Thursday, October 18, 2012


Yesterday while running the trails behind our home on what was an absolutely stunning autumn afternoon, my thoughts were focused on the previous evening's presidential debate and the increasingly venomous attacks that continue to escalate via social media after such events.

What has happened to civil discourse in our society among its citizens?  As a mother, I am trying to teach my children to behave with respect and dignity when speaking to others and about others, regardless their opinion of that person.  It is disheartening, especially when I see such attacks coming from women, to read such crass and disrespectful comments.  Yesterday a woman compared Mitt Romney's platform to that of the Taliban, and if elected we would see more violence like the young 14-year old Pakistani girl who was shot . . . "those with opinions will be shot" were her final words.  Really?  Really?  There were only two of us who made comments in retort that her statement was out of line.  Even more baffling are the women who stoop so low to name calling or attacking the families, personal lives, and religious affliations of the candidates.  I've heard one candidate more than once called a "douche" by a seemingly educated woman. Can anyone state a logical argument or express their viewpoint without spewing venom?

Of course, we all have opinions and our freedom of speech allows us to share these with others; it is one of the great freedoms which  makes this country magnificent. Many of us enjoy watching or listening to the debates as important issues are discussed and disputed.  However, why must so many lose their self respect and display such vile anger in their crude personal attacks via comments and silly pictures on the internet, and what is this teaching our children?  A few weeks ago, I posted my "life lessons" for my daughters and think I should add another pointer:

"NEVER become a women who loses her civility, dignity, or decency while defending or promoting a personal opinion or life choice.  Always treat others with courtesy and respect, regardless of how you feel about their views, and never back down while standing up for what you believe."

"Blessed are the peacemakers . . ."

Thursday, October 11, 2012

parents' day

I love poetry, and after reading this one yesterday, I had to share.  It's lovely.

Parents' Day
by Sharon Olds

I breathed shallow as I looked for her
in the crowd of oncoming parents, I strained
forward, like a greyhound held back on a leash,
then I raced toward her. I remember her being
much bigger than I, her smile of the highest

wattage, a little stiff, sparkling
with consciousness of her prettiness—I
pitied the other girls for having mothers
who looked like mothers, who did not blush.
Sometimes she would have braids around her head like a
goddess or an advertisement for California raisins—
I worshipped her cleanliness, her transfixing
irises, sometimes I thought she could
sense a few genes of hers
dotted here and there in my body
like bits of undissolved sugar
in a recipe that did not quite work out.
For years, when I thought of her, I thought
of the long souring of her life, but on Parents' Day
my heart would bang and my lungs swell so I could
feel the tucks and puckers of embroidered
smocking on my chest press into my ribs,
my washboard front vibrate like scraped
tin to see that woman arriving
and to know she was mine

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


A few days ago while on an early morning walk with Lucy, I couldn't stop thinking about all the people who, each day, make my life that much better.  You know, those friends/acquaintances/strangers who take a moment to ask about your day, who go out of their way to accommodate your schedule, or just greet you with a friendly "hello, how's your day?"  People you just want to raise a glass and say, "cheers to you for making my life that much sweeter."

Before I knew it, a formidable list was growing and my heart was filled with gratitude for these random people who had brightened my days that week.  Something begins to happen when we recognize even the simplest of gestures and make a mental note of appreciation - suddenly our lives are FILLED with these moments of other people reaching out to us and our families without even realizing that they are making a difference . . .

Cheers to people who:
  • Take time out of their busy lives to come to support my children's activities, and those who sent texts and called to check in (thanks Bishop Wipperman, the Moultons, Travis & Owen, Preston, and all the Skyline kids for coming to Caroline's state tournament and cheering her on).
  • Rearrange a full morning schedule so that the girls and I can all get dental work done at the same time (thanks Dr. Boyden's staff).
  • Mention my son with heartfelt thanks for the example he is to her young son during testimony meeting (thanks Kim).
  • Welcome my girls and I with a hearty "hello" and friendly "how are you cute girls" when we stop in for breakfast at his cafe (thanks outgoing Hagermann Bakery guy).
  • Pick up my girls from school and drive them to swim/tennis lessons - even greeting them with snacks and their gear - so I can be with Caroline during last week's tennis tourney (thanks Kathy).
  • Meet the seminary council at 6am on a late start day to accompany them to the temple to do baptisms, then teach a full day of classes (thanks Brother Shields).
  • Put in hours of extra time to help her 3rd grade students achieve their fullest potential . . . all with a smile (thanks Ms. Merrill).
  • Greet a reticent Sophie at the beginning of a birthday party with so many unfamiliar faces, with a "SOPHIE - I've missed you - I'm so glad you're here!"  (Thanks cute Abbie).
  • Leave a kind note and treats on the door for Caroline when she returns home after a tough loss in the semifinals (thanks Kim).
  • Never fail to have at least one of my daughters over at their home for extended periods of time every weekend (thanks Denice).
  • Host the teenagers on weekends and don't mind their homes filled with to the brim with all their kids' friends (thanks Jodelle, Renee, and Lesly).
  • Are consistently kind, reaffirming, and complimentary, so that every interaction leaves you feeling uplifted and ready to tackle anything life may bring (thanks Ann and every one of my close friends :).

I'm sure I left out plenty more who deserve a shout out, because during my walk they just kept flowing into my head (this is what happens when I let too much time pass), but I think I covered most of those who made my life better last week just by being the amazing people they are.  Truly, our lives are brimming with people who are there to make it better - all you have to do is open your eyes.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

golden afternoon

I'm not sure which was more miraculous . . . this serene slice of heaven I found just beyond Dog Lake at the top of Millcreek Canyon before heading into Big Cottonwood, OR the fact that I can wake up on the first day of October and send the kids off to school, post a little something on the blog, get laundry started / straighten the house / clean the kitchen, go help at the school for an hour and then be HERE, taking in this breathtaking scenery just an hour later . . . and then back to pick up the kids from school after an invigorating 7 mile hike.

I find that quite miraculous.

Thank you Utah.  I don't think there are very many places on earth where nature and a major cultural/economic center are found so close together.  Plus, the options within our canyons are boundless . . . I haven't even begun to scratch the surface on all the available trails along the Wasatch.

My hike on Monday was going to be a "no camera / stay in the present moment and breathe it all in" type afternoon. Well, that lasted until I got to the top and found myself in a peaceful meadow at the crest of the hill leading down to another canyon.  It truly took my breath away and out came the phone, and before I knew it I was snapping pictures, with each one outdoing the one I took a moment before.

So, since I just LOOVVEE to share my nature loving moments, here ya go . . . our glorious mountains, bejeweled in brilliant gold:

I have to say that my iPhone takes some pretty great pictures. These photos capture the scenery just as I saw it . . . every bend more breathtaking than the last.

OK, so I have to share this little interaction I had with a fellow hiker.  As I was heading up the mountain, I came upon a portion of the trail that was lined on each side with these towering golden aspens.  The sky was bright blue overhead with the sun streaming through those blinding yellow leaves, the view of the canyon to the west was magnificent, and the leaves were fluttering and drifting onto the trail due to a slight breeze. It was truly one of those "catch your breath" moments.  

While I was in the midst of the trees, soaking in the magic of it all, a woman and her dog came around the bend.  I motioned at the majesty surrounding us, and barely above a whisper said, "oh my gosh, isn't this just magical . . . ?" Her response:  "Ya, I guess it's pretty nice."  Are you kidding me??  I wanted to give her a smack for so casually dismissing my reverie.  Seriously, it was the understatement of the year and I wonder how much it would take to impress that woman.  As for me, it was much more than "pretty nice."  But then again, maybe I'm just easily impressed :).

I even took a video for your enjoyment . . .

Monday, October 1, 2012

happy october

from, Anne of Green Gables

Thanks Anne.  Me too.