Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Adam gave me a framed print of this picture the night before our wedding.


I love it (and him).  I've hung it next to our bed in every house we've lived in.

Yesterday morning I was lying in bed, mustering the strength to face another day, like you do.  Without contacts the picture was blurry but I've seen it enough that I knew how it looked anyway.

It reminded me of the scripture that I am ponderizing this week.  It is one that meant a lot to me way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was a freshman at BYU.  It was written on a chalkboard in my geography classroom the entire semester.  I wasn't a big fan of my geography class but I love this scripture.

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you:  not as the world giveth give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid.
I have had my freshman year at BYU on my mind lately.  Desi, everyone's favorite BYU freshman (at least this year), was dropped off on Monday by her stalwart mother.  (We had lunch after and Marianne ordered a Coke.  That's not like her.  She had been through something.)  The other day Adam and I regaled our children with freshman memories.  I pulled out my photo album and Emma commented that even back then my eyes were often closed in pictures.

What can I say?  I have a talent.

I'm grateful that I went to BYU.  I'm grateful that a scripture that was written on the chalkboard in my geography class all those years ago is imprinted on my brain now.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

First day of school

Yesterday was the first day of school around here.

That means that now I have to go back to cleaning the bathrooms and emptying the dishwasher and sorting the laundry.

It's a lot easier to mourn that than to contemplate the fact that this is Emma's senior year.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Balm for the soul

Friday was a disappointing day.  I felt weary and pretty much in full pity party mode.  Thankfully, we were heading to Nevada.  It was going to be a brief trip but it was just the respite I needed.

Minus Emma who had a drama council retreat, we hurtled our way across the Salt Flats and climbed over the mountains and found ourselves in fragrant hay fields in the shadows of the Ruby Mountains.  There's nothing quite like it.  I talked to my dad on the phone and he said that all his siblings were at their house.  I would have liked to see them all but what I really needed was a little sister face time.  Olivia and Edgar were hosting an Elder's Quorum party so we crashed it.  Marianne had arrived minutes before us to crash it as well.  Mark joined the cousin fray and I sat down at a table with my sisters, Adam and Edgar.  I picked a little food off Adam's plate and Olivia brought me a glass of water.  It just felt sublime to be there.  I noticed Luke across the grass in the cousin fray and he ran toward me.  He gave me a few big hugs.

And a hug from Luke (let alone two) made the entire trip worthwhile.

Everyone left the party and Marianne, Jennifer, Adam, Olivia, Edgar and I sat around and chatted.  We shared anecdotes about our dad, we laughed, we admired the plant that Olivia is babysitting while our aunt Olivia and her husband are serving a mission in Sweden.  The plant used to be our great grandma Olivia's plant (so, no pressure keeping it alive, Olivia).  I guess someone should let niece Olivia know that she's up next if sister Olivia is unable to keep great grandma Olivia's plant for aunt Olivia.


Adam and I pulled Mark out of the cousin fray that was still happening even though it was nighttime.  We went over to my parents' house.  Sometimes that feels like slipping into a warm bed after a hard day and this was one of those times.  We sat down to visit.  My parents were telling us about progess in selling my grandparents' ranch.  Mark didn't know what they were talking about.  Adam explained to him, "They're selling the ranch."

"Are they dying?" Mark whispered to Adam.


Then Adam realized Mark was getting "selling the ranch" confused with the idiom "bought the farm."

We assured Mark there were no impending deaths.

As usual Mark decided it was time to eat everything in my mother's kitchen.  My mom chided me for trying to stop him.  "Don't you think I want to feed him?" she asked.

I guess so, but I sort of want to civilize him and sometimes we are at cross purposes.  (Like at 10:00 at night when Mark is hungry.)

We were also at cross purposes when we talked politics.  My mom is NOT happy that I won't vote for who she thinks I should vote for.  I told her we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.

Even though I'm politically a disappointment, I know my mom loves me.  And I'm grateful.  We talked late into the night, my parents and Adam and me.  I started crying when I read my parents the latest very kind email I got from Stella and my tears don't know when to quit.  My mom went and got Kleenex for me and both parents gave me the perspective and confidence I needed.  They're these lampposts of light in my life.

Adam left for his shift of helping Robert with the Ruby Mountain Relay that they put on.  It's a big undertaking and Adam is happy to help in the overnight hours.  I think he's crazy but I also admire his goodness.  I went to bed and breathed the fresh canyon air pouring through the windows all night.  At one point I woke up and there was a rectangle of silver moonlight on the bed.  That happens at my parents' house because they have no curtains and it was magical when I was a little girl and it is magical still.

The next morning, my mom had already left to go work her Ruby Mountain Relay shift and Adam had come and gone because he wanted to help Robert more.  Since Edgar had borrowed my dad's truck, we were without a vehicle.  At least a motorized one.

My dad came inside and told me that he would take me over to where my mom was so she could buy me breakfast.  (An organization benefiting autism was serving breakfast.) I went outside where he was finishing up hitching one of his horses Andy to a buggy.  I climbed up on the seat next to him and Mark scrambled into the back and off we went.  It was only when we got to my grandparents' house where my mom was stationed and I climbed down from the buggy amidst the curious and wondering stares of some of the runners, did it occur to me that maybe everyone's dad doesn't hitch up a draft horse when his daughter needs a ride.

I spent a pleasant few hours visiting with my mom and aunt Claudia.  Then, Adam was done and we headed for home.  We had been sent a message that there was a church meeting Mark needed to be at Saturday afternoon.  In order to get him home on time, we skipped stopping to see Jennifer's kitchen painting project and seeing Enoch.

It turned out Mark didn't even need to be at the meeting after all.

Hmph.  Those are the kind of minor frustrations that make a quick trip to Nevada necessary every once in a while.

Friday, August 19, 2016


I have been over and over surprised and amazed by the good people that have come into our lives as a result of Braeden's mission.  I was expecting that it would be a good experience for him.  I was hoping he would be able to make a difference in someone's life.

I had no idea how it would bless mine.

Stella and Rebecca have sort of become my pen pals.  We've never met but have one thing in common.

We love this kid.

Corresponding with them has been a comfort and strength to me when I needed it most.  I don't think those good ladies will ever know how much they mean to me.

I've also learned lessons as a result of Braeden's experiences.

One lady posted this picture on Facebook awhile ago:

It has been a hot and humid summer in Virginia and lots of Braeden's pictures are like this.  Sweaty hair and melty looking shirt.  I was thrilled to see a picture of his smiling face but what really gave me pause were the icy drinks in their hands.

Seeing someone treat my son with this simple kindness of an ice cold drink meant the world to me.  I felt unreasonably happy and grateful.

Then I started thinking about how Heavenly Father must feel when He looks down on His children.  He sees some that are struggling.  He sees some that could use an ice cold drink--or a smile, or an invitation, or the benefit of the doubt.

How does He feel when He sees us serving one another?  Seeing this picture gave me a glimpse.

Another lesson I've learned was a result of reading Braeden's and also Clarissa's emails.  These missionaries love the people where they are.  If you believe Clarissa, the best people in the world are in New Zealand.  If you believe Braeden, the best people in the world are in Virginia.  And I know those two well enough to know, they aren't just saying it.  They love the people they serve.

Awhile ago, Braeden was telling us about a person they were teaching.  This person (like every single person in VA apparently), was awesome.  He told us all about the progress this person was making and how great they were.  He mentioned in passing they were a heroin addict.  I was struck by his nonjudgmental view of this person.  I could tell he honestly viewed this person as someone with a lot of potential.

What is it about missionaries? I thought.  How do Clarissa and Braeden have these positive views of everyone?

Then it hit me.  I think it's because they see the people they serve like Heavenly Father and the Savior see them.  They don't see anyone as a lost cause.  They see people who are awesome.  People with potential.  They have a message to share that will make all the difference in their lives.

And I'm the lucky girl who gets to read the emails.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A list

Things I'm grateful for:

people in Virginia who love Braeden
air conditioning
frosted lemonade from Chick-fil-a
belonging to a book club
cooler nights
school supplies
a dishwasher
being a mother
diet coke with lime
nail polish
the internet
house plants
sitting on the deck in the early morning
crossword puzzles
listening to our children reminisce
words of prophets
blue sky
being married to a good cook
unexpected goodness
the twinkling lights of the valley out my window before bed
the full moon--it still reminds me of my sisters

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Half birthday girl

Awhile ago, Tabor said, "Aren't your kids getting a little old for half birthdays?"

Frankly, that surprised me.  Is getting too old for half birthdays a thing? 

Today I'm grateful for my girl.  She is 17 1/2 today.

Also this morning I went in her room and said, "It's time to get up.  You need to start moving your schedule because school is starting soon."

She said, "No."

She's pretty much one of those docile souls that is easy to push around.

It is no secret that Emma is a strong and independent woman.  She can be...prickly.  It's great for a mother who loves a challenge.  (ha ha)

On Sunday afternoon, she lay on my bed next to me with her eyes closed and I traced the curves of her face with my finger while we talked about her senior year.  (Her senior year!)  Like nearly every milestone that hits, my kids seem to be ready for them far better than I am. 

Yesterday Emma decided to curl her hair before she went to work.  When she was a little little girl, I attempted to curl her hair and she said, "No offense, Mom, but curly hair is ugly."

And you know, none taken, because who takes offense when their daughter calls their hair ugly?

Yesterday she was striving for curls though.  We have a curling iron.  I got it as a high school graduation gift and it is basically in mint condition because we've never really used it.  Since hair styling has never really been a thing around here, Emma didn't know how to work the curling iron.  I showed her and she asked, "How do you know how to do that?"

I said, "The 80s."

She said, "Thank you, 80s."

There's a lot to love about Emma.  I love how smart and capable she is.  I love that she's funny and kind.  She's a good friend and very loyal.  She is tough.  No one, least of all her mother, is going to tell her how to live her life.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Adventure time

Today I'm thankful for Adam's knack for adventures.  I'm ever the reluctant one and he perseveres and then we have fun.

Saturday Emma was at work so Adam and Mark and I saddled up the Subaru and headed out.  Our first stop was the Maverick in American Fork (because Adventure's First Stop).

Our last stop was the Maverick in Santaquin because we had to use the bathroom by then.

We drove out to Eagle Mountain and Cedar Fort and to Fairfield.  Camp Floyd used to be there and in its day, it was largest military installation in the country.  They were trying to keep those pesky Mormons in check but really trying to divert attention from slavery and states' rights.

We visited the cemetery and the Stagecoach Inn and this school:

I loved the details.

This is the inside, peeking through the curtains.

From there we drove.  And drove.  Soon we were on a dirt road in the west desert and I kept saying things like, "Um...Adam?" and he kept saying he knew where he was going.  Google maps kept telling him random little dirt paths to turn on and he kept saying, Nah.


Adam's grand scheme was to sneak up on Goshen from behind, which we did.  I did my student teaching in Goshen and hadn't been there for 21 years.  (!)  I have lots of great memories of driving there with my carpool buddies (except we went via the freeway).  They knew more about my dating and engagement to Adam than about anyone did.  It was conversation topic #1.

From there we hit Santaquin and saw the sights of Payson (there's stuff to see, people) and then home.

Even though I'm usually hesitant, I'm glad Adam isn't.  It's a beautiful world and we might as well get out in it.


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