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.

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.,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.

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.

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 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.