Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Protecting my Mojo

"If your mojo is working, you lead a charmed life. That's because mojo, in its original sense, is a charm, kept in a cloth bag. Depending on which conjure doctor you go to, the charm can be roots, rats, snakes, lizards, pumpkin seeds, dirt, clay, or steel wool. "

That's what I learned by seeking its definition on the internet.  I also learned it is the source of one's personal magnetism, sex appeal, or merely good luck, power, or heightened performance in your choice of activity.  Apparently it is something worth holding onto if one has the good fortune of finding oneself with said "mojo".

How is your mojo?  Are you protecting it?  Keeping it safe so as not to lose its power?

Yesterday I worked very hard not to lose my mojo.  Several times I very nearly lost it over the edge, hanging in the precarious balance between safety and a watery demise.  When it was at risk of a stream, or a marsh, or a pond, I used whatever means necessary to keep it safe, or at times, to rescue it, including sacrificing the clean knees of my white capris by kneeling in the grass to retrieve it out of a fast-running creek.

I was also playing perhaps my best round of golf ever, which I was attributing to the acquisition of my mojo.

Where did I find my mojo?  Some poor sap lost it by the wayside and I happened to stumble upon it.  His loss.  My gain.  ;-)

Monday, June 28, 2010

All together again

We did it!  We celebrated my parents 50th anniversary and it was delightful.  There was an abundance of great food, great talent, and especially great friends and family.  I am so honored to be apart of a loving family.  I value them all.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Job Security, huh?

The definition of Job Security is this:  Freedom from the fear of dismissal or job loss. I would add that the freedom from fear is due to being badly needed and indispensible. 

Last night I was reminded that I have job security.  Brian reminded me when we were joking about the number of times per day that he changes his clothes.  He is worse than a kid.  He dresses for work.  He dresses for exercise.  He dresses for the hot tub.  He dresses for his bishop errands.  And if we are going out in the evening, he will freshen up in a change of clothes.  EVERYDAY he does this!

Well, I can't say doing laundry is my favorite thing but as long as he needs me and is willing to keep me around, I guess I will keep doing it.

Please don't anyone tell him about professional cleaners.  It would destroy my job security.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Let me have a draught of undiluted morning air"

My kindred spirit, Henry David Thoreau, would have gotten up early to walk with me this morning.  He understood the unparalleled virtue of that time of day, and the fleeting nature of its benefits:  "Morning air! If men will not drink of this at the fountainhead of the day, why, then, we must even bottle up some and sell it in the shops, for the benefit of those who have lost their subscription ticket to morning time in this world.  But remember, it will not keep quite till noonday even in the coolest cellar..."
One of the best habits I have acquired over my lifetime is being an early riser (and a subsequent early-to-bed-er).  And a brisk walk on a beautiful morning does more for the soul than just a little physical exercise.  I love the smell of the fresh flowers.  I love that I can sing along with my iPod and not worry if folks will think I am a little crazy, for I am nearly the only one out taking advantage of this recurring gift.

Another benefit of enjoying the dawn alone is that tears go unnoticed, as well.  This morning my "shuffle" gave me a great gift, two songs in a row from my favorite recording artist.  Her name is Erica Haws and she has the voice of an angel.  She has been on my mind a lot lately, as I am in full gear planning her wedding.  So when her lovely voice began to accompany my walk, I could not hold back the emotion I felt.  What a gift she has been her whole sweet life.  To see the lovely, compassionate woman she has become makes my cup runneth over with gratitude.  Having her in our family has been one of our greatest blessings. 
Have you "lost" your subscription ticket to the morning?  I recommend you look for it.  You may have to go to bed a little earlier to find it.  It's worth it. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Can you find me?

My old water-skiing buddy from high school posted some photos on Facebook.  Oh my stars.  Talk about a walk down memory lane.  I know my children can hardly understand that this is my ENTIRE graduating class.  I can go through and name every name.  We really felt like family.
Here is another one.  Some memories are perhaps better left covered up. ;-)
This was a Regional Dance Festival held in the Mini-Dome in Pocatello, Idaho.  Gotta love those green dresses.  Hint:  I'm the one behind the guy in the hat...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Not quite Murphy's Law

Have you heard?  Joining the legendary ranks of personally named laws, of which Murphy must be the best known, I can boast of one sharing my name.  There is indeed something called "Ardith's Law" and it comes complete with mugs, hats, t-shirts, and bumper stickers.  I am not kidding you.

I'm not sure when the nature it describes was first noted, and then defined, but it couldn't be too old. 

Ardith's Law

A law of forum behavior:

The intensity of observed responses in a thread is exponentially proportional to the number of posts about the subject which have already been made.

Having surfed a few forums in my day, I have to chuckle at this spot-on description of human nature.  Oh, how we love to chime in with our two cents, don't we?

I think I should get me one of those sweatshirts, don't you think?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Music of Life

Yesterday an old friend of mine from high school posted something on Facebook.  I thought about it during the day, and even as I was lying in bed last night.  It is this:  "God determines who walks into your life... It's up to you to decide who you let walk away, who you let stay, and who you refuse to let go!"

There is such truth in every facet of this.  I like to think that the people we meet along the way are purposeful, that they are in our path to impact us in some way.  But the choice is ours as to the level of their impact.  Who will have a lasting effect on us?  Who will we treat indifferently?  Who will we cling to, not wanting to lose their influence?

A while back I tried to quit Facebook.  I found that it was taking up too much of my time, and I have other projects I want to focus on.  So I thought I could just walk away from my little circle of friends, so painstakingly established, that God has allowed to enter into my life again.  There are Lisa and Joanie and Michele; my little friends that walked to kindergarten with me, that shared some of the best slumber parties of my life.  There are Bryn and Mark and Larry; my friends from junior high, that pivotal time of discovery in one's life.  There are Toni and Jim and Maili from high school, who were my greatest support system then and have continued to keep in touch with me throughout the years.

I have been so blessed by the people I call my friends.  They are like a lovely melody that accompanies my life, a recurring refrain that lifts me, that energizes me, that inspires me.

I have also been thinking about the depth of love we feel for those that come into our lives that we refuse to let go, that we stick with through difficult times, that we continually draw strength from.  I am so blessed to have parents who have felt like this about one another.  Today marks 50 years that my parents have been married, have stood side by side, have refused to let go.
I feel like their influence has been the most pivotal of my life.  Because of their teaching, their example, their unconditional love, I too have learned how to cling to that which is most valuable, most important, most critical to my happiness. 

Life is never an easy road, free of bumps and pot holes.  But as we choose to surround ourselves with people who love us, determined to stick by them throughout even the greatest obstacles, then the music of our life enriches to its fullest sound, replete with a solid string section to lay the foundation, a bold group of brass to herald the triumphant moments, percussion to keep us on track, and the finishing touches of the winds to beautify and add unexpected highlights.

I love you, Mom and Dad.  I count you among my greatest blessings.  I am thankful you are together today.  I know that life isn't easy right now, but in your trials you are teaching the following generations how to love, how to serve, how to remain faithful.  Priceless lessons in an uncertain world.
Happy Anniversary!  And next weekend, we are going to throw you the party of the century.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wedding. On. The. Brain.

It's ridiculous.  I am obsessed.  I am consumed.  I have already spent or allocated my entire projected budget.  Not good.

I am thrilled to have a new project that completely fills my time, my energy, and my thoughts.  This is going to be the event of the summer.  Last weekend while in Idaho with my kids, we found a stunningly beautiful wedding dress and some very sassy bridesmaid dresses.  They are easily the best I have ever seen.  And so far, the bride and all the bridesmaids are loving them.  There is still one that hasn't tried hers yet but the response from the others has been very positive.

I toured the reception hall yesterday and signed the contract.  It is more beautiful than I had remembered.  Slowly, one by one, I am checking off my endless list of things to take care of.  I told Erica she is the Chairman of this wedding committee, while I will play the role of co-chairman.  But she is a state away, a full-time college student, and she has no money. 

Soooooo, I am not only the Mother of the Bride, I am also the honorary Maid of Honor (the one that does all the work)  AND the Wedding Planner (the one with all the creative license).

I may also be the decorator, the floral designer, the invitation maker, the cake baker...well, you get the idea.

It's going to be a great summer.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Keeping up with Robert

Mr. Energy!  That's what my son is.  I marvel at all the things he manages to fit into his life.  And rather than stressing about his full schedule, he seems to be thriving on it.  On our recent trip to visit, we were fortunate to be spectators of his wonderful life.

He coaches one of the golf teams at BYU-I, which includes participating as a golfer.  There was a tournament while we were there, and despite the Rexburg wind, we joined the gallery and followed him around.  And we weren't the only ones.  He has a regular entourage that supports him faithfully.

The following day we got up early to send him off on another of his activities, the Teton Dam Marathon.

Yet again, his faithful little family was there, bright and early, to cheer on their favorite fellow.

While I can't be there all the time to support my favorite son, I am so thankful that others who love him are cheering him on, encouraging him to thrive and succeed, not just in extracurricular activities, but in that race called life.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Another June Bride

Two years ago today, in the beautiful San Diego Temple, our family was expanded to include the sweetest daughter-in-law ever.  Her lovely smile has brightened all of our family gatherings since, and we love her very much.

It didn't take Robert long to find the girl of his dreams, and I think heaven smiled upon this beautiful couple, helping them find each other.
Happy Anniversary, my dears.  Thank you for letting us be apart of your Faerie Tale.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Alone Again, (Naturally)

You either love it or you hate it.  I don't think there is indifference.  It is a song from my youth; it has a catchy tune, and a rather depressing message if you listen to the words.  But I love it.  So many times in my life I have connected to it.  Many times I have felt the angst of its message, but more often I have felt lifted and encouraged and that in my loneliness, I am really not alone.  There is a universality about it, clearly contradicting its face value meaning.

Gilbert O'Sullivan's poignant lyrics spoke to me as I was walking out of church today.  I come and go to church alone.  Every Sunday.  My children have left home.  My husband leaves for church earlier than me, and stays later than me.  We had a wonderful visit this weekend with our children in Idaho, then flew home last night.  It was joyous to be surrounded by the people who love me, but then came the realistic slap on the face that indeed I am alone again.  Naturally.

Please, please, please don't think I am seeking pity.  I'm not.  I know that what I am facing is something all must face at some point.  I would like to express gratitude for those that fill my life with joy.  I have been blessed with family and friends that daily show their love for me.  I am rich in that regard.  There are times I am alone, and I often welcome the solitude.  Sometimes I even think that I am pretty good company.

I just want you to think of this song (and maybe me) the next time you are feeling a little lonely.  We are never really alone.  We are never really abandoned.  Though the distance may seem prohibitive, our loved ones are only a phone call away.  Or maybe a prayer.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Read at your own risk

Warning:  this is likely to be full of sentimental drivel that you probably would rather pass on.  I don't care.  The nature of a blog, which is derived from the term "web log",  is in essence someone's personal journal that they just happen to provide access for whomever, wherever, to take a peek at.  So proceed at your own risk.  You have been warned.

I am in Rexburg, Idaho this morning.  It is June 10th.  Twenty-seven years ago I was also in Rexburg, Idaho on June 10th, awaiting the arrival of my groom who would be driving me to Idaho Falls for our wedding.  I had already moved into our new apartment and was surrounded by whom we affectionately called the Sun Birds, silver-haired people from Arizona who came to spend their summer months in Idaho to escape the repressive heat.  My sweet old neighbors knew the importance of this day for me, and many were outside watching as Brian arrived, washed and polished, in his baby blue Monte Carlo, which was washed and polished too, to pick up his bride.

Off we went together, facing a promising future full of the unknown.  I remember it was the most gorgeous morning.  Not a cloud in the sky.

Jump ahead 27 years:  It is a beautiful morning again.  A few clouds.  This morning I found myself watching out the window again, this time from our hotel room.  I was trying to catch a glimpse of my son as he came to pick up his dad to play a round of golf before he has to get to class at BYU-I.  Could I really have anticipated, all those years ago, that I would have a tall, handsome son that would become my husband's favorite golfing buddy?  Or could have I imagined the beautiful daughter that came to pick us up at the airport last night?  Or would I have believed that when I entered the hotel lobby last night that I would have the best welcoming committee ever, comprised of my other two beautiful daughters and my delightful soon-to-be son-in-law?

I knew I would have a wonderful life with Brian, but even as a bride dreams of what will come, she has no way of seeing the abundance of blessings that will be hers.  Our life together hasn't always been without a few thorns amidst the roses, but it has surpassed anything that may have been in my wildest dreams.

The best things that have happened to us in the past 27 years?  Jackie Layne, Robert Brent, Erica Anne, Miranda Lee, Josalyn Elizabeth, Evelyn Rebecca, and Derek Mark.

We love you.  You are the greatest jewels in our crowns.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Soul Mates

Were there ever more opposites brought together by an undeniable magnetic force?  I wonder.  The first time I went out with Brian Haws, I mentally made a long list of our differences.  And yet I could hardly wait to go out with him again.  He had kept me laughing the entire day on the ski slopes and well into the evening as we went for pizza, and later to the video rental store to rent a VCR.  Wow!  Did he know how to treat a girl!

But beyond that, he was adorable!  Such beautiful blue eyes, a mischievous smile, and the kindest nature.  All the girls at church had a crush on him.  Never being one to follow the herd, I had dug in my heels, refusing to become one of the many that were falling all over themselves to get his attention.  I lost.  It didn't take me long to realize that he had much more to recommend himself than just his handsome face and his athletic build.  There was an undeniable goodness about him. There was a sparkle in his countenance.  His sense of humor was just a bonus too. 

I love you, Brian Haws.  I always have; I think from our very first ride up the chair lift together.  And that beautiful day in June, so many years ago, was my happiest day.  When your bride couldn't stop crying in the temple it was because she was completely overwhelmed with joy and love.  I still feel that way.  You are my greatest blessing and my greatest friend.

Happy Anniversary tomorrow, my dear.  I think the best place for us to celebrate will be in Idaho with all our children.  And thank you for my best twenty-seven years.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I think it is interesting how much weight we ascribe to milestones.  We look to certain events and deem them of such importance; more important even than just regular days.

Today is my father's birthday.  Because of recent threats to his health, I feel doubly blessed that we are celebrating this milestone with him today.  He is not home yet, but is regaining his strength in a rehab center so that he will be prepared for another important milestone; he and my mother are celebrating 50 years of marriage this month. 

While birthdays and anniversaries and weddings are all important days in our lives, I have decided to value every day of life as a milestone, one in which we should celebrate and be grateful for the abundance of blessings we have received.  I am thankful for my dad.  I am thankful for the rich legacy I have received from him.  I am thankful for an inquiring mind, never satisfied with the status quo, anxious to learn and try new things.

I am thankful for you today on your birthday, and I am thankful for you tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and the next...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Couldn't say it any better!

Erica updated her blog yesterday, and I couldn't say it any better than she did!
So I will just add that we are so happy at our house.  This has been a long time coming, but in a day and age of widespread confusion, I am pleased that my daughter has a desire to be certain before rushing into something so important.  It took her awhile to see what I have seen from the very beginning.
Because their courtship has lasted so long, we already feel like Derek is apart of our family.  His love and kindness and generosity and goodness have won all our hearts, not just Erica's.
Welcome to our family Derek; it is clear that you belong to Erica, and therefore, to us!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Once a Band Geek...

I had a dream last night.  It was disturbing.  I dreamed that I had abandoned my roots as a band geek, had traded sides and become a choir nerd.  It was very real.

In analyzing my dream, after the fact, I see how my mind may have gotten all mixed up.  All throughout my youth I played the clarinet in school band, beginning in 4th grade just after I had received a clarinet for my ninth birthday.  Three clarinets laters, I was still playing in the band even into college at Utah State University.  I never sang in the choir.  I kind of wanted to, but it never worked out with my schedule to do both, so I stuck with band. 

Jump ahead many years and I became a die-hard choir booster when my children were in school.  Not only was I heavily involved in supporting them, I also became the choir tour coordinator, following their high school choir all over the country, including Miami and New York City.

I think in the dream I was processing the betrayal I must subconsciously feel.  In my dream, I seemed to think I had jumped ship when I was a sophomore in high school, foolishly following a dreamy blue-eyed crooner.  Didn't happen.  Weird.

I was so relieved to awaken and remember that I really had remained true to my identity.  Once a band geek, always a band geek.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Privilege of Family

I love the following quote:  "Our Heavenly Father has organized us into families for the purpose of helping us successfully meet the trials and challenges of life. The home also exists to bless us with the joys and privileges of family associations. Our family is our safety place, our support network, our sanctuary, and our salvation."(Elder Rex D. Pinegar, “‘Home First’,” Ensign, May 1990, 9)

It was just the reminder I needed this morning.  My greatest blessing has been to be surrounded by family that loves me, that supports me, that tolerates me.   Over the years, my family has entertained me, has educated me, has edified me.  My family has also helped me learn to face my fears.  Knowing that they are beside me, I know that we can do anything.  We can face any challenge that arises.  Our roots reach out to one another, entwine with each other to strengthen and support us no matter how hard the winds of life try to topple us.

I stumbled upon one of my favorite photos this morning, too.  At face value, it is a really cute photo.  When one learns the story behind it, the real significance comes through.
Brian and Miranda are sitting in the submarine at Disneyland.  And guess who is taking the picture?  I am!  There is a story in my family that has escalated to folklore status.  When I was a child, I was terrified of the submarine ride at Disneyland.  I had stood with my family in a ridiculously long queue line to take this undersea adventure.  I didn't know what was going on, so I just waited along with everyone else.  Until.....

Finally the line got close enough for me to see the true nature of the experience.  We were going to be boarding these submarines and actually be submerged in actual water.  No way!  Not going to happen!  Like a shot, I swung underneath all the bars that stood in my way.  Consequently I got lost in Disneyland, wandering around alone, looking for my Aunt RaNae, and ended up waiting inside a ticket booth until my family found me.

I am proud to say that since that traumatic event I have overcome my fear of the submarine ride.  Oh, that life were as easy to overcome. 

One of my favorite scriptures, which spoke to me when I was a teenager, and continues to speak to my heart is found in 2 Timothy, Chapter 1, verse 7, written by my friend, Paul.  "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."  I hope that as my children read this, they will be able to hear their mother's voice repeating this scripture to them.  I have drawn strength from it many times, and many times I have shared it with them, hoping to help them feel the power in those words.

We have not been sent to this life to spend it alone; to wander aimlessly amidst the scary things all around us.  We have been sent to families.  We have found friends along the way.  We are never really alone.  And because of that, we can surmount any trial that comes, even the submarine ride.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My Most Faithful Reader...

will  probably not be reading this today.  My most faithful reader has been one of my main sources of encouragement my whole life.  My most faithful reader has always motivated me to explore the recesses of my mind and think deep thoughts and find ways of expressing them.  My most faithful reader is my dad.

Today he is in the hospital, and the fact that he is being cranky with the nurses is our biggest indicator that maybe he is going to be all right and pull through this.  I hope so.  Sorry, nurses, but even you will grow to love this grumpy old cuss as the rest of us do.  He may not be the best at expressing it, but his reservoir of love is boundless; the pride he has in his family is his greatest wealth.

One of my main motivators for updating my blog so frequently is because of my dad.  I know his routine.  Every morning he opens his computer to check the status of his stocks, then he checks in on Ardith's Quest to see what I have been thinking about.  I think I have become of one his main sources of entertainment, and I hate to think of him checking in only to find yesterday's effort.  My whole life I have felt that he values what I have to say.  He may not be great in large social situations, but nothing beats a one-on-one conversation with my dad.  He has always made me feel like I could contribute to the most profound, philosophical discussions.  I don't know why.  But it was one of his gifts, his ability to encourage thought, to encourage exploration and discovery of new ideas.

Thanks, Dad.  I know that soon you will be back to your old routine.  So I will carry on as you would have me do; I will continue updating so that you will have plenty to entertain you when you get back home again.