Tuesday, April 15, 2014

42. TWIN

I always wanted a twin.  At least since the Johnson's moved into our ward in elementary school. Steve and Scott were identical twins and they had all sorts of fun with it. I'm sure they have stories to tell even still, all these years later.  Trading ties, trading homework, giving two and a half minute talks in church for each other.  Fooling even their own mother, at times.  Their sister Andi and I used to try to pretend to be sisters.  We thought if we wore the same outfit that people would think we were twins.  It didn't matter that I was a blond blue eyed  Dane with plenty of squish and Andi was a long and lean, brown eyed, dark haired half Hawaiian girl. 
Libby and I pretended to be twins, too.  Pioneer twins, with matching horses.  Hers was the left banister on the basement stairs, and mine was the right.  If we both parted our hair in the middle and wore braids then there was no question we were identical twins. If Ann Marie was playing with us we were triplets.
If Libby and I weren't twins by birth, at least we were twins by bed.  Our twin beds were symmetrically situated in our bedroom.  Mom liked symmetry.  The aisle between the two beds had a small rug on the hardwood floor.  The rug was the magic carpet between two ships sailing into the misty harbor of some never-land on a Saturday afternoon. Lib and I played ship for hours on end.  An upside down waste basket was our stove top.  Towels were our hammocks.  Our pillows became sails, then cradles for our babies.  If your feet touched the ground on a sailing adventure then you were dead.  This was rarely a problem.  We would jump from twin bed to twin bed, the safety of the rug being a small cushion under us.  If we could find a two by four in the garage then there would be a plank between the two ships, which always added great dimension to our adventures.  
We often pretended to be royalty aboard ship.  I was always the prince.  I danced the boy part as well when we learned to waltz in a church activity.  To add realism to the royalty aspect we stretched wire hangers over our heads, the hook poking out from the crown of the head, the loop fitting tight under the chin.  If we both wanted to be princesses, then we would add Mom's silk scarves, which flowed gently down our backs.  
Lib and I grew up and we lived very far apart for a lot of years.  But now we are super lucky cuz we  have houses right by each other.  The Madson's house is like a nightstand between our twin beds.  We get to play all the time. Not long ago I went up to visit Libby with a crown on my head.  Anyone else would have thought me crazy.  But not my sister, my twin…she went straight to the closet, grabbed a wire hanger, and stretched it over her own head.
Yay for twins!

41. PIT

Anna Bella stands beside me in the kitchen.  Sometimes I look at her and, I'm sorry, I can't help myself... it starts as a thought and squirms up from my belly and spreads out through my hands, the words fizzing out of my mouth.
She giggles and squeals, her long sable colored hair flailing as she presses her arms in front of her. My fingers work their way into the tickle spot in her arm pit.  She wriggles and giggles, begging me to stop, which I do, of course, because excessive pit tickling is painful. You have to be old like me to know how to come up to that line between funny and not funny and not cross over it. It's one of the great advantages of getting old. And another thing, pit tickling is for little ones, creatures who are small enough to get bundled up in kisses when you're done. And whose pits don't stink.
My Bella fits perfectly in my arms, even though she is seven years old.  Her feather-light body curls into mine at night on the couch, after story time.  She tucks her head down by my heart while I kiss her head.  Over and over and over.  Like heaven assigned me an astronomical number of kisses to bestow upon her. I am a dutiful servant, and because she lives a bit too far away for my liking, I have to take advantage while I have her. When she sees me, melt my heart, she tucks her head into her neck and smiles, then when I bend down to hug her, she throws her arms around my neck.  I smother her with kisses, ending finally on kiss number nine thousand nine hundred ninety nine. Then we both take a deep breath and she asks if I want to see her new jump rope.
Bella came to us a week or so after her mama graduated from medical school, and just a few months before they moved to Kansas City for Sarah's medical residency.  She was tiny and sweet.  So tiny, in fact, it worried her pediatrician mother.  Tiny body, massive spirit.  She did not know me the way her brother Timo did.  I had tended Timo almost daily while Sarah went to Med school and Dave the Younger (their daddy) worked.  Timo knew the sound and the scent of me, the beating of my heart.  But Kansas City was too far for Gummy time and Anna's early years were not spent in my arms.  When they moved back to Utah, when Anna was three years old, she was hesitant to leave her parents' arms. I determined to win her heart.  It started in her arm pit.  Now, she can tell just by the sparkle in my eye if she needs to run.  But she never runs too fast or too far.  She knows my feet will not respond to the running commands. She acts like she's trying to get away, but we both know better.
Last night we stood in the driveway while Sarah buckled baby Joe into his car seat and prepared to go back to Herriman after Sunday dinner.  My nephew Joseph and his girlfriend AnaLisa were here.  I wrapped my arms around Bella to say goodbye, telling her as I smothered her with affection:
"Oh, I love you with all my heart…and my elbow…my liver…my right big toe…and both arm pits!"  
Joseph laughed and said, "And your fingernails and tongue!"
I told him that this was an awful lot of love from Anna, because she has an exceptionally long and agile tongue!  Anna nodded, showing him her amazing ability to touch the tip of her nose with the tip of her tongue.  Lizard tongue, her mama affectionately calls it.  Joseph was duly impressed.
Bella has determined that she is going to be a songwriter, and the truth is, she has gifts in that department.  I am not just being a biased grandmother, either.  I wish I could show you her first song, recorded by her songwriter daddy while they were living in Kansas City.  It's called Big Yellow Dough.  She belts her tunes, her lyric matching the melody, the use of melisma and prosody making it seem like she's a semi-savant.  She and Timo both have a love affair with music, and with colored pencils and paper.  But they are really just normal kids, which makes me most delighted.
The last two years Anna Bella has played the role of Baby Mouse in the Nutcracker.  She jumps up and down, her little fists curled up in front of her chest under that furry little mouse costume with the yellow bow on the tail.  She scurries and jumps and dances around Clara.
So this past Christmas Eve, when I gave her the Clara nightgown I had sewn for her, she immediately put it on and swirled around the family room, her little striped tights peeking out beneath the ruffle.  She throws her arms out like Maria on the hillside in the Sound of Music, her long red hair rising with the folds in her night dress.  I watch her from my rocking chair.  I have no desire whatsoever to tickle her arm pit.  I am content to watch her twirl and twirl, knowing that eventually she will get dizzy and fall into my arms.  Then, indeed, I will take advantage of the gift and bestow on her another blessed installment of Gummy kisses.

Bella and her Gummy make pies

Ten thousand one…
ten thousand two…
ten thousand three ….

Anna Bella swirls in her Christmas night dress

Sunday, April 13, 2014

40. PALM

“Hosanna!”, they shouted, their arms raised to the heavens, their hands grasping the central vein of palm leaves.  The palms fluttered in a rippling tunnel beside him as he passed through the city gates.  Children wove their way between the legs of old men, their little arms cradling palm leaves. They bent down, pushing through the crowd to the dusty path where the donkey would pass, laying the leaves, lattice-like before the beast of burden, like an ancient red carpet.
“Hosanna” they cried.  “Save now!”
 Finally, on this day in Jerusalem, Jesus the Christ would profess his royal lineage.  Finally, Hosanna, they thought he would save them from the political control of the Romans.
They did not know he would not save them from the Romans. More importantly, he would save them from themselves.

On this Sabbath day, Palm Sunday, I hold a fresh green palm leaf in my hand.  My fingers trace the sharp edges, all the way up to the brown tip, then back down to where the color is the hue of newborn green.  I imagine myself there, in that city, and I wonder where I would have set my feet that day.  I wonder if I would have been a believer, or a doubter, or a believer of half truths, or even a Roman.  I pretend I am old and infirmed and I have lifted myself from my bed, down the steps f my humble home to the street.  Frightened by the motion of the mass of people, yet compelled to join them.  I imagine myself a weary mother, wondering what all the fuss is about, wiping my hands on my apron as I peer out my window.  I imagine I am a child, my legs curled around the trunk of a tree, my arms stretching up to the tender part, pulling leaves out and letting them drop to the ground below, calling to my friend to hurry and gather them before strangers took them. I imagine the smell of sweat swirled in the dusty dry air, stirred up by crowds of people.  I imagine the bray of a small white donkey, the shadow of a man whose cloak will no longer hide his face. 

Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem that day, one last time, and set the wheels in motion for his own demise.  He was, of course, fully aware that this was the beginning of the end.  Such a celebration for so much sorrow!


I sat at church this morning, my head bowed as the Deacons walked between the rows, offering the bread and water to we who believe and desire cleansing.  I sat there and held my hands in my lap, my palms facing up.  Fingers fanning out, like palm fronds.  I traced with my eyes the life lines, and head lines, and heart lines on each hand, curling the fingers up toward the thumb to make the lines press deeper in the palms.  I pondered the mystical mind that puts weight on the length and strength of flesh lines; who foretell the future according to the lines in the hand.  I was reminded of the desire of the human heart to find purpose, and direction, and meaning.  Some of us find it in faith, others in fortune and mysticism.  Some pick, piecemeal, bits of this and bits of that to suit their imaginations. Still some drink their coffee and read the paper and pay no mind to faith.

I sat there, during the passing of the Holy Sacrament this morning and spread the fronds of my palms out, interweaving my fingers into each other…one hand into the other, and tucked them tight into a cluster of prayer.


She clenched her hand against her breast, the corners of her shawl wet with her tears, her throbbing chest rising and falling with the moans that fell from her lips.  She stretched her head upward, to the cross, where the weight of her son pulled at the nails in his palms. His blood dripped to the ground, like sacred rain, sucked into the thirsty earth.  Her head bobbed between the upward gaze and the demands of a mother heart that would not permit her to watch, so she lowered her head, then lifted, then lowered again in fitful sobs. And yet something in her told her to abide, despite the grotesque scene…to look upon him while yet he breathed, and to stay with him through the pain of death as she had shared that communal suffering at his birth. Full circle.  She ached to hold him, to lift his weight, to kiss his hands and his feet and cleanse them with her tears. 
He looked on her, the cradle of his flesh, and called to her, quieting her heaving shoulders with the safety of his living words.
He spoke to John: “Behold, thy mother.”

I do not know how they may have removed those nails when the deed was done. Some special tool, created no doubt for such atrocities, that would provide leverage to remove these things.  I imagine his mother’s hands, kissing those wounded palms, wiping them clean, but unable to remove the hole.  Big, gaping holes through which we all must pass.

I imagine, without really being able to imagine in my human condition, the moment those fingers sprang to life.  I close my eyes and I am Mary, running toward him, our hands outstretched, palm meeting palm in a sacred grip, my palm against his palm, my fingertip fitting perfectly in the well of his wrist

Tokens of love.  Scars He chose to keep. Never ending circles of mercy, left for proof to all the worlds, that while he could have saved himself, he would not save himself.  Instead, he ties us all to Home with sacred threads passing through the palms of his infinitely loving, compassionately wiling, strong and gentle and blessedly holy hands.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


I was twenty years old and deeply in love with two fellas at BYU.  To one I gave my heart.  To the other I gave my blood. 

Fortunately, this has not been a conflict for me; loving multiple men.  One started out pretty small, and never had to challenge Dave for my affections.  That’s my Johnny, my firstborn and only son.  He owns my heart as well.

John was born when I was an undergrad student at BYU, and Dave was attending BYU Law School. We huddled as a budding family all those years ago in our little house in west Provo.  I have such sweetly sacred memories of that singular time in our lives.

Spring ahead a full generation and here we are.  A few weeks ago, within hours of the birth of baby Walter, Johnny’s fourth child, John returned to BYU as the keynote speaker at a conference in the Marriott School of Business.  Dave had a jury trial and could not attend. (Dang criminals!) But Libby, Kate and I went to hear him deliver his address.  It was a blast from the past for Libby and me to walk across the campus of BYU, back past the Harris Fine Arts Building where we had taken most of our classes, past the statue of Brigham Young and the angular Smoot Administration Building, across the parking lot to the lovely new edifice for the renowned school of business.  We waited on some leather couches in a sitting area while the conference participants finished their lunch.  I watched silently as my boy-turned-to-a-man interacted with people; students greeting him with a sense of awe, others feeling his down to earth approachability and sparring in that youthful sort of way, kind of like flirting but without so many hormones flying around.  I watched him and remembered seeing his tiny face for the first time, all those years ago, his deep brownish black eyes staring up at me.  I remembered thinking “Who are you? And who will you become, my tiny man?” Seeing him in the town where he was born…I don’t know…it just sort of felt like the closing of a circle for me.

John, as National Director of Events for The Color Run, as well as a member of the advisory board for the BYU Department of Recreation at the Marriott School of Business, was introduced with great respect.  He had spent much of the last couple days with the people in attendance, and they knew of his experience, and expertise.  Couple his knowledge and skill with his unmatched ability to relate to people and he had them, so to speak, in his pocket from the get go.

He began by projecting a photo of baby Walter up on a large screen at the front of the room. One hour old.  Beautiful Walter.  He talked about his darling family, and his years at BYU (he has a degree in Philosophy from BYU).  He told about the Color Run, about its inception as the brainchild of his friend Travis Snyder, and about the philosophies and tenets that quickly catapulted “The Happiest 5K on the Planet” into the stratosphere of events. 

Then he talked about bagels.

Well, actually, he first asked a question:
“What will you say about this when it's over?” 

About this conference, about your experience at BYU, about this address?    He asked the question, not because he wanted an answer from them.  He wanted them to know that question.  That question, basically, was what he wanted them to take away from his address.  It is what he asks himself before every event.  “What do I want people to say when they walk away from The Happiest 5K on the Planet?

Take a look at what the COLOR RUN is about at the end of this post.  A basic component of the event is the throwing of colored cornstarch at various stations along the route.  Of course, this is not the only component that makes this particular event so popular.  There are many imitation runs that have popped up since Travis first shared his brilliant plan with Johnny at his kitchen island. Still the Color Run blows the others out of the water in success. But color, for sure, is a major component. Over 2 Million people have participated in the Color Run in the last 30 months.  That’s a lot of happy runners! John oversees all the runs in America, with event directors serving under him. 

One time they were hosting a run in Austin.  It had rained for two straight days before the event. John is not able to be at all the races, since there are often multiple races in multiple places on any given weekend.  Let me correct myself: the Color Run is not technically a race.  They do not time runners.  That, my friends, is part of what makes it a happy run.  There’s a lesson in that about what competition does to us.  Anyway, John happened to be in Austin for this particular race.  The staff begins setting up for each event around 4 am.  They have been able to, through wisdom, creativity, experience and teamwork, facilitate these giant parties in a relatively short period of time.  They set up, execute, and clean up to the pleasure of participants and the satisfaction of the cities that license them to use their parks and thoroughfares.  Somehow they have been able to get anywhere from 10,000 to 25,000 runners to pass through the start and finish lines in one single event, have a memorable time, and return the next time the Run comes to town with more friends.

So here it is 4 am in Austin.  They arrive at the venue and find the truck that is loaded with the colored powder, is mired in mud in the middle of the field where they hold their after-run concert/party.  John sets out to set up the Start Line, but tells the race director to make sure the truck gets to the color stations ASAP. He is conscious of the fact that the stewardship for directing this race lies with the race director. After a while John looks over at the field and notices the truck is still there.  He radio’s the director to take care of the truck. Just as the sun begins its ascent in the east John looks over again and sees the truck is still there.  At this point it is getting late for the color stations to have their colored cornstarch in place.  John leaves his own task to find the race director.  He finally finds him at the finish line, slicing bagels in half.  He asks what’s going on, and the director explains that a whole bagel is probably too much for each runner, so he decided to cut them.  And, noted Johnny, they were very nicely sliced.

John takes the director to the truck, which is sunken in the mud, and try as they might they cannot move it from the field.  They end up having to hand carry boxes to the stations, but not before time runs out.  Only two colors were thrown in that race, and there was a lovely panel truck smack dab in the middle of the party zone.

That director no longer works for The Color Run.

John explained, in his address to event planning students at BYU, that his objective in telling this story was to help them remember to ask the question before they start anything…any event…any relationship…anything that involves people: What do I want them to say when this is over?

“If we wanted them to say…’Hey, that Color Run has the best food of any run I’ve ever participated in!’ then we might have fulfilled our purpose.”

“Imagine the response you want…imagine what you want people to say when they walk away from your event.  Then work to make them say it.”  That’s basically what my boy taught me and a hall full of students that afternoon at BYU. I call it the bagel theory.

I have used the bagel theory in my head many times since then.  I have used it in the last month  planning gatherings of songwriters at my house, helping with a wedding and baby shower, taking a friend to birthday lunch, comforting through song at a funeral, even talking on the phone with my sister.  I use it, I should say, when I have my wits about me.  Sometimes, when I am overworked, or overtired, or overstressed, or even under confident, I catch myself figuratively "cutting bagels"…keeping myself busy with less important tasks while the important ones sit stuck in a field waiting for me to address them. When I forget to use the bagel theory I often find myself backtracking, trying to correct my mistakes, or bemoaning my failures.  But when I remember to ask ahead of time...when I have power to direct my actions rather than correct them…well I find it amazingly useful. I relieve myself from worry over things I cannot control, and I take control where I am supposed to. It doesn't make everything perfect, but it helps keep me in the right mindset for success.

As much as I know Johnny asks himself that question before events, I suspect he asks himself similar questions from the quiet of his bedside, or the solitude of his car. Maybe his newest question is this:
"What do I want Walter to say about this when it's over?"

And, since we are coming up on the holiest week of the year, tomorrow being Palm Sunday, perhaps the ultimate question to ask is “What do I want my King and Master to say when this is over?”

Click HERE if you want to know about THE COLOR RUN.
And HERE for a video.
The Color Run is eco-friendly.  And human mother friendly, as well.
John being blown away by some of his amazing Color Run team.

Friday, April 11, 2014


When cousins get together there are memories to be made and we adults should sometimes get out of the way.  Timo lives a long car ride away form his cousin Parker, so when he comes to visit, the first thing he asks is if Parker is available for some cousin time.  Park lives only a mile away from here, and I'm always grateful when his parents are willing to accommodate.
Parks and Timo are at an age where you no longer have to suggest playtime ideas.  They come up with their own.  If the weather is merciful they will almost always ask if they can go play in the rain forest.
Through the back gate, down the hill , past the back porch, is the area I affectionately call the lower forty.  It's basically a small wooded hollow of mostly scrub oak trees behind our house.  A little patch of trees to a young boy is a forest, and I think they visited it early on when it was sprinkling, so they like to call it the rain forest. For their birthdays last year we gave both of them their own sets of binoculars for their outdoor adventures.  Timo is finally old enough to have received his own Swiss Army knife from his parents.  The boys strap on their gear, making sure they have plenty of water and maybe some fruit snacks, then make off for their forest adventures. I will sometimes stand at the window and peek out at them, watching them in the semi-distance, exploring that mulchy space.  I almost always whisper a prayer that they will never fear adventure in safe places, and that they will remember always that they once gave their whole selves without reservation to exploring the earth side by side.
The other day Parker came over to help me make Sour Cream Conference cake, a semi-annual tradition in our family.  As we mixed and measured we had the little TV in the kitchen playing the Sunday inspirational broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word.  As the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang, the screen displayed scenes of nature; mountain lakes and beautiful rivers, meadows of early spring daffodils and rocky landscapes from the sides of majestic mountains.  Parker asked why they were showing those pictures.  I answered that it was probably because they wanted us to know, while the choir sang of God's beautiful earth, that we often find God in nature.
"Oh, yeah, " he said, "my dad told us that.  One day when Timo and Dad and I were hiking up the mountainside we stopped at the top and just sat and looked.  We could see all the way out past the Great Salt Lake.  My dad told us that before there were temples for people to pray in, there were mountains. Did you know, Gummy, that Adam built an altar out of rocks? "
I nodded.
"We said a prayer on the mountain."  he continued, telling me about the warm feelings he had in nature, and how he could feel God in the forest and the mountains.  He scooped two teaspoons of cinnamon into the brown sugar and inhaled the scent.  "Don't you just love good smells? I love the smell of the rain forest, and the mountains, and cinnamon."
Yes, Parker, yes I do.  I smell God in the woods and the hilltops and my kitchen. And I see Him in your eyes when you talk to me.  I feel him in the image of my son, kneeling on a rocky ridge with his own son and his impressionable nephew, showing our boys where God can be found.
I thank the Lord for the goodness in the hearts of my children, and in their children.  I know from whence all goodness springs, growing lush in the hearts of little boys and in budding, woody forests.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

37. ARMY

Know your enemy.  It's one of the first rules of war.  And life, really.
Know your enemy.  And know your team, your compadres, those with whom you will be battling the enemy.
Early on in our marriage Dave and I sat down for Family Home Evening with two yellow legal pads in our laps.  We each wrote five personal goals.  And then we shared them with each other.  Then we wrote 5 goals we wanted to aim for as a family.  Recently I found Dave's yellow sheet from all those years ago and he has pretty much achieved his goals, or he's on the direct path toward them.  It kind of blows me away, because to the average person they are rather lofty.  I did not find my goals sheet, which is probably a good thing, cuz I'd likely be a little disappointed. I think it was a good idea to set goals as a family. But I wish, when we began, we and also taken time to identify the enemies of our family, and of each of us individually. By defining the potential enemies, we could have armed ourselves a little better, and been more cautious and diligent about where we set our feet, and the feet of our children. I might have better understood that these people with whom I share a name and a home and a beating heart are my own sacred army. I understand that now, but it might have helped to define it earlier, before we had teenagers.
The Lord, in his wisdom, knows my frailties and thank goodness he gave me the Holy Ghost to deal with battles as they arise. I would be in serious trouble without the Holy Ghost, the spirit of revelation, the keeper of the flame when all appears dark. Three cheers for the Holy Ghost!
And three cheers for my own personal army! We were able, early on in the home I grew up in, to define a common enemy.  Having a common enemy is one of the most effective uniters.  We become allies when we define common enemies, and that alliance creates a sense of belonging, and of strength, and safety. At first glance one might think that our dad was the common enemy for us, because of his bad decisions and behaviors.  But Dad was not the enemy.  The enemy was much more insidious, and difficult to battle.  The enemy just got ahold of Dad. The enemy was alcohol.  Rather, the enemy was the decision to consume it. Alcohol on its own has no power over our family.  I think it is amazing that none of my father's children consume alcohol. Not at all.  Not even a sip of beer during the Super Bowl.  Not even if the Steelers are playing. Maybe our good friend the Holy Ghost defined the enemy for us and we unwittingly armed ourselves against the potential for alcoholism by never taking a first drink.  I celebrate my religion and its tenet that we do not consume alcohol or smoke, because while one person may have the wherewithal to take 100 drinks and not be addicted, the chances are also good that after one drink, or two or three, we could find ourselves strapped into the sinking ship of the enemy. I know our genetic propensity, because my father's father had the same issues I am told.  So hurrah for zion!
I picture myself arm locked with my siblings in our family army, and then I see myself joined in that army by my children, and their spouses, and their children, and pretty soon there will be a mountainside covered with our royal army, willing and ready to go down the mountain with our swords drawn and our shields before us, glistening in the light of the Son. Not all of us share the same religious beliefs.  Not all of us have the same goals.  But we do have common enemies, and we do watch out for each other, keeping the ones we love in our peripheral vision as we move on to slay dragons.
And then there's the sweet stuff, the things that tighten the ties that bind us.  Like today, after a long night of sitting up in the family room, a mixing bowl in my lap, dry heaving every half hour or so.  I was hit with a bug that gave me the cleanse I was too wimpy to impose upon myself.  Sheesh.  It's been a long 24 hours!  So I had to miss the Pinewood Derby with my Cub Scouts, and I didn't have the ability to make a couple pans of brownies as I had promised.  So my oldest sister Sherry, the Chief in this picture, stepped in for me.  She had come down to our house to see if Dave needed her car, because his is in the shop.  Dave was tending baby Joe, so Sherry, a skilled speech therapist, spent a good chunk of time doing a little speech therapy with him as he sat in his high chair.  Then she made her way into my bedroom, where I was curled up around a pillow.
"Oh dear," she said, "You got the gomboo!  What can I do to help you?" So she went back home and whipped up a bunch of brownies so I would not shirk my duty as a Bear Den leader. She would tell you it was no big deal, and indeed, she is super able to step up and help when someone is in need.  But it was a big deal to me.  I felt her figurative hand slip between my waist and elbow.  I felt her pull me in beside her, weak and weary as I was, and hold me up while we moved forward in this battle we call life.  Making brownies for a Cub Scout Pinewood Derby is not what the average human would call a battle.  All would be well without them.  But her sensitivity to my concerns, and her understanding of my desire to be dependable…these make her a sister in arms.  Maybe the word "army" means just that, arms linked together, armed with a common cause.
I am blessed by many people who face the enemies before me.  Some who do not even realize I consider them team mates.  It's a good thing, because I'm pretty sure the enemy knows us. We keep our blades sharp, and our eyes open, and know that the One we follow will not lead us into any battles we cannot…together... one day win.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


This delicious looking bowl of apples has adorned our kitchen table for a long time.  I love these apples, and this bowl, for many reasons.  First, it fits the flavor of our home.  It says, without saying anything, "come in and sit at our table and eat your fill." Symbolically of course, because the apples are not real.  They are a really good imitation of the real thing, and lots of people have been fooled, including our grand kids.  These little teeth marks are evidence.

I adore the few apples with those teeth marks, because they remind me that little ones gather at our house often.  The bowl is a very light wood, as light as balsa wood.  I bought it years ago at the 5 Hour Store (Market Square in SLC).  The apples were purchased at Universal Floral Supply probably two decades ago, on a shopping day with my mom. That store is closed now.  To top off all the sentimental reasons I love this bowl of apples, they are red… and Red Is Best!

I am reminded of the day we were sitting in Gram's family room, when Timo was barely walking.  Gram had something stuck beneath her false teeth, so she slipped them out of her mouth, puckering her lips and holding them there for a minute.  Timo looked up at her and started screaming, running to his mama and bawling.  We tried to reassure him that this was a perfectly normal thing, to have teeth that could come out sometimes.  But he didn't buy it, and I think somewhere deep inside him he still has post traumatic stress issues regarding old peoples' teeth.

One time, when my brother John brought his wife Jenny to Farmington for a visit, early in their relationship, they stayed with Gram in her condo.  Jenny came up the stairs and onto the upstairs landing just as Gram was making her way from the shower to her bedroom. Gram was fleshly cleaned, powder fresh, and buck naked.  Jenny, rather startled, quickly turned to move into the guest bedroom.  Gram smiled, apologized, and shrugged her shoulders.  She was never one to find shame in the human body.  She grabbed a robe and came out to the landing, meeting Jenny.  In classic Gram fashion she remarked:

"You know you've arrived when you've seen me without my teeth!"

I miss Gram.