Thursday, January 31, 2008


"Hello," I wave my hand frantically in the air and Phil pushes the pause button. Listen, listen, talk, talk, listen. "Good-bye." Un-pause.

"Hello," and we do the whole pause-listen-talk-good-bye routine two more times.

So, because of the pausing during LOST I did not have to watch any commercials. And because Phil had the remote, I did not get to watch the commercials that looked interesting. Zip, right through them all. All the upcoming movie trailers--didn't see those. The brand new commercials that looked halfway decent--didn't see those.

But...because we had also pushed the magic button. The little red magic "record" button I can go back and watch it all. And look for hidden meanings and clues and try to figure out what is going to happen in seven weeks, when the writer's strike is still on and we are left hanging...again.

I wonder how many babies have played the part of Claire's baby? And how many will? And are expectant parents in the LA area hoping for bald headed twins with blue eyes?

I wonder if it's in Hurley's contract that he can't diet until the series is over?

I wonder if this addiction is better or worse than a being addicted to chocolate.

And hey! What the heck ever happened to that plane-shaking, pilot-snatching, smoky monster? How many plot lines are possible in one series? This one looks like an eighteen-legged octopus. And if we remember all the people who have died--that had an interesting semi-plot going--it looks like a whole aquarium full of octopi, and a handful of worms thrown in, just for good measure.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


There is no picture of the mountain for this post. I could drive two hours to take one. I will one day, just not this one.

The face of Cove Mountain overlooks the town. Its uneven eyes have watched for always. The nose has lost boulder-sized bits to the foothills below. Not in this century, not in the last, sometime when a tremor rocked the mountain, so long ago. Under the nose, the mouth has bars that were scrapped into his teeth as the boulders fell-- mountain braces.

To the left of the face is a dark rectangular spot in the mountain. I am the only one who knows the secret. I'm going to tell just you.

This is a door that leads into the mountain where people live in homes built into the sides of the caverns. A stream bubbles and sings through the valleys. Rock bridges lead from house to house and to the village square and on, deep down through the mountain, the stream leads to other towns, other countries even, through other mountain ranges.

They share their mountain water with towns below, and send the excess to the sea, through the caverns that connect all the way to zero.

The caverns have light—bright as day until nighttime when the light fades slowly. Even in winter the lights are bright and the days are long, not short and winter gray like in the town below. There is no such thing as seasonal depression inside the mountain, no such thing as disease that plague the world.

There are lawns and gardens ripe with flowers and vegetables that the rest of the world has never seen. It is warm, not cold and barren like the man-made cave, Red Butte, at the base of the mountain. The people living behind the secret door are thriving and happy. Oh, how I have wanted to see into their secret world ever since I was little.

I dreamed of a girl. She came out to see the world, to have adventures. She was not the first to leave. She financed her time with rocks. She sailed and flew and rode by car and camel and rickshaw. She learned languages, she tasted and drank and shook her dark curls at the taste and smell of food not fresh with the dew of the mountain. She flirted with dark skinned boys and light skinned ones and all shades in between, but went home to the man, who waited, thinking she would come but not knowing for sure. They all went home, those girls of the mountain.

If you ever see behind the mountain door, will you tell me? Will you bring a flower and a stone for my pocket? I'll not spend it but keep it for luck. Bring me the sound of laughter and the song of the mountain stream.

Will you keep their secret and tell just me?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


My Peculiar Aristocratic Title. You can get yours too. Just follow the link.

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Most Noble and Honourable Lynne the Philomath of Melbury Bubblewick
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Ta ta for now,
MN and H Lynne

Sunday, January 27, 2008


What a sad day for us but a glorious day for President Gordon B. Hinckley who will be reunited with his beloved wife. How glorious for him to meet the Savior and the Prophet Joseph Smith. How sad we are for ourselves. Always, it is the ones left behind who feel bad, who grieve, who feel empty and lonely.

He was such an ambassador for living a life of goodness and for courage. He told us many times, "Everything will be all right." He told us this after national tragedies and about personal ones. We believe him, we love him and will miss him. His teachings will be treasured by us forever.

He stood for all things good, for all things of Christ, for keeping the family strong and keeping personal worthiness. He was a man of vision and happiness and humor. He was a worker. He never stopped, never slowed down, he carried a cane and used it to wave to the crowds with.

He was ninety-seven. We love him. There are many tears tonight--and much rejoicing too, much rejoicing for a life well lived.

My son expressed how he felt, growing up under the influence of this loving prophet. Click here to read what he had to say.

Here is the church website
Meridian Magazine article about President Hinckley

Saturday, January 26, 2008


This is our eight year old granddaughter, Dragonfly. We are celebrating her birthday and and she is building a Cheetah from Build a Bear. The Cheetah's name is Katherine. Dragonfly is the youngest daughter of the man and woman who filled the isles of the Build a Bear shop with happy children. She is officially the middle child, along with her brother Entomologist, but in March Entomologist will take over the title of Middle Child all by himself.

This is the man who sought the hand of the woman who bore the children that filled the isles of the shop at Build a Bear. I call this his "Black Bart" outfit. That is "youngest son," fiddling with stuff.

This is the woman, who gave birth to the children who filled the isles of the shop at Build a Bear. She is currently building their newest child, who will be born in March. She said, "Please do not take my picture, I look awful," but the person behind the camera pretends deafness.
This is the baby of the man and the woman who filled the isles of the shop at Build a Bear shop with happy children.
And again, with binky.
This is the second youngest son of the man and woman who filled the isles of the Build a Bear shop with happy children.

This is the third youngest son of the man and woman who filled the isles of the Build a Bear shop with happy children.

He has eyes that always look like someone needs to pick him up and cuddle him but he is independent and you better not try it, Mister. He will knock you cold with just a look. See?

This is the second oldest child, the oldest boy, of the man and woman who filled the isles of the Build a Bear shop with happy children.

This is the oldest girl and oldest child of the man and woman who filled the isles of the Build a Bear shop with happy children.

And this is the third child of the man and woman who filled the isles of the Build a Bear shop with happy children. She is giving Katherine a bath. And she is growing her bangs out. And she is growing a new tooth so she can eat apples.

Happy birthday, Dragonfly, dear. Grandma loves you very much. Grandpa does too.

As she loves all the children of the man and woman who filled the isles of the Build a Bear shop.

And she loves Black Bart and his lovely wife. And she loves the unknown little person who will be a surprise in March. And if it's a boy--and Grandma thinks it is--she just loves the name Alex, in case any one's interested. Which--of course--they won't be but in case they are, Alexander is a good strong name which means defender or warrior. He will be the defender of truth. I'm sure of it.

And if it's a girl...well, I just don't know, because I'm so sure it's a boy. But Gabrielle is nice, just in case. It means a strong woman of God or a defender of God which sounds pretty good to me.

Just in case anyone is interested.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Yesterday this is what happened to the monitor screen while Phil was preparing his Sunday School lesson. His document was reduced to a one inch width.

As you might imagine he panicked. He had three pages of his lesson done and was afraid he'd loose it. He called for help. First to me, who knows Naahthing about computers, monitors, anything technological and can't even speeal easy words.

Phil called Taylor, "Help, my computer screen is one inch wide and I don't know how to save my document?" Taylor told him how to save it using key strokes. One problem solved.

Then he called Trent, "Help, do you have an extra monitor?" Of course he does, the computer junkie that he is. Two problems solved.

But we talked to Hillary too and she had an extra one and would bring it into us if we'd meet at the mall and shop the sales the next morning. Who could resist that? Sales and seeing Ruby, the golden haired moppet.

Last night I had computer withdrawal symptoms, I itched, had facial ticks and I sulked--no checking blogs--my new hobby--and no writing on my blog, either, which isn't such a loss but you know, it's kind of a habit by now. Phil had to relinquish the TV remote and then there was more twitching as he had to watch girl-stuff.

On the way to meet Hillary this morning, on University Ave., it was 33 degrees. We saw two men. One wore shorts, a short sleeved shirt, sandals and was carrying a coat under his arm. What was the matter with that man? He thought he was in the Caribbean. What would his mother think?

The second man wore a parka, ski gloves, pants made from the wool of 100 llamas, a scarf, a this-is-a-stick-up hood with just his scary eyes showing and a very large furry hat. What was the matter with that man. He thought he was at the South Pole. What would his mother think?

When we met my darling daughter, this is how she had Ruby dressed. In a sweater! Did I mention it was 33 degrees? What is the matter with my darling daughter?

Does this child look warm?

And look at this. Dressed the same exact way in a 72 degree store as in a 33 degree parking lot.

And, to make matters worse, look how adoringly she looks at her grandpa. I would be thrilled beyond normal sanity and would give up twitching, sulking and chocolate if Ruby loved me as much as she loves her grandpa. I would give up twitching and sulking, for sure.

So, I had a heart to heart talk with my darling daughter about dressing Ruby warmer and this is the kind of a respectful look she gave me. I ask you, is it any wonder I twitch, getting no respect from the girl who calls herself "yfc"--which stands for Your Favorite Child. I ask you. Seriously.

What's a mother to do?

And notice, this respectful child is not wearing a coat, either. Really, what's a mother to do?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Today was hazy. The sun came out for about twenty minutes. It was such a joy but as my friend, Cindy and I we drove down the street we left the sunny patch and drove back into the haze. We saw a woman, in a long purple coat, with huge round sunglasses and an umbrella, standing in the slush by the side of the road. Was she afraid of the sun, which wasn't out anyway? It wasn't snowing, not raining, why the umbrella? Why the sunglasses?

That started me thinking about summer and about the sun and all it gives to us and then I thought of my high school days and my vanity and remembered this tiny saga.

It was the end of summer and I had neglected to work on my suntan. I wasn't pasty or anything, I had olive skin and tanned nicely but just wasn't the perfect golden color I wanted to be for school. The last Saturday of the summer I spent, lying on a chase lounge, baby oil slathered on every visible body part. I turned at intervals, like a barbecuing chicken on a spit. With each turn I could see my skin getting darker. I was pleased. I think I even dozed a bit, but woke up in time to turn to the other side. When the sun was too low to give any more sun-tanning-rays and I was sufficiently brown I went in to shower. I turned, picturing myself starting school on Monday, healthy looking. Nice and golden.

Wait! What is that? A leaf from the apple tree was plastered to my back. Not down low, where it wouldn't show but up high, where it would. I picked it off. Ack! White skin, surrounded by beautifully browned skin. So much for vanity. So much for the perfect tan.

As I think back on it, trying to put a positive spin on it, I think I will be glad it wasn't a rhubarb leaf. And glad it wasn't permanent.

Of course, at my age, I wonder why I cared then. Time puts a different perspective on things.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


It was summer. Liza was still little, maybe seven months old. We were having a family dinner on the front lawn like regular red-necks. (If we all get together there are 23 of us and we can't really all fit into the house and it's so nice to eat outside--that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. There are no derelict cars, abandoned in tall weeds. I promise. Perhaps we are only pseudo-red-necks.)

Taylor, Sharee, Austin and Bailey piled out of their car. All doors were slammed. No one looked back, as if a baby was there. They just came to the table for "how-de-do's" and hugs.

"Where's Liza?" I said.

Taylor looked at Sharee and Sharee looked at Taylor. All the blood drained out of both their faces. Their eyes widened. I could see the whites all around their pupils.

"Oh, no. We left her at home, in the carport," one of them said in a horrified whisper. They both turned toward the car. One was fumbling with the keys. The other stumbled in haste, "Hurry," they said in unison.

I will never forgive them. Never.

They stopped, they leaned against each other, laughing hysterically.

Hysterical laughter is never, I repeat, never attractive. They laugh to this day. Not hysterically but in a kind of smirky sort of way. They think it is funny that I believed they would leave Liza in the carport. She, of course, was asleep in her car seat. In the car.

It wasn't funny. They owe me. Those unattractively hysterical laughing people owe me. They really do

Monday, January 21, 2008


Promised from Saturday's post:

They aren't really crazy, just pleasantly so. Just enough to take the hard edge off life and give it a spin and let the colors bedazzle you.

Sharee asked me if I wanted to go with her on Saturday to one of her favorite stores. I did. Taylor brought me some funky blue-type cheese. I gave him some cheddar sticks mixed with wasabi peas. We're like that, bestowing odd things on each other for no reason. Actually, we haven't given each other odd things much but it would be a great tradition. We should do it more often.

Bailey was with them--see Saturday's pictures for Bailey's good looking face.

The three of them are quick. They keep up a constant barrage of comments. You have to have timing to get your ideas in. They are quick in other ways too. Sharee was driving. We left a furniture store and wanted to turn left--on State Street. It was a "stop sign" street, not a "stop light" one. NO ONE turns left at a stop sign street onto State Street. No one. It's foolish, you will wait there four days.

"You'll never get across"--there are six lanes of traffic. "You'll have to turn right." I'm like that, always ready with helpful advice.

A side note: We have all been reading Carol Tuttle's book, Remembering Wholeness. In part of it she talks about petitioning your angels. Carol tells of an instance when her daughter said, "Have you noticed when I'm with you in the car you get mostly green lights?" When Carol asked her why she said, "I ask the angels to give us green lights."

So, Sharee cruises up to the stop sign. I again offer helpful "you'll have to turn right," advice, only its more of a command.

She turns her head, looks at me and says, "Oh ye of little angels."

She looks right, she looks left and there is a hole in the traffic--so help me, there is never a hole in traffic on State Street. There is a hole in the traffic going north and one going south. She turns left, and three seconds later all six lanes are clogged with traffic. I burst into laughter, she gives me a smug smile and away we go.

"Oh ye of little angels." My new favorite phrase.

Later we were discussing where to eat lunch. Everyone had an opinion including Bailey but he couldn't get a word in. He'd start to say something and someone else would drown him out.

Finally he yelled, "HOW COME EVERYONE'S WEARING CHICKEN-CHEESE UNDERWEAR." Only he yelled it so fast all the words ran together, like a flood.

"What?" we all chorused together, as if we had rehearsed.

"How come we never go to Chuck E. Cheese, anymore?"

Well, then.

After we ate--at Chuck A Rama--a local buffet restaurant--I heard Taylor say, "I'm sorry, Sharee, about the seat. I didn't know you would feel the vibration."

There are some things a mother shouldn't overhear although it is nice to hear that he apologizes for his indiscretions.

All day Taylor kept tattling, "Bailey's eating my sticks."

We reminisced about the time they left Liza in the carport. A post for another day.

I taught them the ever handy phrase, "We're gonna die," which Hillary, my wonderful daughter said so often, when driving with me. Again, a story for another day.

How lucky I am to have five children that I adore, and the people they have married I also adore and they have given me grandchildren, that I adore. How lucky can one woman get? All of them, all of them, are just a little bit crazy. I wonder if that's lucky too. Probably.


It was another little snow, big snow day. It looks like we got ten inches today. I sat at the window, listening to two CD's while the snow sifted down. I watched the neighbors shovel and now Phil is shoveling. I love to watch the snow, and watching while effortlessly learning something is even better. And watching others work? Well, I did feel a little guilty but not enough to do anything about it. It was a dry snow, I said to myself, they are having an easier time than if it were a wet one.

Maybe I'll fix dinner while I'm not doing anything about it. That would make Phil happy. And it's all about a happy husband who is doing the shoveling, while I am inside, warm and dry. That way we are both happy

Saturday, January 19, 2008


I had finished today's blog when out of the corner of my eye I saw a black not-small fuzzy looking dot zip across the far right hand corner of the monitor. Was it a spider?

I smacked the picture of Jesus, I smacked the picture of my two oldest boys when they were ages five and one. I smacked the picture of Daddy, holding Elizabeth when she was two, just before he left to go home--she was not happy because she wanted to go with him. Did a dead spider fall out? No! Will I be sitting at the computer any more tonight? Not on your life.

As you know, if you have read this blog long, I do not like spiders. I do like Jesus, my boys, Daddy and Elizabeth and I'm sorry I smacked them with such frenzied violence, but it was necessary.


I spent the afternoon with these people. My beautiful and pretty-much crazy daughter-in-law and my full-on-crazy son. Here she is, being beautiful, and
here he is, plotting how he is going to mess up my photo opportunity.

More thinking. He's getting an idea. One finger on the mouth for concentration. Notice one eyebrow is going up. That's a bad sign. Okay, he thinks, I'm ready.

Thanks, Taylor. I always appreciate your cooperativeness.

This is their second oldest son, who seems fairly normal but the craziness is manifesting itself. Yes, Bailey has the beginnings of the crazy's too. Thank you, Bailey, I'd hate for you to go through life ignoring your heritage.

More tomorrow about my day with these interesting people, that I call family.

Friday, January 18, 2008

THINKING OF MICE (24 years ago)

Women are supposed to sew clothes for their kids. That’s what I thought. I didn’t like to sew. I didn’t want to sew. But I was supposed to sew, especially since Aunt Dorothy had given me a sewing machine a long time ago, a sewing machine that would have been collecting dust if it weren’t tucked neatly into it’s case. In the closet. In the spare room. Behind a closed door.

I decided to make some pajamas for four-year-old Bentley. I bought seersucker fabric in a cute print—it would be cool for summer, I thought. But summer came and they still weren’t made. Bentley slept in large T-shirts. I don’t know why I didn’t think this was okay. I fretted about the pajamas all summer. Because I was supposed to sew.

Mom and Dad came up to see us in late July. “Why don’t you just get in and make them,” she said.

“I don’t know, Mom. You sew all the time. You like it. Every time I sew I end up giving the half finished, awful looking item to DI. I hate it. Why don’t you take the fabric home and make the jammies? You can give them to Bentley for his birthday.”

She thought that was a good idea and so did I. On his birthday there was a soft package wrapped with bright colored curly ribbons dripping off the top. Mom and Dad were anxiously watching him open the gift we all knew he’d love. He took the paper off and stood there. No emotion. Nothing. His eyes looked at the ceiling. I thought maybe he didn’t know what they were.

“They’re jammies,” I said.

The ceiling-looker said nothing.

I took them out of his hands, shook them out of their folded state and said, “See? Jammies,” They looked like they'd fit perfectly.


“Don’t you like them? Grandma made them just for you,” I said.

“I’m thinking of mice,” Bentley said in a quiet voice.

Everyone in the room leaned forward, even the kids, Trent, Taylor and Hillary. “What?” everyone said in unison.

“I’m thinking of mice.”

I looked at Mom. I could tell her feelings were a little bit hurt. “If you don’t like them I know a little boy in Annabella who would love them. Should I take them to him?”

Mother had used this tactic on me all my life. If there were something I didn’t like she threatened to give it away. It worked on me because I was probably selfish but Bentley knew what he liked and what he didn’t and he didn’t like those jammies.

“Okay,” he said with a shrug of his shoulders.

I never did find out what Mom did with the jammies. I didn’t want to remind her that her ungrateful grandson didn’t like her gift so I never mentioned them again.

“I’m thinking of mice,” has become Snyder family code for “I really don’t like this but I’m too polite to say so right to your face.” It hasn’t been used a lot, but enough. I’m thinking of mice right now, as I write this story that I really can’t do justice to.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Yesterday I wrote the beginning of this story. My sister called earlier today and I asked her what she remembered about the story. It wasn't the finishing of the house that Mom got the loan for; it was making the house into two apartments. Mom and the girls would live in one side and rent the other side out and then Mom would sell the apartments and pay Mr. Porter back. Also, it wasn't Pocatello, Idaho but Milford, Utah. So much for the facts as I knew them.

I will go back in a few days and correct the first part of this story. I also realize I've changed tenses in the two stories. I may correct that; I may not. In the meantime, here's the rest of the story. Remember, this is my attempt to write it in my mother's words. That's what writer's do; put words in people's mouths. Much of this I remember word for word from my darling mother but so many of the details are coming right out of my imagination--this is one of those times when it really is "Lynne's somewhat invented life," but it's my Mom's life I've invented. I somehow feel it's okay. Maybe she's here tonight, reading over my shoulder.

Here we go, part II.

I had the loan from Mr. Porter. I nearly danced home and when I got closer I ran. My hair came undone, I know I looked like a wild woman but I didn't care. I yelled and the girls came running. I swept them up in my arms and we twirled and twirled. They laughed and squealed. I tipped my head to the sky and whispered, "Thank you, Father. Thank you."

I put the girls down, we held hands and ran the rest of the way home, my purse dug into my side with every other step but I didn't care. My neighbor smiled and waved and then gave me the thumbs-up sign. She didn't have to ask. She knew I got the loan.

The girls and I walked through the house. "Here is where the wall will go, right down the middle. That side will belong to the other apartment and this side will be ours." They didn't understand, but they knew one thing: they had a Mom who wasn't walking the floor, worrying and fretting and being too distracted to read bedtime stories or play dolls with them or make Mickey Mouse pancakes with big ears. They had their old Mom back.

I got on the phone the very next day. I called contractors and lumber yards and appliance stores. I found a contractor who would let me help with the work so it wouldn't cost me as much. I learned how to knock out walls and hammer and screw things together.

I learned why you couldn't tear down some walls because they were bearing walls. I learned how to insulate so you couldn't hear conversation from one apartment to another. I learned how to tell if a wire was "hot" and why you had to hire an electrician and not do the wiring yourself. I learned that it was cheaper to put kitchen sinks together, one on one side of the new wall, the other on the other side. The same with the bathroom sinks and bathtubs. I learned why you didn't put water pipes against outside walls in this cold winter country.

I found that I had to tie my hair up with a dishcloth or it would be glued together with plaster by the end of the day. Plaster wasn't so good for the complexion either but I didn't care. Who was I trying to look good for anyway?

The girls were curious and got in everyone's way. I hired the neighbor to watch them. She didn't want to take money but she watched them for so many hours everyday I insisted. I knew I wouldn't be around to be her friend after the apartments were done. I hadn't told her. I couldn't. She had been so good to us.

I worked without rest. If the contractor didn't show up I called his wife.

"I have other jobs I have to do too, Mrs. Paschal. If I leave them without showing up I'll loose the job and I've got to keep everyone happy."

'Then let me know you won't be here and tell me what to do while you're at another job. That's reasonable, isn't it?"

"I guess so. Gads, woman, you've got my wife on my tail. 'You get over to that woman's house and help her out, Earl. You can't leave her hanging.'"

We laughed as he talked in a high-pitched voice. From then on he told me every time he wasn't coming the next day. He showed me what to do and I did it. Occasionally he had to re-do something, but not often.

I did all the painting. I learned it didn't pay to buy cheap paint. I leaned that about a lot of things. Buy the best and don't waste. Measure twice and cut once. The contractor was full of advice, which I tucked away in case I would ever need it again.

DeLynn came to help put the finishing touches on things. I was so happy to see her. She spoiled the kids, they needed spoiling, they deserved spoiling. We sat up late at night. Me, listening to all the things she hadn't put into letters. We held hands as we sat on the bed. I cried when she told me hard things she and my other siblings had gone through. Both of us laughed over the funny things her little girl had said, the mischief she got into.

"What are you going to do?" she asked.

I didn't have an answer. I was going to go home--home to family and then I would decide. But first we had to finish the kitchen in the other apartment. The appliances were being delivered the next day and then we were done.

We turned out the lights and laid in the dark. We wondered out loud why our lives hadn't turned out like we thought they would.

"I love you, sis. Thanks for coming."

I love you too. I hope this is hardest thing you'll have to ever face."

It wasn't. I'm glad I didn't know it then. There is wisdom in not knowing the future because in some instances there would be no future. Half of us would walk off a bridge somewhere, thinking we couldn't handle a troubling future when in real life we can handle it, one little bit at a time.

We were up early the next morning, making French toast and flinging bits of eggshells and bread crusts at each other. The kids watched, wide eyed. They'd never seen their mother like this, irresponsible, wasting food, deliberately making a mess. But it was a day for celebrating. By noon the project would be done. I could put a for sale sign up and hope for the best. Mr. Porter would be paid, I'd have cash in the bank and could get on with my life.

The appliance truck came at 9:00 AM on the dot, just like he'd promised. It was a small town and the contractor had the word out: If you didn't do as promised, Mrs. Paschal would call the wives. Everyone showed up on time.

The stove in the new apartment was beautiful, clean, not like the used one on our side. I put, "scrub the stove," on my mental list of things to do. The sink and cabinets and counters were already in. The fridge was unboxed and on the porch, ready to go in when the man said some frightening words.

"I don't think it will fit through the door." He took out a measuring tape. He measured the fridge. He measured the door opening.

"Nope. Won't go through."

"We'll take the door off. That's easy to do," I said.

"Well, yes, easy, but the fridge is too big to go through the door at any rate. It won't fit. Do you want me to take it back and bring a smaller one?"

I didn't want a smaller fridge. This one was perfect. It had a dent on one side at the bottom, the side that would be covered up with a cabinet. It was a bargain and heavenly days; I loved a bargain. Besides that, a smaller fridge just wouldn't do. And a smaller fridge would actually cost me more.

"What do you think," I asked DeLynn.

"Well, I don't know," she said. "It looks like it will fit to me."

"Me too."

"Ladies, look at this." He pulled out his measuring tape. He measured the fridge. "See here?" We looked. Then he measured the door opening. "See here? One eighth inch. There's no way I can get that fridge in with one eighth inch leeway. I'll have to take it back."

I looked at DeLynn. "We can do it," she mouthed behind his back, nodding her head.

"No, leave it here. If I change my mind I'll call."

"There'll be an extra charge if I have to take it back later."

I nodded. He tossed the cardboard in the truck, shaking his head and muttering to himself. He loaded his dolly, got in his truck, slammed the door and left. We watched until he was out of sight. Then we looked at the fridge and then looked at each other. She grimaced and shrugged. I shrugged too.

"Okay, then. We'll just "walk" it in and be done with it. Right? It might take a little bit of time but we can do it."

We took the door off and leaned it against the wall in the kitchen and then DeLynn and I "walked" the fridge. We walked it until noon. She was trapped in the new apartment so I went to the other side and made sandwiches and pushed them over the top of the fridge.

"Good thing the bathroom is functional," she said. We laughed and joked and walked the fridge until dinnertime.

The kids had wandered around all afternoon, making me hold them up to the kitchen window so they could wave at their Aunt Dee. They played in the dirt and played with rocks, they rocked their baby dolls and were as good as gold while their insane mother and equally insane Aunt walked and walked and walked a fridge that didn't want to be walked.

"I've got to go feed the kids."

"I know it. I'll be right here." She snorted. I snorted too and then we laughed. "What have we got ourselves into?" she said from the other side of the fridge. I didn't have an answer.

I went home and got the kids some dinner and then took her a plate and pushed it across the top of the fridge. I went back and got the kids ready for bed. She sat on the kitchen floor and ate and then waited. When the kids were all settled I came back and we walked and walked and walked that doggone fridge. At 2:00 AM we were done.

"I knew it could be done," she said dancing around the kitchen, swinging her hips. "What does that appliance man know, anyway?"

We laughed and hung on each other with fatigue. We walked the fridge into place, it took about two minutes, we plugged it in and then we stood back and looked at it. We both sighed at the same time in the same way. We leaned the door against the opening and went next door to bed. We laid in the dark.

"I'm sorry I said I thought the fridge would fit through the door."

I started to laugh. I couldn't help it. I tried to be quiet so I wouldn't wake the kids but the more I tried the harder I laughed. DeLynn laughed too.

"What will happen when this fridge dies on day and the owners have to replace it?"

"They will have to tip it over on its side and turn it into a couch because there's no way it's going out that door."

"It will be a 'cool’ couch.”

"One with shelves for holding books and pop and boxes of Kleenex."

"It will have its own light, for reading by."

"Easy to clean, just wipe it down."

We could hardly talk for laughing. The light went on in the hall.

"Uh oh, Pat's up," I whispered.

She stood in the door, rubbing her eyes. "You woke me up."

"Come here, baby," I opened my arms and she climbed in bed and snuggled down. "This is what it's all about, isn't it?"

"Yes," DeLynn said. "This is what it's all about."

And now, all these years later--sixty-seven years later--it's still true. It's about family. It’s about determination that makes all things possible, even moving a fridge through a door that's too doggoned small.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I don't know if Mom's trials made her determined or if she was determined from the start. Two days ago I gave you the story of Mom's first marriage. Today is the first part of the story of what happened after Fred died. I'll try to do it in her voice. I don't remember the name of the banker, even though Mom told me countless times. I'm going to call him Mr. Porter. Here we go:

The last bit of dirt was smacked down with the back of the shovel. That was it. Fred was buried. I stood, holding Pat and Julie's hands. Would they be like him? Would they remember him? Maybe Pat would, Julie was only two, probably not, for her.

I want to go home. Home to my family. Home to Dad and Aunt Lizzie, home to Bliss and Tom, Lillian and DeLynn. Home to cousins for my little girls. Home where I can have help. I'll have to make a living. I can't do it without help. I want to go home but I have the house, here in Pocatello. Half finished. I could sell it cheap but if I finish it, I'll have more money to start with. More money for whatever I have to do. Alone. No, not alone. Together with my girls.

The bank opens at 9:00 so I'm here at fifteen minutes till. I sit on the bench by the door. My feet close together, my skirt tucked tight around my legs, my purse clutched on my knees. I polished it and my shoes last night. My hair is tidy, lipstick on, nose powdered. I clutch my arms to my sides in hopes of keeping the perspiration contained. It's not hot but I feel hot. I should have had a drink of water before I left the house. I could spit cotton.

Here comes Mr. Porter. It's ten minutes to nine. He takes his keys out of his pocket, looks at his watch and opens the door. It closes and I hear the key turn again. In seven minutes I hear the key turn again and the blinds on the door are opened. I see his hand turn the sign to "Open." The clerks start arriving. I stand up, pull my skirt straight and open the door. It's cool inside. The overhead fan is turning with a slow whoosh, whoosh, whoosh.

"Can I help you?" a friendly looking man says.

"I'd like to speak to Mr. Porter." I say it as if I have every right to be here.

He motions to a chair and I sit on the edge. In a few minutes I'm shown into Mr. Porter's office. I wipe my free hand on my skirt and extend it to him. He shakes it and motions for me to sit down.

I introduce myself and tell him my story. He nods. I'm encouraged. "What do you have as collateral?" he asks.

"All I have is the house. When I finish it I can pay you back, but I've got to have money to buy materials."

He temples his fingers in front of his nose. Then he sighs.

"Well," Mrs. Paschal, "I'll give it to you straight. Without collateral I can't loan you ten cents. It's not my decision, I have partners and a board of directors and those are the hard and fast rules. Times are hard. I'm running a bank and it has to make a profit. I'm sorry."

He stands up. I'm dismissed. I shake his hand and walk out through his door, through the bank and out the front door. I'm half a block away when the tears start. I duck into a doorway and wipe my eyes, take a deep breath and walk home to get the girls from the neighbor.

"Did you get the loan?" she asks.

"No, but I will."

And then I take the girls home.

Every morning I am sitting on the bench at fifteen minutes to nine. Every morning Mr. Porter avoids my eyes and every morning I am ushered into his office. Every day he says he's sorry and every day I say I will be back until he gives me a loan.

One morning he doesn't avoid my eyes. "Good morning, Mrs. Paschal. Won't you come in?" He takes me in and locks the door behind himself, just like every morning but I'm on the inside this time.

We sit down in his office and he says, "Mrs Paschal, I can't give you a bank loan. You know that."

I start to say something and he holds up his hand. "You'll be here every morning, asking for a loan until you're too old and feeble to walk. and I'll be dead and buried by that time."

I smile.

"What I'm going to do, Mrs. Paschal, is give you a personal loan, out of my own pocket because someone as persistent as you will pay me back. You will, won't you?

I nod my head and start to say something.

He holds up his hand again. "So, Mrs. Paschal, this loan won't have paperwork. Bring your bills to me and I'll pay them and keep a running total. When you sell the house you can pay me back. With interest. The going rate. Will that be okay?"

I'm speechless and just nod my head again.

"I thought so. Shall we shake hands on the deal?"

We do. I walk out with him and I realize I have a bank loan in less time than it takes for him to unlock the door for the tellers.

I order the materials and Mr. Porter pays for them. I hammer and patch and paint. DeLynn comes to help. Mr. Porter is about to get paid back but first we have the kitchen appliances to order and get in and then I can sell the house. As soon as it sells I can pay off my loan and we can move home. DeLynn is going to stay with me until the very end.

To be finished tomorrow....

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Elizabeth and Jason were here for lasagna tonight. She and Phil reminisced about the pasta dinners of years gone by.

"Remember the spaghetti war?" one of them said. Then they went on to revel in the glories of a bunch of family members disobeying--the father of the group the biggest disobeyer of them all.

I think I remember how it started. Dinner was over. We were sitting at the table talking and one of the kids was playing in the leftover spaghetti with a fork. I never could figure out how much spaghetti to cook--still can't--and so there was half a serving bowl left. One of the kids asked how you tell if spaghetti noodles were cooked long enough.

"Well, supposedly, if you throw a strand of spaghetti on the ceiling, and it sticks, it's done."

Oh, oh, I thought. I hope no one picks up on that.

It was too late. Strands of spaghetti whanged toward the ceiling like lava steams, escaping from violently erupting volcanoes.

"All right, all right," I said. "Enough of that. Calm down."

Phil looked at me and I could see all his intelligence leaking out his ears. A primeval man hunkered down, his gnarly hand posed over the bowl holding the pasta. Two hoary fingers reached in, plucked a strand of spaghetti and before my very eyes the beast flung a noodle in my direction. I ducked and tried once again.

"All right, now...."

That's as far as I got. Spaghetti flew in my direction from the hunkered beast's offspring. Whap. Whap. Whap-whap-whap.

I fled. A lone woman with common sense and dignity. I looked around the corner to see total anarchy reigning. A Dad with spaghetti hanging from his ears. Children with spaghetti in their hair. Spaghetti hanging from the light fixture. Spaghetti on the paintings, on the wall, on the clock. Spaghetti everywhere. Laughter, insane laughter filled the air.

"There she is," someone said. Spaghetti whinged in my direction from all directions. Whap, whap, whap. I fled to the bathroom to pick spaghetti off my face. I sat on the step, out of sight and out of range. Occasionally I'd offer advice:

"Okay, play time is over."

I was answered with nothing but maniacal laughter.

"You are going to have to clean all that up!"

"We will," they all chorused, including Phil.

The war went on for a long, long time. When the bowl was empty they plucked used pasta off each other and threw it again. When the used pasta started to disintegrate they rolled it into pasta balls and threw those. They only quit because everyone was too tired to throw another strand. I poked my head around the door again. They somehow revived and magically found more spaghetti and it all came whining my way. I ducked back out of sight.

Finally the Neanderthal haze cleared from Phil's eyes and he became a dad.

"Okay, kids. Let's clean up."

"Aaw, Dad."

"No, I mean it. Let's clean up. Put all the pasta in the bowl."

When about half of the mess was cleaned up the beast clutched the bowl to his chest. "Suckers," he said. He grabbed a handful of ragged pasta and threw it in every direction.

Screams of delight sounded in the kitchen, drowning out the groans of the sensible person sitting on the steps.

"They are insane," I said to myself. "It comes from Phil's side. It will take generations to breed the insanity out."

When they finally called it quits the kitchen looked like a mad elf had decorated for Christmas. And to give everyone credit, they did clean up. Kind of. We plucked petrified spaghetti off various parts of the kitchen for what seemed like years.

Which, one day was the catalyst for the, "Let's see what else will stick to the ceiling" science project that my GROWN UP BOYS participated in, but that's a story for another day.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Today was my Personal History Group. There were only three of us there and we laughed half the time. If that isn't good for mental health I don't know what is. Two of us have kids that are grown, the other one has little people at home, her youngest is a year old. This little one wanders around, jabbering her own language, climbing on her mom's lap, swiping the phone to punch in numbers for a phone call to China--I wonder what the charges for that will be--and then wandering off again, talking it all over to herself.

We talk and talk and finally get around to reading our work. We laugh if it's funny and cry if it's sad. Carolyn read poetry she had written for two granddaughters and a son who have February birthdays. I know her son and she captured his life perfectly. I was amazed at his perseverance with life and how much he has accomplished.
Because Sarah's printer is gasping it's last, running out of ink, as she read I had to circle my favorite parts in the void of no-words and hope she knew what I loved. For someone so young she has great insights and is figuring out how to help her children grow up whole and strong. She and her husband are working together to make an incredible family. I am amazed that someone so young is so generous with her time and so willing to help others. She never suggests we ought to go home because we've stayed too long, we could probably stay for dinner if we wanted. If anyone in the neighborhood needs help Sarah offers her time or whatever resources she has.

On the way home I saw a snow fort. The daddy who lives there donated some of his indoor plants that weren't doing well and so they died a frozen life outside, giving stability to his children's creation. A red shirt and hat are one flag, there is a box, stuck on a stick--who knows what that represents--the green flag, waved at me as I passed. (These pictures are horrible, sorry. I should have taken them from a different angle.)
The untidiness of this fort is amazing. I think the neighbors are being patient because they know the parents and the kids who built the monstrosity--and because they know the sun will take care of it eventually. I saw beauty in the melting creation. On one side a plastic chair is built into the wall. Cardboard boxes originally were covered in snow rolled balls but now the snow is melting and the cardboard is bare.

I hope the children who made this fort will remember all it's details and one day write their own personal history story of how it was built. I doubt the written word will show a picture such as this. It will have turrets and majestic flags--perhaps the red one for the damsels and the green one for the knights.

There will be a lookout chair for people to watch for marauding tribes sneaking into their territory. The cardboard walls will be made of sturdy mortar with secret windows to check for danger. And inside? All will be remembered as cozy--a safe place for planning adventures, sharing snacks, bundling against the cold and enjoying the incredible gift of friendship.

Just like I found today at our tiny personal history group of three. Two women I love and shared a couple of hours with. Two women with whom I shared a story of my life and they shared stories of theirs. And laughter. Lots and lots of laughter.

It doesn't get better than this.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


This is a story I wrote about my darling mother's first marriage. This marriage ended about eight years later when her husband died in a car accident, leaving her with two little girls, my sisters. Most of this story is true. Part of it is made up--the little details--because Mom is no longer here to tell me those details and what's a story without a few interesting details?

Fred was a railroad worker but not the soot covered kind. He wore fresh clothes and dressed like a gentleman. I could hardly breathe when he came into the drug store. All the girls in the drugstore where I worked had a crush on Fred. He flirted with me—me, a little country girl.

When he asked me out I didn’t know what to say and when he kept taking me places, week after week, month after month, I was dumbfounded. Then, one night he asked me to marry him. I was over the moon. All the girls I worked with were jealous.

The justice of the Peace married us. I wore a pale pink suit and Fred brought me a corsage of fresh flowers. He gave me the most beautiful rings I had ever seen. The engagement ring was of silver with lacy filigree with a huge diamond. He gave me a wedding band that matched, silver lace with four perfect diamonds. He spent every bit of his money on those rings and payed for them for a long time afterward, too. I wore them all my life, through all the husbands after him, after he died and Reed died, too. I wore them always. I don’t think it bothered my other husbands because they could never afford rings like that.

I guess I never got over my first love, Fred . I wonder if any woman ever gets over her first love.

We were poor and it made no sense to get married when we were that poor but we did it anyway. We were so in love. Fred worked for the railroad and so he asked if we could use an abandoned railroad car that was just off the tracks. That was our first home. It was tiny but we didn’t care. The train rumbling by woke us up for the first couple of weeks but after that we slept right through. The train whistle didn’t wake us either.

I fixed the boxcar up cute. I made curtains for the windows and we had a little stove in there. We stoked the fire up good at night but by morning it was so cold that our bucket of water was frozen. We would make a fire and put the bucket on to thaw and when it was warm Fred would strip down and wash all over. I never looked at him totally naked. He laughed and tried to get me to but I just couldn’t.

I never saw a man totally naked until I was in my seventies even though I had been married to four different men by then. My daughter told me that men were funny looking and so I finally got up my courage and looked at my husband. The next time I saw my daughter I told her I had finally seen a man naked and that she was right. We laughed until we had to sit down and wipe our eyes. I think we laughed as much that it took me all those years to look at a man as about the fact that men are funny looking.

That first morning after Fred and I were married I got up and put on two pair of socks and all the petticoats I had and some pants under them and my sweater and my coat. I thawed the water and made breakfast for my brand new husband. It was the breakfast I grew up having. Biscuits and gravy. I loved biscuits and gravy. While I was fixing it Fred got ready for the day and when he was all ready I had him sit down and I proudly put the plate in front of him.

He took one look at it and said, “What in the 'blank' is this?”

I didn’t think a man should swear at his brand new bride and I tried not to show I had my feelings hurt.

“It’s biscuits and gravy.”

“Well, I’m not eating it. Good grief. Who eats this stuff? I’ll eat at the hotel.”

He got up and put the plate in the dishpan, buttoned his coat and left. He forgot to kiss me.

I stood there, with a fork in my hand. “I eat stuff like this,” I said in a tiny voice. “My dad and mom and all us kids ate stuff like this all our lives.” And then I threw myself on the bed and bawled like some kind of a baby. I reached out and pulled the covers all the way over me and burrowed down and sobbed. “You didn’t even kiss me goodbye.” I said into the emptiness of the boxcar.

I fell asleep. When I woke up I was nearly late for work and I still had the fork in my hand. I threw it as hard as I could and one of the tines bent. I bent it back but it always had a little wave it. We only had two forks and from then on I made sure I always ate with that one. I didn’t want Fred to ask what had happened to it. I didn’t want to tell him I had thrown a fork at him after he was gone, that he made me angry, that I felt stupid and like a little country girl when he was sophisticated.

I dumped the biscuits and gravy in the weeds at the side of the tracks where I knew a stray cat or dog would find it. I never made that for breakfast again, not once in my whole life. I kept the fork all these years and I still have it in my sock drawer. When I die my girls will find it and wonder if I ate secretly while choosing nylons and socks. I take it out sometimes and run my fingers up and down the wavy part where it was bent. I don’t know why I’ve kept it all these years. I just have.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Today I went to a Stake Women's Conference where the keynote speaker was Virginia H. Pearce, daughter to President Gordon B. Hinckley. She has written a book called A HEART LIKE HIS which I have read part of.

Why only part? Because I put it by my bedside and when I go to bed I am stumbling tired--because I stay up too late, and also because we keep the heat off in our bedroom so it's cold in there. So, to read, I would have to freeze, while yawning, with eyes watering--so the words would be blurry--when I am tired my eyes water. Sometimes, in church, People think I have been moved by the testimony of others or a point in their lesson when, in reality, I stayed up way to late the night before and am tired.

Today, Sister Pearce made some wonderful points. Since I have not read the book yet, and it was a borrowed book, which I gave back to the owner today so she could get it autographed by Sister Pearce, I don't know how closely she stayed to the text of the book. The book's owner lent it to a different neighbor, who will read it about 100 times faster than I did and then I will get it back again.

Here are a few points that were meaningful to me: (I took notes but my note taking sometimes leaves me scratching my head, wondering, what is that word and what was I trying to say, here? You will see this as you read on and perhaps you will be scratching your head too.) I won't put quotes because of the incompetent note taking. I apologize for the awkwardness of the sentences to follow but this is how I wrote them down.

Through Christ's love I can become more. Will you polish and refine me so I can be more? We are not perfect women but we are trying to become holy women. Be ye holy.

You and I are of great worth, every single one of us. Every single person on this planet is of great worth. If we believe this, it makes all the difference. If we don't believe this, it makes all the difference. We have God's spiritual DNA.

She mentioned an Olympic speed skater, whose name I didn't catch, who said she used to think her value came from her accomplishments. After she learned differently, after she learned that she was of worth because she was God's child, her whole life changed. We need to gain a testimony of our worth outside of who we perceive we are--our accomplishments, etc.

Do I have a testimony of my worth? Do I know that I am his daughter? Has the Holy Ghost told me this? The Holy Ghost speaks of things as they really are. At the moment that happens--that you know you are of worth and you are of God--your life changes. You can turn outward and help others.

She quoted President Faust--We need to reach deep within us to find our divinity. We can then find our self worth.

Quoting Elder Maxwell--Get in the way of how God has always felt about us and always will. It is about belonging to God. It doesn't matter how good you are or how bad, you are His.

We want to change to be like him.

If you are annoyed with everyone your heart is like a shriveled apple (she brought two apples that she had waded through the snow in her backyard and plucked off her tree. She tapped them on the podium and they were hard and sounded like rocks). When she is generous, full of gratitude and positive about others she has a softened hart. She pictures her heart like either the shriveled apple or the ripe fruit, then she can get out of the self-deception cycle and get on with her life.

She mentioned looking into a mirror. It's all about me. But, if we look at it not at a mirror but as a window then we see others, their needs.

There is something about looking at each other. She mentioned she goes for physical therapy and it has been all about her. Would she get better? Would her body heal? She had focused on herself and not anyone else. Then she decided that was a shriveled apple heart and she noticed her physical therapist and asked about her life. They had a good conversation and she is anxious to go back and see how the physical therapist is. Before that day she hadn't even noticed the woman's face.

Are you looking at people as objects or as a person of reverence--as a person of divinity?

All that is divine within me reverences all that is divine within you.

She mentioned a woman in the audience who we all knew, she said this woman had bad acne as a teenager. They sought treatment but the acne was still there. When she was a teen her mother told her to do everything she could to make herself look good and then, when she went out the door, to think of others. (My comment: This woman has obviously done that as she is a loving, confident person who serves and graciously cares about others.)

Be a woman for others. God expects us to love them. His love is always there but it is not available to us because we won't allow it. (My comment: I think we think little of ourselves sometimes, maybe believing, like the speed skater, that our worth is dependant on our accomplishments, when God knows all the time that we are of great worth because we are of him. We are his.)

See what you can do with your heart. See what the Lord can do if you let him.

--End of my notes--

She did mention that President Hinckley, who is 97, reminds his doctors that it is because of the prayers the people that he has lived as long as he has. He is a marvelous man, prophet, president who leads this church in ways of faith.

After the talk there were delicious treats to snack on while we put together baskets full of wonderful things for the women in the crisis center. I tracked down the recipe for the popcorn. It's on my recipe site.

It was a lovely way to spend the morning. The Stake leaders had put a tremendous amount of work into advance preparation so everything ran smoothly. I am amazed at their dedication and good works. They truly have hearts like Him. May they be blessed in ways they can't comprehend.

And may each of you be blessed to know you are of God. You belong to Him. You are of worth and are loved. If you don't believe this I hope you will do what it takes to find out it is true.

Friday, January 11, 2008


When I was a kid I could board the bus in one of three places. One block away, to the south (uphill, toward the mountain) at my cousin, Holly's house. One block away, to the east, by the church, or right in front of my house. If I boarded at Holly's, I got my choice of any seat I wanted. If I boarded by the church I got most any seat I wanted and if I boarded at my house I had to sit where I could find a seat. If I boarded early I could save a seat for Pam, my best friend and we could visit or read or giggle together all the way to school. At my house I had to sit with a surly boy or a haughty high school girl or wherever. I hated sitting with surly boys or haughty girls or whatevers. I would look back to see Pam sitting with someone she didn't want to sit by either. My bus stop choices affected her too.

But, I was a slow getter-upper. And I loved to stand over the heat vent in the kitchen and let my flannel nightgown fill with warm air. I would do this for a l-o-n-g time. Mother would say things like, "Are you watching the clock?" I never was. She did it for me.

Or, I was still in bed, which happened more often. She would call up the stairs a lie such as, "It's ten minutes to eight." I had a clock ten inches away and knew it was only 7:35. She wanted me to be on time and thought a little lie was necessary. And sometimes it was, as occasionally that call woke me up from a sound sleep after I had banged my alarm off and snuggled back down under warm covers.

One day--this was in grade school--I loitered in bed one minute too long--as usual--and missed the bus at Holly's. I took off for the church at a dead run, cleared the front porch steps in one leap and vaulted across the ditch. The fear of the surly and haughty gave my little legs extra oomph. In front of Lloyd Gleave's house there was always a puddle. This morning it was frozen, but I didn't notice. My heel struck the ice and down I went. I scrambled up, bare hands scraping dirty, rutted ice. I took off again, my unbuttoned coat flying behind me. I made the corner just as the bus screeched to a stop. I got on, found a seat and settled in, nursing my bleeding hands. When Pam got on I forgot all about them and we settled in to tell secrets, laugh and enjoy the warmth of friendship--there was no warmth on the bus and we could often see our breath--but the friendship was enough.

When I got home that night Mom told me the story of the tenderness of a mother. She watched from the door as I cleared the steps, jumped the ditch and then, her hands clutched to her chest, watched as I went down on the puddle. She had her hand on the door, pushing it open when I got up and took off again. She was going to go outside, gather me up, comfort me and tell me I didn't have to go to school. How glad I am that I was off and running before she got to me. I might have gloried in the sympathy, stayed home and been pampered. Instead I went to school and faced all the things that all school students face. Some good, some bad, all contributing to who I am.

I know some people have bad memories of their school years and I have my share. Friends who did underhanded things. Boys I had a crush on who didn't ask me out or boys I didn't like, who did. Teachers who ridiculed in front of the whole class--I had one high school teacher who did this--he actually hated me, I think--and the reason was because I deserved it.

I was a brat in his class. I was even a brat right to his face. I argued with him in front of everyone more than once and I think I went to the Principal's office over it, but more often than not he gritted his teeth and put up with my rudness.

I need to put those times behind me. Not forget, maybe, but forgive. Forgive those who hurt me and forgive myself for being on the other end, being in power--or supposed power--and hurting someone else . I need to forgive myself for being rude or even for not doing my best, just sliding by and not caring that the teachers were trying to change my life for the better.

I really don't know why this all came out tonight but there it is. Since I can't apologize to all those who I hurt or disobeyed or dishonored I am confessing to you. I'm sorry. I hope I have been forgiven.

I hope your good memories overshadow your bad ones, like mine do. I hope you have forgiven others and yourself and are facing each new day with courage to get up from the frozen puddle and face life running, coattails flying, knowing that good things await.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


How come I bring two or three pens to the computer desk and in a week this is the only one left? Week after week, this one is in the drawer and the others are gone.

Today in our writer's critique group. We decided that we need some new blood to give us a jump start. And we need to do a lot of other things, none of which I seem to remember. I blog every day but today to group I took less than a fourth of a sheet of paper with anything written on it. Why can I blog but not write a story?

It's a mystery, as are the missing pens.
PS My morning song was: There is Sunshine in my Soul Today. Very nice.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Today was a little snow, big snow day
It sifted down for hours, starting way before sunup and I guess we got six to eight inches. It made the world clean and fresh. If only it were as easy to make me the same. And I guess the message is I can do it. Little by little, sifting the bad tendencies out, embracing the good ones. Refusing to be brought down--that is the hard part--rejoicing in life and trusting that all will be well.

Embracing the joy. I think God wants us to have joy. He says so in the scriptures. If I believe Him, and I do, I should have joy. All the time? I'm beginning to think that may be possible. Even in trials and sorrows? I think if we remember who we are and where our destiny lies then I think so. Can I do this? There isn't a font large enough to say "no" with as much emphasis as I feel it needs. But can I, really is it possible? I think so. Today? No, today was not a joyful day. It was a fearful day, but should it have been? Probably not. I must learn to trust more and have more faith.

And I must re-read and then re-read again Carol Tuttle's book Remembering Wholeness. Phil read the first seven chapters to me today and then I felt better. There is so much good information coming out into the world at this time. It is a good time to live.

One of the reasons it is a good time to live is because there are some great people out there. Two friends I talked to tonight. Two friends who reassured me and offered help and an email from a family member too. (Bless you, Sharee and may your children always be obedient.) My husband, who is my rock. He helps me every day in one way or another. He is patient and not always understanding but he's getting better at it. How can you understand an irrational woman, anyway? So, mostly he's understanding even though I'm not mostly rational.
My world is full of people who are so willing to help. Some of you, who comment on my blog are those people too. Thank you, one and all for your goodness, your humor, for your own beautiful/funny/insightful/tender, etc. blogs where I spend far too much time every day.

The Morning Songs.

This morning, actually for a lot of the mornings for as long as two or three weeks, I have had the same song going through my head when I wake up. The third verse of a hymn. At first I thought it was for me but it came so often and was so persistently there that maybe it is for someone who might read this blog, too.

"Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, upheld by my righteous,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand."

I couldn't remember what hymn it was for a couple of weeks. It's How Firm a Foundation. It has brought me a lot of comfort. I hope it will help someone else.

Nothing funny to report today. Some days are like that. Other days are hysterical. Come to think of it, this day will probably be hysterical in a year. I'll re-write it then and you will laugh and so will I.

Won't we?