Friday, April 30, 2010

Turn to or Turn Against Bids for Connection

Grampa does better with Gramma, little grams and peer friends when he understands the theory of relationships. A dear friend sent me this article. It's one of the best piece on relationship theory I've ever read. It is an article in Meridian Magazine.

Will I Ever Receive His Image in My Countenance?
By H. Wallace Goddard, Professor of Family Life for the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

Alma surrendered his civil leadership so that he could minister to the spiritual well-being of the people. He traveled the cities and villages giving the polished message recorded in Alma 5. Though Alma did not have the technology to deliver his speech to all the people at once, he did deliver the same powerful invitation to people all over the land. I think of this as one of the earliest recorded General Conference addresses.

In Alma’s great speech to the people, he suggested that one of the evidences of spiritual re-birth is to have Jesus’ image in our countenances (Alma 5:14). I have been both inspired and burdened by that expectation. I want to radiate like Jesus. I want people to see Him in me. But, when I look in the mirror, I don’t see any hint of His remarkable goodness. I see tired eyes and a profusion of wrinkles.

Since I have a great talent for self-accusation, I have assumed that I am not really spiritually reborn. I may have had powerful spiritual experiences, I may love Him dearly, but my cankered soul has not yet yielded to the mighty change.

New Revelation

I am grateful for the opportunity I have of teaching Institute in the Little Rock area. When it came time for us to study Alma’s great plea for spiritual renewal, I begged God to open my mind and heart so I could understand his meaning. I studied and pondered. I continued to love the chapter but still felt more accused than encouraged by Alma’s description of the changed soul.

It wasn’t until we were in the middle of the lesson on a Wednesday evening in early March in the Relief Society room of the chapel that God gave the answer I had sought. Suddenly God made the connection between Alma’s words and the practical reality.

The Background

The world’s best scholar on marriage is arguably John Gottman. I have read and studied his books. I regularly use his materials in both writing and teaching.

In Relationship Cure (2001), Gottman suggested that many ordinary behaviors are really bids for connection. When I ask Nancy if she would like to go to Home Depot with me, I am not requesting help with loading lumber. I am really telling her that I love to be with her and would be delighted to have her accompany me to one of my favorite places. I am making a bid for connection.

Very often we miss the significance of these invitations. Maybe Nancy asks me if I would like to take a walk with her. If I am in a foul mood, I might respond: “Are you saying that I am a lazy slob, that I need more exercise, and you don’t approve of my reading newsmagazines?”

YIKES! We can be so absorbed in our own thoughts and feelings that we hardly see a partner’s loving intent. We respond to invitation with insult. When we respond to a bid for connection in such a harsh way, Gottman calls it “turning against.”

I might respond to Nancy’s invitation in a gentler, but still self-focused way. I might shrug, sigh, and announce with non-verbals that I really don’t want to go. Gottman calls this “turning away.” I suspect that we do a lot of this with family and friends. They invite us into their lives and we shrug them off.

There is a third alternative. Imagine that, in response to Nancy’s invitation, I say, “I love doing things with you, Dear.” Maybe I jump up and join her in a walk. Yet my warm response does not require that I take the walk. Maybe my back is hurting or I’m in the middle of something pressing. But I can respond to a bid for connection by “turning toward” Nancy. Maybe I say, “I love doing things with you, Dear. I just need to finish this project, but as soon as I’m done, let’s spend some time together.” I can respond to her message of love by offering a message of love. I can turn toward her whole-heartedly and appreciatively. I can embrace her invitation.

As I thought about “turning toward,” it seemed that maybe that is exactly what Alma meant when he asked if we have Jesus’ image in our countenance. I think he means that we welcome their invitation into their lives, and offer grace, goodness, and appreciation in return. Turning toward people may be the sign that Jesus is in our hearts and souls.

Jesus as the Perfect Model

Jesus life was filled with turning toward His confused and troubled siblings. One of my favorite examples is Jesus’ dealings with the sinful woman in the house of Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7:36-50). While Simon and his hard-hearted buddies judged and condemned both Jesus and the woman, Jesus “turned to the woman,” pointed out her generosity of spirit and “said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven” (v. 48).

At least ten times in scripture we are told that, in spite of our wickedness, “his hand is stretched out still.” That is His attitude, His posture, His stance. He is reaching for us—even when He has reason to turn away or turn against us. In Elder Maxwell’s powerful words: “His relentless redemptiveness exceeds [our] recurring wrongs” (“Jesus of Nazareth, Savior and King,” Ensign, May 1976, 26).

He is always turning toward us whether we turn toward Him, turn away from Him, or turn against Him. When we, like Him, turn lovingly and redemptively toward our brothers and sisters, then we have His image in our countenance.

The older meaning of the word countenance included far more than our facial expression; it meant our bearing or behavior. Thus God invites us to turn squarely toward the people in our lives, to see them redemptively—as He does, and to stand ready to serve them gladly.

When a neighbor needs help with a home repair, I can turn toward that neighbor and that need. When a friend seems burdened, I can turn squarely toward him and open my arms. When a fellow saint is not living up to my ideal of gospel standards, I can avoid turning against with scolding and lectures or turning away with an attitude of judgment, and instead turn toward that child of God with love and encouragement. When someone irritates or offends me, I can turn toward that person with acceptance and forgiveness.

That is what He would do. That is what He would have me do to radiate more of what He is.

An Irony and Trap Along the Way

As we read about turning toward others, we may instinctively think of others’ failures to do that for us. We may wish that our parents, spouses, bosses, co-workers, and friends had His image in their countenances! Yet Alma did not ask whether the people around us have experienced the mighty change; he asked whether we had. In His ministry, Jesus—our model--was gracious and redemptive with both those who were gracious and those who were not. He asks that we turn toward others regardless of whether they turn toward us, turn away from us, or turn against us.

In family relations, this is a terribly important idea. I often hear people tell me that they have tried everything to get their spouses engaged and involved in their marriages. I readily grant that some spouses are remote and inflexible. I have also observed that many of us really haven’t tried everything. We have tried the thing that we think should work and we have done it over and over again in spite of its demonstrated ineffectiveness. We get frustrated and we blame the failure on recalcitrant spouses.

For example, I can get mad at my beloved Nancy for being so engaged in Relief Society work that I feel neglected. But getting mad at her is not an effective way of pulling her into my life. If I can adopt the mind of Christ, I know that I should approach her humbly, kindly, and lovingly: “Sweetheart, when you get so involved in Relief Society, I feel left out. I miss you. I get lonely. I would like to do more things with you.”

Rather than conclude that our spouses are hopelessly dull when they do not respond to our bids for connection, we can refine, clarify, and sweeten our invitations. In other words, we can repent. Repenting ourselves is always better than condemning our spouses. It is also more consistent with Jesus’ commands.

At the same time, we can work to be more sensitive to our spouses’ bids for connection. They may be inviting us into our lives in ways we fail to recognize. We can pray for Heaven to give us discerning eyes so that we see and appreciate our spouses’ invitations.

Turning Toward

When my dear wife invites me to take a walk, I plan to jump up and take her hand. And when Jesus reaches towards me with enlightenment, an invitation, or any opportunity to more deeply connect, I plan to fully turn toward Him instead of mentally sighing and turning toward a book, a TV program, or a hobby.

Someday I hope to develop His image in my countenance. I now know how.

If you are interested in books, programs, retreats, or cruises by Brother Goddard, visit his Facebook page at:

Wally has authored or co-authored several books including Between Parent and Child, The Soft-Spoken Parent, and Drawing Heaven into Your Marriage. He discusses new ideas at his blog .

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Think beyond ,"My, you sure have grown!"

The older two former neighbor kids dropped by tonight, dressed to help clean up after the remodeling team.

Beth is a superb 9 year old pianist with a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in her future. James at near 8 is a budding palentologist. They are growing like little weeds!

With WNBA scouts recruiting earlier and earlier -- Beth may be the first professional basketball player in her family. (OK, so I photoshopped about ten inches onto her legs)

Mundane Grampas have a few phrases that bore kids to death. One of them is "My you sure have grown! Think past the usual common phrases. Come up with something original--that shows your brain cells are still active, Grampa!

Try, "Goodness, your legs are running away with you!" That usually gets a self conscious grin and a little appreciation for paying attention! With some thought and a little planning about the situations you'll run into, you can be more clever than expected. Your task is to develop and nurture a trusting, fun relationship with your grams!

The Difference between a Comic and a Comedian

Among the relationship skills most folks never cultivate is the ability to create and handle humor. Years ago I heard Johnny Carson explain in a documentary on humor what the difference is between a Comic and Comedian. Carson explained that comedians are a dime a dozen. They memorize set jokes and do their best to entertain folks around the water cooler in the elevator. They're a dime a dozen--and rarely good. Most folks groan or give courtesy laughs to appreciate the effort.

Back in the day when the Osmond Studio was going full tilt--a troup of pros taught me a little about warming up an audience. The Osmonds gave me a chance to be a warm up man for one of the shows and I dug into my palty supply of set jokes. One of the older, hipper comic actors got a big laugh imitating me.

I did all the jokes I'd memorized in about 5 minutes--and resorted (shamefully) to sifting through the jokes in front of the audience and "reading" them to the crowd. They sat still for a few of these before rolling their eyes and begging for bathroom privileges. My comeuppance came as the comic actor walked on after I'd walked to the side and pantomimed flipping through index cards. The audience gave him a big laugh---at my expense!

Years later, in a Dick Clark production of the Donny & Marie show I got a chance to see a first class warm up guy at work--and here's the difference:

A comic can take the funny, quirky, silly details around him, call folks attention to it...and make fun! (as in make fun of something) Good comics are rare. All the great comedians of Bob Hope's era: George Burns, Jan Murray, Jack Benny, Buddy Hackett -- all fine comedians and great comic actors. Much as I hate to admit it, Don Rickles is one of the best at making fun out of the siutation.

A Great Grampa always seems to have a perpetual twinkle in his eye!

One of the best at this comic skill is Vernon Thompson, elected recently to the Grampa Hall of Fame. His laughter at work defused tension and endeared us all to him as we worked together to find solutions and avoid blaming co-workers. (Enjoy Serious Laughter for Growth, a tribute to this Great Grampa.)

Enjoy developing this skill. Involving others in your humor will put you in demand at parties--but mostly in demand among gramchildren and help you develop the relationship for many many years to come! JRH

Tips for buying the right Missionary Clothing

Grampas are in a good position to advise their children and their gramkids about buying gear for LDS Missions. When I was born in 1946 my dad bought a whole life policy with Beneficial life for $1,000 on me. When I turned 19, Dad went down, cashed in the policy and used it to outfit me for Brazil with many of the items mentioned in this. He never actually said it, but I think in 1946 $1,000 would have gone a long way to paying for living expenses as well as gear for missionaries.

Abinadi taught King Noah and his priests (including Alma) about the role of parents in missionary work: "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that are still publishing peace! " Mosiah 15:16. It's the mothers and fathers who nurture their offspring in the faith and pay their expenses so the missionary can give two years of service to bring souls to the Savior and his gospel. In the same way that James Mortimer is the publisher of the Deseret News--parents are responsible for the content, make up and delivery of the missionary who produces peace in the lives of true converts.

Thanks to Jacob Hancock for this article. If investing in Missionary gear is of interest, you might like another Mormon Times article by Trent Toone about "The Making of a Missionary"

Tips for Buying the right Missionary Clothing

By Jacob Hancock
Mormon Times
Thursday, Apr. 29, 2010

Get it fit: Not only does the Missionary Department recommend this inexpensive and often free step but so does every wardrobe professional. Fitting into something isn't the same as it fitting you.

Read more:

Learning how to love those you serve

Physically preparing for mission life

Sister missionary fashions

If fabric is worn tight in areas then friction, a suit's foremost enemy, will prematurely wear it out, said Stuart Christensen, wardrobe consultant and son of suit extraordinaire Mac "Mr. Mac" Christensen. And wearing a suit loose looks sloppy and unprofessional.

Many retailers, like Mr. Mac, tailor for no extra charge. But even a $30 fitting fee from a national outfitter like Men's Wearhouse is worth it.

Fabric: The clear preference is wool, or at least a high-percentage blend of the sheep-sheered fiber that's so magically versatile to every climate on the globe -- even hot, humid, equator-hugging zones. Wool absorbs about 30 percent of its own weight in moisture, making winter wearers warmer and summer suitors satisfied. It's warm because it insulates, and, when weaved to breathe in tropical or worsted styles, it's cooler. They don't wrinkle, either. All-wool suits cost more, roughly $20 to $80 more, but last longer.

For elders who will bike a lot in their suit -- or who are going to a mission where suits are used daily, Mr. Mac makes a specialized missionary line with tough-as-rhino-skin reinforced seats in the pants, and a mesh material in the suit's underarm area for flexibility and venting -- the only retailer with such missionary-specific features. They're also the pioneers of selling two-pant suits.

The most common suit material, a poly-wool blend, isn't a bad choice. Even Jordan Sinquefield, a returned missionary and wardrobe consultant at Men's Wearhouse -- which only sells all-wool suits -- said poly-wool is OK for missionaries, who have "more important things on their mind" than trends and comfort.

Christensen said the smaller the percentage of "poly" in the wool blend, the less cheap-like shine will show and the better it will "drape" an elder. He recommends at least 60 percent wool.

For colder missions, try a dark flannel suit. For warmer missions stick to an all-season worsted-type weave. And make sure to wear a button-down shirt when trying on suits.

Suit style: Some missions, especially European ones, discourage cuffs. Pay close attention to your specific mission style instructions. If mission papers don't specify, go for a single-breasted piece, especially if you're heavy-set (double-breasted accentuates the midsection) or if you're called to an American mission where double-breasted styles draw attention.

Long- or short-sleeve, silky broadcloth or rugged oxford weave, the most important part is keeping a dress shirt brilliant white and wrinkle free. The best way to take care of both areas is by getting a poly-cotton blend, about 65-35 percent, said Trevor Orme, sales associate at Missionary Mall in Orem. "But don't go any higher than 65 percent (polyester) because (the shirt) won't breathe."

All-cotton will allow more wrinkles and will be more vulnerable to discoloring.

Button-down collars are traditionally not as professional or fashionable as pointed collars, especially when worn with a suit, but are still acceptable and widely purchased for missions.


For Luke Allen, who's mission bound for Peru in June, shoes are one area he said is worth splurging on if they keep him working, and blisters to a minimum. Peter Curtis, who's destined for Poland in June, agrees. Both are planning to purchase higher-end footwear: They mentioned brands Ecco, Dr. Marten, Rockport and Belvedere Studio.

Stuart Christensen recommends elders use moisture absorbent cedar shoe trees daily to keep footwear in shape, last 20 percent longer and smell better but admits most elders "are too preoccupied" to take his advice.


Not only should you avoid buying patterns to stay conservatively dressed but doing so will also save you time when you go to match them later. Aim for wool blends in cold or wet missions and avoid all-polyester socks, which "may last forever, but your foot will die inside of it (because it can't breathe)," said Spence Christensen, Stuart Christensen's brother, who works at the same Mr. Mac and has been selling suits, or at least maneuvering clothes racks, since he started sweeping the floor of his father's clothing shop as a 12-year-old.

Total cost

Although most of the more-than-a-dozen soon-to-leave missionaries interviewed for this article, like Tyler Stahle, who's off to Zimbabwe in August, were remarkably uninterested in discussing the difference between a poplin and seersucker suit, they told Mormon Times they expected to pay an average of about $970 for all their mission gear.


The Missionary Department states, "Ties should be conservative in color, pattern, width and length. They should not contain pictures or caricatures." But because it says nothing about avoiding "ugly ties" -- and because ugly would be an utterly subjective term anyway -- many elders get away with routinely, and purposely, sporting hideous old-fashion ties. Perhaps too immature to understand the value of conforming and too used to high school fashion antics meant to emphasize individuality, elders coyly wear patterns, colors and material akin to Grandma's curtain or couch, a burnt orange polyester belly warmer with an olive green floral pattern.

Associates at Mr. Mac, Men's Wearhouse and Missionary Mall all said they were aware of the cliquish ugly trend in missions worldwide. Some associates laughed. Others, like Spence Christensen, bludgeoned the bandwagon fashion, saying it "undoes a lot of good (missionaries) do" and "directly diminishes the important message" they're sharing. "Somehow they think it's a badge of honor, but it redirects attention from the message to themselves. ... The Brethren don't wear them. And that's who we encourage them to look to."

Develop Outrageous Opinions for Growth

Advice to a godson from former Atlanta Mayor, Georgia Congressman and UN Ambassador Andrew Young: Develop Outrageous Opinions. Defending them will make you strong!

Grampas are thought to be odd at best. "Grampa" is a punch line for a series of younger comic's jokes. Grampas are like Christians in comedy -- good for little else than laughter. Outrageous opinions are somehow expected!

Andrew Young is a hero of mine. He has held responsible positions in government at various levels. Kabir Sehgal, his godson and co-author of his latest book. "Walk in My Shoes",
Conversations between a Civil Rights Legend and his Godson on the Journey Ahead
Andrew Young and Kabir Sehgal; Foreword by Bill Clinton, says he tried hard to be number 2 (often reluctant, always cautious, ever telling truth to power) and has become number 1 (a real leader).

He is three years younger than the Reverend Martin Luther King and a co-founder with King of the civil rights organization that played an important part in the ongoing campaign for Civil Rights. Ambassador Young believes (outrageously to some) that the Southern Christian Leadership Conference was a movement for it's time and should not be continued as an organization. In an interview with Diane Rehm this morning Young said when Civil Rights objectives were achieved, "we should have disbanded it!"

Currently the SCLC has two boards fighting with each other for control, leadership from the King family--with a hint of scandal about the appropriate spending of half a million dollars of organization funds. JRH

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What NOT TO BUY Gramma for Mother's Day!

Well, Grampa, you've got a great idea for a Mother's Day Gift--but you have doubts! Check it against the five ideas outlined below. Ten good ideas are in the next post below for no cost gifts of the heart. (Follow this link for those) If you notice that the mom at right is not smiling (and neither is her daughter) She must have just received one of these.

By , Guide

1. Frumpy Fashion

Forty is the new 30, 50 the new 40 and so on. So don't assume that just because she's a mom or grandmother that she doesn't want to look updated. So skip the baggy "#1 Mom" T-shirts and look for updated styles like suede boots, leather jackets and leggings.

2. Fake Bag

Sure, you'd save a bundle by buying that fake Fendi from a car trunk or street corner, but nothing's tackier than a knockoff gift. Not sure if what you're buying is a knockoff or not? How to spot a fake.

3. Cheap Jewelry

At some point, all of the gold-tone lockets and faux sterling bracelets start to pile up in Mom's drawers. She may feel obligated to wear these sentimental pieces for your sake, but what she'd really like is something that fits in better with her signature style (it could range from an estate piece you find on eBay to classic diamond studs).

4. Mom Jeans

Let's get one thing straight: just because Mom doesn't have the body of a 19-year-old doesn't mean she wants to wear high-waisted, peg-leg jeans. With so many premium jeans on the market, you can find great updated denim for Mom in every size range. Gap has some of the best premium jeans -- at the best price -- in the market.

5. Wrong Size

One of the biggest challenges to giving clothing as a gift is finding the right size. If you don't know, don't guess (unless you want to drive a size 6 mom crazy by buying her a 2X top or vice versa). Try to sneak a peek at her closet to help find sizes or even ask her for sizes or measurements to compare to size charts.

Gifts from the Heart for Gramma on Mother's Day

Back in the day we got caught on Mother's day with no money saved up and nothing in mind. A clever Sunday School Teacher taught us to make coupon books for a kiss and a hug or a good vacuuming of the living room rug. The following suggestions come from

As a Grampa who can leave hints and counsel gramkids from about 9 to 19--this list works for them too! A little "present" ammunition for that frank talk. Schedule the talk for at least a week before the "day" to help get used to the idea and deliver!
  1. Your room, clean. Really clean. Nothing shoved into closets, crammed into bureau drawers or pushed under the bed. She wants your socks matched, your broken items tossed out, your unwanted books donated to the public library, your out-of-style or too-small clothes carted off to the nearest goodwill store. She wants all this done because this is what she'd do herself. You want to make her really happy? Three little words - not "I love you" but "Clean your room."
  2. An empty and shining kitchen sink. Unlike Mother Hubbard's cupboard, this baby never seems bare in the average kitchen. Mom usually finds anything from a single sticky spoon (tossed in after a midnight freezer raid/ice cream binge) to a pile of teetering breakfast dishes left by family members too rushed to rinse them, let alone place them in the dishwasher. Imagine the joy she'll feel when she sees her face reflected in the kitchen sink.
  3. The car, washed, with an interior that's showroom-neat. The inside is the most important part. She's too busy driving you here and there to vacuum the carpets; dig out straw wrappers, pennies, and food crumbs in the seat cushions; liberate paper coffee cups trapped under the seat; or shine those windows so they're head-bangingly transparent in their sparkling purity. Shoot some high-end room spray into the ceiling and seats, and make her think she's driving around in a spa. Don't forget the trunk and glove compartment!
  4. The little things taken care of. Every houseplant watered, garbage basket emptied, library book or video store DVD returned, grocery item purchased from the shopping list, towel and sheet folded and put away, shirt ironed, loose button sewed on…you get the drift. All those little niggling tasks that moms have to keep up with are a source of low-level but constant stress. Wipe them out for just one day and their absence will cause those little wrinkles of concern to smooth away from Mom's face faster than a Botox injection.
  5. A meal prepared for her just the way she likes it. Keep in mind her eating habits, calorie and nutrition concerns, and preferences. Mom has chowed down on your cholesterol-raising butter and syrup-laden French toast, your sticky birthday cakes covered with frosting so fattening it could fuel a third world country for a week. She would like a fresh tossed salad with a million cut-up goodies that you'd find at a well-stocked salad bar - the kind she wouldn't have the time to make for herself, but that she'd order in a restaurant. Or maybe some carefully seasoned and perfectly broiled fish - a nice fresh catch of the day straight from the fish market. And if you feel compelled to make dessert, how about angel food cake, lowfat vanilla yogurt, and fresh strawberries?
  6. A day when she doesn't have to drive you anywhere - better yet, a week if you can manage it. Mom may chauffeur you with a smile, but it is seriously draining to spend hours behind the wheel, waiting for you at school, the mall, dance or music lessons, team practice, a friend's house, or a late-night party. A character in the movie "Repo Man" said it best: "The more you drive, the less intelligent you get." Help Mom keep her sanity and her brain cells intact just for one day.
  7. A spa treatment with you providing the service. A back massage, a manicure and/or pedicure, a facial, a foot massage, aromatherapy - the options are endless. Read a book on what to do - go to a salon and observe trained professionals. Bring that home with you and lavish that attention on Mom. She'd feel guilty if you tried to buy these services for her, but if you do them yourself with materials you can purchase inexpensively - or find already lying around the house - then she'd feel doubly relaxed. And in the midst of all that pampering, she's more likely to say yes if you've got something you need to tell her, be it good news or bad.
  8. A haircut - for you, not her. Mom wants to see your beautiful face! She doesn't want your hair hanging down and hiding the features she knows and loves so well. Just once, take a moment to get well-groomed so she can see past the fuzz and remember the sweet-cheeked baby she used to cuddle, or the clean-faced kid that used to bring her wildflowers and pictures saying "I heart you MOM!"
  9. A chance to play a slow-paced board game so you can talk and enjoy each other's company. Scrabble is a great choice. Mom just wants to spend some quality time with you, and though you may be too old for family game night, you're never too old to play Scrabble with Mom.
  10. Something you've made for her by hand. Yeah, you think you've outgrown this. But really, you haven't - you just haven't done it in a while. Get over your embarrassment and just draw her a picture, write her a poem, scribble down a page of your favorite memories of times spent with her. There isn't a mom in the world who doesn't keep a stash of these things. As you grow up you're less likely to do this - thus any efforts are more valuable to her. This may be the most important gift of all. Because when you're grown up and no longer call her house home, it won't be the items you bought that will sustain her and give her comfort. It'll be the moments you've shared, the memories she carries, and the love you've shown that will matter.
Tangible gifts you buy in the store are fine, but when you give from the heart, she'll never ask for a return receipt.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Grampa goes a Courtin'

Many of my older heros don't waste much time. After a year has gone by following the passing of the love of their life, they've usually picked out another spouse and it's just a matter of time.

Scripture teaches that, "It is not good for man to be alone." (Gen 2:18)

Robert D. Hales, Dallin H. Oaks, Russell M. Nelson all married again after the deaths of their wives. Through the years I've met lovely women who never marry. Some, I believe, are holding out to support a windowed LDS General Authority. I've never actually picked one who did.

The demands of old age need spousal support whether you are crisscrossing the globe negotiating away barriers as an LDS Apostle or just trying to make the Social Security Check stretch.

The odd couple combination of Jack Lemon and Walter Matthau made a couple of movies under the banner of Grumpy Old Men. When Ann Margaret moved into the house across the street, both men were "interested" Ann chose Jack Lemon and the two married opening a new chapter in both their lives--with a retaliatory rotting little fish stinkin' up the getaway limo courtesy of Matthau, the best man.

By the time a man qualifies as a Grampa several good things have happened in his life. Emotionally he's generally stable--not driven by hormones like a teenage suitor. Grampa has learned something of common courtesies and the elusive charm that youngsters are still developing. Grampa is gracious enough to let her have the last word.

He has learned to occasionally begin conversations with words like, "I'm sorry. I'm not sure just what it is that's bothering you --but it's probably my fault, so before we get to far into it, please, let me apologize!"

He understands the language of flowers, when to bring them--where to get them--and how to offer a little potted plant instead of the cut flowers that will die in a few days.

If Grampa is courting for companionship, it's likely to be a reasonably long and gradual process.

My good friend Louis lost his Mabel and kept going to church. A sweet single lady friend would watch when Louis came into the chapel and would gently go sit next to him. He was still grieving and barely noticed at first. An invitation to dinner at her home, and slowly Louis began to notice. They've been happily married for many years.

It helps if the husband and wife talk about what might happen in the marriage department if one or the other goes first. Most wives are left alone when an older husband passes first. Occasionally the wife leaves mortality before her husband--and the need to go a courtin' makes itself known.

Once in a while, both go within minutes of one another. An older friend, years ago, could no longer do for his wife. Both were in their 90s. A dutiful son took him and a caring daughter too her and in a few months the older woman died peacefully in her sleep. The sister called her brother to let him know, and he went in and awakened the older husband.

"I just stayed around to take care of mamma." the husband told his son in law. He turned over and went back to sleep. Within a few minutes he had gone to meet his wife.

Grampa goin' courtin' may be necessary--and it's a lot like riding a bicycle -- it may take a couple of tries, but after a while Grampa will get right back into his "groove" with a lot more sensitivity and caring than a younger man.

I saw my dear friends Reed and Sharon at Walmart shopping for flowers for their garden--something most husbands expect their wives to. It's a "Chick" thing to many virile younger men. Reed and Sharon were holding hands as she examined the blooms and blossoms and he nodded with a big smile. I sneaked up on them so they couldn't see me, grabbed his arm and chuckled out, "Y'know now that you've been married all these months, you don't have to hold hands while you're shopping for flowers at Walmart!

Reed just smiled and squeezed Sharon's hand when he said, "I've never learned not to!"

Reed had been widowed for several years--Sharon had been divorced for many years. When the two congregations merged they noticed each other. After a few months he began calling on her and soon they passed out invitations to a temple wedding on a Wednesday at 10:00 AM. I smiled when I got the invitation. Most folks they invited would be working and unable to attend. The reception followed the ceremony and that's just what they wanted: An intimate affair with just close friends and family. As the joined fingers at Walmart indicate--they're still on honeymoon.

Hope for courtin' Grampas everywhere. JRH

Monday, April 26, 2010

Five Small Reminders for Grampa to Give

More than fifty years ago, a very patient cub scout leader taught us to remember to do a Good Turn Daily by carrying a little token in the left pocket and transferring it to the right pocket when the deed was done! It is by such small means that great things are brought to pass (D&C 64:33)

Over the years I've gotten out of the habit of carrying a little something around to remind me of a Christian duty to fellow men or women, until in High Priests Class yesterday. My friend Dana told us about a business associate of his who carries five dimes in his left pocket and does the cub scout transfer every time he does a good deed.

Some folks believe in practicing random acts of kindness. Others are just naturally "that way". Years ago Gramma Rosie asked about the unfamiliar practice of reporting charitable acts of kindness to the Relief Society. She asked,"What ever happened to not letting the right hand know what the left hand was doing?" Somewhere in the upper echelons must have asked a similar question and the Relief Society doesn't keep track of acts of service.

The five dimes puts the motivation in a personal place and leaves the execution up to you!

Grampas have lots of opportunities for good deeds. The five dimes help open eyes and ears to the possibilities for service. And what a great "skill" for a Grampa to teach a gramchild!

When a Great Grampa sees others through their eyes and anticipate their needs something wonderful happens. His heart opens and he lives to serve.

Neal A. Maxwell told about this process in a 1996 talk entitled "Brim with Joy" about this open hearted change: "We can end up being so provincial and so parochial. I love these lines from G. K. Chesterton, the brilliant Catholic writer:

'How much larger your life would be if [you] could become smaller in it. . . . You would begin to be interested in [others]. You would break out of this tiny . . . theatre in which your own little plot is always being played, and you would find yourself under a freer sky, in a street full of splendid strangers. [G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (Garden City, New York: Image Books, 1959), pp. 20­21]

The gospel tells us who those "splendid strangers" are. It gives us a sense not only of the immensity and the vastness of God's work, but also of the great personalness of His work as well."

Grampa is like the star thrower:

The Star Thrower Story by Joel Barker

There's a story I would like to share with you. It was inspired by the writing of Loren Eiseley. Eiseley was a very special person because he combined the best of two cultures. He was a scientist and a poet. And from those two perspectives he wrote insightfully and beautifully about the world and our role in it.

Once upon a time, there was a wise man, much like Eiseley himself, who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn't dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer, he called out, "Good morning! What are you doing?" The young man paused, looked up and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I guess I should have asked, Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?"

"The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don't throw them in they'll die."

"But young man, don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can't possibly make a difference!"

The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves. "It made a difference for that one!"

It is all about doing for the one! JRH

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Aunt Oodie substitutes for Grampa

As a caring Grampa, it's great to be able to take your gramkids on little trips (with the permission of their parents) Enthusiasm for these activities is great--but here's a few examples of one determined woman who gave her grand niece much more than either of them had bargained for.

Lucy Sears Miller was Gramma Rosie's great aunt. The kids in the family nicknamed her OODIE and it stuck. (They couldn't pronouce "Lucy") She was Grampa Miller's sister, a maiden lady and she was lonely. Instead of sitting at home and wasting away, she put her salary as a clerk in a Washington D.C. bank to work. She loved to take little side trips up and down the Eastern Seabord and she liked to take her favorite niece with her. Together Oodie and Rosie went to the top of the Empire State Building and that's when nine year old Rosie discovered she was scared of heights. For all the efforts Oodie made to expose her oldest grand niece to the sights and sounds of American culture, Rosie was, at best a reluctant participant.

With Oodie it wasn't enough to go there--she wanted Rosie to have the "Unique Experience!" During the Summer of 1954 Rosie was 9 about to turn 10. On a ten day trip to "See the Sights" Oodie dragged Rosie to the Statue of Liberty. It wasn't enough to just stand outside--Oodie and Rosie had to climb the circular staircase to the top.

"I told her I didn't want to," Rosie remembers, "but there was no stopping her, and up we started. My gag reflex saved me the climb. About six steps up, I leaned over the rail and threw up my breakfast. Now a reasonable, caring relative would have settled for a post card or two, but not Oodie! She grabbed her small charge and raced to the handicapped elevator. Fashioning a small blind fold out of her silk scarf, Oodie paid the man a good sized bribe to take the two of them to the top of the crown. Of course Rosie had to be coaxed and yanked to the semi-circle of windows. Her little white knuckles grabbed onto the safety rail for dear life.

"Unforgettable? Oh, yes, but not for any of the right reasons." Rosie smiled remembering.

"We traveled to the Azelea festival--in Norfolk, Virginia. No heights. It was really pretty but we hiked for what seemed like hundreds of miles to see every shade and size of azeleas along the trail. Oodie made sure I signed up for junior membership in he Patomac Rose Society." said Rosie. "I can tell you how smelly fish emulsion nourishes the finest roses in the world."

This odd little couple visited Hershey, Pennsylvania where the very air smells chocolatey.

But it was on a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains that Oodie met some adult opposition to her extreme tourist techniques. The bus stopped at an overlook and, as usual Oodie dragged her by then 12 year old grand niece to the protective safety log (No rail) for a breath taking view. It actually did take Rosie's breath away. As quickly as she arrived at the edge she fell backward in a dead faint!

"As I lay there, half way between waking and completely knocked out, I was vaguely aware of a man taking Oodie to task." Rosie said. "Apparently he was a doctor and saw me fall. He didn't like the way she was screaming to wake me up so she could prop me up for her precious view of the beautiful valley far below! Oodie didn't care! She figured she probably never would see this guy again--and kept shouting into my glazed over eyes and pulling on my lifeless arms for a once in a lifetime view."

Oodies extreme tourism inflicted on her oldest grand niece is a lesson to every caring adult who takes a youngster on a trip. Common sense and sensitivity to the real or imagined pains should prevail. Those little ones should be old enough to travel "on their own" without diapers or baby food. The ideal age seems to be from 10-13. After 14 he discovery of girls/boys and video games and what often seems to be a natural rebellion against the most caring love and attention often kicks in.

Again, developing trust and dreaming with a gramkid will make the "anticipation" more than half the fun of an adventure one on one with Grampa. Develop the knack to encourage the child to lead the way and then, be the adult. It'll be good for both of you!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Grampa's Search for Peace

At the dedication of the Salt Lake Theater in 1862, Brigham Young gave his views on the theater. He explained why he did not allow the great tragedies performed on his pioneer Mormon stage. "We have plenty of tragedy all around us-- Comedy! We need more comedy!"

Brother Brigham and his church leadership built the Salt Lake Theater as the first permanent structure in the Utah Frontier--long before the sacred Salt Lake Temple was complete more than thirty later in1893.

In 2007 the New Scientist reported that " By the time the average U.S. child starts elementary school he or she will have seen 8,000 murders and 100,00 acts of violence on TV." If there's a better way to make the case for peaceful parents and gramparents, I don't know it.

The prophet Abinadi taught, …How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that are still publishing peace! (Mosiah 15:16) Parents and Gramparents are the publishers of peace as they send peaceful children into the world to set good examples, make friends and build faith in themselves and others.

Writers and producers are working cleverly to outdo themselves in the unique ways to portray the taking of human life sometimes with drama, often with music--and in recent witty comedies in the "Thin Man" tradition like ABC's CASTLE!

One Grampa told a group of older men last week at church that his taste in music has gradually changed from the Rock and Roll of the sixties to the soothing choral masterpieces with full orchestra accompaninent of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Music does much to bring Peace to Grampa. I've found relaxation and a good measure of peace in the quiet jazz of George Shearing's piano and Wes Montgomery's guitar.

And why is peace so important for a Grampa?

That peace transmits to gramchildren in ways that are remembered for decades.

At this writing, Gramma Rosie and I are slowly recovering from a two day trip up in Wyoming to gather with our family and remember the quiet life of a great woman -- my mother Delma Isabella Hunt Howe. The inspiration for this post came as I met a remarkable toddler named Tucker Howe. This little blond kid never cried. He smiled, gurgled, cooed, opened his mouth and imitated adult speech with a Ya ya ya ya and a smile. He looks like a little cupie doll. Agree?

Good natured babies are quite rare. Some believe they come that way. I believe that the environment encourages native tendencies. If Grampa's want to influence world peace, they can do it by helping their grambabies model peaceful life one child at a time.

I think I've figured out why Tucker is such a peaceful kid! At the couple of dinners and a breakfast we enjoyed at my brother Grampa Roger's home with his wife, Granny Sue I noticed a parenting experience that I commend to every Grampa who reads this post. Grambabies (they have three) are always welcome in their home. While we were there over two days, the little toys and plastic shapes were scattered over the living room rug and stuck to the bottom of the refrigerator were left there as an open invitation to the pint size kids to come back again and again. A little mess for a reason is a good thing.

Then Elder Boyd K. Packer said, "We have maintained an area (sometimes it’s the corner of a basement room) where there is a work bench, where projects could be left. There can be some paint or a little sawdust on the floor, without a problem. In spite of continuous cleanup, this area is perpetually untidy, but with a purpose." There's something special about a gramparent's home where the blocks you left a week before are right where you left them when you come back!

Now, here's the calming peaceful lesson. While some parents use the occasion of visiting relatives to show off their precocious heirs like trained dogs--Tucker's mom and dad, Leslie and Matt just sat on the kitchen floor and clapped when Tucker rearranged the shapes on the refrigerator. Their focus was gently on their son. A peace flowed between them. All us, visitors and stranger-relatives in the house were gently out of focus to this happy parent child combination. I marveled at the peace of the situation. Tucker is so good natured and at peace because his parents are too. JRH

Any Grampa who can develop that kind of low key trust with a gramchild can make a double contribution to world peace--his own for doing it--and his child's for the memory of love and caring. JRH

Monday, April 19, 2010

I'm Communicating with my Beloved Bricks!

The great architect Frank Lloyd Wright was discovered staring at one of his then recently completed artistic homes. A man watched him watching it and asked, "Pardon me, sir. What are you doing?

The wise Wright said, "I'm communicating with my beloved bricks!"

Sounds a bit odd, right? I teach classes in Web Design and pass on the idea that designers, should admire their work from a distance of time and space, little things pop out that can be "fixed". The great Michaelangelo talked about the figure hiding inside the block of marble and his job was to help it emerge. He likely communicated with his beloved marble.

The best artists are all about Create and Tweak -- Blurt and Edit. Writing is not so much writing as rewriting. So many of my students pay their tuition and walk away after six weeks never having practiced what I preach. Perfectionists so often hesitate to begin because they know the first efforts will be less than World Class Caliber.

The story of Fred Rogers on Tin Pan Alley teaches the great value of doing and redoing creative things until you improve your ability to "do". Enjoy diving in. Then enjoy the polishing process. Don't succumb to the temptation to give up. That's crazy. Even a cursory study of the life of the Dutch master Van Gogh can teach creative folks a lot about hangin' in there. His paintings sell for multi million dollar sums today--and yet he never sold a single one as a living artist. JRH

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mama was a Giggler!

The call we've been gently anticipating for the last few years finally came this morning. My brother Roger called with news of our mother's passing last night after a little stomach ache and a reduction of her blood thinner medication. She went mercifully quick. Today the phones have been alive with the sounds of plans to gather for her memorial service. She was 87--and had just celebrated 57 years of marriage to Grampa Milo on Tax Day! Her time had come and her reunion with her beloved companion was the first thing on my mind.

Yes, she was a giggler. She laughed at things she saw as funny--and that was a lot of things! Her chuckle was low, inside her throat -- in a way that invited everyone around her to join in. She defused awkward situations with that strategic giggle. Mostly she just found life around her funny!

It's been several years since I saw her--at the funeral of her husband. We used to chat on the phone every Sunday night--and as time went on and her situation deteriorated she repeated herself -- and she knew it. Finally, about a year ago, her calls to us dwindled and stopped.

Our brother, Roger--who handled all her finances and with his nurse wife Sue, looked in on her and took care of her with the professionals at the care center--Roger told me she still had the cell phone he bought for her. Because of petty thefts, Gramma Delma kept the phone in her dresser, turned off. She lost the ability to listen to voice mail. On Roger's regular Sunday visits, he would listen to the voice mail we'd left and call us for her--then put her on for shorter and shorter visits. I noticed the last time I spoke to her that she was calm, happy and was repeating herself less than usual.

Delma Isabella Hunt Howe relished her role as the hub of our family--and enjoyed keeping up on all the new babies and the ins and outs of a growing clan. Near the end, she was less and less aware--but cheerful none the less!

My first memory of her was in a little house in what was ironically called the Roach Addition. Home movies reinforce the hazy memories of my baby baths in a galvanized tub; of a front loading automatic washer in a knotty pine kitchen and visits from Grampa Charlie and Gramma Lilly Hunt--her parents. I knew Gramma Hunt well through the years, but Grampa Charlie's image is known to me through those movies, and wonderful stories at Hunt family reunions. His son Charles was our beloved uncle. She came from the Fernelius line: great Swedish stock, descended from nobility.

She was born in 1922 and was a teenager through the depression and WWII. Food was scarce and my mom, one of the two great cooks in my life, was never allowed to learn to cook in her parent's home. She told me years ago that her first cake came from a neighbor friends E-Z Bake Oven. She learned to cook quickly. Her decorated cakes were the envy of the neighborhood after she finished an ag extension course.

She was always learning, reading and growing. She and her favorite sister Helen Marie travelled to Logan so Helen Marie could attend college and snag a man. Mother worked in the Dean of Women's Office and put her high school office skills to work to pay for room and board for both of them. It worked. Helen Marie met and married Law Student Zachary Champlin, who retired as the District Judge many years and nine kids later.

I'm a teacher both in church and business -- and Delma inspired me with great teaching in Primary and Relief Society. Her lessons as Spiritual Living Leader demonstrated what we all knew for a fact: She had a pipeline to heaven! Humble and caring, loving and tender with an ability to "bring the Spirit" to every class; Delma bloomed and blossomed in the gospel after a life time of patient gospel service.

Delma and Dad served a proselyting mission to Indianapolis, Indiana after sending three sons on Missions to Brazil (me); Hong Kong (Roger) and Spain-Barcelona (Donald). Their time was spent strengthening a little branch. Dad would charm the little children with pocket knife carvings and tricks. Both Mom and Dad always dressed in their Sunday Best when they went to church. The congregation was made up of many new converts used to coming to church in shorts, sleeveless tops and on formal occasions: holey blue jeans.

At the little party they threw to say goodbye after 18 months, one sister came up to mother and thanked her for setting a good example. They both commented on how the branch had dressed up for the Sabbath. They may not have made a single convert--but their example had a deep effect in Indianapolis. Their second act was a mission to the new Denver Temple. Their most effective "missionary work" was with their Gramkids.

I know especially with our own kids, Gramma and Grampa would swoop in and carry Jeff and Sally back to Cheyenne for fun in their tiered garden, riding Dad's golf cart around and the early morning barbequed pancakes on the patio Jeff remembers a trip to Frontier Days. Sally remembers the ongoing board games like Uno and Skipbo!

Mom and Dad were a great team and worked at influencing their downline for good. I can remember the snazzy bicycles Grampa Milo brought in the back of his vintage 1957 Green two toned Cadillac. I treasure a picture with then 9 year old Jeff making rope with Gramma out of fragrant yellow-orange baleing twine. They came to visit often (but not too often) Mostly they showed our kids how a happily married couple run the day to day in their compact, tidy Wyoming homes filled with love.

Besides our Jon and Rosie Family-- which is always number one, I have four or five creative occupagtional passions and Mom got me started on every single one:

MUSIC - I begged to play the piano when I was five or six and then I found out how much work it was going to be! Mom Delma played a number of great melodic solos like NOLA, and of course all the LDS Hymns. Turns out she and Dad had planned that we would ALL take at least a year of piano for life preparation--and possibly playing a band instrument. My sweetest musical experience was during my High School years, she was the Sunday School organist and I was the chorister. It was a great memory. (There were times in my earlier years when my Father brandished a belt to insure I would practice the obligatory hour daily. Mother would grit her teeth on those rare occasions whenever leather would smack my bottom) As so often happens, I struggled through the early years until I finally enjoyed it and didn't need threats any more! Because of my mom, I can enjoy my church choir experience, great orchestras, playing in a number of different brass bands (Trumpet and Baritone) and pass on that love of music to our son and daughter. Because of the musical influence of Gramma Delma, Sally whacked away at a Bass drum for a few years in grade school. Her brother, Jeff started on Baritone in grade school, Trombone in 7th and 8th grade and finished his 9th grade year on a brand new Yamaha Symphonic Tuba!

THEATER - When I was still in grade school, Mom took me to a Laramie High School Thespian Performance of THE DOUBLE BARRELLED MYSTERY. I felt all grown up--and near worshipped the skinny, over made up high school guys and gals who portrayed the characters in the play. It was held in the ornate Laramie High School Auditorium with the famous Lynn Faucett murals. I would later appear there in Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS PINAFORE as Sir Joseph Porter KCB in my 9th Grade year and as Mr. Antrobus in Thornton Wilder's SKIN OF OUR TEETH when I was a Junior. Though I did many roles in College and Semi Professional Theater, my funniest memory (that Mother and I both laughed out loud about) was in a Children's Theater production of WAPPIN' WHARF. I played Prince Hal, the hero of a Pirate abduction. As a University of Wyoming freshman majoring in Theater, I wanted to pull out all the stops. I went to a hair dresser and had my hair bleached to a shiny brass tint. I wanted a poofy fair haired boy wig appearance so the night before the opening, I slept with curlers. What a pain! My costume was left over from a Moliere period piece -- light blue brocade with a little flouncy skirt and knickerbocker breeches. When I made my first entrance my mother was sitting behind a chatty older woman who turned to her friend in the next seat and whispered rather loudly, "Who's the ugly girl?" Dissolve in laughter! Mother was always there whenever I was on stage. She'd hop a plane or drive the 500 miles from Cheyenne or Laramie to show her support. I was especially glad when she came for the Musical MISSIONARY BOXER that I wrote and produced. Mother never warned me that a theater career would never pay enough to keep a bird alive. She didn't have pre-formed wishes for me to be a lawyer or doctor so I could keep her with my magnificent earnings. She just wanted me to do the best I could. We've tried to pass on those expectations and set a good example for our children. It's what she did so well.

BROADCASTING - Delma Howe supported her husband as a Den Mother when he was long time Cubmaster of Pack 138 in the Laramie Ward. She encouraged us in crafts and merit badges and put up with all the antics of boys from 8 to 18. My interest in Photography led to a merit badge and then a part time job as a photographer in my Senior Year at the local paper. That interest in Journalism and performance led to more than 20 years in radio news from Wyoming through Provo, Utah and on to Washington D.C. It was a way to make a living with my mouth, my brain and my typing skills. She was listening and cheering all the way. I tell the story that I never graduated to television because my mother said I had a great face for radio! She never said that, but it makes for a funnier joke, yes? Maybe not! To make up for it I quote my Dad for much of the wisdom I've picked up along the way. Needless to say my folks have taken a wonderful, active interest in my careers. Always proud, never criticizing and always there when things fall apart as they often do. (Because of my news beginnings in Provo, I wore the Santa suit for the Sales Department. When Alan Osmond of the famous family called to borrow the suit, I negotiated coming along as the Santa and for 30 years we travelled together and appeared on network television and stages coast to coast with the Osmond Family - Donny and Marie and all of the kids old and young)

POLITICS - My earliest memory of politics came from my mom scanning the local paper and wondering aloud at every crisis why ANYONE would want to be President. Citizenship Merit Badges gave me a good excuse to get acquainted with the folks who ran the little power structure in Laramie, Wyoming. Telling Senators and local councilmen where to stand for a picture for the paper gave me a taste and I found I liked it. Politics was a bit of practical theater and before I "retired" I had worked in Washington for a U.S. Senator (Gale McGee D-WYO) the Mayor of Provo and Marketing Director at Utah Tech in Provo and Orem, now Utah Valley University. I served on the staff of a major Republican candidate for Governor of Utah. He lost, but I learned.

TEACHING - All these skills come together in my teaching career. Between Osmond Tours I took a temporary job as an instructor in the nationwide network of New Horizons Computer Learning Centers. The method was fairly straightforward. Study a new software one day, teach it the next, then again and again and again. This discipline was set for me by my sweet mom who sweat the details every time she went on the platform. While I've always enjoyed the computer classes I've taught, curriculum design, production of training videos and publishing resource material in support of a cadre of professional presenters has been another aspect of this mom-inspired skill. At this writing I'm teaching four computer classes for a community ed center. I've never been happier working to do the best I can just like Milo and Delma would have expected. (My best efforts have always been poured into gospel classes, especially teaching adults in Gospel Doctrine Class with all the bells and whistles that a well prepared Powerpoint Presentation can produce).

If the scripture is true that, " your fruits ye shall know them" (Matt 7:20), my siblings and I are the fruits of a great team of parents: Milo Seth and Delma Hunt Howe. They now join our sister Carolyn Howe Sansoucie and many others who have gone before. It will be (and likely already is a great and glorious reunion)

A dear relative of mine told us several years ago at our Dad's passing that Mormon's shouldn't cry at funerals. I've thought a lot about that idea as we get ready for this latest family pilgrimage to Worland. There's crying and there's crying. Hopeless crys of despair have no place at Mormon funerals. We have a certain knowledge that the deceased is going to a place far better to reunite with long separated loved ones. Crys of temporary mortal separation -- I'll grant you those--but tears of joy are a dead cert. I planning on lots of those next week in honor of a woman who has gone on ahead to make way for all of us. JRH