Sunday, December 30, 2007

"Me and You, and You and Me . . . "

Christmas 1967. Becky is all elbows and sharp angles. I have hair. (We were 13 years old. I was about to turn 14.)

Duarte High dance, 1969. (We were 15 years old.)

Christmas Eve, 1971. (We were 17 years old.)

December 1973, just before my mission. (We were 19 years old.)

December 1975, just after my mission. (We were 21 years old.)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

"Silent Night, Holy Night . . . " (Vanatter Christmas 2007)

“Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)
Carrie, Scott and Family (Roseville, CA)
  • Carrie is a busy, stay-at-home mom and blogger. With her blog, she both creates an ongoing family history, and also keeps grandma and grandpa up-to-date. She serves as 2nd counselor in the Young Women organization.
  • Scott, her hubby, works as a financial planner/stock broker at Merrill Lynch. He serves as the ward Elders Quorum President. This past summer he also had successful thyroid cancer surgery, with the related radioactive iodine treatment. “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33.) Scott is of good cheer. Carrie and the boys are very glad to have him with them for a long time to come.
  • Sean (2) and Ryan (4) will be welcoming a new baby brother into the family, due to join them in early April 2008!
  • Carrie and the boys visited us this summer; Scott then joined them all for another visit for Thanksgiving. Much boy-type fun, commotion, and joy ensued. Ryan and Sean helped decorate Grandma’s Christmas tree, played with cars, read books, visited museums, jumped into huge piles of leaves, and jumped onto Grandpa. Fantastic!
Sydney (Fairfax, VA)
  • Sydney graduated from USU over a year ago and is office manager, staff assistant, and receptionist for a regional legal and non-legal staffing company. She serves as pianist for Relief Society, and on the Langley Singles’ Ward activities committee.
  • She keeps busy working out, dating, and traveling by planes, trains, and automobile. She recently bought her own car with leather, and lots of fancy electronics, etc. She is also into reading novels, her Mac, posting to her new blog, and of course, photography. She had two award-winning entries in a photo exhibit at the Washington DC Temple Visitors’ Center.
  • Becky continues in her 6th year as BYU’s Student Teacher Coordinator in Washington DC, placing, evaluating, and mentoring teachers in their first assignment. Becky has continued her reading in inner-city/educational matters, even after receiving her Master’s Degree in Urban Educational Leadership (from George Mason University). She continues to serve as our ward’s Relief Society President.
  • She flies to northern California a couple times a year visiting her mother Lee Allen and her Aunt Jo (both in the Bay Area), and also Carrie and family north of Sacramento. Becky has recently had to deal with a recurrence, again after 20 years, some serious health issues in her lungs. Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA).
  • Scott is vice president of enterprise sales for a software company (headquarters are only three miles from home). He is still keeping busy as 2nd Counselor in the Bishopric. Lately he has resurrected his blog (being drawn back into it by reading/viewing Carrie’s good example).
  • Scott’s Mom and Dad, Dorothy and Gene, flew in to visit this summer while Carrie was and he boys were in town. We all visited the relatively new Smithsonian Air and Space Museum at Dulles; great grandpa Gene showing Ryan and Sean all the planes.
  • Scott’s close friend and collaborator, Jared Demke, died late last year of a sudden heart attack at age 49. He is missed greatly by all he knew -- especially, of course, his loving family.
Having lived long enough to have seen and experienced many things in life, and, also, serving in our ward leadership as we do, we are aware of some of the unseen trials and tribulations with which many people privately struggle (both church member and non-member alike). No one is immune. We are grateful to God that Jesus came into our world to experience it all -- and more -- with us and for us. Truly He is “Wonderful, Counselor, and the Prince of Peace.”
We love you all. Wish we could see you more often.
Scott & Becky

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

"You Say Potato . . . " (Male, Female Brains Compared)

In this funny video clip, Mark Gungor from 'Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage' compares men's brains to lots of boxes that don't touch and women's brains to a big ball of wire where everything is connected to everything else.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

"The Fireman Rushes In . . . "

Grandma Becky bought several costumes for Ryan and Sean to play in, a fireman, a policeman, a knight, etc.

Ryan ended up staying dressed as the fireman most all the first day or so that they were here in Virginia. (In this pic, he was actually watching TV . . . in his fireman outfit.)

Ryan said several times over the past week or so that when he grows up his "job" will be Superman. Evidently, he wants to go to Superman school.

This is kinda neat, seeing as how when I was but a young boy I read my fair share of Superman comic books (though I was not a big fan of reading lots of other comics). And, of course, I watched a fair amount of the TV Superman.

I dreamed of Superman many, many times. Scores of times I dreamed -- at night -- of flying. Maybe a hundred times altogether. Also, as a kid, I dreamed -- literal daydreams -- of being a hero; of being in tough situations; of being -- through no fault of my own -- on the edge of annihilation, but miraculously coming out on top at the end of the day.

[Prototypical hero motif. Who knew!]

Monday, November 26, 2007

"Just Wanna Ride on My Motorcycle . . . "

On the fly, we came up with this motorcycle game. Ryan and Sean act as my motorcycle -- their arms are the handlebars; their wrist is the throttle, etc.

(BTW, both are solid as a rock; they are in shape. If you look close you can see the muscles work in Sean's back, shoulders, and arms, etc. And Ryan is that much more solid. You can tell they are physically active. A real good thing.)

First, we "pop a wheelie." The first time Sean (2) was the motorcycle, I yelled out that we were turning to the left. After turning left, without missing a beat, Sean then said, "Turn right!"

After we turn left, then right, we slam on the brakes to just barely avoid "crashing." (Boys like to crash and smash -- or come close to it.)

They (and I) could do this all night. But, who will run out of gas first?

So much love.

NOTE: Ryan, Sean, and our friend Giovanni Freret (Maggie's really cute son) can be heard on this clip. Sean is the one calling out, Right, Left, and Stop. (BTW, each boy played this motorcycle game several times before Carrie took this video.)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Each Kiss - And This Kiss

“Forty years since our first kiss it’s been . . .”
I. First (Summer and Fall of 1967, then many months later…)My arm around your shoulder . . . fresh and cool and new.
Quick and sweet - though, it took an eternity to get to you.

II. Best (Spring of 1970, then a few weeks later…)My arm around your shoulder - again . . . whole and serene and calm.
Long and pure - this dreamlike kiss lingers on.

Time and our hearts stand still.

Walking away; down the street,
Floating. Just off the ground, I walk along.
Can’t hear. Can barely breathe; don’t care.
Hearts swelled; hearts warm.
Numb with feeling; lips still tingling.
Touch my finger to my lips; checking this is real (and remembering).
It is; it is no dream.
Can never forget; it's never far from my sweetest thoughts.
Even today. Even now.

III. Sweetest (Senior Year, 1971-1972)The day, the night, the moment I purpose to tell you
With all my heart
I love you,

With my whole trembling soul,
My voice breaks
My voice quivers
My heart bursts
My heart burns
With love true.

It’s you.

Just sitting there, holding you tight, for the longest time.
Then, the kiss divine and sublime.

IV. Safe Voyage (Departing for Mission - SLC Mission Home, 1973)Saying our goodbyes,
Falling tears of longing wet our eyes
And our lips. We gently kiss.

IV. Safe Harbor (Returning from Mission - LAX Airport, 1975) Embracing hello,
Gleaming tears of knowing. Our eyes meet,
I lean in, you turn slightly, I kiss your cheek.

V. One Eternal Now (Across an Altar - Los Angeles Temple, 1976)Looking across the altar into your eyes
And into time and eternity,
We softly kiss.
[New Family]

VI. Creation (Across Hospital Beds, 1976, 1979)Bending down over your bed,
I kiss your forehead
Close my eyes, and rest my cheek next to yours.
[Family Grows]

V. One Eternal Round (Across an Altar - Nauvoo Temple, 2002)Seeing you across the altar
We kiss
And gaze together upon visions of Glory - and of our whole family in heaven.
[Family Expanded]

VI. In This Moment (Across Time and Eternity)Bending down,
Kissing sweet boys and girls.
Opening our eyes, and resting in Goodness and Love.
[Family Is One]

Scott L. Vanatter, 10 November 2007 (Poem for Becky on the Fortieth Anniversary of our First Kiss.)

Friday, November 09, 2007

That Face: You

We Meet, 1967
Looking across the shrinking room; coming closer towards that face.
Surely this is a part of me, forgotten about; but a part that is so natural and pleasant.
Easily we talk and continue to look -- without looking away.

Happy Together, 1967-1968
Growing so accustomed to that face;
Not just the eyes, but the whole face -- the whole person behind that face.
Everyday imagination leaps immediately to that image -- to that face.
Nightly dreaming of that face eases me into slumber.

Holding Hands, 1967
Now I know I have lost something. What?
It was here; I just had it. Where did it go? I want it back.
Ah. That's it. The touch that further connects.

A Chance Meeting, 1970
After so long, I am amazed
At how lovely, glowing, and even eternal is that face.
Can't stop stealing peeks at that face. Can't stop gazing at that face.
I can't stop dreaming of that face.

We Meet Again, 1971
Another time.
Almost can't look at that face.
Try not to be too obvious. I want to look. So bad.
I try not to… I try. But I fail, and look; and oh
That face, those eyes, that new person.

Together Again, 1972-1973
Knowing every aspect of that face;
Not just the eyes and face, but the Eternal Person behind that face.
Everyday yearning centers on that image -- that face.
Nightly prayers ease me into slumber.

Together Forever, 1976
Kneeling, looking across an ever increasing horizon; knowing this is the face.
Surely this is a part of me, now known; and a part so grand and glorious.
Easily we walk, and continue to walk on -- without letting go.

Scott L. Vanatter, 2 January 2002 (Poem for Becky on our 26th wedding anniversary)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Your Father and You

Closely, his heart next to your heart,
He holds you; yes, now when you are young,
But even later as you grow older.

He knows you; who you are,
Who you were before this earth-time, and who you are becoming.
Face to face you talk and talk over many things, over everything –
As friends, as best friends.

Even though trials and troubles are all about,
You see through it all, eye to eye, and appreciate
The beauties of this wide wondrous world.

Side by side you work together in your garage, and in the yard;
In your neighborhood, and in the Kingdom.

Even more than the beauties of this earth,
You comprehend together, pure mind with pure mind, the simplicities and complexities of the Eternities –
The great principles that reveal truth,
And what is of real worth.

Soul to soul -- together with your dear Mother and loved ones –
You reach to the heights and glories
Of the highest and best that is deep within.
Your father and you . . . you are one.

Scott L. Vanatter, 4 July 2003 (Poem for Ryan -- and now Sean, and now Kyle -- and their Dad)

Yesterday, Scott (Motley) began the second round of treatment for thyroid cancer. For ten days he will be quarantined, as he is -- basically/literally -- radioactive. He is only able to talk to his boys (and his dear wife) on the phone, and see them from a safe distance. No hugs, no kisses, no wrestling . . . for ten days.

Friday, October 19, 2007

"Close Your Eyes . . . " (Pachelbel Bedtime)

Funny video of a dad singing about putting his kids to bed (to the tune of Pachelbel's Canon in D major).

Thursday, October 11, 2007

His Father’s Eyes

Together alone, as I watched him there asleep,
I gazed deep into that angel face.
Every angle, every curve, every shape…
Every peek into his soul… did I trace.

That first day that held him; I held him close for a while.
And back and forth his eyes followed mine it seemed.
I wondered. My mind wandered. It drifted upward,
And then I dreamed.

What will he become? Who will he be?
I wonder what he sees.
And then I remembered how long he’d been –
Eternities, upon eternities.

His father that raises and cares for and loves him --
And helps him now to grow,
Has already seen and accomplished, spiritually,
More than most will ever know.

The glory they trail together, having come from such lofty heights --
And having lived with those Great Souls --
Will spread throughout their every shared path,
And bless all those with whom they sow.

What this choice son will see, and what he will become,
Will largely mirror the reflection he beholds
In the lens of his father’s life and eyes;
Even in his father’s soul.

Only those who desire and give -- and then sacrifice even more --
Will ever really “know” the joy
Of seeing lives truly changed; and how this special father
Does this very thing with this particular boy.*

Scott L. Vanatter, 27 May 2004 (Poem for Ryan -- and now Sean, and now Kyle -- and their Dad)

* And now with Sean -- and Kyle -- we can read the ending as, “these particular boys”

Friday, September 28, 2007

On Sydney's Streets

I was walking down the street tonight
And stopped a man who appeared to be
Wandering in the maze of City life
And who knew no way to change the existence
He'd been in for so many years.

I felt of the loneliness of this friend of mine
And desired to free him from his world of chains.

His chains were wrapped around him as tight as
Steel fetters but were only the things
He'd never wanted to be or do when he
Made plans for his dream.

So here he was after a long day working
To have left the pub early to get home
To his empty room.

With no wife or
Children to lend a hand and no happiness
To enjoy or any idea that it was what he was looking for.

He did say he believed in God but didn't
Know why or what He was.

I stood so close to him on that cold
City street and could barely hear his groanings
For a better way or help.
Cars and lights
And people and noise were making our
Meeting so personal and private
Because all we knew was that he was there
And I was talking to him; seeing the product
Of the world's best man.

Of a truth I cried out to him but he couldn't understand.

So plain to me now is the truth that is, and I
Wondered if he was touched or moved or if he had heard a single
Word I said.

If he is so typical of modern day man
Even more precious is this Seed we have and Our Father's

Scott L. Vanatter, 8 May 1975 (Poem written while serving in the mission office, and frequently spending downtown many evenings chatting with people on Sydney's streets.)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Inner Glow

Shimmering stars
Give way to the faint glow of a pale blue light
The glowing yellow sun
Bathes a crisp morning air

Burns bright white
A warm afternoon
Of orange and red

The fading blue sky
Turns a dark purple
And late
In the comforting cool of the night
The light of our love ever warms us

Scott Vanatter, 14 February 2007 (Poem on Valentine's Day)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

"Isn't She Lovely . . . " (Part 2)

This entry is related to one on Carrie's blog where she posted a couple of cute pics of herself as a young gal. I said I would put up a couple of even cuter ones. So, here they are; plus one of Sydney for good measure. (Carrie and Sydney from the 80s.)

We have, of course, many more such cute pictures. Carrie spent some time during her vacation this summer to Virginia with The Boys organizing our pictures from the various places of storage. Thanks Carrie. Now Becky and I can get to more of the pictures to sift and sort for the nuggests. (Picture of Carrie in the late 70s.)

Monday, September 03, 2007

When I Least Expect It – Rebirth

When I least expect it,
I happen to catch a brief glimpse of, say,
The side of your face,
As you are talking in a crowd.

Just then,
In an instant,
My heart leaps, then burns with a cool freshness --
A crisp blast of a winter breeze
That burns in and through and out of my chest.

I simply want
To sit there and stare --
Slack-jawed and wide-eyed --
And enjoy the sensation, the revelation, the vision;
To drink it all in,
And taste it fully to my soul’s satisfaction.

I want
To freeze this moment in time
And gaze and wonder and enjoy --
Though I quickly avert my eyes
So as to not make a scene by staring at you.

But, just as quickly,
I glance over at you again
And again without letting anyone -- not even you -- notice;

Stealing a few more peeks;
Warm reminders
Of the many insights and experiences and ideas we've shared
For all the decades we’ve been together.

How many times
I have marveled at how, for so long, I've known
Who you really are, and who you are becoming.
(And I realize how fortunate I am.)

And I have re-discovered
Yet again your heart and mind --
Over and over, again and again;
New insights upon new insights,
Reawakening upon reawakening.
(And I am startled, yet again, at your Eternal Identity.)

Your inner beauty,
Your inner strength,
Your inner determination,
Your inner faith,
The “aliveness” and gleam
Bursting out of your sparkling eyes
And gentle heart and whole being --
All you are . . .

These things
So deep inside you do perfectly match
Your beautiful, lovely face,
Your excellent caring work,
Your wise voice and counsel --
All you do.

Too often do I talk or dominate our conversation;
Too often am I oblivious to this wonderful view of you;
Too seldom do I pause and ponder your personality --
Your life full of meaning,
And our future full of hope.

Lately I have gazed at you
When you least suspected it,
To enjoy the sparkle in your eye, and the sight of such total beauty.

I am amazed at who I see.
I will never tire of seeing you.

Scott Vanatter, 14 July 2003 (Poem for Becky’s 49th birthday)

Sunday, September 02, 2007

"Long Beautiful Hair: Shining, Gleaming, Steaming, Flaxen, Waxen . . . "

Lately, Becky has been letting her hair grow out just a little longer. She us also wearing some longer earrings than has been her habit over the past 40 years. I think she may be borrowing some from Sydney. (Becky driving, August 2007)
And it goes without saying that I really liked her hair way back in the early 70s. (Becky with gold dress, Christmas 1971)
Regarding her hair length, I like it whatever length/style it happens to be. I particularly liked the shorter length it was for our Duarte High School 30-year reunion for the Class of '72. (Summer, 2002)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Birth of Love

(Father-Mother-Son; Man-Woman-Boy; Husband-Wife-Child)

The spark lay buried;
Dormant—smoldering—comforting, deep within;
Waiting to jump into flame.

Long hidden from view,
Never really known; though almost shown
By inklings, and flashes and glimpses.

Anxious, now,
To make it to the air, finally did it pierce through; at just the perfect, select moment;
No more to be concealed.

Impatient waiting, and now seeing,
The flame grows into an enduring, Eternal light;
Capable of sparking others.

The burning, now,
Creates life on its own; now sees the full light of day.

This “burning”
Sets on fire the souls that now perceive; and comes together as One;
Over altars, and glances, and (kind) words, and gentle (forgiving) hearts.

Wiggling and vibrating
Long, and strong, and sure; echoing again and again new found freedom.

The Child
Comes in an instant to Father and Mother,
Who seek to erase any pain, and gain the desire to impart… all. Everything. Every good thing.

Child grows old;
Child grows wise; so marvelous to behold. Discovers his spark, his very own;
And so starts another round.

Hearts combined; Lives intertwined;
They learned together and experienced heights, depths, and wonders.

All from the very center of dear sweet Parents;
They engaged and loved and cherished the Boy to their souls; and freed him and built him
Till he became a Man.

Scott Vanatter, 27 April 2005 (Poem for Carrie, Scott, and their children)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

"Higher Gound . . . "

We were driving from Logan, UT where Sydney just graduated from Utah State University to Roseville, CA where Scott, Carrie, Ryan, and Sean live. Along the way we paused at a rest stop in the midst of the Great Salt Lake's Bonneville salt flats. As soon as we got out of the van, Ryan darted for the salt flats and began running . . . and running, and running. He was leading the way (without looking back to see if we were all following him). I followed him WAY out into the salt flats. He may have run a good half mile of a mile. It looked like he was heading for those mountains in the distance. I caught up and we finally turned around. He knew this wasn't snow, or concrete, but salt (he took us at our word). So when I suggested we lick it, he was all for it. It was kinda 'inviting' . . . licking-wise, that is -- AND in its natural wonder. (May 2006)

Friday, August 24, 2007

"Put Me In Coach, I'm Ready to Play . . . " Part 2 (Future running back?)

Sean wiggle-walking. (Was titled, "Wiggle When You Walk; Giggle When You Talk . . . ")

He went on like this for a long time. I thought he might stop; but he kept going. I finally got out my cell phone to take this movie. He went on and on and on -- what a "journey."

Kids laugh. Kids skip. Kids smile. Kids love. And ALL so naturally . . . and so full of life! (4 August 2007)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

"A Day in the Life . . . "

Poems written while on my mission in the mid-70s.

~ ~ ~


From a song, from a friend
For the Melody and Harmony
Of your soul they fill
The wide expanses of within.

Scott L. Vanatter, 11 March 1975

~ ~ ~

Inside Looking Out

Too many times I (Deeply) wonder,
And often I decide,
Pondering and considering
The day of this Life.

Hidden revelations begin to sink in;
Things I had but didn't comprehend.

Often come they with softness
Of the spirit most sublime.

The spirit of man -- to develop;
The Holy Spirit -- to confirm.

With the knowledge
And the Path stretched forever in eternity...
You slip.

With the Majesty of a Testimony you
Ponder, Pray, and Plan.

Thanks be to God repentance is real
And the Key to the Inner Man.

Scott L. Vanatter, 12 March 1975

~ ~ ~


You sit and you've been wondering;
Thinking of that thing ahead.

All creation seems to sit beside you.

Feelings of uselessness tempt you.
And it's all relative.

Coming too subtly faith whispers
To go forth.

Some hear, others refuse.
Then still few follow.

Learn to sit still.
At the right time if you feel,
It will come and His purposes will be

Scott L. Vanatter, 11 Mar 1975

Sunday, August 19, 2007

"Isn't She Lovely . . . "

Sydney and Carrie, our beautiful daughters, on the return of Sydney from her mission. (2002)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

"Tears of a Clown . . . "

Thank heavens, my parents misled me. Come to find out, faces, in fact, do not "stick that way"! (2007)
For another picture of Ryan pulling a "face" see also his mother's blog here. The boys constantly remind me (via their funny faces, or just their youthful-boyhood love-of-life escapades) of the immortal Calvin and Hobbes. Wow.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007