Thursday, July 30, 2009


Tell me July isn't really over! I feel as if some time-traveling thief stole at least two weeks of this month right out from under my pressed-to-the-grindstone nose. But what I remember of this month was glorious, so even if it was mysteriously reduced by half, I received two-months worth of happiness from it.

First of all, Angela, my editor on Dawn's Early Light, and I were joined at our cyber hips from May through the middle of July, completing the edit on the manuscript. All that remains is to place the maps and photos, and then it's off for printing. This really is a very special book--not because I wrote it, but because it describes a painful, neglected, almost forgotten American story from which we triumphed with the Almighty's help. Most compelling is how old enemies became loyal allies, reminding us that we do have the ability to come together and make peace. Of course there is a wonderful love story and family drama woven in amongst this great American history. I hope these story lines only add to the sense of urgency and sacrifice that drove the first generation of Americans on to defend what their fathers had begun. I hope you'll pick up a copy in October when Dawn's Early Light hits the shelves.

I had barely completed the final track changes on Dawn's Early Light when it was time to grab my suitcase and head off for our family's summer vacation. We began by taking our youngest son through the Salt Lake temple. It was the first time all our children and their spouses were in the temple together. Honestly, if our grandchildren weren't being babysat elsewhere, they'd've had to pry me out, it was an exquisite experience that reminded me that I cry a lot more easily these days.

After basking in the joy of "forever" happiness, we settled in for some "now" happiness. We spent the week splashing, boating, eating, playing games, eating, playing sports, eating. . . (I assume you see a theme emerging here. . .

Our family is competitive--the boys begin a dieting competition that runs from Christmas to vacation with the winner earning not only a slim torso but a nice prize. The guys caved in about three weeks before vacation this year, so they took their competitiveness out to the ball courts and game boards. As a result, our vacation was busy and lots of fun, and I have the sunburn and sore muscles to prove it!

We also attended a free Olympic skiing demonstration at Olympic Park in Park City, and a rodeo/fireworks display at Kamas. It was baby Brady's first rodeo, and as you can see, the drama was intense, so much so that the little feller sought security in a chew on his daddy's popcorn cup.

The family flew or drove off to various destinations soon thereafter. Tom had to work in L.A., but I remained behind to watch our son's children while he and his wife took off on a relaxing cruise. If you've been following my Face book page, you've read about some of the fashion faux pas committed during grandma's tenure with the children. To my dismay, I discovered that the "Princess Leia" hairdo I inflicted upon my own daughter when she was little, was no longer acceptable to my diva grand daughter. Finally, when allowed to add as many clips, bows and other doo-dads as she desired, we came up with a style-compromise. Here is my little ballerina after all our work had fallen out. I think I like this style best anyway!

Our five-year-old grandson, Tommy, decided to create a style sensation all his own. Notice the socks he selected to wear to school with his plaid shorts? What can I say? You have to be way cool to pull this look off!

Babysitting is always a sobering reminder of how much work is involved in child care. Hats off to mommies for all their hard work. Especially when the glamour is thin. I've felt more like a waste-control expert than a nurturer this week--diapers, food smears, wiping almost-completely-potty-trained bums and dodging showers of spewed baby food. I've dubbed baby Christian "The Eliminator" because he somehow produces more volume in waste than he consumes in food. It's an amazing anomaly.

So yes, it's been a busy, satisfying, mach-seven July, but what a wonderful month. Interestingly enough, open houses for the Oquirrh Mountain temple are going on right now. My son and daughter-in-law took their children on a temple tour, and upon exiting, Tommy, our Santa-socked grandson turned to his mother and said, "Mom, my Holy Ghost feels happy. Is your Holy Ghost happy too?" "Yes," she replied, tenderly, "My Holy Ghost feels very happy."

That's what it's all about--the patriotism that protects this choice and promised land, the work, the occasional drudgery and sacrifice--all to get to the temple so we can secure the promises the Lord has waiting for us there, and to enjoy the hope those blessings bring us here on earth.

Our vacation began and ended with experiences at the Lord's House. I was lucky to have my second son, Adam's fiance, Brittany, here to help for a few days before she returned to her home in Ohio to complete last-minute preparations for her wedding to Adam. So, yes, next month we'll all be together in a temple again, in Ohio.

And that's why my Holy Ghost feels happy too.

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