Monday, October 2, 2017

The Weekend

I'm tired of this.

More than 50 dead last night in Las Vegas.

We had a peaceful, joyful, family-filled weekend listening to General Conference--all of us piled on blankets and pillows with notebooks and treats in the messy family room.

We had dinner with family then a quick visit to the Mesa Temple Visitor's Center to listen to Karli sing songs about love and Christ.

We had a long talk with Lily about her plans for college next year--ACT scores, entrance fees, and how much things really cost in the grown-up world.

We sent kids up to bed with instructions to brush and read while Brad and I took a quick walk around the block in the suddenly balmy evening.

We said prayers, and I was so grateful in mine for an almost perfect weekend surrounded by the people and things that I love.

And I woke up to six notifications on my phone of the shooting at a concert in Las Vegas. Brad and I attended a concert at Mandalay Bay once: Josh Groban. I've walked the halls of that hotel and the Strip, and somehow that makes this shooting even harder for me, makes it more personal and immediate. We drive through Las Vegas on our way to Idaho. Las Vegas is close.

I can't stop thinking about the people and their families, those whose lives changed instantly. I can't stop thinking about how quickly life changes and how we never know when it will be us.

Prayers are different this morning--still full of gratitude for my family and my life, but now they are headlined with prayers for healing. Prayers for this world we live in.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

It's Been Too Long

It's been too long since I really blogged--sat down at the keyboard and let ideas flow and gel and cement.

My life is so good right now. But it's very busy, and time with the computer (let alone time with my thoughts) is generally sucked up with grading or learning more things to teach my students.

Brad generously sent me up here to the cabin last night because he knew I've been missing it. Even though it's just been for a few hours (and for most of them I was thankfully sleeping with the window open and the cool breeze blowing across my bed), I realize how much I needed to sit. To think. To stop.

Elk and deer. Bluebirds and squirrels. And a pair of retired hikers with their trail poles. The only companionship I've had all morning.

It's been nice.

School is much more manageable this year, but I know I still need to do better. I hope that life is settling down now and that I can get into a groove where I remember the necessary more frequently.

Taking more pictures

Watching more football games

Having lunch with friends

Reading bedtime stories

Attending the temple

Pondering and praying

Helping with elementary homework

And sitting just quietly to smell the flowers.

Here's to new resolutions and important moments.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Wisdom from a Sickbed

Mom, after a dash to the toilet with his hands over his mouth: "Sorry you don't feel well, buddy."

Hyrum, from the cozy layers of his bed: "It's okay, Mom. Sooner or later it happens to everybody."

I had to laugh at his wisdom.

Hope he makes it to the bathroom next time, too.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Here We Have Idaho

Something about Idaho recharges my spirit, especially the smells--the smell of rain on freshly cut alfalfa (and even the smell of dairies and horse pastures).

After spending the last week back home (I still call Idaho that, even though I've lived in AZ much longer now), I figured out what some of that something is. It's the people.

Farm people

Rural people

Salt-of-the-earth people

Sensible people

God-fearing people

Patriotic people

Hardworking people

Humble people

Kind people

Good people

Idaho folks as a general rule (like most of the country between the coasts) don't have time to worry about rainbows and statues and what their underlying meanings may be. They're too busy working to pay the bills. They're busy taking care of livestock or their neighbor's sick wife. They're busy picking fresh tomatoes and green beans from their gardens and canning them quick before the first heavy frost comes. They're busy checking maps and forecasts and camp equipment for the big hunts in October.

They're busy living.

They are also sick of city people telling them how to spend their money or their time or how to best utilize their wilderness or how many guns they can own. They are tired of city people legislating change to their lives. City people rarely share rural values like these: Hard work outside or inside is what brings satisfaction, and that hard work often doesn't punch a clock. Family (whether blood or not) is what brings joy. Love of God and country is what brings meaning.

They still salute the flag and tear up when they hear "The Star Spangled Banner." They fly flags from their trucks and from their gutters--and not just on national holidays. They carry guns in the backs of their trucks and on their hips--and not to make a political statement, but because they may need it sometime. They still pray in public--and no one rebukes them.

Ironically, because of how hard life in rural communities can be, these hardworking people have more reasons than most to be bitter. Yet they retain their optimism and conviction that America is the greatest place on earth.

These are the people who voted for Trump in large percentages--for someone who espouses American values and doesn't play by the Washington rules they hate.

And while I may have drifted over a thousand miles from them geographically (and hundreds of miles politically, in some cases), a small portion of my heart always opens again in Idaho, whispering, "Welcome home."

50 Golden Years

My parents celebrated their 50th anniversary July 7th.

Aren't they awesome?
Fifty years together--fifty years on the roller coaster of life. I'm so blessed to have been raised by these incredible people who love their family and God and taught their four children to be pretty decent people.

All of their direct descendants minus two missionaries and one grandson-in-law.

My favorites are the three on the left--look at Ellie, Eve, and Nathan. I don't think they realized this was the serious one!

Here we are in our real state.

Congratulations, Mom and Dad. All these crazy people love you!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Back to School 2017

This post is two weeks late, but better late than never.

School started August 9th, and it is the last time I will have five kids home on the first day of school. Ben is headed back to Provo this week--on to bigger and better adventures, but we snagged him for pictures anyway.
Twelfth Grade
Favorite Food: Bacon
Favorite Song: Forever Young by Lil Yachty
Favorite Activity: Snapchat
Favorite Show: House, MD
Favorite Movie: Safe Haven
Favorite Sport: Chasing Boys

Lily is trying hard not to wish away her senior year. She wants to be on her own and done with high school more than anything, but she's decided she's going to make good memories this year and do the best she can about all of it.

She just started a new job working at the mall, and she's getting tons of hours. All that cash will go a long way towards replacing her phone, which was stolen a few weeks ago.

Eighth Grade
101.5 lbs
Favorite Food: Corn Dogs
Favorite Song: No favorite
Favorite Activity: Sports
Favorite Show: I don't know
Favorite Movie: "Civil War"
Favorite Sport: Football

My little boy is growing up fast. His voice is cracking almost as often as he teases his little brother. Micah is excited to play football this year (had their first W on Friday), and he's still practicing the piano, even though he does complain about how much time it takes.

He still doesn't have a phone (and may be one of only a handful in eighth grade), but as soon as he earns his Eagle, the phone is his. He's close--just a few merit badges and his Eagle project, so hopefully within the next few months he will stop checking his Instagram on my phone.

Fifth Grade
66.5 lbs
Favorite Food: Mashed Potatoes
Favorite Song: Bagpipes (on the piano)
Favorite Activity: Reading
Favorite Show: Clone Wars
Favorite Movie: None
Favorite Sport: Soccer
I've always loved his chocolate eyes. This kid--he's a mixture of hard and soft. He loves weapons and sneaking up on a brother with a sword or nerf gun for a noisy ambush. He also loves babies and little kids, taking time to play with Annie and Eli or any other little one who's around.

Hyrum decided to try football again this year, and he quit piano but started the cello in orchestra. He loves to take things apart, and he's my only boy who hasn't needed me to nag him to death to get his homework done.

Third Grade
51.5 lb
Favorite Food: Grapes
Favorite Song: Shut Up and Dance with Me
Favorite Activity: Coloring/Playing School
Favorite Show: SpongeBob
Favorite Movie: Princess Diaries
Favorite Sport: Swimming
My baby is in third grade. When did she grow up? Eve loves to play school, using books and papers and sticky notes to convert our homework area to her classroom. She's convinced she's going to grow up to be a teacher, and I hope she's right.

Eve loves Annie, and after Tucker and Karli bought a new house this past month, the girls got a little lonely for each other. She loves to mother anyone younger (or the same age, to be honest), and even though she's the baby of our group, she has plenty of littles around her most of the time.

Don't let this picture fool you. Micah's on his tiptoes. But it won't be long until he really is that tall. It seems like he grows every week.

Of course we had to take a silly one as well.
Brad came out just as we were finishing the photos, and he added me to the mix--first day of my second year teaching.
Then he asked for a silly one, and my patience disappeared--I'm always on a time crunch on school mornings. Look at the kids in the background. They thought it was pretty funny.
Two weeks down, and it looks to be another fantastic school year.

Bring on 2017-18!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


I rarely blog any more.

I miss it.

I miss the catharsis. I miss the creativity and the photography and the assembly and the fulfillment.

Mostly, I miss the memories I recorded.

Now the missed memories will be forgotten.

I'm hoping to blog once a week this school year. That's my goal.

I've already fallen short, but I'm not going to give up on it.

I turned 48 yesterday--and the planets aligned just for me in a spectacular eclipse.

I hardly saw it, because I was teaching. And that's ok.


My back gives me fits all the time.

I feel pretty good most of the time.

I want to be active and healthy like this the rest of my life, and I'm making some goals to do that.


I'm learning I can't fix everything.

I'm also learning I don't want to.

I'm learning to let go and let it be.


I'm weaker.

I'm stronger.

I'm set in my ways.

I'm changing.


Life feels a bit unsettled at the moment, but that's because there's a lot going on--Heidi's baby is due in a few days. Ben is leaving for Provo next week. Lily's a senior and my littles aren't that little any more. School is overwhelming but satisfying.


It feels . . .

 . . . just right.

Thank you, Goldilocks.