Monday, June 8, 2009


by Julie Anne Thornton

Okay, so it's here. School's out, the sprinkler's are on, and I am armed with enough sunblock to protect an army, or my army at least. Liquid protection for my miniature soldiers who stand at the front of the battlefield formerly known as home, but now since transformed into a lair of strict strategy.

I have to be shrewd, cunning in my effort to keep my troop from the leering threat of summer melt down. With a determined brow, I solemnly vow the words "We're bored" will not wave its menacing face within the walls of our fort.

I know, I hear your snickering. Go ahead, you can say it. Good luck sweetheart! The same sentiments haunted my head...but I forced them out, remaining firm--loyal to my goal.

Organized job schedules, piano practice, and structured reading time...and what happens?
Before I can take some sort, any sort of evasive action, the voices come. "What can we do? We're (oh no, please don't say it. Please...) bored!"


Take a deep breath, and then another. Think of a soothing...hold on. It appears a diaper clad soldier is clutching at my pant-leg and hollering through dramatic tears about something. What? Your doll...outside...over the fence?

Time to call in for reinforcements.

"Honey...when are you coming home?"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Scrapbooking Expo...a semi-annual retreat for women of paper-loving means.'s that time of year again. When the throng of scrapbookers make their bi-annual migration to Sandy, Utah for the long-awaited USA Scrapbook Expo. I, along with my loyal mother and sister-in-law join the rush of suitcases and totes as they race through the wide, carpeted hallways into the table-filled mecca of scrapbook heaven.

Paper stacked to the ceiling, adhesives, stamps, embellisments of every kind fill the arena. Why do we come? We are women.

It is within us to create. We are intrinsically designed to build upon that which is good, and make it better. We do this in scrapbooking. We take a simple photo, and transfom it into more than just paper and ink. We formulate it into a piece of geneological art.

Scrapbooking is journaling with flair. It is documenting our lives as mother's, daughter's, grandmother's, sister's, and friends in a three-dimensional approach. What could be better?

With that being said, I expect that two days from now, when we hoof it up with the drove of scrapbooker's trampling their way towards the crowded expo, I will happily bellow "Moo-re paper please!" with the rest of the herd.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


by Julie Anne Thornton

I still remember the morning my husband and I entered the cracked and mildewed bathroom of our one bedroom apartment, and peeked at the sleek plastic pregnancy test in my hand, it's small, square window glowing victoriously with a vibrant red plus sign.
We both burst into tears, hugging each other tightly, as visions of parenthood danced in our heads. profusion of tears come for a variety of reasons as I travel down the bumpy road of parenthood.

They come when my two-year old feels the need to become my personal hairdresser while I sit at my laptop, profusing through an eternal list of e-mail.
Needless to say, we're lucky my hair has multiple layers.

They show themselves when the same two-year old decides it would be a magnificant idea to use her big sister's blue nailpolish to re-paint the stairwell.

They leak through when my kindergartner (the crown diva herself), refuses to eat anything but ham sandwiches, "two pieces, toasted, with mayonnaise, and cut into four squares".

They teeter at the corners of my eyes when my eight-year-old son decides giving Mom a kiss on the lips is no longer "cool".

Sigh. But then, I have to remind myself about the other tears, the good tears.

Like the ones that come when my toddler throws her arms around my neck, her tiny lips slathering me with a large, wet kiss.

And the way my eyes well when my sandwich diva tells me she never wants to get married, because she wants to live with me forever.

Or the sprinkling that comes as I watch my son read a story to his baby sister, making her giggle as he points out the illustrations.

Of course, I can't forget the drops that form when my almost-eleven-year-old snuggles up to me, despite her ever-nearing proximity to teenagerhood, and says "I love you Mommy."

Those tears are the best, drowning out all others filed within the "less than desirable" category.

In short, neandering through the potholes of parenthood is not always an easy task, but I have to admit, those deep cracks sure make you appreciate the smooth stretches of road.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Death Is But Another Season

by Julie Anne Thornton

Each year, our family, like many others, looks forward to spending precious time together over the holidays.

We eagerly count down the days until that magical time when we: help the children hang a bundle of christmas ornaments on the fake-but-almost-real looking tree, frost three inch thick sugar cookies, listen to christmas carols until we just can't stand it anymore (this pertains more to Trent), and so on and so forth...

And thus the 2008 holiday season proceeded, the six of us running to and fro in our quest for the ultimate Christmas, blissfully unaware of the deeper spiritual repurcussions this particular Christmas would bring.

Aside from the gift-buying, party-going, food-consuming holiday Christmas has become; Trent and I do our best to direct our families thoughts on the Savior. Despite our best efforts, we still harbor small concerns as to whether our children feel the spirit of Christ as intimately as we'd like during our holiday celebrations.

This Christmas season, however, gifted us with a beautiful and personal reminder as to why we celebrate this sacred time of year.

About two weeks before Christmas, we received word that Trent's grandfather's health was failing, and he was not expected to live longer than a week. That evening, the six of us traveled to where Trent's grandfather lay bedridden, heavy with the knowledge this stop was more that just a casual visit; it was a good-bye.

The hour that followed was precious, as the spirit of peace enveloped us in its warm and tender hands. Trent's grandfather was fully conscious when we arrived-- a gift we will always cherish. Each of our children were able to wrap their little fingers in Great-Grandpa's large, knarled hands and tell him of their love for him. The return of love from Grandpa's eyes was unmistakable, and the spirit in the room was so strong, we knew it was a special and sacred time.

As I gave a final kiss on Trent's grandfather's wrinkled cheeks with tear-filled eyes and gently bade him farewell, an eternal truth echoed within the walls of my heart. "Families are Forever" it simply said, but the power behind its words consumed my entire being.

The funeral that followed was priceless, as our extended family and friends gathered around as we celebrated the life of an irreplacable father, grandfather, uncle, brother and friend. There were tears, yes, but also smiles and bubbles of laughter. It was a time of mourning, but also a time to celebrate life and love.

But, it does not end here.

The day after Christmas, we received another phone call informing us that my Grandmother's health was plummeting, and she was not expected to live longer than a week. The next morning, I received a second phone call from my father, informing me that my grandmother had passed peacefully away the prior evening.

Once again, we found ourselves driving to meet with extended family and friends to honor a beloved family member who's work on this earth was finished. We were blessed to reflect for a second time, on the life of a faithful woman who dedicated her life to church and family.

As we chatted with our extended familial network over scalloped potatoes and ceasar salad, I reflected on the unfathomable gift our Heavenly Father gave us with the birth of his son Jesus Christ; and on the unconditional love our elder brother holds for each one of us as he willingly sacrificed his life to fulfill the most precious of promises--eternal salvation.

So, that is why this Christmas was different from most. Why we held our children in our arms as we sat gathered around the brightly lit tree, and rehearsed to them again the great plan of salvation. And when my five year old with tears in her eyes said," But, I don't want you and Daddy to die," I could calm her fears with this promise, "Don't worry. We will always be together, because Jesus made it so we could."

And now, it is my prayer, that when the Christmas tree is pulled from the attic and "Jingle Bells" begins belting its famous tune over the air waves, my children will remember the unforgettable Christmas. The one that placed in their young hearts a personal witness regarding the truthfulness of forever families.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Festival of Trees

by Julie Anne Thornton

Through the air wafts the scent of fresh baked cinnamon bread and the muffle of hundreds of festive voices fills my ears. The cold rush of air disappears behind me as I enter through the wide metal doors.

It is only the beginning of my five hour journey within the carefully laid out square of rectangular tables flooded with mountains of mouth-watering treats.

Caramel colored peanut brittle and chocolate chip cookies the size of my hand hold my attention first, but are soon forgotten as I watch several soft strands of pink cotton candy sail effortlessly through the sweet-ladened air.

The weightless webs of sugar as they feather themselves above the head of unsuspecting festival goers, darting and flithering about, until finally making their escape from the bustling square of sweets and into the sea of twinkling cone-shaped lights.

I follow the wandering cotton down the linear path of meticulously decorated evergreen trees, row after row, awestruck with the labor of time, talent, and love individuals gifted in bringing such bright illumination to the seemingly endless ceiling of the exposition center.

I picture the lightened sky above me as more than just a ceiling, but a representation of something much more...a brightening of human hearts; hearts darkened by the cruel hand of disease, illness, and other physical obstacles.

I feel honored to be among these earthly angels, all giving a portion of themselves to those whom so much had been taken. Hundreds of volunteers, giving what they can, to help light one more encouraging bulb within the heart of a challenged family.

For those of you who do not know, the Festival of Trees is a fundraiser produced annually for Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is vital in helping raise funds for the treatment of children who's families do not otherwise have the means to pay for such astronomical expenses.

One hundred percent of all donations recieved through the fundraiser go directly to the hospital.

It is truly a labor of love.

I am grateful to all those who sacrificed intangible as well as monetary gifts to those precious children who struggle for nothing more than health and peace.

Merry Christmas and God Bless You!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Provident Books...My New Discovery

By Julie Anne Thornton

During a run to pick up a five-buck pizza from the local Little Ceasar's Restaurant, I decide to take a small detour.

A charming new book store, Provident Books, recently opened up in our little town of Pleasant Grove, and I am anxious to browse its shelves to see what little gems it might offer.

My first discovery reveals the store's presence serves a dual purpose. Yes, it is clearly designed for those who love the written word, but it also provides a wonderful opportunity for the littler folk, something similar to "Mr. Magorium's Magic Emporium"; but on a much smaller scale.

Upon entering the store, I stand chatting for several minutes with the young lady running the front counter, who instructs me on the workings of the bookstore. Provident Books carries the most recent winners from the Whitney Awards.

For those who are not familiar, the Whitney Awards are given by a writing group titled LDStorytellers, which is headed by an established and successful LDS author Rachel Ann Nunes.

After talking with the store employee, I spend several minutes dilly-dallying between the bookcases. The shelves are sparse, but I find a novel I've been wanting to read.

For the last several weeks, I'd heard several people speak about a novel by Glenn Beck titled "The Christmas Sweater". From the tatters of different whisperings, I found myself anxious to read more about the man whose life was altered by a jumble of woven thread.

I pick up the lovely red-covered book and my phone rings. It's my husband...and he's hungry.
"Where are you?"
"I'm picking up the pizza." I answer with an obvious "duh" sound in my voice.
"Has the whole world decided on pizza tonight?"
A woman in a bookstore always has a plan. "BYU versus Utes dear, what else can you expect?"
"Ah!" He sighs with understanding and I smile to myself.
"I'll be there soon." I say sweetly.

I pay for my book, but the cheerful employee spends several more minutes informing me about the wonderful educational toys they carry, and just before I walk out the door she reminds me to enter their drawing to win a replica of Laban's sword. I chuckle at the prospect of bringing a metal sword home to my eight-year-old son--our health insurance is good, but not that good.

I give the girl at the counter one last smile before continuing on my way. I know the clock is ticking, along with it my husband's starving patience.

Little Caesar's is every bit as busy as I anticipated, and before long my cell phone's melodious tune floats from my pocket.
"Only minutes now." I reply to the grumble on the phone.
He does his best to remain cool, but I know he's teetering.

At last, I grab my pepperoni pizza, garlic breadsticks and two-liter of root beer. My mission is accomplished and it's time to return home. I arrive just in the nick of time, taking several safe steps back as my ravenous family attacks the warm meal.

All is well.

Of course, I still have yet to tell my husband I bought a new book today. But that can wait--till after dinner.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


By Julie Anne Thornton

The clock continues to click down, until the time most Meyer fans have feverishly waited for...the arrival of "Twilight" to the big screen!

Earlier this week, I secured tickets from a friend of mine, who had a friend (still following?) who rented two screens at the local downtown theatre. I felt quite smug to be holding two coveted tickets for the Friday ten o'clock (in the morning, I might add) showing. I would be one of the first to witness Bella and Edward on film--Score!

But gets even better. During a meeting with a friend who works in film, I was invited to join a group he has gathered together to attend tonight's midnight viewing of the movie--Double score!

Please excuse me if I sound like I'm gloating, but...well, I guess I am. It appears now, I will be viewing the long-awaited film tonight, as well as tomorrow morning. Which throws me into a triple grand slam, or slam dunk, or...whatever. I've never been much of a sports fan; except during the bittersweet era when Karl Malone and John Stockton were at their height. My heart has never fully recovered from the dissolution of the "Dynamic Duo".

Aside from bouncing orange balls, I'm looking forward to a fun-filled twenty-four hours of "Twilight" madness. My husband, however, is still somewhat perplexed in his efforts to understand the purpose of seeing the movie twice within ten hours of each other.

My response was persuasive and insightful. "Why not?"

Enough said. I am eager to see how Hollywood fares in bringing to life Meyer's compelling story. Will it hold the same tone? Will I still be amused by Bella's dry sarcasm and Edward's mouth-watering (no pun intended) appeal? Only time will tell.

So now I must wait, and watch the minutes on the clock move with agonizing slowness, counting the seconds as they creep closer, and closer to the midnight hour--the hour of vampires.