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Emily Whispers Bird Lore to My Daughters

By Dayna Patterson

My girls and I play Songs and Poems, take turns choosing a song to sing or a poem to recite. They graduate—gradually— from children’s poetry with its drumbeat clarity, full rhyme and even keel, and move toward Dickinson, press her poems against their bones, walk through her slanted rooms. I learn my girls don’t know …

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Placement

By Sandra Clark

I have a thing for place. I’m a bit fastidious about the arrangement of things, and the locations where things are set in. Now don’t get me wrong, I clutter up with the best of them (my specialty being piles of books at my desk). But I am fond of the notion of deliberate positioning. At home I may shuffle around the artwork and tschotskes to get everything in a just the right order. (I’ve been known to cock the wooden raven on the piano at a 45 degree angle to the look just right and I’m finicky about hanging pictures is particular groupings and arrangements down to the centimeter.) I attempt to order my kitchen into stations for efficiency. When planning for family pictures I thoughtfully cull through places that mean something: a park we frequent regularly, a telling landmark of the area we live in, or some place that served as a setting for some happy past memory. I realize this marks me as a sentimentalist, so be it. This fixation with fixation may just be one of my personal quirks of an appetite for control. That too. However, I’ll bet any real estate agent in the audience would say an “Amen!” when I advocate for location, location, location.

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On Keeping Daughters from Drowning

By Dayna Patterson

Go ahead. Take them to fish on Saturdays at the pond. Bait their Barbie and Dora poles with the fluorescent pink stuff that stinks. Let them touch the blue gills they catch before you toss them back, fingers pricked by mean spines. Do this from a deck fenced with evenly-spaced slats of wood. The spaces …

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On Moments

By Brooke Benton

There was one big box, wrapped in polka dots and housing her 12th birthday present. I told her as she surveyed the seemingly sparse landscape: it’s a big one, I promise, so this is it. She opened it gingerly and took a suitcase out of the delicately unfurled paper. “Oh my gosh, I love this …

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Slipping Through the Cracks

By Brooke Benton

As I listened to my ward’s seminary graduates speak in sacrament meeting a couple of weeks ago, I found my throat swollen with emotion and an unexpected love fill my heart for all the sudden girl/women who bore testimony boldly (or nonchalantly or emotionally or monotone) and who thanked their parents and teachers with an intensity so sweet and earnest. They were my old babysitters, my friends’ children, neighborhood girls who once traipsed around in cut-off jeans and now zoom by me in their cars with cute smiles under big sunglasses, waving as the day whisks them away.

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State of Bliss

By Linda Hoffman Kimball

Maddie
Maddie safe in her father's arms

I’m feeling dizzy these days. My husband and I divide our time into seasons and spend winters and summers in Utah and springs and falls in Illinois. For the past three weeks, however, I’ve been in Boston. I just got back to Illinois last night and spent the morning at the temple for my Friday morning ordinance worker shift.

I can’t keep track of what state I’m in. The state of Utah? The state of Illinois? The state of Massachusetts? A state of confusion? A state of bliss?

All of the above.

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Pointers for Nana

By Linda Hoffman Kimball

I am expecting my first grandbaby, a girl. Her due date is April 2nd which also happens to be my daughter’s birthday. My daughter will get all sorts of tips and attention as a new mother. The baby will bask in the glow of gushing and cooing – heaven knows I’m providing my share already! But I stand at the brink of this new role with trembling knees. (Of course that could just be my arthritis.) I haven’t been around babies much for 25 years now, and I fear all my expertise is out-dated. I hereby recruit your aid. Hit me with your tips and pointers!

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Sisterly Love

By Melissa McQuarrie

When I was a little girl I thought one of the happiest sounds I’d ever heard was my mother laughing with her six sisters. They’d stand around my grandmother’s kitchen, washing the dishes and putting away the Christmas dinner leftovers, laughing so loudly they sounded like the kookaburras that cackled outside my window every morning. My mother’s sister Rosalie—we called her Ro—lived just a couple of miles from us, and she and my mother got together several times a week while my cousins and I played. They colored each other’s hair, shared recipes and gossip, reminisced about their childhoods, and cried together when Ro had her miscarriages. But mostly I remember their laughter and the way my mother’s eyes brightened when she was around Ro and her other sisters. My mother knew a secret then that I’ve only come to appreciate now that I’m a grown woman and a mother myself: having sisters is pretty much the best thing that can happen to a girl.

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Home for the Holidays: The Good Times Abound

By Melissa McQuarrie

featurepics-539AA725-44FD-432E-A6FB-FDE4EE828D1DI have a *friend* who, although she loves her family dearly, finds her stomach tightening and her left eye twitching when holidays and family gatherings approach. Perhaps it’s the added pressure of having to dust all those high shelves and wipe those fingerprints off of the walls (and cabinets and doors and chairs and floors). Perhaps it’s because even when she does clean the house until it’s spotless and she puts fresh towels on her mother’s bed and mints on the pillow, her mother will invariably mention that the guest bathroom has no soap or that there’s a shortage of cheese in the fridge (don’t ask). Perhaps it’s the thought of having to *entertain* family members in the dead of winter, after the actual holiday is over, when there’s nothing to do except shop at T.J. Maxx and watch football. Or perhaps it’s the knowledge that when family comes to town, there will inevitably be some tension. Unresolved issues. Elephants in the room, taking up all the chairs. And this *friend* will often have to bite her tongue as she slips into the age-old roles of daughter, sister, daughter-in-law (now that one’s a doozy), trying to balance these roles with her current ones as wife and matriarch, finding herself mother and child at once.

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Launching our youth into adulthood

By Annie Waddoups

Recently our ward had the exquisite pleasure of welcoming home not one but two missionaries on one Sunday (in the process reducing the number of current missionary plaques in the foyer to one).  The abundance of love and support for these young men was palpable.  But it was more than that.  As we listened to …

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