Hey Mom, I Caught a Troll

March 31, 2010

Once upon a time there was a school teacher with a 33 year old special needs son who functioned well enough that he was able to stay at home safely without supervision while his mother was away at work. And, his mother was able to go to work having peace of mind because she knew that her son would phone her in the event of an emergency. Time passed and all went well until early one morning the mother received a call at work:

“Mom, I’ve caught a troll. You’ve gotta come home!” exclaimed her son excitedly.

“Honey, you know I can’t leave work,” his mother calmly replied. “And, remember, you’re only supposed to call me if there is an emergency.”

The second time her son called that day to tell her he caught a troll and she needed to come home, she sternly reminded him that she could not come home unless there was a real emergency. By the fifth call, she definitely was not amused.

When she got home from work that afternoon, her son rushed to the car door as she opened it. “Mom, come see my troll!” He grabbed her hand and hurriedly led her upstairs to his bedroom. There she saw a chair propped firmly against his closet door to keep it shut.

“Be careful mom,” he warned as he removed the chair from the door. “You gotta see him but he really wants to get away!” When he opened the door, there sat a real live midget.

The poor fellow was a Jehovah’s Witness who had been out proselyting that morning. When the midget knocked on the door and the son opened the door and saw him, the boy picked him up and carried him upstairs to his bedroom and shut him up in his closet…where he had spent the last five hours.

Teaching our children

February 8, 2009

Have you ever considered how we socialize our children? How do children learn values? What kind of influence are you having your children? Here is a father’s short story. It’s worth hearing.


My Dad

June 17, 2008

By Janet Walgren

My DadLast Sunday was Father’s Day. My dad is 86 years old. He loves flowers and has a large yard full of them. So, in preparation for the holiday, I went to a nursery to purchase a gift certificate for my Dad. I found a huge nursery unlike any I have ever seen. I was mesmerized by the beautiful flowers that went on and on for acres and I was grateful that I had my camera in my purse.

After over an hour, I walked out of the nursery with 187 photographs of every imaginable type of flower and a gift card for my dad. I was so excited, I couldn’t wait to give my dad his gift so I headed over to his house to give him the gift card and show him the pictures of all the pretty flowers.

My dad looked at the photos then asked me to take pictures of his flowers too. I followed him around his yard as he pointed out flowers for me to photograph. Click, click, click… Then he posed for a photo on his lawn tractor. The end result is a precious photo album of dad surrounded by all his lovely flowers. I know that I don’t have very many years left with my dad, so my album will be a family treasure for my family and all of his descendants and their posterity. What a wonderful gift I received for remembering Father’s Day and my dear father.

Dads are often busy and get very little credit or thanks for all they do. They are gone a lot as they work to provide for their families. It is our mothers who get to spend the money and the time with their families. And, they often get most of the credit for all that our dads provide. Today, I would like to thank my father for all that he does in hopes that it will stir something within each of you as you honor your own fathers on Father’s Day and every day of the year.

I am thankful that my father honored my mother. My father and mother never fought; perhaps they should have a time or two but they never did. I have always known that my father loved my mother and I appreciate that. It helped me feel loved and secure.

My father was a good provider. We were never hungry, homeless or lacking the necessities of life. I’m sure that wasn’t easy for a father of ten children. Dad was an electrical engineer for AT&T but never finished his degree. He enrolled in night school several times, but there was always another baby or child who needed something when his tuition was due. Dad never complained.

My father is careful in his hygiene, dress and appearance. He was, and still is, always well groomed. If dad was working in the yard or on a car, he would always take the time to clean up before dinner. It was Dad’s way of showing his family how important we were. He afforded us the same courtesy he showed to guests, business associates and strangers.

It was my father who gave me my love for learning. I remember going to classes with him at the University of Utah when I was little. I remember the physics lab, the flight simulator, the math classes and the planetarium. I remember coming home from the U and fencing with dad in the driveway after his PE class. Those were the good old days when I was 4 and 5.

Then, there were the fun times with the Boy Scouts. My dad was a scout master and I got to go on their hikes. Sometimes I rode piggy back on the scout’s shoulders but they never complained. On occasion, our family got to camping with the scouts. Now I love to camp and my children’s favorite childhood memories involve long camping trips.

I learned to swim in Yellow Stone Lake on a family camp out. When our family went camping, we would have fishing contests. I always caught the biggest fish and I never realized that my fish was already cleaned and ready for the frying pan.

It was my dad who taught me about God and provided my moral compass. He was a missionary for my church and I got to travel with him when he was assigned to talk to congregations in small towns with exotic names like Hiawatha where we would hold church in the Odd Fellow’s Hall after cleaning up the beer cans from the night before.

As I grew, and our family grew, my parents were blessed with over 100 direct descendants. They were also blessed with the gift of hospitality.

The record attendance for a Thanksgiving dinner was 87. No reservation was ever required at my parent’s dinner table. It was not at all uncommon for children, grandchildren and their children to show up hungry (and unannounced) right before dinner.

Over and over again, I watched a repeat performance as my parents performed the miracle of the loves and the fishes. On one such occasion, we were serving pork chops for dinner. As each person showed up, we kept cutting the dinner portions in half. By the time Dad arrived, he got a pork chop bone for dinner. Instead of complaining, he said it was delicious…just like his family.

Often family would show up for a surprise weekend visit (impromptu family reunion). When we ran out of space to sleep people in the bedrooms and living room, we put the overflow on the porch and in tents in the yard. Everyone was always welcome and my parents were always excited to see them.

At 86, my dad can still out ride any of his grandsons on a bicycle. A month ago he ran a 5K and he keeps a membership to Gold’s Gym so he won’t lose muscle mass in the winter. He still helps my brothers take out trees and concrete from broken driveways and he maintains the yards of several of the neighborhood widows in his spare time.

I took my dad on a weekend trip to Monticello, UT and Mesa Verde, CO for Father’s Day. Dad was jogging up the trails while I huffed and puffed my way down to the cliff dwellings and back up. He was a good sport as he patiently waited for me to catch up. We had a marvelous time.

My father keeps the family anchored. He lets us know that we are deliciously interesting and exciting even though we are very diverse. I love that about him.

When I was raising my family, my children didn’t have a dad that they could lean on, learn from and depend on. Fortunately, there were many good men who stepped up to the plate as surrogate fathers for my children. They were marvelous men who set awesome examples for my family. Principle among them was Robert Wolf. He was a grandfatherly type of man whose service to my children was unparalleled.

To Dad, Bob Wolf and all the others who have provided fatherly love and support for my family, I would like to thank you for all you have done for me and my family. I wish all dads out there a very happy Father’s Day every day of the year.

Memories, Attitude & Happiness

June 3, 2008

By Janet Walgren 

I think that every mother knows how to count to ten. In fact I heard a frustrated neighbor counting uno, dos, tres… just the other day. And, when I went to the Asian grocery store last week there was a mother counting ichi, ni, san… Some things seem to be universal when a child is misbehaving. One of those things is, mothers count to ten. Ah, the memories, the stories about ten. Tales about ten continue for generations and shape the course of history.


Being the second oldest of ten children, I have done my share of reminiscing with my siblings and I have noticed something very interesting. Everyone tells stories about the number ten differently. I’m not talking about the details of an incident; they are pretty much the same. I’m talking about attitude, the spirit in which the stories are remembered and told. I’ve noticed that attitude makes an amazing difference in the life of the subject of the story, and more interestingly, the teller of the story.


There is an excellent example of what I’m talking about in the book, Love is a Verbby Mary Ellen Edmunds. Mary shared a bedroom with her sister Charlotte. Mary and Charlotte were very different personalities which is not all that uncommon among siblings. Charlotte was a compliant child and Mary was the adventurous one. At bed time, when the sisters didn’t settle in and go to sleep right away, it was not at all uncommon for Mary’s mother to count to ten. And, Mary’s mother instinctively knew whose fault it was so she would march in the bedroom, go straight to Mary Ellen’s bed and give her a spanking.


On one particular night, Mary was trying to talk Charlotte into to jumping out the second story bedroom window.  She had a theory that if you bend your knees on impact, it would absorb the shock and your legs wouldn’t break. Charlotte was reluctant and refused to try the experiment. As the conversation progressed, Mary’s mother started to count, one, two, three… When she got to ten Mary knew she had to act fast, what to do… Then she had a brilliant idea.


“Charlotte lets see if we can trick mommy! Lets trade beds and see if she notices.” They exchanged beds in the nick of time. Her mother entered the bedroom, marched over to Mary’s bed and gave Charlotte a sound spanking. Then she marched out of the room saying that she didn’t want to hear another peep and told them to go to sleep.


As Charlotte lay sobbing, Mary exclaimed jubilantly, “Charlotte we did it, we tricked mommy!” Both girls were pleased and excited that they had tricked their mommy.


Imagine yourself as Charlotte. What would you say as you reminisced about that incident? What emotion would you attach to the memory? How would you paint your sibling? Would you be kind, charitable? When you told the story, would it be funny? Or, would you be the victim of a bad sibling who made your life miserable?


Happy adults find the fun and the funny in their memories. They are great story tellers and everybody love to listen to them. They discover the lessons in life and paint their associates in charitable ways as they impart their wisdom and sage advice.  People love to be around these happy folks. They make life pleasant. They even make work pleasant- even when the task seems as unpleasant as testing a theory by jumping out a second story window to see if bending your knees on impact will keep your legs from breaking.


I think almost everybody has been a Charlotte who got the undeserved spanking at sometime in their life. And, most people have found it necessary to be a Mary who needed to find a quick solution to an unpleasant problem on occasion. Regardless of the situations that you have faced, or that you are currently facing, your approach, your attitude will make all the difference. And, only you can choose what that attitude will be.


What makes the difference in people’s attitudes? I believe that it is love. As you go about your life, remember Love is a Verb.

The Transition Child

February 10, 2008

By Janet Walgren
In a lecture at BYU, historian author, David McCullough stated:

One of the hardest, and I think the most important, realities of history to convey to students or readers of books or viewers of television documentaries is that nothing ever had to happen the way it happened. Any great past event could have gone off in any number of different directions for any number of different reasons….Very often we are taught history as if it were predetermined, and if that way of teaching begins early enough and is sustained through our education, we begin to think that it had to have happened as it did. We think that there had to have been a Revolutionary War, that there had to have been a Declaration of Independence, that there had to have been a Constitution, but never was that so. In history, chance [divine providence] plays a part again and again. Character counts over and over. Personality is often the determining factor in why things turn out the way they do.

 BYU Magazine, Winter 2006.

I fully agree and some what disagree with his thesis. History didn’t have to happen that way. I absolutely believe that. One of the greatest gifts that God gave to each of his children is agency. Agency allows for choice; we are free to choose our destiny and consequently the destiny of nations. History is a matter of choice. However, choice is bigger than this world, and history began before we arrived at this stop on our eternal journey. History is eternal in nature and God, being the omniscient being that he is, perfectly understood the nature of each of his children before he sent them on their journey to mortality. God understood how we would use our agency and so, before the world began; he prepared contingency plans to correct the course of individuals, families and nations.

It is a common belief that when God wants something to happen, a baby is born. I call these special babies “Transition Children.” There are many famous transition people that the world commonly accepts to have been foreordained to alter the course of history. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Joseph are just a few that are mentioned in the Bible. Then there were the wonderful men and women of the reformation whose blood paved the way for the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Gandhi altered the history of India, and the signers of the Declaration of Independence altered the course of The United States of America. All were brave transition people to whom we owe a debt of gratitude and service.

Why is it that a concept that is so commonly accepted when applied to religion or to history is not very well accepted when applied to individuals or the family? Why is it that learned men of science, psychologists, and doctors of psychiatry tell us that labeling is bad and yet every word that proceeds out of their mouths label individuals, project behaviors, and predict outcomes that stifle the productive righteous use of agency in the people they purport to help?

Think about the messages that you have heard; “Children in broken homes”… go ahead; you can finish the sentence – “are much more likely to become drug addicts, alcoholics, immoral and predestine to divorce than children in a ‘normal’ family.” In other words, divorce produces defective goods. I am not so sure that I agree with that thesis. I believe that the behaviors that caused the divorce cause the damage. I believe that the negative behaviors that are attributed to divorce would still manifest if the marriage had remained in tact and the causal behaviors that contributed to the divorce remained unchecked.

Frequently women allow their children to be abused because of their own dependency needs. These women claim to be co-victims of the abuser. I say nay. You are not co-victims with your children; you are co-abusers with your husbands! Your family is broken and if you can’t check the abusive behavior in your marriage, then you need to fix your broken family by getting a divorce. 

Ultimately, healing from abuse in the Lord’s way involves leaving behind false and destructive family beliefs, traditions, loyalties, or even ties when they serve to disregard the sanctity of life… when one has the power mentally and physically to protect one’s self or other vulnerable people (children, elderly, handicapped), one has the right and the responsibility to do so, even if it means the disruption of family relationships.

Strengthening Our Families, pg 273. 

I once heard of a young woman who asked her counselor why some little girls come into families that love and treasure them while other little girls come into families where they are terribly abused. This inspired counselor told her that she had come into a family that had destroyed the human spirit and the virtue of man for generations. He told her that she had volunteered to come to that family as a transition child and that from her would spring a nation, a posterity of righteous individuals who would honor God and love and nurture their children. She had volunteered to endure abuse to change the course of history.

Why it is so hard for children of divorce to accept that “that nothing ever had to happen the way it happened?” Why is the good behavior of children in single parent families labeled an anomaly, deviant and overcompensating? Who are the teachers that teach us that history is predetermined?  “If that way of teaching begins early enough and is sustained through our education, we begin to think that it had to have happened as it did.” We know that, In history, chance [divine providence] plays a part again and again. Character counts over and over. Personality is often the determining factor in why things turn out the way they do. BYU Magazine, Winter 2006. Why not apply the transition child theory to individuals and families as well?

We all have so many differences in common

December 15, 2007

By Janet Walgren
Upon returning home after a visit to her friend’s house, my daughter Helen was ecstatic. She loved cats and Sabrina’s cats were the best. Helen was trying to tell me about the cats and just how wonderful they were, but for an eight year old, the joy and wonderment of it all was just too overwhelming. When words failed to relate her feelings she simply clasp her hands together as she gleefully exclaimed, “Oh mom, they have so many differences in common!”

Profound truths come from the mouths of children and I will never forget that moment when my daughter uttered that profound truth. We all have so many differences in common.

I love my job. I am the Student Success Manager for the Enlightened Wealth Institute. I get paid to listen to people and collect their business success stories on a company website.  Occasionally I have the privilege of collecting them in person. Last week was such an occasion when I traveled to Los Angeles to interview students who were attending an entrepreneurial workshop. The students were high achievers in the world of business and delightful to associate with. I enjoyed my time with them and was a little sad when the week was over.

On my flight home, I was assigned a window seat (my favorite) and was just settling in when a young man, 23 years of age came and sat beside me. I am sixty years old and pretty conservative. The young man had multiple piercings on his face and ears and was covered with tattoos. He smelled of cigarette smoke and looked thin and frail. Most people my age would have been inclined to fain sleep or stare out of the window, but not me. I introduced myself and had a delightful conversation for the duration of the flight.

It turned out that he was returning from a three year adventure teaching English in China. I love all things Asian and delighted in my captive tutor as I inquired about a number of topics pertaining to China. I was feeling a little sad as our plane landed in Salt Lake City, but then he asked if he could use my cell phone to call his momma. I gladly dialed the number and handed him the phone. Then, I heard squeals of delight as he announced his surprise return to his mother. She was ecstatic and he could hardly contain his emotions. It brought so much joy to me as I remembered so many like occasions in my own life’s journey. It was such a fitting end to a wonderful trip and I revelled in the warmth of the truth that we all have so many differences in common. Love is the best part of our human condition.

Hallelujah! A Beautiful Mind

December 1, 2007

By Janet Walgren
The scriptures tell us that children are an heritage from the Lord. They are one of the greatest gifts God bestows on us during our journey through mortality. I believe that they are second only to the gift of the atonement and life itself. My youngest daughter has proved to be a wonderful gift. She has a loving heart and a beautiful mind. 

Recently I went through a very stressful situation. I had no control over it and had no choice but to endure it. The day after it was over, I awoke with the song Hallelujah, sung by the English group, Blake, playing in my mind. I had never really paid attention to the words before, so I asked my daughter, Heather, what the words to the song were. The song is one of her recent favorites, and I know that when she plays a song over and over, she has a movie going on in her head with her own beautiful interpretation of it. When she told me her thoughts, I asked her to write them down for me. Below are the words to the song and her interpretation:


Well, I’ve heard there was a secret chord,
That David played, and it pleased the Lord,
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
Well, it goes like this, the fourth, the fifth,
The minor fall, and the major lift,
The baffled king composing Hallelujah.


Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

Baby, I’ve been here before.
I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked this floor.
I used to live alone before I knew you.
But I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch,
Our love is not a victory march,
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.


Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

There was a time you let me know,
What’s really going on below,
But now you never show it to me, do you?
But remember when I moved in you,
The holy dove was moving too.
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah.


Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there’s a God above,
But all I ever learned from love,
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you.
And it’s not a cry you can hear at night,
It’s not somebody who’s seen the light,
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.


Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Heather’s interpretation:

To me, this song is a series of conversations with different people who gained broken hearts throughout their life’s journey. It starts with King David playing his harp to Saul, a man broken and troubled because of his own choices, yet the simple strains of David’s songs soothed his heart. Later in his life, David would also suffer a broken heart due to his decisions.

The next conversation is from the perspective of someone who, like David and Saul, carried the weight of their broken soul, but was lucky enough to have a friend there to help him find the way back. Unfortunately, the friend has lost their way, in turn and needs help. The voice of experience comes to the rescue of his friend, reminding him of his potential; telling him the path towards healing is not an easy jaunt through the park; it’s cold. It requires a broken heart and contrite spirit, but the healing that takes place is like a quiet Hallelujah; a song the sooths the heart.

A mother has closed herself off from God. Life has worn her out and she wonders why she bothers and is anything worth caring about. God reminds her that she used to let Him know what she thought and felt, but she has shut him out and has lost her direction and purpose. In response, God reminds her of the birth of her child. The life that was growing in her was a gift from God. Every breath she took was the breath of life for her child. Every breath was part of a gentle song. The memory brings back the song; a calm and gentle Hallelujah that restores her peace of mind.

A soldier returns from war. After seeing countless atrocities committed, the senseless, meaningless waste of it all causes him to forget the beauty life can contain. His life is dominated by the violence he witnessed, and he asks himself how a loving God could let it happen. But like the others in this story, the soldier is reminded that he important moments in life are not the things that break you, or make you cry at night. These moments are not made up of congregations shouting Hallelujah at a Sunday meeting; the most important moments in anyone’s life are the moments when you face God with a broken heart, asking him to heal it; The still moment when you go from cold, lonely, and dark and let Him heal you with his love; when you let go of the weight of sin, tragedy, depression, or whatever the ailment might be and realize that God can mend you soul.

With each healing comes a gentle Hallelujah that represents a minor fall followed by a major lift in life. The process of healing represented by Hallelujah pleases the Lord regardless of the harp player. But as more and more people experience the healing Hallelujah the quiet and broken strains of Hallelujah come to form a joyous chord, an army of individuals who found their way back, armed with the quiet assurance that the Lord knows and loves each of us.

I hope that as you read this you will remember the atonement and say your own private hallelujah.

Men Bashing

November 18, 2007

By Janet Walgren
It is interesting how often we open our mouths and say things without ever knowing the scope or the consequences of our words. How do they play on others’ minds? Do we offend ignorantly albeit without guile? Are we even cognizant of the extended meanings of our words?

Today in our women’s meeting at church we were talking about the women’s role in the family and society. The teacher started telling us that women are different. They can multi-task whereas a man can only think about one thing at a time. Men are the providers and the women are nurturers. Then, one woman got up and talked about how terrible her life is now because, when she was ten, her father’s health declined and her mother and father had to do a role reversal. She said things like, “My mother left us to go to work… Because my mother left us, I have big holes that need filled. I don’t know how to do… Men can’t fill the role of nurturer.”

I wonder if she ever stopped to appreciate the fact that her mother rescued her family. It probably wasn’t her mother’s first choice to go to work, or her mother’s fault that her father was incapacitated. It probably wasn’t her dad’s ideal choice either. Did she appreciate the fact that if it were true that her dad couldn’t work to support his family, it was also true that her dad’s health would have prevented him from properly taking care of the family. Good grief – he was probably pretty sick. Surely he wasn’t/isn’t the prime benchmark for evaluating all men.

I certainly admire a woman who steps up to the plate when necessary. Being a double parent is not the ideal. It is a tough job…I know from experience. However, I would hate to think that all men are single minded. That would mean that God could only take care of one of us at a time. And, if men can’t nurture, I wonder why an omniscient God picked Jesus Christ to atone for our sins? The scriptures teach us that the Lord is our shepherd, that we are His. Perhaps at times men and women nurture differently but I think that we are more alike than we are different.

I think that one way we are different is in respect. If someone started women bashing in the men’s church meeting, I don’t think that it would last for a second. I think that women need to repent. We need to respect ourselves and each other. And, we need to appreciate the scope and majesty of manhood and give men the respect that they deserve.

Keeping Secrets

October 7, 2007

By Janet Walgren 

I once heard of a boy who was sent to a meeting to spy on a group of men that wanted to take a person’s life. The boy was counseled not to take any oath of secrecy at the meeting. This was a heavy burden to be under. However, the boy complied, returned and reported, and the person’s life was saved.

As a child, I used to recite a poem whenever anyone would ask me, “Can you keep a secret?”

When people tell a secret,

I often wonder why,

If they themselves can’t keep it,

Why make me even try?

There are many types of secrets. Some secrets are just plain fun. Others are serious confidences when, if revealed, are capable of destroying someone or something. The destruction could be either good or bad depending on the nature of the secret and the guile of the person telling it. Why ruin a surprise party to celebrate a birthday? On the other hand, you would certainly want to ruin a surprise terrorist attack. So how does one properly respond to the question, “Can you keep a secret?” What do you teach your children?

Here are some rules to help one keep their integrity:


1.   Don’t make blind promises. The first line of response is the statement, “It depends!” Let the person asking the question know that you do not keep bad secrets, that you will sing like a canary if needed to protect lives or liberty, that you are totally unwilling to enter into a secret combination to protect wrong doers.


2.   Next ask, “Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it true?” This question will eliminate secrets in the gossip category. The key to this question is getting a two out of three response. If it is kind and true… tell on! If it is necessary and true but not kind, negotiate a solution to enable the necessary part.


3.   Make your standards known: let them be a light to the world, and turn it on bright! If your standards are good and your integrity above question, the mere fact that this is known to the world will repel evil, peer pressure from the unrighteous seeks easy targets. Enemies of righteousness seek weak targets and work in darkness.


The world is being flooded with personal secrets, corporate secrets, political secrets and national secrets. Some of these secrets are good and necessary, some are dangerous secrets kept by groups forming secret combinations that destroy life, liberty and livelihood. You may think that a secret combination will never involve you in evil. You may have no intention to ever be involved, but you never know when danger will present itself on the doorstep of your sanctuary.


Have you ever been asked to lie, cheat or steal? Don’t wait until the stakes are high and your life, livelihood, liberty or the lives of your loved ones are at stake. Plant your stake in the ground and stand for truth and righteousness. Then, when evil surrounds you, no one will ever dare ask you, “Can you keep a secret?” Instead, they will do everything to keep you from discovering their secret’s awful truths.

End of the journey

August 3, 2007

By Janet Walgren
Today I found a quote that I really like. It reminds me of my philosophy for living life:

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow – What a ride!'”

~Peter Sage

If parents really understood this, internalized this, and realized that this is the plan of Heaven, I wonder how they would parent differently. If a child is never given feet then wings, how can they turn around and teach their own children how to fly?

Family roll call

June 17, 2007

By Janet Walgren
I just got home from spending father’s day with my dad and some of my family. We did a family head count and figured out that my dad currently has 106 direct decedents and 43 in-laws and step grandchildren for a grand total of 149. Two of his grand-daughters are expecting and several are yet unmarried. We all have a love for life that is a direct result of my dad’s influence.

The roll call and family report was interesting. The one thing that stood out above the rest was the thought that came as our family attended my cousin’s missionary farewell. Her husband is the new mission president for the Everett WA mission and they will be leaving for their mission this week. For the last two weeks they have been visiting the parents of all the missionaries who are there now, or have been called to go in the near future. About 50 of the missionaries’ parents attended the farewell. That was impressive, but then I thought of my parents and the 106 direct decedents and how much missionary work that represented.

My uncle’s family has been equally prolific and that is just the tip of the iceberg if you go back another generation. I know that parents who teach their children are actually teaching a nation. What better work could there possibly be than the work of parents in the home?

After Shirley’s comment, I had to verify some facts to make sure that this old mind had things straight. I didn’t. Shirley, the record for the number of people who slept on the living room floor is 47 out of 80.

Today my dad was put under notice that he will probably have a house full for the next two weeks as certain families come to visit. The wonderful thing is that he loves it. I can remember going to my dad’s house for dinner once and a ton of family showed up just about dinner time. My parents just performed the miracle of the loaves and the fishes and kept cutting the dinner portions in half. By the time I arrived, they gave me a pork chop bone for dinner, and you know what… it was delicious. Just like my family. They are deliciously interesting, exciting and diverse. Even with all of their faults (and we certainly have them) I can’t think of anything better than family. They are a blanket that wraps me in love.

Happy Father’s Day

June 17, 2007

By Janet Walgren
I would like to thank my father for honoring my mother. My father and mother never fought; perhaps they should have a time or two but they never did. I have always known that my father loved my mother and I appreciate that about him.

My father was a good provider. We were never hungry, homeless or lacking the necessities of life. I’m sure that wasn’t easy for a father on ten children.

My father is careful in his hygiene, dress, and appearance. He was and still is always well groomed. If dad was working in the yard and was suddenly called to give someone a blessing, dad would take the time to clean up and put on his Sunday clothes to pay the visit. He afforded his family the same courtesy. This is something that I very much appreciate in a man especially nowadays.

It was my father who gave me my love for learning. I remember going to classes with him at the University of Utah when I was little. I remember the physics lab, the flight simulator, the math class and the planetarium.  I remember coming home from college and fencing with dad in the driveway. Those were the good old days when I was 4 and 5.

Then there were the fun times with the boy scouts. My dad was the scout master and I got to go on their hikes; I rode piggy back on the boy’s shoulders and they never seemed to mind.  The family also went on the scout campouts with him.

It was my dad who instilled a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ in me and taught me about God. When he was the stake mission leader, he would take me with him for cottage meetings and he taught me the flannel board discussions. I also got to travel with him throughout the stake when he was assigned to talk in other wards; it was a very large state back then and we would travel to small towns with exotic names like Hiawatha where we would hold church in the Odd Fellows Hall after cleaning up the beer cans from the night before.

My dad has always been worthy to bless his family. We can trust him.

My dad gave me my love of the outdoors and my love for life.  Camping and fishing were common activities in my younger years. At 83 my dad can still out ride any of his grandsons on a bicycle and he has a membership to Gold’s Gym. He helps my brothers take out big trees for the neighborhood widows. He keeps his large yard up and does the yard work and gardening for two of the neighbors as well.

My dad is a good citizen and he has been very politically active. He was a delegate for the Republican convention and a constituent representative for Senator Orin Hatch. I am a conservative but fiercely independent so we clash here but it was dad who inspired my love for the constitution and politics.

My dad is a good man a terrific father, grandfather and great grandfather. I don’t know off the top of my head what the family head count is now, but we are over 100 strong and still counting so his influence is deep.

I can say all this because one man had one wife and honored her. Thanks Dad! 

Happy Father’s Day.  I love you!

The teenage crush & the drive by

June 3, 2007

By Janet Walgren
I can’t think of any subject that is more sensitive than “The Teenage Crush”. Each of my daughters was very different when it came to boys, and as for Kris, what can I say, the girls loved him. I can remember Kris walking to church with a basket of flowers that he had purchased for a girl. He was so nervous that he started picking the petals off the flowers saying, “She loves me. She loves me not.” I think that he would have stripped the flowers bare if it hadn’t been for him walking smack dab into the middle of a sign post. The basket of flowers ended up in a waste basket in the church foyer.

One time we were having a birthday party for Kris and a girl slipped him a love note. Kris read it and nodded a thank you then said, “Hey mom, this is really cool. Look!” I thought the girl was going to die on the spot. His friends gasp and queried, “You let your mom read your notes?” It didn’t cool things down any; the girls just solicited my help after that.

Jamie was a little different. Well a lot different. When a guy called her the first time, her sister handed her the phone and said, “It’s Chris!” Jamie thought it was her brother, Kris and was so stunned (you know that deer in the headlights kind of thing) that she hung up on the poor guy. A few days later the guy ran across town (a long up hill jaunt) to see her and she shut the door in his face. I asked her, “What’s the matter? “Don’t you like him?” Sure she replied. She had a fine way of showing it. We didn’t tease her. It was taboo.

When Helen noticed boys, they noticed her back. She was our social butterfly. One day in a life skills class, a guy who had a long time crush on her looked at her homework. They were supposed to design a house, set it up on paper and furnish it on a budget. Helen chose a king-size bed and had drawn the floor plan for the bedroom- furniture and all. When Nick saw it he said, “Boy, Helen, that bed is big enough for three husbands! Nick was red faced with disbelief that he had actually blurted it out loud.

Helen laughed and said, “Well Nick, how many husbands do you plan on having?”

Nick replied, “One… one WIFE!” The entire class was staring and laughing at him. He continued, “Blonde hair, blue eyes, wearing a blue jean jacket…” Helen giggled and gave him a light kiss on the forehead saying, “Nick, you’ll always be my good friend.”

With the kiss and the soft words, Nick recovered and said, “Hark, I’ve been kissed,” and the class went on as normal.

A few years later, we were living across town in a beautiful forested area by the Spokane River. We often drove along the bluff and looked down to see the grandeur of nature in our backyard. A moose would wade into the river and use his antlers to throw water on his back, and there were deer and birds and other wildlife.

One day we discovered that one of the houses along that road belonged to a guy that Helen had a crush on and all of a sudden our ride became a “drive by,” at least to Helen, and thus it was dubbed. We started to tease her and would burst into song.. “I often drove down this street before, but the pavement always stayed beneath my wheels before…” as we drove by. Helen loved it and often on our way home from church or the city, Helen would beg for a drive by.

All was in good fun and the guy never knew about it, but one night, Jamie was driving and there was a dense fog. Jamie couldn’t even see the road and just wanted to get home, but Helen was begging for a drive by. Finally I said, “Jamie it is only one block out of the way. Just humor your sister. What will it hurt?” Obediently, Jamie turned the car down the block, but when we got to the guys house, Jamie stood on the brakes and laid on the horn. Everyone screamed, “Jamie!!!” As I said, “Step on the gas. Step on the gas. Step on the gas.” I think that was Jamie’s favorite drive by.

Cruising Center Street at Midnight

June 1, 2007

By Janet Walgren 
One night I was just entering a state of peaceful slumber when my son woke me stating that his older brother sneaked out of the house and was headed for Center Street with his friend. Center Street in Provo wasn’t a terrible place; Provo at it worst is actually pretty tame, and I wasn’t as worried about the street or the consequences of this daring adventure as I was about his behavior. We needed to talk.

Well, being Super Parent, I arose and put on my Super Hero costume. I can’t remember what I wore that night, but I had a stash of “I would rather be dead than to be seen with my mother when she is wearing that costume!” clothing. It was a tradition and my children had their own costumes as well. I rallied the troops and when we were appropriately attired, we got in to our car and headed for Center Street just in time to pick up Kris and his friend a few blocks from destination zero.


“Get in the car!” I commanded. They knew that they were busted and obediently climbed in the car. On queue, their siblings scooted to the center so the boys each had a window seat. “What do you think you are doing sneaking out of the house like that?” I inquired. The boys said that they wanted to go see all the older kids that parked on Center Street to hang out on Friday night.


“So… you want to hang out on Center Street do you? Well, tell you what; I think that is a great idea! Don’t mind if we join you, do you?” The boys groaned as their siblings laughed with delight. “Everybody roll down your windows, we’re almost there,” I announced.


With that, I slowed the car to a crawl and started saying loud how-do-you-dos to the kids sitting on the hoods of the cars parked on both sides of the street. “Nice baby you’ve got there!” to the teenage mother, and “I like your date!” to the guy on the curb petting his dog. “Cigarettes will kill you,” to the guy who was lighting up. “Aren’t you too young to drink?”… The kids caught the spirit of the occasion and started to pitch in.


When we came to the end of the six block stretch, I asked the boys how they liked cruising Center Street. They said it was real fun. “Tell you what, I’ll just let you guys get out here, and I’ll make my way back up to other end of the street, and I’ll park and wait for you their. I’d hate to ruin all of your fun.”


Now I would like to note here that although I do have exceptional kids, at 13 years of age, Kris wasn’t exactly a rocket scientist, but he was wise enough to know that walking back up the street that we just drove down while heckling the older kids wasn’t the most brilliant or safe idea. “No thanks mom,” he replied, “It would be more fun driving back up the other side with you.”


When we got home, everybody drank hot chocolate and ate cookies while we talked about the dangers of the night especially where their other parents lived. (I had nine children including step-children that summer and some lived in dangerous cities.) We talked about the buddy system and the importance of a parent, guardian, or friend knowing where you were, how long you were going to be there, when you were going to be home, and the importance of checking in if your plans altered.


How you fight the battles of life is just as important as choosing which battles you fight. When my children remember our night cruising Center Street, they laugh. I laugh too, because I know they are safe. To discipline is to teach and I love a happy student.


Ring, ring, “Hello”…

“Grandma where are you?”

“I’m driving up the coast highway getting close to Astoria.”

“Well it’s getting dark. Don’t you think it’s about time you were getting home?”


Warning! Be careful of the lessons you teach. They can come back to haunt you. Seriously, I don’t have an ankle bracelet, but I do have a cell phone…compliments of a concerned son-in-law. Thi…thank you. I appreciate your love and concern. It feels good to know I am loved.