Tuesday, April 28, 2015

You gotta have friends!

To be a good friend and to appreciate the value of friendship requires honesty and concentration.  It's a vulnerable position, but one that's well worth it.    IT takes effort and time.  

I'm so grateful for my ward friends.  I have known and been around these people for 24 years.  We have gone through changing  family sizes and church callings.  We have survived deaths and weddings together.  We have  shared food and camps and too many meetings to count.  We have "service club"  which is really an excuse to see a matinee movie.
Christiina Barlow, Nan Bruske, Me, Jan Hedberg, Angie Smith, Jo Cash, Si Foster, Mel Evans, Kathleen Newman, Amber Crane

I love my theater friends...Maurie, Jan, Julie, Meghan, Holly, Shelley, Lori, Mickey......  They get my need for acting, singing, performing....broadway etc.  I have had girl crushes on  some of them since college days.  We can talk Sondheim to Lerner and Loewe til we are blue...and then analyze it all again tomorrow.  We can sing our guts out through an entire Rodgers and Hammerstein song book.  We sing at the top of our lungs and at the drop of a hat. 

I am thankful for my neighbor friends.  We watch out for each others houses and garbages when on vacation. We snow blow and take care of pets and children.  We see the changing of the cars and wonder who is driving what now? We put up with extra cars parked on the street and wave hi from our driveways at coming home time. I have two old neighbors moving out this spring and will be getting new neighbors.  I can't believe it.

I'm grateful for the lunch bunch that gets together to celebrate birthdays and girl weekends a few times a year.  These work as therapy for me and a chance  to talk and catch up.  We have been doing this consistantly for 15 years now.  These friends are more cheerleader than critic.  They listen, advise, laugh and don't judge.
Diane Lake, Laura Belnap, Heidi Bingham, Erin Blake, Si Foster, Me, Kimi Farley, Kim Johnston

Grateful for my friends I made when first married, living in West Bountiful.  Leslie, Becky, Darlene, Paula, Janet....especially  thinking of Linda and how strong and postive she always is.  We have seen each  of our children  come into this world...and grow ...and go...and our lives change right along with it.   It's great to catch up in the chance meeting at a store or on social media.

I have my High School friends.... we stay in touch mostly with facebook, wedding announcements of our children, and  christmas cards.  It's interesting to see what paths their lives took.  

I love my friend Si who gets me exercising a couple of days a week..and let's me pour out my heart as well.  She talks me through my parenting mishaps and gives me ideas of "what's for dinner?" She is always beautiful.

I love my Laura...she "gets" me... and my lack of homemaking skills and my desire to be more honest, more loving, more authentic....more like her.   We have been chaperones on SOOOO many choir trips and we had more fun than the kids, of course. Laura loves and "channels" my mom almost as much as I do.  

Author Anne Quindlen writes about her friends, "These ladies are as essential to my life as my work or my home, a kind of freely chosen family connected by affinity instead of ties of blood."  

Kaye and Malinda were my besties in jr high. I go back through my journals and their names are on every other page. We had a jr high pact to get boys to ask us to the school valentines dance when  we were in 8th grade. It was called opoeration VD.   We didn't know that VD also stood for Venerial Disease til high school. So young.  So naive.  Our hints to the boys we liked with help from notes sent to and fro from each other to them all paid off...we actually got asked to dance and didn't have to hang with the wall flowers.   We were all 9th grade pep club officers and even traveled for three weeks in a study abroad  student trip to Mexico with our favorite spanish teacher, Mrs. Daniels.  
Melinda, Kaye Cushing, Melissa Holt, Malinda Bean 1977
When I was young I used to make fun of the two older couples in the car with the men in the front seat and the women in the back, or to be at a party with the men in one room and the women in the other. I totally get it now.  I love my women friends. 

Don't know where I would be without these amazing women and many more not pictured.  I treasure them.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Right Now

I'm doing a couple of good things right now for my life.

I have started nightly family scripture reading and prayer....again.  We traded from monring time, because it was stressing Laila out, to evening time and really lost our way.  We have set alarms on our phones as reminders each night. It's working. 

I have sworn off yelling at Laila..haven't done so since Feb.   I'm tempted to at times, but I just walk away and write it down.   It feels so much better around here, and I don't want to be known as the screamy mom.

I have lost 5 pounds in the last week.  I'm just trying to be more aware of what goes in my mouth and portion sizes. Instead of eating ALL of the cookies,  or really like 8 in a day, I am having one.  I have a wedding coming up and want to look good in the pics.

I have kept my commitment to go out to lunch with somebody once a week.  I've gone with Laila, Wayne, my sisters, birthday bunch, theatre friends, besties... it's been great to have this as a goal this year.

My kids are doing good...moving forward with school, work, family and friends.  It's all a rollercoaster process, but the point is they are all moving forward with life.

I asked them to send a pic of what they are doing right now
Alex is on a plane flying from New Orleans to Atlanta.  
Landon just got done with his school day. He is exhausted. 
Laila is hanging out with her friend Heather before she goes off to dance. 
Melinda is driving to meet up with friend, Jan for lunch.
Wayne is meeting his sister Tami to drop off protein powder.
Addison is creating designs for the Beehive Bazaar that is coming up. 
Alfie is "reading" a book. 
Bre is enjoying their new Mac Book editing pics and such. 
Truman is working on laundry. 
Monson is at his runner for a law firm job just playing on his computer waiting for his next run.
Lexi is working harder than Monson at Park City Vision center. 

Right Now....all is well. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Cheerleader in the House!

LAILA made Cheerleader at MPJH for next year!!  She is thrilled.  We are relieved.  
The tryouts were closed so we waited around here  pacing and checking texts and pacing and worrying for 3 1/2hours….. when it was finally announced, Laila and her friend Heather screamed for 5 minutes straight.  
Such excitement.  
All of her hard work and practicing paid off.  
Laila almost didn’t try out because she says she is afraid of failure….aren’t we all?  But she was strong and her tumbling pass was perfect and she is the “toe touch” split  jump queen.  All of the girls and the coach can’t believe how high she can jump.  It’s fun to watch.  
She starts right into cheer with uniforms and learning a routine for the end of the year assembly and cheer camps and such.  She will be a busy girl.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Spring Break

Wow…. Spring Break was good to us!  So much fun and so much to do.
The Madsen’s picked us up in the big 15 passenger van and we traveled down to Hurricane, Utah and stayed at a very cheap motel… The fun part is, that Shelbi Bentley came with us too, and shared our room and Laila’s bed.  It was good to have another girl with us.  Wayne regaled us with “bad” jokes every time we got in the van.  Laila would roll her eyes, I would grown and the Madsen boys would laugh.  
 We had two amazing hike days and were able to get into ZIONS and drive all the way in because of  Hunter’s  Deaf pass to all National parks.  We were feeling pretty lucky, since there were sooooo many people there waiting to take the shuttle in. 
Monday was all about Angel’s Landing.  This is a remarkable hike that includes atleast a 1/2 mile of bouldering type trails, where you have to scale rocks and hold onto chains and try not to fall.  I was so proud of all of our group for making it, particularly dizzy Wayne and little Nash.  We ate lunch up on top looking at amazing scenery and  enjoying the view.  It’s hard to really capture this in pictures. 
Laila looking off the cliff on top of Angel's Landing.  It was an amazing view
I have never done this hike, and now I have twice in three weeks.  We got off the mountain went swimming and had a great meal at a BBQ place then we all went to a movie—MacFarland USA.  

Tuesday we went into ZIONS again  to a lesser known  off the beaten track trail called Many Pools Hike.  It was fun being alone on this trail, since there were so many people on the Angel’s Landing one.   Because of our dry winter, there were not “many pools” on this hike, but only a few.  It was great never the less…as we got farther into the pools, we looked up at a  boulder type mountain and saw Hoodoo’s… nature made rock type pillars....up  on top.  So we hiked to the top of that mountain to climb the hoodoo’s and see the view.  We ate our lunch on top of this mountain.  It was pretty incredible.   Coming down is always the hardest part…it's so steep and we all hang on and try not to slip and fall.  

 When we got off the mountain, we drove out to Leeds, Utah and the Red Cliff Rec area…. We wanted to walk  and wade the river trail and jump and play in the swimming hole.  This place did not disappoint for the kids.    Swimming, Dinner and card games rounded out the evening.  Being with the Madsen’s and Shelbi was so much fun.  The only non fun part  for me was my achey legs and tired thigh muscles the next day… I literally was crippled.  I couldn’t believe how much pain my legs were in.  It was difficult to go up and down stairs….yikes….but I would do it again.
Wednesday, Wayne headed on an airplane to solve a work problem in Atlanta, GA and I stayed in St. George and waited for my theatre  girl friends- Maurie Tarbox, Jan Smith and Meghan Parrish -- to pick me up and head to LA California for our friends surprise 50th birthday.   We sang our guts out and talked  and talked and laughed all of the way to LA.  I love these women! 
Surprising Alan Palmer on his birthday was a riot.  He was so shocked and teary and happy to see us all.  What a sweet guy.  It took place in an old theatre space with a court yard  area for dinner and hors deuvres and then a small theatre space were we gathered for a “this is your life” type of celebration.   We , Maurie, Jan and I went first and sang, “That’s Life” to kick the whole thing off then we shared funny Alan stories from when we did shows with him 30 years ago.  I talked about how he was Motel to my Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof…how when he sang Wonder of Wonders Miracle of Miracles he had to pick me up with excitement and twirl me around.  Well I always prayed this could happen, because he was a lot smaller than I was…and one final dress rehearsal night we actually spun and fell into the orchestra pit…yikes.  So funny though.  He did summer stock with me for 2 summers too.  Such happy memories.   The sweetest part of the festivities were when his husband, Dr. Jim Carter ( A radiologist at Mr. Sinai hospital)  Got out of his own chemo sick  bed to come and sing a love song to Alan.  It was an ugly cry moment for everyone.   Jim  doesn’t perform…he doesn’t sing and it was an amazing act of love to witness.    It was a night filled with happy people and great love toward Alan.  I was grateful to witness it and be a part of it. 

On Friday,went to Newsies , the Broadway show at the Pantages theatre in LA. I loved the dancing and the music and the set in this show.  The lead girl was pretty great too.    Every place we went Maurie would make friends and have to get pics taken.  She is just like that...it's funny to participate in this.  We went to a great restaurant called Off Vine prior to Newsies and had to have a pic with the Waiters....

Monday, April 6, 2015


These two sweet hearts came for Wayne's Easter message on Sunday...in their Easter finest.  Wayne spoke on Christ and his Atonement with fresh insight and love.  I was so happy to have all of my children in church for this.   

 Easter is here and we know this because we had the annual Welch Easter picnic and Egg throw. Sophia and Andrew love the Easter egg hunt tradition..but the egg throw stressed them out last year and so they left before that happened to them this year.                          

Alfie thought all of the eggs were balls...atleast this is what he said as he put them in his basket...then dumped them out and threw them.  He is a hoot.  He loves this hat and and doesn't take it off. He whispers "hat" over and over again. 

 Easter is a time of new birth and new beginnings... Lexi and Monson announced their new beginning with the birth of their baby this coming October.  We are so excited.  We can't wait to have another grandbaby.  Lexi has been so sick...but she is a trooper and her's and Monson's lives will be forever changed.  The Baby is about the size of a fig.

Laila participated in this annual event hiding the eggs.   She is at that difficult stage half girl- half woman where I don't really know what she wants to hold on to and what she is ready to let go of.  I guessed wrong this holiday.  She was pretty thrown on Easter morn when the easter bunny didn't show up.  I blew it....

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Landon is getting married

Landon is getting married to a  man this summer. 
I never thought I would write that sentence let alone be living it. I can wrap my head around sexuality and the partner-living together thing.  I believe everybody needs a somebody.  But this new way of marriage is extraordinary.
So how do I balance this seemingly dichotomized life of mine of faith and famiily?
How do I respond?
What do I "do" about this?
I don't do a thing.  I don't fight, cry, argue or get upset.  I don't do any of that...because at this point it's Landon's life. It's Alex's life. They will continue to make big decisions in their lives without consulting me first.  My time to influence and enforce any and everything I wanted to Landon is over.  Now I am his cheerleader, his shoulder to cry on, his listening ear, his soft place to land......and I take this part of mothering very seriously.

So, I will support and congratulate and do everything I can to make this a special day for them as they commit to a brighter  husband and husband future together. I will smile -and mean it,  and wear the appropriate wedding colors and be my very best self...because they deserve that.  I will walk my sweet Landon down the aisle and give him away. I will hug and kiss him, and celebrate with him, because we are family and because he is a love in my life.  

And afterward I will live my life so that all can see that I hold my family and my faith very close.

For me, being a Mormon is more than just my religion, it  is like an identifying characteristic...like my green eyes, or skin color.    The LDS faith is such a part of me... I was born to faithfilled parents, my dad was a bishop my mom a relief society president. And their parents and grandparents were a part of this religion as well. I was raised going to primary during the week having wonderful women who taught me, and more church meetings on Sunday.  As a teenager it was  hard for me to fathom that not all people knew what a Stake center was or a ward family. My faith is reflected in the way I dress and how I spend my days.  It's how we marry in Temples and extends to how we bury at hope-filled funerals. I love this religion even with all of it's unanswered questions and flawed members. (which includes me) It keeps me centered and sound.  It gives me perspective and peace. I am Melinda and I am a Mormon.  

I read the Proclamation of the Family over and over and I do believe eternal marriage is between a man and a woman solemnized in the Temple of our God.... but I know there are other types of marriages too. I have found this one part of the proclamation that sticks out to me more and more.--

THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

I see Landon as having other circumstances that needed individual adaptation.  

Bruce R McConkie said,  "We are at different places in life and have different pathways but as long as our feet are turned toward God we are going to be ok." 
Landon loves the Lord and he is a great person. 
I find it so sad that anyone, religious or otherwise, would push away or disown their child or family member or friend when they make a decision that goes against their beliefs or values. 
Why should we  even think in such a way when our goal  on this earth is to become more Christlike.  Religion is not meant to divide but to bring together.

  On mormonsandgays.org it states, 
"We live in an imperfect world. Not all the pieces of the puzzle seem to fit. But having an eternal perspective and believing in a just and merciful God gives us hope that all will work out in the end."

Which brings me back to my first questions.........How do I balance my life?  I turn it over to the Lord and find peace and comfort there.  
How do I respond?
I will respond with love.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015