Tracy in Real Life

It’s a five-star friend who travels from Minnesota to Utah for your daughter’s baptism, but true friendship is revealed when someone stays in my house four days and I don’t feel the need to apologize for the dusty shelves, messy pantry or my children’s latest spat– because Tracy doesn’t judge or raise eyebrows– she simply loves us.


A few of Tracy’s 3,000,000 readers may skip over here for insight into the woman behind, because she is (as Erik likes to say) kind of a big deal. And the truth is she’s fabulous, kind, funny and so incredibly, showstopping pretty that you’ll never believe one of her posts about aging or wrinkles again. Tracy claims she’s not photogenic and while I hate to agree with any sort of self-deprecation, it’s true that no photo I’ve seen captures her true loveliness.

With the baptism and Sunday and the prerequisite tour of Temple Square, Tracy was pulled fully into our Mormon world, which she treated with grace and respect. She wrote the kindest expose on our religion and people; if you’re Mormon you’ll love the comments (we’re not as hated as we thought!). Trust me, this one is really worth the read.


Spiritually, I believe everyone who lives a conscious driven life is pretty similar– we just have different practices. One of the funkiest thing about Mormons, I told Tracy, is that we just nod our heads and say OK to lots of rules–“I can’t call my missionary son on his birthday? OK.” “I shouldn’t have double ear piercings? OK.” “You want me to spend 200 hundred hours planning girls’ camp this summer? OK.”


Our lack of caffeination seems strangest to Tracy, but I was happy to follow her into Starbucks where she bought a double venti for herself and salted caramel hot chocolates (highly recommended) for me and Mary. Minutes later we sipped our drinks as we walked into Jolley’s Corner Pharmacy, a friend in the store saw us, became wide-eyed and said, “Happy baptism day, Mary. Starting it out with a little coffee?”

“Figured it was her last chance.” I replied. My friend was thoroughly embarrassed but Tracy and I found it hilarious.


It was my turn to be embarrassed when we had a run-in with someone who wanted Tracy to know Mormons are better than everyone else. Tracy graciously brushed it off, but I’m still sad and chagrined. I respect the beliefs of all my friends; my belief in Christ is strengthened by reading Tricia and Jan’s blogs, my Catholic Uncle Mark lives the most principled life of anyone I know, my Born Again cousins inspire me with their fervor and my brother Dan (who isn’t really religious) is one of my wisest spiritual advisers. As Erik likes to say, “Religion is a holding pattern until Christ comes again.” (and do I think Mormonism offers a fabulous holding pattern? Oh yes. I’d love to tell you all about it or send two cute missionaries to your door.)

Erik also loves to quote Joseph Smith, “Friendship is one of the grand fundamental principles of ‘Mormonism.’ … It unites the human family with its happy influence.” And friendship is empty without respect for each other’s beliefs.

photo credit Tracy Morrison

The baptism was the perfect time for a visit because Tracy was able to meet my family and many of my friends. I always like my friends to meet each other because, well, I know they’ll become friends too. And that’s precisely what happened– now Tracy has a whole slew of Utah buddies and next time she comes we’ll need an arm wrestling contest to see whose house she’ll stay at (but I’ll have Stefan represent us, so sorry, the rest of you don’t have much of a chance). Tracy even made it into Ben’s birthday video, but she’s out of focus because some people (me) don’t know how to use their camera.

Really, with two photographers, you’d think we’d have taken a lot more photos over the weekend. I did show her some of my favorite shooting spots and spent some time trading Photoshop tricks, but most of the time we were too busy talking to pull out the camera.


And of course we shopped– when a style diva like Tracy says, “You need these shoes.” I just shrug and pull out my wallet.

My sister told me of a conversation with a Dutch friend where she said, “North Americans just don’t value friendship. They don’t make time for people the way we do in Europe.” Sadly, she may be right. But I am so grateful for Tracy (and many others) who share their time and friendship with me.

February 19, 2012



  1. Tracy

    February 17, 2012

    Well you weren’t suppose to make me cry.

    It was a beautiful weekend. I cannot thank you enough for including me in Mary’s special day and for opening up your home to me and my coffee.

    Also – I meant to buy something whilst I was they by chance have any ‘I Love Mormons’ bumper stickers for sale around you..because I need to put one right next to my Obama 2012 one.

    Love you. Like you would not believe. xo

  2. Kristin

    February 17, 2012

    What a lovely tribute to a wonderful friend. I’m glad I read through.

  3. Linn

    February 17, 2012

    Absolutely fabulous and I think I live under a rock, because I just learned about Tracy in this post. What a fabulous woman! And her bumper-stickers-side-by-side comment is going to keep me laughing for a very long time. Now THAT is awesome!

  4. Alison@Mama Wants This

    February 17, 2012

    I’m here from Tracy’s – I love this post! Not that I need any more convincing that she is truly fabulous. I so wish I lived closer to her! (I’m oceans and several time zones away)

  5. Tina

    February 17, 2012

    Love that Tracy, and it was so nice to meet you as well!

  6. Blue

    February 18, 2012

    Do you think sometime I can come spend the weekend with you and sleep in your basement and get salted hot chocolates, too? Because that sounds lovelyheavenly. I’ll pretend I’m far away and enjoy every moment of the “staycation”.

    Wish we could have celebrated Mary’s special day with you. So happy for your family. ♥

  7. Ang

    February 18, 2012

    What? You have an awesome friend in Minnesota and you haven’t introduced us yet?!?! 🙂

    Loved your post, loved her post. So many awesome people in this world.

  8. Cath

    February 18, 2012

    Michelle – this is a witty, wonderful, and truly beautiful post about Tracy and our big world full of exceptional people. I definitely think Mormons do not have a corner on good people. To rub shoulders with friends from all kinds of places and faith is always a gift. It was a true delight to meet Tracy and hit the trails together. I might have to get in on that arm wrestle next time she comes to town. 😉 xoxo

  9. Anna

    February 19, 2012

    Love this post and the reminder we should all just get along!

  10. Kit Linkous

    February 19, 2012

    Such a great friend. I loved getting a chance to glean some wisdom from her about life with 3 girls 🙂

  11. The Empress

    February 19, 2012

    What a wonderful post.

    Sometimes the best things about a church are also the worst things.

    Like the woman who made the comment about the coffee, or the one who thinks Mormoms are better than all.

    My family and I have church hopped forever, being too sensitive to the ones who scare us away.

    I remember hearing once, and loving this: Do we bully people into the kingdom of God, or do we love them into the kingdom of God.?”

    I won’t take up space here, but my SIL is Mormon and I hear from her children’s comments about our sinful ways.

    Well, at least my family doesn’t talk about others.

    We accept them, love them, right as they are, and where they are.

    WOnderful post,

    Tracy is great.

    Really great.

  12. Jessica

    February 19, 2012

    Oh I love Tracy and your post illustrates exactly why. I hope I have the chance to meet her in person very soon as you have. What gorgeous photos in your post!

  13. Michelle

    February 19, 2012

    Oh Empress, I’m sorry I told that story poorly– my friend is making the coffee comment was just teasing us, and Tracy and I giggled all day about it. The friend who made the comment is a wonderful person and I would never want to reflect poorly on her.

  14. meleana

    February 20, 2012

    Love what you wrote here. I read this today and thought it fit here too:

    “I want my writing to help bridge the gaps between Christians and Jews and Muslims and atheists and agnostics and Hindus. I want my writing to help us become less suspicious of each other. I want to develop a common language that will help us communicate with each other better. I want us to practice knowing that I can believe what I believe, and also acknowledge the mystery that you can believe what you believe just as strongly. And maybe, we can both say aloud that chances are we’re all a little right and a little wrong. And we can also admit, out loud, that it’s okay if I secretly believe that you’re a little wronger than I am. We don’t have to keep that a secret. We can have strong convictions and LEAVE SPACE for the convictions of others. And we can still love each other and listen and learn from each other and maybe even maintain a sense of humor. We can become family that way. As one of the speakers said this weekend…isn’t this exactly what we do with family? We accept differences that we know will never change and embrace each other anyway? Love just finds a way for this?”

    Love your writing, Michelle. Thanks for being a light in my day.

  15. Lady Jennie

    February 20, 2012

    What a great post, and yes, Tracy is great. 🙂

    We’re Christians with tons of atheist or “a different belief” set of friends and family and no reason we can’t all love each other.

    You take beautiful pictures.

  16. Tifani

    February 20, 2012

    Tracy deserves every beautiful word. You two are made for each other!

  17. jen

    February 23, 2012

    This Lutheran knows that Mormons are lovely people. They have to be to put up with my husband and I accosting the sister missionaries at Temple Square and asking them deep theological questions in their native languages. (We’re kind of polyglots in our house.)

    The sweet elderly gentleman who gave me a tour of the LDS Conference Center in 2007 was also seriously a sainted person to put up with me. 🙂

  18. Rachelle

    March 11, 2012

    I haven’t met either of you, but feel like I know you both. How fun that Tracy could fly out for a visit!

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