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


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.

Monday, January 8, 2018

first council, big change

A week or so after I was called to serve as Relief Society President, we were informed that the way that Relief Society has been for decades would be changing.  There were questions and worries and concerns instantly!  Big enough to have this new calling, but to have the whole program change, where there was no one to follow was even more overwhelming!  I have spent the past few months praying and pleading and reading and asking and questioning the Lord, every other Relief Society member, president, presidency member, you name it, a gazillion questions about how they were going to do things, about what they took this or that to mean, about what they thought about this idea or that. (THAT was a long sentence!)

The long awaited and much anticipated day arrived Sunday!  We held our first "Relief Society Council" meeting.  We rearranged the Relief Society Room into a huuuuuuge circle with the table in the center.  We had two microphones... one for myself to use as the facilitator and one for the sisters to pass between themselves as they spoke.

I began the council by sharing the new program format and then went over a few rules of "propriety" for us all to follow.  Four rules... 1.  Have the right attitude and along with the Holy Ghost, we will become awesome at this!  2. Consider the feelings of others and remember that most things are not personal, so don't take things that way.  3.  Remember that the Key to the whole change is ACTION - before, during and after the council!  And 4.  EXPECT MIRACLES!

We then began the discussion with my asking questions about why the change, How would the Savior minister if he were here today?  What challenges to we have reaching out to those around us.  We discussed visiting teaching and meeting the needs of others.  I challenged the sisters to not just "get their visiting teaching done to get counted" but to be prepared to answer this question, "Have you reached out and blessed the lives of those in your stewardship this past month?"  The sisters laughed as I posed the question, but they also captured the importance of the message!

It was a wonderful meeting and when I came home, I sat down and just bawled!  Three months of preparation.  Less than one hour of presentation.  But, such a wonderful feeling to have felt the support and love of each of the sisters.  Throughout the evening and today, I've received texts and emails and a few phone calls expressing thanks and positive comments!  I even learned a new word that I've literally never heard before - "aplomb".  

Seriously, I do love this opportunity to serve these 129 sisters!  They are remarkable and wonderful and just plain awesome!

Monday morning, Julie, Gayle, McKell and I went to breakfast.  Julie struggled through breakfast but was a trooper.  She's my hero!  I hate cancer, have I mentioned that!?  As soon as I dropped Julie off, I headed to town and bought a few last minute items for tonight's YSA Family Home Evening dinner.  I prepared for twenty five.  We had seventeen for dinner.  Chicken Enchilada Soup, Homemade Bread, Chips and Salsa and nummy Peanut Butter Bars!  Dinner was fun with a new group of college kids.  They were a hoot!  Doug asked me to give the message before dinner and after, there was lots of talk of The Greatest Showman. We pulled out the CD and played the music for a bit before they all left agreeing to meet at the theater tomorrow!
Life is so good.  ur home is quiet and quiet peaceful.  Grace has texted a few times.  She seems to be happy in her new abode.  We are proud of her for taking a step towards independence.  We are still struggling with it but at the same time, are very happy for her!  I love my life and our home and my kids and my rockstar husband and our callings which bring us such joy!  Life really is good!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

a game, a movie, a move... again

a few things....

We have had this fun tradition for the past several years.  It's a fun game where I wrap a container filled with a gift or cash or giftcard inside.  I wrap it with layers and layers of wrapping paper, tape, duct tape, string, electrical tape, scotch tape, masking tape, rubberbands, you name it.  Then the kids roll two dice and if they get doubles, they get to grab the gift and start ripping off the layers.  There a few twists... the biggest being that they have to wear snowmobile gloves.  It's a fun time that usually involved lots of screaming and grabbing and very few manners.  (Doug hates that part!)  But, they have a blast grabbing and ripping and the last person to get to the actual canister and open it, gets to keep the prize inside. 

It's nothing new but it's a fun tradition.  This year, we have waited and waited until all three kids were home at the same time to do it.  But, with Grace gone all the time with Ben or working, we waited long enough and decided it was happening after dinner last night.  Grace left before dinner and didn't get back until late, so she missed it.  Sadness for her.  Since it was just the two of them, we didn't even get the gloves out.  Zeej and Quayd got to rip bearhanded, which was still a challenge for them.  It still included lots of "GIMME!" and "MINE!" as they rolled two whatevers.  In the end, Zeej won.

It was my happy moment to hear Quayd scream, "Good job, Zeej!"  No pouting that he didn't win this time.  He's matured a lot since he left for a mission!  Love that!  During family prayer last night, which was his turn, he said "We are thankful that Zeej won the wrapped money.  Bless her to use it wisely."  There were a few snickers.  Quayd's prayers usually give us (and Heavenly Father) a little chuckle, but are also very sincere and reverent for the most part. 

Today, Grace started moving her things out.  She's moving into an apartment with five other girls.  It's breaking my heart to see her go, but we all agree that it will be a good thing for her.  It's time.  She will learn and grow from this experience.  We are not thrilled that we won't see her very much because we know that between working two jobs and dating Ben, she will be busy.  But, hopefully, she'll remember all that we've taught her and continue to grow and make wonderful choices!

Grace had just left to take a load to her new apartment.  To keep from bawling, I decided to go see The Greatest Showman again.  Zeej was thrilled to join Denise and I.  Quayd asked where we were going. "Wait!?  Are you going to Greatest Showman again?"  He was up and redressed before I could get out to the car.  We love this story.  We LOVE the music!  We love the message!  It's such a fun show!  My guess is that we'll see it again! (wink-wink)

Life is moving so fast.  It's insane, just how fast!  Things are moving at such a rapid pace!  It feels like yesterday that we were going through these moves and passages with the bigs and now here we are with the babes.  It's not always perfect, but it is wonderful!  Life is good!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Thomas S. Monson

On Tuesday evening, our beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson, graduated from this earth.  His life was a wonderful example of love, compassion, service and kindness.  He was witty and humble and could convey God's love through his stories and life experiences, like no other.  He was a true live hero.  We have loved this man for decades and he has led the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for the past ten years.  His life was dedicated to serving "the one".  He would leave a meeting to go and bless the sick or visit a widow.  What a wonderful, wonderful example of Christlike living! 

Here a few of my favorite quotes from President Monson:

May we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.

We can't direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.

Stick to your task til it sticks to you.  Beginners are many but enders are few.

It is better to look UP!

Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.

Kneel DOWN to pray.  Step UP to serve.  Reach OUT to rescue.

Decisions determine destiny.

Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient will remember them for a lifetime.

Never Postpone a Prompting!

When we treat people merely as they are, they will remain as they are.  When we treat them as if they were what they should be, they will become what they should be.

So much of life depends on our attitude.

If we choose Christ, we will have made the correct choice.

By learning of Him, by believing in Him, by following Him, there is a capacity to become like Him.

One of God's greatest gifts to us is the joy of trying again, for failure never need to be final.

The Lord is in the details of our lives.

Choose your friends with caution, plan your future with purpose and frame your life with faith.

The past is behind, learn from it.  The future is ahead,  prepare for it.  The present is here.  Live it.

He was truly a man of wisdom with a heart of gold.  I had the opportunity to meet him in the early 1980s, by chance.  He was standing at a delivery drop-off area, down below, what was then, the Wilkinson Center, near the street that runs east of BYU. (It's been decades since I've been on the campus, (other than the MTC) so I'm not sure if it's at all still like that anymore.)   

But, he was standing there alone waiting.  This was long before security guards or a need for them or cellphones.  I was killing time, so I had walked out of the building to this rarely unoccupied side area, recognized him immediately and said hello.  We chatted for a couple of minutes, at most.  He told me His wife and daughter had gone shopping while he was on campus for business and they were not back yet.  He teased that he just knew that they were off having fun and probably forgotten what time it was.   He said that they "forget everything when they are together."   He was not angry or annoyed. He was able to laugh about it. It was seconds later that they pulled up.  He shook my hand, said "It was a pleasure to meet you", and was off.  I remember walking away, being grateful for that sweet insight to his personal life and also, thinking that Doug was that kind of husband, who would be happy I was having fun and not annoyed that he had to stand there alone waiting.  I'll cherish those couple of moments forever!

Since that time, all those years ago, we have had the privilege of standing when he entered the SLC Tabernacle and the Conference Center, as our living prophet, and singing the words "We thank Thee, Oh, God, for a Prophet" a few times.  What a choice experience to hear his words of wisdom in person and as we have watched General Conference from the comfort of our home.  We always sit up and listen when he speaks!  We are always prepared for a good story or two, examples of his life well-lived, as he shared experiences with widows and the sick and the afflicted.  What a wonderful man.  What a wonderful example.  What a wonderful life.  He will be so missed and his legacy will carry on. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 year in review

Since I've not blogged a lot this past year, I'm going to do a bit more of a detailed entry for a year in review.

January - I don't remember much about January except for sitting in my recliner and watching it snow while taking lots and lots of meds for my brand new shoulder, the eight inch incision that was healing on my arm and sleeping a whole lot.  A whole lot.  And it snowed a lot.  A whole lot!  It's strange to look back on that now and remember how totally helpless I felt and the fear of not knowing what would lie ahead.  This was, indeed, the most physical pain I'd ever experienced in my life and the most helpless I'd ever felt.  Not being able to lift my own phone, not being able to shower without Doug's assistance, not being able to care for my family, which is what I do, was the worst thing ever.  Thankfully, they cared for me, in ways I didn't know they could.  My love and appreciation for Doug grew more than I could have ever imagined.  It was a phenomenal experience.

The highlight of January for me was when my doorbell rang late on a Sunday night and in walked one of my dearest old friends, Brenda DeMateo, from the Chicago area.  She had flown in to surprise me and was here to care for me for a week.  What a wonderful time we had together. She cared for me, for my family, for my home and was just what the doctor didn't order, but I needed!  Catching up on 20 years since we'd last seen each other was fabulous!  Lots of tears and laughs!

Grace turned 18 on January 2.  I literally don't remember anything about her birthday.  Sadness.  But, she survived.  (Now, I want to ask her what we did???  It had to be pizza or take-out because I did not leave the house, except for once, to go to the doctor and into Hobby Lobby on the way home, just to say that I did something, for thirty-nine days.)

February -  I remember snow, meds, pain, and good food prepared by ZJ every morning and brought in for lunch by many friends and meals brought in by ward members.  Day after day, lunch brought to our home by close friends who would help me get through the afternoon and keep my spirits up.  Did I mention that it snowed? A lot.

I started physical therapy at the end of the month and lifting my phone was huge progress! I can't believe how far I've come since then!

Doug and his childhood and lifelong best friend, Tex, were able to get together for some snowmobiling in late February.  As they have both hit the ripe age of 60 plus, I'm a lot less nervous when they hit the mountains, as I know that they are both trying to stay healthy and safe!  I teased that I couldn't care for him if he got hurt while they were out because I needed him to care for me!  They had such a good time together!  Doug grinned for days before and after!

Oh, the food that was brought in!  AMAZING and wonderful!  We were blessed!

And Zeej became quite the cook herself.  I will say that one of the best things to come from my shoulder injury was that she can make anything I can, and oftentimes, even better than I do, myself!

March - Doug and Zee went to St. George for Edie Ann's baby blessing, leaving Grace and I at home alone. At first, I was totally devastated to not be able to be there with them, but again, a silver lining, I was able to enjoy that Doug was able to have a turn with Liza and not with Liza and her mother!  They never get time alone and it worked out so well.  Grace cared for me at home while Doug was able to bond and have a special time with Liza and her cute little family.  In the end, I was truly thankful to have stayed home.

Honestly, I'm quite confused about a lot of the beginning of the year.  Somehow, Liza ended up in Logan and stayed with us for a bit in March and was here for Zee's birthday, as well.  I truly do not remember how that came together, but it was fun, I do know that!

ZJ turned 16 and started dating right away.  She went to her first dance, had other dates and just seems to be doing great in her Logan High School setting... so much better than the County school district experiences that she had had.

I had physical therapy three times a week and was finally able to start enjoying the hottub after each session in March!  I'd missed that immensely!

April - We enjoyed General Conference ,the first weekend in April, as always, with a few of our favorite YSA friends.  Zeej made cinnamon rolls and I missed Quayd immensely all weekend, but it was wonderful and uplifting and we had lots of laughs because ZJ had been doing my hair since I fell.  She decided to do little pickininny knots and I woke up looking like a wild woman.  The jokes and teasing, I do remember!

In April, my sweet friend, Sally Jones, passed away from a brain tumor that had been a result of breast cancer.  It was a rough last month for Sally and I was unable to drive yet.  I was also quite emotional about this brain tumor, the same glioblastoma that had taken the lives of two of the best men we've ever known, Jon Searle and Robert Whitely.  I chose not to see Sally in her last few weeks of life, but, to remember her singing at her piano with Grace, singing in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and drinking Diet Cokes together over lunch for the past twenty years.  Our "Lunch Bunch" ladies had a special privilege of being her "sisters" at her funeral and dressing her body before her viewing, a memory that I will cherish forever.  That's Sally in the center of us all, as she always was, about 15 years before.  Rest in peace and sing forever, Sally!  Oh, I love her!

 Zeej decided at the very last moment, on the night before a girl's choice Disney themed dance to go as Pocahontas with our neighbor's son, Kendall.  Layne and Julie were out of town, but Zeej and I ran to town, bought the fabric and materials and made her a darling costume.  She looked stunning!  It was the first time that I saw Kendall look at Zeej as more than a little sister.  They actually began dating for a few months.

May - After months and months of not being able to attend all three meetings on Sunday and not attending Young Womens on Tuesday nights, I was finally able to get back in the saddle.  Ann Burger and I were spending more and more time together every day, but she was planning to leave for a summer in Alaska, which was killing me!  We were together every moment we could be and loved the YW callings together!  I was given the assignments of all of our big events and we held our Young Women in Excellence evening, an evening of recognizing the girls achievements.  It was a bit scaled down for me, but it was so wonderful to be productive again!  Although, I just gave orders and didn't lift a finger.  A lovely evening and Grace received her YW Medallion!  She'd earned it almost a year before but we'd waited until I could be there to see her receive it.

 May is also the month that Mom's get to speak to their missionaries!  It was so fun to see Quayd's smiling face!  And I even remember that!  I barely remember our Christmas phone visit!  It made my mother's day!

June - Grace survived a very rough senior year.  There was much drama.  Her experience as a senior in Bella Voce was anything but pleasant.  She struggled with some serious difficulties but she faced them like a champion and was finally able to graduate and be done with the whole high school drama scene.  Grace smiled through it, where I wanted to let a few people "have it"! but she survived and came away stronger!

 The best part of any celebration in our family is that Liza comes home!  HAPPINESS!!!!  We had so much fun together!

We decided to take a little girls road trip for Grace's graduation and made it to St. George for a few days after Liza had returned home.  The reason that we went so close after her visit to Logan was because Buddy was offered a job as Athletic Director in a High School outside of Phoenix.  Liza has missed AZ more than anything, although she did love St. George.  It was not a hard decision, as the job offer was quite a nice one!  So, they left Dixie and moved back to the hottest place on earth in July.  But, we did love one last quick trip down to play while Buddy was already working in AZ and getting things situated for them to move the next week.  Happiness for them!  Sadness for us!

The rest of my summer was spent working on two major projects!  Again, my shoulder replacement forced me to be the brains behind the effort and, with the help of my amazing daughters and my two strong guys, I was able to be wedding planner/co-ordinator for my cute niece, Lexi, host three bridal showers for three nieces and also to do all of the frills and planning for YW Girls Camp, which was held at the ranch in our family cabin.  Both were huge successes!  We also attended three weddings, multiple family gatherings and lost my Uncle Jerry.  The summer was a blur of events and activities!
Lexi's wedding
Nephew Dillon's wedding in the Ocquer Mountain Temple, west of SLC 
 Annual Fourth of July Fireworks Family Party at Danny's
 Corbridge Reunion at the Ranch
My wonderful Uncle Jerry Simmons passed away.  I was able to write and share my memories with my cousins, his children, in Ohio and they ended up being read at his memorial as a eulogy.  Loved Uncle Jerry!
Girls Camp

 Shortly after we got home from camp, we were informed of some health issues that Quayd was experiencing.  It was one of the most difficult choices we have ever made to decide that Quayd needed to come home to get the medical assistance he needed.  It was also one of the most exciting things ever to know our boy was coming home, honorably released, from his LDS mission after almost 14 months away in Redlands California.  What a thrill for us all and the reunion was wonderful!

We celebrated Quayd's Homecoming with joy and love.  He served an honorable mission.  His mission president could not say enough good about his service.  We did not spend one second being sad that he was home early.  We celebrated that he served a wonderful mission for our Savior and was now able to be home for the care that he needed!

Grace met a boy, Ben, at the YSA, in July.  They were pretty much an instant hit.  Quayd was quite surprised to come home and find that he now had to share his sister with another boy!

 Quayd coming home, meant another visit for Liza and Buddy and the girls!  HAPPINESS!  We enjoyed the homecoming with family and friends and an extra week with Liza and the girls while Buddy went back to work in AZ.  BLESSING!!!
 September - On the night after it was decided that Quayd would come home from his mission, our Bishop dropped by for a visit that we thought would be regarding Quayd.  However, when he sat down and began talking, he brought the biggest surprise of my life.  He asked me to serve as the Relief Society President in our ward.  With Doug's calling on the Stake Young Single Adults High Council, this was even more unexpected.  After many many tears, many many late nights driving slowly through the neighborhood in our ward boundaries, I was sustained as the President of the Lundstrum Park 3rd Ward Relief Society.  The biggest shock of the calling, for me, was that I couldn't name ten women in the ward!  I'd served with Doug in the YSA and then in the Young Women Presidency in our ward, so being in the ward for just two and a half years, I knew very few sisters.  In our Bishop's words, "You will now."  And he was right!  It's been a choice experience so far!  Every second of it!  I have been humbled and greatly blessed with this opportunity to serve.

Quayd returned to Arizona with Liza and Buddy and spent a few weeks, just for fun, which he loved!

And the hardest thing for me in September was saying goodbye to my dear, sweet friend, Annie, as she and her husband, Corey moved to New York.  Corey had been offered a wonderful job opportunity at Cornell University.  Annie's family live two hours away from Cornell.  Who could pass this up.  I spent a week as their house agent, watching their home, as movers packed and loaded everything they owned.  I grieved with every box that was loaded on the truck, yet celebrated this wonderful opportunity for them!

October brought another huge surprise when I received a 5AM phone call telling me that my father had choked the night before and was on life support.  Four hours later, Dad had "graduated" from this life.  It was an eventful few days of bringing Dad's body to Utah for his cremation and then a service here for close friends and family, who'd only met him once or twice and a service in North Carolina for his lifelong friends and family.   It was a sad few days, but not grieving that he was gone.  It was more grieving for what he'd missed in his life.  I love my dad.

October whizzed by.  Oddly enough, we had my step-dad's funeral on Dale's birthday in 1989.  We had Dad's service around Quayd's birthday this year.  On the day that my dad passed away, Ben also proposed marriage to Grace.

November - I began to settle in with my new calling, Quayd worked in Ogden helping with the setting up and merchandising of a new Ace Hardware Store, Grace joined Ben's family on a cruise to Mexico, while Zeej, Doug and I kept busy at home.  Thanksgiving was quite mellow as we hosted only one neighbor for dinner.

The holidays began with a wonderful dinner party for a dozen widows in our neighborhood.  We had several other events throughout the month, but the highlight for me was the opportunity to assist with "Secret Santa" type projects for several families and members in our ward.  Work party, family party, Ward Party, Relief Society Dinner, and friend gatherings... a busy month, but my parts were minimal in planning and doing.  Christmas was sweet with just the five of us, a quiet and beautiful White Christmas!

My annual "owie" happened in mid December, bringing three stitches to my forehead, as well as multiple bruises and sprains, deeming December, according to Buddy, "Lock Mom in a padded room month".  Grace also decided to postpone her wedding for a bit.

 Can you say "ouch"?
 It's ALWAYS the most wonderful time of the year here!
 After Zeej's retainer was gobbled up by the lawnmower, we waited six weeks, hoping that wasn't really the case and her gap returned.  She ended up back in Invisiline braces... starting over completely.  It's okay.  Money is to be spent, right?
 Our dear friends, Layne and Julie, learned that Julie's breast cancer has returned and is not being very kind about it.  She is undergoing treatments and we are blessed to be their friends and serve them through this trying time.

Our annual week off for Doug didn't happen, as he's been working 10-12 hour days, six days a week for the past six weeks.  He did get Christmas weekend and Tuesday off, but was back to work for the rest of Christmas Break.  We loved seeing The Greatest Showman on the morning after Christmas, our only real "activity" for the week. We enjoyed a fun New Years Eve with Jim and Kristy.  Instead of our traditional fondue, we had our first charcuterie board.  It was a fabulous way to welcome in 2018!

The year has been good to us.  With many challenges, many more surprises, but mostly with more blessings than we could begin to count!  My shoulder continues to heal.  It will never be what it was before the fall.  But, I've been blessed with the health and strength to carry on and do what I need to do each and every day, with the help of this wonderful family of mine and even more, with the help of a loving Heavenly Father.  We are tremendously blessed.  2017 was challenging, fun, exciting, happy, sad, heart-wrenching, thrilling but mostly filled with rich blessings and tender mercies from the Lord.  Life is good.