Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts

Monday, May 28, 2007

To Sarah From Sullivan: A Civil War Soldier's Letter Home

July 14, 1861
Camp Clark, Washington

My very dear Sarah:

The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days - perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more.

Our movements may be of a few days duration and full of pleasure - and it may be one of some conflict and death to me. "Not my will, but thine, O God be done." If it is necessary that I should fall on the battle field for my Country, I am ready.

I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and sufferings of the Revolution. And I am willing - perfectly willing - to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt.

But my dear wife, when I know that with my own joys, I lay down nearly all of yours, and replace them in this life with cares and sorrows, when after having eaten for long years the bitter fruits of orphanage myself, I must offer it as the only sustenance to my dear little children, is it weak or dishonorable, that while the banner of my forefathers floats calmly and fondly in the breeze, underneath my unbounded love for you, my darling wife and children should struggle in fierce, though useless contests with my love of Country.

I cannot describe to you my feelings on this calm Summer Sabbath night, when two-thousand men are sleeping around me, many of them enjoying perhaps the last sleep before that of death, while I am suspicious that death is creeping around me with his fatal dart, as I sit communing with God, my Country and thee. I have sought most closely and diligently and often in my heart for a wrong motive in thus hazarding the happiness of those I love, and I could find none. A pure love of my Country and of the principles I have so often advocated before the people - another name of Honor that I love more than I fear death, has called upon me and I have obeyed.

Sarah my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and burns me unresistably on with all these chains to the battle field.

The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grown up to honorable manhood, around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me - perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar, that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed.

If I do not my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name. Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often times been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortunes of this world to shield you, and your children from harm. But I cannot. I must watch you from the Spirit-land and hover near you, while you buffet the storm, with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience, till we meet to part no more.

But, O Sarah! if the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladest days and in the darkest nights, advised to your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours, always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by... Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again. Sarah I have unlimited confidence in your maternal care and your development of their characters, and feel that God will bless you in your holy work...

O! Sarah I wait for you there; come to me and lead thither my children.



...into a puddle of tears as I mop the floor tonight. I am listening to THIS broadcast on NPR, and it's hands-down the best Memorial Day special program I have ever experienced (which makes me even more annoyed at my fellow conservatives who refuse to listen to NPR--you are really missing out--the program that preceeded this one, All Things Considered, was especially awesome today, too. I learn more from All Things Considered & internet headlines than several hours of cable news).

I think the tears are of gratitude. When they played the Marine Corps Band's "Taps" followed by a bagpipe playing "Amazing Grace" my heart swelled up and I said a prayer something like this: "Heavenly Father, Thank you for saving my brother--his body AND his soul AND his family...Thank you..." And then I wrung out the mop and sat down here at the compter. Happy Memorial Day to everyone, especially our military family & loved ones!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Part I: The Booty

Okay, before the booty, I have to show you our Easter decorations from Grandma Lynn and Nana... Grandma gave me this tree years ago, but I didn't have a nice, safe place to put it until this year, and we had so much fun putting it up. She also gave us the egg jar, which we filled with Cadbury mini-eggs, of course, and the pearly eggs and the bunnies in the window sill.

Nana sent us cute cards and those cute egg boxes are from last year.
Last week during spring break, I had to be creative with Addie, so we made these Martha Stewart party puffs from gift tissue (8 sheets of 20x20, fan-folded, tied, and poofed out) . I have also succumbed to the window clings because the kids LOVE them and they are a fun and easy decoration (cheap, too--most of the time I get them at Community Thrift for 25 cents!)

Easter Morning...Addie checks out her basket and her book, "A is for Abigail" by Lynne Cheney (whom I once met at an Independent Women's Forum thing back in 1996).
Heidi with her basket and her Pixar story collection
James was suprprisingly excited about his Peter Cottontail book!
(excuse my appearance--it's 7am on a Sunday!)
James gives his bunny a kiss!

Easter Part II: Dressed Up for Church

You probably know that we go a little crazy about special days around here. This year for Easter, I was so proud of myself for showing such restraint. We only gave the kids a few plastic eggs filled with fruit snacks and jerky (hey- they LOVE the stuff, and they'd already had way too much candy this week anyway); they each got a book and a small, bouncy stuffed animal from the Target Dollar section (they were super cute and fit into church bags). I also didn't buy any new Easter clothes for them this year--Addie wore a pretty dress from Michaela Claar, Heidi wore an Addie hand-me-down, and Bubby wore a cute outfit that was a gift from Grandma Becky when he was born (Thanks, Becky--isn't it CUTE!?). The day was topped off by the fact that THE SUN CAME OUT FOR EASTER! If that's not the most beautiful symbol of the day....! Here's Addie looking so grown up, I almost cried!
I'm not sure what the girls were looking for, but this picture reminds me of THIS picture from Mother's Day two years ago.
Heidi, my little joy-bubble!
Here they are climbing around at church--love Heidi's face!
My three little duckies...
Sweethearts in the Sunshine!
I love all three faces in this picture!

Easter Part III: Dinner & Egg Hunt at Grandma's

Heidi found lots of eggs at Grandma's.
Addie found one of Grandpa's trickier hiding places
--look how excited she was!

Danny, Heidi, Addie, adn Grandma on Gram's back porch. The kids got those darling embellished bags as a gift from their super-fun grandparents.

What a Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

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!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

March Forth

When I was in high school, I remember looking at the date "3/4" and thinking, "If you took the U out, it could sound like a command." That was the same year we studied Doctrine & Covenants (so it must have been March 1986) and I thought that this would be a scripture to read on March 4th:

"Brethren [and sisters, too!], shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward; Courage brethren[and sisters]; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing; Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel..." (D&C 128:22).

Imagine my surprise when my dear friend and surrogate big sister, Georgia, told me about her own March Forth celebration (I always say great minds think alike). For the past, I dunno, 12 or 15 years, we have exchanged March Forth greetings and cheers on this special homemade holiday.
(Happy March Forth, GeorgiaBee!)

As the years have passed, it seems increasingly appropriate to celebrate March Forth as a little end-of Winter jump start--to renew my resolutions for the year, to spring clean my house and my mind and my heart, and be ready to celebrate the joys of spring and Easter. I almost bore my testimony of March Forth today, but I was otherwise occupied with Rich out of town. So I bore it to myself and felt grateful that, although this "fresh-start" holiday comes round once a year, I can start fresh and rally the troops, so to speak, each week thanks to the Sacrament and all that goes in to it.

Another fun March Forth surprise THIS year was that it's not our own holiday afterall...look at THIS! From Family Fun magazine, which I love and use often (click to enlarge)...

What the heck!?! Well, now the cat's out of the bag and the whole world will be girding up their loins and taking fresh courage on the fourth day of March. So hup, two, three, four, people... spring's a-comin'!

PS: I've been home alone with my kids (hence, away from the computer) since Thursday, but Rich arrived home safe and sound from Utah tonight. He went there for a wedding--congratulations and good luck to Shaun Spalding & his new bride!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Belated Valentine

Overheard at my house the day after Rich explained to Addie who Cupid is and why he's on Valentines.
Addie (to Cousin Danny) : That's Cupid.
Danny: Why?
Addie: He shoots people in the heart. Know what? My dad went to a party a long time ago when he was a little boy and he saw my mom there and Cupid shot him and he fell!
Danny: Where did he fall?
Addie: In love with my mom!

In honor of Valentines Day, I present to you the best kiss from my favorite, most hilarious and romantic movie EVER (even as I fear that I am casting my pearls before swine, so to speak). I have the soundtrack and when I listen to it on rainy Sundays, I can almost smell Florence ("Inhale! A truly Florentine smell..."). Oh, George...what you did to my teenage heart! And then I happily married your opposite! Happy Valentine's Day from me, my dear husband, Lucy Honeychurch and George Emerson. Enjoy your sweetheart today! (A Room With A View, 1986)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Christmas Morning

What Santa brought for James...
...and Addie...
...and Heidi...SCORE!
Addie showing off her lavender-scented rice bag (to keep her warm--from Aunt Amie), and the watch she got in her stocking (notice in the background, Heidi had already stripped the clothes off her Christmas doll)
Heidi with her naked baby and her new sunglasses and the candy bracelet that was a BIG mistake.

Heidi's Hat & Scarf from Aunt Angie

Addie's cool new books from Grandma

Oranges, Biscuits & Gravy for Breakfast
I also scored some great gifts--lots of lovely jewelry made by my SIL, Angie, a shopping trip to IKEA, a calendar of vintage cowgirl prints, a Cocomotion Hot Cocoa maker for the whole family, and a rolling case in which to store all my "Crafty crap." Rich also got some great gifts (and gift cards) from Angie, as well as an LL Bean ice cream maker shaped like an orange soccer ball, and an LLBean Hawaiian print toiletries bag. I also got him a gift that keeps on giving to both of us...Flogging Molly's "Whiskey on a Sunday," which is a documentary DVD AND a live album. (We are officially envious that Sam got Kristen Flogging Molly tickets for their first anniversary, and the Phoenix show is on St. Paddy's Day!)

Monday, January 08, 2007

In Arizona

James meets Aunt Elena in Cottonwood 12/27 (he met Mark, too, but Mark broke the camera! Naaah, it was already acting up ;))
Liana practices holding a baby brother, since she'll have her own come May
Cute Cousins Playing Cooties
Heidi smelling Ryann's flowers 12/28
Heidi, Aunt Lisa, James & Addie

New Years Eve & Day

NYE: Addie, Heidi, & Brent feed the horse in Sierra Vista
NYE: Addie jumping on Aunt Party's trampoline
NYE: Look at Heidi's HAIR!
MIDNIGHT: Happy 2007!!! A car full of sleeping kids!
New Years Day in Vail: James hugging Auntie Sue
NYD: Me, James, Julie, Susan watching Addie push Hayden and Rosalyn (the freaky head)
NYD: Susan pushing Hayden & Rosalyn
NYD: A MAJOR highlight for the girls--picking oranges with Great-Grandpa Bill

Travel Log

It has been two busy weeks since I posted here! I promise to never be away that long again, barring some horrible illness or accident. It's just that Rich was using the computer at Grandpa's house and we were on the road the rest of the time, diffusing one family catastrophe after another. Here is what we've been doing:

Monday, 12/25: Christmas morning--opened gifts, ate biscuits & gravy and oranges, cleaned up and finished packing, went to Mom & Dad Melin's for dinner, then left for Utah at 5pm. Arrived at sister Jill's house at midnight.
Tuesday, 12/26: Played with cousins at Jill's house until 11am, drove to Willy's (about 20 minutes) to pick up hitch trailer and played with cousins there--planned a 20-minute visit, stayed for almost 3 hours (due to NEW and equally sad family catastrophe). Finally got on the road to Flagstaff, AZ at 3pm like a herd of turtles (we had originally planned to stay at Willy's til dinnertime, then drive overnight to Cottonwood, AZ to see Rich's brother's family, but I woke up at Jill's feeling super sick, so we decided to drive to Flagstaff and get a good nights rest, then head to Cottonwood in the morning). We desperately wanted to take the girls swimming to reward them for being good in the car, but we arrived at 11pm, right when the pool closed! Shucks! We heard about that for the rest of the trip!
Wednesday, 12/27: checked out of hotel at 9am, drove one hour to Cottonwood and visited with the East Coast Melins--Mark, Elena, Liana, & Sariah--who were visiting Elena's family for Christmas & a wedding. We ate breakfast with them, then headed down to Phoenix (less than 2 hours) to shopand eat a late lunch at In-N-Out. We stayed over with my brother Sam & Kristen at their brand new house in Happy Valley.
Thursday, 12/28: We drove down to Mesa Temple and left Rich to photograph the wedding while I drove around with the girls. At first I had planned on going over to my sister's house, but then I realized that I only had about 90 minutes and that wouldn't be good. So we got a snack and headed back to the temple grounds. After the photography, we met my sis Lisa at Ikea Tempe where we ate lunch (I had salmon and steamed vegetables) and did some shopping. Then we went to Lisa's and she gave the kids some great gifts that "Santa" had left at her house (Thanks, Lisa!!), gave James a bath and a bottle, then headed down to my grandparents' house in Tucson. We had a yummy stew dinner with them and relaxed that night. There were gifts for the kids there, too, and we gave Gram & Gramp some gifts. It was so nice to snuggle up and sleep well!
Friday, 12/29: We got up early and got dressed for the reception--Rich left at 8am to do some more photography, Grandpa picked up the babysitter at 9am, and the grandparents and I headed over to the Arizona Inn for the brunch (the bride was my step-cousin, Ryann). Afterward, I went with Rich to the bank, Walmart, and eegee's, then home to put the kids down for naps. We relaxed, then had a nice turkey dinner and did a little after-Christmas shopping at World Market, a Mexican Import store (where I bought a pig), and Target (Grandma stayed home with Addie and James).
Saturday, 12/30: We went to breakfast with my grandparents at the Good Egg (their favorite place--it was GREAT!) and then headed over to Reid Park Zoo. We met my old friend, Michelle Hendricks Johnson (we were best friends in 2nd grade) there with her 2 daughters, Emma and Lily. The girls LOVED the zoo, and the Peter Piper Pizza we had afterward. At about 3pm, we took the kids home to nap (I napped, too), and then Grandma & Grandpa took us to On The Border for a Mexican Dinner. There was a long wait, so we took the girls across the parking lot to Target and gave Gramp a walkie-talkie to tell us when our table was ready. The girls got pirate outfits at Target, and then we ate a delicious dinner and went home to get ready fro Sunday.
Sunday, 12/31: Uncle Matt came to Gram's house and we all headed over to the Bonanza chapel for my cousin, Joseph's ordination as an Elder. It was great to see all my Elrey cousins and some old friends (like Pam Ingermanson). Later, we had lunch with the g'rents and headed down to Sierra Vista for New Years Eve with my Mayberry cousins. We visited, had a lasagne dinner, played games (Uncle Ralph and Steven went to the satellite broadcast for youth at the church--sounds like it was a good one!), and rang in the new year at East Coast time (10pm). We left for Tucson at 10:30, arriving just in time to greet the New Year (with a car full of sleeping kids). When we got out of the car, it sounded like Baghdad outside--so many gunshots and fireworks, etc...I guess I was always inside for that moment and never noticed the din outside. So Happy 2007, y'all!
Monday, 1/1/2007: Grandpa fixed us breakfast and picked oranges with the girls while I started packing up our mess. We had eegee's for lunch and took naps again, and just hung out with the grandparents. That night, we went to Joe's Crab Shack for dinner and I had some fabulous grilled tilapia and shrimp. After dinner, we took the grandparents home, got the kids in their jammies, and drove out to Vail to visit my old friend, Susan, at her sister' house in Vail (Su lives in California and works for Amgen, but has a home in Vail, too). That was a fun time, and we got the kids home and in bed around 11:30pm.
Tuesday, 1/2: We left Tucson at 7:20am (**sniff**it's always hard to leave the grandparents), and headed to Tempe. We met our Montana-now-Mesa friend, Debbie Holm, at Ikea, where we had breakfast and actually bought the stuff we had shopped for. We had fun with Debbie, then she went to the temple and we took the kids to lunch with a playplace while I talked on the phone to two of my siblings, where I learned about YET ANOTHER family catastrophe. We spent the rest of the afternoon at Debbie's house with her family, chatting, etc., and then drove up to Sam's again (like idiots, we left Debbie's in East Mesa at 4:49pm--can you believe?--but made our way to through Phoenix traffic pretty swiftly, arriving in Happy Valley at 6pm). We had pizza for dinner and had a good visit with Sam & Kristen (or as I like to call them, FatSam & Special-K). I will detail later what a total joy is was to be with them in the midst of the catastrophes, but suffice it to say, we had an edifying chat. They went to bed at midnight, and I went and took a shower and loaded up the family.
Wednesday, 1/3: We left Happy Valley at 1:20am and Rich drove all night to Beaver, UT, where we had breakfast. Then we stopped to visit Bucherts in Provo and share our fresh citrus at about 11am, then went to Jill's house until dinnertime. After dinner, we went to Willy's and set up our beds (they weren't home until about 7:30pm). We had a visit and a GREAT night's sleep there, and set off for home the next day (Thursday, 1/4) at about 11am in a snow storm. The snow cleared up near Willard Bay, Utah, and we had nice roads all the way home (except, of course, in Island Park, where it's snowy 10 months of the year!) We arrived home at 7pm, so glad to be warm and safe and happy in our own place!

Thanks to everyone who made our visits so nice! Thanks for housing/feeding us and making the holidays so joyful. For those we missed, our apologies--the unforeseen catastrophes called for several more stops than we had planned on making, but we will be back soon (and you're always welcome here!).

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Eve

Before I hit the hay I wanted to share our day with you! After an excellent church meeting (where I sang the lullaby without crying this time), we came home and had chili for lunch, then Heidi and James napped while Addie and I made gingerbread and got part of Christmas dinner ready (it was New England themed this year--Clam Chowder, Yankee Pot Roast, Potatoes, Carrots, rolls...yum! My mom in law made the soup and bread). Grandma & Grandpa arrived around 4:30pm and decorated cookies with the girls while we waited for Uncle Mike.
The girls had fun ( and so did Grandpa--see?)
After dinner, we did the Luke 2 story of Jesus' birth with our kids, plus Rich's sister Angie's kids, and their cousins (she was hosting HER in-laws for Christmas Eve, too). My mom-in-law made a bunch of costumes so we can do the little pageant every year and it was SO cute!
Aerial view of the nativity, with James as baby Jesus

My three cuties in the nativity: Addie as Mary, James as Jesus, Heidi as the angel)
Our darling Nativity cast: Heidi (Angel), Kaia (king), Dylan (shepherd), Danny (Joseph), Addie (Mary), and James (Jesus)---James was such a good Baby Jesus; he lovedhis manger!
After the Nativity, the Christmas Elf came to the window and told the kids it was time to go to bed because Santa was on his way. The Elf also left pajamas on our porch for our kids!
After they got in their new pj's, Heidi and Addie enjoyed a story with Uncle Mike...
...and Daddy and Sweet Baby James looked on (James' jammies have a moose on the front that says "Moosin' Around").
I hope your celebrations are equally full of love and fun and the joy of family and the comfort of knowing God sent His Son for us.
Merry Christmas.


Dear Loved Ones                                                                                                                            ...