Monday, May 24, 2010

dear winter,

i sure love you . . . in months like nov. dec. jan. or feb. however, in may (almost june) you make me feel like this. right now my lilacs are waiting to bloom, my garden is trying to grow, my trees are breaking from the weight of their leaves + you, so pretty please, pack your snowy bags and start moving south, they are waiting for you down there.

Friday, May 21, 2010

thank you notes

my udall grandparents and my sister and i circa 1985
one thing my grama ALWAYS taught me was to write thank you notes. i try to. i'm not always the best at it, but i was always good at writing them to her. so when i was asked to speak at her funeral, i decided one last thank you note was in order. if you would like, i'm sharing it with you to help you understand the wonderful wonderful woman my grama was, and just a little bit of the many things she taught me.

Dear Grama,

How are you? I imagine you are very happy right now, reunited with your loving Addison, Noel, dear parents, brothers and other family. I am so happy for you. But I will miss you, and I wanted to take this time to write you a thank you letter. There are so many things I am so grateful to you for, so in no particular order, here are just a few that I think all of us grandchildren are grateful to you for.

First of all, thank you Grama for being such a wonderful mother to my mother. Thank you for raising her in kindness and love and supporting her in whatever she wanted to do. You taught her well because she raised my sisters and I the same way.

Thank you Grama for being so present in my life, even when you lived far away. You did so many thoughtful things to show us how much you loved us. I remember when I was little Louisa and I always kept an eye out for ‘the package man’ in his big brown truck who often came bearing boxes addressed specifically to us that contained all sorts of treasures like cassette tapes with recordings of you reading us stories like “Blueberries for Sal”- I can still hear your voice saying “Kerplink, kurplank, kurplunk!”, you always sent something special like a new stuffed animal, or a pretty bow for my hair, holiday decorations, and of course, no package was complete without some See’s candy sticks. No holiday or special day came without a card from you, and as I got older you wrote me individual letters with details about your life and wanting to know about mine. In college you always sent newspaper clippings you thought I’d like. I always knew you were thinking of me, and I always felt your presence in my life.

Thank you Grama for so many wonderful visits to your house. My childhood is filled with memories of summers in Merced with other Udall cousins. The cookie jar was always stocked with iced oatmeal cookies, the pool was ready and waiting, and you always had a host of fun activities planned and you were never too busy for a game of Gin Rummy, Hearts, or a spontaneous Matinee movie. Being at Grama’s house was always so wonderful and I enjoyed so many happy times there. Some of my favorite memories are of getting up early and taking walks along Bear Creek with you and Grampa while it was still foggy, I loved getting to be a part of that special time of day with you and Grampa. I also have a lot of memories watching Mystery Theater or Masterpiece Theater on your waterbed, playing games around the dining room table, or going along on shopping trips to Long’s with you. I loved helping you in the kitchen and getting things out of the back pantry for you. Wherever you lived, your home was a wonderful place for all of us grandkids where we felt welcome and loved.

Thank you Grama for teaching me that homemaking is not just keeping your house clean, but is an expression of your love for your family and friends, and a calling as a steward over a home- a space that is as holy as the temple. I remember going to your house and each day you would give us grandkids four quarters. Each time you found something of ours lying around, or if we left our bed unmade you would take a quarter from us. I learned to keep my stuff neat, and came home with pockets sagging with quarters. I never make my bed or change my sheets without thinking of you Grama and the loving instruction you gave me of tucking in corners, folding fitted sheets, and arranging the pillows just so. You taught me tips on loading the dishwasher, getting out stains, and still today I cannot set a table and not put the silverware in their proper places- in fact it bothers me to sit down at a table with the fork in the wrong spot! But beyond the ‘how to’ of homemaking, you also made things special with little garnishes, snacks by the poolside, and a feeling of love that accompanied all your household duties. I never sensed resentment or a feeling of obligation, but rather delight and love in taking care of your home and family.

Thank you Grandma for teaching me to turn the other cheek and to love my enemies. I remember one summer I was staying with you for a month while Louisa was in Japan. I had made friends with the girls my age in the ward, but there were two who were being mean to me, and had spread some unkind rumors about me. Rather than allowing me to get angry or hurt, or being angry yourself, you sat me down and explained that those girls probably just wanted to be my friend but didn’t know how to. And then you did just the right thing Grama, you threw a party! You invited all those girls over for a big sleepover and pool party and made it so special with a big ice cream sundae bar and a fun games to play. We had such a good time, and spent the rest of my visit in Merced all best friends. You were so good at making people feel comfortable and helping build friendships instead of enemies.

Thank you Grama for always loving me even when we didn’t agree. Once I grew out of my pink ruffly stage in childhood, we stopped seeing eye to eye in regards to fashion and personal grooming. I remember you took me shopping before I left for college and you thought the long black pleated skirt from the ‘Mrs. Traditional’ section of JC Penny was just right . . .. and I did not. You didn’t fight or insist, and bought me the skirt that I liked (and you did not) but never made me feel bad or loved me any less. You have always supported me in whatever I’ve done and I know you always love me.

Thank you Grama for teaching me to love and adopt more family. In Merced Algae and her family were like our family, and the Hmongs were our other cousins. You always adopted those who needed a home and taught me to love everyone the same. Even during the last few years when I lived with you, you had adopted a Sister Missionary you’d met volunteering at the MTC and you wrote her on her mission and sent her cards and gifts. Her family was not supportive of her mission, and your love for her was such a blessing to her. You were also willing to share your family with those who had none. You graciously shared us grandkids with your neighbors Jackie and Chuck who were not able to have children. You were never jealous of the love we had for our second Grandparents, but were happy to share.

Grama, thank you for telling me the story of how you and Grandpa met so many times. I loved hearing it, because each and every time you told it (which was a lot in the end there) your eyes lit up and I could feel how much love you had for your Addison. Your unending devotion to him in all times, good and bad, sickness and health, taught me what true love is. You always told me to wait for that special someone who makes me feel the way you felt about Grandpa . . . I’m still waiting, and I’m hoping now your on the other side you can speed things up for me and the other single grandkids!

Thank you Grama for teaching me to be childlike. You were always delighting in small and simple things. You laughed easily, and always expressed wonder at the world around you. I remember one late summer night you loaded all of us grandkids in your car and drove far enough out of town to see a lunar eclipse that was happening. You were so excited! During the last two years my favorite times we shared were the drives I would take you on to see the fall leaves, or spring flowers, or frozen Utah Lake. I loved hearing your exclamations of delight at the beauty of the earth.

And last, but certainly not least Grandma, thank you for being a woman of faith. Your constant faith and dedication to the Gospel and church have had a lasting impact on my life. I cherish the conversations we had in which you expressed your faith, and your assurance that you would be reunited with Grampa. I remember when I received my endowment, sitting in the Celestial room for the first time with you and my parents, and there was an empty chair near us. You and my dad remarked that Grandpa was there. I’m grateful you were there to share that special day with me, and that you always valued your covenants. I am so happy your faith has been rewarded and you are back with Grampa. I’ll miss you, but I know I will see you again.

Thank you Grandma for everything, you will live on in all of our hearts and actions as we love others how you did, as we set our tables with love, and as we embrace the world around us with delight and wonder.



Monday, May 10, 2010

farewell to my sweet grandmother ada

my sweet, lovely grandma udall left this life with grace and peace on friday night. a true lady to the very end. i love my gramdma so much, and am very close to her. while i'm sad, and will miss her very much, i am so happy for her to be reunited with her dear addison and out of the confused state that her body was in. i'm so grateful for the peace and assurance that she is reunited with loved ones, and that i will see her again through the divine power of the atonement. my feelings are tender, but i mostly feel a profound gratitude for the wonderful life she lived, all that she taught me, and the faith that sustains us in these difficult times. here is the obituary that my mom wrote with her siblings.

Ada Vera Webster Udall, born March 13, 1927 in NYC died peacefully May 7, 2010 in Provo, UT. Ada was the eldest of 5 children born to of LeRoy Kingsley Webster and Mary Olive Mason. Ada married the love of her life, Addison Richard Udall on August 22, 1946 in The SLC Temple. They had 54 wonderful years together here on earth.
Ada and Addison lived 40 years in Merced, CA where they raised their 5 children. Addison practiced medicine and Ada became a consummate homemaker, mother, wife and devoted member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She was a generous hostess and often shared her home and resources with those in need. She loved her husband, children, grand children, nieces and nephews, and all of her extended family of Websters and Udalls. The Udalls had many dear friends in Merced. Ada and Addison moved to Provo, UT in 1992 to be closer to their children.
She will be remembered for her concern for others, a life of spreading joy and of service, her warm laugh and smile, her gift for making friends and putting people at ease. She also had a great love for animals, and many a dog and cat found heaven on earth in her home. She was intelligent, well read and a willing traveler of the world when she had the chance.

She was preceded in death by Addison (2001) a son Noel (1968) and her parents, and brothers Wayne Webster (Mary) and Scott Webster.

She is survived by 4 children, Marc Richard (Ruth), Sara Henderson (Robert), Lee Bennion (Joe), and Matthew (Geri), 13 grandchildren, 8 great grandchildren, sisters Gayle Sims (Bob) and Sharon Harvey (Ray) and numerous nieces and nephews.

A viewing will be held at Berg Mortuary, 185 E. Center in Provo, Utah from 6-8 pm on May 14. Funeral services will be held at the Lindon 19th Ward Meeting House, 44 S. 400 E. Lindon, Utah on May 15th , viewing from 10 am to 10:45 and services beginning at 11 am.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

if i ever get hitched . . .

i want my wedding to look/feel/be like this . . . .

filled with lots of little treasures i've been collecting along the way . . . i've already got a pretty good start.