Do You Know Anyone in Utah County?

RAH was asked that question today between classes at church..

"Hmm," RAH responded. "No, I don't think I do...oh, yeah, I do," remembering our son Justin lived in Utah County. (We never say he lives in Utah County - it's Provo to us, so it caught RAH off guard.)

"Are you related to a Justin Hackworth?"

"That's our son."

"Well, I'm an amateur photographer. I follow some photographers' blogs. Justin is one of my top five that I follow. I really like his work. In fact, I wanted him to do a photo shoot down here, but he couldn't do it. I really like and admire his work."

Gotta love those kinds of conversations in the church!

You can see his work here and/or here.

Operating on an Army Base in Afghanistan

Glad someone is having FUN.

The Vacuum Cleaner

Who knew that getting a new vacuum could be so great?

I mean, so far, I haven't even used it - at all.

But, that's not to say it isn't getting used.......

no, you see -----

RAH is having so much fun getting rid of all the dirt in our carpets and tile floors, that I don't even have to use it.
Now, if I could only find a product/gadget that he would love to use to clean windows!


It's a Puzzle

"I'm just so totally bored!" the young adult said.

I hope my jaw didn't drop as far as I felt it was doing.

I can't really remember the last time I was totally bored. (It would have been years ago while waiting in the car without a Sudoku/crossword/cellphone-with-internet/book of mormon/or book of any sort)

There's just so many:

Books to read
People to visit
Pictures to sort and take care of
Letters to write
Files to go through
Scriptures to understand
Birthday cards to get in the mail

Honestly, how could anyone be BORED?

It's a puzzle.


The House Around the Corner

It's a beautiful home...

Casita attached to the enormous three car garage
Theatre room
Game room with pool table
Kitchen pantry that is amazing; the pantry door opens and goes into a huge, walk-in room lined with shelves
Craft room
Big open entry with dramatic stairway to second floor
And one of the most truly stunning front doors I've ever seen
The best of everything!

But, the house has sorrow that the eye can't see.

The builders of the home suffered in the struggling economy. His business plummeted. His character plummeted briefly. They had to make adjustments and leave the house around the corner.

New people in the home. A beautiful family; three children - talented mother.

But, again the house has sorrow that the eye can't see.

A father abandoning the principles of his growing-up years. A separation, perhaps even divorce is in the future for the beautiful wife and family.

And, my heart aches for the wonderful people who have lived in the beautiful house around the corner.

The moral of this story is:

Even the very most beauitful front door can't keep sorrow or tragedy or sin or heatache out.


Love Technology

For several years, Allen's dear, wonderful mother was home-bound. Being forced to stay home from church seemed so cruel for a woman who genuinely loved church. She loved the talks ( she took them down in short hand for years), she loved the people, she loved the Gospel!

Then, bang: osteoporosis. Bad, bad, bad. Moving was excruciatingly painful. Her bones had become so very brittle...it hurt her to be touched. So, she stayed home.

But, when her ward house was remodeled, a device was installed that allowed Dorothy - at home - to listen to sacrament meeting as it was going on. Then, because she loved church services, she also listened to the sacrament meeting that followed her ward. Every Sunday, she turned on the device and voila! she was a part of what she dearly loved. (Her home was just a few blocks from the church, so maybe this was part of what made this possible.)

I've never heard of this before nor since. That was a few years ago, as she died in 2000.

So, what has this to do with this post?

Our ward Relief Society just started posting the weekly lessons on our ward blog. What a great blessing for the home-bound sisters, ill sisters, Primary teachers (MOI!), or anyone remotely interested in listening. A person can listen at their own time, not just when it is happening. But, the important thing is, it's available.

Gotta love techno!

(And, just a little note about technology, which I love. I can be typing away, which I was tonite, and up pops a little hello from our son in Afghanistan - 7,529 miles away. So, we type back and forth with instant responses. Truly, it's incredible...especially for those of us who remember that calling Salt Lake or any long-distance city used to be so expensive and one only did it in the rarest of instances!)

I do love it!


Oh, I Love a Book Store

Birthday time for someone...
Let's go shopping and browsing and poking around and looking and most of all,
just loving the feel, the smell, the sound, the aura of the
second only to a


Reagan vs Obama

"Loni," my aunt asked out of the blue as we sat talking in her living room at Sun River, where she is spending a few weeks.

"Did you know that when Reagan was president, we had both Johnny Cash and Bob Hope."

"Okay," I said, wondering where this was headed.

"Yes," she started laughing. "And, now we have Obama, but we have no HOPE and no CASH!"

I laughed - not just at the punchline, but at my 85-year-old aunt telling great funny jokes.

She's got it; humor and truth.


Gone, But Not Forgotten

A set of car keys complete with an expensive fob....

RAH's birthday check.....

A pair of black-rimmed glasses...

And, apparently my mind!

Humbled - again!

NOTE: this is a very difficult post as it shows the real MOI! And, I don't like what I saw in me last night.

But, this is my journal, so I need to attempt to be honest. Here goes:

Monthly meeting of the organization. Interesting people, fun music, stories, historical tidbits.

BUT...blah food that seems rather pricey for what we get.

We were at the very back corner table, so I could see the server bringing out the plates of food...good gracious, what is THAT on those plates, I wondered?!??! (Usually it is ham/turkey/roastbeef w/ mashed potatoes, and green beans.)

Then the plate was put before me; baked beans (probably Bush's from the can), barbecued chicken (probably bottled barbecue sauce), 4 little baby carrots steamed for about 60 seconds.

Goodness, I thought, didn't they learn in home ec that you need a rainbow of colors (the entire plate was bathed in orange/browns)? It didn't have a very appetizing appearance, frankly. So, I was mumbling to myself....blah, blah, blah.

Then, as I put the first bite of food into my morth, the images of the Haitian people popped into my head...

starving children too weak to cry
fathers looting to give their children something - anything - to eat.
hands straining through a gate to plead for water from the military
children with big, beautiful brown eyes with parched lips
people drinking water that was filthy, but water nonetheless.

And, I was ashamed and embarrassed.

I felt like one of the many politicians who promise to make a difference, change the way things are done, and then lead lavish lifestyles, with no care or concern for the people.

Oh, I was shamed. I ate the food, grateful to have it. Grateful to live in America. Grateful that people will give up their lives to go help. Grateful for FOOD.


Shark Tank

New favorite television show.
Entreprenuers try to pitch their business ideas or inventions to five very smart, savvy, successful people who have made it in the world of business.
It's funny, harsh, competitive, but -to RAH and me, at least - always interesting.


8 year olds

Oh, how fun and delightful are these 9 eight-year olds:




For good health, balance, lifestyle, etc.

1,000 steps is approximately 1/2 mile.

So, all you math people out there, you've already figured that means ten thousand steps is approx. five miles. (Only five miles?????)

And, walking at a moderate pace, the ten thousand steps burn about 500 calories (500 calories????? Tell me that is a joke!)

The most steps I've ever walked in a day was in Washington, DC with Dave and Deon Ballard. They wouldn't stop; they were determined to see everything there was to see, and RAH and I tagged along. Boy, were my feet tired that night because on that day we walked over seventeen thousand steps. For good health, I should hang out with them more often!

But, MOST days, I don't come near to ten thousand steps.

I'd like to. I'll keep trying.

But, that's a lot of stepping!


Heartbreak in Haiti

Sorrow, destruction, heartache..

You are in our prayers.

You've had more than your share:


Favorite Picture Day:Pictures from the Past

MOI's maternal grandparents are in this historical picture.

My grandfather, Orrin Preston Merrill, is the tall man 2nd from the right. My grandmother, Alice Stephenson, is in the 2nd row from the back, on the end of the aisle in a light-colored suit.

What do you think?
Out for a day's drive in the country side?
And, what about that mode of transport? I've never really seen something like that in pictures before.

It's a marvelous, historical picture. But, it doesn't show the whole picture; which is, that my grandparents were good, kind, gentle, wonderful people.

Thanks for the rich heritage, Grandpa and Grandma Merrill!

If Only I Were...


I try to be.

It's not as if I don't try; don't work at it.

But, something is wrong somewhere.

Because I'm STILL losing papers.

I have files, a system, a plan (a man, a plan, a canal, Panama; which is a palindrome about the Panama Canal; but wait, I digress.)

Joleen can find any paper (taxes, recipes, receipts, etc.) in her home within 60 seconds. She's incredible when it comes to having her papers in order. (She's incredible in lots of other ways too, but that's an entirely different post.)
MOI.....I have to have a year's notice to find things, and in this case, I can't find it even then.


No more losing checks, family histories, birth certificates, tax papers, invitations!

I'm going to get my papers organized.

(NOTE: this is all sounding vaguely familiar.)


Favorite Picture Day

Just saw this on my daughter's Facebook..
it was taken in 2004 in Oregon where they were using a friend's home:
We went on a portion of the trip with them...fun, fun times.


Winner: Best Comedian

Best Comedian Award Goes To:


I admit it; I'm biased, but he always makes me laugh; out loud.

Whether he's telling a joke, a story from his growing-up years, or a true experience he's recently had, he keeps me laughing.

And, that is the best medicine ever!

So, today, dear son, on your birthday, I wish you a happy one, and thanks for all the laughs over the years.


From the Past

I could hear the silence; it was deafening, which meant they were up to mischief.

Tearing down the hall, I burst in on Brad and Justin in the bathroom.

Standing over the toilet, with his little 4 (or maybe 5) yr old hand on the handle was Justin. The silence had ended...now they were both giggling.

I saw why: swirling around in the churning water were two little tiny green circular objects....

Yep, they had flushed my new, expensive contacts down the toilet.

I hope I laughed.

Ah, Justin and Dr. Brad...what a fun memory.


The Wave

It seems harmless enough...a wave;

to say hello

to show you're there

to indicate you've seen them

to be friendly

to acknowledge a friend

to give moral support in a challenging situation

But, a wave got me kicked out of the courtroom. Who knew a wave could be so wicked? Certainly not I! But, now I know... no eye contact, no winking, no nod, no looking, no waving.

So, now I'm waving good-bye to friendliness forever.

Attitude of Gratitude


so precious

so grateful for it.



I know it's wrong.

I try not to be.

But, I am...

VERY prejudiced.

It's just that I think my grandkids are SO DANG ADORABLE!

Photography by Justin Hackworth. You can see his work here.

Remembering Chicago

"It's a quick trip; just over Thanksgiving to see the Art Institute of Chicago. There's room in the van, and it will be a fantastic trip," Leta said. "You should see if you can come with us, even though you're not an art student."

And, that's how I ended up going to Chicago for Thanksgiving, 1962 in my Freshmen year of college.

It was terrible weather on the Wednesday we were scheduled to leave. I mean really really blizzardy, cold, wintery (in other words, a normal day for Rexburg, Idaho.)

My father didn't think I should go. But, he said on the telephone, "I'm not going to say no...I'll leave the decision to you. However, I wish you wouldn't and I don't think you should."

"He didn't actually say NO," Leta reminded me when I told her my father didn't want me to go.

So, I went. Oh, it was cold sitting in the van, the wind was howling, the roads were icy, but Oliver Parson, his wife and two daughters sang, and Leta sang...oh, she had a great voice.

We drove through the night and arrived at Marilyn's home in Chicago on Thanksgiving day...just in time for dinner.

I called my parents to tell them we had arrived safely in Chicago....

"Loni," my mother said. " We know you are joking, and this isn't really very funny. We are waiting dinner for you. Now, where are you????? Are you at Nancy's (my roommate from Pocatello) home? "

"Mom, I'm in Chicago."

"I don't believe you. The operator didn't say anything about this being a collect call. Now, sweetheart, please come on home, we're all really hungry just waiting for you."

"Mom, I'm really in Chicago....I won't be home for this holiday, but as soon as I get back to Rexburg on Sunday night, I'll call you again..."

Mom told me later that they finally decided maybe I was telling the truth when I didn't show up by the next day.

That was a great very quick trip; art museum, downtown Chicago. Lots of laughter, lots of fun, lots of good people. (Including the famous Parson of art fame family.)

I've never been back to Chicago...maybe I'll get there some day. But, it will never be quite like the trip in 1962.

The Knife Sharpener

Fancy Restaurant????
No, just food from the neighbor...
He's a knife sharpener, and a dad of four, and a foster dad of two, and
a Very Good Cook.
Thanks, Jeff!



I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

WOW, another incredible movie,

Another true story,

Another sports story,

Another inspiring story of a great person making a difference ....

Another reminder that every once in awhile, a really worthwhile movie comes along.

After watching the movie, go home and read the powerful poem INVICTUS which sustained Nelson Mandela while in prison for 27 years; not for murder, not for robbery, not for some unspeakable crime, but for wanting equality for all races and peoples in South Africa.

Ah, Clint Eastwood, you got it right!

Happy New You!

This year I reslove to:

Always have a box of See's chocolates (or similar) on hand.

Read some of the Old Testament, not the entire thing; the parts we study in Sunday School, but daily reading.

Exercise somewhat.

Laugh every day.

Continue to write letters to: Sean, Andrew, Jeremy, Hubert

Go through the box of family history from my mother's home.

Save a little money; spend a little money.

Read the Ensign cover to cover

make prayers more meaningful

Be more service-oriented by visiting neighbors more often

Since most resolutions are gone and forgotten by Valentine's Day, I decided to be realistic, so

What do you think...can I do it?

Stay tuned...

Cousins Coincidence

Dixie texted; she wanted to meet us for lunch. Dixie is Allen's 2 or 3 COUSIN; who knows, but anyway, they are related.  She is won...