Tuesday, August 31, 2010


One morning, when I was about eight, I was awakened to a furry ball of energy licking my face all over. It was a brown and white Springer Spaniel.

“We bought you a dog,” Mom said. What she really meant was, “We bought a hunting dog for Dad but if we say it’s for you maybe you will take care of him.” I’m sure I didn’t. Knowing children like I do now, after raising five, I'm sure I promised lots of things but following through? Not so much. But I got to name him and since he was spotted I called him Freckles.

What he really was, was a socialite in a dog suit. He made the “rounds” every morning from one end of the town to another. You could almost set your clock by him. My best friend, Pam Robinson’s house at 8:15, the Barney’s house at 8:18, across the canal bridge at 8: 22, and so it went until he had noised into everyone’s business.

He was the worst hunting dog on the planet. Dad would shoot a pheasant and send Freckles to retrieve. When he came back he had a mouth full of feathers and a mangled bird that looked like a mud-wad with a beak and pitiful bird feet sticking out. There was no way to salvage any bit of a bird that Freckles retrieved. So Dad gave up on him and let him do what he did best, ramble all over town in his tongue hanging out and a sloppy look of contentment.

One day someone came to the house and told us they had found Freckles dead by the side of the road to Richfield . We retrieved him and buried him and then we cried.

He had been shot.

A long time later a farmer came to confess. Dogs had been into his sheep and when he saw Freckles, ambling along with his loose-jointed way, he got so mad that he shot him. He said he knew all along that Freckles wasn’t one of the dogs that had been killing his sheep but he saw a dog and lost all reason. He said he was sorry. I think he cried.

I can’t imagine how much courage that man had, to come and confess. A man like that you have to forgive, and you would stand up and testify of his goodness before the judgment bar.

I think Freckles forgave him too. He was like that. He loved everyone.

I'm sure Daddy and Freckles are having some good times. I can almost see him, leaning against Daddy, waiting to be scratched behind the ears. And Mom is saving the very best table scraps as a treat for my furry friend. I'm sure he is well taken care of.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


The first dog I ever remember owning was a Pomeranian. My sister, Pat, gave him to me for my birthday. He looked like a red fox that had put his paw in a light socket and had his tail in a giant curler.

photo courtesy google search

I thought he was a noble dog. How I knew anything about nobility as a six or seven-year-old, I don't know. Maybe someone explained pedigrees to me. So I started looking for an appropriate name and there it was, on a box of crackers. Crackers. Ritz crackers. I must have heard the word Ritzy somewhere so I named him Fritzy.

And there my memories of Fritzy ends. I asked my older sister. Julie, what she remembered about Fritzy. Surely she had a better memory than me, she would have been about fifteen or sixteen.

"Wasn't he a yapper?" she said.

All little dogs seem to be yappers, it's perhaps the "short man" syndrome.

And that, my friends, is all my sister and I remember about Fritzy, the noble yapper, my first dog.

Monday, August 23, 2010


I have been a bad blogger. I think of things I want to share during the day and by nightfall...poof!...the ideas are gone. They must not have been great to start with.

So for this post I am going to tell you about two blogs you should read today.

"Throwing Up Words," and the post on "Mormon Times" by Jason Wright--The Power of Praise.

The "Throwing Up Words" blog I adore. I adore the women whose blog this is. Except I don't know Kyra but I know from whence she comes, so she must be pretty fabulous. She writes all sassy and excited with life and knowing more than her tender years.

Today's post on Throwing Up Words is by Ann Dee Ellis--Author of THIS IS WHAT I DID and EVERYTHING IS FINE. Her post makes me want to get my life in gear and do what I always say I am going to do. She is a wonderful author.

The other woman on Throwing Up Words is Carol Lynch Williams. This woman is perhaps the kindest woman on the planet. She hands out good advice anytime anyone needs it. She is one of the driving forces behind Writers and Illustrators for Young Readers, which is a wonderful five day long symposium. She has helped launch many Utah writers. And you feel so good when you are with her. She makes you feel like you can do it--write. Even if you can't. And so then you go ahead and try and then she helps you get better.

She has dozens of books out, all of them good. Better than good. I love everything she writes. Her latest is THE CHOSEN ONE and it's oh so good and oh so "I can't believe things like this happen in real life-ish in this day and age." It's about polygamy.

Oh wait, her latest is GLIMPSE. How have I missed it? I must go buy it this week. I'll bet she had a book signing and I missed it. I feel all sorry for myself now.

You should read this blog every day. They give advice on writing, motivation by the basketful, and you will love their quirky writing styles. After you've read it for a couple of weeks you feel like they are your best friends.

The one on Mormon Times is about the value of praise. Don't you love it when someone says you are good at something. I can live a week on a good compliment. So, go read this and give some praise to someone who needs it. Or just do it anyway. It's a good thing. (Martha says that so it must be good because she's famous and everything.)

Friday, August 13, 2010


We hate them--trials--and yet they are necessary. We can't appreciate the good without the bad. I wanted to say "without the evil" but evil is such a...well, evil word.

I remember the night I was going to pray for every single family in our neighborhood. It was daunting. I got to exactly six houses when I realized that if I prayed for everyone I would be on my knees--or leaning on the bed, because of my bad knees--all night--perhaps even for days. Everyone had problems that seemed heartbreaking to me.

But there was one family that I couldn't find the trial for. I have often said to Phil, "They don't have a trial," and he would tell me "you just didn't know about it." Sadly, he was right. This week I found out and I was devastated. I love that family. Well, actually I love all of my neighbors and am devastated about their trials but this one kind of involved me too. It kind of involved everyone in our neighborhood. We are all hurting. Hurting and praying for this family but hurting for ourselves too.

And then, just tonight, I realized that every one of my neighbor's/friend's trials involve me because I know them. Because I love them. Because I recognize who they really are.

Now I ask a question...can my sharing the hurt, the humiliation, the fear--insert any number of hurtful words here--make a difference? Can my worrying, prayers, and well wishes, make a difference or not?

I remember in the beginning of one of my trials I wanted to run home to Momma, although she had died the year before. I wanted to mentally run home and thought of physically running home too, to Daddy. He wouldn't have known what to do with me but I was seriously thinking about it. And then I confessed this to one of my friends. Perhaps I was feeling her out, thinking she would give me words of confirmation. Instead she drew herself up to her full height, and in a "mind me!" sort of voice said, "Oh no you won't. You will stay right here where your support system is."

How can you deny that force? I stayed. And, indeed, my friends rallied around and made my life easier. And since we have been through that time together nothing will ever, EVER break that bond of friendship.

I don't know if my friends with the new, raw trial, will run home to "Momma"-wherever that might be--or if they will stay here where their support group is. I hope they will stay so we can heal together. I pray for it. I hope they are brave and have the common sense like I did--well, I didn't have the common sense but my friend did. Do you think if I said, "Oh no you won't!" that will sway their decision?

In the mean time, I will pray for them and for my hurting and everyone else's. Together we can heal, and in the healing we will be stronger. We will be one.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Ack #1

I've been a bad blogger. Almost non-existent. I also have been a bad blog follower so just a minute ago I signed in and went to my dashboard to see what everyone has been up to and when I scrolled down there was a message saying, "You are not currently following any blogs." Ack!

Now what do I do? I guess I follow the "comments" section on my posts to people's blogs. But so many blogs I follow don't follow me. Ack, does not fully tell how I feel about this.

Ack #2

I've been making jam all evening. (Normal people make jam in the morning, when it's cool. I seem to be sleeping then.) I had on a white-starched-and-ironed shirt. I put an apron on--the ever so cute one Annette made for me. Then I pitted four thousand marble-sized golden plums. Okay, they weren't actually marble size but they were shooter-sized. Bouncy-ball-sized would be an exaggeration. I added mixed berries to the plums and it made the most glorious, ruby-red jam--tasty too. I have made three batches so far...15 pints and one quart. Tomorrow I will continue but my son, the one with the marble-plum tree, will have to bring me some more. Are you reading this Taylor? More plums, please.

Phil was eating ice cream so I gave him a custard cup and asked him to give me some too. I put jam on top and with the very first spoonful I dropped wonderfully ruby-red jam in between the apron and the perfect white shirt. Which now wasn't.

Ack #3

I love texting. You can ask a question and get an answer and not have to spend 20 minutes on the phone. I am not a fast texter. And one of the reasons is because things are in different places on the phone. The letters are the same but the question marks, dashes, parenthesise, even periods and commas are somewhere else. Now, when I type on the computer I have to look every stinking time to see where things are.

I tell you, it's enough to hark a dog.