He was called “Yoyo” when I first met him in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia in 1977. He’d been called to work with the Elders serving in that beautiful city where I was also serving. Our mission president asked that I spend time with Yoyo helping him with his English. Every single time we met he’d begin with “I want to tell you about my missionary experiences!” (In Indonesian). He was “on fire.” He was like the “energizer bunny!” He became and remains a dear, dear friend… teman. He deserves at least a dozen “SHOUT-OUTS.” His life and ministry have reached out to thousands, including me. He served a full-time mission, had many Church callings, married a beautiful faithful Saint named Steffi (who had also served a mission), had wonderful children, now some grandchildren. He lost his beloved Jaredita (who passed away in Phoenix; she was on her way to BYU; that is another story for another time). I got to see him and Steffi when they came to the MTC in Provo when he was called as MTC president in Indonesia, and then again when he was called as mission president there. Eventually he was called as an Area General Authority, and it is IMPOSSIBLE to tell you of his influence on oh so MANY in and out of the Church. (I’m having a hard time condensing his extraordinary life!!). I got to see him when he’d come for General Conference for the 10 years he served in that calling: 2003 to 2013). He served during the devastating tsunami following the huge earthquake in Sumatra (2006). One of my brothers, John, was in Jakarta in 2014 and took Yoyo and Steffie and other family members and 15 missionaries to breakfast. Yoyo reported: Dear Sister Edmunds: This morning, 15 missionaries, Steffi, my son Ezra and his fiancee and myself enjoy the “Super bagus” breakfast at the Kempinski Hotel … banyak makanan yang hebat!!!  We all were filled much with nutrient and mineral..  I think I gain 2 pounds when I finished breakfast.  we thank John for his generosity.   We hope he will have more business in Jakarta so I can be gemuk!!  Thank you for  connecting me with John …dia orang yang sangat bagus!! we love you and hope to see each other again someday!! I won’t translate… you get the idea (smile).

One of the reasons for a SHOUT-OUT now is because of something sent to me by my dear friend Sharon Barrus, whose son Seth served in Indonesia and had the blessing of knowing Joshua Subandriyo (President Packer gave him a first name – most in Indonesia have just one name… like Noah, Moses, Adam, etc.)

WEDNESDAY 03 MAY 2017 (Sent 5:18 AM yesterday from JAKARTA)

Reyhan Mahendra and I spent a happy moment a few minutes ago at his hospital bed prior to our surgery tomorrow morning. He will have my kidney tomorrow. He is 22 and just graduated in dentistry. He has been on dialysis for over a year. We didn’t know each other until 5 months ago when his mother and my wife met at the kidney out-patient clinic. My wife gave her phone number to her without knowing that Reyhan and I have the same blood type. One night she called Steffi and I talked to Rayhan’s Mom and asked her son’s blood type. She told me that he has B+, immediately I told her I want to give my kidney to her son. To make the story short, our kidneys match and tomorrow morning is the D-DAY. I am happy to contribute a better future for Reyhan. It will bring joy to him and his family, his own future family and his community. I figure out that heaven doesn’t need two kidneys, one is enough to be there.

He later sent a note: “I am recovering.”

I could never say enough about this dear friend, Joshua (“Yoyo”) Subandriyo. All I can say is that the shout-out is genuine but oh so inadequate . . . .




I might get punished, shouted at, or even fired for doing this, but I can’t seem to help mee-self! I’m posting a shout-out to a friend whom I haven’t seen in way too long: Alice Warner Johnson. I read her article in the December Ensign (shared below) and felt sad that I hadn’t kept in touch with her. The “connection” started many years ago. During my childhood in Cedar City, one of my best friends, Betsy, often had visits from her cousin Susan Lillywhite (and it seems like Susan’s Mother knew my Grandmother Mary Middleton in Calif… but that may be a faulty memory… I have NO “hard drive,” and my brain has only about 3 GB of memory….). I always liked Susan. She was fun to be around and very bright. She eventually married Terry Warner, and what a team! Most of you probably know both of them (Susan was in the general presidency of the Primary, and Terry is an extraordinary, thoughtful soul who has accomplished SO much… he even did some early “Time Out for Women” events). Many years ago, Terry and Susan invited me to come to a Family Home Evening (I think this is something they did frequently – inviting guests to come). They asked me to share experience and feelings about being a missionary in Asia. They have 10 children… I’m not sure how many were present on that evening, but they had a LOT of great questions for me. I loved and respected them very much. And I still do!  And I just have to say that I could not “do justice” to Terry, Susan, Alice, or any other family member. I’m just “skimming along the surface.” (Just so you know).

Their second child is Alice. Amazing Alice. We were in touch for several years. One specific memory I have is when she spoke at the BYU Women’s Conference in 1995 on “Why I Love the Brethren.” (I’ll post that talk tomorrow). I was SO impressed by her message – the content, certainly, but also by her poise in teaching us. I could list a lot of accomplishments for this “accomplished” woman (including her work with the Arbinger Institute, found by her father), but she’s probably already pretty ticked off at me even doing this Blog post . . . .  I’ve met a lot of wonderful people in my 76 years, and there are many whom I regret losing contact with. Alice is in that group – people I wish I’d been able to stay close to because of the lovely, powerful, happifying, thought-provoking influence their friendship brought. Thank you, Alice for being YOU!! And for you readers of this morning’s Blog, here is the article from the December Ensign.

HEAVY TRIALS, TENDER MERCIES – By Alice Warner Johnson – Ensign, December 2016 (The author lives in Idaho, USA)  (And here’s a picture of Paul and Alice)


As one who has had to endure tribulation, I have learned that Heavenly Father can turn our suffering for our good.

After I became partially bedridden with multiple sclerosis (MS), I was asked to speak at a Relief Society meeting on the topic “When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade.” At that point I was no longer able to sing, play the piano or cello, conduct a choir, or even walk—activities that had brought me much joy in the past. However, along with these trials, I have experienced many unexpected blessings. So I altered the title of my talk to reflect what I have learned: “Trust in God That When Life Gives You Sour Lemons, He Will Make for You a Sweet Lemonade.”


My nine siblings and I were raised by faithful parents. My years of growing up, attending college, serving a full-time mission in Taiwan, working in Boston, and preparing for marriage to my husband, Paul, were very happy. By early 1999, we had two children, and Paul was serving as the bishop of our ward.

One morning I awoke with my left eye throbbing. An eye doctor sent me to the local hospital for a scan, which revealed that I had at least 12 cerebral and spinal lesions affecting my nerves. The multiple sclerosis was already widespread.

My husband, my father, and my brother gave me a priesthood blessing, which taught me two significant and unforgettable things. First, Heavenly Father had not inflicted me with this terrible disease. It was simply a consequence of coming to earth in a mortal body to have experiences that would help me grow. Second, I was told that Heavenly Father would not allow anything to happen to me that could not be turned for my good.

Later, in another blessing, I learned that there would be a significant period of time before I would experience the extreme difficulties that accompany my disease. During this period, and against strong medical advice, I gave birth to two more children. When Paul was released as bishop, we sold our home and moved to the Boise area in Idaho.


It was during this period that the crippling effects of MS increased dramatically and, step by step, left me unable to do most things for myself. I had to decide how I was going to meet these challenges.

I began to see that Heavenly Father knew and appreciated our efforts to bring children into the world with a timing that would make it possible for them to know and learn from their mother before she became too infirm. This was just one of the tender mercies of the Lord that were given to me (see Psalm 69:16).

I also came to realize that I was being more than compensated for the loss of my musical abilities. Music—singing, playing, composing, and conducting—had been a joyful cornerstone of my earthly existence that I assumed would continue with me all my life. Instead, my delight in music found expression in my children. They all sing beautifully. Among them there is a flutist, a violinist, a cellist, and a composer and arranger. Several of them play the guitar and the piano. They not only honor and enjoy their musical gifts but also love using them to serve others. Often I have asked myself, “Given the choice between keeping my musical talents and having such talents blossom in my children, which would I choose?” The answer to that question has been made plain to me as my mother-heart has recognized what a sweet gift my children’s musical talents have been to us all.

Beyond the blessings of my children and their music, I have discovered the power—even the glory—of the loving-kindness of others. I have to be lifted, washed, dressed, and fed throughout the day, and many are the precious souls who have come to help me day after day. Family and friends from my past write, call, and travel long distances to visit and assist me. Many of those who have served me are burdened with their own hardships and trials, and yet they have not forgotten me. In their kindness I have seen the Lord’s outstretched hand as He provides to me an overflowing bounty in my seemingly hopeless situation. This reminds me that “after much tribulation come the blessings” (D&C 58:4).


I believe that it is my Heavenly Father who has turned my trials into learning opportunities. I think of those I know and realize that they, too, face difficult challenges. For most of us, life does not unfold as we once imagined that it would. Nevertheless, for those who strive to remain faithful, the challenges that at first appear as sour lemons in our lives will ultimately be turned into the sweetest lemonade—through the loving-kindness of our God.

WHAT A WONDERFUL ARTICLE FROM A WONDERFUL SOUL!  Have you read any of her books?


I’m going to add something else to this “shout-out tribute.” It’s a hymn Alice wrote in 2000. She wrote both the words and the music.


O Lord, who gave they life for me, I come now in humility,

And here my sacrifice impart; A contrite soul, a broken heart.

O may thy love in mercy shine, And bind my sorrowing heart to thine.

Upon the alter here I lay my pride, My hurt, each willful way.

My burden all of sin and care, And in its place thy yoke I’ll bear.

O may thy love my soul refine, And bind my trusting heart to thine.

My heart is full of love for thee Because I know thou first loved me.

Now by that love I’ll seek to live, And freely, like thyself, forgive.

O may thy love my life define, And bind my willing heart to thine.

And as I strive to thus endure With cleaner hand and heart more pure,

In all around I see thy face And feel the bounties of thy grace.

O savior may thy love divine Now bind my grateful heart to thine.


Paul, Alice and children a few years ago



I am one who strongly believes that we need to be conscious of keeping CHRIST in CHRISTMAS. But I also love the sweet magic of Santa, which adds to the love and joy and excitement of Christmas. I ran across this story (which many of you may have seen already) which touched my heart and soul so deeply. I hope you’ll enjoy it too.


This is Santa – Eric Schmitt-Matzen. He shares his love and magical joy in Knoxville, Tennessee.  A columnist (Sam Venable) shared an experience which Santa had. When I read the story, I cried. It touched my heart and soul so deeply. The story begins when Santa got a call after work. “It was a nurse I know at the hospital,” Schmitt-Matzen told the News-Sentinel. “She said there was a very sick 5-year-old boy who wanted to see Santa Claus.” Schmitt-Matzen, whose 300-pound frame and REAL white beard make him a popular Santa in the Knoxville area, got to the hospital in 15 minutes and requested that anyone leave the room if they were about to cry. Here is what happened, as related by this wonderful Santa:  ‘”They say I’m gonna die,’ he told me. “How can I tell when I get to where I’m going?” “I said, ‘Can you do me a big favor?'” “He said, ‘Sure!'” “When you get there, you tell ’em you’re Santa’s Number One elf, and I know they’ll let you in.” “He said, ‘They will?'” “I said, ‘Sure!'” “He kinda sat up and gave me a big hug and asked one more question: ‘Santa, can you help me?'”  “I wrapped my arms around him. Before I could say anything, he died right there. I let him stay, just kept hugging and holding on to him.”  After the boy’s family realized that he had died, Schmitt-Matzen said he left the hospital and cried all the way home. “I was a basket case for three days. It took me a week or two to stop thinking about it all the time” … “Actually, I thought I might crack up and never be able to play the part again.”  Schmitt-Matzen considered hanging up his red suit, but then he saw some children laughing and playing, and he changed his mind. “It made me realize the role I get to play,” said the part-time Santa. His is a different Christmas story than most of them, but oh how glad I am that he shared it! Bless you, dear Santa! Here’s a huge SHOUT-OUT to you from a very small Blog “out west….”  God bless you!

And here’s a picture of Santa and “Mrs. Claus.”




I might get in “Big Trouble” for posting this, because I didn’t ask for permission . . . but I’m going to do it anyway. It happified me SO MUCH! And I think it brings the sweet, powerful “spirit of Christmas” to my heart. So here goes: A SHOUT OUT to Ruth and Lisa. Ruth is our stake Primary president, and Lisa is one of her counselors. They both have a streak of FUN in them, combined with a generous amount of kindness and goodness. So on Thursday, they put on Santa hats, got some jingle bells, and went to the Post Office with 3 dozen glazed donuts!! YES! They went along (doing their “HO HO HO” thing!), passing out the donuts to all the people in the long, LONG line (we all know what it’s like at this time of year). They also shared with the P.O. workers, who, they said, acted like they couldn’t believe that there was actually someone SMILING – some SMILING going on in that place! They said it was a bunch of FUN! It makes MEE smile just thinking about everyone there and what might have been their reaction. Things like “Why didn’t I think of that?” Or “Oh what a KIND thing to do!” Or even some feelings of “I shouldn’t be so impatient and obnoxious when I’m in a long line….”  And the reason this is a SHOUT OUT is that it takes a lot of LOVE (combined with courage, kindness, and the CHILD inside) to pull off something like that. So here’s to YOU, Ruth and Lisa!! THANK YOU for shining such a happy, bright LIGHT, for being so courageous and hilarious, and for helping to spread the JOY that is Christmas!! (I think it might be INFECTIOUS! Note to those reading: Are YOU thinking of perhaps doing something similar??)









Many of you will remember who he is, and, if so, you’ll probably agree 100% with this shout-out. Mattie’s full name is: Matthew Joseph Thaddeus Stepanek, but he went by Mattie (whew). He was born on 17 July, 1990. His parents divorced when he was a child. He wanted to be remembered as “a POET, a PEACEMAKER, and a PHILOSOPHER WHO PLAYED.” Mattie suffered from a rare form of muscular dystrophy. His three older sibilings died from the same thing. His mother Jeni was diagnosed with the same disease in 1992, after all four children had been born.


Before his death (at the age of 13), he had become known as someone who loved and encouraged PEACE, and as a motivational speaker.  President Jimmy Carter said of Mattie: “he was the most extraordinary person whom I have ever known.” Oprah Winfrey met him in 2001 when he was just 11 years old, and he became one of her favorite guests. He was wise beyond his years, and she always introduced him as an extraordinary little boy.


He began writing poetry at the age of three. In his book Heartsongs, Mattie shares wonderful thoughts – his “heartsongs” – which are truly beautiful (incredible!). Some of his artwork is also included.


Mattie died in Washington D.C. on 22 June, 2004. He is buried at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Silver Spring, Maryland. Shortly after his death, the non-profit “Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation” was established by a group of citizens in Rockville, Maryland, where he lived. On 21 October, 2008, the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park was dedicated in Rockville. Oprah Winfrey and others were there.


Central to the park is the “Peace Garden,” based on the peace imagery Mattie used in his book Just Peace: A Message of Hope.  In the Peace Garden there is a life-size bronze statue of Mattie and his service dog Micah, surrounded by chess tables.  Throughout the park there are quotes and “soundbites” from Mattie.


Pepper Choplin set words from Mattie’s final peace speech to music, and a 100-voice choir performed “Look Up Way Down.”


On 06 June 2010, a performance of “Heartsongs” took place at Carnegie Hall in New York City, featuring Mattie’s poetry set to music by Joseph Martin, performed by a 200-voice combined children’s choir and others.


In 2011, Oprah Winfrey named Mattie as one of her all time most memorable guests in the 25-year history of her show. During the final taping, Mattie’s Mother Jeni and Oprah shared memories of Mattie. Oprah called him “a messenger for our times.”


On 21 September, 2012, the Mattie T.M. Stepanek Guild was initiated with the purpose of gathering information and investigating Mattie’s life for the possible Caus of Canonization in the Catholic Church. On 22 June 2014, a memorial mass at the Franciscan Monastery in Washington DC commemorated Mattie’s 10-year death anniversary.


Many other honors and celebrations have been held in honor of the short life of this amazing, wonderful messenger of peace.


There is a FACEBOOK PAGE in his honor and memory.


MATTIE WITH OPRAH WINFREY IN 2001  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2Rg9TTuoDE


QUOTES BY MATTIE   http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/mattie_stepanek.html




I’ve been fascinated by the amount of response to a quote I posted on Facebook on “Friday the 13th” (of May). It’s a picture of Sister Marjorie Pay Hinckley with her quote about preferring to laugh instead of cry (she said crying gives her a headache). There have been almost 30,000 views! I’m so excited about that!!  I’m giving her a SHOUT-OUT today!


I love this incredibly bright, wonderful soul. I remember right where I was when I heard that she had passed away.  I was in the Jordan River Temple with a group of missionaries who had served in Indonesia along with some Indonesian Saints. We were waiting in a hallway to go into a room where, for the first time anywhere in any Temple, we would have everything in Bahasa Indonesia – the Indonesian language (using headsets). It was Tuesday, 06 April, 2004 (has it really been 12 years?). Someone had heard of Sister Hinckley’s passing and shared the news with the rest of us….  Memories flooded back into my mind and heart.


I was sent to the Southern Far East Mission in 1962. Our mission had 3 zones at the time, and I had the blessing of serving in all 3 during my 2 years. I spent my first 4 months in Taiwan, then 5 months in Hong Kong, and my last 17 months as one of the first sister missionaries in the Philippine Islands.  Not long after my companion and I arrived in the Philippines, we received word that our mission president, Jay A. Quealy, had been critically injured in an accident in Hong Kong.  In all three zones we fasted and prayed for him. At first it was determined that he would be released – he was going to be hospitalized for a long time.  Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, who had been an Apostle just since October of 1961 (he’d been an assistant to the Twelve for 3 years), was supervising the Asia area at the time. President Quealy pleaded to remain as mission president. In my journal I wrote “in my opinion President Quealy can do more lying down than ten presidents could do on their feet.”  A decision was made to honor that request. This meant that Elder Hinckley would come to visit us several times.


What a blessing for us missionaries and the members!  I really enjoyed him, including his wonderful sense of humor. Sometimes he brought Sister Hinckley with him, and oh what a treasure she was! I was young and pretty naïve, so with no thought that it might be inappropriate to write to a General Authority, I wrote some letters to him and his family. One time I had what I thought was a very clever idea.  We had an abundance of tiny little bugs and critters in the Philippines (ants, fleas, bed bugs, termites, mosquitoes, flies, baby cockroaches…).  I got an idea to make my own “letter-head stationery, using a collection of these “critters!”  I got some clear tape, and I’d put a variety of critters on the tape and make what I thought was a very unusual, attractive stationery. I began sending these letters to “everyone,” knowing they’d be impressed, and that the little critters would be cheered and cherished. One of these letter-head pieces of home-made stationery was sent to Elder and Sister Hinckley far away in Utah. Yes – I really did do this.


The next time Sister Hinckley came (with Elder Hinckley and their youngest daughter, Jane) was in October of 1963. Sister Hinckley told me that she had a surprise for me! Wow! I was SO surprised and excited!!  In Hong Kong we often had a treat called “Smarties,” kind of like “M and M’s,” which came in long cardboard tubes, similar to something which would hold pens and pencils.  She gave me one of these “Smartie tubes” with a very happy smile.


Oh! I loved Smarties! I opened the tube … and out came a lively little GEKKO!! That was more of a surprise than I’d anticipated!!  She let me know – with kindness and good humor – that the gecko would help cut down on the critter population in our little home in the Philippines . . . in other words, her message was that by the time my letter crossed oceans and mountains, taking MANY days, the “letter-head” did NOT have a pleasant smell….  She let me know that ONE of those letters was even more than enough!


Oh, we laughed and laughed. She had the best laugh!!  Infectious!  I loved her SO much! I’m glad our paths crossed several more times before she was called Home.   She was REAL! And to her, WE were real too!!


So I’m more than thrilled at the response to her quote which I posted on Facebook on “Friday the 13th.”  I want to share a few more of her quotes and hope you’ll enjoy them!




I’m honoring this great soul on my Blog this morning. I look forward to meeting her “Over There” someday. Here is a sincere SHOUT-OUT to HARRIET TUBMAN!


She will soon become the first African-American to appear on U.S. currency (what took so long??).


What a wonderful thing!  This will help all of us to be reminded of what an incredibly bright, courageous, GOOD woman she was (and still is!). As someone said, her image now will be passed through our hands again, not as a “slave commodity,” but rather as validated currency.


Many will wonder: “Who is she? What do I know about her? Why is she being honored in this way?”


Well… Harriet Tubman is “right on the money,” you might say. She lived an AMAZING life!!  She was born Araminta Ross in Maryland around 1820-22. When she married, she changed her first name to Harriet, her Mother’s first name. She died of pneumonia on 10 March, 1913.


She was beaten and whipped by her various masters as a child. Early in her life she suffered a traumatic head would when an irate slave owner threw a heavy metal weight intending to hit another slave and hit her instead. The injury caused dizziness and pain and trouble sleeping throughout the rest of her life (and is visible in the few pictures of her).


She was a devout Christian and experienced strange visions and vivid dreams, which she ascribed to premonitions from God. (While I lived in Nigeria, I found the Africans to be very visionary, very spiritual).


In 1849, she escaped to Philadelphia, but then returned immediately to Maryland and made 13 MISSIONS to rescue approximately 70 enslaved family and friends. Slowly, one group at a time, she brought relatives with her out of the state, and eventually guided dozens of other slaves to freedom. She used the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the UNDERGROUND RAILROAD. Traveling by night and in extreme secrecy, Tubman (or “Moses,” as she was called) “never lost a passenger”.


She later helped abolitionist John Brown recruit men for his raid on Harpers Ferry.  She was an active participant in the struggle for women’s suffrage (and met Susan B. Anthony in this effort).  Her actions made slave owners anxious and angry, and they posted rewards for her capture.


But she kept going, and she helped many newly freed slaves find work.  When the Civil War began, she worked for the Union Army, first as a cook and nurse, and then as an armed scout and spy! She led an armed expedition in the war which liberated more than 700 slaves!!



After the war, she retired to the family home on property she had purchased in 1859 in Auburn, New York, where she cared for her aging parents.  Eventually illness overtook her and she had to be placed in a home for elderly Afriican-Americans that she had helped to establish years earlier.


On 20 April of this year (2016), the U.S. Treasury Department announced the plan for her to replace Andrew Jackson as the portrait on the $20 bill!  I read much, MUCH more about her (and you can do that if you have time and interest), but for now I’ll just give a MUCH-DESERVED SHOUT-OUT to this great, good soul!!





Two amazing women (whom I consider kind friends) are doing amazing things, along with many of YOU, responding to the “call to action” during the first session of the recent General Conference (the General Women’s session on 26 March 2016), and I invite you to “check in.”  Julie Barker Farr and Maryan Myres Shumway and two whom I know about who are responding. I did a SHOUT-OUT on Maryan a little while ago, and today’s SHOUT-OUT is for Julie. I met them both when they went through the MTC with assignments in Asia as welfare services missionaries. You look back at “SHOUT-OUTS” to learn about Maryan and her incredible service “all over the world.” And I know I should be doing a SHOUT-OUT to so many more of you, but today is Julie’s turn.


And now Julie and her family have begun a magnificent labor called “Hearts Tied Together.” She’s sent several of her children – sons and daughters – as missionaries, and some have served in Asia as well (I wish I could remember where they’ve all served… but I forget things from yesterday, let alone from a while ago). I met her wonderful daughter Lindsay (who recently had a beautiful baby girl, born on Christmas Eve!), who works in the Church History Department (Global Support and Acquisitions) and was so happy to find out the “connection” with Julie. I think this is a SHOUT-OUT to the whole family! Lindsay has a lot on her Facebook just like Julie — Lindsay Farr Harper. But enough about me trying to tell you of the whole family (although I wish I could!).

I think I can tell you most about their service opportunity and to ask you to help “SPREAD THE WORD.”  Here’s what Julie wrote on her FB page:  IT’S LAUNCHED! “Hearts Tied Together” is a service opportunity providing fleece blankets to refugee children that our family has initiated. https://heartstiedtogether.wordpress.com is the address of the website. It has all the instructions you need, including tutorial to get started! There is also a Facebook page: Hearts Tied Together. Please check them out and SHARE. We have a desperate need for blankets by April 27th that are being shipped to Armenia to help Syrian refugees there, though this is going to be an ongoing project for refugees both domestic and international. Thanks, friends! Together we can make a difference by sharing the project with others to get the word out!


I hope Julie, Lindsay, and the family will forgive me for going ahead and posting this without asking them first, but even if they punish me I’m so THANKFUL for what they’re doing, and I encourage you to respond and to let others know (PLEASE), especially if you have not yet had a chance to join the “I Was a Stranger” movement (or if you’d like to do even more).  THANK YOU!

An invitation

I’m giving a SHOUT-OUT to my friend MARYAN MYRES SHUMWAY this morning. I first met her when she was a missionary, and we became friends. Many of you reading this know I’m not the best at keeping in touch.  Maryan is a remarkable woman, an exceptionally kind and generous soul. She has spread love all over the world (literally!). She served with other welfare services missionaries in a refugee camp in Thailand, and since then she has made friends with individuals and families “here and there and EVERYWHERE.” This morning I noticed that she’d included me in a note saying there was something I might like. MIGHT???  It has moved me so deeply that I have to share it with any of you who are reading this and want an incredible experience. You go to Maryan’s Facebook page (she’s the Maryan Shumway living in Doha, Qatar) and scroll down to 10 March. Click on the place where she shares a celebration of women on International Women’s Day.

You may find that the music to “Small World” begins to invade your mind, while Maryan’s pictures and commentary will fill your heart to overflowing. You may find yourself shedding some tears as you meet some of the remarkable women she “highlights.” One of my favorite pictures one which was taken while she was working in the camp in Thailand. We put this picture in the book Something Extraordinary, celebrating the Sesquicentennial of Relief Society.
Here is Meak Chy, an illiterate Cambodian woman in her 80′ who I taught in the refugee camps. In a place of misery and fear, a refugee camp, she could routinely make 1,000 Cambodian refugees in a large pavilion explode with laughter. Her gift of laughter enlivened everyone around her. Blog post about Jidon, my Cambodian grandma

Enjoy the pictures and stories from this unique, “borderless,” filled-with-charity, never-met-a-stranger, Christ-like woman. (Can you tell that I’d like to add 100 more descriptions?  It’s true!) Have a beautiful, meaningful ST. PATRICK’S DAY in your part of this big/small world! Love, MEE



Today I’m giving a sincere, enthusiastic shout-out to Charles Shulz, the cartoonist who created “Peanuts” – Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy and all the rest.


There have been many times when I’ve seen one of his cartoons and it’s given me good things to think about, or made me laugh, or just helped me in some way. He’s loved and appreciated by so many – he’s regarded as one of the most influential cartoonists of all time. Bill Watterson, who created “Calvin and Hobbes,” said this: Peanuts pretty much defines the modern comic strip, so even now it’s hard to see it with fresh eyes.  The clean, minimalist drawings, the sarcastic humor the unflinching emotional honesty, the inner thoughts of a household pet, the serious treatment of children, the wild fantasies, the merchandising on an enormous scale—in countless ways, Schulz blazed the wide trail that most every cartoonist since has tried to follow.” That’s such high praise from a “fellow cartoonist.”


Shulz grew up in Minnesota (St. Paul). His father was born in Germany and his mother had Norwegian heritage.  His uncle called him “Sparky.”


He was pretty shy and timid as a teenager.  His mother died in February, 1943, after a long illness. He’d been very close to her.  About this time he was drafted into the U.S. Army and was a staff sergeant with the 20th Armored Division in Europe. He was a squad leader. After he was discharged in late 1945, he returned to Minneapolis.


Peanuts was first published on 02 October, 1950, in 7 newspapers. It eventually became one of the most popular comic strips of all time (as well as one of the most influential), and was published daily in 2,600 papers in 75 countries in 21 languages! I found out lots of interesting information about Charles Shulz – including the fact that he illustrated two volumes of Art Linkletter’s Kids Say the Darndest Things.


Shulz described his routine: Every morning he’d first eat a jelly donut, go through the day’s mail with his secretary, and then draw the day’s comic strip in his studio. After coming up with an idea (which he said could take a few minutes or a few hours), he began drawing. He never used assistants in producing the strip, and he refused to hire an inker or letterer – he said it would be the equivalent to a golfer hiring a man to make his putts for him.


Shulz received his star on the “Hollywood Walk of Fame” in June 1996 (it is adjacent to Walt Disney’s). Although Charlie Brown was named after a co-worker at a place where Shulz had worked, he admitted that he’d often felt shy and withdrawn in his life (like Charlie Brown).


Shulz moved to Santa Rosa, California, in 1969 and lived and worked there until his death in 2000.  He’d had heart bypass surgery in 1981, and during his hospital stay, President Ronald Reagan phoned to wish him a quick recovery.  In November 1999, Shulz suffered several small strokes, and later was found to have colon cancer which had metastasized. Because of the chemotherapy and the fact that he couldn’t see clearly, he announced his retirement on 14 December, 1999. This was very, very difficult for him.  He said “I never dreamed that this was what would happen to me. I always had the feeling that I would probably stay with the strip until I was in my early eighties. But all of a sudden it’s gone. It’s been taken away from me. I did not take this away from me.”


Schulz was asked if, for his final Peanuts strip, Charlie Brown would finally get to kick that certain football after so many decades (one of the many recurring themes in Peanuts was Charlie Brown’s attempts to kick a football while Lucy was holding it, only to have Lucy pull it back at the last moment, causing Charlie Brown to fall on his back). His response, “Oh, no. Definitely not. I couldn’t have Charlie Brown kick that football; that would be a terrible disservice to him after nearly half a century.” Yet, in a December 1999 interview, holding back tears, he recounted the moment when he signed the panel of his final strip, saying, “All of a sudden I thought, ‘You know, that poor, poor kid, he never even got to kick the football. What a dirty trick — he never had a chance to kick the football.’”


Shulz died in his sleep at home on 02 February 2000. The last original Peanuts strip was published the very next day. As part of his will, Schulz requested that the Peanuts characters remain as authentic as possible and that no new comic strips based on them be drawn. Schulz was honored on May 27, 2000, by cartoonists of more than 100 comic strips, who paid homage to him and Peanuts by incorporating his characters into their comic strips on that date. Shulz was the Grand Marshal of the Rose Parade on 01 January, 1974. He received Scouting’s Silver Buffalo Award and the Congressional Gold Medal, along with many other awards. Peanuts characters are part of “Peanuts on Parade” on the sidewalks of St. Paul, Minnesota.


Shulz’s widow said that “Sparky was a deeply thoughtful and spiritual man.  He read the Bible through three times and taught Sunday School, where he’d never tell people what to believe. God was very important to him, but in a very deep way, a very mysterious way.”