Tuesday, May 31, 2011

In Pictures - June 1

Yesterday I spent lots of time outside.... so of course I took some pics. :)

These pretty flowers are growing in the grass ... I guess they must be weeds?? (any idea what they are?)

Honeybees were all over the dandelions.

These sweeties were the reason I was spending so much time outside:

They turned 6 weeks old today, old enough to wean, so I am letting them spend some time without their mama.

This little guy's name is Ferdinand, because while his sister likes run and jump and butt her head, Ferdinand just likes to sit quietly and smell the flowers. (Have you ever read the story of Ferdinand? If not, please do. I hope that you like it. :)

This little girl is Star. Or Daisy. Her name isn't so set in stone.

Still smelling.

I'll try milking the mama goat again tomorrow. I hope it goes better than today. She doesn't like it so well. One of these days I hope to get to drink the milk instead of wear it spilled all over my clothes.

Have a great day!! :)

Happy Birthday, dear Tino!

Tino's birthday was last week in the midst of school getting out and graduation.

As a side note: he was born in the exact month and year that I graduated from high school. I'm not so sure that I love that, 'cause now, every one of his birthdays will be a countdown from when I graduated. This year he was 23. Oy.

He is so cute with the kids. He loves to play with them and tease them. Sounds like he's going to be a great big brother to them, right? :)

For his birthday, we gave him a Weber bar-b-que grill. Amber told me that he's been wanting one.

I hope that he loves it as much as we love him. :)

Happy Birthday, Tino!! I hope that this year will be the greatest ever! :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

THE Memorial Day Flower

My mom used to always put Irises on the graves that we decorated every Memorial Day. She called them "Flags". I just call them my favorite. :)

It never ceases to amaze me that no matter how cold, wet, warm, or dry the weather is, these flowers always blossom for Memorial Day. Always.

Every time I see a flower in "real life", I have to smell it. Every time I see a flower in a picture, I want to see it up close, close enough to see the pollen.

Do you have special Memorial Day memories or traditions?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Would we miss Him too?

Today in Sunday School, we were talking about the Pharisees and how they felt about Jesus.

I mentioned my thoughts: here is this guy who breaks the Sabbath by gleaning corn and by walking too many steps who also claims to be the Son of God. Why wouldn't they be upset?

It always sets my mind in motion and I always end up at the same place: If Jesus came again and said that he was who he is, would I believe him? Especially if he didn't come in with a great entrance like daylight staying for an entire day or a pillar of light or something? What if he was breaking commandments that I carefully followed and told me that I was a "whited sepulcher"? How would I react?

What about the other Jews of the time? They were expecting a deliverer, and Jesus just told them to turn the other cheek and to render unto Caesar what was Caesar's.

The Jesus that came wasn't at all what they were expecting. How, then, did those who did recognize him for who he was, know that it was truly him?

I stand by the idea that our eyes and ears can deceive us. We have sometimes believed deceivers. We sometimes buy into the magic trick. Our senses *and* our logic can sometimes be fooled, but there is a part of us that can't be tricked; a part of us that can see things for what they truly are and truly will be. It is our spirit.

Inside of us is a piece of God. Our spirit was created by Him. It is sensitive to the things of The Spirit - AKA the Holy Ghost. It is only through the Holy Ghost that we can know the truth of all things.

The Holy Ghost may feel different to each person. Sometimes a still small voice; sometimes a "burning in the bosom" or in other words a good, peaceful feeling.

I remember when I was engaged to Steve. I had already been married and divorced before and deceived many times during the marriage, so I was afraid to get married again. There was one night in particular that I was driving to meet Steve and I got the most awful, fearful feeling about marrying him. I really just wanted to run! So I pulled my car over to the side of the road and I prayed about marrying him, asking the Lord to please let me know if this was really a good thing for me to do. A peaceful feeling replaced the one of fear and I knew everything would be alright.

Sixteen years later, I can honestly say that though neither Steve nor I are perfect and we haven't had a perfect marriage, I can't think of any other person more perfect for me that he is. And I'm glad for that peace that came when I was ready to back out of the engagement.

Anyway, back to the original point, I believe that the original followers of Christ must have had a similar peaceful feeling amid all of the mortal doubts that they must have had.

Similarly, I think that the only way that we can know for ourselves that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the person that we should follow is through that same Spirit of the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Ghost is the only way to know the truth of *all* things. It gives me a lot of peace to know that God hasn't left me alone to muddle through this life, but has given me a way to receive knowledge from Him for me.

I hope that you are having a wonderful weekend :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Remember those cute front porch chairs??

You can thank beauty that moves for reminding me to tell you that I FOUND THOSE CHAIRS FROM THE PORCH!!

Remember them??

Well, I FOUND them yesterday at Shopko! And they are on sale for $13.99 thru today. If you are in a Shopko area and find yourself longing for those cute things, take a look and see if they have them at your local store. They don't have them listed online, so I'm not sure if they are in every store, but I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

Oh, and they are called Adirondack Chairs. And they had LOTS of different cute colors!

Not sure if you have a Shopko nearby? Here is a store locater.

Hmmmm.... I think Shopko should give me commission for this! ;)

Have a Happy Saturday!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Graduation - the family

Aiden was holding Josh's hand when he first saw Steve in the parking lot of the high school, so he poked up his little hand, wanting Steve to hold it too :)

Aiden kept looking at the ground and wouldn't look up, which Josh and I thought was weird, but then Steve realized that he was watching his shadow.

I figured that they were all dressed up anyway, so we might as well take a pic, right?

Such a cute little family!!

And this is why I am giving my blessing to their upcoming wedding:

I don't remember what was going on, but this is just how their are together. Look at her face! She is beaming. They really are so cute together :)

And the more that I'm around Tino, the more I see Steve in him. They say that a girl will pick someone like her dad, and a boy will pick someone like his mom and boy have we found that to be true with our kids! Not that Karen and Tino are clones of us or anything, they just have similarities, which is kind of endearing, actually. :)

Today I have nothing planned. Yet. But it is before 9:30, so that could all change, I suppose.... How about you? Anything fun planned? Or are you hoping to be a couch potato - with or w/o a tv- like me? :)

Have a great day!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Sorry I missed you yesterday. The day just kind of got away from me.

Amber graduated on Tuesday evening. YAY AMBER!! So, of course I had to take lots of pics :)

With the Graduate:

Steve, Amber, and me

Amber and her paternal Grandma (I airbrushed out the name of the high school for privacy reasons. I hope that you understand. :)

Amber and Tino


The 2011 class preparing to become official Graduates

Amber opening her Willow Tree "Wisdom" figurine from Regina (to Regina: She loved it!! Thanks so much :)

Amber reading her card from her maternal Grandpa (my dad :)

Jared gave her a donut :)

And we celebrated with cake:

Just a note to my Graduate:
Congratulations my sweet Amber! You have always made your daddy & me proud and continue to every day. We love you!

If I don't stop tearing up every time I think about her growing up I'm going to get dehydrated!

I couldn't believe how emotional I got when the graduating class moved their tassles from the right to the left. It wasn't just tears that came, but sobs that I had to control. I should've realize that since I get teary at other people's children's graduations, with my own.... well, I was just so proud! (as a side note: I did get ahold of myself before all of the whooping and hollering was over, so no one except Tino and Karen noticed... I hope.)

Earlier, I had gotten off of the stands to take her picture with her Principal in front of a school emblem that they had set up; she walked by and smiled at me and the whole time I'm thinking, "I'm not gonna cry. I'm not gonna cry." and I patted her on the back and walked on. Karen jumped up and ran over and gave her a hug. I was so glad that someone else filled in my gap! Later Amber told me how weird it was when I just patted her on the back like a football player (except it really *was* a pat on the back, not the behind! :) I laughed and told her that I knew if I hugged her I'd cry in front of all of those people and would have embarrassed her & me. What a baby I am!!

After the ceremony and visiting with friends at the school, we went to a park and had cake and opened her gifts. Her paternal Grandma gave her a card earlier, so I missed a shot of that, and her maternal Grandma is saving her card for her at her nursing home. My sister has a card for her. I suspect that there are probably many more cards, too. :)

Amber didn't want to "walk" at graduation, but graduation is such a Rite of Passage that I pretty much begged her to. She told me several times that she was only doing it for me. That was okay with me! Hopefully at some point she will realize that it was for her too. :)

As another side note, I don't think High School Graduation is only a Rite of Passage for the graduate; after going through it and experiencing all of those feelings, I am sure that it is also a Rite of Passage for the parent, too. Thanks for giving that to me, Am!

Today, we are going to celebrate Tino's birthday. He was born in the same month and year that *I* graduated from high school ... he is 23 today. (Wow! It sure doesn't seem that I graduated 23 years ago!!)

And a note to Tino:

Happy, Happy Birthday to my almost-Son-in-Law! You have already found a place in all of our hearts & we love you very much! Have a super terrific wonderful day today! :)

I hope that all of you are enjoying the end of the school year hustle and bustle celebrations and fun! Have your kids' school ended yet? Are any of them graduating from preschool, elementary, jr. high, or high school? I'd love to hear about it!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


In A Circle of Quiet, Madeleine L'Engle discusses allowing other people to be a mirror for our self-image:

But what about that self-image?

We talked, this July in Columbus, about how you can be walking down the street and you will catch a glimpse of yourself reflected in a store window and think: who is that? Oh, no, it's not!

But it is.

We really don't know what we look like. We are moderately careful to spend a certain amount of time in front of the mirror; we choose the mirror before which we comb our hair, shave, or put on lipstick or eyeshadow, with a good deal of attention. We don't use a distorted mirror, or ones like those in the fun houses at fairs and carnivals. The bathroom mirror tells us a certain amount about our outside selves.

But the inner, essential self?

I don't know what I'm like. I get glimpses of myself in other people's eyes. I try to be careful whom I use as a mirror: my husband; my children; my mother; the friends of my right hand. If I do something which disappoints them I can easily read it in their response. They mirror their pleasure or approval, too.

But we aren't always careful of our mirrors. I'm not. I made the mistake of thinking that I "ought" not to write because I wasn't making money, and therefore in the eyes of many people around me I had no business to spend hours every day at the typewriter. I felt a failure not only because my books weren't being published but because I couldn't emulate our neighoring New England housewives. I was looking in the wrong mirrors. I still do, and far too often. I catch myself at it, but usually afterwards. If I have not consciously thought, "What will the neighbors think?" I've acted as though I had.

I've looked for an image in someone else's mirror, and so have avoided seeing myself.

Since reading that, I have questioned who I let be my mirror several times. Sometimes I allow people who I don't trust or who are angry at me to be that mirror, much to my detriment.

When one allows another to tell them who they are, they had better make certain that they trust that person with themselves.

Why is it that we'd never get in a car with a person who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but that we allow our feelings to be hurt by someone under the influence of anger, which is a powerful influence which distorts reality just as much as a drugs do? Why would we allow them to be our mirror of how we see ourselves in those moments?

We would never use a fun house mirror to get ourselves presentable in the mornings. Why? Because we can't trust it.

Similarly, we need to find mirrors to our inner self that don't distort how we really are.

Mirrors are only good for what can be seen, however. We can't use a mirror to see if a bone is broken or if an appendix has ruptured. Similarly, even close friends can't see what we don't allow them to.

In church a couple Sundays back the lesson was on using our talents. The advise was given that if we don't know what our talents are, or we feel that we don't really have any talents, to ask a friend, a family member, or any of the ladies in that class. I would hesitate to ask. Especially someone who doesn't know me deep down.

Why? Because I feel that the answer would be distorted.

Not maliciously, but because I am a private person and keep a lot to myself. I don't boast or brag over my accomplishments. I go along pretty quietly in the world. What *is* obvious in my life is Michael. Michael is anything *but* subtle or quiet. He is very outgoing. He loves everyone, friend or stranger alike. He loves to make other people feel loved. Because he is so outgoing, it is what most people link me to, and that is ok! I love being Michael's mom. But if I was looking for Melody, I would need to ask someone who knows ME. Me, without my husband. Me, without my children.

A few years ago, I wrote this:
"When I got divorced nearly fifteen years ago from my first husband, I discovered this phenomenon. It took me nearly a year to reunite Melody (ex husband's last name) with Melody (maiden name). Melody (maiden name) had given way to Paul’s wife or Josh, Amber, and Jared’s mom. I had forgotten who I was. I was lost for many months, feeling like I was a broken woman. Since that experience I have tried to never lose touch with Melody, all the Melody’s I am, ever again."

Since "no man is an island", it is difficult to sift away what is and what is not part of a person.

While I am indeed Michael's (and Josh's, and Karen's, and Amber's, and Emily's, and Ammon's, and Matt's, and soon-to-be Tino's) mom, and Steve's wife, that is not all of me. I am bigger than that. There is more of me that is put away for now and is waiting for another day, another season, if you will, to become even more Melody than I am right now.

So, to ask a person that I see only in church on Sunday to tell me how they view me would give me glimpse of me, but only enough to see something like an eye or an arm. Their mirror is too small.

To get the whole truth, I would have to inquire of many people, because the parts I allow people to see varies by situation. Even my mother, because she is a mortal, though she knows most things about me, only sees things that she is interested in (even if that happens to be my flaws). Same for Steve. Same for all of my children, friends, & neighbors.

Only I know about all of me. Only you know all about you. It takes courage to look closely at yourself, wisdom to be able to sort through and make sense of it all, and mercy to love yourself in spite of everything you see.

As a side-note: Is it important to love yourself? Jesus thought it was. His counsel is to love our neighbors as ourselves, which implies that we need to love ourself first.

When a person starts giving you distortions of yourself, realize what it is and think of it as a fun house mirror. Realize that there will be a little truth muddled and twisted amongst a lot of lies. Take their reflection with a grain of salt. Extract what truth there may be and leave the rest.

And above all, love yourself. Your strengths, your flaws & imperfections, everything that makes up you. You can change yourself for the better without becoming your own worst enemy. Nurture yourself. Trust yourself. Believe in yourself.

I will work on doing the same.

I hope that you have a wonderful day today, full of all of the great things that life can hold!

Monday, May 23, 2011

rain rain, go away

Baby Aiden wants to play.

Not to mention that there are now mud slides in that same canyon that I showed you last week. The ground is saturated.

Dear Rain,

Could we please take a rain check for some of the rain that you have in store for us and cash it in when we are having another drought??


This week is the last day of school for my kids, including the last day of homeschool (ever) for Matt, and hs graduation for Amber tomorrow. Big changes.

Amber has had some time to get used to the idea of graduating and moving on, since she didn't really attend high school this year much. She had most of her credits done by the time she finished her junior year, so this year she only had 1.25 credits to finish up. She has done excellently through high school and I'm so proud of her for doing so well! Way to go, Am!! :)

My heart is tugging as I think about Matt leaving me and going to a brick and mortar school next year. He has been such a fun kid to homeschool: he learns quickly, retains what he learns, works hard and independently, is funny and is just a great kid! It has been so fun to have him home with me this year. I will miss him next year. (Thanks for such a great year, Matt! :)

Michael will still be home with me, though. I am planning on working on preschool skills with him and trying to teach him number and letter recognition. He is my perpetual child. What takes another kid just a couple of months to learn takes him years. BUT HE LEARNS! Just a bit slower than others. This year I've been working on animal sounds with him. Horse and cow have been hard for him to distinguish between, and it has reminded me of the Seasame Street "Smell Like a Monster" parody of the Old Spice commercials:

So, on to new and bigger things for my family. (Though I *am* torn between, "can't they just stay little forever??" and loving their (and my) new found independence.)

Note to self: Life can sometimes get crazy: hold on tight (to each other) & enjoy the ride!

Friday, May 20, 2011

A little of this, a little of that.

Yesterday, I was looking through the "be different act normal" blog. If haven't ever visited, you are missing out!

She finds great crafts & recipes (sometimes intertwined) on other's blogs and shares them with her readers.

So anyway, as I was looking through yesterday, a few really stuck out and caught my attention.

(Note: some of the links will go back to the original site that BDAN found them for the instructions.)

Enjoy! (For your convenience, the link will open in a new window. :)

Pinwheel Hair Clips

Father's Day Tie Wreath

Clay flower hairpins tutorial

Cord Organization Tips (think plug strip cord that you don't know what it goes to)

Key Lime Swirl Cheesecake

Cucumber wrap salad with bacon

On "Becoming"

I'm thinking today. About the future. About the past. About the present.

About how people can change. And how no matter how convinced you are that someone has changed, they will always be the same deep down.

Contradictions. Similarities. Differences.

I talked to my dad on the phone for awhile this morning. We talked about the kids. We talked about his brand-new-just-finished shop. We talked about life in his small town, which is also one of the towns that I spent a lot of my childhood in.

Something interesting has happened, and I'm not sure when it did, but my dad listens to me. He listens to me as if I have had a great idea and he wants to learn more about it.

Today it was about cordwood/stackwood houses. If you haven't ever heard of it, do a search in google. I think you'll think they are cool. I do. I've wanted to build one for years.

My dad had mentioned that his wife, my step-mother, is interested putting a cabin on some land that they own and that she wants to build it herself. He said that they were looking into log cabins for a while, but that they are cost prohibitive. I told him that stackwood/cordwood houses don't need to have fully parallel logs, but instead consist of all different thicknesses of logs, which makes it great for cost effectiveness. I told him the general idea of how to make it. And he listened.

I was the baby in the family. By the time I had gotten to a stage where I knew about something, everyone else in the family had already learned it. I was just an echo on just about every subject.

I've also had a chip on my shoulder about not "being something". So I have joked that since my oldest brother worked in a pharmacy for years, when medicine advice is needed, he is the one called. Since my second brother is a social worker, if there is advice needed on child rearing or needing help with talking to someone in a more positive way, he is the one called. Since my sister is a nurse, if medical advice is needed, she is the one called. I am the stay at home mom, so if someone needs a ride, I am the one called.

For years I have felt that way. Until recently. I feel that perhaps I have earned my niche in my family.

So today, when I was telling my dad about cordwood/stackwood houses and he listened, I realized that I had been of value. He is going to tell his wife about my idea and see what she thinks.

He went on to say that I'm like my grandma, his mother. I asked, how so? and he replied that she liked to do things for herself: cook food from scratch, make clothes for the family, quilt, work on things to make their lives better. "She always enjoyed taking care of her family." That is some kind of praise! Better than any other than I can think of, in fact.

I have gotten here from necessity mostly. Choice partly. He said that I'd fit right in among the Amish, which is the neighborhood I loved most. Which is how that whole conversation started about my grandma. I had said that I'd felt that Kentucky was the most "homey" place I'd lived. I said that I understand Utah and the culture, since it is where I've spent most of my life. But Kentucky felt more like home. I said I thought that was funny, and that is when he gave me the High Praise about being like my grandma.

My favorite part of The Velveteen Rabbit is when the skin horse and the rabbit are talking of "becoming":

"The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive.

But the Skin Horse only smiled."

At 41, I think I'm finally becoming who I am. Or perhaps I'm just realizing what others have already seen.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pics from the Pond

I have a thing for ponds. I think it is because I lived next to a big one when I was a little girl. I still love the noises that are found around wetlands: frogs, ducks, birds, crickets. Peaceful. And I love that everything is just a little bit greener around there, too.

In Utah, there aren't lots of ponds around like there is in the South. Instead, there are big ones that an entire town circles around. In the little town that I grew up in as a little girl, the pond is still a big part of life.

Anyway, another pond that I love to visit is Burraston Pond. The pond is actually divided into many little ponds, which is nice when you have some people who want to fish, little kids that want to throw rocks in the water, and another group who wants to play/swim in the water.

Steve & I drove down to Burraston Pond on Sunday to see if the flooding was affecting it. It was a bit higher than usual, but mostly it was just beautiful! So of course, I had to take some pictures. :)

I played with the shutter speed and ISO to make the pictures nice, but I think they are still a little too dark. One of these days I'll nail the exposure, but there will probably be lots of practice between now and then. :)

So peaceful:

A beautiful, natural archway:

A swing blowing in the wind:

Beautiful green!:

This one was a shocker. It looks kind of haunting, which is cool, but this wasn't what it originally looked like. Sometimes different is cool! :

My best friend. My companion. Boy I love this guy! He is always encouraging me to do things that I love to do and is super supportive. (Thanks for everything, Sweetie :)