Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Obsession 2008


I finally finished the Cate’s Quiet Book on Christmas Eve. I would have done so sooner but a) I didn’t have a pattern, just made it up as I went along and b) I didn’t actually start putting it together until 2 weeks ago. Rule #1 of Quiet Book making: plan on it being very labor intensive, sort of comparable to having a baby. Seriously.

I am happy with how it turned out as I wanted it to be personalized just for Cate. I plan on making one for each of my grandchillun’s but I will start much earlier next time. When I was little my Grandma Clifford gave me one of these she purchased from a Relief Society Bazaar. I remember it to this day. This partly explains my obsession with making one.

Anyway, something that time consuming and obsession producing deserves to be documented. Here’s the cover. As Cate’s nickname is Cater bug, it’s fitting.


Can’t start too early with the colors, eh?


I actually saw this face idea on another ladies blog and liked it. The face is actually a pocket that contains all the face parts. Itsy Bitsy Spider is Cate’s favorite fingerplay right now. The Spider climbs up the spout and the rain and sun detach with Velcro.


My kids call this the creepy hair page. I bought this fake hair from All a dollar, it was on a headband as a costumey thing. I cut it up and put it to good use. The comb is attached at the top with a piece of elastic. The frog I love. Zip open his mouth to find 3 plastic finger puppets: a ladybug, a fly, and a grasshopper.


Turns out this purse is her favorite, It’s the boa thing, she loves fingering it. It also has a mirror inside. The Teddy Bear’s Picnic is my fav page. The red checked tablecloth is actually a pocket for all the picnic stuff.


Some hearts to unbutton. The door and window open to reveal a stick figure family. Who doesn’t love fishing with magnets? Each fish has a little magnet sewn inside it’s body. The pole is just a stick with a magnet attached.


Classic peek a boo. And what would a Quiet Book be without shape matching?


Peek a boo uncovered.


Some Circus finger puppets: a lion, an elephant, and a tiger. And an A.S.S. family tree. Our little mugs velcroed on. So she won’t forget who her fam is.


Another favorite page, kind of like the very hungry Caterpillar book by Eric Carle. And Mail a letter.


The letter I made out of an old plastic lid. I cut it up and attached a label. I love mail.


I told you this quiet book was tailor made, right? One can’t begin too young to become keyboard familiar. The note slides over the keyboard for some name the note practice. Also the whole keyboard is a pocket for other notes. The dog is special as the collar is made from an old watchband of mine.


I love this page. Inside the zipper pouch are some clothes.


Like these. And tying shoes is an important almost lost skill. Most shoes today have Velcro straps.


I think this page turned out sweet. The night nite bear snaps onto the moon and goes into his crib. See his little blankie on the next page?


That’s it, people. It’s safe to say, ‘long walk part of gift’ on this one. I loved making this.

Monday, December 22, 2008

not Christmas without some cardboard, eh?


You will recognize the cardboard Stable painted years ago when the kids were small. I can’t begin to count how many times it’s been used. The Bishop reinforced it this year with wood.

Last week Kenz and Megs helped me paint three inn fronts to add to the scenery collection. The Bishop framed some cardboard with wood and let me have at it. The only thing I forgot to add was a ‘No Vacancy’ sign. I will do that next year. But oh people that was some very lovely cardboard we painted on and the good news is the Bishop said he had access to all I wanted. Merry Christmas to me.


Liturgically gifted


Given my feeble attempts at Thanksgiving for a meaningful ‘High Worship service’, Kody graciously accepted my assignment to come up with something for our Christmas dinner Friday night. This is because everyone pronounced my previous little dinner program as lame. They didn’t like the quotes I had them read, or the statistics quoted and maybe it was all a bit much. Still, I thought my tie in to the movie Shenandoah was brilliant. And the goat in Budapest story, how can you not love that one, hmmm?

Anyway, to Kody I suggested a choral reading, perhaps. Come up with something occasion worthy, I said. Something like Mass maybe, where the worshipers repeat back stuff.

Here is what he came up with:

(Note: He cleverly intertwined every running family joke and jab into a kind of liturgical rap and the stanza “Thus we remember” we all repeated in unison. Loved it.)

The true meaning of Christmas, thus we remember.

The snow has fallen, winter's white now covers our lands
Frozen men populate the lawn, and balls of ice fly from children's hands.
Lights like stars reflect on glass and ice,
shining like the new star, that first Christmas night.
The true meaning of Christmas, thus we remember.

The old Christmas mornings, the little Walker children must be held back,
while Belle Ma enjoys symphonies and Father Sir's on his Mac.
The shrieks and squeals of the children, by the smiles of their parents are met.
Signaling that it's truly better to give, than simply to get.
The true meaning of Christmas, thus we remember.

First Janzten the oldest, a grown man has become,
And every computer battle, of his has he won.
A jokester, a funster, brings us all great delight,
Giving joy unto others, as the Great One gave sight.
The true meaning of Christmas, thus we remember.

Next Meghan went to Canada, with the Gospel to spread.
She came back with maple syrup, and a husband instead.
She lives her life to love and help others everyday,
While the Savior's life, prepared us a way.
The true meaning of Christmas, thus we remember.

Now as parents, Kenzie and Brig are individuals to emulate,
Though they claim everyone only wants to see them when they bring Cate.
Why this would happen is not a surprise to me,
As 2,000 years ago, for a baby did 3 wise men come to see.
The true meaning of Christmas, thus we remember.

When talking PC's vs Macs, Father Sir's in it to win it,
Plus, he gives us someone to talk about for a minute.
He supplies us with power to light our homes and stay warm in our beds,
While the little Baby Jesus had nowhere to lay his head.
The true meaning of Christmas, thus we remember.

Belle Ma to some, Toots or just Mom to others,
No matter her desires, she always lets us have our druthers.
She's the angel of our family, bringing heaven to our home,
Sent from heaven like the Christ child, with whom we're never alone.
The true meaning of Christmas, thus we remember.

This evening tonight, around the tree gather we,
as a family to love, as a family to be.
Sadly after this life, we would not be together again,
If not for that sweet baby, born in Bethlehem.
The true meaning of Christmas, thus we remember.

That first Christmas night, our loving Father gave us His greatest gift,
a gift to warm our souls, and our hopes to lift.
Amid the candy and toys and football on TV,
Don't forget the gift that Jesus gave you and me.
The true meaning of Christmas, thus we remember.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

birthday gals


A belated birthday shout out to this lovely hospitality queen extraordinaire. Who in the fam hasn’t slept over at Pamela’s when visiting Arizona. She truly is the hostess with the mostest. Happy B-day 2 days late.


I am posting this pic of you because it has special memories for me. The coat, do you remember? You gave it to me years later and it was my favorite. So very warm, best coat ever. I wore it everywhere for such a long time. Secretly I hoped it would make me look like you:)

Another B-day greeting to our very own latin Oprah, Lacy Lee, er Eloise. What can I say? Umm, where to begin? Let’s just say the whole family has been blessed by her example, humor, wit, and talent. Lacy gives new meaning to the word unique.

Here we are some years back in her bedroom discussing some good book, no doubt.


And here she is being taught the finer points of fishing by Grandma Ethel. As a portender of things to come, Grandma becomes disturbed when Lacy starts using the fish as puppets.

Happy birthday, ladies. Love, love you.

Friday, November 28, 2008

turkey trot


I did it in under an hour! Yup, I ran 4 miles in 56 minutes. Now you can all stop laughing, I know how slow that is. I know, people. But considering where I was when I started in August, it is kind of an achievement for me. As much as I would try I couldn’t seem to come under 63 minutes when timing myself, so I was thrilled with 56 minutes. Yeah, baby! The trick must have been Meghan slowing up at the end to run with me and push me. (Megs, can’t thank you enough)

I only had two goals: I just wanted to finish and I wanted to run the whole way, so I feel great. Not smug, mind you, as there was no smugness around yesterday. ‘Cause for all our previous A.S.S. sputtering and boasting and teasing there were no egos involved. Just everyone in the fam being incredibly supportive. Lacy and Penee yelling words of encouragement along the way, and HB, after already finishing, jogging back the running route to see where Megs and I were. I think he thought I had died along the way.

I was proud of myself and proud of everyone else, too. Thanks for all your encouragement (particularly Linds, Kenz and Megs, love you ladies)

This event has made me think about how far I’ve come and where I would like to go. That's always a good thing.

Friday, November 21, 2008

then...and now


Whew Whee. Here we are. Another anniversary.
Our secret? Keep in mind I know nothing about anyone else’s marriage. What works for them, what’s best for them, I only know this marriage.

And in this marriage I can only say our longevity and viability is due to a couple of powerful concepts/truths.

1. When you see a happy, long term marriage you are looking at a couple of really good forgivers. They forgive each other for being mortal, for being sinners, for being so, well, fallen and natural manish. Forgiveness says: I will not treat you badly because of your sins against me or your annoying habits.

2. When you see two highly incompatible people who yet manage to live in happy incompatibility you are looking at a couple of really good forbearers of strangeness. They put up with each others’ quirks, messiness, love of cardboard, money counting and immature selfishness. And sometimes the depth of immaturity can be staggering. Sort of Woody Allen-like who famously quipped,”Basically my wife was immature. I’d be at home in the bath and she’d come in and sink my boats.” Yeah, like that.

3. When you see a couple of oldyweds, 29 years, 3 kids and serious combined poundage later you are looking at two people blessed by grace. Because the Savior gets the credit when two very different and very imperfect people forge a life of faithfulness by relying on Him.

Happy Anniversary, ld. Don’t think I don’t know how lucky we are. Don’t think I don’t know how blessed I am to have married you. Thanks for all your share of the hard, rugged work of forgiving and forbearing. Love you more than air.



Saturday, November 15, 2008

happy b-day to everyone's fav wedding singer





One time during a serious ‘pound on your sister’ wrestling match you choked me and I almost died. You were not concerned. I forgive you for this.

Happy Birthday, bro. I love you.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

yet another reason why i love the internet


I am hard at work preparing a workshop on Family Home Evening for our RS Super Saturday/Enrichment. Oh, and we are also squeezing in a Visiting Teaching conference to boot. Megs is teaching a class on Scripture Marking Ideas and Kenz is heading up the children’s class so it will be a family affair. After searching the net I came up with quite a few good sites. Here are some of my favorite FHE resources, maybe they will prove helpful to you. With so many (tons!) of resources (some with already made ready-to-print lessons) there’s no excuse for crappy Home Evenings☺

I’ll post more from our Workshops later, if you’re interested. But bookmark these now fam.

Deseret Book offers free lessons
http://ldslivingmagazine.com/subs/show/6?page=1

FHE lessons for a whole year
http://www.angelfire.com/mo/lissa1/FHE.html
http://www.angelfire.com/ma/lissaannapage/FHE.html

FHE in a Jar
http://www.jennysmith.net/search-lds-clipart.php?mediaid=436

FHE cans and cards
http://ce.byu.edu/cw/cwwomens/booths/3.pdf
http://ce.byu.edu/cw/cwwomens/booths/3.htm

FHE for small children
http://www.mormonshare.com/fhe/fhe-motivators.php#smallchildren

Article on FHE
http://www.mormonshare.com/fhe/fhe-articles.php

FHE Games
http://lds.about.com/od/familyhomeeveninggames/Family_Home_Evening_Games.htm

FHE Agendas and Assignment Boards
http://www.mormonshare.com/fhe/fhe-planners.php

100 plus Quick FHE ideas
http://www.mormonshare.com/fhe/100-fhe-ideas.php

Quotes and articles regarding FHE
http://www.mormonshare.com/fhe/fhe-motivators.php

General Conference Activities and Games
http://lds.about.com/od/generalconferencegames/General_Conference_Activities_and_Games.htm

Mormon Times FHE Ideas/Resources
http://mormontimes.com/mormon_voices/emily_w_jensen/?id=3845

Pratt’s FHE
http://fastq.com/~jbpratt/lds/resources/index.html
http://www.fastq.com/~jbpratt/lds/fhe/lessons.html

An alphabetized by topic list
http://www.eprimary.dk/ccc_family_home_evening.htm

Family History FHE Ideas
http://www.eprimary.dk/2005/2005_nov_a/165%20Fun%20Family%20History%20Activities%20for%20Kids.htm

Seminary Ideas (ideas on teaching scriptures)
http://latter-dayvillage.com/seminaryhome.htm

FHE in a jar
http://www.eprimary.dk/2002/2002_05_b/FHE%20129%20FHE%20in%20a%20jar.htm

FHE in a jar (another one)
http://www.eprimary.dk/basis/fhe%2001%20sharlene.htm

FHE quick tips from lds.org (duh)
http://www.lds.org/familyresources/quicktips/0,15876,4006-,00.html

21 Ideas to involve young children in FHE
http://www.eprimary.dk/2002/2002_05_b/FHE%2021%20Ideas%20to%20Involve%20Young%20Children.htm

FHE lessons
http://www.familynightlessons.com/

*FHE blog w/ lessons to print out.
http://nataliesfhespot.blogspot.com/

*Another blog about FHE w/ ideas
http://fheplanner.blogspot.com/

Flannelboard stories from the Friend, includes text.
http://www.stums.org/closet/html/flannel.htm

*This lady has computer colored Flannelboard stories from the Friend and lets you just print them out. Awesome. She has put together a huge file of free FHE lessons. Sure you can get them as black line masters elsewhere, but she has used some paint type program to color them. all you need to do is print and laminate them for wonderful quick FHE folder lessons.
http://chocolateonmycranium.blogspot.com/2007/11/flannel-board-stories.html

An idea sharing site
http://www.sugardoodle.net/mambo/

*Yet another FHE blog, fast easy lessons
http://fheinasnap.blogspot.com/

A few FHE lessons, but a lot of other good info on families.
http://whyfamilies.blogspot.com/

A great handout from a past Women’s conference. I’m basing my presentation kind of on this.
http://ce.byu.edu/cw/womensconference/archive/2008/sharing_stations/pdf/3.pdf

Monday, November 3, 2008

weird sunday


Right before the Sacrament was passed to me yesterday I felt a tap on my shoulder. A sister whispered to me that the handicap toilet in the women’s bathroom had plugged up and was close to running over and did I know where the plunger was?

I will spare you all my thoughts as I energetically plunged a smelly mess, with this sister standing over me offering instruction. “Don’t get anything on your self” she said encouragingly when the cheapo plunger turned inside out with nearly every thrust. And I appreciated her helpful and optimistic comments regarding how lucky we were that the church had toilet paper that easily disintegrated. Ugh. Shoot me now.

To add to the day's weirdness, a sister in RS had a baby that kept crying. I was teaching the lesson and slightly annoyed. I’m thinking, Sheesh, take your baby out will ‘ya? Finally after enduring many pointed stares from those around her, she gets the message and stands up. It was only when she walked directly in front of me that I noticed her baby wasn’t a baby at all but a lifesize doll. This woman brought a doll to RS. One that bawls like a real baby.

It’s days like this that make me feel like I never left Blythe.

Friday, October 31, 2008

HOOKY SPOOKY


(sung to tune Hokey Pokey)

Put your right arm in, put your right arm out, 
Put your right arm in and shake it all about

Do the Hooky Spooky and everybody shout 
"That's what it's all about! BOO!"

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

there really is such a thing as productive surfing


Cate went down for a nap and I have been diligently preparing my lesson for Sunday. Time for a break. Came across this site: http://mywesternfamily.com/mywesterns_hifi/webisodes.html

Apparently you watch their weekly webisodes and in return you get to print off free product coupons for their product of the week. Hmm, free food. But it’s for real. Visit their website and watch the short film then print your coupon. You can print as many times as you like, but it’s one per customer. So, come back to your local store over the course of the week and enjoy your free product coupons again and again or visit different locations. The videos are fairly amusing, pretty creative in fact.

This week the coupon is for free applesauce. Click to see what stores in your area participate in this program. (In O-town it’s Allen’s, Macey’s and Harmon’s)

I have always been fond of families from the west.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Birthday Haiku


If I am remembering right the form is 5-7-5, yes? It’s tough expressing yourself with such few syllables to work with, but I am of the opinion everyone should have a poem written in their honor. Here goes:

Happy Birthday, bird
Time makes you more endearing
Go have birthday cake

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Castle for Candy, er, I mean Sadie






Dana graciously allowed me to make some games and scenery for Sadie's Princess Birthday party. Can I just say how much I love glue and duct tape and cardboard? All week I cut and painted. See the results.

It's meant to be an interactive castle, as in note the puppet show part and the games on the backside of the walls. I think I want to move in.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A.(S.S.) is for Apple


Hb generously gave us a bag of freshly picked apples from off his backyard tree. He had ld and I note their color, cracklin’ crisp texture and superior flavor.
Be sure to wash them, he warned. I sprayed them a lot to keep them worm free.

We nodded. Very fine apples, indeed.

I remarked on his tremendous talent for growing apples.

Hb, in true A.S.S. humility, sighed. What can I say? Like my father before me, I am a man of the soil.


‘Ya think?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Advice from my Mom, Part 1


Put on some lipstick. Even an old barn looks better with a coat of paint.

If something matters to you, do it whole heartedly.

School, education is important. Who would consciously choose ignorance?

It is neither respectful nor mentally healthy to place a bowl of mashed potatoes on the couch.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

the leonardo


If you are in SLC in the next couple of months I am recommending you see Body Worlds. Not just recommending but strongly urging. Go see, go see, rellys.

http://theleonardo.org/bodyworlds/index.php

Ld and I spent about 2 ½ hours viewing the detailed exhibits yesterday.
Absolutely amazing. You won’t think of your body in the same way ever again. Well worth your money and time. Oh, be sure to get the audio guide as well. It’s a great help to the whole experience.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A High Brow Birthday


Today we are spending ld’s birthday in a most cultured way. Going to a museum, a candlelight dinner, discussing ‘deep socks.’

Given all that, it’s only fitting he be given a hoity toity shout out. Er, Latin no less. Therefore, gratias ago vos pro totus suggero , fixing res quod merriment super annus , diligo of meus vita. EGO diligo vos praeter aer. Gauisus Natalis, Lance Maximus.

Translation: Thank you for all the providing, fixing stuff and merriment over the years, oh love of my life. I love you more than air. Happy Birthday, Lance the Great.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Chillin’ with my home girls on a Saturday night


Megs, Kenz and Cate joined me at my Stake Center for a pre RS broadcast dinner put on by our Stake. That alone would make for a great evening, you know, hanging with my homies. As an added bonus, the talks were terrific, too.

If you didn’t catch President Uchtdorf’s talk last night at the RS Broadcast you can listen to it here: http://lds.org/move/index.html?type=conference&event=178&lang=english

You won’t want to miss it. Oh. My. As I listened to this spectacular talk, I thought, “Yes, yes. This is exactly spot on. This is the key to so many ‘self esteem issues, low spirits, feelings of inadequacy, etc” that so many women face. I hung on every word as it reconfirmed to me my thoughts and feelings about creativity + compassion = happiness. A remarkable talk and one that touched and resonated with a lot of women, as evidence by all the blog chatter. I can’t think of a talk that I have loved as much as this. Maybe that’s because I had spent the day before carving up a big cardboard box and fashioning it into a puppet theater and crafting a Peek a Boo Panda out of scraps of felt. President Uchtdorf, with his talk, just clarified for me why I am so happy when I do this. Creativity is innate. God creates. It’s essential to our soul’s happiness. This explains and justifies my blogging, Megs penchant for all things crafty and Kenz’s current ‘let’s make a wedding cake’ whim. Heavenly Father ‘gets’ me. He ‘gets’ all of us. And finally someone, as in His servant, put it into words.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

An equal opportunity happening


So, let me get this straight. Our upcoming Turkey trot lineup will feature:`

• A sprinkling of previously experienced hard core runners`

• One bellicose diabetic old guy with a high I.Q.

• One Amazonian pregnant lady

• An eccentric, autodidact 50ish gal

• And a smattering of glamour puss young things

Hmm. This upcoming 5k run is starting to get very interesting. Very.

Anyone else care to join us? We could use a short, grumpy, numismatist to complete the line up.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What election?


Politics has always fascinated me, so imagine my horror when a couple of my children said they might not vote in November due to a) lack of interest in the candidates and b) ignorance of the issues. Their justification for both is that school and life prevent them from reading much news. I’m not really blaming them, their time is limited and the media, quite frankly, has really behaved disgustingly lately. But, kiddos, that’s still no excuse. For the love of Pete, please don’t scare me with such sentiments. Inform yourself and vote or I will count myself as no kind of mother at all.

Here’s a valuable site. Bookmark it. Think. Choose. Vote.

http://www.vote-smart.org/index.htm

Monday, September 15, 2008

Some Monday recommendations




Hey, loved ones, came across some interesting reading recently and thought of you. Consider it a measure of my love for you that I feel compelled to share.

For Kody, a little insight into Fanhood. http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/09/07/the_secret_benefits_of_fandom/

For BG, explains why you believe the Lost Tribes of Israel are on the moon.
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=smart-people-believe-weir

NannyJanny, duh. http://setgame.com/set/puzzle_frame.htm

For ld: http://swissmiss.typepad.com/weblog/2008/08/food-for-though.html
Consider purchasing one of these, the quality of your lunches will improve dramatically.

Megs, if you're looking for sumpin' to read, how 'bout: "The Dead" by James Joyce (from The Dubliners) (can read it online)
http://www.bibliomania.com/0/0/29/63/frameset.html

And Kenz, that whole motherhood thing. Not only does a woman have an expandable body but becoming a mommy changes how you think, too.
http://www.brainchildmag.com/essays/spring2004_feature.htm

Enjoy, fam.

C.M.A.


Quick now. What makes today special? I know, I know. You are thinking, duh that's easy. Agatha Christie, Oliver Stone, Merlin Olsen and Prince Harry all have birthdays today. Think harder, people. I'm thinking of someone else. Someone more important to our family and certainly more loved. Yup. You guessed it. Happy birthday, bro.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A.S.S. Turkey Trot


It's no secret I started a walk/run program in an effort to lessen the aches, stiffness and pain I feel every time I move. Also, in an attempt to stem the tide of my rapidly deteriorating brain cells. It's not about wanting to look good, people. We are way past that. No. I simply want energy enough to be able to walk to the mailbox daily. Oh. And I want to do a river rafting trip next summer with some friends. There is that.

Anyhoo. When Lacy was here last all the Arnett's gathered for a little Sunday night dessert bar. The conversation came around to running and about the upcoming 5k on Thanksgiving morning. I threw my hat in the ring. Yup. I will be joining Dana, Lacy, Lids, Lexie and whoever else. No comments, please from all you nay sayers who say I can't do it (and you know who you are). Remember I wrote down what you said on a piece of paper (and you watched me do it) and I CAN'T WAIT to make you eat it when I'm successful. Would you like ketchup or syrup on it, sir?

2nd Anyhoo. So, yesterday I returned HB's phone call. You all knew, of course, that he finally went to the Doctor (first time in like 17 years) and was diagnosed with diabetes. Shocker, I know. Not like there's a hereditary connection or anything, is there? So, HB has taken up exercising too and as he told me, 'the Doctor said if you want to get mean you can beat this diabetes thing'. Apparently HB has decided to get mean and his competitive A.S.S. has come out. The gist of our conversation yesterday consisted of this:

HB: I'm gonna run with you all on Thanksgiving day. I'm gonna whip everyone's butts. I can beat all Arnett wimmen combined. I have the highest I.Q. I am a mean, tough man. You should be scared.

Me: Whatever. You're on, dude. I ain't scirred of you. Bring it on.

Now I am sharing this with you all because HB wanted me to. He wanted me to publicize his outlandish, braggadocio taunts as only a true A.S.S. person would.

So, there you have it. Arnett Wimmens Unite! We can so kick his hiney on this. This is turning out to be just the motivation I have needed. C'mon, rellys. Get off the couch and train with us. Thanksgiving morning. A 5K.

(By the way, what is a 5K, exactly?)

Monday, September 8, 2008

If there are 23 people in a room, there's a 50% chance that two of them will share a birthday (it's been proven mathematically).

Today is JLW's birthday, too. He shares it with Chea.
Happy Birthday, GB. May the coming year find you less reliant on Tums:)

Doctor, I get heartburn every time I eat birthday cake."
Next time, take off the candles."

birthday shout


The first time I laid eyes on the newly born Chea was at my Grandma Clifford’s house in Tucson. She couldn’t have been more than a week or so old. I had fallen asleep on the couch and I remember my Mom coming in and gently waking me. “Look Candy, here she is. Isn’t she beautiful?” Mother and I oohed and ahhed over her profusely, commenting on her little hands, her perfect little face and her general sweetness. How we loved her. Who could guess then how wonderfully endearing she would grow up to be.
Happy Birthday, Chea. Love your spunk, spirit and abundance of talents. Love your charisma and goodness. But mostly, just love you.

Nothing has changed over the years, your family fans (of which I am one) still ooh and ahh over you.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

a tender note



I came across this little handwritten note quite by accident this morning. I was looking for an old photo for Cathy and there it was. As so often happens, sometimes we stumble upon something wonderfully unexpected while on the way of looking for something else. (Story of my life. Sigh:) Anyway, I was so touched and stirred by Grandpa's words. Thought I would pass it on to you. Let it yet be more proof to the power of writing. Our words, written down, really can reach across time to those we love.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

reunion update

The plans for the 2009 HMA Fam Reunion are coming along nicely. Thanks for all your great ideas and thanks for nominating me as the person in charge. We still don’t have a firm date yet but know for sure it will be in the summer. Oh, and we don’t have a location yet but that is a minor detail. Here’s what we do know. It will be fun and inspirational and rewarding and whatever else you need it to be to intice you into coming.

The program itinerary so far:

Day 1
Arrive, unpack, eat and stuff, Roll call of Families (bust out your family cheers)

• Family Band, ala the return of The Bathtub Ring. Everyone choose your instrument now, everything is available, well, except for the accordian. Email me or leave a comment as to your chosen instrument. I will be sending out the music soon after I confer with our Conductor Lindsay. Instruments still available: Mandolin, Banjo, Guitar, Kazoo, Recorder, Violin, Drums (we need at least 3 of these), Cymbals, Triangle, Clackers, Chimes (we need at least 26 of these) and Harmonica (need 2). We need at least 18 people for the Heavenly Choir, too.

• Talk show with a return performance of the Latin Oprah, (you won’t want to miss this!)

• So You Think You Can Dance? (Arnett style)
(This is where we all get a chance to shake those A.S.S. booties. Hurry, fam and choose your genre. Our family has nabbed the Modern Dance category, and Chea’s family wanted Salsa, and I’m sorry but H.B. really, really wanted Square Dancing for his category. But, no worries there’s lots left: Riverdance, Turkish March, Ballet, Russian Folk Dancing, Cowboy Line Dancing, 70’s style, Hip Hop, Minuet, Lizzy and Darcy’s famous dance from P&P, and more!)

• Keynote Guest Speaker (speaking on a keynote subject)

Day 2

• A.S.S. Athletic games like: Golf, Eat off, Nap Off, Eat off
Who has the highest I.Q?, Smart A.S.S., A.S.S. Bingo (with cool prizes)

Workshops like:
• Group therapy session for the women folk led by our resident family therapist and addressing such topics as What does it mean to be an Arnett? And A.S.S. recovery, is there hope?

• Do you Remember? (this is where the old farts reminisce about Mozelle Renstrom, Billy Lilly, and Augie Westman)

Special Guest Speaker and Slideshow. Topic: Arnett’s in the World today - Personal Experiences from having lived Abroad.

Puppet show (little kiddies you won’t want to miss the re-enactment of the love story "The Cowboy and the Rose” followed by the beloved fairy tale “The Nuts Don’t Fall far from the Family Tree”)

And more stuff I haven’t come up with yet. I am open to suggestions.

Closing Devotional (covering a topic that is very devotional and very closing)

There you have it. Mark you calendars for sometime next year. No excuses, be there. The prizes are cool (and I don’t mean just Candy Bars)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Big heads, Big butts


At last we can lay to rest the unresolved family question. H.B has frequently declared that his is the highest I.Q. based on his claim that Mother dipped into the school files and reported her findings to him. Hmmph. Highly unlikely, but turns out there may be some truth to the matter. According to this fascinating article:

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=high-aptitude-minds

From "High-Aptitude Minds: The Neurological Roots of Genius" (Scientific American Mind, September 3, 2008):

In humans, brain size correlates, albeit somewhat weakly, with intelligence, at least when researchers control for a person’s sex (male brains are bigger) and age (older brains are smaller). Many modern studies have linked a larger brain, as measured by magnetic resonance imaging, to higher intellect, with total brain volume accounting for about 16 percent of the variance in IQ. But, as Einstein’s brain illustrates, the size of some brain areas may matter for intelligence much more than that of others does.


So there you have it. The biggest head has the highest I.Q. Next new scientific discovery will be linking A.S.S. size to ability to do math. And that will be a relief. Cs math skills = tiny bum.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

When the cure is worse than the disease

On the ride down to Home Evening in Santaquin:

Ld: So, I’ve given up using deodorant.

Cs: huh? Pray, what brought this about?

Ld: I read that deodorant contains little bits of metal. The metal has been shown to contribute to Alzheimer’s.

Cs: hmmm. So, how long have you been deodorant free?

Ld: Since yesterday morning, or maybe it was just today, I can’t remember.

Cs: I see.

On the ride home:

Ld: (takes a whiff of his underarm) Maybe I’ll start using deodorant again.
(Pause and sigh) It’s a risk I’ll have to take.

Cs: Good call.

Friday, August 8, 2008

as good as she is fair


Finally another girl in the fam. Cathy opened my eyes to curlers, Mary Kay makeup, cooking, sewing and other domestic arts. She profoundly shaped my views on mothering, both in her willingness to have lots of children and by her phenomenal nurturing skills. In a family full of brothers I appreciated her feminine and refined influence, both then and now. Were it not for you Cathy, I would still think drinking milk directly from the carton, scratching where it itched and fluffing in public was socially acceptable behavior.

Thanks for saving me.

Happy birthday, sweet lady. (belated, I know, our DSL was down yesterday). Love you.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

highly recommended

ld came through for my birthday and gave me the 3 movies I asked for. I watched Cranford in one sitting last night. Loved, loved it. If you have not seen it yet, get a copy now. As always you will love and embrace Gaskell's richly drawn characters. Cranford society is filled with independent, hysterically funny, proto-feminist Amazonian women.

The movie is really, as I understand it, a compilation of 3 of her works and it delights with such quotable wit and dialogue as this:

[Mary has brought oranges as a present for Matty and Deborah]
Miss Deborah Jenkyns: I would prefer it if I did not enjoy oranges. Consuming them is a most incommodious business.
Miss Matty Jenkyns: There is not such a lot of juice, Deborah dear - only when they are sliced with a knife.
Mary Smith: At home we make a little hole in our oranges and we suck them.
[Deborah looks horrified]
Miss Matty Jenkyns: That is the way I like to take them best, but Deborah says it is vulgar and altogether too redolent of a ritual undertaken by little babies. My sister does not care for the expression [whispers] "suck".
Miss Deborah Jenkyns: [primly] We will repair to our rooms... and consume our fruit in solitude.
[embarrassed, Deborah gets up and leaves the table]


Is that not delightful? And now if you will excuse me, I will repair to my room to consume Gaskell's book in solitude:)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

another year around the sun


I turned 18 years old the day Dana was born. I was living at Riviera down in Provo. I remember Larry calling me to tell me the news. I didn’t believe him at first, then became ecstatic when I discovered it was true. Dana Joy. Aptly named. You brought so much joy to all of us then and continue to do so now. Happy birthday, lovely niece

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

long walk part of gift

Here’s what I did yesterday. And the day before. I made this cake for the daughter of a dear friend and ward member who passed away the end of February from cancer. Her daughter was one of my Laurels back in the day.


I had volunteered to make the cake pro bono and promised her mother one day in the hospital that I would do so. I did this because I loved her and because I knew she would do it for me. This is the same woman who showed up at my doorstep on the eve of Mackenzie’s wedding with a beautifully sewn handmade quilt as a wedding gift. I was stunned. Not just at the skill, beauty and time involved but at what it must have really cost her. There she stood, frail and bald (from all the chemo) with her offering of love. Lance and I looked at each other and fought to keep back the tears. She sacrificed her precious little energy (by working on it here a little, there a little, and then taking rest breaks by lying down on the couch, I later learned) to make that gift. I was so touched by this.

There is a story I have always loved (you probably are familiar with it) about a foreign person who was working in Central Africa. This man had taught a group of native people about the Christmas story and about the wise men. He told them the story of how the wise men had traveled hundreds of miles on foot from ‘the east’ and how they had searched and walked for more than two years in their search for the baby Jesus. He told them about the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, but he explained that the real gift was the walking for hundreds of miles for two years. One young boy heard the story. One day, this boy disappeared from his tribe and was gone for more than two weeks. He finally returned with a gift for the foreign man. His special gift was a beautiful shell. The man asked the boy where he found that shell. “I have never seen such a shell my whole life.” The boy replied, “I have walked to Great Sea. It is only in Great Sea that this shell is found. Long walk part of gift.”

I wanted to do this cake in the worst way. It was important that I do it Wedding cakes are labor intensive and can be a pain. That’s the whole point. When I delivered it yesterday the Bride’s dad hugged and thanked me. He was teary eyed appreciative and said he knew I was busy with my family and the Society of Relief. I wanted so badly to blurt out, “long walk part of gift”.

The long walk is part of the gift we give each other, receive from each other, it’s where we give of our self to another person in love. Most gifts I give aren’t expensive or labor intensive at all. Which is why it’s nice, even necessary sometimes to give up a little bit more.

And as always when we give of ourselves like that we are the one most blessed. There is lots of leftover cake and frosting scraps and it’s very sweet☺

Saturday, July 26, 2008

in defense of pollyanna


I'm sure by now you have all heard of the poke fun blog called Seriously, So Blessed.

http://seriouslysoblessed.blogspot.com/

It's gotten some press lately as well being the talk on a lot of blogs. We all laugh at it and pronounce it spot on. It is painfully revealing.

A taste: "When I pack his lunch every day I make sure to cut the sandwiches diagonally because we call it "the love cut" so when he sees his sandwich cut that way, he knows I love him, and that's one way we don't let the sizzle fizzle."

Others have weighed in as well. Go see, if you haven't already.

http://www.ericdsnider.com/blog/2008/06/25/a-funny-mormon-princess-blog/

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,700244928,00.html

But! (and you knew there would be a but) I can't laugh too loud as I'm not so sure the young women they are poking fun of aren't so air heady and silly by nature as just really young (and maybe uneducated, dumb maybe). You really can't fault someone for their lack of life experience. And okay, okay, most of those 'young mormon blonde' blogs do suffer from really bad writing and lack of vocabulary (everything is sooo fun, the cutest, cool, neat) I still maintain it's the nature of the beast. Give them 20 years. They won't be writing the same stuff. In fact, don't be surprised if their catch phrase then becomes Seriously, So Bitter. Life will beat and shake them down soon enough. I say, let them be. Let them feel so blessed and pollyannaish. No one would read, (least not for long) a blog called Seriously, Everything Sucks. Not a good name for a blog and not a good theme for a life.

Time and events will temper all their 'blessedness' with some hard knock realities. I wouldn't take their smiley face posts away from them for anything.

Friday, July 25, 2008

help a sister out



So I guess you noticed my blog change. I was messing around last night and don't know how it happened but I now have a new color on my blog. I clicked on a few buttons and poof! you see the result. I have no idea exactly what I did. Obviously I need some help. I can't figure out how to make a header with some kind of picture. I would like it to exude good design principles and use a music staff, a book and a flower in a sea of grass. Oh, and some pearls would be nice too. I also like the idea of a pirate treasure map and how the pages are all yellow and aged. Could any rellys out there help me? How do I do this?

Help. me. now.

p.s. I also really like the painting The Gleaners, love it in fact. Could that be on my blog too? hmmm?

Merlin is spot on



Merlin to Wart:

The best thing for being sad, is to learn something. Which is why I'm sharing one of my fav links with you, people.
Go look, go look.

http://www.aldaily.com/

Yup, learning something new really is the best cure for melancholy I know.

The rest of the quote:

That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then—to learn.
Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn—pure science, the only purity there is. You can learn astronomy in a lifetime, natural history in three, literature in six. And then, after you have exhausted a million lifetimes in biology and medicine and theocriticism and geography and history and economics—why, then you can start to make a cartwheel out of the appropriate wood, or spend fifty years learning to begin to learn to beat your adversary at fencing.
After that you can start on mathematics, until it is time to learn to plough.


T.H. White in The Once and Future King

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Quit! Give up! You're Beaten! (not!)


Yesterday, I stumbled across Emily David. I don’t know why I should be so touched by her story and talent but I am. I get all teary and blubbery every time I watch this. It’s the same feeling I had when Dana, Lacy & Linds ran their races, or when Cam became an Elder. Mustn’t forget JLW. The first day I dropped him off at UVU for classes, I wept. It was a day I thought might not ever come. The thing is, fam, we all face obstacles. Might even lose our way sometimes, get tripped up, or fall flat on our face. I've done my own share of lying on the ground and refusing to get up. Thankfully, experience teaches us in our own way and in our own time, that we are all capable of finding the strength to pick ourselves up, catch our breath and move forward. And not just once or twice but as many times as needed. Resiliency is part of our divine nature, I guess.

I am highly in favor of the 'life as a race' metaphor and rising each time you fall, especially when we’ve been down and beaten or stumbled. Ha! In my case, even undone shoelaces can and have caused a major tumble or two. (How's that for deep, eh?) It's helpful to remember though, that given the type of race we are all running, no one runs it perfectly, that's for sure. The medals don't come for 'fastest' or even 'better than'. Which is why I have long loved the poem Rise Each Time You Fall or maybe it's called "Get up and win the race" (I can't remember) and yes I know it’s kinda lame and long and not great poetry (a little sappy, even, hey, there can be truth in kitsch, too:) but it’s one my Mom used to have in her files. I wanted to post it, but it really is too long. Still it always makes me cry. Speaking of which, life gives us all lots and lots of reasons to weep and bawl, but the tears you gotta absolutely LOVE and that are the very best kind are the tears produced by seeing someone (especially someone we love!) overcome. It doesn’t get any better.

So yeah!! to all you striving, trying, pushing on rellys. Your overcoming in the face of obstacles helps me in my own race. Do you know how much courage you inspire in me?

Go have a look. Sob as you cheer for Emily David.



Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A man ought to live so that everybody knows he is a good guy...and most of all, his family ought to know



H.B’s birthday party, thrown by his children, was a lovely, light hearted affair. For me, it could also be described as inspiring. Not because aging and degenerating are worth partying it up for but celebrating a life well lived is.

I was touched by the little tributes given by Penee and the chillun’s. They each, and in their own way, expressed their love, gratitude and respect for H.B. Sometimes that’s important to hear. It’s good to have one’s influence acknowledged in our relationships.

The kids mentioned his support, his sacrifices, his selflessness, his humor, his belief in them. They talked of his good example. His dedication to the gospel and his commitment to living the Savior’s teachings. They said they knew he loved them.

I thought of his kind and soft heart, his willingness to do anything for me no matter how inconvenient. How he tries to keep the extended family close and together. How his gift of words and wit has brightened and cheered others.

I sat there at the party thinking about how remarkable all of this was - that a man could be feted with such accolades by those closest to him on his 60th year and have it be sincere and heartfelt. Not too bad of an achievement, eh? And for all his many gifts of personality, good looks☺, money☺ and talents they pale in comparison to this one thing – his wife and children love him. He’s a good husband and Dad (and brother, uncle, nephew, son, too.) That matters enormously. Because if you want to take the measure of a man then ask those closest to him. They can’t lie. They have lived with him and seen him at his worst.

As Sturgeon put it: “I question whether any man is much better than he is thought to be by his wife and family, for they, after all, see the most of us, and know the truth about us.”

I can only hope to so live that my little fam could say some nice things about me. That would make 60 or 70 or any age worthwhile. It really is an achievement to have those who know and love us best vouch for our character and our goodness.

“Indeed, if one can say that one has built genuinely loving relationships with a spouse and children, then one has already succeeded in accomplishing more than most people accomplish in a lifetime.” (M.Scott Peck)

So true. To be able to enter a new decade feeling so loved and appreciated and to know that your fam is in no doubt of your love for them, well, that has to be a good feeling. Happy Birthday, H.B. You’re a great brother and a great guy.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

another game of tag

Ten years ago:
The kids and I (er, okay, mostly me) have an early morning paper route. I endure this by listening religiously to the news and Art Bell on my van’s radio. Thus begins my enthusiastic penchant for all things weird, improbable and U.F.O.’ish. The Clinton/Lewinsky scandal and Princess Diana’s funeral, I catch it all while chucking papers out my window.

Five years ago:
Iraq war. Saddam Hussein.

JLW returns home from his mission to his very proud family.

Elizabeth Smart is found wandering the streets with some religious extremist wackos. (Btw, saw her play her harp recently at ld’s BYU Stake closing social a few months ago. She and other students were part of the entertainment.)

One year ago:
Meghan returns home from her mission to her very proud family. Kody shows up, Meghan falls in love.
Kenzie and Brig move in for the summer. I participate in my one and only garage sale. We all make the pilgrimage to Nauvoo. Lots of Society of Reliefing meals. Costco is my best friend.

3 days ago:
Family picnic up South Fork to celebrate the 4th. Kody introduces us all to Bratts, which are big sausage thingys that you eat like hotdogs. I discover that I have redneck racist leanings and come down with a massive propane headache.

Yesterday:
Spent all day downing aspirin and Tylenol in massive quantities trying to rid myself of said propane headache. Proof read JLW’s college paper. ‘Deep socks’ discussion follows.

Today:
Today was a sleep-in as I have no meetings, read my news sites, read some more, reflect sort of day. Only one dose of Acetaminophen required.

And now I tag all my peoples and everyone I love. And if they don’t respond then no more laffy taffys, kit kats, butterfingers, m & m’s, book and movie recommendations or shared recipes for you. Prize goes to first responder. (Hint: the prize is good). Prizes go to 2nd and 3rd responder, too. (Hint: nifty prizes). After that, I have no more good prizes. Only stuff like bubbles left over from girls camp, and a broken yellow whistle. So you should consider very seriously being a first responder.

Monday, June 23, 2008

would have been 63 years, today


Today would have been my parents 63rd wedding anniversary.

Thank you, thank you for showing me what love looks like. Thank you, for enduring the rough patches with faith and commitment.

Thank you for allowing me to inherit the fruits of your hard work in making a life together. Because of your example my own marriage flies the flag of hope and possibility.

Happy Anniversary, Mother and Dad.

(The following is taken from the above newspaper clipping. Hard to believe they misspelled mother's name. Should be Ethel, not Ethyl. I typed it out as the clipping is yellow, faded and nearly illegible.)

Ethyl Clifford is Bride of Sgt. Arnett

Ethyl Clifford, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Clifford of Tucson, and Sgt. Howard Arnett of Duncan, Arizona were united in marriage at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Vern Busby home on 33rd street. Bro. A.G. Kimball, bishop of the Church of Latter Day Saints, officiated.

A pale blue dress with white accessories and a corsage of gardenias was worn by the bride. Her attendant, Mrs. Charles Arnett, wore a lavender frock. Mr. Arnett, attended his brother as best man.

Mrs. Clifford, the bride’s mother, was attired in a gray dress. Her corsage was of white carnations.

A reception followed the ceremony. The couple left for Duncan, the bridegroom’s home, for a short wedding trip.

The bridegroom returned recently from Italy, where he has served for the past two years. He will report to Santa Ana Calif for reassignment.

The bride attended St.David’s high school near Benson and the University of Arizona. She is a member of Lambda Delta Sigma sorority. Sgt. Arnett attended Duncan schools.


Couple United in Home Rites
(Caption under picture)
Sgt and Mrs. Howard Arnett are shown after their wedding ceremony at 6:30 Saturday at the Vern Busby home. The bride is the former Ethyl Clifford, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Clifford.


video

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Aunties step out…


Penee had the great idea to celebrate Kathleen’s birthday with a visit to Thanksgiving Point Gardens. Great idea, Pen. We chatted and strolled and shared a $2.00 pop when it got too hot. The gardens are truly lovely, almost made me feel like I was visiting Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s estate.

Afterwards, we finished up the funfest by eating salads at CafĂ© Rio. I loved chillin’ with my Sis in laws. It was delightful. Also, big birthday wishes to Kathleen, a truly great sister-in-law and wonderful person. I love you, lady.

And if you are wondering why there are so many shots of rumps in this video, well, let me just say that my sisters-in-law can be less than cooperative. They should have heeded my photographic suggestions. When you won’t pose for the camera, ladies, this is what you get. Just be glad your fannies are still in such great shape ; )

video

Saturday, June 7, 2008

best summary yet on why I blog and keep a journal


Came across a quote from Emerson this morning. Tell me what you think, he challenges.

I don’t always know what I think, I have middle age brain fuddle. But…!

That is what writing is. Telling people what you think. Telling other people certainly, but mainly yourself. That is why we must write. To find out what we think. To discover what we believe. Until we say it or write it down we are unaware of what is actually at the root of our lives.

Talking, conversation is good and goes a long way in clarifying what we think, but writing is best. Writing requires revision and revision aids precision. In any case, at any age it’s good to learn the truth about ourselves — the truth as best we can put it into words. The bummer of it all is that by all accounts it’s hard work even for the best.

You should know, my blogging rellys, how much I love reading what you think. Sometimes you are the catalyst to my gleaning a new thought. It’s good to come upon someone who sees life in a slightly different way and a few golden sentences from you is sometimes all it takes to stretch my mind for the day. So I guess along with the family mantra of Keep the faith we could also add, Keep writing

Tell me what you think. No better reason to post, eh?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Happy Birthday Meghan Candace


Soon after Meghan married she announced one day that she was going to change her name. I looked at her and responded casually, “Well, of course.”

“No, I don’t mean just my last name. I’m thinking of giving myself a middle name”.

“Oh” I said.

This had been a regret for me since she was born. I had always wanted her to have a middle name but her Dad did not think it was necessary for girls. I was too tired to push for it, too distracted and upset, as my Mom was admitted to the same hospital the very next day, and for these reasons Megs came away without a middle name. She and I have always been sorry for this. As the years passed and she grew in beauty and strength of character it became even more apparent I should have given her a middle name. Grace would have been my first choice - it’s beautiful and a name that signifies for me all that I felt she was and is as a person.

You can imagine my surprise in early January when I got a phone call asking me to meet her at the County building to sign the paper for her name change. It appeared that she was serious. I was struck by a couple of things. How very like Meghan it was to take matters in her own hands, to not be content with the status quo but to make right or remedy an obstacle to her sense of self. I have always admired this about her as she possesses the understanding and ability, quite like the Cheryble brothers in Dicken’s Nicholas Nickleby, to surround herself with ‘happiness chiefly of her own making’. Meghan is, and always has been, a pro active, make it happen person. Suffice it to say, the blood of Ethel Rose runs strongly through her veins.

Anyway, she had mentioned once or twice previous to that the name she wanted to add. Candace. She wanted her middle name as Candace. And though I wondered why on earth she would want part of my name, I was secretly very pleased. Still, I was not prepared for the pang of emotion I felt when she actually added officially that name.

How interesting. It’s one thing to choose a name for your child when they are newly born. They have no say in the matter and you hope they will grow up happy with your choice. It’s quite a different experience altogether when they choose to take your name for their own as an adult. I have to say I have never felt more honored, respected, validated and unworthy all at the same time.

I have always loved my name. I really have. It’s biblical and was an ancient hereditary title used by Ethiopian queens. It suits Megs well. And to think I didn't have to offer her a horse for it. (As did my Grandpa Ahijah Arnett:)

The other thing that struck me was that the older I get the more I understand and know that a name is special and important to the life of a child. What is in that name imbues the child with the qualities, hopes, and wishes of the parents and extended family.

Jewish teachings say, “Every person has three names: One his parents gave him, one others call him, and one he acquired himself.” This applies to Meghan, literally, I think, as she chose her name for herself.

Megs, you have no idea the honor you paid me by taking part of my name. What a tender, sweet thing for you to do. Names do in fact inform our identity and carry memory. They are our imprint, our personal stamp. And by choosing to add my name you said to me that your roots were worth identifying with and maybe I didn’t screw up too badly as a Mom.

This is significant to me, and makes me weep because if you only knew how many times I felt our roles should have been reversed, with you as the Mom and with me as the child. In so many ways you have been my superior: in temperament, character, ambition, style and grace.

As today is your birthday my sweet daughter, please know that if I had to do it all over again I would name you Meghan Candace without hesitation. You are forever a part of me as the name suggests. Thank you for recognizing this and for fixing this.

Happy Birthday, Meghan Candace Walker Staples. That tiny, sweet and precious little baby born 24 years ago today has far surpassed her Mothers’ hopes and dreams. E.M.S.H.A.D.L.Y.

Love, love you.