My daughter-in-law Emily is quite creative. Who would have the know-how to take apart an old electronic toy and install the parts into Darth Vader's chest box?

In fact, what is a chest box? Let me refer to Star Wars Wookieepedia Darth Vader description?

“Over his solar plexus, he wore a chest unit that served to regulate many of the life-support functions of the suit, including the status of Vader's cardiopulmonary and neural systems. The chest control box had three slots, relating to neural systems data; respiratory systems data; and pulmonary systems data for the top, center, and bottom slots, respectively, and several rectangular buttons adorning the unusually vulnerable piece of machinery. The blue button activated the suit’s auto control functions, while the red button, located below the blue button, activated the suit's manual override . . .”

Yes, Emily created a chest control box for my grandson Allister, and an entire homemade Vader costume and mask. She also made my granddaughter Fiona an R2D2 costume to match.

They will probably win every costume contest in Utah. You know how adorable our own grandchildren are.

Well, I returned home from traveling, and grandchildren, last Friday evening late. In the middle of the night Kortney came in with her family from Ohio. They surprised me with a visit for my birthday.

I need to spell out and be specific. I am still in my late 40s and will never leave that wonderful time.

Nevertheless, this birthday is a big one, maybe 50, who knows? But I did not want anyone to know my age or my birthday, for that matter.

However, Kortney and my children did not know of my plans for sliding quietly past this birthday. Therefore, they planned a surprise party.

This was the timetable. I arrived home on Friday night at 11 p.m. Kortney and Chase arrived at the house at 2 a.m., while I was sleeping.

The next morning, I awoke, was greeted by the grandbabies, ate a wonderful breakfast, and was sent for a massage, to Michelle. She is amazing.

When I returned home, I was escorted to dinner, and afterwards, returned home for birthday cake.

To my surprise, when I walked into the house, the table was decorated and there were numerous friends, shouting “surprise.” What a shocker!

If I had only known, I would have shampooed my hair.

What a fun celebration. There was a ton of food. While visiting, Kortney handed me some cards and a beautifully wrapped book.

I quickly tore off the wrapping paper, and opened the most beautiful book I have ever seen. The cover was covered with dozens of pictures. The book was filled with personal letters, written to me, by my sisters, brother, sons, daughters, in-laws, parents, and friends. The book also contained handmade pictures created by my grandchildren.

I will cherish this book. I will cherish my friends, forever. I do cherish my family, more than they will ever know. They are my treasure.

On this 49th birthday (grin), I'd like to share my favorite scripture from Matthew 6:21.

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County’s Family Week Foundation. Email her at or visit