Thursday, October 05, 2006


First Grade. Age 6. I'm not sure if anyone really remembers much about that young time in their lives. Perhaps there are a few glimpses and memories of lunch boxes, Recess or your first grade teacher. Mine? Miss Iverson. She wore bright red lipstick and was very animated. I liked her. I thought she was nice. But I don't remember anything else about her...or the class. I don't remember faces, and I don't remember names, I don't remember lessons or games.
But I will tell you, that I remember one boy. A boy that set the tone for all other boys! A boy that I could never forget...because of one quiet little moment. Ben Adams... that was his name. And here is why I remember him...

I must have just walked into class from somewhere. Maybe it was the start of a new day, Gym class, Recess, or lunchtime. I don't recall. I just know that as I attempted to take my seat, some little smart alec kid (whom I can't for the life me recall...but probably had a name like "Scott FARKUS") decided to pull my chair out from under me! There I went! DOWN! Flat on my butt. I bet the kids around me laughed. I bet the Farkus kid laughed his head off and thought he was stinking hilarious! But I honestly don't remember. All I could see was a beautiful brown haired boy come walking towards me, and offer me his hand. Picture that in slow motion. A six or seven year old boy offering his hand to help me up! Who does that? What little kid even thinks of something like that? But he did. And I loved him for it. I took his hand...and he helped me up. And I have NEVER forgotten it.

Sounds simple, maybe silly. But even at that young age...I recognized what the word "Gentleman" means. For those who might be in question of what that definition is, let me offer the words of my friend, Websters Worldwide Dictionary;

"A Chivalrous, honorable, kind, amiable, well mannered man. Considerate or kindly in disposition, free from harshness, sterness, or violence." that moment in time, I already knew what that word meant. My heart knew it. And I recognized it for the first time, as a first grader.

I would then spend the next 25 or so years of my life watching, as many friends and boyfriends would come gallaping in and out of my life. Each one being placed, unconsiously, in a category. A boy? a man? or a gentleman?

Call me old me me anything you want. But I know the truth. I know the worth of a gentle-man.
How few of them are to be found in this world. Apparently the idea has lost it's luster. It's not cool to be kind, considerate, or thoughtful. But it is very cool to be selfish, indulgent, brash, and crude. A man/boy like that is a dime a dozen. Take your pick! They come in all colors, varieties, ages, and shapes. But really they are all the same. There is NOTHING remarkable about them. Nothing to remember or write in the 'ole journal about! NOT A THING.

But a gentleman? They are worth their weight in Gold. They are written about, cherished, and remembered. Some EVEN revere their names and call them "Blessed". Some people cry when they think of them. I know I do.

The irony is that it's not as hard as one might think. Saying the please and thank yous. Offering a gracious and sincere compliment. The thoughtful note or deed. The opening of a car door or the helping of putting a coat on. The showing of respect for women, children, and all mankind.

It is meekness in it's purest form. It is graciousness in all it's majesty. It is the chivalry of the ancients.

A man who walks this road is noble and he is GREAT! "Who can find a virtuous man ? For his price is above rubies!"

Sunday, October 01, 2006


The Haskins are my second family. I met them on a trip to visit my best friend in San Jose, California when I was 15. I instantly fell in love with them. All 12 of them! They pretty much raised me in many ways...and they are my best friends in all the world. They are just as much my my own flesh and blood. They brought me out of my horrible shyness and taught me how to laugh at myself..(something I was not good at.) They also taught me to live the gospel of Jesus Christ and to love it in a way I never thought I could. I learned to pray, to speak up, to serve, to laugh, and to love. Brother Haskin was the priesthood leader in my life and was the Lords instrument and mouth piece through out my teenage and young adult years. Like a butterfly in it's cocoon, everything beautiful was in there, it just needed to be brought out.

My favorite memories with them, are when we go camping. For many years I would go with them to Yosemite. Oh, how I love that place. I can picture them sitting around the campfire and singing in harmony with their beautiful voices. (I'm not a singer) of my favorite songs that they sing, is "God gave the wiseman"


This week I went up to American Fork canyon to visit them on their yearly campout. It was filled with all the same wonderful things. Good food, good conversation, and much laughter. I was not able to stay for the night on account of my health. I said my goodbyes, when out of the blue Sister Haskin reminded me that we had not yet sung any songs. (Something they know I enjoy listening to) I told them it was okay and I better head home. As I started to walk away...they began to sing, "God gave the wisesman" for me. Big tears rolled down my face..and I quietly wept. How grateful I am for this precious family. How loving the Lord has been in granting me their friendship. How grateful I am for their love and support over the years. I am who I am...because of them.


There is an old saying that I have loved for many years. I recognized it as something that was not only true, but also a wise reminder of the power of ones words. The saying is, "Sticks and stones may break our bones...but words will break our hearts." How very true. I have thought back to the many people who have come in and out of my life...even those who passed by for only a brief moment. Each one, unique in their gifts and different from each other. But still...every one of them had one common gift...the sword of their mouths. The power to defend, honor, lift and protect....or bruise, wound, or even slay. How wise is the reminder to "Think before you speak". I am first to admit that I am far from perfect in this...but lately I have put this virtue or rather truth to the test. Over the last few weeks I paid close attention to the things that I said to others, along with what others said to me, and how it made me feel. How easy it was for my spirits to be lifted by kind or gracious words. To feel a ray of sunshine by please and thank you's....or any other courteous or friendly remark. On the other hand, I also saw how easy it was to feel the sting of sharp words. How sarcasim dampens spirits and can so quickly diminish confidence and hope and damage the heart. Often our words can cause the smile of a friend or stranger to fade away. OR..."turn a frown upside down" and ignite the light of a weary traveler or empty soul. If you think back on your life....I bet there are many remarks that you will remember, both good and bad. They stay with us, they chang us, they shape us. Most of the time, we don't know how we affect others....we may never see it with our eyes. But we can rest assure that kindness always wins. It is a bright and shiney sword that can be used to bless and strengthen others. To keep it hidden is such a waste...and to use it to hurt or humiliate is a shame. "Out of the abundance of the heart...the mouth speaketh." (Luke 6:45) Our mouth speaks volumes about our hearts...I even believe it can reveal ALL things.

So, my thought for the week? Think....before you speak. Lift your sword for good and be a blessing to all who come in contact with you.