The hush that winter brings was broken Sunday afternoon by the distant wail of sirens. As the wail became less distant, we realized that the louder it became, the more likely it was the sirens were coming for one of our own.

Turns out this time they were for a widow in our ward. Her name is Lois. I don’t know her well. I know next to nothing about her family. Her story is now lost to me. I just know she died alone in the cold dark of winter. And no one knew. The abandoned newspapers strewn at her door indicate she may have been gone a day or two before anyone even realized they ought to have missed her.

This breaks my heart.

My boys used to deliver her paper. She lived in a tiny square house that sat rather isolated on its nearly otherwise empty lot. Clearly humble circumstances aside, she was one of the very few who bothered tipping. A widow’s mite, if you will.

Lois didn’t become more than a name on a neighborhood roster to me until after her husband died. He was, shall we say, not very social. So she didn’t get out much. When she did she seemed very quiet. Not withdrawn so much reserved. Eventually she started showing up to choir practice. I applauded her courage, as it was clear she was more accustomed to the back row than up on the stand. She had some condition that made her hand–I only recall ever noticing it on one–shake. One more reason to hold back, but she stepped forward to worship through song. I didn’t know her well even then, but I was so proud of her.

I’m not sure when she stopped coming to choir. Or if it was her or I who disappeared first. I just realized that at some point that instead of in the choir seats, the only time I saw her at church was back in the far left corner, one of two places in our chapel where the widows and the widowers sit. Not so much to sit apart from the rest of us, but to endure together the loneliness that even the most gregarious of them must feel.

Even though my responsibilities require me to leave the meeting a few minutes early, I watch for them–particularly the sweet sisters–as I arrive and leave Sacrament Meeting. Ever ready with a hug, a pat on the shoulder or a gentle squeeze on the arm. I generally encountered Lois in the hall as she slowly made her way past the Primary room. Her sweet smile and gentle hello always warmed by heart. Notice that sparkle in her eyes? I am drawn to people who, despite the cares of this mortal world, manage to maintain the sparkle in their eyes.

I’m still watching for the obituary. I hope someone close to Lois will know and record her story. I don’t even know how old she was when she died. I just know I am grateful to have crossed paths with her. Sadly, I’m sure Lois is not the last person about whom I will have regrets.

I wish I’d have known her better.


The perfect thing to say

I have been most blessed to have a few people in my life who generally know the perfect thing to say. This week in particular, two such people touched my heart in perfect and loving ways that I don’t want to ever forget.

Exhibit 1:

Me to a close friend:  Thanks for knowing me and loving me anyway.

Friend: ¬†Not “anyway.” I love you because.


Exhibit 2 (aka Card Writing 101):

Birthday card from my sweet brother Keith

Actually, when I showed it to my kids (telling them, of course, to “watch and learn”), Zack pointed out that this is a little more upper division than 101, probably at least 303.

“This” is a gorgeous scarf my little brother has spent the past three months knitting for me for my birthday. Knowing that my kid brother spent the past three months putting all kinds of love into such a lovely gift from the heart–via his time and labor–warms my heart more than my mere words can say.

I want to wear this every day for the rest of my life. The photo doesn’t do it justice. If I see you, chances are I will ask you if you want to feel how soft it is, because the yarn is heavenly.

Taking care of business

First–Congratulations go to Melissa (of runwithmel) fame. You have won yourself one of my very favorite cookbooks in the whole entire world! I hope you enjoy it. Text or message me when you are in town and we can meet up so I can return your fabulous heels and also present you with your prize.

Second–Sent this to dearelder.com today as I was logging in to write to Hermana Asay. I think we should all flood their email and contact page with similar messages. It’s about time, don’t you think?

Hi–I appreciate what you do here and I realize you may not be able to update your URL, but don’t you think it’s time you updated your name and logo to be more inclusive of the many, many sisters also serving missions? I sure would feel more inclined to support your website if you did.
Thank you for your time–


Fin de November

It’s just minutes before midnight and I find I am wrapping up this month of blog posts much like I started–rushed, by the skin of my teeth, and not exactly sure I have anything to say.

It’s been a good day, so I’ll just finish with a quick recap:

Trader Joe’s opened in Utah today. I didn’t go to the grand opening. But my SIL is coming next week and we are going to go check it out. I just hope that leaves them enough time to restock the shelves with an adequate supply of Peppermint Joe Joes.

Just found out my minivan needs another $1500+ of work. This after replacing the brakes and rotors just two weeks ago. Sometimes I wonder if you are going to have to come up with enough money for payments for repairs, maybe you just ought to be making payments on a better car?

Came home from the shop to find one of our hens (the black one that’s blind in one eye) being used as a chew toy by our puppy. Not the dog’s fault–it’s what she’s been bred to do. The hen was shaken; her neck is pretty raw. Shane isn’t sure her feathers will grow back. Right now the trick will be to keep her safe from the other hens, who will, if they see her injury, become rather peckish. I hope she will be just fine.

Enjoyed my time home today: baking (banana muffins), cleaning (bathrooms, kitchen and dining room–lots of dishes), and cooking (a good 6+ quarts of homemade chili – had to send an entire gallon with Kyle for the scout campout at Fish Lake). Loved a litte more time with my kids as they came and went. Cheered by the Christmas music I turned on after Thanksgiving. Also enjoyed a walk with my friend Nancy. Finally, the rains came. That always makes for a happy day.

Finally–it’s been a sweet ride. Thanks for reading.

Bring it, December!

And Happy Holidays to you (you the readers, not December) and yours.

*note: in case you were keeping track, this was published at 11:59 on Nov. 30. I just realized my blog is not in the correct time zone. Ah well.