Journaling - A MUST!

I recently read a post that I had written after our 2013 Thanksgiving celebration

Our entire family was here and it was grand.

But, you see, I couldn't remember many of the details or things that we did.

So, looking back at that entry was such a joy.

There were pictures of most of what we had done, menus of what we had eaten, and more pictures.

It was a very significant event that year because Kristi told us about her engagement, Jenni and Brent surprised us by showing up at our front door,  and it was just a great time of laughter, food, fun, and joy.

I love it when our family can get together.

But, I forget so much of what happens.

And, that is just one reason why I think journaling is so important.


Death of a Personality

When Bill and Barbara moved in, they were both heavy drinkers and smokers.

Which was fine; just different in our neighborhood.

But, they were the best neighbors we've ever had.

When Bill cooked too much food, he brought us some plates of food, or some of his wonderful pea soup.  When the Bountiful Basket orders came, Barbara always bought us some fruits and vegetables saying they could never eat all of it.

Barbara sent cards for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, thank you, etc.

She gave me all her magazines, of which she took quite a few.

She would call if she saw our lights left on, or when we got home, she'd call to say welcome back.  She'd call to see if we were home and wonder if things were alright because she hadn't seen us for a few days.

She gave us some gifts, a shirt, a robe, a blanket because I was always cold.  Her thoughtfulness was just incredible, truly.

Bill would offer to help with any project Allen was working on...Allen didn't use his help, but he always offered.

They had four little dogs and my granddaughters from Virginia loved to go visit Bill and Barbara and see those dogs.

Eventually, they both stopped smoking and Bill has totally stopped drinking.  Sad to say, all their dogs are now gone, and Barbara misses them dearly as they slept on her bed each night.

But, sadder still; Barbara has dementia....no more cards, letters, calls.  No more quick visits to say hello or bring something by.  No more phone calls to check on us.

No more Barbara as we once knew her.

I don't care about the food, the gifts, the cards, or the calls.

But, I do care that she is not the same person she used to be.

And, that is just hard to see.

Her body is there, but not the personality I once knew....

so, I will be grateful and remember the way she used to be, before the illness robbed her of who she really is.


On Getting Offended

It's so easy to get offended.

In church, we are given talks over and over about


I have been offended.  It just happens.

But, what happens AFTER the offense is really the significant thing.

I've tried to be forgiving.

I think I have forgiven two of the most egregious offenses.

I know it's hard.

But, last night, we heard a story of a lady in our ward who was offended, and hasn't spoken to her neighbor for six years.  In fact, has been openly rude to her neighbor.

To me, hearing the story, it sounded so trivial and STUPID, but that's the way offenses are....most of the time, at least.

I want to remember this story, not because I care to remember who and why, but just how silly it is to carry a grudge for so long and under such ridiculous circumstances.

I want to be able to just let go.


When Someone You Love Dies.....

I don't even know how to act or react.

I don't know how to feel, other than forsaken lonely scared fearful regretful sorrowful.

About a week ago on a long drive, mu husband asked me about my best friends.

I mentioned about four or five people in my life; rare and choice.

And, today, I learned that one of those dear, favorite women had died.

How could it have happened that I was just reviewing her life a week ago, and then she's gone....why didn't I call her to tell her how much she had meant to me?  Why hadn't I kept in better touch?

Distance is no excuse to keep people apart.  I MUST DO BETTER.

Loni,  Judi was diagnosed with cancer again about two months ago. Friday night she passed away from that cancer. Sorry for the bad news. The funeral date has not been set yet. Keep checking on line at the Ekersell funeral home in Rigby, Idaho.

I am beyond heartbroken ....

And, now is where - again - I realize how significant the plan of salvation truly is.

Oh, dear Judi, I WILL see you again and then I will tell you how significant you are to me....how much your friendship meant, how you always inspired me, how I will treasure even more the lovely items you gave me over the years.

Oh, dear Judi Butikofer.....can you feel my love soaring thru the heavens?


Money Matters

Good news:

Gas prices are down.

Bad news;

Stock prices are down - way down.

It's ironic....

I talked RAH into investing in the stock market recently, something he has never wanted to do because the one time we did it years ago, we lost money.  But, it seemed like a good idea last April.

We bought high, apparently, because our stocks have plummeted.  We have lost a lot of money, which we can't afford to lose.

When will I ever learn?


Giving Thanks to a Mother-In-Law

Recently, a wonderful daughter-in-law told me how much she loved being married to our son.

I've thought so much about her comment, because it really made me think about my own perfect mother in law....

Did I ever tell her how much:???????

I love her son for being so neat?  He loves things tidy and organized and in place.  I'm kind of sloppy and he reminds me to eat over my plate, not spill food as I eat all over the kitchen, which he often maps and sweeps, etc.  He keeps his things where they belong.  I know that he got that from you, dear Dorothy.  Did I ever mention that to you?  I feat not.

I appreciated her for making and selling cookies so my husband, her son, could buy a cornet.  His music has blessed the lives of me and all of his children, who all share his musical talent and abilities.  The music he has created and continues to create, fills our home with joy and praise.  But, did I ever tell you thank you for making all those cookies, dear Dorothy....I fear not.

I love his commitment to the Gospel.  I know you were so strong in the faith all his growing up years....I still remember you ironing your temple clothes every single Friday for about 20 years, until you became so ill you couldn't go?  Allen learned at your home how significant the Gospel is in a person's life and I've been the recipient of his commitment all these years.  Did I ever mention that to you, dear Dorothy....I fear not.

His kindness has meant to me over the years?  He has been a good husband, not that we haven't argued, disagreed, fought, or been upset?  But, RAH has, by nature, his mother's gentleness, goodness, kindness.  That has meant a great deal to me, and I don't think I mentioned it....I fear I didn't.

I have appreciated her son for his work ethic.  He didn't always like his job, but he got up every morning to teach a class at 7 a.m. three days a week for 32 years.  The other two days a week, he had more reasonable hours, but there he was every day.  He corrected essays/papers for 32 years, and that is not easy...it gets just plain boring and incredibly monotonous and I don't think I ever mentioned it to her how grateful I was that he worked, moonlighted, rented an apartment, all to make the family stay afloat financially....I fear I neglected to mention that to her, and I am sorry.

It's amazing how one little comment can stir such thoughts and emotions, which my daughter-in-law's appreciative attitude did to me that day.

So, dear Dorothy Hackworth, if you have an IPad in heaven, I hope you read this and know that with all my heart, I'm grateful for the lessons you taught your son over the years.

You would be proud.

And, I am the grateful recipient




Relationships - the Constant Challenge

I just learned about a situation one of my sons is facing.  Someone he works with has undercut him and is trying to get him pushed out of the project he has worked on for five years.  It has hurt our son deeply.  And, he no longer has respect for this person, whom he has worked very closely with for these five years.

Another son is also having some serious relationship struggles with a family member.  It has gotten worse over the course of the last four years and is heart wrenching.  His wife is having health issues and is partly caused by the relationship with the family member.

I've been thinking about both of these situations and I just keep thinking that if only we would all live the Gospel - or even the Golden Rule.  If we would treat others the way we would like to be treated, what a great blessing it would be for everyone.

I do not deal with challenges very well at all.

So, this is disheartening.  When my children ache, I ache also.    But, perhaps I feel it too deeply.

I want happiness for everyone all the time.  No struggles, no despair, no sorrows; what a great world this would be.

Even though I know this is entirely against the church's stand of having opposition and overcoming it.  

But, it's so hard to stand by and watch the ones you love suffering.  I'm just not good at that.

I'll seek help in prayers and the Atonement.


When the Heart Aches....

It's supposed to unite us,

but in our family,

it divides us.

And my heart breaks....

And aches.


Making Stupid Decisions

Well, if there is one thing I am really good at it;

It's making bad decisions.

I should win first place,

Or the gold medal.

OUCH, those bad decisions STING!


The Power of Words

Many years ago, I was exercising on a stationery bicycle and reading Maya Angelou's


At this point in my life, I don't remember anything about the book or even what it's about, but I DO remember getting off the bike, going into the next room to tell Allen that Angelou's words had totally moved me; it was literally a religious experience.

She had a way of putting words together that just touched my soul.

And, so it is with GOOD books.

I read a lot of books - a lot.

Some are intriguing mysteries, have a humorous bent, a great mystery,  a complicated plot; some are mostly conversation with little description of the characters or events.  And, sure, I'll read some of those.  Some are written to tell a fascinating story line, but don't necessarily have good writing....there are a lot of those out there.

But the ones with staying power and that thrill me the most are the ones with powerful use of language.  I want to underline and remember the lines; the way the words are put together.  I cannot write like that, but I do know a good author when I am in the midst of a book where the power of the words reaches out and touches my soul.  Where the wisdom of the writer is beyond describing.

And, oh, how I love a good book like that.


Today I Saw:

a grandmother just laughing and laughing with her grandchild.....it was beautiful.

an 8 year old Downs Syndrome girl say to her father just before she was to be baptized...I'm so excited!

a grocery store full of people buying food....it made me realize how grateful I don't live in a war zone.

two returned missionary twins going on a hike with their father....i loved they had together time after a two year time of being gone.

a father of a severely handicapped child lovingly wheel him around and give him a sip of water...knowing he will never get any better than what he is now.

nothing spectacular, but just little slices of life that made me so grateful for what I have.


The Window Washer

Along the back of our home, we have several large windows;

I love it when they are clean.

And, usually if I know someone is coming, I go clean them.

(It's rather ludicrous to do so, because within ten minutes of anyone arriving, the windows are covered with fingerprints; outside and in.)

Right now, it's not just fingerprints,

It's bird prints smashed into the window.

About ten days ago, a bird died flying into the window.

On the dining room window at this moment, there is a huge outline of where the bird smacked into the window..

Of course, I do feel sad for the birds...it's hard on them.

But I also feel sad for MOI because I

AM the window washer.....

and have to keep cleaning the windows.

Okay, birdies, now try to just stay away.

You and I will both be much happier!


Money Matters

We are staying at a KOA in a teeny little town with about 900 people (when we are here 902!)

There are two gas stations right across from each other.  STRAIGHT across from each other.

That's important to this writing.

One is a Sinclair with a great little touristy shop with kitzy jewelry, snacks, drinks, etc.

The one directly across the street has no building....it has 4 gas pumps and a tiny shelter-type building with a soda machine.

Here's the thing that's so interesting to me ----

The Sinclair station is always busy; cars, motorcycles, boaters filling up HUGE boats, pick-ups, etc.

The station across the street rarely has anyone pumping gas there.  And, I do mean, rarely.

But, here's what's truly ludicrous.

The gas at Sinclair is TWENTY CENTS MORE A GALLON than across the street!

That doesn't really seem like a lot, but when you are filling a huge boat, a big pick-up, that really ADDS UP!

Frankly, I just don't get it.


Stories from the Hood

The picture over the fireplace mantel was quite stunning.

It was of a large family; each different family dressed in matching colors with the parents/grandparents in black and white.

I admired the picture and said it was amazing that the photographer was able to get that large group to settle down for just a minute.

Yes, she smiled, it was a challenge indeed.

These must be your daughters, I said pointing to two beautiful mothers sitting at opposite ends of the photo....they look so much like you.

Yes, she said.  They are both wonderful mothers, but they haven't spoken to each other in three years. I don't even know if they remember why they aren't speaking, but they aren't.  It's always awkward around them.

My what a tall, handsome young man...your oldest grandson?

Yes, isn't he handsome?  He was the star of his high school basketball team, had a scholarship to play at the local college, but he announced he was gay, so they didn't want him anymore.  Actually, he told us he was transgender...my husband and I didn't even know what that meant!  But, he's a good young man, trying hard to find his place.

That's his father right there.  He just lost his job.  They'll be moving in with us till he can get a job and get on their feet again.  His wife, our daughter, has lupus....it's a challenge.   In fact, they believe the company let him go because of her health issues, but what can you do?

Twins?  That's fun.

Yes, aren't they adorable...they are six now.  Our son works all over the world.  His wife didn't like that lifestyle, so she left him.  But he manages to take such good care of those little girls.  He told us he'll never marry again....not worth it.

This is our oldest granddaughter; she is going to go to West Point next year...she is so excited.  We are so proud of her and all that she has accomplished.  She has started neighborhood food drives, gone on humanitarian missions with various groups; she's just a good, good person.  She's also diabetic, but you would never know it.  She just lives life to the fullest.

Wonderful family, I concluded.

Yes, she said...we are a picture of the modern American family....with all its foibles, challenges, health issues, gender issues, but united in our bond of love.


The Sunday Visits

Sunday Night....

Visiting Time....

Three Sets of Friends.....

Three amazingly different stories to tell......

The cancer survivor and the horrors of her treatment and her endurance and recovery.....

The couple who love to gamble and think nothing of losing $600 - more or less.

And, the neighbors who held a celebration of life for their aunt instead of a funeral.

All unique stories.

All with something interesting to tell.

Oh, I do enjoy the Sunday evening visits.


Stories From the Hood

As Laura stood in the new car display room, waiting for the salesman to do some paper work....

she thought about how expensive the new car was going to be.

She recalled saying that she and her husband would NEVER buy a NEW CAR.

But, then she thought, "We've worked hard, saved all our lives, we're paying cash...we DESERVE this new car!"

Immediately after she THOUGHT that she deserved a new car, she was ashamed....overwhelmingly ashamed.

Because in that quick instant, she thought about others who also DESERVED it, but would never get it:

The check-out man in the dollar store; missing many teeth, always cheerful and helpful...he'd never be able to get a new car, but who is to say he doesn't DESERVE one?

The bank teller, who was so efficient and happy?  She was a single mom trying to just get by.  She had often told Laura about her car troubles and trying to buy a decent used car.  Surely with her hard work, she, too, would DESERVE a new car.

Or, the homeless woman living in her car with her two kids.  She had left an abusive marriage where her husband controlled her every move.  Didn't she DESERVE a new car for all she had suffered?

Laura was humbled.

And, she changed her thinking - not to one of DESERVING - so much as one of CHOOSING to spend her money that way.

It was an eye-opening moment for Laura.....

As she realized she was no more DESERVING than anyone else.

And, ultimately, her challenge was to be more GRATEFUL for her blessings rather than feeling ENTITLED or DESERVING.


The Sunday Visits

His name is Tom; he's so very generous and thoughtful.

And, I had heard about the big fish hanging in his front room.

So, after church, we stopped by to say hello.

Oh, yes, the two fish were big, but I was distracted by something entirely different.

Now, I don't mean to sound critical of 78 year old Tom in any way.

But as I looked around, all I could think of was his family having to go through all his STUFF upon his demise.  I know that's not something to think about and he's healthy and in good shape, but somehow, I seem to think of that kind of thing at this point in my life.

Whenever I go to an older person's home, I am amazed at WHAT we cling to, and WHY we cling to it.

Our families do NOT want all our "STUFF!"

Tom's table was knee deep in bills, ads, circulars, papers, etc.  No one would be able to eat at the table.  There were knickknacks all around covered in layers of dust.   And, that's okay because he's comfortable with that.

Somehow, I always think of the people who have to go in and clean out out the papers, junk, memorabilia, that WE - the deceased - leave behind.

BUT, it's always a good reminder to me, don't worry about the little mote in another person's place, but get rid of the beams in your own home.

Ah, now there's the challenge.  I'm working on it and will continue to do so.

STUFF begone!


Scary Idea!

I'm terrified.

RAH wants to move to Manila, Utah.

Well, not full time.

But, he wants to sell our lovely home in St George, downsize to a smaller home.

And, then buy a home/property here in the remote town of Manila, Utah...population 900 (if we move in, it would be 902!)

The whole idea gives me a headache, hives, the tremors, upset stomach.



The Whiner and the Energizer Bunny; a Study in Contrasts

We met her last year when we were here for a couple of months.

I liked her instantly.

She loved to show me pictures of her kids, her family, etc.  I was happy to listen to her as she shared her stories with me.

This year, she was happy to greet us, and I was thrilled to see her again after a year.

This year, however, she was very open and honest.

And, she is a whiner!  I hadn't really noticed it last year....but she complains about:

her job,

her boss,

her big boss,

her health,

her financial situation,

her good friend,

her husband,

his boss,

the town,

etc., etc., etc.

And, I do feel sorry about many of her complaints; they are real, they are legitimate, they are ever present.

And, it's unfair to compare her to J, who lives a few blocks away.

J is one of those women who is a doer!  An energizer-bunny is how her husband describes her.  She has had setbacks, sad things, financial straits, but she just bustles around and gets things done....there is never time to complain for J....she's too busy serving others, going fishing, feeding family members, overseeing dinners at the community center, on and on.

Such a big difference in their lives....could some of it be their attitudes?

Both are wonderful, good women.  Both are raising families and working hard to build the Kingdom. Both have much to offer.

And, I can learn from both.

But, I want to focus on one's ATTITUDE more than the other's.  Aye, there's the challenge.


Meeting the Folks in Manila

It's been an interesting summer.

I've spent three weeks in Manila, Utah with RAH.

He has spent 7 weeks here.

He has loved every minute- fishing to his heart's content;

And getting acquainted with the good people who live here.

There's Tom, a 78 year-old true fisherman in every sense of the word.

Earl and Jeannie are a rare breed...RAH thinks they are freeloaders, but they are interesting and he's gone fishing with Earl a few times.

Melna, MerDon, Susie, Durlene, Carol, Carol, Lucille, Karen; all members of the ward Relief Society, who are hard-working, good people.

The Brownings who own the local cafe; man, they are such hard workers; she told me last week in church that she really loves Sundays - for her, it is truly a day of much-needed rest.

Bob & Janeil could not have been nicer to us and RAH will leave the trailer on their property for the winter; they also live in St George and they are just totally awesome.

Amy and Guy with children, McKayla, Matt, Jonah, Gavin, Sienna - great family with lots of challenges, but what marvelous kids they are raising, earning their own money for college and missions....just good, hard-working salt of the earth type people.

I share Allen's enthusiasm for the good people,

But, alas, not his enthusiasm for living her on a permanent basis.

So, stay tuned to see what 2016 brings.


How to Be Happy

Sister S was home bound....for many years.....

She was quite ill and spent most of her time at home, in bed, and buying stuff on line.

Her husband told me she spent THOUSANDS of DOLLARS buying items she would never be able to use.  Sometimes she didn't even open the boxes.

But she spen  and spent and spent.

You are an amazing husband, I told Brother S to let her continue to do this.

It brought her a lot of pleasure, he told me.  I didn't have the heart to ask her to stop buying.  I had the money and it made her happy, so that's why I never said anything.

Brother S is remarried now - his wife eventually did die of her illnesses.  His current wife is not a spender on things.

But, they travel extensively and love it.

Both are very happy in this lifestyle.


Whatever it takes to fill the need to be happy.

It's different for everyone, but the need is there for everyone.

Brother S finds it in travel, his first wife found it in buying things.

Ah yes, it's waiting for us...so just go out and CHOOSE HAPPINESS....


Picnic in the Mountains

It was a perfect day for a picnic in the mountains.

Sun shining, crisp mountain air, good company, and traditional picnic food for all.

Seated across the table from us were two ladies whom we had never met.

Time to get acquainted.

I've said it before and will say it again...


And, RAH and I were spell bound by their intriguing story of a very successful business gone awry when they merged with a big name company.

Gayle and Linda loved working at their company.  They felt valued.  Everyone worked together and there was, as Gayle said, a strong sense of camaraderie, not competition.  They had parties, celebrations, group get-aways.  They were part of a team.  The bosses knew them, enjoyed them.  On Halloween, the bosses dressed up in costume just like the employees.  It was great to work for them.

It was not just a big party, everyone worked hard, but everyone felt like they were needed and were willing to work hard.

Then they merged with a big name in the industry.

And, at that point, everything totally changed and went south.The new company brought in their sales people; driven and highly competitive.  New company brought in their own executive secretary.  Linda was gone.  She felt victimized.

The old company employees began to leave one by one.  Gayle retired.  Their stock options, which they had purchased at $35.00 a share, were sold at $2.00 per share....they all lost money.  It was a sad time for all.  AND, after all that, the new company declined in revenue, value, and importance.


Gayle summed it up perfectly; it's always about the bottom line, but in this case, the bottom line dropped right out from under them!


Good-Bye Seniors Home Exchange!

For 13 years, RAH and I have been doing home exchanges.  (We have sandwiched them in between three part-time missions and a year teaching English in China for the church.)

We have been to:


Pacific Beach, California,

the Berkshires in Massachusetts,

Hilton Head, South Carolina,

Medford, Oregon,

Sedona, Arizona,

Cape Cod, Massachusetts,





and most recently Germany/Holland.

It is an incredible way to afford to go to those places.  Each trip was wonderful.  Each home was memorable and unique in its own way.

We did each of these changes through a FREE website called seniorshomeexchange.com.......

But, now it's over...

the website is NO MORE.  One day it was there, next day it was GONE!  FOREVER!

Say, I guess this means we are saying GOOD-BYE to all those wonderful home exchanges over the past years.

It was great, it was fun, it was always an adventure, and it leaves me wondering; where will we go next since we can't exchange homes any more?

Maybe we'll drive to Hurricane, Utah for PEACH DAYS!


It's All About the Money

Stan's father worked hard his entire life.

When he died, he left a $400,000 estate to his wife.

But, his intent was that his three children would get the inheritance.  Two children badly needed it.  One did not really need the money, but would get her equal share anyway to make it all fair.

Stan's mother remarried, Mr. Olive - a good Mormon.

One day, Stan's wife, Dee, was going through some legal documents and could not find the Trust document that Stan's father had set up for his family.

She was startled, a little stunned, and very concerned.

Upon further investigation, it was discovered that Mr. Olive - without his wife or her family's consent - had invested all his wife's money with Mr. Strebeck.

And, upon further investigation - several months worth - it was learned that Mr. Strebeck was an accomplished SCAM, CROOK, THIEF, LIAR, CON ARTISTE, and so much more.

Every penny of the $400,000 was




It is a wretched story; heartbreaking on so many levels.

When Dee told me about it, she said, "It's not about the money, it's that he will not be able to scam or hurt anyone else!'

Stan, sitting close by, said,  "It IS about the money.  My father worked VERY hard for that money.  He was not well, was often in pain, but went to work every day to earn that and leave it to his children.  To have it STOLEN by a scoundrel is beyond comprehension.

"Oh, yes," he proclaimed.  "It IS all about the money!"


Sunday Night Visits

I love visiting people on Sunday nights.

I've heard some great, inspiring, compelling, funny, amazing stories over the years.

The visits won't be happening over the next few weeks as I will be tending grandchildren and staying at a KOA for several weeks starting in July.

But, recently, I've visited that dear wonderful Dr. Howe.

John was a veterinarian.  He loves animals - of all sizes and kinds.  He has a very tender heart towards them and told me some great stories of his experiences taking care of them in California, where he practiced until he was in his 80's.

He didn't want to retire, but he couldn't see well enough or hear well enough to continue his practice.

Last week he told me the story of his courtship with his wife, who has been dead for quite a few years.  He had a picture of her on his dresser, and she was stunningly beautiful.  It's easy to see where his lovely daughter, my relief society president, gets her good looks.

I often find it sad when old people are sort of ignored in a ward; they have so much to offer, but no one pays them any heed.  People walk by as if they aren't there.  No one asks them to contribute in classes.

It's very sad.

I'm grateful I learned from my father that older people have much to offer.

I see it often in my Sunday evening visits.


Library Lover

Okay, I admit it...

I do not like to pay taxes!

However, and it's a big however,

I'm grateful for the services we get with our tax dollars.

And, mostly that would be a L.I.B.R.A.R.Y.!

Honestly, I am always amazed that more people don't make use of their local libraries.

Actually, I don't use the physical building that much any more, either.

But, I download ebooks to listen to while I exercise.

And, every time I go to the big red brick building, I'm amazed more people aren't in there.

It's just such a great concept; free books, movies, music, books on tape, and more books.

Who could afford to buy all the books one reads in a lifetime...certainly not MOI!

I love libraries.

Washington County Library in St George, Utah...
it's newer, but built to look like the old style of buildings in this historic town.

In the early days of the internet, when we would travel, we always stopped by a local library to check our emails, etc., so that was another convenient thing about a library...free internet.

I'll say it again.

I LOVE Libraries.


For several years, I took Margaret Emery to this library every two weeks or so.  I totally enjoyed taking her and realized how great a library is to any person on a very limited budget.  Or to anyone who wants to make use of an amazing service.


The Spendthrift

I don't know what to say to her.

I've tried to talk to her.

But, it's obvious, she doesn't care, doesn't listen, it doesn't matter to her?

Was I like this as a young lady?

How do you help someone who just spends, spends, spends?

Oh, well, whatever......

I have tried.


Worst Mother Ever

I didn't know what to say when Vonnie  A. declared:

"I was the worst mother ever!"

How do you counter that?

Whatever I would say, she would refute and tell me why she felt that way.

Her mind was made up.

She had specific examples of how she felt she had failed.

What makes women beat ourselves up?

Vonnie A. had been to visit a friend whose son was is the hospital.  The mother had stayed by his side for two days and nights. Vonnie A. said, "I was never there for my kids."

"And now, we don't communicate much, either."  She was downcast.

Our baptismal covenants say we are to bear one another's burdens.  But, sometimes it's very hard - not because we aren't willing, but because we don't know what to say, how to react, how to help.

And, so I listened politely to Vonnie A.

And, if I get points for having an aching heart, that would have been moi.


"Welcome Home!"

...she said as I worked out in the yard the day we returned home from our month-long stay abroad.

"I want to hear all about it!  You were in Germany, right?

"Well, Harvey and I went to Germany and I'll tell you those drivers over there are crazy and THE ROADS!  Can you believe going over 100 mph on the autobahn, and no one seems to care.  Why, I had to tell Harvey several times to watch what he was doing.  I'm sure I saved our lives at least three or four times."

"Yes, we....." I began....

"How did you like the food?  I'll tell you, you can never be guaranteed what you are eating in a foreign country.  When Harvey and I went to Nairobi, I didn't dare ask what the meat was!  They eat anything and everything.  I basically just stuck to a yam dish; that seemed pretty safe.  Did you eat much strange food?"


"And the water situation!  I'm sure you know what I mean.  Why, when we were in Spain, they NEVER served water with a meal.  We had to pay for a glass of water!  Finally, Harvey and I just decided to drink our own water before we went into any restaurant.  And, they've never heard of ICE!

"Now, where did you say you stayed?"

"We actually st....."

"Travel is so challenging...when we went to Bolivia the tour guide had us changing hotels EVERY night.  It got to be such a pain.  I just wanted to stay in one place and shoot out from there, but he had some reason why we had to keep moving on.  It got very irritating, for sure.

"Oh, did you get to see any churches or old cathedrals or old palaces?  When we went to Rome, I just got sick of seeing churches.  After awhile, they all looked the same.  So, one day, I told Harvey I was just staying home to read my book about a girl traveling abroad; it was funny.

"Oh my goodness, look at the time, Harvey will be wanting dinner; he's very old fashioned that way...six o'clock and he wants his dinner on the table so he can watch his nightly news.

"Thanks for telling me ALL about your trip.  It sounds absolutely WONDerful!"

Any time, CD, any time!


The Vacation Blues

I'm sick.

I've had a cough since March 31.

It just kept getting worse, then worse.

Now, I'm struggling to breathe.

Every time I cough, it hurts my insides.

AND, here we are for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Germany.

It's a bummer, I'll tell you that!


The Berlin Brogue

Beginning in January of 1947, when I was almost three, my father, mother, older brother and I lived for two years in Augsberg and Wiesbaden, Germany.   Apparently my brother and I became quite proficient in German…because I just came across this article in the Boise, Idaho newspaper from 1949.  We had just returned from our adventures living abroad.  

According to the article, my brother and I had “Mastered the Berlin Brogue.”  

Another article in the Deseret News says that “ the two acted as interpreters for their mother on shopping tours….”

Okay, well, will that “Berlin Brogue”  kick back in 66 years later?  Because today, my husband and I begin a grand adventure in Germany for one month.  

And, I’m expecting to be able to recall all that German from those many years ago!  Ha Ha!


Sean Graduates from BYU

Sean and his lovely wife, Lisa, at the dean's reception for Information Systems from the BYU Marriott School of Business.

From the printed program; a GAPING ERROR: wrong person listed as the outstanding graduate student!
It was won by a SEAN alright, but not S M T, but rather SEAN DAVID FISHER!
Oops, but Sean was gracious and humble...what a guy!
From his Graduate Years
From his undergraduate Years; Summa Cum Laude

Jenni and Janessa drink a toast to Sean's many accomplishments.  

And on another note;

A poignant moment with Uncle Brent and nephew, Calder.  So sweet and tender.

A temple open house celebration in Payson, Utah....Indescribably lovely.


Hey, Grandma....

...you are always telling us how important a good breakfast is....

So, what did you have for breakfast this morning?

Glad you asked.

I had a half of a pear that was NOT very delicious at all.

Two pecans.

One bite of a coconut Larrabar Health Bar.

Three almonds.

And a banana that was very delicious.

Perfect, right?

Ooops, I almost forgot.

Two Lay's Original Potato Chips.

Okay now, that's it.


Getting Ready

It's hard to know what to do....

One month away from our home.

So, what should I be doing?

I've called the banks, insurance agent, credit card companies, told the neighbors, figured out clothing essentials.

But, what am I missing here?

Well, here's the deal....

If I didn't do it.

Too bad.


Remind Me When I'm 78....

...to buy a three-wheeled bicycle.

I'd like it...a lot.

I used to ride my bike a lot when I was younger.

But, now I have terrible balance.

And, I seem just a TAD too young for a three-wheeler right now.

So, give me seven years.

And, I'll be so ready for a jazzy three-wheeler.


Happiness Is..

Seeing someone you love being happy.

And, thus it is;

One year ago, RAH bought a very small trailer; he spent most of last summer in Manila, Utah getting lots of fishing time in.  I was there with him for part of the time; two sons joined him for a few days, Janessa was with us for about five days; it was all good.

Allen in the doorway with the new owner of his previous camper...

But, he wasn't totally satisfied with his "LITTLE" trailer.  It was cramped and crowded for him, he said.  When he found a little bit bigger one, he was able to sell this one.

When he saw this one, he snatched it up the day it was posted on KSL.

And, he is a HAPPY CAMPER...quite literally.

Many years ago, RAH told me how he just loves to see people having a good time.

And, over the last few days, I've enjoyed seeing RAH so happy as he fixes up, puts away, figures out the many features of his NEW TOY.

Ah, it's a joyous thing indeed, to see someone you love so very happy!


Cute Primary Kids

Bree West wrote this note during Sharing Time yesterday;

warmed the Cockles of my heart!


Dear Dad

Happy Birthday!

The day you were born the world became a much brighter, happier, better place.

You would never really understand or agree with this, but, dear Father, you made such a difference in so many peoples' lives.

You gave so generously of your time for community, church, family.

I wish we had kept track of how many funerals you sang or spoke at.  It would be in the dozens and dozens.

I once met a lady who didn't know you personally, but who wanted you to sing at her funeral.

In South Carolina, years after your mission there, we met a woman who said you helped heal a town with your words after the murder of a ward member.

Some of my fondest memories involve little things that you did for us as kids that remind me how unselfish, giving, kind, thoughtful, generous, and good you always were.  It just came naturally to you to be so good.

I've let you down many times, but, you always shine as a beacon of truth, righteousness, and goodness.....thank you for the happy childhood.

I honor you on this day.


Dear Mother

...you cannot imagine how often I think of you.

But especially during the spring and summer.

Because that is when the flowers are bursting out everywhere.

I have gown to LOVE flowers.

There can never be enough flowers to satisfy my love of their color, vibrancy, uniqueness, loveliness, and the joy they bring.

But, mostly, I think I love them BECAUSE YOU DID!

I wish that I had paid more attention to the flowers in our yard in Pocatello.  I know you worked so hard to have them blooming all summer long.  You had so many varieties all over.  And, you did it all yourself.  I have Allen who does the yard work.  He does all the heavy lifting, planting, moving, landscaping.  And, I am more than grateful.

But, it is YOU who taught me the joys of plants, green, and colorful flowers.

I can't wait to tell you that when I see you, dear wonderful Mother!


Why I Love Our Neighborhood

The kids in our neighborhood are FUN,

and GREAT,

and delightful.

Now, don't these two pictures just show why I love living here?


Broken Hearts: Shattered Dreams - and the Atonement

The details of the stories were always a little different,

But, the end line was the same.

Broken heart; shattered dreams.

The stories were from people we met while serving on our mission at the employment center:

I met M at the career workshop....

She had a great job as an administrator in a large company.  But she failed a drug test.  She was fired without even a moment's hesitation on the employer's part.  Instantly she lost her job, then her car, her home, and her family.   Her dreams were shattered.

N came in needing help in filling out her resume.  In the midst of the process, she dashed out to her car crying.....her daughter had been taken from her and was living with her ex-husband in Hawaii.   She had been unfaithful to a cold and unloving spouse, and then lost her marriage and child.  She had no hope of reclaiming her life.  Her dreams had been shattered.

S was also at the Employment Center.  She had married a man - even though she felt like the Gift of Holy Ghost had distinctly said NO!  She didn't know how to say no and went through with the marriage.  They were unequally yoked in terms of spirituality.  He occasionally belittled her desires to be righteous, he was often indifferent to family events and special occasions, they argued over finances, church, child-raising, etc.   It was not a happy marriage.  She felt like her entire life she had lived a lie.  But she did not feel like she should end her temple marriage.  Once again, shattered dreams.

The stories often overwhelmed me; left me emotionally drained and exhausted.

They needed more help than an employment specialist could give.

They needed the love and mercy of the Savior and His Atonement.

I hope they can eventually find HIM and the peace that comes in using the Atonement in their lives.  That is the only way to find the peace they seek from their

Broken Hearts and

Shattered Dreams.

Closet Drinker

"Yes," she told me recently.

Whenever my grandkids come, I sneak out to the garage and have a drink."

Frankly, I was quite surprised.  She lived nearby and went to church each week.

But, I thought to myself, I certainly have no reason to be judgmental.

She then broke into a wide grin and said,

"Yes, I'll have a swig of Coke or Pepsi, whichever I happen to  have handy."  She laughed.

"I just don't want my grandkids to see me drinking so heavily when they are around."

And then she added,

"It seems to soothe my nerves."

Ha ha.

I laughed.

Whatever it takes.


Getting Ready

Okay, so we leave on a grand adventure in one month.

Going to Germany for one month.

Now we are gathering our items together:

Electronics, cords, pillows for the plane, extra medicines, list of things to do and to take....

it's pretty overwhelming....

But, mainly because RAH says...

"Here's the deal, we will each take ONE carry-on suitcase!"


Okay, insane.

But, now it's become a challenge....

Should I take two pair of shoes or just take one pair that are walking shoes?  How will those look in church?

Should I pack shampoos, etc, or just buy that stuff there?

How many pairs of pants can I stuff inside one little bag to get me through an entire month?

What if I buy just one little souvenir...will I have to leave something behind to stuff it in my one little suitcase?

Oh, the agonies and the ecstasies of packing.

Let's see how it all plays out.

I'll keep you posted.


National Doctor's Day

It sounds glamorous and exciting and potentially lucrative.

Young kids say it's what they want to be when they grow up.

Mothers want their daughters to marry one.

But, the reality of the career is not quite so glamorous.

The hours are killer.  The amount of information to recall is mind-boggling. The responsibility almost overwhelming.  The student debt is staggering.  

And, did I mention that LIVES are at stake here.  

If you bring the wrong order to a customer in a restaurant, it can be easily remedied.  If you give the bank customer a twenty instead of a ten, you can easily correct that error.

But give a wrong diagnosis, make an error in surgery, underdose an anesthetic, it is people's LIVES that are being dealt with.

Oh sure, some people go into the profession for selfish, egotistical reasons.  But for any one of those, there are dozens of hard-working, dedicated professionals whose goal is to truly help people and make their lives better.

In this sue-crazy culture, physicians get a very bad rap and rep.

But, I know - from personal experience - many doctors whose goal truly is TO SERVE and TO HELP.

To them, today, I give honour and a big shout - out.  Thanks for your time (which most of us cannot even comprehend when talking about residency and internships), your concern, your care, and your dedication.

Thanks especially to my nephews - Drs. Gee, and to our own family - Drs. Hackworth, Dr. Anderson, Dr. Fisher.

You are doing what so few of us are willing to and would do.


The Judge

"WHY doesn't she lose weight?" I wondered.

"She's so VERY big!"

Well, now I know why.

And, now at long last, I am so sympathetic to S, to D, to J, to C, to L, and to all the others that I have been so stupidly judgmental of.


And the reason I know how hard it is, is because I have been trying....sort of desperately.

Here's the deal.

Once you put that weight on, it is SOOOOOO hard to get it off.

Your eating habits have gotten you there.

So, NOW, changing habits is required.

And, that is NOT easy.

The fat cells STICK like GLUE - and not just Elmer's glue, but the hard-core glue where nothing comes off!  That's the fat cells once they have attached to hips and thighs and arms and chins and ear lobes; they will NOT go easily into that good night.

Now, I am humbled and repentant.

Now I understand why Linda told us that all the people at her workplace have just given up losing weight as a lost cause and they eat ANYTHING they want.  They are tired of the battle.

And, battle it is.

Never ending.

So, I'm eating humble pie instead of lemon meringue.  And, it doesn't taste nearly as delicious.

I'm sorry about being silently critical.

I'm sorry that I didn't understand the challenges.

But, now I do.

And, I'm no longer standing as judge.

Only a sympathetic person filled with understanding and empathy.


Early Riser

I get up VERY early.

I have done this for quite a number of years and it's a great time to get things done.

Like exercise.

It's so perfect to get to the gym early.

BUT, the downside is this.....

I drive into town to the gym, but when I am finished exercising needing errands to run....




trips to the library,

post office,


dry cleaners,

and on and on, ad infinitum.

Oh sure, the grocery store is open and believe me, I have gone there plenty of times after exercising.

But, all those other errands....forget about it.

So, that either means TWO trips to town, or going later to exercise, which I do NOT like.

In addition, no offices are open; can't call the internet company, the dentist's office, the repair shop, etc.

Perhaps the early bird doesn't ALWAYS get the worm - or in this case, the letter mailed, clothes to the cleaner, new shoes, or library book.


Being Young at Any Age...

really isn't possible.

However, it's a nice thought to spread around the internet.

I was talking about age with Valerie recently.

She made an interesting comment that most older folk can relate to.

She said that whenever she meets someone in her age category, they seem so OLD looking to her.

"But," she said, "I don't feel like I look as old as they do!"

Ha!  That's pretty funny...

To young kids, we look very old, or as Dawsen said to me in Primary recently, "You are SuPER old!"

It appears there's no tricking the young ones, I truly look SUPER OLD.

So be it.

Now,I 'll just have to make sure that Valerie doesn't meet up with Dawsen....no need for her day to be ruined by a truth-telling 7 year old!


The Word I Would Most Use to Describe Children....




From Friday late afternoon to Sunday late evening, our lives were filled with the sounds and sights of children.

Rambunctious, noisy, happy, ENERGETIC children.

First, Allen's niece and her three children came to spend the weekend.  There could not be three more well-behaved, beautiful, thoughtful children on the planet.  But, having said that, they were still CHILDREN...which means they were filled with an ENERGY that left me exhausted just listening to and watching them.

Kaycee, Cody, Chloe

Saturday afternoon, I went to a birthday for three-year old Skye ....that girl is athletic and fast and delightful.

Skye wanted BLUE frosting and she got it!  All over her face!

Jason with Eden; she's also energetic as she bounced back and forth on the couch.  Plus, look at those strong legs!

Sunday afternoon was filled with Primary; 8 noise, lively, delightful, ENERGETIC CTRs.

About the only time they are quiet; when they are coloring.  Ha Ha!

Elle and Bree are generally quiet in class.  It's good to have two quiet people amongst the six noisy boys!

Then immediately following church, we headed to Gardner's home where we were treated to a wonderful meal (I'm still stuffed!), and the delightful antics and showing-offs of his three wonderful children.
Aspen and Emma...they tumbled, the danced, they cartwheeled, they moved EVERY minute for three hours...

This is pretty funny because Grant didn't sit still for two minutes, except when he was kidding around to show us his meditation pose.  But even this was VERY short-lived!

They performed dances, stunts, music, gymnastics, and in general just kept running all around for three hours.  The sheer energy of those three children left me exhausted and I fell into bed into a deep sleep.


I want some.  I need some.  I jealously desire that kind of unending exuberance and energy.  I don't want to look at them and need to go lie down because they tire me out so much.

I honestly don't feel like I was ever like that!  I don't remember having that kind of energy - even on my best, most youthful days.

It's a joy to see; a joy to be around.

But, I'm glad I'm not the parent.  I'm too old and way too tired for that.

So, I'll enjoy it from a distance and whenever I have the chance, then go home and take a nap!

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...