Saturday, May 11, 2024

Women as influencers: Those who have and are influencing me!

"Women as influencers: Those who have and are influencing me!"

Throughout my life, I have been blessed and influenced by so many incredible, wonderful women. On Mother's Day, I honor all of them, especially my wife Joanne and daughters, Anna Rose and Hailey, and now my granddaughters, Emiline and Avonlea!

Joanne Boltz Hammon—Joanne has influenced me in so many wonderful ways over the past 44 years! I am truly who I am because of her. In every aspect of my life, Joanne has been there with counsel, support, influence, critique, kindness, comfort, and an extra push or two to propel me forward. She is the mother of our two daughters, Anna Rose and Hailey. She is the best example of an elect and precious daughter of a loving Heavenly Father that I know.

 Anna Rose and Hailey—Our two daughters are incredible, smart, independent, innovative, creative, professional, intuitive, hard-working, and courageous. They remind me so much of their mother and are marvelous mothers themselves.

Barbara Hammon—My mother was a sensitive, caring, tough, independent, and courageous woman. She had eight children and watched us grow up in so many different ways. She taught me to work and to be respectful. She expected me to be a good student and do my homework, which I did.

 Wilma Andersen Boltz—My mother-in-law loved and treated me like her own son. She created so many memories for our daughters. Her humor and her way of doing and saying things were always funny, surprising, intriguing, and delightful.

 Telecia, Shawna, Delaina, and Jaralyn—My four sisters have been very kind to me. Amazingly, they still love me despite me having been a challenging brother periodically as we grew up. I just hope they have realized I have grown up and strive to become better.

Emiline and Avonlea—My granddaughters are definitely gifts to us. While they are creative, bright, intelligent, beautiful, independent, and funny, they are still growing up and becoming who they need to be. We love watching them grow and develop.

Renae O. Merri R., and Sindy R.—These three were some of my best friends growing up in Menan, Idaho. They counseled me, patched my coat, helped me through challenging times, played a medley of hymns at my mission farewell, and have been exceptional examples of womanhood throughout my life.

Velma Dinsdale, Shirley Poole, and Illa Hunting—These three were my Cub Scout leaders. They pushed me to do so many projects that seemed beyond my capacity. Plus, they were mostly patient with eight- to ten-year old rambunctious boys.

Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Poole, Miss Bowman, Mrs. Jeppson, Mrs. Park, Mrs. Eames, and Mrs. Frew—Everyone can remember their elementary school teachers. These were mine—stoic, tough, kind, influential, encouraging, and willing to put up with my antics.

Dr. Marge Peek—My advisor at Boise State University. She was the associate dean of the English Department and pushed me beyond my self-imposed limits. I still remember my first “C” on an essay and my last essay from her in a Shakespeare class that had these words: “A worthy work!” I still have that essay somewhere.

All sister missionaries (including the senior missionaries) in the California Riverside Mission and the Caribbean Area/Dominican Republic—These young and mature women are incredible, yes, even spectacular. They are courageous, resilient, diligent, adventurous, creative, talented, and gifted daughters of a loving Heavenly Father.

YSA and Single Adult Women—I have had leadership positions in young single adult and single adult wards throughout my life. These women are stalwarts, clever, professional, kind, willing to do what needs to be done, and seekers of truth.

All other women in my life—There have been so many other incredible and remarkable women in my growing up and professional years—Church leaders, teachers, colleagues, and neighbors who have been exceptional examples of women of God, women of the covenant, women of the community, women in government, women who have worked with me in public and higher education. Your willingness to do what is right, even when challenges emerge, has been refreshing and powerful.

Many thanks to all these women in my life who have helped me become who I am and guided me to be better than I thought I was or ever would be. For all that you have done and will continue to do, many, many thanks!

Thursday, November 30, 2023

“Shouts of Joy!”

Poem of the day, Thursday, November 30, 2023

This concludes November poem month! I hope you have enjoyed reading my November poems.

“Shouts of Joy!”

So many challenges
and bleakness
confront us each day,
oozing over us,
often filling our lives
with despair and sadness.

All this can darken our lives,
thoughts, and our very beings—
if we allow it.

Yet, there is much light
and joy within us
and around us
that chases away this darkness—

The joy and love of family,
our abilities to see
good in all things,
the kindness we share
with others around us,
the many blessings 
we have received,
the knowledge
of our divine destiny
and whose we really are
can carry us away
from the forlornness
of impending doom.

Looking to the heavens
and aligning with Him
whose birth
we gloriously celebrate
in December—
hopefully each day—
propel us
into the light
and the joy of it all.

Each day we can sing
the joyous songs
and memories of our lives,
thinking of the positive and eternal.

Let our shouts of joy
be loud and clamorous!

Let our exclamations
of joy be filled
with what we can become!

Let our joy be felt and heard
against the din of despair,
and we shall have
everlasting joy!

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

“On the Banks of Spring Creek”

Poem of the Day, Wednesday, November 29, 2023

“On the Banks of Spring Creek”

Just before dusk, I trudge slowly
in late fall snow through Hunting’s 
patch of trees, careful where I step,
not wanting to flush any animals.
The brush is thick on both sides
of the meager trail, heading to Spring Creek.

I approach the creek quietly,
find a secluded spot beneath
a large cottonwood where the snow
has not bothered to find shelter. 
My warm breath spews mist 
into the air until it dissipates
into the cold air while I sit and wait
for darkness to engulf me.

Just to my right, mallards paddle,
quacking while other friends flush in
and land gingerly on the water
with a mere splash and the finesse of dancers,
close their wings, their beaks nudging
their feathers in place along their sleek bodies.

From my hiding place, I see the creek’s banks
covered in snow and ice with slim rays
of the setting sun in the west laying down
oranges on whites up and down the creek.
Above, sparrows flit here and there.

Not far up the bank, a cock pheasant drums,
spooking a rabbit just in back of me.
I sit for a while, listening to the sounds
of dusk closing in on the creek
and the gurgle of the water as it moseys
between the cold snow-covered banks
to the meandering Snake River.

Honking just above me, Canadian geese fly
rather low searching for a safe place
to land for the night, away from watchful eyes
and a wheat field with extraneous kernels
of grain lying just below the surface
of the snow ready to be scooped up for dinner.

I peek out for a moment,
see a muskrat gliding through
black water near the far bank, a speck
of sunset guiding her way downstream.

As the sun sets, the noises become
more distinct and musical, serenading
the night to come, opening the curtain
of night as they renew their compositions
of melodic harmonies with others
throughout the serenity of darkness
until the sun arrives again tomorrow.

When it is dark, I rise from my spot
under the tree, stare across the way
and turn back into the bushes and trees.

Only then do I shine my flashlight
along the trail out of sight
and sound of the ongoing choir
on the banks of Spring Creek.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

"An Awakening While Moving Sprinkler Pipe"

Poem of the Day, Tuesday, November 28, 2023

"An Awakening While Moving Sprinkler Pipe"

I remember the day well,
moving sprinkler pipe in potatoes,
standing there on that rocky knoll,
looking over the pond filled
with muddy runoff water,

croaking frogs and swimming pollywogs,
my muddy chaps strapped on
to my legs, mud on my face
and arms, a pipe at my feet,
and me swatting dancing flies,

thinking ever so out loud
that this was definitely not a life
that I ever wanted to live.
I wanted to live a better life,
less dirty and not in the sun

and mud. Maybe college
was a better choice,
a choice I could make
when others around me
in other field, from other places

could not make at this time
or any time, based on where
they came from, the papers
they did not have, like I did
somewhere in my house

in mother’s drawer, safe
until I needed them for something.
I decided right there
on the knoll, mud splattered
everywhere, bugs buzzing

around my head thinking
we were friends when
we were definitely not,
in the heat of the day
that I was going to do

something different
with my life, and no one
was going to tell me
differently. I finished
my quarter-mile line,

refreshed, resolute,
as I watched the pipe movers
in the next field
doing what they had to do
to survive.

Monday, November 27, 2023

"The First Time Crying”

Poem of the Day, Monday, November 27, 2023

"The First Time Crying”

The first time I remember really crying
was when Mrs. Jeppson started reading
Where the Red Fern Grows
when I was in 4th grade.

I sat in the first seat in the third row
of desks against the north window
of the old rock school in Menan.
I remember taking the book home

and reading it out by the barn
as I sat on the haystack
out of sight of everyone.
That’s when I cried so hard

for the first time when I read
about the sad demise
of Old Dan after a fight
with a cougar in the woods

and later the sad ending
of Little Ann on top of Old Dan’s grave.
It was tragic then
and is just as tragic now

when I think of that book
and my tears falling
on bales of hay that we fed
the horses and cows.

When my brothers asked why
my eyes were so red, I just told them
that hay dust got into my eyes
as I did my chores, knowing it was

really the catastrophic deaths
of Old Dan and Little Ann swimming
in my heart and eyes and lingering
longer than they should have.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

“Sunday Ponderings”

Poem of the Day, Sunday, November 26, 2023

“Sunday Ponderings”

My mind often ponders
on Sunday between the prelude
and the Sacrament

about the meanderings
of my mind during the week.
Did I maneuver off the beaten path

too much or did I spend
enough time in the scriptures,
mediating and praying along the way?

Sometimes the shivers of past sins
clamor for attention before
I can yield them to Him

before the Sacrament
comes to me. I think
about all these things

more intensely, more profoundly,
praying and hoping
I know the true meaning

of the Sacrament, Christ’s Atonement
and sacrifice for me
and everyone else on the planet.

The moment I touch the bread
or water to my lips,
I sense a relief that I am enough,

that I can move on once again
for the week, knowing
I will continue to plow forward,

more diligently, knowing
that I must do more to earn
the grace that He proffered me,

knowing that it is I
who must align with Him
because He is already there,

ready for me to come unto Him, 
arms always outreach 
for an eternal embrace with me.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

“Driving North on I-15”

Poem of the Day, Saturday, November 25, 2023

“Driving North on I-15”

Can driving north
on I-15 past Idaho Falls
and Roberts,
the metropolis of Hamer,
and then Dubois,
the Sheep Experiment Station,
and Spencer, Idaho,
home to the famous opals,
ever get boring
with fence lines,
Larsen’s thousands of acres
of spuds and grain,
vast open land deposits,
mountain ridges,
and a few outcroppings
of buildings,
along the way?
Fields full of angus
and a few Herefords mixed
with a few deer add
some diversity
in the immensity
of space
almost too big
to comprehend.

In the winters,
Monida Pass
is treacherous
yet stunning, especially
when the sun is out,
the wind blowing boatloads
of snow across the road,
climbing high on both sides
of the road
where the snow fences
meet it, try to sway it
to stop before entering
the highway on either side.
The enormity of it all
keeps your eyes wide
open, hands clutched
on the steering wheel,
hoping never to miss
something that might
swish you off the road
and into the barrow pit
where you may stay
until spring
or until a trucker comes
upon you in the darkness
as he slows down
to put his truck
into a lower gear
to climb higher.

The key is to stay put
on the road you can see
and travel on, slowly,
methodically, ever attentive,
perhaps listening
to Fleetwood Mac,
Chicago, or maybe
some Three Dog Night
and miles to go
before you sleep.