Category Archives: Memory

Toenails & Testimonies

We have had a long journey since our Lizy passed away and one of the biggest parts of that journey has been finding positive ways to celebrate her & keep her memory alive and a part of our family.

The year after Lizy died, one of the sweet young women in our ward (congegregation) wanted to help us organize a memorial for her. As we tried to decide on what we could do in her memory we thought back to when our son, Jacob, was born – he has a congenital heart defect and had open heart surgery at two weeks old. We received so many wonderful blessings during that experience – one of which was a beautiful fleece baby blanket that had been donated to the hospital. So, to give back we began making fleece baby blankets to donate to the children’s hospital. Lizy loved participating in that. She loved doing what she could to help others – when she was eight or nine she decided to have a lemonade stand and donate all the proceeds to the Children’s Heart Foundation in honor of her heart hero brother – she earned $75 from that little lemonade stand – and the lemonade was only 25 cents a cup, lol.

It seemed appropriate that we make fleece blankets to donate in her memory. Instead of donating them to a hospital though, we donate them to Fernside, a child grief support center. They give them to kids when they go to the one-time summer camp. A special hug and comfort during the hard days. We have been so blessed by the help our family has received at Fernside and this seemed the perfect way to not only give back, but to help other kids who are struggling with loss.

So, this Sunday, on Lizy’s 19th birthday, we are having our annual Toenails and Testimonies. (Why toenails – well – if you scroll back to some posts from around 2012 you will see why – or you can always ask me if you really want to know – but this post is already verging on long as it is).  A chance to remember her, celebrate her and work on something that will bring peace and comfort to others. That’s what she would have done – and I know that’s what she wants us to do. Create happiness.

I miss her every. single. day.

And I am grateful that she is part of our family. Every. single. day.

if you are interested in attending toenails and testimonies and need more information, you may contact me privately.

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Filed under Child loss, Family, Grief, Lizy, Memory, Miracles

Dad 100 WCGU #59

This week we received a picture prompt. It reminded me immediately of my Dad (though he would never sit at the edge of a precipice like that). He loved the mountains and spent numerous summers living in lookout towers. He love to hike and instilled that love in his family. This post is dedicated to him.

To read other pieces or to participate, click on the logo. 🙂


The wind runs it’s tendril fingers through my hair

and presses it’s chilled lips upon my cheeks.

I close my eyes and pretend it’s him,

squeezing me tight and whispering

it’s going to be all right,

that I can make it through another day.

A single tear traces a

cool track down my face

and lands with a soft splotch.

The mountains are synonymous with him.

There was never one without the other.

I stand, dusting grainy dirt from

my jeans.

“Give her a hug for me,” I whisper

and know the words are carried to heaven

on the breeze.


Filed under Child loss, Memory, Miscellaneous, Nature, Poetry, Writing

Our First Annual Lizy Day

I remember holding you when you were first born. SO delicate, so tiny. I had never held a baby so new from God before. My heart was filled with awe and amazement that you were mine. I held you so close that first night and you snuggled in my arms. Falling asleep to the beating of my heart. You enchanted me and made me yours.


Over the years you grew into a charming young lady and a friend. Your smile enchanted our hearts and brightened our days. Your desire to live righteously guided those around you. I have felt and continue to feel honored to call you daughter.


You loved your family and protected them, taught them, showed them a loving example. We will always hold wonderful memories of your laugh, your lizard tongue, our hikes, plays, games, and music together. You enriched our lives and will continue to not only enrich our lives, but the lives of many to come.


We love you so much, Lizy, and miss you terribly. Today was so hard, not being able to celebrate your 13th birthday with you, though I know you were with us in spirit. We laid flowers on your grave and celebrated all things pink – just for you! Thank you for blessing our lives and the lives of so many others.










Filed under Child loss, Children, Lizy, Memory, Parenting


One of my favorite memories from my childhood is of sledding down the hill in our own backyard. We even built ramps to fly off of and would layer sleeping bags in the bottom of our sleds for cushion when we landed. Sledding and playing long into the day, building snow forts and having snowball fights. And of course our memorable 8-10 foot snowman – dad had to climb on a ladder in order to finish him off. He leaned like the Tower of Pisa until he was almost at a 90 degree angle to the ground before he finally fell over. The lone while pillar of snow after all the rest had melted away.

Living in Oregon I have been a little wistful the past few years, wishing the same for my children. We have had our snowing spurts, but the only hill available for easy access was our driveway which offered very little.

Well, now, we have the COOLEST backyard and nothing gives me more joy than watching my kids go speeding down the hill on sleds, squealing and laughing all the way. They say it’s not typically this snowy in Cincinnati in December, but I am SO glad for it. Now, If I can get just baby fed and asleep, maybe I can do a little sledding to! 😀

Our first snow, we just had the tobogan…

Sledding 1

Sledding 1a

Then I got smart and picked up a couple extra sleds at the local Target, figuring they’d come in handy hopefully sooner rather than later.  And they did! Today has been an absolute blast!

Sledding 2

Sledding 2a

Let it snow!!!


Filed under Children, Dot, Em, Every Day Life, Jacob, James, Lizy, Memory

The Marvel of Music

Traduccion al Espanol

I don’t know exactly how it started, though I think it may have originated with my brother who started attending Ricks College the summer before me. Every Sunday a small group of us would walk off campus, past numerous student housing apartments to a small nursing home on the hill.

I was recruited namely form my piano ability, the rest came to sing. There was a beautiful grand piano in a large lobby area where the residents would gather. I’d crack open my hymn book and we would sing until voices were hoarse. We started with only about five of us. The piano plus a quartet, and we gradually grew. Before long there were easily twenty to thirty of us on some Sundays.

Small groups would break off and roam the halls, singing as they went. It was wonderful to see the face of the residents. How music stirred and lifted them. Brought cheer into their lives. Often we woud visit afterwards, and they had such wonderful stories to tell.

It was the first time he held my hand, on our way home from one of those visits. One of the girls in the group had hinted upon our arrival at the nursing home that my hands were terribly cold, so as we walked back to campus he suavely scooped my hand into his and tucked into his pocket. I still remember the thrill and grin like a giggly teenager whenever I think of that moment.

Those were some of my favorite times, playing and singing at the nursing home, expecially when he was with me. We didn’t have the oportunity much after we were married. We had kids, and it seemed that making it to a nursing home to play music was too hard to juggle with the children.

Then a couple weeks ago someone supplied me with a brilliant idea to have our upcoming (not until May) piano recital at one of the nursing homes in our town. Of course! I thought. Why hadn’t I thought of that.

Arrangements were made, and then it got me to thinking. It’s a Friday night. We need to go on the best date ever. So, I packed up as much old time music as I could find quickly, fetched the babysitter, and Paul and I drove to the nursing home.

We had called ahead to tell them we were coming, and they were waiting. They chuckled when they asked why we came and we said it was our date. We played and played, and sang and played. Paul brought his spoons as well. The memories were grand, and we played for an hour and a half. The smiling faces, the joy – this is the marvel of music.

We wound things down to a finish, put on our coats and headed back to our car. Paul reached down, scooped my hand into his and slid it into his pocket, sending a giddy girlish thrill shivering through me.


Filed under Love and Marriage, Memory, Music

Pennsylvania Summers

In the dead of summer when the heat crackled around you and the hummidity made your clothes cling to you like limp rags, those were the days when we would beg our parents to take us to the local sportsmanship pond and go swimming. Playing chicken, and squelching the soft mud at the bottem of the pond between our toes. We would beg dad to take us on the froggy swim across the pond. We would lie on his back as he did the breast stroke, going up and down, in and out of the water.

When we were finally feeling waterlogged we would lie out on our beach towels on the grass in the hot sun and dry ourselves beneath it rays. Often our trips to the pond would include a picnic lunch – or even a birthday celebration for me if it was near my birthday.

In the evenings the heat would cool as the sun dipped low in the sky, but the humidity continued to drape itself across our skin. Fireflies would begin to wink across the night sky and we gathered on the porch to catch the slight breeze. I am sure there were evenings when Mom played her accordian on the porch and we all sang along.

Rarely a night was spent inside – we made pup-tents, or slept in our kid made teepee, sometimes we would just sleep out under the stars, rising early to help with the chores.

Summers were full of fun and hard work as we spent hours sitting on the porch husking corn, or in the kitchen listening to General Conference tapes as we canned peaches, tomatoes, and a bazillion other things harvested from our huge garden. I’m surprised that the fruit and vegetables we canned didn’t have an extra salty taste from the sweat that poured down our forheads and dimpled on our skin in the heat of that kitchen on humid Pennsylvania summer day.

Some of my most vivid memories take place in those hot humid summers – playing Annie Annie I Over until twilight set in, talent shows on the front lawn as we danced and acted out crazy skits. I hope my children will be able to share in some of the same summer memories…


Filed under Memory, Personal History

10 Years

 Wedding Rings

10 years ago I was kneeling at the alter across from my husband with eyes full of love, excitement, and happiness.  10 years ago I said yes twice; I was so excited that I said Yes at the wrong point in the ceremony.  It was quite funny, and of course I have been teased about it ever since.  10 years ago Paul and I stood in the atrium of the Portland, Oregon Temple and exchange rings – only I couldn’t get his ring on, so much to the amusement of all our family and friends he had to put it on himself. 🙂 10 years ago I married the most amazing man I have ever known.

Wedding Photo 2

It is incredible to think that ten years have passed by so quickly.  These years have been packed with amazing wonderful experiences and some of the hardest things that I wonder how we have made it through.  But one thing I know is that through it all we have become closer and stronger.  I love that wonderful man just as much as I did ten years ago – and oh so much more.

Wedding PHoto 1

In our years together we have seen so many wonderful miracles – five of them being our wonderful children who have joined us over the years.  I am excited for the many years to come and all they will bring.  I love my husband and each of my children.  I love their excitement as we pour over the pages of our wedding album and hearing them exclaim, “You look younger!”  or “I love your dress.”  I love to hear them begging for us to tell them the stories about how we met and got married, “one more time”. 

Wedding line

I am so grateful for all that I have in life, and for my husband, who is the greatest husband and father I could ever dream of. 

Wedding Cake
(The infamous cake before its great demise – it toppled – thankfully after the porcelain temple was removed)

I love you dear! Happy Anniversary!

Wedding Boquet

(The beautiful – and very heavy – bridal boquet)


Filed under Love and Marriage, Memory

Circus (not the one I live in) heh

It is funny how memories shift and fade over the years. Some memories are so vivid and tangible, while others lurke – a shadow of faded vision just out of reach. These memories seem to me to be just out of focus – the edges blurred so it is hard to tell between reality and dream. Sometimes I wish my brain had a fine tuned focus knob so that when I latch onto one of these memories I could bring it strong and clear to the front of my brain.

As Paul and I were driving to the LaCrosse game we passed by the brilliant blue and yellow circus tents set up on the Water Front.

“I wish we could all go to the circus some time,” Paul mentioned as we drove past.

A memory instantly began teasing my brain of some fuzzy long distance, once upon a time. Hadn’t I gone to a circus once? Nah, it was a dream, but then the memory slowly focused just a bit and I remembered enough detail, some funny insignificant detail, that let me know that it was a long lost memory indeed.

I don’t recall what grade I was in when we went on the fieldtrip, but I was very young, so I am guessing 1st or 2nd grade.

The bus ride was long as we drove some distance, probably Pittsburgh. As we came off the freeway I saw a big huge white building. “That can’t be the circus, there are supposed to be tents,” I thought to myself.

Just as we passed the building, bright colorful tents popped up and a thrill of excitement shot through me. I clutched my brown paper bag lunch and exited the bus in a throng of students. I was very excited about my lunch becaus it had one of those short juices with the bumpy sides on it and foil for a lid. There were also Combos in my lunch – those little pretzly snacks with filling in the middle. I distinctly remember that mine were Pizza flavor. This was a rare and special occasion in deed as trying to raise five children on a farm finances were tight and such luxeries in our lunches occured rarely. Though there were usually a plentiful supply of home made cookies in our lunch, so I can’t complain to much. Anyway, back to the story.

The tent was huge. It was so big that it didn’t even feel like a tent and I was amazed at how they had stairs taking us high, high up. We were in the peanut gallery, and I always wondered why we didn’t get peanuts.

There were two acts I remember distinctly. All my short life, up until that moment, I always wanted to see someone shot out of a cannon. That was what defined a circus to me – there had to be a guy flying out of a cannon. How loud that cannon was! I cheered as I clapped my hands on my ears, laughing as the guy sailed through the air.

Then there was the tightwire motorcycle act. The tightwire went right over our heads. The motorcycle drove slowly across the wire getting closer and closer. Then a beautiful lady in a sparkly silver costume descended from the motorcycle, clenching the rope (or whatever it is called) with her teeth. She began the most beautiful arial ballet right above our heads. I was in awe as I watched her spin and dance in the air. I couldn’t believe how she was able to hang on just by her teeth!

I am fairly certain I played circus for weeks afterwards.

I love how forgotten memories are triggered by the smallest things, and sometimes things that have nothing to do with the memmory. I always greet them with a smile and hug to an old friend. Then I quickly write them down before they slip away again…


Filed under Memory

A Memory Remembered

It is amazing how the mind remembers and forgets and how the tiniest thing will spark a flood of memories cherished and warm and you wonder, “How did I ever forget?”  And then you have the greatest desire to share it with your own family.

 My favorite mornings as a child were when I would awake to the sound of the bread mixer. It ment delicious hot fresh bread that day and there was nothing better, especially with butter melting on top.  As I would climb the stairs from my basement bedroom I would emerge from the dark into the warm cozy glow of the kitchen. Mom would be making breakfast usually as the bread mixed and the sound would fill the kitchen and house.  Usually breakfast would consist of oatmeal, or some other kind of mush which I didn’t care for too much.  There were times of eggs, or pancakes and sometimes even bacon.  Cold cereal was something that we only had on trips and Christmas (I remember often that there would be one of those mini boxes of cold cereal tucked into our stocking on Christmas morning – we were always so excited at the novelty).  Then there were these mornings when sometimes, espeically if there were some special occasion, when Mom would make the most wonderful thing ever.  We called them scones – though they weren’t really, I suppose the correct name would be fry bread, or something like that, but to me the will always and forever be known as scones.

Mom would roll out the bread dough, cut it into pieces and fry it.  The funnest times were when we got to help with the cutting out.  We would get all creative and make letters – the first initial of each person’s name. We would do shapes and braids.  Sometimes we would even grab the cookie cutters and do fancier shapes.

Mom would drop them in the hot oil and we would watch as the bubbled and browned until the were fetched dripping hot from the pan. We would carefully pat them down dry in paper towls and add them to the growing stack on the table.

Soon it was eating time.  Hot maple syrup was poured over them – sometimes even fresh using maple from trees the boys had tapped.  And, then there was always peanut butter. I don’t know who started the peanut butter, but the most devine thing was to spread peanut butter, always chunky, over the scone and then pour the hot syrup on top.  The peanut but would melt and go all gooey. Mmmmmm  Then you sank your teeth in and tasted the gooey goodness, and nothing could ever go wrong in the world.  I’m sure we put other things on the scones as well, but the syrup and peanut butter was the staple.  We actually did peanut butter and syrup on pancakes and waffles too, but it never tasted as good as it did on our scones.

 I never thought to forget about scones, I mean how could I? They were a childhood favorite. I made them a few times when Paul and I were just married – and introduced him to the peanut butter and syrup combination – after a brief moment where he thought I was insane, he quickly discovered just how wonderful it was. 🙂  Then a few weeks ago we were doing something and the memory of scones in the morning came flooding back with the force of a two by four smacking me right between the eyes.

I couldn’t wait for the next Saturday to arrive as I got up early and began mixing bread dough.  We didn’t do all the shapes we did as kids, I was just excited to eat scones again 🙂 but that will come later.  The kids loved the novelty of peanut butter and syrup together – another generation of warped kids coming up 😉 and my kitchen was flooded with cherished memories from my childhood as I made scones for my little family.  They were readily devoured by all of us, and I can promise, I’m not going to be forgetting now.  I have four little people who will eagerly remind me of our devine breakfast, and maybe, just maybe, someday they will have a few little people reminding them of their devine breakfast, and the memories will cross generations and bind us all together.

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Filed under Memory

Y is for Yakkety Yak Don’t Talk Back

Encyclopedia of Me Meme

 A problem we have been having in spades with a couple of our children lately.  I have been finding myself coming up with  quick little anecdotes such as, “One butt is enough for me thanks, I don’t need all of yours”, “I see you have a but, why don’t you sit on it in time-out”, or “Goats butt, kids behave.”  Every once in a while I will say, “we use bum, behind, or bottom in this house, no butts.” They look at me confused for a second and then continue, “But mom, that’s not what I meant…”   But, but, but….  *sigh* 

I think I have decided to have them start doing push-ups every time they start talking back and arguing.  Commet has gotten so good at it that she could be the queen of debate.  She’ll even start arguing the good things, until she realizes what we said and then the clamps up pretty quick before we change our minds.  Quick kid, that.  If nothing else, I would end up with some pretty tough cookies for kids. 🙂

Y is also for Yippee! Yahoo! and Yay!

Just my of letting you know that even with all the yakkety yakking I am a happy camper and all is well in family land.

Oooh, and lastly Y is for “Yingle Bells”.  

 A really fun, Swedish version of Jingle Bells that my granddad used to sing to us kids as he played his banjo.  For a great recording of it (not my granddad, the song) click on the link and turn up the volume.  It still makes me chuckle and now I play it on the piano as my family gathers around, singing “Yingle Bells” at the top of our lungs.

StinaLisa’s Recording of Yingle Bells

Be sure to sing along, should you have the notion too!

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Filed under Humor, Meme, Memory, Music, Parenting