Christmas in Canada

Slowly but surely, I’m getting caught up here and I would be remiss if I didn’t post about our Canadian Christmas. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times but I’ll focus on the best.

1) Being there in the first place.  Special thanks to my friend Lisa who spotted the $300 direct flights to Calgary and to my dad who, instead of buying Christmas presents, chipped in for part of the fare. A Christmas miracle! Not so miraculous: our 24-hour ordeal getting back to SLC after our flight was canceled.

2) Being with my mom for her last Christmas at home. She is currently in the hospital and on the waiting list for a care facility. It has been a long time coming and we’re grateful my selfless dad has been able to care for her at home this long. She spends most of her day sleeping now but miraculously was awake for all Christmas Eve. She went out for Chinese food  with us one day and most moments spend with her were holding her hand, looking through her beloved Woman’s Day magazine recipes and bucolic scenes from her favorite calendar. Our final night before flying home, she was more lucid than she was the entire time we were in Canada and we saw a glimpse of that spitfire we know and love.

3) Christmas. A smorgasbord of food, left-right game, bells, besting Pat in Jenga, home theatre movies (“Crazy, Rich Asians” is a new favorite), naps and matching PJS. The gift exchange game was our most epic ever with three people who bought Pimple Pete (we have zit-loving issues), Jade’s camo marshmallow blowgun and Pat’s Presidents Putin and Trump socks. Borowski Family Christmas: alternately promoting chaos and world peace. 4) Ice, ice, baby. The weather was so warm leading up to our visit I had resigned myself I wouldn’t be able to  do any of my favorite winter activities. Quite unbelievably, our lakes and rivers did freeze over so we were able to play hockey with cousin Conner, my dad, Jade and a few pee wee kids at Lake Bonavista. Bode found his calling as goalie, as did I after a near concussion making a slapshot (I scored!) Bowness Park is a Canadian party on skates! We joined the throngs of people to circle the lake but the real fun began after we crossed the barriers to skate the river for a few miles. Canadian fun at its best! And another family favorite: Fish Creek Provincial Park. In the summer, it’s the mud pits and swimming. In the winter: Cautious Bode and Dallas (the dog) only had minor heart attacks about walking on the cracking ice. Also, what a difference a few years makes! 5) Troll Falls Insider tip #1: Skip Banff and recreate next door in Kananaskis Country—same gorgeous Rocky Mountains without the crowds and cost. Insider tip #2: When hiking steep, icy sections, link arms in a “love chain.” When someone starts to wipe out (like your brother) ditch him, even if it prompts his rebuke, “WHAT HAPPENED TO THE LOVE CHAIN?” Insider tip #3: When you say, “I feel like I’m the only sane one in the family,” make sure your mom is not editing the group picture at that exact moment where you look certifiably insane with your mouth wide open.

Insider tip #4: Despite teens often being really boring and glued to their technology, those reduced brain cells make for exciting moments when they attempt to scale a waterfall without spikes. Insider tip #5: Remember that being a pleasant teenager is hard work, as demonstrated by your daughter after your epic adventure, “I started to get a headache from my delightfulness.”

4. New Year’s Eve was replete with family, my bestie, Stacey, chocolate, cheese and meat fondue (which is to be repeated for Valentine’s Day), not be forgotten was marathon Pictionary when the team with the worst artists (Bode and me) somehow won. Christmas is, after all, a time for miracles.

Thanksgiving at The Broadmoor

Thanksgiving in Colorado: who could turn down an offer to spend a long weekend in one of our favorite places?

First stop: Denver. We crammed a lifetime’s worth of memories into 12 hours that included a drive-by of our old hood, Marcella’s crispy potato pizza, the magical Christkindl Market, Tattered Cover, downtown holiday lights and a stay at the modern-chic Crawford Hotel above Union Station.

From there, it was onto the biggest, baddest Thanksgiving feast we have ever seen at The Broadmoor.  The buffet was, in Bode’s words, “exquisite” with a sophisticated twist on all our traditional favorites…plus some new culinary experiences.

Me: “You need to try caviar.”
Bode: “That’s cow heart, right?”
Jamie: “It is eggs. You like eggs, right?”

Hadley later went on to say it tasted like “the bottom of the ocean.”

Bode overindulged in everything else to the point where he looked like he was in pain.

Me: “When it stops being enjoyable, you need to cut it off.”
Bode: “I can’t force it down anymore. I need gravity to so its job.”

Our Denver Thanksgiving tradition was to hike Turkey Trot before dinner but we switched things up to hike in between feasts, which proved challenging when you’re in a food coma. Fortunately, a snowball fight and the threat “you don’t want the old lady who just had knee surgery to beat you, right?” proved highly motivated.

On Friday, I joined in the fun of The Broadmoor’s Turkey Trot 5K. I was first place of the losers (walkers).

The Family: Slept in and ordered room service.

Final score: It’s a draw.

We also did our first photoshoot in years with one of our favorite people: Photographer Mic. The pictures turned out fabulous!

However, there was a lot of wardrobe-related bickering, causing peacemaker Bode to start singing, “If you’re happy and you know it…” He stopped looking at us and proclaimed, “Forget it. There is no happiness here.”

Fortunately, the rest of the weekend WAS sheer happiness with swimming, gingerbread-house making and posing, and Jenga, laser tag, checkers and pool playing.

One night, we took the shuttle to Seven Falls Winter Lights. We ate at Restaurant 1858 at the base and since it was bitterly cold, we opted not to climb the massive staircase  and instead took the archaic elevator which offered a bird’s eye view of the falls. It was cold (did I already mention it?) and the elevator was old (mentioned that, too). As we patiently waited for the elevator, a crowd of people spilled out and the doors promptly started to close. An elderly woman lunged forward, sacrificing herself as someone yelled, “NOT GRANDMA!” But I’m here to tell you those doors reopened and Grandma saved the day, just like every day.

When we first attended The Broadmoor’s White Lights Ceremony six years ago, Christmas magic was at its peak…and Hadley bolted off to follow the merry band of elves when Santa made his appearance.

Fast-forward to present day and the teens were, welp, teens. A blistering wind and cold picked up right before the ceremony. Bode braved it outside but Hadley bolted indoors. After the tree lighting, they reluctantly followed the droves of kids to what we thought was storytime but when we found out they were only visiting Santa, they wanted nothing to do with it.

But then it was almost like the Christmas elves got together and hatched a plan to remind them what the holiday spirit was all about. Mrs. Claus, unprompted, walked over to where those teens were sitting and gave them their own private storytime full of delight, humor and wonder, making believers out of all of us.

December fun!

I worked from home yesterday after a controlled avalanche closed Provo Canyon (my commute) and deposited 30 feet of snow across four lanes of traffic. But you won’t hear any complaints from me after last year’s dismal snow. Bring it on!!!

I’m woefully behind on updates from Thanksgiving (Colorado and The Broadmoor) and Christmas (Canada).  I set the goal to blog more because this is really my journal but between working (and my daily 1.5-hour commute), Mile High Mamas, freelance projects and family, there isn’t a lot of spare time.

So, a few quick updates that I will hopefully expand upon another time.

Thanksgiving

My contact at The Broadmoor just retired so I HAD to get one more story assignment for the magazine. Thankfully, she bit and assigned me to cover their over-the-top Thanksgiving buffet and White Lights Ceremony. We had the time of our lives (as always) and the good news is I get at least one more return trip as “payment” for the article, so we’ll return in May for Hadley’s birthday. I probably spent 30 hours interviewing, researching and writing it but what I get in return (two glorious stays) is so worth it. I love that The Broadmoor will always be my family’s happy place because it is truly special.

December

December was busy with Bode’s sax concert and Hadley’s art show. We invited some friends over for a cookie exchange prior to going to Midway’s Creche exhibit and Jamie and I had a fun time getting dressed up for the Heber Chamber’s formal Christmas dinner. We went caroling with friends and were invited by the publisher of Heber Valley Life Magazine; it was so fun to network and meet new people. I skipped out on my big baking extravaganza since we were leaving for the holidays but made approximately one gazillion gingerbread cookies.

Our annual ward Christmas party is always fun. This year, they had a photo booth where Hadley volunteered by taking photographs. The best photos of the night were undoubtedly our photos with Bonnie Jean, Paige, Lynn, Jana and Jen.

We had a couple of great snowfalls and my first snowshoe adventure with friends Jana and Sarah was pretty epic. So so so beautiful! Have I mentioned I love snow? :-)

Ski Days

Bode and I are cross-country skiing twice a week at Soldier Hollow after school. We were in the intermediate-level group until he got bumped up to the experts and I’m very happy to be left behind. He’s become a great skier, both downhill and Nordic.

It seems like since we moved here two years ago, weekends and evenings have been so full of drudgery and yardwork. But guess what: when your yard is buried under a foot of snow, Jamie can’t make you haul 61 tons of rocks so we’ve been hitting the slopes every chance we get.

Hadley is really struggling with PTSD after that snowboarder slammed into her last year. I totally get it. I was hit from behind two years ago by a skier and I’m still on edge whenever I hear anyone coming up behind me which is a nice way of saying I yell at a lot of reckless people.

On our first day of the season, I posted:

Great early-season conditions for our first day on the slopes! While the rest of the old-timers were rusty, after one run Bode boasted. “That was awesome. I feel like I’ve been skiing all season.”

Jamie: Only brought one ski boot for reasons that aren’t entirely my fault but I will take the blame because it’s his birthday weekend and he had to drive home to get it. I was stuck in the season ticket office about the same amount of time so we’ll call it a draw.

Me: Told everyone we should stick to intermediate runs so I could ease my knee back into it. By the third run, they made me go down a black diamond with bumps. As Jamie was trying to coach Hadley down a tricky section he told her, “Just do what your mom does.” “What? Complain about my knee?”

Hadley: Did great despite post-accident PTSD. Had the best quote of the day when an avalanche gun was shot and she declared: “A tribute has died.”

Christmas

I had resigned we wouldn’t be able to go home but was thrilled when a friend informed me she had found $300 tickets to Calgary, which is unheard of.  Our trip was full of the good, bad, ugly, hard, glorious and dramatic all wrapped into one and I’m so glad we were able to go to spend time with my mom. The weather has been pretty mild in Canada so I was unsure if we’d be able to skate and do some of my favorite winter activities but thankfully, the lakes and rivers opened for skating right before our arrival so we had a great time on Lake Bonavista and Bowness Park, as well as spending a day in Banff.

Top 9

2018 was one of our toughest yet as we navigated some very tough teenage issues.  But looking back, it wasn’t all bad. The highlights according to my most liked pictures on Instagram:

1) My daily commute to BYU

2) Hadley winning the middle school art show.

3) Jamie terrifying Hadley in Goblin Valley

4) Color wars at the middle school with friends Ali and Katelyn

5) Snow Canyon State Park with the Hardymans

6) Celebrated our 15th anniversary

7) Hike to Troll Falls

8) Moraine Lake

9) Waterton Lakes  (my favorite place on earth) with my kids and Dad.

Here’s to 2019!

Oh Canada: The Lakehouse 2018

The kids and I spent a glorious two weeks in Canada. The whole thing was a whirlwind: Hadley was on a 3-day Pioneer Trek just prior and had to return two weeks later for BYU volleyball camp. So, we packed up and headed to British Columbia, breaking up the 18-hour drive with an overnight stay at my sister-in-law Jane’s wonderful parents in Eastern Washington.

My brother and his wife have been renting the Mana Manor in Vernon for 15 consecutive years and the rest of us have been coming for five years. It’s not a fancy cabin and is in dire need of some overhauls but it’s convenient and is divided into four different two-bedroom units. I had asked if we could only do a 5-night rental instead of 7 and assumed it was a done deal when my brother reached out to the owner but through some miscommunication, we never heard back.

I found out the week prior that the kids and I didn’t have a place to stay. Fortunately, I ended up finding a great rate at a nearby Best Western. So, while the kids bunked with their cousins at the cabin, I made the 15-minute drive to my air-conditioned and clean hotel room to decompress each night. I’m a convert!

It was the smallest group yet. Poor Jamie was too overwhelmed with work and yardwork so couldn’t come; Ashton only came for a few days because she just had a beautiful baby boy, Raiden, and my niece Emily and her boyfriend just returned from Ireland so couldn’t take off work. My mom and dad have been unable to attend the last couple of years due to her health.

They were all missed but the smaller group didn’t deter us from having a grand ‘ol time; Pat and his wife were generous hosts as always.

We celebrated Bode’s 12th birthday with Timbits, a successful surf, smoked pork sandwiches and a strawberry cheesecake Blizzard ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. Presents included his first new bike, some golf clubs and books. How we love this sweet boy!

We had our traditional visit to Davison Orchards for killer peach, cherry and apple pies, fresh cider slushies, cut throat checkers and farm animals.

We all vastly improved in wakesurfing, Hadley in particular really clicked out there, dropped the rope and was surfing! I did my best ever, which still isn’t super great but the good news is I’m not regressing. Bode is slowly moving forward as well!

We marveled at my brother’s new toy, a wakefoil that had him surfing two feet above the water.

We had our annual dive-off. I had great hopes that family friend Todd would dethrone Pat from the title but he came up way short. I blame Pat for stuffing Todd with food just prior (an evil strategy).

The unicorn. Jade jumped on it in the lake. It popped. All that remained was its head.

Teenagers can be fun but not always. One of their redeeming qualities is they have zits the entire family loves popping.

Pat brought his stand-up paddleboard and we all had a blast paddling around the perimeter of the lake…except for when Hadley took it out, got caught in a scary wind storm and had to be rescued by a cute guy in a boat wearing a Superman shirt.

We brought our volleyball net so downtime was spent playing volleyball, some crazy-competitive badminton tournament and boulle.

Friends Tom and Kim have been through a lot this past year, including losing their beloved lakeside rental home to a terrible storm. But they’re always really generous and a part of our family when we come to visit. Todd brought his lakeside movie night to us and it’a favorite tradition!

And the perfect way to end a fantastic week at the lakehouse.

43 tons of rock

Good gosh, I hadn’t intended to let that much time lapse since my last blog post but life has been warp-speed ahead. BYU’s graduation was last week, I’m a couple of months ahead of schedule on our alumni magazine and work life is settling into a more reasonable rhythm–one where I dictate the wheres and the hows for the next few months. I really need to sell Mile High Mamas but that will take time and effort to redesign and revitalize it to where it needs to be, neither of which I have.

I have so many updates. Our fun spring break in San Diego. My awesome foodie group that meets every month.  The start to pumpkin season. Watching Bode score lots of soccer goals every week with Jamie as coach. The start of track season. The end to Hadley’s roller-coaster club volleyball season. A lot of seasons through the hourglass.

But if I’m being honest here, life is hard right now, really hard. I’m not a complainer but we’ve been dealt a heavy dose of C-R-A-P and every time we think we can come up for air, we’re thrust down under again.

Hard, hard, back-breaking things. Doctors. Interventions.  Mountains of medical bills.  A snowboarder who won’t pay for injuring Hadley and now we have to deal with the hassle of small claims court. My stupid bum knee(s) I can’t afford to fix. Jamie’s chronic rheumatism. This week our washing machine started wigging out and is knocking at death’s door. A part on our new dishwasher broke off and oh, don’t forget that our outdoor water spigot leaked into our walls and floorboards, forcing Jamie to punch a hole in the basement ceiling to survey the water damage and the potential for mold.

When it rains, it downpours. Sometimes inside your own house. 

We had 43 tons of rock delivered a couple of weeks ago. We’re slowing chipping away at our landscaping but it’s a slow process as Jamie repeatedly runs into problems installing the sprinkler lines. Once that is finished, then we can rock the backyard and then seed. Everything in its proper order. On Saturday, the kids tirelessly and without complaint helped me wheelbarrow and haul buckets upon buckets of rocks in our front yard. The rock pile is still there…and so are our weary muscles but the front yard is one step closer to being finished.

After yet another major blow after church yesterday, Jamie and I were feeling so darn defeated but I’m so grateful to have him by my side. “Survivor Island,” we jokingly call this new existence with the hope that pina coladas will someday be back on the menu. As I was expressing my frustrations to him last week, he said, “I really feel like we’ve got about seven years of this and then things will turn around. And then we’ll be better off than we ever were in Colorado.”

S-E-V-E-N YEARS? If you do the math, Bode will be 18. It’s no small coincidence that the end of his time frame also marks the end of the teenage years.

Jamie needs some tips on how to give an effective pep talk.

But you know what? Hard things are everywhere. My dad is a tireless caregiver for my mom. My friend Anne is an inspiring advocate for her beautiful autistic schizophrenic boy. My friend Tanya has been struggling with infertility for years after having cancer. She set the goal to do a triathlon and crushed it last year. She eagerly prepared to have a beautiful baby placed in their home via adoption, only to have the birth mom pull out right before. Tonight, she announced her cancer is back.

43 tons of rock.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland spoke at BYU’s Commencement and his words pricked my heart about the state of the world and our role in it.

No child should have to go to school fearful that they won’t live to see their parents that evening. No citizenry should have to live with a system, pick a nation, any nation, put a pin in a world map almost at random, where corruption is rampant, where chaos is the order of the day, and statesmen lack character, elevated to say nothing of elegant speech, and dignified personal behavior are seemingly alien concepts. No young people your age or any age ought to face conditions in so many places where poverty and abuse, including sexual abuse, malnutrition and disease, human trafficking and terror are still the rule, rather than the exception for too many people, including too many children.

Well, not on this day do I want to dwell on anything negative.

And you might say, ‘it has always been so down through time.’ Maybe it has but it doesn’t have to be. So, go out there and light a candle. Be a ray of light, be your best self and let your character shine. Cherish the gospel of Jesus Christ and live it. The world needs you and surely your Father in Heaven needs you if His blessed purposes for His children are to prevail. You have entered to learn…now go forth to serve and strengthen.

43 tons of rock.

We’ve got this. Even if it is one small load at a time.

My month of work in review

It has been just over a month since I started working at BYU and I’m overdue for an update. The first couple of weeks were rough trying to get into the new routine and there are still a lot of areas we need to tweak with the kids’ schedules but overall, I’m enjoying the new position and my co-workers.

Week 1. We thought we were going to die. No lie. Hadley got in her ski accident on Monday (Marin Luther King Jr. Day), she stayed home from school Tuesday and I started work Wednesday. She was unraveling in so many ways and we were emotionally and physically exhausted dealing with everything. We were supposed to start a personal finance class through the Church’s Self-reliance initiative but as we lay curled up in the fetal position on the couch, we decided the class would have to wait until spring (there was a lot of intensive homework and our camel’s back was already broken). Plus, I’m still running Mile High Mamas for the foreseeable future so I’m juggling two jobs while trying to keep everything else afloat.

Week 2. I came into this position at the worst possible time with the planning of our two biggest annual events + overseeing the editorial for our alumni magazine. Even though the position is only 3/4-time,  my commute is 1.5 hours and I’ve been working longer hours. Jamie has had to pick up a lot of my slack, driving Hadley to her many doctor’s appointments. I still felt overwhelmed with the position. My predecessor is my polar opposite: bookish, research-oriented and a Pulitzer Prize winner for spreadsheets. I seriously questioned my ability to fill her shoes and felt my creativity was being squashed. However, as I edited a 100-page donor report, there were so many stories of student internship experiences that directly correlated to our struggles. It was confirmed over and over again that landing this job was not a coincidence.

Week 3.  The awakening with our first big donor event. For three days, I hosted our guest lecturer from Vanderbilt, took his amazing wife on private tours of our art museums  and connected with them both in a meaningful way. The event was poignant and meaningful….and I started to catch a glimpse that maybe I could do this and bring my own flavor to the position.  Until I received my first paycheck. After taxes, tithing and 401K, I’m not making very much money but I guess every little bit helps, especially when we have a new car payment (Jamie bought me a Pilot for my birthday) and the mountain of medical debt we’ve accrued over the past year. And the backyard that needs to be landscaped. And the basement that needs to be finished.

Week 4. Things started to click at work. My proposal to overhaul our alumni magazine was approved and my student writers were excited about the new direction we were going with less in-depth research and more features. I celebrated my birthday with fresh snow (FINALLY), cross-country skiing after school with Bode, dinner at a delicious new restaurant, Midway Mercantile, and a live video chat with the authors of “Mustaches for Maddie” (a must-read) for our bookclub. A low-key but great day thanks to my awesome family and many sweet messages from friends.

Week 5.  We’re still surviving. Life is hard in so many ways–wading through Hadley’s struggles, Jamie’s chronic pain and my mom’s hospitalization. During those rough couple of weeks when I went back to work, Jamie was being overly accommodating and I felt badly because I knew he didn’t feel well and yet was going above-and-beyond for me. His response made me chuckle: “I just don’t like tears.”

At one of my low points, he reminded me of one of my favorite scriptures.

“And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.

“And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.

“And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord” (Mosiah 24:13–15).

We may not be in bondage to some tyrannical leader (President Trump notwithstanding :-)   but life has been overwhelming since our move. I miss the comforts of friends and our wonderful life in Colorado as we still struggle every day to find our way here. But slowly and undeniably, God’s otherworldly strength is falling upon us and through all of this messiness, I know He is guiding our way.

Delmont King Smith

Jamie’s 90-year-old Grandpa Smith passed away on New Year’s Eve and the following week, we had such a special weekend commemorating his life. Jamie and my kids were never able to meet my grandparents–my hardworking Tom and Anne Borowski with their crazy-thick Ukrainian accents (my dad didn’t even learn to speak English until he went to kindergarten). They were hardworking, poor farmers and when I came to know them, they had moved from their farm in Fork River, Manitoba to Dauphin…and had the most beautiful garden I’d ever seen.

My mom’s parents, Wallace and Virginia Wilde, lived only a couple of hours away in Raymond, Alberta and many weekends and holidays were spent with them. They were farmers but the polar opposites of my dad’s parents and very wealthy (my grandpa always had to have the latest model boat or fancy motorhome, which we often vacationed in). My grandma was an amazing cook, sweet, spiritual, and kind but a quiet force; my grandpa was the life of the party, worked hard, loved reading Western novels and could fall asleep in his recliner in 2 seconds flat.

I feel honored to have gotten to know Jamie’s wonderful grandpa even a little bit. The first time we brought our kids to him, he showed Bode his iPad (the kid was hooked) and Bode, in turn, introduced him to the marvelous world that is Angry Birds. Even up until Grandpa’s death, he sent each of his grandkids $5 and a card for their birthdays. He was a brilliant man–he had his PhD in Chemistry and was a global expert in the non-woven products industry. But his true legacy was his 8 children (3 of whom he took in following his brother’s untimely death and later adopted 1 other), 35 grandchildren and 83 great grandchildren.

Last summer at Grandpa’s 90th birthday

His legacy was confirmed at his funeral as each of his children spoke about some of their favorite memories. Jamie’s mom, Linda, shared a story of when they were living in New Jersey and a swarm of bees attacked them on a hill in their backyard. Without hesitating, her dad threw off his coat, wrapped it around a neighbor boy who was paralyzed in terror and raced him away. “That was my dad,” she said. “He made us feel safe and protected.” Another daughter shared how he always walked on the curbside of his dear wife to protect her from traffic and slept closest to the door to protect her from intruders.

Aunt Connie shared some sacred moments of his final days on earth when the veil was very thin between this life and the next. There were spirits in the room that he talked to and at one point, he authoritatively instructed, “Make it five feet taller!” likely referring to his mansions in heaven. -) When Linda and Connie asked if he was excited to see his beloved wife who passed away 25 years earlier, his drawn-out response of  “maybe,” made them chuckle…perhaps in response that he was quick to remarry after her passing.

There were so many sweet, sacred moments at the viewing the night before and then as the family gathered for a family prayer the next morning before the funeral. As Linda tenderly held her father’s hand and kissed him good-bye before the coffin was closed for the final time, Hadley’s eyes welled up with tears as we felt the depth of love in the room. The weather was blustery at the graveside, somehow so befitting of the day. 

We were running a bit late as we arrived for the viewing at Jenkins-Soffe mortuary on Friday night. We quickly passed by a life-sized statue prominently on display in the lobby, what I assumed to be Christ with Mary at the tomb after he was resurrected.

 I was wrong. As we left the mortuary later that evening, my kids asked me if I’d noticed the statue and I nodded my affirmation. “But have you really seen it in its entirety?”

I didn’t know what they were talking about and Bode guided me to the back of the room to where I got the full view of this stunning work. It was not Jesus with Mary as I had assumed but rather, an old woman passing through the veil, only to be greeted by her Savior. What a powerful image that this life is only one part of our eternal progression. 

Mormon. 7: 5: “Know ye that ye must come to the knowledge of your fathers, and repent of all your sins and iniquities, and believe in Jesus Christ, that he is the Son of God, and that he was slain by the Jews, and by the power of the Father he hath risen again, whereby he hath gained the victory over the grave; and also in him is the sting of death swallowed up.”

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Delmont King Smith, 1927 ~ 2017

Delmont King Smith, 90, passed away peacefully on December 31, 2017 of causes incident to age. Dee was born on June 9, 1927 in Pocatello, Idaho, the third son of Henry Leslie Smith and Adelia Ada Loveland. When he was about 2 years old the family moved to Dillon, Montana where his father had purchased a dry cleaning business. His younger sister Peggy was born there. Dee enjoyed an idyllic childhood in Dillon in a neighborhood with lots of kids and outdoor activities. His parents taught their children the value of hard work and responsibility that laid the foundation for his life.

Dee was an excellent student. He skipped the sixth grade, graduating high school when he was 17 years old. He was awarded the outstanding senior cup at his graduation from Beaverhead High School, an award voted by the high school faculty. After graduation, Dee chose to attend Utah State Agricultural College (now USU). At a freshman gathering, he met a lovely girl from Burley, Idaho, Velva Lee Stokes. They dated regularly that year. In June 1945, Dee enlisted in the Navy and was assigned to the San Diego US Naval Training Station on the USS Erben. The most significant part of his naval experience was the light duty as a cook that allowed him to read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover for the first time. After his discharge in 1946, Dee returned home to marry his sweetheart from Idaho, Velva Lee, in the Salt Lake Temple on September 18, 1946.

Dee graduated from USAC (USU) in 1949 with a Bachelor of Science degree. That fall he began work on a master’s degree which he completed in 1955. In 1954 he graduated from Purdue University with a PhD in chemistry.

In February 1957, Dee’s oldest brother Don, his wife Anna Lou, and their infant daughter Deborah were killed in an airplane accident. The surviving children, Don, Sherryl, and Kathy came to live with Dee and Velva Lee and their four children, Linda, Connie, Dennis, and Shawna. Another son, David, was adopted in 1965, rounding out the family to 8 children. Dee has 35 grandchildren, and 83 great grandchildren with 3 more expected this year.

Music was always a major part of Dee’s life. He played in school bands from grade school through high school, and played drums in a dance band his older brother Don organized called Smitty’s Rhythm Rascals. He enjoyed playing the harmonica, ukulele, sweet potato, trumpet, tympani, anything with which he could make music.

His professional career included working for Rayonier Inc. in Shelton, Washington, and Johnson & Johnson in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts and Whippany, New Jersey.

While working at J&J, he was the primary contributor to the development of Handi Wipes, disposable diapers and many other nonwoven products. After his retirement, he started his own consulting company, Smith Consulting.

In 1993 Dee lost his beloved Velva Lee. He later married Loretta Maynes Gillie. They had 10 years together traveling the world.

Dee was a dedicated member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served in many callings including Sunday School teacher, Branch President, District President, Stake High Council, Counselor in Stake Presidency, and family history consultant.

Dee is preceded in death by his parents, his wife Velva Lee Smith and his wife Loretta Smith, his brothers Leslie and Don. He is survived by his children, Don (Brenda), Linda (Duane), Sherryl (Robert), Connie (Jim), Kathleen (Barry), Dennis (Joanne), Shawna (Mark), and David (Anna), and his sister Peggy (Burt).

The family wishes to thank the caregivers at Beehive House Draper, Pheasant Run in South Jordan and Silverado Hospice for their kindness and care during his final months.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, January 6, 2018 at 11:00 am at the Glenmoor 4th Ward, 9455 South 4800 West, South Jordan, Utah. Viewings will be Friday,

January 5, 2018 at Jenkins-Soffe South Valley, 1007 W. South Jordan Parkway (10600 S), South Jordan, Utah and on Saturday from 10:00-10:45 am at the church. Interment at Wasatch Lawn Cemetery.

Week One Work Update

I’m not gonna lie. My first week of work absolutely leveled me. I only worked three days and I put in waaaaay too many hours + Hadley got in a bad ski accident on Monday, stayed home Tuesdays (the day I was supposed to do all my last-minute projects) and then I started work on Wednesday. On Tuesday, Jamie was reading the email of the push-back he was receiving from the lawyer of the snowboarder who hit us (Hadley was absolutely NOT at fault) and I had to tell him he had to handle it. I. Just. Couldn’t. Deal. More details forthcoming about that joyous situation.

My new job is a 3/4 time position but I’m coming in at the busiest possible time so my hours are currently much longer with the promise of a lighter summer schedule. We have a huge event early-February, another in early-April that is already taking a lot of time as I compile donor reports and programs, send them to the designers, then the printers, edit the student’s media release, meet with the video team who will be recording the conference but who only handle the sound for their video recordings and didn’t you know there is another department that handles the hand-held mics and another for the lavalier? And this is only scratching the surface of the literally hundreds of items on my to-do list, most of which I do not know what to do. I thankfully had two days of training with the woman I’m replacing but she said her final good-byes yesterday and I felt like a baby bird getting thrown out of the nest. Violently.

On the positive note: I really like all the people I’m working with, it feels good to be in a collegiate setting again and I feel a sense of purpose in helping to promote our college. It’s a bit too dry for my taste so I hope to breathe some creativity and life into it once I figure out what the heck I’m supposed to be doing.

Jamie and I need to figure out a system for managing the household. We’ve have a very traditional division of labor as we’ve both worked from home.  I cooked all the dinners, managed the household and ran the kids around after school while Jamie worked, handled the finances and the yardwork. This week, Jamie had to do it all, which made him stressed as he fell behind at work.  Geez, working parents, how do you do it all? And single parents, you have my UTMOST respect.

Thursday night, we were supposed to start a 12-week self-reliance class at the church on personal finances (lo, do we need it to get back on track). But as we laid there passed out on the couch, knowing there is major homework required and an overhaul of our current system, we just couldn’t mentally and physically do it. I called the facilitators and when I learned we could start their next course in April, I was ALL-IN. The less we can take on during our acclimation, the better.

I went to lunch with my BFF Lori after a four-hour training a couple of weeks ago and as I lamented about all this job entailed, she encouraged me in her Lori way: “I just know you’re going to thrive in this job.”

She looked at my doubtful expression and continued, “Maybe not right away. But you will thrive.”

Here’s to “eventually” thriving.

Workin’ Girl

It’s my first day working in an office in over 15 years! The adjustment and commute will be steep but my family will be feeling the pains the most. While Jamie has primarily taken care of finances and yardwork while working ridiculous hours at his company, I kept the house running with food, cleaning and chauffeuring. I don’t claim to be Martha Stewart but have done a pretty seamless job keeping things afloat.
But no one will be feeling my absence more than my Fat Kitty. He is my buddy as I work in my office and does not deal well with change. Plus, he’ll be left alone with Jamie all day and those two mix about as well as oil, water and whole lot of dysfunction.
I bought an Instant Pot which will hopefully help out with quick dinner prep but we need to set forth a plan and more defined chores. The kids and Jamie will now take more responsibilities for for dinners, laundry and dishes while Jamie helps drive kids around.  Admittedly, I’m the most worried about the kitchen because I’m a Nazi about having dishes in the sink and my husband and children have a mental block about loading the dishwasher.
I had hardworking parents. My dad had a stable 9-5 job at Chevron Canada and my mom was always busy with odd jobs like a grocery store food demonstrator. She even had a weekly classified newspaper route and I’d join her as we drove all around the city in our little Mini. I’d often sit on huge stacks of newspapers and delighted whenever a convenience store would give me a treat. Mom was always sewing and crafting, selling her amazing creations around the city. She opened her tea room and gift shop when I was in junior high. I can’t remember feeling like things were falling through the cracks in her absence because it became a family business and I started waitressing when I was just 12 years old.
My Aunt Sue sent me some fun memories growing up with her working mother:
Teach your kids to cook so supper is ready when you get home.  Your mom was cooking for us at age 15 and for the widower down the street, Mister Allen, and his son, Bobby. My mom went back to teaching in Stirling when I was in grade one so Chris [my mom] would have been 14. Dad came in from the farm at noon and got some lunch for me and Miriam while Chris started helping with suppers. Dad did all the laundry. We had a ringer washer in the basement and he read western novels while the clothes washed and then he would ring them out and hang them up. Thanks to our progressive mother, we had a very progressive father :)
The kids CAN keep their rooms up and help out a lot. We weren’t allowed out of the house on Saturdays until our rooms were clean, beds changed, the floors mopped and the ironing done. Old fashioned but we all learned to be good workers.
You have been seeking the path and now you are on the yellow brick road. It’s it amazing how our paths come up to meet us.

Here’s to a new yellow brick road that will hopefully be shiny and clean!

A new adventure and the courage to try

We left our beloved Colorado in August 2016 and moved into our Midway home two months later. I haven’t kept my frustrations a secret over my lack of direction. I’ve wanted to just delve into this new life, leaving behind the old but I’ve been forced to straddle both. Though I’m grateful for my continued work in Denver, I have hated having the opportunities I’m missing thrown in my face.

I’ve strongly felt I needed to go a different direction but every time I thought I had the answer, I was reeled back in with the implicit instructions “Be patient. Just wait. Just trust.” For an impatient self-starter this has, at times, felt like agony.

Early-fall, I started looking for jobs at my alma mater, BYU, located about 40 minutes away up Provo Canyon. Though my best-case scenario is to work from home forever, I’ve grown tired of the roller-coaster freelance world, need stability and am not prepared to waste my time with the Heber Valley’s $12/hour wages. BYU has a cap on full-time employees so their way around it is offer 3/4 time positions without health benefits but with some other perks like solid pay, 401K, and a reduced number of applicants because most at this level are seeking full-time.

In October, I felt certain I was going to a receive an offer for that position and when it didn’t come through, I was stunned. There was another job that had been posted around the same time but I had not applied because it wasn’t as a seamless fit and had a lot more responsibility associated with it. I interviewed twice for that position but never heard back, a relief because I really didn’t want it.

And then I saw another posting, THE posting, and applied for it. The pay was less than the other two but the responsibilities were more in line with my talents and passions. I interviewed a few days before Christmas but at the last minute, I hesitated to even go and told Jamie I wasn’t sure I could work for this particular department. Patient man that he is, he said, “JUST GO AND SEE.”

I had just interviewed in some of the most architecturally cutting-edge properties on campus so when I walked into the building with it’s 1970s tile and maze of scaffolding (they’re raising the ceilings), I balked a bit. But from the moment I walked into the office, I felt right at home. The interview with the assistant dean and executive secretary was seamless and we immediately clicked–it felt more like a conversation. Near the end of it, they said they wanted to move quickly and that they did. Within a few hours of coming home, the HR department had sent me a background check form, the next day I received an “emotional intelligence” test (which I somehow passed) and they spent the holidays checking my references.

Last week, I received the offer. With it comes excitement and mourning. It’s a fairly flexible 3/4-time position but when added with everything else on my plate (Mile High Mamas + a campaign with Park City this winter), how am I going to juggle it all? Working from home for the past 12 years has been a gift as I’ve been 100% available for my family. But now my endless summer days of play with them will be limited and it feels like the end of a wonderful era. But I also crave the stability. I’m ready to help dig ourselves out of the financial headaches of this move with so many daunting expenses that include another car, yard and finishing the basement.

My friend Kelly had posted the following on Facebook the previous week and it had really resonated with me. “Affirmation to try: I have the faith to let go of the outcome.”

How difficult is this? One of our frustration wtih Hadley right now is she gets so overwhelmed with everything that she just shuts down…she doesn’t even have the courage to try because of the fear of how it will turn out. But what if we made a new paradigm in our lives that does not define failure as not achieving our goal but instead, failure as not even attempting to try.

In my office, I had a quote from Jane Pauley before she launched her short-lived talk show on the same week that Oprah infamously gave everyone in her audience a car. She said, “Going up against Oprah I warned my kids that this was a long shot, but that I defined success as having the courage to try.”

Here’s for a year of courage and the wild ride ahead!