October 06, 2005

Head on Straight

My girls have a finely tuned sense of humor. They are especially keen at puns (Nathan, The Pun King, would be impressed), in both understanding and creating them. Being children, anything that has to do with the body or can elicit a squeal of disgust from their mother is quite satisfying, as well.

We recently purchased the book Parts by Tedd Arnold. The nameless, ping-pong-eyed boy is filled with angst over the deconstruction of his body. When some gray, gooey, unidentifiable object slips from his nose, he fears his brain is falling out. The lint in his navel? He's losing his stuffing. The girls found this book quite hysterical, so when we saw Even More Parts, we knew we had to get it. It ended up being a late night, so I set the book (along with several others) next to K's bed, intending to read them tonight before our chapter in Mary Poppins Comes Back.

K took some time to peruse her new literature this morning. After lunch she brought Even More Parts to me, telling me it was "hilarious." This time, Mr. Arnold explores those euphemisms that are often so puzzling to children. He accompanies the confusing idioms with amusing illustrations of the frantic, nameless, ping-pong-eyed boy imagining the literal effect of such sayings. We giggled over "I'm losing my mind," and " My nose is running." I turned the page and we laughed when the boy placed his screw-on arm and leg, complete with shod foot, onto the counter as the equally ping-pong-eyed cashier checked the drawer for change-- more arms and legs. Beneath the full-page illustrations are smaller ones with more bug-eyed cohorts enacting similar phrases, "I had to foot the bill," or "I had to pay through the nose." I paused as K then reached behind her, literally to her behind, screwed her face up and in pretended effort jerks her arm. She placed her fist in on the table, and opening it said, "I bet you my bottom dollar."

I fell to pieces laughing.

May I take a moment to say, I really, really, enjoy my kids?

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October 04, 2005

At Close of Day

Tonight after I finished praying with A, I opened my eyes and found hers watching me. I asked her if she had them open the entire time. She then told me that she could not help herself, that sometimes when I pray it sounds beautiful, like I am telling a story. My children compliment me in the most simple ways.

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September 18, 2005

The other day one of my professors mentioned in passing "She Walks in Beauty" by Lord Byron. It was one of my favorites when I was in high school. I thanked him for the reminder.

She Walks in Beauty

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that 's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

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September 17, 2005


My girls have always loved nature. One of their first ten words was moon, only they added an "er" to the end to form "mooner." They would reach toward the night sky with round arms, fattened by their mother's milk, and entice the moon with dimples and smiles and eyes blue as the noonday sky, calling to it so intimately and affectionately, "mooner, mooner." On the nights that the moon was full, I would raise the blinds in their room; its brillance bathing their slumber and allowing me to see more clearly the lids of their eyes flutter in sleep. I wondered what dreams filled the minds of my babes so tired out from the simple business of the day.

E is now my height; A to my chin; C following closely; and even baby K stands to my waist, but I still sometimes quietly stand next to their bed at night, when their breathing has slowed and watch them in the moonlight, and wonder what visions are there.

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August 26, 2005


Having a few afternoon errands to complete, I left C and K in E's charge. A accompanied me to pick-up prescriptions and to get a new muffler. We waited in the office and made small talk with the wives of the shop owners. A noted the quieter drive home.

As I approached my house, I saw a huge crowd of girls. They were all just hanging around talking, some on bikes, others on scooters, still more languishing on the porch. I got out of the van and was swarmed. They were desperate. They needed ideas for play. Now.

I reached into my own bag of childhood memories and pulled out a few suggestions: Red Rover, Red Rover; Red Light/Green Light; Four Square; Jump Rope; Kick Ball.

They decided on Red Light/Green Light. To settle the "I wanna be the light first" issue, I thought going from youngest to oldest would work well. They quickly determined the order of turns and so now the song of giggles is blowing through the open windows.

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August 12, 2005

The comforting smell of roasting chicken, peppers, shallots, and garlic; the thunder scoffing and grumbling; the rain tickling the windows; Susan Graham lulling us into a pre-dinner stupor; the children drawing, coloring, painting; the flow of random thoughts from E...these are the rich colors upon the canvas of my soul.

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July 28, 2005

First and Fourteen

Tomorrow my first born will be fourteen. Fourteen. I keep thinking of it in terms of how little time I have left with her, that day-to-day time that allows me to quietly watch her. I swear I can see her growing, like time-lapse photography. I see her cheeks rising like the tide; her body lengthening as the afternoon shadows; her mind wrapping itself around the world, selectively embracing and carefully rejecting theories and philosophies she finds reasonable or repugnant.

She has a wonderful balance of compassion and justice, logic and emotion, value and frugality, of faith and intellect. She was the first to fill my womb; nurse from my breast; the first one in whom I saw my own eyes and toes, heard my own laugh. In seconds breathed slowly over years, months, days, minutes, I am seeing them become her own distinct characteristics, changing from pieces of me and her father to the wholeness of her.

And to be a whole person is what I most desire for her. Happy Birthday, Baby. I love you more than I will ever be able to express.

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July 05, 2005


I drove E and C up The Mountain this afternoon to deliver them to a week of camp. While navigating a straight stretch guarded by Aspens and speckled with the sunlight that danced through their "quaking leaves," I mentioned how much I enjoyed these trees. E said they reminded her of Proginoskes: "Because of all the eyes, mom." Of course, I thought.

I smiled and tucked away the satisfaction of knowing exactly to whom my daughter was referring.

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July 03, 2005


E went to leadership camp to receive training to be a counselor at our church camp. Typically, a teen must complete two years before they are given the opportunity to counsel campers. This year a shortage of high school-aged trained teen leaders opened up the opportunity for first year trainees to help.

E was one of the first year girls selected to counsel the remaining two weeks of camp. She is a wonderful girl- mature both cognitively and spiritually. She is kind, considerate, capable. She was humbled and excited to be asked. Upon returning home from her own week of camp, she immediately began to gather resources to prepare for leading her potential young charges in devotional thought.

The first three weeks of her summer were spent helping at UCYC. She helped cook, serve, and clean, making friends and a few dollars in the process. Because of travel schedules overlapping, I saw her for about two days, and then she was off again. When she walked through the door on Friday afternoon, she was taller, tanner, and the honey-highlights in her hair gleamed in the sun. That evening, we stood back-to-back, heel-to-heel at exactly the same height: 5'8½.

E is in that beautiful transition from girl to young woman. Someone once said of her, "She doesn't walk anywhere, she floats." That was when she was a mere 10 years old. She does so even more gloriously now.

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June 30, 2005


As if a dog and three (we adopted Polecat and his name is George) cats weren't enough, C went tadpole collecting with her best girlfriend and for the past three weeks they have been observing them grow legs and lose their tails, and occasionally their lives. They have generously shared several pollywogs with a chosen few friends, and just this morning, A celebrated her personal baby toad's leap into adulthood: Skipperdee now has fully grown legs.

I came home from an errand to find that they had also paired a female cricket (such knowledge gathered by observation of her obvious ovipositor) with a male (known by his lack of said ovipositor) in K's bug box. The male hasn't stopped chirping. I think I may have seen the female yawn.

Between my little veterinarian and her littler-sister-entomologist-to-be, I think I am quickly running out of home. And maybe nerves.

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June 28, 2005


The ceremony is over; the marriage begun. Two architects are now united in the design of the relationship of their lives.

I didn't break until I, having the designation of telling everyone in the wedding party when to enter the church, directed the groomsmen and pastor into the chapel. I closed the door, allowing for a slight pause before my brother entered. I looked at him and saw him not in that moment, but in a continuum of the past 24 years. He smiled at me- that big grin, eyes dancing. I told him I loved him, and he said, "I love you, too, sister." He then stepped into the moment of his life. I quickly blinked and readied myself for ushering in the girls.

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June 15, 2005

Sad Goodbye

Patrick is hanging-up his blogging hat.

He will be missed.

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May 17, 2005

Water into Wine

Rebuilding a blog takes some time, so I expect the banner to be back up soon, as well as the other little trinkets I collected over the past two years (next month). Ahem, and uh, the "Blogs for Bush" button will be over there, too.

At the suggestion of a friend, I picked up Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. I must confess that I rarely read the introductions in books, but the title "Just This Side of Byzantium" grabbed my eyes and demanded my attention. I have returned to this paragraph several times since reading it last evening:

"I was gathering images all my life, storing them away, and forgetting them. Somehow, I had to send myself back, with words as catalysts, to open the memories out and see what they had to offer."

I desperately need a sweet distraction at this time in my life, and thanks to the recommendation from the friend, I think I have found it.

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April 18, 2005

Now I lay me down to sleep

I fell asleep with C and K tonight. This is the second glorious evening in a row that I have been able to read to them before bed as the previous nights have been stolen away by dress rehearsals, performances, adjudicatory notes.

Last night the three of us lay on K's bed. I had the middle so as to allow for equal opportunity and access. They brought four books to me and we read three:

Olivia (One simply cannot dislike Oliva, nor can one not help but wonder at and admire Ian Falconer's keen eye for a child's perspective).
Walter the Farting Dog (which for some reason, I cannot read without bestowing a heavy Bronx accent on the dad)
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters (I didn't begin the story with the correct accent for the narrator- the one I always use- and so had to begin again).

We laughed loudly, our legs entangled under the warm comforter, our hearts enveloped in the presence of each other. Chopin was playing in the adjoining room. C turned off the light and climbed back into the bed next to me. K reached for a few strands of my hair to succor herself into the night. C pulled back my skin and slipped in, wrapping her arm around me. The loosening of the hold of my waist and hair, coupled with the rhythmic breathing of the two, lulled me into my own sleep.

I awakened several hours later and laid momentarily in the dark room, sweetened by their still untainted breath. Slipping from between them, I made my way upstairs where people were still awake and making preparation for the end of the day. I fell into my own bed, still sleepy but deeply satisfied.

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April 11, 2005

I met Maxine during an

I met Maxine during an outing with the junior high youth group. The youth program emphasized more than lessons and finger-wagging against pre-marital sex. We visited the elderly, sent packages and notes to college students and missionaries, as well as monthly lessons. Service to others and the community was a priority.

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Rae at 09:57 AM | Comments (7) | A Fine Memory
» Notes in the Key of Life links with: A sweet story of a friendship

April 03, 2005

A Little Moonlight

I really enjoy the solitude of the night, everyone sleeping, nobody needing me for anything.

I especially enjoy the moonlight reflecting off the snow on the mountains. For a moment, just a moment, I am not in Utah, so far from so many people that I love and know, and the comfort of being known, and it is just me, just a girl, here, standing in the doorway of the wide open world.

In just a few hours, shortened by the inevitable forwarding of the clock, I will have to be up, awake, alert, ready to sing a song with E in service this morning. While practicing this afternoon, I asked her come over and sing it with me. Her voice higher, she slipped into melody and I quietly moved down to harmony, just as in life, I am learning to be the consonance in her life. I can only hope that she will understand one day what it is to watch a daughter growing into a young woman. It is an incredible metamorphosis to behold.

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March 29, 2005

Ready or Not

We have played hide and seek as a family since our girls were quite small. I recall being the Counter and R hiding with whomever was the baby at the time. I would cheat and call out for my baby, the sound of her laughter clueing me as to their conspiratorial hiding place.

Last night we played. It was so much fun! I hid in our closet behind the lower rack of clothes. It was uncomfortable having a stiletto heel penetrate my back, but it was so exciting when the door opened, the light came on, the hunter standing quietly waiting for a mistake on the part of the prey. I held my breath and didn't move, stifling giggles. Victory! After the swishing of a few hangers, the light dimmed and the door closed.

I waited. I love hearing the questions of "where is she" floating through the vents and muted through the doors and floors of the house. Finally, A came back and did a more thorough excavation. I stiffened. She touched my leg and whispered, "I found you." "Shhhh!" I commanded. She snorted her complacent pleasure in finding me, turned off the light and shut the door.

A few more minutes pass and I hear more foot steps, being more than one person, coming to the bedroom, coming to the closet, opening the door, light filtering through the pants, shirts, jackets. The clothes part, like the Red Sea, and a shout of triumph goes up among the people. Finally, I am found.

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March 28, 2005

The Scent of a Woman

The scent of tuberose playfully pulls me back to watching my mother ready herself for an evening out. Anywhere that I am when it drifts past me is instantly transformed to the bathroom, complete with lemon yellow tile and matching carpet. She would lean against the sink, getting closer to the mirror, slightly opening her mouth and widening her eyes to apply mascara. When finished she would swipe a wet Q-tip across her lid, tidying up. Next, she would rub a tiny bit of rouge across her cheeks, like the slopes of mountains, peaking just to the side of her face. Red lipstick then rolled out of the tube and slide across her mouth. Now finished, she would step back, her milk chocolate brown eyes blinking several times as she scrutinized her artwork.

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March 27, 2005

My favorite account of the

My favorite account of the resurrection of Christ is when Mary went to prepare His body for burial. I cannot retell it without small, deeply personal tears slipping into the corners of my eyes. I can only imagine the anxious night she had spent, perhaps just drifting beneath the surface of sleep if at all, and leaving at first light to go to care for body of Jesus in the tomb.

When she does not at first recognize Him sitting there, and continues her weeping, He softly calls her name, "Mary." I don't think it was done in chastisement, but rather a calm tone, said while smiling. I am sure it is my intense desire to be known, and to know, and perhaps the anticipation I have in hearing Him say my own name that endears this telling to me.

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March 25, 2005

Chopin's Ballade in G minor,

Chopin's Ballade in G minor, Opus 23 is playing and snow is falling....it is a lovely morning.

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March 18, 2005

A Few More Than You

Several years ago while brushing A's hair in the early morning of Thanksgiving Day, she announced that she wasn't going to learn to cook. I parted her hair and brushed it into two halves. As we were standing in front of a mirror, I tried to hide my amusement. She wouldn't appreciate me finding humor in her proclamation. She then said that she wasn't going to get married (this was when boys were still more annoying than not) and thus she didn't need to learn the fine art of food preparation.

As I wound one ribbon around a doggy-ear, I asked her if she ate. Her eyes widened, as they typically did when she sensed she was being led to a certain conclusion. She nodded. I tied the ribbon and turned her slightly to begin again on the other side. I told her that she would need to at least know how to feed herself.

I finished tying the second ribbon and we stood for a moment, looking at one another in the reflection. I smoothed the few rebellious hairs that refused to be tamed, still stiffling a grin. The smell of the pies baking reached under the door and teased and tempted to draw us out of our momentary reverie.

I opened the door and allowed the fullness of the kitchen smells to fetter our exchanged thoughts. Before leaving, she proclaimed that she wasn't going to have a large family anyway.... "Only five or six babies."

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March 17, 2005

Rain, Rain Come Today

For some reason today, I am really missing a good thunderstorm, complete with lightning and a great downpour. I hope that when we go back to the Midwest this summer for my brothers wedding, we get a tremendous rain. Not on their wedding day, of course.

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March 15, 2005

The Golden Days

Yesterday the girls built a tent and played in it most of the evening. I knew the request would be coming to sleep in it. I made one requirement necessary, and with some encouragement, follow through, and help, it was accomplished.

E put music on for the girls to sleep to and, surprisingly, they did. K found her way to our bed sometime in the night, and E found herself somewhere other than when she started her journey to The Sugar-Plum Tree. This morning the sound of their breathing accompanied my quiet clicking of the keys.

Today the tent has remained up and they have spent the majority of their morning in it. Their innocent reverie has been attended by George Winston's piano accompaniment to the audio of The Velveteen Rabbit.

As I pass through the room, I stop to savor the inculpable nescience. I breathe deeply, taking mental snapshots of a smile, record a voice telling me "what this says," and interpreting a masterpiece of crayon art. How I wish to have been able to have experienced such blamelessness. Already by the age of K, I knew too much and felt too sad. In these moments, I try hard to be thankful to God that I can now be a part of it, and to also be profoundly thankful that although my girls are guaranteed sorrows in this life, that I have not been the prepetrator of them.

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March 01, 2005

Pink Moon

The fleeting moments of satisfaction- no, of great blessedness- came suddenly upon me this morning. C and K were unloading the dishwasher. Wait, they were arguing with one another about unloading the dishwasher (not arbitrary either, expected every morning). I came upstairs to lay down the law, but found instead that maybe I needed to lay down some soul. I slipped in Nick Drake and told them that Uncle Nick loves this CD and that his dog is even named after him. A small, slight grin slipped from the corner of C's mouth. A big one emerged from my own. Mission accomplished vicariously through my brother.

It reminded me when Nick was small and we would use reverse psychology to get him to finish his meals, drink his milk, clean-up toys, etc. "You're too small to get that done, " we would say. His face would explode with laughter and giggles and he would insist he was going to do it anyway. Five minutes later, we were done. This memory came suddenly, quickly and then lead me into another. Not a memory, but an anticipation. An exchange of vows- ceremonial, and sacred. Promises that are steps to being called into account for you life. Words given to be a witness that your life existed beyond your work and morning commute. An agreement that no longer will your pain and joy be only your own, but will be shared and born together, not in perfect happiness, sometimes with tremendous and exhausting effort, but in the name of love and reciprocal validation of your presence here.

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February 26, 2005

El viaje

It was a little lonely to be a in a city with almost anything to do at my disposal and yet no one with whom to do them. However, the day at CBS City Studios was extremely interesting and quite fun.

The balcony view of the strip didn't provide for the best sleeping, but it was glorious to slide those doors open and watch the sun awaken the sleeping city.


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Tap your slippers together three times while saying

There's no place like home; there's no place like home; there's no place like home.

On the quiet flight out of Los Angeles, I found reason four to like Utah: for now, it was holding my R and girls.

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February 11, 2005

Don't Blink

As a child, the things I feared most were wide spaces that required me to cross them in order to reach my destination. I vividly recall being petrified to step over the vast space between the elevator car and the leaving of the safe, solid floor. My mother was embarrassed and pleaded with me to just get into the elevator. I couldn't do it. The doors closed. I waited, knowing her wrath would bring her down the stairs faster than I could get up them.

Once while camping, the beauty of Turner Falls spurred us to a lovely afternoon hike. Not lovely for long. We came across a wide crevice, but nothing that couldn't be crossed with a run and a jump. I watched everyone else do it, and even told myself that I could make it across. As the group waited for me on the other side, I stood, willing myself to make the leap. After five minutes of good-hearted cheering, I realized it wouldn't happen. I sent them on ahead and sat and waited.

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January 24, 2005

Life Means So Much

As has been noticed by any reader of regularity, the relationship between my mother and I while growing up was strained to say the least.

Once in the midst of one of our fights, I asked why she didn't just abort me. She paused. "I could've. All my friends were doing it. But, it was 1970 and it was illegal and I didn't want to break the law."

For the sake of the law, I am here today, living and breathing. For the sake of the law, four beautiful souls have breathed the sweet mountain air, bodysurfed in the amniotic warmth of the Pacific, ridden a bike, watched fireworks while cuddled-up and slapping mosquitoes, comforted one another's tears, eaten a roasted marshmallow, giggled together at night, and known that they were truly loved.

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Rae at 08:48 PM | Comments (10) | A Fine Memory
» TexasBug links with: Life Means So Much - A Personal Side of Roe V Wad
» ProLifeBlogs links with: Life Means so Much - A Personal Side of Roe v Wade
» Absinthe & Cookies (a bit bitter, a bit sweet) links with: From The Heart
» Notes in the Key of Life links with: Are you alive because abortion was illegal?
» Stand Up and Walk links with: A Great Story on Life
» King of Fools links with: Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

January 12, 2005


Wow! 697 Comments. Thanks to everyone who took a minute to comment and a double thanks to those who also posted a link.

Greg thanks you, and so do all the low-income women who will now be able to get a mamogram.

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January 11, 2005

Comment Fun(draising)

Greg of California Hammonds is sponsoring a comment fundraiser TODAY with funds raised going toward the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s programs for education and low-cost or free mammograms for low-income women.

Please remember to stop by and with a comment or two or three or four or one hundred- what an easy way to support such a worthy cause.

Rae at 11:58 AM | A Fine Memory
» The Grey Shadow links with: Comment fundraiser
» Six Meat Buffet links with: Help out a good cause
» Argghhh! The Home Of Two Of Jonah's Military Guys.. links with: Don't hang up - hear me out!
» She Who Will Be Obeyed! links with: Busy, busy, busy
» The LLama Butchers links with: Llama Public Service Announcement

January 04, 2005

Pattern Recognition

Two songs that I have really noticed the words to today:

Green Eyes (Coldplay)
Blue Eyes (Cary Brothers- his site offers a free song download of the week) .

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December 30, 2004

For The Magnanimous Heart

Relationships have always been very important to me. Analyzing why, and I do analyze everything (A therapist once told me that is a sign of intelligence. “You mean neuroticism,” I retorted ), I can only conclude the lack of relationship in my own home while growing up. I so craved connection with people. My mother was too busy with her own stuff to question why everyone I came into contact with was a potential relationship. I talked to everyone and anyone about anything. On occasion, this posed embarrassing for my mother. Boundaries weren’t well defined and what semblance there was was frequently trespassed by those who feed on stealing the innocence of youth.

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December 28, 2004

Say Goodnight Rae

Goodnight, Rae.

With 469 entries, 1518 comments, and 27, 686 hits, I am hanging it up.

I am sure that I will still cruise around the blogosphere and may perhaps comment here and there, but for now, I am stepping away. Thank you one and all for your encouraging, humorous, and sometimes challenging comments.

Godspeed and His joy, as well. I'll look for you there.

Updated: I will post letters from Lt. Col. Bellon when he sends them. I also wanted to reassure everyone that everything is fine, I just took some inventory of all that I need to accomplish between now and the summer, and the time that blogging takes would really interrupt the flow toward the goal. This was my decision and hasn't been influenced by more than my desire to be more productive here. R has always been cautiously supportive of my blogging endeavor, knows my gregarious nature, and thus thinks I will come back sooner than I anticipate :) However, I just wanted to clarify that R and I are wonderful ("you-know-who"-your goal was destroyed and not in anyway accomplished- again I point you to the mirror and admonish you to gaze a little longer at yourself), the children are thriving, but I have been impressed more and more of the little time that I have these beauties with me, and want to use my time both wisely and in a way that will be beneficial to their lives. I have been thinking about this off and on for awhile and now just seemed the best time.

Updated 2: O.K. my daughters have fervently urged me to reconsider and perhaps to schedule blog time each day. So :::sigh::: sorry to be so wishy-washy, but I am thinking....and considering.

Rae at 10:45 PM | A Fine Memory
» The LLama Butchers links with: RUh-ROh

December 26, 2004

Offically Sappy Post- Negative Commentors need not reply

Pop rock in the last 15 years hasn't particularly appealed to me. Occasionally; however, I slide the dial past the low end loaded with NPR and other strange stations to listen to the other stations out there. I confess that the song 1985 amused me. I also confess to thinking My Band as pretty darn funny (and yes, loaded with explictives) but extremely creative. People might not particularly like Eminem, but they can't deny he is one of the most intelligent rappers out there. I mean who else can rhyme to Munchausen?

Anyway, I really do like the song She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5. It reminds me of the love that R gives me.

"It's not always rainbows and butterflies, it's compromise that moves us along"
is one of my favorite lines, but I specifically love the line "She will be loved." For a little girl, a young woman, to be loved is more than she could dream of and all she ever desired.

And Sunday Morning- well, that one speaks for itself. :D

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December 24, 2004

The Soul Felt It's Worth

Growing up in a pagan home Christmas meant a two week vacation from school; presents; attention from people; food; and decorations. It had absolutely nothing to do with belief or celebration of the birth of Christ.

While teaching our girls the religious symbolism incorporated into our cultural celebrations and our own family traditions, we want so much for them to understand that the gift of Christmas should be recognized the other 364 days of the year. Grace and mercy and forgiveness, these are the gifts given to us without our deserving. Who are we to deny them to others?

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December 19, 2004

Superheroic World Wide Entertainment

Being in a house full of boys has been fun. I mean, the boys can't take two steps without some kind of sound effect coming out of them, purposed or otherwise.

I awakened Saturday morning to the sounds of wrestling and body-slamming....at 6:15 A.M. Recall that I am on Mountain Time, so it was really 5:15 (even as I type this the six year-old is making motorcycle sounds which sound a lot like other "sounds"). I love these three boys like they are my own, so I lay in bed amused. I then crept across the hall and teased them for awakening me so early. I was informed that this was a regularly scheduled activity on weekend mornings. I stopped and listened to see if their parents were awake, but they lay snoozing.

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December 15, 2004

Just Perfect

"He made me laugh."

"Get ready for greatness."

"Nobody thought we would do this. Nobody thought it would work."

"You just described every great success story."

I knew there was a reason I picked this movie on this night.

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November 30, 2004

Top Ten Reasons for Driving Across Country Instead of Flying

10) Nothing like white-knuckling it through Utah and Colorado; in fact, an excellent cardio workout.
9) Junk food fest: Cheetos, Swedish Fish (Blech! The choice of my fellow passengers ), Hostess Cupcakes, Gummy worms, Nerds, Tic Tacs, Red Bull (wretching- that stuff was disgusting! liquid sweet tarts is not appealing...) Diet Dr. Pepper, thick gas station coffee.
8)Family sing alongs without all those dirty looks from airline passengers.
7)Good music as loud as you want it without, well, see #8.
6)Laughing with R at 3 a.m. in eastern CO.
5)Laughing with the girls at 11 a.m. in eastern Kansas.
4)Layovers where, when, and however long you choose.
3)You can complain directly to the pilot while weilding a nail file and not find a police escort waiting at the next Amoco. (Laugh people).
2)I take off my shoes when I want to take off my shoes.
1)Family togetherness at half the cost.

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November 25, 2004

Thanks and Thanksgiving

For what are you thankful?

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November 23, 2004

To the Place I Belong

1)The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (The St. Louis Arch and The Old Court House). Having read Sacajawea, written by Joseph Bruchac, a wonderful children's author and storyteller of Native American literature such as Squanto and Children of the Longhouse, we were able to fill in the precious details that the National Geographic film left out. (An aside, I highly recommend any of his books). A read The Captain's Dog last year and enjoyed seeing the portrayal of Capt. Lewis' faithful Newfoundland.
2)Picking up beautiful Sweet Gum and Maple leaves for leaf rubbings.
3)Farotto's St. Louis style pizza-mmmmmmm.
4)Watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with E and mother-in-law- simply enchanting ;).

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November 16, 2004

Two Jerks and a Baby; One Man and a Lady

The surname my biological father bestowed upon me was packed neatly away when my mother finally married David. It was attached to my school records and files at the beginning of one school year, with promises of documentation to be produced later. Somewhere in the shuffle of report cards and testings, the demand for proof ceased and I had finally, without the blessing of the state of Oklahoma, changed my name.

It wasn't until I was living in Missouri in the middle of my junior year of high school, that I sought the permission of the county judge for the last remnants of Jack's empty and faceless heritage to be removed from me. I felt like I was in a state of appellation limbo, not really Jack's and definitely not David's. The name change was merely an outward formality of conforming. I had to have a last name. I simply went with the one with which everyone was already familiar. At 16, the more "normal" one is to her peers, the less grief to be endured. I wanted no questions.

Though I bore the names of two men, both poor paternal poseurs, neither had any claim to me, to my heart, to be called "daddy" by my voice, to be the first man treasured in my soul. I sometimes find it ironic that I had to be married to actually bear the name of a man and a family who loved me and desired me for their own. No longer was I symbolically beleagured to my oppressor or simply the result of a divorce settlement.

I love my married name. I love the way it flows smoothly off the tongue. It is regal, beautiful, dignified. It says to those who know it: hard work, sacrifice, dependability, trust, character, integrity. But most of all, I love the man whom it represents.

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Rae at 02:41 PM | Comments (18) | A Fine Memory
» Marriages Restored links with: What's In A Name

October 29, 2004

The Mystery of the Missing Coat

The fragility of the shells in which our souls dwell is frightening. I exercise only to maintain cardiovascular health; death by heart attack does not appeal to me. Proper consumption of food wards off obesity and all the nasty little things that come with it; diabetes is not a very pretty disease. I watched my grandmother waste away, her face contorted in constant pain due to colon cancer that eventually spread through the rest of her body. My other grandmother died at 93, alone. Her dementia made her naturally cranky self completely unbearable. In 2002 my beloved father-in-law suffered a stroke on Father's Day. The right side of his body was paralyzed and his mental faculties left lacking. I have missed him terribly.

This week as the temperature became colder and we all began to reach for our sweaters and jackets and thick socks the closet was found wanting of my coat. This is not just any coat. You see, this coat was the last Christmas gift I received from my father-in-law, the time when he was actually involved in the choosing and the buying and the wrapping and the opening of the gifts rather than sitting quietly in the leather wing-back with a blanket over his lap. The coat: black, down, quilted ski jacket with fur-trimmed hood. My father-in-law and I once shared an eye for fashion and this coat was beautiful and ahead of the game. Everywhere I went compliments abounded. Alas, the coat is missing. I am devastated. Sitting on the edge of my bed tonight, I cried as I told R that the coat cannot be found.

(Typed with love via telephone line 1100 miles away by the best friend. Thank you, Mr. Graham Bell.)

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September 25, 2004

Missing Piece

It has now been nine days since I have seen the eyes of my daughters; smelled the sweetness of them; felt their hair on my fingertips; heard their laugh; seen them smile; watched them sleep.

It has been an eternity since I have seen the blue in R's eyes; watched his body move through time and space; felt the strength of it against my own; caught his brow in thought; watched him shave and dress; smelled his presence near me; felt my soul comforted by his very existence. A piece of the puzzle is missing and will be complete only when gently placed in the space created uniquely for it.

I am returning soon my loves.

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September 16, 2004


1) Scotch Tape®-Reminds me of Christmas.
2) Coffee- Reminds me of my grandmother.
3) Cotton and leather- shopping in Harold's® stores with my mom when I was little.
4) Dreft®- my babies.
5) Clean puppies- being a little girl when my mother raised labs; innocence.
6) Gardenias- my mother when she was young(er).
7) Musty basements- grandmother's house.
8) Hot wet concrete- being a little girl in Oklahoma in the summers.
9) Moist dark dirt and freshly cut grass- reminds me now of the midwest where grass and dark moist dirt exist.
10) Exhaust in the winter- reminds me of waiting for the bus when I was young and smelling all those '60's and '70's model cars warming up.
11) Car grease, metal, whatever is used to clean guns, and deodorant style soap- R. Mmmm.
12) Jet fuel- traveling.

Just to name a few....

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September 09, 2004

The Heartland

There is something deep inside me that misses my home. Not the house I once had or lived in, but the land from which I came. This desert is not my domain. I miss the green of grass and trees. I miss waking up to an overcast morning or the sound of rain on the streets and dripping from the roof or flowing out of the gutters. I miss the colors of sugar maples and oaks. I miss humidity making my wavy hair stick to my forehead. I miss having friends over and watching the kids play ball using our three Elms as bases. I miss seeing the fields gravid with corn, wheat, and soybeans. I miss the gleam of the sun on a lake. I miss the taste of Bass fished from that lake. I miss the rolling hills that would put my babes to sleep on a Sunday afternoon. I miss people celebrating National holidays together, like Memorial Day, Labor Day, Fourth of July by grilling; having watermelon and ice-cream; and watching the children play in the sprinklers. I miss being close enough to family to decide on a whim for a weekend visit. I miss calling up a girlfriend to meet for a late night coffee and commiseration. I miss Missouri. This dry land will never be my home much as I try. My heart belongs to the midwest and always will. One day, my soul will be unfettered and will be comforted by her generosity again.

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August 24, 2004

Sin City

1)Two words: silicone and saline
2)Bright Lights; Big City
4)The Virgin River Gorge
5)Starbucks Mocha Frappé (one shot, extra chocolate, skim milk please)
6)Quarters-only parking meters with no quarters and machines that take only twenties
7)Delayed plane-parking ticket anxiety
8)Too much perfume, body lotion, sweat
9)Slot machines ring-ring-ringing in my ear
10)The lovely face of my first-born walking up the ramp-ahhhhhhh.

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August 22, 2004

These are the days...

A refreshing 2 1/2 mile walk followed by crunches and weights this morning with my best friend and lover is now being supplemented with delicious homemade biscuits and gravy. Little girls in dresses and bows, my man in khakis, me in black and turquoise on our way to worship as a family and the body of Christ- a beautiful morning.

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August 04, 2004


I don't know when I've slept better and not known why. I woke up at 5:15 A.M. and anyone who knows me well knows that isn't typical. I prefer the quiet of late night rather than the early morning. However, the window was open and the cool earthy morning smell was blowing across the sill. It reminded me of something I can't even remember and I was drawn to go and breathe it into my being.

Read more Reveille »

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July 19, 2004

Baby Blues

Last night R pulled out the camcorder and we watched videos from when our children were younger. It was fun for them to see themselves distinctly smaller, talking differently, sometimes with less teeth, sometimes with a few new big ones. From birthday parties to riding a bike without training wheels for the first time, to welcoming a new one to the bunch, it was so good to watch their little(er) bodies move; to see the swing of their hair; hear the sound of their little voices as they talked and described things and performed for the camera.

I remember all the little ladies in the grocery store who I would catch gently staring at me as I juggled a baby, a toddler, a pre-schooler and a shopping cart. I would respectfully smile as I saw her slowly making her way over to me. She would tell me what felt like a thousand other ones before her had in that shaking tiny voice of theirs, "They grow up so fast." Lack of sleep would sometimes tip the scale of my response: I would either say something kind and quaint in return or murmur under my breath, "Not fast enough."

She was right and even when I was tired and sarcastic, I knew she was right. And guess what, I don't have that shaking voice yet, but I occasionally see a young woman doing the dance of trying to find where the item for the coupon she painstakingly cut out is, giving the baby the pacifier, shifting the toddler from one hip to the other, telling the preschooler that no-she-may-not-have-Cocoa-Krispies-because-they-aren't-healthy-and-I-don't-care-that-Jenny's-mother-buys-them-for-her, I smile to myself and miss those days. Briefly.

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July 13, 2004

"That's All"

When I was permitted the blessing of being removed for the summer from my own Number 4 Privet Drive, I spent the summers at my grandmother's home. I was warned to be on my best behavior as my socks were matched and tossed into the bag. While a dress or two was neatly folded, I was lectured on chewing with my mouth closed and remembering my manners.

Knowing that none of this was ever required of me at home, I inwardly chortled at what were probably the normal requests of a child visiting relatives. I never ate a meal with my parents unless we were eating out with friends or relatives. My meals were either take-out eaten in the car or alone in my room. I learned to chew with my mouth closed while eating dinner at a neighborhood friend's home. Her father had had enough of my chomping and slopping and told his daughter to remind me to keep my lips together or leave the table. I was horrified, but I never smacked again.

Read more "That's All" »

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July 09, 2004

Lack of Green Thumb

So, K and her family have gone.

My heart has boarded a plane with her. I didn't think I would cry, but alas, the tears came like a sudden rain. It was cathartic and depressing at the same time.

For one week, I wasn't actually in Utah. I was home, in a different house, but as long as I didn't look outside, it was the midwest and I was with someone who knows me, who I know, and the laughter was healing.

We were driving up the mountain and chatting away, and I looked over at her once when she laughed. I had forgotten how pretty she was; how her humor is so physical and hysterical; how her eyes light up when she talks.

I am not blooming too well. I think this transplant has damaged my roots.

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July 05, 2004

Food, Fun, Family, Friends, and Freedom

Just popping in real quick to say that we have company this week and so the posting will be light to nil this week. I hope that everyone has had fun and reflective Independence Day celebrations. Fireworks and sparklers always remind me of being a kid in the dark and humid Oklahoma nights of July at Lake McAlester. Those were the early days of grooming this patriette and I hope to pass that pride in culture and nationality on to my daughters, too.

I found this mythic story from the Revolutionary War of a brave young woman quite inspiring. I hope you will, too.

Big-thankful-for-living-in-the-Land-of-the-Free-and-the-Home-of-the-Brave smile for you :)

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June 17, 2004

It has been a busy

It has been a busy week. One of R's buddies from his active duty days in the USMC arrived last Friday evening. On Saturday, they went to Zion National Park. On Sunday, with three of our girls in tow, they hit the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Monday, they were guided to an off the map gorgeous trail in Kolob Canyon. Tuesday, taking the older girls, they hit Zion again and did several trails along with one that E had previously done, Hidden Canyon. Wednesday Pete took himself to Bryce Canyon and R took himself in for one day of work. Today, we began the swimming competition of Utah Summer Games. Our girls all won medals in backstroke. For some reason, they excel at this stroke. A brought home a gold; E a silver; C has a bronze and a personal best time in dropping 15 seconds. For those of you who don't swim, let me assure you, that is huge. I timed lane one- easy as giving a baby candy. In four hours, I only had five swimmers. I like cheering on the swimmers as they are coming in the home stretch. It is such a demanding sport that a kid can feel that kicking in the last 10 meters won't matter-so I give a big grin and encouraging words. The meet continues for the next two days.

Read more It has been a busy »

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June 12, 2004

Let the Good Times Roll (a la Ray Charles)

The girls and I went to a watercolor show at Blue Sage Frame Shop and then headed over to Groovefest with a couple of quilts. E and her friend took off to check out a few of the booths by themselves and A and I went over to look at some of the artist's kiosks. We found a handcrafted alabaster horse and a red coral bracelet. I also ran into a very gifted and hyperactive artist. He fashioned beautiful waterfalls in various sizes out of copper and copper patina. Two Slim and the Taildragons (a SRV wanna be group but actually pretty decent) played and the girls made fun of the lead singer/guitarist making faces and felt sorry for the bassist who got no notice (we determined it was his lack of face making). It was a fun evening together.

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June 08, 2004

Once upon a time

Reading to my children has always been a delight. I have a certain repertoire that I use with all of them. When each reaches three, I begin to aclimate them to listening to short pieces of chapter books, beginning with the Pooh series by A.A. Milne. We then move on to other greats: Just So Stories and Rikki Tikki Tavi; the Raggedy Ann setThe Wind in the Willows;The Secret Garden; A Little Princess; The Little House series; E.B. White's Charlotte's Web; The Trumpet of the Swan, and Stuart Little. So, that by the time they are 6, they are re-reading them for themselves. I enjoy bringing the characters to life: creating an accent appropriate for the personality cultivated by the writer; talking about them and referring to them in conversations.

Read more Once upon a time »

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June 05, 2004


Ronald Reagan inspired me to public speaking. As an eleven year old, I would listen intently to his speeches. I felt inspired and encouraged and awed. I even recall wishing he could have served another term, just so I could personally vote for him when I came of age. I haven't felt that way while listening to a president for a long time. I am thankful that he served and grateful to have experienced first hand his presidency and his presence.

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The Fruit of My Mind

I think it is the seasons that I miss most.

Strawberry season was first, the end of April/first of May. I would take the girls and grab a few wooden crates. They would remove their shoes and slide their feet in the loose dirt around the vines. Pledging to touch nary a berry, they would place a few in my flat and proceed to fill their bellies to overflowing. When I stopped by a friend's home to drop off one of the many flats, she told me before she saw the berries that I smelled "wonderfully sweet."

Next the blueberries popped out in splendor on their small bushes. I didn't particularly enjoy the cheap tasting ice-cream that came in five gallon buckets, but they were fun for the children to use in their picking. My favorite place to pick was off of a precarious dirt road in Barton County. There the grower would pleasantly greet us and point us in the direction of the kind of berries we preferred. All I remember was the row of the extra sweet, my personal favorites. We moved along the rows plucking the small blue beads. Once again, there were more berries on hands and faces than in the buckets. I would take them home, rinse them, and freeze them on baking sheets. We could eat them as snacks or I could measure them out for muffins for a Saturday morning breakfast.

Cherries from a neighbor's hard picking were pitted and pied and pulled out for quick snacks at summer swim meets.

In the midst of a humid Missouri summer came the blackberries. We once had a home that was literally surrounded by bushes that were at minimum 20 feet deep. Needless to say, the rabbits abounded in the protection of the briars. The nicks were a small sacrifice for the plump berries that would burst in your mouth, or on fingers if not delicately picked. The insects could be intense at times, competing for the juicy sweet prize.

Apples from Kuhn's Orchard were the best I ever had. In that old barn, I was introduced to crisp Pink Ladies (now a family favorite); tart Granny Smiths with green skins; gorgeous Galas elegantly flecked with gold. The cider was frozen in a milk style gallon jug. Warmed up on a fall evening, it made our hands almost as warm as our hearts.

I always identified well with Scarlett's love of the land; Missouri is my Tara and I cannot wait to return to her. I love her strong oak arms; her moody temperament; how she draws the sweat from my body as a sacrament unto her; how her girdth and height spans cultures and ethnicities. Through her and supporting her are the rivers of life and hold so much history of this continent. Yes, she is my Tara; I will return home, someday.

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May 06, 2004

So Sad

but completely understandable.

Goodbye and farewell to a terrfic blog couple. All the best to you. This says it perfectly for me:

"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace."

Numbers 6:24-26

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May 05, 2004

Garden of Verses

Kelley's post (she has some lovely shots up of her garden) prompted my thoughts this morning (which I shared with her via e-mail).

We used to live in the Midwest and I knew just about every wildflower on the side of the road, definitely every tree (thanks to my very knowledgable R) and bird, and every "domesticated" plant around.

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