Monday, May 22, 2017

Seminary Graduation

None of us--including Braeden--have any recollection of his seminary graduation.  I know he graduated.  I just don't know if we were there.

Maybe instead we were at the farewell for Clarissa's mission?

Maybe it was when we were in New England?

Maybe we went to the graduation?  We have the diploma after all....

I saw people taking pictures of their graduates/families afterward and I thought, maybe people do that so they can remember attending.

We didn't take any pictures of Emma.

This is just to say though, we were there.  (In case we all forget.)

All this senior stuff.  Graduating.  I don't like it.  Bah.  Humbug.

Seminary graduation was actually quite nice (except for one of the speakers told a bizarre story).  I was proud of Emma and the other YW I love for graduating from seminary.  It matters and takes sacrifice and commitment--even here in the land of release time.

(Which it must be said, is blissful.  Especially considering Mark will be a freshman next year and we won't have a driver.  When you plan that poorly, you just have to move to Utah.  There's no alternative.)

The closing song was We'll Bring The World His Truth.

That song kills me every time.  I would cry every time the primary children sang it in the Seattle Hill Ward when I was primary president.  My last Sunday there before we moved, they sang it for me and I sort of sobbed.

During the closing song, I just ignored all the feels and soldiered on.  No tears.

After, I was talking to one of the girls (who is a top pick to marry one of my sons) and her mother.  They asked me if I had cried.  I said (quite proudly) that no I had not.  The mother said, "Not even during the closing song?"

I admitted that song's effect on me.

The girl said, "So did you just go to your happy place?"

Yes!  See this is why I love her so much.  She understands about happy places.

I'm going to have to summon all the happy places I can find this week.  My daughter, the only one I have, is graduating and nothing will ever be the same again.

We're not great at graduations.  We don't even remember Braeden's seminary one.  We were late with announcements for Emma.  We're not having a party to celebrate (lack of interest on the part of the graduate).  We're not going in for big expensive gifts.  Graduations aren't really our skill set I guess.

We do have pretty good graduates though.  I like these kids of mine, even if they do rotten things like graduate.

At least I can go to my happy place.

So I won't cry.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Grateful Friday

My grandma will turn 90 this weekend.  Isn't she pretty?

This is her holding me as an infant.

(That's Marianne in yellow.  I am sure her expression belies how thrilled she must have been to have a younger sister enter the scene....) 

I love that I have this picture because my grandma has been there from the start.  She was there for everything important that happened to me when I was growing up.  If I could be the kind of grandma she is, I would consider myself a success.  When she came to visit she seemed to bring magic with her.  Everything was more fun when she came (and she also brought mini candy bars and black cherry soda which contributed to the whole party atmosphere).

Some of my happiest memories are when my sisters and I would stay at her house for a week every summer.  We went shopping and to the zoo and to Lagoon and to movies.  We tried our best to keep up with her.

My grandma has always been more than just entertainment though.  I will never forget when I went to the temple for the first time and she was there.  I was nervous and didn't know what to expect and she calmed my nerves and told me how wonderful it was.

I believed her, maybe because she spent 15 years volunteering as a temple worker.  Her actions spoke volumes.

My grandma has always made me feel special.  She epitomizes unconditional love.  She has always been generous and loving and kind.  She has comforted me when I was sad or scared.  She's given me an example to endeavor to follow.  (Something tells me it will be like when she tried to teach me to roller skate--I wasn't in her league.)

I love that I share her name (she used to introduce me as "my little namesake" to her friends).  I love that we both are particular about how our Christmas trees are decorated.  I love that I can visit her and my children know and love her too.

I love that she's my grandma.  What a blessing she has always been in my life!  I'm glad we're linked forever.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Internet research

Here's what I've been googling:

1) What flowers do squirrels dislike.

I saw a squirrel on the front steps, sniffing the air and looking around in what I assume is squirrel-like confusion.  I moved the petunias and replaced them with marigolds.    I think the internet is right on this one.  The squirrel didn't go up the steps.

Maybe the squirrel is confused by the weather though.  It snowed here yesterday.  Snowed.

2) What's the weather in Gloucester?

92 degrees where Braeden is on the humid East coast.

I don't know which place I'd prefer.  Neither?

I refused to turn on the heat even though I was cold.  It's a matter of principle in the last part of May.  Adam texted that I should turn it on.  "A frozen Thelma is a cranky Thelma."

While that is strictly true, I still maintained my no heater stance. (Until this morning when it was 59 degrees in our house.  It's hard to argue with 59 degrees.)

3) Yellow leaves on a fiddle leaf fig can mean over watering.

A leaf on Felicia is turning yellow near the bottom.  I apologized to her and promised to do better.  Also, I vowed to give her distilled water.  She's a finicky one.

4) The proper way to fold a fitted sheet.

This matters to exactly no one except me but I'm getting a lot better at it and it brings me joy.

5) Family history.

I have been feeling like I'm not getting anywhere.  I have written a list of questions that I need to find an expert to help with.  Then yesterday, I tracked down who a relative was married to.  Illinois, Deaths and Stillborn Index, 1916-1947 for. The. Win.

It was exciting!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Since graduation is, you know, next week, we got Emma's senior pictures taken last night.  We had wanted Robert's sister Deborah to take them (she took our family pictures a few summers ago) but every time Deborah was in town, Emma had some big event like Drama State or a choir competition or work.

At Women's Conference, Marianne told me she wanted a graduation announcement of Emma's.  She wanted to put it on her fridge.

I explained that we didn't have pictures.

Marianne said, "I want an announcement."

And since Marianne is the boss of me apparently (no, not apparently...she is) I got a guy in our ward to take the pictures.

Emma said she was talking to one of her friends about senior pictures and they said everyone they knew had their senior pictures taken by someone in their ward.

It's a thing here in Pleasant Grove, Utah.

So we jumped on that wagon.

Jared is a college kid and he's super personable and I liked the pictures I saw on his website.

He asked us where we wanted to have the pictures taken.  I had zero suggestions.

Emma took her drama sweater for an outfit change because outfit changes seemed like the thing to do.

We followed Jared to a park in Cedar Hills.  He took a bunch of pictures of Emma, some with the sweater.  He asked if she had other outfits to change into.  He asked me if there was a certain pose or picture I wanted.  He looked at me expectantly.

I felt like I should have some opinions.

I said, "I guess when someone is getting their senior pictures a week before graduation, we're not that concerned about them."

Jared's little brother Brandon, who is Mark's age, was along to be an assistant.  He gets ice cream for helping.  He and I chatted about 8th grade while Emma smiled for the camera.  His two favorite teachers are Mark's two favorite teachers and he said he loves seeing Mark in the hall because "he always gives me a high five."

A woman came along and frantically asked if we'd seen a little blonde boy.

We hadn't.

I told Brandon that one time we'd left Mark behind accidentally.  He said, "I think most parents do that at some time or another.  My mom left me at church once."

I said, "Yeah, but your mom has eight children.  I only have three.  I don't really have an excuse for leaving one behind."

"You've got a point," he said.

Someone has to make the other mothers look better.  It might as well be me.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017



Emma told me she has four days of school left.  FOUR.  The math is a little fuzzy because there are really two weeks of school left. If anyone ever tells you that American students go to school for 180 days out of the year, don't believe them.

Still.  I can't wrap my mind around my little baby girl who just came home from the hospital wrapped in a pink blanket a few days ago having four days of high school left.


That is the feeling you get when you plant fragrant and cheerful petunias in pots and put them on your front steps and then you see a squirrel on its hind legs, munching the blossoms off the plant.



In a mean spirited and spiteful reaction, I sprinkled red pepper flakes down the squirrel's hole.  And I didn't use the feeble red pepper flakes that have been languishing in my spice drawer.  I bought new potent stuff.

I hope the squirrels suffer.  I hope their eyes water and they sneeze.  I hope they pack their bags and move away.



I heard an Adele song on the radio. Apparently still basking in the Mother's Day season, the announcer said, "And there's a song from the ultimate mother, Adele."

Did he mean ultimate as in most remote in space or time? Last in a progression or series?  Incapable of further analysis, division or separation?

I started to suspect that ultimate doesn't mean what the radio announcer thinks it means.



Emma came home around 3:00 in a state.  She said she was going to fail her classes and BYU would probably change its mind and not let her go after all.  She said she had so much schoolwork she'd never possibly get it all done.  I told her it would likely work out.

At 4:25 she said, "I'm going to go take a nap.  Will you wake me when it's time for dinner?"

"What about all your work?" I asked.

"Oh," she said, "it didn't take as long as I thought it would."



I'm the only one around here that ever cracks the Yale Alumni magazine open and that is only to read the personal ads at the back.

Yale hippie goddess with baroque tendencies.  I have no words.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day

One of the fiercest women I know put this on Facebook the other day.  She is kind and faithful and strong and a fierce mother.  She spoke at Women's Conference and I felt inspired.

Motherhood is a journey that requires fierceness.  Sometimes it requires sitting patiently and waiting.  Sometimes it requires putting on your armor and doing battle.  It requires bravery.  It requires sacrifice and energy and diligence and then the hardest part--they grow up and leave.

I love Mother's Day.  I love celebrating the women in my life that have mothered me or inspired me or loved me.  I love feeling love from my children.  I love being able to talk to my missionary.  I love exploiting Mother's Day for all it's worth.

On Saturday I kept telling our kids that they had to do this or that because it was the day before Mother's Day.  Emma said, "You can't keep milking that."

I said, "Seriously?  You're going to say that to me the day before Mother's Day?"

I made our children pose for a picture.  "It is Mother's Day...."

"Now I want you to smile.  It IS Mother's Day."

I'm grateful to be a mother.  Motherhood has been a classroom for me.  I don't always get it right but I appreciate the chance to keep trying.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Sunshine and rain

One of my favorite things about living here is the sunshine.  The blue skies!  They lift my spirits.  I know, I know, we need rain.  We need those dreary cloudy days that bring the rain that replenishes the earth.

Plants need sunshine and rain to grow.

We do too.

I admit this grudgingly, because I'd prefer just the sunshine, thank you very much.

The last year has been quite a year.  If someone had told me what would happen I 1) wouldn't have believed them and 2) would have run away from home--I would have taken Adam and our kids with me.

There has been ample sunshine in the past year, but rain too.  Unexpected and even startling storms.  We weathered them.  We set out buckets to catch the drips, we battened down the hatches, we held on.

I appreciate the lessons learned.  I have learned more about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His grace.  I've learned to trust even when I can't understand.  I have learned that you don't know what's going on in someone else's life so give them the benefit of the doubt.  Try to, at least.  I've learned that I have a small army of people I can trust and lean on.  There are people from Adam (my ultimate support), to the kind people at church who reached out with love to Braeden when he was home, to family and friends, to bloggers I don't even know whose words touch my heart, to people in Virginia who save the day, to our kids whose hugs heal me.

I'm grateful.

I'm grateful for the sunshine and rain.  I need both, whether I like it or not.  I know. 


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