Thursday, February 15, 2018

a LOT

Denise and I had a big day planned.  We were going to watch Les Miserables, for her first time ever. I picked her up at 9, we went to Sonic and came back home.  She'd made treats for breakfast and we were just getting started when her phone rang.  She said, "Jeremy!?" and then she said, "Which hospital!?"  I was already grabbing my things to go.

Jeremy is Liza's age and the two of them have grown up together since they were just out of diapers.  Jeremy is Denise's oldest.  He's a good guy.  Always kind and loving and so so intelligent.   I love this kid.

Apparently, Jeremy, a scientist kinda guy, was in the lab, standing with another guy who turned his back to Jeremy and then heard a loud thump and turned back to find Jeremy on the floor, having the first of many, many seizures.  Denise and I pulled up as they were unloading him from the ambulance.  I dropped Denise off to go inside with them and then, went to pick up Jeremy's partner, Sarah.

We raced back to the hospital and straight into the ER.  There were machines and tubes and you name it being placed on his body.  He was still seizing and we were all just in shock as we watched. I called Doug immediately to come and give Jeremy a blessing.  Jeremy and the rest of Denise's kids have little faith in the gospel, at this time in their lives, but they all agreed that it was a good thing.  (I think that the fact that Doug was the one coming made that easier for them, as he is family to them.)

Jeremy had to be intibated before Doug could even arrive at the hospital.  He gave Jeremy a beautiful blessing, assuring him that he would live, that his doctors would be on their best game, that all would be well.

Within an hour, Jeremy was life-flighted to Salt Lake City, in a medically induced coma, to stop the seizures until more tests could be performed and before he could have surgery on his brain.  Test showed that he had fractured his skull in the fall and had a brain bleed.  Things were looking pretty bleak.

Even knowing where we are today with this, just looking at these pix makes my heart hurt.  Denise asked me to take pictures so that we could show Jeremy when he is better.



However, Jeremy never needed the surgery.  Jeremy had a few really bad days, but within a week, he was awake and able to sit, to speak, although he had little short-term memory.  By Tuesday, this week, Jeremy was transferred to a closer hospital in Ogden and the next day, he was released from the hospital.  He still has memory issues, balance issues and is working hard to improve in those areas.  He's receiving physical therapy and speech therapy and and and... but he's alive.  He's home.  And there is hope, even though he is quite discouraged at all that has happened and has little comprehension of anything that's happening.

I started this post on the day after all of this happened... two weeks ago.   It's been a crazy two weeks.  CRAZY.  C-R-A-Z-Y!!! We are so thankful for the many prayers that were answered.  On the night before Jeremy was transferred, Denise called at midnight and said that her cute little 2 year old granddaughter, Rose, was in the ICU in Vegas with RSV.  The next night, when Jeremy was in the second hospital, Denise texted, "Guess where I am?"  Assuming she was with Jeremy, at the new hospital, I about died when she said she was in the Logan ER with her daughter!!!  Talk about having a lot on your plate!  Thankfully, Ashlee is fine, Rose is home and fine and Jeremy is on the mend!  It's been crazy.  Just plain crazy.

I will not complain about my problems.  That's for sure.  Life is good.  Trying but good.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

no poker faces here

One of my biggest blessings that has come from serving in Relief Society is my friendship with these three cute ladies. (Our friendship actually began two weeks before my calling, but they have been a big part of it!)

Viola on the left, Diane in the center and Frankie on my right.  


Oh my goodness, they do make me laugh!  We have too much fun when we get together to play Hand and Foot.  For the past months since August, it's been, at least, once a week.  They have their own rules, different than Carol and I have played for decades, and they stick to them!  They watch what the other is doing and I just chuckle at how they tease each other about the game.  You can feel the love of these three women for each other, for the Lord, for those around them.  I have never heard them say a bad word about anyone.   They truly have learned how to love everyone and accept people, flaws and all.  They are a great example to me!

We've also enjoyed going to the movies together and out to lunch.  I am blessed to have these three cute ladies in my life.  They make me laugh and warm my heart.  They are like having three extra mothers!  I feel their love and their prayers and their concern and they are not afraid to tell me what they think!

Doug is always teasing, "Poker night?" when I say I'm heading to one of their homes. (I'd highly doubt any of them have ever played a hand of poker!)  It was Frankie's garage that I broke my head in, trying to protect Viola from falling. They all felt responsible and Viola offered to come and clean my toilets.  She's probably not cleaned her own toilet in decades, but she said, "That's the worst thing anyone could ever have to do, and I'd be willing to clean yours because I feel so awful!"   No! She did not clean my toilet! 

Doug just adores them all and is as thankful as I am to have them in my life.  He's given priesthood blessings to Viola and she calls him her "Go-to Man" for blessings because she got through her pneumonia and flu so well and then another health issue.  I do think it's her amazing faith, however wonderful Doug may be! 

Viola has been a widow for twelve years.  Her husband Jerry was her best friend.  He was so handsome!  I love to hear her talk about him and I love to ask questions about him.  Viola was the "hostess with the mostest" in the ward for decades.  I really feel like we are kindred spirits when it comes to what matters in entertaining and hosting and partying.  I'm constantly hearing about the things that Viola did to turn our church cultural hall into the streets of London, into Bethlehem, and the dinners that she hosted with the most elaborate decor ever!  Yep, we connect!

Diane has been alone for two years.  Her life story is fascinating.  She's been through a lot and yet, she always has a smile on her face and gives thanks for all that is hers.  She's soft-spoken by voice, but she has a mind that she isn't afraid to speak.  Her spirit is huge!  She lives by the spirit and counsels me with her wisdom and gentle spirit often.  I just adore her.  She's tall and thin.and elegant.  The very first day that we moved into the ward, she was conducting the music in Relief Society.  I was in awe of how beautiful she was.  Her spirit is so strong.  She almost whispers when she speaks, but what she says is always worth listening to and pondering for days. 

Frankie is a "happy soul".  Frankie smiles all the time and has the greatest laugh! She's been a widow for ten years. She's always got something to make us smile.  She's small in stature and large in spirit.  Frankie is a good listener, as well.  I sometimes watch her while we play cards and just see her taking in what's being said.  I can tell that she goes home and ponders and prays for us all!  She's a remarkable lady and has the brightest eyes.  Frankie uses a cane and has to be a little more careful about her steps, but she gets around and doesn't slow down!  Have I mentioned that I adore these three women?!

I'm just grateful for the blessing of knowing so many "wiser" women in my life.  I've always loved women who were older than me... from my first friends Linda Kimball and Joanne DeCorso, who were in their thirties when I was 19 to Susan Hatch when I was in my 20s and she was in her 30s to Sarah Willmore when I was 30 and she was in her 40s.  And then all through my 40s, I had the wonderful single widows in Smithfield as great examples and special friends.  They were in their 70s, 80s and 90s. It doesn't feel like long that I'll be the one who is the "Wiser" sister.  Wait!  I'm almost 60!  I already am falling into that category!  ha!

I just hope to be able to live the active lives that these women have!  Norma Watts was shoveling her own driveway at 90plus.  Helen Simmons, 88, across the street from me now, does all of her own housework and plants hundreds of flowers each spring.  Viola announced just after I'd taken that photo that she's planning a Mediterranean Cruise to Rome for the dedication of the Rome LDS Temple.  She's just turned 87!  And she'll do it!

What a blessing to have such wonderful, exemplary new friends in my life!  Honestly, there is hardly a day that I don't wake up and wonder if my "poker ladies" and I will get together today!  Seriously, there has to be a better name for them.  They are not poker ladies.  They are giving ladies, serving ladies, wonderful ladies and I get to call them my friends!  I am blessed and life is good!

Friday, January 26, 2018

a few ramblings

I was asked to teach my home management and organizing class for Mid-Week Activity last week.  (The meeting formally known as Homemaking Meeting. ha!)  It was great to get all of my little ideas out of cupboards and closets to share with the sisters... selfishly, because last year, being that I was still pretty heavily medicated and had the new shoulder in the sling, I didn't do any January cleaning and de-junking like I usually do.  As I emptied things out of cupboards, I could definitely tell that it's been two years instead of one since my annual deep, deep cleaning.  Putting things away was fun because it gave me a project  inspiring, even though it's going to be a much slower process since I still can't reach anything above my head.  Darnit!

Carol and I went to see the Commuter with our MoviePass.  Very intense,  very intriguing, very CGI.  It was okay.  I probably wouldn't buy it, but it was worth watching.  Eh.  Because of MoviePass, I have now seen The Greatest Showman six times and Carol and I are going again tonight while Doug and Quayd go and see Maze Runner!  I LOVE Greatest Showman!  It's definitely my new all-time favorite movie! Can not wait to buy it the minute it is released in blu-ray!

We had our taxes done.  It was not the happy event that it has been in years past, as Doug made a bit of extra money last year.  The extra money was nice, but the lower tax return... not so much.  I thought our new U.S.president had performed miracles and we could pay off our house, go on a cruise and buy some fresh pickles or something too.  Apparently not.  No political statement, just silly me.

This past two weeks has been kind of crazy in our ward with several sisters who've been ill or had challenges.  It's a little more time consuming, but I do not mind it at all!  I love these women!

In September, we began to hear a noise in our bedroom.  It was the sound of running water. Doug had just winterized the sprinkler system and checked and doublechecked it to make sure that he hadn't forgotten anything.  This noise seemed to get louder each day... it was the sound that you hear when you are in one point of your home and someone is showering in another room.  And it kept getting louder.  Finally, Doug insisted that I call the city and ask them to come and read our meter to make sure that we didn't have a leak and end up with a bazillion dollar water bill.   They came.  Nothing.  Then we called a few more times, insisting that the noise was getting even louder.  They did discover a leak out on the main line under our street, but said it would be spring until the would repair it because they don't like to deal with asphalt in the winter. That was in September! 

Over the past two weeks, our bedroom, at night, sounds like a jet engine idling outside our window all night.  It's been hard to sleep, even with earplugs.  So, Doug wrote in his planner last weekend, "Call City" on Monday's schedule.  As he pulled out to go to work that morning, he noticed that our street curbs had water running down it.  The water was seeping up through the street because it had saturated to the point of no return.  He called the city and when Doug said the word "Sink Hole", the lady said, "Oh, dear."  Twenty minutes they were here. What a mess!


 Twenty four hours later, there were seven city vehicles, to backhoes and seven men working on our street.  They dug a hole big enough to put a long-bed pickup in it, worked a few hours scooping and vaccuuming out water like it was a river, and by afternoon, just minutes before it began to snow, the repair was made, the hole was filled and new asphalt poured.  We slept so well last night!  Silence!!!

We have our first funeral in the ward since my new calling tomorrow.  Sister Larsen was 98 years old!  They have 150 family members returning after the cemetery for dinner.  I found that our ward does something I've never heard of for the family.  Before serving the meal, and while waiting for everyone's return from the cemetery, they serve warm apple cider to the family members who've been outside in the cold.  I love this!  Have I mentioned that I love this ward!? 

Life is good in most every aspect right now.  I don't have to say which area is stressful.  It is pretty apparent but that's another post.  Parenting brings the most joy and the most pain of any other thing on earth.  Just sayin.







Wednesday, January 17, 2018

personal space

I was sitting at my desk last night, I realized, I spend a lot of time here at this desk, staring at this board in front of me.  This is my visiting teaching board, with all the routes and all of our 129 sisters listed on it. It's funny how much I find myself sitting there just staring at the board, thinking about the sisters on the board.  They are not just names on a board, but lives and souls and they matter more than I ever dreamed possible!  This space has become my happy spot, my worry spot, my thinking spot...depending on the moment or the day!


My desk does not look this neat all of the time. Above, it is the after shot. Actually, the notebook and scriptures are usually open on one of the slide-out shelves.  My iPad is open to one screen on LDS Tools and my laptop is open to another. The candy dish is usually full of some treat... pistachios or kisses, of late.  My file folder is often pulled out from the desk below.  But, on Tuesdays, most of this, including the candy dish, is moved to the dining table in the den for our Presidency meetings. 

Here's a before shot, so that the truth is told...

But.  That board.  It just amazes me how much it means to me.  At first, I kept it stored behind my bedroom door, but I was constantly pulling it out.  My rule of thumb for decorating has always been, "if it doesn't enhance the room, it needs to be put away."  HOWEVER, this board enhances my life, like nothing ever has before.  I decided to just keep it up where I could see it all the time and I was amazed when I slid it right into the spot between the shelf brackets with about half an inch to spare.  It was meant to be! (wink-wink)

Friend Marilyn gave me this desk when we first bought this home.  It was a perfect fit.  The plan was to refinish it and that hasn't happened yet.  At this rate, it might be a few more years before I get to it.  But, it's my own personal space where I can feel peace, study, pray, ponder or just listen to music and escape while checking email or social media.

Everyone needs a place that they can call their own.  This is mine.  No one is supposed to touch it or get into things here.  No one puts their things on it.  It's just my space.  And it makes me happy. 

This is the first home we have had in decades that didn't have a craft room/office.  I've turned Grace's bedroom into a craftroom/guestroom.  Since I rarely craft anymore, it's good to have a place to keep the "stuff" that goes along with crafting, but I surely don't need a designated room for it anymore. All of the craft stuff is inside that armoire and one half of the closet.  Still waaaaaaay too much craft stuff!  It's strange to go downstairs and see this room untouched for days, with Grace gone.  But, it's kinda sweet to see it perfectly clean all of the time!  I do like perfectly clean!  But, life goes on and kids grow up and move away.  It's her time to fly and my time to have empty rooms.  I can live with that.



Life is good!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

I love these men!

I am so thrilled to hear the announcement of the new First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!  President Russell M. Nelson is such a kind and sweet and gentle man.  You can always feel his love of the people and of our Savior whenever he speaks.  President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring are also tremendous examples of faithfulness and service.  I adore these men and am very excited for the future of the church!

If you have ever wondered how this process occurs, there was a perfect explanation today.  It makes so much sense and bought clarity to anyone with a question.  They have lived wonderful lives and have been prepared through their life experiences for years and years and years.  I was fascinated to know that President Nelson was not baptized until he was sixteen and that it was by his own choice and desire.  I was also impressed by the fact that he was skiing last winter, in his 93rd year!  This will be a wonderful new leadership for the church. 


I would be lying if I did not say that I was sad to know that we won't get to hear from President Uchtdoft as often as we have for this past several years.  That man radiates light and joy and love, which I have always expressed my appreciation for everything about his joyful countenance.  If I were choosing who I wanted to hear speak at almost every meeting, Elder Uchtdorf would be at the top of my list, along with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.  What great men!  And as President Nelson said, "How do you choose among such great men!?"  I loved the explanation of how our church's process for who will be the next president of the church... no campaigning, no aspiring.  These men are truly called of God, decades before this happens.

I also felt a deep sadness and reality hit that President Monson is really gone.  Even through his funeral, it felt over and over as though we would hear from him at our next General Conference.  But, today, reality struck.  He is gone from this earth.  We will see new change and a prominsing bright future will continue for the church throughout the world.  I will await anxiously for General Conference in April to see who it is that the Lord calls to fill the two empty seats in the Quorum of the Twelve.  Oh how I do love this church and even more, how I love the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Monday, January 15, 2018

weekly ramblings

A little rambling for the week....

President Thomas S. Monson's funeral services were televised on Friday afternoon.  This man's life was absolutely exemplary.  If he you have an hour, his service is so worth watching.  It was inspirational.  And the closing hymn and Elder Holland's closing prayer touched me deeply.  I've never heard that hymn before.  Perfect.  Here's a link to the funeral online. 


This week has been pretty crazy.  A month before my new calling, I began playing cards with these three amazing 80-ish women.  This week, one of them, Viola, was in the hospital with pneumonia for a few days.  I visited her and prayed for her and worried about her and thankfully, she is home tonight.  I am literally in love with these three ladies.  I adore them all.  They are such remarkable women and I could hardly bear to think about her being so ill.  Oh my gosh, I love them!

I've been able to spend some time with some other good friends this past week, as well.  I got to have breakfast with Kara, lunch with Natalie another day, visited with Susan in Ohio, several times.  I can't imagine my life without my amazing and wonderful friends!  I am indeed blessed in that department!

Tonight, Doug and I went on a double-date with Bishop and his wife Denise.  We enjoy our time with them for sure!  We don't even talk much business when we are together.  Doug and Denise are definitely the quiet ones in the group! It was a fun date.

I've been working on some very big changes in our Relief Society Visiting Teaching.  I'll be making announcements about it tomorrow in RS.  Tonight, I had my big magnetic board up on my desk and was making notes of a few things while listening to my "Sing" playlist.  Zeej was sitting on one of the chairs in our bedroom next to me.  Phantom came on and she turned it up.  A Michael Jackson song came on, it went up a little louder.  Celine Dion... louder.  Then the Macarena came on and we both instantly jumped up and started dancing together!  Oh how I love this gal of mine!   We had a fun lunch date today at TRH, sharing a Critter Salad and then tonight, ended the day with dancing together while Doug and Quayd were in the den finishing their Jason Bourne marathon. (I'll pass.)  Zeej is my girl!  I adore her!  (PS... new shoulders and the Macarena... no beuno!) (Oh well, worth the pain!)


Today, was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  Zeej did an even bigger happy dance last night when she came out to the hottub and I asked her if she realized she didn't have school!  Today, we did a little shopping and had lunch at her favorite place, Buffalo Wild Wings.  We came home and planned on watching a movie and hanging out more, but, I got busy working on our Visiting Teaching changes and she started working on some projects of her own in her room.  We texted and called each other to say, "Hi.  Hi.  Bye. Bye."  I do love this girl!

Today, I spent seven hours working on Visiting Teaching changes.  As a presidency, we made a huge decision last week to make a huge change in how report out visiting teacher.  I texted our bishop in the middle of our presidency meeting last week and he came right over to hear our thoughts.  I wasn't sure what he would think, but he immediately responded, "Go for it!  Let's do it!"  So, on Sunday, he released seven visiting teaching supervisors and our co-ordinator and now all visiting teaching reporting will be directly to our presidency.  I feel that with all of the changes taking place in the visiting teaching and the way that we are learning on Sundays, this was a good change to keep the presidency more in touch, directly, with the sisters in the ward.  It was a big leap of faith for us, but it feels right for us!

Tonight, I received a text with some information about a member of our ward and I, literally, just said a prayer and began to cry out of concern for this person.  Doug walked in and saw me at my desk, with tears just falling.  I said, "I love these people so much!  I hate when they have challenges!"  Honestly, I've never felt such an abundance of love for so many people all at once... people who I normally would have never made connections with.  This calling is a gift!  I am the one feeling mostly blessed because of it!

Tomorrow morning at 9AM, we will hear the official announcement of our new Prophet, President of the LDS Church and his counselors.  It is with great anticipation that we await this announcement. 

Life is good.  SO very very good! 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

grace

I've had so many people asking for a little update about Grace and her life. Grace and Ben met in early July, were ga-ga for each other by August, engaged in October.  Ben is a very nice boy.  He's polite, respectful and has southern manners.  He's active in the LDS Church. We thought he was almost too good to be true.  However, as time went on, everyone around us began to notice a few red flags in their relationship (not just with him, but with Grace, as well.)

Grace is nineteen.  She's old enough to make decisions on her own. In December, Grace and Ben agreed to postpone the wedding "for a while."  We were greatly relieved that they were going to give things a bit more time before making this big commitment. They did not call off the engagement, they postponed it.  And, as of today, we still can not  give it our total blessing.  We recognize, however, that Grace is old enough to do things without our total support and blessing.  And that is her prerogative. And that hurts.  I'd be lying if I didn't say that.

Grace announced on Christmas morning that she was moving into an apartment with five other LDS girls who are her age.  We would like to have seen her prepare for a few months more before this move, but, she felt she was ready and did it anyway.  Again, she's free to make this choice on her own.  (or possibly with someone else's encouragement.) :(

As of now, she still plans to marry Ben, regardless of our opinions.  And that's her choice.  She will have to live with her choices.  It's been difficult on Doug and I, to say the least.  We have raised her as best we could.  She's making good choices.  They are planning on a wedding in the Logan Temple still.  She's working and learning each day on her own.  We feel that this new independence will also help her develop an appreciation for what she did have at home. 

She wanted wings.  She took them.  We didn't stop her.  We can only pray for her now.  As mentioned, she is having a great time, feeling her newfound freedom.  She has good roommates who have the same standards and values that she was raised with.  She has a nice living situation.  She's going to have to work hard to take care of herself.  We hope that this new situation helps her realize who she is and not what others think she should be.   I have shared only how I feel and I can feel however I feel.  No one can argue with that. 

Life is good.  Sometimes hard, but good.  I remember when Liza moved out.  It just about killed me.  I hated it with all my heart, but she wanted wings and she took them and flew. It was a wonderful experience for her.  She learned a lot and it prepared her for her future life. Today, her life is wonderful!  I'm so thankful for that!   We are praying that Grace makes great choices in her future, as Liza did!  Enough said.  Probably too much.