Tonight as Lindsay was heading off to scuba diving class I pondered over one of my favorite qualities of hers. She is fearless. That doesn’t mean she isn’t hesitant about certain things, but it’s a quality I’ve admired and observed in her for quite sometime and it’s most often displayed in her love of the outdoors and sports and recreation.

I remember when, as a little girl, Lindsay reached up with her bare hand and snagged an over-the-fence home run at her big brother’s Little League game. I realized then she is not afraid of the ball and it was an aspect of her athleticism I enjoyed watching through a few seasons playing goalie in soccer and many years playing centerfield in softball. I see it now as she embraces new sports – rock climbing and scuba diving – this year. She goes after her passions even when it means jumping right in to a class full of strangers or climbing with someone she doesn’t know just for the love of the climb.

My other kids are fearless in many ways as well. Luke, already to graduate with a degree in civil engineering, feels the call to serve as a seminary teacher and shares his most precious thoughts will rooms full of teenagers. Zack, who is also fearless in his outdoor recreation hurls himself down rapids all summer and spent an entire semester taking all his classes in Arabic in the Middle East. And I’ll never forget watching Kyle as he diplomatically offered to help an older gentleman who was volunteering as a blacksmith in the Pioneer Village when Kyle knew something he didn’t, but needed to know in order to finish his demonstration. Or the day Kyle spent an entire day in a real Smith’s forge with a class full of adults all for the love of creating something out of molten metal.

I’m grateful for the blessing of watching my children grow up bravely in a world that teaches us to be afraid. I hope their fearlessness serves them well. It certainly takes them places I would never have imagined. Good for them!

Christmas Makers Market

Here’s more Stuff. Zack. Does.

dreamcatchersChristmas Makers Market
Friday, December 13, 5-9pm
Saturday, December 14, 10am-3pm
The Startup Building
560 South 100 West, Provo


The dream catchers are 100% handmade. The leather is from a local Utah deer. I processed and tanned the hide over the course of a month. The string is made of deer sinew that was dried and pounded and then pieced into one continuous strand. I carved the beads in the center from bone; the other beads are carved from pine and balsa wood. The hoop is crafted from willows growing along the Provo River. The feathers are from my mom’s chickens.

Sweeping, synergy, and soapmaking

Protective eyewear is a must when making soap. Safety first!

Zack wanted to come over today and make soap. At the time he asked the detritus of pumpkin carving strewn about the kitchen floor, a sink full of dishes and dishes on the table as well. The detritus of Halloween decor strewn about the living room. This is what happens when you’re working too much, you’re never home,  and you do Halloween last minute in the few and wee hours after work and dinner and before you go to bed so you can possibly bear to get up in the morning and start it all over again.

I told him I’d love to, but…

“How about if I come over and help you clean and then we can make soap?”

Music to my mother ears.

And so he came. And as we worked together – Zack doing the legwork – returning strewn items to their proper places while I went to town on the dishes, I thought of my grandparents on my mother’s side, Grandpa and Grandpa Jacobs.

Grandpa and Grandma Jacobs canned peaches together easily into their upper eighties, possibly early nineties. I know this because when they got too old to get around as much as they liked, I often picked up the bushels of lemon elberta peaches for them from the then-orchard-now-half-million-dollar-homes-development just up the road from my house and delivered them to Grandpa and Grandma.

I gave up on canning shortly after I went back to work, but I recall it’s a long, messy, sticky process. And it was particularly lonely doing it by oneself. And I realized that it’s likely the only reason Grandpa and Grandma Jacobs canned so very long is because they did it together.

Then word synergy came to mind. I’m awfully fond of synergy. I love how synergy reminds me of energy, because when I am working with someone–feeling part of a team–it’s not just that we accomplish more than the sum of our efforts, it’s also that I feel lifted, strengthened, energized. I am capable of staying more focused and more determined because I am not alone. It occured to me that’s part of the reason we are born into families. We are meant to work together. It’s good for us to share the responsibilities of taking care of the home and it’s more efficient to work together.

The best part of working with Zack today was, of course, his company. Zack is easy, smart, funny, and a thinker. We spoke of friends, music, politics, and some of his near-future plans. Good company makes any task more pleasant. Time seemed to fly.

After some order was brought to the house, we got down to the business of soapmaking. And you know how I feel about that. Even so, I was reminded that even the fun stuff is more pleasant with good company. Zack is good company. We’ll have to do it again sometime.

If you’d like to see what else Zack has been up to lately, you can check it out over on his new blog.


Beep beep!

The other day (well, lots of other days ago–time flies), Kyle hollered from the living room into the kitchen where I was preparing dinner:

“Mom! Do we have an anvil?”

At first I thought he said Advil. Then my ears brought his words into focus and I hollered back to make sure:

“An anvil? Like the thing Wile E. Coyote used to drop down on the Road Runner all the time?”

“Yes. That.”

(As a side note, you must know I take some delight in the fact that my son, whose nickname used to be Coyote [Kyle. Kyle E. Wile E. Wile E Coyote. Coyote], was invoking his namesake.)

“No. We don’t have an anvil.”

(Really. I ask you. Who do you know that just happens to have an anvil sitting around getting all rusted up in his or her backyard, garage, or shed.)


It wasn’t two days later that I walked out my front door and almost tripped over an anvil right there on my front lawn.


Apparently a friend of Kyle’s just happened across an anvil somewhere out in the middle of nowhere, dug it up, and was willing to part with it for a cool $40.

Hey Mr. Road Runner! Better watch out!


So Kyle, who has become the King of the How-To Video, has taken a sudden interest in metal working. Smithing. Forge-ery. (OK, I made up that last one.) He has slowly acquired several odd tools, random parts and pieces of equipment (old brake drum anyone?) and has started to build his own forge. I’d like to say I’m helping in some way, but other than the occasional run to Lowe’s, Harbor Freight Tools, or Provo City Library, I’m mostly just getting out of the way and standing back to watch.

I watch him learn some things the hard way (which is ok, because I am starting to believe that those may be the lessons which stick with us the most). For example, some kinds of brick are better for retaining the necessary heat and therefore for forge-making than others.

I watch him learn to deal with nay-sayers.

I watch from the dining room window as a few other local teens come over to see what’s up and literally stick some iron (or what have you) in the fire.

I watch him dig out the Neosporin and the bandaids and nurse the occasional burn for a couple of days at a time.

It’s all good.


The first Saturday after softball season was over I had one thing on my mind: spending some quality time with the-child-who-gets-abandoned-annually-during-softball-season. Kyle wanted to check out the blacksmithing demo at the Pioneer Village. It was intresting. But it quickly became apparent that the volunteer doing the demo hasn’t spent as much time watching YouTube how-to videos or with his nose in the latest smithing book as Kyle. Kyle patiently watched for awhile and we ask a few questions. Then, when the nice man was perplexed about which tool to use for his intended task, Kyle thoughtfully found a way to offer a suggestion without making said nice man feel sheepish. That happened a couple of times and we watched a little longer before wandering through the rest of the village. On our way out we met up with another man who took our contact information and promised to put us in touch with the local blacksmithing club. (By club, I assumed he meant guild. And I already know that Kyle can join, but they won’t let him do any actual smithing in any of their classes until he’s 18. I know how to use the Internets too.)


Over dinner last night the subject of the anvil came up again. Apparently the version of its discovery as related to Kyle by the friend who was so quick to sell it to Kyle might not have been entirely factual. The boy’s mother tracked down Shane the other night to ask about the family heirloom anvil that has gone missing. We will be returning it straight away, as soon as Kyle gets his $40 back. Apparently anvils are a little harder to come by than tripping across on in a junkyard and are also a little more expensive than a cool $40.

“I’ll find another one,” Kyle says.

Of that I have no doubt.

the night before

If I could scrapbook photographs of the days leading up to the wedding I would most want to capture the following:

Sunday afternoons. The entire family gathered around the dinner table, sometimes one end of it covered by scattered envelopes, lists and wedding announcements, trying to keep up with excited banter as it shoots across from one end or side of the table to another. energy. affection. humor.

Late nights. (too late of nights for my circadian rhythm) Luke and Emily dropping by–their evening just beginning, as we were winding down. love. laughter. energy.

Shopping. Meeting at a menswear shop. The bridal store. With a custom suit representative over the dining room table. Discussing colors, shades of colors, fabric; linings, bodices, beading. hesitancy. consensus. excitement.

Weather watching. Waiting for the ten-day forecast to appear. Disappointment as it first indicated stormy low 40s. Hope building as each day it improved to peak at a sunny 56. Sadness as it deteriorated to a cloudy, cold 37. prayers. hope. resignation.

Random shots of a pile of wrapping paper and bows in a room full of family and friends at the bridal shower on another cold windy day. Conversations over dinner at Brick Oven for another shower to include those who couldn’t make the first. introductions. connections. friendships.

Collaborations of beloved sister friends over the secret wedding presents and the wardrobe, shoes and jewelry of the mother of the groom. something old. something new. something borrowed. something blue.

And today: Kids off to school. Cleaning. Dishes. Laundry. Luke sitting on the sofa, headphones in his ear, studying for the third exam of this week, but the last before the wedding. Phone calls. Texts from reassuring and loving friends. People who’ve been there; done that. Finishing up unfinished business. Coming home after most all the errands to a houseful of family from here, Oregon and Idaho. A house full of energy. A house full of love.

A pile of dark brown hair on the newly mopped kitchen floor, carefully cut by my brother, who loves me just the way I am. The chatter of my nephew, who’d been car-bound for two days, from the other room. My SIL bearing good news of gifts of chips and queso and tres leches. My mom, her newly returning silver hair stylishly close to her head. My sister, who easily handled the centerpieces for the luncheon so I wouldn’t have to. My niece, who was the first to greet me before I even made it to the top of the stairs.

Lindsay towering well over 6 ft., practicing walking in borrowed heels (again with the something old. something new. something borrowed. something blue). Zack coming home from Wallsburg, asking if we could postpone the gathering of 75 chairs so he could go pick up the hide of a friend’s cow that had died. (We got the chairs first.) A last minute panic as we realized we had no black suit coat for Kyle. Relief when Luke’s old high-school choir tux fit just suited Kyle just fine.

Slowly making my way downstairs (the storm and a busy day having fun with my arthritis) to give Luke a hug goodnight. I linger for a second in his doorway, observing as he neatly packs the very last of his belongings still here away for their honeymoon. I give my sweet, tender-hearted worrier son a hug goodnight.

The realization that being so involved in the details–both significant and tiny–was a good distraction for the mother of the groom. The realization that this is different from leaving for his first day of kindergarten, for a week of Outdoor School, or scout camp, or for two years to serve a mission, or from moving into the dorms or an apartment for two semesters. This is leaving our Rowley family of six, established 1987, to cleave unto his wife–his best friend–to build a new Rowley family, established 2013.

This is the end. This is the beginning.