s also a bunch of phone calls I need to make and a couple of emails as well. Oh, and Lex comes for her piano lesson at 3:00. And then there’s the mothering thing, being nurturing and all that. You can see I have a full day.

Any one of these things on my list is enough to keep me hoppin’. But here I sit. I can’t move on account of catfish and carp.

Yesterday, I read this interesting news story about this catfish in Australia that tried to swallow a basketball. No, I am not making this up. There was even a picture of it.

Fascinating. So fascinating in fact that I shared this info with my FSIL.

Can you believe that, I say. Who knew there could be catfish big enough to swallow a basketball?

But my FSIL is not surpised or amazed at this news story. Because he is a water person and wakeboards and sky skis and stuff I listen as he proceeds to calmly explain that yes indeed, fish can be that big. My wise and oh so truthful son-in-law went on to explain in solemn detail about the amazing catfish and carp lurking at the bottom of Lake Powell. How they grow to incredible size, as big as boats in some cases, and eat people. Only not to worry they don’t eat people who are alive, like in the movie Jaws, but only eat up the ones who have drowned. That is why their bodies are never recovered.

That can’t be true, I say.

But my FSIL is calmly yet resolutely adamant.

True. All of it, he says.

And because I have such confidence and trust in my FSIL and know he would never, ever, like flat out lie to me, I believe this.

Who knew and why did I never know this? I mean this is vital info to know, as in if I had known this earlier I would not have gone boating with you on Tuesday. Sheesh, FSIL.

The relevance of all this newly discovered information is that I have been googling and surfing the ‘net to learn more about his claims. Because knowing the potential size of catfish and carp is a higher priority right now than my garage sale or my ministering in the Society of Relief. Or brushing my teeth.

Anyway, I found some fascinating stuff but as always is the case I found something even more fascinating along the way—a new website to love, called How Stuff Works.

I have spent the last few minutes learning how it is possible for a person to endure a bed of nails.

Oh. And my FSIL. He told me a big whiffee. Shocker, I know. Which just goes to show why I had to google him originally.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

To My Daughters: All You Need to Know About a Man Before You Decide to Give Your Heart to Him

Kenzie and Brig have moved in with us for the summer and with Meghan home our family circle is complete. I confess to loving this. It is great to have them all so near — as in under the same roof. Although we don’t really see Meghan all that much as she is not one to sit at home. She has been busy socializing (nothing new here) and dating. And hanging out. And dating some more. And while she pronounces all her dates as ‘not serious’ I am in full ‘alert Mother mode’, which is code for ‘time to whip out The List’.

Megs, is afterall, a catch and as I have now more experience with the whole ‘daughter falling hopelessly in love thing’ (thank you B. Gomer) I must be bold and act quickly. (Yes, Megs, I know. You have no intention of getting serious yet. I am drawing unwarranted conclusions. Marriage is the farthest thing from your mind, okay I get your point).

Still. Love often strikes when least expected and I intend to be ready. So here’s The List:

1. Watch to see how important the Lord is in his life. Is his life gospel centered? What’s the depth of his commitment to the Savior and His church?

√√2. Do a background check — just to be on the safe side. Perverts can pose as spiritual dudes. (For example check the Utah Sex Offenders Registry) And yes, I did do a background check on Brig and no I’m not ashamed as I have been doing this regularly since my girls were in High School.

3. Watch him drive in heavy traffic.

4. Play tennis with him (or some other competitive sport). This reveals several things. Like is he a hot shot big shot jock or is he a gentleman jock. Big difference.

5. Listen to him talk to his mother when he doesn’t know you’re listening.

6. See how he treats those who serve him (waitresses, ushers, maids, clerks, etc)

7. Notice how and for whom he spends his money. (Tithing is a huge issue)

8. Look at his friends.

9. See how he reacts when he’s tired, cranky and hungry.

10. Notice what makes him cry.

11. Notice what makes him stressed out. Does he get mad easily?

12. See if you can stand him when he’s all stinky and sweaty. Is that a smell you could live with?

13. What ticks him off? How does he respond to stress?

14. Notice if he’s comfortable saying the words, I’m sorry.

15. See if you have at least 3 things in common. (One of them better be your commitment to the Lord, the other two don’t really matter)

16. Notice subtly how he rates on the emotional maturity/character scale (that’s another quiz entirely, see me for further details).

17. See if you can make a list of 8 things you like and admire about this person (Body parts don’t count. If you can’t come up with 8 things to start with then move on).

18. Does this person have a track record of excellence in his pursuits? (Well, this is negotiable. Tries at least).

19. Does he have enough interests to make him interesting? (Like, I dunno, reading, dissecting bugs, race walking, origami, stuff like that).

20. No B.O. Check out hairiness level especially on the back and preferably no warts (well the ones on the feet are okay but yikes to the ones on the back) and no Weebies on the teeth.

21. Who does this person most want to be like and why?

22. Then finally remember 3 more really important things to know about him (well, other than how well he loves the Lord)
1. Is he kind? 2. Is he kind? 3. Is he kind?

When you get these questions answered to your satisfaction then you might, I say might be ready to give up bits of your heart. Note: All the above applies to yourself as well. So take these questions and then point the finger to yourself.

Prospective suitors be forewarned. Your FMIL is a formidable gatekeeper. No one gets by me and steals my daughters hearts without serious worthiness and effort. Jerks need not apply.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

CS Fortune Cookies

So for dinner I’m eating a Chicken Teriyaki bowl from Hogi Yogi. Yeah, I know fast food. Bad, bad. Eating this reminds me of JLW and his total mastery of chopsticks. Which reminds me of how much I enjoyed our fam Chinese food dinner last Friday night with Lexie as our waitress. Which now reminds me of those cookies of fortune and how I have always secretly wanted to be a writer of fortunes on account of my love for little sayings and profound proverbs. In fact, even as I speak, er, write this I am overcome with such intense desire to write some. Only not those lame ones you sometimes get like:

It is better to deal with problems before they arise, or A smile is your personal welcome mat, or You love Chinese food.

Sheesh. Lame.

No. I am interested in writing personalized messages. To those I love. I think I’ll write some now. And while some of them aren’t entirely original the sentiments come from my heart.


HB: Maybe you can live on the moon in next century.

My Russian Bro: I pee'd in your rice. (Okay, okay, not original, but funny, no?)

Chea: Moo Goo Guy Pan you are some kind of Lamb!

Eloise: The truth is in the diaper. (Thank you, Celine Dion)

JLW: You can depend on the trust of the collective.

BGA: He who tends his monies, has monies to tend.

Linds: You R 2 cute.

LDW: Skooch on over, baby.

And finally to our Jeff and Pam: All great and enduring relationships are tested by separation ; )

Monday, May 28, 2007

Last Email from Soeur Walker

Subject: The end.
Date: May 28, 2007 9:32:32 AM MDT

Allo family!

Well, this is it. My last e-mail as a missionary. Boo! :-( But...let me first tell you about the amazing last couple of days I've had. They have been jammed with tender mercies and I feel like they've brought perfect closure to a perfect mission. :-)

Saturday morning we had English class as usual. Usually on Saturdays it's just Jean-Guy and Michel, who come pretty regularly. They've been coming for a year or so. Anyway, they're so freakin' hilarious and just really cute old men. As usual, we start and finish with a prayer, but usually they're too shy to say it. But, at the end of the class Saturday, Michel said that he would offer the prayer. It was so simple and so cute. Then, immediately after ending the prayer, he said that he had prepared something for me. He proceeded to read a little 'goodbye wish' he had written out in English. Heart melting!

Then, Jean-Guy said he had prepared a prayer for me too. So, he offered a prayer to our Heavenly Father thanking Him for the service I had rendered and other things and then asked Him to watch after me for the rest of my life. I only share this because it did something to me. I felt at peace with my mission and the things I have done here in Quebec City.

Then, Sunday was probably the picture perfect last Sunday anyone could ever ask for. Ly came to church and of course loved it as usual. But, in Sunday School she raised her hand to make a comment on faith and how we must experiment to make it grow. She then went off to explain that she had so many doubts in her head before she met us. She mentioned that she still has a few doubts but that she appreciates the strong, firm testimony that we share with her and the invitation we give her each time to pray to know for herself. Tender mercy!

It gets better…Linda and her entire family came to church as well. A complete family. A husband and the 3 cutest kids ever! It was a huge miracle because they live an hour and a half away from the church. Everyone loved it! Oh family, I'm soooooooooooo sad to be leaving this family that we found!

Anyway, words can't do these last few days justice. I suppose it will always remain like that. No one will ever really understand the experiences I've had. Experiences that are so unique to me and my mission. But, I suppose it's better that way. I will always keep them dear to my heart.

So, the last little while I've been thinking about all that I've learned, how I've changed, the experiences I've had, etc. So, in honor of this last e-mail as a missionary, I want to share just a tiny portion of that…

The healing power and reality of the Atonement:
Christ truly did suffer it all for us (Alma 7:11). I've come to realize that the Atonement works in everyday situations and not just for grievous sins. It's not enough to just have faith in the Atonement, but we must use it.

We are in control of ourselves. No one can make us do anything. It's always a choice we make. We can choose to be happy, or sad. We can choose to get up again after falling so hard or we can choose to give up. But I can tell you the incredible joy found in getting back up (in using the Atonement). It's never too late to change. After all, that's exactly what this life is about; progressing and becoming like our Father in Heaven—perfect! But, how will we ever be capable if we never use the Atonement?…we won't!

God is always willing and ready to grant us miracles and give to us freely, blessings on the condition that we ask (3 Nephi 14:7-8). I imagine Heavenly Father to be so patient (among many other divine attributes of course). I imagine He longs to give us every star in the sky, every treasure in the ocean, and every joy to be found but He cannot if we never come unto Him, and ask. Seems so simple, eh? Then, why are we so slow to act?! I've seen many prayers answered simply because one of His sincere children have asked in faith and He freely gave. God's love for His children is real. I've felt it for myself and for others (especially for His children here in Quebec). He knows us so perfectly.

The Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ:
Wow! Do you realize what this means?! So much! There's not enough time to go into detail but just think of what our unique message to the world is. Isn't it incredible?!?!? I can also tell you that I've seen this message change lives and the reason: BECAUSE IT'S TRUE!!!

The Gift of Agency:
This one took me a little longer to accept. :-) I struggled at the beginning of my mission with why people would reject the truth. But, I've come to better understand how vital free agency is to God's plan…we make choices all day, everyday and the choices we make determine our destiny.

The Power of Love:
No one can reject or at least they have an awfully hard time rejecting someone who sincerely loves them.

Of course there are THOUSANDS of other things I've learned and want to share with you but alas, I only have an hour for e-mails. But, most of all, when all is said and done, I will walk off that plane this Thursday and be able to say, I get it. Words cannot sum up all I've learned, experiences, or even all that has been engraven so deeply on my heart. It's true, I will NEVER regret serving a mission. Something extraordinary takes place when we serve the Lord with all our heart, might, mind and strength!

I'm still that same missionary that entered the MTC 18 months ago. Only, perhaps now, I seem to appear slightly different; perhaps aged by all these life altering experiences.

I've found my testimony more so than ever and it's written so profoundly on my heart that I can never deny it. This is what life is about. The gospel is true! Joseph Smith did see God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ on that Spring morning. And with a firm testimony of the reality of that vision—everything else falls in place. The church was restored by the power of God. God Lives. Jesus is in fact the Christ.

I know these things because they have been so firmly written on my heart by the Holy Ghost and that is a sure witness I cannot deny. It's true what Elder Ballard said, A mission is the greatest education in the world. They say a mission changes a person—and that it did.

…the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith…
(2 Timothy 4: 6-7)

I love you family! Keep on keepin' on…I`ll be home soon. :-)

Soeur Megs

Last letter to our 'Lil Missionary

May 28, 2007

Hello Meghan and yes iamsoexcittedabouutyoucominghome!!!!! I can’t wait to hold my Megs again. Still, with all this excitement at your return it is a little, well, bittersweet. I feel on a small scale what you must be feeling—happy/sad, maybe a little weepy. All normal emotions, given the circumstances.

Have I mentioned often enough how proud I am of you and your goodness? Your decision to serve has been the very best thing for you as it has been a defining, refining and unique time in your life. You will never be able to recreate it and I am so happy that you were able to have this formative experience. And what an experience.

When you sit across from someone and you have to not simply explain but demonstrate the value of your religious system, it really causes you to question what value you do find in it, no?  At that moment, when trying to communicate across cultural boundaries, it strips away a lot of things.  And it really does come down to that notion of testimony. Either you are able to testify in the name of the Savior and by the Holy Spirit such that it can be understood by someone else, or you can’t.  You can and have testified, Megs. You have openly declared your witness of the Savior and His gospel. Of all the things a mother hopes for her children, that witness, that assurance tops the list.

Also, Megs, a mission strips the gospel down to simplicity, don't you think? A missionary learns those fundamental principles of our faith—repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. I’m sure you saw this, probably a lot. And having seen it over and over again, well, it requires you to change.

I guess what I’m trying to say, Megs, (and this is something you already know well, but bear with me)—is it's a particularly humbling experience out there. Not only because there’s a lot of rejection, but you are stripped down to just you and the message, and the message is, if you read this book and pray about it, God will tell you it's true.

Then you stand with and by that person until they try it and if it doesn't work, then it's still OK; you just move on. But that experience, in terms of a coming-of-age experience, it changes you. If we all didn’t realize it then, we for sure know it now, that that change coupled with a new understanding of the dynamics of faith and its power is worth what ever sacrifice. It’s more than a fair exchange—18 months and look at the return.

So, well done my darling daughter. Pat yourself on the back. What you have done is huge and God will remember your service. You will never regret having served and we will never regret having sent you. You and your family will reap the blessings of having served for the rest of your life.  

Now get home, girl. Your fam needs you. Especially your Mama.

Love, love, love you.

Until Thursday,


P.S. We all sat around last night excitedly discussing your arrival, you know, stuff like who gets first hugs, who will pick up the Cafe Río on the way home, important stuff like that. We even role played a little. But, ahem, just to be clear, first hugs go to the woman in the Levi skirt, with her matching Payless sandals. If that doesn't give her away, then look for the proudest Mother there, the one with tear stained cheeks :-)

Sunday, May 20, 2007


1) Why don’t you update your blog more frequently?

Well, I’m not quite certain for sure yet, but I think I am quite possibly a bum. Oh , and I am easily distracted.

2) Why are you so easily distracted?

Don’t know, but I am. It’s like a gene thing, I guess. Not only do I have A.S.S. but also apparently A.D.D.
This is evidenced by the fact that a few months back I went to church and I’m doing the ‘shake hands and greet the sisters’ thing. Only one sister keeps staring at me rather intently. Her brow is all furrowed up, and she keeps pumping my hand like crazy. I’m like panicking, thinking, “What! Do I have a booger flapping or a stray nose hair, er, what, what is it?’
I’m all self conscious now. So I quietly slip into the ladies room and check myself out. The mirror reveals the problem.
Turns out I had only applied eye make up to my left eye that day. Yup, my left eye had mascara, carefully drawn on eyeliner and smoothly blended eyeshadow.
The right eye had nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

I was , literally, wearing the face of distraction that day .
This is what happens when you answer a phone call in the middle of your make up session.
Word to the wise: Stay focused, ladies. This applies to playing checkers, applying cosmetics and blogging.

3) What is your favorite color?

Yellow. I love Yellow. Yellow is an unfathomable and complex color. While it’s true I never wear yellow and nothing in my house is painted or covered in yellow, I do love this color. On account of Yellow being so deep and all. I mean , like, is Yellow square or round?

4) What size shoe do you wear?

Funny you should ask, as I was just thinking about how shoe size tells a lot about a person.
My left foot is a size 7 and my right is a 7 1/2. Although before I had babies I was a size 6 1/2, in both feet.

5) So, why are you so, like, er, well, messed up?

A valid question and one I have pondered and puzzled over for nearly 50 years. I think I have finally found the answer.
See: Arnetts and their A.S.S.

I never stood a chance.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

You Are Cordially Invited

Lindsay came around last Saturday and we had a nice visit. I am sorry that things took an unexpected turn for her but I am not sorry that she is back in America as she brightens so many lives with her fun personality and quick wit.

While we were chatting each other up we discussed the possibility of a fam BM club. Whoa, there. Not that kind. BM as in Book and Movie club. We decided that all the Arnett females (and that includes all the Cliff Arnett wimmen, as we are tryin’ to lure you out of the shadows into the full light of blogdom) would be automatically enrolled. The men however will have to earn their membership.

Lindsay said I could be president, so I am. Here’s how it works. We watch a movie and read a book. And then we discuss. It’s really simple. Oh, and we eat while we discuss. We’ll call it the BM Snacker. Now, I realize that we are scattered far and wide and not all can attend the BM Snacker meetings, that is why we have cyberspace to communicate. Lacy, Dev, Chea, Chan, Heidi, Wendy, and yes, even you, Jackie are cordially invited to join us and leave comments. And when we are in town we can have the Snacker meetings on your turf. So whaddya say? Who’s in?

Since I am the president the first movie we will be required to watch is....drum roll here...North and South. Natch.

As far as the book for this month.....hmmmm...eeny meeny miney mo....I choose Dana to name the book.** See, isn’t this fun?

So, there you have it. We will be readin’ and watchin’ and then gettin’ together the end of May or first of June for our big BM. Er, I mean, Snacker. Brush up on all your pert opinions, ladies. This will be some fun club.

*Remember this is not the North and South with Patrick Swayze but the one produced by the BBC and is 4 hours long, with Richard Armitage (what a Yum!) and Daniela Somebody.

**Quick, Dana. Name the book.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

News Flash: New Movie to Love

There’s a line in the movie Finding Forrester where Forrester tells Jamal ‘the key to a woman's heart is an unexpected gift at an unexpected time’.

ld proved this to be true as he surprised me last week with Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters on DVD. Included in the package was a copy of North and South, by the same author. Ld scored big points for this as I have wanted to see this movie, that is North and South, for a long, long time. Oh my. Ladies! You must see this. It is right up there with P & P. In fact, I’m going to be so bold as to pronounce it part of the family movie canon.

So revise your list, girlies. It should now look like this:

1) A & E’s 6 hour version of Pride and Prejudice. This goes without saying. Darcy is a yum. No true A.S.S female can claim herself worthy of the name if she hasn’t seen this multiple times and can quote dialogue from it in daily conversation. As Lindsay says, ‘we should all liken P & P unto ourselves’.

2) North and South by the BBC. It’s 4 hours long and simply splendid. Notice what number it occupies on the list. English accents, richly drawn characters and dark and scowling Mr. Thornton. Despite John’s best efforts he can’t overcome his love for the fiesty, spirited Margaret Hale. Ah, and something else: running all through it is Elizabeth’s wry societal observation and the need for social change. Great stuff.

3) Strictly Ballroom. Ken Railings. ‘Son, can I bend your ear a tick?’. Pan Pacific Grand Prix Championships, ‘a life lived in fear’, Tina Sparkle, blah blah gotta love it.

4) Emma (the Gwyneth Paltrow version is okay but I prefer the Kate Beckingsale version)

Those are the top 4 and pretty much the essential movies if you are going to thrive in any female Arnett conversation. Which prompts me to suggest that our upcoming reunion be theme based. Forget Lake Powell, forget the Shakespeare festival. Can we not all participate in a re-enactment of one of these stories? And if not a reunion, then how about an afternoon tea? Give it some serious thought.

As Caroline Bingley would say, “let me encourage you to pay heed to all my assertions”. North and South. See this movie now. I own a copy. BE VERY JEALOUS.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Whole lotta nothin'

I am writing this from my motel room. Yup, I am lounging around in my nightie eating a popcorn ball and reading all the family blogs ( okay, I have been surfing around a bit too, but it’s been productive surfing. I haven’t just been wasting time looking up how many times the average person yawns in a day, even though that is useful info to know and turns out to be about 4 x a day. Just FYI.)

But now. Now, it’s time to discipline myself and think of something to write about. I have no excuse because I am not busy with my ho hum real life. I am on vacation. Sitting here in my bed, under the covers, gazing at my navel and contemplating the complexities of existence. Check out time is at 11:00 ld reminds me. Ha. All the time in the world.

I could write about how hectic things have been for me the last few weeks. What with our 82 year old RS sister breaking her hip, surviving the surgery, being in and out or ICU a couple of times, and then going AWOL from the rehab center. Should I tell you about my experiences with her bed pan? I will spare you. But let me just say that they need to add a paragraph to the RS Handbook. One that explains in detail the job description like - ‘must wipe poop from little ole’ ladies hiney’s because their husband ran to the drug store and she can’t get up’. Yea, they need to put that paragraph in bold.

I’m not complaining because I love said ‘lil ole lady and I know she and her husband love me. They leave me gifts of old lady shampoo on my doorstep.

Hey, I could write about judging Piano Festival this past month. How 2 of my students won money from Honors Playoffs. And they deserved to. Finally, the Universe has aligned. After hearing that Rachmaninoff piece and the little Bach Musette, oh say, a hundred times in the last 4 months, Glorious Hallelujah and Jimmy Crack Corn someone paid them money. Sweet, sweet satisfaction.

Or I could write about my little lunch bunch. My little Kenz and Brigger who show up after classes and brighten my day. We talk about lots of things - movies, ideas, things they learned in classes. Did you know that Fascinating Womanhood is in the curriculum at UVSC? Yup, it is and oh, did that discussion get me stirred. Jimmy Crack Corn and I do care, dad gum. The woman who wrote that book is a nut.

But maybe I should write about my Meghan and how she is a trainer, or about JLW and his plans for school or about LDW and the great talk he gave in the Young Adult Ward. Nah.

Should I tell you about the trip down and how it snowed all the way and how our room wasn’t ready yet and that put me into a foul mood until I had some shrimp linguine in my tummy and a popcorn ball and a pleasant nights sleep.

Nah. I cain’t think of ‘nothin to say. Because all this blessed ‘nothing I gotta do’ laziness has befuddled my mind. And I gotta get a move on. Check out is at 11:00.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Keep on keepin' on

One of the more endearing phrases our ‘lil missionary uses in many of her emails to us is: Keep on keepin’ on. It’s been sort of a family motto for lots of years or rather it’s been a 'build character' catch phrase that I hoped my children would internalize as it speaks to courage and enduring and pressing on.

All moms try to guide their children along in their view of what would bring their children the best future. I hope I have communicated optimism. But sometimes I see the need to ensure that my children are prepared to face struggles. Like in the Langston Hughes poem I have always loved.


Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor –
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now –
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

Perseverance. When things get rough don’t just stop, don’t give up and “set down on the steps,” keep climbing on. Also, this poem talks of turning corners and going in the dark; in other words, continuing on in a new direction sometimes and moving forward even when the future is unclear. Great advice for any of us.

But here’s something the poem left out. The railing. Langston, did your staircase not have a railing? Because mine does. There’s an iron railing along that rickety old staircase and while it’s true that we must keep climibin’ ( I mean there really is no choice, right?), the railing is there to hold onto, to cling to. All of us run the risk of getting tripped up as we try to climb. Remember the railing, children. You don't have to climb alone or without support. Lean into it, cling to it. It makes all the difference. I know, because life for me ain't been no crystal stair, either. It's not for any of us. But don't make the climbing harder than it needs to be. Grip the rail, hang on tight and move forward in faith.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

So…about Love

I’ve told important people in my life that I love them today. I wrote little messages and distributed a fair amount of chocolate. Yup, I helped line the pockets of merchants hoping to get rich off suckers like me. I bought into the total commercialization of Valentine’s day. I’m not sorry, though, as I’ve never ever been guilted into being a Valentine’s day celebrator. No, I embrace the holiday willingly. Any excuse to speak one’s love is a good thing, no?

So in the spirit of the Sainted guy, I bought Valentine Candy nearly every time I hit the grocery store and quickly snarfed them down. Mmmm…Red and white M&M’s, cinnamon jelly hearts and red and pink laffy taffys. More love handles, mind you.

I also sent Megs some Valentine themed PJ’s a couple of weeks ago. I was taking a chance, I know. But she loved them. Which just goes to show that even extraordinarily picky people can be very tolerant and accepting of a gift given in love, no matter how lame or cheesy. She loved the tacky heart covered fleece pajama bottoms and the ‘love slippers’ and exclaimed in usual Meghanese that they were “sooooo wonderful, soooo amazing…The cutest thing ever”. Why? Because, I’m thinking it spells ‘mama love’ to her. Thus her ability to tolerate/wear something that her unfashionable mama actually picked out.

Anyway, you get the picture. I am a fan of Valentines day, er, love. And even though I’m often horrible at it, and the people I love can bug the crap out of me at times, I think it’s a good thing. Notice I didn’t say it’s an easy thing, because in my experience, it’s not. Love is messy and risky and really hard. It can leave us beat up and bruised. And if we take Paul’s definition of love to heart, love can sometimes seem impossible.

Remember, Paul says basically that,
“…Love cares more for others than for self…
doesn't want what it doesn't have...
doesn't strut, doesn't have a swelled head,
doesn't force itself on others,
isn't always ‘me first,’
doesn't fly off the handle,
doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
doesn't revel when others grovel,
takes pleasure in truth,
puts up with anything,
trusts God always,
always looks for the best,
never looks back
and keeps going to the end”
(1 Corinthians 13).

Yeah, love, real love is like that, and for relationships to work, love like that—committed, persevering, forgiving, selfless— has to exist.

The problem is there are times when I’m too selfish to love, times when I’m too tired to love, times when I honestly don’t know how to love, times when I simply don’t have it in me to love.

But then who is always patient and kind, never jealous or boastful or arrogant or rude? Who pretends to bear all things, trust all things, hope all things, endure all things? There is not one among us who has not failed time and again to love as we should have loved, and every one of us will continue to fail in the future, but that does not mean we cannot also succeed, and succeed more and more.

So I’m trying to practice and pray for more love. I’m trying to accept Meghan’s challenge, issued several years ago, to ‘grow up and love each other’.

In case I don’t speak or show my love often enough, dear fam and friends, let me just say: I love you all. I really do.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Things to Be Happy About

The other day I came across a book I thought I had lost, called “14,000 Things to Be Happy About.” This was a treasure I procured from Deseret Industries several years ago and read with great interest. The idea of someone actually coming up with that many things to be happy about seemed absurd. But, as it turned out, reading this woman’s list changed my ‘life sucks’ attitude as I found myself thinking, ‘hey, if Oreo cookies are what happiness is about, then I’m so there’. At that time I was married to a Bishop, had 3 little kids, just been diagnosed with a ruptured disc and was taking care of Dad at home. I was young, under stress and ate a lot of Oreo’s. I didn’t know I was happy. I had forgotten or something.

Finding this book at exactly this time in my life is fortuitous for after a brief phone conversation with my bro JLA I’ve decided to make Thursdays a ‘Things to Be Happy About’ day.

Here, JLA, is something you can relate to, homey.

Today’s list:

1) Paper and scissors. Cutting makes me happy. Snip snip snip and cut cut cut. Kenzie humors me and lets me make visuals for her primary class.

2) Glue. Happiness flows. ‘Nuff said.

3) Hydroponic tulips. The ones ld gave me on my dining room table are starting to bloom. I don’t fully understand how this is possible since I thought dirt had important nutrients essential for plant growth but apparently it isn’t so. If I wasn’t so preoccupied with the Society of Relief, I would explore this more, like is it possible to have a hydroponic sandbox?

4) Brown paper packages tied up with string...these are a few of my favorite things. Especially when they are from our ‘lil missionary. She sent home old letters and old clothes, stuff she didn’t want to lug around. Great fun reading and snooping through her luv letters.

5) Excessive amounts of BYU Chocolate Mint Brownies and Cookies. We had a ward RS leadership meeting. 15 people were invited to attend. I ordered enough refreshments to serve 80. Because you all know me well, you know this is what I do. I over-refreshmentalize. I no longer see this as a failing.

6) Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Kenz just finished reading this and it brought back fond memories. I loved it at 15 and love it still. It was delightful being creeped out by Mrs. Danvers all over again.

7) Balderdash. No brags, just facts: I am quite possibly the best player of this game on the planet. I have the imagination, and the bluffing ability - two essential skills necessary for success in this game. While it’s true I don’t usually win, I play with a lot of heart and enthusiasm. Oh, and I am not easily distracted by other’s flatulence. Which appears to be some sort of ‘new age’ game strategy meant to throw me off my game. You know who you are.

Enough happiness for now. Sigh. Peace out, homies.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Evidence that I'm loved

Yesterday, my fondest wish for 2007 came true. Ld presented me with a new lap top. The following note was attached:

Happy Groundhog, Valentines, President's, St.Patrick’s, Easter, Memorial, Flag, Independence, Pioneer, Birthday, Labor, Columbus, Halloween, Veteran’s, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Human Rights Day..through 2009.


The year 2009 is significant and accurate because I blow up/go through a lap top about every two years.

Some days one can only rejoice. February comes and I have a new computer. Thank you ld, you get some extra love in your sandwich.

Monday, January 22, 2007

In the Bleak Midwinter

Yesterday I sat by myself at church, which is nothing new as ld was off visiting another ward. I sat in my usual spot, off to the far right and near the back. I like sitting there because it allows me to catch up on a lesson or fill out my weekly to do list without feeling guilty or bothered. Lately, it’s proven to be useful in my calling as well. It allows me to scan the congregation and notice who’s not there, which sister looks particularly weary and haggard, or who slips in late and then leaves early. All useful info for me to know. After the sacrament I make little notes - call so and so, check on Sister M, tell Bishop about, follow up on, remind, thaw out some rolls to take to Sister J ... It’s all do, do, do, stuff.

But yesterday during Sacrament meeting I didn’t write anything. I didn’t read, didn’t even doodle or peruse through my scriptures. No munching on lint covered breath mints, either. No, I did nothing. I just sat there. I was too pooped and beat up to do anything, except think. I did do a lot of thinking.

January has been a really hard month for our ward and for me personally. If you take into account all the sickness, the tragedies and losses suffered, the unexpected events not to mention the days of freezing 5 degree weather, you could justifiably label it a month of bitter cold. Yeah, that’s a good description. Bitter and Cold. Brrrr. Definitely feels like a winter in our lives — the winter of our own personal discontent (thank you, John Steinbeck)

There have been a lot of sad, sad sisters this past month. Those with mean, ornery husbands, those with serious welfare needs, those with such struggles and challenges that they are left hopeless and emotionally spent. Just so many ‘crosses and losses’. And I am not immune. No, our family struggles too, only in different ways. The old adage proves true for all of us — “there are no perfect lives, only lives.”

So, as I sit on my chair dazed and numb over all this collective pain, my mind starts thinking of my favorite Christmas song/hymn, only we don’t sing it in our church, although I wish we did. You might know it.

In the Bleak Midwinter.

In the bleak midwinter, frost wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

This song speaks to what I am feeling and not just because it’s kind of melancholy and written in a minor key. Winter, well January really, is a month simply to be gotten through. We hunker down in January, especially when those cold, piercing winds blow.

We all know the feeling, don’t we, of life suddenly or slowly, bending away from our will or our striving, toward what we dread or fear or are not ready for. Illnesses come, we lose someone we love, our work comes to naught, we feel helpless to help others. Whatever the circumstances of our own emotional or spiritual winter we can all relate, I think. The experience of bleakness, of hunkering down, of ‘coping mode’ is common to us all.

So, yesterday I notice:

Sitting in the congregation the family whose husband/father lost his job last week. They are all huddled together on the bench singing the opening hymn with gusto.

The sixteen year old who accidently ran over her little 2 year old brother on Thursday and put him in ICU at Primary Children’s stumbling in late with the rest of her siblings. Her hair is unkempt and the boys shirts are all rumpled but here they are.

The sister whose husband left her last year for some ‘cute young thing’ and who hasn’t stopped crying bitter buckets slips in quietly in front of me. After being absent from church for many, many months, she’s here.

The sister whose chair beside her husband is empty. It was a ‘feeling green day’ for her as the chemo she is enduring has made her too nauseated to attend. She’s not present physically, but I feel and miss her spirit.

And then Sister X, who serves so valiantly and tirelessly in her leadership calling and always with a smile plastered across her face. Today she sits with red rimmed eyes. Her husband will be in court Tuesday and sentenced. They are praying for no jail time.

And so it goes. On nearly every row sits someone experiencing winter living. And yet here they are sitting in the pews, a testament to resilience or faith or both. Given the magnitude of some of their struggles, and my own, what keeps us all from simply pulling the covers up over our head and refusing to get up? What makes us brave the cold and keep trudging?

It’s in the second verse.

Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God almighty, Jesus Christ.

In the bleak midwinter, while earth stands hard as iron, and water is like a stone and snow has fallen on snow, on snow, on snow, Jesus was born, into the midst of barren cold.

The point of that song (and I can not get it out of my head) is important to me because I believe in light in darkness, hope amidst adversity, in love standing against pain. I believe in Jesus Christ and in our Heavenly Father’s plan. But because of the shadows that winter casts, it is not always easy to see during these bleak months. Faith often goes unnoticed.

Sitting there in church yesterday I was surrounded by faith. Taking the sacrament on a cold wintry day in January seems especially meaningful to me. Yes, renewing covenants and recommitting is important but there’s something else, too. We were all there because the Savior (and even his church) offers us companionship in our vulnerability, our fragility and our mortality.

The ‘aha’ moment came for me yesterday when I realized that this is the best way for us to relate to each other as well. It really would be good if we could acknowledge our mutual vulnerability and see the fragile and precious child in each person.

Today doesn’t seem as cold. We are, after all, on the downside of January and Spring is right around the corner. Bring it on.