Stephen J. Stirling: An Open Letter to My Friends at Seminaries and Institutes

My dear friends,

I thought I would take this opportunity to send out one final message.  (Oh, my, that sounds awful.  in its ponderous implications.)  No, I don’t intend to die — not yet.  Though my battle with cancer continues to go on. What I am saying is, that with the restructuring of the areas of the Southwest, I may not be seeing some of my friends of the former Phoenix Valley again – and I am anxious that you know how I appreciate my professional and personal relationships with many of you.

Thank you – so many of you – for your prayers and your most heartfelt petitions to heaven on my behalf.  Many of those prayers have been offered on the altars of the most sacred places on earth, and I am grateful.  I suppose one of the grand lessons on my path to more powerful, moving faith has been gratitude – to a loving Father in Heaven and to his children who have, I know, prayed with their families for my recovery.  I continue to apply myself that those prayers may be effectually answered.

My fondest dream and desire is that I might return to the classroom in August, to join you in the sacred effort to teach the youth of Zion the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Ours is a holy trust, and it has been one of the great blessings of my life to work with some of the finest men and women in the world in fulfilling that trust.  My heartfelt commitment to serving them and our Father’s children is a singular lesson I have learned in watching my colleagues who have provided the example of what a teacher should be.  Whatever I have left of life, I dedicate to that kind of service on behalf of my Savior to his children.  My life obviously does not belong to me.  (Indeed, in a sense, it never did.)  But in allowing me to live another day (or many days), I am impressed with the responsibility I have to serve to the end, and to serve selflessly.

Finally, I appreciate the Christ-like love I have watched in those I have worked with.   From my brethren and sisters of Seminaries and Institutes I have learned the meaning of charity.  If I may incorporate that charity into my life, I will have learned something worth living for.

Gratitude, service, and love are the greatest lessons I have gleaned thus far in my battle for life.  And I am, again, thankful for those blessings of my education.  If I emerge from this experience with only those lessons learned, I will have been amply blessed.  My Heavenly Father has been good to me and I have seen great miracles of healing and of the companionship of the Spirit.

But, in sum, where do we stand at this point?  What do we know for sure?  Well, not much more than we knew 6 months ago, which is slightly frustrating.  Doctors who examine the tests believe that the cancer, or better said, the tumor, is gone – but the answer does not get much more definitive than that so far.  And yet — considering the malignancy of the melanoma – that is a miracle in itself.  I feel that I have been cleansed.  I am gaining weight again, my spirits are generally well, and I have been blessed with the very best of caregivers — Diane.  Still, the war goes on.  The pain in my throat persists.  (That pain is likely the residual result of radiation and chemotherapy.  In other words, I now suffer from the cure, now that the disease has fled.  Ironic.)

My affirmations and confidence, however, are unchanged. I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father and have a testimony of his personal interest and involvement in my life.  I know that I am a child of God and know the joy that comes from a witness of that identity.  I am a survivor of mortality – under the most desperate of circumstances — and intend to continue to qualify for survival – by fighting for life and living.  And I burn with a commitment to serve others with the time I have left (hopefully a lot of it) — and the capacity I am given to offer that service.

Life has been good to me – which is by no means a line of farewell, but rather an invitation for us all to smile, take a deep breath, and join in the adventure together – because in all the best ways, life just continues to get better. That is our promise of the future.  May the Lord bless us all with that vision.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.



On Sickness, Health, Pain, and the Hand of God.

Late into the hours of the night last night I sat, staring at the wall and pondering the universe. The inside in my throat continues to be painful and that pain is persistent.  In spite of the tenacious pain, I have been struggling to gradually reduce my dependence on pain medications.  The result — too edgy with nervous anxiety to sleep, and yet too exhausted to occupy my mind with anything but aimless wanderings.

I considered the journey I have ventured on to this point – a long journey by my standards.  But many have undertaken far more lengthy and arduous passages in life.  My voyage has been both personalized and laden with purpose. I have been called upon to learn something.  And I might succeed in escaping the education which my Father in Heaven so desperately wants me to grasp.  So many prayers and blessings exerted in my behalf, all over the world, might indeed persuade me that I could be healed and slip from the grasp of destruction.  There are things I have to do, missions yet to fulfill and ‘miles to go before I sleep.’

But immediate healing, and escape from pain, is unlikely.  Heavenly Father doesn’t waste his time.  No.  In spite of the faith of the righteous and the power of the cosmos – all effectually called upon my head in hearts to the altars of holy temples which dot the earth – God is not through with me.  And he has made no pronouncement to the contrary.  Father, I love thee with all my heart.

Answers to my petitions in personal prayer and priesthood blessing have reaffirmed the realities of my situation as my ordeal progresses. I have been counseled to follow the instructions of my doctors, submit to their treatment, to endure to the end of this medical process, and to be patient under the length of that care.  That does not sound to me like a miraculous and instantaneous flash of televangelical  healing power – though Heavenly Father still manifests his power with such healing command.  No, my miracle may be even more dramatic, in teaching me to be more humble, more patient in affliction, and more long-suffering in endurance.  ‘So Father, in the midst of my ongoing ordeal, I ask a simple fulfillment of the promise that thou hast always made to thy children – and to me.  Walk with me Father.  Take me by the hand, let me cling to thy side, bear me up in the gloom which goeth before – and abide with me.  That is enough.


And All Things Shall Work Together for Your Good

Someone very dear to me had a huge setback – as we all do.  But this setback seemed enormous. She wanted to join the Phoenix Fire Department, and against all odds, had made incredible strides at doing so, over the course of a grueling year.  All of this came down to the final interview – and by all judgments, things looked good.  And then suddenly, tragedy struck – a freak accident and a broken arm.  None of this boded well as a sign to impress the board who would be choosing the final candidates.  The worst kind of incident at the worst time.  And of course, our first reaction is the foolish, knee-jerk response, “How could God do this to us?”

That “God doesn’t do things like this to us” is the first reality which we need to acknowledge.  But, in a more helpful vein, I would like to share another simple reality which we must all, always remember about God, his universe and the Divine arithmetic of the cosmos.  I capsulized it in a short letter.

‘My dear little champion,

Please, don’t be discouraged.  I know that is a lot to ask – but not of you.  You are no stranger to doing the difficult – or the impossible.  Yes, breaking your arm, especially right now, was a pretty rough turn of fate.  But God is also fully capable of doing the impossible.  And he has been doing it for years.

I want you to consider a simple concept with me and know that your Heavenly Father is still with you and that he is still very much under control.

“Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith ye have covenanted one with another.” — Doctrine and Covenants 90:24

The Lord has reiterated this promise elsewhere in the scriptures, but this is the most complete expression of the formula.  Notice and never forget that “all things shall work together for your good. . .”  That is a strange kind of arithmetic where all things – not just the good things, not a bunch of good things mixed with a few bad things — but literally all things will combine to work together for your good.  And I have found that formula to be true.

Of course, there are qualifiers.  We must (1) search diligently, (2) pray always, (3) and be believingBut if we do so and (4) walk uprightly and (5) remember the covenants which we have made, then the promise of the Lord is sure.

My friend, you meet those qualifiers. You always have.  You have therefore earned the right to look to your Heavenly Father with a full expectation that he will keep that promise.  It is ironclad. I know that you have spent a lifetime staying true to your covenants and choosing the right. I know that you have ever been prayerful and searched the scriptures and for inspiration in pursuing the course of your life.  But I also know that right now may be a very difficult time for you to believe that your broken arm can somehow contribute, under the circumstances, to the happy ending we all look for at the conclusion of this story.  But this story will indeed have a happy resolution. That’s where believing comes in – and that can often be the hardest part.  But I know that Heavenly Father will never let you down.  I don’t know how he intends to work out the details, but he always has, and he always will.

Never forget, you are one of my heroes.  You know how to face adversity and do awesome things.  This may be one of the most difficult things you have ever done.  But I know that your Heavenly Father loves you and will not let you down.  Have faith in him.  Take him at his word. Take the scriptures at face value.  And allow the power of the atonement to fix this – yes, even this.  I don’t know how, but I have full confidence that all of this will work, not in spite of the circumstances, but because of them, to bless your life.

My most fervent prayers are with you.  “Stand still and behold the power of God.”’

Well, I wrote that letter a month or so ago – I think.  Within a week or two she will leave for the perfect assignment – on a Wildlife Fire Crew, (you know, forest fires)!  The offer rolled in a few days after her rejection from various fire departments – and the expected verdict, “You’re just too small.”  The Wildlife teams said she was just the right size, with the endurance and drive they need – in fact with all the qualifications they need.  Within the next several days she received more invitations to join other companies. She finally joined a crew operating out of Springerville, Arizona.  The pay, the benefits, the days on and off – everything about the new job was ideal to her situation, and her family circumstances.  Who ever thought the Lord could work out things so perfectly well.  But then again, that’s the way he works things out – all the time. 1+1=3.  That is God’s miraculous arithmetic as he blesses our lives with the impossible.

I anticipate with faith for all things to so work in my life.   May the Lord likewise bless all of us.


And Still, There is No End in Sight

Many prayers have been answered as I have struggled through this nightmare of sickness and the miracles of restoration.  Through the power of the priesthood, I returned to the healing process, and hence, to the pathway of normal life.  Radiation continued – and the Chemo therapy moved forward.  Of the radiation, less than fifteen treatments remained.  That dramatic process took the shape of a weekday countdown that went eventually from two hands to one — as the bright crimson, tissue-paper thin skin of my throat repaired itself and cease to “agonize at the slightest touch.”  However, the targeted and focused nature of the radiation therapy continued to burn the cancer away — on the inside.  The final day of the fiery process – half a month ago — ended in genuine celebration.  What I experienced was a genuine miracle.  But in the end, it was only a milestone.  And there was still no end in sight.

Life and the medical treatments progressed on at the clinic.  But new kind of pain now took center stage in a new and singular way.  I had heard chemot was like being sick all the time.  I had heard correctly.  My sore throat continued, accompanied by a constant cough, upset stomach, and taking of medication that made it impossible to get a good night’s sleep.  Prayers and priesthood influence continued to sustain us.  And still there was no end in sight.  To finish chemo was the next big milestone.  And on Monday of this week, I enjoyed my last chemo treatment and I went from that last session to the hospital – (not one of my scheduled milestones) where I remained for the next two days.  Again, my body responded to quickly to transfusions there.  Surprising doctors, I continue to do surprising things. There is no end of the miracles in my life.  And of that — there is no end in sight.

I am home again now.  Therapies continue to be applied at the clinic.  And again there is no end in sight.  I have been so blessed.  And of them I testify.  I bear witness of the constant blessings of a loving Heavenly Father who continues to be my daily comfort, guardian, guide and stay.  I bear gratitude for the heavenward pleas of so many of this world’s angels who have served us with love and goodness.  I thank God for the regular gifts of the Spirit in these times of trial.  And I acknowledge the tender mercies of loving Father in Heaven.  But of course, we all acquainted to with those.

I pray that we may always remember what great things the Lord has given to us – in times of bounty as in times of trial.  May I leave that testimony before heaven and earth.  I know the goodness of God and his children.  And of the reality that there continues to be no end in sight.

Of that certainty and of the certainty that life extends beyond what we know to be as mortality into the realms of eternity I also bear witness with all my heart.  Yes, life can be a struggle.  The pain is intense, on occasion, and growing.  But I am still here.

And of that I also point out — there is no end in sight.



About a month ago I began the therapies of healing designed to literally blast cancer from my body.  If that sounds like a violent process — it is.  It is nothing short of turning our bodies into a war zone between runaway rogue cells (the ones we call cancer), and the technologies of men which take the shape of a medieval torture chamber – with more bells and whistles.  Welcome to modern medicine.  It is our reality in a world where we have abused these poor bodies of ours with such pollutants and poisons that we are subtly killing ourselves.  Cancer today is endemic.  In the face of that battle ground, conscientious and dedicated doctors do their best to wage the good fight armed with the high-tech equivalent of deer skins and stone knives.  Hence is laid out the simple plan of attack.  Kill the cancer – hopefully without killing off the patient.  It is a delicate balance.  And I, along with millions of others, am stuck in the middle.

Let me remind my friends who are following this drama, that my situation was weird to begin with.  The misdiagnosis of my problem from the beginning was a result of normal expectations.  “Nobody gets cancer there.”  A melanoma of the larynx is extremely rare.  I was told that there are only about 90 reported cases of it over the past 30 years.  And of those few there have been no definitive studies. Once identified, after almost a year of neglect, it was fully expected that this aggressive cancer would have had a field day in my unsuspecting body.  The PET scan and MRI surprised everyone with results that the cancer had not spread beyond my throat.  In that I was extremely blessed.  My Heavenly Father has been looking out for me.  But once identified, the cancer quickly made its intentions known, and within weeks, spread aggressively to the cartilage of my throat.  The war was on.

I went into tomotherapy (a very specific and targeted radiation treatment) immediately.  It was intensive and highly invasive – and my reaction to it was radical.  After a little over 20 treatments I was forced to discontinue treatment.  Again, my response was rare.  My throat, both inside and out, was seared with second degree burns which gave my skin the appearance of raw hamburger.  I couldn’t move my neck, I couldn’t eat without pain, and I found it almost impossible to sleep.  Simultaneous chemotherapy was also discontinued.  Everything about my situation seemed to be uncharted territory.  Everything about my treatment and my reaction to it seemed unusual.  My white blood count was extremely low.  My platelet count was also at dangerously low levels.  My treatment had come to a halt.  I was going nowhere and in the greatest of pain.  I was as discouraged as I have ever been in my life.

It was at this point that Diane and I asked so many of you to remember us in your prayers – specifically that I might be healed to resume my treatment.  I believe in fasting.  I believe in prayer.  I believe in the blessings of the priesthood and the power of God.  That was one week ago.  ON that Sunday night, after so many days of pain, frustration and little progress, the comforting peace of the Holy Ghost visited me with the assurance that the effectual prayers and blessings of the faithful would be answered in my behalf.

Last Monday I woke up in the morning to find that the skin in my throat was healed to the degree that I was able to function without pain.  Most of the rawness was gone.  I could move again.  I began radiation two days later, with a countdown of 14 treatments until it is over.  My tests at the clinic continued to reveal my unusual nature.  I persist in being the case that the doctors cannot figure out – with reactions they have not seen before.  Remarkably, my white blood count and my platelet levels suddenly rebounded to optimal levels, without the prescription of invasive drugs usually necessary to make it so.  They were so baffled, they resubmitted my blood work to verify the results – and confirmed what they’d already found – and recommended that my chemotherapy be resumed.

The doctors don’t understand how all this is possible.  But I do.  I am grateful to conscientious healthcare professionals.  I am grateful for modern medicine which offers hope in a peril-fraught world.  I am grateful for the wonders of the human body, which will do amazing things for us if we will just feed it right, and exercise it, and care for it in the way that God intended.  But above all I am grateful for friends, and family, and loved ones, and perfect strangers who will reach out with faith and prayer and the power of eternity to work miracles.  I know that God lives.  I know that He loves us and is an active participant in our lives.  I know that the might and authority of the priesthood are literal.  And I know that the power of Jesus Christ and of his atonement are real.

I believe in miracles.  And I am grateful to all who have been a participant with me in this one.  I continue to ask an investment of your faith and prayers in my adventure.  It is far from over.  But it is well underway.  May we continue to find strength in the things of eternity – and in the love that binds us here in mortality as well.

A Few Musings on Time and Eternity

Strange! For the first time in my life I’ve come face to face with my mortality.  I suppose I’ve been here before.  We’ve all flirted with death – intentionally or unintentionally.  In one way or another we’ve all cheated death, and lived to tell the tale.  But this is the first real instance in which I have been genuinely and realistically threatened with my own demise.  And yet, I have, to this point, been able to contemplate the issue with a calm logic and resolve.  I am not afraid.

Everybody has to die.  I could shake my fist at God and wail that I am too young to die.  But I’m not.  I’ve had a pretty good ride.  Don’t misunderstand me.  My heart aches that I wouldn’t be around to laugh with Diane, to take pride in my children (my favorite people), or to watch my grandchildren grow. There is a lot I would miss, tons of people I would be sorry to say good-bye to, and a few things that I still wanted to do – that never got done.  In that sense, I would regret seeing it all come to an end.  But on the other hand, I know that it will never really come to an end.  I know who I am and I know what I’m about.  And I know that this thing we call mortality is just a little part of life – life that is eternal.  I came from somewhere, and sooner or later, I’m going somewhere.  The only question is — when, which question is now about to be answered by the evaluations and the performance of modern medicine.  And their decision will be a best guess determination.  They may make a prognosis and it may be wrong.  But with cancer – they seem to be right a lot of the time.

Even so, I’m not afraid.  I have no dread of the unknown – because I know.  I have a faith that is unshakable that this is all part of an eternal Plan, and that makes it good.  I’ve never had a test of faith quite like this.  And yet the simplicity of my faith in God and in life beyond this life is so certain that I have not the slightest misgiving over it or doubt in it.  I seem to look upon my own potential passing as the beginning of a journey, and a pretty exciting one at that.  ‘Crossing over’ as some call it, is to me the equivalent of a great road trip – an unimaginable adventure.  My faith is that strong in that untouchable world, because to me it is literally only a heartbeat away.  And with that last heartbeat, I know that I shall still be alive and well, anticipating the remainder of the journey into eternity with a perfectly charted course and a crystal clear view of the way ahead.  Faith is the opposite of fear.  And as I consider the bleakest forecast of the days ahead, I realize I fear nothing.  It is invigorating and enlivening to face the future with absolute fearlessness.

Still, don’t misunderstand me.  I intend to fight for survival.  Our nature is to prefer life to death. I am no different, particularly as I consider my brief journey on earth.  What about all those things I must leave behind, and what of the dreams of life I’ve yet to accomplish.  And most of all what about Diane.  What I would miss the most would be her.  What I would regret most leaving behind would be her.  And my promise to her compels me to stay, that we may enjoy, complete, and wear out this life together.  That determination alone makes me realize how much I love her.  For her, if for nothing else, I need to cling tenaciously to life.  ‘To be or not to be’ has literally become the question in the most powerfully real sense.  As I have resolved before, I have determined again with a will of iron – to stay in this world.  There is time enough for eternity.  And I commit myself to the reality that my place, for now, is in this estate.  If God feels differently he will let me know.


The Wonders of Modern Medicine – and of Eternal Grace

The surgery went well.  I was in and out.  And I am now at home, recuperating from the ordeal for the next few days.

I described my nemesis as a lump of ‘mass’ about the size of a marble below my vocal chords.  It turned out to be a very large marble – more like a grape.  Not one of those Food King grapes you get at your average grocery store.  This was more like a Costco grape – you know, those really big grapes that look like they were nourished with steroids.  Except this huge grape was dressed up (appropriately) in a Halloween costume to go trick or treating as a cauliflower.  The monster practically filled the diameter of my entire throat passage.  Looking at the snapshots the surgeon took of it, I don’t see how I could breathe, and I know why I couldn’t talk.

With regards to talking, the ‘mass’ had grown very close to my vocal folds.  In fact the surgeon found it necessary to remove a sliver of my vocal chords with it. And I was anxious to give my voice a beta test as soon as I made my dizzy reentry from anesthesia.  “Hello,” I said – and was pleased with the result. I have tried not to talk a lot since, in order to give my throat and voice box a chance to heal.  So, I’m not sure, at this point, if I’ll ever sing grand opera again.  And trial runs so far indicate that my voice may settle in a tad higher than it used to be and may never be as resonant.  But time will tell.  It’s a little early for conclusions.

And it is much too early for regrets of misgivings.  I feel tremendously blessed, and I do not intend to give a whimper of complaint.  I have struggled and survived a misfortune that 150 years ago would have killed me.  In all likelihood, most of us have.  I can breathe again.  I can talk again.  I can teach again.  I am grateful to a kind Heavenly Father, to a skilled surgeon, and to the faith and prayers of so many thoughtful friends who implored the blessings of eternity on my behalf.  Thank you for your mindfulness of me in my adversity.

Life goes on.  May we all continue to enjoy its bounties – and to bask in the affection of caring friends and the kindness of a loving Heavenly Father.


Going ‘Under the Knife’ is Such an Unpleasant Term

Some of you know (though most of you don’t), that I haven’t been able to talk for several months.  It’s one of the reasons I haven’t been too active here for a while.  Interesting!  Losing something so fundamental in life tends to effect almost every aspect of your daily walk and conversation.  As a teacher my voice is the tool of my trade.  But having it reduced to a whisper has made a significant impact not only on my occupation, but my devotions, my personal interactions, and just about everything else.  To realize the simplicity and commonplace nature of the things that are our most cherished possessions, and to recognize how we have taken them for granted – is a truly humbling and truly valuable life experience.

I’ve been having trouble with my throat since last Christmas.  And medical science has taken the better part of a year to finally identify the problem.  Of course, by the time the proper diagnosis was made, the problem had grown into an unpleasant looking mass of stuff that had grown to the size of a marble just below my vocal chords.  In that time, my ability to communicate was reduced to a raspy growl that would make Bruce Wayne proud.  I have managed to continue to teach with a lavalier microphone, and a pocket stuffed with cough drops.  However, even with those helpful crutches, I’ve had to contend with sudden attacks of uncontrollable hacking, and moments when I have had to slip out of the classroom altogether.  At this point (October) my rich operatic voice is little more than a hoarse whisper.  It’s even becoming difficult to breathe.  I don’t think I would be able to teach for another week – as much as I love to teach.  I suppose total incapacity is the only circumstance that could keep me out of the classroom or away from the students whose company I enjoy so much.

On Monday, the last of a long line of  medical specialist, took one look at me and scheduled surgery for Friday to ‘excise the mass’ from the ‘laryngeal area’. (That’s doctor talk.)   He is a very good surgeon and I have complete confidence in him – though I am concerned about any surgery at or around my voice box.  I want to breathe again – and I want to talk again.  But in this life there are no guarantees.

So, without seeming overly dramatic about my upcoming adventure tomorrow morning, (October 30), I would like to ask for an investment of your faith and prayers. If you believe in God, then he will honor your desires for good and bless you – and perhaps even me — for your efforts.  If you don’t believe in God, then I’m sure he’ll appreciate your exertions all the more – and so will I.

May our Father in Heaven be with us all, my friends.  And may the effectual power of miracles change more than one life this week.  Perhaps one of them will be mine.


Lindsey Stirling and the Fine Art of Showmanship

Last Saturday, Lindsey Stirling served as mistress of ceremonies for Arizona’s Distinguished Young Women awards.  (“It’s not a pageant.  It’s a scholarship program.”)  It was a return of sorts for Lindsey.  For on that very stage at Mountain View High School, in Mesa, that Lindsey herself was crowned as Arizona’s Junior Miss exactly 10 years ago.  It was also at that same event that she experimented with a new concept in 2005. “I’d like to see if I can play the violin and dance at the same time.”  Well, the rest is history.  Granted, to see that ‘05 pageant performance and compare it to a 2015 Lindsey Stirling extravaganza is a real contrast.  (She plays a lot better and she dances a LOT more.)  Still at the time it was a new frontier — and it blew the audiences and the judges away.  She had found something phenomenal that she has run with and made completely her own.

But last Saturday night, ten years later, when I saw her take that podium as well as that stage, I realized something breathtaking.  Lindsey is not only a talented and exceptional performer – she is also a consummate entertainer who is as comfortable hob-nobbing conversationally with a crowded auditorium as she is sharing her art with a packed amphitheater – and she is capable of doing both interchangeably.  There are a lot of great performers, and not quite as many great entertainers.  But Lindsey Stirling is both and more.  She is a master at the art of showmanship – and that is rare.  It is a discipline that comes naturally to a select few, in a complex blend of talent, a love of the stage, affection for the fans, and pure charisma.  Not many have it — but Lindsey does.  And it is that indefinable quality that has drawn enthusiasts to her from six continents – the mysterious something that is moving a world to fall in love with a dancing violinist.


Life in Crescendo – the Lindsey Stirling Symbiosis

Anyone who has seen a Lindsey Stirling performance knows that it is a physically exhausting experience.  One review reported that she stepped out onto the stage for her hour and a half concert “and-she-never-stopped-moving.”  However I have heard testimony that the show is just as draining an experience for many fans.  It is kind of a vicarious exhaustion that reaches out and touches the spectator – in the most intimate kind of synergy.

Likewise, having Lindsey drop in for a week is a blessing, an adventure, and a workout all at the same time.  And in many ways it is a group as well as an individual experience.

Lindsey arrived in Arizona with her crew last Tuesday morning.  Diane picked her up at the hotel.  That might have looked like a relaxing day.  But Lindsey spent a good part of it with someone who needed her — someone with whom she could converse about  important things.  She made a new friend and completely enjoyed herself.  That is a lot of what Lindsey does whenever she can, because to Lindsey, life is about people.

That night she played the national anthem at the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game.  She came home that evening (after a great game) but was on her way early Wednesday morning for Tuscon.  It was my first day of school (another year begins) but I raced home after my last class so Diane and I could get to Lindsey’s Southern Arizona concert.  I hadn’t seen it since the Red Rocks show in Colorado.  But it never seems to get old.

We were exhausted when we returned home at 1:00.  But I can only imagine how tired Lindsey is – or should be after one of those performances.  She and the crew drove to Phoenix the next morning to prepare for the concert at the Comerica Theater.  Another day of teaching for me, and another grueling race to get to the venue where so many friends and fans gathered for another dynamic presentation.  It is awesome to watch that girl entertain.  Anyone who has seen her shoe knows that she doesn’t merely give a concert.  She presents a spectacle in showmanship.  And she did again that night for 5,000 spectators.

She came back to Gilbert that evening, for a few more short hours of family and home.  But it didn’t last long.  Lindsey moves faster than a speeding bullet, and more frequently a locomotive – because they occasionally stop.  We had to have her to the airport by 6 am for a flight to Utah.

That day, Friday, she graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in youth management and psychology.  Her emphasis was in helping at-risk girls.  With Lindsey, it’s always about reaching out to people.

On Saturday she was back on the road.  And tomorrow (Monday) she performs at the Greek Theater in LA – a bucket list item for any artist – where she will end the “Music Box Tour.”  I hope she takes a day or two off to get some rest.  I know that whenever she comes to town for a visit – I always need some time to recuperate.  In the meantime, can’t wait until she drops in again.  It’s good exercise.