Living Happily Ever After


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The Ideal

“The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances.” (Aristotle)
I have a few heroes. Let me tell you about one. The ideal woman. My ideal.
She is actually a Ponzi scheme victim–a victim of the Ponzi scheme my former husband perpetrated. (One extremely difficult aspect of marriage to a criminal perpetrating a Ponzi scheme unbeknownst to you or anyone else, especially when he appears to have preyed on family, friends and strangers alike, is that some of those you knew well, and loved, are victims of his crimes. I knew a few of Shawn Merriman’s victims in that way. Especially this one.)
She is a beautiful woman. In fact, her physical beauty was the first thing I noticed about her. But from the moment I met her, she was so gracious, dignified, kind and everything else…she instantly became one of my heroes. The type of woman I hoped some day to be. And then, due to a Ponzi scheme, our relationship ended.
Five years later, just last month in fact, we ran into one another. I was at work–so busy, and working in a crowd of people, I would never have seen her or known she was there. She could have easily walked past me without a word and I wouldn’t have known. But instead, and unexpectedly, I felt an arm go around my shoulders and give me a quick hug.  She kissed my cheek, quickly said something like, “You look so good! You are doing so well! I’m so proud of you!” and she was off in the crowd again before I could process what had just taken place.
Talk about dignity and grace and class. Not only making the best of circumstances but GOING OUT OF HER WAY to not just be kind, but LOVING, to the ex-wife of the man who stole her material wealth!
She remains my hero. Today (and many other days) I think of her example and I celebrate her.
“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” (Maya Angelou)


“We are the hero of our own story.” (Mary McCarthy)

Speaking of birthdays, my husband and I spent part of ours (yes, we have the same birthday, six years apart) floating down the Provo River on inner tubes with my children. And with Elizabeth Smart.

In her defense, Elizabeth didn’t know it was our birthday, she didn’t even know we were tubing with her, but we noticed her and entered the water behind her. We floated for several hours and as I finished my ride and  the river guides helped me out of the water with my tube, I heard two of them talking.

“Dude, did you see who that was?” asked #1.

“No, who was it?” replied #2.

“Dude, that was Elizabeth Smart!” said #1.

“Elizabeth Smart, DUDE, seriously?” asked #2.

“Yes, dude. Elizabeth Smart.” #1 exclaimed. And then followed something I didn’t expect: “She’s my hero!”

If you’ve ever participated in guided adventures, such as river rafting, you’ll know what I’m talking about and trying to describe when I say I never expected to see two scruffy, scraggly, unshaven, barely clothed, rough, weathered, outdoor enthusiasts resembling mountain hippies more than anything else, absolutely in awe of and express their admiration for a twenty-something, smiling, pretty young woman minding her own business, tubing down a river. But they did. And they were touched to have been in her presence for a even brief moment.

She, the way she handled her unexpected life experience with grace and dignity, and the life she has gone on to create and live, was absolutely inspiring to many, including River Guide #1. I wish Elizabeth could have heard him gush about her. He truly loved and appreciated her and for all she has overcome and is inspired by her. What a great example she has been to many. A hero.

It reminded me that we can each be that in our own lives, through the triumphs over our challenges. We each have a story. We each have the opportunity to be the hero of it. And we never know who’s watching us overcome our challenges and who will be inspired, and be better themselves, because of our good example.

Be a hero.


I’ve admired a few women in my life.

Every once in awhile, you come across someone who exemplifies everything you admire. You look at her with awe and hope that someday… you can become like her. That someday you’ll be as beautiful on the inside, and out, as she is.

The bummer comes in getting there.

In becoming like her.

In developing the beauty that comes from meeting life and conquering its challenges with grace, dignity and class. (At least, that’s my goal.)

Someday, I want to be a woman like that.

“Class has nothing to do with money. Class never runs scared. It is self-discipline and self-knowledge. It’s the sure footedness that comes with having proved you can meet life.” (Ann Landers)

And if I ever become such a woman, I’m going to have to thank my unexpected life for that, too.