A letter to the littles

Written May 23, 2017 after reading the headlines about the Manchester Arena victims

Dear Big B, Ms M, Lil B, Dix, and Little K:

I am sorry you have inherited the world in its current condition. Let me be clear, I realize I am not nor can I accept personal responsibility for the state of affairs of your world. This has been generation upon generation in the making. However, I do feel some amount of anxiety when I think of your tender hearts learning how to survive and navigate in this world.

I am sorry that you are growing up in a world without secrets. Every accomplishment may be shared with strangers. Every mistake. Every embarrassment. The private learning curve previous generations had the privilege of enjoying is gone. Your life must be treated more as an open book and treated with caution as such.  

Closely tied to no secrets is the fact that your world is a world of critics. Not only can your life be displayed but it can be and will be openly critiqued. You will be called out for any mistake you make in harsh and mocking tones. In fact, harsh mocking has become an acceptable form of communication. Mockery forms unstable alliances and it can destroy anything in its path.

I am sorry that this is the time of self-preservation at the cost of the greater good. We are so in to pursuing individual rights that we overlook the big picture. This has caused our most serious illness to date – disunity. When we become us and them everyone will lose.

Despite having so many generations behind you that have perpetuated the human race, this is the time of realizing whatever we have been doing we have been doing it all wrong. According to the reports, no matter what it is the previous generations have done they have done it all incorrectly.  

I am sorry that even though I’d like to share pictures of you I am hesitant to share your sweet faces on-line because once pictures and posts are on-line I have no control over them. Pictures that are in cyberspace are up for grabs and unfortunately any evil designing person can use your sweet image for ill-gotten gains.  

I am most sorry that the word terror has such a personal and yet global meaning and one that your world must be vigilant about. You will always live in an ever increasing watchful and protective world because it will be necessary.  

You probably don’t want to know about all this because this is your only reference point. It is the only thing you’ve ever known and it’s just the way of life for you. It is what it is. You live in a difficult time certainly but you do not live in a hopeless time. There is still great splendor to behold; there are still good people doing good things; there is still light.

I pray every night for you. By name. My hope is that you will succeed and rise above the din of your day. Peace is still available for you but you’re going to have to seek it.

You will need to learn quickly the power of discernment. One thing that has been perfected is that some gray shadows look a lot like light if you don’t have a reference point of true light. Deceptive voices are alluring and convincing. Beauty that is pleasing to the eye may entertain you for a moment but starve your spirit. Begin at a young age, even now, to pray for the power of discernment.  

Look for Heavenly Father’s beauty every day and everywhere. Loveliness exists and abounds but is sometimes hidden. You might have to search a little deeper to find it but soul enriching beauty will always be there. The winter storm in spring surrounds the colorful flowers with brilliant white snow. The tragic loss of life due to violence brings out heroes willing to serve and help others. The grief during the passing of a loved one reminds us of sweet memories and is an honor to experience. Feeling grief means you have loved and love is the ultimate human experience.  

Begin today to be a prayerful person. The only way you will come to know peace is by aligning yourself with the Prince of Peace. Peace does exist and it is still offered to you. Accept it by drawing close to Him. Let prayer become a part of your character. Create a need and want for this daily conversation. Make it so a day is not complete until you offer your heart in prayer at least once.  

Unfortunately, horrors will be commonplace in your day and age. You will be well acquainted with the word terrorism. My fear is that since it will be normal that you will begin to not notice the violence. That any tender traits you possess will have to be protected by a hard shell in order to survive. Try not to just survive but thrive during this time. Look for beauty. Find love. Exemplify integrity. Reach out. Do good. Search for peace. Stay close to God. Grow toward the light.

Each one of you is capable of becoming a great person. Work to achieve that potential. 


Aunt C–

A Rose in the Dark

roseWinter had not been pleasant. Even the old-timers said it had been awhile since we’ve seen so much white. The snow storms in Wyoming sometimes cause the roads to close. At one point, all roads out of town were closed. It might have been at night when I wouldn’t have been going anywhere anyway but I could still feel the effect of it. Trapped. Loss of freedom. What if I wanted to go for a midnight drive to a neighboring state? Too bad. I felt stuck. It wasn’t just from the snow storm either.

For some time I have felt lost. Like I am drifting without any real goal to head to. Or like I am constantly in fog. Or a mist of darkness.

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My January 2016

I sat and waited by myself. For the first time, I started to think of ‘what if’ and for the first time I started to worry just a little bit.

It started a couple months earlier while I was at my doctor’s office for my annual visit.

“You’re 42?” she asked.

“Yes,” I replied with a sigh. I knew what was coming because we had the same conversation a year earlier.

“Have you had your mammogram yet?”

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Three Gifts for a Princess

I like a good Disney movie. Some are better than others. My taste runs in the more contemporary circle. For me, the older “classics” produce the response akin to running fingers down a chalkboard. Not pleasant and I try to avoid watching them. My sister, MZ, likes Sleeping Beauty so I have watched that one more than the one time obligatory viewing to say I’ve seen it. If you remember, a young princess is born and three good fairies bestow her gifts. Two give her the gift of beauty and song. Before the third fairy can share her gift though, a curse is pronounced on the young princess. This causes the third fairy to modify her gift and make it the most practical. Let’s review this for a moment (not to ruin it for MZ), if you had a long awaited baby girl born and could give her any gift – any gift at all – what would you give her?

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Don’t mock my mountain, man

There are three things in my life I keep close to my heart. One is my family. Sure, I can make fun of them and tease them but you had better not. Two is my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And three is my home state of Wyoming (see rule for number one). Nothing turns me off faster or makes me become more defensive than someone mocking my state or hometown. Especially if that someone hails from that one state to the southwest right next to us.

My town happens to sit in a valley between two small mountains. I get tired of hearing how unimpressive our mountains are. I admit, neither one tops the double digit k range. But here are some things to think about before you turn up your nose in disdain.

There are a lot of mountain snobs amongst us. The general consensus seems to be a mountain is not a “real” mountain if it is below 10,000 feet (3048 m). That seems a bit unfair. I mean, 5280 feet is one mile (1609 m) – straight up. That’s one mile closer to heaven, after all. Both of the mountains in the vicinity of my town reach higher than that.

White Mountain runs north and south on the west side of town. It does not tower over town like the Wasatch Mountains over Salt Lake City. But, the peak does reach 7,623 ft (2,323 m). Really, that is nothing to sneeze about, mockers. The highest point is a rock formation called Pilot Butte that stretches to 7,949 ft (2,423 m) in elevation. But the thing to remember is, my town is located in the Rocky Mountains. We sit at 6,759 ft (2060 m) above sea level. So, of course an extra 800 ft is not going to look too impressive.

Aspen Mountain south of us looms to 8,657 ft (2,639 m). And Wilkins Peak reaches 7,650 ft (2,332 m). For the snobs out there, I admit, all under the 10,000 benchmark. But c’mon, still far enough up to take someone’s breath away. Literally.

To compare, Salt Lake City, Utah is only at 4,327 ft (1,320 m) above sea level. The Wasatch mountains highest peak only reaches 11,928 ft (3,636 m). Just barely over the 10,000 ft snob rule. And that’s just the highest peak.   The Oquirrh (pronounced Oaker) Mountains that run parallel on the other side of the valley only reaches 10,620 ft (3,240 m) at the highest peak. So yes, when the valley is so near sea level (not even a mile high) the mountains are going to look quite imposing.

I used Wikipedia for all my numbers. Saturday I spent the day on my mountain. She may not be as big as some, but she’s good enough for me. Enjoy the videos!