Saturday, July 31, 2010


I hate to be boring and predictable… But didn’t July just zoom by super fast? I know, I know: I was babbling about June going by too fast a few blogs ago. So, I suppose August will vanish super fast too.

Is there is a scripture about time speeding up? Isn’t there?

I don’t think that the phrase “Days will be shortened” (see Matthew 24 and Mark 13) refers to time speeding up. I think it refers to having fewer total days.

August just might end up dragging by. Waiting for school to start. Waiting for the hot weather to end. Waiting for the next birthday party (a zillion birthdays in August—and September—and October …)… or, maybe, waiting for the birthday parties to be OVER. (HaHa)

Einstein thought that time could be slowed down (or stopped?) by going as fast as the speed of light. Hmmm. OK.

So, to speed time up, does that entail going at the speed of darkness??


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Read Your Blog; Did You Read Mine?

Earlier this month, Chris blogged:

“I was telling my wife today that I felt sad that I really didn't know my mom or my dad too well. I mean, I know who they are and some of the things that they do, but I really don’t know them. And, it seems that the only way I get to know them better is by reading their blogs.”

Chris, of course, has hit the nail on the head. It takes real interest and effort to know and understand another person—even our own family members. Nevertheless, in reading blogs, sometimes we have to take some time to “read between the lines” in order to “see” the real person. A quick, impatient, disinterested skimming will yield little or nothing.

In choosing as my blog address, “speak that I may see thee,” I wanted to convey the truth that it is through the things that we say that we reveal ourselves. Each of us wants to be known, understood, and valued for who we really are. Robert Frost penned a short little poem about that need:

We make ourselves a place apart
Behind light words that tease and flout,
But oh, the agitated heart
Till someone find us really out.

’Tis pity if the case require
(Or so we say) that in the end
We speak the literal to inspire
The understanding of a friend.

But so with all, from babes that play
At hide-and-seek to God afar,
So all who hide too well away
Must speak and tell us where they are.

Interestingly, when someone is truly interested in us and what we have to say, and they show it, then we are much more likely to reciprocate. We will be more motivated to really know, understand, and value them, and what they have to say. “We love him, because he first loved us.”

I read some insightful words this morning about loving that could have been about the higher uses of blogging:

“Loving ... [or blogging] ... has a lot of sharing in it. ‘I saw something beautiful—look with me!’ ‘I heard something funny, laugh with me.’ ‘I have discovered a new fact, isn’t it interesting?’ ‘Something terrible has happened, grieve with me.’ ‘Or marvelous—rejoice with me’ – and let me enjoy with you what you have seen, heard, or learned. I will listen while you explain what I don’t yet understand. I want to hear what you care about.’”

To “connect” with others requires time and emotion. It requires generosity of spirit and the ability to take yourself from the center of the picture sometimes and put someone else there. We do that when we read and enjoy one another’s blogs. And say so.

I read your blog; did you read mine?


Monday, July 26, 2010

Summertime Fun--Makes Me Smile

CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA, Calif. — Predawn pranksters have surrounded a roadside surfer statue with a papier mache model of a great white shark that appeared to be swallowing it whole.

Crowds of gawkers and photographers gathered around the 16-foot creation after the sun rose on Saturday.

The bronze statue has been the target of a series of gags in recent years. It has been bedecked with bras, skirts and witch hats so many times that locals have come to call it "The Cardiff Kook."

"This is the biggest and best so far," retired Navy dentist Bob Olson, 66, told the Los Angeles Times. "I don't know how anyone will outdo this, but I'm sure they'll try."

San Diego County sheriff's Lt. Tony Ray said no criminal report was filed because there was no damage to the statue.

"It wasn't considered vandalism because there wasn't any permanent defacing," Ray told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The $120,000 sculpture called "Magic Carpet Ride" was commissioned by the Cardiff Botanical Society in 2007.


I suspect the shark was created by a team of college students--perhaps art students and/or engineering students. Such a project may have taken weeks to finish and it would have been hard to keep it a "secret." Certainly, others would have noticed this project going on! It probably took at least 4 people to transport it and set it up.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dolly's ... WHAT?

This morning The Knight asked me which biography I was working on. So, referring to my grandparents, I said, “Dolly and Fernow.” As I heard myself say it, it almost sounded like “Dolly’s Inferno” or “Dante’s Inferno”! The Knight heard the same thing, and laughed. The reference, of course, was to Dante’s “Inferno”—part of Dante’s epic poem, “The Divine Comedy.” The word “inferno” is Italian for Hell.

Now I shall never be able to say "Dolly and Fernow" without thinking of my poor grandmother being married to . . . Hell!

Why was my poor grandfather given such a sad name?

(I think Fernow actually was a place in Sweden--perhaps it was the place where his father was born.....)


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Speaking Philosophically

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.” (—Quoth Shakespeare’s Juliet)

While, it may not be as poetic a phrase, the question today is: “What’s in a number?”

The Knight has been alternately bemused and incredulous at his New Number: 68.

Twice 34?

Wasn’t that just yesterday?

Thirty-four. The age of endless possibilities.

Sixty-eight. Two-thirds of the way (and a smidge) to the “age of a tree.”

Robert Browning cheerily contemplated aging with these famous words:

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made….

. . . All that is, at all,
Lasts ever, past recall;
Earth changes, but thy soul and God stand sure:
What entered into thee,
That was, is, and shall be:
Time's wheel runs back or stops: Potter and clay endure.

Look not thou down but up!
To uses of a cup….
But I need, now as then,
Thee, God, who mouldest men….
So, take, and use thy work:
Amend what flaws may lurk,
What strain o’ the stuff, what warpings past the aim!
My times be in thy hand!
Perfect the cup as planned!

So, I repeat: what’s in a number?

For a man of faith, his age, at any given time, is merely a bench mark.

A bench mark is a surveyor’s mark made on a permanent landmark of known position and altitude. It is used as a reference point in determining other altitudes.
What's your altitude?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Art of Work--Work of Art

In this morning’s paper, was an article on the artist, Arnold Friberg, who died recently (his viewing is today in SLC).

The article quoted Friberg: “When I was a little kid, I mowed lawns. Instead of just pushing the lawnmower around the middle, I got down and edged. I had a little whiskbroom, and I lined up the edges and corners. It was just inborn in me, I had to do extra. The word spread very quickly. I always had work to do. … You always have to do extra. That is the principle of success no matter what field you are in. It’s so simple, nobody will believe it. You give more than you get paid for. All my life, I’ve given twice what they’ve paid for. This keeps you growing. Then your prices, I’ve found, go up almost by themselves [your pay goes up as a result of your extra efforts].”

I read Friberg’s comment with interest on many levels. I remember being a little kid on a farm, who was expected to work, and my sometimes poor attitude toward work. I remember my own children, as they were growing up, and their attitudes. I watch my grandchildren work, and notice their attitudes. While growing up, I also observed the missionaries in Minnesota and noticed that the “good” missionaries (the memorable, admirable ones) willingly worked hard, while some others (the forgettable ones) sloughed off and didn’t put forth much effort. The same thing could be seen in the student nurses of my acquaintance.

Friberg was right about the “principle of success” being based on one’s choice to do more than is expected. The Savior also taught that principle to his disciples. He told them that after someone has compelled you to go one mile with him, go a second mile—an extra mile—with him.

You go that “extra mile” for yourself, for your own self-respect. When you go the extra mile, you no longer are a “slave” or a “servant” or merely an “employee.” You are a free agent. But it is also more than that. You are declaring yourself to be more than ordinary. You are achieving excellence of character as you give more of yourself.

I can image that the Savior also told his disciples that they should “whistle while they worked” —be cheerful— during that first mile, for He knew that they, then, would involuntarily break into joyful singing during the “extra mile.”


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

From the Dust: Ashes and Fathers

Yesterday, I heard a voice “speaking from the dust.” Actually it was my own voice from years gone by. The dust was on an old journal that I’d not looked at it in some time. As I browsed through the pages, I was amazed at how much I’d forgotten.

My journal entries today are more cryptic, less detailed. So, this means that much more is going unsaid now.

Nine years ago this week (July 9, 2001)—according to said journal— The Knight went to California to collect his father’s ashes so that he could bury them in Wyoming. This little saga was reminiscent (in my mind) of the movie “Smoke Signals,” in which Victor, with his cousin Thomas, travels to Arizona from Idaho to collect his father’s remains. In the final scene of the movie, Victor throws his father’s ashes into the river from a bridge. The best part of the movie is that scene. Victor’s actions are accompanied by the sounds of Indian drums and sorrow-singing and the voice of Thomas in a soliloquy on “Fathers.”

I told The Knight that when he obtained them, that he should throw his own father’s ashes from a bridge into a river, and have Andy do the drums and sorrow-singing. The Knight thought that I was being cruel and disrespectful of the dead. I really wasn’t. I thought it would be poetic and memorable. The grandchildren and great grandchildren could also be there on the bridge to witness the ceremony.

Just picture it: a summer morning, the sun glinting through the trees and sparkling on the water, the sounds of birdsong and rushing water, the silent gathering of family on the foot bridge over the Provo River, Andy providing the heart-beat drum like the sound of many hearts beating and the voice singing of ancient sorrows, and then the soliloquy of Thomas:

How do we forgive our fathers?
Maybe in a dream?
Do we forgive our fathers for leavin’ us too often—
Or forever—when we were little?
Maybe for scarin’ us with unexpected rage—
Or makin’ us nervous because
There never seemed to be any rage there at all?
Do we forgive our fathers for marryin’—
Or not marryin’—our mothers?
For divorcing—or not divorcing—our mothers?
And shall we forgive them for pushin’—
Or leanin’?
For shuttin’ doors?—
Or speakin’ through walls?—
Or never speakin’?—
Or never being silent?

Do we forgive our fathers in our age—
Or in theirs?—
Or in their deaths, sayin’ it to them—
Or not sayin’ it?
If we forgive our fathers—
What is left?

As the ashes float out from the bridge onto the waters and then out of sight around a bend in the river, the gathering on the bridge bids him farewell until they meet again.



Never happened.

The reality was stark in comparison.

Although, I suppose The Knight and his two sons would tell you it was poetic and memorable in its own way—The Knight did the sorrow-singing (I am told), and a copy of the song was buried with the ashes.

In a cold, wind-swept valley of the Tetons, it was a small, lonely gathering in a neglected, mostly forgotten cemetery as the whispering of the wind in the dry grasses sighed farewell.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Holy Cow! It's July!

I was just now going to shut down my computer when I realized that my computer wallpaper was still the June Calendar page.

Holy Cow! (I thought) How did it get to be July?

I didn't get enough of June! and now July is one-tenth gone already!

So, I quickly found the July calendar page and downloaded it.

Do you like it?

It makes me happy!

Four Birthdays this month: Christina, Aislyn, The Knight, and Ethan.

And it's America's birthday, too!