When You Have to Say Goodbye to Your Pet


Today we are going to say good-bye to our dear Grandpa’s dog, Cisco Sabrina.  She was born in 2004 and has loved Grandpa dearly. She is chocolate Labrador retriever.  She loves water. When she was younger, she would always play in the garden hose and try to drink so much water that she would almost drowned herself. She loved to fetch balls in the water or on the grass. She went with Grandpa everywhere in his “Bumblebee” yellow Toyota F-J Cruiser.  She loved to catch the snow as it shot out of the snowblower and would bark as it went out. She barks every time the doorbell rings to let you know someone is there who shouldn’t be. She loves to scratch her body along the couch back and forth, back and forth. he always let the grandchildren climb on her and try to ride her.

Grandpa never went anywhere with Cisco and refuse to go back to Yellowstone because she couldn’t come inside. She has been to California and spent a day at the Disney’s Doggieland Resort. She has been camping all over Utah and Wyoming.  She traveled down the Green River with Grandpa in a canoe and lost her tail after an unfortunate incident with a shop door.

It is really hard to say goodbye to you today. We love you Cisco Sabrina!


Captain America vs. Iron Man

Are you Team Cap or Team Stark?


Marvel’s third installment about Captain America comes out today. In this movie, we find Steve Roger at odds with one of his friends, Tony Stark on whether or not it is a superhero’s duty to tell the country their secret identities and to register where they live with the government. Captain to this point has always made the correct decisions: Hydra allowing Hydra to rule the earth, bad idea, stopping crazy aliens from destroying the humans, check, but in this film there is no clear cut right or wrong. Captain must rely on his own personal values to make his decisions as does Tony Stark and each of the superheroes who eventually side with them.

Let’s compare Steve Rogers and Tony Stark.  Tony is a genius. He can create and make anything because he is also a billionaire and can fund anything his heart desires along with the robot work force to make it.  However, despite the growth we have seen in Tony from a playboy to the now philanthropist/devoted boyfriend, etc. he will always and forever be arrogant.  Steve Rogers was a weakling but had a heart of a warrior. His character is why he was chosen for the super serum. He thrives on honesty, integrity, and making the right choices.  He has confidence, but he is not arrogant.

In the first Avengers movie, Tony Stark refers to Captain America as the “Boy Scout.”  Well, I want to say if we had more boy scouts in this world, it would be a better place. According to the scout law, scouts try to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. These character qualities are very lacking in our society these days (look who the Republicans choose as their candidate for President).If Captain is a boy scout, then he has my vote all the way.


Stepping back to 1860s: Holden, Utah

For many years, I have wanted to explore Holden, Utah a small town located just north of Fillmore, Utah along Interstate I-15. There just has never seemed to me any time, until now. I was always curious, but I recently learned Holden was the place where my great-great grandparents Joshua and Lizzie Stevens (Walter Joshua Stevens and Elizabeth Kenney Stevens) met and fell in love one hundred and fifty years ago.  Now, I had to go.

My family and I drove into the quiet town in the morning after it had snowed although it was early spring. The fields were green and still damp from the melted snow. The sun was out and the lone mountain peak to the west glowed in the morning sun.

Holden is a quiet farming town with around 250 residents. Quaint homes line the small main street with a modern town hall sandwiched in between.  It was neat to explore the streets, but I was on a mission.

Ages ago, I came across old photos of some of the homes in Holden at the Church History Library in Salt Lake City. These photos belonged to Joshua’s younger sister, Abigail Stevens who was married to Brigham Young Jr. These photos were taken of homes belonging to the Stevens family:. the father, William Stevens, Walter Stevens, Sr., Edward Stevens and David Riley Stevens.   I wondered if the homes would still be standing as they were built in the last 1850s, early 1860s.

I wandered around town trying to locate these homes or the lot on which they once stood. I found one and was so excited and then I saw a man standing outside the home across the street and I talked to him.

He said his name was Edward Thomas and that he didn’t know much about the homes, but his brother, Frank who lived in the home would. I knocked on the door and was pleasantly surprised to that Frank was an artist and he knew exactly what homes I was looking for.

Frank is currently working on a painting picturing Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum as they ride away from Nauvoo to go to Carthage Jail.  Mr. Thomas is also a former army colonel and served in Vietnam and Desert Storm.

His website is  wildgoosecreekstudio.com/…/artist-s-biography. Here are some photos of the paintings in his home.

He helped me locate the Stevens’ homes and I will forever be grateful.

walter stevens home

Walter Stevens, Sr. home, photo undated

Walter Stevens, Sr. home today

This is the home where Joshua Stevens grew up. They’ve added a porch and some of the landscaping has changed, but who thought a home built in the late 1850s would still be in such great shape? Especially with the bricks coming from local brick-kiln way back then.

david riley stevens home

David Riley Stevens home

David Riley Stevens’ home today

david riley stevens home now

Front view of David Riley Steven’s home

edward stevens home

Edward Stevens home

edward stevens home2

Edward Stevens’ home


Edward Steven’s home today


This home is the William Stevens home. Walter, Sr., Edward, and David Riley Stevens’ father.


stevens family siblings

William Stevens’ children.  Back row: David Riley Stevens, Edward Stevens, William Stevens, Jr., front row: Albert Stevens, Rachel Stevens, and Walter Stevens, Sr.


Motherhood is a Great Achievement

Today my twelve-year-old son needed help finding old photos for a class assignment. The photos celebrated certain milestones in his life from his first step and losing his first tooth to his first day fo school and his last day of elementary. As we journeyed into each photo instantly I was there again. Tears formed in my eyes. I couldn’t help it. How could twelve years have gone by so quickly? I’ve heard other mother’s say ‘enjoy them, they grow up so quickly’ and I am finally getting it. I used to think I needed to do ‘great’ things like finally finishing my novel or having a successful career in order to be ‘important, but honestly,and  I am finally realizing motherhood is and always will be my greatest achievement.


My oldest at age 4

Where has the time gone? Wasn’t it just yesterday I was holding my first baby in my arms? I looked up to my son (literally he is 5 inches taller than me now) and thought he is no longer a boy, he is becoming a man. He is a kind, respectful, smart, and talented person and I couldn’t be prouder. They always say it goes by too fast and I realized tonight it does. Too many times I have wondered over the years about my own worth because I am “just a mom” but I am my son’s mom and I have been able to enjoy each and every stage of his life.


Me and the two oldest six years ago


If I could get in a time machine now and go back to the stressed out me when he was a brand new baby I would say, “hold him a little longer for me.” Oh, how I miss his chubby cheeks and cute voice as a toddler. How he thought he was saying his name when he said, “Bobo,” but he was way off. How he loved taking baths so much he jumped into the tub with all his clothes on. How he said, “Peedow Parwkee” as really “the guy” who was Spiderman. How he would cry because he didn’t want to grow up and he wanted to always “stay little.” How he wondered why “Dount Cuckoo” (AKA Count Dooku) was so mean and could choose the dark side of the force.


“Do or do not, there is no try” -Yoda

Even as I write this, tears are falling. They are a combination of happy and sad.  I always thought I had to be making some kind of money to be “worth” something, but I can say for the first time with all the power that is in me that I am worth everything to the three boys who call me “Mom” each day.  Sometimes the endless loads of laundry and dishes get seem more important because I like things tidy, but they will always be there–always, but my “little” kids won’t be.  Each day I need to remember this and enjoy my boys with all of my heart because they are and always will be my greatest achievement. 


The Three Amigoes


Billy Dean

Let Them Be Little

I can remember when you fit in the palm of my hand
Felt so good in it, no bigger than a minute
How it amazes me, you’re changing with every blink
Faster than a flower blooms they grow up all too soon

So, let them be little ’cause they’re only that way for awhile
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh, but let them be little

I’ve never felt so much in one little tender touch
I live for those kisses, your prayers and your wishes
And now that you’re teaching me how only a child can see
Tonight while we’re on our knees all I ask is please

Let them be little ’cause they’re only that way for awhile
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh, but let them be little

So innocent, a precious soul, you turn around and
It’s time to let them go

So, let them be little ’cause they’re only that way for awhile
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh, just let them be little

Returning Home

On Saturday, January 23, 2016, I attended the funeral of my great aunt which I posted about in another post. After the graveside service my father, mother, and sister and I drove to Holladay Blvd in Holladay, Utah to see my father’s home he grew up in. It was built in the early 1930s by his father, Clyde Frederick Gutke, and his grandfather Carl Frederick Gutke.

Even as we drove down the familiar twisting street with the arrows announcing the curves ahead, I felt like a child again riding in our large blue and white Chevy van on the way to Grandma’s house. We passed the elementary school on our left and then pulled the car into the gravel lane. We pulled up the lane to get a better look at the house and to our surprise and delight a woman came out the kitchen door. My father explained why we were stalking her home and she was kind and invited us in!

My father’s eyes lit up at the prospect of seeing his child hood home again. As he wandered each room, his eyes took in each detail and I could only imagine the memories flooding in. The decor and the owners have changed over the years, but to him, it will always be the home of his youth.


My father reflects growing up in the backyard of the house of his youth.


The Clyde Gutke Family Home in the 1950s

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Tender Moments

Today we celebrated the life of my great aunt Norma May Gutke Ellis. She was born in 1921 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Carl Frederick and Laura May Jones Gutke. She was the youngest child of eight. Norma was a cheerful, bright, and lovely woman. She joined her family after her mother had already lost two daughters: one was murdered by a jealous boyfriend at 17 and the other was a golden haired, adorable four year old taken by a combination of whooping cough/pneumonia. Norma was a blessing sent to Laura Gutke from a caring and loving Heavenly Father.

Norma was adored by her five older brothers one of them nick-named her Nooksie. Whenever he went out, he always brought a present home with him for his little sister. One day he was on a date, he told his date he needed to stop and buy a little something for “dear little Nooskie.” She was a bit confused!

Norma was so beautiful, so tender, so gracious, and so kind. I loved meeting her a few years ago when I went with my sister. She became so precious to me as my sister and I took on the project of interviewing her about her life and her experiences.

I learned more from her about the Gutke name and heritage than I had  known before. Although she was telling me stories, I learned so much from her. One of my favorite stories was about how she was going with a young man she met when she went to a dance with the local soldiers at the military base in Kearns, Utah. She really liked him and they would talk on the phone and write letters and they were getting quite serious. She knew he was going to propose, but she knew that he could not give her the life that she wanted. She wanted to be married in the temple and this young man, although he was good man could not give her what she wanted. He was not a member of the Church. She called him and broke it off. It was a very hard, but such a brave thing to do, to stand up for what was really important to her. Later she met Uncle Dan Ellis and they became the most lovely couple and were married for 67 years! They raised three boys and a lovely girl they named Laura.

I always had a great time hearing their banter when I was at their home. I would ask Aunt Norma a question and hear her answer, and Uncle Dan would call out from the other room and tell her she got the story all wrong.

I love this woman! Her funeral was just a celebration of her life, of her goodness, of her love for others. I want mine to be like that. The Bishop closed by saying, “She had received His (Jesus Christ’s) image in her contenance.” Then he challenged us to become like her.” I accept the challenge.

I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?” Alma 5:19

I know my Aunt Norma was not perfect, but she tried every day to be loving, kind, and be the best woman she would be. She did have a pure heart and clean hands. I want to be like her when I am 91.

I will miss you Aunt Norma!