hands that hang down

Dearest Friends,

How could I have ever known that after being so moved by the tragedy suffered by my friends, at the loss of their sweet little man last week, that we would so soon suffer our own loss in the birth and death of our first grandchild.

We have received so many words of support and comfort through out the weekend that I am beyond full. I am beyond saturated.  I am overflowing.  This is what a lifetime of building relationships does.  It allows you to be held up when you need it.  It allows you to let your knees completely buckle, to throw your arms into the air, and while falling backwards to know that there are many there to catch you.  We have felt it to the end of the numbers and back.  Thank you kindly.

My son is an amazing man that has been a rock for his sweet and gentle wife.  He has held her hand and smiled in her face, knowing that through the blessings of the gospel they will have their little Olive again someday.  And if you could have seen the way he held that baby and protected her little lifeless body for the few hours she was in the room with us, you would have fallen madly in love with him, like I did.

We will heal together as a family.  We have each other and we have the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

All will be well.

a thousand years

I saw death today in a sweet little coffin with a sleeping baby wrapped in a soft white blanket.  Usually a quiet occasion, this one was especially peaceful as his parents stood close by to watch over him.  They were kind and gracious to visitors while they offered hugs and dignity in the face of what I cannot even imagine.

And even though there is a gospel plan which offers hope and eternity, there must be that brief moment, after a tragic loss, where we think short -term.  Where we feel the gut-wrenching sense of loss and things-will-never-be-the-same-again.  That has to be allowed.

Then, gradually, our souls come around and convince our minds and bodies to succumb to this idea of forever.  Where we realize there is neither beginning nor end to our love.  Then, when we have rejoined ourselves, we wrap ourselves up in that white blanket.  Together.  As a family.  And sleep.

A Thousand Years
click to listen

late afternoon pebbles


The bottom line is that the shadow can be three to four times as long as the actual object. All it takes is for the light to be at just the right angle. Low-aiming light gives a long shadow and makes for an illusion of size.

Sometimes people appear to be more than we think. They catch the light just right and cast shadows that surprise us. They do more than expected.

Like when my little student knew all of the right answers today about shapes. His little pebble cast a good long shadow then, and I smiled and told him how proud I was.

Twitterpated, by Melanie Jacobson

After reading Melanie Jacobson's Not My Type a few months back, I realized what all of the hype was about.  This girl gets the voice down so well in her characters that you are instantly 20-something again as you are reading.

Now, with her newest novel Melanie again captures the issue of being a young woman who is looking to  figure her working life and her personal life out.

Click here to buy her newest novel, Twitterpated.

that time

When I walked out of the elevator in my silvery shoes and wind blown hair I heard Chopin being played on the piano in the lobby. Memories. Flooded. You played that same song when we were newly entwined.

And I thought of being here 18 months ago as we celebrated our son's wedding. The flowers. The food. The people. Always about the people.

Remember that time? Or those times? Where we notice the ornamentation in faces and experiences, not just in architecture and fancy things.

I remember.

a little psyched

Monday was warm and sunny, and I opted out of making dinner so that I could take a long walk and listen to Imogene Heap sing "Headlock".  I stopped by the high school baseball field to watch a scrimmage game on my way home (did you know I am a sports nut?), and then I took my youngest to his cello lesson.

When I walk my mind wanders and I use the quiet for processing things.  How are the boys doing?  How can I serve my husband better?  What will happen to my sweet little downs syndrome student next year?  I am not a social walker.  I need to be selfish here and there.  Social in a lot of other situations (most, actually), just not when I am getting my walk on.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my sweet daughter-in-law?  She is tender-hearted and a little shy, and she loves my first-born.  I know this because I see how patient she is with him.  She allows him his time to bang on drums in his band(s).  She allows him to be himself.

And she is giving me a little granddaughter in the Summer.  Can you see her high-fiving us?

My missionary son comes home in 5 weeks.  He is obedient and humble and funny and all-around terrific.  I am anxious to wrap my arms around him and kiss his handsome freckled face.

This house of boys has been what I have needed.  My destiny, I guess you could say.  I have spent the past 24 years teaching them to try and think of others' feelings.  To not slam the kitchen drawers so hard.  To not leave their dirty underwear on the threshold of the bathroom.  To talk to me.  And to know I get to start teaching again when Little Miss Burton comes makes me hope that I have gotten better at it.

I love my life.

just being

“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” 
― George Bernard Shaw

Here I am at almost 48 years, and I still find myself thinking about the experiences I have had that have shaped me.  Some are smears of friendships and places and events, where I can't seem to pinpoint dates or details.  But some things stand out in full color.  Full HD. Each of these kinds of experiences has led me to where I am, from my major in college to my marriage, to my now.  But you know what I have always known?  I have always known that God loves me and has things for me to do.  While not necessarily an over-achiever, I have had a sense of purpose for as long as I can remember.  Not an "I am going to change the world" kind of purpose, but more of an, "I can do that and help people while I do" kind. And all of these years later I can finally say I am pretty good at two things that I thought I would mention here, more as an exercise in self-realization than an exercise in bragging.

I am a bridge-builder
From the time I was in junior high school I have had friends from different groups. Somehow I have been able to make friendships just as easily with people that share my interests as with those who don't.  I had friends who hung out in the smoking section at my high school (yup, a note from your parents gave you permission to smoke in a certain courtyard behind the building), friends on my basketball team, friends from choir. And I have had opportunities to bring people together when needed.  I was able to do some of this today as a friend confided in me and asked advice on how to solve a certain concern she has with a mutual friend.

I have my own mind
Although I care about others' opinions of me, I have finally gotten to a place where I can just be.  I am not overly stubborn, but I am not easily swayed either.  I am confident in my interpretations of situations, and feel like I can read people quickly without being judgmental in a negative way.

I believe the Lord has blessed me with these things.  What gifts do you have?

In the Doctrine and Covenants section 46 we read:  11 For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.  12 To some is given one and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.

writing process

I am a book, aren't I?  


My table of contents lists my friends, places I have lived, big events I have faced. Milestones. Children. 


I establish my voice, my narration, through early experiences. Some chapters are stronger than others. Like the one where my kindergarten teacher puts her arm around me and smiles. Right at my little face. 


Some chapters weaker.  For example, the chapter where we move when I am 12 and the neighborhood girls kind of hate me.  And let me know it regularly.  Here the voice would seem a little unsure and even jittery. 


But the arc moves forward and the story opens up. Character development.  Conflict and resolution. 


my sweet little student playing with plastic animals 

I try to remember this as I write on the cute little pages of my students, and my own children, everyday. I reassess often and realize that I need to edit and rewrite. But the books are being written and I am just pleased as punch to be a part of it.