Valentine's Day has been a little like Mother's Day for me over the years-- I have a sort of love-hate relationship with it. It has a commercial taint that makes my rebellious side stand up and say, "Whoa! Who says I have to buy some candy or something that proves I love my Honey? I refuse to be sucked into this! Give me a break! If I didn't love him, I'd have been out of here before now!Mumble, mumble, murmur, murmur..." I sometimes resorted to writing a poem or making a card of one sort or another...Some years required a funny card because if we didn't laugh at ourselves, we'd have been screaming. On the other hand, Van was fond of bringing home something for Valisa (OK, so it WAS her birthday, but think about the day she was born-who was doing all the work?Answer me that? ) and he sometimes didn't give me anything. I admit I felt a little bad. Still, on the OTHER other-hand, on that day, Feb 14, 1968 I got a pretty sweet Valentine. I didn't even remember the day until they brought in my tray and it had a little plastic swan with candy hearts and a note, "Happy Valentine's Day!" Van wanted to name her Lisa Valentine, but I mused over that for a day or two and came up with Valisa. Yes, it was a great Valentine. .... As much as I have hated the crass commercialism of Valentines, I am torn. I want Wally to know I love him, but I can't think of anything to give him besides another card and my other cards have said it all....I think. Anyway, he gave me a heartshaped box of chocolates that if I eat them will only raise my blood sugar and expand my waitstline. And I ASKED him for a flowering plant.....For you guys, I don't think a person can win at this Valentine's Day gig. Just telling her you love her should be enough, but it isn't. Flowers, candy, Bah humbug? I don't know-- Just bring them on. You can't be any worse off, and it might help.
As I awoke this morning, the sun shone on a sign on our bedroom wall that shows a picture of Christ and says, "I never said it would be easy, I just said it would be worth it." Most mornings it is dark when I get up and I don't see the sign. I have always felt there was something wrong with this sign. In the first place, it sounds like Christ is just standing back watching us suffer, and reminding us that someday all these tears and sweat will be worth it. But Christ never said the words on the sign. I prefer to stick with the scriptures. He said, "Come unto me, all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest; for my yoke is easy and my burden is light. " There is no question that life is hard, messy and often just plain unfair. But Christ doesn't just tell us to hang in there and someday it will all be worth it. Yes, if we believe that Christ is preparing for the faithful mansions in Heaven, we can look forward to that, but it seems small comfort RIGHT NOW when we are struggling through all the mud, like pioneers with handcarts who had to remind themselves that there would someday be a valley, a prophet and a temple to greet them in Zion. But how did they really get through those hard times? Their journals speak of angels helping to push the carts, and of the Spirit of the Lord bouying them up, or comforting them as they buried loved ones on the trail. I know Christ's yoke is easy. I have felt his arms around me warming me, his light guiding me along what has seemed a very dark road at times. I know that life is so much easier if we allow Christ in. He says "I stand at the door and knock..." He doesn't leave us pounding on the door to Heaven; He stands there knocking and we just need to open it and he will come in to us. He does not stand back and just watch us struggle, only giving us payment for our faithfulness in the end; He stands with us and helps us as much as we will let him. All the way along the trail. So don't think you have to do this alone. Christ is there for you, angels will lift you up, and yes, I am here, too. I love you guys. Mom
This past week I have had to negotiate some really snowy, icy roads to get to school and back. On Thursday morning in the dark, as I headed down into the river bottoms on black ice covered with a couple of inches of new snow, I tried to keep from picking up too much speed down the hill, but needed to keep enough speed to go up the other side. I was nervous, but not panicked, and felt comfort from the Spirit which reminded me of a line in my Patriarchal blessing: I will watch over you at all times and in all places..." I have thought of that for several days --how the Good Lord has watched over me through many scary times. I have not lived my life in fear, although I admit to having been scared nearly witless a couple of times. All you kids know I don't like icy roads, but I have to say I don't mind them if I am in control of the situation. If I am forced to sit in the passenger seat and endure someone else's driving, I may get nervous.
I have only been truly terrified three times that I remember. Well, four. Some I won't talk about, but the last time I was scared silly was when I had just perchased a new car in Tremonton and was driving it back to Draper on a dark January night, with snow piled up high beside the freeway. As I got into an area that was very dark and unpopulated ( I could see no lights out there) my new car's trouble lights all came on at once, and then dimmed and the car rolled to a stop. I managed to head it up against the snow bank, but I was just going around a long corner, and I couldn't get very far off the road. I turned on the hazard lights and got a slow, sickly blinking. The car was dead. I had no idea exactly where I was and the semis passing by seemed to be barely missing my car, shaking it with a huge roar. I was shaking so badly and so terrified I almost forgot I owned a cell phone. I called Lisa, " How long has it been since I left the dealer?" "Fifteen, twenty minutes, why?" "I am sitting in a dead car somewhere in the middle of nowhere, maybe fifteen miles from Tremonton. No lights, no signs. Any clue where I am? Can you tell the dealer, tell Dan, tell someone to come get me!!!!" Every minute I was sure I would become part of a pile of twisted metal, hit with a semi swerving around that curve.... Well, you know I got rescued and am here to tell about it. My Heavenly Father has been good to me.
It's strange that one time when I was even in more danger, I wasn't afraid at all. Van and I were going down Sheep Mountain on glare ice and a little snow, and saw up ahead a pickup truck towing a UHaul trailer jackknifed across the road from the mountain to the cliff, entirely blocking the whole road. Several people stood in front of the thing frantically waving their arms. Van geared down the little hatchback we were driving and killed the engine. There we were, headed straight for them, no breaks, no power steering, no engine. In the few seconds as we approached he tried to restart the engine, but didn't put it in neutral, so we just kept going. At the last second I remember the terrified faces of the men waving their arms at us, I saw the tops of the pine trees as Van took the cliff side of the wreck and we sailed out into space . I remember the peaceful feeling that came over me as the quiet filled the car when our tires left the side of the road, "So this is how it feels to die." I hugged the baby (Jake) who was on my lap ( yes, in those days we didn't have baby seats) and smelled the sweet baby scent of him. A whiff of regret that he was there to die with us came to me, then suddenly we were on the other side of the wreck and zooming on down the highway. It was about a mile before Van got the car started and under control again. We looked at each other and couldn't believe what had happened. "It just wasn't our time to die, "Van said. I'm certain my guardian angels worked overtime on that one. It wasn't Van's great Duke's of Hazard driving that saved us. Neither of us ever doubted it was God's intervention that somehow put us on the other side of that wreck and not at the bottom of the cliff.
I am grateful for the protecting care of a loving father. I think we should all be more aware of the fact that he does rescue us from what is sometimes our own folly, but other times just part of the mortal experience. May I add that you men, especially, have no right to scare the bejeebers out of your sweet wives and children. Drive carefully out there. Love, Mom
Today I took the ornaments off the tree and carefully boxed them up. Somehow I've managed to keep a lot of antique (old!) ornaments over the years. Many of them hold memories--there is the little donkey that was Van's as he grew up, a painted snowflake my visiting teacher in Alaska made for me, some wooden ornaments that the girls and I painted back in Blackfoot when we lived out in Rose. I love the old glass ball ornaments that have survived many packings. Some I bought at the DI our first year in Salmon after the Alaskan Adventure. I bought sweaters and dolls and pretty much all our Christmas there. So many Christmases, marking our years with a Christmas tree and decorations, no matter how humble. I used to think I'd like to have a tree like they have in ZCMI, matching ornaments, coordinated to a theme. Never managed. I am too sentimental, and maybe too frugal ( read that as cheap!) I also took the other decorations downstairs to store for the year--the wreathe I bought this year, the snowglobe from 2002 when the boys and I lived on South Mountain. As I vacuumed the rooms, I thought of a line from one of Emily Dickenson's poems:" the sweeping of the house the morning after death is solemnest of rituals performed upon this earth.." Thank goodness no one died this year, but the old year has passed away, and a new one rises ahead of us. So another note from Mom goes out to all I have and haven't managed to hug during this holiday season. My goodness! I love you all so much! Love, Mom
Art Teacher to a couple hundred middle schoolers, Mom to twelve cool grown-up kids, mother-in-law to twelve nice people that fell in love with my kids and married them, and Grandma to (at this moment) forty-four really cute grand children-- I wear a lot of hats. Can't leave out step mom to six, step grandma to 15. I love painting en pleine air, leading the choir at church, singing old gospel hymns at the top of my voice while driving in the car, and I really like ducks and geese. Also, I love Wally, to whom I am married after eleven years as a widow. And writing. Love it. Hope you enjoy my blog.