Author Archives: Shirley

Mormon Helping Hands serve in Colorado flood relief

Members of the Boulder Colorado Stake wore Mormon Helping Hands vests and lifted many people’s spirits on Sept. 29, 2013, in their ongoing efforts to help neighbors clean up their properties damaged by the flood. This video puts faces and voices with the vests. Continue reading

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Finding resiliency amid floods and challenges

Upon seeing scenes of homes and other property being swept away, towns flooded, and farms and livestock stranded by water, my heart goes out to all those suffering near my home in Colorado in the recent floods. I hope they recover. I also hope that those facing less obvious but still overwhelming challenges in other ways will find their resiliency.

Bob, as I’ll call him for this piece, is struggling on many fronts in his life. His thoughts as he faces his challenges could help others.

Bob said, “Have you ever been in the depths, looking all around yourself and see everything falling apart in almost all aspects of your life? In this moment as you feel the life force draining out of you, the desire to press forward literally dying and all you can see is what’s wrong, look for just one thing that is happening right. One thing that is good, one person, one place, one thing, one single idea. Focus on that and turn your thoughts and your heart to God and pour out open gratitude for that single thing you are so blessed with.” Continue reading

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Memes can sell good and bad ideas

A gardener had a little plot of ground where a variety of colors of petunias started blossoming voluntarily one year. Nothing had been planted there before. The next two years saw increased flowers and colors. The owner enjoyed the flowers very much and watered and weeded and added more bark where spots were thin but did nothing else. As flowers drop seeds this year, flowers may continue there indefinitely with little human effort.

At the same time, the gardener, tilled manure into a little garden plot in the spring and planted seeds and young plants from the nursery. The gardener watered and weeded and thinned plants. The resulting harvest took time and effort but produced a few strawberries rescued from the squirrels and birds, plentiful peas, a bumper crop of string beans, an assortment of squash in the summer and fall, and tomatoes and carrots.

A meme for this situation might say: “Care about the volunteer flowers while still tending to the garden.” Continue reading

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Golden Rule trumps ADA

As I approached an area business building housing several businesses, including a bank, last fall, I noticed the handicapped parking and ramp. Then, I tried to open the heavy door and wondered, “How is a person in a wheel chair expected to open that door?”

I bothered to ask at a business inside for the building owner’s name and number. The owner was cordial enough on the phone until I suggested a door opener for those needing assistance. He said in a defensive tone that his doors were set to the correct pounds of pressure and that he was not required to have a door opener. If the tenants wanted to get one on their own, he would allow it, he said.
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Incest a stretch from discomfort

What does it mean when I said I felt uncomfortable seeing pictures of same-gender couples kissing on the mouth? What does it mean when I also said I felt uncomfortable seeing parents kissing their grown children on the mouth and a neighbor mother kissing the grown neighbor’s son on the mouth?

Feeling uncomfortable with these real experiences I had means I’ve had different experiences that have shaped my public display of affection. At some early age, I no longer kissed my mother on the mouth. The same happened with my babies. Once they stopped giving slobbery baby and toddler kisses, we stuck with kisses on the cheeks and hugs. Continue reading

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Good Fathers

The Monday after Father’s Day, I watched the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s 2012 Father’s Day special that had been published less than a week earlier on YouTube. The words and music uncovered memories and feelings I had not expressed before. I hope it’s not too late now.

The new father I wish to honor held his newborn daughter in his arms and looked into her eyes with deep love and awe. As the work began of raising her, he shouldered new responsibilities while juggling his university studies, full-time work and other family needs. He carried extra laundry to the laundromat on weekly trips he and his wife made and later used the family’s limited funds to buy a washing machine.

A couple of years later, the young father held another precious newborn daughter with loving tenderness and joy. Love doubled in their home as did demands on his time and resources. After graduation, he secured a new job and moved the family into their own home. He worked at his job then tamed the weeds at home and made the yard a lovely place. He put in clothesline poles and strung the lines. A dryer was out of the question.
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Fun replaces scary school images

When I say, “high school,” what first pops into your mind? No matter what it is, the Bingham High School yearbook staff video may change that. Their video is filled with over 2,200 participants, 23 soloists, 800 balloons, 250 pounds of flour, 200 glow sticks, and a helicopter. Students are full of bounce and school pride.

“I think it’s wonderful. It says A LOT about the positive school culture at Bingham High,” wrote Benjamin Scoville, a nephew, after seeing the video posted on a social media site. ”I was surprised that so many students were willing to participate and show their enthusiasm.” Continue reading

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