Friday, March 30, 2007

By The Way...

...I see from my monthly Ikea e-newsletter that that Ikea-Draper is opening May 23rd and you can start lining up on May 21st and campout in line like a hobo. Awesome! Tell me, Utah amigas, are you or anyone you know going to be camping out? Are you at least having an Ikea party over Memorial Day weekend (to celebrate the fact that in about 4 months, the crowds might die down enough for you to have a pleasant shopping experience)? Share.

Also, I would like to include some stories in our next ward newsletter in answer to this question: What is the most meaningful act of kindness/charity you have ever experienced? You can tell about when you were the giver OR the receiver and I will make the responses anonymous in the newsletter. We just wanted to get some unique service ideas floating around and drive home the point that sometimes the smallest simplest things mean the most. So please, do tell ! (leave a comment or send me an email at jamiemelin at msn dot com).

Happy Friday/ Conference Eve, y'all! Break out the french toast and breakfast casserole, the General Authority Bingo games, and your best comfy conference-watching clothes. May we all be edified and rejoice together!

Love Your Mother

With Earth Day approaching next month, I thought I’d put in my two cents in response to my friend Tom’s post about the environment.

If you read this blog, you know that I am no fan of Albert Gore, Jr. for a lot of reasons—mostly because he is annoying and pompous. And I stated before that I didn’t think his movie deserved an Oscar because it was hella boring. But Tom’s post made me want to take a kinder, gentler approach, lest I seem like an earth-hater.

When I was at BYU about 15 years ago, I frequently read and contributed to the Student Review, and I remember one particular issue about environmentalism based mostly upon the Discourses of Brigham Young and, if I am not mistaken, some insights from Brother Hugh Nibley, who was very much alive and kicking at the time. In a nutshell, I was moved to honor the earth as my father’s creation regardless of political or economic issues.

I have been known to celebrate Eart Day by planting trees, conserve electricity, shop at the Farmer’s Market (for local organic produce free of harmful chemicals), and recycle all manner of things. I admit that I don’t often go out of my way to do these things, but I think it’s a part of my consciousness. And I think being a wise steward is an essential part of being a good Mormon. Reverence should be part of my character if I am striving to be Christlike, and I’m not talking about folding my arms at church. I am talking about recognizing God’s hand in all things and out of respect for Him, showing reverence and love for said things.

I realize that there are a lot of things that need to change in order for us to become our most efficient and responsible. Like Tom, I marvel that we don’t use all the alternative forms of energy available to us. I marvel that The Man makes it so difficult to make them part of daily life. For example, while we were building our house, we attended not one, but TWO sustainability fairs learning about green building and alternative power, among other things. My husband got all excited about wind and solar power, but the initial investment was more that we could hope to come up with, so we’re on the grid, slaves to Northwest Energy…but our house is wired for alternative power, and we even have a spot for a battery bank someday. Same goes for our car. We went into the Honda dealership to buy a Civic Hybrid, but they were so pricey, we ended up buying our minivan instead. I think there a re a lot of people in our shoes, too. The upfront investment in alternative energy and earth friendly products is sometimes over the average American’s head. And sadly, I don’t expect our government to make it any easier for us because no matter who is in power in Washington, tradition and big lobbies are in charge. They make going green very expensive.

And I can sympathize with one aspect of the government’s stance---I don’t know what would happen to our economy if we didn’t use traditional fuels. I mean, how many families would end up unemployed if we didn’t need as many coal mines, oil rigs, refineries, tankers, gas stations, or power companies? I don’t feel as sorry when oil companies post record profits because I am sure it rarely trickles down to the rig worker or the gas truck driver. But I just don’t know how to make the shift without hurting people on an individual family basis.

My personal environmentalism has its parameters, and the boundary for me is not putting the interests of the environment above the interests of human beings. It infuriates me to no end to listen to one of our crunchy-granola locals whine and complain about the war and the blood for oil , and then see them hop into an SUV (and I get more annoyed with that SUV when the driver lives IN TOWN—gimme a break!). You can’t have it both ways. I can respect and environmentalists argument when he or she is LIVING IT and understands the whole picture. I don’t think Al Gore’s home or lifestyle reflects any special reverence for mother earth, and that’s why he gets under my skin. It’s the same reason why I hate Oprah getting up on her moral high horse and asking her viewers to do something about a cause, to send money or make sacrifices when she is the one who has the most to give. I mean—her viewers are usually sitting at home in the middle of the day, which means they are usually not employed and don’t have two dimes to rub together. I’d like to see Oprah match the percentage of income that her viewers donate to certain causes—if I sent in $1,000 this month, which is around 20-something percent of my monthly income, she’d have to put up 20% of HER monthly income. Yeah, that’s what I thought. Put up or shut up, Oprah and Al. They do good things, but they are out of touch.

I think it is morally wrong to drive a gas guzzler unless you live in the country and have 5 kids—THEN you need a four-wheel drive that seats seven. But people have the right to buy and drive them, and when they do, they should stop complaining about the environment and the war. You are contributing to the demise of the earth and the war is being fought, at least in part, to allow you to keep filling up that beast you drive. One of the issues where environmentalists just slay me is oil drilling in Alaska. People, why do you think we bought that freaking wasteland? Of course I value arctic wildlife, but not above the lives of thousands young men who died to keep our government’s fingers in the Middle Eastern oil pie. If our society is not ready to give up its oil, then let’s find ways to support our oil habit with our own supplies. There is no reason our country should be beholden to anyone else. Those caribou can move to Canada; it’s nice there.

I know these remarks are somewhat disconnected, trite, and ignorant of the intricacies of the economy, foreign policy, natural resources, etc. But to be honest, that’s what we are dealing with in this debate. The average Joe isn’t researching issues—he’s basing his opinions on what he is spoon fed by the media and by his peers. I like to think I haven’t been spoon fed, but I do tend to subscribe to three very basic principles:

(1) Yes, the earth is a gift from God and should be reverenced as such, to the best of our abilities(that included financial abilities).
(2) BUT the environment should not come before human life and livelihood
(3) AND we all know how it’s going to end and we can’t ultimately stop The Burning…I just don’t think we need to add to it.

Simple. Maybe even trite. But that’s where I am coming from. I’d like to do all my consuming on the moral high ground, but as long as we are middle class, trying to raise a family, and tying to live the gospel—doing all of it mostly paycheck to paycheck, I’m gonna have to drive my inexpensive (but really awesome) American minivan, use electricity provided by a less-than-honest or green power company, and shop at Walmart.
I know, I know…how do I live with myself!?

Tell us where you’re coming from, either here or over at Tom’s hapdaddy.

PS: Ladies & Gentlemen, let me introduce my beloved friend, Tom Hapgood. Tom was my sidekick at the end of my college days. He came home from his mission to Rome, already in possession of a BA in photojournalism (talk about awesome mission pix), and I was serving in our single’s ward as Relief Society President. I dated one of his friends for a while then realized that Tom was the coolest guy in all the ward. We never dated, but we were most excellent amigos. He was soon called as Elders Quorum President and we were the Wondertwins of the ward leadership, sharing a love of Seinfeld, hummus, A Wedding Story, and (fatefully) the lovely and talented Miss Adriane Parry. Luckily, Tom got to MARRY Adriane and I was his best man (though I am clearly and ever have been, a woman). Now they live in Arkansas with their three lovely daughters where Tom is a professor of Digital Arts or something like that and Adriane is her sparkly self—music teacher, decorator, mom, silly pants. I miss them tons, can you tell?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

It's the THIRD DAY of GRANDPA...

...and it's his ACTUAL birthday!
Happy 82nd Birthday, Papa Bill!
I had planned on posting a movie of the girls singing Happy Birthday to You, but since your sound isn't working, we'll have to send you a DVD later. At any rate, we hope you have (had) a great day and that you feel all the love from your posterity! (I chose this birthday card because it reminds me of Willie and Ett).
Here's how we celebrated your birthday:
7am: Shower, Dress, Breakfast for all 5 family members
8:30am: Daddy & Addie leave for school & work
9:00-10:15am: Mommy, Heidi, & James head to Heidi's pre school
10:30-11:30am: James gets his 6 month check up and immunizations from Dr. O'Hara; Heidi sneaks about 5 Dum-Dum lollipops in the course fo the visit.
12 noon: Special kick-off-of-Spring-Break linch at Addie's school, where the kids have created "The Big Kids Restaurant." They made french bread pizzas and salad for their families and we all had a yummy lunch (Rich came, too).
1-1:30pm: drive over to Bozeman, make a return at Target
2-3:00pm: Meeting at the HRDC office to get ready for Headstart Preschool's federal audit next month
3-3:4opm: pick up a few things at Walmart and meet up with a girl from freecycle.com who was in need of items for baby boy (I gave her clothes, bottles, blankets and a swing)
3:50: picked up (from another freecycler at MSU) a baby's "fish eye" mirror that allows a driving mom to see a rear-facing baby in his carseat
4:30pm: arrived home, checked message, felt relieved that my friend called and said I did not need to lead the Youth Choir for her tonight at the Easter fireside--she could do it, which meant no getting into Sunday dress, throwing dinner on the table, and running up to the church at 6:30: Instead, I got the girls some juice, a bottle for James, and we all went downstaurs and snuggled on my bed unitl Dad got home because we were TIRED!!!!
And I kept snuggling poor immunized James while Dad and the girls ate dinner and weeded the flower beds (still moist from the snow and rain yesterday). A very beautiful, busy day!
Hope yours was even better! Love, Jamie & Gang

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

"On the second Day of Grandpa, My Blogger gave to me..."


...A story about the best Grandpa in the world.

Gramp & Heidi 2004



My Grandpa (along with his wife, my Grandma) is probably my best friend in the whole world. He single-handedly saved me (time and again) from succumbing to The Natural Man side of myself (selfish, worldly, self-destructive, judgmental, obsessive, etc...). He also nurtured my talents and interests in small but significant ways. For instance, one time in 1984 we were riding in his car and listening to a tape of Strauss waltzes. I told him I loved this music, and when he dropped me off, he gave me the tape. It was the same for books, maps, sheet music, food... every time I showed an interest, he presented me an opportunity. I have tried to follow that example with my girls so they will pursue their interests and have full and well-rounded lives, and TONS of self-confidence and self-respect.


Another great lesson I learned from my Grandpa through actions, not words, was the Dr. Phil-ism "Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?" Growing up, I had, as my dad put it, an "over-developed sens of justice," meaning things were pretty black-and-white/wrong-or-right on my little world. I could cry "NOT FAIR" and be pretty merciless at times because Being Right was so important to me.


Once I got into a disagreement with my grandma and I knew that I was right. So rather than respecting her and considering her feelings and wishes rather than facts and my own self, I argued with her. Grandpa talked to me about it later, not in a scolding way, but in an adult conversation. He said, "You should have listened to your Grandma and respected her wishes. Not because she was right but because she is your Grandma and because you love her." I felt like a tiny, bratty little ant at that point. I watched my Grandpa and reflected on his past behavior and realized that he lived that principle all the time, and not just with Grandma. The facts are that Grandpa is probably right about stuff 99% of the time, but he goes with the flow and lets people learn things by themselves, gently SHOWING or nudging us in the right direction, but never in a very didactic way...just out of LOVE...love for us and love for God.


I could make a list a mile long of what he has taught me, and back it all up with stories and quotes and scriptures, but right now in my life, this is the lesson that means the most. It helps me in so many relationships. It's a lesson I have to refresh for myself over and over again, but I need look no further than my Papi (Poppy) to remember how to let it all go.

Elrey Family 1975 (that's me and my Pops on the left)



Happy Birthday, Grandpa!
I love you!

Love, Jamie

We're Street Legal...

...Rich's Photography yellow page ad came out today and so did the "beta version" (heh heh) of Melin Studio.com (we are trying to figure out html and stuff from scratch--great fun). Check it out (and see if your'e photo is up)!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The First Day of Grandpa

I've decided to celebrate GRANDPA BILL'S 82nd BIRTHDAY (March 29th) with (a) the card we mailed off yesterday and (b) and THREE-PART blog-a-thon. So, Poppy, here's your first special birthday wish from Heidi...






Heidi Loves You on Vimeo

Monday, March 26, 2007

Another Old Video to Make You Smile








Bubble Monsters on Vimeo

Pictures of a Monday

Heidi went on a date with Grandma Rosalie this morning and she came home with these daffodils for me...what a great way to start the week!
Tonight, James sat in hs chair and kept me company while I cooked up the stir fry we had for dinner (the girls also helped me make Crab Rangoon wontons like we had the Arakawas last week)
Look at my cutie pie in his highchair!
Here's the yummy dinner I made for mi familia for Family Night
Rich used a power raker to liven up our lawn and then he cleaned up the garage for FHE.
The girls were outside "helping" dad while I made dinner. Do you LOVE Heidi's dirt-n-snot Hitler mustache? That girl...ugh! Nothin' like a little mudpie appetizer.

Sunday Night Ballet

Here are Rich and James on Sunday night
Rich always makes that weird face when he's saying CHEESE)--MY BOYZ--

While the girls were getting ready for bed last night, they wanted to dance along to their music box that plays "Silent Night." It was hysterical.The Dancers.
The Picture of Grace
Addie jete's
Heidi pirouettes...


...and Mommy and Daddy snicker silently and applaud their ballerinas!

Sunday Evening at the Ranch

On Sunday at about 5:30pm, we went out to see how the ranch looked after they removed all the rubble from the barn fire. The kids enjoyed the swing and looking at the river. Addie took lots more pictures and they are posted on her blog. Addie swinging
Addie with Heidi doing a Run DMC pose
James Ole loved watching the trees in the wind! That wind blew in a rain storm that watered all our grass and flowers over night and gave a fresh and sunny Monday.

Heads Up

Good Monday Morning to you all. I was just doing a quick e-mail check and went off on a tangent researching a comment made on last nights post by Mike Gilmore regarding yet another "historical fiction" movie about the church, this time about the Mountain Meadows Massacre. The movie is called September Dawn and the trailer made me sick with it's crazy portrayal of Brigham Young and scenes that look like temple ordinances. Scary. And lame.

Anyway, here are some links you might want to look at to brush up on your MMM history, because it looks like some poo is gonna hit some fans.

From Nauvoo.com
From a blog with good links
From a FAIR address

For my non-LDS friends, you know me and you know I am not a crazed fanatic, so when you see things like this, please give us the benefit of the doubt. In our culture, anyone devout is seen as a fanatic, which is just sad. You can be a sports fanatic, you can be a celebrity worshipper, you can be a drug addict--all with less disdain in our culture than being committed to your religion.

(PS: but I just want to go on record as saying that from the trailer, the movie looks false and BY looks demonized, and that's just bad news--and there is a big difference between being a violent zealot and a devout Mormon).

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sabbath Thoughts: Trying to Be Like Jesus


"As [Christ’s] followers, we cannot do a mean or shoddy or ungracious thing without tarnishing His image. Nor can we do a good and gracious and generous act without burnishing more brightly the symbol of Him whose name we have taken upon ourselves. And so our lives must become a meaningful expression, the symbol of our declaration of our testimony of the Living Christ, the Eternal Son of the Living God"
(Gordon B. Hinckley, "The Symbol of Our Faith," Ensign, 04/05).


I was thinking about this message (I posted it last Easter) from our prophet all day today after I put it in our ward newsletter last week. I just love it—-to me, it’s one of President Hinckley’s most succinct and useful lessons (I would have used it a lot on my mission). I think about how we are watched once people know we are L.D.S. and wonder what they make of what they see. I was so happy to receive this message in my inbox today, and I will post the whole story here for you to read since I don’t have a link handy…

***
Boston Herald Story
Faith, flight plan guide JetBlue boss: Other CEOs need his humility
By Jeff Benedict
Monday, March 5, 2007

JetBlue Airways recently made headlines after the worst operations breakdown in its seven-year history led to more than 1,000 canceled flights. There's been just as much good news about the way chief executive David Neeleman responded to the crisis - by bending over backward to admit failure, accept responsibility, apologize and compensate customers for their inconvenience.


Everyone from public relations experts to aviation analysts is praising Neeleman for doing things that are largely unheard of in corporate America. While many chief executives would have ducked for cover or dispatched a spokesman, Neeleman appeared on David Letterman's show and said, "I'm not making excuses. We made a mistake. We put our crew members and our customers through hell, and we have solutions for this."

The next morning he appeared on national news shows, apologized profusely and unveiled a Customer Bill of Rights guaranteeing compensation to passengers whose flights were canceled. He admitted being "mortified and humiliated." Humility doesn't come easy to chief executives, as we know from recent corporate scandals. This is where Neeleman's Mormon faith comes into play.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints expects its members to serve in lay ministry positions typically held by paid clergy. There's no exception for chief executives. Neeleman spends 10 to 15 hours per week working directly with individuals who have made mistakes and are seeking redemption. That experience gives him a feel for what it's like to be on the wrong side of trouble. The result is a chief executive who doesn't let pride prevent him from publicly admitting mistakes and asking forgiveness. It also explains his habit of frequently serving as a flight attendant or a baggage handler for his company's flights.

Neeleman is one of a handful of Mormons who have reached the pinnacle of the business world, and all behave much differently from the average chief executive. Two years ago I began interviewing him and several others who share his faith for a book about how their religion influences their approach to business. Like the others, Neeleman has benefited from good parents, a strong work ethic, honesty, smarts and timing. But those qualities aren't unique to Mormons. What is unique, besides lay ministry, is that Mormon men are expected at age 19 to spend two years in a full-time unpaid service mission.

Neeleman spent his mission in the slums of Brazil, where he learned to speak Portuguese. He also learned what it feels like to serve people who are less fortunate. This was a key influence on Neeleman's decision to create JetBlue.

Another important aspect of Mormonism is tithing, a commandment that requires church members to give up 10 percent of gross earnings. This is a great insulator against greed, which has been the downfall of executives at Tyco, Enron, WorldCom and other companies.

Tithing also conditions people to be driven by things besides wealth. So it was a simple reflex for Neeleman to make his Customer Bill of Rights retroactive to cover all passengers inconvenienced in last month's storm - a decision that cost his company approximately $30 million.

JetBlue is led by a guy, conditioned by Mormonism, who isn 't driven by money. Just look at his salary: He earns $200,000 annually. It gets more unusual. Neeleman donates his entire salary to a catastrophic fund that's been set up for JetBlue workers who fall on hard times. Not every board chairman can afford this level of charity, but giving up any income to fund an employee benefit is virtually unheard of in a world where most chief executives make many times Neeleman's salary.

It may be unreasonable to expect a chief executive who isn't spending many hours a week ministering to act this selflessly. But anyone can ask the question that Neeleman asked himself when this crisis struck: What is the right thing to do?
***
How cool is that? I hope things work out for him and his customers will appreciate him.

The missionaries told me something last week that made me feel good. At Christmas time, they brought some less active sisters to our Relief Society Christmas brunch and I recognized one of them as my favorite grocery cashier. We hugged each other, so surprised to see one another, yet not so surprised at all. Of course I felt drawn to her, I thought later, of course I noticed that flicker of spirit still in her, and she saw it in me! Well, I have tried much harder to seek her out and “check up on her” now that I know she’s been baptized. Anyway, the missionaries have been re-teaching her, and they were taking about their missions the other day. They told her that I had served a mission, and she said, “Well, that makes a lot of sense to me. That girl sings like an angel and she walks with Jesus every day, you can tell. She's what they mean by saint.”


WHAT!?!? Now, all of that is exaggerated (as you well know if you read this blog), but I can’t believe that’s the impression I have made on her IN THE GROCERY STORE (when I am mad as heck at my naughty kids, tired, struggling to be organized, etc…). It really made me think deeply about what I’m putting out there and if my actions reflect the Living Christ whom I love with all my heart (or most of it…I think I am still weeding junk out of that space for Him). I feel so motivated to strive for that whole "at all times and in all places that ye may be in, even until death" thing.

Your thoughts??

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Behold the Cuteness, naptime edition

Just a Lazy Saturday at Casa Melin...Daddy's mending fences in Big Timber (after that big Derby fire last summer), Mommy's editing the newsletter, and the kids are just chillin' in the spring sunshine!Bubby rolled over from his tummy time and
crashed like this on the living room floor ...

awww, so sweet! (look at those squishy elbows)
Addie and Heidi playing "elephant house" under the dining room table

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Please, I Beg of You...

...follow this link and leave a comment!

I have been thinking about this (I saw the Oprah show and had heard the theory before, to which I responded, "Duh--that's the gospel in disguise! That's using your Divine Nature to create, just like your Father does"). I have been meaning to blog about it but haven't found the time, so read this and tell me what you think (you can join the discussion at Segullah or leave a comment here--I'd love to hear from you). Tonight I am hosting our "Making Progress" gospel discussion group for Enrichment meeting and the loose topic is Divine Nature, so I think I will read this Segullah post in our group tonight.

PS: Be sure to read the linked articel by Richard Eyre! Down with the Cult of Oprah!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Miscellaneous

Thing One: Last night, we had dinner with the Arakawa family in our ward. The dad, Clay, is from Hawaii and is a chef at the Marlboro Ranch just northeast of town; Megan-the-mom is super-cool, half Navajo, grew up in Provo and met Clay at the Western Culinary Institute. She now works for the PD here and they have two totally cute kids--Breana (Ad's age) and T.J. (Heidi's age). They also have a dog named Heidi, which was funny. Megan is (of course) an awesome cook. She made Kahlua Pork with Cabbage, stir fry veggies, rice, Crab Rangoon for appetizers, and for dessert and chocolate and coconut cream pie. Puh-leez, people--it was like eating at the best Hawaiian place! The food and the company were excellent! We hope to get together lots this summer. PS: Megan (who used to be Megan Mecham) knows the lovely and talented Bush sisters, one of whom is now "My Brilliant Becca" Buchert linked over on the right.

Thing Two: Hey, mom, remember when we went out to the ranch while you were here and we found this weird little corner desk (it was white and gross)? Look what I did with it (well, Rich did the work--I just had the vision). The living room is getting quite cozy these days! Thing Three: The two things I gamble on in March are NCAA basketball (gotta root for my Wildcats & Blue Devils, even when they suck) and American Idol, and both things are kind of freaking me out this year. You probably know that my b-ball teams didn't even make it to the Sweet 16. And now Idol--last year, it seemed like the only really shocking thing was Chris getting voted off (and look who's got the last laugh AND the number one rock album now!). Now every week I am pretty surprised by the results. Who the heck is voting this year? I mean, I love me some Mowgli/Sanjaya as much as the next gal, but he's not that great of a performer. On the other hand, I love Blake and Gina! Totally marketable, and Blake did an awesome version of my favorite 60's song this week (The Time of the Season--such a great song!). I might add that tivo (fast forward) is THE ONLY way to watch Idol.

Thing Four: Happy Spring to one and all! I am so glad the groundhog saw his shadow this year, because I really needed these two weeks of sunshine! I know the snow will probably come back, but this interlude has been a sweet way to usher in the season. I'm just sayin' my tulips better not freeze!

I've got more stuff, but I gotta save it for tomorrow. I'm Tard. It's almost my blog's fourth birthday...how should we celebrate??

If Heidi Lives to See Three...

Dear Heidi,

I wanted to congratulate you on winning The Battle of the Wills, round 2, 338. You have once again shown me who’s boss around here, as far as eating and peeing go. I also wanted to thank you for peeing about a gallon on the floor at the same exact time on both Monday and Tuesday this week (our two fruitless Potty-Immersion days)—now at least I know I can sit you on the potty at 10:20am each day and something might happen. I also wanted to say kudos on being able to withhold ALL of your business ALL day (except for said accidents) until we put the pull-ups on you at bedtime. Now I know that you do indeed have bladder control and you’re just not using it to spite me. I can handle that. But just remember—you have to use the potty if you want to go to Addie’s cool school next year. So don’t’ come cryin’ to me when you get kicked out of preschool for being obstinate about using the toilet.

Love, Mom

PS: I forgot to tell you thanks for freshening up the nursery room carpet with baby powder today while you were supposedly napping. Now everything smells baby-fresh—even the vacuum! And how fun for you, all buck-naked and powder-white, to get to take a bath in the middle of the afternoon! I kept a straight face and made you feel really sorry, but I was DYING inside because you looked so funny and I had to snap this picture for Daddy because I told him over the phone that you looked like E.T. when he was dying. You are the answer to every prayer I ever said for patience, my dear, and I love you even through my gritting teeth!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Deep Thoughts

I've posted some deep thoughts over on Framanisco. Have a gander and leave a comment.

And just so you're not too disappointed, here are a few Jack Handey classics (my MTC teacher used to read us a "Deep Thought" each night after class...it was fun back in 1992):

I hope if dogs ever take over the world, and they chose a king, they don't just go by size, because I bet there are some Chihuahuas with some good ideas.

If you're robbing a bank and you're pants fall down, I think it's okay to laugh and to let the hostages laugh too, because, come on, life is funny.

Sometimes I think I'd be better off dead. No, wait, not me, you.


When you go in for a job interview, I think a good thing to ask is if they ever press charges.

Too bad you can't buy a voodoo globe so that you could make the earth spin real fast and freak everybody out.

And this last one is dedicated to my pal, Al Gore, in honor of this month's Outside Magazine "Green Edition..."

If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Announcing...

Addie's New Photo Blog! One of Addie's goals for 2007 was to take more pictures and share them on a blog like mom, so tonight, we started it up! Take a look and leave her a comment. There are TONS more pix to come!

Feliz Cumpleanos, Amiga.

Happy Sabbath to all of you... ...and a very Happy Birthday to my
Crafty Friend, Jennifer!
Have a great day, Jen!
Also, thanks to Sam for calling us from the FM show last night. Your message was garbled but we could tell what it was! FUN! Instead of Darby O'Gill (which we will watch tonight), after dinner last night, my cute Father-in-law treated us all to Shamrock shakes and we all drove together in the the van down to the ranch and took one to Grandma Vivian. We also got to see the new shower that he and Mike built in her bathroom (she used to have a big tub, which she can't use now; the shower is totally handicap-accessible and beautiful). It was a fun St. Paddy's and a really nice Sabbath day, too. I can't believe how beautiful the weather has been. It's never been this nice and warm and sunny (70 degrees!?!?!) in my 4 previous Montana springs. I'm hoping if I express my gratitude, it will continue (with a little rain, please) but not bring a hundred-degree summer with it. :) How was YOUR weekend?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

A St. Paddy's Gift for YOU

Erin Go Bragh

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
The Melin Kids wish you a fun St. Paddy's

Love From Addie, Heidi, & James

Addie's wearing a Floggin' Molly T-shirt!
Heidi says, "Erin Go Bragh!"
And Bubby's shirt says, "Rub My Belly for Good Luck!"

Have a fun day and get in touch with your Celtic roots. We're celebrating by having a corned beef an cabbage dinner wiht the in-laws and watching Darby O'Gill and the Little People (since Flogging Molly is playing Phoenix this St. Patrick's Day--Sambo & Special K are going and we're GREEN with envy). And now I am off to Super Saturday!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Overkill

Men at Work were really popular when I was in sixth grade. My dance class did a dance to "Land Down Under," and we all loved "Who Can it Be Now." But my favorite Men at Work song was "Overkill." One night, it even made me cry.

That was the year I first noticed that I had a severe anxiety problem. The year I developed an ulcer. The year I started keeping a notebook on the nightstand to try to quiet the thoughts that raced and kept me awake at night (those of you who know me as a "list person" now know where that stems from--making a list is sometimes the only way to quiet my brain and get some sleep). It made for some award-winning poetry, but it also made for a painful adolescence (don't get me wrong--my social life in junior high and high school was almost idyllic, in a John Hughes sort of way--just the right mix of heart and humor and silliness and melodrama--it's just that there was a lot of worry, a bunch of rattly old skeletons in the closet needing attention).

So anyway, when I finally listened closely to the lyrics of "Overkill" one night (undoubtedly on KRQ), I felt what the singer felt and it became somewhat of an anthem for me. And you can imagine the joy (and twinge of pain) I felt when Colin Hay appeared on an episode of Scrubs singing said song. It was an episode about being totally overwhelmed as an intern, and I thought it was perfect. Here, you watch it see if you feel the same way:




So I was just thinking about all this stuff, and I want to articulate it better later, but I was just thinking about how everyone has their own "stuff"--their own anxieties, weaknesses, mental illnesses, addictions--even the people who always seem like they have it together. And how crazy is it that we (whose problems are obvious) always look at them (whose problems are hidden) and think it would be nice to trade loads.

I have noticed a subtle shift in my thinking over the past year (again, something I will elaborate on later), in that I have recognized that (a) everybody's got a row to hoe, so to speak, a load to bear, a trial to endure, whatever; and (b) MY load is tailor made for me. I mean, it's hard sometimes and all that, but I have learned from trying to fulfill my baptismal covenants, by trying to bear one anothers' burdens. I have learned that my load is just right. A seemingly lighter load wouldn't make me "perfect, even as [my] Father in Heaven is perfect," and a heavier one would crush me. So in many ways I have been able to put my blinders on and deal with what's on my plate, and do it a little more graciously. And at the same time, I have been able to reach outside myself a little more because I have finally recognized that all of us, even the ones who seem like they don't, need to share our load once in a while.
I can't get to sleep
I think about the implications
Of diving in too deep
And possibly the complications
Especially at night
I worry over situations
I know I'll be alright
Perhaps it's just imagination
Day after day it reappears
Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear
Ghosts appear and fade away

Thursday, March 15, 2007

On Strike

This is my lonely workstation in my home office, where the Livingston Ward Liahona is created and Life in a Northern Town is maintained... This is me telling you:
"I refuse to post anymore until I get some comments."
It's like talking to a wall....and I even took off word verification, folks...come on.

(Okay...I WILL post just one more funny little thing...this photo of my girls on the carousel last Saturday, in which Addie seems to have gone mad and Heidi is saying "Heil Mommy!")

PS: Last night, we happened upon a Documentary Channel presentation of "Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator" which features girls I went to high school with but didn't know, one of whom was killed by Gator Rogowski, the skater probably most famous for his appearance (with his Tucson girlfriend, Brandi) in Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'"video. It was a fun little walk down memory lane (well, not the Gator-becoming-a-murderer part) to hot days on the half pipe and cool nights on the Bank banks on the west side, when Tony Hawk weighed about 101 pounds and starred in a Mountain Dew commercial with Lance Mountain, Itchy Foot Moe's, Willy's Pocatello Mall half ramps and that one poser dude in the hills who had a lighted half pipe in his back yard...what a funny little subculture....

Monday, March 12, 2007

On This Date in History...

1978: My cute sister, Dana Lynn was born (that's her with her daughter, Leanne)
Happy Birthday, Naner...I miss you!
and...
1983: My darling sister-in-law Kristen was born. (Sorry I keep using wedding pix of you, Kristen, but I LOVE this one!)
Happy Birthday, Kristen!

PS: Here is a fun place to meet some Crazy Fun LDS bloggers.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sunday

Today was Selection Sunday for NCAA Men's Basketball (the only sport anyone in our house is remotely interested in, besides the occasional futbol match, which we only like to watch on Spanish language television). I think it's quite telling that I slept through the selection coverage. It's a bad sign that I haven't seen even ONE Arizona game this season (I have checked scores and standings, though...sad times). I think the times they are a-changin' and My Teams are falling from grace. Dare I say Papa Lute and Coach K are gettin' old? I don't really know what I am talking about, but I will cheer on my Wildcats, my Tarheels, and my Blue Devils, even if the fun is all over next weekend. *SIGH.* Bear Down, Arizona
On another note, I have a dear friend who joined the church a few years ago and has really grown spiritually the past year or so, but sadly, her husband has not followed (even though he's been a member "technically" most of his life). She is at a real crossroads and I want her to know that I really feel for her and she's in my prayers. It's so hard, believing what we believe/know about families, to decide what to do in these situations. Of course everyone deserves a celestial marriage, especially when one is willing to pay the price, but it's a delicate situation when one finds oneself alone in such a pursuit. I've met a really amazing wife whose answer to her prayer was to wait for him because, as she put it, he was her brother before he was her husband, and he needed her love and support to help him back to where he should be. But many others have had to cut bait and move on. And then there are the kids. Do you sacrifice your family life for your own personal happiness and hope it all works out for them? These are hard questions and I don't have the answers.
Well, wait--I do have one answer. Only God knows our potential and our limitations. Only he knows if your husband is ever going to come around, or if your kids can withstand a divorce, or if there is indeed someone else to make your dreams come true. Only he can intervene and change someone's heart. Only he can tell you the right choice for you. You just have to be ready for and willing to act upon the answer with faith. Like Nephi told the angel in 1Nephi 11:17, "I know that he loveth his children, nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." I applaud you for caring enough about him and your children to work on it rather than doing what would be much more comfortable and easy for you--leaving and returning to the comfort (and SUNSHINE) of your family of origin.
We had a great Sabbath today. I am always so happy to be at church in my own ward and be able to attend all three meetings with little interruption. So thanks to my kids for giving me that today. I needed it. And thank you to Rich for letting me sleep off my ear infection and all the exhaustion from partyin' like a 20-year-old this weekend :) I had a long and much needed nap today, and I didn't actually get out of my bed (snuggling with James) until 6pm! We all worked together to get the laundry and laundry room cleaned up (we started that on Friday), and then we took some of those under-the-bed storage boxes and made a "Memory Box" for each kid. We needed those because, as you probably well know, they bring lots of treaseures home from pre-school and church nursery and we needed some place besides the fridge door and the office to keep them all. It's been a nice evening, and now I should try to pack it in. Happy Monday, everyone!

Weekend in Photos: SATURDAY

As soon as I got home from Chico on Saturday, I got everyone ready to go to Helena to celebrate Jared Lehman's 6th Birthday at the Great Northern Carousel. Addie and Heidi were so excited to wear their spring clothes, even though it was about 58 dgrees outside. Addie in her her sporty new skirt and shirt
(which looks really 80's to me).
Heidi was excited to wear "short pants" and no socks!
Addie got spun around super-fast by her Cousin Gabriel on the carousel.
The birthday boy on a bobcat.
Rich and Heidi on the carousel (with Uncle Darrin in the background).

James watched gleefully from his seat...
...as Aunt Laura observed the opening of the gifts.
Addie oo'ed & ahhh'ed appropriately as Jared opened a cool birthday gift.
Happy Sixth Birthday Jared!

We took the Lehmans and their loot home at 5pm and hung out for a while at the house. Laura was so thoughtful and sent home treats for all the kids, as well as some great clearance scrapbooking stuff for me (THANKS, Lulu!). We got home to Livingston at 8pm, but we pretended it was 9pm since DST was sneaking up on us this morning!

Weekend in Photos: FRIDAY

While I was getting ready to go to the retreat at Chico (which was totally fun), I mesmerized the girls with Little Einsteins......while James did his tummy time on the floor.
He's so sweet! See how he's holding the blanket with one hand?...
...Well, a few minutes after this photo was taken, I went back in the front room and he had rolled over holding the blanket (which then covered him up) and fell asleep there in the sunshine. He looked like a tiny angel.
While I was at the retreat, Rich had a "campout" in the basement living room with the kids.
Here they are roasting mini marshmallows over a candle.
They had a fun time, and he is the best dad EVER!

Perfect in Weakness

I have struggled with eczema and psoriasis since I was a baby. The folds in my skin and my scalp behind my left ear are almost always burni...